Posts tagged Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

When the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge first came out earlier this year, I thought it had a neat screen that was particularly useless.

The “edge” in the name reflects the phone’s curved edges along the longest sides.

At first I thought ‘Why do we need a curved edge on a screen?” Consumers usually want more battery life, a bigger screen and more space to store their cat videos and selfies.

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Samsung touted the fact that notifications could show up on the edges, so the whole screen wasn’t bothered by push alerts. It was not a bad idea. But the curved edge also seemed a little gimmicky.

Apparently, I was wrong. Consumers loved the screen so much, it’s back, bigger and better than before.

The latest iteration, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, has a name that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Perhaps the freight-train-long moniker exists so consumers remember it. Regardless, it appears to be aimed to go up against the iPhone 6+.

The screen is spectacular. Measuring 5.7 inches diagonally, it’s the most vivid and sharpest display I’ve seen on a smartphone. Although on paper it’s not as sharp as its predecessor, the S6 Edge, the reproduction is top notch.

With an infinity pool-like screen, the Edge+ easily draws attention to itself and gets noticed.

To take advantage of the edge, the phone has a launcher-like application that lurks alongside the periphery of the screen on whichever side you choose. Swipe out to quickly connect with a contact or launch a favourite app. It’s not obtrusive at all, which sometimes meant I forgot it was there and din’t take full advantage of it.

When reviewing the first S6 Edge, I would often accidentally activate edges of the screen with the palm of my hand. That happens less now with the Edge+. Perhaps the software has been improved and the handset can better detect unintentional contact or I’m more vigilant of how much more of the phone is a touchscreen rather than the frame.

RAM has been upped to 4 GB from 3 GB, while the processor is an octacore.

Nothing appears to get in the way of this phone’s processing firepower. The increase in RAM helps to soothe any concern that Samsung’s Touchwiz user interface, which is slapped on top of Android Lollipop.

The look and feel is upscale, alongside that of Apple’s iPhone 6+. The glass back looks particularly luxurious, but be warned that it’s at the mercy of change and keys in your pocket (while the front display’s Gorilla glass is much hardier).

The camera captures the best images of any smartphone I’ve used. It’s a 16-megapixel unit with a f1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization. The latter is unusual for smartphone cameras, since most use electronic image stabilization, if at all.

In this case, it’s the lens that moves to capture a sharper image, not some software guesswork.

Details are sharp, colours balanced and the shutter is quick. There’s a RAW shooting mode too that will save uncompressed image files which can be better manipulated later on.

The phone can also shoot 4K video and it can stream live directly to YouTube (not at the same time).

Speaking of which, the phone features next-generation LTE technology, enabling a maximum download speed of up to 450 Mbps. (Hint: If you’re in range of a cell tower that offers such connectivity, perform a speed test with someone on a regular connection. Chances are you’ll win).

While the handsets don’t ship with a wireless charger, the device is capable of such charging with optional equipment. Regardless, the handset is also fast-charge compatible, meaning you can juice up completely in about 90 minutes. This feature is also designed to compensate for the fact that the battery is not removable.

Samsung says it found very few users ever removed their batteries, and improving the charging characteristics is a better solution for users looking to get an electrical boost.

With a price tag that starts at $949 for the 32 GB model, this Edge+ is one of the priciest handsets out there.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge goes upscale

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Samsung’s Galaxy S line of phones, for the most part, stand out for solid screens, fast hardware and generally good cameras. But the construction never felt as solid as the specs would warrant.

It’s not like the handset of the S5 would shatter if it were to slide off a table, but the phone didn’t feel rock solid.

Not only does Samsung’s latest flagship Android device feature innovative hardware, it now feels like the premium handset that it deserves to be known for.

The perimeter of the device is wrapped in a metal frame, meanwhile the back cover is a solid, albeit permanent, slab of glass.

It survived several tumbles from a spinning bike, and one fall from my hand while I was trying to unlock my car in the freezing cold. The damage? Just a scratch on the edge from the pavement.

Despite the beefy feeling of build quality, the handset is still remarkably light, weighing in at only 136 grams.

