Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

Overview of Samsung Galaxy S5 Smartphone

The Galaxy S5 from Samsung uses a fingerprint sensor and it has the capability to operate under the underwater in a short time.

As a typical Android smartphone, the Galaxy product line has been a strong player in the smartphone market. For a certain time in the past, the only clear competitor for this product line is the iPhone from Apple. Until the time when some other manufacturers have released impressive models such as the great HTC One M8 or LG G Flex 2 with the unique design, Samsung has to face with the strong competition from many other smartphones in the Android ecosystem. As I have used one of the Galaxy S variants since the Vibrant, for instance, now I also want to try the M8 after I had a chance to test one Galaxy S product.

That’s why the release of the Galaxy S5 is an important step of Samsung in maintaining the sales volume as well as the mind share, compared to other Android smartphones. And Samsung has chosen the “back-to-basics” design for the Galaxy S5. One more time, this is a bit strange to me because when Samsung has released the Galaxy S series, Samsung had already done the great job with the basics.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review Buy

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review Buy

Review of Samsung Galaxy S5

Whenever Samsung releases a new Galaxy smartphone, the change in the screen is the most noticeable thing. The screen measurement has increased up to 5.1 inches. While the above mentioned Vibrant is very short, the new Galaxy is a real “phablet”. I have thought that the screens of Samsung smartphones won’t continue increasing, but perhaps not right now. The nice thing about this large screen is the beauty of the AMOLED display which has the resolution up to 1080p. There is no doubt that one of the best things of Samsung product lines is the screen display. The vivid colors as well as the high resolution amount make the screen very sharp. And it is not as grainy as I have seen in the G Flex.

It’s a bit hard to use this screen directly under the sunlight but in comparison with other screen that I’ve had a chance to test, the screen of Galaxy 5 is still better.

Samsung has included the newest variant of TouchWiz skin into the interface of the Galaxy S5 and the highlighted feature of this interface is the palette, which is very colorful. In addition, there are more interesting effects, but the bells and whistles are not as nice as those of HTC’s Sense. I have tested the Verizon model and its processor is the Qualcomm 2.5GHz quad-core one supported by the 2GB RAM and the stronger graphics processing feature. The design of the phone is pretty stylish and the performance in downloading and streaming is also fast on the 4G network of the Verizon model. You can select one among the range of internal storage capabilities from 16GB to 32GB, but the maximum capability can be up to 128GB if a microSD card is used. The battery now has been up to 800mAh, so it allows you to watch videos during 10 or so hours.  The talk time is as twice as that. Similar to the previous versions, it’s possible to replace the battery if you want to bring spares along. This is one of the nice points of the Galaxy S5 in comparison with the closed unibody designs of the HTC M8 or Apple iPhone.

In term of the design, the typical look of Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S5, is plasticky, especially at its back cover. This design is nice, but not as sleek as the above mentioned unibody styles of some competitors. Despite of the plastic back, there are some additional texture which brings more expensive look for Samsung smartphones recently. You can also find shiny, ridged metal rim in the phone’s sides which looks a bit too busy for me though that’s probably nitpicking on my part.

The most noticeable aspect in the design of the Galaxy S5 is that you can use the phone under the rain or it is even still ok if you use it under the one-meter-in-depth water within 30 minutes. Therefore, using this phone will be very convenient when you come to the water park or the pool in the summer or when you may unluckily encounter toilet accidents. Whenever you do not install the back cover in the right way, there will be a warning system to inform you about this. Samsung also integrates a fingerprint sensor into the S5’s back. Currently, because there is no standard microUSB port with the Galaxy 5, the number of connection options is limited when you are in a hurry. It may cause some inconvenience as well when you have to pop the port cover off and dock with it.

The phone performs well in the daytime, the images are very sharp and the video quality is nice. In regard of these features, the Galaxy 5 can be well compared to the greatest smartphones in the current market. There is one drawback with the Galaxy S phones: it’s about the performance under the inadequate lighting conditions and no exception for the Galaxy 5. You can activate the audio feature via a small opening in the 5’s back but this can’t be compared with the excellent pair of front-facing speakers of the HTC M8.

