Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
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MWC2011 Ц Samsung. No time to dissipate the energy Ц new flagship Galaxy S II and a tablet
Prior to the Barcelona show I often come across the readers' opinions who believe that the companies are going to announce top new products that will define the entire year. It used to be so, but the market has changed and a product's lifetime is no longer measured in years, not even in one year but in six months at best. On the one hand this is good for us, users Ц the technology progresses. On the other hand, the companies are getting vaguer explaining the differences between the new and the old models and whether a replacement is justified. This resulted in the phone manufacturers focusing energy and most of attention on promotion of separate models. Meanwhile, they almost completely overlook models for the mass segment and give them minimum advertisement. One could spend a lot of time complaining about the situation - but this is how it is.
This is why I was not surprised that Samsung has decided to focus all the energy on promoting the Galaxy line's new flagship - Galaxy S II and the tablet Galaxy TAB 10.1. It is only a logical development of Samsung's policy. I hope I will find regular models on Samsung's stand that simply were not included in the press-release as Samsung often does. But for now let's take a look at the two devices each being important to the company and the market in general.
Samsung Galaxy S II - Top Android
No one could predict the success of Galaxy S and for such a model it has reached phenomenal sales. The model is undoubtedly a bestseller Ц it has raised the bar for the Android phones market Ц but has also posed certain problems for Samsung. No one expected such a huge success and, subsequently, no one expected the demand to soar sky high. The company was let down by the lack of Super AMOLED screens Ц the deficit could not allow big sales: the demand for the model is high Ц but on many markets there are just not enough units. One of the Samsung's solutions was to release a cheaper version of Galaxy S Ц i9003 model that uses SuperClear TFT screen. This screen is worse than SuperAMOLED in every aspect but still is one of the best screens on the market. Besides i9003 with minimal memory costs 100-120 euros less than Galaxy S Ц the price gap will only grow in time. It is a good solution that will keep exploiting Galaxy S' popularity.
After the CES when Nvidia announced first Tegra2 based models including LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola DROID Bionic a question aroused: how will Samsung respond? It seemed like dual core processors are becoming obligatory for top models, a great marketing move, though there is no practical need for them since there is no proper software or games, and performance growth in regular application is insignificant, but during CES Samsung never announced such plans. The reason is Ц the company wanted to minimize the time gap between the product announcement and actual sales to let the potential buyers receive the product the same time the competitors do.
Is Samsung expecting the new flagship to succeed? Undoubtedly yes, and there are absolutely no reasons to think it will fail. Concerning the sales rates of the previous model it will create its own market. It possesses a few unique features the competitors lack. Firstly, it is the screen race. The new term SuperAMOLED+ stands for an improved variant of the previous one that has not yet become obsolete and the competitors do not have any analogs. I do not see a need for such a race but the screen has become a significant perk of Samsung's flagships, one of the advantages. I like Galaxy S' screen it is not yet as sharp as iPhones screen Ц the fonts are a bit blurred. The new SuperAMOLED+ is sharper though not yet as good as iPhone but better than Galaxy S.
The design. This is where opinions differ. Judging by the picture some said that it looks exactly as the previous model, some of Galaxy owners complained that it has got even wider which is not convenient. Some were just expecting a new look. But Samsung presumed that the design of the first Galaxy S is adequate Ц the sales confirm it Ц and decided not to change anything. A rather rational approach.
And since the phone has got a bigger surface it has become thinner Ц impressive 8.5mm (1/3 in) (the press release states even 8.49mm but we don't really need that precision, do we?), which makes the phone one of the thinnest on the market. It immediately reminds of Sony Ericsson Arc, which is 8.7mm thick and also looks thin Ц all this changes the perception of the phone Ц it just looks more impressive. A forgotten trend that was used just four years ago is reborn for smartphones market. Remember Samsung's Ultra line, and before that a phone 9mm (0.35 in) thick was considered to be a breakthrough. The history repeats itself.
By the way, Samsung Galaxy S II also reminded me Sony Ericsson Arc' proportions, probably, because of the size of the screen Ц in both phones it is comparable. Arc has got a 4.2 in screen and Samsung 4.27 Ц the difference is insignificant. But the Samsung's screen is much better and is more interesting. Galaxy S II uses DNIe+ technology (that gives the plus in the name). it is a processor that renders any graphics e.g. photos, pictures, video to make them look better on a phone's screen. A similar technology is used in all Samsung TV sets. Interestingly enough, a similar solution called BraviaEngine is used in Sony Ericsson Arc. These technologies are not used to render the interface, that is, they do not process the menu.
One of the most common readers' questions concerned the Galaxy S II processor Ц one core or two? Does it use ARM9, Samsung's Orion chip or something else? Now I can confirm that it is Samsung's first dual core phone and it uses Orion processor that has been recently renamed into Exynos 4210.
