Tag Archives: samsung

Should you buy a curved screen TV?

Just what exactly is the crack with curved screen TVs? Does having a curved screen really enhance you viewing experience or is it just a massive waste money? LG and Samsung are the current market leaders when it comes to curved screen technology and both currently have a range of curved TVs available to consumers. Both companies are adamant that curved screens represent the future of home entertainment and it would seem that the technology is here to stay. The question is then; just how good is the technology and does it actually enhance your viewing experience?

Background.

The first curved TV prototypes were only introduced to the world last year at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2013 and within only a year we have already seen the technology develop, with both Samsung and LG showcasing their latest range of curved TVs at the CES 2014 earlier this year.

Although curved screen technology has been around for many years, It was actually Samsung who initially wowed the world when in 2010 it announced it was developing the worlds first curved screen Smartphone. Passionate about this technology they were quick to push through a prototype of the device which was showcased at the 2011 CES. Although this brought questionable benefits to the smartphone, it showed the world what the technology was capable of and got people talking. By the end of 2013 the worlds first curved screen smartphone was unleashed on the world. The Samsung Galaxy Round was born.

samsung galaxy round

When LG and Samsung announced their prototype curved TVs at the 2013 CES they both claimed to be the first to the market. LG however arguably had a slight advantage in that their curved screen supported 3D technology and they actually started taking orders at the show.

This year at the CES 2014 Samsung showcased what it claimed to be the worlds largest Ultra High Definition (UHD) curved screen TV – a 105 inch behemoth. For those of you not familiar with UHD, this is the latest Ultra Hight Definition format and is more commonly known as 4K. 4K is 4 times the resolution of full HD and as such is blisteringly sharp.

Of course LG weren’t to be overshadowed by Samsung and similarly boasted about their own record breaking TV. This was slated as being the worlds first and largest curved OLED UHD TV with a screen size of 77 inches. OLED stands for organic light emitting diode and basically means that each pixel is capable of producing its own light source. This does away with bulky internal lighting and makes for a much thinner and lighter display.

Although the technology is still in its infancy, within just a year we have seen some massive technological developments and some equally impressive price reductions. Both Samsung and LG are championing the technology and are passionate about the benefits it brings.

Why curved screen TV’s are awesome.

Now I don’t want to baffle you with science but an apparent major benefit to viewing a curved screen is concerned with what is known as the ‘sweet spot’. There is always an optimum position when watching TV and at the cinema the screen is so large that this isn’t really an issue. Many people can sit within the sweet spot and still get the optimum viewing experience. Gizmodo point out however that” the sweet spot in you’re living room covers one, maybe two people at most. This means that the best place to watch is from direct centre, with the middle of the screen at eye height”.

The reason for this is because the middle of the screen is closest to the viewer. As we move away from the centre and towards the edges there is a very slight distortion in the colours and image. This is due to the edges of the TV being further away and is more noticeable on larger screens with the viewer sitting further away. By adding even a slight curve to the screen this brings the edges further towards the viewer and thus reduces distortion. This, and the fact that the screen follows the curvature of the eye, makes for a more natural viewing experience. Viewing angles are also better as a result.

It is also noted that the wrap around nature of the screen makes for a more inclusive and immersive experience.

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According to LG the curvature also creates a slight magnified effect, making the the screen appear larger and brighter than on a standard TV. The picture is brighter due to the light emitting from the display being more focused towards the audience.

There is also the wow factor associated with curved screen TVs. They have not yet become commonplace in peoples homes and by owning one you really will be the envy of all your mates. For someone such as myself who loves the latest and greatest tech the curved screen TV really is the thing of the future. Sometimes I buy things just because they wow me.

Things to consider.

Price should be a serious consideration when thinking about a curved screen TV. Whilst prices have reduced drastically in a short period of time, curved TVs are still more expensive than standard TVs. As mentioned prices on the high street range from about £2000 to £4000. That said I really must stress how much more affordable these TVs are compared to just a year ago. For example in 2013 it would have cost around £25000 to purchase a UHD curved screen TV. Today you can purchase one for as little as £4000. I say “as little as £4000” not because I could afford one, but rather because of how much more affordable the technology has become.

 

LG 55EA980W

Another potential problem is that curved screen TVs are not exactly easy to mount on the wall. Whilst mounting solutions have now become available, they are not exactly cheap or readily available. Curved screen TV’s are really designed to be free standing, and to be honest do you really want one protruding from you’re living room wall?

