Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 extended batteries now on pre-order from ZeroLemon and Mugen Power

Samsung Galaxy S5 extended batteries now on pre-order from ZeroLemon and Mugen Power
There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a top performer when it comes to battery life. Need proof? Well, we put the phone's 2800mAh cell to the test, and it took a whopping 8 hours and 20 minutes for our custom battery benchmark to drain it entirely. This ranks Samsung's flagship ahead of many high-end competitors, including the iPhone 5s, the HTC One (M8), and the LG G2.

But as stellar as the Galaxy S5's battery life may be, some users might still find its cell's capacity insufficient for their needs. These are the people that ZeroLemon and Mugen Power, two of the better-known makers of extended cell phone batteries, cater to.

Mugen Power is currently offering a 2950mAh lithium-ion battery for the Samsung Galaxy S5 – a cell that should last about 5% longer than a stock one, according to the manufacturer. For those in need of a spare cell for their Galaxy S5, or for an extended battery that does not add any extra bulk to the device, this is an option worth considering. NFC is built into the pack so don't worry about losing the feature once you swap.

ZeroLemon's approach to designing an extended battery for the Galaxy S5 has been quite a bit different. The company has built a pack that can hold 7500mAh of charge, making it more than 2.5 times more capacious than the phone's stock cell. There's a catch, however. The extended battery is so large that it requires you to swap the Galaxy S5's back cover with one provided by ZeroLemon (included in the set). The battery will also make your Galaxy S5 significantly heavier. Another drawback is that you might not be able to use the phone's heart rate monitor as comfortably with all that protruding plastic around it. On the brighter side of things, this replacement back cover doubles as a protective case.

The Mugen Power extended battery for Samsung Galaxy S5 is now on pre-order for $44.50 and it is expected to ship on May 23. As for ZeroLemon's solution, its gargantuan cell can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $49.99 and will ship on May 14.

source: Mugen Power, ZeroLemon

Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, LG G3, or HTC One M8 Prime - which one you'd rather have?

Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, LG G3, or HTC One M8 Prime - which one you'd rather have?Have you heard? Samsung and HTC are reportedly getting ready to release two new Android flagship handsets currently known as theGalaxy S5 Prime and One M8 Prime, respectively. While their final and official names may not include the “Prime” part at all, it looks like the two devices have a lot in common anyway. And they also have a lot in common with the LG G3 (allegedly pictured here and here), which should be the first among them to be announced - most probably on May 27. 

It’s said that all three upcoming flagship smartphones will offer Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) displays. The screens of the LG G3 and HTC One M8 Prime supposedly measure 5.5 inches each, while the Galaxy S5 Prime should be a bit smaller, apparently sporting a 5.2-inch display. Other common features may include 3GB of RAM, Qualcomm’sSnapdragon 805 SoC, and metal-clad designs.

Naturally, we’re expecting the three handsets to run the latest version of Android - although their UIs will definitely be different, thanks to each company’s software customization.

We’re curious to know which of the three devices is the one that our readers are looking forward to owning the most. Of course, some have already bought a flagship smartphone this year, while others are certainly waiting for something else. But folks who are not interested can simply skip voting in the poll bellow (though they are free to use the comments section to let us know why they’re not interested in having any of the three handsets).

Samsung's BYOD-friendly Knox 2.0 suite lands on Galaxy S5

Samsung has made the second version of its Knox data and app security platform available worldwide, but only the new Galaxy S5 can take advantage of the improvements it offers for now.
The popularity of Samsung’s smartphones has opened the door to the enterprise thanks to BYOD (bring-your-own-device) projects, but becoming enterprise-ready and earning the trust of IT departments is a long journey for the company.
The Knox platform uses a security-enhanced version of Android, and creates an isolated “container” that separates work data and apps from personal data.
Knox 2.0 is currently pre-installed on the Galaxy S5, and more devices will receive it via OS upgrades in the coming months, the company said without offering any details. To use Knox, IT departments first have to activate the functionality.
knox 100034579 gallery
After the long-delayed and underwhelming rollout of Knox 1.0, Samsung still has to prove that it can release high-quality products in a timely manner. An important part of that work is to quickly expand the number of compatible devices.
Some of the new features in the upgraded version are a dedicated app store called Marketplace, cloud-based management, and certificate management functionality that can turn a smartphone into a smartcard.
The platform is also compatible with third party containers, such as Good’s secure container, Fixmo’s SafeZone, and MobileIron’s AppConnect, which are getting the same level of hardware-based protection as Samsung’s own container. The goal is to give IT departments more choice when they implement or augment their BYOD programs, Samsung said.
To separate personal and professional usage on a BYOD smartphone, a new billing feature lets carriers calculate the costs for personal and professional apps, according to Samsung.
Knox 2.0 has been integrated with the Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner, as well. But with a group of German researchers tricking it into accepting a mold of a fingerprint instead of a real finger, enterprises have to think carefully about how they use the scanner. Samsung has played down the risks, saying that the scenario used is widely regarded in the industry as posing no critical risk for general consumers.
The cost of Knox 2.0 service will be $3.60 per user and month with discounts for larger volumes, the company said when it launched the upgrade at Mobile World Congress in February.

