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Samsung Galaxy S 4 specs review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 specs review
Samsung Galaxy S 4 finally became official during a pompous Radio City Music Hall unveiling ceremony, and most of the rumored specs and features turned out to be correct.

The company prides itself in the differentiation the AMOLED screen technology brings to its high-ends, and it has indeed achieved the unthinkable this time around - a five-inch panel with the amazing for OLED screen 440ppi pixel density. Woot. Samsung trashed a football field worth of display glass to achieve the HD resolution in the S III, so we can imagine nobody has been walking barefooted around the R&D labs last year as well while achieving this breakthrough.

Another component we are most interesting about is the newest Exynos 5 Octa chip, which many rumors pointed wasn't ready for gadget prime time, but Samsung seems to have overcome the power envelope difficulties, and the international Galaxy S 4 version will indeed be shipping with its octo-core processor, but let's dig in a bit further in the overall specs sheet, shall we?


Well, it's a polycarbonate plastic that we got for the chassis of the Galaxy S 4 again, like it or leave it. Using plastic for a phone's body has its advantages and disadvantages, yet in a big-screen device the pros outweigh the cons in terms of overall weight and added flexibility. Samsung added a faux brushed metal band around the sides, and that's that.

For those who were waiting for a major redesign, this won't be it, as the phone looks like an S III, rounded corners and all, but it is amazingly compact for a 5-incher, at 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm in size and 130g. It has a more narrow bezel, which helps with one-handed navigation, though it is still a large-screen device, so we don't expect any thumb coverage wonders in that respect. The fact that Samsung managed to cram the 5" panel into a body shorter, slimmer, and only slightly wider than the already compact HTC One, for instance, is pretty remarkable. Black Myst and White Frost are the colors when the S 4 hits shelves in April.

The chassis is patterned in a fish-skin motif of sorts, and the inevitable physical home key that has become a staple for the Galaxy line heritage, sits promptly below the large display. Again, the design paradigm isn't going to knock your socks off, as it's by now become a recognizable feature of Samsung's Galaxy S high-ends, but you get a swappable 2600 mAh battery and a microSD slot, which in this day and age is nothing to scoff at, plus you get an IR blaster at the top for controlling your TV, and a bucket of sensors, including a temperature one.


Samsung seems to have spent most of its project time dedicated to the Galaxy S 4 cracking the code of producing AMOLED displays with Full HD 1080x1920 pixels of resolution, and the 5" panel is the best mobile OLED display it's put into production. The PenTile matrix Samsung has used before to achieve high pixel densities with its Super AMOLED screens, is said to give way to a diamond-shaped matrix, which has the required number of subpixels per pixels for the image, and especially solid colors, not to look funky under a close screen purist scrutiny. 

In fact the arrangement does look funky, but only under a microscope, compared to the standard RGB stripe you are accustomed to. Samsung's OLED panels barely budge above 400 nits, and judging from the screen comparison shots below, the S 4 will again rely on low screen reflectance for good outdoor visibility under direct sunshine.

source: IT168

The alleged use of PHOLED diodes for the green and red pixels, but a traditional fluorescent one for longer life of the blues, is supposed to bring up to 30% lower power consumption, despite the high resolution, but only independent tests will confirm the true battery endurance levels.

And, since it is an OLED display, you are getting the extreme viewing angles and deep blacks we all know and love. Saturation level still seems high, which many like, while the new diode materials and layout method, as well as likely better calibration, seem to have brought on warmer colors this time, as Samsung's OLED displays typically exhibited cold casts and bluish whites before.

The display supports Floating Touch, which senses the disturbance in the field above it brought on by your finger before it even touches the panel, so you can highlight web links or preview photo album content without even laying your digit on the screen - good when your hands are elbow-deep in the KFC bucket, and there is no napkin around.

Processor and memory

Two versions of the Galaxy S 4 are in the cards - one with 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, which will grace US carriers, and one with Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa internationally. Qualcomm integrates the LTE baseband radio in its Snapdragon SoCs directly and has tested the filters extensively with US carrier networks on its home turf, which explains to a great extent why Samsung went with the tried-and-true in the world's most visible mobile device market. If you want to glimpse at the internals, the Exynos 5 Octa gets to be seen in flesh for the first time in the slideshow below, and that stacked camera sensor has the makings of Sony's Exmor RS, while Qualcomm, Intel and Broadcom are also making a cameo.

