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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active feedback thread: now with challenges added!

(116 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Nov-13 14:48:58

This thread is for the very lucky 20 MNers who were selected from hundreds of you to try out the NEW Galaxy S4 Active handset from Samsung.

To check out the features of this smartphone please see here

Samsung says "We think this new handset would be great for parents. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is specifically designed to handle all aspects of modern family life - including

~ the great outdoors - with a fully sealed design that provides great protection from dust and water - you can even use the device to shoot photos and video underwater, with your results optimised by the new Aqua Mode.

~ everyday family life and all the challenges of modern family life.

~ looks and functionality - the Galaxy S4 Active also shares the Galaxy S4s slick design and useful smart services, so you can enjoy the same great style and convenience"

So testers please share - for the moment - your first impressions of the phone by answering the questions - challenges to come!

~ What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
~ What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
~ What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
~ What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?
~ What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
~ Any additional comments

Challenges will follow!

Thanks MNHQ

PS We'd love more reviews of smartphones on MN: all welcome!

MellowMarshmallow Wed 26-Mar-14 22:17:18

Help - phone is dying already. It keeps turning itself off. Even if it has 20% charge or more it will turn itself off then won't turn back on again until it has been recharged. It's done it twice today. What can I do?

MellowMarshmallow Fri 31-Jan-14 19:54:22

Glad they're sorting the phone MoogDroog.

Logged on to thread to report that this one went the way of previous phones and got dropped in a sink of water (I am very clumsy with phones).....it survived. Worked fine after drying off for a bit. That would've destroyed my HTC.

MoogDroog Fri 24-Jan-14 14:20:08

Just in case anyone else has got a dodgy battery - rang Samsung earlier and they were really helpful. Apparently there's a dodgy batch of batteries, which swell up. The guy got me to take mine or and low and behold, it's a funny shape.
Unfortunately, there's no Samsung repair place near so I'm going to have to send mine away for repair (and be without a phone for up to 10 days shock) but happy that is going to get sorted.

MoogDroog Thu 23-Jan-14 16:46:00

Plus it keeps logging me out of MN!shock

MoogDroog Thu 23-Jan-14 16:45:11

Is anyone else having major battery issues? Mine has never been great, but I'm having to charge it 3 or 4 times a day at the moment. It'll conk out when it has (supposedly) a good amount of battery left and not restart until it's plugged in whereupon it will say is totally empty.

Basically, I can't even rely on it for a full day out - for example, today I unplugged it from charge at 9am, headed out for the day. used it to check the time once or twice during the day and then it shut itself down at 3.30pm when the battery indicator was saying 50%. I'd not made calls, used the camera or anything.

MNHQ - is there anything I can do about this? If I'd got it the normal way I'd definitely be taking it back or seeing an Apple genius or whatever, but as it came direct from Samsung I'm not sure what to do. It's becoming unusable and I've got rid of my old phone. sad
I really loved it and thought I was a Samsung convert but I'd give my right leg for my duff iPhone back. sad

emblosion Fri 13-Dec-13 11:33:01

Has anyone else had a problem with the usb port? Went to charge phone this morning and the charger won't fit in the socket? Bit flummoxed as it was fine last night and nothing has happened since.

its almost as if something is stuck in there but there isn't. ..

GhostsInSnow Thu 12-Dec-13 09:47:26

I've found a new (addictive) game for mine....

Flow

It's free and one of those you can't put down. DD said 'that looks crap', tried it briefly and is now utterly addicted as well.

I've also found a beautiful live wallpaper (again free) called paperland There is a paid version as well but the free one is just as good.

Challenge 1: Take the phone out to enjoy the great outdoors (and take some photos)
I have done this a lot! As we are an outdoors orientated family. It has coped well with being bashed about in playgrounds, and while biking, running, dog walking and hiking - it's been a bit too cold for kayaking with the kids, but I have a 'phone float' so am looking forward to being able to take it n the water in summer to take photos and videos of the kids, with no fear of killing it if it gets dropped!

Challenge 2: Take a photo/video underwater/ when wet (up to one meter under water - please ensure you read about this first)
I have submerged it in the bath with no harm done to it, but found it had to take a photo while doing this - I suspect user error if I'm honest! But it wasn't as intuitive with this feature as it is to use on all the other modes.

Challenge 3: Test it with the kids challenge 1: ask your DC to (for the purposes of this) drop it on the floor (not throw), ask your toddler to give it a chew or even - if you're feeling brave, 'accidentally' drop it in the bath/ (clean) loo
It has been dropped my both DC and myself, all accidentally! In fact that is probably one of the few things I don't lie about the phone is how slippery it was out of the box! I have since bought a Zaggs Invisible Shin and it is now really good to hold. It has survived being licked by a toddler (not bitten thank goodness - she gets pretty hungry!) and being played with in the bath.

