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Samsung’s Galaxy S IV: A little bigger and a little faster

At a certain age, people stop growing, and down the line people usually shrink as they become wiser.  However, unlike the world of biological dispositions, Samsung’s smartphone business seems to only have one path, and that is expansion in all directions.  The Samsung Galaxy S IV embodies that philosophy, but does growth have to necessarily mean adding more spices into a flagship and seeing how it tastes?

Today, Samsung took the lid off the GS4, and although it did not get as much fanfare and glam hype as its predecessor—the GS3, the latest from Samsung does boast some new features that might grab people’s interest. 

Let’s start off with the phone’s core.  There will be two GS4 variants; one being a 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm, and the other a 1.6GHz “8-core” Exynos 5 Octa.  We knew beforehand that there will be two variants, but what we were a bit skeptical about the Exynos 5 Octa making its appearance in the GS4.  Nonetheless, there you have it, two GS4 phones with different brains.

As for the rest of the GS4’s specs, people will be getting a 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a 2,600mAh battery, a 13MP rear shooter, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean to boot.

There are also a bunch of Samsung’s in-house brew that goes into the GS4, and it involves a lot of “S-this” and “S-that.”  Quite frankly, none of those Samsung apps really matter, as they are either considered as bloatware or nothing new in general.  Eye tracking, however, is basically the only feature that’s worth any attention.  Supposedly, eye tracking will allow the phone to automatically adjust in-app functions by detecting a user’s eye movement (i.e. changing the page on an e-book or scrolling down a webpage).

Then there’s “S-health”, which uses the phone’s various sensors (accelerometer and barometer) to track people’s steps, jogs, hops, skips, sprints, snacks, and perspiration.  The catch to this feature is that you’ll have to have a Samsung-branded fitness wrist band, which is probably more money down the toilet.

Samsung's latest creation comes with it essentially the same baggage that prior-gen GS devices had.  Touch Wiz should be banned altogether, but then again there are probably people out there that like Samsung’s overlay of the Android OS—either that or they have never experienced any other UIs. 

So there you have it, the GS4 has a larger display, faster processor, and a few nifty features to back up all the hype.  Still, the GS4’s introduction lacks the “wow” factors seen by the GS3, but perhaps that had a bit to do with a lack of competition for the spotlight.  Last year, everyone was comparing the GS3 to the iPhone 5.  This time around, it’s the GS4 by itself, with nothing really for us to compare it to. 

Apple and Samsung have been duking it out for the title of alpha male in the smartphone arena for the past couple years, and part of the excitement from a consumer standpoint is watching how the two firms can outdo each other.  Samsung's fourth iteration of the Galaxy smartphone, however, is now compared to products like Sony's Xperia Z and HTC's One, and for the sake of clarity, didn't Samsung leave HTC and Sony in the dust already?  However, we need to give credit where credit is due, Sony and HTC have stepped up their game recently. Sure, also blame Samsung’s product cycle for killing the hype, but what’s in the GS4 that hasn’t been done before?  Well, you be the judge of that.

Images via Chinese VR-Zone

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