Additional New Sensors on Galaxy S4 Give Extra Features

Samsung Galaxy s4
You may have read our initial reaction to the Galaxy S4 launched last week. A few things that went into this smartphone include a few new sensors that will truly revolutionize the smartphone world. With these three additional sensors, Galaxy S4 is capable of a lot of functions that other smartphones in the market are currently not. For instance, your Galaxy S4 can sense the temperature and pressure of the surroundings.

If you remember, we did cover the most widely available sensors on smartphones in another post. Those sensors are already there in all of the current smartphones. Samsung has gone one step further to add three more sensors—temperature, humidity, and IR gesture. These sensors can measure the temperature and humidity of the surroundings and lets you control the phone through air gestures. Let’s check them out. We don’t have yet the actual details of the sensors used on Galaxy S4, but here’s how they basically work.

IR Gesture Sensor

 

Have you ever played a game on Microsoft Kinect? Do you have any idea how Kinect works? Samsung Galaxy S4 and Microsoft Kinect have one thing in common—an IR gesture sensor. Kinect emits an Infrared beam to cover the room in which you are playing a game and this particular beam helps it identify your movements in order to replicate it within the game. The same principle is used in Galaxy S4.

In order to do certain basic functions on the GS4, you can use hand gestures without actually touching the phone. Tasks like accepting calls, viewing images on a gallery, changing tracks, etc., are possible with hand gestures.

hand gestures

 

Smart Stay Features

 

You know, there had been quite a bit of hype regarding the eye-tracking feature of Galaxy S4. This particular feature was supposed to help the phone scroll through what you are reading based on your eye movements. Well, that is implemented in a slightly different way on GS4. First of all, Samsung improved the Smart Stay feature it implemented in Galaxy S3 smartphone. Smart Stay makes sure the display stays on as long as you are looking at it.

The Smart Pause feature is implemented as an improvement over Smart Stay, making sure that your phone pauses a video you are watching if you look away. This has nothing to do with IR gestures. It is simply a software improvement on Smart Stay.

Another thing that got a bit of hype was the smart-scrolling, in which people believed the phone can scroll the display based on where you are looking on the screen. Well, not quite. The scrolling happens when you tilt the phone, and not when you look at the bottom of the screen. These features don’t make use of any sensors, only the front-facing camera.

Temperature and Humidity Sensors

 

Two other major improvements on Galaxy S4 are its temperature sensors and humidity sensors. We don’t have much information about the chips used to implement these features. Also, more information about how these features work and the apps available to take advantage of these features will be known once the device hits the market.

In order to gather temperature and humidity data, usually you need an attachment for your phone, such as this Netatmo Weather Station for iPhone, shown in CES. But within GS4, apparently you don’t need an attachment to make it into a weather station.

As a TV Remote (Samsung WatchOn)

 

Galaxy S4 has an IR blaster built in. This makes the smartphone capable of controlling your TV’s set top box in the form of a remote. Samsung is shipping an app called WatchOn that works with the IR Blaster feature to make Galaxy S4 your TV companion. Apparently it works pretty well:

In Conclusion

 

As you can see, Samsung Galaxy S4 is proving to be one of the most advanced smartphones in the industry today. Samsung has not only improved the Galaxy series in terms of hardware, but also software. We did look at quite a number of software improvements in our preview of GS4. These features should make the phone one of the most productive smartphones in the market.

Smartphone Manufacturers: Bashing Each Other: They Will Go to Any Length for Better Sales of Their Phones!

Have you noticed the tech CEOs and top executives are constantly engaged in bashing the competitors’ products? Our favorite tech companies and their executives badmouth the competitor products almost all the time, especially when the competitor is winning on several aspects. It is not peculiar, but quite a bit distasteful (on the part of the bashing company) considering that the winning company not only bashes back, but enjoys being silent in a debonair sort of way.

