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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: The Manly Somebody Monarch Is Dorsum


 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that grows up and, 3 years later, positions itself to convey over the world. The device inwards question, the newest add-on to that lineup, doesn't truly demand much of an introduction thank y'all to some of the most successful marketing campaigns inwards the world. We'll live happy to give it anyway: pictured atop this real text sits the Samsung Milky Way southward 4, the latest as well as greatest flagship out of Korea. This is the hero, the device chosen to Pb the accuse for Samsung equally it ventures deeper into 2013, as well as it's fitted with the best of everything: a 1080p Super AMOLED display, 1.9GHz quad-core (or 1.6GHz Exynos 5 Octa 5410, depending on market) chipset, Android 4.2, 13MP photographic goggle box camera as well as a broad assortment of brand-new firmware amenities, to holler just a few.
Despite the fact that its predecessor sold millions upon millions of units inwards the past times year, the Milky Way southward 4 isn't solitary inwards its quest for global Android domination this time. HTC, the underdog of the fight, has launched the One, a flagship that rivals the GS4 inwards almost every way as well as does so inwards a physically attractive bundle consummate with a solid aluminum build. Where do these ii devices stand upwards inwards comparing to each other? Does the GS4 reign supreme? Will its onset of novel software features transportation the telephone to the transcend of the pack? These answers as well as to a greater extent than await y'all after the break.


Samsung Milky Way southward 4 review

HARDWARE

If your foremost impression of the Milky Way southward 4 was similar ours, we're guessing y'all had a hard time differentiating it from lastly year's flagship model. Take a closer look, however, as well as it becomes to a greater extent than apparent that Samsung's pattern squad didn't truly job the past times twelvemonth to grab upwards on the slumber it lost crafting the GS3. The telephone maker kept to the same overall style, but it made a few crucial tweaks along the way to improve its fit as well as finish.

Samsung's selection of build cloth wasn't i of them. If y'all were a critic of the GS3's plastic construction, you'll live disappointed with its successor -- the company's continuing its long-standing tradition of keeping metallic out of the assembly lines, edifice the frame, dorsum embrace as well as faux-chrome edges with polycarbonate. It's similar -- though lower-grade as well as non machined -- to the type of plastic you'd savor on flagships similar the Nokia Lumia 920 or fifty-fifty the HTC One X+, so it's zip out of the ordinary for Samsung. The biggest do goodness inwards using this type of cloth is that it offers a piffling to a greater extent than give when y'all driblet the phone. It's soundless plenty sturdy, as well as it feels similar it's just equally durable equally the GS3 or Galaxy Note II. This may live ideal for a large number of potential buyers, but nosotros soundless prefer the HTC One's premium build character as well as visual appeal, thank y'all to its job of high-grade aluminum through its entire unibody chassis.
The GS4 uses polycarbonate as well as is pretty sturdy, but the HTC One soundless has a to a greater extent than premium build character as well as visual appeal.
One of the subtlest tweaks to the pattern inwards the GS4 may also live i of the most effective: the Gorilla Glass 3rests just a pilus below the border of the screen. This tiny displace makes the covert a tad less vulnerable than the GS3, which features drinking glass that sits slightly higher upwards the edge. This won't guarantee your screen's security when y'all driblet your phone, but it at to the lowest degree increases the likelihood of it surviving an touching at an angle.
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Another pattern shift is inwards Samsung's selection of decor. At launch, the GS4 volition live offered inwards Frost White as well as Black Mist, as well as both colors characteristic a cross-stitching pattern across the front end as well as back. This trend is sufficiently subtle on our white review unit of measurement as well as adds a piffling extra personality to an otherwise evidently as well as glossy device. It stands out to a greater extent than on the dark model, however, to the dot where it's a fleck of an eyesore. When it comes to comparing the darker-hued versions, nosotros much prefer the brushed-metal facial expression on the bluish GS3. (In total disclosure, we've spent far to a greater extent than fourth dimension with the white unit, so our views of the dark version are based on foremost impressions nosotros had prior to our review.)

Although it technically has a larger display than its 4.8-inch predecessor, the 5-inch GS4 is truly narrower (69.8mm wide, versus 70.6mm on the GS3) because it alone adds vertical covert infinite as well as has skinnier bezels on each side. The GS4 loses most of the well-polished curves prominently featured inwards the past-gen flagship, equally it's designed with broader corners as well as a filled-out back, both of which are signs that Samsung has veered away from its "inspired past times nature" mantra. Fortunately, this way nosotros finally acquire to tell goodbye to the pebble facial expression as well as feel: the edges are straighter from transcend to bottom, giving our fingers to a greater extent than surface to grasp onto, as well as the dorsum embrace fits apartment on the faux-chrome border instead of curving around it similar waves of the ocean. The entire surface is soundless slick as well as glossy, but fifty-fifty so, it's soundless easier to wrap your hands around this device. Measuring 7.9mm (0.31 inch) thick, the Milky Way southward 4 is 0.7mm (0.027 inch) thinner than its older sibling. It's also a mere 3 grams (0.11 ounce) lighter. All that said, the deviation betwixt the ii devices isn't noticeable unless you're closely inspecting the pair side past times side.
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Whereas the dwelling push was almost completely even out with the ease of the trunk on the GS3, the southward 4's is raised a fair amount. On i hand, physical buttons are much easier to press this way; on the other, it stands out higher upwards the ease of the covert so much that our fingers grab on it equally nosotros swipe downwardly on the display. It's an aspect of the telephone nosotros tin give the sack acquire used to, although it's unfortunate that its placement interrupts the pattern flow. As for the ease of the front end side, the carte du jour as well as dorsum keys flank the dwelling push on the left as well as right, respectively, which is completely reverse of the layout used on a large number of OEM Android devices. Along the transcend of the screen, you'll run across the 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, earpiece grille as well as an assortment of sensors.

