Just as Samsung is clearing up supply delays and getting the Galaxy S 4 into waiting markets—Sprint announced April 29 that units are "now flowing" into its sales channels—reviews are emerging that might give some buyers pause.
Everyone agrees that the S 4 is feature-packed and unlike anything on the market. But that doesn't mean it's for everyone.
Walter Mossberg, reviewing the S 4 for the Wall Street Journal, went so far as to recommend a competing device.
"I urge readers looking for a new Android smartphone to carefully consider the more polished-looking, and quite capable, HTC One, rather than defaulting to the latest Samsung," he wrote.
Mossberg liked improvements to the email apps as well as a feature called Air View, which lets users see additional information by hovering their finger over something but not clicking, and Samsung's improved Easy Mode, which offers simpler settings options and icons.
But he found the Smart features, which among other things enable the phone to automatically scroll a page based on where a user's eyes are, to be generally a bust, and pointed out that while there are two email apps, two video and music stores, two browsers and two calendars, one can't launch the camera from the locked screen.
"It isn't a game-changer," wrote Mossberg. "If you're nuts for lists of new features, love Samsung or crave an even bigger display, the Galaxy S 4 may be for you. It's a good phone, just not a great one."
The New York Times' David Pogue felt similarly, finding the S 4 to be essentially an upgrade of the S III. If Samsung followed Apple's naming method, it "might have called this phone the Galaxy S3S," he wrote.
In the same vein, eWEEK last year likened the Galaxy S III to a room with too much furniture; Pogue calls the S 4 a "big, rattling cargo bay crammed with features."
The overwhelmingness of the S 4's features list—or a design approach that Pogue describes as "throw everything in and see what sticks"—made Pogue also a fan of Easy Mode.