BlackBerry & Apple

 

One of the recent so-called opinions was from Thorsten Heins, CEO, BlackBerry, about—the obvious competitor, Apple iPhone.

Australian Financial Review conducted a minor interview with Heins, in what he mentioned this:

Apple did a fantastic job in bringing touch devices to market … They did a fantastic job with the user interface, they are a design icon. There is a reason why they were so successful, and we actually have to admit this and respect that.

History repeats itself again I guess … the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old.

What you can notice is that the CEOs are not basing their opinions on lies. They are definitely either too subtle about the device they are bashing or speak the truth in a mild way accusing the other guy.

Apple & Samsung

 

Apple has been really shaken to the core by the release of Galaxy S 4. Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing in Cupertino, Phil Schiller was very disturbed by GS4, it seems. He tweeted this:

That link from F-Secure he mentions in the tweet gives us some unsettling results about Android’s security. Here is a graphic that explains it.

mobile OS threat statistic

 

That is the statistic of threat families and variants identified in 2012 year end by F-Secure. One other thing that IDC identified is that about 70 percent of all mobile phone shipments in 2012 belong to Android, while only 19 percent belongs to Apple. It looks as if the more the phones the more the threats, something similar to the whopping number of security threats targeting Microsoft Windows for nearly two decades of dominance in desktop operating systems market.

Android is being targeted by the malware developers, and you really have to have one of these security apps installed.

Phil has taken care to show us this particular PDF. One thing that escapes one’s attention is the fact that this particular report was published back in December, and it is no longer news. Check this Google index snippet we found:

article publication date from Google

 

Why was Phil sharing that document right about a week before the launch of GS4? Not stopping there, On , right on the day of release of iPhone’s biggest threat, Schiller told to WSJ this:

Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn’t as good as an iPhone.

He didn’t stop there, on a separate interview with Reuters, on the same day, he said this:

With their own data, only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system. Over 50 percent are still on software that is two years old. A really big difference.

HTC About GS4

 

HTC was also seemingly disturbed about Galaxy S4’s launch, considering the fact that GS4 could outsell HTC One and remain on top of business, keeping HTC’s profits down despite their coming up with an equally great smartphone.

HTC President, Jason McKenzie appeared glad because he believed HTC has a better product than Samsung. If so, there is no reason for these comments from him, told to CNET:

Watching the presentation, it looks like they invested a lot in marketing instead of innovation.

HTC’s bashing doesn’t end there. In another interview, the Chief Marketing Officer of HTC, Benjamin Ho told:

With a continuation of a plastic body, and a larger screen being the most obvious physical change, Samsung’s new Galaxy pales in comparison to the all-aluminum unibody HTC One. This is more of the same.

HTC remains the best option for those people looking for the best technology wrapped in premium design. Our customers want something different from the mainstream, who appear to be the target for the Galaxy. Our customers want original cutting-edge technology, mouth-watering design and a premium feel from their mobiles, which is why we created the HTC One.

That is actually true, and it is almost time for me to put HTC One up at a spot in our list of most durable smartphones.

In Conclusion

 

It is definite that the release of Galaxy S4 has shaken several pillars. Every smartphone manufacturer and their mother has watched the show that Samsung put up in New York, and they are feeling heavily daunted. It is up to them to find a way to gather sales for their devices.

One or two specific aspects worth mentioning are these. First of all, Apple’s allegation of Android’s security threats is based on facts. Android does have more threats than any other smartphone operating system. It however is probably not going to deter people from purchasing Android devices. Look at the specific example of Windows vs. Linux and Mac OS X. For the better part of the last two decades, Windows did dominate the desktop world despite being the most erratic OS with many, many security threats.

Only one way that Apple can counter Android evolution is by coming up with better hardware, a thing that we have been asking them to do for quite some time. Apple doesn’t provide with iPhone a number of features that Android phones provide easily—NFC, USB-on-the-Go, etc. BlackBerry is almost the same. These platforms lack a number of things that Android provides, and yet they somehow want to command premium prices. The business model is either bound to fail or succeed. You know the luxury smartphone market still has customers.

