My 5 days with Samsung’s Galaxy S4

samsung galaxy s4


First let’s just start off by saying that I want to be an iPhone hater. They reason being is, I am so bored with iOs. I feel nothing has really changed with the UI in such a long time, and me, liking to learn new systems and gadgets, crave new developement. So I decided to try the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The line up of ground breaking features is impressive, such as Air View, and the ability to run two apps side-by-side in landscape mode. Well the downside to that is that it is limited to the stock apps. Which, in fact, is Android’s selling point, that you can use 3rd parties apps as default apps. They make a point of saying how you don’t have this option with iPhone, but the truth is with the S4 is you can’t either or you give up all of these new features. So, you ask, why give up on stock apps? Continue reading and you’ll soon see.

We must start with this amazing find. I found SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar, and SmoothSync for Cloud Contacts, which synced up my iCloud to Android. Big props to Marten Gajda for that! It worked flawlessly. That made setting up the S4 a breeze and I was confidant to not carry around my iPhone with me, which you’ll see in the last paragraph why I would carry it.

SMS: Coming from iPhone, I have grown accustomed to my Emojis. Call me childish all you like, but I love added a cute little plane when I text my husband that I’m on the plane and about to take off. Android’s Stock SMS does not support Emojis so you have to use a third party app such as gosms, chomp SMS, or handcent. All three of those have plugins that allow you to see iPhone Emoji. Being that a huge majority of my friends are on iPhone, having iMessage seems to be mandatory, especially if you travel. Last weekend I took the S4 to the Hamptons. I must say people were really excited to see a non iPhone and asked tons of questions on if I liked it, and how they were over their iPhone but afraid to switch. Anyhow, anyone who’s been to the Hamptons knows that cell reception there sucks but everywhere has wifi which makes iMessage a dream, because of the ability to send a text over wifi. That was one of the hardest features to live without.

Keyboard: The stock keyboard to me is least intuitive feature of all the stock apps. I have no clue what Samsung was thinking. Here’s how it goes. You type a word, it has a typo, on top of the keyboard has a word list, the center of the word list is the correct spelling, it’s highlighted, so you think all you have to do is push space and it will autocorrect it, right? NOPE! If you press space it actually types it the way you did, not adjusting the spelling. For the autocorrect to work you have to press the word on top of the keyboard, that is in the word list, and that is highlighted. So if you’re going to want to type fast and not have to pay attention to what you’re typing you’re going to want to get Kii Keyboard. I found it to be my favorite of the 25 I tried. SwiftKey being a close runner up. Kii one do to the fact that it supports Emojis.

Browser: Why would anyone want to use a stock browser, whether they have an Android or iPhone, when Google Chrome is available? Beats me.

Camera: The Camera is fantastic. I really like it. What I hated about it was if you took a picture in portrait mode when you send it, it is automatically rotated to landscape mode. Nothing I hate more than a sideways photo.

Social Media Apps:
—Twitter: There is no Android equivalent to Tweetbot, so waaaa waaah to that. I was happy with Plume and Tweetcaster, both can color code users and tweets, both also have mute buttons (which I find extremely necessary)
—Facebook: From iPhone to Android is most definitely a step backwards. And….done.
—Instagram: This has to be the worst of all Android’s social media. There is so hashtag shortcut on the keyboard, making you manually add the # sign. Not too much of a problem, but this is. So you’re having a battle over the comments, with iPhone you tap on the comment and it slides to the right giving you a mention shortcut, which has been on iPhone since I started using instagram, well not on Android. You have to manually type in the @UserName. Ummm I say no!

The look of the UI now that you’ve givien up all the new features, said goodbye to stock apps, is just plainly UGLY. Since you use a different SMS, and Keyboard App, nothing matches. So you have a hodgepodge of different color schemes and fonts. Nothing matches. This drives me NUTS! UGLY UGLY. Then you remember you are definitely not on iPhone.

So, with all these issues and short comings  I decided I was going to keep it, I just wanted a new piece of technology and I felt I could learn to love her but…

I get in my car and punch up my address on WAZE, plug my S4 in the cigarette lighter, say goodbye to the Hamptons, and head out. The sun is setting, it’s a beautiful scene, I’m sad that Memorial day weekend is over. I notice that WAZE is not telling me to turn onto my usual exit. “Hmmmmm, interesting” I think “maybe she’s routing me around traffic.” Then I look down horrified, I find out that WAZE only streams through my car stereo while I’m on the phone, like during a phone call. So if you want to hear directions you have to be on a call the whole time. I switch over the option to play the directions over the speaker, so now I can’t blast my radio, and scream along to “I Love It’ because I may miss another exit. Not the end of the world right? Well it does get better. So about an hour and forty-five minutes into my drive home I look at my phone and see that it is at 15% battery life. Are you fucking kidding me? It’s PLUGGED in! I’m not even streaming music, that’s insanity. On my iPhone I run WAZE, stream music, and she never goes lower than 99%. This to me is a huge deterrent. So I politely called 611 and had Verizon go ahead and switch my S4 back to my iPhone. Now you see why I carried her around in my bag??  I came home and placed Miss S4 back in her box, like a funeral and shipped she off to the boneyard. Bye girl