Tag Archives: S4

Fight – HTC One versus Samsung Galaxy S4

Last month I sold my HTC One which I obtained on the first day it got released in the UK. I tried using the Samsung S4 Zoom and Huawei Ascend P6 afterwards, but both suffered from issues that I could not long term accept. So while I wait for the next wave of phones to be released for the last quarter of the year, I decided it was time to use the Samsung S4 again. I had tried this when it first came out for a week, but found it buggy versus the HTC One. So has anything changed? And what are the real differences between the two?

The HTC One and S4 both look good, but there is no denying the HTC One has the slight edge. But the S4, by using a consistent boring approach to manufacturing its phones, actually has a larger screen for a similar size. It is also lighter and feels better weighted and more comfortable in the hand.

Both come with superb sharp screens, but the HTC One has a better screen that is so much brighter and also readable in bright sunlight. The S4 in bright sunlight is a struggle. The S4 despite have more saturated colours still does not look as bright as the HTC One. That is not too say the S4 is shabby, just the HTC One is better.

Sound. No contest again. The HTC One has front speakers that are more practical for listening to music, films or podcasts. The S4 sound level is acceptable nonetheless. Both phones have Bluetooth APT-X for high quality audio. But whether it is listening via the headphone jack or via bluetooth the HTC One just sounds considerably better and more refined than the S4. Beats Audio does make a difference with the HTC One. Again, the S4 is not a poor quality sound, it is just not as good as the HTC One. USB Audio. That is taking the digital sound out via the micro usb port to a dedicated USB DAC. The HTC One has this built in and works with more USB DAC’s out of the box than the S4.

Moga Pro Game Controller. The MPGC works better with the S4 than HTC One. Both work very well in Mode A, but with the HTC One, Mode B requires a third party app from the Play Store to enable this mode to work.

So far we have looked at core features, and so far the HTC One is in the lead by a small margin. Next we move on to camera. The HTC One has optical image stabilisation and that means it can take clearer photos in low light and also you will have less blurry shots. It also takes photos and videos from an event and automatically creates a wonderful 30 second video highlight. But the S4 has better quality resolution, so for stills, landscapes and similar types of shots it has the advantage. A draw here, but for people not fussed about image quality, the HTC One is a better option as it will more than likely always capture that special moment in all conditions. Ideally, you would want to combine the camera quality and features from both phones.

The launchers could not be more different. HTC use Sense 5, while Samsung use Touchwiz. Sense 5 includes Blinkfeed and a stylish looking interface. Touchwiz on the other hands includes more features and functions but this in turn causes the phone not to be as fast and fluid as the HTC One.

Features and functions. HTC One has focused on the media and social sharing front. The HTC One even includes a FM radio, unlike the S4 which does not include one. The HTC One does not claim to be everything to all mankind, and this is where the S4 differs dramatically. It features a catalogue or options larger than your kitchen sink, which actually do make a difference to the way you use your phone.

The S4 features motion control, voice control of alarms, camera, music player and more. It S Voice (Siri clone ) is more featured than that on the HTC One. It features air gestures to flick through photos by just waving your hand over the photos for example. In fact exploring the options reveals over 30 plus different tweaks; multi window, air view, smart scroll, air gesture, blocking mode, smart stay to name a free. The S4 also has a health app and Samsung have included their Samsung Apps and Samsung Hub. This is their version of the Google Play store. The S4 includes a pedometer and barometer. If you have not realised, you must surely get the picture how different the two phones are. The S4 has feature after feature and feature. You just have to ask yourself how useful any of these actually are in real life.

The S4 also has a removable replaceable battery, and expansion by a micro sd card for media and documents. It also features Gorilla Glass 3, whereby the HTC One is Gorilla Glass 2. The S4 also features glove mode. The battery life lasts longer on the S4 and when the battery starts fading you can replace it.

Cost. The silver HTC One is approximately £445 versus the S4 at £489 if bought directly from Amazon. The HTC One comes with a fixed 32gb memory. The S4 16gb plus memory card. With the HTC One you have 25gb free to use as you will for apps, games and media. The S4 has 9gb free so you can install less apps and games, but can use a 64gb memory card for all your media.

Also bear in mind you can now buy in the UK, sim free the S4 with 32gb internal memory instead of 16gb. So with a 64gb micro sd card, you would have 96gb. The price for this higher model version is currently £517.

Accessories. The S4 has the edge by a large margin. There are more cases and accessories available for the S4. Samsung offer the S View Flip Cover. This replaces the battery back and adds a flip front cover with a cutout at the top. This can display the time, notifications and even allows you to answer a call without open the case. It also saves battery, since the screen is only powering a portion of the display.

So really, these two phones are so different, it is difficult to say one is better than the other. They are just so different, it really boils down to what features mean the most to you.

