#1
  1. Sarcky
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Galaxy S4 First Impressions


    So I ordered the Galaxy S4 to be delivered on 5/29 by Verizon. Naturally, FedEx delivered it yesterday, which is awesome.

    I switched from my aging and decrepit Droid X2 to the Galaxy. So far, the Galaxy is a better all-around device. However, TouchWiz is dumb and there's no thought put into the design of the device for people who might not want to use Samsung's custom apps.

    The device ships with FOUR music-playing apps. Four. The real one, Google Play. The amazon mp3 store. The Samsung music player. And the Verizon mp3 store. When I connected it to my car stereo, the bluetooth started playing music right from the google play app. I was happy. When I used the samsung voice command app to switch to another artist, it invoked the SAMSUNG music app instead of using the one which was already playing. This caused my car stereo to have a fit and play both songs at once.

    Similarly, TouchWiz includes the very awesome "dual screen" technology, allowing you to use two apps at once. I can browse the web while texting, email while watching youtube, etc. Really awesome, right? Except only 8 apps are compatible with this dual-screen thing, and NONE of them are apps I want to use. My browser (Dolphin), my text app (google voice), my IM app (imo), my sports scores app, etc. None of them work. If I want to view the mobile version of a website while using gmail, I can do that. Otherwise, the feature is useless to me.

    I'm also disappointed in myself that I didn't check to see if the device had a micro-HDMI output. I use that a lot to show pictures and videos on the big screen at home. However, my tablet can do it, so I guess if I want to do that I can just move the files to my tablet. Still rather annoying though. The phone also lacks a dedicated camera button, something I've been wanting ever since I gave up my original Droid X. The introduction of the front camera makes taking difficult angles a bit easier though I guess.

    There are some really cool things. The touch, vision, voice, and motion based controls are actually pretty sweet. The ability to scroll the phone by waving at it or moving my head is pretty cool, though in real-world situations this is triggered seemingly at random by people and animals behind my head. Voice commands just plain don't work if you're anywhere but a completely silent room. The phone even detects the music IT'S CURRENTLY PLAYING as voice commands, and will react to itself.

    The real cool thing about the phone is its location-aware services. You can set up 3 default locations: Home, Car, and Work. You can use a variety of determining factors. I have it switch to "home" mode when it connects to the "ManiacDan" wireless network. It switches to "car" mode when the bluetooth connection to the car hooks up. "Work" mode is a quarter-mile circle around my office, determined by GPS. Each of these modes has special things it can do. My "time to leave for work" alarm won't ring if I've already left the house. When I'm in the car, it will automatically read aloud incoming text messages. When at work, my notification volume is significantly reduced, etc.

    I'm not sure these minor touch-wiz features are worth the extra annoyance of having to deal with more than 20 built-in bloatware apps I don't need. I see a root method is already out there for the qualcomm based s4, but it didn't work on my device for some reason. Once there's a reliable root/flash method for the verizon version to run Cyanogen, I think I'm going to make the switch.

    All around, the hardware is blazing fast, the screen is amazing, the sound is good, and the whole thing is both incredibly large and incredibly light and thin.
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  2. #2
  3. Sarcky
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    After 10 days of using the phone, I decided to return it. I argued with the verizon customer service people for nearly 3 hours to let me out of my contract, citing the multiple bugs in the OS as the primary reason for my return. It wouldn't send emails, it wouldn't display calendar appointments, it just wouldn't WORK right.

    I finally got them to authorize a return, packed the original package up with all the manuals and whatever, and went to work, determined to back up the files on the phone, shove it in the box, and send it away from me.

    On the way to work an OTA update fixed the two biggest problems with the phone. Now I can send email attachments (as long as they're photographs). I'm going to stick with the phone and wait for a cracked bootloader. I hope it isn't a mistake.

    Never, ever buy a phone if the bootloader isn't already cracked and unlocked.
    HEY! YOU! Read the New User Guide and Forum Rules

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    "The greatest tragedy of this changing society is that people who never knew what it was like before will simply assume that this is the way things are supposed to be." -2600 Magazine, Fall 2002

    Think we're being rude? Maybe you asked a bad question or you're a Help Vampire. Trying to argue intelligently? Please read this.
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  5. Banned (not really)
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Interesting. I've been thinking about one of these...
    -- Cigars, whiskey and wild, wild women. --
  6. #4
  7. Sarcky
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    They're unfinished. Want another 3-4 months. It doesn't send email reliably, the calendar is weirdly broken, and the built-in Samsung apps are unpolished and malfunctioning. I tried to send an email about a week ago. After 12 hours of not sending or receiving email I deleted it from my outbox and rebooted the phone twice to get the email to start synching. The email arrived in my friend's inbox TODAY. From a week ago. After it had been deleted from my outbox AND the email app was updated.

    The Galaxy S4 cannot be relied upon as a computing device in its current state. It is not worth buying. Wait for a fully unlocked bootloader and an OS written by people who care about functionality more than marketing and channel management.
    HEY! YOU! Read the New User Guide and Forum Rules

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    "The greatest tragedy of this changing society is that people who never knew what it was like before will simply assume that this is the way things are supposed to be." -2600 Magazine, Fall 2002

    Think we're being rude? Maybe you asked a bad question or you're a Help Vampire. Trying to argue intelligently? Please read this.

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