Want to know what the Samsung Galaxy S4 is like?

Shannon Lang, one of our service liaison’s for our technical help desk, recently purchased the Samsung Galaxy S4 and has written a review on the handset and the cool things that it has to offer.

“I’ve been a fan of Android since the days of Froyo and have continued to use Android handsets since those days. Many handsets use the Android Operating System these days and it’s easy to see why – Freedom of choice.  YOU get to tell the phone what to do. Your phone doesn’t tell YOU how to use it. If you don’t like a certain application, that’s fine… just download and install another one from the Google Play Store.

Out of all the different Android handsets, Samsung has been a leader. Samsung’s brand reputation is known the world over, whether it be their TVs, laptops, fridges and other home appliances as well. Choosing a reputable brand, running on the Android Operating System was an easy choice for me.

I’ve recently upgraded my handset to the new Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505, coming from a Samsung Galaxy S2 GT-I9100. Anyone that knows me through work or personally knows I’m quite geeky when it comes to technology, especially Android. I was always being asked on when I was getting the Galaxy S4 and what my thoughts are on the phone. . Here goes!

The Galaxy S4 comes with all sorts of cool features. If you can think of it, the S4 most likely has it. The handset is almost identical to the Galaxy S3, but Samsung have utilised the space much better this time with a bigger screen and a cut-down bezel. Basically, the phone looks bigger, but actually feels smaller to handle! The handset is backed up by a removable 2600maH Lithium Ion battery, around 25% bigger than the S3 and around 60% bigger from the S2. The phone should be able to handle a full day of moderate usage without needing to be charged.

The Phone & Screen

The handset features a full HD Super AMOLED screen with full 1920×1080 resolution.
The phone is fantastic to look at. The sharpness of everything on the screen is awesome and doesn’t strain your eyes. Samsung use what is known as “Gorilla Glass”, which is a high strength screen as well, much more resilient to breaking, should you drop the handset. Great! There’s also a light indicator that flashes different colours for notifications like calendar events, SMS messages, WhatsApp messages, Email etc etc.

The Engine & Storage

The handset is powered by a Quad Core 1.9ghz processor and has 2gb of RAM to handle many and larger apps on the phone, all at the one time. The phone is lightning fast and it doesn’t matter what I threw at it, it just kept going. The handset runs Android’s newest Operating System “JellyBean” 4.2.2 with Samsung’s own TouchWiz launcher.

The S4 currently comes with 16gb of storage, dropped down to around 9gb of useable storage for music, photos, videos etc. The rest is allocated to Android itself. The handset supports Micro SD cards right up to 64gb! I myself currently have a 32gb Micro SD card in my S4. This comes in handy when you might be out on the road or travelling and you’re taking many photos or video recordings and want to swap cards around if you ever fill up. Considering the cost of storage these days is less than $1 per gb, this is excellent.

Camera

With a 13 megapixel rear camera, you’re going to be taking some very high quality photos.
The handset has an option for “burst rate” shots and will take a large amount of photos in a matter of seconds and the S4 will advise which is the best shot out of the lot. The software will factor things like people smiling, eyes being closed or any kind of distortion in the photo too. The handset also has a 2mp HD front facing Camera as well, for dual video calling and other cool things like Skype.

The video recording is also very nice, smooth and easy to use. Just by opening up the Camera app and pressing the video recorder will start recording straight away, with recording up to 1080p, the highest quality currently available, this looks as good as Blu Ray on the big screen.

Network

The S4 has all available network bands available on the handset, including 4G (also known as LTE). It supports Quad band HSDPA and LTE, meaning that any carrier in Australia, as well as Internationally, will work on this handset using 2G, 3G or 4G. I didn’t notice any battery life problems when in a 4G area on my handset, unlike other handsets using the 4G network, as 4G LTE requires extra power to be utilised.

Software

Samsung have gone the extra mile (or three) with the inbuilt software already loaded on the phone and in my opinion, not all of it is really necessary. S Health is an app that can monitor your exercise regime if you so wish, with optional extras that can be purchased through Samsung to monitor heart rate. It essentially turns your phone into a full working fitness tracker!

You can setup all different types of Email on this too. POP3, IMAP and Exchange are supported as stock and the app itself works great. Can’t go past this for business at all. The inbuilt task manager is also an excellent piece of kit and can synchronise across different calendars too.

Smart Stay? The handset knows if you’re looking at the handset and reading. The screen will stay on and won’t turn off whilst you’re reading anything on the internet per se. If you’re getting to the bottom of the page, the screen will automatically scroll down! The phone is that smart.

S Voice is a nice, improved enhancement too. You can ask your phone practically anything and it’ll help you out from there. S Voice can be activated by saying a certain word and when done so, you can ask a question (for example ask what the weather is like today) it’ll know where you’re located as it’ll use the GPS to find you. S voice comes particularly useful when you’re driving your car. You can ask the phone to navigate you to a certain address or point of interest, and will then open up the inbuilt Navigation software to direct you where to go.

There are one too many Samsung bits and pieces built into this phone that I wouldn’t know where to start. If I were to outline the whole lot, we’d be here for quite some time!

My verdict

Being that this handset has great battery time, easy to use, and has removable storage and batteries, it’s great. Not every handset has removable storage or batteries.

Here are some apps that are a “must have”:

  • Tiny Flashlight + LED
  • Skype
  • Flight Track
  • Teamviewer
  • WhatsApp Messenger

The S4 is everything I thought it would be, for me. This handset isn’t for everyone though. If you want something that “just works” then this isn’t the phone for you. There’s just so much that you can do with this handset, that if you’re just making and receiving phone calls, then it’s a waste of a phone. This essentially becomes a part of you. It’s your central point for communication, whether it be for business or for personal use. It’s your Phone, your Internet, your GPS, your Fitness Tracker, your Calendar, your News Source, your Camera… it becomes you.

Shannon Lang
Customer Service Liaison