Samsung Galaxy S4 first impressions (Video)


  • Abhinav

    pre-ordered this phone… this is going to be my first smartphone … hope it doesn’t disappoint..
    nice review 🙂
    can’t wait to get my hands on this 🙂

    • Abhinav

      Sony w810i 😛 been using that for a very very long time now !

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      buying a Samsung Galaxy is rarely a disappointment.

  • Greg Joplin

    What is the audio quality like/Call Clarity/Loudness/?


  • TomsDisqusted

    I like that they have taken to adding a raft of modular features to the phone, rather then further meddling with the basic experience. I think these features would be easy to evaluate, and then use or ignore.

    Speaking of which, the video did not convince me of the value of the features that allow me to control the phone without actually touching it. Even if they did work more reliably, I just don’t see the value – one has to accept fingerprints on your phone these days!

  • Mike

    Why are they making the US/CA version quad core while EU gets an octo? Such an annoying thing… I want my octo. They did the same with the S3…

    • jacky

      they’re saving the exynos 5 for the note 3 🙂

    • iPlunks

      Their is a quad for us/can and then, octo Europe….the Europe network is bad for LTE so but adding extra cores to the phone it wont work as hard to find and maintain the signal.

  • Evayo

    God that screen is sexy,cant wait to pick mine up

  • jacky

    got the htc one yesterday returned it today, the htc one function wise is very very boring compared to my note 2, anyone who chooses the htc one must have never used a samsung galaxy s3/note 2 before if you have used either one of those going to htc one ull hate it. thats what i feel at least

    • Darth Paton

      Can you please elaborate? I’m debating getting this, The HTC one, or the Motorola X Phone.

    • jacky

      well i sold my note 2 waiting for the htc one or s4 since the one came out first i gave it a shot, after using it the whole night there was nothing to do all i did was scroll back and forth between home screens to see how fast it is but cant really tell the difference with the note 2. as for rooting and installing custom roms its sooo much harder than samsung devices so i decided to return it and get the s4 once it comes out knowing that itll be faster and better than the note 2 with more features. tbh i think function wise is much more important than looks/design even tho s4 design isnt bad

    • Darth Paton

      I think I am still going to try the One, I don’t root my phones or anything like that and I really like the One’s design. I have to get my hands on both phones first though.

    • Croak

      I had my One bootloader unlocked, custom recovery installed, and rooted in 10 minutes after getting it home, using an i***t-proof toolkit from XDA. Had it SIM unlocked a few hours after that.

      Still on stock ROM but there’s already a good selection of early custom ROMS for the One since it’s using the same hardware world-wide this time around, unlike the GS4’s two SoC variants.

    • Nadefrenzy

      The Note 2’s S-pen is more than enough reason for me to stick it out and wait for the Note 3 instead of S4. S4 looks great, but it’s about on part with the Note 2 really.

    • phreezerburn

      Wrong. My work handset is a Note II and while I love it for some things, pocketability isn’t one of them. The HTC One sits in a nice spot size wise, packs great features and is indeed a stellar performer. That their employees don’t have posting negative things about their competition as part of their job description is a huge plus too. Samsung has managed to outdo Apple in corporate scum-baggery.

    • zidane1989

      There is a large difference between what one says as an employee and what one says pretending to not be an employee and yet being so. Disclosure of that fact is crucial, especially if you are giving advice on your product or a competitors.

    • RoboBonobo

      HTC doesn’t have anything in their employee job descriptions which prevents such behaviour.

    • tilbar

      I’ve had an S3, just got an HTC One. Love it. It’s different for sure, takes a while to get accustomed to the software nuances (some of which are annoying). Once all set up, it’s well appointed to be a fantastic, fast, productive phone for any power user. Gorgeous design and display. The S4 has software gimmicks, but not much else. The S4 has the same general UI look to the original Galaxy S, it just looks uninspired an unprofessional.

      However, some honest drawbacks to the One compared to the S4: Breadth of developer community, battery life, expandable storage

    • daddychicken

      I agree full heartily. I had an S3. It was a beast of a device. I rooted it, I modded it, and I can say I loved it once I rid it of the Touchwiz experience. However, I have an HTC One now. It has it’s plus’ and minuses. But overall I feel it is a more compelling package for me than the S4. The S4 appears to be an “S3s”.

