57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows the competition out of the water!
UPDATE#1: The battery life seems great, better than on the S3 even though the screen is larger and has a higher resolution than the S3. When I had my S3, I used to lose about ~3-5% of battery every two hours or so but with the S4, I seem to lose about ~1-2% so that's awesome. The phone comes with a ton of bloatware and the only way to get a good battery is by removing all...
Published 7 months ago by Moar Cores
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Phone charging issue
The phone has a known issue that it randomly stops being able to charge. you plug it in and nothing happens. I've tried battery swaps and countless different chargers. Reading forums, it sounds like a known issue and Samsung has done nothing.
Published 3 months ago by Ajn007
Most Helpful First | Newest First
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows the competition out of the water!,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)UPDATE#1: The battery life seems great, better than on the S3 even though the screen is larger and has a higher resolution than the S3. When I had my S3, I used to lose about ~3-5% of battery every two hours or so but with the S4, I seem to lose about ~1-2% so that's awesome. The phone comes with a ton of bloatware and the only way to get a good battery is by removing all the bloatware. I was getting terrible battery life when I first got my phone but after reading online it seems that everyone suggests removing the bloatware for batter battery life. Like I said in my review, the snapdragon 600 uses very little battery when it is not being used so that's a big plus. I'm a heavy user and when I say heavy user, I mean heavy user. I do pretty much everything on my phone from taking a crapload of pictures/videos, watching YouTube videos, playing 3D games, phone calls and surfing the internet. At the end of the day the phone has about 30-35% of juice left. Also, one thing that I forgot to mention was the speakers on the phone. Samsung decided to move the speakers which used to be at the top near the camera on the S3 to the bottom of the phone which wasn't a good idea if you ask me. You can block the sound coming from the phone when holding the phone with your hand.
It's been a week since I got my Galaxy S4 and this thing is super awesome. My previous phone was the S3 which I loved to death and this time I'm super excited to have the S4 in my hands. I had absolutely zero issues with the S3 but the S4 looks so sexy with the metal edges. I seriously don't understand why people buy an iPhone because let me tell you that the Galaxy S4 blows the iPhone 5 out of the water and every other phone out there. The Galaxy S4 wins hands down in every category compared to the iPhone 5. I was blown away by the performance of this phone. The Snapdragon 600 is blazing fast and uses far less battery than the S3. I can get through the day with a single charge and still have 30% left at the end of the day. I'm a heavy user so this says a lot about the phone. Even my family who loves the iPhone is blown away by this phone. My family just loves the big screen and the customization that it has compared to the iPhone 5. There are many reasons why I decided to go with this phone over the other smartphones on the market but the main reason is the screen size, camera, storage, processor and the battery life.
These are some of the things that the Galaxy S4 has over the iPhone 5 and other high end phones:
-Screen: The Galaxy S4 has a nice 5 inches Super AMOLED HD screen that makes everything stand out when viewing it. The resolution on this phone is a nice 1080 x 1920 (441ppi pixel density) which makes everything look sharp. The Gorilla Glass 3 is also much better at preventing the screen from cracking and scratching. I tried to scratch the screen with my car keys and nothing happened to the screen, impressive. It has a significantly higher resolution than the iPhone 5 (640 x 1136). Also, the iPhone 5 is only 4 inches which is way too small for most people.
-Android OS: This phone ships with the most up to date version of Android, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) which is the fastest Android version yet. Samsung has added many new features to TouchWiz which is great. I'm not really a fan of TouchWiz but it seems that they have made many improvements to the UI.
-Design: The design is sort of the same as the S3 which I have no problems with. The S3's design is sexy and very comfortable to hold in your hand and the same goes for the S4. If you loved the S3's design then you will love the S4's design even more, trust me. The phone feels a little bit lighter and thinner which is great. It has a nice feel to it that makes you want to hold the phone.
-Camera: The primary camera on this phone is 13MP (4128 x 3096 pixels) and the front camera is 2MP that takes some of the best pictures I have ever seen. The front facing camera is great when you are Skyping or even taking pictures of yourself.
