Nice and inviting Glam design
Phew, now that we've gone through all the different aspects that make up this prominent handset, we guess the time has come for some closing words.
With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is staying true to its typical design language, however, the company has further enhanced the exterior of its product, making it look eye-catchy, all the while preserving the comfort that comes with a fine textured-plastic design.
The prettiest Galaxy S to date and one that looks different from everything else on the market
The Samsung Galaxy S5 polarized opinions at its very launch - it's inevitable when a device has so much to live up to. Yet, you don't need to look any further than the stats on our homepage to know the name of the latest star commanding the interest of our readers.
The question is which of the two camps you are in. Were the critiques justified or was it just the usual exercise in hating what's trendy?
Fantastic screen. Versatile, high-quality camera
The Samsung Galaxy S5 fits happily into the role of Galaxy S4 successor. It's a phone with some significant improvements over that model. It lacks the style of its nearest rivals, but it more than delivers on every other point and has a truly oustanding screen.
Flagship smartphone doesn't match up to rivals
Things haven't changed much from the Galaxy S4 but Samsung, as usual, has packed the Galaxy S5 with features. However, a lot are somewhat unnecessary. The heart rate monitor is a prime example and while the fingerprint scanner is cool, it's difficult to use. There is some top end hardware here, particularly the screen, but nothing which stands out in a busy and competitive market. A key element is that the design of the Galaxy S5 falls short.
Pros: Great display, good camera performance.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a fantastic handset. The design could be seen as playing it safe, although the addition of waterproofing and presenting a compact and lightweight device has much merit, as does continued access to the battery. The software updates don't make huge changes compared to its predecessor, although things feel a little more advanced and a little less cluttered than previous Samsung handsets.
Long battery life, Has all the S4 features & more
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is simply one balanced performing smartphone! At $300 with a 2-year contract, there's no denying the fact that it's an expensive cost, but as we've come to learn, the hefty pricing does come with some perks. The phablet category saw some new entrants into the space this year, but the Note 3 continues to be the best in its class.
Beautiful large screen, cutting edge tech
Samsung has done it again - and it made it look so easy. The Galaxy Note 3 can pretend it has no competition, while otherwise remarkable rivals know they'll will have to live with - but not quite live up to - comparisons to the gadget that defines an entire segment.
Three generations into it, Samsung is returning to a playground which now has to be shared with others. There are bigger screens out there, waterproof bodies, impressive cameras and immensely powerful chipsets.
Huge full HD display, S Pen digital pen, fast CPU
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is king of the phablets, as was the Note II. Heck, before the original Galaxy Note, there was no such thing as a phablet. Good thing Samsung was cheeky enough to give oversized smartphones a try. The Note 3 is currently among the fastest phablets; only the Sony Xperia Z Ultra shares the Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 graphics for now, though we expect that to change as the months pass.
Pros: Improved looks, hugely powerful.
There are a few little things about the Note 3 that we think require some attention, such as photo processing and possible concern over SIM region-locking. These feel like software issues though, and that gives us some hope that they might be fixed at some point in the future. Aside from that, the leap forward from the Note 2 is pretty epic. The included S Pen is great for handling the new air command interface, while handwriting recognition is more accurate now.
Crisp, bold screen, Very powerful
Its huge 5.7-inch size means the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 really won't be to everyone's taste. If you're after a big screen, however, and a phenomenally powerful phone to help tackle anything your working life is likely to throw at it -- and you fancy hand-writing notes with a stylus -- the Note 3 is the best massive mobile around.
Great battery life, Excellent screen, Top-notch specs and performance
If you don't mind feature clutter and the device's high price, or you just want a big-screen phone that has the fastest internals for gaming and multitasking, the Note 3 is the best phone for you. But if a big screen and good performance are mostly what you're after, there are other big-screen options, and there will soon be more. If you can live with a lower-resolution screen (that's still pretty great) and the absence of the S Pen, Samsung's Galaxy Mega is a good choice.
