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Now through May 16, Best Buy will be running a promotion to lower the price of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Simply trade in any working tablet and the electronics retailer will hand over a $50 coupon for the device and a $50 gift card.

This deal means that you can purchase the Galaxy Tab A for $100 less than normal. Pricing without any discount starts at $229 for the 8-inch model and reaches $299 for the 9.7-inch model.

[Samsung Galaxy Tab A – Best Buy]

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Best Buy takes $100 off of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A when trading in a working tablet

Why is the Galaxy S6 Edge more successful than the Note Edge?

Posted by wicked May - 2 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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Just why wasn’t the Note Edge anywhere near as successful as the S6 Edge is proving to be?

The mystery at hand is clearly one of demand: Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is proving so popular that the company has just announced a third factory will be opened to manufacture the dual curved display that graces the premium product. Such news meshes well against the background of a sales ratio favoring the Edge over the standard S6 variant. The question is, why?

Just half-a-year ago, Samsung released the Galaxy Note Edge, the first product to use the new form factor. The product was said to be manufactured in limited numbers, would be released in select markets only, and came at a truly premium price point. The general public’s reaction was not exactly favorable, and indeed when the sales numbers came they weren’t impressive: less than 700,000 units had been sold as of this February.

This situation is definitely a curious one indeed. The Note Edge, which has exclusive features that made use of the unique form factor, has been largely forgotten even if some thought it was superior to the standard Note 4. On the other hand, the S6 Edge has so few legitimate features that some of us felt it wasn’t worth purchasing, yet seemingly everyone is.

Let’s examine the unexpected trend and see if we can’t arrive at some sort of conclusion; surely something big caused this dramatic change in consumer spending habits.

A device’s destiny

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Perhaps the best place to begin is with the device itself. Galaxy S products are designed to be mainstream flagship phones that appeal to the broadest possible number of customers. Indeed this line started well before the Note series ever made news for its then “gigantic” display.

The Note is aimed at a fundamentally different crowd than the S. It’s obviously much larger, both in terms of the screen and the footprint. It comes with a stylus (the S Pen) and a productivity suite custom made to take advantage of the accessory. It has historically also been the device Samsung bequeaths the best specs to: of the two product lines, the Note received RAM bumps first, received a (mainstream) implementation of QHD first, received a metal frame first, etc. In short, if the Galaxy S is the phone for everyone, the Galaxy Note is the phone packed with purpose. It’s also seen as the more premium of the two product lines as a result.

It’s quite possible that the Galaxy Note Edge fared poorly simply because it was too new of a concept, geared to too limited a market. People want the Note for productivity, not for gimmicks. While the Edge Display certainly proved useful to those who bought it, most just shrugged their shoulders and moved on.

Funny thing about features

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Note the app launcher on the right side of the Edge: this is just one feature totally absent from the S6 Edge.

The Galaxy S6 Edge doesn’t have any real features except for the novelty of its design. None of the intuitive features made for the Note Edge are compatible.

How is it then, that the S6 Edge could be enjoying such success? Is the novelty of the screen shape really that much of a draw to customers? Could it be that the Galaxy Note Edge was off-putting for its somewhat “different” approach to Android and its features?

Peculiar pricing problem?

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Even though the S6 Edge is pretty pricey, its still less than its big Note brother.

One aspect that is a bit confusing is the price difference between the Note Edge and the S6 Edge. Namely there really isn’t one to speak of. Both devices, when purchased unlocked/off contract, retail for around $900-1000. Granted the Note Edge is a bit more, but when you’re already almost a grand, does the extra bit actually matter? Especially if the Note Edge has a larger display, removable battery, and microSD expansion.

With a 2-year contract on the other hand, the price is a bit different. The S6 Edge is around $299.99 whereas the Note Edge is about $100+ extra. For many customers, that extra money could indeed be a deal-breaker, and thus the idea of buying a similar themed product but at a cheaper price point is simply the more logical option.

Still, the standard S6 is $100-or-so cheaper than the Edge is, and thus if price was truly the sole factor involved, it would make more sense to spend only $199 rather than an extra Benjamin.

Totally about Timing?

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Seen it all: perhaps the S6 Edge’s stunning success is a result of the competition’s lack of originality with some 2015 flagships.

Perhaps the issue here is simply one of timing, or momentum. While Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge at the same time as the Note 4, the former released much later than the latter: almost two months in some countries and more in others. It’s conceivable that many of the customers who would have bought the Note Edge simply didn’t because they didn’t want to wait, and because the Note 4 was largely the same exact phone minus the curved display.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 Edge was announced and released simultaneously with the standard S6, and thus consumers had a clear choice from the very beginning. Perhaps, had Samsung at least provided working samples of the Note Edge when the Note 4 released, customers could have seen what was waiting down the line and made a conscious decision to wait.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini -30

The Galaxy S5 has a lot of good ideas, but when it came to sales, the former flagship was tepid at best.

It also should be added that 2014 was definitely not a good year for Samsung with financial woes aplenty and the relative flop of the Galaxy S5. Perhaps customers simply didn’t want to buy Samsung products for lack of momentum, or else their interest in other competing devices like the Nexus 6.

One big question sticks out like a sore thumb: if the Galaxy S6 Edge were to have released a month-or-more after the S6, would it be enjoying such brisk sales?

