Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

The Galaxy S5 is a great phone, even if it isn’t particularly ambitious. Samsung has iterated upon the Galaxy S4’s exceptional performance, gorgeous photo quality, and battery life, while simultaneously ignoring the most common of complaints — its cheap, uninspired design and unwieldy and unnecessary software suite. New features like its water resistant casing, fingerprint scanner, and integrated heart rate monitor help to differentiate the Galaxy S5, but it still lacks the focus and attention to detail that makes devices like the iPhone 5S or the HTC One (M8) remarkable.

Among the myriad of features found in Samsung’s S-series devices, performance has long been a top priority and the Galaxy S5 is no exception. This year’s model makes a considerable leap forward with its 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM, up from last year’s 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 series chip. The added horsepower makes navigating the Galaxy S5 snappy and responsive with apps and games booting quickly, but it also enables new features like the camera’s rapid capture speed and time saving fingerprint security.

Samsung’s also dropped in some other interesting tech into the Galaxy S5, like its new Download Booster feature, which utilizes both Wi-Fi and LTE connections to improve transfer speeds on files larger than 30MB. Sadly, certain and it can’t be used for purchases from Google Play, where users are most likely to download games and apps. However, for other large files from Google Drive and other sources, I found small increases in speed.

The Galaxy S5’s display is marginally larger, now measuring at 5.1” as opposed to the Galaxy S4’s 5” screen. Thankfully, the modest screen size increase doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the overall footprint of the device and it’s still a Super AMOLED panel, which produces rich, bright colors and a wide viewing angle.

The exterior has been spruced up a bit, with the Galaxy S5 taking on a flashier silver plastic trim and a dimple textured faux-leather back. Although it’s a welcomed change over the Galaxy S4’s high-gloss, almost slimy to the touch finish, the Galaxy S5 is a far cry from the premium look and feel of the iPhone, HTC One (M8), and much of Nokia’s Lumia line. What’s worse, what little ground Samsung has gained with the Galaxy S5’s design tweaks is undone by its cheap, toy-like materials.gs5_back-610x343

Uninspired as it may be, the Galaxy S5’s design does have one redeeming quality: water resistant casing. Samsung has made the Galaxy S5 capable of surviving not only partial exposure to water, but complete submersion for an extended period. I’ve run the Galaxy S5 under the tap and let it sink to the bottom of a tub of water without suffering any damage. For anyone who has ever lost a phone to water damage, the Galaxy S5’s water resistant casing and the peace of mind it yields could be a big draw. Despite the obvious utility, it’s a surprisingly uncommon feature amongst premium smartphones — at least, for now.

Samsung has also embraced biometric security, which Apple thrust back into mainstream consciousness with the introduction of the iPhone 5S’ TouchID sensor. The Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner differs from Apple’s, however, requiring users to swipe their finger over the home button rather than a touch and hold gesture.

Given the frequent use of swipe gestures in touch interface design, the Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner is actually more intuitive than Apple’s TouchID, and in my experience, more consistently accurate. Whereas the iPhone 5S periodically fails to recognize my fingerprint, the Galaxy S5 has only rejected it a couple of times during the span of my testing. It’s fast, efficient, and one of the safer ways to secure your smartphone.

On the software side, Samsung has made numerous changes to its TouchWiz UI, ranging from small design enhancements to the phone app to a revamped multitasking view. In some cases, the changes make for a cleaner, more intuitive experience, but most make simple tasks all the more challenging. For instance, the settings menu has gone from a relatively simple list-based structure to a grid of tens of icons spaced far apart that makes quick identification unnecessarily difficult.

If I had to sum up the Galaxy S5’s software in one word, it’d be “cluttered.” From the moment you take it out of the box and fire it up for the first time, TouchWiz’s factory fresh home screen is inundated with Samsung-crafted widgets for its various baked-in apps. It takes 10 minutes just to eradicate all of Samsung’s unnecessary bloat, but even then, it lives on within the app launcher, taking up precious storage space until you root your device and get rid of it for good.

Although there’s some utility to be found in some of Samsung’s apps, few are as effective or well designed as the wealth of third-party solutions available on Google Play. Samsung’s fitness and diet tracking app, S-Health, is probably the lone exception — if only because it’s the only app compatible with the Galaxy S5’s built-in heart rate monitor, which is placed just beneath the camera on the back panel. With S-Health open, users can place a finger on the sensor and get a beats-per-minute reading. But much like S-Health itself, the integrated heart rate monitor is inferior to other third-party solutions, often delivering inconsistent results or failing to register entirely.

