The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One are arguably two of the best Android smartphones of 2013, but neither phone is a pure Android smartphone. Samsung and HTC rely heavily on the software features to enhance the user experience and stand apart from each other, and the Nexus 4, in a crowded Android smartphone market.
This plethora of software features is also a strategy to compete with the iPhone 5, and to offer a unique experience that each company feels is better than the vanilla version of Android that Google offers on the Nexus 4.
Samsung focuses on sensors and smart features which come as part of TouchWiz, a fancy name for the skin and special software features that ship on the Samsung Galaxy S4. These software features bring the best features from the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 and add a few more which will launch with the Galaxy S4.
HTC may not include the same set of sensors, but it does ship the HTC One with HTC Sense 5. As the number suggests, HTC Sense is not a new software innovation from HTC, but with HTC Sense 5 users get a cleaner look and a collection of smart new features.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One Software Features
Many users will compare the design, style and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, but a closer look at the software is just as important when trying to pick the best Android smartphone. Of course, check out our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One breakdown to see how the two devices stack up in this regard.
After spending time with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, it’s time to share how the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One software stack up.
HTC Sense 5 vs. TouchWiz
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One run similar versions of Android, but on top of Android, is a skin that changes the look and functionality of Android. Both phones run a modified version of Android Jelly Bean, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Samsung TouchWiz and Nature UX sit on top of Android, offering up a more colorful version of Android with extra apps and features that connect the phone to other Samsung devices. The Samsung Galaxy S4 builds on the features and designs of the Galaxy S3, and offers a familiar experience.
HTC places HTC Sense 5 on the HTC One. This new version of HTC Sense includes several new features such as BlinkFeed, which takes over the home screen with a news feed and social network section that makes it easy to follow topics and friends. HTC Sense 5 brings a more minimal look to Android icons and other areas of the user interface.
Both of the phones offer a launcher with 4 apps at the bottom of the home screen and customizable app drawers. The HTC One runs Android 4.1.2 with an update to Android 4.2 rumored in the next month and the Samsung Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2.2, the latest version of Android.
Galaxy S4 Smart Features vs. HTC One
The Samsung Galaxy S4 takes the lead in the software department when it comes to smart features. The Samsung Galaxy S4 features nine sensors that let users control the phone with motion, eye tracking and even without touching the display.
The video below highlights the Samsung Galaxy S4 software features such as Air View, Motion control and eye-tracking.
With Air View, Galaxy S4 users can hover a finger above the display to see a preview of a text, email, photo or place in a video. The motion control allow users to swipe over the phone to answer a call or scroll through a web page.
With eye-tracking the Galaxy S4 display can stay on when it detects a user is looking at it. Additionally, it allows a user to combine motion to scroll without touching the screen. The Samsung Galaxy S4 can also use this eye-tracking technology to automatically pause video when a user looks away.
The HTC One is a feature packed phone, but it does not offer any of these features with HTC Sense 5.
HTC Zoe vs. Galaxy S4 Camera Features
The HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are both designed with mobile photographers in mind. HTC tries something new this time around with an Ultrapixel camera that uses large pixels to deliver better low light photos. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is equipped with a 13MP camera which Samsung enhances with some new photo features.
The HTC One arrives with HTC Zoe, a feature that shoots a 3 second video and 20 photos with the push of a shutter. This makes it possible to capture motion, photos and sound all at once. Users can then share the Zoe as a moving photo or edit it to make a photo that shows multiple frames. On stage HTC Zoe sounded like a gimmick, but ater using it for a week it’s clearly a great HTC One feature.
The video above shows the Sequence shot feature in action, thanks to HTC Zoe. There is also the ability to take a group photo and pick the best face for each person in the photo, something that can accomodate a larger group thanks to the wide-angle camera.
HTC also bundles in an eraser feature that lets users remove unwanted people and objects from a photo. The video below highlights the feature.
Another cool HTC One feature relates to video. Users can pick between slow motion and regular speed, slowing down a video at a dramatic point. Check it out in action in the video below.
Rounding out the camera software features on the HTC One is the Video Highlights feature which creates a video highlights reel of an event. Check out one we made in the video below.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t deliver an HTC Zoe competitor directly, but with a collection of features it delivers a similar experience. The standout Samsung Galaxy S4 camera feature is Dual camera mode, a setting that combines the front and rear facing cameras to let the photographer be part of the photo or video. Check it out in action below.
