Why the Galaxy S4 isn’t selling as well as Samsung would’ve hoped

July 1, 2013
    Concern over the sales of the Galaxy S4 has caused Samsung stock to hit 9 month lows. So why hasn't the Galaxy S4 selling as well Samsung would've hoped?

    samsung galaxy s4 vs galaxy s3 s4 standing aa

    The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been Samsung’s fastest selling smartphone ever, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung’s share price dropping to 9 month lows just recently. Analysts have reduced their sales estimates for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and there have been reports of Samsung dropping orders for Galaxy S4 supply components.

    So why is the Galaxy S4 not selling as well as Samsung would’ve hoped? Well like most major problems there isn’t a single cause, but rather a collection of problems.

    Increased competition

    The 2013 smartphone market is a very different scenario than the one that Samsung found itself in when making the Galaxy S3 last year. People were questioning (and are probably still questioning) Apple’s ability to make an innovative smartphone after the disappointing iPhone 4S, HTC was in a downhill spiral after a poor selling batch of smartphones, Sony and LG weren’t doing anything extremely interesting, and the Chinese smartphone makers were yet to step out of their Asian markets.

    This year HTC has found a winner in the HTC One, LG is playing off of the interest sparked by the Nexus 4, and the OEMs from China have shaken off their budget tag.

    But when Samsung was making the Galaxy S4, there was a lot more competition. Apple’s iPhone 5 helped regain the faith of some, LG was putting up a fight after the interest sparked by the Nexus 4, the HTC One was redefining what it meant to be a high-end Android smartphone, and the previously budget OEMs from China were building some serious high-end smartphones with price tags to turn heads.

    htc one vs sony xperia z both standing aa

    The HTC One’s Boom Sound and the Xperia Z’s water resistance were defining features.

    Unfortunately for Samsung, 2013 wasn’t a year to refine, but to redefine, and many (myself included) couldn’t help be a little disappointed by the similar look — both in hardware and software — that the Galaxy S4 provided. It didn’t matter that Samsung upgraded almost every component of the Galaxy S3 when making the Galaxy S4, because other OEMs did the same, and they all added features like Boom Sound and water resistance that put them on the same level as the Galaxy S4.

    While the Galaxy S3 was head and shoulders above the competition when it was released, the increased competition when the Galaxy S4 was launched, made it appear a little more mortal.

    The estimates were wrong in the first place

    Sales estimates for the Samsung Galaxy S4 ranged from 80 million to 100 million units, but the question is whether these estimates were accurate.

    The high-end smartphone market has become increasingly saturated in recent times.

    The Galaxy S3 has sold more than 50 million units, however, the market for high-end smartphones has become increasingly saturated. The acceleration of the high-end market has slowed in recent times, and markets like Europe and the U.S. have become increasingly saturated as well.

    Taking into account that the majority of high-end smartphone users are stuck in 2 year contracts, the majority of the Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2 users can’t upgrade to the Galaxy S4, even if they wanted to.

    If 50 million Galaxy S3 units were sold in ideal market conditions, it would be difficult to imagine the Galaxy S4 selling twice the amount that the Galaxy S3 sold.

    Same look and feel

    Even with a Full HD Super AMOLED display and a quad-core Snapdragon 600, the Galaxy S4 suffered from the same stigma as the iPhone 4S. The fact that it retained the same look and feel of the Galaxy S3 was a big drawback.

    But the worst part of it all is that Samsung itself blasted the iPhone 4S for retaining the same look and feel of the iPhone 4 in an advertisement (found below) for the Galaxy S2. One person stated “If it looks the same, how will people know I upgraded?” Touche, Galaxy S2 user, touche.

    The biggest criticism for the Galaxy S3 was the plasticky feel that the handset exuded. The fact that Samsung stuck with plastic for the Galaxy S4 wouldn’t have been as bad if HTC hadn’t built an all-metal HTC One.

    It would be unfair to say that the Galaxy S4 didn’t feel more premium than the Galaxy S3, because it was a definite improvement. However, putting the Galaxy S4 next to the HTC One shows a huge gulf in class when it comes to design.

    samsung galaxy s4 vs htc one comparison aa

    On the software side of things, the Galaxy S4 retained most of the design language of the Nature UX on the Galaxy S3. And while some prefer the familiarity, and the lack of the learning curve, HTC once again trumped Samsung on the software side of things, with a completely redesigned Sense UI which was a definite improvement over the old versions of Sense.

    Brand dilution and consumer confusion

    Samsung chose to create a family of devices built upon the popularity and the brand recognition of the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 Active was a waterproof version, the Galaxy S4 Mini was a smaller, less powerful version, the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition was for those who prefer stock Android, and the Galaxy S4 Zoom was for camera enthusiasts.

    One of Android’s strong points is choice, but there comes a point in time where consumers start to get confused. Eventually the question becomes not whether you should buy the S4, but which Galaxy S4 is for you? There may very well be a lot of customers who haven’t bought the Galaxy S4 due to the fact that they’ve been waiting to buy other versions of the Galaxy S4.

    Samsung devices size infographic

    So many choices!

    The fact that Samsung has used the same design language on all of its smartphones post-Galaxy S3, must have also contributed to the reduced sales of the Galaxy S4. Almost every Samsung smartphone looks the same, whether it is a high-end $600 smartphone or a freebie on contract. While some would be perfectly fine with this, others would like their high-end smartphone to be unique, rather than blend in with rest of the crowd.

