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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus – specs comparison

Oh, this is so going to piss off the hordes of already insecure, delusional iFans irritatingly navigating the interwebs to find and insult anyone who doesn’t share their distorted world view. Why delusional? Well, because it only takes a modicum of common sense to realize Apple’s “it’s not about specs, it’s the user experience” rhetoric is flawed.

Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs iPhone 6s Plus

Of course it’s (also) about specs, and Tim Cook knows it full well. The sole reason iPhones refuse to engage in a numbers war against Android flagships is high-end components like Quad HD displays, 20 MP cameras or 4 GB RAM require much heftier investments than current production costs, which would mess with Cupertino’s precious, inflated profit margins.

Like it or not though, we will put the features of the iPhone 6s Plus under the microscope opposite Galaxy S6 Edge+’s specifications, just to show you yet again how far behind Apple is, and perhaps make the cash machine’s executives understand it’s time they brought a major upgrade to the table next year.

apple-vs-samsung

This probably goes without saying now, but we won’t even pretend the battle is fair, and our comparison unbiased. After all, we’re The Droid Guy, not The Apple Guy, and we stand by our lethal weapons, especially when they’re objectively better.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs iPhone 6s Plus – design and build quality

Without actually referencing last year’s “Bendgate” controversies, Apple assured their keynote’s attendees and the public at large a repeat is unlikely, following a move to 7000 Series aluminum, “the same grade used in the aerospace industry.”

samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-plus

Good for them, and while we’d never call an iPhone ugly (except for the plasticky 5c), the 6s Plus simply pales in comparison with the stunning S6 Edge+. It’s thicker, at 7.3 vs 6.9 mm, a lot bulkier (192 vs 153 grams), as well as taller and wider, yet Samsung’s flagship phablet offers the superior screen real estate, at 5.7 vs 5.5 inches.

Not to mention the 6s Plus and 6 Plus are easier to mix up than the Olsen twins. Forget “more of the same”, this is the exact same frigging design as back in the fall of 2014. Oh, yeah, and as Sammy humorously pointed out in a recent commercial, that guy’s edge sits there and vibrates, nothing more.

Display and cameras

“Retina HD” screen vs plain Super AMOLED Quad HD glass. Can you guess which is sharper? That’s right, our non-Retina, non-gimmicky 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440 pix res panel. The ppi sits at an impressive, although far from record-breaking 518, while the iPhone 6s Plus barely delivers a density of 401 pixels per inch.

Now, we aren’t going to claim Force Touch, aka 3D Touch, isn’t a big deal. It is, and we definitely wish Samsung could have devised similar technology first. But is it really a deal breaker that the S6 Edge+ lacks support for gestures like “Peek” and “Pop”?

Not as far as this writer is concerned, seeing as how it’s going to take users a while to get accustomed with all the new interaction methods. Besides, we’ve had a stock long press function for years, which isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s close.

galaxy-s6-edge-plus-camera

In the photography department, it’s genuinely nice to see Apple recover some lost ground, but 12 megapixels are still less than 16, and 4K video recording capabilities are nothing new to us Android aficionados. Both selfie cams tout 5 MP sensors, and though Apple will try to push a so-called “Retina Flash”, that’s not a real LED flash, and it doesn’t make the front snapper better than the one slapped on S6 Edge+’s face.

Processor, RAM and battery life

The 64-bit A9 chip is allegedly 70 percent faster in CPU muscle and 90 percent in graphics performance than the A8, which sounds remarkable… if it’s true. But even if it is, the Exynos 7420 also beats its predecessors and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805, 808 and 810 with ease, so until we see benchmarks and get to test the two handhelds for real-life speed, we’ll call this battle a tie.

iPhone 6s Plus

Which is not what we can say about memory, where Samsung almost certainly crushes Apple once again with 4 gigabytes of the good stuff. Why almost certainly? Because as usual, Tim Cook “forgot” to share info with us on the RAM front. Don’t hold your breath for 3 or 4 GB, iFans, and consider yourselves lucky if you get 2, which would be twice as much as the 6 Plus.

Battery life? Apple builds up respectable numbers, such as 24 hours of continuous 3G talk time, or up to 80 hours in audio playback, but we expect cell capacity to circle 2,900 mAh, 100 south of S6 Edge+’s ticker size.

Software, storage, and others

iOS 9 or TouchWiz-modified Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, due for a 6.0 Marshmallow makeover before long? Our choice is crystal clear, but you may be shocked to hear we understand the appeal of iOS. It’s clean, silky smooth, less cluttered than Google’s platform, easier to master for a novice, and hides more tricks up its sleeve than ever, thanks to 3D Touch.

ios-9

Still, you can’t replace Android’s openness and freedom, and for once, TouchWiz enriches the user experience instead of plaguing it.

Want microSD support? Then we suggest you head over to Sony or LG’s camps. Here, internal storage space is all you get, plus cloud room, the former starting at 16 and capping off at 128 GB for the iPhone 6s Plus, and 32 and 64 respectively inside the S6 Edge+.

S6 Edge Plus wireless charging

Something else worth mentioning? Maybe fingerprint recognition, billed by both tech giants as significantly faster than before, with increased resulting security, and very similar Samsung Pay and Apple Pay services.

Also, rapid charging, both wired and wireless, offered squarely by Samsung. In fact, iPhones don’t even support conventional wireless charging yet, but fret not, as when they’ll do, they’ll try to make it seem like they were the first there too. Snark aside, it’s tough to pick a winner in connectivity, as both giants feature LTE Advanced speeds on a myriad of global bands.

Pricing and availability

iPhone prices

And so, it all comes down to this. Well, not really, as the Galaxy S6 Edge+ comfortably beats the iPhone 6s Plus, with or without an affordability advantage. But the final nail in Apple’s coffin is a 16 GB 6s Plus essentially costs as much as a 32 GB S6 Edge+. Namely, $749 off-contract for the former on pre-orders beginning Saturday, September 12, and $766 unlocked for the latter through Amazon now.

Try to justify that, Apple, with 3D Touch, “Live Photos”, “Taptic Engine”, Retina Flash, rose gold colors, and other marketing mumbo jumbo.

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: specs comparison

Just when you thought Sony’s mobile branch was doomed to follow the recent ill fate of Nokia, and BlackBerry’s probable future downfall, the Japanese device manufacturer threw a Hail Mary pass at IFA 2015 in Berlin which may well end up in a spectacular last-second touchdown.

Xperia Z5 Premium vs Galaxy S6 Edge+

Of course, one swallow does not a summer make, and a single home run can’t win you the World Series with a certain rival racking up win after win for several consecutive seasons. Still, the Xperia Z5 Premium might just propel Sony into this year’s playoffs in time for the holiday season, subsequently helping set up a proper revival of the high-end smartphone family in 2016 and beyond.

Perhaps a new beginning, or the building of a brand that, to be fair, has never been held in high esteem by American mobile audiences. First, though, the Z5 Premium must prove it can play in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, a feat previously impossible to accomplish for the Xperia Z3+ when compared to the smaller GS6 and S6 Edge.

Xperia Z5 gold

The S6 Edge Plus already thrashed the LG G4, and with the G4 Note, G4 Pro or V10 (?!?) shaping up far less “super-premium” than once teased, its path to global acclaim seems cleared. There’s also a so-called HTC One A9 reportedly around the corner, but given its striking iPhone 6 resemblance, we find it hard to include in the race for gold.

Bottom line, this one’s for the H2 2015 Android crown:

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ – design and build quality

Yet again, rumors sparked hope for an aesthetic Xperia revolution a while back, and yet again, we ultimately got an OmniBalance-obeying design. Only much more refined than ever, with the same eye-catching industrial vibe, glass and metal construction, plus a fancy new Xperia logo engraved on the left-hand side, and tiny fingerprint scanner masked as a power button to the right.

Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

The S6 Edge+ obviously does an even better job concealing the biometric authentication feature inside a frontal power key, with a similar half metal/half glass build executed more… originally. Point Samsung for slimness (6.9 vs 7.8 mm), and lightweight (153 vs 180 grams), but point Sony for never compromising premium ruggedness and retaining IP68 certification for water and dust protection.

At the end of the day, the battle is settled by the glitzier, albeit somewhat gimmicky curves of the dual-edged Galaxy S6 Edge+. 1-0 Samsung.

Display and cameras

4K resolution. Also known as Ultra HD. 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. 806 ppi pixel density on a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel. Gimmick? Probably. Overkill? Almost certainly. But the smartphone landscape is one where excess and luxury have become the norm a long time ago, and Sony is just riding that wave.

