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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Galaxy S4 Design

    Just like most of you, I've spent my morning reading the reviews for the Galaxy S4 from numerous tech sites, including this one. Let me make it clear that right now, I own an HTC One; I made the choice to get the One over the S4, but admittedly I haven't had the chance to use an S4 (something I plan to remedy this weekend). My choice to get the One over the S4 was based mostly on the difference between Sense 5 and Touchwiz and LCD vs AMOLED. They're two very important parts of a phone that couldn't be any different between the respective units. Design, however, seems to be the big topic of conversation, and I'm disappointed in a lot of the reviewers who have simply glossed over the positives of the S4 design and centered their pieces around the purely opinion-based notion that the phone is "cheap".

    To clarify my point, design is so much more than just the materials used. It's angles, ergonomics, placement, etc. Yes, the Galaxy S4 is made of plastic. Toys are made of plastic. Therefore, this phone must be a toy. It's that kind of ridiculous reviewing that takes away from some impressive feats Samsung achieved on the S4 design. When the iPhone 5 was released, a huge part of their marketing was placed on the fact that they were able to upgrade the internals and make the screen bigger while making the phone thinner and lighter. Samsung has achieved the same thing here; it's screen is larger, the camera/battery/CPU/GPU are bigger and better, and the phone itself is thinner and lighter. The main difference here? The iPhone 5 is made of the oh-so vaunted aluminum and the Galaxy S4 is polycarbonate. Is aluminum a more premium material? Yes. Does that make the S4 design worse for using polycarbonate? No.

    Design incorporates actually using the phone and how comfortable of an experience that is holding the phone in your hand. I can say without a doubt, having used an S3 extensively, that the S3 is easily more comfortable to hold than my HTC One. A lot of it has to do with the chamfered edges and the height of the One. It looks amazing, but could be an annoyance for people who like to use their phone with one hand. The Galaxy S3 is easily usable in one hand with a 4.8 inch display. Samsung has made the S4 just as easy to use, but made the screen larger. Had it used an aluminum body instead, this may not be the case.

    Design incorporates added functionality. Being able to remove the back cover is added functionality as it gives the user access to the battery/sim card tray/SD card slot. It also allows for users to replace their back cover with accessories or even just another back cover if the old one got scratched/had carrier branding on it that wasn't liked. It also opens the door for wireless charging, a door shut on phones using aluminum like the One.

    When I see credible sites like The Verge give the S4 a design score of 5, I really can't make sense of it. We all have our personal preferences, but as a reviewer, it's important to not put personal preference as gospel. It's not for everyone, but no design is. As an HTC One user, I can appreciate the design of the S4. Hope that helps to clear up some ideas about the design for people possibly losing interest in the phone over reviews.
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  2. #2  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Im not sure if a well thought out and comprehensive post that doesnt bash one of the two phones will make it here.. but for one enjoyed reading your post..

    I love my note2 and have no plans of getting rid of it any time soon.. but I know its not for everyone.. the htc one and the s4 both have their place and will both hopefully do well.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Android Central Forums
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    I enjoyed your post as well.

    What i mostly see here in these reviews is, S4 has a ton of features, was able to pack in a better faster phone with a bigger screen into a package smaller than the S3... but because the HTC One is made out of aluminum and not plastic, it's the better design.

    Maybe its because i will be buying the S4 and i don't like seeing the phone i'm going to get thrown to the side as a "meh" review. Kind of bugs me.

    I guess Android users have maybe been a bit jaded with the fact that they have so many options to use the same OS (despite the different skins manufacturers put on it). coming from iOS its one phone, one time a year and thats it. The fact that you have the ability to make your own opinion and choose from numerous phones all with different designs and unique features is a great problem to have and i'm glad i'm switching over to Android.

    I know there will always be competition, but hey that just makes it better for us the consumer.
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  4. #4  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaVictor87 View Post
    I enjoyed your post as well.

    What i mostly see here in these reviews is, S4 has a ton of features, was able to pack in a better faster phone with a bigger screen into a package smaller than the S3... but because the HTC One is made out of aluminum and not plastic, it's the better design.

    Maybe its because i will be buying the S4 and i don't like seeing the phone i'm going to get thrown to the side as a "meh" review. Kind of bugs me.

    I guess Android users have maybe been a bit jaded with the fact that they have so many options to use the same OS (despite the different skins manufacturers put on it). coming from iOS its one phone, one time a year and thats it. The fact that you have the ability to make your own opinion and choose from numerous phones all with different designs and unique features is a great problem to have and i'm glad i'm switching over to Android.

