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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S4, aka the most anticipated smartphone of the year, is finally here. After showing itself at a questionably comical press event in NYC on March 14, many of us have been counting down the days to its arrival. There were so many new software features on display during the phone’s unveiling that only some serious time spent with the phone could allow us to digest even a sampling of what Samsung and the Galaxy S4 have to offer. But there are some serious questions that need to be answered with this phone as well. Is it a big enough jump from the Galaxy S3 to get anyone to upgrade? Is it better than the HTC One? Are all of these new software features gimmicks that no one will really ever use? Is the overall package enough of a jump to keep Samsung relevant?

We’ve had a review unit in hand for a week now, thanks to Samsung, and are more than ready to share as many answers to those questions as we can. Stick with us, it’s going to be a long ride. 

The Good


In terms of hardware and specs, Samsung has done something pretty remarkable with the Galaxy S4. They managed to pack the latest and greatest mobile processor, display, camera sensor, and larger battery into a body that is actually slimmer, lighter, and smaller than its predecessor. We’re talking about a 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 5.0″ FHD Super AMOLED display (441ppi), 2GB RAM, 16/32/64GB internal storage options, microSD card slot, 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and 2600mAh removable battery, all tucked into a body that is 7.9mm thick and weighs just 130g. You can argue all day long about this being a minor bump from the Galaxy S3 and whether or not you like the design, however, on paper, it’s really not that close.

On a related note, during a recent meeting I had with Samsung, they pointed out the fact that at this point in the smartphone game, they are really the only OEM putting microSD card slots in phones and allowing for removable batteries. As the industry moves away from each of these items, Samsung and their top selling phones all continue to feature them. While I wouldn’t necessarily say these are the two reasons for their massive success and the rest of the industry’s decline, they certainly are worth a mention. People like extra storage and they like to have backup batteries.

samsung galaxy s4 battery


I’m tempted to toss out the “you either love or hate Samsung’s plastic phone designs,” but in truth, it seems like the minority actually aren’t fans of it. Samsung is the top selling smartphone manufacturer in the world, and yes, they make their phones out of plastic that people tend to label as “cheap.” At this point, I’m not sure that the majority of people really care if their phones are made of plastic, aluminum, or glass as long as the price is right, there are software enhancements that cater to their lives, and the phone is thought to be the hot tech product of the moment. Since Samsung fits all of those categories once again with the Galaxy S4, I don’t see there being much of a fuss over its similar build quality to previous Samsung releases.

With the Galaxy S4, you get a similar package to what you had with the Galaxy S3, yet everything has been upgraded into a smaller body. Most importantly, you have more screen real estate on the front with less bezel, so you almost have a full-screen experience when interacting with the phone. The design sports a dotted patterned backside, and even subtler dotted pattern on the front trim. The Galaxy S4 is much squarer than its predecessor, but it still has rounded edges in all the right places to make it fit nicely in hand. I’d actually argue that the Galaxy S3 has a better feel in hand thanks to its pillowy curves, but the GS4 doesn’t necessarily feel bad by any means.

samsung galaxy s4

In fact, the overall design of the GS4 is much more appealing than the GS3. Gone is the incredibly cheap-looking wave-like side metallic band – in is a much more conservative and uniform band that stretches around each side of the phone. I believe it’s still plastic, but at least it looks metal. I even like the speaker placement better, as it matches up to the two-slit opening on the Note 2, rather than the fake metal grid found on the GS3.

The Galaxy S4 comes in both Black Mist (pictured in this post) and White Frost, though my Black Mist version tends to look blue-ish more often than black.

There aren’t a lot of stand-out design features with the Galaxy S4, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It still looks great, Samsung just didn’t take any risks.


The Galaxy S4, to our knowledge, is the first in the world to use a Full HD (FHD) 1080p Super AMOLED display. Weighing in at 5.0″ and with 441ppi, it’s nothing short of stunning. The AMOLED displays used in many of Samsung’s devices tend to blow out colors more vibrantly than their LCD counterparts, show deeper blacks, and for the most part, take the opposite approach to displaying anything the way an LCD does, which is to look less natural. I tend to love AMOLED displays, because I like the somewhat cartoonish look you get at times. At this point in the game, though, I don’t know that you are going to find that big of a difference between either the new LCDs used in phones like the One or this new FHD Super AMOLED, but I’ll throw some thoughts out there anyway.

Color reproduction on both the AMOLED of the Galaxy S4 and the LCD of the One is excellent to me. With that said, I feel like you get deeper colors which in turn means greater detail in whatever you are viewing with the AMOLED on the Galaxy S4. For example, at full brightness and indoors, the HTC One’s LCD display appears washed out to me, while the Galaxy S4’s AMOLED display only gets better the brighter you go. I think Samsung plays to their strengths in the UI by offering up stock wallpapers that accent the great blues that an AMOLED can display, but it’s not just there that I’m seeing the benefits. From icons to Google Maps to this website, the colors all match what my naked eye sees on any other display or in reality.

Macro shots for fun.

samsung galaxy s4 display macrogs4 vs one macro-small

Full resolution: GS4 icons | vs. HTC One

But again, you can’t go wrong with any of the current display technologies being used in high-end phones. The pixel densities are so outrageous, that you’ll never see a pixel even if the pixel arrangement appears to be odd. Take the Chrome logo macro shot I’ve included above, which if I’m not mistaken, shows some sort of diamond-like matrix arrangement from the AMOLED on the Galaxy S4. It’s not necessarily pretty under a macro lens when compared to the traditional arrangement on the LCD of the One, but none of our eyes see in macro. So as usual, we’re doing this for fun because to the naked eye, it’s a great display.

I will say that whites on the AMOLED are not as clear or bright as the LCD on the One. They look too grey for my liking, but by no means is that a reason to dislike this display. The only way you’ll really notice, is if you are sitting at a desk like I am, with both phones next to each other cranked to full brightness.

Software Enhancements

Thanks to an ultra-successful and innovative feature-set that was introduced with the Galaxy S3, we knew from the beginning that Samsung would try and drastically outdo themselves with the GS4. The jury is still out on whether or not they did, but we found a number of their gesture and Air View style add-ons to be quite useful. Samsung expounded on their previously introduced hover and movement capabilities in the Galaxy S4 by allowing you to navigate and perform a variety of tasks without actually placing even a fingertip on the device.

samsung galaxy s4

If you have used a Galaxy Note 2, then you are likely familiar with Air View, which utilizes the tip of the S Pen to hover over items on a phone and then return actions. For example,  you can enter the gallery and hover over thumbnails to view a bigger version of the image without actually entering into the full-screened view. You can hover over text in the browser to magnify it, over dialer shortcuts to see which numbers have been set, or even over calendar items to see a breakdown of your day. The beauty of this tech with the Galaxy S4, is that you no longer need an S Pen. All you need now is a finger that can be hovered.


Samsung also built in a number of new gestures that can be activated with a simple air swipe of the hand over your display. If you would like to wake your phone to a minimal overview of your device’s current state (includes battery level, text messages, calls, etc.), simply wave a hand over the top portion (where the sensors are located) and your phone will briefly wake itself (pictured above). If you are thumbing through gallery pictures, yet find yourself with greasy fry fingers while at lunch, wave your hand from right-to-left or left-to-right to change photos. This also works in the browser to change tabs and scroll through web pages, as well as in the ringer to answer calls.

All of these gesture and hover-based features can be enabled or disabled in the phone’s settings, so don’t feel like you have to use them. Also, most only work in Samsung-built apps, which is pretty disappointing. If you were hoping to gesture swipe around Chrome or hover in Gmail, it’s not happening. I asked Samsung if they had plans to open up these features to developers, and unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like it’s in the program at this point. They are working with specific app developers like Flipboard, though.

galaxy s4 air view


Battery life on the Galaxy S4 has not been an issue for me in the week that I’ve had the phone. I should note that I’ve had the Sprint version and live in Portland, so the device has been running on 3G CDMA the entire time, not 4G LTE. While I wish I could give you definitive battery tests with LTE running all day, that wasn’t in the cards this time around. As I get my hands on LTE versions (AT&T and Verizon), I’ll be sure to try and update this section should these numbers change in any way.

