"Absolutely Amazing!"4.5 starson by dwoods12
Pros: Amazing Screen
MicroSD Card Expansion
IR Blaster works as advertised
Camera takes great photos
Long battery life
Excellent call quality
Cons: Plastic construction
Tons of bloatware
Only 16GB version available with most carriers
Summary: For starters, I'd like to put you in my shoes. I'm a college student, looking to buy my first ever smartphone. Being a bit of a techy person, I wanted to go top-of-the-line, but do it when the device was new, so that I could stay current for as long as possible.
My two biggest competitors in choice was the HTC One, and the Galaxy S4, and it was hard to pick, you can tell from the debates in the comment section of any article mentioning one or the other (and a few that don't) that lots of people have fierce opinions on the matter, and while some might not agree with my decision, I think it was the right one for me.
The biggest selling points are the MicroSD card and the removable battery. I wanted the MicroSD card because I like to watch movies and listen to music on the go, but can't afford a giant data plan, so streaming is out of the option. I've tossed a 32GB Sandisk Class 10 card in there and it runs like a dream. I also like to tinker, and sometimes things crash... hard. When the power button just doesn't do the trick, I'd rather yank the battery than wait for it to die. For that same reason I will never buy a Mac or most Ultrabooks, if the battery is sealed, then you don't have a deal.
From there on, I knew I had to have the S4, but once I got the box open and started tinkering, I knew it was the best phone I could have chosen. The screen is absolutely beautiful. **** and moan all you want about AMOLED and Pentile, the colors are beautiful, if a little over saturated, and at the resolution (1080p for those living under a rock) Pentile barely means a thing, unless you have perfect vision and smash your nose against the screen.
Speaking of touching the screen, you don't have to! I'm not talking about all that gimmicky swipe over the screen to move through gallery pics stuff, I mean there are times when I trigger a link without making contact with the screen. Careful application of this fact, and I rarely see fingerprints any more.
The IR blaster is simply amazing. I've set it up with every device in my house, and with the included Watch On app, I can control every device in a simple and easy manner. No fighting for the remote when I can change the channels right from my phone!
A lot of people will pick the One over the S4 due to the "build quality." I put that in quotes because I don't think it's the phrase they should use. What they are really using as criteria, is the build material. Metal is in right now, so people flock to it, but the S4, despite being made out of plastic, is still really well built. The weight is even throughout, and feels solid. I have a thin, barely there case on it, and have dropped it a few times onto hard floors and you wouldn't know it from looking at it. I can't say the same for my sisters iPhone which she set down gently on the table and had the screen crack from top to bottom. That's not a joke or exaggeration, it just goes to show that build quality is no the same as build material.
The battery lasts me though the day, easily. I work for a Cell service provider, so I constantly whip out my phone (our store has non-working demo models) so people can see what the newest thing in Android is. I stream Pandora and surf the web, play games (gotta love GBA Emus!!!) and I still have 45% at the end of the day on average, which tells me if I took it easy, I could make it through two days of very light use.
Call quality is good, speakers are nice, though not as nice as HTC's. BoomSound is a gimmick, but the front facing speakers do help when it comes to volume and clarity.
TouchWiz vs. Sense will always be a constant argument, but I like to look at it this way. TouchWiz is more true to vanilla android, in that it looks pretty similar and functions in much the same way, just with extra features on top. It seems that HTC is trying to hide Android with Sense, things like Blinkfeed, something I would never use, being a permanent part of the home screens is kind of silly. HTC seems to be taking the Apple path, in that their philosophy is "our way or the high way." Oh well, there's always custom roms.
Over all, I love this phone. It's everything I wanted it to be and more. I had my iPod touch figured out in a day, but I'm still discovering everything my S4 can do weeks after I got it. Yeah, it takes longer to figure it all out, but once you start to get it, you'll have people turning their heads going, "Woah, how'd you do that?"