This is my review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. I have the Qualcomm quadcore version of the phone so I do not know if the 8 core Exynos 5 is better than the 4 core. I will also be comparing Android vs iOS too in this comparison review.
Why I liked the Samsung s4 – High resolution 1080p full HD screen and 13 MP camera. What I didn’t like – lag on Android, weak battery and not exciting to use.
I will try to keep this phone review as honest as possible and cover as many details as possible. If you have any specific questions about the device, leave a comment below and I will try to answer any concerns you have.
To start let me cover where I am coming from. I have always had iOS devices. I have an iPod, iPhone and an iPad. The Samsung SIV is my first Android device and also my first android phone. I was really looking forward to getting it because it has a 1080p screen, which is better than any iOS retina display currently available.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Screen Review
The screen display resolution of the Samsung S4 is 1920×1080. The 1920 x 1080 screen is called a 1080p screen and can show all the latest movies in full HD quality.
Comparing the samsung screen to the IOS retina display. The Apple retina display is more colorful, brighter and looks nicer. The Apple screen also uses less battery power than the S4. But! the Samsung screen is 1080p, which Apple does not have (except on the full retina iPad which has a 2048 x 1536 resolution screen at 264 PPI pixels per inch). To be honest, I want both sides of the table. I want the HD quality of the Samsung screen, but the battery life on the Samsung is a big problem I will cover later in this review.
If I had to choose, I choose the Samsung s4 screen. To fix the poor battery life I can charge more regularly, but I would not be happy with a less screen after using this high resolution display.
Samsung S4 Battery Life
The battery life of the Samsung S4 is bad. Because the screen is such a high resolution it need a lot of juice. Even browsing the internet takes a lot of battery power. Compare this with the iPhone retina display, which is great for battery life. Total charge time for the Samsung S4 is around 4 hours. I will update this number next time I charge again to give a more accurate value.
I do not like charging a phone every day. It means if you want to take your phone on vacation or a holiday you have to carry a charger too. Big downside to the Samsung s4 and means I have to have a cheap Nokia phone for vacations.
Android vs iOS
Android or iOS? which do I prefer. The clear answer is iOS. I knew Android has lag from using an Android device 3 years ago, but I thought it would have been fixed at this point. It has not. There is lag in everything. Touching and moving icons is a chore. Menus open slowly, button sounds are strange and I can’t change them without root. I do not like the water droplet sound for the back button and there is no way to change it on the S4 without rooting!
The sammy s4 is a nice phone, just not a fun phone to use. Everything on Android is like work. With an iPhone I can sit back and just do things, with Android I have to tap tap tap. Each tap taking 5 seconds. The lag is small, but it adds up to a lot over a day.
The advantage of Android is options. You can do anything, if you know how. Adding files, moving them around and using them is EASY on Android devices. You can just plug your S4 into your computer or Mac using the USB cable and instantly have access to the whole file system. On iOS even just sharing a file is nearly impossible without a special app that has now been removed from the app store.
The other downside of Android is security. You have to always be more concerned about security when using an Android device. With iOS, you know you can trust the App store. Any app on the app store will just work and you know it’s good, secure and the app is malware free. With Android, any app could contain malware.
Android does list the things the app will need access to when you want to install a new app, but I have no idea what most of it means. If I don’t know what most security options mean then non technical people will struggle even more. I can read what it says, but I have no idea of the implications of saying yes. How bad is each option? Maybe a green/red indicator would be useful to have when installing apps on Android.
Android updates. Samsung have generally been very good with updating their Android software on phones. I expect them to update the Samsung operating system software regularly.
Samsung S4 Gimmicks
The Samsung comes with a lot of gimmicks and little features you will never use. I turned off Air view and Air gesture after just one day. I was not using them much and I suspect they were taking a lot of battery power.
The S4 camera also has a lot of extra features like burst view and other things. I have not used them yet, but I expect them to be good. Many of these features can be found using apps from the Play store or iOS store if you have an iPhone.
Samsung S4 Camera
The Samsung S4 camera is very nice at 13MP. The pictures are sharp enough and look nice. I liked the quality of the focus. It’s hard to explain, and I am not a camera expert, but if you tap the camera screen it focuses on that point and blurs everything else. I know you can do it on iPhone too, but I liked the 13MP combined with this effect. It makes my pictures look arty.
Overall, the Samsung sIV camera is great. Totally blows the iPhone and any other device camera out. An easy 10/10 for the Samsung s4 camera. I don’t use the front camera often, but it’s ok.
Conclusion, Final Review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone
I needed a new smartphone. The S4 does some things really well (13MP camera, great screen). Other things it does badly (lag, poor battery life).
Would I buy it again knowing what I know now? Well, I got the phone on a special sale for $450. At that price I would buy it again. But I would not pay the full regular price of $700 right now. If I could not find a cheap price for the Samsung s4 I would get a Samsung S3 or wait.
Do you have a Samsung s4? are you thinking of buying one? Did I miss something in the review? leave a comment below with your ideas.