1. Vance14's Avatar
    I am currently using a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but it is having a few issues and I will soon be in the market for a new phone (and Verizon just isn't getting another Nexus). My choices are the S4 in a few weeks, the DNA, or waiting until later in the summer to see what comes out from Moto or HTC (the DNA successor is due soon). There are some things I really like about the S4 from my limited time in the ATT store, but I still have a bunch of questions:

    1. How hard is it to strip down the UI? I am coming from stock Android and that notification center is just scary. Can I reduce it down to just the Jelly Bean notifications? Maybe a launcher?

    2. I am a bit worried that I will have the Samsung versions of everyday functions imposed when I will likely prefer the Google versions. How convenient is it to use all Google stuff for voice search, navigation, Contacts, etc? In short, if I find I don't like the Samsung flavored stuff, how hard is it do "de-Samsung" the S4? How close can I get it to stock?

    3. Do free hotspot apps (Foxfi, SVTP, etc) work on it? I tether my N7 all the time when on the road.

    4. Can that "Watch On" work with any TV or cable box, or only certain ones?

    5. How long did it take for stock ROM's to hit the S3?

    Thanks!
    05-10-2013 11:46 AM
  2. Marc Jentzsch's Avatar
    I can only speak to 2 and 4 as I've never used unaltered Android.

    I disabled (or hid) almost all the AT&T and Samsung branded stuff and use Google everything, so long as it's available. Works well. As for WatchON, I have yet to find anything it doesn't work with, but my sample size is extremely small. My televisions are Samsungs, though my cable box and DVR are Comcast. Only tried a few other brands in other places, but it seems to work really well.
    Vance14 likes this.
    05-10-2013 12:15 PM
  3. Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
    I am currently using a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but it is having a few issues and I will soon be in the market for a new phone (and Verizon just isn't getting another Nexus). My choices are the S4 in a few weeks, the DNA, or waiting until later in the summer to see what comes out from Moto or HTC (the DNA successor is due soon). There are some things I really like about the S4 from my limited time in the ATT store, but I still have a bunch of questions:
    I'd at least wait and see what Google I/O puts on the horizon. The S4 is undoubtedly a flagship device and I doubt you'd regret going with it, but I can certainly understand where you're coming from as far as the desire for a close-to-stock look and feel.

    1. How hard is it to strip down the UI? I am coming from stock Android and that notification center is just scary. Can I reduce it down to just the Jelly Bean notifications? Maybe a launcher?

    2. I am a bit worried that I will have the Samsung versions of everyday functions imposed when I will likely prefer the Google versions. How convenient is it to use all Google stuff for voice search, navigation, Contacts, etc? In short, if I find I don't like the Samsung flavored stuff, how hard is it do "de-Samsung" the S4? How close can I get it to stock?
    A launcher is always an option. As for the TouchWiz 'bloatware', including modified apps such as contacts, etc., you're likely to have more options once the phone has a nice large selection of custom ROMs and modifications. I'm sure you'll be able to find a stock (T-Mobile Galaxy S4 has CyanogenMod 10.1 nightlies on the way | Android Central) or close to stock solution if you're looking for it. Of course, this does require rooting and flashing. Even if you're not comfortable with that now, I wouldn't discount it entirely for the future. I've seen many users change their viewpoint after getting used to it all.

    3. Do free hotspot apps (Foxfi, SVTP, etc) work on it? I tether my N7 all the time when on the road.

    4. Can that "Watch On" work with any TV or cable box, or only certain ones?

    5. How long did it take for stock ROMs to hit the S3?
    If you root and flash a custom ROM, you won't have any problem tethering. Those ROMs almost always have the subscription checking removed for the tethering toggles. I can't speak to the TV question, nor the one about the S3.

    Thanks!
    Hope I was of help.
    Vance14 likes this.
    05-10-2013 12:49 PM
  4. Vance14's Avatar
    Thanks, Patrick, that does help a lot. I have no problem rooting and ROM'ing, I usually end up doing it on every phone, but I like to see what I can manage without that first. I would like access to some of the camera stuff, but the rest of the software add-ons just don't seem "real-world" useful. Of course that may be only because I haven't tried them.

    The good thing is that I/O comes before I could pick up the S4 anyway, so I will have that information at hand. But I doubt they are going to announce a new Nexus, and definitely not one for Verizon, and data on the X or the DNA successor won't likely be available before the end of the month either. But I will be paying full-price, using Verizon's new payment plan in order to preserve my unlimited data plan, so I could always just Gazelle it, pay it off and get a different one later if THE phone comes out. :0)
    Patrick Schroedl likes this.
    05-10-2013 01:10 PM
  5. Vance14's Avatar
    Just went back to the ATT store to mess around with the S4 some more. Oddly, the thing that is bothering me the most is the physical home button. After only having to lightly tap to get "home", it is an adjustment to have to press down. But I did load Nova Launcher and that helps a lot (I thought about leaving it on, but I decided to put it back to stock before I left!). :0)
    Patrick Schroedl likes this.
    05-10-2013 03:09 PM
  6. Marc Jentzsch's Avatar
    Just went back to the ATT store to mess around with the S4 some more. Oddly, the thing that is bothering me the most is the physical home button. After only having to lightly tap to get "home", it is an adjustment to have to press down.
    It's funny you should mention that. I am also finding it to be slightly jarring from a user experience. It's not a deal breaker (and it's too late, I already have it!), but the incongruity of it compared to the otherwise sublimely responsive touchscreen is notable.
    05-10-2013 05:15 PM

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