The Samsung Galaxy S4 was announced today at a special media event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Galaxy S4 is the latest flagship smartphone from the South Korean conglomerate, and it's the successor to the Galaxy S3, the most popular Android device of all time. The Galaxy S4 won't be hitting shelves for a couple of weeks, but we were lucky enough to get our hands on the device on launch day.
Although the Galaxy S4 was announced today, the Galaxy S4 release date—as in, the moment that the smartphone goes on sale to the general public—is pegged to the second quarter of 2013. The phone is expected to reach consumers by the end of April 2013. The Galaxy S4 price wasn't specifically addressed at Samsung Unpacked 2013, but the starting price has long been expected to start at $199 with a two-year contract, the price of the Galaxy S3 before it was reduced to $99. The Galaxy S4 price without a contract will likely cost between $700-800. Galaxy S4 pricing information hasn't been finalized, and it is subject to change until the day it actually hits shelves. Samsung hasn't confirmed or announced a Galaxy S4 price.
The Galaxy S4 launch in New York City was an over-the-top production announcing the latest flagship device from Samsung. At the event, which featured Broadway stars and an entire orchestra, Samsung touted the latest and greatest technology they've packed into the new smartphone. In addition to the top-tier smartphone specifications, the Galaxy S4 has a distinct and beautiful design.
Samsung reverted back to the "minimal organic" design popularized with the Galaxy S3 and other Galaxy-branded devices. The Galaxy S4 manages to keep the same general design of the previous model, but it has a slightly expanded Full-HD Super AMOLED display. The Galaxy S4 packs in 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI), and is noticeably nicer than most other smartphone screens on the market.
Galaxy S4 specs that we predicted were inevitably pretty accurate. In addition to sporting some of the best hardware of any smartphone on the market, the Galaxy S4 included several new software-based features. One of the most highly touted features preceding the event, "Smart Scroll," was an utter disappointment. The feature was supposed to scroll the screen automatically by recognizing whether your face was looking at the screen, then by reading the tilt of your wrist. At the launch party, several people previewing the device were either confused by the feature or simply couldn't get it to work.
Other Galaxy S4 features worked much better, and some were even praised. The "Air View" and "Air Gesture" controls were among the favorite features included in the device. "Air View" allows users to hover their finger over elements on the screen, such as a text message or email, and preview the content of that element. The previewing feature was initially introduced with the Galaxy Note 2, but users were required to use a proprietary stylus in order to get the hovering features of the phone to work. Now, users can simply use their fingers.
Additional features included in the Galaxy S4 are "Samsung WatchOn," which is essentially a remote control app. Since Samsung placed an IR Blaster in the smartphone, the Galaxy S4 is able to easily become a universal remote in your entertainment center. The beauty of "Samsung WatchOn" is the fact that you don't need to own a home entertainment theater made purely of Samsung products. Instead, you can control any TV, set-top box, DVD player or air conditioner with an IR receiver by using the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy S4 release date is also the release date of "S Health," which is brand new software created by Samsung that will help people monitor their health. The "S Health" software can be paired with new Samsung products such as the Samsung S Band, a pedometer-like bracelet that detects activity through the day. Users can import the S Band information into their phone or computer. "S Health" helps users track activity, dietary habits and sleeping habits.
"Samsung continues to bring devices to market that push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of design, performance and functionality and the GALAXY S 4 will be a valuable addition to Vodafone's portfolio," said Patrick Chomet, Group Director of Terminals at Vodafone in a statement.
"Vodafone will be offering the Samsung GALAXY S4 on a range of plans, including Vodafone RED, which will enable customers to make the most of their GALAXY S4 on our fast and reliable network," he added.
Although most people that attended the Galaxy S4 launch party in New York City were impressed with the device, most didn't know that the U.S. version of the phone would be significantly weaker than the international version. "In the U.S. the Galaxy S 4 will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor (quad-core 1.9GHz 800 series S4), while markets outside the U.S. will see the Exynos 5 octa-core (8 core) processor," reports Phone News.
The Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor has been touted since it was announced in the U.S., at CES 2013, which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Exynos 5 Octa has been shrouded in secrecy since it was unveiled, and that's mainly because the Exynos 5 Octa hasn't appeared in any mass-market smartphones. The Exynos 5 Octa earned phenomenal benchmark results when tested, and everyone suspected that Samsung would include the new processor in all versions of the Galaxy S4. It's still unclear exactly why Samsung would choose to slight its American fan base, but, for one reason or another, U.S. consumers will be getting a Qualcomm processor rather than a Samsung processor.
Only time will tell whether the Galaxy S4 is as big of a hit as the Galaxy S3, the most popular Android smartphone of all time. The Galaxy S4 release date is presumed to be before the end of April. Samsung has indicated that it will released the second quarter of 2013. The Galaxy S4 price is still up in the air, but it's expected to be about $199 with a two-year contract.