Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

8.4/10 AVG.
RATING



8.4/10
Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active currently has an Informr score of 8.4 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 24 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Water resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • Dust resistant
  • Fast and smooth overall performance
  • Underwater camera mode
  • Excellent bright light legibility

What's bad

  • Slippery grip
  • Not especially durable against drops
  • LCD display suffers from washed out colors

Like the name suggests, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is designed with the active outdoor users in mind. As with the Sony Xperia Z, the S4 Active is IP67 certified, which means that it is water-resistant up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes and also dust resistant. Tech Hive tests back up the water-resistant claim, though they go on to mention that micro-USB flap port felt flimsy and "seems like it'd be way too easy to damage through regular use."

To complement the water-resistant feature, the S4 Active has made one notable design change. Instead of the standard navigation buttons on the touch screen, Samsung opted for physical buttons. Critics explain the design choice by noting that physical buttons work better than capacitive buttons when wet. In addition, most critics enjoyed the tactical feedback from pressing the buttons. Android Central states that they had "just enough click to them, as well as just the right amount of texture."

Besides the buttons, the S4 Active has also added a new Aqua camera mode. As the name suggests, Aqua mode is for underwater picture taking. When active, the shutter controls move to the volume rocker and users can choose whether they want to take pictures or videos. While most reviewers enjoyed the mode, they also noticed two main drawbacks: lack of auto focus and poor screen visibility underwater. CNET felt that these issues lead to quite a bit of guesswork and "hit or miss" image quality.

Specs-wise, the S4 Active packs many of the same features as the Samsung Galaxy S4. It comes with a 1.9GHz quad-core process, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. Its smooth performance scrolling between pages as well as playing graphically intensive games impressed reviewers. T3 calls the phone a power-house.

Unlike the Galaxy S4, the S4 Active sports a 5", 1080 LCD display. When reviewers directly compared the two phones, they noticed that colors on the S4 active were not nearly as vibrant and had a magenta cast on the panel. Still, Engadget states that the screen still offers excellent viewing angles, crisp text and good bright light legibility.

Despite the Active in its name most reviewers discovered that the phone itself isn't much more rugged than other top smartphones. The plastic finish made it difficult for many to get a good grip on the device, making drops more likely. Unfortunately, most realized its not made to withstand drops. While the top and bottom edges of the phone are rubberized, Trusted Review warns that it will not soak up an impact, though they go on to say that it will help avoid light scratches.

Regardless of its actual durability, consensus amoung critics is that the Samsung Galaxy Active 4 is a solid phone with an interesting design. Android Central concludes, "the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a fun, robust Android smartphone."


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.9 GHz
Screen Size
5"
Camera
8+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


PCWorld

If Indiana Jones used a smartphone, this would probably be it.

- Armando Rodriguez, PCWorld
TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active finds itself a little in no mans land, and it's a difficult one for us to recommend outright. If you're in the market for a super powerful smartphone which you can take on extreme activities, swimming and in the bath then sure the Galaxy S4 Active is the best around...

- John McCann, TechRadar
The Inquirer

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is one of the best smartphones made by Samsung in recent years, offering users all the key strengths of the Galaxy S4, but coming with a beefed-up, more robust design. As with all Samsung phones, the addition of Touchwiz is a mixed affair, with the skin in general detrac...

- Alastair Stevenson, The Inquirer
Daily Mobile

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active isn't as rugged as I would like it to be it is more durable than most Samsung devices and you gotta love that. It's pretty darn close (spec wise) to the regular Galaxy S4 and unless you really need the 13mp camera I'd be hard pressed not to recommend this device ov...

- Kevin Everett, Daily Mobile
Pocket Gamer

The Galaxy S4 Active combines the world-beating tech of the standard S4 with a water and dustproof case design, making it the must-have Android mobile of the moment.

- Damien McFerran, Pocket Gamer


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Samsung released the Galaxy S4 Active on June 15, 2013.



Samsung backs up the Galaxy S4 Active with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Galaxy S4 Active has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.




Resources


Manuals / User Guides Helpful Links Share / Embed

Maybe one of your friends will find this review helpful? Please help us spread the word.

Quick view

Screen Size
5"

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active's screen size is 5 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.9 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T Quad core 1.9 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.0 Lollipop) operating system (OS).