Snapdragon 600 has more power in it than Android and apps currently even need, given that phones with it consistently top 12 000 points on the Quadrant test, so no complaints. The larger mystery remains Exynos 5 Octa, which Samsung has clocked at 1.6 GHz in the S 4. It utilizes ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, and is built around four low-power Cortex-A7 cores for the mundane tasks like standby or UI navigation, and four Cortex-A15 ones for the heavy lifting, that's why it is labeled an octo-core chip, which is technically true, but in reality it will never power all eight cores at once, and max them out. With a quad-core PowerVR SGX544 GPU inside, the Exynos 5 Octa is blazing through graphics loads, too, and you can watch the video demo Samsung did for us of all the new features on a reference board below:

Samsung has placed the now-standard for a flagship 2 GB of DDR3 RAM in the handset, and will out it starting at 16 GB of internal storage, with a 32 GB version available, too, but you also get a microSD card slot under the hood for storage expansion, so no complaints here either.


Samsung has gone all-out against the current flagships by Sony and LG with a 13 MP shooter of its own, placed on the back of the Galaxy S 4. So far it's been using Sony sensors, so if this is again the case this time around, we are inclined to believe an Exmor RS sensor is making a cameo in the handset, which would mean hardwired HDR video capture will be added, but since the lens and software processing count, too, we'd wait on judgment after the first samples trickle down, though you can see some trial ones below. There is no optical image stabilization, like in the Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC One, so it seems that if Samsung has hardware camera innovations in store for its flagships, they'll make way to future handsets, rather than the S IV.

The 2 MP frontal camera is capable of Full HD recording for video chat, too, but it also serves one very important function - it processes your eye and head movements for added gesture control. The eye-tracking allows the phone to pause the video currently played when you glance away from the display, called SmartPause, and you can also scroll and swipe with just palm movements. Again, nifty during KFC binges on the couch.

All in all, Samsung has managed to produce a unique display, and nobody can take that away from the Galaxy S 4. Given that you spend the vast majority of interaction time with your phone staring at a screen, we'd wager to say that the S 4 is a pretty good upgrade to its predecessor. The specs, however, are only bringing it in line with the rest of the flagships from the likes of Sony and LG, so the ultimate judge whether Samsung has managed to slap together a compelling for 2013 package will be the exhaustive reviews, and then the sales numbers.

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posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:10 8

2. Hamdan (Posts: 15; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)

Design is so so disappointing .. But feature wise no one can beat that beast

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:21 11

26. doejon (Posts: 398; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)

i love samsung 4 its software! its not the best looking phone and it is a good looking phone withe the best softwarefeatures at the time

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:43 1

57. dynamo.one (Posts: 63; Member since: 14 Feb 2013)

The battleground is ready...now we must wait for the last member. ..the motorola x!

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 03:15

93. KennethP4V (Posts: 33; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)

dude doejon ur comment wouldnt even count cuss ur obviously korean. Im sure all koreans feel proud of samsung, so regardless, you will still say it is the best. Samsung just love making people feel that they innovate, lets be realistic not even. The s translator is for sure based on google translator ideology and technology. S beam built on android beam. Tell me which killer feature is exactly samsung's original idea? just the idea of putting the s on all devices or feature such as s voice, s drive, s translator, i can already say that samsung stole apple's idevices idea.

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 06:46

98. Hamdan (Posts: 15; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)

Kenneth yeah you are rite about 'S' but the multiwindow was a real innovation which I personally love it.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 21:33

79. pyradark (Posts: 854; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

what happen when the beast break or drown in the water.
Oppss Dead hahaha

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 06:49

99. Hamdan (Posts: 15; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)

Then his little bro XZ will come to the rescue :P

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 17:15

101. tolu01 (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Let be real here,we are all disappointed because we expected way too much from Sammy..bt to come to think of it,ignoring d build quality d htc one is not much powerful than d s iv

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 17:20

102. tolu01 (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

This is so funny because most of you crucifying the galaxy s4 for it build all use cases for your phones

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:11 7

3. BackHandLegend (Posts: 80; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)

I don't want to hear anyone bitch unless they planned on buying it.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 20:32

77. bayusuputra (Posts: 962; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

I'm not gonna bitch, cus I don't even plan on buying this..

I'm just gonna laugh.. so hard.. on the floor.. rolling..

