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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active review

The Iron Man of Samsung smartphones gives the Sony Xperia Z a run for its money
Mon Aug 26 2013, 10:30
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active three-quarter

Product Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Website Samsung
Specifications 5in full HD TFT 1920x1080 resolution 441ppi display, quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with microSD card expansion up to 64GB, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, 140x71x9.1mm, 153g
Price £500 SIM-free

LIFEPROOF SMARTPHONES are fast becoming 2013's "it" technology items, with the launch of Sony's Xperia Z prompting many phone makers to follow suit by releasing their own IP67 certified handsets.

The latest of these is Korean technology juggernaut Samsung with its Galaxy S4 Active. The Active is designed to offer high-end performance similar to that of the original Samsung Galaxy S4 with the added perk of being dust, scratch and even water resistant. This means that on paper it looks like the best Samsung smartphone available, solving the build quality issues that have plagued previous Galaxy handsets.

Design and build
Visually, while having the same pebble-like shape as the original Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Active has a significantly more industrial looking design, featuring bulky metallic screws across its back and a Kevlar-like finish on its chassis. The phone is also slightly bigger and heavier than the original 137x70x7.9mm, 130g Galaxy S4, measuring 140x71x9.1mm and weighing 153g. While we're sure that the more bulky design might put off fans of Samsung's traditional lighter handsets, we like it.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active back

In the past the build quality of Samsung smartphones has been a constant concern, with their polycarbonate detachable backs being prone to picking up marks and blemishes and making the phone feel significantly cheaper than other similarly priced smartphones. The Galaxy S4 Active's more bulky design by comparison feels nearly indestructible, with its removable backplate having almost no give when attached and its dark metallic sides leaving us suitably reassured that the phone earned its IP67 certification.

IP67 certification means that the Galaxy S4 Active should be very tough compared to other smartphones, able to shrug off accidental drops and spillages that would destroy most normal handsets. We found that the handset lived up to its certification, coming out of a half hour attempt to drown it in the kitchen sink totally unscathed.

Next: Display, operating system


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