UPDATE: Samsung Galaxy S 4 intro video is now available. Watch it over here.
The Samsung has just revealed its Galaxy S 4, its new flagship for 2013. Launched just 10 months from last year’s flagship Galaxy S III, the new S 4 looks pretty much the same with its Nature inspired look and comes in 2 colours – Black Frost and White Mist. Now it makes more sense when Jeremy said it is his favourite colour, refering to his Oreo biscuits.
As you would expect, the Galaxy S 4 comes packed with top notch hardware such as a new 1.6Ghz Octo-Core (8 cores) processor or a 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor (depending on region) which is mated with 2GB of RAM and a choice of either 16GB/32GB/64GB. Us folks in Malaysia would likely to get the Octa-Core 16GB version which can be expanded using microSD.
With Full HD being the rage right now, the Galaxy S 4 comes with a Full HD Super AMOLED display that pushes a resolution of 1920×1080. This gives a rather dense 440ppi (pixels per inch), not the highest currently but it is toughen with Gorilla Glass 3. In addition, the S 4 supports AirView where you can interact with the screen by merely hovering your finger across the glass which is similar to the Floating Touch technology found on the Xperia sola. This also allows the Galaxy S 4 to be usable even while wearing gloves.
The cameras have been upgraded as well and this time they have thrown in a 13MP shooter with Zero Shutter Lag. During the Unpacked event, Samsung has stayed away from emphasizing on the hardware but have put more focus on its software capabilities. New on the Galaxy S 4 is a Dual Camera capabilities where you can record videos with both front and rear cameras. This is rather similar to the LG Optimus G Pro which we have previewed at MWC 2013.
On the Galaxy Note II, Samsung had introduced Photo Notes where you can write additional captions after the shot is taken. Now on the new Galaxy S 4, there’s Sound & Shot which lets you record audio notes before taking a picture. In addition, there are other new features such as Drama Shot and Eraser tool which lets you manipulate Burst shots more extensively.
The Galaxy S 4 is also big in connectivity as well, boasting support for both FDD and TDD 4G LTE technologies with downloads of up to 100Mbps and uploads of 50Mbps. Its Mobile head JK Shin has added that the Galaxy S 4 will be supporting LTE roaming as well. They didn’t share the exact support bands but there are 6 bands in total which varies depending on market. It also comes with NFC and an IR LED that functions as a remote control with Samsung WatchOn.
Dubbed as a Personal Companion, the Galaxy S 4 comes with your typical S Voice and now they have expanded the list to include S Translator (Text to voice, voice to text), S Voice Drive, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause. During the event, they have added that the S 4 is capable of dynamically adjusting both display and audio based on your environment but they didn’t share in detail how this works.
The S 4 also shouts about ease of sharing of content and they have introduced things like Group Play and Share Music which is activated by NFC. Share Music is something rather interesting where you can daisy chain your video/music across multiple S 4 devices to create a louder music environment.
Dimension wise, despite its bigger screen and larger battery capacity of 2,600mAh (
300mAh500mAh more than the S III’s 2,100mAh battery), the Galaxy S 4 maintains the exact same height while being slimmer (7.9mm) and lighter (130g) than the previous model. It is also narrower at just 69.8mm (0.8mm less than the S III). This is rather impressive even when compared to other Full HD smart phones from HTC and Sony which comes with smaller battery capacity.
The Galaxy S 4 is the needed upgrade from Samsung to stay relevant and it seems to have the credentials to be the top high-end model for 2013. While they have shown some innovations albeit not entirely new, we can’t help to feel disappointed with its design. The nature look starts to look pretty dated and currently it is being overused even with the latest low to mid range Galaxy and Note 8.0.
As a flagship device that’s launched each year, we would have expected something more, at least something different just as we’ve seen from other smart phone makers that are trying to make a come back. Is Samsung the new Apple? We hope not but the reality is that we would expect the same phone designs for the rest of the year including its Note II replacement. With a growing array of high-end Full HD devices, design and premium materials will be a factor especially with fierce competition such as the HTC One.
Putting design aside, Samsung is still capable of making its competitors sweat with top notching spec, thus leaving no qualms in selling at sheer numbers. In terms of availability, it will be available in 155 countries by end of April which Malaysia should be one of the key countries. Last year, the Galaxy S III took less than a month to reach our shelves since its global announcement. Pricing wise, we would expect it to hover at the same range of RM2,000-RM2,300 region as its former Galaxy flagship models.
You can get the full specifications of the Galaxy S IV here.