HTC One is a great device, something that HTC should be proud about. Still, they are worried so much about GS4. There are a few aspects that GS4 rocks in, such as the screen and a number of Samsung-supplied apps. HTC probably doesn’t have a software division as vast as Samsung’s to come up with a lot of ideas that would differentiate its phones. However, it doesn’t mean the device is bad.

An important point that I will elaborate on an upcoming article is that the tech companies can do a lot better than badmouthing the competing products. These strategies have backfired more often than not. One thing that they can do is come up with good products with great features at good prices. Any company that is struggling should innovate badly to stay on the market; if not, it would be too late when they realize their mistakes.

An Addendum

 

Here’s a tweet I had posted on 14th: LG is spooked:

Buy-or-Not: Samsung Galaxy S IV Android Smartphone, A Detailed Preview

Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone

Yes, it came. One of the most anticipated smartphones of the year, in a packed event in Radio City music hall, Times Square, New York—Samsung Galaxy S IV, touting a huge screen, big camera, two quad-core processors, 2 GB RAM, and a number of software features.

proud JK Shin presenting the device

I suppose you could glean the excitement of the top Samsung executives from that image. If you haven’t watched the Unpacked event, then be my guest:

Now, we will check it out in detail and see how great this smartphone really is.

The Technical Specifications

Briefly, the known technical specifications are listed here for you to review, with notes about what we are going to discuss further.

Feature Galaxy S IV Notes
Display technology Super AMOLED Full HD Worth buying for
Resolution 1920×1080 px (441ppi) that is Full HD
Screen size 4.99 inch
Processor Exynos 5 Octa (two processors, 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 and quad-core ARM Cortex-A7); US version has Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.9 GHz Definitely amazing processors, but Exynos 5 will not perform as great as Snapdragon. We will see a few benchmarks below.
RAM 2 GB
OS Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Storage 16/32/64 GB with Micro SD up to 64 GB No difference from other major phones
GPU Depends on the SoC. Exynos—PowerVR SGX544; Snapdragon—Adreno 330
Connectivity Cat 3 LTE 100/50 Mbps
Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
BT 4.0
IR-LED
NFC
HTC One, Xperia Z also have Cat 3 LTE with same download/upload speeds.
Camera 13 MP, 2 MP
Battery 2600 mAh
Dimensions Height 136.6 mm (5.38 in)
Width 69.8 mm (2.75 in)
Depth 7.9 mm (0.31 in)
Weight 130 g (4.59 oz)

This particular update to the Galaxy S family is a wonderful, hot update indeed. We have some important aspects to share in this article. Let’s go to them feature by feature.

The Display

There are major aspects of display that we need to talk about. Current Galaxy S IV smartphone uses Samsung’s own technology known as Super AMOLED, and it uses the Full HD resolution on this device. Leave resolution out, and just think about the display technology.  There are few advantages and disadvantages that AMOLED has, which are detailed in this article, comparing AMOLED to the other major display technology, known as LCD IPS.

Now, there are two versions of Super AMOLED—the regular and Super AMOLED Plus. Galaxy S II smartphone released back in 2011 used Super AMOLED Plus, which is a much better technology than Super AMOLED, although Samsung has in time made improvements and adjustments.

The difference is in the use of the matrix array.  Let’s check it out. In Galaxy S II, the sub-pixel array of the AMOLED screen uses all three sub-pixels on every pixel—Red, Green, Blue. It is hence known as RGB matrix, and the display panel is known as Super AMOLED Plus. Its layout is represented below.

pixel-array

On the other hand, Super AMOLED uses something known as PenTile matrix. It doesn’t have RGB array, but RGBG array. That is, there are two types of sub-pixels—the one that uses RG and the one that uses BG. They are interlaced.

RG BG sub-pixel array as in Super AMOLED

The end result is that the RGBG pixel array takes up less power, but at the cost of slight pixelation.

