Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition owners might want to get excited, as it seems the Android 5.0 Lollipop update is currently rolling out to all S4 GPE smartphones. This is some big news, as it pushes the Galaxy S4, an older handsets by today’s standards, right up to the likes of the Nexus 6, and others that roll out with Lollipop.
There are many other smartphones that are receiving their Android 5.0 Lollipop updates, but it’s great to see a handset from 2013 receiving some update lovin’.
With reports last week revealing that some networks are seeing 30 per cent return rates of Samsung’s latest flagship phone due to continuing Samsung Galaxy S4 battery problems, the manufacturer has promised to fix the issue with free replacement batteries. In a statement provided to TrustedReviews, Samsung has stated: “We are aware of this issue, which has affected a limited number of customers.”
An official spokesperson for the company added: “We ask all affected customers to please visit their nearest Samsung Electronics service center, where they can receive a replacement battery for free of charge. We remain committed to providing the best possible user experience for our customers.”
Despite the phone having only been on sale for six months, reports out of Germany last week claimed that a number of Samsung Galaxy S4 owners have already been reporting issues with severe battery drain and even swollen batteries.
“A trusted contact who is sitting right at the source with a German provider confirms that the current confirmations are due to a faulty battery with the Galaxy S4,” the German reports stated. Although Samsung’s promise to offer free replacement batteries is sure to appease those affected by the Samsung Galaxy S4 battery problems, the continuing issues which appear to be affecting a large number of the handset’s owners is sure to be a concern for many others.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 battery is a 2600mAh Lithium-Ion offering. Although all portable gadgets suffer from battery degradation over many years of use, the speed in which the Samsung Galaxy S4 has encountered this problem has surprised many.
Samsung’s new “smartwatch”, the Galaxy Gear, is currently only compatible with two Samsung devices – the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 (2014 Edition). The reason only those two devices support it is because only those two devices have the “Gear Manager” app built in that syncs mobile devices to the smartwatch. A Samsung executive, speaking with The Korea Times, stated that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch will be coming to the Samsung Galaxy S4 by next month. Additionally the Samsung executive, DJ Lee – president of strategic marketing for Samsung’s mobile business, said that the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2 would both get support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch by the end of December.
The time frame may not apply to all markets and network carriers but if you’re using an unlocked Galaxy S4, S3 or Note 2 then you can expect to have support for the Galaxy Gear but the time the year is over. Anyone with older Samsung handsets may never see support for the Galaxy Gear – Samsung’s method of encouraging you to upgrade to a newer handset if you want to get on-board the smartwatch revolution.
If you’re in the USA and the thought of getting Samsung’s latest smartwatch interests you then you’ll be pleased to know that AT&T are now accepting pre-orders on the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. AT&T made the official announcement on Twitter:
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is certainly an interesting piece – designed to be a mini Android smartphone companion for your wrist that can answer calls, receive texts and much more. Samsung have designed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch to pair up with the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4 and other high-end smartphones.
The AT&T price for such a gadget isn’t that cheap though – $299 is the price to pay to get your hands on the Galaxy Gear. Check out all the details here on the AT&T website.
Engadget reports that only the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 smartphones will be getting an upgrade to Android 4.3, Galaxy Note II users will be left on Android 4.1.2. Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 owners will both get upgrades to Android 4.3 starting in October. Samsung did not disclose any more details other than that owners of the S3 and S4 should know the update is coming soon, more details will be announced closer to October.
Samsung will also include support for the “Galaxy Gear Smartwatch” on the Samsung Galaxy S4 update but it is not known if the Galaxy S3 will also bring that extra support with its Android 4.3 update.
According to Anandtech Samsung has been caught red-handed in fiddling the way its phones work to maximise scores in particular benchmarking applications. The smartphone in question is the Samsung Galaxy S4, and more specifically the one that uses the Exynos 5 Octa chipset. This mobile CPU merges four ARM Cortex A15 cores (1.6GHz) and four ARM Cortex A7 cores (1.2GHz) in a “big.LITTLE” set-up. In an effort to gain an advantage Samsung engineered the phone so that when running particular benchmarks the GPU and CPU frequencies work in an abnormal way to maximise benchmark performance.
Apparently the GPU clock rises from 480MHz to 532MHz when running select benchmarks. Running the GLBenchmark 2.5.1 app in the background idle saw the phone switch to the more power-hungry Cortex A15 CPU cluster even when the phone is technically idle and not doing anything. Trying the same thing with any other benchmark application that isn’t on Samsung’s “cheat list” and the phone uses the low power Cortex A7 cluster instead. In theory the Samsung Galaxy S4 8 core version should always use the Cortex A7 clusters when idle or running low-intensity tasks.
