China based Meike wants a shot at your iPhone

It has become apparent these days that all people want is to add on lenses to iPhones. Why iPhones? Why not Android devices?

The problem lies with perception.

iPhones are premium items. Meaning people who buy them are either rich or have plenty of extra cash to double down on a seemingly average spec device.

So you have a add on lenses from a slew of manufacturers including Zeiss of Germany. And from China, you have another player who wants to jump in from Meike.

Now, Meike isn’t a global brand and they are selling an iPhone housing that takes advantage of external lenses. Zoom, wide angle and macro are the flavors you can doubld down on but beyond that, it isn’t much different than the rest of the offerings.

Sorry but there are no example photos to show from the site so you don’t know the sort of quality you are getting by buying this. At least Zeiss optical has proven images but for this add on lens from Meike, d’uh.

Meanwhile, LG and Huawei have jumped into the dual lens camera bandwagon. Would this be enough? Only time will tell.

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Is Rufus the Future of Wearables?

 

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Yes you can strap a 4 inch iPhone onto your wrist and do the same thing but the apps would not be convenient.

This is why Rufus was invented. Now he Rufus Cuff isn’t a spectacular device. you could of course strap any 4 inch Android to your wrist and get it working the way you see below without any problem.

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The whole idea behind the Rufus Cuff was for the industrial workforce to stay in touch but only through WIFI. The industrial version also comes with a bar code scanner that is connected via bluetooth to the Cuff, though I am not sure if the extra step is worth the trouble since battery life is limited to one day of use. It would have been more useful if the device used eInk screens since we don’t need full color applications for industrial use.

Consumer Version is a Dud

The consumer version is basically the same. And there are no external storage offered via microSD. So this means you have to ante up to the 64GB storage if you want to stream music or movies.

The other downside is that it hasn’t got any cell reception. It is just WIFI enabled.

And to throw a spanner in the works, there is no heart rate monitor. So its usefulness as a health tracker is severely restricted.

GPS is only useful if you have downloaded stored maps and you can’t access online mapping unless you have a WIFI enabled mobile router from the likes of Huawei.

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In spite of all this, the Rufus is working in the right direction for a wearable device, with the Apple Watch looking more like an expensive toy than an accessory.

I am sure the Chinese will figure this one out and slap on a low power screen, calling and messaging option via a proper mobile network and add both a front and rear facing camera in a package that runs stock Android.

The Chinese have already done this with a slew of watches made in China that does all of the above but battery life is really the main challenge. The technology for the Rufus is already available and it is just a matter of shrinking the chip sets to make the whole package wearable.

Specifications

TI CORTEX A9 PROCESSOR

BLUETOOTH 4.0

3.2 INCH TFT CAPACITIVE TOUCHSCREEN

9-AXIS ACCEL/GYRO/COMPASS

SPEAKER

MICROPHONE

FRONT-FACING VIDEO CAMERA

VIBRATION ALERT

16/32/64GB STORAGE

1175 MAH BATTERY

LED ALERTS & FLASH

ANDROID KIT KAT

MULTIPLE LANGUAGE SUPPORT

WI-FI 802.11 B/G/N

Gnarbox hopes to change the way you edit Video on Mobile

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Say goodbye to your laptop or notebook computer as the mobile device takes over to edit and share your videos. Gnarbox just got funded on Kickstarter and it’s a worthy gadget to have if you shoot bus loads of video and can’t edit it on the fly. One of the problems with video editing is that you need a device or gadget that will make the workflow workable. For this, people often download their raw video and edit them on a computer. The mobile device? Well, it’s less than desirable with a less than competent video processor found on an iPhone.

Juggling loads of clips with a limited amount of RAM is one of the biggest flaws for any mobile device and the iPhone is no exception.

So here comes Gnarbox, a set top video editing device which takes all the heavy lifting in stride.

What you have here is a durable and robust video editing tool in the form of a self contained video editing box. It is rugged, water proof and will take a fall better than your Macbook.

Pair with an app using WIFI, you are then able to view, edit, and later share your clips while away from the computer all with the use of just your mobile device. The controls on the app turns your mobile into a dumb terminal while all the editing and processing functions sit on the Gnarbox independently.