Within S IV, the resolution is so high that you probably won’t see any pixelation, just as in the case of Retina Display. However, RGB sub-pixel array is better to look at than PenTile array, as the latter may tend to have a little green tinge to it.

High resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio of S IV means that you won’t have those black bars on the top as you find on iPhone 4, 4S, etc., while watching HD content. Since the 720p and 1080p HD videos are rendered in 16:9 aspect ratio, such movies and images will fill the screen in the most visually pleasing way.

An improvement of the display is a feature known as Adapt Display, which Samsung says improves the display by adjusting various things like brightness, contrast, etc. It probably is an improvement to the auto-brightness feature available in most smartphones. In this case, the display probably adapts brightness and contrast to give you better viewing depending on what you are viewing—a web page, an ebook, or a video. This is a very clever move by Samsung indeed, and could probably make better use of that 2600 mAh battery.

Chinese blog IT168 did publish a number of images here that compare Galaxy S IV to S III and Xperia Z.

display of S 4 compared to Xperia Z and S3
display of S 4 compared to S3

Remember the Xperia Z phone has Sony mobile BRAVIA engine and that is bound to give better resolution pictures. With Adapt Display feature, Samsung is probably trying to compete with Xperia Z.

The Performance

Talking about Galaxy S IV’s performance, I would like to point you to the truth behind the Exynos 5 Octa processor. The last time that we got to see an Exynos 5 processor was with Google Nexus 10 tablet that really performed well. The reason why Exynos 5 is important is that it is based on ARM Cortex-A15 architecture, and that is the in-thing at this time.

The importance of this processor—Exynos 5 Octa (aka Exynos 5410) is that it has two processors in it: one low-power, low-performance quad-core processor working on ARM Cortex-A7 architecture and a secondary high-power, high-performance quad-core processor based on Cortex-A15 architecture.

ARM has introduced a new way of saving power, known as big.LITTLE, in which the partners of ARM, who develop CPUs based on its architecture, can use Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15 cores side by side to save power.

The essence of these inner workings is that your S IV’s processor is not eight-core, but it is two four-core processors (which is not much different from S III, which has an Exynos Cortex-A9 quad-core processor). When you are working on processor-intensive tasks like gaming or productive works, the processor will switch to A-15 core and will give you maximum performance. When you are working on easy tasks like reading a document, the system will switch to low-power Cortex-A7 processor. In short, you will only see performance of a quad-core processor (albeit great performance), and not an eight-core processor as touted by some publications.

There is however something that we have to clarify for you. There are two editions of Galaxy S IV. One that ships in the US and one that ships elsewhere. Within the US, Samsung will release Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.9 GHz with the device. Elsewhere, you will get Exynos 5 Octa processor. We have recently gone through some benchmarking results published by Chinese blog, IT168.com. Here are the results that they identified, translated by GSMArena:

Performance benchmarks of Galaxy S IV

 

Vellamo benchmarks of Galaxy S IV

There is importance to these results. First of all, the international version uses quad-core Exynos 5 Octa, while others in the competition may use a Snapdragon processor, like HTC One that scored higher points using its Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7 GHz processor, which is much better performing than Exynos’s ARM Cortex-A15 core. Sony Xperia Z also uses Snapdragon, but it is S4 Pro, slightly older Snapdragon. But it also gives comparable performance.

In essence, we have to say Exynos 5 Octa is just a regular processor, and falls slightly short of performance as compared to Snapdragon’s 600, which is slightly more advanced than even Cortex-A15, as Qualcomm develops its own microarchitecture known as Krait, which has always been slightly more advanced than ARM’s parallel Cortex microarchitecture.

In the US, however, Galaxy S IV uses Snapdragon 600 quad-core clocked at an amazing 1.9 GHz, which will definitely make it the fastest smartphone available.

