A week with the S4

by Volker Weber

The Q10 was not the only new phone last week. Samsung made the Galaxy S4 available, updating its hugely successful S3. It looks very similar and you have to place them side by side to see the difference. I find it much nicer than people suggested. However, much like an elephant, I like to look at it once in a while, but I would not want to own one. Read on ...

My problem is the software that Samsung piles on top of the Android platform. Not only does it take away almost half of the 16 GB storage, it also is very hard to shut down. And if you don't shut it down, you get things like the behavior above. I love the Nexus 7, so it's not Android itself, that I despise. It's the useless layer of complexity above Android. Much like my Samsung SmartTV, most of the added software does not help me at all. I have switched off all gimmicks on the TV. The only thing I use is HbbTV and DLNA. No Samsung apps, no SmartHub, no nothing. Same thing for the Galaxy. All this eye-tracking stuff works as a party demo, but not when you depend on it.

There is one innovation I am waiting for, that Samsung brings to Android, but it has not yet made it fully into the S4: Knox. Currently only a place holder:


I understand that I am very different from the typical Samsung customer. I won't put my data in S-apps that don't work on other platforms. I am very plain. I can be happy with email, browser, calendar, contacts, Evernote, Dropbox, Skydrive and Twitter. I won't even need Facebook.

What I do want however is something that does not break. That does not run hot and deplete the battery in four hours. The Galaxy S4 is really great hardware. Samsung puts an incredible selection of technology into this thin machine. This has a larger screen, a bigger battery, a more powerful processor in a body a lot slimmer and lighter than a Lumia 920. And then they bury it all under a pile of crapware.

No award.


yes am with you on this - Sony has this crap were too and its annoying. why can´t it be an option when you first start it - " Do you like to have our software install now ? (Recommend )" then We could have a CLEAN phone and smile....

palmi H Lord, 2013-05-03

I'd agree with these sentiments. I don't see it as much different than the pre-installed bloatware that comes on your average PC, yet there are no restrictions to remove them. Why can't we have an uninstall for TouchWiz? I root my phones, but that's something that most folks don't have the patience for, nor shoud they need to.

The argument of stability doesn't really apply, because if anything, you'd be making the phone more reliable by removing a layer of complexity. I'm kinda stumped, but I always fall back to "consumer acceptance". People no longer question why this scenario exists, they simply accept it as the norm:(

Mike McPoyle, 2013-05-03

I have an S4. It's faster than the S2 (that I ran with CyanogenMod) yes. The control over the interface is lacking. The touchless stuff doesn't work for me (it is the filter that I attached) and Endomono doesn't support the Bluetooth 4.0 (yet).
So yes: incredible hardware, poor battery life until there's a house cleaning. Waiting for someone publishing a script for that.

Stephan H. Wissel, 2013-05-05

Forgot: the split-screen thing is nice, I use it quite a bit

Stephan H. Wissel, 2013-05-05

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