Thursday, 26 February 2015


Above: A successful Samsung Genius Bar parody.

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How are you? It is so good to see you as always! I hope you are getting maximum joy out of your tech! More reviews are coming! Say, it’s been a while since Synapse Circuit hosted a competition... Wait and see... Wink, wink...

Whether you like or even love Samsung or not you can you honestly say that you haven’t talked about a Samsung device – namely the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge? Weren’t you impressed by the Galaxy Note 4? And what about the often sublime Samsung adverts – especially when they mock the “Sheeple” or “iSheep”? But, hey, someone begs to differ...

"Everybody talks about Apple. Nobody talks about Samsung, or Microsoft, for that matter," says former Apple CEO John Sculley.

#Samsung #GalaxyS6 #GalaxySEdge #GalaxyS6Edge #Unpacked2015 #MobileWorldCongress2015 #MWC15

It’s as though the people at Apple are cyborgs in that what comes from their mouths is a vehement constant denial of the competition, “Apple is fantastic. Apple is amazing. Apple is wonderful...”

Well, it hasn’t always been like that as the massive tech war that amounted to an undue lawsuit to prevent Samsung products from competing around the globe. People were certainly talking about Samsung then (and now)!

I have exposed Apple on many occasions from the destruction of the music industry with iTunes, exaggerated sales figures and how the iPhone 5 tanked as did the 5C. However, despite these, er, hiccups the Apple skin remains shiny and bright. There may be a rotten core below the surface.

Just about everybody who follows tech news knows that 2014 has been hard for Samsung due to the ever changing Android market; the standards have definitely been upped somewhat. What was a high-end handset 2 years ago is now a budget one today. We know about the Chinese manufacturers and how they have cornered the mid to mid-high end market. However – and I keep saying this – I have yet to see a handset from a Chinese manufacturer that can rival the premium Samsung models, Galaxy S and Galaxy Note. There is no doubt that these mid to high-end Chinese handsets are a cost effective alternative to Samsung and other premium staples but I would imagine that a majority of Android fans in the West would prefer a Galaxy Note or Galaxy S over something like the OnePlus One. Well, I know that the Galaxy Note 4 has great audio support for music composition on the fly and I suspect that the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will have the same audio features and more besides.

While the Chinese have switched from Samsung and Apple to national manufacturers such as Xiaomi, for example, it is not going to happen globally. Even if Xiaomi or OnePlus entered the US and European markets in a big way I do not think that we’ll switch all of a sudden! Just look at Huawei over here in the UK – they are still struggling to break the stranglehold of Samsung, LG and HTC. The only market that Huawei can tap is the budget one. And it is the same with ZTE (here in the UK); they are now forced to create better handsets with a lower price.

Then you look at other Android competitors such as Acer and Archos, they are forced to create better handset at a lower price entry.

Once again, the Galaxy S5 was a pedestrian “back to basics” offering from Samsung; it is what people have been talking about from the initial unpacking until now! So, all eyes are upon The Next Galaxy Unpacked come March 1st at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

But you’d be hard pressed to find someone that will talk about the failure of the iPhone 5 and 5C. Apple won’t talk about it because they behave like those failures never happened. Given the choice of a Galaxy S5 and an iPhone 5 or 5C I wouldn’t have to think about it: Galaxy S5!

The Galaxy S5 is still a great handset that features a great camera amongst other features such as the heart rate monitor.

Did Samsung’s marketing power or lack thereof have an adverse effect on the Galaxy S5 sales? It’s a tough one to call because the general consensus from the UK tech magazines put the LG G3 on top of the UK Android market and no matter how many ads Samsung take out in magazines and television it is hard to dissuade the public from tech magazine (paper and TV) recommendations. The Galaxy S5 simply didn’t capture the imagination of the majority of tech media in the UK. As a Samsung fan myself I wasn’t very impressed with the Galaxy S5 design but beyond the design it was the best handset of 2014 only coming second to the Galaxy Note 4 released in September. And on the streets I see so many people with Galaxy Note 3 handsets – men and women! Y’know, I have yet to see someone with an LG G3 on the streets...


It’s one thing taking on the rest of the Android manufacturers but to take on the iPhone??? Well, actually it is not that big of mountain to climb because Samsung premium handsets are better than the iPhone. Yes, really! Here:-

Yes, I do understand the idea of “premium” materials but that’s not necessarily the whole story. We all know that all smartphones suffer from a weak battery. To be able to swap out the battery on the Galaxy S series up to 5 and the Note series to the current fourth incarnation is the hallmark of a great design. Just the other day when I was in a coffee shop in Soho I witnessed a group of Asian patrons with their iPhones plugged into the wall.

