Posts tagged “Camera

Samsung Galaxy S10, the best Android smartphone right now

There, I said it, there is really nothing else to read — unless you want to learn about how smooth interacting with the device is, how it matches up to the competition or the hole punch for the two front facing cameras actually interact with the device.  It’s a quick takeaway, but Samsung is truly doing something great here and it should not go unnoticed.

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Samsung Galaxy S10+


Design and Use

(*My main interaction and time was spent with the Galaxy S10+, which this hands-on will focus on.)

Samsung knocked the ball out of the park here with an incredibly light design housing a massive 6.4″ AMOLED display that is industry and class leading.  For full specifications of the Galaxy S10E, S10 and S10+, go here.  This display stretches to each side, curving over to the edge and going almost to the top and bottom as well — almost.  There is a small bit of continuity cut off due to the hole-punch cutout for the front facing cameras and in my use and to my surprise, were not too impeding in the use of the device.  The cameras essentially sit in the notification space and leave the rest of the screen open as a gigantic media-centric canvas.

What does this mean for daily interactions on the device?

Plain and simple — the hole-punch does not get in the way, unless you really, really want it to.  Even during expanding a YouTube video from regular pillarbox to full-screen, the camera cut out doesn’t kill the viewing experience — say that about a traditional “notch”.  See below:

Video on Galaxy S10+.  No zoom versus zoom.

Using the Galaxy S10+ is a breeze with apps opening fast and seamlessly, as someone who has tested out most of the flagship Samsung phones in recent memory, the optimizations put in place by the company get better and better and One UI is certainly helping out here.  One UI is Samsung’s attempt at simplifying the user interface of a smartphone on a big display.  With that being said, touch points are larger and placement of items on the display make it much easier for one-handed use, which is something most of us wish to do.  Additionally, One UI seems to cut out a lot of the “crap” and jankiness that older Samsung smartphones included out-of-the-box and looks and feels a lot easier on the eyes.  Although One UI is an improvement in performance, we still see the usual shutter lag present in most Android smartphones and the S10 camera is no exception.  While the photos turn out excellent and going between all three camera modes (2x, 1x and telephoto) are a breeze — when I tap the shutter button, I expect a photo then not a milli-second or two later.


Wrap-up

When it’s all said and done, if you want a great all-around performer, this device is for you.  Samsung keeps getting better and better and while us techies, including myself, constantly talk about the Pixel — many seem to forget that.  This years Pixel 3 XL is an absolute abomination to look at and many argue that the only reason to even buy the phone is for the camera; however, when Samsung has put together the most complete Android phone of the year, it’s simply too hard to ignore.

Welcome Samsung Galaxy S10, the current best Android smartphone of 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Initial Thoughts

It’s that time of the year, Mobile World Congress 2018 and Samsung releasing another device to take the mobile world by storm — or will it?

Quick Thoughts

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus look stunning and carry over essentially all of the outside features from the S8 and S8 Plus, except the camera is reportedly improved and the fingerprint sensor is under the camera lens system this year, which is where it should have been since this design was drafted last year (way to backtrack Samsung).  Hardware is something that Samsung has been getting right for years now and it should come as no surprise to anyone that this thing looks solid as a rock.

Expect the normal array of colors with an all new Lilac Purple version upon release.  The display is still beautiful, as should be expected from Samsung with it’s patented Infinity display, which happens to look better than the iPhone X’s ugly notch, sorry.

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Photo: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus


Camera

Let’s talk about the major change in the 2018 device, the camera.  And it’s not just your regular camera, it is one that can shoot in multiple apertures, which is notable because smartphone cameras are usually fixed; which could lead some shots appearing soft — well Samsung aims to fix that this year — hands on tests will tell.  The amazing part is that when taking pictures, you can see the lens shifting to a different apertures to capture images in, which is perfect for light and dark shots — being more narrow in increased light and opening up more in low light.  It is notable and impressive that this is the widest aperture (f 1.5) ever included in a smartphone.

Lastly, AR Emoji, which utilizes the front-facing camera, allowing you to take a picture of yourself and creating a lifelike emoji of yourself that you can send to your friends.  Just like Animoji on iPhone X before, I wonder how many days it’ll take new Galaxy S9 owners to forget about.


Services

Smartthings and Samsung Health.  We’ve seen how the health apps work, and Samsung is stepping it up this year with sensors to help check blood pressure.  Camera integrations with Bixby to let you scan in foods and log caloric data into the Health app.  Additionally, with Smartthings, which is huge for those who are integrating connected devices in their lives, will be baked right in.

