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 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 Galaxy S4.
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.