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To use, you can download your video captured on any camera device, like a DSLR or GoPro into the Gnarbox. What happens next is truly a technological marvel.

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The mobile device becomes just an app that connects to the Gnarbox and it take care of the editing and processing without having to strain your mobile device.

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The Gnarbox can connect to multiple devices and once done, you can export those clips you edited to social media or the cloud.

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Gnarbox will retail at US$250 a pop when released and is a good way to dump that notebook as part of your travel baggage. The only caveat is that the Gnarbox app may not have the same editing functions or experience as say, Final Cut Pro, since it is after all optimized for mobile use.

For that, you have no choice but to turn to a full notebook for a complete editing experience. However for social media vloggers, the Gnarbox is a god send.

LG Pocket Printer Review: A cheaper Alternative to Instax Mini?

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I rarely print my photos these days as everything is shared digitally but there will come a time when having a printed pictures will matter. So what’s the option if you are on the road traveling? Should you go to one of those print kiosk found in shopping malls or carry a portable printer?

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Canon makes a slew of portable printers capable of 4R or postcard size prints. But these are still pretty expensive and bulky to carry around. Your best bet if you want to go fully digital is the LG Zink inspired pocket printer….or if you want to go analogue, the Fujifilm SP-1.

Price wise, there is some difference. The SP-1 retails for US$145 while the LG PD239 goes for a little less at US$120. The real difference is in the cost of operation, with the Fuji instax mini film costing US$83 for a 100 sheets while the LG Pocket Printer’s Zink paper weighing in at US$57 for 120 sheets.

in terms of paper size both are just a tad smaller than the average business card aspect ratio, the Fuji Instax mini is larger but the printed area is really much smaller thanks largely to the format’s border. So with the LG, you not only get a larger printed area but a full bleed right to the edge as well.

Needless to say the winner is clearly the LG Zink formatted print.

Quality of Print

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Here is the trick. For some reason, the LG printer has a tendency to print images which are about one EV lower in brightness than what you see on your digital device. To get a brighter picture, you need to print the photo with a adjusted setting via the iOS or Android app. This is not a huge problem but it pays to know as every print wasted is going to cost you.

16444173791_df90ea1273_bThe LG Pocket Printer is a pretty simple in design and operation. There are no confusing buttons to play with as everything is Bluetooth enabled. If you have an NFC enabled device, it will work too.

The operation from editing to firmware updates are carried out via the mobile app.

Real World Appeal

This is where I have problems with the print size. It’s really doesn’t quite justify the appeal even if your photos look great. The business card sized print is probably a good way to share a business contact or print out pictures for your scrap book. Beyond that, I can really find a good enough reason to buy or use one.

16419934556_6611b3754f_bI think Zink has done a pretty good job with the printer and the quality of the print. The colors, clarity and sharpness is good for any physical sharing of photos but the practicality of the whole exercise remains to be seen.

You could of course create lots of small prints for decorative use on any wall or door. And if you want something better than that, I can’t think of anything.

The LG Pocket Printer has its own battery good enough for about an hour of use and you can charge it via any microUSB cable with a battery pack.

If you travel far, it is probably a good way to share your photos with the people around you who are not on the Internet or have no access to such technologies. To me, this doesn’t happen often enough to warrant having one.

Zink has partnered with the likes of Polaroid to come out with Android related camera+printer but the same problem will arise when you start using it. Because of its relatively small size, images of wide open vistas, architecture or anything taken with a wide angle view cannot be appreciated. The print size works best with subjects either close up of at medium distance. So if you do have an immediate use for such small prints, it makes good sense to get one but for everyone else, it will sit on the corner table gathering dust until someone digs it up again.

To Print or not to Print?

Nice to have but I can’t think of a reason to carry one with me all the time. How you wish to use this is really up to you. The personal printer with a format this small is ideal for scrapbook making. No problem with you sticking the print outs onto your Moleskine pads with double sided tape.

Beyond this, you could give away those prints to strangers who do selfies with you.

