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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  • Tom Womack - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    You mean, tacky plastic back that falls off ...
  • TechnoGeek4Life - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    My back cover has NEVER fallen off my S3. EVER. Its actually really snug.
  • BSMonitor - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    People buy extra batteries??!?
  • Disorganise - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    yes we do. I also have an external pack with the multiple adaptors and you know what? the proper battery is much lighter and slimmer and doesn't have cables to worry about. I can carry the spare in my jeans pocket with ease so it comes with me everywhere now. the other pack is only convenient if you've a big pocket (eg a jacket) or a bag.

    I used to sit in the other camp until I bought the I wonder why I didn't do so on my previous phone.
  • KPOM - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I think that's one of those things that many people say they want but few really care about when they don't have it. To get any benefit, you need to buy a second battery and carry it around.
  • doobydoo - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Exactly, and it's just as cheap and just as convenient to use an emergency charger instead (if you even need it).
  • HisDivineOrder - Sunday, March 17, 2013 - link

    I agree with your sentiment. And I think it's sad that phones do this so rarely that we see this as extraordinary.
  • medi01 - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    As well as micro SD card slot.

    And honestly, AMOLED vs pretty much anything non-amoled, is a no brainer for me.
  • Pneumothorax - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    Any thoughts on the color fidelity of the screens? My wife's GS3 has some pretty horrid color accuracy.
  • jeffkibuule - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't expect much.

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