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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active review

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

We go for a dunk with the newly-announced waterproof Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung has reinforced the Galaxy S4, adding IP67-certified waterproofing and dust proofing to create the rugged Galaxy S4 Active. We put it through it’s paces at the company’s London Premiere event.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

In order to make a rugged phone, certain features like touch-sensitive buttons have to go. That’s why Samsung has replaced them with physical buttons for the S4 Active, letting you press the home, back and menu keys even if you’re wearing thick gloves or are under water. The ports have been protected too, with rubber flaps covering the Micro-USB port to prevent moisture or dust getting inside.

In spite of the extra protection, the S4 Active isn’t significantly larger or thicker than the basic Galaxy S4 – you can see our comparison images below and in the gallery. It’s a little taller and weighs a little more too, but this gives the handset a more pleasant feel in the hand than the anaemic S4. The riveted rear panel feels reassuringly firm compared to the original S4’s plastic case, too, even if it is still made from polycarbonate.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Although it retains the same 1,920×1,080 Full HD resolution as the S4, the S4 Active makes the switch from AMOLED technology to an LCD panel. It was difficult to call a winner based on our short time with the device – we’ll wait until we get an S4 Active in for a full review – but there wasn’t an immediately noticeable reduction in colour vibrancy at maximum brightness.

The quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor runs at 1.9GHz, which is the same model and speed as the chip inside the British variant of the original S4. Both phones have 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage too. Unfortunately, by the time we’d fought our way through the crowds to get some hands-on time with the S4 Active, the Wi-Fi had slowed to a crawl and we were unable to run any benchmarks. However, it felt just as snappy and responsive as our vanilla S4.

The main hardware difference is the rear camera, which drops from 13-megapixels to eight. This might mean a reduction in image quality, but the rugged nature of the phone means you can now take photos under water.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

The phone is certified for 30 minutes of submersion in one metre of water, which could make it the ideal snorkelling companion. The touchscreen doesn’t work once it comes into contact with water, which is why Samsung has made the volume keys control the camera shutter when the phone detects it is submersed.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung wouldn’t reveal a price for the Galaxy S4 Active at the launch event, so we’ll have to wait a little closer to launch to find out what one will set you back. Expect the handset to go on sale in the coming months, from all the major UK networks and retailers.

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