Monday, 18 March 2013




Good afternoon, Synapse Circuit Readers! I hope that all is well and that the weather is treating you good where you are! At the moment London is dry and threatens to rain later on! Here come the pre-April showers! I have understood that more snow is on the way! Gadzooks! Hey, I can see that you have been enjoying my Galaxy S4 blogs and here’s a continuation... Apologies if I vagued out on the “design” blog... I think I must have been up around 6AM! Nobody can say that I am not dedicated! Lol! Here I am at a reasonable hour with focus and a mug of strong coffee...

The beauty of the phone is the highly crafted design encompassing a larger screen size and battery, minimized bezel; all housed in a light (130g) and slim (7.9mm) shape. The Samsung GALAXY S 4 is slimmer yet stronger, with less to hold yet more to see. It has come up with simply unreal beauty. At launch, two color options will be available - Black Mist and White Frost; with a variety of additional color options to follow later this year.

It is good to know that there are more colours coming – as predicted (not a difficult prediction, I know) but by the time my contract is up for renewal these colours won’t mean much to me other than a bit of envy if they do my Electric Blue! Lol!

As you can see, the S4 is thinner than its predecessor and as a big-ish burly man with big hands I do not know how this will translate into user experience. I felt that the S3 was tricky to hold when taking pictures and videos; I was ever so nervous about testing a review unit in case someone knocked it out of my hands by accidentally bumping into me! So, if I am going to upgrade to the S4 then I will have to invest in a protective case straightaway!

“With the GALAXY S 4, Samsung is again going to enhance the way we live,” said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung. “All the innovative features of GALAXY S 4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world. Following the successful GALAXY S series, this phone is yet another great proof point of people-inspired innovation. At Samsung we’ll never stop pursuing innovation conceived by people, so we can inspire them in return.”

It is great when a company listens to the consumer and gives them what they, we, I want! Let’s have a look at some more of its features...

Meaningful Moments - Gives Greater Enjoyment

A rich life is one that’s filled with meaningful moments and the GALAXY S 4 captures and shares those special moments. The GALAXY S 4 has the world’s first Full HD Super AMOLED display to showcase images at their very best. Its 5-inch large screen has 441ppi for stunning viewing quality. The Samsung GALAXY S 4 also utilizes Corning’s new Gorilla® Glass 3, making it a durable travel companion for all of life’s adventures.

Samsung has finally delivered a handset with a more than decent screen! It is said that the human eye cannot discern pixels beyond 441 ppi. I can’t wait to experience the new full HD Super AMOLED display! I like the idea of the screen adapting to the medium for optimisation and, I assume, battery conservation.

Equipped with a 13 megapixel rear camera, the GALAXY S 4 also boasts a ‘Dual Camera’function that allows simultaneous use of both front and rear cameras. When capturing moments, users can choose from a variety of frame effects which blend the two pictures naturally and also adjust the size of the small picture inside the big one. Users can select 8 different ways to combine the two photos taken by the front camera and the rear camera. At the same time, the ‘Dual Video Call’ function enables you to make and receive a video call with friends and family while showing what you are looking at during the call.

The camera functionality extends beyond Dual Camera, as the device is also equipped with 12 outstanding shooting modes including ‘Drama Shot’, which allows you to see all the action in one continuous time-lapse, and ‘Sound & Shot’, which uniquely stores sound and voice together as the picture is taken so those special moments are captured in the truest form imaginable, exactly as they happened.

Again, I am very, very happy that the S4 features a potentially better camera. I love taking photos and videos with my handset – the camera on the S3 was excellent as is the Note II camera. But the 13MP on the S4 could result in pictures of a very high quality as I am sure it will! Test and review coming as soon as I am able to get my hands on one!

Certainly, I think the dual camera features are awesome! And the camera modes are exciting: ‘Drama Shot’, ‘Sound & Shot’ and being able to create animations out of shot material could see a great resurgence of the animated GIF! I can see Twitter bursting with these animations!  

These meaningful moments can also now automatically be stored in a photo album, with the new ‘Story Album’ function. Photos taken by the GALAXY S 4 are automatically gathered and sorted out according to your timeline, geo-tagging information, or a specific event to create a photo album. These unique story albums can be ordered and delivered as an offline photo album through a new partnership with Blurb, so you can keep those precious moments safe to look at and share time and time again.

This is what I love about Samsung in that they are creating great software features for their premium handsets that started out with the Galaxy Note. The Story Album is a great feature that I know I’ll be using!

True Connections – Brings People Together

Samsung GALAXY S 4 enables true connections with the people in our lives.  It is more than a personal device that can be enjoyed by one user - it makes the most of our relationships allowing us to easily share and experience many of life’s pleasures together with family and friends, wherever you are.

With its ‘Group Play’ function, users can enjoy music, photos, documents and games with those around them without even requiring a Wi-Fi AP or cellular signal. This innovative feature enables users to connect directly with others to share, play and co-create content and entertainment instantly. Its ‘Share Music’ option allows users to have the same song playing on multiple phones in sync to create the best party atmosphere.

