The Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean-powered Samsung Galaxy S4 fields a large 5-inch Super AMOLED display for deeper blacks and all-round better contrast, as opposed to its predecessor's already sizeable 4.8-inches, so bettering Samsung's own dedicated Galaxy Camera in that respect.
It also comes with a 13 megapixel autofocus main camera - up from the respectable 8 megapixels of its predecessor, to now match Sony's Xperia Z in that respect - plus a secondary front-facing camera of the now seemingly regulation two megapixels.
Full HD 1080p video can also be shot at a 30fps frame rate, while our handset came with 16GB of built-in memory out of the box, with a microSD slot to expand this further if required. To insert the card you do actually have to un-clip the backplate, however, since there's no less intrusive side port.
The handset feels comfortable in the palm due in part to the rounded edges of its backplate, albeit not as comfortable, nor as slim as the HTC One. But like the HTC One, the image in front of the handset's lens commendably fills the whole of the screen, with operational icons floating over it.
However, if you want the highest 13MP resolution photos you have to choose the 4:3 aspect ratio option, which means black bands crop either end of the image to give you a more squared view.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 also offers up an impressively broad range of shooting modes - including options that might otherwise get filed under a 'scene settings' option on other handsets. These rotate before you with a finger swipe, ever so subtly aping the effect of adjusting a conventional shooting mode dial on a digital camera.
We get the standard default Auto option, but also dedicated settings for Night or Action/Sports shooting, Panorama (shots either in a vertical or horizontal direction), Eraser (which takes five sequential shots to be able to 'erase' any moving subject from the background) and Rich Tone, which is HDR by another name.
There are also no fewer than three motion snapshot-style options in Animated Photo, one of which records a mood-enhancing audio clip alongside your still image. And then there's Best Face and Best Photo (consecutive shooting to end up with the most flattering portrait), and finally Beauty Face, which automatically smoothes out facial blemishes.
These are all illustrated with an icon displaying the type of image you might take when using one of the shooting modes, plus a brief text bubble by way of further explanation. So there's plenty of handholding available here for those of us who want to take better photos without actively being experts in photography.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 gives us icons for camera (stills shooting) and camcorder on the screen. Tapping the camera icon immediately takes a shot, so there's no second delay as we switch into camera mode. Because we mainly use our phones for those spur-of-the-moment shots rather than the more considered ones we might opt to use a proper camera for, this time-saving shortcut makes sense.
The camera part here again uses continuous autofocus. Like HTC's One we're also spoilt with a range of fun and effective in-camera effects filters. However, these are applied after capturing images, with the altered image saved alongside the original. These include the regulars of negative, sepia, black and white and the ilk, and are saved as PNG files rather than JPEGs, with the unadulterated originals remaining as JPEGs.
Image quality isn't at all bad on the Samsung Galaxy S4, though white balance did appear to wander slightly during a course of sequential shots, with the results being most closely comparable in our eyes to that of the Sony Xperia Z in terms of well-saturated colour and detail.
However, the end results still fall short of the sharpness achievable with a dedicated camera, and the HTC One's shots are clearer and cleaner at higher ISO settings.
This is a GIF taken from the Galaxy S4 - it's a really easy mode to use, does offer some nice results.
This cat is not dancing - but with Animated Photo IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS!
Full ISO 100 image, see the cropped (100%) versions below.
Auto ISO (Click here to see the full resolution image)