After selling more than 100 million Galaxy smartphones world-wide since 2010, Samsung is doing the only logical thing: keeping the momentum going with the Galaxy S4. But Samsung isn’t just coasting on previous successes: the Galaxy S4 is, without question, the company’s most advanced device to date, but it’s one of – if not the – most ambitious smartphones ever made.
Designed for both consumers and businesses who want to stay connected, entertained, informed and productive, the Galaxy S4 delivers the goods on every level. Between its Full HD 5-inch screen, advanced cameras and, most importantly, exclusive Samsung software and services that boost the overall experience, it’s clear that Samsung has done it again. In fact, there’s so much packed into this pocket-sized Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) that you could devote an entire issue to it. But we’ve done our best to distil the phone’s features into the following key highlights.
THE SAMSUNG GALAXY AT A GLANCE
That means: Awesomely fast downloads and seamless browsing.
5-In Super Amoled Screen
That means: Full HD resolution, great for photos, videos and games.
13 MP Rear & 2 MP Front Cameras
That means: Crisp pics and full HD (1080p) video and filters, editing and more.
130g (136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm)
That means: Thinner and lighter, but with a bigger screen.
The Galaxy S4 is thinner, lighter and faster than last year’s Galaxy S III. It’s just 7.9 mm thin, compared with the S III’s 8.6 mm frame, and weighs just 130 grams (vs. 133 grams). The new phone boasts a quad-core processor at 1.9 GHz, which translates to crazy-fast processing and multitasking.
Samsung’s new phone has a larger screen, topping out at 5 inches to the S III’s 4.8 inches – yet its width and height are about the same size as the S III. The big screen makes the device ideal for watching videos, playing games and looking at photos.
The screen is super durable, too, thanks to Gorilla Glass 3 technology. The powerful 2600-mAh battery is enough to keep your phone juiced all day, plus it’s removable should you want to carry a spare.
While the cameras themselves are impressive – a 13-megapixel main (rear) camera with 1080p HD video recording and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera – it’s the software that makes this smartphone so, well, smart.
The Dual Shot mode, for example, lets you capture photos or videos from both cameras at the same time through a picture-in-picture function, while the Sound & Shot mode lets you record up to nine seconds of audio to accompany a still photo.
Finally, the handy Eraser feature lets you tap to remove distracting people or objects behind your subjects, such as a “photobomber” trying to ruin your perfect shot. Sweet, huh?
Gestures & Sensors Galore
More so than any other smartphone on the market today, the Galaxy S4 has packed in a ton of technologies to make using the device easier and more intuitive.
The device knows when you’re looking at it, so this smartphone can automatically Smart Pause a video you’re watching when you look away and resume when you’re ready. Or, if it knows you’re reading text in a web browser, you can slightly tilt the phone up or down to Smart Scroll the paragraphs – but only if you’re looking (perfect for one-handed reading while, say, holding a subway pole with the other hand).
A hover feature known as Air View lets you see more info on the screen. Just place your fingertip about 2 cm over an unopened email and you can see a preview of what’s inside. Or you can peek into a photo gallery to see thumbnails of what you’re looking for. Or hover a finger over a calendar event for appointment details or magnify text on a web page.
Got sticky fingers but want to flick through photos or songs? Air Gesture lets you wave your hand left or right in front of the S4 to scroll through music and photos or answer calls. This also works with cycling through open tabs in a web browser.
It’s a small world, after all, so why not get some help with language translation while travelling? Embedded in email, ChatON messenger and as a separate app, an exclusive feature called S Translator can translate nine languages via voice or text. Imagine taking a taxi in Hong Kong and asking the driver a question in English. Your phone says it to him in Cantonese – and when he responds, it’s written in English for you to read.
Fun & Games
Nothing screams entertainment louder than a stunning 5-inch Super AMOLED screen and access to the Google Play store and its hundreds of thousands of downloadable games and other apps. The Galaxy S4 includes a Group Play feature that can wirelessly share select content with other S4s nearby. Imagine inviting up to seven of your buddies play games like Asphalt 4 or Gun Bros 2, with no internet connection needed – Samsung’s own Wi-Fi hotspot is created after an initial Near Field Communication (NFC) handshake is made between devices. This also works with music – up to eight people (including you) can hear a synchronized song on their Galaxy S4 devices.
Health & Fitness
The Galaxy S4 was designed as a “life companion,” says Samsung, and this includes health and fitness tools, too. One such tool is called S Health. It allows the device to monitor and provide info on your activity, including a pedometer that tracks how many steps per day you’re walking, running, and going up and down stairs. You can even input what you’re eating and you’ll get caloric info and more. The smartphone also works with some health-related Bluetooth accessories, including an S Band pedometer (syncs with your device), body scale and heart-rate monitor.