Is the “back to basics” an effective approach of the Galaxy S5? As I discussed above, this approach was never a problem for the main products of the Galaxy line. Actually, this is what Samsung has done pretty well. However, beside the great screen displays, you won’t find any “wow factor” as it can be found with the M8. Finally, the Galaxy 5 has still remained one of the best phones in the market, not only as an Android phone, but considering the overall performance and design. Now, the topic about “whether the Galaxy 5 has been the top smartphone in the market” is more controversial than it had been before.

Final rating: 4/5 stars.

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Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review

The most highlighted feature of the Note Edge is the curved screen edge, which means that you can use this edge screen as the second display in the phone side.

Price Comparison on the Note Edge with other smartphones

In the time of smartphones, the iPhone from Apple has been always attracted much attention from the community whenever the new versions have been launched into the market. However, when Samsung introduce the Galaxy product line with many new features, this giant manufacturer has even faced with more risks than its big rival Apple. In the past, the large screen of the Note line created the controversy among the critics. Do you remember? Currently, the screens of the Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus are so large that they are called “phablets”.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review Buy

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Review Buy

Nowadays, when the large screens are more and more popular, which features does Samsung offer to make its big smartphones different from others? For the new Note Edge, it’s the semi-curved screen that marks the significant difference. While the Irish Spring-style curve is very typical for the LG G Flex and it is hard to miss this even when the display is turned off, the screen of the Note Edge is more subtly designed. The main display of the Note Edge is flat, however, you can find the curved edge in the right side.

EDGE MASTER: 5 Quick Tips for the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge becomes prettier when your turn on the display screen. The edge display is nice for showing all kinds of apps shortcuts, email or social media notifications, or the current weather. You can also activate the flash unit or measure the stuff via a ruler in this edge. At the beginning, it may take time for you to become used to the edge screen, but certainly you will find it convenient soon.

The main screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is pretty beautiful. The colors are vivid and realistic and the high resolution amount shall please even the most discerning people. This is thanks to the Quad High-Definition Super AMOLED screen. In addition, the performance of the phone camera in shooting photos and movies are very good. Especially, you will notice the most significant difference in the camera performance when you compare the Note Edge with other previous versions of Galaxy under the inadequate lighting conditions. There still remains grain, but at least, even when you don’t use the flash, the image quality is still acceptable. This image stabilization does help in this situation. Meanwhile, you can have great images when you select to shoot under the ample light.

The audio quality is also nice and of a bit more bass compared to the sound of iPhones, following what Samsung has set the stock for both. You will be pleased with the call quality and with the Verizon version that I have experienced, the performance of 4G is fast, but of course depending on where you are staying. For instance, when I stay at home, office or the local university, the 4G signal is not at the maximum level. But, the 4G is still pretty strong, even when I just get three bars of reception.

In addition, don’t expect the battery of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge to be as strong as that of the Motorola Droid Turbo. But fortunately, the battery can be easily replaced. In case that you tend to use this smartphone heavily, you can take spares along. With the Note Edge, it is also easy to take the cover of the back off when you want to get access to the battery or SIM and memory card. This is very nice, especially for those who often go travelling into foreign countries a lot or want to have the battery expansion because of use the media frequently.

One drawback of the edge screen in the right side is that you may unintendedly hold down it when you are using the camera. Samsung’s custom functions on top of Android 4.4 also aren’t as intuitive. Therefore, this is a pity because the “air control” feature with the stylus can be promising. Meanwhile, in comparison with a simple touch on the scanner as you often do with an iPhone, it cannot be that convenient to use the finger to slide over the fingerprint scanner. And the price of this smartphone is also high, even when you buy it in a phone contract.

Regardless of the above issue, generally, the Samsung Note Edge is still a very nice smartphone, though. If you are the one that prefers a phablet with the combination between the fast performance and the amazing design, the Note Edge is exactly what you should get.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Motorola Moto X Review

Overview of the Motorola Moto X

The second-generation Motorola Moto X was launched not long ago and it has set the step into the upper class of Android smartphones.

It is a really big challenge for one smartphone to stand out the Android smartphone market now.

Considering the current top Android models such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 , the Google Nexus 6 or new released HTC One M8, it has been always a big effort to enter the higher echelon of the Android phone market.

