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Microsoft Lumia 940 XL
796.00 SAR 786.00 SAR (212.22)USD
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Quick Overview

The best price of Microsoft Lumia 940 XL is 786.45 SAR at ksa.axiomtelecom.com Store.

  • This Mobile runs on Microsoft Windows 10 powered with Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57.
  • This Mobile has 20 MP, 4992 ? 3744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash and has 5 MP Secondary camera
  • This Mobile has 5.7 inches inches display AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors.
  • This Mobile has 32 GB, 3 GB RAM of internal memory.
  • This Mobile has Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery
  • This Mobile has Nano-SIM sim
  • Compare prices for Microsoft Lumia 940 XL in Saudi Arabia:
Lowest price for Microsoft Lumia 940 XL is 786.00 SAR

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GENERAL
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Network LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800)
Sim Nano-SIM
Announced 6/1/2015
Status release 2015, Q2-Q3
BODY
DISPLAY
Display Size 5.7 inches
MultiTouch YES
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4 - ClearBlack display
SOUND
AlertTypes Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
LoudSpeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes - Dolby Digital Plus
MEMORY
CardSlot No
Internal 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
DATA
GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat6 300/50 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, hotspot
Blue Tooth v4.0, A2DP, EDR, LE/ apt-X
NFC yes
USB microUSB v2.0, Type-C reversible connector
CAMERA
Camera Primary 20 MP, 4992 ? 3744 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED flash
Camera Features 1/2.5'' sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, PureView technology, dual capture, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama
CameraVideo 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, optical stabilization, stereo sound rec.
CameraSecondary 5 MP
FEATURES
OS Microsoft Windows 10
CPU Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, sensor core
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML5
Radio FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
Java No
Colors Bright orange, bright green, white, black, gold
Others - Wireless charging (Qi-enabled) - market dependent - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic - MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA player - MP4/H.264/WMV player - OneDrive (15 GB cloud storage) - Document viewer - Video/photo editor
BATTERY
Battery Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery
MISC
7 days in smartphones: Dear Microsoft, please don't eat my Android phone

Your princess isn't in another smartphone

It's Friday. You're giddy with excitement. It can only mean one thing…7 days in smartphones is back again!

Forget being "social" with your so-called "friends", stay here in the dark with as we try to make you laugh. Once. It's the best we can hope for.

It's-A-Not-Me, Mario!

Nintendo is finally entering the smartphone market. We've waited years to say it and – phwoar– that felt seriously good.

The bad news is it isn't exactly as we'd anticipated, it looks like Mario and co will be taking a back seat to make way for new mobile franchises.

Link on a horse

The move comes after a partnership with developer DeNA who will have free reign over the Nintendo IPs but won't be aiming to create ports of Wii U or 3DS games.

Instead it'll be focusing on new titles – is that really such a bad thing? Well, probably - these things rarely go well.

Even though the Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, rinse and repeat formula can sometimes feel a little tiresome, Nintendo wanting to enter the world of Candy Crush doesn't necessarily fill me with glee.

That said, if anyone can do it with style and create some new engaging characters to go on the journey with, surely it's Nintendo. You hear that Iwata? My credit card is waiting and I'm ready and waiting to make micro payments now.

Microsoft wants your Android!

Windows 10 news now smartphans: Microsoft wants to bring its new operating system to your Android smartphone.

Wait, WHAT?!

Yeah, that's right, Microsoft wants to wrangle your unrestricted OS, throw up a bunch of electric fences and restrict the amount of apps you'll be able to download.

Microsoft Windows 10

OK, maybe not quite like that, but the Softies have announced plans to allow users to trial a custom ROM on the Xiamoi Mi 4 that removes all trace of the Android OS for an almost complete version of Windows 10.

It's Microsoft's attempt to steal users from the Android ecosystem and switch them over to Windows Phone, but it'll be some seriously hard work considering the reduced number of apps available on the platform.

Will anyone actually choose to make their Android run Windows Phone? Only time will tell.

Or, well, no.

One hoof forward

One hoof, two hoof, three hoof, four, repeat. Walking was becoming easier by the day as Winston's long recovery continued to drag.

"You're doing great, just a few more steps" reassured the nurse ready to catch him at the slightest sign of a stumble.

One hoof, two hoof, three hoof, four, done. Winston collapsed into the really rather long wheelchair, sweat dripping from his mane. The nurse looked at him sympathetically, stroking his fetlock, and said tenderly: "That's enough for one day... let's get you back to your bed."

Wheeled back to the side of his bed, he clambered onto the sheets and forced himself to look at the odd, faceless black brick that seemed to be staring him from the bedside table.

Over the preceding days and weeks he'd gradually been building the confidence to explore the Apple iPhone and take control of his first ever keyless smartphone. OK, the Storm didn't have any keys... except it did. The whole display was a key. It was glorious, but now it was gone.

In that time he'd learnt how to turn on the display, unlock it, take a few snaps around his hospital room and even get used to the onscreen keyboard. Apps were still a weird experience: he'd finally realised how to download them, but was bewildered by how many there were. Inside, he still missed the choice of just 11 that used to populate BlackBerry App World.

Then the day came: it was time to go home. His rehab was over. It was time to venture back out into the world, a robotic unicorn sent out to live once again.

With an NHS prescribed iPhone 6 Plus in his left hoof, a small bag of belongings in his right, it was time to flip open Apple Maps, type in Mobonia, get confused as to why it wasn't there (before finding it simply on Google Maps) and continue on his journey, but where next?

A flagship for the Shin!

Although likely not the best smartphone you've ever owned, the Samsung Galaxy S ended up being one of the major competitors to the iPhone 4.

Here are some of the highlights from the one and only JK Shin announcing it way back in March 2010. Kevin from Twitter is definitely NOT reading from an auto-cue.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9m4-CbvuR8

Strange press shot of the week

Sony Camera Lens

*Read in your best David Attenborough voice*

Here we see a young stubble-styled hipster out of his normal Shoreditch habitat, discovering the phenomenon of fresh berries.

This specimen, likely known as Atticus to his friends, has lost his Polaroid camera and decides to join the modern world with the Sony QX100 Lens Style Camera for smartphones and tablets.

He attaches it to a Sony Xperia Z2 to snap some blackberries and then ask all his Instagram friends what they are.

Sadly he has yet to receive a response as none of his followers could identify them through the Nashville filter.

Retro video of the week

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1YBrVevn4w

"You know there's a sexier way to connect to the web." That was the slogan of the Siemens C35i.

It seems the company wanted to sex up its image – if that's even possible with a NSFW name like Siemens – so it employed some proper hot bods to strut around the emptiest, weirdest lit nightclub in all of Germany.

If you can discern what actually happens at the end of the video please let us know in the comments as our tiny little tech focused minds can't work it out.

Proper bits from the site

Remember the best phone you ever had? It was likely the Nokia 3310 and we went on a journey through time to bring you back the best details we could find on it – just look how pretty it is!

EE has replaced its Orange Wednesday's deal with a significantly less exciting streaming proposition. We don't know exactly what kind of films it'll include just yet but we can speculate 70% of them will include Steven Seagal.

Dyson has invested in some new technology to make your smartphone's, and your vacuum cleaner's, battery last even longer.

And finally the auto-tuned Robocop look-a-like that is Will.i.am has teamed up with the fashion brand Gucci to bring you yet another horrible "smartband".








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DealsRadar: DealsRadar: great deals on tech and games updated daily

DealsRadar

DealsRadar is the go-to destination for all the best prices on tech and games on the internet. We update daily with links to the best deals on miscellaneous tech and games, with dedicated sections for all your favourite products!

Today we've got some great deals on a Macbook Air, Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, Parrot Bebop Drone and lots more great tech bargains.

