Posts Tagged ‘Samsung Galaxy S3’

Gadgets

Apple’s iPhone to get even bigger screen. Is the iPhablet (big screen phone) set to follow?

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

I remember when I first heard that  Samsung was about to produce a phone with a five inch screen  – the Samsung Galaxy Note.

From the moment I saw it I knew that my iPhone’s days were numbered and that I wanted a phone with a screen that size.

A year on and I have absolutely zero regrets about buying the Note. I did worry that I might miss an iPhone app or two. But to be honest, apart from one London Coffee app that I used quite a lot but isn’t available on Google Play, I have never suffered iPhone app envy.

So today brings news from China Times that Apple is apparently considering  launching a phone with a 4.8inch screen called the Math.

Here’s what Tech Digest had to say

According to China Times, the iPhone Math will measure 4.8 inches in size, nearly an inch bigger than the current iPhone 5, and will be positioned as an alternative to large screen “phablet” devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony.

While little is known about the device (and all should be taken with a pinch of salt) the source also claims that the handset will pack in an 8MP camera, provided by Largan Precision.

Firstly is a 4.8inch screen device a Phablet? Not really. You could argue that given the success of the Samsung Galaxy S3 that 4.8inches is emerging as standard screen size for smartphones. Phablets have screens of more than fine inches, well according to Wikipedia anyhow.

If it is true then it shows once again that Apple is prepared to offer bigger screens on its phones and maybe a true Phablet will follow.

Apple needs to move quickly. It has gifted a whole market sector to several of its rivals, and although brand loyalty should ensure that the iPhablet is a runaway hit, Apple will be seen as followers rather than innovators.

It also runs the risk of the whole Phablet market being dominated by Samsung. So catching up, even with Apple’s huge marketing muscle,  is going to be no easy task.

I have owned quite a few Apple products in my time, but I would say that I am pretty agnostic about the brand as a whole. I will buy the best product rather than the buy a product from a specific brand when it comes to tech. Quite often this has been Apple, but not always.

However when I swapped my iPhone for the Note a lot of die-hard Apple friends of mine were very cynical and put up the following objections. If you look at these now I think that they are all about loyalty to a brand rather than thinking logically about the way the phones might develop.

1 You don’t need a phone with a screen that big

Well actually you do, or at least some of you do. As phones have evolved the amount of time we spend using them for making calls has diminished compared with texting, messaging, reading ebooks, surfing the web and more. Once you have used a Phablet the iPhone’s screen seems incredibly small and fiddly. There really is no going back. The future of smartphones is all about bigger screens and this is something that seems to have passed Apple by.

2 You look stupid making a phone call with it

Yep, Dom Jolly. Heard that joke so many times before. Yet I noticed on the bus the other day that larger screen phones – including the Samsung Galaxy S3 in this list – actually outnumber iPhones now, so it really isn’t an issue. Besides as I said before we are making fewer  calls on our mobiles than we used to.

3 Where am I going to put it?

Most men could easily house a six incher in their pockets -every pun intended. The Note is actually quite slim too so it doesn’t feel especially obtrusive. I appreciate that many women won’t carry a huge phone in their pocket, but then don’t a lot of women carry  their mobiles in handbags?

In short I think that the arguments are over and that when Apple does produce a Phablet, as it inevitability will, all the doubters from 2012 will be zealous converts to the Phablet cause.

The future for smartphones

Finally it is worth pondering exactly where will smartphones go in the future? Could screens get any larger? At CES we saw the Huawei Ascend Mate with its six inch screen. Might a seven inch phone be on the cards? Well no, and yes. Samsung is certainly rumoured to be thinking about a 6.8inch Note.

Running in tandem  with the development of bigger phones is the growth of smart watches that hook up to mobiles wirelessly via Bluetooth and display messages, social media updates etc and even allows the user to make calls.

Having played with a few of these I can vouch for the fact that we are a long way from the smart watch going mass market. The watches are just too fiddly and not especially easy to use. Ironically what they need is a company who are brilliant at user interfaces to make them work – know of anyone?

But they will get there in the end. So maybe one day you will have a smart watch, or even some other wearable item, that you use for the basic consumption of messages etc, but with a large screen – maybe even 7 inch device – for surfing the web, reading books, gaming and even a little bit of work.

It is a combo that would suit me perfectly.



features, Gadgets

2012′s 21 hottest gadgets – iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, I’m Watch and more

By Stefano on December 10th, 2012

Our pals over at Tech Digest have seen an awful lot of gadgets this year. They have checked out the latest Smart TVs, weighed up whether the iPad mini is worth the extra dosh over the Google Nexus 7 and snapped away on the latest cameras.

So we asked them to help us come up with the year’s 21 best gadgets. Obviously it is tablets and phones that grab the limelight, but we have also added TVs, cameras, watches and whole load more.

Here then are the 21 gadgets that we consider to be the be desirable of this year’s selection.

