Consumer Reports ranks Galaxy S4 its new top-rated smartphone

By , May 21, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S 4 (white, three up, front, profile, back)

Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has been declared our “new top-rated smartphone” in a barrage of tests conducted by Consumer Reports, an influential U.S. magazine published monthly by Consumers Union since 1936.

Yup, that’s the same publication that gave Apple’s iPhone 5 a thumbs-up shortly following its September 2012 introduction only to rank it one of its worst high-end devices available on the larger U.S. carriers in its February 2013 issue. So, what Galaxy S4 features did Consumer Reports editors single out as particularly appealing?

According to a blog post, the Galaxy S4 really does live up to the hype.

“It dethrones the LG Optimus G, which occupied the top spot in our Ratings for several months,” the magazine wrote.

It delivers “top-notch performance in the most critical areas of our tests, including the camera.” Indeed, the S4 packs in a 13-megapixel camera with back-illuminated sensor and full HD video capture.

The S4 has an excellent 5-inch, high-definition (1080p) touch-screen display, as well as oodles of gesture- and sensor-based tools for accessing and sharing content you create and capture on your phone.

The camera has a number of advanced features, including auto focus, touch to focus, digital image stabilization, face detection, smile detection, exposure compensation, white balance presets, digital zoom, geo tagging, high dynamic range mode (HDR), panorama, scenes, effects, self-timer and voice activation.

The device’s five-inch screen impressed Consumer Reports, which praised it for being “sensitive enough to use with gloves on – handy during cold weather.”

They are also loving the S4′s built-in infrared remote and split-screen multitasking, which earned the monster phone a “true multi-tasker” moniker. As for the handset’s battery life and voice quality, Consumer Reports found those two features to “vary slightly between cell carriers,” as with the LG Optimus G.

The new Galaxy is scheduled to land on the Verizon network tomorrow, May 23. The Internet giant Google in a surprising move said it’ll start carrying an unlocked version of the S4 with stock Android software on its Play store beginning June 26, priced at $649.

This unlocked model will run on AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE data networks.

What’s your take?

Is the S4 at this point really the world’s best smartphone?

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  • Zaidan Umar

    For now….

    • Nasser Cedeño

      yeah for now.. new iphone is on the way

    • Cameron Chao

      I still disagree, the S4 has poor battery life, still laggy with stock UI and for some reason its screen causes my eyes to hurt even at low brightness settings.

      • RarestName

        Install Screen Filter from the Play Store, it’ll help to lower the brightness level even further.

      • Cameron Chao

        not quite sure its the brightness, i get a similar dizzy spell like how most people including me get when we watch a 3D movie with active glasses.

  • imot65

    ZZZZzzzzzz…..

    ZZZZzzzzzz…..

    ZZZZzzzzzz…..

  • pauleebe

    I’m all for this. The iPhone 5 was a great improvement over the 4S, but Apple needs a fire under their *** to keep innovating nowadays.

    • http://twitter.com/enarth Bobdole

      Great improvement ?
      The only major change was the size of the screen… otherwise it was pretty much just upgrades…
      Don’t take me wrong, i had an iphone 4, i have an iphone 5…. but let’s be honnest, it was even less an upgrade (from iphone 4S to iphone5) than it is from S3 to S4, at least they have a lot a new software…

      • Cameron Chao

        could you explain to me how big the upgrade was from S3 to S4? Dont let the amount of added useless features fool you.

      • http://twitter.com/enarth Bobdole

        exactly my point, it’s a small one, the upgrade from S3 to S4 is as useless (better cam, better processor bigger screen…) as it was from iphone 4S to 5, except for the useless (yet entertainning) software features…

      • Cameron Chao

        Point taken. Useless is still useless though.

