Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts

Friday, 20 March 2015

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge lands in UK on December 12

You can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge at Carphone Warehouse, where it'll be exclusively sold in white as well as the standard blue version. 
If you're looking to get it on contract it's available from £58.50 a month with no extra cost, but you'll need to commit for 24 months. 
Alternatively if you want to pick up the handset SIM-free then prepare to fork out £749.95. That's quite a lot for the quirky phablet, although it is one of a kind. 
The Galaxy Note Edge boasts a bendable display that can show messages and alerts along the side of the device where the display folds over.
At first it seemed like Sammy was reluctant about its wrap-around touchscreen, when we heard the phablet was going to launch as a limited edition device in select markets, but now Brits can safely add it to their Christmas lists. 
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge packs a Super AMOLED screen with Squad HD resolution. The handset has a a 16MP camera, a 3.7MP front snapper and a 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 processor.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the fourth generation device of the South Korean's supersized smartphone, taking over from the Galaxy Note 3 and adding a more expensive tier on top of the Galaxy S5.

Talking of price you'll need a small fortune to buy a Note 4 outright with a SIM-free price tag upwards of £560. If that's a bit steep then you can get it free on two year contracts starting at £38 per month.

You've also got to consider the size - the Note 4 is all about offering a big screen experience and if you're not a fan of oversized mobiles then you're not going to like this.

Still with us? Good, because there's a lot going on inside the Galaxy Note 4 to tempt you to part with a large wedge of cash.

Plenty to shout about

First and foremost is the 5.7-inch display Samsung has slapped on its latest phablet. Okay, so it's the same size at its predecessor, but it's been given a mighty boost in the resolution department.

The Super AMOLED panel now boasts a QHD (1440 x 2560) resolution, making it pin sharp, with incredibly vivid images and bright colours. If you love watching movies and gaming on the go the Galaxy Note 4 is a dream to gaze at.

So we're pretty smitten with the screen, but what other treats does the Note 4 hold? Well on the rear, just below the 16MP camera is a heart rate monitor. Fire up the S Health app, stick your finger over the red light and it'll tell you how many beats per minute the old ticker is going at.

It's not the most convenient of locations for a heart rate sensor, they fare much better on wearable devices, but at least it works. Samsung also claims it's able to measure your stress level, although we found it to be pretty hit and miss.

The biometrics don't stop there, as hidden beneath the physical home key on the front of the Note 4 is a fingerprint scanner.

Unfortunately it's not quite as good as Apple's Touch ID on the iPhone, with Samsung's offering requiring you to swipe your print down the key.

The success rate can vary, and while most of the time it'll recognise you in one or two attempts and unlock the handset there are occasions you'll have to have three or four goes. And that gets frustrating.

Check me out

At least when you pick the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 up it feels like a device which is going to set you back several hundred pounds - which can't really be said for its plastic heavy predecessors.

The Note 4 sports a smart, slender aluminium frame which provides a premium look and feel to the handset - a quality sorely lacking from many Samsung devices.

Round the back you still get that familiar, removable plastic rear cover - c'mon, you love it really - providing access to the battery, SIM tray and microSD slot.

It's just 8.5mm thick, meaning you won't have any trouble sliding it into your skinny jeans, but with dimensions of 153.5 x 78.6mm it'll likely poke out the top and really test the fabric's stretchability.

The sheer size of the Galaxy Note 4 also means it's a bit of a beast to manage in the hand, and you'll want to employ both mitts when it comes to tapping out some text.

If style really is important to you then the faux leather backing will probably be a turn off (we don't blame you), and you'll want to sneak a peek at the iPhone 6 Plus or HTC One M8.

S Pen, not Pen S

A Galaxy Note smartphone wouldn't be complete without Samsung's own, more-than-stylus, S-Pen and the Note 4 is no exception.

Samsung has improved its stylus for the Note 4, with improved accuracy and sensitivity translating into a smoother, more natural handwriting and doodling experience on screen.

