Samsung Galaxy S5 announcement teased in Samsung UNPACKED trailer

UNPACKED video hints at Galaxy S5 announcement

Samsung has released the video below, which undoubtedly hints at the Galaxy S5 being announced at MWC. There’s also a countdown to Samsung’s press event on its website, which you can watch live at 7PM GMT on Monday 24th February.

We’ll be covering all the MWC news (which you can follow here) on the Clove Blog and listing newly announced handsets on our website, you can view our current Samsung range here. Check back over the next few days for some exciting news.

Click the image below to go to the Samsung’s page for its S5 announcement.

Samsung Galaxy S5 announcement

 

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact V Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

samsung-s4-mini-black-sam-gs4mYou can not fail to have noticed the Samsung Galaxy range of smartphones if you have looked to charge your mobile device within the last 24 months.

The brand is growing from strength to strength with record sales on many of their Galaxy devices.

Under this brand falls many different handsets, some of which are smaller/mini versions of more capable premium ones. The S4 Mini is one such example.

Many have purchased the Mini, thinking it had all the capabilities of the bigger S4 only to find (when it was too late) that this was not the case.

Sony have now stepped in the ring to bring the ideal solution. A smaller sized handset that retains the majority of high end or premium features.

OK the screen size and battery have had to be compromised but some is to be expected. What Sony do that Samsung and HTC have not is limited these compromises. The result is the Z1 Compact.

Commanding a bit of a premium, how do they stack up in terms of hardware specification and real world operational differences.

The specs certainly stack up in favour of the Compact and at about £80-100 more than the S4 Mini it is not surprising.

However, spread that £100 difference over the average 24 month ownership and for an extra £5 per month there are some considerable advantages.

Processor

Naturally the quad-core processor outperforms the dual-core, but for everyday tasks such as making calls, sending texts, browsing the web and similar procedures the dual-core is more than adequate.

However start throwing some mobile games at it and really intensive multi-tasking and the lag becomes apparent.

The Compact is a PlayStation mobile approved device meaning it will better suited to those who like to kickback with a game or two, but that does not mean the S4 Mini is not capable, it is just not as capable when it comes to more intensive and demanding content.

Consider your usage and be lead by that, not just by the fact that Z1 is superior.

Memory

With only 8GB from day one the S4 Mini is already at a disadvantage. Add the heavy Samsung software and the 8GB soon gets closer to 5GB.

Like the Z1 Compact, it is does have a microSD memory card slot meaning both benefit from expandable storage, but the Compact has 16GB out of the box and a lighter OS install, so initial value for money for memory goes to the Compact.

The Compact boasts 2GB against the 1.5GB of the S4 Mini. With only 512MB between them it will be only those that push the limits of these devices that would notice the difference. This again portrays itself in the more intensive activities such as gaming.

Z1_Compact_Review_Imageg

Displays

It is worth mentioning that whilst both have 4.3” displays, they vary in resolution, with the Z1 Compact offering 1280 x 720 against the 960 x 540 of the S4 Mini. The PPI is too affected with 342 against 256 respectively. This is by no means a big thing, but a small notable difference.

Camera

Whilst a camera is not all about the megapixels, there is no denying that the technology and components used on the Z1 Compact set an extreme hurdle for the S4 Mini, which it can not possibly jump over.

The Mini puts up a good fight and produces an all round decent photo and video results but Sony show Samsung how it is done.

Both offer quite extensive control over the camera and what it can do. Personally I think the S4 Mini’s interface is nicer on the camera, but there isn’t a lot to differentiate the two. There are ‘value added’ features such as Social Live and Info-Eye on the Z1 but whether they are of value to you will depends on your needs.

The Compact does too have the dedicated camera button, the S4 Mini does not.

S4 Mini:

S4_Mini_Sample_Image[1]

Z1 Compact:

Sony_Xperia_Z1_Compact_Sample_Image[1]

Battery

Bigger is often better with battery, but as such it knocks onto the physical size of the device. There is just 400mAh between the two here.

The Compact has the bigger battery, but this is built in whereas the S4 Mini is removable. There are some advantages to this, but battery technology is so good now, that it is rare you actually need to remove the battery or replace it.

The Mini will last a good day and possibly longer with power saving mode, but with S4 can not withstand the might of the Compact’s battery. Even with the higher resolution display this device can last a good couple of days with STAMINA mode turned on. It is quite impressive and somewhat odd when you do not need to actually charge the device every day. This will not be applicable to all, but many could be in this position.

Sony_Xperia_Z1_Compact_Screenshot (1)Operating System

Both are Android devices.

