Showdown: The smartphones waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung’s most awaited handset of 2013 will be unveiled in roughly 14 hours from now and has no doubt got Samsung’s fans waiting with baited breath. If the latest leaked images from Chinese site IT168 are anything to go by, then we already have a very fair idea of what the Galaxy S 4 will turn out to be.


Granted that these leaked images should be taken with a pinch of salt as we don’t know for sure what the final version will look like, but almost all leaked images, phone cases etc. that have leaked in the past just hours before launch have always been the real deal. So this one should be no exception.

We’ve already rounded up what we know about the handset so far based on rumours, speculations and leaked images, so we won’t get into that too much today. What we will be doing is comparing these rumoured specifications against the other flagship handsets from Sony, HTC and LG. Here’s a quick chart comparing all the flagship handsets.

Note: The specifications of the S4 are based purely on rumours and leaks and in no way reflect the official specifications of the handset.


Samsung Galaxy S4


LG Optimus G Pro

Sony Xperia Z


Android 4.2 with TouchWiz

Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5

Android 4.1.2 with Optimus UI

Android 4.1.2 with custom UI


140.1 x 71.8 x 7.7 mm

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm

150.2 x 76.1 x 9.4 mm

139 x 71 x 7.9 mm


4.99-inch, 1080p

4.7-inch, 1080p

5.5-inch, 1080p

5-inch, 1080p

Panel tech


Super LCD3





Unibody aluminium


Tempered glass/plastic


Exynos 5410 Octa-core

Qualcomm Snapdragon 600

Qualcomm Snapdragon 600

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro

Internal memory





Expandable memory










Exclusive features

Camera based gestures

BlinkFeed, Zoe, BoomSound

Qslide apps, QuickMemo

IP55/57 certification, shatterproof glass

Let’s start with the display as that’s the most crucial part of today’s smartphone. Rumours suggest the S4 will feature a 4.99-inch AMOLED or green PHOLED display developed by Samsung. Compared to all the other flagship handsets that use LCD, we can definitely expect very good black levels from the S4. Samsung has always used AMOLED panels in its high-end devices and we feel this will continue with the latest flagship as well.


The resolution will be Full HD, of course, which takes the pixel count to 440 ppi. The trouble with AMOLED is that it tends to gulp power at a very rapid rate when displaying whites, which only worsens when you bump up the resolution so high. To counter this, Samsung might use something called a greed PHOLED display, which is supposed to reduce the power draw by up to 25-30 percent. We haven’t seen the Optimus G Pro yet, but the closest competition for the S4’s screen right now seems to be from HTC One, which has really deep blacks and a crazy pixel count of 469 ppi.


The leaked photo of the supposed S4


If the leaked pictures are in fact the real deal, then it’s safe to say that the S4 is not winning any design awards. Clearly, Samsung has chosen to focus all its efforts on the hardware and new software features. The phone looks nearly identical to the S3 except for a slightly re-designed back, which we like a lot better compared to the old one. The phone also gets a new textured pattern for the bezel as well as the back cover. When it comes to design and construction, there’s no beating the HTC One – it’s simply a class apart. However, it still remains to be seen how good (or bad) the final design is.

Samsung will be pinning some of its hopes on the new Exynos 5 Octa processor. The idea here is to use two quad-core processors, one set based on Cortex-A15 and the other based on ARM Cortex-A7. Depending on the tasks being performed, only one set will be active at a time while the other goes into a sleep state. This all sounds very good on paper, but we have yet to see how this works in everyday usage. If the unused cores shut off completely, then we could be looking at some decent battery life. In real world performance, the S4 should be just as powerful as the HTC One, Optimus G Pro or the Sony Xperia Z. There are hardly any apps that actually utilise the true power of four cores, so you really shouldn’t notice any difference in the real world performance.


8 cores on board for good measure


All the latest hardware is useless if you can't mate it with equally good software. Samsung will continue the TouchWiz treatment for Jelly Bean and rumour has it that we should see a newly designed interface. It’s not merely a cosmetic makeover as Samsung will be adding some new "S" feature to the list, like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. These two features make use of the front camera to track the user’s eye to automatically scroll a webpage or pause a video when you’re not looking at the screen. There’s also some chatter about Air View (a unique feature of the S Pen for the Note II) making it to the S4, but rather than tracking a stylus, it somehow tracks your finger. These features sound pretty cool if they are indeed real, but all of them (at least the Smart Scroll and Smart Pause) will require a well lit room in order to work if the front camera is involved. Samsung better not put too many eggs in this basket since it doesn’t seem like it will be an exclusive feature for long. LG has just issued an official press release stating that its new Smart Video feature will debut as a feature pack in an upcoming update for the Optimus G Pro. It also works by tracking the user’s eye and performing tasks based on where the user looks. HTC’s Blink Feed is its highlight for the One while Sony is focusing more on the waterproof nature of the phone and camera.


The S4 should pack a 13MP camera


Speaking of camera, it seems that Samsung will finally be taking a leap out of 8MP sensors and going with a 13MP sensor. Along with this, we can also expect HDR video in the feature list. We hope that Samsung has managed to fix the issue with burst mode seen in the S3. It’ll have to compete with Sony’s 13MP shooter on the Xperia Z and HTC’s UltraPixel sensor. Low-light performance has suddenly gotten high priority after the Lumia 920, and we can expect the S4 to sport a wide-angle lens with a large aperture of around f/2.0 or even lower.

There’s a lot of speculation about the size of the battery and according to latest rumours, we could be looking at a 2600 mAh capacity battery. Battery life will entirely depend on the amount of optimisation Samsung has done, both software-wise and hardware-wise. The full HD screen is going to draw a lot more power than a 720p screen and there’s no avoiding that, but how much power the panel draws under normal working conditions is what matters. The same goes for the CPU as well.

It all boils down to pricing it right
It doesn’t really matter at what price the Galaxy S4 launches; it will sell like hot cakes and that’s because of the reputation that Samsung has built in our country. Take the Galaxy Grand as an example. Despite the low resolution screen, which seemed like a deal-breaker for many, the handset is managing pretty good sales. Looking at the current market, all the flagships seem to launch in the Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 price bracket, and that’s where we feel that Samsung will price the S4. Samsung has to price it in this band since Sony’s Xperia Z is a no-brainer right now at its current price of Rs 38,990. Samsung will not be able to pimp the "exclusivity" of gesture-based features for very long since LG has proven that they can easily be added via a software update. Sony’s trump card is the IP 57 certification, which cannot be duplicated with an app or a mod, which is why we feel Sony still has a fighting chance. Stay tuned for more analysis of the Galaxy S4 after the big reveal tomorrow.

Published Date: Mar 14, 2013 05:04 pm | Updated Date: Mar 14, 2013 05:04 pm