07 Mar 2014
Samsung and Sony went head to head at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC), with the two firms unveiling their latest flagship Android devices, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, respectively.
Both manufacturers are hoping their high specification devices will win the affections of those in the market for a flagship Android smartphone, and with both the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 boasting similar specification sheets, it's going to be a tough race to call.
We've pitted the Samsung Galaxy S5 specifications up against those of the Sony Xperia Z2 to see which smartphone is worth splashing the cash to buy.
Design, measurements and weight
Samsung Galaxy S5: 142x73x8.1mm, 145g
Sony Xperia Z2: 147x73x8.3mm, 163g
While they have similar dimensions and weights, the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 are worlds apart in design.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a dimpled plastic casing edged in aluminium, an improvement over last year's glossy plastic model, and is available in more colours than the Galaxy S4, too - black, white, blue and gold. The Sony Xperia Z2, on the other hand, looks nearly identical to its Xperia Z1 predecessor, featuring the same boxy, eye-catching design that received high marks in our review last year.
While it hasn't seen much of an upgrade in design, the Sony Xperia Z2 improves on last year's model in size, measuring 8.2mm thick compared to 8.5mm. The Samsung Galaxy S5, on the other hand, is a bit chunkier than its predecessor, although it still measures just 8.1mm thick.
Both the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 arrive resistant against dust and water too, with the two smartphones touting IP67 and IP58 certification. However, the Galaxy S5 edges the Xperia Z1 with additional hardware features, including a fingerprint sensor and a heart rate monitor.
Samsung Galaxy S5: 5.1in 1920x1080 Super Amoled display, 432ppi
Sony Xperia Z1: 5.2in 1920x1080 IPS Triluminos display, 424ppi
If you're looking to select your next smartphone purchase based on display, you're going to have a tough decision, with the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z1 sporting almost identical displays. The Xperia Z2 touts a 5.2in HD 1080p screen with a pixel density of 424ppi, while the Galaxy S5 edges it slightly with a 5.1in HD 1080p display with a pixel density of 432ppi.
What's more, with Samsung configuring the Galaxy S5 with Super Amoled screen technology and Sony using its Triluminos display technology on the Xperia Z2, both screens offer very vibrant images and sharp text, so it will be difficult to call a winner out of the two.
Samsung Galaxy S5: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
Sony Xperia Z2: Quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
Much like with their displays, the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 should be pretty evenly matched in performance, as both have Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor. We've had some hands-on time with both devices, and both are impressively quick - so it will be hard to call a winner in this category, too. However, the Xperia Z2 does squeeze in more RAM, boasting 3GB of RAM compared to 2GB of RAM in the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Galaxy S5: Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, custom UI
Sony Xperia Z2: Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, custom UI
Both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 arrive with the latest version of Google's Android mobile operating system, Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. Both devices also have a custom user interface (UI) from their respective manufacturer, skinning Google's stock UI and stuffing the handset full of custom applications.
Samsung has toned down its UI on the Galaxy S5 compared to the version on the Galaxy S4, and has also given it a lick of paint, making it more stripped down and easy to use, much like Apple's iOS 7 mobile operating system. However, it's still recognisable as a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, featuring the same widget layout and the same applications on the homescreen.
Samsung has introduced some new features with its latest custom UI, though. Among these is My Magazine, a HTC Blinkfeed-style feed which is accessed by swiping left on the homescreen. Samsung has also included S Health 3.0, taking advantage of the smartphone's built-in sensors to monitor its user's fitness activities. There are several new camera features included, too, including Selective Focus, which allows the user to re-adjust the focus after an image has been taken.
Sony's custom UI, however, remains largely unchanged from the version found on last year's Xperia Z1. We've always found that Sony's UI is more usable than those of other smartphone makers, and while the handset still arrives covered in custom widgets and applications, it's a much cleaner design than that of others on the market. That said, we still find it a little overbearing compared to Google's vanilla Android UI.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is preloaded with Sony's Walkman and PlayStation companion apps as seen on the Xperia Z1, as well as some new camera features and noise cancellation technology to help block out background sounds while listening to music.
