Posts tagged “Samsung

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung’s latest flagship device is here, the bold and beautiful Galaxy Note 7 and I’ve had the chance to spend some time with it.  Starting at $850 this is one of the best Android devices that money can buy.  With that being said, I will break it apart and highlight the good, bad and potential pitfalls that I see in the device.  We must remember, that no device is perfect, but it can be “perfect” for us.

Let’s get reviewing, shall we!?


Screen & Body
The first thing that you notice when you pick up the device is how sleek and sexy it is.  Yes, devices can be sexy too!  The curves on each side of the screen make it rest very well in the palm of your hands and does not appear to be too slippery without a case.  Looking around the outside of the casing you can admire the variety of colors that it comes in: Black onyx, blue coral, silver and gold.  In short, the blue coral is stunning to see in person — this version has a nice contrast with gold edges surrounding it while the black onyx color way follows up in a close second.  When you press the power button, you are greeted by one of the best displays, if not best display, that is on a smartphone.  This 5.7″ screen is packing a display at 1440 x 2560 pixels coming in with 518 PPI (pixel per inch) — this means the images you see on the device will be crystal clear with essentially no chance of you discerning pixels with your naked eye.  The screen technology is Super AMOLED, which gives you very rich blacks and Samsung usually tweaks their displays to be a little more saturated than others on the market, which will make colors “pop” a little more than usual.
Galaxy Note 7, retail in hand.

Galaxy Note 7, retail, in hand.

Camera Technology
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Samsung stuffs some of the best camera technology into a device and the Note 7 is no slouch here.  The rear camera comes in at 12 MP with F1.7 aperture.  The camera features optical image stabilization, RAW image capture, HDR (High Dynamic Range, just leave this setting on or at least on Auto) and more effects within the app itself.  The front-facing camera is a respectable 5 MP shooter that can create a clear image and looks great through the on-screen viewfinder.  Through the tests performed, shutter speed is quite fast (note: some Android devices struggle here, the Note 7 is more than capable of taking many pictures in succession).  The only issue that could arise is if you are trying to quickly open the Samsung camera app quickly after closing another app, there were a few instances where it stuttered to open from memory; however, once open it performed like a charm.  Saved pictures and video look fantastic on the 5.7″ display.  Video is also smooth with OIS certainly aiding in any handheld shots that you get.  Colors are very vibrant and make any image or video captured look fantastic.  If a camera on a device is any driver for a purchase, then go ahead and get that credit card ready my friend.
User-Experience
Samsung is calling the iteration of TouchWiz on the Note 7 “Grace UI” and for the most part it is graceful.  Samsung has been scaling TouchWiz back more and more over recent years because of customer complaints and dreadful performance over time.  Having a lighter user-interface makes the device perform quicker and usually those performance increases come with a lighter overall “weight” on the outward facing interface.  Grace UI is light on it’s feet and light in colors that are easy on the eye.  One of the best parts of the Note 7 and it’s UI are the built in “edge apps”.  With a quick swipe in from the edge of the screen (can be repositioned in the settings) the user can access apps, contacts, news and more from a pull out on the edge of the screen.  If any of you are familiar with the Android app SwipePad, think of it on steroids.  Great innovation here by Samsung that makes the Note 7 experience that much better than another rival smartphone and can certainly help to drive the purchase decision — yes, they are that good.
Galaxy Note 7 displaying Apps Edge, which house many unique features to the Note 7.

Galaxy Note 7 displaying Apps Edge, which house many unique features to the Note 7.

The reason that we buy smartphones are to increase our productivity and applications built into the edges of the display do that and more.  The S-Pen, as usual, is fantastic, easy to use and feels great once it hits the screen.  Samsung has done a few good things here to ensure that S-Pen use is easy, from making it virtually impossible to put it in in reverse and making the screen detect it’s location mere millimeters away.  All writing and drawing with the S-Pen is lag free and keeps you focused on the task at hand.
Another important part of the user experience is going from one app to another in our day to day lives and this smartphone gets the job done with minimal stutter, there is some to be found when opening certain memory-intensive games, opening the camera app, or swiping into Flipboard briefing (which is just awful and should be disabled) from the home-screen, which should be noted.
Take a look at this full review of the Note 7 from Android Authority:

