back to article Review: Samsung Galaxy S4

In purely commercial terms, the Samsung Galaxy S III was always going to be a tough act to follow. After all, it established and then cemented Samsung’s position as the number one smartphone maker by volume - and the only one to give Apple the collywobbles. I suspect that’s why Samsung has played it safe and opted for …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's a pretty nice

    looking iPhone you got there.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: That's a pretty nice

      iPhone 12?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's a pretty nice

      I wonder if the iphone gets a slating for keeping it's 'home button' ???

      1. William Donelson
        FAIL

        Re: That's a pretty nice

        I hate how Android takes up screen space to put "home" button and two others, and nothing else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's a pretty nice

          Yeah, if this ran Windows Phone it would be a winner. Android sucks in so many ways.

          1. MacGyver
            Trollface

            Re: That's a pretty nice

            AC, it's hard to tell sarcasm with text, next time use "/sarcasm" at the end, because I know you can't be serious.

    3. DF118

      Re: That's a pretty nice

      Obvious troll is obvious

  2. Pie

    Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

    Not seen any for sale only the 16Gb seems to be available at the moment, and you can't load apps to the sd card....

    But looking at the phone it appears to have a great screen, and feels good in the hand to me...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

      > you can't load apps to the sd card....

      Thanks for raising that point, Pie.

      8 GB would once have been overkill for app storage, but it appears the trend is for apps to be much bigger these days, especially games.

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2212114

      I hadn't realised it was an Android issue from 4.0... Not really an advance! It's a bit like the time Android was updated and no longer connected to computers as MSC (though I think some phones -Xperia Z? - retain an option to do so, removing a little hurdle for Mac and Linux users)

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

      AFAIK, not in America. No biggie in this case thanks to support for 64GB SDXC Micro cards and USB On-the-Go. I'd be more inclined to use USB OTG if they provide an OTG cable that provides BOTH the USB host socket AND power (that's my one beef with USB OTG--you typically can't both charge the phone and run On the Go at the same time).

    3. illiad

      Re: Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

      AT&T in US has it..

    4. illiad

      Re: Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

      how is your google fu???

      https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=32gb+samsung&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb#cr=countryUK|countryGB&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=Gwn&hl=en&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB%3Aofficial&channel=fflb&tbs=ctr:countryUK|countryGB&sclient=psy-ab&q=32gb+s4+site:co.uk&oq=32gb+s4+site:co.uk&gs_l=serp.3...45872.51291.1.51691.11.11.0.0.0.0.53.491.11.11.0...0.0...1c.1.14.psy-ab.ENood2eH_Dw&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46751780,d.bGE&fp=ba64e33975863f3&biw=1276&bih=659

      1. illiad

        Re: Are the 32Gb or 64Gb version available yet?

        too much?? then goto to google, type in

        32gb s4 site:co.uk

        ok??? :D

  3. tommy060289
    Stop

    I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

    Apple constantly get moaned at for this and now people are of Samsung, but at the end of the day what do people want to come out? People seem to expect the industrial engine in the first generation, the jet engine in the second and time travel in the third generation.

    There really is very little to revolutionise the smart phone market at the moment so it will probably be a while before the next revolution comes along so at the moment all there is is to improve on the offerings that are there at the moment i.e., more power, better battery life, slightly better specs but at the end of the day speed is not going to revolutionise the market, so can we please stop this 'oh company X has lost its way - its new phone doesn't even have time travel!'

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      Agreed, its daft to bemoan a product category for becoming mature.

      I like it that manufacturers are needing to think harder than just cramming bigger/faster components inside a case, and are trying other ways to suit the needs of the user, such as making phones more durable and waterproof- something that has been standard feature on most wristwatches for years. (Though as someone pointed out the other day about the Xperia Z - it doesn't really need to be waterproof because it is too big to be accidentally dropped in a pint glass!)

      The IR transmitter on this S IV seems to me to be a sensible, useful addition- it's a fair assumption that most people who might buy a high-end phone will have several black boxes under their television set. Eyeball tracking? Meh.

      1. Timmay
        Trollface

        Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

        Actually, people who have the money to buy a high-end phone probably have the money to buy a decent all-in-one type remote, a la Logitech Harmony :)

        1. Al Taylor

          Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

          Fair comments all but Nokia moved the game on in regards to photography with the Lumia 920's mechanically stabilized camera and HTC has done similar for sound quality with the One's forward facing loudspeakers. Granted the S4 is better than the S3 in all ways but there's no single feature that tries to redefine the genre. I don't blame Samsung for playing it safe but a wee bit more adventurousness wouldn't have gone amiss.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

            "Granted the S4 is better than the S3 in all ways ..." -NOT SO, they disconnected the FM Radio that is part of the chipset, and was usable in all previous Galaxies, and is also supported by stock Android. Why strip out basic core specs and introduce duplicate browsers. players etc. ?

            2 more points: it would help your smartphone reviews if you could rate each phone for droptest survival.

            A design improvement would be, like in the HTC One, to have the speaker(s) facing the user, not away from the user

        2. Kevin 6

          Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

          I'm pretty sure it does more then the logitech harmony

          my samsung tablet has the option too, and if they included peel (the program on the tablet) the program will connect to the internet tell you what is on, and offer 1 button graphical channel changing along with a synopsis of the show that is currently on. It also has brows able categories.

          Its actually a very nice program I personally just don't find it extremely useful as I don't watch much TV, but when I do want to see something its a couple thousand times faster then going through my satellites programming guide to look if a certain show is on, and to find the channel.

    2. dougal83

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      Agreed. About time iOS had an overhaul though... it's still crap.

    3. DougS Silver badge
      Facepalm

      IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

      Spot on. There haven't been any true innovations in phones for several years now.

      However, I can't believe someone singled out IR as a useful innovation. This was already added to phones a decade ago and rightly abandoned as it saw little use aside from smartasses surreptitiously turning off/changing channels on TVs/monitors located in public places. I suspect that will cover 98% of its usage this time around as well, but thanks to how easy it will now be to download codes to your phone for every possible device out there it'll be done 100x more often.

      1. DRendar

        Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

        Horses for courses mate, to me at least this is an extremely useful addition.

