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Reviewers find Samsung's Galaxy S4 to be a solid performer, but not revolutionary

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Samsung's latest mobile flagship is a good performer with a massive amount of new software, but reviewers found the sum of the handset's parts didn't add up to the great leap forward many had hoped for.

Galaxy S4
Source: Samsung


Coming on the heels of reviews for BlackBerry's latest Q10 smartphone, publications released their assessments of market leader Samsung's newest device, the Galaxy S4. The overall sentiment appears to be positive, though many found the device to be more of an incremental upgrade to the S3 than a truly innovative handset.

AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg summed up the gist of most reviews with the title of his analysis: "Galaxy S4 Is a Good, but Not a Great, Step Up."

Mossberg said that, despite some expected improvements like the 5-inch, 440ppi Super AMOLED screen and 13-megapixel camera, Samsung's Galaxy S4 is more of an evolution to the company's previous designs.

"I urge readers looking for a new Android smartphone to carefully consider the more polished-looking, and quite capable, HTC One, rather than defaulting to the latest Samsung," Mossberg writes. He goes on to note that some of Samsung's installed software was "gimmicky," a view shared by ABC News' Joanna Stern.

Some unique built-in apps worked well, like the multi-tasking dual-app view and the huge selection of camera modes, but other "S" software falls flat and is at times difficult to operate.

"The Galaxy S4 has an easy mode, and more importantly, the Galaxy S4 needs an easy mode," writes TechCrunch's Jordan Crook.

Galaxy S4
Source: Samsung


Build quality was another concern which, as noted by Engadget, continues Samsung's long line of plastic-bodied devices. The website compared the unit to HTC's latest HTC One handset, finding the S4 to be less visually appealing and lacking a "premium feel."

Specifications are impressive, however, with a 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor leveraging 2GB of RAM, while storage comes in 16GB and 32GB options, expandable up to 64GB with a microSD card slot. Whether Samsung effectively used the powerful platform to its fullest is a question that can only be answered by consumers.

Overall, the Galaxy S4's plastic design and "novelty" software seemed to have held it back from being a "great" handset.
post #2 of 56
Why bother posting an article to bash a competitors phone. Go out and buy one and review it your self rather then picking through other reviews for the negatives.
post #3 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Why bother posting an article to bash a competitors phone. Go out and buy one and review it your self rather then picking through other reviews for the negatives.

1) Why do bother coming here to bash Apple? At least AI's goals of wanting page hits is clear.

2) What part of the title "solid performer" is bashing Samsung? You're pretty think skinned if you think this article is bashing the S4.

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #4 of 56
Only thing I have to do before I believed iPhone 5 is a revolution is lift that thing out of the box....
post #5 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Why bother posting an article to bash a competitors phone. Go out and buy one and review it your self rather then picking through other reviews for the negatives.

LOL. Something tells me if they wrote their own review of the thing, you'd dismiss that too.
But I do agree with your first sentence: why bother? Rhetorical of course: the answer is to get people to post comments. They did it for the ad impressions.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #6 of 56

I think the S4 looks to be a very solid contender.  I also think they went a little overboard with features for the sake of features.  I think phones are more or less in the era of 'the same but better.'   By that I mean they'll get faster, thinner, lighter, longer battery life, but the actual feature set will only see minor improvements.

 

I do like the infrared capability of the S4 and the fact that I could make it my universal remote.

 

The next 'big thing' phones can improve has less to do with the phone and more on their integrated utility.  If my 'workday' alarm is set to 7am, have it start turning up the heat in my house at 6am.  Start the shower for me and dial in the temperature, brew a cup of coffee for me.  If it is cold out, open the garage door and start the car remotely.  When I go to the supermarket I just want to throw stuff in my cart and then walk out of the store with it.  The phone will know (and display) the total and automatically pay.

 

Most of those things exist already, but as disjoint individual utilities.  I want them integrated and built in to the phone.  That will impress me a whole lot more then an n+1 megapixel camera, new way to stitch pictures together, or another incremental improvement to a display.

post #7 of 56

vauuuu, I am shocked....I thought some Hz, megapixel, inch ARE the revolution?!?