-Battery: Samsung has decided to improve the battery capacity in S4 to 2600mAh that can easily last a full day with a single charge. I can get through a day with a single charge and still have 30% left at the end of the day. The battery life is one of the most important aspects when deciding which phone to buy for me because I travel a lot and I need a phone that can last a full day. My previous phone which was the S3 needed at least 2-3 charges to last through a day. The Snapdragon 600 does an outstanding job at using as little battery as possible.
-Storage: With the option of an external sdcard, this phone simply destroys the iPhone 5. I can store as many pictures and HD videos as I want and it will never come close to being full. I am the type of person who stores large collections of pictures, videos, and movies and this phone lets me do all of that easily. I also play 3D games that require a minimum of 1-2GB of space and this phone is perfect for that.
-Processor: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (Quad-core 1.9 GHz Krait 300) does an amazing job at keeping this phone lag free and blazing fast. I have never experienced a slow down with this phone. I have even tested this phone by playing intensive games such GTA Vice City on the highest settings and there were no slowdowns whatsoever. I am very impressed with the processor in this phone.
-Removable Battery: Who doesn't love this, seriously? This and the option of an external sdcard make this the best phone of the year. I always carry extra batteries whenever I travel somewhere and I can easily swap my battery with another one when the phone is low on battery. This is a big plus for this phone. Sucks to be an iPhone user!
-None. As much as I want to think of something bad to say, there's simply nothing negative about this phone.
Overall, I can safely say that Samsung has another winner in their hands. It's a great phone and it doesn't disappoint. With the amazing 1080p resolution, screen size, battery capacity and storage, this phone puts other phones to shame. The Galaxy S4 will be the best phone of 2013, mark my words!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome phone, incremental upgrade from SIII,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)Galaxy S4 is an incredible phone. I have been using this unlocked S4 for past 2 days helping a friend to migrate from iPhone 4S. My friend has been on iPhone and it also gave me a unique perspective. I used iPhone for couple of years and been using Android for past 3+ years.
I have used Galaxy S3, Note II and for me S4 is more like a S3s :) If you have a Galaxy S3, it is perfect and there is no need to move to S4. The new features are more like minor upgrades for me. Just like Detroit rolls out new cars every year, phone manufacturers have found excellent way to make yearly upgrades.
Battery came for almost a day. The video playback was crisp and my friend was amazed at the customization options. It is heaven for a iphone user to come out of shackles and explores the wonderful world of Android. It sure sounds like it is for geeks, but Samsung has created lot of ways to simplify and make it less intimidating. The EASY mode is for one such reason. Samsung's addition of all those apps (commonly referred as crapware) is not as bad as HTC or LG. Android experience is classified as pure vanilla in phones like Nexus. Vendors like Samsung have added a whole lot of extra programs.
5" HD Super AMOLED 1920 x 1080 display (441 ppi) is just plain gorgeous. 13 MP camera takes ginormous image sizes. I put a 64 GB microSDXC card SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC Class 6 Memory Card with SD Adapter - Retail Packaging as my friend wants to take lot of movies (built-in 2 GB RAM, 16 GB ROM). No stuttering, and very smooth playback of videos captured in varying light conditions (HD Playback; HD Recording). Compatible video types are AVI/DIVX, WMV/ASF, FLV, MKV, MP4/3GP, WEBM. HDR and Panaromic photos were incredibly sharp. Compatible audio types are: AAC, AMR, MP3, OGG, WMA/ASF, 3GA/M4A, FLAC, WAV. Google Music, PlayerPro Music player are producing excellent music. Audio/Video is one section where S4 has nudged S3. For a normal user, if you are not into lot of video processing this does not matter.
S4's infrared sensor is the same technology as TV remote control, so with WatchON you can change the TV channel from your phone. My friend was shocked to see this feature. Having used Android for a long time, I explored all new features one by one. My friend is still getting used to and feels this is too complicated. I broke down into lot of sub features and told my friend he may not use 50% of features, but told him to explore one feature at a time and focus on that.
