New Sony mid-rangers

Sony has released two new mid-range smartphones. Xperia C5 Ultra is a huge 6″ phablet and M5 has a 5″ display. Sony calls them “super mid-range smartphones”. 

01-Xperia-C5-Ultra-Colour-Range

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra moves away from the typical Sony design with zero side bezels and a bit curving back. The 6″ IPS display is Full HD and pack Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2. The C5 Ultras CPU is MediaTek MTK6752 with 8 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.7GHz and Mali760 GPU runs at 700MHz. 2GB RAM is LPDDR3 and 16GB storage is expandable via microSD card.

C5 Ultra packs two 13MP cameras and both have an LED flash. The front camera has an 88 degree wide angle lens for better selfies. Both cameras have digital stabilization, no OIS here. Despite the huge size, battery is just decent with 2930mAh capacity.

02_M5_gold_group

Sony Xperia M5 has a 5″ Full HD display, 3GB of RAM, MediaTek MT6795 SoC and a 2600mAh battery. CPU has 8 64-bit cores and runs at 2.0GHz. The M5 is also IP68 certified against water and dust.

M5’s main camera is 21.5MP with 4K video recording. Front camera is the same 13MP module that’s in the C5 Ultra.

The C5 Ultra is most like going to cost around $350 and M5 is going to be around $400. At that price point they are way above the most affordable devices like Moto G but still a lot cheaper than the absolute flagships. It’s a price range of OnePlus 2, old flagships and even Sonys own devices.

As we are not completely sure about the direct competitors that the new Xperias are meant against, most likely they are going to be very competitive with premium built and great selfie cameras. Pricing is not completely sure but numerous sources claim those prices. We are excited to see how the new Xperias are doing.

Sony Press Release

Three new Motos released

new_motos

 

Motorola has released its new Moto lineup for 2015. There are three new devices, X Style, X Play and G. 

Moto X Style is the new flagship for most of the markets. It packs a 5.7″ QHD LCD display, Snapdragon 808 SoC, 3GB of RAM and 16/32/64GB of storage. Camera is now 21MP but only F/2.0. Front facing camera has 5MP and front facing flash. Batterywise Motorola has stepped up their game with a 3000mAh battery and TurboPower charging that gives up to 10 hours of use with just a 15min charge. Moto X Pure Edition is the same device but unlocked and with no carrier bloatware.

Moto X Play is a more affordable version and it’ll not be available in the States. Screen is 5.5″ and 1080p. SoC is Snapdragon 615 with 2GB of RAM and storage is limited to 16GB or 32GB. The Play version has a bigger battery than its big brother. The 3630mAh battery promises a two day battery life.

The 3rd generation Moto G is the most affordable option with under $200 price tag. Unfortunately specs are not as good as we were hoping. 5″ display is only 720p, Snapdragon is only 410, not 600 series as we would have wanted and there’s still only 1GB of RAM in the 8GB model. Luckily at least the 16GB variant has 2GB of RAM. Cameras are 13MP and 5MP and battery is 2470mAh. Whole package is IPX7 certified and it’ll survive being submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

All three models support expandable storage via microSD card up to 128GB. Moto X models have all the usual suspects when it comes to Moto features. Moto Voice, Moto Assist, Moto Display and Moto Actions are all in. There’s also a new Chop Twice to quickly turn on the flashlight Quick Capture to take a screenshot. Some of these features are not available for the Moto G due to the not so capable hardware.

It’s hard to estimate the importance of this launch. The Moto X is now huge. It’s a little bit smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus or Nexus 6 but much bigger than the last years Moto X. Success of these devices depends on many things. Samsung and Apple are launching their new flagships soon and if new Motos can’t get to the stores before them, it’s game over. If Moto X was smaller, it’d have better changes to fight for the market share against the very best phablets.

Moto X Play is not going to be available in the States but it might still be significant launch as it has the huge battery. Many people want better battery life and the Play version is perfect for them. Pricing and availability is still a mystery so we don’t know how competitive the device will be.

Moto G was a disappointment for us. Hardware is still fine but just fine. Moto G has mostly kept its specs same since the first generation and at the same time Asus and Alcatel are pushing out some serious specs with just a little bit more money. Pro for the Moto G is surely the software. Motorola has been good at keeping its UI clean and stock, and updates have been really fast. Moto G is going to be available soon.

