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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

0. phoneArena 23 Mar 2013, 11:12 posted on

Another year, another Galaxy S phone! Since the very first Galaxy S, which came out in 2010, Samsung has been regularly refining and improving its formula for success in the mobile industry. It is mainly thanks to this series of handsets that the manufacturer is now enjoying lush revenue streams and having a profound influence over the whole Android ecosystem...

This is a discussion for a review. To read the whole review, click here

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:57 8

47. jaycordero05 (Posts: 6; Member since: 26 Nov 2012)


I just want to say, this is probably the fairest score in like 15 reviews. It's true that GS4 doesn't have incredible design language, but a 9.3 is an appropriate score for a phone that actually tries to REVOLUTIONIZE the way we USE our smartphone, rather than simply stuffing it full of specs like quite literally EVERY other phone maker --from Apple and HTC to Nokia (potentially the best of the remaining makers for its use of windows and camera tech) and Huawei--. There is a lot to be said for what Samsung is doing, not to mention the steady efforts to consolidate their phone lines (which is something android phone makers tend to have problems with).

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:00 12

51. MobileKingdom (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)


Galaxy S4 vs HTC One

S4 Advantages

- Better battery life
- Bigger screen size
- Amoled (better blacks)
- Size, weight and slimness (overall smaller, lighter and slimmer)
- Better software (subjective, TouchWiz vs Sense)
- More features (multi window, dual camera use, direct call etc etc)
- Better specs (cpu, gpu etc)
- Better camera (large sensor, 13mp vs 4mp, plus more camera modes/options)
- Removable battery
- SD card slot
- More software support/updates

HTC One Advantages

- Better build quality and physical design
- Better speaker quality
- LCD (better whites and brightness)

And with respect to a camera comparison. The S4 comes out way ahead.

neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=51185160&postcount​=637

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:56 2

254. MrJerry (Posts: 398; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)


Thanks for the simplication

But I know that haters are not gonna accept none of those facts

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 22:38 1

260. MobileKingdom (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)


The list I posted is rather factual though. It's a shame people can't fairly comprehend the pro's and con's of each phone. Right now though, the aesthetic design and materials used in the build of the S4 are really the only key negatives, aside from that it's competent in every single way.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 08:40 1

312. rgxVOiD (Posts: 435; Member since: 30 Aug 2012)


"Oh it has a better spec, we must buy it. Not because we like it or not but because it has a better spec"

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 23:52

350. terabyteRouser (Posts: 452; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


nice list, albeit the bullet points do not hold the same weight

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 15:11

371. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


So you have used both phones ??

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:04 15

56. SEFsung (Posts: 15; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)


GS4>HTCONE>SXZ. ADMIT IT!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:26 5

134. XYZ360 (Posts: 51; Member since: 01 Jan 2012)


Sorry but HTC1>GS4>SXZ plus you can't deny the fact that GS4 is made of cheap looking plastic compare to premium feel of the one

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 14:08 8

166. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


and why cant it have a better result then...still lagging behind the S4.....this is a TECH REVIEW not A BEAUTY PAGEANT.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 02:35

289. heyhi (Posts: 126; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


haha...well said

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:07 5

60. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


If two days moderate use is actually true, which might not be because my carrier Rogers screws it up all the time, then 9.3 is pretty harsh. It should get a 9.5 for that alone.

Although mediocre call quality is an biggie.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:35 1

83. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Haha thumb me down and hate all you want but two days moderate use and a phone with a 5 inch screen that is compact and smaller than some 4.7 inch phones while being almost as thin as an iPhone 5 /One S speaks for itself.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 15:49 3

195. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


there's no truth behind that. Phone Arena is just talking out of their ass on that one unless by moderate use they mean just checking their notifications real quick and locking the phone right back up.
this kind of estimate is more along the lines of what you should expect from the Droid Razr MAXX HD with it's sealed 3300mAh battery, lower clocked S4, weaker GPU and 4.7" 720p display or maybe even something like the Galaxy Note II but not from a device with a removable 2600mAh battery, highly clocked S600/E5O, more powerful GPU's with either configurations and a 5.0" 1080p display. i promise you 2 days of any kind of respectable moderate use will not be met by something like the S4.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:20 2

230. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


You can't say that for sure. I have a hard time believing it myself but Samsung has surprised me before. My Nexus 10 has ridiculous battery life with a 2560 x 1600 screen. Sure the battery is 9000 mah but I can watch 3 or 4 movies on it and I still had 50-60% after. The IGZO technology really makes a different it seems.

