For a while I’ve wanted to do a “30 day challenge”, where you do something completely different for a month. I spent about six months trying to find something to do when eventually fate intervened when 4G Internet became available. This meant I would get a new mobile phone, and this time it would not be one from Apple. With the challenge of finding an interesting task now accomplished, I began my new voyage of discovery by signing up to the mobile operator EE. I’d been waiting months for 4G Internet to come to Oxford and EE threw in a Samsung S4 as part of the deal. Before I continue, I should say that I’ve had an iPhone since they first became available in the UK and I love them. However, after 5 years I began to wonder if other types of food tasted better than these Apples I’d been eating non-stop for 5+ years. The opportunity to break my “Apple diet” had finally arrived.
The first thing on my list was to sell my iPhone 5 so I would be forced to use the S4 and not wimp out and revert back to my old iPhone. Job done, tick.
With the new S4 in my pocket, I walked up to my CTO and “Samsung Fanboy” and proudly told him about my new phone. He burst out laughing, telling me that I’d made a terrible mistake and elaborated by saying I’d “hate the phone” and “it wouldn’t suit my personality”. Confused by what he meant, I smiled politely and pressed on with my challenge regardless. I was determined to prove him wrong.
My first impressions of the phone were not brilliant and I was surprised at the complexity of the device. At times, I felt like a newborn baby trying to figure out how to get milk out of my mother’s proverbial S4s. It took hours of experimenting and learning to figure out how the device worked. On more than one occasion the phone nearly ended up becoming wall splatter during our “getting to know each other phase”. Our first month didn’t get off on the right foot, so I decided to give it another 30 days because I felt like I hadn’t got to grips with the phone properly and really wanted ‘our relationship’ to work. I felt it had potential with all the amazing features like “AirDrop” and the massive screen, which made surfing the Internet a breeze. The huge screen also helped me work more efficiently, not only because I could browse faster and work quicker, but also because the battery only lasted five hours on a good day, so I had to work like Sonic the Hedgehog before the battery cried “enough”!
The battery life became a major hindrance to my productivity and meant that if I was out of the office for the day, my battery would be dead by two or three o’clock that afternoon. I installed a “battery saving” app, which limits the CPU and dims the screen to its lowest setting. While this worked a little, it made the phone stupidly slow and I had to turn it off in the end anyway.
As the weeks rolled by, I discovered that the S4 is just not intuitive. While it’s packed full of ambitious features, the usability of the phone is low and takes a long time to learn how to get the best out of it. It would have been fine if I was a teenager and loved discovering all the hidden features of the phone, but I’m not. I just want something that works. It would’ve been okay if it’d been simpler, I don’t mind learning, but the amount of intuition that is lacking with the phone is quite staggering compared to an Apple device.
The signal on the S4 is not strong either and nor is the Wi-Fi reception; not compared to an iPhone anyway.
As my second month was drawing to a close and I’d decided this wasn’t the phone for me, Apple announced their new iPhone 5s, which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, the time I had to wait for mine to arrive was almost two months from Apple’s announcement. During that time, things went from bad to worse and the Samsung S4 relationship, which I’d had such high hopes for, totally disintegrated.
The turning point for me came one morning when I was reading my Gmail and the phone froze, then rebooted and kept on rebooting every 4 seconds until the battery was red hot and very much dead. After much research, the only fix was to wipe my phone and start again, which meant a loss of data, pictures and everything else that goes with it. I guess I should backup more often, but still, it didn’t ease the undeniable hatred I now had for the phone, which had built up over the last few months.
As soon as I could place my order with Apple; I did, and was like a kid opening the windows on an Advent calendar until the iPhone finally arrived. The excitement was almost unbearable.
While I couldn’t be happier that the Samsung S4 isn’t in my life anymore and we’re finally divorced, I will miss a few of its features; especially the big screen. However, on balance, I will never, ever use another Samsung phone, if I can help it.
I am happy again, I’ve missed you iPhone