Games were very buttery, this phones runs ARM®-based octa-core mobile CPU. This is apparently world's first! Inside this chip is Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU. I tried several car racing games and performance was phenomenal. People on the XDA-Developers forum report seeing smearing and ghosting when scrolling on the phone. This especially occurs to people when scrolling among darker colors, which begin showing up as purple. I tried hard to see if I could on the S4 I was testing with my friend and I could not see it. I am sure these can be upgraded with software over due course.
Air View and Air Gestures - are they worth it? Air view is similar to how the S-pen on the Galaxy Note 8 works. Simply hover finger a few millimeters above the screen and in supported apps, you'll see a preview of content. This works with many of Samsung's built-in apps, including the photo gallery, the dialer, Samsung's browser and email client. It also works with Flipboard. Air View works by cranking up the capacitive sensor on the screen. Another new feature is Air Gestures. This uses the IR sensor on the top of the phone to detect movement by your palm or finger. One can flip between open tabs in Samsung's browser app, skip to a new song in the music player and do many other things. I say these are still in works and sometimes not very efficient.
GPS was spot on and I tried multiple GPS apps. It was bright outdoors (had to crank the brightness all the way up). I tried multiple apps to demonstrate to my friend. In the end, my friend was impressed with what all Android and in particular S4 had to offer. Smooth and Stunning display!
I tried following apps and they just worked awesome.
Angry Birds (Space/Seasons)
Amazon App Store
Car Maintenance Reminder Pro
NAVIGON (from Garmin - offline maps)
Google Currents (nice way to read News)
Tapatalk (awesome forum browsing app)
OverDrive Media Console: Library eBooks & Audiobooks (public library consumption of media)
Microsoft One Note (legacy docs, skydrive of 25 GB is good)
Subsonic Music Streamer
Terminal Emulator (still need to use vi, yes this is it)
TweetCaster Pro for Android (excellent twitter client)
Plenty of Widgets
Ask questions, the review cannot do justice to Galaxy S4. I will be glad to answer any questions.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this phone,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)Very happy with this phone. I am a hard core vanilla android user and usually use google devices, but with sprint my options have been limited. I have been using this phone with cyanogenmod and very happy with the speed and quality of the devices, while not sacrificing my hatred for bloated software from manufacturers.
With that said, the samsung software is very nice with some features not available on any other phone, it just wasn't for me. Device wise, this was one of the best devices on the market when I purchased it.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great phone with little glitches,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)I am coming from an HTC EVO 4g LTE and love this phone.
I downloaded the latest firmware as of this review ending in MDL. Haven't experienced the lag that would make users choose the new HTC One over the Galaxy S4.
Camera interface is a BIG UPGRADE from HTC's. Quality of pictures is great and for me, this phone did a great job in low light settings. Is it better than the HTC One in terms of low light pics? not sure, but definitely good enough for me!
S voice could use a little work. I wish voice recognition wasn't server based (Siri too!).
Taking screenshots with the phone by using hand gestures doesn't seem to work for me.
The eye scrolling feature totally sucks. I turned it off.
Opening 2 apps at the same time TOTALLY ROCKS! love this feature as it allows me to multitask.
This phone is fast, great battery life, and has all the good stuff everyone else says about this phone. Just wanted to add my 2 cents in here.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome phone!,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)The Samsung galaxy s4 is by far currently the best cell phone on the sprint network with only the I phone 5 and htc 1 even trying to give it competition. The quad core processor ,amazing screen and long battery life make this the best option for the android lovers out there.
16gb memory but allows micro sd upgrade unlike iphone 5.
Really long battery life
quad core cpu with 2gbs of ram. (that's a better computer then most households have anymore)
13 megapixel camera that does amazing close up pictures and decent distant ones. (comparing this to my nikon d7000)
Slightly larger phone so if you have small hands it may be uncomfortable or easy to drop.
Just so you know:
Jason bought the black Heather bought the white. We both agree the white looks better even in the cases.
For every bit of hype the iphone 5 has the galaxy s4 has the muscle to back it up. While samsung may not be the marketing firm that apple is they let there products talk for them self. And if you listen you can hear them clearly saying I am a better phone.
