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Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Posted by wicked November - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

The Nexus 6 is Google’s first foray into the large smartphone space that has been dominated by Samsung. The Galaxy Note series, on the other hand, has grown from a niche product, to what many might consider Samsung’s true flagship with its latest offering, the Galaxy Note 4. While a comparison between the latest and greatest from both those companies are always interesting, this is the first time that things are on a more even playing field, and we are certainly excited to pit them against each other. Here is an in-depth look at the Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4!

Best Smartphones 2014Editor’s Note - If you haven’t had a chance to see our thorough videos and comprehensive written reviews, see them here! Both were awarded our Editor’s Choice for a good reason!

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Nexus 6 Review

Design

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Before diving into specific aspects of the design language, the obviously noticeable similarity between both devices is the size. While this is something we expect from Samsung and the Note series, the significant jump can take a little getting used to for all the Nexus fans out there. The size isn’t the only similar factor, but overall, the more rigid lines of the Galaxy Note 4 go up against the curved design language of the Motorola-manufactured Nexus 6.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 features a new metallic frame, a design element that was first introduced with the Galaxy Alpha, that holds together the 2.5D curved glass up front and the removable back cover, that is once again made from a textured plastic. Samsung’s signature button layout returns, with a physical home button, flanked by capacitive back and recent apps keys, found below the display, along with the volume rocker and power button on the sides. As always, you’ll find the S-Pen tucked away into a slot at the bottom right, easily accessible for when you may need it.

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The Nexus 6 also comes with a metal frame and the 2.5D glass up front, with a back cover made from a hard plastic material and with a noticeable curve to it. With its slightly larger display, the Nexus 6 is a little bigger than the Galaxy Note 4 all around, completely encompassing the latter when placed on top of it. Two front-facing speaker grills are found above and below the 5.96-inch display of the Nexus 6.

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Size is certainly a contributing factor to the handling experience, but the choice of build materials and design language play a big role as well. The flat sides and the textured back cover of the Galaxy Note 4 help keep the grip pretty secure, while with the Nexus 6, the hard plastic back and the curved sides make for a somewhat slippery experience, which is never a good thing, especially with a device of this size. If you’re moving to either of these devices from a much smaller one, it will take some time to get used to, but the learning curve will likely be steeper with the Google flagship.

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Aesthetically, there’s not much to complain about with either smartphone. While the design language remains similar to previous flagships, the new material choices used with the Galaxy Note 4 add a certain amount of flair to the device. On the other hand, Google has banked on Motorola’s tried and test design from their own flagship, the Moto X (2014), only in a larger form factor, making for one of the best-designed Nexus devices yet.

Display

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Quad HD is the weapon of choice in the current display spec war, and while there might not be a notable difference from 1080p, we certainly aren’t complaining about the change. Both displays also come with AMOLED technology, with Samsung once again employing their tried and true Super AMOLED displays, to bring the high saturation and contrast you may come to expect from Samsung flagships. AMOLED is utilized by the Nexus 6 in a similar fashion, as its colors have some of that saturation and very comparable sharpness, though its main advantage is the activation of only a pixels for the Ambient Display.

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Either screen allows for a fantastic viewing experience, with the Nexus 6 losing a little fidelity only at the sharpest of viewing angles. Though the display of the Nexus 6 is slightly larger, the overall media and gaming experience is largely the same, and basically amazing, on both. It is worth noting that if the high saturation of the Galaxy Note 4 display isn’t your thing, you do have the ability to adjust the color profile to your liking, something not possible with the Nexus 6, which also likely won’t require it.

Bottom line, both displays represent the pinnacle of current display technology, and you cant go wrong with either choice.

Performance

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With both smartphones featuring identical processing packages with the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, clocked at 2.7 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 420 GPU and 3 GB of RAM, performance essentially comes down to their respective software implementations. As the best processor currently available, everything runs as smoothly as you’d expect. Which is to say, incredibly smooth. 

