Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
I’m a massive fan of stock Android – I fell in love with it on the Galaxy Nexus, and I’ve bought each subsequent piece of Nexus hardware: the Nexus 7, the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 4. Yet when the Galaxy S4 was released, I gave away from Nexus 4 and jumped to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Here are four reasons why I upgraded to the Galaxy S4 and you should too.
5. Expandable storage, replaceable battery, durable design
As well as having more powerful hardware than the Nexus 4, the Galaxy S4 includes hardware options that simply aren’t available on the Nexus smartphone. The removable plastic back for the Galaxy S4 may feel slimy in your hand, but it provides three massive advantages over the Nexus 4: You get expandable storage, a replaceable battery and a more durable design.
Expandable storage means that you don’t need excellent network coverage or a Wi-Fi network to access all of your music, movies and TV shows – you can easily drag-and-drop media and other files onto your Galaxy S4 memory card to quickly copy across anything you want to keep on your S4.
A replaceable battery means that you can pick up an extra Galaxy S4 battery, then swap batteries whenever one runs out of power. It’s the fastest and easiest way to to double the Galaxy S4′s already remarkable battery life, and it works well with an optional spare battery charger.
Finally, the lightweight plastic is way more resistant to damage than the glass back of the Nexus 4. It can’t be cracked or shattered anywhere near as easily, and scratches are almost invisible on the lightly textured surface. The plastic is more lightweight too, ensuring your phone hits the ground with less force and is less likely to sustain damage. The thinner design also means that you can add a case and still end up with a slimmer phone than the Nexus 4.
4. More developers working on apps for the phone
There are tangible benefits to getting the same phone as everyone else – and no Android phone will sell as many units this year as the Samsung Galaxy S4. Developers will target the Galaxy S4 over all other smartphones when making apps unique to one phone – we’ve already seen plenty of apps that take advantage of the Galaxy S4′s new sensors and the IR blaster – and they’ll test against the Galaxy S4 when making apps for a wider audience. That means more apps will be compatible with the phone.
It’s not just run-of-the-mill apps that’ll benefit from a large developer base, either. Even without the easy start that the developer-friendly Nexus 4 provides, there are already more custom ROMs and kernels for the Galaxy S4 that upgrade or replace Samsung’s software. If you are a developer and you want to make something cool, chances are you’ll find the biggest audience on the Galaxy S4 – and that’s good news for everyone with the S4.
3. You can make it like stock Android anyway
If you really like stock Android, you can get pretty close to it on the Galaxy S4. While the Samsung phone includes plenty of extra features, almost all of these can be disabled if you don’t want to use them – we even made a tutorial to do it with just five replacement apps. The launcher, keyboard, SMS and browser can all be easily replaced with stock Android alternatives.
And thanks to the work of the large stable of developers, chances are that the software from the Google Edition Galaxy S4 will be possible to install on the standard S4 within a short time of its release. Cyanogen Mod and other close-to-stock ROMs will likely also be available before the end of the year if you really want to dodge that Samsung bloat.
2. More powerful hardware
While the Nexus 4 is a powerful phone, it’s no longer at the top of the pile when it comes to Android flagships. Its Snapdragon S4 Pro processor is now a generation out of date, with both the Snapdragon 600 and Exynos Octa variants of the Galaxy S4 providing much better raw performance and battery life.
The screen is much nicer on the Galaxy S4 too – you get a 1080p display instead of merely 720p, despite the screen’s physical size not being too much bigger. Similarly, the camera on the Galaxy S4 is also more powerful, with a 13 megapixel sensor providing better results than the 8 megapixel unit on the Nexus 4.
Finally, the Nexus 4 lacks the new sensors – humidity and temperature – and IR blaster of the Galaxy S4. These unique hardware additions allow for entirely new app capabilities, letting you control your whole home theatre setup and get perfectly accurate data from your environment.
While the Nexus 4 is no slouch, it just can’t compete with the newer hardware in the Galaxy S4.
1. A much bigger accessory ecosystem
There are hundreds of accessories produced for the Galaxy S4 so far, and dozens of new options are released every week.
Nexus 4 cases are limited to the most boring, predictable options – standard bumpers, leather flip covers and TPU/silicone protective cases, mostly in black. It’s basically impossible to find a Nexus 4 case that is cute, or is in a new colour. With the Galaxy S4, you get all of the same cases as the Nexus 4, plus tons more in different colours, with fresh and beautiful designs or weird capabilities.
It’s not just cases either. While Nexus 4 accessories are dead standard, with the Galaxy S4 you get all kinds of cool docks, chargers, covers and media streamers. Samsung have provided loads of first-party accessories, and third-party manufacturers are targeting their accessories towards the Galaxy S4 more than any other Android phone.
The more options you have, the better the chance that your needs will be filled by just the right accessory.
So that’s it – four awesome reasons that you should upgrade from the Nexus 4 to the Galaxy S4 if you can. While there are a few features I miss from the Nexus 4, I’m not regretting my decision.
What do you think – would you take the Nexus 4 or the Galaxy S4? Let me know in the comments below!