Returning the Galaxy S4 to its rightful owners after PM’s two-week test was very difficult – partly because I enjoyed using the phone, but also because I made the mistake of allowing my wife to try it for a few days. After prising it from her vice-like grip, I was reminded that (a) it was my turn to cook supper, (b) the house needed painting, and (c) no matter which family member was due for a handset upgrade, the next one was hers.
All of this suggests that Samsung are on to a good thing with their newest smartphone. They’re also extraordinarily brave: at the glitzy launch in Sandton (think electric saxophones, pyrotechnics, dancing girls, pounding disco), it was announced that the S4 came with a 24-month ADH (Accidental Damage from Handling) warranty offering no-questions asked cover for broken screens and liquid damage. This is a smart move when a major competitor’s offering (the no less desirable Sony Xperia Z) is being touted as virtually unbreakable.
If you’re already familiar with the Galaxy SIII, this phone will seem like an old friend – but it comes with innovations aplenty. Among my favourites are the Air View function (you hover your fingers to preview an e-mail, image gallery or video to see what’s there without having to open anything), Dual Video Call (you can see what you’re looking at while making and receiving video calls ), Drama Shot (I captured some amazing collages within single frames), Story Album (a personal social network aggregator that works like a bomb), and Sound & Shot (a function that allows you to combine sound and images in a most interesting manner).
Then there’s something called Smart Pause. If you’re distracted while watching a video, the phone detects that you’re looking away and initiates a pause, resuming the show when you return. Your money also buys a gloriously crisp screen, a rapid response time and an intuitive interface that just… works.
You may use only a small percentage of the available functions, but if you’re determined to own a handset that does it all, and then some, you can’t go wrong with the S4. Now please excuse me… I have some house painting to do. By Alan Duggan
Display: 5-inch (127 mm) Full HD Super AMOLED (1 920 x 1 080) display, 441 ppi
AP: 1,9 GHz quad-core processor/1,6 GHz octa-core processor
OS: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Camera: Main (rear): 13 megapixel autoocus with fl ash and zero shutter lag; Sub (front): 2 megapixel, full HD recording at 30 fps, with zero shutter lag
Camera features: Dual Camera: Dual Shot/Dual Recording/Dual Video Call, Drama Shot, Sound and Shot, 360 Photo, Animated Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports
Features: Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader, Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View, Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling), S Travel (Trip Advisor), S Voice Drive, S Health, Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound
Battery: 2 600 mAh