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With the Galaxy Note 4, you get the more colorful and brighter TouchWiz, with its slew of multitasking capabilities that lets you get a lot done, sometimes all at once. On the other hand, Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Nexus 6 brings its own set of flowing animations and transitions, that will be very pleasing to the Android purist. Either way, the performance of both devices has everything to do with which software experience you prefer, as things remain the same with regards to the processing package.

Hardware

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It’s in hardware that some real separation starts to show between the two devices. Apart from the usual suspects of a replaceable vs non-removable battery, and the lack of microSD expansion with the Nexus 6, the more significant difference lies in the inclusion of the S-Pen stylus with the Galaxy Note 4.

When removed from its slot, the S-Pen opens up the Air Command menu with its various options, including using S-Note for recording notes in a variety of ways, clip out a part of the screen that you want to save, to just write some text down for contextual actions. Even if you don’t use the S-Pen much normally, the click and drag enhancement introduced with the Galaxy Note 4 is actually one of the most compelling reasons to start.

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As mentioned, the Nexus 6 keeps things pretty bare bones with regards to additional hardware. What it does excel in is the audio experience, with the dual front-facing speakers doing a much finer job than the rear-facing speaker of its Samsung competitor.

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When it comes to the battery though, it is difficult to recommend the Nexus 6 over the Galaxy Note 4, as the standby power consumption of the former isn’t nearly as frugal as the latter. Both devices are capable of offering close to 5 hours of screen-on time, but I haven’t been able to get close to two full days of use with the Nexus 6. Despite the better longevity of the Galaxy Note 4 battery, the good news is that both benefit from fast charging capabilities.

Camera

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When it comes to the camera, the big story is of course the improvement in the Nexus 6 camera experience, making it the best Nexus camera around. That said, Samsung’s camera prowess is well known, and the Galaxy Note 4 features one of the best in the business.

Read & WatchNexus 6 Camera Shootout!

Starting with the Nexus 6, its 13 MP rear shooter now provides better colors, very decent detail, along with the simplicity of the  camera application that helps make shooting very easy. HDR+ is a good performer here, doing the job properly in brightening shadows, darkening highlights, and providing the compelling image it should. Panorama and Photo Sphere aren’t very commonly used, but are available here, along with 4K video recording capabilities.

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As you’d expect from a Samsung device, the camera application of the Galaxy Note 4 is packed with features, resulting in quite a daunting list of toggles when you enter the Settings menu. HDR is available here as well, even if it doesn’t offer as profound an effect as you get with the Nexus 6. General photo quality is still fantastic, and the higher saturation levels during processing will please the general user. The 16 MP shooter also captures plenty of detail. Video recording also benefits from the coloration.

As expected, the quality tapers off as lighting conditions worsen, but optical image stabilization, that is available with both smartphones, does help a bit in this regard. Despite the higher saturation levels of the pictures taken with the Galaxy Note 4, people will still have a more reliable time with the Samsung camera. The Nexus 6 misses the mark a bit more, but it cannot be emphasized enough how much of an improvement this is for the Nexus line.

Software

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Finally, when it comes to software, we return to the age old debate of stock Android vs TouchWiz. Though the Galaxy Note 4 will be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop quite soon, the comparison still works for now, as TouchWiz adds so much to the stock experience that is found on the Nexus 6.

A dedicated homescreen experience is available with both devices. It should come as no surprise though that Google Now is a much better alternative to the highly curated, non-customizable, full screen widget for Flipboard on the Galaxy Note 4. That said, Touchwiz has gone through a number of changes recently, bringing a more refined design and better access to multitasking abilities.

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The Recent Apps screen is one of the main areas of change, where a multi-window button has been added to easily create the dual application setup. Floating windows have been added to the mix, and the ability to seamlessly switch between all these modes further helps those looking to get many tasks done. For example, when in an app, dragging from a top corner will shrink it down to a floating window, which includes buttons to expand it again or create a minimized icon for later use.

