The reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung's next flagship Android smartphone, are out. The company announced the device at an event in mid-March and boasts a 5" screen, a 1080p display that Samsung calls "Full HD Super AMOLED" and more.
The overall consensus is that the Galaxy S4 is a solid upgrade over the previous S3 but that its plastic casing and minimal upgrades keep it from being great.
- "I found Samsung’s software often gimmicky, duplicative of standard Android apps, or, in some cases, only intermittently functional." - "Its screen and camera resolution beat the iPhone 5’s and I found its pictures to be slightly better than those from the Apple phone, which is nearly a year old." - "Still, compared with the iPhone 5, with its 4-inch screen, the S 4 is 30 percent larger and 17 percent heavier."
- "It retains the same rounded-rectangle look, with metal edges and a slippery, finger-print-trapping plastic back that looks like it belongs on a far more downmarket phone." - "Battery performance on the S4 is among the best we've seen from smartphones this year, though it's still not anywhere near as everlasting as the RAZR MAXX HD." - "Sound on the S4 is another problem. It still has just one tiny, tin-can-sounding speaker on the bottom back of the phone."
- Smart Scroll, which tracks the movement of your head to scroll through pages, is a "great idea" in theory but is "frustrating for several reasons" including limited compatibility with apps and bad tracking in badly lit areas. - "Many of [the new camera modes] are great for showing off at parties with little usefulness elsewhere, but we found ourselves using a few of them on a more regular basis." - "In general, the GS 4 performs amazingly well, but there's a catch: when Air View and Air Gestures were enabled, we noticed the phone acting a little sluggish even in the most basic of tasks."
- "The GS4's 5-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is big, beautiful, and seriously eye-catching." - "Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup has never wanted for power, and neither does the Galaxy S4 — it’s an impressively fast and powerful phone, capable of handling anything I threw at it." - "For some reason, Samsung has always had trouble with screen brightness settings — the GS4 can never seem to decide how bright its screen should be, changing suddenly and drastically often and without warning."
The Samsung Galaxy S4 launches on April 26 for AT&T and a couple of days later for T-Mobile. The 16 GB base model will retail for $200 with a two-year contract for AT&T and $149.99 down with monthly payments on T-Mobile's unsubsidized smartphone pricing. The device is also set to launch on Verizon and Sprint, but launch details for those carriers have yet to be announced.