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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 9.3
Internet and Connectivity

Samsung's custom browser is fast and supports Flash Player. - Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Samsung's custom browser is fast and supports Flash Player.

We have to congratulate Samsung for the decision to stick with its custom browser, which is based on the software from Android Ice Cream Sandwich, since it's proved time and time again that it's superior to Google's mobile Chrome, at least for now. Not only is it faster and more responsive, but it also supports Adobe's Flash Player, which is a no-go with Chrome.

Strangely, this isn't one of those problems that you can fix with a quick install from the Play Store, as none of the popular third-party browsers are as capable as the Samsung browser. Dolphin Browser is about equal when it comes to performance, but it doesn't support Flash if your handset is running Jelly Bean, which the Galaxy S4 is. All others seem to be slower, or have some other issue, but of course, you can always have them on board as well, if you've gotten used to some of their special features.

The Galaxy S4 comes with LTE support, as well as HSPA+ 42.2 Mbit/s downlink and 5.76 Mbit/s uplink speeds, when LTE is not available. Additionally, the device is equipped with all Wi-Fi protocols, Bluetooth 4.0 and an IR blaster, if you're in the mood of using the GS4 as a remote control.

The GPS of the GS4 works very well and manages to quickly pinpoint your location on the map.


Both the Galaxy S II and III were top-notch camera phones, so we expect nothing less from the Galaxy S4's 13MP shooter. Not only does the camera have 13 megapixels, but it's also full of other features, which aim to make it more versatile and fun to use. Aside from the standard settings like resolution, exposure and effects, it also sports a number of useful shooting modes like Beauty face, Night, Best face, Best photo, Sports and so on. These different shooting modes can help you achieve better results when using the camera in these specific scenarios.

The new camera-oriented features in the GS4 are Dual Shot (combines footage from the rear facing and front facing cameras into one video), Sound & Shot (takes a photo with an accompanying sound clip), Drama Shot (takes a series of photos of a moving object and merges them in a single photo), Cinema Photo (allows you to animate certain elements in the photo) and Story Album (creates a photo-album using the shots you've taken).

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

The 13MP camera of the GS4 is very good. Photos come out very realistic, with natural and vivid colors at the same time. The handset exposes its frames well – we didn't notice many over- or underexposed areas in the photos we took. Details are very good, while noise is kept to a minimum when shooting in daylight. Moving indoors, the situation gets dramatically worse, with noise becoming much more evident, and fine details starting to appear washed out. On the bright side, the colors stay natural.

Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy S4 can record 1080p video, which is perfectly smooth, but we noticed that it's not superb in the details department. It's still very good, but we expected a bit more. The other aspects of the video like colors and exposure are alright. The microphone is mostly mediocre – the sounds that it captures are rather high and sharp.

Image size:
Use our samples comparison tool to see photos from more phones

Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S4 3.4
Samsung Galaxy S III 2.5
No data
HTC One 3.4
No data
Sony Xperia Z 3
View all


The versatile Music Player of the Galaxy S4 neatly organizes your music by Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, Recent and Playlists. It displays large and beautiful album art, and features a bunch of “advanced” options like an equalizer with presets, including a custom one.

The GS4 doesn't feature stereo speakers. Instead, it has just a single speaker positioned on its back side, which, however, sounds very well. It manages to emit mostly loud and clear sounds that aren't irritating to the ears even at the highest volume settings.

This is one amazing display for video playback and gaming! It's just made to let you enjoy your favorite multimedia content - it's both super-big and super-vibrant thanks to the AMOLED technology. And, with the new settings allowing you to make it display a bit more realistic colors, it might even be acceptable for the purists out there. One thing is certain, almost all people you show it to will be wowed.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S4 0.38
Samsung Galaxy S III 0.3
HTC One 0.68
Sony Xperia Z 0.37
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S4 77
Samsung Galaxy S III 79
HTC One 78
Sony Xperia Z 67
View all

  • Options

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 05:36

303. Trex95 (Posts: 1067; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)

Okay i got it. But due to the android need more power than other OS, why didn't made the LITTLE A9?! i understand that will effect the battery life but not big of deal cause Samsung still can offer bigger battery.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:18 137

1. lee480 (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

Sorry. Either buying the HTC One or Xperia Z.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:23 114

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

can you tell me why are the htc one and the xperia z better than the GS4 ? other than the design... unless, all what you want is the design ???

