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Samsung Galaxy S4 launch: What to expect

If you have so much as a passing interest in consumer gadgetry, chances are you're aware that Samsung is preparing to unveil the Galaxy S4 smartphone in New York City this week. The 14 March launch will be the mobile industry's highest profile event of 2013 to date, and will be closely watched by punters and enterprise leaders alike. But what does the South Korean company have in store for us? Let's see what we can expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4. (opens in new tab)

Full HD, 5in display and 13-megapixel camera

Speculative chatter regarding the Galaxy S4 has reached deafening levels in recent weeks, but a long-standing rumour that Samsung's new flagship handset will sport a 5in screen with a 1080p resolution is likely to bear fruit. Full HD displays are all the rage in mobile right now, as evidenced by the early-2013 arrival of devices like the Sony Xperia Z (opens in new tab), HTC One (opens in new tab), and LG Optimus G Pro - and large-screen trailblazer Samsung won't want to be left behind.

If you want to really get down to the nitty gritty, recent screenshot leaks point to the Galaxy S4 offering a pixel density of 480ppi (opens in new tab), but our maths work it out as closer to 440ppi. Whatever the case, the Samsung Galaxy S4's display is going to be big, and we fully expect it to be beautiful as well. Elsewhere, Samsung won't want to be seen to lag behind the camera department either, so expect the S4 to come with a 13-megapixel primary snapper that positions it near the top of its class.

8-core Exynos 5 Octa processor

When Samsung unveiled the 8-core Exynos 5 Octa processor at CES (opens in new tab)earlier in the year, the smart money said that the new-generation chipset would feature in the company's next flagship mobile product. That's the Galaxy S4, of course, and the momentum is still very much behind the handset being anointed with a groundbreaking 8-core SoC. However, that's not to say that it's a sure thing - some reports have placed a quad-core processor in the engine room of the Galaxy S4 (opens in new tab)instead. Our expert opinion? We think the US model will come with some significant tweaks under the hood that may well include a different processor, likely the Snapdragon 600, but that the international variant of the Galaxy S4 will still sport the beastly Octa chipset many are hoping for. With a clock speed expected to be in the region of 1.8GHz, it's a specification that's going to seriously tempt many consumers. It could also be a world-first and Samsung's marketing team will have a field day with this very convenient truth.

Audience earSmart eS325

When we met advanced voice processor specialist Audience (opens in new tab)ahead of MWC 2013 (opens in new tab), the Silicon Valley darling showed off its latest chip, the earSmart eS325. It looked impressive during the demo session, suppressing background noise with ease and also confidently handling speech recognition in boisterous environments. Audience refused to be drawn on where the eS325 would pop up first, saying only that it would be featuring in new-generation devices shipping from April. Given that Audience's technology also formed part of the Galaxy S3's make-up, we're tipping the S4 to be the first to feature this new-gen audio chip - though whether or not Samsung chooses to sing and dance about the earSmart eS325 is another matter entirely.

Eye-tracking technology

Rumours that the Galaxy S4 will feature eye-tracking technology (opens in new tab)have caused quite a stir ahead of the device's launch. In fact, with Smart Stay, the Samsung Galaxy S3 could already detect when you were looking at its screen, so it will be no surprise if the Galaxy S4 ups the ante - new features dubbed 'Eye Pause' and 'Eye Scroll' are expected, enabling you to pause video playback and scroll pages simply by shifting your gaze. The snazzy-sounding software will doubtless wow the crowds in New York later this week and has clear potential, but will it enjoy slick functionality straight out of the box or suffer growing pains similar to those of Siri? Stay tuned, as ITProPortal will be reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S4 shortly after its release.

Plastic casing

The bulk of Samsung Galaxy S4 gossip has revolved around what hardware the new-gen handset will feature, but that doesn't mean that design-based rumours haven't been making the rounds as well. Most significantly, a top Samsung representative stepped out to say that the Galaxy S4 will sport a plastic body (opens in new tab). What Samsung calls lightweight and durable, we say risks feeling cheap and tacky compared to high-end rivals like the iPhone and HTC One (opens in new tab), which are made out of premium materials like aluminium. We genuinely hope that we're wrong here, but our gut tells us that - like the Galaxy S3 - the S4 will lag behind some of its competitors in terms of build quality.

Six different models

Samsung insiders have tipped the Galaxy S4 to come in six flavours (opens in new tab)at its launch - a black and a white model, each available with 16GB, 32GB, or a whopping 64GB of on-board storage. Sound familiar? When Samsung launched the Galaxy S3 back in May 2012, it promised that its then flagship handset would be made available in a super-capacious 64GB iteration as well. It's a commitment that the South Korean firm failed to keep, so content hoarders and media buffs will no doubt be hoping that it gets it right this time round.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Alongside a new flagship handset in the shape of the Galaxy S4, Samsung has also been widely tipped to break cover with a Galaxy S4 mini over in New York City this week. Following in the footsteps of the mid-range Galaxy S3 mini (opens in new tab), the S4 mini would be a pared down version of its high-end relative. It's not the device that we're all waiting for, by any stretch of the imagination, but such a move could make sense from a commercial perspective and prove an interesting and affordable addition to the smartphone market. Will it come to pass? Stay with us for the answer, as ITProPortal will be providing extensive coverage of the blockbuster Galaxy S4 launch later this week, which will kick off at 19:00 EST, or 23:00 GMT.

James is a freelance editor, journalist, and writer with 10+ years experience in digital media, SEO and news writing. He has produced content on a number of Future sites, including TechRadar, ITProPortal, Tom's Guide, and T3, and was Senior Staff Writer at ITProPortal.