The handwriting recognition software has also been given a boost, meaning it's better at deciphering your scrawls, although we found that using our thumbs with the on-screen keyboard was a much quicker way of entering text.

You can do more than just draw and write with the S Pen, as it also allows you to cut out sections of screen and save them as images for later. Plus it makes snapping two apps side by side on screen pretty easy. We found it's far more fiddly to manipulate this multi-tasking function with our podgy fingers.

Rarely did we find ourselves reaching for the S Pen though. The majority of tasks on the phone can be done perfectly well - and most of the time more quickly - with your finger, so fumbling for the stylus was more of an inconvenience.

A happy snapper

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has one of the best cameras currently available on a smartphone, with the rear facing 16MP lens capable of some quite stunning shots.

Snaps are kept blur free thanks to OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) and the dual-LED flash will brighten those dingy nightclub shots - although over exposure may make your intoxicated mates look like a pack of rabid zombies.

There's a small selection of camera modes within the app; rear-cam selfie, selective focus and panorama, but there's also the option to download more - although the selection isn't overly awe-inspiring. Sound & Shot? No thanks, Samsung.

Taking pictures is easy thanks to the expansive QHD display, giving you crystal clear detail of your subjects and the super slick shutter speed means you'll be able to capture the moment before it passes.

OIS also helps out in low-light, and while the Note 4 won't magic extra lighting out of thin air it does do a commendable job of improving these shots.

Power up, and down

Samsung has stuffed the Galaxy Note 4 full of power with a punchy 2.7GHz quad-core processor (a step up from the 2.3GHz offering in the Note 3) and sizeable 3GB of RAM - that's a lot of bang for your buck.

This means the Note 4 glides through pretty much any task you throw at it. Graphically intensive games such as Real Racing 3 run without a hitch and coupled with the vibrant QHD display it makes for a great gaming experience.

Another good example of the Note 4's power is shrinking a full HD movie to a floating window, allowing you to access the rest of the handsets, be it sending a quick text, checking your emails or updating social media. And all without a pause for though from the Note.

The Android interface has been subjected to Samsung's TouchWiz interface, and while it's a more refined offering than on previous Note handsets it can take time to get used to when coming from another Android device.

It is fluid, with smooth navigation and rapid app loading times allowing you to whizz around without any hint of slow down.

All that power and the high resolution display does mean the Galaxy Note 4 consumers a lot of a battery - but luckily Samsung has been able to squeeze a large, 3220mAh power pack inside.

That's only 20mAh bigger than the Note 3 which did make us worry at first, but you can quite comfortably get a whole day of use from the Note 4 on just a single charge.

If you fancy watching a movie you'll lose around 19% of battery over 90 minutes, which  isn't too shabby. That's with screen brightness at full, so you could improve on that figuring by dimming the display a bit.

When you are running low, Samsung's fast charge technology will get you back 50% of your battery in just 30 minutes - perfect for a quick charge up before heading out for the night.


If you're in the market for a supersized smartphone you're not going to do much better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

It's got a better screen, more power and a stronger camera than the iPhone 6 PlusOnePlus One andNokia Lumia 1520 making it the standout phablet on the market.

Samsung's design language in both its hardware and software may not be to everyone's taste, but if you can get past this then you'll be laughing.

The screen is fantastic, we can't praise it enough - and your eyes will thank you if you do decide to plump for the Note 4.

We're still not completely convinced that the S Pen is a necessary addition. There will always be a small pocket of users who swear by it, but we expect the vast majority of Note users ignore it for most of its life. Poor S Pen.

Sure it's expensive, but Samsung has packed in a huge amount of features into the Galaxy Note 4 - some more useful than others - to make you feel like you've got a decent amount of bang for you buck.

If you're not quite convinced check out the aforementioned iPhone or the QHD toting pair of the LG G3 and Nexus 6 - but for an all-round powerhouse the Note 4 comes out on top
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date: Out now

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 price: £560+

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Samsung to launch Netflix rival?