Anandtech discovered similar behaviour with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 version of the Galaxy S4 where the frequency automatically rose to the maximum and held there even when the benchmarks aren’t running, only the apps have been launched. After investigation Anandtech discovered that a hardcoded profile is activated as soon as certain apps get launched triggering the hardware response, these apps in the profile include Quadrant standard, advanced, and professional, linpack free, Benchmark Pi, and AnTuTu.
In theory what Samsung are doing is nothing other than a “very application specific Turbo mode” but the fact they do not disclose that they do it is misleading. Furthermore it means that benchmark results won’t reflect the true performance of the phone because the phone is only that fast during particular benchmark runs.
According to some data revealed by SamMobile the Samsung Galaxy S4 has managed to surpass the 20 million sales marker in just 2 months. This more or less crushes all internet speculation that the Samsung Galaxy S4 had lower than expected sales. In fact with 20 million sales in around 2 months the Galaxy S4 has sold much faster than the Galaxy S3 which took 100 days to reach the same milestone.
Samsung’s android flagship, the Galaxy S4, has been available since late May. Apparently 500,000 of those sales came in Samsung’s home country South Korea while the bulk of them were probably made in the USA, the UK and mainland Europe.
We don’t know if the Samsung Galaxy S4’s sales show any signs of slowing but the Galaxy S4 has got to be one of the most successful smartphone launches of 2013. With another 5 months still to go before the year ends it is anyone’s guess how high the numbers will go. 25 million? 30 million? 50 million?
Have any of you picked up a Samsung Galaxy S4 since it was released in April?
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone is Samsung’s flagship phone and it costs an arm and a leg. Yet despite this it still features an entirely cheap feeling plastic body while competing smartphone vendors like HTC have already adopted a more premium aluminium unibody for its high-end smartphones which has very much been welcomed by customers.
Now according to some fresh rumours from Android Geeks Samsung is reportedly preparing a new design philosophy for the Samsung Galaxy S5. This will see it consider the adoption of a metal casing for its high end smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S5 will be the first Samsung smartphone to have this new feature.
While this is only a rumour and should be taken as such, it would still be something pretty cool to see. When you are spending around $700/£550 for a top-of-the-line smartphone you’d like to know it is being built from the best materials around and plastic certainly doesn’t fill you with joy. It will be interesting to see whether Samsung opt for aluminium or if they opt for a more advanced hybrid of other metals to give the new Galaxy S5 some interesting properties.
What do you think about metal cases? Do you prefer plastic or metal? Do you think it will make much difference to production costs?
While Samsung’s Galaxy S4 may be made of plastic, not metal like many had hoped, it is still a very well built smartphone. To prove this Samsung have just made a video about the reliability of the Galaxy S4 and while the entire video is in Japanese, you don’t really need to understand what is being said to understand what is going on.
Samsung proceeds to perform repetitive drop tests, free fall drop tests, a repetitive tumble test, a screen impact test, a cover glass strength test, a water sink test, a humidity and torture test, a static electricity test, a dust test and a salt water sauna test to top it all off. AND If that wasn’t impressive enough then the fact most Galaxy S4’s can survive all of this is incredibly impressive.
Of course Samsung say that you shouldn’t try any of this at home which is hardly surprising, but it is great to know that if you do have an accident with your very expensive smartphone then it probably won’t die on you. I’m not sure how much of this is covered by your warranty as that probably varies between network carriers, but the fact Samsung tell you not to try this at home would probably suggest that their warranty doesn’t actually cover it.
What are your thoughts on this video? Pretty impressive? Or nothing special?
Nvidia’s Tegra 4 system on chip (SoC) has yet to find its way into any device that is currently on sale for consumers to purchase. Despite this, performance details about the Nvidia Tegra 4 have managed to emerge thanks to Project Shield developers and testers giving up some information.
A developer managed to run the AnTuTu benchmark on his Nvidia Project Shield device returning a score of 32150 with Nvidia’s Tegra 4 at 1.9GHz across all four cores running Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. This compares quite favourably to current mobile chips such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 on the Samsung Galaxy S4 which score 23607 and the Galaxy S4 Exynos 5 variant which scores 28018 at 1.6GHz with a 1.8GHz variant of the Exynos 5 being made available in Korea that is rumoured to push 30000 and upwards.