 

foiled again :(

post #8 of 56

I see damage control has arrived.

 

 

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

I do like the infrared capability of the S4 and the fact that I could make it my universal remote.

 

Just like the HTC One, oh yeah and Symbian based Nokia's from the early 2000's, I've still got the IR remote attachment I got for my iPhone 3G.

 

zzzZZZZZ have they done anything REVOLUTIONARY yet?

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #10 of 56

Samsung is Doomed!

 

 

 

post #11 of 56

Poor Samsung, they tried to be innovative and it was received as "novelty" and "gimmicky." Don't worry guys, iOS 7 will be out this year and you can start co... "innovating" again.

post #12 of 56
Gruber links to David Pierce's The Verge review:
Quote:
I don’t like holding this phone, and I can’t overstate how much that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your hand. My white review unit is completely smooth and glossy, with a subtle checkered pattern that looks textured but is neither grippy nor textured anywhere on its body. Even the silver band around the sides, which is obviously supposed to look like metal, is plastic. Everyone I showed the GS4 to frowned and wrinkled their nose as if it smelled bad, before rubbing their fingers on the back of the phone and then handing it back to me — that’s the opposite of the standard reaction to HTC’s One, which everyone wants to ogle and hold.

That's what I've been saying. To use plastic, you have to get away from greasy. Samsung doesn't know how to do that yet.
post #13 of 56
Verge scored it an 8, when they gave the iPhone 5 an 8.8 and the One an 8.3. Fandroids won't be happy. lol.gif
post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Poor Samsung, they tried to be innovative and it was received as "novelty" and "gimmicky." Don't worry guys, iOS 7 will be out this year and you can start co... "innovating" again.
It will work though because tech sites love spec sheets and Samsung makes sure to pimp them out. It's good to see they finally have competition in the Android space but HTC won't be able to compete with Samsung's ad budget so the One has no chance really.
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


It will work though because tech sites love spec sheets and Samsung makes sure to pimp them out. It's good to see they finally have competition in the Android space but HTC won't be able to compete with Samsung's ad budget so the One has no chance really.

HTC One will have a chance if 

 

- Carriers are wary of Samsung's dominance and decide to *push* HTC One more.

- HTC goes for broke with significantly better marketing, which they promised to do.

- One is not a lonely number. In other words, HTC needs to follow up with related products - e.g. a tablet with similar quality as the One, thus giving customers a sense of a product family. I believe that is part of the brand recognition of Apple and Samsung - you're buying into the iDevice or Galaxy family.

 

Interesting times.

post #16 of 56
Love this from John Gruber. Seriously if you need to include an "easy mode" on your phone you're doing it wrong.

http://daringfireball.net/
This Really Says It All
From Joanna Stern’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S4:

Many people will find the phone’s sheer number of features to be overwhelming and hard to find. For instance, I really like the multitasking feature that lets you stack apps one on top of another — i.e. e-mail on the top of the screen and a browser on the bottom — but it isn’t obvious how you actually can set that up. For real smartphone beginners, Samsung has added an Easy Mode, which simplifies the entire phone, with a stripped-down homescreen and settings menu.

The iPhone has an easy mode too. It’s called “Using the iPhone”.
post #17 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Love this from John Gruber. Seriously if you need to include an "easy mode" on your phone you're doing it wrong.

 

Not if you also want to cater to advanced users. 

 

It's like the way that iOS starts in "easy mode", but also has advanced multi-touch gestures that can be turned on. 

 

Not every device user is a baby or 90 year old 1smile.gif

post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

HTC One will have a chance if 

- Carriers are wary of Samsung's dominance and decide to *push* HTC One more.
- HTC goes for broke with significantly better marketing, which they promised to do.
- One is not a lonely number. In other words, HTC needs to follow up with related products - e.g. a tablet with similar quality as the One, thus giving customers a sense of a product family. I believe that is part of the brand recognition of Apple and Samsung - you're buying into the iDevice or Galaxy family.