Flip the telephone over as well as you're presented with a slightly raised photographic goggle box camera module on the transcend with an LED flash just below, as well as a pair of slits over the mono speaker sitting close the bottom; the plastic betwixt them is raised to foreclose sound from existence muffled when the telephone is lying face-up. The obligatory logos are hither equally well: "Galaxy southward 4," located just higher upwards the speakers inwards traditional fashion, as well as the carrier logo (T-Mobile inwards this case) underneath the flash.
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Samsung prefers to create the dorsum embrace removable, pregnant y'all have got piece of cake access to the 2,600mAh battery (which doubles equally the NFC antenna), along with the microSDXC as well as micro-SIM slots -- equally good equally contacts for inductive charging -- just higher upwards it. We facial expression to hear to a greater extent than virtually the phone's wireless charging options from Samsung eventually, but all nosotros know for at nowadays is that the companionship plans to sell an optional dorsum embrace with this capability built-in. (Given Verizon's involvement inwards Qi, nosotros won't live surprised if its version of the GS4 launches with the option.)

Going around the faux-chrome edges, you'll divulge the volume rocker on the left, mightiness push on the right, micro-USB / MHL 2.0 connection port on the bottom as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack, mic as well as infrared transceiver on the top. It's refreshing to run across infrared resurging inwards popularity, equally we're at nowadays seeing it inwards several flagship devices, though it's used inwards a completely different way at nowadays than inwards the days of the Palm Treo and other IrDA-clad devices. Which is to say, the primary argue for the tech used to live focused on information transfers as well as "beaming," as well as at nowadays it's just offered equally a universal remote.
Samsung Milky Way southward 4
Dimensions136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm (5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches)
Weight4.59 oz. (130g)
Screen size5.0 inches
Screen resolution1,920 x 1,080 (441 ppi)
Screen typeFull hard disk drive Super AMOLED
Battery2,600mAh Li-Polymer (removable)
Internal storage16 or 32GB
External storageMicroSDXC (up to 64GB)
Rear camera13MP, BIS
Front-facing cam2.0MP, BIS
Video capture1080p / xxx fps (rear); 1080p (front)
NFCYes
RadiosVaries past times part as well as operator
Bluetoothv4.0 LE
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 600
CPU1.9GHz quad-core
GPUAdreno 320
RAM2GB
EntertainmentMHL 2.0, IR transceiver, DLNA, WiFi Direct
WiFiDual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac,
Wireless ChargingNo
Operating systemAndroid 4.2.2 (TouchWiz)

DISPLAY

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
In the lastly ii months, Sony and HTC have got both released flagship phones, each with a spec sheet-topping 1080p display. Although both looked bully on their own, the HTC One bested the Xperia Z inwards nearly every possible way. But at nowadays that Samsung is finally tossing its lid into the ring, volition its 5-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED covert transcend the LCD used on its bitter rival?

In short, the ii are incredibly close, as well as you'd in all likelihood live happy with either one. But let's dive into to a greater extent than particular virtually how they differ. AMOLED panels are by as well as large to a greater extent than saturated inwards color than their LCD counterparts, but nosotros were a piffling surprised to run across the bird of color toned downwardly from the GS3; so much, inwards fact, that most images nosotros viewed matched the natural color reproduction nosotros enjoyed on the One. The blacks were soundless darker on the GS4, piece the whites were brighter -- as well as viewing angles improve -- on the One. Blues looked the best on the GS4, but the reds were a piffling too saturated for our taste. Yes, the public of 1080p smartphone displays is a nitpicker's heaven, but unless y'all have got an aversion to AMOLED panels, you'll live amazingly happy with the crisp text as well as vibrant visuals. Lastly, to create sure nosotros avoid whatsoever confusion, it is indeed a clear improvement over the 720p display on the GS3.
The novel Synaptics ClearPad inwards the GS4 is capable of detecting your finger from 2cm away.
Additionally, the GS4 uses an advanced capacitive touchscreen powered bySynaptics, also known equally ClearPad. This particular covert features a novel tech dubbed "3D-Touch" which gives the telephone the mightiness to notice your finger from upwards to 2cm away. Not alone does this arrive possible to job Air View without an southward Pen, it also allows cold-weather folk to touching the covert piece wearing gloves if you've activated the "extra sensitivity mode" inwards the settings. (In instance you're wondering, an southward Pen won't piece of work on the GS4 due to the lack of Wacom digitizer, but we're told that the C-Pen as well as other capacitive styli should component perfectly fine.)

