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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

0. phoneArena posted on 23 Mar 2013, 11:12

Another year, another Galaxy S phone! Since the very first Galaxy S, which came out in 2010, Samsung has been regularly refining and improving its formula for success in the mobile industry. It is mainly thanks to this series of handsets that the manufacturer is now enjoying lush revenue streams and having a profound influence over the whole Android ecosystem...

This is a discussion for a review. To read the whole review, click here

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 12:14

324. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

not really, you haven't exactly kept it a secret that you think the One is quite inferior to the S4 when to plenty of other people it isn't. hell I'd call Blinkfeed and Zoe gimmicks, that doesn't matter to me but you'd be a fool to down play HTC's effort with the One.

lol, not really guy. the button placement is something that only seems to be bothering you badly and there's pros and cons to the UM camera. for the occasional Facebook upload, Instagram shot and Snapchats it's perfect because the pictures are of fine quality for their small size which shouldn't have to be resized by any of those services.

my only real point to bringing that up was to point out how many of the Android 4.2 features made it over to TW and that they didn't exactly improve anything because those features were based off of what's been available from custom UI's like TW. I just don't think you
like that iI have such a strong opinion about the Galaxy S4 instead of blindly believing it's the best thing since sliced bread.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 13:52 1

335. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Button placement isn't exactly arguable. A Canadian bilingual keyboard is placed worse than an English Canadian keyboard if you never plan to type in french. That is just how it is and the HTC One keys are not placed optimally compared to it's competition in any sense. It should have been better thought out period.

As far as the cons against the GS4, gimmicky software? Totally subjective. That is the difference between my complaints and your complaints. Your complaints are complaining about things you can ignore and mine are about things that you can't. You are saying my plate of food is too big, you don't need that big of a portion or these vegetables are gimmicky or just clutter up the plate and you are acting like that ruins the entire meal. I am complaining about my beef not being cooked properly. There is a huge difference. One is just whining and the other might appear like whining to some totally carefree souls but is generally a pretty big issue.

And saying that 4mp is ideal for facebook as being a pro is just flat out hilarious. 4 mp is a con, plain and simple. Just look at all the reviews. The gsmarena one is pretty damning.

As far as 4.2 goes. Well, even if you do not think that 4.2 adds much, and you are entitled to that opinion. It is still the latest code of Android and inherently more optimized for the Playstore and apps. You may not notice the differences but just knowing that the latest is there out of the box is good. I don't notice what every windows update does but at the very least, it helps me to rule out application incompatibility when I am trouble shooting an issue. Having 4.2.2 out of the box is great. I don't have to worry about any updates introducing a new bug or affecting battery life until Key Lime Pie.

Would you rather purchase a laptop with the latest version of Windows 8 right out of the box or would you rather purchase a laptop with an older version of Windows 8 where you have to wait for a critical update pack? Easy answer even if we do not notice any differences between the two versions.

There are some differences in 4.2.2 though, you just choose to write them off to justify HTC using 4.1.2 for the One.

posted on 25 Mar 2013, 00:27

353. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

i don't really know what to say to you about the button placement. you really have some strong feelings about that. i don't have a problem with the button layout. i think it's kind of a nice minimalist approach but wuuuutever.

wow, what a load! you think your complaints about button placement and the UM camera are more substantial than my complaints about Samsung's use of cheap feeling plastic which clearly a LOT of people are at arms about? i think you have it a little backwards there guy. xD

i know what the reviews are saying. the One is obviously not the phone to get if you want the largest, most detailed pictures you can get but it is more ideal for casual photographers (who said anything about pro?) who just want to snap something real quick for Facebook or Instagram. there's a lot to be said about a 4MP camera that can at least bark up there with the big dogs.

that's all true however just know as long as Samsung has anything to do with the UI experience of your phone that you shouldn't get too excited about any new Google features. Samsung will demand all of the attention on them and as long as they're as content as they are with the way the things are i wouldn't expect anything radically different in the near future.

that's not really the same thing. HTC brought a whole new and improved UI with Android 4.1.2 which brought more radical changes to the experience than Samsung did with bringing UX to 4.2.2 and i'm not trying to justify HTC using 4.1.2, i don't care about that. the whole point is using a Galaxy S device becomes less like using an Android phone less and less as Samsung brings in more gimmicks to compete and that doesn't sit well with me. i'm more interested in the things Google has to offer me than more Samsung gimmicks people will hardly ever use or you have to have someone with another Galaxy S4 to use.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 21:30 6

257. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

I don't think the plastic is cheap feeling as it is cheap looking. I've heard a couple reviewers at the event saying that even though the GS4 is made of the same materials as the GS3, it has a more solid build to it. The only thing I don't like is the gloss, and the removable back which makes a weak point that can fly off when dropped. The GS4 does look cheap in comparison to HTC and Apple's metal, Sony's glass, and Motorola's Kevlar, but on its own it's just fine minus the gloss. But that's the problem, the GS4 isn't by itself; competition is tough this year.

