The Samsung Galaxy S4 launch focused largely on the lifestyle
elements of the phone. Those who care more about what’s really going under the
hood were more or less left out in the cold.
That’s why we’ve gathered together all the geeky best bits
about the phone for all you real tech fans out there. Let’s get started…
4G Cat 3 100Mbps download
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a 4G-capable phone, certified to
CAT3. This means that it can handle theoretical maximum transfer speeds of
100Mbps download and 50Mbps upload. 4G is still in such early stages in the UK
that the categorisations don’t matter too much to us. It’s pretty nippy, and
the only phone we’ve seen that’s faster in this regard is the Huawei Ascend P2,
which is a CAT4 phone, with 150Mbps download.
Universal controllers were once considered the height of
tech sophistication. They’re now dying a death, in part because smartphone
interfaces have shown them to be a bit remedial in user interface terms. The Samsung
Galaxy S4 can replace your universal remote, or even your standard remotes if you
were never suckered into buying a universal one.
Here’s one that should get a few hardcore tech geeks a little hot
under the collar. The Samsung Galaxy S4 features 802.11ac, the nascent Wi-Fi
standard that’s set to take over from 802.11n, the current “top dog” for most
people. Its speed has earned it the nickname “5G Wi-Fi”, capable of running at
up to three times the speed of 802.11n. Routers that use 802.11ac aren’t the
de-facto standard yet, but they are available if you look hard enough.
Like any high-end phone worth a distinguished techie’s
attention, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is MHL-compliant. This means that, when used
with the right adapter/cable, the phone will be capable of sending
high-definition video and surround audio to your TV. As its powerful processor
should easily be capable of trotting out 1080p video, the phone should make a
fantastic little portable media player.
Still removable battery
Samsung hasn’t left its S-series roots. The Samsung Galaxy S4
uses a plastic battery cover, much like its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy S3.
That means you have quick and easy access to the battery, so if you fancy you
can snag a few spare batteries from eBay, or a more reliable outlet if you
must, and keep on trucking through the week without having to charge every day.
Still microSD slot
The other bonus of the removable rear is that it makes it dead
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easy for Samsung to incorporate a microSD memory card slot. We’re ridiculously
pleased the feature has made it into this fourth-generation model, as it’s
something that differentiates it from its hardcore HTC rival the HTC One. This
also means there’s very little reason to get any version of the phone aside
from the lowest-end 16GB edition, as a memory card will be much cheaper than
the difference in price between the various storage versions of the Samsung
Although it wasn’t something that Samsung shouted about a
great deal during the launch, the Samsung Galaxy S4 uses an eight-core CPU, the
Exynos 5 Octa-core chipset unveiled at CES 2013. This is really like two
quad-core processors jammed together. One is a high efficiency type that’s
there for day-to-day use, and the other is an advanced 1.6GHz Cortex-A15 set of
cores for high-performance tasks. This team-up should result in the perfect
storm of performance and battery life.
Here’s the most gimmicky of the Galaxy S4’s camera features, but it is
kinda cool. The People Eraser mode is a form of burst mode that lets you erase
people in the background by effectively creating a composite of multiple
exposures. For example, if someone was walking past as you took a photo of a
few friends you should, in theory, be able to simply erase them. Creepy, eh?
One of the most robust features of the Samsung Galaxy
S4 is one that many of us may never even consider using. It’s called Knox and
it’s a secure area within the phone that means those of you who work in
companies that have fairly strict security policies may still be able to use
the phone for you work email, calendars and so on. It’s an enterprise feature,
but one that may reduce the pain of working in a security-obsessed company.