Apple is dispatching its new Apple Watch to some lucky folks this Friday along with some neat features. Google is not going to let Apple take all the thunder, although it is rumoured Apple sold over 3m watches in the first weekend alone.
In response, Android Wear is receiving a large update which includes –
– Wrist Flicking Gestures – Flick your wrist away from you to view the next card or notification; flick towards you to go back.
– Emoji Drawing – Want to reply quickly to a notification? If an emoji or two will suffice, you can now just draw it.
– A New Interface Flow – Up until now, launching third party apps built for Android Wear has been kind of a pain — you either had to do it by voice, or by swiping and tapping through a bunch of menus. Now they’re the focus. Swiping to the left from the idle/watch screen will bring up a list of your apps. Swiping left again will show you contacts. Swiping left a third time shows a list of actions like “Take a note” or “Set a timer”, primarily meant to remind you of things you can do with your voice through the “Ok, Google” command.
– Always On Apps – Apps can now elect to keep the screen alive as long as it’s open,
– Wi-Fi Support – Android Wear watches actually have Wi-Fi built-in but the chip has just been inactive. With the update, your phone can actually be miles away — as long as your phone has data and your watch is connected to Wi-Fi, and your notifications and replies will pass between them. This feature is already present in the Samsung Gear S running Tizen OS.
If Google can get an Android Wear watch to work with iOS then this could be a decent option for a cross platform smartwatch.
Source – http://www.techcrunch.com
Sony has just announced the Xperia Z4 in Japan, and its near identical to the outgoing Z3. It does have a few improvements though.
The Xperia Z4 is 6.9-mm-thick (0.4mm thinner than the Z3) , weighs 144g (8g lighter than the Z3) clad in a metal and glass body, includes a 5.2-inch 1080p LCD screen, a 20.7-megapixel camera, a 2930mAh battery (17 hours talk time over 3g is claimed), a 2GHz 8-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, and 3GB of RAM, running Android 5.0 Lollipop and is water- and dust-resistant, IPX5/IP68 and IP6X with no flaps over the USB port too.
The front camera is 5.1mp with a 25mm wide angle affair. The photo editing allows for plentiful face and skin touch ups, and adding AR effects too. The rear camera is the same 20.3m G Sensor but with ISO settings up to 12,800. Shame there is still no optical image stabilisation but Sony did add a cooking mode! The Z4 offers LDAC high quality wireless playback.
The full specs are –
– Dimensions – 146mm × about 72㎜ × about 6.9㎜
– Weight – 144 g
– Battery capacity 2930mAh
– Display 5.2 inch Liquid crystal Birds Luminous display for mobile, 1920 x 1080
– OS Android ™ 5.0
– Built-in memory (ROM / RAM) 32GB / 3GB
– SD memory card slotmicroSD, microSDHC, microSDXC (maximum 128GB)
– Processor 2.0GHz / 1.5GHz
– External connection Bluetooth® Bluetooth® 4.1
– External device microUSB / MHL / headset connection terminal, DLNA
– Sony Mobile original software – Music applications, such as album application
– Main camera About 20.7 million pixel back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor Exmor RS for mobile
– Front camera About 5.1 million pixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor Exmor R for mobile
– Camera shake correction – electronic (video / still image), Auto focus (video / still image),Self-timer,
– Main camera – 4K (2160p), full HD 60fps (1080p) / full HD 30 fps (1080p) / HD (720p) / VGA (480p) / MMS
– Front camera – full HD (1080p) / HD (720p) / VGA (480p) / MMS
– Photos – 20.7MP (4: 3) / 15.5MP (16: 9) / 8MP (4: 3) / 8MP (16: 9) / 3MP (4: 3) / 2MP (16: 9)
– Front camera – 5MP (4: 3) / 3.7MP (16: 9) / 2MP (4: 3) / 2M (16: 9)
– Flash main camera only Smile Shutter Waterproof / dustproof (IPX5 / 8, IP6X)
– NFC –
– Wi-Fi IEEE802.11a / b / g / n (2.4GHz / 5GHz) / ac compliant, MIMO support
Source – http://www.sonymobile.co.jp/company/press/entry/2015/0420_1_xperia_z4.html
So does the Sony Xperia Z4 interest you?
As you all know, I co-host “Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast”. From next month, and monthly thereafter, I will be a regular co-host on the “Phones Show Chat” podcast.
