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This is the Samsung Galaxy S IV

Early this morning (at around 7am Manila time), Samsung pulled the proverbial cloth off its hotly anticipated Galaxy S IV smartphone at a massive launch ceremony in Radio City Music Hall in New York.

We couldn’t be there in person, so what we did instead – thanks to the kindness of Samsung Philippines and Bridges, its PR agency – was to stay over at the Dusit Hotel to catch a very early morning livestream of the NY event.

What we learned (in bullet form so we can get this article up faster! A little bit of a ‘feature dump’ but we know you folks won’t mind this early on):

  • The S4 has a larger screen than the S3 – 5in as opposed to 4.8in
  • More on the screen: full HD super AMOLED, 1080p, Gorilla Glass 3, 441 pixels per inch
  • It’ll have either a Samsung Exynos 5 or a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, depending on the region (according to other online sources – there was no mention of the processor during the launch itself)
  • It’ll be available in Manila “in the second quarter of 2013″, along with other international markets
  • It runs Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2)
  • Colors: white and black
  • Both 3G and 4G/LTE versions will be available
  • Removable 2,600 mAh battery
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB
  • 13MP main camera/2MP front-facing camera that can take over 100 shots in just a few seconds, and can also take composite shots with BOTH cameras
  • The S IV can also take a picture and combine it with a few seconds of audio
  • Smart Pause: videos will automatically pause when viewers look away and restart when they look back
  • Smart Scroll: users can scroll up and down by moving wrists and without needing to touch the screen
  • Air View: simply hovering one’s finger over certain links, such as those leading to messages, allows one to preview their content without touching the screen
  • Air Gesture: certain gestures allow users to scroll through menus and use the phone, again without needing to touch the screen
  • Group Play: content (pictures, documents and so on) can be shared with many S IV users via Bluetooth/NFC; they can even play music and listen to it through every connected phone (how’s that for a stereo experience while on the go?)
  • S Voice Drive for safe operation while driving
  • S Health: a whole bunch of sensors, like a pedometer, actively monitor fitness levels and users’ surroundings and even temperature and humidity levels. The S IV can even track users diets

We’ve checked out other articles online and the consensus appears to be that the S IV’s fallen off the options tree and hit practically every branch on the way down. That’s far from a bad thing, of course, at least on paper.

But how does it all work? The event organizers had a few pre-production units (no production models just yet) for us to play with, so we weren’t permitted to take pictures; we can, however, tell you how it felt, as we were given a few minutes to give the test units a whirl.

Initial findings? In the vein of Samsung’s recently introduced phones, the S IV is big but not bulky, and is appreciably slim and light. We especially appreciated the very thin side bezels, rather similar to the improvement Apple brought about when it introduced the iPad mini. It’s a snappy performer and all its ‘wow features’ make it very interesting to use (although we have to see how these things will do in the medium- to long-term, and how the market responds to them), especially the Air View, Air Gesture, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause features.

As for one of our biggest quibbles with its predecessor the S III – namely the rather insubstantial feel of certain parts, especially that of the back panel – we’ll have to have a look at a final production model to say whether or not Samsung’s finally managed to lick this issue. (In case you can’t tell, we’re champing at the bit to put a production unit through its paces [for at least a few weeks] when the phone is finally launched next quarter.)

So there you have it, folks – Samsung’s latest and greatest, the Galaxy S IV. More to follow – stay stuck!



Chris is into writing, tech, travel, photography, architecture, art and food - not necessarily in that order... He loves crispy Chinese noodles.

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