Samsung Galaxy S4: review roundup

The Samsung Galaxy S4 becomes available to UK consumers on 27 April, and ahead of the device's eagerly anticipated release, reviews of the latest Android super-smartphone have started trickling in from around the world.

Of course, if it's the definitive Galaxy S4 review you're after, you'll have to stay tuned to ITProPortal - we're looking forward to putting the handset through its paces in the immediate future.

In the meantime, it's interesting to see the reaction of our fellow pundits, some of whom have taken the device for an initial spin. As was the case at the Samsung Galaxy S4's launch back in March, reaction to the handset has been mixed, with reviewers generally impressed by the device whilst still noting a few faults.

A recurring complaint is that the Galaxy S4 packs in too many jazzy software features at the expense of more fully realised functionality.

"If I have one criticism of the phone, it's that there is too much here, and the execution isn't even throughout," commented Mashable's Christina Warren.

But she added: "Still, I can't find many hard issues with the Galaxy S4. It's undoubtedly the best Android phone on the market right now."

The Verge also found much to like about the Galaxy S4, including the "blistering performance" of its quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC, which clocks in at a whopping 1.9GHz, and the device's "stellar" 13-megapixel camera.

However, the respected tech publication took issue with aspects of the Galaxy S4's aesthetic make-up, ultimately awarding it a strong 8/10 review score.

"I don't like holding this phone, and I can't overstate how much that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your hand," wrote The Verge's David Pierce

Much comment focused on the rash of software features offered by the Galaxy S4, with Engadget finding the highly touted Smart Scroll eye-sensitive browsing technology to be "frustrating for several reasons."

Complaints include the fact that Smart Scroll "only works in specific apps," and that the feature "won't work in a dimly lit area." Reviewer Brad Molen also took issue with the specific proximity the user needs to maintain to the handset to ensure the feature works as advertised.

"Your face can't be too close or too far away - you'll get the best results from between two and three feet away. We also grew quickly tired of bobbing our head up and down to do an activity we can easily do with a flick of a finger," he said.

Of the Galaxy S4's software features in general, Molen proffered: "Some are useful, but even more as simply party tricks that seem to be designed for their wow factor."

Rounding things out, Wired's Michael Calore was quietly impressed by the latest Samsung handset, awarding the Galaxy S4 a solid if unspectacular 7/10 review score. According to him, the handset suffered from its "toyish" build quality in particular.

"There were two sticking points for me: the colors on the screen were heavily saturated to the point of appearing artificial, and the hardware feels cheap. The back is thin plastic — it's removable so you can replace the battery or slap on one of Samsung's accessory covers — but the phone feels and looks toyish because of it," he wrote.

However, the Wired man ultimately concluded that he would "still recommend it" and that fans of the popular Samsung Galaxy S3 in particular would "find a lot to like."

Want to know more about Samsung's new high-end handset and just can't wait for the authoritative ITProPortal verdict? Why not check out our Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 spec comparison? Alternatively, our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z spec comparison is more essential reading for those considering splashing the cash on a new mobile in the near future.

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