iPhone to Galaxy S4 Switch

iPhone to Galaxy S4 Switch

I have been an iPhone man since day one. I knew even before they came out that they were going to change the world of phones, and they have. The droid phones have always seemed like an “iPhone knock-off” to me. Being an Apple lover in the first place I just thought of them as “not an iPhone” just like I think of PC computers as “not Apples.” In other words they’ve never been a consideration to me one way or another. So when my most recent iPhone (the iPhone 5) lock button stopped working I started looking to fix or replace it: never would I have thought that I’d switch to a droid.

Just to make sure I took the phone to the Apple store. They told me what I thought they would; I was out of warranty and they couldn’t help save from replacing my phone for $230. My phone obviously had more wrong with it than just the lock button as soon the camera stopped focusing, then stopped working all together — emitting a loud “buzz” when I’d load it — then the touch screen started going “out”… so it quickly went from usable to “I need a new phone.”

Since the iPhone was going to cost me at least $230 I started looking for other options — this didn’t include other PHONES mind you, simply other ways to get a new phone cheaply. I thought I’d “downgrade” (more of a lateral move) over to the iPhone 5C. But then I found out since my plan wasn’t eligible for renewal I’d have to pay full price for the phone… even MORE than the $230 replacement the Apple store quoted me. So I thought, “I’ll trade in this phone, switch providers — even though I love AT&T — and then get a new iPhone cheaply that way.” AT&T ended up giving me the ability to upgrade my phone early to keep me as a client. (Seriously, they rocked it out on keeping me! Good jorb and thanks a million to Joy at AT&T in Tulsa, OK!) It was during this “thinking” though that I began to first even CONSIDER getting something other than an iPhone.

It started when I went to our local Target and talked to Sean Austin, an employee in the electronics department. He suggested I should look at the Samsung Galaxy S4, as it was cheaper. His initial suggestion was under the assumption I could get it for the lower price — which I ended up getting thanks to Joy — but none-the-less it planted the idea in my head.

Within hours I had researched, talked to friends, posted a question on Facebook and tried it out a little (thanks to Sean) and decided I was, in fact, going to get a droid Samsung Galaxy S4 as my new phone.

The Phone

Obviously the thing I was aware of with switching phones is that it wasn’t going to be the same. I knew there would be things I’d have to “get used to” and I expected there would be some things I would just have to “learn to live with”… in other words things I just didn’t like because they weren’t like the iPhone and couldn’t be. The truth is the things that are different I’m already used to… AND I’m liking it all better than the user experience on the iPhone. Something I didn’t expect. Here are a few things I like better…

S4_phone_settingsONE – Customization
The fact you can customize almost every (if not every) setting on every app and even on the phone right out of the box is a techie person’s dream! Everything from ringtone pitch to icon placement to the color of the LED light and when it blinks and how fast it blinks. All of that is doable. This is something that most of the other things fall under as well in one way or another.
S4_phone_gmailTWO – Google & Gmail
On the iPhone you could download Gmail, but it was never your default email program and you couldn’t do away with “Mail” – which I never used. But on the Galaxy S4 the first question it asks when you set up the phone is, “Do you have a Google account?” BAM! Set up and synced! Gmail is my default mail program now and Chrome my default phone browser. Nice.
S4_phone_lockscreenTHREE – Lock Screen
The lock screen on the iPhone let you access your camera easily. This was something I instantly missed on the Samsung, but quickly fixed. You can not only set your camera as a lock screen icon, but you can set 4 other icons there too. So, now I have my messenger, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and camera all accessible from the lock screen with an easy “swipe up”.
S4_phone_appsFOUR – Apps!
Not only did I get every app I used on my iPhone already on my S4 I also got some that I didn’t have on my iPhone. Admittedly I’m not a big “apps” guy. But being able to find things to replace featured I “lost” with the switch — such as visual voicemail and a great chat program (Go SMS Pro is sweet!) — the apps are a big plus on the Android.
S4_phone_notificationpanelFIVE – Notification Panel
The pull down Notification Panel on the S4 has the iPhone beat hands down. Not only do you get to see what things have alerted you that you might have missed… but you can quickly toggle between things you use often. Wifi, Volume, GPS, and so on and so on. You can even set what 5 toggle icons you want to show at the top. It’s this customization and easy access equal a great user experience.
S4_phone_volumeSIX – Volume Control
When you hit the side volume key on the phone a visual volume bar comes up and on its right is a settings icon. From that icon you can easily see all the volume settings for the phone AND you can control them separately. So you can set the “media” volume to loud and the ringer and alerts to nothing if you want — great if you’re playing music for kids but don’t want calls interrupting. Again… customization and easy access equal a great user experience.
S4_phone_netflix_screenSEVEN – The Screen
The size of the screen is fantastic and whatever bad things you might read about Super AMOLED and how Retina is so much better don’t pay attention… the blacks alone are worth the Super AMOLED. And if the colors aren’t “true to life” I can’t tell… they are true to awesome looking colors on an awesome screen!
S4_phone_cameraEIGHT – The Camera
Simply put the camera is way better than the iPhone camera. The panoramas do a full 360º and the default pictures are just sharper and more clear in general. Love the camera!
NINE – Swype
Swype typing is a way of typing on the keyboard by “swiping” your finger across the letters. It’s something that I, at first, thought, “Meh,” about. But after trying it I was hooked… and now, after using it for almost a week I’m really quite good at it and can’t imagine going back to just typing alone.

