I'm on the gorgeous Italian island of Sardinia this week, for the annual pre-IFA Global Press Conference. A chance for the industry and the press to get together and look ahead to the main show in Berlin in September, in a truly stunning setting. Several consumer electronics manufacturers have partnered with the conference, including Samsung -- well, Samsung Electronics, at least. So, what's this we see here, then? Looks an awful lot like the Black Mist Galaxy S4. Nestled front and center in the Samsung booth, the soon to be released Galaxy S4 is here. And, since I've not yet seen the S4 for myself, I spent a few minutes taking a look.
Firstly, the color. If I were to buy a Galaxy S4, this is the one I would have. Without doubt. I love white phones traditionally, but the Black Mist has the white one pegged. On the Galaxy S3, the black version had a slight purple tinge to it, as we saw at last years IFA show when we first saw it. But, the Black Mist on the Galaxy S4 has a tinge of grey to it, and held up in the right light looks closer to the color of the Titanium Grey Note 2, than to black.
Since we already did a hands on video with the phone, there's little point in doing another. And, truth be told, the lighting at the Samsung booth here is worse than usual. So, to avoid rambling, I've put together some of my early thoughts on the Galaxy S4.
- Design - On the whole, I like it. I always felt the display on the Galaxy S3 was too small for the housing, and there was too much space between the display and the home button. The new 5-inch display leaves much less in this regard.
- Size - Honestly, I'm not a fan of large phones, from the perspective that I have small hands. But, the Galaxy S4 feels so much nicer to hold than, say, the Sony Xperia Z. It's a big phone, make no mistake, but it doesn't feel as big to hold as some of the competitors.
- Display - Good, but outdone by the HTC One I think.. Not really much else to say. You won't be disappointed by it, though.
- Software - It's still Touchwiz, and I'm not a fan, but that's down to taste. That said, there's a lot of cool stuff in there that folks are going to love. Its fast, and it's pretty darn smooth. Not a fan of how Samsung has broken up the settings menu into different tabs, but at the same time I can understand maybe why they did it that way.
- Build quality - Yes, it's plastic. But it doesn't offend me nearly as much as it did on the Galaxy S3. It's a fingerprint magnet, but the matte finish on the sides is much more pleasing than the shiny chrome plastic on its predecessor. Then again, it's a far cry from the construction of the HTC One.
Summing up, would I think about buying one? Yes, I would. I've never felt the urge to pick up a Samsung phone before, there's always been something that's turned me away. One of the big attractions here is Android 4.2.2, which I'm seeing as a statement of intent from Samsung. I'm still not a fan of the physical home button, but personally I'd still take it over where HTC has put their home button on the One. It may only be an iterative design from the previous device, but it works, and it works well.