DealsRadar's Daily Deals:

Macbook Air

John Lewis have reduced their Macbook Air's by £70, this is a great price for a fantastic laptop and it comes with John Lewis's 2 year guarantee. You can buy it for just £679.

Samsung Galaxy 10.1

This Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1-inch Tablet is on offer at Amazon for just £179.49. This tablet features a 1.2ghz processor with a 16gb hardrive and around 10 hours of battery life.

Amethyst

This great blue-tooth speaker has been reduced down to just £23.59 at Amazon.

BT Mini Wi-Fi 500

If you have poor Wi-Fi signal then you should have a look at this BT Mini Wi-Fi 500, it was particularly popular when we last had it up on daily deals. You can grab this for just £79 from Amazon

Parrot Bebop Drone

Interested in doing some spy work? or maybe you would just like to take some aerial photos. Well look no further, you can fly this Parrot Bebop Drone with its easy to pilot dedicated app and use its 14 megapixel 180 fisheye camera. All this for just £354.66.

DealsRadar Recommended Deals:

Handset: Native Union Curve BT Handset with Base - Black - Now only £7.99 at Amazon

Coffee Machine: NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine - Now only £68.95 at Amazon

Torch: LED Lenser T7 Tactical Torch - Reduced down to £29 at Amazon

Speaker: TDK T79074 A26 Trek Weatherproof Wireless Speaker - Down to £40 at Amazon

Storage: ZyXEL NSA325 v2 2 Bay Desktop Network Storage Power Plus NAS Enclosure - Now only £78.39

Powerbank: Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh 2-Port Power Bank - Reduced down to £18.99 at Amazon (Use code 8F46L9IZ)

Signal Booster: Belkin N600 Universal Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender/Wireless Signal Booster - Now only £34.99 at Amazon

Binoculars: NIKON Travelite VI 8 x 25mm Porro Prism Binoculars - Reduced down to £49.97 at Currys

Tablet: Apple iPad Mini 16GB Wi-Fi (White) - Only £172.99 at Amazon

Charger: TeckNet® 50W 6-Port Family-Sized Desktop USB Wall Charger - Down to £15.97 at Amazon

Memory Module: HyperX Savage 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) 2400 MHz DDR3 CL11 DIMM XMP Memory Module - Now only £95.99 at Amazon

Keyboard: Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip On Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - Reduced down to £49.99 at Amazon

Tablet: Samsung Galaxy TabPRO Tablet, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Android, 8.4" 16GB, Wi-Fi - Down to £199 at John Lewis

Modem: NETGEAR D6100-100UKS AC1200 Dual Band Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router for Phone Line Connections - Reduced down to £59.99 at Amazon

Powerbank: EasyAcc 9000mAh Power Bank Waterproof Dustproof Shockproof Travel Charger - Reduced down to £21.99

Security Camera: Y-cam HomeMonitor HD Pro Outdoor WiFi Security Camera - For only 139.99 at Amazon

Storage: Toshiba HDWC240EK3J1 4TB Stor.e Canvio - Down to £98.96 at Amazon

Headphones: AKG K702 Open-Back Dynamic Reference Headphones - For as little as £149 at Amazon

Mouse: Logitech Touch M600 Mouse - Now only £15.99 at Amazon

Audio: Denon DA-300USB Audio DAC with USB-B - Reduced from £329 down to £189.90 at Amazon

Headphones: Sennheiser HD 558 High End Open Over-Ear Headphones - For as little as £99 at Amazon

Storage: Seagate 4TB Expansion Desktop External Hard Drive - For as little as £99 at maplin

Bluetooth Transmitter: August MR250 - Bluetooth Wireless Transmitter - Now only £19.75 at Amazon

Camera: Canon PowerShot SX400 16MP Bridge Camera - Down to £129.99 at Argos

Smartphone: Vodafone Pay As You Go Nokia Lumia 530 Handset - Reduced down to £39.99 at Amazon

Printer: HP M251n LaserJet Pro 200 Color Printer - Reduced down to £79.99 at Amazon

Powerbank: TeckNet® Power Bank 12000mAh Fast Portable Charger Battery Pack USB - Reduced down to £13.97 at Amazon

Sound Base - Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Wireless S-Force PRO Sound Base with Built In Subwoofer - For as little as £229 at Amazon

Keyboard: Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip On Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - For only £49.99 at Amazon

Headphones: Technics RP-DH1250E-S Professional DJ Headphones - Down to £81.52 at Amazon

Sport Watch: Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch - Only £129 at Amazon

Camcorder: Joby GorillaPod Video Tripod for Mini and Pocket Camcorders - For as little as £13.99 at Amazon

Games deals of the day

Xbox One: Shape Up (Xbox One) - Now only £20.38 at Amazon

Xbox One: Metro Redux - Down to £14.99 at Amazon

PS4: Batman: Arkham Knight (Free Pre-order DLC) - For only £37.99 at Zavvi

PS4: Lego Marvel Superheroes (PS4) - For only £19.50 at tesco

Xbox One: Assassin's Creed IV 4: Black Flag Xbox One (Digital Code) - For as little as £3.95 at cdkeys

PC: Cities Skylines Deluxe Edition - Only £16.99 at base

PS Vita: FIFA 15 - Now only £16 at Amazon

PS4: Pro-Evolution Soccer 2015 - Down to £26.50 at Amazon

Xbox One: Pro-Evolution Soccer 2015 - Down to £26.50 at Amazon

Nintendo Wii U: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - Down to £16.99 at Amazon

PS4: Destiny - Only £25 at Amazon

ps4

The week's best PS4 deals:

There's no doubt that Sony's PlayStation 4 is the hottest games console on the planet now. Here are the cheapest PS4 standalone and bundle prices we've found this week:

Cheapest PS4 console: Get the PS4 console on its own at Amazon for just £319.00

DealsRadar's Top 3 PS4 bundles...

Deal 1: Get the PS4 with Lego Batman 3 &The Lego Movie for just £351.00

Deal 2: Get the PS4 with The Crew at The Hut for just £339.99

Deal 3: Get the PS4 with Dying Light at The Hut for only £349.99

xbox one

The week's best Xbox One deals:

The Xbox One has evolved into a fantastic, versatile console with loads of cool features. Here are the cheapest Xbox One standalone and bundle prices we've found this week:

Cheapest Xbox One console: Get the Xbox One on its own at eBay for just £269.99

DealsRadar's Top 3 Xbox One bundles:

Deal 1: Get the Xbox One with Forza 5 for just £329.00

Deal 2: Get the White Xbox One with Sunset Overdrive for just £279.99

Deal 3: Get the Xbox One with Halo MC Collection, Battlefield Hardline, Ori and the Blind Forest & 1 month EA Access for only £319.99

See more Xbox One deals: Best Xbox One bundles and deals

gamesmontage

Top 10 Games: best titles, cheapest prices!

The best games at the cheapest prices

We all want to play the top games, but none of us want to pay top prices, right? We'll be scanning the web on a daily basis to find the best prices on all of the top selling games on all of the top gaming platforms. So if you're going to order a new game online this week - check with DealsRadar first!

dying light

1. Dying Light

Dying Light is a first-person, action survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world. During the day, players traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning's first light.

Best PS4 price: £42.99 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £42.91 at Amazon | Best PC price: £21.90 at cdkeys

gta

2. Grand Theft Auto V

The biggest, most dynamic and most diverse open world ever created, Grand Theft Auto V blends storytelling and gameplay in new ways as players repeatedly jump in and out of the lives of the game's three lead characters, playing all sides of the game's interwoven story.