However, on Project Shield Nvidia’s Tegra 4 is only powering a 720p display whereas the Samsung Galaxy S4 is powering a full HD 1080p display. In effect if Nvidia’s Tegra 4 were to run the same test at 1080p it would probably lose a fair bit of ground. Although that said the AnTuTu benchmark isn’t a specific GPU test so we cannot tell how powerful the CPU and GPU component of the Tegra 4 is, this only measures a combination. It is quite possible, given this is Nvidia we are talking about, that the GPU component will be significantly more powerful than any of the competition.
It is also worth mentioning that Nvidia did claim the final product will be in the 36K region so there could be improvements yet to come. These are only pre-production engineering samples that are being tested, the final thing may get a lot of tweaking and tuning.
Or to totally kill it all for you, this could just be one elaborate hoax. We have seen a tendency in recent times to fake benchmarks so I guess, as always, you should take this with a pinch of salt.
What are your thoughts on the Nvidia Tegra 4 AnTuTu score?
Lenovo unveiled the Ideaphone K900 way back at CES 2013 in January and it was said to be the first Intel “Clover Trail” powered smartphone on the market. The device is now ready to be sold to consumers and will be available from May the 6th.
Lenovo’s Ideaphone K900 is powered by a dual core 2GHz Atom Z2580 Intel Clover Trail processor, a PowerVR SGX544 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The 5.5 inch 1080p display sports a whopping 440+ PPI and is basically on par with all the latest flagship 1080p smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and LG Optimus G Pro.
The operating system of choice is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The Lenovo Ideaphone K900 supports wireless display technology allowing it to stream content directly to a TV wirelessly. Super fast charging mode also enables the smartphone to charge fully in around 90 minutes. The camera on the Lenovo K900 is 13 megapixels with a Sony Exmor RS lens, which is the same camera as featured on the Sony Xperia Z. This means you should get really excellent camera quality.
Lenovo’s 6.9mm thick flagship Intel smartphone is still awaiting an official price but this will be revealed on Monday May the 6th when the product is launched in China. Expect it to be priced similarly to its competitors. More detailed specifications can be found here courtesy of GSM Arena.
What are your thoughts on this beast of a smartphone from Lenovo?
When it comes down to smartphone cameras, it doesn’t take a genius to see that they are improving very rapidly over time in terms of their quality. Modern smartphones offer picture quality similar or better than that on some discrete point and shoot cameras, except in a much smaller and more convenient form factor. However, low lighting is something people rarely pay attention to and it is important given the fact few smartphones utilise strong flashes, so low-lit photographs are frequently taken.
Over at Recombu they have been putting some high end smartphone cameras through their paces. They took the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, Nokia Lumia 720 and 920 smartphones and conducted a low lighting camera test. You can see the image results above, Recombu decided that the smartphones performed in the following order of best to worst:
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia Lumia 720
Sony Xperia Z
Samsung Galaxy S4
The Nokia Lumia 920 only has an 8.7MP camera but it shows the most detail under low lighting conditions and offers a very good white balance. The Nokia Lumia offers a 6.7MP camera with an f/1.9 lens and again has a strong white balance likes its bigger brother. HTC’s One did reasonably well as like the Lumia 920 and 720 it offered optical image stabilisation. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z both offered poor optical image stabilisation and had weak white balances, described as delivery “the noisiest shots of the bunch”.
So definitely some very interesting results. While the Xperia Z and Galaxy S4 may trump many other smartphones in daylight photography, under low lighting it can be seen as performing very poorly. What are your thoughts on these low light testing results? If you are interested in higher resolution test images then please check out the source for that.
With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, comes the demand for a smaller and more affordable model, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also provides a reasonable alternative to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4, which has launched in over 50 countries and has left the South Korean company struggling to meet high demand.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is still yet to be released but the device has just received Bluetooth certification meaning it is gearing up for a release very soon – possibly in the next month. The Samsung GT-I9195, aka the Galaxy S4 Mini, will ship with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and will be Samsung’s second smartphone to run the latest Android OS.
In comparison to the full sized Galaxy S4 model, the Galaxy S4 Mini version reportedly sports a 540 by 960 resolution 4.3 inch display, comes with a dual core 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8/16/32GB of internal storage. Other rumours suggest microSD expansion of up to 32GB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and two varieties of the phone: 4G LTE and Dual SIM.
