Samsung Galaxy S4
Looking at just the specs, the Samsung Galaxy S4 looks like a good phone. That’s why we got one!
But there are a few things you need to know that may impact your decision. These problems lead me to not recommend this phone.
First, the Android Lollipop version that Samsung produces is a much modified version of the basic Android operating system. Nothing useful or interesting is provided, but the “miscellaneous” storage, which for most normal Android Lollipop phone takes up about 300 – 400 megabytes of space, takes up several gigabytes of space, in order to have these features. So when you compare the storage capacity across different phones, subtract several gigabytes from the Samsung Galaxy S4’s specifications, because you can’t use that storage space and there is no way to fix that.
The features you get are elusive. The rather cool right swipe to the google page is not available to you as per normal. The list of applications installed will have two parts, each alphabetical, so you have to look in two places to find installed apps. I can’t see any useful features that have been added.
Second, the phone might be broken. Obviously this may vary from user to user. The first phone we got was broken. Verizon, the carrier we were using, had a new Samsung Galaxy S4 sent to us. Except it was actually a reconditioned used phone. It was broken. So Verizon sent another new one. This one was also a used, reconditioned phone. And it was broken.
Asking Verizon to allow us to switch to a different phone cost us about 10 hours of time dealing with technical support and led us nowhere, since Verizon does not actually back up their retail arrangements. Samsung was very unhelpful, and even rude, with their technical support. This resulted in us being stuck with a model phone with less than specified storage space, and what may end up being a string of broken used reconditioned phones that will work for a few days and then break, unless we get lucky and get one that is not borked out of the box.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 allows you to buy an SD storage card and install that. This is not a good solution to the lack of storage problem, as many apps can’t really make use of the SD card. Many apps will allow you to move data to the card, but in some cases, this causes the app to not work properly, and the data moved to the SD card is minimal. The only real use of the SD card is to have your camera app(s) put their pictures there. Also, you may be able to convince your phone to move the download folder there.
Of course, if you select the Samsung Galaxy S4 and have the same problems we’ve had with the brokenness of it all, then you will have to reconfigure all this stuff to use the SD card every time you get a new iteration of Broken Phone.
The technical problems with the phones have included a sim card holder that does not work (so the sim card is not recognized), a wireless/bluetooth antenna that does not work (if you check around on the Internet you’ll find this to be a very common problem with the Samsung Galaxy S4), or the 4g not working (for unknown reasons).
So, in short, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 for several hundred dollars. Or you can hold a sharpened metal rod over a flame until it becomes white hot and drive it into your eyeball. Same effect, the second option is cheaper.
I don’t recommend the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Many people have had great experiences with other Samsung smart phones. And some of those phones look great. However, you need to know that if something does go wrong with one of those phones, and you have to deal with Samsung technical support, they will treat you like dirt. That would keep me away from Samsung products in general. Having said that, maybe some of the other companies are just as bad. Feel free to relate your own experiences along these lines in the comments section below.