The Samsung Galaxy SII’s 8 megapixel camera has often been described as the best on a smartphone. With an LED flash and autofocus it is user friendly and compares well with others available on the market. Along with its large screen for multimedia purposes, the fabulous 8 megapixel camera has been one of the main reasons for the popularity of Galaxy SII deals. So is it as good as people claim?
An improvement from the 5 megapixel cameras found on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire, the quality of pictures is notably clearer and sharper. It is the add-ons and features that means this camera phone takes on the compact market. The shutter speed is quicker, meaning users can take pictures in fast succession. The autofocus takes a little longer and unlike the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc the autofocus feature cannot be turned off.
Users can personalise what is most important to them when taking pictures. So a column on the left hand side of the screen allows you to add shortcuts for those function you use most regularly. These can be individually set for the camera or for video.
Other features include ISO, an option to change exposure settings, a timer, an anti-shake device (vital as the phone is so lightweight although it does mean the camera takes a little longer to take a picture) light metering options and 13 scene modes. Four different filters help enhance picture taking options, whether indoor or outdoor. The Outdoor Visbility setting, for example, is a preset that increases the contrast to tackle direct sunlight making it more flexible. More macro modes have preset options for changing the exposure and metering to correct colours and brightness. Like other digital cameras blink detection holds off the shutter for a fraction of a second and the smile shot again ensures you get perfect family shots. The wide angle lens does cause some barrel distortion meaning some objects can lean into shot.
The video is 1080p with Full HD and 30 fps. It captures excellent colour and records audio well. Recording and playback is affected by whether it is daytime or nighttime with best results in indoor daylight although a video light does improve settings for darker shoots. Resolution can be reduced down to 176 x 144 and exposure and white balance can all be altered.
The speed of the phone, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor means it is one of the most powerful on the market, and also means there is little disruption or catch up when taking a picture or video or changing options. Both in stills and video this makes it an impressive camera phone. Images can be edited in a Photo Editor app available from Samsung. This allows for small editing, cropping and stylizing. As on other Android phones there is also Snapbucket which allows for uber-stylized edits and playing with images.
The impressive 4.3” screen and Super AMOLED Plus display makes this a great smartphone for playback. Some critics have voiced concerns that the pictures look better on the phone’s display rather than when uploaded onto laptops. The ability to share pictures quickly and easily via the Social Hub means it is simple to take pictures and video and then upload them to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The screen and the camera on the SII certainly live up to the hype, and are a large part of the reason that Samsung has managed to shift so many phone contracts for this Galaxy.
Is your mom already on Facebook? According to the latest report from eMarketer, there is a 69% possibility if she is an internet user in the United States. The report provides some really interesting numbers that show that the number of online moms who access Facebook will grow from 62% in 2010 to well over 73% in 2013. In absolute terms, this means a rise of nearly 4 million users from 20.6 million to 24.5 million. What do these numbers mean? Click on the arrow on the top of this article to read more.
If you are a frequent visitor to the Apple Support Forums, you will not be surprised with the number of new threads from users who are dissatisfied with the sound quality on their iPhones. While I am fortunately not one of those, it certainly does help if you can play music and videos at a volume higher than your iPhone’s maximum capacity. The new Sound Amplifier for iPhone from WirelessGround is something you should then check out.
While it is marketed as an accessory for the iPhone 4, this Sound Amplifier also works with the older models like the iPhone 3G and 3GS as well as the latest iPhone 4S model. According to the company website, this rubber accessory can add up to 12 decibels of sound to your iPhone speakers. In addition to this, the way the accessory is designed also makes it possible for the users to deploy it as a stand for your iPhone while listening to music.
I tried the Sound Amplifier with my old iPhone 3G and could readily notice the significantly improved volume from the iPhone speakers. Here is a video demo of the product although I must say that the video does not do justice to the actual improvement in sound quality that I experienced.
The Sound Amplifier for the iPhone is now available at WirelessGround for $9.95. You can check out more details about the product from their website by clicking here.
When Barnes & Noble launched the NOOK Color, not many actually expected the device to be anything more than an also-ran. With more sophisticated devices like Samsung Galaxy Tab vying to be the iPad killer, the NOOK Color was just a NOOK with tablet benefits. But a recent snippet revealed by a company executive shows the NOOK Color does have something unique to itself that is not the case with any of the other tablets in the market. Click on the arrows on the top of this page to read on.
The HTC Sensation is already a familiar model in the smartphone market. The XE, on the other hand, has yet to prove itself. The first of its kind to bear the Beats logo, it takes advantage of the latest audio technology as well as a slew of other new features. Here we look at the addition of Beats audio processing, and ask whether it’s enough to compel smartphone owners to make the transition to HTC. Can the making of a mobile phone be determined by audio alone? No, is the simple answer, although thankfully the XE has a few other tricks up its sleeve that should make HTC Sensation XE deals even more popular than those for the original model.
