Galaxy S 4 “Nexus Experience” Device Really Just A Fine Tuned T-Mobile Version?


As Google surprised the Android world with the release of a “Nexus experience” Galaxy S 4 last week at Google I/O…questions arose about which model Galaxy S 4 it is? As it a new report from AnandTech suggests, the as of yet officially named Galaxy S 4 is a T-Mobile Galaxy S 4 hardware variant.

The Galaxy S 4 on T-Mobile which is also known as the SGH-M919 has always had support LTE on bands 2,4,5 and 17…or 1900, 1700/2100 (T-Mobile AWS), 850 and 700. Of course the AT&T model also has most of these frequencies save for locking the AWS WCDMA band that T-Mobile would need for 1700/2100 AWS access.

So what does all of this mean? Well, for one it means Snapdragon 600 and not Exynos 5. Google may be calling it a “Nexus user experience” nomenclature and that’s just fine with us, even if we can do most of this through a bit of rooting on the official T-Mobile-branded Galaxy S 4.

The good news? Updates will be delivered by Google and not T-Mobile or Samsung which is reason alone to consider this device. That’s straight from the mouth of  Matias Duarte, who is head of Android User Experience at Google so he’s someone who would know the definitive answer to software updates.

Now all you have to do is decide whether you can stomach the $649 price tag.



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  • What’s great about this is that if you get the T-Mo version and become tired of Touchwiz you could essentially flash it using ODIN and have a Rom that gets updates straight from Google.

    Instead of shelling out $649 to Samsung/Google, you can use T-Mo EIP instead and get the Nexus experience.

    Pretty awesome when you think about it.

    • jonathan3579

      This is what I am considering. For now, I’m holding onto my One while I wait and see though.

    • EvilleSV

      Yeah I was trying to tell people that after they announced it but got nothing but arguing and denial. Well that’s the internet right? I was thinking about waiting for the next Nexus phone but I may have to jump on this. (actually, I’ll buy the TMobile version and just flash AOSP on it) The one difference I can think of is that the radio would still be carrier locked (the Tmo version not the developer). But TMobile will give you an unlock code if you request it. I’m not planning on leaving Tmobile anytime soon though.

      • I think skepticism was reasonable under the circumstances, but if this proves true, then yes, or T-Mobile customers this will prove great news. Although I disagree that it will take merely an ODIN flash to get updates straight from Google. I think the device will still be identified in a way that we’ll need to wait for devs to modify the new packages to work on it. Still, an extra day at worst?

        • Trysta

          Maybe, maybe not. I’m no expert on the matter but I do remember that for the Galaxy Nexus there were international variants and then the model that was sold through the google play store. Hardware was all the same but they had different firmwares some of which didn’t get updates straight from google. But if you flashed to the “takju” variant then your galaxy nexus was just the same as if it had been bought from the play store, including updates straight from Google. I think this is what people are guessing will be possible with the T-mobile GS4.

  • AnandTech, not AndAndtech.

    • Doh, I got it right once!

  • Just me

    I suspected as much, given previous complaints from ROM debs about releasing source code for Exynos chipset drivers. That’s too bad- that 649 price tag suddenly seems a lot steeper.

  • rubi76

    Pondering if saving $ 30 by going with the TMO version is worth it…

    I wonder on the following:

    -Will flashing the Google software on the Tmobile phone give exactly the same experience as buying the phone from Google?
    -I suspect that by doing that you will not receive Google updates, although updates should come fairly quick when they release the software

    Other thoughts:

    -Do you think the community will develop some apps to make all those sensors useful?
    Because all the touchwiz features will be gone (yey!) but a couple of them are actually useful…

    • steveb944

      1. No tinkering will ever equate to the native OS on the native device.

      2. No updates from Google but possibility of Dev updates. Then again who knows if it’ll be fully supported by devs.

      3. Doubtful, they may be able to port the APKs since it’s essentially the same device.

      Final point- all comes down if you want faster, probably more continued support from Google. Vs, Samsung bloat and delays. I always choose Nexus now, so I’m biased. Good luck!