        I currently have 5 remote controls in my living room. One of them can almost do everything, but it's not all that nice to use - in particular the ff,rw, play, pause, stop buttons aren't in the places that the Sky remote has trained my fingers to think they are meaning I have to look at the remote to find stuff, which is difficult in grew dark... Also there's no record or colour buttons, and no Media/hub button for the telly to access iPlayer / lovefilm.

        But the main problem is actually *finding* the bastard things, undoubtedly my 20month old squirrel/daughter, the mrs or I will have absent mindedly left them in the kitchen, on the computer desk or at the bottom of a toybox.

        Having a genuinely universal remote in my pocket will be an absolute godsend, and if I lose it, I can just ring it from the housephone... fecking awesome! Add that to the XBMC remote that is already on my phone anyway and we're onto a winner-100% control of all my devices from a device that's nearly impossible to lose.

        Eeeexcellent.

        1. The Original Steve

          Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

          It's called a Logitech Harmony. Start at under £30 and if it cant be setup to work with all your kit nothing will.

          Some are so big you just can't lose them!

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

            If it saves having multiple devices kicking around then I'm happy. After all, that's why I updated a Moto A1000 to a S2 and dumped various other pieces of kit I carried around to cover the parts the Moto missed

            To cover all the bases, it'd be great if the phone had a DECT module onboard, 433MHZ RF remote (power/light controls) and a rollup 10-inch screen (as seen on TekWar).

            Some of that is still SF, but others are perfectly doable. My home router/PBX (FritzBox 7390) has a SIP module which works fairly well to the S2 over WiFi, but that comes with WiFi's inherent limitations when it comes to penetrating walls, etc.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

              You want one of those Homer Simpson designed cars - basically that's what it's getting to here. Why not add a can opener, knife and scissors like a swiss army knife? Oh and how about an ethernet port - you never know when you might not have wifi.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

          Except what when you leave the room with your phone and there is now no remote. As someone else said Logitech Harmony is your solution not a gimmick IR - what next a centronics-on-the-go cable?

          1. DRendar
            Trollface

            Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

            "Except what when you leave the room with your phone and there is now no remote. As someone else said Logitech Harmony is your solution not a gimmick IR"

            Come on AC that's a strawman argument if I ever saw one, and you know that otherwise you wouldn't be posting AC.

            Why would *I* want the remote if I'm not in the room? I'm not suggesting that the phone completely replace the remotes. I'm hardly going to get this phone and immediately pack away all the remotes into the atic and just say bollocks to the mrs (although she has a Galaxy Tab2 7.0 so has this capability also).

            It's called a feature. An additional function that the device is able to perform, and to me and a LOT of other people a damn useful one.

            Why do people like you bemoan additional features just because you don't see a reason for it yourself? There's probably 1/2 a dozen features on the phone that I'll never use, but I'm not going to bellyache on here saying that it's a pointless feature. Pointless for me, yes, pointless for everyone - highly unlikely.

            And the Logitech Harmony, can't run the XBMC remote!

            "what next a centronics-on-the-go cable"

            What you mean like a USBOTG + USBCentronics cable and PrinterShare Premium?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

              Well if you have a remote what's the need of it on your phone. IR is a step back and more a sign of Samsung looking for something to try and make this lacklustre release look any better.

              What's the saying - you can't shine a...

              Basically it's a S3s ;)

          2. Anonymous Coward #69

            Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

            Uhm, who's to say that you're the only one with an S4? Presumably couples will buy the same / similar hardware.

            Plus, in 3-5 years after a hardware upgrade, you'll have a universal controller for free since you can just leave the thing in the living room. Reduce, reuse, right?

        3. mIRCat
          Coat

          Re: IR is NOT a useful addition to a phone

          "Undoubtedly my 20month old squirrel/daughter, the mrs or I"

          How did you manage to adopt a squirrel? Was it for tax purposes?

          Most importantly does she ride in your coat pocket?

    4. Anthony Chambers
      Stop

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      I'm just fed up of the phrase. Every review of every iPhone, Galaxy S, even Ford Fiestas currently states "more evolution than revolution". Is it the buzzphrase of the moment or what? It's predictably included in pretty much every review of everything these days, and states the bloody obvious! Stop it reviewers. Stop it!

    5. t.est

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      Oh there is more to revolutionize, but because it's all business and little passion for it, it's gonna take years and years to happen.

    6. BigAndos

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      I agree. I think my iPhone 4S does everything I could ever reasonably need of a smart phone. However, I would just like better battery life and network reception. Those kind of features are now the differentiator for me, I may well jump the fence to Samsung when my contract is up.

    7. Anonymous Coward #69

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      Except APL hasn't done anything of note for the past 3-5 years. Name one thing they added that no other had within the past 5-10 years?

      There's like two things that I can think of that wasn't available before. A voice assistant isn't one of them, as many people believe -- they just took an application on their own store, improved it slightly, integrated into the system. Meanwhile, Android has widgets (homescreen and lockscreen), expandable notifications (so you don't actually have to go into an application to respond to a message, for example), a system to make sure every component (i.e. mapping, text messaging, homescreen) can be seamlessly replaced by downloading an app on the Play Store.

      Samsung's hardware added burst fire camera (S3), touchless gestures based on eye movement (S3), IR blaster (S4, one of the most overlooked feature IMHO).

      So no, I don't get where people get off saying Samsung and Google have not been evolving / revolving (?) their software.

    8. mIRCat
      Coat

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      "so can we please stop this 'oh company X has lost its way - its new phone doesn't even have time travel!'"

      I believe that's the Mark 40 you're thinking of.

      Oh look, a banana. I love bananas.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: I really get tired of this bemoaning 'evolution instead of revolution'

      So where is your input as to where, when, how and in what form, will he next amazingly amazing step come?

      Personally I am so amazed that I can hardly wait for my POX basic 3G phone to expire after another battery or two - and I will have to get a new phone then.... in hopefully 3 to 5 years.

      6 years will be better, and 7 years will be remarkable.

      I will have to replace it eventually, as I can only sodder so many external connecctions and replace key switches, while my phone becomes the technical equivalent of a Edison wax cylinder in a gramophone store.

  4. Efros

    LIke Billy Connolly my inner welder is screaming "£580 for a fucking phone!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £580 for a fucking phone!

      though, to be fair, that part of the UI design did require a lot of testing.

    2. Dave Fox
      Megaphone

      Except that it isn't though really is it?

      It's all very well screaming "£580 for a fucking phone!" if that is all that it was, but for many people these days, it's something else.

