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Samsung Galaxy S4 anyone? Is anyone using one with Straighttalk or similar carrier?

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by Sid Post, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Sid Post

    Sid Post

    Oct 14, 1998
    I'm looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4 versus Apple Iphone 5 on Straighttalk.

    Brand Samsung
    MPN SamsungGalaxySIVGTI950016UnlockedWhiteFrost
    Carrier Unlocked
    Family Line Samsung Galaxy S IV
    Model GT-I9500
    Type Smartphone

    Network Technology EDGE, GPRS, GSM, HSPA+, LTE
    Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) HSPA+ 850/900/1900/2100

    The Processor is Samsung Exynos 5410 Octa.

    My current psuedo~smartphone is dieing. I also find myself traveling a lot and spending lots of time queued up for a flight with poor internet connectivity. Instead of tethering a phone to my laptop, I'm thinking the Galaxy S4 might bridge the differences between a Notebook or tethered laptop. Email and simple web searches are the main features I need besides normal phone things (talking, speakerphone, text messages).

    Am I being a bit foolish or biased by ignoring the Apple IPhone 5? The Samsung screen and 8 core CPU are looking real attractive to me along with the more open nature of the Galaxy OS and security features.
  2. texas gun person

    texas gun person

    Jun 9, 2010
    The Galaxy S3 and IPhone 5 are apples to apples in a lot of comparisons, and the S3 beats it in many comparisons. If my contract were about to expire... I would pick the S4 up in a heartbeat. Android has passed Apple in what it can do, and the Galaxy has passed the IPhone.

    Sent from my IPad 3 :p
  3. MVF

    MVF Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    Galaxy all the way- less expensive, ability to use additional memory cards, removable/replaceable battery, and you don't need iTunes!!! I've got the S3 and couldn't be happier.
  4. Grubbster

    Grubbster Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    I would (and did) go with the Nexus4 over either. If you are going to use Straight Talk (which I do) you will have to buy your phone outright. In that case the Nexus4 is about 1/2 the cost of either of those phones and boasts a 4 core processor and 2 gigs of memory. Also being a Nexus you will always have the latest version of Android and a great development community for customizations. The only downside for some people, although not for me, is that it only has 16 gigs of storage. Unless you do not use the cloud and have a lot of music or other space consuming files that should be enough. Mine is only about half full.
    Eight cores on a phone is a total waste. Most apps do not even utilize 4.
  5. xICEMANx

    xICEMANx Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 24, 2012
    Not sure if the OP us in the USA or not but the USA model of the S4 is a quad core, not Octa. Still the early benchmarks are blowing every thing away! I know I'll be getting an S4 as soon as they hit Verizon.
  6. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Disclaimer: I'm biases for Android and against iProducts. I'll try to be as objective as I can comparing the two though.

    Sid, you're just going to be buying the phone outright? Make sure Straighttalk will work with the Galaxy S4 (and prepare yourself for the sticker shock). And FYI, the American market gets a slightly different version than the European market, which gets the 8 core Exynos (clocked at 1.6GHz). The Americas get a quad core Snapdragon clocked at 1.9GHz (nothing to sneeze at). The European S4 scores better in benchmark tests, but not so much that it's worth worrying about - the American S4 beats pretty much anything else out there. Plus, the European version doesn't support 4G LTE. Straighttalk uses existing networks from Verizon or Sprint (CDMA) or TMobile or AT&T (GSM). There shouldn't be any problem using an unlocked S4 you bought off Amazon or from Bestbuy with Straighttalk.

    There's some big difference between the S4 and iPhone 5.

    Most obvious, as far as having it on you every day, is the size. The S4 is a large phone (although ever-so-slightly smaller than the S3) with a big screen. The iPhone 5 takes up way less pocket space. Obviously this is because of the screen sizes. I wouldn't call the screen on the iPhone 5 "cramped", but it definitely gives you less to work with. And if you want to put some movies on your phone to entertain yourself while traveling, the larger, more detailed screen of the S4 is the obvious winner. If I were you I'd pop into a cell phone store (the 4 major carriers all offer both the Galaxy and iPhones) and see which you'd rather put in your pocket (or clip to your belt). If the large size isn't an issue, the S4 wins hands down for its screen. Especially if you want it to perhaps replace a laptop.

