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Posts tagged ‘Samsung’

30
Aug

Samsung launches first Exynos chip with all radios built in


Samsung has revealed a new chip that could have a ripple effect on its high-end smartphones, and will make IoT devices and smartphones for developing markets faster, slimmer and cheaper. The quad-core 7570 is the first Exynos chip to have all wireless tech, including Cat.4 LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, FM and GNSS (GPS), built in to a single chip. It has 70 percent more performance and uses 30 percent less battery power than its predecessor, with everything squeezed into a 20 percent smaller package.

The chip can also handle signal processing for up to 8-megapixel front and 13-megapixel back cameras, Full HD video, and a WXGA screen (1,366 x 768 resolution). Samsung was able to pack all that in by using 14-nanometer manufacturing for the first time on a budget chip. So far, that’s been reserved for its higher-end processors, including the top-of-the-line Exynos 8890.

Though the latest chip isn’t that interesting, performance-wise, it may have a ripple effect on the high-end market. While Exynos chips like the 8890 have similar performance to rival Snapdragon models, they have limited LTE and CDMA (3G) options. That’s mainly why it still uses Qualcomm chips in US versions of its flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7 models. If it can squeeze more radio options into next-gen flagship processors, though, it may be able to wean itself off of its rival’s tech.

In addition, Google wants $50 Android One smartphones for the developing world, but as we found out, there are a lot of compromises to building one at that price. Samsung’s Exynos 7570 might not go into devices that cheap, but it shows that packing in more functionality via smaller transistors is likely the best way to build cheap phones that are still decent.

Source: Samsung

30
Aug

What to expect at this year’s IFA


IFA, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade shows, starts this week in Berlin. It’s not quite as big as CES, but it can be a good insight into what lies ahead in the holiday shopping season. IFA is often the place where companies announce washing machines and kitchen appliances, but there’s usually plenty of phones, wearables, PCs and TVs too. Here’s what we expect to see at IFA this year:

Smartphones and tablets

Samsung used to make IFA the home for its annual Note announcements, but that changed last year. 2016 marks the second year in a row the company opted to launch the newest Note, as well as the latest Gear VR, at their own Unpacked event. That doesn’t mean Samsung won’t have anything to show at IFA, but it likely won’t have any phones on the docket.

Still, IFA won’t be completely bereft of mobile news. Sony has made a habit of revising its Xperia lineup at IFA and we expect to see more of that this time around. We’ve heard tales of an Xperia X Compact, which appears to be a smaller version of the Xperia X Performance. Leaked specs have pointed to a 13-megapixel rear camera, 4GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor as well as 32GB of internal storage. Seeing as it’s a “Compact” model, we also expect a 4.7 inch display with full HD resolution.

Moving on to other mobile events, Huawei’s September 1st event invitation entices us to “Defy Expectations” with what looks like the curved edge of either a phone or a tablet. Though ASUS announced the ZenFone 3 series at Computex, it could unveil a mid-tier offering at IFA. ZTE, which already showed off the Axon 7 and the Zmax Pro earlier this year, could have more to say about Project CSX, its unique crowdsourced handset. Nubia, a ZTE sub-brand, is also holding an event of its very own, which likely means we’ll see one or two new phones there as well.

Plus, just because Samsung has already shown its hand as far as phones go, doesn’t mean that we won’t spy any new tablets. Rumors point to a possible Galaxy Tab S3, the successor to last year’s Galaxy Tab S2. There could also be a new tablet from Lenovo with a “new kind of intuitive keyboard,” if this brief peek at Lenovo’s IFA 2016 event is to be believed.

Wearables and other accessories

Much more than just phones and tablets, IFA is becoming a bit of a wearables show. Samsung already made a not-too-subtle hint that its first event in Berlin will focus on the Gear S3. The invitation has a watch face design on it as well as the words “Talk About 3” and “Gear.” There are also rumors that there’ll be three versions of the S3: The Classic, the Explorer and the Frontier. The latter two will supposedly focus on fitness, with various sensors like an altimeter and a barometer.

We could see other companies refresh their Android Wear offerings too. Huawei hasn’t updated its premium Watch wearable since last year and ASUS’ ZenWatch 2 could use a refresh as well. On the simpler side of the wearable spectrum, Fitbit has already announced the sequels to the Flex and the Charge, which we’ll see at IFA this week. It’ll also be interesting to see if Nokia-owned Withings will have anything to show — an update to the Activite is a long-time coming after all.