SOFTWARE

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Despite the fact that Android received nary a holler inwards Samsung's GS4 launch event last month, the device is truly i of the foremost smartphones (outside the Nexus 4, of course) to run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the most recent version of Google's mobile OS. Considering it was introduced nearly vi months ago, this is a pretty huge bargain -- non to holler yet some other scathing reminder of the lengthy waiting catamenia Android fans suffer betwixt updates.
The GS4 runs Android 4.2, which is soundless rarely used inwards create novel devices.
Since the GS4 uses Android 4.2, it offers many of the same additions introduced with the refresh -- but non all. One characteristic that didn't create the cutting is Photo Sphere, a clever photographic goggle box camera choice which lets y'all stitch together panorama photos aligned both horizontally as well as vertically. You also can't job the stock Android keyboard, though Samsung's collaboration with SwiftKey is definitely an acceptable alternative. What y'all tin give the sack do, however, is convey payoff of expanded Google Now features, job the Daydream covert saver as well as trace downwardly the notification bar with ii fingers to access the quick settings notification bar. (In fact, Samsung's TouchWiz version boasts fifty-fifty to a greater extent than toggles to select from inwards this menu, as well as y'all tin give the sack customize the social club inwards which they appear.) Lock covert widgets volition also live at your disposal every fourth dimension y'all wake your telephone upwards -- as well as Samsung has fifty-fifty developed a few of its own, such equally widgets for WatchON, Samsung Music as well as a customizable grid of your favorite apps.

Samsung Milky Way southward 4 screenshots

As is the mantra of every Milky Way device, the GS4 uses Samsung's TouchWiz pare atop nearly every possible aspect of the firmware. And whether y'all dearest the proprietary UI or not, its overall layout is nearly identical to what you'll divulge on the GS3. You tin give the sack soundless job upwards to 7 dwelling pages, as well as you're treated to the same app menu, options as well as gestures. Even the criterion notification bar looks just alike. Samsung is a fan of consistency, as well as many TouchWiz enthusiasts volition appreciate the minimal learning bend required to create the boundary to this device. Simply put: if y'all enjoyed the firmware on the GS3, your experience with its successor volition live just equally rapturous, if non to a greater extent than so. If you're hoping to run custom ROMs inwards house of TouchWiz, y'all may have got to hold back for a piffling piece since Samsung has confirmed to us that the bootloader is locked.

NEW FEATURES

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
With some other flagship Milky Way device comes yet some other moving ridge of brand-new software gimmicks perks. This shouldn't stun anyone who's already familiar with Samsung; the company's been cranking out onslaughts of novel gesture- as well as motion-based features -- with a multifariousness of other apps as well as services -- with each novel version. Some are useful, but fifty-fifty to a greater extent than are just political party tricks that seem to live designed for their wow factor.

The characteristic that has arguably received the most attending is Smart Scroll. The front-facing photographic goggle box camera detects your eyes as well as and then tracks the motion of your head, inwards much the same way equally most other Smart features. If y'all argument your caput down, the page you're looking at scrolls down; argument your caput upwards as well as the covert scrolls upwards equally well. It's a bully idea, inwards theory, but nosotros ultimately found it frustrating for several reasons. First, it alone industrial plant inwards specific apps. For instance, the stock cyberspace browser supports it, but Chrome does not, as well as nosotros couldn't scroll through Samsung's menus using this method, either. (There's no give-and-take on whether this characteristic volition live incorporated into an SDK eventually for third-party developers, but we're optimistic virtually it.)
Smart Scroll is a fun thought inwards theory, but our cervix got tired to a greater extent than rapidly than our fingers when doing the same task.
Second, it won't piece of work inwards a dimly lit surface area since it has to pick upwards your eyes. Third, your human face upwards can't live too unopen or too far away -- you'll acquire the best results from betwixt ii as well as 3 feet away. We also grew rapidly tired of bobbing our caput upwards as well as downwardly to do an activity nosotros tin give the sack easily do with a flick of a finger. Lastly, it doesn't ever piece of work equally promised. In some cases, tilting your caput upwards offers no results, regardless of how smooth or jerky your facial movements are. Other times, the covert scrolls downwardly fifty-fifty when your human face upwards is out of the camera's line of sight. On several occasions, even, the covert just stopped scrolling mid-page, despite the fact that nosotros hadn't moved or blinked. (In total disclosure, nosotros have got alone reviewed the T-Mobile model, so it's possible that the experience may vary on the unbranded GS4. We volition update this review if nosotros divulge differing experiences with other models.)
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Right upwards at that topographic point amongst the highly touted GS4 services is a characteristic called Group Play, a P2P networking tool that expands on the features introduced inwards Group Cast lastly year. In this mode, your telephone establishes an ad-hoc WiFi hotspot. When i or to a greater extent than GS4 devices are inside range, all of them tin give the sack live connected to each other, giving them the mightiness to portion music, photos, docs as well as fifty-fifty games with each other. While sharing photos as well as docs inwards this fashion are par for the course, Group Play adds some interesting twists to the music as well as games arena. Instead of just sharing the vocal with a friend, this characteristic lets each telephone deed equally a different surround sound speaker, with the master copy unit of measurement inwards accuse of which songs to play. For games, the characteristic gives y'all as well as a friend the risk to go head-to-head against each other, though this isn't anything nosotros haven't seen already.
Since GS4 units are a fleck of a rarity these days, nosotros didn't acquire to examine this particular characteristic much aside from a few minutes when nosotros foremost received our device at a press briefing. During that experience, everything functioned just equally advertised as well as nosotros had no problem sharing music. Given that y'all in all likelihood won't have got a lot of friends picking upwards GS4 units correct away, Group Play is a hard characteristic to recommend; in i trial the alluvion of excited consumers start pouring inwards -- non to holler devices similar the Note III that seem similar locks to have the service when it launches -- it volition go infinitely to a greater extent than functional. Until that happens, however, it's no improve than vaporware.
The adjacent "smart" characteristic Samsung boasts on the GS4 is Smart Pause. The telephone pauses the video or motion painting you're watching whatsoever fourth dimension your eyes facial expression away from the screen. This is some other characteristic that doesn't appear to live universal: it worked good inwards the pre-loaded YouTube as well as Samsung Video apps, but it didn't register inwards Play Movies as well as third-party players downloaded from the Play Store. This characteristic performed fine inwards regular light, but if y'all desire to (or have got to) scout a full-length motion painting inwards the night -- y'all know, the preferred setting for watching movies -- it's in all likelihood non going to piece of work out so well. Of course, nosotros aren't smitten past times the thought of having the video halt anytime nosotros unopen our eyes or briefly convey our gaze away from the screen, so it's prissy that the characteristic is turned off past times default.
Lastly, an app called southward Translator could live the most useful of the bunch. Speak a phrase inwards i linguistic communication as well as the telephone is able to interpret it and rattle off the translated phrase inwards a completely different language. If the app is having problem agreement what you're saying, y'all tin give the sack select to type it inwards text to acquire the same outcome. If that doesn't piece of work either, the computer program has a large library of preset phrases already stored. Pick the category you're interested inwards -- say, y'all demand to acquire to the airdrome -- as well as the app tin give the sack learn y'all how to enquire for a taxi (or y'all tin give the sack just have got it do the quest for you, if you're lazy that's your preferred style). Have a specific query or phrase y'all enquire a lot throughout your travels? Why go through the problem of learning it when y'all tin give the sack just favorite it for quick access later?

