Tag Archives: samsung

iPhone 6 – does size matter?

19 Sep

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Just over a week ago, Apple announced the next instalments of it’s flagship product – the iPhone. Today they followed up those announcements by releasing two new devices, and giving consumers a choice this time round, an option of two screen sizes.

A bigger screen is something that iPhone users have wanted for a long time, and it’s caused a lot of users to move to Android alternatives in search of more pixels, but is it too late for Apple to win back the customers who have taken the leap? It seems not. Reports have indicated a influx of trade ins for Samsung phones prior to the iPhone 6 release.

Today my new iPhone 6 arrived. I opted for the iPhone 6 over the iPhone 6 Plus because I have small hands and I think that 5.5″ is too big for standard day to day use of a phone. Going for the smaller of the two comes at a cost, we lose out on higher pixel density, battery life, image stabilisation and landscape mode.

Design

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Overall, I like the design of the phone, the curved edges take the phone back to its roots of the original phone through 3GS and gives the phone a smooth feel as it sits in your hand. One downside to this is that it feels loose in your hand, and without a case I can imagine it won’t be long until the phone will slip out of your grips.

The on/off button being on the side of the phone is strange, I still haven’t got used to it. I don’t feel that the move is justified on the iPhone 6, I can still reach the old position of the wake button just as easily as I did with my iPhone 5. As with older iPhones the buttons feel robust and responsive. This is my first iPhone with Touch ID and so far it has worked every time without fail. It’s going to take a while to get used to using it instead of my passcode though.

The protruding camera was an odd move for Apple, and although it will grow on me in time (especially as it’s hidden by my case) I don’t think it was a smart move. I can’t imagine it was a design choice, it was more likely because they couldn’t fit the sensor in the thinner design, I think i’d have been happy with a slightly thicker device to hold the full sensor, that would mean it would hold a bigger battery too.

I was expecting them to release some removable lenses (macro, wide angle) that could clip onto the extra rim of the camera. I doubt it will be long before someone else takes advantage of the idea.

Display

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The display on the larger screen looks great, it’s crisper and brighter than the previous versions. You can also see the improvements they’ve made with viewing angles. But you can tell the pixel density hasn’t increased, which is one of the biggest let downs for me. I cannot understand why they haven’t upped the PPI in this phone like they have done with the 6 plus. Possibly to leave room for improvement next year? Maybe.

So far i’ve had no issues with reachability, my hands are quite small but i’ve not had to adjust my normal tasks to accommodate for the bigger display. The new reachability mode as seen in the image above works well to prevent any pulled muscles in your fingers.

iOS 8

My first impressions of iOS 8 haven’t been great. It’s a buggy release. I downloaded iOS 8 on my iPhone 5 last week which instantly broke my nike running app, and I haven’t been able to get it working since. The phone has crashed a few times and i’ve noticed lag between tasks. I’ve also noticed the phone running hotter than usual across both devices. It’s dampened my opinion on iOS 8, and to me it’s the most disappointing iOS release to date.

The upside is that these are all software issues, so hopefully they will be fixed in an update soon.

Case

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I opted to go with the brown leather version of the case, as I have been impressed with my Apple Leather case for my iPhone 5 (See: The case that gives you a new phone). It is a nice case again, although I don’t prefer it over the iPhone 5 version. I don’t particularly like the lack of protection across the bottom and I preferred the tan colour to the brown. But overall it’s a nice, slim and stylish case that gives some friction to a somewhat slippy phone.

Battery

I’ve not had the phone long enough to conduct a proper battery test, but early indications seem to show a better battery life than my iPhone 5. It isn’t draining anywhere near as quickly as my iPhone 5 has been recently. I’ve read in some reviews that the iPhone 6 has been coming out with better battery life than the iPhone 6 Plus, but i’m not sure how true this is.

So, is bigger better?

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When the phone was announced last week I was unsure between going for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Today I went down into the Apple Store to try out a iPhone 6 Plus and it made me realise I made the right choice. It is just too big for a phone. I can see that it would appeal to some people, but it’s defiantly not for me. The iPhone 6’s 4.7″ is a needed increase from the iPhone 5S, but I cannot see myself wanting a screen any bigger than that.

The upgrade was worthwhile from my two year old iPhone 5, but if I was an iPhone 5S owner and wasn’t bothered about the 0.7″ screen difference then I’d probably consider waiting out until next year. Touch ID is a good feature for me but is already on the 5S, and Apple Pay won’t be widely used for a few years. The camera quality is better, especially with the improvements in autofocus, but there is only so much they can do without upping the megapixel count.

To those sitting on the fence (Android users / previous iPhone users) you won’t be disappointed with the upgrade, especially if you want more real estate on your display.