We could see other companies update their Android Wear offerings too. Huawei hasn’t updated its premium Watch wearable since last year and ASUS’ ZenWatch 2 could use a refresh as well. On the simpler side of the wearable spectrum, Fitbit has already announced the sequels to the Flex and the Charge, which we’ll see at IFA this week. It’ll also be interesting to see if Nokia-owned Withings will have anything to show — an update to the Activite is a long-time coming.

Aside from the Xperia phone, Sony will probably also give us a closer look at the Xperia Eye, a lifelogging camera you wear around your neck, plus the Xperia Ear, a Bluetooth headset that looks a lot like Moto’s Hint.

Everything else

Aside from the usual phones and wearables, we’ll also likely see a bevy of new 4K and 8K televisions from the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG. New laptops are also on the horizon; Acer’s press conference invitation shows what looks like a profile of an extremely thin notebook and Lenovo might surprise us with yet another Yoga laptop or two. As with so many trade shows this year, we also expect to see the odd robot or drone on the show floor.

Last but not least, we have to mention virtual reality. 2016 is said to be the year VR goes mainstream, and we could see more evidence of that at IFA. We’ve already seen a sneak peek at what looks like an ASUS VR headset and Huawei has promised that it would be making a Gear VR competitor too.

As always, there will probably be products at IFA that we don’t expect as well. We’ll be liveblogging the Samsung mobile event on August 31st at 12pm ET so stay tuned for that and keep your eyes glued to the site for more news out of Berlin.

30
Aug

The bottom line: Our quick verdict on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7


Samsung’s enormous, pen-toting Galaxy Note was something of a curiosity when the original came out five years ago — unwieldy and built for a niche audience. Since then, big phones have become the norm, and the Note line in particular has become ever more comfortable to hold. The new Note 7 is surprisingly easy to grasp one-handed, despite its 5.7-inch screen — not to mention well built and attractively designed with fast performance, long battery life and a top-notch camera.

Even if you choose to disregard the pen features, then, this is still a nearly perfect handset. In fact, one of our biggest complaints has little to do with the device itself: the steep $849 asking price. Other drawbacks include the not-always-accurate eye scanner and the fact that the updated S Pen feels a little flimsier than the last-gen version. Those few cons aside, this is the company’s best phone yet — of any screen size.

26
Aug

Samsung’s Dolby Atmos soundbars are ready for your living room


After announcing a pair of Dolby Atmos-equipped soundbars at CES, Samsung is finally shipping the duo in the US. The HW-K950 and HW-K850 are both available now, so long as you’re willing to part with either $1,499 or $999, respectively. What are you getting for the extra dough? Samsung’s HW-K950 is a more a complete sound system with a soundbar, two satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The whole group is wireless so you won’t have to worry about hiding any unsightly cables. What’s more, both the soundbar and the pair of smaller speakers project sound upward for any overhead effects the Dolby Atmos tech employs.

If you’re looking to save a little coin, the HW-K850 does cost $500 less, but you have to give up those two satellite speakers. Of course, you can always upgrade later with a pair of Samsung’s Radiant360 speakers for some Portal-esque flair. In addition to the Dolby Atmos compatibility, the HW-K950 and HW-K850 both offer Bluetooth connectivity for playing tunes from a mobile device. You can also stream music over WiFi with the Samsung Multiroom app which also controls any of the company’s other speakers you may have situated around your house.

Source: Samsung (Business Wire)

24
Aug

Samsung+: Taking a closer look at Samsung’s help and assistance app


If you happen to live in the U.S. and own a Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, or pretty much any other Galaxy device from the past few years, you’ve probably heard of Samsung+. For those unaware, it’s a pre-installed application that comes on most recent Galaxy devices, aiming to provide users with personalized, live expert help in just a few taps.

Let’s be honest – if you’re reading this, you probably know a thing or two about smartphones. So why would you need a help and assistance app if a simple problem arises? The thing is, Samsung+ offers much more than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth advice, and it’s not just for the less tech-savvy users out there. Let’s take a closer look and see just what this app is all about.

samsung galaxy note 7 hands on aa second batch-20Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – The Beginner’s Guide4

The basics

When you launch Samsung+ for the first time, you’ll be given a brief overview on how to navigate through the app. You can perform a quick search if you already know what you’re looking for, or simply swipe through six different tabs – Live Help, Diagnostics, Answers, For You, Explore and Community.

