TechWire

Tag - Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Champion yet again?

Last year Samsung Galaxy S3, the leader in Android based mobile phones sold a whopping 30[1] million plus devices in 2012 alone. This year, the Galaxy S4 is off to a good start with 10[2] million units sold in less than a month after their launch. With the Galaxy S4, Samsung has introduced a whole bag of new features, while some of them may not be all that practical they definitely are some cool stuff to show off to your buddies.

The Galaxy S4 comes in two main flavours:

–          Octa-core variant (I9500)

–          Quad-core variant (I9505)

Before you get ahead of yourself, YES the Octa-core variant comes with two Quad-core processors, but NO they do not work simultaneously. Instead, the Exynos Octa-core processer packs two quad-core set ups being 1.8GHz and 1.2GHz respectively. Whereas the Quad-core variant is armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz processor. Apart from the processor, not much is different except the fact that the Quad-core variant comes with 4G LTE and the Octa-core sadly with 3G only.

Here’s a look at the key specs for the Galaxy S4 (both I1900 and I1905)

Galaxy S4

DESIGN

The Samsung Galaxy S4 may be one of the most anticipated phones of the year, but the design fails to surprise. Owners of the Galaxy S3 will see little difference on the look and feel of the Galaxy S4. Don’t be disheartened, the S4 is a looker but subsides when compared to Sony’s flagship Xperia Z and HTC’s One X, where the Galaxy S4 has a hyper glazed plastic finish. However, on the upper hand, the back panel of the phone can be accessed allowing users to change the battery if required – which is a No-No for both Sony’s and HTC’s flagships’.

The Galaxy S4 does bring slight changes on the outer bezel of the phone making it look sleeker adding to the only 7.9mm thickness of the device. The premium feel is lacking on this handheld even though Samsung have an aluminum-like finish covering the side of the phone. Samsung however have done a fantastic job in maintaining the height and width of the S3 albeit the larger screen. The build of the phone is quite good as well and feels sturdy and solid in the hand.

DISPLAY

Once the screen turns on, all subdues of the design are soon forgotten. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an eye-popping display supported with the Super AMOLED screen and offers image quality that is par to none other. Both the high contrast and super colour saturation combine to provide the user with superb viewing pleasure. Some users aren’t great fans of the bright and toned look, and Samsung offers such users the ability to change the bright saturated look to a more natural display of colours. Additionally, S4 users will have nothing to complain about when viewing the phone in broad daylight and the viewing angles are great as well.

Galaxy S4

Image: Acquired from http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6832/DSC_9891.jpg

OS & USER INTERFACE

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with the latest release of the Google mobile platform i.e. Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and is loaded with Samsung’s Touch Wiz 4.0. While some users may prefer the vanilla user interface by Android, the Touch Wiz update does bring some advantages. For instance, the lock screen that supports minimal functions on Jelly Bean; Samsung has gone all the way to introduce multiple panes with support for many widgets such as Email, Google Now, Messaging, Music Player, etc. The Lock Screen on the S4 can be thoroughly customized to one’s taste with background images, personal messages or clock with a desired colour and font.

Galaxy S4

Image: Acquired from http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4-review-914p4.php

The notification bar contains five customizable toggles that allow users to quickly enable or disable the feature, and users may slide across to view other toggles as well. Or user may simply tap the newly added button that lists out the total of 21 toggles.

Galaxy S4

Image : Acquired from http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4-review-914p4.php

The notification bar also displays the brightness control slider along with the general notifications that come with Android. 

Home Screen

The home screen hasn’t changed much from the predecessor, and you can pinch zoom to get the overlay of all home screens with a maximum of 7 separate screens.

Galaxy S4

 

Image : Acquired from http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4-review-914p4.php

Apps Drawer

The Apps Drawer too hasn’t seen many changes, and you can access both your apps and your widgets from the Apps Drawer itself. The dedicated download tab shows you all the apps you have downloaded.

galaxy_S4_6

Image : Acquired from http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4-review-914p4.php

One interesting feature is when you drag out apps and widgets to the home screen, you would see below a small layout of all your home screens with existing widgets and apps and gives you an indication of how much space is available on the home screen. Once added, the widgets can be resized and moved across the home screens with ease.

Galaxy S4

Image : Acquired from http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4-review-914p4.php

 

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S4 sports a picture-crisp 13.1 megapixel camera and the picture quality is fantastic, but is it fantastic all round? And the answer is yes, it is! Pictures taken from the S4 during the day are quite amazing. They are crisp and full of colour, and with amazing detailing as well spanned across 4128 x 3096 pixels.

The S4 brings its users a vast set of options and modes. Here are the modes the S4 has in store for you:

–          Auto Mode

–          Panorama

–          Sports

–          Night

While the above are seen on most smart phones, here are some of the more creative modes:

Sound & Shot

Sound & Shot does exactly what the name suggests; you can record sounds while taking the photo. Even though, a practical use for this would be hard to find it is a unique feature none the less.

Drama

The Drama mode is loads of fun! If you have a planned action sequence you would like to take, you can use this mode to take a series of still images combining the shots of the animated subject against a steady background.

