Samsung Galaxy S4 New Features Explained!

May 2, 2013

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Chances are fairly good that by now you know whether or not you’re excited about the Samsung Galaxy S4, especially if you’ve checked out our review. But, you might still be curious.

Our Joe Hindy covered most of the big features coming to the Galaxy S4 a while back, but we hadn’t had a chance to get some real one on one time with the device yet. Now that we have, we’re going to walk you through some of our favorite features of the Samsung Galaxy S4.

In a hurry? Check out the video at the bottom of the article.

Dual Shot

While it might sound a little unusual at first, the Samsung Galaxy S4’s Dual Shot mode is actually pretty cool. It uses the rear- and front-facing camera simultaneously, allowing you to paste yourself into any photo or video. Sure, you can do this by awkwardly holding out your phone, but you have no idea what you’re going to get since you can’t see the screen.

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You might think this sounds like a novelty feature, and it very well could have been one if not for one thing: you can also use this for video chat. It’s very handy to be able to show someone something without having to position the phone in such a way that you can’t really see what they’re seeing. This alone makes Dual Shot worthwhile.

Eraser

If you’re the kind of person who often finds themselves taking pictures of friends and/or family and/or static objects in crowded situations, the Galaxy S4’s Eraser mode is going to be a lifesaver. When you’re in this mode, the camera functions similarly to HTC Zoe, capturing a few seconds of video instead of a still image.

Once you have finished capturing your subject, the software analyzes the results and (hopefully) removes anything or anyone that was clearly moving in and out of frame. You can manually also select the option to keep the moving objects on the off chance that you want them to remain in the finished photo.

Animated Photo

The Galaxy S4’s Animated Photo mode essentially lets you create an animated GIF using the camera. Like Eraser mode, instead of capturing a single still image, the camera captures a few short seconds of video, only this time, it’s your goal to keep the motion, not remove it.

One the video is captured and analyzed, you are presented with the option to select the areas of the screen that you would like to be animated. These areas will move, while any unselected area will remain still. Yeah, this feature isn’t exactly essential, but it can be fun, and what’s so wrong with that?

Drama Shot

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Drama shot isn’t going to be useful to everyone, but there is no denying that some of the results it produces are simply very cool. Like the above two features, drama shot captures a longer moment of time, though this time, once you’re done capturing, the software analyzes the raw data and picks some images from various points and gives you the option to show them.

You’ll need a steady hand, as the goal is to keep the background still while you’re subject moves in the foreground. If all goes well, you’ll see multiple “copies” of the subject moving across the foreground and end up with a very stylish shot. It can be a little work, but the results are worth it.

Sound & Shot

You know those greeting cards that allow you to record a message that plays once the recipient opens it up? Well, Sound & Shot basically does that, except with a photo you have taken instead of some stock greeting card, and can actually be useful.

To do this just switch to Sound & Shot mode and hit the shutter button, but be ready: as soon as the photo is taken it will start recording your message. Now sure, you can use this for a greeting card type of recording, but you can also use it to describe when or where a photo was taken, even if it’s only to help yourself remember.

Air View & Air Gesture

We should have seen it coming when Samsung started introducing “hover” actions with the S Pen on certain devices, and now here it is: the same type of functionality, but minus the plastic. When browsing through a web page, for example, you can hover your finger over a bit of text to zoom in on it, and you can see an example of this right away on the Galaxy S4 lock screen.

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Air Gesture takes it further. This feature allows you to scroll web pages, flip back and forth through photos, skip to the next song when listening to music, and more, all with a simple wave of the hand. This is cool if you don’t want to touch your screen, but more often than not, it feels easier simply to scroll the old fashioned way. Still, we’re excited to see where this could go in the future.

Smart Scroll

Similar to Air Gesture, Smart Scroll provides you with a different way of navigating through your device, though this time, it uses your eyes. Basically, it works like this: the front-facing camera watches your eyes and knows where on-screen you are looking. Now when you tilt the phone away from your or toward you it will scroll up or down.

This feature sounds cool, but I didn’t seem to have great luck with it. At certain times, it worked without a hitch. At others, I had trouble getting it to work at all. It’s likely that the longer you spend with the Galaxy S4, the more you’ll make this feature work for you, but it could stand to be a little more user friendly.

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The Galaxy S4 also has a similar feature included known as “Smart Pause,” which will pause a video if you look away. It can be handy, but you might want to turn this option off for longer videos, or if you find it pausing too frequently.

S Health

One of my personal favorite features included in the Samsung Galaxy S4 is S Health. Sure, a lot of this could be done as an app, but it’s so tightly integrated with the Galaxy S4 that it definitely deserves to be thought of as an important feature of the phone.

To get started, open up S Health and input your gender, age, height and weight. Now you can keep track of almost any aspect of your health from how well and how much you’re eating to how often you exercise, how much you walk in a given day and even how you’re feeling from day to day. It’s the kind of thing where the more you put in to S Health, the more you’ll get out of it.