OnePlus 2 released

fingerprint-unlock-img

 

Chinese manufacturer OnePlus has announced their new smartphone, OnePlus 2. The device was launched with “2016 Flagship Killer” title and the manufacturer was not shy about its new device being able to earn the title. 

The OnePlus 2 packs solid specifications. 5.5″ display is still 1080p but SoC is now Snapdragon 810 with eight CPU cores and an Adreno 430 GPU. Amount of RAM depends on the storage as the 16GB version has 3GB of DDR4 and the 64GB variant packs an extra 1GB. The new home button integrates as a fingerprint scanner. The home button itself is still capasitive, not physical as in Samsung or Apple phones.

OnePlus 2 is one of the first smartphones to ship with the new USB type-C connector for faster charging and easier usage with reversible connector. The battery is now 3300mAh and the battery life is a bit worse than in OnePlus One according to MKBHD’s video linked below.

Cameras have been updated. 13MP rear camera now has optical image stabilization, laser focus and 720p@120fps slow-mo video. Front facing camera is now 5MP and shoots 1080p video.

OnePlus decided to go with a metal body. Rear panel is still removable and replaceable but the battery is non-removable. The metal trim around the device is made out of aluminum and magnesium.

Prices for the device are $329 for the 16GB/3GB variant and $389 for the 64GB/4GB version. An invite is still needed to buy one.

MKBHD – Five OnePlus 2 Impressions!

Rumors: Moto G and Galaxy S6 Mini

When it comes to official news and releases, the summer has been really quiet but there’s been more than enough rumors. The most recent rumors are about Motorola’s new Moto G and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Mini.

Moto G was unboxed early and photos were released in Facebook. The packaging reveals most of the specs. The upcoming affordable Moto is going to feature a 5″ HD display, 1.4GHz quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and 13MP + 5MP cameras.

Motorola is likely continuing with almost stock Android but it’s unsure if they are including the always listening features from Moto X devices to this cheaper version. Moto G is also getting the Moto Maker treatment at least in the US.

Samsung is reportedly getting ready to release a mini version of their flagship in August. The S6 Mini is rumored to pack much lesser specs than the big brother but it’s common for the mini versions. Only Sony has been making their Compact version almost as well equipped as their flagships.

Pictures of the S6 Mini reveal S6 design with just a smaller footprint. For now there’s no sign of S6 Edge Mini.

Sources:

Moto G: Pocketnow

S6 Mini: PhoneArena

Rumor: Xperia S-series flagships

 

Rumors claim that Sony will bring a new S-series of flagship Xperias later this year. The new lineup won’t affect to Z-series and will be in different price range

17_Xperia_Z3_+_Black_Group

Currently Sony’s flagship lineup is the Z-series which after a couple of years of 6 month upgrade rhythm has been a little messed up this year. Officially Z3 is still flagship as Z3+ is just an upgraded version and Z4 is the Z3+ in some markets and Z4v is the Verizon version and all those have a little different specifications. Confusing isn’t it?

Now, according to rumors from Germany, Sony has fortunately changed their strategy a little bit. WinFuture claims that there will be a new flagship lineup. Xperia S60 and S70 would be in a different price range than the current Z-flagships. The site also knows the price ranges. S60 would cost under 700€ and S70 under 840€. The new flagships should be released before IFA 2015

We have no idea about the specifications but if the S-lineup will be just normal flagship lineup, not any luxus kind of thing, we should expect a Snapdragon 820 CPU, QHD display and premium built quality with IPxx ratings. We know just one thing, both models will have 32GB of internal storage.

If the rumor is true, Samsung and Apple should have a serious competitor. Unfortunately Sony is famous of not pushing its products to all the carriers in the States. If they want to compete against the best, they should really get the S-series to all major carriers and have big marketing campaigns. Apple and Samsung currently have so fanatic user community that converting them will be difficult.

Top 5 upcoming smartphones July 2015

2015 has been a great year. Competition between manufacturers and price ranges has been tough. There has been ultimate flagships like Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4 and HTC One M9 but also new affordable smartphones are rising all the time. Asus ZenFone 2 packs high end specs with very affordable price and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 does the same.

