Verizon Wireless carries the Galaxy S4 in white and black with an average amount of carrier branding. On the back of the device there's a Verizon 4G LTE symbol with the company's signature check mark logo. On the lock screen the Verizon Wireless name is displayed at bottom.
Currently, Verizon stocks only the 16GB version of the S4. That means that AT&T is is the only carrier stocking the 32GB version of the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy S4 is advertised as a 16GB phone, but after the Android 4.2: Jelly Bean OS, Samsung's TouchWiz software and Verizon's buffet of bloatware, users have only 9GB of storage to play with. Now, Verizon isn't the only one doing this, every version of the phone we've encountered has had far less than 16GB available.
What about the microSD storage, you're probably asking? Yes, you can add up to 64GB, but that's only for media, such as pictures, music and videos. Apps cannot be installed to the SD card.
Like any and every carrier, Verizon pre-loads its phones with a selection of apps from itself and its partners. On our Galaxy S4 review unit we found no less sixteen apps that couldn't be removed from the device.
Verizon has six apps of its own, and hosts ten more from Amazon, Flipboard and other partners. Now, some of these are just shortcuts that don't actually take up any space until you open and install them, making them just little red eye sores.
Still, many of them are useless, and will charge a monthly fee if you let them. The two most egregious have to be Caller Name ID and VZ Navigator.
Caller Name ID brags that it "identifies unknown callers by Name, Picture, and City & State." It charges $2.99 a month to do so, even though you already get an unidentified caller's state when they call. Then there's VZ Navigator, which wants $4.99 a month to provide turn-by-turn directions that are inferior to the free Google Maps you get on any Android phone. In both instances, the services hardly seems to be worth the extra cash each month.
Apps like IMDB, Flipboard and the Amazon bundles are the only ones that customers might actually want to use, but it is annoying that they're permanently installed to the phone. We recommend users steer clear of the rest of the bloatware though, and avoid incurring extra charges.
Verizon's call quality and 4G LTE service
Verizon claims to have the largest nationwide 4G LTE network, and while it certainly has Sprint and T-Mobile beat for sheer coverage size, in our experience it's neck and neck with AT&T in most places. However, Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited data plans, while the other two carriers do not. That gives them a considerable advantage, especially if you live in a city when the two have rolled out 4G LTE coverage.
Using our Galaxy S4 to test Verizon's 4G LTE network in the city of San Francisco, results were mostly inconsistent. We rarely found areas where speeds got as high the 25mbps we expect from LTE service. Instead, they were generally around 10mbps. However, total dead spots, where we couldn't even make a call, were rare.
While data speeds varied we generally had no trouble placing calls and send text messages. Voices over the line were clear, and everyone we spoke to reported that we were coming through loud and clear.
As always, signal quality varies wildly depending on where you live. We recommend checking out the coverage maps offered by carriers, and speaking with friends and co-workers about their personal experience with carriers in your area before making a two-year commitment.