The next Galaxy is here. Or so goes Samsung's marketing slogan, anyway. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S4 at an event at Radio City Music Hall that was streamed live to Times Square.
Following the reveal, Samsung allowed reporters and passersby to get a hands-on with the device.
Here's a breakdown of the juicy details:
Floating Touch is pretty nifty. One of the uses is to unlock the screen. Samsung representatives also showed off a cool feature evolved from the S-Pen in which users can simply hover their finger over a picture to highlight and enlarge it.
During our hands-on, Floating Touch did not seem to work perfectly. Although we were able to manipulate the handset without actually touching the screen, there was often a notable delay between a gesture and the corresponding action. Samsung representatives seemed to imply that the frigid weather in Times Square was having some kind of adverse effect on the technology, but it looked like plain, old hardware lag to us.
Frankly, the delay did not come as much of a surprise after Samsung had already revealed the phone was to ship with 2GB RAM instead of the 3-4GB widely anticipated.
According to the marketing, the phone is "slimmer, lighter, more solid." Having played around with the S4 for about 10 minutes, we can attest to it being slimmer (7.99 mm) and it's definitely lighter, but there's nothing especially "solid" about the phone. The casing is made from the same polycarbonate (plastic) as the Galaxy S3.
Representatives played off the polycarbonate casing as a necessity to allow for the removable back plate, which in turns allows for the removable 2600 mAh battery, but we're not buying it. The polycarbonate likely has more to do with Samsung's expectation of mass demand for the device, and it's cheaper, simpler and quicker to make it from plastic than something quality.
We were able to play with both "black mist" and "white frost" versions of the phone. It's unclear if there will be more color options.