As for 4.2 on the S4, Samsung didn't really put any elegance into it. They just slapped on the features and called it a day. Also, I'm pretty sure the GS4 does have lock screen widgets; you can see in PA's cold boot video they did at the GS4 event, once the phone booted up you can see the screen giving indication to swipe the edges of the screen for the widgets. I will definitely replace the keyboard with Swiftkey though. I was kind of looking forward to a nice re-design to Touchwiz, nothing major, just something new.

I probably will choose the One over the GS4, but I'll at least give it a chance and have my own hands on with it, it's only fair. I mean, you can't NOT at least try the new flagship Galaxy S device. The only real problems I have with my S2 is the old Touchwiz, the build quality, and the slight lag in web browsing.

Regardless, whichever I choose I'm going to sell it later in the year for the Motorola flagship or the Nexus 5. Trying to get a cycle going where I get 2 new devices a year; the HTC or Samsung flagship the first half, then sell that for the Nexus or Motorola flagship the second half.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 12:35 1

327. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

yeah, it may be a little more solid than the SIII by being more condensed or something but if the material feels anything like the stuff used with the SIII which is certainly what it seems like i won't like it. Samsung just has this notorious way of making plastic just feel like plastic you know? some of their work is better than others like the SII for instance but the SIII's build is just too much. the plastic is thin and glossy and i just can't stand it.

oh well i may have been wrong about that one but nothing in any of their PR shots of the phone with it's lock screen on or anything shows that it has support for lockscreen widgets. yeah, their new keyboard looks pretty rough and dare i say Apple inspired? i fear that Samsung is taking a page from Apple's book and are just going to refuse to change anything that isn't broken.

you're 100% right Bezerk. i will of course look forward to fondling this new Galaxy S hardware myself but the S4 will not get the same kind of support from me that the SIII did just because i refuse to support a move like this from Samsung. HTC will probably receive most of my appreciation this year because they came out of the bag with something all around vastly improved so much so that they've gone from offering devices that i wouldn't really consider buying at all to offering wishlist toppers.

hm, it's a good plan. i may follow that plan myself. o:
always good to see you posting my friend. +1

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 14:23 1

339. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

I agree, Samsung definitely needs a switch on the materials used on their phones. I just find it odd how the GS3 and One X are made of the same materials, but the One X feels/looks so much better in the hand. Maybe because of the One X's unibody design, or the absence of the hyper glaze finish, probably both. I was personally hoping for a design like the Wave 3 on the GS4, aluminum/matte polycarbonate with a sliding mechanism for access to the battery and micro SD slot. That keeps build quality in check while still having Samsung's tradition of removable battery and storage.

I wouldn't have caught the lock screen widgets myself if I wasn't intentionally looking for them. With Samsung not mentioning Android at all, I wouldn't have been surprised if they removed it, so I just stared at the sides of the display whenever the device was powered on until I saw it; it's actually a lot more subtle than it is on stock Android. The color scheme of the keyboard just screams iOS, I do appreciate the dedicated numbers row, however. I feel like Samsung is going to turn into the next Apple; watch it, if the GS5 still has a similar looking Nature UX, that's when we need to worry. Samsung fanboys are already acting like Apple fanboys (i.e richardyarrell).

HTC put a lot more effort into the One than Samsung did into the GS4, that's for sure. They overhauled Sense into a new minimalistic and modern look, packed it with a few useful features (BlinkFeed) and a few unique gimmicky ones (Zoe), gave it hardware features that really matter (front speakers), made sure it had the most desirable design they could muster, and took an unexpected step away from everyone else with the Ultrapixel camera. By the way, have you seen Pocket Now's comparison between the One's camera and the Lumia 920? The low light performance is absolutely amazing, definitely up there with the Lumia.

Here's a link;

Anyways, yeah, I'm having difficulties choosing my first device of the year. I'm leaning towards the Developer Edition of the One, but I'm not quite sure whether that supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 and their upcoming LTE network. So whether I should get the Developer Edition, international version, or the off contract T-Mobile variant is still unknown to me. But, that's if I choose the One at all; I still might get the international Exynos variant of the GS4, which I know I won't get LTE support but I would still get HSPA+ 42.