      I have a Galaxy Note 2, which I absolutely love, but I use it more for apps, web-browsing, movies, music, navigation, and exercising tracking, than I do for making calls. Yes, it's still my primary phone, but on average I probably only use it for 20 minutes or so a day to actually make and receive phone calls. The rest of the the time I'm using it is for its myriad other functionalities, that in years gone by I'd have had to have separate, expensive, devices to accomplish.

      If you just want a phone, there are thousands of alternatives out there that do not cost the earth!

      1. Efros
        Pint

        Re: Except that it isn't though really is it?

        Indeed there is and I have one, it's a phone cost me $50 up front, annual usage 1500 minutes, annual phone bill $99. All the other stuff I use my tablet for :)

    3. Shagbag

      Agreed

      I know times are tough in the PC market but if the Raspberry Pi can be sold at cost for £31, I fail to see how "high end" smartphones can justify the £££ price tags. That and the record profits from Samsung and Apple all indicate the consumer is getting the shaft. With no mercy.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Agreed

        > Raspberry Pi can be sold at cost for £31

        I think you will find the number of total logic gates in the phone to be at least one and maybe a couple of order of magnitudes greater than a Pi. Radio chipsets are actually a significant portion of the cost as well. Lots of wizardry and patents you have to pay for.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Agreed

          That is so ridiculous - yes a Casio £5 watch tells the time so why should anyone sell a watch for more. The Raspberry Pi is good for what it is - but it's no smartphone - has no screen, radio, wifi, gps, battery and god knows what else.

      2. Goldmember

        Re: Agreed

        "I fail to see how "high end" smartphones can justify the £££ price tags"

        The top end smart phones can do WAY more than a Pi. The ability and spec of the boards, cameras and chips aside though, you have other considerations. Not all of the components will be off the shelf like the Pi. There's prototyping, the slimming down of components to keep the phone thin (which costs a shitload), the design, development and purchase of the latest touchscreens - one of the most expensive components, hordes of designers and testers for the ergonomics, the phone design, design and coding of the ROM (Samsung are very far removed from stock droid these days), power considerations including slimmed down batteries and low consumption where possible. Then there's serious marketing once you actually have your finished product.

        In short, it costs tens of millions to develop the latest phone. Obviously they add a decent markup on the phones; they aren't a charity like the pi foundation. But a few hundred pounds can be justified when you seriously consider the R&D that goes into a product like this.

        1. Magnus Ramage

          Re: Agreed

          @Goldmember: It might be justified, but it's still a lot of money.

    4. Axel
      Boffin

      It's not 580 for a phone, it's 580 for a tiny PC, that can do phone stuff too.

  5. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    I've had mine since Friday

    1 - the screen is SUPERB

    2 - screen touch is light and responsive

    3 - no noticeable lag on anything, that processor goes like stink

    4 - Battery life of two days definitely achievable with light use

    Very happy with it so far. And the UI layer isn't IMHO as bad as the reviewer suggests, having said that there is a lot of bundled crapware to be uninstalled or disabled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've had mine since Friday

      Don't get me wrong. It's a good thing that you are happy with your purchase, and if it's got everything you're looking for in a phone so much the better.

      But are we now applauding the fact you can get two days out of a battery of you don't use your phone too much ? That does not sound like progress to me.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        It's true my Nokia 6110 could run for a week on a 900mAh battery. But all it had to/could do was handle GSM voice calls. It's not surprising that a 4G/Wifi/GPS phone with a 1920x1080 screen needs an order of magnitude more power. It would be nice if batteries had improved to the same extent, but "ye cannae change the laws of physicselectrochemistry, Cap'n".

      2. GeorgeTuk

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        @ Peter R. 1

        That would be a more general industry question to be brought up at one of the big conferences they love doing for the industry now, CEBIT I think its called.

        I am for one am pleased its starting to go this way again as it means, being a lite-ish user I will not be thinking about all day where will I charge it and how much should I use it. That is much harder on holiday as I found out recently!

        Its an issue I have with current HTC One S.

        Either way not too churlish as they are company devices so not going to argue against a new phone!

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: I've had mine since Friday

          > it means, being a lite-ish user

          If you are a lite user why the hell buy a top of the line phone unless you enjoy pissing money?

          1. Monty Burns

            Re: I've had mine since Friday

            Because he can? ;)

            £600 might be a lot to you, to some it's not.... and it also depends on your priorities. Some people value cars, some women, some tv systems, some ... phones.

          2. GeorgeTuk

            Re: I've had mine since Friday

            @asdf

            Maybe his company pays for it like mine? When not at work I could easily be a lite-ish user.

      3. fixit_f
        Trollface

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        Just being realistic - the battery life matches the S2 it replaces. Given that it has a bigger, brighter screen and a massive CPU that's sort of progress, isn't it?

        These things do loads more than old feature phones used to do, so it's unfair to compare them really.

        1. Mark .

          Re: I've had mine since Friday

          Nitpick, you probably mean dumb phones. Feature phones were/are lower end smartphones marketed with a different name - and my 2005 feature phone had terrible battery life (struggled to last 24 hours even on standby; using Internet for web browsing quickly drained the battery), my Nexus smartphone lasts a lot longer (with the longest battery life being on my Nokia 5800 smartphone, probably managing around twice the length of my Nexus on average).

      4. Simon Barker

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        @Peter R. 1

        Yes we are applauding that you can get 2 days out of one of the largest and fastest smart phones, not to detract from your point that battery life for smart phones could do with improving all round but this Samsung sounds like it's on the better side of battery life.

        Let's not pretend there aren't other options either but you can't fairly complain the battery doesn't last a week if you're going to get one of the biggest screens with a high end soc.

      5. Rob

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        I gave up waiting for industry to get there battery technology sorted out and went and bought a mini-gorilla (Powertraveller). Covers pretty much all of our devices in the house now including the laptops!

    2. jason 7
      Devil

      Re: I've had mine since Friday

      Yes its all down to how you use your phone.

      With my Nexus 4, if I use it purely for calls and texts then I can squeeze 4 days out of it. If I add in email and internet that goes to just over 2 days.

      If however you use it like a Nintendo DS then surprise surprise you get just a few hours of screen time.

