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Samsung's Galaxy S4

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Samsung's Unpacked Event, Part 1, and watching them pitch the next generation of their phenomenally successful smartphone line -- the Galaxy S4. It was held at Radio City Music Hall, with a simultaneous party at Times Square. And it was an impressive debut, though not one without some important caveats.

Android Central's Phil Nickinson and Andrew Vacca and I went to Radio City, Martin Reich took Times Square. Earlier in the day I spent some time with the HTC One. I've owned several HTC devices, including the Treo Pro, G1, and Nexus One. They make, in my opinion, the best hardware outside of Apple, and the HTC One gives Apple a run for its money. Unibody aluminum with a gorgeous 1080p LCD display and gutsy 4mp, 2 micro shooter on the back, it's a bit big for me personally, but I'm sorely tempted to buy one anyway. Their Sense 5 version of Android is controversial -- some like it, others don't -- and it looks nice enough, though tends to hide as much as it helps. Either way, it set my expectations for Android-based devices in 2013, and what Samsung was competing with.

LG, makers of the Nexus 4 and Optimus series of Android-based phones made the event interesting by placing their own, prominently 4-branded billboards, above Samsung's in Times Square. HTC doesn't have anywhere near the budget of their far more diversified Korean competitors, so they decided to troll the Samsung lineup instead, handing out hot chocolate and chips to the cold, hungry media and guests. Apple, by contrast, had Phil Schiller talk some smack to the papers (sadly, one fairly major point of which would later turn out to be grossly inaccurate).

That by way of pointing out how important this event was not only for Samsung, but how important Samsung has become for their competition -- and that their competition, more than ever, is as much other Android-based manufacturers as it is Apple.

Radio City Music Hall was an impressive venue and Samsung made the most of it. No simple executive or string of executives in jeans and shirts presenting in front of a keynote deck. After a brief introduction of the "Galaxy S4: Life Companion" by Samsung mobile head JK Shin, they had broadway actor Will Chase team up with their head of product marketing, Ryan Biden, and they put on a show. The actor would introduce a narrative and the product guy would explain what features were involved and how they worked, often with the aid of a performance to show it in real-world, if contrived situation. It was, in general, a fantastic idea and much more interesting than BlackBerry's painful CEO + tech demo guy team-ups at events past.

To get it out of the way, yes the show itself was cheesy and sexist. There were, indeed, few stereos left untyped by the end. It was clearly meant to be something out of mid 20th century broadway, where such things were common, but we're no longer in that time, and Radio City aside, were weren't in that context. Samsung is still awkward in their approach to modern, mainstream marketing. They have smart people on their team, however, and they desperately need to listen to them more. In the end, the more cockamamy elements did nothing to help their message, and only distracted from it. Next year, how about Cirque du Soleil?

The Galaxy S4 hardware is a feat of engineering. It manages, in the same footprint as last year's Galaxy S3, to pack in a 5-inch 1080p display, massive 2600mAh (user-swappable) battery, SD-card storage expansion, and additional sensors like IR for entertainment console control, and temperature and humidity sensors. Unfortunately, the display is still OLED-based, and the casing still Hasbro-style plastic. If you hold a Galaxy S4 in one hand and an HTC One or iPhone 5 in the other, the difference in material quality is stupefying.

Everything is a compromise, and Samsung seems to have chosen to add more features while sacrificing material quality to keep the price down -- though OLED is pure stubbornness at this point, given its seemingly insolvable problems -- but I think I could have lived with slightly fewer bells and whistles at this point if it meant a better casing. I use my phone more than anything else in my life. It should feel great all the time.

One area Samsung didn't skimp on was radio support. It has everything you can imagine, including the blisteringly fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It also has a big.LITTLE processor that's essentially 2x quad-core, switching between the lighter and heavier cores depending on what it's doing. However, that octocore chip will only be found in some versions. In other markets -- for a variety of carrier-related issues -- they'll use a Qualcomm chipset instead.

