NEW YORK—Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy SIV smartphone in the Radio City Music Hall in New York March 14. The phone has a bigger screen, a longer battery life and will start selling in the United States at the end of April.
J.K. Shin, head of Samsung Mobile presented the new phone at a one hour spectacle with 3,000 journalists and many guests that took the chance to try out the device. Shin said the “life companion” will “improve the way most people live every day.”
What did Samsung improve in its latest model then? It’s slightly smaller than its predecessor (0.31-inch thick and 2.72-inches wide) and weighs 4.6 ounces. The 5-inch screen is also larger and has an improved resolution.
Luke Johnson of TrustedReviews says this about the screen: “With a stunning 1920 x 1080 pixel Full HD resolution matched with an iPhone Retina display trumping 441 pixels-per-inch, the Samsung Galaxy SIV screen is a Super AMOLED HD marvel.” It is also 56 percent larger than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen.
Customers will also appreciate the 2,600 mAh replaceable battery, at improvement of 20 percent over the SIII. Samsung did not mention, however, whether that would translate into higher battery life. The bigger screen and more computing power could consume more energy as the phone sports a 1.6 GHz octa-core processor.
The camera has 13 megapixels and can take a photo of both the front and back view simultaneously.
Charles Golvin of Forrester Research told the BBC. “Including an image of yourself in a picture that you’re taking for someone else—yes, I think that’s a bit gimmicky. But on the video side, for a live chat where it’s composing you and your image to show both you and what you’re seeing—that’s not a gimmick.”
While the hardware is better than the SIII and in some ways also better than the iPhone 5, the new software capabilities warrant attention as well. For one, Samsung is trying to go past the touch-screen and moving toward a system where users only need to waive their hands and move their eyes.
The Smart Pause and Smart Scroll feature recognize when the user is looking at the screen. To scroll, you merely need to tilt the device without touching the screen. For video, the device will pause when you look away and resume when you look again.
The Air View and Air Gesture features allow regular control without actually touching the screen: “Air View makes it quicker, easier, and super-convenient to enlarge content and photos, preview emails, and speed dial; all with your finger barely hovering over the screen, even when you’re wearing gloves,” the company’s website states.
A more complicated system allows users to optimize and monitor their healthy lifestyle. The “Health Board,” tracks everything from comfort levels (temperature and humidity) to calorie intake and exercise performance.
Samsung, which is the largest smartphone maker in the world with 250 million shipments in 2012 according to International Data Corporation, will sell the device in 155 countries and use 327 mobile operators. In the United States, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint will start selling the device at the end of April for an estimated price of $200 with a two-year contract.
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