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 02:44 2

90. BackHandLegend (Posts: 80; Member since: 15 Dec 2012)

Its so dumb. People are all "yeah dude the design is so Galaxy s 3 ish, I don't like it, etc..." yet they weren't going to buy it in the first place. :|

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:11 3

5. moe53 (Posts: 8; Member since: 12 Mar 2013)

powerfull phone, prefer the htc one though

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:16 1

16. chistoefurpuffer (Posts: 140; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

I would, but it has a terrible UI.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:11 14

6. cR203 (Posts: 201; Member since: 27 Jan 2013)

The s4 is incredible. Samsung did a great job with this phone despite what all the hater have to say.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:17 8

19. chistoefurpuffer (Posts: 140; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

Agreed. It's pathetic how there's so much hate just because it's built with high quality plastic. Other than the cheesy show, the s4 seems completely amazing.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:42 3

52. Hemlocke (unregistered)

"High-quality plastic"? The Lumia 920 uses that (dyed, milled from a solid block). Thin, painted plastic is hardly "high quality."

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 21:44 1

81. 90ninjas (unregistered)

Just because one carves and the other molds the same plastic makes it different?

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 00:56

87. Hemlocke (unregistered)

Yes. Casting a solid piece that is the same color throughout, then milling that make a much more durable, and higher quality, body than some flimsy sheet that is painted.

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 02:34

89. chistoefurpuffer (Posts: 140; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

It's not any other type of plastic. Samsung obviously would of taken note on the flimsy back cover everyone complained about. If you even bothered to watch some hands-on reviews of the phone, then you would notice that lots of them say it feels sturdy. Sturdier than the s3.

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 03:13 1

92. Dynamac (Posts: 23; Member since: 01 Dec 2012)

I'm sorry but 920 is 180 friggin grams. I have a phone for carrying it around (read "MOBILE"), I'd much prefer to have it made of paper and be very light than 180 grams.

Also HTC + Lumia, great material yes, but no microSD or battery, that's wayyy too much sacrifice just for building material. I battery swap almost everyday (desk charger) and I wouldn't buy a smartphone without being able to, doesn't matter what brand. People completely forget these things and always just talk about build quality...pfff....its a phone not a LV bag.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:23 3

28. samsunggalaxylover (Posts: 37; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)

I'm a number one samsung fan, but with such phone I'll never think of even looking at any of their products.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:11 3

7. alfiehp21 (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)

As a Galaxy S3 owner, i found myself with mixed feelings right now!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:42

53. dherteux (Posts: 5; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)

have a Note 2 and I am in the same boat. I hope some of the cool software makes it our way.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:46

61. elmersunyc (Posts: 17; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Me too! Sold my S3 already and now I am stuck with deciding between the HTC ONE and the S4. The thing is that if I still have the S3 I probably wouldn't go for an upgrade till 2014. No offense! Samsung could have done better!

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 03:18

94. Dynamac (Posts: 23; Member since: 01 Dec 2012)

Can you honestly go from an AMOLED back to LCD? I keep thinking I should change and HTC looks great, but whenever I look at even a high quality LCD vs amoled I just smile inside knowing that amoled looks soooo much better. Not to mention replaceable battery and mSD slot.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:12 16

8. SamsungDroid (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Confimed! This is my next phone. Good job Samsung, you never dissappointed me.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:13 14

10. abdane (Posts: 494; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

What a beast !!! better than both the One and Xperia Z, and probably the iPhone 5S. Haters gonna hate...

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:16 11

17. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

That's right Bro: Haters gonna HATE!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 20:13 3

72. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

lol, its a fact... GSIV is ugly, should've called it GSIIIS instead of GSIV ... and i do agree if you mean its a beast as in beauty and the beast... HTC is way better, but i'll still thanks sammy, now i can be 100% sure to buy a HTC One

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 03:33

95. chistoefurpuffer (Posts: 140; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

And here's the hater! :D

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 12:06

100. donfem (Posts: 646; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

Haven't bought the HTC, yet it is "way" better. How come? Build? You probably might like but features... my word

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 21:21

103. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

do you live in a la la land where there are no internet? there are so much review of the One. you can learn from that. or maybe you're a poor blind guy? or maybe an imbecile that can't understand those reviews?
besides, hier in Germany HTC One is already on the market.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:14 9

11. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Meet the beast. Respect Samsung. Say what you feel, it's gonna sell MILLIONS!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:15 1

12. bvalde09 (Posts: 181; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Mmmmm I guess isnt what I was expecting. I was expecting a new look. I mean It looks like the s3 but the specs are superb. I was thinking into buy the s4 but right now I guess I will have to wait for the Note 3. Or buy the Note 2 once again. Im somehow dissapointed.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:15 8

14. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

Thinner, lighter, SMALLER than S3 yet twice as powerful, with bigger screen and 2600mah battery and better camera.

