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Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge vs Galaxy Note 4/Note Edge – Specs comparison

Samsung has sure come a long way in just 12 months or so. The “more of the same” program came to a depressing end with the bitter disappointment that was known as the Galaxy S5, and the Note 4, Note Edge, GS6 and S6 Edge mark the dawn of a new era.

Galaxy S6 vs Note 4

 

An era of innovation (don’t laugh), radical redesigns and, market analysts project, colossal financial gains. Above profits though, the mobile overlords seem concentrated on delivering a superior user experience, which you can feel, touch and bask in sans a number of counterproductive past bells and whistles.

As we found in S6 and S6 Edge’s head-to-head comparison against HTC’s One M9, there’s no such thing as a perfect phone. But clearly, the four that come the closest are Samsung’s latest “compact” and phablet-sized flagship duos.

Galaxy-S6-Edge-Galaxy-S6

Footprint notwithstanding, a certain target audience overlap is unavoidable, and so, it’s important to clarify to our power user readers what are the essential differences between these giants, and each one’s fortes. Here goes:

Galaxy Note 4 vs Note Edge vs Galaxy S6 vs S6 Edge – pricing and availability

The prime distinction here is more than obvious. Two of our heavyweight contenders can be purchased and delivered in a matter of hours, while the other two are still on standby. Slated for a global debut on April 10, the S6s might be a little hard to find at first. And yes, they’ll be pricier than the Note 4 nowadays.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Specifically, $700 and $850 respectively outright (or so we presume), and $200 and $300 with carrier agreements. We mean, of course, “entry-level” S6/S6 Edge configurations, packing 32 GB internal storage space and no expansion possibility.

A factory unlocked international variant of the GNote 4 with octa-core Exynos 5 punch costs $619 on Amazon in white, $624 in gold, and $632 in black. Swapping the Exynos for a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC and tying yourselves to 24-month pacts will lead to much lower price points, namely $200 with Sprint, or $230 at Verizon and AT&T.

Galaxy Note Edge vs S6 Edge

Finally, the Note Edge remains quite the extravagant buy – $750 and up factory unlocked.

Design and build quality comparison

They say appearances can be deceiving, but not as far as Samsung’s ultra-high-end quartet is concerned. These bad boys look special, and are special. They’re all elegant and robust, with metal frames across the board, soft-textured plastic back covers on the Notes, and glossy glass rears for S6s. Point S for style and Gorilla Glass muscle, and points S6 Edge and Note Edge for, well, edges.

Galaxy S6 S6 Edge back

Which is handsomer? The S6 Edge by a landslide, as it prolongs the central screen on both sides, keeping things glamorous and subtle with uber-slim secondary panel strips chiefly meant to improve aesthetics, not productivity.

Another point for S wasp waists (6.8 – 7 mm vs 8.3 – 8.5 mm), and a gold star for lightweight skeletons. Sure, the S6 and S6 Edge are a lot smaller, at 5.1 compared to 5.7 inches, but the weight gap is staggering nonetheless: 132 grams for the S6 Edge, 138 for the standard S6, 174 and 176 grams for the Note Edge and Note 4 respectively.

Display and cameras

Before sinking our teeth into the four’s non-construction-related specifications, let us highlight the S6 and S6 Edge on one side and Note 4 and Note Edge on the other are architecturally identical.

Galaxy Note Edge

That said, coincidentally, screen resolution is the same all around. Quad HD, 2K or 2,560 x 1,440 pixels x 4. Of course, the S6 pair has the potential to produce much sharper images and video than the Note dyad, courtesy of superior pixel density: 577 vs 515 ppi. The technology used is Super AMOLED everywhere, and Gorilla Glass protection has leapt from generation 3 to 4 between last fall and now.

The main photographic unit on the S6 may look like more of the same, as it clones Note 4’s 16 megapixel count, but in reality, it should be faster activated and slightly better for low-light performance. Besides, as the reviews start coming in, HTC One M9’s 20 MP “beast” is apparently no match for S6’s 16 MP “featherweight”.

Galaxy S6 camera

Selfie addicts, rejoice, and prepare your prettiest duckfaces, which the new, revised 5 MP front snappers promise to capture in great detail. Surely, greater than the 3.7 MP secondary cams on the Note 4 and Note Edge.

Processors, RAM and batteries

Snapdragon 805, Exynos 5433 or Exynos 7420? While it may feel premature to call this, we’ll go ahead and jump to conclusions. The 7420 is number one. It’s 64-bit-capable, 14 nm-based, octa-core, clocked at 1.5 and 2.1 GHz, and it’s terrific both for power-demanding and more casual tasks.

