The Samsung Galaxy S3, which launched in May of 2012, has sold more than 30 million units worldwide smashing the records that the previous generation Galaxy S, the Galaxy S2, had set with its arrival. The current king of Android smartphones can reign forever however and it appears that Samsung might already be close to debuting its successor, the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Over the past few months, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has emerged as one of the most heavily rumored and highly anticipated devices of 2013. It joins a host of other potential smartphones that have already surfaced in the previous weeks including the iPhone 6, otherwise known as the iPhone 5S and the HTC M7 which is rumored to be HTC’s replacement for its HTC One X flagship.
We also saw the Sony Yuga/Odin debut at CES 2013 in the form of the Sony Xperia Z and we know that LG isn’t likely to stay quiet for long, with a LG Optimus G2 announcement rumored to be coming at MWC 2013 in February.
Still, even amongst the crowd, we think that the Galaxy S4 announcement is one worth waiting for.
Thus far, Galaxy S4-wise, we’ve seen potential features both leak out and get announced and we’ve seen launch dates and release dates thrown around on what seems like a weekly basis. That being said, the picture of the Galaxy S4, which gaining clarity, still isn’t in focus.
For some looking for a new smartphone, that could be a problem. It’s hard to decide to buy a phone that exists only as a rumor. However, we believe that we have enough evidence to make a strong recommendation to those out there looking for a smartphone in 2013. That recommendation of course is to wait for Samsung’s next flagship to arrive before picking up a brand new device.
Here are is why you should wait for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
1. Track Record
First things first. Samsung has established the Galaxy S series of smartphones as one of, if not the best that Android has to offer. The Galaxy S laid the groundwork, the Galaxy S2 stepped things up a bit, and the Galaxy S3 emerged as a true iPhone competitor. Each year, Samsung has had bigger and bigger shoes to fill and it has succeeded and it likely won’t slow down with the Galaxy S4.
Why? Because Samsung has proven that it knows what customers like. They like durable smartphones with hardware that can handle their daily use. They like software that compliments that hardware while adding a few unique features – see Multi-Window View – to the fold. It knows that customers like to have a lot of storage space on their device. It knows that users like the replace their batteries.
It knows that customers like to have a choice in carriers. None of that is likely to change with the Galaxy S4. In fact, the Galaxy S4 will more than likely be an improvement over the Galaxy S3, a device that again sold over 30 million in six months.
Samsung’s track record with its Galaxy S series is just one reason the Galaxy S4 is worth waiting for.
2. Fast Updates
One thing that has bother potential and current smartphone users about Android is the fact that updates often take forever to arrive. In 2012, Android manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung decided to change the game and put their devices, at least the flagship devices, on better upgrade paths.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 was one of the first non-Nexus devices updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and since then, Samsung has outfitted it with a Premium Suite of software that enhanced it even further. With the Galaxy Note 2, the company did the same thing. So what does this prove?
It’s proves that Samsung is committed to delivering not only major Android updates but high-quality internal software updates in a timely manner. Look for that trend to continue with the Galaxy S4 and other flagship smartphones during 2013.
3. First Half Launch Isn’t Far Away
Maybe one of the biggest reasons that customers might be thinking twice about waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is because it still doesn’t have an official launch date. Rumors claim that the device will be arriving during Mobile World Congress in February and other rumors claim that it won’t. So that has left the launch date and release date up for debate.
What’s clear though is that the device will almost certainly be touching down at some point in the first half of this year. Even Samsung itself thinks so, though, it doesn’t think it will be released before May given the previous Galaxy S launches.
For most though, waiting a few more months to nab a phone that appears to be better than just about every phone that launched in 2012 is going to be the wise decision. As we’ve pointed out, most of the flagship Android phones of 2012 are already aging and are on the verge of being replaced by phones sporting newer, more powerful and more efficient technology.
So while that $50 Galaxy S3 might be tempting, locking into a new two-year contract with the Galaxy S4 just over the horizon is probably not the smartest idea. For those that can, it’s safer to wait.
4. 1080p Display
At CES 2013, Samsung debuted a 4.99-inch FHD display that sports 1080p resolution and 440 pixels-per-inch. The display is slated for arrival at some point in the first half of this year which could mean that it will be the display on the Galaxy S4.
If true, it will mean that the Galaxy S4 display will blow the Galaxy S3’s display, and just about every display from 2012 besides the Droid DNA’s out of the water in terms of how good text, images and video look.
