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Samsung Z smartphone will have Tizen OS

will begin selling a smartphone that runs on its Tizen operating system in the third quarter of this year, advancing the company's plans to reduce dependence on Google's Android software

Samsung Galaxy S5 to arrive in 2014

6 MP, 4640 x 3480 pixels, autofocus, LED flash Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors Size1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.25 inches (~559 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, .


With the G2, it seems like LG took a lot of cues from its Korean counterpart and built what many called a Galaxy S4 clone. It's large, made of lots of plastic, shaped similarly and is jam-packed with more features than a single person can handle.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

HTC One Reviews

The HTC One is in good company, going toe-to-toe with the other Android flagships that have been introduced so far this year, including the Sony Xperia Z, the LG Optimus G Pro, and, of course, theSamsung Galaxy S IV. The device, which will go for $200 with a new two-year contract, will be available on April 19 on Sprint and AT&T, with the T-Mobile launch coming soon after (it's a bit of a strike against the handset that it won't be released on Verizon, at least initially).

We won't bother trying to keep you in suspense over whether or not the One is a good smartphone, because with all the buzz that's been going around, you probably already know that it is. So let's cut to the chase and get down to the specifics.
: This review is for the U.S. Version of the HTC One. For our review of the international version,

Build and Design

Quite a bit of noise has been made about the design and aesthetics of the One, and with good reason. The unibody casing is made from aluminum, giving the device both a quality feel and a cool, futuristic look. The metallic body also fights fingerprints and smudges well, which is more than can be said for many other smartphones with shiny plastic finishes (or, in the case of the Sony Xperia Z, glass).

The phone has some heft to it, but not enough to make it feel uncomfortable in the user's hand. With a weight of 143 grams and a thickness of only 9.3 mm, it's still, in the grand scheme of things, a sleek phone. It has a nice shape to it too, as the back also has a slight curve to it, allowing the One to be cradled comfortably in the palm.

The ergonomics aren't perfect, however, as the One is a little too wide and too long. Being overwhelmed by the phone's size is to be expected given its 4.7-inch display, but we occasionally found ourselves struggling to reach from top to bottom or from one side of the phone to the other.

It was especially difficult to access the notifications menu, which requires you to pull down from the very top edge of the screen to see it, and push up from the very bottom to put it away, no exceptions. Reaching both extremes with one's thumb on a phone this large is uncomfortable; in some cases, we would have to slide the phone further up in our hand when we needed to swipe the menu away, just to avoid curling our thumb at such an uncomfortable angle. We took issue with this, given that accessing notifications is a relatively common task. Being inconvenienced by the phone's somewhat unwieldy size on a regular basis was not appealing.


The full HD display (1920 x 180) of the One blew us away. As we mentioned in our review of the international version of the One, it has an unprecedented pixel density of 469 ppi given that the only other full HD smartphones on the market today sport 5-inch displays; with the same resolution on a smaller screen, the density is greater on the One. While the difference may be difficult to discern with the naked eye, there's no questioning that it looks incredibly sharp.

The sheen from the Gorilla Glass 2 coating on the display is also a welcome feature, as is the remarkably wide viewing angle. In fact, just about everything we typically check for when evaluating displays passed muster and then some: color saturation was great, the contrast was sharp, and the brightness -- when cranked up as high as it can go -- is enough to make your eyes water.

Other Buttons and Ports

The power/standby switch of the One is situated on the left side of the top edge and, in a clever design choice, doubles as the smartphone's IR blaster. Though we don't mind the placement of the button itself, we do wish that it was raised a little more as it can be difficult to press at times. The only other feature on the top edge is the 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the right side, there is the stylish, lightly textured volume rocker, while the micro USB charging port (with MHL) is on the bottom edge. That just leaves the SIM card slot, which is found on the upper left side of the phone and requires a pin to pop open.

