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Samsung Galaxy S4 problems

Andrew Williams


Galaxy S4 problems
Galaxy S4 problems

The Samsung Galaxy S4 was the most anticipated phone of the year so far. And now it’s here.

Its launch hasn’t been a disaster, but there are a bunch of issues that have cramped its style, or left some buyers a bit disappointed. Here’s the run-down of the most important problems.

Bloatware eats into internal memory

The main version of the Galaxy S4 sold in the UK is the 16GB edition. And thanks to all the extra software Samsung has packed into the phone, the actual figure left on is significantly cut down – just over 9GB.

Update: This issue has caused the Samsung Galaxy S4 a serious PR problem. It was flagged for investigation by Watchdog, the consumer interest TV show.

Knowing it could no longer just coast on by, Samsung responded to the criticisms suggesting it may be able to free-up some extra memory with software optimisation.

What this will entail in reality is a software update that will make some of the Galaxy S4's extras optional, rather than installing the lot from the off.

All smartphones have less user-accessible memory than the figure stated on the specs list, but this is a particularly bad ratio for an Android phone. As the Galaxy S4 has a microSD memory card slot, it’s hardly a deal-breaker for most people, but remains an annoyance as the phone treats memory card storage slightly differently to native internal storage.

However, some other platforms suffer just as bad as the Galaxy S4. All Windows 8 tablets have a similar chunk bitten out of their internal memory, thanks to the storage needs of the OS.

Wi-Fi connection woes

D-linkIf you use a D-Link router, there's a good chance your Galaxy S4 may experience Wi-Fi issues. Samsung has publicly admitted that the phone has a problem connecting with some models from the popular router manufacturer.

A Samsung spokesperson said, "This is a problem caused by firmware stored on a specific access point in D-Link routers. Customers should update their firmware to the latest version or reboot the access point."

The specific routers that are most commonly cited as troublesome are the D-Link DIR-655 and DIR-855. If you've experienced Wi-Fi connectivity problems with the Galaxy S4, drop us a comment below.

Supply issues

The launch of the Galaxy S4 has been set back by supply issues, as is common with super-hyped tech gadgets these days. Samsung went as far as a release an official statement on the issue pre-launch – an exercise in damage control.

It said, “due to overwhelming global demand for Galaxy S4, the initial supply may be limited. We expect to fulfil inventory to meet demands in the coming weeks.” It’s a bit early to judge whether the supply issues will be irritating or catastrophic, but we doubt they’ll be anywhere near as severe as those that afflicted the Nexus 4, whose stock batches sold out in minutes for months.

No FM radio

A feature that most people don't care about too much, yet some hate to see missed out of a phone is an FM radio. The Samsung Galaxy S4 does not have one. Following criticism from some fans about the move, Samsung actually commented on its decision shortly after the phone's releae. It said that it had seen a trend toward digital consumption of content and that this is what the Samsung Galaxy S4 is all about.

So if you want an FM radio, you're behind the times according to Samsung. Your best option is to use te BBC iPlayer radio app, although this will use up some of your mobile data allowance.

Its plastic rear is flimsy

Galaxy S4By far the most common complaint about the Galaxy S4 is that it doesn’t feel all that high-end – in this respect it’s just like the Samsung Galaxy S3. It uses a thin plastic battery cover, rather than a closed unibody design like the HTC One or Xperia Z.

Most of the phone’s reviews – including ours – highlight how much more swanky an HTC One feels than the Galaxy S4. And Samsung finally seems to be taking notice. There are rumours that the Galaxy Note 3 will have a metal body, and even whispers that Samsung will make a metal version of the Galaxy S4.

Its camera is slow – and not a big improvement

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an impressive-sounding camera, and it offers masses of features. However, we found that in use it can be slow to respond when changing modes, and occasionally glitched out in the heat of the moment.

It’s also not much of an improvement over the Galaxy S3’s camera. Its increase in sensor megapixels makes it sound like a huge step up over the 8-megapixel S3, but as they use the same size of sensor, performance is roughly comparable. As we saw in our comparison of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, low-light performance is not good.

In the UK we don’t get the best version

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the first eight-core phone. But in the UK, we don’t get the eight-core version.

Here, you can only get hold of the Snapdragon 600 quad-core version. And benchmarks show that the eight-core edition is significantly faster.

