Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 Impressions and Performance (AT&T)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update is rolling out now to Sprint and AT&T smartphones and likely in the works for Verizon and T-Mobile. This new Android 4.4.2 update brings a small collection of new features to the Galaxy S4, but does not add the new Galaxy S5 features that Samsung demoed early this week.

This Android 4.4.2 update finally adds Galaxy Gear compatibility to the Galaxy S4, makes it easier to uninstall or disable an application and delivers call reliability enhancements on the AT&T Galaxy S4. In addition to these specific fixes the update adds performance enhancements, an emoji keyboard option and a new Tap And Pay payment method that users can pick instead of being tied to ISIS on a carrier like AT&T.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update is now available.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update is now available.

Android updates bring fixes and improvements, but they can also bring unintended bugs as well, which is why we are taking an early look at the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update. This is for the AT&T Galaxy S4, but expect similar features on other carriers.

Installation

The Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update was not as painless and simple as installing iOS 7.0.6 on the iPhone 5. While the update downloaded quickly, we ran into errors as the installation neared completion.

On the first try the Galaxy S4 ran through the updating applications process, but stopped on a black screen. Pressing buttons would light up the menu and back button, but would not allow any control of the phone. The power button was non-responsive. After pulling the battery the app update process started over and completed this time taking us to a lock screen.

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The AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 installation wasn't smooth.

The AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 installation wasn’t smooth.

After unlocking the phone a Samsung Wallet error popped up and would not go away. Tapping Ok closed the message, but a new one re-appeared within a second. To get past this we had to navigate to apps in settings and uninstall Samsung Wallet, in between pressing ok and the next message popping up.

Performance

The Android 4.4.2 update for the Galaxy S4 specifically address performance of Multitasking, which is something Google talked about when the company announced Android 4.4 last year. While we’ve only used the device for a day, multitasking feels faster and overall performance feels faster.

Apps

We did not run into any app crashes or major issues, aside from the Samsung Wallet problem, since installing Android 4.4.2 on the Galaxy S4. The most annoying issue is that we needed to re-login to many apps after the update. We didn’t lose any data, but we did need to re-enter our login details and some apps disappeared from the home screen. We simply added the apps back to the home screen as they were still installed.

Battery Life

The Galaxy S4 battery life seems about the same as on Android 4.3, lasting up to a full day with limited hotspot usage and controlled brightness. We’ll need to test this further, but so far there are no bugs that will dramatically drop battery life.

Bugs

Not all apps can access the Micro SD card on the Galaxy S4 after the update.

Not all apps can access the Micro SD card on the Galaxy S4 after the update.

One of the biggest Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 bugs that worried us was a limit to access to the Micro SD card. We covered this issue before the update and went in expecting the worst. After testing we found that some apps allow us to copy a file to the Micro SD card while others do not. It appears developers are trying to find the right solution here, so hopefully even with Google’s restrictions we will see fewer issues in the future. Using ES File Explorer we could copy and past a file to the SD card, but not with FX File Explorer.

Connectivity & Speed

The Samsung Galaxy S4 feels faster running Android 4.4.2, though this is not something we can quantify with benchmarks. The app switching is swifter and launching apps is faster. This update did not slow down the device in any way, and sped up many areas of our year old device.

From a connectivity standpoint WiFi and 4G LTE are both running great after the update. Sometimes updates like these can introduce bugs that cause issues with WiFi, but that is not the case in our use.  We are testing in an area with a limited 4G LTE footprint, but after the update it is connected to 4G LTE more often. This may simply be AT&T network updates, but it took place since installing the Android 4.4.2 update this week.

Camera

Samsung updates the camera firmware on the Galaxy S4.

Samsung updates the camera firmware on the Galaxy S4.

The first time opening the camera app after the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update causes a firmware update. Samsung and AT&T didn’t announce changes to the camera, but in testing low light photos appear to be slightly improved.

The two images above were taken before and after the update in the same room with the same light on, but on different days. This is not as handy as a before and after update of a static item, but most of the time we aren’t taking photos of fruit bowls in low light.

firmware update it appears to perform better in low light samples

Tap and Pay

Users can install Google Wallet on the AT&T Galaxy S4 with Android 4.4.2 and login to set up Tap & Pay to make payments using Google Wallet instead of ISIS. Launching the Google Wallet app and choosing Tap & Pay will prompt users to change away from ISIS.

Should I Update to Android 4.4.2?

At this point we could not find any show stopping features warrant skipping the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update on AT&T. It is a good idea to remove Samsung Wallet before the update and to be prepared for possible issues when it comes to the app updates, but once installed this update is a nice upgrade to the Galaxy S4.

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Users that are rooted or who need a rooted Galaxy S4 will need to double-check with developers to figure out if they can update or if they should wait for a new ROM with the Android 4.4.2 update details from a specific carrier.

Comments

  1. jason says

    I did my updates as well. very disappointed with the update since it did not include any of the new features Kitkat promised. also multiple apps where deleted and no my default email (yahoo) does not work.