The Verdict

The Galaxy S5 does a lot of things right. And of those, many are the things consumers care about most — battery life, camera quality, screen fidelity, and a water-tight shell. But its best qualities are diminished by Samsung’s wanton disregard for design and insistence upon packing in features for features’ sake. It’s not a bad phone. In fact, it’s great. But with increasingly stiff competition, Samsung needs to think less about marketing bulletpoints and more about features and experiences that consumers will actually use.

Reference : http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/04/23/samsung-galaxy-s5-review

Google Glass is now ‘try before you buy’

Google is trying to make “fetch” happen.

And by “fetch,” we mean making Glass appear like a normal fashion accessory. That’s what Google is trying to do with its new “try-on kit” program for potential Glass owners.

Apparently, Google is now permitting potential Glass owners to order a kit containing “all frame styles and four colors” for free before deciding which one (if any) they’d like to order, according to an email posted on Reddit that 9to5Google noticed. It’s free, but you do need to approve a temporary $50 hold on your credit card.

This is like ordering clothes or shoes online and returning them if they don’t fit properly.

Or like eyeglass company Warby Parker’s business model, which sends customers five pairs of their choice to try on before selecting the one they want.

You can’t actually use these units — these are strictly for checking out whether the fashion fits your face. They are actually real Google Glass devices, but they’ve been disabled so they don’t function. The Reddit community member who posted the email also pointed out that the USB charging ports were destroyed, likely to prevent people from using them during the trial or being tempted to keep them.

That’s a bit like the way Warby Parker does things, too, by sending out its sample frames with nonprescription lenses.

So in short, it looks like Google is attempting to pass Glass off as an absolutely normal fashion item we can all shop for, just as we do for pants, shoes, and glasses.

And with good reason: Google Glass has been at the center of a lot of controversy surrounding the social tensions in San Francisco between the tech community and the rest of the city lately, even resulting in a few recent incidents of aggression toward Glass wearers.

Since Glass is obviously not quite “socially acceptable” yet, this could be yet another small attempt at making it seem … normal.

Back in February, Google posted a friendly list of “dos and don’ts” for Glass Explorers, a first step in combating the anti-social aura of Glass.

Then Google also opened up the sale of Glass to anyone in the U.S. earlier this week for a single day — normally, one needs to apply first — likely in a further effort to get in the hands of as many kinds of people as possible, although that’s still limiting given the high $1,500 price.

Google is trying so hard to make “Glass” happen.

But whether Glass it will succeed still remains to be seen. “Fetch” couldn’t happen, so Glass might have a steep mountain to “normal” to climb.9276625962_6face82e33_b

Hulu Plus adds phone and tablet remote control to PS3, PS4 and Xbox One apps

If you’ve been enjoying the second screen-style remote control experience on Hulu Plus for the Chromecast, the streaming video site just announced similar support is coming to other devices. First up are the Hulu Plus apps for PS3, PS4 and Xbox One, and other devices are expected to add support soon. Similar to the second screen control Netflix and YouTube have offered — Hulu is not using the DIAL protocol those two built yet, but an in-house solution, we’re told it will add DIAL support in the future — you’ll need apps on both devices, logged into the same account. Then just punch the cast button, and you can throw video from mobile to TV screen, control playback or browse for something new to watch without interrupting the action onscreen. Also like Netflix it has lock screen controls, so you don’t have to unlock your phone or tablet just to press pause. It should be active in the apps already, so all you need to do now is find something to watch.
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Samsung announces world’s first Snapdragon 800 flip phone, W2014, costs over $1,640

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China Telecom’s obsession with Samsung’s luxury clamshells isn’t dwindling any time soon. In fact, the two companies have just launched a new model, the SCH-W2014, at their annual “Heart Of The World” charity concert in Nanjing last night. While it shares a similar appearance with the W2013 and the more recent Galaxy Golden, the new W2014 is by far the most powerful dual-screen flip phone in Samsung’s line-up, featuring Android 4.3, a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel main camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing imager and dual-SIM connectivity (CDMA2000 800/1900 and GSM 900/1800/1900). You’ll also find 32GB of internal storage plus microSD expansion.

