Samsung Galaxy S4 fizzle but device does solidify position as king of the mobile arena – for now…

// March 14th, 2013 // Hardware


Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 was revealed today and although there were no mind-blowing revelations (and a couple of disappointments), it is indeed a beauty.  With a 5 inch Super AMOLED 1920×1080 display (441ppi and protected via Gorilla Glass 3) and 1.6GHz 8-core Exynos Octa 5410 SoC (which is really two quad-cores – four Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for heavy lifting, and four Cortex-A7 cores in a big.LITTLE setup to perform background and less-intensive tasks), you would think the battery life would be horrendous but thanks to a huge 2,600 mAh battery (up from 2,100 mAH), the device should give you acceptable battery life before recharging.  The Galaxy S4 also includes a tri-core PowerVR 544MP3 GPU clocked at 533MHz (the same GPU as the iPhone 5′s A6 SoC, but at a higher clock speed), 2GB of RAM, 16/32/64GB storage, and countering current trends, includes a MicroSD slot for storage expansion (up to 64Gb) and removable battery.  Unfortunately, for those that require power hungry LTE connectivity, the Exynos processor is swapped out with a “measly” 1.9 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC with integrated LTE modem.  Also included, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and infrared LED (IR transmitter), which can control your television with the WatchOn app. Depending on the market, the Galaxy S 4 will have wireless charging capabilities.

The new Android handset comes with a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2MP front-facing camera. Users can now attach audio to photos, adding “another dimension of detail to the visual memory to be created.” The Galaxy S 4 also features a dual-camera view that allows users to take photos with both the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time. The camera has an “eraser,” which lets you erase people (like photo-bombers) out of photos and is capable of shooting 25 pictures per second.  Users will be able to perform “Air Gestures” by moving their hand above the handset to change music tracks, scroll through a web page, or answer a phone call. There is an “Air View” function that lets users hover a finger over things like a date to see additional information or a photo to preview the picture—yet another feature borrowed from the Note.

Before its debut, the new handset was rumored to include an eye-tracking technology called Smart Scroll, which uses the front-facing camera to follow along as the user’s eyes moves through content on the screen. The feature was removed or altered before launch and now uses a tilting method to help with this scrolling functionality. It will rely on facial recognition and the physical tilt of the device to function. We suspect that the eye-tracking Smart Scroll feature will be added back (or improved) in future software updates.  The Galaxy S 4 will also include Smart Pause, which pauses video if it recognizes that the user is no longer watching what is currently playing on screen.  Finally, Samsung introduced S Health, which acts as a personal pedometer and fitness coach of sorts. The app features temperature and humidity sensors to detect surroundings during a workout session

The Galaxy S4 weighs 130 grams and measures 136mm long, 69mm wide, and as expected given Samsung’s obsession with thinness, just 7.9mm thick (a full millimeter thinner than the Galaxy S3).  Still, we wonder why they didn’t match the thickness of the S3, pack in an even bigger battery, and offer an 8-core/LTE variant for the LTE carriers?

As for the processor, Samsung gracefully played off the processor specs, failing to provide even a hint of what to expect at the device’s introductory celebration.  That is almost certainly due to the excitement generated over the Exynos 8-core processor rumors and the disappointment LTE customers face when they find that only a “regular” quad-core will be available in the United States.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available by the end of April 2013.

Geekslop take: we’ll probably wait for the Galaxy Note 3 – likely more processing power and better battery life than the S4.

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