Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: Hands-On

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With a handset roster to turn most manufacturers green with envy, Samsung is certainly enjoying a prosperous time in the smartphone game. But, with some heavy Android competition emerging at the start of 2013, will it be able to keep ahead of the chasing pack? To answer this question, it’s turned to the Samsung Galaxy S4.

So, will the new flagship device be enough to maintain Sammy’s impressive run? We grabbed a quick hands on with it to see how it’s shaping up…

Samsung Galaxy S4 Front P4U

Those expecting Samsung to have done something radical with the Galaxy S4 may be a little surprised at first glance, with the influences and design features of the Galaxy S III clear for all to see. Although the frame’s curvature has noticeably flattened out, the general form factor remains very similar.

Thanks for the polycarbonate casing it may not scream premium design, but with the device in-hand it feels pleasantly lightweight and slim. The most notable change between the two is found on the device’s front, with a 5-inch super AMOLED display dominating the design and proving really striking.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Notifications Bar

Far from just being expansive, the display proves to be a stunning effort. With a full HD billing and impressive -441 ppi count, the Galaxy S4 will certainly be able to compete with the likes of the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One for screen bragging rights. Image reproduction is of excellent quality, and video plays as you would expect on an HD display. There’s a pleasant crispness to things that far exceeds previous Sammy efforts, and it’s clear this is an area where it’s upped its game 

A notable talking point in the lead up to the S4 was the processor, and it certainly hasn’t disappointed with a mammoth 1.9 GHz quad-core monster for UK devices. Outweighing any other multi-core handset for sheer power, the beastly chip performs without breaking a sweat, no matter what the task. Whilst the UK may not get the octa-core processor mentioned previously, there can be no complaints with what’s on offer.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Front S Health P4U

Samsung has also extended its long list of features thanks to the “Life Companion” mantra. Designed to help you with those day-to-day tasks, additions such as Smart Scroll and Smart Pause build on the touch-free functionality found on the S III. Yet far more impressive is AirView, a revamped version of the hover-tech introduced on the Note II. Float your finger over albums or emails and you’ll get a preview of the contents, a feature with genuine practical use.

To cap an impressive list of specs, Samsung has also taken its camera capabilities up a notch with a 13 megapixel snapper and HD video. This results in excellent image and video quality which, when combined with the top display, makes for a real visual feast. There’s also a whole host of new shooting modes, such as Dual Camera and Drama mode, and these seem likely timely additions, although we’ll reserve judgement until we’ve had more time with the handset.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Back Edge P4U

We may have only grabbed a few hours with the Samsung Galaxy S4, but it certainly seems like a marked step up in several departments for the Korean company. Although the design may be a little underwhelming at first, there’s plenty of innovations to make it an impressive prospect. Keep your eyes out for our full review appearing on the Phones 4u News & Community very soon.