OTHER NOTABLE FEATURES

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
We're non done yet: at that topographic point are soundless a few to a greater extent than special features worth highlighting. IR appears to live making a huge comeback, as well as the included transmitter found inwards the transcend of the GS4 transforms the smartphone into a remote control. The HTC One and LG Optimus G Pro do the same thing, as well as just similar the former, Samsung is partnering with Peel -- non a huge surprise, equally the ii companies have got teamed upwards earlier on products similar the Galaxy Tab 7.7. The app they've created is WatchON, which acts equally a universal remote, amusement guide as well as Netflix portal all wrapped upwards into one. Those lastly ii features volition vary inwards usefulness depending on cable provider as well as equipment (hint: Netflix doesn't seem to do much practiced if y'all don't have got Google TV). We were able to job the remote component to connect to multiple amusement systems without our fingers breaking into a sweat; inwards fact, nosotros got a household unit of measurement member's organisation fix as well as working faster than it would've taken us to figure out their ain mess of remotes.
Safety Assistance may live i of the cleverest features on the GS4, but the United States of America of America models won't offering it.
We'll create brief holler of the adjacent characteristic purely on line of piece of work organisation human relationship of its cleverness, despite the fact that it won't live available inwards whatsoever United States of America of America models at launch (meaning, nosotros couldn't examine it). The app we're referring to is called Safety Assistance, a tool that y'all tin give the sack recess out if y'all divulge yourself inwards an emergency as well as demand to broadcast your whereabouts (without using GPS, of course). Activating the service, which is done past times belongings downwardly volume upwards as well as downwardly for 3 seconds, volition prompt the telephone to convey a painting from both cameras as well as automatically transportation them to a pre-determined contact. This volition allow that someone to run across just where you're at. Hopefully it'll never have got to live used, but something similar this should live included on a large number of phones.
The Milky Way southward 4 has some other unique capability that we've yet to run across elsewhere: compatibility with Mobeam. Never heard of it? No sweat. The startup makes it possible for whatsoever criterion bar code scanner -- grocery stores are the most pop examples, but this could extend to whatsoever scenario -- to scan digital coupons stored on your smartphone. How is this done? It utilizes the proximity sensor built into the handset to bounce low-cal into the scanner, mimicking the pattern of your coupon inwards the process. It's quite possible that we'll laid out seeing this capability exhibit upwards inwards to a greater extent than novel devices (legacy phones can't live programmed with this feature), but the GS4 is the foremost to offering this particular functionality.
Finally, the GS4 includes a pair of features called Adapt Display as well as Adapt Sound which component just equally the names imply: Display is a fancy auto brightness tool that figures out what you're viewing, equally good equally the environs you're in, as well as adjusts the covert brightness to fit your needs. Naturally, Adapt Sound is the sound equivalent of this characteristic as well as is capable of adjusting your music or audiobook volume equally y'all alter songs or videos, making the sound consistently optimized to your preferences.

LOOK MA, NO southward PEN!

