At last count, we found some 37 pieces of thin, clear plastic protecting the (also) thin plastic that is the body of the Samsung Galaxy S4. They're on the side. They're on the top. On the bottom. They're not all that difficult to remove, but it's easy to miss one. And that's the smartphone equivalent of toilet paper stuck to your shoe. 

One of the trickiest protective pieces is hiding in plain sight. Be sure to check the camera housing on the back on the phone. There you'll find a clear  sticker. It's not affecting images, as it's got a cutout for the lens itself. But it will start to collect dust and dirt (which actually is how we first saw the damn thing), and nobody wants that. 

So give your Galaxy S4 a once-over and make sure you haven't left any plastic strips behind. Nobody wants to be that guy.


Reader comments

Your 'I can't believe I missed that' Galaxy S4 tip of the day


Lol, I'll be the first to come clean.
I got my S4 two weeks ago from AT&T and I left that sticker on, I got all the small ones around the faux-chrome (some of which were very hard to get off, but I didn't notice that was a sticker lol :)

Ugh. Exact same boat here. Had my S4 for about two weeks now. Thought I got it all. Missed this one!

I believe lots of paranoid consumers will let all the stickers on (just like some let the nylon cover on their sofa)

I would recommend people actually leave this one on. Especially people who do not use a case. Laying the phone on it's back side without this sticker could scratch the plastic/glass or whatever the camera cover is made of. Then you will have some blurry pics. IMHO. What is is bothering leaving it there? What could it bother by taking it off? A lot more. Again, IMHO.

I can see the logic, however it does start to collect dust and dirt and look nasty after awhile. For me the solution is always a case, it keeps the lense from touching the surface I lay it down on, as long I I don't key my keys in the same pocket as my phone that should be sufficient to protect the camera lense, even then it's only a minor worry I've never protected the camera lense on a smartphone and I always have a screen protector and case and I've never scratched a camera lense, *knock on wood* lol.

With camera's that stick out like the S4 though I think a case is extra important.

I always leave the stickers on the scratchable surfaces, definaly the screen cover on the s4 (nogreese:), in the case of the back cam, I'd keep it on till it gets dirty, try to clean it, if not remove it, but it does keep the lens from scratching.

pro tip: keep the plastics on for as long as possible 6 months or so down the line when you can't stand the covers any longer, take them off, back up your personal files and facory reset your phone and it will be brand new :D

I would think twice about removing the plastic from around your lens. Yes it is there and yes if it gets dirty, you will see it. BUT, it serves an extremely important purpose. It will protect your lens from scratches. Despite the toughness of the gorilla glass, it does scratch and over time, the scratches will dull the lens to the point of seeing a cloudy appearance on all your photos. The scratches cannot be removed.

Samsung does add gimmicky features, most of which I immediately turned off.
But plastic to cover the phone during shipment and transport is hardly a gimmicky feature, it's not a feature at all.

I intentionally left that one on for extra protection, but if it does start collecting dirt, off it will come.

It starts collecting dirt, when I checked mine it was getting dirty (I think from when I went to the beach on the 4th) my case has a little raised ridge around the camera, which should protect the lense well enough.

You mean too tell me,you missed that One? ;-)

Sent from my HTC One rockin Jelly Bean 4.2.1

HTC one doesn't need extra protection, it has something that Samsung haven't yet heard of, excellent build quality..... :)

Haha! Just sent the link to this story to my daughter, she got her TMO SGS4 about 4 weeks ago. The sticker was still there! She had to take her case off to check.....

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I tried to take that off of the camera but it was difficult so I stopped assuming it was suppose to be there.... let me try it again lol.

I always look for and remove all of the plastic and stickers that come on the phones as soon as I get it. Even the little Qualcomm one on the top.

I'm another one that left it on, even though I did see it. It did not seem to interfere with camera function at all... actually it had been taking some very excellent pictures. I did just remove it just because I read this.

I'm still rocking the factory plastic on my nexus4. Front and back piece. Still looks good after 4months.

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No joke. I took a Nexus 4 for a month-long trial and I left the plastic on the entire time for protection. I wasn't sure I was going to keep it, so I didn't want to spend money on extra protection. When I returned it, I cleaned the dust off and looked like new.

