Galaxy S4 : Life Companion

Techie Tony's picture

Let's not mind the show with the tapdancing kid, dancing bridesmaids, a smitten backpacker in Brazil, and a bunch of actors cracking corny jokes. Seriously, i never thought a keynote could go to that direction.

Let us focus on the phone...but we need to set the expectations. In an industry that is driven by innovation, one year is such little time to focus on the driver. So given that statement, the Galaxy S4, is definitely a good phone but it's just an updated S3.

What changed? What didn't?

Samsung stuck to their best-selling aesthetics, the tagline made for humans, because the S4 is literally a S3 with more innards. And yes, the Galaxy S4 (5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 in) is as big as the S3 (5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 in)… Don't let the 5-inch phone term mislead you. Internal is where the fun begins. It is now equipped with a 2 GB RAM, and a Exynos 5 Octa quad-core processor. US Fluffies, don't get your hopes up, the US Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, same as the HTC One X. Another thing, a new sensor has been added (a total of 4 black "holes" can now be seen on the topmost area of your phone), the IR sensor.

Since I've stressed the fact that this phone is merely an update, well take a look at the list of features below and tell me what you haven't heard of it before!

My Display

The 1920x1080 resolution in a 5 inch screen and the screaming 441 ppi pixel density is something to be proud of. A lot of people have been saying, oh the human eye can't see more than the 300 ppi!! True or not, the 441 ppi for me is quite useful. Most especially to those who likes large prints. Can you just imagine the detail?

Now, considering we have SUPER HD AMOLED, I cannot for the life of me imagine how much it will hurt my eyes trying to look at the screen in a very dark room. But..This is where Adaptive Display comes in, specifically the CIE Chromaticity Diagram and Grayscale. In other words, there are 7 automatic and 4 manual modes that allows you to play more on the settings. We don't have to deal with the high contrast, too much blue, too much red and other too "bright" aspects thanks to Adaptive Display!

S Health

"My mother always wanted me to end up with a doctor, but she didn't realize this!" -dancing bridesmaid

Yes, she actually said this. Nevermind! There has been a huge launch on 3rd party health apps on Google Play Store. Samsung just thought, 'Hey, let's take those in and make an app for our flagship phone!" Which actually happened, and so instead of 3rd party apps you now have the S Health. In addition to the calorie count, weight tracker and sleep pattern tracker.. You can also consolidate the data and create a simple report for your personal consumption. Doctor side? I'm not so sure if it should be used as an "official" reference for his/her diagnosis.

Galaxy Camera... Or is it?

One of the many boons of a company that manufactures both smartphones and digital camera is this. Key changes would the back camera is now a 13 mp camera… Definitely good for some picture taking… Few new features would include the drama shot (nicknamed, the moving collage), Eraser, and Dual Camera (more on this below). The Drama Shot takes 100 consecutive images in a burst of 4 seconds (another 1-up from the basic burst shot and best shot combined together) and takes out the 5 best images, making them into a continuous collage. Eraser is literally an erase, without the help of Photoshop. It takes 5 shots in quick succession and takes out the objects that aren't in the frame.

Another would be the ability to create a Story Album. In partnership with Blurb you can create and customize your own photo album… Blurb comes in once you decide to print a hard copy. They will have the hardcopy delivered to 70 major countries. Hooray for long-distance relationships that would benefit from this.

Dual-Cam, or the front and back camera..

Of what seems like forever to figure it out, you can now use both cams simultaneously for vanity purposes. You take a picture of your friends with the back camera and you put yourself in the picture using the front. Voila a pseudo group pic!! I'm half kidding, but it will become a fad. This is a more helpful feature when you're video calling with your loved ones and they wanna see where you are. No need to raise tour phone and pivot yourself.

Perfect for vainheads and people using their smartphone camera as their alternative camera. Also, some of the new key features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available for the Samsung Galaxy S3 on the next update.

Your Eyes and Hands

Another way of milking a common feature, the Smart Stay. Now, the Eye Pause. Simple, you look away from a video you were watching and it pauses. OBVIOUSLY.

On a somewhat related note, the phone allows hands-free scrolling with as simple as a wave or a flick of your hand. Move it up, move it down, change tabs, and whatever it is! This will be confusing in the later time, and most likely this will fail most of the time it's up. I know one thing that this might be perfect for.. Cooking! I'm serious, you don't need to touch your phone while getting your hands nitty gritty on that piece of cornmeal bread dough! Wave your hand, and you're bound to either be on the good side or on the frustrated side.

S Voice and S Drive

Revamped and gives you clearer directions with voice. That's it. It's quite understandable what are the next steps for these 2 features. Helpful? Maybe… Only if you're in a major city, but then again Google Maps is waaaaayyy better than Apple maps!

Group Play Feature

Milking on the S Bump feature comes the new Group Play. You listen to a song and then you bump your fellow S4 owner, their S4 starts playing the song where you left off. What I'm pretty much excited about is the ability of the multiplayer feature. No internet connection required, but Samsung Galaxy S4 required.

Samsung Knox

Samsung Knox was featured at CES 2013 and was expected to join the flagship's features. Knox enables you to separate your personal and work proiles wih a single swipe. A nice to have option and just to mention, the new Blackberry Z10 has this type of feature but not as extensive as Samsung Knox. You can read more about it here.

The Add-ons

What caught our eye was the gamepad controller that was popping up all over the exhibits after the keynote! The dimensions seem to be hinting at something size-wise for the future of Samsung's flagship phone, 6.3 inches. Highly specific, but maybe we're looking at something from the tablet size. Hey, if the 7 inch tablet cango up by .7 inches, then there is huge room for a tab that's .7 inches smaller! And to fight the envious eyes and hearts, it has also been reportedly able to support the Note II as well.

For the fitness junkies or for somebody who wants a personal trainer but is too shy to get the human being counterpart, S Health has the goods. The S Bands, body scale and heart rate monitors are available for you. This is in addition to your S Health's capability of detecting your sleeping patterns.

Accessory-wise, the S4 will be supported on wireless charging by the QI standard, a move that will likely spurt out a QI dock for charging.. So prepare your wallet for some cash to burn.. (my advice, stick to the basics!!) A type of smart cover has arrived with the Peek cover and there's still no details to these items as to how much we can wager our lives on. The Peek cover is just a smart cover with a gaping hole at the top to check the screen without actually flipping the cover. (Oh boy. pfft. such innovation.)

I want my Samsung Galaxy S4!

Hold your horses impatient Fluffy! Samsung just gave us a late April 2013 date, with pre orders starting at March 28. For you our British Fluffies, EE (the only LTE network for the UK) has put up a date on April 26th. If you are planning to get one, then start saving up! Another catch to all of these? The official prices have not yet come out but hey, pre-registrations are open for your liking!

Do I need a Samsung Galaxy S4?

It's time to think objectively and practically, if you're looking for a good upgrade from your simple smartphone and by simple, i mean, it is not 1 or 2 generations earlier, then go for it. In reality, your smartphone can do most of the things above with 3rd party apps. So you pay a little, but it will not be definitely be as high as buying the new phone would be.

If you're determined to get your hands on this new phone, fyi… Samsung Galaxy S4 is running 4.2.2 Jellybean, a Google event is schedule in 2 months' time. For sure, Key Lime Pie will be introduced and you will get stuck feeling sorry for yourself or maybe even kicking yourself in the gut for not waiting.

Let's put it this way, most of our Nokia Fluffies will be saying, "hey… Nokia has been doing that for some time now..How come they're not getting any of this?!" You're right, and this is more of marketing strategy and not so much on innovation.

Keep your heads stuffed and try to keep your pockets that way too!
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