Ladies and gents, the waiting is over – Samsung has just officially unveiled the Galaxy S 4. An iterative device, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 looks almost identical to its predecessor the S III, but adds on a slightly larger, sharper 5-inch 1080p display, a snappier processor and an updated, 13-megapixel camera.
Designwise, the S 4 is an almost identical twin to the S III: a slightly thinner 7.9mm one (the S III was 8.6mm thick), with a narrower bezel taking up more of the front leaving little space for everything else. The screen is a Super AMOLED one, a sharp 441ppi display with deep blacks and great viewing angles. Buttons are the same as on the S III: the single big physical home key on the front surrounded by a capacitive back and settings buttons. On the left side is the volume rocker and on the right a lock key hiding an IR blaster underneath.
And yes, the Galaxy S 4 is made out of plastic and you are not the only one disappointed by that.
Samsung seems to have adopted Apple’s approach to devices – a two year cycle, a tick year when a new design is unveiled and a tock year focusing on software. This is obviously a tock year for the Samsung Galaxy S series, and the S 4 comes with a plethora of new software features: Air View with its hover based actions borrowed from the Note series and Air Gestures for a Kinect-like interface that allow you to make a swiping gesture in front of the display to scroll up or down. Then you have the Smart Scroll and Pause where the device tracks your eyes.
Those are just a few of the novelties that come with the updated Nature TouchWiz UX, Samsung’s refreshed skin running on top of the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
Skinny on the inside, the Galaxy S 4 is a beast on the inside running on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip with a quad-core 1.9GHz Krait 300 processor. Now that’s what the U.S. version will have and it of course comes equipped with a 4G LTE connectivity. The international version is featuring Samsung’s home-grown Exynos 5 Octa chip running at 1.6GHz. Internal memory starts at 16GB, and you also have a 32GB and 64GB versions, all expandable via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs.
Samsung is also bundling a serious 2,600mAh battery that should easily get you through a day of use, and the device features NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.The 13-megapixel main camera with a single LED flash bulges slightly on the back, promising to capture a stunning amount of details. And here is another area where Samsung brings its software magic. Again, we have a bunch of new little camera features. Dual shot for once allows you to simultaneously record footage on your rear and front cameras, while Cinema Photo basically makes a GIF for you and Story Album stitches all footage and stills into an album.
One thing we are excited about is the huge number of sensors that Samsung included in the S 4. Along the traditional accelerometer and gyro, there are a temperature and humidity as well as a gesture sensor for the Kinect-like Air Gestures functionality.
At the official Galaxy S4 announcement in New York on Thursday, Samsung Mobile chief JK Shin mentioned the phone will hit store shelves at the end of April, but didn’t say anything about the pricing.
Well, the beans have been sort of unintentionally spilled by the company’s website in the terms and conditions of an ongoing giveaway.
There, each of the 48 Galaxy S4 phones that are up for grabs has been listed with an “approximate retail value” of $579.
However, the price is most probably before taxes, which are added at the point of sale. Still, the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 would be cheaper than the Apple iPhone 5, which currently retails for $649 SIM-free.
The official pricing of the S4 hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung yet so don’t take it for granted, but $579 isn’t too far off what the Galaxy S3 cost last year when it was officially launched so.