It’s also possible that the octo-core edition would offer superior battery life. The whole premise of the octo-core edition is that four cores are there to offer great performance, and the other four to keep power use low for everyday tasks.

Software glitches causing battery life issues

Although we haven’t experienced this problem ourselves, some Galaxy S4 owners have reported that the battery drains down quickly, even when the phone’s not being used. This is due to rogue background processes forcing the phone to work when it should be sleeping.

It’s a software issue, and one that’s fairly common in Android devices.

There are ways to combat this yourself, such as turning off Wi-Fi and 3G connections when you go to bed. However, what’s really required is a software update that puts these glitches to rest. During our review time with the Galaxy S4 we received an update – so Samsung is clearly working more-or-less constantly on S4 fixes.

Its display comes with niggles

Galaxy S4The Samsung Galaxy S4 display is much, much better than the Galaxy S3’s. Its predecessor looks seriously sub-Retina in resolution despite having a 720p screen, top brightness isn’t that great and colours are oversaturated.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 solves most of these issues, but it’s not perfect. The screen goes blue-ish when the phone is tilted, colours look oversaturated unless you change the colour settings and there have been some reports of the screen blurring with fast motion. This not something we noticed in our review sample, though.

Several features prove annoyances in use

Samsung’s strategy with the Galaxy S4 was to make the phone bigger and better – without making the thing any… larger. This entailed ramming as many features into the thing as it could.

However, in use this backfires a bit. Several of the features trip us normal phone use. For example, Air View – the feature that senses when your finger is hovering above the screen - tends to kick in accidentally, because where do you keep your finger when browsing? Yep, that’s right, hovering above the screen. Air View is largely irritating too – it lets you scroll through text by nodding your head, or the phone, up and down. It comes across as a superfluous gimmick. They're just two offenders in the correctional facility that is the Galaxy S4.

These features can be turned off, but doing so robs the phone of its supposedly “new and exciting” features.

Do you think we're being too picky? Or is there another issue we've missed out? Drop us a line in the comments.

Check out our top 50 Samsung Galaxy S4 tips and tricks.


May 9, 2013, 2:12 pm

Pretty much what other reviewers have been saying. Nice screen, specs look good on paper, but...gee-whiz features are gimmicky and don't work very well in practice; plasticy construction; and tons of non-removable bloatware.


May 9, 2013, 9:10 pm

I don't understand what advantage manufacturers see in stuffing non-removeable bloatware apps onto a phone. I can just about understand them pre-loading apps that they hope will gain traction, for whatever reason. But to deny the user the option to remove apps they simply do not want, and thereby pee them off - where is the value added in that? These users won't be the ones to use the apps anyway. What benefit to the manufacturer in annoying their customers? It just makes no sense.


May 9, 2013, 9:59 pm

So how did this phone get 9/10, four and a half stars, display 10/10,camera 9/10, performance 10/10 and a Trusted Reviews Recommended in it's review, (which says it was updated today!)?
How many people have already decided to go for this phone based on this review, and then be confronted with this list of problems.
Make up your minds, does Trusted Reviews recommend this phone or not?


May 10, 2013, 8:45 am

No FM Radio! Why TR is keeping to avoid this? Or, in UK version of S4 it's present?

Simão Lúcio

May 10, 2013, 10:11 am

Couldn't agree more!


May 10, 2013, 12:24 pm

Pretty much all the problems here are addressed to some extent in the review. Do we recommend it? Yes. But some people may care enough about these issues to make them think twice about buying.

Michael Eshiett

May 10, 2013, 6:41 pm

You've left out the issue of the key pad freezing out out when your texting and all of a sudden, about twenty txt comes through at once.

Sin Jeong-hun (신정훈)

May 10, 2013, 11:36 pm

Most likely, the carriers ordering so. I am also angry about that my S3 has lots of SKT (a Korean telephone company) stuff that I do not want and cannot be removed.

Joe Blower

May 11, 2013, 10:13 am

I'd much rather have a polycarbonate backing that can be removed to replace the battery and microSD card than a more refined feeling phone that is enclosed. I've held both the HTC One and iPhone 5 and though they are made from much better materials I don't really see that much of a difference with the Galaxy S3 that so many people make a big deal about. That is just my preference. I have no issue with the "plasticky" backing and have yet to hold the S4. If all one cares about is the material makeup of the phone and that is such a big deal then just get the HTC One.