      So buy a DS.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've had mine since Friday

      Hope you weren't expecting an FM radio to be in it, they deleted that which seems a bit strange considering they put one in the S3. If you want to listen now you have to use internet radio and eat up your data bundle to listen to something that was free on the previous generation.

      Very strange decison, I'll stick with my S3

      1. illiad

        Re: I've had mine since Friday

        If you need a radio, Why do you not just get a very similar radio like most people use?? plus it means you wont waste your phone battery!!

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kubik-Player-Radio-Expandable-MicroSD/dp/B0041MGZOI/ref=pd_vtp_nm_6#productDescription

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ho-hum

    A colleague brought one into work, and we all crowded round like good geeks to get a look. I didn't get much time actually playing with it but first impressions were that it was an excellent bit of kit, very fast, and with an truly outstanding screen, really a mini-tablet. On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets and probably liable to tip out (expensively) from the majority of pockets big enough for it. Whilst it's fast, the Sammy GUI is simply pants compared to Sense, and it doesn't even come with predictive text. I do like the S4, it is certainly at least a match and in many ways better than any current iPhone (and not only does it have the detachable battery all iPhones lack, the S4 will charge off other vendors' chargers - tested with HTC and Blackberry models), but I couldn't help thinking that I still prefer the HTC One.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ho-hum

      That is because predictive text is the spawn of satans curry turds

      I wont go as far as to say anyone who uses predictive text is a devient and obviously defective, but I will think it very loudly.

      :)

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: AC Re: Ho-hum

        ".....predictive text is the spawn of satans curry turds...." Excellent! But predictive text is only bad when poorly implemented, such as the very annoying Apple version which doesn't just offer you what it thinks you want but also corrects your text regardless, leading to some hilarious errors.

      2. illiad

        Re: Ho-hum

        could be someone switch it off??? looks like you dont know android.. there are lots of different 'keyboards' to download from 'google play market' with different ways of predicting text... dont let someone else's jaded ideas get in the way... 'touchpal' is a very good one.

    2. Jedit
      Coat

      "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

      How small are your pockets? My S4 fits comfortably into my shirt pocket with nothing sticking out. I'd have to bend 90 degrees at the waist to risk it tipping.

      Also, don't use the Samsung generic keyboard. Gingerbread Keyboard is free, better and comes with the predictive text we all crave - though for some reason its first suggestion for "di" is "dildo". So don't take too many shortcuts when typing "didn't", or your texts could become a whole lot more fun.

      Mine is, of course, the one with the Galaxy S4 in the pocket.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Jedit Re: "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

        "How small are your pockets?....." It's a continued grumble in the office that our work Blackberrys are not "cool" but you can at least put them in your jeans pocket without castrating yourself everytime you sit down. Consequently, the BBs go everywhere with their owners, whereas other phones we have tried have often been left on the desk.

        "..... Gingerbread Keyboard is free, better and comes with the predictive text we all crave....." Thanks, I'll point my colleague in that direction. Interestingly, given uknutz comment below, we could not find a setting for predictive text on my mate's S4. His was a Vodafone one, I wonder if that makes a difference?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Jedit "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

          "It's a continued grumble in the office that our work Blackberrys are not "cool" but you can at least put them in your jeans pocket without castrating yourself everytime you sit down. Consequently, the BBs go everywhere with their owners, whereas other phones we have tried have often been left on the desk."

          Have you considered a belt clip pouch? Not the quick-release types (HATE them--they come loose at the worst moments) but simple flip cover affairs with magnetic closures. I've been using these for years (since the N95) and found them to be the best solution for taking a phone with me. A comfortable case all to itself reduces scratch risks, the fact your legs can't squash the phone reduces crack/break risk, and it's pretty easy to get out if need be (and in case you ask, I also normally wear the clip under a shirt or the like so it isn't an obvious target for theft).

          1. mickey mouse the fith

            Re: Jedit "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

            "Have you considered a belt clip pouch? Not the quick-release types (HATE them--they come loose at the worst moments) but simple flip cover affairs with magnetic closures."

            I have always used a belt clip, much more comfortable than having it weigh down a pocket. Get a waterproof one and your all set for anything the elements throw at you.

            Be careful with cheap magnetic closures, in some cases they can bugger up the magnetometer sensor in the phone, leading to dodgy compass readings in apps until you recalibrate. I read somewhere that magnets can perminently damage some phones if exposed for long enough. I used to love the armour plated holster my blackberry storm had, it switched the screen on via a magnet when you removed it, proper space age (the phone was fucking awful in every other respect however).

            1. MacGyver
              Trollface

              Re: Jedit "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

              "Have you considered a belt clip pouch?" -mm5th

              Batman, is that you?

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Charles 9 Re: Jedit "On the downside, being a mini-tablet it was too big for most pockets "

            ".....Have you considered a belt clip pouch....." Erm.... Do you use pocket protector for your pens? I'm told they're a good idea too, as long as you don't mind looking too much like an über dork!

    3. ecofeco Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ho-hum

      Phablet. The word you are looking for is "phablet".

    4. Lee Colclough
      Gimp

      Re: Ho-hum

      Doesn't even come with predictive text?

      My S4 seems to be quite well provisioned in this regard - when I'm typing SMS or email it's all predicty in a little bar above the keyboard. The fact that it also has slide-keyboard support built in is icing on the cake.

      ps: Yes it's got a plastic back. This is a good thing rather than a bad thing, so when I inevitably put a honking great scratch in it I can replace it with another back from Ebay for 3 quid. Try that with an aluminium unibody. The only drawback with a plastic back is the frigging thing keeps getting stuck on my Clingo car mount.

  7. Alan Watson
    FAIL

    No Exynos in the US

    Actually the US only have the same Qualcomm model as the UK (with variants for different networks). No Exynos models there apart from grey market imports.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: No Exynos in the US

      All the US models are different. The Stock model can't do LTE in the US (none of them do Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, or 20). Each US model supports that carrier's LTE bands (T-Mobile USA and AT&T use 4 and 17, Sprint uses 25). No skin off my nose; the other bands my phone supports are useable where I go abroad as well.

    2. zanto
      Mushroom

      Re: No Exynos in the US

      the qualcomm chip is actually better. a15 blowing the krait out of the water is just a myth. look at the comparison over at gsmarena.com where they have benchmarks between the 2 SGS4 models.

      http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4_vs_htc_one-review-913p6.php

      you get virtually identical performance at a fraction of the power consumption.

