Monday, 18 March 2013

IS THE GALAXY S4 GAME CHANGING?



IS THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 A GAME CHANGING DEVICE?
THE AFTERMATH... A DESIGN 4 LIFE
PART 4

Good afternoon, Synapse Circuit Readers! So far no rain! I plan to pop at after this blog and do a bit of shopping! Oooh, it’s clouding over... Hey, do you think that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a game changing device?

CHANGING THE GAME...

HTC
From what I have gathered through the media, HTC do not think the S4 is a game changing device, Benjamin Ho, the chief marketing officer for smartphone maker HTC, has slammed Samsung Galaxy S4, saying the new mobile by the Korean electronics giant “offers nothing new” to its users...

That doesn’t make any sense because there are great new features that I haven’t had in my Galaxy handsets (S1, S2 and Note 2). I love the Dual Camera feature and I am looking forward to using the S Translate, eye tracking features that pauses a movie when I look away from the screen, etc. As a user I can’t say that Mr. Ho speaks for me!

THE GAME CHANGER: iPHONE & ANDROID
The game changing device in the wonderful world of mobile is undeniably the iPhone! However, Android changed the game up some more when they featured support for the Adobe Flash web plugin. Steve Jobs said that it, (Flash) posed many problems for his devices and Android said, ‘Not for us!’ So, for many who do not want constrictions, Android was the game changing software because it was and is the most accommodating!

Typically, Apple has, as you know, responded to the Samsung Galaxy S4 with an extra advertising page to its website stating how much the iPhone 5 is loved!

Let’s break it down, shall we... Hahahaha!

Here’s what they say...

“Apparently love can be measured. In eight straight studies by J.D. Power and Associates — that’s every study since the first iPhone was introduced — iPhone has been ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Consumer Smartphones.” iPhone ranked highest in the study, which reviewed the following categories: performance, physical design, features, and ease of operation.”

I have never heard of J.D. Power and Associates. All I can say about their claims is that I know so many iPhone users who want to switch to either a Galaxy S3 (and now the S4) and Galaxy Note II. The reasons may soon be apparent.

“It’s nearly impossible to make a device so thin and light without sacrificing features or performance. Yet iPhone 5 achieves that goal. It’s an accomplishment of engineering as much as one of design. Every detail and every material — particularly the sleek aluminum enclosure — has been meticulously considered and refined. And it’s made with a level of precision you’d expect from a finely crafted watch, not a smartphone. As a result, iPhone feels substantial in your hand and perfect in your pocket.”

What can one say to that? There’s no denying that the iPhone 5 looks good. I honestly don’t like the design above the Samsung models that I own. I have said it many times, but I will say it again... It is the polycarbonate material that houses the Samsung premium handset makes it more durable than the iPhone. I have seen so many iPhones with cracked screens and chipped / dented bodies that would have me purchase a protective case immediately if I were an iPhone user. But I think that there are many vein iPhone users who do not wish to hide the wonderful aluminium aesthetics. I have dropped my S2 a few times, I should get a case for it, and nothing happened – not even a scratch!

“The Retina display on iPhone ushered in the era of super-high-resolution displays. Its pixel density is so high, your eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. The images and words are amazingly vivid and crisp. Everything just looks so real. In fact, once you see a Retina display, you’re never satisfied with anything less. Yet it remains a feature found only on iPhone and other Apple products.”

The Retina display was a unique feature but it isn’t anymore. The HTC One display features a massive 468 ppi! The Galaxy S4 display is a respectable 441 ppi! And guess what? The iPhone 5 screen amounts to 326 ppi! So, I guess that puts the Retina display in its place!

Also bear in mind that the iPhone screen is quite small at 4” compared to the wonderfully large screens that feature in many premium Android handsets. In my humble opinion, I would rather have a larger screen with less ppi than an iPhone with a smaller screen. It’s like packing a great clarity into a 15” computer monitor and saying that it is better than a 22 inch monitor! As it happens most 21” or 22” monitors are full HD 1920 x 1080! It is great that the Galaxy S4 combines a high pixel per inch density and a full HD resolution! Thus the S4 full HD Super AMOLED display beats the Retina.

