When a phone is advertised as "water-resistant" you have to wonder just how resistant it actually is. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active on AT&T, the answer is apparently "not very." Despite AT&T heavily advertising the device as “whatever-proof” and great for taking underwater videos, some owners have been complaining of damage to the device after an encounter with water.


The Active is supposedly IP67 certified, which means it should hold up to water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. The phone's warranty does not include coverage for damage by liquids, but AT&T is apparently seeing enough waterlogged GS4 Actives that it is doing something about it. Anyone with a handset damaged by water can bring it in for a one-time replacement with another GS4 Active. Here's AT&T's statement:

Samsung designed and tested the Galaxy S4 Active to adhere to IP67 standards for water resistance (1 meter for 30 minutes). If your Galaxy S4 Active has been damaged due to water exposure, bring it back to an AT&T retail store as soon as possible for a one-time exchange for another Galaxy S4 Active.

Since this a one-time deal, this rugged device will have to be treated a bit more gingerly after being swapped out. AT&T isn't saying anything about a possible cause of the issue, but it's possible there is a problem with the seal around the battery door, or perhaps people just aren't closing it all the way. Whatever the problem, GS4 Active users have won an extra life.

[All Things D, PhoneArena]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Joey Heck

    Wow, surprisingly good customer service for a carrier.

    • antifud

      it's not good customer service. Good would include warranty for water damage. this is "we're doing this so we don't get sued as quickly".

      • David VanHouse

        Samsung offers the warranty, not the carrier

        • troph

          Samsung shifted the responsibility onto AT&T, as the one advertising it as waterproof, where it really is water resistant up to IP 67 standards.

      • Mike Reid


        And it's being billed now as "one-time" only to lower customer expectations.

        Then when the customer comes back again, they'll say "we told you, after we were good enough to honor warranty the first time".

        Seems to me like allegedly water-proof phones have a warranty issue when it's impossible to prove or disprove if the seals were all properly in place. Moisture sensor proves nothing on an alleged water-proof phone.

    • CoreRooted

      Actually, I have to admit, AT&T's customer service *has* improved over the years. I hate the amount that I pay them, but, the service that I get when I call in has been much, much better over the past year.

  • Wazzifer

    What a joke.

  • Tony Byatt

    In other words, don't buy this phone...

    • OkI’llSayIt

      Or at least don't drop it in the toilet.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    No, sorry - if it is IP67 rated, it is IP67 rated - if it doesn't hold up to the claim - that's false advertising and a trading standards issue - in any case I would be demanding a direct replacement from Samsung (I know my UK rights) each and every time it breaks.

    • TY

      Perhaps it's IP67 rated ONLY when the battery cover is completely sealed with 10KG of force every time before going underwater, lol. A reddit thread highlighted this issue, with an AT&T employee claiming that his S4 active suffered from water damage, even though he followed every precaution beforehand (e.g. pressing really hard on the logo).

    • kascollet

      It's not rated, it's "designed to adhere".

      • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

        In which case it's a load of crap and they would be better off not advertising this feature - it's either water resistant to 1 metre or it isn't.

    • Adam99

      You don't know your UK rights, because if you did you would know that you would be sending it back to the place you bought it from, because that is where your contract of sale lies, it is their job to honour any warranties and then take it up with Samsung for compensation themselves, and you would do that each and every time it breaks and it would be repaired or replaced, if they refused then you would take them to the Small Claims Court for them breaching the law, that's what the Sales of Goods Act dictates, and quite rightly because if the manufacturer went out of business your warranty and rights are still protected.

  • faceless128

    there's a sticker on the back that instructs people on how to 'seal' the phone. gonna guess people just didn't read it and just put the battery cover on and jumped in without actually sealing the device. what warranty covers negligence?

  • ThomasMoneyhon

    Training material states you must push around on all sides of the battery door plus the att logo under the camera flash. Not sure this is covered in the manual, or if people are even reading that.
    Good work on att doing people a solid, because its att/samsung's responsibility to properly educate, as far as they can.

  • kascollet

    "Designed to adhere" means "not certified".
    Now that's obvious.

  • Pierre Gardin

    Samsung is the Apple of the East.

  • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

    heck would not doubt if the rugby pro has similar issues with water penetration if all the rubber input covers are not firmly in place and the battery door is not sealed completely. just because something is IP 67 dose not make it fool proof. you still have to use caution to adhere to all guidelines and not push it to it's limit. it's much better to be safe then sorry. ps the battery door on the rugb pro can come dislodged if the phone hits a hard surface like concrete and if that happens and you do not reseal it properly to the guidelines and the phone takes a drink poof goes your water ingress protection. ingress protection is not a magic bullet it's just a rating that sates under these "ideal" conditions ingress of foreign substances like sand dirt and water are not expected. if you want to protect you s4 active I would suggest you invest in a case that is water proof to a depth rating of deeper then you plan to take the phone. for example get a pelican case.

  • Russ Gibbons

    There are a few things to do, to help your phone not be damaged by water, (based on instructions for my underwater camera).

    Don't jump in water or swim with phone in hand (better to slowly wade
    in, with phone in pocket). The water pressure is Much greater than 1
    meter submersion, when you have a sudden gush of water during a dive or
    jump, (same goes for being hit by a wave, or under a faucet).

    Closing the seals on the back may not be enough, the seals must also be
    perfectly clean. My underwater camera comes with a brush, to ensure no
    hair, sand, lint, dust... is on the seal before closing. A dirty seal
    can allow water to enter at that spot.

    3) Don't open the back up,
    till the unit has been rinsed in clean water (so hard salt crystals or
    mud don't form near seal), wiped off dry on the outside, and air dried
    for an hour. (You will notice that the seal only covers half of the back
    of the phone, the other half can hold drops of water, that once opened,
    can drip and turn the white H2O indicator red, and void the warranty).

    Don't depend on the phone actually lasting 30 minutes 1 meter under
    water in the future, Seals wear, and degrade with age. (In a few years
    you may only have 10 minutes at foot under water, depending on wear).

    Don't show off the phone's water resistance more than necessary, There
    are occasional manufacturing defects, that are hard to test for
    submersion. Use the phone for the minimum time and depth needed for a
    picture. I plan to use mine mostly in the rain, (and my underwater
    camera, rated at 12 meters for 2 hours for most underwater pictures); or
    a little sweat when exercising with music.

    6) Don't forget to
    seal the USB port very well. It doesn't snap closed easily, needs to be
    slid to the side while pressing in for complete closure. The USB seal
    will wear quickly since it is opened daily, and easily pops open.

  • kervin

    que tal amigos alguien me podria decir como conseguir la tapa original del telefono samsung galaxy s4 active

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  • Gadget2us
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  • Isaac

    Will they honor this statement still?