Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Samsung's Galaxy S4: there's life in the old dog yet, now with added Lollipop

Full HD Display

This is the biggest Galaxy S handset to date with Samsung squeezing a 5in screen into the 130g frame.

The Super Amoled technology beams out a pin-sharp resolution of 1920 x 1080 and has 441 pixels-per-inch. What separates this full HD screen from competition such as the Xperia Z and HTC One is colour replication. None of the other devices on the market can come close to outdoing the S4 in this area especially as you can alter the colour temperature and contrast to change the on screen image.

When benchmarked, the display on the S4 delivered a full-screen brightness of just 152 cd/m2. But theSuper AMOLED technology means the screen appears brighter than the numbers suggest.

High-profile handsets such as the iPhone 5 (541 cd/m2), BlackBerry Z10 (715 cd/m2) and Lumia 920 (455 cd/m2) are brighter on paper. But when you put them side-by-side with the S4, you'd struggle to tell the Samsung handset scored the lowest.

iPhone 5 vs Lumia 920 vs Galaxy S4

iPhone 5 vs Lumia 920 vs Galaxy S4

Another great feature of the S4 is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the touch screen in the options. This allows you to interact with the touch screen using a normal pair of gloves. All the usual taps and gestures were accepted by our wool gloves. Just don't expect ski gloves to work.

Unmatched performance

Early on we noted Samsung has upgraded every useful component from the S3, and the results are extraordinary.

Our handset was powered by a Qualcomm 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal space, 9.15GB of which is usable.

It's easy to get drowned in benchmarks so we've used results from two commonly used multi-platform tests.

The Geekbench application benchmarks processor and memory performance. Our Galaxy S4 averaged a score of 3,189 blowing away all competitors. The iPhone 5 managed 1649 in the same test. This shows how well Samsung has optimised it for use with Android.

The same applied in the SunSpider benchmark, which measures how long it takes to load up a webpage. The S4 scored the lowest score IT Pro has seen in a smartphone to date with pages loading in just 855m/s. This makes it faster than the iPhone 5 and Lumia 920 which were previously the leaders with 920m/s time each.

Do these benchmarks reflect a boost in real-world performance over other handsets? Absolutely.

The S4 handles heavy-duty tasks such as web browsing, HD video streaming, gaming and taking pictures/video effortlessly. Apps pop up instantly and transitioning between them is the smoothest we've seen in Android to-date.

What makes these results even more impressive is that our UK device doesn't even ship with the best available specifications. Samsung has not clarified why its Octa-core is not shipping in the UK. Supply chain and pricing issues are possible reasons.

"Samsung Galaxy S4 is equipped with a 1.9GHz Quad-core AP or a 1.6GHz Octa-core AP. The selection of AP varies by markets," said Samsung in a statement to IT Pro.

"In the UK, the Galaxy S4 will be available as a 4G device with a 1.9GHz Quad Core Processor."

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.