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Old April 3rd, 2013, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Happy New to Android and need help choosing a phone

tl;dr version - I have an iPhone 4, I'm more than ready to get a droid, which is better, Galaxy S3 (and/or S4) or the Nexus 4, if you know of a better phone than that please let me know and let me know why it's better.

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Hello there! After 2 years with my iPhone 4 I am more than ready to switch to an Android phone, but I need a little help choosing which phone to buy.

I have been looking at the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and S4 more recently) and I really like these phones. I know a lot of people do not like the Touch Wiz features, but I think they're alright from what I have seen messing with the phone at Best Buy. I don't really have any experience with stock Android so I don't really know the differences.

I want to make sure I consider all options before I chose a phone because I just jumped into my last phone based on what everyone was telling me and that's how I got stuck with Apple for two years.

I have seen a lot of people talking about the Nexus 4 and I have some questions about it.

So, I don't really think I could be happy with a lower resolution phone than my iPhone, so what is the Nexus 4 screen like? Is it higher or lower resolution than the iPhone?

What are your personal opinions on the Nexus 4? Which phone do you think is better between the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and/or S4)? Why? Do you like stock Android better than Touch Wiz? Why or why not?

If you have any links to comparison videos or even good, honest reviews of the Nexus 4 those would be very helpful.

Also, if you know of any other phones that may be better than the two I've talked about in this post please let me know about them too!

Thank you so much, and I can't wait to get my hands on an Android!

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Old April 3rd, 2013, 11:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So, I don't really think I could be happy with a lower resolution phone than my iPhone, so what is the Nexus 4 screen like? Is it higher or lower resolution than the iPhone?
I believe the iPhone has a couple more pixels per inch, but literally only a couple - like 320 v 323 (guestimate - I haven't checked these numbers). In practice, the screen on my N4 looks every bit as good as my missus' iP5 and her previous iP4.

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What are your personal opinions on the Nexus 4?
Love it. Best phone I've ever used, period.

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Which phone do you think is better between the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and/or S4)? Why? Do you like stock Android better than Touch Wiz? Why or why not?
It's tough doing a meaningful comparison as the things that matter to me may not be what matters to you ..

Also, you're not really comparing like with like: the S3 is a year old and the S4 is not out yet, but will be around double the price of the Nexus 4.

I'd say the Nexus stacks up well against the S3 (unsurprising, given it's so much newer) but that the S4 will probably be better in some areas - certainly ought to be, given the price differential.

Again, regarding Touch Wiz v vanilla Android, it's subjective: Sammy have some cool features but the Nexus will get the latest versions of Android long before any Sammy. You pays your money and takes your choice.

I had an HTC last and really liked Sense, their version of Touch Wiz. I thought I'd miss it, but in fact, not a bit. Vanilla Android - at least, the latest version - is actually pretty slick.

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If you have any links to comparison videos or even good, honest reviews of the Nexus 4 those would be very helpful.
There are heaps of comparisons out there - most that I read gave the Nexus the edge over the S3 and other competitors, but that was largely based on the (frankly astounding) price of the N4.

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Also, if you know of any other phones that may be better than the two I've talked about in this post please let me know about them too!
I've read some rave reviews of the new HTC One. A former colleague got an HTC One which he said was the latest one (I haven't seen it) and claims it's an absolute belter (= really good, in case you're wondering).

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Thank you so much, and I can't wait to get my hands on an Android!
I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Be prepared for it to take a little getting used to, though: my missus is a total Apple-ite and she hates my phone. She also hated my last one. And the one before that. Basically, if it doesn't have an Apple on the back, she don't like it.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 12:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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With the latest Android forums I doubt you would notice resolution on the screen. My SGS3 blows the doors off the display on an iPhone. The simple fact that it's larger makes it much easier to view.

If you have LTE in your area then I would be looking at the S4/HTC One. Both next generation phones. You can find reviews on each of them online. Personally I like the built quality of the HTC One better.

If LTE doesn't matter to you then the Nexus 4 is still a great phone. Vanilla Android is really sweet and it works the way Google intended it to work. I love the stock feeling (which is why my S3 is rooted) so the Nexus line is something special to me. If they come out with an LTE phone I will be on board (LTE is very prominent in my area, I get 30mb down where ever I go).

More importantly, welcome to the wonderful world of Android. Which ever phone you decide to go with come back here for tips and tricks setting it up. It's really crazy lately how many people are making the switch.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 01:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First of all, wait until after google I/O in May if you can. Rumor has it that they will announce new devices and the release of the next version of Android.

