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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active feedback thread: now with challenges added!

(116 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Nov-13 14:48:58

This thread is for the very lucky 20 MNers who were selected from hundreds of you to try out the NEW Galaxy S4 Active handset from Samsung.

To check out the features of this smartphone please see here

Samsung says "We think this new handset would be great for parents. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is specifically designed to handle all aspects of modern family life - including

~ the great outdoors - with a fully sealed design that provides great protection from dust and water - you can even use the device to shoot photos and video underwater, with your results optimised by the new Aqua Mode.

~ everyday family life and all the challenges of modern family life.

~ looks and functionality - the Galaxy S4 Active also shares the Galaxy S4s slick design and useful smart services, so you can enjoy the same great style and convenience"

So testers please share - for the moment - your first impressions of the phone by answering the questions - challenges to come!

~ What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
~ What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
~ What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
~ What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?
~ What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
~ Any additional comments

Challenges will follow!

Thanks MNHQ

PS We'd love more reviews of smartphones on MN: all welcome!

Indith Sun 10-Nov-13 16:51:52

Things that are annoying me so far. Anyone have any suggestions?

The sensitivity of the volume button. I keep hitting it by accident. Plus when I had headphones plugged in yesterday (very nice sound by the way, very impressed by that!) I had it in the inside pocket of my coat and the volume kept on going down to zero. It happened so many times that I gave up and switched my music off.

The clever eye following stuff. Some of it works, I can merrily flop on bed or sofa without the phone rotating the screen. This is good. But although I have it all switched on I can't seem to accurately use the scrolling by eye gaze thing. It occasinally works for 30 seconds then gets confused, an eye picture comes up in the middle of the screen and it seems to be trying to track my eyes but it doesn't work. Also, I have it set to show time etc on pick up but it only ever does it once in a blue moon.

Other stuff is good, got some nice pictures of the kids today. I like the "pick the best shot" option with the kids!

I like the ease of use. I plugged it into my computer for the first time just before I left the house yesterday to pop some music on, wondering how easy it would be. A few seconds to install it and then all I had to do was drag and drop to copy music over. Very nice.

alemci Sun 10-Nov-13 17:00:38

could you put I Tunes on there ?

ShatnersBassoon Sun 10-Nov-13 17:01:56

I can't get the hang of consistent eye scrolling either. I don't know if I'm holding it too close or far away, if I'm trying to do it in too low light, or if my eyes are a bit skew-whiff. It seems more trouble than it's worth at the moment.

Indith Sun 10-Nov-13 17:04:44

I have wondered if it is my glasses that confuse it. I've had a bit for luck taking them off, but I cna't see far without them so that isn't a practical solution!

ShatnersBassoon Sun 10-Nov-13 17:08:12

I don't wear glasses. Perhaps I should confused grin

What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
I had an iPhone...2? 3? I honestly don't know. It's too old to work properly, that much I do know - most of the apps on it can't be updated and I can't remember the last time I was able to add anything new. Also, although my screen has lasted pretty well, I know from others looking at you, DSS that it is easy to break an iPhone screen and then have to fork out for a new one.

What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Definitely its claims of indestructibality (er...is that a word?). Toddler DD is very interested in the phone and loves to watch videos of cats on YouTube etc so I thought it would be great to be able to let her use it a bit, for games and things. Also, I'd seen a similar Samsung - I think the S4 lite? - and thought it looked very swish, and I did really fancy having something that people wouldn't laugh at when I got it out.

What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
I thought it was HUGE. I was very surprised how light and delicate it seemed and that it wasn't more rugged, in fact I double checked the box to make sure it was the right one. Set up was quite easy, it didn't take long to figure out how to get it on and have a play with it.*

What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?
I've been away for work so haven't played with it as much as I'd like to have. couldn't figure out the air swipe thing at all and I've somehow managed to miss the eye scrolling thing that people are talking about; I'm going to have a go with that tonight!
I was very impressed it came with Dropbox as I use it at work and wanted a personal account, so that's good. I though the Google Play stuff seemed great and I downloaded some games. The camera seems brilliant, but I've only used it fairly decent light, and I haven't filmed anything yet. The screen is so crisp and clear, I can't believe it - I watched some things on YouTube (cat on a slide, anyone?) and it was absolutely fantastic.
I did also drop it by accident onto our ridiculously hard tiled kitchen floor and it was totally fine, so that was very impressive too.
Haven't used it underwater or anything yet - I'm a bit scared to, it seems really delicate! Presumably it's not a big joke and Samsung really do want us to get it wet. Gulp. I'll give it a go.

