The Galaxy S4 is launching in the USA this week, with a variety of mobile operators and electronic retailers included in this first wave.
While the handset has already been available for pre-order with various carriers and other third-party retailers, we’re going to tell you all there is to know right now about the U.S. Galaxy S4 launch, as plenty of potential buyers will certainly want to purchase the handset only after getting to play with one in an actual brick-and-mortar store.
Before we dive in to specific details for each carrier and retailer that will stock the Galaxy S4, we’ll remind you that the U.S. will get the GT-I9505 Galaxy S4 version (Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU inside). Moreover, most stores will have the 16GB models in stores, and only two color flavors will be available at launch, Black Mist and White Frost.
Samsung has already confirmed that it will launch its 2013 flagship handset with no less than seven U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular (all of which will have the handset in stores in late April) but also Verizon, C Spire and Cricket (launching the device later on.)
AT&T is the only U.S. carrier that also mentioned pricing details for the 32GB Galaxy S4 model when announcing pre-order details, $249.99 with new two-year contracts, although the operator doesn’t have the handset available for pre-order at this time.
Update: AT&T has announced that its Galaxy S4 version will be available in stores starting with April 27, and that some pre-orders will indeed arrive earlier than expected, starting with April 25.
Useful links: AT&T Galaxy S4 pre-order.
Sprint will launch the Galaxy S4 on April 27 with the 16GB version priced at $249.99 with new two-year contracts. In case you’re switching to Sprint from a different operator, you’ll receive a $100 instant credit with your purchase, which means you’ll get the Galaxy S4 for just $149.99, with the same two-year contract.
The carrier is also going to let you get “truly unlimited” data with your Galaxy S4, a feature it heavily advertises with every new handset launch.
Useful links: Sprint Galaxy S4 pre-order.
The Galaxy S4 will be available online with T-Mobile starting with April 24. This Galaxy S4 version costs $149.99 but the price doesn’t come with the mandatory two-year contract.
Instead, the carrier will let you pay for the handset in 24 monthly installments, each worth $20 after that initial $149.99 upfront payment. You’ll still need to get a Simple Choice Plan to go with your Galaxy S4 purchase, but you won’t be required to keep it for two years.
In-store availability should follow online sales, although we don’t have a date for you at this time.
Useful links: T-Mobile Galaxy S4 pre-order.
U.S. Cellular will also start selling the Galaxy S4 in late April, although it didn’t offer actual launch dates for the handset in its Galaxy S4 press release.
However, the carrier will sell the handset for $199.99 with new two-year contracts, and it will throw in a free S View flip cover (worth $59.99) to buyers that pre-order the handset online.
Useful links: U.S. Cellular Galaxy S4 pre-order.
The Other Carriers
Late to the party as usual with high-end Galaxy devices, Verizon announced that it will launch the Galaxy S4 in May. Some rumors claimed the carrier will release the handset on May 30, a date that’s yet to be confirmed.
At the same time, Verizon did schedule a May 22 special media event, although we have no idea what the carrier plans to announce on that date.
For what it’s worht, Verizon did put up a Galaxy S4 registration page on its website, where interested users can sign up for more information on the handset’s arrival.
Useful links: Verizon Galaxy S4 registration page.
C Spire is yet to provide Galaxy S4 pricing and release dates but the carrier did say that the Galaxy S4 is coming this summer.
Useful links: C-Spire Galaxy S4 page.
Similarly, Cricket has not announced any Galaxy S4 availability details at this time.
The Other Retailers
Samsung mentioned several electronics retailers in its U.S. Galaxy S4 launch press release including Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, Costco, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Staples, Target and Walmart, However, not all of them have started taking Galaxy S4 pre-orders yet, and many of them have not provided launch details for the handset.
Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy is currently taking pre-orders for both the AT&T and Sprint Galaxy S4 versions. The retailer lists the same subsidized prices the carriers have announced, $199.99 and $249.99, respectively, and the device is available in both black and white with either operator. The AT&T models do not have a release date mentioned on their Best Buy page, while the Sprint-branded units will be shipped on April 27.
The Galaxy S4 can be pre-order both online and in Best Buy stores, and, interestingly, Best Buy says on its forum that it’s also taking Verizon Galaxy S4 pre-orders in stores.
Radio Shack is not taking Galaxy S4 pre-orders at this time, but it does mention on its website that the Galaxy S4 “is coming soon” and that it will be priced at $199.99 with new two-year agreements or $699.99 “unactivated.” The retailer mentions only the AT&T Galaxy S4 version at this time.
Shipping dates are not provided either for Radio Shack’s Galaxy S4 offers.
In case you were not aware of it, Radio Shack offers up to $300 in savings when trading-in your older handset for a new device, something to consider in case you plan to purchase your Galaxy S4 from this particular retailer.
Useful links: Radio Shack Galaxy S4 page.
You’ll certainly be puzzled to see Target list the Galaxy S4 for $1,149.99, but also to notice that the model number for the device is “I9500,” short for GT-I9500, which happens to be the Exynos 4 Octa model.
The model number could be a mistake, considering that the retailer doesn’t actually provides processor details in the specs listed on the site for the handset.
Furthermore, the phone is not offered for pre-order at this time, and it’s not available either online or in stores.
Useful links: Target Galaxy S4 page.
Walmart is currently taking Galaxy S4 pre-orders only for the AT&T version. The handset is priced at $198 with new two-year contracts and “ships when available.” A few days ago, we showed you an even better Walmart Galaxy S4 deal, with the AT&T version of the handset retailing for just $168 (with new contracts).
Useful links: Walmart Galaxy S4 page.
Costco, Sam’s Club and Staples
Costco, Sam’s Club and Staples don’t list the Galaxy S4 for pre-order at this time, so we’ll just have to wait for more Galaxy S4 details from these three retailers.
While not mentioned by Samsung in its Galaxy S4 U.S. launch press release, Amazon is also one retailer where you’ll find the Galaxy S4 listed on. Those of you shopping for that Exynos 5 Octa version should be happy to hear that the GT-I9500 is available for pre-order with the retailer, although you’ll have to pay a whooping $899.99 to get it. We’re looking at an unlocked 16GB version here, and unfortunately clear shipping dates aren’t provided at this time.
Useful links: Amazon Galaxy S4 pre-order.
Galaxy S4 Review
Before making your next high-end smartphone purchase, you may want to check out our thorough Galaxy S4 review, and the accompanying video review below:
Where are you buying your Galaxy S4 from?