Earlier this month, Maxis Malaysia introduced the LTE or 4G version of Galaxy S4 (i9505, 32GB) from as low as RM1,399 (with TalkMore78™ + 3GB Mobile Internet package). The retail price for the model in Malaysia is RM2,499 (which is RM300 higher than the non-LTE version). It comes with 1.9Ghz quad-core processor that is more battery efficient. In terms of OS, it is powered by Android 4.2.2. I was lucky as the firmware update was released a day after I got the smartphone.
The General Specs
- 5″ Inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
- 13MP Auto Focus Camera with Flash (Dual Shot and Sound & Shot)
- 1.9 GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Processor
- 32GB Memory, 2GB RAM
- 2600 mAh Battery
- Android 4.2.2 (Jelly bean)
- microSD slot (up to 64GB)
My Initial Impression
Having “played” the phone for about 12 days, the LTE version is indeed a true gem among the smartphones of its class. It runs seamlessly fast with features that simply make you and your friends go “wow”. Exterior wise, it looks exactly like the non-LTE version except for the small “LTE” logo on the back cover. Although Maxis 4G is still sporadic in Kuching, the speed is amazingly fast, 5 to 10 times faster than the usual 3G. I am generally based in Kota Samarahan and Maxis coverage here is excellent with HSDPA consistently stable at least at 1.5Mbps. Samsung Galaxy S4 (both LTE and non-LTE) versions offer uses a greater experience, as echoed in its tagline of “Life Companion”.
S4 – Software
Galaxy S4 comes with Android 4.2.2. It also retains the Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature user interface with slight changes. The eye-tracking features are also extended to S4. The Smart Scroll feature allows you to scroll while looking at the screen by slightly tilting the phone or “moving your head up and down”, while the Smart Pause allows you to pause videos when you are not looking at the screen. The “Smart Stay” makes the screen stay “ON” as long as you are looking at it. This reduces the annoyance when the screen “times out” while you’re still looking at things. Another two features included are Air View and Air Gesture. Air View makes previewing of images or message easier by putting your finger slightly above the screen, without touching it! Air Gesture turn your smartphones into a motion-tracking intelligent device.For example, you can turn skip songs by just waving your hand over the screen, or navigate a recipe without touching your phone.
Another notable software included with S4 is Group Play. It permits ad hoc sharing of files between Galaxy phones, along with multi-player games and musci streaming. This is awesome especially when you have friends using Galaxy phones. There are other apps such as S Translator, the workout tracker S Health, S Voice Drive, S Travel, and an optical character recognition app. It also comes with Samsung Hub and Samsung Apps (Samsung dedicated store for Android apps). The camera software resembles the one included in Samsung Galaxy Camera with dual shot feature (you can snap your own face using the front-facing camera while overlaying it with the scene taken using the 13-MP camera).
S4 – Hardware
The S4 GT-I9505 includes a multiband LTE transceiver and both models feature an infrared LED that can serve as a universal remote control. It also comes with near field communication (NFC) connectivity,with allows exchange of data when the phone touches other NFC-enabled devices. This is the backbone behind S-Beam, that gives you the freedom of exchanging files by just touching two devices. It can also be used as NFC-payment device, for you to pay at NFC-equipped cash registers. The back of the S4 has a 13-megapixel camera lens and LED flash, and at the bottom left edge has the loudspeaker.
The storage may be an issue, since the phone takes up a lot of space right from the start. For this 32GB version, almost 10GB has been used by the phone system files and Samsung software. That leaves you with only 22GB. The micro-SD slot might help you overcome this with capacity up to 64GB.
The so-called “cheap” plastic feel is still there and to some, investing such a large amount of money on it, may seem a bit “risky”. I personally has no issue with the plastic exterior as to me it makes the phone lighter and of course more durable. You don’t have to worry if it cracks when it slips off your hands! haha….
The Battery Life
One word, superb! I personally use the phone (after full charge) for more than 18 hours with mobile data on, occasional browsing, Facebooking, Tweeting and WhatApping, and played some games for about 1 hour in total. A full usage of Internet over the mobile data would last for about 6-7 hours (which is very decent). But if you’re heavy gamer, the battery wouldn’t last long due to its larger screen (but it makes sense as it applies to all other phones). The battery life would last even longer with its Power Saving mode turned on. Recently BGR.com also did a battery test on S4 and it beats most of its competitors including HTC One.
The Photo Gallery
Samsung Galaxy S4 is a superb device in its own rights albeit the usual glitch on the TouchWiz UI which is more complex. The HTC Sense seems to outshine TouchWiz, which makes a lot of people craving for HTC One. But S4 gives you something different with its features. It’s hard to say which phone is better, it all goes down to what you want.
As reported in TechRadar, the S4 sold 4 million in 4 days and 10 million in 27 days; this is the fastest selling smartphone in Samsung’s history and the fastest selling Android device in history. That explains a lot on the people’s trust on Samsung’s on-going commitment to enhance user experience.
Do visit Maxis Website for more details about the phone.