In the digital age, printing something just doesn’t make much sense. You can send a virtual postcard instead of snail mailing them like in the past and post your images to Facebook for sharing with the people in your network.

The quality of the Zink print is pretty good, but I have no idea if they would last a life time as the colors could fade. Only time will tell if this is going to be worth your investment.

Get Mobile Notification on your PC with PushBullet

Pushbullet-640x401 Everything has been done to death so when someone thinks of something so simple and yet so useful, well, you gotta hand it to them.

PushBullet is one of those apps that resides both on your mobile and your Desktop PC that deserves attention. Why? Coz for the longest time, everyone wanted something like this but no one bothered to do it as it just seems…well too simple to be of any serious use.

There are other ways to achieve what PushBullet does, but as a complete package, there are no competitors.

The Great Mobile Disconnect

Push notifications on your mobile reside on your mobile, and each time  you get a notification from your mobile app, you have to pick up your device to reply and read those messages.

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While on the desktop, you could be looking for some information and when you find a link you need to pass on to your mobile device, you can’t because the only way is to use Evernote or Google Keep, pasting the URL, and getting that on your mobile device.

How about the time you wanted to pass on an image from your mobile to your desktop? The fastest way was actually to save it to Dropbox and have that file saved back locally on your desktop PC hard drive. That’s like taking the scenic route to the book store.

PushBullet can do this and more. It can also make use of your mobile functions like replying your SMS from your desktop computer as long as the two are connected.

PushBullet on PC

Currently, it supports browsers such as Safari, Opera, Chrome and Firefox. The sharing of links and files is pretty solid except for maybe large files which will take a while to send over to your mobile device. There is another app, Caast.me, which is similar but uses a QR code to connect your mobile to your PC browser.

For Pushbullet, the connection is done only once on your computer, that is once you link your mobile to your account, it will forever be there. To add more desktops, tablets and phones, you just click to add on your profile dashboard and you’re done.

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What’s more you can also message your friend who are PushBullet users. If they are not PushBullet users, they will be notified to join up. I know this sounds kinda lame, since IM is probably the most abused and misused feature on mobile these days and with so many providers already offering IM services, it cease to be a unique selling point. But when integrated as a package, I can see the difference in the overall workflow experience.

PushBullet Workflow

This is what sets everything apart. As a stand alone app on your mobile, you can say that it is pretty useless as the only feature it has which differentiates itself from the rest is the news channel subscriptions.

There are several news channels or news aggregators which you can subscribe to for free—allowing you to periodically receive the latest news on the Internet. It doesn’t have proper news channels like CNN or NYT but it does support a host of industry channels from gaming to tech happenings. Beyond that, it offers nothing else for mobile users.

However for people who work from desktop PCs and mobile devices, this is a very handy tool as files and links gets passed around easily and shared with people on your IM list.

What’s more, you can also have project group mates who you might want to send URL links to instead of writing them an email. And who reads emails these days? When you get 100s a day, it gets pretty lame trying to sieve through them, and these are work emails and not the spam variety you find on supermarket shelves.

The UX is very well thought out. On mobile, it sits there as any standard app without IM capabilities. So there is no fussing around. You can also turn off the pushed notifications whenever you like or have them pushed ONLY while you are connected on WIFI.

The folks at PushBullet are still building this beast of a service in the hope of being bought out. I think they have done a great job coming this far. Lets hope it stays that way. I can already the hawks in the Internet industry descending on them to take them out. What they provide is inherently very simple but it is the way that it is delivered that makes them world class.

 

Offload your images and video to The Egg

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Billed as the portable network storage drive for the iOS totting masses, this little device is precisely what the doctor ordered whenever you complain of not having storage space on your iPhone. Now as you may have guessed, someone in the US has sued Apple over the claims of usable storage space on base iOS devices recently. A 16GB iPhone has 23 percent of its storage taken over by the operating system. Though not exactly cybersquatting, Apple’s iOS occupancy cannot be evicted from storage, thus making it difficult for people with borderline budgets to buy an iPhone with larger storage capacities.

