4 Reasons Not To Upgrade to the Galaxy S4

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After months of anticipation, Samsung has finally unveiled its new flagship for 2013: the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S3's successor will come packed with a 1.9-GHz quad-core Qualcomm 600 processor for U.S. models, a 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p display and a host of new gesture-based features. But if you own a Galaxy S III, there are some reasons to sit this upgrade out.

No, Samsung’s 3rd-gen Galaxy S phone doesn't follow your eyes for pausing video, and you can't use both cameras at the same time, but is upgrading to the S4 really worth the price? Here are four reasons you should reconsider rushing out to buy Samsung’s “Next Big Thing.”

1. The design isn’t much different

Samsung has made a few subtle aesthetic alterations to the Galaxy S4, but it still looks nearly identical to the Galaxy S III. The new flagship comes with the same soft rounded edges and plastic frame that you’ll find on the S III, but with a slightly slimmer and lighter chassis and slightly larger screen.

The S4 is 0.31 inches thin, marking a 0.4-inch difference from the 0.35-inch S III. It also comes with a larger 5-inch screen compared to the S III’s 4.8-inch display. You’ll be able to feel and see these differences when the phone is in your hand, but don’t expect a dramatic overhaul in terms of design.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S4 Benchmarked: Serious Power, Dim Display

2. The Galaxy S4’s software is coming to the Galaxy S III

Over the past year Samsung has made an effort to create a seamless user experience across all Galaxy flagships. For example, at the end of 2012 the Galaxy Note 2’s multi-window feature landed on the Galaxy S III, and we can expect a similar pattern with the S4’s features.

Nick DiCarlo, Samsung’s vice president of portfolio planning, told PCMag that “anything we can do that’s not dependent on hardware like infrared, we’ll definitely bring to all the flagship devices.” This means that the S4’s camera improvements aren’t likely to make it to the S III, but other additions such as S Health, S Translator and Group Play could be available on the S III in the future.

Plus, you can enjoy a handful of the S4’s new features via apps in the Google Play store. For example, the free runtastic Pro app uses GPS to track your movements and how many calories you’ve burned, just like S Health. Additionally, cable providers such as Time Warner offer apps that pair your smartphone with your cable box so it functions as a remote control, similar to the S4’s WatchOn feature.

3. You’re not getting Samsung's fastest processor

Samsung will be launching two versions of its Galaxy S4. The U.S. version will feature a 1.9-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, while the international edition will get Samsung’s 1.6-GHz octa-core Exynos chipset. While this is still an upgrade from the Galaxy S III’s 1.5-GHz dual-core CPU, overseas buyers will be getting 8 cores. There's a reason why you can't get Samsung's own latest and greatest CPU -- it doesn't support integrated 4G LTE -- but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

MORE: Galaxy S4 vs. The World: Specs Compared

4. The screen isn’t much brighter

We had the chance to measure the brightness of the Galaxy S4’s display, and the results weren’t impressive. The S4’s 5-inch Super AMOLED screen registered at 258 lux, which is brighter than the S III’s 213 lux display but way below the 299 lux category average. By comparison, the HTC One registered 463 lux on our light meter, and the iPhone 5 got 525 lux.

Bottom line

The Galaxy S4 will undoubtedly be one of the best-selling smartphones of 2013, but it’s important not to get lost in Samsung’s promotional hype. The S4 comes with the types of innovations that have pushed Samsung to sell 100 million Galaxy S handsets worldwide, but take a look at what you’re really getting for your money before you decide if this device is right for you.

Author Bio
Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco, LAPTOP Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for Laptopmag.com since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.
Lisa Eadicicco, LAPTOP Staff Writer on
Add a comment
  • ThatGuy Says:

    Sounds like the author has absolutely no idea what she's talking about. Either that or she has some iPhone buyers remorse.

  • 8upRN Says:

    p.s I own a galaxy S3...and show it off to my friends that are APPLE fanboys, and they are like your phone does what?! and look over at their phone in grief for a moment. This applies to iphone 5 as well since that phone can still sit inside mine when they bragged their screen got bigger.

