Tag Archives: 3 months later

Samsung Galaxy S7 – Two Months Later + 1 Month with the S7 Edge

The Official Samsung Lens Cover case for Samsung Galaxy S7 with Wide Angle lens fitted

I have now had a Samsung S7/Edge for 3 months with a few other phones in review within this time period.

The Official Samsung Lens Cover case for Samsung Galaxy S7 with Telephoto lens fitted.

I started with the Samsung S7 Edge but migrated to the S7 Standard. Why? Same phone in a more practical shell, that as slightly smaller, also easier to fit, hold, use, grip and more.

Panoramic view of the architecture at The Hoe, Plymouth #S7

So what makes using the Samsung S7 so special and such a great user experience.

360 Challenge 2

Well, one of the reasons is the accessories. The Lens Cover case is fantastic. My review is HERE. I also have the S7 Wireless Battery Back Pack. My review click HERE. Then there is the Samsung Gear VR and Gear 360, the Samsung Level One Pro headphones and more. Click HERE. for my thoughts on the S7 Edge.

My S7 is always kept in the Lens Cover case. It is worth getting the Lens Cover just for the case alone. The case feels like leather, its not, reassuringly grippy and has a slightly raised section to help with more grip when taking photos. Then you can add either a wide angle or 2 x telephoto lens. I use these lenses all the time now. I also use the Gear 360. The other accessories like the Gear VR, Level One Pro headphones and Gear S2 don’t get used that much.

Continuing with the camera, the S7 just snaps a great shot nearly every time. Being water resistant means I am not worried about if its raining either. Between the S7 and S7 Edge I now have nearly 300 shots in my Flickr albums. That is a record number over every previous smartphone.

S7 Edge Flickr Album

Samsung S7 Flickr Album

Then the rest of the phone is all superb. Fast charging, Qi charging, an amazing QHD screen, great battery life, a proper gaming mode with options to remove disturbances and improve battery life. I even use Touchwiz on my S7 and love changing themes. The loudspeaker isn’t the loudest or clearest, but its usable for podcasts. The audio output via headphones is only good when matched with easy to drive headphones. Luckily using bluetooth headphones and HiFiMan Edition S headphones I have superb audio via headphones, although I do miss the HTC 10 for headphone audio.

But overall, the S7 package and experience is second to none. There are phones available that are better than the S7 in particular fields, but nobody beats Samsung for the whole package.

Some shots from the camera below and aboe –

Tiggy says "Hi" #SamsungS7

Church of St Michael #frontview #SamsungS7 #lenscover #wideangle

Incoming storm The Lighthouse , Plymouth #S7

Triangular Ears #Tiggy on #Dartmoor

George Selfie on Dartmoor - drenched in water #Dartmoor #dog

Samsung Note 3 – review – 3 months later – day 14

It’s been 2 weeks since I received the Samsung Note 3 again. With 7 firmware updates and countless app updates, the full software packages provided by Samsung, the Note 3 has been a different phone to the buggy disaster that was released at launch.

Some of the surprises and highlights has been the camera. The Note 3 camera has taken some awesome quality photos far above what I expected. At night time and with the use of my tripod I used an app called “A Better Camera” . In fact using this camera app with Samsung’s own default app provides a superb shooting experience. I found a tripod adapter for the Note 3 called iStabilizer from Amazon which allows for high quality night shots. Using voice to take photos removes the potential for camera shake. Photo editing is handled by several apps and the effects available are huge.

After 3 months the software is considerably bug free. There are a few bugs still remaining but nothing of any significance. So what I am getting is a smooth experience. In fact, the Note 3 has less bugs than the iPhone 5S which constantly reboots and has a battery not up to the task of a smartphone.

As a music player the Note 3 is fantastic. But it has USB Audio out so by connecting the Fiio E18 USB Portable DAC/Amp the improvement in audio enjoyment is off the charts.

And then there is the even more stark realisation. With the Note 3 not only have I left my iPhone in a bottom drawer, I am not using my iPad or computer. The Note 3 handles all the computing needs for me.

Until the next best thing arrives tomorrow, the Note 3 is my favourite phone.

Samsung Note 3 – 3 months later review – day 6

Before you think to yourself, “I don’t remember reading day 4 and 5” you would be correct as I skipped 2 days.

