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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Samsung S4 new heir to Galaxy smartphone throne

 The S4 lives up to all the buzz to take over the torch for Samsung's outstanding range
WITH over 10 million units sold worldwide since its launch last month, an introduction to the Samsung Galaxy S4 seems somewhat redundant.

So we are going to head straight into discussing whether the latest addition to Samsung’s arsenal of Galaxy devices lives up to all the buzz.

There are two variants of Samsung Galaxy S4, one powered by the 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, and the other by Samsung’s Exynos 5 1.6 GHz Octa-core processor (which we find on our shelves here).

Octa-core, on paper, sounds astounding but, in reality, it is somewhat disappointing.

Make no mistake, it is fast: Multi Window and multi-tasking run much better here. But for that much processing power, it is fair to expect the device to run as smooth as butter all the time.

When you fire up the five-inch full HD display, the awe factor goes up.

The Super AMOLED display is stunning and you will soon forget about the cheap-looking and prone-to-grime polycarbonate back plate that covers the removable 2,600mAh battery, microSD slot and micro SIM slot.

We found the new features the Galaxy S4 came with to be rather useful, especially Air Gesture which lets you scroll up and down a web page, change music track, or even answer a call by waving your hand.

You can even wake the device up enough to show you the time and notifications that way.

With Samsung Smart Scroll, we can easily scroll up and down web pages by tilting the device. The only catch is that you can only use both Air Gesture and Samsung Smart Scroll on web pages opened with Internet Browser.

Other features include the S Translator which provides instant translation and Optical Reader which automatically recognises text, a business card or QR code information.

There is also the WatchON which transforms the device into an infra-red remote control for your home entertainment system including your television, set-top box, DVD player and air-conditioner.

Dubbed as the Life Companion, the Galaxy S4 also has an excellent snapper.

One of the best things about the Galaxy S4’s camera is its user-friendliness.

Owing to the camera software borrowed from the Galaxy Camera, swapping in-between the 12 modes onboard is a breeze.

The camera does extraordinarily well in an environment with good lighting, producing pictures with vibrant colours and details.

Otherwise, you’ll get some noisy pictures. However, the HDR mode manages to work very well in managing the tricky lighting scenarios.

Other Ingenious modes like Animated Photo which lets you create animated GIFs without leaving the camera app, and the Dual Camera function which allows simultaneous use of both front and rear cameras, also help make immortalising memories more delightful.

The battery in the Galaxy S4 holds up pretty well especially with the brightness turned down.

A full charge lasts a full day of heavy text messaging, web-browsing, taking pictures and multi-tasking between apps. It can easily last longer with Power Saving Mode turned on.

All in, the Galaxy S4 is an outstanding device despite its shortcomings and occasional stutters. It is undeniably deserving of taking over the S III in carrying the torch for the Galaxy line-up.

By Yeevon Ong

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