I was hoping that this was going to be followed by - "we had no idea just HOW GOOD the camera was ..."

Bought my phone launch day for att on 4/27. Noticed it on about day 5. Pain to get off. Contrary to the original story, mine WAS affecting picture quality which is what made me look for it.

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Man... missing the plastic piece that doesn't interrupt the camera in any way must be a terrible thing to happen to somebody! I'd hate to be "that guy" ... great article Phil! o_O

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I've had mine about two weeks...went over it really well the day I got it to try and remove all the plastic, and thought I got them all.

But a few days later I found a little piece on a side that I had missed. And a few days after that another little piece.

Just yesterday I looked at the camera lens and though "Odd, that looks a little dirty but my images are still clear". Didn't give it much more than a passing thought though...but sure enough still had that piece on there.

I'd say I think my phone is clean now...but that would probably just guarantee me finding another bit of plastic somewhere else.

And now really bummed since not only did this phone break my streak of never breaking or damaging a smartphone but I now realize I managed to break the screen before even removing all of the protective plastic...ugh. Other than the joke of a bezel around the glass I'm loving the phone at least.

I love how thin the bezel and the phone is and I also love light it is.

Maybe off topic, but I really don't get all the complaints about build quality, everyone is so enamored with the aluminum used the the HTC One, personally every phone I own gets a screen protector and case (So who cares what the back is made out of, as long as it's solid and light) I think the gushing over the HTC aluminum is just people who feel their smartphone is still a status symbol. (It's not almost everyone's got one)

Even without the case the phone seems solid, the plastic doesn't creak or anything. Who cares if it bends if you take the back off, at least you can take the back off. With my old nexus 4 and galaxy nexus I had gotten used to not having an SD card and accepted it, but I really like having it now that I have a phone with it again. I love my S4 and I'm not a Samsung fanboy, I switch manufacturers practically every time I buy a new phone.

It is what you prefer. I like taking the back off and switching batteries. I have no issue with plastic. Some do.

I like choices

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I like choices too, but to me build quality should indicate how well made a phone is. Is the device solid or does the device materials creak like they are about to break? how does it stand up to falls and the quality of the external facing components like screen, rear speaker buttons and earpiece.

The S4 feels solid and well put together and has already survived a few falls, the build quality in my estimation is better than other phones I've owned, which include htc phones, the galaxy nexus, nexus 4 and old plastic samsung phones like the original galaxy phones which definitely did have a sub-par build quality as the back felt like it was about to crack if you put any pressure on it.

People's preferences on materials doesn't speak to the durability of the phone, just their preferences in materials and feel, it's a semantic issue for me, i guess.

The s4 and Note 2 both are solid phones. It really just boils down to what the consumer wants out of his/her product. For me, I'm big on battery life and the Thundebolt and Rezound have killed any chances of me owning a HTC device ever again. Then to make matters worse, HTC decided to remove the ability to expand the memory. It's no wonder this company isn't doing well.

LOL.The camera lens happened to me. I actually took my phone back because the lens seem to be off centered and to my surprise the young lady scraped the lens and pulled off this thin piece of plastic...I felt really stupid afterwards..could only laugh.

When I got my phone a month ago I tried to take it off but it wouldn't come off so I assumed you couldn't remove it. A couple of days later I checked online and other people who had the phone said it does come off. It took me about ten minutes but I got the sucker off.

The only concern I would have with the piece of plastic that is protecting the camera lens for those that own the s view flip case is debris getting in between the lens and plastic and possible scratching the camera lens. I was a victim of some minor scratches along the chrome edge at the bottom created by debris getting in between my Note 2 and its case.

Can we get a list of where all there is plastic film to be removed? I can't seem to find all the 37 pieces that Phil mentioned.

I don't think I found 37 either maybe a dozen or so and I looked around the chrome pretty thoroughly though maybe I'm forgetting some, it wasn't like I was actually counting.

And DON'T USE METAL TWEEZERS to pull it off. Use a fingernail or other non-scratching implement. (It might come off with sticky tape, after which you just clean the lens.)

I left mine on intentionally. It doesn't affect the pic quality and it's just about the only surface my case doesn't protect. Can't hurt.