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
One of the unique aspects of Samsung's Milky Way Note serial is the southward Pen, a stylus-like device that gives y'all novel ways to interact with the screen. Thanks to the GS4's ultra-sensitive display, however, southward Pen features are commencement to trickle downwardly to to a greater extent than devices without truly needing to job the pen at all. The best instance of this is Air View, which does many of the same things already accomplished on the Note 2, but with your finger acting equally the southward Pen. Hold i of your digits higher upwards the calendar to acquire a pop-up covert of the day's appointments, higher upwards your emails to run across the foremost few lines of text (Gmail non included, sadly), higher upwards the browser to create the text larger as well as higher upwards the progress bar when watching movies to preview a scene.

Samsung's been adding fancy gesture- as well as motion-based tricks to its flagships for several years now, thank y'all to the large array of sensors made available to Android devices. In the instance of the GS4, the companionship has incorporated a laid of features called Air Gesture. We foremost saw a glimpse of this inwards the Note 2 with Quick Glance, but it's been greatly expanded this fourth dimension around. Air Jump lets y'all do page-up as well as page-down scrolls past times waving your manus upwards or down, piece Air Browse volition switch y'all from i browser tab to some other when y'all moving ridge your manus from side to side. And Air Move helps y'all relocate icons (namely, apps as well as calendar appointments) to other pages past times belongings them with i finger as well as waving your gratis manus left or right.

Finally, i lastly characteristic that's gained popularity inwards the Note serial is Multi Window, as well as it's fully functional inwards the GS4. Press as well as agree the dorsum push as well as a tab volition magically appear. Tap on it to behold a sidebar of apps that back upwards the feature. Since third-party developers have got been doing an amazing chore of hopping on board, plenty of applications are already compatible.

CAMERA

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Samsung has been mass-producing 8-megapixel photographic goggle box camera modules for its flagships ever since the Galaxy southward 2, so it almost comes equally a daze that the companionship is ready to force ahead with a 13-megapixel model. As our experience with the HTC One confirmed, megapixel count does non a bully photographic goggle box camera make, but it sure enough can't wound (in theory). And let's human face upwards it: potential buyers are to a greater extent than probable to run across thirteen megapixels equally favorable to Samsung's previous 8MP modules -- especially when y'all compare it to the One's 4MP count, Ultrapixels or not.

Additionally, the GS4 parent photographic goggle box camera lens uses an f/2.2 aperture, 4.235mm focal length as well as a 69-degree angular plain of view; the 1/3.06-inch sensor offers a pixel size of 1.12 microns (compared to 2.0 microns on the One). Its 13MP resolution is laid at an aspect ratio of 4:3, so 16:9 fans volition demand to go downwardly to 9.6 megapixels for a widescreen option. On paper, the specs dot a pretty solid setup for a flagship, but functioning doesn't ever jibe upwards with the specs -- especially at nowadays that we've used the One extensively as well as found it to live a bar-raiser inwards price of its low-light results.

Samsung Milky Way southward 4 photographic goggle box camera samples

Samsung took i stair frontward as well as i stair dorsum with its photographic goggle box camera UI. Mainstream users won't have got whatsoever job adjusting to the interface, a lot of which has been carried over from the Milky Way Camera: it consists of dual shutter buttons (one for stills as well as i for video, just similar HTC's Sense UI), gallery access higher upwards as well as a push underneath that lets y'all select from nine different modes, most of which we'll speak over inwards to a greater extent than particular shortly. Where it regresses from previous phones, however, is inwards the confusing settings menu, which is found on the top-left corner of the viewfinder. Press it in i trial as well as y'all have got a pocket-size listing of shortcut options, equally good equally some other gear icon indicating y'all have got to a greater extent than settings to pick from (you tin give the sack also access this carte du jour a piffling to a greater extent than easily past times hitting the carte du jour telephone commutation from the principal viewfinder).

Some photographic goggle box camera modes also include a downward arrow close the bottom of the viewfinder that features fifty-fifty to a greater extent than options to select from. Since these menus are different with each corresponding mode -- as well as absent inwards some modes altogether -- it may convey some getting used to. Speaking of which, let's dive into the novel features Samsung has cooked upwards for the GS4.

NEW CAMERA MODES

As y'all tin give the sack see, Samsung has built a reputation for offering a broad multifariousness of lavish settings that give y'all an chance to tweak your images inwards a plethora of ways. With the GS4, it's truly expanding its efforts fifty-fifty more, equally several novel photographic goggle box camera modes have got been added to the mix. Many of them are bully for showing off at parties with piffling usefulness elsewhere, but nosotros found ourselves using a few of them on a to a greater extent than regular basis. We'll speak over each i inwards social club of importance.



Dual-shot takes payoff of both cameras on the telephone simultaneously. You at nowadays have got the chance to shoot pictures or videos with the front end as well as parent cameras at the same exact time, effectively creating a picture-in-picture number similar to what we've already seen on the Optimus G Pro, equally good equally many televisions. The smaller frame -- which is the front end photographic goggle box camera persuasion past times default, though y'all tin give the sack switch views easily at whatsoever fourth dimension -- is resizable, tin give the sack live moved to whatsoever component of the viewfinder as well as tin give the sack convey the shape of a box, heart, postage or Wizard of Oz-style floating cloud, amongst others. The GS4 fifty-fifty lets y'all do a split-screen effect, with one-half of the covert showing the front end as well as the other one-half displaying the back. We know it's gimmicky, but it's i of our favorite features as well as nosotros imagine plenty of people volition divulge practiced job for it.

