Samsung GALAXY S4 Active – 10 things you need to know
30th Sep 2013 | 13:30
All the top features of the phone that's ready for anything
It might sound like something vaguely connected to networking, but actually the IP67 certification is what makes Samsung's GALAXY S4 Active truly 'Active'. IP stands for Ingress Protection, and the numbers that follow describe the degree to which a device is protected against a particular element.
The first number – in this case, 6 – refers to dust-proofing. 6 is the highest score a phone can get for dust protection, so the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active is completely sealed from dust, that might otherwise wreak havoc on your handset.
The second number refers to waterproofing. In this case 7 is the second highest score possible, meaning the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active is water resistant. You can submerge the handset under water, up to a depth of one metre, for a full thirty minutes, safe in the knowledge that your GALAXY S4 Active will be just fine.
2. Active doesn't mean inferior
Despite being an all-action variant of the Samsung GALAXY S4, Samsung's flagship phone, the GALAXY S4 Active doesn't scrimp in terms of performance.
Loaded on board is a super speedy 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor, coupled with 2GB RAM. That's the same amount of power you'll find in the original GALAXY S4. Most importantly, these specs mean that the GALAXY S4, as well as the S4 Active, can make easy work of 3D games, chew through HD video and multi-task all your active apps without batting an eyelid.
3. It shoots, it scores
If you're thinking about getting the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active but aren't yet sold on the camera, you might want to take another look.
For starters, the camera is 8 megapixels. That's enough resolution to comfortably print out a picture at A4 size, let alone upload it to Instagram or Facebook.
Secondly, it's got an incredibly wide-open, f/2.2 aperture. This means it can perform amazingly in low light, and deliver stunning macro shots, complete with an artistic, blurry background.
And when the light gets too low, just activate the S4 Active's LED flash. It will comfortably illuminate everything from fun-filled party shots to holiday highlights, all to perfection.
The GALAXY S4 Active is also loaded with all the smart camera modes found on the GALAXY S4, as well as an exclusive Aqua Mode for underwater shooting, so both hardware and software help you record the action in ways other phones simply can't.
4. Did we mention it's a camcorder too?
It's not just photos that flourish on the GALAXY S4 Active. As with the Samsung GALAXY S4, the S4 Active records Full HD video at a silky smooth 30 frames per second.
Some of the camera's smart photo features are available when shooting video too, such as Dual Shot. This technology means the camera can record with both the front and rear facing cameras simultaneously, so everyone can be in the film.
The GALAXY S4 Active also records in slow motion – perfect for fast-paced activities – and allows you to take 6-megapixel snapshots mid-recording.
With the microUSB port at the bottom of the phone supporting MHL output, as well as AllShare Cast support on board, Full HD video shot on the Active can be played back on an HDTV with ease.
5. Sharp as a knife
Full HD is also the name of the game when it comes to the GALAXY S4 Active's screen. Sporting a 5-inch, 1,080 x 1,920 resolution LCD display, the phone packs a pixel density of 443 pixels per inch. That means 443 tiny dots of colour per inch of screen, which is more than the human eye can see.
This means that images taken on its camera look pin-sharp, Full HD video shot on it is perfectly formatted for the screen and downloaded movies look exactly as they were intended to.
With the generous display size, not only are pictures and videos incredibly immersive, but the entire user interface is a comfortable size to thumb through, web pages are a pleasure to browse through and games are a joy to play.
6. Headphones rejoice
Unlike most weatherproof phones, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active's audio jack is exposed, hardened to the elements and free from those fiddly rubber flaps that are always a pain to open and close in a hurry.
Of course, in active moments you don't always want to be tethered to your phone, so it's great that the GALAXY S4 Active is also loaded up with Bluetooth, complete with support for stereo audio.
This means that you and your music can go wireless in moments, keeping you tangle free. All you need to do is get your hands on a Bluetooth headset like the Samsung HF HS6000 (£124 on Amazon.co.uk) for some serious over-ear sound, or the Samsung HS3000 (£27.46 on Amazon.co.uk) for in-ear action.
7. Dirty hands? Just wave.
Trying to control your phone with muddy or wet hands isn't our idea of a good time. Sure, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active won't get damaged, but it will get dirty.
Fortunately, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active features Air Gesture. Originally seen on the Samsung GALAXY S4, Air Gesture transforms a simple glide above the phone's screen into a command.
So whether it's flicking through browser tabs, or wafting through your gallery images, Air Gesture saves having to touch your phone until you've had a chance to wash up.
8. Finger, pen, glove – it all works
If that's how you deal with dirty hands, how do you deal with gloves? After all, the GALAXY S4 Active is the perfect phone for rough and ready, glove heavy sports.
The long and short of it is that there isn't anything to deal with – in fact, the phone doesn't even bat an eyelid. Both the Samsung GALAXY S4 and GALAXY S4 Active feature Samsung Glove Touch – supersensitive touch screens that allow you to use gloved hands to interact with them just as you would if you were using your bare finger. Additionally, the S4 Active features physical control keys instead of the capacitive touch-sensitive ones on the GALAXY S4, which means it's notably easier to control with freezing cold fingers, gloved or ungloved!
9. More memory, less problems
If the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active is made to keep up with your hectic schedule, the last thing you need is a lack of storage slowing you down.
Fortunately, on top of coming with 16GB of internal storage, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active, like the entire GALAXY S4 range, is easily expandable with a microSD card.
This means you can easily add up to an additional 64GB of space, which gives plenty of room for anything you might wish to store on your phone.
In fact, the grand total of 80GB you could potentially have at your fingertips is enough for you to carry around 57,142 8-megapixel photos, 20,480 songs, 115 standard definition movies or 57 720p movies.
That's more than enough to keep you entertained, whether you're training for a marathon and powering through a library of audiobooks, or relaxing in the bath while watching the latest blockbuster.
10. Accessories ahoy
One of the downsides of getting a specialised phone can be that accessories are often relatively limited.
Fortunately, anyone investing in the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active needn't worry, as for the most part the hardy handset uses the same accessories as the Samsung GALAXY S4.
While form-fitting accessories like cases won't work across the two models, due to the S4 Active's more rugged exterior, when it comes to spare batteries, AllShare Cast Wireless Hubs and MHL adapters, you're in luck.