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Friday, April 26, 2013

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

The world’s most popular Android phone is at it again. Samsung released specifications for the sequel to the hugely popular Galaxy S3 earlier last month at the Galaxy S4 release event in New York City. With rumors abound of eye-controlled browser navigation, the Galaxy S4 ended up living up to hype surrounding the long anticipated release.

The basics
On first glance, the Galaxy S4 retains the design aesthetic cherished by some and loathed by others. While it still comes in your basic black mist or white frost, the familiar polycarbonate covering is amplified with a slim metallic trim which elevates the device away from the less luxurious feel of the plain plastic back on the S3. Although the S4 can hang the heavy weights in screen size, when it comes to total weight the S4 comes in at a light 130 grams.

You think the retina display on the iPhone 5 is clear, check out the HD Super AMOLED  full five inch screen. Although that may seem like a minimal upgrade from the S3’s 4.8 inches, Samsung managed to add screen space while simultaneously making the device overall narrower, thinner, and lighter. Screen real estate is a premium and the Galaxy S4 clocks in at 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm. Finally, you won’t be able to discern any fuzziness on the S4 with its 441.5 pixels per inch display which rivals the new HTC One.
The Galaxy S4 may look a lot like its older brother the S3, but there are some distinct differences even at the surface level. The S4 will be the first mass market phone to take advantage of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Corning outdoes itself this time with a screen that is three times more scratch resistant than its predecessor, while becoming thinner and sleeker. Check out thisYouTube video for a testament to the S4’s scratch resistance as it goes head to head with a variety of knives and pennies.

The nitty gritty
The guts of the S4 are fairly standard with 2 GB of RAM and a powerful battery of 2600 mAh. Carriers will offer 16, 32, and 64 GB versions of the phone. As with the S3, you can buy extra storage using the microSD card slot if you feel the 64G version alone just won’t do it for you. Naturally, the S4 is LTE equipped for lightning fast down download speeds.

The cool stuff
While Samsung really elevated the S4 on the software side, there are still some hardware upgrades that are noteworthy. The S4 comes with an IR blaster for those times when you are searching high and low for that blasted remote. You can simply use your S4 as a universal remote to access your TV and entertainment sets.
On the hardware site, Samsung gave the camera a big upgrade as well on this edition. The S4 has 13 MP sensor on the rear camera, up from 8 MP on the S3. The front camera has video chat capabilities and a 2 MP sensor. The camera capabilities are where Samsung leaped some bounds on the software side. “Dual Shot” eliminates the need of finding an external third person to be kind enough to take a shot of you and your buddies. Dual shot takes a picture on both the front and rear cameras and then superimposes your image into the final picture. For those pictures where everyone is looking every which way, Samsung offers “Best Face” which lets you take multiple shots of a group picture and compile everyone’s best face into a final compilation shot.

This article would be incomplete without mention of the S4’s most anticipated features: Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. Both take advantage of the fact that the S4 comes with the capability of knowing when you are looking at the phone directly. The Smart Scroll lets you tilt up or down to browse when directly looking at the screen while the Smart Pause will automatically pause a video when you happen to turn away.

Where and when you can get it
Within two weeks of product preview, Samsung had received 10 million pre-orders for the S4, outdoing the previous S3 record of 9 million. Here’s where you can join the ranks with 10 million other customers waiting to get their hands on an S4 once it is officially released at the end of this month. Head over to your carrier’s website or store. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint all offer the S4 on their networks. Big box retailers like Wal-mart, Staples, and Best Buy will also be selling the S4 in stores.

About author: Angie Picardo, she writer for NerdWallet. She helps to consumers finncially to save some money with the best online savings account.


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