back to article Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

After weeks of hypegasmic drum-beating at a level unusual for the South Korean consumer-electronics giant, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S 4 at an embarassingly over-the-top, show-biz–infused gala on Thursday evening. Held in New York City, the extravaganza overshadowed the fact that the Galaxy S 4 appears to be a fine Android …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More to the point

    It might make the S3 and S3 mini more affordable, since they'll have to take a price cut now...

    1. h3

      Re: More to the point

      I don't know I think there is more interference (The Mobile Market is definitely cartel like) than that. (The S2 has never gone below £200).

      Samsung conspire to not provide exactly what people want for some reason.

      (i.e no dual sim phones with a reasonable spec).

      Stuff like the Ace 2 is deliberately gimped in some areas.

      Too much is not at least HDPI.

      They still use a junk overlay.

      Providing the micro sd slot is good though.

      (I prefer to buy phones that are not fashionable but pretty decent not terrible in any one area at a knock-down price). I go through about a phone every 6 months usually. Max £200.)

  2. Busby
    Thumb Down

    Not sure I'll bother

    Current owner of an S3 previous model was also a Samsung was looking forward to the release of this expecting to buy one now I'm not so sure.

    All seems a bit gimmicky to me. Sure the screens ability to detect and react to a hovering finger sounds good should help keep the screen clean anway but beyone that theres not a lot else.

    The camera functions sound dreamt up in a coke fuelled brain storm session. The health and excersise functions don't interest me and can't see them getting a lot of use. Beyond that there's not a lot to appeal. Plus the names of the colours have to be some of the most pretentious bull I've seen in a while bet the marketing bod behind that one is feeling pretty proud.

    Don't get me wrong I'm sure it's a good phone and will sell in the millions but they didn't make a compelling case on why I should upgrade from my current one.

    Nothing actually wrong with my current handset just getting a little bored but not sure this is the answer. Since I want something with at least the same size screen as my current one my options are pretty limited at the moment, may hang on till the next note release/announcement and see what else is available then. Buy my phones sim free so not tied to a contract and can update at any time just was expecting to do it in the next month or two. Briefly considered the new Xperia but then remembered my last experience as a Sony Ericsson customer wait and age for any update and stopped supporting it almost immediately after release (or so it felt for us X10i users) so left a bad taste in the mouth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      There are some gimmicks, but they say it can recognised the British English accent so it that means it can recognise Geordie and Brum it will be the most amazing thing ever.

      I do note that no mention was made of the Scottish accent. I suppose trying to translate Glaswegian would be a software step to far.

      All cred to Samsung, they have produced a phone with more features than you can begin to to use or understand, but for me it's just a tad big and having to use two hands to use it defeats the object of a mobile phone. Not to mention the fact that I would need to wear combats every day so that I could have a pocket in my trousers big enough to carry it in.

      Still pretty good effort.

      1. Shagbag
        Thumb Up

        "British Accent"

        I guess it's like "American Accent" or "Chinese Accent" or any other accent in the world (except Australian, of course, which only has one).

        I'm hoping Samsung chose one of the following to be the "British Accent":

        1. Geordie (no one will understand it)

        2. Cockney (lots of "fackin' this" and "fackin' that")

        3. Welsh (at least everyone will start laughing once they hear it, even if they can't understand it - "Valley Boy" LOL)

        4. Brummy (or South African - both the same).


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "British Accent"

          You are out of luck should you ever venture north of the border. Good luck getting a translation from an Aberdeen drawl. Seagulls are 'scurries' and everyone has furry boots.

      2. Steve 13

        Re: Not sure I'll bother

        It's smaller than the S3 that is comfortably nestled into a normal pocket of my normal jeans at the moment, and that's with a case on it that makes it slightly larger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      It will annoy me if the video stops playing every time I look away, it'll take me hours and hours to get through a film and I won't be able to make a cup of tea during the boring bits, they'll be waiting for me when I get back.

      1. Ralph B

        Re: Not sure I'll bother

        > It will annoy me if the video stops playing every time I look away

        But Google will love using the attention-detection for the pre-roll adverts on YouTube.

        Only when you've earned your 15 million merits will you be allowed to skip the adverts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure I'll bother

        >It will annoy me if the video stops playing every time I look away,


        1. Turn off feature in 'settings'

        2. Use an alternative video player from the Google Play store- it will probably have better codec support anyway

        3. Apply tape to the sensor

        1. A 11
          Big Brother

          Re: Not sure I'll bother

          There is no way that 3. will make it think you are watching. If sensibly programmed it will cause a fall-back to 1. but its not really a separate option. My preference is 4.

          4. Place toy with eyes in front of sensor. I'm thinking maybe a small troll doll.

          I'm guessing the sensor must be the forward facing camera so this may not be practical but will be amusing. Alternatively:

          5. wear a hat/top with a picture of a forward facing face on it.

          Big Brother because he'd probably work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      If it wasn't for the display it could have been called the Galaxy 3S (for speed).Sony have had 12 or so megapixel cameras in their phones for a while. They also had the "hover" display stuff. LG had the 1080 screens first.

      It's all a bit yawn inducing. Samsung really is a follower not an innovator.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      I'm disappointed by the GPU. I was hoping for Imagination's new Rogue chip. The one they've gone for is only a little more powerful than the iPhone 5 which only has to fill a 1136x640 screen. For the S4 trying to fill a full HD 1080p display with 3D graphics at that res is going to be a struggle I suspect.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      Interesting you mention Sony as many of the new features seem to be lifted from Sony's Android phones.

    6. Chet Mannly

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      "The camera functions sound dreamt up in a coke fuelled brain storm session. "

      So you missed the whole instagram thing then?

      That is obviously what the camera effects are aimed at.

      Sure I wouldn't use them, but then again I wouldn't use a phone as a camera in the first place...

    7. ThomH

      Re: Not sure I'll bother

      I feel like what Samsung is saying is 'this is the flagship phone; we're going to throw every idea we have at it and see what sticks' — some people are going to find some of the new features useful, nobody is going to be at a disadvantage because of them and Samsung can gauge reactions to figure out what to port to next year's midrange handsets.

      I guess it's a more market-driven approach to figuring out where to go next, rather than dictating simplicity from the centre.

  3. Esskay
    Thumb Up

    New features

    I think most importantly for the S 4 is that it no longer feels like they're playing catch-up to Apple - the features they've crammed in are impressive, and even if somewhat gimmicky it's the type of stuff that Apple would have come up with first (or claimed to) just a few years back. The difference between then and now is that a few years ago no-one would care that samsung had put face tracking on a phone - because it was just a Samsung. I've no doubt that had Apple done it, it would be a bullet point on the box, and the first round loaded into the chamber of the Fanboi FUDgun. But after god knows how many lawsuits, patent disputes and copyright claims, Samsung have been flung repeatedly into the limelight by Apple, to the point where the Galaxy S series of phones are, ironically, now one of the most watched series of phones being made.

    I've no interest in getting an S 4 (just got a Nexus 4 a few months ago) but It's great to see that technology isn't stopping - we've gone beyond "colour screens! look at pictures! take photos! play movies!" into the realm of doing all of that stuff as effortlessly as possible, in the most convenient way imaginable, in high definition, streamed from the net.

    1. OrsonX

      re: no longer playing catch-up (?!)

      er, Apple have been playing catch-up since the S3 and Note II.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What is so compelling?

    As far as I can see this is just another Android Phone. Meh! There is nothing here that says 'buy me' that is not in pretty well every other phone (android/iPhone or windows phone) available today.

    Sure it has a lot of sensors and there is some nifty electronics inside but what level of improvement of user experience will this give me over a dozen other phones out there?

    At the moment, I can't see anything.

    Then there is Rik's statement about the iPhone 5 being last weeks newspaper.

    I have to ask, 'so what?'. Does it do what it says on the tin?

    In the broader consumer world (not the technophobes who post on 'El Reg') does this really matter?

    In the majority of cases, I think that is does not.

    Therefore I must conclude that this is a sign of the smart phone market maturing to point where all the phones will do pretty well everything that the users are demanding. Like new versions of MS Office, the new features are only useful to a small percentage of the overall user base.

    So no compelling need to rush out and buy one of the then?

    1. frank ly

      Re: What is so compelling?

      "....the technophobes who post on 'El Reg'"

      Surely, you mean 'technophiles'?

      1. Arctic fox

        Re: "Surely, you mean 'technophiles'?" I think that depends on which company the........ originates from. If one were to judge by the howling that greets anything from "fill in your choice of company here" one would have to assume that a certain proportion of the membership here are indeed "technophobes". At least a fair number appear to have an automatic aversion reaction to any tech not approved of by "their tribe".

      2. Vic

        Re: What is so compelling?

        > Surely, you mean 'technophiles'?

        Not been here long, have you?


    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: What is so compelling?

      "As far as I can see this is just another Android Phone."

      In the same way that the iPhone 5 is just another iOS phone.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is so compelling?

