Samsung Galaxy S 4: Taking a Close Look at the Next iPhone Challenger

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-05-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is sleek, slim and lightweight, but very usable with its 5-inch screen and fast response time. This is clearly Samsung's next flagship Android smartphone, and it's equally clear that this product is aimed squarely at Apple's iPhone in an attempt to go the iconic iPhone one better. To accomplish this, the Galaxy S 4 adds to the earlier Galaxy S III's feature set with technology that Apple does not appear to have even thought of. Perhaps most notable, the Galaxy S 4 has a touch screen that you don't even need to touch. Not only does this phone have an improved voice control system, but it's got something no other phone seems to have—­the ability see gestures that you make in the air near the phone. In other words, despite having a good touch screen, you don't have to do so much as touch this phone to use it. This phone will also watch you while you use it by doing things such as keeping the screen turned on while you're looking at it or pause a video when you look away. And, of course, the Galaxy S 4 has all of the features you'd expect, including Bluetooth 4.0, near field communication (NFC), a 14-megapixel camera with editing features, and support for Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 802.11ac.

 
 
 
  • Samsung Galaxy S 4: Taking a Close Look at the Next iPhone Challenger

    by Wayne Rash
    1 - Samsung Galaxy S 4: Taking a Close Look at the Next iPhone Challenger
  • Galaxy S 4 Fits Easily in the Hand

    The white case on this Samsung Galaxy S 4 shows off how slim the borders on the screen actually are. Despite the 5-inch screen, this phone is only marginally larger than the BlackBerry Z10, which has a 4.2-inch screen. Compared with an iPhone 5, the screen seems huge.
    2 - Galaxy S 4 Fits Easily in the Hand
  • The Smartphone as a Life Companion

    Samsung bills the Galaxy S 4 as a "Life Companion" and says it will give its users a richer, simpler and fuller life. During the testing of this phone, I didn't get any richer, and nothing happened to simplify my life, which was already pretty full. However, Samsung says that using this phone will connect you with what matters in life, such as your friends and family. It does indeed connect you easily, and the phone calls are quite lifelike, which is an improvement over some smartphones.
    3 - The Smartphone as a Life Companion
  • Access the Time, Weather and Search at a Glance

    You can access the phone's features in one touch along with mail and Internet access. The apps are another touch away. This is the default home screen of the Galaxy S 4. However, like most Android phones, you can change how this looks and what apps appear on the home screen. Above the screen you see the light, proximity and gesture sensors, the 2-megapixel camera, and an LED that alerts you to things like email or messages. The action of the LED is customizable. At the bottom of the screen is a home button that also invokes the voice command.
    4 - Access the Time, Weather and Search at a Glance
  • Galaxy S 4 Displays a Grid of Icons

    You get three screens of app icons when you take the phone out of the box. As you can see, Samsung includes its voice dictation apps including S Voice and S Memo. Google searches are also voice-enabled. You can create folders for apps you want to keep together. At the top of the screen the status icons remain, so you can see the time, the connectivity status, the temperature in your location and the battery status.
    5 - Galaxy S 4 Displays a Grid of Icons
  • Tab Provides Instant Access to Basic Functions

    There's a tab on the side of the screen that presents a few basic functions for quick access. You flick the tab open with your finger. It closes by itself if you don't do anything after opening it.
    6 -Tab Provides Instant Access to Basic Functions
  • Galaxy S 4's Rear-Mounted 13-Megapixel Camera

    Turn the phone over and you'll see a 13 (yes, thirteen) megapixel camera along with an LED flash. Those slots at the bottom are a speaker port. This back is removable.
    7 - Galaxy S 4's Rear-Mounted 14-Megapixel Camera
  • You Can't Do This on an iPhone

    The back of the Galaxy S 4 comes off to reveal the 2,600-mAh battery. Samsung sells an external battery charger so that you can keep a fresh battery on hand for when the large screen and multiple communications options ultimately drain it. Removal of the back is quick and painless.
    8 - You Can't Do This on an iPhone
  • Getting Inside the S 4

    You have to remove the battery to remove the SIM card, as is the case with nearly every phone. The SIM slides out easily. There's also a card tray for a micro SD card. The black rectangle below the battery pack is the speaker.
    9 - Getting Inside the S 4
  • Camera, Video and Volume Control Are on the Left Side

    The long bar on the left side of the phone (as you look at the screen) is the volume control, which controls how loud the ringer and the earpiece sound. This control can also operate the camera zoom feature and a variety of other camera and video functions.
    10 - Camera, Video and Volume Control Are on the Left Side
  • Microphone and Micro-USB Ports Are on the Bottom

    This phone keeps it micro-USB port on the bottom. That tiny hole to the left is one of the microphone ports. You use the micro-USB port for charging the phone and for data transfer.
    11 - Microphone and Micro-USB Ports Are on the Bottom
  • Power/Lock Button Is on the Right

    The small button on the right side of the phone is the power/lock button. The small notch below and to the right of the button is the slot that you use to open the back of the phone. You can open the phone with a finger nail or a small screwdriver, and then carefully pull the plastic back off as you move your hands around the perimeter of the phone.
    12 - Power/Lock Button Is on the Right
  • Headphone Jack, Microphone Port and Infrared LED Are on the Top

    The large hole on the right side of the top is the headphone jack. Next to that is a tiny microphone port. On the left side of the top is the opening for the infrared LED that's there so you can use the phone as a remote control. Yes, the phone includes a complete television directory and integrated remote control. For many customers, this is a necessary capability to make the Galaxy S 4 a true life companion.
    13 - Headphone Jack, Microphone Port and Infrared LED Are on the Top
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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