    I know there will always be competition, but hey that just makes it better for us the consumer.
    Better build materials doesnt mean better design. The S4 while plastic, has superior ergonomics to the One. The buttons are all in the right places and they work. The same cannot be said for the One.
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  5. #5  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by madlaw1071 View Post
    Better build materials doesnt mean better design. The S4 while plastic, has superior ergonomics to the One. The buttons are all in the right places and they work. The same cannot be said for the One.
    Right thats what i'm saying. Its just lots of reviews are weighting the materials much heavier than the actual design of the phone. So even though the S4 has a much better design in terms of ergonomics, button placement, etc. Lots of reviews are kind of throwing that to the wayside because the HTC One is made out of aluminum and is a so called premium phone.

    Its annoying
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Which is exactly why I posted this. It's important not to overlook the important aspects of a phone design and unfortunately many of the reviews I've read have done exactly that. Anyone using an S4 who says their phone is just beautiful as my own One will get zero arguments from me. They may envy certains aspects of the One's design and I certainly envy some aspects of the S4 design.
    Last edited by ericsckane; 04-24-2013 at 10:32 AM.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaVictor87 View Post
    Right thats what i'm saying. Its just lots of reviews are weighting the materials much heavier than the actual design of the phone. So even though the S4 has a much better design in terms of ergonomics, button placement, etc. Lots of reviews are kind of throwing that to the wayside because the HTC One is made out of aluminum and is a so called premium phone.

    Its annoying
    It's not annoying as much as stupid. I'm using a One right now and I can tell you the button placement and functionality is horrendous. The home and back button work about 1/3 of the time and have a mind of their own when it comes to lighting up. The power button is too flush and in the absolute worst place for a right hander.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by madlaw1071 View Post
    It's not annoying as much as stupid. I'm using a One right now and I can tell you the button placement and functionality is horrendous. The menu and back button work about 1/3 of the time and have a mind of their own when it comes to lighting up. The power button is too flush and in the absolute worst place for a right hander.
    I am too using the htc one and everything u just said is spot on.

    Sent from my HTC One using Android Central Forums
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  9. #9  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    It's nice to see some people here that actually know more about build quality other than the materials used.

    This is from me, on my EVO 3D.
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  10. #10  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    I think the power button would drive me nuts being on the opposite side of the top of the phone.

    Im used to using my note2 as a two handed phone now ecen tho a coupke if things I can do one handed..

    Sometimes I wonder if things like button placement were changed just for the sake of being different. Which is EXACTLY why it doesnt bother me when a new phone resembles its previous form.. dont change things just for the sake of being different

    I remember complaining a long time ago that the casio commando was the loudest and best sounding phone ive ever had and it still holds true.. and the speakers faced the front! Im glad to see someone else make a phone with audio in mind

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Android Central Forums
  11. #11  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    The only reason they gave the design a low score is because Samsung didn't really put much effort in changing the design.
    My thing is that when the iPhone 5 came after the iPhone 4, people was saying "omg the design is so different", but when it comes to the GS3 and GS4, its blah blah
    What I think Samsung was trying to do is stick to their "Galaxy" look, which all the Galaxy series look similar
    The reviews say they are bored of the design....well get a case for the phone, its not like your forced to look at it....I don't think the design is all that bad at all, though I do wish it looked more like some of the concept ones
  12. #12  
    bob13bob's Avatar

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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    ergonomic feel is higher priority to me than "high end" looking.

    imho plastic is better metal for a phone. I'm even meh about the glass screens they put on these things. my old plastic android with plastic screen phone was dropped countless designs. It works great still. seeing the drop tests where these phones break on 3foot drops scare me. putting glass on the back of the phone was def a form over function move; something apple has backed away from because it's dumb.
  13. #13  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    The Verge gave the Galaxy S3 design an 8. The dropped the S4 down 3 points (out of 10) because they didnt change it (they improved it ever so slighty IMO) and someone else came out with a better looking phone.

    Yes, the One is a better looking phone (again, IMO) but the S4 is not a bad looking phone even by comparison. If you handed some random person on the street that had never seen either phone an S4, I dont think if that they would rate the design a 5/10.
  14. #14  
    worknman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    I've never owned an S3, but prefer its plastic build because of how thin and light it is. They say the S4 is even thinner and lighter, which makes me happy

    As for not changing the design, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why should they change it up, just to appease a bunch of mouth breathers who feel like they have to flaunt their phone as a status symbol?
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  15. #15  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    The HTC One does look and feel like a premium phone but that's where it ends.
    The large speaker grills make the phone look odd and the screen looks too small for the size of the phone.
    The biggest issue I have is the tiny recessed buttons that are hard to press. The buttons don't even move from what I've gathered.
    Very odd design if you ask me.
  16. Thread Author  Thread Author    #16  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    The Galaxy S4 is a victim to the hype machine that had a vast majority of reviewers and bloggers thinking this phone would decimate everything with absolute perfection. Those expectations were completely unrealistic and I'm surprised so many people fell victim to it. The Galaxy S3 was their first really huge success; do they gamble that away by immediately bringing something vastly different to the table? No. Samsung is playing chess, not checkers. This was a methodical move to push the Galaxy brand even further without alienating the millions who made it such a success.

