Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Review

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The waterproof and dustproof sibling to the Samsung Galaxy S4 is making an effort to compete with other waterproof devices, such as the Sony Experia Z. At first glance, the Active might not be a stunner, and nothing about it, even its thickness, might appeal to the average user. But is it worthy enough to stay safe and invest in this gadget? 

Build and Design

You might notice that the S4 Active deviates slightly from the standard S4 design. Three rubber buttons now replace the home button on the front and the touch-sensitive navigation buttons on either side. The glossy plastic back panel has also been replaced with a matte grey panel. There are two rubber bumpers at the top and bottom. It might not be appealing to everyone, but you have to remember that this design has the waterproof ability in mind. It’s also thicker than its sibling, which can make you shy away from it if you’re obsessed with a paper-thin device.


Like the S4, the S4 Active carries a massive 5-inch full HD screen, perfect for gaming or viewing full HD videos. However, instead of a Super AMOLED display, it packs a TFT display, which is less vivid than the AMOLED counterpart. It’s nice enough for most tasks, just don’t put it side by side with the S4. Luckily, you can choose from different screen modes to slightly enhance the colors.

Performance and Processor

Underneath the waterproof housing is the powerful quad-core Qualcomm processor clocked at 1.9GHz processor. Surprisingly, it even exceeds the standard S4 in benchmarks. The phone simply is very smooth and swift, and can handle demanding tasks with ease.


The Active is powered by the same 2600mAh battery that powers the S4, so you can expect the two to have comparable battery life. It’s not the best in the market, and you might find the need to recharge every night. Still, it can last long enough with moderate use, as long as you charge it fully, turn down brightness, and limit the running apps.


Of course, one of the most important aspects to look closer in a mobile phone is its camera. What you can find in the Active is a 8MP rear-facing cam, which might disappoint those expecting to find the same 13MP shooter in the standard S4. However, we all know that pixels aren’t everything, and the Active actually performed well in camera tests. It might not possess the best shooters, but it is capable of producing nice shots for your social media needs. 


  • Full HD display
  • Waterproof design
  • Powerful processor
  • Good camera


  • Not that user-friendly for new Android users
  • The standard S4’s screen is more vivid 

The Verdict

Just like the standard S4, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is home to a full HD, 5-inch display powered by quad-core chip. The waterproof capability makes it extra special, so if it’s your habit to bring your phone in the bathroom, you can always feel free to do so without having to worry about breaking it.

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