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Kiwis snap up Samsung's new smartphone

Published: 6:12AM Saturday April 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

There was an "overwhelming response" to Samsung's newest Galaxy S4 smartphone when it went on sale today as part of a global release, Samsung New Zealand says.

Due to the geographical location of New Zealand, Kiwis were the first in the world to purchase the device.

Samsung says, with a number of new features, it expects the Galaxy S4 to be the most popular Samsung smartphone to date.

"Due to overwhelming global demand of Galaxy S4, the initial supply may be limited. We expect to fulfil inventory to meet demands in the coming weeks," the company said in a statement.

Samsung New Zealand's Head of Telecommunications, Stefan Lecchi, reiterated this today, saying that some customers may have to wait a few days before they receive their smartphone.

"But we're confident that we will have enough phones to meet the New Zealand market demand."

Lecchi told ONE News that there had been an "overwhelming response" to the phone in New Zealand.

He said Samsung ran a "buzz campaign" to promote this weekend's launch.

It saw participants sign up online, and compete using their social media accounts to win a Galaxy S4.

Lecchi said over 11,000 people had been listed on the digital queue.

'Value for money'

Electrical engineering student Alan Buckner said he had expected the S4 to be cheaper, and he hoped it lived up to its $1149 price tag.

Buckner says he bought an S4 this morning as he prefers Samsung to Apple because it has open-sourcing and he wants to use his Android phone to start writing his own application.

Lecchi said Samsung is confident that the the smartphone is "value for money", and different companies would be offering competitive pricing.

The company unveiled the smartphone on March 15 in New York saying it will "redefine the smart phone experience".

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a larger and higher resolution 5-inch screen, dual cameras allowing use of the front and rear cameras simultaneously and a translator feature.

Samsung has so far sold more than 40 million S3 smartphones, rivalling that of Apple Inc's iPhones.

'S4 good, not great'
The S4 is a revamped version of its top-selling S3 phone with a bigger screen and a few software gimmicks, reviewers said.

"The Galaxy is still a beautiful, high-horsepower Android phone," New York Times' columnist David Pogue wrote.

"But basically, it's an updated Galaxy S3. If this were Apple, who adds the letter S to denote a slightly upgraded model ("iPhone 4S," for example), Samsung might have called this phone the Galaxy S3S," he wrote.

"(The S4) looks for all the world like the Galaxy S III - despite having a bigger screen and more horsepower, at 7.9mm and 4.6 ounces it's actually imperceptibly thinner and lighter than the S III. But copying the S III wasn't a good idea." Verge's David Pierce said.

AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg said the S4 is a good phone, just not a great one and urged readers to consider the more polished-looking, and quite capable, HTC One, rather than defaulting to the latest Samsung offering.

"It's an evolution of the prior model and despite some improvements, it still is especially weak in the software Samsung adds to basic Android. I found Samsung's software often gimmicky, duplicative of standard Android apps, or, in some cases, only intermittently functional," he said.

"This isn't a phone that's going to convert an iPhone user, and current Galaxy S III owners aren't going to miss out on a whole lot as far as features go," CNN's Adrian Covert said.

"I don't like holding this phone, and I can't overstate how much that informs the experience of using it. It makes an awful first impression, slippery and slimy and simply unpleasant in your hand," Covert said.