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:30 3

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

Why don't you buy both....?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:30 107

23. lee480 (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

Can you tell me why the S4 is better than Xperia Z and the HTC One?
For me-
I do not care about what type of CPU. Does not affect real world performance.
I do not like screens that displays inaccurate colours nor do I care about viewing angles.
It's more a usability question. I do not like cheap flimsy Samsung plastic. I prefer premium materials. Dislikes oncoming. :)

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:35 18

28. wendygarett (unregistered)

Gs4 is pentile? OMG is it true Ray?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:36 68

30. SleepingOz (unregistered)

"Can you tell me why the S4 is better than Xperia Z and the HTC One?"

The answers are found in your own comment, it's all the things you're pretending not to care about. =3

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:38 5

31. zuckerboy (banned) (Posts: 898; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)

ok gtfo then

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 13:09 5

119. DanishDynamite (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)

Okay, i don't know about you, but i don't want to look like an idiot :D I totally respect what Samsung has done with the S 4, it is a marvelous piece of engineering, but i just have some other priorities, like Boomsound and the alumunium-body, so let's just stop this, we won't agree anyways :D but seriously, calling me "stupid" is not right, i use a lot of time at phonearena, android authority and other webpages, i know more then most grown men about phones. and i'm just telling you that they, yes they work simultaneously, but only when it's big.LITLLE MP, and the S 4 doesn't use MP :D no hate

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:46 30

36. wendygarett (unregistered)

Oh well, HTC SLCD 3 with 468ppi win once again :p

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:51 33

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

let them enjoy their dead-water-resistant-paperweight (XperiaZ) and HTC One with its bad battery and wait-forever-update. soon we'll enjoy seeing them complaining that the updates took forever (as usual with htc...) and those bad batteries (and if something wrong happened, they'll have to exchange the whole phone, and HTC cust. service aren't famous for their services...) and that physical build that called for scratch, dents, chamfered edges probs (like what happened to those iCons). soon they'll understand what those iConUsers feel when they drop their phones.

and in few months, we can eat our popcorn while waving our hands on our S4 reading their agony and be thankful we didn't make those mistakes...

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:51 16

42. ABDULGHAFOOR (Posts: 104; Member since: 04 May 2012)

Once again Plastic got 9.3 rating.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:52 38

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

cpu and screen are hardware, all phones now are similar in hardware... software is the thing... and the GS4 features blows both the one and the xperia z !

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:43 10

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

please enhance your knowlegde before writing something stupid. that 'plastic' is polycarbonate, the same material with Lumia Series, and also HTC One X/+ only with different finish (some glossy, matte, etc.) i really do hope you can see the 'light' now...

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:56 8

45. LonghornTech (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Had this score been lower than the HTC One the One would have been an easy choice, but you can not fault Samsung for great features.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:58 10

49. RapidCat (Posts: 351; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)

because S4 did not use iPhone round corner patent design.
and xperia Z is upgly device

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:00 2

52. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Too bad that both phones will not make it to Verizon. The S4 "will" be the top selling Android phone in 2013. No other way to cut it. If HTC had released the One globally right after the announcement on every major carrier it would have been a different story.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:06 5

57. LonghornTech (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

I really think that low light photos should have been tested for this review and if they are not good they should be added to the negatives. Recent phones have stepped up the low light photography and it is something that should be taken in to account.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:10 9

65. RapidCat (Posts: 351; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)

agree with you BillyG. and i can't wait to see hwat samsung offer with Premium Suite. this is only the 1st software implementation.

one thing i can sure is "Samsung Orb Photo", they say its better than google sphere

@ DanishDynamite, i think htc use the cheap metal :) why not build their phone with titanium, gold or silver, that is premium. or can htc make their own model, not use iPhone and Blackberry or SGS 1 model?
htc fast company, One ship with 4.1.2, S4 with 4.2.2???? how htc fast update company?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:07 20

59. DanishDynamite (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)

HAHAHA!!! that was very entertainingm because a farely new report shows that HTC is the fastest company, when it comes to updating their phones... Well, except from Apple and Google... :D hey, and you forgot to mention the Samsung Galaxy S 4 (cheap plastic, that doesn't feel like a premium device at all. And the misleading "Octa-core" that actually just 4+4... And the useless S-features that they have added...)