The downside is that 1) there’s no option to add a microSD card for expandable memory and 2) you can’t swap out the battery. While many consumers are unlikely to replace the battery after a couple of years, some hardcore users may miss this flexibility.

On the upside, the phone is available in healthy storage configurations: 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB varieties.

The 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen looks stunning and is the best-looking display on the market right now. On the S6 Edge, the left and right sides of the display are curved away from the front, thus the ‘Edge’ moniker.

This unique bend in the design makes it appear as though images and video and displayed in pseudo-3D, kinda like icing on a cake that adds depth.

Why else would you want a curved screen? Well, another benefit is the potential to see notifications displayed along the edge, so as to not disturb the rest of what you’re seeing on the screen. Or perhaps it’s a subtle text message visible from the curved display lurking under your phone’s case. The curved screen is not a feature I fell in love with, and there are two other potential drawbacks to consider.

In addition to the ‘Edge’ premium (about $100), the curved display makes it a little difficult to pick the phone off a table without disturbing what’s going on on the screen itself. So, for example, you might accidentally exit an app playing a soccer game, or pause a YouTube video.

Maybe it’s my stubby man hands, but I’d save the $100 to avoid this problem.

The rear-facing 16-megapixel camera features optical image stabilization to help produce sharper photos, and what a camera it is. Inside the dark, dimply-lit Parliament buildings during a recent trip to Ottawa, the S6 captured images in rich in detail despite not using the flash.

That’s thanks to the fast F 1.9 aperture which really excels in low-light situations. It’s also a damn fast camera too, ready to snap stills in 0.7 seconds.

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When asking strangers to take a photo of my and some friends (sorry, no selfie stick here), they would inadvertently think the phone wasn’t taking photos because the shutter was just so fast.

Speaking of speed, the 64-bit octa-core processor provides more than enough juice for the S6 to crunch through everything from gaming to SnapChat.

With such a big screen and a fast processor, what is the battery performance like?

Not bad.

Yes, the battery in the Edge is smaller than what was used in its predecessor, the S5. But on that trip to Ottawa, the S6 helped me navigate through the city, take photos at touristy spots, browse the web, watch YouTube, use Instagram, hail an Uber, call the lost Uber driver, and then stream more YouTube to a TV late into the night.

Samsung has made its Android user interface, Touchwiz, less obtrusive, lending the S6 a fairly no-nonsense Android experience. Sure, it isn’t a pure Android phone (straight from Google, such as with the Nexus devices) but the latest Samsung likely won’t have users noticing the extra layer of software.

If you’re in the market for a smartphone with a big, gorgeous screen and a fantastic camera, the S6 should be on your list. And if you want to stand out from the crowd (and don’t mind paying extra for it), the Edge will turn heads wherever you go.

9/10

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review: Sturdy Android phone packs punch

Samsung_Galaxy_Note_4One of the first things I noticed about my introduction to the Samsung Note 4 was that the marketing director wasn’t really talking my ear off about the phablet’s software features.

That was kind of odd, considering how much time during previous Samsung product briefings was dedicated to things like S Note, S Health, and other Samsung touches.

Instead, the focus was on key things most people are immensely concerned with, such as battery life and the screen. There was also mention of the Note 4’s fast charger. It was all very straight forward, like going to a big-box retailer and not being pitched on the extended warranty.

The Note 4 is Samsung’s latest productivity phone, designed for professionals and average consumers who want a gigantic screen, a stylus and cutting-edge hardware.

Inside the Android-powered phone sits a 2.7-Ghz quad core processor and 3 GB of RAM, which provides for responsive and fluid use of the device.

Sharper screen, photos

That’s key, since the 5.7-inch display affords space for productive multi-tasking. You can compose an email in one window while watching a video in the other. Or scan Twitter in one third of the screen while browsing the web in the other chunk.

The 2,560 x 1,440 pixel Quad HD Super AMOLED screen appears sharp with such high pixel density, and the colours are deep and saturated — perhaps a little too much in some cases where photos may appear to pop a little more than you’d expect.

