The Samsung Galaxy S4 is everything you are looking for in a 4G LTE Android smartphone. The incredibly wide 5-inch HD Super AMOLDED touchscreen display makes the Galaxy S4 perfect for watching movies, playing games, and even browsing the web, while also fitting nicely into your pocket or purse. The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes equipped with a Smart Pause technology that knows when you look away and pauses your device for you, then resumes as soon as you look back at the display. Capture all of the fun with the S4's amazing 13MP primary camera and HD video that allows you to shoot video with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. The S4 also snaps panoramic pictures so you can capture the entire scene, has LED flash, and auto-focus.
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The Samsung Galaxy “S” series of Android devices has been on the lips and in the hearts of consumers since the Galaxy SIII was released. The large-screen, high-powered device provided a great deal of competition for Motorola’s line of Droid devices and Apple’s iPhone devices. In fact, retailers have sold over 40 million Galaxy SIII units, which is more than three times the amount of iPhone 5 units that Apple has sold. The Galaxy series is definitely a powerful force in the smartphone market. With Samsung’s heavy advertisement and millions of Galaxy “S” lovers providing constant word-of-mouth advertising, it is not surprising that the SIII is such a hero.
Galaxy SIII owners could argue that their device is already the perfect smartphone. The device sports such specifications as a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel feature-packed camera, a desirable 4.8-inch display, and a ton of crucial features that were designed for power users. Consumers purchased the SIII by the millions, and it still has a high level of popularity.
Samsung released the S4 as an upgrade to the SIII, but how do you upgrade something that is already perfect? Furthermore, many of today’s smartphones have amazing features that are equal to the features on the SIII. Manufacturers are releasing today’s smartphones with huge screens, fast processors, high-quality cameras and more. Strong competitors such as the HTC One and the iPhones are quickly gaining momentum in the industry. Is the Samsung Galaxy S4 enough to keep the Galaxy line on the top of the smartphone charts? I have a few thoughts on the matter. I obtained a Samsung Galaxy S4 so that I could perform a full review of it. I have been using it everywhere I go for the past week, and I feel that I can give an accurate depiction of my experiences with it.
Samsung went with the same housing that it used for the Galaxy SIII for the Galaxy S4: plastic. The iPhone 5 and the HTC One are Samsung’s strongest competition. Therefore, choosing a cheap plastic design probably was not the best idea. The phone has a flimsy feel since it is thinner and lighter than the Galaxy SIII. I thought the SIII was flimsy enough. I cannot give Samsung any brownie points for sticking with the inexpensive plastic. I feel that a fully upgraded model would have had aluminum casing and more of an elegant appeal.
My hands are small, so holding the S4 was less than desirable for me. A person who has large hands may feel differently than I do, however. I felt that the unit had a slippery consistency. The texture on the rear of the phone will lead some people to believe that is has special slip-resistant capabilities. It does not have such capabilities. Trying to hold a slippery, slim, large device in my hand did not provide me with a pleasant experience when I engaged in a telephone conversation. The large size is perfect for browsing the Internet, however.
Samsung Galaxy vs. HTC One vs. the IPhone 5
The iPhone has always been popular for its durability and its elegant look. The HTC One has an element of elegance that consumers cannot deny. In fact, people who have held my S4 have frowned upon it because of the bland appearance and the slippery and thin body. Samsung may lose quite a bit of sales to HTC because of the lackluster body. The only way I can see Samsung winning the battle over the HTC One and the iPhone 5 is if it has a multitude of features that blow them away. That may be the case.
How Does the S4 Win?
I have been wondering how the S4 could win with such a mediocre casing structure. I wondered why anyone would upgrade from the SIII to a device that almost looked identical. Additionally, I wondered why a consumer would choose the S4 over the marvelous likes of the HTC One. The answer is quite simple, and it jumps out at every consumer who takes a second to gaze at the S4: the screen.
The Magnificent Galaxy S4 Screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a gigantic 5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The screen is not only huge, but also it is absolutely breathtaking. The S4 has a Super AMOLED display, which is a master of over-exaggerating the color and vibrancy of a picture. Every image I saw on this amazing screen had a ton of life and luster. Additionally, the screen is quite responsive. First, I performed a test with bare hands and a bare phone. Next, I used a screen protector. Finally, I put it through the gloves test and it passed with flying colors.
The only item I found challenging about the S4 screen was the “auto brightness” feature. The phone seemed to be confused as to the level of brightness it wanted to display. Eventually, I had to turn the feature off, but I still thought the screen was amazing.
The S4 has its speaker situated in the back of the phone, which directs the sound away from where the user wants it to be. Fortunately, the S4 makes up for this slight flaw by delivering extremely loud sound quality. I had no issues with the speaker.
The camera is one of the most important features that I like to have on a high-end phone. I take a great deal of professional photos, so I want the camera to deliver crisp, clear and colorful pictures. The S4 was able to pull it off in a way that made me very happy. I was delighted by the quality of the photos that the S4’s 13-megapixel camera produced. In fact, delighted is an understatement on my part. The truth is that the S4 has the best camera I have ever used in my life. Its performance beat that of the iPhone 5 that I used. The only area in which the S4 camera lacked substance was in dark conditions. There, I would have to say that the HTC One and the Nokia 920 deliver slightly better performance.
The S4 camera sports a wealth of desirable features such as eraser mode. Eraser mode is a feature that detects moving objects in photos. People who are trying to take professional shots can erase blurry moving objects from the background of a picture to enhance the quality of the final product. This feature is amazing for eliminating friends who make bunny ears in the background or strangers who love to run by while a person is snapping a shot.
Another cool feature that the S4 camera has is the Drama Shot feature. I tried this with my friend as he was running down the street. Drama Shot takes a series of pictures of a moving person and shows the movement path in one picture. I thought the feature was exciting and fun to use. Other notable features on the S4 camera are the dual camera feature and the Animated Photo features. The combination of the enhanced software, additional features and the speedy processor help to make the S4 camera one of the best in the market.
Battery Life and Power
The S4 is a beast and a half with its 1.9-GHz quad-core processor. I tried opening multiple applications and putting high demands on it. The unit did not even flinch. Samsung has a reputation for creating smartphones with fast performance and amazing capabilities. The strength and speed of this unit did not surprise me. What did surprise me was the battery life on the S4. It lasted all day long with me using it heavily for applications, video shooting and voice calls.
One of the biggest reasons a person may want to upgrade to the S4 is its multitude of additional features that exist on top of Google’s software. Users can enjoy such features as Touchwiz, Big clock, weather widgets, Watchon and Polaris. So many features are on this phone that a person would need to spend a week learning them all.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 delivers a powerful and visually stimulating experience. The phone is a high performer, which meets my criteria for an acceptable upgrade. Existing SIII users and people who are new to the Galaxy line will be astonished by this masterpiece.
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