      I think Samsung's success is due to them cramming in every feature. With competitors you have to pick and choose.

      Many are still obsessed with having a battery that is removable and SD slots.

      When buying a Windows Phone 8 handset I could have bought the Samsung phone with these features, but decided I wanted QI wireless charging and better camera.

      1. Mark .

        Re: What is so compelling?

        Yes I was wondering this - I mean, works with gloves was first done by Nokia, hover touch was first done by Sony (I think). Is there a phone yet that does both of these together?

        And I was amused when the micro SD storage was announced with an "of course" :) (I'm not sure if that was a dig at Apple, Google, HTC or all three...)

        Still, it is a shame that Samsung get so much publicity when there are plenty of other top quality phones coming from Sony, HTC etc. But I guess it's a step forward when the mainstream media were only publicising the iphone, when there was never any justification for doing so.

    4. Tim Jenkins

      Re: What is so compelling?

      "Sure it has a lot of sensors"

      Still missing, though, are the breathalyzer, mass-spectrometer (for avoiding that Ben Fogle spiked drink moment, with secondary use as a coke/ketamine/ecstasy quality tester ), and (to tie up with certain 'specialist' apps) a penile turgidity cuff fitting; after all, the damn things have vibrated for years...

      Samsung please note; I'd prefer $s to Wons.

      1. wikkity

        Re: Sure it has a lot of sensors

        I'm still waiting for a phone with a cigarette lighter in.

        1. Tom 38

          Re: Sure it has a lot of sensors

          I'm still waiting for a phone with a cigarette lighter in.

          Wait no longer

          1. Richard 120
            Thumb Up

            Re: phone with a cigarette lighter in

            That is possibly the most awesome thing I have seen today at least, and what a name!

            I'm not sure I can see anyone actually buying it, but still, absolutely brilliant, almost makes me want to take up smoking again, but not quite.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sure it has a lot of sensors

          The bloody thing can do everything except that one thing that an old SE or Nokia featurephone can... record a phonecall (both caller and yourself AKA full 2-way callrecording).

          So it doesn't matter how many cores, how much lpram, how big a screen or how much sensors it has; if can't do that one simple thing that a 2005 phone could do without a fuzz.

          This is not progress this is braggery.

          Samsung, a dumping-company of cheap and crappy consumerproducts, may fool the whole world but they won't fool me.

          1. masterofobvious

            Re: Sure it has a lot of sensors

            Have you searched the app store? Auto Call Recorder perhaps....?

  5. CaptSmegHead


    I'm just at the point of buying new smartphone and was waiting to see what the S4 was going to deliver. My rather basic concern is, can this thing actually fit in your trouser pocket ?

    1. mIRCat

      Re: whopper

      "can this thing actually fit in your trouser pocket ?"

      Who needs pants when you have a phone like that.

      I will be needing this coat though...

      1. LarsG

        Re: whopper

        You will need two handed dexterity to use this beastie.

        1. Jediben

          Re: whopper

          I've had plenty of practice using both hands, no worries there!

    2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: whopper

      It's (a very, very small bit) smaller than the S3, which I've been carrying around quite comfortably for a year. fits in all the various trousers I wear, both casual (mostly jeans) and business, very nicely.

      I think they've done a really neat job of packaging to get the bigger screen and battery into a package smaller than the S3, and it's good to see a return to Super AMOLED - always seemed an odd choice to fit the flagship phone with the second-tier screen on the S3, although it works well enough for my ageing and colour-blind eyesight.

      Watching the launch event was quite excrutiatingly embarrassing, though. Samsung are not Apple, and I do wish they wouldn't try to be. All the pauses waiting for audience applause that never came was like watching a train crash in slow motion.


    3. Shagbag

      Re: whopper

      S 4 not S4.

      1. Roger Gann

        Re: whopper

        Not according to Samsung's website where you can't get a fag paper between the S and the 4 ...

    4. Grant 5

      Re: whopper

      No problem, I've had one for a while and I hardly notice it in any of my pockets but why not pop into a phone shop and give one a try ;)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: whopper

        >My rather basic concern is, can this thing actually fit in your trouser pocket ?

        What Grant said. Your Pockets May Vary.

  6. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    What strikes me about this review is ...

    it appears to be balanced and fairly neutral - unlike the Guardian's rewrite artist Charles Arthur - and provides informational reading to El Reg readers. The family arguments on Orange County Choppers killed that show and, likewise, Troll writers who write 'reviews' exposing their prejudices/preferences are just so much waste space.

    That Samsung is marketing what is, effectively, an under-powered cell handset in North America is interesting. I run a company Note 2 purchased and used in the Far East and when compared to a friend's North American Note 2 the subtle differences become noticeable.

    I would be curious to know the strategy behind these decisions.

    In the mean time I patiently await the Note 3 - just think what Samsung could achieve with all that additional real estate under the cover!

  7. phr0g
    Thumb Up

    Sounds great

    If only I had waited and not got my One X back in July. The One X is a great phone,but I miss the replaceable battery and card slot.

    I love the idea of air gestures, and having played with the S3 I think more should be made of the ability Samsung have added to have more than one app on the screen.

    IAs an expat, the translation thing might have been useful had it included the language of my chosen home.

    It'll undoubtedly sell like hotcakes.

    1. DF118

      Re: Sounds great

      With the exception of its outstanding screen and build quality I too am somewhat underwhelmed by the One X.

      Sticking AOKP on it (in the form of IceColdJelly) has made a difference to battery life and heat generation, but I'll still be selling this one on pretty quickly.

    2. Miffo

      Re: Sounds great

      >IAs an expat, the translation thing might have been useful had it included the language of my chosen home.

      Have you tried installing "Google Translate" on your One X? I'm not sure what the S 4 gives you above that. Nobody seems to mention it in the reviews.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Sounds great

      Translate sounds marvelously useful on the face of it. Until you give it some though.... The most likely and useful place to use it would be while holidaying in some foreign land, ask it "which way to the beach" and it can translate it for a helpful local to point you in the correct direction. But... when you're on holiday you'll have to rely on the hefty data roaming charges it will inevitable rack up to talk to the translation servers.

      1. Charles 9

        Re: Sounds great

        Sensible travelers would swap SIMs upon arriving and use a local prepaid system (pay for a short stint, use it, then toss it away as you leave). Rates may vary, but they're likely better than international roaming.

        1. Annihilator

          Re: Sounds great

          @Charles 9 - I hear that a lot, but know of no-one who does it, lest I'd be having to text people "I'll be on +34 123 4565 19 for the next 2 weeks if you want to reach me.." Or forever swapping SIM cards back and forth depending on whether I want *my* expensive phoneline, or *a* cheap phoneline.

          1. Charles 9

            Re: Sounds great

            You're talking to one. I did it for a three-week stint, and it worked out nicely, and despite a number of international calls and texts (not to mention a generous data allowance) the final damage wasn't all that significant.

          2. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: Sounds great

            That's where O2's TuGo app comes in handy. If your local SIM has a reasonable data allowance, then you can make and receive calls on your UK number for the same cost as in the UK. If you have that, then you probably don't need to worry about voice minutes or texts at all on your local SIM, and you can just go for the one with the cheapest data.

  8. Charles 9

    You have my attention.

    My 2-year-old phone is starting to feel long in the tooth with today's apps, so I have the itch to switch. I was turned off the HTC One because you can't change the battery or use SD. This one is ticking all the marks so far: current Android, high res (I still have good eyes), power, battery can be removed, even SDXC support (from the 64GB claim). I plan to jump later this year, and so far this is the one to beat.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Re: You have my attention.

      SDXC has been supported since the Galaxy S2 for certain, and possibly before that. 128GB cards coming Real Soon Now...


      1. Charles 9

        Re: You have my attention.

        Have to wonder, though, if they'll support the capacities out of the box. Since the big hurdle (exFAT support) is already licked, I would hope so, but you never know.

    2. David Hicks
      Thumb Up

      Re: You have my attention.

      My note has had a 64GB card in it for a while now, so they do support the big cards.

      Now there's a thing, all this talk of the S 4, nothing new on Note 3? That's what I'm waiting for at the moment....

  9. Bob Vistakin
    Big Brother

    Cupertino, start your photocopiers

    This is the second generation of tech they failed to innovate from Samsung. Guess the first generation such as NFC, wireless charging, proper screen sizes etc they are still innovating from the first S3 will be here any year now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

      Not everyone is a fat, angry basement dweller so a massive screen isn't need to watch anime and to compensate for being a 40 year old virgin. So before talking about a proper screen do realise you're different.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

        and if there's anything you basic fanboi really hates it's anything different.

        it's a witch! burn it etc etc.

      2. Mr.Mischief

        Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

        So how is watching porn on your iPhone? Does the extra row of icons show much additional?

    2. Shagbag
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

      LOL. Too true. Too true.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

        I've had an NFC phone for some time now, and have no use for the feature. That said, I was recently doing some work on a house, and thought that being able to embed passive FC tags in the walls, for future identification of water pipes etc would be handy, if the tags were cheap enough.