Best PS4 price: £40.00 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £41.00 at Amazon | Best PC price: £29.97 at GameStop

fifa 15

3. FIFA 15

FIFA 15 brings football to life in stunning detail so fans can experience the emotion of the sport like never before. Witness the intensity of crowds chanting and cheering like on match day, and listen to commentators guide fans through the story of the game with dynamic match presentation.

Best PS4 price: £34.00 at Amazon | Best Xbox One price: £34.99 at Amazon | Best PC price: £33.00 at Amazon

cod

4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare envisions the powerful battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. Delivering a stunning performance, Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey stars as Jonathan Irons – one of the most powerful men in the world – shaping this chilling vision of the future of war.

Best PS4 price: £23.85 at Simplygames | Best Xbox One price: £23.85 at Simplygames | Best PC price: £18.90 at cdkeys

dragonball

5. Dragon ball Xenoverse

Dragon Ball Xenoverse will bring all the frenzied battles between Goku and his most fierce enemies, such as Vegeta, Frieza, Cell and much more, with new gameplay design!

Best PS4 price: £48.85 at ShopTo | Best Xbox One price: £44.09 at Base | Best PC price: £29.99 at GAME

minecraft

6. Minecraft

Experience the Minecraft gaming phenomenon, rebuilt with new features designed for console. Create worlds limited only by your imagination. Explore, build, and conquer alone or with your friends via split-screen mode or online.

Best PS4 price: £12.99 at John Lewis | Best Xbox One price: £14.00 at John Lewis

the order

7. The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 introduces players to a unique vision of Victorian-Era London where Man uses advanced technology to battle a powerful and ancient foe. As Galahad, a member of an elite order of Knights, join a centuries-old war against a powerful threat that will determine the course of history forever in this intense third-person action-adventure shooter, available exclusively on the PS4 system.

Best PS4 price: £43.99 at Zavvi

zomie army

8. Zombie Army Trilogy

Zombie Army Trilogy is a terrifyingly intense third person shooter set in a gruesome alternate vision of World War II. Berlin 1945. Facing defeat at the hands of the Allies, Hitler has unleashed one last unholy gamble - a legion of undead super soldiers that threatens to overwhelm the whole of Europe. Fight alone or team up to save humanity from the zombie menace in this apocalyptic shooter for 1-4 players!

Best PS4 price: £29.99 at Argos | Best Xbox One price: £29.99 at Argos

evolve

9. Evolve

The creators of Left 4 Dead, Turtle Rock Studios, bring you Evolve, the next-generation of multiplayer shooters, in which four hunters face off against a single player-controlled monster. Stalk your prey, execute your attack, and prove you are the apex predator in adrenaline-pumping 4v1 matches

Best PS4 price: £42.99 at Zavvi | Best Xbox One price: £28.85 at Simplygames | Best PC price: £22.90 at cdkeys

car cry 4

10. Far Cry 4

Built from the legendary DNA of its award-winning predecessor, Far Cry 4 delivers the most expansive and immersive Far Cry experience yet in an entirely new and massive open world, with integrated drop-in/drop-out co-op play.

Best PS4 price: £44.98 at Zavvi | Best Xbox One price: £44.86 at ShopTo | Best PC price: £21.99 at cdkeys

best cheap tvs

Best cheap TV deals of the week:

DealsRadar understands that not everyone wants to spend thousands on a new TV. Here are the best cheap TV deals we found online this week.

Cheap TV deal 1: Samsung UE32H5000 HD TV | Now £219 | Amazon

Cheap TV deal 2: LG 40UB800V Smart 4k Ultra HD 40" LED TV | £449 | Currys

Cheap TV deal 3: LG 55UB820V 55" Smart 4K TV | Now £899 | Currys

Read more: Cheap TV: 25 best TV deals for March 2015

hard drive deals

Hard drives and storage:

With smartphones recording 4K video and taking photos at 50MB a pop, it's not surprising that our laptops are running out of storage space.

Cheap Storage deal 1: Toshiba HDWC130EW3J1 3TB Stor.E Canvio | Now £74.95 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 2: Kingston 64GB USB 3.0 DataTraveler Mini Flash Drive | Now £15.99 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 3: Samsung Memory 32GB Evo MicroSDHC UHS-I Grade 1 Class 10 Memory Card with USB Adapter | Now 317.46 | Amazon

Cheap Storage deal 4: Seagate Backup Plus 8TB USB 3.0 Desktop 3.5 inch External Hard Drive | Now £199.99 | Amazon

Read more: Best Hard Drive Deals

portable power bank

Portable phone chargers:

If your smartphone or tablet is constantly running out of power at the most inconvenient times, you should think about buying a portable power bank.

Cheap Portable Charger deal 1: TeckNet® Power Bank 12000mAh Fast Portable Charger Battery Pack | Now £13.97 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 2: EasyAcc 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim Dual USB | Now £18.99 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 3: VINSIC 20000mAh Ultra-slim Power Bank | Now £25.90 | Amazon

Cheap Portable Charger deal 4: Anker® Astro Mini 3200mAh Ultra-Compact Lipstick-Sized Portable Power Bank | Now £13.99 | Amazon

gift card

Gift cards:

Amazon gift cards | John Lewis gift cards | Currys gift cards| PC World gift cards | GAME gift cards


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Review: Updated: Samsung Galaxy S4

Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is now two years old, and not only was it replaced by the Korean firm's 2014 flagship offering, the Galaxy S5, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 was recently launched at MWC 2015.

That means that the Galaxy S4 is now feeling a little long in the tooth. To make matters worse, Samsung has also released the innovative Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, a version of the Galaxy S6 with a curved screen that wraps around two edges.

Without the fancy new bells and whistles that Samsung is including in its latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S4 can almost feel as if it is a relic from another age. However just because two years is a long time in smartphones, it doesn't mean that we should write off the Samsung Galaxy S4 just yet.

Its replacements haven't spelled the end for the Galaxy S4 - it's still on sale, at a lower price point of around $368. It has also dropped in price on contract.

That isn't too bad for a handset that is still pretty well specced. What's more, Samsung is continuing to churn out software updates for it.

Samsung was quick to upgrade the Galaxy S4 to Android 4.4 KitKat. Together with a few minor Samsung additions and modifications, it tightens things up behind the scenes for a slightly sprightlier navigation experience.

And here's some good news for followers of the latest smartphone trends: the Samsung Galaxy S4 is getting an upgrade to the latest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop with the upgrade rolling out now.

If you've already got a Samsung Galaxy S4, head over to our guide on when to expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade. We update it constantly, so it's your best source for finding out when the new operating system will reach the Galaxy S4.

But let's consider the S4 in context: as an upgrade to the how-is-it-still-on-sale Galaxy S3. One of the most impressive things about the phone was the fact the size hadn't changed from the S3 - the Galaxy S4 comes in at 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm, meaning there's no extra heft to try to work with in your palm.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

However, despite this fact, the screen on the S4 has been increased once more, to a 5-inch display with Full HD resolution. OK, so it's no longer a big deal when compared to the QHD offering on the 5.5-inchLG G3 and 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4, but that doesn't mean it's not a greatly impressive screen.

I should also note that the Galaxy S4 is considerably smaller and lighter than its successor, the Galaxy S5, despite conceding a mere 0.1 of an inch in screen size. This is evidently a result of the S5's tougher water and dust-resistant construction, but not everyone will count this as a worthwhile compromise.

The Galaxy S4 shared a lot with the other top smartphones of its era. Both the Sony Xperia Z1 and theHTC One have screens that use the same resolution, but neither of them have the still impressive clout of the Super AMOLED HD screen on offer here.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

On top of that, there's a much faster processor packed under the hood, ample storage space for media thanks to an expandable memory card slot, and 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and pretty much any other connection you care to mention on board.

