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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 64
    jusephejusephe Posts: 108member
    Only thing I have to do before I believed iPhone 5 is a revolution is lift that thing out of the box....
  • Reply 4 of 64
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    So how is iPhone 5 so revolutionary? I am laugh my ass off. iPhone & iPad will be fading away slowly. You think that other competitors can't be revolutionary? You never know. Apple can't be growing more without Steve.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,796member


    Pretty sure it will accept a 64GB SD card and is not limited to 32GB. Possibly might even accept a 128GB card bit those are still quite expensive. I am now wowed by the S4 and agree it is a relatively minor update and also includes a lot of gimmicky crapware apps. Samsung phone are very easy to root though so no problem getting a much leaner and faster rom installed.


     


    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 side by side comparisons the S4 does appear to have a better camera which is important for me. 


     


    I will definitely wait and see what Apple has in store before I make any decision. I had the 4S for about a year then traded it for a iPhone 5 from a friend that had an upgrade due but wasn't interested in using it. There is a lot I absolutely love about the iPhone but I simply cannot get around my discontent at what I consider to be a far too small display. I have fallen in love with the display of my best friend's HTC Droid DNA and I really don't think I can stand to use a smallish 4" screen for 20 more months. But I will at least wait and see what the 5S or 6 offers before I decide and by then there should also be better choices for Android if I decide to go that route. The great thing about phones is that it is very easy to switch back and forth between Android and iOS since all the apps I use are available for both platforms.  

  • Reply 7 of 64
    froodfrood Posts: 771member


    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.

  • Reply 8 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    edwardryu wrote: »
    So how is iPhone 5 so revolutionary? I am laugh my ass off. iPhone & iPad will be fading away slowly. You think that other competitors can't be revolutionary? You never know. Apple can't be growing more without Steve.

    • LTE data usage as power efficient as 3G data usage.

    • Thinnest smartphone

    • Remarkably high quality construction for a mass produced product

    • Huge jump in Apple's A-chip design over previous years

    • In-cell display tech

    • Future-forward connector

    • Nearly matching the GPU performance of the iPad 3 released just 6 months earlier yet still having less cores and power needs

    It's hard to imagine how anyone can't see these changes aren't dramatic. In fact, the differences between the 4S and 5 are most dramatic of internal and external changes the iPhone has ever seen YoY.
  • Reply 9 of 64
    tribalogicaltribalogical Posts: 1,181member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by edwardryu View Post



    So how is iPhone 5 so revolutionary? I am laugh my ass off. iPhone & iPad will be fading away slowly. You think that other competitors can't be revolutionary? You never know. Apple can't be growing more without Steve.


     


     


    A cynical troll to boot...


     


    Apple is growing, and doing it without Steve (record breaking revenues every single quarter since SJ passed). 


     


    Projections like "iPhone and iPad will be fading away slowly" are just Samsung paid-PR mutterings that have no real substance or validity, and especially not here.


     


    I'm impressed with HTC's attempts at being "revolutionary". Unfortunately for them, they're competing on Android, and with the cheap-phone mentality of that market. They can only compete marginally with iPhone (it's comparing Apples to Oranges comparing iOS to Android, no pun intended), and can't really expect a spendthrift android consumer base to spend iPhone-like $ on an Android phone. It's just not wired into the DNA yet...


     


    Sure, competitors CAN be revolutionary. We await their challenge. Until then, Apple IS being "revolutionary" (really, what DOES that mean to you?), or something… yeah, well they make a great desktop computer (the iMac), iPad and iPhone, all of which I use, love, and probably wouldn't switch from unless something SERIOUSLY compelling came along. Not likely so long as Apple is head and shoulders above the rest already...


     


    Besides, why would I EVER go back to using Windows and the mobile phone equivalent, Android? 

  • Reply 10 of 64

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by edwardryu View Post



    So how is iPhone 5 so revolutionary? I am laugh my ass off. iPhone & iPad will be fading away slowly. You think that other competitors can't be revolutionary? You never know. Apple can't be growing more without Steve.


    You are laugh your ass off?  LOL okay dude.


     


    "All your base are belong to us"

  • Reply 11 of 64
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member


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


     


    foiled again :(

  • Reply 12 of 64
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    I see damage control has arrived.


     


     


  • Reply 13 of 64
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    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?

  • Reply 14 of 64
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member


    Samsung is Doomed!


     



     


     

  • Reply 15 of 64
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    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.

  • Reply 16 of 64
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    Gruber links to David Pierce's [I]The Verge[/I] 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.[/QUOTE]

    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.
  • Reply 17 of 64

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    • LTE data usage as power efficient as 3G data usage.




    So plugging in the latest Qualcomm chipset is the #1 thing Apple counts as innovation these days? I'm sure that without Apple around, HTC, Samsung, Moto, et al. would just ignore the latest improvements in radio technology that their suppliers come up with, because... ???


     


    • Thinnest smartphone


     


    Actually it wasn't; at the iPhone 5's launch, the OPPO Finder was thinner.


     



     


     


    Not that anyone cared about that phone, of course. Still, I'm sure that without Apple, no one would think to make thinner phones. Certainly no one worked toward that end way back in the RAZR days.




    • Remarkably high quality construction for a mass produced product


     


    Just like HTC's been doing for years.

     


    • Huge jump in Apple's A-chip design over previous years


     


    Just like the huge jumps in Snapdragon, Tegra, etc. designs over the years.

     


    • In-cell display tech


     


    How many end users do you suppose even know what this means?

     


    • Future-forward connector


     


    Benefit for the end user: Loss of compatibility with older iOS accessories, and continued incompatibility with Micro-USB accessibilities that the rest of the world use.


     


    I dare you to find many average end users who would be excited about something like this, or even see it as a positive.


     


    • Nearly matching the GPU performance of the iPad 3 released just 6 months earlier yet still having less cores and power needs


     


    The sort of "specs" based advantage that iOS fans are always scoffing at when people bring them up for Android devices.


     


    Really, that list kind of speaks for itself.

  • Reply 18 of 64
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    The sort of "specs" based advantage that iOS fans are always scoffing at when people bring them up for Android devices.

    Really, that list kind of speaks for itself.

    The fact that you had to jump around to numerous various companies to compare what a single company achieved also speaks volumes...
  • Reply 19 of 64
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    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:
  • Reply 20 of 64
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    ascii wrote: »
    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.
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