“It’s impressive that iPhone 5 gives you long battery life so you can easily make it through your day. You get up to 8 hours of talk time, up to 8 hours of browsing over cellular networks, and up to 10 hours of video playback.2 But it’s extraordinary that we fit such a powerful battery into such a thin and light design — all thanks to Apple scientists who created unique battery chemistry instead of settling for a large, off-the-shelf option.”

Hmmm... Some iPhone 5 users have complained that the battery life is poor! For those who say that I am biased towards Samsung I have to say that it’s not true because it is iPhone users that are coming to me with complaints. Yet at the same time, I am a reviewer and ultimately I am going to be biased if a product is better than another.

Again, for the umpteenth time... Many manufacturers would like to think that their batter offers great life and most of them do in standby mode; it’s when you start consuming media i.e. YouTube, Internet, music and so on the battery starts to deplete! Of course, if you have WiFi and Bluetooth on the battery will deplete even faster!

Annoyingly for iPhone users the battery is non-removable. This is why I would never touch the iPhone! Say I was using the iPhone on the road and sending and receiving important email and the battery died, what do I do? With most Android handsets I can just replace the dead battery with a spare. I do think that manufacturers ought to place a spare in the box!

“Apple designed the A6 chip to make just about everything you do on iPhone remarkably fast. It makes quick work of even the most graphics-intensive apps, and high frame rates make gameplay feel smooth and downright real. And the A6 chip works hand in hand with iOS 6 to be extremely power efficient. So you don’t sacrifice battery life for speed.”

And the A6 chip was manufactured by Samsung if I am not mistaken! I think the A6 chip functions well from having played around with the iPhone. But I think that the quad-core CPUs in the S3 and Note 2 are exceptional; both handsets are remarkably responsive. They make light work of the applications that I use i.e. YouTube, video recording and playback and other media intensive functions. It helps that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is faster and more responsive than ever.

“With LTE on iPhone 5, you can browse, download, and stream content at remarkable speeds. Apple engineers not only created a way to fit LTE in the thin iPhone profile, they did it in a way that optimizes battery life, too. Dual-band 802.11n accelerates your Wi-Fi experience. And because iPhone 5 supports more networks all over the world, you can connect at blazing-fast speeds no matter where you are.”

I do feel that 4G LTE is a little overrated, but it is good to have. Many Android models including the premium Samsung range has LTE compatibility as does the Galaxy S4. Unfortunately, I think the UK pricing for 4G is quite steep!

“The iSight camera on iPhone is the world’s most popular camera. It’s an amazing camera that’s always in your pocket. And while other smartphones simply tout large amounts of megapixels, taking great pictures is about so much more. The 8MP camera on iPhone 5 captures great photo data, and the hardware and software work together to make behind-the-scenes image and color adjustments. So it’s easy for anyone to take impressive photos in various lighting conditions.”

That could be true that the iPhone camera is the most popular as the iPhone initially was the one to beat! This is changing. I do think that the S3, Note 2 and S4 will be the most popular cameras with other premium handsets from other manufacturers such as Sony Xperia Z!

“The more apps, music, movies, and TV shows you download, the more you realize there’s almost no limit to what iPhone can do. With iPhone, all that content comes from one source: Apple. The iTunes Store is the world’s largest and most trusted entertainment store. And the App Store is home to over 800,000 apps — all reviewed by Apple to guard against malware. Other mobile platforms have a myriad of fragmented store options, resulting in availability issues, developer frustration, and security risks.”