A Jason and Heather Stanhouse review.
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great But Not Groundbreaking,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)I'll start off giving a bit of background on my smartphone usage. I've pretty much been a Droid user for my whole life. I'm definitely a power user and I greatly enjoyed having a keyboard. I could type long text messages or emails with ease, and I never really had that much interest in switching to a non-keyboard phone. Unfortunately, that decision was taken out of my hands somewhat. I have the Droid 4 which I greatly enjoy, but it has it's own problems. After having it for about a year it got a pretty nasty crack on it. I played around with some friends GS3's and was very impressed with them. However the rumors about the GS 4 coming out had already started so I decided to hold off. I'm glad that I did, but a lot of my review will be based off of not having the GS3 and making such a drastic switch. As I put in the title, it seems to be minor improvements upon a design they've found worked as opposed to the drastic changes previously seen. Without further ado...
There isn't much positive to be said about the aesthetics of the Galaxy S4 body to be honest. It looks and feels like a cheap toy. It feels... clammy might be the best way to describe it. It really isn't the best feel when you're holding it, and compared to the HTC One it's disappointing. It doesn't seem like it had that much effort put into changing it. It does feel sturdy though, despite being a very thin phone. I was able to get a good grip on it though which is important to me since I'm rather small. Overall I would give the looks a 2.5/5
Huge upgrade over.. well anything but a computer. This really is just a small computer, and it runs flawlessly. The screen is massive and great. Easily the best one that I've seen on a phone. The 5" screen could be a little bit big for some people I think, but for most of the younger generation will be ok with it though. The battery is incredible as well. My Droid 4 would die around 4 or so after a normal days use (streaming music, internet, tons of emails, etc). This will last me all day, including going out at night which is a massive incentive to me. The camera is great on it as well, much better than any other Android phone. It is still slightly edged out by the iPhone though. Overall though I would give it a 5/5 on hardware
I'll start with the obvious, it's actually running the latest version of Jelly Bean, and should keep up better than other phones do (minus Nexus 4.) This is a huge bonus, because Android's because fault is that the OS is so fragmented. Now, Samsung has put a ton of their own software on top of Jelly Bean. The best description would be that it's overwhelming probably. There are a lot of Samsung apps that really will just never be used. So I'm not even going to bother going over the party trick type apps. Instead I'll talk about a few that really caught my attention.
S Health: Helpful now, will be awesome in the future. The premise is that it's a basically a fitbit built into your phone. It helps you track calories, steps walked, workouts, etc. It works great now, but I don't think that it will get better with accessories.
WatchON: Basically it acts as a universal TV remote and a Netflix browser. It's great, and I don't even watch very much TV. I suspect that this will become the standard soon, but until then this is the best version you can get.
Air View/Gesture: A great idea, but not great in practice. It's glitchy currently and doesn't always work (or does work in ways that you don't want it to.)
Camera Software: There's actually a lot of really great features that come with the camera. The most novel of them is the ability to take a picture from the front and back cameras at the same time. I can see this actually becoming standard in the future as well.
Overall I think that the software is good, but not perfect. Overall I would still rather just have stock jelly bean. Samsung adds some good features, but it also adds a lot of stuff that I really don't need and can't get rid of.
It's a good phone, there's no doubt about that. It's not a great phone though. The screen is amazing, the body isn't. The software is good, the hardware is out of this world. It all comes down to personal preference between this and the HTC One I think. Personally I'm fine just putting a case on my GS 4, but I've always been more interested in battery and hardware. I can completely understand picking a slight downgrade on those areas though in return for a great body like the HTC One has.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Satisfied Customer,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)I really enjoy this phone. At first I didn't like it because I didn't know how to use the phone, but now I am getting a hang of the phone and I really like it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)I like this unit, the only thing is the battery doesn't last long. I have to re-charge it every night to keep it going the whole day. But the features are great.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars keeps restarting UPDATE: fantastic phone,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)as of right now, this phone keeps restarting on me. hopefully its just a defect. if I can get it replaced easily and it doesn't happen with the new one then i'll update this.
