Samsung Galaxy S4: 5 New Things to Know

The Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone, has finally touched down in regions across the globe, including in the United States where it has landed on the nation’s five largest carriers. And while many of the Samsung Galaxy S4′s features, including release dates and pricing, have been detailed, there are still some features that are lurking under the surface that consumers should know about. Here, we detail five new things that consumers should know about Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S.

In March, Samsung announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4 to replace the Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship. As expected the next-generation model touched down with some extremely powerful features in both the hardware and software departments.

The Galaxy S4 has replaced the Galaxy S3 in the U.S.

The Galaxy S4 has replaced the Galaxy S3 in the U.S.

As expected, the Galaxy S4 touched down with upgrades including a larger 5-inch 1080p display, a faster quad-core processor, an improved 13MP camera, smarter software from Samsung and the device also became the first Samsung smartphone to feature Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, the latest out of Google.

And while the features are locked down, the Galaxy S4 launch in the U.S. still hasn’t completely settled and consumers are still left with quite a few questions about the device.

As we have touched on many times, the Samsung Galaxy S4 release in the U.S. has been confusing at best, with delayed release dates, uninformative carriers, delayed shipments at third-party retailers and more. In fact, we’re still gathering information about the Galaxy S4′s arrival in the United States.

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With all of the information swirling about and with the Galaxy S4 release set to finish up this month with its arrival on Verizon, we want to take a look at what we consider to be the five most important new details that we’ve learned about the Samsung Galaxy S4 here in the United States.

These won’t be the things that carriers are talking about but instead are features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that may have been overlooked by consumers who already bought the Galaxy S4 or are planning to buy one in the future.

AT&T Galaxy S4 Bootloader is Locked, Sprint’s Isn’t

One major tidbit that we’ve learned over the past few weeks and that all buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the United States should know is that the bootloader situation on the Galaxy S4 has devolved into a bit of a mess.

Here is what we know so far. The AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 bootloader is locked down tight which means that without an unlock, users won’t be able to install custom hardware, one of the perks of buying an Android device. Fortunately, there appears to be a bootloader unlock courtesy of Dan Rosenberg who says that he will release it sometime after the Verizon Galaxy S4 arrives. The Verizon Galaxy S4 is expected to have a locked bootloader as well.

Proof of an AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 bootloader unlock.

The AT&T Galaxy S4 bootloader is locked.

Of course, as we’ve reported, this isn’t the case for all Galaxy S4 models. Sprint confirmed to Gotta Be Mobile that the Sprint Galaxy S4 ships with an unlocked bootloader which means that users won’t have to utilize any tools to install custom software. This makes it ideal for novice users.

T-Mobile’s Galaxy S4 bootloader situation is a little less clear as is the situation at U.S. Cellular but so far, they haven’t been confirmed to be locked down like AT&T’s.

This is not a deal breaker for most users but it’s still something that they should know about.

16GB Doesn’t Mean You Get 16GB

In recent days, we’ve learned that the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB comes with about half of its storage available for consumers to use for things like photos, video, apps and more. That means that instead of a 16GB Galaxy S4, consumers are buying something that is more like an 8GB Galaxy S4.

Carriers do warn consumers that devices don’t actually have the amount of space that is advertised, but it’s always in small print or presented with confusing language.

Proof of an AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 bootloader unlock.

The AT&T Galaxy S4 bootloader is locked.

This isn’t too much of a problem for some users as the Galaxy S4 has a 64GB microSD card slot which bumps the storage space up to at least 72GB. That’s quite a bit for the average user. For the power user though, this may be a little limiting. It also will be an annoyance for those that use the bust shot mode on the camera as it does not let users save photos to the microSD card slot.

So why do consumers need to know this? Well, it essentially means that users are going to need to buy a microSD card which differ in price, depending on how large they are. It also means that users who don’t wish to buy one, or still need more storage, are going to depend upon cloud storage a lot more than they normally would.

32GB & 64GB Models Remain Missing in U.S.

Sadly, those looking for more internal storage space won’t have an easy go in the United States. Here in the U.S., the announced 32GB and 64GB models have been missing in action. Here is what we’ve heard so far about the 32GB Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 64GB in the U.S.:

  • AT&T: 32GB confirmed to be coming soon, 64GB up in the air.
  • Sprint: Dodged the question when asked, remains up in the air.
  • T-Mobile: Dodged the question, issued vague response.
  • U.S. Cellular: Remains silent.
  • Verizon: Confirmed to us that it won’t carry the 32GB Galaxy S4 making a 64GB Galaxy S4 unlikely.

What this means is that there is a potential for AT&T to be the only U.S. carrier to offer something outside of the 16GB Galaxy S4 model. And even then, the carrier won’t confirm a date for the device’s arrival, only saying that it will be coming soon.

