[Review] Samsung Galaxy S4 with Google Android 5.0 Lollipop

Today in this topic we are going to review the new Google Android 5.x Lollipop operating system present in Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I95xx) mobile phone.

Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone was initially released with Google Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean firmware. Later it was updated to Android 4.4 KitKat and in January 2015, Samsung released the new Android 5.0.1 Lollipop firmware for this phone.

As we know Samsung always puts its customized skin called "TouchWiz UI" over the stock Android in all its smartphones. That's why the new Android 5 Lollipop firmware in Samsung Galaxy S4 looks and feels a little different than the Stock Android 5 Lollipop OS.

The UI and features mentioned in this exclusive review will apply to other Samsung Galaxy series smartphones as well which have been upgraded to Android 5 Lollipop firmware such as Note 3, Note 4, Note Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha, etc.

So without wasting time lets start the review:

First of all lets talk about the new UI. Finally Samsung has replaced the old Black user interface with a new refreshing colorful UI based on material design. Samsung has always used the dark black UI in all its Android smartphones. But since the release of Android 5 Lollipop firmware, Samsung has introduced a clean and minimal light color UI similar to Stock Android 5 Lollipop OS.

Quick_Setting_Buttons_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

As you can see in the above image, the Quick Settings button (also known as Toggle buttons) in notification tray/panel are now round in shape instead of square as they were in previous firmware. Samsung has also added 2 extra buttons "S Finder" and "Quick Connect" to notification panel and there is no way to remove them.

A new feature called "Interruptions" (or Do Not Disturb) has also been added which allows you to mute all or selected sound events such as alarms, reminders, phone calls, messages, etc.

If we talk about Apps screen, its now very clean. Samsung has removed all previous tabs such as widgets, downloads, etc. Now only apps are shown on Apps screen, nothing else. You'll notice many new flat icons for built-in apps such as Phone, Contacts, Messaging, Clock, Camera, Gallery, etc.

Apps_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

Samsung has re-added the ability to hide apps which can't be uninstalled such as default or OEM apps. If you remember, Samsung removed this feature from Android 4.4 KitKat update. But the feature has been finally added back in Lollipop update as shown in following image:

Apps_Menu_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

Since the size of Android 5 Lollipop firmware is big, Samsung has removed some OEM apps from the firmware. They have added a new option "GALAXY Essentials" in Apps screen context menu to download and install those apps from Samsung servers.

The Settings menus in white background look awesome as shown in following image:

Settings_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

Same goes with the Phone Dialer screen:

Dialer_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

And you'll love the new keyboard design in Lollipop firmware:

Write_Message_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

Its very clean now and contains more space between keys for better user experience.

The recent apps screen has also been redesigned a lot. Now it shows a 3-dimensional stack of cards containing app thumbnails:

Recent_Apps_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

One thing which I didn't like in new Lollipop firmware is that Samsung has removed the useful sound buttons to quickly turn silent mode on/off and to turn vibrations on/off from the power off screen. Now the switch off screen contains only 3 options: Power off, Airplane mode and Restart.

Power_Options_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

The sound buttons were very useful on power off screen to quickly put your phone on silent mode or to disable silent mode without unlocking your phone. Now you need to first unlock the phone and only then you can turn silent mode on/off.

The new firmware also comes with hidden secret Easter egg as usual. This time Google has put Flappy Bird game in Lollipop firmware which is actually very hard to play.

Flappy_Bird_Easter_Egg_Samsung_Mobile_Android_5_Lollipop.png

To learn how to reveal this Easter egg, check out following article:

Hidden Secret Easter Eggs and Daydreams in Google Android Devices

Now a sad news! Samsung has disabled the ability to use guest logins and multiple user accounts in its Lollipop firmware which was introduced in Stock Android 5 Lollipop firmware by Google.

Samsung has also removed new Flashlight button from Quick Settings in Notification panel. I think it was done because Samsung already provides a similar app called "Assistive Light" which does similar job and can be added to Home Screen as a widget. But having Flashlight option directly in Quick Settings button screen would have been really nice.

So these are the major and worth to mention changes and features in new Android 5 Lollipop firmware for Samsung Galaxy S series smartphones. If you also know about any other interesting Android 5 Lollipop feature, feel free to share it in your comment...

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Comments

  • to close out recent apps you have to wait for the "X" to appear. it's either wait or have the app open again by touching it too soon. Also, no matter how many times I set the "Interruptions" feature to none, it never remembered the setting. My screen was constantly plastered with "hangouts has quit working" and it doesn't fade away, it stays until you click it out.

  • Awesome review and snaps. Thanks. I always wanted to see the UI of Android 5.0.

  • The new UI was part of Google's Material Design (google.com/design/spec), adapted by Samsung

  • I own a "Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4" and it came with Kit Kat 4.4. After the release of Lollipop 5.0.2 I was able to acquire an update an updated my Tablet. So far I like all the features in Lollipop.

  • I found that Samsung has removed half of camera modes e.g. Sport, Dual camera, Eraser, Animated photo, HDR and Drama shot. Also no more 'Story Album' and Assistant Menu in Lollipop version.

  • VG, it would be great if you could confirm Yui's comment. I really like the Dual Camera feature, and if Samsung has removed it in the Lollipop update, it would be a deal breaker for me. Please confirm if it has indeed been removed in the update. Thanks.

  • VG

    ^^ Sorry but I cant confirm as I have Samsung Galaxy S6 now.

  • To Technizen:

    In my S4 from Verizon (SCH-i545. I don't know if the camera app is exactly the same in all variations) still have the Dual Camera feature in 5.0.1.

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