Xperia Z5 Premium 4K

Besides, who says we’re only supposed to crave the practical? Let this be our guilty pleasure, and stop worrying if we can physically notice the difference between an 806 and 518 ppi screen. Speaking of, the 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440 pix res Super AMOLED on the S6 Edge+ is clearly no slouch, and was even recently deemed the best smartphone display ever made. Until the Z5 Premium entered the picture.

Sony’s newest flagship comfortably wins the megapixel wars too, at least as far as rear cams go, with a 23 count, compared to 16 MP. Meanwhile, both selfie shooters sport 5 MP sensors, and it remains to be seen whose add-ons will prevail. Our money is on the S6 Edge+. Nonetheless, the score is now 2-1 Sony.

Processor, RAM and battery life

As hard as Qualcomm tried to complete the Snapdragon 820 SoC in time for the fall spate of Android launches, Sony had to pick between the vastly inferior hexa-core 808 and robust but problematic octa 810. In the end, they went the latter route, and somehow fixed overheating, yet contending the potent and energy-efficient octa-core Exynos 7420 is mission impossible.

Galaxy-S6-edge+

Now, we realize both smartphone software and hardware have to greatly progress over the next years for 3 GB RAM to feel inadequate, and thus, the Z5 Premium is in no way a worse multitasker than the 4 gig-packing S6 Edge+ at the moment. But if we admit 4K resolution is an irrational craving, so is more memory than you can actually use.

In terms of juicer capacity, it’s mind-boggling how Sony managed to squeeze a 3,430 mAh cell into a 5.5-inch, sub-8 mm package when Samsung merely offers 3,000 mAh energy with a larger footprint and marginally skinnier profile. Still, there’s no saying how the Xperia Z5 Premium’s ultra-high-res display will impact real-life endurance, so let’s call this a tie right now. Which brings Samsung back in the lead, 3-2.

Software, storage and others

Since the beginning of time, the Xperia UI has aimed to provide a few truly useful proprietary add-ons and tweaks, and otherwise let Google do its near-stock thing. But now, the bloat and clutter are almost entirely eliminated, and, were it not for apps like Playstation Remote Play, you could easily mistake the Z5 Premium for a Nexus.

Sony-Xperia-Z5-Premium

Which is phenomenal news as far as Android purists are concerned, and it also means “optimizing” and rolling out Marshmallow to replace the pre-loaded 5.1 Lollipop should take Sony less time than Samsung. That said, some folks dig TouchWiz, and the version sprucing up the S6 Edge+ is likewise one of the cleanest, smoothest yet.

Will we have another tie in the storage department? Not even close, as both devices start at 32 GB space, but only the Z5 Premium can further accommodate up to 200 GB external data via a microSD card.

Xperia Z5 Premium

The heavyweight clash is therefore deadlocked, and with no USB Type C connectivity or out-of-the-ordinary audio improvements anywhere, it all comes down to retail costs. Well, to be fair, the S6 Edge+ also has the theoretical advantage of wireless charging and quick cable-free power-loading, but you need accessories, and wires and plugs are involved anyway.

Pricing and availability

Sony’s biggest problem isn’t the Xperia Z5 Premium will be expensive. It’s expected to go for €800 in EU countries, and £700 on British shores. That’s almost $900 and over $1,050 respectively, and it’s more or less on-par with S6 Edge+ unlocked tags on the old continent.

Xperia Z5 Premium camera

The pickle remains tackling the demanding, competitive and uber-profitable US market, where T-Mobile has already passed on the Z5 Premium, and the other three influential carriers all keep their ominous silence. The S6 Edge+? It’s available from them all, starting at $768 outright through Verizon, $300 with AT&T pacts, $780 on full retail at T-Mobile, and $350 on-contract with Sprint.

And that, dear readers and friends, is the way the cookie crumbles.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs LG G4 – specs comparison

It’s becoming clearer and clearer by the day that Samsung’s “true” flagship for the upcoming holiday season was always meant to be the Galaxy S6 Edge+, not the Note 5. It’s of course no coincidence the latter is getting a more limited global bow, and even its freshly surfaced S Pen-related “design flaw” may have something to do with sloppier R&D.

samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-plus-vs-lg-g4

Many will argue you’re not supposed to insert the stylus the wrong way in its slot, and you deserve what’s coming if you don’t pay attention to the direction the tip is pointing at. But is it really as simple as that? Not if you consider such drama was impossible at previous Note generations and their non-springy pens. Physically impossible, as in prevented by design.

Anyhoo, this is not a piece about the Galaxy Note 5 for obvious reasons. It’s about the fully working, thoroughly well-designed and super-provocative Galaxy S6 Edge+. Also, its number one box-office opponent at the moment. That is, until the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus go on sale.

Galaxy Note 5 S6 Edge Plus

The LG G4’s curves are clearly subtler than its rival’s, and the hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC is no match for the raw speed of the Exynos 7420. Can the leather-clad dark horse then still keep up with the metal-and-glass front-runner? Let’s find out:

Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs LG G4 – pricing and availability comparison

Up for grabs from all big four US carriers, Samsung’s “next big thing” is nowhere to be found on Amazon for the time being. At Best Buy, it’s bundled with a free wireless charger, which is neat, and can further net you $200 on a gift card with qualifying trade-ins.

Galaxy S6 Edge+

If you’d rather take your business directly to wireless service providers, Verizon is selling the edgy phablet starting at $32 a month, no upfront fee, or $768 outright. AT&T asks $47 extra off-contract, and also still does carrier agreements in exchange for $299.99.

Then there’s T-Mobile, where the 32GB 5.7 incher costs $780 at full retail, and finally, Sprint will give you a free Galaxy Tab 4 (on-contract) if you score the Galaxy S6 Edge+ with Lease programs or Easy Pay, i.e. $0 down. Alternatively, the Now Network wants $350 with pacts, or $792, no strings attached.

LG G4 brown

Quite the upscale purchase, no matter your retailer or operator choice, especially given an unlocked LG G4 is only $455 through Amazon. In brown leather, so none of that ceramicky or “metallic” plastic exterior nonsense. Of course, if you dig the non-leather gold or white models, they’re pretty affordable too, at $470 and $495 respectively.

Arguably the handsomest flavor is the leather black, available for $472 SIM-free, or $99.99 with Sprint or Verizon contracts. That’s one battle LG wins with ease, although it goes without saying the war remains wide open.

Design and build quality

Aesthetically speaking, this is very much an apples and oranges comparison. Which is not to say we can’t like one fruit more than the other. Can you guess which one? Of course you can. The scrumptious, stylish, robust, metal-and-glass dual-edged treat, measuring 154.4 x 75.8 x 6.9 mm and tipping the scales at 153 grams.

Galaxy-S6-edge-plus

Thanks to a slightly smaller screen and polycarbonate build, you’d expect the G4 to undercut the S6 Edge+’s weight, but that’s not really the case. Granted, the difference is negligible, as the leathery (or metallic) heavyweight contender weighs in at 155 grams.

At its thickest point (remember, the G4’s got a curve too), the 5.5 incher measures a fairly chunky 9.8 mm. And it’s also a bit wider than the GS6 Edge+, although shorter, courtesy of those now iconic physical buttons moved to the back.

LG G4

At the end of the day though, this is a crushing victory for the odds-on favorite. Ladies and gents, we have an exciting tie so far on our hands!

Display and cameras

5.7-inch Super AMOLED with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 518 ppi pixel density vs. 5.5-inch IPS LCD, 2,560 x 1,440 and 538 ppi respectively. Before you call this another tie, perhaps you’ll be interested to hear what DisplayMate had to say about the Quad HD panels on the Note 5 and S6 Edge+. Without going into too much detail, they’re “the best performing displays ever tested.” And that includes the G4.

lg-g4-camera

Now, cameras are a delicate subject to tackle for the moment, as we haven’t taken the photographic units of the S6 Edge+ for a real-life spin yet. On paper, the rear shooter should be as remarkable as the one on the G4, with 16 megapixels, optical image stabilization, autofocus and LED flash offered across the board.

Selfie addicts will likely find more comfort in the 8 megapixel front cam of the older flagship, as the new kid on the block only sports a 5 MP secondary camera.

Processor, RAM and battery life

This is where G4’s dreams of glory are completely smashed to pieces. We already showed you a series of Note 5 benchmarks, in which the S Pen phablet obliterated its predecessor, not to mention its Snapdragon 808-powered arch-nemesis.

Samsung 4 GB RAM

The S6 Edge+ features the same exact octa Exynos 7420 silicon, with a matching 4GB RAM for good measure. Ergo, expect a similar 30 to 35 percent gap in system performance, plus a noticeable advantage in energy efficiency for the S6 Edge+ also, despite its larger screen and identical 3,000 mAh battery.

