The Galaxy S4 accessories + First Look: Samsung Gamepad

Alex Walls
March 15, 2013

As well as its new flagship the Galaxy S4, Samsung debuted a number of accessories at its Unpacked event.

Capitalising on its smartphone market, which saw sales of the Galaxy S3 pass 40 million in January, Samsung showed off a wireless charging pad, a white pad which charges the S4 when placed on top of it.

It also featured its S View Cover, a full body phone cover apart from a small viewing window at the top of the screen, through which users could view and select musics and calls. The cover is based on the Flip Cover, and when this upper section of cover is closed, the phone goes to sleep.

Mobile health

Samsung announced its leap into the mobile health and fitness market with S Health, an in-built application which can track stats, provide calorie counts based on a database and count steps and runs thanks to a pedometer on board the device.

It’s an interesting addition to the device and kind of falls into the ‘Why Not?’ categoy; mobile fitness is a large market these days and Samsung could capitalise on it with its accessories.

Which it has done. Announced and on show at its Unpacked event was the Samsung Body Scale, a set of scales that syncs with the S4 via Bluetooth, as well as the S Band, Samsung’s version of pretty much every fitness gadget out there, with an in-built pedometer that again syncs with the S4 to upload tracked activity.

A Samsung spokesperson said S Health created a foundation for something that was going in the right direction for the company. When asked to elaborate, the spokesperson said with the ability of third party companies to build accessories for the application, as well as Samsung’s own, it was anyone’s guess where the market could go.

First Look: Gamepad

One of the more interesting accessories on show was the Samsung Gamepad, a plasticky Xbox controller look alike that wrapped around the phone, meaning gamers could use the Gamepad, with expanded control options like extra buttons and action keys, instead of the S4’s screen.

Coming out in May, the controller would be “very competitively” priced with rival gadgets.  It uses Bluetooth 4.0 to sync with the phone and can also sync with TVs, although another journo commented this caused a noticeable lag in game play.

The controller looks like a white Xbox controller and feels plasticky and flimsy; it is quite neat that it wraps around the phone itself, giving the illusion of a larger screen for game play.

The buttons are responsive and do make playing finickity games much easier, and the casing fits nicely into your hand and is light (probably due to its flimsy build – if you stood on one of these babies, it wouldn’t survive).

The S4’s screen resolution helps the Gamepad along as well, since it looks crystal clear and thus gives the Gamepad the illusion of an Xperia Play.  In fact, the S4 makes a good little gaming phone; its hardware handles the load well, the screen makes the games pop and this all does the Gamepad many favours.

In all, it’s going to come down to pricing. The Gamepad doesn’t exactly look fantastic, so Samsung will be appealing to gadgety gamers looking to ease up their control experience with the S4, or looking for something to add to it.  It’s an interesting idea, and could do well – provided the price is right.

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