The S4 Mini is stuck currently on Android 4.2, whilst the Z1 Compact is on 4.3.

There is not a great deal of difference but both Sony and Samsung offer a customised version of Android.

Samsung’s customisation is deeper and heavier and affects the on board memory, whereas Sony’s is not quite as rich, but looks to offer value over stock Android.

It is personal opinion as to which you prefer. I don’t mind either. Samsung’s interface looks more polished, but the impact on performance and memory is noticeable.

Connectivity

Neither device is weak in terms of connectivity, but the Compact has MHL out as well as Miracast technology which gives it the edge over the S4 Mini for the media lovers or business user.

IP Rating

Whilst most phones withstand the odd splash, the Z1 can survive a full immersion in fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Rare that you might need this but you can more comfortably use the Z1 Compact in wet conditions. Just make sure the covers are closed if you are going to immerse the device.

Materials

Plastic is well known to be one of the favourite materials for Samsung and the S4 Mini is made up of primarily of this.

The Compact on the other hand has an aluminium glass & plastic construction.

Both feel solid enough but the Compact feels the more premium of the two without doubt.

There is a softer edge to the S4 though which can be of benefit in comparison to the squarer, slab esq design of the Compact. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that on first impressions the Z1 often wins.

Size & Weight

The Compact is 30g heavier than the S4 Mini but that is not surprising when you consider the package and the materials. It is noticeable in hand but quite possibly worth it for what you get.

Once being small and lightweight was of uppermost importance, but the demand for features appears today to outweigh this. It will inevitably be a personal decision.

Comparison

There is quite some variation in the specs. This of course comes as a result of the Z1 Compact being a squashed Z1 rather than the S4 Mini which is a smaller and less featured S4.

It will be personal opinion as to whether you feel the added bulk and cost of the Compact is worth the extra spend.

Neither device will leave you struggling and demanding much more if you are aware of the differences.

If however you want to ensure you get the better all round experience, you would be best off opting for the Z1 Compact.

 Specification Comparison

Click the following image for a full spec comparison.

Sony_Z1_Compact-V_S4_Mini_h

Click here to find out more about the Z1 Compact and here for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus User Manual

Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus User Guide

Below you can find the digital version of the Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus (GT-S7580) owner’s manual. If you would like to receive a printed copy of the Trend Plus user manual, please click here request our user manual printing service.

To view the Galaxy Trend Plus User Guide, simply click the image below.

Samsung-Galaxy-S4-Active-User-Manual.png

 

Hopefully the user manual will answer any of the outstanding questions that you have about the device, but if there is anything that isn’t covered or if you have any questions prior to purchasing, please feel free to ask in the comments or to contact our sales team.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini user manual

Samsung ‘Smart Home’ Unveiled

At CES 2014 Samsung announced to the world their new ‘Samsung Smart Home’ service, this service essentially enables home devices connectivity through a single integrated platform. The idea is to allow the user to control and manage their home devices through a single application by connecting personal and home devices, e.g. fridges, washing machines, smart TVs and even lighting. Users can easily control one or multiple devices simultaneously with the touch of a dedicated Smart Home app. Samsung Smart Home will initially provide three main service features enabling users to connect with their devices from anywhere, anytime: Device Control, Home View and Smart Customer Service.

With the ‘Home View’ features users can use their smartphones to get real-time views of their home using in-build appliance cameras. Another intuitive feature is that the Smart Home’s Customer Service notifies users when it’s time to service appliances or replace consumables, providing you with automatic after-sales service. Another feature of ‘Smart Home’ is the voice command function on the controller devices. The user can state their intentions to the system which will then act accordingly, e.g. the user might say ‘going out’ to their Galaxy Gear device which will then lead to the home lighting and selected appliances being switched off. The user can also set other actions to be carried-out upon giving instructions to the Smart Home system, all in an attempt to make our daily lives easier and more automated, this is to try and free up time for the more important things in life.

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Which MHL adapter does my Samsung Galaxy need?

We explain exactly which MHL adapter to use with any Samsung Galaxy device.

MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) has become the de-facto method for outputting content from many mobile devices to a second screen. We have covered the topic in depth a few times in our What is MHL? and Which MHL cable should I buy? posts.

As with all new technology though, MHL has quickly evolved since its conception. Whilst some manufacturers like Sony and HTC are currently still compatible with the earliest specification, Samsung have adapted and with each generation of devices the compatibility has changed.

In this post I will work through the different generations of Samsung devices launched since MHL was first included in the Samsung Galaxy S2. The supported MHL version will be stated, along with which Samsung adapter to use. I will also finally call out devices which do not include MHL which are widely believed to, due to Samsung’s somewhat confusing naming conventions.

