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on 14 April 2014
I bought this phone primarily to use with the ViewRanger app as a replacement for a dedicated GPS navigator. The alternative was a high end Garmin but that would have had a much smaller screen and would have been far less flexible, and I have saved a small fortune on the re-purchase of maps.

The main reason I chose this phone rather than any other is the water resistance, as it will spend a lot of its working life out in the rain. I have put it in an Otterbox case to give it mechanical protection. I also tend to carry it in an "Aquapak"; this is mainly so that I can hang it on a neck strap but it does offer an extra layer of protection. I don't intend to submerge the phone but it is good to know that it should survive getting seriously wet.

Like others, I have a slight concern that the tiny plug sealing the USB port might have a limited life, but I haven't had a problem yet.

I was a little concerned that the battery might not last long enough to track a full day out, but with a bit of care in choosing the settings it seems OK.

I would not want this to be my main phone as I think it is far too big for that, but for the purpose for which I got it, it seems fine.
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on 12 September 2014
I am still testing this phone and am mostly pleased with it so far.
However, the reason for writing this before I've finished is to warn potential buyers about the Bluetooth.
It is a nightmare.
Google Galaxy S4 Bluetooth issues.
It does work but it's extremely complicated.
It's taken me two days to figure out how to pair it to my car and I still upload the phone's contact list.
I bought this phone because I didn't want to succumb to the Apple hype.
But had I known about this issue (it is a recognised problem) and just how big an issue it is before I bought the phone I would have submitted and gone for the new iPhone anyway.

Tip:-
Make sure your Bluetooth nd 'NFC' are both 'On' and the phone is actually visible* to anything searching for it.

*The on/off toggle by the side of your "My Device" name.
Good luck, count to ten and stay patient.
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on 3 April 2014
I got the phone from Amazon in August 2013, so this is a review after living with it for a few months.

I chose the S4 Active because of 3 main features:
It has a replaceable battery - I bought a second battery and charger so always have a charged battery.
It takes an external memory card, I bought a 64GB, so no issues running out of space for music, photos and videos.
It's water resistant, as I'm often in snow in the winter, and near water in the summer.

The other two phones I considered were the HTC One (DW got that and very happy she is with it), and Sony's XPERIA Z. Nice as they are neither met my requirements.

What I'm happy with:
Screen resolution is good, pictures clear and vivid, and with the brightness up you can see reasonably well outside.
Had no problems with memory or with keeping it alive by switching batteries every day or so.
Haven't had the nerve to sink it in water, thought the camera does have the ability to take underwater photos. May try that this summer!
Sound is OK but not as good as the HTC One. However bluetoothing to an amplifier or connecting via the 3.5mm output and it's fine.
Wifi is good, and using phone as wifi hotshot works as it should.
Camera works ok, not problem with video and photo quality, but has nothing like the HTC One's Zoe app which DW loves (it is good).

What I don't like:
Various face detection, smartscreen, motions and gestures, air view, etc "features" are next to useless. So don't buy it for these.
IT'S STILL ON ANDROID 4.2.2. Most 2013 phones have gone through 4.3 and going to 4.4 if not already there. Why has a leading manufacturer like Samsung lost the plot?

I'm still reasonably happy with the phone features and performance, but I'm not delighted, which at this phone's price I should be. I'm certainly not happy with the lack of updates. If this is important to you then I can't recommend this phone.
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on 22 September 2013
i'm happy with this phone, they say the camera is not very good , but actually i'm impressed with the pictures and if i want proper pictures i will take my camera .
the screen maybe is not as good in colors and textures as the normal s4 , but you can see this screen enjoying the sun on the beach and not with the normal s4
the only thing i was expecting more were the rugged faculties , the seal system is the most impressive bad design i've ever seen , basically is a normal plastic cover with the tipical hooks that click on the frame , and they fit a really slim thin ruber around... i notice that sometimes with the phone in the pocket , keys , lighter... this hooks jumps unsealing the phone , so you have to check all the time that the cover is well fitted . my old motorola defy was having a thousand times better system.
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on 27 November 2014
Really nice phone arrived in speedy time, and very cheap compared to s5 and not much difference.
Having been an iPhone user for many years I was worried about changing to android but after 6 weeks I'd never go back. As an engineer who works with water etc it's great with the case I also brought with it. Recommend it strongly!
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on 14 April 2015
I didn't want the AMOLED display from the regular Galaxy S4, but a phone that would be a little bit more solid and reliable, as I never liked the cheap plastic that Samsung likes to put on their phones. This is a nice phone and it would literally do everything that the regular S4 would, plus an added feeling of a more reliable one. Still, I bought a case for it, just to be on the safe side. It obviously came with its fair amount of bloatware which I removed after rooting the phone and it's been working great ever since.
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on 20 January 2015
Took in the bath with me - no problem. But the screen was scratched almost immediately. Eventually the Wi-fi just stopped working and the screen cracked all over after dropping it (it had survived a few drops before this). Most annoyingly the "Active" variants of Samsung phones aren't supported by a lot of App vendors - so I couldn't get "Sky Go" for instance. There are definitely better phones out there.
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on 17 February 2014
Wanted a waterproof phone for taking pictures of my little one on holiday. Tested it in the sea for about 5 minutes whilst snorkelling, so well within the 1 metre depth limit. The phone stayed dry but water in the headphone socket kept fooling the phone into thinking headphones were being constantly plugged in and then removed. I shook the water out of the socket and this stopped. So, OK so far...
Tried the underwater functionality 5 months later, ensuring the USB socket was secure and the battery cover clicked in place - yep, all fine. Within 1 minute, the phone switched itself off. Water ingress. Again, the phone wasn't subjected to being more than a metre in depth (in fact the pool was only 0.8 metres deep and the phone was in my pocket). I dried the phone out over a couple of days and it works again fine, except - the screen is now 'etched' with patches and lines from the water damage. I can't recommend this phone over a regular S4 (it isn't rugged as suggested elsewhere) and it isn't actually water proof. Disappointed.
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on 7 October 2013
Im very happy with this mobile phone. There is not too many waterproof phone in the market. this one is one of the best. very powerful, big positive for waterproof opction. many people said te screen is poor but they wrong. muc more tru color and very bright. only one minus is you can not connect mobile phone leash
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on 20 June 2015
BE WARNED. The phone is superb. The supplier, Wowcamera, on the other hand is run by crooks! They consistently refuse to acknowledge the 2 year warranty that Samsung specifies and will not honour the product repair. Buy the phone - but from somewhere else! BE WARNED.
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