2013 saw major smartphone companies roll out their flagship 5-inch class smartphones in two phases, the first phase saw the likes of Xperia Z, Optimus G Pro, and Galaxy S4 being launched; and the second phase featuring the likes of Xperia Z1, and LG G2. The second phase saw the likes of Sony and LG cash in on Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 800 chipset, Android 4.2, and advancements in imaging, which were just about taking shape in the first half of the year. Samsung, interestingly, didn't refresh its 5-inch class in the second half. It launched the 6-inch class Galaxy Note 3, and gave an extremely limited launch to the Galaxy Round, but beyond that, the company left Galaxy S4 to look after the company's market outlook in the 5-inch class all by itself. There are the odd variations on the device, such as the Korea-exclusive GT-I9508, which runs Snapdragon 800, but that's about it.
In the weeks of 13th October and 20th October, 2013, Samsung rolled out comprehensive software upgrade packages for both the LTE-enabled and LTE-devoid variants of the Galaxy S4, respectively. The LTE-enabled and Snapdragon 600-powered GT-I9505 got the upgrade first; followed by the LTE-devoid and Exynos Octa 5410-powered GT-I9500 later. In anticipation of this upgrade, we took performance numbers of our GT-I9500 over the weekend. After the hour-long upgrade which involved a 660 MB download; we shut down the device, recharged its battery back up to 100 percent, started it back up, and put it through our battery of tests. Each set of tests were run three times, to obtain a mean result. We also took the opportunity to explore the various new software features, subtle user-interface improvements, and more.