Software - Camera

Samsung spent comparatively little time talking about the Galaxy S 4 hardware and instead chose to focus mostly on software. While Android 4.2.2 is the underlying OS, Samsung’s customizations are very visible and present throughout the Galaxy S 4 experience.

The user interface and experience is distinctly Samsung. The Touchwiz icon stylings and water sounds that permeate the experience remain intact and mostly unchanged. UI performance is finally at the point on most of these modern devices where it’s just amazingly smooth throughout everything. The Galaxy S 4 is no exception here.

Samsung spent a lot of time adding functionality to its camera app, which now includes the ability to shoot stills and video out of both cameras simultaneously. This is similar in nature to an LG feature we covered last month at MWC, Samsung calls it Dual Camera.

Dual Camera is very easy to activate (there’s a dedicated button in the top left of the camera app). Once activated you can choose from various filters/effects, including a basic split screen mode.

As a way of enhancing stills, Samsung includes support for Sound & Shot - a feature that captures up to 9 seconds of audio alongside a still image.

There’s a new mode dial that allows you to switch between shooting modes, including some new ones like drama shot which lets you take multiple stills in a burst mode and combine them all together to show character progression in a still frame.

Burst shooting can also be used to erase a photo bomb with eraser mode, a feature we’ve seen before (highlight and remove a character from a scene).

On the video side, the Galaxy S 4 introduces Cinema Photo - a feature that lets you shoot a video, highlight areas that you want to continue in motion and have the rest remain static - resulting in an animated gif.

In its final new camera feature is the ability to create, group and stylize albums of your photos. You can create albums locally on the Galaxy S 4, style them with templates, and send them off to print via Blurb. There’s Trip Advisor integration to pull in highlight information about the locations you’ve taken photos at.

The camera software features are aimed at bringing as much of the photo processing/organization experience onto the smartphone as possible. Samsung clearly has the point and shoot market in its crosshairs and it is leveraging the fact that modern smartphones are sophisticated computing platforms in order to go after that market.

Introduction & The Hardware S Translator, Air View/Gesture, Smart Pause/Scroll and More
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  • Senpuu - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    If they are using the internal temperature sensors for the silicon for anything, I really don't think it would be to add a caveat to the displayed temperature; rather, I'd assume they would simply use it to adjust the temperature reading with a simple calculation, providing a more accurate temperature value. It could even do a cross check against the temperature for your area through its network connection and maybe add an asterisk if it's outside a range (say, +/-3°C) to let the user know there is a discrepancy. I'd be interested to see their implementation in action, but I'm sure it'll be robust enough to function accurately for day-to-day use.
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    How about they put the sensor on a front upper edge area away from the battery- oh golly beaver.
  • Senpuu - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    It's fun to speculate about how the design could be executed and the problems that may crop up, but I'd bet dollars to pennies that Samsung didn't throw a crappy implementation into their phone, and that they've done extensive testing. In cases like this, I think it's entirely more prudent to assume the design engineers have a brain in their heads until proven otherwise, than to assume that there will be a slew of problems with their design. Besides, your cited concerns are obvious and would be nearly impossible to overlook... I don't think Samsung got to where they are in a very competitive marketplace by being terrible engineers and designers.
  • HJPJ - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I could not agree more, Sempuu. I look forward to testing this feature, and agree that if it's relatively accurate, it will be very useful.
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    Of course the weather app on the front window with TEMPERATURE PRESENT isn't useful.
    I vote they include a stylus and that it doubles as a thermometer and a wind gauge.
  • ManiiNames - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I had a basic flip-phone w a thermometer several years ago. Casio gZone Rock I think. It worked if you put the phone down somewhere and didn't touch it for a minute or so, otherwise the ambient heat in your pocket etc produced unreliable results.
  • Freakie - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Heh, figures that the people who put calculators in watches would be the first to do that. Looked that phone up and it looks pretty neat!
  • snajk138 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Yes, I had a Nokia 5210 that had one too. Pretty great phone from what I remember. "Improved Durability", games and an IR-port.
  • dakishimesan - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Sweet, I'll always know how hot it is in my pocket.
  • Skidmarks - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Even their low end phone feature that.

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