Samsung Galaxy S4 Active in the flesh, first impressions

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active in the flesh, first impressions

The Galaxy S4 Active is Samsung first attempt at water-proofing their flagship smartphone. With an IP67 rating, the S4 Active is dust-resistant and can tolerate being submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

It has a slightly thicker body and more rugged look. We also noticed it was only available in black.

In order for Samsung to implement the IP67 rating, they had to change the fundamental design of the Galaxy S4. On second thought, the Galaxy S4 Active is nowhere near the deisgn of the original Galaxy S4, except perhaps in the hardware specifications (minus the S AMOLED that has been replaced with a regular LCD).

The Galaxy S4 Active looks really rugged, none of that fluid and smooth finish of its S4 sibling. The back side has to be re-designed and added some texture in order to have enough grip when held underwater or even when wet.


The ports are all covered and they had to added physical buttons instead of the soft buttons. The 3.5mm audio port is exposed but they managed to make it water resistance as well (only up to 30 minutes underwater though).

Despite using a regular TFT LCD, we didn’t really notice that big of a difference between the Super AMOLED of the S4. Perhaps, in some conditions, the differences will be more apparent.

While testing the handset under water, we noticed that the touchscreen is disabled when submerged. And, even when you take it out of the water, the responsiveness is still missing until you wipe off the water droplets from the screen.

You can also wear a thick glove and still be able to navigate the touchscreen.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active specs:
5.0-inch TFT LCD @ 1920x1080p, 443ppi
1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU
Adreno 320
16GB internal memory
MicroSD up to 64GB
GPS w/ aGPS support
8MP autofocus rear camera with LED flash
2MP front-facing camera
139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1 mm (dimensions)
151 g (weight)
2600mAh battery
Android 4.2.2 Jellybean

We overheard that the Galaxy S4 Active will be launched in the Philippines much earlier than the S4 Mini. It might arrive in the country as early as first week of July with an expected retail price similar to the S4 (could be as early as June 28 or 29).

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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21 Responses

  1. imnotgonnabuying says:

    I want a rugged phone but i dont want it to look like a rugged phone id rather buy the xperia z :-)

  2. abuzalzal says:

    ”Despite using a regular TFT LCD, we didn’t really notice the difference between the Super AMOLED of the S4”

    Oh there must be…kaya nga nag skimp ang Samsung dito eh to prioritize the more rugged build

    TFT = OLD tech, Bad viewing angles, washed out colors, less contrasty

    • Agree says:

      Agree to this comment. No way that TFT LCD can be ever mistaken for amoled and vice versa. It’s like the difference between night and day.. unless if one has not really used an amoled phone that much, or if one has problems with eyesight.

      But it’s just a stretch to say difference is not noticeable.

    • imeanit says:

      I agree witn you there is definietly a difference bet those two but i disagree to you about the tft they have both strengths and weajnesses tft produces more natural color and is better under direct sunlight amoled produces oversaturated colors and dimmer (to name a few)

    • abuzalzal says:

      Yep…the author was even too naive to make that claim.

      I can tell if it’s a crappy TFT just by examining the reds and blues. Reds lack ”pop” in them, blues tend to sway more on the purple side.

      I mean , it is so bad, it’s like a miniaturized Laptop screen… I’m really surprised why SONY and Samsung still chose to use this outdated technology.

    • imeanit says:

      dahil itong sinasabi mong “outdated” na ay may ibubuga pa…d pa masyado ginagamit ang amoled dahil d pa siya tlga nadedevelop ng husto na magiging better sa lcd screen sa lahat ng aspeto…kahit ako mas gusto ko pa ang lcd screen kaysa sa amoled dahil mas natural ang kulay na lumalabas dito(napangitan ako sa amoled dahil kahit mataas na ang ppi nito nagmumukha parin xang pixelated dahil sa RGBG na formation nito(makikita mo ang red at blue subpixels)

  3. Rob says:

    Wrong move samsung! ang oa na. enuf na yung s4. #justmyopinion

    • lawrence says:

      Hindi naman. Maybe this is not for you. I bought the Xperia Z 2 months ago because of its water-resistant features instead of the S4. Now, I’m contemplating of buying the S4 Active.

      The choice of the device depends on the user and his lifestyle. For me, Water-resistant/proof phone is a big plus. I live in Boracay.

      Kaya hindi naman siya OA. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would buy this. :)

  4. dan_MD says:

    I like this phone. The 8MP camera is not a deal breaker but the TFT LCD might be. Here’s to hoping that the display would be better than the Xperia Z. I use my SGS3 while taking a bath to watch videos, expect calls. This phone matches my use case.

    • fishy says:

      i can understand the various scenarios where this will come in handy. but also can’t help but wonder what kind of videos need to be watched while taking a bath :) and cannot wait to be watched on other times.. or maybe on bigger screens.

    • hehehe says:

      he watched videos while taking a bath?? it must be… the left hand hold its phone while the right do the “thing”. haha

    • wehehe says:

      Wehehe alam na ano pinapanood! Bagay nga waterproof

  5. puhgeh says:

    “While testing the handset under water, we noticed that the touchscreen is disabled when submerged and even when you take it out of the water the responsiveness missing until you wipe off the water droplets from the screen.”

    Wala lang. Makagawa lang at masabi lang na water resistant hehe. Buti pa Xperia Z pwede gamitin ang touchscreen kahit basa.

  6. Maui says:

    The problem I had with Sony Phones (xperia Active, Go and Z) is the detachable port covers. In few week’s time of heavy use with it’s 3.5mm headset port, napupunit yung goma. Not rugged enough for me. This S4 Active’s exposed 3.5mm jack is interesting!

    • Ron says:

      Well the thing about Xperia Z and your “not rugged enough for me” statement is that Sony never said that the Z is rugged. Not even once, if remember correctly. But I do agree about those flaps. I had a chance to check out a Z and after I saw those, I knew those would tear easily.

    • Ehyeh says:

      the problem with Sony is that even if they did not categorically say Xperia Z is a rugged phone, they did try to give it an impression that is one. heck during the MWC 2013 event, they even had their presenters demo drop testing on the floor

      hence why we have ignorant comments like the first comment from imnotgonnabuying who seems to think Xperia Z is supposed to be a rugged phone

    • imnotgonnabuying says:

      @Ehyeh what i mean is i want a waterproof and dustproof phone with a premium look(and also i think using the word “rugged” in s4 is overrated because im pretty sure it can’t withstand drop tests without breaking the glass the same as xperia z) =))

    • Maui says:

      interesting pt of views :-D

      Just to make it clear, my comment is about being able to use the phone regularly without the need to remove any flimsy parts, w/c is my main problem with xperia phones. It’s about the phone being able to survive heavy use.

      Looking rugged is a different thing. Anyway, parehas naman silang top tier so di na ko magninitpick. But if I have to choose, i’d go for S4 Active just because (again) of its exposed 3.5mm jack. baha-friendly haha :-D

  7. Dude says:

    Are any of the telcos going to be carrying this?

  8. sayang says:

    ganda na sana kaso 8mp camera lng tas physical buttons…sa xperia z naman nagawa nilang gawing soft buttons

  9. Jay says:

    Any updates on this phone?

    It’s mid-July and it’s still not officially available in the Philippines.

    When will this phone be officially released in the country?

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