Samsung Galaxy S4 hits Australia, but will it match the S3’s success?



blog If there was any question whether Samsung has become a superstar of the smartphone market, it was put to rest with last night’s Sydney Opera House launch of its flagship Galaxy S4 phone – in which the mobile giant pulled out all the stops to show the world the device that it hopes will consolidate its market lead over rival Apple’s iPhone 5.

The gala night included a performance from Guy Sebastian and lobby walkers with flowers on their heads (see Gizmodo’s photo gallery here), who variously amused and entertained attendees who turned out to hear the details of the new device in its Australian incarnation.

Set to be available on 27 April, the S4 will be offered for $899 outright with 16GB of memory; if you want more than that, slip in a microSD card to expand it by up to 64GB. The Australian version will support local LTE networks and be based on a 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, with the build-in Watch On app offering local EPG and a host of other goodies onboard. Delimiter is still waiting for its review unit, but in the mean time we direct you to Gizmodo’s early hands-on look at the device:

Unless you were on the design team that build the damn thing, I’d be surprised if you could even tell the difference to save our own life….It’s only when you pick up the Galaxy S4 and physically go hands-on with the device that you notice the difference. It’s lighter, cleaner, sharper and there’s more attention to detail than ever before.

The phone will be available with 24-month contracts on Telstra’s $80 Freedom Connect plan (register your interest here), Vodafone’s $60 Plan (plus $5 per month), the Optus $60 Plan (plus $7 per month), and Virgin Mobile’s $59 plan (plus $2 per month)

The S4’s predecessor, the Galaxy S III, has been a runaway success in Australia and around the world – in January, it reached total sales of 40 million total units since its release – and was the device that finally cemented the company’s viability as a major threat to Apple. Whether the S4 can strengthen that position, or sees more moderate success because many S3 owners are still quite happy with what they have, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Samsung has set up a product-showcase pavilion, which will remain in the shadow of the Opera House, to showcase the company’s products and take orders for the new device from April 23. Samsung also operates Samsung Experience Stores in Sydney and Melbourne.

Image credit: Samsung


  1. I’m still packing an iPhone 4S, but I will confess to a repeated lust-filled looks at the ever sweeter Galaxy SIII and S4 (talk about potential product confusion!). The loyalist side of me says I won’t make the switch until Samsung’s device can make me a perfect cappuccino, but the pragmatic side says there’s probably already an app for that and I should just give it a go (having said that, $899 isn’t exactly an impulse buy).

    What’s everyone else doing? Has Samsung done enough with the S4 to win you over? Or has it just put out a feature shopping list for Apple to match in iOS 7 and the next iteration of its iPhone, which the hype machine is pegging for launch sooner rather than later?

    • Well, it’s comparable with the $800 Apple is asking for the iPhone 5, unless you want more than 16GB of storage, in which case the iPhone 5 will set you back $900 or $1000 to buy it outright. So I’d say the price is right for the new king of handsets. If you don’t want to pay the price upfront, get it on contract, wait a while until it gets cheaper, or buy a different handset. I’m pretty happy with my $400 Nexus 4, personally.

    • 900 is probably the recommended retail price, most phones sell for a lot less. The HTC One is going for 698 or there about from harvey norman I think which is local stock not a grey import so I imagine the GS4 will be similar.

  2. More and more I wish optus had decent coverage where I live. The $59 +$2 Virgin plan with its 3 gig of data (double that of the other plans) makes it the cheapest and best plan by far. I don’t care about 4g sppeds all I want is coverage with basic slower 3g speeds but I can’t even get that and I live in the widebay area in QLD, a suburban area but telstra is still the only 1 i can trust for coverage especially indoors. I use my phone for work so I need guaranteed signal.

  3. That wording sounds funny- the 40 million unit sales is cumlative, not the total for jsnurary alone. In that context, it makes the “cementing their lead over apple” look pretty funny, since the iphone5 has sold more then 40 million in less time. Samsungs sales are mostly of lower-end phones.

    • True; wording fixed. There are many ways to skin the units-shipped cat but recent figures suggest Samsung outshipped Apple in 2012, 213 million to 135.8 million smartphones shipped. (eg

      As you point out, the definition of what a “smartphone” is, is indeed relatively vague. Sure, 40 million of those 213 million were SIIIs, but what do we say of the remainder? Samsung is selling more phones than Apple but on other metrics Apple is indeed doing better.

      We also have to consider whether, with other hero phones on the market, the natural advantage the SIII held in the Android market may now be diluted – which could hit the S4 no matter how sweet it seems.

      The real winner is the smartphone market, which is now spoilt for choice when it comes to everything-including-the-kitchen-sink smartphone options…

  4. I’d personally rather an HTC One over a Galaxy S4 if I were in the market for a top end Android phone right now. Not only is the physical design of the One beautiful with its aluminium case and front facing stereo speakers, but it has a slighter smaller, 4.7″ 469ppi screen, which by all accounts has the most awesome picture quality of a mobile 1080p display yet. I’m sure the 1080p S-AMOLED on the Samsung is impressive too, but if its anything like the HTC One X vs the GS3 comparison last year, the HTC’s screen will have more natural, life-like colour fidelity thanks to its IPS LCD Plus display.

    I also prefer the new minimalist design of Sense 4.0 vs Touchwiz (although I’d still rather stock Android over either of them) not to mention the crazy amount of ‘S-gimmicks’ that Samsung has packed into the GS4. A few features look genuinely useful, but most are things you’d rarely use, or they provide an inferior feature to whats available with stock Android already (S-Voice vs Google Now leaps to mind).

    I’m sure the GS4 will do very well (particularly with Samsung’s huge marketing muscle) and still be a great device. I just think HTC put a lot more thought into the complete experience with the One and I’d like to see Samsung be more creative with their hardware design

  5. Looking at Virgin’s Web page now it seems to be $7 on the $59 plan ($66) and $2 on the $89 ($91) plan. (and $12 on the $49 plan ($61)

  6. I don’t have the confidence to purchase another Samsung product after the unsatisfactory experience I had when I purchased a galaxy S.
    I had the very common “black screen” problem in which the screen goes completely black and becomes useless. No icons are displayed on the screen. Phone calls cannot be made or answered. I took the phone back to Virgin once and then to Samsung for times. I repeatedly asked for a replacement phone but was told there was nothing wrong with the phone. That was despite me showing the customer service representative that it could not be answered when I asked her to phone the mobile. She admitted that the phone was faulty and would recommend that the phone be replaced. It was only after I contacted the Telephone Industry omsbudsmen that I got a replacement phone.

    I don’t expect that products will always be 100% reliable but I do expect manufacturers to stand behind their products and provide after sales back up. Samsung will never get my patronage for any of its products again.

  7. My wife bought an S3 last October. After a short period the devices battery lasted on average 4-6 hours per day without much usage. We have taken it back to the Samsung Experience Centre on Pitt St Sydney – five times. They have factory reset it, replaced the battery, tuned it, suggested we don’t use wifi and set it to 3G not 4g. Anyway my wife broken down in the store Saturday, crying, they completely ignored her. I asked for a refund and they flat refused even though Samung policy, as written in the store, is to refund for quality issues, does not work as described, not fit purpose – I asked to see the store manager – the customer service manager flatly refused to have the manager call me – would even provide me with a coutesy call after 5 visits to his store that takes more than an hour per vistt. The worst phone – the worst company. DO NOT BUY SAMSUNG PRODUCTS.

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