Made out of materials?

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There’s no denying it: the S6 Edge is positively premium when compared to any Samsung phone that came before it.

Yet another tangent to tackle is that of materials. While there are definitely a fair share of people irked by the unibody, sealed design employed in the Galaxy S6 Edge, it’s arguably a minority. Assuming such is the case, it would follow that the design of the Galaxy Note Edge, while nice with the metal frame, was still just “too Samsung”. It featured a cheap plastic removable back (along with removable battery and microSD support) and generally wasn’t viewed as a truly premium phone despite the semi-metal make. Add to this equation the inclusion of 2014-era TouchWiz and it becomes quite heavy-handed.

On the other hand, the S6 Edge is a totally redesigned phone in every sense of the word. The glass and metal make has eliminated any trace of plastic. The design is inspired by those that came before it, yet still feels fresh. Even TouchWiz itself has been refined and toned down to be a much lighter and brighter experience. Perhaps a great deal of mainstream consumers were just truly impressed by the S6 Edge and its craftsmanship.

Nothing normal for me

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The LG G Flex 2 was curved, but the banana shape coupled with the relatively low sales of LG devices (when compared to Samsung) certainly didn’t help it.

Could the success of the Galaxy S6 Edge be an indication that mainstream customers simply are tired of traditional devices and are therefore seeking out those which stray from the pack? Granted the LG G Flex 2 lost steam pretty fast, but the device is much more of a niche product and historically LG has never had smartphone sales that can compare with Samsung. What if the Galaxy S6 isn’t selling as many units simply because it’s just too similar to other smartphones?

The S6 Edge also has a major “wow” factor going for it that competing flagships like the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9 simply don’t. If phones are now an extension of the individual who owns them, it seems perfectly logical that people want to be seen as cutting edge, stylish, and ahead of the curve.

Wrap-up

In truth, it’s difficult to reach any one conclusion as to just why the S6 Edge is such a success. It’s quite possible a combination of everything mentioned so-far, or maybe something we haven’t even explored. One thing is for certain, and that’s the the fantastic fortune means its safe to say Samsung will be making more curved products in the coming months and years. Possibilities include a Note Edge 2, a S7 Edge, and even curved tablets, or who knows what?

So why do you think the S6 Edge has been outselling the standard S6? Why has it totally outperformed the Note Edge for that matter? Please leave your comment below and let us know!

Deal: Purchase the Samsung Galaxy Tab A at Best Buy, save $100 or more

Posted by wicked May - 2 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy Tab A - Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a brand new tablet, especially in North America, where it has only been on sale in the U.S. for a day now. The new Android tablet starts at $229.99 for the 8-inch version, $299.99 for the 9.7-inch device.

If those prices are just a little steep for your tastes, Best Buy has a deal that might work in your favor, if you’ve got an old tablet to trade in. You hand in a working tablet and Best Buy will give you a minimum of $100 towards the purchase of the new Samsung tablet. That $100 comes in form of a $50 coupon toward your Galaxy Tab A purchase, and a $50 Best Buy gift card.

There is a long list of fine print here that you should be aware of. First, the trade-in value and viability of your old tablet will be determined by the individual stores, who are armed with the right to refuse your offering. eReaders do not qualify either. This is an in-store only deal that runs now through May 16th.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A Best Buy deal

This could be a great opportunity to trade up your older device, but may not be such a great deal if you have a newer tablet that actually qualifies for more than the minimum $100. For example, my working condition Nexus 7 (2012 16GB) with a few bumps and bruises on it is valued at just $2.40 for trade-in, making the $100 offering an absolute steal. On the flip side, they’ll only give us one-third of the purchase price of our brand new iPad Air 2, of course, that is still enough to get the Galaxy Tab A for ‘free.’ Check your gear here.

As a reminder, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes in two sizes, 8 and 9.7 inches, both with a 4:3 aspect ratio of 1024×768 resolution. The Galaxy Tab A packs a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of internal memory with microSD card expansion up to 128GB, a 5MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera and a 4,200mAh battery. The 9.7 inch Galaxy Tab A also features two speakers at the bottom, while the 8-inch model only has one. Best of all, they come loaded with the latest major release of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

As mentioned, you’ve got a couple weeks to make your decision on this deal, and a few days after that to actually purchase the Galaxy Tab A after you trade in. For more details, be sure to check out the Best Buy promo page, or head into a store to see how they are handling things.

Are you planning to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A?

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S6 edge!

Posted by wicked May - 2 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

Samsung required a much needed upheaval of their flagship Galaxy S line to better keep up with current trends in the smartphone world, and that is exactly what the company did. With a dramatic shift in build material and quality, significant changes in hardware, and a far improved software experience, Samsung has finally delivered what many were looking for in the Galaxy S6.

Of course, Samsung is known for pushing its boundaries, and this came in the form of the Galaxy S6 Edge, bringing forward a concept seen last year in the Galaxy Note Edge, and introducing it to the mainstream. With the release of two worthy flagship smartphones from the company, the obvious question that will be on your mind is with regards to which one is better suited to you. That is what we attempt to answer, as we take an in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S6 Edge!

Other awesome smartphones!

