Twitter sharing is gone in the latest iOS beta

It looks like there might be a huge change coming to the official Twitter
application for iOS. In the latest beta version of iOS 8.3, the option
to share content to Twitter is completely gone from the sharing sheet if
you have the official client app installed. According to a report from 9to5Mac,
the Twitter icon is missing not only from first-party apps like Photos
and Safari, but also from any third-party apps that use the native share
sheet.

twittersharinggone

Now, this could just be a bug. It is always possible that the
developers inadvertently removed Twitter from the native share sheet.
But considering the lack of updates to the built-in iOS uploader, it is
much more likely that Twitter is working on their own addition to the
sharing sheet. After all, the social network has made a ton of changes
to its media sharing options lately. Now, you can upload multiple photos
to a single tweet and tag your photos. You can also upload animated
GIFs and videos, none of which are supported by the native iOS uploader.

Since iOS 8 was released, developers have been able to create their
own sharing extensions for iOS devices. Given how slowly Apple updates
the built-in sharing and uploading features for iOS, it would make sense
for Twitter to develop their own sharing extension. This would enable
them to add new features to the share sheet just by updating the app,
and would even allow them to turn on beta features for individual users.

What’s the downside to the removal of Twitter from the native sharing
sheet options? Well, if Twitter is creating their own share extension
and Apple is removing built-in support for the social network, it could
mean that users of apps like Tweetbot or Twitterrific
would still need to have the official client app installed on their
phones if they want to send out tweets from Photos, Safari, or other
apps. Those third-party client developers would have to build their own
sharing extensions into the clients to get around this limitation.

 — AppAdvice

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BlackBerry Passport success paves way for further innovation as firm takes wraps off BlackBerry Leap

Image result for blackberry BlackBerry delivered quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ expectations on Friday, but revenue came in lower than expected.

The Canadian-based gadget maker posted
fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents per share, reversing a loss of 8
cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue fell to $660 million from $976 million a year ago.

Wall Street had expected the company to deliver a
loss of 4 cents per share on $794 million in revenue, according to
consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters.

Shares of BlackBerry rose in premarket trading following the announcement. (Get the latest BlackBerry quote here.)

The embattled company continues to struggle with
plunging sales of its iconic BlackBerry smartphone brand. Earlier this
month, the company revealed a series of new smartphone models, including
both an affordable and luxury option.

 | IT PRO

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iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6: Here’s the difference – CNET

Josh Miller/CNET

Apple and Samsung’s flagship phones, the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6,
are sure to dominate the smartphone world this year. Both phones are
remarkably similar, in design, features and cost, but there are some
telltale differences.

If you’re looking to switch phones
this year and have your sites on either the iPhone or Galaxy S6, we’ve
built a handy guide of what each phone has that the other doesn’t, and
what both have in common.

What the Galaxy S6 has that the iPhone 6 doesn’t

Wireless charging and quick charging

Like many other top Android phones, the Galaxy S6 supports wireless
charging with a separate wireless charger, which you can find in many
stores today. You simply place the phone on a wireless charging pad to
add juice without fumbling with wires. Additionally, the S6 promises to
charge quickly, so you’re not waiting around for enough battery to go
about your day.

Built-in heart-rate monitor

The
S6’s LED flash doubles as a heart-rate monitor that can also measure
your blood oxygen saturation. You can use it to test your resting heart
rate, or while exercising to see how hard you’re pushing. Our real-world tests
show that these kinds of heart-rate monitors aren’t the most accurate,
but it’s nice to have the option. The iPhone 6 can measure your heart
rate through the LED flash, but you’ll need a third-party app to do it.

Bigger, higher resolution screen

The Galaxy S6 benefits from a large, supersharp screen that looks
impressive in person and has a higher resolution than the iPhone 6.
Samsung’s latest has a 5.1-inch AMOLED 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution (577
ppi) screen. In contrast, the iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch 1,344×750 IPS
(326 ppi) display. If you want a five-plus-inch screen, you’ll need to
look at the iPhone 6 Plus, which costs an average $100 more than the iPhone 6.

A dedicated VR accessory

Looking at future tech, Samsung’s got a leg up over Apple with both smartwatches and virtual reality. The Samsung Gear VR headset
pairs with the Galaxy S6 to create an immersive video-watching and
game-playing experience. VR might still be a bit ahead of its time, but
if you’re into it, you’ll be able to use it with the S6.

Fully metal Samsung Galaxy S6 looks sharp…
See full gallery

 – CNET

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Apple’s Small iOS 8.3 Updates Speak Volumes About Where It’s Headed

What easier app downloads and Siri updates are really saying.

Apple siri ios

Apple may have finally succumbed to common sense: A reader at 9to5Mac
spotted some new settings in the upcoming iOS 8.3 software that suggest
iPhone users should get ready for easier app downloads and more
convenient voice features.

Judging by the iOS 8.3 beta, people
will be able to nix the password requirement for free downloads. The
update also points to a new Siri feature that can launch speakerphone
calls without touching the phone at all.

