88

A flagship phone that feels a bit predictable

88

The Galaxy S 4 is a solid improvement over the GS3, and the best Samsung device we've ever used, but we'd love to see Samsung come up with a fresh design and premium look.

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Critic reviews

8.5
42 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    8.2
  • Display
    9.2
  • Battery life
    8.0
  • Camera
    8.3
  • Ease of use
    7.9
  • Design and form factor
    7.6
  • Portability (size / weight)
    8.1
  • Media support
    8.0
  • Durability
    7.7
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    7.7

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User reviews

8.6
88 reviews
9.0
Engadget Apr 24, 2013

The best Samsung handset we've used to date, and it'll definitely give the One a run for its money. ... But when we compare it to the eye-catching look and feel of the One, we can't help but think of one word to describe Samsung's particular flagship entry: predictable.

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9.0
PC Mag Apr 24, 2013

Even better than its excellent predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is the ultimate kitchen-sink Android phone for 2013, with something for everyone.

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9.0
GigaOM Apr 24, 2013

Would I recommend the Samsung Galaxy S 4? Yes, without hesitation. It’s speedy, runs all day on a single charge, and has a wonderful display. It also offers a removable battery and expandable memory, which not every phone does.

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9.0
CNET Apr 23, 2013

Its laundry list of features requires time and effort to truly master, but the Galaxy S4 is the top choice for anyone looking for a big-screen, do-everything smartphone.

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9.0
PC Mag May 22, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is, of course, the second, and it takes the Editors' Choice crown from the One by a nose. If you're looking to make the most of your Sprint unlimited data, grab a Samsung Galaxy S 4—and hope that Sprint is laying down some LTE near you soon.

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9.0
CNET Jun 26, 2013

Unless you're an Android enthusiast or demand total freedom from carriers, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition isn't worth the hefty price.

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8.0
AllThingsD Apr 24, 2013

If you’re a nut for lists of new features, love Samsung or crave an even bigger display, the Galaxy S 4 may be for you. It’s a good phone, just not a great one.

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8.0
TechCrunch Apr 24, 2013

The Galaxy S4 features are impressive — there’s no denying it. But very few of them work perfectly enough for it to feel natural. Maybe it’s because my time with the GS4 is only beginning (I received it one week ago), but I felt like I was forcing it.

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8.0
Gizmodo Apr 24, 2013

The S4 is far from a bad phone. In fact, were it not for the HTC One, it would be the best Android phone you can buy. And one can't help but think that had Samsung poured all of its innovation into maximizing the practical user experience—instead of highly ignorable gimmicks.

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8.0
AnandTech Apr 24, 2013

At the end of the day, the Galaxy S 4 is an evolution of the Galaxy S 3 in pretty much all of the areas you'd expect it to be. Whether or not that's what you wanted in a new Android smartphone is going to vary from one person to the next. The good news is that you at least have a choice.

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8.0
Ars Technica Apr 24, 2013

It's an extremely solid phone, and it's going to be hard to go back to the S III after a week with this one. It feels great to hold, it's comfortable to use throughout the day, and it takes much better photos than its predecessor.

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8.0
Computerworld Apr 29, 2013

The Galaxy S4 isn't a cohesive, undefeatable-champion sort of device. But it is a standout smartphone with a lot of attractive elements. And despite its drawbacks, I think it's safe to say it's going to make a lot of people awfully happy.

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8.0
Ars Technica Jul 3, 2013

It's a stylish phone that feels good to hold in the palm of the hand, but it's made even better with stock Android as a part of the equation. The biggest setback may be how soon Google will push out updates for the phones, but the search giant has said that it's not solely responsible.

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7.0
Wired Apr 24, 2013

The phone itself is great, outstanding. If you were a fan of the S III and you’re looking to upgrade your handset when the S4 goes on sale later this week, you’ll be pleased.

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10
Pocket-Lint Apr 26, 2013

As always, the sign of a good gadget is one that we don't want to give back. Our review SGS4 is being returned tomorrow, and the truth is that we're really going to miss it. It is, therefore, a product we heartily commend.

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9.0
ABC News Apr 24, 2013

If you are looking for an Android smartphone, the Galaxy S4 is a great choice. It's jam-packed with new camera features, it's fast, and it has all-day battery life.

