final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality Big improvement for me over older generation phone great!
  • Display fantastic great!
  • Battery life The key here is app and settings configurations. Restart the phone after a couple days of setting tweaks and app updates. great!
  • Camera physical button arrangement nice great!
  • Ease of use not difficult to get started great!
  • Design and form factor charging port cap very difficult to open without fingernails good
  • Portability (size / weight) fits in pant pocket well and light weight great!
  • Media support no problems here great!
  • Durability Water resistant!!!Thank you!!! great!
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Samsung bloatware not necessary and damage battery life. Out of box configuration not ideal for optimal use. good
Detailed review
Pros: Was very easy to upgrade from Samsung Galaxy Nexus to this phone. My previous apps immediately started to repopulate after activation, as well as all my pics from google. Problem is those apps combined with the Samsung bloatware all configured in a way to maximally destroy the battery life resulted in much lower battery life than I was hoping for with only moderate phone use. I had to reconfigure multiple settings and delete unused apps just to get the battery life close to where I wanted it. Out of the box, this phone needs lots of work to be optimized, quite unlike an Apple experience.

Water resistance is a great move forward. Thank you Samsung. This feature I will gravitate to more in the future.

Camera appears great, although I haven't fully tested it.

Pedometer appears accurate compared to my Fitbit Force.

Ultra Power Savings Mode is awesome, and no Verizon did not disable it as I have read in other reviews.

Does so many things, it may need to be reeled in a little bit.

Cons: Battery life still an issue due to very confusing initial configuration and unnecessary app placement. The beginner would not be able to optimize this phone for months. And as they accumulated apps, the experience would be poor.

Charge port cap should be easier to open and manipulate.

Finger print scanner fussy, but getting better. I think it is my finger swiping learning curve that is improving.

UPDATE:(5/17/14): After a few disappointing days with weak battery performance, I reconfigured a few settings, deleted a couple unnecessary apps, and started using power saving mode more, but I was still only barely making it to bed at 11 pm with less than 20% battery in one day with moderate phone use. A performance glitch motivated me to do a forced power down. As I did, I realized a new option was available that I never had with my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, that being restart. I did a restart, and thereafter the battery life I was expecting emerged. Went to bed last night at 11 pm after a full day with over 60% battery, and woke up with 53% left. I easily could have gone 1 1/2 days on one charge. Moral of the story, after your apps from previous phone and settings transfer after activation, do a clean up of unnecessary apps and then restart the phone. Good luck!!
review history
Battery life rating changed from 3 to 5
Edited comment on Battery life
Updated detailed review