Design

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On the design front, there is basically just one differentiating factor between these two devices, namely the curves on either side of the screen in the case of the Galaxy S6 Edge. Both devices do retain the tried and true design language of previous Samsung devices though, complete with the same tactile home button up front and standard placements for the volume rocker and power button.

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The similarities continue on the back, as both devices sport a protruding camera module that is accompanied by a heart rate monitor. Both devices also have glass back panels, which eliminates the ability to remove the back cover and additional hardware features that they entailed. The Galaxy S6 is a tad taller and only a few grams heavier that the Edge variant, a difference that is largely negligible.

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When it comes to design, what makes the case for the Galaxy S6 Edge is indeed its slopes on the right and left portions of the screen, a significant difference that might have to felt to be believed. The inclusion of two edges started to make sense after holding the device. The fact that they come down to meet the palm allows for a side to side handling experience that is perhaps better than what you would get with the slab form factor of almost every other smartphone out there.

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Grip and accidentally turning on the display are mild concerns when it comes to the Edge variant. But when holding on to the phone, a very prominent lip is present in the metal frame that tilts down very slightly, and mainly sticks out from behind the screen. So with a good pinch, there aren’t a lot of problems with keeping the phone in check without triggering the screen accidentally. However, the same cannot be said when holding the phone in the landscape orientation, as I did find it a little tough to hold the device on the edges without some fidgeting.

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The width of the devices is pretty much the same, but with the screen coming down on either end, the Galaxy S6 Edge actually feels more narrow, and that makes a lot of difference. Aesthetically as well, the S6 Edge is the one that will definitely turn heads. While the original looks like a mashup of the Galaxy and Xperia lines due to its dual glass panels, the Edge version will be instantly recognizable to the tech-savvy, and given Samsung’s big marketing push, likely to the common consumer soon enough. If handling is a big deal to you, the S6 Edge offers an experience that has to be felt, and its uniqueness is something that will certainly stay with you.

Display

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The sentiments on the design side of things hold true when it comes to the display, with the curves of the Galaxy S6 adding to the overall viewing experience as well. First, on the specifications front, both devices offer nothing short of what you would expect from a Samsung flagship, with their 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screens featuring a Quad HD resolution, resulting in the super high pixel density of 577 ppi. Both displays are vivid, colorful, and sharp, and don’t miss a beat in work, play, or media consumption.

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What makes the Galaxy S6 Edge so compelling is the fact that its screen is essentially one entity, and doesn’t have a specific area sectioned off for the edge capabilities, as was the case with the Galaxy Note Edge. We will explore the features of the edge in the software section below, but worth a mention is that they only take up one side of the display, and further, only appear when specifically triggered. It does feel like Samsung has finally figured out that the edges aren’t made for supposedly game changing features, but rather to offer literally a new way of looking at a device.

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As such, elements of the Android 5.0 Lollipop Material Design are also given an auxiliary benefit, with a roll-in effect of various UI elements that may not always be noticed, but are certainly appreciated every time it is. As an example, watching media in the landscape orientation makes the heads up notifications look even better because of this effect. The edges don’t move any of the frame away from your viewpoint, and once again, are mostly there more for aesthetics and convenience, with a few features that for the most part, stay out of the way.

Performance

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Another big change with their latest flagships was Samsung’s decision to give the Snapdragons of the world a skip in favor of its in-house Exynos processor, something that looks to have worked to great effect. Under the hood, both phones pack the octa-core Exynos 7420 processor, backed by the Mali-T760 MP8 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. It is also worth mentioning that the built-in storage benefits from a UFS 2.0 flash memory construction that helps keep things super speedy and optimized, a case that has been made against expandable storage, that just won’t be able to keep with installed memory. It’s also packing LPDDR4 RAM, which represents a huge leap forward in memory performance for mobile devices

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Both these devices race through the elements of the dialed-back TouchWiz interface, with virtually every stutter and hiccup from the past now eliminated. The only real stutter that we’ve ever seen involves the Flipboard-powered Briefing screen, which has to refresh every time you swipe to it, slowing down an immediate return to the homescreens as a result.

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All other tasks are handled extremely well, even if you’re trying to perform them at the same time using Multi-Window or the S Window capabilities. Almost no problems were seen with gaming as well, though the phone does get quite warm, but not uncomfortably so, while running the more processor intensive applications. The edge screen panels don’t down the Galaxy S6 Edge either, so its speed doesn’t get hindered because of its slightly higher feature set. As such, performance is one aspect where things are very much a tie, and is a non-factor for anyone confused between these two devices.

Hardware

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The big story since the announcement of these devices has been the lack of replaceable batteries and expandable storage, that have been otherwise staple features of the Samsung line. These phones do pack more than most when it comes to hardware though, including a better implementation of the fingerprint scanner embedded into the home button, and the now vertical heart rate monitor that, in our testing, worked a little faster than previous editions found on Samsung devices.

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Connectivity with the LTE networks has been very steady on either device, and the quality of voice calls are as good as they’ve ever been. The sound coming from the speaker in its new position at the bottom gets adequately loud, no matter which iteration of the phone you get.

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Battery life on either device is pretty standard, despite the higher resolution displays. Of course, we come back again to the primary difference between the two smartphones, the edges. There are no real hardware capabilities that put the edge over the top in this regard, though the different form factor does mean different third party accessories.

