Archives for

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

This week’s best deals on phones, tabs, wearables and accessories : August 10 – 16

As the back to school season draws near (or revs up, depending on who you ask), students, parents and faculty nationwide enter this state of unproductive frenzy, where the quest for the ideal education and work tools seems never-ending.

back-to-school

We’ve all been there. Just as one settles on the “perfect” new smartphone, tablet, laptop or whatever, something “more perfect” comes up. Cheaper, more productive, handsomer or simply newer. You can’t catch a break if you constantly put off a purchase decision, especially with Black Friday and Christmas deals on the horizon, so it’s best to treat the process as if you would remove a Band Aid.

Just do it already, and then move on. Technically, you’ve still got around a month to go until school’s in. But the sooner you pick your favorite Amazon bargain, the sooner the torment ends. The same goes for folks uninvolved in the academic system, who are randomly in the market for an affordable Android-powered or compatible handheld, tablet, smartwatch, fitness tracker or accessory.

This week’s best Android smartphone deals

 

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge – $689 factory unlocked in white

Galaxy Note Edge

At first glance, the curved 5.6-inch phablet is too extravagant for the masses. At second… nothing really changes. The truth is, it’s still outrageously expensive. But it’s cheaper than ever before, and it’s worth keeping an eye on after the looming debut of the S6 Edge+.

It’ll no doubt get a hefty price cut, while the dual-curved S6 Edge+ is unlikely to cost a penny under $800. In case you need us to jog your memory regarding the Note Edge, let’s bring up the super-sharp 2,560 x 1,600 pix res AMOLED screen, muscular Snapdragon 805 SoC, plentiful 3 GB RAM and 3,000 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – $524 in pink

This one goes out chiefly to parents of schoolgirls, who’ve long lost touch of their daughters’ fashion and gadget preferences, but are willing to make an effort. Pink never goes out of style, friends and readers, and the GNote 4 is big, practical, swanky and… economical enough to check all the boxes required to qualify for a back-to-school must-buy title.

BLU Studio X – $79 unlocked in a variety of colors

BLU Studio X

Not everyone can afford flagship Samsungs every fall, but for a fraction of the price, the Studio X is a fairly decent replacement. It’s coated in black, white, blue, gold or pink, so you can make it your own, and the quality – price ratio is nearly unbeatable, with Lollipop software, quad-core power, an 8 MP LED flash rear cam and 720p 5-inch display in the mix.

HTC Desire 610 – $120

Another robust budget-friendly proposition, the Desire 610 caters to hardcore audiophiles with BoomSound speakers and provides the promise of a respected household brand and excellent build quality. Otherwise, it’s not a worthy contender for the Studio X or second-gen Motorola Moto G.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini – starting at $286

The age of diminutive “hero” phones may be fading, as the GS6 is yet to receive a Mini spin-off. Of course, Sony remains committed to compact powerhouses, and in its own way, LG wants very much to make flagship designs accessible.

Galaxy S5 Mini

Samsung? For the foreseeable future, you’ll have to make do with the 720p, fingerprint-recognizing, waterproof GS5 Mini. Which, come to think of it, isn’t half bad at sub-$300, quad-core Exynos chip, 1.5 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, microSD support and all.

Tablet steals for the week

 

LG G Pad 7.0 – $109.99

Compared to other slates in the price range, the 7-inch G Pad is quite sharp (1,280 x 800 pixels), punchy (quad Snapdragon 400), lightweight (293 grams), long-lasting (4,000 mAh battery), and last but not least, silky smooth as far as software goes (Android 5.0 Lollipop).

LG G Pad 7.0 AT&T GSM unlocked – $146

LG G Pad 7.0

The same exact tab as above, only further endowed with 4G LTE connectivity and capable of accommodating twice as much data internally (16 gigs in total). Be careful, it may prove addictive for a young first-time user, so boundaries need strong enforcement. Homework first, on-the-go web browsing second.

Huawei MediaPad T1 3G unlocked – $164.99

Not as speedy as AT&T’s G Pad when connected to the web, the T1 supports voice calls and is constructed out of aircraft grade aluminum for unrivaled durability. Also, it runs up to 10 hours between charges in continuous video playback. Neat!

Smartwatches and fitness trackers on the cheap

 

Sony SmartWatch 3 – $169

Sony SmartWatch 3

Likely due for a refresh soon, this somewhat crude Android Wear piece offers standalone GPS support and an array of sensors dedicated to tracking the owner’s every move. It’s half smartwatch, half fitness band, really, and if you disregard the design, it brings the best of the two worlds together.

