There has been a ton of hype and build-up to this device, and ultimately, it left us feeling cold. The S IV feels uninspired. There are small spec bumps from the previous generation and there’s a ton of software which will largely sit unused. There’s just no wow-factor here.
I had the HTC One with me during my hands on time, and the difference is like night and day. For starters, the One is noticeably faster in every context. When flicking between screens, opening apps, and taking photos there was clear lag on the Galaxy S IV, whereas everything was almost instantaneous on the One. To be fair, this wasn’t the final production version of the S IV, and who knows which processor was in the model I had. There’s a chance it’ll be faster at launch.
But even purely from a design perspective, the One absolutely crushes the S IV. When you pick up the One, you feel like you’re holding something amazing, both in the build and the screen. When you pick up the S IV, you feel like you’re holding an S III with a few extra bells and whistles.
HTC President Jason MacKenzie, criticizing the Samsung launch event:
I went from laughing to actually feeling embarrassed at some of the acting. Watching the presentation, it looks like they invested a lot in marketing instead of innovation.
The casing of the Galaxy S 4 feels sturdier than previous handsets we’ve seen from Samsung, but it still has a very plastic feel to it. The casing has an interesting textured-look to it, which almost gives off a denim look. It’s nothing terribly special, but it’s still a nice touch. Just like you’d expect, the GS4 is still a fingerprint magnet, but it still feels pretty nice in the hand.
While many of the features showcased tonight were already rumored for quite some time, the Galaxy S 4 will still undoubtedly kick some serious ass. It has powerful innards and is more sleek than ever. That said, the competition didn’t wait around for Samsung to have all the glory, and most took a preemptive strike earlier in the year. The HTC One, Optimus G Pro, and Sony Xperia Z are also mighty powerful handsets, and bring a level of competition that Samsung hasn’t seen in the Android world before.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was just announced. While feature rich, it has me less than impressed. Most of the new upgrades to the phone are interesting, but not enough to make the switch from the iPhone 5. . . . The S4 is more of generational upgrade than an entirely new phone.
The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android.
Brian White, Topeka Capital Markets, after looking at the Galaxy S IV:
We are amazed by how analysts and the media have turned on Apple during the recent stock downdrafts with statements that Samsung is ‘out-innovating’ Apple. One would believe that Samsung is crushing Apple in the mobile phone market. We believe this is complete nonsense.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.