Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review


Going back to the stock Android camera app is rough, especially when Samsung delivered an insane number of cool photo-centric features that made the S4 one of the classiest things to use in the space. Rather, this Google Play Edition goes back to the basics with its simplified interface approach, and predictable features and controls. Despite the lack of features, we do gain the Photospheres feature, which gives the handset the ability to snap 360-degree shots.

Hardly a surprise, the 13-megapixel snapper of the smartphone is a winner with its quality – much like what we experienced already with the original model. There are plenty of things to like about it, since it excels with photos captured under plenty of lighting. Details are exquisite, as so are the camera’s ability to handle dynamic range and produce colors that are vivid and bright – essentially composing images that are highly realistic. Under low lighting, though, quality takes a dip, as noise and its fainter looking details soften its overall quality.

Likewise, we see the same qualities with its 1080p video recording quality. When there’s sufficient lighting present, it produces poppy looking videos that are pleasing to watch due to its smooth recording and pleasant looking details. However, there are two minor issues that become apparent – audio recording is mediocre, and its continuous auto-focus is rather slow when adjusting to something that is close to the camera. Yet again, low lighting performance struggles, as the amount of noise in the video and its weak details don’t make it too appealing.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Nighttime Sample Video:


Being stock and all, we’re only presented with the Google Play Music app, which should appease almost anyone, but don’t expect to see any cool looking 3D visuals with its presentation. As for its internal speaker, it delivers tones that are no doubt loud and clear – with no distortion or unpleasantness at the loudest volume setting.

There’s no arguing that it’s such a joy watching high-def videos on the handset, especially with its colorful screen and all. However, it lacks support for videos encoded in DivX and XviD out of the box – plus, it misses out on some of the secondary features, like Pop Up Play, that provided more depth to the experience with the TouchWiz model, so you may have to visit the Play Store for some third party player.



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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