Samsung Galaxy S4 came out to the market with the mission to be superior to its predecessor – the Galaxy S3. This is a very difficult task for the Korean company because the S3 generation was already recognized as one of the best smartphone nowadays. In this review, we will analyze all aspects of the new Galaxy S model to see how successful Samsung has been doing its job.
After you booting up, the phone starts syncing with Gmail and/or Samsung account. A quick tutorial starts introducing many gestures. When you do an upgrade from the Galaxy S3, some of these gestures will be available. You should pay attention to this section because it will save your time in the future.
Air View: Maybe this is the most frequently used gesture. It allows you to preview the content over the object, such as videos, images, messages. You just need to hover your finger (about 1 in away from the display), the content of the message and email will be shown. It is quite convenient when you are streaming video, you can preview particular video frame to know whether you want to skip to that frame.
This gesture also comes with a magnifier capability to zoom in the text you want when you are browsing internet. This capability is useful when you want to click on a small hyperlink.
Air gesture: useful in navigating through galleries and answer/reject phone calls. This tool senses you from the front camera; hence you need to swipe near to the top of the phone. During winter when you have to wear glove, this feature seems to be not functional. However, It turn out that this gesture is still useful because the sensitivity is adjusted so that the device can work with gloves.
Smart stay: This tool can track your eye behavior so that it the screen will not dim out when you are looking at it. Its function is more reliable and consistent than its previous generation, the S3.
Smart rotation: can rotate the content according to the angle of your eyes. However, this feature is not commonly used.
Smart pause: Automatically pauses the screen when you are not looking on the screen. It is useful when you are showing and demonstrating/explaining what is going on on the screen to other people.
Smart scroll: You can scroll down a webpage by tilting the device. We don’t see the usefulness of this feature, though.
The Android OS
Perhaps the most useful feature in this Android OS is the multi-window option. With this feature, you can do multiple task at the same time: reading email, sending text, whatching youtube. You can also change the size of the apps on the screen so that it is the most comfortable for you.
Since the Android is getting more and more popular, the security concerns are inevitably growing. To create a trust environment for enterprise deployment, Samsung has introduced a security addition (known as Knox).
This security package will be shipped with the Galaxy S4 as a mandatory request from the company. This help promoting the safety and confidentiality for its users.
Full HD display
With the Super Amoled technology, the Galaxy S4 has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and the pixel density is 441 pixel/in. This is a real superiority of this phone compared to other Samsung competitors such as HTC One and Xpera Z. Additionally, you can also change the color temperature and contrast of the image to whatever value you want.
Not only that, the Super Amoled technology allows a very efficient use of power. Even though the brightness of the Galaxy S4 is just 152 cd/m2 which is far lower than 541 cd/m2 in the iPhone 5, 455 cd/m2 in the Lumia 920 and 715 cd/m2 in the BlackBerry, when you put all of these phones together for comparison, it is hard to say which screen is brighter.
Perhaps the most novel and useful capability of the S4 model is that users can adjust the sensitivity of the touch screen. With this feature, users now can tap the touch screen while they are wearing wool glove.
Samsung has been particularly successful in the Galaxy S4 version. Almost all aspects of the S3, which was already one of the best smartphone in 2013, have been extraordinarily upgraded.
In short, the device is equipped with a Qualcomm quad-core chipset (each core is 1.9 GHz), with a built in 2GB RAM and 16 GB disk space.
It is even more amazing when it comes to comparison testing.
In the Geekbench application, the Galaxy S4 score averaged score is 3189, which is superiorly higher than the iPhone 5 which scored 1649. This shows how well Samsung has optimized the Android OS in the Galaxy S4 generation for efficient use of MEMORY and PROCESSOR.
In the SunSpider test, with the same webpage, S4 can load it in 855 ms while its direct compatitors Apple iPhone 5 and Lumia 920 both took 920 ms to load.
In fact, these testing results reflect well the real-life usage. The Galaxy S4 can easily handle heavy applications such as HD video streaming, gaming, Video/Picture recording, web browsing. App window popup instantly by the time you touch its icon, apps also run smoothly which I have never seen in an Android phone.
Samsung also stated that the S4 could also run on Octa-core processor, however, due to the market demand, this variant is not available in all countries.
Many people may not like the plastic frame of the Galaxy S3, Samsung still decided to use it on the S4 generation. So the S4 appearance is quite similar to the S3.
The basic design specs are a little improved. The display size is 0.2in larger, the thickness is 0.7mm thinner and the weight s 3g lighter.
Someone may not like the plastic back, and the appearance may not be as good as the iPhone 5 and HTC One. But the fact is that you will seldom look at the back. Most of the time you will look at the screen.
It is also more solid, less fragile than the Nexus 4 and Xperia Z. These smartphone use Gorilla Glass which is very prone to damage on dropping. In case the chassis is damaged, the Galaxy S4 will also cost you less money for replacement.
From my personal experience, the S4 is very comfortable to hold. If anyone states that using a plastic chassis is a Samsung’s mistake, It is not really true. With the plastic designand the ability to open the chassis, battery can be taken out and replaced easily. About this aspect, Apple, HTC and Sony cannot offer that degree of flexibility.
With the 13 Megapixel camera and various softwares features such as autofocus, zero shutter lag, the Galaxy S3 can produce excellent picture quality.
With the Dual Shot feature, the S4 can take pictures in both front and back simultaneously. The software then processes the image to insert the user into the final picture. The Dual Shot is useful at events or family holidays, not very useful for a single user.
Sound and Shot:
In the fourth generation, the battery pack has been upgraded to 2400 mAh. We had an actual test on the battery quality. In our test, we synced the phone with email, Gmail and Twitter accounts and it automatically push all content to the associated accounts instantaneously. We also used calls, text, watched video and played games with the highest brightness and WiFi off. All gestures turned off except for Smart Stay and Air View.
After 12 hours of continuous usage, 15% of the battery power is remained, which is not as good as 27% in the previous S3 generation. However, it does not means that the battery of this generation is worse. It is simply because the S4 has to supply to bigger HD display and many more software apps.
Nevertheless, the S4 battery life time is still better than the iPhone battery, which with the same testing conditions could stand for 10 hours.