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WatchGalaxy Note 4 Multitasking

Multitasking is definitely a big reason to pick the Galaxy Note 4, as the Recent Apps screen is still the main way that users perform tasks in stock Android. Though this screen has been enhanced to include Chrome tabs in its stacked card design, the list can get quite enormous, and switching between apps, though still quick and easy, just doesn’t hold a candle to the ability to use two or more at once. What stock Android 5.0 Lollipop brings to the table is an overhauled version of Android, providing an attractive, flat design. The animations and transitions make for a very seamless feel, and for any Android purist, this is simply the best that the interface has ever been.

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It ultimately comes down to how many features you think you will need. In stock Android, the Recent Apps screen might be overwhelming, but so is navigating through the numerous multitasking options available with the Galaxy Note 4. If you need to do many things at once, the Samsung flagship is the device for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more minimalistic approach, stock Android 5.0 Lollipop is one of the smoothest, and most beautiful, iterations of Android yet.

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Pricing and Final Thoughts

What has been a little disconcerting to users wanting the Nexus 6 is how much more expensive it is from previous Nexus releases, which does make sense when you factor in how much Google and Motorola have packed into this powerful device. After all, the Galaxy Note 4, priced at over $700, is still more expensive, even if the Nexus device isn’t far off with its price point of $649. Both of these smartphones are available from various network carriers in the US under subsidies and payment plans, however, so the entry points actually aren’t far from one another.

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There you have it – a closer look at the Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4! Both of these devices have received our Editor’s Choice Award, and deservedly so, with both offering the best their respective lines have to offer. When pitting one against the other however, the choice isn’t as simple. Fundamentally, both devices provide power in large form factors, capable of making everything underneath run smoothly, and what it comes down to is how you want to perform general tasks.

The Galaxy Note 4 tries very hard to be everything to the user, providing multitasking abilities atop a one of a kind stylus experience. You can certainly do all of your tasks on the Nexus 6, but its methods are vastly different, despite getting the all around upgrade that any Android purist will enjoy. Unless you don’t want a big phone, you’re looking at the two phones that arguably offer the most, for the most people. In either case, you’ll get a powerful, highly capable phone that won’t disappoint. Let us know which one reigns supreme in your book below!

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime for Boost Mobile slides through the FCC

Posted by wicked November - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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A new device from Samsung arrived at the FCC within the last twenty-four hours, showing it is destined for Boost Mobile. The model number for the device is SM-G360P. This is expected to be United States version of the Galaxy Core Prime.

The specifications for the Galaxy Core Prime are on the low-end. The price stays low to remain an entry-level handset for customers. The device has a 4.5-inch display (800×480 resolution), Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB of RAM, 5MP / 2MP cameras, 8GB of internal storage with a microSD card slat, and 2000mAh battery. Right out of the box is Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

Source: FCC
Via: Phone Arena

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Samsung possibly facing trademark infringement from Milk Studios

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

samsung_milk_music_app_icon

The music and video streaming applications from Samsung are called Milk Music and Milk Video, respectively. The somewhat strange names, though, are not as unique as one would think. Multimedia company Milk Studios has filed a lawsuit against Samsung regarding trademark infringement. The complaint specifically goes after the music streaming service, claiming that Samsung did indeed know of Milk Studios’ existence.

Hit the break for more.

Things get very interesting when you take a look at Samsung’s history with Milk Studios, according to The Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit says Milk Music was developed after Samsung partnered with Milk Studios on more than 18 occasions since 2006, including photo shoots at the studio as late as September 2014. The partnerships provided Samsung with “personal knowledge” of the Milk brand, Milk Studios said in the suit. Milk Studios, for example, was the venue for the launch of the Samsung Infuse 4G mobile telephone in 2011, and for Samsung’s new appliance offerings in 2012, the lawsuit said.

In March, when Milk Music was launched, Milk Studios requested that Samsung refrain from using the Milk trademark. The company opted to continue using the trademark and told Milk Studios in August that it would move forward. As expected, Milk Studios claims the alleged trademark infringement has caused “immediate and irreparable harm” as some have mistakenly assumed it is involved directly with Samsung.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Come comment on this article: Samsung possibly facing trademark infringement from Milk Studios

Samsung’s ChatOn messaging service being phased out

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

ChatOnIf you’ve owned a recent Samsung device, you’ve probably seen their instant messaging client ChatOn somewhere on the device. ChatOn was Samsung’s in-house competition to apps like WhatsApp that came preloaded on nearly every Samsung smartphone.