Exynos 7 Octa

Paired with 3 GB random-access memory, like Note 4’s S805 and Exynos 5, this can become a Speedy Gonzalez in need or slow down and save juice. Which you’ll be obligated to do pretty often, since the 2,600 mAh cell sounds a little on the skinny side. At least compared to Note 4’s 3,220 mAh behemoth, and Note Edge’s hearty 3,000 mAh ticker.

Wireless charging is however one of S6’s strongest suits, with fast charging also reportedly ameliorated.

Sensors, storage, connectivity and others

No S Pen, no microSD support, sealed battery and no noticeable connectivity upgrade. Good thing we’re so impressed with those design innovations and the CPU revision, because otherwise the Note 4 and Note Edge would have come out on top overall.

The expandable storage advantage alone makes the aging phablets pretty smart purchases to this day. True, the S6 and S6 Edge offer up to 128 gigs of space locally, or twice as much as the most generous Note Edge and more than thrice the only Note 4 config out and about.

Galaxy S6 Edge fingerprint

Connectivity-wise, there wasn’t much the GS6 could have added in the mix. You have your advanced LTE options, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and microUSB 2.0. Also, a heart rate monitor and fingerprint recognition tech perfectly matching Note 4’s sensor range.

On the bright side (for future S6 buyers), the “next big thing” replaces the glitchy swipe fingerprint system with a much smoother (on paper) touch-reliant solution.

Software and conclusions

Technically equal in the eyes of Google, the almighty god of software support, the four rivals/siblings differ in subtle but relevant ways. The S6 and S6 Edge shall see daylight with pre-loaded Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, while the Note 4 and Note Edge, launched on KitKat, are slowly being brought up to date.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

More importantly, a good deal of TouchWiz bloatware is removed on the former duo, with a resulting UI that’s not only cleaner and more minimalistic, but also smoother and zippier. Bye-bye, clutter, bye-bye, unnecessary “proprietary add-ons”.

Wrapping up, we probably don’t need to point out the Galaxy S6 isn’t to the Note 4 what it is to the S5. It’s just marginally better, plus a lot more compact, and it merely improves a few areas. But look at the S6 Edge. It’s so jaw-droppingly beautiful! You can’t look away now, can you?

LG G3 vs HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – Specs comparison

Samsung took the wraps off its “next big thing” in February, HTC evened the score a month later by showcasing and then releasing the One M8, and Sony… well, Sony tried to keep up with the big fishes, but ultimately drowned in a sea of manufacturing woes and distribution hostility.

LG G3 vs One M8 vs Galaxy S5

Meanwhile, LG kept an unusually low profile given the sudden boost of popularity earned after Nexus 5 and G2’s launches, observed and waited for the perfect opportunity to enter the high-end mobile arena with another heavyweight contender.

Did their patience and care for detail pay off? Is the LG G3 too late to the H1 2014 top-notch smartphone party? Was your patience a smart call or would you have been better served boarding the One M8 or Galaxy S5 bandwagons early? Let’s see:

LG G3 vs HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – design and build quality comparison

I know what you’re thinking. Aluminum trumps plastic and fake metal (read also plastic) any day of the week, so why are we even having this discussion? Well, because maybe it’s not so simple. As it happens, G3’s back cover has a thin layer of robust alloy under the chintzy polycarbonate to make it stronger, more durable and, perhaps, handsomer.

LG G3 vs One M8

Admit it, the G3 is one handsome son of a gun. Incredibly compact too. Although it incorporates extra usable screen real estate compared to both its rivals (5.5 inches vs 5.0 and 5.1), it’s a measly 4 mm taller than the GS5 and, get this, just as tall as the M8. Also, thinner (8.9 vs 9.4 mm). The S5 is even slimmer, at 8.1 mm, but Samsung has no excuses for its all-plastic exterior and no redeeming build qualities.

Sure, the GS5 is the only of the three to resist contact against water, but strictly from an aesthetical standpoint, the G3 and One M8 are neck and neck way ahead of Samsung’s spearhead.

Display face-off

Right, here’s where things get tricky. On paper, the M8 and S5 have nothing on the G3 in terms of screen resolution. 1,920 x 1,080 pixels may have been state-of-the-art a year ago, but now’s the time of Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440).

LG G3 Galaxy S5 One M8

The tricky part is determining if Quad HD actually makes a difference. A palpable, perceptible, real difference. Personally, I’m not convinced it does. But at the end of the day, at least LG freed up some space with uber-slim bezels and rear physical buttons and made the panel larger without impacting on the overall footprint. So you see, the G3 wins no matter how you spin the Full HD vs 2K debate.

