I admit that when the Galaxy S 4 launched back in May I thought it was feature overload. I was skeptical about many things: Who’s really going to use air gestures? All these camera features? Nah, pass! Later on, when I got my review unit I didn’t know where to start. I was finally getting used to my Galaxy S III and I had to start over. I didn’t think there was really a need to upgrade. Find out if I was wrong or right about that.
If you recall, when I took my first look at the Samsung Galaxy S 4 at the official announcement back in March, I wasn’t too impressed. The phone looked similar to the Galaxy S III, and I believed the features were overkill. Coming in at the same time that HTC had announced their new shiny android flagship, the HTC One, the Samsung didn’t have the physical appeal. Many were over the plasticky look and were ready to move on to new things, that looked new as well.
Living With That Frame
When it came to the physical make-up of the Samsung Galaxy S 4, it looked like nothing changed but in fact there were many changes. While the phone didn’t get any larger, the screen did. And boy was that screen beautiful. It makes you want to do more things on your phone and feel more comfortable doing them. The phone is actually sleeker than the S III. How did Samsung do it? I don’t know, but you wont find me complaining about a bigger screen size on a smaller phone. The screen size isn’t only bigger, it’s better. You have a higher resolution on the S 4 and it has Gorilla Glass 3 (supposed to offer better protection of your screen). All in all it had the same look and feel, but the phone was also more powerful than the Galaxy S III from within as well.
Inner Power Shows On the Outside
Let’s talk about that power. The S 4 has a quad-core 1.9 GHz processor. Something expected and felt. When swiping through applications, playing games and trying out new apps; you could feel the fluidity and the speed of the processor. Coming from the S III’s dual-core processor it’s a much welcomed upgrade. Pairing that with the 1080P resolution 5″ display and you have magic.
I have my days where I watch tons of videos on my phone, but that’s not usually the case. I am often blogging, emailing and of course on social media. So most often I am looking at pictures on the Galaxy S 4. But when I am not looking at pics, I am taking them. It doesn’t help that I can barely see and I am also a perfectionist. That equals out to a loooot of pictures. I am great at testing out smartphone cameras. I know nothing about professional cams, but I love discovering the features that a smartphone camera has to offer.
Samsung definitely put me to work here. The camera on the Galaxy S 4 has got to be the biggest upgrade and one of the best features on the phone both in terms of hardware and software. Up five from the Galaxy S III, the Galaxy S 4 has 13 megapixel camera. They didn’t leave it at that. The 13MP camera has all sorts of features and shooting modes. Taking a cue from the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the S 4 camera’s controls are similar. One of the things that iPhone had over Android for a while, was the shutter speed of the camera. Easy to say that iPhone no longer tops out in that department. The S 4 takes pictures quickly and clearly. Samsung definitely realized the importance of the smartphone camera and put some serious work into it.
So what are my fave camera features?
Trying to get the perfect pose, and your hand in a spot to press the shutter button is quite the task. The annoying task!! Pictures either are clearly unfocused or the person shooting arm’s comes out in it. Just a hot mess! With Voice capture, you can “Say Cheese, Capture, Shoot” and the S 4 will snap away! As if I needed a reason to take more selfies!
Dual Shot is a cute little feature. It reminds me of the modern day postcard. With Dual Shot Shooting Mode, you are able to snap a pic from both the rear-facing camera and front-facing camera on the S 4. The image from the front facing camera is the size of a stamp and is overlayed on the screen-size image taken by the rear-facing camera. It’s a nice way to show your reaction to certain things, or a way to say a quick hello. A great thing about the Dual Shot feature is that it works with video mode as well.
Being able to erase moving objects from the background makes pictures look so much nicer. It’s one of those things that once you start using it, you don’t know how you lived without it. Remember that the picture must be taken in Eraser mode.
Although it’s not an essential camera feature, Animated Shot gives you a little something to play with and get creative. Creating GIFs are fun and are good for a quick laugh. You can check out a funny animated shot of mine (on my Google+ page) HERE: Analie’s Animated Shot
What Did I End Up Using the Most on the Galaxy S4?
After learning all the new features, playing with Air Gestures and the Smart Stay features, the feature I ended up using the most on a day-to-day basis was S Health. Samsung got it right on the money with this one.
The latest craze is health monitoring. There are few popular bracelets out there that monitor your health and calorie intake. Samsung takes it a step further by having a stock app that measures everything from the steps you take, to allowing you to input your food intake information. Since many people use their smartphones all day, it makes sense to incorporate these basic health monitor into it. I found myself setting new steps goals and opening that app at least 5 times a day.
The Not So Good I Noticed In 2 Months
So as I am raving about this phone, I forgot to mention a couple of things to lookout for. If you plan on using the Samsung Galaxy S 4 smart cover, you should be careful with your phone. While the Smart Cover does a great job of protecting your screen and giving you notifications, it leaves the metal border of the phone bare. If you drop your phone and it hits a border, the damage is almost always on the metal border. It could leave a barely noticeable dent, or worse cause damage to the screen. But that’s the risk YOU take when leaving your phone bare. I personally go all out and protect the border and the screen. Let’s be realistic now, these phones are filled with luxurious features, they are made to look the part as well. It’s up to you to protect it.
Did the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Hype Die Down With Time?
If someone was to ask for a new smartphone recommendation (I actually get asked quite often), depending on their level of tech savvyness I would recommend the Galaxy S 4. Given the time and money, you invest in a phone, the Galaxy S 4 has many possibilities for different consumers. They can start of slow with Easy Mode and work their way up as they gain knowledge. It’s great for those who actually wait the 2 year period to upgrade. They can go crazy with features till they tire their brains out. But for those who like to toss their phone around left and right without protection would be disappointed after about 6 – 8 months. The Galaxy S 4 isn’t pretty when it’s all banged up. But then again, what phone is? Samsung Galaxy S 4 definitely WON’T get boring after 2 months of use.
If you have had your phone for over 3 months, how do you feel about it? What do you notice now, that you didn’t notice in the beginning?
You can get the Samsung Galaxy S 4 for all major carriers (some in exclusive colors).
Find out more about purchasing the Galaxy S4 HERE