As part of HTC's "BoomSound" feature, the One also has dual front-facing speakers, which are located above and below the screen. Directly above the bottom speaker are the phone's capacitive navigation buttons. It's worth noting that there are only two, back and home, with HTC forgoing the menu button. Above the screen, directly to the right of the top speaker, is the phone's 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera.


Though a big part of HTC's imaging hype for the One surrounded Zoe, we would venture to say that the more impressive part is the actual hardware. Again, the reality is that much of what makes Zoe unique ultimately boils down to a series of gimmicky features that you're unlikely to use all that often despite how cool it is.

Meanwhile, the rear facing camera is much more likely to come in handy considering how well it works in low-light situations. Thanks to HTC's "Ultrapixel" technology, pictures featuring poorly lit environments come out much clearer and with far less noise than those taken by other smartphone cameras. The idea is that the larger the pixel, the more light they can capture, and the Ultrapixel camera on the One features 2.0 micrometer pixels, letting in 300% more light than the average 13-megapixel smartphone camera, or so HTC claims.

But while HTC hawks the Ultrapixel technology by maintaining that megapixels aren't everything -- and it's true, they're not -- they are something. And considering how the resolution of the One's camera is a modest 4 megapixels (obviously something HTC is going out of its way to not advertise, despite how much it claims that resolution isn't important), the crispness of the pictures it takes is somewhat lacking.

Battery Life

Considering everything the One has going for it (the large, high-res display, LTE, enhanced sound, BlinkFeed, etc.) you would think that it would be a battery-draining monster. Surprisingly, it's not. It may not offer the best battery life on the market today, but it's more than respectable.

We attempted to make our unit as energy-inefficient as possible by cranking up the display to maximum brightness, having BlinkFeed automatically update (even using data when Wi-Fi wasn't available), and keeping all of our push notifications on for email, Facebook, etc. Combined with regular usage -- admittedly, no texts, but a couple of phone calls and plenty of web browsing including some video streaming -- we were still able to squeeze just shy of two days out of a single charge.


The One is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon processor that clocks in at 1.7 GHz and is an absolute beast. Videos, games, and apps all ran exceptionally well, and we never ran into any sort of slowdown or lag. And despite how much there is to Sense 5 -- what with BlinkFeed, the modified UI, etc. -- the processor managed to keep the heavy modifications to the OS in check; there was never any noticeable dip in performance.

While a hiccup-free user experience is generally commonplace for all but the most poorly-equipped phones, it was especially impressive when using some of the phone's more hardware-intensive software, like HTC Zoe (the company's new imaging software). The photo editing and some of the capture modes would have surely put strain on a weaker processor, but the One's chip handled the tasks with aplomb.

In terms of hard numbers, Quadrant benchmarks put the One in the top three phones on the market today, alongside the Sony Xperia Z and the LG Optimus G Pro, which we mentioned in our international review. Benchmarks may not be terribly important, as these numbers aren't as indicative of performance as real life usage, but it still gives you an idea of how powerful it really is.

Also, here's hoping that all you storage junkies out there are AT&T subscribers, as the 64 GB version of the One will be exclusive to the carrier. Other networks will only be offering 16 GB and 32 GB versions of the phone.


The One is the first smartphone from HTC to run the new version of the company's UI, Sense 5. As such, there are some minor changes to the handset's Android 4.1.2 OS, like the ability to launch apps directly from the lock screen by dragging them from the toolbar and dropping them on the home screen. The grid size on the app screen can also be sized to either 3 x 4 or 4 x 5, and it has a different look to it with a tool bar with the settings, time, weather, etc. listed above the apps (also found above the BlinkFeed page). There were some preloaded apps on our unit as well, though most of it was throwaway content from Sprint. HTC did include universal remote/TV guide software, however, to accompany the One's IR blaster. After going through a quick and easy setup, we found that it worked quite well on both cable boxes and TVs.