      • rubi76

        I agree with you 100%
        I am also a Nexus person, so I will wait.. And save..

  • mak

    link is broken, takes to admin page.

  • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

    is it confirmed that this phone will receive the FULL overlap of spectrum and bands for ATT and TMobile? (think ATT iPhone5 cannot recieve TMo HSPA+ 42)

    • Jarrod

      Lol your mis informed, they released an updated model that will work for both AT&T and T-Mobile.

      • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

        by “they” you mean Tmobile? then that wouldn’t be called the “ATT” version would it?

        • VG

          Apple really made a mess of things by continuing to use the A1428 model designation on the iPhone 5 after they tweaked it to fully support T-Mobile HSPA+ at 42Mbps. The “old” AT&T A1428 does NOT have the AWS 1700/2100 bands for full T-Mobile DC-HSDPA, while the “new” A1428 (which is now sold by both T-Mobile and AT&T, as I understand it) does. Here is the Apple support link that describes how you can tell which A1428 model you have (i.e. old vs new): Hope this helps!

    • Yes. The SGH-M919 has LTE bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 17. It has WCDMA bands I, II, IV, V. It has quad-band GSM. That makes it capable of operating on T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network on AWS. It is capable of operating on the T-Mobile PCS HSPA+21 network. It is capable of operating on T-Mobile’s LTE network. It is capable of operating on AT&T’s HSPA+14.4 and LTE networks.

      It will work on international HSPA+/LTE networks as well. Notably, Rogers in Canada uses bands 4 and 7 for LTE. Most countries in Europe use band 7 for LTE. Latin America is building out on band 4. Most countries in Asia are building or have built LTE networks on band 1.

      I think network connectivity isn’t going to be a problem.

      • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

        holy cow, the true world phone…the holy grail.

        • frigadroid

          I don’t think so with only single SIM capabilities you still need two phones :( When will they ever learn? I guess Apple has to make one first.

  • Legione13

    I am not buying this phone… yet. If, a year from now, this phone is under $500, *then* I’ll consider it.

    Of course… I’d rather get a Nexus 5, somewhere in the price range of the current Nexus.

    I’m guessing that the Optimus G Pro is going to form the basis for the next Nexus-branded phone, and from what I’ve seen, that’s fine by me, and actually better than any SGS#.

  • Graham Blackadder

    Sticking with my Nexus 4. Will never buy anything but nexus. This reminds me of the saying ” often imitated never replicated”

    • This *IS* is a NEXUS.

      • Graham Blackadder

        No its a ” Google experience” phone. If it was a nexus *IT* would be called a nexus!

        • J-Hop2o6

          Basically a “Nexus” since it gets immediate updates straight from Google with Stock Android.

        • TechHog

          Would you please tell us all the difference between this and a Nexus device?

        • Graham Blackadder

          They’re isn’t one. The s4 I’d the superior device hands down. Its Personal preference and opinion as I have stated. Although in my opinion Google is by far more invested especially financially in the nexus brand not the s4 ” Google experience” just like everyone that is my opinion and preference.

    • Geek Man

      This is what happens when you worship a name and starts to reject logic.

      If there exist a red flat piece of brick called NEXUS X, then according to your logic, you will buy it. However, if there is a phone called Galaxy S4 that updates like a Nexus, talks like a Nexus, walks like a Nexus, smells like a Nexus but it is not called a Nexus, you will not buy it.

      • Graham Blackadder

        You sir would be correct. it is personal preference I believe! Now if you smell and sniff cell phones that is your personal preference and I won’t judge!

      • A Griffith

        The Nexus is King crowd is getting a bit tired. You know the logic is flawed on their arguments when they’re exalting LG and Asus product. My N7’s hardware is so buggy its not even worth turning off anymore. I can’t guarantee it will come back on. I sold my N4 a day after getting it after seeing how fragile of a device it probably would be. In my mind the GSM GNexus was a far better built phone (screen quality issues aside).

        The software issues are almost excusable… But the build quality issues in the some of the Nexus line and the lack of thought put into the real world functionality of a glass front and back phone makes me think a little less of the device line. At least I feel better about the GS4 GE having the weight of Samsung engineering behind the device hardware.