    How can Samsung get back on the horse?

    Samsung is a multi-billion dollar company with many divisions. Of course in recent times its smartphone division has been an integral part its company and it has grown to be the world’s biggest smartphone maker.

    The next big release for the company is the Galaxy Note 3, and it is absolutely crucial for the Galaxy Note 3 to be a big hit. While Samsung made the large smartphone popular, 2013 has brought many competitors. The Xperia Z Ultra, and LG Optimus G Pro are two competitors who can already put up a fight, and HTC is also rumored to be making a Note competitor.

    Galaxy Note 3 concept

    Galaxy Note 3 concept

    Samsung needs to ensure that the Note 3 can withstand the might of competitors that have sprouted in recent times, and that it is a firm step forward. A brand new hardware design would definitely impress, and if Samsung could use metal to make the Galaxy Note 3, it could very well put it ahead of the pack.

    Looking further ahead, the Galaxy S5 could be the first Samsung-made smartphone with a flexible display and it could be enough of a difference for Samsung to break records.

    Wrap up

    The Galaxy S4 will no doubt go on to be a record breaker, but smartphone users are fickle beings. It was only a few years ago that HTC was the darling of Android, and Apple was dominating the smartphone market. Samsung would do well to heed the warnings of the past, and not become arrogant.

    Do you think Samsung can continue its domination of the smartphone market? Is the Galaxy S4 enough of a leap forward to sell the amount of units that analysts originally predicted?

    Via

    Source

    Comments

    • Yama

      no, samsung realesed the s4 with snapdragon 600 (international) when people knew that the snapdragon 800 were going to be on phones that were coming in the next 2-3 months. As we seen, the updated gs4 has snap 800, and the note3 will have it too. So thats the big deal about why people didnt buy s4 as sammy were expecting. I bought the snap600 version of s4, and i kinda regret it hard that i didnt wait for the s800, kinda bad act of sammy to do so. Exactly like apple did with ipad 3 when they updated it months later to ipad 4.

      • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

        Oh come on, you can’t be serious with that petty Snapdragon 600 vs 800 non-sense. I mean let’s be serious here last year’s version the S3 featured a Dual-Core 1.5ghz S4 “Plus” Krait, afterwards which we saw the Quad-Core 1.5ghz APQ8064 “Pro” Krait. Now the S4 features a new generation Quad-Core 600 which Samsung has taken the liberty and over-clocking for you from stock 1.7ghz to 1.9ghz. The point I’m trying to make is, I still have an S3 and it’s dual-core is plenty fast for almost 90% of smartphone users, so a third generation Snapdragon quad-core CPU should be the last of your worries. I get that you want the latest and greatest but your still getting the top performing smartphone out right now.

        • Luka Mlinar

          It’s kind of the American way of buying and selling products isn’t it. Just compare their car adds vs European ones. They all list some new features and “plus”/”ultra”/”high definition” system compered to the older model.

      • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

        Oh come on, you can’t be serious with that petty Snapdragon 600 vs 800 non-sense. I mean let’s be serious here last year’s version the S3 featured a Dual-Core 1.5ghz S4 “Plus” Krait, afterwards which we saw the Quad-Core 1.5ghz APQ8064 “Pro” Krait. Now the S4 features a new generation Quad-Core 600 which Samsung has taken the liberty and over-clocking for you from stock 1.7ghz to 1.9ghz. The point I’m trying to make is, I still have an S3 and it’s dual-core is plenty fast for almost 90% of smartphone users, so a third generation Snapdragon quad-core CPU should be the last of your worries. I get that you want the latest and greatest but your still getting the top performing smartphone out right now.

        • iPorn5

          Thats right! and wait 6more months, another hardware upgrade will soon pop-up or even a higher GPU, there is no end to this so either you stick with it or buy and sell if you want to stay on the high end of technology.

      • Jason

        I’ve read that the snap dragon version is to be released in Korea only. :)

    • Luka Mlinar

      Well the Note has the same effect as the iPhone had pre 5. People are so jacked up on it that they will buy it and praise it no matter how good it actually is. It will have most of the faults the S4 has yet it will sell like candy in a preschool. To prove my point just look at the negative votes this comment will get and compare it to the negative criticism of the iPhone a year or two back :D

    • Luka Mlinar

      Indeed. I hope it doesn’t disappoint like the S4 did.

      • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

        Not sure what you mean by “dissapoint”, it is their fastest selling smartphone to-date, and I’m sure just like me, the millions of people who bought it are not disappointed in it. I don’t care what anyone says it’s an improvement over the S3 in every category. Maybe it wasn’t as revolutionizing as the previous versions, but who cares after awhile no new tech is as incredible as when it’s first introduced, until newer innovation and technology is released we will see incremental upgrades as we have been for the past year. I mean really, here’s an example; we went from a 1.5ghz S4 Pro APQ8064 quadcore found in the last of 2012′s high end phones, to a Snapdragon 600 1.7ghz base reference quad core, and soon we will see a faster Snapdragon 800 @ 2.2ghz. That’s not exactly mind-blowing stuff, we’re not going from a single-core cpu to an octa-core, your not going to see crazy innovation or performance increases, as stated incremental upgrades are standard every other year or so.

