Galaxy S4 – Spice Technologies Battery Case

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I need a battery case for my S4, I pretty much abuse the hell out of with every form of communication possible. At this stage a phone lasting more then 12 hours is a miracle with any phone, so this battery case was meant to do both jobs, I haven’t found the Mophie Case for the S4 yet, surprisingly they made one for the HTC One as soon as it was out which is pretty good.

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When I’m connected to the net my phone suffers immense abuse at my hands. My usage is summed up by the details below:

  • 20% WhatsApp – Family, Friends, & Work – Nonstop Chatter
  • 15% Gmail – Replying to All Emails – Personal & Work
  • 15% Instagram – Entertainment
  • 15% Feedly – Catching Up On Feeds
  • 10% Pinterest – Entertainment
  • 10% Google Plus – Going Through My Streams
  • 10% Tumblr – Catching Up On My Feed
  • 5% Twitter – Quick Read

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Initially the battery was ok, it did the job and helped it last more then 12 hours. After two weeks of use it started degrading in quality but at this stage it has gone down the drain. This is the battery case made by Spice Technologies, I know the name should have been an indication to the quality but I thought why not, but now I know. I saw on Amazon some other Generic battery cases with the same look, if you see it don’t bother with it, they are crap.

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Not just failing at charge my S4, it failed to protect it, a few days ago the phone fell with the case due to the fall it cracked the screen the phone fell out of the protection which was even worse since it came out on impact. This case was a piece of crash and luckily as of writing this review the Mophie case just came out, so I’m purchasing that and hopefully I will be able to fix my screen.
Rating:
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Samsung Galaxy S4 Cases

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Flip Cover Folio

This is the Case that comes from Samsung, a simple Folio with a small cut out for the screen at the top showing some quick information. It’s a simple cover which protects the screen from being scratched but doesn’t protect the body from damage.

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Honestly I thought this would be a better cover, but you just replace the back with a folio attached and I was a bit disappointed by it. The folio looks good but then its just disappointing that it doesn’t really improve the use of the phone expect that it gets in the way of the phone. You have to flip the cover off every time to use the phone normally which gets annoying quickly, this cover isn’t for everyone.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Spigen SGP Slim Fit Case

The Spigen cover turned out to be the perfect fit for my use. This is a full cover around the phone with the volume and power buttons working perfectly. The back is covered with a matt black plastic which makes it not slip like the normal back, and there is an opening for the Camera, Flash, and the speaker. The shape of the frame of the cover is perfect so you can really grip the phone easily and thats what I love about it, unlike the phone’s normal curved sides this gives it a bit of a better frame which makes it easier to grip. The only draw back is that not every USB head can fit into the bottom of this case.

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HTC One VS. Samsung Galaxy S4 – Battle Of The Titans

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With the release of the Samsung S4 & HTC One, everyone was running to get their hands on it, true 4G Android Devices which honestly make the iPhone 5 look like crap and its going to have to do a lot more then just another hardware design to beat these two machines. HTC have been having a hard time getting things right with Android after Samsung took the lead as the best, but I honestly think they have a great device on their hands with the HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was a smart move by Samsung, the S3 was so successful that they just improved on it slightly in regards to the design and packed it with the best possible hardware they could put together.

There were a lot of comparison and technical reviews, but I wanted a real use review of both machines to see which fit better and for what use. I wanted to really try both phones and after almost a month of having them both I can honestly say there isn’t just one conclusion, it just depends what you want because they are both really good.

Wifi

It’s very important for a device to have a strong wifi signal capability, it has to capture it and use it. And out of all the Android brands out there, I can say that Samsung has that down, they pretty much have everyone beat. And sadly the worst out of the bunch is HTC, I had the problem with the HTC One X and with the HTC One it’s signal always weaker then the S4 and sometimes it can’t see the Access Points.

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Screen

The Samsung S4 screen is huge, both screens are crisp and excellent touch interface. Honestly they are both excellent. If you want the bigger screen then the Samsung S4 is the way to go, but its a matter of preference. Both of them have amazing brightness and you can easily see them during day time.

