Phone Review: The Samsung Galaxy S4

By Elie - 7:00 AM

Before I get on with the review, let me just say that I have officially finished my one and only paper, handed in all my final assignments and I am now a free girl who can do whatever I want, whenever I want...given that I have the money to do it. I can't be calling myself a graduate because (TOUCHWOOD) I have no idea if I will flunk anything.

That aside, I've been having two amazing weeks with the magnificent Samsung Galaxy S4 that has been provided by the super kind Nuffnang and I can't wait to share it out here! You see, two weeks ago while I was rushing for one of my final assignments, Anne messaged me asking if I would like to review the S4 and all I did was nod my head though she could see me through the screen. So I took off on a Friday where I had no classes and headed to Nuffnang - a space a used to call "The Office" to grab MY Samsung Galaxy S4. It was such a joyful thing to be back there, especially with the feeling that I wasn't back for work!

I didn't get the chance to fiddle with the phone until I was home because it didn't have all the applications that I needed and I was really stingy on my data so the patience just had to stick with me. As soon as I got home, I posted up a picture of the unit on my Instagram and a number of my friends thought I had changed my phone...again. I think it came as a shocker because most people know how frugal I am and it was impossible that I would switch my phone for a new one just 10 months in.

Clearly, I have friends who understands me too much. 

Watch my awkward unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy S4 here:

Shy die me while doing this...

Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S4:

Size: 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 130g
Screen: 126.7mm Full HD Super AMOLED / Corning Gorilla Glass 3
HSPA+: HSDPA 42.2Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
Core: 1.6GHz Quad Core + 1.2GHz Quad Core processor
Audio: 3.5mm jack, loudspeaker and MP3 / WAV ringtones with vibration
Memory: 16/32/64GB + 2GB RAM. Supports microSD card up to 64GB
Camera: 13MP Autofocus + 2MP front camera
Video: Full HD (1080p) playback and recording
OS: Android OS, v4.2.2 (JellyBean)

Information from: GSMArena

[EDIT] So I was talking to Bryan tonight and he told me that he's just read this post only to call me "jakun" by the end of the day. Not very helpful. And then he said, "Do you know how to check if your Samsung is an original?" to which I said no. It turns out all you really have to do is to go to Settings > About device > continuously tap on "Kernel version" and a little picture of your operating system will come out. Mindblown. 

This is the picture of my S4's Jellybean! Do not ask about my background picture, I love my Converses.

 This is a picture of my S3's Jellybean! The background is a stock photo mainly because I gave my phone a recent reformat just to start fresh - among other things.

[EDIT] So yeah. Biggest discovery on phones ever. Don't judge me for being stupid, thanks.

I spent all night switching my contacts over (Because I am super not tech savvy and I had to Google how to do it!) from my S3 and gave my memory card a format before sticking it into the S4 and my adventure with it began the very next day. The first few things I noticed about the phone on my first day was that the battery lasted really long even when my day started at 11 a.m. and I only had to plug it into the charger before I went to sleep at about 1 a.m. That includes lots of gaming and photo taking along with editing on the phone and I was really impressed. However, it seems to have this ability to heat up really quickly especially when playing games and that worried me given that I was only playing Bubble Bust.

The use of the phone itself was really smooth though and the display is stunning! The colours are really vibrant and photo capturing felt so seamless. True, I do love picture qualities that my S3 delivers but with the S4 coming up, I felt like I fell in love all over again. It was so amazing, I don't even know what to say to it. There were almost zero lags throughout my 2 weeks with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I was thoroughly glad with that. Every application opened up really quickly and I believe it's because of the quad core processors at work - which makes the phone superbly powerful. It's like one of those phones you know you could count on when you're in a rush to finish up and I loved it!

