Samsung Galaxy S4 – After the Hype (video)

July 2, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa featured

Let’s begin with how I first felt and still feel about the S4. For a phone with a 5 inch screen, it’s one of the easiest to handle. A replaceable battery and expandable memory are obvious pluses. As far as all of the new features were concerned, I thought they were all great new ways of doing tasks we’ve done before.

Were they all practical? Well, even back then I knew some of them were more gimmicks than real game changers. And when it came to TouchWiz, I was never actually a fan of it as a user interface. But on a bigger screen, I thought it actually worked better. So, I had a phone that was both new and very familiar. I’ve played plenty of games on it and haven’t had any problems — speed has never been an issue on the S4 and I’ve only counted two times that it has crashed on me.

Now here is some disclosure — I was never a Galaxy S3 owner. I was familiar with it, though. So a lot of what might have returned in the S4 was still somewhat new to me. Some of the gestures and MultiWindow all worked awesomely and with the new stuff, it was a jam packed device. And for a while, I used all of them. Especially hand gestures.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa air gesture

Website reading was done in a better, lazy fashion when I could wave my hand while it was on the table. Air View helped me zoom into elements on webpages. YouTube viewing was enhanced by the Smart Pause function, especially when I got distracted. But the rest? Yeah, they lost their usefulness within the first few weeks. The Smart Scroll, especially. A simple demonstration of it amazed my friends but otherwise, it was never used.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa smart scroll

That S4 commercial that shows people asking about the phone is actually true. Well, half-true. When people realize you are using the Samsung Galaxy S4, they do get excited and ask a lot of questions. Which is great – when they can tell you’re using the S4.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa commerical

We Android users might be able to differentiate between the S3 and S4 easily but it’s become clear to me that the general user can’t. And without being overtly head turning, the S4 just looks and feels like the old S3. As tried and true as the design of the S4 is, in and out, none of it matters of the phone can’t reel people in from the start. As the exciting features were used less and less, the more the phone felt older. And without anything else that could turn heads, it gradually felt less exciting. And this is only after three months.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa vs s3 3

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the Galaxy S4 is a fine device. A true example of the finest that Android can offer. I am obviously in a special position in that I have access to all of the Galaxy S4’s competitors. There are many — and that is the rub. Look at it this way — there is no doubt how well the Galaxy S4 has been selling and will continue to sell. It will get a refreshing boost when more accessories are released for it, all of which allow for customization. But how has it been able to achieve all that? Simple – with the success of the original S3.

But over a year ago, the smartphone market was different. While there were plenty of other Android phones worthy of praise, the Galaxy S3 basically had one goal — contend with the iPhone. And it did a great job. It skyrocketed Samsung’s status in the smartphone market and made the term Galaxy as ubiquitous as Droid. It paved the way for future Galaxy phones to enjoy the same kind of success.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa galaxy name

But then the S4 was released without any real drastic changes to the general formula. It focused on perfecting what was already started by the Galaxy line. At this point in the smartphone market, though, sticking to what worked may not always hold up to what other manufacturers are attempting. It’s no longer just about contending with the iPhone – it’s about keeping up with all of these other players that more easily represent change.

I don’t fear that the Galaxy S4 will fade into obscurity -- that’s quite impossible with how huge Samsung is.

I don’t fear that the Galaxy S4 will fade into obscurity – that’s quite impossible with how huge Samsung is. What I can admit is that even as a big S4 supporter, I soon started to experience phone envy. One year ago, that might not have been as possible with the S3 – but now, it’s not quite so lonely at the top. The HTC One, the Sony Xperia line, and even lesser known phones like the Oppo Find 5 are looming in the shadows.

Do I still love the Galaxy S4? Yes, I do. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is fast, reliable, and it can be a very exciting device. It belongs among the best. I still use it everyday because of its familiarity and it is just as reliable as it was the first day I got it – even if the extras no longer excite me as much. But when you strip all that away, it’s a phone you already know and may have loved since the S3. And that’s when you take a step back – and realize that the Galaxy line no longer stands alone.

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa competition

I’m not telling you to go out and get multiple phones – the takeaway here is: play the field. If you find everything the Galaxy S4 offers you will keep you engaged and happy, more power to you. Just remember there are plenty of other devices out there – a fact that has gotten truer every year for the past half decade. And that’s what’s awesome.

Comments

  • sid_m

    tip : Smart scroll works better/is more usable if you you look straight and tilt your phone rather than the other way round. Hope this helps!