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Design

Honestly hands down the HTC One wins in this department, if Apple wants to copy anyone for their next phone then it would be the HTC One. The Samsung S4 is 80% the same as the S3 just bigger screen and an aluminum frame which I liked. The one benefit to the Samsung S4 is that it feels lighter then the HTC One, but still it looks better then the S4. One aspect that I like about the S4 is the ability to add the a MicroSD Card, that is a huge win for the S4 in my case. You don’t need that much space on your phones these days but having the ability to is a huge plus.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Camera

HTC has the Ultrapixel which is sort like a supercharged 4MP which performs better then most camera phones with higher Megapixels. The HTC has the machine gun shot which shoots multiple shots and you can choose the best or keep them all which is a great feature. The Galaxy S4 has an amazingly crisp camera, they improved on their best selling Galaxy S3. And they included all the features of the Galaxy Camera with all the different settings and mode. The HTC One has the low light shots done perfectly, this is one thing that HTC has had down. Between the two I preferred the S4 camera, but it’s just barely better. And hands down both better then Apple iPhone 5.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Battery

This takes a bit longer to figure out but both Android devices lasted a full day of abuse. Nonstop wifi use, making phone calls and sending messages, they could both take it. And I know over time I will get the Mophie battery case for the either phone, and its a matter of time the case comes out for the S4 since its selling like crazy as expected.

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Interface & Feel

To be very honest you can go with either of them, this really comes down to preferences. I prefer the HTC One Sense Skin feel over the Samsung Touch Skin, since its less intrusive in this case. I always prefer getting phones from Google because its a clean installation and I can do as I please, but in this case I had to choose, and the HTC One was cleaner and crispier. I just get annoyed with Samsung trying to make things more watery with the TouchWiz Skin. Now for the Sound hands down the HTC One has amazing sound, by far much better then the S4 and it can easily blast music in a room, you wouldn’t think its a phone speaker.

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What I don’t like about the Samsung S4

I really hate the keyboard, had to get the Swift Keyboard so my fingers don’t feel like they are stretching across the screen. It really made me feel like I was learning how to type for the first time. The speaker is loud but not crisp, I wish they put it up front. The air gestures aren’t really that useful, I only like the finger hover when in the gallery for a preview but the rest makes you look crazy when your staring at the screen trying to make things move, if you have an S4 you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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What I don’t like about the HTC One

I hate the Blink Feed, wish there was a way to get rid of it since its taking a piece of the screen that I could use and you only have a limit of 4 screens. The Weak wifi signal is a breaker for me, I have to have good wifi on my phone.

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Which One

Choosing between them is tough but I had two deciding factors which were the Wifi Signal and Camera, which in this case the S4 was the better choice even though I really like the HTC One design. I picked up the Samsung S4 LTE from Al Babtain and got the HTC One from a friend. Honestly Babtain did a great job of making the phone available all over Kuwait and quickly, the HTC One was like hunting an endangered species.

Samsung S4 – It’s Out

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All this wait and finally this phone is out and it hasn’t changed too much in the looks department but the guts of the phone looks very impressive, its packing a punch. I think Samsung is taking a page out of Apple’s book, the design is fine but they did a major upgrade on the internal parts of the device. They are aiming to release it towards the end of April and knowing what happened last time, these are going to sell out quickly.

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Samsung S4 Specifications:

  • 5 inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
  • 1.9 GHz quad-core processor or 1.6 GHz octa-core processor (depending on market)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/ 32/ 64 GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850/900/1800/1900 MHz; 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850/900/1900/2100 MHz; 4G (LTE Cat 3 100/50Mbps) : up to 6 different band sets (dependent on market)
  • 13 Mega pixel auto focus rear camera with flash and zero shutter lag, BIS
  • 2 Mega pixel front camera, full HD recording @30fps with zero shutter lag, BIS
  • Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • GPS / GLONASS
  • NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, IR LED, MHL 2.0
  • 2,600 mAh battery

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What I like about the Hardware:

  • One hell of a camera!
  • Powerful CPU
  • Comes with Android 4.2.2
  • 2,600 mAh battery, so it will last a bit longer, which is more then the S3
  • Up to 64GB Memory
  • Has a MicroSD Slot, very few phones seem to have that these days
  • This time they made it in black, not blue!
  • With all those new hardware features and a bigger battery, its still ligher then the Samsung S3

What I Don’t like About the Hardware

  • Why is the LTE based on location, why don’t they have a multiband LTE like they do for the 3G/2G so it can work across all networks not just LTE in one region or another.

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I would like to talk about the camera since that is a feature which is essential to our media dependent lives and the ability to share pictures in all directions. Now this is an interesting features, the dual-camera setup on the S4 can be used in video chat like everyone else and photographs, so a pic of you and what you have your camera pointed at, and the camera as mentioned about in the Specs is 13MP which is very impressive, the S3 camera was great, this one looks to be even better. They even took features from the Samsung Galaxy Camera and set it up with the S4 which is a smart move on their part.