Processing speed, RAM and cameras

LG execs were surprisingly straightforward vis-à-vis their rationale to go plastic, not metal (it’s all about the moneys), and they’ll no doubt advocate the Quad HD cause for as long as it takes. But why choose Snapdragon 801 when 805 is also available? That, they’ll have a hard time explaining and defending.

LG G3

I mean, sure, the 2.5 GHz quad-core SoC is enough to tie the S5 in raw power and slightly trump the M8. And boosted by 3 GB RAM, it should deliver superior overall performance to both. But only by a whisker. Besides, the 2 GB RAM config, which we’re hearing might see daylight on certain US networks, is theoretically S5’s match. Just its match.

Camera-wise, the G3, like the One M8, comes with an innovative, never-before-seen add-on. Laser auto focus. Sounds neat and all, but we’re afraid it may be a worthless gimmick in the end, not unlike the “Duo Camera” setup.

lg-g3-laser-autofocus

Oh, well, at least the actual shooter packs 13 megapixels, not four, plus upgraded optical image stabilization. So it clearly thrashes the M8’s Ultrapixel “powerhouse”, but does the OIS system weigh enough to make up for the 3 MP deficit against the S5? Impossible to tell so soon. For the time being, let’s call this a draw.

As for you selfie addicts, it’s no debate. The M8 has the best front-facing cam, a 5 MP unit, whereas the G3 and GS5 keep things fairly modest, courtesy of 2 MP duckface snappers.

Software and battery life

With pre-loaded KitKat across the board, the software battle comes down to UIs and Android skins. It’s TouchWiz vs Sense vs whatever LG calls its user interface nowadays. Is it still Optimus? No matter, the important thing is it’s flatter, simpler and less intrusive than ever before.

LG G3-2

All while bringing a couple of valuable goodies to the table. Like Smart Notice and Smart Security. Granted, that’s nothing compared to S5’s bundle of health-oriented apps, security functions, air gestures and Ultra Power Saving Mode. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Speaking of power and batteries, that particular duel is wide open, with G3’s juicer tipping the scales at 3,000 mAh, 200 mAh north of S5’s cell and 400 of M8’s ticker. Remember, both Samsung and HTC went the extra mile to optimize autonomy, especially during the final stage of discharge, while G3’s battery needs to handle loads of extra pixels. Bottom line, the three are neck and neck here too. Or so they seem.

Audio, sensors, storage and pricing

Look, G3’s Dolby mobile sound enhancement system, with a 1 Watt speaker, is cool and all, but M8’s BoomSound audio is hands down the best solution of its kind in today’s mobile landscape. As far as sensors go, LG kept things as simple as possible, giving the cold shoulder to S5’s built-in fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor.

HTC M8 BoomSound

Then there’s the storage bout, where I’m glad to see all three contenders offer 16 and 32 gig options with expansion capabilities via microSD. Finally, some on-contract G3 price tags remain up in the air, though it’s obvious the cost gap between the 5.5-inch giant and its adversaries will be nonexistent.

So I guess it’s time for conclusions. Answers. Let’s start from the beginning. Was LG wise to put off the introduction? Nope, sorry, I don’t see it. Is the G3 overall better than the M8 and GS5? Barely. It’s phenomenally compact, slim and sleek, punchy as hell, the display is a beaut and so is the camera, but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. A wow element. Something to make us not want to wait for Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Prime.

LG G3 swings by Indonesian FCC as D855 , FHD display still on the table

And so the plot thickens… again. The LG G3 plot, which we thought was only going to become thinner from here on out. But alas, that’s not the case, as Postel, Indonesia’s FCC counterpart, has given its blessing to a D885 G3 version possibly headed to European and Asian markets.

LG G3

Remember, LG’s next-gen flagship device is known on the inside as the D850, D850, LS990 and VS985, each label designating a model conceived for a different US carrier. Namely, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, in order of appearance.

With me so far? Good, because I’m about to lose you. A series of G3 User Agent Profiles have surfaced these past few weeks, revealing conflicting information on the Android top dog’s specs. At the end of the day, we were ready to bet UA Profs hinting at Full HD screens and Snapdragon 800 chips were fake or markers of early prototypes, but a new one has cropped up.

This lists the D885 as carrying a 1,920 x 1,080 pix res panel, although back in the day, it suggested a superior 2,560 x 1,440 (Quad HD, or 2K) pixel count was in the cards. Now, there are two possible explanations for this unforeseen adjustment.