Galaxy S4 Drama mode

Animated Photo

Simply lets you take a series of images which will be combined to give you a nice little animation.

Rich Tone (HDR)

In this mode when capturing a photo, a series of images are taken at various exposure levels and merged to give a rich saturated result.

Galaxy S4 Drama

Eraser

This intuitive mode works by capturing a series of images and removing moving objects from the final image.

The S4 also allows you to set further options such as ISO, White Balance, Exposure Value, Face Detection, Anti Shake, etc.

galaxy_S4_11

Video

Video recording with the S4 isn’t the phones strongest suite, but there’s nothing to complain either. The S4 supports 1080p@30fps.


The Galaxy S Evolution – Infographic

It all started with Samsung launching the Samsung Galaxy S android smartphone in 2010, which had decent sales. They improved on it with the Samsung Galaxy S2 and had even more success with the Galaxy S3. Now with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4, will the Galaxy S series become the most popular smartphone series in the world? I guess we will have to wait and see. Meanwhile, take a look at the below infographic on the evolution of the Galaxy S series.

Samsung Galaxy S Evolution

Samsung Galaxy S4, the most powerful smart phone in the world?

A couple of days ago in New York, Samsung unveiled its new flagship Android device, the much speculated Galaxy S4 (i9500). One year ago we saw the predecessor of this S4 the ever so successful Galaxy S3. When moving on from the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy S3 had a proprietary elegant design with poly carbonate exterior.  Samsung made the change in design due to Apple’s law-suits and other comparative reasons.  Due to the success in the S3 design,  Samsung  kept the same look in the S4 as well with some minor changes.

So lets kick off with the design and size in detail. The predecessor Galaxy S3 had a 4.8inch 720P display, with phone dimensions of 136mm, 70.6mm and 8.6mm. The new Galaxy S4 has a 5inch 1080P display, with phone dimensions of 136mm, 69.8mm and 7.9mm. So basically we have a phone similar to the  S3 design, with less thickness and 0.2 inch more screen area thanks to edge to edge screen technology. The Galaxy series generally have super displays and Galaxy S4 is no exception. It has a 1080P (441ppi) display which is powered by Samsung’s Super AMOLED HD display technology and it’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Power wise, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the world’s most powerful smartphone currently available. The reason for that are its power packed internal components. This new phone is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5410 octa core processor. Yes! it has 8 cores in total, inside the Exynos 5410 exists 4+4 cores, 4 ARM Cortex A7 CPUs at 1.2GHz and 4 ARM Cortex A15 CPUs at 1.6GHz, when you are doing simple tasks like web browsing, reading, etc etc Exynos 5410 will use the low power A7 cores but if you start a heavy duty task like gaming the Exynos’s A15 cores will kick in. This technology which is called big.LITTLE makes the SoC more powerful and at the same time makes the phone  more power efficient.

You might remember the original Galaxy S’s GPU the PowerVR 540 single GPU. It was the most powerful GPU at that time period but Samsung went ahead with the Mali-400 graphic solutions for their S2 and S3, The S2 had a Mali-400 dual GPU and S3 had a Mali-400 quad GPU but those are not powerful enough for the  GPU hungry games. So Samsung decided to go back to PowerVR solutions again with the S4, having a PowerVR 544 triple GPU which is running at 533MHz. According to anandtech  this GPU roughly can produce 51GFLOPS of GPU power, which means you can except iPhone 5 like GPU power.

Samsung Galaxy S3 had an 8mega pixel camera and it took some amazing pictures. This new Galaxy S4 has a 13mega pixel camera and it has more exciting features than the S3. The new camera interface has more scene selections like Eraser, Cinema photo, Drama shot and Sound and Shot. In Eraser mode you can erase the unwanted background area and in the Cinema photo mode you got some exciting freeze features while you record a video. Now you can enable both cameras at the same time to take a picture, so you will not be left out in the group picture. By the way both cameras support 1080P video recording.

Samsung Galaxy S4

As you know, Samsung heavily customizes the Android OS through their TouchWiz UI. This new Galaxy S4 runs the Android 4.2.2 with the latest features built-in. This new OS includes Air View, Samsung Smart Pause, Samsung WatchON, Optical Reader, Group Play, ChatON dual video call, S Translator, S Health and more. Air view lets you control the mobile phone with gestures above the screen, while smart pause will hold the video your playing if you look away from the screen. Lot of nifty features but it is unlikely that they will be used heavily in day to day activities.

Looking at the Galaxy S4, it is powerful piece of hardware with some tweaks in the software of its predecessor. However, since there is no major change in design or any new wow features, one does feel a bit disappointed with the Galaxy S4. Just when they were edging past the iPhone, they seem to have lost steam…sigh.

 

Galaxy S4 Full Specifications

Processor: Exynos 5410/ PowerVR 544MP3 GPU.

RAM: 2GB

Display: 5inch 1080P (1920×1080) Super AMOLED.

Internal memory: 16GB/32GB/64GB plus SD card slot up to 64GB.

Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, NFC.

