The new Samsung Galaxy S4 was revealed on Thursday evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Plenty of fanfare, but few big surprises, since the majority of new features and improvements were already known in advance. With this release it was the software features, not the technical details, that took center stage. An overview of the most important improvements:
Next page: A larger version of the S III
1. A larger version of the S III
On the outside, there is little difference between last year’s version and the new S4. Rather, the lastest model comes across as simply a somewhat larger version of the Samsung Galaxy S III. It’s thin, it’s light, and it’s made of polycarbonate, in other words, plastic. With a five inch display, the S4 is just slightly larger than the 4.8-inch S III. The South Korean manufacturer, however, has increased the screen resolution to 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. The high-definition resolution, on a Super AMOLED display, is protected from nicks and scratches by Gorilla Glass 3. Measuring 7.9 millimeters and weighing 130 grams, it is both thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
A clear improvement was made to the rear camera. While S III users snap photos with a resolution of only 8 megapixels, owners of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 have 13 megapixels at their disposal. The front camera increased from 1.9 to 2 megapixels.
At first glance, the old and new user interfaces also seem virtually identical. The S4 just has a little bit more – more features, more special characteristics. With S4, Samsung seems to want to capitalize on its success with S III, which was, for a time, the best-selling smartphone in the world in 2012.
2. Hands-free SMS and calling
Although Google’s Voice Search works better than Apple’s Siri (iPhone 4S and iPhone 5), it doesn’t actually work all that well on the Samsung Galaxy S III. Nevertheless, Samsung has expanded its “S Voice” to “S Voice Drive.” With a Bluetooth connection, S4 users can control their smartphone with their voice. This should make it possible to write and send text messages, call contacts, and input destinations for the navigation.
Next page: Security for use at home and at the office
3. Security for use at home and at the office
Similar to the technology in BlackBerry phones, Samsung now uses a security solution that differentiates between the workplace and private life. The feature, called Knox, keeps calls, e-mails, and apps all separate. The Galaxy S4 is the first Samsung device that is equipped with this type of security. The advantage: Users can use their smartphone both professionally and privately, without exposing themselves to risk and without being restricted by too many security measures.
4. An eye on users
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a few tricks up its sleeve. For example, it can tell whether users are looking at the display: “Smart Pause” stops videos when users look away from the screen, and restarts them when it senses that users are watching again. When users reach the end of the page while reading, the device turns the page automatically. Furthermore, the “Smart Scroll” feature scrolls up and down when the smartphone is tilted in the right direction.
“Air Gesture” and “Air View” make it possible to control the device without physically touching it. With a wave of the hand, users can flip through photos or scroll down pages. And they can select an icon simply by hovering a finger over it. This works even if users are wearing gloves, promises Samsung.
5. “Dual Camera” for multiple, simultaneous recordings
Several new functions are available for the camera. “Dual camera” adds a snapshot of the person who is taking a picture to the actual photo that is captured. And Samsung also solves the single camera problem that users experience with Apple’s FaceTime: Namely, both cameras are made available to users during a phone call.
This means that callers can see themselves, and everyone else in the room who wants to say hello, as well as the person they’re calling on a split screen. Further new camera functions include the possibility to erase unwanted people from a photo and the ability to add audio to still shots.