10 years of Samsung Galaxy S flagships: Looking back at the Galaxy S4!

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Welcome to part four of our 10 years of Samsung Galaxy S flagship series, in which we here at SamMobile talk about our experiences and memories of each of the nine Galaxy S flagships that have come before the Galaxy S10. Today, we look back at the Galaxy S4, the best-selling Galaxy S flagship of all time. The Galaxy S4 was partly an improvement over the not-so-attractive design of the Galaxy S III and it added tons of new software features, many of them gesture-based.

The S4 could show you a preview of photos in the gallery if it detected your finger hovering over the screen, pause videos for you if you looked away (an extension of Smart Stay introduced with the S III), and scroll through webpages by tracking the movement of your eyes. Not everyone took kindly to all these gestures, but for the most part, they did make the Galaxy S4 unique in the smartphone market at the time. The Galaxy S4 was also the first time Samsung used a Snapdragon processor in some markets, and the S4 was also the first smartphone ever to support LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks, although Samsung released a slightly modified variant to enable LTE-A support.

What are our fondest memories of the Galaxy S4? Read on to find out, and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts and memories about the Galaxy S4 down in the comments section afterwards!

Danny Dorresteijn

What I remember about the Galaxy S4 is that it had a shiny back but felt impressively compact in the hand, especially moving from the Galaxy S III back then. The Galaxy S4 was Samsung’s fastest-selling Galaxy smartphone, and literally everything about it felt awesome. Not just the design; the software was great as well. That light flare unlock effect is still fresh in my mind, but perhaps the thing I remember the most is when Google sent us a takedown notice when we published the stock Android ROM for the Galaxy S4’s Google Play Edition ahead of the phone’s launch. Great times, and both Samsung and SamMobile have grown a lot in the years since thanks to the success of the Galaxy S4.

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Martin Reinders

The Galaxy S4 is a phone I can’t remember much about, yet it was the best-selling Samsung phone ever. The only thing I can remember is that bezel on the phone chipped quite easily, but it was quite sleek. I lost the phone during work (yeah, I even had the original Galaxy S stolen from me), and overall, my feelings for the S4 were rather positive.

Michel Groenheijde

To me, the Galaxy S4 represents all that is right and potentially wrong with Samsung. It gave us our first Full HD AMOLED display, which was absolutely awesome at that time, as millions squinted their eyes in an attempt to see individual pixels. The device was relatively compact, and Samsung kept it updated until deep into 2017, four years after its initial release. Still, the S4 was also symptomatic of that other side of Samsung.

The Galaxy S4’s Smart Scroll and Smart Pause features were launched to much fanfare, but proved gimmicky at best. Nobody I know actually used them in real life, for the simple reason that they just didn’t make using the phone easier. Still, these features showcased the innovative Samsung I love, even when it frequently spawned ideas nobody asked for. Since 2013 Samsung has gotten better at not releasing useless functions, while also becoming more conservative on the innovation front.

Adnan Farooqui

What I remember most about the Galaxy S4 are the handful of features that many were quick to relegate to the gimmick bin. Features like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause were trumped up to be more useful than they actually were. It’s a shame that they overshadowed much of what was good about this phone. These early phones from Samsung had a bit of a bloatware issue as well, an issue that was truly alive and well on the Galaxy S4. That Full HD AMOLED display made it worth buying this device, though.

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Abhijeet Mishra

I’m with Martin on this one, as in I can’t really recall much about the S4. I guess it’s because it simply didn’t have as many as the controversies as the Galaxy S3. Of course, I didn’t buy or use the phone as my personal device, so that’s another reason I can’t say much about it. Oh, and I hadn’t joined SamMobile yet and was fixated on the Google Nexus phones thanks to their affordable price tags, so I had also stopped keeping track of non-Nexus devices for a while.


Don’t forget: We want to hear about your fond memories and experience with the Galaxy S4, so go ahead and get a discussion going in the comments!

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