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Samsung Galaxy S4 – 01: Let the games begin

May 7, 2013


After some running around I finally got my Samsung Galaxy S4. Fortunately my Bell contract was up for renewal because spending $700 on a phone is ridiculous, even if the phone is really cool. I paid $200 in exchange for renewing for another 3 years with Bell. They waived the usual 35$ fee and the penalty for the remaining months in my contract. So that was nice.

Item the first: Bell logistics suck.

I’m a little annoyed at Bell Mobility’s handling of the S4 launch. I showed up to preorder only to be told there’s no need to preorder because they’ll have plenty of phones and no one has asked to preorder anyway.

Come launch day, Bell hadn’t received any phones, though Rogers, Fido, even Virgin had them for sale. I was tempted to switch right then and there.

Two days later Bell had received a handful of phones, which had naturally sold immediately. I hate the incompetence of Bell salespeople. And our company could do a much better job with logistics and timely deliver. But enough about that.

Item the second: Best Buy to the rescue!

Fortunately, Best Buy has enough purchasing power to get enough stock, so I got my phone from them. Helpful staff and effective, even though they get the runaround a little bit from the Bell technical department. Only Bell would put the guy selling their products on hold for 5 minutes. We both looked at each other as he shrugged and exhaled: It’s Bell. Enough said.

I walked away a satisfied Best Buy customer. Not Bell. Best Buy.

Item the third: Wow factor

“Wow!” is the only way to describe the first power on and the beautiful, gigantic screen (compared to my iPhone 4 anyway). From the HD camera to watching movies on my phone, the visual experience is fantastic.

Retina display? B!tc#, Please. This is a High Definition TV in my pocket. Sleek design, replaceable battery, expandable memory, NFC reader, all those are fine qualities; in and of themselves enough reason to leave the iPhone behind, but this screen is the first and only argument I would have needed.

Item the fourth: Samsung should stick to hardware

Samsung really makes awesome hardware, but the bundled “Samsung” and third party software that comes with the S4 is a laughable joke. Just like the first thing you do when you open up a brand new PC is uninstall the garbage preinstalled games and ridiculously useless utilities, the Android phone comes with a plethora of useless, non-functional, and just garbage apps. I recommend uninstalling those that can be uninstalled and removing the rest from the menus, relegating them to their well-deserved obscurity.

Screenshot_2013-05-07-10-35-09

Gameloft HD games? I don’t think so.

Item the fifth: Google apps rock.

I paid 49.95 for my iPhone GPS utility. Android has it free. Along with Google Maps. Dropbox is preinstalled, but Google Drive really shines on Android. Google Plus integration makes it really easy to finally use Google+. I’m looking forward to that. Google Talk comes standard too, so I’m online with my friends from minute one.

Item the sixth: Android is not iOS.

Not that it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just different.

iOS was dumbed down. Way down. But it’s easy so anyone can use it. On Android you have to figure things out, get into the settings, get your hands dirty. I love it, but I also know Android is not for my girlfriend. If you’re not interested in technology, if you don’t like tons of buttons and endless options, if you don’t want to spend time looking for an app that’s ever so slightly better than the one you’re using, then maybe you should stick to iOS.

If, on the other hand, you want to be in control of your experience, flip iTunes the middle finger and never get your music wiped out again by faulty DRM, slide your songs onto the phone as easily as if you were copying files onto a USB key, and get cutting edge technology, then there’s no reason in the world you shouldn’t be on Android.

Aside from the crappy default apps, which is a fairly easy fix, there isn’t anything I don’t like about this device.

Coming from the nit-picking techno guy, that’s a verifiable first.

More posts as my experience continues.

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