Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 Review (AT&T)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update arrived on AT&T two weeks ago and after spending time using this update it is possible to share what users can expect when updating the AT&T Galaxy S4, and what we expect on the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update that is yet to come.

Google announced Android 4.4.2 last fall and it is finally arriving on Samsung devices like the Galaxy S4. Android 4.4.2 is a small update in terms of features, but it does bring a few enhancements and options like the ability make mobile payments with Google Wallet.

In my initial Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 impressions performance was good with small improvements in using multitasking, switching apps and other areas of common use. But after two weeks with the update there is noticeable lag on the Galaxy S4 while running Android 4.4.2. A factory reset helps with some performance issues.

Here is a look at the AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update performance.

Here is a look at the AT&T Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update performance.

Read on as I talk about the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 performance and features. ¬†This is for the AT&T version, but similar features will likely come to other carrier updates. It’s not clear if the lag is limited to the AT&T Galaxy S4 at this time.

Performance

The Galaxy S4 running Android 4.4.2 delivered promising performance for the first week, but during the last five days there is a new lag when using the home button and switching apps. The video below shows the Android 4.4.2 lag on the Galaxy S4 in action. Keep in mind I already disabled S Voice home button access, which speeds up home button responsiveness.

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While I could not replicate the problem on camera, all of yesterday pressing the home button once to go to the home screen caused the multitasking menu to open. ¬†After taking a closer look at the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 speed I’ll share more about the features that this update brings.

Speed

This second video, shot after a factory reset and with S Voice home button access disabled, shows a performance improvement. There are still some lag after a button press, but on a whole the Galaxy S4 feels a lot faster than it did earlier today.

When I updated to Android 4.4.2 I had to re-login to all my apps, which was an annoyance that I will need to go through again after the factory reset. If you experience a similar re-login issue, I recommend performing a factory reset right after installing the update to get this issue under control.

After the reset multitasking is faster and the Galaxy S4 is more responsive to taps and quicker to pull the keyboard up.

Apps

Other than the need to re-download and re-login to all of my Android apps on the Galaxy S4 after the Android 4.4.2 update I am not experiencing any app issues. This is expected considering the update arrived on other devices months ago, allowing developers to fix any bugs well ahead of the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 release.

Some Gotta Be Mobile readers tell us that some apps are missing after the update or do not play sound, even when sound is working otherwise.

The Camera app remains the same as on Android 4.3, but as I shared in my early look there was some an update that does deliver slightly improved low light photos. The Galaxy S4 is still not my go to smartphone for photos, but it is improved somewhat.

Battery Life

The Galaxy S4 battery life is slightly better on Android 4.4.2 even while adding 40 to 45 minutes of streaming video over 4G LTE to my daily activities.

Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 battery life is good for me, but not for everyone.

Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 battery life is good for me, but not for everyone.

I do not make many phone calls on the Galaxy S4, which can drive down battery life. Due to issues with iPhone 5s connectivity on iOS 7.1 I am making more calls on the Galaxy S4, without significantly impacting my battery life.

Some Gotta Be Mobile readers are reporting major battery life problems on the Galaxy S4 after updating, pointing to exchange email accounts as a possible culprit. Venkat writes,

“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”

Connectivity

I have not experienced any connectivity issues on the Galaxy S4 running Android 4.4.2. The WiFi connection is solid at home and at other locations. I can use the Galaxy S4 as a personal hotspot without issues as well.

From a mobile connectivity standpoint my 4G and 4G LTE access is the same. I live in a city that is still filling out 4G LTE coverage so traveling a block in any direction often means a switch from 4G to LTE and back. During these changes I have not lost my connection.

Mobile Payments

My favorite feature that this update adds is the ability to use Tap & Pay for mobile payments through Google Wallet. In Google Wallet I keep my personal debit card and a business debit card that I can easily switch between for making payments on the go. Mobile Payments aren’t available everywhere, but I can pay for groceries, gas and fast food with a tap. Some vending machines even support the feature. With Google Wallet I can pick the card I want to use quickly.

Should I Update to Android 4.4.2?

Overall the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 update is a good update that delivers a much needed mobile payment option and after a factory reset good performance.

There are enough small complaints from readers regarding battery life and odd behavior that it may be a good idea to hold off for a few weeks if you are not willing to perform a factory reset and investigate any possible bugs.

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After the reset my Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 experience is good enough to use daily, but user complaints earn this review a cautious approval. Many times these types of bugs will hit certain devices, but not all of them, which makes troubleshooting even harder.

Comments

  1. Darshan says

    quick battery drain happens only for 3 charging cycles after that it gives a better battery life…..
    don’t think twice… android 4.4 is a good update…. go for it…:-)

  2. Brian A says

    Google has confirmed that an undetected bug is causing problems with the recent update to their Android operating system (OS) software. The fault in the coding diverts 100% of CPU use allocation to the camera in a device, draining the battery in a rapid amount of time. In some instances users have also reported that it causes the battery and the device itself to overheat.

    The problem has been reported to affect the Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy devices. HTC took the step of blocking the 4.4.2 update due to the problems being caused on its devices. Google have advised that they are looking into the issue and expect to issue a fix soon, but cautioned that they can only ensure that it works on the Nexus range of devices, warning that other manufacturers may have to develop a firmware fix for their own brands.

  3. Dopeboy says

    I updated to 4.4.2 earlier and the only weird thing I notice so far is that even though I turned off mobile data already, the icon on top of the screen still shows that it is running. I restarted the phone and it went away. Not sure how will it affect my phone bills or if it will happen again though.

  4. Javier says

    Does any one know how to update it for some reason I can’t I’ve been trying to update but all it says is that the update has been interrupted and to check back in 24 hours. I am not rooted at all and it has never been.

  5. Symo says

    After I updated my Galaxy S4, my devide no longer responds to commands, it locks, just doesn’t work properly anymore.Sometimes I cant’ even unlock it. I hope there will be a newer, better version of software very soon, because I already cant’t stand this one.

  6. kendall says

    i updtated my galaxy s4 and now the options to hide and share apps are gone. i wish i would have known that this was gong to happen , so I wouldnt have updated the software

  7. user0001 says

    My Galaxy S4 is running 4.4.2 on AT&T’s network, and at least once per day it loses connectivity to the LTE network and has to be restarted manually. This is extremely troublesome, because there is no indication of the lost connectivity until one tries to make a call or send a text, and it just hangs. This means that the phone is missing all incoming calls and texts without the user knowing it.

  8. bardisi says

    Battery lasts no more than 4-5 hrs after a full-charge. This doesnt help and I d love it if someone has a fix.

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