Samsung has to walk a delicate line with the Galaxy S4’s design: it needs to push the envelope without screwing things up. Though the Galaxy S3 was a looker, its design continued, rather than broke away from, Samsung’s long trend of thin smartphones with large displays and plastic bodies.
For the screen, Samsung really needs to up its game to compete with the likes of HTC, Sony, and Motorola. Many new handsets from these mobile players feature slick edge-to-edge displays with virtually no surrounding bezel. Additionally, to stand up against the tide of massive superphones with larger-than-life displays, the Samsung Galaxy S4 better come to the party packing a 5-inch 1080p screen. If it’s OLED, all the better since that’s a trick Samsung’s rivals can’t yet top.
Fortunately, Samsung delivered a powerful and high-functioning device in the Galaxy S3. It mostly built off existing Android capabilities, as our CNET review said, but the handset rightly earned its place at the top of the Galaxy family tree. With the Galaxy S4, we don’t doubt that Samsung will raise the bar again, but there are some things that the smartphone really needs to have.
At the time of its release, the Galaxy S3’s 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor was Qualcomm’s fastest to date. We were impressed when we first used it and even a year later the handset feels fast. Yet, a year might as well be a decade in the fast-paced mobile world. And with quad-core processors now becoming the norm, the Galaxy S3 needs a 2GHz quad-core CPU at the very least.
Though the Galaxy S3’s camera delivered a few more features, it didn’t have a higher resolution than the Galaxy S2’s 8-megapixel shooter. We gave Samsung a pass then, but this time we’re hoping for a 13-megapixel shooter, with more camera features. The good news is that that feature is likely. Around front, we expect a 2-megapixel HD camera. And while we’re at it, a flash on the front would be really cool.
This is one area where we’re bracing for no change, at least for now. With the next version of the Android operating system not expected until Google I/O opens on May 15, the Galaxy S4 must run on Jelly Bean 4.2. Anything less would be criminal. Also, throw us a bone, Samsung, and opt for a sleeker form of the TouchWiz UI.
Last year’s model was one of the few high-end handsets in 2012 that used a removable rather than an embedded battery as its power source. Hopefully, the Galaxy S4 will boost its battery capacity from the S3’s 2,100mAh to at least 2,500mAh
The Galaxy S3 came in 16GB and 32GB versions. That was a healthy amount of storage, especially when you factor in the GS3’s 2GB of RAM. But if Samsung wants to really wow its fans, it will put 4GB of RAM plus 64GB of preloaded internal storage in the new Galaxy S4. The device’s microSD slot capacity can stay at 64GB
Samsung’s S Voice personal assistant feature didn’t live up to our expectations on the Galaxy S3. Mostly it didn’t work well, and other times it didn’t work at all. Samsung will need to improve the feature on the Galaxy S4 while keeping better options like S Beam and delivering new feature surprises
The Samsung Galaxy franchise, especially its most recent incarnation, the Galaxy S3, is a terrible and beautiful smartphone enterprise depending on your perspective. Competitors feared the S3 for its cutting-edge mobile technology at insanely low prices, all shoehorned into a sleek and thin package. To users, however, it’s a sleek, powerful device that can match any smartphone on the market.
The Galaxy S4 should continue that trend. Samsung is determined to outclass its competitors and own the wireless handset market, and we have every reason to believe that the GS4 will impress. No, its competitors won’t simply lie in the road to be trampled, but Sammy has an important card to play. Like Apple, it has more than enough money to promote, advertise, and distribute its shiny device to the ends of the earth. That alone will carry the Galaxy GS4 far. And if the phone is awesome, even better.