Above: Chief Apple designer, Jony Ive. You'd look miserable too if all your designs were surpassed...

One more time... We interface with the screen and so having a big 5” screen on the Galaxy S5 and 5.7” on the Galaxy Note 4 makes the rest of the handset quite superficial. Show one person that is infatuated with the back of the phone and I’ll show you an elitist ill-informed person that is in love with the Apple logo. The only time I really interface with the back of my Galaxy handsets is to change the battery and check my heart rate. That’s it! With the iPhone the forehead and chin, so to speak, are quite big and unsightly. Jony Ive is simply overrated as a designer. All Ive can do is just criticize and bitch – very boring!

The functionality of the Galaxy S and Note series are unsurpassed. Because Apple isn’t able to imbue the iPhone with such functionality they call Samsung’s innovations “gimmicks”. Once a person goes from the iPhone to a Galaxy Note, for example, they rarely go back. I have to admit that I find it hard to believe when someone tells me that they have gone from a Galaxy Note to an iPhone 6 Plus as I think they are either lying for effect (to prop up Apple) or they simply didn’t make use of the Galaxy Note. Yes, Apple announced record breaking sales and profits but I do think that it’s the affluent Chinese market that has helped. Android still has over 80% of the market and Samsung is still on top!

The iPhone cannot beat Android and Samsung’s TouchWiz for functionality. Yet, that said, TouchWiz can produce some lag where the fluidity of the interface goes. I can’t say that a little lag here and there has ruined my enjoyment of the Galaxy S and Note handsets. I can’t say that I have noticed any lag or stutters on the Galaxy Note 4 thus so far.

You’d think that the Apple App Store has a greater edge over Google Play Store the gap that was once there has closed considerably. In addition Samsung is creating apps for its own Galaxy App Store; granted that the Galaxy App Store features many apps that can be found on the Google App Store there are a few apps pertaining to the Galaxy S and Note handsets. 

Once again, the productivity apps can output to file formats for further work on a PC or Mac. This is why serious technology fans go for the Galaxy range of premium handsets over the iPhone.

The iOS operating system is just a front for iTunes.

In some ways Apple is very clever; over the years Jobs has cultivated an acute elitism in the personal computing market, “We’re Apple Macs and we are superior to PCs...” Apple had to do something to stem the tide of Microsoft, Windows and inexpensive PCs. Apple jacked up the prices and invested in some revolutionary designs for the time with its Mac computers. It’s like Apple reinvented its brand to appear like a Rolls Royce to the rather bland Ford PCs. But that was a little over 10 years ago. Today we have some brilliant looking PC cases, well designed monitors and interchangeable components such as a graphics card for example. A well made PC can beat a Mac in price and in functionality.

Apple has just repeated the jacked up price formula for the iPhone and iPad; it’s that brand building that captured the minds of the consumer looking to buy into prestige. Add the constant Apple derision of the competition and you have a bunch of people hating the competition for no real reason and this is why many people find it hard to reason with iPhone fans on social networks such as Google Plus.

When you look over at Samsung it is entirely different... What Samsung does is just concentrate on how good its products are. As you know one of the ways Samsung has shown that its products are better is with those wonderful ads that poke fun at the ‘iSheeple’. Apple can never do ads like that. As I have been saying for the longest time that the Apple lawsuit persecution has given Samsung a great deal of publicity! I still chuckle at the iPhone 6 Plus keynote, “Look, it has a landscape mode!” said Peter Schiller. I laughed so hard at the time. The audience, made up of press and Apple personnel, clapped like trained seals. Wow! Isn’t that fantastic?

You’ve only got to look at the build-up for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge to see that Samsung are masters of marketing. It will be interesting to see how Samsung markets the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge post the Unpacked event in Barcelona in a couple of days time.

But a good product or products should speak for themselves. Should Samsung get the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge right then they’ve done 80% of the marketing already. There’s a bit of panic in that some Android fans are saying that the next Galaxy won’t have an microSD card slot “copying the iPhone” and will not be water or dust resistant. I can just about live with a non-removable battery on a Samsung but with all the pictures and videos I take with my Galaxy handsets I will need a microSD slot! As for water and dust resistance... ...I’ve never really needed such protection.

I think the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Unpacked event is the most anticipated ever! It has overshadowed all the other manufacturers attending the Mobile World Congress; the tech media has written an article practically every day based on pure speculation, Samsung’s finances, “leaked” pictures and so on... What I’ve tried to do is to step back a little and try and put the clues together. I didn’t want to join in with the rumour manufacture and photo leaks from unofficial sources. Such tech journalism is lazy in my opinion. I try to put some effort in my journals. Lol!

We’ll just have to wait and see what Samsung reveals this Sunday!

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