However since the second-generation Moto X from Motorola was released, it has attracted a lot of attention among the community of Android phone users and appeared frequently in the conversations about the top Android phones.

With the rich-feature list as well as the well-built structure, this flagship model of Motorola is an impressive model, satisfying a great number of smartphone aficionados.

Motorola Moto X Review Buy

Motorola Moto X Review Buy

Detail Review of the Motorola Moto X

Even though the design of the front is pretty similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy, the unique style comes in the design of the back and the sides of the Motorola Moto X. You will easily find a curvey frame which is made of metal at the phone side. In comparison with the plain rounded edges of the Apple iPhone 6, this frame looks pretty interesting. Especially, through the model I tested, the bamboom back is pretty impressive and it brings the warm feeling when I held the phone in hands. In addition, you find it joyful to hold this camera thanks to the therapeutic feel that this bamboo material brings up. This is pretty different from the cold feeling of other smartphones which is mainly manufactured with metal materials. You can also find other available options, such as teak wood or the football style surface.

While Apple or Sumsung have more unnatural spots in their smartphones such as the iPhone 6 or the Galaxy, the speaker of the Moto X is placed in the front panel and the audio is very great.

Although this speaker is not as strong as that of the HTC M8 but considering the overall audio quality, the Motor X is better than the flagship smartphone of Apple or Samsung.

The screen display of the Motorola Moto X is amazing as well. Both the image and video quality are very nice and sharp. Just only one drawback with this smartphone in regard of the hardware is about the phone camera. While the performance of the camera under the daylight is very good, there are some issues with the low light performance. If you are the one who likes to capture a large number of images or videos in indoor siutations, you may easily find more grain on these images and videos. For those who have got used to the interfaces of iPhone or Galaxy, it may take time for them to become familiar with the interface of the Motor X. For instance, when shooting a photo, because there is no virtual shutter button in the interface, you’ll have to hold down a specic point of the screen which you want to focus on and the camera automaticaly capture an image. To check this image, you can’t press any virtual buttons for still images, but have to swipe the screen of the phone. The interface of the Motor X differs from other smartphone interfaces.

At the time of reviewing the Verizon Moto X, this model used the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. At that time, it has not runned the Android 5 Lollipop yet, but by mid – November, this system would have been used for the Moto X. The performance of the phone over the Verizon’s 4G LTE network is fast and I could watch YouTube videos without encountering any lag. The call quality was also nice.

One interesting feature of the Moto X is the inclusion of Spotlight apps which is an new interactive story telling app from Motorola. First, you will see a walking cartoon bug around the edges of the screen. Then, when tapping on this bug, a 3D story will be launched as an interactive Pixar film. For the two films that I watched, the camera perspective has been changed to allow me follow the film actions around. This new feature is wonderful, especially for surprising kids.

There is a motion sensor with this phone, which allows unlocking the screen from the sleeping mode when your hands have been waving over this screen. This option is great for checking the time while you are busy doing some stuff such as, garderning or cooking. However, it can be also distracting in case you accidentally touch the screen while reaching out to take something near your working desks, for example, a pen or a bag.

Finally, the Moto X has marked the Motorola’s step back to creating appealing phones. With the given functions and design, the Moto X is undoubtedly one of the greatest among the Android smartphone market.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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HTC One M8 Review

Introduction to the  HTC One M8

HTC One M8 is an impressive model in the Android smartphone market with its amazing design

For any successful smartphone, its manufacturer has always to face one challenge: that is the higher expectations from the community for the successor. Last year, when HTC released the first generation of the HTC One product line, one of the very impressive features was its amazing unibody design, which was a great step of HTC versus many smartphone manufacturers. Ignore other Android phones such as the Galaxy smartphones from Samsung with the plasticky backs or LG G Flex with the unique design style. The first-generation HTC One even stepped into the competition with the Apple iPhones for the designfeatures.