The only drawback in which I much preferred on my S3 was the QWERTY keyboard when messaging. I somehow had a tough time remembering that the numbers were now splatted on the main screen of the keyboard on the S4, much unlike the one on the S3 where I had to tap on the shift key. I made loads of typos because of that and the dictionary base was also fairly flawed when I had to wait about half a second for the right word suggestion to come up. That's something to think about, I suppose.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is an overall powerful phone that really fits the lives of the growing generation today; especially appealing to girls if you ask me. Why would I say that? To begin, it's the size. I've never liked the size of the Samsung Note 2 (Like the one my father has) because it is really huge in my small palm and it's impossible for me to do anything single-handed. The squared off frame to the phone is also really elegant when compared to the rounded sides on the Samsung Galaxy S3; making it much better on grip and really good to touch.

The S Health feature on the phone that has been well sought after is also fairly useful but it's not so much to a local taste because you never know what you put into your mouth and the calculations to how much of calories you have to burn after is...not that accurate I suppose. So is the Samsung Galaxy S4 a real life companion as they have advertised. I'd say it definitely is worth the money. Most places retails the Samsung Galaxy S4 at a little over RM 2,000 and certain service providers have got really great packaged bundles for data and the phone and they're pretty good to consider.

Other cool things to do with the Samsung Galaxy S4 includes the swipe-without-touching motion to pick up calls and also the hover to read messages feature. I thought it was really innovative especially if your hands of dirty, wet or you're a little too lazy busy to really touch the screen. The smart scroll with the eyes thing is a nifty trick but not all that useful. Come on, you're too lazy to even scroll? Tsk, I thought better of you.

With that said, all that's left are pictures and videos to show you how magnificent the 13MP AF camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 along with the Full HD (1080p) playback and recording goes! I am so thoroughly spoiled now, I don't know how I will fare with my own Samsung Galaxy S3 from hereon. *Sobs* I'm sorry, baby. I still love you but...I don't know...

Anyway I think that's just enough talking on my side. I've taken like a bazillion photos to spam for this post so scroll on and get fancy:

Out of the box, you're so sexy homaigawd.

Comparing the S3, S4 and Note 2!

From the bottom...

From the side...

And in hand! This is the S4...

This is the S3; basically my own phone...

And this is daddy's Note 2. Funniest story here about daddy and his Note 2.

Picture differences between the phones. You be the judge. 
I personally like the colours and details on the Samsung Galaxy S4 as opposed to the Samsung Note 2. My Samsung Galaxy S3 doesn't look even close to winning!

 Noticeable phone use differences from Samsung Galaxy S4 to Samsung Galaxy S3:
Clock widget no longer comes in a smaller size, takes up more space in the home page.
Clock widget difficult to use; better off with the clock shortcut.
QWERTY keyboard has numbers on top of the alphabets and not in SHIFT pad.
Tunes are a little more mellow and brings a more gentle ring.
Personable lock screen with swipe motion to check on status without unlocking.
S scroll (Although only usable on browser and requires strained staring).
S health (Great if you need a pedometer but sort of forgettable after a while).

Here are three videos I took of the pianist, Mr.Yang I-Deun from The Curve. In case you've forgotten, I wrote a piece about him once a few months back and when I told him I was testing out the video quality of the S4, he obliged with three very beautiful songs. 

Bridge Over Troubled Water

This is my father's favourite and Mr.Yang I-Deun never fails to play it for him every time we're there to watch. And it makes my dad smile every single time. It makes his day which makes my day because there's nothing more blissful than to see my old folks smile.

My Way

A member of the audience asked for this and I really liked it because it used to be the song my father and I would sing at the karaoke of our clubhouse when I was 8 or 9 years old. Yes, at such an age, I knew songs by Frank Sinatra. Old soul, I must say. I really enjoyed Mr.Yang I-Deun's rendition of it actually. I hope you do too!

