Galaxy S4 Active

Ruggedized GS4 launching this summer, coming to the U.S. and Sweden first

After weeks of leaks, Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy S4 Active -- a ruggedized, water and dust-resistant version of its flagship smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Active shares much of its internal hardware with the vanilla Galaxy S4, including a quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU at 1.9GHz, 2GB of RAM, a 1080p (TFT, not AMOLED) display, 2600mAh battery and 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. The camera's taken a minor hit, going from 13MP on the regular GS4 to 8MP on the Active.

The main difference is the "fully sealed design" that the manufacturer's boasting is certified IP67 water and dust resistant . That means the external chassis looks a lot more durable, and the capacitive keys have been replaced with three physical, clicky buttons.

On the software side, we're still looking at Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and the latest Samsung TouchWiz UI, including headline Galaxy S4 features like WatchON, the Peel-based TV controller app, which uses a front-mounted IR blaster. S Health is on-board too, along with the full suite of Samsung apps and camera capabilities like 'drama shot' and 'sound and shot.' There's also a new 'aqua shot' mode for taking underwater pics.

You get the idea -- it's essentially a Galaxy S4 in a re-worked, sturdier chassis. Samsung says the Galaxy S4 Active will have a global release this summer, with the U.S. and Sweden seeing release first. In the UK, retailer Phones4U has confirmed that it'll offer the Active "when it becomes available." There's no word of which U.S. carriers will launch the device just yet, we've seen leaked images of the Active with AT&T branding in recent days. Samsung adds that the device will be at its "Premiere 2013" show in London on June 20, and we'll be live from that event to bring you hands-on coverage.

We've got more photos after the break.

Source: Samsung


Reader comments

Samsung announces water-resistant Galaxy S4 Active


I think it's ugly. Don't understand why the only pathetic 16gb of int storage. AT&T has the only version I would buy, 32gb model, anything less is a joke.

Why do you guys get soooo crazy about storage? With Google play you can stream just about anything and don't tell me about bad coverage or huge data cost. I'm so sick of that! I have a gs3 and my wife has an iphone 5. Share everything with Verizon. Unlimited everything with 8gb of data. I stream music 8hrs a day at work and never hit that Mark. Our bill is $182 a month. That's less than we were paying at Sprint! Plus this phone, like most Samsung phones is expandable. So if you need another 16gb your telling me that 20 bucks for a memory card is a deal breaker? Get over yourself

I hope this comes to Verizon. I've been stalling from picking up the gs4 for a week now. With this and the HTC one it's going to be an interesting decision

Um, why do you get so defensive? I don't get people like you, sticking up for large corporations who don't give a shit about you, as opposed to fellow consumers. The GS4 has the lowest storage available for any phone on the market that claims 16gb.

Forget google play, why should we stream, when we can have it on our phone? I don't get it? Good for you and your wife that you are spending $200 a month and can afford to stream music for 8 hours. Some of us aren't and would rather have as much storage on our phones as possible.

Most games these days are well over 2 gigs of data and growing. Most apps are reaching over the 300-400 mb mark. That space gets filled up quick. It's ridiculous they can't give the option for 32 gb.

If you have no problems with the storage, then you should also have no complaints if we do. Your shoes don't fit our feet.

The reason that I want more storage is that I spend a lot of time on commuter jets that don't have WiFi. 16GB (esp. on Sg) doesn't leave much room for music when you don't have a "stream" to receive. Yes, I would hope that all phones had SD cards, but they don't. I'm ready to drop my N4 because of memory, but SG doesn't have that good a reputation for this quick a change.

It *is* a great argument, without work and on the latest versino of Android (which this phone has), there are many things you can NOT put on the SD card, and that includes Google Play Music cache. I would be all over defending the "use the SD card slot" if they supported more things going to the SD card.

I can see whining about memory if your phone doesn't have a card slot, but really! My S III only has 16 GB of internal memory. (Of course, that's 2 GB more than the hard drive on my first Pentium desktop.) However, with the 64 GB card plugged in, it's 80 GB in a *phone* for crying out loud. And it works fine. And I've no problems on or off commuter jets. Get real!

Storage is important because storing everything in the "cloud" and streaming it all is useless if you don't have 24/7 strong cell service. While you might live in a city and be lucky to never have less than 4 bars LTE, there are millions of us who often lose all reception for extended periods many times a day. But during those times (and often ESPECIALLY during those times), I often want to access my content... whether it be movies, music, podcasts, photos, etc.

