Tag Archive | "phone"

Samsung Galaxy Note Tests (Very) Well

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Galaxy Note (4)

The Samsung Galaxy Note has been available for a while here in Europe so it made sense to get some more hands-on time with it. My first hands-on at IFA was done just minutes after it was announced and I have to admit, there were lots of key features I knew nothing about. The video hands-on was a bit of a mess!!

clomid and zanax

This time I had 3 hours, an owner and a decent video camera for you!

Note: The street price in Europe is as low as €520 now (inclusive near 20% private sales tax) which is €180 less than the MRRP.

First-impressions were excellent. This is a class-leading Android 2.3 device with convergence, productivity and mobility at its heart, great battery life, a good camera, quality screen and, in my opinion, a good price. The Ice on the cake is of course the news that it will get Ice Cream Sandwich in 2012 (Q1) that will bring out the best of the dual-core CPU and add some key features that, by now, quite a few people will be missing in Android 2.3

Unfortunately, for the Honeycomb-experienced, version 2.3 of Android makes it appear a little dated and the speed isn’t what I would have expected with my 1yr old Galaxy Tab not far behind in the browsing tests we did but I suppose we shouldn’t really be comparing against a 7 inch device because if you want convergence at 5 inch this is probably the best choice on the market.

I have a personal problem with convergent devices in that, especially when they are this fast, you tend to use them too much and find yourself struggling with 15% or less battery life in the final part of the day. Forget to charge it overnight and you’ve lost your phone and tablet for the morning hours. But that’s just me.

I had a very long chat with the owner, Nils (@thunderstrom99 on Twitter) and took a lot of notes. Firstly I want to tell you about the screen. It uses a PenTile Matrix screen which screen afficionados will know as a sub-optimal technology. OK, when you take a macro picture and zoom-in, you can see the effect…

PenTile on Note

 

The sub-pixel smoothing (and anti-aliasing I guess) results in some harsh jaggies. Here’s the Galaxy Tab…

Galaxy Tab screen

Less jaggies.

But it’s a non-issue for most people because those two images are blown-up to the same size. In reality, the Note has a higher pixel density and you simply can’t see this effect unless you’re tuned-in with near-perfect vision. As someone that can detect out-of-phase stereo speakers by ear, yes, I know there are some people out there that will have a major issue with this but the reality for most people, including myself, is more like this:

Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Note Screens

 

Click the image to see the original. On the right is, to my eye, a better reading experience. That’s the Note. [The PenTile screen tends to have some strange hues when viewed off-center. See more images in the gallery]

Outdoors the brightness is nothing to write home about but the viewing angles and glass clarity are better than my Galaxy Tab. It’s good enough.

One thing I instantly noticed was the ability to use the device one-handed. It’s not perfect – a little unstable reaching over for the menu button or top left (for right-handers) but it’s possible to, carefully, do most things. I didn’t try swype but I suspect it would work OK with the thumb – an important mobility advantage over tablets.

I took a fairly detailed look at the battery graph and asked Nils what he was getting in terms of real-world usage. It looks like a full 8hrs heavy use is possible which would equate to a standard days use of 10-15 hours in my opinion. As a phone, it’s not ideal. As a tablet, not bad at all. You have to decide how that fits your usage scenario.

On to performance. Android 2.3 isn’t going to return the best dual-core performance figures and a Sunspider test result of 3238 (Galaxy Tab with 2.3.5 = 7450) isn’t as good as I’d expect. A real-world browsing test showed a slight speed improvement over the Galaxy Tab but nothing really significant. You’ll see it in the video below.

One point of note here though is that the Note is quite capable of some heavy multitasking and loading without it impacting the fluidity of the experience. 1GB of RAM and faster CPU cores mean there’s more overhead.