Samsung+ For You AA

The For You section is the first thing you’ll see after launching the app. This is where you’ll receive tips and tricks regarding your registered Samsung devices, as well as topics popular in the Samsung community that you might like. Smartphone aficionados might not find a ton of useful information in this tab, though it’s perfect for folks looking to make their device setup process go a little smoother.

Speaking of the less tech-savvy users out there, the Answers tab is perfect for basic troubleshooting problems.

A digital instruction manual

Samsung+ Answers AA 3
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So, you thought you’d be nice and buy your parents brand new Samsung Galaxy phones for Christmas. Little did you know, this automatically made you the go-to tech support person in the family. Fun!

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the time to walk through how to perform the more basic tasks – setting alarms, taking screenshots, playing music – Samsung+ will definitely help. Just navigate to the Answers tab, choose the category you’re looking for, and you’ll be presented with a number of useful walkthroughs and how-tos relating to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, device features, battery and power saving tips, and more. Seriously, there’s tons of useful information here.

If somehow these walkthroughs don’t do the trick, though, there are a few more steps you can take to get the help you need.

Live customer support

By far the most impressive feature in Samsung+ is the Live Help section. With just a few taps, users have the ability to chat with Samsung representatives over the phone or through video.

After my video chat was connected, it was smooth sailing from there

Call support is offered 24 hours a day, while video chat support is offered from 7am-10pm CST. Both methods worked quite well for me, but as you might expect, video chatting was a slightly bigger hassle. I made three video calls in all, though I was only able to make the video work for one of them. After everything was connected, though, it was smooth sailing from there.

Once connected, I had to fork over my device’s IMEI, my name, email address and phone number in case the call was dropped at any point.

You might be thinking, wouldn’t it just be easier to chat on the phone rather than using video? Well, for certain scenarios, phone calls work great. But the app’s video chat support combined with the Samsung Assist feature is where it really shines.

Samsung+ Live Help AA 1
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    Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review

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    Samsung Galaxy S7 Review

Samsung Assist allows you to share your screen with the representative and let them operate your device to see if they can fix the problem. Don’t worry – you don’t need to use this feature if you don’t want, and you need to grant permission before they take control of your device. Basically, Samsung reps can do anything on your device aside from performing a factory data reset. They also don’t have access to the physical buttons, either, so they can’t power off your device or soft reset it.

As of right now, Samsung Assist is only available on the Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, Note 5, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+. Additional device support will be added in the future.

Honestly, the whole Live Help section of this app is a game changer. Again, it might not be super useful for seasoned smartphone veterans, but it can really help less tech-savvy folks in a bind.

A simple, easy-to-use diagnostics app

Samsung+ review AA 5

Samsung+ isn’t only about tech support. If you’re looking for more real-time stats regarding your device’s battery, data, storage and more, the Diagnostics feature will do the trick.

This is my favorite part of the app. If you’re experiencing any problems with your device (poor battery life, bad internet connection, etc.), all you need to do is head to this page to try and figure out what’s wrong. Samsung+ will scan your device and let you know if your battery temperature is too high, if it’s charging at the correct speeds, if your Wi-Fi is secure enough, and many more useful tips.

Samsung+ is also a full-fledged diagnostics app

There are also two useful features to help you optimize your battery life: Battery Forecast and Battery Optimizer. Battery Forecast will tell you your current battery percentage, when it’s predicted to reach empty, and how long you need to charge the device to reach a certain percentage. This is super helpful if you’re planning on going out for the night and have a low battery. Battery Optimizer, on the other hand, scrolls through your settings and lets you know what to change to achieve better battery life. For instance, in the screenshot below you’ll see that my screen timeout is set to 30 seconds, which is much less battery-friendly than if I were to set it to, say, 15 seconds.

Samsung+ Diagnostics AA 3
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Data Monitor and Storage Manager tools are also found in the Diagnostics section of the app, allowing you to keep better track at your remaining data usage and on-board storage. As you’re probably already aware, all Android devices have built-in data monitor and storage manager features, so these two aren’t really all that necessary. Still, it’s nice to see them baked into the app, so users can access all of their diagnostics info in one place.

Oh, and one other thing – there’s also a built-in Speed Test section that can test your Mobile or Wi-Fi connections. Pretty neat, right?