At a time when almost everyone from kids to CEOs snap selfies, this phone’s 16-megapixel rear camera seems almost irrelevant, although it’s quite good. The rear-facing camera also features optical image stabilization in order to snap sharp photos, even if you’re a little shaky.

If you have short arms, the next feature may be your favourite.

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The most noticeable photographic improvement here is with the front-facing camera, which features a 3.7-megapixel sensor and an f1.9 lens that’s designed to capture images from a 90-degree range.

Stronger handset

While Samsung spruced up the feel of the Note 3 with a soft faux-leather back, the Note 4 feels incredibly more solid and refined. The difference is like stepping up from a Toyota to a Lexus.

This improvement is largely due to the phone’s new metal trim, which adds a feeling of elegance and sturdy confidence to the handset.

The stylus that pops out from the phone’s edge – the S Pen – has been improved for the Note 4 and seems to be more natural to use and more precise on the screen.

Battery management

Honestly, all these features are useless if your phone is dead, or about to die, after a day (or less) of heavy usage. To that extent, the Note 4 features Ultra Power Saving Mode, which can selectively turn off features yet still let you make phone calls and send/receive texts for hours once the battery is down to 10 per cent charge.

There’s also the adaptive fast charger, which can drastically juice up the battery in a shorter amount of time. Samsung says a dead battery can hit 50 per cent charge in as little as 30 minutes.

From my experience, it went from 5 to 45 per cent in 25 minutes. Not bad.

While the phone’s battery capacity isn’t drastically improved compared to the Note 3 (3,200 mAh vs. 3220 mAh), the adaptive fast charger and improved power saving features helped me easily get through a day during heavy use.

Is the phone too big? Most would say yes. But the few who appreciate a big screen, a sturdy handset and improved battery life should consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Rating: 9/10

  • Screen: 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED
  • Processor: 2.7 Ghz Qualcomm cuad core
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB (internal, microSD expandable)C
  • Camera: 16 MP rear with OIS, 3.7 MP front
  • Connectivity: LTE, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1

Available Oct. 24 for $299.95 on a two-year contract, $799.95 without.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 shines with specs, takes aim at BB10

samsung_galaxy_s_4Samsung unveiled its new smartphone, the Galaxy S4, at a major event in New York City complete with dancers, actors and an orchestra. But behind the glitz and glamour, is the phone any good?

On paper, the new Android phone has features that help it stand out from the competition. But some might be questioning the theatrics.

Let’s try forgetting about the cheesy acting for a minute and dive into the confirmed features.

The phone will sport a massive 5-inch Super AMOLED screen with an intense pixel density of 441 – compared to the iPhone 5’s 326 ppi.

With such a big screen, it’s a few millimetres heavier than Apple’s latest phone, and a few grams heavier.

What sets the GS4 apart from other Android devices? There are a lot out there…

For starters, Samsung has fitted a barrage of sensors, including a barometer to help monitor your health.

Something that I’m particularly excited about is infrared sensor-powered Air View, which can be used to sense when your finger gets close to the screen but doesn’t actually touch it.

Read more

Apple isn’t cool anymore: teens

Apple has been in the news lately, and not necessarily because it’s selling new and vastly innovative products. And now the results of a new survey suggest Apple’s cool factor is fading.

Actually, it seems as though the company is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

A report in the Wall Street Journal tossed cold water on Apple’s hot stock price by suggesting that the tech giant was cutting orders for parts used in its iPhones due to less demand for the device.

Sources told the WSJ that orders for the screens that go in the latest iPhone declined to about half what they had planned for, although at least one analyst says that wasn’t reason to panick.

Wall Street is taking notice, however. Apple’s stock price has dropped by 28 per cent since it hit a high of $702.10 back in February 2012.

And now the ultimate barometer of what’s cool is turning on Apple.

Research from the Buzz Marketing Group suggests teens don’t think Apple is cool anymore. Instead, they have their eyes on Samsung’s Galaxy SIII and the Microsoft Surface tablet.

Picked your jaw off the floor? Continue reading…

 

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