    What baffles me is the negativity towards this phone. The S3, from my experience, rarely got a bad review. It still doesn't to this day. While I understand times have changed, is it terrible to pay for a new phone when it significantly increases the CPU performance/efficiency, has a much improved and bigger display, has a much improved camera, features an IR blaster which is extremely useful, increases the battery size by 500 mah while maintaining it's removability, and comes stock with the latest version of Android only found on the Nexus line? Not to mention that the build is improved with better buttons, it's thinner and lighter, and it seems to be more durable given some of the tests it's been put through. Acting as if this phone is an incremental upgrade because it's design and software look are relatively the same is foolish.

    Everyone has the right not to like this phone. Everyone has the right to feel that the One is a better device. What is disappointing is giving this phone a subpar review because it didn't meet your unrealistic expectations. This was a necessary step for a company that will continue to have the money and the marketing power to create some of the best smartphones available for years to come.
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  17. #17  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by OceanView View Post
    The HTC One does look and feel like a premium phone but that's where it ends.
    The large speaker grills make the phone look odd and the screen looks too small for the size of the phone.
    The biggest issue I have is the tiny recessed buttons that are hard to press. The buttons don't even move from what I've gathered.
    Very odd design if you ask me.
    I've been using the One for a week and this is absolutely true. Once peeps put a case on the One it loses it's sexiness. Once peeps put a case on the S4 it's no longer a "cheap plastic child's toy".
  18. #18  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by madlaw1071 View Post
    I've been using the One for a week and this is absolutely true. Once peeps put a case on the One it loses it's sexiness. Once peeps put a case on the S4 it's no longer a "cheap plastic child's toy".

    On the sexiness, yes, I agree. Covering up a great looking phone kinda negates the whole point of getting a phone that you think looks great. But putting a case on it also doesn't change the materials at all. Underneath the case, the One will still be the One, and the S4 will still be the S4. If people feel that the S4 is a "cheap plastic child's toy" then a case won't change that. Underneath, it'll still be that "cheap plastic child's toy".

    To the OP, I really like your post. Well thought out. I will say this, though, if Android as a whole is expected to move forward than the major players need to get on board. Samsung keeping the menu button is antithetic to the direction Android is going. To be fair, so is the button layout on the One. Sure, either is easily adjusted to (took me literally minutes to adjust to the One layout after coming from a Nexus 4), but the idea is that manufacturers should play a larger role in moving Android forward.

    That being said, we don't really know what the end game for Samsung is. Are they going to continue to build on top of Android (TouchWiz) and update the OS when Google does (or at least try to), or are they eventually just going to fork Android and build TouchWiz on top of that, forgoing any and all Android OS updates? I'm not sure how likely the latter is, but when ~40% of Android users are using a Galaxy it doesn't seem all that far fetched. Just start calling it a TouchWiz phone instead of Android, keep the functionality the same, and call it a day.

    But I digress and ranted a bit at the end there. Really do like your post. Design is highly subjective. While I LOVE the design of the ONE and can easily deal with the quirks (power button placement, two button setup on the bottom) I can see why others won't/don't want to, and why they may feel the S4 is better designed. Also, FWIW, I use my phone with my left hand, so reaching those buttons is much easier for me than a right handed user.
    Kevin F.I.M.T.K. O'Quinn Esq.
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  19. #19  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    What difference does it make once a case is on the phone? Mentally? The sexiness of of an iPhone is lost when it's in an Otterbox. It's basically a screen running iOS at that point. The One is every bit as sexy if not moreso but once it's in any type of protective case then it really loses a lot of appeal on the aesthetics front. Naked for naked the One wins hands down over the S4 but I would be petrified to keep my One without protection whereas if the S4 gets scratched for a few bucks I get a brand new back cover.