One month with the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5

Summary: I have now spent over a month with both devices and neither has compelled me enough to visit my local T-Mobile store to make a purchase. They are both solid phones, but also both lack some things I want in a flagship device.
I have been using both the new HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5 with my personal T-Mobile SIM splitting the time in each so I could try to figure out which one I would purchase for myself. After more than a month with these devices, there are still a couple of reasons I haven't yet visited my local store and that means LG, Motorola, and Apple still have a chance to end up in my pocket.
The HTC One (M8) was the first to land in my hands and it is a very impressive piece of hardware with top notch design and construction. The HTC One (M7) was a fabulous device that served as my primary smartphone for a year. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is not as premium feeling as the HTC One, but it brings a much better camera and some more great features that I am enjoying.
One month with the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5
(Image: HTC)
Let's break it down into a couple simple lists to share my experiences over the past month. Here is what I like about the HTC One (M8):
  • Metal design: HTC does a great job with design and the new One continues that tradition with rock solid construction, beveled edges, curved back, and excellent fit and finish.
  • BoomSound speakers: The front facing stereo speakers are better this year than they were last year and I have yet to hear any other device that can match the experience.
  • Sense 6 UI: I have always been a fan of Sense and it is even better on the new One. BlinkFeed is even more useful and customizable than before, the device flies when it comes to performance, the widgets are useful, and much more.
  • Camera software: Highlight Videos are great ways to share photos and video clips with people, especially when you travel a lot or have young children whose experiences you want to capture and add some context to. The effects and editing tools are also great on the HTC One.
  • Ample storage and microSD card: All HTC One devices in the US have 32GB of storage, which is the minimum that all flagship phones should have. HTC also finally brought their microSD support, common on their Japanese line, to the HTC One line so you can capture lots of video and images without worrying about filling up your storage.
  • Long battery life: I am a heavy smartphone user and find I can go very long days with the HTC One without charging it up. It is so good that it makes my Moto X look anemic.
  • Solid front facing camera: Front facing cameras are useful to capture photos with you in the picture with other people, especially given that handing over the new HTC One to a stranger to take your shot will likely result in your HTC One being dropped. The wide angle 5 megapixel camera takes good photos and is definitely the one to get if you take lots of selfies.
There are also a few things I don't like about the new HTC One (M8), including the following:
  • Slippery back and sides: I am extremely careful with my smartphones, but even I have dropped the new HTC One a few times and can almost guarantee that this phone will be dropped due to the slippery skin.
  • Camera doesn't capture detail: HTC could have hit it out of the park and I would own my personal One right now if they had bumped the camera up in quality over last year's model. I wanted to see at least 8 megapixels, even if they wanted to stick with their low light ultrapixel strategy. You can capture good photos, but they will not have depth and detail like you can get with most all other flagship smartphones.
  • Long phone: I accept that many phones are getting larger today, but the HTC One (M8) feels too long in your hand without any real obvious benefit to the length. It sticks out of my back jeans pocket and I wish it was a bit shorter.
(Image: AT&T)
I just returned from a five day Disneyland vacation and took along the Samsung Galaxy S5 to use as my primary smartphone and it performed admirably. Here are several things I like about the new Galaxy S5.
  • Waterproof design: While you do have to keep the bottom microUSB port door closed, going on rides with water splashing and enjoying the pool with the family was a relief knowing the phone was safe from water. It is very convenient to have integrated protection from the elements.
  • Solid camera performance: Time and again the Galaxy S5 camera proved to be the best of the bunch while on vacation. I was able to capture excellent quality photos inside buildings, out in the sun, and while walking around the park.
  • Vivid display: The HTC One has an excellent LCD display, but the eye-popping colors of the Galaxy S5 are tough to beat. It even performed very well in full sunlight in California.
  • Removable battery and microSD card: Very few phones have removable batteries, but it is convenient to go long periods of time without charging and swap out batteries which is one major reason why I wrote that the S5 may be the best current business smartphone.
While the S5 is a nice iteration in the Galaxy line, there are a few things I don't like about it either. These include:
  • Limited internal storage: You only get about 9 GB of available internal storage and with KitKat that means you can only install a limited number of apps and games. Every flagship Android device needs to launch with 32GB minimum and if Samsung had launched with this amount of RAM then it is likely I would have already purchased one at T-Mobile.
  • Chrome frame: The plastic back doesn't really bug me at all and I understand its presence since you get the ability to swap the battery. It is the ridged chrome frame piece that gives the S5 a bit of a cheap feel and if Samsung could have just put in a little metal band around the device I bet it would have felt a lot more premium.
  • TouchWiz UI: TouchWiz has gotten a bit better, but the settings area is terrible with something like 62 icons available to the user. The notifications area is halfway consumed with Samsung stuff that cannot be removed either. I do like seeing some of the Note 3 utilities in the S5, such as Multi-Window and Air View.
  • Useless functions: The finger scanner rarely works and the heart rate monitor has limited functionality. Samsung doesn't have to throw everything in one device and should stay focused on what works well.
Both of these phones are excellent choices and some may say that I am being too picky in my cons that are preventing me from purchasing one or the other. However, we know that LG will be announcing their new flagship at the end of the month, Apple will likely announce the next iPhone next month, and Motorola is likely to update the Moto X with something a bit bigger and newer.
If Samsung had a 32GB S5 available on T-Mobile then I would likely have picked one up and if HTC had an improved camera then it would have been my first choice. The 32GB S5 model may actually come to T-Mobile in the future so it is more likely that a Samsung Galaxy S5 will end up in my pocket than a new HTC One (M8).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Galaxy S5 ‘killer’ confirmed to launch next month

