Tag Archives: samsung

Galaxy Note 3 first to feature new Qualcomm Radio Power Management. More run time, less heat.

qualcomm radio lte envelope tracking galaxy note 3 somegadgetguySo the radio in your phone is often one of the worst offenders in draining your battery. For all of our criticism surrounding powerful quad-cores, throw your phone into airplane mode, and it’s shocking how long that quad can run. We can only pack in SO much battery density, and the rest of your phone can be surprisingly frugal, which is why developments in radio management are so crucial to improving the smartphone experience.

Qualcomm has been working on Envelope Tracking for their LTE radio technology. To over-simplify, LTE is a little different in how it communicates with cell towers than 3G, which in the past has made it more difficult to adjust the power of the radio in your phone while maintaining a stable connection to a tower. Essentially, your phone’s radio tries to find an average signal to broadcast at, but often just runs at max on LTE, which is pretty terrible for battery life, and can sometimes result in a poor connection.

17 action menuEnvelope Tracking for LTE allows the radio to better scale with the quality of the tower’s signal. As the radio is working a brute force style signal, it should greatly reduce the amount of power needed to run, which should also cut back on wasted heat. Qualcomm is estimating a 20% reduction in power and a 30% reduction in heat generated by the radio. This should also provide a more stable link to the tower, hopefully resulting in faster throughput.

Now normally when we write up new tech like this it’s usually an article about researchers in a lab, and we’ll all have to wait for the breakthrough to eventually filter down into our actual consumer devices. The nice thing about Qualcomm’s ET gear is it’s already going to be included in the Galaxy Note 3. Likely one of the reasons Samsung went with Qualcomm’s 800 series chipset for its LTE variants of the note.

Hit the Qualcomm blog for better explanations of all the  science-y details.

Get to know the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 intimately. Samsung posts in depth intro video. UPDATED with 18 minute Galaxy Gear Video!

17 action menuYeah. Some hot, sweet, S-Pen action!

Sammy’s Youtube channel just posted this six and a half minute long video introducing the Galaxy Note 3, and spending some time walking around all the new features.

The video details the new design, the updated hardware, and then showcases some of the new quick control actions like Air Command and Action Memo. If you’ve been curious about what the Note 3 has to offer, this video should answer a lot of questions.

Click here for our full coverage of Samsung Unpacked from Berlin!

***UPDATE***

Wow Samsung! Get a room for those two!

Not to be outdone by themselves, or anyone else on the internet reviewing tech, they just dropped this EIGHTEEN minute video showing of the combo of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3. Geez… I guess  I don’t even need to bother reviewing this stuff anymore…

AT&T confirms plans to sell Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear

16 air commandAs AT&T was the first carrier to support phablets, launching the original Galaxy Note, it should come as no surprise that they’re already on board announcing their plans to carry the Note 3. There’s no pricing or availability info just yet, but if you’re interested in going large with Big Blue and a Sammy Phablet, you can sign up for an email notification when more info drops.

Also interesting, is their announcement to carry the Galaxy Gear, expanding their line up of smartphone accessories in AT&T retail channels.

We’ll know more as we get closer to Samsung’s target release date of September 25.

Qualcomm Toq competes for your Smartwatch affection

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy mirasolWell Qualcomm. The one piece of advice I might give is to not announce your new smartwatch at the EXACT same time as a Samsung press event. That said, with Toq they are launching an interesting alternative to the other smartwatches we’ve seen so far.

First off the display uses Qualcomm’s Mirasol tech which reflects light around it to enhance view-ability.  Not using a traditional backlight should also reduce power consumption, a nice side effect for a gadget which should last all day and all night with you.