The GS4 1080p screen is not as bright as the LCD screens, uses some green phosphorous power saving tech, has 300 mah more than the competition.

I wouldn't rule it out since my international GS3 had crazy battery life before the Jelly Bean update and the Nexus 10 and Tab 7.7 battery life is just sick.

The there is also the fact that I am inclined to trust a Phonearena review more than I trust you as an HTC supporter.

We shall see.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:47 2

233. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


your usage report with the Nexus 10 sounds accurate but i'd still be quick to rule it out because there is no precedence whatsoever to such a drastic increase in battery life. you don't have to trust me, you can find out for yourself by researching the battery usage from similar devices and compensating for the differences. i just so happen to support HTC this time as i think they have the more impressive device on the market now but that does not make me an "HTC supporter" if anything i'm more of a Motorola supporter. i don't even mind Samsung. i'd take a Nexus 10 for myself but the S4 is simply not really impressive at all.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:01 1

242. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


I have owned a lot of phones before and I still wouldn't rule it out. 2600 mah is only 700 off of 3300 mah. you can make up that 700 mah easily by controlling the brightness and making sure the software is heavily optimized like Apple does with IOS..

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:28 4

247. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


um okay, i've owned a lot of phones before including one with very similar specs to the S4 and i would rule it out. xD
you're talking as if the S4 with it's 2600mAh battery was as efficient as the MAXX HD with it's 3300mAh battery to begin with but it's not. if there is any real massive power saving methods i'm sure it's pretty much canceled out by the power used pushing pixels and the power usage of the SoC's in which case i'd say it'd get a few more hours over the SIII but that's only if there's some kind of power saving methods i don't know about. there's no way at all it could ever have battery life like around the best the MAXX HD can offer like PA suggests though, it has the Capacity and the Efficiency over the S4.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:13 5

66. eliasafram7 (Posts: 83; Member since: 18 Mar 2013)


Plastic may not be so fantastic but it gets sold in tens of million of units which is the whole point after all

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:15 3

68. N-fanboy (Posts: 538; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)


I used to think that this site was the 'fairest of them all' but lately i notice that some sort of optimism and some sort of coverup in the flaws of Apple and Samsung but its cool bit i keep telling my self its the people who make redicolous comments who i love not the admins. But even tho i hate saying this i have to admit this is a good phone except for the uninspired industrial design and the UI (not even thinking of buying this tho, i'm a dropper and this is a samsung device). My next phone will be some where b/n Htc One, Sony Xperia Z or what ever Eos Nokia launchs.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:20 9

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


HAAAA Better score than the HTC One :D

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:22 7

73. procopiojose (Posts: 132; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


getting tired of idiots who say htc one is better than gs4 just by looking at the external.. aluminum + plastic/rubber/leather case is no different than a polycarbonate + plastic/rubber/leather case in my opinion..

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:37 2

87. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


I personally don't use cases.
I'd be fine if with the S4's polycarbonate if samsung made it matte and remove the layer of gloss on it to make it shinny, i had the S3 and i hated the Hyperglaze back, it was slippery, shinny, cheap looking, flimzy, flexible, and was a fingerprint magnet, i felt like i was going to break it everytime i pulled it off. Just make a removable back with a matte finish similar to the One X of last year.
And why the hell would Samsung fake aluminium on the sides of the phone? Make it true aluminium, it's not the most expensive material of the world, the plastic sides of my S3 scratched verry easily and didn't provide any grip.
I read on Sammobile back in the launch of the S4 that Samsung had to pick between 3 different designs, one of them is this one and the olther had a matte polycarbonate back and true aluminium on the sides, sadly samsung chose the cheapest one