It all comes down to hardware vs. software if you ask me

Hardware
If hardware matters most to you it's a simple spreadsheet. Rank what matters most and then grade the phones on those attributes. Best pixels per inch, biggest screen that isn't too big, camera MPs, memory, etc. You can easily end up with the S3 (or soon to be released S4) or a Note 2 based on all of that.

Software
Have the last few updates of Android added functionality you would like (see link below for these updates)? Is it important to not get left behind and depend on the carrier's mood to update your OS? If this matter to you, then your current only choice is the Nexus 4 which is good to very good hardware (but not the best).

I chose the Galaxy Nexus last year because I wanted Jelly Bean NOW and not one day in the nebulous future. Yes, the hardware is only good. And the S4 camera will be leaps ahead of the Galaxy Nexus camera when it releases. But guess what, the S4 will have the same version of Android I have already been using for the last six months.

(Another reason to wait until May is that rumors say that Key Lime Pie will require a quad core processor. IF that is true, the Nexus 4 will not upgrade to it.)

Android version history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 01:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SiempreTuna View Post
I believe the iPhone has a couple more pixels per inch, but literally only a couple - like 320 v 323 (guestimate - I haven't checked these numbers). In practice, the screen on my N4 looks every bit as good as my missus' iP5 and her previous iP4.
Nexus 4:
4.7" diagonal
1280 x 768 pixel resolution (320 ppi)
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What carrier do you have?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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With the latest Android forums I doubt you would notice resolution on the screen. My SGS3 blows the doors off the display on an iPhone. The simple fact that it's larger makes it much easier to view.

If you have LTE in your area then I would be looking at the S4/HTC One. Both next generation phones. You can find reviews on each of them online. Personally I like the built quality of the HTC One better.

If LTE doesn't matter to you then the Nexus 4 is still a great phone. Vanilla Android is really sweet and it works the way Google intended it to work. I love the stock feeling (which is why my S3 is rooted) so the Nexus line is something special to me. If they come out with an LTE phone I will be on board (LTE is very prominent in my area, I get 30mb down where ever I go).

More importantly, welcome to the wonderful world of Android. Which ever phone you decide to go with come back here for tips and tricks setting it up. It's really crazy lately how many people are making the switch.
LTE is important to me. I've never had it and I would really be in love with such a fast phone. I was definitely looking at the HTC One because I quite like all the features, but I have heard that the battery is truly terrible and battery is very important to me as I'm basically on my phone all day and with my iPhone I'm practically attached to the wall.

If I rooted my SGS3 or SGS4 when I got it to run vanilla Android, if I didn't like it would I be able to reverse the root completely and have my phone back to normal? Because I'm thinking maybe I could try Touch Wiz for a few months, then vanilla Android for a few month and decide which I like better. Also, would rooting it and making it run vanilla Android make it laggy and messed up?

I'm so sorry about all the questions, I'm incredibly new to the world of Android, although I've been watching all the videos I can about them, actually to the point where for the past week all I have dreamed of is having a new Android phone (sad, I know).

But I think everyone is switching because they see that other companies are out-innovating Apple and most people are just getting sick of how stale the iPhone is. The OS basically never changes and the phone designs don't really change either. The iPhone 5 is just stretched, no new features.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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First of all, wait until after google I/O in May if you can. Rumor has it that they will announce new devices and the release of the next version of Android.

It all comes down to hardware vs. software if you ask me

Hardware
If hardware matters most to you it's a simple spreadsheet. Rank what matters most and then grade the phones on those attributes. Best pixels per inch, biggest screen that isn't too big, camera MPs, memory, etc. You can easily end up with the S3 (or soon to be released S4) or a Note 2 based on all of that.

Software
Have the last few updates of Android added functionality you would like (see link below for these updates)? Is it important to not get left behind and depend on the carrier's mood to update your OS? If this matter to you, then your current only choice is the Nexus 4 which is good to very good hardware (but not the best).

I chose the Galaxy Nexus last year because I wanted Jelly Bean NOW and not one day in the nebulous future. Yes, the hardware is only good. And the S4 camera will be leaps ahead of the Galaxy Nexus camera when it releases. But guess what, the S4 will have the same version of Android I have already been using for the last six months.

(Another reason to wait until May is that rumors say that Key Lime Pie will require a quad core processor. IF that is true, the Nexus 4 will not upgrade to it.)

Android version history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I can wait until after Google I/O, I've been waiting for so long I don't see how another month will hurt. I do like the hardware of the SGS3 in some ways more than the Nexus 4, but I really do like how the Nexus 4 looks with no buttons on the front, just one big sleek screen, and the back is pretty cool, but that's about it.

