09 May 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Samsung S8 Pros and Cons

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is not cheap. It is one of the most expensive phones on the market. However, as soon as you start using the phone you know that it is in a different class. It probably has the best screen on the market today. It is clear, sharp, and has a stunning colour resolution. The entire package just works incredibly well, although there are a few flaws which we will discuss later.

According to Gareth Beavis of Techradar “Biometric issues aside, the Galaxy S8 is a brilliant phone“.

It is the premier phone which stands apart from all the top offerings from other manufacturers as a unique and special smartphone. It is very good looking and the phone merges into a single integrated whole without any extraneous or visually discordant elements. The curves on the edge are more subtle that on the Galaxy S7 Edge and it is an extremely comfortable phone to use.

However, there is one exception to this: the placement of the fingerprint-reading Home button which is located on the back, next to the camera. The placement is an obvious design compromise and it is not a good compromise. Most reviewers of this phone are unanimous in their disapproval of the physical position of the fingerprint sensor. In our experience too, it is a complete pain and an inexcusable one too.

We found that it is hard to reach, high up on the back of the phone, it is too small so it often does not recognise the fingerprint when used and often leads to smudging of the camera lens which is right alongside the sensor. As a result, many are using the iris scanner as an easier to use alternative to the fingerprint scanner.

The other irritation offered by the S8 is the integrated Samsung Bixby Personal Assistant which is an Apple Siri wanna-be, but at this stage is not delivering what Google and Apple provide with their personal smartphone assistants. There is a dedicated button to launch Bixby, which indicates that Samsung is determined to make this product work well, but at this stage, it is not really there yet. At the moment, it’s a waste of a physical button.

As one would expect, the S8 has a full-house of top features. These include the superb 5.8 inch quad HD Infinity Display, 4:gb; of RAM and 64GB storage which is expandable to 256GB with the addition of a microSD card. As with previous models, the battery life is good although not spectacular but wireless and quick charging is available. The excellent rear and front cameras are 12 and 8 megapixel, which both delivers exceptional images.

With a starting price of £689.99, the new Samsung Galaxy S8 is the only choice, at the moment, for the buyer who wants the best.

Would you buy the S8?

Continue Reading

05 July 2012 ~ 0 Comments

What is Android Jelly Bean?

Simply put, Jelly Bean is the latest update for the Android mobile operating system. In case you didn’t know, Google have been naming each new version of their OS alphabetically after sweets and desserts and the list so far has been Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich. Yum yum. What better to follow up that list than Jelly Bean which will become version 4.1 of Android.

In reality, it’s more of an update rather than a whole new version as the last edition, Ice Cream Sandwich was 4.0 and brought a huge number of stunning new features and redesigns to Android phones. In fact, Ice Cream Sandwich is still so recent that only some of the fanciest phones have got official updates for it yet. Still, that’s not to say that Jelly Bean hasn’t got its fair share of badass features.

Cementing its position as the most powerful and usable mobile operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean comes with expandable notifications and user-customisable keyboard maps. Also, keeping one step ahead of the limiting and simplistic “grid of icons” design that iOS prefers, widgets are now automatically resizable. Add to this all the great features of ICS and new upgrades to contact photos, the camera app and proper gapless playback, and it’s hard to argue against this being the most modern mobile platform around.

One of the best examples of Google’s attention to detail is the improvements to the interface dubbed Project Butter. They have tried to make every aspect of your interaction smoother, more graceful and more aesthetically pleasing. While it’s not something you’d ever really think about, it makes the daily interaction with your phone that much faster and more pleasant. To show this feature off, Google got hold of a $20,000+ RED camera that shot a video of the phone’s interface at 120 frames per second really showing off how fast, fluid and smoothly it runs. Check it out for yourself:

But perhaps Jellys Bean’s killer feature is the new Google Now which seems to do everything Siri does on the iPhone and much more. And this time it has a pleasant synthesised voice instead of that harsh robot woman. You can test your phone with all sorts of questions and it will recognise your voice, work out what you mean and give you the answer in a matter of seconds. It can do simple things like set an alarm for Mothers’ Day, tell you the films Natalie Portman has been in, how much Bill Gates is worth, the fall in the stock price of Barclays or the height you have to be to ride Space Mountain. What what’s even more impressive is it can do calculations in real time, give you real time updates to football match scores and even automatically plan the fastest route to work for the current traffic when it notices you’re leaving home in the morning. Pretty neat, huh?

Some of the other notable new features (there are hundreds of them) includes new keyboard and a gestures input method. There’s also a much improved browser that runs much faster and has HTML5 tweaks. Your phone can easily replace a GPS abroad too as Maps now has an offline feature as does the voice recognition/dictation feature. Perhaps the coolest thing to try out in practice though is Android Beam which uses near field communication technology to transfer files between phones by simply touching them together.

But when can you get this in your eager hands? As mentioned earlier, you need to have a fairly new handset to run Jelly Bean now but it will be slowly rolling out onto more and more devices. The Google branded phones such as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus will get it right away as will the Nexus 7 tablet. Other tablets such as the Motorola Xoom will get it and it should be possible to manually upgrade many phones if you want. Still, if you have an ancient phone and are drooling so much you have to upgrade, now might be time to invest in a Galaxy S3 🙂

So, are you desperate to get Android Jelly Bean on your own phone? What’s your favourite feature? And is it good enough to convince you to upgrade your handset? As usual, please drop us a comment 🙂

Continue Reading

04 July 2012 ~ 3 Comments

Google Now vs Siri

Just a quick video post for you while we put the finishing touches on our full Android Jelly Bean post. In case anyone was still under the impression that Siri is a reason to use an iPhone, spend ten minutes with us and check out how it performs when compared to the new Google Now:

And if that weren’t convincing enough, check out all these things that Google Now can do:

What do you think? Which do you prefer? And would you ever actually use these features? Let us know in the comments below.

Continue Reading