10 Amazing Features on the New Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is finally here and, as expected, it has quickly established a reputation as perhaps the most advanced and feature-rich smartphone on the market today. While the S4 has garnered praise for its 5-inch HD Gorilla Glass display, its lightning-fast quad-core processor, and its 13-megapixel camera, it’s the laundry list of software enhancements that have really caught the imagination.
When it comes to noteworthy tricks and highlights, there are almost too many to mention – with the S4, you’re better off asking what it doesn’t have, rather than trying to compile a full list of features. But a few of those features stand out more than others; not because they all work flawlessly – indeed, many of S4’s more innovative apps are still a little buggy and inconsistent – but because they are just jaw-droppingly creative.
Here are 10 of our favorites:
Maybe the most talked-about S4 feature, Air Gesture lets you answer your phone, jump to the next music track, or scroll through a list of open Web sites merely by waving your hand at the screen. No more missed calls, dropped phones, or sticky finger marks!
Wi-Fi Smart Mode
We want to switch to Wi-Fi as often as we can to preserve data, but we don’t want to leave Wi-Fi on all the time as it drains the battery. Now we can get the best of both worlds with W-Fi Smart Mode. Smart Mode recognizes the locations where you regularly access Wi-Fi – your home, a favorite cafe, your local Starbucks – and automatically connects you when you arrive. The rest of the time, Wi-Fi sits quietly in the background, waiting for you to activate it.
You wake up in the morning, reach for your phone but can’t read an e-mail because your phone re-orientates to landscape when you lie down. Smart Rotation recognizes whether you want landscape or portrait and sticks with that orientation as long as it detects you are still looking at the screen.
With a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel full HD front-facing camera, the S4 has immediately jumped to the top of the smartphone camera charts. But the S4 also comes packed with a collection of super-smart photo-assist and editing tools. At the head of the list is the dual camera feature, which allows you to take pictures or shoot video simultaneously with both cameras. The possibilities are endless – from wish-you-were-here postcard-style shots to full picture-in-picture narrated video tours of your favorite vacation spots!
Ever had a wonderful video marred by someone walking by in the background? Or wish you could skip the frame where your 5-year-old nephew pulls that nasty face? With the S4, now you can. Eraser mode allows you to isolate the offending frames, remove them, and seamlessly stitch the video back together again – all right there on your smartphone screen!
Need help organizing your photos? The S4 knows where and when you took your pics, so when you come back from vacation, for example, it will suggest a holiday album that includes all the photos taken at that location. Just scroll through the pics, arrange the ones you want to keep, discard the rest, and, just like that, you have your holiday album!
S Voice Drive
S Voice Drive combines all the recent advances in navigation and voice-recognition technology to provide a super-safe hands-free driving mode. With S Voice Drive activated, you only have access to 5 functions: voice calls, texts, music, weather and navigation. All functions can only be activated by voice commands, including texts, which are received and sent using text-to-voice and voice-to-text technology.
The S4 enhances Google’s tried and tested Translate app to deliver an instant translation tool for e-mail, text or voice. The S Translator understands 9 languages, including French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, and is equally adept at translation from text to voice and voice to text. Even when there is no network connection, there are over 3,000 useful phrases embedded in the app, so you won’t be at a loss for words!
The S4’s built-in infrared sensor allows you to use the smartphone as a TV or DVR remote. You can change channels, adjust the volume, and do everything you would normally be able to do with a universal remote. The WatchON app lets you browse TV shows, access movies and TV shows on demand, and even get a custom TV guide that recommends shows based on what you previously watched. The S4 can also be used with Samsung Smart TVs to import programming directly onto the smartphone.
Group Play allows you to interact wirelessly with other S4 owners, either to share content, listen to music together, or play games. Groups can be password protected, but once set up, almost anything is possible. You can share documents and photos, and even make adjustments to docs that can be seen real time by other group members. While some Group Play functions are restricted to S4s, a software update planned for later this year will also bring the Galaxy S III into the Group Play fold.