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Christmas Gift Guide

Samsung's Galaxy S4 has that familiar Galaxy style

A gorgeous screen

Home button redux

Sensors galore

Gesture in the air

A soft touch

Double take?

Pumped-up internals

Taller yet thinner

Pocketable or not?

IR blastoff!

Bolder look

Power-up

Top edge

Keeping it clean

Yes, that back is plastic

Pop it out

The camera goods

Onscreen controls

Creative new modes

Even more photo modes

The eyes have it

No remote? No problem

Easy-on

Shifting gears with S Voice Drive

Two tones

A cover with a view

A little personality

Line 'em up

One last look

Samsung's Galaxy S4 is a superphone worthy of the title. The marquee handset fires it up with top-notch hardware specs and a dizzying number of software features besides Google's Android essentials.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The Galaxy S4 boasts a large 5-inch HD Super AMOLED panel with a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution; that works out to a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. Colors are rich and bright, though the handset doesn't seem to shine quite as luminously as some LCD displays.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The Galaxy S4's rectangular home button does triple duty: depending on how you press it, it can take you to your start screen, launch your list of recent apps, and start up the S Voice assistant.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

In addition to the ambient light and proximity sensors, the Galaxy S4 also has an infrared sensor up top, and temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The infrared sensor picks up on gestures, like waving your hand in front of the screen to switch among tabs, advance music on your playlist, and answer a phone call.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The highly sensitive screen lets you navigate with long fingernails or even gloves (a must for cold-weather climates).

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

From the outside, the Galaxy S4 (left) and S3 look nearly identical. Apart from slight differences in the body color, accents, and shape, there's a lot more going on belowdecks.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

For starters, the Galaxy S4 (still on the left) has a 1.9GHz quad-core chipset rather than the GS3's still-fast dual-core processor.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's new model may be slightly longer, but it's also a hair thinner than the GS3. You can also see here the Galaxy S4's bolder, squarer metallic-looking trim.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Since it has roughly the same dimensions as the Galaxy S3, the S4 should fit into pockets and handbags about the same.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The infrared, or IR, blaster is what turns the GS4 into a remote control.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

A slightly slimmer, more rectangular Galaxy S4 design gives the phone a slightly boxier, sturdier profile. The GS4's controls, while still made of polycarbonate plastic, have been designed to appear more premium than the S3's rounded bubble buttons.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

We're not huge fans of the placement of the power/lock button. On the side like that, it's more likely to hit other objects in purses and pockets and light up on its own.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

In addition to the IR blaster (right), the top edge houses a standard 3.5mm headset jack.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The Micro-USB charging jack is the only outlet you'll find on the handset's southern edge.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

If you were hoping that the Samsung Galaxy S4 would use more premium materials than plastic, you're out of luck. The phone's battery cover is fairly mundane, stippled cover design notwithstanding.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

A large removable battery is a claim to fame over the rival HTC One, and the GS4's microSD slot is another. The battery pack is higher-capacity than the Galaxy S3's, being 2,600mAh compared with the S3's 2,100mAh.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung jumps on the 13-megapixel camera trend, and also places a 2-megapixel lens up front.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Onboard the new Galaxy S4 is an enhanced 13-megapixel camera that's chock-full of features, starting with some onscreen controls borrowed from the Galaxy Camera interface.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

There are a heap of new settings and modes as well, including dual-shot mode, which uses images from the front and rear cameras and works with still photos or video.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Sound and shot, Drama, Animated Mode, and Eraser are also new additions. See them in action here.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Another interesting new feature of the Galaxy S4 is especially handy when you're watching a video. Namely, the screen can interpret eye movements to pause a video when you look away and resume playback when you start paying attention again.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Remember that IR blaster up top? Like the HTC One, the Galaxy S4 uses that component to control your TV, DVR, and set-top box.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Using the Watch On app, you can easily set up the device to work with your entertainment center, changing the channel and volume and even recording new shows.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Like its predecessor, the phone features Samsung's home-grown S Voice vocal search feature, which you activate by holding down the home button. Driving mode is a new addition you can activate through the app's context menu.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's favoring neutral shades for its Galaxy S4 so far. The handset will come in white frost and black mist.

Caption by / Photo by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

For a window to the GS4, Samsung has added a clear pane to its new S View Flip Cover. In addition to sending the phone to sleep, the cover also reformats the device's clock and shows incoming calls.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

S View covers come in a spectrum of shades, including pink, yellow, orange, green, and blue.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is without a doubt one of the elite. Here, it's flanked by the HTC One on the (our) left and by the iPhone 5 on the right.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung has poured a lot of hardware and software effort into creating a different, yet utterly familiar phone to carry on its Galaxy S line. This fourth installment is a sure-fire hit. Don't forget to check out CNET's video tour, and all the pros and cons in this full Galaxy S4 review.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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