S View Case for Galaxy S4

The humble flip cover becomes a smart accessory

Flip covers for smartphones are nothing new -- ever since smartphones have had screens, users have sought a convenient way to keep it protected and scratch-free. But the latest flip cover for the Samsung Galaxy S4 takes things a step further, building in new functionality based around a touch-capable window and a magnetic sensor. While we've been reviewing the Galaxy S4, we've also had the chance to take the official 'S View' case for a spin, and we've been pretty impressed with what Samsung's brought to the table.

We've got more photos, words and video after the break.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Like previous Samsung flip covers, the S View cover for the Galaxy S4 replaces the phone's battery door with a plastic shell, attached to which is a protective cover for the front of the phone.  This one's a little different, though-- there's a cut-out area up top, covered with a transparent plastic window. The idea here is that you're able to view selected information from the screen while it's still protected behind the cover, and that's exactly what happens when you press the power button while it's closed.

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You might wonder how the phone knows it's got the S View cover attached. Like the iPad's smart cover, this is achieved with magnets, and it also allows the S View cover to turn the screen off when it's closed.

But the S View cover's cut-out isn't just a one-way window for information -- it's also conductive, meaning you can make limited use of the touchscreen while it's closed. This means you're able to answer calls by swiping to right, or decline them by dragging left, all while the cover is closed. Because the phone knows when the cover is attached and closed, it's able to display a special, smaller call notification in the area of the screen.

So Samsung's S View cover takes protective cases beyond the status of a dumb accessory to protect your device from knocks and scrapes, and we suspect many Galaxy S4 owners will be picking one up in the weeks and months ahead. If you're not a fan of the windowed version, the manufacturer will also offer a vanilla flip cover for its new flagship phone.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 review