In addition to combining the cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S4 can also combine sound with a photo. The Sound & Shot feature is similar to HTC Zoe’s combination of photos and sound, but there is no video component. The Samsung Galaxy S4 ad below shows how this works, and why you might want to use it.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 camera app also includes familiar favorited like a group shot that lets you pick the best face and a new eraser mode that helps users remove unwanted people from photos.
HTC BlinkFeed vs. Samsung Home Screen
The HTC One delivers BlinkFeed, a new way to check updates from friends and favorite news sources. HTC Blinkfeed is customizable, and the HTC One software hands on video below shows it in action.
HTC BlinkFeed allows users to pick from a wide variety of sources, topics and connect to social networks. In addition to showing social networks, it also lets users update Facebook and Twitter from that main screen. This is the main home screen, but users can swipe to get a familiar Android home screen with apps and widgets.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a more common Android experience with multiple home screens, support for widgets and some built in widgets like the Galaxy S3 shipped with, but there is no direct BlinkFeed competitor.
Samsung S TV vs. HTC Sense TV
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One both include IR which allows users to control an HDTV with the phone. The HTC One ships with Sense TV, which includes fast access to favoriet shows. Tap once on a show and the software automatically changes the channel to it.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses WatchOn software to deliver a similar experience. The WatchOn software includes a similar looking interface that allows users to pick a show and have the S4 change the channel. This software also offers a search function which can search TV channels as well as Samsung’s movie rental and sales service. The Galaxy S4 also features a Peel Smartphone app for manual control.
Multi View vs. HTC One
The Samsung Galaxy S4 includes Multi-View, a feature that lets users run two apps on the screen at the same time. This is a very nice way to do more on the 5-inch 1080P HD display. We may see some limits to the apps that can runin dual screen mode on the U.S. model based on the Galaxy Note 2.
The video above highlights the Multi-View feature on the Galaxy Note 2. The user experience is the same on the Galaxy S4.
The HTC One does not offer such a feature to users, so there is no way to use two apps on the screen at the same time with the HTC One.
Two vs. Three Buttons
The Samsung Galaxy S4 features three buttons, while the HTC One only offers two. This changes some of the Android interaction and in many apps leads to an extra bar at the bottom of the screen. Because there is no menu botton on the HTC One, some apps will show one on screen, like in the screen shot below.
By removing one button, there are a few other limitations, though HTC does a decent job of adding in multiple taps to address them. The HTC One home button can; take a user home, launch Google Now with a long press or launch Multitasking with a double tap. The back button only goes back, but there is a tweak that allows it to also act as a menu button, removing the on screen menu bar. This may ship as a standard feature on the HTC One for T-Mobile AT&T and Sprint.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a physical button which acts as the home button, a menu key and a back button. The home button offers similar functionality with a single press, long press and double tap. A single press goes home, a long press opens the multitasking menu (where access to Google Now is found) and a double tap opens S-Voice.
S Voice Drive vs. HTC Car Mode
The HTC One features a Car mode which offers some in car voice control, but it is only able to use the built in music app and make calls. The Samsung Galaxy S4 includes S-Voice Drive, which is more full featured and an extension of S Voice.
S Voice drive can control navigation, music and phone calls as well as check weather and other information while you are driving. Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 users can try out S Voice Drive right now.
Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S4: What Buyers Need to Know
The newly announced Samsung Galaxy S7 is finally coming soon, and potential buyers still enjoying an older Galaxy S4 are likely wondering what’s new. Millions of Galaxy S4 owners ready for an upgrade may have skipped the Galaxy S6 due to no micro-SD card or removable battery. For those who did, below are some key changes that makes the Galaxy S7 a great next phone.
On February 21st the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were both announced, went up for pre-order a few days later, and will be available early next month on March 11th. Here’s how Samsung’s latest compares to the old and aging Galaxy S4, and what makes it a much better phone.
Read: Best Galaxy S7 Deals
The Galaxy S4 was one of Samsung’s most successful phones. It had a great design, slim bezels around the screen, a powerful processor and a great camera for its time. Over the years though, Samsung’s added water resistance, a premium all metal design and more. This time around Samsung combined everything they’ve learned into one well-rounded phone that buyers should be interested in.
Of course the Galaxy S7 will be a better phone than the Galaxy S4, simply because all these years later everything has changed and improved. We have a metal design, a fingerprint scanner, the latest version of Android and more. Even the Galaxy S6 was a worthy upgrade, but many chose not to take that route as they wanted to keep their micro-SD cards, a removable battery, and the slim design.
Well, we have good news. On February 21st Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S7 with a similar yet improved design, a bigger 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge, longer battery life, a new camera, and two key features Galaxy S4 owners are going to love. A micro-SD slot to expand storage, and IP68 water resistance.
