Samsung Galaxy S 4 specs review

Samsung Galaxy S 4 specs review
Samsung Galaxy S 4 finally became official during a pompous Radio City Music Hall unveiling ceremony, and most of the rumored specs and features turned out to be correct.

The company prides itself in the differentiation the AMOLED screen technology brings to its high-ends, and it has indeed achieved the unthinkable this time around - a five-inch panel with the amazing for OLED screen 440ppi pixel density. Woot. Samsung trashed a football field worth of display glass to achieve the HD resolution in the S III, so we can imagine nobody has been walking barefooted around the R&D labs last year as well while achieving this breakthrough.

Another component we are most interesting about is the newest Exynos 5 Octa chip, which many rumors pointed wasn't ready for gadget prime time, but Samsung seems to have overcome the power envelope difficulties, and the international Galaxy S 4 version will indeed be shipping with its octo-core processor, but let's dig in a bit further in the overall specs sheet, shall we?


Well, it's a polycarbonate plastic that we got for the chassis of the Galaxy S 4 again, like it or leave it. Using plastic for a phone's body has its advantages and disadvantages, yet in a big-screen device the pros outweigh the cons in terms of overall weight and added flexibility. Samsung added a faux brushed metal band around the sides, and that's that.

For those who were waiting for a major redesign, this won't be it, as the phone looks like an S III, rounded corners and all, but it is amazingly compact for a 5-incher, at 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm in size and 130g. It has a more narrow bezel, which helps with one-handed navigation, though it is still a large-screen device, so we don't expect any thumb coverage wonders in that respect. The fact that Samsung managed to cram the 5" panel into a body shorter, slimmer, and only slightly wider than the already compact HTC One, for instance, is pretty remarkable. Black Myst and White Frost are the colors when the S 4 hits shelves in April.

The chassis is patterned in a fish-skin motif of sorts, and the inevitable physical home key that has become a staple for the Galaxy line heritage, sits promptly below the large display. Again, the design paradigm isn't going to knock your socks off, as it's by now become a recognizable feature of Samsung's Galaxy S high-ends, but you get a swappable 2600 mAh battery and a microSD slot, which in this day and age is nothing to scoff at, plus you get an IR blaster at the top for controlling your TV, and a bucket of sensors, including a temperature one.


Samsung seems to have spent most of its project time dedicated to the Galaxy S 4 cracking the code of producing AMOLED displays with Full HD 1080x1920 pixels of resolution, and the 5" panel is the best mobile OLED display it's put into production. The PenTile matrix Samsung has used before to achieve high pixel densities with its Super AMOLED screens, is said to give way to a diamond-shaped matrix, which has the required number of subpixels per pixels for the image, and especially solid colors, not to look funky under a close screen purist scrutiny. 

In fact the arrangement does look funky, but only under a microscope, compared to the standard RGB stripe you are accustomed to. Samsung's OLED panels barely budge above 400 nits, and judging from the screen comparison shots below, the S 4 will again rely on low screen reflectance for good outdoor visibility under direct sunshine.

source: IT168

The alleged use of PHOLED diodes for the green and red pixels, but a traditional fluorescent one for longer life of the blues, is supposed to bring up to 30% lower power consumption, despite the high resolution, but only independent tests will confirm the true battery endurance levels.

And, since it is an OLED display, you are getting the extreme viewing angles and deep blacks we all know and love. Saturation level still seems high, which many like, while the new diode materials and layout method, as well as likely better calibration, seem to have brought on warmer colors this time, as Samsung's OLED displays typically exhibited cold casts and bluish whites before.

The display supports Floating Touch, which senses the disturbance in the field above it brought on by your finger before it even touches the panel, so you can highlight web links or preview photo album content without even laying your digit on the screen - good when your hands are elbow-deep in the KFC bucket, and there is no napkin around.

