Samsung Galaxy S3 mini – what to expect?

We have seen the Samsung Galaxy S3 and we have argued over and over again about it being the best smart phone around. With its 4.8-inch screen, a gleaming oval design and a super strong processor, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is known for it’s value. Samsung has announced the release of  smaller android mobile named the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is nothing like the earlier Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of performance. It is a mid-range android device with a 4-inch screen and it’s packed with a slower CPU without 4G LTE capability so we wonder about the point of calling it a “mini” version of the S3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is just a tad smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S3, so, those hoping for a smaller Samsung Galaxy S3, might not get exactly what they wanted. The S Voice and DLNA sharing makes it different however, from other mid level android phones. The pricing of the phone wasn’t announced by Samsung but we can be sure it would be cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S3: which may be why it is referred to as a “mini” version.

Design

You know times have changed when a relatively high-powered smartphone with a 4-inch screen is known as “mini”. The Galaxy S3 mini looks like a slightly smaller Galaxy S3. It is slightly thicker, measuring 9.85mm, compared with the Galaxy S3’s 8.6mm.
image

The good news is that the mini is very light. The layout of the Galaxy S3 mini’s controls is similar to that of the Galaxy S3, but there are few notable hardware omissions such as the ambient light sensor and secondary microphone. Below the display you get the same three key capacitive menu, back buttons and a regular press home key. You will also find the earpiece, proximity sensor and a VGA front-facing camera for video-calls above the display. The omission of the ambient light sensor means that there’s no automatic brightness control for the Galaxy S3 mini. The volume levelers are located on the left side of the Galaxy S3 mini and on the right side there’s only a power key. I don’t think the Galaxy S3 mini will feature a dedicated camera key, since the original Galaxy S3 lacks one. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top of the phone while the microUSB port sits alongside the primary microphone at the bottom and is used for both data connections and charging. Please note that USB host and MHL are not supported. The 5 megapixel camera lens is located at the back of the phone. It has the LED flash and loudspeaker on it sides.
image

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini features a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen of WVGA resolution (800 x 480 pixels) and the pixel density clocks in at 233ppi. All in all, the Galaxy S3 mini display offers a more than decent image quality for a mid-range device. Colour separation is good and viewing angles are extremely wide.

Interface and Software

image

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is powered by android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the latest TouchWi user interface, dubbed Nature UX. It’s the premium combination that we saw on the S3 and the Galaxy Note II and it certainly will lift the stock android user experience. The mini features the tap and drag in any direction to unlock affair with ripples accompanied by water-drop sound as you drag your finger. The notification area offers quick toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, silent mode, screen rotation and  power saving. Since the mini’s screen can only fit in five toggles at a time, you can slide them sideways to reveal more functions -notifications, mobile data, Bluetooth, driving mode and sync.
image

The Samsung’s custom layer comes with lots of software extras, including photo-sharing features among networked phones and the excellent S Beam. There are other features in the Galaxy S3 mini like a lit screen when you glance at the camera and Digital living Network Alliance (DLNA) sharing that helps you transfer content like pictures and video between compatible devices.

Processor, Memory and Battery

The Samsung Galaxy mini S3 features a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor with a 1GB RAM clocked at 1GHz. The single-core Mali-400 GPU manages the phone’s graphics which is good news for the 1,500mAh battery. The Galaxy S3 mini comes in 8GB or 16GB storage options (expandable to 32GB via microSD). With a processor like this, the Galaxy S3 mini is expected to perform most ordinary duties without lag.

Gallery and Multimedia

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini comes with the default Jelly Bean Gallery, which has been treated to some TouchWiz flavor. It opens up in Albums view but you can choose to sort your pictures by location, Time, Person (photos with tagged faces) and Group.
image

The Gallery also support highly customizable slideshows with several effects to choose from, as well as customizable music and speed.
image

You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow. When you view a photo with people’s faces on it, the Galaxy S3 mini will try to detect them automatically. The Gallery also features social tag. This feature works when a face is recognized in a photo. After recognizing the person in the photo, it makes you see the person’s status message which will allow you to call or message them easily. Also, there’s Buddy Photo Share. This function allows photos to be easily and simultaneously shared with all your friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery.