Samsung is reportedly preparing to launch a movie and TV streaming service.
According to reports, Samsung is about to launch a streaming service with a heavy focus on original content. That will put it into direct competition with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Sky.
The service won’t be aimed at stealing market share from Google Play, according to The Information. Instead, it will be focused on winning over customers of Netflix and Amazon.
Dubbed project Volt internally, Samsung is said to have invested millions of dollars so far. It also has some talent behind it, with former Disney executive John Pleasants heading up development of the service.

A few dollars a month

According to an insider, while Samsung is putting a focus on original content, it doesn’t currently have plans to launch a high budget project like Netflix’s House of Cards.
The insider added that Samsung is currently floating around the idea of pricing the service at just a few dollars a month.

Mobile first

It’s likely that Samsung will restrict the service to its mobile devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 10.1. It’s unclear whether or not it will come to Samsung TVs – at least at first

Friday, 17 October 2014

Samsung revamps its lower-end Chromebook with faux leather

It's taken a while, but people finally seem to be embracing Chromebooks as the low-cost laptops that they were designed to be. Samsung's already earned our plaudits for this year's Chromebook 2, but what if you just don't have $400 to spend on a new piece of hardware? Never fear, for the company has also refreshed the lower-end model from 2012 with better specs, but the same $249.99 price-tag. The low cost doesn't mean that this new (old) Chromebook can't be stylish, however, as Samsung has coated the top lid in the same faux-leather backing that we've seen on plenty of the company's other gadgets.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Samsung shows off battery-sharing cable for your mobile devices

Samsung's latest tech accessory is the Power Sharing cable, a battery buddy-up system that'll let you drain juice from one device and power up another.
The cable is double-ended with micro-USB connectors, meaning it's good to go with any micro-USB-friendly device.
In terms of Samsung, that means it's good for all the latest category flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Tab S, and the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
"The new Power Sharing cable gives multi-device users a versatile way to charge their devices - it lets users share the power of their Galaxy battery with either thei own devices or a friend's no matter where they are," says the Korean tech firm.
To work the new wares, you'll first need to download Samsung's Power Sharing app from either Samsung Apps or the Google Play Store.
Once that's sorted, you can then select the amount of power you want to shift over, and then plug in both devices. Voila, instant juice.
Sammy also says its cable is teeny enough to 'fit in a pocket and purse'.
The Power Sharing cable ships in two colours, namely black or white, and retails for £15 - although Samsung says it's nearly out of stock, so get your bids in quick if you're keen.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Samsung Electronics introduced the 27-inch S27D590C Full HD Curved Monitor designed to enhance visually compelling entertainment content.

 Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor (2)

Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor Redefines the Viewing Experience
Designed to make multimedia content more engaging, vibrant and true-to-life

Samsung Electronics introduced the 27-inch S27D590C Full HD Curved Monitor designed to enhance visually compelling entertainment content. The advanced display creates a more immersive viewing experience through its curved design and innovative features.

Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor (4)
Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor
Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor (3)
Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor (5)
Samsung 27-inch S27D590C Curved Monitor (2)

“Our new, 27-inch curved monitor takes movie watching and gaming to new heights from the monitor’s unique curved screen and comprehensive entertainment features, to the incredible picture quality and the impressive sleek design,” said Seoggi Kim, Senior Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “The S27D590C embodies our singular focus to create a truly unforgettable entertainment experience.”

Ultimate Viewing Experience

The curvature of the S27D590C improves the viewing experience in comparison to traditional flat screen monitors as the screen boasts nearly uniform viewing distances from the center of the screen to its edges. This curvature matches the natural curve of the human eye and makes it easy for the viewer to completely immerse themselves in games and movies.

Additionally, the screen’s curvature creates a wider field of view and greater sense of depth, which enables viewers to enjoy a panoramic view and gives the screen a 3D-like effect. The 3D effect is particularly apparent when enjoying first-person perspective games, such as racing and flight simulators, avatar-based adventures and shooters.

