Better late than, later than never. That’s what my Aunt used to say. It’s exactly how I feel about a little package the nice FedEx man left us today. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S4, arguably the hottest phone on the the market. Christen did a piece today, stating the GS4 is selling at a rate of 1 every 0.25 seconds. That means half a dozen or so were sold while you were reading those first 3-sentences. Insanity! But is the thing any good? I think a better question… Of the current crop available to consumers, which is the phone to have? We’re not deciding that here.
I literally just freed the thing from it cardboard captivity. But right off the bat there are a couple things I notice right away.
This phone is decidedly lighter than the HTC One and feels just slightly more comfortable in-hand than the One. But the backside is overly smooth and incessantly slippery. I have yet to drop the HTC One. However the Samsung Galaxy S4… uh no comment.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses an 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen display. While movies pop very nicely with incredibly clarity, static images and general viewing through webpages and gallery photos are much darker with a surprising lack of brightness when compared to the HTC One. But that’s typical IPS panel display versus AMOLED.
3. Give Me Some Skin
Samsung is using a custom skin of the Android 4.2.2. It’s very stylish and shows the company’s skill in UI design. But it’s too much on this screen size. There are too many overlapping functions, slide-out features and it bugs me that the main browser interface is always visible. It should only make itself known when needed. URL fields and Forward or Back buttons are never exciting enough for this.
4. Easy Mode Is…
Yet before you boo and hiss. There is an Easy Mode which puts forth a simpler interface. This can be activated in Settings. It limits the homescreens to 3, uses very basic fonts and larger app icons. Kicking things back up to the crazy clutter of the skinned interface is just as easy.
5. Air View
Air View is very interesting too. It needs time to marinate on my feeble brain with more use, as I can’t get it to work reliably. But right now I definitely like the truncated previews of various content like emails, notifications and the like. It’s suppose to work by hovering your finger over email or texts and such to see what’s within or expand for full viewing.
6. Flipboard Intergration?!
Yes please! I’m a big fan of Flipboard. In fact all that I love about BlinkFeed is like a bitsized Flipboard, yet bitsized nonetheless. The Galaxy S4 ships with a sweet Flipboard integration so you can get all your news and social media updates all in one super snazzy-looking interface.
7. Business as Usual
There is a lot of business as usual on the Galaxy S4. It’s been stated before only for me to experience it firsthand. There is just not a lot that is obviously new to the Galaxy S4. But what is here is handsome and trustworthy as Samsung is no slouch at this game. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor is just as peppy as you would expect and urgently responds to commands. The audible “bloops” and “blops” make an unwelcomed returned, yet again.
That’s going to be it for this initial at-a-glance once-over. Next up on our Samsung Galaxy S4 editorial roadmap is a side-by-side comparison. With which device, you ask? Stay tuned!
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.