Samsung Galaxy S4 Problems: Battery Life & Display

It appears that even the most anticipated phone of the first half of the year isn’t immune to issues as adopters of the Samsung Galaxy S4 are complaining about a number of different issues, including problems with the phone’s battery life and with its display.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, which was once one of the most anticipated devices in recent memory, is now becoming one of the most widely adopted devices of the year thanks to its high-end hardware including a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, 13MP camera, and a slim and lightweight design. It also features quality software in the form of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and is loaded up with Samsung’s many TouchWiz features.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S4: 5 New Things to Know.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is suffering from a couple of different issues it seems.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is suffering from a couple of different issues it seems.

Despite the many advances in technology and despite this being Samsung’s biggest smartphone launch of the year, the Galaxy S4 unfortunately doesn’t appear to be void of issues.  In fact, owners of the new high-end smartphone have been chiming in reporting a number of different problems with the new flagship, with many more likely to spring up in the days ahead.

No smartphone is perfect so it’s not surprising to see owners having issues with the device. And while the Galaxy S4 issues that have surfaced aren’t going to be deal breakers for those that have yet to adopt the phone, they are certainly going to be headaches for those that encounter them.

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Here is what we are hearing so far in regards to issues with the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Battery Life Issues

One issue that we’ve heard a few owners complaining about, and one that we’ve seen ourselves, is abnormal battery drain when using the Samsung Galaxy S4 and its massive 2,600 mAh battery.

We're seeing abnormal overnight battery drain with our Galaxy S4.

We’re seeing abnormal overnight battery drain with our Galaxy S4.

We’ve seen the issues in a number of different use cases. The first issue that we’ve seen is abnormal battery drain over night. Instead of holding a solid charge, the device zipped down in battery life leaving us with less than half of a charge to start the day. We still aren’t sure what is causing the drain though it continues to be an issue.

We’re also seeing a unit having its battery life zapped by Google Play Music and Media Server for no apparent reason. Both are taking up quite a bit of resources for no apparent reason. We aren’t sure if this is an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean issue or an issue that is specific to the Galaxy S4 but we can say that we haven’t had this issue with the Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3, both of which are on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The Galaxy S4 is suffering from odd battery life issues.

The Galaxy S4 is suffering from odd battery life issues.

As we have pointed out many times in the past, battery life will vary from person to person based on use case so it’s impossible to say whether these are isolated issues or if they are widespread amongst early adopters.

Display Issues

There do appear to be more than a few people that are suffering from display issues with the Samsung Galaxy S4. As evidenced on XDA-Developers forum, owners are seeing smudging when scrolling on the phone. Specifically, the darker colors start showing up as purple when scrolling through the user interface.

We also haven’t yet seen this on any of our Galaxy S4 devices though it appears that there are definitely a good number of people that are affected by this problem. And whether Samsung can fix this issue or not remains to be seen.

Galaxy S4 owners are seeing issues with the display as well.

Galaxy S4 owners are seeing issues with the display as well.

As for the battery life issues, those are typically addressed with bug fix updates or major Android updates wherein battery life often improves for those experiencing issues. Users can also invest in an extended battery or external battery in order to supply the Galaxy S4 with more juice though at this time, options are limited.

Comments

  1. ODdin(crwolv) says

    Root it and take control of the display with a new kernel and have the colors all to your liking. Amoled is so customizable

    • caleb says

      is the bATTERY life so bad on this phone because its running the eight core processor or snapdragon 600 chip set?

      • bat says

        The “eight core” processor actually only uses four cores at a time. It has two four core CPUs, basically one is fast and uses more power, and the other is slower but more economic when it comes to battery usage. Cores can be switched between slow and fast independently based on the performance requirements of each thread, and the result is generally lower power consumption without sacrificing performance.

        The four core Snapdragon runs at a higher frequency, but should perform slower than the eight core Exynos CPU and burns more power. At least in theory, test will show.

        • fabnboy says

          I think we talk about the quadcore cpu here as Samsung announced that octa core will be for sale in 3 or 4 countries but neither usa nor europe . So it is the normal 4 core model as the galaxy s3

  2. Dumb says

    Maybe close out of apps and not leave facebook, talk and about 40 other things running? You have so much stuff going on the phone that there is a + sign on the top bar to display all of the stuff you can’t view. I am sitting at about 13 hours on battery with some light web surfing and a couple of phone calls and I am at about 75%

    • Dumb says

      Also, if the battery is dying so fast over night, how has the screen been using up 30% of the battery. Maybe you sleep walk and keep turning the phone on.

