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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Samsung Galaxy S4

We've gotten used to seeing Samsung's phones arrive with the latest Android version available, and the new flagship smartphone doesn't disappoint. Coming straight with Android 4.2.2, the Galaxy S4 has all Android features, plus a ton of custom ones developed by Samsung itself.

The main concept behind this version of the TouchWiz Nature UX remains the same: it's a reskinned version of Android, which looks and feels different from the stock UI. It runs extremely fluidly and is highly customizable, allowing the user to tweak almost all of its aspects. There's a good number of custom widgets, which make it easy for you to compose a useful and informative homescreen setup that has a relatively unified look.

The new features that make a debut on the Samsung Galaxy S4 can be divided into four abstract categories: Fun, Relationship, Life Task and Life Care. Here's some detailed information about all the new goodies:

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

  • Dual shot – This new camera feature makes for some interesting stories, mainly because it compiles videos by recording content with the front and rear cameras. It’s neat because you can tell a story about what you’re trying to shoot in the video.
  • Sound & Shot – This is simple - it just allows us to record up to 9 seconds of audio when we snap a photo. Therefore, when we preview it in the gallery, it’ll play the recording when we look at it.
  • Drama Shot – Always wondered how professional photographers snap those cool photos of someone diving into a pool? You know, the ones where it shows in the photo the step-by-step moment? Well, the drama shot feature relies on multi burst to take various photos of something in motion, and then complies them together in a single shot.
  • Cinema Photo – Now this one is really cool, it’s like having a photo that you can honestly say you’re “feeling the moment.” Basically, it’s like making a GIF image on the smartphone. As the handset is capturing images, we can select what elements to animate and what others we want to keep stationary.
  • Story Album – The name says it all! It’s a feature that lets us stitch together a story album using pictures, time, place, weather, and more.


  • S Translator – You guessed it folks, the Galaxy S IV makes it super convenient to translate stuff on the fly. Incorporated into a variety of apps, like ChatON, messaging, S Translator app, and email, language barriers will be a thing of the past with this new S Translator feature.
  • Group Play – There are to aspects of Group Play. First, there’s the ability to allow the smartphone to pair with other Galaxy S IVs so they can conjure up a powerful sound system with its new Share Music feature. Come to think about it, the entire thing kind of reminds us of daisy chaining. Lastly, the Galaxy S IV allow for more social engagement when it comes to playing games. Specifically, optimized versions of Asphalt 7 and Gun Bros 2 allow multiple Samsung Galaxy S IV smartphone to play collaboratively.

Life Task

  • Air View – Yup, the Note’s Air View feature has somehow magically arrived on the Galaxy S IV – and boy does it impress on many levels. We’ve already talked about its usefulness and the display’s accuracy, but Sammy has an optimized version of Flipboard that allows us to hover our finger over its tiles to get a preview. Of course, the feature works in many other places – like previewing email and calendar appointments.
  • Air Gesture – Holy smokes! So what’s Air Gesture? Simply, it’s a basic version of Kinect for the Microsoft XBOX 360, but for smartphones (SGSIV in this case obviously). At its core, Air Gesture is touchless commands for the Galaxy S IV and breaks down to three commands – Air Browse, Air Jump, and Air Call Accept. In the browser and email apps, we can wave our hand in a downward/upward motion to tell the phone to scroll up/down. Likewise, we can “swipe” through photos in the gallery by waving our hand over the display in the appropriate direction. Yeah, it’s super neat, but not all apps support it. Instead, most of Sammy’s set offer it, but not others like Chrome or Gmail. Unfortunately though, there’s no air gesture for “pinch zooming.”
  • Smart Pause – It’s hard enough remembering a storyline when watching a movie on a phone, especially when we decide to do something else aside from watching it. Well, with Smart Pause, the handset knows when we’re not looking. Therefore, it’ll automatically pause the moment our eyes are no longer affixed to the display, but it’ll resume once we look back at it.
  • Smart Scroll – Using a combination of looking with our eyes and some tilting action, we can scroll through various content in the web browser and email app.
  • Samsung Optical Reader – No one likes having to manually input business card information into their phones, so that’s why we’re given the Samsung Optical Reader. Snap a business card, it’ll automatically retrieve the pertinent content and convert it digitally for us. Also, it works to decipher QR codes.
  • WatchON – Seeing that the handset is now sporting an IR blaster, WatchON is the one stop hub for all our television program needs. Not only can we control, select, and viewing programming, it also has a cool video on demand feature.

Life Care

  • S Health – Fitness junkies will surely appreciate S Health the most, since it tracks and measures various physical activities – eventually giving us detailed statistics about our fitness regimen. From counting the steps we’ve take to the amount of calories we’ve consumed for the day, S Health is the central spot where we can monitor our healthy lifestyle. Heck, it can even tell us if the temperature and weather conditions are conducive to our health. Oh yeah, did we mention it can also monitor sleeping patterns?
  • Samsung Adapt Sound – In its attempt to be self-aware, the Samsung Adapt Sound will automatically adjust some of the handset’s settings based on what we’re doing. For example, if we’re reading a book in the dark, it’ll adjust the contrast and brightness to make it easier on our eyes. Another scenario pumps up the two so that it provides for an enticing video watching experience. Rather than doing it ourselves manually, it’s nice to see the handset doing it automatically for us.


With a screen this big and with a phone this ergonomic, one would think that typing on the on-screen QWERTY keyboards would be a joy, and they'll be right. The keyboard is quite spacious so there's enough empty space between the individual keys to reduce those accidental presses to a minimum. Still, the built-in Samsung keyboard doesn't really have the best possible layout, so you might want to consider installing a quality third-party one in order to optimize or customize your typing experience as much as you can.

Other than that, there aren't too many enhancements with regards to messaging on the device. It has the regular messaging apps including the standard Gmail app and Samsung's own ChatON service, which can now handle conference video calls for up to three people.

Samsung Galaxy S4's default QWERTY keyboard layout - Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Processor and Memory

The Samsung Galaxy S phones have always been equipped with exceptional processors and the Galaxy S4 is not an exception. The fourth Galaxy S will be available in two versions. In some markets including the US and the UK, the handset is going to ship with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset, which is also available in the HTC One. In some international markets, the GS4 will have the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa, which is supposed to be a powerful, yet efficient octa-core CPU. The unit we're testing for this review is powered by the Snapdragon 600 CPU and boy is this thing fast! This powerful, cutting-edge chipset is clocked at 1.9 GHz to offer unsurpassed performance no matter what task is being executed.

Additionally, the handset is armed with 2 GB of RAM, as well as the Adreno 320 GPU for superb performance in games and other 3D applications.

As far as internal memory goes, the Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in 16, 32 and 64 GB flavors, but stays true to the tradition and features a microSD card slot for memory expansion. We appreciate this kind of versatility in a device – after all, why not have the option of using a microSD card?

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Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

OS: Android 5.0 4.4.2 4.3 4.2.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera13 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1900 MHz, Krait 300 processor
Size5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
(136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm)
4.59 oz  (130 g)

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