A New Galaxy
March 15th, 2013
OK, the Galaxy S IV has been announced. Among the useful features:
- Micro-SD expansion slot (Apple should have done this from the start but is way too controlling)
- 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (nice, but we're kind of reaching limits on micro-camera usability—not to mention costs in file size)
- Samsung's HomeSync 1TB data cloud (nice, but everyone has a cloud now, and there are private solutions if you need more space)
- 5" 441 PPI Full HD Super AMOLED screen (hard to go wrong with a hi-def screen of that size)
- An upgrade to its S-Voice digital assistant (could be good, if it's done right)
- IR blaster (can use as remote control for other devices)
- S Health: health tracker (good for many people, not for all)
- 2600mAh battery
- Add audio to photos: actually, I seem to recall having this feature on a digital camera I had years ago. I found it pretty useless.
- dual-camera view to take photos with both of the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time: ummm, why? That's nice for video calls, though that feature has been around for a while. As for photos and movies, do you really want your own mug in a frame stuck into the photo or movie? What for?
- “Eraser,” to cut people or things out of photos: perfect tool for the jilted girlfriend! Seriously, this might be useful at times (if it works well and is not too hard to use), but I cannot image using it often. I can imagine it leaving obvious artifacts which scream “photo alteration” though.
- S Translator, which translates messages in nine languages, including French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish: Meh. I live in Japan, and probably wouldn't use it too much. Not to mention, Western-to-Asian translation is usually so terrible as to be useless.
- “Smart Scroll”: tilt it up or down to scroll
- “Air Gestures”: hover fingers above the handset to scroll
- “Air View”: finger hover to see additional information
- “Smart Pause”: pauses video if it realizes that the user is no longer watching what is currently playing on screen
There has been a ton of hype and build-up to this device, and ultimately, it left us feeling cold. The S IV feels uninspired. There are small spec bumps from the previous generation and there's a ton of software which will largely sit unused. There's just no wow-factor here.And ABC News:
The list of user interface innovations goes on, but they don't amount to a coherent new way of interacting with the phone. Nor do they turn the phone into something that's intelligently aware of what goes on around it. It's more like Samsung is throwing a bunch of technologies into the phone to see what sticks. Sometimes, that's how progress works, but consumers might not appreciate being guinea pigs.We'll see what the buying public thinks. My guess: Android users will mostly be happy with a new handset with some new features—exactly like iPhone users would be. But it probably will not make anyone who prefers an iPhone to suddenly start loving Samsung's offerings.