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Tech Talk: Samsung’s water-resistant smartphone makes a splash

by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 12:00 PM

HOUSTON –- If you like going to the beach or the pool, Samsung has a smartphone for you.

The S4 Active is advertised as being water and dust resistant, and it has a protective layer on the screen to help prevent scratches. It’s based on the regular S4, which came out earlier this year.

Both phones are Android based, super fast, and sell for about $200 with a two-year contract. While the S4 is available on nearly all carriers, the S4 Active is only available through AT&T right now.

The Active model has a metal case instead of the regular S4’s plastic. Both models have extra features like a built-in TV remote and the ability to control the device without touching it.

While Active’s main camera doesn’t have as many megapixels as the regular S4, it does have something called “Aqua Mode” that helps you take photos underwater.

Now, before you dive to the bottom of a lake to make a major motion picture, keep in mind Samsung says you can only take it about three feet under water for about 30 minutes. This means if you drop it to the bottom of the pool, you better rescue it quick. The replacement cost for this phone is about $600 outright.

Where many of these waterproof or water-resistant devices fail is the battery/memory card case. If you don’t put it on right, it can leak, and very quickly your phone will die. To make it even worse, many waterproof devices’ warranties don’t cover water damage.

Both the Samsung S4 Active and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra have had complaints about the back battery case not sealing properly. My advice: don’t make it a regular habit of going underwater with it, and always make sure every little clip is properly seated on the back casing.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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