The Samsung Galaxy S4 is and was a great phone but as many people (including our own Buzz Moody) have found out, the device is a little fragile if you’re not pretty careful with it. There’s plenty of options out there to protect your Galaxy S4; we’ve tried the Otterbox range of cases for their rugged design and protection of the device and we’ve tried the Aranez leather cases but there is another option. The Galaxy S4 Active.

The inevitable comparison with the Galaxy S4

Having now had my own Galaxy S4 for a few months, there are some subtle differences I have noticed between the two devices. The first and most noticeable was the physical buttons on the device which have a look of carbon fibre about them. While they’re not intrusive on the visual design of the device, when you’re used to the capacitive buttons that are on the S4 it’s a muscle memory habit I need to overcome to press the buttons. The second of the features I noticed on the S4 Active over it’s older cousin is the physical feel of the phone in your hand: it’s slightly heavier (certainly enough to notice), ever so slightly larger and no doubt due to the IP67 water/dust proof rating of the device, the edges are rubberised and frankly look quite good.


The Galaxy S4 Active Specs are near identical to the Galaxy S4:

  • 5-inch 1080p TFT LCD Display
  • 1.9GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal Storage (expandable)
  • 8MP rear camera and 2MP front facing camera
  • Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1 mm, 153g
  • 2600mAh Battery


As a Galaxy S4 owner, the S4 Active hasn’t offered me any surprises yet. It’s running Android 4.2.2 out of the box and t’s got the usual suite of Samsung features, including the camera software which does a nice job compared to others I’ve used, the Touchwiz UI and it’s locked app drawer. My personal preference is to replace the stock launcher with another one, simply because there are some of the launcher behaviours that annoy me so it was replaced quickly by Action Launcher Pro.


Physically there’s no mistaking it’s in the same family of phones as the original Galaxy S4 but it’s different enough that you know it’s a new phone visually, not just the feel in your hand. The red back (no doubt due to the Vodafone exclusive) on the device catches eyes very quickly, I was bailed up a few times by random people asking what phone I was running. To me, that’s a win for Samsung that it’s caught eyes and aroused interest.

The full review of the Galaxy S4 Active will be appearing on the Ausdroid site in a couple of weeks, so keep your eyes out for it.

Does the waterproof, dust proof and impact resistant design of the Galaxy S4 Active peak your interest in the device? Let us know what you’re curious about in the comments below and we’ll try to answer your questions in the upcoming review.

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Brad Thomson

Is the screen usable with wet fingers?


Translation: can you take it on the shower to watch “movies” ?

Brad Thomson

I was thinking answer phone when washing dishes or when working on car.


I’m surprised you didn’t comment about TFT Vs AMOLED screen difference which is one of the most important features of a smart phone.

Phil Tann

There’s a subtle difference, but you have to be looking for it. I maintain that Samsung’s AMOLED screens are extremely well setup/calibrated to get the best out of them that is possible.

The TFT (to my eyes at least) gives a slightly more vibrant colour reproduction, that’s about it. Side by side on the same picture, you can see a bit of difference but if you look at one phone then a day later look at the other you’re unlikely to see much difference.


Phil, would it be possible to add such a side by side comparison pic to the article so we can all see it?

Phil Tann

Yep – easy!


Is it true that the warranty doesn’t cover water damage?


Yeah heard about that, but that is similar to the Sony xperia z


Yeah, I had an issue with my Xperia Z where all the port seals were covered but water still got in – no water ingression indicators were triggered at the ports, but apparently there was one inside on the board which showed water had gotten in. They refused to replace it under warranty. Kicked up a stink with Telstra and they relented.

Phil Tann

Reading the fine print, yeah…
but that’s to stop idiots like me doing water tests on it and forgetting to clip the charger port seal over before I do it. Really, with smartphones the waterproof nature of them is to protect them from accidental spills.


But they actually advertise an under-water shooting mode, and the water resistance is obviously the major selling point, seems pretty dishonest. And I’d suggest it’s good journalism to inform people that this is the case when reviewing these products.


The phone is only water resistant.. not water proof.

Do not put it anywhere near water. There are so many horror stories on xda.

Phil Tann

IP67 is “water resistant to 1.5m for 30 mins” I believe…
It’s ok, the phone wasn’t mine anyway! πŸ˜‰