Samsung has finally bit the bullet and gone with a 13MP BSI sensor for the rear camera. We even get a decently large aperture of f/2.2 for some good low-light shots and depth of field in macros. The performance is more or less similar to the S3, although the S4 handles metering a lot better. It also manages to capture better detail and is more accurate with colours as compared to the S3. You’ll be happy to know that Samsung has finally fixed the burst mode on the S4 and it’s now actually comparable to HTC’s offerings.
The S4 also debuts some new features and a slightly revamped camera UI. Some of the new modes include Drama Shot, Sound and Shot, Animated photo, Eraser and Beauty Photo. Drama Mode works pretty well as you can see, however, the final picture is best viewed on the phone itself as it looks a little blurry on the PC. This is only true for this mode, as you get the full 13MP image in normal burst mode. Beauty Face works fairly well, too, as it successfully manages to pretty up faces it recognises. Dual Shot mode is fun and works for video too.
Most of the new camera features of the S4 can be found on the HTC One, but they work a lot better on the S4 than they do on the One. The one clever feature of the One we wished was present in S4 is a Zoe-like mode. With the S4, you have to select a mode first or effect first and then shoot, whereas the One allows you to shoot first and then apply any of the filters or effects later.
Samsung has fitted a much larger 2600 mAh battery, which easily lasted our 8-hour loop test. This involved 2 hours of music, 2 hours of video, 2 hours of calls and 2 hours of YouTube streaming. We had the brightness on medium and a SIM in the phone at all times. There was enough battery remaining to last us another 8 hours of music playback.
Verdict and price in India
At Rs 41,500, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is easily the best Android in the market – and the most powerful smartphone by a mile. Samsung seems to have taken criticisms about the S3 in its stride, as the S4 easily irons out most of the chinks found in the S3’s armour with a fresh coat of polish. The phone looks a lot more refined and premium than its predecessor and the whole hullabaloo about the plastic chassis is much ado about nothing. This is not to say it’s as good as the HTC One’s industrial design, but calling it cheap would be an exaggeration. Its build is miles ahead of the S3 and so are the ergonomics. Even if you discount the gimmicky gesture support, the S4 still beats the One in almost every department. It has a larger display, better audio quality for headphones, better battery life and a better camera with more features. The One trumps the S4 in terms of chassis build, much better speakers for alerts and media playback, and a better implementation for the similar suite of camera features (Zoe mode).
The bottom line is: if you are shopping for the best smartphone, then look no further than the Galaxy S4.