Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Ever since we told tech companies about introducing a tech review section on our website and magazine – products have been rolling in to our offices.
One of the great things about having such a large phone manufacturer in your backyard is access to the newest stuff.
That particular day, we received a briefing on the new .
It didn’t have the cachet of a Steve Jobs iPhone introduction, but as a tech writer, I was just as excited to see the S4 for the first time as I was when I watched Steve Jobs introduce the first iPhone.
We were not sure if we were able to get the , but last Saturday, a courier delivered one to our office.
It’s been 11 months since  released the Galaxy S3, which was the best-selling phone in the world for the third quarter of 2012. The Galaxy phones are really the closest competitor to Apple’s iPhones.
Let me be the first to say that as an iPhone user, I’m completely jealous of the features of the S4.
It seems like every time a new iPhone comes out, there are always people who want a bigger screen, more storage, expandable memory, replaceable battery and more.
Well, the Galaxy S4 has all those things.
Let’s begin with the screen, which is a 5-inch Super-Amoled with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is 441 pixels per inch. Compare that with the iPhone 5’s 4-inch retina display, which is 326 ppi, and you’ll immediately notice how clear and sharp the S4 screen looks.
The processor is a 1.9 GHz quad-core running Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with two gigabytes of RAM.
Internal storage is 16GB or 32GB, along with a microSD card slot that can hold an additional 64GB.
The battery is a hefty 2,600 milliamp-hours, compared with the iPhone 5’s battery, which is 1,440 milliamp-hours. And consumers can replace the S4 battery themselves. Carry a spare in your pocket or bag, and you shouldn’t need to hunt for the charger at the end of the day. Samsung sells a nifty external battery charger with an extra battery for $49.
The Galaxy S4 is similar in size to the S3, but it’s thinner and lighter. The S4 weighs 4.58 ounces.
The main, rear-facing camera has a 13-megapixel sensor, while the front-facing camera’s sensor captures 2-megapixel images.
The two cameras can be used at the same time to insert the shooter (behind the camera) into the main photo (in front). It’s strange, but it works like picture-in-picture on your TV.
Samsung has created some shooting modes that really do magic.
There is an Animated Photo mode that creates animated GIF images in which most of the picture is still while a portion can move. Imagine a family portrait where all of the people are frozen, except for one, who is moving, blowing a kiss.
Drama mode lets you shoot a moving image as a series of still pictures and combines the images into one picture. You press the shutter button and the camera takes up to 100 pictures in a single burst. Then it combines the images. If a person is walking across the frame, you’ll see that person four or five times as if they’re captured in stop-action animation.
Sound and Shot mode lets you attach a snippet of sound to your photos, so everyone can be heard singing “Happy Birthday” in a photo of Grandma blowing out her candles.
Eraser mode lets you shoot a burst of photos of the same scene, then erase things you want to get rid of, such as a person who walks across the background of the photo.
There are 13 picture modes, and you’ll have fun trying them all.
The S4 shoots 1080p HD videos, including fast and slow-motion video.
If you have several friends with S4s, perhaps at a party, one person can start playing music and, by enabling Group Play, create a small wireless network that can beam that song to the friends’ S4 phones to play simultaneously.
You can also use Group Play to share photos or documents, so everyone can have their own version of your slide presentation in their hands.
WatchON turns your Galaxy S4 into a remote control for your home entertainment system via a tiny IR blaster on the top of the phone.
Combined with Samsung’s software, you can call up your TV guide, which is available for all the major TV services. The TV guide is kind of like looking at Netflix, in that you can flip through available shows and start watching them on your TV by selecting them on the phone.

If you have a Samsung TV, you might even watch the shows on your phone though your home’s Wi-Fi network.
Likely the best new feature is Easy Mode, which is a way to help people who don’t want so much clutter on their screens. If you’re not too tech-savvy but still want a smartphone, Easy Mode lets you customize your home screens to show only the icons you want to use and hide the rest. This is perfect for someone like my mom, who likes her phone but doesn’t want to see features or apps she’ll never use.
Air Gestures uses a new infrared sensor to detect objects (like your finger) near the screen without touching the screen. When you hover your finger over objects, they highlight before you touch them.
This is handy for showing drop-down menus and answering the phone by just waving your hand across the screen.
If you hover over a date on your calendar, appointments will appear in a floating window and disappear when your finger moves away.
The S4 is a real joy to use, and it’s refreshing to see that Samsung’s not afraid to pack in all the latest features (I’m shaking my fist at Apple here).
It has everything the geekiest geek would want, and the Easy Mode makes it a nice choice for users who want a simpler experience.
We recommend everyone purchase the Galaxy S4 phone and see for yourself if  – “The next big thing is here!”

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