Mayday did work as advertised. After pressing the call button, I was connected with an Amazon customer service rep named Tara within a few seconds. Tara was super polite and helpful, and she showed me how she can doodle on my screen just like NFL announcers do when they’re drawing over an instant replay. I asked Tara some basics like how to check if my apps were up to date and how to find content stored on my device. I couldn’t stump her, and she walked me through everything, drawing on my screen and showing me what she was about to do before doing it.
Of course, the irony here is that tablets are supposed to be intuitive, user friendly, and simple. You shouldn’t need a helper on your screen to tell you how everything works if the device was designed properly in the first place. But hey, technology is scary for a lot of people! And it’s pretty cool that Amazon has invested so heavily in customer service that it has real humans waiting to help you out 24/7 at the push of a button. That’s much better than running down to the Apple Store and waiting forever for a Genius to help you.
The Kindle Fire HDX is a great tablet if all you want to do is consume content from Amazon, but it’s still pretty weak beyond that. Without the Google services you find on other Android tablets, you’re stuck with Amazon’s apps for email, calendar, and Web browsing. Those apps are satisfactory, but not nearly as robust as what you can get from Google. For example, the Amazon email app can sync with your Gmail account, but search and other functions are still pretty limited.
The tablet’s hardware is still top notch though. The HDX’s 7-inch screen is sharper than the relatively weak display on Apple’s iPad Mini, so videos, games, and text look much better. From the front, the HDX looks nearly identical to last year’s version, but Amazon has changed up the design on the back, giving the tablet an angular design that fits comfortably in your hands. The power and volume buttons have also been moved to the back, which I found pretty cumbersome to use. Even after a week of using the HDX, I still found myself accidentally pressing the power button instead of one of the volume buttons and vice versa. It’s a poor design choice. Battery life was pretty good at about six or seven hours per charge, but still much less than the 10 or so hours you get with the iPad Mini.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 camera, takes solid, rather than ground-breaking, photos – it’s a match for most rival phones, but nothing more. But the camera app’s features, which we’ll cover in a moment, are a little more interesting.
First, however, image quality, and in less than ideal lighting the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera, like many smartphones before it, is far from an ideal option. It struggles to stay focussed and the results often lack detail.
Samsung’s claim of zero shutter lag is a bold one and one that, in practice, is just a little wide of the mark. While it is one of the faster smartphone snappers currently doing the rounds, there are still times when we felt it was holding out on us, pausing for just a fraction before capturing the scene.
Conversely, burst mode can be a bit quick on the draw, with the S4 camera appearing more eager to rattle off a selection of 20 mediocre, or in fact completely useless, shots instead of taking the time to focus and get the correct exposure.
Despite these slight gripes, on the whole the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera is a strong performer with detailed colours and contrast in good light. Some shots are a little dull and underexposed at times, but they can be edited direct from camera app, with a number of customisable shooting settings so you can tweak to get the best picture possible. As is usually the case with smartphone snappers, the S4 camera’s zoom function is best avoided.
There’s a 2-megapixel camera on the front, up from a 1.9-megapixel one on the S3. It’s not as good as the main camera, obviously, but it’s one of the stronger on the market for making video calls or taking shameless selfies.
In a similar vein, the S4 is not just adept at stills photography, it also shoots 1080p Full HD video from both its rear and forward facing cameras. With strong colour management and impressive image stabilisation, videos shot with the S4 are strong and unlike some handsets encourage continued use.
These standard photographic features are not where the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera shines, however. For that you need to dig a little deeper into the camera modes and utilise a selection of software options that really help give the S4 an edge.
Again another of the Samsung Galaxy S4’s most publicised features is not one of its best, or most original for that matter. A feature that has appeared on recent LG handsets, Dual Shot allows for a picture to be taken with both cameras simultaneously, creating a picture-in-picture result.
You may struggle to find reasons to use it, but in testing it works well and as expected, with a number of framing options allowing for a considerable amount of customisation.
A feature that is sure to appeal more to the teenage market than older audiences, the Dual Shot mode is perfect for creating more personalised postcards and is sure to be seen popping up at gigs, sporting events and as a holiday must.
A brilliant addition to the handset and one of our favourite Samsung Galaxy S4 features, the camera’s Eraser mode allows you to remove unwanted ‘photobombers’ and aimless walkers from what would have been good photos.
The Eraser mode captures a five frame burst and automatically highlights any moving content, providing you with the option of deleting it, or keeping it within the shot. This feature wowed us, repeatedly removing unwanted passers-by and leaving us with seamless shots untarnished by thoughtless wanderers.
It’s just a shame you have to activate it manually as that requires foresight few have.
Not quite as successful is the Drama mode. Supposedly able to capture multiple images of a moving subject while retaining a single image of a static background, in use this proved quite problematic and far from that one-off moment capturer we would hope for. It often flashes up error messages around subjects not moving enough or moving too much, and struggles to fully focus on moving targets, repeatedly leaving little more than blurred blobs dotted across an image.
Getting back on the right track, Sound & Shot is a simple yet appealing addition to the Samsung Galaxy S4’s already generous collection of camera features and shooting modes.
