Pros True HD Screen diplay, 5 inch screen size, eye pause, eye track
Group play, S hub, story album, amazing camera features, removable battery and external microSD card support up to 64, wireless charging capability, S beam and universal remote control
Cons Nothing on Samsung Galaxy S4.
Summary Samsung Galaxy S4 is the best smartphone ever and Samsung is a true innovation company in this planet.
Pros Design, Features, Software, Sensor Array, Interface, Fluidity, Settings (well organized), Quick Functions, Swappable Battery, Expanded Memory (64GB), USB Connectivity, Translation, etc.
Cons Battery (I need more power Scotty!), OCR function (Still needs work)
Summary A feature-rich high-octane Super-phone that caught everyone's eye at a party last night. Before long people were approaching me to see the techno-wizardy that Samsung had packed into the handset. The bilingual party goers were enthusiastic with S Translate claiming it wasn't perfect but left Google translate in the dust. The photographers of the group were impressed with the camera and various modes on offer. Oohs and aahs came when I showed off the eraser and Sound Shot features.This person clearly never picked up a Galaxy S4. I have now used the device for 15 hours and have yet to experience any crashing, hanging or sudden reboots.
Updated on Apr 26, 2013
Pros - Amazing screen
- Multitasking capability, particularly with videos
- Smoothness between opening and closing apps
- Playing videos on an HDTV via AllShare is amazing!
- NFC/S Beam capability
Cons - Apps sometimes won't load information for no apparent reason/times out
- Gets hot very easily
- Battery life could be better
- Speaker placement
- Samsung bloatware
- NFC/S Beam sometimes takes multiple tries
Summary ***Notice: This is from a Verizon customer.***Update: I've switched to an iPhone 5 recently and it pretty much validates why I was frustrated with the Galaxy S4. Even with less RAM and fewer cores/speed in the CPU, the iPhone's speed runs laps around the Galaxy S4's; it also has almost no stutter over wifi, whereas the S4 would sometimes freeze up for no reason.
I've never really owned a smartphone prior to my Galaxy S4. The closest I've come was making do with an iPod Touch, first the 4th and then the 5th generation. However, hearing about all the flexibility of Android devices piqued my interest in an Android phone, and once their screens and other specs were up to par, the Galaxy S3 specifically caught my eye.
So when the S4 was announced, I'd read a lot of articles online and bought into the hype. Even before I had the phone, I knew that the touchless features (air gesture, smart pause, etc.) probably wouldn't be too useful to me anyway. But a faster processor, better screen - in fact, pretty much better everything - built up my expectations and roused my excitement.
And almost two weeks into using the phone, all I can say is that while some of the features, bells and whistles are cool, the phone utterly disappoints me when it comes to basic functions.
For starters, there are occasional instances when my phone just doesn't want to load information that requires an internet connection. The request will time out after the loading takes eons - if I want to see the comments or likes on a friend's facebook status? The loading animated circle will just keep on going 10, 20 seconds in, until I get bored and try to re-load their status. Same with twitter, same with youtube, and sometimes even the same with my e-mail. I wanted to believe at first that it was just Facebook which was lagging, but after more apps followed suite I'm disappointed. Give or take this is an occasional hiccup but it's still irritating.
Not only that, but the syncing needs some improvement. Push notifications from social media apps leave much to be desired. When someone sends me a private message on Facebook, replies to one of my tweets, likes a picture I post on instagram, etc; the phone does not notify me. I've tried tinkering with the settings over this to no avail.