So, stacked but ultimately not premium-packed hardware.

Software was even more interesting. I should preface this by saying that I believe it wasn't finished yet, so what you see in the videos may well be much more polished by the time it ships. Also, while some have complained Samsung didn't mention Android enough during the show, as Phil Nickinson has repeatedly said, Android is essentially an embedded OS at this point. How often does Apple mention their UNIX foundation? (Samsung mentioned Android twice, once for their government Android-based KNOX security feature, and once on the spec slide showing the version to be Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean).

That has disadvantages as well. Samsung has so completely paved over Android with their own stuff that, come Google I/O, if a new version of Android is announced, it will take Samsung a long time to release an update that includes the new version for the Galaxy S4. For mainstream users, it won't matter. They bought a Samsung phone, not a Nexus. For geeks, if you want the latest and the greatest from Google, stick to Nexus. For people who just like to point out that Android's licensed business model, one which enjoys a lot of diversity, also results in slower updates for Android-based phones, have at it.

Back to unpacked. Most of the event, through a series of those fourth-wall breaking, often taste-challenging skits I mentioned earlier, was dedicated to front facing user features. A ton of them. It reminded me a little of older iOS events when new features would be announced at an almost machine-gun lined pace. It was a little hard to keep up with, and almost impossible to keep track of, given how many branded terms were used in quick procession. But it was something to see.

Some of the more interesting stuff included picture-in-picture photography and video chatting. Essentially you can include an insert of yourself from the front-facing camera on photos taken with the rear-facing camera. You can do the same for chats, and even screenshare. You can also record a few seconds of audio and combine it to a picture, a feature I've often longed for when covering trade shows -- attached voice notes to jog my memory later. There's even a drama shot mode, where a burst of images are taken and then auto-composited into something akin to those multi-exposure sports posters you sometimes see in bars, or used to erase extraneous people or objects from the background. That last one I'd like to see in iOS.

You can also do device-to-device Wi-Fi direct sharing. For example, if you have 2 people, you can share a song and make it stereo using both of your devices as speakers. If you have 5 or more people, you can make it surround sound. I don't know how often it would actually be useful, but the idea is delightfully geek.

Voice features got a big boost with a new translation assistant that can convert your English text, for example, to Italian audio, and someone else's spoken Italian response back to English for you to read. 8 languages will be available at launch. That's something I'd love to see integrated into Apple's Siri

Air Gestures -- which I'm guessing is some mix of hypersensitive capacitance and Kinect style camera monitoring? -- let you do things like trigger pop up menus or swipe between views without touching the screen. I like the idea for winter, when I'm wearing gloves, or if I'm eating and want to flip pages without getting any food on the display. However, I don't have great coordination and hitting a hard target like a screen is much easier than trying to hover or wave just right. Fitts' law and all that.

The biggest problem with Air Gestures, at least that I could tell, is that they're not really system-level features, so they only work in some apps that expressly enable. They work in Samsung Mail, but not Gmail, and they work in Flipboard, but not many other 3rd party apps. To make something habitual, it needs to be everywhere.

Samsung also showed off a bunch of accessories, including an fitness band, scale, and blood pressure monitor. They were Samsung branded, and if they were also Samsung manufactured, it shows an advantage that Samsung's massive business model provides them. Not many companies make as much stuff as Samsung does, which means their potential for cross-integration is enormous. Scales, fridges, etc. are just the beginning. Smart worlds await.

That's just some of it. There was a dizzying amount of other features as well. If you're interested in a break down of most of them, Phil Nickinson and I recorded an Android Central Podcast immediately after Unpacked.

Again, everything is a compromise, and throwing so many new features at the wall means, like every years, only a few are likely to really stick.Quantity is never as important as quality or coherency. Just like random words are harder to remember than well-told stories, feature blitzes often result in things most people don't use most of the time.