Samsung has tried to supplement this with a tranche of software upgrades too, meaning a more powerful camera, a better way to communicate with your friends and consume media, and interestingly a big push into health through dedicated apps too.

Design

Before I dissect all the possibilities the phone has to offer, let's look at the design. As I mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is impressive in its form factor, thanks to the sub-8mm thickness. At 130g it manages to still be light without shaving off so much heft that you feel like you've got a flimsy piece of plastic.

That's probably the biggest compliment I can pay the Samsung Galaxy S4 - where its predecessor felt a little bit cheap in the hand, the S4 manages to bring a much more solid build and better construction to boot.

So while the "faux metal" band makes a comeback on this model, it looks a lot more premium. And there's very little flex in the chassis when you hold it tightly, which was another problem with the Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

It can get dented very easily though, and be careful not to crack your screen if you do so - I've heard of a few instances where this has happened to Galaxy S4 users, although that can be said of many other polycarbonate smartphones.

That doesn't mean that the phone is completely remodelled from the S3 - it's very similar in appearance, so much so that a number of people asking to see it during my review thought I was palming them off with my old S3. The polycarbonate chassis remains, but that brings with it the faithful battery cover, which conceals a removable battery and microSD slot.

I'm not so fussed about the battery being able to drop out of the phone - so few people carry around a spare battery, and nowadays portable charging blocks are becoming so cheap and light that they make much more sense.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

I'd almost prefer something like the Sony Xperia Z3, which has a refined and packaged chassis but doesn't need a removable battery instead it makes use of a slot for the memory card. This integrated nature would make for a slightly more premium feel to the phone.

However, it's a small gripe with the Samsung Galaxy S4, as while the cover feels flimsy, it's better than it was on the S2 and the S3, and they both sold like hot cakes.

In the hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4 feels much better than any other Samsung phone I've held (apart from the gargantuan smartphones the brand used to make - the i8910 Omnia HD might have been built like a brick, but it felt wonderful to hold). The screen's spread towards the sides of the phone means a much narrower bezel, and the effect is certainly impressive.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

It might look very similar to the S3, but when you take the Samsung Galaxy S4 up close, you really start to appreciate the nuances.

I'd say it feels a lot more like the old LG Optimus G range now - when I first picked it up, I was struck with how similar it felt in terms of sturdiness and the polycarbonate construction to the LG Optimus G Pro.

It's since been mimicked once more by the LG G2, which was a real competitor to this handset when it first launched - it's got the same ugly plastic case, but much improved innards at the same price.

That's no criticism, as the device is well built, but it has a similar rounded feel. This is intriguing given the history of the two companies, and shows more of a leaning towards the plastic shell from the Asian brands in general.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

The buttons have barely changed from before - the power button has been shifted slightly on the right-hand side, and is now much easier to hit. Samsung has clearly taken some lessons from the Galaxy Note 2, which has a really well positioned power/lock button.

The volume key is less easy to hit, and could be lower down in, but the travel on both of these buttons is satisfying, and you'll always know when you've hit them.

The plastic used on the home key has been upgraded too, with a more solid feel under the thumb when you press down to get back to the main home screen. The two buttons flanking it give you access to menus or take you back from whence you came, and while both are easily hidden, they light up nicely with an even glow when called into action.

Samsung Galaxy S4

There are loads of sensors on the front of the phone above the screen, including cameras to track your eyes, a 2MP camera for HD video calling and a proximity sensor for knowing where the phone is in relation to your ear. On the white review unit I had their presence looks rather ugly either side of the generous earpiece, but on the darker models this is less of an issue.

The other notable addition to the design of the Galaxy S4 is the infrared blaster on the top of the phone. This enables you to control your TV, satellite box, DVD player, amp and even air conditioner. Again, this isn't a new feature, but it works well in practice, and despite being small is powerful enough indeed.

Other than that, there's not a lot more to say about the design of the phone, as it's just a little underwhelming. I know it's unfair to lambast a brand for not overhauling the design every year, but in the One X and the One, HTC proved that it is possible to offer up a new design over successive generations and still keep things attractive.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Looking so similar to the Galaxy S3, you can't help but feel Samsung has gone a little too Apple and created something more in keeping with the Samsung Galaxy S3S - a minor update to a great phone to keep those coming out of contract happy that they have a premium phone to upgrade to.

I do implore you to get the phone in your hand before making your judgement though. While it's not got the best design on the market when it comes to materials, it's a big step forward compared to the Galaxy S3 and allows for a grippy and easy-to-hold phone, with a whopping screen inside.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

It still feels cheap as chips compared to the iPhone 6 and HTC One M8 though.

To just dismiss it for being plastic would be doing the Galaxy S4 a disservice as it has so much more going for it than that. But it's worth remembering that to a lot of people, the way a phone looks is as important as how much RAM it's got on board and how fast the CPU is - if not more so.

Key features

At the time of its release, the Samsung Galaxy S4 came with what I felt was the best display you could find on a smartphone. While it's since been superseded by the likes of the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5, it still holds up to scrutiny today.

It's the same Super AMOLED technology used in other Galaxy smartphones, but it was the first in the range to be cranked up to Full HD resolution, which is 1920 x 1080 pixels, if you're asking, meaning a still-sharp 441ppi.

This uses the same PenTile matrix that's drawn so much criticism over the years, as some state that Samsung is using too many of one colour of pixel, or that the sub-pixel (the colours within each pixel) arrangement is too basic. All of this has meant that older Galaxy smartphones have had something of a blue or green tint, or been a little low-resolution when viewed (admittedly very) close up.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Well, and you'll forgive me for saying the same thing that I did with the Galaxy S3, close up now there's no way you can see any jagged edges or elements within the icons. It's simply superb, and makes everything from web pages to video look brilliant.

There's no worry about the tints of old, nor the criticisms levied at Samsung for making over-saturated screens, as often people have claimed that the colours look too strong on these devices thanks to the OLED technology used.

It is a feature of the technology, and not just because of the high contrast ratios on offer, but with the Galaxy S4 Samsung added in a mode to make the colours look more natural, should the user so wish to have it that way.

This method does drop the brightness somewhat, and that's already lower than you might find on theHTC One, but that extra brightness isn't needed thanks to the contrast ratio I mentioned earlier.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

One of the strengths of OLED technology is that when a pixel is displaying a black image, it's completely off, and therefore draws less power and looks darker. Compared to LCD screens, which have a backlight to light the colours in front, this means that the blacks will never be as black as found on an OLED.

So, as I said, there's nothing to want for with the Super AMOLED Full HD screen found on the Samsung Galaxy S4. It might not be as high resolution as the HTC One or the Google Nexus 5, simply because it's slightly larger with the same amount of pixels, but viewed up close you'll struggle to find a flaw with it.

You can change the brightness from the notification bar, accessed by sliding your finger down from the top of the screen, but if you want to make things easier you can just tag the auto button here and have the Galaxy S4 work away at deciding the optimum brightness for you.

You can also customise the auto level - so if you like things a little lighter or darker, then you can choose such a thing. It's a good way to manage your battery even easier.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Another display feature is the improved capacitive technology used in the screen. This is designed to ape a feature brought by Nokia on the Lumia 920, which enables you to wear gloves and still use the phone - which will be a key feature to those in colder climes, or who like to wear gloves for sport or similar.

There used to be an issue whereby this feature rendered the screen a little too sensitive and twitchy to the gloved touch, but having used the phone after the Android 4.4 update, it doesn't appear to be such an issue. Naturally, I'll let you know if extended use reveals otherwise.

All of which means there's not a thing that I can criticise the Samsung Galaxy S4 screen for in any way, as it's still close to perfect for a smartphone - making it a great device for so many more functions as a result.