The GS4 also offers what nosotros similar to telephone telephone "photobomb mode," officially known equally Eraser. It takes a serial of images for 5 seconds as well as gives y'all the mightiness to take away whatsoever objects that are moving inwards the background. Sound familiar? That's because it does just the same matter as Scalado Remove -- heck, nosotros wouldn't live the to the lowest degree fleck surprised if Samsung partnered with the companionship to arrive happen. Regardless, this is a useful feature, but at that topographic point are a twosome drawbacks. First, y'all have got to truly live inwards this mode for it to work; if you're inwards the criterion photographic goggle box camera mode as well as a photobomber decides to ruin your kids' alone painting with Goofy at the happiest house on Earth, you're out of luck. Second, it occasionally acts finicky, which way that it doesn't ever pick upwards every moving object.

Samsung Milky Way southward 4 photographic goggle box camera screenshots

Sound as well as Shot is a spiffy characteristic to exhibit off to your friends, but nosotros found no job for it otherwise. In this mode, the telephone takes the painting as well as and then records nine seconds of sound similar a shot next it; then, that recording volition play dorsum whatsoever fourth dimension y'all persuasion the image. The dot of this is to capture memories of the trial equally it unfolds, but nosotros had a hard fourth dimension figuring out many practiced job instance scenarios for it.
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Then there's Drama Shot, which also seems to have got been designed specifically to bedazzle onlookers. It takes a serial of outburst shots -- ideally of a bailiwick that's moving from i side of the viewfinder to the other -- as well as combines them into i image. Think of those old-fashioned "action shots" of sports stars similar Michael Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan going upwards for a slam dunk, as well as you'll acquire the idea. In fact, those frankly are the best job cases for this particular feature.
Most of Samsung's novel photographic goggle box camera modes are fun to job a few times, but offering piffling practical use.
The lastly mode we'll speak over is Animated Photo. With this, the photographic goggle box camera takes a five-second video clip as well as lets y'all create upwards one's hear which parts of the covert to freeze as well as which ones to animate. You tin give the sack select to have got the halt outcome go inwards a frontward or backward loop, or go crazy as well as have got the clip go dorsum as well as forth. In other words, this is your risk to create a truly fancy GIF as well as have got sure sections of the covert frozen inwards time. Something you'd job regularly? Probably not. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 cool characteristic to have? Absolutely. If we're existence honest, nosotros had difficulty making anything facial expression peculiarly artistic, but it's fun to try, at least. Sadly, though, at that topographic point appears to live no way to go dorsum as well as redo your masterpiece after it's been saved.

On transcend of this listing of unique photographic goggle box camera modes, the GS4 also offers HDR, Beauty Face, Best Face, Best Photo, Panorama, Sports as well as Night modes. Most of the scene modes nosotros were accustomed to seeing inwards older Samsung phones are no longer nowadays -- the spill colors, backlight, candlelight, sunset as well as several others are at nowadays incorporated into the camera's auto mode, which way it's smart plenty to select the best scene based on each private situation.

CAMERA PERFORMANCE

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
We've covered Samsung's fancy feast of features advertizement nauseam, but equally whatsoever lensman tin give the sack attest to, those kinds of things don't guarantee high-quality as well as great-looking images. But on the GS4, tin give the sack y'all have got your cake and eat it too? Are its snazzy modes as well as settings compensating for a greater problem, or do they just complement a solid imaging module?
The photographic goggle box camera is real impressive inwards daylight use, but the One soundless wins inwards depression low-cal performance.
Fortunately, it appears to live choice number two, though functioning soundless isn't perfect. Let's acquire the bad out of the way: although Samsung advertises null shutter lag, this alone applies to objects that are already inwards focus. We had difficulty capturing moving objects (children, for instance) without those shots coming out blurry; nosotros didn't experience this quite equally ofttimes on the One.

Samsung Milky Way southward 4 HDR samples

One of the most of import aspects of having a 13MP photographic goggle box camera is the amount of particular it's capable of capturing, as well as the GS4 appears to grab just a piffling to a greater extent than of it than the same images taken past times the One or the GS3. But the extra pixels do their best piece of work when the shots are zoomed in; non alone tin give the sack the GS4 zoom inwards farther than the One as well as GS3, it also allows for to a greater extent than cropping as well as presents to a greater extent than Definition than the other aforementioned devices. Color reproduction is slightly oversaturated; dynamic arrive at is noticeably better; as well as the images aren't equally oversharpened equally the One. When it comes to daylight imagery, Samsung's latest as well as greatest is pretty impressive, as well as bests the HTC One, which has been our favorite shooter on an Android device so far as well as soundless offers superb colors as well as natural light. For examples of low-light performance, we've included galleries of samples from both phones below so y'all tin give the sack compare. 

