In the last couple of years Samsung have managed to make their high-end Galaxy handsets some of the most popular mobile phones on the market. The Galaxy S3 was a huge hit last year and after the iPhone 5 disappointed many the Galaxy S4 has proven an even bigger success. With any potential Galaxy S5 release still almost a year away Samsung are looking at ways to expand on the popularity of the Galaxy S4 with devices such as the S4 Mini and now the Galaxy S4 Active.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 active is in many ways very similar to the flagship S4 with the key difference being that the S4 Active is water and dust resistant. Inside the S4 Active has the same quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM and although the 5-inch screen is TFT rather than Super AMOLED it is full HD and looks fantastic. The 13-megapixel camera of the S4 has been downgraded to 8-MP for the Active although that’s more than good enough for most users to take perfectly acceptable snaps. Like the Galaxy S4 the Active runs Android 4.2 out of the box with an update to 4.3 expected.
In order to make the S4 Active water resistant some changes have been made to the look and feel of the phone, the Active is thicker than the original S4 and also heavier although the general look of the phone is very similar. As capacitive touchscreens don’t work particularly well when wet the touch sensitive buttons on the front of the phone have been replaced by physical buttons that work perfectly underwater. The volume rocker has a grippy texture to make it easier to handle when wet and rubber grips at the top and bottom of the phone have a similar texture to make it a little easier to keep a hold of the Active.
One major advantage the S4 Active has over the Xperia Z is the headphone port, on Sony’s device you need to make sure the cover is in place or your phone won’t be water proofed. The S4 Active has a headphone port that is water resistant without the need for a flap, this means you can grab some water proof headphones and listen to your music while you swim. Unfortunately the microUSB port does still require a cover although you’ll only need to worry about that when you put it on to charge or hook it up to your PC.
Quite surprisingly the back cover is removable, something you would assume makes water proofing the phone a lot more difficult for Samsung but it’s quite welcome as you’re able to change the removable battery when it runs low. There is a warning that you should check the back cover is secured before getting your S4 Active wet and that’s very good advice as a leak is sure you put an end to your underwater fun. The device is generally a bit more rugged than most high-end smartphones and while not invulnerable to damage it’ll take knocks better than most touchscreen phones.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active isn’t perfect and there are more attractive phones available but if you want the knowledge that your phone could happily survive being dropped down the toilet or falling victim to a spilt drink then there aren’t really any better options than the S4 Active. You can find deals for the Galaxy S4 Active using our mobile contract comparison.