    Also obvious is the OS. iPhones are simple and easy to use. The trade-off is that they're not even remotely as customizable as Androids are. Conversely, Androids have a steeper learning curve because there's so much more you're able to do with them. In this regard, there really isn't a "right" or "wrong" regarding a person's preference. I can't fault an iPhone user for preferring because it's simpler. Many people these days don't even want smart phones, they just want to make calls. It all comes down to how much you're wanting to do and how much you like to customize.

    The S4 has a larger battery, longer battery life on that battery, and the battery is replaceable so you can keep a charged spare (or 2) handy if need be. Very good to have while traveling. The S4 also uses a plain-ol' micro USB to charge. No need for a proprietary connector.

    The S4 gives you more value for your money. Higher res screen, higher performance hardware, and you're not paying out the nose for storage space like you do with an iProduct. A 16gb iPhone 5 will run you $720-750 off-contract, with another $100 or so for each jump in storate (32 or 64gb). That's just insane. I ordered a 64gb class 10 microSD card off Amazon this afternoon for $55. Apple's math don't add up. For less than the price of a 16gb iP5 you can get a 16gb S4 and a 64gb microSD card. If you need more than that (and I can't imagine you would), there's a 32 and 64gb version of the S4 coming out as well.

    One other thing to heavily consider is this app for Android phones. For $8 it combines FoxFi and PdaNet. FoxFi works as a wi-fi hotspot and Bluetooth tethering, and PdaNet does wired tethering. There might be issues with using FoxFi's wi-fi hotspot and the 4.2 Jelly Bean on the S4, but Bluetooth should work fine (if your laptop supports it - if not, you can buy a dongle for cheap). Or just use the wired tethering with PdaNet, which is often the better choice anyway, since either way, providing internet for your computer sucks down the phone's battery. The best part is that it's only $8, once. No $20/month (or more) extra for data you're already paying for. For obvious reasons, carriers, especially ones that offer unlimited data, do their best to block use of these (and similar) apps, but there's almost always a way around them. But if you're buying an unlocked phone, there shouldn't' be any problems at all. In any case, you can download the demo for free and see what works or doesn't. The $8 full version unlocker gives you unlimited use, whereas the demo times-out after a while and needs to be restarted.

    Or you could root your phone, and do all the tethering/hotspot stuff for absolutely free (plus a bunch of other neat stuff), but this voids your warranty, and messing around with root access with your Android isn't for the timid or uninitiated (trust me).
  7. cchu518

    cchu518 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    I have a galaxy for work and my wife has a iPhone 5. The 5 is garbage and a step back from the 4. Three months into owning the phone the speaker died and we had to set up a warranty replacement. Sirius does not work 3 out of 4 times, the battery is awful, the chargers and cords of her ipad 2 do not work BC the 5 has an entirely new type of plug and if you are not part of the apple eco system you are forced into using I tunes etc...etc...

    Last the screen is tiny. I have no issues with the galaxy.
  8. texas gun person

    texas gun person

    Jun 9, 2010
    This is my BIGGEST complaint with Apple phones beacuse it's such a money grabbing scam. I can buy a 64gb micro SD for around $57... come the hell on Apple.
  9. Sid Post

    Sid Post

    Oct 14, 1998
    I live in the desert SW USA and travel internationally. One option I have is to buy a phone in the UAE and get a pay as you go card there and then buy a SIM card from Straighttalk when I return CONUS. How big a deal is 4G LTE for me? I'm looking for bandwidth for forums like this one and simple email (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) while traveling. Battery life, good reception, call quality, screen quality, and similar things are important to me. I do not like the Apple Ecosystem or their price gouging so, I am anti-Apple biased even though they make some really great products. Rooting a phone is not going to happen in my case. Wired connectivity to a laptop isn't an issue either. In fact, is some areas I prefer it for greater security. My sister has an Iphone 4 and I find the screen way too small and cramped for any real use I might have so, that also biases me against the newer Iphone 5. Proprietary adapters for the Iphone ..... :p Another negative for Apple.

