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Should You Buy Samsung Galaxy S4?

 March 15, 2013 03:47 PM

(By Mani) Korea's Samsung Electronics (PINK:SSNLF) has launched the fourth generation of Galaxy S series smartphone - Samsung Galaxy S4.

Samsung's Galaxy series have always been successful, with global channel sales of the company's flagship smartphones, Galaxy S3 and its two predecessors Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 surpassing 100 million units sales as of Jan. 13, 2013.

In May 2012, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S3, which achieved 20 million sales in just 100 days and became Samsung's fastest selling smartphone yet. Galaxy S3 has now passed the mark of 40 million unit channel sales.

So, let's see whether the new Galaxy S4 can emulate the success of its predecessors.

Galaxy S4, which runs on Android Jelly Bean operating system, comes with a 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display with a density of 441ppi for stunning viewing quality. The device also features Corning's new Gorilla Glass 3 for improved durability.

Though the big screen makes browsing easy and enables multi-tasking, it is certainly a bigger size for smartphone as some may prefer a smaller screen size.

We always prefer smartphone should be always a one-handed device, but Galaxy S4 is too wide to operate with one hand, which may work against its favor especially with those who already own a tablet.

Initial indications are that the addressable market for Galaxy S4 is probably one-third of the total smartphone market as large screens are probably not universally appealing to customers. The size of up to 4 inches is ideal for a smartphone. Nevertheless, Galaxy S3 with 4.8 inch screen was immensely successful.

"It seems to us that customers are getting a bit choosy, based on what device they already have. One size will not fit the entire market anymore," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.

Hope, Samsung may launch a cut-down version of S4 soon under the name Galaxy S4 Mini as it had done with S3.

The S4 is equipped with a 13 megapixel rear camera, with a ‘Dual Camera'function that allows simultaneous use of both front and rear cameras. It also has the ‘Dual Video Call' function that enables one to make and receive a video call with friends and family while showing what you are looking at during the call. These features are really impressive.

Almost everyone liked the Galaxy S4 Phone's ability to shoot 100 shots in 4 seconds, but this scenario makes no sense on the smartphone, may make more sense on a dedicated camera.

Moreover, many of the features that Samsung incorporated, are more of applications, which are available from the Apple AppStore or Google Play, as well.

"Samsung seems to be confused between what is an application and what is an operating system," Chowdhry noted.

For instance, the ability to have multiple video chats on Samsung Galaxy S4 is a nice feature, but if that is the interest of the user, then Google Hangout looks like a better option.

What we liked about Galaxy S4 is connectivity options. It supports HSPA+42 Mbps and 4G LTE which means wherever you are in the world, you can rely on perfect connectivity. Especially, the LTE version supports up to 6 different band sets which allows it to function in most LTE coverage areas as well as enabling global LTE roaming. Furthermore, TDD/FDD LTE Dual Mode version will be introduced later this year.

Other features include ‘S Translator,' which provides instant translation using text or voice translation on applications including email, text message and ChatON; face, voice and motions to enable screen control with no need for finger touch activation.

Here are some of the cool features:

‘Samsung Smart Pause' enables the use you to control the screen by where you look. When you are watching a video, the video pauses when you look away then it starts right up again when you are back.

‘Samsung Smart Scroll' allows to scroll the browser or emails up and down without touching the screen. It recognizes the face looking at the screen and movement of wrist and then scroll the pages up or down accordingly.

‘Air View' allows users to hover with their fingers to preview the content of an email, S Planner, image gallery or video without having to open it. With ‘Air Gesture', one can change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of the hand.

With ‘S Voice Drive' you can activate commands via voice control for optimization when driving. Once connected with a car Bluetooth, the phone automatically turns into driving mode converting text to speech so you can easily and safely check messages with no need to look at the screen.

 ‘Samsung WatchON' with the GALAXY S 4 will transform into an IR remote to control your home entertainment system including TV, set-top box, DVD player and even air conditioner.