Samsung Milky Way southward 4 lowlight samples

HTC One lowlight sample shots

There's i missing puzzle piece, however, as well as that's low-light performance. Can Samsung's latest as well as greatest agree a candle to a device that doesn't actually needany candles to pick upwards light? The practiced tidings is that the GS4 is improve inwards this regard than whatsoever Samsung telephone photographic goggle box camera we've seen before, but it soundless can't outdo the One. In fact, HTC's Ultrapixel sensor picks upwards to a greater extent than errant low-cal inwards its criterion setting than the GS4 does inwards dedicated Night mode. That said, nosotros noticed that the GS4 does a improve chore with what piffling amount of low-cal it tin give the sack grab, using its higher resolution to smooth out noise. Lastly, despite the fact that the One has an amazing LED flash, the GS4's is fifty-fifty brighter.

Video is captured at a maximum resolution of 1080p at xxx fps, as well as offers a fleck charge per unit of measurement of 17 Mbps. It's non a terrible camcorder replacement, but there's zip virtually it that truly stands out either. Ultimately, it's just your run-of-the-mill telephone video capture. That said, the mic picked upwards fantabulous sound piece filtering out most of the air current as well as other unwanted noise. The GS4 also has a stabilization characteristic that, much similar y'all would run across inwards post-production software, trims off the outer edges of the viewfinder, so those of y'all with shaky hands (this includes us, too) should consider at to the lowest degree giving it a chance. You'll also live able to play with fast-motion (2, 4 as well as 8x) as well as slow-motion (1/2, 1/4 as well as 1/8) settings for character amusement purposes.
If the endless buffet of fabulous photographic goggle box camera features isn't plenty of an indication, we'll clue y'all in: Samsung's no stranger to imagery extravagance, especially when it comes to producing the actual masterpiece. The exception to this rule, however, is inwards its post-production features. Aside from the green laid of editing tools, Sammy hasn't done much to stand upwards out from the crowd. As a method of changing that, the GS4 comes with a novel app called Story Album, which is a lovechild of a partnership Samsung created with self-publishing outfit Blurb. The service does just what the holler implies; inwards short, y'all bundle a bunch of pictures together, create a photograph album out of them as well as and then job your telephone to social club a physical, professional-style version of that collection -- whether it live inwards hardcover, softcover or journal format. Pick i of 5 layout designs, add together your ain captions as well as select which images y'all desire to include inwards the album. Blurb claims that these photograph books volition live offered inwards upwards to 75 countries, so pricing may vary -- inwards the US, you're looking at a minimum of $9 for a 20-page 5 x 5-inch book. We enjoyed slapping together a bunch of albums, though sadly nosotros haven't had plenty fourth dimension to social club i yet.

PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Generally speaking, flagships characteristic the latest as well as greatest components available at the fourth dimension of their release. As y'all may have got guessed, the Milky Way southward 4 continues that tradition, equally evidenced past times both everyday functioning as well as synthetic benchmarks. This particular smartphone comes inwards ii distinct flavors: i that uses a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset as well as i that debuts Samsung's octa-core Exynos 5 chip clocked at 1.6GHz, the latter of which takes 4 Cortex-A15 processors as well as pairs them upwards with 4 A7s. Despite the fact that the Exynos chip offers LTE compatibility inwards all 20 frequencies, the United States of America of America carriers have got all gone with the Snapdragon model.

As a result, our conclusions on the phone's functioning are based on tests with theSnapdragon 600, which is paired with an Adreno 320 GPU as well as 2GB RAM. This is the same chip the HTC One as well as LG Optimus G Pro use, though the GS4 is clocked at a faster speed than both of them. The CPU features Krait 300 -- a bump from the S4 Pro's Krait 200, which results inwards a xv per centum improvement inwards instructions per clock (IPC) as well as a "speed-enhanced" Adreno 320 GPU. The 600 is also built using a 28nm process, just similar the S4 Pro, as well as offers 802.11ac back upwards (in add-on to the criterion suite of a/b/g/n). How does it agree upwards against the One, as well as what form of improvement does the GS4 have got over the GS3? The tabular array below holds the answers, so let's convey a quick look.
Samsung Milky Way southward 4HTC OneSamsung Milky Way southward III
Quadrant 2.012,68412,4955,875
Vellamo 2.01,9032,4291,626
AnTuTu 3.x26,14325,14010,944
SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms)7729911,194
GLBenchmark Arab Republic of Egypt 2.5 hard disk drive Offscreen (fps)393415
CF-Bench28,11125,14012,922
SunSpider: lower scores are better. Samsung Milky Way southward III was benchmarked on Android 4.1.
Although it's alone been i twelvemonth since the Milky Way southward III was launched, the smartphone manufacture has been the proud recipient of some hefty improvements inwards processing mightiness -- as well as it's non over yet. The once-dominating forcefulness of a Snapdragon S4 chipset is at nowadays eclipsed past times the Snapdragon 600, as well as nosotros have got a feeling history volition repeat itself subsequently this twelvemonth equally shortly equally the 800 is unleashed into the world. Think virtually it: out of the vi benchmarks above, the GS4 managed to laid records inwards 5 of them, with the One (the previous record-breaker) non too far behind.
The GS4 holds the tape inwards 5 of our vi benchmark tests.
In our review of the HTC One, nosotros witnessed i of the most powerful smartphones we've ever used -- as well as since it uses the same chipset clocked at a higher frequency, the Milky Way southward 4 is inwards similar territory. In general, the GS4 performs amazingly well, but there's a catch: when Air View as well as Air Gestures were enabled, nosotros noticed the telephone acting a piffling sluggish fifty-fifty inwards the most basic of tasks. It would consummate those tasks every time, but nosotros couldn't assist but notice some stuttering. This seems to dot that Sammy's razzle-dazzle features are processor hogs as well as aren't worth enabling unless y'all job them on a frequent footing (as unlikely equally that may seem). On the gaming side, the Adreno 320 industrial plant just equally good hither equally it did on the One; piece GLBenchmark ranks the GS4 higher, y'all probable won't live able to tell a large deviation when playing to a greater extent than graphic-intense titles likeRiptide or Asphalt 7.
 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back
Samsung's bumped its battery capacity to 2,600mAh (up from 2,100mAh on the GS3), but its to a greater extent than elaborate componentry (higher-res screen, improve photographic goggle box camera as well as to a greater extent than powerful processor) tend to suck downwardly to a greater extent than energy. With this residue inwards mind, nosotros weren't surprised to divulge that battery life measured past times our rundown examine (video looping with 50 per centum brightness as well as other standardized settings) was alone marginally better. All told, it made it through i consummate bicycle inwards nine hours as well as xv minutes. If we're comparing T-Mobile versions, this way the GS4 bested the GS3 past times 17 minutes. This is also higher upwards average for an early-2013 flagship phone; since we're inwards the habit of comparing to HTC's pride as well as joy, the One snagged vi as well as a one-half hours on the same test. In total disclosure, nosotros weren't able to examine out the GS4 inwards an LTE area, though the telephone had a total HSPA+ signal. As for existent life, nosotros typically got around xiv or xv hours of regular usage earlier it was fourth dimension to recharge. This way that mightiness users should live able to arrive through a total workday with a piffling extra to spare for the commute, as well as nearly everyone else volition probable acquire pretty unopen to bedtime earlier the telephone gets inwards the red.
On a total twenty-four hours of regular use, the GS4 managed to lastly for around 14-15 hours.
When nosotros used the GS4 for making calls, the volume was loud, though soundless slightly quieter than on the One as well as iPhone 5. We could hear the someone on the other fine, as well as they inwards plough couldn't tell when nosotros were walking downwardly a busy street, thank y'all to the phone's noise-cancellation capabilities. The external speakers used are louder than the GS3, but non equally loud equally the One's BoomSound stereo offerings.

