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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  • drewsg - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    REMOVABLE BATTERY.. PRAISE THE TECH GODS!! Reply
  • Lonyo - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    Yup, Samsung high end phones - removable battery and MicroSD slot.

    That's the reason I don't consider any other smartphones.
    Reply
  • DeciusStrabo - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I do consider others and if the trade-off is worth it - but as long as the batteries are so low in capacity I wouldn't want to give up the flexibility to simply take out the empty battery and put in a full one if needed. Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I don't get the spare battery argument people make. To charge it you'll need to put in in the phone, charge it, and then take it out again. I wouldn't think you'd be wanting to take off the back cover that much. It makes more sense to just buy an external USB rechargeable device - it will be cheaper and can be used with other devices (or your next phone). Reply
  • CZroe - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    My Sony Ericsson BST41 in my Sony Ericsson EP900 charger for my Sony Ericsson R800at phone tell me that you don't know what you are talking about. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    You get docks that can charge the phone and a spare battery simultaneously, it's much quicker and easier to simply swap over batteries rather than having the phone attached to an emergency charger for a couple of hours if you're still making calls or similar.

    John
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Is it really though? If you take the battery out, your phone turns off. Meaning you may miss calls, messages, you have to take the back off, replace the battery, turn back on, wait for it to load, sign back in etc.

    With an emergency charger you can just plug into the bottom of the phone, you can continue to make calls (no cables) and you don't need to turn your phone off. Also, you can get different sized emergency chargers which can charge your phone up 2 or 3 times.

    I think it's massively overstated how beneficial a removable battery is.
    Reply
  • SoCalBoomer - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    means the phone is off for less than 30 seconds, typically, so very rarely do I miss calls or messages. . . and the whole process takes maybe 30 seconds. . .

    a removable battery is great value, especially if/when your battery starts to die, and they all do in a year or so. So unless you immediately buy the newest and greatest, it's not a bad value.
    Reply
  • melgross - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    They don't all start to die in a year or two. You've had some pretty crappy batteries if you had that problem. Reply
  • Skiddywinks - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    The idea isn't that you use two in a row every time before charging them both again. You just have one as a spare. There is no reason to not charge whenever there is a charger around, which is quite common, especially if you carry one. But it just means that for the cost of swapping batteries once, you have a spare for that rare occasion your primary battery runs out. Reply

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