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The Galaxy S4 is here... and it’s great

New phone may look like the S3, but its way smarter and got much more oomph under the hood

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Go wow: Models display the Samsung Galaxy S4 at a press conference in Dubai on Tuesday

Dubai: Its ironic that just as Samsung was unleashing the S4 in the UAE, Apple was announcing a 18% drop in profits for the first time in a decade. The comparison is inevitable because Samsung’s Galaxy S series has become the direct competitor to the iPhone and the slowing down of iPhone sales and the dip in Apple profits has a lot to do with surging Galaxy sales, especially S3.

Speaking at a glitzy launch event of the most anticipated phone in recent times (its no wonder they chose the Armani Hotel in the towering Burj Khalifa to launch their towering offering), Kim Young Soon, President of Samsung said the S4 is the best in class smartphone by a mile. And there’s reason enough to believe him.

The S4 may look like similar to the S3 – it has a 5” vivid, HD-capable super-amoled screen (4.8 on S3), but its smaller, thinner, lighter (130 gm) and smarter, much smarter. The battery has more juice (2,600 mAH against 2,300 mAH on S3), while the processor on the 3G version is beefed up at 1.6 GHZ quad core with an additional 1.2 GHZ quad core that kicks in when the phone senses a need for speed. Plus there’s 2GB of RAM.

The real magic is however, under the hood. The phone follows your face and can pause a video if you look away. Scroll web pages by moving your gaze or waving your hand in front of the phone, browse through pictures by hovering your finger over the phone, zoom in and out on text through the same gesture, scroll across screens with a wave, change a song or a video with the flip of your hand.

Wait there’s more. It has got a S translator which can translate your sentences into ten languages (imagine travelling to distant places?), S Health (works with an accessory band or belt) through which you can monitor your pressure, heartbeat, calorie intake, exercise – in short it keeps you up to speed with your health status.

Hang on, don’t go wow yet. The phone’s got dual cameras (13MP rear, 2MP front – SIII had 8MP) that can be used simultaneously. With drama shot you can get a continuous burst into one composite shot, while sound and shot allows you to insert a 9-sec voice message with each picture. With group play S$ users can share, play or view music, photos, content, multi-gaming in a group.

It also has a ingenious flip cover accessory with a small window that lets you see notifications and take calls without opening the cover.

On the whole, the boys from Korea have made the phone almost human and going forward this is one area all others, yes even the iPhone will have to do some major catching-up with.

The 3G version will be in stores from April 27 and is priced at Dh2,599, while the 1.9Ghz quad core 4G LTE version is expected in about two weeks time.


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