I personally miss my HTC One, but at the same time I am enjoying the S4.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 memory saga – Part 2

On the 15th May 2013, I copied a response from ASA the regarding my complaint around the lack of memory on the Samsung Galaxy S4 16gb version versus that being advertised. Since this article, the Samsung S4 has featured on BBC Watchdog. In addition, Samsung has released a software update that allows for apps to be moved to the micro SD card. BUT, this is a step forward, but not a perfect solution. Any apps on the SD card won’t be able to have their widget working on the homescreen. Also, moving the app or game to the micro SD card only moves the app not the game data. With large games, game data can easily be in excess of 2gb.

Anyway, following my email, and the ASA response, I had thought the matter was closed. That was until yesterday when I received a letter out of the blue.

Photo of letter below.
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So what caused this letter? I wonder if the ASA has received more complaints and has had to reopen the case? It does seem odd whatever the reason? Clearly many people are not happy with their 16gb S4’s.

And Samsung, where are the promised 32gb and 64gb versions?

Wireless Charging comes to the Samsung S4

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Samsung’s wireless charging kit for the S4 is one option that is now available in the US. It uses the Qi wireless charging standard, so if you already have a Qi charger, all you’ll need to do is grab the backplate for $39.99. Otherwise, you can also snag the charging pad for $49.99.

$90 for wireless charging is expensive, especially as some phones have it built in as standard and a spare plug to charge the phone is only a few dollars.

Update – its now in the UK via MobileFun for £40.

Change your Samsung S4 colour for $1,000

Bored of the colour of your Samsung S4, have no fear Colorware are rushing to your rescue. $1,000 and 14 days later you can have your personalised colour choice.

In the ColorWare design studio, there are 46 paint colors to choose from including, solid and metallic, as well as matte and gloss finishes. There are three customizable elements on the Galaxy S4,which provide extensive options for creating a one-of-a-kind smartphone.

The product goes through a laborious process of disassembly, cleaning, masking, painting, and inspection. Then, the product is buffed and reassembled. The product goes through final inspection and then is packaged into the original packaging.

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Personally, that’s a very expensive amount of money to blow on a phone but for some it’s a great little touch.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Pricing Fix

3 weeks ago the Samsung S4 launched with prices from the largest retailers asking £629 sim free. These included Amazon and Carphonewarehouse.

At the same time, and clearly not a coincidence the networks began offering the S4 on 2 year contract deals that made it financially more viable to select a 2 year contract instead of buying it sim free.

The sim free price did cause outrage and apparently it was Samsung who set this price, and clearly in collusion with the networks.

Why do I think this ? Well not even a month later the sim free price has dropped by £130 to £499. Both Carphonewarehouse and Amazon are selling it at this price now. Let me repeat that, the price has dropped by £130!!!!

In my opinion this behaviour is scandalous and ripping off the consumer.

A good example of treating customers fairly is Apple. Buy an iPhone on first day of release and its price doesn’t drop in price until the new iPhone appears.

So Samsung now you have been in the press over the low memory in the S4 – what news on the S4

Despite Samsung being in the press and BBC Watchdog over its low percentage of free memory on the 16gb S4 and the absence in the UK and most of the world of the larger memory models, Samsung just made a big announcement about the S4.

Samsung decided colours were more important than memory and therefore has announced four new colors for the device for release this summer. In addition to Blue Arctic and Red Aurora (pictured below), Samsung also has plans for a Purple Mirage and a Brown Autumn variant. The S4 will also be available in 45 more markets by the end of the year, making a total of 155 countries.

Samsung has probably decided to cover its back in case of the rumoured iPhone 5S comes out in various colours. It would be handy if they released it in 32gb in the UK.

Samsung S4 Rugged News

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GSM Arena has caught a snapshot of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 rugged phone which is water resistant and dust proof. But before you get too excited, it does not have the same specs as the real S4. Samsung is simply using the brand power of the S4 to sell this device and other ones like the S4 mini. The camera on this device is downgraded from 13mp to 8mp.

What I would like from Samsung is a 4.5 inch phone that has the same specs as the S4 but without the screen size. This would then be a true competitor to the Apple iPhone.

Fitbit and the Samsung S4

Fitbit has announced that they now support Bluetooth 4.0 syncing to the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Fitbit mentioned that every new phone that adds Bluetooth 4.0 sync support, requires custom development. While many of the new phones coming out have Bluetooth 4.0 hardware, many of them don’t have the necessary software for third party apps (like ours) to access this hardware.

Fortunately, Google has announced that they will be standardizing support for Bluetooth 4.0 in an upcoming Android OS, hopefully jellybean 4.3.

Apart from a number of Apple devices, Fitbit also supports the S3, Note 2 and Note 10.1 .

