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1: Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S4

135
 The Samsung Galaxy S4's design is very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S3.
 Photo: Melissa Perenson 

Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone to much pomp and spectacle last night at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Often, such over-the-top theatrics could mask a lack of substance underneath. But that's not the case with the Galaxy S4. We went hands-on with the S4 at the New York event, and came away impressed with the innovative and well-integrated software and hardware enhancements that will keep Samsung well-ahead of its competition.

For more information and detailed specs also read our launch article. And make sure to click through to page 2 of this article to read about the Galaxy S4's camera and imaging features. 

Design

The first thing to note about the S4 is that it's practically identical in footprint and weight to its predecessor, and yet it's thinner and crams a slightly larger display into that space than on the S3. The S4 measures 13.5 by 7cm  (5.38 by 2.74 in), just 1mm (0.04 in) narrower than the S3 - and a notable 11mm (0.43 in) narrower than the Galaxy Note II. The S4 is also very marginally lighter than the S3.

 The S4 is almost identical to its predecessor   in terms of footprint and weight...
Photo: Melissa Perenson 

 ...but at 7.9mm it's slightly thinner.
Photo: Melissa Perenson

Overall, the phone felt comfortable to handle. Where the Samsung Galaxy Note II is nigh impossible to balance in one hand for typing, not so with the S4. It's weight and dimensions make it light enough to hold in one hand without any noticeable impact, yet large enough to get a satisfying display of text and photos.

The phone's design is a little more squared off around the sides than the S3, but it still felt good in our hands. The back remains a polycarbonate plastic material, but it felt more sturdy than the predecessor, with a slight textured patterning that gave the phone a moderately classier look.

Screen

One very noticeable dfference is the larger screen size on the S4. The phone's Super AMOLED screen measures a comfortable 5.0 inches, a satisfying 0.2-inch bump over the S3. The resolution is better, too: 1920-by-1080 pixels, and 441 pixels per inch, a notable step up over the Galaxy S3's Super AMOLED 1280-by-720 pixels and 306 ppi. We could see a distinct difference in the image quality between the two: The S4 looked sharper and crisper to our eyes, on text as well as images. But the distinctions were less clear when compared with the larger Galaxy Note II.

The new model uses a PenTile AMOLED display, the same type as on the S3 before it. A PenTile display arranges the display's subpixels as red, green, blue, green, an arrangement that helps counter the fact that blue subpixels often degrade faster on AMOLED displays. It also accounts for the display not appearing as crisp as an RGB display, such as the one found on the Galaxy Note II.

Indeed, we saw this when viewing a photo on the new S4 compared with the Note II. We noticed some minor differences in color and sharpness on our own photo. The Note II's image appeared slightly sharper, but the S4 had more balanced skin tones.

 The new Adapt Display function automatically adapts screen contrast and brightness to the content you are viewing. You can also set some options manually.
Photo: Melissa Perenson 

With the new Adapt display mode enabled, the differences were even more pronounced. This adaptive display setting automatically adjusts the contrast and brightness of the display depending upon the content you're viewing, optimizing based on whether you're watching a video, looking at an image, or reading a Web page or book, for example. On the S4, the Adapt display feature is more universally applied than on the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. In the Note 8.0's reading mode that mode is strictly optimized for reading apps and also adjusts for color temperature.

Ultimately, further testing will be necessary under controlled conditions and with the final, shipping S4 to determine how the different settings impact how images look on the display. Among the other display options now available are Dynamic, Standard, Professional Photo (Adobe RGB), and Movie.

User interface and software

Gesture navigation first gained mainstream traction with Microsoft's Xbox Kinect. Then gestures moved into televisions and then to PCs, for example Sony's Vaio E-series. Through it all, we've heard talk about integrating gestures into smartphones and tablets - and now that becomes a reality in the Galaxy S4.

We tested the gesture navigation in the Gallery app, where we navigated images simply with the forward or backwards swipe of a hand. In practice, we found the sensors a bit too sensitive, requiring precision and proximity to work smoothly. More often than not it felt like there was lag, or our swipe wasn't registered. Perhaps that will still be tweaked in time for the U.S. launch coming later in April. Ultimately, as nifty as this feature may seem, Samsung's going to have to offer up some training to walk folks through which apps support gestures, and what those gestures are (for example, you can also swipe in the browser to change among open Web pages, and swipe to answer an incoming call, neither of which we tested).

The Smart Scroll feature lets you scroll through content such as webpages by tilting the phone slightly into the corresponding direction. We did not get a chance to test feature yet but it seemed to work well in the Samsung demo. Smart Pause, meanwhile, detects if you've taken your face away from the screen during playback, and if so, it pauses the action for you. Nifty in its implementation, and its function.

