Samsung I9505G Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition review: Purified

GSMArena team, 14 July 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Samsung, Android

Great connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition starts off with the basics - quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and quad-band 3G. An LTE-variant of the device will also be available for supported regions.

Google's latest Android flagship uses Bluetooth 4.0 alongside Wi-Fi support which includes a/b/g/n/ac, as well as the new ac standard, with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band compatibility.

The Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition allows you to share all sorts of media via NFC by simply touching the device and other NFC-capable devices back-to-back.

There's also an IR-port, which allows you to control various TV's and other devices using Samsung's WatchON app, which we'll cover below. Luckily this functionality is still available in the Google Play Edition Samsung flagship.

And finally, for wired connectivity we have the MHL 2.0 port. By all appearances it is a normal microUSB port and works as one (a charger port as well). But the MHL 2.0 port enables video output by using a MHL-to-HDMI dongle. There isn't one included in the retail box and those can be hard to come by.

Once you plug the dongle into the phone you also need to plug a charger into the additional microUSB port on the dongle and the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition screen will be mirrored on the TV.

The MHL 2.0 port has yet another feature - it features USB On-The-Go. You'll need an adapter for that too (there isn't one in the box) but this one is fairly straightforward - you plug it into the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition and plug a standard USB cable on the other end.

Google Chrome is in charge of web browsing

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition comes with Google Chrome as a default web browser out of the box, replacing the generic Android browser, which isn't even present. The interface hasn't changed since Chrome's launch for Android and is clean and minimalist.

At the top there's an URL bar with a refresh/stop buttons next to tabs and settings buttons. You can switch between tabs with a wide swipe from either the left or right.

Opening the tabs area reveals a list of tabs which can be closed again with a left or right swipe. The animation accompanying this action is neat, too.

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Google Chrome

Chrome is running on the WebKit rendering engine, so underneath the minimalist UI it's basically the same as all Android stock browsers.

Of course, one of Chrome's strengths is its ability to seamlessly sync with its desktop version, using nothing but your Google account. This allows you to open an article on your PC and finish reading it on your mobile phone. It also syncs your bookmarks and favorite sites.

Google Chrome is generous on settings as well. You can control almost every aspect of your web browsing from choosing what content you want to allow to load like JavaScript, images, cookies and pop-ups.

If you are out of Wi-Fi access, you can, for example, choose temporarily not to load images. Digging into Chrome's options, you'll also have the option to turn the auto-fill of forms and storing passwords on or off.

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Switching between tabs • An incognito tab

Unfortunately, while Chrome excels in many areas, it falls short on the one that could be a deal-breaker for many of Android users and this is Flash. Sadly, viewing Flash content is the one thing you won't be able to do here.

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