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Samsung Galaxy 4 goes on sale - what the critics are saying

Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone has gone on sale in numerous territories today (April 26) and the internet is abuzz with talk of whether the Android powerhouse lives up to its lofty expectations.

The device has launched to generally positive reviews, with critics lavishing praise on its 5-inch HD Super AMOLED 1,920×1080 display and powerful 13-megapixel camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 handset on display in New York

© Getty Images / Allison Joyce

The Samsung Galaxy S4

However, many reviewers criticised the handset's plastic casing, drawing unfavourable comparisons to the HTC One, and dismissed some of its software features as gimmicky and unnecessary.

Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD described the device as an "evolution" of the Galaxy S3 and criticised the volume of duplicate apps Samsung has added to the Android operating system.

"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," he said.

"I found Samsung's software often gimmicky, duplicative of standard Android apps, or, in some cases, only intermittently functional."

Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone launch at Radio City Music Hall, New York

© PA Images / Jason DeCrow / AP

Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone launch in New York

T3's David Phelan was complementary of the phone's physical design and range of software features, but expressed skepticism about whether the average owner would make use of them.

"Samsung's flagship is a real beauty. It feels good, looks smart and does more than previous smartphones have," he wrote.

"On the other hand, just as most people only scratch the surface of the capabilities of their home computers, settling for email, word processing and a little light gaming, there are going to be a lot of customers who barely dig into the features here."

The Galaxy S4 may pack some hefty firepower, but the level of competition is sky high, and many reviewers found that it failed to measure up to flagship handsets from other manufacturers.

Samsung's JK Shin with the new Galaxy S4 smartphone

© PA Images / Jason DeCrow / AP

Samsung's JK Shin with the Galaxy S4 smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone - guests try out the new handset at the firm's New York launch event

© PA Images / Jason DeCrow / AP

Guests try out Samsung's new Galaxy S4 smartphone

Time's Harry McCracken found Apple's iPhone 5 to be a better all-rounder, but noted that the Galaxy 4 will find favour among Android fans looking for a feature-packed handset with a large display.

"If you want the most polished phone with the best selection of apps, the iPhone 5 still has no peer. If you crave Apple-like panache but love Android, HTC's One is a fine choice," he said.

"If what you want is the mainstream phone with the biggest screen and the most built-in stuff, the Galaxy S4 is your most logical option."

People eagerly check out the Galaxy S4 after its launch at Radio City Music Hall

© Getty Images / Don Emmert/AFP

People eagerly check out the new Galaxy S4

The Verge's David Pierce was particularly critical of the S4's form factor and plastic design, describing it as "unpleasant" to hold and inferior to the HTC One.

"The Galaxy S4 is fast and impressive, but it's also noisy and complex. The One is refined, quiet, comfortable, beautiful, and above all simply pleasant. I love using that phone, in a way I haven't experienced with anything since the iPhone 5," he wrote.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available in the UK through O2, EE, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Vodafone, Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile, as well as high street retailers Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U.

Watch Digital Spy's video review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 below:

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