Feeds
Samsung Galaxy S4

Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

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

The Power of One Infographic

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from 4.8 inches and 1280 x 720 resolution to five inches and 1920 x 1080 while the S III’s quad-core 1.4GHz chip has been replaced by a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 SoC with four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.9GHz.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.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
NEW Raspberry Pi B+, NOW with - count them - FOUR USB ports
Composite vid socket binned as GPIO sprouts new pins
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.