These feature updates
might seem incremental, but they hint at Apple’s larger play: They are
stepping stones to a future in which enjoying new Apple features and
talking to our Apple devices—on our wrists, at home and on the road—will
become second nature.

Password Play

Passwords weren’t always necessary for freebies,
but the iPhone maker inexplicably built in the requirement. Now it
appears users will be able to toggle it on or off in iOS 8.3. The beta
version, released last week, shows the setting under the new “Password
Settings” configuration page (in the iTunes & App Store settings).
Note that the change covers free apps, media or other iTunes offerings
only; there is no way to turn off passwords for paid downloads.

9to5Mac
notes that the setting hasn’t been activated in the beta software, but
it will likely be available in the final release.

See also: Apple’s Emoji Characters Will Soon Look More Like The World

The new password option joins other changes spotted in iOS 8.3, including:

Advertisement — Continue reading below
  • Ethnically diverse emoji characters
  • Two-factor authentication for Google services
  • Apple Pay for China
  • Expanded Siri support for seven new languages
  • Improved keyboard
  • Wireless CarPlay features

The latter may offer a clue as to why Apple gave Siri control over the speaker.

What The Updates Are Saying

AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety took aim at voice features—Siri, in particular—last
fall, so Apple’s efforts to appease critics with a simpler hands-free
calling for drivers makes sense, especially as part of Apple’s overall
push to make its technology vehicle-friendly.

Initially, users
could only trigger the Siri voice feature by holding down the home
button. Apple eventually gave users the ability to activate it by saying
“Hey Siri” (when the device is plugged into power). Users can now place
calls this way, but they’d still have to use headphones or hold the
phone up to their ear.

By allowing speech activation for the
speakerphone, there’s no need to physically handle the device at all,
just to place a call. Ideally, that should reduce driver distraction.

The company seems to be firing on all cylinders now. Its previous iOS 8.2 software, released a couple of weeks ago, brought Apple Watch support into the fold, as well as improvements to HealthKit and other bug fixes. Apple also filed a patent for an iPhone dock that could feasibly turn into a smart home hub for its latent HomeKit initiative, and is expected to release a brand-new Apple TV with the App Store and Siri, plus a new streaming live TV service.

The
common thread in most cases are apps and, increasingly, voice features.
Given that, Apple’s focus on these areas should come as no shock. They
all play into the windfall of Apple technologies about to head our way.
That much seems to be loud and clear.

Lead image created by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

 ReadWrite

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Dell Venue 8 7000 review: thin design, great screen, gimmicky camera

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Engadget doesn’t review many tablets anymore. When it comes to
Android devices, we’re far more likely to write about phablets, those
supersized smartphones that for many people have eliminated the need for
a dedicated slate. Meanwhile, iPad sales have slowed, and Apple has made so few changes to its products that in some cases we actually recommend you buy the previous-gen
model to save money. Still, there are some companies that continue to
not just build tablets, but also produce interesting designs. One of
them is none other than Dell, a company whose track record includes some
sensible Windows slates, a series of forgettable Android tablets and a phablet that was ahead of its time.

Lately, though, the company has been undergoing a reawakening, with a series of striking products that includes the XPS 13 and the Venue 8 7000,
a $399 Android tablet. The Venue 8, as I’ll call it from here on out,
is notable mostly for its design, marked by a stunning OLED display and a
skinny 6mm-thick frame. It also happens to be the first tablet with
Intel’s RealSense 3D camera setup. All told, that combination of specs
was impressive enough to win it a Best of CES Award. But does that mean you should go out and buy one?

Gallery

28 Photos

Dell Venue 8 7000 review

Venue 8 7000

Summary
Dell’s flagship Venue 8 tablet is thin and well-made with a
stunning screen and long battery life. It’s one of the best Android
slates you can buy, but we’d like it even more if the image quality from
the camera were better — and if it weren’t so easy to cover up the
speaker and rear lens with your fingers.

Hardware

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“That’s a Dell?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that since I started using
the Venue 8 in public, and showing it off to colleagues. If you’re
reading this, Dell, that’s actually a compliment. A backhanded
compliment, to be sure, but high praise nonetheless. With its machined
aluminum surfaces, blunt edges and front-facing speaker setup, the Venue
8 looks like something HTC would have made back in its original HTC One phase.
It does not look like the brainchild of a company that went private so
that it could focus on making more corporate-friendly PCs.

It’s actually difficult for me to say what I like best about the
design. Under duress, though, I think I’d pick the screen. What we have
here is an incredibly crisp 8.4-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 panel, slightly
larger than the iPad mini’s, with a slightly higher pixel density to
match (361 pixels per inch versus 326 on the mini 3).
But the sharpness is only part of the story. The OLED display also
brings deep blacks, white whites, bright colors and strong viewing
angles. Every time I pick up an OLED tablet, whether it be the Samsung Galaxy Tab S or the older Galaxy Tab 7.7,
I find myself floored by the beauty. As a bonus, the battery life on
those devices also tends to be pretty epic. What can I say, then? It
hasn’t gotten old for me — especially since relatively few tablets even
have screens like this. I’m not sure why they’re still so rare — it’s
clearly possible to build a reasonably priced OLED tablet — but in any
case, I’m glad Dell went with the best possible option. It makes a
difference.