With an ultra-wide viewing angle of 178 degrees both horizontally and vertically, the curved monitor’s vertical alignment (VA) panel optimizes the viewing experience from any position and minimizes picture distortion. In addition, the S27D590C’s Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratio technology delivers a high contrast ratio of 3000:1 and 350 cd/m2 brightness help produce life-like images with deeper blacks, pristine whites and brighter colors.

Optimized for Entertainment

The integration of enhanced entertainment features takes gaming and multimedia content experience to the next level. The monitor comes fully equipped with built-in 5-watt dual speakers that deliver high-quality stereo sound as well as a game mode function that can be quickly activated with a simple touch of a button. The game mode intelligently detects on-screen changes and corrects blurry images, enhances colors and alters contrast for improved visibility of in-game action.

The monitor has a clean and minimalist look, ensuring viewers enjoy the enhanced viewing experience of the curved screen without any distraction. Its sophisticated design makes pictures seemingly float in mid-air, captivating the viewer instantly. Users can also easily adjust the screen angle using the tilt screen function to minimize glare and reflection. The monitor also supports 100×100 mm VESA standard brackets for stress-free wall or table mounting.

- See more at:

Monday, 15 September 2014

The latest Samsung ad says iPhone 6 is 'imitated' Galaxy Note

Fresh out of Samsung's Apple-scorning ad department comes a new video tarring the iPhone 6 Plus as a Galaxy Note copycat.
The ad, titled 'Galaxy Note 4 - then and now', goes to great lengths to show off how the Korean firm did big screens first. 
The video begins by highlighting the early criticism of Samsung's sizeable phablet, although it comes across a bit sore.
"When the Galaxy Note launched in 2011, it was ahead of its time, and naturally when things are new and different, sometimes people aren't ready for them," explains the narrator.
"Experts saw the bigger screen are were like 'you look like you're talking into a piece of toast.' 'The note is an unwieldy beast.' Now it's not being dismissed by competitors, it's being imitated,' says Sammy, gleefully.
Samsung launched its original Galaxy Note at IFA Berlin in 2011, with the slate touting a 5.3-in screen. This was the same year Apple showed off its iPhone 4S, which offered up a much smaller 3.5-in display.
"Thing is, the Note is more than big," continues Samsung's go-to gusher. "It's about being more productive. More innovative. More fun."
The disembodied voice then shows off a selection of tweets that slam Apple's latest beefed-up blower.
"Is it just me or does the new iPhone 6 Plus look like a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (from 2012) - minus the stylus?" reads tweet #1.
Behold: Damian Holbrook - bringer of truth, spinner of wisdom, and assured sage...
"It's cute how Apple thinks their phablet is a fresh idea when Samsung has been excelling at them for years already #nextbigthing," goes tweet #2.
The video then winds down with a closing thought: "The new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - the next big thing is here."
This ad joins a raft of preceding campaigns targeted at Cupertino wares, including a six-video torrent last week that hit out at the recently launched Apple products.
What's more, an ad last month, titled 'Screen Envy', teased iPhone users for lackluster screen real estate.
The video sees two friends, each armed with their respective Apple and Sammy smartphones, chatting grapevinery on the iPhone 6.
Sammy also released an ad mocking the (then upcoming) iPhone 6's rumoured screen size increase, as well as a further two ads jeering at the iPad's display quality.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review: Hands-on

The Samsung Galaxy Note was the first device that made us take phablets seriously. With its larger screen and productivity tools aiming to help us consume, create and share content quicker, it set the benchmark for those with a liking for the larger things in life.

No surprise then that the Koreans have stuck with a winning formula for the latest version - the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Following on from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, improvements come in five lovely flavours with upgrades for the screen, camera, multi-tasking, battery life and voice functions.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Display

The Note 4 boasts a super sharp 5.7” Quad HD Super AMOLED display with 500 ppi pixel density.

Up close video playback and images look impressively sharp with good contrast and rich colours that’ll make this a good option for entertainment and gaming as well as work.

The adaptive display means the screen should hold visibility well in a good range of light conditions although we only got to see it in action under the glare of some Berlin conference room lights.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Camera and Photo Features

In addition to a 16 megapixel rear camera, the Note 4 packs a 3.7 megapixel front facing camera with an F1.9 aperture default 90 degree wide angle lens that claims to let in up to 60 per cent more light and has added selfie smarts.