A conclusive recent autonomy test put the Galaxy S6 Edge+ near the top of the charts, with 9 hours+ of single-charge endurance, whereas the LG G4 trailed way behind, at a modest 6 hours of so. Let’s not forget the new guy also comes with wired and wireless fast charging capabilities in tow, compared to wired only as far as the “veteran” is concerned.

Storage, software and others

What’s the score now? Five, six to one in favor of the S6 Edge+? Give another point to the G4 on account of microSD expansion. And a third one for the user-removable battery. Which still doesn’t make our verdict very hard to cast.

LG-G4-battery-microsd

Particularly when you add the touch-based fingerprint recognition technology of Samsung’s bad boy in the equation, as well as its arguably superior copy of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Proprietary UIs are mostly a matter of personal taste, but we think we speak for the vast majority of our readers when we say TouchWiz is prettier than Optimus 4.0.

Bloatware? Both phones are filled to the brim with non-Google apps, yet Samsung actually provides a few you’ll find use for. S-Voice, S Health, Kids Mode, plus a bunch of free “Galaxy Gifts” typically worth a good few hundred bucks.

Galaxy Gifts S6 Edge+

Connectivity-wise, neither device features a futuristic USB Type-C port, with LTE speeds slightly enhanced on the S6 Edge+, and Bluetooth 4.2 superseding 4.1. We have a clear winner therefore, and it’s exactly who you think.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 – specs comparison

Now that things are crystal clear on the internal storage front as far as both the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are concerned, and we also know exactly where the former is headed, it’s time we matched up the new S Pen flagship to its forerunner.

Galaxy Note 5 vs Note 4
Photo: Forbes

It’s not a matter of which is best, obviously, but by what sort of margin, and more importantly, it’s a matter of bang for buck factor. As in, do the Galaxy Note 5’s upgrades justify the price hike? Because the Note 4 sure as heck merits $540 or so factory unlocked, even as it’s about to turn the human equivalent of 40.

No midlife crisis there, begging the question: do we really needed a sequel? An arguably handsomer but restrictive, non-expandable, non-battery removable follow-up? Stay tuned for the complete side-by-side comparison:

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs Galaxy Note 4 – pricing and availability

Photo: Android Central
Photo: Android Central

Fans of apocalyptic theories strongly believe the end of the wildly successful phablet family is near. They speculate that Sammy will gradually phase out GNotes, starting in Europe this year. Optimists expect Note 5’s limited global availability to be a temporary situation, caused by the Korean manufacturer’s wish to rapidly spread out the S6 Edge+ love.

Whatever the case, we’re glad to see the non-edgy 2015 top dog out and about stateside already, with shipments live or soon to be kicked off by all big four carriers. No-contract tariffs range from $696 at Verizon to $740 at AT&T in 32GB configurations, while Ma Bell and Sprint are prepared to sell you the 5.7 incher for as little as $250 with pacts.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Amazon doesn’t accept Note 5 orders yet, but is hands down the most generous retailer when it comes to the Note 4. A cool $150 or so separates the white, gold and black OG from its successor contract-free, which is really the only sensible purchase option.

Alternatively, you can be crazy and cough up $200 upfront for the Now Network-locked GNote 4, or $300 (!!!) with Verizon.

Design and build quality

Realizing the spec wars are costly and produce casualties in the form of lagging sales numbers, Samsung shed his image of stubborn, old-fashioned OEM at the beginning of the year. An age of aesthetic rather than hardware renovations was inaugurated, and the torch was passed from the S6 and S6 Edge onto the Note 5 and S6 Edge+.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Long story short, the Galaxy Note 5 looks nothing like the Note 4. For better or worse, it’s made of robust metal and fragile glass now, with no signs of plastic, faux leather or faux anything, for that matter.

It’s also noticeably thinner (7.6 vs 8.5 mm), ever so slightly shorter and narrower (153.2 x 76.1 mm vs 153.5 x 78.6 mm), as well as 5 grams lighter (171 vs 176). Is it more durable and less prone to bending? Too early to call. But it’s definitely prettier.

Display and cameras

Photo: Android Central
Photo: Android Central

On paper, Samsung Xeroxed the 2,560 x 1,440 pix res Super AMOLED screen of the Note 4 because, well, there was simply no room for improvements. Yet DisplayMate, the ultimate authority in panel quality evaluation, deems the Note 5’s Quad HD glass as “very impressive”, “the absolute best” in color accuracy and “the best performing smartphone display ever tested.”

Alas, the cams are probably identical to the ones fitted on the S6 and S6 Edge, barely beating the Note 4 in selfie prowess, courtesy of a 5 MP front-facing sensor. Around the back, you get 16 megapixels from both powerhouses, with optical image stabilization, autofocus and LED flash provided across the board.

Processor, RAM and battery life

Source: Phone Arena
Source: Phone Arena

Qualcomm may have botched the heir to Snapdragon 805’s throne, but the 14 nm octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC manages to easily eclipse the E5433 and SD810 in raw speed and energy efficiency. Early benchmarks graded Note 5’s hardware at close to 70,000 points in AnTuTu and roughly 4,700 in Geekbench multi-core.

That’s 25,000+ and 1,500 points respectively north of Note 4’s marks, which the superior RAM count also contributes to. Call it overkill if you will, we’ll look at the 4 gigs of memory as a shrewd future proof tactic. You never know what kind of system requirements Marshmallow or subsequent versions of Android could introduce.

Galaxy Note 5 battery

Now, it might feel like Samsung downgraded autonomy with a smaller 3,000 mAh battery, but thanks to the Exynos 7420’s frugality, it seems endurance will in fact increase, from under to over 9 hours in the most strenuous conditions.

And don’t forget, it takes you less time to fully juice up the GNote 5, including wirelessly. You wanted palpable, real-life performance enhancements, and your wishes are Samsung’s command.

Storage, software and others

Don’t complain too much of 128GB variant elimination. After all, the Note 4 is squarely available with 32 gigs of local hoarding space. You can of course lament the microSD support’s absence, but it’s good to keep in mind some of those cards do more harm than good when zippy UFS 2.0 technology is involved.

samsung_galaxy_note_4

As far as software goes, the TouchWiz UI on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop is only lightly tweaked from what you’re getting from the Note 4 with 5.0. Enough to thankfully remove a bit of clutter and “bloat”, while at the same time squeezing even more productivity out of the revamped S Pen.

Speaking of, the new stylus is spring loaded, meaning you don’t have to manually take if off its slot anymore. That’s clearly a minor yet eye-catching improvement. The same goes for the fingerprint scanner, operated by touch now, not swipe, and if you’re patient, you’ll soon be able to make fast, secure, easy mobile payments through Samsung Pay. First on the Note 5, then eventually on the Note 4 too.

Galaxy Note 5 S Pen

Any connectivity upgrades? Just a trivial move from Bluetooth 4.1 to 4.2, and LTE Cat.9 advancements… in markets where the network speeds are attainable. No reversible USB Type-C port, no iris recognition contraption, no water protection this time around either.

To recap, the Galaxy Note 5 is better-looking, sharper, speedier, longer-lasting and, possibly, more robust than the Note 4 all in all. That’s plenty to justify the $150 price gap, and make Europeans rue their bad luck.

OnePlus 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 – specs comparison

After making the world wait a little longer than initially anticipated, Android’s 2014 breakout star finally entered the second chapter of its rapid and captivating evolution. Now that OnePlus isn’t exactly an underdog anymore, a wild card or question mark, the expectations are set much higher, which is why some folks believe the 2 is a bitter disappointment.

Galaxy S6 vs OnePlus 2

To remove the subjective facet of the “no-compromise” affordable flagship’s evaluation, we’ll pit the OnePlus 2 against the Samsung Galaxy S6 as follows in a battle mostly centered on numbers and cold facts.

Why the GS6? Well, we realize the two handhelds may not be cut from the same cloth (both figuratively speaking and literally), and there’s quite a massive price gap between them. But OnePlus did pompously trumpet the 2 as a “2016 flagship killer”, and we don’t want to let the Chinese OEM off the hook just yet.

Photo: Android Central
Photo: Android Central

Besides, if the Full HD 5.5 incher manages to at least come close to the excellence of the reigning Quad HD 5.1-inch champ, you know it’ll be able to comfortably outshine its direct rivals in the $300 – $400 range.

OnePlus 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 – price and availability comparison

Who’s ready for another irking round of “hunt the OnePlus invite”? Not your favorite online adventure/survival game? Then simply head over to Amazon, and purchase the factory unlocked S6 at $563 in white, $570 in blue, $573 in black or $580 in gold.