Interesting times.
Samsung mindshare is s huge right now it's almost an impossible task for HTC to turn that around. I hope they're able to do it. If I had to go Android (thankfully I don't) that would be my phone choice.
post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

 

The HTC One is a much nicer looking phone but I am afraid they made a mistake by not adding an SD card slot and only including 32GB internal storage. At least with an SD card slot you could add an a additional 64GB if needed. That will probably hurt sales somewhat. I doubt the non-removable battery will be much of an issue though as people are used to that with iPods and the iPhone. It has a very good camera apparently but when some people hear 5MP vs 13MP with little other info to go on they will assume the S4 has a much better camera and in...

The One comes in both 32g and 64g models (on AT&T). The camera is four megapixels. 

post #20 of 56
AI, come on the headline is silly. 'Samsung' and 'revolutionary' in the same sentence? Seriously?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post

Why bother posting an article to bash a competitors phone.

So that, much to our chagrin and dismay, they attract the eyeballs of people like you?
post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Not if you also want to cater to advanced users. 

It's like the way that iOS starts in "easy mode", but also has advanced multi-touch gestures that can be turned on. 

Not every device user is a
 baby or 90 year old 1smile.gif
I'd love to know the percentage of smartphone users that want/need/use these "advanced" features (that require an easy mode for us dumb folks). I'm sure a large percentage of those commenting on Engadget, the Verge, etc. do but what percentage are they of the total smartphone market?

Could be Samsung went hog wild with all these features, which some reviewers are calling gimmicks, because otherwise it would just be a new phone with a faster processor and better camera, which would garner a collective ho hum in the tech press.
post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Not if you also want to cater to advanced users. 

 

Unfortunately, 'advanced users' are a minority.

 

Why spend time 'customising your widgets' when you could be with your girlfriend, wife, or friend-with-benefits?

 

1wink.gif

post #24 of 56
Is the plastics used in Samsung gud enuf for recycling? If so it can be burnt and make toys out of it atleast. Selling a phone at a price tag to the extent of Iphone and HTC but with a cheap build quality n looks. They dont deserve to go for bendable display. Instead try to give a solid non bendable back panel...
post #25 of 56

With all the "gee whiz" stuff going on, I hope they've improved on the battery life. Every time I see a colleague with his S3, it's always plugged in. Actually, to be honest, I really don't care.

post #26 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Why spend time 'customising your widgets' when you could be with your girlfriend, wife, or friend-with-benefits?

 

1wink.gif

 

Ha!  Why waste time on a smartphone at all, when you could be with your family and kids?  1wink.gif

 

This new smartphone era has not been good for social interaction.  I mean, good grief, people break up via text or FB now.

 

Yikes.

post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

With all the "gee whiz" stuff going on, I hope they've improved on the battery life. Every time I see a colleague with his S3, it's always plugged in. Actually, to be honest, I really don't care.

 

Battery technology is the gorilla in the mobile room. Technology companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. should be sending a few billion dollars each to research centers like M.I.T. and the like. We need a "Manhattan Project" to advance power technology. Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

Ha!  Why waste time on a smartphone at all, when you could be with your family and kids?  1wink.gif

 

This new smartphone era has not been good for social interaction.  I mean, good grief, people break up via text or FB now.

 

Yikes.

 

Is there an echo in here, or is it just me?

post #29 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

Battery technology is the gorilla in the mobile room. Technology companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. should be sending a few billion dollars each to research centers like M.I.T. and the like. We need a "Manhattan Project" to advance power technology. Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

 

I agree 100%.

post #30 of 56
I think we're approaching the saturation point for these products. How much more revolutionary can they get? The market is about to split into the quest for premium products, no doubt owned by Apple, and the lowest cost provider, no doubt owned by Samsung. I don't see any features that will set the world on fire suddenly hitting the market for these devices.
post #31 of 56

MmMmmm. There's just something about that camera cover. Oooh...

