Samsung Galaxy S 4 hands-on


Taking 2012 by storm, Samsung catapulted all the way to the top last year, as the Korean based company delivered timeless devices over and over again with little pause for its rivals to combat its insatiable appetite. Claiming victory while looking down from the pinnacle of the mountain, Samsung as a whole transformed from being a competitor trying to emerge from a heap of hard rollers, to the one taking ownership of the crown in the smartphone kingdom. Today marks yet another triumphant push forward in retaining that prestigious crown, seeing that the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S IV just became official-official.

From a hardware standpoint, it doesn’t particularly come off so farfetched over other recent entrants in the Android space, but rather, it’s the incremental improvements in the experience that’s the focal point for this flagship. Are we disappointed by this shocking revelation? To an extent, yes, but that doesn’t mean that we should quickly look the other way – so let’s see if it can still make us salivate with anticipation.

Design

We’re not going to cover this portion as extensively as some of you would like. Why’s that you ask? Frankly, there isn’t a drastic redesign seen with the Galaxy S IV. Indeed, some of you will be bummed by this known fact, especially when you take into consideration that good looking designs are what people take notice first with most things. Strutting the familiar design style of its processor, the appearance, choice of materials, and build quality of Samsung Galaxy S IV remains largely the same.

While metal bodies melt our hearts, plastic ones don’t normally get the same kind of love. We can’t say we’re totally going gaga over this plastic chassis, which is strangely is more prone to smudges and fingerprints than before, but we do appreciate the subtle sprinkling of a new premium element on its body – a brushed metallic bezel outlining. Beyond that, it’s indistinguishably a “Galaxy” smartphone, recycling some of its predecessor’s design choices.

Around the handset’s trim, we’re greeted to the same set of ports and buttons – these consist of its power button, volume control, 3.5mm headset jack, mic, noise-cancelling mic, and microUSB port. Just like before, the Galaxy S IV relies on the same MHL adapter to gain video-out functionality. However, they’re kind enough to discretely incorporate an IR blaster into the power button, which turns it into a universal remote. As for cameras, it’s carrying along a 2-megapixel front-facing one and a monster 13-megapixel rear snapper that shoots 1080ps videos. Thankfully, we’re given the conveniences of having a removable 2600 mAh battery and a microSD slot. Not surprisingly, the handset is going to be available in 16, 32, and 64GB capacities – with your choice of selecting it in either white frost or black mist.

No doubt we would’ve like to see something on a grander scale, but there’s consolation in the way Sammy has maintained the handset’s figure over its predecessor. We know it’s donning a larger 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Display, but remarkably enough, we’re most impressed by how they’ve kept its size the same. At 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm in size, not only does it improve over the Galaxy S III’s already svelte figure, but it bests even some of the other recent heavy hitters new to the Android space – like the stylish HTC One. So yeah, it’s super thin and surprisingly easy to handle for something bearing a 5-inch screen!

On top of that, did we mention its weight is almost unrecognizable as we hold it, since it’s only at 130 grams? Overall, it might lack the stylish nature that we crave in getting our eyes affixed on it from afar, but at least they’ve been able to make the necessary iterative improvements in its size.

Display

Oh joy! Needless to say, Sammy’s Note II showed us what the company is willing to experiment with in terms of screen sizes, but we get the feeling that they’re trying to do the same here. On paper, its 5-inch Full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED display pushes the envelope in making it phablet-like, but for some strange reason, we’re not as mesmerized with this display. We know what we were dreaming about in our sleep, you know, those flexible OLED displays and whatnot, but there’s nothing of the kind here on the Galaxy S IV. Rather, it’s the same Super AMOLED display that our eyes have been feasting on for a while now – with the exception that this is the first one to sport full HD resolution (1080 x 1920). Doing the math, its display produces a pixel density of 441 ppi, which is undeniably up there, but it doesn’t break any new ground. In comparison, the HTC One’s display delivers a slightly higher pixel density of 468 ppi.

