I wrote a review for the Galaxy S4 Active recently, and had a lot of mixed feelings on the phone. It has a similar build to the Galaxy S4 that everyone has come to known, but Samsung has recently done a huge thing with their line of Galaxy phones and devices. The phones that carry the Galaxy S4 name are The Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Active, and the Galaxy S4 Zoom. All of which have different things to them that appeal to different people. The Active appeals to the person that is outdoors and enjoys staying next to the pool but worries about their phone. The zoom appeals to a user that wants to have a camera that can zoom and take high quality photos. The Galaxy S4 is the device that is more performance and designed based. This phone would appeal to the hardcore user that looks at a phone for specs and design.
The Active, at first glance, does not even seem to look like a rugged waterproof and dustproof phone. I took the phone to a community pool where I took the phone for a dip. I got a lot of people looking, and asking if that phone was waterproof or what case I had on it. I explained it was a Galaxy S4 Active, which is exclusive to AT&T at the moment, and many of them asked how it was waterproof. At that question it left me thinking how the device was waterproof. The speakers and headphone jack appears to be like any other phone out there. The headphone jack looks like its sealed and nothing leads to the phone, and the jack just has a fee copper heads to connect to headphones. The speakers however are not special and they look like they could just be waterproof speakers and nothing else special. The sound that the speakers produce is not very loud nor does it sound that great. The headphone jack has given me a lot of issues since I have taken the phone for a swim a few times. The phones software is aware to you plugging in headphones, however while in the water the phone kept thinking someone was plugging headphones in when they were not. It was annoying and kept happening two hours after the phone had been out of the water. The phone had been in water for 15-20 minutes, and no deeper than a foot under. The device is rated at 1 meter and 30 minutes of waterproof. After that, well either the phone just floods or it blows up not sure yet and I don’t want to find out.
The 8 MP camera gets the job done in a range of venues, from underwater to snapping a shot of a kitty. There’s a picture below, a GIF to be exact, of some underwater selfies. The pictures are clear, besides the bubbles that got in the way. The pictures that I took, which can be found on Instagram, came out clear and look like high quality pictures. The flash on the phone can also easily double as flashlight, just by pushing the volume up key while the screen is off the flash will turn on. Samsung calls this their ‘torch’ feature and has come in very handy a few times when I need a flashlight but didn’t have time to navigate to an app to turn the light on.
The phone feels like a cheap phone that should not be “everything proof,” but that’s what Samsung claims. I know it has taken a swim more than once and has survived so far. I have yet to drop it, nor am I planning to. However the phone’s big screen looks like it would break if it hit the ground. The back face plate has rubber to seal the battery, core components, and other important things to the phone. The USB charger on the bottom has a flap to seal that from any water entering, but I wish Samsung would have gotten rid of that and went to wireless charging. Not only would you not have to mess with that flap you would not have to worry about it not being secure and leaking. It would allow the phone to be more water, dust, and everything proof.
All in all the phones great, has its pro’s and cons. If it is this easy for Samsung to make phone water proof then why don’t we see more companies than just Sony and Samsung making waterproof phones? Maybe more companies don’t make these everything phones, because consumers would risk their phone more and would cause more complaints and calls to companies about broken phones? Because we all know that little kids get a hold of phones they just do and don’t think twice about the phone. It says waterproof, they don’t check if the back is on right or if the flap is closed to seal the phone. Did I mean kids? I think i meant a normal consumer probably would forget to check and blame it on their kids.
Now I’ve been asked already if I would recommend this phone to anyone, and the short answer is no. This phone is cool and a great conversation started, however it struggles in some odd areas that may annoy the normal consumer. Now if you hike, near a pool a lot, or you’re just spilling liquids on your phone a lot then go for this phone. I am having a lovely using the phone in and around water, and it gives me the good feeling that if the phone goes in the water with me while lifeguarding, I won’t have a heart attack. Now if you had this phone would you have the courage to take in the water with you? A few people that i talked to said even if they had the waterproof phone they would not willingly take the phone for a swim. They would rather have it as a safety thing, and not actively test it like I was.