I thought I would leave a few more days to see how things have progressed. Sadly, I’ve giving up on the Note 3 and I am back with the iPhone 5S. No that’s not true and I know some of still believe I will fall back to the iPhone 5S.

Using the Note 3 now is becoming a pleasure and not a frustration. I am still waiting for Google to update their Play Music app so I can stream my tunes and for for the official twitter app to allow me to receive notifications. Update. I fixed this. See separate post. Apparently twitter need to clear my cache but there support service is dreadfully slow.

Samsung’s WatchOn app remote control now operates my TV and DVD player properly and has a shortcut widget on the lock and home screen which is very handy.

And to reset or switch off and back on I have to untick allow scanning in the advanced wifi settings to avoid a reboot loop. Apart from that it’s faultless.

In the meantime, I am using Robird for twitter, a pleasurable experience, and for low light shots A Better Camera App that allows the Note 3 to take great low light photos providing their is no movement and you are using a tripod or similar. In fact, this app using the Hi-Res Night mode can produce some crazy good quality shots.

I have started to tweak everything a little bit more and I am finding everything just works a treat now. It was a painful beginning but it is starting to provide dividends.

Even the free music offer which at first didn’t work, just did yesterday when I tried again. Human error probably but it wasn’t as obvious as I would have thought. I also found a free game Monster University for Note 3 users available on the Samsung Games stores. I also have a different view of the Samsung Hub. Whilst it is not perfect, it does cover all aspects of media and is definitely Samsung’s next strike to remove itself from Google’s services in the future.

With the Note 3, Samsung included a wealth of extra software and third party software services which makes this whole proposition really hard to refuse.

I have activated Find My Phone and Sim Activation Lock. Scrapbook which I thought was a gimmick is actually wonderful to use. It provides a fluid way to clip and record properly items of interest.

Screen and battery life and amazing. I have nearly every option turned on from air gestures, to motion and smart options. The small on screen floating apps are useful although not many of them. Handy for the calculator and whatsapp. Using Flipboard, My Magazine, Business Week and other news type apps is a joy due to the large screen. I never really bothered with Flipboard on the iPhone but it is lovely to view on the Note 3.

I have now added gestures with Nova Launcher so double type, and one or two finger swiping up and down launches specific apps, saving time.

There is no away I can see myself drifting back to an iPhone despite all its positives. The Note 3 is leagues ahead in many ways and the honeymoon period is just improving.

Samsung Note 3 – 3 months later review – day 3

They say anything can happen in 24 hours. Well, my Samsung Note 3 has gone from a thing of frustration to a golden entity.

From a software point of view the Note 3 needs a few tweaks to prevent the constant reboots when powering on the phone. Also Google need to update their Google Play Music app so it works with the phone. I am sure both these will happen at some point in the future.

However, a trip over to XDA Developers (link provided in comments on part 2 published yesterday) revealed this was a common problem and solved by unticking the box in wifi advanced settings “allow scanning” as shown below.

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With this box unticked it is safe to reset or switch off and on phone. After phone is back on you can retick the box. I have installed Nova Launcher and now have 2 home screens as below and app drawer all organised.

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Despite missing out on free albums and other apps, I have found that I am still eligible for a free years subscription to the weekly magazine “Business Week”, free app MarketWatch and 3 articles free for the New York Times. There was also a magazine and photo printing app to peruse.

My other observations are that the loudspeaker doesn’t go loud enough as I would have liked, but it is crystal clear, the output volume via headphones could be louder but at least you won’t go deaf in a day, the headphone quality using the supplied in ear headphones is rubbish but using a number of decent in ear and over ear headphones provided high quality audio playback. Battery. Finally a phone that can last a day. It has at least 60% more juice than the iPhone 5S. The screen is gorgeous. Whether it’s watching a movie, looking at photos or indeed anything it’s really amazing. Gaming takes on a new level which such a vast screen. Clip the Note 3 into my Moga Pro game controller and it’s game on. The camera is much better than I thought. Low light photos aren’t brilliant but passable at best. The iPhone 5S and Lumia 1020 trounce it but as soon as the light increases the Note 3 is providing some stunning shots.

I finally have found an acceptable way to sync between my mac and the Note 3. iTunes music and movies (non drm) are handled wonderfully by an app called iSyncr. I realised I had photo uploads going to Google, Dropbox, Skydrive and Flickr yesterday. And still I got through a whole day in one battery charge. I have selected Dropbox for the time being as it integrates better into the mac folder structure. However, I have 80gb storage on my Google account so need to investigate options for using this more, as I enjoy the auto awesome features. Then there is the infra red remote control, ideal for controlling the TV.

