Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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

Plastic fantastic

The Galaxy S4 may look an identical to the S3, but it is bigger than its predecessor. Not everyone liked the plastic chassis on the S3, but Samsung has decided to stick with it on the fourth generation model.

Looks can be deceiving. Below the S4 (left) looks to have a larger footprint, but although it 0.2ins bigger than the S3, the chassis on the latest handset is 0.7mm thinner and 3g lighter.

Samsung Galaxy S4 and S3

The S4 may not look as beautiful as an HTC One or iPhone 5, but the premium materials give it a solid feel. Don't worry about the back, you'll be spending the majority of the time looking at the HD screen.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Back

Durability has not been a problem with the Galaxy S range. The S4 doesn't feel fragile like competing handsets such as the Nexus 4 and Xperia Z, which use Gorilla Glass on the front and back panels. Those handsets are more likely to smash if dropped whereas plastic is able to take more damage and be replaced for a pittance.

We found the S4 as comfortable to hold as any other high-end device. Any suggestions the S4's plastic chassis is a design flaw would be a mistake.The key component (battery) is accessible by popping off the back cover. Heavy duty users can replace the standard pack with a bigger battery or carry around a spare.

Other manufacturers - such as Apple, HTC and Sony - have committed to sealed form factors for their premier devices. Samsung has an advantage over them by sticking to its guns.

Camera

The rear camera is beefed up to 13-megapixels (up from 8-megapixels). Autofocus and zero shutter lag are included as standard, as well as a range of software features to attract users.

Picture quality is excellent the camera captures more details that the S3, colours are realistic and a more scene modes included.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Camera

Samsung has been particularly keen to demonstrate the Dual Shot feature. This allows the person who is taking the picture insert themselves into a photo as the S4 takes a picture of them from the front-facing camera. It's also possible to add in effects too (see below). Dual Shot is likely to remain a novelty feature for most users, but could prove useful at events or family holidays. We're sure there'll be some interesting uses which pop up on the internet.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Dual shot

Sound & Shot, which takes little nine-second clips with sound and 360 Panorama, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) modes are included.

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