Samsung Galaxy S4 – a rather mental unveiling for an awesome phone

Well, there we go, folks. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been officially unveiled, and after staying up last night to watch it happening, I’ve gotta say that it was, without a doubt the most mental phone unveiling I’ve ever seen. Here, see for yourself (if you’re not sorely afraid)…

That was… it’s… I… what? What other manufacturer would do a product unveiling as a full-on Broadway show with an orchestra? No-one, that’s who. Only Samsung (they of the bungee-jumping elephants) would do that. Not that I’m saying it wasn’t genius, it was just a bit, well, cringe-inducing in places. Anyway, more on that in a second; first, what about the new phone itself?

Well, Samsung say they’re all about the innovation, but when you’d never tell just from looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4, ‘cos it looks just like the Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s about the same size, albeit slightly slimmer, and the only thing really setting it apart is the fact that the screen’s 0.2 inches bigger (while the bezel round the phone is noticeably thinner). Of course, you then turn the screen on, however, and see the first of the differences to its predecessor, ‘cos this beastie is rocking a gorgeous 1080p screen.

Y’see, it turns out that Samsung’s done all their innovation in terms of what’s inside the Samsung Galaxy S4, and what it can do.

The big new addition is the new processor, ‘cos it’s what Samsung’s calling an “Octa-core” Exynos 5 processor. Basically, it combines two quad-core processors; there’s a high power quad for the things that need the processing grunt, and for everything else, there’s a low power quad, designed to increase the battery life (as far as I can gather, it acts like the low power core in the Tegra 3 processor, but feel free to correct me about that if I’m wrong). Oh, and on the subject of battery life, the Galaxy S4′s (removable) battery has been beefed up to 2600mAh.

Also, it’s got 2GB of RAM, up to 64GB of internal storage (plus a microSD slot) and a 13MP camera, as well as Android 4.2.2 straight out of the box.

However, just listing the specs doesn’t get to the heart of what the Samsung Galaxy S4 is all about; for that, we need to look at the totally new stuff that the phone can do. There’s a lot of new stuff on display here, so I’m going to pick out the new stuff that caught my eye the most, instead of trying to list all of it. The first point to make, though, is that if a TouchWiz feature already existed in the Galaxy S3 or the Samsung Galaxy Note II, then it appears again in the Galaxy S4.

But what about the new stuff? Well, the first thing that caught my eye is the double-header of Air View and Air Gesture; put simply, you can simply wave your hand over the phone’s screen, without touching it, to do things like preview emails or what have you. That’s one of the features the S-Pen gives the Note range of phones, but here, you don’t need a stylus to do it; basically, the screen is so sensitive (and yes, you can use it while wearing gloves, just like the Nokia Lumia 920) that you can now do the same thing with yer finger.

The other thing that caught my eye is the double-header of Smart Scroll and Smart Pause, ‘cos the Galaxy S4 can read your face when you’re using it, and do things like pause a video automatically whenever you look away from the screen. That’s bleedin’ clever.

Scary, yes, but bleedin’ clever, nonetheless…

Oh, and finally, on the topic of the phone itself, the Dual Camera feature, where you can shoot video and photos with both cameras simultaneously so that the photographer can insert him or herself in the pic/video.

Win. Pure win.

Anyway, back to the event itself, ‘cos honestly, I’ve never seen a product unveiling like it before (which would explain why they held it at Radio City Music Hall, since that is a hell of a venue). I certainly wasn’t expecting to see a fully choreographed dance routine or three. I wasn’t expecting the product unveiling to have a narrative. And d’ya know what?

It worked. It was mental (especially around 35 minutes, where the mad woman showed up), but it worked.

Also, you can tell the host, Will Chase, is a stage performer. Hammed it up like a good’n, so he did…

So there ye go. Mental unveiling, utterly awesome phone. We’ll have to see whether it can capture my imagination as much as the Sony Xperia Z did, but so far, even I have to admit that it’s looking promising.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is due to land on these shores some time in April; expect more posts about this new beastie before then!

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