May 11, 2013, 12:00 pm

It has problem connecting with Mercedes audio via Bluetooth. You can not make/receive call using this pairing.


May 11, 2013, 2:19 pm

This article states ".....The main version of the Galaxy S4 sold in the UK is the 16GB edition" - This implies that one has the option to buy the 32Gb or 64Gb models.

I can't find anywhere in Europe that is selling anything other than the limited 16Gb version either for outright purchase or on contract. AT&T in the US has responded to customer feedback and made the 32Gb available. Let's hope we'll be able to buy something with more than 16Gb in Europe soon.

Maybe the Watchdog feature on BBC TV next week will get some action from Samsung. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...


May 11, 2013, 4:18 pm

You are correct! TR has listed a series of non-issues and then some, but left off the one real shortcoming for many people - no radio. At home I'd never use an FM radio, I prefer internet radio or download a few podcasts. But when I am away on holiday an FM radio is great - no data issues, low battery consumption, it fills a real need.

But to cite the flexibility of the removeable back cover as a fault, that is barmy. Would it be better if the back was inflexible, making if difficult to remove and thicker and heavier - to what purpose, to what advantage? Or would it be better still if the back was not removeable at all. It just pees me off when people remove the back cover, bend it and jump to the conclusion 'flexible ergo bad'.

Same for 'flimsy'. Did anyone ever break the back cover? What possible advantage is there in a more rigid back cover? What does 'flimsy' even mean in this context? Too thin/light/feeble, for what?


May 13, 2013, 4:18 am

Apple doesn't do it. They tell the carriers how its going to be.

Gavin Martin

May 13, 2013, 6:47 am

Am I right that Android won't install apps on an SD card because it treats the memory differently? So if you have a bunch of games and chunky apps, you only have 9GB of space to install them, no matter if you stick a 64GB storage card in?


May 13, 2013, 10:02 am

Metal casing for the Samsung S4 would be good. I seriously feel it's a shame that they dont give a premium finish for such a phone.

Hopefully they will sort out the software glitches and the screen issue as they go. I like and use Samsung products, but they should have made sure that this sort of issues never came up.

While we're at it, Samsung should maybe update it's Samsung Appstore. Coz they still have no support for certain countries.


May 13, 2013, 1:14 pm

Yes. This is why the problem exists on the 16Gb version of the S4. Recent versions of Android no longer allow apps and purchaes media to be stored on a card. They can only use the onboard/integral memory.


May 13, 2013, 5:33 pm

Trollbait. Who's gonna fall for it?

Helen O'Neil

May 15, 2013, 8:01 pm

I have been having a real problem with speed of response to touch screen. Any one else experienced this?


May 19, 2013, 12:44 pm

Had this phone near on a week,probs so far include the banking app HSBC, this will not funtion on this phone.
Also it took some time with macafe mobile security to get up and running.
Im quite shocked about the FM, and worry about what other issues there are lurking around the corner


May 20, 2013, 1:29 am

Anytime I make a phone call, there is about a 30-second delay before it actually attempts to connect. The screen goes black and eventually it dials. Also, when I open up my phone book, there is also about a 30 second delay before it shows contact information. I select the contact, and the screen goes white for a while, then eventually shows me the contact info.


May 20, 2013, 5:15 am

I'm planning
to buy SGS4 but after reading the user reviews I’m having second thoughts over
buying the phone, those who have bought a galaxy s4 please help me out with
these queries,

Does the phone get overheated? (SGS4 international

-when I enquired the Samsung customer care said
that after the update of the phone is free from the such overheating issues

Is there issue with the battery life?


May 20, 2013, 5:59 am

I would like to know more about the Battery drain and the Overheating issue, has anyone experienced such kind of issues, how does the phone behave after the new firmware update, does the update solve problems related to Battery drain and Overheating.


May 21, 2013, 4:15 pm

for sure! root or go home anyway, it's a non issue!

Talon Potter

May 22, 2013, 7:08 pm

I loved reading this. So true. Anyone can point out flaws in anything. Just appreciated the phone for a job well done.

Hester Louwies

May 23, 2013, 6:38 am

We got 2 S4's and when ever you phone or charge the phone the top half of the phone get so hot you can't even touch it and when you play games for longer than 10min. My husband's phone crased yesterday he played music until the battery died then put it on charge after fully charged tried to switched it on and nothing the sphone do not come on at all the first batch looks like they might be faulty.



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