  • 8upRN Says:

    To JOE from july 3rd.....ROFLMAO! :) I am an avid APPLE hater d/t I don't like anyone telling me how I can use my phone and customize it. I had always had an Android but ended up drinking the koolaid and bought the iphone 4S which was the biggest mistake ever! Navigation...don't get me started...oh I love that ringtone can you send it to me? hell no, I have an APPLE they don't allow it...the list goes on forever...and all you fanboy's don't even mention that I'm cheap and should just buy all the things APPLE tells me too...they make their millions off fanboy's like you! So, I almost threw it in the trash but my daughter drinks the koolaid of APPLE like her teenage peers..so that works because they don't know the difference...when they grow up...they will have a more intelligent outlook.

  • Joe Says:

    My name is Lisa Eadicicco and I'm an apple.

  • Tommy Says:

    Sounds like Lisa is in contract. Anyone with a S3 is going to have to pay full price and anyone with a S2 or old isn't or shouldn't be. Dealing with S3 and S4 all day long it is hard to tell people they should upgrade. but if you have anything older than the S3 and out of contract the s4 is fantastic! The remote IR port is wonderful, The camera software is awesome.

    Other note, Lisa don't write something if you don't understant it. The 1.6-GHz octa-core is 4 on and 4 off, Not a true octo-core for say, The Snap600 is faster 4core vs 4core and the 1.6-GHz octa-core support has to have software support too, hence it not releasing.

  • kashif Says:


  • Jon Says:

    It's been pointed out but people don't read all the comments, 1.5 dual core vs 1.9 quad core - larger, higher res display, bigger battery, and the minor change to the look & feel, it does look better with a metal border instead of plastic painted to look metal, its no longer an ugly egg shape, and it feels lighter. Oh, also just an FYI, an app cannot install an infrared led to control TV's as well as other devices and lets not forget screen burn in vs no screen burn in.

  • Boyd Says:

    Reason #5

    You cannot polish a turd!
    Verizon replaced my first one with a "certified genuine refurbished" replacement and it's a turd as well.

  • Sonic98 Says:

    Not really seeing why so many are so defensive about this article. I personally don't see a valid reason to upgrade from the S3 to the S4. Most of what was said was common sense, so I agree that there really was no need to create an article. As someone else state, the same could be said for iPhone. I really don't see the need to upgrade one of those every year. But then again I'm not one of those who thinks you have to get the next of anything as soon as the new one comes out, especially if you're talking about yearly upgrades. I can see the need for a yearly software upgrade but not spending money on new hardware. I can understand the criticism of the author being bias, but the basic point of the article is correct. I just don't see the NEED of upgrading to the next model or even two models if the improvements are minor or there is nothing in the new one that you just have to have or have been wanting.

  • Joseph Molion Says:

    [quote]RL70 Says:
    March 17th, 2013 at 11:44 am
    Because Apple usually adds several things of real value. For example, when they went from the 4S to the 5 they added a screen that’s a full half inch larger than before, added the A6 chip which is twice as fast as the A5 was, made the phone both 20% lighter and thinner, went to an all new aluminum body, added 4G LTE, included vastly improved standard headphones, etc, etc. So it’s hardly “fanboy BS” seeing as how Samsung didn’t add even remotely close to as much when comparing the differences between the S3 to the S4.

    Are you serious? You just listed a bunch of stuff that Apple "value added" to the 5 from the 4s, that the rest of the phones out there have had for a year. A half inch increase in screen size? Big whoopty, that brought it up to a whopping 4". My Note II has 5.5 and there are plans for a biger one, 5.8 I've heard, that doesn't increase phone size.

    4G LTE? 2 years old by my reckoning.
    I'll give you processor, because it's comparable. But don't get all high & mighty about how innovative Apple is. Since Jobs died, they've been innovative at one thing: Suing the world.