        • Luka Mlinar

          IT BROUGHT NOTHING! How many times does this need to be repeated for it to sink in. The stupid parlor tricks are useless and could have been brought to the S3 with a software update. They couldn’t even put wireless charging in it FFS. And updating the processor and everything else. You just made a point on another comment here how the S3 is still fast enough to handle anything in the play store. How was it not a disappointment to you?

          • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

            Because it brought the upgrades people were looking for in terms of hardware specs, a faster, newer generation quad-core CPU, 1080P full HD display, 13mp camera, and yes a slightly more premium feel, relax bro not trying to fight you on whether it brought innovation or not, but it certainly brought upgrades. That’s like saying a person with a first generation Bloomfield 920 i7 @ 2.66ghz shouldn’t upgrade to a newer Ivy Bridge 3770K i7 @ 3.5ghz because it didn’t bring any new innovations or CPU instructions. People upgrade their desktops every year or ever other year just for faster, newer generation hardware. So why cant they with their phones as well? The point of an upgrade is for simply just that, an upgrade in hardware not software. Sure software UPDATES are paired with new hardware realases, just as we saw 4.2.2 get realeased with the S4, and it’s still not officially out for the S3 yet. However that does not mean simply because your releasing a new version of something it should always innovate something new, it should at the very least do what the older version did better, which the S4 does. Yes I’m happy with my S3, but I will still get an S4 come September when I get my upgrade.

          • iPorn5

            yeah how stupid can you be? comapare an S3 to an S4 in 3months time, ROM upgrades and even HD games will require faster GPU and processor. would you still compare an S2 to an S3 at this point of time? now let that sink in…

            • Luka Mlinar

              People went from Apple to Samsung. Now from Samsung to Sony. You can preach all you want but we are debating this under the article “S4 isn’t selling as well”.

            • Jaun Lombard

              Samsung isn’t selling as well…but it is still selling the most!

            • Luka Mlinar

              Give it time. It took forever for Apple to start losing costumers. Even now there are selling more then they should be. Then again i could say that same for them for over 10 years lol.

            • bliss

              that really make sense! :D

        • airspoon

          Its a 1.9ghz quad core Snapdragon 600. You said 1.7ghz (which is what HTC One has). Samsung got the best and highest clocked 600s that nobody else had access to.

          • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

            Yep that’s why I said 1.7ghz “reference model”, the one in the Samsung is 1.9ghz, although I don’t think it’s a special chip just for the S4. I think Samsung just took the Snapdragon 600 and overclocked it themselves 200mhz or asked Qualcomm to do so just so they can oust everyone else with the same processor in benchmarks.

          • tmas

            That is patently absurd. The chips in the One and the S4 are identical. Samsung just clocks theirs at the max speed for the chip whereas HTC clocks theirs a bit lower. The difference is barely noticeable in performance (because you don’t really need 1.7ghz for much of anything), but the lower clock will provide a slight advantage in battery life. Samsung made up for the faster clock with a bigger battery.

      • mr64

        Whats disappointing about the S4? Its THE fastest phone with the longest lasting battery.

        • Luka Mlinar

          Everyone brought something new to the table. Samsung brought nothing (not counting some gimmicky air gestures)

    • satsmine2k4

      to add to these
      1. Poor display: high contrast and detail but lacks brightness, viewing angles and whites are still grey… They should adopt S Amoled PLUS displays soon…
      2. Touchwiz is really laggy… I know there is a google version but i don’t think S4 deserves such a high price tag.
      3. Camera: no OIS for video and photo quality is good but not the BEST.
      4. Carrier logos: though just on back cover.. i still hate em…

      When samsung says – Hey this is my flagship phone for this year i expect nothing but the best from such a great company…

      • iPorn5

        Do you have one? i bet you lack the capacity to tweak a Smartphone or even customize it. Brightness? have you even had the chance to see the color adjustment settings? if you can find it then i guess stay with your iphone fanboy

        • satsmine2k4

          I have never used an iphone or wp for the past 2 years, Note N7100, Nexus 4 and Xperia ZL(c6506) are my last 3 devices. I held a S4(at&t) for the past 2 months and sold it finally.
          Color settings: Yes changing the color settings has nothing to do with viewing angles or brightness or whites not being white…
          Tweakability: My N7100 is running Paranoid Android, Nexus 4 stock, Xperia ZL is running CM10.1 (FXP225)… I used S4 on CM10.1… Is that good?

          FYI i rated up ur comment :) cheer up bro…

          • Anthony Walker

            1. You’re in the minority when you say it has a poor display. The display is one of the best on the market right now.

            2. The phone was very laggy when it was released but with a couple of software updates the phone is much more speedy. Subsequent updates should further optimize the software.

            3. Again, you’re in the minority. The camera is one of the best if not best on the market right now.

            4. I brought the European version. It has no logos.

      • blusasuke

        the carrier logo’s kinda vary for me. Verizon pulled one out that was kinda neat. they tagged the home button. albeit they had a large one on the back that kinda ruined the coolness

    • Random Bob

      I think I speak for all note 2 owners when I say we will not “downgrade” to a smaller screen which is basically what the S4 is (even tho 1080p is nice I would still rather wait for the note 3).

      • iPorn5

        why not go for samsung Mega6.3, heck just put a tablet into your ear and take pictures with it.