    It really sounds like I need to consider the North American 4-core versus Global/Mid East 8-core model Samsung Galaxy S4. I guess I also need to consider the Google Nexus too.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  10. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    The Nexus 4 is an amazing phone for the price. It won't work on LTE either, but does work on HSDPA+, which is plenty fast (its capability is more than you're likely to see with LTE at this time). HSDPA+ is only good for up to 42MB/s, but nowhere I know of does LTE even approach that, despite the capability to do so. The 2 major drawbacks of the Nexus 4 are the lack of expandable storage and an unacessable battery. That, and finding one available, because they're so high in demand. Right now you can only get the 8gb model direct from Google Play.

    Rooting a Nexus device actually doesn't void your warranty, and is very easy, because this is part of the entire point of the Nexus line. They're designed for it. If you root it, you can do as much or as little as you want. With only an app or 2, you can give yourself the free wi-fi hotspot and/or wired tethering (, for example). If you root it, you can also install AdAway, which blocks in-app ads, and all adds within the browser, which makes things far easier and smoother. Beyond that, there really isn't much point to rooting a phone for the casual user. But the ability to tether or hotspot your phone, and block all those ads, IMO, is worth it, especially on a Nexus, which is easy, simple, and doesn't void your warranty. There's plenty of vids on youtube on how to do it.

    If you want to max out your battery, either get a phone with a removable battery and buy a spare or 2, or look at the Droid Razr Maxx, or the HD Maxx. My phone is a Razr Maxx, and I can go all day with heavy usage and not fully drain the battery. Also, if the size isn't a problem, look at the Samsung Note 2. It has a massive 5.5" screen, a big battery (removable), plus its S Pen stylus for extra productivity. A 16gb one is nearly $200 less than a 16gb iPhone (but is expandable via microSD). If you're wanting to bridge the gap between a phone and a laptop or tablet, the Note 2 is the device for you.
  11. xICEMANx

    xICEMANx Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 24, 2012
    The problem with the Nexus is it's bascially an iphone with it's 16gb max storage and non removable battery. It's not rated very well for battery either. I do agree on the Razr Maxx HD that thing is a beast. Still, if I was in the market for a smartphone(which I am) I would wait for the S4. It's going to have a 2600mah battery and the features this phone has are truly awesome. The note 2 is a sweet device but too big for most people. The lack of one handed use is what put me off. Honestly the S3 is more smartphone than anyone really needs. I've been very happy with mine.
  12. Sid Post

    Sid Post

    Oct 14, 1998
    I looked at the Note 2 and while a larger unit, the screen quality isn't what I want. I'll give up the small screen size increase for the drastically better quality of the Galaxy S4 screen.
  13. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Check out the LG Optimus G Pro. Quad core Snapdragon 600 @1.7GHz, 2gb RAM, 5.5" 1080*1920 resolution screen, 32gb built-in storage. It's not available in the US (yet...supposedly soon), so you'd have to order it from South Korea. It ain't cheap, but it's not much more than a 32gb iPhone 5 off-contract.
  14. Bronco

    Bronco Moderator Moderator

    Feb 25, 2000
    A couple of years ago I faced the the iOs vs. Android dilemma when shopping for a tablet. I eventually went with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 over the iPad. It's a decision I've regretted pretty much ever since. The touchscreen integration and UI on the Galaxy Tab is a poor imitation of that which other extended family members enjoy on their iPads. The various keyboards are clunkier to operate, the predictive text and auto punctuation features are unreliable and not particularly user friendly and even simple things like cutting and pasting don't work consistently across different applications. Surfing the 'net is notoriously unstable with pages routinely closing for no reason. It was probably a year before I could purchase a movie online and view it on my Tab. If you want to buy an app, the reviews are of limited use because most folks are simply focused on compatibility issues wondering whether the app will work on their particular platform running whatever flavor of the Android OS they might have. Having Flash was certainly nice in the beginning. Unfortunately I now have to play the game of searching out flash updates that may or may not keep this feature operating. And in all this time, I think Samsung has issued maybe two OS software or firmware updates.

    I realize this comparison of two year old technology may have limited applicability when making a decision between two phones in 2013 and I suspect Android has made some improvements in the interim, but I just want the Apple users out there who are contemplating a switch to know that the transition isn't likely going to be painless.
  15. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Bill, I don't say this to argue with you...in fact I agree with you in many respects...