Galaxy S7 Release Date
On Sunday February 21st Samsung silenced all the rumors and set the tone early for the Galaxy S7 release date. Confirming all carriers will have it on March 11th. Very fast. This has been 100% confirmed. Select carriers outside the US are shipping early on the 8th, but those in the U.S. can expect it to arrive on March 11th from all major carriers, Best Buy, Target, Staples, Walmart and many other retail locations.
Pre-orders for the Galaxy S7 went live on February 23rd, in all regions, and Samsung’s even giving out a free Gear VR headset to buyers, a $150 value.
The Galaxy S4 is pretty old these days, doesn’t have a powerful 8-core processor, or an amazing camera, and no where near the latest version of Android. You’ll get a familiar yet improved experience across the board with Samsung’s newest phone.
Galaxy S7 Design
Just like we heard time and time again from countless leaks, the Galaxy S7 looks very similar to the Galaxy S6 from last year. There are a few subtle changes, as well as a rounded curve to the back edges to make it easier to hold, and feel thinner in the hand. This is similar to the curves of the Galaxy S4, but now in a premium all metal and glass design. The Galaxy S4 was all plastic, something Samsung’s finally moved away from.
In general the Galaxy S7 still looks rather similar to the Galaxy S6, and even the Galaxy S4, but that’s a good thing. Samsung’s managed to improve every aspect, add a metal design that’s water resistant, improve the internals, camera, and add a bigger battery while keeping their design language and identity in-tact. Technology has come a long ways.
The Galaxy S4 was only 5-inches, and the new Galaxy S7 has a slightly bigger 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD S-AMOLED display. If you want something even bigger, consider the Galaxy S7 Edge at 5.5-inches. The S4 only had a 1080p HD display, while the Galaxy S7 has a Quad-HD resolution for stunning photos, video, games and Netflix.
The biggest thing those with a Galaxy S4 need to know about the Galaxy S7 though, are that it’s more durable, lasts way longer, recharges in 70 minutes instead of 3 hours, and has plenty to offer.
Galaxy S7: IP68 Rating
One key feature or upgrade that all Galaxy S4 owners can appreciate, aside from the bigger screen, better camera, longer battery life and all that, is the IP68 dust and water resistant rating. Owners can drop the Galaxy S7 in over 5ft of water for nearly 30 minutes (and probably longer) with no problem.
This year the Galaxy S7 has an IP68 dust and water-resistant rating, higher than the Galaxy S5, and something the Galaxy S4 couldn’t offer. They did this without covering ports with rubber flaps or gaskets too. It’s all on the inside, leaving a beautiful phone on the outside that can handle the elements.
Samsung also returned the micro-SD slot they removed last year with the Galaxy S6, and it now can handle up to 200GB, and added a bigger battery. The Galaxy S4 was 2,600 mAh, and oddly the Galaxy S6 was only 2,550 mAh. This year it’s huge, coming in at 3,000 mAh with Adaptive fast charging, and fast wireless charging. The Galaxy S4 didn’t have wireless charging in most markets either. Here’s more info on the specs for those curious.
Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S4: Specs
Being three years newer you can expect a better experience across the board. Everything is faster, better, cleaner and improved. Including the camera and battery life. Here are the official numbers right from Samsung.
Galaxy S7 Specs
- 5.1-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD Display (5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge)
- Quad-Core Qualcomm 820 Processor with 4GB of RAM (Samsung Exynos outside the US)
- 32 GB of storage and Micro-SD for storage expansion.
- New 12 “Dual Pixel” Rear Camera with f/1.7 aperture, OIS and more
- 3,000 mAh battery with Fast Charging, Wireless Fast Charging (3,600 on Galaxy S7 Edge)
- Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with TouchWiz
- Fingerprint Scanner for security
- IP68 Dust & Water Resistance (5 meters for over 30 minutes)
- Flat Design (no camera bulge)
As you can see above, the Samsung Galaxy S7 sounds pretty good. It has an improved 5.1-inch Quad-HD display, and returns many of the features Samsung ditched on the Galaxy S6. Powered by a newly redesigned and faster Quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM, tons of storage, and return the micro-SD slot that made so many pass on the Galaxy S6. If that’s why you kept the Galaxy S4 when that 2-year upgrade came around, be ready to buy the Galaxy S7 in March.