“Phones Show Chat” Episode 248 was recorded yesterday with host Steve Litchfield and myself, in which we discussed the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and 7 other phones. For more information on the Phones Show Chat podcast, click here – http://stevelitchfield.com/sshow/chat.html
My Co-Host Dave on “Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast” has just started a new Apple only podcast with Jason Green, called “One More Thing”. Episode 1 went live yesterday, so go give it a listen. Click here – http://www.onemorething.audio/
Don’t forget that the next episode of “Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast” will be out within the next 2 weeks. So that’s 3 podcasts to subscribe too!
I have now had the S6 about a week and the camera continues to impress me. It is fast. burst mode is equally as fast and it performs in all lighting just by pressing the button. I just can’t praise it enough. In my full review coming soon, I will cover off all the camera options. If there was one disappointment, that is over the fact there is no long shutter mode or any manual shutter control. This would improve low light shots and also allow for special light flow effects. Better low light shots can be obtained in Pro Mode, forcing the ISO to 800.
Anyway, below are some more photos from the S6. All unedited. Some have had a white frame added but that is it. The dogs photo bombed both photos. There were not part of the frame, but appeared suddenly when I hit the shutter. I expected these to be out of focus but they were just fine. The dogs were also moving really fast at the time too. To see the full Flickr S6 album click here (currently 35 shots)- https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157651896189926/
Can you help Gavin’s Gadgets? Actually you can. If you decide to buy anything on Amazon, please use the affiliate link below. By using this link, you will help support Gavin’s Gadgets with all the running costs and more, and yet it won’t cost you anything. That’s right the price you pay at Amazon is the same whether you use the link below or not.
Touchwiz on the Samsung Galaxy S6 takes on a new lease of life. The need for alternative launchers is practically dead in the water. Themes are now available for the S6 and not only are there themes, but also grid layout options too as shown below.
Below are my favourite themes for the S6. It seems new themes are being added every day and week. The themes not only change the icons, but all aspect of the device from the settings icons, notification toggles, keyboard, page template themes and even sounds too.
So what are your favourite? Or do you still opt for the default Touchwiz look?
We all the excitement around the Samsung Galaxy S6 camera, let’s not forget just how good the Note 4 camera still performs. Below is 6 action shots combined into a collage to illustrate George jumping.
Below is the shot of the week from the Samsung Galaxy S6.
As you are probably all aware, my long standing device is the Samsung Note 4. I also have under review the new Samsung Galaxy S6. Both have finger print home buttons that unlock the phones.
So which is better?
Well, you may think the answer is obviously the S6, and it is but in my real life testing, but it is not a total wipeout victory. The Note 4 requires a swipe down over the home button. The S6 is a touch and hold method.
First lets talk about my real life experiences using the Note 4. It is a large device, so is mostly used with 2 hands. This makes a swipe down over the home key more logical and works 9 times out of 10. My Note 4 security is using the finger print option. I find it dependable and reliable and consistent.
On the other hand the Samsung Galaxy S6 should be easier with a touch and hold. But I am finding issue with it. I have deleted and relearnt my finger prints twice now. But unlocking with my right hand in particular is not consistent, with 7 out of 10 times successful. Sometimes lower. When it works, it is excellent and a true one handed operation. And that is the advantage of the Note 4, one handed unlocking and usage of a phone.
However, I am going to relearn my finger prints again on the S6, and hopefully this will help me with the one handed unlocking procedure.
So have you faired any better with the S6?
Update – based on all the comments clearly holding it wrong! I will add I also get messages saying if finger print scanner continues to fail to reboot phone.
Huawei launched their new flagship the P8 and the 6.8 inch screen P8 Max. Below is a video from Huawei introducing the P8 which launches in May 2015.
Following on my post yesterday here are some more shots. I have uploaded the originals into this post.
This shot taken inside a pub. The owners new puppy. Staff were trying to take photos on their smartphones but were moaning it was too dark. I just said, step aside and took 2 shots of Duke. Perfect shots. I’ve even cropped in slightly to show the clarity.
Above. Sun disappeared now. Beyond dusk but not dark. Again I’m happy with this shot.
Whilst not a pretty scene, the result is remarkable. With Auto Tracking on the white van in Low light . Really impressive.