The Camera

If you watched the Unpacked event, given above, Ryan Bidan, director of product marketing, Samsung, has told us about the camera improvements on S IV. The phone uses 13 MP camera (if you read our article on camera technologies, you may realize there is no point to big megapixel counts).

Impressive things about this camera are some software improvements which allow you to take pictures with both the front-facing and main cameras at the same time, a feature known as dual-camera. With this feature, what you can do is take a picture and within the picture, in an inset, you can have your own picture embedded with the help of the front-facing camera.

dual camera on Galaxy S IV

Quite an amazing feature, indeed, but we don’t know if there is any requirement for that. It doesn’t get you into the context, just in an inset. And you can pick the shape of the inset. This is just a minor convenience feature that most people may not be excited about.

Another camera feature is ‘sound and shot’, which lets you insert a piece of sound to the captured image. Another major feature is the ability to remove unnecessary objects from the final shot.

In order to know the actual camera performance, we have to wait till the device hits the market to test it against other popular smartphone cameras.

Translation

One major feature of S IV is that it can work as your personal translator. S Translator app on the phone understands nine languages, and can translate what you speak into whichever language you want it to. This is a nifty feature for international travelers. However, we always come across the problems of software translators, most of which are not perfect. This is still one feature that really is very attractive.

The phone supports text to speech and speech to text, with which you can type in or speak and have the phone speak it in different languages.

Besides these new features, the phone has several major software improvements.

Software & Apps

The phone comes with the latest Android, 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which we know has been rolled out to Google Nexus series. On the top of that, Samsung has its own TouchWiz UI, which we have had the chance to experience in other Galaxy handsets. There are other major software improvements that Samsung has announced with this phone.

A few we are familiar with already are Air View and S Voice. A few new software features have been introduced to Galaxy S IV. One of them is Story Album that helps you create an album out of the pictures that you take. You can create themed albums with images and text, and Samsung has partnered with Blurb to make the story album available in print.

S Voice gets an improvement known as S Voice Drive, with which you can use S Voice to attend calls or read messages to you while you are driving. Another program called Smart Switch helps move data from other devices—Android, iOS, etc., to new Galaxy S IV.

Remember how BlackBerry 10 has your professional communications and personal communications separated? Samsung has introduced a similar feature into S IV, known as Samsung Knox, which separates personal space from workspace.

We have looked at only a few software features here, and there are quite a few (group play, video call enhancements, etc.) that we will get to experience when the device comes to the market.

Other Major Aspects

Connectivity with 4G LTE is possible on Galaxy S IV. It gives speeds of 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload, at LTE category 3. This is a hexa-band device, which means the device should be able to support a diversity of LTE band sets for different regions.

Other major connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. 802.11ac is still under development, and it will provide better bandwidth on your Wi-Fi networks. MediaTek’s MT7650 has HT80 Wi-Fi technology that supports up to 433 Mbps in Wi-Fi dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) in 802.11ac. This is probably what Samsung Galaxy S IV has on board.

The phone has Infrared (IR-LED) function, which makes it a TV-remote. Besides these, there are quite a number of sensors that allow such features as air gestures, Smart Stay, Smart Pause (pausing the video being played if you are looking away), etc. Also, the device touts 50 GB of Dropbox storage availability, as opposed to 20 GB given by HTC One.

The Build Quality

Samsung has finally gone with a polycarbonate back for Galaxy S IV, and this is a very welcome change. We have only got the chance to look at the device, and not touch and feel it, and it definitely looks strong and sturdy. Available in two colors, Black Mist and White Frost, the phone from the front reminds me personally of a larger Nexus 4 (did any of you feel so?)

The phone is quite thin and light, as compared to the previous Galaxy. At only 7.9 inches, the phone is very thin and light, probably thinner than almost all competing phones out there, save iPhone 5. HTC One is thicker at over 9 mm, while Sony Xperia Z is as thin as S IV at 7.9 mm.

