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TheStreet Open House

Review: Tech In Galaxy S 4 Doesn't Come Together

By PETER SVENSSON

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The Galaxy S 4 has what you'd expect from a new smartphone: a bigger screen and a faster processor. But Samsung didn't want to stop there when it presented the successor to its hit Galaxy S III. It loaded the new phone with a grab-bag of features that don't come together as a pleasing whole. The new additions could confuse users.

The Korean company revealed the S 4 for the first time Thursday at an event in New York, and provided reporters with some hands-on time with pre-production units. The final phones will be on sale in April to June period from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular and Cricket, the company says. If history is any guide, even smaller phone companies will get it, if not right away. The phone companies will set the prices; expect this phone to start at $200 with a two-year contract.

Samsung has competent engineers, and hardware-wise the S 4 is a solid successor to the III. The screen is slightly larger, at 5 inches on the diagonal compared to 4.8 inches for the III and 4 inches for the iPhone 5. It sports a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, as much as you'd find on a high-definition TV set. This should mean that the resolution chase is over in the smartphone area: the eyes just can't discern any more pixels on these small screens. Competing top-line Android phones already have the same resolution, so Samsung isn't breaking new ground here.

The bigger screen is crammed into a chassis that's actually a hair narrower and thinner than the S III's. This is quite a feat. Samsung shrank the frame surrounding the screen to make room. Shrinking other internal components allowed it to make the battery 20 percent larger than III's, but Samsung isn't saying whether that translates into longer battery life â¿¿ the added battery power could be eaten up by software and hardware changes.

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