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You have several choices from the new Android Devices that are coming out:

  • Samsung S4
  • HTC One
  • Sony Xperia Z

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My opinion is that Sony makes good looking devices, but the OS is always lacking something and they NEVER update their phone, and that makes a huge difference, if you really like it then get, but other then that I would go with either the HTC One or the Samsung S4. If you like HTC then you will love the HTC One, very solid build, and they really worked on the software this time around. And Samsung as usual has come out with the full featured monster. If I had to describe HTC and Samsung’s software philosophies in a single sentence, it’d be this: HTC puts more emphasis on design, whereas Samsung packs in more features. Overall I love the metal design of the HTC One over the Samsung S4, but I like the camera use of the S4. When it comes down to these two its a matter of preference.

Link: AndroidCentral

Mohpie Juice Pack – Samsung SIII

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The one thing that I envy about the iPhone is the ridiculous amount of accessories made for it and one of those Accessories is the Mophie Juice Pack Case, doubles the battery and a very sleek design. And now with the new release of the iPhone 5 case, those are going to fly off the shelves this coming month and to my surprise to find that they designed one for the Galaxy SIII. A very clean design that more then doubles the phone’s battery. If you have an SIII then this case is a must, doubling the battery as well as a well designed protective case is just perfect. Honestly I wish there was one for the Nexus 4, but I don’t think they will make one since they only design for mass market, but at least they have it for the Galaxy SIII.

Specifications:

  • Rechargeable 2300mAh battery extender and protective case in one
  • More than doubles the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy SIII – Up to 270 hours of standby time. Up to an additional 6 hours of Talk Time. Up to 36 hours of additional audio playback. Up to an additional 9 hours of video playback.
  • Soft touch finish – Sleek design includes a new, soft touch, rubberized finish that mirrors the look of the Samsung Galaxy SIII
  • Quick recharging speed. Completely recharge phone in 1 1/2 hours.
  • 4 LED Light Status Indicator – Tells you how much “juice” you have left in the case for charging.

Price: $90

Link: Amazon

Apple vs. Samsung – Battle Of The Giants

The Verdict is out and Samsung took a major hit, for $1Billion and that could triple in Damages. The verdict didn’t take too long at all, the lawyers have been bickering for months on every little detail but Apple pulled the final punches and sealed the deal for Samsung. Lets not kid ourselves Samsung did copy a bit, but not so much that they would damage iPhone’s profit, and I think they should have paid some licensing fees, but $1Billion is a bit over the top in this case. But in reality Samsung has been the only major competitor against Apple and they have improved because of that, they may have copied a few designs initially but Samsung has developed its own line which has taken off and they are still a major contender in the market.

Apple is even looking to ban the sale of several of Samsung’s products in the US, The Verge.

This will have a bit of a slow down for some companies since a lot of companies (HTC, Google, Motorola, LG, …) are in court battles with Apple over different and similar patent issues. Some cases they will win and some they will lose, but I still think that Apple does see Android as a threat but they are more then confident of their product and I can’t blame them. Still I think that Android has reached a point where it is on par with Apple even with its defects, and Apple does have its own issues, but lets see where this verdict will take us next.

But you can’t get to the long run without paying attention to the short run. Samsung’s decision to ape Apple wasn’t the most graceful strategy in tech history. But faced with an emergency—a “crisis of design”—copying was the best Samsung could do. And it paid off handsomely.

This article in Pandodaily puts things in perspective, at how things developed in the telecom industry and how the major providers have changed drastically since 2007 and what might take place in the near future. Everyone remembers the battle between Nokia & Sony-Ericsson for supremacy, and those days have gone by so quickly, with different players at the table and Apple at the head.

Phonedeck

The cloud dashboard for your mobile phone

Simply enough its a service that lets you manage your phone calls, text messages and contacts from a remote browser. Discover a new way of managing your phone calls, text messages and contacts remotely from the browser. Currently its working for Android only, and I think some sort of integration with Nokia, not iPhone integration because of the way the application works.

  • Syncs your contacts, messages, and history to this application which you can control online
  • They give you lots of statistics about the people you call, who you call the most, the number of messages sent, if you like statistics you will love this program
  • The only thing to keep in mind is that they do have access to your phone, your messages, and you phone book which can be a bit freaky but it seems to be a legitimate company
  • The simple idea for me is that if my phone is somewhere in the same building but I’m on the laptop, I can see who is calling and answer or reply, its a very cool and simple concept

Link: PhoneDeck