Samsung has improved on its best-selling Galaxy S4 Android smartphone by tweaking the design to withstand harsh conditions in the field.
With an IP67 rating, the Galaxy S4 Active prevents all dust from permeating the outer shell and will work after being dropped in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes. Testing proved that as long as the case and charging port were properly sealed, the device was impervious to any liquid.
Beyond its ruggedness, the S4 Active improves on how workers in the field interact with the device. With support for gesture control, dirty or heavily gloved fingers no longer pose an obstacle to taking calls — users can unlock the phone by holding a hand over it, or answer a call by simply waving a hand.
Plus, the included AirView application provides a hands-free preview of information by hovering a finger over a conversation. Users can also magnify web pages and documents without touching the screen.
Gesture control is a bit slower than using the S4 Active’s touch screen, but protecting the device from muddy, sticky or otherwise dirty hands is worth the time. It also allows the smartphone to operate when covered in water. In addition to the rugged features that protect the device itself, the S4 Active also has included encryption. The program can protect all data on the phone from snooping and theft, and the 1.9-gigahertz quad-core processor doesn’t noticeably slow when the encryption is being used.
Finally, Samsung recently upgraded the Galaxy S4 Active to the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Besides some interface improvements, such as the ability to access the camera while the device is locked down, the KitKat OS adds more than an hour of battery life. At almost 10 hours of constant use without needing a charge, the S4 Active can work a full day without complaint.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Active specs
Processor: 1.9GHz quad-core
Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
Memory: 2GB RAM; 15GB ROM
Display: 5 inches, 1920x1080 pixels
Dimensions: 2.8x5.5x0.35 inches