Samsung Galaxy S4 likely to launch in India on May 1 at price of Rs 45,000

The international version of Samsung Galaxy S4, the first phone to feature the ‘Big.Little’ eight-core architecture from ARM, is likely to launch in India on May 1 and carry a price tag of Rs 45,000, according to indications from retailers taking pre-orders for the super phone.

“Expected date of launch in India is 1st May 2013 [and] expected launch price is Rs 45,000,”, the online vendor, says on its website.

The online retailer has started taking pre order bookings for the Galaxy S4 at Rs 999.

The Galaxy S4 will compete with the Sony Xperia ZL and the water-resistant Sony Xperia Z, the LG Optimus G and the HTC Butterfly and One X+.

Considering that all the other phones are already available in the Indian market, the May 1 launch date is likely to disappoint Samsung fans in India.

Indeed, the hefty price tag of Rs 45,000 for the S4 is also likely to be a set back. However, the price can be expected to hit the Rs 35,000 mark after about four months. For example, the S3 too was priced at Rs 43,000 in June last year, but nine months later, the phone is now available for Rs 30,000.

In addition, the Indian government has increased the excise duty on cell phones from 1% to 6%. In other words, even if the price of the Galaxy S4 was to be kept at the same level as that of the S3 (Rs 43,000), the higher tax would push it to above Rs 45,000.

At the high price, the full-HD phone is likely to give second thoughts to many of its fans who have been waiting for it.

Apart from software features like eye-scrolling, the only big difference between the Samsung model and the others like the Sony Xperia ZL (available now at Rs 35,500) is the processor and the PowerVR graphics core.

Like the S4, the Sony Xperia Z and ZL have 5-inch full-HD displays, 13 mega-pixel cameras etc.. In fact, the Sony Xperia Z (priced at Rs 38,000 at present) is in some ways a more practical phone than the Samsung model due to its water-proof and dust-proof characteristics.

In addition, the Sony models looks much better than the S4, and come with ‘shatter-proof’ glass that is reported to be even stronger than the Gorilla Glass 3 that the Galaxy model comes with.

By the time, the S4 is actually launched, the price of the Sony Xperia models may drop by a further Rs 2,000, potentially making the (non water-resistant) Xperia ZL 25% cheaper than the Galaxy.

Of course, the Samsung model, which has eight cores instead of four, is still a more powerful phone compared to the Sony, LG and HTC models by about 25%.

For example, according to the Antutu Benchmark, the S4 scores about 10,300 for CPU power, while the Krait-based models (including the Xperia, the LG Optimus G and the HTC models) score about 8,000.

Similarly, in the graphics processor department, the Samsung model scores close to 8,200, while the others score in the range of 7,000-7,300. The difference is seen in RAM performance too, with the S4 managing about 5,500, while the others manage only about 3,200 points.

Not surprisingly, the overall score for the eight-core S4 is about 25,000, while the overall score for the Xperia Z (and ZL) is only about 19,000. The Optimus G, which does not have a full-HD display, also scores the same. The HTC Butterfly scores 20,000 and the HTC One X+ scores only about 14,000.

However, it should be noted that these are not poor scores at all. The Galaxy S3, which also runs on a quad-core chip, scores only about 16,300 in the tests.

The main reason for the outperformance of the S4 is that it is the first smartphone to come with Cortex A15 cores. Cortex A15 is a more advanced and more powerful design compared to the Cortex A9 design on which the other models chips have been based. In addition, the Exynos Opta chipset contains not just four A15 cores, but also four additional Cortex A7 helper chips that assist with power saving.

Of course, the S4 also comes with numerous software features, such as ’tilt to scroll’, which are missing on the others. However, these features are usually copied and distributed by the others through over-the-air updates soon after they are launched.

As such, the Sony Xperia Z actually appeals as perhaps a better option than the S4, considering the steep price and the wait involved in acquiring the Samsung model, particularly as smartphones are adequately powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Krait architecture. However, for Galaxy S aficionados, a wait seems to be in order.