SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 : USER REVIEW
I’ve finally decided to bring my two year relationship with my Samsung galaxy s4 under scrutiny. The Samsung galaxy s4 is a fairly old phone; first released to the general public on March 14, 2013 at Samsung Mobile Unpacked in New York City. It maintained the same design style as its predecessor the Samsung galaxy s3. Despite the physical design similarities the S4 has upgraded hardware and some great improvements in the software that take advantage of the hardware, for instance the phone has the ability to detect when a finger is hovered over the screen. The S4 was later made available late April 2013 in about 155 countries and it soon became Samsung’s fastest selling smartphone, and can you blame the public the S4 ads alone made me what to use up whatever little savings I had to get me one, mind you this was going to be my first transition from a ‘normal phone’ to a smartphone (I know, late bloomer). Some may say that the phone was just loaded with gimmicks, but what the heck the gimmicks worked, they were the little somethings that the smartphone landscape needed then. Anyways I couldn’t afford the phone then, so I did what any student in a foreign country would do, sold a kidney, took up a job as a stripper and joined the mafia, just kidding, I scrapped up all my little coins and paper, and with hard work and determination I finally managed to have enough money (okay I just waited for my allowance to come in).
All high spirited and all I couldn’t believe I finally got my hands on the S4,okay it may have not been so exciting as I only got it about a year after it was launched. My review however is based on my experience of using the phone on a day to day basis (yes I can hear you, I need to get a new phone). So here we go, hope you’ll enjoy the read.
BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING
When I first got the phone it would charge quite quickly than it does now. I however run into some trouble with the battery along the line about a year ago. The phone in general would heat up a great deal, this in turn caused the battery to bulge and it continued to swell up until it wasn’t working anymore and eventually could not fit. I eventually had to buy a new one (at least it didn’t explode right). The battery life now however is quite adequate, when fully charged in the morning it can last me for over 12 to a day sometimes. At most I have to fully charge it at least twice. I was disappointed however with how quickly the USB charging cable gets spoiled, I’ve had to replace it about two times already. All in am still impressed by the battery life.
PERFORMANCE AND DESIGN
The Samsung galaxy S4 had a beautiful modern design of its time. I especially liked that it wasn’t as heavy a phone as most were. It uses a refined version of hardware introduced by its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy S3, with rounded edges and a removable rear cover. The S4 is still widely available in black and white color finishes. Samsung also introduced versions in red, purple, pink, brown with gold trim, and light pink with gold trim. In late-January 2014, Samsung’s Russian website listed a black model with a plastic leather backing, similar to the Galaxy Note 3 (that’s the version I got). The downside of owning the phone for such a long time now is it has a tendency to overheat upon using it continuously for long time, apps crash frequently and it generally freezes from time to time, and restarting it manually seems to get back to normal most of the time.
STRENGTH AND DURABILITY
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is quite a durable phone, though the poly-carbonate rear cover is prone to scratches, the good thing about it is it’s removable and you can always replace it with another cover of your liking. This however can be avoided if you keep your phone with a soft silicone case most of the times, then you will never see a scratch on your phone. Dropping your phone however becomes almost a normal thing after your ‘honeymoon period ‘with your phone is over. In my case I happened to drop my phone screen first, the one time I happened to walk around town without a phone case. All in all I wasn’t greatly distressed by this incident, the phone screen barely had any noticeable cracks and I guess I owe that to having a screen protector. I’ve only used 2 screen protectors in the two years of having the phone.
The best features of the Galaxy S4 definitely lies in the software, design and weight of the phone. I love the phone’s natural feel in the hand, the soft edges and its size makes it easy to operate with one hand. The phone memory is good enough as it is for me (I was able to stay without needing to use a memory card for nearly 3 months). The camera is a definite plus with this phone, it produces quality videos and photos up to now. The “Smart Scroll” feature can be used to scroll while looking at the screen by slightly tilting head or phone forward or backward and “Smart Pause” allows the video player to pause videos if you’re is not looking at the screen. With “Air View” and “Air Gestures” you can preview images or messages by holding or swiping a hand or finger slightly above the screen.
For me the worst features of this phone as is with most smartphones are the pre-loaded apps and features that I never really make use of. These take up some of the phone’s memory that could be used for other stuff that I’d actually use. I’ve noticed that the camera has a problem with color displays in certain lighting, mostly in slightly dark setting or indoors at night.
Overall I’d say that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is still a good phone for the average user. The S4 is still a great phone for everyday life use, and some miscellaneous uses too like reading or watching videos, and is quite affordable right now. I’d recommend it to people who aren’t chasing the latest trends in phones and are just looking for a good enough phone to use from day to day.
Overall rating 6/10