2014: What to watch – the wearable era.

25 Mar

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2014 is set to be a big year in the technology industry. Since the beginning of the tablet era in 2010 we haven’t had a revolutionary new product category that has really hit it off. 4 years later, we are getting a glimpse of how technology will continue to integrate into our lives.

Smart watches are by no means a new category, they’ve been around for some years now in the form of the Pebble Smart watch or the Galaxy Gear. But neither of these have been big successes, in fact, they’ve been seen as a massive failure. I guess the biggest question is why haven’t they taken off yet, and whats to say that they ever will?

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There are two fundamental issues with the current portfolio of smart watches:

  1. They do not integrate as efficiently as they could do
  2. They really don’t look great

For a Smart Watch to be successful, it firstly has to integrate into our lives without any fuss. We want it to be easy to use and have all the information we need readily available for when we need it. Such as todays meetings, the weather, our contacts and our messages. All in a format that is easily readable on the fly.

Secondly, it needs to look good. But at the same time satisfy a varied number of consumers. Watches, more often than not are fashion accessories (when not being used to tell the time). So if they look bulky, clunky and ugly they aren’t going to sell. But making a generic look that appeals to the mass is a difficult hurdle to overcome. Customisation is key, both physically and digitally.

The Android Wear announcement last week brings a completely new competitor to the table, the first serious player in the smart watch market. The videos shared of the Moto 360 have set a high bar for what could be a game changer for wearables. The previews show a beautiful and elegant interface that shows off everything that a smart watch should be.

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The Moto 360 also demonstrated another important variable for the wearable era: health monitoring. Personally, this will be a massive selling point for me. I currently use the Nike + app on my phone for running and I have always had an interest in getting a Nike Fuelband. With leaked screenshots of Apple’s iOS 8 health book app, it seems that this year’s technology announcements will be very health orientated.

I think that this is a fantastic opportunity for encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Smart phone manufacturers can harness the power of a device that millions of its customers already have, and couple it with a new peripheral that can change the way people live their lives.

The same way the iPhone revolutionised the mobile phone market back in 2007, the Smart Watch era will change the way we access our most important data on the fly, whilst at the same time keeping tabs on our body to improve our fitness without us even realising.

Watch this space.

 

 

That bittersweet fruit

1 May

If you continue reading my blogs, and I continue writing blogs you may start to see a trend. I like Apple products. Before I hear the screams of “Fan Boy”, I would like to clear things up, I try to be level headed about things, Apple are not the only company that make great products.

This year could be an interesting year, as for many years now Apple have dominated the mobile phone and tablet market, and they have also been doing pretty well in computer sales too. But, as the saying goes – all good things must come to an end. Apple are at the top, and as newton famously said whilst sitting under a tree of Apples, what goes up, must come down.

Samsung are hot on Apples tail in terms of mobile phone sales, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 has been a massive phone launch for the company, bigger than any iPhone launch in recent history. The last real redefining iPhone launch has to have been the iPhone 4, nothing much revolutionary since. Apple have become stale, they set their own bar too high and have struggled to match it since, as a result consumers have strived for something new and different, which is where the Samsung Galaxy hops into play.

In one of my earlier blog posts I discussed the evolution of mobile ecosystems, when iOS was first released alongside the original iPhone, it was a revolutionary, simple and beautiful operating system. Now it is boring and repetitive. We have had 6 generations of the same design with a few tweaks along the way. Don’t get me wrong, it does it’s job, it’s what makes an iPhone, an iPhone.

Days after I had posted my blog relating to iOS, reports came in of what could be a major change coming in iOS 7, according to sources, iOS 7 will feature a flat design, Flat design being akin to the type of operating system Windows 7 Phone chose to adopt. I strongly believe this change is imminent, I cannot see Apple sticking with the same iOS again, they need a shake up, something to bring the spark back into the company and make people want to buy their phones again, and I mean, really want to buy them.

Personally, I don’t like the idea of a flat structured operating system, I am not a fan of Windows phone, or of Metro UI. I guarantee, everyone will hate the new design at first, nobody likes change. There will be Apple’s simplicity and beauty built into it, so people will adjust and fall in love over again – at least, that’s what Apple need to ensure happens to get out of this dry spell they are in.

In terms of other products released by the company, expect some new fruit over the next few years. We wont just be getting refreshed lines of existing products. We will be getting new product lines. For Apple to remain at the top for a little while longer these products need to make us ask the question five years from now; “how did I ever live without that?”.

The big question is, do Samsung have what it takes to become as innovative as Apple once were? With their eye-tracking technology in the Galaxy S 4, they are showing that they are ready for the challenge.

 


-DC