The Samsung Galaxy S4 is here at last, landing on Earth like a very small system of billions of stars held together by gravity, but looking rather more like a smartphone. Here's what stepped out of the spaceship door:
What we wanted: A bigger, sharper 5in screen
What we got: Kerching! 1920x1080 pixels is a big step up from the S3's 1280x720, propelling the S4 firmly into Full HD territory. A meagre 0.2-inch boost in screen size just about keeps up with inflation although frankly, a 5in screen is plenty big for any pocket-friendly device. It's Super AMOLED for stunning colours and has a stonking 441ppi pixel density that is retina sharp for eagles, hawks and dogs.
What we wanted: An eight-core processor
What we got: Your wish, sir, is Samsung's command. Sort of. The Octo-Core Exynos processor packed into the Galaxy S4 is made up of two four-core chips at a clock speed of 1.6GHz, providing plenty of grunt.
What we wanted: 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE and Jelly Bean OS
What we got: Has someone been peeking? The GS4, as we're calling it, will duly connect to the fastest mobile networks, knock other smarpthone's memories into a cocked hat and run only the sparkliest 4.2.2 verson of Android Jelly Bean.
What we wanted: A magic touch-less screen that we could just wiggle our pinkies over
What we got: Something must have got lost in translation. The Galaxy S4's Air View fingertip proximity detection lets you magnify web pages, photos and vidoes, or virtually 'right click' calendar entires, contacts and emails for previews – just hover a finger over the screen, closer than 2cm. There's also a neat Air Gesture mode that works up to 10cm away, to flip between songs and accept calls hands-free.
What we wanted: A 13MP camera with fully immersive 360-degree panoramas
What we got: One out of two ain't bad. The camera is Sony's impressive 13MP system, with great low-light capture. Standard panoramas are present and correct, and other imaging features include being able to shoot stills or video with the front and rear cameras simlutaneously, and add music or animations to your pics. Another surprise is an anti-photo bomb feature to automatically remove gurning fools from your best burst mode shots.
What we wanted: Science-fiction eye-tracking remote control
What we got: Smart Pause lets you pause videos by looking away from the phone – a curse for the easily distracted. The mooted Smart Scroll feature scrolls by tilting the phone, though – rather than tracking your eyes, as pre-release rumours suggested.
What we wanted: A premium metal finish
What we got: A polycarbonate case with a small bezel and some metal detailing. It's the S3 all over again, but slightly slimmer at 7.9mm, and weighing just 130g. Available in iPhone-alike shades of White Frost and Black Mist, it's not as much of an advance on the previous model as we'd hoped for.
What we wanted: The phone right here, right now
What we got: Sorry, there's still a little longer to wait. The S4 has an April 26th release date in the UK, with EE taking preorders from March 28th.
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