  • My nexus 4 sucks… I know ppl swear by pure Google Idk why…. Less bloat is great but … The U.I has no added features … & it stops working frequently… No lag but just stops… It gets hot enough to burn skin.Lol… I’m not impressed … I’d take a an s3 or s4 … & I’m not a fan of Samsung phones…

    • Graham Blackadder

      then if it gets that hot there is something wrong with your phone. i never had no heat or crashing issues at all with my nexus 4! its smooth and works perfectly. its possibly the most stable phone ive ever had to be honest!

      • That heat issue is a well known problem with the nexus4 … The is very smooth but it does just stop running properly more often than my HTC one s… Also the radios in the phone don’t seem to be stable on the 4g network.. It often goes to edge. This is not a sim issue. I have changed this out plenty of times.

        I am the nexus 4 “champion” of my store meaning lg rep gave me this to learn & what not… This is what I’ve learned .. My boss has some of these issues not all. Its just not what I expected

        • Graham Blackadder

          Nexus champion of what?

        • Sorry when I say that I mean each store has a rep, where that rep gets the phone learns the phone & tells the good & bad about the phone the features of the phone. Common issues etc.

        • Graham Blackadder

          I’m just curious to of you are actually aware that the nexus 4 automatically drops from 4g to 3g when sleeping or not being used to save battery. I’ve never seen the edge symbol on it at all.

        • Lol yes I’m aware of this

    • qpinto

      get a new sim card. switch over to the apn. fixes everything.

    • KAWKAW

      what the hell are you talking about? You probably got a defective one. My nexus 4 is fast and stable.

      I rather have that phone then the one in this article because its design is nicer than the GS4 and it has on screen buttons which I prefer over the hardware buttons android cell phone manufactures insist upon.

    • zifnab

      If your phone just stops working you have a bunk phone. I have had the N4 since December 2012 and have yet to have a lock up, nor has it gotten warm after hours of playing games… something is up with yours.

    • TechHog

      Why do you… Type like this… It makes your comment… Harder to read… And it probably also made it… Much harder to type… So it seems like a big… Waste of time for all of us… In fact I need to stop this now… This is really tiring…

      • I read your comment quickly & easily…Maybe I’m just more ………..Awesome :)

    • steveb944

      You should do a warranty exchange because your issues are unheard of. Mine has been working seamlessly since day 1.

  • Ty Christensen

    I don’t see the point in getting this really, sure it has a better screen than the N4 but same RAM and processor is better too but probably not noticeable. Not worth the $650 price tag in my opinion when a N4 16GB is $350 or less on an upgrade if you’re still on a TMo classic plan like me, I got my N4 for $150 after $50 mail-in-rebate with my upgrade. Just my two cents.

  • Lucas Rivera

    I will buy if it has Google wallet support. I hope since its nexus it does.

    • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

      it will. Google Wallet is only locked out by ISIS associated carriers. this is an unlocked phone.

  • Mean Gene

    How much memory would be left on tmobile s4 rooted(16gb) vs Google edition s4 (16gb) not rooted?

    • jelliottz

      Basing my answer off of how much usable space my Nexus 4 has, I would say the S4GE would have about 13gb of its 16gb available for use.

  • pices7

    Sounds like the tmoble G3 final here

    • FILA

      No keyboard, so no. More like the MyTouch 5G, lol.

      • Jose Hernandez

        lol that is a good one.

      • Jose Hernandez

        lol that is a good one.

  • Better than the carrier branded ones but I’m not a fan of AMOLED technology. I guess I’ll stick with my N4 for now till Sony releases a phone with the same caliber as Xperia ZL with removable battery.

  • Jeff Martinez

    If I didn’t own a Nexus 4 already I would throw down the dough for this….maybe… Depending on how close an actual Nexus 5 would show up.

  • the2000guy

    So basically the only option is pay full retail. And no Wifi Calling, what a disappointment. I know no bloatware but Wifi Calling is a Pro.

  • Graham Blackadder

    to all the people who think the s4 or possible HTC google experience is a nexus read this from phonedog!