 

 

 

 

post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

Battery technology is the gorilla in the mobile room. Technology companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. should be sending a few billion dollars each to research centers like M.I.T. and the like. We need a "Manhattan Project" to advance power technology. Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

 

I am sure that is exactly what's happening, they just aren't pooling resources because they can't trust each other. Apple has long since been in the battery design game, implementing new materials, shapes and cell configurations. It's actually a testament to their ingenuity that the match or improve their battery life with every phone update since they steadily create more demanding hardware... The iPhone 5 in particular because of the screen size and LTE, big time power drains.

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post #33 of 56

This can be a nice mid-range phone, if priced accordingly. Still, the Nexus 4 looks better because of the software and better screen and design.

I hope Samsung have the decency to price it lower than the Nexus, so they don't end up just selling for the millions of ignorants and retards of this world.

 

If they have a screen that only has a place on a 200 dollar phone, a build construction and design that pales to the xperia J, "extra" software and skin that brings android closer to froyo, why try to fool people instead of pricing it accordingly? 250, no contract and they can still have a healthy profit to pay for the xerox printers and lawyers.

post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

MmMmmm. There's just something about that camera cover. Oooh...






Good one. The Edsel is a bit more yonic, and therefore more attractive. I hope this doesn't give Samsung any ideas.
post #35 of 56

For me concerning the HTC One and Samsung S3/S4, I don't understand the "Omgz Aluminum & Polycarbonate" debate. My iPhone spends 99% of its time in a case, to the uneducated the thing could be made of plastic lol. I guess if you didn't use a case I could see the issue though.....I just can't imagine not using a case to protect my phone.

post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

Battery technology is the gorilla in the mobile room. Technology companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. should be sending a few billion dollars each to research centers like M.I.T. and the like. We need a "Manhattan Project" to advance power technology. Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

 

I agree! It is amazing how smartphone technology is pushing forward but battery technology doesn't seem to be.

post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

 

I think a lot of us would agree with you.

 

In the past, the limiting factors have been more along the lines of affordable processors, memory, displays, and wireless connections.  The next big leap could very well be in power storage.

 

It would be especially necessary if someone really wants to do a smartwatch that people are expected to wear day and night.

post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

 

Unfortunately, 'advanced users' are a minority.

 

Why spend time 'customising your widgets' when you could be with your girlfriend, wife, or friend-with-benefits?

 

1wink.gif

 

'Advanced users' generally lack any of those things...

post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

Battery technology is the gorilla in the mobile room. Technology companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. should be sending a few billion dollars each to research centers like M.I.T. and the like. We need a "Manhattan Project" to advance power technology. Think of the explosion of innovation if powering a device were a trivial thing. As it is everything is limited by how big the battery is and how long it will last.

Battery technology is a problem, however there is an inherent danger with packing more battery storage into a smaller space, and no one wants to be liable for it. By design, batteries are designed to store an incredible amount of energy, that's great,as long as the energy input and output can be controlled.  And I don't mean controlled so that it works perfectly 99.99% of the time, but 100% of the time, in hot and cold weather, when it gets a little wet, when it gets dropped etc.  Batteries in these devices need to be self contained, and resistant to everything we can imagine.  We can store more energy in them, but it just makes catastrophic failure more likely.  After the disaster of sony's batteries a few years ago, everyone is a bit afraid of really innovating in that market.  Currently, a phone's battery is small enough (in capacity) that it's not likely to kill someone if it fails catastrophically.  However, if the battery held 10x the energy, it could do some serious damage to people, plus in the hands of terrorists...

 

It would be awesome to see a phone pack twice as much energy in a battery, but unless they can make them significantly safer than today's batteries, I don't think I'd want to risk it, nor would many companies want to take on the liability nightmare.

 

phil

post #40 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

AI, come on the headline is silly. 'Samsung' and 'revolutionary' in the same sentence? Seriously?

I think the keyword here is 'not', right between them.
Android seems to be an illiterate product, as they only have numbers to show for.
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Android seems to be an illiterate product, as they only have numbers to show for.
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