Samsung Galaxy S5: 16MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash and 4K video recording, 2MP front-facing camera
Sony Xperia Z2: 20.7MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash and 4K video recording, 2.2MP front-facing camera
The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 both claim to offer huge improvements in their cameras, and despite Sony's higher resolution sensor, the two handsets likely will be fairly evenly matched.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 16MP rear-facing camera, an improvement on the Galaxy S4's 13MP sensor, which arrives with onboard features such as an LED flash, autofocus, HDR, smile detection and the capability to record video and take images at the same time. It's also capable of shooting video at 4K resolution.
The Sony Xperia Z2 features the same 20.7MP sensor as its predecessor, but it also has a number of improvements, such as the ability to shoot 4K video. Much like the Galaxy S5, there are several camera features too, such as HDR, image stablelisation and panorama mode.
Both the Galaxy S5 and the Xperia Z2 feature 2.2MP cameras on the front, both of which are capable of shooting HD 1080p video.
Samsung Galaxy S5: 2,800mAh battery with 21 hours of quoted talk time
Sony Xperia Z2: 3,200mAh battery with 19 hours of quoted talk time
The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 both have upgraded batteries, but although the Xperia Z2 has the larger cell, it looks like the Galaxy S5 might edge it. The Galaxy S5's 2,800mAh battery will, according to Samsung, offer around 21 hours of constant talk time, while Sony claims that the Xperia Z2's larger 3,200mAh battery is good for 19 hours.
Samsung Galaxy S5: 16GB/32GB built-in, microSD up to 128GB
Sony Xperia Z2: 16GB built-in, microSD up to 64GB
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the clear winner for storage. Samsung will make the phone available in both 16GB and 32GB storage versions, and thanks to the onboard microSD card slot this can be expanded by up to 128GB.
The Xperia Z2, on the other hand, will be available only in a 16GB model that can be expanded by up to 64GB via microSD card.
24 Feb 2014
BARCELONA: Samsung is currently the undenied ruler of the Android ecosystem, with every analyst firm listing it as the world's biggest smartphone maker. But last year, with the release of its flagship Galaxy S4, some critics began to express concerns that the Korean firm was resting on its laurels, simply releasing a tweaked version of the Galaxy S3.
Luckily Samsung has worked hard to quell these criticisms with its new Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone.
Design and build
The Galaxy S5 is one of the most striking devices Samsung has ever made. Unlike previous smooth-finish Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy S5 features a perforated, slightly rubberised backplate and is available in more striking colour options.
The device is also slightly chunkier and heavier than the previous Samsung handsets, measuring in at 142x73x8.1mm and weighing 145g. By comparison this S4 measured 137x70x7.9mm and weighed 130g.
Its increased size is likely because Samsung has built the Galaxy S5 to be IP67 certified. This means the Galaxy S5 is scratch, dust and even water resistant. We didn't get a chance to test the water resistance, but found the Galaxy S5 does feel significantly moer solidly built than previous Galaxy handsets.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 also keeps the same ergonomic curved shape as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3, so despite its bigger size, it still felt comfortable to hold.
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S5 with a 5.1in full HD Super Amoled, 1920x1080 display. In general, we found the screen featured wonderfully vibrant colours and brightness levels, and had great viewing angles.
We were also impressed with the Galaxy S5's ability to intelligently adjust the display settings based on the ambient background lighting conditions. For example, walking into a brightly lit area that made the screen all but illegible, the Galaxy S5 automatically boosted the brightness setting to maximum, so we could once again read text on the display.
Operating system and software
The Galaxy S5 features a heavily customised version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The most noticeable changes are fairly cosmetic tweaks to the user interface, with Samsung once again flooding its flagship device with a host of custom applications and widgets and altering the native Android apps icons to make them look "simpler".
Being blunt we're still not fans of the custom user interface and find it not as nice as Android's slightly cleaner-looking native user interface (UI). That said, it is to Samsung's credit that the Galaxy S5's user interface is significantly less busy than previous Galaxy smartphones.
We also noticed some useful fitness applications, chief of which was its new S Health 3.0 feature. This uses information stored on the Galaxy S5, combined with biometric data collected by its custom pedometer and built-in heart rate monitor, to offer users fitness advice and help create more effective exercise regimes. For most people in the workforce these will prove a welcome time saver.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 also comes with a variety of security features. Chief of these is its new fingerprint scanner. Like the Touch ID scanner seen on the Apple iPhone 5S, the Finger Scanner is housed in the Galaxy S5's physical Home button, and allows users to set the device to unlock by scanning their fingerprint.
