Monday, September 24, 2012

Samsung Insight - Samsung ATIV S and Galaxy Note II

Samsung Insight

In this series we'll post our views on the tsunami of handsets that companies are introducing with the Christmas season in the spotlight. Everyone wants to steal a piece of the cake from the market leaders: Apple, self pleased with his iPhone 5 (or was it the 4S2?) and Samsung, with its succesful Galaxy line of smartphones.

Today we will have a look at the very same Samsung, which is about to launch a couple of smartphones to complement its current offering, led by the Galaxy S3.

Samsung ATIV S

Samsung ATIV S

The Korean company is the current market leader in every segment with its Android phones. Now it has decided to produce a Windows Phone 8 terminal; welcome the ATIV S.

The ATIV S design is too conservative, it looks about the same as the rest of the Galaxy line. Albeit Samsung has changed the name of the series (from Galaxy to ATIV) for its Windows Phone line, they all look equals. Today, if you decide to buy a Windows Phone handset, you're probably looking for differentiation and if your phone looks like an Android, you lose any motivation in this respect.

The specifications sheet is also very similar to that of the Galaxy s3:

  • 4.8 inch Super Amoled HD display (1280x720)
  • 1Gb of RAM
  • 16Gb (or 32Gb) of onboard memory
  • MicroSD expansion slot, up to 64 Gb
  • Every connectivity option: Bluetooth, Wifi, NFC, GPS, etc
  • Same dimensions (almost) as the Galaxy S3

A part from the OS, the main differences with the Galaxy S3 are:

  • The dual core CPU is clocked at 1.5 GHz dual core. That's not a worry for Windows Phone because of the good overall performance of the operating system.
  • The battery size is increased to 2,300 mAh (compared to the 2,100 mAh of its Android sibling). Anything that allows an intensive use of the phone for a day (or more) is very welcomed.
  • The ATIV S includes a dedicated button for the camera near the power button. It is very, very useful to have these dedicated buttons, I don't understand why most Android phones have replaced them by software widgets (what the designers smoke?)

Specifications wise, this smartphone is placed on top of the Windows Phone offering, next to the new Nokia flagship, the Lumia 920.

Galaxy Note II

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Welcome a new member of the Galaxy family. The Samsung Note II very much resembles its "small" brother, the Galaxy S3. From my point of view this makes sense because it is an evolution, not a disruption of the Galaxy series.

I think that the aspect ratio of the Galaxy S3 is too elongated, whereas the Note series has a more squared aspect that looks more balanced. However, I find the Galaxy Note II too large to be a phone (that's why it is called a "phablet").

I know my views may contradict the many fans who bought his predecessor and that are happy with it (the original Note sold about 10 million units). In this respect, I acknowledge that -for professional use- a device of this nature can possibly supply functions that otherwise would require an extra device.

The technical specifications are also quite similar to the Galaxy S3, except for:

  • The dimensions are considerably larger than an S3, both in size and weight.
  • It comes with Jelly Bean, while the Galaxy S3 has ICS.
  • The screen size is 5.5 inches, but it has the same technology and resolution than the S3.
  • The CPU is a quad core Exynos at 1.6 GHz.
  • The Note II doubles the RAM, at 2Gb. Helpful for intensive multi-tasking activities.
  • A huge 3,100 mAh battery ¿will be sufficient to cope with a display this size?
  • Uses a capacitive pen (S-Pen) that allows advanced gestures. You can, for instance, preview videos and emails by simply holding the pencil over an item.

"Big Size" fans, this is definitely your phone. As for the price, prepare to spend about 640 EUR (without a contract); it will be available in October.