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9.0
Mashable Apr 24, 2013

Still, I can't find many hard issues with the Galaxy S4. It's undoubtedly the best Android phone on the market right now (unless you are absolutely reliant on a pure Google experience).

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8.0
Time Apr 24, 2013

If you want the most polished phone with the best selection of apps, the iPhone 5 still has no peer. If you ... love Android, HTC’s One is a fine choice. And if what you want is the mainstream phone with the biggest screen and the most built-in stuff, the Galaxy S 4 is your most logical option.

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8.0
SlashGear Apr 23, 2013

The GALAXY S 4 is a safe, capable, and solid option, and though Samsung’s flagship is perhaps no longer necessarily the best Android device on the market, it’s still a tremendously polished phone with plenty to satisfy the crowds eagerly awaiting it.

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8.0
TechHive Apr 23, 2013

Despite its flaws, the Galaxy S4 is a solid phone and a worthy successor to the Galaxy S3 ... Is it the best Android phone out there? No, but that shouldn't stop people from buying it if they find Samsung's additions to Android appealing.

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9.0
TechRadar Apr 24, 2013

The Galaxy S4 is a stunning smartphone that won't let you down for a variety of tasks. There's no doubt Samsung will have to make a big step forward to keep users interested with the Galaxy S5, but for now we love the S4 and would be proud to have it in our pocket.

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9.0
GottaBeMobile Apr 23, 2013

For a user of an iPhone or another Android or other smartphone, upgrading to the Galaxy S4 should be an easier decision. You will be getting one of the most powerful and brilliantly smart phones made today.

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9.0
Ubergizmo Apr 23, 2013

In the end, there is no single silver-bullet to win customers over. It’s a blend of design, performance, productivity, integration, critical-mass and customer appeal. While the Galaxy S4 may not be a winner every single time, it does win most of the time. That’s the definition of a winner.

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9.0
TrustedReviews Apr 26, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 might not look that different or have that one killer feature that sinks the competition, but it’s a worthy successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3.

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9.0
Android Authority Apr 21, 2013

Samsung worked hard to perfect its product design (hardware and software) and it succeeded in most part. The caveats are the plastic build and the somehow over-the-top TouchWiz user interface, but if you are okay with that, the Galaxy S4 is a smartphone that we can fully recommend.

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8.0
GSM Arena Mar 28, 2013

There's no need for choice anxiety either, as the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a safe bet as long as you can get past its increasingly dated design or you need that IP57 certification.

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8.0
Android Central Apr 24, 2013

If you’re looking for an Android phone that performs well across the board, ticks every feature box you could possibly imagine and is available on just about every carrier on the planet, the Galaxy S4 is an easy recommendation.

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8.0
VentureBeat Apr 24, 2013

While the Galaxy S4 ticks off all the right check boxes for most, I can’t help but feel like it’s missing something.

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8.0
CNN Apr 24, 2013

If you're ready for an upgrade, and are in the market for an Android phone, there's no reason why this shouldn't be one of top two or three phones you consider. It's not the standout, though, that Samsung needs to remain the preeminent leader of the Android field.

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8.0
NBC News Apr 24, 2013

Push aside all of the extraneous features and you have one heck of a smartphone. This will be the one we'll compare against the next iPhone — probably favorably. After all, come this fall, Apple's likely to just unveil a slightly tweaked version of the current model.

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8.0
Huffington Post Apr 24, 2013

Samsung has already succeed in introducing innovative technology that takes us beyond how we interact with our devices today. But it remains to be seen whether the technology will see widespread adoption.

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9.0
BGR Apr 24, 2013

The concept is a good one and since Samsung can’t rely on third-party software the way that Apple can, it’s smart to try to make the Galaxy S4 a phone you can just pick up and be happy to use right out of the box — and it’s easily the best Android phone I have ever used.

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9.0
HotHardware Apr 24, 2013

In the end, the Galaxy S 4 is easily Samsung’s best smartphone to date. Not only does it offer better performance and many new features over the previous generation, but Samsung has improved the user experience as well.

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8.0
Business Insider Apr 24, 2013

Make no mistake about it, the Galaxy S4 is a great phone, and easily one of the best you can buy right now. You get an amazing Android experience on a big, beautiful display ... But is it the best phone? No. You're still much better off with the iPhone 5 or the HTC One if you like Android.

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8.0
Android Community Apr 23, 2013

Samsung certainly played it safe with the GALAXY S 4, but with nearly 100 million sales waiting in their future can you blame them? In closing this is a solid, well rounded, and extremely capable device that will sell by the truckloads.

