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The Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: Tomorrow’s Phone Today

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There haven’t been many phones that have caused as much excitement as the Samsung Galaxy S4 did prior to its release, and with such an impressive list of specifications and  features, it was no wonder. The S4 runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), and it has a wicked-fast 1.9 GHz Quad-Core or 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor processor; the display is a gorgeous 5″ Full HD Super AMOLED which helps showcase photos taken by the highly capable 13 megapixel rear camera. To help get you through the entire day, the  S4 has a long-lasting 2600 mAh battery. The S4 comes with 16, 32, or 64GB storage memory, and it can potentially pack a total of 128GB with the addition of a 64GB microSD for additional media storage. In other words, the Galaxy S4 has more in common with a laptop than it does with most other phones.
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Some of the features which set the Galaxy S4 apart from other available Android smartphones are its built-in barometer, thermometer and humidity sensor. The S4 also includes Samsung specific apps that give the phone futuristic capabilities, among them 3D-Touch, AirView, Samsung SmartScroll, Smart Pause, Adapt Sound, Adapt Display, and Multi Window.

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Some might prematurely decide that these  apps and features are unnecessary bloatware, but others who like to try new technology before it is widely available will appreciate the chance to be on the cutting edge.

Once you have a Galaxy S4 in hand, you’ll find that its rounded edges make it comfortable to hold; its body seems impossibly slim when considering the technological wonders held inside. Consider yourself warned, though — those who are prone to dropping things would be wise to keep the S4 in a case, because although the phone’s screen is made of ultra-tough Gorilla Glass 3, its body, chrome-colored trim, and the battery cover are all polycarbonate.

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Even with all of its high-tech features, the S4 is still incredibly usable; for instance, swiping two fingers down will access the expanded quick menu that allows instant on/off for Bluetooth, GPS, Mute, and many other settings.

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There is even a “Starter Mode” for those who are new to smartphones, people who might prefer a less cluttered and simpler launcher or home screen.

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The camera is an excellent point and shoot (that any beginner could enjoy using) when left in automatic mode, but it’s not difficult to dive into the special photos modes and produce unique or specially enhanced pictures. The Samsung S4 is even able to take advantage of Qi inductive charging with the inclusion of an inductive charging battery cover. Because the Samsung Galaxy S line has been so well received by the public, quality after-market accessories are easy to find and plentiful.

Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S4 also works very well as a phone; calls are clear on both sides of the conversation, and the external rear speaker is sufficiently loud for comfortable conference calls.

If you have high set expectations for your next smartphone, if you want all of the bells and whistles, and if you like the idea of being able to swap out your battery or use a memory card, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S4.

$200 (AT&T, US Cellular and Verizon with a 2-year contract), $250 (Sprint with a 2-year contract), and $600 (T-Mobile)

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