As an added bonus, users can also set the Galaxy S5 to require users to prove their identity with the scanner when making payments via PayPal.
The Galaxy S5 is also confirmed to feature the latest version of Samsung's Knox security services when it is released.
Knox is a custom sandboxing security service that lets users create separate work and personal areas on the device. Data stored on the work side is encrypted and password protected.
Samsung has yet to unveil the latest version of Knox and the review unit we tested didn't have it installed, so we can't comment on what new features it will have. However, in the past we've found Knox to be a definite selling point for Galaxy devices.
Samsung has configured the Galaxy S5 with a cutting-edge 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and 2GB of RAM. We didn't get a chance to see how the Galaxy S5 dealt with demanding tasks such as 3D gaming, or to benchmark it properly during our hands on. But we were impressed with the Galaxy S5's performance in the time we had with it: it opened webpages and apps in seconds, and easily dealt with every task we threw at it.
The Galaxy S5 also features Cat 4 LTE connectivity, meaning users willing to pay for it will also be able to enjoy 4G connectivity speeds up to 150Mbps come its release.
Samsung has made a big deal about the Galaxy S5's 16MP rear camera, claiming it boasts the world's fastest autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds.
There is certainly some truth to this claim, and the Galaxy S5 does indeed feature a fantastically fast shutter speed. Images taken in the well-lit showroom generally came out fairly well, featuring decent colour balance and contrast levels and looking reasonably crisp. Sadly, we didn't get to test outside of the showroom so can't comment on how the camera performs in more adverse lighting conditions.
We were also pleased with the Galaxy S5's enhanced advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Selective Focus features. The HDR Live option that lets users manually adjust the light and dark levels in a photo. A Selective Focus feature lets you set the camera to focus on a specific area or object while simultaneously blurring out the background, creating a shallow depth of field.
Storage and battery
Samsung will release the Galaxy S5 in 16GB and 32GB versions, both of which can have their capacity upgraded by a maximum of 128GB via a micro SD slot.
The Galaxy S5 also features a sizeable 2,800mAh battery, which Samsung claims will last for several days off one charge, though we didn't get a chance to check this claim during our hands on.
Due for release in April, our opening impressions of the Galaxy S5 are positive. Featuring a more rugged IP67 certified design, beefed-up processor and coming loaded with a robust selection of security features, the Galaxy S5 has the potential to be one of 2014's standout business smartphones.
Check back with V3 later this year for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S5.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
LAS VEGAS: Unlike previous shows, at this year's CES Korean tech giant Samsung's chose to unveil a number of unashamedly business focused devices. Chief of these are its new Galaxy Tab Pro range of Android tablets.
The Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4in model is the smallest of the new tablets in Samsung's enterprise-friendly arsenal. However, despite featuring a smaller screen and chassis, the tablet still boasts a number of top-end internal components and productivity features.
Design and build
Despite being smaller than its 12.2in sibling, the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4in features the same visual design. Up close the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4in looks like a blown-up version of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. It features the same metallic lining along its sides and faux leather finish back.
This is no bad thing, as like other Samsung devices the design ensures the 219x129x7.2mm Galaxy Tab Pro is fairly comfortable in hand. This fact is helped by its light weight with the WiFi-only version we tested weighing 331g and the LTE version a slightly chunkier 336g.
The Tab Pro 8.4in also felt reasonably built with its fake leather finish back and metal sides leaving us feeling fairly reassured it could survive the odd accidental bump.
Samsung's loaded the Tab Pro with an 8.4in 2560x1600, 359ppi, super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen. Using the Tab Pro on the CES 2014 showroom floor we were impressed how good it was. Text displayed on the tablet remained legible and usable even in the brightly lit conditions. It also proved to have decent viewing angles and great brightness and colour balance levels.
Operating system and software
Like the Tab Pro 12.2in, the Tab Pro 8.4in runs using Google's latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system overlaid with Samsung's new Magazine UX skin. The skin is very different to Samsung's consumer-focused Touchwiz and alters Android's user interface to the point it is all but unrecognisable.
This meant that when we first picked up the tablet it took us a good few minutes to get our bearings. However, after that we soon began to notice a number of cool productivity and security features. The best of these was the inclusion of Samsung's Knox security service. Knox is a security service designed to protect the device at a hardware level. Samsung claims the service is capable of warding off all manner of attacks, including Trojanised apps.