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:31 10

79. dmn666 (Posts: 202; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


LOL - so the same guy reviewed GS3 last year and blatantly lied about GS3. It had a horrible camera worse any other flagship camera (iphone 5, HOX, Xperia T - you name it). Fanboys will disagree since they never had any other phone. GS3 screen was garbage compared HOX - "you can't see pentile" doesn't cut it. Battery life was horrible if you browse a lot - typical AMOLED issue - it craps out faster than any other phone with long browser usage. This year's version didn't address any of these issue and reviewer decided to call it an achievement with a 9.3 score - bias at its best. When you cut down the gigantic bezel a little bit and shove a bigger still pentile screen onto the same gross ugly cheap plastic casing, it's called laziness and lack of innovation - typical Korean attitude. Nothing was ever invented in Korea. This time Samsung decided to copy Apple again by shoving the same boring design down their fanboys a**. Difference is apple at least has a better design to recycle and Samsung just has the opposite. I'll be buying two androids in a month - Xperia ZL and HTC one - easy call. I'm not making the same mistake again this year like I did after reading your GS3 review, Ray S.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:37 5

85. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Lol looks like Samsung has done a great job this year if they get critics like this guy.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:56 6

159. 90ninjas (Posts: 108; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


Someone is angry.

BTW, my GS3 has great battery life and the camera works great. So does that make your point moot or do both of our opinions hold true?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 17:55 3

211. ludegmo (Posts: 16; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


Dude im telling you. Dont buy any xperia phone. Beautiful hardware and software but horrible camera and software experience. My tx is laggy and slow. this year i will trade sony s fine but useless design for a mora capable handset like the s4

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:34 6

82. shadowkiller (Posts: 8; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)


we know samsung paid u phonearena and the sammy fanboys here (already seeing the dislikes)\

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:39 7

90. dicemoney (Posts: 57; Member since: 28 Mar 2011)


This review is clearly a Samsung fanboy that seems to have have ties with Samsung sorry your review don't mean s**t to me you was paid

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:03 7

116. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


butthurt?...can't accept the fact?,,,,GSMArena have the same rating....nothing beats S4...FACT.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:41 10

93. Andrewtst (Posts: 379; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


Well review.

S4 will be extreme perfect flagship on year 2013 if Samsung more look onto design.

Sorry Samsung, I still will buying HTC ONE, this year definitely by pass S4, not only me, all my friends is confirm getting HTC ONE or Xperia Z as S4 nothing new, look pretty bored.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:52 9

104. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Haha the butthurt from the Samsung haters is pretty epic. More than I expected and expected a lot.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:53 1

105. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


Dear PhoneArena/ Ray S,

Are you going to review the Exynos Octa version when available? This review looks so much like a hurry job. Why can't you guys wait for the final unit to be available?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:54 10

106. supa_dupa (Posts: 73; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


HTC One is better, sorry!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 14:20 4

170. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


sorry for you hahahahaaaa

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:00 5

113. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


nice rating 9.3 for almighty S4....9.1 H1....8.5 XZ....and its just a review device.,,wow....

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:15 8

123. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)


A 9.3???? Come on pa the s4 is not all around perfect the design is far from top notch , therefore it should have gotten a 9....point blank

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:22 7

129. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


design?its all about all around performance man...coz if we talk about design your device will get massacred by OPPO Find 5....

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:51 1

155. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Looks so sexy stylish smart sleek sharp Oppo5

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:18 9

124. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


well to haters goodluck on your device,,,hope the OEM supports you on all aspect....S4 comes with the latest Android version hope your devices could catch up...while we are waiting for KLP you guys are waiting for 4.2.2....goodluck....hahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa....o​n all tech review S4 wins...Done.period

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:19 5

127. emadshiny (Posts: 1142; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


i think its rivals will get the same android version before S4's release.
at the time of XZ, android 4.2.2 was not available.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:23 2

130. voxmarc (Posts: 319; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


nope,no,nyet.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 14:00 7

161. 90ninjas (Posts: 108; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


Seriously? 4.2 has been out for awhile now. XZ was released with 4.1.2 with a PLANNED update to 4.2. When the hell will that happen? What is Sony's track record with upgrades?

Also, HTC One is going to be released with 4.1.2 with an upcoming future upgrade to 4.2. Again, what is HTC's track record for upgrading?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:29 2

248. Taters (Posts: 3598; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


I dunno. The Xperia S took awhile to get ICS and the Xperia T took awhile to get JB.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:18 3

125. emadshiny (Posts: 1142; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


as expected from PA. S4 getting a higher rate than One and XZ
i prefer not to talk about XZ rate as it was ridiculous.
i think the most trusted reviewers are the users of these devices.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:30 4

137. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 245; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


Agreed, I've been coming here less and less because of all the bias from the staff. If they're not drooling over an Apple device, it's a Samsung one instead. While other devices which are better are thrown to the wayside.

