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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  • staticx57 - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    If it's like all of samsung's other devices, it will most likely be uncalibrated.
  • staticx57 - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    But still, I prefer AMOLED anyways. Insane contrast and very deep blacks cant be beat.
  • UltraTech79 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Sure, if youre always in your moms basement when you use it.
  • Stuka87 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    AMOLED screens are notorious for having horrible color accuracy. But many consumers do not care about that. They like having the over-saturated colors.
  • rats_u - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I hate the oversaturated colors too on my Note 2.... until I found a solution. In Settings -> Display change the screen mode from Standard -> Natural. Viola, screen looks GREAT!
  • rats_u - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Have you tried Settings -> Display -> Screen mode and changed it from Standard -> Natural ?
    Makes is so much better, feels like a different phone.
  • Synnöve - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    Anand, are you able to confirm RGB stripe is the sub pixel pattern on the S4? I read a leaked overview of the phone earlier today containing a microscope shot of the pixel structure: one red or one blue surrounded by four greens.

    Maybe the device they had was a test variant, but I find it hard to believe they'd use RGB in their first commercial full HD display.
  • MadMan007 - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    I would be surprised if it was RGB actually. If you look at the history of Samsung OLED phone panels, they introduce a new resolution with RGBG or some such Pentile pattern, then the next iteration they use the same resolution with RGB. It's not a perfect pattern, but it makes a lot of sense from a manufacturing standpoint - if RGB OLED is more expensive to get right, it gives them time to perfect the new subpixel size before moving over to RGB.
  • althaz - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    It's a pentile screen. Samsungs RGB stripe screens are called "Super AMOLED Plus" (like on the Lumia 900).

    To the best of my knowledge Samsung doesn't have a production 1080p RGB-AMOLED coming out of their factories any time soon.

    That said, I'm not sure you'll be able to tell the difference at 1080p and only 5" (that's small, no matter what your girlfriend told you).
  • codedivine - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    It is likely a Snapdragon 600 and not 800. GLBenchmark results of an alleged S4 are here:
    The renderer is reported as Adreno 320 while the 800 comes with Adreno 330. The CPU clock speed is reported as 1890MHz, right in line with Samsung's announced 1.9GHz speed.

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