Samsung Galaxy S4, powerful, intuitive and accessible to the visually impaired

Monday, 20 May, 2013

By: Amóvil

Imagen del dispositivo móvil Samsung Galaxy S 4

The Galaxy S4, Samsung’s latest flagship Smartphone, is a high end, intuitive and powerful device that Amóvil was able to review thanks to the loan by Orange. The phone, which runs on Android 4.2.2, provides accessibility features that accommodate the needs of users with visual and dexterity disabilities.

The device, housed in a polycarbonate casing, is lightweight (130 grams), and measures 136.6x69.8x79 mm. It includes a 5-inch super AMOLED multi-touch capacitive screen with 1080x1920 pixels which displays content optimally. In addition, it comes with a rear 13 megapixels camera and a 2 megapixels front-facing VGA camera that allows video calls.

Accessibility review


The S4 offers a very improved version of TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, which allows gesture navigation. Blind users can navigate around the screen, activate items, and even jump to various screens using gestures such as one finger drag, one or two fingers swipe, or double taps.

The handset also includes a built-in screen magnifier that is activated with a simple one finger triple tapping gesture and, an option to increase the font size. Furthermore, the device’s large display and the Air View application, which allows users to enlarge the content by hovering their finger above the display without actually touching it, contribute to improve users experience.


Although the phone’s user guide provides no information about hearing aid compatibility, we were able to attest its compatibility with some hearing aids both in the microphone and t-coil modes. The S4 also allows users to insert a loopset or to connect to the phone through Bluetooth technology. In addition, hearing impaired users who prefer communicating in sign language will be able to make video calls thanks to the VGA front facing camera previously mentioned.


The Galaxy S4 offers some interesting features that help accommodate the needs of users with dexterity limitations. Besides being ergonomic and lightweight, this device is equipped with a series of sensors that allow users carry out functions on the Smartphone without actually having to touch the display. An example is the Air Call Accept feature that enables users to answer an incoming call by simply moving their hand to the left then to their right across the display without touching it. Also, the QuickGlance feature allows viewing notifications when the screen is off by hovering the palm above the display. The screen will turn on to show the notifications hub.

To mute incoming calls and to pause playing sounds or videos, users simply need to turn the device upside-down. The S4 also offers a smart scrolling system that allows users to scroll pages up and down by slightly tilting their heads while looking directly at the screen. However, while this feature is certainly very promising, it does not work correctly. In most cases it scrolls too fast making it difficult to read the display.


The Samsung Galaxy 4 includes standardized icons and symbols, thus suitable for users with certain limited comprehension skills or learning disabilities. The phone also allows customizing the home screen as well as the phone book and adding a widget that provides a quick access to frequent contacts.

For more details about accessibility features available in this device, please consult the Samsung Galaxy S4's full accessibility report available in Amóvil.

Have you tried this device? We would like to know about your experience. Write to us!

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