What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
Big, and despite being very light and slimline, awkward. I think it's too big for a phone, but maybe I'll get used to it. I felt really stupid making calls on it though, like I was holding up some Dom Joly-style mobile. It's really slippery too, so I think I'm going to get a case for it so it doesn't fly out of my hand.

Any additional comments
It has been very straightforward to use, though I think I might have missed a few exciting features so I'm going to have another thorough play with it later tonight. It's very fun to use, though.

androbbob Mon 11-Nov-13 08:07:59

I tried the eye thing and couldnt get it to work either. I did put it on the tilt device setting and that works well. Great for reading MN threads!!

MoogDroog Mon 11-Nov-13 10:42:38

The eye thing takes a bit of practice - I think it actually tracks your head movement (nod up and down) rather than eyes up/down, if that helps.

MellowMarshmallow Mon 11-Nov-13 19:12:18

I can confirm I have now successfully answered a telephone call. Days of gaming, FBing, MNing, taking photos and generally playing around with the phone, and today, finally, I answered my first phone call on it. grin

GhostsInSnow Mon 11-Nov-13 19:37:07

Couple of things I have noticed smile

Battery life is a massive improvement from the S2 and I can easily go all day without reaching for a charger. Thats texting, the odd call and checking emails and Facebook.

It doesn't seem to operate as hot as the S2, I was worried the S2 would combust occasionally but this is a cool phone.

More observations tomorrow smile

BEEwitched Tue 12-Nov-13 15:15:22

What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?

I had an iPhone 4s and had no real complaints about it. You're always a bit locked in with Apple products but since most of my other gadgets are Apple compatibility was great. All very samey; though, and I was getting bored of it. Also, battery capacity was appealing after only 1 1/2 years.

~ What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?

I've always rated Samsung products and was keen to try out one of their Galaxy phones. I am out and about with the dog a lot in rubbish weather and live by the sea; I'm also not too precious about my gadgets so the Active aspect of the phone was a huge bonus!

~ What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?

It is a rather large phoned and you do often need two hands to handle it. It's very sleek and I love the brushed steel look. Set up was really easy and navigating the play store was a doodle. It's also great that there's an android version of most of the apps I was using.

~ What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?

The camera is quite important to me and this is the only point where I'm not quite happy so far. The voice command for taking a picture is Gray bit or takes long to focus and the result is quite grainy. Given that it's an Active phone it would've been great if it handled moving objects better.
The email was easy to set up, and phonecalls are acoustically very good, which is actually something smart phones often struggle with.

~ What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?

It's a bit large but very attractive and was very easy to get used to. I've bought a standard cheap leather flip cover for it but might also get something more weatherproof.

~ Any additional comments.

So far it seems to stand up well to abuse but I haven't had q chance to take any underwater photos yet.

Indith Tue 12-Nov-13 19:40:21

Really want to talk about the challenges now!

ShatnersBassoon Tue 12-Nov-13 20:44:27

Yes, I'm ready for challenge chat too. I've been quite brave this past couple of days and need to share. The initial "treat phone like a precious thing" phase is over grin

~ What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
IPhone 3GS - couldn't update a lot of apps, battery life was shockingly bad, screen would freeze up a lot, text messaging was dreadful; took a few minutes to catch up when typing etc.

~ What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
The fact that it was waterproof and a bit more hardy. I've got a reputation for dropping phones/immersing them in water, so this seemed ideal!

~ What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
First impression was that it was huge and didn't look as though it would stand up to any knocks and scrapes! Set up was easy and, despite never touching a samsung before, I had it up and running really quickly.

~ What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these?
The camera is awesome! I like the storybook feature, everything just works faster than I'm used to! Haven't dared try it out underwater yet, although I did (accidentally) drop it in a small puddle the other day and it survived. I've got the scrolling by eye/head tilt feature switched on but haven't actually noticed it working yet.

~ What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
I'm not going to lie, it feels huge and I'm very, very likely to drop it as there's not much to grip on to! It looks awesome though for a hardy phone. Gone are the days of the big JCB work men's phones!

~ Any additional comments
Wish it was iTunes compatible as all my music is on there so I'm still taking my old phone in the car as I like my tunes when I'm driving. I've always had Apple and thought I'd truly hate anything else, but I'm actually a little bit in love with this phone smile

MellowMarshmallow Wed 13-Nov-13 10:32:39

Can confirm it works in torrential rain, and is fine after being kidnapped by 3.5yo dn and my ds's, although I'm sure they were very careful with it and there was no snatching or grabbing at all hmm

GhostsInSnow Wed 13-Nov-13 15:36:43

Challenge time for me, but I've twisted it a little...

