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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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

Similar to Verizon Wireless, Sprint offers the Galaxy S4 in white and black with the exception that Sprint's handset lacks the carrier branding that adorns many carrier-specific phones.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Sprint

Unfortunately, Sprint only offers the 16GB version of the S4, and similar to the Verizon model, only about 9GB of that is free for user data. AT&T still offers the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Sprint back

Samsung Galaxy S4 storage

Storage

The Galaxy S4 is advertised as a 16GB phone, but after the Android 4.2: Jelly Bean OS, Samsung's TouchWiz software and Sprint's own bloatware, users only have about 9GB of storage to play with. Now, Sprint and Verizon aren't the only ones doing this - every 16GB 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. In our tests we quickly ran out of space, which is ridiculous.

Sprint apps

Samsung Galaxy S4 Apps

Like any and every carrier, Sprint pre-loads its phones with a selection of apps from itself and its partners. On our Galaxy S4 review unit, many of the apps couldn't be removed from the device.

Of course Sprint has quite a few apps of its own, and hosts plenty more from Amazon, Flipboard and other partners. Some of these are just shortcuts that don't actually take up any space until you open and install them, making them just eyesores.

Apps like IMDB, Flipboard and the Amazon bundles are the only ones that customers might actually want to use - but it's 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.

Sprint's call quality and 4G LTE service

Similar to T-Mobile, Sprint has been slowly rolling out their 4G LTE coverage. What this means is that if you, like us, happen to be in a location without 4G LTE coverage, expect lackluster data performance. That said, Sprint does offer unlimited data plans. It's just a shame that, for the vast majority of us, all of that unlimited data can only be enjoyed at a relative snail's pace.

Using our Galaxy S4 to test Sprint's 4G LTE network in San Francisco and Oakland, results were mostly disappointing. We rarely found areas where speeds got as high as the 25 Mbps we expect from LTE service. Instead, they were generally around 1 Mbps. However total dead spots, where we couldn't even make a call, were rare.

While data speeds were typically abysmal, we generally had no trouble placing calls and sending 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