S Translator

Samsung is shipping its own cloud based translation app on the Galaxy S 4 called S Translator. Chinese, English (US/UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish languages are all supported at launch.

You can type or speak sentences to be translated and either read the translation or have your phone speak it. This functionality has been enabled by Google Translate for a while now, but turning it into a feature and making it very obvious on the Galaxy S 4 is a clear attempt to hit a broader audience.

Based on my limited experience with the translation, it seems like the bulk of the work is being done in the cloud. Samsung isn’t announcing what partner it’s using to do the actual translation at this point.

S Translator is also supported in the Email and ChatON apps.

Group Play

The Galaxy S 4 supports wireless streaming of music to up to 8 other SGS4 devices with a feature called Group Play. What Group Play does is allows you to wirelessly tether multiple SGS4s together to all play the exact same song. The idea is to leverage multiple devices to fill a room up with audio.

It’s not clear what application/DRM limitations exist here, but I can see this being the new tap-to-share for encouraging groups of friends to all buy Galaxy S 4s.

Air View & Air Gesture

With the Galaxy Note series of devices, Samsung enabled hover support with the S Pen. Holding the S Pen above the screen would enable you to preview video, peek at the contents of an email, etc... With the Galaxy S 4, Samsung enables the same functionality - but without the S Pen. It’s called Air View.

Through some clever tuning of the capacitive touch stack, the Galaxy S 4 is able to sense the presence of your finger up to about a centimeter away from the display. Air View works in Samsung’s web browser as a magnifying lens or to trigger a preview of open tabs. It also works in the email and gallery apps as well. Update: You can also use the SGS4 with gloves on, similar to Nokia's Lumia 920.

The Galaxy S 4 also supports Air Gesture, which leverages the IR gesture sensor to enable large hand gestures for UI control. You can swipe your hand in front of the smartphone to switch songs, move between tabs in the web browser, or scroll up and down a web page. You can also use Air Gesture to answer a call, which Samsung views as a good solution for SGS4 owners that have their smartphone in a car dock while driving.

Smart Pause & Smart Scroll

With the Galaxy S 3 Samsung introduced Smart Stay, another feature that leveraged the front facing camera to detect when you’re facing the smartphone and keep the screen on as a result. With the Galaxy S 4, Samsung expands the use of the front facing camera to enable pausing/unpausing of video playback depending on whether or not you’re looking at the display, and enabling tilt to scroll if the camera detects that you’re looking at it.

I tested both features and they seemed to work intermittently, although I’m not a fan of making judgement calls on software until final builds are available.

All of these gesture and camera based user interface features can be enabled/disabled, many on a per application basis but at minimum on a global level. Samsung does have a good amount of control/granularity in the SGS4 software for these features.

Samsung Optical Reader

The SGS4 will ship with some form of optical character recognition, allowing you to scan business cards and automatically populate your contact list with elements from the card. The Samsung Optical Reader app also supports reading QR codes.

S Health

The final new software feature of the Galaxy S 4 is called S Health. S Health includes support for an integrated pedometer, temperature and humidity sensors in the SGS4. The S Health app is supposed to be able to track distance traveled and give you local identification of current temperature and humidity. The app also includes the ability to act as a meal tracker, just look up foods you’ve eaten and it’ll keep a running tally of calories consumed. The S Health app and functionality is a clear attempt to integrate 3rd party pedometer hardware and apps into the phone itself - an obvious next step for any vertically integrated smartphone manufacturer.

Samsung will offer a line of Bluetooth health accessories that can interface with S Health, including a wrist band pedometer (S Band) so you can leave your SGS4 at home when you go for a walk/run, weight scale and heart rate monitor.

The S View Cover

Samsung will also have a new first party cover for the Galaxy S 4 called the S View Cover. This is a standard flip cover but with a small window cut out of the front of it. When the SGS4 detects that the cover is closed, it’ll display a small rectangle of information on its display (visible through the cutout in the cover). In this mode the display will give you the current time, battery/SMS/music status, caller ID and the ability to accept/reject calls. The S View Cover is a pretty neat offering from Samsung and one I see being very popular with anyone who used a flip cover with Samsung’s phones in the past.

Camera Software & Hands On Video Final Words


View All Comments

  • rohini - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    i agree that it is a very decent phone and Samsung is trying to keep a check on the price tag of its smartphones but WE CAN'T JUST IGNORE the looks of the phone. In India its going to cost us about 45k INR which is a huge amount of money and the buyer wouldn't mind if it made to look somewhat better than the SGS3.
    Why the hell does it have its looks identical to the older SGS3??

    On the other hand, the phone comes with a lot of software goodies like air gesture and something called eraser shot. More info can be found on http://www.speedmango.com/15-awesome-features-of-s...

    What I believe is that these days the hardware spec war is coming to an end. People dont care that much the hardware specs anymore. Even a 15k Micromax Canvas HD has a quad-core processor. What matters the most is the software features and the after sales support.
  • ammar - Wednesday, April 03, 2013 - link

    Wonderful review! Thanks for sharing and writing such a detailed hands-on experience. Reply
  • jon2281 - Thursday, April 04, 2013 - link

    This is why a removable battery Is extremely useful and necessary = http://www.amazon.com/warranty-ZeroLemon-Extended-...
    keep in mind this is for the galaxy S3 but I'm sure some company would create something similar for the S4. and Let's not forget about the microSD card = http://dx.com/p/sd-to-microsd-transflash-card-conv...
    Throw in 128GB SDXC card and you sir have yourself a monster of a phone =D
  • Brizone - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - link

    This smartphone is good I admit it. But I just hate the fact that Samsung fanboys is so God Damn annoying, thinking their device is superior to everything else. Maybe this is the result of their savvy marketing in my country.. eliminating their competitors by creating as many fanboys as possible. Not seldom they mock my HTC for not having any removable battery or expandable storage which is pointless. They didn't know I have over 30 gb of cloud storage which replaces the function of internal memory. Also I've never ever had any problems with battery, at the end of the day it still have 10-20% power remaining from normal usage. And if I used it heavily I have no problem finding usb ports for charging, heck I can even use my own power bank...

    So basically it's not Samsung company I hate, it's their Godforsaken annoying arrogant fanboys which looks down on any other product no matter how better they actually are.
  • clashottcroftmanor - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - link

    seriously you guys will spend Rs.40000+ for a removable battery and sd card slot Reply
  • allmobilesalesltd - Thursday, June 13, 2013 - link

    i want to sell brand new Original

    Samsung Galaxy s4 cost 450usd
    Samsung GT- I9300 Galaxy S III $350USD
    Samsung - Galaxy Note II 4G $330USD
    Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 Quadband 3G $300USD

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    SKYPE ID: allmobilesalesltd
  • kudosify - Monday, August 05, 2013 - link

    wow this is so cool and great tech blog is here ... Thanks for sharing this info here Reply

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