What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini? Does it look like a good alternative to the bigger and more expensive Galaxy S4? Are you more likely to buy this one over its more expensive sibling?
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 looks set to take the smartphone market by storm as pre-orders for the phone soar and it is the talk of everyone smartphone buyers’ lips. Yet, the concept isn’t exactly revolutionary, is it? You’ve got a rectangular 5+ inch smartphone with a high resolution screen, some very powerful specs, running Android and it is thin and lightweight. Surely anyone can do that? Well LG certainly think they can as they’ve come out with a very similar smartphone in the LG Optimus GK.
The LG Optimus GK goes on sale in South Korea, LGs home nation, from May and there are no words on whether it will be expanded to outside Asia. That said, it is still an impressive phone which has the following specifications:
5.5 inch 1080 by 1920 IPS screen
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU
Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU
4G LTE Support
13MP Rear Camera
SD Card Support
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, NFC
3100 mAh battery
There are a few differences to the Samsung Galaxy S4, but they are few and far between. For instance there is an extra 0.5 inches in screen diameter, a slightly older version of Android in 4.1.2 not 4.2.2 and there is a bigger battery – 3100 mAh compared to 2600 mAh. Apart from that everything else is nearly identical when comparing with the Qualcomm version of the S4. Obviously, the Exynos 5 based version would have a totally different CPU and GPU but we recently learned that very few markets would be getting the Exynos 5 version.
So there you have it, LG’s Galaxy 4 killer-come-imitation. What are your thoughts on it?
iFixIt are renowned for their deconstruction of modern consumer gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. Their most recent deconstruction sees them take a look at perhaps what will be the hottest smartphone release of this year, the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The results are actually quite surprising as we are normally used to most high end smartphones being next to impossible to disassemble, resulting in repairs being impossible. The most recent example of that is the HTC One which got the worst iFixIt repairability score possible, with 1 out of 10. The Samsung Galaxy S4 scored an impressive eight out of ten for the repairability score.
The only downside of the Galaxy S4 was that the screen is fused to the front glass meaning the only way to “repair” a damaged display or front glass is by replacing both, which is certainly not going to be cheap.
You can see full details of the teardown at the source. What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy S4 having a good repairability score? Is it essential that expensive high end smartphones can be repaired? Or would you rather just have an “Apple-style service” where if something major breaks you just get given a brand new handset?
Samsung’s Galaxy S4, for those who don’t know, will be coming to the market in two variants. The first will be based around Samsung’s very own ARM-based Exynos 5 eight core CPU while the second is going to be based around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 quad (4) core CPU.
The reason for this is that Samsung have stated they want to have multiple sources for their components. What they dub as a “sourcing issue” essentially translates into the fact they may not be able to produce enough Exynos 5 eight core CPUs to meet the demand of the Samsung Galaxy S4 so they need Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 to fill in that gap.
The European and American markets will be getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 models while all other countries will get the Exynos 8 core based models. This means that most Samsung Galaxy S4 handsets will ship with Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPUs, suggesting Samsung’s ability to mass produce their Exynos 8 core CPUs is currently in primitive stages.
Interestingly Samsung co-CEO JK Shin said that it doesn’t really matter because the general public will not be able to tell the difference between the two models. Indeed he may have a valid point but ultimately the Exynos 5 is a much better CPU than the Snapdragon 600 in most benchmarks.
When you are shelling out a tonne of money for the Samsung Galaxy S4 you want the best of the best, and I don’t know about you but I would feel slightly short changed here.
What do you think of JK Shin’s comments? Does he have a point? Or are his words insulting?
Samsung plans to introduce the Galaxy S4 handset at the end of April in 50 countries and shipments look set to get off to a flying start. Apparently, the Samsung supply chain is expecting 10 million units to be shipped in the first month alone. That said, they also look set to be on top of demand having no issues with supply shortages of components. Those sales figures are then expected to grow to 30 million units shipped in Q2 of 2013.
Samsung is also expecting dramatically higher sales of the Galaxy S4 versus the Galaxy S3 as it has more features and better features. Arguably, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is also turning out to be one of the most desirable phones of the year so it is no surprising sales are going to be so high
Most of Samsung’s production is done in-house, such as processors, panels, image sensors, and memory, therefore don’t expect to see any prolonged shortages like HTC had with their “One” smartphone. Even if Samsung do run into component shortages, the delays would be very short, maybe 2 weeks at the most. If any shortages do occur, it would likely be due to tensions in the Korean region, industry sources commented:
Despite the tensions in Korea, Samsung has eight handset manufacturing facilities located around the world, including countries like China and Vietnam. If the facility in South Korea halts production, plants in other locations can immediately increase production. However, if South Korea-made components cannot be exported, then shortages might occur.
