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:
- 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.