In the screenshots below (from left to right), you’ll see my battery life results from my first three days and three charges. In day one, I’d put usage level at moderate-to-heavy because of the setup process of the phone and traveling time. In the second screenshot, this was definitely my highest usage day, that included a solid 30-45 minutes of gaming. On the third day, I used the phone as I typically would throughout a day – WiFi on, grabbing it for a call here or there, checking some emails, updating apps, etc. By no means are my typical days “heavy.” During all three days, never once did I have to charge the phone in under 10 hours of use.

day1 batteryday2 batteryday3 battery

The good news, which I mentioned earlier, is the fact that the Galaxy S4 has a removable battery. Should you be a heavy LTE user, Samsung will eventually give you the opportunity to buy replacement batteries, potentially even an extended battery to help get you through a day. It’s a feature that Samsung has no plans to move away from.

Expandable Storage

Samsung continued their trend of including microSD card slots in flagship phones with the Galaxy S4. Should you choose to buy the 16GB model of the phone, understand that you can toss in a microSD card up to 64GB to expand that. It’s a minor detail, but it’s one that only Samsung continues to pay attention to. The rest of the smartphone world is trending towards not having SD card slots, yet Samsung is fully aware that its customer base is all about removable storage. For someone like me, who is constantly testing phones and never has to worry about storage limits, even I can see the benefits to having SD card slot support, especially for those who are attached to a phone for the life of a contract.

samsung galaxy s4 microSD


The camera section of this review is pretty far down the list of “good” things for a reason – it’s pretty good, but not great and definitely not bad. As you’ll see in the sample shots below, the 13MP sensor in the Galaxy S4 is capable of taking some (what I would consider to be) stunning photos in the right light. The picture of the Paulaner beer I consumed this weekend in particular, is one of my favorites. The color accuracy, white balance, and ability for the camera to adjust correctly to what I would assume to be a macro setting while on “Auto” seemed to play off perfectly. I also liked the sausage picture (consumed with the Paulaner) because it grabs a ton of detail, yet still doesn’t give off the oil-painting effect that I saw far too often with the HTC One’s camera.



Full resolution:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Obviously, it’s not all good for the Galaxy S4 camera, since I dropped it down this far. In low light, the camera is not great – actually, it’s not even good. The picture above of a glass of whiskey was in a decently lit lobby bar at a hotel in San Francisco and came out looking subpar and mushy (technical term) when compared to the previously mentioned photos taken with great outdoor light. The real killer here, though, is the HTC One comparison I took while in a dark storage room in the upstairs of my house. The Galaxy S4 wasn’t even able to capture anything other than a corner of a pillow – the rest is blackness. The HTC One on the other hand captured almost the entire room.

I’m also not a fan of the size of 13MP images in general. While I’m well aware of the fact that I can adjust that down to 8MP in the camera settings, by default, these things are enormous and almost impossible to share with social networks or via email. Most of the photos I took with stock settings started at 2.4MB and climbed all the way up to 4.4MB.

Low light comparison shot to the HTC One.

one vs gs4 dark

So again, the camera on the Galaxy S4 is pretty good, it’s just not great. With that out of the way, let’s talk software, since Samsung added a bunch of new features that may come in handy from time to time.

Camera Software

Samsung packed all sorts of new goodies into their camera software. The most notable change upfront is the UI, which they told us was tweaked to mimic that of the Galaxy Camera since they received such positive feedback from that product. It’s simple if you want it to be, plus the layout is easily managed while taking both photos and video. But along with the new UI, they added in camera modes like Drama (merge together action shots), Animated photo (lets you create GIFs on phone), Sound and Shot (record audio with photos), and Eraser (removes unwanted moving objects from photos). Most of these won’t get steady action from you, but the point is to have them there just in case. Call them gimmicks if you want, but to me, they are add-ons that will come in handy from time to time, and there is nothing wrong with that.


One of the bigger features Samsung is pushing with the camera is their picture-in-picture modes for both video and photos. You can really have some fun with this setting, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you even find practical uses for it. Using both front and rear cameras, the Galaxy S4 is able to record video at the same time or capture stills, no matter what you are doing. You can theme up the in-picture shot, go fully split-screen, or adjust the size of the box to your liking. It’s certainly silly and seems incredibly limited in its uses, but again, it’s there if you need or want it.


Overall, the camera on the Galaxy S4 has to be considered a positive just for the fact that it packs in so many features while still being able to produce great stills under the right circumstances. You could argue that even with all of the fluff it’s still not as versatile as say, the camera on the HTC One, and I wouldn’t fight you on that point. But no matter what, it’s serviceable.

Android 4.2.2

The Galaxy S4 is one of the first Android phones in history to launch with the most current version of Android. That version is Android 4.2.2, which Google only unleashed upon us back in February. There is a chance that Google releases an even newer version at its I/O developer conference in mid-May, but for the time being, Samsung is up-to-date. This may sound like something that should happen with all new phones, but manufacturers can’t seem to keep up even after years of practice. So in a way, this is an even bigger deal than putting in a 13MP camera or 1080p display.


One thing Samsung has done over the last year and a half that we absolutely love, is release phones with one size and shape on all carriers around the globe. This allows accessory manufacturers to provide you with more accessories than you can possibly absorb. No longer are they forced to create special versions depending on the carrier – with the Galaxy S4, it’s one size fits all. Your choices will seemingly be endless, once this phone arrives, assuming accessory makes have begun prep work.

S View Flip Cover Galaxy S4

Outside of third party accessory makers, Samsung is planning to release their own suite of accessories for the Galaxy S4, ranging from variants of their popular Flip Cover to health accessories to universal docks to replacement batteries. Most will be available at launch, outside of the health accessories which will arrive later this year.

The Not-so-Good

Build Materials

Look, it’s 2013 and companies like HTC and Apple are making beautifully designed, high-end phones out of materials like aluminum, yet here is Samsung, pushing out another phone made entirely of plastic. Now, we’ve talked about plastic as a smartphone material and the fact that it serves a purpose, but at some point, shouldn’t Samsung try to step it up a notch? We can argue for days whether or not this new Galaxy S4 is a designers dream or not, but the truth is that it doesn’t even compare in style or build to what HTC did with the One. I’d be lying, as would anyone else, if they sat here and told you with both the One and Galaxy S4 in hand, that the GS4 is the higher-end or better looking of the two. It’s really not even close. The Galaxy S4 is a well made, plastic phone, it’s just not on-par in terms of design or build with the One. There are rumors floating around which suggest that Samsung has acknowledged this and will bring something new to the table with the Galaxy Note 3, but again, those are just rumors.

htc one vs galaxy s4


In my HTC One review, I took HTC’s Sense 5.0 to task. I’m going to do the same with Samsung’s TouchWiz. As stock Android has grown into an incredibly polished and feature-rich mobile operating system, manufacturers continue to put their own spin on it with custom skins that tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. To be fair to the review process, I’ll also only pick five issues in particular that stood out to me as I did with the One, but like the One, I could probably go on and on.

First, creating folders is a mess as it almost always has been with TouchWiz. In order to create one, you need to grab an app and then drag it to the “Create folder” option that appears at the top of the screen. I can sort of understand how this might seem more user friendly to a novice user than the standard Android version of dragging apps on top of each other, but why did Samsung remove the traditional drag and drop altogether? Sure, once you create a folder using this “Create folder” option, you can drag items into it easily, but I’m still not seeing the point in removing the easiest way of all, which is to simply drag an app onto another app in order to create one. I can’t imagine that there is really some software restriction that is forcing us to do one or the other.


