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Phones: Samsung Galaxy S4 is a terrific holiday pick

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Phones: Samsung Galaxy S4 is a terrific holiday pick

1:52 /

If you're gifting someone with a smartphone this holiday season, start with this everyman's handset for its widespread availability and top-notch specs.

There's no shortage of excellent smartphones that you could buy yourself or somebody else this holiday season. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET, and I'm gonna tell you why you should seriously consider making the Samsung Galaxy S4 here your top pick. This is a topnotch smartphone that does all the important stuff really well. Its crisp, colorful 5-inch screen with a 1080p HD AMOLED display makes viewing everything, from articles to videos to games, really immersive. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is also the fastest you can currently find on a smartphone, which makes mobile gaming extra satisfying for casual gamers, all the way up to those who invest in consoles. Image quality is big deal to me, personally. And the Galaxy S4 is right on the top, consistently capturing lively detailed 13-megapixel images and 1080p HD video. Low-light photos are a little bit of a weakness, but flash and night mode both help turn out high-quality pictures that are usually good enough to frame. And easy mode option will appeal to newbies as a way to ease in to Android. And it will also appeal to anyone who likes a simpler interface. On the other end of the spectrum, no phone offers more built-in software extras for power users. Adventurous types who dig into every feature will find a TV remote, a pile of photo tools, and crazy gestures to control parts of the phone with a wave of the hand or a glance of the eye. The Galaxy S4 certainly isn't the best-looking phone you can buy-- in my opinion, that honor goes to the HTC One and the iPhone 5S. But it is attractive enough, and also very light and slim. Best yet, nearly every carrier has it, and you can expect the prices to drop during holiday promotions. Once again, I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET, shining a spotlight on the Samsung Galaxy S4. You can read my full review at CNET.com.

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