While Windows Phone concentrates on a streamlined and simple user experience, Samsung has been piling features into their Android handsets which in their commercials appear to deliver a magical experience, and which frankly would make owners of Windows Phones somewhat envious.
Phys.org have however reviewed the handset and discovered everything is not as rosy as it would appear at first blush, and that the features are not really reliable enough to be useful.
It turns out that I needn’t have been jealous. Few of the Galaxy S4’s new features work well, are useful or are truly unique. … But after spending several days testing those features, I was less impressed with the Galaxy S4 than I expected to be – and am no longer considering ditching my iPhone.
Among the new features Samsung’s touting are new shooting modes for the Galaxy S4’s camera app. One, called "Drama," is designed for action shots and allows users to combine multiple images of a moving subject into one picture. You’re supposed to be able to see the progression of a skier jumping or a skateboarder taking a tumble.
But the mode is finicky and difficult to use. It won’t record any pictures if you have more than one thing moving in the frame at a time or if you are standing too close to the person you’re photographing. And even when I got the feature to take pictures, I never could get it to merge multiple images in the same picture.
Another new mode called "Sound and Shot" records the ambient sound as you take a still picture. Unfortunately, you can only listen to the recordings if you’ve got a Galaxy S4 phone. If you view the photos on an iPhone or a PC or even on another Android device, you won’t be able to hear the sound.
But the most disappointing of the Galaxy S4’s new features were those that make it most distinct: its collection of gesture controls. You’ve probably seen Samsung’s ads touting these features. They show people answering their phone with a wave of the hand or scrolling through a Web page by just looking at it.
Those features may work well in Samsung’s ads, but not in real life. I rarely was able to get the Galaxy S4 to scroll pages just by scanning down the page. And I was only able to wake the phone up by waving at it about a third of the times I tried. While I had better luck using gestures to scroll through photos in the gallery app, I had to be careful how I waved; sometimes, I would inadvertently find myself flipping back and forth between the same pictures.
Even when these features worked as advertised, they weren’t terribly useful, because they’re only supported by a handful of apps. You can’t use them with Gmail, Chrome or many other popular programs.
…The bottom line is the Galaxy S4 is a perfectly fine Android smartphone. But all of it’s supposed innovations are less than they seem.
We have seen from other reviews that Samsung’s feature overload has managed to cause stutter and lag even with the 8-core smartphone.
Android is very open to adding every imaginable feature, much like Windows Mobile was, which is a good recipe for filling every niche in the market, but as numerous surveys have shown, in most cases the OS leaves users significantly less satisfied than an OS such as Windows Phone, which is much more thoughtful in the addition of its features.
Read the full review at Phys.org here.
Thanks David for the tip.