        • Random Bob

          If it was 1080p I would probably consider it but as it stands 233 ppi isn’t worth reinvesting on a new phone and 6.3 is starting to get quite big… 6″ is probably the max I would go for otherwise I would just buy a 7″ tablet like you mention.

        • MrMLK

          Because it isn’t a high end device and because it is probably too big.

    • MariaxXT

      HTC one killed the s4 it out shine the s4 not only that HTC one is 0% laggy. the s4 sales are damn down hill

      • iPorn5

        wow! have you been allover the planet to speculate such statement that S4 got beaten by HTC one, maybe in your neighborhood they go for aluminum phones, HTC one was yesterdays news in our country, and you are probably playing angry birds in your HTC one thats why its not lagging, and just like the other NOOBS here who can’t tweak smartphones to get rid of minor flaws that can easily be fixed in XDA website, get an iPhone.

    • Paul Allen

      The HTC One is a pretty sweet looking phone but then, so is the iPhone 5. Besides, seems as though the majority of smartphone users keep their phones in cases – which more or less makes the exterior aesthetics a moot point. If I had to lay money on it, I’d wager it’s all of the new two-year contracts for the S3 and Note 2 that are having the most impact.

      • CoolCustomer

        Those front facing speakers though, I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t have those. (I don’t own a One but someone in my office has it and it sounds amazing)

        • Anthony Walker

          The front facing speakers were a phenomenal choice by HTC but the speaker on the S4 is no slouch. It’s actually pretty darn good. My only complaint is that the sound gets muffled when you place the phone on its back on a flat surface.

        • blusasuke

          Not all front facing speakers are created equal. Personally they may be nice for viewing video/ listening to music while the device is laying down, but the downside i see is a holster case such as ones from Otterbox or BodyGlove. The front facing speakers will most likely face inwards and thus muffle the sound while listening to music when holding the phone is not an option.

          Personally i see no problem with the back facing speakers. When the phone is held in a typical fashion (while in landscape mode) ones hand acts as an amplifier and directs the sound forward to the viewer. i say typical because you are not gonna hold a phone by the corners when watching a video (well i dont anyway). And while wearing the phone in a holster case the audio is not muffled by the holster.
          Downsides to the back facing speaker do include the muffling when the phone is laying down. This does ruin a video and when watching a video in bed you have to hold the phone up to properly hear (you cant just prop it up on a pillow. And simply listening to music you have to flip it over and cant access the controls readily but most phones will go into auto sleep and you will have to unlock the phone anyway. And yes the Mono output doesn’t exactly have the sound clarity as a stereo output.

          • CoolCustomer

            Good point, makes me wonder why nobody provides us with the best of both worlds, stereo front with a small one in the back. They could even use the ambient light sensor and accelerometer sampling to conserve battery by only outputting to one at a time. Phone face-up or lots of light around (i.e. not in a pocket) stereo, otherwise power conservative back speaker.

    • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

      I mean honestly smartphones have to be one of the last thing’s people buy based on it’s looks, just think if people purchased cars on that sole purpose well then we wouldn’t have anybody in smart cars and prius’s now we would we? It also explains why there are so many iPhone’s out there owned by people who have not a clue how to use them, they just like the sleek look and checking their email and weather occasionally. Just try to remember it is a phone underneath all that “matte brushed aluminum” as pretty as it may look, essentially they all do the same thing and it’s all about what features and specs suit you best. For a lot people that may be Apple, or HTC, but for a lot of others that may be Samsung, either way you shouldn’t really be disappointed.

    • jangaleon

      sony happens. :)

      • iPorn5

        oh yeah sony also makes phones… how come there is no thread about that?

    • ThatDudeKee

      I believe that alot of potential S4 buyers were holding off because as soon as the S4 dropped it was rumored to have a more durable brother to come out later the summer. The S4 Active. If the S4 Active was made world wide or atleast to multiple carriers, It would outsell the S4. But the dummys at Samsung thought it would be a GREAT idea to limit it, to arguably the worse carrier in the US, AT&T.

      • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

        Really? Worst Carrier in US? Lol not sure where you live but in almost every MAJOR city At&t is king, and I live in a suburban area, not even a big city.

      • brendan soliwoda

        I have to agree with Marsel, AT&T, worst carrier? I switched from T-Mobile to AT&T back in October and they only time I ever lost service was during Hurricane Sandy and that was for a day, at a best. Sure, their prices are expenses, but you pay for what you get and I find their LTE to be the fastest and their HSPA to be reliable. Are they perfect? No, but they sure aren’t the worst.

        • CoolCustomer

          ATT is worst in customer service and in a place that has both solid T-mobile coverage and ATT coverage T-mobile speeds are reported to be faster. The point being that what carrier is the best depends on two things: your budget and where you live/work.

          • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

            Customer service, really? People still care about that? Ok Lol sorry all jokes aside though, first off, customer service should not be an issue unless your a 75 year old grandma who doesn’t know how to use her first smartphone. Second off, T-Mobile is not faster that at&t in any major market, how do I know this for a fact? Well because their network is for the most part still HSPA+ which caps at either 21.4mbps or 42mbps, while LTE caps at 100mbps. Oh wait, I almost forgot T-Mobile rolled out LTE …. to maybe about 12 cities, and even in those cities it’s STILL not faster than At&t’s LTE, which by the way is in 50x as many places as T-Mobile’s.