        Now, that IR transmitter on this SG S 4 does seem useful. Strange that it hasn't been featured on more smartphones in recent years, given it was a coveted feature on Casio wristwatches amongst schoolkids in the nineties.

    3. Battsman

      Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

      I understand your point, but technically the S3 wireless charging announced @ launch was vaporware ;> Of course they have implied that in addition to the S4, the S3 will get a refresh that will include it.

      Anyway, there are inovations that Samsung has produced that Apple has not immulated - of course that could be because that would make Apple hypocritical in their previous criticisms that Samsung products were nothing but knockoffs of Apple products (I've disagreed with that assertion on the grounds that no patent should ever be awarded for derivative elements like rounded corners.)

      ANYWAY, the real observation I'll make with regard to the S4 is that like with SIRI, the non-touch gesture based interface may not really be ready for prime-time, but it does signal the likely evolution of future interfaces. Sooner or later we know that we'll all be able to talk to and gesture at our "portable assistant." Nobody is actually there yet, but they will get there. As such, Crapple fanboi suggestions that Samsung only emulates are clearly unfounded.

      But then again fanBoys will be fanBoys (on both sides).

    4. Annihilator
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cupertino, start your photocopiers

      Much as I both agree and disagree with the sentiment (I reckon Apple and Samsung have probably taken "inspiration" equally as often from each other), I've upvoted you purely for the brilliant line :-)

  10. The Axe


    For me, the main thing I look for in a phone is the ability to swap batteries and swap uSD cards. Using a phone a lot during the day, even for emails, tweets, RSS, and the odd little game uses up nearly all of a battery and many times you don't get a chance to recharge when running low. Having a back up battery to keep you going is important. Similarly being able to backup to a uSD and insert into another phone when the inevitable happens is also very important, especially when phones can store gigabytes and you keep many personal documents/photos in them.

    My current ancient phone of a Dell Streak 5 has those features. I'm glad that the SIV has these features too. These two facts will make it a major reason why I will switch to the SIV when I've saved up some money.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Swappability

      The former problem is dealt with by having a phone with enough battery life to last more than a day (with use) on a full charge. The iPhone and many Android phones can manage that these days perfectly well.

      The latter is dealt with by backing your phone up to the cloud. iPhone owners can for example move to a new phone and have everything restored and working within a few minutes.

      Result: these are both non-issues for most people.

      1. Mr.Mischief

        Re: Swappability

        And when your iPhone battery does die because you've been watching YouTube videos all day. I guess you're going to just have to get a bunch of lemons and try to generate electricity with them..

        And when your data allowance is used up or youre in a foreign country and dont want to pay for a data network or youre in a place with no cell coverage, I guess the iPhone makes a good paperweight.

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues

          Re: Swappability

          I believe You will find out that he doesn't want the lemons. He didn't order them! What would he do with them?

          A potato, on the other hand, would provide 1,2V - with should be enough, if he keeps calm.

      2. Windrose

        Re: Swappability

        The cloud, yees. Like putting your RSS feeds in Google's Reader, yees.

        Your data may be unimportant to you, but some of us have doubts.

  11. Rupert Stubbs

    It's a mature market now.

    A nicer screen (but what is the point of higher than perceptible resolution?), a faster processor (nice, but again not exactly a quantum leap), loads of rather gimmicky new features that will be mostly ignored after the first five minutes...

    This doesn't mean the S4 is boring, just that smartphones are maturing and that's what happens - there are diminishing returns. Expect the iPhone 5S to be greeted with the same chorus of "where's the next big thing?"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a mature market now.

      Jobs was the driving force behind Apple, he's gone. So there's no point being critical of what Apple do now. They may keep the fanfare going, but its obvious they have no visionary at the helm.

  12. toadwarrior

    Samsung galaxy 3S

    It's rubbish and with talk of the features being back port to the galaxy 3 that means it has even fewer new features.

    The only thing working in Samsung's favour is the high dissatisfaction android owners have means they'll upgrade more often.

    1. Shagbag

      High dissatisfaction

      I agree. I'm an Android owner am very dissatisfied that I cannot get the same experience as the iPhone 5 unless I go back in time to the Galaxy S2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: High dissatisfaction

        Errm you know that the SIII isn't Android right? It's samsungs spin on Android.

        If you don't like what Samsung are going, try and Xperia Z, HTC One, or a Nexus 4. All still Android, and all unique.

        Personally, I don't think you can beat stock Android Nexus 4. Most of the gadgets and gizmos you can download from the app-store if you want them, forget about them if you don't.

        1. Chris007

          Re: High dissatisfaction @AC 08:46 GMT

          "Errm you know that the SIII isn't Android right? It's samsungs spin on Android."

          Errm - You do know you can flash the SIII with a more pure Android version (think CM 10.1) with all the Samsung crap removed.

          Icon: Failure of previous poster to do his homework

        2. Jon Gibbins

          Re: High dissatisfaction

          "Errm you know that the SIII isn't Android right?"

          Of course it's Android! It doesn't matter what interface changes you make or apps you preinstall or even how many go-fast stripes you put on it. It's an Android OS phone. (This photo says it all:

          It's a bit like saying 'Ubuntu isn't Linux' but that's a different argument for another time .....

          1. Charles 9

            Re: High dissatisfaction

            If I do get an SIV, i'll definitely be getting it unbranded (otherwise, I'll hold off). I can tolerate TouchWiz and I'll see what apps they offer. If I'm not satisfied...hopefully Samsung will be lenient on those who buy the phone unbranded and make it easy to reflash it.

          2. Marcelo Rodrigues

            Re: High dissatisfaction

            He may have used the wrong words - but I agree with the gist of it.

            Let me explain.

            The Android used by Samsung is (were?) heavily customized. It is Android, all right. But it IS different.

            I have an Xperia Arc, and looks to me that Sony fiddled much less with the OS. Looked to a Nexus of a friend, and my Xperia is almost the same. My girlfriend's Galaxy SII was quite different.

            1. Chet Mannly

              Re: High dissatisfaction

              "I have an Xperia Arc, and looks to me that Sony fiddled much less with the OS."

              So you didn't notice the lock screen, home screen, launcher, app drawer, music app, gallery app and the host of other customisations Sony made to the Arc?

              Sony add just as much, if not more, stuff to their roms than Samsung do

              1. Marcelo Rodrigues

                Re: High dissatisfaction

                I was talking about the system, not the apps.

                I don't have a Samsung handy here, so cannot get into specifics. But (from memory) the navigation was quite different - and (again, from memory) with a Nexus I felt quite at home.

                Hence, Sony must have fiddled less.

                Another point: The Xperia Arc is (was, at the time) the first Android Sony sold with minimal changing. I remember that older models had an interface completely different from everything else - and it was one of the (given) reasons to the delay of the updates.

                I don't know if it was true - but my 2.3.0 Arc was upgraded (by Sony) to 2.3.4 and 4.0.4.

        3. Chet Mannly

          Re: High dissatisfaction

          "Errm you know that the SIII isn't Android right? It's samsungs spin on Android."

          Its android with some added Samsung Apps.

          BY your logic my old Vodafone branded iphone wouldn't be iOS


  13. Richard Barnes

    What I'd like to see...

    .... is a smartphone that can last a whole waking day of heavy use without having to re-charge or swap the battery out.

    Pretty please?

    1. David Hicks
      Thumb Up

      Re: What I'd like to see...

      Galaxy Note.

      So huge they can fit a decent battery in it.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: What I'd like to see...

        I think Moto do a phone with an extra big battery option, and the Sony TX has a swappable battery.

        "and the flagship DROID RAZR MAXX HD has the same 3,300mAh battery that was first introduced in the DROID RAZR MAXX" - September 2012

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What I'd like to see...

      You'd be wanting a Motarola RAZR MAXX or HD MAXX, which are regular RAZRs with humungous batteries. Sadly only available in the US, though you can import them. Pretty good phones too, apparently

      1. Piro Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What I'd like to see...

        Yup. They're the only phones that have taken battery life seriously. I don't know why Motorola isn't giving the MAXX HD a sprinking of upgrades, 4.2.2 and throwing it out to the international market.

        I did import a RAZR MAXX HD, for pretty much the reason that it wasn't silly: 720p screen (1080p is pointless at this size), that giant battery, nicely balanced SoC (MSM8960, dual core Krait).. micro SD, and so on.

        Toss some capacitive buttons under the screen, upgrade to MSM8960T and 2GiB RAM, they have a winner on their hands again.. (oh, and ditch AMOLED, that degrades badly. Give me a nice LCD any day).

    3. ElsieEffsee

      Re: What I'd like to see...

      I would rather have a thicker phone with room for a bigger battery, this is essential for those of us addicted to Ingress! A fully charged battery in my Note only gives me about 3 hours of play. Ok, using GPS and the screen all the time is going to suck battery life and that's my choice if I want to play but I would love to be able to play without having to carry around a spare.