Check back during 2014, as more devices will be added as they are released

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£120 price reduction on Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom

The name Samsung Galaxy S4 is one we all hear very regularly in the mobile industry.

There is good reason for it. The original S4 has been very popular, but it has too been applied to a couple of other devices because they have similar features and fall within the same range in Samsung’s opinion.

Although it may get confusing, one of the other products that this name was applied to was the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom; a more camera oriented version of the S4.

The Zoom has:

  • Xenon Flash
  • 16MP BSI CMOS Sensor
  • 24-240mm 10x optical zoom
  • Optical Image stabilisation
  • F3.1-F6.3 Lens
  • 4fps Burst Shot
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 1080p video recording
  • Dedicated shutter key
  • Zoom Ring for quick sharing of photos and access of the handset’s interface 1.9MP front facing camera
  • Expert Mode for you to change shooting parameters
  • Smart Modes to help you choose the best settings for your photo
  • HDR Mode
  • Panorama
  • Best face to adjust smiles and eyes

No doubt you will agree, it has a pretty strong list of features.

Up until today, the unit has been priced at £442.80 including VAT, but now it is considerably less, in fact over £120 less.

You can today pick up the S4 Zoom in White, with 8GB of internal memory for just £319.99.

For this price you are getting an exceptional mobile device with a very special camera built in.

To take advantage of the reduced price, please click here.

 

Sony have done what HTC & Samsung should have done – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Samsung are well known for their Galaxy range of devices and two of the more popular within that range are the S3 Mini and the S4 Mini.

As the name implies, they are smaller versions of their bigger brothers the S3 and the S4.

This is a positive and a negative depending on your viewpoint.

The Mini has meant that it is smaller, more portable and cost effective device, but it does also mean that the specification of the handset has to date been compromised quite significantly.

Let’s do a quick comparison (S4 v S4 Mini):

  • 1.9GHz Quad Core processor v 1.7GHz Dual Core
  • 16GB internal memory v 8GB
  • 4.99” display v 4.3”
  • 13 megapixel camera v 8 megapixel
  • 2600mAh battery v 1900mAh

Of course there have been similarities between the S4 and the S4 Mini but many have been unintentionally mislead that the Mini versions would have many of the features of the considerably better marketed headline products.

Take for example MHL capability. Many think or have been lead to believe that the S3 Mini has this feature as it is a much talked about benefit of the S3 device, however it does not.

HTC have taken a similar approach with their HTC One and the HTC One Mini, although it is fair to say that the specification was not sacrificed quite as much. It retained the same camera which was a bonus.

Arguments can be held on both sides as to the impact of the Mini range of devices, but Sony has achieved what Samsung and HTC have yet to.

They have taken their flagship Z1 and reduced it in size to create the Z1 compact.

The laws of physics mean that reducing the size something has to give, in the case of the Z1 Compact it is the screen size and battery. They reduce from 5” to 4.3” and 3000mAh to 2300mAh. This is where it ends however. By no means a scientific comparison, we could see that there were 5 key differences between the S4 and the S4 Mini, whilst there is just two between the Z1 and Z1 Compact.

Everything else remains the same. The same camera is in the Compact as the Z1, the same speed processor and the same waterproof chassis, you get the idea.

It is great to see such innovation.  In 12 months time will Samsung, HTC and others have followed Sony’s lead?

Clove’s top 10 smartphones of January 2014

The mobile tech industry kicks off again in 2014 with CES, which will likely see announcement of many new phones, followed by MWC in February.

Competition remains strong and it will be interesting to see what happens throughout 2014 in terms of innovation and features on smartphones. Needless to say, we will be bringing you all the information as soon as we have it.

Whilst December is quiet in terms of new product announcements, the run up to Christmas inevitably increased demand for certain devices; most notably lower end and more cost effective handsets.

There isn’t a great deal of change in our overall list from December but the couple that do move, do so quite considerably.

The following is our top 10 for January 2014 based on demand, feedback and our own personal hands-on time.

10. Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is still an incredible device but the smaller and more practical handsets knock this down a couple of places.

It might be a big phone with a 6.4” display, but it is also very thin at 6.5mm thick.

Being able to write on the screen with a pen or a pencil may not be everyone’s ideal for taking notes, but the Z Ultra takes the old school yet reliable pen and paper approach and combines it to bring it right up into the 21st Century. If you are an artist, this too could be a handy feature.

Buy Sony Xperia Z Ultra HERE.