LG on Tuesday confirmed the name of its next Android flagship device, the LG G3, in a press release announcing the company’s “improved first-quarter 2014 results.” The LG G3, expected to be one of the main Galaxy S5 rivals this year, has been featured in plenty of reports and leaks so far, with some of them suggesting the phone will arrive earlier than anticipated.
Its predecessors launched in fall 2012 (Optimus G) and fall 2013 (LG G2), but it looks like LG is eager to bring its next-gen high-end device to market as soon as possible.
LG apparently sees the G3 as a best-selling device, one that would help the company’s bottom line. “Higher revenues are expected in the second quarter with the release of the flagship LG G3 smartphone and wider roll-out of the mass-tier L Series III,” LG said in its announcement.
Furthermore, the company told reporters in South Korea that the phone will be launched by the end of May, according to ZDNet Korea, although a clear release date for the handset isn’t available yet. Pricing details for the G3 aren’t available either.
The company has not revealed what the new smartphone will have to offer, but recent reports indicated the handset would feature a high-resolution QHD (2560 x 1440) display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a main camera with optical image stabilization. Recent image leaks have shown the G3′s home screen and revealed the phone will also have buttons on the back, like its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy S5 camera bug found; new units coming to market with no problems

Samsung Galaxy S5 camera bug found; new units coming to market with no problems
Over the weekend, we mentioned an issue that some Verizon owners of the Samsung Galaxy S5 were experiencing when they opened their camera. Instead of being able to use the snapper, a notice popped up saying "Warning: Camera Failed." A factory reset is not going to help with this problem. As we suggested on Saturday, those with a Samsung Galaxy S5 that is affected, should call Samsung at 1-888-987-4357 to arrange an exchange under the warranty. You should also contact Verizon technical support.

On Sunday, Samsung announced that the number of Galaxy S5 units with this problem is "very limited". Even more important for a flagship device that markets its 16MP rear camera heavily, Samsung says that new units tumbling off the assembly line will not have this problem. The Korean manufacturer found that the problem has to do with the ROM component, which stores the information that is necessary for the phone to run the camera.

While it is not related to the camera issue, Samsung warned its investors that profit for the first quarter is going to be lower on a year-over-year basis. This will be the second straight annual decline in profitability for the company.

source: Reuters

Samsung SM-G750 features a 5.1-inch 720p display, is it really a Galaxy S5 Neo?

Samsung SM-G750 features a 5.1-inch 720p display, is it really a Galaxy S5 Neo?
The unannounced Samsung SM-G750 that was first discovered last month has a 5.1-inch display - according to a listing found at Zauba, a website that tracks down Indian imports and exports. While such a display should make the SM-G750 similar in size to the Galaxy S5, some of its alleged features are not on par with what the S5 flagship is offering. More exactly, the SM-G750’s screen seemingly has a 720 x 1280 pixel resolution. So what we could have here is a Galaxy S5 Neo.

Zauba is listing two versions of the Samsung SM-G750: an SM-G750H and an SM-G750F. A third variant, the SM-G750A (which is believed to be an AT&T-bound model), already has a User Agent profile that’s accessible at Samsung Mobile’s official website. The UA profile confirms the handset’s 720p display, and the fact that it runs Android.

A Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini (SM-G800) is reportedly also in the making. This should sport a 720p display, too, but measuring only 4.5-inches, not 5.1. Of course, these two names - S5 Mini and S5 Neo - aren’t confirmed at the moment. But we assume that it won’t be long until Samsung reveals some official details regarding both the SM-G750 and the SM-G800.

Samsung SM-G750 features a 5.1-inch 720p display, is it really a Galaxy S5 Neo?

sources: Samsung (.xml file), Zauba via (translated)