Sunday, April 28, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500 Review Malaysia Launch Pricing @ Plaza Low Yat / Comparison between S4 S3 and S2

Are you ready for the next Galaxy? -the mysterious stranger.

April 27, 2013 - Samsung Malaysia Electronics, the leading global mobile phone provider launched their latest high-end smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 (I9500) in the Malaysian market. I was over at ground-zero where the main launch was being held at. That is.. Lowyat Plaza. Amist the chaos of the usual saturday crowd in Lowyat, compounded with the special event launch that was held by Samsung which included Clowns,Jesters, Mimes and even a Ventriloquist. As well as cheerleaders.

Nope, just me.

The Launching

Arrived on site at 12:30PM and the launch have already started with performances as well as side-casts of Clowns and Court Jesters.


Suffice to say, I'm quite impressed with the way Samsung has been marketing the I9500, instead of the usual media only launches that happens usually, they opted to promote it via Teasers and organizing the launch to suit the general public.

There was also a flash mob dance in the midst of the launch :

Yea, there were doing PSY's latest hit. Gentleman.

I really like this Harlequin inspired outfit

Is...that a slender man?

So after the launch was officiated, went to check out the S4 at the Samsung Outlet nearby.

Not surprised, the place was filled with eager people taking the I9500 for a test.

By the time I managed to get a test unit to poke around with, it was announced that all S4's at that outlet were sold out. There was roughly around 12 demo units of S4, which compared to other outlets i've heard, only had one or two demo units.

The S4 is available in two different colors at launch : White Frost & Black Mist. Though you can expect some limited editions in different colored flavors to come along sometime soon.

Pictures pulled from the internet due to a blunder on my end


First Impression

Like the S3, Samsung has managed to make the S4 thinner and slimmer while keeping the phone's height the same. Which as I've said about the S3, fits perfectly in my hand, more even so now. Though sticking with the S3's rounded corner design, I felt that this time round it's slightly less rounder and leaning towards the S2 and S1's square design. The same S3 bezel design at the outer side of the phone was used back, though after a year of the S3 release, I've not clue on how well the bezel holds as I've never had the chance to use S3 on a long term basis.

They managed to make the S4 even thinner!

The side view of the S2 and S3's bezel, notice how scratched up my S2 is, due to the design that the bezel is higher than the phone base.

Long post ahead, the following post below will be making a comparison between the S2,S3 and S4 to see how big of a difference in terms of specs the phones have gone.

The I9100, I9300 and I9500 put side by side for comparison.

Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4 Specifications :

Processor :  Octacore (Quad Core 1.6Ghz Cortex-A15 and Quad Core 1.2Ghz Cortex-A7) 
(S3: Quad-Core 1.4Ghz Cortex A9
(S2: Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9)

At a glance, you may think that the phone is capable of running 8 cores but that isn't how the S4's Octacore functions, but if you look at the parenthesis you will see that there's 2 Quad Core with different clock speeds listed there. What this means is that the S4 has 2 different sets if Quad Cores processor, a higher speed and a lower speed processor. But it can only run a single quad core at a time, in theory this is done to save battery.

For Example. When the phone is running heavy tasks like Gaming, Watching HD Videos, Video Recording. It will use the faster 1.6Ghz Cortex-A15 core

but when the phone is just running normal task like phone calls, viewing pictures, checking emails. The S4 will turn off the 1.6Ghz Cortex-A15 core and use the 1.2Ghz Cortex-A7 core instead. This is because processors with lower clock speeds require less energy to run and thus will give the S4 longer battery life

Memory: 16/32 or 64 GB space with microSD slot upto 64GB and 2 GB RAM

(S3: 16/32 or 64GB space with microSD slot upto 64GB and 1 GB RAM
(S2: 16 or 32GB space with microSD slot upto 32GB and 1 GB RAM)

Larger RAMS! That means more applications can be run at the same time without sacrificing performance. with 2GB RAM on the phone, you'll be able to render Youtube HD videos, edit documents, check on social media sites all at the same time and feel no lag at all!

Display : 5.0 inch 1080x1920 pixels 441 ppi pixel density 
(S3: 4.8 inch 1280x720 pixels 306 pixel density
(S2: 4.8 inch 800x480 pixels 217 ppi pixel density)

Just wow, they managed to cram more and more pixels into the screen despite a larger screen size. So what that translate to is you'll be able to see more details on a larger screen while not sacrificing anything. Note that the pixel density between the S2 and the S4 is more than TWO folds

The rear of the phone, notice the mini diamond shaped lines. Especially on the black model, really brings a touch of complexity on the outlook.

OS : Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
(S3: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich)
(S2: Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread)

The S4 runs the latest Android system available. The Jelly Bean. Besides being more smoother, it has several new key features such as Gesture typing, Photo Sphere Camera, Google Now, Automatic Widget resizing, NFC sharing, For more information on Jelly Bean click here

Do note that although the S2 seems to still be on Gingerbread, it doesn't mean that the phone can only support Gingerbread, as Samsung regularly release system updates for their phones thus enabling users of older phones to upgrade to newer Android systems. If you want to update your Android system, all you have to do is to go to Samsung's website and follow the instructions on how to update your Samsung S2 or S3.

The list above is just to show the version that was shipped by default on launch of each phone.


