Philippines Gets Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-i9505 Quad Core Snapdragon 600 16 GB Variant, Price is Php 30,990 : Launch Event at NBC Tent Photos, SGS4 In the Flesh!

Last night, I graced Samsung Philippines' invite for the official launch of Samsung Galaxy S4 in the country, which was held at The NBC Tent at The Fort in Taguig City.

Inspired by nature and crafted to be a life companion, Samsung Galaxy S4 formally supersedes the highly successful Samsung Galaxy S3 as the Korean giant's new flagship smartphone. "With Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung is again going to enhance the way we live. All the innovative features of SGS4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world," shared Mr. Eric Sulit, SEPCO Business Unit Director for Mobile. He added, "Following the successful Galaxy S series, this phone is yet another great proof point of people-inspired innovation. At Samsung, we'll never stop pursuing innovation conceived by people, so we can inspire them in return."

Lots of TV personalities at the venue.

Just like the handset that was being introduced, the whole set-up was inspired by nature.

As I've shared earlier on TechPinas, Samsung Galaxy S4 truly sets the bar for how a 2013 Android flagship smartphone should be done. Starting from its innards, the handset runs the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system with a Quad Core 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600 chipset, handles multi-tasking with 2GB of RAM, and sports a rather large 2,600 mAh battery pack. On the outside, the 7.6-mm-thin SGS4 flaunts a massive 4.99-inch HD Super AMOLED display, which - I think - is already at the very precipice of smartphone screen size before entering phablet territory.

Note that although the Philippines isn't officially getting the much-talked-about first-of-its-kind 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset, the Snapdragon 600 variant that will be released here is by no means a push-over. For one, aside from the CPU, all other top-notch specifications are the same on both phones. In terms of benchmark scores, the Octa Core variant is more powerful than the Quad Core version but not by much. A few weeks back, SamMobile ran Antutu Benchmark test on GT-i9500 (Octa) and the handset got a score of 28,018. Several days later, GSMArena performed the same test on GT-i9505 (Quad) and it scored 23,607; Not bad, right?

If you're wondering why we're only 'officially' getting the Quad Core variant, well - according to some sources - it's because GT-i9505 is the one that's compatible with LTE bands in the Philippines. Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are expected to offer SGS4 as a bundled handset with their top tier LTE postpaid plans.

The smartphone's imaging and video capabilities offer a true improvement from that of Samsung Galaxy S3. Users get dual cameras, the main one is 13 MegaPixels with LED flash and back-illumited sensor while the one in front is 2 MegaPixels also with BSI. Both of these shooters are likewise capable of recording 1080p 30fps Full HD videos.

But what's particularly cool about taking photos using Samsung Galaxy S4 is that the handset comes with Dual Camera functionality that allows simultaneous use of both the front and rear cameras. I got to try out this feature during the event and I'm sure that a lot of users will enjoy playing with it as much as I did.

As described by Samsung, when capturing moments, users can choose from a variety of frame effects which blend the two pictures naturally and also adjust the size of the small picture inside the big one. Users can select 8 different ways to combine the two photos taken by the front camera and the rear camera. But camera functionality extends beyond this as SGS4 also includes great shooting modes like Drama Shot allowing you to see all the action in one continuous time-lapse, and Sound & Shot, which stores sound and voice together as the photo is taken so special moments can be captured in the 'truest' form imaginable.

Other key features of Samsung Galaxy S4 include Group Play, S Translator, and S Health, which the hosts demoed during the event. Group Play allows users to enjoy music, photos, documents, and games with those around them without requiring a WiFi AP or cellular signal. There's even a Share Music option that lets users have the same song playing on multiple supported handsets in sync. Ideal for travelers, S Translator provides instant language translation using text or voice on applications including text message, email and Samsung's very own ChatOn service. Finally, S Health, which allows you to calculate the number of calories in the food you take and can even work as a pedometer, is great for fitness enthusiasts and weight-conscious users.

Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-i9505 is now officially available in the Philippines! You can get it two colors, namely Black Mist and Frost White, for only Php 30,990 -- that's Php 2,000 less than the SRP of Samsung Galaxy S3 at launch last year. For more information about the handset, kindly use our search bar or visit a Samsung Store or an authorized retail outlet near you.

TP Friends, what can you say about the fact that we're getting just the Quad Core variant of SGS4? What can you say about its suggested retail price? Do you think it's fair? Kindly share your thoughts about this flagship handset in the comments section.