The Tab Pro 8.4in also features the same Multi Window support seen on the Tab Pro 12.2in. The Multi Window supports lets users split the Tab Pro's screen into up to four different windows. This means users can run, view and use up to four applications at any one time. While we found the feature was very useful on the Tab Pro 12.2in, we found the Tab Pro 8.4in's smaller size reduced its allure. With four windows open we found text became so small and was slightly awkward to read.
Unlike the Tab Pro 12.2in, the Tab Pro 8.4in doesn't offer an octa-core option. Instead both the 4G and WiFi-only models are powered by a quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and feature 2GB of RAM.
We didn't get the chance to benchmark the Tab Pro 8.4in or see how it performed running demanding applications, like 3D games. However, testing it using the applications pre-installed on it we found it was very fast. Apps like Google Drive, Facebook, YouTube and Chrome opened close to instantaneously. During our hands on we didn't notice any performance issues, even when running multiple applications at once.
Battery and storage
The Tab Pro 8.4in comes with a Li-Ion 4800 mAh battery. Sadly we didn't get a chance to battery burn the Tab Pro 8.4in to see how long its battery lasts, but a spokesman told us it would be "above average" - we'll make sure to check this claim come our full review.
Samsung's confirmed the Tab Pro 8.4in will be available in 16GB and 32GB options. Both models will feature a microSD card slot that will let users upgrade its storage to a maximum of 64GB.
Overall our opening impressions of Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4in are positive. While its smaller screen means it's not as pleasant to use certain services, like Multi Window support compared to a larger screen device, there is still plenty to like about the tablet.
Featuring a powerful quad-core processor, productivity focused version of Android, bright and crisp screen, and Samsung Knox security services, the Tab Pro 8.4in has the potential to be one of 2014's best business tablets. However, its ability to deliver on its promise depends very heavily on its price - a key bit of information Samsung's remaining cagey about.
Check back with V3 later this year for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4in.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
LAS VEGAS: Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 alongside its Galaxy Tab Pro line-up at CES on Monday, and here are our opening impressions of the firm's first tablet made for professionals.
Not only this, but it's also the company's first 12in tablet, with Apple reportedly also set to join it later this year.
We got some hands-on time with the Galaxy Note Pro on the CES showroom floor on Tuesday, and it quickly managed to convince us that it could be the best tablet for business folk yet.
Samsung clearly thinks that 12in tablets are the next big thing, given that it has launched two this week in Las Vegas, but we're not entirely convinced yet.
At 295.6x204x7.95mm the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro is not a bulky device, but with a weight of 735g, it's fairly heavy. We used the Galaxy Note Pro for approximately 15-20 minutes on the CES show floor, and by the time we finished we found our wrists begging for us to let go.
For those who don't mind a weighty device, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro isn't bad-looking. It sports the same faux leather backing as the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, and will be available in the same black and white flavours. While the textured back isn't quite to our tastes, it does feel nice in the hand and sets the tablet apart from others on the market.
While we're not fans of the added weight that the large 12.2in screen adds to the Galaxy Note Pro tablet, we found the display quite impressive. It boasts 2560x1600 resolution, which makes it competitive on paper with Apple iPad tablets.
That said, with the 8.4in and 10.1in Galaxy Tab Pro models sporting the same screen resolution, the display's crispness and vibrancy seem somewhat pale in comparison.
The display, unlike that of the almost identically specified Galaxy Tab Pro, also supports Samsung's S Pen stylus, which comes included with the device. This, paired with the large 12.2in screen, makes for an all around productive experience, and we found that it felt natural to take notes and doodle on the larger than average screen. This also means that the device can take advantage of Samsung's S Pen optimised apps.
Performance and software
Under the bonnet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a powerhouse. The 3G and WiFi model ships with Samsung's homegrown octa-core Exynos 5 processor, while the 4G LTE versions has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip.
We got our hands on the quad-core model, and as you'd expect from a tablet of this calibre we found the Galaxy Note Pro nippy. Apps open quickly, swiping through homescreens is especially smooth, and the device feels quite responsive.