  • Ron Says:

    "Samsung will be launching two versions of its Galaxy S4. The U.S. version will feature a 1.9-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, while the international edition will get Samsung’s 1.6-GHz octa-core Exynos chipset. While this is still an upgrade from the Galaxy S III’s 1.5-GHz dual-core CPU, overseas buyers will be getting 8 cores. There’s a reason why you can’t get Samsung’s own latest and greatest CPU — it doesn’t support integrated 4G LTE — but that doesn’t mean we have to like it."

    Yet, because of the clock speed, in certain situations and benchmarks the Dual-core US S3 performed better than the International S3 even though the internation has a quad-core (but running at a slower clock rate). I have the international version picked up from a smaller US wireless carrier, and it does lack LTE but still supports 4G via HSPA+.... So the US version may not be slower in all aspects and there's no reason if say you have AT&T or even NET10 why going with the international version wouldn't be a good option

  • Piyush Says:

    i prefer S4.. it has a wide screen and also their have brighter screen effect so why prefer S3..??

  • Ankit Says:

    Samsung Galaxy S4 is no doubt a perfect phone. It has been tested and proved. Still I donot find a good reason to spend that high on a phone.

  • Doug Says:

    Andi on Mar 19th: Talking about Apple/Samsung suit.
    yes, Samsung did have to pay up several coins of the realm...however, Samsung sell Apple the fine glass you see as the screen for a whole lot more.

  • Anthony Colombo Says:

    Apple and Samsung are bitter rivals either you love android or you love apple. Apples no doubt have there ups siri,good camera,apps . downs batteries suck, there a pain in the ass to root and jailbreak you cant customize it to your liking you get what you get . And there Apple store is so rude they talk to you like your retarded and worthless. Samsung on the other hand has its ups bigger screen big camera the play store Samsung hub there touchwiz is cool, you can customize your phone to your liking. downs is the new s4 memory isnt 16gb its 9.5. But Samsung announced they would fix the problem. Another down is there phone overheat and sometimes cant handle it and turn it self off until its cooled down. Overall Samsung and apple really havnt separated themselves from each both have cool features but, neither have really outdone each other.

  • Terry Says:

    If people love the iphone so much and don't intend to get a different one, I don't understand why you waste your time reading and commenting on reviews of other phones. What's the point? I have has the iphone 4, 4S and the 5, they are all pretty similar and no big design changes were made from the first one. Yes the 5 has a larger screen is lighter but it still looks basically like the 4. I read the reviews to compare the GS4 and the HTC one deciding between those two phones. In part mostly due the the reviews here I opted for the HTC one and have no regrets. I did try out the GS4 as well but like the one better. It's more of a personal choice between these two phones as they are both great. Too bad we can't combine all the good things from all the top phones into one device then we would have an awesome phone.

  • Adam Says:

    You did not measure the "brightness" as that is a personal opinion. You measured luminescence.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Brightness is an attribute of visual perception in which a source appears to be radiating or reflecting light. In other words, brightness is the perception elicited by the luminance of a visual target. This is a subjective attribute/property of an object being observed.

  • Craig Horlacher Says:

    While I don't disagree overall that you have little reason to upgrade from a GS3 to a GS4 the processor is not one of those reasons and in fact I'd much rather have the Snapdragon 600 than the Exynos Octa-core.

    If you're going to call the Exynos Octa-core an eight-core processor you need to call the Nvidia Tegra 3 a five-core processor. The Exynos Octa-core is not an eight-core processor. It has four slow (low power) cores and four fast (high power) cores. That's just how Samsung chose to do power management. It can't use all eight cores at a time, only the fast four or the slow four. The Snapdragon 600 on the other hand has four fast cores but it can run on one, two, three, or four at a time. You'll probably get better battery life with the Snapdragon 600 and while it may be slower for some things you'll notice it in almost no things and it's undoubtedly faster for some things.

  • ReFoRmEd One Says:

    Sorry I meant to say Galaxy s4...not s3.

  • ReFoRmEd One Says:

    4 Reasons not to upgrade to the Galaxy s3....
    1) htc One
    2) htc One
    3) htc One
    4) htc One

  • GradyPhilpott Says:

    The author sounds like she's clinically depressed.

