Reviews for Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 are in, and the results are mixed. Most reviewers feel that the S4 is a bit bigger, a bit better version of the Galaxy S III. That’s not necessarily bad – just not that exciting.
Let’s start with what’s new on the S4.
The S4 sports a 5-inch screen, 1.9 GHz quad-core processor and a 13 megapixel camera. All of these are improvements over the S III. The 13 megapixel camera is fabulous – one of the best available. Users will be thrilled with the quality. The 5-inch screen is impressive, however the ever growing size of the phone has met with some users finding the S4 a bit unwieldy.
Next, Samsung has loaded the phone with options (and menus). In fact, the sheer volume of options has been one of the criticisms of the S4. Some reviewers have had issue finding their way around the phone and/or learning how to accomplish tasks. There is even an ‘Easy Mode’ option to help users who want a more simplified interface. Still, there are fun new software enhancements, including a health tool and a translator.
Most reviewers are happy with the Galaxy S4, and would recommend it for Android fans. Few reviewers, however, loved the phone so much that they cried out to go get one. Bigger and more isn’t always better. iPhone fans won’t be wowed. And Galaxy 3 III users won’t find that much difference to need to switch.
If the Galaxy S4 interests you, we recommend giving it a test first, and make sure the size isn’t getting too big for your hands. Otherwise, the S4 packs a lot of power and options. But the S4 isn’t a game-changer for most people. It’s a great phone – but unless you really need a new smartphone or simply have to have the larger screen, it’s not an essential upgrade.
The Galaxy S4 will roll out over the next week on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the United States.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.