Devices such as the LG G3 are starting to up smartphone screen resolutions to QHD standards, but the jury is out on whether this is wholly necessary, or whether the benefits outweigh the inevitable hit to battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Until that's answered the Samsung Galaxy S4's screen will continue to be one of my favourites - particularly for the price.

Over recent years, Samsung has increasingly turned to software gimmicks in order to differentiate its smartphones from the crowd. It could be argued that this really started to get silly with the Samsung Galaxy S3, and looking at the Galaxy S4 afresh today confirms that Samsung tried to pack way too much in here.

There are tons of gimmicks, like Smart Stay. This isn't a new feature for the Galaxy S4, but it's a better implementation than we saw on the Galaxy S3. Back then the result was a little patchy, and also contributed to some dodgy auto-brightness levels.

In case you don't know, Smart Stay is another of Samsung's eye-tracking technologies, one that can tell when you're looking at the screen and won't dim or put it into sleep mode as a result.

This time around it's nearly flawless at checking out when your eyes are looking at the screen, although when it does get it wrong and things begin to dim there's no way to save it (despite us blinking and flashing our eyes at the display in the vain hope the S4 might recognise the effort).

Of course, you could just tap the screen with your finger - but come on, this isn't 2011.

Then there's Smart Scroll. This technology was designed to also monitor your eyes, but when it notes you're looking at the phone the Galaxy S4 will enable you to tilt the handset back and forth to move the text or email you're trying to read up and down the screen.

Well, this is what Samsung said at the Galaxy S4 launch, but it turns out that there's another, cooler, trick at work here: you can hold the phone steady and tilt your head up and down to achieve the same thing.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

You have to make a pretty strong movement with your head to make this function work, but when it does it's pretty cool indeed and one of the 'down the pub' moments that will make people sit up and take notice.

However, and this is a big one: because the feature isn't perfect, I can't say it's a useful way to navigate around the screen. Using your finger remains a more useful way of scrolling around a screen.

Air View, meanwhile, allows you to hover your finger over certain items to see inside without opening.

Samsung has imbued a number of applications with this functionality, but in truth only a few really need it. For instance, being able to see which speed dials are assigned to which number is really useful, as otherwise you'd just have to press and find out.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Less useful are things like video scrolling, where you can flick through the video using the timeline bar without having to disturb the main action. While this is a useful feature, there's not a lot of point to having to hover the finger over the screen to achieve it when you can just slide your finger on the screen, which is a much easier way of doing things.

Where Air View was somewhat useful, Air Gestures is possibly the least practical things on the phone. It's designed to let you simply wipe your hand over the front of the phone without touching it and means you can skip tracks, move between photos and answer calls without touching the phone.

I'll say that the latter functionality is good, but only when you're in a hands free situation, such as the car. There you don't want to be having to root around for the 'Call accept' function when you're supposed to have two hands on the wheel, where a simple wipe to answer is really cool.

I've got nothing against the option of doing things this way, and it's got a lot more accurate with the new software update. This means that there's no more (well, far fewer) missed gestures, and it won't activate when you don't want it to, which is another real bugbear I found at the start.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Other uses, such as moving between tabs in the internet browser and moving app icons around, are cool and could be useful in very niche situations... but it's still not really better than just touching the screen and doing it without worry.

There are some more instances where it's really, really useful – you can wipe over the screen and flick through PDF pages, scroll through web pages a large jump at a time or flip between tabs.

It's a clever system, but like I said, it's not useful enough – it's cool to do, but takes a little more effort than it should to be a natural flowing part of your phone use.

Like so many new features on the Galaxy S4, a little annoyance means you'll turn them off, and it's unlikely you'll ever turn them on again, which makes me feel bad for all those engineers that were asked to come up with all this innovation.

Samsung made a big deal about S Health with the launch of the Galaxy S4, and it's clear to see the intent: it wanted to get a slice of the lucrative fitness market, and wanted to leverage the technology contained within the smartphone already.

It's a novel idea to have it so entrenched within the phone itself, but it does have some good ideas on how to use your phone to improve one's fitness. For instance, once you've entered all your weight, height and exercise details, the phone can tell you an idea weight to aim for, and how many calories per day you should ingest to achieve it.

On top of that, you get a guide to exercise levels each day, in a way that mimics Nike's FuelBand, which uses points to tell you how to get more active.

The S Health app can also now sync up with a Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and it'll even figure out when you've duplicated recorded steps and discard one of the data sets (the lowest one, thankfully). You'll have to download the Gear Manager app for this, though.

While I like the sentiment behind the S Health app, and the fact it works so much better than other similar apps, there's still a lot to wonder about in there.

You'll be set a 'steps per day' goal, whether walking or running. While on the days I took the Galaxy S4 running it had a larger uptick in the percentage of running steps, it was far from accurate.

Even on sedentary days, the S4 was congratulating me on running for a portion of it. Seems a bit unfair to all those people that were out sweating and pounding the streets, but I took the kudos.

Perhaps I'm being a little hard on this app, as it works well - just too simplistically. You can track your weight here nicely (and even more effectively if you purchase Samsung's Bluetooth scales) enter the food you've eaten to keep an eye on calories, and if you're organised enough, track all your exercise in one place.

But there's so much more to be done; what if you had running app capabilities within S Health, so it can monitor your runs in a similar way to Nike+, Adidas MiCoach or Endomondo? Samsung is missing a trick here - plus it needs to make the pedometer more accurate.

Interface and Performance

Update: The Android Lollipop software is about to land for the Galaxy S4, so we'll be updating this section to let you know how / if it improves the TouchWiz overlay - according to our findings on the Galaxy S5, it certainly makes things look a lot slicker.

The interface on the Samsung Galaxy S4 didn't arrive as an officially new release of TouchWiz, the Korean brand's name for its Android overlay, but it did bring a whole host of new features to the Galaxy range.

It's been updated to Android 4.4, which means there are several upgrades from the previous version, though it's fundamentally similar to the version of Android 4.2 the phone shipped with - although Android 5 will change that quite dramatically.

In the drag down notification bar, you're still greeted with two icons in the top right-hand corner; one takes you to the internal settings from anywhere in the phone, and the other gives you quick shortcuts to turn elements within the S4 off and on.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

You can also get access to the full grid of options instantly by dragging down from the notifications bar using two fingers instead of one..

This is an idea Google pushed with the new iteration of Android, and works well. However, it's a little redundant here, as the phone already has these in a long line in the notification bar. You can also edit these quick toggles too, so it means that you'll rarely push the other button to get the full list.

Speaking of the full list, it now contains two toggles that weren't present in our initial review, and which actually appeared in the previous Android 4.3 update: smart pause and reading mode. Reading mode optimises the screen brightness and tone for reading in selected apps, while smart pause uses the front camera to read the orientation of your face when watching video, and will pause when it turns away. Both worked well when tested.

Android 4.4 includes smoothness upgrades too, and while this works on the likes of the Nexus 4, I'm not sure what it's really added with the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Considering that this phone is running the quad-core Qualcomm 600 chip, clocked at 1.9GHz and combined with 2GB of RAM, I would have expected this phone to run faster than anything I'd seen prior to its release.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

While that is true for the most part, it's only a touch more than we've seen on the Galaxy S3. Apps will open and close faster, but elements like the time taken to open the multi-tasking menu (triggered by holding down the home key from anywhere in the phone) still take a beat to activate. This is even emphasised by a vibration to recognise your command, followed by a notable (if brief) pause before the menu pops up.

In case you're wondering, there were two versions of the Galaxy S4 launched: one with Samsung's own Exynos 5 octa-core, and this one (model number GT-1905) that has the Qualcomm Snapdragon quad core. This version is clocked at 1.9GHz, which means it runs faster in general - however, the octa core has two sets of four cores, with one for day to day stuff and the other for heavy lifting, such as photo processing and such.

