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Samsung Galaxy S4 - What We Want


Samsung Galaxy S3

There's no doubting the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a tour de force of the latest cutting edge mobile phone technology, as proven by the fact it has sold faster than hotcakes on the coldest day in January, or wettest day in July for that matter. But, for some of us, it didn't quite tick every box. We're going to look ahead at what we'd like to see from its follow up, which we can only suppose will be called the Samsung Galaxy S4.


The Galaxy S3 is a fairly elegant-looking phone from the front but its boring glossy plastic back certainly didn't set our hearts racing. For the S4 we'd like to see a more ambitious design using exotic and premium materials. Nevermind that the S3 is super light and thin - a few extra grams due to a metal backplate wouldn't bother us. It doesn't have to be metal either - just something with a bit more pizazz.

Samsung Galaxy S3

More than the look, though, what really bothered us about the S3 was its size. We know some people are all for phones getting bigger and bigger but we're not among them. Although Samsung made an effort to get around the S3 having a whacking great 4.8in screen, it remains to our minds a cumbersome handset that's difficult to use one handed - the amount of times we've dropped the S3 while holding a pint, and no it's not just because of the preceding five pints.

Samsung Galaxy S3

We'd like to see a move to a slightly smaller screen that retains the same resolution. The 4.3in of the Galaxy S2 was manageable but frankly we'd be even happier for it to drop to 4in. Yes, essentially we're saying we think Apple is on the right track (according to rumours) by only bumping up the screen size slightly for its upcoming iPhone 5, from 3.5in on the iPhone 4S to 4in.

Samsung Galaxy S3

S4 Mini

Okay, maybe a considerably smaller Galaxy S4 is unlikely. So if we can't have a big ol' flagship S4 that's smaller than the S3, how about a Galaxy S4 Mini that doesn't miss out on any of the goodies? Mini versions of phones tend to drop features and aim for a budget price but we want to see an S4 that can kick it with the big guns but not require double joints to get a grip on.


We'd also like to see Samsung go to town on the camera of the Galaxy S4. The S3 only matched camera tech that had been available for several months, rather then move things forward. What we'd like is a proper shutter button to make it easier to take snaps at awkward angles, and shoot self portraits in particular. And, having now seen the magnificence that is the Nokia 808 Pureview's 41MP camera, we'd also really like to see a big bump in camera performance - optical zoom, Xenon flash, we want it all.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Big Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S3 battery is among the largest in its class and the stamina to match. But, there's still room for improvement. Add a couple of millimetres to the phone's overall thickness and squeeze in an even bigger battery and we're well on our way to smartphone nirvana.

Samsung Galaxy Note


The Samsung Galaxy Note caught us all by surprise. Next to no-one thought a 5.3in phone with a stylus would work in this day and age but it has proved hugely popular, and we can see why. There is still something about having a fine-nibbed pointing device that's sensitive to pressure that makes doodling, gaming and plenty of other tasks much more enjoyable. The stylus of the Note wasn't the best in the world but it was better than the dumb capacitive touchscreen models that are the alternative. Heck, we'd not even mind if it couldn't fit in the body of the phone.


Finally, and we know this is a bit of a curveball, we'd like to see the Samsung Galaxy S4 go a bit rugged. Panasonic proved that you can create an ostensibly normal-looking mobile that's fully waterproof, and if Samsung can up the ante by making the S4 a but tough too, we'd be happier than Andy Murray... oh wait, he didn't win did he.

What would you like to see from the Samsung Galaxy S4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Go to comments


July 10, 2012, 7:42 pm

Finally somebody in the media has spoken out against this obsession of ever increasing screen sizes. I bought an HTC Incredible S as it was just the right size for me with, at the time, good specs. Unfortunately there's nothing for me to move on to next that's high end without having a giant screen. As said, a 4" screen is spot on.


July 10, 2012, 8:24 pm

I've got a Galaxy S2 and even this is a little bit too big for me to operate with one hand comfortably, so I can't imagine how ridiculously unwieldy the S3 must be.

I've had a play with a friends iPhone 4S and although the screen is a little smaller it has a sturdy, portable, aesthetically pleasing feel to it, it almost feels lke £400 worth of phone. Sadly as much as a love my S2 it does feel a little bit plasticy and the S3 doesn't look any different.