HTC One FTW!!!!!!!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:09 7

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

Candy bar edge2edge with no curve phones look more stylish sexy and slick then iPhone ugly looks! Look at Oppo5....!
So you like Plasama TV with round curves and not with sharp edges! Phones that have curves look ugly!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:13 3

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

That's right! Look what happened when the S3 came out, everyone complained it was ugly, but still people, fans, users, consumers went and bought it! So did I, I said I won't be buying this hideous phone, but I fell for it due to "specs and cause of that Exynos CPU"

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:18 1

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

Lol have fun with that already surpased technology and software. x:

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:20 2

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

So it goes like this

1 Galaxy S4
2 Htc One
3 Experia Z


1 Htc One
2 S4
3 Experia Z


1 Galaxy S4
2 Experia Z
3 Htc One


1 Experia Z
2 Htc One
3 Galaxy S4

Sony Fans
Samsung Fans
Htc fans

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:21 3

72. DanishDynamite (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)

Iphone? Blackberry? SGS 1? uhm, it uses aluminium like the iPhone 5 yes... but that doesn't mean that they copied anything. Blackberry, yes, it has that speaker at the bottom, but the Blackberry Z10 hasn't got that...? And the SGS 1...? WTF has that in common with the One? the screen? NAh. The Processor? Nah. Oh, now i know, the camera? No... Wait.

search for "Htc is fastest at updating their phones" and then look at that phonearena article...

Red it? okay, then i only have one thing left to say... EAT

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:25 6

74. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

I am pretty sure it is. Even so, I think the average consumer takes more daytime photos so they should obviously carry more weight. Nokia and HTC honestly should have held back this technology until daytime photos were on par. Or at least give us an option to switch between 4 ultra pixels and 13mp.

That is the beauty of the GS4. You don't like the Samsung risk taking, you turn it off.

You don't like blink feed or 4 ultra pixels, too bad it will either make your day time photos suffer or blink feed runs in the background unless you root, voiding your warranty.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:27 22

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

lol, tell that to one x/+ users... ask them who get the latest android update first, GS3/Note2 users or those one x/+ users... and i won't start lecturing you about the diff. between Polycarbonate and 'cheap plastic' , you'll only see what you wanna see... btw, enjoy your so called 'premium' build, but don't come crying because of the dent, scratches, or discoloration of the plastic between the metals (i already read this problem on a german forum since the HTC already released there).

i'll give it 3 months, and i'll enjoy reading those complaining of HTC One, it'll certainly brighten my day... :D

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:27 21

77. SleepingOz (unregistered)

I'd really like to see this "farely new report".

Again the old "cheap plastic" argument.
Plastic(polycarbonate) is more suitable for phone than aluminium, One X, L920 and even my GNOTE II are clear examples! Aluminium doesn't absorb shocks well and is also prone to bending, scratches and dents. Not to forget signal and NFC interference.

"And the misleading "Octa-core" that actually just 4+4"
You, sir, is an ignorant.

"Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)

This is the other actual implemented function mode of a big.LITTLE CPU. In this case, all 8 cores can be used simultaneously by the system.

This is a vastly more complex working mechanism, and its implementation is also an order of magnitude more sophisticated. It requires the kernel scheduler to actually be aware of the differentiation of between the A7 and A15 cores. Currently, the Linux kernel is not capable of doing this and treats all CPUs as equals. This is a problem since we do not want to use the A15 cores when a task can simply me processed on an A7 core with a much lower power cost.

The Linaro working-group already finished the first implementation of the HMP design as a series of patches to be applied against the Linux 3.8 kernel. What they did is to make the scheduler smart enough to be able to track the load of single process entities, and with that information to schedule the threads smartly on either the A7 cores or the A15 cores. This achieves much lower latency in terms of switching workloads, or better said, switching the environments (CPUs) to the respective work-loads, and exposes the full processing capabilities of the silicon as all cores can be used at once.

You can follow the advancements of this in the publications of the Linaro Connect summits that happen every few months. The code was only published in the middle of February this year for the first working implementation equivalent in power consumption to the IKS."


posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:32 1

81. DanishDynamite (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)

That awkward moment when you find out that i'm a 14 year old boy from Denmark... And no, they don't work simultaneously, that's the whole point about it....

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 12:35 9

84. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 1118; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

The HTC One has bad battery? LMAO. GSMArena proves you wrong, isn't 13 hours and 38 minutes of talk time, 9 hours and 58 minutes of web browsing and 10 hours of movie playing enough for you with an overall rating of 48 hours? You know unlike some websites *cough* phonearena *cough* some actually test the battery of the device instead of giving their opinion.

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Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

OS: Android 5.0 4.4.2 4.3 4.2.2
view full specs
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera13 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz, Krait 300 processor
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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