The definitive Samsung Galaxy S IV hands-on roundup
Well the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy S IV has finally been unveiled and we’ve got all of the great hands-on reviews right here for you. Check them out!
It’s too early to call the Galaxy S4 an unmitigated success. But between what we’ve seen today and the Samsung marketing blitz we all know is coming, we can say this in full confidence: It’s going to sell millions, and rightfully so. It’s easily the best all-around smartphone money can buy.
There has been a ton of hype and build-up to this device, and ultimately, it left us feeling cold. The S IV feels uninspired. There are small spec bumps from the previous generation and there’s a ton of software which will largely sit unused. There’s just no wow-factor here.
Still, as much as its add-ons differentiate this handset from last year’s, we can’t shake the feeling that the GS 4 falls flat next to the competition. In fact, we get the sense Samsung could’ve called this device the GS III Plus — that certainly wouldn’t be out of step with its naming conventions in the past. Don’t mistake this preview for a final judgment — there’s still a full review to be written, and these are just our first impressions. As the next torchbearer to the Galaxy S throne, however, it levels the goodwill earned by the GS III.
At first blush, the Galaxy S4 doesn’t feel revolutionary, but given the continued success of its predecessor maybe a revolution wasn’t called for. It’s a faster phone with a better screen, a better camera, and some cool new software features, and for the company that’s nearly synonymous with the word “Android,” that may be enough to ensure another huge success.
We’re not sure all of Samsung’s additions will be home runs, but the core functionality and design are better than ever. Samsung has stated that the phone won’t be out until the second quarter of this year, but at least it’s no longer the sole possession of one Jeremy Maxwell.
We’ll confess to a certain sense of unease, then, about how the GALAXY S 4 will find its place in the smartphone market today. Samsung has done what it needed to – in the manner of Apple and the transition between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S – to bring its flagship up to speed. Promotion and advertising will take care of the rest. If that overshadows phones like the HTC One, however, devices which really do take a more revolutionary approach, then we’d be mightily disappointed.
The S 4 presents an interesting contrast to the BlackBerry Z10, which is coming out in a few weeks. Research In Motion Ltd. jettisoned the old BlackBerry software and rebuilt it from the ground up. The phone’s hardware isn’t as impressive as Samsung’s, but the software is easy to use, and it’s based on a strong idea: taking the pain out of communicating across email, text messaging and social networks. The S4, unfortunately, doesn’t have the same clarity of purpose.
Although the handset’s hardware isn’t exceptionally beautiful and software isn’t particularly inspiring, it has every essential feature and then some. Right now, the best way I can describe it is as the Gap clothing of smartphones. While you may not use or even like every item on display, it’s long on basics, represents a certain high standard, and you’ll be able to get it anywhere.
There’s plenty more tucked inside the Galaxy S 4 but again, in my limited time, these were what I felt were the most interesting use cases and experiences. Other than a revamped design, I’m not sure what people could have expected Samsung to do from a hardware perspective. Even with technology cycling faster all the time, the components in the Galaxy S 4 are surely enough to carry the device out for a year or so. And most new flagship phones use the same, or nearly the same components.
Essentially, if you’re already a sworn Android fan, the Galaxy S4 is exactly what you want. The updated screen, elongated battery life and some of the most useful apps to date are more than enough to make the upgrade. However, it’s not an earth-shattering change, and those looking for a big reason to jump ship to an Android smartphone may find the new handset lackluster. If you’re waiting for a vast leap forward in smartphone design and technology, it might not be the device for you.
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