    The problem with the internet is that there are too many words to be written by all the "publications" out there and not nearly enough talent to string those words together in an appealing and informative manner.

    It's far too easy to post knee-jerk reactions than it is to really compare and contrast products enough to give readers a balanced view.

  • Breezy Says:

    If you add "4 Reasons Not To Upgrade to the Galaxy S4...FROM THE S3" I think it would shut some of these idiots up. I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that's who this article is targeting.

  • John Says:

    The translation to Spanish in no. 2 does not make sense.

  • Lena Says:

    update your gs3 crazy people i have one and i updated and i can do what a gs4 does as far as dual screens and much more ....... i love my gs3

  • sretyhfdghnd Says:

    Dispute in order:
    1. The design is similar in the positive qualities of comfortable shape and button placement coupled with light weight, but improved with a slightly smaller form factor (thinner in depth and side-to-side and lighter) despite the larger screen and battery. I also happen to think the S4 looks better than the S3 due to the smaller bezels, more squared corners, and consistant frame.

    2. It still offers a few features that won't reach the S3, and practically ALL of them won't reach the S2 (which is probably the more likely upgraded candidate for anyone rolling up to their two-year mark).

    3. You're still getting a processor that beats the S3 by double; a worthy upgrade at any rate.

    4. The screen is 25% brighter, about 2.5 times the resolution, AdobeRGB color accurate, remarkably non-reflective (which makes outdoor use on bright days much easier to stomach, even without brightness cranked), and apparently very battery efficient..even during web browsing. They've also managed to deepen the blacks and square away the inkblot issues of the S3 (if you haven't noticed, cool; if you have, you may commence rejoicing).

    As a side-note, the battery-life of the S4 has increased a notable amount from the already solid performing S3, the prepackaged headphones are phenominal for an included set, the stock browser still allows you to run AdobeFlash and is otherwise a great all-around browser, the audio chip is top-notch for THD/IMD/and even the stereo image degration that plagues most devices during headphone use doesn't seem to occur with the S4.

  • Bone20 Says:

    Um... Where did you get that the S4 will not support 4G LTE?...
    Check you facts!

  • SamsungFTW Says:

    The minimally changed design is not a legitimate reason not to purchase this device, let alone the number one reason. The design of the S III works, so there is no need to change it. Some people are not happy with the plastic exterior, but there are two major benefits: 1) You are not paying more because the phone is "pretty" 2) While metal is less likely to get damaged on the body of the phone, plastic and other soft materials protect the internal components by absorbing some of the impact.

    Furthermore, while having a "pretty" phone may be a nice bonus, it is much more important to take into consideration what a phone is capable of than what it is made of.

    This is a perfect example of how superficial our society has become.

  • SamsungFTW Says:


    The US version of the S III has a dual core processor. Since they are comparing it with the US Galaxy S4, which has a quad core processor, the comparison is accurate.

    However, you are the first person I have seen that actually understands the big.LITTLE architecture of the octa-core processor in the international version. Everyone seems to think that it's meant to use all cores simultaneously, and then they say things like "I don't need all that power in a phone". It's nice to see that someone else understands that it's more about balance than raw power.

  • hindu1988 Says:

    I agree with everyone else. You were only negative on the subject and never mention the pros with the cons which if you ask me is not fair to the veiwer and still a great deal. next time you review a phone remember that you have to show both.

  • missknowitall88 Says:


  • frettfreak Says:

    Seriously reviewer?? this is rediculous. i bet you also wrote why the iphone 4s was such a great upgrade to the 4 and why the 5 is gods gift... get real.

    the siv is a worthy upgrade in ALL areas. no, the design didnt change much, but everyone loves it when apple does it so STFU. Between the hardware and software upgrade samsung has put into this its more of an upgrade than i have seen almost any crapple product get so um.. yeah.

    I wish they would have made a bit more dramatic design difference and moved away from plastic, but with that being said, the first thing alsmost ANYONE does is cover up that cool new metal phone with a damn TPU cover so who really cares. I can say i have not had a single issue with any samsung plastic, ever.