OnePlus 2 pricing

On-contract, Sprint and Verizon charge $200 via everyone’s favorite e-retailer, while AT&T is ready to let you have the “next big thing” for $0 down with device financing. Sounds fair all in all, yet poor sales numbers will reportedly force Sammy to execute reductions worldwide.

Already, T-Mobile sells the Galaxy S6 at $580 outright in lieu of the $680 MSRP.

samsung-galaxy-s6-white

Meanwhile, if divine patience is your strongest suit, the OnePlus 2 will be available (not so) soon starting at $329 in a 16 GB configuration and $389 when capable of accommodating 64 gigs of data. Seems well worth the wait, doesn’t it?

Design and build quality

By no means an ugly slab, the new kid on the block pales in comparison to the majestic “veteran”, despite sharing a number of technical similarities. The metal frame somehow feels flimsier on the OnePlus 2, and though we certainly dig the choice of StyleSwap covers, none of the optional backplates are as stylish and premium as the only variant on the S6 – the beautiful Gorilla Glass.

OnePlus 2

Supplementary screen real estate obviously produces a larger overall footprint for the OnePlus 2, which measures 151.8 mm in height and 74.9 mm in width, as opposed to 143.4 and 70.5 respectively. Now, that doesn’t work as an alibi for the chunkier profile also (9.9 vs 6.8 mm), but as you’ll see below, battery capacity mostly justifies the extra bulk.

Speaking of, the OnePlus 2 tips the scales at 175 grams, a full 37 grams more than the S6.

Display and cameras

Is Quad HD resolution a gimmick? To each their own, but we’re absolutely sure of this – on paper, the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED and 5.5-inch LTPS LCD panels set side by side here are as different as chalk and cheese.

Galaxy S6

The pixel density gap is staggering, and whatever you might tell yourselves to sleep better at night, it’s noticeable. 577 vs 401 ppi? We’ll take the former, thank you very much, given the choice and plentiful budget.

Another no-contest victory recommends the S6 as the far superior photographic machine, thanks to a 16 megapixel rear-facing camera endowed with everything from LED flash to speedy autofocus and optical image stabilization.

OnePlus 2 camera

The lower-cost antagonist itself comes brimming of high-end add-ons and optimizations, but at the end of the day, sports a mediocre 13 MP sensor. Selfie fanatics have nothing to worry about, regardless of the manufacturer choice, as both Samsung and OnePlus provide 5 MP front shooters.

Processor and battery life

OnePlus and Qualcomm insist all overheating woes are behind the otherwise potent octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip, but until we see the 2 in action, we’d rather keep our skeptical hats on. Besides, even if the SoC is fully stable, it’s likely throttled and thus incapable of matching Exynos 7420’s dominant raw power.

oneplus-2-snapdragon-810

Or its energy efficiency, which boosts the paltry 2,550 mAh cell to respectable durability figures of around 17 hours in continuous 3G talk time. Nonetheless, a 3,300 mAh juicer is a 3,300 mAh juicer, and if something doesn’t go terribly wrong, OnePlus 2’s autonomy should circle 24 hours.

RAM, storage, software and others

Are 4 gigs of random-access memory overkill? That’s up to debate, much like the Quad HD display controversy. Seeing as how we awarded a point to the Galaxy S6 in the screen res section though, we’ll do the same here as far as the OnePlus 2 is concerned.

oneplus-2-ram

The heavyweight contender starts off with 3 GB RAM in combination with a 16 GB ROM, only requiring a $60 premium to upgrade to 4 and 64 gigabytes. Meanwhile, all three storage configurations of the current champion (32/64/128 GB) are decked with “just” 3 gigs of memory.

Software-wise, the Android 5.1 Lollipop roots look identical, with proprietary customizations and “optimizations” making the end products run nothing alike. We’re hesitant to proclaim a clear winner, as the decision comes down to personal preference.

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-Black

Those who favor cleaner, more simplistic and minimalistic takes on Google’s mobile OS will endorse the Oxygen UI on the OnePlus 2, with fans of bloatware bells and whistles better serviced by TouchWiz.

What else? Before you think it, no, you can’t expand the on-board storage via microSD slots on neither device. Nor can you take the two for swims without causing catastrophic damage. On the biometric authentication front, there’s plenty of fingerprint support to go around, and the gimmicky futuristic sensors are hidden inside similar home buttons.

OnePlus 2 USB Type C cable

As the younger gadget, the OnePlus 2 was able to incorporate a cutting-edge technology that the GS6 didn’t have access to back in March. Namely, reversible USB Type-C connectivity. Merely one of the many reasons the cheaper phone isn’t necessarily the worse gizmo, and deserves consideration from cash-strapped power users.

2016 flagship killer? Not even close. 2015 flagship equal? Pretty much.

Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge vs Galaxy S5 – What’s new, what’s not

Who knew Samsung was capable of change? Better yet, who knew the Android kings were capable of so much change, so sudden and at a time they’re still on top of the world? Sure, Apple keeps making a lot more money per gadget sold, and strictly from a flagship standpoint, iPhones have no real threat.

Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S6

Meanwhile, Android competition is unquestionably heating up, as rising Chinese stars shine brighter and brighter on the global sky. But all in all, Samsung rules, and everyone else drools. It’s the way things stand, and even if the Galaxy S6 rehashed S5’s design, build and specs, total domination was guaranteed at least another year.

Bottom line, the reinvention effort is more than commendable as it wasn’t necessarily coerced by a financial or identity crisis. If only Nokia, BlackBerry and HTC had employed a similar strategy back when they mattered.

Galaxy S6 vs S6 Edge

Enough market outlook and history lessons, though. We’re here to discuss all the ways (good and bad) Sammy altered the GS5 to come up with this stunning S6/S6 Edge duo, and what, if anything, remains the same old, same old.

Price and availability – a striking resemblance

Usually, we’d leave this for last when contrasting two or more devices. But we know you’re dying to hear if you can squeeze an S6 purchase into your spring budgets without ending up in a box on the street.

The answer? Definitely, as long as you’ve been saving up for a few months. In fact, the best news we could bring you is the S6 will start around the same mark on April 10, 2015 as the S5 on April 11, 2014. Namely, $700 outright, compared to $650 a year ago. And $200 with 24-month Verizon, AT&T or Sprint pacts.

Galaxy-S5-Verizon

Obviously, today’s Galaxy S5 is a lot cheaper. $446 or so factory unlocked in black, or $448 in white. Also, a measly buck on Verizon, $79.99 and up through AT&T, and $100 over at Sprint. Still worth it? It depends. If life in plastic is fantastic for you, and you’d much rather have microSD support, a replaceable battery and water protection than Quad HD screen resolution and 64-bit processing power, then sure, why not?

By the by, in case you’re pondering an S6 Edge “investment”, you may want to, well, eat less. The cheapest least expensive dual curved configuration should cost $850 off-contract, and $250 or even $300 with carrier agreements.

Design and build quality – the Beauties and the Beast

Remember when Jimmy Kimmel’s cronies tricked people on the street the “ancient” iPhone 4s was the sizzling hot unreleased iPhone 5? Remove the Samsung logo from the S6, re-do the experiment and watch how easy it is to pass the new Galaxy as an iPhone.

galaxy-s6-galaxy-s5-back

We’re not saying this to accuse Sammy of anything, far from it, it’s just that’s how different the S6 is from everything the Koreans ever made. And it’s not like the S6 resembles an iPhone per se. It simply sends the premium construction vibe previously associated with Cupertino designs. Which is good.

Back to our comparison, robust, shiny aluminum frames and a clean, simple, stylish glass rear replace ugly plastic and an even uglier perforated “polycarbonate” back cover. Then you have S6 Edge’s unique curves, far slimmer profiles (6.8 – 7 mm vs. 8.1), and slightly lighter bodies (132 – 138 grams vs. 145). So much win here!

Specifications – not all change is good

Let’s take the “upgrades” one by one.

The most thought-provoking, curious and, until a couple of months ago, unexpected is hands down Qualcomm’s Exynos stand-in. Sorry, Q, you botched the Snapdragon 810, and there are no do-overs and second chances when collaborating with this Seoul-based champion.

Exynos 7

Now, early benchmarks show Samsung was right going with the Exynos 7420, no matter if S810’s overheating glitches are behind it. The 14 nm chip is both faster and more frugal than the 20 nm silicon… on paper. In real life, things could level out. Not counting the 3 GB RAM (up from 2), that is, which will no doubt ensure buttery smooth multitasking.

Rear camera megapixel count? It’s all the same across the board – 16. But the S6 and S6 Edge add optical image stabilization in the mix, and that may well be a bigger performance boost than, say, four extra, non-OIS MPs.