It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a smartphone or a phablet, these days if you don’t help people taking a good selfie you’re nowhere. Luckily the Note 4 has this covered with 120-degree ‘wide selfie’ mode.

Much like snapping a panorama picture but this time of your own face, the selfie mode lets you get more of you and your surroundings into a single shot. A neat trick if the groupie is your snap of choice.

To make it all that little bit easier the rear-mounted heart rate sensor also acts as a trigger for snapping selfies and there’s optical image stabilisation there too to ensure good pictures from even the shakiest hands.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Features

So what’s new for the ‘it’s not a stylus’ S Pen? Well for a kick off, the Samsung super intelligent digi-pen has a new improved responsiveness that enables new handwriting features like a calligraphy pen and fountain pen.

Samsung has doubled the press sensitivity, enabled the S-Pen to read the speed, tilt and pressure of your virtual pen strokes more effectively. The results are effortless, free flowing hand writing that actually feels easier than it would if you were using the real thing. It’s the most impressive digital writing experience we’ve had to date.
To add a little more to the writing experience Samsung has also buddied up with Mont Blanc to create the first set of screen writers, the Mont Blanc Pic and the e-StarWalker.

For those who prefer to record rather than scribble notes, a small but impressive new feature is the Note’s new directional voice recording.

Three built-in microphones let you capture audio for up to eight people, remove background noise and isolate individual voices in playback.

Meanwhile the humble PC mouse makes a re-appearance in S-Pen form too. Recreating the left click actions you’d find on a mouse to select and copy words or pictures. A quick click of the button on the S-Pen enables you to select everything on a page that you draw a marquee around and it’s all shareable to other Note 4 apps.

Capturing, editing and organising real world scribblings is another trick the Note now has up its sleeve. With the new Snap Note function you can take photographs of notes on real world objects, let’s say on a whiteboard for example, and the Note will automatically adjust the angle to flatten the content and then let you erase the individual pen strokes, drawings or words you don’t need.

You can then clip and collate different cuttings, making it easier to capture information that’s been created outside of the virtual world of the Note.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Design and Build

In all honesty the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 looks much like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It comes with a very similar signature texture back in four supposedly fashion-friendly colours - frosted white, charcoal black, bronze gold and blossom pink.

From a design perspective, if you liked the Note 3 you’ll probably like the Note 4.
Samsung has added a cut metal frame and 2.5D glass that first appeared in the Galaxy S3 but has been toughened up. The Note 4 weighs in at 176g and is 8.5mm thin.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Battery Life

The Note 4 packs a 3220mAh battery and now features the ultra power saving mode that we first saw in the Samsung Galaxy S5, giving you the option to pair back your Note to all but the very basic functions to extend its battery life.

Added to that there’s new fast charging, that claims to give you up to 50 per cent battery inside 30 minutes – that’s allegedly 30 per cent quicker than the charge time we’ve seen on previous devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Verdict

It’s still a big phone so if you don’t like big phones this isn’t for you but with a range of clever new tricks, the Note 4 is probably the best productivity tool you can put fit in your pocket right now.  
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date: October 2014

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet
There was a time when Barnes & Noble was so big, so dominating, that even Tom Hanks managed to look like a jerk when he played a book-chain executive. But times have changed, and as people began to order their books online -- or even download them -- B&N found itself struggling to keep up. After losing a lot of money last year, the company decided it was time for a change: It vowed to stop making its own tablets, and instead team up with some third-party company to better take on Amazon and its Kindle Fire line. Turns out, that third party was none other than Samsung, and the fruits of their partnership, the $179 Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, is basically a repackaged version of the existing Galaxy Tab 4 7.0. Well, almost, anyway. The 7-inch slate comes pre-loaded with $200 worth of free content, and the core Nook app has been redesigned to the point that it actually offers a better reading experience than the regular Nook Android app. But is that a good enough reason to buy this instead of a Kindle Fire? Or any other Android tablet, for that matter?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review