The Galaxy Note Pro is one of the only devices announced at this year's CES that arrives running Google's Android 4.4 KitKat mobile operating system, which is a bonus for fans of Google's software, but you wouldn't know this by looking at the tablet.
Samsung has skinned the Android mobile operating system with its new Magazine UX, which looks like an amalgamation of Windows 8 and Flipboard. When we first picked up the device, the custom software felt very alien, and it took us about 10 minutes to study the user interface before we felt confident using it.
Once we had familarised ourselves with the user interface, we found it quite pleasant to use. As its branding suggests, swiping through screens and apps mimics flicking through a magazine and saves jumping in and out of applications, with Samsung clearly looking to make this device as productive as possible.
Samsung has also loaded the Galaxy Note Pro with features designed to convince professionals not to buy an iPad. The most obvious of these is multi-window mode, allowing four applications to be open on the screen at once, and a PC-like onscreen keyboard, which we found made it easier to type than Samsung's previous tablets.
There are several bundled business apps, too, including Cisco Webex, which is free for six months, as well as Dropbox, Remote PC and an onboard office productivity suite.
While we found the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro too large to hold comfortably and its Magazine UX confusing at first, the tablet soon managed to win us over.
In our opinion, there isn't a better alternative for business users on the market right now. While the iPad has famously won the affections of professional tablet customers, we found that Samsung's PC grade onscreen keyboard makes a huge difference when it comes to productivity, and the onboard apps and business focused features are added bonuses.
Of course, the tablet's success will really depend partly on its price when it hits the shelves – a pretty important detail that Samsung has so far managed to avoid revealing. Check back on the V3 website soon for our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro.
08 Jan 2014
LAS VEGAS: For the past few years Korean tech heavyweight Samsung has been trying to shed its reputation as a purely consumer-focused company, releasing a steady stream of enterprise-friendly applications and services.
This CES, the company has taken this to new heights by unveiling its new Galaxy Tab Pro range of tablets. The Tab Pro 12.2 is the biggest – both physically and strategically – of this new range of enterprise-focused Android tablets.
Design and build
Our initial reaction was shock when we picked up the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2. Measuring in at 296x204x7.95mm, it's huge compared with other Android tablets. The tablet is also significantly heavier, with the WiFI-only model weighing a hefty 750g and the 3G/LTE model a slightly heavier 753g.
But after a couple of minutes we soon became used to the increased size and weight, and found that it wasn't too unwieldy to hold thanks to its ergonomic design. The Tab Pro looks like a blown-up Galaxy Note smartphone, with the same metallic sides and faux-leather back. The Note-like design meant that, unlike some other Samsung Galaxy devices, the Tab Pro felt sturdily built and didn't feel overly plastic.
Samsung has loaded the Tab Pro with a gigantic 12.2in WQXGA, 2560x1600 Super Clear LCD display. This makes the Tab Pro one of the biggest Android tablets currently available.
Overall, during our hands-on we enjoyed the extra screen real estate. As well as making it easier to read text displayed on the screen, it also made it quicker and easier to edit documents and spreadsheets on the Tab Pro.
We were also fairly impressed with the Tab Pro's screen quality, with it proving pleasantly bright and vibrant.
Our one qualm with using the Tab Pro's screen is that, unlike its Note Pro sibling, it doesn't come bundled with an S Pen stylus. This meant that even with the extra screen space certain applications, such as S Note, were awkward to use.
Operating system and software
The Tab Pro 12.2 comes with the latest Android 4.4 Kit Kat pre-installed. But be warned that the operating system has been heavily customised and Samsung has overlayed it with its brand new Magazine UX interface.
Magazine UX alters KitKat so much that it's close to unrecognisable. After a while with the device, though, we soon found our bearings and began to take advantage of some the new user interface's productivity and business-focused features.
One of the best we noticed was the Tab Pro 12.2's multi-window support. The feature splits the Tab Pro's screen into up to four different windows so users can use more than one app at a time. We fired up the Tab Pro's web browser, while keeping email, Twitter and a Google Drive document open, and we can definitely see the appeal of the feature for business users who like to multitask on the move.
The Note Pro 12.2 demo unit we tried also had Samsung's Knox security service pre-installed. Knox is a security feature from Samsung, similar to BlackBerry Balance. The feature is designed to secure the device at a hardware level and protect users from threats such as Trojanised apps.
