Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Announced earlier this month, the ruggedized version of the flagship Galaxy S4, which we now know as the Galaxy S4 Active, will be making its debut sometime in the third quarter of this year. With dust and water resistance as its main feature, just how much different would the smartphone look?

Although specifications of the S4 Active showed that it's larger in dimension as compared with the S4, it doesn't seem like there's much difference if you compare both phones side by side.

First off, both phones do look similar in size although specifications showed that the S4 Active is slightly larger. The S4 Active is about 3mm longer, close to 2mm wider, more than 1mm thicker and weighs 21g heavier. It is almost identical to its immediate rival, the Sony Xperia Z.

The extra bulk is attributed to the water/dust-proofing and the use of a different plastic for the chassis of the S4 Active. On a more positive note, the extra bulk adds a more solid feel to the device.

The screen quality is also less vivid since it's based on a TFT LCD screen unlike the Super AMOLED screen found on the S4. The pros of using LCD include a brighter display and more accurate color representation. However, color saturation isn't as deep as AMOLED displays.

Of notable difference are the physical buttons present on the S4 Active. It's been a while since we last saw hardware navigation buttons since most phones today come with capacitive ones.

The back of the S4 Active is not a full piece plastic cover like the S4.

In this angle, you can tell that the S4 Active is slightly longer than the S4. The volume button for both devices remain in the same location although the buttons on the S4 Active are slightly thicker.

It's quite obvious that the S4 Active is thicker than the S4.

Headphone jack on the S4 Active is located on top of the device, similar to the S4. Although the jack is an open port, it is still able to provide resistance to water and dust.

 The S4 Active comes with a new Aqua shooting mode which enables you to take pictures underwater. Since the water resistance of the device is up to a depth of only 1 meter, you cannot scuba dive with the S4 Active although it should be usable while snorkelling.

Overall, the S4 Active seems like a very capable smartphone. There is without a doubt that Samsung is targeting the same market segment as Sony does with its Xperia Z. If Samsung prices the S4 Active competitively, there is a chance that Samsung will give Sony a run for its money. Nonetheless, we can't wait to lay our hands on a review unit and put it through its paces to see which rugged phone is better.  

Comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active against the Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z
Device Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Sony Xperia Z
OS Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core 1.5GHz
RAM 2GB 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB
(microSD support up to 64GB)
16GB
(microSD support up to 64GB)
16GB
(microSD support up to 32GB)
Display 5-inch Super AMOLED 5-inch TFT LCD 5-inch TFT Reality Display
Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 pixels 1,920 x 1,080 pixels 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Cameras Rear: 13MP
Front: 2MP
Rear: 8MP
Front : 2-megapixel
Rear: 13-megapixel 
Front: 2-megapixel
Battery Capacity 2600mAh 2600mAh 2330mAh

Dimensions
Weight

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm / 130g 139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1mm / 151g 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm / 146g