It’s the end of 2014 and some of you might be wondering why we’re doing a review on a device that is almost two years old. Let me try to answer that for you: it’s difficult to give an honest and accurate review on almost any device after a week or two of use. Often users are so excited during the first few weeks of owning their phone, that it makes it hard to think about any negative aspects. With that said, let’s get on to the review!
Samsung went with a very minimalist approach to its design of the Samsung%20Galaxy%20S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)Samsung Galaxy S4. The S4 comes in white, black, red, and purple. Depending on your carrier, you may be limited to specific colors. Outside of the colors available, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is somewhat lacking in design. The body of the S4 is all plastic, which is one of the biggest complaints about the Galaxy S line. Samsung tried to add a sleeker design by adding a metallic accent (paint on plastic) around the rim. However, after a year of use I have noticed that the metallic finish is starting to chip away around the charging port. Although I do not use the headphone jack at all I would expect the same outcome.
I do like the sleek, and slim look of the power, and volume buttons which add a good look to the S4 overall. I originally thought I would have issues knowing when I am pressing up or down on the volume button since it is one solid bar, but I have yet to run into any issues.
The S4 weighs in at 4.59 oz, which is slightly lighter than the Samsung%20Galaxy S III, Blue 16GB (Sprint)S III. I have heard some complaints from users that the S4 is too light; some users worry that they are going to drop the device because it’s so light in their hand. I have had similar concerns when holding the S4, however, putting on a case has dissolved those concerns. The device fits great in my hand and I am able to reach about 95% of the phone’s screen area. To get to the top right corner, I do have to change the phones position or use my other had. The only time I find this an issue is when I am trying to access the quick settings which requires dragging down from the top of the screen.
With that said, I am not overly impressed with the design of the Samsung%20Galaxy%20S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)S4. Samsung improved their design slightly when comparing the S4 to the S III, but not by much. However, most users do not buy the S4 because of its sleek design. S4 users are looking for a high performing tech package with great features.Design90%
Hardware and Display
As mentioned above, users buy the S4 because it’s packed with great hardware and features. With its quad-core processor and 2 MB of RAM, the average user will have plenty of power to do just about anything they need to. I have yet to run into an issue with processing power, but when I am running a processor intensive application the device tends to get hot very quickly. At times it gets so hot that I fear the device might get damaged, but that hasn’t stopped my Clash of Clans domination yet!
One of the best-selling points of the Samsung%20Galaxy%20S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)S4 is its ability to add additional storage. The S4 allows you to add up to 64 GB of external storage which is a huge benefit. After only 6 months of use i noticed that the external storage has came in handy. However, for the typical user, 16 GB of storage is plenty. Unless you take a crazy amount of pictures and videos, and never want to transfer them to your computer. Whether or not you need the extra storage space, it’s nice to have the option. (I can smell the jealousy of iPhone users from miles away)
The S4 has a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front facing camera. Which, at the time of its release, blew away the HTC ONE M8 (4 megapixels), and iPhone 5 (8 megapixels). In addition, the S4’s camcorder shoots 1920 x 1080 (1080p). After playing around with the camera I have been very impressed with the picture quality, however there are times that fast moving objects start to blur. I have also noticed that you need to be extra still when taking pictures in its default mode. Without absolute stillness, many of your pictures will be a little blurry. Some notable camera features include auto-focus, touch to focus, digital image stabilization, face detection, smile detection, exposure compensation, white balance presets, panorama scenes, and voice activation.
When it comes to the display, the S4 has an eye popping 1080×1920 pixel resolution, and a 441 ppi pixel density. Don’t ask me why a 5 inch display needs to have a 1080p resolution, as the naked eye can’t tell the difference on such a small display, but what does matter (to our eyes) is the how sharp and rich the image is on the display. The Samsung Galaxy S4’s HD AMOLED display has sharp and vivid colors, which make games, photos, and videos look great.
