1. TechAddict's Avatar
    Genuine question as I'm looking at trying out Android, initially as a second device that I don't want to spend a wad of $$$ on just in case it's not for me. I'm in SE Asia and here, we don't get the subsidised prices from Google Play for Nexus devices. As such, the Nexus 5 here is $627, Nexus 4 $342, SGS4 $526 and SGS3 $326.

    I know the Nexus devices have had rave reviews but clearly ONE of the significant plus points is their pricing (at least in the USA, Europe and Aus), I'm just trying to weed that specific criterion out from the reviews to see if, absent the much cheaper price, do the Nexus devices still stack up against the opposition. Generally it seems clear that they still do, albeit perhaps by not such a big margin. I'm torn at the moment between the N4 and the S3 and I'm leaning towards the N4. I am concerned about the fragility of that glass back though and three other things bother me a little, battery life, lack of SD and the fixed battery. Currently I still favour the N4 over the S3 though. The fact that Google only seems to want to support Nexus devices software wise for 18 months shoots the 'timely updates' argument down in flames somewhat too. So the S3 / S4 are still options.

    Just one thing I'm trying to fathom before I pull the trigger is are there any REALLY useful features from Touchwiz that stock Android doesn't have (or that can't be got via one or more apps)? I'm not talking about gimmicky stuff (mixing up the S4 here as well) such as Smart Stay and Air Gestures etc. etc. But having read DOZENS of reviews and vs articles I've seen the odd mention of things that do actually seem useful that stock seems to miss out on, such as swipe to call and, IIRC, if you view a SMS on a S3/4, you can raise the phone to your ear to just call the person. Trouble is I've lost track of these snippets of info and can't find them now. I've tried to search many ways to search with benefits of TW, features, stock vs TW etc etc but mostly it seems to bring up the gimmicky stuff.

    So I'm just asking are there any really useful features from TW that stock doesn't get and that enticed people to switch / switch back to the S3/S4 from an N4? Also, is the LED noticeably dimmer than the Samsung phones? Notification LED is one of the things I really miss on a device and this is why I rule out the mini S3 / S4.
    11-08-2013 03:15 AM
  2. Cool Jeff's Avatar
    -Camera app (it looks like it takes 100% of camera's potential)
    -Weather widget with animations (stock Android framework doesn't allow animations in a widget window),let's see if kitkat will change that.
    -Car mode (very useful when using a car app like car home ultra)
    Unless you have third party apps on stock Android that can give ''clones'' to these I will not last very long with an AOSP or CM rom,I will give a try to kitkat roms though
    TechAddict likes this.
    11-08-2013 05:13 AM
  3. Teddy Jenkins's Avatar
    Camera on TW is amazing compared to Android.
    The actual lock screen is better in my opinion, and other general features like smart stay - driving mode - call blocker - sms junk blocker.

    im sure I have more but I just cant think right now lol
    TechAddict likes this.
    11-08-2013 05:20 AM
  4. Gdwheel's Avatar
    In addition to the ones mentioned above, the basic productivity apps. The TW email, contacts, calendar and messaging apps are all so much better in functionality and options than stock android. Those are the apps I rely on every day and the differences between the TW versions and stock android make the decision easy for me. I tried the Nexus 5 and could not live with the poorly functioning stock android apps and missing widgets.

    Many people complain about TW, Sense and the other custom UIs, but if stock android was the sole UI competing with IOS and Windows, Google (android) would be in trouble, in my opinion. The average user who is not going to go too far to customize their phone would not choose stock android over the others. Google should thank Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG for taking android and making it as appealing as it is to the average consumer. It is good that Google offers the stock version of android for those who want it, but you really need to try it and compare it to what you are used to and want before you can decide whether it will be right for you.
    TechAddict and Teddy Jenkins like this.
    11-08-2013 06:53 AM
  5. TechAddict's Avatar
    Thanks folks. I'm leaning towards the Galaxy series now LOL. Given that I may just try Android as a daily driver to see if I really get on with it I figure I may stump us the extra $ and go for the S4 LTE. That way, if it does suit me I'm good for a couple of years, if it doesn't I'd likely lose less on an S4 than the other two devices. Much as I do like the clean looks and feel of the N4, that glass back scares the hell out of me, not only dropping it but I've seen dozens of accounts of the back just shattering even on charge or whatever.

    I'm not going for flashing or whatever, maybe just a launcher like Nova so I can change the dock icons and get app badge counts. I'm sure the N4 is fine, but TW does seem to add things that work well and work for the user, even if I'd turn off a lot of the gimmicks stuff I suspect. If I have to install a bunch of apps to get the benefits of what TW does do (and even then maybe not as well) there seems little point in cutting costs a little AND having to put up with lack of SD and a sealed battery.
    11-08-2013 10:33 AM
  6. Kilgore Trout's Avatar
    If I were you, I'd probably ante up the extra $100 and get the Nexus 5. I purchased an S4 because my provider (as you may know here in the states, there is a close tie between the phone and service provider) did not offer a "google experience" or nexus phone at the time. I was also drawn to the removable battery, SD card, and glorious screen. In the end, I find the SD card to be only moderately useful (because Google has removed so much SD support in the newest versions of the system). I like the battery removal a lot, but the casing on the S4 is a glossy fingerprint magnet, so I always have it in a case. It takes me enough effort to remove the case and get a new battery in that it hardly seems worth the bother and I tend to rely on some sort of external powerpack instead.