Though Sense 5 generally means minor (and in many cases, aesthetic) changes to the handset's Android 4.1.2 OS, there are a couple of major additions, the first of which is BlinkFeed. HTC hyped up BlinkFeed considerably, and while it works well, it isn't entirely original. It seems childish of HTC to pretend that this is an original idea and doesn't scream "tiles" from the Windows Phone UI, in terms of both concept and aesthetic.

The page consists of an assortment of randomly sized tiles that display information from various websites and apps, all of which update regularly. Sound familiar? That's because it is. Admittedly, it is nice that once one of the tiles is tapped, the user can see the entire story without having to visit the actual webpage, and can then scroll from one story to the next by swiping left or right. But even that concept borrows heavily from Flipboard.

It may shamelessly ape other ideas, but BlinkFeed is definitely still a welcome addition to Sense. It offers a wealth of information at a glance, it's quick, and it can be set to update automatically over either Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and data. That being said, there were occasionally some issues with the feed updating on the fly using a data connection; we often had to manually refresh because it wouldn't do it itself.

There are some other drawbacks to BlinkFeed, like the fact that it cannot be disabled, effectively ensuring that it takes up one of your home screens. Also, the selection of sources that can connect to the service is limited. Granted, most of what you'll likely need is there, including AP, Reuters, ESPN, and various tech sites (though we couldn't help but notice a severe lack of TechnologyGuide websites...). And in terms of apps, most of the useful ones are at your disposal too -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, TV, etc. -- but they're limited nonetheless.

The one other major addition to Sense 5 is the imaging software, HTC Zoe. Most of what makes Zoe unique revolves around the editing software, which has features like automatically generated highlight reels, the ability to remove people from photos, and the ability to compile elements from multiple shots into a single photo (e.g. creating a picture where everyone is smiling and nobody has their eyes closed). Zoe can also capture small clips of video before and after a photo is taken, which is useful for the highlight reel feature and just about nothing else.

And therein lies the rub with Zoe: most of its more "innovative" features are actually just gimmicky and are unlikely to come in handy for most people. Also, the handful of features that actually are useful are becoming more commonplace and popping up on flagship handsets; being able to selectively remove elements from photos, for example, can also be done on the Galaxy S IV. Zoe is fine, but given that the few useful aspects of it can also be found on other phones, it's hardly a selling point.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Design

As you can see from the image above, the Galaxy S4 looks quite similar to the Galaxy S3 in design and therefore pretty different to the Xperia Z. It's a case of rounded pebble-like vs sharp and square so you can take your pick. What might help you decide is that the Galaxy S4 is mostly plastic with a removable cover and the Xperia Z is largely glass and boasts a waterproof and dust proof.

With 5in screens, both are pretty big smartphones. The Galaxy S4 is marginally smaller than the Xperia Z at 69.8 x 136.6mm compared to 71 x 139mm. The two are wafer thin at 7.9mm and since the Galaxy S4 is smaller with a plastic build it's a little lighter - 130g against 145g.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Processor

The Xperia Z has the same impressive 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor found in the Nexus 4. Samsung has trumped this specs-wise with its Exynos 5 Octa 8-core processor 8-core chip. It has four Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for performance and four are Cortex-A7s clocked at 1.2GHz for less demanding tasks and power saving. Both have 2GB of RAM.
Going on the specification, we'd expect the Galaxy S4 to beat the Xperia Z in our benchmark tests. We'll let you know as soon as possible. It's important to remember that, aside from benchmarks, these are two highly powerful smartphones.


Samsung has confirmed that the UK model of the Galaxy S4 will use a 1.9GHz quad-core processor instead of the octa-core chip. This brings it much close to the spec of the Xperia Z.
Sony Xperia Z

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Storage

Sony has opted to sell just a 16GB model of the Xperia Z but the Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. Both have a microSD card slot for expansion and although the Xperia Z is supposedly limited to 32GB, it's been widely reported that formatted 64GB cards also work. The Galaxy S4 takes 64GB cards as standard.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Cameras

In terms of specs, cameras are almost the same. Both have a 13Mp rear facing camera with the ability to shoot video in Full HD 1080p quality. The Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z have 2Mp ad 2.2Mp front facing cameras respectively. Like the main shooters, they can record 1080p video.

