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Comparison – Samsung Galaxy S4 Active vs Galaxy S4

Usually when we compare ruggedised versions of the same phones, one can usually expect their favourite device wrapped in hard plastic shell which turns the device into a giant, bulky unpocketable device. However, with the advent of phones like the Xperia Z, manufacturers have taken another look at building rugged devices. Specifically, the phones are built to withstand the elements but still retain their initial sleekness, namely the Galaxy S4 and its ruggedised twin brother the Galaxy S4 Active.

Usability

While none of the specs on the S4 Active are yet confirmed, it seems from the get-go that they may have very similar specs. So let’s focus on the differences here instead – from the initial shots and various reports.

The Active will have a metal chassis bolted on the back phone presumably to increase its toughness. Furthermore, the S4 Active has is IP57 certified, meaning it will be both water and dust resistant. And did we mention it has a hot-rod red chassis? The ruggedised device will come hardware buttons instead of capacitive keys, although it is not mentioned why.

Under the hood though, they are practically the same phone with a 4.99-inch screen, 16GB internal memory with an expandable microSD slot.

However, unlike the octa-cored Galaxy S4, the S4 Active comes with a quad-core processor, ostensibly to make way for the ruggedised elements inside the phone. Both phones still come with 2GB of RAM. That aside both S4s support the usual medley of connectivity, from HSPA to Near Field Communication (NFC).

Galaxy-S4-active-vs-Galaxy-S4

Software

Both phones are likely to sports the current JellyBean build. So expects all the Android bells and whistle along with an improved  functionality and performance of the user interface. The performance improvement involves “Project Butter”, which uses touch anticipation, triple buffering, and extended vsync timing and a fixed frame rate of 60 fps to create a fluid and “buttery-smooth” UI.

Presumably, Samsung will throw its feature filled TouchWiz UI on top the S4 Active – in which case you’ll get to enjoy the medley of features on the S4 too.

For example, Samsung’s Smart Pause/Smart Scroll – Smart Pause can recognise when you look away from a video and pause it automatically. On the other hand, Smart Scroll uses wrist action combined with the guessing if you’re looking on the device and adjusts scrolling accordingly.

Samsung also included the S Health, which monitors activity levels through the smartphone’s sensors. True to the Life Companion motto that Samsung is going for this time around, the S Health also keeps track of your optimum weight and walking distance, should you intend on working out.

Camera

Here is another area the S4 Active has to make a compromise, the rugged device comes with an 8-megapixel camera instead of a 13-megapixel one on the Galaxy S4. We expect the same amount of enhancements on both cameras though. Both devices come equipped with front-facing 2-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video.

Verdict

With the ruggedised elements on the S4 Active, the device takes a hit on its processor and its imager. Both are dialed down to help defend the phone against the elements. So are you willing to buy an S4 that can take a pounding, but forego the top of the line hardware that S4 rocks? Or will you simply buy a protective cover and take a chance with the flagship features.

The table below highlights the different specs of Galaxy S4 Active and Samsung Galaxy S4 .

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