Samsung Galaxy S4 review

  • $599

The Galaxy SIV is here - but does it pack enough of a punch?

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Another big sell from Samsung, is Group Play - and again we can't really see the point for certain elements. Yes, we know this is getting to be a theme with the phone, but bear with us here.

One of the most popular functions Samsung was keen to talk about was the music sharing - the idea being that if you've got more than one Galaxy S4 kicking around (presumably not by yourself) you can set up a Group Play group by making a Wi-Fi hotspot and stream the music to all phones at once.

The clever idea is that multiple phones can connect, and each can have their own speaker setting in a surround sound setup. The downside is that you'll never have that many Galaxy S4s in one place, and even if you did, a single small speaker at the back is hardly going to be enough to wipe out your home speaker system.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

We can see this being useful going forward though, as if you have other devices with Group Play functionality - such as wireless speakers - you can easily create a virtual surround speaker system using just the Galaxy S4.

One other thing that REALLY annoyed us was the fact that Group Play on the likes of the Galaxy S3 or Note 8.0 is a completely different app, despite having the same name and icon. You can't do anything we mentioned above with these devices - you can barely connect the two together.

It seems an oversight from Samsung to remove this function, as many people will already have bought heavily into the Samsung ecosystem.

Samsung Hub

Building neatly on from the WatchON app, we've got the all new Samsung Hub ready and waiting to be played with. This is a much better idea than before, where all the disparate entertainment sections were scattered around the phone.

With this attractive hub, Samsung is looking to take a real crack at iTunes by making a holistic experience, whether it's games, music or video you're after. The UI, as we mentioned, is really nice, with swipes allowing you to get through all the content, and a home screen that throws up all the different kind of content it thinks you might like.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

It's not got a universal appeal, as even though you're paying a high dollarpound price for the latest blockbuster, you can't move that content onto your larger screen without a HomeSync device. Connecting to a TV or streaming using AllShare won't let you play video you've purchased from the Samsung Hub, which feels like a massive trick missed here, although Samsung tells us it's due to a licensing issue.

HTC Watch can do it, and the prices are often cheaper. What gives, Samsung?

It's not really a great place to get all your content thanks to the really high price, and it would be excellent to see a wider remit by including third party apps to supplement the lack of functionality in places.

For instance, and we're sure there's a licensing reason for this, how great would it be to see Quickflix in the Video Hub to allow instant streaming, rather than having to pay $15 or so just to get a video in SD that you can only really watch on the phone?

Accessories

When it comes to 'things you can put on the Samsung Galaxy S4' the Korean brand has gone all out with some ideas.

We've got covers, holders, things and stuff all over the shop - and we've got our hands on the Flip Cover to start with.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

While we were given the delightful pea green colour, there are white, black, yellow and blue options as well, to give you that touch of class when protecting your new handset.

The cover is made from a fairly strong material, and adds rather a large amount of depth to your Galaxy S4. For some reason it is thicker than the main cover plate, which means when you fold the front around it makes a much larger phone than you'd have expected.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

One of the main problems some people would see is the cover closing properly - it's unfortunate that it doesn't have a magnet to hold it closed, but it doesn't ever stay open when flat on its back, as the soft material will always relax.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

In terms of the 'mini mode' of the S4 when the cover is closed, it's a mixed bag. The small clock mode is cool, and being able to answer and end calls with the front closed is nice, but the speed with which the S4 reverts to mini mode is poor, which takes away from the effect.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

In short: the Flip Cover is much better than the standard option, as the little window is genuinely useful while keeping your screen safe. But it does add heft to your ultra-slim Galaxy S4, and doesn't always work as quickly as it should.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
SAR Value0.28 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy S4
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 850, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution13 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Product ModelGT-I9505
Screen Size12.7 cm (5")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density441 ppi
Front Camera Resolution2 Megapixel
Height136.6 mm
Width69.8 mm
Depth7.9 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy S4 GT-I9505 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.90 kHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineGalaxy S4
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Barometer, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Temperature Sensor, Humidity Sensor, Health Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-19505ZWABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

captures all the fun

The Samsung GALAXY S4 captures all the action wherever you are. Don't just look at your photos, hear what they have to say and relive those exciting memories. Take multiple exposure pictures and edit them together to add a special dramatic touch. Once done, spread the fun and instantly share your albums with friends and family.

brings everyone closer together

The Samsung GALAXY S4 is all about 'togetherness'. It brings people together when they're apart. You and your friends can share screens as well as explore each other's favorite music, files and games. The Samsung GALAXY S4 not only overcomes barriers of distance but also breaks down language barriers.

Limited Warranty2 Year