UPDATE: got the defective unit replaced, and the new one seems to be working swimmingly.
REVIEW: So far I don't think I've utilized the galaxy s4 enough to give you guys an extensive review, but I'll be updating this review frequently as I go. I'm going to keep this very simplistic; feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them and update this review.
Exterior/Appearance: this phone looks beautiful; although I was a bit disappointed when I first saw Samsung unveil this device thinking it looked mediocre, I've grown somewhat fond of the look of it. without any covers on it, she's beautiful. I'm not sure what the trim of the device is, but it gives the phone a very nice look. the only complaint is the back cover: it is a VERY flimsy plastic, as many of you may have heard. I bought the Samsung S-View Flip Cover for it and I noticed that the cover for that case was made of much stronger material (or at least thicker).
Screen: not much to say here; very stunning screen and the perfect size. for an average consumer, this will more than suffice. Have only managed to take a couple pictures and watch some HD youtube videos, and so far you can color me impressed.
Battery Life: I cannot make a fair judgment of this right now but I'll be sure to update you as soon as possible. so far it looks like the battery runs over 12 hours (this was with me updating and downloading apps on 4g so who knows really). I'll try using it from 100 to 0 sometime and leave the information here (with average use of course).
With all that technical stuff over with, lets get down to the experience.
- no ringtone trimmer? I don't know if I can't find it, but there doesn't seem to be a built in ringtone trimmer. I like to use my music from my microSD as ringtones, and obvious I don't want to start at the beginning of the song every time, but it seems I have to with the galaxy s4. Well that's not entirely true; you can pick "auto recommendation" which picks the "best part of the song" and starts it from there. Better than nothing I guess, but why not let the user pick where to start and finish?
- volume button placement (okay, this isn't really an issue unless you have a Samsung Flip Cover): it just seems odd that Samsung would develop their own flip cover and not realize that the cover actually blocks access to the volume buttons (why not switch the sides since the lock screen is useless with the flip cover anyways? that doesn't make any sense!)
- no native radio widget/app? I know this doesn't really affect a lot of people, but I really like having a radio on my old HTC Evo 4g.
Instead of Pros, I decided to just talk about the features themselves; I figure those features ARE the Pros:
- pull down, easy access status bar: most phones have a pull down status bar where you can see updates and all that jazz. Samsung took it to the next level by actually adding useful toggle widgets or "quick buttons" to it. these include buttons that toggle wifi, gps, sound, screen rotation, mutli-window, smart scroll, air gestures and more! its fantastic. you just pull it down with your finger and then you can scroll right to see more options. now whats even better? use two fingers to pull it down and get all the buttons in grid view. great way to unclutter your home screens.
- multi-windows: if you have or had the Samsung Note II, then you'll be familiar with this feature. basically you can have two apps open at the same time side by side in adjustable windows. works in both landscape and portrait.
- S voice: i'm not ecstatic about this feature, but it is useful. you can even make your own "wake up" phrase (I named mine veronica). it will text for you, call, take a note, make a calendar appointment, etc. it isn't as clear as i'd hoped though (as in sometimes it doesn't hear me correctly). also, you have to actually double click the home button to use it, in which case i could just do it myself (though not as quickly). either way, sort of useful at times.
- Driving Mode: feature utilizes S voice so you can drive while still using your phone hands free. great way to play music, call, text, etc.
- Group Play: this is a pretty neat feature if you know a couple of other people with galaxys. You can play music, games, share pictures, and share documents. You can even create a surround sound type entertainment by assigning which galaxy you want to play the left speaker and which one to play the right speaker. I don't think I know enough people to use this feature too much though but I like it.
- Camera: this is one of the best features on this phone. very clear and concise photos. the camera app also has a lot of filters which actually preview how your shot will look before you select it (which means no need to keep clicking and unclicking to figure out which filter works). There are also other cool features like eraser mode, sound & shot, drama, animated photo, rich tone, night mode, etc. Lets not forget dual-shot mode either, which allows you to use both your rear view and front facing cameras simultaneously! They even have a variety of templates for that feature as well. My only complaint is image stabilization isn't as nice as I'd thought it would be (I tried out the Nokia Lumia 920---best camera out there in my opinion---amazing low light and image stabilization).
