After months of rumours, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S4, its next-generation flagship smartphone, at a global launch in New York City. JK Shin says the Galaxy S4 will make our lives “richer, simpler and fuller” when presenting on-stage.
The hardware specs for the Samsung Galaxy S4 are impressive. The new flagship smartphone features a 5-inch (1920 x 1080) full HD Super AMOLED display, 1.6GHz octo-core Exynos 5 processor and 2GB of RAM, so should offer plenty of power.
There's a 13-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi, LTE, IR Blaster, NFC, and improved 2,600mAh battery, meaning it should make it through the day too.
The operating system inside is Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), however it's heavily skinning under Samsung’s custom TouchWiz UX on-top, adding plenty of additional features.
The Galaxy S4 features a plastic build similar to the Galaxy S III, though it is thinner at 7.9mm. That plastic cover means it's removable, to access the battery, or to expand storage via microSD.
With the Galaxy S4, Samsung has added several enhancements to TouchWiz. A new S Translator feature is present. It will be embedded into apps like email, but also launches as a separate app to translate varying languages, much like Google Translate.
The camera software has been updated to feature a picture-in-picture modes for stills and video, dubbed Dual Shot and Dual Recording, that are sure to complement the 13-megapixel beast quite nicely. When taking a photo, it will snap both the front and rear-facing cameras to get a user's reaction that can be embedded into one shot. A new Eraser Shot feature will remove distracting objects from the background of images.
Highly rumoured, eye-recognition software will be included with the Galaxy S4. The Smart Scroll feature enables a user to scroll through a homepage if you tilt your hand, and will only do so if the user is looking at the handset.
Smart Pause does similar, pausing a video playing on the device when it detects the user is looking away from the screen. Lastly in this futuristic arena, a user can hover a finger over the screen to perform specific functions such as increasing the size of an image thumbnail.
A new feature called Group Play adds to the social- good, as eight Galaxy S4s in a room can connect with each other to play the same music or games. Like HTC’s One smartphone, an IR blaster is also included on the handset to control any television, which will be awesome given Samsung’s recent assault on the media front.
The Galaxy S4 features a pedometer for fitness tracking that is paired with an S Health app. It counts steps, calories and other gathers fitness information, with the help of Samsung’s S Band fitness tracker.
An S4 drive feature has been added that gives users hands-free access to calls, messages, music, maps and weather while driving. A voice reads out the relevant information.
The Samsung hub stores videos, books, games, and other media in a magazine-like interface to search and purchase content.
In a never before-seen feature, Samsung is including the ability to control the S4's display while wearing gloves.
There’s no word on specific carriers or pricing, though Samsung is shipping the device in both black (Black Mist) and white (White Frost). It will be available on 26 April.
Read our full hands-on.