Samsung Galaxy S4 to hit Australia on April 27

Time to let the cat out of the bag, a big blue bag, and while Saturday seems like an odd day to release a phone, that’s just what Samsung is doing with its much-anticipated fourth-in-line to the Galaxy throne.

Unveiled earlier this year – and we have a hands-on from the event – the Samsung Galaxy S4 is coming to store shelves before April is done and dusted, with an announcement this evening declaring that it will be just a few days before Australians could get their hands on the new smartphone.

Galaxy S3 meets the Galaxy S4: pick the new one. (Hint: it's on the right)

“Demand for the Galaxy S4 has been phenomenal, so we’re delighted to announce it will go on sale from Saturday, April 27th,” said Tyler McGee, Vice President of Telecommunications for Samsung Electronics Australia.

“Samsung was the number one selling smartphone brand globally in 2012 and continues to be the number one growing smartphone brand in the world. The Galaxy S4 is a best-in-class smartphone that will be a game changer here in Australia.”

Smartphones in order from left to right of release date: Sony Xperia Z, LG Optimus G, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S4 looks to be the last of the flagship smartphones released in Australia for the first half of the year, after seeing the Sony Xperia Z, LG Optimus G, and HTC One, and this device will bring with it a host of features that make it prime competition for all of those models, as well as whatever else we see later in the year.

Some of these include support for the new high-speed 802.11ac wireless mode – faster than just the a/b/g/n modes normally offered – as well as a 13 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front camera that can take pictures at the same time, 4G connectivity, Near-Field Communication technology, the ability to turn your phone into a remote control with an infrared LED, 16GB storage with a microSD slot to expand that, and a quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz.

That last one – the 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor – is faster than the model used in the HTC One by 200MHz, making it the fastest 4G phone to be released in Australia.

Samsung has managed to pack all of this, as well as Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” (the very latest version of Android, in fact, and something no device outside of the LG Google Nexus 4 has) in a device measuring 7.9mm thin and weighing 130 grams.

Look-wise, good luck telling it too far apart from its predecessor, with only a slightly larger screen measuring 5 inches, but managing to pack in even more clarity, with a Full HD panel over last year’s HD variant, and showing up 441 pixels per inch, like what we saw on Sony’s Xperia Z.

Outside of the hardware, though, Samsung is including some extras, such as a one month trial to its Music Hub streaming service, shared TV solution from Samsung WatchON that works with Samsung Smart TVs, Navigon turn-by-turn navigation, and the support to turn your S4 into a second screen for Samsung TVs in May with Smart View. Catch-up TV will also  through Plus 7 and QuickFlix in July.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will hit stores on Saturday, though pre-sales start from April 24, and the phone will be available from pretty much every telco in Australia, including Telstra, Virgin, Optus, and Vodafone.

Phones being sold in Australia will be 4G and won’t have that eight core processor announced earlier in the year, however, and Vodafone customers purchasing this phone should receive 4G access speeds when that telco eventually makes its LTE speeds available to customers.