            • CoolCustomer

              Theoretical highs are different than field tests and field test show no carrier’s speeds come close to their theoretical high and that in any given market where both ATT and T-mobile have comparable signal T-mobile is faster (device being equal as well). I did a quick google search for “tmobile speed vs att” and pulled the first link, what do you know T-mobile achieves better speeds in the field. Just because your network supports a certain speed doesn’t mean your customers will ever see anything close to it.

              Link: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/04/14/t-mobile-vs-att-vs-verizon-4g-iphone-5-speed-tests/

              Edited for link and grammer

            • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

              Look at the picture I posted earlier, I live in suburban Chesapeake, Virginia, and I am scoring 42-50mb down constantly and 11-15 up. This is not even Richmond, or a bigger market. Yes the internet is full of links but I am talking about personal experiences, I have worked for T-Mobile and at&t and trust me there is no comparison. That is why not even that long ago at&t was going to buy T-mobile and they were completely fine with that, because they knew they could not compete. Yet they come out with commercials bashing at&t’s contracts when their secretly financing you the phone with their new “un-carrier” plans, and also at&t’s network is light-years ahead of T-Mobile’s. As far as customer service, I still do not find this a valid argument, anyone with half a brain and an online account can go in there and change their plan without calling customer care, or having to deal with any nonsense. Oh and about that last remark about voting them last, I have never even voted, but I was astonished to see them do so badly in previous years, however this or last year I do believe they came in second.

            • CoolCustomer

              Anecdotal notes aside while your mileage may very it doesn’t change the fact that in more areas, using more devices, and by more than just one person have proven my previous statement to be correct. Again, your anecdotal story with no supportive additives doesn’t change that. I’m happy you are so happy with your carrier’s service, different strokes for different folks. Though I am impressed consistent 42-50 down on your cellphone in Richmond seeing that as of October 2012 T-mobile was still beating ATT in data speeds in the area (src: http://www.rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/richmond/richmond-october-2012/)

            • CoolCustomer

              Also, about your last 2 points, ATT was ranked last again last year by Consumer Reports so there’s that and Destuch* Telecom’s business savvy (or lack thereof) aside the un-carrier plan is a good thing for the consumers in this country. By decoupling the phone from the plan you can end this near 2 decade long charade of carriers milking you for more than the cost of the phone by hiding it in the cost of your service.

            • CoolCustomer

              Also, no one cares about customer support till you are trying to do anything on your plan (upgrade, downgrade, add a line, remove a line, etc). Though I bet you the people who consistently voted ATT as last in customer service out of the top 4 carriers started caring.

          • brendan soliwoda

            I will agree that AT&T’s customer isn’t the best, but as for the reported speeds, I can tell you first hand that my speeds were consistent and better than on T-mobile. I used to go into buildings and would lose service on T-Mobile but with AT&T, that rarely happened. I also did the Speed Test app and found AT&T speeds to most times beat out my old T-Mobile speeds.

            • CoolCustomer

              T-mobile is not perfect and there are very good reasons for why they are only now starting to pick up speed and gain subscribers such as; lack of compelling devices for years, pricing that didn’t provide much value all wrapped in confusing contracts just to name a few.
              I know I must come off as some tmo fanboy or att hater but my only point was to illustrate that based on lots of tests (of course ymmv) and reports ATT loses in customer service and in achieved data speeds (signal and device being equal) against its GSM competitor. ATT is a decent carrier, you don’t get to be #2 in the country by doing nothing, my personal feeling is that for that price range Verizon is the better service and if cost is your hurdle t-mobile is a valid and often better alternative if you are in an area where their signal is solid which is not as frequent as with ATT.

    • Jason ahreas

      What a great article. What I find off putting also is that there three models for the s3 and s4 being international, US and Korean. This makes me confused as a consumer because we all know the Koreans get a grander version with other versions puzzling as to which version goes where, ie, who gets the exynos and snap dragon. Being in the UK, I feel we get the short straw. With this type of politics that has been a pattern now. I don’t really have that much faith in samsung anymore. I will what is available after my contract has ended, but yes the s4 is too similar. I actually prefer the camera on the s3 as the s4 is too narrow. Bad design there!! Next year will be an interesting year and I think who has planned ahead the best with design and advance, will grab the trophy. As the article says, it’s not a one horse race anymore. May the best phone win!!

    • Cristi13

      God, so much hate. People criticyzed apple so much for their glass back and aluminium that scratches, but now when sony and htc are doing it becomes god damn premium and samsung is cheap. Samsung out of all is the most different compared to apple. The s4 is not really the “looker” but seriously you buy your phones just to show off how shiny is your new piece of “premium” glass. S4 is a phone for more practical use. Oh let’s not forget about updates, sony is really bad, htc is meh, lg not as bad as sony but still. I mean what other phones from 2011 got jb except samsung and a few motorolas. Samsung I think has better customer care than those. For the record, the xperia s (their 2012) flagship got jb after the s2 and the note, let alone s4, oh and still has a lot of bugs (1080p recording is verry laggy) and sony got 1 year to work on that update. About sales, competitor flagships don’t do good either.

      • Harry

        That’s just because Apple is the devil and the internet is quick to shit on anything that comes out of Cupertino despite the fact that they have proved to be a very competent producer of hardware if nothing else. The iPhone (despite popular contention on Android message boards) as well as the HTC One and Xperia Z do in fact make the S4 look and feel cheap.

