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First Samsung Galaxy S4 review leak: Stop FONDLING, start FINGERING

No need to stroke screen, claims embargo-busting journo

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Samsung's new Galaxy S4 smartphone isn't being launched until 2300 GMT today - but the first review is already online with technical specifications and videos of it in action.

And it suggests there's no need to touch the mobile's touchscreen to make it work.

A few journalists bagged early access to the new handset on condition they honour an embargo, but China's IT168 Phone Channel seems to have broken that agreement and published a comprehensive review of the new handset available to all through the magic of Google Translate.

What that article claims is in the smartmobe isn't terribly surprising: eight processor cores running at 1.8GHz packed in Samsung Exynos silicon, and a screen just a smidgen under 5 inches boasting 1920 x 1080 pixels with a quality the reviewer reckons is equal to Apple's Retina display. We're told it also has a PowerVR SGX 544 graphics chip, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of firmware flash, Android 4.2.1, eyeball-following page-scroll tech and cameras.

The hardware matches what's already been leaked, with the only notable addition being an infrared transmitter for controlling televisions and exchanging business cards with anyone still wielding a Palm Pilot.

The reviewer also tried dropping the phone onto a Qi charger for some wireless energy, but without any luck as we'd expect.

More interesting is the addition of proximity detection to the display, allowing the user to manipulate on-screen elements by hovering a finger over the screen as well as touching it. This is only used to preview graphics at the moment; the Android interface doesn't lend itself to the "mouse-over" interfacing possible though proximity, but if it's reliable then the innovation has considerable potential.

The Samsung Note range supports proximity when using the stylus, so extending that to a finger is technically unsurprising; the question is how far Samsung is prepared to extend Android to make use of it.

And proximity fingering isn't the only innovation - the rumoured eyeball tracking is evident, and demonstrated, pausing on-screen video when it detects that one has looked away from the display with optional control of scrolling too. It's hard to judge how useful that will be, but it has a decent wow factor and sure to upset those drinking companions still clutching their iPhones.

It's possible the review isn't genuine, but the details, photographs, and video evidence, combined along with the knowledge that embargoed hardware is knocking about, conspires to make this very compelling indeed, and bodes well for the Samsung handset when it does launch this evening.

The only disappointment is that the really cool features, the ones which will make this handset stand out above the others, are things we'll have to use before we can say if they're useful, and for that we'll have to wait a few more days at least. ®

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