That's a downright impressive hardware achievement by any measure.

It may look the same, but it's a FAR more advanced piece of tech

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:44 2

58. dherteux (Posts: 5; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)

looks like a smaller version of the note, not like the s3

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 20:10

70. THE-ONE (banned) (Posts: 28; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

But let down buy that Cpu and Gpu

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:15 4

15. Reverence (Posts: 224; Member since: 16 Jul 2012)

we, loyal samsung lovers, have been betrayed by samsung!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:16 3

18. jasonjerkoff (Posts: 22; Member since: 12 Jul 2012)

this is a win win , u asked for full super amoled hd , u got it , octo core u got it , snap dragon 600 @ 1900 u got it ,,big battery @ 2600 u got it ,,very thin @ 7.9 mm u got it plus a ton of software features , only the design a little bit lackin but got to see it in person to judge ....... overall alot better compared to when the s3 was unveiled ..............

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:18 3

20. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I don't care what anyone says or thinks. I'm not going back to LCD displays. Galaxy S4 is my next phone as soon as it releases on T-Mobile next month with LTE, in time for my birthday. :)

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:18 5

21. tiara6918 (Posts: 2036; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

Samsung is listening to their consumers, that 2600mah is a huge battery and the phone can last for so many hours

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:18 3

23. SaElestra (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

only fanboy will call this innovation.. crapsung all the way!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 20:26 2

76. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

now shamesung fanboys and iBots can go to school together ... they must be in the same class.

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 03:33 2

96. chistoefurpuffer (Posts: 140; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

Only hating because their popular.. Pathetic.

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 21:24

104. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

lol, a true shamesung fanboy, soon you'll be an ibots...

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:20 6

24. doejon (Posts: 398; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)

i love it!! great features

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:21 3

25. dynamo.one (Posts: 63; Member since: 14 Feb 2013)

this is amazing!! :)

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:24

29. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

So it has a metal side frame?
Can you please check that out, PA?

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:30

35. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

Yes it does from the look of it, not like the faux brushed metal band on the S3. That's a nice touch. If only they would've given the polycarbonate a matte finish though, I would've had a more definite decision between this and the One.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:26 5

30. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)

Samsung should've called this the Galaxy S3+, not the S4.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:27 1

31. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

HMMM DECIDING ON THE XPERIA Z OR THE GS IV. desicions desicions. damn this phone is SWEET.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 20:12 2

71. THE-ONE (banned) (Posts: 28; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Actually all 3 handsets are great
1 Sony Z
2 Htc One
3 S4
ile take all 3 if I had the money.....

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:29 5

33. Fruitpoop (Posts: 34; Member since: 27 Dec 2012)

People expect too much from Samsung. In my opinion, the did decent with the SIV. They focused on software instead of design this time. 1080p 5"AMOLED display while keeping SIII's size is pretty nice too. They added a lot of features, and improved Touchwiz. Please, don't judge it if you have never used it.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:29 1

34. btbotimtim (Posts: 184; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)

snapdragon 600 for the us market?
us is where you should compete against apple!!!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:31 7

36. drunkenjay (Posts: 888; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)

I dont know what you guys are crying about. sure its a same/similar design but it has better internals.
surely u guys didnt get the galaxy s3 for its design so why are u guys pouting.
I dont really mind the design, sure it would have been better with a new refreshed design but hey, it is the same size as the galaxy s3 and for a 5 inch phone that is an accomplishment. Bigger battery, mettalic sides, 13 megapixel camera, tight dimensions, dual sim, octacore processor. what else do u guys want?
find a phone with that specs and then come cry about it. Samsung fan? no im a smart buyer. i have a galaxy s3 and an iphone 5 so dont go whinging.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:34 1

38. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Good judgement Bro.. Who wants it just need to buy it.. That's it!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:38 1

48. drunkenjay (Posts: 888; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)

update: no dual sim. probably for a different type of galaxy s4.oh well i only use 1 sim =/

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:44 2

59. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

You sir, said it all.

So many trolls, haters, ignorants and spoiled brats here.

Out there in the real world, billion of people don't have enough to eat and all they think about is if a phone will be made out of plastic.

How sad is that?
Good luck, and good night

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 19:35

39. dwgit (Posts: 37; Member since: 24 Dec 2012)

htc sony ittsssssss timee to rise and take the crown ha ha sammy=iphone when it comes to design no diff hahahhah no flexibility what a shame not even water prove muhahahahah

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