We’re hours away from the unveiling of one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year: the Samsung Galaxy S4 and although there have been countless rumors circulating over the web, we’re not much wiser on how the actual device will be and what features will it present itself with, unless we believe the recent leaks, which look very genuine. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 video ad and wise promotion made us wondering even more on how the S4 will be.
As to how the Galaxy S4 will look, in terms of reliability, we only have the official picture released by Samsung to go by, and from it, many have tried to obtain as much information as they could. We also tried to look at the photo from all the angles and we did notice something, but we’ll come to that shortly, first things first.
As mentioned, there were a lot of rumors spread all over the web about the Samsung Galaxy S4, and with the added so called “video and photo leaks” which showed us a few different models, it’s still anyone’s guess on what the smartphone will be like. This is the story with all new devices, and as we’ve witnessed lately, they tend to be almost spot on. Nevertheless, today we’ll recap all the rumors and leaks about the Galaxy S4 and later today, we’ll see just how close we actually were.
The Screen: 4.99 inch, 44o ppi, 1080 fullHD
The vast majority of rumors surrounding the Galaxy S4 say that the device will probably pack a 5 inch display (or rather a 4.99 inch) which might not be that big to call it a phablet, but still, big enough to let the user watch videos or browse the web very comfortable. Also, having a 5 inch screen will put up there with some other other devices such as the Sony Xperia Z, HTC Droid DNA or the larger LG Optimus G Pro. In addition, the resolution of the device is said to be 1920×1080 fullHD with a stunning pixel density of ~440ppi, making it one of the best screens out there today, far surpassing the iPhone 5‘s 326 ppi screen.
There are even rumors that the device might have a smaller screen than what is expected, which could pump up the pixel density to a wopping 480 ppi. In contrast to the Galaxy S 3, the new device has a lot more pixels thanks to its superior resolution, but Samsung has managed to cram all those pixels in a display that is only 0.19″ bigger. This difference of 135 ppi will most certainly be felt by the users, as the images will be crisp and vivid.
And because the screen is so power-hungry, some rumors have mentioned that it will use a new technology called Green PHOLED, which PhoneArena says can be up to 25% more power efficient than traditional screens. It will also bring a plus of color quality, so if this is implemented, we’ll call it a win-win. It has also been suggested that Samsung will use one of their Flexible Displays, but we seriously doubt that.
The Camera: 13 MP, Back-Illuminated Sensor, Samsung Orb
Although Samsung has always played it safe with the cameras they’ve installed on their other flagship devices (no more than 8 MP), rumors say the Galaxy S4 will sport a bigger 13 MP rear shutter. According to GSM Arena’s specs sheet, the camera will shoot fullHD video @30fps and it will have a number of bells and whistles like geo-tagging and HDR provided by Sony’s Exmor ES sensor, according to GottaBeMobile. The same source says that the front camera will have a 2.1 MP shutter, which isn’t all that bad for video calls.
One other very interesting rumor regarding the camera is the Samsung Orb feature. As PC-Tablet discovered, this is an upgraded version of the Photo Sphere that was introduced along with Android 4.2. Other rumors surrounding the camera were presented by CNet, who said that the Galaxy S4 could have a 3D camera system, although it might remain only in the realm of fiction for now, it would be a nice addition. Also, to help with users who take photos in low light conditions, the camera of the Samsung Galaxy S4 might have a BSI (Back-Illuminated Sensor) sensor which better captures light and therefore, renders better looking images.
The Performance: 1.8 Ghz Qualcomm quad-core for US & Exynos 5 Octa-core for Europe
Here’s where the fun starts: while Samsung have been faithful to the Snapdragon platform, they do have a bigger beast in their own back garden: the Exymos 5 Octa Processor which puts no less than eight cores in the hands of the user. Although things are not clear in this regard, we expect to see a pretty powerful brain inside the new Samsung flagship. While we can’t say for sure that Samsung is going to use the 8 core processor, many rumors have suggested they will still keep to the quad-core design, but we do except a surprise in this regard.
So far, it is looking like the US will get a Qalcomm quad-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 600 that we’ve seen on some devices so far while Europe will be getting an Exynos 5 Octa-core chip, which is a similar strategy to the one that was used for the Galaxy S4.
In terms of storage, GSM Arena thinks that it will come in 16, 32 and 64 GB storage and to go with the CPU, Samsung will add a cool 2 GB RAM which will make the device run smooth and fast, so the users will be able to utilize all the new features that will be added. The graphics power will be supplied by a PowerVR SGX 544 IP GPU, as was rumored by AnandTech.
The Design: plastic once again
One area where Samsung have remained truly consistent is the type of material that makes up the case of their smartphones. They have gone with plastic, which is easier to manufacture and mold, also taking the production price down. Unlike their competitors, who have experimented with glass, aluminium and even Kevlar, they have stuck with plastic time and time again. Even from the so called “leaked video and photos” we can see that this time around, the plastic is still there. This has led most to believe, including TechRadar that the S4 will be no different than what we’re used to.