Also new is Air View, a feature that first was announced on this spring's Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. There, Air View lets you use the tablet's S Pen to hover over information in a supported app, gaining a shortcut to paying or getting further information. For example, in Flipboard, you could hold the pen over a category and get a preview of the headlines. On the S4, which also comes with Flipboard, you can now use your finger to do these actions. You can also use your finger to draw directly on the screen using an included app like S Memo, just as you'd use the S Pen on the Note II. For both actions, we found our fingers less precise than using the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 8.0; but, our fingers got the job done without the albatross of a pen.

Like the Galaxy 8.0 the S4 supports multiple app windows. You can choose apps from the fly-out menu on the left.
Photo: Melissa Perenson 
Writing in the S Memo app is more precise with the Galaxy 8.0's S-Pen but still works well with the S4 and your fingers.
Photo: Melissa Perenson 

The S4 phone actually borrows heavily from software elements found in the Note 8.0 tablet, which was only just introduced in February, and will be available in Q2 2013. Multi-window provides a scrollable list of supported apps (apps like email, gallery, Gmail, Internet browser, maps, messaging, S Memo, Talk, and YouTube). Long hold the back button to see the fly-out menu, then tap and drag one app, then the second app. You could technically choose to have three things going at the same time, if you were to overlay the popup player as well.

 Multi Window mode allows you to have multiple apps open at the same time. Here we've got the Gallery app on the left, video player on the right and a pop-up image viewer on top.

Entirely unique to the S4 phone are the array of features around health and fitness. We liked how the apps for these features were integrated, taking advantage of the new ensors built-into the phone - including ones for temperature and humidity.

In general, we liked many of the tweaks to the software, and many of the included apps - be they for health tracking or TV viewing or scanning business cards. On the whole, these enhancements collectively appealed; the real proof, however, will lie in how well these features all work with a device in the real world.

Comments

Total comments: 135
susanjohn

While using the completely new Adjust display setting empowered, the actual distinctions ended up even more noticable. This kind of adaptive display location routinely tunes the actual contrast along with settings with the display based upon this article you're viewing, optimizing determined by whether you're watching the online video, thinking about a perception, as well as reading through the Web page as well as e-book. http://www.hotappsntech.com/samsung-galaxy-ace-3-review-price/

0 upvotes
VIDGMER

DPR, Whoa! Deja Vu.. G$4 is reincarnated from Original Note! Yes There is a beautiful device!

1 upvote
sovelo2002

no matter of features, but really need Samsung techs have BETTERY life improved!

2 upvotes
PhD4

So the 5" 1080p 441 PPI screen has caught up with HTC's Droid DNA, from last year.

Better late than never.

2 upvotes
Stakeouttoo

and what about the battery???????.. it's like you forgot to finish the hands on review???

1 upvote
Mark B.

Did you actually read the article? It was a hands-on preview at a press event, not a full review.

8 upvotes
Brian Mosley

Nice hands on impression piece thanks, a couple confusing areas for me...

"Note II is nigh impossible to balance in one hand for typing, not so with the S4"

You can select left/right handed reduced keyboard on the Note II to make it easier to 'thumb-type' one handed.

"our fingers got the job done without the albatross of a pen."

The pen is a killer feature, I wouldn't consider a phone without one - it tucks away nicely when not required, and has a nice feature to prevent you losing it by walking off without it docked.

Can't wait to see the same treatment done for the Note 3... same footprint, slimmer, 8 core processor, 6.3" higher res screen, more responsive pen. Only thing I can see in the near term likely to improve on the Note 2.

0 upvotes
Michael Ma

Appreciated the review! But I would have appreciated even more (a lot more) focus on the photography aspects of it. Functionality, IQ, comparisons, usability testing, etc.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

This is not a review, just a hands-on. We will test all these things when we get a reviewable unit.

5 upvotes
knize10

More wonderful technology that will soon end up on a junk pile at the recycling center close to you. A real waste of non renewable ressources.

12 upvotes
ptodd

Indeed. I just lost my phone and am in the market for a replacement, will probably end up allowing myself to be sucked in to new shiny tech, but my conscience is telling me maybe I should try to find something decent used.

0 upvotes
Fotoguy42

Actually, the Galaxy Note 2 has an amoled screen also( http://www.samsung.com/us/the-next-big-thing-galaxy-note-ii/?cid=ppc) , using a S-stripe rgb subpixel matrix that creates more clear images than the S3 ( http://i1178.photobucket.com/albums/x371/lscrb102985/note2-s3-rgb-pentile.jpg)
Edit:
Sorry, reread article, it just wasnt clear to me the first time

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JKP

I like the fact that Samsung G S4 still has SD card slot for users to add more memory if needed. It is becoming a rarity in phones.

3 upvotes
vladvaidianu

Any chance to shoot / use raw files ?

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

No, I don't know of any phones that give you access to raw data.

0 upvotes
T3

The reason why you don't get RAW files from a phone is because they would look absolutely hideous. The main reason why many of today's camera phones can produce good image quality is because there is a lot of proprietary internal processing of the image to correct for all the deficiencies of using such a tiny sensor and such a tiny lens. All this happens under the hood, so that the resulting images look very nice. In other words, you really don't want to see how the unprocessed RAW image looks. It would probably look quite nasty.