Camera

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As you may have seen, or can check out below, in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge camera shootout, it has to be said the camera package Samsung has put out this year is definitely among the best. A rear-facing 16 MP camera with a f/1.9 aperture adds auto-HDR to a laundry list of capabilities, with the front-facing 5 MP unit sporting the same as well.

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The camera application comes with a variety of modes, including panorama and slow motion video capture at 120 fps, and can easily be activated by a double tap of the home button, which is one of the best felt enhancements with the latest Galaxy offerings.

Autoplay
When autoplay is enabled videos will start playing automatically, you can turn off autoplay by clicking checkbox.

Using these cameras in all but the lowest light in indoor situations yields some really great looking photos, and with an auto mode that performs extremely well, most of the guesswork is taken out of the smartphone photography experience. Extra features, and a manual Pro mode, are available to those who want it, but for the general user who just wants to capture memories, both of these devices are great companions to have.

To some extent, smartphone cameras were struggling to get to the point of replacing even typical point and shoot devices, but things are closer than they’ve ever been with the current crop of flagship smartphones, and the possibilities offered by the latest additions to the Galaxy S line are prime examples of that evolution.

Software

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As has been mentioned a few times already, the latest iteration of the TouchWiz software experience available with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge has been toned down considerably, to the pleasure of many. Not only has a lot of gimmicky aspects been put aside, but those that are still available aren’t very prominent in their presence. Even the pop-up tutorials about how to use the different features are largely absent, and turning off features like S Voice is very easy to do this time around. The user interface still features a pretty colorful aesthetic, but the available theme engine can be used to change the look to anything that better suits your tastes.  

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With the software experience also mostly the same between both devices, it’s better to take a look at what makes the Galaxy S6 Edge different, and what features and capabilities the edge panels offer. First, these panels and features don’t show up until triggered, which happens only from a standby position via a few swipes on the side that are pre-determined by the user.

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The night clock comes up, and then you can swipe from the bottom portion to see notifications, news tickers, and a number of other edge panels that can be installed from the Settings menu. Despite some usefulness to the news tickers, the scrolling generally focuses on one story at a time, and thus pales in comparison to using even the Briefing screen instead. It can also be a good way of looking at notifications quickly, but waking the phone up and seeing them on the lockscreen is arguably still faster.

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Finally, there is the People Edge, which houses five of your favorite contacts with specific colors assigned to them for easy access to calls and messages. While its functionality as a speed dial was great, the main gripe I had with it was the messages required the use of the native messaging app, instead of something else that you may already be comfortable with using, such as Hangouts. While the phone is upside down, the color assigned to the contact will glow on the side to let you know exactly who is calling in a very interesting way. That said, there aren’t a lot of situations where you will have your phone screen placed down on a table, and it honestly does look like the underside of an import tuner car.

Autoplay
When autoplay is enabled videos will start playing automatically, you can turn off autoplay by clicking checkbox.

Overall, the main takeaway from the software side of things is how much better the Samsung TouchWiz UI has gotten, helped by how optimized it is with the company’s own processing packages. The edge features are there for those who specifically need them, but all said and done, there might not be a whole lot of people who do.

Gallery

Pricing and Final Thoughts

When it comes to comparing the price points is when you realize that wanting the sloped edges requires a premium over the already not particularly cheap Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 Edge costs about $150 more overall for the unlocked version, and will result in higher monthly payments on various network carriers. For example, The S6 Edge will cost $10 per month on the Simple Choice monthly plan from T-Mobile.

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 So there you have it – a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Galaxy S6 Edge! Both of these phones show that Samsung has jumped forward in the flagship game. The Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge will be the phones to beat this year, with their speed and stellar camera experience setting the bar very high for the competition. When it comes to picking one over the other though, it is really a matter of aesthetics and handling, both of which benefits that are actually felt. All things considered, the question that you have to answer is whether you are willing to pay even more for a phone that basically just looks and feels different, without bringing a whole lot else to the table. The Galaxy S6 Edge will certainly turn heads and revel in its uniqueness, and is personally the one I would pick. The great news is that you do have the option of having largely the same experience at a lower price point with the Galaxy S6.

Check out these awesome videos!

Living on the Edge: my week with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Posted by wicked May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

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Aerosmith references aside, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a rockstar. I haven’t gotten this much attention sporting a phone since I bought the Samsung Galaxy S II when it first hit the streets and all the iPhone wielders with their tiny screens stopped and stared at my smartphone’s majesty.

Unfortunately, like a rockstar, there’s a lot of glamour and glitz on the outside, but does it add value over the basic Galaxy S6?

In this review of the Galaxy S6 Edge, I’ll be walking you through the device and giving my thoughts on various things. And if you’re curious about the non-edged Galaxy S6, check out Rob’s review of it by clicking here. He goes into some fantastic detail about things I won’t cover, like the camera, processor, and overall software because the two devices are the same in that regard. For this review, I will be concentrating on the Edge display, the software regarding the Edge display, and the battery life.

Display and the Edge

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Of course this would be the first item of business! We’ve seen curved displays in the past, like the LG G Flex and the Galaxy Note Edge, but the Galaxy S6 Edge is, without a doubt, the first real mainstream device featuring a curved display.

