It's finally here. Well, almost. Samsung last week revealed details of its hotly anticipated Galaxy S4 Android phone.
The Galaxy S4 retains a similar look and feel to its predecessor but includes a 4.99in full HD display, comes with a 13-megapixel camera and features a number of Samsung-exclusive software features. So, when can Aussies get their hands on it?
During the unveiling of the Galaxy S4 event in New York, Samsung stated the device would be available at the "end of April". The only specific Australian details we know is that it will launch on all major mobile networks including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile. All in all, the Galaxy S4 will be available through 327 mobile operators in 155 countries.
UPDATE: Samsung has since announced that the Galaxy S4 will be officially launched in Australia on Tuesday 23 April.
Officially, Samsung Australia hasn't told us much, releasing a rather generic media statement below:
Following the massive success of the Samsung GALAXY S III in Australia, we are excited to confirm the Samsung GALAXY S4 will be available from Q2. Pricing and availability will be available closer to the launch date.
What we don't know is exactly when Australian telcos will start selling the Galaxy S4. Given the loose Q2 timeframe offered (April, May, June) Aussies might have to wait a little longer than those in Asia and Europe to get their hands on the device.
If there is any delay in an Australian release of the Galaxy S4 through the carriers, this is likely to be a boom for online retailers such as MobiCity and Kogan. These stores will sell the Galaxy S4 through what is known as grey importing, also called parallel importing.
A grey import tech product is one that is imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner, in this case Samsung. This can be achieved by an Australian business that buys the product overseas and then sells it online, or simply an International business that will ship the product to Australia.
Is a grey import Galaxy S4 different to the Australian model?
The differences between an Australian model and an imported model are likely to be minimal, sans local telco software customisation. The main difference will be carrier branding, often in the form of a telco logo when you turn the phone on and some apps and services.
How many models of the Galaxy S4 are there?
There are different variants of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that will be sold in various parts of the world but the model you'll need to buy for use in Australia is the GT-i9500. There are three versions of this model: a 16GB version, a 32GB version and a 64GB version. All models of the i9500 are 4G LTE compatible and will therefore work on the Telstra and Optus 4G networks down under.
Where can I purchase the Galaxy S4?
You can pre-order the Galaxy S4 online from a variety of Web sites, most of them International retailers.
One of the most reputable is MobiCity. It currently lists the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $799, $899 and $999, respectively. The store says it currently expects to receive stocks of the Galaxy S4 on Friday 26 April with a further three to four days shipping time into Australia via Hong Kong. Do note that these dates are not set and can change at any time.
MobiCity is slightly pricier than other alternatives, but it does offer a 12 month Australian warranty. This is not a Samsung warranty, but is serviced by a company called Australian Warranty Services. The basic warranty that comes with any MobiCity purchase includes replacement within the first 48 hours if the product is dead on arrival (DOA), an assessment guarantee within 48 hours of receipt and a repair guarantee within 30 days. MobiCity also says that a replacement device will be offered if it is unable to repair the Galaxy S4 within the guaranteed timeframe.
Kogan will also sell the Galaxy S4 but hasn't announced its pricing. The company has set up a "register your details" page for the device and says it will sell the smartphone for "the best price in the world".
Kogan offers a standard 12 month warranty which claims Australia-wide repairs along with phone and e-mail support.
Expansys is another site that will sell the Galaxy S4. It lists all three models of the smartphone for pre-order in both colour variants but has not yet released pricing details.
Expansys offers a 12 month repair warranty with an entitlement to a full refund or replacement within 14 days from the date of dispatch in the event of a faulty product, or simply if you've changed your mind. The latter only applies if the phone is in as new condition with no missing packaging, accessories and manuals. Additionally, Expansis offers an optional extended warranty (12 months basic warranty plus three months extended) for an extra cost of $30.
Two of the most popular online stores for tech devices are UK pair Handtek and Clove. Both sites list the Galaxy S4 without confirmed pricing or availability, though Clove says that first stock of the device is expected to arrive on Friday 26 April.
Clove will charge £24.00 for the cheapest International Mail shipping down under (around $34.90 Australian dollars at the time of writing) while Handtek charges £15.00 for the same service (AUD$21.80), though a DHL Express option is available for £23.90.
Have you found a site that will ship the Samsung Galaxy S4 to Australia, or would you prefer to wait for the local release? Let us know in the comments below!
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