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Don't hold your breath for updates
on 3 April 2014
I got the phone from Amazon in August 2013, so this is a review after living with it for a few months.
I chose the S4 Active because of 3 main features:
It has a replaceable battery - I bought a second battery and charger so always have a charged battery.
It takes an external memory card, I bought a 64GB, so no issues running out of space for music, photos and videos.
It's water resistant, as I'm often in snow in the winter, and near water in the summer.
The other two phones I considered were the HTC One (DW got that and very happy she is with it), and Sony's XPERIA Z. Nice as they are neither met my requirements.
What I'm happy with:
Screen resolution is good, pictures clear and vivid, and with the brightness up you can see reasonably well outside.
Had no problems with memory or with keeping it alive by switching batteries every day or so.
Haven't had the nerve to sink it in water, thought the camera does have the ability to take underwater photos. May try that this summer!
Sound is OK but not as good as the HTC One. However bluetoothing to an amplifier or connecting via the 3.5mm output and it's fine.
Wifi is good, and using phone as wifi hotshot works as it should.
Camera works ok, not problem with video and photo quality, but has nothing like the HTC One's Zoe app which DW loves (it is good).
What I don't like:
Various face detection, smartscreen, motions and gestures, air view, etc "features" are next to useless. So don't buy it for these.
IT'S STILL ON ANDROID 4.2.2. Most 2013 phones have gone through 4.3 and going to 4.4 if not already there. Why has a leading manufacturer like Samsung lost the plot?
I'm still reasonably happy with the phone features and performance, but I'm not delighted, which at this phone's price I should be. I'm certainly not happy with the lack of updates. If this is important to you then I can't recommend this phone.