Feeds
Samsung Galaxy S4

Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

Faster, brighter, thinner - what’s not to like? Well...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

In purely commercial terms, the Samsung Galaxy S III was always going to be a tough act to follow. After all, it established and then cemented Samsung’s position as the number one smartphone maker by volume - and the only one to give Apple the collywobbles.

I suspect that’s why Samsung has played it safe and opted for evolution rather than revolution with the S III’s successor. Make no mistake, the Galaxy S4 isn’t much of a trailblazer. In fact, if you were being unkind, you could accuse it of just being the Galaxy S III Mk. II.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung’s Galaxy S4: the S III Mk. II?

That’s not to say Samsung hasn’t ladled on the upgrades. The screen has jumped from 4.8 inches and 1280 x 720 resolution to five inches and 1920 x 1080 while the S III’s quad-core 1.4GHz chip has been replaced by a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 SoC with four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.9GHz. It also has 2GB of RAM.

That chipset makes the S4 the most powerful smartphone on sale today. Well, almost. Then there’s another version, the I9500, which has Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chip on board to give it a wee bit more grunt on paper. But the UK is only getting the LTE-compatible I9505 variant that I’ve got in my paw at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Yes, the battery is still removable

The main camera has had a pixel count boost from 8Mp to 13Mp, while the webcam has been given a rather smaller bump from 1.9Mp to 2.0Mp. The battery has been sent to the gym too: it now has a capacity of 2600mAh, rather than 2100mAh.

Many of you will doubtless be relieved to hear of the two things that Samsung has not messed with: the removable battery and the Micro SD slot. As was the case with the S III, the S4 is available with either 16, 32 or 64GB of on-board storage. Personally, I’d go for the 32GB version because the system takes up nearly 8GB of space. If memory serves me right, the 8GB Nexus 4 loses 3GB to the system, which suggests that all the Samsung-added extras take up around 5GB.

Thanks to the slavishly similar design, the S4 looks at first glance much like its predecessor. In fact, I suspect many people will be pushed to tell the two apart unless they see them side by side.

Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S4

Despite a bigger battery and larger screen, the S4 manages to be thinner than its predecessor

Despite the larger screen and battery, the S4 is 3g lighter, 0.8mm narrower and, at 7.9mm, 0.7mm thinner than the S III. That’s quite an achievement. The thinness of the side bezel is particularly impressive because it makes the S4 easier to use single handedly than the S III, despite the greater screen acreage.

It’s still a rather plastic affair, though a new surface treatment makes it feel less cheap than the S III. Compared to the iPhone 5 and HTC One, the S4 still doesn’t comes across as a truly premium bit of kit.

As many of you will know from my previous reviews of Galaxy handsets, I’m not a fan of the physical home button that Samsung seems wedded to. It looks and feels old fashioned to me, though it clearly doesn’t bother the millions of S III and Note 2 owners out there.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.