Also, data caps further negate the "cloud" pipe dream. 8GB data isn't "unlimted", and considering how spotty AT&T coverage is in my state I'm certainly not going to downgrade to Verizon who's coverage is even worse. I have a 2GB data plan and I'm not interested in paying more every month just because phone manufacturers castrate the local phone storage. I'd rather pay more up-front, ONCE, and get the most storage I can on my phone model... including an add-on MicroSD card.

I'm still happy with my S2 for the most part and not really thrilled about getting a physically-larger phone (the S2 is already pushing it), but if I had to buy a new phone soon I'd get the 32GB S4 and the biggest MicroSD card it could take.

The ONLY good argument for lack of storage is for gamers, period! Everyone else can add a 32 or 64GB MicroSD for a fraction of the cost with no cons. If I am going to play games I'll do it on a large screen TV, maybe a round or two of Angry Birds or something on the phone but that's it. You kids that want to load up a ton of games on your phone need to get a life. There is more to life then staring at your phone playing games! Oh, yeah... Buy a different phone and quit your complaining. You have plenty of choices in the Android phone market...

MicroSD cards don't work for all applications. Google Play Music won't store anything on the SD. Buying a different phone is not a helpful solution. The HTC One 64 GB is only available on AT&T, the GS4 is only widely available in 16 GB. Carriers and manufacturers aren't giving us many options.

But the SD card DOES allow for music to be played on the phone. It just doesn't work with your chosen applications, but it works with all other native apps, doesn't it?

Are you a mobile gamer? If not, then this shouldn't matter to you.

I keep about 10GB of music on my MicroSD and play it with Google Play so not sure why you have issues. Only reason internal storage size should be a problem is for gamers that load up a ton of large games.

Because some of us have kids and can't afford unlimited data. $182/mo. is fucking insane for 2 phones. I have 4 on my contract and pay ~$150/mo, 2 iPhones and SGS3 with a dumb phone for my daughter because she didn't grasp the concept of not blowing through her data cap each month.

Also what if we don't have flawless coverage? I like to have my music locally so that if I hit a dead spot I'm not screwed.

Thanks for the Verizon Commercial.....You can have em...Try Net 10.... I use it for $45 a month(using an ATT sim) I don't get unlimited data and don't need it, nor do I need to pay Verizon Double the $$ or more. The 64gb card I have takes care of my music and data needs on my Unlocked phone...which I can replace at a whim....without signing any contract..... Oh..and I can stream music (wireless connection)at home and work on my phone... Soo...who's crazy??

Agree!! 16 GB is a fail.. I've had my 32GB S3 since it launched on VZW. Without another at least 32GB to replace it upgrading is a no go and somewhat of a downgrade... Don't say you can always use the SD.. As I already use a 64GB card for pictures/video/personal files, BUT prefer to have music/media/apps/ and such on the phone and I'm already at over 20GB on the phone storage... No way I'm going to downgrade.

By that logic, 8GB with only .82GB of usable space left is ok too. after all it has a SD card slot.. right...

There are many applications for which an SD card won't work. Play Music refuses to store anything on an SD card. People use their phones in different ways. 16 GB is fine for most, but the option of more storage should be available. Why won't manufacturers just shut up and take my money?

Then Play Music should update to work with the SD card, in all honesty.

Besides app data that goes with games, this really isn't a problem.

Yeah...most people just bark about storage. but never use it. I have been complaining about having a 16gig photo for 3 years and realized. That in 2013, i stream all my shit. Unless you are keeping tons of movies and apps on your phone. 16 is plenty.

Even for movies and music, you can use a micro sd card.

Digging the look of this, apart from those buttons. But, I get why they may have decided to put them on a roughty toughty phone. 

Other than the reduction in camera, this phone looks great. With all of these announcements before the 20th, I wonder what Samsung has left to announce.

Now this phone is nice. The original s4 was competing pretty well with the htc one and now those that hate the plastic feel of the s4 will be able to get a more rugged s4. This looks like a great phone. Would be awesome at the beach and waterparks. Or the occasional storm chasing.

I'm confused by the choice to include buttons. If it's a sealed chassis, wouldn't having no buttons make more sense?