  • MorcaeL Says:

    @ StreetNerd

    The Samsung Galaxy S3 U.S. version is just Dual Core but has 2GB of RAM. The international version is Quad Core but has 1GB of RAM...and if I'm not mistaken, in South Korea, they have the Quad Core Galaxy S3 with 2GB of RAM. FYI.

  • MorcaeL Says:

    Hey, Ms. Lisa (Staff Writer of this article)!

    What Smart Phone do you use? I bet you own an Apple iPhone. *grins

  • MorcaeL Says:

    + 1 to Rob

    Do other Smart Phones have the Temperature and Humidity Sensors already? NO, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 have those.

    Can other Smart Phones use the Back and Front Camera simultaneously in taking pictures or recording videos? NO.

    Does Apple Maps did very well than Google Maps? I bet the answer is a big NO. Are the consumers not using Google Map now after Tim Cook apologized for the flaws of Apple Maps? Majority probably installed it for their iPhones with iOS 6 so as not to get lost should they not own a GPS.

    Can iPhone 5 now use Bluetooth Technology to send and receive files such as documents and multimedia? The last time I checked, iPhones until iPhone 4S cannot do that natively, I'm not sure if it's already available in iPhone 5 but I guess NOT. We CAN do it on our Android OS Smart Phones, may it be Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and others.

    Samsung copied Apple's iPhone now, huh, Andi? Is it that's why 4G LTE on iPhone 5 is just new and it's an old thing, apparently, not just in Samsung Smart Phones? Did you know that Apple uses Samsung chips on some of its hardware? I bet NOT! How about the other Smart Phones? They copied Apple iPhone too? iPhones aren't not worth copying. How about the television sets? Do you know the first brand to make the TVs and can you accuse other companies / brand names that innovated those to further develop the first television?

    I've had iPhone 3GS but when I had the chance to own a Samsung Galaxy S2, I am not amused of Apple iPhones anymore, even with iPads and iPods.

    Samsung Galaxy Smart Phones are plasticky but I don't mind it. It's more customizable and easier to use than with iPhones. I'd rather get HTC, LG, Sony, or any other Android OS-based Smart Phones than Apple iOS or Windows Phone 8, or Black Berry 10 OS.

  • BL Says:

    Its really best when upgrading to wait for the model right after the one that came out after yours. Hence I have the Galaxy Note 1 and the Note 2 really wasnt worth spending $500 plus for the specs but the Note 3 coming this Fall certainly will be for me plus I won't have to pay the full price of the phone.

  • John Says:

    Um... the reasons listed here are either very minor or are non-reasons.

    1) It looks like the S3 - please specify why this is a reason not to buy the phone.
    2) Sure, the S3 will get the same software, but this usually happens. We upgrade for the updated hardware to run current and future apps better...
    3) You're not getting Samsung's fastest processor, but you're still getting a very cutting-edge CPU. Very minor reason.
    4) The screen is 21% brigher than S3's. If anything, that's a reason TO upgrade.

    A REAL reason not to upgrade to the S4? It's much more expensive.

  • Derek Says:

    Yeah, there's a reason Samsung doesn't NEED to upgrade their stuff EVERY time as much as Apple does every 5 years - because they KEEP their shite updated to begin with! "Oooohhh!! Apple added a TON of new stuff to the iPhone5!" No they didn't, they added a bunch of old crap that should have been on there 3 years ago, and was on most Samsung products 3 years ago. So no, Samsung didn't change EVERYTHING on their new phone, because they didn't HAVE to change everything in order to actually make themselves state of the art. They already are! So go back to using your sweatshop made P.O.S., while China keeps taking Apple to the cleaners in their state run media. Samsung will just keep producing amazing products that I don't have to send off for over a week to change the batteries in, and that you can upgrade the memory of all by your little old self.

  • cameron2 Says:

    4 reasons not to read this article.

