Samsung has enjoyed so much success with its Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets that they've been slowly, but surely eating away at Apple's mobile market share. But with each new release of Galaxy smartphones, Samsung are selling more and more.
We've already heard that the South Korean company has sold over 20 million Galaxy S4s, but just how far can it go? The Galaxy S4 is Samsung's most popular, and quickest selling smartphone yet, but that doesn't automatically make it a great phone.
I've read a bunch of reviews, from other tech sites and media, down to friends and family. I recommended by Dad to purchase the Galaxy S4, which was a great upgrade from his ageing, slow, and broken HTC Desire.
The majority of people seem to overwhelmingly love the smartphone, but what position are they coming from? Are they reviewing it for a tech site and only use it for a few days? That honeymoon period ends pretty quick, at around the two-week mark, for me anyway.
Most people off the street, non-professional users such as friends and family, seem to like the smartphone, but only because it's Samsung's latest phone. If I press them and ask "why do you want it?" or "why do you want to upgrade from your Galaxy S III?" they state "it's better", or "it's faster".
This isn't reason enough to purchase the smartphone, and I've told countless friends now that if they own a Galaxy S III, it's not really worth the upgrade. If they own an S II, or an iPhone 4/4S, then sure, go for it. But from the S III? I don't think Samsung has done enough work there to push people to upgrade just yet.
This is the same issue that Apple face with their iPhone releases, which are followed by an "S" release. This is what we should expect with Apple's next release, which is why I don't think anyone should be excited about the iPhone 5S apart from it including iOS 7 by default - which is just influenced from Android anyway (flame away!).
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Samsung has beefed the specifications on the Galaxy S4 up, by quite a bit, with the biggest change being the display. We now have a 4.99-inch 1920x1080-pixel display, which is absolutely gorgeous. It's easily the standout feature on the device.
Following those specs, we have 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (it comes in 32GB and 64GB models) which is expandable by microSD. The screen, as we mentioned before, is a 4.99-inch 1080p display backed up by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 tech. There are 4G LTE models, which is the one I'm reviewing here today, and when connected to 4G, you can expect some damn fast speeds.
Things start to get confusing when we begin talking about the chipset and CPU inside of the Galaxy S4, as there are multiple variants of the S4. We have one version, which is the Samsung i9505 Galaxy S4, which includes a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 SoC, which is a quad-core part running at 1.9GHz. This is backed up by the Adreno 320, which is featured in most high-end smartphones.
There's also the Samsung i9500 Galaxy S4, which includes Samsung's crazy eight-core processor, the Exynos 5 Octa 5410. This arrives with a quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A15 processor, and a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 processor. The i9500 includes the PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU.
This makes the review that much harder, as I don't have multiple devices to review. I have the i9505 model which is the quad-core part, but some readers might grab the eight-core i9500 part and see different results. So if you do get different results (+/- 10% or so), then you'll know why.
Finishing these specs off, we have a great 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, which is capable of snapping your photos at 4128x3096. It can capture video at 1080p@30FPS, too. The front-facing camera isn't too bad at 2 megapixels.
All of this is crammed into a device that weighs just 130g (4.59oz). When compared to the Galaxy S III, it actually weighs 1g less, which is damn good considering it has a Full HD display and faster internals.
Price wise, the Galaxy S4 will set you back $609.99 from Newegg at the time of writing, or around $50-$60 per month on a two-year contract through the carrier of your choice. As for availability, it's one of the hottest phones in the world right now, so you should have absolutely no issues picking it up... anywhere.