Galaxy S4 variants: Samsung's crippled offspring

Galaxy S4 variants: Samsung's crippled offspring

San Jose : CA : USA | Jun 23, 2013 at 3:44 PM PDT
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Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Is Samsung fragmenting their Galaxy line of products? Earlier last week, the company announced radical plans that fragment their seemingly solid product offering. The smartphone manufacturer announced several variants of the Galaxy S 4: the Active, Zoom, and Mini. However, there are minor – yet significant – changes with each of the smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active

The Active, as the name implies, is designed to withstand more “wear and tear” than the vanilla S4. However, it is not a “rugged” device as per military spec. Drop the S4 Active in the pool? You’re still screwed. The S4 Active only water resistant up to 1 meter, for 30 minutes. Plus, the screen is still Gorilla Glass – nothing fancy. Drop it on concrete and you’re still looking at a trip to the AT&T store, which is the only carrier currently offering the device.

Quite clearly, it’s not a durable device. It’s all vanity – marketing speak at best. Still the same old materials – no metal, no titanium, nada. In fact, it’s a crippled version of the S4 – but not as crippled as others. It only has an 8 megapixel camera, and has an ordinary (read: substandard) LCD display. Don’t plan on skipping the warranty.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

To the delight of creepers and stalkers everywhere, the Galaxy S4 Zoom has a 10x zoom lens embedded on the chassis. Is it a phone? Or is it a camera? Unlike the first “Galaxy Camera,” this one is definitely a smartphone with a camera. The camera is overkill for a smartphone, and the other sacrifices Samsung made to the device are disappointing.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom does not have the traditional quad-core processor. Rather, Samsung yet again cripples the S4 variant with an underpowered dual-core chip and a qHD screen (rather than 720p). Moreover, it’s significantly bulkier than the regular S4, due to the optical lens. It’s just portable enough without being clunky like the Galaxy Camera.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Who wants a smaller smartphone? Apparently, you do. Samsung cites user demand as a reason for the S4 Mini, which features a 4.3-inch, non-HD screen. Like the S4 Zoom, the Mini is crippled by a grossly inefficient dual-core chip. Amidst quad – and soon Octa – core processors, a dual-core chip is simply unacceptable these days. And yes, this also applies to Apple.

Confusion and Fragmentation Await

Perhaps ‘ol Sammy didn’t learn anything from Apple. They took an otherwise respectable – albeit cheaply made – smartphone and spawn it into mutated offspring. Each device is slightly inferior, and nothing special. Imagine the “old” Apple circa the late Steve Jobs releasing three iPhone models, each of which are inferior to the other. It would never happen.

Samsung’s best hope is in their marketing department. A lot of advertising and deceitful marketing is needed to sell these underpowered, overpriced bricks of flimsy plastic. Or maybe users will be so confused they jump ship to Cupertino. Either way, the Galaxy S is in trouble.

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Galaxy S4 Active, Mini, and Zoom
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 Mini, and Galaxy S4 Zoom during a press event.
Joseph Thomas is based in Redwood City, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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