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In Praise of the Samsung Galaxy S4

Of all the phones in the market, the Samsung Galaxy S4 passes this test. It feels secure in the hand. You can now use a five-inch high-resolution (1080x1920) screen in your hand without worrying where you are or how you hold it. The need for a tablet is reduced. It is a most liberating feeling.

I hope that in future generations, Samsung doesn't succumb to pressures to produce metal-based phones. They tend to be slippery and prone to dings. It's okay if they are tiny, such as the iPhone 5 with its four-inch screen, but that's not a really a match for a larger smartphone that can reduce your need for carrying a tablet.

On the hardware side, Samsung nails all the remaining parts of the equation as well, and then some:

1. The on/off button: It's on the side, not on top. So you can actually press it without having to change your grip. This is crucial on a large phone.

2. The battery life: Thanks to the 2,600 mAh battery, which almost twice as large as the iPhone, it's got decent battery life despite the huge screen with 1080x1920 resolution.

3. Removable battery: This is becoming increasingly rare. Just as with the BlackBerry, you can at least carry an extra battery if need be. You can't do that with the HTC One or iPhone.

4. Expandable storage: It's going out of fashion, as with the iPhone and HTC One. Samsung's got your back.

5. Home button: Unlike the Nexus smartphone -- and BlackBerry -- the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a hard home button, just like the iPhone. Hey, sometimes copying isn't such a bad idea.

But wait, there's more! You can replace the whole back of the phone with one that hinges a protective "leatherette" front to the device as well. It makes the device into a "book" in terms of how it opens up to reveal the screen. No other smartphone has anything this elegant and practical. It's an unnecessarily expensive accessory at $70 (ought to be $20), but it's a huge winner for men and women alike.

So the hardware is an unequivocal winner: On every conceivable metric, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has made all the right hardware choices to create a device that fits comfortable in your hand, doesn't slip out of it, has decent battery life, the buttons in all the right places, and has the best large high-resolution screen in the business.
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