        And nobody is ever convincing me that novelty parlor tricks like smart stay, smart scroll and smart pause are practical features. If anything its extremely irritating that my video pauses because I turn my head for a second to make sure I don’t run into an oncoming car on my way to the office or divert my attention for a half second to take a sip from my coffee. Even worse is when my whole screen locks up because I am trying to multitask and can’t stare at my phone the whole time.

        I love my S4 but Samsung spends way too much R&D on BS novelty features when they could have just concentrated on producing hardware that was worthy of its already exceptional software offerings.

        • http://droidcent.com/ Marsel

          Those are simply your opinions, you and those who prefer aluminum or glass housing might think it feels cheap, I however do not think it looks or feels cheap. I mean really dude… come on man, you are not the only one who has an opinion. And as far as those novelty parlor tricks, there is a simple solution, dont like smart pause? TURN IT OFF, it’s that Simple. What may be a gimmick to you can be useful to other’s. While I agree that Touchwiz is a little bloated in it’s latest iteration (only 9gb usable out of 16gb) you also have the ability to root the device and throw AOSP 4.2.2 on there, like so many other’s have already done thanks to the GP Editions of the phone.

          • On a Clear Day

            You have hit the nail right on the head Marsel.

            Back when I was a stupid, idiotic teenager who thought I knew it all and spent – like most teenagers – most of my time worry to make sure this or that strand of hair was “just so” – I might have been concerned about whether my phone’s case was fetching to others or the opposite (or same) sex as the case may be.

            Now, that I am grown up I realize that most of what most people are concerned about in the way of appearances is absolutely, positively, pure unadulterated delusional foolishness – including whether a phone’s case is metal or plastic.

            Does it do the job you want done? Has it been designed to serve you – rather than fashion idiots?; does it have a removable battery, an SD card; does the company care about seeing I get updates (most of which I wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from the other anyway – but hey I like to be the guy on the block who is up-to-date as much as then next guy.

            The S4 has more to offer than the Xperia, the HTC One and the IPhone – but for those who like the amazing, so called sophisticated looks of these also rans – more power to you!

          • nishantsirohi123

            those bashing samsung for plastic shells
            well you bought a “plastic” case for your fruit-phone

      • CoolCustomer

        I complained about the same thing with the Nexus 4 (still bought one) but I don’t understand this glass/metal back thing. If the back isn’t removable I can see metal to make the phone feel solid (that Liquid Mg the surface uses should be the standard) but a textured poly-carbonate can accomplish the same thing with less weight and cost.

      • bliss

        agree with you.
        I don’t see any problem with S4. and I’ve never used samsung phone (I use LG & htc so far).

    • xtriker360

      I have an s3 and I’m very disappoint of the s4. I’m waiting for something better.

      • Jaun Lombard

        Okay…sorry to hear that but it will take years before you can have a coffee machine built into it..

        • xtriker360

          Lol you can keep using the same phone until you die, not me.

        • Adam Koueider

          Darn, and I was hoping the Galaxy Note 3 could be the first to come out with this. Geuss we’ll just have to wait for the Note 4. /s

      • mr64

        You may have a LONG wait. It will be hard to get a better phone than the S4.

        • xtriker360

          LG G2, sony has to has some phones that are better and the note 3 is better, I can keep going with the list.

    • cooneo

      I’ve had my s4 couple of months now and is hugely disappointed I’m sorry to say. I been faithful samsung cellphone customer since they entered the market way back in time. Not because of the brand name, but all these years they have had the most innovative and hassle free reliable handset out there..the best all around package. I’ve had my share of ‘must have’ handsets in the past such as iphone etc but found myself falling back to a samsung product for some reason. After i got my hands on the s4 i think the reason emerged. Samsung for me has all these years been working as I you excpected, of course its been some issues now end then, but nothing major… until now! The s4 is just not preforming as it should and expected! I feel like I’ve been had end as a dumba** with a chunky part of my savingacc spent on piece of annoying junk. Etiher i will downgrade back to the s3 or most likely BYE BYE SAMI AND HELLO HTC

      • Chris

        Would you care to explain the type of issues you have with your S4 because in all seriousness I haven’t had one single problem with mine and I’m loving the shit out of it coming from a Note 2??

        • Anthony Walker

          I’m an S4 owner and my biggest complaint is the lag. Samsung managed to get rid of a good chunk of it through software updates but it still rears its ugly head now and then. For a phone with its specs there should be no lag at all.

          Touchwiz is too bloated. They need to tone it down. It also looks like a throwback to the Gingerbread days. And why did Samsung insist on keeping those annoying sounds?

        • Anthony Walker

          I’m an S4 owner and my biggest complaint is the lag. Samsung managed to get rid of a good chunk of it through software updates but it still rears its ugly head now and then. For a phone with its specs there should be no lag at all.

          Touchwiz is too bloated. They need to tone it down. It also looks like a throwback to the Gingerbread days. And why did Samsung insist on keeping those annoying sounds?

          • Chris

            Ok well in your situation disable the animations or bring them down a notch. Second, Touchwiz being bloated how does that affect you cause it doesnt affect me. 3rd the sounds really? Disable them lol.. I think your issues are valid to an extent but honestly I feel that it is ridiculous to complain about little things like that because every single phone is going to have pros and cons.