So for those that need more space, we suggest waiting, but for those heading to carriers other than AT&T, the wait might be indefinite.

Verizon Galaxy S4 Could Arrive Early

Pre-orders are open for the Verizon Galaxy S4 ahead of its official release date of May 30th. Those pre-ordering, at least through Verizon, should know that there is a slim chance that pre-orders could arrive a few days ahead of its release date.

Verizon is now taking orders for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The Verizon Galaxy S4 hits stores on May 30th. Pre-orders could arrive before that.

We saw AT&T ship out its Galaxy S4 a couple of days before its in-store release date and Verizon could definitely look to reward Verizon Galaxy S4 owners with the same.

Something else to keep in mind is that Verizon merely confirmed May 30th as the in-store release date so it’s possible that online could feature a different date though thus far, that remains uncertain and probably unlikely.

Extended Battery is a Worthwhile Purchase

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with an absolutely massive stock battery, 2600 mAh to be exact, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come through with all day battery life. Remember, the Galaxy S4 sports some pretty powerful hardware that can use up a lot of juice, particularly the 5-inch 1080p display.

All four GBM team members who own the Samsung Galaxy S4 claim that they are seeing battery life draining fairly quickly with one specifically saying that he gets about nine hours of use or the equivalent to the time he got with the stock battery on the Galaxy S3. While that might be good enough for some, others will likely want to think about investing in an extended battery.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is facing delays due to high demand.

It’s probably going to be worth investing in an extended or external battery.

What this means is that those who are buying the Samsung Galaxy S4 might want to consider picking up an extended battery for the Samsung Galaxy S4. Whether that’s by purchasing an extended battery itself or a case that offers more juice is up to the consumer.

While they will cost money, they will likely be well worth their cost in the long run.

  

Comments

  1. Diane says

    Adam,
    You never responded to all those who responded to your original “Confirmed…” article requesting the source of the alleged confirmation that Verizon would never offer the 32GB model. If you would deign to do that, some of us might feel that we could trust the information and make a decision.

    Also, in your articles, you continue to leave the impression that the ability to add an SD card makes up for the minimal storage of the 16GB. It absolutely does not.

    Please be both more forthcoming and more accurate.

    I really want to buy the S4 but I won’t buy it with only 16 (8.7) GB.

  2. d-nice says

    This feels like a slam piece Adam. Samsung, or any US carrier is not beholden to you or the locked bootloader AT&T demo phone they sent GOTTABEMOBILE. You can off-load apps, pictures and data to the SD card slot. You can’t off-load on the Nexus 7 or 10 or the new HTC One because there’s no SD expansion slot. The SGS4 is the first Android phone to come with JB 4.2.2 native that does not have Nexus in its name, plus why make the SIM card, extra blank micro SD slot and battery accessible if they, Samsung, want you to not use them? Samsung would have just sealed the device like HTC One did.

  3. d-nice says

    What are the 5 things we all must know? The phone ships without the battery installed, common sense dictates that you can replace the battery, 2) accessible expandable 64gb slot render’s 32-64 phone variants not important, 3) Verizon as of May 2 has not listed a release date of the SGS4 but are still taking pre-orders so your assumption of tech bloggers like yourself are assuming May 30 is false, 4) what smartphone known to the tech world has ever given us exactly its listed gb size?, 5) SGS4 is not the first or last phone to ship with it’s bootloader locked, all iPhones have locked bootloaders unless you jailbreak it. Plus, 99% of mainstream consumers are not buying smartphones in anticipation of installing custom ROM’s on them so that makes you mentioning it irrelevant. The 1% that seek to do that can and will jailbreak it no matter if it’s locked or not.

    • what the... says

      d-nice – it would appear that i have stumbled onto a site that doesn’t like samsung lol. whoever the guy is that typed the article is a mad hater. i was searching for cool things to do with your gs4 and this was total crap. seems to me like my phone is badass but maybe i’m wrong….lmao. to anyone who wants a gs4 this info would not be of much use since as d-nice stated, 99% of us don’t care about the crap in this article. this one should have been on some tech underground article, not the first choice in my search page.

  4. jaoljudd says

    I wonder if all these articles will be scrubbed of this “Verizon has confirmed no 32GB version” stuff when/if they announce they’ll have one later. If the past few weeks have shown anything it’s that Verizon has no consistent answer to ANY questions about ANY version of the S4

      • Kris says

        Then a mistake must have been made, because I went to the Verizon store to pre-order on the first day they were accepting orders. The rep asked me if I wanted the 16GB or the 32GB model. He said the price difference was $249 or $299, respectively, with a $50 rebate card. I told him I would get the 32GB model. I don’t know if a mistake was made, but my credit card hasn’t been charged yet and the phone hasn’t shipped, so I have no way of confirming at the moment.

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