#TechReview: My Samsung Galaxy s4

I made the switch … again.

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Samsung Galaxy S4

I have only had the device for a couple of days and must say that I’m already falling in love with it. I’m not going to do a full review but I will post some of the things I really like about the device.

Now I do realize that many of you read my blog when I reviewed the BlackBerry z10 and was so excited about that device. It is possibly true that in my desire to finally move on from the iPhone I did in fact latch on to whatever option was available. So in reviewing the samsung galaxy s4 I will both compare it to the iPhone as well as to the BlackBerry z10. I will say that the reason I have not given the blackberry further consideration is that the application store is still incredibly lacking in options. Availability of apps,  movies, and music is still too limited for me to give the phone serious consideration. I will also add that this is purely a personal review and is not necessarily imply I would support deploying the S4 in a corporate setting.

Voice recognition
One of the things that I immediately like about the Samsung is the ease with which you can speak to type. I am currently using  this functionality and I am amazed at the ease with which it captures my words. I type them immediately and it does not need to have all of the user interaction that is needed with Siri.

Applications
As I mentioned before the apps available for the BlackBerry were pretty sad. I had heard that the Android pad even more apps than the iPhone and I am pleased to say that so far that does seem the case. With one relatively minor exceptions all of the applications that I used on my iPhone 4s I have been able to download the exact same application or quite comparable substitute on the s4. Even better certain applications are easier to use of a better interface on the Android OS for device then on the iPhone 4s. The large screen also makes viewing several of the apps a better experience.

Apps that are better on the Samsung Galaxy S4:
1) Whatsapp – great communication app that works whether your friends have blackberry, Android, or iOS. The interface looks better and the options are broader on the Android.
2) Photos and folders. Transferring pics from PC to phone is so much easier.
3) Creating folders of similar apps is better. on iOS, there is a limit in the number of apps you can group.
4) Google maps of course comes native.
***Updated 22 July 2013. stay tuned for more.

Power and charging
In the grand scheme of things this is a very minor and petty item however I am happy that I can use the same charger that I use for blackberry when I charge my S4. The battery life is said to be better on the nee device but I have yet to actually notice a major difference.

Controlling television and DVR
Oh em gee! of all of the features on the phone, this one has to be one of the coolest. Someone out there will have had a Samsung for quite a while and think that this is old news. However the ability to set up the phone to serve as a remote control for any television in your house is absolutely astounding. I tried it with one of mine televisions and I am not exaggerating when I say that it took 20 seconds. It is easy, fast, clear and does not require purchasing or installing a side application. In fact, I had previously installed the Xfinity application from Comcast and will keep that but it is absolutely secondary. If you just want to flip channels and control remote like we did in the old days, all you need is the Samsung.

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Notifications
The last time I tried Android I hated the notifications and I still do. They are too hard to customize to turn off or to minimize. Unlike with the iPhone there is no central place where I can go to turn off notifications by application. I also have no way to specify what type of things I want to be notified about for applications.

Making the switch
Understandably, one of the biggest challenges in making the move from one mobile platform to another is the switching. This was certainly the case with me and perhaps one of the reasons that I stayed with iPhone for so long. In fact, my partner made the upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5 and within hours was up and running as if no change had been made. Even if simply going from a non smartphone to an iPhone 5 the transition will be so much easier and one of the benefits of the iPhone remains its tremendous ease of use.

For me, making the switch turned out to be relatively easy although three or four days later I continue to tweak my new phone. For syncing my contacts I chose to use music application cost approximately 3 bucks and make the transition quite easy. For anyone who is not completely sold on Android that would still like to stick with the iCloud environment smoothsync is probably the best option. This is also a good option for those who have, like me, multiple devices across both platforms including, for instance, an iPad.

I also signed up for a Samsung sync and transfer application called kies. However, I am not sure how much I will actually use it as I would prefer not to move from one data hostage taker to another . While I do like the Samsung device the question for me is more about platform and applications and I might move from Samsung to something else at any point.

Things I do not like
1)On the iPhone, you can receive an email with a date and contact information in it and automatically convert that into a calendar entry. You cannot do that on the galaxy unless I’m completely missing something.
2)Storage absolutely sucks on the phone. You buy a device that allegedly had 16 GB of memory. You quickly realize it really only has half of that because of the bloatware you can’t remove.

Overall, I must say that I really like the device and I think that it will last beyond the 14 day trial offered by AT&T. I do have to get use to some of the new quirks, for instance, the cut and paste functionality. I am also somewhat frustrated by the navigation between apps and the notification system. However, I suspect that the majority of my problems with the phone are more related to a learning curve and the fact that I have had an iPhone since the very first one was issued several years ago.

If you have tried it out, I would love to hear what you think! And I am sure there are lots of iPhone fans out there that would tell me that I have lost my mind and perhaps I have. I also have one friend who was told me that the iOS 7 will change everything. But, of course, I’ve heard that before. Post your comments below.

Be Well. Lead On. And may the consumer be the ultimate victor of these fantastic #techwars.

Adam

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6 comments

  1. I dint know if you discovered yet but you can use multi mode to copy and paste between apps. Also the swipe keyboard is excellent. Especially in a noisy environment or when you can’t use speech. I have had the phone pretty much since Release. My only complaint about the phone is lack of FM tuner which was available on the S3

      1. Screen cap is tricky until you get used to it. Home key (rectangle thing bottom center) and the right side key held together for what feels like too long will make a snapshot-type noise. Admittedly takes practice. Nice thing is that it automatically brings the image up in edit mode so that you can crop, tweak and share right away.

  2. I too was a long term Apple polisher. I became dienchanted when the I5 upgrade made my prior connectors and chargers incompatible.
    I agree thatbthe Iphone is easier to grab and use, there is a longer learning curve with android. However swapping files.. loading music or photos.. editing documents without addons are all easier with android.
    The app that I miss is the Pocket Sword Bible.It is not avaliable in android.
    S4 rocks as a phone, battery life is comparable to Iphone, glad I made the switch.

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