Samsung Galaxy S4: Sensor Lowdown


Samsung Galaxy S4: Sensor Lowdown

Since the Samsung Galaxy S4 launched last month it has received mixed reviews from industry experts. But while the Korean manufacturer’s new flagship isn’t too dissimilar in the looks department, to its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, under the hood the Galaxy S4 couldn’t be more different.

Well before the S4 was unveiled it was dubbed as the “most anticipated handset of 2013” by analysts and smartphone fans alike, which really put pressure on the company to create a handset like nothing ever seen before.

Nine New Galaxy S4 sensors

This time round Samsung declared it was keen to focus on the software side of things, although many of these new features rely on nine new sensors integrated into the device.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Notifications Bar

The company claims these sensors help to “bring users closer to what matters in life”, making for a “richer” smartphone experience. But, what do they actually do?

  • Gesture Sensor: Located at the top of the handset the gesture sensor recognises hand movements by detecting infrared rays reflected off the user’s palm. This applies to the innovative Air Gesture function which allows users to carry out various tasks such as accepting a call, changing music tracks, or scrolling through app menus with a simple wave of the hand across the device.

  • Proximity Sensor:: Works in a similar way to the Gesture Sensor and uses infrared rays and motion activation to assist the S4’s Direct Call feature. Once the sensor detects the device is close to a user’s face it will automatically make a call, either from a contact’s information or a received text, as well as turning the screen off to prevent any unwanted touches during a phone call.

  • Gyro Sensor: Is built on three axes which it uses to detect whether the handset is being held in portrait or landscape mode. Used within the phone’s Smart Rotation feature, the sensor ensures that if a user is lying down for example, reading text on the display, the screen won’t keep flipping to and fro.

  • Accelerometer: Is used as a Walking Mate, which makes up part of the S Health suite of apps. Using the three axes on which the sensor is built the device is able to detect every time a user takes a step, keeping count throughout the day, in a similar way to a pedometer.

  • Geomagnetic Sensor: Geomagnetic sensor sits on three axes which help determine the magnetic field intensity of your surroundings, turning your device into a digital compass.

  • Temperature/ Humidity Sensor: Working as part of the S Health feature this sensor sits on the base of the device. Through a small hole the sensor is able to monitor the climate to provide the user with optimal comfort levels, alerting them when it detects any changes to temperature and humidity.

  • Barometer: Identifies the atmospheric pressure of the user’s current location and determines the altitude. Monitoring these levels means that the S4 can accurately calculate how many calories are burned depending on the pressure and nature of a user’s surroundings.

  • Hall Sensor: Recognises when the S View flip cover on a Galaxy S4 is open or closed. The new cover features a small transparent window to allow the quick checking of notifications, but as soon as the cover is removed the display will come to life.

  • RGB Light Sensor: Situated on the top left-hand side of the display, the RGB Light Sensor measures the intensity of light, particularly shades of red, green, blue and white in any given setting. This allows the Samsung Adapt Display feature to automatically adjust the brightness and clarity of these colours on screen making it easier on the eyes, particularly when looking at the display for long periods of time.

This all sounds very impressive, but with so much going many consumers have expressed concerns over battery life. However, the Korean firm has confirmed that “the Galaxy S4 has a Micro Controller Unit (MCU) that activates the Application Processor (AP) only when needed, making it possible to control the sensors without activating the AP”. This means that power consumption of the S4 is optimized, so users can enjoy the new features which these sensors serve for longer.

Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, the home of all the latest smartphones.



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  • http://twitter.com/haroldlgardner Harold Gardner

    Clearly the direction all manufacturers are heading. Samsung was brave with the risk. Not everything can be perfect when you are on the cutting edge of innovation. Solid progress in the right direction.

  • http://twitter.com/wwaessa Walter Wässa

    Great information about these integrated sensors. Thank you for these helpful post. shared around

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralee.muise Tara-Lee York

    I like the health app and the reading app.

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