Second, the standard TouchWiz keyboard is the worst in the business. If you buy this phone, install Swiftkey or Swype or whatever other third party keyboard you like as soon as you can. Now, we should point out that Swiftkey’s technology is actually built into Samsung’s stock keyboard, but Samsung has still done their own thing with it. It doesn’t auto-correct as well in my experience with it, plus its key spacing gives me a headache when it comes to quick typing. It’s swipe-like or gesture typing isn’t half bad, but if you are a rapid-tapper like me, you may find yourself spending more time correcting errors than you are used to.

Third, the dialer application which is attached to contacts is essentially two separate apps, yet they appear to be one. What I mean by that, is as you enter the dialer, you’ll see tabs (which I’ll get to in a moment) for Keypad, Logs, Favorites, and Contacts. Should you press the Contacts tab, it actually opens up the Contacts app rather than a new tab, so there is a delay before it shows you anything as it takes time to process and open the Contacts app. Once in the Contacts app, the top tabs change to Phone, Groups, Favorites, and Contacts. That’s right, the tab that used to say Keypad, now says Phone. Can we get some consistency? Again, tapping “Phone,” then opens up the dialer app and takes an additional few seconds to load. It’s slow, clunky, and pretty damn ugly.


 The settings menu in this new version of TouchWiz is quite confusing. Samsung decided that the vertical scrolling approach to the settings menu on any other Android device is not quite easy enough to understand. So instead, they created four tabs and their own categories for settings, which are mostly a jumbled mess. It has taken a week to figure out where certain items are that I visit on a regular basis because the organization is so random. Like, why is Accessory, Call, and Display in the “My device” section, but Storage, Battery and Date & Time are schluffed off into a “More” category. Don’t those items all have to do with “My device” as well?

Last, Samsung still designs apps and menus as if they were built in 2010 for Gingerbread rather than Jelly Bean. For example, in the settings menu that I just complained about, you have a tabbed few of categories, yet you cannot simply swipe between them. Instead, you are forced to tap each tab to enter a new category. And it’s like this all over the place, including in the previously mentioned dialer and contacts applications. Dear Samsung, we are in the era of Holo UI with swiping gestures, action overflow menus, and slideout navigation menus. Tabbed UIs are out.

The Galaxy S4 is yet another Android phone that needs a third party launcher (along with any other third party replacement application you can find) on day one.


Very Similar to the Galaxy S3

I know that I just spent an entire review trying to sell you on this being different than the Galaxy S3, but I couldn’t help but think time and time again over the last week that this is nothing more than a slightly bumped up version of last year’s flagship Samsung phone. It looks very similar and has mostly the same exact software outside of a few new feature add-ons that will eventually come to the Galaxy S3. When navigating around it, thanks to the exact same navigation setup and custom skin, a non-tech savvy person probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. I mentioned at the top of this review that on paper, the GS4 is quite different, however, in reality for everyday usage, you could argue that it’s not.

Navigation Button Setup

Samsung going with a physical home button coupled with menu and back soft keys isn’t necessarily offending me as it used to. In fact, I’m completely comfortable with them after having used them for months on end. However, that doesn’t mean I’m a fan. What gets me the most, is having to physically press in a button to do the most often-asked-for task of returning home or exiting an application. I can get down with the soft menu and back keys, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be a fan physical buttons that protrude out from the bottom of a phone. Samsung seems to have found a way to upgrade this home button, as it presses much tighter than previous phones, but I’d still prefer they do away with it.

Other Notes

  • Performance: I typically include a “Performance” section with my reviews, but since the unit I have from Samsung is technically running pre-launch software, I didn’t think it was fair after noticing some stuttering and other lag. At this time, with this device in its current state, the camera lags when taking pictures, I’ve noticed time and time again a lag in the folder animation, and jumping in and out of apps isn’t as smooth as one would expect. I’m also finding all sorts of bugs in Samsung’s take on lock screen widgets. So for now, until this phone gets an update or I hear from Samsung that this is actually final software, we’ll leave these notes here.
  • WatchON TV app:  When compared to the TV application on the HTC One, WatchON can be very frustrating. With the One, it took a couple of button taps and I had the device connected to every single piece of home entertainment hardware in my living room. With WatchON, I tried and quit after five minutes when the app started asking questions that I would have had to get up or research to find the answers to. It’s also not as seamless or user-friendly in terms of finding favorite shows and then making sure you know they are readily available to watch.
  • HTC One comparison:  Below, you’ll find a video comparison of the Galaxy S4 to the One, but we won’t be stopping there. In the coming days, we’ll have a full-on comparison that should give you our thoughts on which device will be sticking around the DL offices.
  • Sprint’s network:  I feel bad for anyone stuck with a contract on Sprint. I haven’t had to use a Sprint phone in some time, and now I know why. They have almost zero 4G LTE foot print in this country, but to make matters worse, only have a 3G CDMA network to fall back on. Coming from HSPA+ and LTE, this is like returning to the 90s and AOL free dial-up. Ugh.


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Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung Galaxy S4

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Hardware and Software Tour


Vs. Galaxy S3


Vs. HTC One


The Verdict

After all that, should you buy the Galaxy S4? Sure, why not. It’s a really, really good smartphone – probably in the top two or three at this point in the game. Should you decide to buy one, you’ll get a beautiful 5.0″ FHD Super AMOLED display, plenty of horsepower thanks to a quad-core processor, a serviceable 13MP camera, all sorts of interesting software features, a removable battery, expandable storage, and the most recent version of Android. There are few things to dislike about this phone. It’s also coming to every major carrier (including Verizon) and will have more accessory choices than any other phone on the planet aside from the iPhone 5.

With that said, the HTC One and its premium body is out there for the taking. As previously mentioned, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy S4, but you also can’t go wrong with the HTC One (review) or even Nexus 4 (still my personal favorite) for that matter. It’s a great time to buy a smartphone. Go get them all in your hands before making a decision.

Links:  Galaxy S4 at eBay | Amazon

  • Joann

    I absolutely love the G4. I have never used a phone to it’s capacity but I am so in love with this iPhone that I can’t put it down.

  • marim irene

    my phone samsung galaxy s4 got locked while downloading avast anti virus

    .what do i do ?

  • Excellent, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. Thank for this imformation.http://usb3gvn.com

  • David hHeim

    Why does it look like they used the flash on the HTC One and not on the GS4? I seriously doubt that it’s because of the HTC One’s camera.

    • SemahjLam

      …well I guess you haven’t used the one camera

  • RicoDelicioso

    I have the Note 2, which I love, and I used Touchwiz for about an hour and I hated it. I slapped on Nova and now it is the phone of my dreams. I don’t get all this hoopla about how bad Touchwiz is, just throw on a different Launcher and that solves that.

  • Jimmy Drew

    Very good review, I recently have looked closely at this phone and the One and the tremendous LG Optimus G Pro. Of the three the Optimus G Pro works very well. I spent some time working with each one. Like Mr. Kellex says you can’t go wrong with either one but being Galaxy Note 2 fan I would go with the Optimus G Pro at this point. However, I will wait and see what the Galaxy Note 3 brings. 😉

  • The Samsung galaxy s4 is cool little upgrade to the galaxy S3 but the new iphone 6 will smoke it out of the market with its amazing new edge to edge screen design.


    • Nunya


  • what’s the problem with plastic anyway? this is not your grandma’s polyethykene that melted in the dishwasher, this is the incredible polycarbonate, impact resistant, and energy absorbing so that if you drop your phone on a concrete sidewalk, most of the energy is absorbed by ejecting the back cover, and the rest is absorbed by the plstic flexing before it disconnects. Drop your expensive machined aluminium iPhone on same creates an ugly dent and transmit the shock to the other more sensitive components. Unless of course if you have your aluminum case covered by soft plastic like the kind your grandma used to melt in her dishwasher, something that will protect your great chunk of metal that you never get to see anyway.