Galaxy S6 camera

The front snappers are very obviously improved, from 2.1 to 5 megapixels, and so is the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen, from Full to Quad HD. Only the jury is out on whether you’ll be able to tell the difference between 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.

It’s also unclear if battery shrinkage (from 2,800 to 2,600 mAh) will result in a palpable autonomy downgrade. After all, the Exynos 7420 is reportedly great for low power consumption. Finally, there’s no question about it – you’ll miss having the means for external storage expansion, and affording to drop your “precious” in the toilet bowl. The S6 Active can’t come soon enough.

Galaxy S6/S6 Edge vs Galaxy S5 – is anything really the same?

Sure it is. The software, while a bit less cluttered than before, follows the verified winning equation: Android (5.0 Lollipop) + TouchWiz. Besides, even if you’ll perceive clear-cut UI distinctions, odds are Sammy will bring the S5 in line with its successors eventually via an OTA update.

Galaxy S6 Edge Lollipop

Connectivity isn’t vastly revised either, with Bluetooth up from standard 4.0 to 4.1, no Wi-Fi advancements whatsoever, and LTE… probably upgraded in theory, but unlikely to perform considerably better in reality.

As far as sensors and scanners go, there’s no word on any heart rate enhancement, whereas fingerprint recognition is now touch-reliant instead of swipe-based. Can you say useless gimmick uselessly overhauled to seem less useless when in fact no one cares about it or finds it half-beneficial?

Samsung-Galaxy-S5-Waterproof

Why couldn’t you have dropped this and kept the microSD slot? The water-resistant chassis? So close to perfection once again… Yet clearly, up a notch (or ten) compared to last year.

Samsung Galaxy S6 (and S6 Edge) preview and rumor roundup

Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again. The time we really don’t know anything about the way the mobile industry will be shaped, transformed and, hopefully, innovated over the ensuing eight to ten months.

Samsung-Galaxy-S6

Not for sure, though we can’t help but feel fired up for what’s to come. And speculate, and gossip, and engage in incessant rumormongering. Then, the world heavyweight title contenders go official, and comparisons galore.

Before long, the cycle reboots, and the rumor bonanza starts all over. It’s irritating in a way, yet it keeps us perennially busy and always looking forward to more, to better, to “the next big thing.” Speaking of, that’s what we want to tackle today. The Samsung Galaxy S6. The highly anticipated sequel to an underwhelming faux pioneer.

Samsung Galaxy S evolution

And its trend-setting, “edgy” sibling. Trend-setting or gimmicky? Let’s see what the rumor mill has to say about it, and we’ll think it through:

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge preview – design and functionality

Yes, and functionality. For once, we don’t care awfully much what build materials Samsung is going with. Not as far as the Edge is concerned. We’re interested in the execution, and how the dual side screens around the main, central display aim to improve the user experience.

It’s said they’ll be capable of pushing various notifications, similar to the single such perimeter on the Note Edge, as well as pull some neat new tricks, like lighting up upon receiving calls and whatnot. A higher degree of customization is certainly on deck, and right-hand users and lefties can program which of the two to primarily work with.

Galaxy Note Edge

The standard S6? It’ll either be full-metal, and follow in the footsteps of the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7, or settle merely for an aluminum strip a la the Galaxy Alpha and Note 4. If the latter turns out to be true though, metal will blend together with glass, not plastic, so either way, this baby should be quite the looker and leave the “polycarbonate” age decidedly behind it.

Processor dilemmas: Snapdragon 810 or Exynos 7420… or both?

According to a recent Digitimes report, the overheating glitches of the S810 Qualcomm wouldn’t be caught dead corroborating could lead to Samsung initially selling Exynos and Snapdragon S6 variants on a 90-10 percent split. As in, 90 percent would pack Exynos, and only 10 Snapdragon.

Galaxy-S6-Exynos

The goal is then to gradually bring the numbers closer and ultimately crank up S810-powered GS6 production to surpass Exynos models as the former CPU mends its flaws. Sounds reasonable, however Bloomberg just debunked the theory, saying there will be no Qualcomm-based Galaxy S6 flavor. Period, end of story.

Ominous scenario for the global leader in mobile chip supplying, but maybe not so bad for us end users. As long as Sammy can yield enough 7420s, odds are they’ll be more frugal than and at least equally as zippy as S810s. Also, 64-bit-supporting, and octa-core, on big.LITTLE architecture.

Screen size and resolution, RAM and cameras

The Galaxy S3 is 4.8 inches, the S4 bumped that up to a cool 5, the S5 unnoticeably added another 0.1 inch on top, so it makes perfect sense for the S6 and S6 Edge to follow the same trend, and stop just outside of phablet territory, at 5.2 inches.

Galaxy S6 concept

With Quad HD, aka 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, resolution, producing roughly 565 ppi density. And a better screen-to-body ratio, hopefully, as 69.6 percent is no longer good enough with the LG G3 sitting at an impressive 75.3%.

Speaking of not good enough, 3 GB RAM. As outlandish as it sounds, the age of 4 GB memory smartphones is upon us, and Samsung might be forced to match LG, Asus and Meizu there to preserve its cutting-edge reputation.

It’s entirely possible some S6 versions will come with 3 gigs in tow, and others with 4, or we could see the S6 Edge opt for the latter, and the “normal” S6 for the former.

Samsung RAM

Rear camera megapixel count seems a given at 20 across the board, and it only remains to be seen if optical image stabilization will also be offered. We figure yes, and for selfie addicts, a 5 MP front snapper should do, as long as it’s intelligently optimized.

Software, battery capacity, storage and other features

“Project Zero” is reportedly how Samsung’s engineers codenamed the in-progress Galaxy S6, and aside from a new design language, a drastic change should see TouchWiz heavily subdued. We never thought we’d say this, but a near-stock Android-running, non-Google Play Edition Galaxy S is on the way. With Lollipop pre-installed, of course.

Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition

The battery is a huge question mark at the moment, with absolutely no hint on size surfaced online, but what’s almost certain (and extremely vexing) is we’re looking at a sealed, non-user-removable cell.

16 GB is ergo to be scrapped from the internal storage configurations, which will instead start at 32 and possibly cap off at as much as 128 gigs. Unless somehow Samsung allows external expansion sans access to the battery.

Galaxy S6 waterproof

Meanwhile, an attractive S5 feature that’s tipped to be lacking from S6’s bag of goodies is the IP67 certification for water and dust resistance. The fingerprint scanner should stay in place, and gain touch-based authentication, and sound quality might be improved too, albeit the specifics are unclear.

Release date and pricing preview

Since the pre-MWC introduction(s) in the early stages of March is a near guarantee, all that’s left to be revealed is the ETA on store shelves. Or rather ETAs, because we highly doubt the S6 and S6 Edge are to enjoy simultaneous, swift launches.

Galaxy S6 concept-2

For that matter, you shouldn’t hold your breath for a very wide-scale S6 Edge rollout, as the curvy handheld is still deemed a limited, extravagant experiment. Possibly priced at $900 or so outright.

The non-edge S6? It’ll probably see daylight within a month of its announcement, if everything goes according to plan with CPU mass manufacturing, and cost $600 to $700 off-contract, and between $200 and $300 with two-year Verizon, AT&T and Sprint pacts.

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-concept

A steal? A little on the expensive side? Just right to turn S5’s ill fortunes around? It all depends on the as-yet unconfirmed details. 3 or 4 GB RAM? Snapdragon 810 or Exynos 7420? MicroSD or no microSD? All-metal or also glass to balance things out? The answers to those questions could be the difference between hit and flop for Samsung’s Galaxy S6. Stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus – Specs comparison

Again with the new iPhone(s)? Isn’t The Droid Guy supposed to be an Android-centric website? Leave droid fans alone. Be honest, you were thinking or wondering one of these things before you even finished reading our headline.

iphone-6-plus-vs-galaxy-note-4

And we completely understand your frustration. For the past two weeks or so, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus rumor roundups, previews, hands-on explorations and finally reviews have inundated the tech-focused part of the interwebs.

Just one more reason to keep your online activity fixated on funny cat pics and (human) porn, huh? Not so fast. Because like it or not, iPhones make the Android scene better. And vice versa. Who do you think got Tim Cook to infuriate Steve Jobs from beyond the grave by embracing “phablets”?

iPhone 6 Plus

Anyhoo, the bottom line is it’s wholly necessary to give credit where credit is due, and dissect the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with everybody else until reaching the conclusion we can do better. Not to mention cheaper.