Either LG tested Quad HD and decided to play it safe with 1,080p once more, since the upgrade comes with multiple critical downsides (battery life drawbacks, mostly), or the Koreans are playing us, trying their best to keep the mystery going.

LG G3 event

Either way, Snapdragon 800 is out. S801 is plausible, and S805 desirable. Likewise with 3 and 4 GB RAM respectively. Meanwhile, the rear-facing camera will boast a 13 or 16 MP sensor with optical image stabilization and 4K video capture, and Android 4.4 KitKat shall run the software show, aided by “advanced personalization features” exclusive to LG.

Back to the Postel certification, which dates from April 22, it could be a sign the LG G3 is slated for an early June commercial release around those parts. Stateside, it’s probably going to land a little later (by the end of June nevertheless), while the formal introduction is definitely scheduled for May 27.

An interesting tidbit also came to our attention when browsing LG’s Q1 financial report, as the OEM predicted “higher revenues in the second quarter with the release of the flagship LG G3 smartphone”. Not that we had any doubts, but I guess the handheld’s market name is now set in stone.

As are redesigned physical rear buttons, razor-thin front bezels and a sensor that’s either a fingerprint recognition mechanism or heart rate monitor a la the Galaxy S5. All in all, I’m psyched out of my mind about the LG G3 no matter if it comes with Full HD or 2K display resolution. Who’s with me?

Via [Postel], [LG], [Eye on Mobility], [Android Central]

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 wishlist and things to expect

The first-gen was an experiment, the second-gen an instant classic, the third-gen a refinement of an instant classic and all-around force of nature, so obviously Samsung has a lot riding on the success of the forthcoming Galaxy Note 4.

Galaxy Note 3 S Pen

Will the pressure get the better of the latest entry in a franchise that practically invented the word “phablet”? Could Galaxy S5 Prime development, if real, hinder Samsung from focusing on the Note 4? Are we in for a full-on upgrade or minor rehash?

I wish I had answers, but unfortunately it’s too early. Way too early, as the Note 3 is barely seven months old. Sure, a precocious Note 4 launch is always a possibility, yet again, if the S5 Prime exists, this high-end portfolio expansion has to take a toll on manufacturing cycles.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-concept

Bottom line, the best case scenario calls for a September introduction in keeping with tradition. But forget timetables. We’re far more interested in what Samsung has in mind as design, hardware and software updates and tweaks and here are a few scenarios based on existent speculation, history and, well, hunches:

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the cautious scenario

Even the most pessimistic Android geeks have to be envisioning next fall’s S Pen-toting big kahuna as packing 4 GB of RAM since the technology is all ready and, while not quite desperately needed, certainly welcomed.

Design-wise, if Sammy decides to play it safe… one more time, the Galaxy Note 4 shall rock a plastic exterior, maybe with a perforated back pattern a la the GS5 or a faux leather rear unchanged from last year. Where might innovation enter the picture? Remember, this is the cautious, safe outline, so it doesn’t call for innovation across the board.

samsung-ram

And yeah, it sounds like potentially half-assed work and a great disappointment in the making, but the S5 is hardly innovative from an aesthetical standpoint and I don’t hear buyers complaining that much.

Moving on, the least we can expect from the GNote 4 in processing speed is to ditch its predecessor’s Snapdragon 800 chip for an ever so slightly punchier 805 clocked at 2.7 GHz. Likewise, the rear camera will definitely get a megapixel bump, at worse to 16 MP.

Galaxy Note 4 concept

What else? Oh, yeah, the footprint could stay the same or grow by around 0.2 inches, water and dust resistance is clearly a must, an on-board 128 GB storage option may be added in the mix, microSD support isn’t going anywhere, and battery capacity will increase to 3,500 mAh. Worst case scenario.

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the optimistic version

The great strides made between Note and Note 2 releases and subsequently Note 2 and Note 3 allow Samsung to put the brakes on Note 4 development a little. But only a little. As such, a combination of our realistic and optimistic sides predicts the Koreans will look to take one or two gambles come September.

Galaxy Note 4 concept-2

The safest bet is of course a shift in build materials we’ve been anticipating ever since… 2012, with aluminum replacing plastic at long last. Then again, one of the very few rumors already floating around vis-à-vis the Note 4, and a credible one at that, says the jumbo-sized smartphone may sport a so-called “three-sided” display.

Aside from the obvious advantage, of extra screen real estate and the ability to illustrate short messages on the handheld’s sides, that entails the first-time using of flexible Youm panels on a wide scale. Naturally, we don’t expect a fully bendable device right off the bat, however the plastic’s malleability should help it handle drops with extra elegance and strength.