Size is another issue that needs considering with 55 inches being pretty much the smallest size available. For a lot of people this will just be too big, particularly if you have a smaller sized room. The size also adds to the issue of mounting.

Lastly, the technology is still evolving. Whilst LED and OLED technology is nothing new, you may be best off waiting a few years to get the best spec and the best price. At the moment OLED technology is very new to curved screen TVs and is only offered by LG. OLED TV screens are mesmerisingly thin and are clearly going to become more readily available. At the minute however you will have to choose between OLED technology and UHD (4K).

To be honest, you will get the more out of OLED technology at present than you will UHD. This is due to there being very few 4K sources. That said, Netflix will soon be streaming in 4K and this will look undoubtedly beautiful on your UHD TV screen. However, when spending this much money on a TV you will want a certain level of future proofing. Thats why I would suggest waiting until OLED and UHD come hand it hand and at a reasonable price.

So should I invest in one?

When Samsung released the Galaxy Round smartphone I fought it was a huge gimmick. I just couldn’t, and still can’t see the benefit of having a curved screen on a smartphone. It makes no difference at all to the viewing experience and just makes it really difficult to fit the device in your pocket. Im not sure Samsung released the Galaxy Round for any reason other than showing off the curved screen technology. Basically they put a curved screen on a smartphone because they could. This was the beginnings of the curved screen revolution and Samsung wanted to show the world what they were capable of.

Curved screen TVs are different, however. The technology has a practical implication and in my opinion enhances the viewing experience. I have to say that whilst I was still a little pessimistic about the concept of having a curved screen TV, I am now completely won over. Having viewed many different models I am absolutely mesmerised by how impressive these products are.

Even on the entry level Samsung 8000 series TV – with its mere 1080p resolution — the image quality is stunning. The 55 inch version retails at less that two grand in the UK and actually represents brilliant value for money. Whilst still more than what most people can afford, we are almost within the realms of affordability.

Samsung 8000

My opinion is that the technology is here to stay and that we need to embrace it. Whilst still a little expensive, prices have quickly stabilised and will continue to do so. My concern is that the technology is still young, however. My worry is that I would buy I curved screen TV today and within a year it will be out of date. If i’m spending a lot of money on a new TV I need to know that it will be relevant and current for at least 5 years. If you want my opinion wait a few years and then invest. Who knows, we may find curved screen TVs with UHD and OLED technologies retailing for less than a grand. That really would be great value!

Sources:

GizmodoTrusted ReviewsThe Independent

 

iPhone 6 and Samsung GS5 size up

GSMArena.com are leaking a brand new image of the iPhone 6, this time sized up against Samsung’s flagship – the Galaxy S5.

The image shows The iPhone 6 and the GS5 side by side and further strengthens previous leaks surrounding the new iPhones design. The iPod-touch inspired design is tipped to have new curvier edges with the larger of the two rumoured models having a 4.7 inch display.

The image shows the iPhone 6 is almost as large as the GS5, with slightly smaller side bezels but larger ones to the top and bottom.

GSMArena suggest that the latest iPhone device will sport a new 960 x 1704 resolution display with a ppi or around 416. It is also tipped to include an updated 8MP camera and Apples new A8 mobile processor. The new device will also showcase iOS8.

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Source: GSMArena.com

Why your iPhone isn’t automatically the best

What exactly is the best smartphone available today? This really is the million dollar question. A question which is intensely difficult to answer because the answer is totally subjective.

Not so long ago when purchasing a new phone we had to make a choice. We had to choose between high end optics and power. Smartphone vs camera phone. Fortunately all that ended with the introduction of modern day smartphones. All of a sudden you could buy a device which incorporated the latest internals with a half decent camera. There were still decisions to be made however and that is marginally still the case today.

The original iPhone was an excellent example of an all round device. It had some of the latest hardware under the hood, intuitive software and included a camera as a bonus. There were however other smartphones on the market with better optics and more power under the hood.

Today this isn’t such an issue however as the latest smartphones offer similar characteristics; the latest hardware, cutting edge optics, super displays and the latest and best in software. So what makes one device better than another? If there is no longer such a variation in hardware then what is it that makes us buy one device over another? What makes one device better than another?

This is going to sound controversial but all smartphones are the same. We have one simple choice, and that is one of Operating System (OS). Typically your either into iOS, Android or Windows mobile. All modern day device use the latest hardware from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung etc. So really we are just buying into a brand. I have used both Android and iOS for years. They are ultimately the same and offer the same user experience. They are both very good in what they do. The newer OS, Windows mobile is also good at what it does in that it is fresh looking and relatively simple to use.