Last thing about the display before I move on: It’s nearly
bezel-less. Other than a thin metal band about as thick as a fingernail,
it’s all screen, from edge to edge. Even the black space surrounding
the screen is minimal. It’s a gorgeous sight, all those lit-up pixels,
but it does at times feel a little impractical. If I’m holding the
display in portrait mode, as it was primarily meant to be used, my
thumbs cover both the metal bezel and even the black buffer space,
leaving me no choice but to block the picture with my fingers. I could
hold on at the bottom too, but that makes for some uncomfortable weight
distribution and besides, my fingers will end up covering the
front-facing speaker located below the display.

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So long as I’m talking about what it feels like to hold the device,
this might be a good time to mention the Venue 8’s aluminum shell. At
6mm thick, this is the world’s thinnest tablet, or so Dell says, and
it’s also lighter than you’d expect an all-metal device to be, at 0.67
pound. (For comparison’s sake, the iPad mini 3 weighs 0.73 pound.) The
Venue 8 feels well-crafted, like someone spent a lot of time thinking
about how durable the tablet should be, or how nice it is to press your
fingers against cold, hard metal. In a word, it feels expensive.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem someone spent as much time thinking about
the camera placement. The three cameras in Intel’s RealSense setup are
housed on the rear of the tablet toward the bottom, with two of them
inside a thin strip, and one inside a wider panel along the lower edge.
If you’re holding the tablet in portrait, your fingers will almost
certainly be blocking one of the lenses, which means you’ll almost
certainly need to flip the tablet upside-down to take a shot.

Fortunately, all of the other ports are exactly where you’d expect
them to be. Along the left-hand side are your usual power button and
volume rocker. The good news is that because they’re up toward the top,
you’re unlikely to press them accidentally. The bad news: They won’t be
in thumb’s reach if you’re using the thing in portrait mode. Ah well.
Moving on, there’s a pin-locked microSD slot on the lower-right edge,
which accepts cards as large as 512GB, and which also has room for a SIM
card on the forthcoming LTE model. (My review unit was WiFi-only.) Up
front is a 2-megapixel webcam for video chats and the occasional selfie.
Last but not least, there’s a standard micro-USB socket on the bottom
edge for charging and data transfer. Pretty standard stuff.

Camera

So far, I’ve referred to RealSense as a “3D” camera setup. The better
term might actually be “depth-sensing.” In addition to an 8-megapixel
rear camera — clearly, the main shooter — you get two stereoscopic
720p cameras on either side, which allow the device to collect multiple
layers of depth information. So, when you take a shot in the camera’s
special depth-sensing mode (this part is important), what you’re
actually getting is an amalgam of several shots: one with the foreground
in focus, one with the background, et cetera. This allows you to do
some interesting things. Using Dell’s included “Gallery” app, you can
adjust the focus of the shot, blurring out the background to focus on
the foreground, or vice versa. And, because the shot is broken down into
several pieces, you can apply effects selectively, too (think: sepia in
the foreground only). Think of it as owning a Lytro, except instead of a single-purpose, one-trick camera, you also get a full-featured Android tablet.

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Can anything destroy the Nokia 3310?

The Internet has dubbed the Nokia 3310 as indestructible. It seems that no matter what stress test it’s put through, the brick phone escapes with nothing more than a few scratches. But has it finally met it’s match?

YouTubers “Bigshredder
throw just about anything into an industrial shredder for the pure joy
of seeing if something will shred. After absolutely destroying video
game consoles, fans requested “ancient building blocks called Nokias,” or what we know as the Nokia 3310.

Not surprisingly, the Nokia 3310 survived it’s first test.

bigshredder/YouTube

Now for the real test of strength.

bigshredder/YouTube

Will the Nokia 3310 shred?If you’re like us and can’t believe your eyes, you’re not alone. Several people suggested Bigshredder used CGI or a cheap imitation phone because it’s simply too hard to believe that a Nokia 3310 can be destroyed.

The only thing that will destroy a Nokia is the phone itself!

Giphy

H/T r/videos Photo via whatleydude/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Can anything destroy the Nokia 3310?

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

Introduction

Today’s
flagships are easily flaunting 5-inch and up sized screens, but not
everyone believes that this is the perfect size. Lucky for them, we have
two new entrants in the space, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Apple iPhone 6,
which both feature 4.7-inch displays. What’s especially important here,
is that they’re treated to top-notch specs and offer excellent
all-around performances – so it makes perfect sense for us to pit them
against one another to see which one comes out on top.

Design

Visually stunning from every design facet, it’s refreshing to know that they’re extremely compact as well.

Honestly,
it’s a tough call on which design we like better – partly because
they’re both compact in size, comfortable to hold, lightweight, and
impressively premium in nature. Technically, it’s the iPhone 6 is a
smidgen taller, wider, thicker, and heavier, but it’s almost hardy
noticeable. Even though the Alpha is arguably the best designed phone
we’ve seen from Samsung, thanks in part to its solid construction and
metal trim bezel, its body is still comprised from mostly plastic. In
comparison, it’s a unibody aluminum casing with the iPhone 6.