  • I’ll sick with the Nexus 4 as well.

  • It’s helped me be more open-minded. You are a very persuasive writer.

  • I can’t express my thanks enough for the interesting points you have made in this article.

  • Bill

    I disagree,The Samsung line has consistency failed to do one thing well— MAKE A PHONE CALL..EVERY PHONE I HAVE CAN MAKE CALLS FORM MY HOME –NOT ONE SAMSUNG including the s3 would dos o reliably..Wake up IT’S A PHONE 1st and foremost. FIX THE RADIOS !!! GET THE DAMNED ADS OFF !! Apple said ” touch OUR OS and you’ll never be licensed to sell our hardware”..guess what , NO CRAP WARE .. I am finished jumping thru hoops, losing warranties (as if they are truly worth anything in reality, hey here’s another phone that we got back that doesn’t work!) and putting up with all the OS INTEGRATED CRAPWARE..Keep it , and I’ll keep my identity. Sorry, I was really STARTING to love android, it’s just got far too piggy and disrespectful of OUR data.. Enjoy..I have to go over to the dark side and buy the next iphone which works on all GSM, and Verizon without a single burp, it also requires only ONE SETTING TO PROTECT ALL YOUR( and your contacts’ personal ) data. I hate apple but in this case , they wipe the floor with google. I called google and told them about the poor radios on samsung, they knew and didn’t care.. I don’t either because I don’t want their samsung specific TOY apps nor the bad apps not to mention the failure to be able to make a call in fringe areas but my ancient droid has no problem doing so.. Good luck protecting your data and good luck making a phone call—
    PS..So amazing how they advertise “their cool apps but fail to mention they ONLY WORK WITH NEW MODEL SAMSUNG CRAP ONLY !!!!1 Surprise kids, nope can’t do that !!

    • Joe Coppola

      wow so you called google complaining about a samsung phone, of course the dont care get outta here troll

  • Kurt Weber

    Is that really all you get from the battery…? I usually get 3 hours of on screen time on my s3

  • Vincent Tran

    I can’t decide between the S4 and the Note 2 =(

    • Brandon Golway

      You mean the S4 and the Note 3, right? 🙂 I’m stuck at the point where I don’t know what to get. Should I get the S4? Wait for the Note 3? See if Moto does release the X phone in a few months? Do I get the Note 2?

  • I prefer to use samsung galaxy s4 for its application. it helped me in my. thank post

  • disastrousrainbow

    Having just got back from seeing and holding a totally unbridled S4 and HTC One, here are some thoughts.

    First phone I went to was the One and I was awe-struck at its design. It’s a techno-geek to the extreme, but in the the hand it didn’t necessarily feel premium, it just LOOKED premium. Then I took a gander at the S4 and was equally impressed, not at the design, but at the fact it felt no different in my hands than the One.

    They’re both light, they both feel the same, but the S4 is a bit easier to hold because of it’s contoured body and gave me the impression I wouldn’t freak out if I dropped it. It’s a gloss magnet for sure, but the design of the S4 is minimalist and refined for the materials it’s using. But a cheap phone it is not. Anyone who says that clearly hasn’t held true, cheap plastic phones, they’re just hearing the word plastic and assuming cheap.

    As far as the screen goes, it was brilliant on the S4 and One. You could say the One has more “natural” colors, because it does, but the S4’s screen literally “pops” and manages to look as crisp and detailed as the One, so when reviews say it’s a wash between the too, it really is. I didn’t get a chance to switch the mode of the S4 to the different color options, but word is there is a way to reduce the overly saturated look. But man, oh, man, does the screen shine with darker colors.

    Overall, I’m gonna go with the S4, but that’s mainly because it has expandable storage (and I’ve got a 32GB card just sitting here waiting to be used) and because of its removable battery, which say what you will about that, will definitely be a welcome change next to my DNA that drives me insane when it dies out on me and I have to wait to charge up enough to use. So yeah…glad I got to see both and feel at ease over my decision to go with the S4.

    • Brandon Golway

      Thanks for the review!

  • TheDrunkenClam

    I am interested in this phone but absolutely refuse to use touchwiz.
    Now obviously Cyanogen will most likely be available for this phone in the near future, but can some of you GS3 owners weigh in on how well it runs utilizing the phone’s hardware? Are there any issues with, for example, the camera?
    Also, are there any other bone stock ROM options besides CM (NOT a de-touchwizzed ROM, I’m talking bone stock AOSP experience)?

    • Brandon Golway

      Near future? CM10.1 already works on the S4, Steve Kondik has showed it himself 🙂

  • More Pentile/Plastic crap from Samsung. I’ll wait till the Note 3…*sigh*

  • Great article, more photos and wallpapers for the new Galaxy S4 @ MyGalaxyS4wallpaper.com

  • idogwireless

    Damn I finally found my friends. My phone and tablet addiction is 11 on a scale of 1-10. And believe me quit even trying to explain it to anyone. They just dont get it no matter how much you try to explain.

    • Brandon Golway

      I know what you mean man, my ex had the iPhone 4 and saw me flashing roms and stuff all the time on my Nexus 7 and my Rezound and she said “I don’t think I could ever get into the whole flashing roms thing that you do” then I forced her to get an S3 and now she’s worse than me with it!

  • Adam

    What is going on with the front LED indicator in the videos? That thing looks like its freakin out.

  • Alexander Ramos

    Can you show the aperture/shutter speed/setting in both dark room pictures?
    I think we are getting different results because the shutter speed and setting between them more than just sensor size and pixels.
    If we going to evaluate deeply the camera phone we should see the image details just like we do with cameras reviews…

  • flosserelli

    Paulaner Oktoberfest is nectar of the gods. Any Paulaner beer, actually.

  • Cedrik L

    What is the Samsung S4 blinking on the right side of the top speaker?

    • LionStone

      notification light

      • Cedrik L

        nope, would be more on the left. Furthermore, it blinks in a high rate, so I can’t imagine this to be a notification LED

    • gokusimpson

      I think it’s the motion sensor thing. I think the notification light is on the far left side of the phone.

  • Zachary Toliver

    I created a Google+ community so us Galaxy S4 owners can discuss our awesome device!


  • I know it most likely won’t compare to the One, but how’s the speaker quality on the S4? I’ve grown tired of the terrible sound on my Gnex, and I’m hoping Samsung has done something along the lines of improving that since then? I use my phone quite a bit for listening to music, and I don’t really enjoy being put to shame by an iPhone in the sound quality department ha ha.

    • Andrew Alvey

      From what I have read it is actually very good not HTC One quality, but better than the S3 or Note 2.

  • Anon

    I wonder if there could be a market for a rubberized/pebble-finished back for everyone who loves the S4 except for the glossy-plastic bit.

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    @kellex:disqus Did you have Google Drive installed and running on on the S4? I just ask because for whatever reson when I installed it on my Note 2 it drop my battery life so much I could tell something wasnt right. Instead of getting almost 5 hrs of screen time i was getting less than 3. As soon as I uninstalled it my battery life went back to normal. Just curious because the battery just didnt seem that great on your test unit.

    • Tommy Thompson

      No affect on battery life on my S3..

    • LionStone

      No affect on my DNA either.

  • Great review. I was excited about IR, would love to have some software based solution to replace a Harmony remote. Does that exist? Is Peel the same thing? Hopefully we get this rooted and get as closet to AOSP as possible.