OS: Android 4.2.2 with TouchWIz UI interface.

Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro meter, proximity meter, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture.

Battery: 2600mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Camera in focus

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is an interesting product. It’s not a particularly revolutionary device, by which I mean, its not going to claim first to market on its head line features. It is not the first Android powered pure camera (Nikon holds that title) and its also not the first pure camera with wifi/wireless data connectivity. Even Samsung has several models in its stable with wifi connectivity. It is probably the first camera to feature 3G/4G connectivity on board, but phone cameras have been doing that for years. There are also plenty of cameras on the market with GPS sensors onboard.

What the Galaxy Camera does have is a compelling mix of features. Android as an Operating System has a pretty powerful set of applications for image editing, such as Photoshop Touch. Samsung already has experience in this arena, Photoshop Touch is one of the pre-loaded apps on the Galaxy Note 10, which is a pretty formidable mobile editing platform with its 10 inch screen and S-Pen, which has Wacom technology.

Galaxy Camera Editing

The device on the Hardware side is pretty much equivalent to the Galaxy SIII, using the same screens, CPUs and graphics processors. What this means in real world terms, is that any software development on the SIII (currently Samsung’s flagship, so commanding the maximum support from Samsung’s development resources) will technically be portable to the Camera with little effort. So it should be in line for updates right at the top of the tree. It beats the Nikon S800C Android camera in having Android 4 on board as shipped, compared to the Nikon’s 2.3 Gingerbread flavour.

On the Camera side, the sensor used is larger than a standard phone camera sensor, the lens is pretty decent with a f2.8 aperture at its widest, and covering a zoom range that covers the 35mm equivalent of 23mm to well over 400mm. This is a lot more than what was classed as superzoom compacts just a few short years ago. (Not currently, Canon’s current superzoom is a 50x zoom, 24-1200mm equivalent). The camera controls offer a decent amount of manual control. It has some innovative smart modes which will makes things easier for photo enthusiasts who want a certain effect, but don’t know manual controls get that effect manually.

Along with the good, there is a couple of bad. First up, lag. Rather than a snappy response, the camera app is reported to be a bit on the slow side. Now, this might be no worse than many of the current crop of point and shoot cameras, but this is what we have from the reviews. The other issue is the small battery. The battery is a rather small 1650mAh unit, quite a bit smaller than the battery on the Galaxy SIII phone. The battery is rated for 350 shots. Not too impressive by DSLR standards, but 300-400 shots is pretty normal for point and shoots. However, this camera also uses GPS, has a data transmission capability that, as experience with camera phones has shown, can kill a battery pretty quickly. Also, that big touchscreen can be used for things other than just as a viewfinder for taking pictures. It can be used for editing the pictures that have just been taken, and image manipulation is a rather processor intensive task, which in turn, drains battery.

But this is not just a picture and video tool, but a fully fledged Android device. Using Google Maps to find your way to what you are shooting, checking in with Latitude /Foursquare/Facebook, and then killing some time with Angry Birds, or watching a movie or listening to some music, there are many ways this camera can drain this small battery very y quickly.

Samsung Galaxy Sharing

On the pure camera front. the Galaxy Camera is equipped with a 16mp sensor. All well and good, but don’t expect this to be replacing a DSLR any time soon. As is typical from a high megapixel, tiny sensor camera, viewing images at 100% is pretty dismal. However,checking things out on the LCD, things look good, and for smaller images and just sharing online, it seems great.

And this really is the whole point of this device. Its not a professional’s tool, its a social tool. Why choose it over a regular smartphone? Well, the zoom range and pop up flash is much, much better than any smartphone. And with that comes the opportunity to get more done than with a smartphone. It is a trade off between the money you spend and the money you can earn. There are people that do live blogging and live video streams using iPhones, and this device can aim right at that market segment. As a bonus, you don’t use up your phone battery, so you can still keep in contact with people.

But do what, exactly? These things don’t come cheap. Costing over $600, it comes in at about the same price point as a base level SLR. So the trade off for losing the image quality is the ability to post instagrammed pictures on facebook immediately? Not to mention the system is pretty much stuck in a WYSIWYG mode. There aren’t any more extensions like you would have with an SLR, no external flashes, no filter systems, nothing like that. Like I said, this is not a professional’s tool, although it can be used to provide some services in certain situations.

In my last article, I looked into the CameraMator system. On the surface, it does seem to offer similar functionality, but it means adding a $300 price tag on top of the cost of a DSLR and accessories. However, its not just about sharing pictures on FB when looking at business opportunities. With something like the Galaxy Camera, simple social media is where it stops. With a DSLR, you can add a immediate high quality printing service. Follow up prints, blown up pictures. RAW control. External lights. Professional tools simply allow you to do more, and do it faster.

So in summary, the big question is, why should you get one? Why indeed? The thing is, it depends as much on your personality as it does on your requirements. As it currently stands, I would have bought one, since it does suit my requirements, but, not at this price point. For me, its too much money for what I am getting, so this generation, I’ll give it a pass. However, it is a segment that I would keep a close eye on for future developments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihez2MKwphE