So after deciding it was time to sell my Galaxy S3 and upgrade to something newer, I had a really tough time deciding on a new phone... so I thought I'd share my experiences this past week.
Normally I've always been an impulse buyer, buying devices the first day they come out before even seeing them or playing with them. This time around I thought I'd make an educated purchase being that I was buying the device off contract at full retail and wanted to make sure I didn't have any regrets. I narrowed my choices down between the HTC One, Galaxy S4 and LG G2.
Coming from the GS3, I felt like I wanted something different, even though I love the GS3 I wanted my upgrade to feel like I was upgrading to something newer and not just the same device with a few extra features. So, the GS4 was kind of last on my list of choices. I didn't really spend too much time playing with the device because I had an idea of what it was all about already owning the previous version. I was getting a slightly larger screen with thinner bezels, better hardware and more TouchWiz features.
Spending some time with the LG G2 in store, my first impressions was the phone was amazing. The edge to edge screen with the minimal bezels looked amazing. The UI wasn't as bad as I thought it would be after seeing it in person. There's a lot of cool features as well as settings that I really enjoyed. My main concerns were the buttons on the back... I thought they would be way more pronounced and easier to feel.. even though I only spent about an hour with the phone, I had a hard time finding the power button, I was constantly pressing the volume up button... maybe over time I would have gotten better at it but I didn't like the idea of it being a guessing game every time I wanted to use the volume or power. On the other hand, the button location wasn't all that bad, it was very comfortable being that thats where my finger tends to rest when holding the phone, exactly as LG stated. Also there's a knock knock feature which turns the screen on and off by tapping the screen twice, so thats another option which I'm sure will come in handy. One of my main gripes was that there were hairline scratches all over the display unit, it quickly reminded me of the days of owning the Thunderbolt and how quickly the screen would scratch, even though its supposedly Gorilla glass. I owned two Thunderbolts, one being a replacement of the first, and on both devices within the first three days I had scratches. Never in the history of any other Android device have I ever had a scratch except for this one phone.. so seeing scratches on the LG G2, the only phone in the store with scratches, quickly scared me away. Overall I really liked the phone though, the Snapdragon S800 is the smoothest of any device that I've seen.. and thats with LG's heavily skinned UI.. the thing still flies.. swiping, scrolling and animations were butter smooth.. pure perfection.
My final decision of buying the Galaxy S4 came down to a few factors.. First was accessories.. because the LG G2 was one solid piece of plastic, I knew I needed a case. I probably wouldn't have used a case if the phone had a removable back piece, this way I could at least lay the phone down on surfaces and worst case scenario if the back gets scratched, I can replace it... well cant do that with a one piece design so I would definitely need a case. Now because the phone has an edge to edge screen with barely any side bezels what so ever.. I'm not even sure how a case would work on this phone without the lip partially covering the screen. Both the Galaxy S4 and LG G2 have glossy plastic.. huge fingerprint magnets, I knew I would want a nice case. The G2 is less popular so there aren't many cases to choose from and I couldn't find anything I liked. On the other hand the Galaxy S4 has a shit load of cases and accessories to choose from.. so the Galaxy S4 won that category for me. I ended up getting the Spigen Neo Hybrid which is a really nice case and highly recommend.
Next was re-sale value.. I like to constantly switch devices so knowing that I can get the most money out of a device when it comes time to sell it is very important for me. The Galaxy S4 being the more popular phone gave me comfort knowing I could easily sell it. Heck, I sold my Galaxy S3 for $300 used and its over a year old.
So I'm now the owner of a Galaxy S4, its nice having an all black phone again... my GS3 was white and those white bezels really are a distraction from the screen. After playing with the device for a few days I was quite surprised of how much I'm enjoying the phone. I was worried that it would feel the same as my GS3 but Samsung did a nice job of making just enough changes to where it feels like an upgrade over the GS3. Better hardware, newer software, some changes to the UI, the home button is easier to press and the overall design is very nice looking.
So thats my experience this past week, a very stressful decision.. I think from now on I'll just stick to my original plan of impulse buying devices on the first day.. putting too much thought into these things and you'll go crazy . Oh and I was able to get the phone at an upgrade discount (keeping my unlimited data) using my family plan and some swapping of devices which I'll write up separately how to do for those interested.