Before we start we need to remind you that Samsung has released few versions of its Galaxy S4 smartphone this year. One of them is the Galaxy S4 Google edition that we are going to talk about today. After it was revealed, it was said that this is the most powerful Android smartphone today. All S4 variants are different in specific fields. Let’s see what makes this Google edition different than the Galaxy S4.
It has the same design as the original S4 including a 5-inch display with 1080p. It’s made from plastic with metal edges. It lacks some customized features by Samsung that were enabling you to adjust the display optimization like changing the color or the brightness. This device still features the IR blaster which has been located at the top that will enable you use the smartphone like a remote control.
There’s one slight difference, though. If you open up the battery door you will see that there is no carrier logo or Galaxy S4 written on it. But, if you look deeply you will notice that there is a label saying “Distributed by Google”. This won’t change anything but we had to note it.
Interface and OS
When you first buy your device, you will see a lot of pre-installed software apps which will blow your mind. Google’s edition of this smartphone offers almost nothing. If you buy the original version of some carrier you will get half of the full storage available. The other half is usually filled with carrier’s apps and features. The S4 Google edition comes with 12.60GB free storage space and enables you to install what you want. Not a single smartphone will give you the full storage capacity but it’s nice to see some free space right from the start. Plus, if you want more there is the MicroSD slot which can be upgraded up to 64GB.
It runs on Android 4.2.2 OS as the other versions. According to Google, this handset will receive updates faster than any other Android-based smartphone. It doesn’t include the TouchWiz interface and this means that you will not be able to see some shortcuts. On the notification bar, you will see only 8 shortcuts instead of 16. You will be using the standard virtual keyboard by Google and if you don’t like how it works, you can always replace it with some keyboard apps available in Google Play Store.
The lock screen options coming equipped with Samsung’s original Galaxy S4 are not included in this Google edition. You will get simple lock screen with few options for accessing the camera, scrolling your messages and other apps by using the swipe function left and right.
Apps and Features
There are some apps that you will get and some apps that you will not be using on this edition. Your smartphone will come with the usual Google applications like Earth, Chrome, Gmail, Plus, Talk, Search, Local and many more. Some basic apps are included too: calendar, clock with alarm, calculator, movie editing, news, weather app and etc. Into the settings menu, you will find Daydreams which works as a screensaver feature.
Unfortunately, it seems to lack all the new things. You will not be able to use Air View, Air Gesture, Smart Stay/Pause/Scroll, S Voice/Voice Drive/Health/Translator, Story Mode and Samsung Hub. For some of the customers, these features are used very rarely but some can’t live without them. To be honest, some of the feature I don’t even know what are they used for but some of them can really help you.
This version also has a 13-mpix camera and when compared with the original version, you will not find any difference. However, the features related to the camera are worth mentioning. First of all, you will see a simple camera interface with three icons plus a graphic that shows the pinch-zoom option. It has 2 shooting modes, Photo Sphere and panoramic. This option is exactly the same like the one on the LG Nexus 4.
When you open the additional options for the camera you will notice the other change. When the radial dial opens you can choose switching between both cameras, turn on the flash and adjust some levels of exposure.
The front-facing camera is almost the same, except for the HDR imaging. The camera enables you to choose from different photo sizes from QVGA to maximum 2mpix.
This S4 version comes without the dual-shot feature, Drama mode, Eraser and Sound shot. When the original Galaxy S4 was unveiled, these features sounded so attractive but with choosing the Google edition, you will not have access to these. However, the most important thing is that the quality of photo and video hasn’t changed. You will be able to take the same amazing pictures that we saw earlier taken from the original Galaxy S4.
These are the major changes we were able to notice. There are some other slight changes but all in all, this phone will do anything you expect from it. There is no difference in the performance but still if I want to buy a S4 version, I’ll go with the original. And yes, it has a price tag of $649 and it’s more expensive than the original.