      Although, I guess I should be thankful i can swap my battery. I would hate to have a phone that once its dead, it stays that way until you get home. If you can't swap the battery in a phone its not worth having.

      1. Charles 9

        Re: What I'd like to see...

        I'm also grateful that Micro USB has become the standard charging method. It makes getting a USB battery brick more versatile.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would like

    Dual core (quad core is pointless on a pc let alone a phone)

    Max 4" display with minimal bezels (720p is fine)

    Sd card

    Big battery

    Quality materials (milled polycarbonate or metal)

    Camera that works in low light

    Stock android

    Will any manufacturer make this please?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I would like

      Have you tried machining polycarbonate? Try it on an old CD. It's better moulded, or pressed (which can be done at room temperature for some forms).

      Multicore chips are an effort to save battery power - the idea is that fewer / efficient cores are used for keeping the phone ticking over, and the other cores are only called into action when required.

      If you want a solid aluminium, dual core phone with a 4" display, you might consider a Sony Xperia P- and it's not too pricey. Okay, it doesn't have a removeable battery, but i get on quite well with with a little Li-ion USB battery pack I bought from Lidl. It doesn't have a uSD card slot, but it does support USB OTG, so a card reader can be connected (note: the Nexus 4 doesn't offer this facility). The Xperia P doesn't have stock Android, but the Sony customisation isn't too offensive.

      Its camera is alright, but nothing special in low light. There isn't really any substitute for size when it comes to low light pictures (bigger sensor, brighter lens), so maybe you want a Nokia Pureview or a dedicated compact camera.

    2. PsychicMonkey
      Thumb Up

      Re: I would like

      The S3 mini ticks most of those boxes.

      My battery lasts 2 days easily. Granted I don't make too many calls but plenty of emails and web use.

      Nice size for my hands and pocket also.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would like

      Thanks for the tips (and the downvotes).

      Quite like the look of the S3 mini, but been used to metal phones for while (Nokia 8800 / n71 / iphone1 / ip4) so would like something with a solid feel.

      I can put up with OTG cables for my nexus, but not for a phone (downloading from amazon cloud player is far less hastle if i need to swap out some tunes), hence wanting big memory (£s) or microsd

      Guess i'm still looking ... it would be really nice if the Nexus 5 came in 4" and 5" sizes to keep everyone happy (probably except me as it won't have microsd....).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another in the long lone of real iPhone killers.

    Doesn't matter if you have a S2, a Nexus 4, and Xperia Z, a HTC One, a LG Optimus or even a Huawei Ascend P2

    They are all easilly iPhone killers, they all run the same apps (so you can switch between any of them), and they all cost less than the iPhone. (in the case of the Huawei and the Nexus, half the price of the iPhone), without losing anything, infact all being far more functional and just as easy to use.

    Whilst Android has always been ahread of iOS in terms of power and flexability, Jellybean really was a game changer for Google, it's now massively ahead of Apple in the usability and look game too.

    The Nexus4 totally kills the iPhone in every area, and is over half the price. Get one for you and the wife for the same price, it's a compelling offer.

    Guess that's why Google just reached the 750m Android device mark. (more like 850m when you add in all the non-Google enabled Android devices).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another in the long lone of real iPhone killers.

      Rubbish. The Nexus 4 doesn't have LTE support, the Nexus 4 doesn't support Bluetooth 4 low power (I have a Fitbit One and can use an iPhone to sync its stats).

      I can get an iPhone with 32GB or more. What does the Nexus 4 have? oh erm 8GB or 16GB (it's not 2008 guys).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another in the long lone of real iPhone killers.

        @ AC 0942 GMT

        <blockquote>I can get an iPhone with 32GB or more. What does the Nexus 4 have? oh erm 8GB or 16GB (it's not 2008 guys).</blockquote>

        Cloud storage and MicroSD....

        Why do you want a device with any amount of limited storage in your hand, its not 2007 guys.

    2. sarkster0

      Re: Another in the long lone of real iPhone killers.

      What utter bollocks. I own both devices (I use the n4 the wife uses the iphone5) and without even wasting time writing counterpoints to your post I can confidently state the following:

      The iPhone camera dumps all over the n4

      The iPhone screen is far more accurate than the n4 - and yes, I am using a custom kernel to get the best out of it.

      I actually prefer the n4 for many reasons and would always advocate the phone over an iPhone but don't flat out lie ffs.

    3. Prof Denzil Dexter

      Re: Another in the long lone of real iPhone killers.

      i really don't wanna do the whole "my android is better than your iphone/BB/Winpho" but i can't help but agree with the above statement.

      Bought a 16 gig nexus for for £279, comfortably cheaper than every similar device out there. the UI is excellent even for an android virgin. If price is a factor in your purchasing decision, you seriously need to give throught to the Nexus 4. The battery easily lasts a whole day of moderate use (whereas my i4S was dead by 4-5pm). It is light, has an excellent screen and and excellent range of apps. Managed to sell my i4S too which covered 90% of the purchase price.

      Thoroughly recommended.

  16. cpage

    Different bands for different markets - how awful

    The whole point of a mobile phone is that you should be able to take it around to different places and it should just work - I'm fed up with having a GSM phone that only works in parts of the USA and Canada, for example, because they use different bands to ours.

    So what do we find here: 4g with the hardware using a different selection of bands when sold in different places. So if I buy one in the UK it probably won't be able to use 4g in other countries. What a mess.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Different bands for different markets - how awful

      I understand the feeling, but it's pretty much the best we can do. Compactness demands pretuned antennae. Besides, a software radio isn't sensitive enough.

    2. Charles 9

      Re: Different bands for different markets - how awful

      In any event, they're trying to be as accommodating as possible. The GSM and HSPA radios are each quad-band and the LTE one is hex-band, and you can usually find some overlap between areas. Even for my T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Desire Z), I was pleasantly surprised to find an overlapping HSPA+ frequency in the Philippines at 1900MHz. 900MHz is being included in the US frequency list for HSPA(+) and both 900 and 1800MHz are supported on EDGE. Hopefully, the LTE radio will make room for some common international bands.

  17. Coofer Cat

    Samsung Suck at Software

    I have an S2, and I love it - it's around the same sort of ball-park as an iPhone 5, as I imagine the S3 is too.

    However, 90% of what makes my phone good is Android, and actually stuff written by Google or apps developers. The remaining 10% of not-uninstallable shite is all the Samsung stuff. Even worse is the absolute abomination they want you to install on your PC.

    The S4 will doubtless be good hardware - that's something Samsung have generally been good at for years and years. However, if they end up "customising" Android to "enhance" the user experience, then it'll be a god-awful crock of steamies. I'd rather they teamed up with Google to get the features they want into Android, but then of course, that means HTC and everyone else will have them too.

    1. Lallabalalla
      Thumb Up

      Re: Samsung Suck at Software

      Yes. Yes they do. Always have.

    2. Mark .

      Re: Samsung Suck at Software

      "However, 90% of what makes my phone good is Android, and actually stuff written by Google or apps developers. The remaining 10% of not-uninstallable shite is all the Samsung stuff."

      That doesn't quite make sense - Android provides 90% of the "good", but the remaining 10% is "shite"?

      (I mean, if Samsung provide an extra 1/9th of good, then even if the majority of software is done by Google, that still seems an improvement; or if you mean the Samsung additions actively make the phone worse, then that's not so good.)

    3. OrsonX

      Re: Samsung Suck at Software

      Yup, I have a Note I, awesome phone, horrendous Samsung Software, all of it terrible! The S Memo and S Note software is the worst of all, they need to have one app with features of both of these combined. It is mind boggling that there are 2 in the first place?

  18. Steve78

    It's just too damn big!

    I'm not sure I like this trend of monstrous sized phones. For me Apple has it absolutely spot on with the iPhone 5. I want something I can slip in my pocket and not even know it's there until I can feel a buzz from an event.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It's just too damn big!

      Then buy an iPhone. Or an Xperia P, or Galaxy S III Mini, or something else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's just too damn big!

      Innuendo aside, the S 4 isnt actually all that big and once you've slipped it into your, ahem, pocket, you wont notice it is there until the vibrations get to you.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: It's just too damn big!

      There are options. Android has a giant market. There are phones in all shapes and sizes (although there's no good replacement for the Xperia Pro yet! Come on people, some want keyboards...)

      Clearly many people DO want a giant phone.

  19. IHateWearingATie

    Apple really have to up their game... stay ahead of the Android pack.

    The wife and I both have iPhones (4S and 3GS - her 4S was stolen), and while I'll probably move to whatever the latest iDevice is in the summer (new company phone - can't say better than free phone and free contract) I'll be putting the S4 (and maybe a selection of other Android devices) in front of her in October to see if she wants to leave the Apple walled garden.

    Apple are gonna have to up their game to even stay on the list of potential phones to consider to be honest. The iPhone 5 did nothing for me (slightly larger screen than my 4S - meh), and Jelly Bean onwards (admittedly my experience of it comes from a Nexus 7) feels to me a far better OS to use - certainly better than the grid of applications and a halfhearted attempt at notifications in iOS 6.