Challenge 4: Test it with the kids challenge 2: ask your DC to drop it into their dinner or smear it with food covered hands
This happened while baking cakes - 3 year old decided to check the recipe (on phone) while stirring the cake batter - no prizes for guessing what happened next. Phone survived as good as new after a quick wash, was even able to use a bit of Fairy liquid to make sure it was squeaky clean!

Challenge 5: Story Album: Test out the feature called Story Album, take some photos/videos over the testing period and create a photo album
I have used this but judging by what some of the other posters have written I obviously haven't clicked on how to use it well. I found it easy to put together, but then couldn't change the pages to display as I would have preferred them to. It would have been easier for me to use this on a 'add page by page' basis with the option of choosing the type of page then inserting the photos into it one by one. I will have to go back and try this again I think!

Challenge 6: Use on the go: how well does it cope with a family day out or during every day life for you at work?
It works brilliantly. I love being able to go for a run in the rain and use it as an MP3 player without worrying about it getting wet. I love that if my toddler spills a drink near it I am sanguine. I love being able to answer the phone if someone calls me when it's raining!

It did rather eat batteries when I first started using it, but I have since turned off vibration and it's much much better. I am a heavy user of camera and internet and the battery normally lasts me until 7-8pm - my last phone was dying by 4pm.

I really like it, and am super grateful to be given the chance to test it - many thanks to both Samsung and Mumsnet.

BEEwitched Mon 02-Dec-13 14:17:37

My phone eats emails - there were a few emails that I needed that contain links, e.g. to the review thread for this phone, and they've gone poof. I know I haven't deleted them.

The 'one week ago' tab contains 3 emails. So that's a lot of emails it has just decided to delete.

Not helped by the fact that for the last month This phone has been my only way to get online. (Grrr, BT)

HowardTJMoon Sun 01-Dec-13 22:41:18

Challenge 1: Take the phone out to enjoy the great outdoors (and take some photos)
It is good outdoors as the screen's nice and bright so you can see it in almost any situation. The GPS is much quicker to get a lock than my old Galaxy S2 as well (which is very handy when I get lost!) The camera's not bad but doesn't cope that well with poor light. The various options for action shots are really useful for keeping up with the DCs.

Challenge 2: Take a photo/video underwater/ when wet (up to one meter under water - please ensure you read about this first)
I had to force myself to deliberately dunk it in the sink - it just doesn't seem right... I think the phone coped better with this than I did!

Challenge 3: Test it with the kids challenge 1: ask your DC to (for the purposes of this) drop it on the floor (not throw)
I thought about this but then I decided I didn't want to encourage my DCs to lob electronic devices around. And, anyway, I'd already dropped it myself onto the stone floor in the kitchen (usually a cause of instant tinkly death for anything at all fragile) and it survived perfectly ok.

Challenge 4: Test it with the kids challenge 2: ask your DC to drop it into their dinner or smear it with food covered hands
They're a bit old for that but it did cope well with being splattered with flour and egg while making a cake and listening to a podcast (it's got a good loud speaker on it). Being able to safely wipe it down with a damp cloth makes it much more practical.

Challenge 5: Story Album: Test out the feature called Story Album
It was ok. I think it needs a bit more flexibility over layout options, background colours etc.

Challenge 6: Use on the go: how well does it cope with a family day out or during every day life for you at work?
It works superbly. I use my phone a lot at work for taking notes, keeping up with emails and checking my calendar. I've also started doing a Masters recently and I've been using Google Keep and Google Drive to keep track of notes and research literature. The ability to have two different apps on-screen at the same time has been a real boon for this. And as an every-day phone to use when out with my DCs it's great, too, as I don't have to worry about if it will get damaged by going anywhere wet.

GhostsInSnow Fri 29-Nov-13 15:37:17

Challenge 2: Take a photo/video underwater/ when wet

I didn't enjoy this challenge in the slightest because every part of me was screaming 'phones don't go in water!!' I filled the bath (cold water) and attempted to take a few shots under water. They came out brilliantly actually, though it's not an exercise I'll be repeating. Photography in the rain, yes, actual underwater, not that brave twice!

Challenge 5: Story Album: Test out the feature called Story Album, take some photos/videos over the testing period and create a photo album

I've been working in a disused factory this week, which has been incredibly fascinating. I've used the story album feature as I've gone along day to day adding different pictures to it as I've explored different areas of the factory. It's actually taken some outstanding shots. I am lucky enough to have a big SLR camera which I took along with me one day as well and the photos the Active took were easily as good as my Canon, especially in darker areas. Very impressed!

Challenge 6: Use on the go: how well does it cope with a family day out or during every day life for you at work?

