I’ve been the obnoxious guy walking around with two phones for what seems like no apparent reason.* Fact is I did have a legit excuse since Cricket Wireless shipped me the Samsung S4 to test out.
I’m not a gadget-head by any means. I’m probably more advanced the average user, so my neighbor asks me for help. But, I’m not on the level of those who live and die by the release of the latest technology, meaning I usually tap resident techie Sinclair when I need help with an app or stuff like that.**
However, when you think about it, those qualities mean I’m probably the most ideal tester a phone company could pick since any reviewing would be done on the basic levels from the average user perspective. Therefore, allow me to share my experience with you in a few quick points.
— The S4 is fast. Much faster than the Droid models I knew years before. It boots up very quickly and shifts between apps with great speed.
— The screen is as big as they say it is. The S4 measures in at just over 5″ in height and its in full HD so you’ll never have a problem seeing any media, font, etc. The good thing is the added size doesn’t create any added weight or bulk, leaving it lighter than competitors and still able to fit into a backpocket with ease.
— The phone advocates free will. The keyboard took a quick second to get used to and spellcheck isn’t easy to use, so it’s probably best to download a different one***. Yet, that’s one of the better aspects of the S4. Since developers aren’t restricted, users aren’t either and anything you want to adjust to meet your needs can pretty much be done without jailbreaking, thus voiding warranties and such.
— It can run two apps, at the same d**n time. Again, coming the other side, having capabilities like this are ones I used to only wish for.
— The camera hype didn’t do it for me. It could be just my inadequacies as a phone photographer, my impatience with trying to learn the nuances or most likely both but I couldn’t get this thing to capture the same glossy images as other examples I’ve seen. Consider this part a work in progress for me and do share tips if you have them.
— Muve Music’s service is very good. Here’s where my expertise comes into play. All I’ve done since I’ve tested the phone is download a different album almost daily and take it with me on my morning run. Ease of use is everything and Muve clearly understood that by keeping things simplistic with a clean interface and smooth and their service stocked with new releases. Also, there are no download limits. Couple that with Google Play and all the music one could ever want right there.
Also, Muve’s included in the monthly bill, whose rate plan is half the price of AT&T and Verizon. Saving money is always a plus.
— Dear Lord, the battery. It’s not the fact the S4 can go longer without charging (it does). Instead, it’s that the battery’s replaceable. I CONTROL THE BATTERY instead of it controlling me, leaving me scrambling for plug-ins and cords at the most inopportune time. And there’s a a microSD storage slot for additional memory. SO, I CONTROL THE STORAGE, TOO. Those two things provide a new lease on life.
My final verdict is while I’m still learning how to operate the camera, everything else is good money. A solid phone choice paired with Muve Music almost means that I may end up going back to the regular guy who only carries one phone.
* – I’ve also been silently quoting ‘Lito’s “Might call you from my other phone, Tell you call my other phone” off “Strange Fruit Roll-Ups.”
** — I’ll save my insatiable thirst for sneakers, thank you very much.
*** — The Internet told me to grab Google’s regular Android keyboard and that did the trick for me.