Samsung announces Galaxy S4 Active – the rugged alternative to its flagship smartphone

5 Jun 2013

Samsung has introduced yet another variant of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone, this time a rugged handset that can withstand dust and water thanks to a slightly chunkier package.

The Galaxy S4 Active has been designed to reach IP67-level dust and water protection (just shy of the highest level, IP68). This means the fully sealed device can survive a dusty trail and watery depths of up to 1m for up to 30 minutes. It also features a water-resistant headpone jack, which  means users can continue to tune in to music even when in saturated conditions.

To create a more rugged device, the S4 Active weighs in about 21g more than the flagship Galaxy S4 and is packed into slightly bigger dimensions, losing the slimline appeal of the original.

Inside, the specifications are similar to the original S4, with a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 2,600mAh battery and operating on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

The S4 Active features a 5-inch full-HD TFT LCD, which is a step down from the original S4’s Super AMOLED display but features about the same pixel density at 443ppi. The S4 Active also comes with Glove Touch touchscreen technology, which allows users to manipulate the screen even when wearing gloves.

While the front-facing camera offers the same 2MP as the S4, the rear camera takes a drop to 8MP, but it does come with a unique Aqua mode to increase visual quality of underwater images and video.

With the S4 Active, the volume key can also be used as a quick launch camera button, and an LED flash light can be activated with a long press.

Covering all bases

Borrowing innovations that Nokia (super-sensitive touchscreens) and Sony (dust and water-proofing) have previously introduced to their handsets will only help to assert Samsung’s dominance in the smartphone market. Also, by adapting its flagship handset as a more compact S4 Mini and a tougher S4 Active, Samsung ensures that it can reach a broader base of consumers.

The S4 Active also comes with the new technologies introduced with the S4, such as Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, Group Play, Smart Pause, Air View and Air Gesture.

The Galaxy S4 Active will be available in the US And Sweden this summer in grey, blue and orange colour options. There’s no word yet on whether it will arrive in Ireland, but it will be available for the press to get their hands on at Samsung’s London event on 20 June.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.