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MWC Launch of the Flagships

Day one of Mobile World Congress was all about the newest flagships from LG and Samsung. The last couple of weeks have been full of speculation but now it’s official let’s check the special that matter.

Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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The big predictions all came true with Samsung announcing the return of expandable memory through microSD support, water resistance and microUSB charger. In addition Samsung has listened to consumers and sacrificed weight for better battery life with a 3000mAh powering the 5.1 inch S7 and a 3600mAh in the 5.5inch edge.  This is a large improvement from the 2550mAh in the S6 and miles ahead of the 1750mAh in the iPhone 6s and will hopefully translate to better life. Unsurprising the rest of the internals have been upgraded with a 2.3ghz 64 bit octa-core processor and 4GB  of RAM which translates to a 30% improvement on its predecessor.

The key to a good phone isn’t just the hardware and Samsung hasn’t forgotten  to upgrade it’s version of Android bringing Marshmallow out of the box.  It also comes with a new always on feature like the LG G4 which allows uses to check the time without waking the phone and therefore saving battery life.  The other major change is the duel pixel technology which allows the camera to operate better in low light conditions and focuses faster to get the most out of the camera.  The edge also brings with it a few new features in the ‘tasks edge’  to pin specific tasks and ‘edge panel’ for widgets. Over the next few days at MWC every one will be putting these through their paces so check back for a hands on.

LG G5

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I have never really paid much attention to LG as a phone maker since it took them a little while to move passed cheap Android phones. The main point of difference with the S7 is that the G5 is a modular phone with the ability to swap out components.  These modules can be used to added extra battery life, physical camera buttons and an amp with 32 bit audio output.

The internals are comparable to the S7 with a 5.3 inch display,  4 GB of RAM, a 2800mAh battery upgradeable to 3000mAh,  microSD support and a 64 bit Snapdragon 820 processor. Beside the module upgrade slot the other point of difference is the inclusion of a double rear camera with a 16mp and a 8mp ‘wide angle’ which captures 135 degrees compared to 75 for the main shooter.  Based on the early first impressions it sounds like this is something uses will have to get use but should hopefully decrease the appearance of the selfie stick.  Not having used an LG before I’m not sure how their particular flavour of Android compares to the TouchWiz UI found on Samsung phones but for many this may be the deciding factor.

Not to be Forgotten

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Desire 825

 

Some what overshadowed by the other announcements HTC revealed four new handsets including the One X9 with an octal-core processor, 3GB of RAM and a 3000mAh battery which makes it a decent middle to top range handset but nothing to get excited about. The Desire 825 and Desire 630 share the same date snapdragon 400 and 2GB of RAM but the larger Desire 825 has a slightly bigger battery to power the 5.5 inch screen. HTC’s final device the Desire 530 is obviously aimed at the budget market with a snapdragon 210 and only 1.5 GB of RAM it’s hardly a device to really get much attention.

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Not to be left out Sony announced a whole new Xperia line of handsets. The midrange XA offers an edge to edge slightly curved display which is left out from its more powerful siblings but gives it a unique selling point. An upgrade to the flagship the Xperia X packs a snapdragon 610 processor and 3 GB of RAM alongside a 23 megapixel camera, an upgrade to that found on the Z5. Finally, the X Performance is equipped to fight with the big boys as it pairs the same impressive camera with a snapdragon 820 and includes water and dust resistance. Although it has created a little confusion with Sony’s existing line up of Xperia phones the X line up gained plenty of admires at MWC and seems to have faired better than HTC less inspiring announcements.

Stay tune for more from MWC including a wrap of the other major phone announcements,  tablets and virtual reality.

Cheers
Jono

Galaxy S6 edge review

After deciding to upgrade last month with the release of Samsung’s newest flagship. I went shopping still with an important decision to make, S6 or S6 Edge. Even as I was playing with both phones at my local Samsung store I still struggled with myself. The edge was simply stunning to look at but with the exception of the people function which gives quick access to my favorite contacts it doesn’t offer too much for the extra cash. In addition the thin sides made the phone feel uncomfortable in my hand. However the right nudge from the staff sent me down this path. In hiensight I’m still not 100% sure whether it is worth it but I do like the way the screen bends around the curve and when Apple fans complement the look of my phone I do get a warm fuzzy feeling.

Beyound the aestetics the Galaxy S6 is everything you would expect from a flagship handset. A powerful octa-core processor makes everthing run lighting quick and deals with multiple apps with easy. While the 2560×1440 screen with a whopping 577 pixisl per inch (iPhone 6 retina comes in at 326 and 6+ 401pixals per inch) is spectacular with crisp images and the right balance of brightness for reading the odd bit of tech news. Both of these elements emphasise the improved build quality found on the Galaxy S6 and Samsung’s movement away from the plastic body of the S5.

In fact the only negatives of the hardware are the absence of expandable memory and the limited battery life. Both of these are no longer major limitations as exspansion of cloud storage solutions allow users to move photos and videos off their
phone while streaming music futhur decreases the demand for memory. Unfortunately, this can really run down that battery but fast charging which gives you 40% battery life after only 10 minutes means the Galaxy S6 has an answer. Combinded with wireless charging it’s easy to make sure that my phone doesn’t run out of battery. Samsumgs compatibility with other wireless charging pads means that I can use my existing nokia pad from my Lumia 920.

It would be remiss if I did not talk breifly about the 16 megapixal camera. Used to a great camera on the 920 I perhaps haven’t noticed to much difference except when taking photos of documents. Even so all the snaps I have taken out and about, even under difficult light conditions at the footy have come out a treat. The quick launch feature works well but the camera app itself I find is horribly limiting as I miss Nokia Camera but software can easily be updated so it’s only a minor frustration.

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Essendon vs Richmond dreamtime at the G 2015 taken on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Overall I’m loving the Galaxy S6 Edge and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new high end phone especially if your like me and prefer one that fits in your jeans pocket.

Proformance 10/10
Storage 8/10
Battery life 6/10
Screen 10/10
Camera 9/10
Operating system 8/10

Overall 8.5/10

Jono