Unfortunately, it turns out that just being preloaded on devices wasn’t enough to strike up users, and Samsung has announced that they’ll be gradually turning off the service around the world. Since profits have been constantly declining this year, Samsung’s management is looking to focus on successful key areas of their business while chopping off the services that aren’t doing well. Samsung’s music and video hub closed earlier this year, and now you can throw ChatOn to that pile.

The bright side to this situation is that Samsung will probably replace ChatOn with some other more efficient service. After their music and video hubs were closed, they were replaced by Milk Music and now Milk Video. While there’s nothing official coming to fill ChatOn’s shoes, it wouldn’t surprise me to see something else similar make its way onto the Galaxy S 6 next year.

source: The Verge

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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard star in Samsung’s new “Home for the Holidays” commercial

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As we all start gearing up for the holidays, Samsung is getting into the spirit too. In their new holiday ad, Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard are getting ready for Christmas with all of their Samsung devices in tow.

We start out by seeing the Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung’s newest phablet with a curved display. The Gear S is present too, the Tizen-running standalone smartwatch. They do a pretty good job of showing off voice calling on the Gear S, and video calling on the Galaxy Tab S throughout the entire video. The Galaxy S5 makes it into the video as they show off the IR blaster to turn on a huge curved television.

With all Samsung products aside, this is a really great commercial. It’s funny and shows off the products really well, which is exactly what they were going for. It’s one of the better commercials we’ve ever seen come from the company, and it doesn’t hurt that they are masters at getting celebrities on-board.

Interested in checking out any of the products shown off in this video? We’ve reviewed all of them! Well, all of the Android-running ones at least. Here are our Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy Note Edge reviews! How are you liking the newest commercial to come from Samsung?

Galaxy A5 is on sale in China: $420 for mid-range metal

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy A5 Group Selfie

Plastic parts create broken hearts. This adage is held dear by many Samsung haters. Regardless of what one might feel, there has been a growing acceptance that the Galaxy series is in need of a metallic makeover. While the Alpha, Note 4, and Note Edge all made use of a metallic frame, the back cover was still removable plastic. Last month Samsung unveiled the Galaxy A series: the A3 and A5, both sporting a full metal frame sans removable back cover.

The A5 has now launched in China, and it costs quite a pretty penny, retailing for 2,599 CNY, which roughly converts to $420. That said, Asian prices are typically higher than the US prices of the same devices, so a direct currency conversion may not paint a fully accurate picture.

All things considered, the A5 isn’t exactly the most powerful piece of product for its portly price. With a 5-inch 720p SAMOLED screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 420, it’s not even on par with the Galaxy Alpha, released back in September, which had a superior CPU and double the storage, as well as a removable battery. Rounding out the specs for the A5 is a 13 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, microSD slot, and dual SIM capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy A5 press shots

Given that the Galaxy S5 has fallen in price since its release earlier this year, it is somewhat questionable for Samsung to price the A5 in excess of $400. But given the rumors that production problems plagued the device (due to the unibody frame) and the higher cost of materials, as well as Samsung’s need to keep selling its plastic devices, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Said alleged production trouble is also likely the reason for the limited market availability of the Galaxy A5.

Any thoughts on the A5? Is it, in fact, worth the money? Or would the somewhat high price for rather average specs put you off?

Deal: Samsung microSD cards for up to 66% off on Amazon

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

samsung evo microsd card

Amazon is continuing its week of promos with a sweet deal on microSD cards from Samsung that see their prices cut down by more than half.

Unlike most Amazon promos for memory cards, this deal only sees three products marked down – the 16, 32, and 64 options of Samsung’s EVO Class 10 Micro SDHC card, available with discounts of 47% to 66%.

Samsung’s microSD cards are highly rated by users, with an average score of 4.5 stars across thousands of review. The 64GB model is actually the #1 best seller in its category.

The cards ship with SD adapters, so you can use them in other devices, such as laptops and cameras.