July 10, 2012, 10:28 pm

I couldn't agree more about the screen size. 4" is the sweet spot for me.

A few months ago I bought a Motorola Atrix MB860. It doesn't have the latest hardware, but good enough and perfect screen size.

I tested an SGIII at the store. Great phone but for me it's unusable in a day to day basis. It's too big.
I just can't understand why all this war about screen sizes. Just plain stupid

Martin Daler

July 11, 2012, 1:06 am

I'm with you on the waterproofing - phones have become such bijoux objects that they have almost become like dress watches - too fancy and fragile to risk taking to the outside of the safe office/home environment. Even use in a rain shower is a no-no.

But a phone needs to go everywhere - holidays, camping, the beach, etc. I don't think it needs be JCB-style ruggedised, but 1m waterproof should be a minimum requirement.

Attention to the screen's impact resistance is also required. Scartchproof is not much use if the thing shatters at the first knock. I'd sooner have a shatterproof polycarbonate screen with factory fitted (replaceable) screen protector on top to take care of scratches. They even make actual glass screen protectors now.

And battery life - a solid two days of medium usage, more for light use.

Under 10mm, I don't see the need to go any thinner until all the above is first achieved.


July 11, 2012, 5:25 am

I've had a 4.3" HTC Touch HD2 for over 2.5 years now and would never go for a smaller screen.

I've just ordered an S3 and will enjoy the larger screen; I find the HD2 a bit cramped.

However I do think there should be a choice. I agree with the idea of having a mini version with all the power but with a smaller screen and body. Inevitably the phone would be thicker, but at least people would have the choice.

Hamish Campbell

July 11, 2012, 11:52 am

Hurrah, I am not alone. The S2 I have is great, but it is the upper limit of manageability, 4 inch would have been ideal for me.

But where are the top end 4 inch android phones??? There's a massive gap between the cost and performance of a 4 inch android (budget all of a sudden!) and 4 inch iPhone (mortgage the house..when it comes).

Martin Daler

July 11, 2012, 1:05 pm

"I just can't understand why all this war about screen sizes."

Perhaps I can help, having bought a Galaxy Note. We still call these things 'mobile phones', even though a telephone is probably the last thing we use them for most days. Read any mobile phone review, half of them never even touch on their performance as a telephone.

So viewed as a 'mobile phone' my Note is stupidly big. My old Nokia 1100 shows how it should be done! But seen as a:

pocketable tablet
sat nav
web browser
games console
media playback
office applications device

then the Note is a very good compromise between pocketability and size.

I think what helped tip the balance towards >4" screen size is the advent of tablets (iPad etc) - a large screen mobile is the best shot at putting tablet style utility in your pocket, and combining it with a phone.

Of course it won't be everybody's cup of tea, so hopefully they will also make high-end smaller-screened mobiles as well. But stupid, it ain't.

john g

July 11, 2012, 9:25 pm

I agree with Martin Daler's reply about the benefits that a large screen can bring for many users. I mainly use my phone for Google Maps, email, internet browsing, texting and listening to music, much less as a phone. I wouldn't want the burden of carrying a tablet everywhere, nor do I want multiple devices, so 4"+ screens are, for me, a bonus.

With regard to a stylus, Samsung already sell one for the S3. Here is a link to a short video showing it in use:

I tend to be careful with my phones so, whilst a more rugged device would be welcome, it's water-proofing that I'd value more. I have a weather-proof dSLR which I'm happy to use in all weathers, but I'm very reluctant to use my mobile phone in even light drizzle. Maybe a solution would be for manufacturers to apply one of the new water-repelling coatings such as Liquipel or P2i.

Finally, regarding greater battery capacity, yes please! Motorola have shown how it can be done with the Maxx version of the Droid Razr which has a battery of double the capacity of the non-Maxx model;3,300 mAh compared to 1,785 mAh. Accommodating this causes only insignificant physical changes: an extra 18 grams weight and 2mm thickness.


July 14, 2012, 5:46 am

A Samsung S4 Mini will be just fine as long it is also invisible so no one can easily steal my precious.

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