The Egg helps you sort this mess out as it operates as a virtual network drive with WIFI/USB connection to offload your images and videos you have on the device without having to resort to messy Cloud storage. Now, we all know that Cloud is great but the slower upload speeds often gives a bitter sweet after taste upon backup. Upload speeds are often a third of what you get with download speeds for either WIFI or 3G and since 4G is not an ever present option, people often struggle with slow uploads for back ups.

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Right now, this Egg is still finding support on Kickstarter.  Based on the prices advertised so far, it’s not cheap. The 64GB version cost you US$199 and for the price of a 128GB version, you can virtually buy yourself a portable WIFI HD with 1TB of storage.

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Yes the Egg can work for both iOS and Android but from the looks of it, iOS users are the main target since storage is not expandable. The network storage is itself a computer using Samsung’s Tizen operating system. Just read the tech specs below to get a better idea.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Application Processor and OS
Intel® Atom™ Processor
1GB RAM
64/128/256GB eMMC
OS: Linux (Tizen)
Connectivity
WiFi a/b/g/n, BT4.0
Micro-USB 2.0 type-AB with USB charging
Audio
Vibra motor (haptics + silent ringtones), Speaker notifications
Display
Size: 2.4” Multi-Touch capacitive touch TFT
Resolution: 240×320; 262K colors
Sensors
Accelerometer, Compass, Ambient Light Sensor
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Now with WIFI, you can virtually connect to any device that supports it, including GoPro and DSLR cameras. But would you? The makers of the Egg will give you a website on eggcyte.com if you back them early but there is no mention of functionality or would this be another Cloud based storage should you want to back up that ‘backed up’ album already on your Egg.
Storage Alternatives
WD already makes a Network Drive that is mobile and portable and for 1TB of storage, it cost less than US$199.
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The only difference is that there is no user interface on the WD drives as compared to the Egg. Price wise per MB, it is of course cheaper with WD Passport WIFI drives but it’s also a bit larger too. Women might find the Egg a better option (no ovulation pun intended) as it would fit nicely in a Prada handbag.
For the rest of us who take loads of videos and photos, the WD drive would be a better option. With 1TB storage, you can probably shoot till the cows come home and still have plenty left over for the next.
Li-Ion Battery Pack, 1800mAH

Viddy To Shut Down in December

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Sad but true, Viddy is shutting down come December as they come to terms with their failure to gain traction.

So how did this happen? Apparently they walked away from a US$100 million offer from Twitter in 2013 and things turned from bad to worst when their CEO was fired because of this.

Since then, the slide in its 30 million users has decimated its popularity.

For us at least, it’s the end of another great app for both iOS and Android. I think Viddy had a lot of promise and since it has been acquired by Fullscreen, a company that in the video advert business, things might turn around.

So What Else is there for Video?

Besides Instagram and Vine, the two heavy weights of the instant video industry, you still have Vimeo and YouTube.

Vine clone, Lightt is still around too, though its similarities to Vine might not get them noticed. What makes an app unique is the UX and the social connection. If you get to break those barriers, then people will use your app in social network post.

Western tech firms don’t innovate enough. They fail to understand that being a clone of something else like Vine or for that matter Instagram isn’t going gain them much followers. There are just too many of the same thing going on.

Innovate or Die

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One of the video apps that have come out of China that would have easily thrashed the living daylights off the likes of Viddy and Lightt would be MeiPai, a video app from Xiamen Meitu Technology, an Internet Network company in China. They have broke new ground with a different model which makes the app easy to use while creating instant music videos based on templates you choose.

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It has a nice touch but unfortunately it lacks global appeal. Content is mostly from China and even though there are some from outside of it, it’s predominantly Chinese. Menu and navigation is still in Chinese but an English version might be coming soon from the looks of the screen snapshot seen here.

Monetization is via MV templates where you can buy in-app. This one touch Music Video App is very easy to use. Take a clip of 15 seconds, choose your MV template and music. Everything is  done for you. It has fewer steps in content creation than Kanvas app, another video content creation app that has some cool features but available only on iOS.

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Kanvas App recently had their music feature pulled out from under them. They have for some time been using iTunes’ own music snippets as a way for people to add music to their videos. Naturally the music owners took a swipe at them, taking this feature down along the way.