    • aly says

      Try bringing down the notification panel and push the button closest to the right (with 3 squares next to the settings button) and find the new button that says sync which is your master sync it should turn green. Once it has try logging into your email.

  2. Buddy says

    Same boat Jason, my phone lost about 10 apps. I had to reinstall Youtube, Flashlight, Google Chrome, just to name a few. My phone freezes with a black screen. I can push all sorts of buttons, but my screen stays black. It seems like a random fluke when it actually opens up.

  3. Nyssa says

    After the new update, I keep getting the good old “Unfortunately, TouchWiz home has stopped” every time I try to access my disabled apps. A bit disappointed by the update.

  4. Jackson says

    I’ve noticed two annoyances that started with the update. When creating a new contact, the default location is “device” instead of my desired Google. Can’t change it, so I must remember to select from a drop down menu each time. Also, can’t manually sync email without first turning sync on. Kinda defeats the purpose of”manual.”

  5. Venkat says

    I downloaded last night on my S4.

    Morning I unplugged from charger around 6:45 and by 9:45 I have 30% battery life. So in 3 hrs it drained 70%, update is not going to help me. Does any have same issue with battery life after update.

    Note: I browsed for 20 minutes on phone and rest all time its idle.

    I downloaded last night on my S4.

    Morning I unplugged from charger around 6:45 and by 9:45 I have 30% battery life. So in 3 hrs it drained 70%, update is not going to help me. Does any have same issue with battery life after update.

    Note: I browsed for 20 minutes on phone and rest all time its idle.

  6. Myra says

    My update from t-mobile was delivered last night. I didn’t experience any crashes or loss to auto logins in my apps. I opened my camera feature this morning and the firmware update installed without any issues either. T-mobile’s rollout of the update went smooth for me. I’d be curious how it went for others with this carrier.

  7. Melisssa says

    I downloaded kit kat and have been having the screen go black but when i run my fingure on the screen it unlocks but the screen stays black. Its like the screen wont wake up. It is very annoying to say the least.

  8. David says

    I had the same issues with deleted apps, and screen not waking up. After manually restarting the phone those issues were fixed (but reinstalled apps reverted to the old version). A friend of mine is experiencing nonresponsive wifi and will be cashing in on warranty to get new phone.

  9. Rajkumar N says

    Updated with 4.4.2 all went well.but battary is draining at the rate of 15 percent a hour.
    Some times while browsing with crome it drains to 10 hours in four hours with 70 percent brightness. It was driving me mad.I considered all options including rooting and putting alternative rom.but turning off most of the Samsung apps ans play movies ans news stand.and enabled power saving. And installed 3g manager.now it draine 2 percent while idle. 10 percent while browsing a hour.but its fast .also I cleared cache partition so no residue from old apps interfere with instalation. Its usable again now.

  10. Hieu says

    If your phone has problem with black screen. You should turn off personal massage. Go to setting-> lock screen -> lock screen widgets -> clock or personal massage -> clock.

  11. lucas says

    Since the update I lost some of my apps and now I can’t sync my email account.There is no way to turn the sync function on it says off and master off

  12. syed hassaan ali says

    I’m also facing the screen not waking up issue also time on lock screen is not synced with actual time initially it shows stale time and after few seconds shows correct time which is very annoying

  13. cdaly1970 says

    Updated to 4.4.2 yesterday. Battery drain was unbelievable. Found the issue. Exchange Push mail. Seems the Nexus 5 has this issue on 4.4.2 also. The data connect to Exchange is keep open constantly. With no new email, I was consuming 4mb per hour in data. Had to change the sync settings from push to sync every 15 minutes. Which resolved the problem. Seems this is a known issue for Google, and they have it as a low priority. Guess if it was a gmail sync issue, it would be fixed by now…

  14. Becky says

    Updated just now and my contact list will not load.. Its stuck on the updating contact list.?

  15. AyjAIgEE says

    MY PHONE IS A PIECE OF ISH NOW. THANKS! IT KEEPS FREEZING/BLACKING OUT. HALF OF MY APPS WERE DELETED. AND BATTERY IS BEING DRAINED MORE THAN USUAL.

  16. Dlynn says

    Did the update this morning and having a major issue with email sync. Won’t sync email and I receive a message that says Master Sync Has been Turned Off. There is no way around this , even removing the email account and reloading it won’t fix the problem. I seen that several people are have the same issue when I did a Google search for a fix. I’ve contacted my provider and hopefully they can help.

  17. Erik says

    Master Sync update: Go to Settings, Data usage, menu and make sure Auto-sync data is checked

  18. zmaxp says

    Eric, thank you for your tip. I also had to go to email settings and turn sync back on after your instructions were performed. THANKS

  19. Naveen says

    horrible version of 4.4.2. My phone gets hangs very frequently. Does any one know who to revert back to 4.3?

