Today at Samsung Unpacked 2013, Samsung announced the long-awaited and heavily rumoured Samsung Galaxy S4.
The S4 looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S III, and the phone is nearly the same size as it’s predecessor. It has a larger 5-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED screen which is the first of it’s kind. The S4 is taller but thinner – 7.9mm = than the S III. Samsung’s love of plastic hasn’t changed though, so the phone still feels cheap and not premium. It comes in two colours, “black frost” and “white mist” – basically black or white. Samsung have rounded the edges slightly and added a texture to the phone so it doesn’t feel as slimy as the S III.
The phone will pack either a Samsung Exynos 5 or Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, depending on region and will come with 2GB of RAM, a large 2,600mAh battery and 16, 32 or 64GB storage options. It also has a microSD slot if you want even more space. The 5-inch display is the main focus on the phone though. It has a PenTile subpixel arrangement and a high resolution. The viewing angles are great, and the colours pop on the display as it is a Super AMOLED screen. The bezels of the phone have been slimmed so the screen feels even more large and immersive.
Most of the improvements are small however, so the S4 is more like the Galaxy S III2/IIIs. The cameras did get a massive improvement though. The GS4 packs a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera. Samsung have also brought over some menus and option from the Galaxy Camera to the GS4 to take advantage of the upgraded cameras.
The Galaxy S4 is running Google’s latest version of Android, 4.2.2. Which is rare with the launch of new devices. Samsung have spent a lot of time polishing the features that lay on top of the OS. One feature, S Translator, translates any message or email to and from another language. “Air Gestures” allows you to scroll through photos and unlock your phone without even touching the device itself. Just wave you fingers around in front of the phone and it should allow to scroll through photos or webpages. “Air View” gives the user the ability to hover over an email or date and see the information behind. “Smart Pause” and “Smart Scroll” are like gimmicks though. They are supposed to detect where you eyes are looking and act upon that. Either pausing a movie when you look away from the screen or scrolling down a webpage when you reach the bottom of the page.
The most appealing feature however is S Health, which Samsung has made a whole lot more powerful. The G S4 has a built in pedometer, plus temperature and humidity sensors, which can automatically detect your surroundings and exercise levels. You can input how much you eat and sleep to and get all the data you would expect from an external device, like a Jawbone Up, but in your phone. There is even a wristband, which Samsung is calling the “S Band”, which connects to your phone via Bluetooth for those moments when your phone is in your pocket.
As well as all of this, there is also an IR Blaster in the phone which connects to Samsung’s WatchOn app, and makes your phone a universal remote and TV guide. It’s the same technology that is used in some Samsung tablets.
Samsung also likes to boast about how their devices work together, and the latest feature is called Group Play. It allows you to cue up a song or picture, and quickly share it in sync will fellow G S4 owners nearby. You can even use it to play multiplayer games; Asphalt 7 and Gun Bros 2 are the two launch partners, but other games should support the feature soon.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to be available around the world and will be released in the second-quarter of 2013. Samsung will not comment on the price, but they say it will have a “premium Samsung smartphone price”.