Thursday, March 26th, 2015
The One M9 launches at the end of the month, but HTC is already preparing a follow-up. Called the One M9 Plus, the phone has been leaked in photos posted to Weibo (China’s Twitter) and alluded to in event invites sent to Taiwanese media. The One M9 Plus is expected to be a better and slightly larger version of the One M9, with a 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 display and a dual-lens camera. Otherwise, specifications match that of the One M9, including a 64-bit octa-core processor (made by either Qualcomm or MediaTek), 3GB of RAM and a 20-megapixel rear camera sensor.
We’ve recently acquired some cases of the One M9 Plus. In the photos below, you can see how the phone measures up to the One M9. As expected, it is very slightly larger, adding credence to that 5.2-inch screen size. There’s also a very large cutout, which would fit the large sensor shown in the event invite. In terms of ports, there seem to be no obvious differences to the One M9.
What do you think of the idea of the One M9 Plus? Is it a good idea for HTC to release an upgraded phone so soon after the One M9? Let us know in the comments below!
Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
At the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona, Sony showed off their latest device: the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Normally Sony announce a Z phone first and then a corresponding Z tablet, but this time the roles were reversed. I asked the Sony marketing guy at their stand about this, and he told me that the Z4 phone wasn’t being released yet because the Z3 was selling so well. Regardless of the truth of the matter, it now seems that the Z4 phone isn’t far off, as leaked renders were published by @onleaks this week.
The renders show a phone that is very similar to the Xperia Z3, with the same metal-and-glass construction and vaguely boxy shape. The major differences appear to be largely those of port placement; the micro USB port has moved to the bottom of the phone and shed the annoying flap that ensured its waterproof rating previously. The micro SD card slot seems to have disappeared as well, which likely indicates Sony will join Samsung and others in moving to 32GB as the new smallest capacity model.
There are a number of other minor tweaks here and there, too. The speaker grilles have become longer and thinner on the front of the phone, the front-facing camera has shifted to a more central location, and the phone appears marginally thinner as well.
Other expected specifications for the phone include a Snapdragon 810 octa-core display, 3GB of RAM and a QHD (2560 x 1440) display.
Interestingly, both this Xperia Z4 render and the preceding Z3 press images show a date widget which references the 12th of September. Both widgets refer to this day as a Thursday, although in 2014 it was a Friday and in 2015 it will be a Saturday. Regardless of the error, a September launch is expected for the smartphone, one year after its predecessor.
What do you think of the new Xperia Z4′s look? Let us know in the comments below, or write to us on Twitter @mobilefun!
We’re already preparing to support the handset with a range of Sony Xperia Z4 accessories, so stay tuned for more news!
Thursday, March 5th, 2015
We joined Samsung for their Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event in Barcelona this weekend, where Samsung unveiled its latest flagship phones.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 marks a new age in Samsung design, with a glass back and metal frame that provide a markedly more premium in-hand feel. The S6 Edge goes even further, with a screen that bends back on both sides to provide a wider view and extra space for controls and notifications.
Let’s have a look at each of the phones in turn to see where the differences lie.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The Galaxy S6 is a big step forward when it comes to design. The plasticky exterior of the Galaxy S5 and its predecessors is gone, replaced with a stylish metal frame and Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back. The phone is incredibly thin too, measuring just 6.8mm thick. It feels great in your hand, and the 5.1-inch 1440p display looks incredibly sharp too.
The S6 is available in a unique colour, blue topaz, as well as the three colours it shares with the S6 Edge: white, black and gold. Each colour gleams and changes as you adjust the angle, even though the blanket of fingerprints does reduce the effect somewhat. This is definitely a phone you’ll have to keep clean with a cloth or in a case – and with a glass back, a case may be a real requirement.
Another downside to a glass back is that we lose that battery cover… and with it, both having a removable battery and the microSD card slot.
Samsung calls their efforts “design with purpose”, and for once I’d be hesitant to disagree. This is an excellently engineered phone, which knocks everything else Samsung have done into a cocked hat… and may yet rival HTC or Apple’s efforts.
The Galaxy S6 is powered by Samsung’s latest Exynos processor, the Exynos 7 Octa. It uses a new 14nm process, meaning it can fit many more transistors into a similar space. According to Samsung, that increases performance by 20% while reducing power usage by 35% – not bad. Samsung have also paid attention to the backing elements, with 3GB of DDR4 RAM (“80% faster”) and a hybrid storage solution which promises to offer speeds more akin to solid state drives (SSDs) than traditional flash storage. Storage options have been upgraded too, with 32GB being the smallest option, with 64GB and 128GB models also available. Together, these upgrades could make the Galaxy S6 a performance titan.
When it comes to battery power, we’re looking at a smaller unit than shipped in the S5 – 2550mAh compared to 2800mAh. Samsung say that the phone will last for a long time though – 12 hours of WiFi, 11 hours of LTE, 13 hours of video or 49 hours of music. This is complemented by Samsung’s fast charging tech, which promises to deliver 4 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes of charging. Charging from empty to 100% will take half the time of an iPhone 6, despite that phone’s much smaller battery. Samsung are also building in wireless charging to a Galaxy phone for the first time.