      • mehrab

        I hate samsung but i want to say it was a very good solid update i just wish the phone was a bit faster

      • SoCoMagNuM

        i like how people say “explain how big the upgrade was from S3 to S4..but leave out the new features” lmao yes its the next iteration of the galaxy s series. of course its going to do what the S3 does. it upgrades the hardware for faster performance for newer operating systems, new features (useless or not), and give the consumer MORE OPTIONS. Whats useless to you can be benefitial to someone else. maybe you lexist in some alternate dimension where everyone sheeps around with everything in common and only common interest. how about jumping to reality and realize that not everyone in the world shares your opinion…….and thats ok. different strokes.

      • Cameron Chao

        perhaps i could add more to the useless features, how about ‘useless features that doesnt work well’, check online how the hand waving gestures and eye movement sensors are poorly integrated.

  • Boss

    HTC One is the best phone out

    • mehrab

      No not when compared to the gs4 the octa core gs4 was slow for me and the htc one will be ……. The design is just aluminium with fit and finish hardware buttons were placed horribly and the phone doesnt lay flat on surfaces i have many more reasons these arejust some

  • RarestName

    Battery life’s bad for my cousin and uncle, and they turned off most of the features. Otherwise it’s all good.

    • Taf Khan

      Not a fan of the plastic feel. The HTC is far superior in terms of build and quality.

      • Altechi

        My HTC One has Gaps on it though, a dead pixel, and speaker problems. So I not going to say build quality is better.

  • LookMaNoHands

    It’s the same as the s3 with some new features i bet most people won’t even use. Just like the iPhone 5 is the same thing as the iPhone 4S.

    • Dan

      Well, it has a bigger screen, better resolution, better specs which leads to faster response (tried out the GS3 and GS4, there is a difference), so it’s not all bad. But I agree, both Apple and Samsung are lacking in innovation as of late.

  • leart za jmi

    ok the device is full of useless features.
    but when i say to my friends: hey, i buyed the new samsung. they will think that i have a new air conditioner :P

    • Dan

      … what? O_o

      • leart za jmi

        what??

  • http://twitter.com/day_dreamer_92 Radu

    I have always been an apple fan but they keep on disappointing me, while other companies do a much better job. I get bored of the same 4, 4S, 5, 5S (?) upgrades, it is always the same thing, the same OS for the last 5 years. If there hadn’t been a jailbreak I would have switched to a galaxy phone long time ago.

  • Lordthree

    How much does Samsung pay you to make these worthless nonsense comments?

    • SoCoMagNuM

      nothing really. they just offer more of what some others desire from their smart phone. dont knock a man for his opinion. knock samsung if you dont agree.

  • mehrab

    The people who rates this shits are mostly going like omg my phine has a octa core while the iphone has a dual core it must be so mmuccchh fassterr and betterr omg i have a 13 mp camera omg omg that was my non geek brother before he compared his ga
    S4 to my iphone 5

  • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

    I love my 4S and despite being underpowered when compared to its opposite (S4) I would never dream of getting one. My next phone will most likely be an iPhone otherwise I’ll have a HTC since I don’t care what everyone says but all other Android phones are terrible. If I end up sleep deprived or on drugs I’ll probably wind up with a Windows Phone but no matter what I will never go near Samsung and their plastic junk.

  • LookMaNoHands

    I can say the same thing for the iPhone 5. They made it thinner and a little taller also used a different material for the shell. The camera is in a differnt spot and for the home button not much you can do with it since apple likes it where its at. I’m just saying we haven’t seen anything that would make you say “wow” in any phones lately.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamesheckiii James Heck III

      How about making the phone lighter, thinner, larger screen, and increasing the internal volume all at the same time?

      • LookMaNoHands

        I’d hope they’d do that at the same time otherwise you’d have a funny looking phone. Was that suppose to “wow” me

  • felixtaf

    I always hear people complain about Apple products looks same and lacks innovation. Imagine all the Samsung products from late 2012 to 2013 (after S3). Everything looks same and available with different sizes at high prices. S4 has high end specs but it still looks same. (GS3 update is on the way and said to include most of the GS4 apps n gimmicks). GS4 is a good phone, but its over-rated everywhere (IMO).

  • Eisenhorn1976

    I really don’t care whether it has 12 cores and a 30-megapixel camera. It is still the butt-ugliest high-end phone there. There is no debating that it’s ugly. Anyone debating this point is delusional or likes tacky things. That’s fine. It’s your money but don’t force us to call something that’s ugly nice and assert that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is the biggest load of bull sold to the world by people with poor taste.

    To paraphrase the Verge’s review, aesthetics matter.

    I’d get the HTC over this device any day but I’m already quite happy with my iPhone 5. I really don’t know what the Samsung’s fanboys are doing posting over on iDownloadBlog, other than maybe looking for iOS themes to steal icons from… just looking through XDA, I’ve seen “post your homescreen” threads where people ripped-off iOS themes like Jaku.

    The truth is, despite all the criticism, the Apple ecosystem still has the best-looking products: nicer cases, better looking apps, more useful accessories. Even some cheap Apple device accessories look better than some mid- to high-end Samsung accessories. It’s just a fact. It’ll be a cold day in hell when Samsung overtakes Apple on the design front.

    Also, while the iPhone 5 won’t win any speed races for it’s more than adequate for what it’s used for. Why do you need an Octet processors? So you can render the force close popup faster? Finally, people look ridiculous holding such big devices to their ears to make calls. Bigger isn’t better… it’s just bigger…

    • Gorgonphone

      yeah samzung failed on design

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diego-Milano/629446773 Diego Milano

      Sorry guys but… I agree, and yes, I thumbed-up this comment too. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesheckiii James Heck III

    This is also the same ‘Consumer Reports’ that gave iPhone 4 their highest numerical rating within the same article where they also stated that they could not recommend the phone due to the putative “antennagate”.

    They lost all credibility with me long ago.

  • Kenny Woodard

    1. Gs4 – plenty of features with interchangeable battery and memory expansion.
    2. Htc One – fast, sharp, and classy phone. Starts out with at least 32gb at a great price too.
    3. Galaxy note 2 – big luxurious screen, good for productivity.
    4. iPhone 5 – Clean and simple OS but is lacking many features compared to other smartphones.
    5. Gs3/Optimus G – basically both good phones, but have been replaced with options above.

    • Gorgonphone

      i agree BUT when you jailbreak the iPhone 5 is is fantastic

  • Gorgonphone

    lol its the newest phone out.. but the HTCone is better and nicer but samsung has the big name and money so poor HTC wont win.. iphone5 is king though

  • SoCoMagNuM

    im glad people can deem whats “useless” in my opinion. i then find their baseless opinion useless to my opinion lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diego-Milano/629446773 Diego Milano

    Approved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diego-Milano/629446773 Diego Milano

    LOL! That was a good one!

  • batongxue

    Troll for Shamesung!
    Actually the HTC ONE deserves the crown (For NOW).

  • youfanboyslol

    butthurt butthurt apple fans everywhere

  • youfanboyslol

    biggest applebrainwashedfanboy award goes to you! Well done! ;)

  • n0ahcruz3

    Im a long time iPhone user since 3G, but this time im going S4. I still have my ipod touch and ipad mini. So its all good.

  • Eldaria

    Had a 3GS for a looong time.
    A local provider had an offer, try our subscription and any phone for 14 days. And return it, no questions asked.
    So I have ordered an S4 to see what the fuss is all about, should arrive any day now.

    Will see if I stay on or hand it back and wait for Apple to get it’s shit together. The lightning connector, no NFC and no 4G in Sweden put me off the iPhone 5. Have high hopes for iPhone 5S/6. But changing all my docking/cahrging/car kit etc, I can just as well change platform too.

  • mehrab

    Ik
    Laight tasks the low end one kicks one
    Heavy ones the heavy one kicks in
    Its also in a way dont take me wrong but just my opinion a marketing strategy i think they shud have used a more powerful gpu
    And they must optimise there software i imagine they did their best but i guess atm no one can come close to the speed optimazation of ios

  • stevesup

    Only consumer reports would rank the 4s above the iPhone or the One.