Samsung Galaxy S 4 officially announced

Another year, another Galaxy S flagship smartphone from Samsung. 2013's version of the crown jewel, the Galaxy S 4, has just been officially announced at its Unpacked event. Since we know you're dying to find out what's new, let's dive straight into the details. The GS 4 features a 5-inch 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) Super AMOLED panel which offers a pixel density of 441 ppi and the ability to use your gloves at the same time. It's also a powerful beast: it packs 2GB RAM and will come with either a 1.6GHz Exynos Octa-core chip or a 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm, depending on your region. (Unfortunately, Samsung hasn't yet specified which Snapdragon we can expect, but we're guessing it's at least a 600 if not an 800.) Refreshingly, it will also come with Android 4.2.2 on-board when it launches.

Dimension-wise, the GS 4 is 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm (5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inch) and weighs 130g (4.59 ounces). The chassis itself is actually 0.8mm skinnier, 0.7mm thinner and 3g lighter than its predecessor, which is impressive given its larger screen size and 2,600mAh battery. It will launch in black and white hues, though Samsung plans to add more colors to its lineup as the year progresses. Head below the break as we continue to reveal what else you can expect from the newest Galaxy device.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 press shots

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Much like the HTC One, the Galaxy S 4 will also offer WiFi 802.11ac support on top of the usual a/b/g/n, and an IR blaster is included for remote control access using Samsung's WatchON service. NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE are included, and here's one bit of good news for MHL fans: it's got MHL 2.0 and is able to use a standard MHL connector (unlike the GS 3, which required a Samsung-branded MHL adapter to work properly).

Moving on to the imaging details, the GS 4 sports a 13MP BSI camera with f/2.2 aperture and autofocus, while the front-facing camera gets a slight bump in res to 2MP. Samsung claims that neither camera features any shutter lag, so we'll be eager to test it out. But some of the most intriguing aspects of the camera are the new features: dual-video capture mode, which lets you record video on both cameras simultaneously (much like on the LG Optimus G Pro), and Dual Video Call mode, in which you can make video calls and show the caller what you're looking at. Additionally, Drama Shot utilizes burst mode to create animated GIFs, while Sound & Shot can record up to nine seconds of audio to accompany a still photo.

The GS 4 will also take advantage of the same "Smart" gesture features we saw on the GS 3, and gives you a few more to enjoy. Smart Pause stops the video you're watching if your eyes drift away. Smart Scroll will move the screen up or down when you tilt the phone and look at the screen at the same time. Air View lets you use your finger as an S Pen by giving you a preview of an email, calendar appointment, image gallery or video just by hovering your finger over it. There's also a Group Play feature that connects networks of GS 4 devices (provided they're in close proximity) to share music in a surround-sound mode or play games against each other.

No pricing has been set, and we've been told that the phone will be released globally starting at the end of April. It will come to all four national networks in the US as well as Cricket and US Cellular, and it will be picked up in other markets by Deutsche Telecom, EE, H3G, Orange, Telenor, Telia Sonera, Telefonica and Vodafone (we imagine this is only a short list of carriers for now, however). The full press release with more details is below, and we also have a full hands-on preview up for your viewing pleasure.

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Samsung Introduces the GALAXY S 4 - A Life Companion for a richer, simpler and fuller life

GALAXY S 4 gets you closer to what matters in life, bringing your world together

New York, USA, March 14, 2013 - Samsung Electronics announced today the fourth generation GALAXY S, the GALAXY S 4, designed to get you closer to what matters in life and bring your world together.

Understanding what matters most to us in our lives, the Samsung GALAXY S 4 was developed to redefine the way we live and to maximize our fulfillment of life. This sleek and innovative smartphone makes every moment of life very meaningful; it understands the value of relationships, enabling true connections with friends and family. It believes in the importance of an effortless user experience, making your life easy and hassle-free; and, it empowers your life, helping take care of your well-being.

The beauty of the phone is the highly crafted design encompassing a larger screen size and battery, minimized bezel; all housed in a light (130g) and slim (7.9mm) shape. The Samsung GALAXY S 4 is slimmer yet stronger, with less to hold yet more to see. It has come up with simply unreal beauty. At launch, two color options will be available - Black Mist and White Frost; with a variety of additional color options to follow later this year.

"With the GALAXY S 4, Samsung is again going to enhance the way we live," said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung. "All the innovative features of GALAXY S 4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world. Following the successful GALAXY S series, this phone is yet another great proof point of people-inspired innovation. At Samsung we'll never stop pursuing innovation conceived by people, so we can inspire them in return."

Meaningful Moments - Gives Greater Enjoyment

A rich life is one that's filled with meaningful moments and the GALAXY S 4 captures and shares those special moments. The GALAXY S 4 has the world's first Full HD Super AMOLED display to showcase images at their very best. Its 5-inch large screen has 441ppi for stunning viewing quality. The Samsung GALAXY S 4 also utilizes Corning's new Gorilla® Glass 3*, making it a durable travel companion for all of life's adventures.

