back to article Galaxy S4 radiant, but has black holes

Samsung's Galaxy S4 is as wonderfully polished as you would expect from the Korean manufacturer's latest flagship, but the software the company says turns it into a “life companion” will be an acquired taste for many. Samsung yesterday officially launched the S4 for Australians at a lavish event staged at Sydney's Opera House. …

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Meh

It seems...

That no matter what Google can not produce a lag-free android...

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Re: It seems...

It's the audio latency that needs improving, they are far from laggy.

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Re: It seems...

>It's the audio latency that needs improving, they are far from laggy.

That's something Google stated they were concentrating on in Jelly Bean- I'll give it ago when the update drops for my handset this month. Previously, people who have wanted to use their phone or tablet as DAW control surfaces have gone iOS. A real Korg Kaoscilator is a fun toy, but too pricey to justify to myself!

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Re: It seems...

I have JB on my nexus 7 (obviously) and where it's a bit better it's still not un-noticeable. It's highlighted by the lack of audio creation apps on android. Although a major player did release their app last week (the name escapes me) but cost over a tenner so I passed on it.

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Re: It seems...

"...It seems... That no matter what Google can not produce a lag-free android..."

That's what happens when you ruin Linux by sticking a crappy Java GUI on top of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It seems...

Dunno... my SII (still running gingerbread as well just because I'm lazy and Kies is such crap) is completely lag free.

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Anonymous Coward

S features...

S view

S translate

S health

S band

looks like they've got another S hit...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: S features...

But have they fixed S voice to

a) Not require a network connection (hello roaming changes when using it hands-free driving on holiday)

b) Be able to identify phonebook names that aren't in it's database.

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Understanding what is Android and what is not

"One reason is weak integration with social networks: the photo app doesn't offer a share to Twitter or share to Facebook option until those apps are installed."

As far as I'm concerned that's the app done right, and isn't a Samsung failing. The 'Share' function is part of Android, and relies on apps telling it you can share via them - meaning you can't share via an app that isn't installed.

Much better than baking in sharing options that may/will stop working when the social network either changes it's API or disappears.

If you are going to review a phone, at least understand why it does things, and who is responsible.

P.S If i'm talking rubbish, happy to be corrected

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Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

You're not talking rubbish. This is indeed how Android works

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

No that is completely correct.

I was rather confused by the author's statement when he mentioned that. I mean why should the device have to have links to twitter and facebook clogging up the share menu if you don't use them?

Add in Instagram, Myspace, G+, Digg, Pintrest, etc then you're going to have a whole lot of shares for apps you don't use.

It's far better to share with apps that have been chosen by the user. I get a feeling it is perhaps the author having had an IPhone before (assumption?) and having to have all links between apps and shares preset. Android uses intents to link apps and data between each other seamlessly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

Indeed, the intents system (of which Share is one of a unlimited amount of intents) is what makes Android light years ahead of iOS.

In laymens terms:

All applications are sandboxed by way of unix style user accounts. No application can talk to any other application full stop, nor can it talk to the outside world unless it has permission (granted on installed).

To share data with other apps, you use intents, which are a public interface for passing data. It's a very simple, but ingenuous solution, and provides unlimited flexibility, and only available on Android.

You want to write your own mapping application? Sure you implement the Navigate intent, and when your app is installed, and something tries to navigate somewhere, your app will be listed as a receiver of the navigate intent (along with Google Maps and any other application that implements the navigate intent).

Android has a massive list of built in intents, and there is a list of 3rd party ones here, if you want to implement communications with another 3rd party app.

http://www.openintents.org

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

The other good thing about using intents is that you can easily change your default app.

Using the Maps example a user, when clicking in an app or a hyperlink that might open up in Google Maps can choose to either make a totally different app the default for that action or always have a choice menu come up to choose each time.

If Google screwed their Maps app up you could just choose another and set that as the default opener for that intent.

It's not complex either, when you click on an action (such as choosing Navigate here from a Qype app) it will present you a list of everything that can perform the task with the option to choose "Just Once" or "Always".

I just wish they had stuck to the old (pre-jelly bean) system of always choosing just once unless you also ticked the checkbox to make default. As I use "just once" for a lot of intents it means I always have to have an extra click.

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Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

@Ben 47 I was just spitting out my tea while eyeballing that same line. The reporter has the smell of an iPhone owner/ignoramus(any difference?). Weak integration is more like sophisticated functionality but I guess you have to be of a certain level of intellect to recognise and attribute these things. I would waffle on but I have tea to clean off my keyboard.

