When it comes to Android, Samsung has some ambitious goals. Each year, the company cranks out an unfathomable number of smartphones and tablets, but Google’s latest and greatest software appears to reserved for its top-shelf hardware. We’ve already seen Android 5.0 running on a Galaxy S5 and today the folks at SamMobile are giving us a look at Lollipop on a Galaxy S4.
If you’ve been debating on upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S5, there are definitely a few things you need to know. Is it worth upgrading to Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone? If you currently own a Galaxy S4, you may be better off waiting for the Galaxy S6. In the video above, we compare the features and specifications between the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4. In the video above, we’ve laid out all of the facts to help you make an informed decision.
Samsung took a big step into the health and fitness market with its Galaxy S5. One of the device’s main selling points is its built-in heart rate sensor. This new feature allows users to check their heart rate using the preinstalled S Health app, but the truth is, nothing special is happening here. According to Samsung’s official Galaxy S5 page, it’s the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor, but technically almost any device with a camera and flash is capable of providing this functionality. The same sensor is found on Samsung’s new Gear smart watch lineup and certainly makes more sense ona wearable device, but unfortunately it’s nothing more than a gimmick on the Galaxy S5.
The heart rate sensor found on the back is no different than what many third party apps have offered for quite some time. Runtastic’s Heart Rate Monitor app is a perfect example. This app uses the LED flash and camera on almost any smartphone to read your heart rate, and it works surprisingly well.
DisplayMate Technologies, which makes display test kit for every major screen manufacturer in the world, has declared that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 has “the best performing smartphone display that we have ever tested” with “a long list of new records.”
While OLED screens have long been considered to be playing catch-up with LCD, DisplayMate says that the S5 demonstrates that the race has now been won.
In a span of just four years OLED display technology is now challenging and even exceeding the performance of the best LCDs across the board in brightness, contrast, color accuracy, color management, picture quality, performance in high ambient light, screen uniformity, and viewing angles …
Samsung announced today that it’s launching a new free and ad-free music service called “Milk Music” that’s powered by Slacker and available to customers of select Galaxy devices. Samsung says the app, which is available now on available as a download on Google Play, is “fully customizable” and offers over 200 stations and a library of over 13 million songs.
“Milk Music introduces a fresh approach to music that reflects our innovation leadership and our focus on creating best-in-class consumer experiences,” said Gregory Lee, president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America and Samsung Electronics North America Headquarters. “We’re offering consumers amazing, rich music experiences built around what matters most to them and their lifestyle.”
The service is launching today in the US and available to those with a Galaxy S® 4, Galaxy S® III, Galaxy Note® 3, and Galaxy Note® II as well as the upcoming Galaxy S 5. Samsung added that it will soon offer “unique music programming from top selling and emerging artists available exclusively through Milk Music.”
While Samsung is promoting the service as completely free and free of ads, the Google Play page for the app says that the app will only be without ads and free for a for a limited time. It’s unclear if Samsung is referring to the ads or the service being free of charge, but it appears that it will either be implementing advertisements or a fee for the service in the future.
Here’s a list of features from Google Play: Read more
Samsung announced today that it’s releasing a couple variations of its Galaxy S4 and S4 mini smartphones that introduce the faux “leather-style” backside that first made an appearance on the new Note 3 at IFA in September. The new devices are dubbed “Black Edition” and come with wallpapers to match, but otherwise are the same 5-inch and 4.3-inch Galaxy S4 devices that have been on the market for nearly a couple years now. Samsung says the special Black Editions will be available in select markets starting this month. Read more
Samsung didn’t reveal much that was new in a fairly wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg, but exec VP of the company’s mobile division Lee Young Hee did tease a couple of things while confirming that the Galaxy S5 would be released by April.
The company is “studying the possibility” of including the iris-recognition security system we told you about last month. If Samsung succeeds, it would be a neat piece of one-upmanship on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in Apple’s iPhone 5S, iris-recognition being both faster and more secure than fingerprints.
The company also said that it recognized that the design of the S4 wasn’t sufficiently different from the S3, and that we can expect something significantly different from the S5 … Read more
Verizon announced today that it is releasing new mini variants of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices. One is the Galaxy S4 mini, the latest mid-tier version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4. However, Verizon is oddly also launching last year’s model today, the Galaxy S III mini.
