Your life companion, the Samsung Galaxy S4

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 was unveiled at a rather interesting Broadway themed event at the Radio City Music Hall in New York on Thursday night.

The S4 is Samsung’s latest flagship device and will host the bulk of Samsungs innovations in the mobile device segment. The Hardware is pretty impressive. The S4 will have a 5 inch full HD (1920 x 1080p) Super AMOLED screen. This is going to have a pixel Density of 441 ppi making it effectively the worlds smallest Big Screen TV, but I digress.

The screen will be super sensitive, like the unit on the Lumia 920. It will work with normal gloves on and can be manipulated with (a ladies) fingernails. The S4 will be powered by either a 1.9GHz Quad Core or 1.6GHz Octa-Core processor and it will have 2GB RAM. It will have either 16, 32 or 64 GB of onboard memory and features a 13 MP camera. The S4 will be powered by a massive 2600 mAh battery.

The S4 is roughly the same size as the S3, but weighing in at 130g and measuring 136 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm not only is it lighter than the S3, but thinner as well, an amazing feat considering it has a bigger screen and a bigger battery. One interesting feature hidden in the spec sheet is an Infra Red LED which can be used for remote control. I haven’t seen Infrared on a device in a while, but given Samsung’s dominance of the TV market this could be a very interesting feature. The S4 will also have temperature and humidity sensors.

Hardware aside, lets check out the software. The S4 will run the latest version of Android Jellybean (4.2.2). As with the S3 we reviewed earlier, Samsung has gone out of its way to set the S4 apart from other android handsets.

The S3 was “designed for humans, inspired by nature”, the S4 is your life companion. The software Samsung has worked on to differentiate the S4 is rather quite amazing.

Lets start with the Camera, the S4 will benefit from the great work they did with the Galaxy Camera. The Cinema Photo mode will capture still images with moving backgrounds. The Drama Shot burst mode takes 100 shots and creates a collage of the photos in an animated GIF similar to Nokias Cinemagraph Lens on the Lumia. The camera will also feature an Eraser mode to remove unwanted elements in photos and they have introduced a Sound & Shot mode that plays audio in the background as you view images.

There will also be a Story Album app that will creates photo albums based details like time and location. One quirky feature will be the ability to use the front facing camera to take a picture of yourself while you use the main camera to take a picture of something or someone. You can them insert the picture of yourself into the photo you have taken.

The AirView feature introduced with the Galaxy Note 2 will now work without the S-Pen and can be used from the lock screen. Samsungs proprietary messaging software, ChatOn, has been upgraded to support video calls.

The S3 had a feature called SmartStay which kept the screen on when you looked at it and dimmed it when you looked away. Samsung has evolved this feature into three distinct new features on the S4. The first is Smart Pause which will stop video when you look away from the screen, the second is Air gesture, which will allow you scroll through the phone without touching the screen and the third is Adapt Display which automatically tweaks the display based on viewing conditions and content to be “more comfortable for your eyes.” There will also be a Smart Scroll function that will let you scroll up or down a page by tilting the phone

Samsung has also thrown in S-Translate which will translate both spoken and written words and works inside of multiple apps. The Siri replacement S Voice has a new “Drive” feature which will introduce voice commands for navigation and allow a driver to use the phones features using voice commands. S-Health will monitor your health with accessories such as S Band, a body scale and a heart rate monitor. There will also be a GroupPlay app that will allow ahsring of content with up to 8 devices. One very cool thing this feature can do is play 5.1 surround sound using 5 different phones each playing a discrete channel. Something I most definitely MUST try out.

Business users have not been left out. The S4 will be the first device to feature Samsung KNOX, an end-to-end secure solution that provides security hardening from the hardware through to the application layer. KNOX incorporates Security Enhanced (SE) Android developed by the NSA (National Security Agency), and integrity management services implemented in both hardware and the Android framework.

The S4 will have an S-View cover as an accessory. It will have magnetic contacts that will unlock the phone as you open it as well as a window (basically a hole) in the cover that will allow you to answer calls without flipping open the cover.

The S4 will be be available in “White Frost” and “Dark Mist” and should be in over 155 countries by the end of April 2013. So far, it looks like in the race for life companions, your wife is your other half, but this will be your other two thirds :-)

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