  • chris125

    Maybe samsung finally got the radios right, “Our testing period took us from the streets of New York City to the suburbs of Greater Boston to the docks of Salem, and everywhere in between. The device’s reception appears excellent; our two Galaxy S 4 demo units routinely show stronger signal than our HTC One, with the difference usually on the order of 15-20 dBm between them. That’s a significant gulf, and it gives us confidence that the Galaxy S 4′s radio is well-suited to its primary task.” from pocketnow review. Hopefully this is the case and poor radios are no longer a worry with samsung devices. http://pocketnow.com/2013/04/24/samsung-galaxy-s-4-review

  • disastrousrainbow

    So I’m super excited for this phone. I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind Samsung’s plastic phones because what’s underneath that is very sturdy metal frames and love the convenience of expandable storage and removable battery. The only thing I’m worried about is my eyes and their ability to discern extremely fine details. It’s why I found the S3’s screen so mediocre and why I love the way DNA’s. I guess we’ll see.

    Other than that I’m very stoked to be back in a world where I can get 11-12 hours off one battery then swap in another fully charged one and be all ready to go without being restricted to a wall charger or other charging solution. Will. Love. THAT.

  • MatthewSimmons

    I’m not as down on this phone as I once was. It’s a pretty good upgrade actually.

  • DanSan

    can we stop doing reviews and taking photos of the phones laying face down on rocks, the street, the curb, or any other not so screen friendly surface. it makes me gringe, every blog does it.

  • Tom Cavey

    2 Weeks Scuffed?Weathered?What About Us Folks That Have To Carry This Phone For 2 Years It Will Be A Mess.Aluminum! Is Not Premium Material By Any Means?Scratches Easy/Dents Easily Not Good.=’s Pass…

  • Joe

    Anyone know of more detailed battery life numbers? The “moderate-to-heavy” and some screenshots don’t mean much.

  • I wish the Nexus 4 was on VZW…

  • I’m sold, a few things that is keeping me from considering the HTC One is: lack of expandable storage, lack of a removable battery, HTC’s lousy track record with software updates, and lastly is Verizon is getting a custom version which means continued lack of HTC support for the device as shown with the Rezound. The S4 looks decent and samsung is good with software updates along with having what I mentioned the HTC One lacks.

  • manilaboy1vic

    the battery life doesnt seem to impressive compared to my note 2.. Dang it.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on this phone. The super amoled full hd screen is beautiful compared to an LCD screen..the colors pop out at you. I’ve compared them all and the LCD screens are washed out especially at full brightness. A removable back to remove your battery is a huge thumbs up along with an external sd card that you can add for more storage. HTC will always fail until they realize that those are a must if you want to compete with the Samsung’s of the world. Any phone manufacturer is stupid for not including these. I’m on Verizon 4G which is by far the best network on the planet as far as coverage and speed. I constantly get 15 to 25 down and 10 to 15 up. By the end of the year all of the US will be 4G on Verizon..you can’t say that about the others as they are wayyy behind. Also advanced LTE or true LTE is coming and Verizon will be the 1st to that also along with the fact that this new S4 will have 5G capabilities, the 1st phone ever to include that for the future. It is a personal preference, but I’ll take the S4 please especially on Verizon 🙂

  • Guest

    Two hours screen on time? That’s pretty “meh” even if it was moderate to heavy usage.

    I get at least 3 if not four hours on my Droid DNA over the same amount of time… that worries me.

    • LionStone

      Yep, and did you see how much battery the screen used! Granted he has a pre-release device, but I doubt the battery used on the screen will get much better, maybe a little?

  • I have yet to see an “oil painting” picture from the HTC one. Maybe its because the phone you use is broken? Also, the AMOLEDs are personal preference. I find them to be pretty terrible with too much saturation, but apparently you can turn that down in the preferences. Maybe show a video of that taking place?

  • “Sprint’s network: I feel bad for anyone stuck with a contract on Sprint. I haven’t had to use a Sprint phone in some time, and now I know why. They have almost zero 4G LTE foot print in this country, but to make matters worse, only have a 3G CDMA network to fall back on. Coming from HSPA+ and LTE, this is like returning to the 90s and AOL free dial-up. Ugh.”

    Thank you for pointing this out so people who read this know that if they get this phone they shouldnt get it on Sprint. This was my exact experience with Sprint and when I was finally able to bail they said, “Youll be sorry, those Network Vision upgrades we have been telling you about for 3 years. They are finally going to happen!”

    I went to HSPA+ and holy carp! Its faster than Sprint’s LTE!

    • Tommy Thompson

      It’s currently what I am trying to decide on as well. Stick with Sprint, or go Tmo…

      • To quote a character from one of those Scary Movies, “Run, bitch! Run!”

        Its basically the same price with T-Mobile as it would be if you were on SERO. Cheaper though if you pre-pay because, for some reason, you dodge all of those “Taxes” and just pay the 911 fee.

        Building penetration is about the same, not as good as AT&T but only an issue if you work in a basement of a high rise or something. Rural coverage is OK, I get Edge in the boonies (which is basically the same as Sprints CDMA data network) but the BIG difference is HSPA+. With T-Mobile it exists everywhere and gets over a dozen Mbits where you get it (Im averaging about 17MB/s though).

        Obviously the $60 plan isnt 4G unlimited but, to be honest, what good is unlimited if you are doing it all at 200Kb/s? T Mobile gives you a couple gigs at broadband before dropping you to 200Kb/s.

  • Octotron

    I would.. except Verizon hates us. 🙁

  • trophynuts

    so Apple makes a new Iphone 5s that will probably look just like the I5 and they’ll get their nutts cut off for it….Sammy makes an S4 that looks almost identical to the S3 and no one says a word……you guys crack me up sometimes.

    • htowngtr

      No one says a word? Quite a few people think it sucks that from a quick view most people wouldn’t know the difference between S3 and S4.

      • JoshGroff

        Or the X and X2, some of us don’t mind the form factor not changing, after all, it’s the internals that matter. (Plus you can still use old accessories if they use the exact same body)

        • True enough, I don’t always look for drastically changed design as long as it doesn’t look like crap, mostly functionality is what I look to.

    • If you look at the One vs. S4 video from Droid Life they clearly downgrade the S4 on form factor.

  • htowngtr

    Nice hipster glasses, bro.

  • etche

    —– “I’m tempted to toss out the “you either love or hate Samsung’s plastic phone designs”, but in truth, it seems like the minority actually aren’t fans of it.” —–

    I’d love to see a poll about this. I happen to hate Samsung’s lack of interest in design and build quality. I have a Gnex and love it but I just hate the fact that an iphone looks and feels so much premium quality than mine. The One will be in this category too. I’m sure there are lots of people that feel the same way I do and that we are not a minority.

    —– “At this point, I’m not sure that the majority of people really care if their phones are made of plastic, aluminum, or glass as long as the price is right” —–

    Don’t you wish you had paid $30-50 more and not have a easily breakable glass back in your Nexus 4? Build quality Matters. A lot.

  • Theunaffected

    Nice device

  • Brandon Golway

    I still have until June with Verizon so I can see how these phones fare in the wild for a few months. I’m switching to t-mobile (my roommate already has, from sprint, and his service kicks the crap out of both Verizon and Sprint in my area) and I’ll most likely have the choice of the One (is it on T-Mobile?), the S4, the Note 3 or the X Phone (if it is actually released soon). It’s going to be a VERY hard decision.

    • LionStone

      Yes, you can get the ONE on T-Mobile.

      • Brandon Golway

        My income tax check just came in (over a grand) so I’m REALLY itching to buy the S4 right now.

        • LionStone

          Awesome! Enjoy your new phone!

          • Brandon Golway

            Thank man! I decided to hold off a bit because T-Mobile only has the 16 GB available and I want to get the 64 GB if it is available. The more storage the better!

          • LionStone

            Yea, I wanna get a black HTC ONE…Probably have to wait a bit for that one too…everybody will have the silver 🙂

          • Brandon Golway

            Yea I wanna get the Black or Gray S4, I’m not a big fan of white. My ex has the S3 and white and while it’s nice, my roommate’s s3 in gray looks so much better IMO.

