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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Galaxy S6 announced, i like it

Everything is better about the S6 except water proof rating.

I'd like one

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The Samsung Galaxy S6 is here and has a hot brother, the Galaxy S6 Edge



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It's been rumored for months, but it's finally here:Samsung has unveiled its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6. But this time it's accompanied by a cooler, better-looking brother — the Galaxy S6 Edge — which features an eye-catching design with a screen that curves around both sides.

Yes, we've seen this before, sort of: The Galaxy S6 Edge borrows heavily from the Galaxy NoteEdge, which came out last fall and had a curve on just one side. But where the Note had a versatile side screen that doubled as an app launcher, news scroll and occasional ruler, the S6 version is more limited: The curves are mainly a design ornament, and there are no "panels" to swipe through.

So what good is it? Besides giving you something to brag about to your friends, the S6 Edge still has the side clock and news scroll, although you can only call them up in standby mode. You can also instantly call up a list of recent contacts with a swipe of your thumb, and if the phone is face-down, the sides of the phone will light up when someone calls you.

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge

Galactic cluster

The Samsung Galaxy S6 (right) is Samsung's new flagship phone. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (left) is a variant with curved sides.

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And, yes, also its hotness. The phone's design will definitely turn some heads, and I have to admit it looks and feels pretty sweet. I thought the curves might make videos or photos look warped, but that wasn't the case; Samsung letterboxes media ever-so-slightly in landscape mode to avoid this.

The "regular" S6 is no slouch in the design department, either. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is the most beautiful phone to ever exist in Samsung's S series — and possibly its entire smartphone lineup. Although the metal rim certainly evokes the same design language as Apple's latest iPhones, there's no question it's a great choice, and the subtle edging actually makes it grippier than the iPhone 6.

Specs and new features

Design aside, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge reclaim the flagship crown from the Galaxy Note 4. Each has a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with Quad HD resolution, the same 2,560 x 1,440 resolution as the LG G3 and Google Nexus 6. It runs Android 5.0 "Lollipop." The global model packs Samsung’s latest octa-core processor, and it felt pretty nimble switching apps and surfing the web (I tried out the global version; Samsung usually uses Qualcomm chips for the U.S. models, although it hasn't said it will for the Galaxy S6).

The fingerprint scanners in Samsung’s phones have never been the most reliable, but the Galaxy S6 improves on the feature by ditching the “sliding” of your fingerprint across the button. Instead, you just press (wonder where they got that idea?).

Press the home button twice really fast, and you’ll launch the phone’s camera. Samsung worked hard to cut down the "quick draw" time — the interval between the phone being in your pocket to snapping your first photo — and it claims to have reduced it to 0.7 seconds. I couldn’t verify that exactly, but it certainly felt much faster than the Galaxy S5, which was a slowpoke in this department.

The Galaxy S6 Edge (right) doesn't use the curved sides as a secondary screen like the Galaxy Note Edge does, although a few features (like the night clock) carry over.


The S6 also has several high-end features you usually only find in real cameras or larger phones: The 16-megapixel imager has optical image stabilization, which can help reduce motion blur, as well as continuous autofocus, so you can track an object through the frame, keeping it in focus no matter how it moves. The continuous autofocus isn't that intuitive to engage, but it appears to work as advertised: I shot clear video of my hand, a moving wind-up car and a person moving around a crowded room, and each time the subject was kept in focus. It also has a wide aperture of f/1.9.

The front camera is 5 megapixels with an f/1.9 aperture. Both have real-time HDR shooting, which means you can select an HDR photo (which can sometimes improve exposure) afteryou take the pic.

Samsung has also built wireless charging into Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge. Not only that, but it's compatible with both major standards: Qi and PMA, which means you'll be able to juice up your phone almost any place that provides charging stations (e.g. Starbucks, airport lounges, etc.). Previous Samsung phones needed a special back plate for wireless charging — now the phone supports it natively.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are the first Samsung phones to support the company's mobile-payments system… which hasn’t launched yet. But when it does, in the next few months, the phones will be ready. Samsung says its payment platform will support both NFC and old magnetic-stripe readers (thanks to technology it acquired from LoopPay); this means it will work with potentially many more machines than Apple Pay.

Simplified approach

Although it sounds like Samsung threw everything but the kitchen sink into the Galaxy S6, the company says it worked hard to reduce complexity. Menus (particularly the camera's) no long pepper you with too many options, and there's a simple manager tool to let you keep track of which apps are hogging RAM or draining your battery.

Simplified menus and easy-to-use tools like this smart manager help the Samsung Galaxy S6 avoid feature creep.


One feature that Samsung actually downgraded from the Galaxy S5 is its water resistance. Neither the S6 nor the S6 Edge is rated for dunks in the tub; I guess Samsung, like Sony, discovered people don't care that much about how waterproof their phone is.

After handling the phone for several minutes, I already like the Galaxy S6 a lot more than last year's Galaxy S5. It’s disappointing that the S6 Edge doesn’t have the same utility as the Note version, but I can understand why since the device is targeted at the mainstream. As much as I was impressed by the Note's Edge panel, it's really a geek feature.

It doesn't hurt that the S6 Edge looks fantastic. With an emphasis on simplicity, design and restraint (there are just a few new features, but they're extremely relevant), Samsung is moving in the right direction with its flagship — even if that direction was largely trailblazed by Apple.

No word on pricing of either model yet, but you can bet the S6 Edge will cost more. It takes a lot of money to look this good.

Daylight savings again

Should skip the bs

Twice a year, we either wake up an hour earlier or an hour later than expected. Don't get caught off guard this time when Daylight Savings Time begins on March 8.

When local standard time hits 2 a.m. on Sunday, clocks will turn forward one hour in the long held tradition signaling spring has arrived. Aside from Hawaii, Arizona, and all island United States territories, most of the country "springs forward" as an energy-saving measure that dates back to 1966 when the Uniform Time Act was implemented.    

While parties like the California Energy Commissioncontend small amounts of saved energy add up to big savings, U.S. lawmakers aren't convinced DST benefits outweigh the costs.

Rep. Elizabeth Scott (R - WA) recently told a House committee that biannual time switches are lead to health problems and accidents due to a lack of sleep. Last week, Idaho House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R-ID) introduced a bill that would eliminated the state's observance of DST because it is a "disruption to families, businesses and individuals."

Sen. Cliff Pirtle's (R- NM) proposal has DST in effect year-round. The state's Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 5-1 last Thursday to advance Pirtle's bill.

DST was first embraced during World War I when extended daylight helped conserve coal. It was continuously praised throughout the decades as a cost-saving measure, though Tufts University lecturer Michael Downing refutes the claim, saying it's a commercialized measure that's good for retail and bad for energy.

"This standardized time change was no favor to farmers, who now had an hour less of morning light to milk their cows and get their goods ready for maker, let alone for commuters or children waiting for school buses in the dark," Downing said.

Some people complain about losing sleep while others will be grateful for the extra daylight. Eight months later, they will bask in the extra slumber and be more cautious drivers when the sun sets an hour earlier. In some ways it balances out, but not because small amounts of energy are being saved.

"So today we have eight months of daylight savings and only four months of standard time," Downing said. "Can you tell me which time I the standard?"