    1) the author
    2) see 1
    3) see 1
    4) see 1

  • cameron Says:

    I think the galaxy 4 will be a great upgrade for me having the s2 and im very happy with it. just dont like t-mobile. To the people commenting about iphone and how its better. And RL70 saying how iphone actually makes remarkable and important changes to their phones. yeah maybe to the iphone it self but all the feature apple has put on the iphone 5 its old news. 4g has been out since iphone 4 came out in 2010 so pretty much 2 1/2 years 4g has been around they dont have remarkable changes they are behind every other company with making changes. samsung doesnt need to add new features they have everything they need so far until new technology gives them better ideas. samsung has had 4g since the gs2 maybe even the gs1. thats at about the same time iphone 3gs was made or even the iphone 4 was made.

  • Biasedreview you guys dont listen to this! Says:

    Yes because you obviously used it and had days of experience with it. I bet you hadn't said the same thing when the iPhone 5 came out you Hippocratic reviewer....and WHAT MAKES YOU SO SURE WERE NOT GETTING Samsung NEW Octa Core, they contacted you and told you huh. No. tHS IS ALL bs...dont get a phone because its not much brighter....like wtf? The resolution is much higher and it has the highest ppi anyone has seen on a phone.This is one lame biased, fool of sh*t blog your running here. Use the f*cking phone and experience it before you try swervings peoples mind.

  • Mikec Says:

    .04 thinner. If it were .4 that would be almost a half of an inch!

  • Andi Says:

    Hellooooo....samsung copy apple iphone from day one. That is why samsung is paying so much campensation to apple inc. so from day one when smart phone is out, samsung is a copy cat

  • Rob Says:

    While I agree that it's often wasteful to upgrade your smartphone from last year's model to the newest one every time a new one is released, I had a few things to point out about how you're spinning this. Every point you mentioned was actually an improvement, a bonus, a plus, not a drawback of the design.

    1. They fit a larger, higher resolution, screen into a smaller phone body, and added new sensors. There was nothing wrong with the body design from last year's model, the best-selling phone of the year. Why 'fix' what's not broken?
    2. By the same reasoning, some of the GSV software will likely come to the GSIV. It's called supporting your previous models. Can't see this being a bad thing.
    3. Exynos 5410 is actually a quad-core processor in a big.LITTLE configuration. It only uses a max of 4 cores at a time. Snapdragon 600 is a quad-core 1.9GHz processor vs last year's 1.5GHz dual-core processor. It's more than a small difference in performance.
    4. The screen is much better than last year's model, with less pixelation and color distortion. On the GSIII you could view a black and white photo and see the coloration of the pixels. This is fixed on the GSIV. Also the screen is higher resolution, has crisper picture and also slightly brighter than last year's model.

  • Anthony Says:

    The galaxy s 3 in the US did not receive the multi-window feature.

  • josh Says:

    The octa-core complaint seems really petty. Snapdragon cores are very fast, and I don't know of any software for your phone that really needs 8 cores.

  • mirekk Says:

    I'd be happy to buy the new SGS 4, only I just bought SGSIII on two years contract:P Anywayway, planning to buy SGS V :D

  • RL70 Says:

    Because Apple usually adds several things of real value. For example, when they went from the 4S to the 5 they added a screen that's a full half inch larger than before, added the A6 chip which is twice as fast as the A5 was, made the phone both 20% lighter and thinner, went to an all new aluminum body, added 4G LTE, included vastly improved standard headphones, etc, etc. So it's hardly "fanboy BS" seeing as how Samsung didn't add even remotely close to as much when comparing the differences between the S3 to the S4.

  • Mark Guidry Says:

    Why is it when Iphone does this you all run out in streets shouting JOY a NEW Iphone has arrived?? More of fanboy BS.

  • SF90 Says:

    +1 to Shawn

  • StreetNerd Says:

    the S3 has a quadcore not dualcore.....

    the 8-core (4+4 setup)on the S4 doesnt work simultaneously... 4 cores (1.6ghz) for heavy work and the other 4 cores (1.2 ghz) for small tasks to save battery life....

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