Galaxy S4 Specs
- 5-inch 1920 x 1080p HD AMOLED Display
- Quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM (or Samsung Exynos)
- 16/32GB of storage with a micro-SD slot for expansion
- Currently on Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 13 Megapixel camera, 2MP front camera
- 2,600 mAh battery (removable)
- Plastic Design, IR Blaster for Remote Control
As you can see the Galaxy S7 will be a huge upgrade across the board. More than double the power with the new Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM, the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software, a bigger 3,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge, wireless charging, and even fast wireless charging and more. The Galaxy S4 took over two hours to recharge, the Galaxy S7 will recharge from 0-100% in under 75 minutes, and go from 0-80% in just 35 minutes using Quick Charge 3.0 technology by Qualcomm. That’s big.
The only downside is the Galaxy S7 doesn’t have a removable battery users can replace, like the Galaxy S4. That said, it will last much longer, and recharge so fast this shouldn’t be an issue for any buyers. Just drop it on the charger while driving home, and it’s nearly full. Quick Charging is the biggest breakthrough with battery technology as of late, and Galaxy S4 owners will love it.
Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S5: Camera
The only “lower” spec on a sheet while comparing the two is the 12 megapixel camera. However, the new camera in the Galaxy S7 will take amazing photos and video that works great indoors or outdoors, have optical image stabilization, a fast f/1.7 aperture for fast shutter speeds and auto focus. Megapixels aren’t everything, and this 12 megapixel “Dual Pixel” camera will be better than the Galaxy S6, and certainly better than the 13 megapixel camera from the Galaxy S4. It didn’t have image stabilization, a dual stage flash, or anything too special. Although it was good during its time.
Samsung’s using technology found in many DSLR cameras. The Dual Pixel sensor is a first for any smartphone. It uses all 12 million pixels to auto-focus, while most only use about 5% of the pixels to focus, which is why it’s so slow. The Galaxy S7 focus is incredible fast. It also has a fast f/1.7 aperture and a sensor that’s much bigger and captures over 95% more light in less time, than the Galaxy S4. Add image stabilization and photos or video will be incredible. Indoors, outdoors, at night, and more will all be impressive. Samsung’s suggesting this could be the best smartphone camera of 2016.
The Galaxy S6 had a pretty good 16 megapixel camera that blew away the Galaxy S4, and the new Galaxy S7 will be even better. Oh, and that 2 megapixel front camera is awful. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 has an excellent 5 megapixel f/1.7 wide-angle front camera that takes great selfies that are wide, bright, and it focuses really fast too.
Galaxy S7 Battery Life
The Galaxy S4 actually had a bigger battery than the Galaxy S6, which was an odd move. It came in at 2,800 mAh but took over 2-3 hours to recharge. Things have changed though, and everything is better. The screen, processor, and software are all more efficient, meaning the same 2,600 mAh battery would last longer. But Samsung added a bigger 3,000 mAh one that uses fast charging technology, and fast wireless charging technology as an added benefit.
As we said above, Samsung completely fixed any battery complaints people had about the Galaxy S6, which may have caused some S4 owners to keep their phone another year. With a huge 3,000 mAh battery and 3,600 in the Galaxy S7 Edge, these should last longer than any Samsung Galaxy S to date.
The Galaxy S7 has Adaptive Fast Charging, which recharges the phone from 0-50% in less than 25 minutes, and fully recharges in about 70-80 minutes. Then it does Fast Wireless Charging too. Those who had a wireless charging capable Galaxy S4 know it was extremely slow. The Galaxy S7 wireless charging is twice the speed of a cable charging the Galaxy S4. It’s that fast.
What this means is battery life should never be an issue if you upgrade from the Galaxy S4 to the new Galaxy S7. It’s bigger, more efficient, and so fast you’ll be amazed how quick it goes to 100%. No more charging your phone overnight, it won’t need it.
Carriers, Pricing and More
Sounds great, but how much will it cost you? Well, there are no longer 2-year contracts, but buyers can make monthly payments. The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be released on all major carriers, at retail stores and throughout the United States and the globe on March 11th. Pre-orders opened on the 23rd of February, making it one of their fastest releases ever.
Carriers no longer offer the Galaxy S4 or even the older Galaxy S5. While we could see deals surface for the Galaxy S6, jumping right to the Galaxy S7 is your best bet, and just pay $25 a month or so to your carrier to pay off the phone.
The Galaxy S4 was $199 with a new 2-year contract and only had 16GB of internal storage, and cost over $500 new. Things have changed since then and the base is now 32GB. Most who have the Galaxy S4 are eligible for an upgrade, so head into a carrier store and pre-order the Galaxy S7. You’ll get a free Gear VR headset, the phone on Marh 11th, and pay something similar to what’s outlined below.
