Originally Posted by mediumsteak
AOSP is definitely great in terms of performance, modification friendliness and flexibility.
However, I would suggest that spending $699 on a phone regardless of whether it is an M8 or S5 or Note 3 just to abandon the differentiating features such as multi-window, finger print sensor and depth camera make absolutely no sense.
One could argue that just a few years ago the decision to run AOSP on a flagship device such as the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy S3 made for an excellent alternative strategy due to limitations in the stock software which caused issues including laggy performance, resource hogging and slow software updates. However, in the upscale smartphone market today, the vast majority of such shortcomings have been eliminated. Furthermore, manufacturers now focus on differentiation via various innovative features such as the S-Pen, dual speakers and IP67 resistance in hopes of capturing market share.
Hence, purchasing a premium tier smartphone in order to strip away the differentiating features demonstrates a careless squander of financial resources when the individual could have achieved the exact same experience on a mid-range device such as the Moto X or the Nexus 5.
That's your opinion. But each phone and each hardware is different: you won't find an external SD slot or a removable battery on the Moto X or the N5. Some people are Samsung users for these reasons only, and couldn't care less with the "features" added by TouchWiz that they find useless (that's my case).
To give a personal example, turning my Galaxy S4 into an custom AOSP phone made it at least ten times better for me. Very fast and smooth UI, nice minimalistic look, removed all the useless Samsung apps and features I wasn't using (smart screen, etc.) In fact the only thing I'm missing is the lockscreen lol, I somehow liked the Samsung ripple effect...