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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

8.2/10 AVG.
RATING



8.2/10
Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy S4 currently has an Informr score of 8.2 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 86 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Beautiful display
  • Enhanced touch inputs
  • Great camera
  • Removable battery
  • Great performance

What's bad

  • 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.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.9 GHz
Screen Size
5"
Camera
13+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


About

Yet again, Samsung have produced a market leading smartphone. It may seem to some to be more like the Galaxy S3.1 than a full update, but for those who give it the time, learn what it can do and take advantage of the advanced features, it really is hard to beat. The 5in screen is fantastic, the came...

- Russell Ware, About
AndroidPIT

I'm not going to tell you which phone to buy. I'm sure by now you already have a hunch as to which one you'd like. But the Galaxy S4 certainly isn't a bad bet. However, for those who want an expandable storage drive and a removable battery, it would be right up your alley. The good news is that cons...

- Johannes Wallat, AndroidPIT
Expert Reviews

A gorgeous screen and a big battery in a surprisingly compact handset that's packed with extras

- Seth Barton, Expert Reviews
Good Housekeeping

The Galaxy S4 does everything well: It contended for the top spot on nearly every test we threw at it. The S4 offers great battery life; in our Good Housekeeping Research Institute tests, it streamed video for 10 hours on its beautiful 5” HD display. The S4 is no slouch in processing power as...

- Good Housekeeping team, Good Housekeeping
GottaBeMobile

If you plan to use the Galaxy S4 on a contract be sure to look at Galaxy S5 deals before settling on the Galaxy S4, and make sure you look for Galaxy S4 deals online instead of going straight to a carrier store. For more on each feature check out the original Galaxy S4 review. If you don’t ne...

- Josh Smith, GottaBeMobile


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Quick view

Screen Size
5"

The Samsung Galaxy S4's screen size is 5 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.9 GHz

There is a ARM Cortex-A15 Quad-core 1.9 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.0.1 Lollipop) operating system (OS).

Camera
13+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 13+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
16/32/64 GB

Internal memory is 16/32/64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2600mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2600 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 1020 minutes, 600 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy S4 Specs

Overview
Release date April 26, 2013
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
variations
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1700 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+ 21.1, LTE
variations
SIM card size
Micro-SIM
variations
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (Update Available: 5.0.1 Lollipop)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor ARM Cortex-A15 Quad-core 1.9 GHz
Internal Storage 16/32/64 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.5 W/kg
Body: 0.65 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2600 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging Yes
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 660 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 480 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1020 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 20.7 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black Myst, White Frost, Aurora Red, Blue Arctic, Purple Mirage, Brown Autumn, Pink Twilight, Gold
Dimensions [H x W x D] 13.7 x 7 x 0.8 cm (5.4 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 130 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 441 pixels
Size 5 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Adapt display
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN, OBEX
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 64 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
13+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Night mode, Panorama, Dual camera feature (Dual Shot / Dual Recording/ Dual Video Call), Drama shot, Eraser, Sound & Shot, 360 Photo, Beauty face, HDR
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, DivX, XviD
Video Recording Parameters
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 60 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
HD (1280 x 720 pixels), 30 fps
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MP3, MP4, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM/RDS)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats DivX, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, XviD
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Yes
Apps Yes (YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Plus, Google Latitude)
Included Software / Apps Samsung Hub, ChatON, Samsung WatchON, S Travel, S Voice Drive, Samsung Knox, S Health
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S IV, Galaxy S IV LTE, Galaxy S4 LTE, GT-I9505

- Samsung Smart Scroll
- Infrared gestures
- Humidity sensor
- S Translator
- Auto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly)
- Eye Tracking

Related Links Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy S4 Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy S4
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