However, I'm happy Samsung is doing it, if only so that they can be tried out, and the good ideas can be distilled faster. Apple usually waits, usually focuses, and it results in great experience, but Samsung is providing balance through sheer audacity. As someone who loves technology, I appreciate the difference in approaches, and the balance.

The only real software negative for me wasn't a new one and remains a huge one -- user interface. Samsung's TouchWiz still lacks a consistently good design language. At best it's usable but utilitarian. There's little unified about their icons, and little appealing about their apps. Given the half-billion dollars they reportedly spent on advertising last year, it's hard to imagine they couldn't have spared a fraction of that amount to hire and empower a world-class design team.

I'm not talking about cool effects, mind you. Samsung has those in spades. Fast, fluid animation, ripples, glows, the whole bit. That's all frosting, though. They need tastier cake.

All told it was an impressive event for Samsung, and the Galaxy S4 looks like a great phone. Some are, sarcastically, calling it a Galaxy S3S, a throwback to Apple's tick-tock S-style updates. It's probably more than that, but let's be realistic -- there's a limit to how far, how fast, we can take phones now. They're already almost all great. Now everyone is trying to make them better.

Later this year it'll be Apple's turn.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

137 Comments
  • I heard the reason all these phones are so big is to match Apple's battery superiority. That true at all?
  • I doubt that is true. People like having different size choices and different styles. As far as the battery, it all depends on the software too. They were complaining when the DNA didn't have a really large battery to power a 5' 1080p screen with LTE, but it does fine. If the software can manage the drain its services have on the battery, then it's okay.
  • Probably not. The bigger they make the phone, the bigger the screen is. I would think that screen power consumption probably scales up faster than battery life when you increase size.
  • I don't know. The S4's battery is around 80% larger than the iPhone's in capacity. That's some serious energy being drained by the screen if that is the only place it's going.
  • Yes it's true. And because it's harder making things smaller and lighter while making them faster and great battery life. These asian companies don't have the engineering talent for that.
  • No wrong, for example the s4 phone size to battery size ratio is around the same or more as the iPhone 5...apple are trying to imply is that the iphone has a "huge" battery and everyone else is making there phones bigger just to get the same capacity which is not true...iPhone 5 has like 1500mah where as the s4 has 2600mah so its not like Samsung made there phone bigger just so they could add the same battery size as ip5 they actually added a bigger one. Let's not forget Samsung can also make a phone slimmer,faster AND put in a bigger screen without making the phone bigger but actually smaller, so to say these Asian companies don't have the talent is false as samsung which is a Asian company made the s4 have a bigger 5" 1080p screen,a much larger 2600mah battery and made the the phone slimmer and less wider and lighter than there previous phone.
  • If the iPhone came with a 2000+ mah battery, no one would come close to it. But they are so damn cheap and get away with it by trying to make their phone 'thinner and lighter.' Utter BS.
  • Initially, yes and also because the Andorid-based devices had LTE too. I do not think that is the case anymore. The larger screens have an audience and are a differentiator over the iPhone.
  • I agree with HTC One, If it wasn't the software platform i would have picked HTC One any day over iPhone 5. It is simply brilliant. I am increasingly worried about Apple's stubbornness on one hand usage Smartphone. As it is the peak season where contract for iPhone 4 expires, most are very likely to switch to bigger screen smartphone. ( This trend is increasingly obvious, especially in non English speaking countries ) A 5" iPhone with same resolution would be great way to fill the gap, and to use those excess screen panel capacity being left over from larger Retina iPad.
