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AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 Cell Phone Review

by Philip FerreiraJune 6, 2013

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 is a treat.  Eye Candy to the masses, it has already (if reports on the Internet are correct) outsold the iPhone 5. This is entirely believable as Cook hasn’t done anything new and innovative since he has been in charge of Apple and the iPhone 5 is no exception to that.  That said, the new iPhone that is coming out could break that pattern and put him back in the running (I hope so I’ve been an Apple fanboy for awhile now); but I digress.

So if you are looking for a phone with RAW power then the Samsung Galaxy S4 from AT&T is or could be the phone  you are looking for.  It has a BEEFY (MEATY) (GIRTHY) (Ok this isn’t the ballpark frank commercial after all) 1.9 GHz [at this point why not call it 2?] QUAD-CORE SnapDragon 600 Processor.  It has 2GB of RAM, LTE, NFC, ABC, err? No ABC, I got carried away again.  This phone is kind of a big thing, my hands are shaking it’s… you know… THE SAMSUNG S F(@#(*$ FOUR!!

So among other things it has a Super Huge Honkin’ AMOLED  (not be confused with Chicken Mole which is also very good!) but SUPER AMOLED is Active Matrix organic Light-Emitting Diode with Samsung’s SUPER before it.  What does that mean to you exactly?  Well if you get a regular AMOLED (not a super one, remember the one with the cape is the good one!), you will find that you can’t see it very well in direct sunlight.  The SAMSUNG SUPER AMOLED is different because it reduces the size of gaps between layers of the screen. This takes care of most of that problem.  Motorola has a Super AMOLED Advanced version that they say is even better (see RAZR for details).

The nice thing about the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 is the beefy (no I won’t start again) 3.8v Lithium Ion 2600mAh battery that it comes with.  The battery lasts a very long time, and unlike the other phone we just reviewed (my favorite AT&T HTC One, that they will absolutely not let me keep – for the love of all that is HOLY!!!) you can switch out the battery.  So if you are one of those cell phone road warriors at work that have to put 8+ hours of straight talk time and internet on your phone everyday… this could be your answer. The AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 has some of the best battery performance that I’ve seen on any of these quad-core processor phones.

at&t Galaxy S4 ReviewThe design is nothing new, if you liked the S3 – you will like the S4.  Could Samsung have been more creative? Um.. yah,  but I’m also a big fan of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  There is something to be said for that, and there is something to be said for handheld familiarity outside of the intimate knowledge of one’s self. LOL!  The AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 provides that.  The screen is –evvveer– so slightly bigger coming in at 5 full inches (measured and verified, it’s not Samsung boasting away)

You get a storage slot to throw a micro SD card in, so you are good there. On the Nerd front you can root this bad baby, throw a ROM on it and have fun.  I didn’t see anything about unlocked bootloaders when I looked around some of the sites, but the fact that you can throw a recovery on it, and put roms, themes, and overclock is always a good thing. (Remember if you do it that you will void your warranty and have bad dreams, stumble randomly when you walk and you might go blind).  What’s also cool on the nerd front is the IR Blaster for controlling your TV and other gadgetry.  I love this functionality on phones and it just makes SO much sense to have it, why did we have to wait for like 12 years of smart phone iterations to think of it? :)

The new stuff that is fun to play with comes in the form of the new “Air” View / “Air” gestures.  You can hover over a selection (not actually touch it) to see more information about something and you can wave your hand to change between tabs, etc.. etc.. I don’t like it.  Too much work, and I’m used to doing things the old way with my thumb and finger.  Some stuff that is really cool is the Smart Pause – god that’s neat. You just fire up a video and watch it, while you are watching… you’re friend comes along and says “Hey what’s up, I heard you got a new phone” – you look away from the screen and greet them and then look back… the video was paused automatically when you looked away.  That is SO FETCH! (giggle)

Seriously though, there are a ton of features and most of them will likely remain unexplored for all time. I think “they” herein defined as those who make design decisions and “them” herein defined as those executives who decide what to trim and what to include… I think they and them sometimes make a bad decision to throw features in quantity more than quantity in a desperate attempt to get a handle on what the next new big thing is going to be.  I’m not sure I like that, but then again left with the alternative (Focus groups: think lots of people lured with 50-250 bucks to give their opinion on something) I’m not sure what choice they had.

[pullquote]The phone itself is very peppy. If it were a pony I would ride it to the market and get there before you. Alas it is a phone, so I’ll call to the market, get what I want delivered, and still have it before you. (smirk)[/pullquote]

The service was very good, no dropped calls, and really decent speed on the 4G side from AT&T.  There are a number of different accessories for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 but I don’t have any so I can’t speak to how good they are or if they are even useful.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he camera is kinda cool, the images are nice and clear and the color is accurate.. perhaps more-so than my iPhone 4s.  I’m not sure – I got lazy and didn’t want to take a pic and import it in for a side by side.  It’s a good camera though… and I would use it for article inclusions if the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 was my main phone.  It’s not though, and I’m sure AT&T would not let me have it either, and if they did I wouldn’t take it because they won’t let me have the HTC One.  Now I’m going to have to go buy an HTC One like everyone else and dammit… oh wait… that’s kind of fair. OK :)

The Stock ROM is kinda too feature enabled, I don’t like it and I would “ROM” this phone faster than you could say “Oh that banner thingy is annoying as F&(*”.  It interferes with a lot of stuff and it is a lot like that guy who has a crush on you who works in the mail room… it just won’t go away… and die… :)  You can of course disable it and re-enable it, but it’s a bad feature and you should just take my word for it and disable it for all time.

I’m not going to talk about the sound on the Samsung S4 it is so bad compared to the HTC One (which I noted was tinny and under-powered) that I don’t want to comment on it at all.  Headphones, or external speakers are the way to go.

So which way should you go?  If swapping out a battery is not important to you, then head over to the AT&T HTC One (I’m getting goose bumps talking about it), and if you must swap then definitely the way to go is this AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4.  The battery life is better than the HTC One (not much, but better is better) and you can swap it.  [pullquote align="right"]The AT&T HTC One is pretty, and the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 is like its less attractive chunkier sister. LOL[/pullquote]

5 out of 5 stars for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m not going to take a star for the crappy sound because as I indicated in the HTC One article I am a budding audiophile and well… I may be too hard on the cell phone speaker thing.  Thanks for reading my rambling article on the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4, I hope you liked it.  If not there is always C/Net! <3

 

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