Here is a quick overview of the S4’s specs:
|OS||Android (4.4.2, 4.3, 4.2.2)|
|Dimensions||5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches (136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm)|
|Weight||4.59 oz (130 g)|
|Screen Size||5.0 inches|
|Screen Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (1080p)|
|Pixel Density||441 ppi|
|Camcorder||1920×1080 (1080p) (30 fps)|
|Front-facing Camera||2 megapixels|
|System Chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T|
|Processor||Quad core, 1900 MHz, Krait|
|System Memory||2048 MB RAM|
|Built-in Storage||32 GB or 64 GB|
|Storage Expansion||microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 64 GB|
|Stand-by Time 3G||17.00 hours|
|Stand-by Time 4G||15.4 days (370|
Hardware and Display98%
Currently, the Samsung%20Galaxy%20S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)Samsung Galaxy S4 is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but is anxiously waiting for Android 5.0 Lollipop. Along with Android 4.4.2, the S4 runs Touch Wiz as its user interface. The UI is relatively easy to navigate but looks a little outdated.
One major benefit to the S4’s interface is its settings shortcuts. Rather than having to navigate through the settings menu, users have the ability to customize their shortcut menu. Samsung allows you to have up to 15 shortcut icons on the shortcut menu, which makes life a little easier when you need to turn on or off different features.
If you are new to the smartphone world, or Touch Wiz is a little too much for you, users have the ability to turn on “Easy Mode”. While in Easy Mode, users are given standard applications on their home screen. Users are also limited to 15 applications on their home screens, and all but two of the applications are preset.
Touch Wiz allows you to have up to 7 home screens which can hold up to 16 applications a page. I don’t see why one would ever need this many applications since you have the ability to use folders, but they’re there if you want them. Samsung also allows you to remove any unused pages, and lets you can decide which page is your default home page. If you are one that likes to use widgets, the S4 has a large amount of widgets to choose from, which can be used in place of applications on your home screens.
Other than having an bit of an outdated look, Touch Wiz and Android 4.4.2 lifts the S4 to another level. Customization is one of the S4’s strengths, and Samsung helps make customization easy. Other devices struggle in this category, unless your device is rooted and you have custom ROMs installed.Interface92%
Features are one aspect that the sets the S4 apart for almost any other phone. After over a year of use I have yet to use every feature available. Yes, the motion, hand, and voice commands are cool, but there are only a few that I feel are needed. Below is a list of features I use most.
Quick Glance– When the screen is off, reach towards our device to see importation information like missed calls/texts, battery power, and notifications. You have the ability to pick and choose what information you want to see.
Direct Call– If you are in the middle of texting someone and want to call them, simply bring the phone to your ear and the S4 will call the person you are texting.
Smart Alert– Get a vibration alert to notify you if you have missed any calls or messages since the last time you picked up your phone.
Mute/Pause– Turn over the device to mute incoming calls, message alerts, and alarms. You can also cover your screen with your hand instead of Turing the device over. This is extremely useful in meetings.
Information Preview– Preview information, extend text, or enlarge pictures by hovering your finger over the text, notification, or picture.
Blocking Mode– Allows you to turn on or off notifications, calls, and messages from specific people during times you set. We all hate getting calls in the middle of the night so this becomes extremely useful. You get to pick and choose when your phone rings depending on who is calling you.
There were other features like smart pause, smart rotation, and smart stay that are great in theory; but I found that the features only worked about half the time.
The list of features available goes on and on, but as mentioned above there are only a handful of features that you will likely actualy use. Samsung does a great job of providing a laundry list of features, and gives its users the ability to turn them off if needed.Features98%
Overall, the Samsung%20Galaxy%20S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great device, and still out-performs some of the newer smartphones on the market today. The S4 is packed with great hardware and has a ton of features. I put the S4 in my list of top 3 Android Smartphones. However, for those interested in an alternative sleek and sexy phone without the long list of features (you may or may not use), then the HTC ONE or iPhone might be better options.
What makes the Samsung%20Galaxy S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)S4 even more appealing is its price. Since the Samsung%20Galaxy S5, White 16GB (AT&T)Samsung Galaxy S5 is currently available, the price of the Samsung%20Galaxy S4, Black Mist 16GB (AT&T)S4 has been dramatically reduced. Currently Amazon has the S4 available for $0.01 with a two year contract, and $459.99 without a two year agreement for most carriers.Overall96%
Samsung Galaxy S4 users, what are your thoughts? Has the S4 met your expectations? Do you feel a need to upgrade your phone because the S4 is outdated? Let us know in the comment section below.