Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a ruggedised version of the Galaxy S4, and it offers almost everything that the best-selling S4 does in a package that is highly waterproof, dust resistant and a little bit more sturdy all around.
Unlike the rather deceptive Galaxy S4 Mini, the S4 Active is a almost a fully-featured version of the S4, with a similar 5" full HD display (although it's an LCD panel and not AMOLED), a quad-core 1.9GHz CPU with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage plus a microSD slot and the same large 2600 mAh battery inside. Some things are a little different - the camera is only an 8 megapixel unit and not the 13 megapixel one from the S4, and storage maxes out at 16GB with no higher capacity available at the moment.
Most of the changes are in the physical packaging. The S4 Active is about 10% heavier than the S4 with a 5% bigger footprint due to the new casing design. The S4 Active is certified for IP67 protection against water and dust, meaning that it can be immersed in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes without damage. The buttons on the bottom of the screen have been replaced with physical ones rather than capacitive ones, and the overall design is pleasingly chunky and reminiscent of Samsung's Xcover line.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Samsung haven't left it at that though, the camera also features an "Aqua" mode for underwater photography, and this can be activated with a button on the side. If you are not underwater, then the S4 Active can also be used while wearing gloves.
Although the thicker casing of the S4 Active should protect a little against bumps, the big 5" display is always going to be vulnerable to damage so a case would provide some useful additional protection here too. If your phone is going to be subjected to really rough handling then the S4 Active might not be the right device as it is likely to be very expensive to fix, but it will certainly survive real life better than the original S4.
Underneath, everything else is almost the same.. so you have access to all the Galaxy S4's software tricks plus LTE and NFC but not wireless charging. It's clear that there are a few compromises made along the way, but overall the S4 Active is still one of the most powerful and capable smartphones on the market.
Samsung say that the S4 Active should be available during the Northern Hemisphere summer, initially in the US and Sweden in urban grey, dive blue and orange flare colour schemes. We don't know how much it will cost for certain, but given the quite high price of the S4 that it is based on, we would expect it to retail for around €650 SIM-free.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS (various bands) LTE (various bands)
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+
+ LTE + WiFi
5.0" 1024 x 1280 pixels
8 megapixels (main)
2 megapixels (front)
140 x 71 x 9.1mm / 151 grams
Yes (plus GLONASS)
Not specified (2600 mAh cell)