A place for Samsung die-hards

Samsung+ review AA 6

If you’re not having any problems with your Galaxy device, Samsung+ can still be quite useful. The Explore and Community sections are there for you to learn more about your devices. For instance, navigating to the Explore section will give you access to camera tips and tricks, tips on how to to multitask, and more. I’m not sure if the Explore tab will be useful for everyone out there, but it might be fun to poke around if you’re looking to learn more about your device.

For die-hard Samsung fans, or even for folks who just want to learn more about their Galaxy devices, Samsung+ offers a full Community section. It’s here that you’ll be able to read and ask questions about Galaxy S and Note devices, tablets, wearables, TVs and more.

thumb galaxy note 7 review aa (1 of 1)Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review103

From what I’ve been able to tell, the Samsung Community could be quite helpful if you’re looking to resolve device-specific issues, or if you’re just looking to geek out with other fans around the world. As for how the Community section is implemented in the app, that’s a different story. It’s not particularly fast, and it doesn’t really have an intuitive layout. Since everything is either black or white in this section, it can be tough to differentiate between links and plain text, too.

Samsung+ Community AA 3
Samsung+ Community AA 2
Samsung+ Community AA 1

Wrapping up

Samsung+ is a useful help and assistance app that will come in handy in more ways than one. Not everything you find in Samsung+ will be for everyone, but the features it offers are pretty compelling and work well for the most part. Whether you’re a tech-savvy user or someone who is new to the smartphone world, you’ll likely find something useful in this app.

Get it from Google Play

24
Aug

Galaxy S7 Active Review: #1 in almost every category


Exclusive phones suck. Period. More people need access to a phone like the Galaxy S7 Active, which is currently locked down to just AT&T users like myself. After using the Galaxy S7 Active for a couple weeks, one thing has become clear to me. This phone is the best Android phone… wait, the best phone in general in four out of the five categories I am judging it on.

Build

This phone isn’t aiming to be in the hands of today’s designers or fashion experts, so don’t expect this device to blow you away with how good it looks. Grab a Galaxy S7 Edge if you’re going for a stunner. What Samsung sought out to do with this phone is build a tank of a device that will withstand anything. And they succeeded.

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I’ve left this phone in the sink with the water running over it while I fixed myself a drink, I’ve dropped it out my car window going about 25 mph, and I even got bored and buried the thing under half a foot of dirt and left it there for a little while. All of these actions left the phone unscathed and ready for more.

The downside is this is a pretty ugly phone to say the least. The phone is made of rugged plastic that makes no attempt to match the sleek style of the regular Galaxy S7. The navigation buttons stick out too much, and remind me of a messaging phone before smartphones got popular. This phone was built for the outdoors, not for getting compliments.

I can’t tell you the extent of how the glass will hold up after so many drops (however there are videos out there showing some amazing results), but after dropping it out of a moving car window onto pavement with not even a scratch on the glass… I think you’ll come to trust this phone’s durability. Major props to Samsung for creating a phone like this, it easily competes with Motorola’s Droid Turbo 2 and the Moto Z Force.

Display

There’s not much to be said here that hasn’t already been said by Nick Schiwy in his Galaxy S7 review. Samsung continues to make the best smartphone displays in the world, and the S7 Active is no exception. We’re seeing the same panel put on the regular Galaxy S7, which is a 1440×2560 Super-AMOLED display, with an added layer of glass for durability. This added layer does make the regular S7 slightly more attractive, as the Active has slightly worse viewing angles when you tilt the phone to its side. The screen still amazes me with how bright it gets outside and how impressive games and movies look on it, as the AMOLED panel on this trumps all other AMOLED screens on the market because of Samsung providing its latest screen technology exclusively to its own premium phones.

active display

Camera

The S7 Active shares the same incredible camera that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have, which have been continuously praised as the best smartphone cameras in the world. I used this phone around the same time I was testing the OnePlus 3 and Moto Z Force, and neither of these two truly compare with the S7 Active’s camera.

camera screen

I don’t really like taking videos on smartphones because the stabilization generally looks bad, but the S7 phones are on a whole new level. While taking 1080p 60 FPS video, I truly realized why so many people love Samsung cameras. The fluidity of 60 frames per second on top of Samsung’s stabilizing mode (which can be toggled, but I don’t see why you would turn it off) creates a video-recording experience I’ve never used before. This phone creates the perfect opportunity to hike, mountain climb or even swim while taking some of the best photos possible on a phone.

