US Senate votes to end ISP privacy regulations. The “Turkish Crime Family” demand $100,000 in iTunes gift cards for iCloud hack. Android O needs a name. Supreme Court hears printer ink patent case. Tesla Model 3 is on the way. Samsung Galaxy S8’s big announcement is coming this week. US and UK ban electronics bigger than a phone on flights from Middle Eastern countries by Middle Eastern carriers. Google screws up messaging – again.
–Georgia Dow has two VR rooms in her house.
–Rob Reid knows what music aliens like best.
–Nathan Olivarez-Giles wants a car with a naturally aspirated engine.
The Samsung Galaxy line is one of the biggest success stories in Android handset history. It’s such a hit, even Google is reportedly at odds with Samsung’s success in its mobile business. The name “Galaxy” could conceivably become synonymous with the word “Android.” In some cases, it already has.
It’s been a crazy 12 months for Samsung. It was part a heady back-and-forth lawsuit with Apple about patent trademarks, and the Galaxy S III has become one of the best-selling Android handsets of the last year. Now the company is launching the Galaxy S 4 with the tagline of “life companion.” This slogan is indicative of the way Samsung sees itself. The company has infiltrated the consumer technology world with easy-to-use gadgets that it hopes will integrate perfectly into your life. The Galaxy S 4 is no different.
We spent time with the S 4 to test out how the phone looks, feels, and works. There are some newer exciting features that come with Samsung’s latest handset, including interface tweaks and applications with TouchWiz. It’s important to note that the handset Ars reviewed is the Sprint version, and the Galaxy S III handset we’re comparing it to is on Verizon Wireless. Keep that in mind as you consider the S 4 for yourself.
Body and build
Specs at a glance: Samsung Galaxy S 4
Screen 1920×1080 4.99″ (441 ppi) Super AMOLED
OS Android 4.2.2 with TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0
CPU Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
Storage 16, 32, or 64GB NAND flash, expandable via microSD
Networking 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA
Ports Micro-USB, headphones
Camera 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
Size 5.38″ × 2.75″ × 0.31″ (136.6 × 69.8 × 7.9 mm)
Weight 4.06 oz. (130 g)
Battery 2600 mAh
Starting price $199.99 at AT&T with two-year contract; $149 at Sprint; $149.99 at T-Mobile; TBD at Verizon Wireless and US Cellular
Sensor Ambient light sensor, GPS, thermometer, barometer, proximity sensor, gesture sensor, RGB light sensor
Other perks Extra accessories for purchase
The Galaxy S 4 looks and feels like an upgraded version of its older sibling. Its brushed aluminum framing is stylish, and it matches the aesthetic of other recent handsets. Although it boasts a bigger screen, Samsung kept a similar size and weight to the Galaxy S III; at 5.38 × 2.75 × 0.31 inches, the S 4 is only a few millimeters thinner and about three grams lighter. Samsung stuck with the same button placement—the power button is on the right side of the chassis, a volume rocker is on the left side, a home button is on the front, and the light-up hardware buttons are still in the same place. Samsung seems to have stuck with a signature chassis model now that it’s a well-known handset maker, making it easily recognizable out in the wild as a “Samsung phone.” At first glance, the Galaxy S 4 is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.
The handset comes in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flavors, with the ability to add up to 64GB of additional storage with a microSD card. The Galaxy S 4 also features a replaceable 2,600 mAh battery pack, Qi-standardized wireless charging, NFC capabilities, and LTE. Annoyingly, the audio speaker still resides on the back of the device, so you’ll have to place it face-down if you’re planning on streaming music through it at a listenable volume. We tried the phone out with Samsung’s flip covers so that the unit would stay protected throughout the review process, but it was a little annoying trying to hold the phone to take pictures, for instance, because the flap had to be held open.