The Galaxy S3 mini makes good use of the same TouchWiz – Cald music player. Equalizer presets are enabled (including a custom one) along with  Sound Alive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Music is sorted into various categories, but the most interesting one is called Music Square. This feature automatically rates a song as Joyful or Passionate, Calm or Exciting and place those songs on a Square. The Galaxy S3 mini’s player is also DLNA enabled.
image

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S3 mini has a 5 megapixel camera and can capture photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The Camera’s interface looks like that of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The video recording of the Galaxy S3 mini isn’t top notch since it manages a 720p video recording. The Frame rate is 30Fps, this will make the captured video smooth enough.

Web Browser and Connectivity

The Galaxy S3 mini is powered with a Jelly Bean version of the android browser. You also have options to download third party browser applications available at the Google Play Store. The Browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the two-finger tilt. Zoom. There’s obviously the usual bundles of radios as well, including 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and NFC, but for now, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini will only support HSPA 900/1900/2100 networks along with EDGE 850/900/1800/1900.

Conclusion

If you were expecting a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a smaller screen, this is certainly not it. The S3 mini’s hardware is far more modest than it’s “bigger” brother. There’s always a good side to every story; after all, it might be cheaper than the Galaxy S3. Apart from that, for a mid level android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini is a worthwhile pick.

Reference

Cnet and GSM arena

MOTOROLA RAZR i

Motorola announces the MOTOROLA RAZR i. This phone comes with a superfast intel atom processor. That’s not all, we also get a large 4.3-inch display screen (yes! bigger than the iphone 5)

Design

The design of MOTOLORA RAZR i is above par. Having an aluminium frame surrounding the screen and also a Kevlar back which has a soft touch giving you that comfort while holding the phone. The buttons are arranged and positioned well (from the power button found on the right edge to the volume levelers on the edge of the phone. Also a dedicated camara button) which is a norm for a smartpone. The MOTOROLA RAZR i is treated with a waterproof coating (Don’t go swiming with the phone!).

Screen

Ok, during the announcement of this phone, there were talks about its edge-to-edge screen. As mentioned ealier, the MOTOROLA RAZR. i has a 4.3-inch display screen which is made up of a Corning Gorilla glass surrounded by an aluminium frame. This frame protects the screen from scratches and scrapes when placed on a flat surface. The MOTOROLA RAZR i comes with a screen resolution of 540 x 960 pixels which is not as cool as its rivals having a screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (Samsung Galaxy S3 and LG Optimus 4X HD). All in all the display is still decent.

Processor

During the announcement of the MOTOROLA RAZR I, the processor grabed much of the headline story. The RAZR i is packed with an intel atom processor running at 2GHz which is blazingly fast. This processor is the fastest phone processor around. The only problem with the intel atom processor is application compatability. This is due to the fact that the intel chip is different from the ARM-based chip in terms of architechure. That means some apps (old apps) will not be compatable with the phone.

Interface

MOTOROLA RAZR i is powered by Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, which means you have access to more than 600,000 apps and games, millions of books and thousands of movies. You’ll also find lots and lots of features which comes with android 4.0 available for this phone. Motorola is currently working on an update to Android 4.1, Jelly Bean.

Camera

I would say the 8 megapixel camera of the RAZR i benefits from the super fast processor which starts well under a second! Also, there’s also a multi-shot mode that takes up to 10 shots in less than a second.
The key features of the MOTOROLA RAZR i:
– Slim Body
– 4.3-inch Screen
– 540 x 960 HD AMOLED screen
– 2GHz Intel Atom processor
– 8 Megapixel camera
– 10 shots per second camera
I’ll update you with more features as soon as the phone is in the market. Many thanks to Alex Wagner for the jpeg.
References:Trusted reviews

Tecno T1 Tech Review and Specifications

Tecno T1 : Tech – Specifications

T1 is the first smartphone from the Chinese based Mobile Phone manufacturer, Tecno. It sports the popular Android Operating System (O.S), giving you access to hundreds of thousands of applications. This device comes with the Ginger-Bread version of the O.S, which is considered by most to be the most successful and supported Android version till date. 