As I said above this week I've been dumped into a disused factory where the school I work at recently used one of the outbuildings to house an art exhibition. My job was to pack up the works and catalogue everything. The building I have been in is VERY cold and as the factory originally made pottery it's very dusty as well. I've come home at night with myself and my phone covered in the white dust that coats everything on site. I've been able to take a damp cloth, wipe it down and it's as good as new.
As I've been working on my own all week I've been using the phone to listen to my music and it's been great not to have to take off my gloves to change tracks, text DH etc.
Any other handset I think I'd have been worried about the dust and cold but the Active just seems designed for it. Brilliant!

alemci Fri 29-Nov-13 12:14:41

Challenge 1: Take the phone out to enjoy the great outdoors (and take some photos)

Took some photos outside of our house (not feeling well) and it was very easy to use and easy to look at on the gallery. Have also used the storybook feature to group photos together. I like it and again easy to use.

Challenge 2: Take a photo/video underwater/ when wet

I ran the phone under the tap and took a picture then dried it off and it works fine.

Challenge 3: Test it with the kids challenge 1: ask your DC to (for the purposes of this) drop it on the floor (not throw), ask your toddler to give it a chew or even - if you're feeling brave, 'accidentally' drop it in the bath/ (clean) loo*

I have accidentally dropped the phone a couple of times and it is like new. It has no screen saver but the screen is still remarkably clear and clean.

Challenge 4: Test it with the kids challenge 2: ask your DC to drop it into their dinner or smear it with food covered hands

I have used the phone to look up a recipe and then used it instead of a book. It did get a bit gunky but was easy to wipe clean afterwards.

Challenge 5: Story Album: Test out the feature called Story Album, take some photos/videos over the testing period and create a photo album

I photographed the guinea pig and made a story book. He is now a screen saver.

Challenge 6 Use on the go: how well does it cope with a family day out or during every day life for you at work?

I have found the phone very useful. It doesn't keep locking like my old handset. I like the organiser page and have made good use of that. Texting is so easy but I am not sure about the keypad as it is a bit fiddly. I can't work out how to change it. also good to use on ebay for taking photographs and uploading.

i am delighted with the phone. Many thanks.

magentastardust Thu 28-Nov-13 23:19:45

Anyone had any problems with calls-I have had people twice say that they have heard echoing when they call me.

I have googled and people say it is a hardwear or software problem!

I did also find a recommendation to take the case of my phone as that can cover the NR microphone and cause this problem. I have done this and it has seemed to improve but obviously it isn't very handy not to have a protective cover on.

YeahBuddy Thu 28-Nov-13 21:12:03

I had a play about with the story album thing today. It's a nice little feature and incredibly easy to use but I can't see me using it that often to be honest. Still, the camera has got to be the best thing about this phone - I no longer need to take a separate camera out with me!

Went for quite a long nature walk with the dts at the weekend and used the phone for geocaching (which I am totally rubbish at as it turns out!) I was secretly hoping it would rain so I could test it but no joy hmm Anyway, will be taking it to the farm next week so I may get a goat to give it a little nibble grin

I think I have covered all of the challenges now. Oh and just as an add-on, the big screen has been Particularly valuable to me this week for checking out all of the black friday deals on Amazon!!

DoItTooJulia England Wed 27-Nov-13 21:44:45

So challenges, finally.

It's been dropped an variety of floors and survived even the tiled floor (gulp)!

The kids dinner was indeed smeared all over the phone. No adverse affects at all, even when I wiped it clean.

Haven't done underwater yet, but I will and will feedback.

The camera is brilliant, great quality pictures. The story album is an interesting feature, like a mini movie maker!

It's been chewed, chucked about and generally at the mercy of the kids and totally survived!

It's been out in the great outdoors too and merrily coped. We took a group selfie in the woods that was a huge facebook hit with our family!

I can't get it work with the gloves on feature though.

I'm loving it, it's a great handset.

BEEwitched Tue 26-Nov-13 15:41:27

Still happy with mine, sometimes the screen can be a little unresponsive, though. Clicking links is sometimes not so easy.

And yes, I find the settings a bit tricky to navigate!

Mine has stopped automatically locking, I'm having to remember to press the on/off button else it stays lit up on whatever screen it was last on. Can't find anything in settings for this? It's killing my battery and as it's so bloody easy to knock one of the buttons in my pocket and not realise.

alemci Sun 24-Nov-13 19:32:55

ok it seemed to work for me.smile that volume button has alot to answer for

MellowMarshmallow Sun 24-Nov-13 18:27:13

In case anyone else has the same problem - it was the bloody volume button again. Push + for bigger text and - for smaller while in the messaging app.