Performance

This is the section where I’ll calm down a bit and not give Samsung every award. With the help of AT&T, the S7 Active comes with apps I’ll never use that I’m unable to uninstall. The phone gave me suggestions on what AT&T services I should use like connecting to DirectTV. I was not a fan…

However, I recommend you check out our guides to installing a new launcher to avoid all of AT&T’s services and bloatware if you prefer. These launchers allow you customize your homescreen and hide apps you never want to see again.

Anyway, only after using the OnePlus 3 did I notice a couple jitters when using the S7 Active, and it just wasn’t the same smoothness I was use to, nor the memory management. This phone comes with 4GB of RAM, but when multitasking it feels identical if not slower to switch between apps than my Idol 4S, which only has 3GB of RAM. This is frustrating because memory management has been a problem for Samsung for a long time. I will say, coming from using the OnePlus 3 to the S7 Active is vastly different from someone upgrading to this phone from a device a year or two old. All-in-all, you’re going to be satisfied with the performance on the S7 Active.

Battery

If you’re on AT&T, and you’re sick of your phone not lasting you half-way through the day, you are going to be dumbstruck with how good battery life is on this phone. To give you an idea, the Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5 inch screen with a 3,600 mAh battery. More screen size means more power consumption. The Edge has incredible battery life, giving most users around 5 hours of on screen time. The Galaxy S7 Active has a 5.1 inch screen – with a 4,000 mAh battery. This is a huge battery even for phones with much bigger screens. I’ve been consistently getting around seven hours of screen on time, which is ludicrous for me.

Easily, I’ve been making it into the evening of the second day of usage on a single charge with around 8-12% battery left, with heavy usage (not even you can kill my phone this time, Snapchat). There’s not much else to say here folks. Take this thing camping for a night or two, and you might find yourself not needing an extra battery pack at all.

Conclusion

Like I said in the introduction, whether you’re looking for a phone with the best display, best camera, best durability, or best battery life, The S7 Active covers all those areas in one rugged package. Performance isn’t the best out of all the offerings, but with the Snapdragon 820 chip it’s still extremely close to every other high-end Android phone.

Of course, this phone isn’t for everybody (not that a lot of people have a choice, AT&T…) because it’s not the prettiest phone out there and some people may prefer a bigger screen or less ugly navigation buttons at the bottom of the phone, but if looks aren’t an issues for you, you literally cannot go wrong choosing this phone over any other at the AT&T store.

24
Aug

Samsung launches first 4G, Tizen-powered smartphone in India


Samsung’s experiment with the Tizen operating system hasn’t shown up in more than a couple of handsets and some Gear smartwatches so far, but the smartphone behemoth still believes the open-source platform has value for low-cost phones in emerging markets. Case in point: the first 4G Tizen offering, the Samsung Z2 arrives in India next week, with a price tag of around $68 USD (or 4,590 INR) and a range of region-specific features.

First, the basics: the Z2 sports a 4-inch 480×800 AMOLED display driven by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB of internal memory, expandable via a microSD slot. The Z2 also offers dual-SIM support, a 1,500 mAh battery, a 5-megapixel camera and a front-facing VGA selfie cam. While it’s not exactly a flagship phone with those specs, Samsung has included a range of “Make for India” features like Ultra Data Saving Mode, Ultra Power Saving Mode, S Bike mode and the My Money Transfer app to make it doubly appealing to the Indian market.

When the phone officially goes on sale August 29th, it will be available in Black, Gold or “Wine Red” at retail stores or online at Paytm, and comes pre-loaded with a trial version of Samsung’s Jio mobile streaming apps. The phone is expected to hit other countries after its initial release in India, although the price could vary slightly depending on the region.

Source: Samsung

23
Aug

Motorola Moto Z / Force vs Samsung Galaxy S7 / Edge


When it comes to flagship smartphones, consumers certainly don’t suffer from a lack of choice, but on the flip side, with so many great options available, it is quite difficult to select which device is best suited for you. In today’s comparison, we pit two of the hottest smartphones in the market right now, and they couldn’t be more different from each other.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
  • Moto Z review

On one hand is the Galaxy S7 Edge, with Samsung continuing to refine and improve what it started last year with its predecessors. On the other are the latest Motorola flagships, that are poles apart from anything we’ve seen from the company so far, and bring something unique to the table in the form of Moto Mods.

How does Motorola’s take on the Android flagship compare to one of the best and most well rounded smartphone offerings from Samsung? We find out, in this in-depth look at the Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge!

