Which phone should I get? Galaxy S4 (Active?) or Lumia 1020?
December 2, 2013 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Please help me choose between the phones based on my list of pros and cons between each.

I am being really indecisive, since this is a commitment of 1.5-2 years. First world problems, I know.

I currently have an iPhone, but I hate iTunes so it's time to move on. The phones I am considering are the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 Active, and Lumia 1020. Here are my thoughts and concerns:

Lumia 1020:
- I actually prefer the feel of this phone in my hand over the Galaxy S4
- I do NOT like the look of the text messages and the bing search. Why are there no lines to separate each message/each search result?? Is this something that people get used to? Is there a way to personalize this?
- Is there a way to group the tiles into folders, so that your home screen isn't so long?
- Will apps continue to be made for windows phones?

Galaxy S4 Active:
- I love the idea of the waterproof phone/camera, but is it worth giving up the better camera of the regular Galaxy S4 just for that feature? Am I REALLY going to take my phone with me when I go whitewater rafting or go to the beach?

Galaxy S4:
- Better camera than the Active, but not as good as the Lumia
- Less of a learning curve to use
- Text messages between different people are nicely separated with a line, unlike the Lumia

Basically, I like the Lumia camera better but have concerns about the look of the phone and getting used to a Windows phone. Is there anything else I should be considering when making this decision?

I do have a pretty good camera, so I don't need the Lumia just for the camera, but it would be nice to have.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. to Technology (7 answers total)
Microsoft just bought Nokia's entire smartphone division. I'm sure they'll be making windows phones for the foreseeable future.

That being said, the android ecosystem is infinitely preferable to the windows ecosystem. You may want to take a look a look at the Moto X and the HTC One if you're looking for other android options, I found I prefer both to the S4.

After test driving the X and the One, I did wind up buying an iPhone 5S. It has easily the best camera I've ever used on a phone, and with iOS 7 and Spotify, I have yet to connect my phone to iTunes for any reason.
posted by Oktober at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2013

I'd say go for the Galaxy S4, and if you need to have it with you in wet conditions, plan and equip appropriately.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:25 AM on December 2, 2013

You can get waterproof cases, I definitely wouldn't buy a phone just for that. It is very, very hard to make money in mobile app development and what I've heard from dev friends is that Windows, phone or otherwise, is just not worth their time investment. It doesn't have enough market share and even in that segment it doesn't have enough people who buy apps. Android's app quality runs lower than iOS and is more likely to be ad-supported, but it's at least a huge part of the market and people develop accordingly.
posted by Sequence at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Will apps continue to be made for windows phones?
Windows Phone worldwide market share: 4%; Android worldwide market share: >80%. App availability tends to be skewed commensurately. There are many useful Android apps that I use daily that aren't available for Windows, and have no visible prospect of being ported.

Just as a bellwether: there's (as yet) no official Snapchat client for Windows Phone. Not that I use Snapchat, but this is a company that delivers 400 million messages per day and just turned down a $3bn buyout from Facebook -- and so far they haven't found it worthwhile to develop a Windows app.

As to the future: there was a bit of an outcry last year when Windows Phone 8 came out and all the Windows Phone 7 users discovered that they couldn't upgrade, nor could they run any WP8 apps. I have no idea what Microsoft's plans for the next version are, but that wasn't exactly reassuring.
posted by pont at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2013

I would also say HTC One. Thats a nice phone. I currently have a Samsung galaxy 3 and I can't say enough bad things about yhis poorly built POS. I'm on my fourth replacement phone in 6 months, lets put it that way.
posted by fshgrl at 10:14 AM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I ended up ordering the HTC One! The other phones I considered all had big plusses as well as big minuses. The HTC One just seems to be pretty good overall - feels nice in the hand, not a windows phone, OK camera, especially in low light. Thanks for helping me make this decision and get the phone quickly, while it was free on the AT&T website because of Cyber Monday!
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 6:05 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you care, you can flash the AT&T version with the firmware for the stock "Google Play" version, it's a tradeoff though, while you'll get updates faster the stock camera isn't as good as the Sense version.
posted by Oktober at 7:55 AM on December 3, 2013

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