Indeed,
we prefer the iPhone 6’s Touch ID finger print sensor over the one used
by the Alpha, but Sammy’s offering is packed with a couple of notable
amenities. Specifically, they include a sensor to measure our pulse
rate, and a removable battery.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches

132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm

4.06 oz (115 g)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm

4.55 oz (129 g)

Apple iPhone 6

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Display

There are more pleasing qualities with the
iPhone 6’s display, especially knowing that the Alpha’s screen uses a
PenTile Matrix pixel arrangement.

Like we said, they both offer
4.7-inch sized screens, but they employ different resolutions and
display technologies. Although they’re not necessarily ground breaking
in comparison to what’s out there, the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch 750 x 1334
Retina display bears a few more pleasing qualities that catch our
attention more – like it being slightly more detailed and brighter.
Well, the Alpha’s 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display is still
nice, especially when its color accuracy is improved over past AMOLED
screens, but it resorts to using a PenTile matrix pixel arrangement,
which doesn’t make it look as sharp as the iPhone 6’s display.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness
(nits)Higher is better
Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 606
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1563
(Excellent)
7162
(Good)
2.23 3.51
(Good)
3
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 422
(Good)
1.7
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6840
(Excellent)
1.96 2.19
(Good)
2.38
(Good)

View allSamsung Galaxy Alpha vs Apple iPhone 6

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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: What’s new in the Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: What's new in the Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is expected to be announced at this
year’s MWC, but how does it differ to the current Samsung Galaxy S5? We
compare what we know about the S5 and what we think we know about the S6
to find out. It’s S5 vs S6.

For more information read our full Samsung Galaxy S5 review and Samsung Galaxy S6 UK release date, price and specs: when is the Samsung Galaxy S6 coming out?

We should point out that the Samsung Galaxy S6’s specification has
not yet been confirmed, but many details have leaked. We will update
this article once new information is available. Note that the imaghes
used here are of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Also see: Best phones 2015 and best new phones coming in 2015.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Price and UK availability 

When the Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced it had an RRP of £579, but
even before its release it was reduced to around £550, and within a
month or two, £500. A year later and the Samsung Galaxy S5 costs £383
SIM-free at Amazon.

We expect to see exactly the same pattern with the Samsung Galaxy S6,
so you may find that it will pay to wait a month or two following its
March release before you buy.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Design and build 

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a plastic hanset with a removable rear cover
that has a perforated texture, supposedly in order to feel more natural
and aid grip in the hand. It’s a removable cover, allowing access the
also removable battery and microSDXC slot.

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 expect to see a more premium looking
design with a metal chassis. The removable cover will still be plastic
and removable, but the overall design will look more similar to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha.

The screen will mark a key difference between these two smartphones,
if rumours are correct. While the Samsung Galaxy S5 packs a 5.1in
full-HD (1920×1080, 432ppi) display, the S6 is expected to get a 5.5in
Quad-HD (1440×2560, 534ppi) panel. Both will use a Super AMOLED screen,
so the only differences will be in their size and resolution. Expect it
to be protected with Gorilla Glass 4, rather than the S5’s Gorilla Glass
3, too.

All the screen software tweaks built into the S5, such as Smart stay and Adapt display, should also be found in the Galaxy S6.

Given the larger screen it’s possible that we may see a slight
increase in size and weight over the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 142×72.5×8.1mm
and 145g, yet the S6 is rumoured to come with slimmer bezels.

As with the S5, the S6 will include a heart-rate monitor on the rear,
plus a fingerprint scanner built into the Home button – but this one
should be more intuitive to use, with touch- rather than swipe-based
input. Like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 it
will also get a UV sensor. Leaked case designs, which may or may not be
accurate, suggest the dual-LED flash will be moved to the other side of
the camera.

One other rumoured change is that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will no
longer support IP67 dust- and waterproof protection. However, the source
of this claim says that’s because there will also be an Active version
of the S6, yet we also saw an Active version of the S5.

In common with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Galaxy S6 will be
available in two versions: the standard Samsung Galaxy S6, plus the Galaxy S6 Edge. This will be similar to the Galaxy Note Edge,
which has a curved edge to one side of the screen to show notifications
and the like, except this handset may offer two curved screen edges.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is expected to be available in Charcoal Black,
Copper Gold, Electric Blue and Shimmery White, matching the options
available with the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Hardware and performance 

Originally thought to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip in the
UK, fears over overheating issues have reportedly led Samsung to
reconsider and fit the Galaxy S6 with its own Exynos 7420, a 64-bit
octa-core processor with four Cortex-A53 cores and four Cortex-A57s.
This has seemingly been backed up by the fact that in its latest
earnings call Qualcomm admitted it had lost a big client.

This Exynos 7420 chip may also be backed up with 3GB of RAM and 32-,
64- and 128GB storage models, although we doubt we’ll see any more than
32GB in the UK. You will also be able to add microSD cards up to 128GB
in capacity, of course.