Unlike the Galaxy Gear, Toq will be compatible with every Android handset using 4.0.3 or higher through their Toq app in the Play store. The idea here is for sleek simplicity and at a glance functionality instead of Samsung’s approach which is almost a proper phone replacement. Toq will have simple controls for interacting with notifications and controlling apps like music playback. Plus you’ll have the ability to see caller ID to accept or reject in coming calls. No other buttons or controls. Qualcomm is keeping this set up simple.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy bluetooth headsetsAs an optional accessory, Toq can pair with a set of truly wireless bluetooth headsets. No cable or band connecting right ear and left ear any more, these are truly wireless. They link up and are controlled through Toq for all your audio needs.

A wireless charging base comes with Toq which can also juice up the bluetooth headsets. Again, simple and clean presentation, Toq looks like any other watch in a nice stand or case even when charging. No “geeky” cables or flaps hiding USB ports. Hopefully his should mean decent water resistance.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this is one of Qualcomm’s first forays into the consumer space as its own brand. The techiest of folks might know which phones use Qualcomm internals, but few consumers probably have Qualcomm on their radar. This is a big step for a company which formerly operated in a somewhat “behind the scenes” fashion, and will likely be the beginning, the first product in a chain of future releases as they try to form relationships with consumers directly.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy wireless charging

More info on the official Toq site, and intro video below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzTrqifCOhs&w=640&h=480]

Samsung shows off Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Gear, and Note 10.1 2014 Edition

unpacked building note 3Thankfully this follow up Unpacked event was far more mature than what we saw for the Galaxy S4. None of that musical theatre train wreck, this time around Samsung largely let their new devices speak for themselves. Simple and straight forward.

As expected, we saw the official unveiling of the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and I was surprised to see a main stage announcement for the updated Note 10.1 2014 edition.

Galaxy Note 3

16 air commandThe Note 3 looks like it’s going to be another powerhouse phablet. A 5.7″ full HD (1080p) screen backed up by 3GB of RAM. CPU’s will change based on region a quad core in LTE areas (likely the Qualcomm 800) and Samsung’s Octa-Core in 3G zones. A new camera module is on board featuring improvements to lighting and image stabilization, but no mentions of proper hardware optical image stabilization were to be found. Video is going  to get a huge shot in the arm however as the Note 3 will support 60FPS 1080p video recording -OR- 4K video for Ultra HD playback on supported 4K TV’s and monitors.

17 action menuThe Note 3 will be sporting a Category 4 LTE radio giving it access to most LTE networks around the world. A nice touch for people who travel a lot (watch those roaming data rates).

S-Pen is getting spruced up, now with even more ability to control actions and shortcuts on the phone. Smart Command can pop up almost anywhere on the screen to provide quick access to shortcuts. S-note is getting a face lift with more gesture support and a cleaner interface plus support for Evernote. Almost any content can be “Circled” to save in personal Scrapbooks, later to be retrieved via S-Finder universal search. Drawing a box allows users to customize the size of widgets which float on top of the app currently being used. For example, you need a calculator on screen, you draw how big that calculator should be so you can still see info on the rest of the screen.

 

20 multi-windowMulti-Window support is improved for better multi-tasking, and users can even open multiple instances of the same app, say for instance you’d like to have two chat windows open at the same time.

 

Note 3 will come in three different leather clad back pates, black, white, and pink, and designers are working on numerous color and texture options for further customization. The Window Flip Cover accessory from the GS4 returns with an even larger window to support alerts on the screen when the screen is technically off.

14 back coverThose of you worried about corporate solutions, Samsung Knox security software will now be rolling out worldwide.

Samsung is shooting for worldwide availability by September 25th. An ambitious release schedule. Pricing info to come shortly as carriers jump on the press circuit.

Galaxy Gear

29 gearSammy proudly showed off their smartwatch, ending all the rumors on what kind of tech we might see on board. a 1.6″ touchscreen AMOLED display will be paired with an 800MHz CPU and a host of sensors, gyros, mics, speakers, and a camera. Movement tracking will allow Gear to help you sort work out and fitness info, and gestures can be utilized. Answering a phone call happens by holding your hand up to the side of your head. That seems funny, until you see that the mic and speaker are built into the watchband. Not exactly handsfree, but easier to support than holding a Note 3 up to the side of your face, and less “crazy person talking to no one” looking than some of the smaller bluetooth headsets.

