Samsung Galaxy S4 Scandals: Water Damage and Boosting Benchmarks
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Samsung Galaxy S4 Scandals: Water Damage and Boosting Benchmarks


Samsung seems to have gotten itself into a bit of trouble over the past couple of days. First, early adopters of the “waterproof” Galaxy S4 Active discovered that Samsung’s warranty doesn’t cover water damage. Then came reports that the South Korean tech giant was boosting its flagship Galaxy S4 benchmark figures.

Many people were attracted to Samsung’s rugged Galaxy S4 because of its advertised water-resistance (technically, it is rated IP67 – not quite “waterproof,” but able to function at a depth of just over three feet for about 30 minutes). Some S4 Active owners feel cheated by the fine print in the handset’s user manual (bold by The Diplomat).

“This Limited Warranty does not cover: (a) defects or damage resulting from accident, misuse, abnormal use, abnormal conditions, improper storage, exposure to liquid, moisture, dampness, sand or dirt, neglect, or unusual physical, electrical or electromechanical stress.”

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VentureBeat points out the irony, stating that “there seems to be something profoundly wrong with encouraging underwater photography while simultaneously denying liability if things go wrong after users actually take advantage of the feature.”

Early online reviews of the S4 Active’s water-resistance have been scathing. One Amazon reviewer said, “I had it for less than a week, made sure all instructions followed (back and USB port properly sealed), yet it still leaked water and therefore is now worthless.”

Another added: “It's no more water resistant than a piece of paper towel under a running faucet.”

Yesterday, AnandTech discovered that international versions of the flagship Galaxy S4 – equipped with Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa – were showing off misleading benchmark stats. When benchmarking the GPU and CPU with most popular benchmarking software, the numbers came out inflated compared to the results garnered by less popular software.

The octa-core S4 posted a GPU running at 532MHz and a CPU clocked at 1.2GHz – much higher than the smartphone is capable of during normal use.

“Samsung has created within the Exynos 5 Octa-based Galaxy S4 a white list for certain benchmarking apps that allows them – and only them – to take advantage of the full power of the chipset. When the device detects that a white-listed benchmark app is running, it shifts into a high-performance mode not available to ‘real world’ applications,” reported AllThingsD.

Gizmodo called Samsung’s attempt to boost benchmarks “the digital equivalent of taking performance enhancing drugs for an Olympic event.”

Only time will tell if these recent scandals will garner as much attention as Apple’s “Antennagate.” Samsung is currently ahead of Apple in global smartphone market share.

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