By comparison, in the UK the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2.5GHz Qualcomm
Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 2GB of RAM and 16GB (or
apparently 32GB) of storage with the same microSD support. It performs
very well in our benchmarks, netting 2869 points in Geekbench 3.0
multicore, 824ms in SunSpider, and 28fps in GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex. We don’t
know exactly how much faster the S6 will prove to be, but we do expect a
significant performance bump. Also see: What’s the fastest smartphone 2015?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Audio 

Sound quality in the S5 is acceptable, but nothing out of the
ordinary. However, Samsung’s hoping to appeal to audiophiles with its
upcoming Galaxy S6 if reports are to be believed. It’s thought to come
with Sennheiser uni-directional earbuds, which look similar to Apple
EarPods. Rumour has it they will feature apt-X, which may mean they are
wireless.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Cameras 

One area in which there have been contrasting rumours is photography.
While all sources seem to confirm the S6 will get a 5Mp front-facing
camera, boosted from the S5’s 2Mp and appealing for use in video chat
and selfies, no-one seems to be able to make up their mind as to whether
it will stick with the S5’s 16Mp camera, with optical image
stabilisation as seen on the Note 4, or upgrade it to 20Mp. This is one
area in which we will have to wait and see.

Expect at very least everything you get with the S5, Note 4 and
Galaxy Alpha, however. That means 4K UHD video at 30fps, plus all
Samsung’s software tweaks, including real-time HDR, Beauty Face, Dual
Camera, Panorama, Selective Focus, Shot & More and Virtual Tour.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Connectivity 

We’re not expecting much to change on the connectivity front,
although it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think Samsung might improve the
S6’s LTE support. In S5 and S6 you’ll get 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS,
NFC and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. In the S5 Samsung also specifies MIMO
technology and offers a unique Download Booster that combines the power
of 4G LTE and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to deliver downloads at a theoretical max
of 400Mb/s, so expect to find these in the S6 too.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Software 

While the Samsung Galaxy S5 is sold running Android KitKat, the S6
will come with Lollipop. You can read up on the key differences in our Android KitKat vs Android Lollipop review, but keep in mind that Samsung will also upgrade its S5 to Lollipop.

TouchWiz features on both S5 and S6, but in the S6 Samsung is
expected to slim down its preinstalled offerings with much of it
available as free downloads. We’re sure you’ll still find S Health, S
Voice, the Galaxy Apps store and its Magazine BlinkFeed-style UI at the
very least.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is also expected to offer enhanced themes, with
a Themes Center letting you change system sounds, fonts and Events
(such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day). There will also be a Themes
Store.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: What's new in the Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Battery life 

The Samsung Galaxy has a 2800mAh removable battery and an Ultra Power
Saving mode that ekes out every bit of life (up to 24 hours) from the
last 10 percent of juice by turning off all unneccessary functions and
using a greyscale display. The S6’s battery capacity has not leaked, but
we do know that it will support the same Ultra Power Saving mode plus
fast charging – in the Galaxy Note 4 the battery can go from zero to 50
percent in just 30 minutes, which is twice as fast as most phones, and
something we hope to see in the S6.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs S6 comparison: Verdict

We’re going to hold off our verdict until we’ve seen the finished
Samsung Galaxy S6, but from the sounds of it Samsung has made a lot of
improvements – the Quad-HD screen alone would make it a worthwhile
upgrade over the S5.

 – PC Advisor

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha review: Samsung’s most beautiful phone yet

When a company names one of their products after the first letter of
the Greek alphabet, it means business. Take Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha: The
name alone exudes confidence. Although the term typically signifies the
first in a series, the Alpha obviously isn’t Samsung’s inaugural Android
phone; rather, it ushers in a completely new design direction for the
company. It’s not a top-of-the-line flagship device on the inside, but
what matters is that it actually looks like one on the outside,
thanks to its premium aesthetics, metal frame and sleek body. Samsung
has every reason to be confident in the Alpha’s design. As always,
however, there’s more to a device than meets the eye.

Gallery

25 Photos

Samsung Galaxy Alpha review

Samsung

Galaxy Alpha

Summary
The Alpha is Samsung’s first phone with a metal frame, and it’s the
most aesthetically pleasing Galaxy phone we’ve ever seen.
Unfortunately, it’s priced at a premium and doesn’t have the same set of
features that you can get on the Galaxy S5 for the same price.

Hardware

The Galaxy Alpha is the most beautiful Samsung device I’ve ever
handled. It’s the very first device to take advantage of the company’s
brand-new design language, which features polished aluminum sides,
chamfered edges, a thin profile and a polycarbonate (plastic) back; the
same design is used on the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge (and
arguably, the iPhone 5/5s and last year’s HTC One), but the Alpha is the
first to actually make it off the production line. It’s simple, yet
elegant; minimal, yet profuse. Featuring a 4.7-inch frame and 6.7mm
thickness, the Alpha is more than sufficiently sleek and svelte.