    If the 5S (or whatever its called) only has the same leap over the 5 that the 4S did over the 4, any claims to 'magical', 'revolutionary' or 'amazing' are going to sound pretty hollow.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gimmicky apps

    Meh, are they going to roll out these apps/software features into the S3/Note 2 lines?

  21. Phil W

    8 Cores?

    Sure there's 8 cores but can they all be used?

    From the way El Reg describes it in this article it sounds to me like it's 2 separate sets of 4 cores, when under minimal load the low power cores are used, and when under heavy load the beefier cores take over and the other 4 cores stop being used.

    So the question is, at any point is this CPU actually 8 cores with 8 seperate processing threads, or is it just 4 that swap between high and low power versions?

    I'm not familiar with the design of this CPU so perhaps someone else would care to weigh in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 8 Cores?

      This is the architecture. It's not Samsung's tech, it is ARMs, so it may appear on other devices soon:

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Investors were that impressed that Samsung's share price dived 1.7%

  23. Gordon Pryra

    Its just a phone

    I brought the S 2 a week before the S 3 came out, so my contract is almost up, I can bypass the S 3 for the newer shiny.

    ill get it, but only because it fits in with my upgrade cycle. The bells and whistles on this phone will probably fall into the category of those on my TV. "Fun in a laboratory environment". On my Samsung Smart TV, they are all turned off, and I guess most of them will stay turned off on this handset too.

    New stuff needs to be released so it can grow into a usable technology at some point in the future, to base buying a phone on these things is going to disappoint the buyer.

    About the best thing going for this phone is that it is not Apple, and no one has actually talked about the quality of its primary function.

    What does making a phone call sound like?

    1. Jediben

      Re: Its just a phone

      Something like:

      <Ring Ring... ring Ring..Ring>


  24. roger 8

    Yes I like the gimmicks and gadgets of the samsung s3. im intrested in the s4 .Ive never been an iphone lover dont know why but I have always prefered android.

    but for me the biggests selling point in future would be battery life. Give me a phone that last days not hours.

    I use to love and still do my old Nokia 6310i. Boy did that battery last.

    give me a samsung with a nice drop in mobile cradle like the old nokia 6310i had with ext ant connection

    non of this fitting it in the dash clamp in car then plugging in power lead. Just drop in and go

    give me a phone that can have external phone, wifi , gps ariels. that i can just drop in to its cradle and it starts to charge either via power lead or wirless charge i dont care.

    Ipones have docking stations evening the galaxy tab have but not seen one for the phone.

    I think its the aftermarket stuff that makes the iphone sell more. walk in to and high st phone shop and look at all the case covers and stuff for the ipone and you have an alladins cave of choice.

    look at the samsung and you have a small choice in the corner. other wise i have to trawl the web for stuff

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      I do think that the Android licencees could have bashed their heads together ad come up with a decent docking solution, be it for for power, car kits and AV output. Google could have taken a lead- surely they can see that many people choose iDevices for the range of available accessories?

      The very fact that different android manufacturers differ amongst themselves on their implementation of headset remote controls is irritating. Most quality makers of headphones offer iPhone compatible versions; the selection for Android phones is thinner on the ground.

      Jelly Bean introduces to Android some more tricks for outputting audio through uUSB, but its not the best connector, and not suited for just dropping into a cradle like Nokias of old.

      1. Mark .

        Most Android phones have standardise on microUSB, which can be used to charge, and allow a device to access the built in audio. Although yes, I can see it being a good thing for Google to push for some kind of solution; it is a shame that the audio industry has ignored this, preferring Apple. I'm amused that my smart _TV_ makes a much better home audio solution, as it can play from any kind of device via USB or wireless streaming.

        Personally I find the idea of taking my phone or portable player, and having to plug it somewhere to have music in the home, a bit odd - if at home, I'd like to play from a PC too which stores most the media (the point of my portable player or phone is to stay on me, not get left in the house), and from PC or phone, it's much more easily done wireless. But still, plenty of people seem to want these options - and then spend thousands on speakers, cars etc that only work with one make of connector...

    2. Vic

      > Ipones have docking stations evening the galaxy tab have but not seen one for the phone.

      They're pretty cheap...


  25. KierO

    Things that appeal to me:

    Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (My SII's screen recently cracked like the san andreas fault)

    Full HD screen (I Like to watch movies whilst commuting)

    More RAM and Faster CPU (I like to play games, again whilst commuting)

    Apart from that it's all just bells and whistles.

    The reason I choose Samsung over Apple now is simply on price. You have to pay to be a fanboi, not so much to be a Fandroid.

  26. Tim Wolfe-Barry

    64 GB should be enough for anyone...

    This is all going to be down to personal preference; I've just switched from a Desire S to a One X+ because I'm a fan of HTC sense and the different overlays that each manufacturer puts on Android mean that it'd be as much of a pain (IMO) to go from HTC to Samsung as to iOS.

    What people also forget is the home ecosystem you build around your phone - Mrs foredeck is an iOS user and recently upgraded to a 4S rather than 5 because the very expensive iPhone dock/hi-fi we have won't take the new connector. Switching from iOS to Android (or iPhone 5) would mean we've wasted about gbp500 in the last couple of years...

    The interesting part of this is only that what Samsung to today the others will do tomorrow, so this gives you an idea of spec and features of the rest of the Android community for the next year or so.

    My new HTC doesn't have SD card expansion or a swappable battery, but the built in capacity is 50% of the SSD in my laptop (and more than the whole of Win7, apps and actually useful stuff takes on that PC!) so I can't imagine it running out soon. Battery swapping is similarly unimportant - I get ~2 days from it now and am rarely that long away from a charger; the Desire S battery is still going strong 2.5 years later so I'm sure the new one will last until my next upgrade.

    To sum up, if you like Samsung and are going to upgrade in the next 12-18 months, you'll get this. If you don't or aren't then you won't.

    Now move on.

    1. David Hicks

      Re: 64 GB should be enough for anyone...

      " Switching from iOS to Android (or iPhone 5) would mean we've wasted about gbp500 in the last couple of years..."

      Yeesh. This is why I buy stuff with standard connectors (USB, mini jack, even phono). Buying your stereo equipment around your phone choice, something which you change every year or so, well that's a guarantee'd way to cause trouble.

      1. IHateWearingATie
        Thumb Up

        Re: 64 GB should be enough for anyone...

        Until the iPhone 5, standardising on the Apple connector for a household worked really well as an approach.

        I've various iPods and two iPhones over the last few years (my first iPod in 2005 maybe?), and them having the same connector has meant its never hard to find a charger or connector for music in my house (or my previous car).

        However, the change of connector has somewhat killed all that - with more of my work and personal gadgets using micro USB, Apple are losing their stranglehold in my house (hence my previous post).

        1. David Hicks

          Re: 64 GB should be enough for anyone...

          "Until the iPhone 5, standardising on the Apple connector for a household worked really well as an approach."

          Oh I'm sure it did. But I still wouldn't base my HiFi choices around a phone, but that's probably because I'm fickle and wouldn't like the implicit assumption I'm going to get something similar next time around.

  27. Ruud Noorhoff 1
    Thumb Up

    Samsung SGR-A1 kicks ass!

    Nice phone from the Korean home appliance maker with a weapons division.

    Google's customers (that's not you, you are the product) will love the eye tracker. Now they can make sure you actually look at the ads.

    Although, apparently, Google was not really mentioned during the Korean home appliance maker with a weapons division phone intro party.

    How long before they swap out Android for Tizen from under TouchWiz?

    How long before Google sues the Korean home appliance maker with a weapons division?

  28. lansalot

    one way or another..

    .. I'll be jumping the iPhone ship when my contract is up. Having lived with a Nexus 7 as my little companion, I'm just loving how open it all is. I'm sick of the iTunes chain, and the walled-garden. The not-being-able to use half the phones features (bluetooth a pic to my mate? Nope!).

    Likely a Galaxy then, but quite impressed with the Sony Experia Z. Either way, when the contract runs out, that'll be the last Apple product I ever have. Sorry Apple, it's a great piece of hardware, but I'm just sick of all the shackles.

  29. Vimes

    The Share Music part of Group Play even lets you distribute surround sound speaker-by-speaker among five phones – the subwoofer signal of 5.1 surround sound, presumably, would be patently absurd to attempt to play on a Galaxy S 4.

    Dear god. Please no - not this. It's bad enough having one inconsiderate sod's phone on the train blaring out music so that his mates can listen in, imagine what it would be like with up to five all playing the same stuff.

    Incidentally does anybody know which variant will be sold in the UK? Will it be the one with the octo core processor?

