Recently Samsung announced the follow up to the award-winning, multi-million selling Samsung Galaxy S3, the aptly titled Samsung Galaxy S4. For many onlookers, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is interesting in that it has come only a year after it’s predecessor. So, the best way to preview the new mobile device is in a side by side comparison to the S3.
A hands-on review will follow on release, so until then we’ll take what we already know about the Samsung Galaxy range, and put it into the context of this new flagship mobile device.
Once again the original plastic body covers the phone, and from the outset it will be available to buy in black or white. Regardless of what many think about phone builds, most people with a high-end phone keep them in protective covers anyway, so it’s really a mute point.
Once again there is the one physical button on the front of the device, and a power button on the right, with a volume rocker on the left. Unlike the new Sony Xperia Z, the S4 is not waterproof, unlike an Apple iPhone 5 the phone has no metallic casing, so that is worth noting if you are in the market for a particular device.
The Samsung S3 has the most impressive Super AMOLED 4.8 inch screen, with vibrant colours, superior clarity and a 308ppi pixel density it’s hard to imagine how screens can get better. The Samsung S4 totally blows the S3 out of the water with a 5 inch, 441ppi pixel density screen. It’s one of the highest pixel density of any phone, and with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, films, photographs, games and the internet should look the best you have ever seen them on a device this size.
The S4’s glass is made from Gorilla Glass 3, which should mean that it is even more resilient to scratches and scuffs.With the added screen size, one would assume that the S4 would be heavier than the S3, but the S4 weighs in at 130g, compared to the S3’s 133g.
Under The Hood
The S3 run on an extremely powerful Exynos 4412 Quad-core processor clocked at 1.4ghz (except in the USA where it runs on a dual-core Snapdragon processor). The Samsung S4 will be the first mobile device to use an 8-Core processor, the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 which will be clocked at 1.6Ghz on full power using Cortex-A15 chipset. Lesser tasks will be handled by the Exyos’ 1.2ghz Cortex-A7 chipset. Graphics on the mobile device will be handled by a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 chipset.
What this means to the average user is that while the phone is idle or doing menial tasks, it will use the lower powered processor to conserve energy, while doing tasks that need more speed such as gaming will use the much faster parts of the processor. It’s all very exciting for the geeks amongst us, and in theory it should mean a great battery life with the best possible performance.
The S3 came with a great quality 8MP camera. With each new Android update it became better and better to use, and in the right hands can perform some stunning shots. The S4 features a 13 megapixel sensor, which puts it in line with it’s main competitor of the moment, the Sony Xperia Z. Camera quality however is not about the amount of pixels, and no doubt the quality of the images on the S4 will be as good as but not better than those on the S3. This is all to do with the size of the sensor hardware as opposed to anything else.
The S4 comes with a feature called HDR Video Mode which involves merging two exposures, using the image detail from both and creating a larger-than-life looking image. It’s a great feature to have, and combined with the many features the camera has as standard, it should make for a great camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature Android 4.2, and have the excellent, and overhauled Samsung TouchWiz UI skin applied to it. Of all the interface variants such as HTC’s Sense and Sony’s own interface, Samsung’s is arguably the most user friendly and feature packed. Android is not only the most popular Operating System on mobile devices because of it being placed on low-cost phones, but its popular because it’s a true, fully-fledged operating system that can be as simple as the user wants, or as complicated as a geek may feel the need to tweak it. It’s the best of all worlds, and the latest versions are not only super-fast, but super-stable and offer everything a mobile device user could ever need on Google’s Play store.
Along with all the features that the S3 had, they have now all been fine-tuned, and Samsung have added features such as Smart Pause and Smart Scroll which pause a movie when you’re not looking at it and scroll the screen with your eyes when viewing text. There are air-gestures, which know your finger is hovering above the phone without actually touching it and so much more that will be discussed more in the hands-on review a bit later.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 (I9500) has a bigger screen than the S3 but a slightly smaller form factor, which in itself is quite unbelievable and very impressive. It does everything the S3 does and a lot more and the battery life is promised to be exceptional with a huge 2600 mAh battery. The S4 even makes phone calls, and based on the quality of the S3, these are some of the best sounding phone calls you can make from a mobile device.
As a gaming platform, the bigger screen is an obvious advantage, and knowing how good games look on the S3, the prospect of playing Dead Trigger or Real Racing 3 on the S4 is a mouth watering one. The added power with the new chipset will also mean games will be even smoother, if you ever thought that possible.
Right from the outset the S4 will be LTE compatible, as well as DC-HSDPA, so super-fast broadband speeds should be available as long as your network supports them. The S4 comes with 16, 32 or 64GB of storage as standard and of course has the all important microSD slot which can give you up to a further 64GB of storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be out soon, and of the new high-end mobile devices that are now available, will surely be another winner from Samsung and sell by the million yet again.