Thursday, August 22, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 full review

A large screen and a large battery in a surprisingly compact device that is packed with extras

 Review date: August 20, 2013
Trade Price: 600 EUR
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It's hard to know where to start with the Samsung Galaxy S4. After months of rumors, leaks, hyperbole and a launch event, that is, without doubt, the most coveted Android smartphone so far. In fact, we could say that the interest on the phone to set up at least as high as for the next phone from Apple, as the iPhone and the iPhone 5S 6.

Now we finally have a review S4 remain only two simple questions. Most importantly, this is the best smartphone you can buy today? However, Samsung has taken a big step forward compared to last year's S3, or is it an evolution of that device?

It is here and it looks very similar to its predecessor


At first glance, should err in the direction of evolution. The S3 is definitely a phone to show, not that it is not very pleasant, but it is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor, unless you look closely. This is not a bad thing in our opinion, as it makes no unwanted attention on the train, instead of an iPhone 5 just after liberation.

The new phone seems to have the same finish white plastic, but look closely and you will see below the surface gloss. A fine diamond pattern is a nice touch, and subtle enough to avoid complaints. Unnecessary Bling

Samsung Galaxy S4

We would do well the new model subtle, but it is much more pronounced in the Black version

Given its large 4.99in screen, the S4 is surprisingly thin. Measures just 136.6x69.8x7.9mm and weighs only 130 grams. That makes it much smaller and lighter overall than its two main rivals, the Sony Xperia S and our current favorite, the HTC One

Since the most striking change front bezels screen is thin, both along the edges and on the other side. This puts the screen is only 2.5 mm from the edge of the device and is becoming difficult to get a smaller, without seriously imagine the survival of the terminal to a fall hazard at this distance. The sides clashed compared to S3, which seems easier to grip more beefy.

The upper and lower areas of the screen have become much smaller, so the amount of space that is substantially reduced physical home button and a touch-sensitive menu, and the backup commands. This would have made it difficult, but the key to a much lighter pressure and had no problems with hitting the touch sensitive controls.

Samsung Galaxy S4
The screen fills the unit, as I've never seen before

Despite the weather Removable, what benefits we will discuss is later, not be unduly S4 for this functionality. The rear panel fits perfectly to the body without bending or displacement. When in place, the phone feels like a piece of technology.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most attractive plastic phones we've ever seen. This is a proper evolution of S3, table many of the flaws that its predecessor had. These include a USB port that does not look very good cut and a back box that was quite loose, with the S4, it feels much more finished and if you pay more attention to detail.

That said, is a very conservative design. Purely from an appearance perspective, we prefer the HTC One aluminum. The curved back and sharp corners make it much more noticeable than the more amorphous stain S4, plus HTC is compressed into a pair of speakers mounted in front of the One, as discussed below. However, as a practical piece of technology S4 superior simply because a significantly larger image at a size similar handset. You just can not get it to show more. In the pocket to the size and weight

The S4 better designed from the ergonomic point of view. HTC The source button on the top of the phone is very well designed, it is not sharp, but reliably responds when you press the (once you get the hang of where it did). The problem is its position after being pressed with your finger, it is not possible then the buttons below the screen with your thumb. Right button on the S4 has a much more traditional and boring, but at least you can the device with one hand without having to constantly change the use grip.

Samsung Galaxy S4


A full range of accessories can make a great and a good phone Samsung has gone the whole hog with the Galaxy S4. We know that each of the covers, tools and equipment complementary to the test to see which ones are worth buying and worth a miss - check back for updates to be tested more accessories.

S-View Case Cover
The case of S-View combines a replacement tailgate with soft material hinged front cover, the screen of your S4 to protect from scratches. The display window of clear plastic on top of the front cover you can get a picture of levels of time, date, battery and signal and all notifications as they arrive, without having to get the entire phone.

