Pros Battery life
Many features, if you need them/know how to use them.
Freezes a LOT
Cracks VERY easily.
Hard to figure out.
Summary I have gone through THREE of these already. If you want this phone, make sure you buy a REALLY good case for it, because if you so much as hiccup near this thing, the screen shatters. Aside from the screen, the phone is made of cheap plastic. My biggest problems are the glitches and the freezing. This is the third one I've had and theyve all done it. It freezes during all kinds of times, but it's most annoying when I try to make a phone call and try to hang up before leaving a voicemail... When it freezes like that, the only way to shut off the phone is to take off the back and remove the battery. I have to restart just about any app that i try to use, whether it's games or anything else about 1-3 times a day and a lot of times need to restart the phone when everything just starts crashing. I lost count of how many times ive gotten the notification saying "(insert app name here) has stopped responding." and shuts it down.
On the plus side, the battery life is way better than any droid ive ever owned and it does have a bright/wide screen.
I would recommend waiting for the s5, until samsung works out all the bugs.
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
Cons Nothing at all
Summary This phone has a built in 1080p display, great sound (even though it doesn't match up to boomsound on the HTC one), has a great user interface, and even an easy mode for people that are not necessarily tech savvy that makes the buttons bigger and less of a layout than the original user interface. People complain about the plastic backing, but really? All you're going to do with your phone is put a plastic case on it anyways, so what does it matter if it is metal or plastic, didn't seem much of a decision changer for me. This phone is an amazing step up from my iPhone 4 and makes the 5 look like it's made by 6 year olds. I hope this helps!
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
Pros Snappy, storage expandability options, big and sharp full HD screen, loud speaker, air gestures, motion sensing, battery life, ultimate multimedia machine
Cons Android's lack of support with certain websites and app. Nothing to do with this phone.
Summary I have been apple's can boy since the first iPhone. I have owned every iPhone and iPad. After using this phone for a few days I can say this with confidence that I'm not going back. I'm team Samsung now. I applaud them for their effort to develop their own OS (touch wiz). They are doing a great job and I'm sure it'll only get better. This phone is a keeper. Double thumbs up!