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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Verizon Wireless carries the Galaxy S4 in white and black with an average amount of carrier branding. On the back of the device there's a Verizon 4G LTE symbol with the company's signature check mark logo. On the lock screen the Verizon Wireless name is displayed at bottom.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Currently, Verizon stocks only the 16GB version of the S4. That means that AT&T is is the only carrier stocking the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4.

Storage

The Galaxy S4 is advertised as a 16GB phone, but after the Android 4.2: Jelly Bean OS, Samsung's TouchWiz software and Verizon's buffet of bloatware, users have only 9GB of storage to play with. Now, Verizon isn't the only one doing this, every version of the phone we've encountered has had far less than 16GB available.

What about the microSD storage, you're probably asking? Yes, you can add up to 64GB, but that's only for media, such as pictures, music and videos. Apps cannot be installed to the SD card.

Verizon apps

Like any and every carrier, Verizon pre-loads its phones with a selection of apps from itself and its partners. On our Galaxy S4 review unit we found no less sixteen apps that couldn't be removed from the device.

Verizon has six apps of its own, and hosts ten more from Amazon, Flipboard and other partners. Now, some of these are just shortcuts that don't actually take up any space until you open and install them, making them just little red eye sores.

Still, many of them are useless, and will charge a monthly fee if you let them. The two most egregious have to be Caller Name ID and VZ Navigator.

Caller Name ID brags that it "identifies unknown callers by Name, Picture, and City & State." It charges $2.99 a month to do so, even though you already get an unidentified caller's state when they call. Then there's VZ Navigator, which wants $4.99 a month to provide turn-by-turn directions that are inferior to the free Google Maps you get on any Android phone. In both instances, the services hardly seems to be worth the extra cash each month.

Apps like IMDB, Flipboard and the Amazon bundles are the only ones that customers might actually want to use, but it is annoying that they're permanently installed to the phone. We recommend users steer clear of the rest of the bloatware though, and avoid incurring extra charges.

Verizon's call quality and 4G LTE service

Verizon claims to have the largest nationwide 4G LTE network, and while it certainly has Sprint and T-Mobile beat for sheer coverage size, in our experience it's neck and neck with AT&T in most places. However, Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited data plans, while the other two carriers do not. That gives them a considerable advantage, especially if you live in a city when the two have rolled out 4G LTE coverage.

Using our Galaxy S4 to test Verizon's 4G LTE network in the city of San Francisco, results were mostly inconsistent. We rarely found areas where speeds got as high the 25mbps we expect from LTE service. Instead, they were generally around 10mbps. However, total dead spots, where we couldn't even make a call, were rare.

While data speeds varied we generally had no trouble placing calls and send text messages. Voices over the line were clear, and everyone we spoke to reported that we were coming through loud and clear.

As always, signal quality varies wildly depending on where you live. We recommend checking out the coverage maps offered by carriers, and speaking with friends and co-workers about their personal experience with carriers in your area before making a two-year commitment.

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