      "I have seen the future.... and it breathes fire"

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: zanto

        Hold on a second, where's the test supporting your statement "at a fraction of the power consumption"?

        1. zanto
          Pint

          Re: zanto

          http://www.anandtech.com/show/6536/arm-vs-x86-the-real-showdown

          a general discussion on krait v/s a15 v/s atom in terms of power performance. there are a number of tests with varying results, but generally the qualcomm chip comes out on top.

          http://www.extremetech.com/computing/144778-atom-vs-cortex-a15-vs-krait-vs-tegra-3-which-mobile-cpu-is-the-most-power-efficient

          this is a rehash of the Anandtech article which tells the same thing.

          last but not least, the very article to which we're commenting on, talks about the phone not heating up even under heavy cpu load.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windowed apps

    "only Samsung-jigged apps work in windows " - this is false. On my S4, I have google maps, ezpdf, facebook, mxplayer, yatse, youtube, mobisystems office suite pro, etc. as windowed apps.

    As for the aesthetics, I also don't like the One "industrial design", but I don't go around insisting my taste is the true taste. There was a time when only fanbois ranted on about aesthetics, after having lost the functionality battle. Now they have been joined by HTC One admirers...

    1. GeorgeTuk

      Re: Windowed apps

      I read the article earlier, and the author simply said he didn't like it as much which is fine, he didn't at any point say it wasn't as good and he was the authority on it.

    2. Al Taylor
      Alert

      Re: Windowed apps

      Granted those apps you listed are supported by the Samsung multiple window system but many others including iMDb, BBC News, the official Wikipedia app, Currents, Google Drive, Glympse. K9 Mail, Skype and TuneIn Radio are not.

  9. xehpuk
    Thumb Up

    removable battery YES!

    "thanks to the increasingly rare features of a removable battery and a micro SD slot, it will be the default choice for many canny smartphone users"

    Thats me!

    I have had many phones. If left unused say half a year the battery goes swollen, must be replaced. But not only that some phones crack when this happens, others just pop their back lid off.

    A good ifixit score is nice, like replacing the micro USB connector if worn out. Only thing missing here is watertight, thats probably easier with a non replacable battery.

    PS

    I have since learned that li-Ion batterys must NEVER be stored fully charged! They shall be 40% charged and stored at +4 Celsius, but still.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: removable battery YES!

      >Only thing missing here is watertight, thats probably easier with a non replacable battery.

      You would have thought so, but the Sony Xperia Go (a 4" waterproof Android phone) has a removable battery, as does the upcoming 4.6" Xperia ZR.

      The Xperia Go has a rubbery seal all the way around the battery/SIM bay, presumably the ZR is similar.

  10. FlappySocks

    If you dont like TouchWiz, then just install Nova. Problem solved.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I think I'll wait a bit for some more custom ROMs to appear. Since I got mine free and clear, I just need to unlock it, then root it (already a technique out for it). Many of the custom ROMs prefer the Trebuchet home screen, and I'm rather fond of its simplicity.

      1. MacGyver
        Linux

        Rooty root.

        I too buy my phones contract free, and tend to pick Samsung because of the great aftermarket ROM support, however, because of the "different hardware per country" and some sort of "detect tamper and brick" crap Samsung is pulling with the new S4, Cyanogenmod have said they aren't going to support it officially. I hope that other homebrew people don't follow that line of thinking and will figure out how to push Android 6.8 (OreoCookie) on it when it comes around.

        I personally don't understand why if you buy it free and clear, it doesn't come unlocked, with a SU program already installed, and a recovery partition that runs unsigned updates. Hell, we are paying enough money.

    2. Gob Smacked
      Thumb Up

      "If you dont like TouchWiz, then just install Nova. Problem solved."

      Could not agree more. Way better UI than TouchWiz, but you still can use all Sammy's additional goodies.

  11. uknutz

    @Matt Bryant - My S4 came with predictive text. Just turned off by default so I turned it on when setting up the keyboard. No issues with it falling out of pockets either, but then again, I do take care of my devices. in the last 6 years every phone I have had has still been in pristine condition when I have either sold it or passed it on at upgrade time. The amount of people I see through phones down on their desks / in cars / you get the point, is unbelievable. I wish I had that much money to throw around to be honest.

    Anyhow, put a 3rd party launcher on (because you can, that is the point of Android isn't it?) and the UI improves no end. Hardware wise it is all pretty much as good as you are going to get from this generation. Tried the other Androids by Sony , HTC, LG, and this on the whole seemed to be the best of the bunch. Generally happy with the S4.

    1. GeorgeTuk

      Very much the same with the business users here, they do go pale when told if they break in anything other than a freak accident or get lost they will be paying for the replacement. Also require Police crime numbers to report it as stolen to get another seems to put people off.

      We do get very few breakages here!

      Its what I would expect of any company I worked for. The number of people I had saying their old iPhone may break near the time the new one came out was scary.

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      The amount of people I see through phones down on their desks / in cars / you get the point, is unbelievable.

      "throw"

      Unless you are talking about people you are observing on the screen of your phone.

      /Pedant

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In fact, if you were being unkind...

    A part from the bigger screen with more pixels, the faster processor, more memory, both cameras being upgraded and a bigger battery, how could you call this phone a mark II rather than a new model? Is there anything else not changed that's in mobile?

    BTW I haven't got one or will buy one, in fact never had a Samsung phone, it's just a comment about your put down.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: In fact, if you were being unkind...

      Why does anyone need 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 5" phone, FFS?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Many of you will doubtless be relieved to hear of the two things that Samsung has not messed with: the removable battery and the Micro SD slot."

    Well that's my next phone upgrade sorted then, and by the time my contract expires CyanogenMod should hopefully take care of Samsung's software bloat. The lack of an SD slot rules out any of the Nexus phones for me.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      They're already working on it (see xda-developers).

  14. Gordon Pryra

    You need a physical home button with a touch screen

    If only to force your way out of a loop when the touch screen goes tits up, as it did for my S2 today after I installed Splay on the back of an article in this very rag this morning.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: You need a physical home button with a touch screen

      My current phone doesn't have physical Back Home Menu buttons, but instead a capacitive strip under screen... it's okay, but if I played games on it I would prefer micro-switches so that I didn't activate the buttons by accident.