  30. envmod

    World War Z

    I recently purchased a Sony Xperia Z and was wondering if I'd regret getting it and not waiting a few more weeks for the S 4. I can now say that looking at the specs and features there's very little difference really and the Xperia Z also has the bonus of being waterproof. Plus it's made out of glass and i think looks a bit nicer. Only trouble is the screen, which whilst very impressive viewed directly-on, looks quite washed-out from shallow angles... it's a shame, but wasn't a deal-breaker for me...was wondering if anyone thought that this issue could be fixed with a software update though? Surely the screen is just the screen - 1080p, 441 ppi's the software controlling it which would need recalibrating right?

  31. Gil Grissum


    Both the hardware specs and software capabilities of the S4 out do the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 simply doesn't have these new software features that the S4 has. What is more significant is that anyone with an iPhone 4S or Galaxy S2 who has a two year upgrade coming this year, has numerous options available and if you ignore the hardware for a moment ad consider the new software features, NONE of the other phones currently available has ANY of those features (including the iPhone 5). So, unless everyone at Apple is asleep at the wheel, they had better do something more significant than an incremental upgrade, call it a 5S, and some slight underhood tweeks and lame Siri tricks in the next version of iOS. It's a given that this year's iPhone 5S will get some of last years Android hardware features (quad core. 2GB of RAM) but Apple had better rethink their strategy because consumers have numerous options this year that are far more compelling than an iPhone 5S, at this point.

  32. Badvok

    Dumbo Reg Hack

    Funny to see the comment: "For chrissake, iOS and Android fanatics, it's just a frickin' phone." in an article about a new portable computing device and in that same article the reporter never once mentions call quality or in fact anything about using it as a phone. Seems a bit dumb to me - just saying!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Dumbo Reg Hack

      How's he supposed to mention call quality? He hasn't seen it, he's reporting on the launch.

      1. Badvok

        Re: Dumbo Reg Hack

        @"I ain't Spartacus": Dumbo commentard doesn't understand that call quality these days is more to do with technical specifications in relation to noise-cancellation and audio codecs than anything fuzzy and subjective - and none of that was mentioned in the article.

        If a reporter is going to (rather stupidly IMO) call something 'just a phone' you'd think perhaps they might actually take a little look at those technical bits related to it being used as a phone.

  33. Jonathan 29

    It bothers me that it has been announced less than 8 weeks before Android 5 is released. We don't know what is going to be baked into Key Lime Pie, but you can be sure that it will take months before Samsung have a version of TouchWiz compatible with it and longer before it comes to UK carriers.

    I understand that Samsung wants to differentiate their handset , but I would be more likely to buy it if they gave me an option to install the latest OS. The iPhone 6 running IOS7 will likely be out before the S4 gets 5.0.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >Key Lime Pie


      Enough of these desert-based names that Brits have never heard of... Let's have Android Gooseberry Fool, Android Spotted Dick, Android Deep Fried Mars Bar or Android Eton Mess.

      1. Charles 9

        1) None of them start with a K.

        2) Google is an American company, and Key Lime Pie is a well-known American dessert. Has anyone given thought to what'll be the next name? Lemon Meringue Pie, perhaps? Probably just Licorice...

        3) At least Samsung gives recent adopters some slack. My Tablet 7.0 Plus was upgraded to ICS eventually. I think we'll see the SIV's move on up in due time. It'd be best to give the pie a little time to cool in any event to avoid biting into a hot spot. I'm sure as soon as it comes out we'll see work begin on CM11.

  34. El Presidente
    Thumb Up

    HTC One

    Nuff said.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Octocore. So that's 6 more cores than my desktop currently has. In a phone. I have just one question.


    1. envmod

      why the hell not?

      i hate this kind of thinking... it's called progress mate. it's the natural order of things - they get faster, thinner, more functions, better graphics, etc etc. this has been happening in the electronics world since day one. what would you rather everyone was only ever allowed a nokia 3310? actually that's probably a bit too advanced. why the hell does anyone have a mobile phone at all eh? everyone's got a landline haven't they? what was ever wrong with that??

    2. Richard 120


      If you start looking at the detail of the article you'll see that there are four low power cores, so you can read a couple of emails and browse the web, switching between these apps without having to wait so much, then there's four faster more power hungry cores which will kick in when you start to do some more hefty work.

      It's about power consumption, flexibility and possibility.

      Just because you can't think of how to apply things doesn't mean that it's pointless, maybe it's pointless to you, it's probably pointless to a lot of people who buy one, but as the previous poster says, it's progress, and progress is a good thing.

      After all why would there ever need to be more than 5 computers in the whole world?

    3. Marcelo Rodrigues

      Two reasons:

      1) It is, for practical purposes, quad core. At least, if I understood it right. We have 4 weak (and economical) cores. And we have 4 strong (and battery suckers) cores. For simple tasks, use the weak ones. For heavy lifting, switch to the strong ones. Of course, this is done without intervention.

      2) The reasoning behind multi-cores is: a simpler core will (given the same tech) use less battery. A single mighty core will use more battery than a single slower one, when idle. With 4 cores we can turn off 2 or 3 of them, and keep using only one to basic system functions. When the user starts browsing the system uses more cores. This way we have power when needed, and save battery when we can.

    4. Vic

      > Why?

      It gives you much better granularity in your power control.

      The cores are not all identical, so you can select low-power or high-power cores, and you can turn on between one and four of each.

      The end result is the performance the user wants without wasting battery power on functionality he doesn't.


  36. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    One major success that's not been mentioned in the comments

    An area where Apple need to get suing Samsung for copying them...

    The publicity from this has been brilliant. It was reported on several different radio stations this morning, and last night, plus getting prominently into the papers. In the news sections, not the tech sections. This is the kind of free publicity that only really Apple have been getting on phones. The Galaxy a little bit of this treatment last year, but nothing in comparison.

    So even if the event was a bit cringeworthy, it's served it's purpose well. What's the mainstream coverage been like in the US?

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: One major success that's not been mentioned in the comments

      "An area where Apple need to get suing Samsung for copying them...

      The publicity from this has been brilliant. "

      Actually I think it was Apple suing Samsung that raised their profile in the first place.

      After all, for months Apple was quoted in the media telling judges just how similar the Galaxy phone was to the iphone

      You can't get better publicity than your #1 competitor singing the praises of your products in the papers for months on end - and under oath no less!!!

      Such an own goal for Apple in so many ways...

  37. Pete4000uk

    What's the advantage of useing GLONASS over the American GPS? Cost?

    1. davemcwish


      Access to the Russian market. More specifically the avoidance of risk that the Russian government will slap a 25% import duty on devices that aren't GLONASS compatible.

    2. Boothy

      It's GLONASS & GPS, not GLONASS instead of GPS.

      Just means more sats around to use, so faster lock and more likelihood of finding a sat in line of sight in built up areas where buildings might block the signal. etc. Both systems use 24 sats each, so that gives you 48 that you can use, rather than just the 24.

      Also most GPS chipsets have had GLONASS support included for a year or two now and this isn't even new in phones, just seems to be being pushed as a feature this time. Some Sony Erricson, previous Samsungs and even Apples 4S have GLONASS already.

    3. Steve Todd

      GLONAS satellites orbit

      In a more inclined plane. The result is better location data in more northerly or southerly locations. As someone already said, it's not one or the other, it does both.

    4. Charles 9

      GLONASS was cheap to add in.

      I believe they use compatible setups, making it easy for GPS chipmakers to add in GLONASS support. It basically boiled down to "Why the hell not?"

      1. Paul 135

        Re: GLONASS was cheap to add in.

        It was actually mandated by the Russian government that you couldn't sell a phone with GPS in Russia unless it also included GLONASS.

  38. Brainman
    Thumb Up

    Great phone but roll-on the Note III

    I have been using the 5.3" Samsung Galaxy Note since December 2011, and fitting it in my pockets perfectly. I skipped the Note II as it dropped from 800 pixels wide to 720, hopefully everything on the S4 plus a 6" 1080p and further updated pen will make it into the Note III. I would go for the S4 in April but I would miss the Pen - not used with Samsung Apps but with a LectureNotes & Evernote combo that works well for me. It'll be interesting to see if the Samsung apps on the S4 are up to the mark as everything I use on the Note other than TouchWiz is Google or 3rd party from the market this is after trying but having found the Samsung apps disappointing.

  39. Yamas

    I will get one

    I'm going to adopt that silly behaviour (like Iphone fanboys) and buy the new s4 even if it doesn't offer more user experience, because it's the new thing and I gotta have it.

    In truth my contract will expire in few months, I have an android phone with gingerbread so I might as well go for the S4;I am mentally prepared for i , so is my wallet, Samsung have my money, have it, it's yours!!!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So another phone with great hardware let down by a crap, clunky OS that still doesn't let you install apps to SD card unless you root it?

    In terms of actual user experience I don't think Apple has any need to be worried just yet.

    1. diadomraz

      @AC 12:49

      I've been using a stock Nexus One for years and most of my apps are on SD, no rooting was required just 2 shell commands. OK you need the Android SDK to do that, but it was much easier than setting the ringtone on my wives iPhone 4

      1. Richard 120

        Re: @AC 12:49

        I'm not sure on the phones, but at least on my galaxy Tab 2 the SD card is formatted as FAT, so no symlinks, this makes the whole apps on SD a little more awkward.

