The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active smartphone’s IP67 rating means it can survive underwater at shallow depths for up to 30 minutes. In practical terms, that means that getting caught in a sudden rainstorm, dropping the device into a puddle or even the toilet won’t kill the handheld.
However, Samsung is quick to point out that the back panel needs to be completely sealed for the waterproofing to work properly. The charging port at the bottom of the device also needs to be locked in place or it will provide a hole for water to seep through.
We tested the device by placing it inside a container filled with water. Like most smartphones with touch screens, the conductivity of the water means that once it’s submerged, the screen no longer accepts input. It’s like trying to touch the entire screen at once. Upon activating Aqua Mode, however, the volume button becomes the control for the camera. Pictures and video can thus be shot underwater using the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
Eight megapixels is less than what most smartphones pack these days, but the underwater shots came out pretty good. Zoom and other camera features don’t work underwater, but both video and still shots are clear, and you can’t tell that you’re filming underwater.
The S4 Active was also tested against running water. With other phones, the current can sometimes dislodge a seal and kill a device. But after 10 minutes under a moderately powerful stream of water, that didn’t happen — meaning the Galaxy S4 Active won’t die if suddenly hit with a hose.
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