  • My girlfriend was Apple thru-and-thru. Macbook, iPhone, and iPad. For years. She just ditched her iPhone 4S and got a Samsung Note 2. She's had it for a bit over a week and still can't stop gushing about how much better she likes it. Mostly because of the size of the screen. But, also, the various widgets she set up so she can see time, current weather, a summary of recent emails, and the last few things in her Facebook Feed, all on one screen. Oh, but wait. Maybe that's all because she doesn't just sit around looking at her phone or "feeling" it. She actually USES it - for work and personal.
  • I continue to think this one hand operation is very "Manly", most woman prefer to have bigger screen and two hand operation. iTunes Sync, iCloud, Bigger Screen, three things that Apple needs to pour resources into some deep thinking and solve the problem. ( Forth one would be Apple ID )
  • well said, that's what apple should learn , infact its "usebility" that counts not only "feeling".
  • nice article. I'm curious what you see are the insolvable problems of AMOLED?
  • Making it as good as LCD. Color saturation, the issue with blue, etc. Listen to last week's iMore show. Brian Klug of Anandtech explains it at a near molecular level.
  • Reports from other tech sites is that the issues with blue and colour satuation has been fixed due to the new screen adapt feature. Don't know if its true but from looking at hands on videos the whites dont have that blueish tint...as for saturation its all personal pref some like true black and vivid colours and some like the "dull" natural colours and dark grey black...i personally don't like too vivid colours but love the true black and on my s3 there's a display mode which allowsit to make the sscreen more natural colour which actually works and you can almost get the best of both world...correct me if I am wrong but dont apple each time introducing a new screen always say its 20% or 40% more saturated than before so are they not each time by doing that themselves going for the more vivid look, same as why the cameras takes more warmer pics because these punchy colours actually stand out to the mass consumers its why when you go to buy TVs etc literally that are all on extra vivid mode.
  • Of OLED is a terrible technology, then why is there such a thing as OLED reference monitors that sell for over $10,000? It is because of the contrast, precise color (at angles), and consistency.
  • After years and multiple AMOLED phones starting with the Nexus One and ending with the Galaxy Nexus and GS3 I have to say I agree with Rene. SAMOLED is not a great display. It is expensive (why do you think Samsung keeps using the pentile matrix? I read it is on the GS4 as well), overly contrasted, hard to calibrate, and looks awful (I used to be a fan, but LCD is a much better option and Apple and HTC continue to show this as they always are considered the phones with the best displays).
  • It is always better to do something ( samsung ) then to do nothing ( apple) .
  • Wow, makes no sense. But if you're talking about upgrades, the iPhone 5 compared to the 4S was leaps and bounds better than the S3 to S4. Sorry troll. Maybe you should be at imoreandroid.com ?
  • >>>Maybe you should be at imoreandroid.com ?
    androidcentral.com is the place for those who wish Android-centric discussion.
  • Respected Sir, I am still a fanboy and will remain as long as there is jailbreak but now I have seriously started thinking of having two phones and as you can guess , the second one will be naturally a fast improving "android" like HTC ONE.
  • fast moving is two words I wouldn't use when it comes to Android and this comes after 3 solid years of only using Android for phones and tablets (I know I shouldn't have and got burned numerous times). Every Android device I've ever used is very laggy and drops a bunch of frames. This happens no matter what hardware they throw at it. It literally feels like I'm swiping and tapping in sand. It didn't bother me much until I came back to the iOS and now it is completely unusable for me. I'm constantly just fighting with the software to get it to do what I want it to.
  • I've never used android and it's nice to see feedback on how it performs. All u here about these days is how good it is but no platform is perfect and hearing a different side is refreshing.
  • Really, you seem to keep suggesting that on most of your post when talking about android? This entire article is about android so shouldn't the discussion almost be about android this time? It is very frustrating to see a mod always say that, I would think as long as they are being respectful they should be able to post about android or whatever as long as they are not trolling. If not then this article should be deleted or moved.