The Buying Decision

The major competition to Samsung Galaxy S IV comes from two other smartphones that we reviewed earlier—HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. While all three phones have full HD resolution, HTC One has the smallest screen of 4.7 inches. Both Xperia Z and HTC One have similar connectivity options like LTE Cat 3 and other Wi-Fi options.

Samsung Galaxy S IV has two editions, the International edition which comes with Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa processor, while the US edition uses Snapdragon 600 processor.

When it comes to choosing the right smartphone, there are quite a few aspects to consider. Let me elaborate on the aspects that are in favor of Galaxy S IV here.

If you need a really large, gorgeous display, if you need a lot of control over the device through those gestures and extra sensors, if you need that carrier flexibility, then please go ahead and opt for Galaxy S IV.

If you are in the US, Galaxy S IV probably is the fastest smartphone available. On the other hand, if you are in the international market, I would suggest HTC One as it has better processing power, albeit not extremely noticeable. Also HTC One fits in your pocket better and has slightly better build quality.

In Conclusion

The price is another important factor that decides whether you need to buy a smartphone or not. With these features that Samsung developed, the price is not going to be small, but it should still be better than iPhone 5, I suppose. As Apple’s product has long lost its glamor, I would suggest you go for some great Android devices. Samsung Galaxy S IV is definitely worth it to buy, and it is coming to a huge market of 155 countries and 327 mobile carriers.

As you probably remember in our review of best smartphones, we have taken Galaxy S III as the champion in mobile carrier market. Galaxy S IV could probably replace S III in that list. Our recommendation to you is if you are a fan of large screens and Galaxy S series in particular, then don’t hesitate and get your hands on this wonderful smartphone when it comes to the market by the end of April.


[Update: ]

News has come that Samsung is at work on a technology that enables the Exynos Octa processor’s all eight cores to be used at once. The improvement is expected by the fourth quarter of 2013. We have mentioned earlier in the review that these eight cores do not actually work together. The four cores in Cortex-A15 technology work when the performance has to be high, and the other four A7 cores work when the performance doesn’t have to be high and the power has to be saved.

New solution for heterogeneous multiprocessing developed by Samsung will enable all eight cores to work simultaneously, while saving power and improving performance. At that time, S4 could indeed be one of the fastest smartphones we have available.

The Best Smartphone in the Market That You Can Buy Right Now

I am not talking about the smartphones that will be released in the coming months or days or the ones that are no longer available, but the ones that are in the market right now. You, as a smartphone customer, are looking for various factors to determine your purchase. Some of us want to get our work done quickly and effectively. Some of us want to read books and watch movies, and are looking for amazing screens. Some of us are interested in amazing build quality. Some others want to have their phones work everywhere, in all networks, in all plans.

Well, there is a recipe for each requirement, but not one that satisfies all, I am afraid. Let’s take a look at the best of the lot in this post. Also, one thing to note, these smartphones are the ones with highest configuration out there. We have left out the low performance models completely.

1. The Most Productive

 

The answer is simple. Apple iPhone. With over 750,000 apps available, iPhone has the one app ecosystem that has everything you need to get your work done. Some of you may be more inclined to have a larger screen for business purposes, but you cannot get the best app ecosystem to go with it.

Apple iPhone 5

 

Android is close behind in this race, and Google Play has 655,530 apps.

With an app ecosystem that works exceptionally well with iPhone’s hardware, Apple is well in the lead in the most productive smartphone category.

You can get iPhone from the Apple store, Amazon, or Best Buy.

2. The Biggest Screen

 

Among the smartphones, excluding the phablets of over 5 inches, the largest screen by far belongs to HTC’s Droid DNA, the Verizon Wireless’s exclusive Droid family mobile phone. The 5 inch Super LCD 3 screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 2. It has amazing pixel density of 441 ppi, which makes it Full HD (1920×1080 px). It is possible that Droid DNA has the best screen of all smartphones in the market today. One competitor is Galaxy S3, in which Samsung uses Super AMOLED technology, which is a low-power display technology.