There are so many features that i'm still finding out about them, but i'll keep updating as soon as I can.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loaded with crap out of the box, but not bad after some changes,
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S4, White (Sprint) (Wireless Phone)Do you remember that YouTube video showing what an iPod box would look like if it was made by Microsoft? The dozens of stickers and certifications and advertisements? That's what this phone feels like out of the box. It's overwhelmed with Samsung stuff, much of which serves only to drain the battery or change Android for no particular reason. The phone actually lagged and stuttered from the get-go. That's a hell of an achievement for a quad-core handset with 2GB of RAM. Since I came from a Galaxy S running Cyanogen, that just wouldn't do.
SPEEDIFYING THE S4:
The first step was to gain full control by rooting it. Google 'qbking77 galaxy s4 root' for an easy guide.
Step two was to install 'NoBloat Free' and start disabling all the Samsung background nonsense. Search '[ROM]broodROM S4 RC1' and click the first link for a list of what's safe to ditch. Don't permanently delete anything; you'll need to re-enable these later to apply Samsung's over-the-air updates.
Step three was to change the animation speed for the UI under Developer Options. To enable Developer Options, go to System Settings -> More -> About Device, scroll down, and tap on build number five or ten times. Then back up, go into Developer Options, and change the three 'X scales' near the bottom from 1X to 0.5X or Off.
Step four was to ditch the TouchWiz launcher and use Nova Launcher instead. It's like a pumped-up version of the stock Android launcher and very fast. The free version does everything you'll need.
Step five was to disable NFC, S Beam, Bluetooth, and so on. All that stuff is lovely, but leaving it on when you don't need it (Bluetooth in particular) does nasty things to your battery life. If you want idle time measured in days, disable location services in the Maps app. If you get 'Media Server' taking up your battery, install Rescan Media Root.
That's it for performance. The phone is fairly quick now. It has about 900 MB of free memory and, if left idle, will sit for about 80 hours before the battery dies. After that, I installed a couple of useful apps like Screen Filter (to dim the screen even more at night), Waze (which has traffic rerouting and police alerts and makes my Garmin feel a million years old), F-Droid (an alternative app store that'll let you install things like AdAway) and so on.
It's a pretty handset and shockingly thin. It almost disappears even in tight (for a guy) jeans. It's also incredibly slippery. I nearly dropped it twice setting it up. Unlike my Samsung Epic (which had the delightful feature of falling into pieces when dropped and not breaking), you can crack the screen easily, so buy a case. I vowed I wasn't going to bother since the Epic never needed one. I've done a 180. After trying a few, I've been very happy with Spigen's Ultra Fit in high-grip matte black. The phone is much easier to grip now with minimal changes in thickness.
Review sites say the HTC One is a prettier fetish object. I agree it feels better in hand, but there's a caveat: it can't be dismantled. If you drop it or mess up the charging port, Sprint can't fix it onsite. They have to send it back to HTC. The HTC is also chunkier, for better or worse.
The screen is near-perfect. It'd be totally perfect if not for the high power use displaying white and pleasing, though somewhat inaccurate color. You'll want to use dark or night themes whenever possible. Pixels are invisible. Blacks are pitch even in darkness. The size is just on the border of too large for one-handed use. I'm over six feet with commensurately-sized hands, and pressing the side Power button while bracing with a pinky is a slight stretch. A five-foot friend loves her Note II, though, so if you're willing to treat it two-handed like a tablet, any hand size will do.
AS A PHONE:
Samsung included a useful app (perish the thought!) called 'Adapt Sound'. It's under System Settings -> My Device -> Sound, at the bottom. It'll test your hearing and change the frequency response of the phone to suit it. The app significantly improved the intelligibility of conversations to me. Much, much better than the Galaxy S.