  • It makes perfect sense if you think about it. I love Apple too, but I'm ready for something new. Samsung showed off great features and I think that's a good thing, now other companies like Apple can come up with features like them or even better ones. It's all competition, and competition brings new technology, which to me is a GREAT thing. Let's not kid ourselves, iOS 6 and it's features were nothing game changing. I think that's what he means by it's better to do something than nothing. I personally don't notice anything different on my iPhone 5 than on my 4S with the exception of my 5 being slightly faster.
  • Thanks dear, we all love apple and don't want to see it going down . Remember that a good critics is always better than a extremist fanboy.
  • Leaps and bounds? Really? Both upgrades were marked improvements in overall hardware, but iPhone 5 used the exact same camera as the 4S. Samsung came out with a ton of new features and even if they aren't all the most practical day-to-day features, it beats out iPhone's coupon folder and panorama.
  • That's one way to look at it. Apple managed to engineer a camera slightly better than the iPhone 4S but also much thinner. Cameras hate thinness. Apple made the best camera in mobile, and in the thinnest phone of it's time. That's near miraculous engineering. The problem is, most people probably wouldn't have minded if the iPhone 5 wasn't that thin. Then we could have gotten an even better camera, and likely a longer lasting battery. You can argue priorities, but not quality.
  • "You can argue priorities, but not quality." Exactly. Most people probably wouldn't have minded if the iPhone 5 didn't have crystalline diamond cut chamfers. But the people that don't care about that probably don't care that the only feature Samsung touts about the S4's polycarbonate casing is it's "Unique Textured Design."
  • Samsung managed to put in a larger screen and a much bigger battery in a smaller and thinner phone than before, thats too great engineering don't you think
  • Considering Apple went from "LTE" to real LTE - yes it's a larger upgrade when compared to GS3 to GS4. What did Apple provide beyond that? In terms of other upgrades, the S4 received a larger bump in processor speed, display PPI from 306 to 441, screen size from 4.8in to 5in, camera from 8MP to 13MP, and other new features be it gimmicky or not.
  • If the the 4s to 5 is leaps and bound difference than the s3 to s4 is even bigger...i can gaurantww if you were to write down what got improved the list will be much bigger on the s4
  • "leaps and bounds?" you really think so? as a 4s user currently i was very meh on the 5. All i saw was, bigger screen, LTE, & better camera. And honestly i thought the first to were a one cycle late. I'd just say if it was leaps and bounds better both were not leaps but more like tiny spec bump hops.
  • for your kind information, Sir, I have only one phone i,e, iphone 4 and I love it just like any thing but this is not the case from the very first day I used it , Its only seven days after initial use I had started thinking of changing it but then after googling I decided to JAILBREAK it, OMG, then I met the real iphone , a way better than android . My only aim to criticise apple is to make it "open". Atleast apple can provide some nice themes and tweaks controlled by it.
    I DON'T WANT TO LOOSE APPLE BUT " I (WE) WANT FREEDOM .Apple please listen to the cries of millions of jailbreakers.
  • While Apple may not do things that interest you or matter to you as much as Samsung, to say they do nothing shows incredible detachment from reality and makes productive discussion almost impossible. No other company on earth could have built the iPhone 5, engineering wise, and few could have built their own new maps client, ultimately disastrous as it was. Apple did as much as anyone last year. The discussion is whether what they did is what mattered to people outside of Apple, and how much.
  • Actually, it seems like several could have. Of course, Samsung is the first one that springs to mind. How can you POSSIBLY say that a company like Samsung could not have engineered the iPhone 5? Look at the GS3, which came out sooner, and packs even more "stuff" into a package that is totally comparable in size. And let's not forget, the iPhone 5 is THE ONLY phone on Verizon that has LTE support but can't do LTE data and voice at the same time. THAT is definitely some engineering, right there!
