Luddite Article - Samsung Galaxy S4- Life Companion


Although many of the features and specs had been leaked in the weeks up to the New York event, the launch was still the time when we got to see the new Samsung Galaxy S4 in action.

 By Sam Richardson

 Although the look of the new model is very much similar to the previous model, Samsung has improvement nearly every other aspect of the device. But how much of an improvement has been made and will it be enough to lift the new phone above the competition?

 Design

 First up is the design. Colour wise there is a choice of ‘White Frost’ and ‘Black Mist’- pretty much the standard choice you get with all other smart phones on the market. The handset itself measures up at 5.38x 2.75x 0.31 inch, despite still having to pack in a 5 inch Full HD screen.

 That means it will have a larger screen but smaller casing than the S3- hugely impressive on Samsung’s part seeing as all of the other phones in the market seem to be getting larger!

 Like its predecessor though, the plastic casing of the S4 will not appeal to all. It feels very lightweight and dare I say tacky. Compare it to the stunning HTC One and it does feel a bit cheap.

 Interface

 The big change within the interface is through the innovative insertion of registering your finger hovering over the screen up to two centimetres away, so a small beam of light will follow your finger as you unlock. It’s something that will have you playing with for hours but it is also pretty useful. For example you can hover over emails to see a preview.

 Smart Stay, the feature from the S4 that can tell if you’re looking at the screen, now has added usability. Smart Pause can tell if your gaze leaves the screen to pause a video being watched. Smart Scroll will use the same feature when reading a web page to scroll up and down when you reach the bottom of the page.

 NFC

 2013 seems like a make or break year for Near Field Communications. With more phones and more shops using the system, we’ll get to see how useful it is.

 The new PayWave app integrated into the Galaxy S4 works with Visa and looks like it is going to make it easier to pay for small bits and pieces just by using your phone.

 Media

 As we’ve come to expect from Samsung, this device is designed for media. The video player is incredible with the Full HD screen and the nifty Smart Pause function.

 A new feature is mirroring, which can replicate what is being shown on the phone onto a larger display either using the AllShare feature that newer Samsung TV’s, BluRay players or a dongle; or by using an MHL cable.

 Being able to up the already impressive storage capabilities (16gb, 32gb or 64gb) by 64gb through a microSD card is something that may make consumers buy this over other phones that are limited to 32gb.

 Camera

 The new camera is a huge step up from the previous model, with a 13MP lens on the back.

 Cinema mode enables you to shoot a short video and to keep part of the image static- this means you can have the background moving while a person stays still, and is created into a GIF file. Very artsy.

 There is also a 2MP camera on the front that can be used to record video and take pictures simultaneously. This can also be used when video calling so the user can show what is in front of them and their reaction to it!

 Battery

 With the addition of a better screen and processor it remains to be seen how well the battery copes. Samsung have managed to put a more high powered battery in while reducing the thickness so hopefully the added power (1,200mAh to 2,600mAh) will translate to similar or better battery life.

 Features and apps

 The two main things here are the Samsung Hub and S Health.

 The Hub is a new way to purchase music, books, games and movies. Along with the Google Play Store, this new feature makes it much easier to get content onto the device. It is rather expansive and is a good way to encourage more people to part with their money.

 S Health is also interesting. Samsung have clearly taken note from Nike+ and Adidas miCoach, which allow a person to track their whole diet and fitness regime through their phone. The application is large and wide ranging, with a database of food and drink that can track your calorie count. There is also an app that works as a pedometer that can tell whether you are running and walking and work out calories burnt.

 Samsung are also releasing S Health accessories such as an S Band and a set of wireless scales to help track your workouts. This is all just taking ideas that are currently around and integrating them into the root of the phone.

 Conclusion

 At the end of the day, many people are dedicated to their phone brand just like they are their bank account. Those who already have the Galaxy S4 will see the benefits of the S4 just as an iPhone 4 user saw the benefit of an iPhone 5. There isn’t a huge difference but one noticeable enough to ensure Samsung stay in the lead pack of smart phones.
  

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