Samsung Galaxy S4: Three years into using it
It has been 3 years since I got this phone. I came back from the US, saved some money there, and then I said to myself:”Hey, why not treat yourself a little bit, and buy myself a smartphone”. That is how I got Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9506). At the time, Galaxy S4 was a major league smartphone. By major league, I mean money wise. I paid for it 720KM(Bosnian Convertible marks), which amounted to about $460 at the time. Some would say that $460 is not much, but considering Bosnian economy standard it is! When I was buying a phone, I was buying by brand and not by performance and specs. Later that turned out to be a huge mistake, so let’s dive into reviewing this Galaxy S4 and see why!
Battery Life & Charging
This particular model (GT-I9506) has removable Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery. Specs on manufacturers website say that the battery life of this model should be able to last up to 370h on standby, 17h of talk time and up to 62h of music play. I found that those numbers were a little bit exaggerated, and I was able to get 3/4 of those numbers. But still, that is more than one would need. Battery life was good first year or so. After that, problems started. I was not able to get one full charge to last me throughout the day. It would take more than 5hr for it to get the full charge. Battery started to inflate. At one point it was so inflated, I was not able to put back cover on. I decided to just go and buy a new battery. Which I did, but the problem was still there. To this day, I was not able to fix this issue. Now I am going around carrying a portable battery pack since the battery cannot last more than 3 hours.
Performance & Design
The design of this model is very sleek. It has a dimension of 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm. The display is 1080 x 1920 pixels which is great for movie lovers, game enthusiasts and pretty much anyone who loves HD graphic for its content. There are three buttons on this model, up/down buttons on the left, and power button on the right. Buttons feel very well to touch but after some time of using the phone buttons become unresponsive, e.g. you have to press it multiple times for it to take effect. The performance of this model is not so great. It used to be. But since I experienced problems with battery, the phone keeps getting hot after extensive use, so hot sometimes that you cannot touch it. It is not strange for the phone to become unresponsive and to crash apps.
Strength & Durability
This particular model is strong. It experienced many falls, but it is still hanging tight. Physical durability of this phone is high. But battery issues took its share in the performance and made it slow. I had to get a new motherboard for this phone because it failed with no particular reason for it. After that, at least 6 more times I had to take it in to get it fixed. Two of those time were because of the charging connector. It is important to say that connector problems probably occurred due to the improper use, e.g. using it while charging.
There are many good features on this model. Let us start with the camera. This phone has a 13 MP, autofocus back camera. Sensor size is 1/3″, and it also has touch focus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection and HD resolution. The front camera has 2MP with the 1080p resolution. The best thing about the camera on this model is that taken photos come out great, almost professional-like.
Also, this model has many sensors:
- accelerometer, which you can use to measure acceleration;
When it comes to worst features, this model, unfortunately, has many, but today I will talk about the main one. And that is S Voice. S Voice is a Samsung’s personal assistant, or at least that’s what they intended it to be. Unfortunately, through my experience with it so far I can tell that S Voice is everything but not a personal assistant. It was supposed to be activated by a long pressing home button, but many times it happened to me that I just pressed the home button once, intending to go back to home screen, but phone opened S Voice. If this “error” happened once or twice, you could be fine with it. But since this “error” is repeating on a daily basis, it sometimes drives you crazy and can really be annoying. And when you get crazy around a phone, sometimes you do things that you later regret, e.g. once I almost smashed it on asphalt, and yes, the reason was S Voice. There are a couple of other personal assistants on the market, and one of the most famous ones is Apple’s Siri. But in the last few year, Microsoft introduced personal assistant called “Cortana”, and some are already comparing it to Apple’s Siri. Why am I mentioning this, is because I want to put out there that Samsung’s S Voice really sucks, and that there is no way it could go shoulder to shoulder against Siri and Cortana. If developers stop kidding around and actually get to work on S Voice to upgrade it, maybe one day S Voice will be a valuable personal assistant. Currently, at its current state, it is literally trash that is unusable.
Would I suggest you buy this device? hmmm… If I was to be asked that question three years ago, my answer would definitely be YES. But three years into using it, it shows some flaws in its design, but considering it is being used for three years, that is understandable. One man once said: “As soon as you buy a brand new phone, it is already old.” Considering all said, I still suggest you get Samsung S4, if you are looking for a phone in mid-class.
Overall Rating 7.5/10