The display features a 5.1-inch dual-edge, QHD (2560 x 1440) display with 577ppi. And it’s Super AMOLED, my favorite! All of those fancy terms really just mean that this display will knock your socks off. And it will, so I suggest that you sit down and have your feet pointed in a safe direction for when you first power up your device and start using it.

One of the first things you’ll notice on the TouchWiz home launcher (the “launcher” being your first and only user interface that you have when you get the device) is that there’s a parallax effect on the wallpaper. That should be comforting to everyone coming from the iPhone. So tilt that phone around and see the ever-so-slight movement!

Secondly, the Edge. You immediately want to play with it and figure out all of the neat little things it can do. Unfortunately, because this device just came out and third-party app developers are only just now beginning to work on it, there’s not much it can do. In the upper-right edge of the screen, you’ll notice a grey, vertical bar. Swipe out with that and you can see your favorite contacts (up to five can be placed on this bar). Note the position and color because when you get a missed call/text/email from these contacts, a new color-coded vertical bar will appear on the edge of the display at the position that that particular contact was at. And it wouldn’t be Android if you couldn’t customize it, so check in your Settings menu for the Edge category, where you can change the contacts, their position, color, as well as other goodies like a scrolling RSS feed for when your screen is off.

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Again, let me reiterate, the Edge’s edges will get better as developers begin working on apps taking advantage of this display. Could Samsung have gotten some more features ready before launch? Absolutely, and it’s for this same reason that the new TouchWiz Themes are pretty lackluster.

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Which brings us to TouchWiz Themes, or lack thereof. If you go to Settings, you’ll notice that at the very top right of your Quick Settings menu, you’ll have an Edit button. If Themes isn’t already present in Quick Settings, feel free to add it there by going into the Edit options. Once there, you’ll see a couple of themes already downloaded onto your phone and you’ll see the button you can press in order to be taken to the Themes Store. If you’re a 12 year old girl, you’ll love all of the themes already present there for downloading. If you’re a grown man, prepare for disappointment.

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If you activate a theme, you’ll notice that it only really changes the color aesthetics of TouchWiz along with Samsung’s default apps (like the Dialer and Messages apps). But if you’re not a big fan of that robin’s-egg blue that is now the TouchWiz default color, this is enough of a blessing.

Chassis and Cases

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Without a doubt, Samsung’s “Project Zero” smartphone is gorgeous. It’s also extremely slippery, at least for me. Rob noted the same issue in his Galaxy S6 review, and the Edge version might be even more slippery since there isn’t as much to hold onto at the sides. I work at a hospital and the constant hand-washing I do there has taken its toll on my pads’ ability to create a lot of friction. I might not leave as many fingerprints, but it also makes this phone want to fly out of my hand. You need to get a case, but if you’re like me, you need to get a case immediately.

While still in the T-Mobile store when I was purchasing the device, I almost dropped it several times. The employees looked at me with fear and asked, “What’s wrong with you, why can’t you hold this thing?”

With tears in my eyes, I looked up at them and lamented, “I don’t know! Help me!” Unfortunately, they were fresh out of cases, so I had to overnight one to my house from Amazon because I took that puppy straight home and kept it flat on the desk until it arrived.

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It’s a beautiful phone, but it now takes up permanent residence in a Spigen Neo Hybrid case. Unfortunately, and you might have guessed this from the start, there’s not much these cases can do to offer protection for the edge displays. So when you’re shopping for a case, keep that in mind, which is why I only bought a minimal case to serve as a way for me to get a better grip on my phone because there’s just not much a case is going to do if dropped on either of those edges. On that note, there’s not much on the market just yet for full screen protectors. Living on the edge indeed.

One of the things I also immediately noticed before I got my case is that this sucker gets hot. Like really, really hot. The metal sides of the case will let you know when it’s time to take a break from your phone. The overheating happens really quickly too and it’s not just related to playing games for long stretches of time. I don’t know if that’s just my device or if others are reporting on this issue as well, but it’s there. Again, a case is a good solution as it let’s you hold your device without burning your fingers.

As far as buttons and ports go, it’s exactly the same as the Galaxy S6, except the SIM slot has been moved from the right side to the top of the device.

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Battery

There’s no two ways about it, the battery is average at best. The Edge actually has a slightly, and I mean slightly larger battery than the Galaxy S6 (2600 mAh vs 2550 mAh), and you won’t notice too much of a difference. For all of those Samsung promotion videos making fun of iPhone users, calling them “wall-huggers”, the S6 Edge is no better.

The cause for the battery drain is straight-up weird, though. I had an interesting situation in that my results were far worse than anyone has reported. I am talking 6 to 8 hours at best. For whatever reason, Cell Standby was a big culprit (see screenshots below), but after a factory reset, things normalized.

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Now after the factory reset, I am getting about 12 to 14 hours and that is with moderate use and an Android Wear watch connected full time. Much better than the 6 to 8 hours I was getting, but far from a work horse.

So, what can you do about it? Nothing much other than take advantage of Samsung’s Quick Charging capabilities. The phone does charge incredibly fast with that, but it still stinks that I have to utilize that as often as I do. Wireless charging is also nice, but it takes a lot longer. I find that it’s useful if you have a bunch of them laying around so you’re constantly charging.

