The Galaxy S4 is Samsung’s flagship for the first half of this year and the latest in the Galaxy S range – with a range of upgrades including better specs, a better screen, better camera and new software features, it’s one of the most popular devices of the year. However, the thin plastic build has led to concerns that it isn’t durable at all and that’s where the Galaxy S4 Active comes in.
The Galaxy S4 Active brings rugged features to the Galaxy S4 range including IP67 certification for both dust resistant and water resistance for up to 1 metre and up to 30 minutes underwater. In terms of design, the Galaxy S4 Active is very much like its flagship sibling but comes with a few changes including hardware keys beneath the screen.
The Galaxy S4 Active is slightly thicker than the Galaxy S4 to accommodate a redesigned back cover and the rugged features. The open microUSB port on the Galaxy S4 is replaced by a covered microUSB port on the Galaxy S4 Active but we found that the USB cover was difficult to open and ensure it was closed securely (to prevent liquid damage).
Like its sibling, the Galaxy S4 Active also comes with an IR blaster which performed as well as the Galaxy S4 did. We also found that despite no cover to protect the port, the headphone audio jack worked even after being submerged in water (it’s a shame the rest of the phone didn’t).
Both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 Active use a small speaker on the back. As the image shows you, the Galaxy S4 Active doesn’t have a fully removable back cover, instead the top and bottom at the back remain secured and the cover comes off from the middle. We found that after being submerged underwater, the Galaxy S4 Active speaker would intermittently sound muffled and there’s definitely cause for concern with Samsung’s build design.
Here’s our full Galaxy S4 Active vs Galaxy S4 head to head gallery: