Samsung explains the absence of FM Radio on the Galaxy S4

by: Robert TriggsApril 17, 2013

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If you’ve been reading up on the specs for the Galaxy S4 you may have noticed the absence of an FM Radio receiver. Unlike the previous handset in the Galaxy S series, all of which came with a built in FM Radio, the Galaxy S4 has opted to remove this feature in the belief that consumers just aren’t interested in the medium anymore.

The Russian website Hi-Tech.Mail.Ru has managed to squeeze an official statement from Samsung about the matter:

Our studies show a trend shift of interest to digital broadcasting, specifically – focus on listening to music content in social networks or on the channel YouTube. The flagship model of our products are focused on customers who use digital content, which use modern formats and channels of information consumption.

I suppose Samsung is right, a lot of us are probably consuming the majority of our music over a data connection now. But I’m not sure I believe that the majority of consumers are constantly streaming music and radio over their mobile data connection due to the download limitations placed on many of our contracts. It wouldn’t surprise me if Samsung was also considering the cost of additional FM radio chips and what the extra energy consumption would do to the already power hungry Galaxy S4.

I can certainly understand the rational behind this design decision, especially given the prevalence of music streaming platforms and increased storage space turning smartphones into suitable replacements for MP3 players. But radio isn’t all about repeatedly listening to your favourite music; many people I know still listen to the radio in an effort to discover something new, use it to listen to live sports and news coverage, or tune in to chat shows, all of which aren’t quite so readily available over a data connection.

No doubt this feature will be missed by some, but probably won’t be a deal breaker for many.

  • would much prefer dab least that way everything is covered.

  • jpt19

    FM tuners are the only way to listen to MLB games on-the-go for free. Games are forbidden from being streamed on the internet, except via the MLB app, which has an annual fee. (and eats up data plan)

    • I agree.

      FM is the best option for FREE music and Live Game commentary updates. In other words you device must provide Simple Entertainment when they don’t have internet connection.

  • Faiz

    I stopped listening to radio years ago. If I want to discover new music, I use Songza

    • I Pity You

      Sorry you live in an area where non commercial radio sucks.

  • Akshar Patel

    What about the Indian market?? Here, the majority listens to FM and Samsung sells like hot cake here.

    • Yes. Wait for Galaxy Note 3.

  • This is bull. I bet the mobile providers payed a nice sum to get rid of the FM transmitter so people would be forced to listen to online radio. I got no plans to switch from 600MB to a flat rate plan. Simpler to buy a FM compatible phone in the future. Also YT is not a valid option for listening music on the go.

  • My Rogers S3 doesn’t have an FM radio either.


    THE BIGGEST MISTAKE. ALL SAMSUNG MOBILES, were rich in features. Why not sga4? Like a very old mobile…

  • Roger

    BS! You’re promoting data usage. If you allowed the FM, the providers would loose their edge for selling higher data packages. FYI… I boycott anything streaming since the loss of my “unlimited data” option.

  • Allen Themba

    Yes, it may not be a deal breaker, but i do listen to radio a lot as i travel in between countries quite a lot around the emerging markets. When i realized the absence of FM, i thought maybe the international version might have, only to further learn that there are now three versions of S4. It looks like i will have to keep my S3.

  • Michael McGrade

    I honestly don’t see the big deal. I’ve had several phones with built in FM and never used it…ever…I either stream or keep music on my device for when I’m in the middle of nowhere…

  • Alan Pattinson

    I love the FM feature on my Galaxy Player 5! It’s a very handy way to listen to my favorite talk radio; keeps me in touch with news too. It is so much easier to use than fidling with the touch screen. Here is why:
    Samsung acquires mSpot. S-Stream and S-Radio on the way?

  • AverageUser

    If I had unlimited data I would have no issue, but since Verizon likes to give me the 8===D over data every time I upgrade I have issues with not having the option for FM

  • As sad as it is my smart phone has rapidly become one of the main tools of my hurricane survival kit lol, iv even gone so far as to buy a hand cranked charger lol…..The loss of the FM radio meens that one of the key features that makes it possible for my phone to be part of the kit is gone.

  • bouda63

    True ! But for sure we needed the barometer to replace FM radio ! Very funny !

  • AnyManCan

    What is this “stream” music? My provider has (slowish) 3g service in my area, as do many customers, streaming music only works when on wifi, and not when doing something like…mowing the lawn. Yes, I can and do have my music on my phone. But, that is just not the same. I think it might have more to do with agreements with internet/ISP?etc. businesses than anything else. FM would be nice. Just my .02

  • JuanK

    Speaking of galaxy s4, what happens with the s4 giveaway? who won the phone?

  • Kassim

    Good riddance.

    One of the most redundant features ever to sully the insides of a smartphone. It would only be a big deal for places with extremely patchy wireless services.

    If you need FM radio, why not buy one of those little FM radio thingies with like a AAA battery and listen to your heart’s content for days on end? That’s what I would do myself.

    Anyways, from reading Samsung’s quote, it seems that it may only be omitted from the flagships, i.e. Note and Galaxy S series. If you feel THAT strongly about it, then why not get a similar device to either of these from Samsung’s myriad Galaxy devices which will probably still include it (for a while at least)…

    • Pseudo Hipster

      To be honest that makes total sense.

      Probably get better reception on an actual radio and you don’t run down the battery on the smartphone. Though for those who want everything in one device its a pain in the butt. D:

      • AStarbucks

        @Kassim, @ Pseudo Hipster

        Both of you are talking rubbish… The FM radio uses the least amount of power. You mean you do not even know that using your 3G or 4G connection to stream music kills your battery way faster?

        Also carrying ANOTHER electronic device like a radio is stupid. Which century are you still living in?

        • Pseudo Hipster

          Hey I agree with you considering its a cheap feature they might as well keep it in.

          I just personally wouldn’t want to run down my cell phone listening to the radio or stream music, regardless of which one uses more power.

          Also to answer your question a dedicated radio gets better reception than one in a smartphone. If I’m old for continuing to buy one then whatever.

  • Rohan patel

    Wht the hell, i listen to the radio all of the time. Oh well, it’s not like I was gonna get this over the HTC One. I just wanted to see thir excuse.

  • Arsenal™

    not everyone has an unlimited data usage policy u know :S

  • Trebor

    The reason that i bought an S3 instead of an iphone is because S3 has a radio. A really silly reason.. but I do listen a lot to radio whenever i got bored of listening to my saved music in my phone and want to know new music.

  • HDRadioFarce
    • Pseudo Hipster

      Psst. This article isn’t even about HD radio. Your losing your touch man. ; )

  • Its being very fantastic to have the smartphone of samsung again. Luv to have in my pocket

  • Alan M

    i am sending my upgrade to s4 back no FM big mistake samsung

  • Edemilson Lima

    Sony MW600 stereo bluetooth earphone with FM radio is the right companion for a Galaxy S4. :)

  • arwen

    Apparently samsung’s study on this is not good enough. I listens to local radio stn all the time. Without this feature, data connection is needed to listen to radio. Boo!!!!!!

  • lil_marcus

    its a deal phones still has it..

  • stelios

    for galaxy s4 … Samsung’s says
    “Life companion” and….
    FM Radio is missing from the phone ??

    Radio is still alive in our world but Samsung is drop it out

    as they said at least in my country “every last year and better”. am one of those who like fm radio for my own reasons as also many users out there for their own reasons they want fm radio. Why they always have to disappoint users by dropping out functionality’s that is not bothering any one ? instead is still using by many users and for those who don’t like it is just there.

    I was looking forward to buy my first Samsung mobile S4 but am really disappointed for dropping fm radio. every time they bring something new in the market they always leave behind something useful. The goal is to deliver what you have previews deliver to people and more and not taking out thinks that are still using ..

    somewhere on the internet i see a posts referring that FM radio is there but is just disable ..

    just disappointed…

  • bandini75

    This is silly and a wrong decision from Samsung.

    I listen to FM radio a lot, and digital radio apps like TuneIn are not an option when you are abroad. They use a lot of data and your operator will charge you.

    Also digital radio drains the battery.
    I miss the FM radio application on the HTC One.

  • Lou

    FM Radio should be standard on all phones. I have had a Samsung Omnia and was looking forward to the new Galaxy until I heard they no longer included the FM Antennae. We may leave Verizon, because they only have 1 phone availble with FM at this time & AT&T has 3-4.
    Besides loving & supporting local radio in my area, I have lived in storm ravaged areas where no power, cell, or even gas was available for days and/or weeks. FM radio is what kept us informed, entertained, and hopeful. I will not have a cell phone without this feature & am concerned for all those who do not realize the importance of this given any true emergency, at the very least.

  • Evan Edwards

    Tossing a mini FM broadcaster on the back of a desktop computer is still the lowest latency way to watch video on your desktop with the audio playing through your phone and headphones.

  • Selvam

    FM radio is crap. Tamil channels are banned outside Tamil Nadu. Even Bangalore with 40% Tamil population cannot access Tamil FM. Hindi is imposed in FM radio. FM radio is language politics. Internet radio does not face such politics. Anybody can listen any language anywhere in the world. One language cant be “imposed” like you see in FM radio.

    Decision to kick out FM radio is very good. THey should now make Internet TV as standard – again no politics or border is possible with internet TV.

  • Bertha Gruntz

    Galaxy 6 sucks, I want FM radio. Gutter Sluts.