      • ba says

        Has true overnight battery drains from 8 to 10% and screen uses 80% battery can any one suggest pls

    • Alex Kudryk (@cujo37) says

      This is ridiculous. Its 2013, I shouldnt have to “close out apps” on my phone. The OS should manage that for me. This is my first Android phone and although its more customizable, I’m not going to be spending my time changing backgrounds and addding widgets all day. I need to be able to use the phone for more than 5 hours before charging it. I also have an iPhone 5 and I never once had to “close out apps”. The battery drains 3% overnight on iPhone, 20% on my new S4. This is unacceptable. Samsung need to fix this issue.

      • mpouxoos says

        I agree, my wife has an iphone 4s and she charges it every 2-3 days (not heavy surfing, but lots of voice calls) and multiple apps running simultaneously. On the other hand, I keep shutting down ups, they keep re appearing, and I have had my s4 for exactly 14 days now…and I have to charge it every day…this is ridiculous.

          • Bemused says

            Ditto. Works phone. I go to sleep after charging to 100% and wake up with less than 20%. This means i have to charge 2 times every day. No good, I am changing it tomorrow back to IPhone.

  3. lalwani v says

    Dear friends I am facing problem in S4.
    1, mobile is getting so hot from top side of screen.
    2, display many application when I can open in s3 it work well but the same application in s4 so it is not showing clear. Exp kundli, horoscope application.
    3, facing probem in viber ,whatsapp and other all aplication its takeing so long time before it be ready for work.
    4, sometime phone book also.

    s4 is not good phone. but s3 is good phone.
    I will request to samsung co to not to bring out any mobile as anyhow. Let samsung co to use and see all the problem before to launch any product.

    • casualsuede says

      So if the GS4 can’t handle third world problems, does that make it a fourth rate phone?

  4. phone hangups says

    I am having problems with my S4. Slow moving, hesitates, battery dead in 5 hours if I don’t keep it charged. Definitely not seamless operation. Would never know it has the quad core processor. Love the camera and screen visual. Switched from iPhone, but now I don’t know whether to return it or not.

    • jil49300 says

      Hello. I am exactly in the same situation. Only thing is … i sold my iphone already.
      Samsung better find a F….g solution for their F….g battery problems !!!! ^_^

  5. so not pleased says

    So far I’ve had two s4 both had problems with hardware malfunctions and now they dont want to take. Half of the new features dont work, sensors arent working. Shittiest phone ever! Going back tomorrow to complain and change phone. So not content!

    • Dirk says

      I agree I have a iPhone 4S an I was looking forward to have a great phone my experience made me think go back with my iphone or maybe Sony.

  6. sam says

    It is because of media issue (Corrupted mp3 in SD card)

    Fix it, and it will last around 12hrs. (for s4 octa at least)

  7. drew says

    And thats why im waiting till the summer for mynes …let sammy work the bugs ou…did u guys do the update yet…and u do know batt life will get better and better da more u use its a brand new li ion let it do its thing such haters

  8. cellphonefiend says

    There is an old saying… “Third Time’s a Charm”. I think the S3 was the sweet spot for the line up. Anyone one returning their S4 for a different phone due to problems, I suggest to go with the Note 2, you will not be disappointed. All the kinks are worked out, its sturdy and a solid performer. Plus I have 87% battery left 14h 28m 29s on battery. The only downside if you go from S4 to Note2 is the screen will probably look crummy coming from a 1080p on a 5in screen to 720p on a 5.5in screen. That said, I may get the S4 once all the kinks are worked out.

  9. ron johnson says

    Hey…let’s all buy a Lexus so we can work on it. A waste of time if you ask me. This is exactly why i love my Apple. I dumped Android and will never look back.

    • Alex says

      Need we remind you of all the problems Apple has had with the 5 or are you totally blind to that…

      • ;) Wink says

        I’ll be honest, half of these new features aren’t even needed xD lol sure they’re fun to play round with for the first few months cause it’s new technology and all ^__^ but after a while, you’ll see how pointless some of the features can be :3
        Wish they’d focus more on battery life and speed and more useful everyday features. I like live in a really rainy area so stuff like the waterproof on the Xperia Z was a good move. The number of people who’ve killed their phones cause they’ve dropped it in a puddle/bath/toilet etc.It’s stuff like that which I’m more excited about. xD

        • Julio Spinoza says

          Besides, the Xperia Z display is a winner under the sunlight or natural light, more realistic image just in my opinion, Now I am more than relaxed to leave my phone on my dinner table or in the bathroom :D

  10. poplar_pere says

    Anyone had problems with crashing, my phone out the box is repeatedly crashing so going back for a replacement ??

