Samsung Galaxy S4 Review
Connect with us

Android

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review

Published

on

The introduction of the Galaxy S4 flagship by Samsung is one of the more polarizing releases recently from the Android smartphone-maker. On one hand, Samsung has fine tuned the Galaxy S3 and added some 160+ new features on the Galaxy S4, including welcomed additions such as a larger battery, refined styling, larger and higher resolution display, and a speedier processor that can keep up with the big flagships. On the other hand, despite all the new additions, some in the tech industry are mockingly referring to the Galaxy S4 as the Galaxy S3S, a name that beckons to Apple’s marketing–like the move from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S–showing that not enough has changed between generations and that the Galaxy S4 is basically a Galaxy S3 with slightly more under the hood. In this review, we’re going to examine both sides of the equation and see if the Galaxy S4 would be as compelling an upgrade to existing Galaxy S3 owners as it is to those who are looking for an Apple alternative in the space.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Design

To behold is to believe. While not much has changed superficially between the two generations of Galaxy S flagships, there is definitely a pleasing feeling when you hold the Galaxy S4. It’s trimmed down by just a hair and Samsung has put the Galaxy S3 on a diet so you do get a slightly thinner, slightly lighter, and slightly less curvaceous design moving up a generation, but the difference feels nice and the subtle redesign looks elegant and modern. Whereas the white Galaxy S3 unit had a smooth white coat and the Pebble Blue Galaxy S3 had a faux metallic finish, the Galaxy S4 makes due with a fine checkered motif that’s very subtle on both the black and white editions.

White Galaxy S4 left; Pebble Blue Galaxy S3 right

White Galaxy S4 left; Pebble Blue Galaxy S3 right

The fine checkered imprinting is reminiscent of the textured rear battery covers on older Galaxy S phones. Unfortunately, like the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s filled in the design with a smooth, high gloss finish, meaning that you won’t get the texture to aid in ergonomics and held reduce the phone from falling out of your hands. That said, the more flat and less curvy design does help in maintaining a solid grip.

The bellowed out sides of the Galaxy S3 has been replace with a flat metal-looking band that surrounds the phone’s sides, something that reminds us of the design of the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and even the iPhone 4’s steel band, minus Apple’s infamous Antennagate situation.

Metal-like band wraps around the phone and provides structural support.

Metal-like band wraps around the phone and provides structural support.

Samsung is continuing its trend with plastic designs with the Galaxy S4. I don’t have any qualms with this decision unlike others in the media who have been more critical of Samsung given that rivals such as Sony Mobile Communications and LG have moved to more premium glass materials while HTC is employing a premium zero-gap unibody aluminum construction. In the end, the use of plastics means that the phone will be better to handle drops than glass and won’t show scuff as easily as metal, and the thin removable plastic battery cover gives me access to a removable battery, an easily serviceable SIM card slot that doesn’t require any SIM ejector tool, and user-accessible expandable storage through a micro SD card where I can add up to a whopping 64 GB micro SDXC card.

Removing the rear polycarbonate plastic battery cover and you have access to the battery, micro SD memory card slot, and micro SIM card. On Sprint, the micro SIM is for global roaming on GSM networks and the SIM card isn't tied to the CDMA/EVDO/LTE service used domestically.

Removing the rear polycarbonate plastic battery cover and you have access to the battery, micro SD memory card slot, and micro SIM card. On Sprint, the micro SIM is for global roaming on GSM networks and the SIM card isn’t tied to the CDMA/EVDO/LTE service used domestically.

Hardware

Display. When you’re looking at the Galaxy S4, the thing that strikes you instantly is the large display and super skinny side bezels. By going the route of Apple’s iPad mini and slimming the bezels, Samsung was able to cram more screen in the same footprint as the Galaxy S3–it’s a nice design feat and makes for an attractive device.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe screen itself is a gorgeous display. We said that about the 720p HD Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S3, but moving to the 1080p Full HD Super AMOLED screen of the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s made some big improvements. Pixels disappear on this 441 ppi resolution display, while colors are still not quite as accurate to life as that on a Super LCD display, Samsung is using an adaptive display technology to automatically adjust the colors and saturation of the display based on what you’re doing on the phone to give you the best display settings based on your task.

And though the minimal bezels are nice, using the device with barely any bezels is an entirely different story. In my testing of the Galaxy S4, usability did suffer a bit when compared to the Galaxy S3. If you’re holding the phone in portrait orientation and are wrapping your fingers around, your fingers may touch the bezel and cause inadvertent taps on a hyper-sensitive screen. Unfortunately, Android doesn’t have the same algorithms that the iPad mini has to know if you’re just holding the phone on its thin side edges or if you’re actively trying to tap on the screen.

The screen sensitivity is also more pronounced than the Galaxy S3–Samsung’s added a number of features including the Lumia 920-borrowed screen where you can use the display with gloves on and still be able to touch and tap with pleasure. And secondly, if you’re holding the phone in landscape, you’ll end up hitting some of the side capacitive touch buttons which are placed very close to the bottom edge of the phone in portrait orientation. This is a time when I wished Samsung would follow Google’s Nexus lead and move the buttons onto the display, sacrificing a little bit of screen real estate for button placement.

You do get a nice addition with the display, however, as now you can hover over content in a number of apps to get more detailed information, similar to hovering your mouse over content on a PC. We’ll discuss this later in depth later in this review.