    One thing that permeates EVERY review, both professional and consumer if the amazing materials used by the HTC. If that were removed, by encasing the phone, I personally think the S4 runs away with the race at that point. Again, it's a personal preference and I readily admit if I could get the features, screen and camera of the S4 in the body of the One, I'd have my ultimate phone. Perhaps many others would agree.
  20. Thread Author  Thread Author    #20  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    It really has gotten to the point where it's not really about which device is superior, but which device suits your needs individually. They couldn't be more different in almost every aspect, but each is going to bring strengths that appeal to some more than others. My whole purpose for posting this was to shed some light on the issue of reviewers heavily critcizing the build materials, but not paying enough attention to the actual design of the phone. While using more premium materials has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks.

    The thing that has been bothering me about the One as far as the build is concerned the very thing I like the most about it; the chamfered edges. I hold the One in my right hand and tend to rest the bottom of the phone on the inside of my pinky finger. That gives me the range of motion I need to be able to use the back and home button with one hand, but it also digs into my skin. It's nothing to cry about, but it isn't as comfortable to use as my Nexus 4 in that regard. The S4 will be in AT&T stores just before my exchange period ends, so I'll be there Saturday to see it in person. In all honesty, I'm going to exchange my One for the Black Mist Galaxy S4. I'll always be able to get the One back if I choose, but this negativity towards the S4 has reminded me how much I loved my S3 last year when it first came out.

    We all draw our lines in the sand on where we stand as far as this goes. Whether it's the One vs the S4, Android vs Apple, etc, we all use our phones differently and there's no wrong answer. The One is an incredible phone and I was positive it would be my choice for the year, but the lure of the S4 has me coming right back.
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  21. #21  
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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by madlaw1071 View Post
    Again, it's a personal preference and I readily admit if I could get the features, screen and camera of the S4 in the body of the One, I'd have my ultimate phone. Perhaps many others would agree.
    Not me Using an aluminum body would make the phone heavier, and I like how light the S3/S4 are. So I'll stick with the plastic, or whatever the hell it is. Besides, I really don't see what difference it makes. As far as I know, I haven't seen many people complaining that their S3's were falling apart. So as long as there aren't durability issues, I don't give a ding dong didly what the phone is made of.
  22. #22  
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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by worknman View Post
    Not me Using an aluminum body would make the phone heavier, and I like how light the S3/S4 are. So I'll stick with the plastic, or whatever the hell it is. Besides, I really don't see what difference it makes. As far as I know, I haven't seen many people complaining that their S3's were falling apart. So as long as there aren't durability issues, I don't give a ding dong didly what the phone is made of.
    Right there with you on liking polycarbonate more for the weight, wireless charging, and how thin they were able to make it... If I wanted an aluminum unibody, I would be using an iphone...
  23. #23  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by Podunks View Post
    Right there with you on liking polycarbonate more for the weight, wireless charging, and how thin they were able to make it... If I wanted an aluminum unibody, I would be using an iphone...
    I like the body of the One unfortunately it's the rest of the hardware and software that is a real let down for me.
  24. #24  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by worknman View Post
    Not me Using an aluminum body would make the phone heavier, and I like how light the S3/S4 are. So I'll stick with the plastic, or whatever the hell it is. Besides, I really don't see what difference it makes. As far as I know, I haven't seen many people complaining that their S3's were falling apart. So as long as there aren't durability issues, I don't give a ding dong didly what the phone is made of.
    So you're telling me that without a scale you can tell a 12 gram difference in weight in your hand? That's the difference. 12 grams. Yes, it's lighter, but I think a big part of people thinking the S4 is "so much lighter" than the One is perception. Perception that plastic is lighter than aluminum.

    12 grams = two US Nickels and a Dime.

    I can't wait for the Note 3 to come out and (hopefully) have an aluminum shell. Then I'll sit back and watch all the Samsung people (not calling you fanboys) say how awesome it is.

    If plastic were a more "premium" material than aluminum I'm sure Apple would use it on their laptops.


    But again, I'm all for people buying and owning what they want and like. That's the beauty of choice.
    Kevin F.I.M.T.K. O'Quinn Esq.
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  25. #25  

    Default Re: Galaxy S4 Design

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Quinn View Post
    So you're telling me that without a scale you can tell a 12 gram difference in weight in your hand? That's the difference. 12 grams. Yes, it's lighter, but I think a big part of people thinking the S4 is "so much lighter" than the One is perception. Perception that plastic is lighter than aluminum.

    12 grams = two US Nickels and a Dime.

    I can't wait for the Note 3 to come out and (hopefully) have an aluminum shell. Then I'll sit back and watch all the Samsung people (not calling you fanboys) say how awesome it is.

    If plastic were a more "premium" material than aluminum I'm sure Apple would use it on their laptops.


    But again, I'm all for people buying and owning what they want and like. That's the beauty of choice.
    When it's in my gym shorts working out.

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