The Ruggedized Galaxy S6 Active Makes A Pretty Decent Hockey Puck On Unbox Therapy

3 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Samsung Adds Samsung Pay To Mid-Range Smartphones.

The Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 follow in the footsteps of 2014’s Galaxy A3 and A5 smartphones, and feature a premium metal and glass design similar to that seen on the Galaxy S6.Samsung is wasting no time in announcing phones for 2016: On Wednesday, the company introduced a trio of Galaxy A handsets that launch this month in China and later around the world with a starting price under $350. Various rumors of the devices have popped up online and latest reports suggest that the upcoming Galaxy A5 (2016) will have a 720p HD display, not a 1080p display as previously speculated. These two smartphones also come with Full HD displays, measuring 5.2in and 5.5in respectively, a 1.6GHz hexa-core processor, 2GB and 3GB of RAM and support for Cat 6 LTE speeds.

They all run Google’s last-gen Android 5.1 Lollipop software to which Samsung has added its TouchWiz skin, giving the devices features such as the Samsung Knox business offering. J K Shin, CEO and head of Samsung’s IT and Mobile business, said: “At Samsung, we are committed to continued innovation, inspired by the feedback and needs of our wide range of consumers. “With the introduction of the Galaxy A (2016), we took the consumer feedback on our original Galaxy A models and made thoughtful and impactful improvements offering consumers a seamless convergence of style and performance for their everyday lifestyles.” In fact, Huawei smartphone shipments increased 60.9% in the third quarter when compared to the same period last year, according to market research firm IDC. That means now, when you pick a phone, you’re primarily picking software—what you’ll want to power not only the phone but also the smartwatch on your wrist, the dashboard in your car, the lights and thermostat in your house, even the VR headset on your face. Huawei’s ability to price devices around $500, considered to be the consumer “sweet-spot,” is a contributing factor to the company’s recent success.

To compete with the likes of Huawei in the mid-range smartphone market, Samsung needs to improve upon and differentiate—without significantly increasing the price—of its Galaxy A phones. After testing 20 current smartphones—evaluating everything from battery life to call quality to camera performance—I’ve come up with a list of the best you can buy, iPhones and Android phones alike. Samsung Pay differs from similar mobile payment services from Apple AAPL -0.90% or Android in that it uses two different technologies to transmit payment information, making the service compatible with most payment kiosks used by merchants. Next, are you going to tell us who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?” Yes, I realize there’s some absurdity in a best iPhone category, but there are actually good reasons not to pick Apple’s latest, priciest model.

Upgrades to the processor, front-facing camera and overall build made a nearly perfect phone even better—even if battery life and storage didn’t get a boost this year. But Samsung can’t completely abandon the mid- and high-range markets; owners of the lower priced phones may want to move up the chain for more features, better pictures and faster performance. Plus, when you add in an easy-to-use secure operating system with high-quality apps and great customer support, it’s easy to see why people decide to buy iPhone after iPhone.

Three months in with the 6s, I don’t notice any real improvements in my day-to-day compared with the iPhone 6, except for the faster chip performance and fingerprint sensor. And I barely use the most heavily marketed new feature, the 3D Touch screen, which allows you to access iOS shortcuts by applying extra pressure to the screen. The glass and metal phone is a pleasure to hold, its fingerprint sensor is fast and its high-resolution, 2560×1440-pixel screen runs circles around the new iPhone’s. While it produces slightly more saturated shots than others, and sometimes applies a too-smooth layer of noise reduction, it took far better low-light shots than any other Android phone.

With the widely accepted Samsung Pay and the new Oculus-powered Gear VR virtual-reality headset, Samsung has proven this year that it can offer services and accessories people actually care about. The Galaxy’s software and battery life, however, are nowhere near as good as the less-expensive Nexus 6P. (Samsung’s Galaxy S6 starts at $600, while the Nexus 6P starts at $500.) In my test—which loops a series of websites with brightness set at around 65%—the Samsung conked out an hour before the larger Nexus did. Not only is the feel and snappiness of the software delightful but unlike most Android phones, it gets updates as soon as Google releases them—new features and crucial security patches.

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