As well as beats galore, you see, the XE is packing juice. The handset offers a 1730mAh power pack, truly outdoing the all-consuming battery of its predecessor. The battery is now powering a 1.5GHz dual core processor, to the extent that the previous Sensation’s stuttering internet is now fluid and speedy in comparison. In terms of design, the XE is an edgy little number. It bears the same shape and striped aluminium design as the original Sensation, but a darker chassis and red trim have given it a slight facelift. We’re not complaining; it looks pretty darn smart.
Nice as the aesthetics are, we must return to the beats and specifically to the sound system tailored by Dr Dre himself. Back in August, HTC decided to take a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, paying a reputed $300 million for the pleasure. All this to enhance the sound of a smartphone? Yep, that’s correct. As it would happen, you’ll need a pair of Beats ear buds to make the most of the new audio features, but these are conveniently bundled with the XE handset. Upon plugging your ear buds in, the Beats profile is automatically loaded up, with the relevant icon appearing in your notifications at the top of the screen. From here, you can adjust the sound enhancement to alter the overall sound quality and bass level. Just that, for $300 million? Wow. HTC better hope they can shift a lot of mobile phone contracts to recoup their investment.
The extent to which you’ll appreciate Beats really depends on your taste in music. The sounds are definitely improved, but the bass is altogether debatable. The audio is very – how to put this – vibrant. Expect a multitude of complaints from fellow commuters who take a dim view of your banging dubstep. Whether you’ll be able to hear those complaints with your super-cool and stylish Beats buds in remains to be seen. If you like to feel your music as much as hear it, you’ll love the low vibrations that emanate from the XE. Otherwise, you may find the dynamics to be subdued, with high frequency notes being lost amidst the grimy bass. Dr. Dre, prior to the phone’s launch, said: ‘For Beats…this represents a critical step in our continued mission to clean up the destruction of audio caused by the digital revolution; and reengineer how sound is delivered so that the consumer feels the music the way that the artist intended.’ By the sounds of it then, he’s a fan of the XE. Then again, if you were receiving a commission on every handset sold, you’d also be vociferously repping it to the world.
HTC bought a stake in Dre’s company because of the firm’s audio manipulation technology, and they’ve certainly marketed it as the feature that defines the new Sensation XE. It remains to be said though: do your favourite artists intend for you to burst your eardrums while listening to them? At a shade under £500, perhaps you’d be better jacking the phone altogether and acquiring a ghetto blaster instead. If you’re going to p*** off everyone on the bus, might as well do it in style.
With the smartphone continuing to evolve into a fantastic way to access the mobile internet, we’ve picked out three of the best handsets to help you enjoy that mobile broadband experience to the full. We’ve chosen one of each from three different manufacturers and using three different operating systems – Windows Mobile didn’t quite make the cut this time, but if you’re really after the Microsoft experience we suggest you check out the HTC HD7.
Samsung Galaxy SII
In our opinion, this is simply the loveliest smartphone on the market. Beautifully utilising version 2.3 of the popular Android operating system from Google, it has power, style and a beautiful touchscreen. For a mobile weighing just 116g and being a super-slim 8.5mm thick, under the bonnet is a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 processor, eight-megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and up to 32GB of built-in storage.
And what a bonnet: a 4.3-inch super AMOLED Plus 480×800 pixel capacitive gorilla glass touchscreen. When you add on all the Google goodies and the plethora of apps in the Android Market, you owe it to yourself to give this a try.
Apple iPhone 4
No list would be complete without the world’s most popular smartphone, the iPhone 4. While it may not be the best in terms of phone technology (calling, reception etc), the stylish looks, crisp screen and awesome apple App Store make it a genuine contender. But it’s no slouch either. Under the 3.5-inch 640×960 pixel capacitive TFT touchscreen resides a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, five-megapixel camera, 512MB of RAM and up to 32GB of built-in capacity for saving your files.
But what really sells the iPhone is the market leading user interface and app selection, making the iPhone 4 the leader in ease of use, social networking, gaming and general all around fun for phone and broadband combined.
BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900
Not everyone can simply afford to play on their mobile – some of us have to work too! For many of us, the BlackBerry is still king – and they don’t come more royal than the Bold touch 9900. It’s an impressive piece of hardware, with full QWERTY keyboard and 2.8-inch capacitive TFT touchscreen hiding 8GB of internal storage and 768MB or RAM. It is powered by a 1.2GHz processor, while there’s also a five-megapixel camera on board. But most important of all, all the things that make a blackberry sing are here in abundance. Sure, blackberry world doesn’t compete on apps, but when it comes to email, security, document manipulation and general messaging, BlackBerry is still impossible to beat – and Bold is best.
The number of spam sent per month back in July 2010 used to be around 90 billion. In a year’s time, this number has been brought down to just 25 billion. This is one of the revelations made in Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report. Click on the right arrow on the top of the article to see how this was achieved.