I'm not sure how much of an issue the software update will be with the SGS3 or 4 because (correct me if I'm wrong) since the Galaxy S phones are such popular phones wouldn't they get the updates out fairly quickly?

It would be nice to have the newest software, but I don't think I'd mind, unless of course KLP has some crazy awesome totally new features.

I have a friend with some Android phone and he's still running Android 2.something and I pressed the button to check if there was an update and there wasn't, will that happen with a SGS3 or 4 where it doesn't get updates for years?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What carrier do you have?
I have AT&T
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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LTE is important to me. I've never had it and I would really be in love with such a fast phone. I was definitely looking at the HTC One because I quite like all the features, but I have heard that the battery is truly terrible and battery is very important to me as I'm basically on my phone all day and with my iPhone I'm practically attached to the wall.

If I rooted my SGS3 or SGS4 when I got it to run vanilla Android, if I didn't like it would I be able to reverse the root completely and have my phone back to normal? Because I'm thinking maybe I could try Touch Wiz for a few months, then vanilla Android for a few month and decide which I like better. Also, would rooting it and making it run vanilla Android make it laggy and messed up?

I'm so sorry about all the questions, I'm incredibly new to the world of Android, although I've been watching all the videos I can about them, actually to the point where for the past week all I have dreamed of is having a new Android phone (sad, I know).

But I think everyone is switching because they see that other companies are out-innovating Apple and most people are just getting sick of how stale the iPhone is. The OS basically never changes and the phone designs don't really change either. The iPhone 5 is just stretched, no new features.
Well the great thing about Android 4+ is that you can disable just about any app including any bloatware. Also you can get that stock feeling without any rooting. A replacement launcher like Nova or Apex had the ability to do so. Android is very versatile.

Also if LTE is important then the nexus 4 is out, it doesn't have LTE. I would wait a bit longer, at least until you can play with the S4 and HTC One in person. Trust me, we get a lot of stupid threads so when someone comes along asking questions like you are it's a nice change of pace.

Battery life will vary by a great deal of what you do with the phone. For the most part you won't get as long out of a charge as you do with your iPhone. The phones you are looking at are more powerful and power bigger screens which consume more power. I suggest not worrying too much about it if you can, charge it whenever you are near a plug.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Android phones nowadays have a better ppi than iPhones and 1080p resolution(take that Apple fanboys!) so that shouldn't be a problem.

This article could give you an idea for the Galaxy S4 vs the Nexus 4.

[quote]If I rooted my SGS3 or SGS4 when I got it to run vanilla Android, if I didn't like it would I be able to reverse the root completely and have my phone back to normal? Because I'm thinking maybe I could try Touch Wiz for a few months, then vanilla Android for a few month and decide which I like better. Also, would rooting it and making it run vanilla Android make it laggy and messed up?]
Yes you can. The only downside is that you probably will have to do a factory reset to unroot you device to remove the custom ROM.
AOSP ("Vanilla Android") ROMs do not make the phone laggy as long as you use one that is highly respected and trusted by users. I.E: Cyanogenmod
The problem is that AOSP ROMs will almost ALWAYS have bugs in them if your phone isn't running stock Android. I know for the Galaxy S2, the bugs from AOSP ROMs were that speakerphone wouldn't work during calls, dock audio wouldn't work, GPS was messed up sometimes, and data speeds seemed throttled. But it ran buttery smooth.

Honestly, I love the new Nature Touchwiz. Only the "pure Android" enthusiasts say that Touchwiz is terrible and sometimes Sense enthusiasts. To the average cell phone user, the features implemented in Touchwiz (especially in the S4's) is very nice. Project Butter made my phone run buttery smooth, and my phone is nearing 2 years old.

If you don't mind larger phones, the Note 2 or the Note 3 could be put into consideration.

And you mentioned battery life. Unlike an iPhone where the battery is not removable, you can add an extended battery into your phone for not that much. Zero Lemon is the S3's biggest battery (7,000mAh - 3x the amount of the S3's original battery) and it's only $34 with a free case.

Update-wise, the prime phones such as Samsung's Galaxy S/Note line and HTC's One should get about 2-3 updates in it's lifetime which should be around 2 years of updates. My Galaxy S2 was released with Gingerbread, received Ice Cream Sandwich last year, and received Jellybean this year. So it was supported from 2011-2013. And I'm sure that there will be custom ROMs using Key Lime Pie when it's released.

Also, don't keep waiting for the "new biggest thing" or else you will never buy a new phone. There's always one flagship device coming out in each quarter of the year.

At the moment, AT&T's best phone lineup would be the Galaxy S3, HTC One when it's released April 16, Galaxy Note II, and the Galaxy S4 when it's released.