Stay tuned for more deals throughout the week!

Insiders say Samsung Galaxy S5 sales 40% lower than expected

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

It was quite clear that Samsung was visibly upbeat about the potential of the Samsung Galaxy S5, with the South Korean gadget giant increasing production of the current flagship more than compared to past units. It even went through the hassle of launching the device simultaneously in multiple countries back in April, but sources from inside the business say that Samsung is selling Galaxy S5s at least 40% lower than the management expected.

Samsung’s belief in the current gadget showed in the fact that it produced 20 percent more units of the Galaxy S5 than the Galaxy S4 before it, as the management were angling to meet the demand that they were hoping to get for the said device. That demand has not materialized, unfortunately. Samsung has reportedly sold 40 percent fewer Galaxy S5 handsets than it predicted, failing to even come close Galaxy S4 sales in the same first three months of availability.

Sales in the United States has been the lone bright spot for Samsung, as sales numbers for the current flagship model have exceeded that of its predecessor, but this sort of acceptance and phenomenon has sadly not been repeated elsewhere. In China, consumers seem to be unimpressed with the gadget – Galaxy S5 sales are lower by 50% than of the Galaxy S4 in the first six months.

Do we chalk this up to the availability of more flagship level devices in other regions (especially in China), hence there are more choices for consumers? It might just be that. In any case, Samsung is considering a shake-up in its leadership because of these numbers. We might just be seeing a new face in the leadership of Samsung’s mobile division soon.

VIA: SlashGear

Samsung files complaint to remove NVIDIA’s graphics chips from the United States

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

NVIDIA_Logo_01_TA_CES_2014

Things are not exactly friendly between Samsung and NVIDIA. In September, NVIDIA launched a lawsuit against Samsung and Qualcomm alleging patent infringement. Samsung returned by saying that NVIDIA has falsely advertised its Tegra K1 processor. This is swiftly responded to by proof of actual benchmarks. The false advertising response was issued nearly two weeks ago, but now things are getting serious once again. Samsung filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission. What is the goal of this complaint? To block NVIDIA from providing its graphics chips in the United States. While it does sound unlikely to happen, it is certainly a possibility.

Via: Reuters

Come comment on this article: Samsung files complaint to remove NVIDIA’s graphics chips from the United States

Samsung wants to block NVIDIA chips off from the US

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung and Apple slapping each other with lawsuits isn’t the only big legal matter to watch out for in the tech industry. Samsung has gotten a new enemy in NVIDIA. Last September, NVIDIA filed patent lawsuit infringements agains the South Korean electronics giant and Qualcomm. That was the first time NVIDIA filed a lawsuit on any company after being in the business for 21 years.

Recently, NVIDIA responded to Samsung’s counter lawsuit last November 4 saying that the chip maker did “false advertising” of the SHIELD tablet. According to Samsung, NVIDIA described the Tegra K1 processor as the fast in the world when in fact, Samsung’s Exynos 5433 processor is faster. Clearly, the two companies are bent on fighting against each other.

Over the weekend, Samsung made a move again by filing yet another complaint to block NVIDIA computer-graphics chips from the US. Samsung filed the lawsuit at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington but no copy was made public yet.

Blocking imports of the newest Galaxy tablets and phones that run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon GPUs and Samsung Exynos processors was NVIDIA’s legal request. Of course, Samsung replied with another patent-infringement suit in Richmond, Virginia. Actually, it was more of eight patents against NVIDIA more evident on the SHIELD tablet.

Of course, these companies are denying each other’s claims and complaints. NVIDIA even described the lawsuit as “a predictable tactic” by Samsung. The company is ready to file any action against Samsung according to Hector Marinez, Nvidia spokeman, “We have not seen the complaint so can’t comment, but we look forward to pursuing our earlier filed ITC action against Samsung products.”

Aside from NVIDIA, Samsung also included other computer-parts manufacturers like Elitegroup Computer Systems Co. and Biostar Microtech International Corp. Looks like the South Korean company is serious with fighting whoever gets in the way. Let’s see how this case turns out.

VIA: Bloomberg