Our Verdict: No doubt, Samsung Galaxy S4 is a top-class device, but we wonder whether it has the punch to drive the users of Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note to upgrade as much of the features are similar.

If someone is using Galaxy S3, they see S4 as just a minor improvement and they wouldn't want to replace the device in less than one year for just the improved camera and connectivity functions. Galaxy S3 also does both very well.

Moreover, many software features found on the Galaxy S4 are expected to come to the Galaxy S3 via firmware updates. Features like the S Translator, S Health, the new S Voice Drive and basically any software novelty that the Galaxy S4 boasts and sensors should be available to the rest of the company's high-end offerings, said Samsung VP of Portfolio Planning, Nick DiCarlo, in an interview with PC Mag,

In addition, the new camera interface, as well as some of the sweeter new TouchWiz UI features including Smart Pause and Smart Scroll might be ported to the Galaxy S3. So, it makes less sense for a Galaxy S3 user to upgrade to S4.

Meanwhile, if someone is using Galaxy S2 Note, they may like S4, but will not upgrade as they had recently purchased the S2 Note. On the other hand, the BlackBerry users would surely get attracted to S4.

Meanwhile, Apple users may not want to shift to S4 due to ecosystem constraints as it would be difficult for them to get in to Android after getting accustomed to iOS.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 will be available from the end of May in Europe before rolling out to other markets globally. No information on price as yet, but it is likely to cost at least $600 for an unlocked version.

We would suggest that the S3 users to stick with the device while the demand may not as strong for Galaxy S4 as with S2 and S3.

"We think Galaxy S4 will have a mediocre market acceptance, overhyped but under-delivered," Chowdhry noted.


Galaxy S4

Galaxy S3

Galaxy Note 2


136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133g

80.5 x 151.1 x 9.4 mm, 180 g


5 inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi

4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED (1280x720) display

5.5 inch HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720)

Operating System

Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)

Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) – Now upgradable to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)


1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor; PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU

Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9; Mali-400MP GPU

1.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor; Mali-400MP GPU


Main(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS

Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS

Main(Rear): 8 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BSI

Sub (Front): 1.9 Mega pixel camera, HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BSI

Main(Rear): 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI

Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI

Best Photo, Best Face, Low light shot

Other Camera Features

Dual Camera: Dual Shot / Dual Recording/ Dual Video Call

Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, 360 Photo, Cinema Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face

Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports

S Beam, Buddy photo share, Share shot

AllShare Play, AllShare Cast

Smart stay, Social tag, Group tag, Face zoom, Face slide show

Direct call, Smart alert, Tap to top, Camera quick access

Pop up play

S Voice

Burst shot & Best photo, Recording snapshot, HDR

Photo Note, Paper Artist, Air View

Popup Note, Popup Video

Shape Match, Formula Match, Idea Sketch

Samsung AllShare Play & Control


Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVC

Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)

Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark

Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)

Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, VP8, 

Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM

Full HD(1080p) Playback & Recording


Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X

Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X

Codec: MP3, OGG, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB), MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac

Music Player with SoundAlive


WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)


NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)

IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0

WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40



Bluetooth® 4.0(LE)

Bluetooth® v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE

USB 2.0 Host

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40

Wi-Fi Direct




Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer

Temperature & Humidity, Gesture

Accelerometer, RGB light, Digital compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer

Accelerometer, RGB Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer


16/ 32/ 64 GB User memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)


16/ 32GB User memory (64GB available soon) + microSD slot (up to 64GB)

16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM)

microSD (up to 64GB)


2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz

3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

4G (LTE Cat 3 100/50Mbps) : up to 6 different band sets(Dependent on market)

2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz

3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz

4G (Dependent on market)

3G: HSPA+ 21Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps)

4G LTE: 100Mbps/ 50Mbps (HDSPA 42Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps)


2,600 mAh

2,100 mAh

3,100 mAh



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