    Android's greatest strength can also be considered its greatest weakness. When you buy an Apple product, you get an apple product. But when you buy an Android, you're also buying from whatever company produced it. Every company that makes Android products has its own user interface - and often different versions within the same company. You can pick up half a dozen or so different Android devices, all running the same firmware version, and they'll all look different. HTC's Sense has its distinctive big clock and weather widget front-and-center. Samsung has Touch Wiz. Motorola has Motoblur. LG has whatever it is they have (I forget). Likewise Sony, and every other company.

    The point being, that each company makes their Android products their own.

    The good is that this freedom allows the manufacturer to add certain features they think their customers will like (and a bunch of crap they certainly won't - but that's not unique to any company). The bad is that if you own an HTC phone and a Samsung tablet, even if they run the same version of Android, there can be some major differences between the two.

    I love my Android phone because I can make it do what I want it to do. The "problem" is that I have to make it do what I want it to do. I don't like the stock keyboard. So I (bought and) installed Swiftkey. I don't like the stock browser (although it does play Flash), so I use Dolphin. I like the UI, but it's not perfect, so I (bought and) installed Nova Launcher to tweak it just right. The stock widgets didn't quite cut it, so I (bought and) installed HD Widgets. The Google Play Music player app sucks, so I (bought and) installed Power Amp. And of course, I rooted it, to allow it to do a bunch of other stuff one normally can't do, but that's definitely not for everybody. I love my phone's interface, I love its functionality, and I love what I can do with it. But getting it there from stock took a lot of time and a few extra bucks.

    Bill, I'm certain that if we spent some time together with your Samsung Tab I could make you love the thing (or at least tolerate it) instead of wishing you had an iPad. Heck, with the right app, we can make your Tab look and function just like an iPad. But like I said, that's Android's greatest strength and its greatest weakness. You can make any Android do what you want it to, but doing so can take more effort than many are willing or care to. iProduct users scoff at Android's "fragmentation", meaning cross-version incompatibility issues - and perhaps rightfully so, while Android users scoff at Apple's same-ol' boring interface and lack of innovation and updates. Different folks, different strokes.

    Functionality aside, familiarity can't be understated when it comes to people making a decision. I've known Android users that tried an iPhone, then went straight back to an Android. And vice versa. And of course the same goes for full size computers. Hell, I run Windows 7, but I have it set up in "Classic" mode, which isn't all that different in appearance from Windows 3.1. Why? Because it's familiar.

    My iHate aside, I'd love an iPad. In fact, the iPad Mini is just about the perfect size for me. If I was given one, or won one, I'd use the hell out of it. But I'll never buy one. Too much money for a product that I can get an Android to do for way less money, even if I have to spend hours tweaking it. Plus I don't have to carry around a different charger.
  16. 1345


    May 9, 2012
    As an iPhone customer since the beginning of iPhone, I understand that the iPhone isn't for everyone. So I wouldn't try to push the iPhone on anyone. The same goes for Android based phones. They aren't for everyone. It all boils down to being ultra tech savvy (most android users), or just a moderate in the tech world. Even as I sit here on my iPhone 5, I completely envy the S4. Don't ignore the iPhone 5, but to be completely honest, the S4 is friggin light years ahead. If you want something that is simple to operate with limited customization to your liking, iPhone 5 is tough to beat. But if you like a more complex user experience then Android based phones all day long, with the S4 clearly leading the way.
  17. Sid Post

    Sid Post

    Oct 14, 1998
    I have spent my life in engineering so, I'm pretty tech savvy and while I don't write Android apps I could. Planterz pretty much sums up my feelings on Apple though I don't IHate I am somewhat biased against the Apple Ecosystem and their consumer unfriendly policies.

    However, I do have a basic feeling that cell phones SHOULD be a general consumer appliance like a toaster or coffee maker. Plug it in, turn it on, wait for your toast/coffee/etc.
  18. Bronco

    Bronco Moderator Moderator

    Feb 25, 2000
    What a great post, Aaron. And for the record, I can hardly find a wit of disagreement with what you've said. I've never been one to artificially limit my choices simply for the sake of brand loyalty. I've owned Japanese, German and American cars, Cold Steel and Busse knives and Microsoft and Apple based computing devices. If you truly believe in the benefits of competition as a market force, then you're obligated to reward innovation. At the same time, with age and experience comes an understanding that what works best for you, in your particular situation, at a particular point in time, might not always be right at the bleeding edge of technological development.

