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Samsung Galaxy S4 (Sprint)

Armando Rodriguez | April 25, 2013
This is the burning question of the moment: Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S4?

The Drama shooting mode takes multiple exposure shots and stitches them together to form a single photo. As you can see from the image above, the mode works best for capturing images involving lots of movement, or when you're trying to re-create the Abbey Road album cover. When you take a Drama shot, you can select the photos that you'd like to use in the final image by tapping on them, though the Galaxy S4 usually did a good job at picking the best images and stitching them together on its own.

The HTC One has a similar mode that uses the phone's Zoe camera. However, the feature on the Galaxy S4 required less digging through menus. In fact, though the camera apps on the HTC One and Galaxy S4 shared many similar features, they were almost universally easier to access and operate on the Galaxy S4.

Unfortunately, all of these excellent capabilities come at a price: Though the Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, it lacks the ability to take PhotoSpheres--arguably one of the coolest features of the stock Android 4.2 camera. It's possible that Samsung could restore PhotoSpheres later, but I'm disappointed that the option won't be available at the phone's release.

Bottom line

When the Galaxy S3 launched, it was widely regarded as the best Android phone of its time: It had the best design, loads of features, and an impressive list of specs that set it head and shoulders above the competition. The same cannot be said about the Galaxy S4. Yes, the phone is loaded with extras, and its specs are nothing to scoff at; but the Galaxy S4 doesn't do much to differentiate itself from the pack. If anything, the phone is more iterative than revolutionary, and some aspects of the handset--such as Samsung's TouchWiz overlay and the phone's plastic aesthetic--make the Galaxy S4 feel like it's stuck in 2011.

Despite its flaws, the Galaxy S4 is a solid phone and a worthy successor to the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S4's camera is exceptional and apps like S Health make this new model worth considering. Is it the best Android phone out there? No, but that shouldn't stop people from buying it if they find Samsung's additions to Android appealing.

Samsung Galaxy S4 (Sprint)

At a Glance

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a stellar Android phone held back by boring design and half-baked features.

Price when rated: $250

Pros

  • Excellent camera
  • Vibrant display
  • S Health is neat

Cons

  • TouchWiz feels dated
  • Plastic aesthetics
  • Certain features just don't work

 

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