As you've already gathered, this is the same hardware you'll find on the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4, which came out four months ago. Since we never got around to reviewing that, though, I'll do a thorough walk-through here as if it were a brand-new device. What's funny is that depending on how you look at it, you actually have seen this tablet before: The Nook(available in black and white) has the same textured plastic backing as other recent Samsung devices. As I've said about other products, like the Chromebook 2, the leathery plastic and chrome accents go a long way in making an otherwise generic device look more expensive than it is. As a bonus, the textured plastic doesn't pick up fingerprints, and it's pretty scratch-resistant, too. During my testing, I routinely tossed the tablet in a bag with pointy items like pens and keys, and it never emerged worse for wear.
The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a 7-inch device, so of course it's small, lightweight and easy to hold. At 0.35 inch thick, it's a little chubby compared to other small-screen slates, like the 8-inch Galaxy Tab S. Even so, it weighs just 0.6 pound, so let's not nitpick to the point where we're calling this thing "heavy." It's not. And besides, you might even find that those wide, flat edges make the tablet easier to hold.
For a budget device, the screen is actually quite lovely. Sure, the 1,280 x 800 resolution translates to a not-so-great pixel density of 216 ppi, but then again, what more did you expect on a $179 tablet? For the money, you get a bright panel with good viewing angles that's well-suited for reading and movie-watching. Even at half-brightness, I had no problems using it on a long rail trip, with daylight streaming in through the window next to me.
Flip the device around and you'll find the usual spate of ports: a headphone jack up top, a micro-USB charging socket on the bottom, a speaker and 3-megapixel camera around back and a 1.3MP one up front. The right edge, meanwhile, is home to a volume rocker, power button and IR blaster -- a fairly uncommon feature on a budget tablet. Nearby, you'll also find a microSD slot supporting cards up to 32GB. It's a shame, that -- you'll need every last bit of storage space to augment the device's skimpy 8GB of built-in memory, only 2GB of which is user-accessible.


The way Samsung and Barnes & Noble pitched the device, this is Samsung hardware mixed with B&N's Nook software. That's a little misleading: This is a Samsung tablet, with Samsung's user interface, but with some Nook apps sprinkled in, too. What we have here is the same TouchWiz experience -- everything from the icons to the onscreen keyboard to the settings menu is the same as on other Samsung tablets. Likewise, there's Samsung's signature Multi Window feature, allowing you to view two apps side by side. It even has Google Play access, so you can download all the apps you'd install on any other Android device -- yes, including Amazon Kindle. What's nice, though, is that unlike other Samsung tablets, this one doesn't include Sammy's intrusive My Magazine -- big panels that sit to the left of the home screen and can't be removed. I don't really like the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, as you'll see, but I do wish other Samsung products had this scaled-back UI.
Other than that, the biggest difference is that Sammy pre-loaded the Nook tablet with some key Barnes & Noble applications, including Nook Apps, Nook Library, Nook Search, Nook Settings, Nook Shop, Nook Today (a personalized recommendation engine) and Nook Highlights (useful if you choose to underline stuff as you're reading). You'll also find (removable) widgets for your library and the Nook Store -- in fact, both were waiting for me on the home screen when I booted up the device.
Additionally, Samsung and Barnes & Noble tossed in some free content -- a motley collection of books, magazines, movies and TV shows said to be worth $200. There's something for everyone here; the flip side is that much of it will probably register as junk. On your bookshelf, To Kill a Mockingbird sits alongside a Danielle Steel romance and the kid's title Pete the Cat. For film and TV, there's the pilot episode of Veep, among other shows, as well as The Lego Movie. (Fortunately, the Nook has a parental control feature allowing for different user profiles.) If it's magazines you're after, you have a choice of three: Us WeeklyNational Geographic and Sports Illustrated. Finally, you'll get $5 in Nook Store credit. It's a nice gesture, but it won't go far: Five bucks isn't enough to buy most e-books in B&N's catalog. Again, I'm sure the two companies meant well, but if it were a choice between extra content and a tablet with faster performance and longer battery life, I'd choose the latter in a heartbeat.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook screenshots

