My Thoughts on the Galaxy SIV

SamsungGalaxyS411

Since the Samsung Galaxy SIV was announced, I was pretty much waiting on baited breath for its release for Verizon customers; I was so excited I went out and picked it up the day after it was released, the soonest I could (I had actually pre-ordered it on May 18th through Amazon, but due to some issues I cancelled the order and picked it up at my local Best Buy). I really liked the form factor, features, and of-course, the amazing 13MP camera it touted. So does the phone live up to my expectations? Let’s see.

Here are some of my thoughts on the device:

  • It feels fantastic. It’s a great size, and despite so reports, I don’t think it feels cheap at all. 
  • It’s also pretty light for a phone; much lighter than the iPhone 4S I have through work.
  • The screen is absolutely gorgeous. It’s crisp and clear and I love it.
  • I’m not a huge fan of Touchwiz. Luckily that’s just a launcher, so I swapped it out with my current favorite, Nova Launcher Prime.
  • As with any non-stock Android device, I could really do without the bloatware. I haven’t rooted yet but if I do, that would be the only reason.
  • I absolutely love the air gestures and other non-touch functionality. The fact that I can reach for my phone and see info like calls and texts without touching it, swipe through images by waving my hand, and take a picture by saying, “Smile” or “Capture” is incredible to me. It works very well and a few occasions have cropped up where they were actually very helpful.
  • Surprisingly, the Camera is only the #2 most impressive thing about this phone, and impressive it is; here are a couple of examples of photos I took with the phone:

Magic Kingdom from the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
Magic Kingdom from the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House

My lovely girlfriend on the Teacup ride
My lovely girlfriend on the Teacup ride

  • That said (and shown), the camera performs much better in daylight than in low-light situations. You can see more examples in my latest Flick Set.
  • The multiple shooting modes are great, but take some getting used to. I’ve lost a couple of photos because I didn’t realize you needed to save a copy before pressing the back button in certain modes, and there is no warning.
  • I think the ability to erase moving objects is incredibly cool, and it works well too.
  • S-Translator is really handy; I actually used it twice while on vacation to talk to people who spoke Portugese and Spanish. It works very well, and while it’s a little awkward taking through a phone, they were both pretty cool moments that would be have more difficult, if not impossible, without such a well-done app.
  • The most impressive thing about this phone is the battery life. I am currently (at the time of writing this), at 57%, it’s been unplugged for 13.6 hours, and it still estimates 18 hours of use. When I was in Disney World, a true test of battery life, it lasted entire days (around 15-17 hours) with minimal management. It is considerably better than any other Android device I’ve used, and even better than my iPhone 4s. The kicker…most of the time I am on 4G.
  • My final thought is I don’t think I’m using the phone to it’s full potential. I know there are a lot of really nice features and that makes the learning curve a little steep. That said, I don’t think it’s a hinderance. They put a lot of thought into the UX; they even have a “Beginner” home screen to make the device easier to  use. As for the OS and apps using a lot of space…well it’s a good thing they built in a micro SD slot 😉

In case you need it explicitly stated, I highly recommend this phone. It’s lived up to every expectation I’ve had and in some case exceeded them. I think Samsung overcomes several complaints about stock Android and really add a lot of value to an already solid operating system. I paid for the phone outright, off-contract (to keep my unlimited data plan) and think it was worth every penny.