First Impressions Video: The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom on AT&T

Samsung is one of the most experimental companies on the planet when it comes to various gadget form factors and features. As a follow up to last year’s Galaxy Camera, they’re expanding the Galaxy S line-up with a crazy zoom lens phone. From an optics standpoint, it looks like it might be able to give the Lumia 1020 a run for its money…

The Zoom is an interesting set of features and compromises. Let’s take a look around!

Samsung unveils Galaxy Camera 2, Android powered Point and Shoot Super Zoom

Galaxy Camera 2 5Last year the Galaxy Camera was an interesting experiment. An Android powered media player with a point and shoot camera stapled to the back. WiFi, Bluetooth, and even LTE data connections were included allowing it to do anything but make a phone call. It continued a conversation for Samsung where they could create new product niches, and play with exotic gadgets.

Now they’re continuing this experiment with a sequel of sorts. The Galaxy Camera 2 is officially official. It sports a new 1.6GHz quad core processor (likely built off of the Exynos line) and a 21X zoom paired with a similar 16MP BSI CMOS sensor. While Sammy isn’t radically changing up the sensor, and it’s the same size as the old Galaxy Camera and Galaxy S4 Zoom (1/2.3″), they are bragging about a new image processing engine which they say will improve image quality.

Galaxy Camera 2 8NFC will make an appearance on this camera to include tap and share options. Of all the updates, I’m most looking forward to the larger battery, up to 2000mAh from 1650 in the OG camera.

What we don’t know yet is if the 4.8″ LCD screen will receive a resolution bump to 1080p as the original G-Cam had 720p LCD. Also no mention is made in the press release if we’ll see another LTE enabled camera or if Samsung will stick to WiFi only devices. And of course, we have no info on pricing and availability. Just a tease that the camera will be on display at CES, but so far this sounds like an uncharacteristically modest update from a company which we’re used to seeing deliver on audacious devices.

Full PR and more pics after the jump.

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Sprint debuts Samsung Galaxy S4 with support for Sprint Spark enhanced LTE

sprint_galaxy_s4Sprint has been working on improving their network through their Network Vision initiative, consolidating and removing outdated legacy technologies so they can push forward with faster and more powerful connections. Sprint Spark is the next stage of their LTE network. To over simplify, cannibalizing the old Nextel 800MHz spectrum and slapping LTE on it. Part of Sprint’s network woes in the past, their LTE was broadcast over higher frequency bands with poor building penetration. Moving LTE to 800MHz should mean much better connections for customers indoors and farther away from their towers.

Sprint currently offers limited Spark connection in five cities: LA, New York, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami. They will be adding an additional 100 markets to this list over the next three years. Network consolidation takes a little time apparently. Spark aims to deliver up to 50Mbps connections, and there’s the potential for it to support up to 2Gbps in the future.

Of course, what good is new network connectivity if your phone can’t use it? 

In the “coming weeks” a new version of the GS4 will be made available with tri-band support for Sprint’s various LTE channels, and it will be able to hand off connection between those bands with little or no interruption to the user. As far as the customer is concerned, it’s just a normal GS4, but with faster data in select markets. Whenever it’s actually made available, it’ll drop for $200 on a two year contract.

Hit the jump for the full PR!

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SomeGadgetGuy’s 2013 Smartphone Awards! The Best of the Best!

SGG Smartphone awards 2013 smallIt’s that time!

Wrapping up the year, we’re going to take a look back at the year in smartphones. Unlike our Tablet Buying Guide, there are many aspects to shopping a phone. Instead of declaring a one-size-fits-all winner, we’re going to run down a list of individual features. We’ll hand out awards to the best of the best in categories like Camera, Speakers, and Battery Life.

If you’re shopping a phone this Holiday Season, we hope this will help you make a buying decision on those features which are most important to you!

Let’s get to it!

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SomeGadgetGuy’s 2013 Holiday Tablet Buying Guide!

ipad miniTis the season for shiny new glowing rectangles! Tablets are proving to be all the rage this year, and if you were thinking of shopping one for a loved one (or for yourself you cheeky bugger you), here’s the scoop on our favorite computing slabs.

Apple: iPad Mini ($399)

Ok. This one’s easy. The iPad Air is the big dog, but the Mini now sports a proper retina display and pretty much the same processor guts as its big brother. The Mini is a touch easier to leave the house with thanks to its smaller form factor, and you’ll save yourself a cool $100 opting for the little iPad over the bigger one. Thankfully that wont come with a performance deficit. This is likely going to be one of the hottest sellers of the year, so make sure you get that pre-order in before it goes on sale later this month if you want to secure a place in line.

Apple announces iPad Mini.

Microsoft: Nokia Lumia 2520 ($499, available later this month)

WP_20131024_19_19_31_ProWe’re restricting our discussion here to Windows RT powered devices. Microsoft is doing a great job of blurring the lines between proper PC’s and consumer tablets, but keeping the playing field equal here, we’re looking at ARM powered portable devices not X86. Sorry Surface Pro and Sony Tap.

The Surface 2 might be Microsoft’s example of what Windows RT should resemble, but Nokia looks like they might take the cake. The Lumia 2520 runs $50 more than the Surface 2, but it comes with LTE built in. Activate it on a carrier which supports it, and you can count on ultra-fast data anywhere you have cell service. To put it into perspective, for $499 you could get a WiFi only iPad Air with 16GB of storage (and no ability to add more storage), or you could get a Lumia 2520 with LTE, 32GB of storage, MicroSD card slot, and a proper USB port.

Microsoft’s OS is still geared a little more towards “work” than “play” but we should see the app ecosystem improve radically once Windows Phone and Windows RT merge early next year (Power Keyboard shown in this pic sold separately).