This is pretty good; it’s not quite the music features that I would have had if it were up to me! I wanted the possibility to make music on the fly as it were. Yes, there are great apps for music making on the Android platform. I just wanted Samsung to include its own app or take a well known music app and develop it!

Of course, the ability to share easily is very good! I occasionally go to new product demonstrations and it would be good if certain mediums could be easily shared!

The GALAXY S 4 brings all people closer together by breaking down language barriers. It makes international travel a joy, with ‘S Translator’ which provides instant translation, using text or voice translation on applications including email, text message and ChatON. This instant translation is possible both from speech to text and text to speech and ensures that you can rely on the correct information whilst abroad.

The ‘S Translator’ appears to be an extension of the Google Translate app. The way that Samsung has developed this translation feature is really useful and it integrates nicely with the rest of the features. I like it! It’s Star Trek! I wonder when Samsung will invent a mic that wirelessly connects with a future premium Galaxy handset that translates in real time audibly to and from?

The GALAXY S 4 supports HSPA42 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.

This is fantastic news for all those (especially here in the UK) wishing to have that wonderful speed that LTE 4G supplies! Again, I am looking at the “Ultrafast” network provided by Three – at no extra cost that will prove to be very fast indeed! From what I have understood, the “Ultrafast” connection is a tad slower than 4G. We’ll see!

Effortless Experience - Makes Things More Convenient

In today’s world, we are all looking for smart ways to make life easier and less stressful. The GALAXY S 4 ensures that tasks are effortless with innovative features that detect your face, voice and motions to enable screen control with no need for finger touch activation.

If you are familiar with the Galaxy Note II then you will know this feature through the second generation S Pen. Here you don’t need a pen, just your finger!

‘Samsung Smart Pause’ enables 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 you to scroll the browser or emails up and down without touching the screen. It recognizes your face looking at the screen and movement of your 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. You can even see a magnified view on the internet browser, or a phone number saved in the speed dial on the keypad. With ‘Air Gesture’, you can change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of your hand. 

This, I will have to test! I think it is amazing what Samsung have come up with for the S4! It does sound too good to be true! Lol!

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.

The ‘S Voice’ looks like an improvement – the demonstration at the launch makes the ‘S Voice’ come across like the virtual assistant in Iron Man albeit with a female voice (which I prefer).

‘Samsung Optical Reader’ makes life yet more effortless, by automatically recognizing text, a business card or QR code information, and providing useful functions such as translation, call, text message and search.

Again, this function could come from some apps, but I am glad that this is integrated into the S4; I go to many conventions and instead of collecting info such as business cards, etc I can put the info directly into my phone! Cool!

At home, using ‘Samsung WatchON’, 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. In addition, you can enjoy various content including live TV, cable TV and VOD based on the rich information provided by EPG (Electronic Program Guide).

This is a nice idea but there will be additional hardware costs i.e. a Samsung television and set-top box... I am assuming that one has to buy further into Samsung hardware for compatibility. So, I know what TV I’m getting this Xmas! Lol!

Empowered Living - Takes Care Of Your Health and Quality of Life

The GALAXY S 4 empowers your life by keeping you up-to-date with health and wellbeing information using the new ‘S Health’ software. The combination of sensors built within the device systematically and automatically monitors your health, surroundings and so much more to help improve your quality of life. Also, users can easily check their health conditions using food diary, exercise diary and sleep monitor to stay fit and healthy. (Certain functions are enabled by specific accessories.)

To further protect your wellbeing, ‘Samsung Adapt Display’ provides an optimal viewing experience, customized for each type of application, and ‘Samsung Adapt Sound’ offers an optimal level and type of sound, personalized for each user, to make the most out of life.

I love the idea of being able to focus more on my health! Being a writer / journalist is a full-time – almost 24 / 7 way of life for me and I have burned myself out on occasion! I envisage setting up alarms for winding down and getting good sleep; programming my diet to avoid certain foods and scheduling some exercise. I do this already, but I have to admit that it is a great effort! Sometimes I just can’t be asked! If I could I’d lose weight just from writing the blogs, etc! Lol! I guess that’s not going to happen! I wish the S4 would administer an electric shock when I go near chocolate! Lol!

Samsung GALAXY S 4 will be available from Q2 globally including US, partnering with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, as well as US Cellular and Cricket. In Europe, Samsung GALAXY S 4 is partnering with global mobile operators such as Deutsche Telecom, EE, H3G, Orange, Telenor, Telia Sonera, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

Are you from the UK? Great news if you are from the UK and are looking to upgrade to the Galaxy S4! It is going to be available from the 26th April! Yay!

In the next blog I am going to be asking, ‘Is the Galaxy S4 a game changing handset?’ Unsurprisingly, the competition and some non-Samsung fans to not think so... Lol! Stay tuned...

Thank you for reading!

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