Perspective – Apple sales vs Samsung figures

Samsung earned industry praise for estimating that it will ship 10 million Galaxy S4 to carriers in its first month on the market, six months after the same journalists voiced disappointment that Apple had sold only 5 million iPhone 5’s in its first 3 days.

Just a little perspective.

And a bit more.

The Apple iPhone is launched as being available in 16/32/64gb. Guess what. From day 1 you could order whatever size you wanted. The Samsung S4 was launched as available in 16/32/64gb. Guess what. From day 1 only the 16gb was available.

Just a little bit more perspective.

Samsung S4 news

Samsung announced that by the end of next week they will have sold 10m Samsung Galaxy S4 phones. They also short changed the same amount of people by not being transparent about the free user memory and what the memory card can and can’t be used for.

The S4 health accessories are now available to pre order from Clove Technology . These include the bands, scales and heart monitor.

Samsung announced on BBC Watchdog it would potentially be releasing a software update to free up some internal memory space. Watch this space!

Smart Remote for the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4

Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One have an IR Blaster. If the included software is not powerful and feature packed enough there is now an app that covers all your remotes, called Smart IR for HTC One or Smart IR for Samsung S4.

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With Smart InfraRed Remote for your HTC One or S4, you can add, create and customize any number of remotes, combining controls from any of your existing remotes. Imagine a single remote on which the CHANNEL UP button controls your Set Top Box from your TV provider, the VOLUME keys control your home theater system and the arrow keys control your TV’s menu. If your mobile rings the remote mutes your TV etc. If the app detects a sudden increase in volume, like big explosions it can automatically lowest the volume. This is the first app available making use of the IR Blaster and consequently costs more than most apps at £6.42.

The links are as follows: HTC One Smart Remote and Samsung S4 Smart Remote

Smart Remote can control your TV, Set Top Box, Lights, Projectors, etc.. Virtually anything that has an Infrared Receiver can be controlled by Smart Remote with the correct remote codes. DSLR camera support apparently is in the pipeline.

There is one difference between the S4 and HTC One, the S4 due to a hardware limitation is not able to do automatic learning of codes.

TONIGHT – BBC Watchdog Consumer Programme features the Samsung S4

Don’t forget to tune in to the BBC 1 Watchdog consumer programme at 8pm.

This week Anne Robinson is taking aim at the Samsung S4 and what Samsung forgot to tell us about its 16gb phone.

I hope this forces Samsung’s hand to announce the availability of the 32/64gb versions at a sensible cost, direct from their website.

If you do decide to opt for the 32gb model, the available memory is around 23gb.

The Samsung S4 memory saga and the Advertising Standards Agency

I contacted the ASA regarding the Samsung S4 and the lack of memory with the 16gb, the changes in how memory is managed now by using internal memory only for apps and games, and the lack of the 32gb or 64gb models. This is the response.

“Dear Mr Fabiani-Laymond

Thank you for contacting us about an entry on the Samsung UK website.

You raised two points: the availability of the higher memory Galaxy S4 models and also that the ad did not clarify that not all of the 16GB would be available for customers to use.

In relation to the latter point, I’m afraid we have decided not to pursue this aspect of your complaint. We understand that it is standard industry practice for manufacturers of electronic devices to advertise their product in this way. It reflects the actual size of the product memory and in the case of the Samsung UK website, the type of content that can be incorporated is clarified. It’s always difficult to evaluate cases such as this, because each user will have differing requirements and we must look at the content of ads as a whole to ascertain whether they are likely to mislead consumers about the product’s capability. In this example, we don’t believe that to be the case.

On your first point, we put your concern about the availability of the higher memory Galaxy S4 models to Samsung. They explained that Samsung UK sells the Galaxy S4 to retailers and mobile networks, which in turn sell them to consumers. The retailers and mobile networks are able to order any version of the Galaxy S4 (e.g. 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB). However, they said to date, the only version of the Galaxy S4 ordered by the retailers and mobile networks in the UK has been the 16GB version. This is primarily due to the huge demand for the 16GB version.

They did say that consumers may be able to order the 32GB and 64GB from retailers based elsewhere in Europe, and retailers and mobile networks in the UK may order the 32GB and 64GB from Samsung UK if there is consumer demand, so they had included reference to the 32GB and 64GB versions to clarify that those models did exist. However, in order to avoid confusion, they have decided to remove reference to the 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 devices until a retailer or mobile network orders them. Having checked the website today, I notice that the amendment has been made.

Given Samsung’s response, we won’t take matters further this time. We would like to thank you, however, for raising your concerns with us. If you would like more information about our work, please visit http://www.asa.org.uk.”

The response is disappointing and weak in my view. All Samsung had had to do is amend their website and now everything is fine. In addition it is apparently ok to mislead consumers with memory claims as well.

Update:

I have challenged the ASA with regards to the memory claims and now am waiting for a further response.