Samsung, the mighty Goliath of the phone market, has been the centre of mobile news for the past month – so far jumping Apple in the phone spectrum. CES 2013 saw Samsung show off a variety of mobile devices, accessories and most importantly, flexible screens. The arrival of a semi-bendable display marks the beginning of the industry approach towards a flexible phone – something only our dreams had been able to conjure up.
‘Flexi’ may be real, but we still haven’t got a fully bendable display – something of our dreams.
Samsung’s Round phone is very much here, although on the spectrum of ‘flexi’ – it won’t bend. The Samsung Round is a jumbo phone – with a jumbo price tag. It’s curved display sets it out from the rest, but its practicality is a little more dubious. It is literally a bigger brother of the Galaxy Note 3, launched on the 1st October. Running a 2.3GHz quad core processor, sporting 3GB RAM and a 5.7 inch Curved OLED display. Along with a 13 Megapixel camera and Android 4.3 – it’s no slouch. The oversized screen has become a common sight on Note series phones – but this isn’t a Note. There is no S-Pen and there is little need for one on such a device. Holding the Round in your hand, you probably wouldn’t notice the curved display – but place it down on a table then you might get a bit sea sick. The Samsung Round does account for the curved display with a flat back – but this is minimal when comparing the entire size of the phone.
A few battery tweaks, weight differences and, obviously, a curved display set the Note 3 and Round apart. The Galaxy Note 3 features a 3200 mAh battery, larger than the Round’s 2,800 mAh. This means you might be hard pushed for a full day – but Samsung could be left off for this, the curved nature of the phone visibly limits battery size. Samsung will suite of software tweaks to allow users to access information more easily, for example tilting the phone will display notifications.
Weighing in a 154g, it has a win over the Note 3 – but we shouldn’t compare the Note 3 and Round entirely. After all, it is its own phone. The ‘gentle’ curve of the Round means you can place it in your pockets a lot more easily, fits in hands more comfortably and will be a show stopper out and about. You might also get a bit more of added privacy, the curved display preventing prying eyes from peering over your shoulder. How’s this possible you might ask? Well, the screen is made from durable plastic polymers – not glass. This means it can gradually bend, but also drops a few grams in weight too.
As the for the charging: a large, USB 2.0 socket sits beneath the behemoth display.
So what is this all about? Well manufacturers have come under pressure recently to give us flexible displays. The hype around the iWatch and it’s likely design have fuelled a debate on, will it bend? Apple is unlikely to release a flexible iWatch this year – but it seems Samsung wants to jump the gun and get its foot firmly into the curved market. Apart from a more comfortable grip and better ‘pocket-ability’ – what would drive you towards the Samsung Round? The competition will soon heat up – mobile phones don’t stay unique for long. Nevertheless it is still exciting, the prospect of a full 360 degrees hologram display from Iron Man might be a near reality.
So as the Marvel fans gather outside phone stores, don’t tell them it’s only available in Korea – and best forget the $1000 price tag.