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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

It’s that time of year: new Android devices are flying at you, left, right and centre. Today we’re not going to be looking at the HTC One or the Nexus 4, but rather taking on the juggernaut – the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The S4 has been portrayed as a ‘naturally perfect’ messiah of a phone by Samsung, but we’ve had a chance to try it out and learn where it delivers and where it falls short.

One of the instantly notable features about this phone is its unbelievable five-inch 441dpi screen. The full HD visuals are stunning and, as we know with Samsung’s Super AMOLED display, are completely unique. My first instinct was to run a graphics-intensive Android game, I must say that it looked stunning and ran without a stutter. In fact, all of the apps I used were lightening quick.

The screen can be operated by hovering your finger over it. With this comes Air View: useful in situations like previewing photos or messages without actually having to open them up, and Air Gesture: this allows you to change the song or pick up a call by simply just waving your hand over the device. These features are well thought out but don’t quite live up to expectations and won’t be practical for the majority of users. For example, information appears when you hover in Flipboard, but not when you do the same on the homepage. It’s difficult to imagine that most people will truly be able to embrace the leaps in technology that Samsung have made with this device.

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Through the front camera, your phone actually knows when you’re looking at it or away. For example, if you’re watching a video and you look away, pause the video until you look back. This is named Smart Pause. The other camera has been upgraded to a 13-megapixel model. Due to the BSI Sensor, it is supposed to be better in the dark, however, it seems like the low-light sensitivity still falls a little short of the mark.

In comparison to the S3 it’s bigger, slimmer and generally more modern. To me it feels a little flimsy, slippery and EXTREMELY light (making Xperia’s feel like bricks). However, if you were a keen user of the S3 or any other Samsung device for that matter, this will suit you down to a tee. The software and design language is extremely similar to that of its predecessor, but more refined.

The battery on the S4 is extremely impressive, and is larger than the majority of batteries used in other smartphones. The 2600mAh size (500mAh bigger than the S3) will guarantee its life throughout a day.

All in all, it’s going to take a while to get used to; this is clearly a gorgeous device which not only lives up to the success of the S3 but continues Samsung’s forward thinking developments. With statements from mail companies this week citing that there has been an “unprecedented demand” for the S4 in Britain and worldwide, this may just be the turning of the tide in the smartphone war.

 4/5

 The Samsung Galaxy S4 was officially available on the 27th of April, 2013.

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