The high contrast white text on black background makes it easy to read, even if the screen is very bright outside, but no way to read a text message out - you need to open the cover for a preview or unlock the phone to read the entire message.

S-View cover

You have to let the hinge take more than a couple of days to cover are completely flat on the surface of the phone, but after that fits like a glove.

The back of the cover plate is attached to a little stiffer than standard, and is marginally thicker. While this may sound like a bad thing, but it actually gives the handset a slightly firmer feel in the hand, with standard thin is not behind the plate.
Unfortunately, the cover conceals the volume buttons, making it difficult, but not impossible, to adjust when using the phone in a pocket. We are also disappointed that you have to choose between the Qi wireless charging back plate and the cover of the box S-View, because there is a case where the two are combined.

S-View cover

Available in a range of colors corresponding to each phone Galaxy S4 can be found online for under £ 10 and protects the front of your phone from scratches. Cover S-View not going to stop serious damage if you drop, but you will not have to worry about keeping the keys in another pocket, either.

This application is the first smartphone with an AMOLED display with Full HD resolution. Measuring 4.99in this article gives a figure of 441 pixels per inch, up 306PPI on the Galaxy S3. As always, it should be noted that the display uses a PenTile subpixel arrangement - with two colors per pixel, instead of three - which means that the resolution is actually less than similar LCDs.

This is a minor problem in a full HD than it was before. The incredibly large number of pixels per inch is the lack of sophistication, usually visible at the edges of text, almost imperceptible. Furthermore, incredible contrast you get from an AMOLED display more than makes up for any minor perceptible loss of detail.

In practice, there is much less difference between this and the HTC LCD One of its technology would suggest. The PenTile pixel arrangement does not detail noticeable effect on the S4, while the change in the HTC one was excellent. The colors in the S4 are slightly richer a given luminosity, but the HTC one is much brighter at its maximum value, useful on sunny days - even work that way all the time and the battery will be severely reduced.

Speaking of brightness, control Samsung are much better, with a slider always present in the brightness down notification menu. You can also adjust the auto brightness setting, which allows a step brighter or dimmer, then the standard variable. In comparison, the HTC One makes you delve into the menus to set and adjust settings like automatic

Having said all that, the biggest difference is simply that the screen is larger S4. Not a big problem when using everyday applications, sending texts, or insist on a quick e-mail, but to browse desktop websites, play games and watch video clips is a great plus.


The S4 can be a higher screen resolution larger than its predecessor to enjoy such content, but speaker sound is not improved in the same proportion. The speaker is still rear-mounted, design monkey and you need to position your hands well to prevent accidental muting. Sound quality is not bad for that speaker, but if you want to have fun with your phone to stereo speakers HTC One for you and your friends are much better.

Samsung Galaxy S4
The single mono speaker has fallen back

Since we're talking about audio, the HTC One (and Xperia S) also has an FM radio, which does not exist in the S4, for the first time in the series. One disappointment, and that some radio fans waving.

In preparation for the launch of a new smartphone or tablet exciting, much is made of the exact nature and content hardware power. For Samsung Galaxy S4 was the talk of the eight-core CPU, but the reality seems to be much more complicated than that.

Yes, there is a S4 (GT-i9500) Samsung designed and produced Xynos eight-core CPU, but actually consists of a quad-core CPU and low power processor quad core, the phone switches between real-time , in order to maximize. performance and battery life is an idea that has been around for a while, big.LITTLE ARM calls, but it's good to see it finally implemented on a quad-core flagship device.

But, it is a great that Galaxy S4 eight cores is not what you will buy in the UK. However, when in his new bright S4 is the first thing you see is that it is a GT-I9505 phone which designed a set of quad-core Qualcomm chips used instead. This is because the other model does not include 4G/LTE support, something that feels natural Samsung is the key to a new device launch in the UK.

