Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Samsung Galaxy S4 Odissey

I’m writing this post hoping it can be of any help to all who are tempted to throw this wonderful smartphone to the wall and are desperately searching the Internet to find some good reason not to do it.

I got my Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505) as a birthday present (thank you, loving husband!) at the end of 2013. It worked really good, and I was more than happy.
Sometimes, though, it used to heat up and the battery went down consequently very quickly, especially when I used the camera or the gallery app. It happened not so frequently, so I gave it not much importance.

By the end of 2014, however, things went quickly worse.
At first, the smartphone seemed impossible to restart: it went in a kind of loop when trying, and the few times the restart worked, the smartphone shut down suddenly few seconds after the start.
Few days later, while using the camera app, a sudden shut down occured, and the smartphone would not turn on anymore. After few moments of real panic (and a fit of rage) I discovered it could be turned on again by taking the battery apart for some minutes. It seemed quite a systematic problem occuring when the camera and the gallery app were in use.
With great regret, I tried to use my smartphone without even looking at the camera and gallery app on the screen. It worked again, and a few days later I took courage and started to take photos again: it seemed to work, and sudden shutdown occured rarely.

Yet my odissey was not over at all. Systematic shutdowns started to happen “randomly”: when browsing the Internet with Chrome, when the 3G connection was coming and going, when rotating the screen.
A new kind of problem appeared: the smartphone seemed ok, no shutdowns, yet it was unable to make and receive calls and sms, and of course it was out of the network. You could notice that something was wrong because the network switch was still and could not be turned off neither on.
The battery was most of the time in my pocket, giving time to the smartphone to recover and turn on again, functioning properly.

I was desperate: I read many posts on forums and was ready to take the smartphone to Samsung’s support service, knowing that it could come back as “mad” as before; I was looking for a replacement entry-level smartphone to use while mine was under maintenance.
I even restored it to factory defaults, but it was useless. I really suspected a serious hardware problem.

But before investing in a replacement (and in the trust to customer assistance) I decided to make a last attempt: I bought a new battery on Amazon. In fact, I discovered the battery I had was one of the ill-famed batteries (serial number: BD) that caused so many problems and even swelled up.

Only, none of the problems I encountered seemed linked to a battery defect, and my battery was perfectly thin. Nonetheless, the moment I changed the battery, everything got right again, and is still going well after more than two months.

So beware: try to invest 30 EUR on a new battery (or claim for warranty service if you still can) before you decide to throw your 500-EUR smartphone away. It is worth it.

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