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Headmaster

Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

Agreed, if anything the opposite is a criticism of the fruity phone - "share via Facebook" is a kludge to try and pretend there's social network integration. What you'll find is that the iPhone has a "share via FB" option, regardles of whether you have a FB account tied to the phone - so unnecessary clutter.

Even worse, you can have the FB app installed, but you need to link the account through the phone's settings too. So clicking the "share via FB" options prompts the error message "no FB account associated" instead of doing what you'd think would be the sensible option of passing through to the FB app.

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Trollface

Re: Understanding what is Android and what is not

What irony.

Complaining that the most social device ever invented... isn't social enough.

Gilding the lily.

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The S4 is no N4

I had the Samsung S3 - a great phone - but switch to the Nexus 4 as I prefer the pure Android experience.

The S4 will hopefully draw millions of fanbois away from their tiny iThings but I'm sticking to Nexus devices from now on - the gimmicks just don't appeal.

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Re: The S4 is no N4

Great to have choice isn't it :-)

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Lag??

I have to say, I have a Note I & a Note II, I am sure the portrate / landscape lag is intentional, those times where you accidenty tilt the phone slightly over its threshold to switch would be a real pain in the backside if it flipped the second it was triggered. I prefer the slight lag for the above reasons. The phone (especially Note II) is blisteringly fast, when you use one ,or an SIII it is apparent that merely fliping views views instanly is far beneath the devices capability, I'm sure this holds true for the SIIII also.

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Re: Lag??

I've had a few ROMs installed that exposed the delay in settings but it's only part of the problem, usually a very minor part.

The major issue is by default Android handles rotation of apps by restarting them and that can be very expensive, especially for container apps like the launcher. Since the rotation animation doesn't start till the app finishes reinitialising you see a lot of lag if the app takes a long time, even though actual rotation detection isn't laggy! On the same device simple apps switch quickly.

It's possible to work around this and internally deal with rotation but few apps bother. Not sure a launcher could do it while supporting widgets anyway and most simply disable landscape mode to avoid the issue.

It's probably the 'right thing' to do by default, completely reinitialising is more reliable and automagic but with an unfortunate effect on lag.

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Re: Lag??

oh I totally agree, the iPads almost instant flip is irritating in the least! my Tab 10.1 is much nicer in that regard (plus I can have multiple apps on screen at once with the note!!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lag?? @ Paul Shirly

I find the apps I use most are fixed in one orientation, and if your app is supposed to work with various orientations, then it should manage it itself I think...

Although I would like landscape apps to allow you to hold the tablet any way up, it is frustrating that my tablet case stands my tablet one way and the app doesn't work that way up!

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Re: Lag?? @ Paul Shirly

"should manage it (rotation) itself", while I appreciate having 180&270deg rotation without relying on devs explicitly supporting it. I think we can assume at least some would manage to display upside down if they tried ;)

Non-standard rotations few have available but so very useful if your OEM foolishly put the notification LED in the power button on the phones top edge, carefully hidden from sight!

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Anonymous Coward

Lag on screen rotation...

I haven't used an S4 but I presume that is intentional. Most phones have a lag on rotation to confirm that you actually want to turn the phone around.

If it was instant and you were lying down you might find it flipping rapidly between the two formats otherwise.

Most of the time you don't move between the two formats (apart from testing the phone) continuously. You choose to use it in portrait or landscape based on your situation or app and don't return it until after you have finished that app or your situation changes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lag on screen rotation...

"If it was instant and you were lying down you might find it flipping rapidly between the two formats otherwise."

Depends how hard you're fapping.

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Re: Lag on screen rotation...

The delay is intentional as you've said. The API will let developers set the delay.

Ref:

http://developer.android.com/reference/android/hardware/SensorManager.html

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Anonymous Coward

Decrufting

I'm sure that it's a perfectly nice phone, as long as you're prepared to spend half an hour in a quiet corner with a cup of coffee turning off the spurious Samsung "features" before really using it.

I had to do that with my S3, turning off "smart stay", the stupid gesture stuff, NFC (potentially useful one day, but not yet, and probably not that well tested) and Bob-knows what else. Once I had done that, it was much more like a sensible, useful Android device. Great hardware, but Samsung's "customisations" or "premium features" are just tat.

I keep saying this, but if such manufacturers sold two variants, the "enhanced" version with all the tchotchkes and wossnames, and the other more or less plain Android, the world would be a better place. The latter could just be a subset of the former, and not even require maintaining a massively different code base, mostly being just a case of only updating the right bits.