Smart Manager

This is the first Samsung app that I actual really covet. Simply put, it addresses a lot of concerns people have had about device storage. Even though most everything we do know has a cloud option, basically eliminating the need to store files on our smartphones’ local storage, people are still nervous about the new Galaxy phones not having the expandable storage ability.

If you’re a Windows user, you’re probably familiar with the process of scrubbing your hard drive and getting rid of a lot of crappy temporary files that are just soaking up space. Smart Manager will let you do the same thing, freeing up precious megabytes and even gigabytes worth of space.

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This is also the app you’ll go to if you’re wanting to see battery and RAM stats, as well as enabling or disabling some functions of Samsung’s KNOX security.

To find this app, simply go to your app drawer. And when you’re in Settings, a few of those options will actually just link straight back to this Smart Manager app.

TouchWiz

I know a lot of people who weren’t TouchWiz fans are now okay with it after spending time with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, but not me. It’s not so much the interface, it’s more about the performance. Although one of the fastest phones I have used, I did find it to lag at times. This is before and after my factory reset. Rob’s review unit is experiencing this as well, but the base Galaxy S6 didn’t have this issue. We’re not sure what the reason could be since there really isn’t a lot of extra software for the Edge display.

And it’s not just the S6 Edge. Even my Samsung Galaxy Tab S is laggy as well, and it’s sporting the best tablet hardware specs on the market.

Odds & Ends

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The fingerprint scanner is much improved over the ones used by Samsung last year. It’s still laggy and I have to try several times to get it to work, but it’s better than last year by far, and I wouldn’t say that it’s worse than the iPhone’s. I’ve seen quite a few iPhone users constantly attempting to unlock their phone with their fingerprint just to give up and move on to the secondary password. I’ve yet to have to do this with the S6 Edge.

No Samsung Pay yet. I’ve set up my fingerprint to be used with PayPal, but I haven’t used PayPal since getting the phone, so that’s not really being utilized at all. I still use Google Wallet a lot, so it’d be nice if I could use my fingerprint on that instead of my PIN, but the PIN is probably faster anyway so I imagine I’d get tired of the fingerprint novelty and go back to punching in my PIN.

Worth It?

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The exterior of the device is breathtaking, the SAMOLED display is beyond words, and I have a lot of confidence that once developers start releasing apps taking advantage of the screen’s edges, the feature could blossom. But it just doesn’t seem worth the extra $100 for just the appearance of the device.

The Galaxy S6 Edge is definitely a niche and a proof of concept if you will. I am sure it will evolve over the years, and who knows, maybe eventually the Galaxy S phone will only have the Edge option as it could be a standard. But right now, it’s for the person who has to have something different and unique. The average Joe will be more than happy with the basic Galaxy S6.

 

 

Come comment on this article: Living on the Edge: my week with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Brand Loyalty: OEMs Giveth and Then Taketh Away

Posted by wicked May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Brand Loyalty

The majority of users here at XDA will feel fierce brand loyalty for a company, whether it is Android itself, their phone’s OEM or something else entirely. It’s a topic that is shown constantly in the great “which is better” debates and whilst we may give it willingly in return for a quality product, many companies see much higher levels than others.

 

Be Together Not The Same

One of the many perks we have as Android users is the kinship between users regardless of make and model of the device. Whilst manufacturers may differ, the vast majority of us will share a loyalty towards OS if not perhaps a ROM. That in itself is cause for celebration and gives us the freedom to form communities such as ours where we can truly demonstrate Android’s motto of “Be Together Not The Same“. Google has achieved brand loyalty in many of us, simply by giving us a sturdy and customizable platform from which to work upon. A strategy that proved to be so successful that you are reading this in a community of 6.4 million users, the majority of whom will use Android and show some form of loyalty towards the software. It is a lesson that should be taken by other mobile operating systems if they hope to one day achieve the same.

It is a commonly known fact that some Android users feel such a strong loyalty to the OS and the latest updates that their passion has manifested in cult like levels of admiration. It doesn’t take long for a conversation regarding Material Design to turn to Mathias Duarte who has been deified by many users. Very few non-CEO/founders working within technology achieve this level of respect.

Samsung

Samsung has seen its fair share of loyalty as a result of numerous factors. They have consistently provided the best hardware with a familiar style which has made them the largest Android Smartphone manufacturer. From this lofty height, it is inevitable that they see significant fandom, however many users use these dependent on location for either prestige and notoriety or for convenience.  They are used by many as a status symbol and would be regardless of features.  It has been noticed that a feeling of interaction is an integral part of gaining loyalty and whilst many companies aim to perfect this level of intimacy with their customers, it is rarely seen with Samsung. It is possible that they feel they have outgrown the need to interact with their customers on a personal level.

