The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is no stranger, we saw leaks and rumors and now this waterproof Android smartphone is finally available on ATT. At $199 with contract and $600 off contract, it's the same price as the standard Galaxy S4 and looks nearly identical: it's just a hair thicker, has the shape and the controls are in the same places. It gets a faux metallic back that's available in zingy blue or staid gray and it has rubber end caps to keep moisture out. The Android 4.2 smartphone is water and dust resistant. It can withstand immersion in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes (watch our video review to see it underwater).
Inside we're looking at the same class-leading 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU with Adreno 320 graphics, 2 gigs of RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage. As you'd thus expect, the Active benchmarks the same as the regular Galaxy S4. Samsung managed to make the phone water and dust resistant while keeping the removable back cover. Remove the back and you'll find the same 2600 mAh removable battery, micro SIM card slot and microSDXC card slot. The door has a rubber seal, and you should make sure you've got it completely snapped in place before taking it and your rubber ducky into the bath. Likewise, the micro USB port on the bottom has a rubber cover that must be closed before you play in water. The headphone jack is open as are the mic holes, so Samsung has done some interior sealing for those.
What's different from the Samsung Galaxy S4? The Galaxy S4 Active maintains the 5" full HD display, but it's a TFT LCD rather than Super AMOLED panel. That means more natural colors but blacks aren't as amazingly inky as with Super AMOLED and some Samsung smartphone fans might miss those better than life Super AMOLED hues. The rear camera is 8MP rather than 13MP, but you get all the same camera software and creative shooting modes. In fact, there's a new one called "aqua" for underwater shooting. Image and video quality is more like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note II, which is to say good but not as stunning as the S4. Lastly, the phone has physical front buttons rather than capacitive.
Keep in mind that this isn't a rugged phone. It's not designed to withstand physical punishment any better than the GS4 or other smartphones. You'll still want to use a case to protect it from drops and bangs. But when it comes to water? You're safe!