The latest Galaxy phone from Samsung is receiving mixed first-impression reviews from attendees and technology pundits, after having a chance to play with the device first hand.
“For the amount of hype put behind this event, I was hoping for more focus on the hardware, versus just the ‘Smart’ features,” said Shan Yun, a technology blogger based out of China.
Samsung’s latest iteration of their flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, was announced to a sold-out crowd in New York City at Radio City Theater Thursday, as it was being streamed over the Internet for the world to see.
The phone sports a five-inch high-resolution Super-AMOLED display, weighs in at 130 grams (lighter than the current Galaxy S III), and one of the most tweeted-about features from fans is the device’s 13-megapixel camera on the back.
“The really interesting aspect of this device is that it becomes a life companion for you,” Paul Brannen, vice-president of Samsung Mobile said.
Software was a large focus of Thursday’s event. Samsung played with the Radio City Theater theme, putting on a talent show featuring students from a New York City school. They applied the phone’s new features into real-life situations, demonstrating “S Translator,” an app that allows you to use voice to verbally translate phrases—perfect for world travelers.
Samsung’s “Dual Camera” feature will enable users to use both front and rear cameras to capture a photo from both cameras simultaneously. The app will superimpose the image from the front camera with the image from the back camera so that everyone can be in the shot—even if Mom is taking all of the photos at the beach.
“These are the types of features users look for—we know smartphones are powerful, but we want to know what exactly we can do with that power,” Yun said.
Other features include “Smart Pause,” the ability for the phone to sense when you are—and aren’t—looking at the phone. The Galaxy will play and pause the video accordingly, so you don’t miss a moment of your favourite flick.
If health is something you’re trying to buckle down on for 2013, “S Health” turns your phone into a full-fledged fitness tracker. It will keep you up to date by measuring a variety of factors including your heart rate, weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and graph it visually so you can get a better idea of your overall health.
“I go to the doctors quite often, and having the ability to go back and show him my health trends over the past few days, weeks, or months is really powerful,” Brannen said.
Technology pundits are saying they were disappointed that certain features were missing from the Galaxy, including longer battery life, new hardware redesign, and a metallic body that would better-survive accidental drops.
“I’m looking forward to see how this phone will shake up the market,” attendee Michael Watt said. “From what I can see on Twitter, it looks like a lot of—dare I say it—iPhone users will make the ditch for Galaxy. Only time will tell.”
Specific pricing and availability for the Galaxy S4 have not been announced, but it is set to launch on most major wireless carriers at the end of April.