    2. Chet Mannly

      "clunky OS that still doesn't let you install apps to SD card unless you root it?"

      Please get a clue Coward - there's a button in settings that moves the app from phone to SD storage and back again.

      Plus many apps automatically install onto SD.

      "In terms of actual user experience I don't think Apple has any need to be worried just yet."

      Denial is a river in Africa - for me the Android user experience overtook Apple's screen of icons generations ago...

  41. NogginTheNog

    First thnig I always look for in a phone:

    How long will it run before I need to start looking for a charging socket?

    Then the rest of the 'stuff' comes next...

  42. Nanners
    Big Brother

    Here's the problem with this thing

    With a screen as big as a tablet that can barley fit in any but the largest of pockets...Why do we need to swipe at the screen and have it follow our eyes? It's technology for advertisers. Your phone is now spying on you and tracking you in new ways. Get ready for REALLY annoying advertisements on android phones. As they track what you respond to and sell it off to the highest bidder.

    1. Mr.Mischief

      Re: Here's the problem with this thing

      Not sure how much barley you can fit in your pocket? But most people with S3's haven't had a problem and with the S4 being slightly smaller, it wont be a problem either.

      Perhaps get some normal sized pants instead of that hipster skinny jeans crap?

      Yes yes.. phone tracking you and telling everyone what you're looking at or how long you looked away from the screen to check out the girl walking by. More tinfoil required for the hat? And I guess Apple has a stellar record of not spying on their users.

      1. Nanners

        Re: Here's the problem with this thing

        I have been begging you guys for a good apple alternative, you haven't given me one yet. Don't say you haven't been warned.

        1. Nanners

          Re: Here's the problem with this thing

          ...and you wish you could fit my pants Mr. Bangers and mash.

  43. ecofeco Silver badge

    What Is It?


  44. UJSTech
    Thumb Up

    Some features I'm excited about

    Removable battery - I didn't think this was a big deal until I've had a Droid Razr and it's gotten hung up... No screen response, no way to force a reboot. Highly annoying

    MicroSD slot - This is a pet peeve... Manufactures charging more for higher capacity because there is no expansion option

    IR - We'll see how this pans out but I'm excited to setup all my AV equipment with a device that is always in my pocket. Universal remotes are all fine and well but you still have to have one at each TV or go search for where my wife put it... Often no where near a TV. SERIOUSLY, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE REMOTE WITH YOU TO THAT ONE PART OF OUR HOUSE WHERE THERE ISN'T SOMETHING IT CAN CONTROL AND THEN LEAVE IT THERE!?!

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Some features I'm excited about

      "MicroSD slot - This is a pet peeve... Manufactures charging more for higher capacity because there is no expansion option"

      Actually, the plan is that Samsung will charge more for higher capacity AND still offer the SD Slot. Oh well. At least you can pick and choose and still build up later.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Some features I'm excited about

      Hold the volume down button and power at the same time for ten seconds...

  45. jason 7

    How I see it.

    According to the tame tech press if these features are on one brand of phone they are 'gimmicky' if they were on another brand of phone they would be 'ground-breaking'.

    Its like last year NFC was going to be MASSIVE (I can't capitalise that enough) it was going to be huge and everything. The IT gurus were literally ejaculating NFC tags all over the place (what a thought).

    Then Apple didn't bother to put it in the iPhone5 and the next day the tech press were going, "NFC? What's that? Never heard of it. Never gonna happen!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How I see it.

      Well typically you are a bitter fandroid. You claim one thing and disprove it in your commentary. You state in one sentence that features in one brand are gimmicky, in another ground breaking. However in the next sentence you claim that the press were going gaga over NFC on android.

      I seem to remember that iPhone 5 got slated for no NFC in the press, yet 6 months on still noone has found a real use for NFC. So that Samsung S3 you bought with its must have feature of NFC, is now out of date for you and you need an S4, way before you had any use for its big technology. Will any S3 owner get any use out of the NFC chip? So it was a good feature to include, increasing cost, and complexity for no value?

      Will the fandroids get over Apple already?

      1. jason 7

        Re: How I see it.

        No you misread what I was getting at. 'Tech Experts' were going crazy over NFC irrespective of platform whether it was on Android or Apple. They were all hoping for NFC on the iPhone5 and then when it didn't appear on the iPhone, instead of bemoaning it, they just showed a split second of disappointment and then mostly went "Oh well it was never important!". Basically trashing NFC.

        Had they included it it would have been a ticker tape parade for NFC.

        I'm still looking for my S3.........I didn't think I bought one.

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: How I see it.

        "noone has found a real use for NFC."

        OK, so the NFC payment systems that virtually every store in Aus have are a figment of my imagination then?

        VISA et al are issuing NFC cards to everyone I think they may have found a use for NFC. You can also use the NFC in your phone to make purchases in some coffee shops and the like, secure swipe card and of course easily transfer files between phones.

        Spectacular FAIL buddy!!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How I see it.

          Nope it is not a fail, is it a real use anywhere, as you have said a few implementations, here or there, does not a use make. Yes VISA are putting a type of NFC into cards but this is not going to be the same thing. Will NFC eventually take off, I don't know, maybe. Other than the use case for small change purchases (i.e sub 10 quid), and a few very specific cases (I'm thinking of industrial/commercial tracking), I get the feeling it will be replaced by something else.

          OK, I understand what you were getting at OP, personally I didn't see that, I saw everyone slate Apple for not putting it in. However it appears that so far they are right in that NFC is just not exploding.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >"RGB light" sensor.

    That's basically the same thing as a 1-pixel camera, no? :-)

    1. HwBoffin

      Re: >"RGB light" sensor.

      Yes, a 1 pixel camera, but with a huge dynamic span.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shamsung naming

    I see Shamsung are trying to name their features S whatever (if Apple can do i, we can do s) eg S translate, S band etc.

    They're obviously looking for the next S hit*

    *I'll get my coat

  48. dave 93
    Thumb Up

    Nice product

    I have has two iPhones, and am getting bored with the iPhone 4 and all the stupid hoops you have to jump through to share things with myself and others. It is actually the Google software running this phone that is tempting me - you can be sure LG, HTC et al. will have similar spec phones out in a few months. I know Google is trying to kill the Android 'brand', but as an OS it seems to have got all the features I want, and is a little more open than iOS, although Google Play seems to be developing Apple tendencies - they just killed an app that let you block ads.

    8 cores in a full HD phone! That is still kind of awesome if you are a nerd born in the 60s or the 70s :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice product

      "...I have has two iPhones...

      Didn't know they made phones for LOLcats.

  49. David Simpson 1


    If you watch movies on your phone that is the least of your worries.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you watch movies on your phone that is the least of your worries.

  51. chiller

    Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

    Am I allowed to say I could not give a shit?

    1. Richard 120

      Of course

      You can say what you like.

      But when you do then you look a bit daft, taking the effort to read the article and post a comment implies at least a little shit was given.

  52. Get the puck outa here

    ios sucks. no, android sucks. you're a nazi... your all idiot's!!1!!!

    There. Another internet flame war comes to an end.

    By the bye, did anybody notice that Samsung's presentation was a cringeworthy pile of puke? They've made the video private on Youtube, that's how proud they are.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When are smartphones actually going to become smart?

    So if I access some applications more than others, why aren't these icons shown more prominently?

    Apps could very easily adapt to how people use them too. This would declutter the screen and allow other links or buttons to be larger.

    A phone looking at you all the time isn't smart.

    1. Charles 9

      Since Home screens are customizable, the basic belief is that if you access an app often enough, you'll have the inclination to drag the app from the drawer to the home screen of your own volition. In this case, "smart" may not be desirable since some people are sticklers for their particular form of organization. But in other areas, favorites lists and so on do show up from time to time.

    2. Marcelo Rodrigues

      We have an app for this!

      Joking. ICS already does this.

      At least the 4.0.4 in my Xperia.

      1) Open the screen with the apps (the icons)

      2) Select "options"

      3) Choose "order by most used"

      Ta - da! :D

      1. Paul 135

        Re: We have an app for this!

        That is a customisation added by Sony.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: When are smartphones actually going to become smart?

      Windows has the personalised menus and hide little used Icons feature by default. I turn it off on everyone's PC as it is the stupidest idea ever. The lesser & seldom used menus and Icons need the SAME prominence, the order and prominence of such MUST NEVER change on it's own or

      A) You forget or don't know the item exists.

      B) You can't find it when you need it..

      Such a feature doesn't work in the real world except for people that only ever do half a dozen things and get someone else to fix phone/PC/Tablet etc when they need the 7th thing.

    4. Phil101

      Re: When are smartphones ...