This all leads me to the conclusion that there are two underlying factors which dictate what our next device will be. The first as already mention is the OS. This is really the only ‘choice’ we make. The second is concerned with brand loyalty. brand loyalty however ultimately revolves around good marketing and this is what dictates what we think is the best device.It has little to do with anything else as ultimately we are all suckers to marketing.

So the question as to which smartphone is the best all comes down to brand and popularity. Lets be honest all those people who buy into brand Apple. Do you actually know what you are buying or are you just being told that your Apple purchase is automatically the best thing ever for no reason other than it being Apple? The same point stands with Samsung. People will buy into the Galaxy brand for example because Samsung is very good at telling the consumer that the Galaxy range of phones are awesome.

Fanyboyism is not a good thing. It prevents people from making balanced decisions and choosing the smartphone which is right for them. People who buy into brand Apple fanatically believe that the iPhone is the phone of Christ and that nothing else is as good as it. Not so long ago I glided into work with my new HTC One smartphone. It was an exceptional device and a very well rounded product. Upon showing it off to my colleagues somebody said “yeah but its not iPhone is it?” What does this even mean!? I don’t think she knew herself. She couldn’t tell me the difference between LCD and OLED technology, or tell me what processor was powering her iPhone. No of course she couldn’t. And this is the point, she just assumed that the iPhone was the best thing ever because that is what she is led to believe. So if you ask somebody like this what the best smartphone is, they would merely reply “obviously iPhone”.

So what is the best smartphone ever? My opinion is that this is an impossible question because the answer is entirely subjective. I think I got pretty close with the HTC One. It had brilliant build quality, a nice camera, cutting edge internals and a cracking screen. It worked really well and HTC Sense does a really nice job of bringing everything together. It was also a great size. I also love the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For people who chew through video and media, and surf the net then its perfect. I currently have an iPhone 5S. I got it at release. Its a good smartphone. Build quality is second to none, its very powerful and it has a good screen. That said, the screen is way to small (I cant type on it with my sausage fingers), the finger print reader is temperamental and the prices of accessories are frankly extortionate. I also rather dislike Apple’s philosophy. Why shouldn’t I be able to use a third party car charger just because its not made by Apple!?

The point i’m trying to make is that there is no such thing as the perfect smartphone. It totally depends on what you want. People are fundamentally ignorant when it comes to purchasing their new smartphone. They are taken in by cleaver marketing and the occasional loyalty to a particular brand. Consequently this is not always helpful. When you look at the story of HTC you will see my point. HTC make some absolutely excellent smartphones and in fact have done for years. HTC Sense is easily the best OS skin available and the company have always been at the forefront of Innovation and design. The problem is however they just cannot compete with the popularity of Apple and Samsung, not to mention their marketing budgets. So you see most people don’t actually know what the ‘best’ smartphone is. They just get told. They follow like sheep.

Its drives me mad when I look on online forums and see people arguing over which operating system is best, which brand is best. Accusing each other of being ‘fanboys’. These people don’t actually know what they are talking about. These people are like brainwashed religious fundamentals. No amount of education and persuasion is going to change their mind. They will die for the cause. But there will never be any change because this is brand power at its best. Apple have been incredibly successful at creating the brand. Apple devices have gone far beyond the function for which they are designed and are now designer accessories. Sporting the latest iPhone is like showing off an Armani suit. Its the cool thing that everyone needs.

So again, and in conclusion there really isn’t a ‘best smartphone’, it all depends on what your opinions are. Personally I don’t care about brand and reputation. When I get a new smartphone I think really carefully about what I need and whats best for me. In hindsight the iPhone 5S was a bit of a mistake, I should have stuck with my head and got a Galaxy Note 3. I just get frustrated with the iPhone, its just not as good as what your led to believe. So please don’t accuse me of being a fanboy because I don’t have a favourite brand. I just buy the things which are most compatible with my lifestyle and my needs.

This is my opinion anyway. Sorry if this is a little controversial. If you disagree, or ever agree then please let me know.

