The Samsung Galaxy S4 reviews are out from all the major tech blogs. The general consensus is that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is ‘good’ smartphone, but not a ‘great’ one.
So where does that leave the S 4 compared with its major competitors? If you want the most polished phone with the best selection of apps, the iPhone 5 still has no peer. If you crave Apple-like panache but love Android, HTC’s One is a fine choice. And if what you want is the mainstream phone with the biggest screen and the most built-in stuff, the Galaxy S 4 is your most logical option.
At the end of the day, it’d be foolish to think that the Galaxy S4 isn’t a top-notch phone. Where specs, performance and software innovation are concerned, the company is clearly making strides. But in playing with this phone for a while, adjusting to the new features, trying to make the most of them, and sometimes failing miserably, I keep returning to the idea of “Keep it simple, stupid.”
That rule seems to have been lost on Samsung. Yes, Air View is a breakthrough, and the camera features are fun and interesting, but anything that requires an easy mode is missing something.
In drawing our conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S 4, we find ourselves at an interesting junction: while our geek senses keep tingling at the thought of so many market-topping specs contained within the same chassis, we also aren’t overjoyed, per se, with excitement. The design doesn’t feel fresh, especially not next to the HTC One, but we can’t deny that it’s an improvement over the GS3. ……Software-wise, Samsung’s brand-new features are innovative and clever, yet most of them don’t solve any actual UX problems; they seem impractical and are (in some cases) less convenient than tried-and-true methods we’ve used in the past.
While many will compare the Galaxy S 4 with the iPhone 5, I also compared it with the $200 HTC One, which came out April 19. The HTC has a handsome, sturdier, aluminum body, dual stereo speakers, an excellent camera, better screen resolution than the new Samsung and twice the base memory for the same price.
If you’re a nut for lists of new features, love Samsung or crave an even bigger display, the Galaxy S 4 may be for you. It’s a good phone, just not a great one.
The S4 is far from a bad phone. In fact, were it not for the HTC One, it would be the bestAndroid phone you can buy. And one can’t help but think that had Samsung poured all of its innovation into maximizing the practical user experience—instead of highly ignorable gimmicks—it might have taken the crown.
For now, it’s a choice every buyer will have to make. You can have the far better-looking phone or you can have the slightly better-performing phone — and you really can’t choose wrong. If the GS III is any indication, millions upon millions will choose the GS4. Me? I think design matters. Polish matters. The Galaxy S4 is fast and impressive, but it’s also noisy and complex. The One is refined, quiet, comfortable, beautiful, and above all simply pleasant. I love using that phone, in a way I haven’t experienced with anything since the iPhone 5. That’s why, when my contract is up in June, I’ll probably be casting my lot with HTC instead of Samsung.
Ironically, the clear winner of the Samsung Galaxy S4 reviews is the HTC One. Lets hope HTC takes advantage of this with a great marketing campaign.