I did have some trouble integrating Google Voice. Sprint has a Visual Voicemail app ('VTT') with a three month trial that kept coming back from the dead and showing me old voicemails. The solution was to press and hold the Voicemail app icon from Nova Launcher and drag it up to 'Manage App' on the top left. Then I pressed 'Disable' and agreed to all the prompts when it asked to uninstall itself. Now the voicemail button in the dialer calls Google Voice. Voicemails are also transcribed and sent to my inbox per usual.
This is my first handset without a hardware keyboard. It's been a surprisingly smooth transition to screen typing. Hardware keyboards work really well for idiosyncratic speech and punctuation. If you're sufficiently pedantic to chafe at the thought of accidentally using the wrong quote marks or comma placement, no software keyboard will be a true panacea. But some are better than others.
The most clever of them all is SwiftKey. First, because it'll let you seamlessly switch from tapping letters to gesture-style word tracing. Second, because it has the best text prediction, because it scrapes your email, Facebook, text messages, and Twitter to compile a personalized library of what you actually say. That one word you made up that doesn't exist in any dictionary? If you've ever used it anywhere, SwiftKey will predict it. That extends to full sentence constructions.
In practice, I use word-tracing in portrait mode and rely on SwiftKey to guess correctly. With just GMail and Facebook in the database, it does so about 90% of the time if my tracing is even vaguely on point. For more unique words, I switch to landscape and use that larger keyboard to accurately touch-type. As SwiftKey learns, I find myself doing this less often. In a car, I rely on Google's voice recognition, which is superb when it works (most of the time), but often requires saying the same thing twice to fix an error six words earlier.
All of this is noticeably easier on the S4's 5" screen than it ever was on the Epic's 4" screen. My iPhone friends continue to amaze me with their speed and accuracy, but with my large thumbs, I couldn't duplicate that with a screen keyboard on any handset before this one.
The 2.1 amp wall charger charges at 1% per minute, so a little under two hours for a full charge. Beware off-brand and car chargers. I discovered the phone charges in one of two modes: USB computer mode and dumb charger mode. USB mode (where it assumes the output device is a computer) only gives 0.5A (to stay within the USB spec), so the phone will take all night to charge. But it'll pull 2 amps or more from a dumb charger if you're not using a super-skinny USB cable.
The problem is, there are two ways to make a charger appear 'dumb', and they're incompatible. The Apple way (implemented by most chargers) won't fast-charge this phone. The other way (shorting the two middle USB data pins) will, but few chargers actually use this technique (thanks to Apple's popularity). The upshot is, unless you're buying branded accessories specifically for Android phones, you're probably going to have to do minor surgery on any of the cheaper chargers you buy.
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS PHONE?
Maybe. The S4 has some impressive hardware and a best-in-class screen, but the phone experience is dictated by Android. And Android is hit or miss.
This phone, after I've tweaked the hell out of it, is occasionally faster than an iPhone. More often, it isn't. The iPhone screen lights up faster when you press the power button. There's very little delay after you press an app, and very little more in showing content within the app. The UI animations are smooth.
Android is none of these things, and more noticeably, it's not consistent. Sometimes it's very fast, sometimes it lags, and you'll never have any idea why. And then there's the micromanagement. I'm happy that I discovered how to disable the background media scanner that was cutting 30 hours of my idle time, but I shouldn't have to do that.
Windows Phone 8 is right up there with the iPhone in responsiveness. Better, even, and with a novel and impressive UI that integrates many social media functions independent of separate apps. The Windows app store is lackluster, though, and the OS itself is harder to hack if that's what you're about. You really have to be happy with how the phone works out of the box. The hardware also lags behind Android handsets, but you won't ever notice (except in some games) because the OS is so fluid. And it has terrific Exchange support for business users.
For most people, unless there's a compelling need for a large screen or Android's greater abilities once rooted, the iPhone is simply better than even this S4. It doesn't require any of the tweaking I've outlined, nor the low-level task management that seems to crop up so often even with Android 4. Likewise, the Windows Phone ecosystem isn't sufficiently mature to recommend that one over the iPhone.
But if you want Android and you're willing to unlock the full potential of it, the S4 is as good as it gets for this screen size.
Most Helpful First | Newest First