Thanks to its slim, compact frame, I had absolutely no problem
hanging onto the Alpha. Not only can I wrap my hand around the whole
thing, but also its straight sides offer my fingers plenty of space to
grip. It’s also incredibly light, weighing 4.06 ounces (115g); that’s
half an ounce lighter than the iPhone 6. In fact, it almost feels like
it isn’t substantial enough; in my palms, I’m often reminded of a dummy phone — fake versions of the real thing that manufacturers send to retail stores.

I’d be tempted to think of the Galaxy Alpha as a GS5 mini, if the
name weren’t already taken; in many respects, it’s a smaller version of
Samsung’s current 5.1-inch flagship smartphone. It packs the same
Snapdragon 801 chipset (though an Exynos option is also available in
certain markets), so it should be similarly powerful, and it also comes
with a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor and Samsung’s TouchWiz
UI. But while the Alpha easily beats the GS5 in style (while matching it
in oomph), the rest of the spec sheet isn’t as impressive. It’s not
waterproof; it lacks a microSD slot; the battery is smaller; it uses a
lower-res camera; and it doesn’t come with an IR blaster. It also
features a lower-res 720p Super AMOLED display.

Since it’s not designed to simply be a miniature GS5, these omissions
theoretically shouldn’t be a big issue. It still packs plenty of a
punch, after all, and even the 720p display is considered
top-of-the-line for similarly sized devices. (Also, with smaller phones,
manufacturers don’t have as much space to cram in extra components.)
The problem is that you’re paying a premium price for the premium look;
you can get the Alpha on AT&T in the US for $200 on-contract, or
$613 with no contract attached. This is the same on-contract price as
the GS5, and only $37 cheaper at full retail. To be fair, AT&T’s
Galaxy S5 only comes with 16GB internal storage, whereas the Alpha gets
32GB, so that explains some of the difference. Even so, the GS5 at least
has a microSD slot for expandable memory.

What’s even weirder is that while the Alpha doesn’t come with any waterproofing or water-resistance of any kind, iFixit
did a teardown of the phone and discovered that it comes with many of
the gaskets and other internal parts necessary for keeping water out. In
other words, Samsung didn’t finish what it started.

The bottom edge of the device houses a micro-USB 2.0 connector —
Samsung’s moved away from the unsightly 3.0 ports that take up extra
room — along with a speaker grille and mic. On the left is a volume
rocker, which appears to have received the same amount of attention to
design as the rest of the phone. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on top
and a power button on the right. Additionally, the top and bottom of the
phone feature a pair of antenna stripes, which are common on metal
phones because they provide a place to send and receive cellular and
wireless signals.

The Alpha also comes with a removable back cover with a textured
polycarbonate back that’s similar to what you’ll find on the Galaxy S5.
On the Alpha, however, the dimples are much tinier and the matte surface
doesn’t feel as slick; the Alpha definitely offers more friction.
There’s a 12-megapixel camera in the top-center, and since the module is
thicker than the phone itself, there’s a hump to make the transition
between the camera and back cover seem a bit more gradual. (One of my
biggest issues with the iPhone 6’s design is that the camera abruptly
sticks out from the rest of the frame.) The LED flash and heart rate
monitor are to the camera’s left, arranged in a vertical fashion, and
the logos include just the AT&T globe near the top and the phone’s
name near the bottom. Underneath the back cover, you’ll find a removable
1,860mAh battery and nano-SIM slot.

The new location of the heart rate monitor works out okay if you hold
the phone in your right hand, but it can be troublesome if you prefer
your left; the camera hump gets in the way, and I had to keep looking at
my finger to make sure it was in the right place. Which brings me to
another point: The Galaxy S5’s sensor was placed at the bottom of a
cavity, while the Alpha’s version is nearly flush with the rest of the
back. This makes it more difficult to find the sensor without peeking
around the phone to make sure I’m actually in the right spot.

An aluminum frame comes with trade-offs. Sure, it looks great, feels
robust and has an aura of high quality, but as I saw with the iPhone 6,
the material isn’t immune to blemishes; after just a few days, I started
seeing scratches and even a couple dings along the chamfered edges.
This means that how it looks after a year of use will depend on how you
treat it. If it’s constantly rubbing up against other hard materials,
it’s not going to fare well.

As mentioned earlier, the Alpha has a 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED
panel. On paper, this doesn’t sound very good since many new flagships
have Quad HD displays. For a handset of its size, however, 720p is still
acceptable: The first Moto X was of the same quality. Ditto for the
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, which is one-tenth of an inch smaller. The
iPhone 6, meanwhile, is slightly better at 1,334 x 750 (326 pixels per
inch). With the Alpha, you’ll get a pixel density of 312 ppi, which is
still respectable. Of course, the Super AMOLED panel ensures that colors
are more saturated than most IPS options, and the viewing angles are
simply average and nothing special. If you’re looking for a compact
phone, the display will neither make nor break the decision for you —
it’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t mind some slightly inaccurate
colors.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Apple iPhone 6
Pricing $200 (on-contract), $613 (off-contract) Starts at $200 (on-contract); $650 (off-contract)
Dimensions 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm (5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 in) 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 in)
Weight 115 g (4.06 oz) 129 g (4.55 oz)
Screen size 4.7 inches 4.7 inches
Screen resolution 1,280 x 720 (312 ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326 ppi)
Screen type Super AMOLED IPS LCD (Retina HD)
Battery 1,860mAh 1,810mAh
Internal storage 32GB 16/64/128GB
External storage None None
Rear camera 12MP, f/2.2, AF, single LED flash 8MP, f/2.2, PDAF, dual LED flash
Front-facing cam 2.1MP 1.2MP
Video capture UHD (2160p) 1080p
NFC Yes Yes (with restrictions)
Bluetooth 4.0+LE 4.0+LE
SoC 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 1.4GHz dual-core Apple A8 “Cyclone”, PowerVR GX6450
RAM 2GB 1GB
Connectivity NFC, DLNA, WiFi Direct NFC
WiFi Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Operating system Android 4.4, TouchWiz UI iOS 8.0