But above all, better. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, the definitive top-of-the-line 2014 jumbo-sized smartphone. A phablet worth waiting for. And here’s why:

Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – design and build quality comparison

Call me rash, reckless, whatever, I’m calling it – it’s the last year Apple ever wins an aesthetics battle against a Samsung flagship. Come spring of 2015, it’s bye, bye, metallic iPhone domination. That’s because the Note 4 is clearly meant to transition users from the old, ill-advised plastic-reliant design direction to a new approach, revolving around aluminum and possibly, other premium materials.

Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So yeah, the 6 Plus still looks a little more elegant and feels a little stronger than the GNote 4. Emphasis on little, as the half-metal/half-plastic Samsung spearhead is significantly shorter, at 153 mm (vs. 158). Outstanding engineering feat, given it also offers the larger usable screen real estate (5.7 vs. 5.5 inches).

And yes, the rear on the iPhone 6 Plus is decidedly sexy, but the bulging camera is a vexing blemish on an otherwise spotless chassis. Good for us.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – display duel

Sure, iFans, the Quad HD screen resolution on the Note 4 is a gimmick. Unlike your “Retina” iPad panels, which are all about real-life, naked-eye-noticeable image and video reproduction quality. Keep telling yourselves that. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to constantly remind yourselves 1 gig of RAM is plenty for a 2014 high-end smartphone.

GalaxyNote4

At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is Note 4’s display boasts 515 ppi pixel density, and the iPhone 6 Plus 401. So much win!

Processing speed and RAM smackdown

Early benchmarks show the new iPhones heavily outperforming their main Android-running rivals. Apple-friendly benchmarks, that is, like SunSpider or Kraken. Meanwhile, 3DMark, for instance, puts both the 6 and 6 Plus behind the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 in overall performance.

No Quadrant scores, no Vellamo and, of course, no way to compare any of the existing results to what the Note 4 can pull off.

snapdragon-805

Either way, we know benchmarks aren’t worth very much, and in real life, the 6 Plus and Note 4 are both beastly slabs. Perhaps the zippiest in the world, alongside maybe the LG G3. As always, we expect Apple to have invested thousands of man hours and nearly limitless resources in carefully optimizing every little line of software code, whereas Samsung has Qualcomm’s fastest SoC and a whopping 3 gigs of RAM to take care of business.

Granted, the 64-bit architecture of Apple’s A8 chip is impossible to ignore, and bound to offer up the 6 Plus an important advantage. Then again, the scanty 1 GB RAM is even impossibler (not a real word, I know) to ignore, giving back the overall edge to the Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Final verdict: Samsung wins.

Software, battery life and storage

Our love for all things Android is no big secret, and neither is our bias in favor of Google’s mobile OS. But even the most rabid droid fan has to admit iOS 8 looks pretty good. Clean as a whistle, very minimalistic and a wee bit more customizable than before.

iOS 8 vs KitKat

That said, pretty much everything iOS 8 can do, Android 4.4 KitKat does better. And the next version, L, likely on its way to the Note 4 by the end of the year, should further increase the smoothness gap. Multitasking, personality, versatility, even ease of use, L has it all, at least on paper.

Which brings us to the autonomy bout. Impossible to call at the moment, it’ll probably be a very evenly matched contest. Yes, the Note 4 does pack the larger cell (3,220 vs. 2,915 mAh), but it also comes with the bigger, higher-res, more power-demanding screen in tow. And possibly, the less frugal processor too.

Galaxy Note 4 back

Moving on, the storage battle would be close too… were it not for Cupertino’s aversion for external microSD card slots. Which once again makes Android look good. Really good.

Cameras, sensors and others

Don’t you even start. We don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple is the very best in the biz at optimizing software for better battery life, smoother performance and superior camera capabilities. But there’s only so much that can do for a mediocre 8 MP sensor-toting rear snapper.

For crying out loud, the main cam on the Note 4 sports twice the megapixel count, plus every single add-on the iPhone 6 Plus brings to the table: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash. And let’s not forget 2K video recording, which the iPhone can’t do.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-camera

As for selfie nuts, they’d better not give the 6 Plus a second thought, what with its sub-par 1.2 MP front shooter. The Note 4? It’s all about self-portraits, rocking a generous 3.7 MP sensor on the front and 1,080p video shooting support.

And now, for the grand finale. Both contenders tick the fingerprint scanner box, but only one the heart rate monitor category. And guess which one comes with a bundled S Pen and stylus support? How about a UV sensor?

Galaxy Note 4 UV sensor

Meanwhile, Apple is going on and on and on about NFC inclusion, a feature that’s been around in the Android universe for years. Including on mid-rangers.

Pricing and availability

If there’s one battle Apple wins without great resistance, it’s the availability fight. Good thing that’s something to build a successful war campaign on, not an atomic bomb. And clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have enough weapons to survive the war, let alone win it.

iPhone 6 line

Go ahead, buy your fancy, uber-hyped, underwhelming iPhones today, iSheep iFans, because we’ll have the last laugh come mid-October, when Note 4s start shipping. Prices? $300 with AT&T and Verizon contracts, available now on pre-order through Amazon, ditto on Sprint, and $700 or so outright.

Remember, the iPhone 6 Plus also goes for $300 and up, only their $300 variant sports half of Samsung’s $300 Note 3’s internal storage – 16 GB. Oh, look, the 6 Plus is down for the count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re done!

Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch, Motorola Moto 360: Android Wear info roundup

No more rumors, no more mysteries (well, except for the elusive Moto 360), no more questions and no more speculation. The first Android Wear smartwatches are here, are square, get used to it. Yeah, you too snarky haters in the back acting like you know better and would never touch a fugly wearable piece with a ten-foot pole.

Android-wear

Remember how rookie Android “smartphone” efforts looked back in the day? They were absolutely disgusting. So be sure to cut Samsung and LG designers some slack. They’re just starting to feel their target audience, and need a few months, one, maybe two years to deliver beauties on-par with, say, the Galaxy Note 3 or LG G3.

And granted, the Android Wear OS still screams “work in progress”. In a bad way. But need I remind you of Android 1.0, 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, heck, even 4.0 at the very beginning? Fret not, it ain’t going to take Google so long this time around to reach the smoothness, sheer simplicity and beauty of KitKat.

My guess is by version 2.0, 3.0, worst case scenario, Wear will have blossomed into this cohesive, sleek, powerful ecosystem of its own, separate of the Android smartphone experience yet in line with Big G’s overall direction.

Android-Wear-Watches

So you see, boarding the Android wearable bandwagon at this stage is an act of courage, a way for us all to support a bold initiative that’s perhaps a few years away from hitting maturity. But make no mistake, the future of tech is in projects like Wear. For now, let’s focus on the present and check out what the Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch and Motorola Moto 360 are all about:

Samsung Gear Live – everything you need to know

Price: $199.99

Availability: up for pre-orders on Google Play starting today, shipping July 7, coming to Amazon and Best Buy on July 7 too

Samsung Gear Live

Specs and features:

  • 1.63-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with 320 x 320 pixels resolution
  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 4 GB internal storage space
  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor
  • IP67 certification for dust and water resistance

Gear-Live-Product-Specifications

  • 300 mAh battery
  • Google Now, Google Voice, Google Maps, Gmail, Hangouts pre-loaded
  • 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9 mm dimensions; 59 grams weight
  • Color options: black and wine red
  • Compatibility with smartphones running Android 4.3 or up

Well, they’ve done it again. Shrewd Samsung played mind games with both their rivals and Android geeks, making it seem like they’ll be sitting a Wear round out when in fact they’ll be the ones to first ship a gadget with the fledgling OS pre-loaded. Beautifully done, Sammy.

True, if you ask me, the Gear Live is uglier than the G Watch and a lot uglier than the Moto 360. Also, it’s way too similar to Tizen-running second-gen Gears. But at the end of the day, the low price may carry more weight than the dubious design.

LG G Watch – information roundup

Price: $229

Availability: pre-orders live in 12 Play Store branches, including the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea and Japan; shipping starts July 7; coming soon to retailers in 27 additional markets (Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, etc., etc.)

LG-G-Watch

Specs and features:

  • 1.65-inch always-on LCD IPS panel with 280 x 280 pixels resolution
  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 chip
  • 512 MB RAM/4 GB storage
  • 400 mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0 support
  • Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass
  • IP67 certified for protection against water and dust

LG G Watch_lifestyle

  • 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95 mm dimensions; 63 grams weight
  • White gold and black titan paint jobs
  • 22 mm changeable strap
  • Compatible with Android 4.3 and up smartphones

So let me get this straight, LG. Aside from taking more than three months to get the G Watch ready, you’re asking 30 bucks north of Samsung for… 100 mAh extra battery juice? All while snubbing the gimmicky but useful for some heart rate monitor and, most importantly, offering a less crisp display with sub-par 280 x 280 pix res? Sorry to be so blunt, but are you on crack?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the G Watch is a smidge more elegant, at least in my book, but it’s both thicker and heavier than the Gear Live. Nuh-uh, this won’t stand, I’m sorry. Slash the price down to $200, maybe $180, and try again.

