Friday, 15 March 2013

Galaxy S4 (IV) Official Release Specs & Thoughts

So last night we saw the opening ceremony of the Galaxy S4 in New York. I must admit, I wasn't the biggest fan of the ceremony itself, it's was a classic over the top American production with stages within stages and 'pretend' scenes in which they could use situations to demonstrate the abilities of the new S4. 100 marks for effort, not so much for execution. However, at least they tried something new and different which is fair enough.

A quick rundown of the new hardware features present in Galaxy S4:

CPU: Octa core 1.6Ghz Exynos/Quad Core 1.9Ghz Qualcomm (market dependent)
Display: 5 inch SUPER AMOLED display at 1920x1080 441ppi (Gorilla Glass 3)
Memory: 2GB RAM
Internal Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB with expandable micro SD slot for card
Cameras: 13MP rear, 2MP front
Mobile: GSM/EDGE/3G/4G technology, Wifi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Sensors/Connections: NFC/InfraRed/MHL2/Temperature/Humidity
Physical measurements: 130 grams, 7.9mm thin, Thin Bezel
Battery: 2600mAh

Software Additions:

Operating System: Android 4.2.2 - Jelly Bean (No mention of Key Lime, however one would assume it will receive the update when available)
S Translate: A neat feature that holds 9 languages and can translate between them, it can process text-to-speech and speech-to-text and can apparently be used without data charges!
S Voice Drive: When the phone is running on bluetooth it will accept voice commands without the need for touching the device itself!
AirView: You can 'hover' your fingers over the screen to expand certain items (an image on a web page for isntance), along with using hand gestures to scroll the screen/answer calls etc.
Smart Pause: The S4 can tell when you look away from it, pausing whatever media you are currently watching. It resumes when you look back at the screen again.

Camera Functions:
Dual Shot - can activate both front and rear cameras simultaneously to enable everyone to be in the picture, the same applies to video calls, you can show both cameras at once.
Eraser - if you are taking a picture and someone inadvertently walks across the image, the eraser tool will snap multiple times to enable you to 'remove' said person/object from the end image.
Drama Shot - Does almost the opposite of Eraser, takes many shots in quick succession but will keep the image store from each picture, thus you could show a horse in many stages of its jump, for instance.
Sound & Shot - Allows tagging of a voice memo/message to each image.

In all, you may not think there are many fantastic hardware additions over the Galaxy S3. The screen being promoted to a full 1920*1080 resolution (same as an HD monitor/TV) is a step in the right direction. Going to 5 inch I'm not so sure I am a huge fan of. I'm not really sure where the mobile market is trying to go right now, it seems screens are getting bigger and bigger but they're only 2 inches from a small tablet now (not counting the Note, I don't even know what that is). In the past it was always, 'Who can make the smallest phone?', it seems now to be going the other way now. But I guess if everyone is doing this, you can't really blame one manufacturer for it, they are only following the trend.

Aside from the screen, the camera addition is a decent one, making that standard 'step' to the next level. The same applies to the CPU, either a 1.6Ghz 8 core unit or an almost 2Ghz (1.9) 4 core unit will ship with the S4. To power these units it also contains a 2600mAh battery, around 25% higher capacity than the one in the S3. That screen will drain quite some juice though so it does need it. I can imagine battery levels to be fairly similar, perhaps with a possibility of it having a slightly longer life.

It's nice to have things like a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor but whether they will get used in day to day life is another question. The same applies to the InfraRed sensor, will people use it to control their TV's? I'm not sure, only time will tell.

In all, it's most definitely a worthy upgrade from the Galaxy S2, however a lot of S3 owners have been feeling like the biggest difference is the software and that they will be shunned to the side without any of the updates themselves, but it still seems like it has enough features for the upgrade.

I'll give the phone a 9/10 as it's not quite as much as it was hyped up to be, but it's most certainly one of, if not the, leader in the Android/worldwide smartphone market at the moment.


Images courtesy/copyright of Samsung

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