            • Anthony Walker

              As soon as I got the phone and saw it lagging I turned down the animation to 0.5x and turned off all the gestures and the phone stills lags. Anyhow, I shouldn’t have to resort to such drastic measures to get a phone of that caliber to run smoothly. I didn’t have to do that with my Nexus 4 and I’m sure you don’t have to do that with the HTC One or the Xperia Z. Second, I’m pretty sure the bloat from Touchwiz is what’s causing the phone to lag. Third, I disabled the sound initially but it also cut off something else (I can’t remember what right now) so I turned the annoying thing back on.

              I think the S4 has more cons than other high end phones although the camera is top notch. I spent a lot of money on this phone and I’m beginning to think I should have spent it on another phone. Hopefully, Samsung can fix the lag and move away from the kiddy look of Touchwiz.

      • mr64

        What makes the S4 junk? Its the fastest phone, the battery lasts all day. What else is there?

    • eclipse

      Too big.
      Not different enough from the GS3
      Most people interested in this are still locked into their contract on the GS3.
      Frankly I was very surprised when this came out so quickly.
      The market is saturated with excellent Android phones right now – good for Andy, not necessarily good for OEMs.

    • Mvrcel Lgt

      I dont really understand all this Samsung related talking. YES it’s hell of a company (all my Samsungitems did break and support was horrible so ye, not that big for me personally), and their Smartphones are GOOD, but they are not outstanding. They are made to make money, not to please you!
      Lucky them, they got their customers still. They don’t care for looks, nor for what it’s on the inside. It’s peoples talk. “Oh you got a samsung, cool!”. I personally got a Nexus4 (had HTC, Nokia, Sony before that), which I hear things about like “Urgh, LG? I never seen that phone, does it suck?” and I’m like “wtf?!”.

      What I try to say here is, that people are not into Smartphones! They are into ads, what their friends think is good or bad and things that arent ugly at first glance. Samsung does massive advertisement over here (ger) and gives out stuff for free. There’s not really a choice left for someone who wants a new smartphone that “must be good”.
      I would love people to start thinking again. The LTE-Network is bad and expensive over here, most people dont even “need” a dualcore-running phone and they still get an overpriced piece of hardware for what reasons left? not looks, not specs…

      • Ivan Budiutama

        kinda agree with you, Samsung and Apple battle which was their actual hot advertisement last year, really help their marketing, more than any ads they paid.

        People don’t buy for the look, it is the “Brand”, the “Brand that Apple is afraid of” and unfortunately for Samsung, the battle with Apple is not so “hot” as it was on 2012.

        The other possibility (for some of power user), they are waiting for Note 3, which probably the reason why S4 sale declining, people hold their money, for Note 3 release as some of my friends quoted “the true Samsung’s flagship”.

        Other possibility is people don’t really change their phone every year. I used my ZTE Blade for 2++ years before switching to Galaxy Nexus, and still planning on using it for at least one other year.

    • hoggleboggle

      I love my Galaxy S2 and will most certainly be getting a Note 3, but I think this is a good thing that Samsung’s market share slips. For one it keeps them sharp to offer more in each generation, and it keeps the market healthy, giving brands like Sony and HTC a fighting chance. Oh, and I hope Samsung don’t switch to an all metal case. They should use metal where they need rigidity and plastic where flexibility and “bounce-ability” is needed (removable cover for access to battery etc.) ideally with a non-slip surface to make it easier to hold.

    • sid_m

      I didn’t buy the S4 yet because the 32GB internal storage version isn’t available yet in the international market. The 16GB internal memory version only has around 8.5GB usable memory. I don’t wanna buy a $650 dollar phone and have it fill up after I install a couple of heavy games and apps on it. Expandable memory or not, 32GB internal memory is critical in this day and age.

      • Mason Spencer

        You do realize you can put in an external sd card for mor space unlike some phones

    • box14380

      The SGS4 has enough wow factor feature-wise but falls short in it’s build quality.

      If SGS4 happens to be a metal built smartphone then it will be the best selling and sought after device in 2013.

      • Adam Koueider

        Not necessarily, I’m not of the opinion that plastic is a low-end material. It’s just that Samsung has the worst feeling plastic on their smartphones. I know this because I’ve owned the original Galaxy S1, the S2 and the S3. If you take a look at the HTC One X you see that HTC used plastic (well polycarbonate, which is the same stuff the S3 is made out of), yet it doesn’t feel as tacky and cheap as the Galaxy S3.

        • Darthsanzo

          Wow was typing then your reply came through, almost the same message haha. Good point on the one x.

    • brendan soliwoda

      I have to agree with this article. I do personally love Samsung though. My last three phones have been Samsungs. I switched to the T-Mo Galaxy SII for it’s beautiful Super AMOLED Plus screen and it’s amazing camera (at that time). Now I have the Note II and (while I am wishing the screen was bigger) I can’t complain because of its beautiful screen, S-Pen support, and snappy Exynos quad core processor.
      That being said, i feel that Samsung has stopped trying to innovate or take bold strides. Just look at other OEMs. I think what HTC did with the One (boom sound, Zoe, aluminum casing) should I real turn around. I used to have HTC phones and this is making me consider going back to HTC if the T6 turns out to be true. Sony took the best it had in display, camera technology and (while they weren’t the first to make a waterproof phone) they mainstreamed water-proof phones and created booth a great flagship and phablet (although the Z Ultra isn’t without its own faults). Finally, look at what LG has done in under a single year’s time. They produced the last Nexus, are most likely going to produce the next one, and crafted two great phones in the Optimus G and G Pro that utilizes their great screen technology (IPSs have personally grown on my), battery life and a skin, while similar to Samsung’s, is still uniquely fresh in some ways. It’s more then likely that my next phone with come from one of these 3 OEMs, and it more then likely will be the Z Ultra (because I like its big size, giggity).
      But, if rumors are true of Samsung producing a Full HD AMOLED display for the Note III that uses their YOUM technology, I just might be willing to give Samsung another chance.