  • This will be the wife’s next phone, because of the fact it is the only android phone marker, that is still making removable batteries on their high end phone’s

  • I like my Gnex, but I cannot wait to replace it with the GS4! That camera is going to be awesome! Thanks for another great review Kellex

  • Rodeojones000

    Nice review. I’m not interested in this phone, but it was a good, unbiased and honest review. Thanks.

  • Need help explaining phone addiction to wife. Please!

    • there is no point….they just don’t understand us 🙁

      • jboogie1289

        Tell me about it. I just got off of “Phone Punishment”!! Lol, but I’ll be back on it again! Trust me.

    • use shoes and purses as a reference point, god speed.

      • Tried that. She ended up with a 1200 dollar loui vuitton, and I got a 350 dollar Nexus 4.. I think i got owned.

        • wag

          But you got a Nexus 4…

        • Elliot Kotis

          Should bought a Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and a Nexus 10, would have equaled her.

          • That woulda shown her when Wells Fargo kicked us out due to non payment. I can picture us now under some rainy bridge with her hand bag full of Nexi.

      • hot_spare


        I come here just to check comments!

    • I too am an addict. My neighbors, friends, family, and my wife have all looked upon my addiction with pity and sadness. I have shunned those around me who care about me just so I can watch my 30th review video on Youtube, for the same damn phone. Once I get my mind on a new phone, my old phone begins to look old, stale, out-dated. I will conquer this, I will over…ooooh my HTC One arrived!

      • I understand your addiction…..I need the latest “best” phone toy. Thankfully my husband humors my addiction!

    • Chris Clancy

      We need a support group, I feel your pain. My wife, too, looks at me with astonishment. No matter how many times I try, I cannot accurately explain the concept of selling the old phone to massively offset the cost of the new one. I digress…

    • Jimmy Perez

      If its one thng I learned they’ll eventually get tired of complaining, now she just helps me get the latest and greatest

  • So pretty much no real negatives for me. Nice review.

  • Harry

    Am I the only guy in the entire universe that thinks the S4 looks pretty?!

    • Name

      Doesn’t look that bad but in my opinion phones like the One X and Nexus 4 just look better.

  • ckeegan

    I am really worried about battery life once this hits an LTE network. 20-30% of my daily battery usage is actually using the phone as a phone, so these reviews are useless when trying to measure what my battery life will be like. No reviewer on any site seems to ever make phone calls of any meaningful length.

    Anyway, I am seriously close to just pulling the trigger on a RAZR MAXX HD for a few reasons: 1) Cannot stand the battery life on my GNex anymore. (4-5 hours on most days) 2) I have two upgrades on my account now, and a third coming in August. 3) I know it will last me all day.

    I am, however, very curious to see what all this X Phone business is about. Hopefully it has MAXX-like battery life.

    • htowngtr

      Well, my HTC One has been awesome on LTE all day. My S3 wouldn’t make it through the day without a charge, but with same usage my One lasts easily a few hours more.

    • Lane252

      If you’re rooted get the lean kernel version 6.4 I get 14 ½ with moderate use and 8 to 9hrs with heavy

      • ckeegan

        My GNex has been off the charger for 2 hours 46 minutes and I’m down to 37%.

        • Lane252

          Dude that’s awful.I’m sorry.

    • shamilla ali abdalla

      Wow galaxy s4.soooooo gud.thnx samsung.gud job.

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    First review I’ve seen where the low light didn’t blow the One out of the water…

    • Christopher Riner

      I know, all this talk about how much brighter Samoled is, but these comparisons look like the shots got ,fixed up or something (I’m sure they didn’t, but you know what I mean). That One screen looks way brighter.

  • Bionic

    What the hell? I got to bed and Droidlife starts posting more.


    • Tim242

      The embargo was lifted on the best phone of the year. Every site’s review of the best phone of the year came out.

      • “The embargo was lifted on the best phone of the year so far, imo. Every site’s review of the best phone of the year so far, imo, came out.” ftfy

        Honestly though, we as tech enthusiasts have no idea what is in store in the next 7-ish months. A device could be released by LG or Motorola that puts everything else to shame, or the Nexus 5 could be so insanely fantastic that it will single-handedly change the face of mobile devices forever.

        Sorry for the rant, but there’s just something about people speaking in absolutes about opinions that gets me sometimes.

  • All the HTC references brought up my anger that the One is not on VZW!!!

    • Nobody cares about HTC dude, non removable battery, no extra storage via an SD card, inferior screen, super amoled full hd display on the S4 blows out the washed out colors of an LCD screen on the HTC brah! And people keep talking about the plastic phone of the S4, it’s not plastic, it’s poly-carbonate, much stronger than regular old plastic.

      • Pretty arrogant, dude. I’m rockin the Note2 personally and while I agree with your assessment of HTC, I know a lot of VZ customers that the HTC One would be perfect for and they’re buying the iPhone 5. Chill out on the defensiveness… just making a statement on how it sucks that one of the best Android phones on the market isn’t on Verizon.

        • Yeah it’s a personal preference I know and I’m not being defensive. That’s the thing about messaging in general, you don’t know what the person is thinking. If I was defensive I wouldn’t put in words like brah short for bro man 🙂 I’m just saying that HTC isn’t as good as Samsung and the majority of users will go with the Samsung I believe. I know a lot more people who want the sammy versus the htc just because of the things I mentioned.

      • LionStone

        hehe…crackin’ me up brah!
        “it’s not plastic, it’s poly-carbonate,”
        That’s like the janitor saying he’s not a janitor, he’s a building engineer 😉

  • I like Samsung Galaxy S4

    • Bionic

      good english

    • T4rd

      I love lamp.

  • Artune

    Great review, good job

  • Why is everyone jumping ship? What about the Motorola X ?

    • Tim242

      It doesn’t exist. It hasn’t been announced. It was made up by blog trolls.

    • No info, and few reliable leaks = skeptical at the least. While I fully believe that it exists and will be a ridiculously good device, I doubt very seriously that anyone will be willing to wait for it without some pretty hefty leaks very very soon.

    • Prince Campbell III

      I already read that Google isn’t going to release an X Phone at Google I/O, like a lot are expecting/waiting for.

  • Jack

    i saw the Samsung s4 in store and the htc one and i didn’t like the

    Samsung screen from the side when seeing a video its not good and the

    Samsung s4 UI freezing few times while the htc one UI was always smooth

    and it had the best screen in the store and i love the sound on the htc

    one never seen anything like this kind of sound in my life. i went with

    the htc one. if Samsung step up there game with the note 3 i’ll get it .

    • Austin Warren


  • Dillon Brown

    personal opinion an all that… but, I just find the look of this phone and more specifically the pattern on the back to be absolutely offensive. I have never looked at a phone before that I’ve disliked more than the look of this phone. Idk I felt S3 was ok, this is just so glossy and fake textured that I just can’t stand it… rant over…

  • andrew galvin

    good review. While this may have 4.2.2 and the HTC One may have 4.1.2, I think the software advantage goes to the One. 4.2.2 was mainly a maintenance upgrade for stock android and save for a few feature like lock screen widgets, photosphere and quick settings, it did not bring anything to the table for phones with custom skins. I really dont find myself missing any of those features terribly. There are lock screen icons on the One and there are several apps that provide quick settings in the pull down menu. Cyanogen mod has also decided not go work on the s4 due to its closed binaries and multiple variants globally. The One on the other hand can be unlocked easily and already has a strong dev community pumping out Roms and custom kernels. Not to mention the US variances are identical to the international so save some APN settings the roms can be used on the same phones with minimal modification. Also, 4.2.2 brought a slew of terrible bugs to the nexus 4, many of which have yet to be fixed (wifi / blue tooth stutter, msm hsic wakelocks etc). Unless 5.0 comes out at I/O and fixes all of this and adds new features, I would prefer a phone that works great on 4.1.2 than one inheriting the flaws of 4.2.2.

