Hover your finger and you can preview a video clip or image from the photo gallery, glance at browser tab thumbnails, find your place on a video timeline, and check out an e-mail. You'll also be able to magnify calendar events and get a closer look in speed dial. As I mentioned above, Flipboard has built a customized app to work with Air View that lets you hover over a tile to see which articles lie beneath. In addition to hovering with a fingertip, you can wave or wipe your whole hand in front of the screen and sensor near the Samsung logo to navigate around.
For example, enable this gesture and you can agitate your palm to pick up the phone or switch songs in a playlist. Steadily sliding your hand back and forth can advance photos in a gallery, or browser tabs. You can also scroll up and down in a list. The feature was a little jerky and jumpy when I tried it, but it did work. As with eye-tracking, you'll have to wait a half-second to see results.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Luckily, air gestures are sensitive up to 3 or 4 inches off the top of the phone, so you have a little latitude Samsung really envisioned using these gestures in specific scenarios, mostly when your hands are already full with something else. For instance, you'll probably never wave your hand over the phone to answer it unless you're in a car, but when you do, it'll automatically pick up in speakerphone mode. If you have Bluetooth pairing, it'll kick into the car's Bluetooth if you answer that way.
Likewise, passing your hand over the sensor to advance music titles works best when your phone is docked on your desk. To use it, fire up the Watch On app -- which, also like the HTC One's app, is powered by Peel behind the scenes -- and go through the reasonable setup process. Once you're good to go, you'll be able to pull up remotes for your TV and DVR, plus a universal remote.
There's a Netflix tie-in as well, but I was also able to use my usual Netflix setup through the TV's extra tools. I found Watch On easy to use, and within a few minutes I was flipping through live TV listings, playing shows through Netflix, and setting up new DVR recordings using my phone. If there's one area of the controller that could use some work, it's the visual cue that you can scroll down the remote's interface for even more button options.
The remote did hang once, and I had to close the app and reboot it to get things going again. However, I blame the TV, which sometimes does that, more than the remote. In addition to browsing, Watch On bundles a recommendation engine that churns up suggestions as you use it.
You can also switch over to the On Demand tab to access show rentals. If you're feeling social, you can give on-demand shows a thumbs-up or thumbs-down and recommend listings on Facebook and Peel. I'm not as big a fan of the interface for the universal search results. I'd love icons on the results page to display at a glance what kind of content it is without first having to click on the result for more details.
This would be a natural fit for hovering with Air View. One scenario is watching a video you caught on your phone's camera on the big screen. Another is wanting to continue watching your show even when you leave the room to do something else. Oodles of extras If you thought Samsung couldn't add more software features, think again. Here are a few more:.
The Note 9 is a terrific phone, but Samsung is clearly holding back for The Pixel 3's camera already makes it a standout -- but useful Google software elevates Featuring a novel in-screen fingerprint reader, the OnePlus 6T is neck-and-neck with other Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read.
Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. Samsung Galaxy S4 review: The everything phone for almost everyone By Jessica Dolcourt March 7, Samsung Galaxy S4 white frost Part: Samsung Galaxy S4 purple sphltpp2yrserviceagreement. See It. CNET may get a commission from these offers. Compare These Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Design 9.
Samsung Galaxy S4 review: In full
Features 9. Performance 9.
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Apr Review Sections Review Prices Specs. Meet the stunning Samsung Galaxy S4 pictures 30 Photos. The Galaxy S4's software up close 27 Photos.
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Discuss Samsung Galaxy S4. The everything phone for almost everyone Sign in to comment Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. On first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S4 design appears little more than a carbon copy of its predecessor. On closer inspection, however, it quickly becomes clear that Samsung has made a number of small, subtle improvements over the S3 that, when combined together, make a considerable difference.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 design shuns the option of a premium, brushed metal or unibody design in favour of a largely plastic body. Build quality is reassuring, too. The Samsung Galaxy S4 feels less rigid and unforgiving than its predecessor, with just a little flex in its body when faced with large amounts of pressure, but not so much as to cause concern.
Design and build
In the hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4 feels much better than any other Samsung phone that came before it apart from the gargantuan smartphones the brand used to make - the i Omnia HD might have been built like a brick, but it felt wonderful to hold. The screen's spread towards the sides of the phone means a much narrower bezel, and the effect is certainly impressive. It might look very similar to the S3, but when you take the Samsung Galaxy S4 up close, you really start to appreciate the nuances.
I'd say it feels a lot more like the old LG Optimus G range now - when I first picked it up, I was struck with how similar it felt in terms of sturdiness and the polycarbonate construction to the LG Optimus G Pro. It's since been mimicked once more by the LG G2 , which was a real competitor to this handset when it first launched - it's got the same ugly plastic case, but much improved innards at the same price. That's no criticism, as the device is well built, but it has a similar rounded feel.
Samsung Galaxy S4 review | Alphr
This is intriguing given the history of the two companies, and shows more of a leaning towards the plastic shell from the Asian brands in general. The buttons have barely changed from before - the power button has been shifted slightly on the right-hand side, and is now much easier to hit than it was on the S3. The volume key is less easy to hit, and could be lower down in, but the travel on both of these buttons is satisfying, and you'll always know when you've hit them. The plastic used on the home key has been upgraded too, with a more solid feel under the thumb when you press down to get back to the main home screen.
The two buttons flanking it give you access to menus or take you back from whence you came, and while both are easily hidden, they light up nicely with an even glow when called into action. There are loads of sensors on the front of the phone above the screen, including cameras to track your eyes, a 2MP camera for HD video calling and a proximity sensor for knowing where the phone is in relation to your ear. On the white review unit I had their presence looks rather ugly either side of the generous earpiece, but on the darker models this is less of an issue.
The other notable addition to the design of the Galaxy S4 is the infrared blaster on the top of the phone. Again, this isn't a new feature, but it works well in practice, and despite being small is powerful enough indeed. Other than that, there's not a lot more to say about the design of the phone, as it's just a little underwhelming. I know it's unfair to lambast a brand for not overhauling the design every year, but in the One X and the One , HTC proved that it is possible to offer up a new design over successive generations and still keep things attractive.
Looking so similar to the Galaxy S3, you can't help but feel Samsung has gone a little too Apple and created something more in keeping with the Samsung Galaxy S3S - a minor update to a great phone to keep those coming out of contract happy that they have a premium phone to upgrade to.
I do implore you to get the phone in your hand before making your judgement though. While it's not got the best design on the market when it comes to materials, it was a big step forward for its time and allows for a grippy and easy-to-hold phone with a whopping screen inside. It still feels cheap as chips compared to the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 though. To just dismiss it for being plastic would be doing the Galaxy S4 a disservice as it has so much more going for it than that. But it's worth remembering that to a lot of people, the way a phone looks is as important as how much RAM it's got on board and how fast the CPU is - if not more so.