  15. peyton?
    Unhappy

    I wonder how improved the gorilla glass is

    "I attacked it with my car keys with gusto but inflicted no visible damage."

    Next time try dropping it from, oh, about four feet off the ground. That's what cracked mine up.

    To be fair though, the phone still works great - just doesn't look so pretty any more.

  16. Professor Clifton Shallot

    I like real buttons

    " I’m not a fan of the physical home button that Samsung seems wedded to."

    I really like buttons that only press when I tell them too unlike the annoying capacitive buttons Samsung seems wedded to for everything but the home button.

    1. sideshow

      Re: I like real buttons

      One real button and two capacitive buttons is better than the god-awful onscreen buttons found on most other recent Android devices.

  17. William Donelson
    FAIL

    Skateboard requires 2 hands to operate

    As a tablet, it's fine. As a phone, it's terrible. When I am out shopping, biking, or otherwise need to use a phone, I usually only have one hand free.

    I will never own a phone which requires 2 hands to operate. Tablet, yes. Phone, no.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Skateboard requires 2 hands to operate

      What make you think you need two hands to use this as a phone? It's not so big you need two hand to lift it to your ear for example. Or two hands to type in a number (unless you have really small pixie hands - Beedle sized for example). Or you could use a BT headset and voice recognition if you are really desperate enough to need to phone someone whilst cycling along.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Gob Smacked
      Happy

      Re: Skateboard requires 2 hands to operate

      "I will never own a phone which requires 2 hands to operate."

      No problem. There is lots of choice. Personally, I love my 5,5" Galaxy Note 2. I *can* handle the phone: I still have 2 hands and my eyes get some comfort with the big screen too...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android customisation

    This is a good thing. Samsung have chosen what they think users want and in some regions this may be true. However the sick jellybean experience is now VERY good and still VERY light and bloat free.

    What makes android so good that you can revert back to standard nexus experience simply install nova launcher and disable stock apps don't want and they will disappear. Disabling apps basically removes the execute permission and although they still exist they don't run. You can do this on any android device for the built in apps.

  19. AndyC
    FAIL

    I give it a couple of months...

    and then we'll have the dreaded "Insufficient Storage Available" error.

    Thanks to all the crap that Samsung have installed over Android, this may happen faster, depending on how many updates there are to the installed crapware.

    I got 6 months out of my Note before I got this error. I regularly have to delete apps to update others. I now can't update anything because of this error, yet my phone is inisting that it has 240MB device memory available, 5.14GB available on internal memory and 11.16GB available on the 16GB SD card.

    Yes, I'm moaning about my phone, but because Google's engineers are stupid, the S4 will fall foul of this error.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I give it a couple of months...

      Blame partitioning. Internal flash on Android phones tends to get split into different-sized partitions. Learned that when I started rooting and customizing my Android devices (I have four as of know--two are rooted and customized, one rooted but not customized due to lack of mods—it's one of those cheap Allwinner tablets—and my S4, which I'm thinking about rooting a little bit down the road).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: I give it a couple of months...

      Google engineers are smart, that's why Nexus devices only have one storage partition.....

      1. illiad

        Re: I give it a couple of months...

        as smart as being too lazy to offer more options for those that want them???

  20. Charles 9 Silver badge

    I thought I should add in this interesting bit of information. As the S 4's back cover is just a snap-on piece of plastic, it IS altogether possible to replace the cover with something more to your liking. Samsung already sells flip covers the merge the plastic cover with a flip cover for the front of the phone, plus some aftermarket metal covers are showing up, though I read these can interfere with reception.

  21. Richard Neill

    Buttons

    The best button arrangement by far was the HTC DesireHD which has 4 soft-buttons. The physical home button is too hard to press one handed, collects lint, and consumes too much vertical space. But we should go back to the proper Android "Home + Menu + Search + Back" quartet.

    Also, OLED displays aren't as good as LCD, except one thing... they have much better battery life because there's no backlight. For this, I can forgive them for not being able to produce a properly white white (and the consequently ruined color matching).

    Now... where's the laser pointer, heart-rate monitor, hand-warmer, geiger-counter, quantum-cryptography, and self-destruct function?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buttons

      There's plenty of heart rate monitor apps for Android. They work too.

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Buttons

        "There's plenty of heart rate monitor apps for Android. They work too"

        The one that uses the front camera to measure bloodflow in your face is pretty scifi, and scarily accurate in good lighting conditions as well. It also measures your breathing rate via chest movement.

        There are loads that measure heartrate by placing your finger over the camera as well, although they do need a good light source.

        I actually thought these apps were fake until i read up on the tech behind them, very cool.

  22. Tezfair

    Need advice

    My contract due at the end of the month. I have a Lumia.I hate it with a passion, and not that interested in iphones. So which really is the best for average 'old IT man' usage..

    S3, S4, Note, HTC one?

    My ultimate pet hate is transitions. If I press something I want it to happen instantly, not have to wait 0.5 second to watch the icon swooshing around the screen arrrggggg. Can any of these phones turn off any / all screen transitions?

    I have been playing with the S3 at Tescos but spent more time working out how to bypass the 'tesco system lockdown screen' than testing it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Need advice

      Transitions can mostly be disabled.

      So, your choice depends on what are your main needs. If, like me, you appreciate having removable battery and uSD, then you can ignore the HTC One.

      Your choice between S3, S4 and Note can now be narrowed to what screen size you want, if you want to pay the difference to have a faster cpu, longer lasting battery, etc.

    2. Nick De Plume
      Headmaster

      Re: Need advice

      Try them all, but if you like clean simplicity you might like the HTC One. Or the Nexus 4.

    3. illiad

      Re: Need advice

      you need to load the 'go launcher ex' .. free install, no expert stuff needed!

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gau.go.launcherex&feature=search_result

      this will give you total control over all transitions, as well as hundred of others that can be set to 'nothing' if you like!!! :) a lot of other common functions are made a lot easier too...

      the main feature I like (now you have a much bigger screen) is to change the number of icons visible, from 3 x 3 up to 10 x 10!!

      the bottom 'fixed' row (the dock) can be extended so you can have more icons, and just scroll for more! - or just switched off, if you like ..

  23. Hoe
    Happy

    Spot on...

    Couldn't agree more, got mine last week, switching from HTC I soon replaced the launcher to Nova too in fact and now I am delighted with it.

