So you’ve opened up the box, you’ve turned on the phone – and it’s light in your hand and beautiful to look at. You can thank the five-inch, full HD display and the 441 pixels per inch that Samsung Group has put into this device.
Samsung packed in so many features into this phone – but not all of them may be useful. Here are three features I thought were worth mentioning on the Samsung Galaxy S4. I had the phone for about a month, thanks to Telus Corp.
First of all, you can’t talk about the S4 without mentioning its camera. It’s definitely one of the best on the market right now, for a smartphone. It’s got a 13 megapixel camera, making pictures look really brilliant and sharply defined.
It also has some good modes that work really well, like night mode for taking pictures in dark places and eraser mode to get rid of people photobombing or walking into your picture.
There’s also sound shot, where you can take a picture with sound, so you can remember more about the moment when you look at the picture later.
That being said, there are some weird modes too that seemed like they were just extras.
For example, the dual camera mode lets you take a photo from the front camera as well as the back camera. So if you were taking a family photo, you could be in it too. But could you? It makes for a really awkward selfie that’s off-centre and at a weird angle.
The second feature is Air Gestures. It’s a very cool idea – the sensor is supposed to be able to recognize gestures from a distance of less than seven centimetres at normal speed. For example, you can wave your hand over web pages to scroll up and down them, with a feature called Air Jump. You can also answer incoming calls by waving your hand over the screen.
But the problem is, it’s finicky. I have to wave my hand over it several times before it recognizes I’ve done anything with it. You’re almost better off with just using the touch screen.
Don’t want to wave your hand to scroll? Fine. You can even use your eyes with Smart Scroll. It watches how your head tilts to scroll up and down a page. It’s cool, but again, it doesn’t always work.
Finally, the S4 comes preloaded with a cool translation feature. Could come in handy if you’re travelling of if you just like pretending you know other languages. S Translator lets you drop in text, either verbally or by typing it out, and it can come up with a translation in Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish or simplified Chinese.
All in all, this phone has some really cool things to play with on it. However, Samsung also added an Easy Mode to make it simpler for new users to get into the swing of things.
I feel that’s because the time users will have to invest to get the most out of this phone is substantial – there is definitely a learning curve, especially with all of the apps available.
Still, it’s a great device with one of the best smartphone cameras on the market.
For reporter Jeff Jedras’ quick look at the S4’s hard specs, see his video.