The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most powerful smartphones on the planet, and yet, even after a tremendously successful launch, Samsung has opted to release several new variations of its flagship smartphone. Among all the new flavors of the Galaxy S4, one of the most hyped is an ultra-durable variant dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active isn't much different from the standard model of the smartphone. It's extremely powerful and has many of the same hardware components found in the Galaxy S4. What makes the Galaxy S4 Active different than all other variants of the flagship smartphone is the fact that it can be operated underwater and survive a dust storm.
Although the standard Galaxy S4 and the new Galaxy S4 Active share many hardware and software components, there are a few points of differentiation that would ultimately impact a consumer's decision on which to purchase. We've decided to take a close look at what each phone has to offer, and try to determine which of the two Galaxy S4 variants might be right for you.
The Samsung Galaxy S4's display is one of the best of any smartphone on the market. It's a 5-inch screen, which is slightly bigger than the previous generation, the Galaxy S3, and it's one of the main selling points of the device. The Galaxy S4 display has a 1080x1920 resolution with an incredible 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The screen itself is made of Super AMOLED technology, which means that the layer that detects touch is integrated into the screen rather than being overlaid on top of it.
The Galaxy S4 Active has a nearly identical screen to the standard Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 Active's screen is also 5 inches and can display a resolution of 1080x1920. The Galaxy S4 Active also has a slightly higher pixel density than the standard Galaxy S4 with 443 pixels-per-inch. Rather than using Super AMOLED technology, the Galaxy S4 Active takes advantage of TFT LCD technology that enables users to operate the smartphone even while wearing gloves.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active(1080x1920 resolution; 443 PPI; 'Glove Touch' technology)
The Samsung Galaxy S4's specs are absolutely astounding when compared to the previous generation of high-end Android smartphones, especially its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. The Samsung Galaxy S4 zips through almost any task, and that's largely because of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor that the device runs on. The Galaxy S4 is equipped with a quad-core 1.9 GHz processor that's paired with 2GB of RAM. In addition, the Galaxy S4 runs on an Adreno 320 graphics processor and comes stocked with 16GB of internal storage. For users that need even more storage space, the phone's memory can be expanded by using the microSD card slot. The Galaxy S4 runs for roughly 17 hours on a 2600 mAh battery, which makes it one of the most complete devices we've ever used.
The Galaxy S4 Active's specs are nearly identical to the standard Galaxy S4's. The Galaxy S4 Active uses the exact same processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, and comes stocked with all the same hardware including an impressive 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy S4 Active also comes equipped with an expandable memory slot , which is somewhat surprising considering the device is water and dust resistant.
Winner: Tie (quad-core 1.9 GHz processer; 2GB of RAM; expandable memory)
The Galaxy S4's camera is one of the best of any available on a high-end smartphone. It comes packed with a whopping 13 megapixel camera that is more than sufficient for any amateur photographer. Images are almost always sharp, clear and have a great color balance. The Galaxy S4's camera is capable of shooting 1920x1080 resolution video, too, which equates to full 1080p HD at a rate of 30 frames per second. The front-facing camera is also unusually strong at a mere 2 megapixels. Samsung has preloaded the smartphone with several camera-oriented features including one that allows users to operate both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras at the same time.
The Galaxy S4 Active's camera is significantly weaker than the standard Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 Active comes with a mere 8-megapixel camera, and some of the features have been removed from the software as well including high-dynamic range mode (HDR), digital image stabilization, a back-illuminated sensor and more. The one trump card that the Galaxy S4 Active has is the fact that it can shoot underwater videos with the all new "Aqua Mode." Still, if you're the type of person that loves to take photos anywhere aside from the ocean, the choice is a no-brainer.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4 (13 megapixels; 1080p HD video)
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and its rugged counterpart, the Galaxy S4 Active, are nearly identical in every aspect. Both phones have the same screen size, same general design concept and much of the same hardware. Although the Galaxy S4 Active is marginally thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S4, it compensates for its heft in the fact that in can survive harsh conditions in water, dust and more.
It's safe to say that either phone would be an excellent choice as an upgrade, but unless you're the type of person that frequently drops your phone in the toilet or frequents the beach, you're probably better off with the standard Galaxy S4. The original Galaxy S4 is sleeker, lighter and the camera is one of the best we've ever used on a smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Active's underwater capabilities are incredible, but unless you're frequently snorkeling, we just don't think that it's worth compromising the sleekness of the standard version. If you can't trust yourself to take care of your smartphone, by all means, purchase the Galaxy S4 Active, but for any normal adult, the standard Galaxy S4 should suffice.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4 (sleeker, lighter, better camera)