HTC One M8 Review Buy

HTC One M8 Review Buy

Review of the  HTC One M8 smartphone

Not long later, in 2014, HTC has released the HTC One M8 – the successor of the first-generation HTC One of 2015. How is this second-generation HTC One assessed in the current market? And does it meet the greater expectations from the community? The nice thing here is that the HTC M8 is an improved version based on the concept of the first generation. Once again, you will find the unibody design with this M8, this time with even more aluminum than the now rebadged “M7″. Thanks to using more metal and the thin design, the M8 continues to bring you the more expensive and well-built feel, especially when you compare this phone to other Android rivals which include plastic parts. You should thoroughly consider using any cover case with this phone or not because the great design may be covered up with a case. There are three color options for you to select, including: gray, silver and metallic gold for James Bond movie villains.

“I don’t want you to talk, Mr. Bond. I want you to die.”

You may find the above film and enjoy watch it on the HTC M8. In comparison with the previous M7 version with the screen measurement of 4.7 inches, the screen of the M9 is up to 5 inches, which is very large.

The HD LCD screen is of high resolution, up to 1080p and the Corning’s Gorilla Glass can well protect the phone from scratches. The M8 has the water-resisting capability and offers some protection from the elements. You can also find speakers of the M7 retained in the front of the M8 but these speakers have been improved and the sound is louder than the audio of the previous version. There is no doubt that the “BoomSound” monicker of the M8 is the greatest audio that I have had a chance to experience in a smartphone.

The HTC One M8 supports the DuoCamera feature, so you can easily see that there are two lenses in the back of the phone. With this feature you can use the available effects to make the back ground become blurred. This may be just an advertising technique under the eyes of enthusiastic photographers, but the average users will love this feature. While the image quality of photos shot in the natural lighting condition does not outperform that of the competitors, the HTC M8 is outstanding in shooting photos under the inadequate lighting conditions. Of course, in terms of the camera, you can’t compare the M8 to a specialized camera but we can’t deny that not many Android smartphones can have such a good capability in the low light photography.

The HTC One M8 uses the quad-core Snapdragon processor, which enables the phone perform very fast. Together with the Android 4.4 “KitKat” operating system is the custom Sense 6 user interface on the top panel. For buyers who want the vanilla Android system with faster updates, they may not be satisfied, but buyers who don’t care much will like the bells and whistles of this sleek interface. With the 2,600 mAh battery life, it is good enough for using the phone during the whole day of regular use. Especially, if you like to shoot a large number of images and videos, the included microSD slot work very well. The 4G performs well and the call quality is great on the Verizon variant that I have experienced.

Outside of the great aspects in the design, there remain some drawbacks. The first one is that the batteries can’t be swapped because the phone uses the unibody design. In addition, because of the metal inclusion beside the plastic parts, it makes the phone a bit heavy, even when you have not slapped the phone case. To be fair, the HTC One M8 has not been significantly improved from the previous model – M7, so it is also nice to start with the first M7 generation. But in comparison with other phones from the same manufacturer such as HTC Inspire or HTC Thunderbolt, the design of the M8 is much more impressive as well as it has been significantly improved. If you like to have one great Android smartphone with the excellent design and fast performance, the HTC One M8 is really worth your consideration.

Final rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Review

Only 1 day before the release of iPhone 6, Amazon had a great launching for their new Kindle devices of this year, a greater display E-Ink reader and a new kid-version tablet.

Unlike the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition with tough case as outstanding point, the Kindle Voyage  has its sharp display as an outstanding point; the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is more humble.  Like the name, HDX 8.9 has the 8.9 inch-screen-size with resolution of 2560 x 1600 at 339ppi, the same as its predecessor last year.

Users may wonder about new features of this Kindle Fire HDX latest version, the answer is from the inside. Being equipped with a quad-core processor, like the last year version; however, what is better about this new HDX is the new 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 805 chip, in comparison with 2.2 GHz of the predecessor. Moreover, Amazon also equips the Kindle Fire HDX device with a graphics chip which shall 70% enhance graphic performance: the Adreno 420 chip.

This is the outstanding point for users who love playing games on tablet. What even more, Wi-Fi speed is also 4 times better with the speed of 600 mbp/sec. For users who love the surround sound, Dolby Atmost functionality is also a worth-looking for feature. Above all, this Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 performs better and allows users to do multitask on the device such as: downloading, listening to music, watching movies… at the same time.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Review Buy

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Review Buy

Even though the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 looks similar with its predecessor, its performance is quite different: better and faster. If you are wondering whether you should buy this Kindle Fire or not this year, it depends on your current device and your needs. If you want to change into something with bigger screen rather than some small screen-size tablet, 2014 HDX 8.9 is something worth considering.

