Hands On With Samsung’s Waterproof Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

  • Get Wet


    The Galaxy S4 Active can be submerged in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

    Thanks to its watertight coating, the elements of the phone remain safe to use.

  • Photos From Below


    The Galaxy S4 Active isn’t just waterproof — it can even function underwater. The 8-megapixel camera has a special aqua mode for improving photos taken underwater.

  • Dip a Toe In


    Swimming with a phone isn’t that common. You know what is common? Dropping the phone in the toilet (gross, we know).

    You won’t have to run for a bag of rice or Silicon packets to try to revive the Galaxy S4 Active, it will stay sane.

  • In and Out


    The Galaxy S4 Active goes for a dip in an aquarium.

  • New in Blue


    The aqua marine color on the Galaxy S4 active is new for this device. We love it.

  • 5-inch LCD Screen


    Unlike the Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Active has a 5-inch LCD screen. Using this type of screen keeps the components working under water.

  • Side Profile


    A smidge thicker than the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Active has covers on the ports on the side of the phone.

  • Backside


    The back of the Galaxy S4 Active looks like any other Galaxy S4 device and it’s compatible with the various accessories for the Galaxy S4, including the Qi wireless charging backs and the ClearView Galaxy S4 case.

  • Camera Goodness


    Rather than using the 13-megapixel camera of the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Active has an 8-megapixel camera with a special aqua mode for underwater photography.

  • Side Profile, Part Deux


    The profile is still thin on this one, but the ports are covered up a bit.

  • Top Side View


    The headphone jack remains at the top.

  • Bottom Side


    The microUSB port is covered rather than open.

  • High-Res Screen


    The 5-inch LCD screen still sports a terrific 1920 x 1080 resolution.

  • Big Battery


    The battery on the Galaxy S4 Active is 2600mAh.

  • Galaxy S4 Versus Galaxy S4 Active


    As you can see, the Active is ever so slightly thicker.

  • Galaxy S4 Versus Galaxy S4 Active, Top


    You can also see some of the sealant around the phone jack on the Galax S4 Active that isn’t visible on the Galaxy S4.

  • Bottom View Compared


    We actually prefer the covered microUSB slot on the Galaxy S4 Active to the nakedness of the Galaxy S4.

  • Side Profile Compared


    Both are thin but the Galaxy S4 is slightly thinner.

  • Galaxy S4 Charging Pad


    This is the wireless charging pad for the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S4 Active.

  • Wireless Charging


    A Galaxy S4 gets its charge on, wirelessly.

  • ClearView Covers


    Fun Galaxy S4 covers in a variety of colors.

Show As Gallery


Earlier this month Samsung and AT&T officially announced a new, ruggedized version of theGalaxy S4, dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active.

The phone is now available for $199 exclusively on AT&T and we had some time to spend with the unit, comparing it directly to the standard model Galaxy S4.



The biggest difference between the regular Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 Active is that the Active is water and dust resistant and can be submerged in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. You can even listen to music with it while swimming.

Similar Guts, Better Exterior

The spec differences between the Galaxy S4 Active and the standard Galaxy S4 (which I dubbed the best Android phone ever) are minute. Rather than the S4’s Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S4 Active uses a regular LCD screen. The resolution is still the same at 1920 x 1080, however.

The other internal change is that the camera is 8-megapixel rather than 13. The 8-megapixel camera does have a special aqua mode, however, for underwater photography.

The battery, processor and RAM are all the same in the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 Active.

A bigger difference, however, is in the phone’s exterior. The Galaxy S4 Active is slightly thicker (it’s very hard to tell the difference) and as a result feels more substantial in the hand. The polycarbonate shell around the phone and its back also feels more substantial, eschewing the feather-light and plasticky feel of the S3 and S4.

Even better, the ports are covered on the Galaxy S4 Active, which is a nice touch and something we can see being useful for outdoor environments.

The two phones are so similar, its enough to make us wonder why Samsung didn’t just consider making at least some of these features standard on the regular Galaxy S4. Maybe it wouldn’t be necessary to make the phone submergible in a meter of water, but having it work in the rain would be great.

The Galaxy S4 Active is an AT&T exclusive in the United States and will be coming to other parts of the world later this summer.

Photos by Emil Lendof, Mashable


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