2 upvotes
HubertChen

@ T3
Yes and No. How about output the finished image as DNG. This would give you higher bit depths and the color temperature is a parameter and not baked into the file. As a result you have the best of two worlds: Under the hood the camera removes in processing all nasty small sensor small lens artifacts, but delivers a file that is more malleable in processing.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo

Of course Raw files would look nasty, what with all those clipped highlights, shadows, noise-induced lack of resolution and lens distortion. DNG files would not look any better - they would present exactly the same sensor- and lens- related image quality issues. Sorry, this is reality. Want raw files? Buy a decent camera.

1 upvote
chbde

Actually, the slightly exotic, maemo/meego based Nokia N900 and N9 are able to take true raw images in DNG format with some third-party applications, thanks to the fcam drivers allowing direct access to the sensor. The quality issues are similar to compact cameras with raw mode, as both have comparable pixel pitch. RAW does not do wonders, but especially in low light I often prefer noise over noise reduction artifacts. Lens distortion is actually much better than on many super zooms with raw mode, thanks to the fixed focal length. While not adequate for everyday use, for me at least it's a very welcome addition.

1 upvote
vladvaidianu

As said below I'd only care about wb and bit depth. I really do not expect mamiya iq from my phone but a bit more flexibility would help. Is there any way to build an app to bypass camera process and extract the raw as dng or tif ?

0 upvotes
ptodd

From what I've read, although the Android APIs have ways of querying raw image data, the result is almost invariably null in practice, meaning that there would be no sensible way to just release a raw camera app on the store.

Having said that, it isn't totally impossible for a custom ROM to support it at least in certain circumstances; I just did some searching and found http://review.cyanogenmod.org/#/c/14513/ where the feature was added but subsequently abandoned, according to comments not all phones could support it - I'm not sure about the ins and outs of Android at this fairly deep level.

Anyway, as a user, in practice even dabbling with installing custom ROMs isn't likely enough to get this working at present, you need to get your hands very dirty, and even then YMMV...

0 upvotes
chbde

AFAIK there is no way for third-party developers to do so, depending on the sensor module used it even may not be possible at all, if the module itself does already the demosaicing stuff etc. There's just no public API for that, except fcam for the mentioned nokias.
If you'd have a rooted device, and a developer willing to hack directly on the driver level, it might be possible, but would be probably device specific.

0 upvotes
ptodd

Indeed, I expected that the code for the CyanogenMod change I linked to before would be more down at the driver level, but really it is just fairly superficial patching of the main camera app from what I see. As you say trying to fix at the driver level would necessarily be more device specific.

"If you'd have a rooted device, and a developer willing to hack directly on the driver level, it might be possible, but would be probably device specific" is pretty much what I was trying to say above, but expressed a bit more clearly. Perhaps it shows that I tend to steer clear of driver-level hacking.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DFR photography

my only major gripe with my S3 was that you couldn't see the screen at all in the sun. Hopefully that has changed with the S4 but if that has not changed then thats a deal breaker for me. Just outside on a cloudy day was hard to see the screen unless they have some sort of screen protector that helps with that. I don't know.

4 upvotes
tom sugnet

I have an S3, so I will be waiting for an S5.
Would love to see a 6 inch screen.

2 upvotes
Lensjoy

You've probably heard this before, but please focus on photography! The time spent reviewing phone features could be better spent on lens reviews, editing software, camera tips, and other things we care about that are lacking both at dpreview and other places online. I wish dpreview were the go-to place for photographers rather than a me-too place where I can find just another tired cell phone review.

16 upvotes
Stu 5

Use seem to forget DPR are running a business and not a charity. Reviews of mobile phones with built in camera generate lot of 'hits' which is good for selling advertising which allows you to read this website for free. One model of lens review will not generate anywhere near the amount of hits/traffic as a smartphone with built in camera review. They need the adverting coming in to allow them to review the items that will not generate so many hits.

Also do remember even if you don't like it yourself smartphones are being used more all the time and the quality of the cameras built in are improving hence why more photo agencies accept photographs taken on them. Professional photographers do not dismiss their use so much as some and can clearly see their uses and benefits.

5 upvotes
Jimmy jang Boo

"Use [sic] seem to forget DPR are running a business ..."

By that line of reasoning DPR may as well advertise coke, corn flakes and canola oil.

7 upvotes
Mark B.

You do realize the DPR Connect is a site dedicated to mobile technology, right? As such, mobile phone news is entirely appropriate.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
10 upvotes
T3

Get a clue, Lensjoy. For millions of people all over the world a smart phone is now their primary-- and possibly their only-- camera for photography. Plus, for many of us who do use "real" cameras, choosing a smart phone with a good camera is also very important.

1 upvote
Brian Mosley

Hi Lensjoy,

have you read the article (link top right of this page under "Most Commented") - "Confessions of a camera snob"?

