The Samsung Galaxy S4 is not getting rave reviews.
Walt Mossberg, the most influential gadget review on the planet, has a relatively harsh review of the S4.
Mossberg’s reviews are generally subtle, and balanced. His S4 review is fairly direct:
I’ve been testing the Galaxy S 4 intensively for four days and while I admire some of its features, overall, it isn’t a game-changer. It’s an evolution of the prior model and despite some improvements, it still is especially weak in the software Samsung adds to basic Android. I found Samsung’s software often gimmicky, duplicative of standard Android apps, or, in some cases, only intermittently functional.
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.
After a quick read of a few other reviews, this seems to be the consensus on the S4. Nice phone, but not nearly the killer you would expect considering all the hype. If you want an Android phone, go with HTC.
The real question is whether or not this matters. Samsung will spend billions of dollars on advertising and in-store marketing and promotions. HTC, which makes a superior phone, will not be able to afford the same marketing.