  • Scott Dabson

    Great video! I’m just about to buy the GS4 to replace my moto/Razr. I understand its a broad field now for higher end phones and the more competition the better for everyone. I get excited about where the industry is going. Competition spurs innovation. For me the GS4 has a plus that many overlook, it’s the removable battery. That one option alone is why I’m going with the Samsung over anything else. Having a 2 year old Razr, each day I wonder when this small battery is just gonna quit. Anyway I don’t think I’ll get tired of the GS4 for a while, but I do understand this article. I get that way about motorcycles.

  • Geno

    Mine and my wife’s S4s arrive in a couple hours from Samsclub online ($138 ea. upgrades). Coming from the S2 we are very excited. I think people that buy the latest phone every 6-12 months surely wont be all that excited about the S4 since it looks and feels so much like the S3. I think that’s why a lot of these types of people are getting the HTC one as they want something entirely new even if it is not as good overall.

    For me I picked the S4 over the One due to the camera (the night mode on the S4 works well enough that it more than makes up for it) as well as the bigger screen and better skin. Speaking of skin, the quick toggles in Touchwiz are 100 times better than how HTC makes you toggle things. The biggest thing that hurts is not getting the Boom sound, I LOVE that and hope Samsung steals that idea for the S5.

  • PeterBlood

    Hmm too bad sales figures for the S4 are plummeting with consumers indifferent and Samsung’s stock has now tanked severely. And now this – Apple is rated Number One in customer satisfaction… IN SOUTH KOREA! Samsung’s home “town.”

    Looks like Samsung will have to dig deeper into their slush fund once again to promote falsification of this kind of accurate information with more fake reporting and phony testimonials. (Taking their cue from Microsoft.)

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/02/apple-now-no-1-in-customer-satisfaction-on-samsungs-home-turf-of-south-korea

    • Blowntoaster

      who cares whether the Apple has the highest customer satisfaction rating
      in Samsung’s home town. that’s probably because Samsung devices are cheap and all over the place over there and does not feel as novel and exciting as something that you don’t see and have access to every day. and the sales figures aren’t plummeting… they were just slightly over-estimated. the S4 is selling better than any other phone on the market, even better than the S3 was…’Nough said!!!

      • PeterBlood

        That’s what I would expect to hear is a disingenuous attempt to downplay the significance of Apples superior customer rating in South Korea. Nice try. Sales figures for the S4 are NOT rosy, despite your protestations and fantasy to the contrary. In fact they are SO BAD their stock took like a 12 billion dollar hit. ‘NOUGH SAID!!!

        • Jaun Lombard

          and Apple’s stock took a 200 billion dollar hit…says a lot about a company future!! Remember the stock fell because of the S4 is not selling as well as outsiders have said it would sell…Samsung never gave a figure to begin with. Plus Samsung isn’t relying on their Smartphone business for the future of the company…it is IT, semiconductors and their engineering division! Apple is loosing money on its only division!

          • PeterBlood

            Apple’s future is extremely secure. The world needs them to take their next cues from and I don’t mean minor features or bigger phones. Apple’s stock has been horribly manipulated by Wall Street. Analysts spewing out unsubstantiated rumors one after the other. It’s P/E ratio is something like 9, ridiculously low. This too shall change.

            Apple isn’t relying on just smart phones (even though they make more money on them than anyone else) but iPods, iPads, iMacs, Mac Books, Mac Book Air, Mac Book Pro, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, Apple TV’s, Airport Base Stations, etc.. Apple FOCUSES on consumer electronics and not washing machines and other distracting lines. New products are coming (iTV perhaps?) and we’ll see how Google and Samsung scramble to copy Apple, again. And of course how people like you will “scramble” to defend the copiers.

            Samsung NEVER gives sales figures out except as “shipments” whereas Apple always gives out actually units SOLD. Based on that alone which is the more honest company?

            In your dreams Apple is losing money but not out here where the rest of us live. Apple also has 137 billion in the bank (and counting rapidly) and not likely to go away anytime soon. But certainly soon to show up it’s competitors and make folks like you eat crow.

          • Jaun Lombard

            iTV is not new…just go but a PS3 or Xbox to stream TV…Apple will add just an extra feature and call it revolutionary. Plus I don’t dislike Apple…I hope they do good because it forces Android to become better! Dude….just read the news about all the patent Apple infringed on and matters they have settled for ideas they stole…Just look at the notification bar on the new IOS 6 and IOS7…copy and past…give it a new color and call it revolutionary!