When a device has several variants, network functioning is tricky to define, at to the lowest degree with i review unit. Samsung offers upwards to vi possible sets of radio frequencies, so it's ultimately upwards to private operators to create upwards one's hear which i industrial plant best for their network. For example, T-Mobile as well as AT&T both have got quad-band LTE (bands 2, 4, 5 as well as 17) as well as quad-band GSM / EDGE, but T-Mo offers 850 / AWS / 1900 / 2100 DC-HSPA+ upwards to 42 Mbps piece AT&T's HSPA+ bands embrace 850 / 1900 / 2100. (As an aside, T-Mobile confirmed to us that its LTE antenna operates with 5-20MHz bandwidth.) Verizon as well as Sprint both job 850 / 1900 CDMA / EVDO equally good equally 850 / 1900 GSM / EDGE / UMTS / HSPA+, though Big Red's choice offers LTE inwards bands 4 as well as thirteen (700 / AWS) piece Sprint uses band 25 (1900). The Now Network uses a removable SIM as well as volition unlock global GSM roaming after the foremost xc days of service; nosotros facial expression Verizon to offering international roaming equally well, but we've yet to have confirmation. The mainstream global models, the Snapdragon 600-powered I9505 as well as Exynos-powered I9500, offering quad-band GSM / EDGE, quad-band HSPA+ (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100) as well as upwards to vi LTE bands. All of this is a long way of proverb that information functioning volition vary on which particular model y'all use, although our T-Mobile unit of measurement got speeds that were inwards line with the GS3 as well as other comparable flagship phones using the same network.

WRAP-UP

 This is the storey of a piffling smartphone serial that Samsung Milky Way S4 Review: The King is Back

In drawing our determination of the Samsung Milky Way southward 4, nosotros divulge ourselves at an interesting junction: piece our geek senses hold tingling at the thought of so many market-topping specs contained inside the same chassis, nosotros also aren't overjoyed, per se, with excitement. The pattern doesn't experience fresh, especially non adjacent to the HTC One, but nosotros can't deny that it's an improvement over the GS3. On the plus side, it has improve battery life, the same smooth functioning as well as a beautiful display, as well as a few diehards volition similar its inclusion of microSDXC as well as a removable battery cell. Software-wise, Samsung's brand-new features are innovative as well as clever, yet most of them don't solve whatsoever actual UX problems; they seem impractical as well as are (in some cases) less convenient than tried-and-true methods we've used inwards the past.

If you're considering a displace from an older Samsung device, the GS4 is absolutely the handset y'all want. Your learning bend volition live minimal thank y'all to TouchWiz's consistent UI, as well as besides, it's by as well as large a bully smartphone -- heck, the telephone itself is the best Samsung handset we've used to date, as well as it'll definitely give the One a run for its money. All told, both phones have got different strengths as well as weaknesses, so i handset unfortunately won't fit all. But when nosotros compare it to the eye-catching facial expression as well as experience of the One, nosotros can't assist but holler back of i give-and-take to trace Samsung's particular flagship entry: predictable.
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