Samsung Galaxy S4 tracks your fingers and your eyes with magical Air and Gesture technology
We've already soiled our fanciest shirts drooling over the Samsung Galaxy S4's no-nonsense spec sheet. With its eight-core 1.6GHz Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, 13MP snapper and 5in full HD super AMOLED display, it's a spec fiend's dream.
Specs aren't everything however. With the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One (which we recently crowned as Stuff's number one smartphone) packing equally impressive hardware, Samsung has had to teach the Galaxy S4 a few new tricks – and it has, in the form of Air View and Air Gesture.
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Air View
Air View. That's the name of the Samsung Galaxy S4's most impressive party trick – and it'll be the envy of all your mates down the pub. Samsung has taken the S-Pen hover feature from the Galaxy Note 2 and made it finger-friendly.
In the gallery app, for example, you can hover your finger above a photo thumbnail to get a larger preview. Further finger hovering applications include summoning a magnifier in the browser, a speed dial number in the dialler and previewing emails, as well as your agenda for days in your calendar.
It looks impressive, feels like magic and offers something that none of the Galaxy S4's competitors has.
Exciting though it is, only time will tell if Air View is a fancy gimmick for wowing your friends or a genuinely useful feature. If developers like Flipboard (which has created a custom app with Air View support) continue to jump on board however, then Samsung could have a winner on its hands.
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Air Gesture
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will also have you waving at it, so get ready for a few odd looks. New Air Gestures will let you skip songs and accept calls with a simple hand wave, making hands-free driving that much easier.
A wave in the browser will swap tabs and a casual flick of the wrist in a list will teleport you to the top in the blink of an eye. Or, technically, the wave of a hand.
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Smart Pause and Smart Scroll
The Galaxy S3 had Smart Stay, a feature which kept the screen on for as long as you were looking at it. It achieved this with fancy eye-tracking tech, and the Galaxy S4 takes it a stage further.
Smart Pause will automatically pause a video when you've looked away from the screen, distracted by a flaming pigeon, unicycling midget or whatever else you might encounter on a night out in Camden. Ahem.
Smart Scroll is another feature Samsung has crammed in, which automatically scrolls up and down webpages when you tilt then phone.
Again, time (and developers), will tell whether or not all these features are fly-by-night gimmicks or genuine reasons to nab the Samsung Galaxy S4 over its stiff competition. One thing's for sure. Our eyeballs and fingers can't wait to find out. Check back for our hands-on review.