            But I wont mind buying an iPhone..it is just that I use my phone for work even to work at home! iPhone will restrict me!

            I love all their products though…but they are not bringing something new to the market..iTV…not new…iWatch…not new (though Apple will call it revolutionary)…the best invention after the Smartphone and Tablet was actually Samsung’s Note range…Google glasses and watches will take awhile to catch on!

          • PeterBlood

            Sorry Jaun but unless you are clairvoyant you have no idea what form iTV or the iWatch might take or how revolutionary it might be – yet – and it’s not exactly bright to comment on something that does not yet exist. Just as there were shark movies before JAWS and Apple is known to surprise the market. Sometimes the various existing technologies need to come into a more cohesive well thought out whole which is what Apple excels at. I agree competition spurs on technology to greater heights as long as companies don’t copy other companies note for note.

            The infringements you refer to are standards essential 3G patents or FRAND (rapidly becoming irrelevant in a 4G world) which companies are not supposed to sue over for obvious reasons. Apple has not stolen any design patent cues from anyone else as Samsung has which are far more egregious. You need to do some additional reading for this clarification.

            Google Glass will NEVER catch on except for the few fringe nut-bags who will buy them as they will be ostracized infringing on people’s privacy. (They’ve already been ridiculed for this on shows like SNL.) You need to be aware of the social ramifications of technology and realize the folly of pursuing certain ideas as invasive and also way too expensive. Thanks for the civil conversation! Have a great 4th!

          • PeterBlood

            Sorry Jaun but unless you are clairvoyant you have no idea what form iTV or the iWatch might take or how revolutionary it might be – yet – and it’s not exactly bright to comment on something that does not yet exist. Just as there were shark movies before JAWS and Apple is known to surprise the market. Sometimes the various existing technologies need to come into a more cohesive well thought out whole which is what Apple excels at. I agree competition spurs on technology to greater heights as long as companies don’t copy other companies note for note.

            The infringements you refer to are standards essential 3G patents or FRAND (rapidly becoming irrelevant in a 4G world) which companies are not supposed to sue over for obvious reasons. Apple has not stolen any design patent cues from anyone else as Samsung has which are far more egregious. You need to do some additional reading for this clarification.

            Google Glass will NEVER catch on except for the few fringe nut-bags who will buy them as they will be ostracized infringing on people’s privacy. (They’ve already been ridiculed for this on shows like SNL.) You need to be aware of the social ramifications of technology and realize the folly of pursuing certain ideas as invasive and also way too expensive. Thanks for the civil conversation! Have a great 4th!

          • OBK1352

            “unless you are clairvoyant you have no idea” how well google glass will catch on. I kind of doubt it will take off too, but you shouldn’t tell people not to guess about the future if you make the same guesses about other products.

          • OBK1352

            “unless you are clairvoyant you have no idea” how well google glass will catch on. I kind of doubt it will take off too, but you shouldn’t tell people not to guess about the future if you make the same guesses about other products.

          • PeterBlood

            There has already been prominent dialogue on the Internet about the fact Google Glass has a doubtful future. It is also my opinion this kind of tech is invasive on privacy. There is a difference in what I said and is known already about Glass and what the other guy said about iTV & the iWatch, products we know nothing about. Someday maybe you’ll know the difference.

          • SamsaraGuru

            The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

            General Motors too thought it was invincible – until the bankruptcy judge came a callin’.

            The man who had vision is dead and gone and without him it is not that easy to be a “visionary” company.

            Jobs was what is referred to as a Level 4 Leader. (See Jim Collins book Good to Great)

            Level 4 leaders historically have tended for the periods of time they were ruling their companies with their typical iron fisted, iron handed, capricious and dictatorial methods have been able to accomplish quite amazing things – see Teledyne’s story.

            Alas, once they are dead and gone and unlikely to ever return again to cast fear into the hearts of their now disheartened and aimless employees whom they never saw fit to empower with self-determination and the sense that they mattered more than to serve “the great man’s” genius – well things start to go to hell in a handbag, and usually within 24 to 48 months – which is right about the time period when Apple lost its 200 Billion in value.

            The world know that the allure and mystique that Jobs managed to create out of his singularly unique vision is now lacking, and that the end of greatness if not here is on its way.