The camera setup is the final area that Samsung are focusing their attention. They’re using a 16-megapixel rear sensor on the back, with an f1.9 lens and optical image stabilisation. On the front, they’ve upgraded to a 5-megapixel shooter with f1.9 and a special low-light mode. The camera can be launched in less than a second by double-tapping the home button, which worked very effectively in my testing. There are also some fun modes, including a cartoon mode that surprised the demonstrator Samsung provided at the hands-on session.
The Galaxy S6 runs Android 5 with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Samsung made a big point of showing how they had upgraded their apps to comply with Google’s Material Design guidelines. One notable example is the camera app, which now uses labels to make functionality more obvious, and has a single screen for common functions.
Samsung are debuting ‘Samsung Pay’ with the Galaxy S6, which can use either NFC or mag-stripe technology to work with a massive range of existing terminals. Samsung are promising a launch in the summer for the US and South Korea, alongside partnerships with VISA, Mastercard and (mostly American) banks.
Overall, the experience seems smoother and faster, with fewer added features and other assorted bloatware. Interestingly, the phone comes with Microsoft apps pre-installed, which would suggest a partnership between the two companies.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
The S6 Edge utilises a dual-curved screen, bending subtly backwards on the left and right sides. That means there’s essentially no bezel on the sides at all. The phone is slightly thicker than the S6 (7.0mm vs 6.8mm), but the difference isn’t noticeable in-hand. What you do notice is that the phone is a bit sharper on the edges, although its overall shape is more comfortable to grip and hold to your face. Otherwise, the phone is near-identical to the standard S6, with the same glass back and metal frame. The S6 Edge is available in a unique colour, green emerald.
The Galaxy S6 Edge is almost entirely the same when it comes to specifications: the same processor, the same storage, the same camera. The only slight difference is the battery, which is slightly larger (2600mAh vs 2550mAh) on the S6 Edge. Otherwise, you’ll benefit from the same Exynos 7 processor, 3GB of DDR4 RAM and 32, 64 or 128GB of ‘eMMC / SSD universal flash storage 2.0′.
The S6 Edge has a few unique software features compared to the S6, thanks to that curved screen. You can set up to five contacts as your favourites, giving them each a unique colour. Then, when these contacts call when your phone is face-down, you’ll see a beautiful neon underglow in their colour so you’ll know who’s calling.
You can also access these favourites by swiping in from the side of the screen, letting you call or text them quickly from any screen. Finally, notifications also appear on the side of the screen; you can pull them out to see the full notification and respond right there.
||Galaxy S6 Edge
||5.1-inch dual curve
||£579 for 32GB
||£649 for 32GB
Samsung slipped in the last year, but the release of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge shows that the company is serious about renewing its efforts to craft great phones. The new design of the S6 and S6 Edge are miles ahead of what we saw from Samsung last year, and together with meaningful hardware and software upgrades, the next series of Galaxy phones looks incredible.
What do you think of the new phones? Let us know in the comments below!
Friday, February 27th, 2015
We’ve seen some spy shots of the Galaxy S6 Edge and some good cased images of the phone, but now we’ve got something altogether more official: press renders of the new handset. The images, which were published by CNet Korea, show a black version of the Galaxy S6 Edge from every angle.
They do note that texture and shape can vary mildly from the actual product, and indeed there are a few minor differences between the press renders and the other leaks that we’ve seen thus far. However, all of the major features – including that flowing three-sided display and the 20-megapixel rear camera with side-mounted LED flash – seem present and correct.
As we saw before on both the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the back of the phone is clad in glass and framed with metal. That means that there’s no removable back, which means that there’s no removable battery, and no microSD card slot. These are disappointing omissions for diehard Galaxy S fans, but hopefully the new design will be enough to make the phone a strong newcomer in the series.
What do you think of the new design? Let us know in the comments below, or write to us on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for checking out the article and stay tuned for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge’s big reveal this Sunday at 17:30 GMT!
Friday, February 27th, 2015
We’ve already seen leaked case photos for the Samsung Galaxy S6, but now we’re seeing them for its rarer brother: the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The new phone features a display that curves back on both left and right sides, and of course Galaxy S6 Edge cases have to account for that. Let’s take a look at the first S6 Edge cases, courtesy of case-maker Spigen.
The cases shown here are curved to match the phone’s display on the front, but remain fairly ordinary-looking on the rear. We can also see one of our first shots of the Galaxy S6 Edge’s lock screen, albeit one that seems to have been customised or created by Spigen themselves. There’s a minimal look on the centre pane, with the time shown on a watery background. A single icon for the camera sits at the bottom right. On the right edge, we can see individual icons for emails and text messages received, with calendar events sitting higher and oriented to display down the length of the screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is due to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress by Samsung on March 1st. The Barcelona-based event will have its doors open at 17:30 CET, with the presentation beginning one hour later at 18:30 CET. You can tune into the event via YouTube, on the SamsungMobile page.
For more information on the S6 and S6 Edge that’s been leaked over the past few days, please check out our leak roundup here and our MWC preview 2015 here.
What do you think of the new S6 Edge? Let us know on Twitter @mobilefun or in the comments below. Thanks for checking out the article and have a great weekend!