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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Introduction:

It seems as though Samsung has proven itself to Google, in more ways than one. Like seriously, if you look at what Samsung has done to spread the Android love in the last few years, you’ll see that they been able to deliver timeless devices that spread across a wide range of categories. Heck, they’ve even managed to win over el Goog’s heart so much, that we’ve seen already three devices from Samsung to sport the Nexus moniker – the Google Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the Google Nexus 10 tablet.

At this year’s Google I/O event, it was announced that another version of Sammy’s fabled Galaxy S4 would be made sporting a stock Android experience – dubbed as the ‘Google Play Edition.’ No doubt, this is going to appeal to those Android enthusiasts who don’t take fancy in custom UIs masking the pure Android experience, it’s actually a gesture that shows the kind of relationship the two tech giants have with one another. Now if you haven’t been swayed by the still fresh Galaxy S4, it would appear as though that this Google Play Edition might earn your trust, especially when the idea of receiving those major Android updates right away is within reach with this.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Stereo Headphones
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product Safety and Warranty Guide

Design:

It’s the S4 all over again, which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. What more can we say about this one, aside from the obvious that it matches its sibling’s looks, design, and construction. It still pays homage to Sammy’s smartphone design language, as it sports a glossy white plastic casing that’s good at masking smudges and fingerprints. Indeed, it’s not as premium feeling as other flagship devices, but the benefits from a plastic construction is that it’s uniformly thin (0.31”) and lightweight (130 gr). Grasping it might still prove troublesome for those with smaller hands, but it’s not entirely something new that we don’t see in this day and age. At the end of the day, it looks like and feels like the S4 we all know and love.

At the end of the day, it looks like and feels like the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
At the end of the day, it looks like and feels like the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
At the end of the day, it looks like and feels like the S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

At the end of the day, it looks like and feels like the S4


Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

HTC One
5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC One

Sony Xperia Z
5.47 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches
139 x 71 x 7.9 mm
5.15 oz (146 g)

Sony Xperia Z

Apple iPhone 5
4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
3.95 oz (112 g)

Apple iPhone 5

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


As we’ve mentioned already, this is an exact facsimile to the original model from a couple months ago, so we’re presented with all the same ports and buttons throughout its body.

Volume key (left) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
3.5mm jack (top) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Power button (right) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
microUSB port (bottom) - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Volume key (left)

3.5mm jack (top)

Power button (right)

microUSB port (bottom)

The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S4


On its façade, we see that slightly raised physical home button that’s surrounded by its capacitive menu and back keys – while above the display, there’s the earpiece, light & proximity sensors, and front-facing 2-megapixel camera. Rounding things out, we have its dedicated power button, volume control, standard mic, microUSB port, noise-cancelling mic, and 3.5mm headset jack. Giving the original model a sprinkling of coolness, this version’s IR blasters aren’t active, which means that it can’t be used as a universal remote – or utilize those hand waving movements that allow the TouchWiz packing model the ability to use its various Air Gestures features.

The façade of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The façade of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The façade of the Samsung Galaxy S4 - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

The façade of the Samsung Galaxy S4


In the rear, the same beefy 13-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash from before protrudes slightly from the surrounding surface – while two notches towards the lower left corner are used for its internal speaker. It’s comforting, yet surprising, especially for a device running that pure Android experience, this has a removable rear cover that provides access to its 2600 mAh battery, microSIM slot, and super useful microSD card slot.

Back - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Rear camera - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Battery compartment - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Back

Rear camera

Battery compartment



Display:

Dazzling us yet again with its iridescent looks and massive size, the handset’s 5-inch Super AMOLED HD display with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution is a standout head turner. Super detailed with its 441 ppi pixel density, it has enough sharpness and clarity to give even the tiniest of text that distinct look from a normal viewing distance. Complementing its detailed looks, its oversaturated color reproduction, wide viewing angles, and strong contrast gives it that cool glow to light up any room.

As much as we dearly love the display for its sheer beauty, it’s not entirely the same as before, seeing that it lacks the ability to track our finger as it’s hovering slightly away from the display – so yeah, there’s no Air View support with the Google Edition.