After a rather quiet summer, the fall is going to be full of great smartphone releases. I’ve listed my top 5 upcoming smartphones below. Add your top 5 to the comments.

TOP 5 – Motorola Moto G

Last two years Motorola has dominated the cheap Android market with their Moto G. It packed stock Android and brilliant specs to the price. Now it has competition. Asus and Alcatel have entered the affordable market with their flagship spec devices and Motorola should release something rather great to keep the title of the best cheap Android phone.

The upcoming Moto G should have a great display, likely a 1080p but for the price it’s not going to be AMOLED. Newer Snapdragon SoC’s are really capable so some 600-series one would be nice. Also it should have the latest stock Android and fast updates to Android M. All that should be under $200 and Motorola would have the best budget smartphone in the market.

TOP 4 – Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple always gets most of the attention when they launch the new iPhones. This year is not going to be different. New Apple phones are going to sell like crazy no matter what they put to the table. I chose the Plus version to my list because it’s competitor to the Note series. Plus also – at least last year it did – packs better specs than the non Plus model. Apple won’t most likely change the resolution or the size of the screen but they’ll include the force touch technology and possibly a better camera.

My wish is that Apple would add some productivity and take more advantage of the big screen. That would force Samsung to make even better Note next year as this years Note is probably going to launch before the new iPhones.

TOP 3 – OnePlus 2

OnePlus has teased their upcoming smartphone for a while now. We know its price and most of the specs and we know that one is going to need an invite to get the phone. But is the competition from mid range smartphone too much. We have some brilliant new high-end spec smartphones for even more affordable price.

OnePlus’ success depends on the upcoming reviews. The price is coming up and the specs are not that mind boggling compared to others but the camera and the software can make the difference. Personally I don’t see OnePlus 2 being as successful as the One was.

TOP 2 – Google Nexus 5

As always, Google is going to release the new Android version in the fall. With it, there’s going to be a new Nexus and this year it’s most likely going to be a new Nexus 5. First Nexus 5 was announced back in 2013 and this new version is bringing Nexus back to more humane screens sizes after the hideous 6″ Nexus 6.

According to rumors, Huawei is going to make the new Nexus. Some leaked benchmarks already showed that it’s going to contain a 10-core Snapdragon 820 SoC and a QHD display. Along with Huawei’s premium design and the newest Android, the new Nexus is going to be the second most interesting smartphone of the fall.

TOP 1 – Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung finally made a drastic change with the S6. They got rid of 40% of the bloatware and unwanted features as well as changed the design completely. The result was brilliant. Except the fact that the S6 has too small battery and display. Note 5 is going to be different. The Note is going to have a huge 4100mAh battery and keep the screen size in 5.7 inches.

This year the new Note is going to launch before new iPhones to give Samsung a little boost when trying to get some new Galaxy users. This means that Apple might need to think about adding some features to the new iPhones. Productivity and using the screen real estate have always been Note’s pros so if loyal Apple users shall watch what competitors have to offer, Note might win greatly.

Samsung and Apple working on an e-SIM

A couple of years ago we first heard about Apple trying to get rid of SIM cards. Most of us were skeptical about Apple trying to enter carrier market or trying to make even more money with the integrated SIM. Last year Apple came up with the iPad Air 2 packing the Apple SIM that does’t need to be changed to change carrier.

Now we have some trusted sources claiming that Samsung and Apple are working together to get rid of SIM cards. Financial Times is reporting that the two giants are working with some major carriers around the world to make e-SIM a standard for all manufacturers to follow.

The e-SIM would make changing carrier and getting a new phone easier. As regular SIM needs to be changed to new carrier’s SIM, the new integrated SIM would be capable to change carrier by just choosing a new carrier from the phone’s settings. Also the struggle to have a new, even smaller SIM every time when getting a new phone, would be gone.

But it’s not all good. How about travelling to a country where there is no carrier that supports e-SIM? What about people who still keep their contacts in the SIM card memory? What about the car Bluetooth systems that can only read contacts from SIM memory? These all need to be solved before e-SIM is ready for public.

SamMobile already claimed that Samsung’s 2016 flagships are going to have an e-SIM. We will see.