Large screen, compact phone
Samsung didn't exactly catch us by surprise with the Galaxy S4. Pretty much all the hardware improvements like the faster processor, better camera, and 5" 1080p screen were expected. Samsung simply had to have those in the Galaxy S4 if it wanted its product to be relevant in 2013. However, it's the flawless implementation of all the features that makes the Galaxy S4 the superb smartphone that it is. Design-wise, the latest Samsung flagship is nothing special.
Stunning screen, Superfast processor, Great camera
Make no mistake - the Samsung Galaxy S4 is far, far more than a Galaxy S3 'S' - Samsung may be copying Apple according to some people, but it's not as brazen as the Cupertino brand in flogging the exact same design with a slightly uprated processor and calling it a new phone.
The Galaxy S4 is a great, great device in its own right, re-inventing what it means to own a brilliant smartphone in a number of ways.
More serious and stylish look
While the Samsung Galaxy S4's exterior might be its Achilles' heel, we can't blame Samsung for sticking with the Galaxy S brand image it spent so much resources trying to build (that phone sold over 50 million units too, so being associated with it cannot be too bad).
With the sheer number of excellent flagships to choose from, if you are looking for the best smartphone, you had it better than ever.
Stunning 5-inch Full HD screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 might not look that different or have that one killer feature that sinks the competition, but it's a worthy successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3.
It's a true high-end powerhouse and undeniably one of the best phones on the market right now, albeit one that will relies a little too heavily on brand appeal and past successes rather than innovation and eye-catching design. Yes, it might not be the most stylish handset on the market, but nor is it a dog.
Huge display in a not so huge phone, excellent camera
The Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones is a juggernaut; like the iPhone, the next generation will sell well based simply on brand loyalty, trust and familiarity. Even so, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a lot to offer, and though I wasn't overwhelmed with love for the Galaxy S III, the S4 is seriously tempting me. The superb camera and related features, comfortable feel in the hand, replaceable battery and software like Smart Stay and Air Gesture are hard to give up once you've used them.
A brilliant phone in almost every way
As we type this we have the SGS3 and the SGS4 on our desk. While, superficially, there's really not a lot of difference between the two, to hold, they couldn't feel more different. We really like the new, more square-feeling SGS4. At the back, we prefer the SGS3 aesthetically, although the case design of the new phone is nicer - albeit still plastic.
There are a stack more options here.
High-resolution display, Fast processor
An alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - with such impressive characteristics and top-of-the-line hardware specs - is pretty hard to find. As of this review, the Sony Xperia Z is the only capable competitor to Samsung's tough handset as it is also water-resistant and with high-end hardware specifications.
IP57-level water resistance is nice
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is not the best smartphone in the Samsung lineup, but if you add "that I can put in water," things definitely change. It's a very good 2013 flagship aimed at people who until recently had very few options - as you can see there aren't many high-end smartphones with water resistance.
Sure not everyone needs to have an IP57 certified handset, but if it doesn't cost anything in terms of overall smartphone performance than it certainly doesn't hurt having it.
Able to handle dust, water, and all the vicissitudes
We really like the Galaxy S4 Active. It's got the kind of features that we wish the flagship smartphone has. There is a downgrade with some specifications but they don't seem like a big sacrifice. Performance is excellent and the neither display nor the camera could be described as poor. If you want durability, this is the Galaxy S4 for you but it's worth checking out the Xperia Z as an alternative.
Same great features as Galaxy S4 though the camera resolution is demoted
If you love the Samsung Galaxy S4, but work or play in harsh environments where the phone comes into contact with water and dust, then the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is for you. In order to keep the price the same as the regular GS4, Samsung dropped the camera quality down a notch, but you're still getting a very good shooter than can even photograph fishies underwater.
Wow just wow
The Samsung Galaxy s4 active is probably the phone to have right now on the market. Although pretty pricey it is literally a "Smart" phone. The phone may be a little bit bulkier than the other phones in the past, it is life proof, literally. When I purchased the phone the first thing I did was test it to see if it could last in water. I poured water straight into the sound output then played music straight after, and the sound quality was perfect.
Scaled down S4 design, Bright screen, Excellent camera
As for those wondering whether they should buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini instead of the Samsung Galaxy S3, truly that is something that you will have to decide for yourself. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini more than makes a case for itself, with the upgraded software, decent battery life and 4G tech more than giving the Samsung Galaxy S3 a run for its money.
