Originally Posted by essaudio
I'm considering getting a Galaxy S4. I heard and read elsewhere that there are some issues with rooting on the AT&T device (no good recovery procedures, etc.)? This will be my first android device, but I'm fairly technical (and a developer) - I used to be more active on these forums in the windows mobile days. Here are some details regarding what I'm looking for:
- Ability to remove all the bloatware from the device, and run a fairly stock Android version, retaining my ability to customize
- Ability to use all frequencies on AT&T, including 4G (and not just on one band)
- Would like a ROM that has USB audio support - I have several USB DACs and when I am done using this as a primary phone, I'd like to try using it as a dedicated media player / 4G hotstpot in my car.
- Large infrastructure for device compatibilty and accessories
- Decent camera/camera software
- Good navigation software that works even where data connections are spotty
- Choice of colors (probably want a grey/black device - I do not like the white S4)
- Expandable memory (or 64GB onboard)
- Replaceable / expandable battery support - this one is a nice to have, not a must
It looked like the Google Play edition had all the same bands/antennas as the AT&T version, but I'm not sure. Deal breaker there is the 16GB and white only options. Which version of this phone should I get, assuming this is even the right phone for me? Will the Note 3 be better?
If you want a GS4 that works on AT&T, and you want LTE, you have two realistic choices:
1. The SGH-I337 AT&T carrier-branded variant. The pros are that you can get it in 32GB and you have color options. You also get a ton of software features that are built into Touchwiz, including the amazing camera app. The cons are that the most recent firmware has a bootloader that's locked down tighter than a crab's ass. You can root it, but custom recoveries and ROMs are off the table.
2. The GT-I9505G Google Play Edition. The pros are that it's got an unlockable bootloader, it gets Android updates very quickly, and it's not full of carrier and Samsung junk. You can root or flash custom recoveries, kernels, or ROMs very easily a-la Nexus devices. The cons are that it's 16 GB and it only comes in white. Also, you lack some of the cool software features that Touchwiz provides because the phone runs stock Android.
If you want a GS4 that runs on AT&T but don't care about LTE, you can also buy an unlocked GT-I9500 or GT-I9505 from Europe. With either of those devices, you'll get HSPA+ on AT&T, but no LTE.
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