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge
Buy the Motorola Moto Z / Z Force

Design

Starting with design and build quality, both of these phones are made with some high quality materials, and not only look fantastic, but also feel extremely sturdy. The Moto Z features glass on the front and back, with a smooth metal frame holding it all together.

The corners have been rounded off to allow for a more comfortable feel in the hand, and there is a subtle curve to the glass panel up front. However, for the most part, the phone is completely flat on the front and back, save for the rather large protrusion of the rear camera.

The Galaxy S7 Edge also features a metal and glass unibody construction, but unlike the Moto Z, you get curves everywhere, including the tapers along the sides of the back, the rounded corners, and of course, the curved edge display up front.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-5

It’s not only of the most solid and comfortable feeling phones that Samsung has ever made, but comes with a sleek and eye-catching design. Samsung has done a good job with reigning in the camera protrusion with the Galaxy S7 Edge when compared to its predecessor, and is nowhere near as prominent as what is seen with the Moto Z.

The downside to any phone made predominantly with glass is that the device becomes a complete fingerprint magnet, so either have to clean it on a regular basis or use a case, to avoid this. Motorola offers a simple solution in this regard with the Style Shell covers, that gives the Moto Z some extra flair, while also adding enough thickness to cover that camera bulge.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-4

Without any covers or Moto Mods attached, the Moto Z is an extremely thin smartphone, with a thickness of just 5 mm, and it’s certainly very impressive how thin Motorola has managed to make it. The Moto Z Force is slightly thicker at 7 mm, which is still quite thin, and you really have to hold these phones in your hand to truly appreciate this design aspect.

That said, apart from the thickness, the Moto Z is actually larger than the Galaxy S7 Edge in every other dimension and has a much larger footprint, despite both smartphones coming with 5.5-inch displays. Samsung has managed to make the Galaxy S7 Edge the more compact phone by having a smaller top and bottom chin, thinner bezels, and adding curves to the glass on the left and right sides.

Display

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-11

Both smartphones come with 5.5-inch AMOLED displays, or Super AMOLED in the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, with Quad HD resolution. As expected, both displays are plenty sharp, and are very vibrant, saturated, and with deep, inky blacks. The display of the Galaxy S7 Edge is a touch brighter and offers slightly better viewing angles, but for the most part, these are very comparable displays, and things like gaming and watching videos are very enjoyable on either of these screens.

One benefit of the Samsung flagship is its Always On display feature, which lights up only the necessary pixels to let you see important information like the time, date, battery life, the calendar, and notifications, with a quick glance.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-9

While the Moto Z doesn’t come with this feature, it offers the next best thing with Moto Display, which remains one of the best features to ever grace Android. The display will periodically pulsate whenever you have any notifications, and you can manually wake it by either picking up the phone, or simply waving your hand over it.

Worth mentioning here is that the Moto Z Force comes with a shatterproof display, that makes it far more durable when compared to the standard Corning Gorilla glass 4 panels that are found with the regular Moto Z and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Performance

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Under the hood, both smartphones feature identical specifications, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, Adreno 530 GPU, and 4 GB of RAM. This is the same processing package that is found with almost every current generation flagship smartphone, and it’s not surprising that both these devices are blazing fast, and can handle anything, including multi-tasking, web browsing, and playing high-end games, with ease. Despite offering two very different software experiences, the overall performance with both is very smooth, and you will be hard-pressed to find a noticeable difference between them.

Hardware

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-8

Both smartphones are available with 32 GB or 64 GB of on-board storage, and both offer expandable storage capabilities via microSD card up to 256 GB, so storage will not be a concern with either device.

Sitting right below the display of both devices is a fingerprint scanner, with the difference being that while the fingerprint sensor of the Galaxy S7 Edge is embedded into the home button, that isn’t the case with the Moto Z, which uses on-screen navigation keys. This can certainly take some getting used to, especially if you are already comfortable with also using a front-facing scanner as a home button, and when using the Moto Z, you will find yourself occasionally reach for the fingerprint sensor for no reason.

As far as accuracy and reliability of the fingerprint sensors are concerned, both work extremely well, but you will find the one of the Moto Z to be a tad quicker, mainly because of the fact that is reads your fingerprint simply when you touch it, instead of needing to press down on the button as you have to do with the Galaxy S7 Edge. Even though the scanner of the Moto Z does not double as a home button, it does function as a lock key to put the phone back to sleep, which is a nice touch.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-2

A big difference in hardware between the two is that the Moto Z comes with a USB Type C port, while the Galaxy S7 Edge features a microUSB port. The latter also comes with a headphone jack while the Moto Z does not, which is one of the compromises that had to be made to keep the sleek profile of the device. Instead, you will have to use a Type C adapter to use your regular headphones with the Moto Z.

