Samsung's tougher brother to the flagship Galaxy S4 is a pretty poorly-kept secret, with multiple leaked photos, videos, and different sets of specifications coming out weeks before its announcement. Samsung confirmed the device today in a press release coinciding with Computex, painting a picture of the S4 Active as a device that mostly matches the Galaxy S4 for power and capability, with the ruggedized design seen on some of Samsung's Rugby smartphones. The Galaxy S4 Active will be available for purchase this summer starting in the United States and Sweden, for an undisclosed price.

GS4 Active_001 GS4 Active_004

Specifications remain quite similar to the original S4: same 5" 1080p screen (though this one is an LCD TFT), the same 1.9Ghz quad-core processor seen in the LTE versions (almost certainly a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, though this isn't confirmed in Samsung's press release), same TouchWiz version of Android 4.2. The only significant change to the internal hardware appears to be a downgraded 8 megapixel rear camera - even the IR port has made the transition to the more rugged model.

GS4-Active_010_orange GS4-Active_011_blue

The S4 Active is rated with an Ingress Protection factor of 67, meaning that it can handle complete submersion in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one meter and resists solid particle (sand, dust) ingress as well. To achieve this, Samsung has ditched the capacitive control buttons for three separate physical buttons. Even with all the extra protection, the phone remains relatively svelte at 9.1mm thin. The battery is a generous 2600mAh, though we're not sure if it's removable or not. Initially the S4 Active will be available in a 16GB configuration, with a user-accessible MicroSD card slot. One last hardware change: a physical camera shutter button, so users can take shots underwater without having to touch the screen.

GS4 Active_007 GS4-Active_008

The Galaxy S4 Active will be coming to the US and Sweden first, followed by a wider rollout. Naturally it will be getting both LTE and 3G HSPA+ versions. The S4 Active is coming in some surprisingly colorful variants, with grey, blue (which seems sort of teal/aquamarine to me), and orange. Samsung isn't talking price or carriers yet, though we've seen pretty compelling evidence that it'll be headed to AT&T sooner rather than later.

Update: GSM Arena got to play with an S4 Active in the flesh, and it looks like the battery is indeed removable. Hat tip to commenter Mikey.

SEOUL, Korea 17:00 KST - June 5, 2013 - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in mobile technology and digital solutions, today announced the GALAXY S4 Active, designed to enhance life experiences of the active user who wants to stay connected while exploring environments from the most rugged mountain trails to the roughest rivers.

“The GALAXY S4 Active is the newest addition to the GALAXY series and is purposefully designed for active users who love the outdoors,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung has taken the innovative features of the GALAXY S4 and added breakthrough protective design elements to create a device that thrives in an active environment and is built for a lifestyle of travel and exploration.”

Maximizing Durability

Recognizing the demands of a dynamic lifestyle, the GALAXY S4 Active was engineered to keep active users connected as they explore and experience the world around them. 

The GALAXY S4 Active has qualified protection from dust and water (IP67), so you never have to leave the device at home during a long day at the beach or dusty hike. The fully sealed design keeps dust particles out and protects against water damage for up to 30 minutes of submergence at a depth of one meter. Equipped with a water-resistant earphone jack, the GALAXY S4 Active frees you to use earphones in more adventurous conditions, in the same way you’ve used them in normal ones. Whether capturing every moment of a wild rafting trip or taking a great underwater photo in the pool, the device’s unique construction lets users capture amazing moments previously impossible using a normal smartphone. 

Explore Longer with Powerful Performance

An active lifestyle requires plenty of energy, and the GALAXY S4 Active offers a long-lasting and powerful user experience. 

Featuring a 1.9 GHZ Quad-Core processor and 2,600mAh battery, the GALAXY S4 Active can handle the most intensive tasks with ease and precision. Striking color and stunning resolution on the device’s beautiful 5.0’’ Full HD TFT LCD screen (443 PPI) makes playing the newest games or watching hours of video easy on the eyes. And with ‘Glove Touch’, cold weather is no longer a problem since the touchscreen can be fully operated while wearing gloves.

With an 8-megapixel rear camera, users can easily share their vivid experiences while on the go. Unique to the GALAXY S4 Active camera, ‘Aqua Mode’ can be used to increase visual quality and clarity for enhanced underwater images and video. The volume key located on the side of the device can be used as a camera key, allowing users to easily and quickly open the camera application to capture photo and video the moment it happens. Additionally, the camera transforms into a powerful LED flash light to assist in low-light and nighttime activities with a simple long press of the volume key.

Enhanced Content and Services

The GALAXY S4 Active also offers competitive content and services to provide a seamless mobile experience anytime and anywhere. 

Using the ‘Samsung Hub’, users can access music, videos, books, games and engaging educational content. With a beautiful magazine-style interface, users can browse a variety of content across services, as well as purchase and manage their content easily with a single Samsung Account. Users can also control their TV through Samsung WatchON’s IR remote, which transforms the GALAXY S4 Active into a remote control for TVs, set-top boxes, and DVD players. Through Samsung WatchON’, the GALAXY S4 Active also offers a broad selection of entertainment content including live TV, cable TV and video on demand, facilitated by the rich digital context provided by Samsung’s EPG (Electronic Program Guide) system. ‘ChatON’, another unique feature, connects and facilitates group chats, media sharing and interacting in creative new ways using pictures, hand drawings or figures across mobile devices. Further enhancing the device’s sharing capabilities, users can use ‘Samsung Link’ to share and sync content across multiple Samsung digital devices.

