An alleged AT&T employee has posted an urgent warning to Reddit and the XDA Developers forum urging consumers to stay away from the purportedly waterproof Galaxy S4 Active, noting that its rubber USB door can be easily flooded with water when submerged. What’s more, he strives in his post to make it abundantly clear that “The warranty does not, I repeat, does not cover water!”
Using the throwaway username ‘S4ActiveWarning’ and alleging that he could be fired if his identity were revealed, the user detailed his experience with the device after purchasing one last Thursday. After testing the S4 Active camera’s ‘Aqua Mode’ by submerging it in his fishtank and getting a darker than usual picture, he retook it under sunnier conditions earlier today:
“I ensured the back was secure, yes, including pressing down on the back where the AT&T logo is,” wrote the Redditor. “I then submerged the phone in the tank while taking the video. Almost instantly the phone screen went black and said dock mode was enabled so I took the phone out of the water and everything went back to normal. I double checked the USB rubber to be sure. I just chalked it up to the phone doing crazy things in the water. I have read almost everywhere that the phone will say headphones are plugged in, etc. So I thought this was normal. I then put it back in and took a minute long video. Everything was fine. I even played back the video and it was fully working.”
“This is where everything went wrong,” he continued. “About 2 minutes later the phone started tweaking out, Google now opened on its own and the buttons were really sensitive. Then the buttons completely stopped working other than the power button and that’s when I freaked out. I opened the battery cover and there it was, everything was soaked. but luckily none of the water damage indicators were colored. I then opened the USB door and it was like a fountain, so that’s where the breach happened. The flimsy, rubber USB door. I did not tell a soul what happened and went back to work and swapped it for a regular Galaxy S4.”
Earlier on in the post, he mentions a customer who had similar issues.. He even goes out of his way to assuage any doubt that the device isn’t actually supposed to be waterproof with this passage: “Also, before anyone says well, you aren’t really supposed to be using it in the water, you are wrong. The first thing we are trained on is how to properly close the back cover and how to show the customers Aqua mode to take pictures underwater. We actively use this as a main selling point, this is per Samsung.”
This is just one of the commercials AT&T has used to advertise the GS4 Active. Samsung also encourages underwater use. The phone has an Aqua Mode in its camera app and when unveiled, Samsung executives showed off how well it works completely underwater.
Note from the Editor (Jeffrey Van Camp): We’ve reached out to AT&T and Samsung and will update this post when we hear back from them. We submerged our review unit several times and did not experience this issue, though, as with any of these waterproof products, one plug gone awry could flood the unit. We are looking into the warranty.