Throughout the history of the modern smartphone, those who wanted something that could take a beating but keep going were left with one option: buy a device with at least year-old specs. For some reason, manufacturers just couldn't get behind the idea of releasing an ultra-ruggedized device with cutting-edge specs. That has slowly started to change as of late with devices like the Sony Xperia  Z, and now Samsung is looking to join the party and with a rough-and-rugged device featuring top-tier specs.

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This is, of course, the rumored Galaxy S4 Active. Bearing more than just Samsung's flagship namesake, the Active appears to also share the powerhouse device's spec list point-for-point, which includes a 5-inch 1080p display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600.

Where it clearly differs, however, is in appearance: this thing looks nothing like the original Galaxy S4. It's said to be both water- and dust-resistant, which explains the drastic change in aesthetics and likely has something to do with the decision to switch to physical navigation keys as well.

Unfortunately, there's no word as to when you may be able to make the Active yours, but we expect an announcement to come soon.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • mattj78

    That looks much nicer than the regular S4

    • troph

      This is the first Samsung device in a WHILE that looked appealing to me (purely aesthetics).

    • Freak4Dell

      Seriously. This is what they should have released as the regular S4.

  • jevan

    this actually looks pretty good, might pick it up if it turns out to be the real deal

  • MrHaroHaro

    Whoa, looks pretty cool.

  • Mikael Lee

    sexy~~~!!! want!!!

  • Alex Flynn

    Gah why use physical buttons at all? Changing them was an excuse to be rid of them

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      That was my thought. If the capacitive buttons were a problem (why?), then why not be rid of them entirely? I suppose the argument is that gloved hands would have trouble with the capacitive buttons, but as none of them is useful when not used in conjunction with the screen anyway, what's the point of singling them out?

      • drvadlamudi

        I'm guessing that when the phone falls on its screen, the raised keys may help absorb some of the shock.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.lavanne Kevin Lavanne

      You can use these physical buttons under water ! :)

  • Bakaouji

    THREE physical buttons in 2013 >.>

    • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

      On screen button sucks ... I want my screen back

      • Bloodflame87

        What are you talking about? On screen buttons are great. You can customize their appearance by style, size, how many buttons, button order, theme, transparency, colour, and if you want your full screen back, just one word: PIE! Of course, you'd have to be rooted with a ROM that supports these features, but it's definitely worth it for the added flexibility. I don't understand why more phones haven't gone this route yet.

        • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

          I don't need that gimmicks (color, style, transparency, etc).

          And using PIE just add unnecessary efforts and complicating things, 1 press to back / home become 2 step action ...

          counter-productive. well maybe hipsters like you find it cool to have customizable button like that.

  • Shaggyskunk

    It does look pretty good! But I would have thought that the physical keys would be more prone to problems from dust & liquids? What it would need is a kick a$$ case that provides much better protection from shock etc, and I don't mean a separate case, I mean from Samsung in the build quality.

  • KrisztiĆ”n Kelemen

    that back is just the most awesome back i've ever seen on a samsung phone

  • WillCald93

    Seeing as it's a ruggedized phone, the three physical buttons make sense. Say you're wearing gloves, it'd be easier to use physical than capacitive buttons. This looks much never than the regular S4. Why do people always have to complain about something?

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Tell me one useful thing you can do with JUST the buttons that doesn't require use of the screen, which would have all the same problems and worse as the capacitive buttons. I'm not seeing how this resolves that.

      And people complain about things they don't like. That's part of human nature.

      • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

        Double tap home, voice search.

        • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

          From lock? Because otherwise you still have to interact with the screen.

          But if so, I guess I can halfway give you that. But I imagine there are still very few things you could carry on PAST that action that wouldn't require you to start interacting with it.

          • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

            Galaxy phones can be unlocked if you say "wake up" when you disable the lock screen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

      Having physical buttons make it a DISADVANTAGE especially for a "ruggedized" phone. Do you know how many times those stupid buttons break? And it's not even an easy fix, you need to open the entire phone and for some phones you need to remove the screen.

  • tuxnet

    Physical buttons. Obviusly. For rough phones.

  • Matthew Fry

    Now give it a better battery and I'm sold.

  • Sim Floyd, Jr.

    Nice design. All but the hardware buttons. Not a deal breaker.

