GSM Arena concluded yet another battery test, on release firmware, and it improved the device's talk time and video playback significantly, while web browsing suffered some decrease. Overall, with standby time staying impressive as ever, the Galaxy S4 endurace score improved from 63h to 69h, tying the Galaxy Note II.
PocketNow Snapdragon vs. Exynos comparison
Full review to follow soon
DisplayMate test - An impressive OLED
... when Automatic Brightness is turned on, the Peak Brightness becomes significantly brighter in high ambient lighting than is possible with Manual Brightness, up to as high as 475 cd/m2, which is 34 percent higher than is possible with Manual Brightness. The Galaxy S4 display is a major enhancement and improvement over the Galaxy S III – a good reason to consider trading up. The screen has Full HD 1920x1080 resolution with more than double the number of pixels and with 44 percent higher Pixels Per Inch than the Galaxy S III. It is 25 percent brighter (and up to 68 percent brighter with Automatic Brightness) and the display is 20 percent more power efficient. The Galaxy S4 also has 5 user selectable Screen Modes and delivers much better picture quality and color accuracy.
The Galaxy S4 performs very well in high ambient lighting in spite of its typically lower screen brightness because it has one of the smallest screen Reflectance values of any display we have ever tested, and its more saturated colors can help cut through the reflected light glare. When Automatic Brightness is turned on, the screen brightness increases considerably at high levels of ambient lighting as mentioned above. The Galaxy S4 is then comparable or brighter than most LCD Smartphones.
TechRadar - Real talk! (4,5/5)
We're getting really fed up with the design criticisms thrown at any phone manufacturer that deigns to not make it's flagship out of metal. Yes, it doesn't feel as premium, but what you're giving up in feel you're getting back in weight, removable battery and general hardiness - the combination of Gorilla Glass 3 and a plastic shell mean this is one tough cookie. ... The trend for cases is such that users aren't even getting the full force of the design either - we don't think that they should be necessary, but a lot of people are protecting their high investment. We spoke to a chap that went for the HTC One for design reasons, then showed us the huge case he carried it around in.
Make no mistake - the Samsung Galaxy S4 is far, far more than a Galaxy S3 'S' - Samsung may be copying Apple according to some people, but it's not as brazen as the Cupertino brand in flogging the exact same design with a slightly uprated processor and calling it a new phone. The Galaxy S4 is a great, great device in its own right, re-inventing what it means to own a brilliant smartphone in a number of ways. The gestures are cool, the touch-less experience amazing at times - in short, it's a wonderful phone you want to pull out of your pocket again and again and again.
The design issue is overblown. Yes, it's plastic, and yes, compared to the competition you wouldn't choose to spend £500 on it for the chassis. But it's a very solid device that belies that exterior and shouldn't be discounted for it. TouchWiz is getting a little complex now, though. The simplicity of HTC Sense shines through, and the HTC One is a superior device in many ways because the innovation is based on things users want. Where Samsung brought the ability to wave to move photos, the HTC One made the speaker better.
Where the S4 lets you scroll with your head, the One lets you take photos in low light. The latter feature is slightly offset by the S4's auto Night Mode, but you get the picture. But screw all the 'which phone is better than the other' notion for now (we'll get to that in our best mobile phones piece) the Galaxy S4 is a stunning smartphone that won't let you down for a variety of tasks. There's no doubt Samsung will have to make a big step forward to keep users interested with the Galaxy S5, but for now we love the S4 and would be proud to have it in our pocket.
GSM Arena retail unit & US update (April 24)
Boys at GSMA got their hands on a retail unit and are updating their in-depth review. Audio and smart scrolling improved, as well as the camera performance (my observation).
Update, April 18: We got a final retail Galaxy S4 unit and redid tests and benchmarks, made new screenshots and checked if the description of all the features is accurate. Here's what we found to have changed:
Update, April 24: Over the past week, we also had the opportunity to spend time with a US version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 for Sprint Wireless. Save for the different bands, the handset's specifications and performance are on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 powered device we extensively reviewed.
Added info and photos on the new eco-friendly box
The Smart scroll feature works better on the final unit
New benchmarks showing slightly improved performance
New audio quality test
New photo and video samples
The biggest improvement is in SunSpider, the retail drivers move the S4 up to the very top with an impressive 810ms mark
In-depth S4 vs. HTC One, Xperia Z comparison
Comparing Galaxy S4 to HTC One
Comparing S4 to Xperia Z
PhoneArena DSLR vs. S4, One, 920 & iPhone 5 showdown
Mobile-Review big camera showdown - PureView 808 and S4 beats them all
AndroidPolice - More Of The Same, But Better (For The Most Part)
Ava's video review
Wired UK - Samsung has set the new standard
CNet - Outstanding
CNet UK - A superb phone to plonk in your pocket
TechSpot - One of the most social-friendly smartphones ever
SoftPedia - Outstanding All-Rounder, but Takes Time to Master
Phones4You video review
Smartphone Bulgaria I9505 review
Zoom Russia review
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Hi-Tech Mail Russian I9500 review
Bulgarian Nixanbal I9505 review
MForum Russian I9500 review
MobilArena Hungarian I9505 review
MobilPort Hungarian I9505 review
BeginnersTech British I9505 review
Chinese review puts Exynos S4 under heat cam
Yeski does stress-testing in extensive Octa-core review
Highly detailed Octa-core test by Mobile-Review
First Octa-core review impresses