Test it with the kids challenge 2: ask your DC to drop it into their dinner or smear it with food covered hands

DD is 16, so food covered hands are a bit of the past, however, both of us enjoy baking and frequently use recipes we have found online.
Todays task, we baked a Victoria Sponge from a recipe found on the Good Food website.

The phone was on the work surface as I weighed ingredients so was dusted with flour etc. I scrolled through the recipe easily with buttery fingers leaving smears up the screen. The phone was by this stage quite floury and buttery and I was more than a bit worried, however, this was unfounded. I turned off the screen, dampened a little kitchen roll and began to wipe, by the time I'd degreased and polished the phone looked perfect. Managed to dust it completely with Icing sugar as we prepared the buttercream and again, the phone cleaned up perfectly.

In the past when I have baked from an online recipe I've had to put my laptop at the far end of the kitchen and clean and dry my hands before being able to scroll through so this was brilliant! Next time I bake I will use the phone to follow recipes as its just so much easier and time saving. A very novel use I'd never even considered!
grin

androbbob Wed 13-Nov-13 21:27:18

Take the phone out to enjoy the great outdoors (and take some photos)

I have tried this challenge this week - working on a construction site, I was asked to take some photos of a cast Irons helter being dismantled, to be used as time-lapse presentation. So, I took photos two or three times a day for a week in all weathers, including heavy rain and sunshine. They looked fab and the phone survived.

Test it with the kids challenge 2: ask your DC to drop it into their dinner or smear it with food covered hands

Tried this one as well - smear food on it - ably assisted by my three nieces and my DS - aged 3 to 8.

Considering which challenge to do next!

Indith Wed 13-Nov-13 22:02:55

I didn't think we were supposed to post feedback about the challenges yet?

viperslast Thu 14-Nov-13 00:15:04

What handset did you have before and what frustrated you about it?
Previously I had the s3 mini and I loved it, my only frustration was that I wished I had gone for the larger screen.

What was most appealing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
Most appealing to me was the waterproof feature. We are outside a lot with the dc and their ponies. Trying to get good videos and photos in the rain on your average phone or camera is nerve wracking!

What were your first impressions when it arrived and you got it fired up? How was the set up?
First impression was that it was very sleek and pretty but not as robust looking as I had expected. Set up was really easy to do, transferred all photos, contacts, even text messages with smart switch which is a fantastic app!

What features have you used so far? What's your opinion of these? I have used the basic features and found them very good, I notice you have fixed the I which used to default to lower case when typing. I have been playing with the camera and am really impressed. I managed to take excellent photos out of a train window travelling at high speed.

What about how the phone looks and feels in your hand?
The phone looks lovely and is very light. Its size means you can type two thumbed which is great. My only criticism is it's a bit slippery so not totally easy to hold and use in one hand.

Any additional comments
Compared to the s3 mini I find the screen seems to lag a bit. Clicking on things seems to take a bit too long and the very bottom of the screen seems worst. I'm not sure if this is normal for the phone or if there is a problem with my handset. Clicking in the reply box on a text takes several attempts and the keyboard doesn't pop up on the first click which I find a step back. I would be interested in the wireless charge function if that was developed.

viperslast Thu 14-Nov-13 02:20:27

Oh another thing I have noticed with my handset is it gets really hot when doing anything high drain on the battery such as watching a video. Hot enough that I hold it by the edges. I'd be grateful if Hq could get someone to let me know if this is normal please?

Indith Thu 14-Nov-13 09:33:22

That doesn't sound normal! mine definitely doesn't get hot, I've watched loss of videos with the dcs and used iplayer etc on it and not noticed any change in temp at all.

gosh this feedback thread really will be a mixed bag won't it.

GhostsInSnow Thu 14-Nov-13 10:06:20

vipers they do get hot when undertaking that sort of task, but shouldn't get too hot to touch.

Try installing an app called Tempmonitorand see what your running temperatures are through different tasks.

I use mine now as a dash cam alongside an app called CaroO (link to free version but I use Pro) which means that the camera is working all the time I'm driving. It does get warmer through this process, but nowhere near as warm as the S2 got doing the same job.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 14-Nov-13 12:28:26

MNHQ - any chance of letting us post some challenge feedback soon? I've taken notes, but would rather post about what I've done while the things are still fresh in my mind.

BEEwitched Thu 14-Nov-13 12:51:16

I'm Mumsnetting from the bathtub, quite exciting!

I'll keep my challenge results to myself for but habe to say my phone has a tendency to throw itself from places it really should be safe e.g. the mantelpiece and it has survived without any damage!

magentastardust Thu 14-Nov-13 13:25:20

Mine got really hot the other night too -but I had been on it for ages and was doing loads of messing around with photo apps and uploading and downloading!

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