    Sense 5 has it’s flaws but the messaging, camera, TV remote and phone apps are just as good if not better than stock android. Touchwiz on the other hand has a hideous UI and terrible proprietary apps such as s voice and messaging. They are pushing their s-series apps over the google apps which do the exact same thing but only worse. Using the HTC One with nova launcher feels pretty darn close to stock. Touchwiz on the other hand reminds me how ugly it is every time i pull down the notification shade or send a text. Awful.

    For me, the HTC one is with out a doubt the best smart phone on the market right now and will be that way for the foreseeable future. Unless the X phone brings the heat, the next hope is going to be the nexus 5. But with googles insistence on low cost and low storage devices. I dont think we will be seeing a phone with this One’s level of build quality until the HTC Two comes out.

    • LionStone

      Great comment +100…top to bottom, reflects my thoughts as well.

    • Tommy Thompson

      “Cyanogen mod has also decided not go work on the s4 due to its closed binaries and multiple variants globally” A few people who help out with CM said they MAY not develop for it. It wasn’t Cyangen themselves that said it.

      • andrew galvin

        even if people do decide to support it in CM or other roms. The camera and other functions of the phone will have limited functionality compared to the official samsung rom. With out the binaries you can only do so much to control the hardware properly

        • Tommy Thompson

          They were referring to the exynos version. Not the 600 version. All US variants will get plenty of support just like the US S3’s did.

  • Akashshr

    Nexus 4 FTW! This doesn’t appeal to me one bit!

  • Does the GS4’s display get brighter than the S3? That’s been my biggest gripe with amoled overall

  • Bob G

    NEXUS 4 Life 🙂

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      yeah. this is exactly what next comment was for the appropriate article.

    • Tim242

      That display has horrible sensitivity. Pinching to zoom didn’t start working until my fingers were 2 inches apart. The colors were very washed out. You must have low standards.

      • Not on mine. Love it. (N4)

    • Bionic

      NWO 4 Life!!

    • If you’re on Verizon, I don’t think there’s a better option than the S4

      • Only ones I can see are either the next Note or whatever Google I/O brings (that is if there will be another nexus on Verizon, which I doubt, but anything is possible)

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    being a Note 2 owner i kind of hate to say it but, the One has this thing beat. Still a great phone with many tricks (read: dual cameras), but the design and front facing speakers of the One leaves me wanting more from samsung. Great little mention on phone accessories, i think you should expand on the importance in an article.

    • Christopher Riner

      I’ll sacrifice the down votes to tell you that you aren’t crazy. Its funny, you can tell that design is a sore spot for s4 fans BC they down vote every one who is critical on design with the s4.

      I’ve had an upgrade for over a month, and I want so badly to use it asap, and being on Verizon my best bet right now is the s4. For some reason, not even just design really, the s4 just isn’t cutting it for me. The software features seem definitely handy and I would love to use them, but my friend has the One in hand and I just don’t think there’s any comparison, even for someone like me who will destroy an aluminum phone (and benefit greatly from a plastic that would endure rough days better).

      Touch wiz, I think, is the straw that breaks the camels back when it comes to this phone not having the ability to lure in my wallet.

      • Tillmorn

        Actually, I have to agree with both of you. The only reason I’m considering the S4 is the removable battery (travel a lot with hours away from a place to charge) and the MicroSD slot. Otherwise…personally not a fan of how light the phone is or TouchWiz. If it had a little more heft (at least the weight of my Bionic) and an option to run stock Android, I’d be waiting outside Verizon on release day.

        • Feed Jake

          I’m in this cart with you guys. I thought I’d go after a Note 2 when the price came down some on eBay. But the more I look at the DNA, which is as close as it seems Verizon is getting to the One, the more I’m thinking that HTC’s build quality and gorgeous screen are what I want. I think a 5″ screen is perfect, and at 1080p, who doesn’t like that?! But I hear so much controversy over the battery and the memory keeps me worried. Plus, I hate capacitive buttons! But I hate that big home button on Samsung. Which makes me consider a Droid Razr Maxx HD. But I hate the form factor of Moto. There just isn’t a single device on Verizon that brings it all together. Build quality, form factor, and software…it almost makes you want to believe in the X phone, haha.

          • Jimmy Drew

            Unfortunately I too am an addict. I have owned the I4S and the Maxx and now the Galaxy Note 2. I am in the “case” crowd and could care less what material the phone is made of. I love the Otterbox case and have put one on every phone. I spent hours looking at the new phones and none of them are ugly. Most have excellent software too. Jake, I love the home button, I have owned both types and I find the home button easier to use. Give me more battery life and a screen I can see out doors. I often take notes using my Note 2 and an improved screen would be very welcome. If they put a better screen and bigger battery in the Galaxy Note 3 and keep the size at 5.5 I will pay the full price and own it as soon as it hits the street. (However the LG Optimus G Pro looks very tempting!!! 😉 Tell me NO!!!

    • CntryGyNSD

      LOL Nobody cared until an Android phone manufacturer dared to make a similar phone to the iPhone 5. Now everyone thinks every Android phone is crap other than the HTC One. How quickly we fall for “pretty”.

  • Spammy Widgets LOL

  • Great review, was on the fence but now I’m all in. I can’t even imagine what an update this must be over my Droid 3. You wanna talk about terrible cameras….

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    what’s up with every tech site releasing the review at the same time? or atleast u and engadget.


    • Bill

      CNET, Engadget, Droid Life, Android Central, Ubergizmo, Wired, …… Have all just released reviews

      • andrew galvin

        press embargo.. look up what that means.

      • Mike Reid

        Most at 12:01 AM. 🙂

    • Bob G

      Embargo got lifted by Samsung. This is not new marketing strategy here.

  • Anon

    Will this phone be rootable and modified? I would be coming from a Galaxy Nexus which is a modders playing ground, how does the Galaxy phones compare to Nexus devices

    • Bob G

      Depends on which model you are getting. If the Exynos one, then you might as well not get it because the dev community has pretty much abandoned trying to get that working properly. The Snapdragon 600……. maybe.

      • The Snapdragon 600 version will almost certainly have a strong dev following. The Exynos version will be picked at (CM himself said he’d support it, at least), but the extent and how well it will run remains to be seen.

  • Lane252

    why does america always get the shaft on the better phone…overseas version octa america quad…it’s all obama’s fault (thats a joke) but no reeally!

    • Christopher Riner

      I know, if they would quit doing that I would be sold on their phones. Couldn’t pass on the octa right now if I had the chance.

      • Lane252

        I agree

    • From what I understand it’s because of LTE, the octa doesn’t work with it

      • Lane252

        I think I’d sacrifice 4g for 8 cores. But what you said is interesting. I wonder why if that is the case it won’t work with it

        • gokusimpson

          The octo core chip actually uses just 4 cores at a time. Octo marketing people counted all the cores instead of the ones being used at any given time. And I thought I read somewhere that it supported LTE and was having volume manufacturing problems.

  • Hmm… now do we jump for the S4 or wait even longer to see what Google/Motorola is brewing? I was honestly hoping to see better battery results than that but I guess we have to consider you were on a crummy network, had all the sensors enabled and probably weren’t using Samsung’s power saver mode… hrm.

    Of course I can’t say I get anywhere near those results with my Galaxy Nexus (toro)… maybe if I have WiFi on all day and 20 minutes of screen time then yeah…

    • andrew galvin

      i suspect the drain is also related to 4.2.2.. With out patches to the kernel the nexus was plagued with high kernel wakelocks.

  • Jeremy Case

    I used to be on the “plastic phones are crap” kick but after owning the GS3 I have grown to not care. I like how light it is, doesn’t feel like I’m carrying around a Zack Morris phone.

    • Tim242

      Exactly. Besides, only the back is plastic. The entire front is glass.