The OS comes with the default Gallery 3d picture viewer and stock android apps…

 
Tecno T1
Tecno T1

Package: 8/10

The package is the most attractive feature of the phone, it is filed with lots of accessories and souvenirs, The box contains 2 battery packs, a back pouch and a Tecno branded very beautiful bag. It also comes with a 3.5mm jack headphones, although with a very poor sound quality (“I know, I know it’s unusual of Tecno, we’ll get into its Technical specifications soon”).

Form and Design:  4/10

A sleek looking Candy bar phone, with a quality looking finish (“Best from Tecno, so far”). Although slightly bulkier than some of its contemporaries, it weight is far lighter than you can imagine by mere looking at it (“Almost dropped it, due to overestimating its weight”). Like its contemporaries, it has no physical button except the side volume levelers and camera button, and “Yeah” it does have the most used button of all smartphones, the top silver button located to the right at the top of the device.

HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE:           4/10

With all the above mentioned details, the hardware specification is where the T1 falters, well, it is understandable as it is an entry level phone with a price well suited for the mass market, it’s no surprise its hardware is lower than its contemporaries.
It comes with a 650 mhz ARM processor which is low for a 2012 device but quite descent for an average user but not okay for a gamer especially those that wear Gameloft tagged shirts 😉 , although 80% of all the average user application will run well but HD games, especially processor intensive ones will lag, BADLY!!! . The system’s memory is 256MB with only 200.75mb available for user applications which for its price range is understandable but not sufficient enough as applications may not hover for so long in the background while not in focus as long as newer ones are being opened (you know the lower your RAM the more violent your memory manager is).
It also includes an internal storage capacity of 170.12mb for applications, which is a little low for the rising size of applications on the market, it greatly limits the total number of applications you can have installed on the device, but I have seen phones from more popular brands with internal storage capacity lesser that T1’s while being more expensive.
On the bright side, the phone is built with a Bluetooth 3.0 support, WIFI, GPS, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, light sensor etc (full details below).

SOUND:               8/10

As expected, Tecno puts puts in so much effort into the sound production of their phones, the speakers are LOUD. The sound comes through a slit in the top left corner at the back of the device. Its inbuilt earpiece is unmatched, as calls are incredibly LOUD. Although the bundled hands-free is a let-down, poorest from Tecno so far. But all in all, call quality is superb as is the loud speaker’s quality.

Display and Camera:      5/10


320*480 (HVGA) resolution on a 3.5inch screen, display isn’t that bad although isn’t too poor either, 2 years ago this would have been a stunner but given the existence of the likes of #you-know-them it looks just ok. The touch is sensitive, very sensitive with multi-touch capability but, can be buggy at-times. Don’t know if it’s just a specific manufacturing mistake peculiar to the one I’m reviewing or all, it can get very buggy at times and cause actions that were not triggered. Like images pinching and un-pinching itself. The real cause of this, I am not so sure of yet, but all in all, screen is impressive for a phone of its class.
It features a 3MP camera with a bright flash support, camera quality is ok but way too average, judging by the quality of its 2012 contemporaries. For its price it’s OK ;), also shoots video with a maximum duration cap of 60 minutes.