It looks like the Galaxy S7 will cost about $680 (vary by carrier) and the Galaxy S7 Edge is $760 or more. Sprint has the lowest price, while AT&T is cheaper on a month-to-month basis. It sounds expensive, but the Galaxy S4 was pretty expensive back then too.
- AT&T: Galaxy S7 is $23.17 per month for 30 months = $695.10
- Verizon: Galaxy S7 is $28 per month for 24 months = $672
- T-Mobile: Galaxy S7 is $27.91 per month for 24 months = $669.84
- Sprint: Galaxy S7 is $27.09 per month for 24 months = $650.16
- US Cellular: Galaxy S7 is $28 per month for 24 months = $672
The Galaxy S7 Edge is only a few dollars more per month from each carrier, which ends up putting the total price a little over $750 for Samsung’s new 5.5-inch flagship water-resistant smartphone.
All said and done, Galaxy S4 owners should know that the Galaxy S7 will be a worthy replacement. It’s better in every way, should have excellent battery life and super fast charging. Add in the better screen and premium IP68 rated design, stunning camera, micro-SD and a big battery, it will be more than a solid replacement, and likely one of the best phones of 2016.
Did you buy a Galaxy S6, or do you still have the Galaxy S4 and plan on getting the new Galaxy S7 once it’s released? Let us know in the comments below.
How to Fix Bad Galaxy S4 Battery Life After Lollipop
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android Lollipop update brings a ton of new features to the company’s former flagship but it also brings battery life problems. With that in mind, we want to take a look at how you can potentially fix bad Galaxy S4 battery life.
When Samsung first announced the Galaxy S4 back in 2012, the company confirmed that it would have Android Jelly Bean on board. At the time, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was Google’s current version of Android.
Over the years, Samsung’s outfit the Galaxy S4 with a number of new software updates including Android 4.3, Android 4.4 KitKat and the Android 5 Lollipop update.
The Galaxy S4 Lollipop update delivered some big time features to owners of the aging former flagship including Google’s new Material Design. It’s also, believe it or not still causing problems for many people who’ve hung onto this fossil of a phone.
Galaxy S4 users continue to complain about battery life issues. Battery life issues always seem to plague Galaxy users after a new Android update though it’s usually not the update itself causing the problems. Apps, services and bad habits are typically the culprit.
These Galaxy S4 battery life problems are isolated but they could appear on your device at any time. And that’s why we want to try and fix bad Samsung Galaxy S4 battery life for you.
How to Fix Bad Galaxy S4 Battery Life
This guide delivers help to get better battery life on Samsung’s current flagship. These fixes should work if you’re on Android 4.4 KitKat or if you’re on Android Lollipop. Most Galaxy S4 users are now on Android 5.1.1.
The Galaxy S4 won’t be getting Android Marshmallow so you’ll need to rely on manual fixes to solve your battery life woes.
Find Apps Eating Up Your Battery Life
The first recommendation that we always make to people suffering from bad battery life is to check out third-party applications. If you want to fix your bad Galaxy S4 battery life, you’re going to want to keep an eye on applications for potential problems.
If you use an application a lot, it’s going to drain your battery. Most of you already know that. However, there are also times where bugs or issues might cause an app to go rogue and start abnormally draining the device’s charge. That could be happening on your device.
The first thing you’ll want to do is head into your settings to take a look at the effect your applications are having on the device’s battery life. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it’s time to start taking a closer look.
If you think an app is draining more battery life than it should be, try reinstalling it to see if that corrects the issue. If the problem persists, try uninstalling the app to see if that has a positive effect on battery life. It has for us in the past.
If you can’t figure out which app is causing trouble, you’ll want to boot the Galaxy S4 into Safe Mode in an effort to single out potential troublemakers.
Booting the device into Safe Mode disables third-party apps and allows you to isolate apps that could be causing the problems. Here’s how to boot the Galaxy S4 into Safe Mode:
- Power down the device. Then, press & hold the Power button and volume down key.
- Once it boots up, you can let go of the power button but keep the volume key held down.
- When you have successfully entered into Safe Mode, you will notice the text ‘Safe Mode’ at the bottom left corner of the screen.
Restart the Galaxy S4
This is a simple fix but it could prove to be effective. If you haven’t done it in awhile, restart the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Most of you know how to restart the Galaxy S4 but we’ll remind you anyway. Hold down the power button, confirm that you want to turn it off, and then hold the power button down to turn it back on.
Disable Unnecessary Services
If apps aren’t the issue, and a simple restart of the Galaxy S4 doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
In our experience, disabling features when they aren’t in use tends to have a positive impact on overall battery life.