It sounds like they're getting paid by these companies to talk about those devices almost exclusively.

Perfect example is that the HTC One is a great device, but the S4 is getting more coverage. They know that people come here looking for information on new phones before they buy them, so which ones are they going to choose? The ones that get more attention from PA, which are either Apple or Samsung devices.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 14:05 3

164. 90ninjas (Posts: 108; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


HTC One got a lot of attention when it was out. It's called moving forward and covering what has happened currently. Has HTC One been announced with any drastic change as of late?

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 23:58

351. terabyteRouser (Posts: 452; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Wait, the HTC One got a 9.1 out of 10. That's a pretty damn good score. What's the big deal?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:00 3

214. ludegmo (Posts: 16; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)


As a xperia tx user ( i ws a huge sony/ xperia fan boy) im not recommending any xperia device to anyone. They are so beautiful but so useless. i thought this sites were biased against sony before i bought mine but then i realized they were right.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:24 5

131. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 245; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


How can you give a device with call quality that's just passable a 9.3? Isn't the point of a phone to be a phone? It's puzzling as you even list it as a con.

After having an S3 (on Verizon) which couldn't hold a signal and had terrible call quality I swapped it out with a Motorola. I used to love Samsung phones but as of lately the call quality and signal, the most important features of a phone, have become terrible over the years.

To me, if the call quality isn't stellar, then it's a no go. I don't care how many features or how powerful the specs are, if I can't talk to people by using my phone as a phone, then the device fails for me.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:26 5

133. egyptian86 (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)


first of all thank you for the nice review and I think that htc one until now is the better device and not only in term of design and materials

1-design and materials : htc one wins.
2-screen : matter of preferences so I think tie.
3-performance : galaxy s4.
4-camera(photos) : daylight galaxy s4,lowlight htc one.
5-camera(video) : htc one(better details and ois and better sound recording).
6-speakers : htc one.
7-headphones : htc one.
8-call quality : htc one.
9-software(interface) : htc one.
10-software(features) : galaxy s4.
11-battery : galaxy s4 by 10% to 15% only.

so overally htc one wins and for not I have Samsung galaxy s2 and galaxy tab so iam not a fanboy but honest.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 15:25 2

189. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


Based on gsmarena's review I don't think the one wins on speakers for the decibel output was show to be lower and less clear than the iphone 5, s3 and 808 and I don't think that Samsung would have regressed with the speaker quality in the s4.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 11:28 1

323. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 915; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


I'm just checking that out and it isn't lower but it also isn't much higher only about 1 db or so, but you have to remember when comparing speakers volume is not the only parameter to determine how good they are, that is like saying that 15 $ headphones are better than 50$ headphones just because they are louder, there is the sound stage, the bass, the mids and the highs and overall every phone i have owned lacks seriously on the bass/lows department and every phone i have ever heard has the same problem, but it seems the One fixes those issues with its speakers.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:39 2

145. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Well, that escalated quickly !

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:41 7

146. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


LOL all these ppl here commenting on how they are gonna get the one or xperia z are just gonna go to the shop and end up buying the GS4 and make an other best seller.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:43 9

148. LAKAME_MAN (Posts: 36; Member since: 31 Jan 2013)


I can't believe I'm saying this, but I kinda really like the S IV's design 0_0
Tho I really hate the S III design :D

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:45 2

151. KFear (Posts: 137; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)


This review seemed rushed and more of a "hand on" then a review. He names features but doesn't explain how they work and can benefit the user experience. He doesn't go into depth on nearly anything, just copy and pastes from other articles. Guess we will have to wait on the Engadget "review". Did this guy just playing with the phone for an hour and call it good? He just guessed on battery life as if he never used it for a full day.
At least it was well written!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:53

157. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Wait for the US version to be reviewed by John V. That review will be much better.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 00:00

352. terabyteRouser (Posts: 452; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


No one wants to read about all of those lame features. Thanks for keeping it brief.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:50 5

153. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


The GS4 may not have a great design but it comes with the latest version of Android, has a removable battery, microSD card slot, awesome software features from Samsung etc., none of which is offered by the HTC One. Sure the One has a superb design but I don't only wanna showoff with my new phone, I wanna use it for my personal needs. Thats why I'm going with the GS4 once my contract with the iPhone 4 ends.

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