I second this... seems pretty obvious to me that no buttons would be the better way to go. I have a feeling we're missing something here though.

I think they chose to use hardware buttons because maybe software or capacitive buttons are not that responsive underwater, I had the Motorola Defy and underwater it was almost impossible to use the screen, buttons which where capacitive worked so so underwater.

This is probably it, but i would doubt that they really intend for it to be used under water; instead they intend it to be usable when droplets are falling onto the screen. Figuring out the bounds of those capacitive buttons is tricky when junk is all over the place; anyone who remembers how picky the SGS1 was when a little bit of dirt got into the groove around the screen can attest to that.

It's not that they're "not that responsive underwater" - it's that they are completely *useless* underwater. What would be the point of a water resistant phone that has zero operability when being used underwater?

A capacitive button is no different then the screen. I don't get your point! If you can't control the phone by touching the screen it's also useless...

They have replaced the capacitive buttons with "clicky" buttons. Real buttons. Ones that work underwater because there's a physical mechanism waiting for something other than an electrical conductor to touch it. You're right - the screen doesn't work underwater either - same concept: if you touch all of your screen and all of your capacitive buttons with an electrical conductor, what should the phone understand that you are trying to do?

Even with a waterproof case and CM10.1 on my GS3 so that I could use the power button as the shutter, the phone still took countless photos underwater as the screen contacted the water when I was already recording a video and I put the phone underwater.

I think I understand your point now. Basically, you have to launch the camera software *BEFORE* you put your phone underwater. Then, you can use the power button or some other clicky button to operate the shutter (if you're rooted and your camera app has that ability). Or you can try to remap the Home button to launch the camera, but I failed miserably at that and ended up with CM10.1. Trust me, I tried to figure this out and in the end it was easiest just to launch the camera software above water.

Samsung specifically said in their release notes that the volume rocker and power button will control the camera in some capacity.

The release notes for what? The S4? Really, that's an honest question even though it probably sounds sarcastic.

Because on the S3, the only way these buttons control something in the camera is to zoom. Dislike.

lol You fail to understand the big picture. You think just a little money saved on storage was enough to offset a fully sealed case?

Will the TFT screen provide better brightness than the AMOLED on the regular S4?
Surely it couldn't be worse?!

Make the storage at least 32GB and they've got themselves a deal. 64GB onboard would be much better though (62GB actual space, minus 10GB for Samsung stuff and android, allow for keeping 4-5GB empty so as not to slow the phone down, leaving a nice 47-48 GB to actually use).

Hopefully that's the same camera from the S2 and not the S3... or something better.

After spending $60 on a waterproof case for my S3 for my trip to Hawaii (which was AMAZING to be able to take photos and videos underwater, btw), I would have loved to have this as an option.

But I'm not finding any info on this "underwater" mode for the camera - does that disable the touch screen and turn the power button into a shutter? THAT would be awesome. I had to install CM10.1 on my GS3 to get the power button shutter functionality so that I could take pictures and stuff underwater.

i have the regular GS4 and Samsung has included the option in the camera settings to use volume button as shutter (it's set to zoom by default if i remember correctly). I'm willing to be the same applies to this phone.

If it's sealed will we be able to replace the battery? Love the idea, but right now my GS3 needs an extended battery to make it through the day, even on light email only use.

If you can barely make it a day with only light email usage something is not right. Maybe you have an app running in the backgroud that is killing the battery. Apps that use GPS often do this otherwise maybe you have a bad battery. I'm on an S4 now but never had a problem making it a full day on my S3 with average use. I should not that I don't talk on the phone much though...

Look into that. Brought it to an ATT repair center and the rep was ready to give me a replacement battery but said the galaxy batteries just don't last long enough. It wasn't any background programs. He even had me pull the battery and see what happens overnight when the phone is uncharged. I was at 20% in the morning with nothing running inthe background except weather updates (every 3 hours) and getting my emails. Luckily the extended batteries last much longer without an issues and only make the phone a fraction thicker.

I'm just saying there is something not right about your phone. Losing 80% overnight with the screen off is not right! I'll go to bed with 20%, forget to charge it and still have some left in the morning. Do yourself a favor and do a factory reset on the phone if it's not actual battery. Or you can live with it but it's not normal to drain the battery that fast especially if the screen is off.

try removing your sd card as a test, I know there were some bugs if you just popped in an sd card with stuff from another phone - it would get stuck scanning it. other forums suggest formatting the sd card using the gs4. as far as removable battery, if there is a removable sd card, i imagine the back still can come off, just probably has a better way of sealing.