I think smartphones will be more and more relevant to photography... get used to it. ;)

1 upvote
ozgoldman

I am somewhat disappointed that the author used only the old imperial measurements of inches. As 95% of the world now uses metric measurements and most in the world under 50 yrs do not understand the old imperial scale at all, would be much more informative if metrication had been used or at the very least, included.

8 upvotes
Mark B.

Perhaps imperial measurements were used because the preview by Samsung was done in the US? If the preview had been done in London, I wouldn't expect to see measurements in inches.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

yes, you are right, we typically use both, I will update

7 upvotes
Riot Nrrrd

@ozgoldman: Let me call you a wauughmbulance. Here's a calculator kid, learn how to use it.

I think it's funny how many people outside the US tease us Americans over how we can't speak any other languages besides English, yet they expect to be catered to when it comes to the Metric system. I can speak both Metric and Imperial fluently; perhaps you should try and learn it.

1 upvote
ARTASHES

Saw some samples, they were very good to me,
One thing I can't understand, if Samsung has such a great jpeg processing to squeeze such detailed and balanced (even when viewing at 100%) results from such a tinny sensor (at least at base ISO) why their P&S have such a mediocre IQ

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JTF

I was hoping this review would have touched upon whether or not the noticeable green color cast of the S3 PenTile screen has been improved with the S4. It would be nice if that effect was minimized somehow.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

it's not a review, just a hands-on...we'll look at all these things in detail when we get a production unit into the office.

2 upvotes
Combatmedic870

The screen cast can be EASILY fixed. This phone will be unlocked before its even released and with that, any kind of screen problems with me easy. Franco's kernels usually have a screen calibrator built it, nice and easy.

1 upvote
Alekko

I’ve been looking for a decent replacement for my excellent GS2 (wiith JB) and seems that it will be S4. Love what I read about this newcomer so far :).

One comment to DPR: could you PLEASE use also the metric system, at least in the brackets? This is after all, an international site. You’ll be doing many of us a big favour. TIA.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
10 upvotes
Aspegic

+1 for the metric system!

3 upvotes
Riot Nrrrd

@Alekko:

Are you aware that "megapixels" (1024x1024) is not Metric (10^N)?

Perhaps it would be better for you to learn how to easily convert between the two systems, rather than asking for the world to be bent to your whims.

1 upvote
Alekko

Riot: what you’re talking about??? Metric numbers were indeed added to the article few days after my comment. But where did you come up with megapixels and metric system? I didn't talk about that... Besides, no need to be rude.

0 upvotes
RUcrAZ

They still lack a sliding lens cover. Using it as a cellphone, there are the inevitable thumbprints on the lens/clear cover. We spend so much time keeping our (normal cam) lenses clean, yet cellphones are behind on this issue. There is always the question of flare, created by the clear lens cover. (Both problems are prevalent in my Nokia N95-8G (5 megapixel.)

0 upvotes
KeeChiuPeng

It's just a phone with bumped-up megapixels. No mention of what lenses are used. For years, camera lenses on phones are naked as it is, and pose no IQ problem at all. Just use some parts of the clothing to wipe before firing up the camera app and you are good to go.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

K--

Many cell phones cover the lens with extra glass, it's probably the cause of the magenta cast trouble with the iPhone 5. Also image quality would be improved by raw capture.

0 upvotes
Mister J

The RGB screen option looks most useful.

I'm looking forward to an iPhone v Galaxy IQ comparo.

1 upvote
Stu 5

It would be useful if the phone was not using a Super AMOLED panel and was instead using a IPS panel. As it is you have a nice feature available on a poor quality screen which is quite hopeless on colour accuracy in the first place and has a very poor viewing angle. If you have a iPhone and a datacolor Spyder 3 or 4 you can calibrate the screen.

1 upvote
TrojMacReady

@ Stu 5
Very poor viewing angles? In terms of colour shifts under angle they hold on almost as well as the best IPS panels in phones and in terms of contrast, their viewing angles are the benchmark still. Even the brightness drop under a 30 degree angle is less than *half* that of say the LCD in an iPhone 5 (28% vs 60%). The latter two are far more important when it comes to visibility.

Colour accuracy is a matter of profiling and for some reason review websites always measure the standard profile, rather than the neutral one or one of the others.

And I first calibrated my GS2 AMOLED a year ago under GB.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Stu 5

TrojMacReady The Super AMOLED screens are well known to be of poor quality. The viewing angle is dreadful on them with brightness drop far worse than the iPhone 5 or 4 as well as bad colours shifts. Although the colour is not great to start with either on Super AMOLED. Why do you think pro computer screens for photography are IPS and not Super AMOLED... because they are better.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

@ Stu 5 :
Factfree talk and obviously experience free talk too.
Displaymate measured both phones in this respect:
http://i49.tinypic.com/35iveib.jpg

And that's also what PhoneArena concluded when they compared the viewing angles from the Lumia 900, Iphone 5, GS3 and HTC One X:
"Again, the Samsung Galaxy S III and Nokia Lumia 900 seem to fare well in this category, as they maintain their clarity at moderate and extreme viewing angles. Specifically, colors retain their vibrancy without the expense of any washed out looks as we increasingly tilt them more and more. [..] but as we need to point out all of their strengths and weaknesses, it’s the handsets using AMOLED panels that shine the most."