If LTE is important to you, then the Nexus 4 is probably out of the picture since it can only get 3G speeds on US carriers.

Hopefully I was able to ease your search for your new phone
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 07:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how much of an issue the software update will be with the SGS3 or 4 because (correct me if I'm wrong) since the Galaxy S phones are such popular phones wouldn't they get the updates out fairly quickly?
Someone else can probably speak to the details of this this better than me. But, basically, Android - being an open system - has a new version released by google. The only phones google updates directly are the Nexus devices sold directly from google. Other than that, the released source code is then modified at the mobile carriers discretion to add their bloatware and will be released IF and when they feel like it. I purchased my Galaxy Nexus last summer, turned it on for the first time and received the Jelly Bean update. The S3 came out about June 2012 and Verizon updated it to 4.2 in December 2012. Other carriers did it when they felt like it - but I don't recall when. This goes for 4.2 to 4.2.1 to 4.2.2 also. Mind you, sometimes a carrier will not upgrade a phone if the hardware can not handle the update - which could be your friend's case. Also, if you root a phone (voiding support and warranty), you can have any version of Android you please on a phone.
To sum: buy it from google and google updates you shortly after they release a new version. Buy it from a carrier and they update at their discretion.

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It would be nice to have the newest software, but I don't think I'd mind, unless of course KLP has some crazy awesome totally new features.
No one knows for sure about what Key Lime Pie will have. But if you look back at the versioning you can decide if the increases are so minor they wouldn't matter to you for a long time. Or if not receiving a minor update like the gesture search keyboard, or the widget lockscreen would annoy you.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 07:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have AT&T
Then you might consider keeping your iPhone and current contract and getting a Nexus 4 or something. You can swap the sim between devices and if you have a better contract than what is currently available... I actually think the whole update thing is severely overrated; I'd suggest a Note 2 to maximize the difference from your iPhone AND you can always carry it with as a small wifi tablet!
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 08:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well the great thing about Android 4+ is that you can disable just about any app including any bloatware. Also you can get that stock feeling without any rooting. A replacement launcher like Nova or Apex had the ability to do so. Android is very versatile.

Also if LTE is important then the nexus 4 is out, it doesn't have LTE. I would wait a bit longer, at least until you can play with the S4 and HTC One in person. Trust me, we get a lot of stupid threads so when someone comes along asking questions like you are it's a nice change of pace.

Battery life will vary by a great deal of what you do with the phone. For the most part you won't get as long out of a charge as you do with your iPhone. The phones you are looking at are more powerful and power bigger screens which consume more power. I suggest not worrying too much about it if you can, charge it whenever you are near a plug.
Do you know anything about a battery issue with the HTC One? I forget which review I was watching but the person said that the battery was severely disappointing.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 08:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=iTzKPanda;5702660]Android phones nowadays have a better ppi than iPhones and 1080p resolution(take that Apple fanboys!) so that shouldn't be a problem.

This article could give you an idea for the Galaxy S4 vs the Nexus 4.

Quote:
If I rooted my SGS3 or SGS4 when I got it to run vanilla Android, if I didn't like it would I be able to reverse the root completely and have my phone back to normal? Because I'm thinking maybe I could try Touch Wiz for a few months, then vanilla Android for a few month and decide which I like better. Also, would rooting it and making it run vanilla Android make it laggy and messed up?]
Yes you can. The only downside is that you probably will have to do a factory reset to unroot you device to remove the custom ROM.
AOSP ("Vanilla Android") ROMs do not make the phone laggy as long as you use one that is highly respected and trusted by users. I.E: Cyanogenmod
The problem is that AOSP ROMs will almost ALWAYS have bugs in them if your phone isn't running stock Android. I know for the Galaxy S2, the bugs from AOSP ROMs were that speakerphone wouldn't work during calls, dock audio wouldn't work, GPS was messed up sometimes, and data speeds seemed throttled. But it ran buttery smooth.

Honestly, I love the new Nature Touchwiz. Only the "pure Android" enthusiasts say that Touchwiz is terrible and sometimes Sense enthusiasts. To the average cell phone user, the features implemented in Touchwiz (especially in the S4's) is very nice. Project Butter made my phone run buttery smooth, and my phone is nearing 2 years old.

If you don't mind larger phones, the Note 2 or the Note 3 could be put into consideration.

And you mentioned battery life. Unlike an iPhone where the battery is not removable, you can add an extended battery into your phone for not that much. Zero Lemon is the S3's biggest battery (7,000mAh - 3x the amount of the S3's original battery) and it's only $34 with a free case.