    I do think you should have noted the 'hover preview' or whatever Samsung call it, which annoyingly only works in some apps like Email, in short it allows you to hover your finger near an area of the screen to view a popup with the email content without actually reading the message, you can do it some other places too but not enough, lets hope Google see this and add it to Stock Droid soon.

  24. WatAWorld

    I thought this was a technical magazine.

    Bigger screen, higher resolution, faster processor (in North America an even big upgrade from dual core to quad core) and the author says, "you could accuse it of just being the Galaxy S III Mk. II."

    Why, because it is still black and has rounded corners?

    I thought this was a technical magazine. Appearances don't count. The complete upgrade does.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: I thought this was a technical magazine.

      A technical mag? When you get "reviews" of a line of phones with a technically inferior and still incomplete OS only raving on the beauty of the garish colours and the speed of the transitions, carefully forgetting to mention the limited functionality and huge lockdown? Or where another line of phones always got 10% more points on the reviews just because of the manufacturer's name?

      The reg isn't a technical mag, and hasn't been for years...

      1. illiad

        Re: I thought this was a technical magazine.

        'limited functionality and huge lockdown' ??? are you sure you are not confused with apple or HTC??? NO SD slot, NO chance of replacing the battery....

  25. Dana W
    Meh

    Removable battery. Expansion slot. Everything I want to buy in an Android phone. If it wasn't Samsung, I'd be sold,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      @Dana W

      Why not Samsung? It is not as bad as if it was "rootkit" Sony, "borg" Microsoft, or "patent troll" Apple.

  26. rav

    s4 duo

    Evidentlly there is a dual sim version of S4 in the works and a "ruggedised" version that is waterproof and dustproof, though that may be limited to a Korean release.

  27. mayojs
    Thumb Up

    Well I like it....

    ...except O2's 24 month contract price of £650! Good job it's a business expense...

    I bought a Note 1 when they came out in Oct 2011 and have enjoyed this for 18 months, however carrying around spare batteries was novel but a bit of a chore.

    The S4 is a great compromise, for me smaller, lighter, faster, and battery lasts more than a day!

    Loving the gimmicks/gadgets and the S View cover. The flip cover was a great feature of the Note.

    Have ordered an charger pad & charger panel to slide in between the cover and battery for wireless charging with the S View cover (another expensive acquisition).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well I like it....

      Carrying spare batteries is a mugs game - far simpler just to charge the one it has built in and if absolutely necessary carry an external power pack that can charge any USB device. Yeah a battery is smaller / lighter but I have multiple devices so this is a better solution for me.

      1. Nick De Plume
        Pint

        Re: Well I like it....

        My point exactly! Long time ago used to buy every phone (or similar) with its proprietary spare battery - which brought the issue of charging them off the device. So to power up your spare battery you either have to buy a dedicated charger for it, or keep turning the phone off - popping out full battery - popping the spare in - powering up - charging, etc. Hassle.

        Now I only buy spare power packs as needed. They charge up almost everything with no downtime.

        The only exception is the DSLR, for which I do have spare batteries. But it does come with its seperate battery charger, so it's not an issue.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Well I like it....

        Having the removable battery is less a matter of the spare battery and more a matter of being able to shut the thing off if all else fails. I'm a bit leery about non-removable batteries in spite of the presence of hardwired reset switches. Switches are all well and good...until they break. For my money, there's no peace of mind like being able to pull the plug (or in this case, pull the battery), as I've yet to read of a way a device can keep running for long without a source of electricity.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Apple did this (i.e. a phone that is just a 'evolution') it would not be dealt with so kindly - but essentially this is the plateau Samsung have now reached. See very little reason to buy this over a S3 really?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      That's entirely up to you. I was willing to go cutting edge because my old phone was getting clunky and I wanted to get a phone that would see me though for the next two years, preferably three or more. Admitted, phone tech keep pressing on, but things seem to be plateauing a bit which gives me hope the phone will last a bit longer.

    2. illiad

      RE: If Apple did this...

      If Apple made a new phone with a good sized screen, 1920 x 1280 or even 1080 x 720, 13Mp or bigger cam, AND a SDslot, I would definitely buy one...

      WHY the hell 1136 x 640 ??????

  29. Nick De Plume
    Coat

    Horses for courses, again..

    Well well. Current top-of-the-hill contenders are (without order) Sony Xperia Z, iPhone 5, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia 920, Nexus 4, Htc One and this, the Samsung GS4.

    All have their ways, all have their pluses and niggles. I agree with the reviewer that this is an incremental upgrade of the GS3, but almost on all specs. It is a very good device, but for me, it is does not have the instant "appeal" of, say, the iphone5 / Nexus 4 / HTC One. I deem the spec sheets represent the brute force approach - put every bell and whistle on, and consider it a job well done. I mean is, it is good, but it does not stand out in any way -by way of comparison the Z has the waterproofing (and the almost stock UI), the One has the design and the speakers and the good bar-camera etc.

    IMHO all-round the best Android device Samsung made was the Galaxy S2. If I was going for a new Samsung device, I'd pick the Note line over this - the size difference is no longer significant and it does have the bigger battery and the stylus.

    Some time ago I did consider the GS3, and found it to be unnecessarily complicated UI-wise, and surprisingly laggy on occasion. I am sure the GS4 is lag-free now with the upgraded internals, but UI I personally don't like remains still. It may indeed be a good device to go AOSP, but then I'd get the cheaper Nexus 4. After 720x1280 resolution, 1080x1920 is mostly bragging rights.

    The devotion to removable battery I can understand paying off two-three years down the line, but the expendable memory doesn't hold much water anymore. Almost all new devices have decent storage now, and almost all support USB OTG so you can use a USB stick if needs be, and nobody I know changes their microsd cards. People just stick one in and be done with it. I do get the big expendable storage thing on a tablet where you are more likely to carry around big .mkv files, but not a phone. Even if the display is 1920x1080, the things are still pocket sized.

    Anyway. If you like your Samsung, I'd recommend a GS3 and installing a decent launcher on it, or the bigger Note - for the bigger screen and the greater stamina, and the fun-and-nice-to-have stylus.

    1. Brenda McViking
      Happy

      Re: Horses for courses, again..

      No need for expandable memory - sorry, come again?