          • PeterBlood

            What you are saying doesn’t mean a thing. It could apply to Microsoft, Google, Samsung or any number of companies tech or otherwise. Success or failure can occur with or without original leaders. Steve Ballmer hasn’t done so well since Bill Gates left either but I wouldn’t put them out of the game yet. Only a fool would discount Apple or think Jobs was successful all by his lonesome and didn’t have a team behind him, the same team there still working now. Jobs made mistakes too but in Apple’s case he infused the company with its own unique culture and ethic which continues on. Unlike some others. You are entitled to your opinion but be prepared to eat crow.

          • SamsaraGuru

            Only time will tell. In the meantime, what we will see is that Apple’s market share will continue to decline as more and more people tire of the same old hype that is and has been their modus operandi – how many times can you call the same thing “amazing”!

            But, to each his own, I stand by my statement that only someone who was seriously devoid of critical analytic ability as well as happy to ignore technological reality would even consider an iPhone.

          • PeterBlood

            Like anything, beauty, or smart phones, are in the eye of the beholder. Many people are not fooled by things as larger size but quality ecosystem. Newer features, models and upgraded iOS will also up desirability of the Apple choice In the very near future. I believe that’s why sweeping statements are foolish since things can change fast in this industry. And thats the thing is you assume Apple will stagnate as Samsung is already starting to. Obviously Samsung is suffering from diminished sales as well. Their premium line is small compared to the overall picture in Android sales which are cheaper feature phones. Fragmentation and malware (97% of all malware) also rampant in Androids world, not great for developers or consumers. So frankly I don’t see what you’re so proud about. Fortunately much smarter people will choose an iPhone and continue to. Apple loyalty is huge for a reason whereas Samsung brand loyalty is decidedly low also for a reason. As you say we shall see.

          • SamsaraGuru

            The stagnation Peter that will fell Apple is part and parcel of and born out of the company’s ethos.

            For longer than long it was the Steve Jobs traveling road show with Jobs the ringmaster, master of ceremonies as well as leader of the band.

            He was a genius – no denying it; however we all know that Tim Cook, hard as he may work, competent as the world knows him to be – is not a Steve Jobs.

            He is a captain of a ship that is still moving forward based on the impetus and thrust of past accomplishments motivated and give form, substance and life by Steve, but things are even at this moment slowing down for Apple, Jobs was a super salesman; a super manager, a super inventor and a super visionary all wrapped up in one (not exactly the nicest person or someone you would want for a bosom buddy necessarily) but able to coordinate and pull together countless disparate perceptions of reality that related to his business and the direction of the market. Sort of like an entire board of directors in one man.

            Now, Apple has a competent manager at the helm who will keep the ship on course but managers rarely have the creativity to venture into uncharted waters – that’s why they call them mangers and not explorers.

          • PeterBlood

            Again you are entitled to your opinion which is all this is. I respectfully disagree. Enough of what Jobs set into motion has survived and will keep the company going for many years to come. Right now there is no heir apparent of another company taking us forward, not even Google though they will continue to play their part. (Samsung has never been an innovator but a copier and user of other people’s ideas whose contribution will never be tech leadership.). It is in my confident opinion Apple’s best years are still ahead of it and while there may be missteps occasionally they will continue to thrive and influence the rest of technology more than anyone else. Time will bear this out and really there’s no one else who deserves this kind of trust & faith.

          • PeterBlood

            Any man who thinks he knows all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions.

            http://techpinions.com/apple-cant-innovate-anymore-my-a/19583#sthash.lqfiw8s3.dpuf

          • SamsaraGuru

            Couldn’t have characterized you better if I tried Peter. SMS

          • PeterBlood

            And I’m afraid couldn’t have characterized you more to a tee as well. It is why I included it. No one can read the future or know how this will all play out. It’s all conjecture and opinion based on interpretation. I applaud you as well bringing intelligence instead of just insults as an argument.

            I’m well familiar with Asimov. Personally I think he would have been an Apple fan. Heh. In fact I never understand why anyone who is obviously smart like yourself would ever not wish well of or support Apple over others. I find Apple supporters in general to be a more intelligent lot and android fans more of the riffraff type who are easily fooled by the smoke and mirrors. Also the type who love to rewrite history or deny Apple their huge historical contributions. Denial of the most disingenuous convenient sort. I don’t see the true innovating pioneer spirit at any other company quite as intensely as it operates in Cupertino, Google notwithstanding. I realize people will always debate this as they will debate anything but I and maybe you have had the benefit of seeing this whole industry rise from its beginnings and I believe see things a bit clearer.

