Tag Archives: 3G

Blackout: EE Apologises for Network Outage. How did you survive?

The UK’s largest 4G mobile operator has apologised for an outage last night that left users without signal.

Continue reading Blackout: EE Apologises for Network Outage. How did you survive?

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N.O.W: PS4 More Popular than XBOX One, Steam’s Living room crusade and Hallelujah Apple

This week on Gadget Nibble N.O.W, Tom takes a look at the news in the gaming industry as a turbulent week of announcements by Steam look to change the future of the living room. Sony and Microsoft looks to be diverging from each other, a rift has developed and Steam is now going to try and muzzle in on some sofa action. But did Valve take the easy route? Plus Microsoft’s Surface mini might be around the corner – ready to take on the iPad mini. Apple has made us rejoice, divine intervention has forced Apple to release a patch and iOS 7 became that little less ‘buggy’.

Please note all content used in Gadget Nibbles’ videos belong to their respective owners. Gadget Nibble does not accept and responsibility or ownership of content used in our blogs. Gadget Nibble recognises the original owners of all content used in this video.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 vs. Apple iPhone 5: A universe apart?

On the 14th March 2013 Samsung launched their latest smartphone to take on Apples iPhone 5, along with the rest of the mobile industry, the Galaxy S 4. The smartphone war has now been existent since 2010, with Apples first lawsuit claim against Samsung, but now we have travelled a few years down the line the tension between platforms is still sky high. With millions of us consumers forking out for a new phone every 12 months the competition is on between manufacturers to grab attention and boast about their latest device. Innovation is prized upon by the critics – the device with the latest bells and whistles can sometimes prove to be superior. Nevertheless a good and well rounded user experience can still offer a overall better device. Samsung, now the worlds largest mobile manufacturer with a 30% smartphone market share in 2012, now faces competition from the likes of its arch enemy Apple, who currently holds a mere 19% market share. Samsung and Apple have been in a constant  headlock to flaunt their latest and greatest in the consumer window – but while these two giants fight it out the rest of the market watches and learns. Eying the mistakes and successes both companies endure.

Either way their is a lot of competition in the mobile market, and when it comes to buying a new smartphone you can feel slightly overwhelmed at the imagesbombardment of advertising and decisions to make. This has provided excitement for the industry, the prospect of an unknowing and uncertain consumer has allowed companies to take advantage and sell more through persuasion. Right now Samsung and Apple are the current contenders for the smartphone crown. The Galaxy S 3 previously broke sales records and Apples iPhone had until recently been the best selling and dominant smartphone around. So when one of the big two release a new product their is always hype from both fanboys and critics. But to compare truly which is the best phone we must look at the facts, user experience and previous products. Lets not be prejudice about either product here, but merely take a factual and representative look at both the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S 4.

Fight!

Both phones could not be further apart in software and design ethos, Apple remains to hold a closed ecosystem through its IOS and iTunes interfaces. This provides them with quality control and compatibility assurance – but compromises on diversity and openness. While Samsung has taken the alternate route of enduring with Android, providing through Google a list of services and App market places free for anyone to post upon and divulge in. The has allowed the Android Play Store to become a vibrant and diverse centre for apps, but the fragmented and varying list of dependant devices does not always assure that your app will work. Samsung has had a schedule of releasing mobiles at the beginning of the year, while Apple does so in the 3rd quarter. This has always seem to put Apple on the chase of Samsung – this is most likely a clever Samsung advertising ploy. Yet the hardware and software experience must be weighed up for both consumer and manufacturing benefits. Lets take a look at the physical specifications of each device. The simple facts laid bare:

Specifications 

Apple iPhone 5

Samsung Galaxy S 4

Brand

Apple Samsung

Launch date

September 21st 2012

April 26th 2013

Dimensions

128.8mm(H) X 58.6mm(W)X7.6mm (D) 136.6mm(H)X69.8 mm(W)X7.9 mm (D)

Weight

112g

130g

Operating System

IOS 6

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

CPU

1.3GHz Dual Core Apple A6 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 and 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 or 1.9 GHz quad-core Krait 300
GPU PowerVR SGX543MP3

IT Tri-core PowerVR SGX 544 GPU or Adreno 320 GPU

Memory

1GB RAM 2GB RAM

Storage

16, 32 or 64 GB

16, 32 or 64 GB

Removable Storage

N/A

Up to 64 GB microSDXC

Display

4 inch (16:9 ratio)

