Review of the Samsung Galaxy S4
I am an admitted Apple fangurl. I was an early, enthralled iPhone adopter. I went to the Apple Store within the first week of the iPhone’s introduction, stood in line, and lovingly brought home the wondrous creature.
But of late, all these years later, I found myself increasingly interested in the flexibility of the Android ecosystem. One of my friends has a Galaxy S3 and I had serious screen envy–my goodness, that screen is luscious!
I also haven’t been wowed by the latest iPhone offerings. Yawn.
So last week, when my iPhone 4 was taken over by aliens and the iPod app wouldn’t let me dial out, I went to AT&T and cashed in my upgrade for a Samsung Galaxy S4. I’ve been playing with it for almost a week, so here’s the review, and my thoughts on it from negative to positive.
The really awful: There are two really terrible qualities. I mean, really awful.
One, the mail client is god-awful bad horrible. I guess this is android-wide and not specific to the Galaxy. But after the iOs mail client, the android mail client is clunky, unreadable, and confusing. It’s not just bad, it’s terrible–I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. It doesn’t sync often enough and the UI is impenetrable. I tried downloading another android mail client called K9 and I’m not impressed with it, either.
Any iPhone user will miss the ease and simplicity–both visual and intuitive–of the iOs mail client. This, in fact, may send me back to exchange the Galaxy for an iPhone 5. I check my email via my phone all the time.
Two, the Samsung OS takes up 8 gigabytes of space. Yes, 8. EIGHT. I purchased a 16 gig phone thinking I had 13 gigs of space, and to my surprise, NOPE. Only 8.
The bad: Three more issues.
One, there is too much stuff on the Galaxy. Too much software doing too many things. Hello, Samsung: SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE! Sheesh, you guys. Strip down this OS and your customers will be happier. It took me two days to figure out what I was going to use and what I wouldn’t. Then another day to get rid of or hide the bloatware.
Two, the plastic casing feels cheap and flimsy in the hand. It just doesn’t feel solid, and an iPhone user will miss the sturdy feeling in the hand. I walked by another AT&T store the other day so I checked out the HTC One, which has a really respectable aluminum casing.
Three, the settings are insanely disorganized. You will figure them out. It just won’t be easy or intuitive. I am guessing that someone without the capacity for executive functioning in their brain designed the settings menus.
Here’s what is neither positive or negative: so far I haven’t noticed any extra flexibility from being in the android environment. It’s just different.
Now, the good. There are a lot of good features.
One, the camera is fantastic. Awesome, actually–dazzling. Wish I used it more!
Two, customizing ringtones is easy and built-in. This is a great feature for me, because I like to customize ringtones. I like to know who is calling me so I can decide whether or not to pick up. I am actually trying to train people to text me as a first contact. At least 50% of all phone conversations can be conducted more efficiently via text. So I want to know who’s calling, and for that I need specific ringtones. I always pick-up for my daughter’s school, for example.
Three, customizing the lock and home screens is easy and fun. But you do have to get rid of some of that terrible bloatware that Samsung features–like Flipboard.
Four, air wave is kinda cool. I do like being able to wave my hand over the phone and see the time, date, and my unread email count. Nice feature.
One, the screen is fantastic. You have to see it to believe it. That big, bright screen makes reading texts easy. It makes looking at anything easy.
Two, I like the bigger size of the phone. I would have liked Apple to make an iPhone that was the same size. Really, I would have.
I have a few more days left to exchange the phone for a $35 restocking fee. In the end, it may just come down to that terrible android email interface–I don’t know if I can live with it.
But the Samsung Galaxy S4 does feature many cool, worthwhile features.