Xiaomi

In a complete reversal and whilst possibly remaining one of the least favored tech giants on XDA (for obvious reasons), Xiaomi’s loyalists Mi droidare some of the greatest in the world. Calling themselves ‘Mi Fen’ which while being short for Xiaomi Fan also translates to “Rice Flour” a clever play on Xiaomi’s name which translates to Little Rice (小米). This is all based upon consumer engagement which the Chinese company has mastered. Xiaomi’s global director of marketing was even quoted as saying  “For other companies, I think when it comes to anniversaries it’s usually about the company itself. For Xiaomi, it’s about our Mi fans. We want to please them with new products, more offerings…”  This form of marketing clearly shows an increased level of brand loyalty. They have frequent events, and more paraphernalia than you could possibly ever buy in the form of adorable plush toys, t-shirts and bags etc. These not only allow users to show their ‘allegiance’ but also increases public visibility. With the events they hold such as free annual mobile checkups from their engineers and week-long anniversaries, it is not hard to see how they have such a cult following.

Motorola

Like many things, brand loyalty is very much geographically based. What works for the aforementioned Chinese company may not work for a company with a long history in the US. In fact, many carriers in the UK (where I am based) do not offer any phones from Motorola at all. However, head over to countries like Brazil and you’ll find the Moto G is the best-selling smartphone, which is an impressive statement when you realize that Brazil is the fourth largest smartphone market in the world. It is this that has helped Motorola’s market share grow 118% over the last year. The incredible levels of loyalty shown in countries such as Brazil are due to numerous factors including the offer of a well-rounded low end smartphone with a great price. Couple this with a series of heartwarming stories  about use of the devices in everyday life and the buzz of the Nexus 6 and you have a company with a solid basis for fan backing.

Honor

It does appear that smaller brands spend more time on working with their fans. Honor has been seen attending Android conferences andHonor Meet and Greet fan gatherings, but also holding their own casual meet and greet events quite often. These are not just for the areas with most fans but also for the places less visited. At a recent event in Birmingham, England (an area not known for its Honor fan base) the Sales and Marketing Manager for Honor UK took a few minutes of his time to ensure he could speak to anyone who wanted to ask a question or try out a device from the full line up they had on display. Including one device which was secured inside a locked case that covered all but the display. That is not too say that larger populations are ignored however, in fact a meet and greet was also held in the Sky Bar next to the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in London this week. It is this type of dedication that drives loyalty.

 

My Journey With Loyalty

My own journey with brand loyalty begins with Google, as I use many of their services and have done so since school. Drive, Inbox, Chrome OS and Android are amongst their products I use on a daily basis. The services I have used have expanded greatly since my childhood, as back then all of the above did not exist. However, I still felt grateful for the products of theirs I did use and as chance would have it in October of 2008 I decided I need a new phone. I had seen and settled on the sidekick series, the design greatly appealed to me and so that was to be my next device. A few days before going to make my purchase I started seeing news that Google was bringing out a mobile operating system. The first device to feature it was available on my carrier and the design was not too dissimilar from that seen with the sidekick series. I was brand loyaltysold, and on launch day, I bought my T-Mobile G1 (also know as the HTC Dream to some parts of the world). At the time, it was everything I wanted and as a result my loyalty to Google and HTC was secure. After this amazing device I doubted I would ever stray from either of their products again. I was half right. Whenever the eternal OEM debate came up, out came the phone and I would happily argue that HTC was by far superior to anything else people could show me. Two years later I was due an upgrade and HTC was releasing the Desire HD; the G1 had been such a brilliant device that I gave it very little thought. Again on release day I went into a store and left the proud owner of a new device. Days later I knew my journey with HTC was over, as the phone was plagued with issues. Due to a fault with the proximity sensor, every time I lifted the phone to my ear to make a call the phone would lock, until you performed a battery pull. The issue was widespread and replacement devices I received had the same issues. The loyalty that I had so proudly flaunted was gone and with two years left on my contract I began a new journey to find a manufacturer who could fill the void left behind. A year after this event, the Galaxy Note was released and having heard many good things about Samsung, I kept an eye on its progress until my contract ended. Having used a variety of cheap phones in the mean time, I once again returned to my store of choice on release day to pick up a Note 2. The phone was everything I had ever wanted from a device: it took all the abuse I could throw at it, had an excellent developer backing and was perfectly sized. The device was so good that when my contract ended and I was given the choice to upgrade, I instead opted to change to a SIM only 30 day contract. Whilst subsequent devices from Samsung have never caught my attention quite like the Note 2 did, I do not intend to end my journey with it for some time and it is still one of the two devices that travel with me everywhere I go. My other device that many of you saw in our recent feature The Devices Behind XDA is a Xiaomi Mi Note and whilst the device itself is exceptional, I will never feel any form of loyalty to the company behind it for obvious reasons.

At the moment, it could very well be said that I no longer feel loyalty to any OEM. I have learned from my past mistakes and it has left me more open to suggestions when it comes to manufacturers. I hope that I will never again judge a device based on the company or devices they have produced.

Do you feel loyalty towards your OEM? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!

The post Brand Loyalty: OEMs Giveth and Then Taketh Away appeared first on xda-developers.

Note 3 LTE’s in Poland now receiving Lollipop update

Posted by wicked May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

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Samsung is finally rolling out the long-awaited Android 5.0 update to all LTE variants of the Galaxy Note 3 located in Poland. As far as added functionality goes, this upgrade transports the latest build of Lollipop to the handset, in addition to a multitude of bug fixes and stability improvements.

Hit the break for the full changelog.

