Looking for a new trail companion? The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active on the AT&T network is a cool new choice out on the market.

I often find myself debating whether or not I should take my smartphone out on adventures every weekend. Whether it is a day hike down my favorite trail or canoeing a new river, I am constantly worried about a sudden downpour or the accidental dip into Davy Jones’ locker.

It might be true that technology can distract us from nature, but for the weight-savvy backpacker or the inner tech geek, you cannot overlook the benefits of having an all-in-one device such as the Galaxy S4 Active. Imagine the wealth of knowledge you can download in guidebooks, the ability to write about daily activities in a journal, games for rainy days, maps, camera, phone… the list of features is endless, but the weight added to your pack is only 5.39oz (152.8g) with the dimensions of 5.5 x 2.80 x 0.35 in. (14.0 x 7.11 x .89 cm). Now that is a great deal!

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active Specs

The Galaxy S4 Active is the most adventurous phone in the Samsung Galaxy family. Compared to the regular Galaxy, the S4 Active has a more rugged appearance and a water resistant enclosure, allowing you to fully submerge the phone up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. The secret to the S4 Active’s water resistance lies in the rubber gasket found in the back cover of the phone that creates a watertight seal around the phone’s electronics.

With two stylish colors to choose from (grey and blue) you won’t have to sacrifice beauty for utility.

The IP67 rating for the S4 Active means that it is resistant to dust and moisture, so you don’t have to worry about getting the phone dirty or wet while out on the trail. The HD 1080p screen is made of Gorilla Glass 2, making it more scratch-resistant while leaving you breathless as you watch an HD video or taking stunning pictures.

No need to worry about a wave at the beach!

Running on the 4.2.2 Jelly Bean Android platform with a 1.9 GHz Quad-core processor, the Galaxy S4 Active is fast and efficient. The 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM internal memory and up to 64GB External Memory allows for ample space to download guidebooks or outdoor apps (check out our Tripleblaze apps) while taking hundreds of pictures with the 8 megapixel 4x digital optical zoom rear facing camera and a 2 megapixel front facing camera. All photos in this post were taken with the Galaxy S4 Active. Click on the pictures to enlarge and check out the resolution!

New camera features include:

  • Zero shutter lag, allowing you to keep up with the action as it happens.
  • Aqua mode, which allows you to take video or pictures underwater or in the rain, a must-have on any outdoor adventure.
  • Eraser allows you to delete unwanted people that walk through your picture.
  • Live filters for the more creative and artistic individual.
  • Story Album is a wonderful app that makes creating and sharing a photo album that much easier. Easily share your photo album by exporting to PDF/image files, or even order a printed photo book.
  • Other Camera Features include: Auto Focus, Geo-Tagging, HD Playback, HD Recording, LED Flash, Online Image Uploading, Photo Editing, Sharing Capabilities, and 18 Shot Modes–more than enough to keep you busy on a lazy day at camp.

Inside of the Galaxy S4 Active is a Lithium Ion battery that easily lasted the whole weekend when we tested these phones on a weekend camping trip. When stuck at “work” looking up my next vacation plans, the battery lasted about a day and a half. You can help conserve energy by keeping the phone in Airplane mode when network service is not needed or not available.

You can interact with the Galaxy S4 Active with state-of-the art user interfaces that truly blew me away:

  • Air Gesture™: Have dirty hands but want to scroll to the next step for a new trail recipe? Simply swipe your hand a few inches off the screen and it will magically scroll for you.
  • Air View™: Sunscreen on your hands but you want to check the time? Hold your hand over the phone and the time and message status magically appears. You can also zoom or answer your phone using this feature.
  • Smart Screen: keeps the screen on as long as you are looking at it. Prefect for reading a book.
  • Smart Scroll™: scrolls up or down by tilting your head or device. Way cool!
  • Smart Pause™: automatically pause your video when you are facing away from the screen.
  • Multi-window feature: allows two apps to run on the same screen, making you more efficient.
  • S Beam™: allows you to easily share files with friends.

Bottom Line:

If you enjoy hiking and camping but want to take your technology with you on the trail, this is the phone for you. The water resistant cover keeps your phone safe even in a downpour and give you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to make sure it is secured within several plastic bags or a bulky waterproof case. The camera functions, flawless operating system, and user interfaces make the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (available exclusively on the AT&T network) the prefect trail and life companion.

A special thanks to both Samsung and AT&T wireless for giving us the opportunity to field test the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.

# Comments

  • mtbgreg1

    While I am an iPhone lover, this phone does look pretty awesome!

    One question: since there’s no replaceable external case, are you worried that daily wear and tear to the outside of the phone would eventually make it unusable?

    • JohnH

      From my experience with the Samsung Galaxy line (S, S 2 and S3) I think the S4 Active will stand up to abuse as the previous generations have. Samsung uses Gorilla Glass which resists scratches and broken screens that are all too common with Samsung’s competitors. While testing the S4 Active it did see many accidental drops on hard surfaces (parking garage floors, rocky shore line, sidewalk, etc.) all of which did not harm the phone or cause screen damage.
      In my opinion daily wear and tear would not be an issue. With that said it is always best to avoid unneeded drops and abrasive surfaces, but that goes with any phone you have!

      • mtbgreg1

        Right on. Thanks for the info!

  • LightFoot

    Seeing your photos of the S4 Active in salt water and on sharp shells gives me a panicky feeling, but if it’s that rugged, I’ll be upgrading from my S3 very soon. Nice write up and thanks for the info.

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