It’s interesting to know how Nils is using the Note. I’ve been in contact with him for about a year after he made enquiries about a UMPC. It turns out that the Note is satisfying all his requirements and he’s got no desire for a ultra mobile PC now. In some situations, he’s doing more on his Galaxy Note than he would be on a UMPC. He’s using it at University for note-taking in an interesting way. He says he cant ‘write’ notes about his physics lectures because it makes more sense to take a picture and annotate it. He showed me a few graphs and diagrams on a whiteboard. Yup, that makes sense!

A chat with a a Galaxy Note owner

I took the chance to record 10 minutes of Q&A with Nils. Here’s the result….

Keyboard

Is the on-screen keyboard good? Yes. We did a little speed test between the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Note. We swapped devices and did the same test. We were better on our own keyboards but the difference was minimal indicating that the Note could be used for some portrait-mode typing. For a bigger typing experience, obviously the Note can be held in landscape mose and still used successfully. That’s something you can’t do on a 7 incher although you’ll lose masses of screen real-estate in the mode. As the Note is only 180gm, it’s almost unnoticeable in portrait mode too.

The Pen, Annotations and Handwriting Recognition

You’ll see the pen being used for annotation and handwriting input in the video below. Although I don’t think it has the level of pen integration that the HTC Flyer has, because the pen is stowed, it’s probably more useful. Annotating an image or screenshot is easy and fun. I’m sure you can add ‘send to PDF’ via a third party app or share. See the video below though for more on the pen, touch, multitouch and gestures. I think you’ll like it.

A few other notes

  • Sound quality: OK
  • Gestures for mute and screenshot: Useful
  • Minute amounts of color banding noticed in a video: Potentially annoying for video purists
  • Plastic back – Feels cheap but it’s grippy
  • Photography – Fast, good touch-focus and quality is acceptable. [Sample photo + Exif here.]
  • MHL port for MicroUSB cable provides charging and HDMI out. Excellent choice. HDMI cable is about €12 apparently.
  • Swipe across top to brighten/dim the backlight

Video

Summary

What an excellent bit of kit the Samsung Galaxy Note is and it’s the best converged phone/mid/tablet that I’ve ever tested. When Ice Cream Sandwich comes along, it gets even better! I wasn’t a big fan of converged phone/tablet products before this hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note and although I still think it’s risky (and battery-draining) to put all your eggs in one basket, I’d certainly be happy to take a Galaxy Note and to hand over my Nokia N8 and Galaxy Tab. I’d miss the N8’s camera for sure and wouldn’t find the Note as comfortable to type on, but I think I’d get over it, especially as I’d be getting a phone and a tablet for around €520

The model tested here is the Samsung GT-N7000

Full specifications in the database along with links to other reviews, articles and our full Gallery.

Google Intel Announce Android Partnership for Phones and Tablets at IDF2011

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We weren’t expecting Andy Rubin on stage at IDF but there he was with a new Honeycomb phone. Its a reference design only ar this point.
Full details in the video below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSJPWjzEbJo

XPPhone. Final Version at Computex – Video overview.

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9 The XPPhone story has been quite a long one and many of us wondered whether the device would reach the market but it has, and we took a look at it at Computex. The mechanics were very solid, the operation very easy and the keyboard quite good. The phone functions work and even the battery life appears to be acceptable. This is definitely a specialist device but if you’re prepared to carry it around with you it’s going to reward you with a relatively fast, and totally complete Internet experience, access to many of your desktop apps and a good quality input system. It’s not as powerful as the OQO but has longer battery life. This is an alternative for those that have been looking at the EKing S515 / PSiXPDA.

XPPhone _1_.jpg XPPhone _2_.jpg XPPhone.jpg

AMD-based XPPhone Gets a Price and New Images.

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At last. We’ve been seeing tiny slivers of information on the XPPhone for months but without a price, no-one could even start to consider it.

open-w1

The wait is over. The XPphone team have just sent us this info:

2999 ~ 4500 RMB (400 ~ 650 USD)

Clearly there will be a range of models to choose from but although this is, in ultra mobile PC terms, a fairly low computing power device, the web experience should still match everything you get on a high-end smartphone today. (I used to own a ‘netbook’ in 2006 that used the same CPU) and if you’re getting 3G thrown in for $400, er, this isn’t a bad choice for a basic UMPC. Suddenly we’re quite interested in this one because the battery life should be in the 4hrs range.