  • You're mistaking "stuff" with manufacturing. I'm not arguing who has more stuff. I'm saying when you look at the manufacturing process used to make the actual device casing, that's all Apple. Apple chose not to include dual radios for battery life reasons. You can argue that choice, of course. Again, you're mistaking quantity for quality. Some people want the former, some the latter. (You can never have everything.)
  • Come on René are you seriously saying if Samsung didn't want to have a manufacturing process like the iPhone 5 they couldn't? HTC one arguably has a even better and unique manufacturing process than the iPhone 5...its silly to say ONLY can only do such things.
  • The GS3 and the ip5 similar in size? You are tripping balls sir. Gs3 is much wider, is taller and thicker and uses plastic casing which is a lot easier in scaling and manufacturing processes. As far as the radios Verizon wont even START pushing out VOLTE until late 2014 which means itll be awhile bfor it spreads. Btw Anybody remember HYPERGLAZE!
  • There is not even a question or real debate between GS3 build quality and iPhone 5 build quality. It's almost like you're arguing that because a Ford truck has more horsepower, higher clearance, more torque, and a bed, that Ford obviously out engineered the latest Mercedes. Apple made very calculated choices in order to build the iPhone 5. Their execution of those choices was phenomenal. Just because those choices might not fit your preferred use-case, just because you might rather have a Ford truck than a Mercedes, doesn't mean that your preference should be universal.
  • True...they would have been sued. ;-)
  • It would be just like apple tho to look at the market of phones and just plan a different route altogether. They're thinking, enough of phones lets focus on the next thing. Maybe the next thing is iWatch who knows but it kinda seems to me like apple is gonna do something along the lines of iPad when everyone said build a NetBook.
  • Great article. I agree. This is a good release for Samsung. It sets their short and long term direction. Soon, the OS will not matter, it will be Tizen, or a fork of Android, or an amalgamation of the two. And as some have said on Android Central, they are just taking existing features and baking them in. My response is good. Yes, iPhones can do many of that "bumping" with the Bump app. Yes, iPhones can filter photos to their hearts content, with any number of apps. But as any Mac/Apple loyalist knows? Built in and seamless is better. Something I thought of today (perhaps influenced by my 4th grade daughter's social studies homework). This launch signifies the end of the Revolutionary War. Next up is the Civil War. The stage is set.
  • Same old low-quality plastic garbage with yr old OS, ugly screen, bloat & malware. Can you freeze this one to access personal data as well? LOL.
  • How is 4.2.2 a year old? Im fairly certain its the latest version on any nexus. Even as an iphone owner, I would argue that ios 6 is aging quite a bit. Its more of an integral step up from ios 5 than a new operating system. Ugly screen? 1080p five inches with amazing color reproduction. Sure maybe over saturated but that doesnt mean it doesnt look gorgeous. I agree the hardware leaves a lot to be desired, but have an open mind. Oh an im fairly certain that the phone does not come with malware.
  • Yes. 4.2.2 is new. But where Apple uses a number (iOS 4, 5, 6) Android uses Names (Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean) for MAJOR revisions. Jelly Bean first came out in July 2012. So 9 months or so old. Versus iOS 6 which is September (6 months or so) Yes, there was 4.1 and 4.2 in Jelly Bean. Even then, Jelly Bean 4.2 is 4 months old. So not a whole lot newer that iOS2. And 4.2 wasn't that much of an upgrade from 4.1. If we want to play the latest and greatest release: iOS 6.1.2 - Feb 18, 2013
    Android 4.2.2 - Feb 11, 2013
  • Still 4 months, or even 9 months, isnt a year old. I was fairly surprised to see that they were using 4.2.2. That isnt typical these days for android devices, except for a nexus device. Samsung went as current as they possibly could.
  • Agreed. As all Android phones should at launch. The nature of the beast is that Google has to release it, then Samsung, then the carriers. It is a wonder they got this that far, but it is to their benefit. I was just pointing out the "old" thoughts come from
  • True. Apples update process is so simple that i hardly even think about it, but they do take the cake with keeping all their devices on the same page. My defense over samsung comes from my own internal conflict ha. I have a phone buying problem and though im very happy with my iphone 5, ipad, and macbook retina, this is a potential future device of mine.