            I’m in agreement we have to hold those who control our technology advancement feet to the fire. Asimov also once said: “We’re forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable, and trying to understand what can’t be understood.” We will share together the future as it is revealed to us in real time or as The Amazing Criswell once said “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future tech events such as these will effect you in the future.” ;)

          • PeterBlood

            More info for you from Fortune Tech refuting the idea that Samsung’s other divisions prop it up as much as you think. Sorry Charlie:
            ——————————–
            But there are reasons to think that Samsung is in a mess of its own making:

            * Astonishingly, for a manufacturing giant as diversified as Samsung, it may have become even more dependent on smartphone sales than Apple. Mobile phones accounted for 74% of Samsung’s operating profit last quarter. In the same quarter, the iPhone represented 52% of Apple’s revenue and 65% of its gross profit.

            * Samsung spent a fortune driving those smartphone sales. It topped Ad Age’s list of the fastest growing U.S. ad spenders last month, and its worldwide ad budget last year was $4.3 billion — four times Apple’s.

            * The Galaxy S4, which the company released in March to such fanfare, was pitched as a showcase of Samsung innovation and its best shot at overtaking the iPhone 5. But sales of the Galaxy S4 couldn’t match the iPhone 5′s and have tailed off far more rapidly.

            http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/07/05/apple-samsung-stock-price/

        • SamsaraGuru

          Significant to whom Peter – besides yourself?

          No one who really and truly has taken the time to seriously investigate the smartphone market; the technology underlying it; the history of said market as well as various advantages of both Android as an operating system and Samsung as a company would ever waste their time even considering an iPhone.

          The customer satisfaction numbers of members of the any zealot, cult like group are about as meaningful and worth of note as the phony enthusiasm with which the members of the cult spout them.,

          • PeterBlood

            Man I’ve never seen so much garbled nonsense spewed out in an attempt to sound intelligent but exhibiting none. It’s a significant and verifiable measure of success that in Samsung’s own home market in South Korea Apple beat them out in customer satisfaction. Deal with it. You sound like a zealot attempting to explain it away in your own childlike disingenuous way. This isn’t about cults or “excitable boys” but a metric of the market by a reliable source. Nice try but you’re completely out to lunch.

  • Andy Moore

    Totally agree with your review, I had the s2 before getting the s4 and I don’t feel like it’s that much different when comparing the operating system etc. It’s a great phone but I’m not amazed with it. Maybe that’s just how it is with mobiles at the moment. I was thinking off getting the HTC one but decided to get this.

  • Jaun Lombard

    Every Android phone will feel the same because it looks the same…that
    is why Windows is getting support because it is different and that is why
    Apple changed the look of their IOS, because people are getting bored
    with the previous IOS! (i know you get launchers and shit…but majority of people wants the basic look without using extra RAM) The same thing will happen to Android. Companies
    can upgrade the hardware of their phones and make them look different, but Android’s basic look will
    stay the same…that is why I give Samsung a thumbs up for trying to
    create software to make it feel different (HTC to with Blinkfeed), which Android is clearly lacking…The
    only reason I stay with android is because Windows is not big enough…I
    am getting bored with ICONS!! Windows 1995 had ICONS!! Windows 8 got
    tiles…little different than the norm…

    All smartphones will be on even par in the coming months (Sony, LG and Samsung will have phones that looks different, but do the same shit and feels the same)…because they use the same internals…It will really come down to which phone looks different, because the standard user-interface will be the same. I would have actually liked every maker of phones to have a different feel to them. but when I upgrade my S2 I know that after 2 months with my new phone…being HTC Once, xperia or galaxy…it will still feel the same!

  • john fragoulias

    If you want a smoother GS4, just download Nova Launcher, miles better than “Lag fest” Touch Whiz, phone will feel buttery smooth, once you load Nova Launcher, just go to Nova settings Look and feel, under Scroll speed choose Faster than Light, same for Animation Speed, and App Animation I chose Slide, also in the System settings under Developer Options go to Windows Animation Scale and turn animations OFF, same for Transition Animation Scale turn it OFF, and Animation Duration Scale, also turn it OFF. Also in Nova settings you can chose the scroll animation transitions, my favorite is card stack, plus there is a plethora of many more features and settings in Nova, best launcher out there, and I have tried them all.

  • SmartShopperBitchPlease

    awww yeah! step aside.. bitches, Butterfly S in the house!!

  • Zzzz

    Yawn. The smarphones have matured. Move on to the next gadget.

  • fourat

    the s4 wallpaper looks amazing! how i can get ?