While I'm a little upset we never got the option of this other version (it smashed the benchmarks in many tests at the time of release, legitimately or not) there are questions about whether the battery will hold up as well as the device flicks between the two quad core processors inside. Qualcomm's chips have proved themselves to be the more energy efficient in recent times.

The general Android / TouchWiz interface is still the same as ever: this means that you can throw as many widgets and apps all over the seven home screens that you like.

It's still a great way of doing things, and with Android KitKat you can flick items out of the way just by dragging them onto the screen and holding them in the place you want.

What is interesting is that Samsung still hasn't added the functionality to drag and drop app icons on top of one another to create a folder. I'm pretty sure Apple is trying to patent such an idea, but given rivals have managed to use this method (such as HTC with the One M8) I'd have expected Samsung to do the same.

It's not a big deal, but having to drag an app to the top of the screen, create a folder, name it, then drag other apps in is a bit of a hassle.

One area that has been changed massively from S3 to S4 is the lock screen. Firstly, there's a new way to mess around with this UI: where once you could only touch the screen and watch the water ripple around, now you can choose to have your finger trigger a little light that hovers under your finger.

Lock screen

Combined with the Samsung Galaxy S4's improved screen technology that's been super-boosted, in terms of sensitivity, to enable you to use gloves with it, you can now hold your finger a centimeter or so above the display and watch the light flicker along under your digit. It's not a big thing, but one that I found myself constantly playing with.

The lock screen also enables you to have widgets on there before you open the phone, enabling music control, remotes to display and messages to preview.

While there are some useful implementations of these (the music player is really handy to have, and can be resized by dragging the track list up and down) others, like favourite apps, really don't help as much. You can still thankfully have all the lockscreen shortcuts, which means you can interact in the same way as before.

To open the phone from a widget you just tap it. I initially wanted to criticise the phone for this, but after a few days it really becomes second nature.

There are a number of issues I found with the interface though: for instance, Page Buddy being removed, which is available on older Samsung devices. This function would display a new home screen when certain actions are initiated, such as connecting a pair of headphones or roaming in another country.

You can't get this on the Galaxy S4, and its omission is terrible, as it was one of my favourite features of the pre-updated S3. You can get recommended apps when you plug in headphones in the notification window, and in fairness Samsung appears to have improved the relevance of these recommendations since launch.

Rather than Facebook and Chrome, for example, I now get YouTube and Music Player.

I would say the blocky nature of the UI really isn't attractive. It basically adds a load of features into a previously simple experience, which may or may not please some people. Thankfully, all this is switched off by default - and you can even have your own message saying hello every time you open the phone.

It's clear that Samsung has toed the Google line in using Android 4.4 on the Galaxy S4, as this lock screen functionality is straight from the search giant's design board (with a few Samsung ideals placed on top).

It's also present in the menu system, which, rather than one long list of all your options, is divided into four screens: connections, my device, accounts, and more. It's a neat way of packaging things all up, but it can be hard to hit the categories on the top given the size of the screen.

The interface on the Samsung Galaxy S4, to the uninitiated, is great. It has loads of innovative ideas and works blazingly fast. I can see why some people find TouchWiz a little cartoony and convoluted at times, but in my eyes this is a great combination of power and simplicity in a smartphone.

In terms of performance, it's worth repeating that I was testing the quad-core version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 here - which means that when it comes to benchmarking it's not quite as strong a performer as the octa-core version.

In all of tests the Samsung Galaxy S4 is shown to be a very strong device when compared to its direct rivals. It's matched in many ways with the HTC One, for example, while it sails ahead of both the Nexus 4 and the original Sony Xperia Z.

Bringing our benchmark tests up to date with Android 4.4 installed, and utilising TechRadar's favoured Geekbench 3 test, the Galaxy S4 managed to score an average of 2213. That's double the score of the Snapdragon 400-equipped LG G2 Mini, and is just 600 behind the Snapdragon 800-equipped HTC One M8. Not bad at all.

The Samsung Galaxy S4's follow up, the Galaxy S5, managed to score a respectable 2909 in the same tests, so if you're after a little more juice, you might want to go for the newer model. It's a safe bet that the upcoming Galaxy S6 will include a similar improvement in performance.

Gaming on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is handled by the Adreno 320 GPU, which can still work its magic when it comes to giving smooth, real to life gaming on the go.

I tried the phone on a number of games, from Super Hexagon to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and the 2D beauty that is Badland. As expected the Galaxy S4 handled them all with aplomb, with not even a hint of judder or slow down when in heavy use.

Badland Galaxy S4

More impressive was the lack of battery juice-down when using the handset, as it managed to only consume a few percent of the power even when getting a little warmer in the hand.

It seems as if the floodgates have finally opened in the world of Android gaming, so the fact that you can experience the best of it without compromise on older technology like the Galaxy S4 is great news.

Battery life

The battery life test is one of the world's most difficult things to rate, thanks to the sheer range of things you can do with the phone to keep it from throwing out all its juice in a heartbeat.

For one person the Galaxy S4 is a treasured beast, only brought out into the light to check emails manually once an hour for most of the day. For the next it's an all-powerful media player, one that will be streaming movies over a 4G connection while auto-updating every app under the sun.

The good news is that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is able to handle all the things you can throw at it and still keep the 2600mAh battery chugging along at the end of the day. I found that in general use it was very well received.

TechRadar's usual test is performed on the commute to work, the time when we're all glued to our screens. For this test, like all other phones, I streamed audio over Bluetooth headphones (Rockaway Novero, if you're asking).

A 10 minute cycle ride with music playing dropped things by 1%. Streaming video over 4G for 10 minutes with full brightness on the screen pulled down another 3%. Then it was more music for 30 minutes, which ate another 2%, and then downloading a 86MB game file over 4G, which munched 3%.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

A little more music playing, combined with general email checking and testing out the air gestures, air view and smart scroll saw a battery drain of just over 10% for the hour I was trundling to work. That's really impressive, as I reckon high drain capability of 10% per hour will lead to more than enough juice come the end of the day.

I never found myself in that situation, which is great. You can always pop in another battery, thanks to this being removable, but in truth, it wasn't needed.

I will say that those that like gaming, movie watching and internet browsing will struggle to make the battery last on this phone, as the screen is the biggest drain. That sounds obvious, but I'm actually happy that the Galaxy S4 isn't one of those devices that will see your battery juicing down from an overly-enthusiastic background syncing process.

After a few months of using the Samsung Galaxy S4, I found that the battery life was definitely better than other models on the market. With medium to low usage, you'll easily get to 50% by the end of the working day, and that's including some music streaming, internet browsing and video watching.

The Galaxy S4 has an excellent sleep mode that means that when it's inactive it can really drop the drain on the CPU, and achieve that in a much better manner than other devices.

While the S4 is OK, the lower-end CPU isn't up to the power of the Qualcomm 800 seen in the LG G2and Nexus 5, these are much more power efficient and are even more adept at connecting to wearables without an impact on battery life.

The essentials

While the Galaxy S4 may have inevitably dropped behind the curve in a couple of key aspects, its basic functions are as good as any other Android smartphone

Calling on the Samsung Galaxy S4 carries on from its predecessor - namely in being excellent. It's got a slightly narrow earpiece range, which means that you have to be careful where you position it in relation to your ear, but that's a really minor quibble as the overall effect is impressive and works well thanks to some clever volume management.

The Galaxy S4 has noise reduction built in, and many people commented how clear the sound was over the airwaves. The S4 supports HD voice as well, which is carried over the 3G/4G networks (depending on your provider) so you'll always get the best clarity on offer.