Camera
8+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 8+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
16 GB

Internal memory is 16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2600mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2600 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 1020 minutes, 600 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy S4 Active Specs

Overview
Release date June 15, 2013
Regions available USA, UK
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1700 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
variations
SIM card Micro-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.0 Lollipop)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T Quad core 1.9 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 16 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.607 W/kg
Body: 1.219 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2600 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 540 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1020 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 13.3 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Urban Grey, Dive Blue, Orange Flare
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14 x 7.1 x 0.9 cm (5.5 x 2.8 x 0.4 in)
Weight 151 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design Yes
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 443 pixels
Size 5 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Glove Touch
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
4x digital
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Night mode, Panorama, Drama shot, Voice activation, Aqua mode, HDR
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, DivX, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Google Play, Google Plus, YouTube, Chrome Browser, Google+, Polaris Office 5)
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung SGH-I537

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Suggest a correction

Own this phone?

Help inform others by sharing your experience with Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Rate It:

Critic Reviews


PCWorld

Rugged and ready for adventure

from PCWorld

Samsung has a winner on its hands with the Active: It’s sleek, powerful, and won’t fall apart the first time you drop it or get it dirty. The downgrade in camera quality is lamentable, and some will absolutely hate all of Samsung’s software extras, but those are small concession...More

Samsung has a winner on its hands with the Active: It’s sleek, powerful, and won’t fall apart the first time you drop it or get it dirty. The downgrade in camera quality is lamentable, and some will absolutely hate all of Samsung’s software extras, but those are small concessions to make for a phone that you can use in the shower or pool. If you need a phone that can survive the great outdoors, then the Active should be your first choice. If you value your photos and don’t really spend much time being active, then the regular Galaxy S4 will suit you just fine.

Read full review

Less

TechRadar

Like the normal S4 - but much more satisfying

from TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active finds itself a little in no mans land, and it's a difficult one for us to recommend outright. If you're in the market for a super powerful smartphone which you can take on extreme activities, swimming and in the bath then sure the Galaxy S4 Active is the best around, but that's a pretty limited market.

Read full review

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active finds itself a little in no mans land, and it's a difficult one for us to recommend outright. If you're in the market for a super powerful smartphone which you can take on extreme activities, swimming and in the bath then sure the Galaxy S4 Active is the best around, but that's a pretty limited market.

Read full review

Less

The Inquirer

The Iron Man of Samsung smartphones

from The Inquirer

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is one of the best smartphones made by Samsung in recent years, offering users all the key strengths of the Galaxy S4, but coming with a beefed-up, more robust design. As with all Samsung phones, the addition of Touchwiz is a mixed affair, with the skin in general det...More

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is one of the best smartphones made by Samsung in recent years, offering users all the key strengths of the Galaxy S4, but coming with a beefed-up, more robust design. As with all Samsung phones, the addition of Touchwiz is a mixed affair, with the skin in general detracting rather than adding to the Android user experience. Still, even with Touchwiz, to fans of Samsung Galaxy phones or those in need of a tough waterproof handset we thoroughly recommend checking out the Active.

Read full review

Less

Daily Mobile

Meatier more solid than other Samsung flagship devices

from Daily Mobile

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active isn't as rugged as I would like it to be it is more durable than most Samsung devices and you gotta love that. It's pretty darn close (spec wise) to the regular Galaxy S4 and unless you really need the 13mp camera I'd be hard pressed not to recommend this device...More

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active isn't as rugged as I would like it to be it is more durable than most Samsung devices and you gotta love that. It's pretty darn close (spec wise) to the regular Galaxy S4 and unless you really need the 13mp camera I'd be hard pressed not to recommend this device over the S4. I mean let's face it smartphones are an investment these days you might as well get the one that will last the longest.

Read full review

Less

Pocket Gamer

The Galaxy S4 gets the Schwarzenegger treatment

from Pocket Gamer

You could accuse Samsung of being lazy with the S4 Active - after all, it's essentially the standard S4 in a different case, with no real technical improvements. In fact, with a weaker screen and less adept camera, you could call it something of a downgrade.

However, in reality these diff...More

You could accuse Samsung of being lazy with the S4 Active - after all, it's essentially the standard S4 in a different case, with no real technical improvements. In fact, with a weaker screen and less adept camera, you could call it something of a downgrade.

