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Hands on with the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active

Smartphones tend to be delicate gadgets, not meant for the likes of the beach, the pool, or the mud run. You know, fun stuff. Recognizing that some users need a phone that’s a little tougher, Samsung engineered the GALAXY S4 Active—everything that’s great about the regular S4, but with added durability for the fun stuff.

Specifically, the S4 Active conforms to the IP67 international standard, which means it’s sealed in such a way that neither dust nor liquid can cause harm. In other words, it’s sandproof and waterproof--an ideal companion for the beach. You can take it into the surf without worrying about splash damage, and even dunk it to capture underwater snapshots (up to three feet for up to 30 minutes). It’s the rare camera, let alone smartphone, that can survive a day of sand and surf.

It’s worth noting that the phone takes impressive photos both on land and at sea. The 8-megapixel camera includes an Aqua mode designed expressly for submerged shots, and even gives you the option of converting the volume button to a shutter release (important given that touchscreens don’t work well underwater). Samsung supplies plenty of other camera modes as well, including sports, night, and faces, to better capture life’s various environments and activities. And one tap switches the camera to video mode for full 1080p recording.

Speaking of 1080p, that’s the resolution afforded by the phone’s gorgeous 5-inch display. That may seem like a bit overkill for such a comparatively small screen, but once you zoom in ultra-close on some of those 8-megapixel snapshots, you’ll appreciate the extra resolution. The screen also dazzles when displaying movies, games, and especially text—the GALAXY S4 makes a great phone for active readers, not just those with active lifestyles.

Despite its resilient exterior, the GALAXY S4 Active looks stylish and packs plenty of power, starting with the Qualcomm®Snapdragon™ 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a battery designed to run all day. But Samsung also outfitted it with some fun features that have nothing to do with watersports, the coolest being WatchON, an app that turns the phone into a universal remote and provides viewing recommendations based on what you like to watch. If you’re watching something on the phone itself, Smart Pause will halt playback when you look away from the screen—then resume it again once your eyes return. And if you want to answer a call, just wave your hand over the screen.

With power under the hood, durability baked into the chassis, and lots of smart and entertainment-minded features mixed in, the Samsung GALAXY S4 Active delivers everything you could want in a phone.

Topics: Samsung, Snapdragon 600, smartphones

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