LG G Watch – $99 certified refurbished

It’s practically ancient by smartwatch standards, fugly and unqualified to sport Wi-Fi on its own. But boy, it’s dirt-cheap, even if pre-owned, and about as zippy as a $300 Watch Urbane, packing Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 heat.

Jawbone Up2 – $79.99 in black or white

Jawbone Up2

In an ideal world, we’d never, ever recommend the Up2 over its big brother. Everything about the Up3 is better. Everything, save for retail costs, that is, given the Up2 is half as cheap. At 80 bucks, it definitely brings enough to the table, including Smart Coach fitness insights, a 7-day battery, splash-proof anodized aluminum case, very subtle overall design and Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility.

Mobile accessories promotions

 

Anker PowerPort Qi wireless charger – $15.99

Detailed in our recent roundup of best Android-enabled wireless chargers, charging pads and docks, the PowerPort continues to cost a measly $16, down from its list price of $59.99. Granted, it was never worth 60 bucks, but it’s clearly a bargain at $15.99, with convenient LED indicator lights, Temperature Control and a power-efficient idle mode fighting energy wasting.

Modern Portable selfie stick – $12.99

Modern Portable selfie stick

It looks… a little less tacky than most selfie wands out there, it’s extendable up to 3.5 feet and adjustable to fit “almost any smartphone” in the world. Personally, I still hate it, but guess it could be a nice, thoughtful, low-cost back to school gift. If you maybe bundle a brand-new smartphone in, you can be a hero once the September melancholy kicks in.

SoundBlock wireless Bluetooth stereo speaker – $42

It’s wire-free, produces premium sound out of a Bluetooth 3.0 and up smartphone, and it’s shaped… like a block. The SoundBlock in a nutshell, with Bass Enhance technology the only other detail worth mentioning.

Plantronics M165 Marque 2 wireless Bluetooth headset – $28.98 (52 percent off)

Plantronics M165

Capable of taking hands-free tech to the next level, with voice recognition, and equipped with dual microphones for noise reduction, the headset is held in the highest regard by over 1,500 Amazon customers. Specifically, it’s got a 4.2 star review average. Enough said.

SanDisk Ultra 64GB Class 10 micro SDXC memory card with adapter – $22.99

Where do all the photos and selfies and Vines go when a phone’s on-board storage can’t fit them all? Either to the cloud, or a microSD card with up to 48MB/s read speed. Go on, choose the latter, it’s convenient and cheap, albeit somewhat old-fashioned.

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?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3 – Specs comparison

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come. Samsung has thrown its hat in the high-end phablet ring once again, and LG is in trouble. Not that Sammy wasn’t well-represented already in the jumbo-sized smartphone supremacy battle.

Galaxy Note 4 vs LG G3

Unsurprisingly, its Galaxy Note 3 aged more than gracefully, likely keeping the G3 threat at bay thanks to a well-oiled advertising machine that chugs along unperturbed by a reported dip in overall Galaxy sales.

But it’s perhaps the same dip that convinced the makers of the mostly underwhelming GS5 they needed to bring their aesthetical A game to the “Unpacking” of the Galaxy Note 4 in addition to the traditional software and hardware improvements.

Which they certainly did, albeit haters are still gonna hate, fueled by Samsung’s questionable mix of premium aluminum and chintzy plastic on Note 4’s construction and the limited use of the curved side display on the Note Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Regardless, this semi-aluminum beaut has more than enough pizazz to give the LG G3 a run for its money, and hopefully, make Apple’s hotly anticipated “iPhablet” intro feel redundant and utterly useless. For now, let’s explore in great detail all the ways the Galaxy Note 4 is superior to the G3:

Design and build quality duel – a no contest

Bet you were just about ready to lose hope of ever hearing this: Samsung’s flagship is one of the best-looking, awesomest built mobile devices around. HTC’s One M8 may be the only rival capable of holding a candle to it, but the all-metal bad boy doesn’t have the screen real estate, resolution or raw power to otherwise go for Note 4’s jugular.

