Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on review

As you may have noticed, Samsung has introduced various new versions of the Galaxy S4 smartphone. One apparently isn't enough so on top of the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy S4 Zoom is the Galaxy S4 Active. Read our hands-on review to find out what it's all about.

There's a lot about the Galaxy S4 Active which is identical to the flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone. It's got the same 5in Full HD screen but with a less impressive TFT panel rather than SuperAMOLED, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Software is also the same with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with features like Air View and Smart Pause.

Specially designed ports and flaps keep the dust and water out, and although we haven't dunked the Active in water ourselves we can confirm via a demonstration on stage at Samsung's launch event that the phone didn't break. There are less fiddly flaps than the Xperia which is nice, only one for the microUSB port.

To gain the IP67 rating, the GS4 Active is a little bit bulkier than the original. It is 9.1mm and 153g which isn't bad though.

We like the rugged look of the Galaxy S4 Active and despite the large stylish visible screws on the back, the rear cover can still be removed to access the SIM card, microSD card and battery.

As you can see, there are three physical buttons below the screen instead of the usual one. We're all for it and found it easier to use than the regular Galaxy S4 in this sense.

The screen can't be used underwater but can be used with gloves much like some of Nokia's Lumia smartphones. When submerged in the wet stuff, the Galaxy S4 Active's screen can't be used. However, an Aqua Mode means you can use the volume buttons to take snaps and photos are optimised for underwater conditions. We'd rather have a dedicated camera button, but it's not the end of the world.

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