Kit-Kat update, chime in when you get itGeneral

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  1. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    Got it a few hours ago. More bad than good is my initial impression, but it's too soon. Lots of instability, especially with issues related to photos/videos stored on the phone. Both the Gallery and Google Photos apps crash like mad.

    I'm going to do a factory reset, as I'm overdue for that. Better impressions will come later.

  2. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    This is not all conclusive, but here's some things that I have noticed already. I'll try to highlight things exclusive to our device that haven't been touched on by other sources, though there will be some overlap. Also, since my factory reset, keep in mind that I'm toying with Google's services to see what I can migrate to. Due to this, I haven't loaded any apps yet aside from what comes stock. Here goes.

    Messaging - Unlike the Nexus 5, we retain the stock messaging app as well as the new Hangouts. If you do a factory reset, you'll be prompted early on to choose your default SMS/MMS client, and you can choose to disable the extra one. So unlike the Nexus 5, you're not locked into Hangouts if you don't want the entire Google ecosystem.

    Galaxy Gear support - There's a hidden app for this that allows for compatibility. Good on Samsung for doing this.

    Connectivity - Gone is the "H" setting. Google and/or Samsung have opted for a more simplistic apporach. You'll see "E" (edge), "3G" (including up to HSPA+ 42), and "LTE." There's no 4G and/or H/H+, though I'm to assume that GPRS still exists. Also, the connectivity menu has finally been fixed. On 4.2, we had that bug where you could only choose 2G/3G, so the first time that you selected something, LTE was permanently gone (without the help of a 3rd party app). The 4.3 update brought a checkbox toggle for 2G/LTE. Now, we have a 3-option menu for 2G, 3G (including HSPA+), and LTE. This gives you more options for saving battery life while maximizing speed.

    Launcher - As expected, it's the same as 4.3. That includes the widget tab in the application drawer. No long-press on the homescreen to add widgets for us, yet. No translucent notification bar, something us OLED display-users could really use.

    Printing - The Google Cloud Print and HP Print Service apps are now included as native, semi-hidden apps that will update on Google Play.

    MicroSD support - More changes to the way that MicroSD is handled. Now even ES File Explorer cannot access the MicroSD. I'm currently reloading media onto my MicroSD, but prior to the factory reset, loading videos/images off the MicroSD via the Gallery and Google+ Photos apps caused instability and crashes. I'll report back on this more as I figure it out.

    Settings buttons in apps - Once I did my KitKat update, many apps now included a settings button, as if I didn't have the capacitive button. Chrome doesn't, so I don't know if this is a change in KitKat to make it more standard, or another oversight by Google/Samsung (like the LTE bug in 4.2, and potentially the MicroSD issues in 4.3 forward).

    Data Usage now tracks wifi - By selecting a checkbox, you can now track wifi data usage in a separate tab.

    Auto brightness might finally be useful - I've always admired how my wife's iPhones (3G, 4, 4s, 5s) had a seamless auto brightness that was always just about right no matter the situation. She didn't even know that she had the feature because it simply worked without her interaction. For me, however, I've always disabled the feature in my past phones. It was always too sudden, with the changes in screen brightness being jarring and often not to the correct level. Well, this update shocked me. I tried turning lights on and off, and the transition is damn near seamless. It's hard to explain. I don't want to get my hopes up, but this feature may finally be working as intended.

    I'll add more insight tomorrow.
    El Presidente likes this.
  3. Petrah

    Petrah Psychotic Female

    I'm SO happy to hear about this.

    I expected this, since the launcher is a specific feature for the Nexus 5. Having tried it already I can honestly say I will not be missing it.

    Not happy about this one. I use ES a lot for moving files from my internal SD to my external SD.

    For the life of me I cannot find anywhere in a search when that feature was added (for 30 minutes I looked lol), but I've been using it for quite some time (even before I rooted). My boyfriend is using it on his GE S4, and he hasn't yet received the 4.4 update yet. Unless we're both talking about something completely different, which knowing me at this hour is highly probable hehe.

    Please share more when you can!
  4. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    If you own this device for more than a year, you'll come to appreciate the translucent bar. Both my Droid Incredible and Galaxy S II (both OLED displays) had the notification bar burn-in over time.

    I've already sent a detailed report to ES Group. Hopefully they address it. In the meantime, you can access the sD card via ES File Manager (located at /mnt/extSdCard), but you can only read files. No create/delete/edit allowed.

    It was not there in 4.1 (SGS2), and I did not notice it in 4.2 nor 4.3. Doesn't mean that it isn't/wasn't there, just that I've never noticed it.

    Here's what I've got so far.

    ART makes a subtle yet HUGE difference. First, here's my simplistic explanation on what ART does.

    After getting the OTA, I played with the phone for about an hour then did a factory reset. I turned on the developer options, enabled ART, and used it for about 48 hours. I then turned off ART for about 48 hours. I went back to it today.

    During the 48 hours without ART, I craved it. The S4 GPe is a very smooth device, in terms of Android devices, but it is not as smooth and fluid as my wife's iPhone 5s. With ART, the gap narrowed. I got use to an ultra-smooth device with VERY few hiccups. It's still not like the iPhone 5s, but it's damn close. Turning off ART kept the phone mostly fluid, but those hiccups were far more frequent and far more often, ESPECIALLY in Google Chrome.

    ART is a runtime for Java-based apps and has no direct effect on native apps, which most of Google's apps are. However, if a background app uses Java, they can still slow your foreground app, and in these cases is where ART shines.

    Overall, I'm more pleased than displeased with the update and would not want to go back to 4.3. KitKat is full of many subtle differences, but the net effect is rather large. There's a good chance that the GE Launcher is coming to more devices (it's been hinted as a temporary exclusive for the Nexus 5). This, combined with the supposed camera improvements in the pipe would make me very happy.
    Petrah likes this.
  5. Petrah

    Petrah Psychotic Female

    Did you hear anything back from the ES developer(s)?

    My boyfriend got his OTA update late Tuesday night and access to the MicroSD via ES was hosed. I downloaded another file explorer from the Play store that was updated to work with KK 4.4 and I was able to access the MicroSD and move/copy files back and forth, but it was severely buggy.
  6. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    Their response:

    That's it, unfortunately.
  7. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    Update on ES File Explorer

    They asked me to test their software in an effort to help them troubleshoot it. To be clear, they're using me as a guinea pig, and I am simply doing as asked. I'm not making any meaningful contribution beyond being a labrat.

    I don't have an ETA on when this issue will be fixed, but they got some information directly from my phone tonight that should prove invaluable. They're using me because they don't have a Kitkat-running device with MicroSD.
  8. Medion

    Medion Well-Known Member

    Update on ES File Explorer:

    It now works with our favorite phone :)

    EDIT: Fail, still has issues. The ES group made the suggested changes and it still won't work. Google is clearly doing something that only allows their apps to work. Ie, the new Google Music apk allows you to cache music to the SD card and it works beautifully.

    On the phone with Google now. The whole reason I paid $300 for this over the cost of a Nexus 4 was due to needing more than 16GB of storage. If they're blocking that storage from app usage now (not installation for apps, but for accessing data via an app), then they've just essentially disabled a core use of this phone.

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