  • Neil Ross Goco

    It looks like a sports car. O.O

  • http://twitter.com/SeanMRowe Sean Rowe

    I thought the rumor was the Active would have the Snapdragon S4 plus like the SGS3 and not the 600 like the SGS4. Is there new info to suggest something different?

    • RoboBonobo

      If you look at the info on the middle picture, with the screencapture of the device info, you can see Adreno 320 GPU, and Quad Core CPU.
      This info suggests Snapdragon 600, same as SGS4.
      SGS3 has MSM8960, dualcore cpu with Adreno 225 gpu.

    • Patrick Hermey

      that rumor probably came from the same guy that said the xphone would be hardware customizable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

    Wow I can finally SEE the bottom buttons now!

  • Daniel Wiggins

    Now give THIS the "Nexus" experience.

    • eSche

      I think a slimmed down version of touchwiz with its features could come in really handy with this device. The air swipe gesture and the high sensitive display match well with the designated destination of this device in the wild... Ok, it would be even better with stock android and some of the touchwiz features included.

  • Craig Simpson

    Rugged Glass front phone? Sounds kind of odd. Should wait for the sapphires crystals to come out first before really saying that. That screen is the main weakness I find in most phones sadly

  • jonathan3579

    I'd consider the S4 if this came with T-Mobile compatible bands. (Flash this to pure-AOSP goodness and I've got my perfect phone!)

  • Jerald Lee

    Sleek and Tough could go hand in hand. :)

  • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

    Why the fuck would they not just opt for on screen buttons? Physical buttons only introduce another point of failure. Software buttons would really have made more sense... Unless they are assuming the touchscreen is going to stop working when it gets wet or dusty.

    • J

      You ever try and use wet capacitive buttons?

      • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

        I am not talking about capacitive buttons. I am talking about on screen software buttons... Kind of like Google has been trying to get people to use for two years now. If you are saying the whole touch screen is going to be screwed the second it is wet, then what is the point of having the hardware buttons at all? You can't really do anything with them. When on your phone are you able to complete a task from start to finish only using the navigation buttons?

        Never, that's when.

        Any activity you are trying to complete with the navigation buttons requires you to use the touchscreen at some point. These aren't Blackberries... There isn't a dedicated "call" button anymore.

    • Patrick Hermey

      i gotta down rate that one. ten minutes with ten bucks, a fingernail, and a #1 phillips will replace that which will probably never break in the first place.

      • BetterWithRoot

        I think he's talking about the dust/water proofing. Having on screen buttons is one less spot where you have to make sure everything is sealed up tight.

        Maybe that's not right, but that's just my interpretation.

        • Patrick Hermey

          id put my money on you being right.

  • Brian P.

    Looks awesome...this should have been the Samsung Galaxy S4. Only a company with Samsung's stature can pull off so many variants of basically the same phone

  • Justin Quang

    Isn't this just the same shape and form as the regular S4 regarding design?
    People were complaining how the regular S4 looks fugly, same and boring. And now suddenly they like the S4 design because it's made of metal.

    • GraveUypo

      i don't think this is made of metal :O that would be stupid on a ruggedized phone.
      and the reason people like it more is probably because it's not a uniform design anymore with the black-on-red thing and the screws showing. it's less bland.

  • TechGuy22

    Why does this look better then S4 ? wow smh

  • Patrick Hermey

    holy shit thats a bad looking phone. i want i want i want.

  • GraveUypo

    i like it and would take it over the regular one easily. not only the looks but the "rugged" part also appeals a bit to me :P

  • Zaatour36

    Now, this is something to reconsider for upgrading :D

    if they did this on the Note III, it would be epic!!

    • primalxconvoy

      If you're just interested in the aesthetics, search for "tridea red flip case galaxy note 2". It looks really similar to the pc in this article, IMO.

      • Zaatour36

        I have something similar to the black version of it. However, my point being is water proof and dust proof

  • http://twitter.com/ShonenStyle Tayllor Masi

    Fells soooo japanese o/

  • JG

    They need to use this for the upcoming Google Edition.... Damn sexy... Wouldn't mind having that in my pocket all day....

    Would love to have a water proofed phone - then I wouldn't feel so bad playing Ingress in the rain.... And I really like the bright red back... Though personally would prefer if it were green, but hey...