It's good to see you posting as well, nice to know there's at least one person here that can have rational arguments.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 17:50 3

210. dapsta (Posts: 20; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Well makes sence, everyone who has used the HTC camera says its crappy. The 4 Ultra Pixels are great for low light but the pictures end up with too much noise reduction and fussy.

They took a big bet and failed.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 17:58 8

213. MIBLegend (Posts: 4; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

1st I would say I don't like samsung smart phone so I want to give you all my honest opinion on this phone and 1st reaction when it is launched. And I really wan't some help to decide between S4 and HTC One. (I will appreciated all feedback but please give it with fair point not because your are a fanboy)

When I 1st saw this phone on their launch event, I was like crap it look exactly the same as S3. However, when HTC One is getting delay for release in Australia I have spent more time to check out the S4. I was wrong at some point, yes it is same design language with S3, no doubt but when look closer the round bezel does look nicer compare to S3. I like how it is make like a ring around the phone. It does like like metal material but I guess it is plastic. On the back of the phone I like the lay out of camera and flash light and the texture on black one. It doesn't look bored like poor black color. Also it doesn't look curvy on the side of the phone like S3. The shape look better I would say.

At this point I am standing in the middle of the fence, 1 side is S4, 1 side is HTC One. They are both good at some point and it is very hard for me to choose. I don't really care much about 1.7GHz or 1.9GHz because most of high end android phone now can do all the task smoothly, few extra GHz or number in benchmark won't make any difference. I don't care about battery life or removable battery because with Note II, I have to charge it twice a day anyway. SD Card is not really that important as long as they have 64GB internal or external I am fine. So I will list Pros and Cons of both devices in my view below so you guys can help me decide what to go for.

HTC One Pros: is really good at design in term of build quality and material choice and I like how the speaks are made in front with stereo sound.
HTC Cons: Yes Ultra Pixel provide good image with low light but when zoom to 100%, the picture look not sharp at all. I feel like I am using old day camera. This is really a deal breaker.

S4 Pros: does come with good round premium finish, I like how they done with it. The design of the phone I think is an improvement of S3. 13MP camera mean the picture will be sharper and crisper when I zoom in. Tons of features, even though none of us will use them all but still nice to have extra
S4 Cons: I just don't like the fact that it is made by plastic

What do I use my phone for?
- Watching movie & tv show everyday. I prefer to watch on phone more than on TV
- Occasionally taking picture and record family video when I go out
- Playing game sometime
- Surf web when I am not near my PC

What do I need from my phone?
- Nice looking device
- High end ofc
- Update
- Customer support

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:21 4

218. YaBoiDre10 (Posts: 84; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

When the S3 was released people acted the same exact way. It's ugly, plastic, ect. They said the HTC One is better and look how that turned out. The S3 sold millions and the HTC one is obsolete lol. Same thing is going to happen this year. The S3 didn't have a best design but I feel the S4 has a better design plus more features. Stop basing your opinion on what YOU want because you don't like it. Somebody else does including this guy. Great job Samsung!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:24 1

219. yasir-921 (Posts: 81; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)

Sorry Samsung.
going for the G Pro

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:25 1

220. yasir-921 (Posts: 81; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)

Ray S has started to focus more on commercialisation rather than review on phones!

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:39 1

222. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

Just saw the youtube video Review.

What is up with the Lag doing simple tasks? A phone with that high of a Quadrant Score still lags?

Not going back to Android till they fix this issue. Dropped frames everywhere.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:45

224. LebronJamesFanboy (Posts: 618; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

And you guys can downrank my comment all you want...Just look at the damn Video review.

There still is noticeable lag while scrolling and drops frames. It's funny how bad fanboys are getting everywhere.

This is coming from someone that owns a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 4.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:54 1

225. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)

Hmm I am looking at XPERIA Z. You know why? Because it's retail price in India will "SINK" fastest as compared to S4 or HTC 1. From 39K on launch it has already sunk to low of 35K in less than 2 weeks on some online stores with 4K worth of freebies in addition. Come May/June and one could see it touch 28K on ebay. That's the right time/price i am looking at.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:54 3

226. rahool360 (Posts: 19; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

My friend have a xperia z have used it too, its display sucks big time , so does it camera....but didnt use the htc one...but seeing what their screen is how good in htc one x, i think thier super lcd will rock......nd sup[er amoled is good, but if you use outside it will suck for sure...cant seee a thing.... but yes i alos think htc one look premium... if i alos buy i will go for it... if nokia doesnot come up with another phone with a 41 mp camera... i like clicking photos more than anything :)

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 18:56 4

227. rahool360 (Posts: 19; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)

s4 is not bad... it have copieed every good features available(especially camera tricks) from both lumia 920 and thc one... so nothing new but u have to understand u will get all that features in one handset... unlike noka nd htc features u have to buy both phones.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 22:55 3

261. kclgphilsbsa (Posts: 765; Member since: 21 Jan 2013)

wtf, those features are not invented by nokia nor htc one.. theyr already existing.. if nokia and htc one invented those things, sammy for sure will not use those..
c'mon stop the hate

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:07 5

228. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

The HTC fans are getting desperate and pretty vocal here. The truth is, besides casing material, the HTC One barely beats the GS4 in the areas it wins like screen and low light pictures. Yet it gets destroyed by the GS4 in battery life, versatility, compactness for screen size, software features, camera, button layout, ergonomics.