  20. Amy says

    I’m so glad I’m reading about others having the same problems I am! Black screen, MAJOR Battery drainage, missing apps! I changed the Lock Screen to Clock – didn’t realize it had gotten changed to personal message! I’ll see if I can find out anything on the email sync – but it didn’t look like I had a push option.
    Now – my question that I cannot find an answer to is at the top next to my Wifi icon, is the <> symbol, that would indicate that hand gestures is turned on. But it’s not! I can’t figure out how to get rid of it – wondering if that’s draining my battery.
    Anyone have any thoughts?

  21. Will says

    After update an unread messages count shows in the lock screen, trying to disable this feature. Does someone knows how? I can not find the option for it.

  22. David I says

    After the update on my Galaxy s4 two weeks ago, my mobile data button went missing and I have to now go through settings to access it. (The point being… it’s now more difficult to access something that should be available at a click. )
    Also, certain apps (ex. WNYC app for news) no longer have sound! The app displays as being on and running but there is no sound coming from it. This app was working well before the “update” (which is more like a downgrade!)

    • Melinda says

      My Mobile Data button went missing as well..Do not like this at all…. Have you figured out a way to add it back? ??

  23. Nancy G says

    I’ve been having all the same issues too. In addition, I can no longer connect to my pc as a usb. Anyone have this problem or know how to fix it?

  24. Darius says

    after the update my dictionary will not save any new words. it’s very frustrating. can anyone else have the same problem?

  25. Keith D. Lee says

    I too am having problems with my AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4’s email. It won’t sync no matter what I have done.

  26. Keith says

    So far, so good. I cannot find who made the suggestion; but, here is how to reapply syncing email — Settings to Data Usage to Menu to Sync Data.

  27. Cliff Smith (@cliff_smith) says

    Worst mistake I made was to switch to this Samsung S4 piece of bloat-ware crap, and all the associated issues with the “upgrades” etc. They can shove their so called upgrades up their collective …! Cannot wait for my contract to mature enough to get back to an iPhone – The ONLY REAL upgrade to this samsung/android system.

  28. Lynda says

    My Yahoo.com email folders no longer sync on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Using Bell Mobility (Canada). Android 4.4.2 Build # KOT49H.1337MVLUFNC1

  29. Crystal Lamont says

    Ever since I did the update 2 or 3 weeks ago to 4.4.2 my battery drains like crazy!! I loved my S4 before this. I bragged about how I could get way more than a day out of my battery. It really sucks now.

  30. mymona veve says

    same with crystal my battery really drains fast and im so worried i am not able to use my mobile data…at times i am able to but most of the times i cant….should i have my phone fix or just wait for the next upgrade or fix?

  31. Rae says

    i updated my phone last night.I am not really lovin the update. this update 5gas taken away the option to ‘Hide Applications’ in the application dock. the disable app function is not convenient because it uninstalls certain apps. my battery life has went down tremendously. my wifi had problems at first but now works fine. some applications are not working or they are very slow to open. can these problems be fixed? or is there a way to uninstall update?

  32. lynn says

    Please tell me how can I undo the upgrade 4.4.2 on my galaxy s4? I NEED my hide app option! !!!!! And I want it back!!!! All the apps in the market does not even work😠

  33. Qadariah says

    i have problem too after the update. wasn’t until last few days did i notice my phone lags all the time,my email doesnt sync, my screen wont wake up. battery drains up too fast. any tips? this is driving me insane

  34. Denis says

    4.4.2 kitkat ruined my devices gaming performance. It crippled the CPU and takes out certain Java packets and other game related files that improve frame rates for seamless gaming. My AnTuTu score was in the 37000’s on 4.2.2 on Samsung Note 3.. As soon as 4.4.2 installed the score dropped to 32000. Frame rates in games and benchmark apps that were in the 58-60fps range are now in the 38-42fps. The CPU score is also lower. Kitkat is awful it will destroy the performance of your CPU / GPU.

  35. bonita says

    Worst update ever……. Im about to throw my phone in the toilet. I have to leave it on the charger nonstop or it goes dead in less than 3 hours. Cant hide my apps anymore, and constantly having my phone seize. Efffing annoying……….. dont do it(unless you plan on getting a new phone anyway) my phone is now a pos. Thanks samsung. Lol

  36. lesley says

    this is so dissapointing,thought upgrading would be for the best but seems to be the worst. since upgrade phone has been freezing screen,switching on and off at will.even between important call.uuugghh how annoying.and wont start up unless l plug it in power socket.battrey drainage is crazy frustrating…worst upgrade ever..does anyone know how to switch back to 4.3..or it simply means l have to chuck the phone in the bin….uuuhhhhggg.so dissapointed….

  37. The German Worrior says

    I purposely bought this Android phone for it’s multi language system where I can slide the space bar to change my keypad language (mainly Korean and Chinese) . But after the upgrade to Kitkat which was an accident, I can’t swipe my spacebar anymore! I have to manually tap on the settings and change my language settings. It’s so TROUBLESOME!!! Please bring back the keypad swiping option.

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