5 inch

Resolution 640 x 1,136 pixels

1920 x 1080

PPI

326 ppi

441 ppi

Rear Camera

8MP, 1080p HD video

13MP, 1080p HD video

Front facing Camera

1.2MP, 720p HD video 2MP

Battery

1440 mAh (not replaceable)

2600 mAh (user replaceable)

Connectivity

Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0,GPS & GLONASS,Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800,1900 MHz),Quad-band UMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)GPS/GLONASSNFCBluetooth 4.0IR LEDMHL 2.0

Super fast 4G LTE

Penta – bands LTE 1,3,5

4G LTE All bands

Colour White & silver/Black & slate

White frost/Black mist

The facts stack up well for the Samsung Galaxy S 4, but today specs are no longer enough to sell a product. We are reliant on past experience and user reviews. The operating systems comes into play and the companies ‘cool’ factor. So lets have a look at some of those in a more finer detail…

Operating system and user experience: It is all about preference.

As mentioned both devices rely on two very different pieces of software. Apple has built from the ground up a well baked and efficient OS, originally labelled imageiPhone OS – now known as IOS. This variant of the Mac OS operating system brings the Macs security, ease of use and compatibility to the mobile device. IOS however is not known for its freedom and liberty. In 2008 Apple introduced the App Store, a place for developers to post and users to download mobile applications. Yet to ensure the deices remains secure and appropriative content is placed on the store Apple has a submission and censorship process over the App store. Apple has a strict admissions policy and apps must conform to these rules to be accepted onto the store. This has led to a ‘garden wall’ effect on the IOS app store and developers have criticised Apple for a overbearing ‘Big brother’ type enforcement of these rules. At the end of the day this means the user will have less variety to select from and indefinitely may drive away some developers. On the other hand this means if you buy an iPhone you’re guaranteed all the apps (as long as your device is not outdates) to work on your phone. Which is were Google and Samsung hit a snag. The Android Play store that serves the Galaxy S 4 also serves several other hundred Android smartphones. This means that compatibility is an issue – Google does not regulate the store like Apple – believing in a free open source store and platform, each app may be intended to run on different size screens, processors and user inputs. This can lead to a fragmented and frustrating experience. Yet this method ensures that, although they may not function, a user a a wide variety to select apps from and most – compared to the IOS store – are free on Google Play.
jelly-bean_large_verge_medium_landscapeIOS has not changed in all of its 5 years – Apple has kept its user interface practically identical over all its updates. The constant setup of 4/5 rows of rounded box icons and a dock at the bottom that can hold several more, along with pages to store these icons has remained untouched. The user is entitled to as many home screens as possible, and can sort their apps into folders – but apart from setting a lock screen and home wallpaper that is as far as customisation goes. In recent updates Apple has introduced a Notifications bar (previously found on Android) and a new alert system. On the other hand Google has changed the way Android looks more than can be remembered. From the humble abode of Froyo to Jelly Bean their are now many different widgets, live tiles and apps that can be pinned to the home screen. Still the basic principle of several central home locations – Android provides customisation on a different level – the ability for information to be instantly available and ready compared to the static icons in IOS gives an advantage to the information freaks among us. This can sometimes make the home screen cluttered and users now complain of over complication of the Android experience. Android, unlike IOS, is more prone to security breaches – the unmonitored store allows for malware and the lack of security at OS level can prove a problem. The fact that Google’s Android is present on many handsets also means that the individual manufacturer is in charge of distributing updates and placing proprietary UI on top. Samsung has been relatively good with broadcasting latest Android updates and its TouchWiz UI has become a elegant extra to the Galaxy experience.  Google has generated a well built and adaptable OS – but at the end of the day it is personal preference. When buying a new smartphone you must factor in the OS – IOS will provide a secure, stable and abundantly rich source of applications through an ageing interface. Whilst Google can offer a diverse and intensifying range of apps that can’t be guaranteed to work – as well as unbelievable customisation and user adjustment. But if you want continued support and ensured investment it may be possible to consider an iPhone. Google works hard with manufacturers to ensure everyone can have the latest software update but some don’t play nice. So your new phone may be outdated in several months time. Yet as Apple is the primary distributor – currently they continue to support phones for at least 3 – 4 years down the line.