    • Loool

      I think they are not don’t well because the Samsung galaxy s3 now 2 ate exceptional devices and people do not see the point of owing one to upgrade + people’s contract are 2 years unless you are on jump so i think that the note 3 or Samsung 5 note 4 will be better selling devices

      • OMGgary

        What language is this?

        • Maxim∑

          Translated:

          I think they are not doing well because the Samsung galaxy s3 and Note 2 are exceptional devices and people do not see the point of owning one to upgrade and people’s contract are 2 years unless you are on jump so i think that the note 3 or Samsung Galaxy S5 or note 4 will be better selling devices

    • alfreduran

      Hi! In fact, I’m waiting 4 the new SGS4 with Snapdragon 800 with LTE technology. I hate the Galaxys with Exynos. However, I still with the SGS3 GT I9300. Best regards and excellent article! :)

    • Darthsanzo

      This is why I liked about AA… Best articles, nuff said. Imho, gs4 is a good device, but cant say better than my Note 2. Ive got lots of iFriends who switched to S4, went on shopping spree with extra batteries, sd cards and premium cases, theyre all happy. Its still a matter of preference. I know that some people choose sound over removable batteries, but some choose the other way around. A good ecosystem is still better than nothing.

    • Yiayia

      samsung s4 is garbage just another laggy cheap samsung phone. no one want laggy phone

      • mr64

        Funny how mine doesn’t lag or have any other problems. Maybe I got a prototype that works perfect.

    • Anthonydotcom

      The S4 is a great phone (GE edition, TW makes me barf a little bit). But HTC One me back. See what I did there.

    • simpleas

      Just wait until all the millions of people with GS3 get their upgrade for the GS5.

    • Carlos23

      I think another huge reason why the S4 is not selling so good is because many people are still happy with their Note 2 and S3 and dont feel the need to upgrade.

    • James Childress

      I am in the “bought it on release day and not yet eligible to upgrade my phone” camp. I would jump to the S4 if AT&T would let me. The fact I paid the premium $200 upfront cost on release day and they won’t let me upgrade pisses me off actually. I am hoping I might be able to upgrade in August after being one year on contract.

    • sfasljkas

      i think we should just wait for the official sales estimates but i still think s4 will be the top selling android phone this year, followed closely by the note 3 if it impresses and i know the note series will deliver

    • James Ryan

      S4 could sell like a hot cake if only Samsung have the same cool features in Xperia Z Ultra. The smart stay, smart pause, and all that marketing tricks don’t impress me much to grab one.

    • daizai

      Im glad it’s not sold well. They need to improve the phone both inside and outside, not just upgrade here and there and call it the next phone.

    • Robert Crosby

      sighhhhhhhhhhhhh just 24 days until i buy GS4 out of contract. and a year until i buy the GS5 sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    • Sal

      Well I think it’s because the S4 was just an improvement phone over the S3 with a number of upgrades, screen size etc while keeping a similar look. Same thing with Apple when people thought after the iphone 4 they would bring the iphone 5 only to be disspointed with an iphone 4s. same look, feel and design just few upgrades. so its the same with samsung. now i do believe the S5 will bring a number of changes and hopefully as rumours tells it change its design and may not use plastic anymore.

    • nishantsirohi123

      Samsung is reigning becuase they have all the price categories covered

      from ultra low end to high end

      even certain segments that are created by them (i own a note 2)

      While the S4 certainly looks disappointingly similar, it is still a solid upgrade over the s3
      with every aspect improved over what was already an excellent device (and an additional row of icons is not that)

    • katude1

      Funny when iphone keeps regertitating the same look that none of you “reviewers” just let it go and give love to apple! Your apparent bias to apple is very noticable!
      So you know i am still using my iphone 4 as apple needs to , as you say, redfine!
      as for the very over emphasized plastic cover , I have one question?
      Do you keeo your iphone in a plastic case as I do? If your so in love with the all metal case why cover it?

    • Rob

      I wouldn’t call 20 million units in 2 months a failure, sounds more like a colossal success/fastest selling android device ever, if you’re going to claim to write a fact based article maybe you should get the facts! This writer is plainly an Apple fanboy. Samsung has been the leader in the Android market and will continue to be the leader far into the future.

    • mr64

      I bought Iphones since 07. I got tired of the appearance being very similar from each release. I’m so tired of the icons appearance. So I went to to the S4, and like it very well.

    • Paz Cohen

      As an owner of the galaxy s4 i can tell you its not a good phone not as fast as the HTC one and have very bad screen the big thing about it its the fact that the phone dont use white its uses a gray something color and its sucks so guys i have galaxy s4 for sale

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