      You're aware that these devices can record high definition video, right? and have 13MP cameras? I note that an awful lot of smartphone games have hundreds of megabytes to download now, but by far the best reason for having expandable memory is that you can go very very close to an apple fanboi who forked out $200 extra for the 64GB option and laugh very loudly in his face as you put in your $60 class 10 64GB uSD card to your phone... (in your head, naturally we fandroids tend to be non confrontational and just smirk inside when they see iusers being ripped off by apple, knowing full well our products are far superior)

      Not to mention being apple to view your SLR photos/GoPro footage on the full HD phone screen by swapping memory cards on the road. Yes, it's pocket sized - so what? at 5", it's not far off a printed photograph you used to put in albums back in the last century. I'm aware I'm probably in the minority here with my swapping and changing, but just like 90% of car use is with 1 occupant, doesn't mean you deliberately choose to buy a car that can't take the wife and kids to the beach with the surfboards on the roof for that rare summer weekend.

      I travel a lot. Removable storage media and batteries are an absolute necessity for me, and I'm extremely angry that Nexus and HTC are going the route they are (made my purchasing decision very easy though). The S4 is a pleasure to own, and aside from the official samsung flip case covering the volume button, I have found nothing that I don't get along with in my 2 weeks of ownership. That's a first, in my experience.

      And finally, unlike an iPhone user, I don't care that you can't tell the difference between the S4 and the S3. Because my life doesn't consist of getting everyones approval for my purchasing decisions. Harsh generalisation? How do you know an iPhone 5 user walked into the room? Because they'll tell you...

      1. Nick De Plume
        Facepalm

        Re: Horses for courses, again..

        There is always somebody wrong on the internet! :-D

        All right, in the interest of full disclosure I do own a HTC One and used to use a Nexus 4 (had to give it away, mom's phone was broken).

        If I ever need to tote around more than 10-20 gigs of footage I usually have a USB stick or a portable hard drive with me, along with a cheap, resilient USB OTG cable. I have yet to see a regular smartphone user changing microSD cards on the go, people just pop one in and be done with it for the expected lifespan of the device. The OTG cable also enables me to peruse any GoPro/Contour footage I might have, without the hassle of dismantling enclosures. It'll do the DSLR viewing too as a bonus - no DSLR I've used natively supports microSD, unless you opt for an adapter.

        Whenever I'm on the go, - away from 30" screens and handy outlets - I also own a couple of 12K mAh battery packs that I can toss into the backpack, which can juice up not only my phone but any other small gizmos I might have with me (such as the aforementioned GoPro).

        I have nothing against the S4. I did say so and will repeat again - it is a good capable device. The S4 does look like an S3. You might care, you might not. You should acknowledge some people that are not you might. though. Nor do I have anything against the iphone5, it too is very good in its way (slim, simple). Reiterating my point - "horses for courses" - not everyone needs removable storage, and some geeks - such as yours truly - may have other ways of expanding their storage on demand.

    2. illiad

      Re: Horses for courses, again..

      very true, BUT I would not rely on the USB OTG .... specs are patchy in this area, and I'm afraid most salesmen a would usually be confused if you asked them... like laptops, they are upfront about how fast and hires they are, but then you find it has only 2 USBs????

      Its basically down to 13MP cam, hires screen, 'no touch' controls...

  30. A. Coatsworth
    WTF?

    Thinner and narrower...

    Does anyone, in their right mind, thought the SIII was unbearably bulky? seeing how it sold, I'll guess no.

    So why Samsung, and in fact the whole industry, is locked in this race to make their phones razor-thin and feather-light?

    I mean, I would have preferred a phone with the same dimensions as the SIII, with additional space to fit an even bigger battery... Obviously it's not completely fair to compare the battery life of the Nokias of old to this new generation of smartphones, but it seems to me the current trend (making phones with smaller bodies and bigger screens) is rather absurd.

    But it seems we, as a market, are already accustomed to be grasping for a power outlet at the end of the day, every day, and that is a sad (and it seems avoidable) state of affairs

  31. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    TouchWiz

    I do not understand why people keep on harping about how bad TouchWiz is. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it either, but it's so damn easy to replace I don't understand the big issue.

    Go to Google Play, look up other Launchers and install them (my personal favourite is ADW). If you want to easily experiment until you settle on the Launcher you like, install Home Switcher while you're at it.

    Hey presto - new GUI the easy way.

    Now stop bitching about TouchWiz - it's bad, we know it, move on.

  32. Neoc

    And while we're at it

    ..if you fear the on-board memory will be too small for you, fear not. Yes, Samsung (or Google, they keep pointing fingers at each other) somehow disabled App2SD support... but get yourself an SD card, partition some of it off and format that partition to EXT2 (or EXT4), and install Link2SD from Google Play (you may have to root your phone first, though). You are now once again able to move your large Apps to the partition on the SD card. Or you can use GL2SD to only move the Apps' data rather than the Apps themselves.

  33. thecapsaicinkid
    FAIL

    And still the Nexus 4 with its 6 month old hardware is still the fastest Android device available. Samsung software is horrid.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone not liking the Samsung spin on Android

    Get the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition....

    Samsung hardware, stock Nexus software....

    1. stuartnz
      Thumb Up

      Re: Anyone not liking the Samsung spin on Android

      Yes, I was VERY excited to hear about this new release - so much so I'm now seriously thinking of upgrading from my S3 earlier than planned. A de facto Nexus S4 is the best of both worlds, imo.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My S4

    I got my S4 a few years ago, its a lot more fun than a phone. Everyone should try driving a V8 powered car.

    In the meantime I will enjoy the free FM radio in the S3.

    1. illiad

      Re: My S4

      Boooring I already have a S5.....

  36. Stefing

    A Ferrari wrapped in plastic

    Love the specs, hate the appearance.

    I can see why they've skinned stock so heavily, to attract former fanbois and to differentiate from the Android crowd, but that home key, "Samsung" emblazoned across the top and those Apple-esque square icons - that's why I got the simple elegant Nexus 4 - at half the price.

  37. Greg J Preece

    The line that impressed me most was the one regarding lack of heat buildup. My recent Nexus 4 purchase has underwhelmed me, if I'm honest, and I still regard my S3 as the better phone. One of the Nexus' party tricks is heating up to surprising levels from just about any screen usage longer than a few minutes. It's just not on. That the reviewer was able to game for a considerable time without heat is impressive.

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