Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review

Interface and Functionality:

Being a ‘Google Play Edition’ device, this newer S4 model is treated to that vanilla Android experience that hardcore Android users drool over like a pack of hungry hyenas. For these enthusiasts, they’ll relish over the interface’s cleaner looks, as stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean doesn’t have the cartoonish looks of its TouchWiz sibling. At the same time, too, it’s more likely to receive those prized Android updates faster, but that’s still questionable at this point. Considering that the original S4 is selling so well, one would think that Sammy would be hasty in getting its software updated in a timely manner after a major update is announced. And as we’ve heard very recently, it was announced that this Google Play Edition would receive Android 4.3 AFTER those Nexus branded devices – so it begs the question how fast it’ll actually get them.

On the flip side, the vanilla Android experience strips the handset from all the cool (sometimes regarded as gimmicky too) features that made the TouchWiz version so memorable. For starters, gone are the S-branded and other features that the original model laid claim to – S Voice, S Translator, S Health, Air View, Air Gestures, Smart Pause, and much more. It’s honestly a tossup, so depending on your preference, this may prove to be either a good or bad thing.


Making the switch to the stock Google keyboard, it’s no surprise we’re given a very elementary layout, which means that access to another layout is needed to input various punctuations – albeit, there’s a row for numbers on the main layout. Despite that, it’s spacious and responsive enough to keep up with our rate of input. And if that’s not an enough, there are also those swiping movements as an alternative.

Just like all Android smartphones, the Gmail app is ideal to handle even the most demanding users, since its functionality and presentation mimics the desktop version. Alternatively, the standard email app is available as well to handle other email services, but its functionality and interface is similar to Gmail.


Now that the experience is stock Android, this version misses out on employing those nifty features that made those various organizer apps so useful. For example, without Air View, we can no longer preview pertinent information, like text messages or appointments, by simply hovering our finger over the display. Regardless of that, the end-game functions of the handset’s core organizer apps remain largely intact. Heck, we have Google Now as always to keep us organized and up-to-date.

Processor and Memory:

Armed with the same processor that’s utilized by the US versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4, this Google Play Edition actually runs snappier than its TouchWiz sibling. Donning that quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T processor with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU, everything just seems to run smoother. We’re not trying to knock the original model, which was quite peppy on its own too, but this is noticeably more fluid with its operations.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD) Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition 12205 23861 4706 / 42 fps 1986 / 825
HTC One Google Play Edition 12108
23921 4515 / 40 fps 2370 / 780
Sony Xperia Z 8221 20835 3382 2198/626

With less baggage in tow, since it’s stock Android, we’re given 12.65GB of free storage out of the box. Certainly a figure that doesn’t scream grossly excessive, it’s nice that there’s a microSD card to supplement its capacity.

Internet and Connectivity:

Totally predictable, the web browsing experience is utterly top notch – aided by its gorgeous and sharp screen, fast 4G LTE connection, and mighty processing power. From page rendering to navigational controls, every action done in Chrome is accompanied with finesse and fluidity to make surfing the web just so darn enjoyable.

Just like the HTC One Google Play Edition, this newer S4 model is sold unlocked, enabled to work with AT&T and T-Mobile’s LTE networks. However, it lacks the necessary radio to support T-Mobile’s HSPA+ AWS band. Aside from that, it’s pretty much sporting the latest arsenal of connectivity features that flagship devices are treated to – like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, DLNA, and NFC.



1. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

awesome ! definitely deserved that score

2. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Freaking 9 point fudging 3?? Seriously? This must be surely better than he Touchwized S4!! With all the S features removed, i guess it has more space to churn out the best it can. By the way, mixed up the Quadrant Standard and AnTuTu benchmarks of the Play edition of One.

15. jellmoo

Posts: 2645; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Yeah, this is baffling. I may not be a massive fan of the S4 in general, but removing the lag ridden crapfest that is Touchwiz should reflect a higher score overall. All you are losing are some of the gimmickiest things ever conceived, and in return you get a much more fluid device, more storage, and an interface that doesn't look like a two year old designed it.

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

I think the Quadrant Standard and AnTuTu scores of HTC One GPE are misplaced. S4 looks so clean with Google edition.

4. mottykels

Posts: 387; Member since: May 15, 2013

I still love touchwiz :P

14. g2a5b0e unregistered

I do, too. Many more customization options than other skins. Isn't that what Android is all about? Stock Android is just boring to me.

5. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

Hmmm...still a sexy device.

6. rodkurt

Posts: 128; Member since: Nov 29, 2012

i wish Samsung could compress those S-features and give the device a higher memory like the Google play edition.

7. shahulvm

Posts: 124; Member since: Apr 01, 2012


10. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

what? U JELLY? don't be stupid

8. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Best of two worlds, a winner.

9. number29

Posts: 185; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

This would be absolutely amazing with iOS on it.

11. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

iOS would ruin it...

12. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012


13. HASHTAG unregistered

Okay, so you gave the HTC One a con for "Basically 6 months old" (which is a BS con). (from announcement). So where is the con for the Samsung Galaxy S4 GE "Basically 4 months old?" (from announcement).

16. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

sooo... default android is better than all those skins i thought the point of android is customization... why mod if stock is a better option? (serious question. not trying to troll) sooo... nobody would mind forking out 600+ for this phone but a 300 subsidized lumia is too expensive sooo... it means that it is ifinitely better to buy a nexus than any other oem device why should I buy a non nexus phone? this is my ultimate question

17. oOps..

Posts: 34; Member since: Jul 26, 2013

Woohoooo add to my list "Want_________iT"

18. flynfree

Posts: 374; Member since: Jun 09, 2013

This SGS4 GE vs SGS4 LTE Advance .

19. anugakarthik

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 05, 2013

guys i got samsung s4 from my deals 247,good service by them

20. polarmailbabe

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 05, 2014

I have had nothing but problems with my Samsung Galaxy S4. I'm on my 3rd replacement since purchasing it in November, and now Tech Support is going to give me any other phone of my choice when I send THIS one back. (Please note, they have ruled out user error, thanks.) Could it the 4.3, which seems to give some other people fits? Here's what this "smart" phone does as it crashes: first, it drops calls. I can hear them, but they can't hear me. Next, the speakers stop: nothing from them, no little beeps when touched, PlayMusic looks like it's going, but no sound comes out. If I don't immediatly power it off, the screen goes white. Apps and widgets that came pre-loaded, including the Weather Widget, Flipboard, and Amazon Kindle, keep popping up messages saying "Unfortunately, Weather Widget (e.g.) has stopped working." I got this phone because my 3 adult children have them, and I wanted to be able to livechat with them. Think I'll go back to iphone and Skype. Anybody else out there having anything like this? It seems to baffle Tech Support. Are they hiding something?
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)

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