MeiPai app gets away with this as it has created a list of free and royalty free music for you to use— sort of like what Google has done with Internet Web Fonts. It may not come from a brand name source but it sure feels and looks like it.

This is one app model that I want to see duplicated and it remains to be seen if someone out there has the right eye to see this potential.

 

Wireless Charging: The Power of Qi

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I bumped into Chris of Waltzcomm a company specializing in Qi Chargers who was kind enough to give me a run down on what he was offering. For the longest time, people have been talking about wireless charging for iOS and Android devices and not many know that there are third party suppliers in the market who can do just that, make your device charge wirelessly and this includes the iPhone!

What is Induction Charging

When you hear people talk about Qi charging, one has to recall a few years ago when there was a Smartphone product called the Palm Pre, where a touchstone was used to charge it wirelessly. Well it’s the same thing. Using magnetic waves to charge the battery, it was way ahead of its time. Since then, the whole Qi charging community went wild when Google announced that the Nexus could be charged wirelessly as well. Wow…what a brilliant idea…but who cares it was three years too late. The technology isn’t new. It’s been around since the 90s and was used to charge the first generation electric vehicles.

Today, no one  talks about wireless Qi charging because over the years, the benefits are far too few for those who are in a hurry. Some smartphones have built in connectors for Qi charging but Apple is slow to follow. What’s more, if you are willing to sacrifice the lighting port on your iPhone 5, you can have wireless charging as well but it will void your warranty if you decide to install one in your iPhone.

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Capacity: 7000 mA Battery Bank

So you need both a transmitter and a receiver to load up on battery juice and this isn’t going to be easy if your phone wasn’t made for it in the first place. Fortunately for iPhone users, the receiver can be housed in a protective cover jacket for your iPhone while it plugs into lightning port. This also means you can’t use the port for anything USB related until you remove it.

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Usage in the Real World

It took a while for me to write this review as there were some experiments I had to run. For instance, if your charging transmitter is not place directly (albeit partially) over the receiver in your device, charging of the device will be 50% slower. So it does affect your charging times even if you dump your device in a hurry to get a quick top up.

Now Qi chargers are 30% slower than USB charging. The efficiency is probably the biggest deal here and doesn’t work to your advantage when you are in a hurry.

Putting a Qi charger in your car too doesn’t make much sense. At a slower rate of charge, you won’t be topping up any juice if you happen to use your device for playing music or video at the same time or for that matter leaving it in charging mode for short drives. Half an hour driving isn’t going to help you juice up much.

The biggest benefit really is that it has an overcharge circuit and when you put it to charge mode during the night. When we sleep, 8 hours or more, there is a tendency that the normal USB chargers will charge it up quickly and recharge it several times over during the night.

The slower rate of charge for Qi chargers makes it ideal that this does not happen, plus the fact that it maintains a 95% charge during trickle mode. This mode only kicks in once the battery is fully charged at 100%, then it stops charging totally until the battery falls to 95%, before topping it up again to 100%.

Because of this cut off, there is no constant trickle charge to keep your device at 100%, ensuring a longer battery life. Waltzcomm has several rather creative solutions, including Qi battery packs, LED lamp with built in Qi Charger, Car Qi Charger and dual Qi chargers. The downside is that those are made only for smartphones and not tablets. According to Chris, tablets draw too much power and have much larger batteries making Qi chargers useless. So for now, it’s only good for iPhones and Galaxy devices. Please note that not all Galaxy devices support the wireless receiver module you need to plug into the back of your smart device. Only the S series and the Note series are currently supported. If you look it up online, there are third party Qi chargers selling for less than US$30 (including the transmitter and receiver) so you can get them cheaper but these products come without warranty. Waltzcomm offers a 12 month warranty for all products purchased from them.

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Apple creeps up on the Galaxy Note

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Steve jobs was adamant. Before he died, he had said that no one would buy a bigger screen smart phone. But before he passed on, he was involved in two contradictory products, a bigger iPhone and a smaller iPad. He never lived to see that come to fruition. His padawan underling, Tim Cook, broke ranks and made the iPhone bigger, so much bigger that Steve would be tossing in his grave if he ever found out.