In short, this phone worked well no matter where I was. Dropped calls should be a thing of the past on all handsets, but that's not always the case; however, with high end handsets there's no reason to think it should happen, and the power of the Galaxy S4 to keep hold of signal is impressive.

In fact, the signal strength was regularly impressive, making very few trips down to the dreaded 'no bar' icon that means you might have a connection but, hey, you might not. Nobody enjoys that smartphone lottery, right?

There are a number of extra bells and whistles to play with here too, which offer varying success. You can set something called "adapt sound" which asks you to pop in a pair of headphones and listen to a range of sounds at different frequencies, thus tailoring the output to your ears.

You can also choose to have "clear sound" or "soft sound" during the calls, but when I tried these modes all I got was a slight variation in volume. There are other tricks that are more useful in call, like being able to turn noise reduction on and off and being able to boost the volume when needed.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Otherwise, it's the same great calling experience we've all come to expect from the Samsung Galaxy range, even down to the three options that come up when you end a call (Message, Call or Video Call) so you can get in touch with the person if you've forgotten pertinent information.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the best phones for actually, you know, phoning, out there. Its size isn't horrendous next to the ear and people can hear you - and vice versa. Job done.

The messaging experience on Samsung smartphones has never been the strongest, and thankfully it's getting better and better with each iteration. I'd go as far as saying that it's actually GOOD on the Samsung Galaxy S4, and that's coming from a place of wanting to throw the Galaxy S3 out a window once or twice when the email client doesn't connect properly.

Let's start with one of the most important points: the keyboard. The previous Samsung versions have been woeful, with bouncy word prediction, inaccurate typing and cramped conditions.

Thankfully with the S4 Samsung appears to have realised this and made a larger option, and thanks to the larger screen you've even got a row of numbers on the top so you don't constantly have to keep pressing shift to get them up each time.

There's also a Swype like option on board, and while the jury is still out on whether this is more efficient than tapping away, I found it to be more accurate thanks to the larger amount of space afforded by the 5-inch screen.

I still instantly downloaded another option (SwiftKey might be underpinning a lot of what this keyboard is about, but the native option is still preferable in my eyes, as it takes less customisation at the start).

As for text messaging, you still have Samsung's functional if somewhat ugly messaging app, but the current software also includes Google's superior Hangouts app, which can be set as your default SMS app. I'd suggest doing so.

Internet browsing on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is covered by two applications: the inbuilt browser and Google Chrome. This might lead to some confusion as, for the most part, the two applications do precisely the same thing.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

However, the default browser (Samsung's own) still comes with a few tricks of its own, and has been upgraded since the Galaxy S3. It's not any quicker, which is odd given the upgraded processor, but that's likely because the Galaxy S3 was already running at the top end of the speed the connection would let it.

I'd opt for Chrome every time though. It's newer and slicker, with shared tabs and history between it and the popular desktop version. Also, with it being Google's current browser of choice, it's constantly being improved. The current version on the Galaxy S4 runs very smoothly, with the full TechRadar website loading up in around five seconds.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S4 camera represented a big upgrade over previous sensors it had put into phones, and with a 13MP sensor you can see why. It is still capable of taking some stunning photos and comes with a decent auto mode, which enables you to get really great shots no matter what the framing.

This means you can be taking a picture of a landscape one minute, then trying to get an extreme close up of a daffodil the next, and the Galaxy S4 camera will handle both with aplomb.

There are also a number of clever modes available on the handset that take their UI cues from the original Samsung Galaxy Camera, and which have made their way into subsequent Samsung phones and tablets. This means that a quick tap of the "mode" button below the on screen shutter will give you a scrollable wheel of options to choose from.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

These options include drama, eraser and beauty face, as well as queuing up the likes of rich tone (HDR) mode to improve the quality and light levels of your snaps. For the most part they have a good role to play in your photography, and I'm glad Samsung hasn't over-burdened the user with too many modes.

There are some issues with this method however, and I'm not sure how you'd solve them: eraser mode enables you to take five pictures and if someone walks into the shot the phone will recognise the intruder and ask if you want to remove it.

This is a brilliant idea in theory, but the fact you have to enable it as a setting before taking the shot means that unless you leave the camera in this mode all the time, you'll only get the full benefit when you know you're likely to get people walking behind.

The other problem I have is the settings side of the user interface. I applaud Samsung for going with simplicity first, and by that I mean that users aren't presented with a settings menu as long as their arm when trying to take a quick picture of a cat or child doing something funny.

However, as you'll see in a moment, the Galaxy S4 camera does struggle in some conditions, and as such the only way to mitigate these problems is to do things like increase the exposure or enable night mode. If you want to do this then you'll have to acquaint yourself with the settings menu in the top left-hand corner of the camera app, which has a number of icons to toggle on and off.

That said, what is on offer does really work. Night mode is a good way of increasing the brightness of your photos when things are getting a little dark - although you'll have to make sure that you're able to hold the camera steady if you don't want blur. I've tried a number of smartphones with this mode though, and the Galaxy S4 was one of the better ones, plus being able to enable it automatically is brilliant.

Other tricks, like being able to take a drama shot, are pretty close to the innovation spawned from other manufacturers. In this case, the functionality is almost identical to that seen on the Nokia Lumia 925 and (more recently) the Nokia Lumia 930, although I'm glad to see it again as it does enable you to make some pretty funny GIFs.

The other new ideas, such as being able to take a picture using the front and back camera simultaneously, are niche at best. Samsung made a big deal about this new function at the launch of the Galaxy S4, but in reality I can't ever see a scenario where you want your face to be in the picture too. I do like that you can have loads of frames for your face though, so there are scenarios to use it - it's just not a USP of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

I also found that, following the Android 4.4 update, this latter feature seemed to crash the camera app from time to time. In fact, the camera app in general wasn't quite as stable as I would have liked. Hopefully this will be fixed with the Android 5.0 upgrade that's coming soon.

But enough about what it can do; how good is the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera in day-to-day use? In all honesty, it's brilliant in many ways. I mentioned that it's possible to take some stunning shots, but then I'd expect it from a 13MP camera with Samsung's burgeoning photography heritage.

When stacked against the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera is superior in one way, but less useful in another. For one, the focal length is much poorer, meaning you have to stand further away from the subject to get the same shot you would on the One.

In theory this sounds great, but as you can see from my comparison shots, the HTC is much better at pulling out the object of the photograph. Then again, the Galaxy S4 has a more balanced composition, meaning the chance to get a brilliant photo is stronger. It doesn't over expose for the sake of it, so while photos might look better on the One's phone screen, the jaw dropping effect of the S4 is higher.

In low light, the HTC One with its UltraPixel technology is streets ahead of the Galaxy S4, unless you place the latter into Night Mode after which it's more even. However, the One manages low light shots almost instantly, while the S4 needs a lot of processing.

In short, as you'll see below, the Galaxy S4 is a good phone to take a load of pictures on. It has since been superseded by more recent efforts like the Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z3, of course, but it still holds its own if you take your time to get it right.

If you're looking for a more even picture with the ability to zoom in on certain parts of the shot it's a decent option, but for point and shoot ability I would recommend the HTC One or its successor, the HTC One M8.

Camera samples

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4

Click here to see the full-res image

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Click here to see the full-res image

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review

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Galaxy S4 review

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Media

I always enjoy talking about the media functionality of the Samsung Galaxy range as it's so good - and I'm happy to do the same here. It's a media marvel in every sense of the phrase, from music to video to even the FM radio, and if you're after a spot of entertainment on the go there's still very little better out there regardless of its age.