Money Value: 5/10

Spotting Android 2.3.5, it comes preloaded with all the usual stock applications and widgets, Gallery 3d etc. Comes with a 4 screen/panel launcher. Its notification bar features a 3 panels of quick access widgets; Brightness, Screen-Timeout, Auto-Rotation,WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, Data Connection and the sound profiles(General, Silent, Meeting and Outdoor) and also spots 4 touch dock buttons and hardware FM radio support meaning you get more savings on your data as opposed to relying on on-line radio.
Lacks screenshot feature support from the power button and also lacks a system restart shortcut, although the features can be gotten from third party applications.
One of the strengths of T1 is the 2 simultaneous sims support but the lack of 3G/UMTS/HSDPA support is a real letdown.
th{ background-color:gray; } Network: Primary: 3MPX Secondary: VGA (640×480) Features: 5 E.V modes, 2 Scene Modes (Night, Auto), 3 Quality Modes (Super Fine , Fine, Norma), Colour Effects(Mono, Sepia, Negative, Sepia Blue, Sepia Green, 3EVs) Geotagging and upto 8x Digital Zoom. Video: Yes Rigntone:

OVERALL:  5.7

General
Network: GSM
Dimensions 109.9 x 60.6 x 13.4 mm
Style: Candy Bar
Battery: Li-Ion 1400 mAH (3.7V, 5.18Wh)
Released: 2012
GSM
Memory:
Internal: yes, 170.12MB (user accessible)
Externel: yes, T-Flash (SDCARD: 8GB included)
RAM: 256MB ( 200.75MB available for user apps)
DISPLAY:
Resolution: HVGA (480×320 pixels), 3.5” LCD
CAMERA
Primary: 3MPX
Secondary: VGA (640×480)
Features: :5 EV modes, 2 Scene Modes (Night, Auto), 3 Quality Modes (Super Fine , Fine, Norma), Colour Effects(Mono, Sepia, Negative, Sepia Blue, Sepia Green, 3EVs) Geotagging and upto 8x Digital Zoom.
Video: Yes
SOUND
MP3 and Polyphonic
Vibration: Yes
Loudspeaker: Yes
Handsfree: Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack
DATA AND CONNECTIVITY
GPRS: Yes
EDGE: Unconfirmed
UMTS/HSDPA NO
4G / WIMAX: NO
WIFI: YES
BLUETOOTH: YES, V3.0
USB: YES. microUSB v2.0
FEATURES
OS: Android: 2.3.5 (Baseband: v1.03 Kernel 2.6.35.7-perf)
CPU: 650 MHz (Yusu Tecno T1)
MESSAGING: SMS ( threaded view ), MMS, E-mail, IM
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gravity Sensor, Light Sensor, Linear Acceleration, Magnetic Field Sensor, Orientation Sensor, Proximity Sensor and Rotation Vector Sensor.
GPS: Yes
FM Radio: Yes
OTHER FEATURES
Livewallpaper: Yes
Led Indicator: Yes
Automatic Brightness: Yes

Price: 18,000 NAIRA

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2 N7100 – Big…is better!

The Galaxy Note 2 looks mostly like a lager Samsung Galaxy S3, which is acceptable considering that the Galaxy S3 is a great device. Described as a significant leap forward, the device’s breakneck speeds will easily supplement user experience with an ehanced S Pen functionality and apps. Compared to the Galaxy Note 1, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 brings twice the processing power, bigger and better battery and screen.
image

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm which makes it slightly taller and slimmer than the Note 1. Considering the size of the Note 2, it’s reasonably easy to fit in a pocket! The weight has remained virtually unchanged at 180g compared to the Note1’s 178g. The Galaxy Note 2 comes with a 5.5 inch Screen, so, as expected, the screen takes up most of the front panel. On top is the earpiece, with the proximity sensor and the 1.9 MP front-facing camera to the right. On the left side of the earpiece, you find the ambient light sensor and the status LED. From the settings you can choose the types of events that light up the LED, either when charging the phone or during low battery, missed calls and during voice recording (only if the screen is off). By using ssuitable apps from the Play Store or from developers, you can add more events or customize the colours for the preset events.

