Galaxy S4 i9500 Handson Review

Galaxy S4 improves on what was already great to make it even more awesome. Galaxy S4 has been announced and launched in various European, Asian countries and in the US.

Galaxy S IV comes in two variants: Snapdragon 600 for U.S. & Exynos 5 Octa-core for international version. We had handson with International Exynos-5 Octacore GT-i9500 during its announcement at New Delhi, India.

Images form the Launch

The Design, build quality

On a brief look, you would immediately realize that S4 looks just like Galaxy S3. Even though S4 is almost the same form-factor as Galaxy S3, it has much larger display. Samsung has done a great job compressing the bigger 5″ display into the same size by reducing the bezels to almost zero. On a closer inspection you would notice that attention to detail has improved over S3, but its still not industry’s best.

Its evident that Samsung still favors plastic bodies to keep their devices light and durable. Build quality of Galaxy S4 is good, but it would not stand against top of the line Androids like the HTC One.

Galaxy S3 became the face of android last year, and this year we’ve no doubt the crown would be carried again by S4. Even though there exists nicer looking android phones, but S4 has its own appeal.

Where Apple, Sony and HTC have made their phones beautiful, well-made, high-quality phones, the GS4 has Samsung back in the land of cheaper, plasticky handsets. Everyone may not think of this in a similar fashion. While holding HTC One in one hand and Galaxy S4 in the other, we could say that HTC One felt like you’re holding on to a beast, and S4 feels comfortable and low-roaring cheetah. S4 is lighter and hence more comfortable to hands during longer hours of use but HTC One gives you that royal feel as long as its in your Hands.

The company made tradeoffs for a removable battery and a slightly thinner body. What has improved over S3 is the slightly flatter edges and shrunken bezels. What hasn’t changed is the comfort of using a phone even though screen sized increased to 5 inches. We’ve to admit this is the most comfortable 5 inch phone we’ve ever held.

The Display

AMOLEDs are known for their mind-blowing contrast and S4’s HD Super AMOLED lives up to that name and only upgrading it for good. S4 boasts 1920×1080 display that makes almost every text on the screen pixel sharp. The 441dpi density is good enough for reading at any small distance, and you would never see a pixel again. Even though it has a pentile arrangement, at this high pixel density, it doesn’t matter. This is one of the industry’s best looking display, even though not accurate. It tends to oversaturate images and increase contrast to make them look better. HTC One, on contrary, produces more accurate images but vibrant display of S4 makes it look better.

Samsung has played close attention to improving touch on Galaxy series. Galaxy S4’s screen is so sensitive that it even works when you’ve gloves-on. Features like AirView let you interact with the screen by floating your hand, fingers over screen, without even touching it. This has not been done before.

Features & Apps

There’s a lot in this department.

SmartStay, SmartRotate, Quick glance, MultiView, AirView have all been brought from Note 2.

This story is developing. More soon.


Samsung has taken the best out of its’ Galaxy Camera and put that into Galaxy S4. Both hardware and software have got significant upgrades making S4’s camera the best smartphone camera we’ve ever come across. Talk about specs and it has whooping 13 Megapixel camera that shoots very detailed photos in good light. Throw it in some low light and it struggles a bit. F2.4 aperture ensures you get decent light captured for most of the Shots. Its not as good as F2.0 ultrapixel HTC One’s camera in low light, but if you don’t shoot too much in low light S4 gives you way more detailed photos and videos vs. HTC One.

S4 easily knocks off every smartphone camera we’ve ever seen: HTC One, iPhone 5, XPERIA Z, you name it.


Samsung claims to have reduced power load of the display by 17% over S3, even though the new display is bigger and of higher resolution. Not just that, it also has upgraded battery juice from 2100mAh to 2700mAh.

Exynos-5 Octacore ensures you get good performance without loosing on battery. It switches to more powerful quad-core A15 cpu when it requires more power in applications like Gaming and then throttles down to A7 processor when using phone for casual tasks. The slower ARM7 core is designed to handle basic tasks like browsing, music, email, etc. This gives extended battery life and decent performance. But for complex tasks like Gaming, HD videos, etc, it switches to Cortex A15 cores, which are really performing and power hungry. Read more:

Overall, Galaxy S4 should give you more than a day’s usage on a single charge. Ideal usage can give battery life of 1.5 days, but mileage might vary. Company claims it would last 30% longer than S3.


The sound quality on S4 has definitely improved over S3 and Note 2. The loudspeaker is more louder and crisp. With stock 3.5mm headphones-on we could hear a clear difference in audio quality. Mids are more clear, highs are accurate, lows are punchier. It appears S4 has improved on the Audio processor and uses a better DAC than before.

HTC One with beats audio is punchier but otherwise very equivalent in quality to S4. The front-facing stereo loudspeaker on HTC One is way more capable, clear and loud vs. S4. But who listens to music on phone’s loudspeaker unless you’re watching a video in a group.

TouchWhiz 5 UI Interface + Android 4.2.2

Samsung hasn’t improved or changed UI elements in Touchwhiz 5.0 at all. Though it has added lots of features around usability and comfort. TouchWhiz feels boring and like a decade old interface that needs polish badly.

The overall interface is still buttery smooth. It modifies all the UI aesthetics on Android 4.2.2 Jellybean making it only worse.


If you crave for top notch display, top notch camera, and CPU, GPU specs in a smartphone that has lots of features, this Galaxy S4 is for you. However, if you’re bored by Samsung’s plastic designs and outdated TouchWhiz UI, Give HTC One a try. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Samsung has set a price of $750 in US and Rs. 41,500 in India. Its now shipping.
This story is developing. More soon.

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Galaxy S4 i9500 Handson Review, 6.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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