10/27/2013 04:58 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2013

Galaxy S4 Missing Manual Review

The book Galaxy S4: The Missing Manual is value-priced and, at almost 500 pages, seemingly encyclopedic. It's a good, well-written reference for users unfamiliar with recent vintage Android phones.
But if you're expecting advanced tips, this might not be the place to find them. How to use iTunes with an Android phone? It's a common but surprisingly tough question, and the book provides no guidance. Synch your phone contacts to Outlook on your PC? Also a common yet difficult query - it too requires a third-party app, but the book provides no hints.
There's also at least one significant error: the book implies that if you have a Gmail account, you have to use the phone's Gmail app, while other types of email can only be accessed using the phone's Email app. That means that if you have both types of accounts, you'd have to use two separate mail apps on the phone. But that's simply not true: you can in fact set up the Email app to read your Gmail, and not bother with the Gmail app at all. However, the book doesn't tell you this.
Which version of Android is the book describing, by the way? This goes unmentioned. That's a significant omission, given that the phone receives over-the-air updates to new versions of Android.
Finally, it must be said, the book's title is a bit of a misnomer. It's true that these phones ship without manuals worthy of the name, but it's not true that the manuals are missing. They're just hard to find. But if you want detailed, multi-hundred page pdf manuals, here they are: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile (and a 60-page Getting Started guide), US Cellular and Verizon.
Bottom line: the book Galaxy S4: The Missing Manual is inexpensive and would make a nice stocking stuffer for an S4 owner who is new to Android phones. Other users won't need it and will be well-enough served by the pdf manuals and by Googling for solutions to harder problems.
Check out my reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and cases and screen protectors. For other reviews (especially of devices for mobile, click here.
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided product for this review.