      Folder Organizer will do that. It was reviewed on El Reg a couple of years ago (

  54. FanniM
    Thumb Up

    I like the idea of the phone translating what someone in Brazil says to me into English and vise versa. If this actually works, it might prompt me to buy it.

  55. Richard Neill

    Headphone drive capability?

    The S3 is great, but its one weakness is that the headphone amplifier is rather feeble. It would be nice if the new one had a bit more grunt. Notably, larger headphones need more power. For example, listening to classical music on an aircraft... even the quiet bits need more gain.

    The other thing is, I wish they'd get rid of the physical home button. It's Apple's worst misfeature, and it's awkward to press, needing far more foce than the 2 soft buttons either side. (for that matter, can we please have the search button back).

  56. Idocrase

    As with the S3 I probably won't bother with this. I still have my S2, and find it does everything I need it to!

    If I really NEED some of those camera features, I'll wait until someone over at XDA ports the APK to work on the S2 (because they always do), and then I'll have it.

    Obviously the hardware in the S4 is far and away superior to the S2 and I wont ever get stuff like gesture controls, NFC or 4g but lets face it, 4g is going to be crap all use and prohibitively expensive for most people for another year at least, I've only seen NFC payment systems in McDonalds, and gesture control is something I would probably disable in any case because I'm a bit of a clumsy oaf with oversize fingers.

    My 2 year old S2 matches the current iPhone in most regards with the exception of the currently pointless 4g, has a bigger screen than the iPhone, and since i don't spend all my time holding my phone 2 inches from my eyeballs, I don't really give a stuff about retina type display quality. In another year, with the s5 on the way, I might get interested in what they have to offer though. I'm expecting google glass to be hitting mainstream market around that time though so dunno... Glass looks WAY more better than a clunky old phone.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    I didnt see any mention of how long you can expect the battery to last in real life; I am not a smart phone owner, but I understand this is given in minutes rather than hours these days.

    Kudos to Samsung for the replaceable battery - how many do they supply with the phone?? 4-5 should probably be enough to keep you going for a full day or two.

    (Owner of a "dumb" Samsung phone with 18 DAY battery life)

    1. Charles 9

      Need to play with it first.

      Battery life under use is something that is difficult to gauge without experience, since architecture and design can have a role in battery usage. We do know that the battery is rated at 2600mAh, which for a phone is decently beefy (to go bigger, you normally end up at the Notes or at phones with non-replaceable batteries--the Notes and some of the fixed-battery phones can do over 3 Ah).

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes, I know this is a geek news site, and a forum populated by geeks who are supposed to get excited about new gadgets and kit, but the smartphone 'one-up-manship' has started to reach the same level as PC video card manufacturers.

    They keep on upping the anti on processor, screen pixels and camera - but the reality is, most people are more than happy with what's currently available.

    There's already so much power in these little computers, it would be nice to the massive spend from handset designers and manufacturers going into other areas of research.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Meh

      I think the situation is that we've reached something of a plateau in terms of phone functionality. They can already do so much, and as you've said, many people are content with the functions their phones possess, but many might jump if something very innovative and practical came along. But right now, no one can see what that new killer application can be. Even Apple, long reputed for being able to drive hordes to some new feature, suffered a rare misfire. So, if APPLE can't find the killer app in the current generation, then perhaps the best one can hope for is to throw a few things and see if something sticks. The S 4 has a lot of things in it. Perhaps someone can make something useful out of it.

  59. Charles 9

    I've been gathering more news about the S 4, and an interesting one I've read is that reaction back home in South Korea has been...less than flattering. So I'm of a mind to see if there will be competition to it in the coming months. Does anyone have an idea if anything comparable to this from the likes of other companies is on the schedule sometime this year? I am patient enough to wait if competition is coming soon.

  60. Charles 9

    A further update. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 600 (the 1.9Ghz quad core) will be in the American version of the S4. The 1.5GHz big.LITTLE Exynos processor will be in the international version. This introduces other considerations. The Snapdragon is faster while the Exynos is supposed to be more efficient. Plus there are questions about the frequencies that will be used in the different versions of the phone.

  61. HKmk23

    Never mind the width - feel the software

    Yes it is lovely, but..........almost all the android software is absolute cr@p......just look at the store, its all wanna iPhone progs or fart generators.....

    android is possibly the greatest missed opportunity of the decade.

    Reminds me an awful lot of Sinclair QL and look what happened to that.....

    1. DiBosco

      Re: Never mind the width - feel the software

      You mean copycat software like the excellent continuous input function that's, oh, yes, that's *not * on the iPhone.

      a. It's total nonsense to say that almost all Android software is crap. It quite simply is not.

      b. It's also total nonsense to say it doesn't have software not available on other platform.

      Please note, I am not saying iPhone software is crap, but sweeping statements like almost all Android software is crap is, er, crap.

  62. john devoy

    Good, apple needs a wake up call

    Hopefully this will encourage Apple to actually think about a serious upgrade for the next iPhone, instead of yet another incremental tweak that does nothing more than speed up an existing feature slightly.

  63. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    As long as you can turn off bits.

    It will be fine. I presume a BT physical keyboard works?

    Maybe time to the replace the Nokia E65 and Archos 605 WiFi with one gadget?

    1. Charles 9

      Re: As long as you can turn off bits.

      BT keyboard support has been standard fare since Android 3 Honeycomb IIRC.

  64. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    It appears that Samsung is out-Googling Google and Apple

    Some of the features claimed for the S4 put this cell handset in a class on it's own, for now.

    The neat trick of chatting to POS terminals, without requiring new hardware, is so obvious that no doubt a lot of people in Cupertino are walking around with self-inflicted ankle wounds after learning of this.

    The Translate function is a winner, particularly if the languages are increased. Given the excellent audio services from Google already, that put Siri back in beta, the S4 again sets a new benchmark for others to beat.

    And, naturally, you don't need a USD$40 cable to hook it up to other devices. Another winner is the external SD socket which is great for moving data around, or avoid the TSA thugs who want to check out your privates (although the US courts have clipped their wings).

    Ditto with UK Customs - remember, removing the SIM screws up many of these data sniffers - and micro-SD and SIMs are much easier to conceal on the way through Customs - just remember to buy waterproof versions.

    As a Note 2 driver, I am looking forward to seeing how much migrates to Note 3.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uh oh - it shares one dangerous feature with the iPhone..

    All those gimmicks strike me as not in-machine functions, it will need to export your data to somewhere for processing (think Apple's Siri and derivatives).

    So, what we really have is an improved intercept device, supplying pristine voice prints and digital quality images of you to some unguarded place to add to your dossier. God help you if they are drunk selfies :).

    Paranoid? Sure. But that doesn't mean they're not after you. WhatsApp, Viber, Skype in increasing amounts, iMessage, iCloud, Siri - all these gadgets share one problem: that of privacy. In addition, Android is supplied by a company that very clearly has an interest in your data (Apple not so much - yet).

    Oh, btw, this crap about being lighter and lighter - the iPhone 5 is actually too light for proper handling, which makes for worse ergonomics than the iPhone 4/4S. The solution is adding the battery capacity all these phones mysteriously lack. All IMHO, of course, YMMV, but I haven't bought either. I'm sticking to my old phone..

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Much of a muchness right now...I'll wait

    Nothing like a new phone release to bring out all the "mobile masturbators", working their little selves into a tizz over the latest specs for essentially a pocket-box that makes calls, sends messages and plays video and games!

    My Missus was always a techno nut but when her contract on her iPhone ran out this year, she surprised us by simply plumping for a sim only thing and kept her old phone. Said she couldn't see anything worth upgrading for from the 4S she had. When my contract comes up for renewel on my S2 in a few months, think I'll do the same until the phone finally goes kaput.

    When the new iPhone 7 and Galaxy S5 phones come out in a year or two then hopefully there will be some genuine innovation worth getting excited about, until then I'll bide my time.

    1. Charles 9

      Some of us have BEEN waiting.

      Well, it depends on what phones we have right now. Your phones are pretty recent. Mine was released about three years ago and is starting to get long in the tooth (even Opera Mobile starts to chug on any decent website, even when in mobile mode--512MB just doesn't carry well these days; my big thing was its hardware keyboard). Plenty of us have even older phones. It's not like we jump every year, but when things start getting clunky, we start making considerations. I moved from an N95 to my original Android phone for the same reason. I did not regret the decision as I got lots of use out of it. Once the S4 comes out, I'll start looking for live demonstrations to get some hands-on time and see if it's worth it. What I really want to know is if anyone other than HTC (sorry, but no removable battery or SD slot is a deal-breaker) is going to come out with similar devices before year's end. AFAIK, nothing yet.

  67. stu 4

    lap dancing

    yeh.. I had to read that 3 or 4 times closer and closer to my screen... ah.. TAP dancing...

    still inappropriate for a launch event, but not as much as an 8yo lap dancer.

    perhaps I shouldn't run my mbp in full retina mode....


  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Appealing to me

    As I'll be upgrading from a Nokia phone bought in 2005, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is perfect for me.

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