- Plasticky feel
- Slippery case
- Questionable TouchWiz interface
- Boring hardware design
As the flagship in Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone lineup, the S4 is a leader in its bracket. With a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera and a powerful Snapdragon chipset, the phone has the features and power to handle most anything mobile device users might ask for. However, case design and the TouchWiz interface could pose an issue for some.
Engadget’s Brad Molen sums up the device well when he says “In drawing our conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S4, we find ourselves at an interesting junction: while our geek senses keep tingling at the thought of so many market-topping specs contained within the same chassis, we also aren't overjoyed, per se, with excitement.”
One aspect of the S4 that truly shines is the display. The 5-inch AMOLED display features excellent contrast, great outdoor visibility and wide viewing angles. Gareth Beavis of TechRadar said “The screen is out of this world. Even at a lower PPI the 5-inch display dominates the competition. It's clear, bright and vivid, and there's very little it isn't great for.” The Synaptics powered enhanced touch inputs allow users to take advantage of the Air Controls features on the Note series or use the device while wearing gloves. Support for MicroSXHD cards provides massive storage upgrade potential while the 13-megapixel camera and 4G LTE support provide plenty of ways to use the storage space.
The device runs Android Jelly Bean with the TouchWiz interface. This is where things get questionable for the S4. The TouchWiz interface is something that many users either love or hate. It offers enhanced features over the stock interface. Unfortunately, they are sometimes less than intuitive. Another concern is the materials used for the phone. Samsung has always been a fan of plastic cases. The S4 is no exception.
While the phone does not feel frail or flimsy, it certainly has a cheaper feel than many of the polycarbonate or aluminum devices available from competitors. David Pierce of The Verge says “I don't like holding this phone, and I can't overstate how much that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your hand.”