One Year Later: Galaxy S4 Google Edition

About a year ago I wrote a blog post outlining why I had chosen the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition.  This is a follow-up to go back and review my reasons at the time and see how things actually panned out.  

In the initial post I laid out a list of 5 requirements, so let’s go back and see how important those are now:

  1. MicroSD: Although my reasoning for having a microSD card slot available was good, in practice I have never used it as I had intended.  I had hoped that I would be able to put somebody else’s card into my phone and copy over the media that I wanted to share.  That is not really practical for two reasons. (1) The phone is not designed for easy access to the card slot.  I have to remove my protective case and the peel off the back cover to get to it.  My wife’s phone has the slot on the side so it is easily accessible which makes more sense. (2) Chances are very high that I would want to copy the media from my microSD card to the other person’s microSD card.  That means that as soon as either of us removes our card from our phones to do the transfer, the transfer is no longer possible because neither of us has two card slots.  I have ended up doing the transfer via Bluetooth instead.  I have since discovered an external card reader that can be plugged into the microUSB port on the phone which would really make this process much easier. Just to clarify, my internal microSD card slot has still been very useful as I was able to increase my internal storage from 16 GB by adding a 64 GB card.  I still don’t understand why high end smart phones only come with such paltry internal storage options.
  2. Upgradeable OS: One of my greatest frustrations with Android is that after a phone is released, the updates to the OS take a long time to come, if they ever do.  Just this morning I was reading about a vulnerability in the OS, but you have to be on 4.4 or later to have the fix.  I have really appreciated that my phone has been constantly updated to the latest version over the last year.  For this reason, I strongly recommend the purchase of Nexus or Play Edition phones that are updated directly by Google.  Google really needs to address this issue so that it is easier to get OS updates for older Android phones.
  3. High-end: I always have a good video and still camera with me. I am still amazed by the quality of the screen and the speed of the device, and because of that I end up using my phone for way more than I had ever thought that I would.  It is now my only Bible and one of my primary reading devices.  When I travel it often serves as my wireless router and provides me with quick online communication with my wife.  I have not seen anything else on the market that is even tempting.
  4. Replaceable battery: Thankfully this is not an issue that I have had to deal with yet, but I still think it is a good plan for the future.
  5. Locally Common: Samsung is definitely very popular in Ghana.  It is not uncommon for me to see others with the exact same hardware that I have and I have even been able to buy an HDTV adapter here.

I have not regretted the choice that I made for a minute.  I have really enjoyed using this phone and see no reason to move to anything else currently available.  That being said, in my recommendations to others I would only put the upgradeable OS and high-end as requirements, the rest are bonuses.  This allows for other options like Google’s Nexus 5. You get most of the same benefits for 2/3 of the price.

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