    • Stephen

      S3S? Yeah I guess if 1080p, bigger battery and a boatload of more features warrant an “S” sticker, sure.

      Oh wait. You’re just wrong.

    • kasd

      wrong? how ignorant. there’s no “wrong” to what phone you like. it’s all about what the user prefers. i bet you’re one of those immature samsung fanboys who criticize every single thing that isn’t samsung. get a life

    • HatInTheRing

      I don’t really agree with features being perceived as gimmicks. I guess it depends whether or not you use them. I enjoy Touchwiz “gimmicks” and find them very functional, to a point that would make it hard to trade up for a more flat experience.

      I was on the fence about moving to the HTC One but so many tech blogs repeated the same basic thought, that the One should stand for one dimensional and they say it’s better suited for a beginner. Less customization, less fun to use and not as “smart”.

      I love that my screen doesn’t dim if I’m looking at it and doesn’t rotate when I lay on my side. I share a lot of music and files by tapping friends Samsungs and it’s easier, faster and more reliable than third party sharing apps or Bluetooth. I guess it’s all a matter taste. An example of gimmick in my opinion would be Blink Feed which I’ve yet to see a positive review on. It’s a direct ripoff of Flipboard which is preinstalled on my S3 and several times better.

      I so wanted the HTC One. I’ve been to the store 3 times now to pick it up and play with it and talk to staff about their impressions and feedback. It is hands down the most elegant, beautiful, solid device I’ve ever had in my hand. It’s like the first time you ever held an iPhone back when they changed the game. My final decision was that Sense wasn’t the Android skin for me (in it’s present form) and I need my expandable memory and removable battery more than pure aesthetics. The HTC One is the phone you own to turn heads. The S4 is the phone you own if you love features, personalization, multitasking and OS support.

    • Guest

      you can always change sense with a launcher

    • HatInTheRing

      Never even thought of that somehow. Weird because I use Apex Launcher on my S3. Guess I’ve been using it so long I forgot it wasn’t stock TouchWiz.

      That said, a launcher can only do so much. They will often change how menu’s look but not the menu’s themselves. And I find the location of menu’s cumbersome on the One.

    • John

      Same here. Returned the One after a day. Crappy software, hard to use, even the facebook app has an inch high black bar for the menu button. pathetic.

    • TechyMarkbo

      I have used S3 and HTC One….HTC One has many pluses over the S3. I think it is just a matter of what we have been used too. I was a prior EVO LTE user, so Sense 5 was smoother and faster for me than the S3. I especially like how the One even puts the Pics from other contacts FB profile within their Contact page. Many other little tid bits that come in handy. They both have their pluses.

  • X3R0

    Having the gs3 has caused me to hate where Samsung is going with its design.

    Never have I had a phone look so abused with so little use.

    HTC ONE, when you come to Canada in black I’ll grab you and sell the gs3

    • RoboBonobo

      Aluminum is even worse as far as denting and scratching. Definitely get a case, either way.

  • Stephen

    So glad to finally put my upgrade towards a real phone. After returning the piece of garbage known as Z10, anything will feel modern. HTC ‘s failure rate and poor track record with software updates removed them from the equation for me.

  • Chizom Wali

    Honestly, say what you want about plastic but I think this phone looks very nice.

    • HatInTheRing

      I have absolutely nothing against plastic. Plastics are more advanced materials than metal or glass. They’re dense, strong, flexible, light and don’t conduct heat. They don’t interfere with signal which is important in a phone. I don’t see why so many people have it out for plastic.

      The entire shell and display of my 55″ LG LED TV that is very high end is made entirely of plastic but I don’t see anyone saying it’s cheap and I should buy a TV made out of solid steel. Making phone’s out of metal is a marketing play to say “this phone is higher quality than your phone” and nothing more. Anyone who bashes the materials used in a $700 phones housing is a petty fanboy grasping at straws.

      Next time a flashy iPhone or One owner chirps you about plastic tell him what material his $400 Ray Bans are made out of…

    • Chizom Wali

      Hahahaha! That’s a great reply, I mean honestly, aluminum is hardly premium to begin with. It’s Apple who used it as a selling point and brainwashed everyone into thinking it was

    • HatInTheRing

      True. Just like the retina display at a “perfect 326ppi”. I’ll take Samsungs 441ppi Super AMOLED or HTC’s Super LCD3 with 461ppi, thanks. Put the iPhone5, S4 and One side by side by side and tell me which is best. Or an easier task, tell me which one is the worst….