Samsung Galaxy Round is official

Samsung have officially announced their Galaxy Round Smartphone. The device which is based around the popular Galaxy Note 3 sports the worlds first curved display. With a 5.7″ full HD super flexible AMOLED display the device is certainly not small. Samsung have been working on flexible AMOLED displays for a while and this the first device to show off this technology. Other specs include a Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory. Like the Note 3 the Round will also have a 13MP camera and a 2MP front facing one. The device will have some optimisations for the curved screen but personally I see the whole thing as a bit of a gimmick at this point. I think the potential for curved screens is good but at this stage I think Samsung have just made the Round for the purpose of being first to do it. Let me know what you think.

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Apple vs samsung – battle of the benchmarks

Samsung have been accused of cheating benchmarks with its recent flagship devices – namely the Note3. I find this interesting as there seems to arising a bit of a witch hunt against Samsung. Samsung is no different to any other company in that it tries to get the best out of its products. It seems to me that whilst samsung are one of the premier manufacturers of smartphones, they have yet to achieve the status of Apple. What I mean by this is that Apple is almost untouchable. The Apple brand is enormous and enjoys a very healthy fan base. Anything with the Apple brand on it is assumed to be better than everything else. Apple could quite literally put their brand on a turd and people would still flock in their thousands to purchase it. Because of this spectacular following Apple are considered untouchable. People are so In love with the brand that they can’t bear to have it criticised.
I recently showed my HTC One to a colleague at work and she said “it’s not iphone though is it?”. This just proves my point. Narrow minded people who haven’t the slightest clue about the latest technologies and innovations will just automatically assume that the iPhone is the greatest thing since sliced bread. This is because of the Apple brand. Samsung – as the now largest manufacturer of smartphones – have also had phenomenal success in recent years, particularly with the Galaxy range. However, they are not as big of a brand as Apple. Apple is fashionable and trendy where is Samsung is perhaps not. So my point is that samsung do not enjoy the same following as Apple and therefore are likely to be subjected to a lot more criticism. Until samsung finds itself in a place where people would actually sell their own grandparents to buy their latest phone then they are not going to enjoy the success of their major competitor.
Samsung doesn’t yet have the immunity of Apple. Apple can do no wrong by its fans but Samsung has yet to achieve that status.

Is that a Phablet in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Just what exactly is the perfect size smartphone? For years and years phones had been getting smaller and smaller. I remember back in around 2006 receiving my Samsung D500 phone. It was the cutting edge in technology. Colour screen, 1.3 mega pixel camera and GPRS data all crammed into a clamshell design. Back then the smaller the better. But things have changed. There will always be supporters of pocketable little phones, but for those of us who have a desire to consume as much media as possible then bigger is almost certainly better.

I laugh out loud when I think about the first time I laid eyes on Samsung’s Omnia HD. It seemed gargantuan with its pocket busting 3.7 inch Amoled display. In fact it seemed so massive I was sure people would assume I had some sort of major insecurity. But 3.7 inches today is nothing. I had owned a Samsung Galaxy S 3 for about 9 months. It’s 4.8 inch Super Amoled HD display makede the omnia HD look like a dwarf. But I think this just shows how opinions have changed. My mate had a HTC desire for years. He loved it and hated the idea of getting anything bigger. That was until he checked out my S3. He is now the proud owner of a LG Galaxy Nexus and can’t understand how he put up with the Desires minuscule 3.7 inch display for so long.

It just shows how the world is changing. A phone isn’t just a phone anymore. It’s our window to the world. Why watch video content on a tiny display when you can experience it in glorious HD. My smartphone is my pocketable media device. I love watching HD content on my phone. The bigger the better. Playing games and trawling through the Internet just wouldn’t be the same on a smaller device. I think a lot of people are coming around to this way of thinking. Samsung clearly read the market right with its Galaxy Note range. Needless to I recently owned the massive note 2 with its delightful 5.5 inch display. I can’t imagine anything smaller now. Having ‘downgraded’ to the HTC One I am once again craving a larger screen.

I think to a certain extent Apple have missed the mark with its iPhone range. They certainly caved in to demand with the iPhone 5 and 5s. The screen was stretched out into widescreen aspect but critics argue it is still too small. This may well explain current rumours suggesting future iPhones may come in different sizes! For me the iPhone just seems too small. I’m sure people will disagree but I’m convinced that large screen phones are here to stay. With the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z Ultra and rumored HTC One Max it is clear that Samsung has founded a market which is here to stay.  Either way i’m now considering the Note 3 with its gorgeous 5.7 inch Super Amoled full HD display. Its absolutely glorious! Yes this is a phablet in my pocket and I’m proud of it!

Beauty!
Beauty!

Picture courtesy of wired.co.uk