Motorola Moto 360 – enough with the secrecy already!

Price: probably $250. Probably.

Availability: “later this summer” on Google Play

moto-360

Specs and features:

  • Circular design
  • OLED screen (of some kind)
  • Sapphire glass protection (hopefully)
  • Compatible with Android 4.3 and up devices
  • ???

Okay, Google (get it?), I think we’ve been patient enough. I mean, we understand, it’s a lot more complicated to produce a round wearable piece, and so waiting until, say, August to see it go up for grabs isn’t a problem.

But waiting without knowing anything is. Throw us a bone, price tags, measurements, the CPU’s make and model, whatever. Oh, and make the prototype hands-on (wrist-on?) videos stop. They’re just too painful to watch.

Third-party Android Wear apps – the promising beginning of a beautiful platform

I’m sure you all know by now Android Wear is extremely Google Now-centric. Everything revolves around notifications and cards, plus, obviously, the rest of Google’s services: Maps, Gmail, Hangouts, etc.

Pinterest-AndroidWear

But a handful of base applications does not a solid OS make. Enter PayPal, Pinterest, Soundwave, Eat24, Allthecooks and Lyft, the first third-party apps developed specifically, or rather forked, to work on your wrist.

The neat thing is, once you synchronize a smartphone to an Android Wear smartwatch, the former automatically sends the latter the equivalents of apps installed on your handheld. As for the six mentioned above, they’re pretty straightforward but no doubt handy.

soundwave-android-wear

Paypal lets you, well, pay things and transfer money with your wrist, Pinterest notifies you when a previously pinned location is nearby, with Soundwave you can easily share music, Allthecooks is a neat little culinary assistant, Eat24 is dedicated to food delivery services, and Lyft can give you a lift in seconds.

So yeah, nothing spectacular, but baby steps in the right direction. Agreed? No? Disappointed with what Google showcased so far in terms of Android Wear software and hardware? Sound off your likes and dislikes below.

LG G3 need to know: final rumor recap and preview

LG far from reinvented the wheel when unveiling the funky-looking, slim-bezeled, rear physical button-toting G2 last summer, but somehow the gigantic 5.2 incher felt like the biggest mobile innovation in years.

LG-G3-rear

Sure, it nowhere near challenged Galaxy S4 or Note 3’s booming sales numbers. Yet it once and for all put LG on the map, building on the (mild) successes of the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Then came the equally as spectacular, cheaper Nexus 5 and, just like that, LG became Sammy’s main rival in the Android décor.

Forget HTC, forget Sony, forget Motorola. This is the battle right here. LG against Samsung. G3 against Galaxy S5. Probably, also against S5 Prime before long. But first things first, the actual, formal announcement. T minus 24 hours.

lg-g3-teaser

Proving it indeed has what it takes, the G3 has been making the rumor rounds constantly (as in almost every day) for the good part of the last two or three months. And no one’s bored. Or uninterested in the formality that is tomorrow’s unveil.

Instead, everyone wants to see it in the flesh, touch, handle, feel it and conclude if the S5 Prime is worth waiting for. Here’s exactly what to expect:

Design, build materials and dimensions

It’s odd, isn’t it? I’ve lost count of all of G3’s revealing photo shoots, including in press-friendly form, yet we’re still not sure if it’s full metal we’re dealing with, an aluminum-plastic blend of some kind, or plain old polycarbonate.

lg_g3_press

Whatever it is, it looks outstanding. Thin, elegant, distinguished, with a personal, unique identity and personality, no longer similar to Samsung flagships and unmistakable, even when compared to its predecessor.

Back to materials, plastic made to resemble metal is the safest bet. Or maybe plastic with actual metal on the sides. Dimensions? Incredibly enough, 146.3 mm long and 74.6 mm wide. At 5.5 inches of usable screen real estate. For contrast, the 5-inch HTC One M8 is 146.4 mm long and the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5 72.5 mm wide.

LG G3 Korea

Oh, and let’s not forget the wasp waist (8.9 mm thick), or the smoothly redesigned rear keys, seasoned with a one-of-a-kind laser focus camera sensor.

Display rumors

Rumors? What rumors? It’s a guarantee. The G3 sports a vibrant 5.5-inch LCD panel with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels resolution, aka Quad HD, or 2K. End of story.

LG G3 T-Mobile

CPU, RAM and cameras

Last we rounded up the speculation, we were still hoping for a Snapdragon 805 chip while fearing an S800. Ultimately, it looks like we’ll have to settle for what’s in between – an S801 with four cores, each clocked at 2.3 GHz.

LG G3 leak

Technically, that’s a tad less punchy than what the Galaxy S5 packs (a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801), but the G3 will no doubt up the memory ante, to 3 GB RAM. A 2 GB variant is also possible, in a combination with 16 GB built-in storage (the 3 GB model shall feature 32 GB of space).

As far as cameras go, I already slipped the biggest innovation. Laser auto focus. How exactly does it work? No idea, but LG will probably explain it over and over again, trying to make up for the fact the rear-facing camera’s megapixel count (13) is inferior to GS5’s (16) or Xperia Z2’s (20.7).

Front snapper? Not that it makes much of a difference, but apparently, a run-of-the-mill 2.1 MP sensor is in the cards.

Software, battery life and others

Pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat was obviously a guarantee right off the bat, but what’s interesting to see is exactly how much LG plans to customize and tweak vanilla KK. A few LG-specific features popped up in the rumor mill here and there, along with some of the UI modifications, yet all in all, I presume there’s more to come.

LG G3 widgets

More accessories too, in addition to Quick Circle cases and wireless charging docks, plus maybe a 2 TB microSD card. Wait, what? Sorry, I was dreaming with my eyes open and thinking out loud. Yes, the G3 might technically support 2 TB of external storage. But the most you can add nowadays is 128 gigs and that won’t change anytime soon.

What else? Ah, battery life. Rumor is G3’s cell will tip the scales at 3,000 mAh, 400 and 200 mAh north of M8 and S5’s tickers. But exactly as large as G2’s juicer, so I wouldn’t anticipate drastically improved autonomy. Maybe drastically damaged, due to the Quad HD display. Guess that’s one risk LG needed to take.

LG-QuickCircle-Case-for-G3

The good news is the battery will be removable. No confirmation on fingerprint recognition or water protection yet, so they’re automatically long shots, while a complex Dolby sound enhancement solution with 1 watt speaker is a must.

Pricing and availability

The “when” of the equation is, as usual, the last tidbit expected to break cover, although LG can’t afford to wait. Ideally, they’d launch the G3 immediately after its intro. But we don’t live in an ideal world, so at best, I assume the big guy will see daylight in late June. Worst case scenario, July.

What LG also can’t afford is raise the pricing bar too much. A premium compared to the G2 is a certainty, but let’s hope the Koreans will manage to keep outright costs below $700 stateside. $650 would be positively dreamy. As would $200 with 24-month Verizon, AT&T and Sprint contracts. Can they pull it off? Stay close and you’ll find out here first.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S prices revealed by Finnish retailer, stocks expected early June

As hard as Samsung might have tried to keep the Super AMOLED-boasting Galaxy Tab S pair under wraps prior to the June 12 “Galaxy Premiere” press event, the high-end slates stopped being a secret a long time ago.

Galaxy Tab S 10.5

And now the very last piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place, thanks to a reckless Northern European online retailer. Finland’s Multitronic let the pricing cat out of the bag earlier today, confirming Samsung indeed plans to charge extra for extra-crisp displays. Also, fingerprint recognition technology if the Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 will support it, as tipsters claimed.

Whatever the upgrades, the 8.4-inch Tab S is roughly €50 costlier than the “basic” Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. Namely, €449.90 in a Wi-Fi-only flavor, compared to €399. The gap pretty much stays the same as far as 4G-enabled variations are concerned, with the looming AMOLED bad boy evaluated at €563.90 and the “aging” Tab Pro priced at €519.

Galaxy Tab S Finland

Meanwhile, the larger 10.5-inch Tab S is poised to start at €563.90, a whopping €75 north of the Tab Pro 10.1’s valuation (€489). Bizarrely, the gap in this particular case shrinks for LTE models, divided by just €63 (€681.90 – €619).

Clearly, just because some obscure Finnish store pulls a few random numbers out of its behind, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re legit and set in stone. Particularly as Multitronic calls attention to shipping dates that make absolutely no sense.