A great idea for sporting events, gigs, interactive postcards, and those wanting to capture the true essence of a moment, Sound & Shot abilities allow a still image to be paired with a nine second audio clip.
Although this feature capitalises on the S4’s strong base photographic capabilities and sound quality of captured clips is strong, sharp and clear, , it cannot be used in conjunction with Dual Shot, a combination that would have been sure to further enhance the overall experience.
The Nexus 10 is a collaboration between Google and Samsung. The tablet was announced in November of 2012. After months and months of trial and error we finally managed to grab a Nexus 10 and now here is our full review. In this review we will determine if the Nexus 10 is indeed one of the best Android tablets on the Market or not.
The Nexus 10 is Google’s first 10″ tablet and it’s a stunner! As we get further into the review I will talk about both the hardware and the software of the Nexus 10. During this review we will take a look at the following points of the tablet:
- Hardware and design
- Battery life
Hardware and design
The Nexus 10 uses plastic as its main build component and the build quality of the tablet is just superb. The Nexus 10 has the most practical 10 inch tablet design ever. Samsung and Google has designed it in a way that a person can easily hold it in one hand and operate it from the other. The weight of the tablet is also evenly distributed. On the back, Samsung uses a rubberized material which makes the Nexus 10 much comfortable to hold and gives the tablet a smooth feel, plus adds a lot of grip. The front of the tablet is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and underneath it a stunning 10.1 is Super PLS display with a resolution of 2560×1600, giving it a pixel density of 300 PPI. Making the Nexus 10 the highest resolution tablet on the market, even higher than Apple’s iPad with Retina Display (264 PPI).
On the front of the Nexus 10 you will find a 1.9 Megapixel front facing camera which is capable of shooting up to 720p HD video and 2 stereo speakers which produce some outstanding results. On the top of the tablet, there is a Power/Lock button and a Volume Rocker. On the left side of the device you will find a MicroUSB port for charging/syncing and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right side of the device you will find a MicroHDMI port. And a Magnetic Pogo pin charger is located on the bottom of the Nexus 10.
The dimensions of the Nexus 10 are 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9 mm and it weighs 603g. The tablet is available in two storage configurations, 16GB and 32GB. The storage can’t be expanded by using a MicroSD card and there is no 3G/4G connectivity.
The Nexus 10 runs on the latest and greatest from Google, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Android 4.2 brought a lot of new features, like Multiple user support, Gesture Typing, Notification Settings, Daydream and the amazing Photo Sphere Camera. The stock Android experience really shines on the Nexus 10 as the OS is completely optimized for its high resolution display, so everything looks crisp and clear.
Google did some alterations to it’s Tablet UI in Android 4.2 and made it unified with it’s 7″ Tablet UI and the Phone UI. The traditional navigation bar is at the bottom but the notification center which used to be in the bottom as well has been shifted upwards, like in the Phone UI. I think this was a really nice move by Google as new users can easily adapt to the Tablet UI now.
The Nexus 10 packs a dual-core (Cortex-A15) Samsung Exynos 5250 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, Quad-Core Mali-T604 GPU and 2GB of RAM. At first, I thought the device would lack on performance due to the tablet only having a dual-core CPU but I was wrong. The Nexus 10 proves that Android really doesn’t need more than 2 cores. I was really pleased with the overall performance of the device.
Multitasking is just excellent on this tablet. I opened 12-15 apps (including 2 memory intensive games) but I got no lag whatsoever. Transitioning between opened apps was really fast and smooth. The gaming experience was really amazing on this super high-res tablet too. Thanks to Project Butter, the UI was fast and responsive. The only problem I had was the launcher redraw issue. Whenever I used to close an app and go back to my home screen the launcher used to redraw, this was very annoying. This issue might get resolved by a software update in the future.
I also ran some benchmarks on the Nexus 10. Below are the results:
Antutu = 13639
Quadrant = 4555
Cf-Bench = (17382, 6637, 10935)
The Nexus 10 features a 5 Megapixel camera sensor which is capable of shooting 1080p video at 30FPS. The camera isn’t all that great and I have seen much better camera sensors on tablets. Actually, I was a bit disappointed. The Nexus 10 can capture acceptable images in good lighting conditions or with flash but in low light conditions it’s just terrible, a lot of noise in the image. Same goes with video recording as well, the sound quality was good though. Below are some images taken with the Nexus 10:
The Nexus 10 packs a huge 9000 mAh Lithium polymer battery and it certainly needs the huge battery to power the stunning high-res display. The battery life is really impressive on the Nexus 10, I easily managed to get 7-8 hours of video playback and the standby time on this tablet is just magnificent, even with WiFi turned on the whole time.
Yes, The Nexus 10 is indeed one of the best Android tablets in the market right now. The Nexus 10 features a stunning super high resolution display with an impressive battery life. The tablet packs a lot of raw power and gives an outstanding gaming experience as well. Camera and the lack of expandable storage are the only cons of the Nexus 10. Also, the device will be among the first ones to receive the latest Android updates and at such a low price, it’s a steal!