That’s not nearly everything I love about he S4, but that takes care of the highlights.

Again, the ability to customize the phone is what really makes it brilliant to use. That may not be your cup of tea though and so the iPhone might be right for you because it’s already “set”. If you like to customize though don’t be afraid of what might be “missing” on the S4 Droid. You’re not only able to duplicate what’s missing… you’re probably going to like better what’s there.


  1. My wife has a Samsung Galaxy SII and I have an iPhone 5s. We also have an HP Touchpad that I’ve installed Android ICS on. While I think the Android OS is fine in some respects, I’d also have to say that the iOS is superior in others – FOR MY NEEDS. iOS 7 has taken care of some of the features that you have pointed out were missing on previous iPhones (notification panel/center). The separate volume controls are really neat to see on Android, though. However, my wife really dislikes her Android phone because there’s TOO much to it and not simple enough to use for those who don’t want to customize every little detail. My tablet works great as an Android tablet. I’ve customized it to the extent that ICS can go (haven’t yet had the courage to upgrade the OS yet). So, pretty much as you’ve stated above, each phone/OS works great for what specific people need it for. It was nice to read your review considering I know how much you love Apple!

    • I think you hit it on the head there TB. Everyone’s needs are different. The trick is to really focus in on what you use and how you like to use it. Don’t disregard something “just because it’s Android (or iPhone) — which I can tell you’re not doing.

    • Thank you for the comment on iPhone to Galaxy phones. My question is how well the non-iPhone works on a Mac?
      We have a Mac21, and love it and can’t afford to upgrade right now anyway, but both our iPhones will be ready to upgrade in a week.
      Thanks for a reply.

      • Hey Steve,
        I’m not sure what you mean by “how do the non-iPhones work on a Mac?” I’m guessing you mean how does it interface with one… and honestly I don’t do that with mine so I’m not a great one to tell you. Like I said I never used any of the iPhone/Apple specific programs like iPhoto or iTunes so I never even really had my iPhone work on my Mac. Now I sync all my photos through SmugMug still — which is what I used to do, but it’s easier now — and I play music on Spotify still. If you’re looking to hook it up to your Mac and have it sync and stuff like that I don’t think it’s going to be as easy to use as an iPhone would be… so I’d keep researching before making the switch. Hope that helps/answers your question!

  2. #0 / Noel Green
    YOU SIR – are amazing!
    Thanks for this epic review – I’m in the excat same situation; I’m thinking of going from iPhone (5) to Galaxy S5 (I know, but soon! :P ).
    This was everything I wanted to know.
    You just took the decision for me. I’m changing. Thanks man – you’re the best!

    • Glad it helped! And you’re welcome!
      Feel free to tell everyone that my post helped you make up your mind — just don’t blame me if you don’t like it. :D

      *I’m still loving it, btw!

  3. Hey Noel. I read your blog about the switch you made. I too made the switch but am having difficulty receiving text messages. I already had the apple gang disassociate my number with imessage but am still not receiving texts from some people. Also, I want to know how to make my phone my buddy…ya know…my friend. can you help me?

    • Brooke, I’m not sure what the problem would be on receiving text messages. This article might help.

      As for making your phone your buddy… just give it time! Possibly name it, or talk to it. Let it sleep near your bed too. Sooner or later it will come around — or you will. *smile*

    • I also had this problem. I was told by Verizon that it’s “an Apple issue”. My Apple contacts had to delete my contact information and then add me again. This seemed to fix the problem.

    • Hey Brooke, make sure iMessaging is turned OFF on any iPads/iPods you might still be using too that are linked to your Apple ID. Apple couldn’t anything for us until we turned those off, then all messages started coming through.

  4. Welcome to the android family! :)
    If you like the customization, then you definitely need to get yourself over to the XDA Developer Forums and get that sucker rooted and custom-ROMed. I recommend SlimKat. ;)



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