Comment: I will get the Note 5

After all the rumors about Samsung Galaxy Note 5 not having a removable battery or MicroSD card, there has been a lot of disappointed comments. I know that there still are users that need a removable battery and/or have their entire music library on their MicroSD but I personally am not that kind of user.

I have a music streaming service with a couple of playlists downloaded to device to listen during an apocalyptic situation like when my internet is down. Also, the Note 5 is going to have huge 4100mAh battery which is going to be impossible to kill in a day without using any hideous battery draining apps or WiFi tethering. I even carry my charger with me just to be sure.

I’m currently using a Note 3. After almost two years of active use, it finally got the Android 5.0 update last weekend. I am really happy with it but unfortunately one update can’t fix problems caused by aging. The plastic trim around the display has saved the screen once and now the edge of it is full of little scratches. The removable back cover has took surprisingly little damage, probably due to the leather texture. The aluminium home button has a couple of scratches and the Gorilla Glass has a few minor but visible scratches. But the most annoying thing is the trim around the display. It has lost the chrome paint in many places and looks terrible.

Insides of the phone have aged well. Powerful Snapdragon 800 still rocks all the apps I use and the display, it’s just brilliant. Battery still lasts me a full day except when I’m using the phone as a WiFi hotspot.

At this point you might think that I’m getting the new phone just for aesthetics. Nope. Samsung did finally make the wanted change with the S6 and removed a lot of the bloatware and unneeded features. Probably the same thing is going to happen to Note’s UI. For whole the lifespan of my Note 3 the worst thing has been the UI, the lag and appearance. The Lollipop update did actually make it much better but still there’s some of it left like irremovable S-Finder and Quick Connect icons in the notification bar.

The new Note is also going to feature a fingerprint scanner that I have learned to miss after starting to use a screen lock. Android’s pattern screen lock is easy and quick but drawing the pattern leaves a visible trail for the thief to follow and it’s a bit difficult to use one handed. Even better if the Samsung Pay would actually ever come to Finland for me to be able to use it. Tapping the machine with phone and just giving the fingerprint would be awesome.

One thing I really would like to see in the Note 5 is USB Type-C. Unfortunately the leaks are not very promising  as all the 3D renders have a micro USB 2.0. As useless as a high speed USB would be in a phone, I always enjoy being on the leading edge of technology and having 2014 USB connector instead of 2007 one would be fantastic.

Samsung’s displays are the best. AMOLED display is one huge reason for me to stay with Samsung. Note 3 display still beats most of IPS displays in my own ratings but newer Samsung displays get even brighter and also much more dimmer. Night clock is still one of my favorite features of AMOLED displays. I have my Note 3 daydreaming every night so that when I wake up and check my phone, I see just the clock, rest of the screen is of. It’s so cool in a completely dark room.

Even if the display is going to be “only” 1440p and not 4k, it’s going to be an improvement over the Note 3. After seeing a couple of QHD displays, I can tell that there is still noticeable difference between it and Full HD. Having a 4k display in a mobile device would most likely be an overkill but I think it would still give a little bit sharper image. The reason why Samsung is not going to equip Note 5 with a 4k display is probably that the Exynos 7422 and a Mali GPU are not capable to run 4k in 60fps. I don’t think it’s because of Samsung not being able to manufacture enough of those higher res displays. It’s a problem with horsepower. Even modern desktop computers struggle with 4k and Note 5 is going to have a CPU, GPU and RAM package same size as my finger nail.

So, as I got more and more of topic, I tried to convince myself that I need the Note 5. My current phone, Note 3 is aging and there just isn’t other options that have an AMOLED display, lots of power and an S-Pen. I simply don’t need a microSD slot or an option to replace the battery. Having them would not be a minus but I simply don’t need them.

Note 5 not available in Europe at launch

If rumors are to be believed, Note 5 will launch on 21st of August but according to SamMobile, neither Samsung Europe nor Samsung Russia is working on the firmware for the upcoming flagship. That means that the Note 5 will not be available in Europe in August.

Note 5 is rumored to pack a 5.7″ QHD Super AMOLED display, 8-core Exynos 7422 CPU, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a whopping 4100mAh battery. As always, Note is going compete with upcoming iPhones and Nexus phones.