What's surprised me is that this is not a copy-and-paste of the regular Nook for Android app. Whereas the Nook application on my Moto X combines the library, search and store functions into one place, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook contains different apps for all those things. Whichever you use, the core functionality is the same: In addition to reading content, you can access the store, highlight passages and rate/review stuff. But here, the icons are different, and you don't always have to drill as far into menus to get what you want (see: font options, search, table of contents). Highlighting text is also easier in the Samsung app than the regular Android one. If anything, the UI feels more similar to Barnes & Noble's e-ink e-readers, which is funny because that would seem to be an entirely different class of product. Certainly, this is a more pleasant Nook experience than what you'd get on other Android devices. Something to keep in mind if you're already a loyal Barnes & Noble customer.
Beside the various Nook apps, Samsung installed a few other third-party programs as well, including Dropbox, Hancom Office 2014, Netflix, OfficeSuite 7 (the more robust of the two office programs here) and the game Rayman Jungle Run. You'll also find a shortcut to Samsung's own curated app store -- you know, should Google Play not be enough. Obviously, this is a bit of a mixed bag, but to each his own. You can at least uninstall anything that doesn't suit you.


Quadrant 2.04,22419,4956,13318,59119,655
Vellamo 2.01,0581,9331,5971,672N/A
3DMark IS Unlimited2,65914,171N/A12,431N/A
*SunSpider: Lower scores are better.
**Average score for the 7- and 8-inch models.
***Average score for the 8.4- and 10.5-inch models.
I only saw the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for the first time last week, but already I've heard Barnes & Noble reps say several times that the tablet is built for reading. To some extent, they're just stating the obvious: Samsung and Barnes & Noble built a tablet together, and it's supposed to offer a great reading experience, because that's what B&N is good at. Duh. But I also suspect the two companies have been trying to keep our expectations in check. Even for a budget tablet, this thing is kinda slow, and I think Samsung and Barnes & Noble both know it. Under the hood, it has the same internals as the regular Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 -- a 1.2GHz quad-core Marvell PXA 1088 processor and 1.5GB of RAM, a combination that sorely trails the competition in benchmark tests. The results were so bad, in fact, that I thought at first the numbers might be flukes. Indeed, I ran the tests many, many times, and the results were always far below other tablets, even the similarly priced ASUS MeMO Pad 7, last year's Nexus 7 and the 7-inch Amazon Fire HDX.
That sluggishness rears its head in real-word use, too. The accelerometer was often slow to catch up as I flipped the device from portrait to landscape mode and back. Web browsing is smooth enough, though the benchmarks suggest you'd have an even snappier experience on competing devices. Cold-booting the device takes a long 24 seconds, forcing you to wait through animated splash screens for both Samsung and Nook. Multi Window mode works, but it can take a second or two for a new app to load if you decide to replace one of the two panes. Even the Nook library -- the app that matters most -- was often slow to load up my bookshelf. Like other Samsung devices, the Nook was initially slow to minimize apps when I pressed the home button. Luckily, there's a solution, and it actually has to do with S Voice, of all things: Just go into S Voice settings and uncheck the box "open via the home key." That way, when you press the home button, the device won't wait to see if you'll do a double-press to launch the voice assistant. With that issue, at least, I was able to improve the performance.
The problem, too, is that for the folks buying this, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook isn't just for reading. If it were, they'd get a standalone e-reader and call it a day. But if you're going to get an Android tablet, particularly one with multi-window support and access to the Google Play store, you probably want to do more than just read e-books. You want to download apps. Stream movies. Browse the web. Maybe play the occasional game. The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook can do most of that, but not always smoothly. Another device -- even a competing budget tablet -- will probably feel faster.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook7:34
Microsoft Surface 214:22 (LTE)
Apple iPad Air13:45 (LTE)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10-inch)12:30
Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8-inch)12:22
Apple iPad mini with Retina display11:55 (LTE)
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX (7-inch)10:41 (WiFi)
Nexus 7 (2012)9:49
ASUS MeMO Pad 89:21
Kindle Fire HD (8.9-inch)9:01
ASUS MeMO Pad 78:36
NVIDIA Shield tablet8:23
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (2012)7:57
Nexus 7 (2013)7:15
Samsung says the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook's battery can last up to 10 hours. With light usage, that might well be true. But in our (admittedly taxing) video rundown test, the battery died out a few hours sooner. All in all, the tablet was able to last through about seven and a half hours of looping a 1080p video at fixed brightness, with social networks periodically refreshing in the background. Again, your mileage will vary, but it's worth noting that other devices can do better. ASUS' MeMO Pad 7 also got about an hour more than the Nook. Meanwhile, the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HDX managed nearly 11 hours in the same grueling test. Even the 2013 Nexus 7 gets about the same runtime as the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook -- and the performance is slightly better, too.