Compared to the Galaxy Golden and the W2013, the only notable downsides on the W2014 are the same 800 x 480 resolution on its 3.7-inch Super AMOLED displays, as well as its similar 1,900mAh battery capacity (but removable). On the flip side, the weight has gone down to 173.5g, making this the lightest model in the “Heart Of The World” clamshell family since the W699 — the first of the series — from 2008. Chinese website iFeng, which got to check out the device at the event, praised the phone’s overall design and keypad feedback, but also criticized the plastic look and feel of the hinge.

There’s no launch date or price just yet, but expect the W2014 to cost beyond CN¥10,000, which works out to be about US$1,640. Yes, it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can still head over to PCPOP for more hands-on photos.

A rare slim gaming laptop ‘Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277′ , for just 999$

The good: With a new Intel Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia GPU, a 1TB hard drive, and a touch screen, the Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277 is a genre-buster laptop.

The bad: Hitting its $999 price clearly required some compromises, and the low-resolution 15-inch screen takes the fun out of gaming and media watching.

The bottom line: The Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277 comes close to being a great mainstream slim gaming laptop, but it’s undone by an unimpressive display.

Why can’t I get what I want? It doesn’t seem too complicated to me, but I find myself frustrated at every turn by the PC industry. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I want a reasonably thin, reasonably good-looking laptop, with a high-quality touch screen, and a decent discrete graphics card for gaming. Of course, I don’t want to pay too much for it.

The Toshiba Satellite S55t-A5277 is the latest to promise this to the world, but deliver significantly less. It’s painfully close to being a near-perfect laptop, offering a new fourth-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, a reasonably good Nvidia GeForce 740M graphics card, 12GB of RAM, and a huge 1TB hard drive, all for $999.

What’s not to like? Well, if you’ve got a solid CPU-GPU combo for playing games, you’re going to want a decent screen to play on, and that’s where the S55t-A5277 falls painfully short. While it’s a touch screen, which is practically a requirement for Windows 8 these days, it has a low screen resolution of 1,366×768 pixels. That’s rare in midprice, midsize laptops these days, and I can’t imagine feeling good about paying $999 for a laptop that’s not at least 1,600×900. On top of that, the screen just doesn’t look very good.

I had high hopes for the S55t-A5277 as a mainstream gaming laptop that could also work as an everyday slim 15-inch productivity machine, but the poor display sticks a real wrench in that plan. Laptop gaming is a question of choosing priorities, with high-end gaming rigs such as the Toshiba Qosmio X75 and Razer Blade lacking a touch screen, and most sub-$1,000 laptops being stuck with basic integrated graphics.

That one major flaw, the screen, aside, the S55t-A5277 is more than powerful enough for everyday use, with a slim body, optical drive, plenty of ports, and better components than you usually find outside of very expensive premium laptops. It’s so close to what I want that it’s especially frustrating to see it fall short.

Design and features
Toshiba’s entire laptop line has been slightly redesigned for the 2013 back-to-school season, although the S55t-A5277 isn’t radically different from previous Toshiba Satellite models. The body is a mix of brushed aluminum and black plastic, with an understated two-tone design that would work in an office, coffee shop, or at home. If the system cost a few hundred dollars more, it would be too plastic-feeling, but as priced, it’s just right.

While not as thin and light as Razer’s Blade gaming laptop, the S55t-A5277 is close to other 14- and 15-inch ultrabook-style laptops we’ve seen (although that term is used too extensively these days to cover a very wide range of sizes and weights). It’s just over 5 pounds and a hair thicker than 1 inch, but considering the discrete GPU and Core i7 CPU, that’s pretty good.

Toshiba’s keyboard style is built around chunky square keys that offer a satisfyingly deep click under your fingers. This keyboard looked and felt a lot like the one on the recent Qosmio X75, with generous flat-topped keys, plus a full-size separate number pad. Toshiba laptops have oddly short spacebars, which I always find hard to get used to, but at least the function keys are reversed, which means you don’t have to hold down the Fn key to access the volume, brightness, and other controls on the F1 to F12 keys. The keyboard is also backlit, which is a nice extra in a midprice laptop.

GOOGLE ANNOUNCES NEXUS 7 FEATURES 1080P DISPLAY, SNAPDRAGON S4 PRO, 5 MP CAMERA

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Google has updated its Nexus line with the new version of the Nexus 7 tablet. With a design similar to the original Nexus 7, the new model is also made by Asus and is enhanced with new hardware features and the latest Android 4.3. The 7.02-inch 1920×1080 Full HD (323ppi) IPS touchscreen is probably the most eye-catching feature of this next gen Nexus tablet.

