Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Ryukouki, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Ryukouki

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

    Jan 31, 2008
    United States
    Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

    Hey everyone, it certainly has been a long time since I wrote here. Even though my last review posted seven minutes ago. :P

    The Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 launched on May 23 here in the United States. I paid some $200 for the device, and a little more for the activation fees and whatnot. After spending a lot of time with the device, I honestly cannot believe I lived without a smartphone. Please note, that this is actually my very first smartphone, considering I was on an almost ancient feature phone (or, dumb phone) that was discontinued in 2007, and support almost does not cover it.

    The Device Itself

    The Samsung Galaxy definitely has earned its place as a powerhouse within the smartphone industry. It packs the latest technology and the latest features, some of which, in my opinion, are a tad gimmicky. Some of the highly advertised features of the Galaxy S4 are similar to the 3D of the Nintendo 3DS, a gimmick, if you will.

    The Galaxy S4 has a five inch display that is able to provide a 1080p HD experience, at a 1920x1200 resolution, which is absolutely incredible. The Galaxy S4 also packs a 13 megapixel back face camera and a 2 MP front camera, capable of delivering a quality HD experience. The device typically comes in a slate black finish or a white finish. I opted for the black finish, as I had a Spigen SGP case that had a similar color scheme to it.

    There are so many reviews out there that laud the display, and because I have one in my hand, I can firmly say that the media's opinions are valid, because the display is absolutely fantastic to look at. Honestly, no pictures that I can come up with will show the clarity of the display. It really is something that needs to be looked at firsthand.


    I have a lot of different things running on my Android device at this time. I could have email on the go, old Gameboy Advance games running, or even the original Playstation games running at any given time, and the device does not slow down. Mostly though, I use it for more business like usages, like emailing, keeping up with clients that I'm working with. I've tested games on the device, and the only downside to Android games is that the device gets rather warm, but then again, I'm sure almost all phones get this hot when running graphically intensive programs.

    The battery life on this device is phenomenal. Under normal usage, like email and web browsing, I have clocked the device in at approximately 9 hours and 52 minutes of usage, which is spectacular compared to devices like the iPhone, which sadly lack sufficient battery power. Unfortunately though, I still do have to charge it every day. When I game on the device, the battery typically lasts around 6 hours and 45 minutes. Please note that these were under the brightest backlight conditions. If I was to lower the backlight, the time to drain the battery would increase significantly.

    Here are some sample shots that I took while I was messing around with the device. I'm actually struggling to find a good lighting position that gets good photo clarity and quality. If you have any tips please leave a comment below! More photos will be taken and this gallery will be updated.

    Disadvantages of the Device

    The device currently has a few faults that need to be ironed out. By no means did this make the experience miserable though. I still highly recommend the Galaxy S4 to anyone who can get their hands on it.

    Some of the irks include the newly advertised features. The air gesture feature is a gimmick, to say the least, and just does not work when I want it to. Eye scrolling is really awesome, but only when it works. I feel that Samsung kind of rushed these features, and did not focus enough time into fully developing them. I really hope they get some extra work in future updates, because they really have a lot of potential.

    Another bother about the S4 is the plasticky body. A lot of competitors, such as the HTC ONE and the Apple iPhone 5 have bodies of aluminum. It looks much sleeker, and more professional. When you look at the S4, it can often look like a toy compared to the two, but inside its toy-like body contains a highly powerful setup of the latest technology that any phone has to offer.

    The third and final issue that I have to take notice is the lack of available space on the device itself. The device is advertised as a 16GB unit, but after the Android OS and the bloatware that comes with the phone, only ~8.6 GB are available as free space. Thankfully, the device takes up to 64 GB micro SD cards, but even still the SD space is limited only to music and videos. If you wanted to transfer hundreds of applications to it, you are sadly out of luck in that case. Samsung has acknowledged the lack of free space and is attempting a solution. Further information will be updated in the review as I see fit.
    Should You Buy It?

    After significant testing, my answer is a wholehearted yes. The device's flaws are easily fixable, and it still houses the best components that smartphones can offer. The price of the device can be a barrier to entry, but if you are going to use a device for two years make it count. Honestly, I looked at the Apple iOS and compared it to the Android, and there is just so much more with Android, especially if it is rooted. I originally wanted to pick the iPhone 5, but after seeing it in stores, with its extremely dated OS, I made the jump to Android. Best decision ever.

    Score: 36/40
  2. femalemalls8
    This message by femalemalls8 has been removed from public view by p1ngpong, Jun 20, 2013.
    Jun 20, 2013
  3. Haloman800

    Haloman800 a real gril

    Dec 18, 2009
    United States
    Great read. After reading your guide on writing reviews, I have a better feel of the flow and feel confident should I wish to write one in the future.
    Ryukouki likes this.
  4. Ethevion

    Ethevion Wannabe Artist

    Sep 23, 2010
    Great review, the only reason I haven't updated my iPhone 4s to this or the iPhone 5 is because they keep getting bigger. How heavy is it? Is it bothersome to try and fit in your pockets? My 4s is just the right size for my jeans. Any bigger and I might have a problem.
  5. Joe88

    Joe88 [λ]

    Jan 6, 2008
    United States
    my s3 with an otterbox commuter fits is my jeans so the s4 should fit fine