OnePlus 2 released

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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

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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.

Tab S2 released, specifications and thoughts

Samsung has updated its high-end tablet lineup. The new Galaxy Tab S2 comes in two sizes, 9.7 and 8.0 inches and in two colors, black and white.

 

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Updates are minor but significant. The most noticeable difference between 1st and 2nd generation is the difference in aspect ratio. The Tab S2 now adopts the same screen sizes, aspect ratios and resolutions that iPad has used for years now. 4:3 aspect ratio and 2048×1536 resolution in both models.

02Also the S2 packs faster CPU and GPU package but loses greatly in battery capacity. Battery size in Tab S 9.7 was 7900mAh and Tab S2 only pack a 5870mAh. The same numbers of the smaller versions are 4900 and 4000. This is due to the trend to make devices thinner. The new Tab S2 is only 5.6mm thick which is whole millimeter thinner than the Tab S.

The Tab S2 still keeps Samsung’s AMOLED displays that have unbeatable contrast and blacks in less power consuming and thinner package than competing IPS LCD displays.

This time Samsung didn’t mention the word video in their press release for once. That’s possibly because of the changed aspect ratio. 4:3 is not perfect for videos but as iPad keeps selling with that aspect ratio, it was a logical step for Samsung to try it out.

Gone is the all plastic design as Samsung’s new design made its way to the tablet lineup. Design is mostly from Galaxy Alpha or Note 4 as the back is still plastic but there’s an aluminium trim with chamfered edges surrounding the device.

There’s WiFi only and LTE models of both screen sizes and in two storage configurations, 32GB and 64GB. Storage is expandable via 128GB MicroSD card. Prices start from 399€ for the 8.0″ WiFi only modela and 499€ for the 9.7″ model.

New Galaxy Tab S2s are directly competing against Apple’s iPads. Rumors have told us that iPad Air 2 might not be updated this year. We will see how this affects the tablet market as sales are down compared to the peak years.

Samsung Press Release

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.