The display likely won’t feature the same flexible technology that Samsung also showed off at CES 2013 but it’s highly probable that the display on the Galaxy S4, arguably one its most important features, will be fantastic.
5. Fast Processor
We also saw another possible Galaxy S4 feature drop at CES in the form of Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa processor. The new chip will use four Cortex A7 cores and four Cortex A15 cores compared to the Exynos 4, which uses four A9 cores. High performance will be handled by the more powerful Cortex A15 cores while the low-level usage will be tackled by the Cortex A7. So this should help improve overall performance in devices that sport this chip.
Samsung also touted the battery life with the Exynos 5 Octa saying that it uses 70-percent less power than a typical quad-core Cortex A15 processor and that it also supplies better battery life than its own Exynos 5 processor that is found in the company’s Nexus 10 Android tablet.
If this is the processor found in the Galaxy S4, and it’s possible that it is, expect the device to easily handle the software on board while delivering performance improvements over the Galaxy S3 and other high-end devices from 2012.
6. Battery Life
Battery life is one of the biggest concerns for potential smartphone buyers and it’s a concern that Samsung will almost certainly address with the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S3 had good battery life but given the battery life enhancements that Samsung will be offering with the Exynos 5 Octa, it’s clear that Samsung is making it a point to improve upon its prior products.
The processor is one way of doing this but it also could be complemented by a larger battery than the 2100 mAh battery found on the Galaxy S3. We saw Samsung provide a massive battery for the Galaxy Note 2 and it could decide to up the ante with the Galaxy S4.
No specifics have emerged but it would be surprising to see Samsung slouch in the battery department given how much of an emphasis that its competitors have put on it. At the very least, expect a removable battery so that the stock battery can be replaced. It’s a hallmark of Samsung to include this support with its devices so it would be odd to see the Galaxy S4 shun it.
Battery life will be better on 2013 smartphones, including the Galaxy S4, and in our opinion, it’s something worth waiting for.
7. Android Jelly Bean, At Least
Android Jelly Bean, at least, will be on board the Samsung Galaxy S4 when it arrives. We aren’t sure if it will be Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but our gut says the former considering it has been out since November. Our favorite Android 4.2 features can be seen in the video below.
There are also rumors swirling around about Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, something that we’ve predicted could be on the Galaxy S4. At the very least, the Galaxy S4 should be one of the first with Android 4.2 if not one of the first to Android 5.0.
Samsung has also proven that it has a knack for delivering fantastic software itself and we should see the Galaxy S4 arrive with some software from Samsung itself. One possibility is camera software to help support the devices new 13MP rear sensor, software that could make the Galaxy S4 one of the better cameras on the market.
So while many 2012 smartphones toil away on Android 4.1, the Galaxy S4 will likely be at the forefront of Android, either with Android 4.2 or Android 5.0.
8. Familiar Pricing & Immediate Price Cut
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S3 sold very well. And one of the reasons it likely did so was because of its $199.99 starting price point, aimed squarely at the iPhone and other devices. After 2012, it’s clear that $199.99 is the sweet spot for Android flagships and it should be the price point that we see attached to the Galaxy S4, given that the iPhone 5 currently has it as an asking price.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that it will stay at $199.99 for long. Retailers like Amazon will likely discount the price of the Galaxy S4, shortly after launch, making it affordable even to those that are trying to find a solid device on a budget.
9. Host of Carriers
Many Android devices launch exclusively on American carriers. For instance, the Droid DNA is Verizon-only. The HTC EVO line of devices is dedicated to Sprint. The HTC One X+ is only on AT&T.
Don’t expect that lack of choice from the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 both launched on all five major U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S Cellular and Verizon. Given the Galaxy S3’s success, there is no reason to doubt that it won’t happen with the Galaxy S4.
This will allow users to explore all carrier options before deciding on the network that is perfect for them, without having to sacrifice the device that they want.
Something else to keep in mind is that this will likely be the first Galaxy device available, at launch, on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network which is set to arrive at some point during January in Las Vegas.
Most customers sign up for a new two-year contract with a carrier to avoid paying full price. And for many, that means buying a smartphone that will last the duration of a contract.
Given its probable specifications including high-end hardware and current software along with Samsung’s track record with smartphones, the Galaxy S4 will likely be a phone that, like the iPhone, will easily hold up for the two years of a contract and maybe even more.