I’m usually stuck on the sidelines when it comes to product unveiling events. Having to watch them via the internet either live streamed or live blogged through someone else can really be the pits if it’s something your truly interested in. So when I got the chance to go to Samsung’s Unpacked Event I jumped at it without hesitation. Held in my old stopping ground Radio City Music Hall was just an added benefit. Although it’s a small venue to hold such an event, taking into consideration Radio City’s atmosphere and stature Samsung couldn’t have picked a better place. Radio City Music Hall’s reputation far exceeds its size of roughly 6000 seats. It’s art deco designed interior, awesome sound stage makes it a classic place to behold and to say, “Yes, I’ve been there”. Larger than life is precisely what Samsung wants if I were to speculate. Will the Galaxy S4 live up to the expectations Samsung has created. Lets take a look.
Samsung in its infinite wisdom unveiled their Galaxy S4 yesterday evening in a rather anti-climatical manner. I’ll skip the details of the event because they were a bit disappointing, are really of no importance and I’d rather cut straight to the chase. So, here’s the quick rundown of the Galaxy S4:
- OS: Android v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- Display: 4.99-inch Full HD Super AMOLED @1920×1080 (441ppi)
- Processor: 1.9 Ghz quad-core or 1.6GHz octa-core (depending on the market)
- RAM: 2GB LPDDR3
- Memory: 16/32/646B (internal storage)/microSD slot (up to 64GB)
- Camera: 13mp AF w/Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS (rear)/2mp Full HD recording w/Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
- Network: 2.5G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz; 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz; 4G (LTE Cat 3 100/50Mbps): up to 6 band sets (depending on the market)
- Connectivity: Wifi a/b/g/n/ac (HTBO), Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE), IR LED (Remote Control), NFC, MHL 2.0, GPS, GLONASS
- Sensors: Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer, Temperature & Humidity, Gesture
- Video: supports MPEG4, H.264, H.273, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WM7/8, Soren Spark, HEVC/Full HD (1080p) recording & playback
- Audio: supports MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
- Battery: 2,600mAh
- Dimensions: 136.6 x 69.8 x7.9mm
- Weight: 130g
Now that we know the specs there is also a hefty lineup of features and software the average user will have mostly forgotten if I listed them all so I’m going to focus on just the ones that really peaked my interest.
Allows you to use the phone without touching it. This is one of my favorites if only because one can just wave a hand across the phone to ignore a call. A very handy feature while driving as you would not have to touch or even focus on the phone at all so your eyes and attention stay on the road.
Samsung Adapt Display and Adapt Sound:
Sound and screen optimization on an app-by-app basis. This looks very interesting because each app, video, game, etc will be “optimized” for the best experience. Take for example, you’re watching a action movie. The phone should give you the best sound and backlighting to make the movie more enjoyable.
On-the-fly voice and text translation which should allow two people to have a quick conversation or ask directs via text input or speech even though they speak different languages. This is one of those features that really needs to evolve to all smartphones and obviously Samsung is working hard on it. Not all languages are supported but hopefully more will get added as time goes on.
Samsung is “billing” this device as a “Life Companion”, meaning you will be able to take this anywhere and everywhere and it will fit into every aspect of your life. From weight tracking, Air-Play-like capabilities, security related business features so you only need one device for work and play, neat features like creating stereo sound by being able to stream the same song through multiple device simultaneously, and more, Samsung has packed a lot into the S4. Personally, if I were an Android user looking for my next device it would be a hard choice between this and the HTC One. The Galaxy S4 for all it’s advanced software and features, beautiful 5-inch display and solid feel; it’s still made of plastic. This is something I feel Samsung really needs to get away from; other than that the design itself is fine. The huge battery should be enough to get the average user through a full day of work. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t play with one as much as I wanted so I couldn’t test out all the software but I have no reason yet to believe that this device won’t be just fine when it’s released. I had no issues at all using the device even though it was for a short period of time. My best advice for now is to keep an eye on your favorite Android sites and forums like Android Central for example, as this is where you’ll get all the updated news and more hands-on opinions as some of these people get devices early to truly put them through their paces over a long period of time.