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8.0
MacNN May 8, 2013

It may not be the best-looking design or have the most-refined software, but it certainly is competitive among the top tier.

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9.0
PocketNow Apr 24, 2013

Contrary to what the extreme sides of the pro and con camps would have you believe, the Galaxy S 4 is neither an overachieving champion, nor crushing disappointment. But with its powerful feature set and lofty legacy, it’s also not by any means “average.”

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8.0
Photography Blog Dec 10, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most popular Android smartphones on the market, and its camera is a solid, if unspectacular, performer that's good enough for most uses that its owners will put it to.

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First Looks

product preview
Engadget Mar 14, 2013

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...

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product preview
Engadget Jun 26, 2013

It feels zippy and light weight -- in fact, there's 12GB of storage available vs. 7GB on units skinned with TouchWiz. As such, this Galaxy S 4 provides the best user experience of any Samsung handset since the unlocked Galaxy Nexus.

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product preview
Engadget Jul 6, 2013

There's absolutely no doubt that the Galaxy S 4 is a better handset with stock Android -- a powerhouse unleashed by superior software. While you give up some functionality ... you gain storage space ..., a much-improved user experience and the satisfaction that you're taking part in something...

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product preview
CNET Mar 14, 2013

The Galaxy S4 is a high-end, fully featured smartphone that's meant for almost everyone. Samsung has made sure to include every salient hardware spec and enough new and interesting software features to hold your attention, if not constant use.

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product preview
Laptop Magazine Mar 14, 2013

As for the design and performance, those hoping for more premium features will be disappointed, but you also wind up with a handset that’s very slim and light for a device with a full HD 5-inch screen.

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product preview
PC Mag Mar 15, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 embraces and extends a lot of the current trends in mobile phones. It alters Android relentlessly to add a lot of little conveniences, which is going to drive Android geeks nuts. But for the mainstream, this is going to be a rock-solid, usable big phone worthy of its success.

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product preview
Digital Photography Review Mar 15, 2013

In general, we liked many of the tweaks to the software, and many of the included apps - be they for health tracking or TV viewing or scanning business cards. On the whole, these enhancements collectively appealed; the real proof, however, will lie in how well these features all work.

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product preview
Gizmodo Jun 26, 2013

Samsung's TouchWiz is such a heavy skin that it slows things down despite the super-fast 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor in its belly. But while stock Android makes the HTC One a little faster, it's a serious change in the Galaxy S4.

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product preview
ABC News Mar 14, 2013

Unlike the aluminum iPhone 5 and the HTC One, the entire phone is still made of tough polycarbonate, even though the edges look metallic. The phone will come in two colors: white frost and a black mist.

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product preview
SlashGear Mar 14, 2013

That said, should Galaxy S III users upgrade to the GALAXY S 4? If you insist on being on the very latest hardware, and you’re wedded to Samsung, then perhaps it’s a no-brainer. However, it’s not the vast step-up we saw from, say, the Galaxy S II to its successor.

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product preview
Consumer Reports Mar 14, 2013

he Galaxy S 4 may not offer the dramatic leaps we've come to expect from each new generation of Samsung smart phone. It does, however, cram a remarkable number of tech-forward features into a relatively svelte package. I anticipate it will do very well in our tests once we get it into our labs.

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product preview
Wired UK Mar 14, 2013

But in a nutshell it's clear that the S4 will appeal to anyone who likes the S3. It's not significantly different at face value, but the many new features under the hood make it interesting compared to other phones on the market.

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product preview
Pocket-Lint Mar 14, 2013

From our initial play, that's what has been burnt on to our retinas, for sure. Is it a major step up from the Samsung Galaxy S3? Probably not for many. But there's certainly enough that's new to promote it above being the Samsung Galaxy S3S.

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product preview
PC World Australia Mar 15, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is best described as an evolutionary smartphone rather than a revolutionary one. It retains a similar look and feel to its predecessor but includes a 4.99in full HD display, comes with a 13-megapixel camera and features a number of Samsung-exclusive software features.

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product preview
PC World Australia Apr 29, 2013

The Galaxy S4's familiar look and feel will immediately resonate with Galaxy S III owners. The design changes are minimal but most of them are welcomed. Gone is the curved, back edges of the Galaxy S III, replaced by flatter edges and a smaller bezel.