Unique selling points: Gimmicky features?

Either phone has it’s unique advantages. When discussing displays the iPhone has a 640 x 1136 display with 326 ppi. When released on the iPhone 4 in iphone-retina-display2010 it was the best screen on the market. But now as the competition has caught up, the once Retina display – named as the eye can not distinguish individual pixels above 300 ppi – seems a little outdated. Samsung is introducing a new spectrum of displays – the iPhone adopted a rather peculiar and non standard display ratio. This meant it produced black bars when playing content. This has been revised in the iPhone 5 as it has a 16:9 ratio – but does not feature a full HD display. On the other hand the Galaxy S 4 now has a standard 1920 x 1080 display – meaning it can play all Full HD content from your TV and films on the smaller 5 inch screen. This gives the device a whopping 441 ppi – not saying the Retina display was bad – but this will provide eye popping contrast and clarity on a mobile scale. The iPhone 5 has a smaller display than the Galaxy S 4, but Apple argues this is the perfect size for one handed use. Yet some consumers do crave the greater pixels for the ever immersive content they consume.

The iPhones design is most likely it’s biggest selling point. Apple is  for the luxury products and perfectionist tastes. Designer Sir Johnny Ive has received several awards including a knighthood for services to design. Apple has without a doubt gone to a second level with the iPhone 5. It has an industrial and robust feel the the phone. Made from a solid block of pure aluminium and inset with glass inlays. The phone is now ugly duck. Arriving in two colours both white and black, either model is complimented by diamond chamfered edges – which give the phone it’s iconic look. Yet durability may have been compromised for  style. The aluminium back is reported to scratch very easily and can be dented – which Apple will not cover under warranty. So for a out going back packer – the iPhone 5 may not be a welcome companion. Yet at only 112g and 7.6mm thin it is one of the worlds lightest and thinnest phones. On the contrary Samsung has taken another approach to design. Its use of material is less expensive than Apple. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 features a textured polycarbonate backing and glass front. Although this material is, in some cases, more durable than the aluminium iPhone 5 – the plastic has now seemed to reach a sticking point with my liking. It now resembles – although it is not – a cheap and compromised product. I wish Samsung would be able to rethink it’s design ethos to improve the Galaxy S 4. Yet the G S 3 sold remarkably, and the G S 4 is practicably identical – so why fix something that isn’t broken? Weighing in at a heavier 130g it still won’t pull your trousers down. And in a thinner design than last years model proves to be a great improvement. Compared to the iPhone the Galaxy S 4 allows for a removable battery in its design. So this may be another feature to consider – when you would have to carry and extra charger for your iPhone.

Conclusion…

Both phones offer features such as wireless streaming, video calling and basic social connectivity. In general Apple’s ecosystem provides a better finished, complete and intuitive method of completing each task while Samsung and Google provide a comprehensive and in depth user customisation and liberal access. Android is known for it’s varying app store and has it’s advantages in user customisation. Yet this can compromise the stability of the system and result in compatibility and running errors. Apple has overcome this with its regulations and control – you are ensured a smooth and ‘Apple like’ experience. The ‘walled garden’ does limit diversity and freedom but developers, so far, have managed to work around this.

Basically it is up to personal preference. Currently the only advantages the Galaxy S 4 may have over the iPhone may also be seen as a disadvantage. Samsung has introduced features such as Smart Pause – which tracks eye movement to control the screen – this sounds great but could prove a problem with erratic and uncontrollable eye movements. As well as the feature such as Dual camera that uses the front facing camera to place the photographer into the video scene. All these newly announced attributes could be seen as gimmicky by Samsung, who previously had released major updates. Yet the iPhone has also had its fair share of criticism – the lack of recent innovation and adoption of technology such as NFC has led fans to become restless. But if your buyingiphone a new phone this Spring you have the best opportunities and knowledge to make an informed decision. Apple has always been seen to provide a top quality product – and now has an air of coolness about their products and launches. Yet Samsung now has creeped in the ring with a rebellious sense. The Galaxy S 4 represents a rebellion against the iPhones dominance and can show off a persons creativity. Overall you must weigh up your personal needs. If an iPhone offers all you need, with its long battery life, ease of use and well oiled OS. Or buy the Samsung Galaxy S 4 which will wow you with customisation and screen real estate. It is a personal choice, and no one will look differently dependant on your purchase.