  11. ishank chopra says

    i had my s4 replaced twice in 4 days …its having heating problem ..i have a screenshot of it at 55 celsius…!! gona shift nback to note 2..!i it start heating up anytime…and last night the battery drained from 40 to 1 percent .. i hate this phone for now!!

    • jil49300 says

      Seems like i’m heading with same kind of trouble !!!!
      Hope this will change with some different android settings !!!!
      ^_^

  12. Jack says

    After pulling my new S4 out of the new box and charging it for the first time, i turned it on and the Menu button started like pressing it self on and off like crazy.. Less then 24hours from buying it outright, it when straight back to the supplier and was told it would be sent to samsung because they didnt have stock the replace it there and then.. Not Happy..

  13. austin says

    No issues here bought it 3 days ago… battery life has been getting better each day as the all li ion batteries take a few days to wear in.. I have 77% with 1 hour on screen time and 5 hours since fully charged .. that is very good in my opinion.. I’ve been through a good amount of android phones over the years and I’m extremely satisfied

  14. Jeff says

    I am extremely happy with the battery life on mine. Yesterday I listened to pandora for about 6hrs then watched 4hrs of streaming video and it still had like 25 percent. It is soooo much better than my wifes iphone 5. This is by far the nicest phone I have ever owned.

  15. vishvesh puranik says

    i bought this phone on 3rd may in mumbai. Lots of problem battery draining and heating is i think common also their is no net connectivity tried from all the angles but always showing authenticating but not gets connected. I have Note1 Note2 S3 now this S4 all other mobiles are good specially note2. I have given this to Samsung service Center lets see

  16. calvin says

    Seriously. I am no fanboy of any mobile brand. AVOID THIS S4. Or else pay the high price to learn my lesson like I have. Have to perpetually hook a powerbank to it. 4 hrs and its down to 10%. Battery drains like no other. Air features are gimmick and useless. Over saturation of colors. Overheating beyond 44 degrees celsius (super high fever type of hot). Am a poweruser due to business needs and havent even talked about playing games yet. This s4 is less practical than an entry level android mobile. Flagship prices. Total rip off. Be warned. Dun wan ppl pay such prices for a silly device and making that brand rich from it.

  17. danielpughiel pugh says

    overnight battery drain is a real problem for me – my s2 would hardly lose anything with the screen off overnight (although it did have cyanogenmod) – i have yet to have the phone make it through a night without being plugged in

    my only other comment would be that nearly all the gimmicks dont work.
    the infrared failed on two tvs, my av receiver and the microsoft media center.
    my only comfort is that it is the same software as on the htc one

  18. Jack says

    I have iphone 4. Jumped aboard the s4, tried it, and hated it sooooooooo much. I returned it and went to an iPhone 5. Great phone iphone is!! S4 is a joke. If u have had an iPhone for a while then jump to a bad quality phone it’s very noticeable how shittttiy the galaxy s4 is. iPhone is a phone that lasts forever(as long as u don’t drop it)

  19. Eric says

    Well I hear all the bad thing you guys have posted on here about the S4. I personally haven’t had a single problem with my S4. I love the phone!!! I have tried rooting it or changing it in any way. This may be the problem for most of you. I know the cool thing is to root it and get superuser control. I would rather have the S4 with a 20 mah battery than to have a Iphone 5!

    • Salin says

      I have used s3 and there were battery issues there. But galaxy S4 battery life is superb. Its a beautiful phone with major improvements. I am heavy user and my phone lasts full one and a half day. I completely disagree with people who say battery issue. S4 has SUPERB battery life.

      • TheooehT says

        Im sorry but what do you call a heavy user? are you someone in their teens or early 20s who is glued to the screen? if not then you probably dont count as one… no offence intended.. there is no way the phone could last one day wnt use. I’ve had the phone for a total of 29hrs and ive put it on a charger 3 times..

  20. mai says

    My problems are different :(
    Firstly I have a delay problem. The screen doesn’t respond easly to any touch and most times I need to restart it.
    Secondly once u play an audio file the device becomes too hot.