The feature also has sandboxing powers that let users create separate work and home areas on the phone. Businesses can have app management and data-wipe powers on the work side, while they can't touch non-work data stored on the user's personal side.
Processor and performance
The LTE version of the Tab Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core processor, while the WiFi-only version uses an Exynos 5 Octa chipset. Both versions of the Tab Pro feature 3GB of RAM.
We only got to try the LTE Qualcomm-powered Tab Pro. While we were slightly sad not to try the octa-core model we found the demo unit was still a very fast device. It opened applications almost instantly and in general dealt with any task we threw at it, hassle free.
We didn't have time to properly benchmark the Tab Pro, or see how it dealt with more difficult tasks such as 3D gaming, but we will be sure to do so in our full review.
Battery and storage
Samsung has loaded the Tab Pro 12.2 with a sizeable 9,500mAh battery. We didn't get a chance to battery burn the unit, but a spokesman told us the device should last "longer than most tablets" off one charge. Storage-wise the Tab Pro comes in 32GB and 64GB versions.
Overall, our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 were positive. Despite being significantly larger and heavier than most tablets and featuring a radically altered version of Android 4.4 KitKat, the new Galaxy Tab bristles with enterprise appeal. Featuring a host of productivity and security applications, powerful chipset and LTE connectivity options, the Tab Pro has the potential to be the best Android business tablet this year. But with Samsung remaining cagey on one key detail – the Tab Pro's price – we're going to have to reserve full judgement until this is announced.
Check back with V3 soon for a full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 tablet.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
01 Nov 2013
Google took the wraps off its latest flagship Nexus 5 smartphone this week, hoping that its high-end specifications and mid-range price will make it competitive against the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The firm is looking to attract geek fans of the Android platform too, as the Nexus 5 is the first device to run the Android 4.4 Kitkat version, and will also be among the first to receive future iterations of Android. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4, it also features a non-customised user interface, which can complicate future upgrades.
Measurements and weight
Google Nexus 5: 138x69x8.6mm, 130g
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9mm, 130g
The Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are nearly identical in size, with both phones weighing 130g and boasting almost the same dimensions. The Nexus 5 is slightly chunkier, however, measuring 8.6mm thick, compared to the Galaxy S4's svelte 7.9mm profile.
Google Nexus 5: 5in full HD 1920x1080 IPS 445ppi display
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD 1920x1080 Super Amoled 441ppi display
Not only are the Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 nearly identical in size and shape, the two rival smartphones also have very similar displays.
Both sport full HD resolution. While we're yet to size up the the screen on Google's latest flagship phone, it very slightly pips the Galaxy S4 in pixel density, but might fall short in vibrancy due to its lack of Amoled screen technology.
Google Nexus 5: Quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor
Samsung Galaxy S4: Quad-core 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor
The Google Nexus 5 beats the Samsung Galaxy S4 in processing power, on paper at least. While both handsets have Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, the Nexus 5 chip is clocked at 2.26GHz compared to 1.9GHz on the Galaxy S4, and is likely to offer an even smoother experience.
Google Nexus 5: 17 hours' talk time on 3G quoted by Carphone Warehouse, 2,300mAh battery
Samsung Galaxy S4: 17 hours' talk time on 3G, 2,600mAh
Despite having a smaller 2,600mAh battery, the Google Nexus 5 matches the Samsung Galaxy S4 in battery life, with both phones promising up to 17 of hours talk time on 3G. We are, of course, yet to put Google's claims to the test.
Google Nexus 5: Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system
For fans of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Nexus 5 trumps the Galaxy S4, with the handset running Google's newly unveiled Android 4.4 Kitkat release. The Samsung Galaxy S4, on the other hand, ships with Google's Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean release, and can be upgraded to the Android 4.3 and possibly also Android 4.4 release.
Google's Nexus 5 also features a completely vanilla user interface, as opposed to Samsung's custom Touchwiz user interface.
Google Nexus 5: 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
The cameras on the Google Nexus 5 don't match up to those on the Samsung Galaxy S4, with the Nexus handset having an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3MP camera on the front. Unlike the Galaxy S4, however, the Nexus 5 camera comes with optical image stabilsation, which is likely to make for sharper images.