It looks a lot better than when we saw it at Computex but of course, you’ll be looking at something like $499 before it gets to the US or EU and that certainly takes a little of the shine off.

open-lanse

More images here.

We’re trying to get availability details. [We’re also adding it to the database. Stand-by]

Update: XPPhone added to database.

Xpphone specs

I wonder what AMD think of this!

Nokia N900 unboxing

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A quick holiday unboxing of the Nokia N900, happy holidays! Look forward to more coverage and a full review of this sweet gadget.

[youtube]m9Ndeh5vz3g[/youtube]

xpPhone Update. Images. Technical Information.

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2in1There has been a rush of news around the xpPhone recently culminating in a rush of posts by top blogs and, over the last 24 hours, an article from the IDG news service that hit PCWorld and others top-tier reporting sites.

The xpPhone news has been around for a while and at Computex, we even got some hands on with a prototype. JKK has a video and I’ve got some photos of the prototype.

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Since Computex we’ve had two updates from In Technology Group. One, a general marketing info-set and the other including the ‘leaked’ (bloggers like to use that word!) photos of the user interface and an update include a link to the latest information on the website.

“Xpphone” —The world first breakthrough “Mobile Phone, GPS, Notebook, Three-in-one pocketable mobile terminal”
it creatively breaks through the technical bottlenecks of the mobile phone and PC industries, achieving their functions based on
x86 platform at low cost and becoming the global first x86-based mobile phone. it supports all three 3G standards globally and the
future 4G , has many built-in wireless modules, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G modules and auto rotated 4.8 inch touch screen,
and supports various VoIP calls and numerous Windows XP softwares.

It’s not the first XP/Phone device we’ve seen so why the blogging excitement? It all appears to stem from one line in the product literature, ‘AMD Super Mobile CPU.’

silver2 Just a quick heads up to you all that this isn’t anything new from AMD. It’s the, rather old, but ahead-of-its-time (why did you kill it AMD?) Geode LX CPU that was found in early UMPCs and netbooks. The Raon Digital Everun was an example and funnily enough, that had a phone function too. [Post and Video here]

There are still people out there that swear by the Geode so don’t discount it yet.

In Technology Group appear to have done quite some work on integrating the phone into the Windows XP ‘pc’ side of things so from a technical angle, I’m quite interested in testing one out but I can’t see this being used by too many consumers.

Some Promotional materials and UI images are shown below.

specification technologies functions applications advantages

ui1_main

All product and UI photos in the Gallery.

How Many Hands Make a MID?

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Sumocat asked the question a few days ago and now Steve Litchfield brings up the same. It’s the question of one or two handed usage. I’ve been talking about it too because the N900 taught me an important lesson. I don’t like smartphones that need two hands. It goes against my main usage scenario for a phone…

I’m quickly starting to struggle with the two-handed nature of the device. The phone and image viewer applications are working in portrait mode but the feature is missing from every other part of the software. A 2-handed phone restricts mobility and I won’t be able to use this as my one-and-only if it’s not fixed soon.

My issue was with the landscape scenario but the same problem occurs when you can’t reach 100% of a touchscreen with your thumb. It’s just about possible (although somewhat unbalanced) to thumb the whole area of a 3.5 inch screen but what about a 4.3 inch one?

I really like Steve Litchfield’s take on this issue…

…the fundamental division between ‘phone’ and ‘mobile computer’ comes as a result of looking at how the device is used. I suggest that if a device is used one-handed for more than 50% of the time then it can count as a ‘phone’. In other words, a device that can be used while hanging from a tube train strap, while walking along with a bag of shopping, while driving, and so on. The whole point about a smartphone is that it takes this basic definition and adds a super-powerful OS and add-on applications – often with a miniature qwerty keyboard as well. All while keeping the primarily one-handed use and yet allowing the possibility of two-handed use when needed – such as when composing an email or watching a video.

