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By 6 February 2013 | Categories: news

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With sources claiming a 15 March launch for the Samsung Galaxy S4, and an appearance here in Africa between May and June, we thought it a good time to list ten things we hope to see in Samsung’s flagship.
 
Patents aside, if there is one thing Samsung must learn from Apple, it’s to refrain from making the same mistakes when it comes to the release of hot new smartphones. Whereas in the past the release of the latest iPhone was met with great fanfare, let’s face it, for the 4S and the new 5, reception was lukewarm at best. In most part this was due to only incremental upgrades to the iPhone, with no killer “Wow” factor to bowl crowds over.
 
Samsung has to push the boundaries on the Galaxy S4 to entrench their status as the world’s leading smartphone maker. In our opinion, they can start with these improvements:
 
Better design
Stop it with the plastic, Samsung, dammit, we want metal. Please, no more back covers that feels like they will snap when you tear it off the back. No more “chrome” edges that start peeling after a couple of months. Rather, take a good look at the materials used in Apple’s stylish iPhone - still the main reference point when it comes to classic design. 
 
Longer lasting battery
Ok, so this is not exactly only a Samsung problem, but improved battery life can help. We liked the 3100 mAh Li-Ion in the Note II (review), so just stick one of those in there.
 
Lay off the UI
Google does things pretty well and the less we need to deal with manufacturers’ user interface the better. Keep things as vanilla as possible Samsung, and lay off the customised TouchWiz please (or at least offer it as an optional extra as on some Huawei phones).
 
Full HD screen
Sony has set the precedent here with the Xperia Z and its 1080 x 1920 resolution on a 5” screen. Anything less will be a travesty.
 
Keep at it with the Samsung tech
We like Samsung’s added extras such as Pop Up Play and Smart Stay. It goes a long way to distinguish their offerings from the rest of the Android masses. Can we look forward to even more special features on the S4? For one, we would love to see an improved Popup Browser as featured on the Note II.
 
Back (and Menu) in black
White on white design doesn’t work and trying to remember whether the ‘menu’ button is left or right of the ‘home’ button is an unnecessary nuisance. It’s great that Samsung did not incorporate the ‘back’ and ‘menu’ on the screen itself, and we hope they keep it that way - just in black this time.
 
Better optical tech
Sony has HDR videos; HTC has an 88° ultra-wide angle lens on the front-facing camera; Nokia has optical image stabilisation and best-in-class low light performance. It’s seriously time for Samsung to improve their camera technology (and maybe add a shutter release button on the side).
 
Even faster
We want class leading performance from the S4, since in practical terms the Galaxy S3 (review) actually felt slower than HTC’s One X (review). Cramming the Exynos Octa 5 processor with eight cores we saw at CES earlier this year, rather than saving that for the Note III, will certainly give the S4 an edge.  
 
LTE from the get-go
The launch model of the S4 needs to be LTE enabled and work on the networks from the get-go. This would require some close cooperation between Samsung, Vodacom and MTN (and Cell C and 8ta once their LTE trials are done) to get done, but it would all be worth it for non-buffering YouTube videos. 
 
Better price
Sub-R7 000 at launch? We can only hope. 
 
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