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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Camera:

Going back to the stock Android camera app is rough, especially when Samsung delivered an insane number of cool photo-centric features that made the S4 one of the classiest things to use in the space. Rather, this Google Play Edition goes back to the basics with its simplified interface approach, and predictable features and controls. Despite the lack of features, we do gain the Photospheres feature, which gives the handset the ability to snap 360-degree shots.

The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The Photospheres feature - The stock Android camera app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
   

The Photospheres feature

The stock Android camera app


Hardly a surprise, the 13-megapixel snapper of the smartphone is a winner with its quality – much like what we experienced already with the original model. There are plenty of things to like about it, since it excels with photos captured under plenty of lighting. Details are exquisite, as so are the camera’s ability to handle dynamic range and produce colors that are vivid and bright – essentially composing images that are highly realistic. Under low lighting, though, quality takes a dip, as noise and its fainter looking details soften its overall quality.


Likewise, we see the same qualities with its 1080p video recording quality. When there’s sufficient lighting present, it produces poppy looking videos that are pleasing to watch due to its smooth recording and pleasant looking details. However, there are two minor issues that become apparent – audio recording is mediocre, and its continuous auto-focus is rather slow when adjusting to something that is close to the camera. Yet again, low lighting performance struggles, as the amount of noise in the video and its weak details don’t make it too appealing.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Nighttime Sample Video:




Multimedia:

Being stock and all, we’re only presented with the Google Play Music app, which should appease almost anyone, but don’t expect to see any cool looking 3D visuals with its presentation. As for its internal speaker, it delivers tones that are no doubt loud and clear – with no distortion or unpleasantness at the loudest volume setting.

The Google Play Music app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The Google Play Music app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
The Google Play Music app - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

The Google Play Music app


There’s no arguing that it’s such a joy watching high-def videos on the handset, especially with its colorful screen and all. However, it lacks support for videos encoded in DivX and XviD out of the box – plus, it misses out on some of the secondary features, like Pop Up Play, that provided more depth to the experience with the TouchWiz model, so you may have to visit the Play Store for some third party player.

Gallery - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Video playback - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Gallery

Video playback

 

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

1. ebubekir26 (Posts: 312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


awesome ! definitely deserved that score

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 05:29 5

2. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; 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: 700; 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: 2803; 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: 2555; 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: 330; 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: 118; Member since: 01 Apr 2012)


SAMSUNGARENA!!!!

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:13 8

10. ebubekir26 (Posts: 312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


what? U JELLY? don't be stupid

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 06:46 7

8. _Bone_ (Posts: 2137; 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: 330; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)


iOS would ruin it...

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 07:15 7

12. ebubekir26 (Posts: 312; 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: 628; 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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