Last night, in New York City, Samsung finally unveiled its Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that will officially be released starting in April and one that will be taking on the likes the of the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and of course the iPhone 5. To do that, Samsung has included a number of new features, in terms of both hardware and software.
Read: Samsung Galaxy S4 Hands On.
On stage, and after the curtain closed, Samsung eagerly showed off many of the device’s hardware and software features, its accessories and more, something that was expected ever since the device was first rumored back in the latter part of 2012.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the successor to the Galaxy S3, a device that has sold more than 40 million units since it launched back in May of last year and given the successes of the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 has some pretty big shoes to fill. Whether Samsung has managed to accomplished that or not will be revealed in time but for now, consumers are left to focus on what was just announced.
Samsung will be bringing it to the five largest carriers in the United States, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon though it’s unclear just when the Galaxy S4 and its features will be available.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Features That You’ll Actually Care About
There are likely many consumers who are interested in the Galaxy S4. For those interested, the following is a list that details what we believe to be the eight best features found on Samsung’s brand new smartphone. Some of these features are unique to the Galaxy S4 and won’t be found on other rival smartphones like the iPhone or the HTC One, which is set to arrive later this month.
As expected, Samsung delivered the Galaxy S4 in three storage options. The smallest of the bunch will be a 16GB model, the middle a 32GB model and the largest storage option, the 64GB Galaxy S4. There’s no word on whether or not carriers will carry all three but as we saw last year with the Galaxy S3, most carriers opted not to carry the 64GB version.
For those that need more storage though, Samsung opted to put a microSD card slot on the Galaxy S4 for expanded storage for things like games, movies and more.
What’s more is that the Galaxy S4 supports up to 64GB in microSD card storage which means that, in theory, the Galaxy S4 is capable of hosting up to 128GB of internal storage.
Samsung was mainly focused on its own software features so it only briefly mentioned the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be coming with the very latest version of Android, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This is important for several reasons.
First, it means that the Galaxy S4 has all of the latest features that Android has to offer including Photo Sphere which takes 360-degree panoramic photos, Quick Settings, lock screen widgets and more. The Galaxy S4 will be one of the first smartphones with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean from the start. Other phones like the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z are running Android 4.1.
This is important because it not only means that Galaxy S4 users won’t have to wait for Android 4.2 to arrive, but it means that they’ll be set up nicely for Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.
While other devices will have to get updated to Android 4.2 first, the Galaxy S4 will be able to make a fast transition to Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie so the addition of Android 4.2 has many beneficial folds.
Battery life is always a concern for smartphone owners and very fortunately for those looking into the Galaxy S4, Samsung decided to tack on a monster battery for its new smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 featured a 2,100 mAh battery and offered good battery life. The Samsung Galaxy S4 takes it a step further and brings a massive 2,600 mAh battery to the table which is much bigger than many of the other batteries that we’ve seen arrive with 2013 smartphones including the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z.
This battery size should help to mitigate battery drain brought on by 4G LTE use, the display and more.
In addition to the large battery, Samsung has also offered a removable back on the Galaxy S4 which means that if the battery is not enough, users will be able to pull out the stock battery and replace it with an extended one. Power users will certainly appreciate this.
It’s also convenience for all users, not just those who want to extend battery life. That’s because it makes it easy to replace the battery should it malfunction for some reason.
The removable back also means that the Galaxy S4 will be able to take advantage of a wireless charger due to Samsung’s plans to release a back for the device that is wireless compatible.
This means that Galaxy S4 owners will be able to charge their device without the use of wires, which is not only very handy but also eliminates the clutter of cords.
Touch Less Gestures
One of the extremely nifty additions to the Samsung Galaxy S4 are its floating gestures that will allow users to use their fingers much like the Galaxy Note 2’s S Pen. What that means is that users will be able to manipulate content on the screen, simply by hovering their finger over the screen.
For instance, Galaxy S4 owners will be able to hover their finger over an email, without physically touching the display, in order to check the content of an email. This is a feature that Samsung calls Air View.
Another touch less gesture is called Air Gesture which allows Galaxy S4 owners to answer calls by waving their hands, scroll through the web by using hand motions or change a music track without touching the display.
These gestures should come in handy for those that like to use their phone whilst on-the-go.
Like the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be coming with a sensor that will allow it to be transformed into an IR remote for the home television or theater system.
Samsung calls this feature WatchOn and it will turn the Galaxy S4 into a universal remote that is capable of working with a set top box, DVD player, air conditioner and more.
Not only will this help to replace or take the place of a universal remote, but it’s extremely convenient for those that watch a lot of television and have their smartphone attached at the hip.
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived with a 5-inch display that features high HD resolution and a lofty pixel-per-inch count. For those that enjoy watching content on their smartphone, this is something to care about.
Like most 2013 Android smartphones, the Galaxy S4 is coming with a 1080p display which means that content like videos will be displayed in full HD. This is an improvement from the Galaxy S3 which featured 720p resolution.
Further, the Galaxy S4 features 441 pixels-per-inch which will ensure that colors look good while text is rich and crisp to the eye.
Samsung’s Camera app is arguably much better than the stock camera application and with the Galaxy S4, the company has added more features to an already fantastic piece of software.
The Galaxy S4 features a 13MP camera that should shoot quality photos. However, what makes it even better is that it will be able to take advantage of some useful software.
Maybe the most intriguing feature that will be coming with the Galaxy S4 is Dual Camera which will allow users to seamlessly blend photographs from their front and rear-facing cameras at the same time.
The feature will automatically adjust the smaller photo to fit inside of the frame and Samsung will be offering eight different ways to combine the two photos. This should be an extremely attractive feature for the traveler or the smartphone user who loves to snap photos of friends while out on the town.
Sound & Shot
The company has also added another new camera feature with the Galaxy S4 called Sound & Shot. What Sound & Shot does is allows users to add background noise to photos, if only for a few seconds.
So for instance, a parent with a Galaxy S4 will be able to shoot a photo of a child blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and be allowed to add a snippet of people singing to accompany the photo.
It’s a small feature but it’s a neat little way to store memories.
Thin & Light Design
Finally, the design of the Samsung Galaxy S4 itself. Samsung has retained the plastic design of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the previous devices but it has also made some adjustments.
While the Galaxy S4 isn’t as light as the iPhone 5, it’s lighter than the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S4 weighs 0.28 pounds while the Galaxy S3 was 0.30 pounds. The iPhone 5 is a mere 0.24 pounds which translates into 112 grams.
Samsung was also able to slim the phone down to a mere 7.9mm which is not as thin as the iPhone 5, which is 7.6mm thin, but thinner than the 8.6mm thin Galaxy S3.
This means that the Galaxy S4, while sporting a larger display, will still be extremely pocketable for owners, an important aspect of any smartphone.