Despite the fact that the S4 mini is the newer device, the S III mini might be the better option for those on a budget as it will cost customers just $50 on a two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. The S4 mini will come in at $99 with the same rebate. You’ll also be able to grab a month-to-month plan if you drop $249 or $399 for the S4 mini or S III mini, and $10 and $16 a month offers are available through Verizon Edge.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has retained its title as winner of the highly-regarded Which? UK consumer association battery-life tests, despite competition from newer handsets. The S4 achieved call times 37 percent greater than its nearest rival, the HTC One. The results in web use were far closer, but the Samsung S4 took the lead there too.
The Galaxy S4 also won back in June, but retained its title in the face of new competition from the latest iPhones and an updated Nokia Lumia. Android handsets took the top three slots in call times, and the top four in web use …
Update: Google has released a full list of what’s new in Android 4.4 KitKat. We’re digging in and we’ll bring you more details as we discover them.
Alongside the official release of its new flagship Nexus 5 on Google Play today, Google is also of course officially taking the wraps of 4.4 KitKat, the latest version of Android that will ship on the new Nexus 5. When will you be able to get your hands on the new OS? Google said KitKat 4.4 updates will arrive for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Editions in the coming weeks.
Google confirmed that the update will not be coming to the Galaxy Nexus. Since it’s two years old, it now “falls outside of the 18-month update window when Google and others traditionally update devices.”
In the YouTub playlist above, Google walks through some of the new features of KitKat for developers and also highlights a number of user-facing features such as a new “immersive mode” that allows users to automatically hide onscreen controls for a truly full-screen experience. In a blog post, Google took sometime to explain the performance improvements it’s made in KitKat, noting that Android can now “run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices”: Read more
Keeping with the trend of being the company’s “fastest selling smartphone ever”, Samsung has just announced that the Galaxy S4 has sold 40 million units world-wide.
Samsung CEO JK Shin revealed this data earlier today while speaking to Korean media regarding speculation that the Galaxy S4 had not sold as well as Samsung had originally expected. The device has been on the market for about six months now, and within the first month, the device had shipped 10 million units worldwide.
For comparison’s sake, the Galaxy S3 had shipped 30 million units after just six months on the market. So despite some speculation that the Galaxy S4 was too similar to its successor to sell at the same rate, the device is clearly doing just fine.
One thing worth noting is that it’s somewhat unclear as to whether JK Shin is referring to sales or shipments of the device. Should it be the latter of those, then Samsung has not actually sold 40 million Galaxy S4 units to customers, but rather shipped them to retailers to sell. Read more
When a story earlier this week discovered Samsung was artificially inflating benchmark scores for its new Galaxy Note 3, many were quick to point out it wasn’t the first time Samsung had been caught engaged in such a practice. The same issue was discovered by AnandTech for the Galaxy S4 back in July, and today the site has an extensive report showing that almost every Android smartphone manufacturer is shipping devices that do the same.
As pictured in the chart above, that includes the HTC One, HTC One mini, LG G2, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and many others. In fact, the only companies that appear to not be using the method is Apple and Motorola, as well as Google with its Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices:
We started piecing this data together back in July, and even had conversations with both silicon vendors and OEMs about getting it to stop. With the exception of Apple and Motorola, literally every single OEM we’ve worked with ships (or has shipped) at least one device that runs this silly CPU optimization. It’s possible that older Motorola devices might’ve done the same thing, but none of the newer devices we have on hand exhibited the behavior. It’s a systemic problem that seems to have surfaced over the last two years, and one that extends far beyond Samsung… None of the Nexus do, which is understandable since the optimization isn’t a part of AOSP. This also helps explain why the Nexus 4 performed so slowly when we reviewed it – this mess was going on back then and Google didn’t partake.
As noted in the report, the gains that OEMs are experiencing from the inflated scores are probably not worth the press they’ve been receiving. AnandTech points out that most of the inflated scores provide under a 10% increase in GPU and CPU performance benchmarks: Read more