The Moto Z does offer a better sounding speaker, with its front-facing position better than the bottom-firing speaker of the Galaxy S7 Edge. That said, neither speaker is particularly impressive, but you do have the JBL speaker Moto Mod with the Moto Z to make up for this deficiency.

Speaking of Moto Mods, there are only a few that are currently available, including the JBL speaker, the projector, and the Incipio power pack case, but there should be more coming soon, as more third-party manufacturers jump on-board and create new Moto Mods. These Moto Mods are certainly a big selling point when it comes to the Moto Z, given how they work and the extra functionality that they offer. Just keep in mind that these Mods aren’t exactly cheap, and do add a significant amount of heft to the phone.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-15

The speaker of the Galaxy S7 Edge is also more muffled and distorted due to the built-in water and dust resistance, which many will agree is a small price to pay to keep your device protected from the elements. The Moto Z is also water resistant, but does not come with the IP68 rating that the Galaxy S7 Edge features, so while the former can survive a splash or a small spill, it certainly won’t work if submerged entirely.

When it comes to battery life, the Moto Z packs a rather small 2,600 mAh battery, compared to the 3,600 mAh unit of the Galaxy S7 Edge, but the playing field is a lot more even when considering the Moto Z Force and its 3,500 mAh battery. Battery life is obviously going to vary depending on your usage, and while the Moto Z does allow for a full day of use, you will be able to do that far more comfortably with the Moto Z Force and the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Both devices come with fast charging capabilities, so you will be up and running in no time, and in the case of the Galaxy S7 Edge, you also get fast wireless charging. If battery life is a concern, Motorola has a simple solution for the Moto Z with the Incipio power pack case, which to me, is currently the most useful and practical Moto Mod that is available.

Camera

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-1

The Moto Z comes with a 13 MP rear camera with a f/1.8 aperture, OIS, and a dual tone LED flash, while the camera of the Moto Z Force is bumped up to 21 MP. On the other hand, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge come with a 12 MP rear shooter, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, and a blazing fast dual pixel auto focus system that allows it to focus much faster than any other smartphone camera currently available.

When it comes to the camera software, Motorola keeps things pretty simple by only offering the most basic of camera modes, while Samsung gives you a bevy of options with a slew of modes and camera effects to choose from. Both do offer fairly robust manual modes however.

Moto Z camera samples

If I had to pick either one of these cameras, the Galaxy S7 Edge would be my choice. The Moto Z can take some decent photos, but it really pales in comparison to the Samsung flagship. Photos taken with the latter are sharper and more detailed, and with better dynamic range, while the Moto Z has the tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights.

Galaxy S7 Edge camera samples

The Galaxy S7 Edge camera is also the much faster one overall. In low light situations, the Moto Z is quite slow to capture an image, especially if you are using HDR, while the Galaxy S7 Edge remains really fast when it comes to focusing and taking a shot. The Samsung smartphone camera does have some trouble with white balance in low light conditions, but the photos still come with a lot more detail when compared to shots taken with the Moto Z.

As far as the front cameras go, both phones are utilizing a 5 MP sensor, which work well enough for taking selfies, but the Moto Z has an advantage here with its front-facing flash, which can be extremely helpful when taking selfies in low light.

Software

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-10

One of the best parts about Motorola is that they keep the software experience pretty close to stock Android, but with a few very useful additions built in. The Moto Z is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and it is as close to stock Android as you are going to get without the device being a Nexus smartphone. Motorola’s customizations aren’t numerous, but they are some of the most useful features we’ve seen on an Android smartphone.

You have features like the Moto Display that we mentioned earlier, and there is also Moto Voice, that lets you call upon your Moto Z from across the room. Also available are a slew of gestures, such as the double chop to turn on the camera flash, and the double twist of your wrist to launch the camera.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-18

The only real down side now is that the Moto Z is a Verizon exclusive, so it comes with a lot of Verizon bloatware, and a host of pre-installed games and third-party applications. An unlocked version will be coming soon though, but if you are looking to get the Moto Z right away, the bloatware is something you will have to deal with.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is also running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but Samsung’s take on Android, with the TouchWiz UI, couldn’t be more different from stock Android. Samsung has been doing a better job with streamlining the software experience as much as possible, and what you get is a much cleaner and less bloated user interface than before.