What have we missed? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

Google Nexus 4 £239.99

Picture 1 of 21
Picture 1 of 21

The Google Nexus 4 is the best smartphone bargain we've ever seen. God only knows what sort of subsidised deals the search giant has lined up in order to deliver a smartphone just as powerful as its premium rivals at almost half the price. But we're not complaining; for the cost of a mediocre smartphone, the Nexus 4 delivers the latest version of Android, a super-fast processor, a beautiful display and superb new camera functionality. At its £239.99 entry price it's a steal, and one we can't recommend highly enough

Other gadget round ups

Weirdest gadgets

Best sub-£200 gadgets

Best retro gadgets

 



Lifestyle & Gadgets, News

WHICH SHOULD I BUY? – Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 4S?

By Gerald Lynch on May 4th, 2012

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There was a time when every self-respecting man about time worth his salt wouldn’t be caught dead with any smartphone other than an Apple iPhone. And though Apple keep on delivering the goods year-on-year with updates to the range, Android smartphones are now every bit as desirable. The new best-in-class model is Samsung’s Galaxy S3. Revealed at a glitzy launch event in London last night, Brandish’s pals over at Tech Digest went hands-on with the new smartphone to get all the juicy details. Is it better than the iPhone 4S, or should you steer clear of the Samsung Galaxy S3? Read on to find out which smartphone you should be spending your money on!

review-line.JPGDesign and Build Quality

iPhone 4S
Though it’s a rehashed version of the iPhone 4 (with the dreadful antenna issues all ironed out) it’s hard to fault the iPhone 4S design. Whether you grab it in black or white, the angular unibody design with chrome trim oozes style. It’s arguably hit the sweetspot for mobile-phone size at 115.2 mm x 58.66 mm x 9.3 mm too. It does however lack a HDMI-out port, pretty much a standard with high-end Android handsets these days, and it’s a little delicate, with its glass prone to shattering if dropped from even a modest height.

Galaxy S3
Thin at just 8.6mm and light at 133g, the Galaxy S3 feels great in the hand, and slips almost invisibly into a pocket. Available in Pebble Blue and Marble White, its curved edges are meant to conjure memories of nature. However, its plasticy “Hyperglaze” finish lacks that premium feel, and some may decide the Galaxy S3 is a little flimsy, albeit unfairly.

Winner – iPhone 4S
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Screen

iPhone 4S
The latest iPhone’s Retina Display is pretty much as good as it gets for mobile display technology right now. Measuring 3.5 inches diagonally, it uses LED backlit IPS TFT LCD technology to deliver images at a staggering 326ppi. What the screen lacks in size it more than makes up for in detail, with vibrant colours, lush brightness and deep blacks.

Galaxy S3
A 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD display sits on the front of the Galaxy S3 and it’s gorgeous. Though its extra size and resolution mean it “only” hits a 309ppi pixel density, to the naked eye that won’t make a difference. Vibrant and colourful, it dwarfs the iPhone 4S screen, which is a far less comfortable size to view videos on. Bigger, in this case at least, is better.

Winner – Galaxy S3

Processor

iPhone 4S
Apple’s 800Mhz dual-core A5 chip may sound a little dated in this age of quad-core mobile CPUs, but thanks to Apple’s careful marriage of software and hardware, you’ll never find the iPhone 4S being overly taxed. You’ll fly through menu screens, tap away at breathtaking polygonal-3D gaming apps and playback detailed HD video without a stutter.

Galaxy S3
Samsung have popped a quad-core 1.4Ghz Exynos processor in the Galaxy S3. And despite having to push more pixels than the iPhone 4S (and running off the sometimes temperamental Android OS) there wasn’t a stutter or hang to be seen. This is one powerful phone, best presented by the Pop Up Play feature that offers true picture-in-picture multitasking, offering windowed HD video playback. Impressive is an understatement.

Winner – Galaxy S3

Storage

iPhone 4S
Though Apple’s iPhone 4S doesn’t offer expandable storage, they at least offer three different configurations when it comes to size. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPhone 4S models are all available, with pricing rising appropriately. It’s a crafty tactic though, as those opting for more storage space have to pop money directly into Apple’s coffers, rather than picking up cheaper expandable storage elsewhere. With the iCloud back-up feature too you’ve got a little leeway with which to store files remotely too, though extensive cloud storage through Apple doesn’t come cheaply.

Galaxy S3
Samsung’s generous storage options make Apple look very cheap here. For starters, you’ve got the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB handset options. Add on to that the option of popping in as much as an extra 64GB from a microSD card. Then pile on top the 50GB of FREE Dropbox cloud storage that comes as standard with every Galaxy S3 purchase. There’s no competition here.

Winner – Galaxy S3
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Battery

iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S is said to have 200 hours worth of battery standby time, 8 hours talk time on 3G, 14 hours talk time on 2G, 6 hours 3G browsing, 9 hours Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video playback or 40 hours of audio playback. In reality however, you’re going to be juggling through all these tasks (at times simultaneously) throughout a day, meaning that you’re going to need to recharge that battery long before the day is done.

