Samsung sends octa-core engined Galaxy S4 into orbit

The Galaxy S4 is the latest, most high-powered and full featured smartphone ever released by Samsung.

We heard that line somewhere, piqued our interest, and got one, the very first commercial unit of Samsung's latest android flagship device, to tinker with.

Our editor Art Samaniego, Jr. was among those who attended the launch of the S4 in New York on March 15, and got CEO and President of Samsung Asia Pte. Gregory Lee words that Manila Bulletin TechNews would be the first publication in the Philippines to receive a unit for review.

So what can we say about the Samsung Galaxy S4?

Samsung really went all-out by designing a smartphone with eight cores. The Exynos 5 octa-core processor makes the Galaxy S4 one super-powered beast. But really, it's just two quadcores with different tasks, one for the basic day-to-day affairs, the other for bigger tasks such as photo processing, either one activating when needed.

Samsung took several cues from the previous model and improved the style and built for the Galaxy S4. The looks and feel is premium, and it's hard not to admire the faux metal edges and the polycarbonate chassis that gives the device a more solid build. The rear panels sport crisscross patterns, which adds style and personality to the device. As of now, it comes out with two colors, the Frost White and the Black Mist. While both colors stand out with style, elegance, and a clean sheen feeling of prestige. Our only concern is the Black Mist attracts too many fingerprints.

It's hard to tell the difference between the Galaxy S4 and its predecessor. The S4's screen has been upped to five inches with full HD resolution with super AMOLED technology. The screen sports the root of the Air View feature, called the ClearPad. It is an advanced capacitive feature that detects fingers up to two centimeters away. This lets you preview an item by hovering your finger above it, and by going to the settings to activate the ''extra sensitivity mode'', you can touch the screen with ease even while wearing gloves. The screen also contains Gorilla Glass 3, which makes the screen sturdier than the previous model.

The interface is sleek and easy to navigate around, and with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean powering it up, lots of neat upgrades can be expected.

The Galaxy S4 packs a whooping 13MP rear camera plus the high-powered processors, delivers some of the most stunning images ever captured on a smartphone. It sports several features of its own such as Drama Shots, Beauty Shots, HDR, among others, all to provide a satisfying photography experience. Switching modes is blazing fast, and the simplicity, makes this into a highly flexible device.

Pop the hood open and you'll have access to the 2,600mAh removable battery, along with the microSD and micro-SIM slots. Samsung has lots of cool plans to include inductive charging back covers and devices to supplement the Galaxy S4.

Air Gesture may not sound all that new at all, and some may even doubt it's use, but for some people who need to focus on multiple things at once, the Air Gesture proves to be an excellent feature. The first of these gestures is Air Jump, it scrolls page-up or page-down by waving your hand above it up or down. The second is Air Browse, which lets you hop from one tab to the next by waving your hand left or right. And the last one, Air Move, move apps by pressing and holding them with your finger and waving your free hand left or right to transfer the held app.

Now about the eye-tracking technology -- the front camera will be watching your eye movements, and as creepy as that may sound, it's actually pretty cool as it utilizes the Smart Scroll feature. Basically, while looking at the device, tilt your head up, and the screen will scroll up, tilt your head down and the screen will scroll down. It isn't a hundred percent perfect, as not all apps support this feature, but we can brace ourselves for the amazing potential this technology will be able to offer.

Expect more of our reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in future issues, as there are still more to discover, and enjoy.