Although the tech specs of the Samsung Galaxy S4 make it no less of a heavyweight in the smartphone market, what really makes the device interesting (and less of a mere update to the SIII) is the array of features built into it.
One of them is the Dual Camera function, which allows users to use both the rear and front-facing camera simultaneously. This allows the person taking the photo to be part of the frame. The function works when using the camera to take either photos or videos, and can also operate during a video call. The S4 also has a mode called Sound & Shot, where users can capture nine seconds of voice recording after hitting the shutter button and taking the photo. The Drama Shot feature lets you take more than a 100 shots in 4 seconds, and combines them to make a dramatic collage. The native camera app also lets you erase certain elements in the frame—the ultimate anti-photo bomb tool.
You can compile photos using the Story Album app, which also enables you to upload albums to Facebook in one go, tag friends, and type in captions.
The device features what Samsung calls Air Gesture, a technology built into the S4 which allows users to operate the device without actually touching the screen. Air View enables you to preview the content of an email, your S Planner, gallery or video without having to open it, simply by hovering your fingers over the icons. Smart Scroll lets you to scroll through a page on the Internet either by hovering your hand in a scrolling motion over the screen or by slightly tilting the device forward or backward. Currently, Smart Scroll can only be used in the native browser of the Galaxy S4. You can also change the music track by waving your hand over the screen.
Smart Pause is a feature built into the Galaxy S4’s video player that detects whether or not you’re looking at the screen. When you turn your head to the side, the video you’re watching will automatically pause, and when you turn your head back to the screen, it will then continue to play the video.
The Galaxy S4 also hosts voice control features. S Voice Drive makes it easy for you to operate the phone while your hands are on the wheel. This Siri-like feature will pretty much do everything for you, like answer or drop a call upon your command. When you connect it with a car Bluetooth, the device automatically switches to “driving mode,” and converts text to speech so that you will be able to check your notifications and messages without taking your eyes off the road. S Translator is one feature that will come in handy if you’re backpacking in a foreign country. This feature will translate a statement into any of the supported languages. You can type the statement into the device or make a recording of your voice. The S Translator will then process the statement, and it will translate it in the output language you selected. The output will either be displayed onscreen or played in the form of a sound byte. It can even translate written words, such as those found in menus and street signs.
Playing music from multiple Galaxy S4s is made possible by the device’s Group Play function, which allows several devices to share content such as pictures, music, and documents with each other via wireless network or the S Beam. You can choose which of the connected devices blasts the left channel and which airs the right channel. Group Play also allows for easier multiplayer gaming.
Samsung Knox is a security feature that enables you to “divide” the operation of the Galaxy S4 into two separate “spaces”: a work space and a personal space.
Staying true to the “life companion” tag, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is pre-loaded with S Health—an app that lets you keep a record of your health stats, such as calorie count, and features a food diary, an exercise diary, and a sleep monitor.
Other features include compatibility with Samsung’s Home Sync device, Adapt Display, and Adapt Sound.