It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point, but Samsung has just now made the ruggedized version of the popular Galaxy S 4 official, called Galaxy S 4 Active. The SGS4 Active includes an IP67 rating, which means it's fully sealed against dust (first digit 6 connotes a completely dust sealed design), and submergible up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (second digit 7). Samsung notes that the earphone jack is also water resistant so you can continue to listen to music while submerged with the appropriate headsets. Samsung also makes note of an 'Aqua Mode' setting in the camera to enhance audio and saturation when taking photos and video under water. 

Superficially the SGS4A is almost the same as the international and other variants of SGS4, however there are a few changes to the phone beyond just a sealed design with IP67 rating. SoC remains the 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064AB) we've seen before, the major change is that camera gets a bump down to 8 MP instead of 13 MP, and there's a 1080p LCD display inside instead of Super AMOLED. Camera is likely still using 1.1 micron pixels, just the 8 MP version of the sensor for reduced z-height since LCD is a bit thicker. LCD makes sense here for cost reasons (something has to give) and brightness plus outdoor viewability reasons — AMOLED can go just as bright, but at higher power than the equivalent for LED backlit LCD. The back of the SGS4A seems to be removable given the presence of a thumb groove in the press photos, so ostensibly behind there is the microSD card slot, microSIM slot, and likely still user-replaceable battery. It's also obvious from the photos that the SGS4A includes physical menu, home, and back buttons instead of the still somewhat odd combination of both physical and capacitive on SGS4.

I have to admit that I like the design and appearance of the SGS4A in these press photos a heck of a lot more than the non-active SGS4, even if the SGS4A puts on a few mm around the edges and is heftier. I've put together a table with the comparisons. 

SGS4A vs SGS4 Comparison
  SGS4 SGS4 Active
Length 136.6 mm 139.7 mm
Width 69.9 mm 71.3 mm
Thickness 7.9 mm 9.1 mm
Weight 130 g 151 g
Display 5.0-inch 1080p SAMOLED 5.0-inch 1080p TFT LCD
Camera 13 MP with LED Flash 8 MP with LED Flash

There's no official information on pricing, but Samsung gives availability as 'this summer' in the US and Sweden in three different colors – Urban Grey, Dive Blue and Orange Flare. The latter two Blue and Orange colors are very vibrant from the looks of things.

Samsung will be showing the SGS4A off at its June 20th event in London. 

Source: Samsung

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  • CZroe - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    This is just what I need for my motorcycle! I've had new expensive smartphones ruined in the rain before (couldn't remove the battery to save it) and I can't interact with my gloves on to even change the music when I'm pulled over. My Parrot SK-4000's handlebar remote doesn't work if I don't put my head right next to it, which makes the wireless remote effectively worse than wired. I actually bought a Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Bluetooth watch and switched to Android to use it.

    I sure hope they do this to the Galaxy Note 3 since that's the phone I really want next.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    Not sure how you have the phone installed while driving your bike. I drive through the rain plenty of times and I sweat so the phone gets wet from the outside and inside. But neither of my phones (Touch Pro2, SGS2, GN) have been damaged so far. If you have it mounted outside, there are plastic bags that seal shut but still let you use the touch screen and buttons. They should keep out any rain. :) Maybe it's worth a try. Reply
  • CZroe - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    I have a Lobster Mount handlebar mount, but it wouldn't be big enough for a Note 3. RAM makes mounts for everything though. Even so, when I ruined my brand new $300 white iPhone 3G in 2008 it was in my pocket and it wasn't even raining yet! I had to draft 18-wheelers all day due to excessive wind in New Mexico and Arizona as a storm approached and eventually came to a place where it had rained earlier. The 18-wheelers kicked up a lot of mist which, unbeknownst to me, the turbulence around my bike's fairings was depositing right into my jacket pocket. My clothes were still bone dry but the phone was stewing in water when I found it. I would have been able to save it if the battery was removable, but that's Apple for you (one of the major reasons I switched to Android). I have used waterproof cases and pouches several times because I went four years without a car, but I really want to be able to just keep it on the handlebar mount while I ride, then I can see the GPS and decide if I need to pull over to take a call (still don't like using the SK-4000 for more than music/GPS directions while I ride). Reply
  • ct760ster - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Can Of Spam eater ;) Reply
  • vipuls1979 - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    i think they should have launched Galaxy S4 with this feature itself
    and did you know blackerry q10 launched in india at Rs 44990 for more info kindly visit http://mobiknowhow.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • DrElena - Monday, June 24, 2013 - link

    NOT SO WATERPROOF!
    and Samsung makes no attempts to replace the malfunctioning device

    We got our phone on June 21 2013 and tested it in the community pool at 10 inch depth taking two 1-min videos 3 minutes apart.

    The camera lenses got fogged, hardware buttons got disabled and the charger port stopped working. Yes, we did ensure the USB charger port was properly covered. The phone's camera was switched to "Aqua mode". Despite all the advised precautions, the phone had leaked water in.

    The AT&T refused to exchange it claiming it was ***damaged by water***.

    Samsung tech support is talking about evaluation and repair, refusing to admit the phone had a factory-originated problem and making us to accept the fact we have to stick with a $600 "waterproof" phone that leaked the day we bought it..

    Is this supposed to be fare?
    Reply

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