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.