HTC Droid DNA


Buy directly from Verizon Wireless

Outside the Verizon Wireless network, HTC Droid DNA takes the shape of HTC Butterfly. The hardware specifications are exactly the same. You can get it from Amazon for 899 dollars.

3. The Best Camera

 

In this category, all of the major camera shootouts have given us one fine contender. Competing with all of the other major smartphone cameras in the low light shootouts, Nokia Lumia 920 emerged successful as the best camera smartphone.

Nokia Lumia 920

 

Windows Phone device, Lumia 920’s 8.7 megapixel camera shot this image in the dark. On the right, you can see the same image shot with iPhone 5; click on them to enlarge.

low light on Lumia 920low light on iPhone

 

This particular image comparison was done by Gizmodo recently. You should check it out. It has some amazing shots done by other major smartphone cameras.

You can buy Lumia 920 from Best Buy.

4. The Fastest Smartphone

 

It is extremely difficult to pinpoint a really fast smartphone, out of this sea of phones we have here. The speed is measured differently in different platforms, and the fastest phones are bound to have low ratings on some benchmarks. We have gone through quite a number of benchmarks, with our list of the fastest smartphones, and have been able to pinpoint one device that stands out with a more consistent performance in these benchmarks.

The one thing that makes this happen for this device is its processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz quad-core, arguably the fastest smartphone processor today. I suppose you already guessed the device we are talking about is LG Optimus G. And since the hardware is almost the same on Google Nexus 4, we have to say there are two devices in this category.

LG Optimus G

 

LG Optimus G has scored 2147 points in Geekbench, while the close contenders include Galaxy Note II with 1926 points, Galaxy S3 with 1717 points, iPhone 5 with 1601 points, etc.

The close contenders for this smartphone include iPhone 5 with amazing top results in graphics benchmarks and JavaScript benchmarks done with GLBenchmark and SunSpider; HTC Droid DNA that came with a slightly better score in AnTuTu benchmarks (20083 of Droid DNA vs. 19078 on Optimus G).

One important thing to note is that almost all of the top smartphones in these benchmarks were using the same processor—Snapdragon APQ8064 quad-core clocked at 1.5 GHz, the same on Droid DNA, Nexus 4, and Optimus G.

LG Optimus G can be purchased from Amazon

 

5. Best Carrier Options

 

With the idea in mind to find out the smartphone with the best carrier option (you know, including 4G LTE and all) we went into the top US mobile carriers—AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile. We wanted a phone that is available in all networks and at a reasonable price. A lot of the first contenders were already gone, such as Nexus 4 (no LTE), Droid series (only in Verizon), etc.

Samsung Galaxy S III

 

It seems that Samsung Galaxy S3 is the clear winner in this case.

Galaxy S3 is not only available in all of these carriers, but also has the best prices as compared to others like iPhone 5.

You can get S3 from Amazon here.

6. The Build Quality

 

I don’t need to speak too much, too loud about this particular aspect. As there are more phones coming up with amazing build quality; plastic players moving toward premium, metallic designs; and some OEMs innovating in the waterproof front, it seems build quality is important.

One of the upcoming models that will sell for its build quality is HTC One, but we are not going to talk about that here. We are going to talk about Nokia’s Lumia 920 that survived drop tests so well that it had to be thrown forcefully to break. Have you ever driven a car over your Lumia smartphone? If not and you are afraid, check this out:

Thanks to Phonebuff.com for this video.

With polycarbonate back and thicker Gorilla Glass 2 at the front, the smartphone is unbreakable. You can read our list of the most durable smartphones here.

Conclusion

 

Is there any other aspect that we missed? Oh yes, the price. I believe that ship has sailed since we have already mentioned this is a showdown of high-end smartphones. All of them listed here are the flagship models from the respective companies. It is quite nice to say Lumia 920 coming up in two separate aspects. It is a simple truth that iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 are not the only choice customers have these days.

