Galaxy S4 – what to expect when you’re expecting

March 13, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 teaser header

The Galaxy S4 is coming, and most Android fans out there are waiting for Samsung to unveil its most important handset of the year, a device that will most likely become the best sold Android handset in the coming months.

The Galaxy S4 is easily the most hyped Android handset of the year, even though it already faces some tough competition, at least on paper, from other flagship Android smartphones including the already launched Sony Xperia Z and HTC One, but also the yet-to-be-confirmed Google X Phone. And then there’s always the iPhone 5S/6 threat for the device, with Apple set to unveil its own flagship later this year.

With all the hype around the Galaxy S4, will the handset meet the expectations of so many potential buyers? Or did all this buzz around the smartphone – similar to what you’re used to see in the months preceding new iPhone launches – hurt it?

When Samsung introduced the Galaxy S3 in early May 2012, the device was not met with overwhelming excitement, as there were plenty of negative comments on Samsung’s design choices for the handset. But the device still managed to become the best sold Android smartphone to date.

Similarly, various iPhone generations have been met with criticism from those people that were unimpressed with what Apple announced, but similarly, each new iPhone turned out to be the best sold smartphone in the world at least until its successor rolled out.

So what should we expect for this Galaxy S4 event?

samsung galaxy s4 teaser

Specs and features

We have already seen all the rumors – and I mean all of them; no matter how questionable or shady, we showed you all available leaks and reports – but there’s no full list of specs and features for the Galaxy S4.

Most Galaxy S4 images that were leaked to date were concepts, fakes or pictures that could be confirmed so far even though they looked very interesting. Some suggested that the Galaxy S4 will not resemble its predecessor and that it will feature new design lines, but will the handset be able to please the demands of flagship Android handsets buyers? Is the Home button still in the picture?

Most online publications agree that the Galaxy S4 will come with a 4.99-inch touchscreen display that will pack a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. But will it be an AMOLED display, a PHOLED one or an LCD3 panel?

Most people will agree that the handset will pack LTE support, but will we see different versions for different markets, at least when it comes to processor use? Some say that the eight-core Exynos 5 Octa processor will equip the Galaxy S4, while others claim that only certain Galaxy S4 versions will pack it, with U.S. models said to hide a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU under the hood.

Most buyers would expect the Galaxy S4 to come in three capacity versions, from 16GB to 64GB, with microSD storage a must-have feature. But will Samsung stick with its plasticy-design – efficient when it comes to mass-producing a boatload of handsets, but not so pretty on the eyes and touch – or will it finally step up to the metal plate, and try to match in design the iPhone, the HTC One or the Sony Xperia Z?

Most owners of previous Galaxy S versions would probably expect the handset to offer even better camera features. The Galaxy S4 is rumored to come with a 13-megapixel main camera and a front camera that would do some tracking of eyes. But will we see a 3D main shooter? What about a redesigned lens? And will the front-facing camera be able to deliver those Eye Scroll and Eye Pause features? Is that Photo Sphere-like Samsung Orb feature available included in the camera app?

Most smartphone owners want a bigger battery ready to better deal with power consumption from a larger display and heavy LTE usage, but will Samsung sacrifice slimness to offer a significantly larger battery? Or will we see more efficient components including the screen and the new mobile SoCs? And since everything is related to design, will the battery be user-replaceable? Will it support wireless charging as previously rumored?

Most Android fans would love the Galaxy S4 to come with the latest Android version on board – Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean – but is Samsung finally ready to deliver a smartphone that’s actually running Google’s latest mobile operating system?

Most probably there’s going to be TouchWiz on top of whatever Jelly Bean version ships with the Galaxy S4, but how many new features will Samsung include in this Galaxy S version? Will we see floating touch on the Galaxy S4? What about health-related features? Will there be an S Pen involved?

We’d like to be able to answer many of these questions well in advanced, but the truth is that we can only make educated guesses based on what we’ve seen Samsung do so far.

The Galaxy S4 could be a revolutionary upgrade or only an incremental one, when comparing the new handset with the Galaxy S3. Whatever the case is, it’s probably pretty clear that it will sell like hot cakes in the coming months, just as its predecessor did last year, putting further pressure on its Android competitors, but also on Apple in the process.

times square samsung galaxy s4 launch billboard (2)

Availability and pricing

We can’t tell you exactly when the handset will hit stores, but we surely know that Samsung is going to go for an almost simultaneous release in multiple markets.

The Galaxy S4 should be launched in the coming weeks in a variety of countries (early April seems like a good time to have the Galaxy S4 out in the wild,) but since Samsung is taking the fight to Apple we’ll certainly interested to see whether the U.S. carriers will be ready to ship the handset around the same time European mobile operators will sell theirs.

As for pricing, the Galaxy S4 will surely have a starting cost of $199.99 in the USA, when purchased with a new two-year contract, and it will be available from all national and plenty of regional operators. The price will go down in the coming months, at least with certain stores, so expect Galaxy S4 deals from various international retailers.

It probably goes without saying that the Galaxy S4 will be Samsung’s top of the line handset this year, and therefore it will come with a hefty price tag in case you want to purchase it off-contract.

What we’re also interested to see tomorrow is whether the handset will be joined on stage in New York by its smaller brother, the Galaxy S4 mini, which is apparently also in the works and which should be released in the near future as well.

Not to mention that there’s always the possibility of seeing Samsung’s smartwatch at the same event, a Galaxy S4 companion that could further extend the phone’s capabilities.

samsung times square galaxy s4 invite 1

What do you expect from the Galaxy S4?

In case you follow the Android news cycle regularly, you’re probably more than aware of all those Galaxy S4 rumors and leaks we’ve mentioned so far, so you must have your own Galaxy S4 expectations. What do you want to see Samsung announce on stage tomorrow? Do you expect any surprises considering the barrage of Galaxy S4 speculation you’ve witnessed so far this year?

Are you buying the device no matter how it will be received by early critics this week?

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