Hands-On With the Galaxy S 4: First Impressions | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

Hands-On With a Galaxy S 4: First Impressions

Samsung Electronics Co.

is trumpeting a new program in a Galaxy S 4 smartphone denounced Thursday, such as facilities that let users control a shade with their eyes.

But while many of a functions are useful or innovative, a few of them didn’t seem prepared for primary time in a preview with journalists.

The Galaxy’s 4’s considerable though less-than-perfect opening underscores a plea Samsung faces in transforming itself from a hardware-driven association into a program personality as mobile phones spin increasingly commoditized.

That was my categorical take-away after saying a display of a device and test-driving it for about 30 mins Thursday morning in a hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Compare Smartphones

See a corresponding comparison of a specifications of new phones, including a Galaxy S 4.

View Interactive

Smartphone Wars

Explore facilities of some-more smartphones, including a Galaxy S 4.

View Interactive

The large exhibit began when David Park, a immature Samsung sales and selling group manager gave us a 30-minute display of a phone. Mr. Park spent a few mins describing a hardware improvements of a device. (It is somewhat thinner and lighter, with a softened camera and battery and a bigger, crook screen.)

But he clinging a infancy of his speak highlighting a few dozen program facilities grown for a phone. Afterward, we attempted out a phones before giving them back.

Mr. Park emphasized that a phone’s program growth was driven by 4 pivotal mandate that Samsung investigate found consumers many desired: The phone had to be fun, inspire closer relationships, offer preference and assistance urge health and wellness.

In a fun category, a vital idea was to urge a camera experience. He rifled by a series of features, such as twin video recording, that allows a user to hide a front-facing video window inside a video tide of a rear-facing camera. That approach we could play TV correspondent, providing tone explanation on your video.

Enlarge Image


Matthew Lynley / The Wall Street Journal

Samsung denounced a Galaxy S 4

A neat underline called “Sound Shot” lets we record sound and insert it to a picture. Another one called “Story Album” automatically creates a print manuscript with your cinema and lets we sequence a printed chronicle by a partnership with edition use Blurb.

But a few of a camera functions seemed gimmicky, while others failed. One called “Beauty Face” was ostensible to make we demeanour softened by doing things like slimming your face automatically. The underline didn’t spin me into George Clooney; in fact we couldn’t see any disproportion between a photos.

Another one called “Drama Shot” sounded earnest in theory, vouchsafing we emanate one integrated print stoical from several pictures. But when we attempted a underline it simply didn’t work. Samsung marketers shrugged and blamed a approach we staged a print shoot.

The categorical underline illustrating a attribute difficulty was a apparatus that translated emails, content and Samsung discuss messages. Other we didn’t have time to exam enclosed three-way video job and what Samsung called “Group Play,” a underline that connects other Galaxy S 4 phones and allows people to play a same song on opposite phones, or share photos, papers or even play videogames with your friends.

Convenience centered on new gesticulate technologies permitting a user to control a phone though touching it. “Air View” lets we float your finger over email, browser or calendar, afterwards pops adult a close-up demeanour of that area. “Smart pause” automatically pauses a video when we demeanour divided from a screen.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S 4

View Slideshow


Getty Images

The Galaxy S 4 was denounced in New York on Thursday.

Another rarely touted underline called “Air Gesture” is designed to let we manipulate a shade by relocating your palm across, or adult and down a screen. At initial we couldn’t get it to work. A Samsung repute gave me a discerning tutorial, that helped, though it wasn’t as manageable as we had hoped.

One underline that worked good was “Easy Remote,” that allows we to control a TV, DVD or set-top box by a practical remote-control app.

The health difficulty seems promising. Samsung grown an app called “S Health” that lets we lane your walking by a sensor. If we submit a food we eat, it spits out a caloric counter. The app was designed to work with accessories as well, including a physique scale, heart-rate guard and a wearable wrist sensor called an “S band.”

It is tough to envision if these program facilities together are adequate to remonstrate consumers to buy a phone in record numbers. But joined with a softened hardware, a Galaxy S 4 should yield a strongest foe nonetheless to a iPhone.

Write to Spencer E. Ante during spencer.ante@wsj.com

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.