If you think your Galaxy S4 battery life is draining faster than normal, we recommend shutting off Wi-Fi Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and/or cellular data when you don’t them. You can turn all of those off from inside the Galaxy S4’s settings and the device’s quick menu makes them even easier to monitor.
One other thing to note. Poor cellular coverage is often to blame for bad Android battery life. When your S4 needs to search hard for a signal, it runs the battery down faster, so keep that in mind when you’re in spotty areas.
You should consider turning Airplane Mode on when there isn’t a strong 4G or LTE signal in the area. This could help keep battery drain to a minimum as well.
Try Using a Black Wallpaper
Switching to a black wallpaper could help deliver better Galaxy S4 battery life thanks to the way Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays consume power. The device does not come with a default black wallpaper but you can search online for one.
After you’ve downloaded one, go to Settings -> Wallpaper -> Home and Lock Screens -> More Images -> set your black Galaxy S4 wallpaper. It’s a quick fix but it could help maintain a better charge on your aging former flagship.
Replace the Stock Launcher
You also might want to consider replacing the Galaxy S4’s stock TouchWiz launcher with something new. The TouchWiz launcher has been known to hinder performance and it can be replaced.
There are tons of different launches to choose from though the Nova Launcher is one of Android’s most popular choices and one that we continue to recommend to Galaxy S4 users.
Downgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat
If you’ve already moved to Android 5.0 Lollipop, and some of you have, note that you can return to Android 4.4 KitKat in the event that Android 5.0 isn’t on par with what you expected from Samsung’s new update for the Galaxy S4.
We recently put together a guide on how to accomplish this so that’s going to be a great starting point for those of you that want to drop back down to Android 4.4.
Follow those steps using the correct files and you should be able to get Android 4.4 KitKat up and running in no time at all.
Factory Reset the Galaxy S4
If you don’t want to downgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat and you can’t find any fixes for your battery problems, you can factory reset your Galaxy S4. Note that this will wipe all of your files so you’ll need to make a backup before going this route.
To factory reset the Samsung Galaxy S4, go into Settings, User & Backup, and select Backup and Reset. From there, select Factory Data Reset. From there, select Reset Device and then Delete All.
If for whatever reason that doesn’t work, you can also factory reset using the hardware keys on the phone. Here’s how to do that. It’s a far more difficult process. We recommend the above route if possible.
- First, you’ll need to turn the Galaxy S4 off.
- Once its off, press and hold the Volume up button, the Home button, and the Power buttons together until you see an Android appear on the screen.
- Once you see this, use the Volume down key to highlight the Wipe Data/Factory Reset option. Use the Power button to select it.
- Use the Volume down key to select Yes – delete all user data and then use the Power button again to select it.
- When you see the Reboot System Now option, you’ll know you’re on track. Use the Power button to select that option.
- This will erase everything on the Galaxy S4 bringing it back to the state it was in when you first bought it. It also might fix the problems you’re having.
We’ve heard from several Galaxy smartphone users who say that a factory reset fixed bad battery life on Lollipop though it should be considered a last ditch effort. It’s an extremely time consuming process but it’s one that could potentially solve your problems once and for all.
If that doesn’t help, it’s probably time to look into your warranty. You’ll want to contact Samsung or your carrier directly to see if they can be of any assistance. In some cases, they might be able to help.
Samsung Android 5.1.1 Release: 5 Things to Expect Now
The Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1.1 release continues to make its presence felt as we enter the month of September. Armed with new details, we want to take a look at a few things we expect from Samsung and the Android 5.1.1 release in September.
Believe it or not, Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.1.1 update started rolling out in June. Its been around for awhile. And while the company’s Android 5.1.1 release has been slow moving, we’ve finally see the update start to pick up as we enter the month of September.
While might not sound like a big deal, it is. Samsung’s Android 5.1.1 update comes loaded with enhancements, fixes and a patch for the Stagefright vulnerability. It’s a key update and one that’s probably worth a download.
While the company has made progress, there are still many people on older versions of Lollipop. What’s worse is that Samsung and many of its carrier partners remain mum about upcoming Android 5.1.1 Lollipop updates for key devices.
With that silence in mind, we want to take a look at a few things we think you can expect from Samsung, its carrier partners and the Galaxy Android 5.1.1 release in September. This month should be an important one as it should feature the first official Android Marshmallow release details from Google.
More Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 Updates
It’s clear that Samsung is focused in on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Android 5.1.1 updates. These were the company’s first Android 5.1.1 roll outs and we’ve seen a number of them land in the weeks since the initial June release. They’re more widespread than any other Galaxy Android 5.1.1 release.
