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Android 4.4.2 on the Samsung Galaxy S4: new features

Loie Favre

The KitKat update for the Galaxy S4 has already been published on the internet, at least in unofficial firmware. We installed it and will discuss the new features and interface components in our article. But before you start getting too excited, the changes are alas quite minimal.

s4 kitkat teaser
 © AndroidPIT

If you would like to install the firmware, please do at your own risk, as it is an unofficial version. All infos can be found on the Sammobile website.

You can learn about the changes in our hands-on YouTube video, or read on in the article.

Link to video

Samsung has finally started rolling out the KitKat update to the Galaxy S4, but many impatient users decided to get a test version of the firmware off of the internet before the official OTA update. The changes brought to the S4 specifically are not exuberant and have hardly changed Samsung’s user interface Touchwiz.

The most evident of them all is the camera symbol which is now found in the lockscreen: the round, dark-shaded icon on the bottom right corner of the lock screen provides quick access to the camera app. In just two seconds, your camera is ready for use. Beforehand, you need to set a camera widget onto the lockscreen and this could be started with a swipe from right to left. This new shortcut has the camera opening much faster.

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Beforehand you had to set up the camera shortcut on your lock screen (right), but now you can just open it by swiping on the icon found in the bottom right corner. © AndroidPIT

For those who consider the general flashy look of the TouchWiz an eyesore, then you might be pleased about this minor change: the symbols in the notification bar have now shaken their colorful look and are now all white, for a much more cohesive impression. There is no trace of the entire gamut of significant UI changes with modern icons and brighter design, like we have seen on the new Pro range and seen clearly on the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.

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The changes are minimal -  a look at the device information ensures you that your device really is running Android 4.4.2.  © AndroidPIT

Hangouts can now be set up as the default SMS app, while Android 4.4.2 also supports directly printing photos and documents.

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Hangouts with Android 4.4 became the standard SMS app and can also be set up like this on the S4.  © AndroidPIT
androidpit android 4 4 2 galaxy s4 4
Pictures and documents can be directly sent to the printer or alternatively, saved as a PDF doc.  © AndroidPIT

The standard keyboard has also been slightly changed: it’s now easier to use in landscape mode and swiping for input should allegedly work much better than before, but in our test we couldn’t recognize any evident improvements.

androidpit android 4 4 2 galaxy s4
The keyboard has now been optimized for use in landscape mode. © AndroidPIT

Even the slight performance boost that we’ve been hearing about was hardly noticeable in our test, at least to the extent where one could say it qualifies as an improvement. Therefore, the update is, all in all, just a very small one that won’t majorly change your device.

Did you receive the update on your Galaxy S4? Do you like the changes or do they leave you feeling indifferent?

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Write new comment:
  • aman 9 months ago Link

    hey kris.... can u please tells us about the RAM performance as this kitkat update is rumored that it is very low ram consuming operating system????

  • Amit 9 months ago Link

    hey aman! If you want to check the ram performance of kitkat than better check on vanila or aosp kitkat.. samsung adds many other heavy features which are ram hungry... hope you get the Idea. .

    • Anders Bagger 9 months ago Link

      True... Kitkat must be a blessing for Samsung. They can afford to make worse code now.

  • aman 9 months ago Link

    @amit... yea bro... I m having galaxy s4 9500 exynos variant. .. and its ram is allways 1.6 or 1.7 filled out 1.82 so its a concern that with having a huge 2gb ram and bloatware always eats up all.... I m just asking that is thr any improvement in kitkat or still the same

  • Nik Burin 9 months ago Link

    @aman probably Samsung's bloatware will still eat the RAM

  • roifab0920 9 months ago Link

    to update galaxy s4 I9505 to android 4.4 you can use this method ..
    Worked for a friend of mine....

  • Prakasam Pazhani 8 months ago Link

    Hey guys, l am using galaxy s4 i9500 and l am waiting for the kitkat update. but much worried about RAM management as it sucks too much space in 4.3 jelly bean. will it be the same in kitkat...??

  • Luai Farah 8 months ago Link

    hopefully they fixed the keyboard so that when one doesn't have to go back manually to the letters layout when writing a symbol. their old keyboard was much better, and i still haven't rooted my phone and i'm fighting my urge not to!

  • Motaz AlShishani 7 months ago Link

    I like the camera icon on lock screen but I hope that they added it to all screen lock types
    And the new arabic keyboard UI is to bad; they made the letters bold or something like shadow which is annoying eyes, except the new letter button 'ذ' which is good thing to have it alone.