I have yet to see any LCD match my AMOLED in this regard.
And the main reason why there are few if any large AMOLED screens, is cost (yields are too low being one cause). Even regular OLED is still too costly at large sizes. For example, Sony has a 25" professional OLED monitor for $5.500.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Peiasdf

DP needs to do a flagship phone camera round up once iPhone 5S got announced and all Android phones came to market. I would wait for Nokia but when are they releasing 920's replacement?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

That's what we are planning to do. Hopefully we'll get all the devices in soon.

2 upvotes
EricWN

The last thing we need on a camera testing site is more pointless mobile phone writeups.
Please refer back to camera and lens reviews - and should you find additional time I'd appreciate software tests rather than ugly Android plastic nightmares.

0 upvotes
Mark B.

But DP Connect ins't a camera review site, it's intended for mobile photography...so a camera phone roundup is completely appropriate.

3 upvotes
makofoto

EricWN = dinosauer

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Cerdo

And the proofreading of this piece, with its blatant use of superlatives, was undertaken by Samsung’s marketing division?

4 upvotes
Teru Kage

@ Cerdo

Speaking of proof reading: "was [it] undertaken..."

0 upvotes
RivRat

Not for me thanks. Went through both the s2 and s3 this year. The screens will crack with even the most modest of bumps. Just not rubust enough for everyday rumble and tumble.

6 upvotes
TrojMacReady

Nokia 3310 it is! ;-)
The S2 is still one of the most robuust (see drop tests for example) phones out there.

4 upvotes
Tommot1965

I agree the s2 was dropped many times by me..and survived

1 upvote
Stu 5

Also see drop test of the S3 and the iPhone 5 done by an Android website where the S3 failed and cracked and the iPhone 5 survived.

1 upvote
neo_nights

Isn't it easier and better to NOT drop or bump your phone? I have my S2 for about two years and it looks like new. That's because I've never dropped it :)
(of course adding a nice case and a screen protector does help)

0 upvotes
Stu 5

No Neo_nights it is easier if you don't cut cost when designing a phone in the first place by using cheap quality materials.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

@ Stu 5:
So what defines a "quality material"? Plastics are used in the aerospace and space industry too, so they might like to know too.

A large share of Iphone 4(S)'s that I have seen, have a crack or more in the rear panel and damaged edges. The droptests showed it was farmore prone to breaking than the GS2.

I can't seem to damage the rear panel of my GS2 and as a whole it looks like new too after nearly 2 years of extensive use and quite a few drops.

So maybe there's more to it than material names.

0 upvotes
Essai

dropeed mine twice and no crack or scratch. Cnet made a drop/crash tests of the GS3 and the phone was like new after all the tests.

0 upvotes
TimT999

I think I'm going to avoid these "hands-on" features from now on -- especially for these over-hyped consumer devices.

Every other paragraph seems to start out with a feature straight out of the company marketing materials and then says, "...but we didn't get to actually test it to see if it works properly."

A bunch of marketing specs are of absolutely no interest to a thoughtful reader. I want to know if the "feature" actually works as promised and how useful it would be in a real life situation. If you didn't test it, it's barely better than vaporware.

The same goes for the specs. The fact that the unit has 13 MP sounds great. Wow, it must be as good as a lot of point and shoots out now -- almost as good as a 14 MP DSLR. Oh wait, but what if the sensor is the same size as the old 8MP one -- some tiny chip that can't touch even a point and shoot. If that's the case then the added resolution is almost useless. Of course DP doesn't give us that fact. Just more corporate marketing.

7 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Patience is a virtue. You'll get all this information from us once we get a testable production unit in our hands. The thing was only announced yesterday.

6 upvotes
Chris Noble

Lars, snide and rude answers to a reader's very reasonable comments are not a virtue. You've had a testable production Lumix G5 for months and you have not found the time to review it, but you jump on the latest toy camera because it's in a cellphone?

12 upvotes
Oliver Lang

Yes, people are interested in hearing about this device as it has just been launched.

The Lumix G5 was not launched yesterday. Sure, the SG4 is not relevant to you, but in the same way, the Lumix G5 review isn't relevant to me, nor anyone else on Connect part of Dpreview.

I'm glad Lars put up the information that he had at the time, and I'm looking forwards to a review once a testable product is received.

Grumpiness and name calling aren't virtues either, since we're on the topic.

1 upvote
TrojMacReady

@ Chris Noble:
Your own comment colours your perception of what is reasonable and what is snide nicely...