June 5, guys, really? So before the Tab S duo actually breaks cover in an organized fashion? Highly, highly unlikely.

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Finland

But back to numbers, you must admit they look awfully plausible. Think about it. VAT and other taxes notwithstanding, they’d probably translate into $450, $550, $550 and $650 price tags stateside. All of which sound right to me. Not necessarily fair, but right given Sammy’s greed business sense.

Remember, both the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 are tipped to sport 2,560 x 1,600 pix res screens, octa-core Exynos 5420 chips, 3 GB RAM, 8 MP/2.1 MP cameras and Android 4.4 KitKat out the box. Who’s saving to buy one? Waiting for a Nexus 8 instead?

Via [Multitronic]

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 – price comparison (US, Canada, UK)

Equally as speedy, pretty much even in the build quality department and each featuring top-shelf audio, imaging, battery or software add-ons such as BoomSound, Dual Camera, Ultra Power Saving Mode or Air gestures, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and HTC’s One M8 are nearly impossible to separate on paper.

HTC-One-M8-vs-Galaxy-S5

Most reviewers say it’s incredibly hard to choose one or the other after getting in contact with them, so at the end of the day the epic battle for high-end Android supremacy this quarter, nay half a year may come down to availability and pricing.

Needless to point out Samsung is far superior advertising-wise, however HTC already managed to roll out the M8 ahead of the GS5, so if the Taiwanese can also position their flagship as the cost-friendly alternative for the odds-on favorite, they might well challenge the throne.

Samsung-Galaxy-S5-vs-One-M8

Could they pull it off? Only one way to find out. Scour the interwebs for the best HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5 deals available. Here’s what we dug up in US, Canada and UK:

US on-contract prices and release dates

Technically, our two contenders were bound to start things off on equal footing. But HTC sensed the danger almost instantaneously and shaved a cool $50 off M8’s price with select pacts in the blink of an eye. Thus, the 2014 One can now be purchased via Amazon at $150 as long as you don’t mind committing to lengthy 24-month Verizon or Sprint agreements.

A similar promotion is in full swing over at Best Buy, though the retailer offers just the Verizon M8 at $150. The Sprint and AT&T variants cost 50 clams north, as does the AT&T flavor on Amazon and through the carrier’s own retail network, both on and offline.

HTC M8 Amazon

Searching the ideal Easter present? Why not HTC One M8? Get two from Verizon, and the second is free. Full disclosure: two separate contracts need to be signed.

Beyond the few bucks Amazon and BB allow you to save when boarding the M8 bandwagon, the coolest thing is there are no lines, staggered deliveries or shipping delays, unlike with the GS5. Samsung’s bad boy is technically still on pre-order and the first units will be dispatched beginning Friday, April 11.

Galaxy S5 Amazon

Sprint and AT&T’s locked variants are $190 on Amazon, $200 via Best Buy with $10 gift cards, and $200 when purchased directly from the Now Network and Ma Bell, albeit the former can go as low as $0 for upgrading qualifying customers with Framily Plans.

Still, I reckon it’s point HTC here.

Galaxy S5 vs One M8 – US outright, unlocked pricing

Not a fan of contracts? Then it’s straight to T-Mobile for you. The “UnCarrier” has both smartphones at $0 down, or rather, it’s going to have them starting April 11. Yes, the M8 is bizarrely not around at T-Mo.

HTC M8 box

If coughing up half a dozen Benjamins at once ain’t a problem, Amazon, Best Buy, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and Negri Electronics are at your disposal. Here’s how their offers break down one by one:

Amazon: unlocked 3G-only Galaxy S5 – $775, shipping April 11; no-warranty Latin version – $745, in stock; no-warranty factory unlocked model – $750, in stock; off-contract Sprint version – $700; off-contract AT&T – $700.

Factory unlocked HTC One M8 with US warranty – $700 in grey, $704 in silver; M8 Developer Edition – $700, ships in 2 to 4 weeks; AT&T, Verizon, Sprint versions – $650

Best Buy: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Samsung Galaxy S5 outright variants – $750; No-contract MetroPCS with 4G LTE – $650

HTC One M8 for AT&T – $700; Verizon version – $750; for Sprint – $800

Galaxy S5 Verizon

AT&T: Samsung Galaxy S5 – $650; HTC M8 – $640

Sprint: Galaxy S5 – $650; One M8 – $650

Verizon: GS5 – $600; All New HTC One – $600

Negri Electronics: Unlocked Latin American Galaxy S5 models in white and black – $720.50 on pre-order

16 GB unlocked HTC One M8 in silver, gold and grey – $812.50 a pop (grey units in stock, silver and gold on pre-order)

Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 – UK prices

So many things to say, so little time to cover them all. Where to start? Let’s take a virtual trip down Amazon UK lane first. The SIM-free One M8 is £529.95 there (already discounted from £549), in both grey and silver. No gold? Bummer.

HTC M8 colors

Meanwhile, the GS5 is listed as coming on April 18 (i.e. next Friday), costing an extra 30 quid or so. Total price: £559.99 in black, blue and white contract-free.

Surprise, surprise, the S5 is cheaper with Clove than the M8, going for £522, including VAT. HTC’s giant? £534. How about Unlocked-Mobiles? Well, they do promise swift deliveries beginning April 10, but folks on tight budgets are likely to pick the in-stock M8. It’s £528.98 vs. £549.98, the GS5.

Alright, let’s do one last British online store. Expansys? Expansys it is. Like most of their competitors, they’re in a position to ship the HTC One M8, but not the GS5. The former is £550 in grey and silver, and the latter £560 in black, white, blue and gold. It looks like Samsung may need to rethink strategy before it’s too late.

galaxy-s5-colors

Oh, by the by, you can always score the two heavyweight title contenders with pacts on British shores paying nada upfront. Just remember plans might be fairly steep for the obligatory two years.

Canada pricing and availability

O Canada, how I wish I had better news for you vis-à-vis the GS5. Instead, all I can tell you is a bundle of carriers, Rogers, Bell and Telus included, are taking pre-orders, vowing to zippy deliveries around April 10. Pricing is equally as ominous, at $250 with contracts, compared to the One M8, which ships already and costs $230 on a 2-year term, or $700 outright.

HTC-One-M8-vs-Samsung-Galaxy-S5

It’s official, Samsung is losing this battle. Will the Koreans lose the war too? You tell us. Do you intend to get the M8 or GS5? Will you instead hold out for Sony’s Xperia Z2? Maybe LG’s G3? Google’s Nexus 6? Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4? So many options, huh?

Unlocked pricing of the Samsung Galaxy S5 revealed

Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is still over three weeks away from launch and has already gone up for pre-order in many regions. However, there wasn’t enough clarity on the pricing of the smartphone. While contract pricing doesn’t differ every year, it’s the unlocked pricing that makes all the difference, especially in global markets.

And today, the smartphone has been officially priced in Taiwan. According to a new report, the smartphone will cost NT$22,900 ($747) in the region revealing that it won’t go easy on the customers’ wallets. We can expect the handset to be priced similarly in other markets of the world when it breaks cover on the 11th of April. The pricing doesn’t surprise anyone considering the pattern observed over the last few years.

A recent survey suggested that the Galaxy S5 would be considerably cheaper in about three months after its launch, which might affect Samsung’s initial round of sales somewhat. The smartphone has already generated plenty of interest back in the U.S. with T-Mobile reportedly registering large amounts of pre-registrations for the handset.

Via: Digitimes

Pre order listings of the Sony Xperia Z2 reveal pricing details

Xperia Z2

Xperia Z2

Sony announced the Xperia Z2 flagship at the MWC event earlier yesterday following weeks of rumors. Interestingly, the smartphone has already gone up for pre order on Sony’s European online outlets along with a few third party retailers.

To begin with, the smartphone has been priced at £600 ($1,000) in the UK directly through Sony Mobile while local retailer Clove is offering the handset for £564 ($942).

The Dutch pricing of the smartphone ranges between €650 and €675 ($928), which is along expected lines. German customers will be able to get the smartphone for much cheaper at €600 ($825). However, if you live in France, Italy or Spain, you’re bound to be disappointed as the smartphone will cost as much as €700 ($962).

It is speculated that the smartphone will make its way to the U.S. via T-Mobile for an estimated off contract price of $600, although there’s no confirmation of this.

The Xperia Z2 packs a 5.2 inch 1080p IPS display, a 20.7 megapixel camera, a quad core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and Android 4.4 KitKat, so it ranks up among the best smartphones in the market. It is also water and dust resistant like every other Sony flagship from the past year.

Source: Sony Mobile, Clove UK

Via: GSM Arena