      • Jeremy Case

        Too I think it being lighter makes it more durable against drops. A heavier phone has more inertia as it falls landing with more force. Where as a lighter phone lands with less. Just my thoughts though.

        • htowngtr

          It likely has less to do with inertia (as they are both relatively equal in mass) and more to do with the fact that plastic allows for a more elastic collision while metal is a “plastic” collision (funny how that works).

          • Excellent explanation. Though, I would add that the underlying framework, skin material thickness, sharpness of the corners, and angle of impact have just as much, if not more, to do with the kind and extent of damage after a drop as the material itself.

            Which just means, it is way too complex to say how much damage any device will take in any drop that is not precisely controlled, so get the phone you like to hold and be careful.

          • htowngtr

            Yes, it is a bit more than simple mass or as some like to say “weight” (simply gravity and mass) and rather where the phone hits, what materials were at the the point of impact, etc.

            Some materials will “bounce” or rebound from impact (i.e. plastic, TPU) and others will almost “stick” and just take the full crash (i.e. glass, metal).

          • cb2000a

            I like plastic materials on phones. I don’t like the shiny finish on the back. My Note has a matted non slippery back on it. Plastic phones are better for antenna reception and are lighter (something I appreciate in a phone the size of the Note.

          • htowngtr

            That’s why the One has a plastic injected mold around the circumference of the phone for the antenna. This phone gets much better reception than my S3.

    • Yeah plus most people put cases on their phones anyway, so those build materials go out the window.

      • Yes and no. Unless the case is an OtterBox or similar, the phone’s build quality will still be apparent in the case of a drop, though obviously not when it is in-hand.

      • LionStone

        Yet many people don’t put cases on their phones, so those build materials come flying back in the window 🙂

        • Well if you’re one of those rare people than i guess you would want to get a phone that has a higher build quality but all that metal on the One is probably going to dent upon drops.

          • LionStone

            I travel frequently across the country and I see many people that don’t use a case…and I’m pretty good about not bouncing my phone around 🙂

          • Oh I believe you that there are people that don’t use cases, im still in high school and I see people all the time without cases (mostly iPhone users) but its small compared to the amount of people that do use cases. Obviously it might differ though when you get out of the teenage setting.

    • Tim

      I kinda agree. I think the HTC one is a really pretty phone. But I also think the gs4 is a nice looking phone. Im pretty hard on phones. So it does worry me a bit that a drop could dent the nice aluminum body. At least with the plastic it wont get as screwed up. And if it does, its easily replaceable. Of course i think we would all want our phones made out the most expensive exotic looking materials. But i dont necessarily think that makes a phone better than another phone. Im sure each design has positives and negatives. But its kinda funny that everyone that loves android use to get so defensive about apple ppl saying andriod phones are cheap. Now android has a couple “premium feel” phones and a lot of ppl wanna take a crap on the GS4.

    • LiterofCola

      I can’t do it. Between the plastic build and Touchwiz, it’ll ruin the experience in my opinion. And no, I don’t put cases on my phones and I don’t install roms on my devices neither. It’s a nice looking phone though.

  • Austin Warren

    BTW, much thanks for the review. Doesn’t look like I’m licking it up, but does sound great though.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      picking* “…licking it up….” yeaaah u know where those jokes are gunna go.

      • Austin Warren

        I bet it tastes great.

        • LionStone

          Less filling… 😉

  • Sam

    “The Galaxy S4, to our knowledge, is the first in the world to use a Full HD (FHD) 1080p Super AMOLED display. Weighing in at 5.0″ and with 441ppi, it’s nothing short of stunning.”

    Um, did you forget about the Droid DNA?

    • DNA is not Super AMOLED.

      • Thomas

        Note 2 or S4 ? What would you choose ?

        • Austin Warren

          S4. 1080p, new processor, better camera, all the new hardware additions.

      • Tim242

        Can you tell us if there is the option to change the display saturation? I like to change it to natural.

        • New_Guy

          You can change it on the Note 2 in the display settings, so I would imagine yes.

          • Tim242

            Yeah, I changed it on my Note 2. However, the S3 didn’t have the option.

          • New_Guy

            Thanks, didn’t know that.

        • I have mine set to dynamic.. natural seems very dull to me. but to each his own.

        • Tommy Thompson

          S4 has Natural, Movie, Dynamic, and Adobe RGB

    • Austin Warren

      DNA doesn’t have AMOLED. Unless you mean something else. No clue.

    • Tim242

      That would be SLCD3, not Samoled.

  • Tim242

    Beautiful device. I am giving up my Note 2 for the S4. Full price only 6 months apart…I have to cut that out haha

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I thought i’d love the screen size, and i do, but damn. I wanna give up my note 2 also. Holding out for whatever has android 5.0 first.

    • XphoneTroll

      I am doing the same here..this baby still goes for 500.00 which isn’t bad at all.

    • jak_341

      I can’t give up the screen size. I just can’t. Lol.

      • Tim242

        5.5 to 5 won’t be bad…especially with the higher resolution. Things will be a little smaller on the screen.

        • I was thinking of jumping ship but that camera. I really hope the Note 3 can step up the camera in low light situations. Its just awful/

    • Bob

      I don’t know if I will be able to handle the smaller battery. Going 18+ hours on mid-to-heavy usage on a GN2 is a huge plus for me. It is tempting though.

    • yeah, I would never dream of that. Especially because they already announced that all non hardware based features are coming to other samsung devices. The only one I contemplated it on briefly was the One.

    • Hahaha, sounds like me with the S3 to the N2. I can’t afford to do that again right now. Phone addiction is quite a drain on the bank account.

    • T4rd

      You should be able to get most of it back from selling the Note 2. I’m considering doing the same thing. The Note 2 should fetch at least $450 unless it it already has a lot of wear on it.

  • Bill

    Android Authority reviewed the phone with a retail version, and the camera preformed much better, and there was no lag. CNET China also found that the Galaxy S4 had a problem when typing fast like you said. When they contacted Samsung, Samsung indeed confirmed that it wasn’t supposed to be like that and it was a bug that they would address in an update. Android Authority noted that the final retail version is a lot different and better than the prerelease version. The retail version also comes with eye scroll, and uses your eyes to scroll, and doesn’t have to be tilted. The prerelease version only worked if you tilted the phone. It sounds like the retail version is much better. I noticed in the prerelease version there is a lot of lag(especially with the air gesture), but in Android Authority’s review with the retail version everything is very fast and snappy, including air gesture.

  • Benjamin Mackie

    Does it support multiwindow like the note 2 did?

    • Bill


    • Yes, I just found no use for it in a week’s time, so I didn’t mention it.

      • New_Guy

        As a grad student I use it practically daily. I’m able to read my assignment instructions, watch our case study videos, and take notes all at the same time. Yep, three widows because the video app can shrink into a floating app. Multi-window is is, by far, my favorite feature on the Note 2. I have to imaging the S4’s is just add great.

        • You are probably exactly who the feature is targeted at heh. Me, being a boring ol’ press guy, is not. I kept trying to find reasons to use it, just couldn’t.

          • New_Guy

            Haha. I can understand. Truth be told, I haven’t used it much outside of the classroom, but for us students, it’s pretty clutch.

      • Benjamin Mackie

        Mk, jwing. Im considering holding out for the note 3, and i can certainly see a use there

      • r0lct

        I actually just turn that feature off so I don’t see the tab on the left since I never use it on my Note 2.

  • Austin Warren

    The camera will probably be better on launch versions. Even better with the Octa.

  • John Ippolito

    Great work man. EXCELLENT review.

    • it was a great review but this sounded meh at best “Sure, why not. It’s a really, really good smartphone – probably in the top two or three at this point in the game”

  • Damian

    Well this was a pleasant surprise, didn’t no you had a review unit already

    • Bill

      He has prerelease software