We can't say which of the two offers better image quality yet but it's bound to be a close call.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Software

Both of these smartphones run Google's Android Jelly Bean but slightly different versions. The Xperia Z is on 4.1.2 while the Galaxy S4 will shop with version 4.2.2. It's a minor difference and the Sony will be updated soon anyway.
The far bigger difference is the user interface overlay which each firm applies to Android. Sony's is closer to vanilla Android but the Galaxy S4 with TouchWiz comes with more exclusive software features. This is an area very much down to personal opinion so we suggest you try out each version of Android to see which you prefer.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Sony Xperia Z: Battery

The Sony Xperia Z has a 2330mAh non-removable battery while the Galaxy S4 has a larger, and removable, 2600mAh battery. This doesn't automatically mean that the Samsung offers longer battery life but its higher capacity coupled with the power saving cores of its processor means it is likely. We're looking forward to finding out when we get our Galaxy S4 review  sample.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: 5 Things to Know

galaxy s4

The HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will finally arrive in the United States and go head to head as the two most recognizable Android devices of the year. Like most smartphones, they are chock full of features including large displays, speedy processors, and more. But what are the biggest differences that consumers should keep in mind before taking the plunge? Here are the five most important things to know about the impending match up between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.
Last year, the HTC One X arrived during the month of February as the company’s latest and greatest flagship smartphone. The device, which boasted a large HD display and fantastic camera, hit AT&T’s 4G LTE network and remained one of the best Android options throughout the course of 2012. Only, it wasn’t the only fantastic smartphone on the market.

The HTC One had to do battle with the likes of the iPhone 5, but also, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which arrived a little later in the year. Despite featuring some fantastic hardware and software, the Galaxy S3 took control and went on to not only smash Samsung’s own sales records with over 40 million sold, but it put the Galaxy S series on par with the iPhone, something that had never been accomplished by an Android device.

Samsung’s success with the Galaxy S3, which was helped along not only by features but also a good marketing campaign, put the pressure on HTC which released an HTC One X+ later in the year with more storage and a faster processor. However, the true HTC One X successor and HTC’s true stab at Samsung and Apple did not emerge until earlier this year in the form of the HTC One.

As expected, Samsung announced its latest smartphone only a month later in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that it hopes will crush the HTC One in sales much as the Galaxy S3 did with the HTC One X. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is that these two are powerful smartphones with a lot of similarities.\

They both possess powerful quad-core processors. They both have large 1080p displays with high pixel-per-inch counts. Both devices are slim. They feature 4G LTE data speeds. They come with powerful cameras. Both are rocking Android Jelly Bean. There are differences though, and many of them can be easily spotted by power users.

There are, however, some differences that aren’t necessarily right there on the surface, especially for first-time buyers, those that aren’t following the launches and those that may consider themselves to be average users.

Here, we take a look at the five major differences between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One that we think consumers should know about before buying.

Camera: 13MP vs. Ultrapixel
One of the main features that come with smartphones these days are powerful rear cameras that are capable of taking not only high-quality video, but photos that are on par with point-and-shoots. Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are going to have fantastic camera sensors on board but there will be some big differences that buyers should know about.

Maybe the first thing that consumers will hear or see about these respective cameras are their megapixel counts. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 13MP camera while the HTC One camera has a 4MP Ultrapixel camera. Despite marketing that has for years focused on megapixel numbers, we wouldn’t put too much stock into the counts on the One and Galaxy S4.

Nature UX vs. Sense 5
Another thing that prospective buyers should know about is that neither of these phones possesses a pure, stock version of Android, the same Android that is advertised by Google and found on the many Nexus devices. Those hoping to waltz in and find a barren, untouched piece of software on either the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be disappointed.

Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 possess skins that the manufacturers have placed over Android that not only bring new features to the table but give them a different look as well.

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