Galaxy Note 4 LG G3 back

Meanwhile, the G3 isn’t ugly, not in the least, and the microscopic bezels, wasp waist and rear physical buttons partly keep its chances of ultimately prevailing alive. Only no matter how you spin it, metal beats plastic. Even metal frames in a combination with a faux leather (read plastic) back cover.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. LG G3 – display showdown

Gimmick or no gimmick, Quad HD display resolution is about to become the norm for upper tier Androids. And yes, we have reason to believe Sony will itself go down the same route as early as H1 2015.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-vs-LG-G3

Back to our spec wars, it’s tough to pick a winner here, as both heavyweights sport amazing 2,560 x 1,440 pixel counts. Since the G3 is 0.2 inches smaller, its ppi is slightly greater, at 534 (vs. 515). But Samsung uses Super AMOLED technology in lieu of LCD, and besides, a bigger panel is an upside for many.

Verdict: draw

Processing speed, RAM and storage

Blame it on release timing, but the LG G3 can’t possibly keep up with the GNote 4 in power-demanding tasks despite packing the beefiest CPU at the time of its debut. In the meantime, Snapdragon 801’s sequel, the higher clocked S805, became available, and Sammy took full advantage.

64-bit

That said, it’s a smidge disappointing the Qualcomm-based 32-bit Note 4 version, which US carriers among others will be scoring, isn’t ready for the next step in mobile computing. The Exynos flavor, however, is, thanks to a brand spanking new 5433 unit built on 64-bit architecture and rocking eight cores, four at 1.9 GHz and four at 1.3. Let Android L come.

Moving on, the G3 and Note 4 are deadlocked in RAM and storage, each offering 3 gigs of random-access memory, 16 and 32 GB space options and external microSD expansion possibilities. Wait, come to think of it, LG narrowly edges this one out, as it can accommodate up to 128 gigs of external storage, double Note 4’s maximum capacity.

Software and battery life face-off

4.4 KitKat is a necessity, nay, a guarantee on high-enders and even Android mid-rangers nowadays, so naturally, there’s nothing to separate our two title contenders there. Unfortunately for LG, their skin applied on top of the stock Google-powered mobile OS is really a featherweight next to TouchWiz.

Galaxy-Note-4-Battery

And yes, it’s a little less intrusive, but to hell with purism, as Sammy’s add-ons and optimizations so obviously improve the user experience. Fast charging, S Pen-dedicated apps, fitness and health tracking functions, camera effects, presets, detection systems and so on and so forth, they’re all part of the great Galaxy Note adventure.

Ultra Power Saving Mode above all. Speaking of, Note 4’s juicer might not be heavily larger than G3’s, at 3,220 mAh (vs. 3,000), but we fully expect it to deliver better autonomy. It’s yet another department where Samsung excels these days.

Cameras, sensors and accessories

Although still incapable of competing in the same league as Nokia’s PureView snappers, or Sony’s G Lens imaging monsters, Note 4’s rear-facing camera is a major upgrade over Note 3 or S5’s counterparts. And not just in the number of megapixels.

Don’t get me wrong, 16 MP is a lot, but what makes this cam exquisite is the optical image stabilization system (finally!), the ISO control, HDR mode and all the other modes, scenes and effects. Also, 4K video recording.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-vs-lg-g3-cameras

G3’s main shooter is itself adorned with OIS, however at 13 megapixels, it’s really no rival for Note 4’s 16 MP bad boy. Ditto as far as selfie-friendly front cams are concerned, with Samsung trumping LG 3.7 to 2.1 MP.

And the best is yet to come. From the GNote 4, that is, which stands out from the crowd, G3 included, not only with S Pen support, but also Gear VR compatibility, a built-in heart rate monitor and fingerprint recognition sensor.

Samsung Gear VR

No fancy monitors or scanners on the LG G3, and no virtual reality transforming capabilities, which once and for all seal the fate of this not-so-evenly-matched duel. The Note 4 is the best, so scr…, um, forget the rest.

Availability and pricing

This may seem weird after the 1,000 words spilled to make the G3 look like a pushover opposite today’s (and tomorrow’s) phablet champion, but I’d still recommend LG’s spearhead to a number of mobile tech consumers.

Namely, those who can’t afford or don’t want to cough up $300 with two-year contracts, or $800 outright for the Note 4. Also, those unwilling to wait a few weeks, maybe a month or two. More importantly, those who aren’t fixated on always owning the very best of the best gizmos.

LG G3

Fit the description? Then know the G3 starts at $79.99 on Amazon with Verizon pacts, $99.99 on Sprint or AT&T, and goes for as little as $525, yes, $525 in a factory unlocked variant. Happy shopping to you, and happy… waiting to future owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Either way, you’re blessed.