Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active (AT&T)
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active (AT&T)

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is obviously a great phone. We said as much in our Galaxy S 4 review and more than 10 million units sold makes that abundantly clear. But could the phone be better? What if there was a way to keep the same 5-inch 1080p HD display and expansive software package but still have an exterior stronger than the glossy plastic currently seen on the device? The Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active means you no longer have to ask “what if” – it’s already happened.

Samsung gave us a chance to briefly play with the Galaxy S 4 Active, the ruggedized version of its flagship phone, which immediately made us wonder if the Galaxy S 4 Active is better than the Galaxy S 4. It’s too early to answer that question, but upon first impression, it’s understandable that some people might reach that conclusion. For starters, the Galaxy S 4 Active doesn’t make many internal hardware compromises like most rugged phones. Just like the Galayxy S 4, it has a 5-inch 1080p HD display, though it uses a high-quality LCD rather than Super AMOLED. There’s no sacrifice in terms of quality, it just has a different color profile. There’s also 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a Touchwiz-infused version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

The only real sacrifice made for the Galaxy S 4 Active is the 8-megapixel camera, a numeric downgrade from the 13-megapixel seen in the standard Galaxy S 4, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the final product isn’t good. The design is not as smooth as the Galaxy S 4 because though the glossy plastic back has that fine honeycomb appearance, it has exposed bolts, rougher plastic materials, and concealed ports designed to ensure waterproofing.

Here’s a video comparing the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the Galaxy S 4 Active from a superficial standpoint. Take a look and decide if this is something you’d pay AT&T $199.99 to have or if the original Galaxy S 4 is worth keeping.

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By Andrew Kameka