The battery life isn't horrible, but I expected more. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's draining it fast without sounding nitpicky. Of course using the navigation is going to eat at it faster, as will looking for places on Yelp or just browsing the internet in general. But seeing the battery go down at a rate of 1% per minute (not an exaggeration) was disappointing. I hope that's all smartphones and not just my S4, otherwise I'd feel like I really got the short end of the stick. Yes, I could turn off a lot of features and save the juice more, but the point of a phone is to be able to see the screen for longer than five seconds before it auto-dims. I could just get a second battery, keep both charged before I head out into my day, and swap it out when the first one gets low. But that would involve repeatedly snapping the back cover off and on, inducing wear and tear on it eventually. A lot of people already complain enough that the back is "plastic and flimsy". Still, you can change this phone's battery. That's an edge over the iPhone and HTC phones already when, one year in, the battery endurance drops significantly and you have to wait another year before your two year contract renews. And of course you could get an extended, thicker battery, but that makes using your custom cases a bit harder, as well as complicating NFC/S Beam capabilities.
Speaking of which - it's wonderful after the 5th try, but even then it sometimes takes a while. A video, for example, will take a good solid few minutes. It's not as instant as one might hope, but it is a nifty feature.
As for the other advantage that goes hand in hand with a removable battery (expandable storage via microSD card) - A lot of people complain that you can't store apps on the SD card, and that a good chunk of the phone's 16 GB storage is used up already. In my experience, pretty much any device promising a given amount of storage will have slightly less, but this is a much more significant chunk - 7 GB were already used and I only had 9 GB to work with. However, I did expand my storage through a microSD card (29 GB's more off a 32 GB card - interesting how a 32 GB microSD card only leaves 3 less GB to work with, while a 16 GB phone leaves 7 less), and of the 9 GB's on the phone, the apps I've downloaded thus far really haven't used more than 2 GB. The rest of whatever data I'd want to download on a smartphone anyway - documents, pictures, videos, etc - can all go right to the microSD card, so the actual device memory is fine by me since I let it allocate mostly for the system workings. However, it was still kind of a disappointing surprise. Additionally, the microSD card can ironically turn into a disadvantage from what I've heard of a typical Android phone - while the iPhones and HTC phones will see a decline in battery peformance after a year, the phones with expandable storage will sometimes disconnect from the microSD card and have trouble recognizing it a year into ownership as well. Hopefully it won't happen with my beloved new S4 but we'll see.
The camera is definitely capable of taking some decent pictures, and the different kinds of modes definitely are interesting if you take your time to experiment with them. Yes, there is a tiny bit of lag between pressing the button and then the picture going through, but I've experienced the same on my 5th generation iPod Touch and I can only assume that it's a similar principle for the iPhones - after all, there's autofocus which takes place as well as brightness adjustment.
There are complaints about this phone heating up - Again, most devices heat up under heavy use. That's why computers and game consoles have fans, and when mini-computers like these don't have much for a venting system, it's inevitably going to get warm when you surf the net, make calls or watch videos. However, relative to the iPod Touch I've worked with, this phone DOES get a bit hot a bit faster.
Overall, even though no phone is perfect, the Galaxy S4 is still less perfect than I'd hoped. Hopefully over time Samsung will try to rectify the issue to appease the 10 million owners of this new phone with updates and bug fixes, and those will smooth the phone over a bit. But I just wish it'd been a super solid product right out of the box.
Updated on Jul 30, 2013
Powerful CPU and graphics
Frequent Updates from Samsung
Cons Poor build quality
Useless Samsung Apps occupying lots of GBs
Not so responsive
Outdated TouchWiz design
Summary The Best: Powerful, amazing screen, camera with tons of features. Everything that was good on GS3 is still here.
The Worst: The phone does not look like a premium device: you have the same cheap plastic you could find on all the other galaxy devices, and even the design is a little...anonymous. It is a Galaxy 3 with a bigger screen and a better camera in the end. Even holding It, it is difficult to say if It is a GS4 or a GS3.
Also, even with such a powerful CPU, It still struggles to be fluid and responsive because of all the useless apps running in background. Maybe having videos pause when you are not looking could be a great idea on paper, but in practice it is almost never helpful: if you are really distracted, it will pause too late, and if you are just moving your head it will become really annoying.
Pros Super fast, amazing and complete android OS, great screen clarity, fantastic camera, battery life is good, soooooo many apps, neat new features.
Cons Screen glare is high is direct sunlight, some kind of manual for basic features or a web link, nothing else really