Galaxy S3
Samsung have popped in a whopping 2100mAh battery in the Galaxy S3. It sounds awesome, but remember there’s a massive screen to power, as well as a quad-core processor draining juice all the time. Touches like the Smart Stay tech should keep battery usage as low as possible, but we can’t pass judgement here till we’ve put the phone through its paces for a bit longer. We’ll call it a tie for now.

Winner – Tie

Software and Apps

iPhone 4S
Apple say there’s an app for everything, and with the iOS App Store, that’s pretty much true. With over 500,000 different apps available in Apple’s store, there’s pretty much an app to cater for every potential need. From fitness to finance, arts to archaeology, you name it, there’s a shed load of apps for every possible niche. Gaming in particular is well served on the iPhone, with it more than a match for handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita these days. Just check out Infinity Blade 2 if you need convincing.

The iPhone 4S also features the much-publicised Siri voice control app. With it, you can search the web, set calendar reminder, dictate emails and much more with just your voice alone. In the US it’s a fully-featured service that has a giant database of details on local businesses and events. In the UK, it’s far less comprehensive in terms of what it can do, making it a bit of a novelty for the time being.

As for the iOS operating system itself, it’s incredibly easy to use and looks beautiful. It pretty much invented the grid-based app layout that everything from the Xbox 360 to Roku entertainment players have ripped off since. It is also however incredibly limited in terms of customisation, and if you’re a tinkerer who likes to get under the hood of his device and tweak every property and potential UI layout, it’s not a patch on Android.

Galaxy S3
The Galaxy S3 runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich. When it comes to apps, Android just can’t compete with iOS. For starters there are fewer apps available, and they tend to be uniformly less visually appealing than similar ones available on the Apple App Store.

Likewise, Android is a far less user-friendly OS, but what it lacks in dummy-proofing, it excels with customisation options. You can make your Android look and act pretty much however you want it to, freely adding widgets and personal touches throughout the device.

Samsung have also gone a long way to stamping their own touches into the software of the phone too. As well as the aforementioned Pop Up Play feature, there’s superfast data sharing over NFC with S Beam, intelligent facial recognition and photo tagging capabilities, eye-tracking screen dimming tech called Smart Stay and their own Siri rival called S Voice.

Winner – iPhone 4S
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Camera and Video Recording

iPhone 4S
Though its megapixel count of 8 isn’t any higher than the majority of top-tier smartphones the iPhone 4S’s imaging systems consistently deliver stunning results. Using a lens with an aperture of f/2.4, and combining that with clever HDR and Macro software, you get excellent still image results almost every time. A super-fast shutter speed that lets you snap multiple images directly after each other sweetens the deal, as do the many superb photography apps on the App Store. However, you can’t tweak sensitivity settings like white balance and exposure, which may irk pro photographers.

1080p video recording with anti-shake functionality likewise returns brilliant results on the iPhone 4S, with the iMovie app letting you make a few simple edits on the go.

Galaxy S3
Samsung’s top-tier smartphone camera seems every bit as good as the iPhones. Again, it’s an 8MP offering, with impressive start up speeds of 990ms, and the ability to fire off 3.3 photos a second. A 20 in a row, six photos per second, burst mode also features, alongside Best Shot, which takes 8 pictures and picks out the best based on framing, lighting and blur, as well as elements such as open or closed eyes on the subject.

Then there are the facial recognition features. Snap a friend, tag them in one photo, and every subsequent picture you take of them in the future should automatically be tagged accurately by the handset. Groups of people appearing in the same shots can also have group tags associated with them, making organising large photo libraries incredibly easy. Images can quickly be shared via email or social networks using this feature too.

Elsewhere, more standard features like High Dynamic Range (HDR), panorama, Smile Shot and Beauty Modes are onboard too, as well as plenty of manual settings for things like Exposure values.

Though we spent less time with it, 1080p video recording is also onboard. Just like the S2 before it, the results from our early tests looked a real treat, with video stabilisation options working superbly. Up front, a 1.9MP camera for video calling and shooting 720p video is also available.

Winner – Tie

Price

iPhone 4S
Unlocked, the iPhone 4S in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes cost £499, £599 and £699 respectively.

Galaxy S3
We’re still waiting for official pricing for the Galaxy S3, but if the Galaxy S2 was anything to go by, expect premium pricing. The S2 started at around £500 SIM-Free too depending on retailer, so we’d imagine things to be similar with the Galaxy S3.

Winner – Tie

review-line.JPGOverall Winner – Samsung Galaxy S3

There’s not much in it, and the Apple faithful will likely see nothing that will make them change their ways, but our first impressions of the Galaxy S3 suggest it may be the best smartphone on the market today. A great camera, superb screen and innovative software features show Samsung have really pushed the boat out with the Galaxy S3. If the price proves right, and the battery is up to scratch, we could have a new smartphone king on our hands. Remember though, the iPhone 4S is based on a design (that of the iPhone 4) that is now a couple of years old. With the iPhone 5 launch almost certainly looming, the tables could turn yet again very quickly…

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