I advise reading the whole article but here’s another snippet….

If a device is used two-handed for most of its life then it’s not really a phone at all – I’d class it as a ‘mobile computer’ or ‘Mobile Internet Device’ (MID). For example, the Nokia N900 is used 98% of the time in landscape, two-handed mode, and only rotated to portrait and one-handed use to make a voice call. Consider also the HTC HD2 – at 4.3″, its screen is so huge that you can’t hold it in one hand and comfortably operate more than a fraction of its functions. So you end up operating it two-handed and, despite the portrait form factor, it ceases to become a phone per se.

Keep an eye on the comments on the AAS article as they are sure to be interesting. If you have an opinion, let us all know below. When is a smartphone, a MID? (or MIDPhone as I, probably annoyingly, keep calling them.)

XPPhone combines a phone and a computer

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xpphone We saw an influx of these sort of devices at this year’s Computex, but it looks like we are now seeing the first honest attempt to bring one to market.

You’ve probably picked up by now, but the XPPhone is a mobile computer (running Windows XP) that packs in a bunch of wireless and ceullar radios to make it also function as a phone. It supports most 3G specifications and even has optional WiMAX.

In general, the idea of a Windows XP running phone isn’t one that I’d be very excited about because it would mean most likely having a really hot phone in your pocket that would quickly run out of battery life. However, adding some viability to the device, the XPPhone claims to be able to wake up from standby when there is an incoming call or SMS, which makes this whole concept a bit more realistic. Still, I don’t know how fun it will be to pull the thing out of your pocket, send a text, then put it back into standby. I’m sure someone out there will love it though. Here are the specs according to the official website:

    • CPU: AMD Super Mobile CPU
    • Memory:512M/1G
    • SSD: 8G/16G/32G/64G
    • HDD:30G/60G/80G/120G
    • LCD: 4.8′ TFT Touch-screen LCD 800*480
    • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP
    • Network:GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA (HSDPA/HSUPA)CDMA/CDMA2000 1X/CDMA1X EVDO,TD-SCDMA,TD-HSDPA
    • Wireless:WiFi 802.11b/g,WiMax(optional),Buletooth,Stand-alone GPS
    • Camera Specifications:CMOS, 300k/1.3 Million
    • Ports:1 x earphone jack,1 x microphone jack,Docking Connector (include VGA output signal ),1 x USB 2.0, SIM Slot
    • Power Management:
    • Battery: Removable Lithium-ion
    • Talk time: about 5 hours,Stand by time: about 5 days
    • Real life: about 7 hours(Standard), about 12 hours(Large)
    • Talk time,Standby time,Operation time may vary depending different usage.
    • Weight: 400g (include battery)

Viliv X70 EX Patch enables Voice/BT and Wifi/3G

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x70whitbg Highlighted by the Mobile Barbarian yesterday and recieved by email from Viliv today is news that Viliv have released a software patch to allow the simultaneous use of BT, 3G and Wifi on the X70 EX 3G. Previously this had been disabled in software but now you can 3G route and BT call (tested OK via a BT headset in and outboud) to you hearts content!

Downloads:

vilivManager Download
CubeUI Download
Install Guide Download

Video: Voice call test on X70 UMPC

jkk checks out another obviously named UMPC/Phone running XP, the XpPhone [video]

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XpPhone Earlier you may have seen the DigiCube MIDPhone, and the idea behind the XpPhone is not much different. Take a look at the video and you’ll see jkk looking at another slider device which runs Windows XP, and also has voice capability. While I somewhat lambasted the DigiCube MIDPhone for its 2 hours of battery life, the 5 hours that the XpPhone purportedly provides is just barely starting to reach a level of practicality as a phone. Of course these devices are probably best served as concepts of even ultra-early adopter devices, but once Moorestown hits, we’ll have good battery life such that a device (hopefully smaller than this) can be viably always-on and in-pocket, functioning not only as a phone, but a computer as well.