One of the most anticipated handsets in a while has arrived. The curtain has been lifted, the box opened and now, finally, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is here.
Samsung Galaxy S4 release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will roll out with a staggering 327 operators across 155 countries and the Galaxy S4 release date is April 26. We expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 price to be about £480(US$725/AUD$695) although the Galaxy S4 price is yet to be confirmed.
The Galaxy S4 will come to all 4 major carriers in the US:
If you're in the UK, you'll have plenty of options as well:
Samsung Galaxy S4 dimensions and weight
The S4 is somehow smaller than the Galaxy S3 at 136.1 x 69.8mm. It's a 5-inch handset, which is exactly the same height as its predecessor (5.38 x 2.34 x 0.5 inches).
It also appears to be unbelievably thin considering the amount of tech stuffed inside - with the Samsung Galaxy S4 measuring a svelte 7.9mm.
It's a whole gram lighter than its predecessor too, at 130g.
The polycarbonate chassis is still in use, although the metallic banding around the side, is much sturdier and should feel more premium - though it's still plastic. Color-wise, there's the choice of 'White Frost' and 'Black Mist', although Samsung says "a variety of additional color options will be available later this year".
Samsung Galaxy S4 display
The first big talking point for the SGS4 is that it has joined the 1080p brigade. The first impressions are that it's a corker. At 5-inches, it’s fairly big on the smartphone front, matching the Sony Xperia Z for pixel density at 440ppi.
The display also uses some clever tech called Adapt Display, which makes sure that Super AMOLED screen adjusts itself depending on what sort of content you are viewing. So games will have different display settings compared to movies.
It's topped with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which should stop it getting scratched up. One final thing to note, the display, like the 920, can also function when you have gloves on.
Samsung Galaxy S4 processor
Inside the new Samsung is that long-rumoured octo-core 1.6GHz Exynos 5 processor (International Version). Yes you’re reading that right … it has 8 cores. We're being told that the aim of the octo-core is to make it more efficient with the battery, rather than for outright power. The North American version will have Qualcomm's Snapdragon S 600 which is no slouch either. We suspect both will be powerful and efficient.
Back this up with 2GB of RAM and you should have multi-tasking covered pretty nicely. Whatever happens, this new Samsung will be as snappy as any of the top-of-the-line Android phones.
Samsung Galaxy S4 battery
The new Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 2,600mAh battery, which is 300mAh more than the HTC One. All that battery is likely needed to keep the 8-core chip ticking over, despite its clever ARMv7-based power management.
Samsung Galaxy S4 camera
On the back of the SGS4 is a 13-megapixel snapper, which is a jump over the 8-megapixel option found on the SGS3. It goes without saying, that we will be comparing exactly how it performs against the likes of the HTC One and Lumia 920, but for now, that’s plenty of resolution to play with, even if we've no idea how it will deal with noise, a common problem.
On the front is a 2-megapixel offering, promising a higher-quality experience for video calling, again, something that HTC put into the HTC One X+ in 2012. New camera features include things like the mode wheel from the Galaxy Camera, allowing you to tweak settings to a higher degree.
Dual recording is another clever function, which can record stills and video from the front and back camera simultaneously, giving you picture-in-picture, so you can see your reaction at the time of the shot.
Finally comes Eraser Shot: this function will scan through an image and wipe out any unnecessary clutter from the picture. It’s great for doing things like taking out a passer-by from a posed family shot.
Samsung's own ChatOn can now support up to three video callers at once, share screens and - most excitingly - use both the front and back of the SGS4's camera while you talk. This way one phone can be used to let several people have conversations.
Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE and Wi-Fi
The S4 apparently supports both LTE variants - "all frequencies and standards covered" says Samsung. 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also supported, alongside the more usual 802.11b/g/n.
Samsung Galaxy S4 OS
Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1 is the software on board the Galaxy S4, with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface having been given a spruce up before being slapped on top.
The Galaxy S4 incorporates an IR blaster so you can control your television using your phone. It's a returning trend we are seeing in handsets, also found in the HTC One, just launched. There will also be a supporting video app, although Samsung quickly skipped over these details.
