Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S III: Advanced fence-sitting

GSMArena team, 10 April 2013.
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Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S4 didn't stray too far from the design ideas of its predecessor. The Galaxy S III introduced the "inspired by nature" philosophy and the hyperglaze finish, which have been carried over to virtually every Samsung smartphone released since, including the Koreans' new flagship.

The Galaxy S4 body uses the same hyperglazed polycarbonate plastic, although it comes with a new crosshatch texture, which we find more attractive than the bruised aluminum finish of the Galaxy S III. It gives the smartphone a more serious and sophisticated look.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S III side by side

A couple of other factors that contribute to the superior look of the Galaxy S4 compared to the Galaxy S III are the far slimmer bezels around the screen and the slimmer profile. Both factors are crucial to the

high-end vibe and improve not only the design but also the feel of the smartphone.

The fact that the Galaxy S4 is slightly shorter, noticeably thinner and virtually the same width as the Galaxy S III, despite the 0.2" larger screen and the ampler battery is probably Samsung's biggest achievement as far as hardware is concerned.

Finally, the chrome rim around the display on the Galaxy S4 isn't plastic this time and made of some kind of metal instead. The cooler material gives immediate higher-quality reassurance when you start to operate the device.

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The bezels around the screens

When comparing the Galaxy S4 to its predecessor the one thing that comes to your attention is the slightly raised frame of the new flagship. Unlike the Galaxy S III, your finger doesn't slide from the edge of the screen but stops at the metal border.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S III will be more pleasing to those who prefer a rounder profile and less pointy edges. We can also vouch that after almost a year of use the buttons on the Galaxy S III still feel like new and even except for a scratched area at the back, the plastic hasn't suffered major wear and tear.

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The Samsung Galaxy S III

The buttons on the Galaxy S4 are also somewhat refined compared to those on its predecessor. They provide better feedback and generally appear higher-quality. The volume rocker is also longer making it easier to locate and press.

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Galaxy S4 buttons

On the back very little has changed. The single LED flash has been relocated under the lens and, more importantly, it turned out to be a bit more powerful than the one on the Galaxy S III. The loudspeaker has been moved to the bottom of the Galaxy S4's back panel and not next to the lens like before.

Unfortunately , the back panel is still a pretty strong fingerprint magnet, so unless you go for the white version, which does much better at hiding those, you will be doing quite a lot of cleaning.

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Both phones from the back

Under the hood we find the same slots but at different places. There's a microSIM and microSD card slots, the NFC antenna and the battery. The battery on the Galaxy S4 has gained 500 mAh, which come in handy considering the larger screen and the higher resolution.

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Under the hood

Overall, while the Samsung Galaxy S4 didn't bring the complete design overhaul many were asking for, it improves on the hardware of its predecessor quite significantly. The two may look similar from a distance, but hold them in your hand and you'll immediately notice the difference. It may be just an evolutionary step, but it's a pretty big upgrade nonetheless and one that proves 5" smartphones with large batteries don't necessarily have to be unwieldy.

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