Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:29

Samsung getting edgy

By

Korean technology giant Samsung released some leading edge products at the Sydney Opera House last night – literally. Its Galaxy Note Edge is the kind of advance that keeps it well ahead of the pack.

I have been following Samsung since the release of the Galaxy S3 – a good phone but nothing out of the ordinary. Its S4 was vastly better and nearly took the crown for the best smartphone of 2013 (I gave it to the Lumia 920). The S5 is undeniably the best phone in 2014 – just pipping the Lumia 930 and apologies to Apple lovers but the 5s never made the list. The new Galaxy Note Edge has taken the shine of Apple’s recent offerings.

Australia is one of the few launch countries for this phone. The 5.6” Quad HD, 2560 x 1440 + 160 pixel screen wraps over the right edge to show notifications, frequently used icons, a ruler and much more. All this in a 151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3mm package weighing 174g. To put that into perspective the iPhone 6 Plus is a 5.5”, 1920x1080 screen, 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 weighing 172g - the Edge has the edge! It is available from 5 November at the eye-watering price of $1249 – oh hang on that’s not much more than the iPhone 6 Plus and you get innovation, style, function, fast charging, removable battery, IP67, microSD slot and excitement thrown in as well.

Also released was the new Galaxy Note 4 – the 5.7” phablet that has evolved to be one of the most useful smart devices. Its predecessor was good – this is great. The main difference between the S5 and the Note 4 is the integrated pen. Its implementation just keeps getting better and more intuitive – to the point where it is an incredibly powerful tool for managing your thoughts, words and deeds in whatever chaotic manner you collect them.

 

Samsung also released the Gear S smartwatch. I think they may have the formula right with this one. It can be a smartphone taking a 3G nano-SIM, it measures heart rate while exercising, it has a proper GPS with HERE pedestrian maps and a beautiful curved 2” AMOLED screen. I have become a fan of Samsung’s S Health app and it also comes with Nike+ Running for more active users. Optional Gear circle earphones pair with the phone via Bluetooth. Note that this continues Samsung’s experimentation with Tizen OS instead of Android Wear. Simply put any Samsung Gear watch app will work and using Tizen giving it more design flexibility than using Android Wear. To top this product off are new crystal encrusted bands from Swarovski – very smick. RRP is $449 from November.

The climax of the evening was the Gear VR developed in partnership with Oculus, a Facebook company and leader in virtual reality. It is an interesting concept and at $249 it will blow all comers out of the water. There is a catch however – your Galaxy Note 4 slips inside to do the hard work. Still a very interesting way to view 360 degree panoramas, 96 degree field of view and apparently is the equivalent of watching a 175” screen from 2 metres!

I hope to do a full review on these products shortly.

Opinion

I can’t not offer an opinion especially as in the last 24 hours I have picked up an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and been to a Motorola relaunch of its updated G, X and Moto 360 smart watch.

Samsung last night showed clear leadership and innovation – something I would have expected of Steve Jobs were he still on the planet. The Edge phone is the major innovation of the year and the phone itself is everything anyone could ask for. It is like Samsung listened to users and gave them removable battery (not on the iPhone), a two day battery life (the iPhone 6 lasts about 9 hours if you are lucky), micro SD memory upgradeability (not on the iPhone), 16MP camera (iPhone is 8MP), a stylus/pen (not on the iPhone) – need I go on. But apart from that there is innovation in spades in its implementation of Android and its Samsung apps - all way ahead of the vanilla Android in functionality and performance.

I am not saying that Apple don’t make good gear – obviously they do and you will read my objective reviews in the coming week – but looking at the Edge and Note 4 - even the S5 and Note 3 - Apple has barely caught up. The Edge takes the shine off the iPhone 6 – and it deserves the title of best smartphone of 2015.

Read on for official specifications of all devices


 

Samsung Gear S Specifications

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gears/index.html

Network

900/2100 or 850/2100 (3G)

Display

2.0” Super AMOLED (360 x 480)

AP

Dual core 1.0 GHz

OS

Tizen based wearable platform

Audio

Codec: MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
Format: MP3, M4A, WMA, AAC, OGG

Features

Communications:
-
2G, 3G Call, Bluetooth Call
-
Contacts, Notifications, Messages, Emails, QWERTY Keyboard

Health & Fitness

S Health, Nike+ Running

Information

Schedule, News, Navigation, Weather

Media

Music Player, Gallery

Other

S Voice, Find My Device, Power Saving Mode

Samsung Services

Samsung Gear Apps

Connectivity

WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, A-GPS/Glonass
Bluetooth: 4.1

USB: USB 2.0

Sensors

Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, Barometer

Memory

RAM: 512MB
Storage: 4GB Internal Memory

Dimension

39.8 x 58.3 x 12.5T

Battery

300mAh Li-ion Up to 2days usage

Certification

IP67 Dust and Water Resistant

 