How would I compare the Note 3 to the iPhone 5S? You can’t. They are totally different devices. The iPhone is a one handed masterpiece. All your apps and information as the flick of a thumb or finger. I think the notification centre in iOS is better as there are normally choices of how the notification is delivered, badges and more. The Note 3 uses the status bar instead for handling notifications. The one huge score for iOS is using twitter. I haven’t come across any twitter app on android that provides proper streaming and instant notifications as they appear. On iOS the official twitter app is better than any other twitter app on android, even the official android twitter app. The iPhone is technology made easy. iTunes syncing and backup is legendary. But then the Note 3 steps in.

The Note 3 provides over and above the iPhone, a 5.7 inch screen that enhances media engagement, 4K video recording, camera settings and options to fuel a nuclear reactor, in fact that applies to the whole device. Everything is adjustable. Options include intelligent S-View Premium cases, wireless charging, blocking mode, enough motion controls to make you sea sick, smart stay x 100, a decent hands free mode great when driving , S-Pen, air gestures galore, USB 3, USB OTG, and the list just keeps going on and on. The more you learn about the Note 3, the more you realise if you only could have one device, this could be it.

So at the end of day 3, I’m absolutely loving the Note 3. The iPhone 5S still has not been powered back on. My wife reckons I will be back with the iPhone in about a month. I don’t think so whatsoever!

But then again………

Samsung Note 3 – 3 months later day 2 – review

So after a frustrating first day, I’m giving the Note 3 another chance. I’ve reinstalled all my apps nearly, but will have to go through the painful process of setting each and every app up.

Samsung seem to have included a crazy amount of bloat ware apps. Totally unnecessary. By trying to flog their apps and services they part ruin the device. Within the Samsung Apps/Hub was a Winter Wonderland offer app with a free gift every day. I installed it to find the offers were no longer running. There was also 5 free albums on offer. I got the redemption code from the Samsung Music app only to find the same thing. Then Samsung Music Premium shows as stopping at end of Jan 2014. Then some of the apps for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 within Samsung’s App Store were just bloat ware again. Totally unacceptable.

So, I was setting up the Note 3 again from scratch installing all my apps without a sim installed as I had moved it back to another phone temporarily late last night. So after everything was installed from an app point of view, I powered off and put my sim back in the Note 3. Therein after it just kept rebooting with no end in sight. Don’t you love this phone! This was cured by removing the battery and powering up without the memory card installed and just the SIM card. Then I added the memory card whilst phone was powered on. Finally. And the memory card has to be removed every time you turn the phone on.

Right let’s put some balance back in the Note 3. Despite everything so far I really like this phone. Side by side with my iPhone 5S it looks like a bad boy and the 5S a kiddies toy, despite my 5S being the shiny gold version. So as you guys may realise I have a number of accessories that work with phones from my Sony QX10/100 lenses, Moga Pro Game Controller, WeMo internet plug and my new Sphero Robotic Ball. And with every single one of these the Note 3 flies above anything other phone using these hardware accessories. Let’s take each accessory in turn.

WeMo – nothing special here just a much larger screen to operate all my WeMo’s from Belkin

Sony QX10/100 lenses – using the Note 3 NFC these work from start far quicker than the iPhone. The clamp doesn’t really fit, so a tripod or flat surface is needed to use these. But the processor power of the Note 3 provides a seamless integration.

Moga Pro Controller – OMG – this controller was awesome when I got it, but compared to the iPhone version which I have, android Moga compatible games are on a different level. Air Attack HD and Need For Speed Most Wanted are now Moga A compatible. Asphalt 7 and 8 too. Playing on the gorgeous screen is breathtaking. The Note 3 fits fine in the Moga clamp. There is no way in a million years I can go back to the iPhone 5S after playing games with the Moga and the better screen. On Android there are over 200 games that work on this game controller versus 60 on iOS.

Sphero Robotic Ball – works perfectly as expected. But having a bigger screen to operate the on screen controls just provides a much better experience.

It’s all about the screen so far. The Note 3 first impressions is flawed but you must give it a chance. It doesn’t have the slickness of software and hardware integration of iOS 7, nothing does. BUT it does have its own magic.

In the next part I will cover more and more of the phone.