Equipped with a 13 megapixel rear camera, the GALAXY S 4 also boasts a 'Dual Camera' function that allows simultaneous use of both front and rear cameras. When capturing moments, users can choose from a variety of frame effects which blend the two pictures naturally and also adjust the size of the small picture inside the big one. Users can select 8 different ways to combine the two photos taken by the front camera and the rear camera. At the same time, the 'Dual Video Call' function enables you to make and receive a video call with friends and family while showing what you are looking at during the call.

The camera functionality extends beyond Dual Camera, as the device is also equipped with 12 outstanding shooting modes including 'Drama Shot', which allows you to see all the action in one continuous time-lapse, and 'Sound & Shot', which uniquely stores sound and voice together as the picture is taken so those special moments are captured in the truest form imaginable, exactly as they happened.

These meaningful moments can also now automatically be stored in a photo album, with the new 'Story Album' function. Photos taken by the GALAXY S 4 are automatically gathered and sorted out according to your timeline, geo-tagging information, or a specific event to create a photo album. These unique story albums can be ordered and delivered as an offline photo album through a new partnership with Blurb*, so you can keep those precious moments safe to look at and share time and time again.

True Connections – Brings People Together

Samsung GALAXY S 4 enables true connections with the people in our lives. It is more than a personal device that can be enjoyed by one user - it makes the most of our relationships allowing us to easily share and experience many of life's pleasures together with family and friends, wherever you are.

With its 'Group Play' function, users can enjoy music, photos, documents and games with those around them without even requiring a Wi-Fi AP or cellular signal. This innovative feature enables users to connect directly with others to share, play and co-create content and entertainment instantly. Its 'Share Music' option allows users to have the same song playing on multiple phones in sync to create the best party atmosphere.

The GALAXY S 4 brings all people closer together by breaking down language barriers. It makes international travel a joy, with 'S Translator' which provides instant translation, using text or voice translation on applications including email, text message and ChatON. This instant translation is possible both from speech to text and text to speech and ensures that you can rely on the correct information whilst abroad.

The GALAXY S 4 supports HSPA+42 Mbps and 4G LTE which means wherever you are in the world, you can rely on perfect connectivity. Especially, the LTE version supports up to 6 different band sets which allows it to function in most LTE coverage areas as well as enabling global LTE roaming. Furthermore, TDD/FDD LTE Dual Mode version will be introduced later this year.

Effortless Experience - Makes Things More Convenient

In today's world, we are all looking for smart ways to make life easier and less stressful. The GALAXY S 4 ensures that tasks are effortless with innovative features that detect your face, voice and motions to enable screen control with no need for finger touch activation.

'Samsung Smart Pause' enables you to control the screen by where you look. When you are watching a video, the video pauses when you look away then it starts right up again when you are back. 'Samsung Smart Scroll' allows you to scroll the browser or emails up and down without touching the screen. It recognizes your face looking at the screen and movement of your wrist and then scroll the pages up or down accordingly.

'Air View' allows users to hover with their fingers to preview the content of an email, S Planner, image gallery or video without having to open it. You can even see a magnified view on the internet browser, or a phone number saved in the speed dial on the keypad. With 'Air Gesture', you can change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of your hand.

With 'S Voice Drive' you can activate commands via voice control for optimization when driving. Once connected with a car Bluetooth, the phone automatically turns into driving mode converting text to speech so you can easily and safely check messages with no need to look at the screen.

'Samsung Optical Reader' makes life yet more effortless, by automatically recognizing text, a business card or QR code information, and providing useful functions such as translation, call, text message and search.

At home, using 'Samsung WatchON', the GALAXY S 4 will transform into an IR remote to control your home entertainment system including TV, set-top box, DVD player and even air conditioner. In addition, you can enjoy various content including live TV, cable TV and VOD based on the rich information provided by EPG (Electronic Program Guide).

Empowered Living - Takes Care Of Your Health and Quality of Life

The GALAXY S 4 empowers your life by keeping you up-to-date with health and wellbeing information using the new 'S Health' software. The combination of sensors built within the device systematically and automatically monitors your health, surroundings and so much more to help improve your quality of life. Also, users can easily check their health conditions using food diary, exercise diary and sleep monitor to stay fit and healthy. (Certain functions are enabled by specific accessories.)

To further protect your wellbeing, 'Samsung Adapt Display' provides an optimal viewing experience, customized for each type of application, and 'Samsung Adapt Sound' offers an optimal level and type of sound, personalized for each user, to make the most out of life.

Samsung GALAXY S 4 will be available from Q2 globally including US, partnering with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, as well as US Cellular and Cricket. In Europe, Samsung GALAXY S 4 is partnering with global mobile operators such as Deutsche Telecom, EE, H3G, Orange, Telenor, Telia Sonera, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 official: 5-inch 1080p display, Octa-core Exynos chip and 13MP camera