However, in reality these differences mean little, and the S4 Active's love of the outdoors makes it a more sensible purchase if you're constantly worrying about water damage impacting your expensive mobile.

Read full review

Less

Fone Arena

The additional protection is a wonderful bonus to what is already a market-leading handset

from Fone Arena

Simply put, the Galaxy S4 Active is a Galaxy S4 which isn’t afraid of the elements. If you’ve eyed the Sony Xperia Z – which offers similar levels of resistance – but prefer Samsung’s phones, then your prayers have effectively been answered; the Active may have a les...More

Simply put, the Galaxy S4 Active is a Galaxy S4 which isn’t afraid of the elements. If you’ve eyed the Sony Xperia Z – which offers similar levels of resistance – but prefer Samsung’s phones, then your prayers have effectively been answered; the Active may have a less powerful camera and TFT display, but in all other respects its a match for its more famous relation. We even found ourselves preferring the Active’s design, as it moves away from the super-glossy (and somewhat cheap-looking) plastic of the original to a more rugged and interesting appearance.

Read full review

Less

Pocket-lint

A great fun smartphone that gives you a flagship experience

from Pocket-lint

There's a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. There's a great hardware experience on offer here that's competitive with some of the best devices on the market. Naturally, the waterproofing is the big sell: it works, taking away the worry of getting your phone wet, but bringing that ad...More

There's a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. There's a great hardware experience on offer here that's competitive with some of the best devices on the market. Naturally, the waterproofing is the big sell: it works, taking away the worry of getting your phone wet, but bringing that additional fun of being able to take photos in, or under, water.

Read full review

Less

Know Your Mobile

Very powerful, water and dust resistant, appealing design

from Know Your Mobile

Although it has a weaker camera and lacks the striking Super AMOLED screen of the standard S4, the Galaxy S4 Active is actually the better phone of the two, purely because it offers the same degree of power but comes with water and dust resistance.

The increased resilience to the elements...More

Although it has a weaker camera and lacks the striking Super AMOLED screen of the standard S4, the Galaxy S4 Active is actually the better phone of the two, purely because it offers the same degree of power but comes with water and dust resistance.

The increased resilience to the elements might seem like a gimmick, but not having to worry about getting your phone wet when you’re waiting for the bus on a raining evening is actually more of a blessing than you might think. It’s also hard not to prefer the rugged appearance of the S4 Active - the revised casing and physical buttons below the screen are sure to strike a chord with many who considered the standard S4 to be too similar to the S3.

Read full review

Less

Ars Technica

It keeps the high-end guts and sports heavy-duty plastic but ditches AMOLED

from Ars Technica

The S 4 Active is mostly additive. It's a little larger and heavier, but in exchange you get a phone that feels sturdier and a bit less plasticky in your hand. PenTile AMOLED detractors can get a high-end Samsung phone with an LCD display, and the dust-and-water-resistance is a nice extra feature. If you don't mind TouchWiz but dislike Samsung's hardware, this is probably the phone to get....

More

The S 4 Active is mostly additive. It's a little larger and heavier, but in exchange you get a phone that feels sturdier and a bit less plasticky in your hand. PenTile AMOLED detractors can get a high-end Samsung phone with an LCD display, and the dust-and-water-resistance is a nice extra feature. If you don't mind TouchWiz but dislike Samsung's hardware, this is probably the phone to get.

For the trade-off, you get a slightly worse camera, slightly worse battery life, and the inability to buy the phone from anyone who isn't AT&T. All this means it's not the perfect alternative to the vanilla S 4, but AT&T customers looking to upgrade should at least give this one a look before going with the standard version.

Read full review

Less

Tech Advisor

Waterproof Galaxy S4 offers excellent performance

from Tech Advisor

We really like the Galaxy S4 Active. It's got the kind of features that we wish the flagship smartphone has. There is a downgrade with some specifications but they don't seem like a big sacrifice. Performance is excellent and the neither display nor the camera could be described as poor. If you w...More

We really like the Galaxy S4 Active. It's got the kind of features that we wish the flagship smartphone has. There is a downgrade with some specifications but they don't seem like a big sacrifice. Performance is excellent and the neither display nor the camera could be described as poor. If you want durability, this is the Galaxy S4 for you but it's worth checking out the Xperia Z as an alternative.

Read full review

Less



User Reviews


Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone. Be the first to write a review.

Videos