Samsung Galaxy S4: "Chasseur d'Images" review

By Chasseur d'Images - Wednesday July 24 2013

Mobile Review
Introduction | Android boosted by Samsung | Getting started & ergonomics | A plethora of ways to explore | Field Impressions | Measurements | Conclusion

After six weeks of testing the S4, we must recognize the cameraphone is immensely powerful. Certainly, the phone ergonomics and the tiny size of its sensor limits its photographic capabilities, but these shortcomings are offset by its readiness and excellent screen that won’t let you miss an opportunity. Although it’s not a rival to an SLR, thanks to the creative functions and the ease with which to share images it may well replace an expert compact.

As for image quality, the Galaxy S4 ousts the recently introduced S3, a product that barely has had time to establish itself. The new 13-megapixel has plenty of detail and delivers images that experts would call "crisp". Outdoors and in broad daylight, the images obtained are truly excellent, with perfect detail reproduction and natural and brilliant colors.


But there is a downside ... this small sensor doesn’t perform well when the light fails and, indoors or under low lighting, noise levels are high enough that Samsung applies smoothing, which suddenly transforms fine textures (hair for example) into indistinct areas. It’s also a comfort knowing once again, the flash works pretty well ... even if, in a subdued lighting or hot, sunny environments dominate, it tends to produce a bluish tint to the foreground.

There are few shortcomings with video; the screen of the S4 passes Full HD test, but when taking pictures, low light failures in AF and both stabilizer and compression artifacts compromise picture-taking in an intimate setting.

After testing and ranking by DxOMark, the Galaxy S4 achieved a score of 75, which puts it in second place behind Nokia PureView 808 and ahead of the iPhone 5. While the S4 occupies a more flattering position beyond the pure results and the versatility may outweigh some flaws, there is still a little hope for real cameras!