From Beginning to End (Winter Sonata)

This was a request done by me for my mum; because it was only fair that daddy got a song dedication then mummy gets one. I remember when we first discovered the VCDs of Winter Sonata in our back room while spring cleaning and stayed up till 4am just to watch it for a few days. That was when the K-Drama phase of my mum came and went where she fell in love with Bae Yong Jun, Kwon Sang Woo and Jang Dong Gun respectively. Her favourite is still Kwon Sang Woo from Stairway to Heaven so I'm really hoping that Mr.Yang I-Deun would know how to play it someday. For my mummy dearest.

I also took lots of camwhore photos just so you know how the camera fares on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Priorities when buying a phone, right? YOU KNOW IT. Be forewarned, there's like a bazillion of my face when you scroll from here on but you have to do it anyway because I have the verdict of which phone to pick up all the way at the bottom. I love you for bearing with me.

S4 selca on the left and S3 selca on the right. No edits at all so there you have my eyebags screaming for attention!

The picture on the S4 kind of gives you that slimming effect while the one on the S3 tends to give you the fatter face. It's also stretched out on the S4 so you see more of the picture than just your face (BUT IT'S A SELCA!) like on the S3. Colour wise, it's just about the same but the one on the S4 kind of shows a little more detail like sebum and pores. I don't know if that's a good thing but that's what you'll get with a 2MP front camera!

The front and back camera test!

I tried out the much-to-shout-about front and back camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 with my classmate, Liyana! It's pretty cool to play with actually but it's not very natural when you look at it. It gives out an awkward look too and I didn't really like it as much as it was advertised to death. Just another addition but it's not necessary.

I tried on OOTD in front of the mirror...

Once in a while Okay, VERY often now I'd do an OOTD even when I've just thrown on a tank top with shorts because I actually *think* that I look good in whatever. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I want to believe I look good although I'm really just frumpy, short and fat. The quality of the OOTD picture is really unbelievable and the "stretching out" as I mentioned in the first selca photo is actually good for these purposes because it eliminates whatever is at the side and focuses on what I want - me in the mirror!

This is how it is on the S3...I took this when I was preparing to go on my New Years Eve date with Wai Kin last year.

Just to justify on what I'm talking about as above. You don't get too much of the sides when taking an OOTD picture in front of a I'm hoping you get the idea!

Tried out the front camera with my old folks inside the Curve!

I took this inside The Curve with the front camera and my phone was placed horizontally. The picture is noticeably compressed in someway and I'm thinking of it in the way that the picture is as above except horizontal now. The quality also feels a little compromised, probably from the lighting and a little from the fact that this was taken on a moving escalator. I wouldn't know, you tell me. 
This is at current my favourite selca photo with zero edits, natural lighting and set from the Auto Mode of the S4.

Another momentary love taken with the S4 but this time on Beauty Mode. I like how it made my eyes look shinier and my eyebags looks like it just went on vacation. (Geddit? Bags? Vacation? No?)

Taken while waiting for my dad to collect the car with the back 13MP camera on Beauty Mode. MY EYEBAGS GONE. ALL GONE.

Taken with the front 2MP camera on Beauty Mode. Still good but the colour is a little off and rather white.

So yes, that's all the self loving photos I have of myself to post on my blog on this review post. I think that's just about enough right? I'm sick of my own face actually. But I've just got to say, the camera is really impressive on the S4 be it in front of the main 13MP AF camera. No kidding.

Verdict: If you've got some cash to spare, the S4 is definitely an amazing pick. The overall use of the phone is really seamless and it's easy to operate - so much so I find myself getting a little awkward when switching back to my S3. The grip of it in hand is also extremely comfortable, fitting just right even for people with small palms and good for single handed operations - unlike the Note 2. However the choice is still yours; to go for the S3 that has dropped in prices, the Note 2 that is huge in screen size but tough in storage or the all rounded powerful S4. I made my pick...secretly.

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  1. I'm so behind the times in terms of knowing about the latest phones. Thanks for your updates.

    1. You're welcome. Hope you had great fun reading this! :)


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