Samsung is currently working with 327 telecommunication carriers to deliver the Galaxy S4 to 150 countries.
What do you think of these expected sales figures? Impressive? Will you be trying to buy a Samsung Galaxy S4? Have you already pre-ordered one?
The Samsung Galaxy S4 launch is now over and we know that the new high end smartphone from Samsung will arrive on the retail shelves in late April. However, Samsung themselves haven’t officially announced anything about the price of this new flagship smartphone. That said it appears Samsung unintentionally and unofficially announced pricing on their website, although they have since taken that blunder down.
It is reported that the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB model will have an “approximate retail value” of $579 in the USA. It is not certain if that price is before or after sales taxes so there is possibility for variance in price between U.S states when and where sales taxes are applicable. The information was unintentionally leaked as part of the Samsung Galaxy S4 giveaway, of 48 phones, which stated the prize value.
Either way it seems that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is still going to be a fair bit cheaper than the Apple iPhone 5 which currently retails for $649 in a SIM-free variant. The official pricing is still awaiting confirmation from Samsung so don’t assume that $579 is the true price and take it with a pinch of salt until Samsung make the confirmation. The $579 price tag isn’t that far off what the Samsung Galaxy S3 first cost when it launched so the feasibility of this price is pretty high but like we said it is only reasonably-informed speculation for now.
Do you think $579 is a fair price for the Samsung Galaxy S4? Will you be buying one at that price? Or do you think the iPhone 5 is a better phone and worth paying more for? Let us know what you think!
Samsung’s Galaxy S IV will replace the incredibly successful Galaxy S III and offer a whole bunch of hardware upgrades to make the user experience even better. The main attraction of the upgrade will be the 5 inch 1080p display offered compared to the 4.8 inch 720p display on its predecessor. The processor will be an upgraded ARMv7 quad core although it remains uncertain whether it could also be the hotly anticipated Exynos 5 eight core processor. The GPU is expected to be the PowerVR SGX 544MP by Imagination Technologies and Other hardware rumours suggest that the new smartphone from Samsung could also possess “eye-tracking” technology that would enable the device to automatically detect user’s eye movement and therefore assist the device in responding to the needs of the user in applications.
Public availability of this device is from mid to late April for Asia and Europe while North America gets it later between May and June – probably due to the fact Samsung has a lot of legal business to attend to with other smartphone manufacturers and network carriers. Other sources have suggested that the North America version might feature a Qualcomm quad-core instead of a Samsung quad-core, although it is not clear which would be the “better” solution.
Specifications, rumours and speculation aside, we hope that was enough background for you if you didn’t already know about the Samsung Galaxy S IV. Here are the all-important pictures you have been waiting for:
Efforts are made to make mobile payments easier and more practical in every step, like how Paypal introduced a mobile device to accept credit cards. Samsung went ahead and made a deal with Visa to do just that. The deal will allow Samsung to embed Visa’s own payWave mobile payment applet in the next generation smartphones and tablets with NFC (Near Field Communication). The alliance was formally announced on Monday at Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona.
The next generation Samsung Galaxy S IV is all set to be announced in March and is rumoured to have Visa payWave implementation. This is a news that many officials from Visa and Samsung have confirmed. Since the use of NFC has taken its time to grow, this alliance should help to speed things up.
However, Brad Greene, Visa’s head of NFC payment said that there has been some friction with the implementation of NFC in the United States. The reason why they signed up with Samsung was because the Korean company produces practically half of all the Android powered smartphones in the market today. Since their goal was to make mobile payments available through many devices, Samsung is special and it’s because of this that they get an advantage.
In the agreement, Samsung agreed to load the payWave applet in its devices with NFC embedded in a chip with an encryption algorithm called secure element. The payWave applet also can be used in SIMs, where it can be moved from phone to phone. Samsung will manage the encryption keys and provide security capability to banks and mobile carriers for allowing their users to activate the services.
This alliance will also allow banks and carriers to implement faster, easier and cheaper mobile payment options using NFC according to Greene. Currently Visa payWave is used in a consortium of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and even Google Wallet.
However, Visa isn’t the only one eyeing up NFC functionality. MasterCard have also announced that it is expanding beyond NFC so that merchants can let customers use QR codes, credit cards and anything else for transactions.