The Full HD Nexus 7 also received quite a huge specs bump, sporting Qualcomm’s SnapDragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz CPU with Adreno 320 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. While the original Nexus 7 has a 1.2 Megapixel front-facing camera, the 2nd gen packs a 5 Megapixel rear-facing camera for taking photos and videos. The tablet supports dual-band 2.4G/5G WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and NFC connectivity, and it is compatible with Qi wireless charging standard. The 3950mAh battery can provide up to 9 hours of active use. Other features include stereo speaker with Fraunhofer-powered surround sound, microUSB port, SlimPort support,and a range of built-in sensors such as gyroscope, accelerometer.

Despite all these specs bump and hardware enhancement, the new Nexus 7 is slimmer at 8.65mm (compare to 10.56mm of original Nexus 7) and and lighter at 290g (vs. 340g). 16GB and 32GB versions are available and optional 4G LTE model is also available. The prices are $229 for 16GB and $295 for 32GB.

 

CANON ANNOUNCES VIXIA MINI COMPACT PERSONAL CAMCORDER

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Here comes a new convenient video camcorder for those who want to capture videos of themselves. Canon’s newly announced VIXIA Mini compact personal camcorder is a unique device that let you to become the Stars of your own videos, allowing you to record your hobbies and memorable moments hands-free. With built-in WiFi connectivity, users can share videos and images easily to social networking sites.

The VIXIA Mini sports a 12.8 Megapixel High-sensitivity CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC DV4 image processor, creating the Canon HS System for capturing high quality Full HD video and still images. The F/2.8 fisheye ultra wide angle lens 160-degree angle of view that allows you include surroundings in the video. Users can swithc between Wide Mode for capturing wide view of the scene, and Close-up Mode if they want to emphasis emphasize the subject.

To make yourself Star, you can make use of the Mirror Image Recording mode to view the scene you are recording in real time so you can watch as you record. There are new Special Scene Modes including Food & Fashion, Sports, and Macro as well as Slow Motion and Fast Motion modes and Intervel Recording to fit different users’ needs. If you don’t want to trouble with all these modes, simply use the Smart Auto mode that can intelligently selects one of 38 predefined situations.

The built-in adjustable stand can tilt and elevate the VIXIA Mini about 60 degrees that allows for flexible positioning for shooting different video scenes. The camcorder has a Vari-Angle 2.7-inch capactive touch display that can be adjusted to fit various shooting styles, such as low-angle shooting, self-shooting and high-angle shooting.

Canon will release the mini VIXIA in September for $299.99.

 

 

Lexar announces Industry’s First 128GB SDXC Memory Card

Lexar 128GB and 64GB SDXC Professional Memory Cards

Today at CES 2011, Lexar Media has announced industry’s first high speed 128GB along with a 64GB professional SDXC memory cards. These SDXC memory cards have 133x speed which means it can transfer data at speed of minimum 20MB per second. Because of its high speeds, these memory cards can be used by professional videographers and photographers who can capture extended lengths of 1080p HD video and for shoot continuous rapid-fire images. Read more

Roland launches GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer

Roland has launched a new GR-55 guitar synthesizer which features the newly developed pitch-detection technology and includes a triple-core engine that comprises two PCM synthesizers and COSM guitar modeling. GR-55 has two USB ports- one on the rear panel port for MIDI/Audio data communication and other on the side-panel port dedicated for real-time playback of audio files from a USB memory device.

The Roland GR-55 offers two types of multi-effects engines along with global reverb, chorus, and delay effects, and an onboard looper. It comes with over 900 of Roland’s latest fully editable PCM sounds, including pianos, organs, strings, vintage synths, and much more.

Onkyo Unveils Two New Home Theater Systems

Today Onkyo has released two new affordable “home-theater-in-a-box” (HTiB) systems- HT-S5400 and HT-S3400.

The HT-S5400 is a high end model and the costlier one which is a 7.1-channel HTiB that features two extra audio channels for more audio control to enhance movie and gaming ambience and supports Dolby Pro Logi IIz  with its superior audio DACs. There is also a front panel USB port for iPod or iPhone connectivity. Read more

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