It's running a newer version of Android.
All the new android phones take a screenshot by placing the "blade" of your hand on the side of the screen and sliding it across the screen.
Calendar issue, Not sure, but I'd wager there is a setting like you said using the wrong timezone. there are 300 calendar apps. I use google's and have never had an issue.
Group texts are NOT BUILT INTO SMS. It's kind of a kludge and iMessage from apple makes it worse because group texts in iMessage are not even SMS. They use data and the apple servers, so you get all sorts of weirdness there.
When you were in Canada, using a foreign service, it maybe have been rogers, or whatever that blocked it as their roaming contract doesn't cover that. No telling why that failed. I wouldn't blame that on the phone.
Camera not working. there is a good chance that using the flash could kill it, also risking the battery going incredibly low and damaging it. This setting can be changed I believe without rooting, but definitely with rooting.
The display turning off IS a setting, also make sure when you go to type, you don't cover the light sensor on the front. It wants to turn the screen OFF when you put it to your head to talk to save battery and avoid your cheek pushing buttons by accident.
Overall score for your rant, Meh. Nice long rant, but you obviously didn't spend as much time googling as you did writing that.