After months of leaks, rumours and speculation the Samsung Galaxy S4 has finally been announced. The announcement, which came at a Samsung Unpacked event in New York, showed off a phone with some impressive hardware and unprecedented software. Let’s take a look.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is perhaps the most powerful phone on the market, with an eight-core big.LITTLE processor that includes four A7 cores for efficiency and four A15 cores for power. That’s backed with 2 GB of RAM and 16/32/64 GB of internal storage plus microSD. The display is the now standard five inches at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. All of this is powered by a fairly massive 2600 mAh battery.
In terms of connectivity, there are a few surprises. We’ve got the standard set of LTE or 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, but there’s also Wireless AC (the second phone to support the new speed after the HTC One), a temperature and humidity sensor and an IR blaster.
The phone weighs just 130 grams and is 7.9 mm thick – barely greater than the iPhone 5 in both measurements, despite the much larger screen and more powerful internals. You can pick up the phone in black or white, although the wide range of first-party Galaxy S4 cases ensures you can find another colour if you prefer.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 includes a lot of added software features – too many to list, really, but I’ll give it a go. The basics are that it’s Android 4.2.2, the latest version of Android, with TouchWiz on top. On top of this, there are an insane amount of features.
The camera is one of the best developed areas, with a range of filters first seen on the Samsung Galaxy Camera. There is also dual front/rear camera recording of video and photographs, ‘Sound and Shot’ to record five seconds of audio after a photo is taken and ‘Drama Shot’ which makes a composite from 100+ shots in four seconds.
S Health and S Translator seem to be some of the most useful additions. S Translator does translation of text, written materials and speech between nine languages. It also includes a library of stock phrases that work offline. S Health is a fully featured diet and exercise app that aims to automatically record and monitor your health, whether just using your phone or with the multitude of added first-party Galaxy S4 accessories.
Finally, gesture recognition is a big thing for the Galaxy S4. There’s automatic pausing of video when you look away as well as automatic scrolling when you look at the screen and tilt the phone up and down.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 looks set to be a powerhouse. With excellent hardware, unparalleled software and a wide range of accessories it looks like the first Android phone to really challenge the iPhone 5 and 5S in mainstream appeal.