If you continue to read our blog, you will come across amazing new gadgets to buy. In this review, it is quite impossible for me to pinpoint one of these phones. Each is good in its own way.

If you want to add any other aspect to the list, please let us know through the comments, and we may do just that.

How-To: Reset Your Smartphone of Any Operating System : Windows, Android, iOS, or BlackBerry?

There are a few instances when factory-resetting your smartphone is a necessity. Virus attacks, compromised data, device getting extremely slow, etc., are some of the reasons. It goes without saying that factory-resetting should be done only if there is no other go. The reason is that it will completely erase any information you have on your device—your contacts, files, apps, music, videos, settings, etc. In effect, it simply takes the mobile back to how it was when you bought it.

If you are in dire need to reset your device, simply follow these guidelines.

1. If Your Phone Is Android

 

You can simply follow the menu option, Settings->Personal->Backup & Reset. Over there, you will find the Factory Reset option at the bottom. This is for Android versions 4.0 and onwards (Ice Cream Sandwich and later). The devices supporting this include Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nexus 7, etc.

Jelly bean factory reset

 

If you are still using an older version of Android, such as Gingerbread 2.3 or 3.0 Honeycomb, then go to Settings->Privacy Settings->Factory data reset

Gingerbread factory reset

 

Gingerbread factory reset

 

Alternatively, we have been able to verify a specific code that will help you reset your phone. Do not use it if you are not trying to reset your phone. The code is *#*#7780#*#*. In order to do the hard reset (which will reformat the entire internal memory and reinstall the OS), use the code *2767*3855#. Use extreme caution in using these codes.

2. If Your Phone is Apple iPhone

 

You need to connect the iPhone to the iTunes desktop application in order to restore the phone back to factory settings. If you wish to back up the data, you need to do this step. The factory reset can be done on all generations of iPhones.

First of all, connect it to your computer with the USB cable. If you need a backup of the data, sync the device with iTunes software. You can find the ‘restore’ button on the top of iTunes. Click on it.

You will find two options, ‘Update’ and ‘Restore iPhone’. Select the latter to do factory reset.

Alternatively, you can do the factory reset right from within the iPhone interface. Go to Settings->General->Reset->Erase all content and settings.

iPhone factory reset

 

iPhone reset in settings

 

factory reset options in iPhone

 

The Reset settings menu also gives you a number of other options for you to choose from. If you don’t need to erase all the data on your phone, select one of the other options here.

iphone asks for passcode before reset

 

iPhone erase iphone option

 

The phone may ask you for a passcode if you have set one for its protection.

3. If You Are Using Windows Phone

 

If you have a Windows Phone device from Microsoft, something like Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC Windows Phone 8X, then follow these steps.

Go to Settings from App list and tap ‘About’. You will find ‘reset your phone’ option in here.

Windows phone about phone option

 

This will work on both Windows Phone 8 and 7 devices. The devices that support this include Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X, Lumia 820, Samsung Ativ S, HTC Titan, Samsung Focus, Dell Venue, LG Optimus 7, etc.

4. If You Have BlackBerry 10

 

Recently released BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices can be reset to factory settings in this way. Do a swipe-down from the top of the display and select Settings. Go to the option labeled ‘Security and Privacy’. Here, tap the option, ‘Security Wipe’. It will ask you to enter the word ‘blackberry’ before you can reset the phone.

security wipe on BlackBerry Z10

 

Alternatively, you can search for this particular setting within Z10; just search for ‘security wipe’ and you will get the option.

Conclusion

 

Doing a master reset (another term for factory reset) is a slightly extreme thing to do. If you have been using your smartphone for quite a while, you may have a lot of information stored on it, including contacts, apps, multimedia files, personal settings, etc. With a simple factory reset option, you will trash everything irrecoverably. Hence, it is advised that you do this only when it is absolutely necessary.

[Image: IDG, CNET, Brighthub, Gadgethelpline]