MellowMarshmallow Sun 24-Nov-13 18:24:31

Thanks jellybaby - didn't work though. Off to consult Google.

Indith Sun 24-Nov-13 15:02:37

Think this should finish off my challenge feedback.

1 and 6. Great outdoors and on the go/everyday life.

Rugby today. a few nice pictures before ds2 have up and screamed at me till the end of the session. It was cold, damp and muddy so was glad I didn't need to worry about dropping phone etc. photos are nice, thecamera sends really good and captures colour well. used sport mode on running around dd and she is sharp and in focus.

For everyday life phone is a good workhorse. Don't have to be precious about it. good camera so while it can't totally replace a separate camera, even a pretty basic point and shoot or does mean that it matters less if I forget camera on a day out. I know I will still have good pictures.

re the photo book thing, I can see why it might be nice to use it on the phone a bit too have themes of photos to flick through ora holiday album but I can't see myself orderingprinted versions of anything due to lack of facilities, gig can order photos how you like and so on.

Good planner so all diary appointments, childcare times etc are in there with reminders set. I don't use the health thing. Phone is too big to keep in pocket all the time. I'm not a glued to my phone sport of person but I am using run keeper and enjoying taking phone on runs and listening to music while the gos maps my run for me.

It can be a bit slow to grab and open iyswim by the tune you have got it, pressed the button to wake the screen then fine your password or pattern.

side buttons still a bit annoying, to sensitive and in the way. volume easy to hit. often find my volume vanishes while I'm listening to music if phone in pocket. I think sometimes screen goes Black but not locked or something, I sometimes get phone out of pocket to find it is on a screen or has gone into an app or the contacts list. Only a matter of time before I accidentally call someone.

I do really like it though overall. robust, easy to useand looks good. screen is fab to, pictures and videos look great on it.

jellybabyanyone Sun 24-Nov-13 11:46:51

yes mine went like that. went into settings in accessories i think and there was a normal font size. I don't even know how I changed it.

Indith Sat 23-Nov-13 20:13:13

in the bath reading on kindle app. dd comes down needing a poo and ordered me to make sure our was still waterproof grin . It is still waterproof. Not that I tried to take pictures, nobody needs to see underwater pictures of my fanjo.

day 1 of weekend over with me feeling like crap. Rugby tomorrow though so that should provide some so weather conditions family day out and photos to finish our challenges.

MellowMarshmallow Sat 23-Nov-13 10:13:58

help!!! Somehow the sceen on text messages has zoomed in so writing is so huge its difficult to read the message. how do I make it normal again.

<sidles furtively into thread>

Sorry sorry sorry that this has taken so long, have had a illness run with the kids and was so shattered I just couldn't make two brain cells work together for long enough to write something coherent. Had a decent nights sleep last night and finally have rediscovered my will to live!

What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
I had a Samsung Galaxy S2, which I loved loved loved when it first came out, but slowly as it got more and more outdated it was a bit slow and frustrating when trying to run new apps - especially really large ones like Simpsons Tapped Out which I am addicted to play occasionally.

What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
Despite the fact that it seemed only a bit bigger than the Galaxy S2, the screen was much much larger - as I use the phone for reading threads on Mumsnet browsing the Internet a lot, that has made a big difference to me comfort-wise. I was surprised that I could still hold and operate it comfortably one-handedly, and thought it looked really 'solid' and yet felt really light.

What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
After I found out I'd been selected, I read a fair few reviews on the internet, a lot of which compared the screen unfavourably to the other Samsung phones. I was mentally prepared to be a bit disappointed with it, but instead I found I liked it more than the standard S4 one (which a friend has). It is brighter and sharper in daylight than hers.

What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?
I have done a lot of Xmas shopping! The internet loaded fast, the screen was easy to use. I have also taken a lot of photos, trying to use a few different options out. I have really enjoyed the 'drama' option, took some really cool photos of cars in the recent WRC rally, and my toddler loves the animated photo of her on her bike. I have tried the camera out in the bath with her, it successfully went underwater without dying (I was so nervous trying it!) but I couldn't get it to take a photo! I suspect user error as I wasn't sure which button to press - I intend to read the manual before trying again!

Games have loaded fast and been easy to see in a variety of different light conditions. I have also enjoyed being able to use it while out with the dog for a (very wet!) walk without worrying about dropping it or the rain getting to it.

What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
I really really like this phone. It hasn't yet had a screen protector or cover on it, as I'm trying to review it 'as is' for a bit, so that people can see what it's like out of the box. As I said earlier, it feels solid and well made, and yet is very light and comfortable to use. Big big thumbs up here.

Any additional comments
I really really like it! I have done some of the challenges as well, but will upload those on a separate post (and a seperate day! as this one is mammoth and I need to get tomorrow's tea organised!

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