10 reasons to upgrade: a beginner's guide to the Samsung GALAXY S4

S Translator is even more impressive, a real-time text and voice translator for nine different languages. It's basically Douglas Adams' dream of the "Babel fish" that could help you talk to almost anybody else around the world with ease made real! (Note: you will need an active connection to a 3G or 4G data network or local Wi-Fi network to use S Translator.)

5. Home entertainment plays nice with the S4

HomeSync on the Samsung GALAXY S4

For many smartphone users to date there has been an unfulfilling disconnect between the entertainment they watch or play on their mobiles and the tunes, movies or games that they want to enjoy while sitting on the couch at home in front of the telly.

The S4 is the first smartphone to fulfil tech's long-standing promise to bridge this gap, featuring the handy WatchON TV viewer and remote control app. This works seamlessly with Samsung's HomeSync system to allow you to share the content on your mobile screen with your TV screen at home.

Also, more excitingly, a few choice members of the tech media were treated to a sneak-peek of a console-style controller at last month's "Unpacked" S4 launch event in New York, a prototype of a thumb-stick-based gaming controller that is bound to appeal to the legions of hardcore gaming fans out there keen to buy into Android as their mobile gaming operating system of choice. Expect lots more news on this exciting-looking mobile gaming peripheral very soon!

6. A camera for all seasons, and all men

Dual Shot on the Samsung GALAXY S4

A 13-megapixel camera on a smartphone, you say? Yes, says Samsung. And not only that, the S4's hugely powerful 13-megapixel rear-facing camera features full HD 1080p video recording capabilities.

Combine all of this with Samsung's new Dual Shot mode, which lets you combine photos from the front-facing camera and rear camera into one frame (with a choice of wacky frames to choose from), plus a decent 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, and it is pretty easy to see how the S4 is going to appeal both to amateur snappers and pro photographers alike.


7. Animated Photo killed the camcorder star

Animated Photo on the Samsung GALAXY S4

Don't worry about taking a dedicated video camera on your hols this year, because if you are packing a GALAXY S4 in your pocket, you are easily going to be able to take some of the best holiday videos you've ever shot, all from your smartphone.

Animated Photo mode is a particularly cool feature, which lets you create fun, hilarious and quirky animated GIFs, with part of your image frozen while other areas move. An animated photo is a still image that contains some moving objects, so when you tap the S4's camera button, moving objects will be detected by the device and you can then select which objects to animate and which to freeze.

From dancing cats and bopping babies through to artistic and entertaining animations of your vacation to instantly share with your mates and family back home on Facebook or Twitter, Animated Photo is a surefire hit on the GALAXY S4.

8. Enhanced Air features for touch-free control

Air View on the Samsung GALAXY S4

Samsung has developed the touch-free Air View tech that has been so popular on the GALAXY Note II and cleverly ported it over to the S4, so that you can control the phone by simply hovering your digits over the screen.

This soon proves to be incredibly handy, for a myriad of reasons you might not yet have foreseen. For example, it's particularly useful if you happen to be on holiday, sat on a beach, with your hands covered in all manner of holiday muck such as sand, ketchup and sun oil. After all, would you really want to grease up that beautiful 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen with all of that gunk?!

9. Packing the latest version of Android

Samsung GALAXY S4

Unlike many other Android smartphones on the market, the Samsung GALAXY S4 packs the latest version of Android - Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Featuring all the latest updates to the operating system, users will also benefit from some of the best features of the latest OS, including gems such as Daydream, which lets your S4 show off your photo albums to their fullest when sitting idle or docked on your desk.

10. Accessorising your S4

Samsung GALAXY S4 with black cover

The tech specs are hugely impressive, of course. But if there's one thing that we all love about getting a great new smartphone it is the opportunity to personalise it and to accessorise it to fit with our own style.

Samsung is not missing this trick with the S4, with a superb range of official GALAXY S4 accessories and add-ons now available alongside its new, top-of-range Android smartphone.

By now, you'll most likely already have made the decision to upgrade to the S4 as soon as you possibly can, based on the evidence outlined above. Though if all of that didn't yet convince you, these beautifully crafted cases and flip-covers for Samsung's latest surely will!