Technology

Sleek Samsung Galaxy S4 Loaded with Magic Tricks?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 allows users to answer a call or skip a song with a wave of their hand. The sleeker, slimmer smartphone has a new “Smart scroll” feature which detects your eyes and scrolls the screen according to the angle you tilt your head or tilt the device.

Loaded with new features the South Korean company’s smartphone is a major competitor to Apple’s iPhone when it comes to cost. The Galaxy S III was one of the best-selling Android phones of 2012.

The phone has two new and unique features called Air Gesture and Smart Screen. Using a sensor on the top right of the handset Air Gesture can recognize a movement up to three inches away. Turning on Air Jump will allow the user to jogs across screen-size webpages or emails, Air Browse lets them gesture through pictures or music, and Air Call-Accept lets them accept a call just by waving their hand over the screen.

Smart Screen syncs with the users' eyes through the same sense on the front of the phone. If the user looks away, it will pause the video they were watching. There’s also Smart Rotation, which will adjust the screen orientation to the user’s angle of sight.

The phone can also be used as a television remote, even on non-Samsung televisions and will prompt you with recommendations on what to watch.

The S4 has a dual-shot photography feature that will snap a picture from the 13-megapixel front camera and the 2-megapixel rear camera. This means you can take a picture of your face and whatever extraordinary thing you’re watching. The camera also has an “eraser” effect that can be used to remove people or objects that may have photobombed your picture.

While Edward C. Baig of USA Today liked the phone, he did say the new features give the impression that Samsung is simply showing off more than saying, "look how we can make your experience better."

The tagline for the phone is that it is a “life companion” – an indispensible part of your every day. But Baig says, even with eight sensors in the phone, some of the “touch-less” features aren’t always functional and was often user to use the “old fashioned way.”

Ars Technica reported that the touch-less scrolling feature was a little wonky, thinking that the user wanted to scroll when she simply was looking up to check her surroundings. While Smart Scroll has an impressive head-tracking capability, she said “it became finicky.”

Baig said Smart Pause was erratic and only paused the video sometimes when he looked away.

The phone’s body, which a 5-inch full HD Super Amoled 1920x1080 display fortified by an advanced, protective Gorilla Glass, is less that a third of an inch thick and is lighter that the S III.

The S4 arrives Thursday and will available in the U.S. at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and other major retailers.

Sources: USA Today, Ars Technica