    I do love the phone overall, find it to be very reliable, and think that Samsung has done a nice job of rushing updates and quashing bugs. The phone just works, every time, and it is very stable.

    The "Extra" TW features are mostly a lot of useless junk, some badly thought-out UI elements, and a few really useful gems. The useful stuff, like the nice mail and SMS clients, can mostly be added with third party apps in the market. In some cases, Samsung has induced "improvements" in basic organizer apps, but I still don't find them useful and I rely on Pocket Informant and other apps for those functions. I also use a Nexus 7 every day and I would say that the S4 all tricked out with Touchwhiz features adds absolutely zero to that device in terms of functionality.

    There are a few Samsung features that I do like a lot, for example, I find the way Samsung handles a pull-down part for settings to be far cleaner than what stock offers. But, the price you pay for that is bloat that you can't remove (like the Samsung Market or support for the new Samsung Gear stupidwatch).

    With a Nexus, you'll get the latest updates as soon as they are available, and you'll never have to expand any effort removing or disabling Samsung bloatware. IMO, what you'll give up are nice mail and SMS clients, a few nice UI features, an Samsung's quality and support. To me, going for the NEXUS would be a no-brainer.
    TechAddict likes this.
    11-08-2013 12:18 PM
  7. TechAddict's Avatar
    Hmm. Thanks. I can see your points BUT, things like the mail, SMS and calendar apps are things that I'd interact with a lot and I'm not sure I'm that keen on having to install loads of apps just to get a good experience there. The SD I'd only use for music and photos. I rarely need the former as I carry an iPod for running etc (any smartphone for me is just too big for running) but the latter is quite important for me. The battery I'm more keen on being removable mainly in case it packs up, not so much for carrying spares around daily. The swipe-to-call sounds useful albeit I'd likely turn a lot of the bloat off. The problem is, it's those features that I'm thinking I'd like vs that stock doesn't have that's pulling me towards the SG, coupled with the fact that in these parts accessories are much more readily for Samsung devices, they're everywhere.
    11-08-2013 09:30 PM
  8. STARGATE's Avatar
    I can't really go on and on about everything. But let's put it this way, since the first day I got this phone (July 1 2013) I've used all the features it comes with! :thumbup:

    Well, S-Voice it's been turned off for a while now since I wanted to test Google Now.

    Sent From Inside The TARDIS in a Galaxy S4 Away!
    Teddy Jenkins and TechAddict like this.
    11-08-2013 10:04 PM
  9. Garvin6600's Avatar
    Interesting thread for me as I am have similar concerns ..more along the lines of the benefit of non stock options.

    What part of Asia are you living?
    I live in Thailand, just outside of Bangkok. Just here in USA visiting family and purchased an S4 last month.

    Love it but big learning curve for me.

    Posted via Android Central App
    TechAddict likes this.
    11-12-2013 02:02 PM
  10. Teddy Jenkins's Avatar
    So basically, android is all about choice. Sony and Samsung offer their own android experience and in my opinion is better than stock android. Samsung and sony will always get the most important features that android software offers but it just doesn't get updated as quickly as the nexus.

    If you want updates quicker go with stock android. Personally I don't see the point because they may get the update first but is always buggy. An example is when I was on my s4 with jelly bean 4.2.2 my friend was in the nexus with 4.3 and kept having loads of issues with apps force closing and the phone just randomly restarting. He got really annoyed with it. He had to wait for developers to fix the app.

    When the official release comes to samsung and Sony products most of the bugs if not all of them are fixed as they don't want their products to be buggy.

    I will admit I'm probably a bit bias as it's all about making your own decision on what you prefer. Most nexus and pure android users will certainly have something to say about this lol but I bet they read what i said about opinions being your own.

    Posted via Android Central App
    11-12-2013 04:45 PM
  11. TechAddict's Avatar
    @Garvin: Hi, I'm in Penang, Malaysia (just got back from 3 months in Phuket - learning Thai).

    Came to the conclusion that Samsung's TW maybe adds a lot of things I'd find useful so ordered an S4 32 Gb LTE for RM 1,749 ($545). Not so desperate for Android updates and the N5 is $100 more here so not worth it for me. If the N4 had a more durable back I might have gone for it.

    Thanks for the help folks, I'll see how I get on with the S4.
    Teddy Jenkins and STARGATE like this.
    11-12-2013 08:43 PM
  12. ajl's Avatar
    Definitely Multi Window. Could not stand without it.

    Posted via Android Central App
    11-12-2013 09:28 PM
  13. Garvin6600's Avatar
    I am enjoying the S4, looking forward to see how it performs in Thailand under AIS
    TAKE care

    Posted via Android Central App
    STARGATE likes this.
    11-21-2013 05:09 PM
  14. STARGATE's Avatar
    Definitely Multi Window. Could not stand without it.

    Posted via Android Central App
    Yea, multi window is a great thing to have. 👍👦

    Sent From Inside The TARDIS in a Galaxy S4 Away!
    11-22-2013 09:48 AM
  15. Johnly's Avatar
    Yea, multi window is a great thing to have. 👍👦

    Sent From Inside The TARDIS in a Galaxy S4 Away!
    STARGATE likes this.
    11-22-2013 11:12 AM

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