We expect both updates to continue to pour out of Samsung’s servers in the month of September as the company pushes to get all of its variants updated in time for the inevitable release of Android Marshmallow.
We’ve already seen several updates roll out this month and we expect more to follow. You’ll want to keep an eye on your carrier Android upgrade page if it has one. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to remain patient as Samsung works to upgrade hundreds of different Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge variants.
We expect most Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge models to be updated with Android 5.1.1 before the month of September ends.
New Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.1.1 Releases
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.1.1 update is starting to pick up the pace and now that it’s hitting several international models, we expect Samsung’s roll out to pick up a ton of steam in the days ahead.
Samsung’s approach typically looks something like this:
- Roll out a single update in a single region. In this case, the Sprint Galaxy Note 4 was the first to get the update.
- A few weeks later, push out a few more updates. A few days ago, the international Galaxy Note 4 finally got Android 5.1.1.
- Big push.
We haven’t seen any carriers confirm imminent Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.1.1 releases but now that the international variant is getting it, we’d expect to see new details, and new updates, start to arrive as Samsung gets its former flagship updated with new features and enhancements.
It’s difficult to predict exactly when updates will land so you’ll need to keep an eye out for an update or details regarding testing/release date.
Other Android 5.1.1 Updates
While we expect the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4 to be the focus of Samsung’s attention, we do expect the company to roll out other Android 5.1.1 updates in September.
We’ve already seen the Galaxy Grand Prime Android 5.1.1 update make some noise in September and we expect to see some of Samsung’s other devices make the move to Android 5.1.1. Candidates include the Galaxy Note Edge and the Galaxy S5. We’d also expect the Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 Android 5.1.1 update to spread.
On the flip side, we wouldn’t expect devices like the Galaxy S4 to see a widespread Android 5.1.1 roll out. T-Mobile, a carrier that’s been extremely liberal with Galaxy Android 5.1.1 releases, recently updated the Galaxy S4 with a Stagefright fix that keeps it on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. And there’s a chance it will stay there.
It’s clear, at least to us, that Samsung’s being fairly selective about which devices will get Android 5.1.1 and older devices appear to be on the back burner for now. If you own a Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3, temper your expectations moving forward.
Android 5.1.1 Problems to Continue
The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update fixes problems but it also brings some problems of its own. And we expect Android 5.1.1 to continue causing problems for Galaxy users in the month of September.
In June, we saw an initial round of complaints about Android 5.1.1. Battery drain emerged as a common problem though Samsung quickly issued a new version that shored up at least some of the problems.
As we’ve pushed deeper into the year, complaints about Android 5.1.1 have continued. We’ve also begun to see complaints from early Samsung Galaxy Note 5 adopters. The Galaxy Note 5 runs a unique version of Android 5.1.1.
You always assume some risk installing Android updates, even bug fixers like Android 5.1.1. This is why we always recommend doing a little prep work before installing.
If you do run into problems, expect some of these fixes to help.
Galaxy Android Marshmallow Details
And finally, we expect to hear more about what’s coming after Android 5.1.1.
With the release of the Android M Developer Preview 3, it’s clear that Google’s making progress with the Android Marshmallow update behind the scenes. And with a Nexus launch rumored for late September, it appears that we’re getting close to an official release.
Now that we’re close, we should start hearing more about Samsung’s plans for Android Marshmallow. This could come in the form of rumors or it could come in the form of an official confirmation after Google makes its plans known.
We’ve already seen some preliminary details emerge and we expect to see more information arrive as we approach launch. Last year we saw a number of leaks and teasers emerge shortly after Google’s Lollipop announcement. We’d expect the same this year as well.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 Release Progress
The first thing that we learned is that Samsung's clearly made the Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 update, for the regular model and the Galaxy S6 Edge, a priority.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update has rolled out in force throughout the month of August and it just recently landed for Verizon's versions of the two flagship smartphones.
It also recently landed for Galaxy S6 users on Vodafone Australia and a pair of other Australian carriers should get the update out soon. We expect to see progress continue as we push into September towards an Android Marshmallow update.
If you haven't seen the update yet, stay patient. Samsung's had some problems behind the scenes though it appears that it has ironed those out. These are Samsung's healthiest Galaxy Android 5.1.1 Lollipop releases by far.
Samsung Android 5.1.1 Release: 10 Things to Know Now
The Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1.1 continues to make significant progress as we push into August. With new details sprouting up left and right, we want to take a look at a few things you need to know if you’re looking to make the move to Samsung’s latest update.