Update-wise, the prime phones such as Samsung's Galaxy S/Note line and HTC's One should get about 2-3 updates in it's lifetime which should be around 2 years of updates. My Galaxy S2 was released with Gingerbread, received Ice Cream Sandwich last year, and received Jellybean this year. So it was supported from 2011-2013. And I'm sure that there will be custom ROMs using Key Lime Pie when it's released.

Also, don't keep waiting for the "new biggest thing" or else you will never buy a new phone. There's always one flagship device coming out in each quarter of the year.

At the moment, AT&T's best phone lineup would be the Galaxy S3, HTC One when it's released April 16, Galaxy Note II, and the Galaxy S4 when it's released.

If LTE is important to you, then the Nexus 4 is probably out of the picture since it can only get 3G speeds on US carriers.

Hopefully I was able to ease your search for your new phone
Yeah, I really like the 1080p screen of the SGS4 and can't wait to get my hands on it. Ah, I think I would stick with a launcher then (if I don't like Touch Wiz after using it for a bit in real world scenarios, not just in the store" because I don't want to have to deal with a bunch of bugs like that.

I'm not sure if I would want to have a Note, I don't know if the huge screen would be right for me, I haven't been able to really mess with it at the store because every time I go it's dead even though it is hooked up, I think something is wrong with the one at my local Best Buy.

Is the main difference between the SGS3-4 and the Note just the screen size?

I did see a video about those types of batteries before and I think it would be very useful, but it looked like the case would obstruct the camera because it juts out so far, also, is it as solid of a build with those cases on with all that empty space inside the phone? I feel like if I dropped it it might break open. If that makes sense.

Yeah, that's true, I've just got to settle on one because like you said I could be waiting for forever.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 08:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Someone else can probably speak to the details of this this better than me. But, basically, Android - being an open system - has a new version released by google. The only phones google updates directly are the Nexus devices sold directly from google. Other than that, the released source code is then modified at the mobile carriers discretion to add their bloatware and will be released IF and when they feel like it. I purchased my Galaxy Nexus last summer, turned it on for the first time and received the Jelly Bean update. The S3 came out about June 2012 and Verizon updated it to 4.2 in December 2012. Other carriers did it when they felt like it - but I don't recall when. This goes for 4.2 to 4.2.1 to 4.2.2 also. Mind you, sometimes a carrier will not upgrade a phone if the hardware can not handle the update - which could be your friend's case. Also, if you root a phone (voiding support and warranty), you can have any version of Android you please on a phone.
To sum: buy it from google and google updates you shortly after they release a new version. Buy it from a carrier and they update at their discretion.


No one knows for sure about what Key Lime Pie will have. But if you look back at the versioning you can decide if the increases are so minor they wouldn't matter to you for a long time. Or if not receiving a minor update like the gesture search keyboard, or the widget lockscreen would annoy you.
Do you think the SGS4 would be able to handle KLP?

I am kind of used to not getting updates at this point because I don't have any of the good features of iOS 6 because my phone is so old, at least with the SGS4 I would know the update was coming (hopefully).

I think I do prefer the SGS3-4 hardware over the Nexus 4 hardware.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 08:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=ShawnLT;5703334]
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Originally Posted by iTzKPanda View Post
Android phones nowadays have a better ppi than iPhones and 1080p resolution(take that Apple fanboys!) so that shouldn't be a problem.

This article could give you an idea for the Galaxy S4 vs the Nexus 4.



Yeah, I really like the 1080p screen of the SGS4 and can't wait to get my hands on it. Ah, I think I would stick with a launcher then (if I don't like Touch Wiz after using it for a bit in real world scenarios, not just in the store" because I don't want to have to deal with a bunch of bugs like that.

I'm not sure if I would want to have a Note, I don't know if the huge screen would be right for me, I haven't been able to really mess with it at the store because every time I go it's dead even though it is hooked up, I think something is wrong with the one at my local Best Buy.

Is the main difference between the SGS3-4 and the Note just the screen size?

I did see a video about those types of batteries before and I think it would be very useful, but it looked like the case would obstruct the camera because it juts out so far, also, is it as solid of a build with those cases on with all that empty space inside the phone? I feel like if I dropped it it might break open. If that makes sense.

Yeah, that's true, I've just got to settle on one because like you said I could be waiting for forever.
The Note usually has the better processor in the US. And defintely the better battery life.

The case doesn't mess with the camera :P or else people would be complaining about it.

And the case is big because the battery itself is that big, so there's not much empty space in thers.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 09:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Nexus 4 has a Quailcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro with 4 Krait cores
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Old April 5th, 2013, 11:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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