Software

Admittedly, the software section is going to be as small as the
device itself, since there’s very little to differentiate it from the
Galaxy S5. The variance in screen size doesn’t impact the user
experience, nor does it mean you’ll enjoy fewer features. The Alpha uses
TouchWiz layered on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which is still
technically the latest consumer-facing version of Google’s mobile OS
(it’ll soon be replaced by Android L, but Samsung’s lineup should get
the new update not too long after it becomes publicly available to the
masses).

This version of TouchWiz is what you’d expect: It’s consistent with
every other version of TouchWiz. The UI is exactly the same as on the
Galaxy S5, with a vast notification panel, bubbly settings menu and
suite of preinstalled Google and Samsung apps. There’s also My Magazine,
which is a feature that’s been on several Galaxy devices over the last
two years. (You can also remove it, if you don’t want to use it.) It’s
essentially an extra home screen panel that provides real-time news and
social feeds, and looks a lot like Flipboard and HTC’s BlinkFeed. Multi
Window is also present, so you can still view two apps at once in a
split-screen mode, despite having such a small screen. You’ll also get
Air View, which lets you check out extra details about calendar
appointments and larger thumbnails for pictures and videos just by
hovering your finger over the display.

Lastly, you’ll get other common Samsung features like Easy mode,
Blocking mode and Private mode (the latter of which hides and secures
sensitive information so your random friends won’t find it), as well as
Smart stay and the ever-present toolbox of customized app shortcuts that
continuously floats on top of the screen.

Camera

The Alpha is thinner than the GS5, which means the camera module
isn’t quite as large. Instead of a 16-megapixel sensor, you’ll get a
12MP shooter on the back with an aperture of f/2.2 and focal length of
4.8mm (the same as on the GS5). So, don’t expect a radically different
imaging experience here. The user interface hasn’t changed, either:
Separate shutter buttons for stills and video sit alongside the
mode-selection button and gallery link, and settings and shortcuts
reside on the opposite sidebar. You get the same default modes here as
you do on the GS5 — the usual Panorama, Dual Camera, Beauty Face and
Shot & more modes — and you can download extra modes, like Animated
Photo (add animation to your pictures), Surround Shot (Samsung’s
version of Photo Sphere), Sports, and Sound & shot (audio
accompanies the image). The GS5 gets an extra mode for sequence shots,
while the Alpha lets you choose which modes actually show up in your
menu — if you only use one or two, you can get rid of the extra
clutter.

The settings here are identical as well. HDR, selective focus (in
which you can choose to focus on the foreground, background or both),
ISO (up to 800), audio zoom and plenty of effects are featured, although
there’s no way to manually change white balance, exposure or shutter
speed.

Just like on the GS5, the Alpha has multiple resolution options.
Whichever you choose will have an impact on the aspect ratio. If you
want the highest resolution possible, you’re going to have to settle for
16:9 (widescreen), while the best standard 4:3 shots you can get will
come out at eight megapixels.

The camera sports Samsung’s ISOCELL tech, which I detailed in my GS5
review. In short, it’s designed to improve sharpness and deliver better
low-light performance and more accurate colors. On the GS5, I noted that
performance was indeed better, albeit slightly, and I got nearly the
same kind of results from the Alpha. In fact, aside from the difference
in resolution (and thus, fewer details and less leeway for digital
zoom), the Alpha’s images were very similar to ones I took with the
flagship. It does well in daylight and produces realistic colors, and is
overall a reliable camera, but it’s not very good at taking pictures of
moving things. I had a difficult time snapping shots of cars or people
without blurring.

It’s also not very good in low-light situations, but this is nothing
new for Samsung phones — the company’s struggled with this for a long
time, and ISOCELL is designed to make it better. Sadly, there’s been no
improvement here from the GS5; on the contrary, it’s a bit worse. Even
when my night shots turned out (I say “when” since quite a few were
hopelessly dark), they were noisy, lacking in sharpness and not worth
sharing with friends or family. I’m not saying it’s impossible to get a
solid low-light shot, but it’s not as easy as it should be. (Click here for a gallery of all my sample shots.)