  21. dawe says

    Today I had problem with battery… battery drained in 8hours. I had phone in my pocked and it was hot, but I dont know why. Tried reset and still hot. It is saying that 60% is drained by display. I have phone for 4 days and this not happend before

    • albertyouwrong says

      The warmth is probably coming from your phone “thinking”. Figure out what apps are still running and turn them off.

  22. Beverly Tran says

    Guess what? I started using the Galaxy S4 on Friday, then Sunday morning when I woke up, I could not bring the phone back from “sleep” mode, I had the BLACK screen. I took the battery out to turn the phone off (the only way I could turn off the phone since the screen didn’t work), put the battery back to restart the phone, and it started up with a black screen. Basically the AMOLED is dead, the phone still works as I still get notifications and all, but can’t see it on the screen, so the phone is as good as trash. I called my carrier to get a replacement and of course, the S4 is on back-order. I just can’t believe this happened to a phone that is not even 3 days old.

    • Martha C says

      that is exactly what has happened to me – i got my S4 two weeks ago and got off the phone and it was black – as you said i can hear the e-mails and texts coming in and i can get calls just can’t answer them because the screen is black. I took it back to my carrier and they are sending me a new one. My concern is losing all my apps and contacts and set ups. I have a gmail account but not sure if i backed up anything or not. Still learning- switched from a blackberry to android. My screen also gets hot – wonder if that has anything to do with it. Did you get a new one finally or did they fix it? I wonder why this is happenings.

      • Beverly says

        Hi Martha C, I got a replacement S4 which my carrier sent me a brand new one since I only had the 1st one for 3 days and had the black screen. Now the 2nd one suddenly heats up and battery drains in a few hours. I’m still within my 30 days to return the phone for the full refund. Maybe I’ll try one more S4 and see what happens. I know the S4 is a great phone, a lot of people who use that have no problem at all. So I’ll give it another try.

  23. TheooehT says

    here here. Got it yesterday.. noticed the battery was already on 70% charge from new.. i remember my iphone being in the 90s.. then after very light use it was draining.. i highly doubt anyone can get 10hrs or more of talk time which some websites are claiming. As for the Display.. half of mine went totally black out of nowhere while using chrome.. great phone.. but seriously worried about it already…

  24. iPhone 5 sux says

    I can’t believe people like the iPhone 5… I had an iPhone 4 and it was okay, the wife broke her iPhone so I gave her mine and I went back to the HTC Thunderbolt. When the iPhone 5 came out she talked me into upgrading to the iPhone 5. After replacing it twice I went back to the Thunderbolt which is WAY BETTER than the iPhone 5. Now I’m waiting for the S4 to come out with Verizon.

  25. AD says

    Bought it today 5 hours ago and already battery is showing its drowning colors…..Lets see….

  26. Mal says

    Got my S4 10 days ago and actually prefered it to my IPhone 4 until yesterday when the screen went went black. Seems like it is working but I can’t see anything. Battery life was a little short when I was using it. Would have got the Xperia Z but didn’t like the looks and feel of it. Maybe I should have stuck with the iphone. Taking my S4 back to the shop tomorrow.

  27. yhfdb says

    poor battery life. crappy phone. useless features. stay away from it. it comes with a lot of crap preinstalled. auto brightness on, closed apps, no wifi and power save and in 4 hours is at 50%. and no! i don’t want to change the battery every 6 hours. damn…

  28. Linda says

    Am a big Samsung galaxy fan had them all the s s2 s3 s4 now am very hesitant. About the screen i am on my second one now never ever had issues with Samsung phones my first one had testing issues. Tried everything. To fix got second now my screen goes black black only way out of it to take battery out as can’t just reboot i find using some of my apps i have used with s3 don’t work very gd ie viber. The screen turns black then i can’t end call am going back tomorrow. To talk with them again.

  29. Mark says

    Sorry to hear some of you are having bad experiences with the S4. I’ve had mine for 2 weeks & can honestly say I’ve had no issues at all with mine. Just wish some of the useless gimmicky features didn’t take up gigabytes if space on the 16Gb model as it’s very restricting when installing apps (which install to the device memory /storage by default). Other than that, I can easily get through a a day with average /Normal usage,but only get about 5 hours with heavy usage ie gaming & downloading via 3G/HSDPA (both of which drain battery life & heat the phone up, but not overheat).
    All in all, I’m very satisfied with my S4. Best smartphone I’ve ever owned & I’ve had all the iPhone up to the iPhone 4 & used windows mobiles since 2003 till the first iPhone was released in 2007. Oh, I’m not rooted either ;-)

    • Shubhs77 says

      The same case is with me Mark.. I am satisfied but the only problem is heating and it happens only when I browse internet, play games, or when there happens a weekly virus scan.

