The Samsung Galaxy S4 launched with fanfare in New York on Thursday, March 14, 2013. With this launch, Samsung brought the battle to Apple’s turf causing Apple to react by putting new ads explaining the excellent features that exist on the iPhone 5 in a bid to stay competitive.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has had mixed reviews from technology bloggers. I was able to play with the phone for two days.
With a 5” size, screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixel and 441 ppi density, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a huge spec bump when compared with the Galaxy S3 that has 720 x 1280 pixel, 4.8” and 306 ppi pixel density.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This software upgrade is the distinguishing feature of the S4. Some of the magic you can perform with it are:
Samsung WatchON – Connect your Samsung Galaxy S4 with your home entertainment system and let it be your TV expert. It suggests different programs based on your preferences, provides program schedules, and does the channel surfing for you. The Samsung Galaxy S4 even allows you to remotely control your TV.
The Smart Pause – Building off of the Galaxy S3’s Smart Stay, the Samsung Galaxy S4 knows what you’re doing and intuitively moves along with you. Whenever you look away, the Samsung Galaxy S4 makes sure to pause whatever you’re watching, so you don’t miss anything. Amazingly, Smart Pause resumes where you left off when you look back at the screen again.
Air View/Air Gesture – Simply motion your hand at the Samsung Galaxy S4 to accept calls, change music, or browse the web and your photos with Air Gesture. How simple is that? Air View makes it quicker, easier, and super convenient to enlarge content and photos, preview emails, and speed dial all with your finger hovering over the screen. Even when you’re wearing gloves, or eating your eba with your hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4 still responds to your apparent touch.
I only used the Air View/Air Gesture feature when I wanted to dazzle people around and show them how my own phone has superior ability. Like a friend told me; “I just want [the S4] for the shakara.“ She wants it for show off. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has some swagger you won’t find on the Galaxy S3, or any other phone for that matter.
With all these awesome features, there’s one problem I spotted with the Samsung Galaxy S4. The 16GB internal memory that is the only portion of the phone where you can store apps comes with bloatwares that consume about 45% of the 16GB storage. The space available for use isn’t more than 8.82GB. You may be thinking you have the option of adding a microSD for external storage, but you should note that only photos, music and videos can be loaded to the external storage unless you root your device. (Rooting is an activity carried on by nerds that play with the operating system of their phone. Rooting gives one access to toy with the phone’s operating system and tweak things, but it also voids your warranty).
When I had my GALAXY S3, I did not like the customized TouchWiz skin, so I rooted my phone, installed custom ROM from CyanogenMod and installed Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. But a few hours after using the Samsung GalaxyS4, I did not see any reason to change to custom ROM. TouchWiz on the S4 is buttery smooth and super fast.
What other things do I observe about the S4?
The battery on the Samsung Galaxy S4 (2600 mAh) has more power than the Galaxy S3’s 2100 mAh. This will give you a full day of moderate use. But take note, if you are on an epileptic network, you’d notice that your battery power is depleted faster.
The camera at 13 MP shoots pretty decent photos. It is possible to have a number of clever modes available on the S4. Some of the options available are Drama Shot, Eraser mode and Beauty Shot, as well as cueing up the likes of HDR mode
If you don’t place the Samsung Galaxy S4 alongside the Galaxy S3, you’d hardly notice any difference. On my morning commute to work, I asked a gentleman by me what phone he thinks I was using, he said it is the Galaxy S3. Only a closer look would make the difference obvious.
In comparison to the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S4 offers more in terms of size, resolution, removable battery and expandable microSD. This is one edge for anyone who decides to go for Samsung devices.
Mat Honan of Gadget Lab on Wired UK said this of the S4:
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring.”
I also agree with Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD who says “Galaxy S4 is a Good, but Not a Great, Step Up.
What the two of them are simply saying is that the S4 is a tiny increment over the S3; similar to the upgrades that Apple has been doing since the iPhone 4. If you are on a tight budget and still want something very cool, I would advise you to go for the Samsung Galaxy S3, that goes for N72,995 on JUMIA. But if you want the perks in terms of upgraded software and swag, and you also don’t mind being set back by N108,000, then the Galaxy S4 is the phone for you. So, if you want to be one of the first people in Nigeria to get the Galaxy S4, you can pre-order at N108,000.
This is by no means a detailed review as I only had the phone for two days and I have already turned the phone in. Here are some close up photos for you.