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product preview
GSM Arena Mar 14, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 may look pretty similar to its predecessor on the outside, but the truth is it's a huge upgrade. You get a larger screen of more than twice the resolution, a chipset that offers twice the processing power, a larger batter and better camera.

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phoneArena Mar 14, 2013

Above all, it’s the updated TouchWiz Nature UX experience that makes the Galaxy S IV inviting on so many levels. Throw in the fact that it gets all the usual hardware upgrades, and some new additions too (like it built-in IR blaster), existing Galaxy S III owners are no doubt going to be tempted.

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product preview
Ubergizmo Mar 14, 2013

If you’ve used a Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 will feel second nature to you, even though the S4’s screen is slightly larger, brighter, thinner and overall its weight is lighter than the Galaxy S3. It greatly improves on the exterior of the S3, and that’s saying something.

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product preview
Android Central Mar 14, 2013

So, yeah. While the hardware's been updated, and the design of the Galaxy S4 has been streamlined, the software is what really shines. The sheer number of new features are staggering. And for the most part, they're all pretty cool -- as well as useful.

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product preview
TechRadar Mar 14, 2013

We're a little nonplussed by the Samsung Galaxy S4. It's superbly impressive that it has crammed so much stuff into a smaller chassis than the Galaxy S3, but in reality, there's not a lot of difference cosmetically bar beefing up the structural integrity of the device and putting stronger glass on...

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product preview
IGN Mar 15, 2013

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.

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product preview
GottaBeMobile Mar 15, 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 feels like a solid device that promises a good mix of hardware and software features. The new industrial design offers a more premium feel than the Galaxy S3, but still comes up short of the HTC One.

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product preview
TrustedReviews Mar 15, 2013

Although it's perhaps not the out-and-out game changer some were expecting, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is, on first impressions at least, certainly a new dominant force on the Android smartphone scene.

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product preview
Android Community Mar 14, 2013

While the hardware has been vastly improved over the previous generation, most of the cutting edge changes (screen aside) are with software, which we’re expecting to eventually be updated and added to the Galaxy S III. So the question here is will you, or should you upgrade?

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8.0
cass cass

Note: I got this phone for work, so it only came with data and no voice. The good stuff: Super speed The Galaxy S 4 feels really snappy navigating around the OS, launching and scrolling through apps is really smooth for the most part. On occasion I did notice slight stuttering with some...

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10
hel hel

I've had my phone for 5 days, April 30th-May 4th. It's awesome. The stock+samsung is really quite good, I rooted but haven't even looked at ROMs. The air (not touching the screen) control gestures are rather rubbish tho, they're not at all natural or intuitive movements. But the phone picks up my...

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1.0
sdaftary sdaftary

I bought my Galaxy S4 on 3rd of July 2013. On February 7th 2014 I saw sparks on the phone while charging on the wall unit with the charger provided by Samsung. It has stopped charging since then. When I called them the 1st time they said that it was not in the warranty because the IMIE number...

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10
ram008 ram008

Awesome handset - has everything before you could ask for it! Truly revolutionary effort from Samsung with the S3 and the S4 is a worthy successor, does not disappoint! It is wayyyy faster than the Note II and much lighter and sleeker! The touchscreen interface and awesome gesture features make...

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10
Spaided Spaided

Awesome phone. My previous phone was a Galaxy S3 and this is an upgrade to every part. The feel in the hand is amazing. It's not too big like others are saying. IF you have ever used an S3, this just blows it away in all ways. Battery life is great. I am unplugged on average 17.5 hours a...

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9.0
acarde acarde

Side by side with an S3 I can barely tell the difference. It's basically an upgrade. So if you have an S3 this might not be a good buy. But someone looking to move from another phone, this is the one to get. Battery life: I've heard some concerns about this but I am not experiencing them. I...

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10
IlyaH IlyaH

Its just awesome. Its light, its nibble, its nice to touch/feel in your hand. Gives nice sensation when pulling out of the pocket each time. And lets admit it, we use our phones VERY often, so dont buy anything else but this.

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9.0
b0r3dguy b0r3dguy

I've been a iPhone user for 3 years (starting with 3GS). I was near the end of my contract for my iPhone 4S when I decided to pay more attention to the latest/greatest smartphones coming out in the summer. After much deliberation, I decided to jump into Android via the Samsung Galaxy S4. It...

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