Samsung Galaxy S4 – An All Round Disappointment

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Here it is – Samsung’s newly designed flagship. That uncomfortable launch event felt so much like a distraction from how little work they had actually put into their new flagship. Admittedly there were some things that I thought were clever – but for the most part I was bored.

Am I being too harsh?I was impressed with some of the new camera features. Taking several shots to get an average and get rid of stuff you don’t want was very cool and something that should have been brought into camera phones a while ago. The GS4 also imports some features from the shockingly reviewed Galaxy Camera.

Other than that I wasn’t overly impressed. Everything they’ve added feels like a gimmick. Smart Scrolling doesn’t seem all that smart. Since when did scrolling become hard to do? Smart Pause.. I hope it’s more effective than Smart Stay on the Galaxy SIII.

The Geekbench scores are pretty impressive – blowing other phones out of the water. Again however, it just feels like numbers. Unless you’re doing something really power intensive (running windows vista?) you don’t need scores that high. The dual 1.3ghz iPhone 5 has never ever lagged for me. Or crashed. Yet the GS4 seems to lag on the lock screen! Engadget’s quadrant scores state that they fell WELL below the HTC One and Optimus G Pro. So much for Octa core…

HTC can proudly boast about the One’s aluminum unibody, LG get points for its glass-plated Nexus 4 and all android customers love premium materials. But Samsung disagree. True to tradition, the GS4 is a horrible plastic affair and, really, did you expect anything else? Although, the company has now added to that that glossy body a subtle cross-hatching on the front and back. The effect is reminiscent of the patterns used on the Optimus G and G Pro, but it’s an inferior imitation that does little to elevate the GS4’s build quality. In fact it has a cheapening effect.

I can’t really envisage that people will be waving their hands over their phones to use Air Gesture in public. Even I wouldn’t and I’d wear Google Glass! It seems like a more difficult option that just scrolling around to be honest.

The Galaxy S4 is a testament to Samsung’s ethos: an unabashed focus on features over design, and an immense desire to fork Android as best it can. Still, as much as its add-ons differentiate this handset from last years, I can’t shake the feeling that the GS4 falls flat next to the competition.

The Galaxy S4 really isn’t the “Life Companion” I was looking for.

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About chrisbyatt

iOS Developer, Tech Enthusiast & New Blogger

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