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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  • jabber - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    The reason that Samsung make their phones from plastic isnt just a cost thing. They realised that people tend to drop their phones...a lot!

    Plastic holds up better to knocks and drops than glass or aluminium. Plus you can always swap your plastic battery cover for a new one if it gets damaged that badly.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Er, sorry but you're wrong. The SG3 fares far worse than the iPhone 5 in every drop test I've seen. Reply
  • Xyfaz87 - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    Er, forget about the drop test... I dropped my s3 a lot, and still it is intact and no cracking no dent, only slight scratch, I don't use case also.

    I don't mind the design of s3, and the choice of plastic. For me I can use it comfortably with one hand, while for xperia Z it looks cool... But I found it awful to hold it for long time with one hand, the more angular design just not my taste.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    It's not just you, anyone with a whit of experience knows sharper edges cut into the meaty part of your hands and fingers and joints, and can be quite painful rather quickly.
    That doesn't matter though, as the hoi polloi has been exactly trained to spew out ridiculous things like feel of build quality with their internal mental deficit ruling the scoring.
    Let them have their butt fugly rectumtangle and let it rip on their digits and give them arthritis as the cold metal and harsh glass guts their tendons.
    Since a rectangle with sharp edges and corners is as dumb as it gets, the dorks of the net decided "industrial design" was cool. Yes, it's cool, if you're a basement tard whose never seen the inside of a factory and wouldn't last 2 days in that harsh environment.
    Their phones are harsh, sharpened, health hazards, but it's okay the know it all parrots repeat and bleat on cue, no matter what they have ever personally experienced if anything.
    Stupid is stupid because stupid does stupid so well, the smartest nerds in the room. ( Cough)
    Reply
  • ATBTCT - Sunday, March 17, 2013 - link

    Er, actually you are wrong. All the drop tests I have seen of SG3 mostly show damage to the screen only and that is understandable considering that SG3 has a bigger screen compared to iPhone 5. Even if the plastic is damaged it doesn't cost much to change it. Whereas for iPhone and other aluminium clad phones, not only are they not durable as plastic but expensive to repair. And I rarely see expensive flagship without cases. The only ones I see are those that are made up of...................... plastic...I wonder why.............. Reply
  • Azurael - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Here are some simple yes-or-no questions I would like answered regarding the S3.

    Brick bug? Y/N
    COMPLETE, WORKING Kernel Source & binaries provided Samsung? Y/N

    If this is like the SII/Note/S3/Note 2 in having buggy hardware, iffy patches and not even remotely GPL compliant 'developer relations' then they can shove that phone where the sun doesn't shine.

    I think it's quite cute that they managed to get A15s in there, I was seriously starting to wonder whether we'd even see A15 in a phone at 32/28nm, let alone a working quad. I can believe it'll only be running at 1.2GHz from what we've seen of A15s power consumption. It still looks as ugly and plasticky as everything else Samsung make too. In fact, it looks the same as the S3 to me, I'm not sure I could tell the difference aside from the larger screen if you put the pair in front of me. If you're going to charge £500 for a device, surely it should look like it cost that?
    Reply
  • IKeelU - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Every Samsung I've handled works just fine, but feels/looks pretty cheap compared to anything by apple or htc (or even the N4, which feels incredible compared to its last two iterations). But a race to the bottom is what the market calls for - artistry and grace be damned. I can't fault Samsung for giving people just enough so they keep coming back. Reply
  • glugglug - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    So the release is in Q2. Would that be April 1? Because it kind of sounds too awesome to be true.

    Some of the features (i.e. eye scrolling) sound silly and probably are just battery draining annoyances, but you can turn them off.

    I'm hoping the S Translate is limited to translation only, and they didn't override the built-in Android 4.2.2 speech recognition which I've been using for awhile now. Non-cloud for good responsiveness, and the most accurate I've ever seen.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    End of April basically. So you could probably get it mid May - 8 months after the release of the iPhone 5. Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    The one element that's *never* covered in any press release or preview is always the one I'm the most curious about: the DAC. I love my Wolfson DAC and having one in the S4 would be a big plus for it, but I've been unable to get any sort of information regarding this anywhere. Even Supercurio doesn't seem to know thus far.

    Anand, do you have any details or the ability to provide some in the near future?
    Reply

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