Samsung has unveiled the new GALAXY S4 at its “Unpacked” event at New York’s prestigious Radio City Music Hall this week. So what do you need to know about this new flagship phone?
In addition to our first impressions of the new Samsung GALAXY S 4 we’ve considered the tech specs, features and applications that Samsung is offering users with its latest smartphone and, to make things easier for you, distilled all of this info into an easy-to-remember ten-point guide.
So, without any further ado, here are the top ten things that you need to know about the new Samsung GALAXY S4...
The S4 is not a smartphone, it's a "life companion"
Samsung is all about improving the way we live, using technology, as J.K. Shin, the company’s President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division explained at the S4 launch event this week:
“All the innovative features of GALAXY S4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world. Following the successful GALAXY S series, this phone is yet another great proof point of people-inspired innovation. At Samsung we’ll never stop pursuing innovation conceived by people, so we can inspire them in return.”
The S4's lucky 13-megapixel camera
Okay, it might “not be all about the megapixels” as keen amateur snappers often say, but the tech improvements of the new 13-megapixel camera on the GALAXY S4, combined with the software improvements to Samsung’s onboard camera app are sure to blow any would-be David Bailey away.
S4 snappers can now place themselves in their pictures far easier and better than ever before, which is a particularly cool feature for on-the-fly family shots. Also, you can now record sounds for photos taken on your S4; a minor but fantastic way of recording a memory.
Touch-less tech is the future
We are all so familiar with touchscreen technology nowadays that Samsung’s mention of “touch-less tech” at the S4 Unpacked launch was quite novel.
What the S4 designers mean when they speak of “touch-less tech” is, plain and brilliantly simple, Air View, which has been one of the most popular features on the GALAXY Note II, helping to create what Samsung’s JK Shin referred to as “instant, effortless and accurate touch-less interfaces” on this latest smartphone.
Storming the Tower of Babel
Imagine if you were able to talk to and communicate with the vast majority of the world’s population, despite only being fluent in English and, perhaps, having a smattering of one or two other languages you vaguely remember from school?
Samsung’s S Translator on the S 4 makes this inspiring vision an actual reality, allowing you to swiftly translate voice or text into nine different languages. It’s essentially Douglas Adams’s vision of “the Babel Fish” made real!
Don't be a solitary smartphone user
One real problem with smartphone usage to date is that it has, by force of habit for many of us, become a solitary activity, distancing us from our friends, family and colleagues at work. The S4 will change all of this, by encouraging and helping us to play and listen to music together again.
The S4’s Group Play feature encourages users to share music and play games together, in ways that are easier and more intuitive than ever before.
A smartphone to keep you in shape
Samsung’s new S Health software promises to “empower your life by keeping you up-to-date with health and wellbeing information through a range of accessories,” using a number of sensors to track your progress, in addition to Samsung peripherals such as the S Band; Body Scale and HRM heart monitor.
All of which is an incredibly handy way of reminding you to keep up with your running, swimming or gym regime; eat ing healthily, and keeping a check on your weight and overall fitness.
Samsung Knox will change the way you work
With Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) being a major issue for many workplaces right now, it’s vital that you invest in a smartphone that is going to let you work as well as play. After all, do you really want to be carrying two devices around with you at all times?
This is why Samsung Knox might well be the perfect security solution for keeping your IT manager at work happy and safe in the knowledge that you are using a phone that will connect 100 per cent securely with the corporate network.
Samsung HomeSync will make entertainment easier
You know that annoying feeling when you have a movie you are watching on your phone, yet cannot finish watching it on the TV at home on the weekend?
There is yet to be a name for this malaise, though Samsung has already come up with a solution to the problem, in the shape of HomeSync, an Android-powered set-top box that lets you store, share and stream the movies on your S4 with absolute ease.
Adapt Display means the S4 is easy on the eye
The Samsung GALAXY S4’s new Adapt Display feature means that the Full HD Super AMOLED display will automatically alter to give you the optimum viewing experience, no matter what you are doing.
Whether you are watching a movie; playing a game or checking your email, Adapt Display ensures that the S4’s superb 5-inch screen is giving you the best viewing experience whilst being as easy on the eye as possible at all times.
Make beautiful photo albums
Taking; carefully editing, and storing thousands of great photos on your S4 is something that most users will do purely by habit, but what about those truly memorable photos that you want to keep forever?
Samsung’s new Story Album offers a superb auto album-creating function for proud new parents or first-time Glastonbury goers, who want to capture and always remember these precious moments in time. Plus, with a new partnership with book-printing specialists Blurb you can also get beautifully-bound hard copies of your albums (costing in the range of $10 to $30; UK pricing is yet to be confirmed).