12.18.2013Personal Tech

What Have You Missed? Comparing Galaxy S4 & Moto X Notifications

This is a guest post from Tim Tender (@TT_7), who travels the country working for Weather Central as a trainer/software implementer.

I can still remember my first feature phone … back before the iPhone vs. Android battle. It was a Windows phone before the major recent revamp. The one thing the phone had that would be tough to live without these days is a blinking notification light. You know, you get a phone call, text or e-mail and it blinks to let you know you’ve missed something.

Today, these blinking lights still exist on some phones, while others have something completely new. Let’s look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Motorola Moto X for example.

If you’re a fan of the traditional flashing light for notifications, you’re in luck. The Galaxy S4 offers basic colors like green, blue and red for things like missed messages, Facebook notifications and even the dreaded near-dead battery. You can even download an app that’ll let you change the colors of these notifications so, at a glance, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve missed (I use Light Manager. There are others, as well).

One of the cooler features the Galaxy S4 has is what I call the "wave and check" feature. With your phone on a flat surface, just wave your hand over it and you’ll see missed calls, messages, current battery charge and the current time…all hands free. Personally, I like this method of notifications. There is a new alternative, though.

The Moto X has changed the game with its battery-friendly notifications that light up your screen instead of an LED. With the Moto X, you don’t get a flashing color-changing LED because your screen will turn on and off when something is waiting for you.

The best part is the phone only lights up the pixels needed to show you the notification, saving precious battery charge for when you really need it. When the screen lights up, you can then place a finger in the center to see what you’ve missed. If you want to see it right away, swipe up to open it. If you want to discard the notification until you’re ready for it, just swipe to the side and it won’t blink again until something new comes in.

One thing I really love about the phone is when you take it out of your pocket or move it, it lights up to show whether you have any missed notifications. You don’t even need to hit the power button.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Both phones will help you figure out what you’ve been missing.

Have a preference? Do you like your blinking light or do they drive you nuts? I’m interested to know what you think, especially if you’ve tried the new Moto X. Drop me a note on Twitter @TT_7.

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