In terms of the size of the device itself, we’re at a blank spot. Courtesy of Samsung, we have a partial photo of the Samsung Galaxy S4, so we thought we can get some extra information from it. However, no amount of photo enhancing and manipulation could give more info about the device, except that there is no visible speaker, so we don’t know where the front sensors will be mounted. What did surprise us was that when we overlaid the photo of the Galaxy S4 with one of the Galaxy S III, and we saw that it is, in fact, slightly shorter than the last generation smartphone.
In terms of the width of the body itself, both devices are the same, but the lack of a speaker means that the upper part of the smartphone is smaller in the S4, while the screen positioned different. However, these measurements were made by us as well as by ITProPortal based on the Samsung logo, which we thought would be the same size for both devices. The size of the device itself is said to be around 140.1×71.8×7.7mm and it might weigh in at around 138 grams.
Software & Battery
There’s no need to argue here as to what OS the new device will be running on. Android 4.2.1 has been associated with the device. However, we do expect to see Samsung’s TouchWiz with a few upgrades interface on top of it. Also, the S Health App that can monitor the user’s blood pressure, blod sugar, BMI and weight with he help of a sensor pad might also be found on the new Samsung flagship, along with other great apps as Samsung is known to deliver awesome software features.
While the SGS III had a hefty 2100 mAh battery, we think that this won’t cut it with the S4. Having a more power hungry display and CPU means that Samsung will have to go one lever higher. GSM Arena have settled on a 2600 mAh battery, which is pretty good and we hope it be able to keep the device running for at least a full day, however, something a tad bigger would be better. Wireless charging is another feature that we’re probably going to see on the Samsung Galaxy S4. This trend has really picked up and more and more smartphones come with this feature pre-installed and it is very handy as it eliminates yet another cable from your home.
Other awesome features
As with other Samsung devices, we expect the Galaxy S4 to have a lot of cool features that will make the users happy. As we’ve already mentioned, an upgraded version of Samsung’s UI, TouchWiz will be most likely installed. Also, a version of SwiftKey could also be present. Other awesome features that have been reported to come with the Galaxy S4 are Smart Stay, that will detect when the user is watching the screen and it will turn off the display once the screen is no longer watched.
The New York Times and Engadget have mentioned Smart Scroll, a feature that will allow the user to scroll up and down pages without actually touching the screen (the page will automatically scroll when the user’s eyes reach the end of a page), which ins’t a new thing, but still a great addition to the device. For movie enthusiasts and movie lovers, the Smart Pause feature will also be a great addition, as it will pause the video when the user is not watching the screen, similar to Smart Stay, but without turning off the screen. Also, floating touch is something that was rumored to be added. This technology allows the users to use the device without physically touching the display, as the device senses when the user’s finger is near and where it is.
Other features that have been rumored to be present in the upcoming device are NFC compatibility, which will be a great addition thanks to the adoption of the NFC technology by headphone and accessory developers, advanced audio processing thanks to the Earsmart ES325 chip which was launched at the Mobile World Congress this year which is said to greatly improve call quality Also, in the sound department, the stereo speakers in the front might give the S4 some kick and the improved S Voice is also something to look forward to. Faster Internet connectivity was also mentioned, as Samsung is said to have significantly improved their wireless 802.11g antenna.
Security was not overlooked for the Galaxy S4, and it’s rumored that Samsung have implemented an encryption system provided by KNOX security. This is a great addition, especially since smartphones carry more and more user data on them. Now more than ever since, according to Gizmodo, Samsung might implement the Samsung Wallet app that they released at MWC 2013 which holds financial information and other sensitive information.
Price and Availability
Altough there’s not much to run from at this time, we think that an European and Asian release is bound to happen as near as possible to the announcement time. GottaBeMobile reported that London carrier “EE” will be releasing the device in no time and this also opened the debate about 4G LTE connectivity, as one of the carriers reported to receive the new Samsung Flagship provides LTE services, but so far, on the US side, we don’t have any solid leads. We do expect Verizon and T-Mobile to be leading the pack on US territory.
Other rumors suggested that for China, the Galaxy S4 might come in a dual-SIM form. And the leaked pictures below, which come from a Chinese forum, pinpoint exactly to that. In terms of pricing, there have been many speculations ranging from as little $199 to a jaw-dropping $600 or more (which is still much less than the ASUS Padfone), and at this point, it is still to early to tell, but be sure that you will be able to pick one up for far less with a contract from the major mobile carriers. Buying the Galaxy S4 unlocked in the beginning months might not come in cheap, but if you’ve got the money, go ahead.
Leaked Pictures and video
Much has been saidabout the Samsung Galaxy S4 and in a few hours, we’ll see for sure what Samsung have prepared for us. We hope that the device will have all of the great specs that were rumored and that it will come at a reasonable price. If you are interested in what the Samsung Galaxy S4 will bring, then be sure to check out the live broadcast. And we’ve saved the best for the end – high-resolution leaked pictures of what seems to be The Next Big Thing.
Radu Tyrsina contributed to this post