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What I love and hate about Samsung’s GS5

What I love and hate about Samsung’s Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has been one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year. Its easy to see what people love about the device, but what about its flaws? Having owned the phone since release I can honestly say I have tested it to the max. Read on to discover what I love and hate about the device:

The things I hate:

Whilst the S5 is by no means an ugly device, it does leave a lot to be desired. Samsung never seem to listen to consumer feedback and even after 5 incarnations of the Galaxy smartphone Samsung has shown no signs of incorporating metal into its designs.

The micro USB port on the bottom is just stupid. I feel like a surgeon trying to get it plugged in to charge on a night. With the lights off its impossible. After a few beers…well I’m sure you get my point! Its by no means an easy task.

The screen always wakes up in my pocket. Ill be walking down the street when ill hear the touch tone key pad in my pocket. Or it will start dialling random numbers from my pocket. Perhaps the unlock button is too sensitive or just in the wrong place? It also regularly restarts itself because of the unlock button being depressed in the pocket. I have never had another phone cause so many issues from the pocket.

The external speaker is not very promising. Compared to the HTC One the S5’s speaker is a bit pants. Audio output via the headphones is also not as good as it could be and I’m always finding the volume doesn’t go loud enough.

I have found a number of software glitches. The whole voice activation has just stopped working all together. It started as an intermittent fault but now doesn’t work at all – even though it is enabled in the settings. Another problem is that sometimes apps don’t shut down properly and get stuck in the notification bar or on the lock screen. It means having to restart the device. The camera app is also a bit strange in that you cannot access the ‘mode’ option sometimes. I have no idea what causes this. Im not too concerned about this glitches however as I’m sure they will be resolved with future updates.

The finger print reader is s**t. There I said it. Its nowhere near as intuitive as that of the iPhone 5S as it requires two hand operation. It also rarely recognises my finger print unless I scan it exactly right – there is a sweet spot which is really difficult to master. The backup password option is also a bit frustrating as you are presented with the full qwerty keypad and have to use both letters and numbers as part of your password. On the iPhone you are just presented with a number pad. I wish you had this option with the Galaxy. The whole experience just lacks polish and is a little frustrating.

The things I love:

The device is very quick and responsive. Touchwiz is very smooth for once and switching between the home screens is glitch free. The device is ample powered and really eats through all the latest apps and games. The processor is clocked slightly higher than on the HTC One M8 which gives it a bit of an advantage. Im not sure why Samsung didn’t opt for 3GB RAM but it matters little as 2GB is just fine. Everything runs smoothly and the device is a pleasure to use.

The screen is easily the best I have ever seen. I was very impressed by that of the HTC One M8 but the S5’s Super Amoled HD display wins hands down for me. The colours really pop and contrast is excellent. Viewing angles are also very good and sunlight legibility is amongst the best I have seen. The screen really is stunning and has to be seen to be believed. Having owned an iPhone 5S for a number of months I find the S5’s screen really refreshing. I no longer have to squint to see things and browsing the internet is great. watching videos and playing games is also a really great experience on the S5 with the screen really bringing everything to life.

Battery life is excellent. I can use the device all day quite intensively and if I have less the 30% battery life when I go to sleep then its a bad day! there is also a battery saving mode if you need it. I use the built in pedometer all the time and as such I would have expected this to effect battery life. It doesn’t however. Smartphones rarely last more than a day on a full charge but I am really impressed with the S5’s endurance.

The camera is incredible. The device takes really quick and hassle free images. The 16MP snapper takes stunning images and also supports 4K video capture. Close ups look great and the ability to set the focal point is very cool. This is one area where the S5 trumps the HTC One M8. If you want a good camera then the S5 may be the phone for you!
Generally speaking the Galaxy S5 is a great smartphone with many strengths. I previously owned the HTC One M8 but of the two devices I do prefer the S5. The user experience is really nice and everything just seems to work as it should. Im sure the software issues mentioned above will get resolved with future updates and perhaps the finger print scanner experience will evolve a bit. I just wish Samsung would put a little more effort into the design. People are getting used to quality looking devices nowadays and Samsung just don’t seem to get it. The recent announcement that Samsung’s head of design has been relocated may prove to be a good move, indicating that the company may finally be upping its game and reconsidering its design philosophy.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 Underwhelms

The Samsung Galaxy S5 went official yesterday at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

In what may be viewed as being a little underwhelming, the Galaxy S5 shares a lot of design aesthetics with last years Galaxy S4.