  30. Ronny says

    Ok, I am using S4 octa version. I had same overheating issues in the beginning and it was resolved after an OTA update. I think this is pretty normal on some of the Samsung devices. I had the same issue on my S2 before. Battery life is great so far althought the Octacores are not really optimised. I can get at least 18-23 hours on average usage with my HSDPA/Wifi on all the time.

    The lags are there occasionally but I think that’s because the Octa processor is not optimised well. Maybe another update soon will fix this issue. Expect better processing power and battery efficiency after that… leaving the rivals way behind. Try finding out about Tegra 4 quadcore A-15 processing power. Exynos should perform just like that if it is optimised perfectly except that it is running on lower CPU frequencies. S4 octa owners, don’t give up, it’s a future proof smartphone!

    • Dirk says

      Sounds great but not like people like me who payed $751 unlock with no INsurence an don’t hve the patient for a update when I need it to work daily and it does over heat reminds me of apple ipad 3 over heating. This is my first android and having bad experiences :/ any good phones on Sony brands?

      • Beverly says

        Dirk, if you want a Sony phone, the Xperia Z is a very good phone, and it’s waterproof (not water resistant, but waterproof), it can survive in water for up to 30 minutes.

  31. Faduvic says

    Am having same problem with my s4 battery drain out its gets hot. This is my first android phone I think I will return it for an iPhone

  32. Dirk says

    Thanks for the article now I can go back an return my S4 at walmart wicth i payed $751! I was happy I got it, but to be honest I will go back with apple or try a Sony. My issue was the display where letters turn purple or faded and battery die fast. I had issues with playing flash videos one of the reasons why I swicth to samsung androids. Ill stick with Puffin app on apple for flash player. Come one samsung fix the issues :(

    • John says

      Wow you can’t even manually load your own Flash player? Ive had an iPhone 4 and I tried the iPhone 5. I hate the iPhone 5. I’ve had my S4 from Verizon for 2 weeks now and have NO complaints. Samsung built the S4 right! Its not their fault you dont know how to use it! If you’re having problems and you are with AT&T maybe you should switch to Verizon… Just say’n…

      • Dirk says

        Thanks John I will look into that. My friends have s3 and work well that’s why I liked them. Apparently it’s att issues cus I tried with wifi and work well even in HD instead of HQ. I do know how to use them and the flash should have already be build in them but I tried to install adobe flash an not even I gues I had a bad phone including Att issues.

  33. Angie says

    I’ve had the phone since the day it came out for Verizon, and 3 times so far I’ve had to shut it off and back on in order for it to charge. It’s quite annoying. Within the first week I had decent battery life, but now it seems to drain faster.

  34. Lara says

    My S4 blacked out completely 4 days ago. I tried to reset it, but it would just vibrate and die again. The att store I bought it from was closed until today. I went in this morning and the man at the counter reset it for me. It was working for 3 hours. I thought I sent a text message, but it never went to my husband’s phone and then it died again. I have tried resetting it again myself. I haven’t dropped the phone or anything else. I am so frustrated about this. My husband bought a new iphone 5 at the same time and he has had no issues. Also, it is extremely difficult to find a charger that doesn’t just pop out. I bought 5 of them and only one worked. This issue has been confirmed by the att sales rep I talked to today and the salesman at Best Buy.

  35. Mazi says

    For last few days my S4 is Suddenly getting restarted while I’m using it and when the os booted it shows 0% Battery(before restarting, battery was more than 50 %) and restarts again and again! and the loop is going on and on until I take the battery out and put it back and connect the charger! then again it shows 50+% of battery. I check the software update it checked for update and said the latest version is installed, is there anything I can do to fix this problem?

  36. Dave says

    Im having the same problem mazi reboots and reboots so annoyed over heating problems too i want to take it back but o2 will give me a loaner like hell !

  37. Connie says

    I have had my Galaxy S4 3 months. Within 3 weeks battery stopped charging. 3 months later new battery stopped charging. Anyone else having this issue??

  38. Traci says

    I just charged my samsung galaxy s4 and immediately after i took it off charger the battery went down to 14% anyone else having this issue?

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