4 upvotes
MistyFog

It's simple, Chris. Lars is an Android fan, and it shows. There was a time when all you hear is Samsung Galaxy Camera. If the Lumix G5 had Android he might take a look at it.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

@chrisnoble we are not talking about the G5 here but a phone that was released yesterday which is why I think the comment above is not entirely reasonable.

@mistyfrog connect is a site that covers smartphones. The S4 is the biggest smartphone launch this year, so of course we'll cover it, that's our job. And yes, if the G5 would be running Android we would cover it on this site, as we would if it was running iOS or Windows Phone 8 or even WebOS. But it doesn't.

1 upvote
giornata

@ Chris Noble

I see nothing snide nor rude in Lars' comments.

3 upvotes
EricWN

Excellent point I think and very much agreed with Chris Noble on this one. I'll stay clear of these super important phone intros and stop wondering what DP is actually doing. G5 story is a great example. Never completed test of some Leica products another one. Instead you're busy typing up some marketing pages by Samsung.

2 upvotes
EricAotearoa

Read the page heading... Digital Photography Review Connect: mobile photography technology, culture and community. Pretty simple and pretty basic really. This is for "mobile photography technology, culture and community." I don't understand why an M4/3 camera would be mentioned in a site that is for mobile phone cameras. Mobile phones have cameras in them, therefore they DPreview have every right to introduce and later test them, especially in a dedicated sub-site. People get very heated about this, but just don't navigate to these pages if they don't interest you.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Chris Noble

I would not object if DPReview continued to review enthusiast digital cameras. As it is, the reviews have slowed to a trickle, many months after intro, to be replaced by breathless "hands-on" marketing blurbs (as pointed out by many other comments) about new cellphones.

1 upvote
MistyFog

There has to be some consistency on how "mobile photography" is defined. It seems that Lars is defining it as ANY camera with wireless connectivity to justify why the Galaxy Camera is covered here. Never mind the fact that it is not truly "mobile" in the sense of being pocketable. By his definition if high-end DSLRs start running on some mobile operating system, something that is certainly very likely in the foreseeable future, then it will be covered here as well. Which is pointless since there is essentially no difference between @connect and the standard dpreview site.

0 upvotes
Ranked

Hmm, could the "Professional Photo (Adobe RGB)" screen mode be the equivalent to "Natural" mode on the Note II?

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester

Dang! I hate these new fashion tight fitting slim pencil cut pants!

When will loose fitting baggy balloon MC Hammer pants be back in vogue?

.

3 upvotes
vissa

The article writer obviously didn't actually test this thing. It does NOT scroll along with your eyes as described. That was hype speculation before the s iv was officially announced. It has a tilt scroll that scrolls when you tilt the phone and are looking at the phone.

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

you are right, this particular feature was not tested. I've changed the text. Smart Scroll works by tilting.

3 upvotes
Stepherzme

You can do the tilt scroll on the S3...

0 upvotes
EricWN

It would be a nice journalistic touch if you only mention stuff you actually have tested cause its the only way of getting real product knowledge. Let Rockwell do the rest.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

I repeat, we never claimed we had 'tested' anything. This is a hands-on to get information on this device to our readers quickly, The author mentions at least three times in the article that we'll only really know how things work once we'll get a production device.

The above was a honest misunderstanding which is unfortunate but sometimes just happens. I find it difficult to admit but even the dpr team is not infallible.

3 upvotes
vissa

Lars, perhaps if you would quit replying to every single thread that questions the quality of this article, it might stop. There are far too many people with the same opinion on this piece for you to stick the the "hands on"defense. Honestly when I see the words hands on, that to me means that you've got to play with the device and you are writing about that experience. If a hands on is basically regurgitating the announcement with 0 testing, then it's not really a hands on assume in my opinion, and a bit of false advertising.

0 upvotes
vissa

On my phone and no edit option. Above "assume" should be "and" (Swype autocorrect)

0 upvotes
mehran langari

its a great presentation to the high teq world,,,

0 upvotes
CortoPA

Life companion??!?!?!

3 upvotes
robogobo

Wow, this reads like a paid advertisement. Not what I expect from DPReview.

8 upvotes
Lars Rehm

does it? It shouldn't because it isn't paid for advertising.

5 upvotes
vissa

Yes it does. I'll probably wind up getting this phone only because the new htc isn't on Verizon. However, I agree the quality of this "hands on" is severely lacking- reads more like a press release.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba

http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/13/htc-one-headed-to-verizon-after-all-says-allthingsd/

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

robogobo + vissa:

Agreed, it reads like one of those CNET product announcements.

Yeah, I more than kinda wondered about the eye following clams, silly of me to expect the "reviewer" to have at least tried out the feature.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Nobody claims this a review, it's a hands-on as labeled. It's obviously impossible to test every single feature at a launch event. Nevertheless many publications produce their 'reviews' at those events...we don't.