Viewing angles - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Viewing angles - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Viewing angles - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Viewing angles




20 Comments
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posted on 26 Jul 2013, 05:18 8

1. ebubekir26 (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


awesome ! definitely deserved that score

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 05:29 5

2. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3013; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Freaking 9 point fudging 3?? Seriously?
This must be surely better than he Touchwized S4!! With all the S features removed, i guess it has more space to churn out the best it can.

By the way, John...you mixed up the Quadrant Standard and AnTuTu benchmarks of the Play edition of One.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 08:45 1

15. jellmoo (Posts: 690; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


Yeah, this is baffling. I may not be a massive fan of the S4 in general, but removing the lag ridden crapfest that is Touchwiz should reflect a higher score overall. All you are losing are some of the gimmickiest things ever conceived, and in return you get a much more fluid device, more storage, and an interface that doesn't look like a two year old designed it.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 05:48 5

3. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2691; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


I think the Quadrant Standard and AnTuTu scores of HTC One GPE are misplaced.
S4 looks so clean with Google edition.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 05:57 11

4. mottykels (Posts: 372; Member since: 15 May 2013)


I still love touchwiz :P

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 08:38 3

14. g2a5b0e (Posts: 2345; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


I do, too. Many more customization options than other skins. Isn't that what Android is all about? Stock Android is just boring to me.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 06:22 2

5. MrKoles (Posts: 325; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


Hmmm...still a sexy device.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 06:39

6. rodkurt (Posts: 128; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)


i wish Samsung could compress those S-features and give the device a higher memory like the Google play edition.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 06:43 6

7. shahulvm (Posts: 116; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)


SAMSUNGARENA!!!!

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:13 8

10. ebubekir26 (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


what? U JELLY? don't be stupid

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 06:46 7

8. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Best of two worlds, a winner.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:00 2

9. number29 (Posts: 185; Member since: 25 Jan 2013)


This would be absolutely amazing with iOS on it.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:13 7

11. MrKoles (Posts: 325; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


iOS would ruin it...

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:15 7

12. ebubekir26 (Posts: 311; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


dafuq? hell no !
Android is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:33 3

13. HASHTAG (unregistered)


Okay, so you gave the HTC One a con for "Basically 6 months old" (which is a BS con). (from announcement).

So where is the con for the Samsung Galaxy S4 GE "Basically 4 months old?" (from announcement).

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 10:35 1

16. gazmatic (Posts: 625; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


sooo... default android is better than all those skins

i thought the point of android is customization... why mod if stock is a better option? (serious question. not trying to troll)

sooo... nobody would mind forking out 600+ for this phone but a 300 subsidized lumia is too expensive

sooo... it means that it is ifinitely better to buy a nexus than any other oem device

why should I buy a non nexus phone? this is my ultimate question

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 14:53

17. oOps.. (Posts: 34; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)


Woohoooo add to my list "Want_________iT"

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 10:34

18. flynfree (Posts: 374; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)


This SGS4 GE vs SGS4 LTE Advance .

posted on 05 Aug 2013, 07:23

19. anugakarthik (Posts: 8; Member since: 05 Aug 2013)


guys i got samsung s4 from my deals 247,good service by them

posted on 05 Feb 2014, 09:51

20. polarmailbabe (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Feb 2014)


I have had nothing but problems with my Samsung Galaxy S4. I'm on my 3rd replacement since purchasing it in November, and now Tech Support is going to give me any other phone of my choice when I send THIS one back. (Please note, they have ruled out user error, thanks.) Could it the 4.3, which seems to give some other people fits? Here's what this "smart" phone does as it crashes: first, it drops calls. I can hear them, but they can't hear me. Next, the speakers stop: nothing from them, no little beeps when touched, PlayMusic looks like it's going, but no sound comes out. If I don't immediatly power it off, the screen goes white. Apps and widgets that came pre-loaded, including the Weather Widget, Flipboard, and Amazon Kindle, keep popping up messages saying "Unfortunately, Weather Widget (e.g.) has stopped working." I got this phone because my 3 adult children have them, and I wanted to be able to livechat with them. Think I'll go back to iphone and Skype. Anybody else out there having anything like this? It seems to baffle Tech Support. Are they hiding something?

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Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

OS: Android 4.4.2 4.3 4.2.2
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera13 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Quad core, 1900 MHz, Krait 300 processor
2048 MB RAM
Size5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
(136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm)
4.59 oz  (130 g)

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