Google Nexus 5: 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, microSD card slot for expansion up to 64GB, 2GB of RAM
The Nexus 5 will be made available only in 16GB and 32GB models, compared to the Galaxy S4 that is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage models. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also comes with a microSD card slot allowing users to expand the phone's memory, whereas the Nexus 5 does not. However, given the difference in the smartphones' prices, this was likely a cost cutting measure.
Although the Google Nexus 5 doesn't quite match the Galaxy S4 for its cameras and storage, it matches the flagship Samsung handset in nearly every other category, be it size, display or battery life. It also has a faster processor, and gets one up on the rival handset as it's the first smartphone to ship with the Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system.
Since Google's Nexus 5 smartphone is over £200 less expensive than the Galaxy S4, it looks like Samsung should start worrying.
11 Sep 2013
The battle between Android heavyweight Samsung and Apple for the number one best-selling smartphone title has become a yearly occurrence. In the past, Apple's latest iPhone has traditionally won the yearly grudge match. However, since the death of iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs, Apple's lead on Samsung has gradually waned with each new top-end Galaxy smartphone boasting increasingly high sales.
For this reason, prior to its unveiling many industry commentators had begun to quietly predict the iPhone 5S may be the first ever Apple smartphone not to beat Samsung's flagship in head-to-head sales. Now with the iPhone 5S and its specs revealed, it's too early to know the final outcome in 2013's Apple vs Samsung battle, but the two smartphones' on-paper specs suggest the fight may be the most heated to date.
Measurements and weight
Apple iPhone 5S: 124x59x7.6mm, 112g
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9mm, 130g
Design-wise the Apple iPhone 5S looks pretty much the same as the iPhone 5, but comes with multiple colour options. This means, as before, the iPhone 5S is significantly lighter and smaller than the S4, so it will likely be a more popular choice for smaller-handed individuals.
Apple iPhone 5S: 4in 1136x640, 326ppi Retina display
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD super Amoled 1920x1080 display, 441ppi
The Apple iPhone 5S has a 4in Retina display. Back in the day, when the Retina display technology was first rolled out, it was a massive selling point for Apple devices, making the screens the sharpest and most crisp ever seen on smartphones or tablets.
However a few years on, while still great, Apple's Retina displays are no longer the best on the market and a few smartphones have been released boasting better screens.
Running the Galaxy S4 head to head with the 5S' predecessor, the iPhone 5, we found Samsung's flagship was a superior screen, with its 441ppi full HD display being one of the best we've ever used.
Apple iPhone 5S: Apple A7 chipset
Samsung Galaxy S4: Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
Apple made a big deal about its new A7 processor, claiming it is the world's first 64-bit mobile chip and will make the iPhone 5S one of the fastest smartphones in the word, offering 40-times better CPU performance than the iPhone 5. However, as always, Apple declined to disclose the A7's exact speed, making it difficult to know how it will compare to the quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-powered Galaxy S4 in real-world performance.
Apple iPhone 5S: 10 hours' 3G talk time, unspecified lithium-ion
Samsung Galaxy S4: 17 hours' 3G general use, 2,600 mAh
Battery life is an issue for most smartphones in the current market. This remained true on the Galaxy S4, which, despite being listed as lasting “up to 17 hours” on 3G off one charge, generally needed a top up after a regular day’s use, with an average life of about six hours when battery burned. This means if the unspecified battery used in the 5S lives up to Apple’s 10-hour 3G talk time it should easily outlast the S4. However, we’ll only know this for sure when we’ve had a chance to actually test the battery on the 5S.
Apple iPhone 5S: iOS 7
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Picking which mobile operating system is better is very difficult as the answer is largely determined by what ecosystem the user is already embedded in.
This difficulty is made worse by the fact both companies have loaded a host of business-friendly features onto their respective flagship smartphones, with Samsung loading the S4 with its Knox sandboxing service and Apple its new custom Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
Apple iPhone 5S: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear, 2MP front
While the iPhone 5S's camera looks lower specced, as any camera expert will tell you, it's not just about the megapixel count. Because of this, while it doesn't capture as many pixels, the Apple iPhone 5S may prove better at taking photos, because it boasts custom tech designed to let it capture bigger pixels, meaning, like the HTC One, it should be better than average at taking photos in low light.
