Samsung Takes the Galaxy S4 to Planet Phablet

March 18th, 2013 by Mark J

People walking around New York’s Radio City Music Hall last Thursday may have found their socks unusually soggy, the cause – a long queue of people gathered to watch Samsung unveil its Galaxy S4 handset. Bigger and better was the order of the day and though there were no huge surprises on the hardware front the launch offered plenty of reasons for Galaxy S lovers to get excited.

As expected the Galaxy S4 sees Samsung’s flagship handset land on planet phablet with a 5” display. It’s only 0.2” bigger than the SIII’s but enough to change the way it gets pigeon-holed. For those who like their displays large this is good news but it’s not just the size that matters, the screen also has a higher pixel density and can automatically adjust the colour temperature depending on the kind of content which is being displayed.

Underneath that 5” hood things become even more impressive as the S4 boasts an octo-core 1.6GHz processor (I think I just heard my PC cry), but only in some territories. Some markets are only going to get a quad-core 1.9GHz chip, though that’s still quite impressive. As for memory there’s an unsurprising 2GB of RAM and the phone is going to be offered with the choice of 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage.

On the back there’s a 13mp camera which is joined by a front-facing 2mp one and budding Spielbergs can enjoy recording full HD 30fps video. Powering it all is a 2,600mAh battery and it’ll be running the latest version of Android right out of the box.

It’s not just the hardware which sounds good on paper but there are a few innovative software features the S4 brings with it as well. Dual camera allows the person holding the phone to add themselves in-screen to videos of friends and family while it allows voice callers to show the people they’re calling not just themselves but the people they are with as well.

Equally impressive but a bit creepier is an eye-tracking feature which pauses video when a user looks away from the screen. Users can also just hover their hands over the screen to control it without the need to touch it. Another interesting, and potentially annoying, feature is the ability to share a song and play it simultaneously through any nearby Galaxy S4 handsets.

For the traveller there’s also a speech-to-text, or text-to-speech, translator that works in nine languages and doesn’t need to be connected to the internet.

It’s fair to say that Samsung has outdone itself once again with the Galaxy S4 though maybe not so much that Galaxy SIII owners need to worry about upgrading immediately. The S4’s hardware is more powerful but then that doesn’t mean its predecessor’s isn’t and while the new software features should make other phone-makers sit up and take notice they might not be enough of a reason to upgrade.

For those who are already champing at the bit to help the handset break Samsung’s sales records the Galaxy S4 is due to be released in the UK on April 26.


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