9. HTC One

The HTC One is still an exceptional handset. Its aluminium shell has to be one of its strongest selling points. It may have a fixed battery and a lack of expansion but it has the connectivity options and appeal to almost forget about these.

Small features like HTC Zoe that could on the face of it be seen as gimmicky; are very compelling when you want a brief summary or reminder of an occasion or event you may have recorded via images and video on the HTC One.

We have 2 staff using the HTC One and they love it!

A dual SIM and gold coloured variant are on their way (should be here later this month) and could perhaps bring the One back up the list.

Buy HTC One HERE.

[EDIT] The HTC One Dual SIM and Gold are now available to order at the above link.

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Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

When you think of camera’s Samsung isn’t normally the first brand that comes to mind for many people.  However this is slowly begging to change as they innovate within their range of cameras.

The original Galaxy camera launched last year receive mixed reviews.  Generally they were positive but the size and price made it only suitable for a smaller market. They did however do better than expected in terms of overall sales.

That said Samsung can not be discredited for their approach and the fact that they are being so bold to launch cameras with Android on them. Personally I quite liked them it but did find it a little too big at the time. However the ever increasing size of mobile devices is beginning to work in favour of the Galaxy camera series.

So to the latest news that Samsung have unveiled the 2nd generation of the Galaxy camera, with a slightly improved specification.

Samsung_Galaxy_Camera_2a

Version 2 now has a 1.6GHz quad-core processor together with 2GB of RAM. a 4.8″ touchscren, a 16 megapixel sensor, 21x Optical Zoom and

50GB of Dropbox cloud storage.

The battery has also been increased from 1600 to 2000mAh for increased performance and more time between charges.

Of course the camera still has a wide variety of shooting modes, in fact 28 pre-programmed options and a new Selfie Alarm that ensures that self-portraits look as good as they can.  It takes 5 consecutive images to ensure the best angle is captured.

No details on price and availability is to be confirmed but more details will come from CES where it will be debuted.

Samsung GamePad compatible with Android 4.1+

Gaming on the go with Samsung GamePad and Mobile Console app

Samsung Game PadWe’ve already had news that Samsung’s GamePad will be with us by the end of the week. Redesigned from the original Xbox inspired design we saw earlier in the year (who knows if they were forced to change it..?), the new pad looks much sleeker and more portable, as well as fitting in with modern smartphones better with a black and grey colour scheme. One of the key features of the GamePad, the ability to hold smartphones up to 6.3 inches, is still present so if you’re rocking a Galaxy Mega you can still fit that in to the slide out cradle. At this size you’ll get every new Android handset on the market in the holder, apart from the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

Samsung have put out an official press release today that states the GamePad is compatible with devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and higher, although there are optimisations and unique features for Galaxy handsets with 4.3 installed. One such optimisation is the PLAY button, which when pressed will automatically open the Mobile Console app on a paired Galaxy device. NFC has also been confirmed for compatible phones for simple one-touch pairing.

Samsung GamePad at a glance:

  • Android 4.1+ (Optimised for Samsung devices with Android 4.3+)
  • Bluetooth 3.0, class 2, HID profile
  • NFC one-touch pairing
  • 8-way directional pad, 2 analog sticks, 4 action buttons, 2 trigger buttons, select & start buttons, PLAY button
  • 137.78 x 86.47 x 31.80 mm
  • 195 grams
  • Rechargeable 400 mAh battery

The Samsung GamePad is available to order from Clove for 63.33 GBP + shipping and VAT where applicable. First stock is due on Thursday 17th December.

Mobile Console

Mobile Console iconAlongside the GamePad comes Samsung’s Mobile Console application, available from the Samsung Apps store. Samsung Apps is preloaded on all new Galaxy handsets but is not available through Google Play for other manufacturer’s devices. It’s unclear just yet if a link to install Mobile Console on non-Samsung devices will be provided with the GamePad itself, however as a dedicated Samsung app it may well not be. If this is the case then the GamePad will simply act as a standard HID compatible controller with non-Samsung phones, like many others available on the market.

Mobile Console will provide users with a unique storefront to purchase and download Samsung certified games, much like how the PlayStation Mobile store works for Sony. Of the 35 titles available at launch, some are big names, a selection of which are below, and will be duplicated and published on other stores. Other games may be unique to Mobile Console.

  • Need for Speed Most Wanted
  • Asphalt 8 : Airborne
  • Modern Combat 4 : Zero Hour
  • EA Virtua Tennis Challenge
  • Prince of Persia : The Shadow and the Flame

Developers looking to target or publish on Mobile Console can find information on the service, registering, and APIs/SDK details HERE.

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