Above. Inside pub. Glass of water. Looks great and into the sunlight pouring through window.
All in all rather neat photos.
The above shot is one of several shots taken randomly. There was no effort involved in taking this shot. The Galaxy S6 just delivered. The S6 was in Auto HDR mode too. These are unedited shots. If you want to see the full resolution just click on the photo or jump to my Samsung Galaxy S6 Flickr album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157651896189926/
Now the above shot was taken using the Auto Tracking option. I have tried it several times and it seems to work well when the objects are well defined and not too far away. Below is another shot taken using the Auto Tracking option. Just to set the scenes my dogs were sprinting at crazy speeds, so I was impressed that the S6 kept up and in focus.
So what have I observed so far? Well the S6 camera is designed to be used in auto mode. It is taking the error made by humans out of the equation. The Pro Mode lacks shutter control and I could not see the touch to focus option. I need to spend some more time with camera so I will update this post over the next few days. I did use the Pro Mode but so far the Auto mode is stunning.
A few more samples. Don’t forget, click on the photo to head over to the full resolution or click here to see my S6 Flickr album, which will increase daily – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157651896189926/
If for any reason you have problems with the photos not all displaying, then just head over to my Flickr S6 Album. And do check back for updates on this post over the next week or so.
Just as a last point, I have used the HTC One M9 and I know some of you will ask me which is better. If you always shoot in Auto, then the S6 is King. However, due to the extensive manual controls provided by HTC for the One M9, it is possible to obtain the odd shot that the S6 would not be able to achieve. However, this is a rarity, and in my mind the Galaxy S6 kills the M9 in sheer quality.
During my lunch break, I ventured out of the office to grab a sandwich and happened to trip in to the Apple Store.
Inside, behind glass on one of the tables, were a large selection of the different Apple Watches/strap combos with one side showing the larger 42mm Apple Watch options and then the other side the smaller 38mm sized Watch.
In person the Apple Watch looks really elegant up to a point. As I was browsing I was approached by an Apple employee who asked if I would like to try on some of the watches. The sales assistant explained that there was a 15 min time limit and that at present the wait would be no more than 5 mins before a time slot would be free. So reluctantly, I said yes.
For starters the smaller Apple Watch did not suit my wrist, but it was still a positive step to see an option for those that don’t want a huge chunk on their wrist. I thought the larger Apple Watch was a decent size and actually did not look too big. I tried the Apple Watch Sport first of all. This was the black strap with a grey aluminium shell. Gorgeous piece of technology and out of all of these options, this is the version I would choose, if I was buying one. I would also add a white sport band strap which cost an extra £39 on top of the £339. The other straps that I really liked were the leather loop and milanese loop. I actually preferred the Apple Watch with a stainless steel casing but at around £500 this becomes to expensive, especially as I would then choose the leather loop strap which takes the price to £599. The metal straps were not my cup of tea.
All the Apple Watches were in a demo mode, so I did not get to actually try using one for real. However, some of the screens and watch faces looked stunning. The taptic feedback is simple but genius as only you would know of new notifications ,and not the whole world if it worked using vibrations.
But my overall takeaway was how well executed/designed/manufactured the new Apple Watch was, along with the huge wealth of options. My only problem is that I don’t have an iPhone but I can tell you this, seeing the Watch in person really makes you want one, even if there is no real reason for one. It is probably the ultimate gadget.
As the Apple Watch was running in demo mode, I have answered questions still exist around what will be battery life be and how smooth will it be to operate the Watch. Also of a surprise was how many free try on areas were empty. Plus my 15 mins did extend slightly longer, not that I was complaining.
Just a quick heads up that I now have a Samsung Galaxy S6 in black. I have not had a chance to do much with it other than charge it to 100%. It is now downloading a 249mb software update.
Later on in the week I will provide some more feedback, but in the meantime do let me know what questions you would like answered.
However, I did sneak in a quick low light shot and then take the same shot with my Note 4. All I will say based on this single shot I took, the S6 took a much better shot than the Note 4.
Below are similar shots taken in the same place as the Nokia Lumia 830. It is not fair to totally compare them as the sunlight was vastly brighter and the sky bluer when I took the shots on the Note 4. With the Lumia 830 the sunlight was a little hazy. Again the Note 4 shots are unedited apart from framing them.
Anyway, below are the photos. Let me know what you think.