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Lars Rehm:

So "hands-on" means sort of handling for a few minutes? That doesn't explain why a manufacture's product summaries are simply quoted. Leave extraordinary claims like eye movement detection for a spec sheet, unless tested, and many of the problems with the "hands-on", err sort of summary will disappear.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
EricAotearoa

I must remember next time to not read the comments at the bottom of the page of these product briefs. It's very annoying to see how daft people can be. For instance, this article is a quick and basic look at a newly introduced item. It's not an in depth review. Comments here are just so child like and short sighted. Please people, read what is written and inwardly digest before jumping to the keyboard and letting your emotions get ahead of logic.

2 upvotes
edgar005

Same cheap plastic phone the only differens is the size

3 upvotes
Lars Rehm

Most people would argue that with most gadgets it's what inside that counts.

3 upvotes
yousaf

upgraded processor, ram, chipset and last but not the least "camera" aren't these enough changes...

2 upvotes
carlosdelbianco

Good luck on carrying that aluminum iBrick. I'll stick with unbreakable screen and cheap plastic covers.

5 upvotes
minzaw

plastics are unindentable compared to aluminium Aluminium and metal ones are easily scratched and indented and no alloy/metal fatigue and lighter and waterproof too
there are so called cheap plastics/abs outdone expensive ones
In life cheap DOES NOT MEAN THEY R NOT GOOD
VERY subjective opinion

2 upvotes
BJN

It's a plastic back, not a plastic phone. The back is easily removable to provide access to an easy-to-replace battery. It also can be replaced with an inductive charging back if it doesn't come standard (have one on my S3) and Samsung may also provide a flip cover integrated with a matching plastic back. I'll take the plastic back over the unfriendly, limiting alternative...thanks!

7 upvotes
EricWN

Cheap plastic in a world of aluminum and glass and some key actually tries to tell us only the I side matters? The report might not be paid by Samsung but some staff members surely wanna be part of that company. You try too hard.

0 upvotes
chaos215bar2

"PenTile display arranges the display's subpixels as red, green, blue, green, an arrangement that helps counter the fact that blue subpixels often degrade faster on AMOLED displays."

How do you suppose that? For a photo site, the reason for this arrangement should be obvious, as it's the same reason for the pixel arrangement on a Bayer filter. The only way to improve long-term performance on blue pixels relative to the rest is to make them larger, and that can be done regardless of the pixel arrangement.

0 upvotes
joe6pack

Just the thought that my smartphone is looking back at me gives me the creep.

5 upvotes
JAkira

lightleak brings up a good point about the pink spot. Was the camera tested, and if so, were any pink spots detected?

0 upvotes
Bruce Clarke

Yawn. Why can't Samsung bring a bit of class to design? Same old plastic shiny as the S3. Marketing spend is all. Shame HTC can't match it or they might sell more.

4 upvotes
Arn

Plastic is a practical material. It is more impact resistant and lighter than for example aluminium. When you drop your phone, it's much less likely to brake it than if you dropped a heavier phone made of a harder material. Keep making the phones in plastic for me, please.

7 upvotes
Stu 5

Arn that explains why when an Android website drop tested the S3 and the iPhone 5 the iPhone 5 survived and the S3 cracked...

3 upvotes
Bon K

Besides the fact that plastic is probably more durable you are NOT going to get SD card slot and removable battery with aluminum or glass back. That's just not gong to happen!

4 upvotes
Joe Ogiba

The new HTC One beats it.
"I had the HTC One with me during my hands on time, and the difference is like night and day. For starters, the One is noticeably faster in every context. When flicking between screens, opening apps, and taking photos there was clear lag on the Galaxy S IV, whereas everything was almost instantaneous on the One. To be fair, this wasn't the final production version of the S IV, and who knows which processor was in the model I had. There's a chance it'll be faster at launch.

But even purely from a design perspective, the One absolutely crushes the S IV. When you pick up the One, you feel like you're holding something amazing, both in the build and the screen. When you pick up the S IV, you feel like you're holding an S III with a few extra bells and whistles."

http://gizmodo.com/5990644/samsung-galaxy-s-iv-hands-on-everything-new-is-old-again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POF6nXE5Il8

2 upvotes
minzaw

HTC and Apple are dying brands in phone market

2 upvotes
EricWN

Absolutely agree. I'd never buy it just based on this ugly design, grandpa sized screen and cheap materials.

1 upvote
Bruce Clarke

@ Arn Nothing wrong with plastic, but it's use does not preclude good hardware design, which Samsung don't seem to be interested in.

Reading the Gizmodo review, it seems to be stuffed with flaky new software gimmicks that will sell it to the gullible, but will go largely unused after five minutes playing.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
1 upvote
TrojMacReady

You judge hardware design by subjective looks? Otherwise it seems a bit baseless without a proper final product test.

0 upvotes
Brad Morris

what about the supposed eye control? has that been omitted?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

we did not get to test that but it's on the phone, it's called Smart Scroll

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm

sorry, it's actually not on the phone. Smart Scroll lets you scroll by tilting the device.