  • Ha! I'll go play around with it. If I were to go android, the new HTC just passed the Droid RAZR X HD as what is go for, but that is hardware.
  • I like the S3 but love my iPhone 5! But Apple needs to branch out a little with screen size variations instead of the same old same old!
  • Great article Rene. Pleasantly surprised at your objectivity. Exciting times for gadget lovers!
  • I tried a Samsung s3 last year and after 10 minutes I was still trying to figure out how to use it. I still think that for ease of use and simplicity the IPhone rules.
  • There's a lot of pro's and con's of each device, but in 10 minutes you couldn't figure out the S3? I get that iPhone has a reputation of being easier to use, but I wouldn't be too open about admitting that you couldn't figure out the S3 in ten minutes. That is very alarming.
  • Please tell me what you couldnt too? Cause my 3 and half your old knows how to turn on WiFi, switch games, watch YouTube, download apps
  • The G4 and HTC One are both very nice smartphones. For quite awhile I was disappointed with larger screens. I wanted a phone that had computing capabilities. However, the trend is for a highly mobile computer that has phone capabilities. In this latter model, these +/-5in screen phones make a lot of sense. With the IP5 Apple put a whole lot of goodness in a small package. And iOS is consistent and comfortable. For many, that's a winner. For others, that's just Apple being overly stubborn, since it is their only option. I would sure like to try a larger phone, ideally an Apple iPhone. And I would love for that phone to run an updated iOS with some bells and whistles. Why not? We are buying these things as 2 year disposable devices (a story of us in itself), and 2 years in tech is a long time. Apple can push the envelope and still keep the consistency and integrated experience. Simple doesn't have to mean you can't dig deeper and do more, if you want. Simple doesn't mean you can't have size choice or cutting edge (even experimental) features. Apple can either play Microsoft and hold on to what they have with a death grip, or keep moving forward. The competition is not sitting still. Looking backward, Apple is in great shape. Looking forward, Apple feels stubbornly stuck.
  • Meh.. Doesn't appeal to me. Seems like Samsung is waiting for Apple to come out with something to copy. I'm waiting on my contract to expire so I can pick up an iPhone (6 when it comes out) and drop my galaxy nexus.
  • I said this before in another post but it looks like everyone is running into the innovation brick wall because of available technology. The screen on this thing looks nice and it looks like the battery has some power but I wonder how much will get eaten up by the bigger screen. Looks like OS, more battery life, and various screen sizes are where everyone is going to have to go now. I heard Rene say "iPhone Maxi" in the last podcast. Hope Apple was listening too!
  • As an owner of a GS2, I gotta admit that it doesn't really 'wow' me that much. Then again, I've also felt the pain that anyone with a non-Nexus device feels a year down the road when their device still isn't updated. Yeah, it's got 4.2.2 now, but how long until it gets Key Lime Pie (5.0?) after it's announced this May at I/O? And the version of Android after that? I place the new core features that Google incorporates into new versions of Android (like Google Now) over useless features that Samsung puts in, while leaving their OS un-updated putting the REAL goodies (Android updates) out of reach. Most of the features of this new phone are nice, but not anything that I'd actually find useful in the day to day operation of a phone.
  • Please give us your definition of the word quality, so that we may better understand how an iPhone's aluminum is stupefyingly better "quality" than Samsung's plastic. Is a Harley, with all its steel, stupefying better quality than a Japanese bike that is wrapped in plastic? Oh, and while I'm asking questions, if you have an iPhone 4S that's at least a year old, how's your battery life? My non-iPhone 4G LTE phone seems to be lasting longer these days than my girlfriend's year-old 4S. Of course, my battery performs just like new - because for $20 and a minute of downtime, my battery IS new. And it appears the S4 will have the same superior battery longevity.
  • As an owner of an S3 and an iPhone 5 you don't need to be a rocket scientist to realize that the metal in a phone is