Samsung Gear Circle Specifications

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gearcircle/index.html

Speaker

12ϕ Dynamic

Microphone

Single MEMS

Codec

SBC, apt-X, Samsung HD

Value-Added Features

Smart Magnetic Clasp Control, Voice Notification, Sound Alive

Connectivity

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0
BT Profile: HSP / HFP / A2DP / AVRCP

Multi Point Connection : Up to 8 BT connections, 2 BT devices at the same time
Connector: Micro USB (Charging only)

Sensor

Magnetic Sensor (Hall IC), Touch Sensor

Battery

180mAh Li-ion (Standby 300h/Talk 11h/Play Time 9h)

 


Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxynoteedge/index.html

Network

2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSPA
42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) or 4G(LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)

AP

2.7 GHz Quad-Core Processor

Display

5.6 inch (141.9mm) Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440 + 160)

OS

Android 4.4 (KitKat)

Camera

Rear Facing: 16 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Smart OIS
Front Facing: 3.7 Mega pixel camera with f1.9

Rear Facing Camera: HDR (Rich tone), Selective Focus, Rear-cam Selfie, Beauty face, Virtual Tour Shot, Shot&More, Dual Camera
Front Facing Camera: Selfie, Wide Selfie

Video

Codec: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8, Recording & Playback: up to UHD

Audio

Codec: MP3, AAC/AAC/eAAC, WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, FLAC Ultra High Quality Audio (~192KHz, 24 bit) support

S Pen Optimized Features

Air Command: Action Memo, Screen Write, Image Clip, Smart Select,S Note, Snap Note, Direct Pen Input

Additional Features

  • Multi Window
  • Ultra Power Saving Mode
  • Voice Recorder (Normal Mode, Interview Mode, Meeting Mode, Voice Memo)
  • Download Booster
  • S Health 3.5
  • Dynamic Lock Screen
  • Briefing
  • Edge screen UX: Revolving Interaction, Immersive apps(Camera, Video, S Note), Ticker board, Express me, Quick Tools, Night Clock, etc

Google Mobile Services

Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search, YouTube

Connectivity

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe
GPS / GLONASS / Beidou

NFC, Bluetooth® v 4.1 (BLE, ANT+)
IR LED (Remote Control), USB2.0, MHL 3.0

Sensor

Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB, IR-LED
Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, Heart Rate Monitoring,

Memory

32/ 64 GB Internal memory
microSD slot (up to 128GB)

3GB RAM

Dimension

151.3 x 82.4 x 8.3mm, 174g

Battery

Standard battery, Li-ion 3,000 mAh, Fast Charging (Adaptive Fast Charging &

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxynote4/note4_main.html

Network

2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE) : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSPA
42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G (LTE Cat 4 150/50Mbps) or 4G (LTE Cat 6 300/50Mbps)

AP

2.7 GHz Quad-Core Processor

Display

5.7 inch (143.9mm) Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440)

OS

Android 4.4 (KitKat)

Camera

Rear Facing: 16 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Smart OIS
Front Facing: 3.7 Mega pixel camera with f1.9

Rear Facing Camera : HDR (Rich tone), Selective Focus, Rear-cam Selfie, Beauty face, Virtual Tour Shot, Shot & More, Dual Camera

Video

Codec: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1, WMV7, WMV8, Sorenson Spark, MP43, VP8
Recording: up to UHD

Audio

Codec: MP3, AAC/AAC/eAAC, WMA, AMR-NB/WB, Vorbis, FLAC Ultra High Quality Audio (~192KHz, 24 bit) support

S Pen Optimized Features

Air Command (Action Memo, Smart Select, Image Clip, Screen Write)

S Note, Snap Note, Direct Pen Input

Additional Features

Multi Window
Ultra Power Saving Mode

Voice Recorder (Normal Mode, Interview Mode, Meeting Mode, Voice Memo)
Download Booster
S Health 3.5
Dynamic Lock Screen

Briefing

Google Mobile Services

Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search, YouTube

Connectivity

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) MIMO PCIe
GPS / GLONASS / Baidu

NFC, Bluetooth v 4.1 (BLE,ANT+)
IR LED (Remote Control), USB2.0, MHL 3.0

Sensor

Gesture, Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyroscope, RGB, IR-LED, Proximity, Barometer, Hall Sensor, Finger Scanner, Heart Rate Monitoring, SpO2 (Dependent on market)

Memory

32 GB Internal memory
micro SD slot (up to 128GB)

3GB RAM

Dimension

153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm, 176g

Battery

Standard battery, Li-ion 3,220mAh, Fast Charging (Adaptive Fast Charging & QC2.0)

 

Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gearvr/index.html

Optical lens

96˚ Field of View

Sensor

Accelerator, Gyrometer, Magnetic, Proximity

Motion to Photon Latency

< 20ms

Focal Adjustment

Covers Nearsighted / Farsighted Eyes

Inter-pupillary Distance

55 ~ 71 mm

Physical User Interface

Touch Pad, Back Button, Volume Key

Connection

microUSB 1.1 connection to the Galaxy Note 4

Dimension (Headset)

198(W) x 116(L) x 90(H)mm

 

 


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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