Samsung Galaxy S4
Android version of the S4 is fully up to date

Since there is no option to purchase the eight-core S4, unless you have an import car and pay the full price plus a substantial import duty, there is little point in comparing the two in detail. We have sent you an i9500 for testing, but seek reliable sources seems to be a little faster with better battery life something online.

We hope big.LITTLE device launched in the UK, then, but the chipset Qualcomm S4 in our version is not slow. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as the HTC One 600, but the S4 is running at 1.9 GHz instead of 1.7 GHz could see a noticeable change in the speed of the browser in the real world tests do not detect, Geekbench benchmark but showed two faster edge S4 before 3227-2688. In practice, it all feels very slippery, launch applications quickly and everything flows along, very impressive stuff.

The S4 also uses the same Adreno 320 GPU as the HTC One is a powerful chip and a big step forward in the S3. We have 50 fps in 3DMark recent ice storm and got almost 30fps in extreme much harder version of the same test. We doubt anyone will do in the near future this team is going to play everything. An Android game

Under the removable back cover is a very nice looking with a large battery of 2600 mAh capacity. That's more than 10% higher than the 2,300 and 2,330 mAh HTC examples One and Sony Xperia Z, respectively, However, the results were even more impressive than that number might suggest.

Samsung Galaxy S4
The S4 retains very practical design of the S3

In our continuous video playback S4 achieved an impressive ten hours and 43 minutes, a score that is attributed in large part to its energy efficient AMOLED screen. The Sony Xperia S has a 5-inch LCD screen and only lasted five hours and 48 minutes, while the smaller screened HTC One in a much more respectable eight hours 32 minutes.

If the battery is a big concern for you that the S4 is well above its main rivals. Besides these are back removable means that the battery can be exchanged if necessary. Samsung sells spare batteries and a charger of officers for them too, so if you're afraid it's over, the S4 is the phone for you.

Also behind cover is the Micro SD slot, a card can be taken with a capacity of up to 64GB. That card will cost you about 35 pounds, with 32 GB card costs about half of that. The Sony Xperia S also has this option, but it looks like another point scored in the HTC One who is alone. Internal Storage

However, the HTC One comes with 32 GB of storage as standard, of which about 25 GB is available for use. Comparatively, the S4 only comes with 16GB as standard, only a measly 8GB is now available for use, we managed to quickly erase another 1GB, but still expect a memory card be a good idea for most users.

Of course, many people prefer to store much of their data in the cloud, Dropbox is a preferred partner of Samsung. The unit comes with two years of free storage with a large limit of 50 GB. Disappointing for anyone who makes a quick update on an S3, buying a new phone, within two years was not put back on this offer. The backup S4 hand camera shots all in your Dropbox account automatically when a Wi-Fi is available.


Samsung has opted for a rear illuminated sensor of 13 megapixels and the resulting images are excellent. It has been shown in our tests still life and Exhibitions enough fine details were approved constantly changing light levels. It was noticeably sharper than the four megapixel camera HTC One, you will not Facebook, but even a full HD TGV were much sharper, with better refined lines. Additional resolution also helps crop images without causing too pixelated.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Taking the camera out and about in the spring sunshine also produced good results. Their positions taken treaty with the contrast created by the sun and the colors seemed accurate. Mode also has a 20-shot burst that is activated by pressing the shutter, simply hold down. The front camera has a 2 megapixel BSI sensor and takes very little pretty decent snapshots.

Samsung Galaxy S4 sample shot
We have seen good results in our test shots available ...
Samsung Galaxy S4 sample shot... 
1:01 This crop pixel shows some nice touches in the layer

There is much more to the new picture quality Samsung camera and specifications, however. With a number of extras at least momentary entertainment leisure and possibly much more to worry about.

Dual Shot

By far our favorite of the various shooting modes dual trigger fun. The concept is very simple, the S4 uses both front and back cameras capture two images at the same time, combining in one image.