When the original Nook Tablet came out, it was easy to forgive some of its shortcomings, just because the price was fairly low. At the time, $249 was cheap for an Android tablet, especially when flagships routinely sold for $500 and up. This is a different time, though, and while $170 isn't bad for this new Nook device, it also faces stiffer competition. The ASUS MeMO Pad 7, for instance, has a lower price of $150, complete with an IPS display, double the internal storage, longer battery life, a microSDXC slot supporting higher-capacity cards and a quad-core processor that creams the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in benchmarks.
Meanwhile, Dell sells the $160 Venue 7, which has a 1,280 x 800 IPS screen and a higher-resolution 5MP rear camera. (I haven't tested that, so I can't vouch for the performance.) Finally, it comes with 16GB of storage, and can accommodate memory cards as large as 64GB. It goes without saying, too, that any Android tablet is capable of running the standard Nook app. So far as I can tell, then, the one thing the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook has going for it is Multi Window support, but what good is that if the processor is too weak to handle it?
If you're willing to spend more, the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HDX starts at $229 with 16GB of storage ($244 without ads on the lock screen). For the money, almost everything is better: The battery life is several hours longer, and the performance is stronger, thanks to a fairly up-to-date Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. The screen is sharper too, with 1,920 x 1,200 resolution and a tight pixel density of 323 ppi. You won't get Google Play access, unfortunately, but Amazon's own app store has grown steadily over the years, and its digital content selection is just as diverse as Barnes & Noble's.
Amazon even basically matches B&N on technical support: Whereas Barnes & Noble offers lifetime in-store service for its Nook tablets, Amazon's built-in "Mayday" feature lets you access live help anytime. Other than the fact that Amazon's tablet costs $50 more, it's hard to say why you'd get the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook instead. Because even if having access to Google Play is important to you, you'd still be better off with last year's Nexus 7. It costs $229, just like the Kindle Fire HDX, and it too has a 1,920 x 1,200 screen. The performance won't be quite as brisk as the HDX, but it should still be snappier than the new Nook tablet. The battery life is similar to the Nook as well, so you're not giving up anything in the way of endurance.


This should come as a shock to no one, but the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is only a good idea if you're already a loyal Barnes & Noble customer. Setting aside the fact that it comes with free content (a gimmick, if you ask me), this tablet is appealing because it offers a better reading experience than even the regular Nook for Android app. Until Barnes & Noble redesigns its standard Android application, this is the best Nook experience you're going to get, short of buying one of B&N's standalone, e-ink e-readers.
Even then, that's a stretch: It's not like the regular Nook app is so bad that you shouldn't consider other Android tablets. If you're not even a Nook customer, then there's definitely no reason to buy this. Sure, the design is nice, and the screen is bright, but the battery life is short compared to competing devices, and the performance is slower. Adding insult to injury, you get less built-in storage for apps, books, photos and music, and the microSD slot doesn't officially support cards larger than 32GB. For people who just want a budget Android tab, and don't care where they buy their books, you can do better, even for $179


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