South Korean manufacturer Samsung Electronics has launched its flagship smartphone for this year—the Samsung Galaxy S4. In an unpacked event held in New York City today, the powerful device was finally unveiled and introduced with its new features and better specifications. Compared with the Galaxy S3’s launch in London in 2012, this year is a lot shorter, more comprehensive and to the point.
Expectations for the S4 were quite high but they were all met, analysts say. Let’s try to go into the phone’s specs to know what this device could offer. The specs presented here are based on the official specs sheet:
Display. The Samsung Galaxy S4, despite all rumors that it will pack a SoLux display technology, will feature the company’s proprietary Super AMOLED display. A 5-inch (4.99 inches to be exact) screen will be used to feature 1080 x 1920 pixels Full HD resolution. It is a little bigger than S3’s screen but way too high as far as the resolution is concerned.
Processor. The first set of rumors suggested that Samsung was going to use its own chip for this flagship and they turned out to be true. The phone will feature Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset with two sets of quad-core processors: quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 and quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7. According to experts, the Cortex-A15 will be in charged with medium- to high-performance processes while the Cortex-A7 will do the housekeeping and would become the set that’s always in use. The theory that this year’s flagship will be twice as fast as the Galaxy S3 is not true but there would be a noticeable performance difference between the two devices.
Memory. Just as what we expected, the phone will come packed with 2GB of RAM with three capacity variants: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. A microSD card slot is also available to allow users to add expansion storage of up to 64GB.
Data & Connectivity. It is a universal phone so it supports 2G and 3G at 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 bands. It is also built to connect to a 4G LTE network and house any provider’s micro-SIMs. Since Samsung always gives importance to near-field communication, the phone will support NFC and would retain the “tap to transfer” feature that was first seen on the S3. There were reports suggesting the Exynos 5 still has problems with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. so we might be seeing a slightly different S4 for American users.
Camera. The rumors about the Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel camera sensor were true. But it’s not really a surprise for any smartphone enthusiast because other high-end devices would also come packed with sensors of the same caliber. The snapper can take pictures up to 4128 x 3096 pixels wide and can record videos at 1080p@30fps. The secondary camera for video chatting and conferencing would sport a 2MP sensor, which is considerably high.
OS. The phone will run on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, the latest version so far. There were actually rumors that the S4 will operate on Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie but they were just speculations and it might take several months before the new OS will be released. It would also feature Samsung’s TouchWiz UI like the S3 and the Note II–there’s nothing interesting about the software, actually.
New Features. As always, Samsung packs new features with its flagship year after year. This time, however, it seems like the company is trying to make its device the smartest smartphone ever. The S3 was said to have been “Designed for Humans;” the S4 is built to serve as human extension. It is busier than ever trying to scan user’s eye and hand gestures on top of other built-in geo-location services. Two of the new features users might find really amazing are the Smart Scroll, which scans the eyes so it can scroll up when user’s eyes reach the bottom of the page, and the Floating Touch, which allows users to execute command using hand gestures without touching the screen.
Battery. Again, this is one factor critics would often see. A smartphone with 2600mAh battery can go all day long before requiring a recharge but not for a device as powerful as the Galaxy S4. The Super AMOLED is known to eat up power faster than any other display technologies in the market today. Now, add the octa-core processor and you could almost be sure that the battery couldn’t last up to 7 hours of straight usage. Of course, Samsung has already been working hard to improve the efficiency of its components. But people have already been expecting the phone will sport a battery with higher capacity.
Pricing & Availability. Samsung didn’t provide pricing and availability details of the new device. But it is expected to hit the market in April. In the U.S. almost all providers will help with the distribution of the flagship and Samsung will surely be doing extensive campaigns just to reach its project figure of selling 60 million units before releasing Samsung Galaxy S5 next year.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, while it has new cool features, retains the same appearance as with the S3 or at least, many of its physical features were patterned after last year’s flagship. Nevertheless, its year-long future looks brighter than its antecedent. Let’s wait and see how it can stand against its competitors.