The full transcript is below, but here is the executive summary:
1) There is a rigid plastic lens protector on the back lens of the S4.
2) It's just there to protect the lens from scratches it might gather from day-to-day use.
3) Samsung recommends you leave it on for protection, but removing the lens cover will not void your manufacturer's warranty
4) Some users report better photo quality with the cover removed, but this hasn't been proven with careful testing.
Transcript below. Note that the CSR initially misunderstands me and thinks I'm asking about removing the lens itself, when I meant the lens cover only.
Please wait for a Samsung Agent to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Sophee'. There will be a brief survey at the end of our chat to share feedback on my performance today.
Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK11179020773X
Sophee: Hi, thank you for contacting Samsung Technical Support. How may I help you today?
Visitor: I have a question about the S4's camera lens.
Sophee: Sure, please go ahead with your query.
Visitor: There is a square piece of adhesive film on the lens.
Visitor: That film has a circular cut-out to allow the lens to see through it without harming image quality.
Visitor: Some users have removed that square lens protector (it's made of a rigid clear plastic) and found that their pictures improved.
Sophee: Please give me 3 minutes while i go through the inquiry.
Visitor: My question is whether or not that lens-protecting plastic square can be safely removed, or if it should be left in place? It peels away easily enough but I was reluctant to remove it if it is not recommended.
Sophee: Thank you for holding.
Sophee: I do understand your concern. I will be glad to assist you by providing you with the information.
Visitor: Great, thanks.
Sophee: I would like to inform you that the protective lens cover is to protect the lens from scratches.
Visitor: So I can remove that cover as long as I am willing to take the risk that the lens might be more easily scratched without it?
Sophee: I am sorry for the delay.
Visitor: That's OK.
Sophee: Please do not remove the cover as it protects from the scratches.
Visitor: Will removing the protective lens cover void the Samsung warranty?
Sophee: I will surely help you with this.
Sophee: Yes, please do not remove the cover.
Visitor: Will that void the warranty or not?
Sophee: I do understand your concern.
Sophee: I will guide you in this regard.
Sophee: Limited Warranty is conditioned upon proper use of the Product. This Limited Warranty does not cover if / when defects or damage resulting from the use of Product in conjunction or connection with accessories, products, or ancillary/peripheral equipment not furnished or approved by SAMSUNG. Also, defects or damage resulting from improper testing, operation, maintenance, installation, service, or adjustment not furnished or approved by SAMSUNG.
Visitor: OK, that seems to be the official language of the warranty, and I assume you mean that removing the lens cover would constitute "...improper testing, operation, maintenance..." and so removing the lens cover WOULD void the warranty. Correct?
Sophee: No, it would void the warranty of the phone.
Visitor: OK, I appreciate your help. It sounds like Samsung recommends that we leave the lens cover on our S4, and if we remove it the warranty is voided.
Visitor: Is that right?
Sophee: Yes, it is correct.
Sophee: I would like to inform you that removing the protective cover on the lens will not void the warranty but removing the lens voids the warranty.
Visitor: Oh, that makes a big difference! Thank you for clarifying. I don't think anyone would remove the Lens. I was only curious about the lens cover. If we can remove the lens cover without voiding the warranty I think many users would consider doing that.
Sophee: I do understand your concern.
Sophee: Have I answered your query?
Visitor: Yes, and thanks again.
Sophee: You're welcome.