The GALAXY S4 Active will be available for purchase beginning this summer, with initial retail in the U.S. and Sweden. It will be offered in three different color options: Urban Grey, Dive Blue and Orange Flare. Specific availability will vary depending on the market.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Alex Ceocea

    I think it will be a great phone. Can't wait for it to be available in Europe.

  • Craig Gosling

    This is great, I think more manufactures should make this kind of protection for their devices. People have their smartphones on them all the time, in any situation, not having to worry about it breaking/getting water damage etc is a big plus!

  • Stefan Constantinescu

    It's actually not the "same great 5" 1080p screen". The Active uses an LCD.

    • Vibrunazo

      Pardon my ignorance. But what's the difference between them?

  • MIkey

    If this has a removable battery (looks like there is a little tab to pull the back cover off in the last image) then I might have to get this instead of the standard S4, it just looks better.

    The other difference is the screen '5.0" Full HD TFT LCD' instead of 'Super AMOLED', will be interesting to see any visible difference between them.

    How long until we get this in the UK?

    • Marcos Amano

      Now this is a must buy!

    • NexusKoolaid

      One difference I expect between the two displays is better visibility in sunlight for the TFT display.

      • Herman

        I'd rather have great sunlight legibility (against basically none) than deep blacks (against less deep).

        Especially now that Google has this white theme all over their apps.
        I prefer white, and AMOLEDs haven't really made whites look great yet (as far as I've seen).

    • Herman

      I really hope the S4 Active will be sold more than Samsung expects

      Maybe then they would realise they haven't made the perfect device yet with their original Galaxy S line-up.
      Maybe we would finally see more waterproof devices (like Sony does) or sturdier ones, without their infamous plastic.

  • Christopher Peterson

    Great perks, and honestly I think this looks better than the normal S4!

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    I don't understand.....instead of giving hardware buttons they could have provide onscreen buttons like the Xperia Z

    • MIkey

      I guess physical buttons are better (more tactile) when you use them underwater.

      • Ahmad Nadeem

        Who the hell is using their phone underwater......Is someone out here that addicted??

    • George Av

      on screen buttons are junk. they just take up screen real estate..

      • Gary Graf

        Technically, they don't take up any screen real estate. Without the buttons, it would leave more room for the screen to occupy.

        • George Av

          then you would have a lower PPI.... to many variables to consider.

          • Julian

            lol, what? same ppi, same density, im really not sure what you're trying to say here...

          • George Av

            if the screen get's larger, the Price goes up, the PPI will go down

  • Could be Anyone

    Seems pretty good actually and I might want to get this instead of the s4 since it seems this is more durable and I can live with the slightly lower camera quality.

    • Gary Graf

      I assume they're uding the same camera that was on the S3. That wasn't a bad camera at all.

      • Could be Anyone

        I currently have an s3 so I'm not to worried since I found the camera to be pretty good even when running cm10, I'm still looking forward to the s4 active since it seems pretty good and I do want a more durable phone.

  • Bleakvision

    Wow! Smartest move by Samsung in a looong time. I actually want this, I am ready to give up my N4 for this!

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    Wow, I'm impressed. Not sure why they had to make two separate models though this would have been great for the original s4 or even for release with it.

    • acey_zero

      yeah, or at least make it hardware identical so they are software compatible..

  • wolfkabal

    Other than the swap for the LCD screen, this fits perfectly with what I want out of a phone. The kicker was the dedicated camera button. I wish it had the better Super AMOLED (subjective). But I honestly think this will be my next upgrade (pending any other launches in the next few months.

    • acey_zero

      Agree 100%

      Unfortunately, contrary to what the article states, the actual quoted press release says that the volume button can be used as a camera key, not that it has an actual physical camera key.

      • wolfkabal

        Ah, fair enough. I currently have my S3 using the power button for Camera. I miss the days of the old Epic4G which actually had a multi-stage camera button (ie: half-press=focus, then full for picture). Where's the tactile feel of everything now days.. /end-old-(young guy)-rant

        • acey_zero

          Hehe, agree 100%

          I still miss my physical qwerty

  • Gustavo Gomez

    This would be my next upgrade. Lake season is open now..

  • yankeesusa

    This definitely looks like a great phone. I love the ruggedness and still the s4 features. They are definitely going to put some pressure on the htc one. It might not look as nice but now people can stop complaining about the cheap plastic and not being durable.

  • TechGuy22

    i would bought an S4 if the S4 looked like that. this one looks nice

  • acey_zero

    This looks really awesome and will likely be my next phone. My only concern is if it will get good dev support, I am really hoping that it will be close enough hardware wise that the devs will be able to mod S4 (and particularly Google edition S4) Roms to work with this phone without too much trouble.

  • Tyler Edgerle

    Does anyone else like the one physical button over three?

  • Leonardo Baez

    its looks even better than the normal S4.... the blue one is sexy

  • http://www.newbestapps.com/ Androider

    Waterproof is the new trend.

  • James Booker

    I got my Samsung handset from http://www.tuffphones.co.uk.

    It was an Xcover 2, nice handset :)