I am not getting the GS4 and most likely keeping my Nexus 4 but a clean win is a clean win. The HTC has a ton of issues and the GS4 has no deal breakers. In fact, the Note 2 just beat the HTC One in a fair dog fight. Imagine how badly the GS4 is going to slaughter it.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:51 7

235. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Deja Vu anyone? Engadget, The Verge, and Pocketnow will end up giving the HTC One the better score based on bias and the rest will give it to the GS4. Then after the buzz wears off, the major flaws in the HTC One begins to rear it's ugly head and people begin to realize that the GS4 is way better. Just like what happened to the HTC One X when people began to realize that the GS3 was much much better.

This is similar to what happens to couples. You don't know how annoying they are until you move in together. You don't know how crappy HTC phones are until you use them as your daily driver.

That is how I think things will play out again. Of course some people can see through HTC right away and do not need to let it sink in.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 08:30 1

310. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 1122; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

Hipocracy anyone? You call everyone a fanboy because they don't share the same OPINION than you, and then you are clearly the biased one, while i said the "plastic is cheap" about the Galaxy S IV look at the speech you made up for the HTC One, i don't know why you hate that phone so much you are stating that 3 websites are biased just because they rated a phone higher than your beloved Samsung, and then the others are fanboys, right?

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 10:10

316. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

I am just calling out the obvious fanboys. If they don't need a valid reason to call out the GS4, why do I need a valid reason to call out the fan boys?

My reasons for calling out the HTC One are valid and major issues. Not this is plastic crap and just gimmicks.

That is not hypocracy. Go look up the meaning of the word.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 11:18

322. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 1122; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)

Sorry, from the moment you bash people who are bashing Phonearena for this review to bashing several websites that are way better than phonearena imo because they rate high a phone you don't like that is fanboyism at its finest. As i said somewhere in the comments of this review i said the Galaxy was a nice phone and so are every flagship this year, all of them have their flaws.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 14:06

336. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

You missed my point entirely. I said that I am just joining them. If you can't beat them with logic, join them.

If the fan boys choose to stretch quarter truths and champion them as 100% truths, then I will reply to them in the same manner.

If they choose to have a logical discussion with me, then I will post like a normal person would. Unfortunately, not many people here are open to having real discussions.

Even so, my nature doesn't allow me to stray too much so I just bash the HTC One in the areas that are really horrid and I leave the subjective areas like ZOE and sense 5 alone. Of course, you and the HTC fan boys still trash touchwiz and software futures that you may not find useful but others might like it is the plague and the end of the world.

Anyways, there are no double standards here so there is no hypocrisy. I talk to fan boys like fan boys. That is called being consistent, more of an opposite of hypocrisy.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:55 2

238. sebaa (Posts: 28; Member since: 30 Jun 2009)

Only cons is: NO RADIO, end no camera key / xenon flash .

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:49 2

253. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

I never use those two features at all but I am not going to discredit them as gimmicky. Those are legitimate cons because I believe choice is never a bad thing when it comes to smart phones.

That is something the Samsung haters should remember. Just because you do not use them, it doesn't mean you can just write those features off and still appear objective.

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 23:35 3

268. voxmarc (Posts: 335; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)

there is a Radio on all Samsung device including S4.

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 20:11

346. sebaa (Posts: 28; Member since: 30 Jun 2009)

I just look at the app menu end there no Radio app !

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:57 8

239. MrJerry (Posts: 403; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)

The best phone ever
Even if it is not finalized version, it beats everything out there lol
And some people are mad...why?

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 20:10 8

244. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

Jealousy ™

posted on 23 Mar 2013, 19:58

240. S3Mama (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Mar 2013)

I have a S3 and waited for the S4 to come out with built-in wireless charging but now it's a $100 bulky add-on. So I found a S3 wireless charger SET for $40 from Monster Watts and they will accept the S3 receiver for trade in when the S4 is available. The included charger is Qi standard too so even if I don't get the S4 later, I can use it with another phone that uses the Qi-maybe Note 3?

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