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Tal Norvell/ Sun Star Columnist
Feb. 4, 2014
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is full of new features never-before-seen in a smartphone.
Users can navigate the five-inch HD touch screen without even touching it. A special port on the phone allows it to be used as a wireless TV remote. The phone’s front and rear cameras can record video at the same time. On top of all this, the device is fast because it runs on eight cores of processing power.
The Galaxy S4 is made of plastic, with a sharply detailed 13 megapixel LED flash camera on the backside, and a two megapixel camera on the front.
Available in three memory sizes — 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes — Samsung.com lists seven different color options for the phone:
black, white, red, blue, brown, pink and purple.
The touch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, the same as full-HD flat screen TVs. The 1.9 and 1.6 GHz quad-core processors work together to create quick response times for apps and multimedia.
The Galaxy S4 runs on the Android 4.2 (Jelly bean) operating system, a highly customizable OS.
Friends who own the phone can link up together using “Group Play” to wirelessly play music through everyone’s speakers. Games, videos and photos can also be played and shared across synced devices.
A unique feature to the Galaxy S4 is eye-tracking. The camera lens tracks eye position allowing “Smart Pause” to stop video playback when the user looks away. Web pages can be scrolled by looking up or down on the screen edge.
Swipe through web pages at the wave of a hand using “Air Gestures” or preview photo albums and emails by hovering a finger over the screen with “Air Preview.” Waving gestures can also skip songs in the music player or answer phone calls while activating speaker mode, which might come in handy for drivers with the phone mounted on the dashboard.
Dual photo and video recording is possible since the front and back cameras can record simultaneously, allowing both subject and camera person to be in view.
Infrared blaster technology on the Galaxy S4 allows users to control their TV. With the Samsung WatchON app from the Google Play Store, users can access a universal TV guide capable of searching for entertainment from multiple providers. Along with standard channel controls, the app can access live or on-demand movies and TV shows.
With a special cable some games can be played on the Galaxy S4 using an Xbox 360 controller. One such game is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
The “S Translator” can translate among 11 different languages through text-to-speech or speech-to-text. Cnet.com’s review of the translator app said that users “better brush up on charades” since it’s still in need of improvement though it’s “a step in the right direction.”
Another cool feature is “S Health.” This app monitors walking distance and calories burned and has a food log for user entry. Heart rate can be monitored using an extra accessory.
Here’s the catch: the price ranges from approximately $200 to $630 dollars. Having a lot of features means the phone is likely difficult to use for smartphone beginners, though a function called “easy mode” can aid the learning process.
The Galaxy S4 is a phone for the tech savvy. If you enjoy messing around with a lot of cool features, then this is the phone for you. However if you’re on a budget, most of the features you can probably live without.
For more information on the Samsung Galaxy S4, I recommend checking out Cnet.com, Engadget.com or YouTube.