The S5 sports a Super Amoled HD display with a full 1080p resolution and measures up a 5.1inches. This is basically the same screen found in the S4 and whilst this is no bad thing, I was expecting something a bit better. The device also houses a Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. This is still top end but doesn’t offer anything new.

The S5 has taken a leaf out of Apples book and aims to appeal to sports mined consumers. The inclusion of a rear facing heart rate monitor is a cool idea but only time will tell wether this turns out to be a gimmick. Not unexpected is the finger print scanner. How accurate this is I don’t know but lets hope its less temperamental than the one found on the iPhone 5S.

The camera has been bumped up to 16mp and also films in 4k, contrary to initial reports. Other additions include water and dust proofing. This has however made the device slightly bigger.

Design-wise, the S5 shares a lot with the S4 but moves towards a slightly more angular appearance such as the Note3. It is unfortunate that Samsung have decided to stick with their all plastic design philosophy. Again there is no metal in sight, although Samsung have included a rubber touch back plate.

To me the S5 seems to be more of an incremental upgrade than a whole new device. Perhaps it should have been called the 4S! I am rather disappointed with the design and build and really wish Samsung would start using some high quality materials. ITs not that its a bad phone, its just not exceptional. There is no 64bit processor like in the iPhone 5S, and the device doesn’t really do anything revolutionary.

You should be able to order the S5 in April. Im sure Samsung will sell bucket loads!

5 reasons to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 3

We all know that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a pretty competent phone. With a sweet screen, bags of power and that intuitive S-pen, the Note 3 is easily one of the coolest smartphones of 2013. However I want to go one step further. To me the Note 3 is one of the best smartphones ever made. Here are 5 reasons why:

That screen

Yes that screen! You have all heard about that stunning 5.7 super AMOLED HD window to the world. Well it really needs to be seen to be believed. Personally this is the best smartphone screen on any device right now. The colours simply leap from the screen and with a dpi of 386 this makes for a truly world class viewing experience. Seriously guys go to your local phone shop right now and have a look at this display. It really is breathtaking. Movies and games are an absolute pleasure and feel right at home on the Note 3. But did I mention how good the display is!?

The power

The Note 3 is technically the most powerful smartphone on the market. The device is built around Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHZ, coupled with an Adreno 330 GPU (international version). The device is also the the only smartphone currently to include 3GB of RAM. This all adds up to make the Note 3 one hell of a serious b**tard! Gaming is buttery smooth and because of the snapdragon 800 inside the international version it also supports 2k video.

S-pen

The Note 3 has one major trick up its sleeve when compared to other phablets. It is the only smartphone to incorporate the intuitive s-pen or similar accessory. The S-pen is massively intuitive as it allows hand writing recognition right out of the box and with features such as air gestures the Note 3 is truly intuitive. The S-pen is also great for enhanced accuracy and makes quick access to your favourite features much more pleasant. The S-pen is packed with cool features and really makes for a very unique user experience. I love it.

The size

Yes controversial I know. To some this would be a major downside. To me however and like minded tech enthusiasts the size is what makes the Note 3 so brilliant. Although large, the device is very thin and relatively light. If you just love browsing the internet, watching video content and playing games then you will truly appreciate the size of the Note 3. Obviously the device needs to be large to support that gorgeous screen, but with that slim waist line you will hardly feel it in your pocket! Personally I hate small smartphone displays. I really struggle with my IPhone 5s and find it strains my eyes. It’s also difficult to type on and as such I really wish it was larger! The Note 3 doesn’t have these issues however and that’s why I love it.

The camera

The Note 3 sports a 13MP camera on the back with LED flash. The image quality is really very good and again is complemented by that stunning display. The note 3 has the ability to film video and take pictures at the same time and gives easy access to some great on-screen effects. As mentioned already the Note 3 also supports 2k video playback and guess what? Yep you guessed it the video playback looks stunning on that display! Although the camera does not give the best low light performance it does perform very well in normal conditions and has a great HDR mode.

So there you go, 5 reasons why the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is so great! I’m sure some people will disagree so please feel free to comment. By the way did I mention how good that display is?

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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