Also sitting somewhere between realism and optimism, we have a 20 MP camera with optical image stabilization. And a purer copy of Android, probably 5.0 or 4.5, with less Touchwiz-specific “bloatware”. Speaking about software, air gestures need to be improved, S Health as well and the user interface… nah, it’s okay the way it is.

Galaxy Note 4 wishlist – the mind-boggling fanciful scenario

Okay, it’s time to let our imaginations run wild. Were Samsung to go crazy in the forthcoming months, throw all caution aside and decide to design the ultimate ultra-high-end Android, how would that look?

Fully flexible, bendable, curved panel, along with a stretchy battery and internals to result in an ensemble you can literally roll up your sleeve? We’re probably years away from seeing anything resembling such a futuristic gizmo, but we can always dream.

galaxy-note-3

Ultra HD display resolution, aka 3,840 x 2,160 pixels? That’s skipping a logical step, namely Quad HD, or 2,560 x 1,440, but again, there’s no one stopping us from daydreaming. 64-bit processor? It’s not as bonkers, unless we’re talking one of Qualcomm’s explosive Snapdragon 808 or 810 CPUs, expected out in “H1 2015”.

By the by, should Samsung decide to make the move from 32 to 64-bit, what’s its best option? That’s a toughie. The Snapdragon 610 and 615 will roll out for sampling in Q3, but they’re not exactly high-enders. Which only leaves the Koreans a homebrewed Exynos concoction, or an Intel-made SoC. Snapdragon 805 it is then.

Back to our fantasies, maybe the Galaxy Note 4 will incorporate both a fingerprint sensor and another biometric security feature – eye scanning technology. And maybe, just maybe solve the nasty Android top dog battery life conundrum somehow.

samsung-eye-scanner

Want to hear something crazier? How about a 41 MP camera with OIS to rival Nokia’s PureView shooters? Octa-core 64-bit power? 6 inches of bezel-less glass? 6.5? Alright, I’ll take a breather now, but if you can think of anything else, feel free to sound off below.

LG G3 for Sprint shows up in User Agent Profile with Quad HD display, 3 GB RAM

And just like that, LG’s next-gen flagship device, probably dubbed G3, is as good as confirmed. What, you didn’t really think the creators of the sensational G2 would sit idly by while Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Sony’s Xperia Z2 and HTC’s One (M8) got all the media and user attention, did you?

LG-G2

True, they already rolled out a top-tier handheld in 2014, however it’s obvious the G Pro 2 was always envisioned as something to help pass the time until the real spearhead came to light. Like a prelude. An appetizer to precede the big, juicy steak.

And here she is, detailed quite thoroughly by a User Agent Profile sighted on Sprint’s website after a bit of digging. Of course, we can’t be sure this is G2’s legitimate heir, though the model number leaves little room to doubt.

LS990 is the logical follow-up to LS980, the alias of the G2 available on America’s Now Network. And no, there’s no way this LS990 is a G Pro 2 or another half-assed spin-off, since display resolution is listed at, wait for it, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.

LG LS990

Otherwise known as Quad HD, QHD or 2K, the breathtaking pixel count has so far been adopted by Oppo’s Find 7 and the Vivo XPlay 3S. No Samsung, no Sony, no HTC. I know, it’s overkill, but then again, what if isn’t?

What if LG finds a way to put the extra pixels to use? Their screens have always been amazing, and if there’s anyone capable of pulling Quad HD off splendidly, it’s them. The UA Prof makes no clear mention of size, yet if the G3 is to up the res ante beyond Full HD, I reckon they’ll go over the 5-inch mark too. Maybe stop at 5.5 inches.

Meanwhile, on the raw speed side of things, 3 GB RAM appears to be taking care of multitasking business, and a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974AA of processing power. Wait, that can’t be right. MSM8974AA is Snapdragon 800’s designation.

LS990

And with a few months still left to LG G3’s introduction, you’d think at worse a Snapdragon 801 would run the hardware show. Maybe an S805. Or who knows, one of those unique homebrewed Odin thingies.

Bottom line, I presume it’s a typo. Or hope, hope sums it up better. The camera sensors don’t look so hot on paper either, at 13 and 2.1 megapixels, so it’s entirely possible this G3 variant is a (very) early, unfinished, unrefined prototype.

The last few tidbits the UA Prof reveals is Sprint’s LG LS990 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, offers 32 GB built-in storage and a microSD card slot for 64 GB expansion. That sounds legit, but for everything else I’d expect further confirmation. Probably soon to come.

