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printed April 23, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy S 4 for Verizon Wireless

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Whew, right? Yeah, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 includes everything and the kitchen sink. The term "feature creep" was probably invented for devices such as the GS4, which has a dizzying array of apps, services, tools, and features. But did I like it, and would I recommend it?

Though the GS4 doesn't match the high-quality feel of the HTC One or Apple iPhone 5, Samsung did a good job improving upon the quality of the GS4 compared to previous Galaxy S devices. It is thin, light, easy to use, and has an incredible display. The removable battery and memory card might be selling points for some. Our test unit performed perfectly on Verizon's network and offered good signal/voice performance. What's more, the Verizon version offered superior battery life.

The GS4 really shines when it comes to the software. Samsung has crammed tons of new features into TouchWiz, though only about half of them are as useful as Samsung claims they are. Standouts include WatchOn, Smart Stay, and Air Gesture, while duds include S Health, Smart Scroll, and Air View. The camera, in particular, adds some fun-to-use shooting modes that produce new and interesting types of images. I only wish the camera itself took slightly better pictures.

The GS4 offers a completely different experience from the HTC One in terms of both hardware and software. At the end of the day, I like the HTC's hardware much more than Samsung's, but Samsung's software only slightly more HTC's. It's a really, really tough call between these two handsets.

Our Ratings

4.5
Overall
4.5
Reception
4
Battery Life
4
Hardware Usability
3
Hardware Quality
4.5
Display
4
Interface Speed
4.5
Audio Volume
3.5
Camera
 

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