Overall Impressions
Pros:
There are not many bad things that one can say about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.  The device is beautiful inside and out with power, grace (Grace UI) and plenty of features to keep you happy.  If you are coming from a Galaxy S5, Note 4 or lower — I’d be confident to say that this is a must upgrade for you.
Cons:
The $850 price tag can serve as quite the significant barrier to entry for some buyers, especially with other high-performing Android smartphones like the Nexus 6P, One Plus 3 and others coming in at $400.  Remember that this device comes with a lot of extra features that are useful — IF you make use of them.  If you’re looking for just another “big screen device” you can get that elsewhere.  Additionally, if you are looking for a lag free device, the Note 7 is not it.  While Samsung’s latest flagship offers minimal lag, the weight of the skin and additional apps can show when opening the camera app or opening memory-intensive games.
Bottom line:  If the Note series has a feature-set that you enjoy and you are due for an upgrade, this is a no brainier.  With a camera, screen, companion apps and set of hardware specifications that are almost second to done, it’s easy to see why this device will sell.  Additionally, if you’re just looking for a powerfully monstrous device that will last for years, look beautiful and perform with the best of them look no further — just be ready for your bank account to take a hit.

Moto 360 STILL runs Android Wear

Is the to be released Moto 360 an aesthetically pleasing device?

You bet it is; however, is all of the hype really worth it? Especially when the device will run an operating system that we’ve seen, touched and have a wealth of experience with already.

Personally, I’ve had conversations with people waiting on this device like it will offer a drastically different experience. Sorry to crush your dreams….but it won’t.  Android Wear as an operating system for wearable devices cannot be manipulated by OEM (thankfully); so, the differences between the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will be minute.

Moto 360 shown running Android Wear.

Moto 360 shown running Android Wear.

Bottom line:  “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  The Moto 360 is a fantastic device; however, it will not make or break Android Wear.

Obama vetoes a Samsung win?

Politicians and technology…..the two should never be used in the same sentence.  Why?  Because typically, politicians are completely oblivious to things in the technology world.  Now, President Obama is known for being a technological president (he carried a Blackberry) and I salute him for that.  However, taking a court win from Samsung to let Apple get suing companies behooves me.

obama_iphoneEssentially, the president vetoed an import ban that was given to Samsung regarding a few Apple devices (iPhone 4S, iPad1 and iPad2).  This win for Samsung has came after Apple began the patent war on anything that is non-Apple.

Is this a loss to Android?  No.  Samsung?  No.  But, due to this turnaround the tech giant lost $1 billion of it’s worth in market value.

Bottom line:  Politicians….please stick to making laws and making the country better.  This isn’t your lane.

 

 

Galaxy Mega…. Too big or too right?

A 6.3″ screen attached to a device that is actually a phone.  Is this something that you’d use?

I have big hands and an affinity for devices and honestly this seems like the perfect device for someone like me.  Personally, I own a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 7 — if I owned this device I could seemingly par my load down to just one without carrying a phone and tablet everywhere I go.

On a another note, what really makes this a good device? I’d say it is a combination of it’s form factor, specs and functionality. No device is completely useless — hence why there are so many different sizes, prices and storage capacities of smart phones.  The only cause for alarm with this device is the fact that it has mid-range specs; it is apparent that Samsung is not pushing this as an all-star device — although it has the potential to be.

Bottom line:  This device is an excellent device for someone who is looking for sheer screen size; however, for the enthusiast who wants the fastest mobile processor and the most RAM — look elsewhere.  That being said, my excitement is still high for this device.

Samsung, who do you think you are?

Well, it is done.  Samsung unveiled it’s latest and greatest device yet, the Samsung Galaxy S IV.  However, most of us technology buffs are calling it simply a Galaxy SIII refresh, which is quite accurate when you break it down.  When you place each device face up, side-by-side it is quite difficult for any inexperienced onlooker to determine which device is which.

However, the refresh is not the issue here — it is the fact that Samsung appears to be attempting to create their own brand of apps that seemingly “replace” apps that are from Google.  For example:

  • Samsung Hub
  • sVoice
  • sTranslate

These apps are essentially a spin off of Google Play, Google Now and Google Translate respectively and Samsung continues to develop it’s own apps. However, one must stop and think is Samsung trying to branch off from Google?  It certainly appears that way.  On the other hand, where would Samsung be without Google’s Android that is powering all of their high selling devices?

Bottom line:  Google needs to get Samsung to get their act together, Samsung with TouchWiz is NOT Google Android.  It seems that Samsung may be thinking that it can do “this” without Google.