Performance and battery life

The US version of the Alpha uses the same Snapdragon 801 chipset as
the one found on the GS5, which is comprised of a quad-core 2.5GHz Krait
400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Before I began testing the
device, I expected to see the same kind of performance that I’ve enjoyed
on its big brother. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed: Most apps
loaded up quickly, and games like Asphalt 8 and Beach Buggy Racing
ran smoothly. I did notice the occasional frame skip, but this was the
exception, not the rule. When you look at the benchmarks, it’s clear
there’s very little difference between the two in terms of overall
performance.

Galaxy Alpha Galaxy S5 Galaxy Note 3 iPhone 6
Quadrant 2.0 24,235 24,714 22,828 N/A
Vellamo 3.0 (Multicore) 1,686 1,656 1,994 N/A
3DMark IS Ultimate 13,697 17,954 18,933 16,689
SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms) 788 820 840 351
GFXBench 3.0 1080p Offscreen (fps) 11.8 11.5 10.1 17.4
CF-Bench 32,150 33,351 38,020 N/A
SunSpider: Lower scores are better.

The Alpha also has a small 1,860mAh battery, which was my primary
concern going into the review. Could it handle my everyday demands and
still get me through the day? After all, if I can’t go a full day
without worrying about finding an outlet before I can get home, it’s not
worth using as my daily driver — especially when plenty of other
devices are up to the task. The Alpha barely makes it to the end of the
day with moderate usage; on heavier days when I’m streaming music,
reading e-books, taking pictures, staying social and keeping up with
nonstop emails, I get around 13 hours.

With the Alpha, Samsung included the same fingerprint sensor that it
used on the GS5, and it requires the same swipe-down action. Its
performance on the flagship was mediocre at best — it often took me
multiple swipes to get the phone to recognize my prints, and was even
worse when I tried to do it at an angle. Unfortunately, I only saw minor
improvements here, despite the fact that Samsung has had six months to
improve the sensor and its integration with software. Admittedly, it’s a
little better when I swipe from different angles, but it still takes
multiple attempts even when my fingers and thumbs are straight on.
There’s certainly some practice involved, and it does get better over
time as you learn the sensor’s quirks (you have to do it at a certain
speed, and you have to make sure you’ve covered the sensor with the
right parts of your finger).

When making phone calls, I had no trouble hearing the other end of
the line, but the external speaker didn’t fare well. I pitted the Alpha
against BoomSound on the HTC One M8, which produced a much louder and
fuller audio performance; I could hear more bass and mids on HTC’s
flagship than I could on the Alpha. The GS5 was also slightly louder,
though the difference between the two was marginal — the audio just
wasn’t impressive on either Galaxy.

Cellular connectivity will vary by market and operator. The AT&T
model I reviewed comes with nine-band LTE support (for bands 1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 7, 12, 17 and 29), tri-band HSPA+ (850/1900/2100) and quad-band
GSM/EDGE. You’ll also get NFC, DLNA, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0+LE and
dual-band 802.11ac support (along with a/b/g/n as well).

The competition

It wasn’t long ago that most phone makers used 4.7-inch screens on
their flagships, but now any top-of-the-line phone going smaller than
five inches is just unthinkable — unless, of course, you’re Apple. For
that reason, it’s great to see Samsung come out with a premium-looking
device whose specs aren’t too far removed from the same-sized iPhone 6,
which is available in 16GB for $200 on-contract and $650 off. (If you’re
looking for extra storage space, the Alpha tops the iPhone at the same
price point.)

But these two phones aren’t the only options in the sub-5-inch space.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is a 4.6-inch 720p handset that features
many of the same specs as its bigger flagship brother, and actually
bests the Alpha in pixel density, battery, camera resolution and
external storage capacity. As of this writing, the phone isn’t available
in the US, so it’s only an option for our readers in Europe and Asia —
that is, unless you choose to go through online importers. You’ll find
that the Z3 Compact is a good deal cheaper than the Alpha: On Expansys,
the Z3 Compact goes for £420 ($530), while the Alpha is available for
£515 ($650). Despite the Alpha’s great looks, it’s difficult to justify
it over the Compact.

Wrap-up

As beautiful as the Galaxy Alpha may be, its price leads to its
ultimate downfall. The only reason you’d want to pick this over the
Galaxy S5, which is available for a similar price, is that you prefer a
smaller size or more solid build. But even then, this design isn’t a
one-and-done; you’ll be able to get the same fit and finish on the Note 4
and Note Edge (albeit with larger screens). Furthermore, it’s not the
best sub-5-inch Android device on the market, thanks to the Sony Z3
Compact, which comes with better battery life, camera and external
storage.

More important is what this new design direction means to Samsung’s
future. Even though the aluminum build isn’t perfect, Samsung’s latest
smartphones are the best-looking handsets the manufacturer has produced
in years. For a company suffering from slowing sales
and looking for new ways to compete with the iPhone, devices like the
Alpha are essential. This makes it all the more unfortunate that the
fantastic design is one of few things that helps it stand out from the
crowd. On the upside, though, this is just the beginning; more
good-looking Samsung phones are on the way.

: Samsung’s most beautiful phone yet

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