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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

A decent phone let down by its cheap design and bloatware
Thu May 02 2013, 14:29

Product Samsung Galaxy S4
Specifications 5in 1920x1080 Super AMOLED touchscreen, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.9GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16/32/64GB storage expandable via microSD card, 4G and HSDPA connectivity, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 13MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, Touchwiz user interface, 137x70x7.9mm, 130g
Price Around £600 SIM-free

KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung was undeniably the top dog in the Android market in 2012, with most every analyst house under the sun listing its Galaxy range of handsets as the most desired and best selling in the world.

This was largely due to huge demand for its then flagship Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, which came close to matching the Apple iPhone 5 in sales.

Samsung is keen to repeat that success with its latest flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. In a bid to do so the firm has configured the handset with upgraded specifications and new software features as it looks to give Apple a run for its money once again in 2013.

The design of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is all but identical to that of its predecessor. The device features the same slightly rounded pebble-like, ergonomic design and measures a slightly slimmer 137x70x7.9mm. The Samsung Galaxy S3, by comparison, measured 137x71x8.6mm.

This means that the Galaxy S4 feels pretty much the same as its older sibling - and this is also helped by the fact that it's only 3g lighter than the Galaxy S3, weighing a modest 130g. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it means that the Galaxy S4 feels very comfortable in the hand, with its reasonable weight and curved chassis doing a decent job of downplaying the device's large size.

Samsung Galaxy S4 back plate

Visually the only real difference between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and its predecessor is that the newer phone has a slightly smaller bezel around its screen and a textured pattern on its removable polycarbonate backplate.

For us, the plastic backplate is a concern. Not only does the use of plastic, not metal, make the Galaxy S4 seem cheap compared to the HTC One, the plate also feels flimsy. We found that the backplate is even more prone to picking up marks and blemishes than the one on the Galaxy S3, so much so that we winced every time we removed it to get access to the phone's SIM and microSD card slots.

Next: Display, Software.


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