Samsung’s Galaxy S4 has already become the company’s most popular device, and over an incredibly short period, too. Just over two months, the company managed to ship 20 million units worldwide, beating out its old record set by the Galaxy S III last year. That pace will likely continue into the holiday period, though the arrival of the S4 Google Play Edition may have some new buyers second-guessing their future purchase.
There are merits to a nice Android skin; manufacturers often include exclusive features that add immediate value to the platform. But, with that, the seedier alleyways of Android rear their heads, stuff that’s stuck with the platform since launching: fragmentation, unnecessary additional features and skins that are definitely an acquired taste. TouchWiz is one of the more maligned skins out there, at least in terms of design, so the availability of the Google Play Edition S4 is good news for Android purists.
In terms of design, both S4s are identical; light, slim and nice to hold. You either love or hate Samsung’s plastic design ethos; that’s here to stay, at least for now. The software is the biggest point of focus. So is the price. The Galaxy S4 is already available on multiple carriers in the U.S., and on contract users only need to part with $199. The Google Play Edition goes for $649, but you have to keep in mind you get the device unburdened by a two-year agreement.
Vanilla Jelly Bean is how Google intended Android to be used. And the Galaxy S4 is one of the best possible vehicles to experience it. But with the absence of Samsung’s TouchWiz, users are missing out on plenty of features, not to mention a clear price disparity most average consumers will shy away from. Check out the video for a quick comparison of the two videos, including a benchmark test to see which one scores better.