Honestly though, it’s still detailed enough, to the point that most people would hardly tell the difference. And just like before, this display on the Galaxy S IV packs all of the lovable qualities we appreciate about Super AMOLED displays – like its iridescent color tones, wide viewing angles, and overall wow factor. Interestingly enough, it’s pretty impressive how they continue to chop down on the screen’s bezel, which translates over in giving the handset a skinny frame.

Although it’s not something that’s seen initially from a cursory glance, Sammy throws in one enticing new feature to the display that brings forth some useful functions. Remember how you can hover over things with the Note II’s S-Pen? Well folks, we have the same functionality here! However, instead of relying on a stylus, it’s done with nothing more than our fingers! With our finger hovering around 1 to 2 centimeters from the display, it’s able to register our finger’s movement. Quite frankly, it works rather well and it’s very accurate too, but we’ll explain more of the neat implementations of the feature later.

Related phones

Galaxy S4
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(17h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

195 Comments

1. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Seriously?????? Disappointed

9. AnTuTu

Posts: 1613; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Sorry Sammy I am so not getting this phone :( HTC One welcome :(

36. juanyunis

Posts: 73; Member since: Aug 31, 2012

well, to be honest you are so right with your comment. I wanted to get this phone, i mean it's not bad, good specs, but seems like an Galaxy SIIIS, also much of these features are already in my Note II, i guess i will stay with the Note II, and wait for the Note III. Also i'm curious about the HTC One, i think that maybe i'll get one too. By the way nice apps.

186. Airforce

Posts: 70; Member since: Jul 24, 2012

wow..i can't imagine Xperia Z FLAWED samsung gs4

41. chistoefurpuffer

Posts: 140; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

I would get the HTC One, but it's terrible UI is keeping me away.

61. JulianGT

Posts: 89; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

BlinkFeed and 4MP cammera

104. lambchops

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

How about doing your research bud, blinkfeed is just a social networking news feed (in which you can turn off in settings) and by the way, its not a "megapixel" camera, its an ultra-pixel camera. So 4, being a fairly low number for a camera, in ultra-pixels, it makes a damn sharp camera.

114. Lifengineer

Posts: 44; Member since: Dec 15, 2011

Terrible?!?!?! Hahahaha it's the best!

127. chistoefurpuffer

Posts: 140; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Yes, terrible. Even if all the features that would likely start to irritate people can be turned off, I still just don't like the look of sense 5.0. The icons, (the dock especially), is just very unappealing for me. And believe me, You'll notice the 4 mp camera when you plan to blow up the picture a bit. Lower mp, less pixels. It wont be nearly as sharp as the s4 or Xperia Z.

165. phonemirer

Posts: 111; Member since: Dec 07, 2012

gotta wait for nokia s flagship, s4 is just too s3 ish, hope nokia eos trounces s4

184. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If Nokia only puts a lumia 920 with a pure view camera then they have still lost, because the world in general hates windows phone 8. Its a limited, closed, walled garden, non multitasking OS. And the majority of people don't trust Microsoft. If Nokia starts making phones with Linux or android, I would be there, but since they don't, bye bye Nokia.

179. amiroo

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

i think sooo..i waiting for one.. s4 is big deal but i expect more than saftware of suepr phone..i feel a defect about s4 ..not good body quality..not good design.. in ui s4 keep the way same old Version i dont like repeatation.. sense 5 come to ring by great Revolution in that case of design and functinally.. about screen im not sure which one is better btw one and S4.. about sound and speaker i ithink any phone cant beat one. about harware both of great..dont different in use. about camera i think one is better Such we can see in same different site..but still im not sure for this so. about design its clear which ones flag up. about battary one`s test is tooo great when phonearena test it..s4 seems to be better but one is perfect and maybe it enough for many users. (this idea is Personal)

12. wp8forever unregistered

Samcrap lol u let down your fanboys lol what crap phone with unfinished features lol that won't work right .

14. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Disappointed, How? Smaller, thinner, lighter than the SGS3 With IR blaster, Bigger higher Res Screen, Bigger Battery, better camera, and a Faster processor Plus all the great features the SGS3 Has like Removable battery, Sd Slot, Super AMOLED

16. LonghornTech

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

So it's basically like an Apple upgrade but with better starting and ending specs. Right?

60. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

The iPhone didn't Get Higher ppi HD to FHD IR blaster Bigger battery, IR blaster Sd slot Removable battery But they did get rid of Google maps for a while LOL

164. phonemirer

Posts: 111; Member since: Dec 07, 2012

it isnt even 720p

180. LonghornTech

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

@BadAssAbe The GSIV did not GET a removable battery or SD Slot. The iPhone 5 DID get a bigger battery and you wrote IR blaster twice and writing higher ppi and HD to FHD separately is pretty pointless AND the Iphone did get an increased screen resolution. So the only points you made that hold up are the inclusion of an IR Blaster and Higher ppi....i'm not impressed.

183. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

Here you go, All hardWare updates HD to FHD, (306ppi to 441ppi) Bigger Battery (2100 mAh to 2600 mAH) iP4s 1432mAh To iP5 1440mAH IR Blaster Touch and Use with Gloves Floating Touch Technology (No Touch TouchScreen) Better Camera (8MP to 13MP) Gorilla Glass 3 New Processors (Samsung Exynos 4 to Exynos 5 Octa) New, More Ram (1GB DDR2 to 2GB DDR3) Hook'em Horns ;) More Info http://www.phonearena.com/phones/manufacturers/Samsung/discussions/Samsung-Galaxy-S4_id419

182. mrfamous1

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

lol.....

108. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Long horn that would be correct...if your going to change the size change the looks...what happend to the green screen...

17. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2389; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I think what he means is that the SIV is to the SIII as the iPhone 5 is to the 4S. Yes, there are improvements but they are probably not going to be ones that make you want to immediately upgrade from the SIII. Especially considering the US version probably won't feature the Exynos 5 Octa processor that would make it really worthwhile.

72. zrated

Posts: 14; Member since: Jan 30, 2013

you hit the nail on the head for me. the only thing i was waiting to see is if it would have the octa or not. since it doesn't, i'll wait for the note 3.

109. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Yes dr phil...at least when icrap changes the number they change the looks this more S3s

32. Reverence

Posts: 224; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

firstly even 9mm looks good! second you can't differentiate between HD and full HD and S4 has terrible display(compared with htc one)! battery doesn't matter, battery life does and its not about MP, its about quality and they haven't even gone too wild in camera department like pureview 808! faster processor, htc one is better and you will still see lag. only google can move that lag out that why there is lag on s3 which is quad core and no no lag on 4s which is dual! all features introduced are stupid useless and copied! and i think 32GB is enough, i won't want a SD card and if you want go to 64GB! and super amoled is ugly infront of retina display and especially super LCD 3!! the keynote was utter disappointment. i was missing steve jobs a lot! and one thing is sure they wont sell huge numbers of s4 like they did of s3!

67. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

You have no idea what you are talking about PA compare battery life SGS3 WON LCD VS OLED is Old vs New FYI totally up to personal opinion SGS3 suffers no lag FYI iPhone FC more often than android Here look it uphttp://phandroid.com/2012/02/03/android-vs-ios-which-is-really-more-stable-new-data-may-surprise-you/

128. sunjain65

Posts: 16; Member since: May 21, 2012

I agree, people just hating the galaxy s4 because they didn't change the design that's all. and there is nothing new in the htc one except the aluminium design.

147. jcarrigan unregistered

exactly! i may not be entriely thrilled with the design since i already have the gs3 and i was really wanting the octa processor but it doesnt mean that the gs4 is a bad phone. In my opinion it still beats the HTC One and the iCrap. But I think I will wate for the note 3 since, like i said, i already have the gs3 and I cant really justify spending $200 on this when i just got my phone in october. I love samsung but I am alil bummed out here :(

137. gmracer1

Posts: 646; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Thinner and lighter, yes...but not smaller.

154. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

people are stupid the expected to fly with the s4 to the moon or even mars xD htc one looks good but look is not every thing! oh ok and it has good speakers but thats it.. the s4 offers more for ur money belive me and ofers more than the htc one and dont forget they mod community of the galaxy series is very big and.. samsung has done a better update job than others! and the dont loked the bootloader so people wake up...-.- sorry 4 my english

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