    There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that you could sit me down with my Tab and - a couple of hours and a couple of bucks later - have me loving that device. And if I was the same person today that I was as a kid 30 years ago (having fun writing rudimentary "computer programs" for my HP calculator :) ), then I would likely take the initiative myself and log on to the Galaxy Tab forum and attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff as it pertains to the latest sage cyber advice. But given that I professionally spend 90+% of my time in the field nowadays, these mobile devices - the phones in particular - are critical tools that I rely upon daily for my livelihood. And for the better part of a decade now, I've come to be very appreciative of the effort that the Apple folks have put into designing and supporting a cell phone that I really feel like I can rely upon on a daily basis.

    I realize there are some phones available with a broader range of features than the iPhone can boast and others that have processors, cameras or screens that outperform those found on the iPhone. But I can't tell you how important it is for a person like me to simply have the ability to know the capabilities - and the limitations - of my smartphone, readily and easily - without having to invest a great deal of time and energy into overcoming an initial learning curve and/or staying up with my 'continuing education' to keep it running at its optimal level. I'm not sure if that makes sense as I've written it. To put it another way, I realize I'm likely sacrificing some absolute functionality in using an iPhone over an S4. But it's a great benefit to me personally in knowing and trusting that I can immediately access about 95% of the iPhone's full utility as soon as I take it out of its box. So long as the functionality is relatively stable, and I have the confidence that Apple will actively work to maintain that level of functionality for a reasonable period of time, then I'm willing to tailor (or perhaps "limit" is a more honest word) my activities in the field to take advantage of this stability. At least that's how it's been heretofor. I don't have the iPhone 5 yet, and I hate what Apple did with the whole Google Maps utility, thus my loyalty to Apple will extend as far as I believe they're staying loyal to me.
  19. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Yeah, that was a pretty baffling move on Apple's part. I mean, I understand why Apple would want to try their own thing and not rely on their rival, but them thinking they could replace, or even come close to matching what Google has spent many years and untold millions (billions?) of dollars on Maps, Earth, and Street View. And even without stuff like Street View and satellite views, one would hope it would at least give proper directions. It's no coincidence that the drivers at my store that call me because they're lost are the ones that are using Apple Maps on their iPhones (and ironically, but hardly surprising, they're the same ones that claim the iPhone is the greatest thing ever).

    As of December, you can get Google Maps on iPhones, but it doesn't have the integration like it does on Androids, or used to on iPhones.
  20. ElConquistador

    ElConquistador Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Yeah the whole Apple Maps debacle is a pretty big "Con" on the Apple side. Like a lot of people ready for a new phone I'm looking at the S4 vs iphone 5 vs iphone 5s?

    Apple "Pros"
    -not too big
    -seems to fair better in drop tests, more durable
    -best phone camera ever
    -looks nice, solid feel

    Apple "Cons"
    -boring UI, but we can assume that we'd get the update if/when they finally get widgets etc. in the next IOS
    -no slot for more memory
    -5 is dated, who knows when we'll get the 5s or 6 or if it will be a significant update
    -maybe it's nitpicking but I hate that it doesn't have an LED call indicator for those of us not glued to our phones
    -Apple Maps debacle seems to be a sign of things to come


    Samsung S4 "Pros"
    -Cool factor, this will be the "Latest and Greatest" for weeks to come
    -nice clean UI with time/weather etc. on the home screen
    -good camera
    -slot for extra memory
    -removable battery
    -cool gimmicks like using the camera to recognize your face to unlock, or being able to talk to your alarm clock to turn it off

    Samsung S4 "Cons"
    -as big as my first television
    -seems fragile/plastic

    The Samsung "Con" list is short but they are big cons. I've always kept my phone in a pocket and the Samsung would just be too big for that. Either phone would be in an OtterBox (or similar) case so both would be big. The feel of the phone is important, Apple feels like a solid, quality product, not so sure about the S4.

    I can't comment on Straight Talk, I'm with Verizon.

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