I know everybody's different but i use a 16GB SD Card for my gs2 and currently have nandroid backups, roms, modems, data for need for Speed most wanted, snes9x emulator with about 6 roms, 2 movies (hot tub time machine and project x) each over 700mb apiece, and about 25 albums on my sd card and still have 6gb left. Oh yeah and about 20 ebooks. If got about 7 albums, 4 ebooks and a few apps and pics and misc crap on my internal memory and still have a little bit over 1gb of internal. Im NOT saying stop complaining, you spend your $ on a device that fits your needs. I'm saying 16gb of internal with a option to expand its very manageable to use.

I'd like to see how the 1080p TFT compares the the AMOLED screen in brightness/outdoor visibility and color accuracy/blacks. At least they made it glove responsive still (pretty important for a rugged/outdoor phone). It's interesting how they obscured the bottom, looks like it bulges out for a plug/flap for the charging port. They also don't show you the top, as I'm sure another plug/flap would be blocking the headphone jack. I can deal with the flaps and reduced camera resolution, but would still like 32GB minimum and wireless charging included.

I'm digging the look of this over the regular S4. I'm curious if the cost will be around the same as the regular version. With the 16gb internal, I'd swap out the TW version and install a custom ROM to take back some of that space. :)

@Alex Dobie

Thanks for the post.

it's really unbelievable that Samsung put 1080p TFT instead of Super AMOLED and also they changed the rear camera from 13MP to 8MP !!!! Every high end smartphone now should have minimum 32 GB of internal storage and it'll bring more advantages if it has also micro sd slot with minimum 64GB capacity.

Thanks in Advance

Minimum of 32GB is stupid! These companies are not going to give this away so guess who pays? I don't want 32GB internal starage as it will most cost and I can add more storage at a mere fraction of the cost via MicroSD at any time. Why would I want to pay ridiculous fees for a 16GB extra space at time of purchase when I may never need it. Sure I can understand having an option for 16GB and 32GB but forcing 32GB to everyone is stupid.

So does the Active only offer waterproofing and dust resistance? What about added durability? This only garnered my attention because I thought it would've been as durable as the Xcover or Rugby series. If the Active will only offer waterproofing and dust resistance then I'll be going with the Xperia Z. I also recommend those looking for a dust and water resistant device to also look at the Z. Absolutely no trade offs.

I really like what I see with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. But I think I am missing something. If the case is completely sealed, how do you install the microSD card?

Samsung Galaxy Note II

I actually like this version better than the standard version. I think the physical buttons bring me back to the days of owning phones like the Palm Treo, HTC Mogul, and HTC Hero. Maybe the buttons aren't as reliable as capacitive, but I guess I'm nostalgic like that...if 4-6 years could be considered nostalgic.

I'm thinking the SD card will be housed next to the SIM card under the back door, which will seal in some capacity.

Who knows maybe the screws on the back come off and those two pieces on each end are what provide the pressure to lock down the battery cover.

and Samsung refuses to replace the leaking phone

Well, it could be a dream-come-true, as my husband was counting down days before the Galaxy S4 Active was released in stores. And it looked and felt just right and great, until we gave it a "dip test": in our community pool at depth ~10 inches we took two 1-min videos about 3 minutes apart.

The camera lenses got fogged, hardware buttons got disabled and the charger port stopped working. (yes, we did ensure the USB charger port was properly covered at the time of submerging). The phone's camera was switched to "Aqua mode". Despite all the advised precautions, the phone had leaked water in.

The AT&T refused to exchange it claiming it was damaged by water (how unexpected for a phone advertised to take underwater pictures!).

Samsung customer and tech support first reaction was "WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD PUT IT IN WATER?

The two reps we spoke to so far made it sound as it was our fault the phone got water in.

After a number of times "checking with managers" they requested us to bring the damaged phone for evaluation to repair services (who were notified that "we dropped it in water")

What is most striking is that Samsung is refusing to admit the phone had a factory-originated problem and their customer service is pushing us around, making us to accept the fact we have to stick with a seven-hundred dollar "waterproof" phone that leaked the day we bought it..

Is this supposed to be fare? what a dream was ruined...