  • Mithos

    If the battery life is stellar like the GN2, this phone is going to be a star.

    I mean, it’s good, like the GS3 either way.
    But it needs killer battery life on the stock battery to make it worth purchasing over the HTC One.
    I hope this is going to be my next phone!

  • qwe

    To buy NA or International Version, now that is the question……….

  • Deveal2014

    Nice phone ! But I went with the HTC ONE and I’m very happy .

    • robertottawa

      Myself too.

  • Bobby678

    Anyone who would pick HTC one over feature pack Samsung S4 just because it has a metal casing and looks a little bit nicer and no other advantages must be out of his/her mind .. HTC and their horrible support (the one x received jelly bean update 3 months after S3) and running the last year android version also Samsung Touchwiz(adds lots of extra features) is far superior to HTC Sense.. Not to mention replaceable battery, expandable storage, larger Screen, better battery and better resale value(more popular).. shall I continue?

    • Granny is ALIVE!!!!

      A few weeks ago, I would have thought you were nuts to say something like that. However, after having played with the One for about 20 mins today, I think you’re right. The One was a nice phone, but apart from the slick exterior, there isn’t much else “WOW” going on with the phone in my opinion. The S4 will definitely offer a greater bang for most people’s buck with up-to-date Android, extra features offered by TouchWiz and generally a more robust level of support for the device.

    • Nadefrenzy

      I saw this from a mile away as soon as I saw the new Sense. Only thing HTC had over Samsung was its UI/looks. This time around, the UI is gone, but looks are still there. And as always, the better phone will be Samsung’s thanks to their features.

      I must admit tho, it was fun looking at all the S4 bashers claiming their One is better only because of its exterior.

    • HatInTheRing

      Couldn’t agree with you guys more. I’m glad I didn’t pull the trigger on a One this weekend. It really is a shame. The One is the nicest phones I’ve every laid my hands one. They were so close…

      There is a market for what they’re making and competition is good. I honestly hope they sell enough phones to stay in business because the HTC Two could be the full package if they listen to what people want.

      Add a few features, give me expandable memory and external memory card support. Then “you had my curiosity, now you have my attention”

    • phreezerburn

      Why? For the same reason I stopped buying Apple products after 20 years of being a loyal customer, they became all that’s wrong with the industry. After Samsung’s sending off employees to write negative HTC One reviews as part and parcel of their daily 9-5, my Note II is the last Samsung I’ll be buying.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Oh geez look at this wannabe good samaritan.

    • phreezerburn

      Oh geez look at this Fanboy in Korean clothing.

      I give 5% of my income to charity each year, was a Saskatchewan Kinsmen for decades and rebuild castaway PC’s to give to seniors on fixed incomes to this very day. I’ll not only accept the title Good Samaritan but thank you for it.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Nah not a fanboy; I just don’t let crap like that get to my head.

      That’s all great and all that you give charity, but don’t try and pull that crap in Business. Business has cheap tactics; always had and always will. Are you really going to give up on a company’s products cuz they used one cheap business tactic? Please..

    • HatInTheRing

      And you’re modest

    • phreezerburn

      They were caught, denied it and then admitted such after being presented the evidence which was an inter-office progress report. Who documents an isolated incident that goes against company policy in a progress report that will see circulation? Someone who wants to see a hearing with them as the accused is all that comes to mind.

    • Chizom Wali

      HTC is pretty negative about Samsung as well…but on a more consistent and long standing basis. The truth is, every company has shady, greedy business practices. And you will be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t. I don’t mean to sound rude but it’s a pretty ignorant way to look at the consumer electronics market as a whole.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Aluminium phones are the worst when it comes to build quality. Denting and chipping are synonymous with those metal phones. You can claim “higher quality” batteries all you want, but the fact remains that Samsung phones trump HTC when it comes to battery life.

      Cloud storage? I have a 6GB Data plan and i almost always hit my limit when I stream music over the cloud. Not everyone has a 6GB Data plan.

      You can use portable charging with S4 too. Removable is just a bonus.

      TW might appear “cartoonish” to you, but it’s still 10x more feature packed than Sense. And yes, I actually do use Multi-view/Smartstay a lot on my phone.

      Only thing going for the HTC is the screen brightness (Screen is subjective since a lot of people prefer the blacks of AMOLED) and its originality (not aesthetics since that’s subjective).