Now you can just ask why not just two shots and then adjust together, but that would lose the immediacy of making Samsung. This allows you to take a picture successful participation and get a great shot up on Facebook, in addition to its sufficiency, smiling mug in one step. It is the next logical step for the style of the beloved "selfie" of photography, and Samsung has a patent unless we can see appear on any other smartphone for next year.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
This dizzying heights double shot captures love our Editors News

Now take Samsung Dual Rec is proud parents put the shot with the ones meowing - not a bad idea as a parent is often absent snapshots worth all holidays. In practice, although we found a little creative tool, the ability to take two images side by side on the fly is great fun and can do some very striking compositions to create.

Can change the size and shape of the second, to change, in the upper part of the image with different shapes or only a normal box. It will take even two full images and mark side by side in a super great effort - good for more serious efforts or adhoc views. You can also turn the camera around a crane, filling the screen with just a small picture of your environment to add context.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
There is a good variety of frames for the shot-to-shot mode

Best of all, it just works, what you see is what you get. It can be a little difficult to align at first but soon get used to it and then you go. It even has its own shortcut, which does not play mode menu to activate it.

The nice thing here, however in the end as dual recording can not be used with video. You get the same options in how it combines the two images and the ability to change. In fact, adds to short clips and is ideal for those who love to shoot and talk may be the camera.


Samsung is trying to reach the craze for POISON animations with this handy feature. He wears a short video clip duration, the moving parts of the results and allows you to freeze or encouraged it, while the rest of the structure remains. You can choose how animation loop and the start and end points are. Once finished, you can upload it to Facebook or share the results online.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes

You can freeze most of the image and save only a part movement to create a poison - that our website is not compatible, so you only have to imagine the car moves through


Draft effect may be useful, as it allows eliminating by combining five strokes together. Unwanted mobile elements in a shot So you can walk someone to eliminate. On the bottom of the recording

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
Remove the moving parts of a shot, such as people or vehicles

Sounds good, and it works in terms of results, but is not useful in practice. First, you must change the recording mode, you can use from any burst shooting career activate retroactively. Obviously, with that pre-planning could easily spend just rethink the recording or wait until the object is moving - moving after all. A content aware fill feature rough-and-ready, as seen in Photoshop Elements, would be much more useful, allowing you to move or delete. Fixed components after shooting


Shot drama creates an action-effect shots with multiple copies of the same subject in motion, see below for an example. Although this is a still image makes it appear to be with the help of the video function to do so, instead of exploding shot. Capture a short clip and then collects the frames combined into a single image.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
This basic example shows how

The effect is a bit random, is very particular about how to get the object moving through the frame and keep the camera takes good while. You can use the boxes at the bottom of the back of the case to add or remove to get. Some control over the final image resulting image aspect ratio of 16:9, was 1,888 x1, 062 - good enough to put online, but not very good for printing, if you have a lot of effort into a shot.


The simplest of sound recording modes and eccentric, Shot captures only 9 seconds of audio with the image. We're not quite sure what the point is more than just capturing a video clip of short duration and the fact that you can share the image and audio combined online makes even more sense.


Two variations on a theme. Best photo just has a short burst of eight shots and then you can choose which one (if any) you want to keep for a thumbs up on the thumbnail. It's a great way to get the best shot in burst mode, but without recharging your phone with numerous images virtually identical.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
Even the choice is sometimes difficult to choose a 'best face' - no fault of the S4 already

Face best is a variant of this, used with face recognition. It takes five shots in quick succession and then you can choose which face each shot. This lets you combine so that in one take with multiple compartments you can get them all smiling and with eyes open. Exposure Very handy for group shots.

In both modes, it is faster than the S3 have the same functions, the thumbnails appear almost as soon as it broke the last frame.

Story Album

A separate application of the camera but you can select photos from your gallery, or you have selected for you based on your GPS location and date, and then make photo albums of them. Initially, these are just virtual albums that can happen on the phone, but you can also request hard copies if directly from the headset.