The great part is that if you have no interest in S Health, you never have to touch it and it will just leave you alone.

WatchON

Using the IR Blaster in the Galaxy S4, WatchON hopes to replace your all in one remote and your TV guide as well.

There are essentially too halves to the app. First, input your location and what television provider you use. If you like, you can also tie WatchON to your Netflix account. Now you’ll get personalized recommendations in addition to general information about what’s on tonight.

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The other portion of the app is the remove. You can control quite a few different devices, and even set up different rooms so you can control everything, everywhere you go. Don’t throw away your old remotes yet though, because there could be a snag. Though my television was listed among the included manufacturers, I couldn’t get WatchON to control it. Hopefully future updates will add more device support.

S Translator

I’m not going to lie. This is basically Google Translate, except branded by Samsung and built into the Galaxy S4. That said, it’s still fairly useful, especially if you find yourself traveling a lot.

Basically, either type or speak the phrase you would like to translate, and S Translator can translate it too or from a wide variety of languages. It can even read translated text out loud to you. I didn’t have much around to translate, but tried translating the same piece of text back and forth multiple times and didn’t end up with gibberish, which is a plus.

…And The Rest

There are way too many features built into the Samsung Galaxy S4 to get to them all, but there are a few honorable mentions, like Optical Reader, which can scan QR codes as well as scan and translate text. Group Play seems neat, but I couldn’t test it as there was nobody around to test it with. The same goes for the updated ChatON. I wanted to try it, but had nobody to connect to.

Video

Which of these features is your favorite? Do you have a different favorite that we didn’t mention? Do you have any other questions? Let us know in the comments down below.

Comments

  • Jack

    all useless

    • uu

      Useless comment. A troll wandering :)

    • http://twitter.com/jokesyn8 Jokesy

      Why are you hurt? it’s not like you can’t disable any of them.

    • Jusephe

      Yeah, all useless and it takes off 8GB of memory.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714859472 Rajvir Singh

      Jealousy is Hard To Control (HTC) for HTC fans, I mean come on.. I don’t see Samsung fans going to HTC article and calling it useless, shit etc..

      • whoknowswhereor

        lol exactly

  • http://twitter.com/marky_yo Marky

    Put all these features on a 32 or 64gb model and I would be interested! Not the 16 :( 9gb or less left over??? Blah that stinks! I just tried one out at the new Samsung Kiosk thing at Best Buy and it is IMO a great improvement over the S3!!! I just want to wait till the 32gb model, the Samsung/Best Buy guy (who knows who he works for?!?!?) still didn’t have a date for the S4 32gb model

    • xtriker360

      Same here, until they come out with a 32 or 64gb that’s a no no for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/GrantNZ Grant Wills

      It does have a mini SD card slot that will give you up to 64GB more space right now, something that most other “top” smartphones don’t have

      • RarestName

        Still doesn’t cover the fact that there’s only 8.8GB of usable flash storage.

      • No One

        From what I hear, Apps are stored in phone memory ONLY, not SD card. I’m currently using the 16GB variant and it is sux big time. I only have few game and it is already full. I will sell mine to get HTC One until Samsung release the 32GB or 64GB variant.

        Samsung always bs you about the 32/64GB variants but they will almost never came except for very few market.

        • 7 December ♡

          u can actually a app to Sd at google trust me is good i’ve tried

      • soraxd

        internal memory really isnt a big issue.. you shouldnt be putting anything on there anyway. a 64gb microsd card is like $40. theres enough internal memory for apps to comfortably move around, thats all that matters.

    • Mikesphoneandtab

      They do make a 32 & the 64GB version, right?

    • On a Clear Day

      Thank you for bringing up the 32/64 GB concern. I too will wait.

  • lovegimik_scc16

    #iwantsg4

  • On a Clear Day

    Thank you for writing this article Kristofer. I am set on getting an S4 in a few months after any bugs that may be found are eliminated and hopefully by then the 32 or 64 GB version will make an appearance.

    May I suggest that though you obviously don’t need to write a huge dissertation on each feature that perhaps at the end of this article that you do add a complete listing – even with only a short one or two sentence explanation – of all the features that the phone has. So often, as I am sure you know, owner’s manuals even when serious about helping, are not that easy to decipher.

    If adding that listing would make this articles copy length too long, perhaps you could have a separate article or section that you insert a link to that gives the complete listing for those inquiring minds that want to know! lol

    Thanks for your good work – keep it up.

  • Bigbully101

    Where to download 4.2.2 please advise

  • B_Insane_Hussein

    spell check much?

  • oshbk

    do you know if i can text in other languages without just sending other ppl question marks ????????

  • Janet

    Yes I have a question regarding my galaxy S4. Hope you will be able to help me. Could you please tell me why all my tex messages go into my email account??