Of course, the fun really begins when you start using this phone and dive into all the new features introduced with Android 4.2.2 and TouchWiz UI, supported by new hardware. First thing you will notice right away is a partitioning of functions when you go into Settings. This makes it easier to navigate being split into Connections, My Device, Accounts, and More.
In addition to listing all the new features, I wanted to capture it in actual setting menu so you can get a better idea. Here we have Motions and Gestures that include Air Gesture, Motion, Palm Motion, and Motion Calibration with g-scope
Smart screen with it's Smart Stay, Smart Rotation, Smart pause, and Smart Scroll
Air View with Info Preview, Progress Preview, Speed Dial Preview, and Webpage Magnifier
A more detailed Voice Control for Incoming Calls, Alarm, Camera, and Music
Obviously these are just descriptions to wet your appetite. To show how these look in action, I tried to capture it in the following series of shots. Keep in mind, those are all air gestures where I do not touch the screen. I just hover my finger over it to take advantage of the new gesture sensor located at the top to the right of the front speaker.
Txt message Magnifier (my first junk txt msg addressed to someone I have no idea who)
Picture preview with air-view (remember, I'm not touching the screen)
Video preview/scroll air-view (amazing where you can scroll frame-by-frame to get to the exact position in timeline)
With a new 13MP/2MP rear/front cameras, you get some new cool features as well.
Camera - effects you can preview in real time with different filters
Dual camera photos - back camera and embedded front camera image where you can change the frame of embedded image
Camera - different modes, amazing idea of animated mode with multiple shots in one or erasing an unwanted subject from the background
Camera - voice commands for taking pictures and recording videos
While browsing different new apps, S-Translator really caught my eye. You can type and translate between 9 common worldwide language, and actually have an option of phone saying out loud the translation.
Multi-window view is not new for Note 2 users, but now it can be enjoyed on S4 as well. With 5" screen you have plenty of real estate to have two screens side by side, and a lot of apps already come pre-configured for that use.
Something I found absolutely amazing is when you touch any app/widget icon it shows you a new target screen without a need to drag it across multiple screens. Even better, you can wave your hand above air view sensor and the screen will move from one to the other until you stop at a new target screen where you want to drop your app/widget.
Further, Notification Panel selection was improved where you can use 1-finger to pull it down to reveal a scrolling selection or 2-finger pull down to reveal matrix selection where each icon is visible
Of course, I saved the best for last - IR Blaster to blast you right through the control of your tv and cablebox!!! All I had to do is to tell it a brand of my tv and cable box, and it paired up within seconds. Just amazing, I was using my phone as a remote control
I'm sure there are more new features but I decided to highlight those above as the top worth mentioning. Keep in mind, this is a review of Verizon version of S4. Even so the gap between different providers has been closing, there are still some differences. Like for example, you will get more bloatware with VZW S4 version. Luckily, you can go in App manager and Disable a lot of the unwanted apps. It will not permanently remove it from the phone (you still will have an option to enable it later), but rather will prevent these apps from loading into your memory and checking for updates. There is also a question why WiFi toggle was removed and Blocking Mode toggle is not available. But in my opinion these are very minor details. For me the most important detail is the Network where I know I can get my maximum number of signal bars and clear calls that don't get dropped. Being on East Coast in tri-state area - Verizon is the ONLY reliable choice for me.
In Conclusion, this is one Amazing phone!!! When I got Note 2, beside big screen everybody was carrying on about s-pen. It's nice and makes a great conversation piece, but I personally found not much use for it. Just my personal opinion. With all these new features introduced in S4 - I actually can see myself using a lot of it, and don't consider them as just a gimmick. For the last few days, beside doing my own testing, I have been demoing S4 to a lot of my friends and co-workers, and everyone's reaction is the same - outstanding! I wasn't able to capture this in pictures, but you can actually scroll through the webpage up/down just by using your eye movement. Something that was only seen in si-fi movies, now available in the palm of your hands!!! And again, backed up by VZW 4G LTE you can really enjoy this new technology to full potential!!!