Is it comparable to Nvidia Tegra 2 that I have had a chance to try in Motorola ATRIX 4G and LG Optimus 2x. I have used the both phones extensively for several weeks. I can only assess the performance from a user's point of view since there are simply no applications capable of taking advantage of the new architecture e.g. you cannot find any compatible games. Samsung's product is not slower that those of Motorola or LG. they seem to be rather similar. Moreover thanks to the optimized file system of the first Galaxy better performance for the successor was achieved. One was fast Ц the other even faster. My impressions are quite positive Ц it is one of the fastest phones on the market.
Galaxy S II shows good results in synthetic tests. But they do not really assess real life performance Ц they are relative. Just a few words about the processor Ц each core operates at 1 GHz, system memory size Ц 512MB.
And briefly about other technical aspects Ц the battery capacity has increased insignificantly Ц it is now 1650 mAh. Thanks to the GingerBread (Android v.2.3) the battery's lifetime has increased in theory but the more power demanding processor has eliminated the increment. Working time shall be practically the same as in Galaxy S.
¬строенной пам€ти в телефоне 8 √Ѕ, будут и другие версии. —лот дл€ карт пам€ти никуда не исчез и поддерживаютс€ карты microSD всех объемов. Ќаконец, стоит отметить, что есть WiFi (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 3.0. амера 8 мегапиксельна€, запись видео в 1080p, но эту функцию надо будет посмотреть отдельно.
The in-built memory's size is 8GB and there will be other models. There is still a memory card slot that supports microSD cards of any size. And finally, there is Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n), Bluetoth 3.0. There is an eight megapixel camera that can record 1080p video though this function should be reviewed separately.
It is one of the first phones that supports Wi-Fi direct (another one Ц LG Optimus Black, but it will be released later despite the fact that it was announced earlier). It can allow you to connect compatible devices and rapidly exchange multimedia content.
There are a lot of technical changes in Galaxy S II Ц it significantly differs from the predecessor Ц and in a better way. It is a 2011 model that displays the newest technologies available (thin, dual core, fast, one of the best cameras in its class, Wi-Fi direct).
Samsung has put a lot of effort into adding diversity and variety to the standard Android. Firstly, starting from this model the Social Hub is now on Android too. By using just this one application you may contact your friends by mail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and so on. It is very convenient that all the activities are brought together.
The Music Hub has got about 800,000 songs.
The Readers Hub gives access to periodicals and books.
We have seen all these applications on Galaxy Tab and now they are on phones too. Considering that you may simply disregard them with no harm it is a good complement. Phone unlock on your face recognition sounds fun too. You simply look into the camera and the phone upon recognizing the rightful owner unlocks the screen. This feature should be tested in practice.
Along with the new top phone a new version of the sync application KIES Ц it can now operate using Wi-Fi connection. Such a convenient complement is always welcome. Finally, there is a new function of remote locking of a lost phone and deleting all the data on it.
Are there enough novelties in Galaxy S II? I suppose so. It is an evolutionary step forward of the first device, an interesting successor. Considering that the phone will be out on the market in March already (in April in some countries) the release is well timed. The price will equal that of Galaxy S as of sales start a year ago. Thus the renewal is very appropriate.
I suppose a comparison to the competitors is needed. Unfortunately, despite good looks Sony Ericsson Arc has a worse screen, an obsolete processor (well not just already obsolete), poorer performance, and less software extras. Not to mention that they have the same release date and equal price and they are both thin.
Furthermore, there is LG Optimus 2x. this phone has a less attractive design, it is not as thin, a worse screen and camera, and no extras (though some will prefer it). And again a comparable price. We will watch their sales though they do not have much to offer in terms of sales against Samsung. Galaxy S II is a very interesting phone.
TAB 10.1 tablet
The name of the tablet reflects its main feature Ц it has 10.1in screen and again it is a TFT matrix. The tablet uses Nvidia Tegra 2 and will supposed to run on Android 3.0 (HoneyComb). The release date is not yet fixed Ц it may be April or May as well. The price has also not been defined for particular markets yet. As of today, Samsung is probably planning of placing the same tag as the competitors on the similar devices (e.g. LG has got a similar gadget).
I do not know what to tell you about this tablet. I have not yet had an opportunity to play with it. It has the exact same characteristics as Galaxy TAB: there is a 3G module and other means of communication, an eight megapixel camera and a two megapixel front camera. The device looks interesting though as always the price matter remains. If the price is adequate the sales are guaranteed. Below you can see the specifications of this device. Soon we will be releasing detailed information about the mentioned gadgets with a lot of picture and videos. Good luck!
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Published 13 February 2011
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