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.
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.
Once upon a time there were two companies, the first company did something no one ever did well before and released a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. It did very well and was the toast of the kingdom until a man from a company who made very attractive but sometimes flawed devices released a touch screen phone that allowed users fast internet connection and a huge selection of downloadable applications. In case you didn’t guess we’re talking about Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry.
So, with a new Bold 9900 released, how does it compare to its direct competitor for number one, the iPhone 4.
Processor wise the BlackBerry has got an upgrade and is now running a super powerful 1.2GHz snapdragon processor with 768MB of RAM. Compared to the iPhone which currently runs a 1GHz chip with 512MB, on paper the BlackBerry is the faster chip. Then you have to take into account that the iPhone is a year younger and you have to give it its dues.
The matter of tactility is different; then again it always was and will be. BlackBerry’s really about the QWERTY keyboard and though this one allows dual navigation with keyboard and screen, the buttons are the best bet and are possibly the best BlackBerry have ever made. The iPhone is a touch screen and an amazingly responsive one at that. As far as this is concerned, it really is a case of what you prefer – like a lot of things you seem to be born for one or the other.
The screens do differ in size and the iPhone’s 3.5in is better for what it is meant to do, that is being a multimedia player. Though the BlackBerry has a 3in screen it does have a certain charm. Though quality wise the iPhone 4 wins hands down, with its amazingly clear retina display.
Both devices have 5mp cameras, to be honest there is not much give or take between them and they could be considered equally good flashers.
As far as the operating system is concerned iOS offer an amazing experience and has really set the pace. However, BlackBerry OS 7 is a huge improvement on previous offerings and does put up a good fight but is staring into the face of the best.
Design wise both maintain their classic styles, with the iPhone 4 looking fantastic and the BlackBerry looking stylish in a different way, with its curved chassis and keyboard. It really is a case of personal preference. Some people swear by either brand, though if you want a multimedia experience the iPhone is better and perhaps the BlackBerry is better for professionals.
HTC’s batch of smartphones released at Mobile World Congress are not all that they have in store for 2011, with the Taiwanese company joining the dual core revolution in the form of the EVO 3D and Pyramid smartphones. While quite a bit of information has surfaced about the EVO 3D and its parallax barrier display, HTC are being more tight-lipped about the Pyramid. It is likely it will feature a similar set of specs to the EVO but without the 3D extras, and could possibly make its way to UK stores under the name of the HTC Sensation.
HTC’s first two dual core smartphones have already upped the ante by packing dual core 1.2GHz processors, already offering more speed than existing dual core handsets like the Motorola Atrix and LG Optimus 2X/T-Mobile G2x. Although still running on Android Gingerbread, the Pyramid/Sensation will have a little less memory to play around with with 768MB compared to the EVO’s 1GB.
The Pyramid Sensation is expected to feature a 4.3″ qHD screen with multitouch along with accelerometer and gyro sensor. Also on board is an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, dual LED flash and quite likely a fairly decent 1.3mp front facing camera too. The Sensation is also expected to come with HTC Sense 3.0 as its interface so we can expect some great features including good social networking support.
Although the Sensation is being touted as the name that this phone will be released under in the UK there is still no indication just yet as to whether it will be released elsewhere as the Pyramid or whether that is just a code name used during development. Either way the Sensation looks set to be one of the best Android phones in 2011 alongside the EVO 3D, and HTC are expected to release full details of the handset at an HTC event on 12th April.
The absence of Apple at the Mobile World Congress has definitely given Google’s Android the definite edge over its competitors at the show in Barcelona this year. With the MWC for this year coming to a close today, everyone who’s been at the event has only one thing to say – Android is brilliant. With Nokia disbanding its own phone OS Symbian and partnering with Microsoft for Windows based Nokia phones, they did not have anything to offer this year. Almost every phone, be it the Motorola Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy S or the Sony Xperia Play smartphones or the Samsung’s second generation tablet or LG Slate, everything has been Android. There was Blackberry Playbook that was not running on Android but spoke of including Android apps and HP’s Tablet – TouchBook that did not use Android but WebOS.
So, this MWC belonged to Android completely.
Last year at the same time during the Mobile World congress, Samsung unveiled Bada – its own phone OS. After an year, Samsung has now announced Bada 2.0, the next version of Bada 1.2, Samsung’s own smartphone OS today. Bada 2.0 will feature NFC (Near Field Communication Support), WAC (Wholesale Applications Community), HTML 5, voice recognition and multitasking. Samsung would also providing a server development kit (SDK) allowing developers of other platforms as well explore the OS. The SDK would allow developers to look into the apps’ performance with the help of a faster simulator and advanced code.
Bada was first launched by Samsung in November 2009 and right now it is the 1.2.0 version that is in use. Samsung Wave (GT-8500) was the first phone to be launched on the Bada OS. Along with Bada, came the Samsung Apps, their own app store which is apparently growing quickly.
Google’s executive in charge of Android Andy Rubin has confirmed that Android 2.4 or Ice cream will be accompanied by a smartphone. He has also confirmed that from now on every new Android version will be accompanied by hardware, meaning a new device. Both Andy Ruben and Eric Shmidt, the chief executive have confirmed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Ice Cream will be a combination of the tablet features of Honeycomb and the smartphone features of Gingerbread.
Google had already released the Google Nexus S last December alongside Android 2.3 or Gingerbread and according to Google, the sales have been extraordinary. Following pursuit, both Motorola and Samsung came out with their respective tablets based on Android 2.3. No other hardware specs nor make of the next smartphone were revealed at the keynote, though.
The new smartphone from Acer – Iconica Smart which was previewed back in November has now been officially launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This new smartphone from Acer possesses an impressive 4/8″ touchscreen display and the device runs on Google’s Android 2.3 or Gingerbread. Acer has stated that the Iconica Smart would be available from the second quarter of this year, which should be 6 weeks from now.
To complement the wide display with a 1024×480 pixel resolution, is the Dolby Surround Sound Technology. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm 1GHz processor and the Acer user interface 4.0, codenamed Breeze. The phone also comes with Flash Player 10.1 which would also ensure a smooth browsing experience. There is an 8.0 mega pixel camera at the phone’s rear and a 2.0 mega pixel camera on the front.
The Mobile World Congress at Barcelona has witnessed the components of the new Nokia Windows Phone 7. New slim and sleek Nokia devices that would run on Windows phone 7 OS were unveiled for a preview at the MWC. Two slides which contained the new Nokia devices were made available to the public. While the first phone is a slim one with rounded corners and contains a standard headphone jack at the top, a speaker grill at the bottom, a camera shutter at the back and a volume rocker to the side. The second phone that was unveiled looked a higher-end device with three standard Windows 7 buttons, a camera with a flash and a power button.
Nokia has also not revealed if the upcoming devices were going to be exactly the same. Also, an exact launch date of the devices is not out yet. For now, Nokia definitely wants to release their new phones by the end of 2011.
The push-based user interface developed by Motorola – MotoBlur has now three added features to it. These new features are aimed at increasing the connectivity with the various social networking services like Facebook and the associated contacts. The three new features which have been added are Aloqa, Connected gallery and Connected Music and these new features are sure to enhance the users connectivity with the device.
Aloqa is a location based feature which will allow third party applications to feed users with the local data like restaurants, cinemas, deals, places etc. Connected Gallery integrates photos and videos from various softwares like Picasa, Flickr etc. and allows the user to browse through all the photos at once rather than having to open them individually. Connected Music allows users to tell friends visually what song they are listening to, buy tracks and also stream lyrics while playing tracks.
Motortola Atrix and the Cliq 2 users can upgrade their MotoBlur software for these added features.