Forty years back, in October 1971, the first email was sent. The email was sent between two computers separated by a distance of 1 meter and presumably contained a test message (like ‘QWERTY’). Since then, trillions of messages have been sent over the web and email is today the primary mode of communication for a lot of us. So how many emails are being sent per day?
So how many emails will get sent on a daily basis in 2011? While there are no confirmed reports on this as yet, according to the Radicati group, the number of worldwide email accounts will increase from 3.146 billion in 2011 to 4.087 billion in 2015. Roughly one-fourth of this is expected to be corporate accounts. And these corporate users alone are expected to send 33 emails per day (per user). This average number is expected to rise to 41 emails by 2015.
Why did Apple call this one a 4S, and not the much-anticipated iPhone 5? Some were disappointed, feeling the 4S is not so new and improved as they’d hoped, and Apple’s share price even dropped a little. The good news is that with Apple releasing the iPhone 4S on contract, the iPhone 4 should become a lot more affordable and the 3GS will be available for free on many phone contracts.
Still, there were a couple of good reasons for naming it the 4S. Firstly, Apple does have a reputation for honesty and integrity, and wants to maintain that positive reputation. So, the new model number will be reserved for the genuinely next generation of iPhones, which means a full-blown 4G-capable smartphone, rather than a hodgepodge of 3G and 4G chips. Plus, naming the new version 4S means that the iPhone 4 can be repurposed as a budget-level device, but still at least theoretically a part of the current generation of top-of-the-range smartphones. It even allows the 3GS to seem to stay reasonably commercially viable, since it’s only one generation worse than the top of the range iPhone 4S. It makes good business sense for Apple to finally be addressing the budget end of the market, rather than continuing to assume that its products are so good, so unique, that people will always pay a premium price for them.
So what do you get if you are happy to pay the premium price, to snag the very latest model? Well, what you won’t get is a restyled phone – the 4S looks exactly the same as the iPhone 4 on the outside. What you will get is improvements in almost every other area, though. As Mark Hirst, Managing Director of Best Mobile Contracts has said: “The improved specs, including the A5 dual core processor, and 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording make the iPhone 4S a welcome addition to the iPhone family.”
This is a much faster iPhone than ever before, with a dual-core 1 GHz processor offering twice the processing speed of the iPhone 4. In fact, the processor is the same A5 processor found previously in the iPad 2, somehow squeezed into the much smaller device. The graphics card is even more nifty, being seven times as fast as that of the 4, which further paves the way for a major upgrade of the iPhone camera.
The new camera offers a full 8 megapixels, compared to the iPhone 4’s 5Mp camera. Megapixels aren’t everything, but the new camera delivers in every other respect, too, finally putting paid to the concept that the camera was the iPhone’s weak spot. It has a much-improved image processor, a back-illumination sensor for improved low-light photography, amazing colours, and a new face-recognition feature. Overall, it’s as good as almost any standalone compact digital camera on the market, a significant achievement. The only real drawback to it is that there’s still no optical zoom function.
In video camera mode, you can now shoot 1080p HD movies, another notable improvement on the iPhone 4’s 720p HD. Image stabilisation software lets you get a professional look even in tricky conditions, so your home movies no longer have to look like the Blair Witch Project.
Many people have already blogged about the amazing Siri virtual assistant, now an iPhone 4S exclusive. Less flashy, but probably just as useful to most phone buyers, are the leaps forward in battery and antenna technology. Improvements in battery life now allow for up to 8 hours’ talk time or 40 hours’ music playback, while the antenna boasts significantly improved download speeds and more reliability.
There is nothing greater than when a new device is released and it is greater than the sum of its parts. After a bit of a usage of the new Samsung S2 phone we have concluded that this phone is certainly that.
The S2’s main strengths are its screen and its processor. However it does certainly have a strong facet in another number of areas and this is what makes it greater than its individual attributes. The device has a very smart 1.2GHz dual core processor that really can hammer the applications it is multitasking on into submission. This means the phone is fast enough to handle any form of streaming, browsing and gaming.
The huge processing power puts the phone at the top of the new smart phones as far as the latest phone engines go. The phone’s biggest strength comes in the glassy shape of its screen. The 4.3inch Super AMOLED Plus screen is excellent and shows some great contrast of colours and depth of shades.
The Android 2.3 operating system is also excellent and really sparks into life when you see the things it does with the Samsung created TouchWiz interface. The combination of applications and their use of the processor and screen make this a device to be reckoned with and it is no surprise that it is the top selling phone in the last few months, with more than 5 million Samsung Galaxy S2 deals having been picked up since the phones launch just a few months back.
Add to this the 8mp camera and the ability for it to record at 1080p and you are in for a very fun time indeed. The camera is excellent and the sensor very good and we were delighted displaying it on the TV at home via a DLNA connection.
The phone is also a nicely shaped slim device and weighs in at a tiny 116g and is only 8.49mm wide, though is slightly thicker towards one end because of the speaker. To be honest it is very hard to fault this phone and like the previous Galaxy S and the HTC Desire before it – it is an iPhone beater and great because of all its parts combined.