Via [Sprint]

Google Nexus 6 wishlist and things to expect

The Android landscape has been taken over by the spring fever, as Samsung’s Galaxy S5, HTC’s One (M8) and Sony’s Xperia Z2 lock horns with each other disputing the high-end mobile crown. But a feeling of slight unease and anticipation for something yet to come makes many a power user reluctant to settle.

Nexus 5 back

Settle, yeah, I said it, and stand by it. All those three flagships, while clearly the best of the best nowadays, feel like transitional devices. Something to help pass the time until the real spearheads of 2014 roll out.

You know, the Galaxy S5 Prime, LG G3, Galaxy Note 4 and, last but not least, Google Nexus 6. Thus, as eager as we looked forward to spring, autumn becomes the season to anticipate, save money for and depend on for a new phase of the mobile revolution. Heck, maybe a new revolution entirely.

nexus6concept

And sure, Nexus gadgets continue to be deemed by some ideal for hardcore geeks, not so much for the masses. But my gut tells me N5’s sequel will once and for all alter that distorted view. How? If you’re listening, Google, here’s what I think would seal the deal for non-geeks while keeping the existent fan base intact:

Keep your eyes on the prize price

In other words, don’t overdo it. A number of upgrades are to be employed, of course, but no one expects the Nexus 6 to edge out, say, the GNote 4 in raw speed. It’d be nice, sure, however if you need to sacrifice affordability in order to do it… don’t.

Nexus 5

The market is over flooded with “top-tier” smartphones that look the same, pack identical sets of specifications and cost an arm and a leg, so no reason to follow the crowd. Be smart, Big G, be original, keep it simple, keep it cheap. $400 outright, tops.

Don’t let Apple slip through your fingers

Just when we thought the iPhones were down, Cupertino baffled us all by launching the world’s first 64-bit-powered handheld. Let’s not beat it around the bush, Google, you didn’t see that coming. But now you know better than to underestimate Apple ever again.

Nexus 6 concept

Bottom line, be ready for anything and everything, including an iPhablet release in the summer, and do your thing while keeping a close eye on Tim Cook and the gang. Learn from their mistakes, polish their strong suits, and the sky is your limit.

Namely, get a 64-bit-supporting Android 5.0 copy done by August, fit a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip inside Nexus 6’s hood, along with at least 3 GB RAM. I realize all that would come at a cost, but you can cut corners elsewhere.

Aluminum unibody? Fingerprint sensor? Iris recognition? Quad HD display? No, thanks

Look, Google, the Nexus 6 doesn’t need to be fancy. Forget revolutionary or groundbreaking. Or, rather, forget revolutionary in the conventional sense. You can start a revolution opposing trends as much as following or initiating them.

Personally, I’d love, love, love it if HTC was invited back in the Nexus game and the N6 would resemble the One (M8) aesthetically, with a beautiful all-metal chassis. But is it the wise thing to do? Don’t think so.

HTC Nexus 6

Designing and producing metal gizmos is time-consuming and money-grabbing and, if the N6 is to take over the mainstream mobile world, Google needs to manufacture millions of units fast and cheap. Period. Besides, was there anything inherently wrong with N5’s design or build quality? In short, no.

Meanwhile, upping the display resolution ante to Quad HD, or adding bells and whistles such as fingerprint or iris recognition in the mix would make even less sense as long as Mountain View targets a sub-$400 price point.

nexus6-concept

Also, a quick wake up call. Quad HD ain’t a real, palpable, beneficial upgrade. It’s a worthless gimmick. That goes double for the ultra-hyped finger and iris sensors.

Energy is the future

Show of hands, who’s sick and tired of having to plug their phones in every frigging evening to get them through the next day? Better yet, who carries around their chargers everywhere they go fearing these little wickedly fast computers could yield under the pressures of quad-core chips, Full HD displays, etc., etc. any minute?

Nexus X

Everybody? Then why don’t Google, LG, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Apple, someone get it through their thick skulls already people want autonomy, not spec wars? Endurance, not Quad HD resolution. And don’t tell us you can’t pull it off. You can, you just don’t want to.

But maybe the Nexus 6… Now that would be an ideal way to usher in a new revolution. The age of the super-battery phones. We’ll work on the name.

The devil is in the detail

Last year’s Nexus 5 was an outstanding slab of silicon, with an incredible bang for buck factor, stunning design and solid hardware. Was it perfect? They never are. But besides the weak battery, LG and Google didn’t mess up any major features.

nexus-6-concept

Instead, they got a few minor details wrong. For one thing, where’s Verizon’s N5? You do know Big Red is the nation’s largest wireless provider, eh, Google? 105 million potential customers you lost with that stunt. Don’t let it happen again.

