Samsung seems to have become a victim of its own hype. The anticipation surrounding its latest flagship, the Galaxy S4, was second only to iPhone launches. But by the time curtains dropped at the launch event in New York late on the Thursday, the general tone on social networks was one of disappointment.
This is ironic because the Galaxy S4, on paper, is a capable phone. It features a bigger screen than its predecessor, the Galaxy S3, and yet is thinner and lighter. The screen’s resolution is better even than the iPhone’s Retina Display. The phone is powered by an eight core processor combined with 2GB RAM, which makes it the most powerful smartphone around. Samsung also showed off a bevy a software features.
So why the underwhelming reaction from consumers?
“Most of these features are gimmicks,” said Tassavur Shaikh, former editor, Only Gizmos, a technology website. “They may not really be useful during actual use. And while the eight-core processor is impressive, I don’t know if there are apps that can actually make use of this power.”
What has disappointed eager Samsung fans the most is the phone’s design.
“It is exactly the same as the Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2,” said Sanket Chaukiyal, a Kolkata-based tech reviewer.
On Twitter, @PseudoXpert said, “#ReasonsToParty I won’t have to sell my Note2 since the Samsung Galaxy S4 turned out to be such a dud!” (sic)
Jan Dawson, chief telecom analyst at Ovum sums it up best, “Having innovated rapidly over the last several years to vaunt itself into top spot in the world smartphone rankings, Samsung now faces essentially the same challenge as Apple: how to continue to improve its devices year on year when existing phones are already top of their class, and there aren’t obvious shortcomings?”
10 features to die for
Control what’s on the screen by waving your hand
The Samsung S4 is the first phone to integrate with technology from a company called Mobeam which allows mobile devices to beam barcodes to ordinary POS scanners, changing the shopping game.
The S Translator tool enables you to speak in one language and have the phone translate it to another instantly. And vice versa.
Erase the camerabomber
An eraser feature takes a series of quick photos and lets you remove images of people who walk into your shot
It’ll read out your mail
You can ask it to read your email out loud and ask the phone to respond to a text message while you’re driving
Know your health
S Health feature that turns your phone into a pedometer without any extra hardware or, when connected to other devices it can sense your blood pressure, blood sugar or other vital signs. There’s an option S Band that measures your heart beat
It knows when you are not watching
If you’re watching a video and look away, the video will pause automatically and resume when you turn your eyes back to the screen. And you can scroll the screen by tilting the phone slightly
It’s a TV remote!
There’s a sensor that transforms it into a remote for the home television or theatre system.
Then there’s 1080p full HD resolution scrreen, the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS which supports Photo Sphere which takes 360-degree panoramic photos, Quick Settings, lock-screen widgets and more, and there’s a large 2,600 mAh battery
Sound & shot
The facility allows users to add background noise to photos, for 9 seconds on the 13 MP back-facing camera and 2 MP front-facing one