• Operating System: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Processor: 1.9GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
  • Frequency: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800MHz, WCDMA 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100MHz, 4G LTE
  • Screen: 5-inch Full HD (1920x1080) TFT LCD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio, NFC, DLNA
  • Others: 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera
  • Dimensions: 139.7 x 71.3 x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 153g
  • Pros:
  • IP67 Certified
  • Good overall performance
  • Beautiful display
  • Removable battery
  • Cons:
  • Lower-res camera
  • LCD display drains more battery
  • Plasticky build
  • No shockproofing

Reactivating Your Life

In its vanilla offering, Samsung’s GALAXY S4 was already one of the best smartphones in the market. However, being the innovators that they are, the Korean powerhouse decided to use the GALAXY S4 as a base and come up with spin-offs that would cater to different users. Last month, we saw the variant that was designed for shutterbugs, this month; we got to play around with the one that was designed for those who live active lifestyles. Here’s our review of the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active.

On the design front, the S4 Active still retains what makes the GALAXY devices easily identifiable. Some of the difference which makes quite a difference is the rubberised and textured buttons which are much easier to local and give excellent tactile feedback. While it is still quite plasticky, it definitely feels more solid compared to the S4 and we actually found it much easier to handle.

Other than the design changes, Samsung swapped the display for a TFT LCD panel instead of the Super AMOLED panel. The good thing about this change is that colours are more accurate and it is brighter, which makes it easier to see if under direct sunlight. A must-have when you’re in the great outdoors.

Another change Samsung had to make to the S4 Active is the rear camera and it now sports an 8-megapixel camera instead of 13-megapixel. Fear not though as you will still get many of the features found in the S4 and there’s even an Aqua mode. In this mode, the touchscreen is disabled but you can use the volume rocker as a shutter button.

On the performance side of things, the S4 Active still uses the same hardware as the LTE variant of the S4. What this means is that it is no slouch in the performance department and it was snappy and responsive throughout our time with it. It was even able to handle some of the more demanding games. Unfortunately, the S4 Active didn’t quite give us the same battery performance as the standard S4 but that doesn’t mean it is bad as it managed to last us a full day on moderate usage.

CHIP CONCLUDE: All in all, we have to say that out of the all the variants that the S4 has, this is easily the best one. While Samsung did have to make some sacrifices to its features, we still feel that it is a great smartphone.

(previously published in issue October 2013)

Samsung GALAXY S4 Active