Needless to say, the new iPhone 6 Plus will be a hit for those who were waiting for more. The new iPhones will make billions for Apple and the chief reason is this. The iPhone is no longer a consumer product. It is a fashion statement. Take a look at the prices below for the new iPhones without contract and you’ll get what I mean. All prices are quoted is USD.

  • iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
  • iPhone 6 (64GB): $749
  • iPhone 6 (128GB): $849
  • iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
  • iPhone 6 Plus (64GB): $849
  • iPhone 6 Plus (128GB): $949

Price Factor for Success

Let’s examine what you get from it all. Chief among them is the fingerprint scanner, Health Kit integration, Apple Pay and OIS camera stabilisation either digital or optical for the new iPhones. The camera stays the same, some may be disappointed by this but truth be told, Apple fan boys will buy into this regardless. Mobile photographers will no doubt be disappointed as the flock in droves to Nokia’s 1020 64GB shooter which offers the purest photography experience. Mobile Videographers on the other hand have already defected to Samsung Galaxy Note 4 thanks in part to its 4K video capture. Artist who like to draw in freehand have already doubled down on the Galaxy Note, so that leaves the rest of you out there sitting on the fence, undecided.

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Chart is from Android Authority

There is no mention of RAM by Apple during the launch, which of course is a good thing for Apple because you won’t know when it fails and run out of memory so you end up blaming the app developers instead for creating something buggy. Apple will be blameless for this, even though they set the highest parameters for apps that go through their store, the onus is on you when you download and run them.

Battery life will vary, and is said to be between 20 to 30 percent for the 6 and 6 Plus models over the older 5S model. This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be wall hugging from time to time. The main problem as always the display. Bigger screens need more power.

Going Big Against the Galaxy Note 4

Presently, there is no comparison. The IPS displays from Apple cannot match the pixel resolution of the Galaxy Note 4 and it shows. To think that this is going to change the game would be a mistake. Apple’s 5.5 inch screen is rated average and is nothing to shout about.

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Chart from Android Authority

In terms of display real estate. The Galaxy Note’s 5.7 inch might be a tad too big, while the 5.5 inch screen is more ideal as it is still pocketable for the bigger folks. To be honest, screen density is subjective. If you suffer from any vision problems, no amount of pixel is going save you. The only benefit is of course the large text that appears on screen, which is a boon to the old.

Screen density is most noticeable in movie playback. The details on the screen will be sheer joy to your eyes.

Why the Apple iPhone will be a success

The majority of us are only looking for a device that meets our requirement and sometimes a bigger screen will just do it. Apple lost a huge market to Android because of this and technically speaking, there is no real advantage between both the platforms. You have all your productivity software given to you free to meet all your office requirement. Facebook app works out of the box for both, and so does Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Foursquares, and Twitter.

Beyond this, it’s just your learning curve. Trusted that Apple’s iPhone is designed to be more fool proof than fool hardy, those who have been dissatisfied with the complexities of the Android platform can now safely move back to the iOS sphere where it is no longer saddled with a smaller display screen.

For the rest of us who have migrated over to Android, there is no real reason to go back. And that’s the way it will always be.

GN4: Let the Big Screen Battle Begin

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With the iPhone 6 looming on the horizon, Samsung’s other flagship product, the Galaxy Note, needs to claw itself above the competition. The much rumored 5.5 inch display of the premium iPhone 6 will be keenly watched by Samsung as they have seen their other flagship product, the Galaxy S, being savaged by Chinese competitors.

Samsung’s own Galaxy Note 4 isn’t going to die standing and as a way to fight back, it has delivered two products, namely the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Note Edge. The Edge is a strange device, like an infinity pool with a curved drop off, the screen’s cutting edge is revealed, though you can’t really slice bread with it.

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Galaxy Note Edge

The build quality has improved, but sadly, I have no idea why they did this as it will only make it more expensive for the consumer upgrading from a previous version. The body frame is now made of aluminum. D’huh!

