Samsung Galaxy S4: Top 5 defects and disadvantages

Samsung Electronics unveiled the Galaxy S4 on March 15, 2013.

The handset will be available in Dubai stores from April 27, 2013, onwards, the company has confirmed, running full-page adverts in local dailies this morning.

Evidently, the South Korean giant has been trying to emulate Apple in every bit of the American firm’s hype-creating abilities – down to unveiling the new smartphone in New York, in an over-the-top Broadway-themed stage show. Read: Galaxy S4 takes the smartphone battle to iPhone's home turf.

Indeed, it did manage to generate a fair amount of excitement pre- and post the Galaxy S4 launch. Now, however, with the imminent availability of the smartphone, the hype seems to be dying down and users are waking up to assessing the smartphone’s features and specs.

Increasingly, early users (read: bloggers) who got a chance to lay their hands on the device before its market availability are claiming that while the smartphone is rich in features, it is not the iPhone-killer that some of the early reviewers made it out to be.

And while it is impossible to launch any device with zero defects, having some glaring ones is not what any manufacturer would want.

Here's a quick hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy S4, courtesy Ryan Hoskins (@newmacgeek). Thanks Ryan.

Now there have been reviews and rave reviews of the Galaxy S4, but a number of consumers who’ve been waiting for the device to be available in the market are eager to find out what the product lacks, if anything.

And before you start criticising us for being biased to Apple, you might want to read this:Apple iPhone 5: Top 6 defects and disadvantages. This was published after the unveiling of the iPhone 5, and perhaps conclusively proves that we do not favour any smartphone manufacturer (at least not Apple over Samsung).

Back to the Samsung Galaxy S4 defects and disadvantages – here they go:

1. It looks the same: Notwithstanding the additional megapixels and gigabytes of leaps in what’s under the hood, the look and feel of the new Galaxy S4 is pretty much similar to the Galaxy S3. Of course it sports a bigger screen, but once you get past that, the smartphone feels just like its previous avatar.

There will be at least a section of potential customers that would want their phone to look strikingly different from its previous iteration so they can, without explicitly saying so, show off their new handy candy to random strangers.

Let’s face it, there are enough people out there for whom the smartphone is a status symbol, and for whom looks matter more than the specs. By keeping the look-and-feel of the Galaxy S4 the same as the Galaxy S3, Samsung has probably ignored that particular section of the crowd.

2. It’s too plasticky: This one is an offshoot of the previous one, but one that’s been a constant criticism of Samsung’s smartphones. For any device that harbours ambitions of being an iPhone-killer, you just can’t have a plastic body and case – that’s downright tacky, or at least that’s what other manufacturers believe.

Look at the HTC One, or the BlackBerry Z10 or even the Sony Xperia Z – they all come decked up in metallic attire. Read: Which smartphone? Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 vs HTC One vs Xperia Z vs BlackBerry Z10

Even the Google Nexus 4 offers a cool glass-centric chassis design. Now while glass looks sleeker, it has more chances of getting scratched. Metal doesn’t offer just good looks, it also offers durability and sturdiness.

If rumours are to be believed, Samsung is well aware of this criticism and has begun planning for a Galaxy S5 in an all-metal body. According to the UK’s Phones Review blog, the South Korean giant will be releasing a new metal phone – it could either be the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Galaxy Note 3.

3. Too much ‘bloatware’: For the uninitiated, software bloat, or bloatware, is software that has lots of features and requires considerable disk space and RAM. As the cost of RAM and disk storage has decreased, there has been a growing trend among software developers to disregard the size of applications. Webopedia refers to this trend of overcrowding a device with unwanted apps as “creeping featuritis. If creeping featuritis is the symptom, bloatware is the disease,” it says. In short, it’s too many gimmicky apps and icons that you don’t need crowding your device and hogging the limited RAM space.

According to early reviews, the Galaxy S4 comes pre-installed with a large number of such undesired or undesirable apps, some of which that can be manually uninstalled but it remains a hassle nevertheless. Plus there are features like the Smart Pause, Smart Scroll and Smart Stay which could become a nuisance when the user looks away or down the screen unintentionally, with the ‘smart’ apps taking that gesture as their order and scrolling to the next page or pausing the video when the user did not intend any of these actions.

Nevertheless, there have been YouTube videos offering a manual or guide to removing bloatware from the previous versions of the Galaxy smartphone device. Check this one out: 

So while it can be removed, critics are still looking for an answer to why pre-load something that’s not needed in the first place?

4. Screen size and OLED display: The screen size is something that is still up for debate – for some, the 5" screen is a bit too much to handle in a smartphone and was best left to the Galaxy Note series of phablets. But now that Samsung has gone ahead and introduced the larger screen size for its spearhead smartphone, it remains to be seen whether the S4 will end up as a pioneering genius device that occupies that space or a mistake that Samsung is forced to correct in its upcoming editions.

In addition, the OLED display is great, but is more of the same from other manufacturers – the HTC One and the Xperia Z feature the same technology. So not much improvement as compared with its peers, and not a quantum leap from the Galaxy S3 either.

It’s cool, but it’s still not Full HD screen we've seen on a mobile phone, as it's kind of lost its lustre since the likes of the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z have all managed the same trick – but it improves the sharpness a lot, even though you're not getting that much different from the S3.

Moreover, with the upcoming iPhone 6 expected to revolutionise display technology with its scratch-less screen that can be written on with a pencil, the Galaxy S4 screen seems lacking. Read: iPhone 6 release rumours: Screen you can write on with a pencil… features to kill Galaxy S4?.

5. It’s not an iPhone: Need we explain this? It isn’t a defect, but a disadvantage nevertheless.

In the end, this list is still not final in that mass users are yet to give their definitive verdict on the new Samsung Galaxy S4, once it becomes available on April 27. Samsung claims the device is “Worth Waiting 4”. We’ll wait and see.

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