After months of speculation and hype, Samsung finally unveiled the Galaxy S4 and has begun releasing it worldwide. It’s launched on some carriers already, and by the end of May will be available on every major cellular carrier. There’s been a major marketing blitz behind the device, but the question on everybody’s mind is whether or not it can live up to the hype. We decided to take a look at the phone and see how it stacks up to its predecessors as well as the competition.
Image source amazon.com
Compared to the Galaxy S3, the S4 may or may not be considered a major upgrade. While the S3 sported a dual-core processor and a 4.85-inch touchscreen, the S4 has a 4.99-inch display and has either a quad-core or octa-core processor, depending on region. The same two gigabytes of RAM that were present in the S3 are also seen in the S4, and the storage capacity offerings are the same with the base model featuring 16 gigabytes. Storage actually might be seen as a bit of a downgrade since only approximately half of that 16 is actually usable; the other half is occupied by preinstalled software.
Specs-wise, it isn’t a revolutionary jump, but part of that is because the S3 was already so advanced when it launched. The S4 still easily outpaces the competition in specs, even if it doesn’t immediately feel like a night-and-day difference from its predecessor. Samsung has done a terrific job of adding extras into the phone that make it stand out – a barometer, IR sensor and a pedometer function are all built into the device.
The Galaxy S4 runs Jellybean, the latest version of Google’s Android operating system. Although that remains the core essence of the device, one would be hard pressed to find Samsung touting that as a software feature. That’s because the Korean manufacturer has included so much software of its own. From a software perspective, Samsung’s Touchwiz UX can almost be considered its own operating system.
There are so many features that can be discussed. For starters, there are Air View and Air Gesture, features that let the user control the phone without touching it. Air View lets the user hover a finger over the display to preview things such as videos and emails, while Air Gesture lets the user switch between songs, answer calls and more. Beyond that, the phone features the same camera software found in the Galaxy Camera, making it one of the most robust smartphone camera experiences that we’ve ever seen.
These features and more come in addition to the suite of S Features that were introduced with the Galaxy S3, making the S4 a very worth successor to that device. From the perspective of what device offers the most advanced features, there’s no denying that the S4 is head and shoulders among both its Android competition and the iPhone.
With that said, it does sometimes feel as though Samsung tried to cram too much into the device. It will take advanced users some time to figure out all of the things that the phone can do, and casual users may never end up digging that deep. Some features take practice to get them working, leaving one to wonder if Samsung couldn’t have taken a less-is-more approach.
Overall, the Galaxy S4 is a seriously impressive device. From a hardware and software perspective, there’s hardly any room to compete. Even if the software feels a bit bloated at times, it’s still put enough pressure on the competition that even Apple is rumored to be redesigning its iOS. It’s not always easy to follow up a phone that sells more than 10 million units in a few months, but Samsung has succeeded with the Galaxy S4.
Karol is a web developer who specialize in web design ireland & mobile web development. He’s a lucky owner of Galaxy S3 but already looking at the newely released Galaxy S4, cause it seems to bring few nice extra features.