Check out a condensed version of the S9 event below:

Source: The Verge


Final Thoughts

You should be very impressed with this device.  The hardware is essentially flawless now with an improved camera, which was already one of the best.  However, the only thing that could hamper the experience would be Samsung’s version of Android and how it will hold up over time.

Hands on coming soon as  this device will be hitting stores on March 16th!

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 First Impressions

Enter Galaxy Note 8.

There is a lot of chatter about this phone; however, one statement that is not being put out into the atmosphere is, “This is not a good device.”  The Galaxy Note 8 is a wonderful device through and through.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8.


Hardware

The Galaxy Note 8 feels great in the hands and it is simply amazing that Samsung managed to package a 6.3″ screen into a body of this size (close in size to an iPhone 7 Plus).  Since the device has a glass front and back, it is very grippy and easy to hold — so although it’s size may be unwieldy to some, is easy to hold in one hand.  Additionally, although the screen is large, it is slimmer than most devices coming in at only 74.8mm wide.  We are looking at a smartphone that has 6 GB of RAM, 12 MP dual-camera system (OIS on both sensors), USB-C, a headphone jack (yes, I have to mention it), S-Pen (more on that later), IP 68 water and dust resistant, a bottom firing speaker that actually sounds really good, Fingerprint scanner (in the wrong place right next to the camera,  this is the only part of the design that is flawed, which ruins the look of the back of the device) along with a Super AMOLED display that is simply one of the best, if not best, in the business.


Performance

You can put the best specifications in the world, the most RAM the fastest processor and still have a terrible smartphone experience, many Android OEMs have been guilty of this in the past, including Samsung.

Not this year.

With my time spent with the device, the phone flat out screamed from the moment I picked it up, until I put it down.  One area of the operating system in Samsung’s “Samsung Experience”, renamed from TouchWiz that appeared to be much more optimized was simply opening the Camera app.  Nearly all Samsung phones of the past would experience a little lag when opening the app — yes, it’s a big deal a moment is exactly that, a moment and something that you do not want to miss out on one.  Opening apps, closing apps and multitasking were absolutely painless making  this phone very performant.  One of the only pain-points I saw in regard to performance was swiping to the Bixby page at the left of the launcher, nearly every time (even when it was loaded into RAM) it opened the phone was met with stutter and dropped frames.


Samsung Experience

Most Android OEMs add a few apps, launcher changes and more to differentiate their flavor of Android from it’s competitors and Samsung does it in a very tasteful and refined manner on the Note 8 with highlights on two in particular.

Edge Apps

Because of the Note 8 screen technology, wrapping over the edges to meet the bezel, Samsung makes use of this with “Edge Apps”.  Edge Apps allows to to select from certain “predetermined” apps on the device and create shortcuts to those from anywhere in the operating system.  Really love that Samsung Notes app?  Put it in the edge and you’ll be able to take notes from anywhere in an instant.  Additionally, we now have App Pairs, which were introduced with the Note 8 and this allows you to pair commonly used apps together in a “pair” that will be launched together in split screen mode (6.3″ screen here, really making use of the extra real estate).

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Samsung “App Pairs” shown, above. (Note: In my experience the device did heat up a bit when two apps were on the screen in App Pairs.)

S Pen

While it is unknown of the actual usage statistics of Samsung’s S Pen, it is certainly a valuable addition to the device and where it gets its “Note” name from.  The S Pen makes it easy to jot down notes quickly and efficiently.  The phone doesn’t even have to be awake.  Need to capture some info?  Pull out the S Pen from the device, and start writing on the screen with “screen off memos” — these will be saved to a new note ready for you to reference later.  The S Pen does have it’s drawbacks, as the input lag is real here when drawing lines on screen and is somewhat intermittent when swiping between homescreens.

Source: Tim Schofield


Camera

Since when have you ever known of Samsung to slouch in the camera department?  It started this year, kidding.

The Note 8 takes fantastic shots.  With my experience, under Best Buy lighting, the pictures were crisp, focused and contained plenty of detail.  Video capture was nice and smooth as well; however, playback appeared slightly choppy on the Note 8.  Check out this very thorough camera review below:

Source: Andru Edwards


Nitpicks

There is so much to like about this device; however, I’m yet to have a perfect smartphone experience (seen my rants on iOS 11 lately?).

Let’s get this over with:

  • Smaller battery than the smaller Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus (likely due to battery issues in the Note 7)
  • Some photos appear to be over saturated, while pleasing to the eye, these pictures are not the most “true to life”
  • Disappointing S Pen performance lag

TLDR

Right now, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the best Android phone that you can go into a store and buy, period — no questions people.  The overall package of performance, camera quality and excellent build make it an all-around winner.