Rear Camera : 13 MegaPixel Autofocus LED Flash and HDR recording + Dual Shot
(S3: 8 MegaPixel Autofocus LED Flash with Zero Shutter Lag)
(S2: 8 MegaPixel Autofocus LED Flash)

Anybody familiar with camera specs know that higher Megapixels mean nothing, but I tested the camera today and I must say. IT IS AMAZING. The auto-focus was fast, details was crisp. I had trouble doing macro shots on my S2 but with the S4 I was able to focus into smaller details on any surface area without any problem. I had doubts with the camera capability of the S4 initially but after testing it, I am giving my thumbs up to the picture taking capability of this phone.

The HDR video recording feature is definitely on of the bigger selling points of this phone, check out this video. Remember to set to 720P and above to really see the colors

One extra feature added to the S4 is the Dual Shot feature, which will be explained below at key features.

Like the S3, camera features like Zero Shutter lag and Continuous picture shooting are still onboard.

Front Camera : 2.0 MegaPixel 1080p at 30 FPS video recording
(S3: 1.9 MegaPixel 720p at 30 FPS video recording )
(S2: 2.0 MegaPixel)

The front camera now is now capable of recording at 1080p FULL HD instead of just 720 on the S3. Though why anyone would want to do that with the front camera is beyond me.

Connectivity : Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0 with AD2P, EDR, LE
Infrared Port

Everthing you would ever expect on a high-end smartphone. The newer additions that they've added on the S4 is the Bluetooth v4.0 which features EDR and LE. EDR means Enhanced Data Rate which gives the bluetooth faster transfer rates.

While LE is Low Energy, which is self-explanatory.

One small thing that really intrigued me was the inclusion of an Infrared Port. Infrared ports were a standard back in the PDA days where Dopod/Asus reigned as kings of their time but were soon phased out and Infrared ports soon went into extinction on newer phones (roughly the same time Dopod changed its brand to HTC. This was before Bluetooth and WIFI became the standard like it is today. Infrared Port were used to transfer data between PDA and computers, which had really slow transfer rates and required a clear sight between each device.

But the one reason I use the Infrared Port was for the universal remote application. Imagine able to control the TV, Air-Condition, HI-FI, and Astro with only your S4. Or turning off the TV at the mamak during football season. The world is your oyster

Sensor : Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Temperature, Humidity, Gesture
(S3: Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, Barometer)
(S2: Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass)

The first phone to ever have humidity and temperature sensor. Though I'm not sure how useful this will be, but i've seen articles on how a thousand of these spread out across an area can be used to report the weather automatically.

The Gesture sensor recognizes several things like which direction you are looking at from the screen, the movement of your fingers as well as you'll be able to scroll pages up and down by using your wrist

Dimension136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
(S3: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133g)
(S2: 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm, 116g)

Just seeing the specifications alone, you'll see that the S4 is lighter than the S3 but not as light as the S2. And like I've said in the first impression section, it's thinner but longer.

Battery : 2,600 mAh
(S3: 2,100 mAh)
(S2: 1,650 mAh)

Self-explanatory. The battery is larger than all it's predecessors. By a whopping 158% percent improvement from the S2!

The Samsung Galaxy S4's current retail selling price is RM2,199 but you'll be able to get it at a cheaper price by signing up with local telcos.

Side by side comparison of the S4 and the S2


Key Features

Dual Camera Function

The dual camera function enables you to take pictures from both sides of the camera. One thing I noticed about the dual camera function is that the ISO and Night detection settings are automatically disabled whenever dual camera function is on.

With the dual camera feature, you'll be able to show all your friends you're really at that location by taking a picture of the scenery with your head on top of it or something clever like this :
Now imagine what other 'creative' things you can do with this

Smart Pause

A really smart feature included, it uses facial recognition technology and the front camera to know when you're not looking at the screen and pauses the video until you look back at it.

Airview/Air Gesture

A function that featured on the Note II, instead of using a 'Smart' stylus to hover on images or documents to short-preview. You can now use only your fingers to hover on objects to look further into them.

The Air Gesture utilizes the proximity sensor for you to swipe your hands across the phone without actually touching it to go to the next item like during photo viewing.


Basically and all-in-one health and fitness application that keeps your calorie intakes as well as calories burnt among other things.

S-View Cover

Definitely one of my favorite feature that I think will be a popular one, the S-View cover is a cover for the phone that has a small window that you'll be able to see the time or any notifications, or answer calls while still keeping the phone covered.

For further information on S-View cover, watch this introduction video :

Santa please?

Yea so that wraps up a quick review of the Samsung Galaxy S4, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I'd enjoy writing about the S4. Would I recommend the S4? After checking it this afternoon, I would totally say yes, especially if you're using a 3rd generation smartphone like the S2


Henry Lee said...

Where's S1? Haha! If it's an all aluminium body + super IPS display then it will be a perfect phone but for those who prefer plastic feel and didn't have s3 or note2, this might be a good buy lah

Ryan Mo said...

If I did the S1 as well I don't think I can finish it by the same day already LOL.

Also I haven't reviewed the S1 before so it'll be difficult for me to explain

Isabel said...

So detailed... *hides my post*

SiMon Har said...

dual camera function is so cool!! nice and detailed comparo between S2, S3 and S4 :)

applecy said...

will there be 32gb S4 in malaysia?

foongpc said...

Looks like a great phone but unfortunately, I just can't stand the plastic feel.

Ryan Mo said...

@Applecy I've heard rumours that it might be coming but not sure when

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