      Rest, S4 wins.

    • phreezerburn

      Aluminium migrates heat better than plastic in this universe and heat is the enemy of every electronic device known to man. The longevity of l-ion batteries is directly related to long-term exposure to heat.

      Also not everyone who has the most expensive Android handset has a 6GB data plan? Seriously? In what country?

    • Nadefrenzy

      Yes. Most don’t. Also, as Daniel mentioned in his review, the HTC One heats up fairly quickly unlike the S4.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Are you serious? Check out phonearena (a proper review site).

      The S3 (international) destroys the One X’s battery much like how the S4 destroys the HTC One’s.

      If I need pure whites and perfectly natural colors, I get those on my IPS 24″ display at home. On a multimedia portable device though, I go for what’s better for movies/pictures—ie stuff that “pops”.

      The One’s camera is also overrated, but it does win in the low light dept.

      We’ll see the sales numbers man 6 months from now. Numbers speak the truth if a product is worth it or not.

    • Rhythm

      Numbers also speak no marketing efforts, not strictly quality. Remember “50 Million smokers can’t be wrong.”? Heard mentality at play


    Ok is it me but weren’t half of these new features in the Note 2 ?


    I’m waiting for the Note 3. I’ve had the s2, s3 and Note 2 and the Note has been better.

  • Nick Murphy

    This was a really great review! However, I’d like to know what the battery life is like and how it compares to some of the other devices out there such as the HTC One

  • bembol

    Pre-ordered. I went with White.

    Love my new hTc One but too bad Samsung couldn’t come up with the design. Love Touchwiz and still getting use to Sense 5.

    • Me OpenId

      so you choose design over quality and specs ? Wow…

    • bembol

      No. I have the One and also buying the S4. Yes, wow!

  • Cass_m

    Waiting for mine to come in. While some of the controls will only really come in handy in winter for me (hovering stuff) I’m really looking forward to the storyboard, travel and health features.

    • Nadefrenzy

      You can get those with the S3/Note 2 as well. I’m already using S-Health on my Note 2.

  • Miguel A

    Some questions I like answered:

    1) How is the battery life (i.e. real world usage)?
    2) Opinion on Samsung & developer support for this (i.e. frequency of OTA updates & custom ROM support).
    3) Are the extra features gimmicky (i.e. air gestures)? Do you think a power user would use them frequently or just see them as extras?

    Thanks Daniel for the preview. Looking forward to your review for this!

  • Sam Wiggans

    I really want this phone, as much as I love my Nexus 4. But unfortunately I am stuck with my Nexus 4 thanks to 5 years of University making me poor.

  • robertottawa

    I got the HTC One and I’m extremely happy and satisfied.

  • Moe

    Jesus, I thought Apple fanboys were bad but damn, Samsung ones might be even worse.

  • RoboBonobo

    I want to know about battery life… and I want to know how well the screen works in direct sunlight.

  • RoboBonobo

    That’s the way the entire electronics industry does it, regardless of country. TVs, computer monitors, etc. They’re all designed and categorized using imperial. 32″ monitor, 65″ HDTV, 5″ smartphone etc. It’s easier to compare things if everyone’s using the same system; instead of one site using imperial and another using metric.

  • Craig

    already scratched on the camera lens…wish they would sink the camera into the shell a little more..I mean I know that would probably meant he phone has to be a bit thicker but after a year of being in and out of my pocket, next to coins and keys, my phone camera has so many scratches it won’t take good pics any more!! Still leaning towards HTC One..

    • anjew

      or they can use sapphire lol….

    • phreezerburn

      Thus the indigo refraction.

  • anjew

    the eye tracking tech looks pretty slick

  • Nadefrenzy

    Great preview Daniel! The S4 looks great! Can’t wait to see what the Note 3 with its slimmer bezel will look like.

  • Manic Devlin

    That’s one ugly and cluttered GUI with bunch of useless features that will just take up resources and battery. Blackberry Q10 for me.

    • Stephen

      That’s one ugly, cluttered faced Frenchman BlackBerry apologist. Enjoy your garbage Q10 in the time machine of phones.

  • Croak

    That is one ugly phone (and UI) hiding some sexy hardware inside.

    Thing is, the One has very similar sexy hardware inside, wrapped in a sexy outside. I bought a One.