  • Material Design: You will quickly notice a whole new colorful look and feel to your device – from fluid animations to new application and system themes, colors and widgets.
  • Notifications UI & Priorities: In order to alert you to the mosttimely and relevant information, the format and behavior of notifications have evolved:
    • notifications will appear on the lock screen and are intelligently ranked by type and who sent them.
    • you double-tap to open one, swipe left or right to clear one, or clear all notifications from the bottom of the list.
    • you can set the priority and privacy of notifications for each application.
    • very high priority notifications will pop up briefly over other applications so that you can take action.
    • when you dismiss a notification on one device it will be dismissed on your other Android devices, if they are connected to the Internet.
    • you can further tailor how notifications behave with the new Downtime and Ambient Display settings (see below).
  • New Interruptions & Downtime Settings: You can tailor how interruptions behave, choosing to allow all, none, or only priority interruptions.  You can personalize what counts as a priority interruption (reminders, events, calls, messages) and even tailor them to be from only contacts you specify.  The Downtime setting will allow only priority interruptions during the times and days that you specify.  e.g. allow only priority interruptions on the weekend.
  • Recent Apps (Multi-tasking): The redesigned Overview space (formerly called Recents) will include both applications and separate activities within those applications.  For instance, each open tab in Chrome will also appear here along with recent applications; both your Gmail Inbox and a draft email message will appear as separate cards.  This provides a consistent way to switch amongst tasks.
  • Flashlight: Lollipop includes a new flashlight option as part of Quick settings (swipe down with two fingers from the status bar to see it).
  • Pin a view/app: Screen pinning allows you to keep a specific app or screen in view. For example, you can ‘pin’ a game and your child will not be able to navigate anywhere else on your phone.
  • Battery: The Battery settings panel now shows an estimated projection for how much time you have left while discharging or charging.  You can also enable a new battery saver mode that will save power by reducing performance and most background data operations to extend your battery life.
  • Smarter Internet Connections: With Android Lollipop, your phone will not connect to a Wi-Fi access point unless there is a verified Internet connection. This feature improves hand-offs between Wi-Fi and cellular connections, helping to maintain your video chat or voice-over-IP (VoIP) call as you switch.
  • Performance: Your phone now uses the new Android Runtime to help optimize application performance.  After upgrading to Lollipop, your applications will undergo a one-time optimization process.  Note that the optimization for ART requires more space.
  • Security: Encryption can now use a stronger 256-bit key to help protect your data.  Note that the stronger key willonly be used after you perform a factory reset on Android Lollipop.  Otherwise encryption will continue to use 128-bit key.  You can turn on encryption in the Security settings menu.

As is customary with all manufacturer updates, the upgrade is being rolled out in stages, but if you don’t feel like waiting for a notification confirming that it’s ready for your device, you can search for the update manually.

Come comment on this article: Note 3 LTE’s in Poland now receiving Lollipop update

New video details Samsung Galaxy S6 edge production

Posted by wicked May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

There’s little denying that the Samsung Galaxy S6 is one of the most stunning phones Samsung has ever built, from a design perspective at the very least. This is even more so with the case of the GS6 edge, which offers a dual-edge design that is like nothing else currently on the market.

Even though the S6 Edge is already selling briskly and Samsung is having trouble keeping up with the demand, Samsung is still doing its part to keep the hype up that’s surrounding the latest and greatest from the Korean giant. In a new advert, Samsung showcases the Edge and talks about all the work and materials that go into the design of the GS6 Edge. The technical details here are actually somewhat lacking, but it’s still a nice video that gets the point across. We do learn that Samsung bends the Gorilla Glass on the front at 800°C and that they utilize aerospace grade aluminum for the frame but that’s about as far as it goes.

Related videos

What do you think of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge? Worth the premium over its more ‘standard’ brother, the Galaxy S6? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

New video from Samsung highlights manufacturing of the Galaxy S6 edge

Posted by wicked May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

samsung_galaxy_s6_edge_designing_possible_video

Samsung has released a new video showing some of the manufacturing steps used to produce the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. Samsung notes that production of the device required some engineering firsts, like adding the curve to the Gorilla Glass. Samsung notes that the industry’s hardest glass had to be heated up to 800 degrees Celsius in order to be curved for use on the device. Meanwhile, the “aerospace-grade” aluminum is carved with diamond encrusted tools and the texture of the device is applied using microscopic ceramic grains. Samsung also notes the colors used on the Galaxy S6 edge each have their own custom reflection pattern.

Hit the break to check out the short promo video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: New video from Samsung highlights manufacturing of the Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Details Design and Manufacturing of Galaxy S6 Edge in Latest Video

Posted by Tim-o-tato May - 1 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

The design of the Galaxy S6 Edge from Samsung, you either love it or hate it. Personally, I dig it, and in the latest video from Samsung on their YouTube channel, the OEM goes over the work it took to make such a fancy smartphone. 

The details in the video are not very informative, but we do learn about the materials used and manipulated to create the unique look of the device. For instance, Samsung states that they curve the Gorilla Glass used on the frontside at 800°C, as well as utilize aerospace-grade aluminum for the siding. It’s fancy.

Do we have any S6 Edge owners here? How are you liking your phone?

Samsung Details Design and Manufacturing of Galaxy S6 Edge in Latest Video is a post from: Droid Life

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