0 upvotes
G1Houston

battery life?

1 upvote
Lars Rehm

sorry, there's no way of testing that while the devices are tethered to chargers at a launch event :-) But we'll make sure to check it out once we got a test sample. In any case Samsung was quite keen to point out that the S4 has a 2600MAh removable battery.

0 upvotes
DenWil

I have never picked up an Android phone that did not butcher photos, whether B&W or color, so perhaps this will finally fix that.

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

The S3 and HTC One X did pretty decent in our reviews...so I would expect this one to be at least on the same level.

3 upvotes
lightleak

Sorry, but the S3 has, as well as the S2 and other Samsung Smartphones the big big problem of the pink spot ruining most of the photos you take. I am sure the S4 will have it as well. They just don't care.

4 upvotes
robogobo

Dupe

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
yousaf

Haven't seen one in SGS2 and SGS3. any examples.

2 upvotes
TrojMacReady

@lightleak:
only one of the three camera modules used, could suffer from that issue. My S2 could never be forced to show any sign of it.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Stepherzme

My S3 doesn't butcher photos... I mean no they arent slr cameras but it produces a pretty awesome photo for a cellphone...

2 upvotes
RivRat

Not for me thanks. I had an S2 and S3 both break on me this year. The glass is too weak to withstand even modest bumps

0 upvotes
CyberAngel

No OIS like the HTC One?
???

0 upvotes
lightleak

TrojMacReady

Where did you get that information about the one of the three camera modules only showing the pink spot? I have gone through 5 different camera modules and a very frustrating half a year trying to get a working camera, nothing more and nothing less. I had constant contact with Samsung licensed repair shops (3 different ones), with a lot of Samsung „service“ people and with higher positioned people of Samsung Germany in Schwalbach. Nobody was going to admit they have ever heard of this technical problem, which is ridiculous, the whole internet is full of it and I bet they get calls every day. They claim they can fix it but they can't. If there is a module that works, they don't care to help customers with their faulty ones. Through all this frustration I have learned one thing: as I was told on Photokina 2012 by a higher Samsung service manager: „Samsung is such a huge company, we cannot care about our customers.“ Believe it or not, this is what he told me. And it is true.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
lightleak

When I got my phone back, either Samsung themselves or the repairshops always said something like:

“We have thoroughly tested it and there was no pink spot visible in our professional test center under any light.“ - In reality it still has bad, visible pink spots in roughly 80% of the photos.

Everybody sees it. They say it is not there, only appears very seldomly in very special light (which is not true, it appears in daylight, artificial light, etc.)

So I was just being told:

„It is within the specifications.“

This is how I learned a lot about the company.

It is their way of saying: We are big and you are tiny. We want your money and not a satisfied customer.

I really hope this attitude will be the beginning of their end.

Regarding examples, Yousaf, just type samsung galaxy pink spot into youtube, google etc. Plenty of examples all over. Just choose if you want to read about them in the S2, S3, or in the future, S4.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

@ Lightleak:
Could you list those 5 different camera modules by type and manufacturer? Since you know they were different ones, that's information you must have and could be useful in the discussion.
Mine is the SONY IMX105 running firmware TBEF04. But the pink spot has been absent on all firmwares since I received it may 2011.

0 upvotes
lightleak

Troj,
I have no idea what the names of the modules are/were. With different I meant they were exchanged, as opposed to just repaired. At least that is what I was told by Samsung and/or their repair shops. Matter of fact, the phone always had the pink spot every time it came back. The last time I wrote a letter to the PR Department of Samsung Germany in Schwalbach, where I was told that they will find a solution. two weeks later they tried to make me believe there is no pink spot. But it is easily visible by a three year old or his grandmother. I think if you were right about most of the modules not exposing the pink spot problem, Samsung would simply have put a working one into my phone in the first place. I have seen a few s2 and s3 owners claim they didn't have the pink spot problem. It was a bit said to show them they were wrong. How do I find out what camera module is used in the phone? I could at least provide the name of my current type.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
lightleak

Oh and by the way, it is very unlikely that this is a software issue. If it was, Samsung could save themselves a lot of hussle by having it fixed by a pointy-headed programmer. I have spent (better: waisted) quite some time to read posts of hundreds of disappointed s2 and s3 owners trying to get a fix or replacement for their faulty device suffering from the pink spot. They all have experienced the same story. Samsung derides and scorns them by training the customer service people to say „Oh pink spot? You are the first person to report this issue, we hever had any complains before!“ It would be awkwardly funny if it wasn't so frustrating and people hadn't spent 500 euros for a phone that is praised for its camera in the advertisements, which in reality gives poor, faulty results because of a big pink tint all over the center of the image.
Nobody expects anything like SLR quality from a phone camera. But having your photos ruined by a huge pink spot is simply unacceptable.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 135
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