25 answerA 13MP camera is built into the strap as well, allowing Gear owners to snap pics and vids directly from the wrist. Lining up shots might be tricky holding your arm out sideways, but it’s nice to have an easily accessible camera which can shoot quickly from simple gestures. Custom apps are already available. to take advantage of the smaller screen, and it interacts with Samsung handsets, specifically the Note 2 & 3, the Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Galaxy S4. Smart relay will auto transfer what you see on the Gear screen simply by picking up a paired device. Plus Sammy is claiming 25 hour run time on the watch for all day and all night activity.

Expect a price of $299 when it’s released to the world, also shooting for a September 25th release.

Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition

28 note 10Less time was spent on the Note 10 during the press event. Most of the new tech included in Note 10.1 was detailed during the presentation of the Note 3. Happily we are seeing a refresh on the screen. Now sporting a 2560×1600 resolution display, similar to the one found on the Nexus 10, this absolutely shames the 1280×800 screen on the last generation Note. The new Note 10.1 will have an 8MP rear camera (no word on 4K video so that’s probably not included), and the same CPU split will happen with LTE variants likely receiving Qualcomm’s 800 series CPU. I would expect WiFi and 3G variants to sport Sammy’ s Octa-core Exynos.

Huge news from Sammy today, and if you were holding off buying a new premier phone or tablet, Samsung totally justified your cautious shopping decision.

Click here to watch the Unpacked event.

Rumor: Samsung to release Galaxy Note 12 by years end?

move player net galaxy note 12 rumor renderComing out of South Korea, courtesy of MovePlayer.net, are reports of a leaked image of what could be a Galaxy Note 12. Now I’m not entirely sold on the idea of large tablets. Even at a fairly reasonable ten inches, larger tablets often become home convenience items. Gadgets used in comfort and safety, but rarely leaving the house.

What worries me even more is Samsung’s insistence on including hardware control buttons. On phones I think they’re great (if you include a menu key HTC), but even on a smaller tab like the Galaxy Note 8, they often felt like they were in the way, especially using the tab in landscape. This render shows those buttons below the screen in landscape. I’m not sold on that. I’d prefer Samsung use on-screen controls like the Nexus tablets so those controls move with the orientation of the screen.

Lastly, twelve inches doesn’t sound remarkably big, but that screen size can be somewhat cumbersome to hold. Discussing this rumor on Youtube, I demonstrated the difference between an iPad and my Lenovo Twist, a laptop which screen-swivels into a 12.5″ slate.

Rumors point to a 2560×1600 resolution display, which should look gorgeous on a screen this size. We’re all used to wimpy Ultrabook and Macbook Air low res displays around 13″. Plus since it’s called a “Note” we should see support for S-Pen.  Besides that we don’t really know much else about it.

If this is released it could be a really interesting, dare I say audacious, device, but I’ll be really curious to see how it performs out in the wild… Of my living room… because I’d probably never want to leave the house with it…

(via GSM Arena, Pic courtesy MovePlayer.net)

A Real Person Review: Mrs. GadgetGuy’s Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (8)It’s important not to lose perspective when reviewing phones. You experience so many different devices that your threshold for “good” and “bad” gets severely fine. Occasionally I like to include other people on my long term reviews.

My wife Marie would never consider herself to be “tech savvy”, yet living in a household covered in glowing rectangles she does have some unique opinions on the technology she invests in. She’s spent some time playing with Samsung’s Super Phone the Galaxy S4. I asked her some questions about her experiences so far.

What phone/phones did you use before the GS4? Which have you liked? Which have you disliked?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (1)I’ved used the Blackberry, the Galaxy S2, the iPhone, and the Motorola Photon. I loved the Blackberry, but was soon totally addicted the the Galaxy S2. I know most iPhone devotees will disagree with me, but I found the S2 to be more intuitive to use than the iphone. The dedicated menu and back buttons really helped. I despised the Photon. It was an android, and had a hardware keyboard, so I thought I’d love it, but I didn’t. I never used the keyboard (it was too cumbersome). Despite resetting it and “turning it on and off,” I felt like it was really buggy much of the time.