In April, Google released its Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update for Nexus devices. The update brought bug fixes and enhancements to owners of the Nexus tablets and smartphones. In the weeks after the Nexus release, we’ve seen some Android manufacturers follow suit with Android 5.1.1 updates of their own. Among them, Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1.1 release has been going on for several weeks now and it encompasses a number of big name devices including the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 4, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5 might be getting older but it’s still receiving excellent treatment from Samsung.
As we’ve made our way into August and closer to an Android M release from Google, we’ve started to see Samsung pick up the pace with its Android 5.1.1 deployment and deployment of other key updates.
The company is clearly working hard to get new software out to as many devices as it can before it starts the heavy lifting with Android M. It has yet to confirm any Android M updates but there’s a very good chance that we’ll see current Galaxy devices get Google’s next release.
With Android M on the horizon and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop rolling out in force, we want to take a look at a few things you need to know now about Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.1.1 release.
New Galaxy S5 Android 5.1.1 Release in U.S.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update first rolled out for T-Mobile users back in June. Since then, we've seen the update confirmed for a French carrier but no one else. And it's not clear if Samsung plans to push it out to anyone beyond T-Mobile at this point.
What we do know is that T-Mobile's rolled out an August Galaxy S5 Android 5.1.1 update that brings a couple of fixes with it.
First, and most important, it brings a fix for the Stagefright vulnerability that captured headlines a short time ago. It also brings a fix for an issue with the device's Swype keyboard. It also, it seems, brings support for Advanced Messaging.
It's a sizable update and one that T-Mobile Galaxy S5 users will probably want to download given the fixes that are on board.
How to Speed Up the Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, & LG G4 in Seconds
Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G4, HTC One M9 and others are all extremely fast and powerful handheld computers. With efficient six or 8-core processors and 3GB of RAM they have more than enough power. That said, those who want even better performance and faster devices, the steps below will deliver exactly that.
There are plenty of different ways to change our smartphones and improve performance. From using different home launchers like the Google Now Launcher, to rooting (like Jailbreaking for Android) and flashing custom software and more. However, some of those things are extremely technical that the average user can’t do or doesn’t dare mess with. Instead, try these thee easy steps to make your Android phone or tablet faster.
For the beginner looking for a simple way to speed up the Galaxy S6 or LG G4 phone in seconds, with no knowledge of Android or custom apps or hacks required, below is a quick video and screenshots on how to make your device faster, and what the three settings you change actually do.
Whether you have the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 with a powerful 8-core processor, to a budget friendly low-end device that was free from your carrier, this trick will speed up any and all Android smartphones and tablets.
We focused on the three latest flagship phones in our title, but this trick can work for everyone. We will be changing a few simple setting to control the animations and transitions, which will make the phone faster, and potentially improve battery life at the same time. It’s a little trick everyone should know, and is worth sharing with friends and family.
All those effects and animations while opening apps, flipping between homescreens, or while tapping through different settings in the settings menu. Even the animation effect you see when you open and close the application tray. They all look neat, but are nothing more than eye candy. All we’ll be doing here today is turning down some of those animations and effects to make everything on any Android smartphone or tablet be faster, not prettier.
The first step is gaining access to a hidden developer menu in settings on your Galaxy S6, LG G4, or other devices. This is just a few taps away, and extremely simple. The video explains how, or just check out the link below.
All you need to do is head into settings > about phone (or tablet) > and tap seven (7) times on the “build number” portion of the about phone screen. This will enable the hidden developer menu, and now you can easily speed up your Android with the steps from the video or screenshots.
Speed Up Your Device
Once you’ve enabled the developer options menu on your Android phone or tablet you’ll need to head into developer options and change three settings. To make things simple, we’ll go through all the steps once more with screenshots.
Settings > Developer Options > Scroll down to Windows Animation Scale, Transitions Animation Scale, and Animator Duration Scale. These are all set to 1x. Turning these values UP you’ll see animations and screen transitions get extremely slow. You can try it just for fun, but we’re actually turning them down, or off completely.
Change all three of the animation settings mentioned above from 1x down to .5x. This will cut the animations and transition effects in half, and make your phone look like it’s nearly twice as fast. Everything opens quick. From apps, the settings menu, application tray, and everything else. Transitions and animations have all been doubled.
Some users may opt to disable them completely and set it to off, but keeping it at .5x still leaves Android looking pretty, while being faster than ever before.
It’s a good idea to restart your device after changing these settings to make sure it is applied throughout the system. Again, this can be done on any Android smartphone or tablet, not just the few devices we mentioned in the title. Give it a try today and drop a comment below if you see a noticeable increase in performance.
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