Feeds
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: The mobe for CHUCK NORRIS TYPES

Padded up for prang protection and dips in the drink

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Review The key advantage Sony’s Xperia Z has over the Samsung Galaxy S4 is its IP57-rated waterproofing.

However, Samsung hasn’t got where it is today by sitting still and letting a rival get away with any sort of competitive upper hand, so now we have an S4 that carries an IP67 rating. Enter the S4 Active.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Dunked: Samsung’s water - and ale - resistant Galaxy S4 Active

If you’re wondering what the difference between IP57 and IP67 is, the latter number means that it’s completely rather than mostly immune to dust ingress. Water resistance remains the same, namely good down to a depth of one metre for about 30 minutes.

In designing a battened-down and sealed-up version of the S4, Samsung has perhaps inadvertently addressed one of the major criticisms levelled at its flagship: that it looks and feels a bit cheap. The Active, by comparison, feels like a quality bit of kit. Yes it’s a little heavier than the S4 - 153g to 130g - and thicker to the tune of a mere one-and-a-bit millimetres, but it feels much more solid and altogether less plastic-y. The last improvement is partly due a different finish than the typical Samsung hyperglaze.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Bumpers lend some machismo, and the USB port has a bung

One rather funky design touch is the carbon fibre effect finish that’s used on the fascia buttons, the volume and power keys, and the bumpers that sit above and below the back panel. The bumpers also each feature a brace of chrome locating pins. It’s probably all for show as the S4 is not a tough phone by any stretch of the imagination - so I won’t be driving over it in a 4 x 4 or tossing it out of any third-floor windows - but there’s nothing inherently wrong with a bit of Chuck Norris styling.

Beneath the 5-inch, 1080 x 1920 screen you will still find the traditional Samsung trilogy of menu, home and back buttons. But the better to work in the drink, all three are now physical keys. I actually prefer this to the usual mix of capacitive and mechanical controls used on the S4, Mega 6.3, Note 2 and every other Galaxy device ever spawned, even if the Active’s buttons aren’t backlit.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

Note the trio of physical buttons

The screens of the S4 Active and S4 proper may share the same size and pixel density of 441dpi but the Active’s panel is an LCD rather than OLED affair. That means the contrast isn’t so good and it’s less easy to read in bright sunlight, but colours are more natural and it’s brighter. In fact, the Active’s screen is the best TFT LCD panel I’ve ever seen on a mobile device with very little visible chromatic shift even at extreme viewing angles.

Where the TFT panel does lose out is when it comes to efficiency. It clearly sucks on the battery teat more aggressively than the S4’s S-AMOLED branded screen. The two handsets use the same 2600mAh battery but in my usual 720p video-loop test the battery in the Active coughed and died at the five hour 20 minutes mark compared to seven hours 30 for the S4. In everyday use you won’t get much more than a day from a full charge.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

The back unclips - note the seal - and the battery is removable

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Next page: Doing the pools

More from The Register

next story
Will.i.am gets CUFFED as he announces his new wristjob, the PULS
It's got four KILOWATTS of something, apparently
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?
Subtle, naturalistic ambiance – perfect for Transformers 4
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.