Processor and memory

Two versions of the Galaxy S 4 are in the cards - one with 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, which will grace US carriers, and one with Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa internationally. Qualcomm integrates the LTE baseband radio in its Snapdragon SoCs directly and has tested the filters extensively with US carrier networks on its home turf, which explains to a great extent why Samsung went with the tried-and-true in the world's most visible mobile device market. If you want to glimpse at the internals, the Exynos 5 Octa gets to be seen in flesh for the first time in the slideshow below, and that stacked camera sensor has the makings of Sony's Exmor RS, while Qualcomm, Intel and Broadcom are also making a cameo.

Snapdragon 600 has more power in it than Android and apps currently even need, given that phones with it consistently top 12 000 points on the Quadrant test, so no complaints. The larger mystery remains Exynos 5 Octa, which Samsung has clocked at 1.6 GHz in the S 4. It utilizes ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, and is built around four low-power Cortex-A7 cores for the mundane tasks like standby or UI navigation, and four Cortex-A15 ones for the heavy lifting, that's why it is labeled an octo-core chip, which is technically true, but in reality it will never power all eight cores at once, and max them out. With a quad-core PowerVR SGX544 GPU inside, the Exynos 5 Octa is blazing through graphics loads, too, and you can watch the video demo Samsung did for us of all the new features on a reference board below:

Samsung has placed the now-standard for a flagship 2 GB of DDR3 RAM in the handset, and will out it starting at 16 GB of internal storage, with a 32 GB version available, too, but you also get a microSD card slot under the hood for storage expansion, so no complaints here either.


Samsung has gone all-out against the current flagships by Sony and LG with a 13 MP shooter of its own, placed on the back of the Galaxy S 4. So far it's been using Sony sensors, so if this is again the case this time around, we are inclined to believe an Exmor RS sensor is making a cameo in the handset, which would mean hardwired HDR video capture will be added, but since the lens and software processing count, too, we'd wait on judgment after the first samples trickle down, though you can see some trial ones below. There is no optical image stabilization, like in the Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC One, so it seems that if Samsung has hardware camera innovations in store for its flagships, they'll make way to future handsets, rather than the S IV.

The 2 MP frontal camera is capable of Full HD recording for video chat, too, but it also serves one very important function - it processes your eye and head movements for added gesture control. The eye-tracking allows the phone to pause the video currently played when you glance away from the display, called SmartPause, and you can also scroll and swipe with just palm movements. Again, nifty during KFC binges on the couch.

All in all, Samsung has managed to produce a unique display, and nobody can take that away from the Galaxy S 4. Given that you spend the vast majority of interaction time with your phone staring at a screen, we'd wager to say that the S 4 is a pretty good upgrade to its predecessor. The specs, however, are only bringing it in line with the rest of the flagships from the likes of Sony and LG, so the ultimate judge whether Samsung has managed to slap together a compelling for 2013 package will be the exhaustive reviews, and then the sales numbers.

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)



2. Hamdan

Posts: 15; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

Design is so so disappointing .. But feature wise no one can beat that beast

26. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

i love samsung 4 its software! its not the best looking phone and it is a good looking phone withe the best softwarefeatures at the time


Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 14, 2013

The battleground is we must wait for the last member. ..the motorola x!

93. KennethP4V

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

dude doejon ur comment wouldnt even count cuss ur obviously korean. Im sure all koreans feel proud of samsung, so regardless, you will still say it is the best. Samsung just love making people feel that they innovate, lets be realistic not even. The s translator is for sure based on google translator ideology and technology. S beam built on android beam. Tell me which killer feature is exactly samsung's original idea? just the idea of putting the s on all devices or feature such as s voice, s drive, s translator, i can already say that samsung stole apple's idevices idea.

98. Hamdan

Posts: 15; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

Kenneth yeah you are rite about 'S' but the multiwindow was a real innovation which I personally love it.

79. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

what happen when the beast break or drown in the water. Oppss Dead hahaha

99. Hamdan

Posts: 15; Member since: Apr 14, 2012

Then his little bro XZ will come to the rescue :P

101. tolu01

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Let be real here,we are all disappointed because we expected way too much from to come to think of it,ignoring d build quality d htc one is not much powerful than d s iv

102. tolu01

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

This is so funny because most of you crucifying the galaxy s4 for it build all use cases for your phones

3. BackHandLegend

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

I don't want to hear anyone bitch unless they planned on buying it.

77. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

I'm not gonna bitch, cus I don't even plan on buying this.. I'm just gonna laugh.. so hard.. on the floor.. rolling..

90. BackHandLegend

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

Its so dumb. People are all "yeah dude the design is so Galaxy s 3 ish, I don't like it, etc..." yet they weren't going to buy it in the first place. :|

5. moe53

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 12, 2013

powerfull phone, prefer the htc one though

16. chistoefurpuffer

Posts: 140; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

I would, but it has a terrible UI.

6. cR203

Posts: 209; Member since: Jan 27, 2013

The s4 is incredible. Samsung did a great job with this phone despite what all the hater have to say.

19. chistoefurpuffer

Posts: 140; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Agreed. It's pathetic how there's so much hate just because it's built with high quality plastic. Other than the cheesy show, the s4 seems completely amazing.

52. Hemlocke unregistered

"High-quality plastic"? The Lumia 920 uses that (dyed, milled from a solid block). Thin, painted plastic is hardly "high quality."

81. 90ninjas unregistered

Just because one carves and the other molds the same plastic makes it different?

87. Hemlocke unregistered

Yes. Casting a solid piece that is the same color throughout, then milling that make a much more durable, and higher quality, body than some flimsy sheet that is painted.

89. chistoefurpuffer

Posts: 140; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

It's not any other type of plastic. Samsung obviously would of taken note on the flimsy back cover everyone complained about. If you even bothered to watch some hands-on reviews of the phone, then you would notice that lots of them say it feels sturdy. Sturdier than the s3.

92. Dynamac

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 01, 2012

I'm sorry but 920 is 180 friggin grams. I have a phone for carrying it around (read "MOBILE"), I'd much prefer to have it made of paper and be very light than 180 grams. Also HTC + Lumia, great material yes, but no microSD or battery, that's wayyy too much sacrifice just for building material. I battery swap almost everyday (desk charger) and I wouldn't buy a smartphone without being able to, doesn't matter what brand. People completely forget these things and always just talk about build quality...pfff....its a phone not a LV bag.

28. samsunggalaxylover

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

I'm a number one samsung fan, but with such phone I'll never think of even looking at any of their products.

7. alfiehp21

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

As a Galaxy S3 owner, i found myself with mixed feelings right now!

53. dherteux

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

have a Note 2 and I am in the same boat. I hope some of the cool software makes it our way.

61. elmersunyc

Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Me too! Sold my S3 already and now I am stuck with deciding between the HTC ONE and the S4. The thing is that if I still have the S3 I probably wouldn't go for an upgrade till 2014. No offense! Samsung could have done better!

94. Dynamac

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 01, 2012

Can you honestly go from an AMOLED back to LCD? I keep thinking I should change and HTC looks great, but whenever I look at even a high quality LCD vs amoled I just smile inside knowing that amoled looks soooo much better. Not to mention replaceable battery and mSD slot.

8. SamsungDroid

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

Confimed! This is my next phone. Good job Samsung, you never dissappointed me.

10. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

What a beast !!! better than both the One and Xperia Z, and probably the iPhone 5S. Haters gonna hate...

17. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

That's right Bro: Haters gonna HATE!

72. BillyG

Posts: 305; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

lol, its a fact... GSIV is ugly, should've called it GSIIIS instead of GSIV ... and i do agree if you mean its a beast as in beauty and the beast... HTC is way better, but i'll still thanks sammy, now i can be 100% sure to buy a HTC One

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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