Hands on with the Lumia 2520!

Android: Tie – Samsung Note 10.1 2014 Edition ($599) vs Asus Google Nexus 7 ($229)

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-10.1-2014Sorry folks. I really tried. It was just too much of a Sophie’s choice to declare one clear winner. Thankfully these two exist at POLAR OPPOSITES of the Android spectrum. Samsung takes an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to their devices and the Note 10.1 is audacious.

An incredible WQXGA (2560×1600) display exceeds the iPad by almost a million pixels, 32GB of on board storage plus a memory card slot, the ability to use two apps at the same time, Samsung’s excellent S-Pen stylus, and an IR port to use it as a huge universal remote for your TV. It’s a premium experience at a premier price point.

nexus 7 FHD side angle 2013Contrast that with with Google’s market disrupting Nexus 7. Asus helped Goog build out a high end mini-tablet with solid specs, and the two are offering it up at a price usually reserved for “disposable” gear. A 1080p HD screen paired up with a mid-range Qualcomm quad-core and 16GB of storage. You wont get some of the bells and whistles like expandable storage or an IR port, but it’s hard to be disappointed when you consider the bang for buck.

Honorable Mention: Kindles Galore

kindle paperwhite second generation ereader review somegadgetguy (3)So each ecosystem has its strengths and weaknesses, and there’s a lot of overlap.

If you’re an Amazon junky however, a Kindle Fire might be the content consumption platform for you. Powerful specs, great screens, and Amazon prices them low to encourage you to buy music, books, apps, and movies through their online shopping portals.

Lastly, if books are your thing, never underestimate the value of a proper digital ink eReader.

Those are our picks for the year! Did we miss your favorite slate? Is there another tablet which you think is better? Leave us a comment below.

Nokia Now Fourth Highest Shipping Smartphone Manufacturer in United States

Q3-2013-USA-Market-Share-Counterpoint-Research2[Golf clap] Well done Nokia.

Counterpoint Technology Market Research did a tally of shipped phones for Q3 2013, and the numbers were somewhat surprising. Behind Apple (33.7%), Samsung (33.6%), and LG (8.6%), Nokia has clawed its way up to number four with 4.1% of the USA smartphone market. Not bad at all considering how slow the consumer response has been in warming up to Windows Phone. Great news for a company which had less than one percent of the market’s share this time period last year, as it even manages to unseat Google owned Motorola.

We can probably count on the $100 Lumia 520 for a good chunk of those sales, but mind share in general is up for the brand as people have praised Nokia’s cameras. With the entry-level market healthy, we might see even more growth for the brand at the premier level as they prep the Lumia 1520 for a holiday release. Plus the Microsoft ecosystem is improving, with apps like Vine and Instagram joining the fold later this year.

Even more startling however is the continued slide of HTC, as the brand falls to ninth behind companies like ZTE and Huawei. Its likely that Apple and Samsung will continue occupying the top two spots for a while to come, but that last 30% of the pie is completely up for grabs this holiday buying season.

(via Reddit)


AT&T Holiday Bundle: Free Galaxy Tab 3 With Purchase of Select Samsung Phones

GALAXY-Tab-3-7-inch_001_WiFiWho likes getting free stuff? We do!

AT&T is helping you kit out your collection of glowing rectangles this holiday season. Starting today and running through the end of the year, if you sign up for a two year agreement or AT&T NEXT, and you get a Galaxy S4, GS4 Active, a Note 2, or a Note 3, you will also receive a fun larger screened extra. AT&T is going to throw in a Galaxy Tab 3 to help keep the season bright. Not a bad little value add, grabbing a  little 7″ tablet for yourself… Or give it away as a gift… OR keep it for yourself…

Just imagine if you also snagged a Galaxy Gear. You could literally cover yourself in Samsung.

Running concurrently, AT&T is also running a trade in program for your old phone. Promo cards start at $100 for select devices, but it’s a decent way to recycle your old gear and save a little cash on your next purchase.

Full details after the jump!


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Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Samsung Fined for HTC Smear Campaign

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (5)Dammit Sammy. You should know better than this.

I know you’re the top dog right now, and the idea of slipping even a little can be terrifying considering how fast our current tech darlings become yesterday’s old news. I get it. Combined with the fact that the smartphone market is cooling off a little, I can totally see why you might want to shake things up a bit.

But not like this Samsung.

See I write about tech online. I have relationships with PR and with vendors and agencies. I have a small but loyal following of similarly-minded tech enthusiasts, and over years of producing in this space I’ve built up a little credibility. What you’ve done here Samsung is undermine all of that.

The internet is a skeptical place. I can’t praise or criticize anything without being accused of being a “fanboi” or being on a company’s payroll. The fact that you paid and organized writers to post negative commentary on your competitor’s products hurts our entire industry. The fact that you got caught is as unsurprising as it is tragic.

ATT HTC One Mini software update jelly bean 4_3This story just takes a somewhat insidious turn knowing that you’re picking on a MUCH smaller company. HTC is fighting to stay out of the red. Remember a time not long ago when Apple was the Big Bad, and you were fighting to get Galaxies into consumer hands. You were the underdog. It was charming when you were plucky. You aren’t anymore. You’re the new Big Bad. This just makes you look like a jerk, a bully.

I don’t even know if the FTC’s fine of $340,000 even registers on your bank sheet. That’s a blip in a market where you proudly announce 40 MILLION Galaxy S4 sales. All I know is that this makes me skeptical of anything nice written about your products. It makes me skeptical of negative reviews against your competitors.

If it makes me skeptical, I can only imagine how my readers must feel…