Looks like its bigger brother but fits in the hand better
The Galaxy S4 mini is a great mid-range option, offering the same styling - which includes the same mediocre build quality - as its flagship counterpart, with a cheaper price tag. The cameras are good but the screen and storage are both under par. Consider the HTC One mini or the Nexus 4 as serious alternatives.
Pros: Fantastic styling, nice size.
When it comes down to it The SGS4 Mini is a terrific little phone. Solid battery performance, brilliant sound quality and a really nice form factor make it lovely to use. The lack of internal memory is a big issue though. While music and videos can be offloaded to an SD card, apps can't, and apps are starting to get really big in some cases. While we accept that gamers won't flock to this phone, we still think that the 5GB of internal storage is mean beyond words.
One of the best mid-range smartphones to get at the moment
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a very substantial upgrade to the original Grand that improves it in practically every aspect. We are particularly fond of the now much sharper and better looking 5.25-inch display, but the improvement in battery longevity is also very important.
The Grand 2 price varies across markets, and we've already mentioned that there are three different models, all shipping to different regions. In its main markets, the Grand 2 is priced at around Ã¢â??
the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a sequel made in heaven
Plus two CPU cores, +100ppi, LTE, a bigger screen, beefier battery and looking sharper, the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a sequel made in heaven. Then again, we're talking Samsung and dual SIM, so that could've easily been another sequel made in ... a hurry. And since we're well past the point of spoilers - that's not the case here. Definitely not.
Very slim and compact handset for the screen size
Samsung is apparently not aiming the Mega 6.3 for the mainstream user, but for those who want the largest screen in the most compact package aimed at media consumption. It already has a strong direct competitor in that category, however, in the face of the excellent Huawei Ascend Mate, and if Samsung overprices the handset, it might be disappointed in the sales results of the Mega 6.3.
4G and microSD support, Large, bright screen
In the end, we are left feeling a little confused by the Samsung Galaxy Mega. Every time we pick it up, we really want to like it. Samsung proved with the original Galaxy Note, and the subsequent Galaxy Note 2, that big screens really do sell phones, and we can see exactly why.
But that Galaxy Note 2 comes with an AMOLED screen, and the same resolution as the Galaxy Mega but in a screen that is 0.8 inches smaller so seems that bit more impressive.
Good mix of flagship features
At a lower price point, the Mega 6.3 will be a great midrange deal. Modern smartphones are quickly growing out of the "phone" part and everything else - web browsing, email and chat, watching videos, using apps and playing games - is better on a bigger screen.
Large screen effective for multi-tasking
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is essentially a giant version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. It doesn't quite have the up-to-date specs of the Galaxy S4, making this phone all about screen inches. And you need to be all about screen inches too, as the sheer size of the otherwise-accomplished phone makes it tricky to use one-handed.
Great battery life, superb internet device, feels responsive
As good as the Mega is, it's not going to be for everyone. We can't give it a bad mark just because it's big, though, because it also succeeds in being really rather good. But it is kept short of a higher score by limited internal memory, a problem that isn't getting any less troublesome as time goes on. We also wonder if people considering this phone might be better off with the Note 2, which has more features and can be bought for not a huge amount more cash these days.
Bright clear full-HD 6.3-inch TFT display
The Mega isn't the next Galaxy Note despite its size, but it does have its charm, especially if you like the S4's design. Those who don't want to wait for the Note 3 have a viable alternative in the form of the Mega, though it's not as powerful. The Mega, at S$798, does seem like a tad expensive for the handset's performance, but bear in mind you're really paying for the large display, which is a key feature for those who want to consume media on their smartphones.
Battery charges quickly, and lasts for a long time
While it may save you some dollars up front, I can't quite see the Galaxy Mega 6.3 being the go-to device for the general consumer. The Galaxy S 4's 5-inch display is big, an the Galaxy Mega 6.3 makes the Galaxy S 4 feel like a tiny baby in comparison. However, if you are aching to get your hands on a phone, and not a device that's even remotely trying to act like a tablet (in the software department), with a huge display, then I don't think you'd go wrong with the Galaxy Mega 6.3.
