The Samsung Galaxy S4: First impressions

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The Galaxy S4, to judge by fan comments, not just wipes the floor with the competition but turns it into shish kebab and eats it for breakfast. On paper, it looks like it’s got all it needs to be the NEXT BIG THING.

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Etisalat took the cake by bringing down the first S4 to hit Sri Lankan waters and putting it on display. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – that is literally the first S4 to pass through TRCSL. But now that it’s here, does it actually live up to its hype?

That’s what we went to find out.

We all know the specs, but here’s a brief overview before we begin. The Samsung Galaxy S4 (i95000) boasts one of the most powerful processors in a smartphone to date. By that, we mean we’re not exactly sure what it contains. There seem to be a ton of different versions of the S4 listed – some with Quad-core Cortex A15 processors (the UK version) and some (most famously) with Exynos Octa-core processors. Either way, they all have a 5-inch Super AMOLED screen protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and enough power tech jargon to make your day, in short. What we got to use today was, thankfully, the proper octa-core.

For starters, we were surprised by how like the Galaxy S3 this phone is. On paper, it’s better. It’s more powerful. It’s got better battery life. But in real life? The Galaxy S4 looks so much like the S3 that it’s quite difficult to tell them apart from up close, let alone at a distance. The S4’s screen borders are slightly diminished – that’s the only clue. Other than that, this is the S3 to a T. There’s a lot of features packed into that thin shell, but there’s no discernible difference in feel or weight. It’s the same plastic. At most, it’s probably 5 mm longer and thinner.

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Honestly, that’s disappointing. You could tell the S and the S2 apart. You could tell the S2 and the S3 apart. This just looks like the S3 version 2. When all’s said and done, the S4 still has some software tricks. The S4 runs Android 4.2.2, bringing with it some software flair. It’s Jellybean. Ergo, it’s slick and a pleasure to use. It’s also nothing that a launcher, software update or Cynogenmod can’t give you. Flipping through menus is pretty much the same. We suspect the only time those eight cores might actually matter is when you multitask between multiple 3D games – but honestly, who does that?

Moving on, The more visible improvements come in the form of software. This time around, Samsung has taken a few cues from their own Galaxy Note. Air View can be used, this time without a stylus – simply hover your finger over the screen to get a preview of a video or email. They’ve also included something called the Air Gesture – which lets you scroll up and down by waving your hand in front of the phone (think Kinect!). There’s a few more utility / convenience functions built in – like Smart Pause, which pauses a video when you look away. To the phone’s credit, it worked very well. 

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In all honesty, we couldn’t stress-test the phone, and neither could we put its much-anticipated “better battery life” to the test. But, first impressions? Not too flashy. 4G, NFC and the works are also packed into the phone, along with a Mali 450 GPU. Wireless charging, 2GB Ram: just another reason for saying this is more of an S3 v2. The S4 looks and feels exactly like an S3 upgraded to keep it competitive. Perhaps that’s what it actually is. You certainly won’t notice the difference while travelling in a bus.

Await a complete review by ReadMe.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. If your buying a phone to showoff in the bus, that's pathetic. I actually didn't learn anything new in this article. If you cant do a proper review, best not do it. I think the limited number of phones on the market might have affected the outcome of this article. Far apart from your old reviews.

  2. @Viewer
    Thanks for your time, and it's nice to see that you've read my previous work!
    I would however like you to consider all possible meanings of the phrase "First Impressions".
    🙂

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