Below the screen, sits the typical physical hardware Home key sandwiched between the capacitive Menu and Back keys.

image

The volume rocker is on the left side and the Power or Lock key is on the right side of the device. As with the S3, the Note 2 lacks a dedicated camera key. There’s a secondary microphone along with the 3.5mm audio jack found on the top of the Note 2. The secondary mic helps in noise reduction and stereo sound recording

image

At the bottom, sits the primary mic (which is directly opposite the secondaary mic) alongside the microUSB port for charging and data connections. It’s MHL-enabled, so, HD video through an HDMI adapter is allowed. It also supports USB Host. The stylus slot is at the bottom too, with the top of the S Pen curved to fit the shape of the Note 2

image

On the back, you’ll find the 8 megapixel camera lens, LED flash and the loudspeaker near the bottom.

image

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a 5.5 inch Super AMOLED screen which comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection. For a screen this big, the resolution had to be altered to accommodate the change. Compared to the Note 1 which has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, the Note 2’s 5.5 inch Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. One would think getting rid of that 80-pixel-wide strip would result in a poor screen quality. With the pixels density slightly lowered to 267ppi (Note 1’s screen 〓 285ppi), the screen quality should be poor. But with the PenTile matrix gone, the new matrix, however, more than makes up and the perceivable sharpness of the screen is actually higher.

S Pen

image

Samsung did a good job making the S Pen feel more like its name. It feels more like a pen and less like a stylus. The S Pen is about 11.3cm in length and 7mm in thickness. The button on the S Pen now has a ribbed pattern, making it easier to locate by touch.
image

The Galaxy Note 2 can detect when you pull the S Pen out and brings you a contextual page, which offers shortcuts of your recent S Notes. You can also snap a portion of the screen with the S Pen and use it in an app like the email, S Note e.t.c. The S Note can be launched by double tapping with the S Pen while holding down it’s button. The Note 2’s redesigned S Pen can sense 1,024 levels of pressure, that’s four times the original (Note 1). This means you can press lightly or hard for different results. Since there’s nothing linking the S Pen and the Galaxy Note 2, it uses it’s accelerometer to detect if you’ve walked away from the S Pen, making it to notify you if the stylus isn’t in its slot. There’s no need worrying about false alerts since this feature is finley balanced. It will only alert you if you’ve truely misplaced the S Pen and walked away from it!

S Voice and Google Now

S Voice has been Samsung’s answer to Siri before Google came out with its own solution. S Voice can do things like, search the web, make calls, send texts (which Android natively supports and so does Vlingo), but you can also use it instead of the notification area toggles, answer or reject incoming calls, start the camera and take a photo, control the music player and FM radio and stop or snooze alarms all with voice commands.
S Voice on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can accept hand-written queries too, which is great for noisy environments. S Voice has plenty of options. It’s also a tool for quickly looking up facts. It’s powered by Wolfram Alpha (which handles some of Siri’s answers too). It has an enormous database covering topics ranging from Culture and Media to Physics. S Voice can also be used as a calculator.
Android Jelly Bean also gives you the fantastic Google Now. It’s a great assistant app that learns from you as you use it. The idea is that it accesses all parts of your life but then helps you out. So, for example, it tells you what the traffic is like when you’re about to head to work, home or somewhere else.It displays the information as ‘cards’ and even pops bits of important info (such as the weather) in your notification bar. Siri trumps Google Now when it comes to voice actions. Sending a text or an email via Google Now is possible, but it’s not as intuitive, fun or easy as it is with Siri. They both have their strengths and weakness here – but we’d say Google Now complements, rather than rules the platform, and falls below Siri in a lot of ways. One big advantage of Google’s Jelly Bean is that the voice typing functionality doesn’t require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard – be it the Messaging app or a note taking app – without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre- downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack). Making voice typing available offline also made it faster as it’s not dependent on your connection. What’s even more impressive is that the transition hasn’t cost it anything in terms of accuracy.

For more on interface and software, processor, memory and battery, phone book, messaging and text input, gallery and multi media, camera, web and connectivity click on this link