Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

8.4/10 AVG.
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Specs summary


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


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


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

8+ MP

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

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

16 GB

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


The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2600 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 13.3 days standby time, 1020 minutes (2G), 1020 minutes (3G), 600 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

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 

Overall, a great fun smartphone that gives you a flagship experience, but loves a little water sports too.

- Chris Hall , Pocket-lint 

Reviews summary

Based on 24 reviews

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."

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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."

Reviews (8.4/10 Avg. rating)


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 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... Full review

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... Full review
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 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... Full review
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 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... Full review
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 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... Full review

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 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... Full review

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 additional fun of being able to take photos in, or under, water... Full review
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 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... Full review

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.

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... Full review

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 want durability, this is the Galaxy S4 for you but it's worth checking out the Xperia Z as an alternative... Full review

Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone.

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Q&A Forum

Full Specs

Release date June 15, 2013
Regions available USA, United Kingdom
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
1700 MHz
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
Digital compass Yes
FlightMode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible 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), 2600 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time 600 minutes
Wi-Fi Surfing Time 600 minutes
3G Surfing Time 480 minutes
4G Surfing Time 540 minutes
Talk Time Up to:
1020 minutes (2G)
1020 minutes (3G)
Standby Time Up to: 13.3 days
Physical Characteristics
Design Type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Dive Blue, Orange Flare, Urban Grey
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.0 x 7.1 x 0.9 cm
(5.5 x 2.8 x 0.4 in)
Weight 151 grams
(5.3 ounces)
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 Browsing Type HTML, HTML 5
Browser Google Android
Javascript Yes
Flash No
Email Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging Services SMS, MMS, IM (Google Talk)
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Expansion Slots Yes
Expansion Slots Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
DLNA Support Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
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, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera  
Resolution 2+ megapixels
Zoom No
Additional Front Camera Info No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, eAAC+, AAC+, AAC, AMR-WB, WMA, WAV, OGG, AMR-NB
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX
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
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stopwatch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS
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 No
Additional Comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung SGH-I537

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