Interesting... It is true that there are wonderful apps for the iPhone and that at one time Android was far behind. Today, the quality of Android apps is catching up and certainly there are just as many apps on Android as there is in the App Store. Also, iPhone users are locked into iTunes. Speaking for myself, I can’t say that I am attracted to what’s available on iTunes. I can’t say that there are movies that I would want to purchase specifically for any of my Android handsets. If I like a movie a great deal I still buy it on DVD / Bluray and it is now customary for movie distributors to include a digital version of the movie to be consumed on mobile devices. I have more freedom with Android in that I can have a variety of sources from which to get apps, etc.

Another thing to take into consideration with Apple’s scaremongering... Apple developers just have one phone to develop for whereas with Android there are so many choices to be had! Yes, it is a pain for developers but because the latest trend is for 5” and above screens there will be uniformity to Android handsets thus making it easier for developers to create apps with HD resolution. I think... I think – I can’t say for sure – Android 5 will be able to ease some of the problems for developers. There ought to be a routine that resizes apps according to the screen resolution.

You will find that the old handsets will fade into history while the newer handsets will bring about the death of older versions of Android. In saying that, I am still using my HTC Desire with Android 2.2 seamlessly! Again, Apple wants to try and fool you with the idea of “fragmentation”.

Malware? Hmmm... So far, touch wood, I haven’t experienced any malware on my handsets. I think it is wise to take advantage of deploying a good antivirus and malware protection app and to be careful over what you download. C’mon, if you are going to be downloading dodgy apps i.e. stuff to do with scantily clad women then you can expect the worst! If you’re selective about what apps you download then it limits the chance of malware. Google are doing their best to help with removing malware apps from their Play Store.

“iPhone is so easy to use thanks to iOS 6. Innovative features like Siri and FaceTime plus built-in apps make iPhone not just useful but fun. iOS updates download right on iPhone, so the latest iOS version is just a tap away. And because Apple makes both the hardware and the software, iOS features are designed to work perfectly with iPhone features like the Retina display, gyro, and accelerometer. iOS is also the platform for over 800,000 apps that let your iPhone do even more.”

I can’t honestly that the iOS 6 operating system is the best in the world. Android beats it when it comes to being flexible! Sure, Android has its flaws but there’s no way I would say that iOS is better. I prefer Android for sharing without restrictions. For example I can copy my YouTube channel link as text that I can place in any app! Or alternatively I can select from an app list that includes Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. I love that I can customise the look of my Android screens to suit me! If I want a newsfeed on a designated screen it is done! You can’t do much with iOS 6. It’s close, but no cigar!

“Siri, the intelligent assistant, lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place calls, set reminders, and more. You can even ask Siri who’s winning the game. And with Eyes Free, you can use Siri to get things done in your car without taking your eyes off the road. You can speak naturally to Siri — it understands what you say, knows what you mean, and helps you do the things you do every day. All you have to do is ask.”

Well, on Android there is the awesome Google Now which gives results faster than Siri in the tests that I have seen. The S Voice is a good feature... On the S3 it was great to interface with the handset and with S4 the S Voice appears to have improved. You have Google Now as default and S Voice and that can’t be a bad thing!

“iCloud takes the experience of using iPhone that much further. It stores your content — your music, photos, apps, mail, contacts, calendars, documents, and more — and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. And with Photo Stream, pictures taken on one iOS device automatically appear on all your devices, including your Mac or PC. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, and it all just works. So you’re up to date everywhere you go. All you have to do is nothing.”

Hey, there’s Google Drive and Dropbox! Now, I have been told that if you own a music track on your iPhone you can’t share it with your iPad... Is that true? I cannot say for sure, but I have been told something along those lines.

So, there you have it! I really don’t know what Apple hopes to achieve with the “Loveable iPhone” preach-vert. Once again, this only serves to highlight the Samsung Galaxy S4. I don’t look at that preach-vert and think, ‘Oh, I ought to upgrade to the iPhone 5...’ And I doubt that it would cause consumers who have gone elsewhere to return... I guess it’s there to please the fans...

In the next blog I will answer the question, ‘Is the Galaxy S4 a game changing device?’

Thank you for reading!


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