A month after being released to mostly positive reviews, Samsung's flagship phone is getting some validation from Consumer Reports. The publication has run all its tests, kicked the phone's tires, and named the Android-powered Galaxy S4 its top rated smartphone.
The previous list-topper was the Optimus G, a solid $100 4.7-inch phone from LG that held Consumer Reports' No. 1 spot for several months. The Optimus G is now ranked as the No. 2 smartphone, followed by the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5.
Consumer reports bases its ratings on a number of extensive tests and rates the devices in categories including ease of use, display and voice quality, portability and battery life. The $200 Galaxy S4's weakest scores were in video quality and portability. Like all the other smartphones on the list, it also had mediocre scores for voice quality, a sacrifice that seems common in the smartphone market. The publication also lamented the lack of one-button phone access.
Consumer Reports specifically called out the S4's 5-inch, 1080p touch-screen, multitasking in split view, and a built-in IR feature as some of the handset's standout features. The abundance of features were seen as appealing to more advanced users without complicating the phone for more entry-level users. The publication said the device's camera was "among the best phone cameras for photo quality."
The Galaxy S4 is an update to Samsung's wildly popular S3 phone, which was one of the best selling smartphones of the past year. Samsung was the leader in the smartphone market in in the first quarter of 2013, according to research firm IDC, and it looks like its latest offering will help it hang on to that top spot for the time being.
Last week, Google announced a new version of the Galaxy S4 that will run a pure form of the company's Android mobile operating system. That unlocked and uncluttered phone will cost $649 when it becomes available at the end of June.
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