Upon receiving this phone, I was pleasantly surprised by the aesthetics. I thought it was a pretty nice phone and a good size. 4″ has always been my sweet spot for phone screens, despite using a 4.3″ device, so I enjoyed holding this again. It’s smaller than my Galaxy SII, but thicker. Felt nice in the hand. The more I used it, the more I fell in love with the design. The full glass front with dark chrome top. The red earpiece grille and red power button. The rubberized back. It all came together into a sexy phone that had a great grip and was a great size. There is significant creaking on the back plate if you push on its sides, but it’s unnoticeable most of the time. I’d call the build quality pretty damn good.
When I started to use it, my first thought was, “let’s see what all the hype about Sense 4 is about.” And I can see why people like it. But the more I use it, the more I get annoyed by it. It has so many fantastic features, and it is such a good change from the (abysmal) Sense 3.0/3.5. But there are these small things that just pile up into an often annoying user experience. I don’t know how consistent it is with the One X and One S, but I hope it’s just stuff thrown in by Verizon. For example, there is a notification in your notification bar saying “Wifi is on” or “Wifi is off” and cannot be cleared. Having an ongoing notification like that drives me crazy.
For what I consider to be a mid range phone, it has some pretty nice specs. The 4″ qHD screen is nice and sharp, as it isn’t PenTile like the T-Mobile One S. It’s also surprising to see an (underclocked) Snapdragon S4 in this phone, as that’s a very high end processor. Speaking of the S4, the phone is very speedy. There is lag strangely often, but I blame the software for that. The S4 is more than capable of pushing a qHD resolution without lag. On that note, gaming performance is excellent. Also, for those who care, it has both a removable battery and a microSD card slot.
I’ll be posting a full review soon, as I have many thoughts on this phone. It’s truly a joy to look at and hold, but the user experience is dampened by strange software decisions. Stay tuned for a comprehensive review!
EDIT: The ongoing wifi notification seems to be a Verizon notification. It has been reported on the Galaxy SIII for Verizon. Big Red, this was a terrible design decision. Please fix it. Send out an OTA. Have an option to turn it off. But dear god, don’t take up precious screen real estate with a notification I will NEVER use!