However, if you already had the previous model, some upgrade in display may be not enough for your consideration unless otherwise you really feel like you need the extra speed and muscle of 2014 HDX 8.9 version. Another thing users should remember is the Kindle HDX has an LCD screen like its brothers of Fire line, which is different from E-Ink display used for more paper-like line – the Kindle’s E-readers.

Some user may want to compare to have a choice for their tablet purchase among Kindle’s 2014 HDX 8.9, Apple’s tablet such as iPad Air or Android tablet such as the Nexus 10, this Kindle device is comparable and not the underdog in this competition. Regarding specification, you can say the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 have better resolution than iPad Air with Retina display, it’s also lighter when booting. After all, the decision may much depend on your favorite/ prior ecosystem. If you are already an Amazon user and have already get used to the Amazon’s app store, you should keep this 2014 HDX 8.9 in your mind as a possible and viable option for the purchase.

On Oct 21st 2014, the Amazon Kindle Fire 2014 HDX 8.9 was officially launched.

Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Review

A new version of Amazon’s Fire tablet has just been released for their little users: the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition.

Theoretically, tablet is a good friend for children, in consideration of entertaining ability (with many types of entertainment medium: movies, webs, games…) and its portability.  However, in reality, it’s not what it seems since there are many risks that you may have to face when letting your children use the tablets such as: increasing your bills when they accidentally purchase in-apps contents or physical abuse (this is really not a situation that parents like to think about, but this is the truth when kids tend to have rough actions on the gadgets).

Due to such possibilities, Amazon chose to enter the market niche for children with their  Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition. With colorful design, the Fire HD Kids Edition surely stands out as the targeted device for little users. But is this really a gadget that makes children satisfy in competition with tablets such as Nexus 7iPad  or Microsoft Surface?

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Review Buy

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Review Buy

Below are some facts about new products for kids of Amazon:

It’s actually not childlike: You may think tablets for kids are just like candies: rich in colors but poor in substance. However, surprisingly, Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition is really not like that. Its interior is the same as this in an “adult-version” Kindle, despite the childlike colorful exterior. The brain – its processor is quad-core, the screen display is in high-definition quality, and cameras are equipped both at back and front. You can say this device is the Kindle Fire HD hidden inside a tougher and colorful shell.

It’s tough: You may have heard about the Gorilla Glass display. It’s nice; however, it’s just similar to many tablets nowadays. But Amazon’s “Kid-Proof Case” is different; it really differentiates Kindle HD Kids Edition with not only the Kindle Fire HD but also the other tablets. Kindle Kids Edition’s colorful yet tough case is very suitable for little users as the main job – withstand all sorts of physical abuse is performed really well. How well, you may ask. And the answer is Amazon provide 2-year free replacement if little user breaks their Kid Edition product, including mechanical and electrical problems; now you see how well confident Amazon is about their product.

Freetime Unlimited: Amazon applied Freetime Unlimited for one year for Fire HD Kids Edition. This means with this device, their little users can approach all movies, games, apps… available including contents from Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, PSB and Disney (~5000). Obviously, we can see that content is the first priority of Amazon’s device. Moreover, when the little users accidentally download paid content, sticker shock will be prevented.

Parents’ controls: Surely, parents always want to monitor and control what their kids do with the tablet to prevent any possible incidents such as spending most of the time with the device. Besides the basic controls, parents can have customized profiles to customize the limits of time each child can spend with the Fire HD Kids Edition.

Two size options: the Fire HD Kids Edition comes in 3 colors and 2 size options. Customers have to pay $149 for 6-inch-size and $189 for 7-inch-size.

Final conclusion: Even Kindle Fire HD Kids edition seems a really great choice for children-version tablet; there are still some cons that potential customers should be aware of. First of all, users have to stick to Amazon’s ecosystem; they cannot approach contents from other source such as Google Play store. If you don’t mind this issue, Kindle Fire Kids Edition is a worthy choice.