Update 2: Samsung has clarified the issue to Android Central, and it turns out it's actually not all that bad. Here's the gist: if you buy a Galaxy Note 3 (or other region-locked Samsung phone), it must be activated with a SIM in its home region. That means you can't import a Note 3 from Taiwan and then activate it in Europe, for example, and if you try to do that, it will lock itself.
The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge come into 2016 with a rather tremendous amount of baggage in the eyes of the phone enthusiasts of the world. Many viewed Samsung’s move to sealed batteries, non-expandable storage, a non-waterproof design, and glass backs as open and Apple-hued traitorism last year, feeling the company had lost sight of what its most ardent fans considered reasons to buy into the Galaxy brand. The same set of changes also befell what I long thought Samsung’s bulwark in the high-end, high-feature part of the enthusiast market in the Note line (minus waterproofing, as the Note never had it).
Yesterday Google flipped on the Chromecast screen mirroring feature that the company announced last month at Google I/O after teasing us for months. With it, users just tap a single icon to have everything on their screen magically projected onto a television. Forget waiting for individual apps to implement Chromecast support, this feature will let you mirror all the things, and it opens up a world of mobile games to a screen size many of them have never seen before. How well does it work? Phenomenally.
Before reading on too much further, you might want to save yourself some hurt feelings and check to see if your device is supported.
When the Galaxy Note was introduced in September 2011, it was a revelation - to some. (I, personally, did not get it, much to my disappointment in hindsight.) It was big. It was bold. It was aggressively powerful. Put side by side with Samsung's earlier Galaxy S (i9000) phone, the Galaxy Note was borderline overkill. A screen a full 1.3" larger. Twice the CPU cores, RAM, and storage. A 1280x800 resolution - scarcely believable on a smartphone at the time. The Note was, as many remember, openly ridiculed for being too much - too big, too expensive, too niche. How wrong we were.
As I sit here in a hip Los Angeles coffee shop across from the seemingly never-ending whooshes and rumbles of LA traffic on a busy boulevard just outside the door, I wonder if $4 is a reasonable price for the latte now sitting in front of me. It does have one of those latte art fern-shaped things on it. Or, at least it looks like a fern to me.
While not a tiny amount of money, it doesn't seem totally unreasonable. (And trust me: $4 for a latte is a respectable price in Los Angeles.) After all, I am availing myself the use of said business's counter, its rather lovely interior inspired by the owner's Taiwanese heritage (well, supposedly), a nice ceramic cup for my beverage, and the generally relaxed atmosphere the place provides.
You've been warned: the Galaxy Note II was probably my favorite smartphone of 2012, and it looks like its successor, the Note 3, is stealing my heart all over again. With big hardware improvements across the board, as well as substantial additions to software, the Note 3 feels like a true next-generation sort of phone. Samsung has rather effectively ruined every other large-screen device for me, and frankly, probably every other phone released this year.
The thing I've come to like about the Note phones is their no-compromise approach to the big phone concept. Some large devices will sacrifice on the camera, the quality of the display, the processor, or practical ergonomics (*cough* Z Ultra *cough*) in order to meet a price or size target.
Google is rolling out an updated version of Hangouts, and while version 2.0.2 doesn't introduce much in the way of exciting new features, it squashes a handful of annoying bugs introduced when the app took on the ability to handle SMS and MMS messages.
Exotic or uncommon materials seem to be all the rage in smartphones right now. Motorola started offering wood backs, then later leather, for its Moto X 2013 and 2014 handsets, respectively. But this wasn't even the first time a phone was offered with some integrated exotic or unorthodox materials. When Apple released the iPhone 4 with a glass rear cover, people flipped - wouldn't it break (yes, it would!), or get scratches (not that much) on it?
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a month away from its official launch, but we already know a great deal about it. Blurry pictures and renders have already been leaked, but now the first press images are available, and we know a little more about the 5G model.
We heard rumors a number of months ago that Samsung was mulling a plan to begin restricting the functionality of uncertified accessories like cases and chargers on its devices. It seems that the company has started doing just that with the Android 4.4.2 update for the Note 3. Users who have updated are reporting that third-party S-View cases, like the one sold by Spigen, are no longer working.
Samsung includes a small identification chip in the official S-View case that allows it to work properly with the phone. Of course, the Spigen case is still a case, but it doesn't do any of the special stuff with the screen window that users expect.