The Samsung Galaxy S4 Review – By Tom
This phone features one of the best looking screens that I’ve ever seen in a mobile device. This is a full 1080p and the pixels in the screen are so close and tiny that when you look at it the image you could swear that you’re not looking at a screen. And the colors just pop right out at you, they’re vivid bright colors. And the screen adjusts itself to current light conditions like nothing I’ve ever seen. Text is crisp, like you’re reading text on paper. It really is a breath taking experience to see this phone’s screen.
The battery life is superb. I can honestly say that this may be the smart phone that I can have charged in the morning and be able to go the entire day without even looking at the charger to give it a fill-up. In years past, smart phones have been battery hogs but it seems that things have changed with the Galaxy S4. The battery life in this phone may very well be a smart phone miracle.
Samsung touted the camera in this phone as being able to take a picture and have it look so good that you’d swear it wasn’t taken by a smart phone. After taking a picture and seeing what this camera can do, I’d have to agree with that statement.
Visibility in Daylight
One of the biggest issues that some people have with smartphones in general is that most if not all are useless in daylight. That’s true of a lot of them but the Galaxy S4 may very well be the first smart phone that can easily be used in daylight.
Yes, it’s plastic. I know that a lot of people complain about the fact that the phone is made out of nearly all plastic except for the screen and because of that it’s not “premium” enough. Honestly, the people who are saying this kind of stuff simply haven’t seen, held, touched, and overall experienced this phone like I have. If you were to take this phone and hold it in your hand and actually use this phone, then your idea of this phone not being “premium” enough is going to go right out the window. This is a premium phone in every way I can imagine. To hold and use this phone is a glorious experience.
This is thin, real thin. I’m serious, this is a few millimeters thinner than even the thinnest phone out there; the iPhone 5. Though, sometimes I do think it may be a bit too small. Admittedly, I do like devices that have a bit of bulk to the device simply because it gives the idea that you are actually holding something in your hand. This phone is so feather light that it sometimes feels like you have nothing in your hand. Am I complaining? No, I don’t think so. All I’m saying is that the phone is very small but could use a bit more bulk to make it feel like you are holding something in your hand but I guess that I’ll get that feeling when I get my case for the phone.
I do have to admit, Samsung really piled on the bloatware on this phone. Luckily with recent Android versions you can disable these apps using the Manage Apps screen. So far, I’ve disabled over ten different apps all without reducing too much of the usefulness of the phone.
Here’s a list of apps that you can safely disable. And by disable, I mean you can do this without root.
- Swype (I personally don’t like it and have never been a fan of Swype, I use SwiftKey instead)
- Story Album
- Story Album Widget
- Samsung Link
- Mobile TV
- AT&T Navigator
- AT&T Locker
- AT&T FamilyMap
- AT&T Messages
- AT&T DriveMode (Seriously, do we really need an app for this? Just put the damn phone in your pocket when you’re drive and LEAVE IT THERE!)
This phone is fast, wicked fast. Enough said.
The phone comes with 2 GBs of LPDDR3 RAM. What’s that mean? It’s Low Power DDR3 RAM, the same kind of RAM that today’s high-end desktops use because DDR3 provides a lot of bandwidth to push a lot of data. 300 MB of RAM seems to be reserved by the system so in the end you get to play with 1.7 GB of RAM for your apps to run in. What does this mean to the everyday user? This means smooth multitasking with little to no glitches, just what you’d expect from a high-end flagship phone.
I have the 16 GB model of the phone. With about 800 MB of my apps and associated app data loaded I still have 8.07 GBs of the internal storage space available. Not bad if you ask me. I do have a 32 GB MicroSD card in it though, that’s where media like music, pictures, and other things will live in the phone.
The User Interface (TouchWiz)
As a person who’s seen and used AOSP-based ROMs such as AOKP and CyanogenMOD, having TouchWiz is a welcome sight to me. To those who actually like AOSP-based ROMs, no offense but AOSP is rather bland; there’s nothing to it, stripped of features, and as barebones as you can get. I know that those people like it that way but for me, when I have to add app after app just to get some of the more basic features that traditional devices that have add-ons like TouchWiz have, I don’t see what’s so great about AOSP. Those ROMs that do add something to AOSP such as AOKP and CyanogenMOD are a welcome thing but some of the features that they do add are either still bland, buggy as all get out, don’t work the way you expect them to, or still missing a lot of features. TouchWiz brings a lot to the table for this phone. It really does add a lot to the user experience of Android and smooth’s out some of Android’s rough edges and adds some good value-added features. Does this mean that TouchWiz is for everyone? No, I’m just saying that for me TouchWiz is great for a person like me that was annoyed with issues that AOSP-based ROMs had.
No Need for Tweaks
This phone simply works. There I said it, it simply works. I don’t need to worry about tweaking this, that, and the other thing; it simply works. As a person who’s coming from an AOSP-based ROM on a Galaxy Nexus and had to fight with his device to make it run right, this phone is a welcome device for me. I know, the Nexus series of phones are for developers but the thing is, I’m not a developer; I don’t know all of the things that go on inside of Android and for some reasons, I don’t care to. I simply want my device to work and work well. Is that so much to ask for? The Galaxy S4 delivers just that, a device that simply works and works well. I’m happy.
Added Software Features
Some of the things that Samsung included like AirView, AirGestures, and whatnot are things that quite simply are things that are neat but may not work with all apps. Myself, I use Dolphin Browser HD as my browser on Android and those AirGestures don’t work with it. Am I disappointed? No, I didn’t at all expect those gestures to work with third-party apps. Do I wish that those third-party apps start working with those gestures? Yes.
The Galaxy S4 definitely lives up to the standards set forth by Samsung for the Galaxy S series of phones. It truly is a step in the right direction. For owners of the Galaxy S3, it may not be enough of an upgrade but for a person who’s had an older phone this phone is a major upgrade in features and hardware. Overall, this device is a great device. It’s sleek, beautiful, and dare I say… sexy. This is the phone that Apple should be very afraid of.