Not mentioned at the SGS4 launch but definitely a cool feature is the phone's ability to charge wirelessly. We don't have any details yet on docks, but this should charge just like the Nexus 4, without the need for cables.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be capable of some impressive noise cancellation to clean up background noise from your calls. It's a feature of the SGS3 and the Nexus 10, but the S4 houses the latest generation of Audience audio processor, the earSmart eS325.
Hardware aside, the new Samsung has lots of interesting software tweaks to seperate it from the Android crowd. Air View is one of them, letting you hover your finger over the display to activate specific functions.
You can use it to increase thumbnail size, before selecting a picture. A lot of it is taken from the Note, which uses a similar functions. Then there is a custom version of Flipboard that uses the tech, as well as gesture controls which save you touching the screen, so you don’t need to take gloves off.
Building on the eye-recognition tech found in the Galaxy S3 is Smart Pause. The new function will track your eyes and then pause any video you might be watching the moment you take your eyes off the screen. It's not unique in this feature, as it's also offered by LG in the Optimus G Pro.
Another eye-recognition tweak is Smart Scroll. This can scroll up and down web pages when you tilt the phone, provided you are looking at the screen.
"Samsung Smart Pause": so you can control the screen using your eyes
"Air View": allows you to hover with your fingers to preview the content of an email, S Planner, image gallery or video without having to open it
"Air Gesture": so you can change a music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of your hand
"S Health" software: empowers your life by keeping you up-to-date with health and wellbeing information through a range of accessories
Drawing on the joys of Google Translate is S Translator, which does essentially the same thing. S Translator is incorporated directly into the OS, so rather than having to boot up an app, it lets you translate any text you find on the phone, including emails.
The app can speak a variety of languages, including all the obvious ones like Portuguese, English and Spanish. Samsung demonstrated S Translator doing text to speech and speech to text, so you could have a whole conversation via the phone.
Group Play is an interesting function of the Galaxy S4 that we haven’t really seen on smartphones before. It lets you connect with up to eight other SGS4s to share music and play games. The trick is that it can be done independent of a home network.
The really crazy thing is that Group Play can work like a seven-channel surround sound system. You can link up each phone and then pick left, centre and right channels and assign them to each handset. We imagine it will sound nicely tinny, but still cool none the less.
This app is essentially there so you can print out pictures straight from your phone. Paired with Blurb, Story Album is basically iPhoto, in that it can create and layout proper photo albums directly on the Galaxy S4. For around $30 (£20) the Blurb pairing will let you print any of the albums you make.
This app comes as part of Samsung’s new health-based suite of accessories. The built-in pedometer allows the phone to count calories or steps and can even connect with the new S Band, Samsung’s answer to the Nike Fuelband.
S Voice Drive
S Voice has been updated with the Galaxy S4. It now knows when you are in your car, if paired with Bluetooth, and adapts to show things like driving directions and locations.
On top of this, it can read out notifications and gives you the option to respond to messages and return calls. S Voice is now a proper Siri rival.
Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications
- 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 six different band sets (Dependent on market)
- Display 5 inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
- Processor 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor
- OS Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- Camera Main (Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS, Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
- Video Codec MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVC
- Recording & Playback Full HD (1080p)
- Audio Codec MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
- Dual Camera Dual Shot / Dual Recording/ Dual Video Call, Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, 360 Photo, Cinema Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports
- Additional Features Group Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document, Play Games, Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader, Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View, Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling), Samsung WatchON, S Travel (Trip Advisor), S Voice™ Drive, S Health, Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound, Auto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly), Safety Assistance, Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring, Samsung KNOX (B2B only), Google Mobile Services Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude, Google Play Store, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Places, Google Navigation, Google Downloads, Voice Search
- Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80), GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE), IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0, Sensor Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer, Temperature & Humidity, Gesture
- Memory 16/ 32/ 64 GB User memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)
- RAM 2GB
- Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
- Battery 2,600 mAh
There you have it folks, now the wait begins.