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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Samsung Galaxy S4 9.3
Call quality

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
The Galaxy S4 delivers passable call quality - nothing spectacular. The earpiece is loud enough, but the quality of the sound isn't among the best. Things are a bit better on the other end of the line, though there's some room for improvement as well.

The loudspeaker is powerful and manages to retain a decent sounding most of the time without starting to crackle too much.


Samsung hasn't announced any official information regarding the battery life of the Galaxy S4. Is this because it's embarrassed? Not likely! The phone is equipped with a beefy 2600mAh battery, so it should definitely provide enough juice for a full day of use. Judging by our observations, though, you can even get two days out of the Galaxy S4 if you are more of a moderate user.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S4
4h 59 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy S III
4h 8 min (Poor)
5h 45 min (Average)
Sony Xperia Z
4h 48 min (Poor)
View all


Samsung didn't exactly catch us by surprise with the Galaxy S4. Pretty much all the hardware improvements like the faster processor, better camera, and 5” 1080p screen were expected. Samsung simply had to have those in the Galaxy S4 if it wanted its product to be relevant in 2013. However, it's the flawless implementation of all the features that makes the Galaxy S4 the superb smartphone that it is. Design-wise, the latest Samsung flagship is nothing special. It looks OK and is comfortable to hold. We're more than happy to see that Samsung has managed to make the smartphone even smaller than the GS III, which is a remarkable achievement, considering the bigger screen.

The top-notch performance and general lack of issues continue to be among the Galaxy S's strongest sides. If you're the kind of geek who's always running benchmarks on their phone, trying to squeeze every possible bit of performance out of it, then chances are you'll fall in love with the Galaxy S4, which is one of the fastest, if not the fastest Android phone around.

When it comes to appearance, the Galaxy S4 may not be particularly impressive, but it's extremely slim, light and easy to handle. This, along with the myriad of custom features make the Samsung Galaxy S4 one truly brilliant Android smartphone – a likable life companion.

Software version of the reviewed unit: Android 4.2.2, Build: JDQ39.I9505XXUAMC6_CSB


  • Large screen, compact phone
  • Super-customizable
  • Polished user interface


  • Mediocre call quality
  • Thin, plastic casing
PhoneArena rating:
9.3 Excellent
User rating:
9.2 114 Reviews

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posted on 24 Mar 2013, 05:36

303. Trex95 (Posts: 1069; 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: 1120; 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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