Good value-for-money for a convergence device
Oh, and if you have to have a convergence phone/camera device with optical zoom for whatever daily reason - well, nothing can rival the chubby S4 Zoom then, and Samsung has priced it pretty well to boot, just slightly above its S4 Mini blood brother, throwing in the whole camera part for cheap.
Battery life is decent
It's almost impossible to score the Galaxy S4 Zoom. It is such a niche product. £400 buys you either not much phone or a lot of camera. Actually, it buys you both. But whether that makes it a good deal depends on your needs: do you want a superzoom camera that can make calls and send and receive emails? If so this is the phone/camera for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Pros: Responsive camera, physical controls make for ease of camera use.
READ:. As a phone the S4 Zoom has us equally as charmed as the S4 Mini - it's snappy, great to use, has plenty enough power and is a decent size. As a camera the S4 Zoom performs like a reasonable 16MP, 10x optical zoom compact camera too. Married together and the potential of both sides opens up: there's no need to switch between two products so no waste of precious bag or pocket space, while using apps, snapping shots and sharing on the go are just a few finger taps away.
Large 720p display that performs as well as it looks
With all Windows Phones running nearly identical software and Microsoft employing strict hardware minimums it can be challenging for manufacturers to differentiate their products. Nokia has already chosen to focus on the camera, and HTC is producing their typical top-notch hardware. Samsung's Android approach has been to include an excess of niche software customizations, but with the less open Windows Phone platform they are not able to do this.
Nice screen for a mid-range smartphone, Good battery life
If you're on Sprint and are specifically looking for a Windows Phone, the Samsung ATIV S Neo is a better option than the HTC 8XT, largely because of its higher-resolution screen and better battery life. And while it requires an extra $50 initial investment, that's a tiny portion of what you'll pay over the required two-year contract.
Deep integrated S Pen features
Sure, there's a premium price attached to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but there's a very good reason for that. In T-Mobile's case, they're asking a mind-blowing $369.99 for the Note II and that's with a 2-year contract ($649.99 outright), while AT&T and Sprint are selling it for $299. At one point not too long ago, the threshold seen with cream of the crop smartphones topped out at the $300 mark, but with this, it totally kicks down the door and establishes a new tally.
Enormous battery, Expandable memory
It's tricky to pull all of this together in a final summary. Do we mark the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as a phone with a trillion bells and whistles? Or as a personal media player that makes phone calls?
As a phone, it's big, but once you get over that, if you can, it's great. As a PMP, it really does excel, and as a web communicator, it is almost second to none (though we can't fully get the taste of Flash absence out of our mouth).
Bigger and better screen
At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Note II seems to have completed all it's here to do. Samsung have solidified its lead in the phablet market, while offering enough novelties to keep those already in it interested. There's also plenty of exclusive stuff too.
We guess some people will still be less than impressed by a bigger Galaxy S III with a stylus. And we're not saying that a big screen and a stylus is exactly what makes a near perfect smartphone better.
Increased screen size
Where the Galaxy S II and III were Samsung's answer to the Apple iPhone, the Note II is a step in another direction for different users those requiring something more like an old-school PDA, able to work with a stylus for reading handwriting input and for sketching. As a phone, it has the same kind of capabilities as the Galaxy S III, with slightly faster performance an added bonus to the increased screen size, at the expense of one-handed usability.
Refined and useful pen input
This is a great offering from Samsung, but as with previous Galaxy Note devices it will not suit everyone's tastes.
If you're onboard with the stylus-driven concept there's plenty of rewarding stuff here.
Is it perfect? Of course not. But, it is unquestionably the best realisation of the Galaxy Note concept we've seen so far.
Indeed, we'd go so far as to say this is how the original Galaxy Note should have been.
Oh boy Samsung does it again
I love this phone and to be honest with you I don't see myself using another phone for a very long time. This Quad-core beast can handle it all. I don't even take out my iPad anymore....I don't even feel the desire to buy the Nexus 7 at this point in time because this phone is just fun to use. This is now my personal on the go PC. I put in a 64GB microSD card into it (MicroSD slot another plus btw) and now I take all my movies and music along with me.
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