Also, I get this is somewhat against your policies and whatnot, but you’d show a lot of flexibility, boldness and initiative if you’d just pack a microSD card slot on the Nexus 6. Alternatively, maybe offer versions with 64 and 128 GB on-board storage, though that’s clearly not the same thing.

Nexus 5 camera

Finally, camera. This is one of the departments you can probably afford to cut a few corners, but not too many. Don’t even think of ditching optical image stabilization, be sure to bump up the sensor to 13 megapixels and, oh, bring 4K video recording to the table.

Got all that, Google? Good, now get cracking and make the Nexus 6 legendary. Purists and light Android users will flock to the Play Store come October. Or September. On second third thought, make it August. Who’s with me?

Galaxy S5 variant (SM-G906S) with Quad HD display, Snapdragon 805 chip spotted online

Hope you didn’t really trust JK Shin’s claims of no “premium” Samsung Galaxy S5 variant being in the pipeline, did you?

The statements reeked of desperation to keep some sort of mystery going vis-à-vis a device everyone knew existed six months before they should have, and now there’s confirmation an ultra-high-end GS5 with Quad HD display, 3 GB RAM and quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor is indeed in the works.

Galaxy-S5-Prime

Well, confirmation might be a bit of a stretch, but when’s the last time GFX Bench supplied false information? Exactly, the benchmark database is rock-solid, and so we have no reason to doubt the legitimacy of SM-G906S’ revealed specs.

Running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the handheld that’s clearly still in testing and thus may not roll out until, say, June crams the uber-hyped so-called 2K resolution, otherwise known as Quad HD or QHD, into a 5.2-inch piece of Super AMOLED glass.

The resulting pixel density, 564 ppi, is jaw-dropping, and can’t even be rivaled by the 2K Oppo Find 7, as the recently unveiled Chinese phone accommodates a larger 5.5-inch screen. Hence, its ppi stands at 534. Still mind-blowing, but if it’s a spec war you want, then let’s have it all the way.

As far as processing power goes, the SM-G906S, which may or may not be branded as the Galaxy S5 Prime, crushes the Find 7 and any other top-shelf gizmo around, packing a chip that’s not even in circulation yet: a quad-core Snapdragon 805.

Samsung SM-G906S

Paired with a state-of-the-art Adreno 420 GPU, the CPU is oddly clocked at merely 2.5 GHz, not the 2.7 GHz we know it’s capable of under certain circumstances. Moving on, though it seemed the stage was all set for mobile devices to make the move to 4 GB RAM, the S5 Prime only ties the Note 3 in that particular department, carrying 3 gigs of memory.

That’s on par with Sony’s Xperia Z2 and a 50 percent boost from the original Galaxy S5. What else? Well, 32 GB built-in storage is apparently the standard now, which could signal a microSD card slot omission. Why would Samsung ditch storage expansion options? To get rid of plastic and finally deliver that all-metal Galaxy we’ve been fantasizing about, silly.

Of course, it’s way too early to jump to conclusions build material-wise, especially as all we have is circumstantial evidence. What’s certain (and a tad disappointing) is the SM-G906S won’t upgrade S5’s 16 MP rear-facing camera. Or the 2 MP front snapper. Wait, why is there no mention of 4K video recording?

Hmm, let’s hope it’s a typo, oversight, something to do with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime being in the experimental stages of testing. By the by, the 3D graphics performance doesn’t look great… yet, probably due to unrefined software and hardware, as well as the system having to deal with a colossal pixel count.

Via [GFX Bench]

HTC One Plus, Sony Xperia Z2, LG G3: Samsung Galaxy S5’s Fiercest Rivals?

So the Samsung Galaxy S5 is definitely coming soon. February, March, April, whenever, it’s crystal clear people will wait for it if they’ll be asked to, or rampage stores to buy it early if the timing shall command it.

samsung-galaxy-s5-concept

But is the Android high-end landscape faced with another year of striking Samsung monopoly, or is someone going to challenge the crown for once? And who could that someone be? Currently plunging HTC with a Phoenix-like rise-from-the-ashes effort driven by cheesy Iron Man marketing?

Maybe always dark horse Sony, aided by the Western carriers and retailers that have so far thrown more roadblocks in its rise to fame than anything. Or how about Google’s new darling, LG, turning the page to a fresh, happier chapter in the company’s existence, not dominated by lousy software support and manufacturing woes anymore?

