The Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently the hottest smartphone on the market, with 10 million units sold in just its first month of release. We take a look at the top five features that also make Samsung’s latest flagship one of the smartest mobiles around.
1. Air Gesture and Air View
Air Gesture is one the numerous intuitive touch-free capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that lets your control the handset even when you can’t touch the display.
Using sophisticated floating touch technology, Air Gesture lets you scroll anything from web pages to emails by just waving your hand up and down over the screen. This is ideal for when you may have wet hands or are wearing gloves.
You can also switch between pages in the web browser by waving sideways, making surfing the web and jumping between tabs just that much easier when you’re on the move.
Another great feature of the Galaxy S4 is Air View, which enables you to get a sneak peek at a variety of content, such as emails, photos, calendar entries and more by simply hovering your finger over an item.
This is a great way to get a quick preview of things without having to open anything. Better still, this also works brilliantly with the cool magazine app Flipboard, which comes preloaded on the Galaxy S4.
2. Multi Window
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is not just excellent for multimedia. It is also great at multitasking, thanks to a superb feature called Multi Window that lets you have two applications running at the same time on the S4’s expansive display.
To activate it, simply pull down the notifications bar at the top then tap the expanded list icon at the top right corner. Here you can toggle on or off a whole host of features on the Galaxy S4, including Multi Window. If the icon is green, that means it’s on. If not, just tap it and you’re good to go.
Now long press the back button to bring up the Multi Window toolbar. This lets you select a range of apps that you can open side by side. So say if you want to surf the web and read your email at the same time, simply tap the browser icon then drag the email icon from the tool bar to the bottom of top of the screen and they’ll both be open simultaneously.
This works on both portrait and landscape orientation. What’s cool is that you can drag the slider in the middle to see more of a screen. You can also flip the screens instantly by tapping the switch icon, then press the full screen icon to make it bigger or the close icon to exit.
This is a fantastic feature as it lets you do more with your time. You could make video call while checking out a presentation.
3. Camera and Photography
The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t just feature a 13-megapixel camera. It also comes with an amazing camera application packed with advanced imaging capabilities.
Among these is a wide array of shooting modes perfect for just about any situation such as Sound & Shot, Eraser, Drama, Animated Photo, Dual Camera, Best Face and Best Photo.
Sound & Shot allows you to capture a photo, along with eight seconds of audio to really preserve those precious moments. So you could take a still photo near a church and have the sound of the bells playing in the background.
The Eraser mode is handy if you need to remove an unwanted object from a shot, such as a pesky photobomber or a moving vehicle. Drama is a burst mode that takes up to a 100 shots in four seconds and then combines them into a single frame, allowing you to capture interesting images such as a cool skateboarding move.
The Animated Photo mode, meanwhile, lets you take a still photo with movement in it and then by swiping your finger over the image, decide which bits you want moving.
For instance, you could snap some candles and have the flames still flickering, while the rest of the image remains static. You can then save your work as an animated GIF to share with friends and family.
Another cool feature of the S4 is Dual Camera. This combines both the front and rear-facing cameras on the phone to include the photographer in the photo as well. This is great when taking a group photos or when travelling alone. You can also drag and resize your portrait over the main photo as you see fit.
Best Face and Best Shot are two of our favourite modes of the S4 camera. These enable you to snap several photos in succession and then choose the best of the lot, or even pick the best face for each person in the shot. That means pictures are less likely to be ruined by blinking.
Cooler yet, the camera app also comes with 14 built-in filters to give your snaps the hipster treatment they deserve.
These include sepia, vignette and fish eye and allow you to add eye-catching colour tones or vintage looks to your photos, which you can see in real-time.
The camera app also features advanced settings to further help you get the most out of your shots with the S4, such as White Balance, Metering, ISO, Exposure value and anti-shake.
4. S Translator and Optical Reader
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a smartphone that transcends borders and breaks down language barriers.
This is made possible by the superb S Translator app that comes pre-installed with the Galaxy S4.
Capable of translating dozens of widely spoken international languages in real-time, including French, Spanish and Chinese – S Translator is the perfect companion to help in your travels abroad.
Whether you're going on holiday or a business trip, S Translator helps you out in those inevitable stumbles with the local tongue.
Translating is as easy as typing out a word or phrase, which the app automatically interprets and displays in the bottom half of the screen.
To make conversations equally simple, S Translator also offers voice translation, so you can just speak what you want to say to the handset and S Translator will speak it out for you in the other language.
This is handy for any number of situations, be it responding to something you don't understand or even getting directions.
What's really great about S Translator, though, is that it works in tandem with another brilliant built-in application of the Galaxy S4 called the Optical Reader.
This allows you to scan text from a physical source – such as a book or a sign - using the S4's rear-mounted camera, and translate it on the spot to another language thanks to S Translator integration.
The Optical Reader also scans and translates individual words in real-time and provides an audio playback for the pronunciation for each word, and even gives you a definition of the word if you're not quite sure what it means.
With S Translator and Optical Reader on board, the Samsung Galaxy S4 truly makes communicating and understanding foreign languages as easy as pie.
5. S Health
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is more than just a smartphone. It is also a life companion that cares about your health and wellbeing.
Key to this is the Galaxy S4's amazing S Health application that's been specially designed to help you lead a healthy and positive lifestyle.
Effectively a personal trainer in your pocket, S Health keeps track of your workouts and activities, including every step you've taken in a day to motivate you in achieving your daily fitness goals.
Along with an extensive array of exercises to help you get into shape, S Health features a food diary to log what you're eating to ensure you're on a healthy and balanced diet too.
It also shows your comfort level based on the temperature and humidity in the surrounding environment thanks to the Galaxy S4's numerous sensors, including a built-in thermometer.
And with a range of official Samsung accessories that you can purchase separately, S Health can even measure your weight, blood pressure and heart rate.
S Health is just one of many brilliant features that make the Samsung Galaxy S4 a fantastic smartphone.
Still not convinced? Check out our full video review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 below to learn more about the handset.