Samsung Galaxy S4 photo modes
Designs can be a bit tricky if overused heavy dual recording

You can add or remove the selected photos, add titles and one of six different designs / themes. Change Everything works fine, but can not be adjusted in the same way you can with many manufacturers online albums.

Samsung has succeeded in releasing the Samsung Galaxy S4 with the latest operating system - Android 4.2.2. There are many advantages to this, but most of all we like the buttons on the list of highly customizable shortcut that can be added to notifications dropdown.

Samsung Galaxy S4
The configuration, exactly where you want

Of course, modified in many ways by the Samsung TouchWiz interface, but we believe it is one of the less offensive variants out there. For example, lets you hide applications from view in the app drawer, at least for you to clarify that you do not use and can not uninstall.The new keyboard has a row of numbers above the standard layout so that you don not have a switch or button press always use to write. We're looking for something on this in more detail when you use the phone more, but there is nothing in the actual user interface design that will surprise or frustrate some vanilla or other uses Android Android launcher.

Samsung has many extras, all in the Samsung Galaxy S4. So much so that it is unlikely that someone who is not a smartphone user or Samsung smartphone most ardent fan will realize that they are there, much less use. What it means is that there is definitely something that you find useful or even indispensable.

A brief description of these features are: Health S, which help food intake and exercise improves fitness tracks, S translator, the voice or text translated into nine different languages; Tracking Knox, which allows you to track your phone is lost or stolen.

There is also a much wider range of eye tracking capabilities and movement of what we saw in the S3. You can swipe your finger across the screen, like the mouse cursor over a link on your PC, and is the high sensitivity mode for use with gloves. Eye tracking now pause videos when you look away and you can even go up and down web pages, tilting his head up or down.

Then there's Play Group, which allows you to share music, video and even some games with other users S4, and you can even use multiple devices make music or surround effects, plus a built-in IR emitter to control the theater house.

Let's delve into this as we get more hands-on time with the phone in the coming weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S4

It's hard to find loopholes S4 overall excellence. Storage is miserable and the mono speaker and lack of FM radio may be a disappointment to some, but nevertheless still a lot of phone for your money. We shopped around and the best deal we saw was a free phone for £ 31 per month with unlimited minutes, texts and 500MB of mobile data.

Based on research and experience, even these reasonable prices steadily decline over the next six months. For the S3, this meant we could go for a phone at the end of last year and find it so cheap, if not more, than many midrange phones are much less expensive than according to reason.

Even considering that, the S4 is much smarter for your money today. The lack of a big.LITTLE processor is a shame because it looks like a great idea, but even without the S4 embodies the meaning pretty well. The screen is bigger than the HTC one, the battery is greater than the HTC one or the one in the Sony Xperia S, but the phone itself is slightly small. In short, Samsung has squeezed more at least - and that's why it wins our award Ultimate.

Part Code     :     GT-I9505
Review Date :     August 20, 2013
Price             :     £ 600

Rating           :     ***** stars out of 5 stars out of 5
Award last    :      Ultimate

Main Display Size            :    5.0 in screen
Native Resolution             :    1920 x 1, 080
CCD effective megapixel  :  13 megapixel 
GPS                                :   Yes
Internal memory              :   16384MB
Memory cards Support    : MicroSD 
memory card included      :  0MB 
Operating Frequency        : GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1900/2100, LTE                                                                             800/850/900/1800/2100/2600
Wireless Data                  :  GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, LTE
Size                                 :   137x70x7.9mm
Weight                            :  130g

OS                                              :   Android 4.2.2
Microsoft Office Compatibility     :   N / A
FM Radio                                   :   N / A
Accessories                                :   USB Charger , Headphones
Talk time                                    :   17 hours 
Standby time                              :   15 days

Info Buy
SIM free price                  :  600 EUR
Price on Contract             :  Contract 31 months £
Prepaid price                   :  £ 550
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