If you’re the rugged outdoors type, you’ll want a rugged outdoors case to protect your rugged outdoors smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Active is a little tougher than your average smartphone, but that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. It’s dust proof, and water is not a problem, but in the event of a drop it’s every bit as breakable as any other smartphone. Here are a few S4 Active cases if you want to err on the side of safety.
Updated on 1-31-2014 by Simon Hill: We’ve added five new cases to the roundup from Supcase, Body Glove, Tudia, Ballistic, and Incipio.
If you hate cases that add bulk, then look away now. This a flotation case, so it surrounds your S4 Active with a thick layer of foam material that is extremely buoyant. It comes in neon blue and pink, which is a deliberate attempt to increase visibility, rather than a horrible fashion choice. There’s a practical lanyard strap in nylon securely attached to the bottom corner. This is ideal for anyone who wants to take their phone out on the water.
Ballistic SG Maxx Case ($30)
This is a seriously rugged case that offers four layers of protection and includes a molded screen protector and a holster. You’ve got a rubbery, shock absorbent inner, with really thick corners to protect the S4 Active if it falls, and then there’s a standard polycarbonate shell. Some owners have complained that the screen protector hampers touchscreen operation, so you might want to leave it off, the case still offers decent protection without it and there’s a lip to protect the screen if you place it face down. It is pretty bulky, but that’s what helps it keep your phone safe when it takes a tumble.
Body Glove DropSuit Case ($14)
Originally a wet suit manufacturer, Body Glove also does a nice line in tough, functional smartphone cases. The DropSuit looks quite chunky, but the ridges and angular corners improve grip and help to dissipate any shock from impacts. It’s made of a gel material and as a bonus it’s anti-microbial, so bacteria hasn’t got a chance, which could be a very good thing since smartphone touchscreens tend to be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Are you on a tight budget? Look no further than this simple TPU case with a matt finish and a glossy equalizer pattern on the back. It’s a flexible shell that’s soft to the touch, durable, and good for grip. There are raised edges to safeguard the screen if you place it face down and you can access all the keys and ports. It comes in purple, pink, or blue, if you don’t like black.
You get a stylish look and a premium feel at a rock bottom price with this case. The main body is tough polycarbonate and the bumper is TPU, but it’s all one-piece that snaps on fairly easily. The fit is good, and there are cut-outs for the ports, and covers for the buttons. Some owners report problems with the button covers registering unwanted presses, but you can fix this by filing the plastic nub inside down a little. It comes in a range of contrasting colors. You also get a screen protector thrown in.
Diztronic TPU Case ($10)
We’ll kick off with this cheap and cheerful TPU case from Diztronic for just $10. It’s slim and malleable, which makes it easy to fit, and it has a matte finish to prevent fingerprints or smudges. The cut-outs and button covers are precise, and this case keeps a low profile. It doesn’t improve grip and there isn’t really any protection for the face of your S4 Active, but the price is right.
The Active may be water resistant and dust proof, but it won’t take kindly to being dropped. If you want to avoid a shattered or scratched screen, then you should snag a tough case like this one from OtterBox. It offers a hard polycarbonate shell with a shock absorbing rubber layer that is reinforced at the corners to deal with the impact of falls. There’s a built-in screen protector to keep the display pristine. The holster is handy for easy carrying, and it doubles up as a kickstand.
Case Mate POP! ID Case ($35)
On top of the typical hard shell and soft interior, this case also offers a credit card or ID slot on the back. The pocket is roomy enough for a couple of cards. The textured material on the sides of the case makes it easy really easy to grip, and provide a bit of color contrast, as long as you like grey and citron, or pink and blue. All the cut-outs you need for uninterrupted operation are present and correct.
You get a lot for your money with this rugged iBlason case. An inner layer of silicone is wrapped in an outer layer of hard polycarbonate, and there’s a swiveling belt clip on the holster that the whole thing slips inside. Despite looking and feeling rugged, it is pretty lightweight. The holster and belt clip combo won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a standalone case this is still worth a look. It also features a kickstand for landscape movie viewing.
This hard, thermoplastic case comes from Samsung, so it fits the S4 Active perfectly. There’s a gloss finish with an anti-dust and fingerprint coating. It has a full complement of cut-outs for access to buttons and ports. The colored back panel bears the Samsung logo and it comes in your choice of blue, orange, or grey. It’s a pretty basic case for the price.
Abacus Wallet Case ($8)
No need for a separate wallet or purse with this case from Abacus. It flips open like a book and has a magnetic closure. Inside, there’s a cradle to hold the S4 Active and three slots for your credit cards, ID, or cash, although you might struggle to get it closed if you stuff too much in there. The exterior is cheap, synthetic leather and the case is lightweight. You can also fold it to create a stand for viewing video.
If you like Google’s Android mascot, this is the case for you. It’s a simple flexible TPU design, so it’s easy to fit and it offer basic protection from bumps and drops. There’s a full range of cut-outs and the screen is left exposed, which makes for easy operation, but also minimal protection. The main attraction is the Android mascot on the back. It is slightly transparent and comes in a wide range of colors.
Poetic Atmosphere Case ($25)
This is another simple, low profile case offering some basic protection from bumps and scratches without impairing access to your S4 Active. It combines an opaque, grey polycarbonate border with a transparent back panel made of malleable TPU. It’s easy to fit, it looks fairly stylish, and it doesn’t add much bulk.
Trident Cyclops Case ($32)
Here’s a really solid case for your S4 Active that will withstand a fair amount of jostling and bumping. It combines the tried and tested silicone inner for shock absorption with a hard polycarbonate shell. There’s also a screen protector, dust filters, and silicone plugs, so the whole device is protected. The design offers good grip and the reinforced corners are ideal for keeping your S4 Active safe if you should ever drop it. It is a pretty angular design and it inevitably adds some bulk, but that’s the price of safety. As well as the red and black combo pictured you can pick this up in plain black.
Great value on offer here – you get a flexible inner silicone layer covered by a hard shell, with a rubberized finish for better grip. There are silicone plugs covering all your buttons and cut-outs for the ports and camera. This case also features a kickstand which works for landscape or portrait view. You can get it in white and black, green and black, or plain old black. It’s a little chunky, but it is lightweight, and it will safeguard your S4 Active from impacts for a very reasonable price.
We’ve reached the end of our best Galaxy S4 Active cases list for now, but check back for new entries. If you want to recommend a case, or warn people about a bad experience, then post a comment and share.