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Samsung Galaxy S4 – To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade?

Seeing as Samsung Galaxy S3 global sales have crossed the 50 million mark already and there’s a good chance they’ll top 60 mil in the next month or so, it’s safe to assume some of you reading me out there have a GS3 in their pockets. Or on the coffee table. Or they’re straight up reading this from an S3.


Regardless of that, I’m fairly certain there’s also a little something eating at you for a good two or three months now. Should or should you not upgrade to the Galaxy S4, advertised as usual by Samsung as “the next big thing”?

Obviously, there’s no easy answer to that question, as there’s no easy way to explain why is the Earth round, why are all women such terrible drivers (just kidding), and why is Adam Sandler still in the business of making movies (definitely not kidding).

What I can do for you though is offer a few reasons why an upgrade would be smart and a few extra ones why I recommend you sticking with the S3 for a little longer. Ready? Here we go:

Major step forward or just a rehash?

You’ve heard it all before, I’m sure. Some say the Galaxy S4 is the center of the universe, all that’s right in the world, while others claim it’s just an S3 rehash with only slightly better hardware.

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3

Well, which is it? I’m sorry to let you down, but I don’t hold the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (and if I did, it would be 42 not the S4). What I can tell you is, in my humble view, the S4 is a far better, more robust, smoother phone than the S3. There’s no question about that.

But is it a game-changing device in every way? Put simply, is it for the S3 what that was for the S2? Sorry, Sammy, but no. The design is essentially the same (albeit more refined), while the software is simply unfinished, with far too many gimmicks that don’t really work as they should. Yet.

Should you wait for the Galaxy Note 3? How about the S5?

And the questions just keep on piling. Only these two are a little easier to answer. Should you wait for the Note 3 or S5? NO! Because if you do that, you’ll find yourselves in an endless circle, with no easy way out.

The fact of the matter is the big players engaged in the mobile tech battle for supremacy have reached the point where one flagship device per year is simply not enough. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Heck, it’s not a bad thing full stop.

Galaxy Note 3

Just think about how choosing a “high-end” phone went three, five or ten years ago. The choices were extremely limited and there was simply no boost and no reason for the big players to accelerate progress and push limits.

Now however, if Samsung were to wait 12 full months between high-end launches, you’d have better options from Apple, LG, Sony, Nokia, not to mention all those smallish Chinese OEMs that are growing by the day.

$700 for a flagship that’ll be obsolete in six months? No, thanks!

I’m no mind reader, but I’ll bet the above is one of the primary reasons you’re still hesitating to commit to the S4. After all, the 5-incher will be a second-class Android citizen once the Note 3, LG Optimus G2, Sony Honami, iPhone 6 and all of the others will be out, right?


Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong! Sure, the S4 will no longer be the world’s fastest and coolest smartphone, but how vain do you have to be to care about that? The right phone for you is the one that best suits your needs and all the rankings, comparisons and vs articles in the world shouldn’t change your mind as to what device to choose at what point.

All that considered, you should be happy with the GS4 two or three years going forward if you buy it today. There, I said it! You don’t need to buy a different high-end phone every 12 months. Which is why, while I don’t recommend waiting for the Note 3 to see if it’s better (spoiler: it will be), I say wait for it if you’re a happy S3 owner. Meaning if it still gets the job done. If not, upgrade and upgrade quick.

Stock Android or TouchWiz? Now you don’t have to choose

Okay, so far it may look like I’m undecided as to Galaxy S4’s upgrade “value”. And I am. Because ultimately who am I to tell you what to do, what to buy and when? But here’s one reason that makes me wholeheartedly recommend the S4 – the phone’s “Google Edition”.

You know, the one unveiled during this year’s I/O. That’s essentially the textbook definition of all that’s right in the Android universe, of the operating system’s diversity and freedom of choice.


The Nexus-like Google Edition of the S4 is no different from the regular 5-incher on the outside and it rocks the same state-of-the-art hardware. But on the software side of things, it ditches Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and comes with vanilla Android Jelly Bean.

Which I’m not saying is the way to go for everybody. But it’s extremely cool to have that alternative. Basically, you can choose between your usual Samsung top-notch Galaxy phone and an equally as impressive Nexus device. It seems dreams come true after all, eh?

To upgrade or not to upgrade? Final thoughts

I don’t mean to repeat myself, but I’m in no position to tell you to buy this, ditch that, drop 700 bucks here and lose 500 there. Which is why I’ll wrap things up by saying just one more thing – forget about what tech blogs say.

I know that may sound a little weird coming from a guy that makes his living writing on various tech blogs, but it’s true. The only person you can trust when making these kinds of decisions is yourself. You know what you need, what you like and don’t like.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret – that’s all you need to know. Now, will you or won’t you upgrade to the Galaxy S4?

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