Oh, and last thing.. don't bother with a bloody Samsung account. It's useless, spammy and pointless, and their web services are beyond horrid. The device works just fine without one- in fact, arguably better.

Still, they do make nice devices..

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Happy

Re: Decrufting

On my S1 I kept uninstaling the Samsung Store, preferring to stick with the Android store instead.

This was precisely because Samsung innundate you with Spam and their Store is virtually unnavigable due to the sheer volume of tat. Of course, on every update the Samsung Store kept reinstalling itself or disabling apps that "needed" the store to "verify" my account.

It never surprises me that a company that's so good at the hardware side seem to have a software arm that is run by the Sales and Marketing Department.

I'm now on an iPhone because my company is prepared to foot the bill (surprising how things like that will sway me). I miss Android for it's flexibility and at the same time, love the iPhone because it just "works". One day, (and it's not today) somebody will provide a phone that has both these things...

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Anonymous Coward

Windows Phone 8 OS is clear and easy to use with no confusion.

Droid and iOS both need to be dragged into 2013!

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Anonymous Coward

If Eadon and Obviously! were to come into contact, would all their shared mass be converted to energy?

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WTF?

Doesn't speak SpOzzie

QUOTE; 'My own experiments were rather less successful, as attempts to dredge travellers' Spanish from the deep recesses of my mind resulted in some mis-spellings'.

Few dialects torture Foreign languages more than Australian twang. In a few months it will be fluent.

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WTF?

What! all that functionality

AND STILL NO MICO-PROJECTOR??? Fail.....

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Re: What! all that functionality

I've never seen a Mico-projector, but I've tried ones with microprojectors and they're the kind of gimmick you use a few times and then give up on quickly.

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Anonymous Coward

I have one on order for friday, and as long as its as good as my S3 was, i'll be happy, I will be surprised if it is sluggish though, from my understanding Android had done a lot to improve visual performance...

Probably caused by the samsung extras features, most of which will be turned off upon getting into my hands... I don't want most of the features except maybe the translate that works offline... google translate is great otherwise!

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Happy

A happy S2 user

I have a few months of contract still to run S I am beginning to look at what's available.

I have only got 2 criticisms of the S2 and they are likely to be the same for the S4.

1. *Junkware*. When I got my phone, I went through and installed what I needed and configured things. Then I found out what a pain the Samsung "hubs" were.They had pooled all my email, textx, IP FB and anything else into a big mess. After trying to cope with it for a couple of months, I bit the bullet and reset to factory settings and carefully did not touch these annoying utilities.

2. It's too thin! I know that one of the cool factors that impresses the uninformed is how un-thick a phone is. The manufacturers have not really got a choice on this. If someone made a 12mm thick phone, all we would hear would be "OMG - it's even thicker than an iPhone!".

The first fault can be "fixed" by knowing that all the junkware must not be clicked upon. Remove it from your screens and should you accidentally run it from the Apps, you just have to carefully reverse out of there.

The other problem solution is one that unfortunately keeps me from having a Nexus phone. I put a high capacity battery in the phone and as a side effect now it is thick enough to hold comfortably and securely. I have a Nexus7 tablet and really like the cruft-free interface but with my phone, battery life is more important.

At the moment, the choice seems to be between the S4 and the One. If the rumours that the One will not be upgraded seem to be true, that will rule it out. I wonder what other competitors will show up.

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A happy S2 user

Me too. I've just upgraded mine to JB (samsung version) and after rooting/removing the samsung tat I'm a happy bunny. I've tried the S3 and couldn't see a good reason to upgrade, nor do I for the S4, despite the exra whizzy bits.

I'm the kind of user who keeps a phone for years&years (ie, till it breaks), then upgrades to whatever's top of the line at the time, after trying everyone else's phone to see what I do/don't like. This allows reverting to sim-only pricing for the interim period.

BTW: the best "upgrade" I would like to see is a battery capacity whihch will let the phone run for 2 days or more.

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Re: A happy S2 user

"BTW: the best "upgrade" I would like to see is a battery capacity whihch will let the phone run for 2 days or more."

Your prayers have been answered:

http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/04/12/deal-alert-this-7000mah-galaxy-s-iii-battery-will-power-your-phone-till-the-cows-come-home-and-its-only-34/

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"One reason is weak integration with social networks: the photo app doesn't offer a share to Twitter or share to Facebook option until those apps are installed"

You mean it doesn't shove FB and twitter down my throat unless I want it to?

Huzzah! That's great news!

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Joke

That's not a phone!

That's a fablet!

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