In terms of the overall media experience, only the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C really offer anything distinctly better. Even then there's the matter of those smaller screens, though that has been rectified with the recently released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The Galaxy S4 has done away with the FM Radio of the S3 for some reason though – it's a shame as the Samsung app was one of the best out there for listening to some tunes over the airwaves. Sure, there are dozens of excellent internet radio apps, but for free music that you could record when needed, I loved that ability on the Galaxy S3 and Note 2.

It's also worth noting that Samsung has upgraded the rear speaker as well, which is now a little richer in the bass tones and makes watching videos or YouTube clips without earphones that little bit better. It's nowhere near as good as BoomSound from HTC, but it's definitely a big step forward.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Sonically, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great device for music consumption. You can lob in as many tracks as you like through the microSD slot, the interface is fluid and easy to navigate, and comes with so much control that if you've got quality headphones and high bit-rate tracks, it should be impossible not to get an excellent experience out of the phone.

One of the real winners here is the music player itself - there's just so much to do.

I'm talking about the main player here - there are other options in the shape of Google's Play Music, and of course you can check things out using the music portion of the Samsung Hub (the South Korean brand's version of iTunes, helpfully now packaged all up in one place) but the main way to transport tunes to your ears is through the main music app.

It's easy to get to the tracks you want here too, as when you open it up you're presented with either a big long list of all the albums or songs you own, although if you have missing album artwork the phone won't be able to find it for you.

That said, there are so many apps on the Google Play Store that you shouldn't have an issue with it - I'd recommend you look at something like Player Pro to help you out with this.

Once you've selected the track, you can continue building a playlist or press the album artwork icon at the bottom of the screen where a little music player has started. From here there's all manner of things you can do: from searching through a song using a visual representation of the volume to setting the sound to mimic your ears perfectly, it's all here if you open up the menu.

The latter functionality is really nice. AdaptSound takes you through a wizard that asks you to listen to a variety of frequencies and determines which ones you can hear. It will then boost the sound to make sure it fits into the range you can actually hear, which will diminish as you get older.

Music also supports voice control here as well, which in theory would be really useful. The ability to play, pause, skip, and toggle the volume is a really nice thing to have - except it doesn't really work very well.

General performance is hit and miss, volume up and down go up and down very slowly, and if the phone is in sleep mode (which it will be most of the time) then the commands don't work at all.

I loved it when I forced the screen to stay on and could just command the phone to change tracks by asking, and without having to press any buttons, but that kills the battery. When it doesn't pick up yo
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Buying Guide: The best iPhone 6 Plus deals in March 2015

Best iPhone 6 Plus deals

The iPhone 6 Plus is magnificent, it's the device that many people wanted Apple to create, to give them a handset that's a little bit larger, with all the benefits that brings with it.

Now, those of us who adored the screen size of the Samsung Galaxy Note have the chance to own Apple's device in the same size.

There's also a real advantage to the iPhone 6 Plus that goes beyond just the larger screen. But make no mistake, the 1080 x 1920 screen makes a big difference when you're looking at it. Perhaps the most important advantage though, is that the camera sports an optical image stabilizer, which helps shoot amazing images in low light conditons.

The chances are you've decided which OS you want. If you're an iPhone fan, then your only remaining choice is to pick either the 6 or the 6 Plus, and then decide on the colour and memory size. But if you want the smaller phone, why not read our iPhone 6 deals page instead.

The UK's best iPhone 6 Plus deal: Across all of the deals we compared, the best one was provided by Vodafone. It offers the Space Grey iPhone with 16GB storage for £14 per month. The catch, of course, is that you must pay £495 up-front and the data is a fairly mean 250mb per month. Texts are unlimited though, and you get 300 minutes of calls. We'd urge caution on that data package, it's never going to be enough and you'll end up having to pay to have more. Get this deal: direct from Mobiles.co.uk

Compare: all iPhone 6 Plus deals

Now let's break down the best iPhone 6 Plus deals by network...

iPhone 6 deals on EE

Best iPhone 6 Plus deals on EE

EE is the network to go to if you want high-speed 4G

Deal 1: The best overall iPhone deal on EE right now offers 2GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. The per-month cost is £26.99 and you need to pay £319.99 up-front. That's not bad really, and the data is more than generous enough for most normal users. Get this deal: direct from The Carphone Warehouse

Deal 2: For the very data hungry though, you may want to consider the 5GB plan from EE, this is just about as much data as you can get on any network and it comes with unlimited calls and texts. The phone will cost you £59.99 and then it's £36.99 per month thereafter. Get this deal: direct from Mobiles.co.uk

Deal 3: We don't have any offers for a free iPhone 6 Plus currently, so the lowest priced deal is £54.99 up-front and £36.99 per month which gets you 2GB of data along with unlimited calls and texts. Get this deal: direct from Mobiles.co.uk

Compare: all iPhone 6 Plus deals

iphone 6 deals on o2

Best iPhone 6 Plus deals on O2

O2 is the network with extras, including the popular O2 Priority service

Deal 1: The best deal on O2 for the 6 Plus will have you paying £249.99 initially, then £33 per month. That gets you 1GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. Do note though, this is a 64GB phone, rather than the 16GB you get on most tariffs. For very light use that data package might be enough, but be very careful about big app downloads and video streaming. Get this deal: direct from The Carrphone Warehouse

Deal 2: For those who need a larger download limit, take a look at O2's 5GB plan. You get a gold iPhone 6 Plus for a one-off fee of £49.99 and then it's £43 per month. As with all of O2's iPhone 6 Plus plans, this one has unlimited calls and texts. Get this deal: direct from Mobiles.co.uk

Deal 3: If you want a phone with no up-front cost, then it's possible with O2. You have to pay £43 per month though, and you only get the 16GB model, with 1GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. Get the deal: direct at Mobiles.co.uk

Compare: all iPhone 6 Plus deals

vodafone

Best iPhone 6 Plus deals on Vodafone

Vodafone prides itself in coverage and quality, it's often a bit mean with data, but there are extras like Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile thrown in.

Deal 1: Vodafone's best deal is our best overall deal, it's not got a lot of data and given that Vodafone gives subscriptions to Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile this is even more of a concern. Even so, for £14 per month and £494.99 for the phone, this is the cheapest way to get the iPhone 6 Plus. Get the deal: direct from mobiles.co.uk

Deal 2: For the best Vodafone data deal, take a look at its 4GB deal. There's no up-front cost to the phone, and it's £43.50 per month but you also get unlimited calls and texts. Plus you can have the gold phone, which is - if we're honest - the best one. Get the deal: direct at Mobiles.co.uk

Deal 3: Vodafone's lowest initial cost deal for the 6 Plus is on a £38.50 per month deal, which includes 1GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. The low data allowance is still a concern, but the price is pretty good for the lack of up-front cost. Get the deal: direct from Mobiles.co.uk

Compare: all iPhone 6 Plus deals

iphone 6 deals on Three

Best iPhone 6 Plus deals on Three

Three is one of few providers that offers unlimited data, and Feel at Home is amazing for regular travellers.

Deal 1: The best overall deal on three is for an iPhone 6 Plus in Space Grey with 16GB of storage. It's £99 upfront, followed by £41 per month for unlimited texts, 600 minutes of calls and 1GB of data. This is good for those who need a low initial cost, but the data is very limiting. Get the deal: direct from Three

Deal 2: For those who want a lot more data, Three is the only UK provider that has an unlimited package for you. To get it, you need to spend £99 up-front and £48 per month. You'll also get 600 minutes and unlimited texts. It's not cheap, but if you're a data-hungry monster, this is the best tariff in the land. Get the deal: direct from Three

Deal 3: There's no such thing as a free phone, at least not with Three. As with the iPhone 6, the cheapest handset price is £9 - no, we don't know why either. You will then have 24 months of paying £60 per month, but everything is unlimited. Get the deal: direct from Three

Compare: all iPhone 6 Plus deals


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