Apple iPhone 5S: 16/32/64GB, no microSD slot 2GB RAM
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16/32/64GB user memory, microSD slot (up to 64GB) 2GB RAM
Both devices are available with multiple storage options, however the S4 comes with the added boon of a MicroSD slot, meaning buyers who can't afford the upfront cost of the more premium 64GB model can update the phone's storage at a later date.
On paper both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 are good smartphones and both have definite enterprise appeal. Once we've had time to thoroughly put the two head to head in an in-depth, hands-on versus review, we'll make a call on which is the best business smartphone.
The iPhone 5S is set for release on 20 September, check back with V3 then for a full review. Until then make sure to check out V3's conclusive Samsung Galaxy S4 review.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
05 Sep 2013
BERLIN: Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note 3 large-format smartphone or "phablet" at the IFA trade show in Berlin on Wednesday. We had some hands-on time with the device just after its launch.
Boasting a 5.7in full HD 1080p Super Amoled touchscreen and running the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system (OS) skinned with Samsung's Touchwiz user interface, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is yet another, even bigger upgrade for the Galaxy Note phablet range.
The first thing we noticed about the Galaxy Note 3 was its similarity to Samsung's last phablet flagship, the Galaxy Note 2. It's made from the same materials and has a very similar design, so it doesn't look or feel much different. Though ergonomically it fits in the hand well considering its ridiculously large size, it feels a little cheap due to the plastic casing, especially with its unsightly faux-leather back.
One good thing about the textured plastic casing is that it makes the device light and thin, weighing only 168g and measuring only 8.3mm thick, 1.1mm thinner and 15g lighter than the Galaxy Note 2, which measured 9.4mm thick and weighed 183g.
The underside of the Galaxy Note 3 is where the S Pen stylus is housed and when you pull it out, an S Note document appears on the screen instantly, ready for writing. Build quality isn't the highest we've seen in a smartphone, but we were pleased that the Galaxy Note 3's bundled features, such as the S Pen, seemed to work well with the device, and touchscreen response was immediate. Samsung said users can expect a more "enhanced" S Pen experience than found on last year's model, and claimed that this will enable better multitasking.
Screen and performance
The best thing about the Galaxy Note 3 is without question its super full HD Amoled screen that is even bigger than that of its predecessor, measuring an impressive 5.7in as opposed to the original Note 2's 5.5in display.
This display, which supports 1920x1080 resolution, is one of the best screens we've seen on a phone. The colour representation is excellent. It's very bright and clear, and watching a video in HD 1080p resolution on the 16:9 aspect ratio display was quite enjoyable.
The phablet was responsive when we swiped our fingers across the screen, and copying and pasting images to and from various tabs with the stylus is a breeze. The Galaxy Note 3's quad-core 2.3GHz processor and 1GB RAM upgrade from the Galaxy Note 2 to 3GB of RAM make most operations smooth and responsive without having to wait for it to perform simple tasks.
The Galaxy Note 3 also has several new software features loaded on the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system.
During our short time with the Galaxy Note 3 we were able to quickly test how well it responded to touch commands and have a play on the S Note app. All features seemed to work relatively smoothly, though even with 3GB of RAM Samsung's Touchwiz interface still did seize up a bit when asked to perform two demanding tasks right after the other.
Battery and Camera
The Galaxy Note 3 camera works the same way as the Galaxy S4, only with a bigger screen that makes taking photos a more rewarding experience. The Galaxy Note 3 has a rear-facing 13MP camera and a front-facing 2MP camera, and can also shoot video in an impressive 4K or ultra-high definition (UHD) format at 30fps.
Unfortunately, we didn't get enough time with the Galaxy Note 3 to really scrutinise its camera's image quality reproduction in comparison to other high-end smartphones on the market, but check back on V3 later for a full review. During our quick tests the Galaxy Note 3 camera was fairly good at taking photos quickly without blur, as long as you didn't move around while doing so.
Samsung claims the Galaxy Note 3's 3,200mAh battery means that the device will last for at least a day. Again, check back on V3 later for a full review to find out if the battery lives up to Samsung's claims.
Samsung was also keen to point out that its Knox security software comes pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note 3, and said that the software is now commercially available worldwide.
Samsung announced that it will launch the Galaxy Note 3 globally from 25 September, and that it will be available in white, black or pink. However, the company did not announce specific availability or pricing information. It is rumoured, however, that the Galaxy Note 3 will cost around £650 SIM-free.