With the exception of women with handbags, men often carry their phones with a jacket or a cover installed, so you never get to see the plastic frame of previous generations. Why has Samsung pandered to the ivory tower? I really do not know. The issue of a metal frame is really a non issue. Who the hell cares if it has a plastic frame given it’s shock absorption capability? Aluminum frames will just bend out of shape the moment you drop them and with the added weight, gravity will not be kind to it.

Display Stays the Same

Yup, it has a 5.7-inch Quad HD resolution of 2,560 by 1,440, matching that of the LG G3. With a 515 ppi pixel density, this is something that the iPhone 6 will have a tough time with as long as it sticks to retina displays. Such densities on a LCD screen makes it cool for 4K video. Watching movies would be a boon except that it won’t hold up to endless hours thanks in part to the paltry battery 3220 mAh. Then again compared to the iPhone users, they are wall huggers. GN users can still move about with a spare battery in their pocket, just swap it out and you’re good for another 12 hours. The new iPhone 6 will have a bigger battery but that is not going to save you from hugging walls. You do need a battery pack booster and I am sure you will find the space in your tight fitting jeans for it. 

Camera has been Improved

Following in the footsteps of Apple, there is a finger print sensor but Samsung has also thrown in a UV sensor for those Dark Ops moments. Not sure if you can sense fake dollar bills but if you can’t, I hope the UV sensor will do the trick. The included heart rate monitor would only be useful before you actually commit to buying this device, not after. Nor are there any claims to having your heart rate reading splashed on Twitter but I suppose some  brilliant soul would come up with an app for that.

The Galaxy Note 4’s camera has also been updated, and now features a 16-megapixel shooter with Smart Optical Image Stabilization, putting it right on par with the Samsung Galaxy S5. A 3.7-megapixel camera can be found up front for camera whoring and those thinking of posting nude pictures of themselves will be thrilled to know that you can now do so in full HD. 

Video killed the Radio Star

Today it is Ultra-HD Video (UHD) and if you happen to be in one of Samsung’s showrooms, they would have a Ultra-HD TV set for all to see. The resolution is lovely but the Galaxy Note 3 didn’t quite measure up to expectations previously and Samsung will have another go at it with a larger 16 megapixel sensor. 4K video takes your breath away but you need to have a huge TV screen to enjoy it. Think 52 inch and you’ll get my idea. 

This is where Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will shine. The video can be recorded in 4K and stored on microSD. If you run out of space, just flip it open and drop in a new 64GB microSD card and carry on. No problem. Try that with the freaking iPhone and you will know how frustrating it is.

4K video capture will be limited to 30fps. With post processing to 24fps, you get a cinema like experience from the video. Low light capture is rumored and with the help of optical stabilization, video footage on the Galaxy Note 4 can’t be beaten by iOS. What’s more, the iPhone 6 hasn’t been rumored to support 4K video capture. If that happens for real. Great. If not, well you have been warned.

More Storage for the Masses

Depending on how you feel about adding microSD storage, this time round Samsung has made it a 32GB work horse with 3GB of RAM and microSD card storage. That’s ample compared to the current 1GB RAM of the iPhone 5s…and with no external storage, you’re better off not recording any video while on holiday. Apple might increase the RAM size to 2GB for the iPhone 6 but that’s still 2GB short of what a 64bit processor is capable of.

Historically speaking, Apple is fond of selling you a Ford Mustang with skinny wheels and rims. The power is under the hood but you can’t fully use it.

The Cost of Technology

The chief reason why a price wasn’t announced at press time is that Samsung wants to know how much the iPhone 6 would cost and make a decision on it thereafter. It is a fact that the iPhone 6 will cost more, it’s just a matter of how much more and for that, how much would you pay for a premium Android device.

Both the iPhone 6 and GN 4 isn’t going to be cheaper. So if you are thinking that technology will get cheaper in time is probably quite misleading for brand name devices. Both the iPhone and GN are flagship devices and even when sales are falling world wide, the thrust of the matter is to make those who can afford it pay more.

With that said, I don’t think I will be upgrading to one too soon unless Santa sends me one before Christmas.