HTC-Sony-Samsung-LG

As a fan of good underdog stories, I’ll admit I’m rooting for all these Samsung competitors to at least enliven the arena a little, which they can do with the upcoming One Plus, Xperia Z2 and G3. Let’s see what tricks the triad may have up its sleeve, and, as objectively as possible, what are their odds of truly succeeding:

HTC One Plus (aka One+, aka M8)

Why to fear it

If Samsung ultimately doesn’t go off the beaten path and chooses plastic as the primary build material for the S5 (it could still happen, mind you), the One Plus, like its predecessor, shall rely on “premium” design as the main argument against a monopoly of its rival.

HTC-M8-concept

Not even the most rabid Samsung fans can deny HTC’s designers are some of the best in the business, yet looks aren’t everything. So the “M8” needs to learn from One’s mistakes, ditch the UltraPixel cam (or at least upgrade it), make its way around the world quicker and earlier, and find at least one more department aside from aesthetics to top the S5.

It can be battery life, screen resolution, sound, connectivity, sensors, whatever. But it needs to clearly edge out its opponent somewhere.

How it can be defeated

Traditionally, Samsung can count on HTC for hindering its own chances of success, and I’m afraid 2014 won’t be an exception to the rule. Apparently, the One+ is nearly guaranteed to sport a 1,080p display, UltraPixel snapper and Snapdragon 800 CPU, in which case there should be no contest between it and the Quad HD, OIS and S805/Exynos 6-toting S5.

HTC-M8-concept-2

What it all depends on

In one word, marketing. And no, I don’t mean celebrity endorsements. Downey Jr. is cool and all, but his fee would be better invested in billboards, TV commercials and so on. The more, the bigger, the brighter, the better.

HTC-Robert-Downey-Jr

Sony Xperia Z2

Why to fear it

We’re getting conflicting reports as to what to expect from Z1’s follow-up and when, so it’s hard to tell if it’ll be a genuine menace. Hopefully, Sony doesn’t intend to roll out a mere rehash of its current flagship this spring and leave the full-on sequel for the fall. Oh, how foolish that would be.

sony-xperia-z2

Assuming that’s not the case, the main reason future Sony high-enders might be threatening is the Japanese pay attention to the ensemble first and foremost, rounding up the best tech they can supply us with in all departments, from display to processing speed and cameras. You hear that, HTC with your crappy UltraPixel shooter?

How it can be defeated

Sony’s US carrier relations are gradually warming up, yet it still seems a stretch to expect the Z2 (Z1 Plus?) on the big four: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Also, timing is key, as for instance, the Z1 has barely landed on Magenta last week, roughly four months after its official announcement. So in a nutshell, availability should be the number one concern for the Xperia makers.

Sony_Xperia_Z2_leak

What it all depends on

Guess I already answered that question: availability, timing and whether or not a full-fledged Z1 successor is in the cards for a Q2 intro, at the latest.

LG G3

Why to fear it

LG could easily snatch the “most improved Android OEM” award for 2013, making great waves with the incredibly cheap and solid Nexus 5, dazzling G2 and even the G Pad 8.3, which is on paper possibly the greatest iPad mini contender around.

LG-G3-concept

Unfortunately, they may have used up too many resources on the G2 beaut, so if a G3 is indeed imminent (which is far from certain right now), I wouldn’t expect it to look very different from its ancestor.

But hey, even if it replicates G2’s design to the letter, adding octa-core Odin oomph, an extra gig or two of RAM and moar pixels in the mix, I’d consider it a threat. A big one, since, unlike Sony, LG has no problem in getting major US carriers to subsidize its spearheads.

How it can be defeated

Provided LG plays all its cards right and drops enough dough on advertising, the G3 has everything it takes to make Galaxy S5’s life a living hell. Only as weird as it may sound, it’ll probably not be enough. Samsung’s name, its reputation and track record are so solid and its marketing juggernaut so… juggernauty, it would take a miracle and/or severe strategic mistakes on Samsung’s part to help the G3 prevail.

LG G2

What it all depends on

Let’s try to look at it from a different angle. Can the G3, as stunning as it may be, knock out the S5 in sales and popularity? Nope. Can it come close? Maybe, but for that, LG will require extreme attentiveness to detail, including things indirectly related to the G3 (software support for older devices), a mighty advertising campaign, and the spending of more money they’ll probably make off total sales in 2014.

You know what they say, you have to spend money to earn money and, in order to defeat Samsung, you have to use their game, their tools, their plays. Game on!