Thoughts on build quality, design, and ergonomics of the GS4?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (9)The only issue I really had with the GS2 was it’s size. I have smaller hands and it felt huge. I’m told that the GS4 has a 5 inch screen and the GS2 only had a 4.5 inch screen and yet holding it in my hands, the GS2 felt really clunky. The GS4 feels really slim and it doesn’t cause people around me to ask if that is my “tablet”? It feels comfortable to hold and I can use it one handed (much easier when trying to answer the phone while walking the dog).

Just because I’m paranoid, I do keep a bumper on the phone, and I use screen protectors on all my phones. I want them to look proffesional when I have to use them at work.

How is the screen? Size good or bad? Have you used it for media or video?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (6)The screen is beautiful. I’m a big Netflix and Hulu watcher and the screen is really crisp and clear. I’m not bothered at all by the fact that it is a small screen because all the details are there to see. It’s replaced a lot of my tablet usage. It really is shocking compared to other phones I’ve used.

How does the phone perform? Has it locked or slowed down on you? App performance?

So far I have had none of the bugginess of the Photon. I use Google voice and it’s a pretty seamless transition. I haven’t had to “Turn it on and off again” to get things to work properly. I use pandora, google music, calendar apps, and the kindle app pretty regularly and I have had no issues. Also, since it’s an android, after updating the calendar on my phone, I can see and access those updates right away via any other device (desktop, tablet, etc). LOVE that.

Thoughts on the camera? What kinds of pics/video do you like to take? Does the GS4 camera accomplish that usage?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (3)I don’t really take a lot of pics and I’m not the photographer in the family (as I’m sure most readers are aware), so I can’t speak to all the various camera settings. I’ve tried a few, but wouldn’t be able to say if they made the picture better. I did notice this past weekend after taking a lot of pics in strange low-light, that most came out really well. In focus and clear.

Have you had an issues using WIFI GPS or NFC?

Sadly, I haven’t used the awesome NFC option yet. But I love knowing it’s there. I use Wifi pretty regularly and it’s easy and has always worked. It’s fast on our home cable internet connection. I’ve used several apps that would require GPS (Google Maps/Navigations, Waze, MyTracks, etc) and it has always been able to fire right up. It only has issues if I am not in a great signal area. So, not a problem with the phone.

How does the phone handle phone calls? Is the earpiece loud enough? Speakerphone?

Calls are clear. The speakerphone is loud enough to be heard clearly, but I prefer to use a headset option.

What do you think of the software that came pre-installed? Touchwiz UI? AT&T apps? Are menus easy to use/find? Settings?

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (7)Menus are easy to find and use. I’ve played with them a bit more on this phone than any other because, again, they are pretty intuitive. I have not used any of the AT&T preset apps. I’ve been using the pre-installed keyboard and I have had no complaints. I like that auto-correct is not automatic. It offers a suggestion and I can choose that word if I want, but it won’t change it automatically.

It was easier going to the GS4 than trying out the Photon. There’s a ton more software on the GS4 than the GS2, but it looks “right”, like I know where everything is. I haven’t turned on gestures, but I like the eye tracking features. I keep my screen time out really short to save battery.

Speaking of, how has battery life been?

So far, I have been able to go all day with the phone without being worried about the battery. I do have to charge it every night, but that’s been pretty normal since leaving Blackberry.

galaxy s4 real person review somegadgetguy comparison long term (5)Any final thoughts? Do you enjoy using it? Does it feel like an upgrade over other phones you’ve used?

This phone definitely brings all the best aspects of the GS2, while fixing the minor issues I had with it. I have no complaints about this phone, and would definitely recommend it to friends and family. Especially if they are big Google app users. They work together so well.

Thanks Marie!