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BW Businessworld

Upgrading To The Galaxy S4

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There was a time when we used to hang on to our phones for a good four to five years, letting go only when the device was finally falling apart. What is one to do, though, when every few months, a brand new super phone comes along, touting new features or something you apparently can’t do without?

One sits down and considers – to upgrade or not to upgrade?

The S3 Is Hardly Obsolete
The Galaxy S3 may be 2012’s flagship but it’s still a perfectly powerful superphone. Unless you’ve damaged your device and generally mistreated it, it should be looking much as it did and not very different from the S4, which hasn’t come with major changes to its design. The S4 has a new polycarbonate back, but it’s just as glossy and the overall look is also the same.

While the S4 comes with more powerful processing hardware, it’s not a must if you’re not pushing the limits on your device with gaming. If you refresh your S3 with a clean-up of extra files and unused apps and also a removal of apps that are buggy and misbehave, you still have a a great quad-core phone, one that was fairly ahead of its time.

The S4 has a 13 megapixel camera and it takes nice daylight shots, and also has a few tricks such as adding sound to pictures. But the difference between this and the S3’s 8 megapixel isn’t dramatic, so don’t base your decision on that alone.

The S4 has a number of new features and some of those may come to the S3 in time. A few,, such as Air Gestures though will not because the S4 has additional sensors. However, the new features aren’t yet a strong reason to upgrade – more nice as a fresh buy. The S4 has Jelly Bean 4.2.2 while the S3 is still at 4.1.2, but again, you won’t be missing anything you can’t do without. The difference in batteries is also small and both will take you through the day. If you’ve been noticing a decline in your S3’s battery, consider replacing the battery rather than the whole phone. Another tip is to pick a few beautiful cases and give your phone a new look – that always feels good.

If You’re A Note 2 User…
The only reason you’d want to switch from a Note 2 to a Galaxy S3 is if you’ve discovered that you thoroughly dislike the size of the Note. On paper it’s just 5.5 inches vs 5 but in reality they really are strikingly different sizes. The S4 is much more easy to hold, light, and even use with one hand. The screen on the S4 is also far nicer than the Note’s. But the Note series has the advantage of being able to work with the stylus and actually already has some of the Air View variety of features except that you use the S-Pen instead of your finger. If you’re used to the Note’s roomy screen and do a lot with it, the S4 will seem small.

If You Have The Money…
The S4 is not a must-have over the S3 or Note 2, but if you promised yourself a new phone and have money to spare, why not upgrade, as long as you’re accustomed to the Samsung TouchWiz interface and the way it kits out its devices with software. The first thing you’ll find is that the S4 has a light frame but packs a lot more, both in terms of processing power (Octa-core processor, 2 GB RAM) and a somewhat improved battery of 2600 mAh. The internal storage is still the same on both devices. The moment you switch on the S4, you will notice the difference because of the beautiful new screen. Colours and contrasts were always strong on Samsung devices, but on the S4 there’s also clarity and crispness. The camera is more enjoyable to use because of the screen and as mentioned earlier, has a few tricks up its sleeve. The front camera is a 2 megapixel and also takes 1080p video, so that’s a marked improvement. You also get enough features and settings to explore for months to come. You’ll find the refreshed TouchWiz a bit different but can customize things to suit yourself specially with Android’s Jelly Bean 4.2.2 update which has its own interesting features.  Not killer features, but interesting nonetheless. The S4 has additional sensors and is supposed to work with upcoming apps and accessories to create health and fitness applications and trackers.

Of course, you have the option of switching from the Galaxy S series altogether and considering something different, specially the HTC One with its beautiful design, or the ever popular iPhone. But for those considering an upgrade, you’re good as you are with the S3, unless you happen to have money to spare and are super comfortable with the Samsung user environment.