    Full disclosure, I was a die-hard Samsung fan (Wave, Galaxy, Galaxy S, Captivate, Vibrant, GS2, Skyrocket, Note and a bunch o’ tablets). Then I laid eyes on the GS3…bought a One X half an hour after Samsung’s big unveil in London last year. This is only marginally less hideous.

    I know the materials and build quality are fine on the GS3/GS4. I really do. I just can’t get past the ugly of the last two generations.

    Samsung, if you want me back (and I daresay no small few others), you’re going to have to improve your industrial design. Might even be cheaper in the long run than the massive marketing spend you’re relying on to get the masses to buy your plastic phones.

    • Stephen

      Their design has sold millions upon millions of phones, they aren’t worried about your status symbol phone.

    • Croak

      Dude, I could care less what somebody else thinks when they see my phone. If that weren’t the case, I’d be sporting an iPhone and an iPad instead of my Android phones and tablets.

      What I DO care about is how the device looks and feels to ME. The S3 looked (and worse) felt like crap to me, the S4 is only marginally better in that regard (at least it’s not sparkly puke blue this time).

      Do keep in mind I buy my phones outright, so when I’m spending $600-$700 on one, it needs to at least make me feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

      Might be a different story if I was only dropping a buck fifty on a subsidized unit on a 3 year contract.

  • Candido

    Curious to know if the S4 battery fits in a SIII…

  • Raimonds Nartiss

    Some of my friends got the GS3 and I have played with a phone a bunch of time, but no matter how many features they added to TouchWiz, it is still ugly. It comes no were near the Stock Google KB experience. So in the end it’s all about rooting, and with that the better hardware wins. Plus I have read on this website couple of week ago that the Devs on xda website will stop making ROMs for galazy phone because Samsung is making it hard.

  • Roymathieu

    I have a Galaxy Nexus and this is what I always use with my phone :
    Texting – Scrolling the web – Google now/Navigation – Taking pictures – Music player – Gmail – Facebook – News and phone calls

    So I am hesitating cause I know that I don’t really need all the features of the S4 and for me 32gigs is more than enough.
    At the same time, I used to have a Desire HD from HTC and when I switched to the G nexus, it made me realize that my Desire HD had all sorts of little bugs….I don’t want to find out that the One has the same unstable software…

  • Rob Macdonald

    I have the note 2 and a s3 and a nexus 4. First I love the build of my HTC One compared to my experience with samsung very fast and intuitive phone. I like the other fellow mentioned had it rooted within 15 minutes of getting home so it is easy. Smooth, sound , build quality,screen, camera all is great! As for slow HTC updates I guess that would matter no a non modder but to me not a big issue. I am sick of samsung plastic and quite enjoy the feel of a well constructed phone for a change. As for the battery it is heads better that Nexus 4 and on par and even better I would say than my modded s3 set up to give me battery life with kernel rom etc etc. To each his own in the end but so far I am loving mine more than I did any of my Samsung phones out of the box. Thumbs up HTC you did good !

  • Zany

    Hi Daniel/Ian

    In terms of questions I would like following answered:

    1) Call quality between the HTC One and S4 (as well as microphone placement, speaker phone)

    2) Image quality (as well as low light though I know the HTC One wins for that)

    3) Image stablization (HTC one has it, S4 doesn’t) how bad is it for both images and video for the S4?

    4) Heat management (HTC One does get hot, what about the S4?)

    5) How loud does the speaker when playing and how does it compare to the dual speaker setup on the HTC One?

    Well that’s about it for me.


  • Google Fan

    Well whoever gets this device, enjoy.

    I’ll be waiting for the Nexus 5 or Motorola X. Strictly Nexus from here on out, no matter who makes them.

    • The Dude

      I used to be like that, then the HTC One came out all soft and sexy… couldn’t resist

  • OmarN

    ive been using the note 2 for sometime and its really a great phone. Just too big sometimes. i just picked up a Xperia Z and am using that for a while. From a design perspective the Z is way better than the S4. I pre ordered the s4 and cant wait to try it out. Very important week as one of these phones will be the one i use for quite a while.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    Lots pf the features on the software itself can be implemented on the S3, like the camera options. let’s Hope they update the touchwiz on the S3 down the road cause I just got my S3 a bit longer than a month ago.

  • Abhinav

    got my S4 … its just amazing !! 🙂