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Samsung Galaxy S4 (MetroPCS) Review
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the ultimate kitchen-sink Android phone for 2013, and MetroPCS brings it with low monthly rates.
(4.5 out of 5) Editor’s Choice
- A blinding number of features
- Incredibly fast
- Spectacular call quality
- Plastic body
- Low-light photo performance could be better
- Expensive, up front
Have $549? Because if so, we have a deal for you. MetroPCS is now offering the same Samsung Galaxy S4 as T-Mobile is, on the exact same network, for less money over two years than T-Mobile is charging. You have to pay attention to the pricing here, though, because depending on your future plans, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, or even Sprint might be the most affordable Galaxy S4 option.
As MetroPCS is now a sub-brand of T-Mobile, it’s selling a lot of the same phones. The MetroPCS Galaxy S4 is almost exactly the same as the
If you’re the kind of person who gets angry about carrier logos on phones, you’re in luck here. There’s nothing on the physical body of the phone to say “MetroPCS”—the little logo on the back, which all the other carriers use, is gone. If you want to pretend this is a
It isn’t a Google Play Edition phone, of course. It’s running all the Samsung software, and it has a few MetroPCS preloads. They’re undeletable, but you don’t have to click on them: There’s an account manager, visual voicemail, a caller ID app, Rhapsody music, and the horrible MyExtras coupon app. More MetroPCS apps are buried under a special MetroPCS app store icon, but I’m happy to say you don’t have to install them if you don’t want to.
Since we’re on T-Mobile’s network now, we get a few key T-Mobile features that MetroPCS customers didn’t get before, most notably Wi-Fi calling. That lets you make phone calls over any Wi-Fi network, even overseas.
Performance here was identical to the T-Mobile version of this phone. The Galaxy S4 had no problems seeing T-Mobile’s new LTE network in Manhattan and getting 9-10Mbps both up and down; the phone also supports HSPA+ 42 where LTE isn’t available. Talk time of 11 hours, 7 minutes was on par with other Galaxy S4 models.
Note: The slideshow below is of the T-Mobile Galaxy S4, which is identical except for the T-Mobile logo on the back.
The real difference here is on pricing plans, and now we need to do some math.
MetroPCS makes you buy your phone up front for $549. The brand offers a 2.5GB plan for $50/month and an unlimited plan for $60/month, both without a contract. On the 2.5GB plan, that means you’ll pay $1,149 over one year and $1,749 over two years.
T-Mobile charges $600 for the phone and $10 more per month for the plans with no contract, although you can amortize the phone by paying nothing up front and $25/month for two years. Over two years, that would cost $2,040, so you’re essentially paying $291 extra for the privilege of the financing.
But wait! T-Mobile’s new Jump plan lets you switch out your phone more frequently at the cost of $10 extra per month. If you only intend to keep your GS4 for one year and swap it out, you’ll pay $1,140 with T-Mobile, so, slightly less than MetroPCS.
That savings only happens if you don’t intend to sell your used phone on eBay, of course, as you have to turn in the used phone to take advantage of Jump.
Looking at other carriers, if you want unlimited data, Sprint is cheaper over one year ($1,159.99) and in between MetroPCS and T-Mobile over two years ($2,119.99). But Sprint has a much slower 3G fallback network than T-Mobile does where LTE isn’t available, and it forces you to sign a two-year contract.
AT&T and Verizon are more expensive, but they offer much wider LTE coverage and better international roaming plans than Sprint and T-Mobile do.
If you’re shopping for a high-end smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 on MetroPCS is an affordable option measured over one or two years. We’ll call it our Editors’ Choice on MetroPCS for its high-end power, though we’ll also acknowledge that many MetroPCS subscribers may not have $549 up front to spend.
So what do you get if you don’t have $549? Our pick is the $119
By Sascha Segan, PCMag
- Service Provider: MetroPCS
- Operating System as Tested: Android OS
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core
- Processor Speed: 1.9 GHz
- Form Factor: Candy Bar
- Physical Keyboard: No
- Dimensions: 5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
- Weight: 4.59 oz
- Screen Size: 5 inches
- Screen Type: Super AMOLED HD
- Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Screen Pixels Per Inch: 443 ppi
- Camera Resolution: 13 MP Rear; 2 MP Front-Facing
- Video Camera Resolution: 1080p Rear; 1080p Front-Facing
- 802.11x/Band(s): 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth Version: 4
- GPS: Yes
- NFC: Yes
- Total Integrated Storage: 16 GB
- microSD Slot: Yes
- Phone Capability / Network: GSM, UMTS, LTE