With the Galaxy S7 Edge, you also get the Edge panels, that can give you quick access to apps, sports scores, the weather, your contacts, and a variety of other shortcuts, but just swiping in from the edge of the glass. These panels can be useful, but like any new smartphone feature, you will have to train yourself to get used to them.

Specs comparison

Display 5.5-inch AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 535 ppi
5.5-inch Super AMOLED display
Quad HD resolution, 535 ppi
Processor 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM 4 GB 4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 256 GB
Camera 13 MP rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, dual tone LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera, front-facing flash
12 MP rear camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, dual pixel autofocus, LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
FM Radio
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C 1.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
microUSB 2.0
Battery 2,600 mAh 3,600 mAh
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Dimensions 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm
136 grams
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
157 grams

Gallery

Final thoughts

So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the Motorola Moto Z and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge! Both of these devices are two really fantastic smartphones in their own right, but what it is really going to come down to is how much you value the Moto Mods, and how easily you can get your hands on one of them. The Galaxy S7 Edge is the easier phone to get right now, with it being available from all major network carriers, and while an unlocked version of the Moto Z will be arriving soon, Verizon is your only option currently.

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge-6

The Moto Z is a very solid option however, and the Moto Mods are just icing on the cake, providing a very elegant and simple way of modifying your smartphone. If you are willing to spend the extra money, you certainly won’t be disappointed. While the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge doesn’t have any crazy bells and whistles, or extra moving parts, it’s an all around great smartphone that ticks all the right boxes, and for most people, that is going to be more than enough to suit their needs.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge
Buy the Motorola Moto Z / Z Force

23
Aug

Samsung Shuttering its Milk Music Service in the United States


Over the weekend, Samsung announced plans to shut down its Milk music streaming service in the United States, more than two years after it first launched. Milk Music, powered by Slacker Radio, was never able to compete with more popular music streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music.

As of September 22nd 2016, Milk Music will no longer be available. Samsung is encouraging current Milk Music users who want to continue to use the service to sign up for Slacker Radio, and listening history will be able to be transferred over.

Rather than pushing its own music service, Samsung says it plans to pursue a “partner model” that will allow Samsung devices to seamlessly integrate with third-party music services. Samsung also says it plans to “invest and refine” its strategy for delivering “new and engaging connected experiences” to its users.

Samsung is sun setting its Samsung Milk Music service in the United States on September 22, 2016.

We have made the strategic decision to invest in a partner model focused on seamlessly integrating the best music services available today into our family of Galaxy devices. We believe that working with partners will accelerate innovation, enhance device sales and provide amazing new experiences for our customers.

We have no additional details to share at this time.

Positioned as a freemium radio-style app that required users to pay $3.99 per month to remove ads, Milk Music was originally designed to compete with Pandora, but it never gained steam as a Pandora alternative. It was initially launched beside “Milk Video,” a video aggregation app, but that was shuttered in 2015, and earlier this year, many Milk Music employees left the company.

Milk Music will continue to operate in South Korea, Malaysia, and China. It was also discontinued in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

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22
Aug

Samsung Could Sell Refurbished Smartphones in the U.S. By Next Year


Samsung is planning to launch a new program selling refurbished used versions of its smartphones as early as next year, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.

The Korean tech firm is seeking ways to sustain its earnings after the company posted its best profits for two years following a restructuring of its mobile lineup. With the smartphone market plateauing, Samsung hopes that selling the returned handsets as part of its upgrade programs will help it maximize cost efficiency and keep its operating margins above 10 percent, reports Reuters.

The discounted handsets are said to be coming to customers tied to upgrade programs in markets like the U.S. and South Korea, however there’s no official word on how much the discount will be, or which countries the program is coming to.

Apple already sells used phones in several markets including the U.S., but was recently blocked from selling refurbished handsets in India, where high-end devices are beyond most buyers.

Reuters notes that an iPhone has a re-sale value of around 69 percent of its original price after about one year from launch, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy sells for 51 percent of the original price in the U.S. market, according to BNP Paribas.

The program is likely to attract customers previously put off by the high price of Samsung’s high-end smartphones, some of which cost up to $800. Selling the used phones in growing markets like India could also be a big hit for Samsung, while offering them in China could could help the company prevent market share encroachment by Chinese rivals, many of which offer low-cost alternatives.

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