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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Our rating: 4

Introduction



The Galaxy S4 is, of course, the successor to the Galaxy S3. It's the tough sequel to a phone that have sold +50 million units. Given that many of the current smartphone users are, hence, in the Samsung S eco system, it isn’t hard to figure out, that this most definitely will be a top-seller as well.



The problem for Samsung is, however, that the whole picture of Samsung vs. Apple is becoming more and more blurred due to a lot of great contenders. Just to name a few: HTC One and Sony Xperia Z (which we’ve reviewed). These phones are as good (let’s cut to the chase) as the Galaxy S4 so it’s pretty much a matter of taste in looks and Android skin.



Compared to Galaxy S3



Even though the S4 is pretty much packed in the same body as the S3, the interior and screen has gotten a grateful overhaul – mostly the screen though. Even though the phones have more or less the same dimensions, the screen is bigger (at 5 inches compared to 4.7 in the S3) and is packed with a 1080p panel. When reviewing the Sony Xperia Z that has the same specs, I became convinced that this really is the new standard – and probably will be for some time. It’s awesome to look at and has the ability to show (due to the 441 ppi) a lot of useful information.



When talking about the body in which packs the goods, this might be the biggest weakness compared to the S3. The reason is, that the look a lot like each other. Too much. The problem, however, is actually more of a common problem with Samsung phones than an isolated S3/S4 weakness. It seems that Samsung are having difficulties making a phone that, from a build quality perspective, stands out from – or at least matches – other hi-end smartphones of 2013, such as the iPhone 5, the Xperia Z and the HTC One.



If exteriors are ignored, this is a new phone from a to z compared to the S3.



Features



Today, a phone is much more than calling and texting. It’s also e-mailing, web browsing, games and social networking. Roughly spoken, that’s pretty much it. The trends among smart phone makers are, apparently, not to up the hardware specs or the general ease of use. It’s adding a bunch of features that, as innovative as they might be, end up not being used by 98% of the consumers, because they are non-intuitive, hard to use or you end up looking like a god damn douchebag using them. Samsung has fallen into this hole. I mean, how often do you ride the bus or walk the streets waving at your phone to make it do stuff? Never, right? Not even if you could, I guess.



As you might have guessed, Samsung Galaxy S4 has a lot of features – and I won’t list them here. You will not miss any if you buy the phone. Brewing a perfectly done cappuccino with a latte-art heart would be nice though. I’m anxiously hoping that the S5 will have this feature.



Conclusion



The S4 is regarded a killer phone. And it probably is. I expect it to be an S3 on adrenalin. Having tried both the Galaxy S3 and the Xperia Z I would go for the Xperia Z due to one simple reason: the UI. The Android skin that Sony has created is awesome and I was beginning to think that Samsungs TouchWiz was a bit outdated. The update, however, seems to be good in every way – even though it isn’t only good to add tons of features just to…add…tons of features.



Our score? A good 4.0




Pros and cons

  • Quad-band 3G and 4G LTE

  • 5 inches, 1080p display packed in a compact body

  • Smooth, fast and powerful

  • Great camera for still photos

  • Huge 2,600 mAh battery that suits the specs

  • Super-customizable UI due to Samsung's new TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0

  • Design is kinda outdated and feels rather cheap (although very slim at 7.9 mm)

  • The amount of features will frigthen some

  • Video performance on par with the S3

Samsung Galaxy S4
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Specifications
Type Smartphone
Camera 13 mp, secondary: 2 mp.
Operating System Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Storage 16/32/64 GB internal + microSD (max 64 GB)
Video Recording 1080p@30fps
Display Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (441 ppi pixel density). Super AMOLED.
Weight 130 g (4.59 oz)
Browser HTML5
CPU Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
FM Radio None
Data GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB
Music Playback MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC
Video Playback MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263
Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm (5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 in)
Battery Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery. Stand-by: Up to 370 h (3G). Talk time: Up to 17 h (3G). Music play: Up to 62 h
Link Official Samsung website


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