CPU, RAM, Network Options.  Powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, all U.S. variants of the Galaxy S4 eschews Samsung’s highly coveted Exynos 5 Octa CPU in favor of Qualcomm’s internals, a decision that we heard was made due to shortages of the Exynos parts. Still the Snapdragon 600 was speedy and we noticed no slow downs in everyday tasks, video watching, streaming content with Adobe Flash in the browser, and playing some popular games.

The model that I tested is Sprint-specific, and it’s designed for CDMA, EVDO, and Sprint’s 4G LTE bands in the U.S. My Sprint model does have a micro SIM tray that’s accessible, unlike the Galaxy S3 from that carrier, signaling that this may be a world-phone from Sprint that supports GSM/3G UMTS networks while roaming abroad as well. Sprint has said that it won’t be tying its LTE service, unlike rival CDMA carrier Verizon, to a SIM card and that its SIM cards are purposed mainly for world roaming.

Users who choose the Sprint model will also benefit from the carrier’s unlimited data plan offerings. Given that you can do so much with the Galaxy S4 given the device’s sheer horsepower, an unlimited data plan will go a long way in allowing users to share, upload, download, stream, surf, and browse.

5.5-inch 720p HD display of the Galaxy Note II on left compared with 5-inch 1080p display of the Galaxy S4 on the right.

5.5-inch 720p HD display of the Galaxy Note II on left compared with 5-inch 1080p display of the Galaxy S4 on the right.

Other Sensors and Radios. At the top, the phone’s earpiece speaker is now cluttered with a number of sensors. You have the ambient light sensor to auto-adjust the screen brightness, an IR sensor to detect motion gestures, a front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera that takes surprisingly good self-portraits even in reduced lighting conditions, and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen as you’re holding the phone up too your cheeks to use it as a phone for calls. The phone also has a temperature and humidity sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope, an S View cover sensor, digital compass, and barometer. It’s a lot to pack in and all these sensors will turn every Galaxy S4 toting user a mini weather station!

Sensor placement at the top of the display.

Sensor placement at the top of the display.

Camera and Speakers. On the rear of the phone, the simplified and more minimalist camera design isn’t without compromise either. Up top, the camera pod is simplified. It still protrudes out a bit, like the Galaxy S3. Gone is the futuristic metal speaker grill that flanks the right side of the camera as the speaker has been moved towards the bottom, a design decision that has been borrowed from the Galaxy Note II. The flash has been moved from the left side on the Galaxy S3 to the bottom on the Galaxy S4.

13-megapixel camera is placed too close to the top edge, making it difficult to hold the phone to take a landscape photo, especially given the slim bezels already on the front of the device.

13-megapixel camera is placed too close to the top edge, making it difficult to hold the phone to take a landscape photo, especially given the slim bezels already on the front of the device.

The problem with this camera placement is that the camera lens has been shifted a bit up to the top of the device. This is fine for capturing images in portrait mode, but when you’re gripping the camera in landscape mode, your fingers tend to obscure and block the camera lens.

Rear loudspeaker now has moved towards the bottom of the phone, a change from the Galaxy S3's layout.

Rear loudspeaker now has moved towards the bottom of the phone, a change from the Galaxy S3’s layout.

The camera itself uses a 13-megapixel Samsung sensor and can record videos in 1080p. Samsung has also added a number of new camera tricks, through clever software, that we’ll discuss later in this review.

Other Hardware. The sides of the phone are relatively clean and minimalist in appearance. Up top, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side and a small IR blaster port on the right side used to control your TV and home entertainment center. The right edge just houses the power button.

Up top, the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the IR blaster for controlling your TV and home entertainment center.

Up top, the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the IR blaster for controlling your TV and home entertainment center.

On the bottom, you have a single micro USB port. The USB port is an MHL port so you can connect an MHL dongle to get HDMI output to your TV. Additionally, pro and advanced users will be happy to know that the UBS port also supports USB on the go, or USB OTG, so you can get an appropriate adapter and connect USB peripherals, including a flash drive, to expand your Galaxy S4.

Micro USB port on the bottom

Micro USB port on the bottom

And on the left side, you have the volume rocker which looks a lot more refined than that on the Galaxy S3.

A more refined power button flank one side and a more refined volume rocker flank the opposite side edge of the phone. The metal buttons are a nice upgrade from the Galaxy S3's faux chrome finish.

A more refined power button flank one side and a more refined volume rocker flank the opposite side edge of the phone. The metal buttons are a nice upgrade from the Galaxy S3’s faux chrome finish.

Samsung should be commended for being able to cram more phone into the same space. It’s quite the design and engineering accomplishment.

Software

Where Samsung differentiates its flagship from others is through software. Much of the hardware found on the Galaxy S4 is a commodity and would likely appear on high-end phones released in 2014–quad-core processing, 13-megapixel cameras, and 1080p HD displays are all par for the high-end course this year.

The Galaxy S4 is powered by Google’s Android 4.2.2 operating system and is layered with the Samsung TouchWiz Nature UI experience. Users who are familiar with the Galaxy S3’s software will feel right at home as that was introduced on the Galaxy S3 software-wise was carried forward to the Galaxy S4. On top of that, Samsung added a few more sensors, a lot more gestures, and a smorgasboard of features. Likely, you won’t discover all the new features right away–I know I still haven’t even after nearly a week of use.

In this review, we’ve outlined some of the novel features we’ve discovered. A few we liked, some we thought were novel, and others we dismissed as gimmicky, but at the end of the day when you’re showing off your hot new phone to friends and family, you’ll have a lot more to talk about and demo.

https://youtu.be/2LHv1FPd1Ec

Easy Mode. This one is perhaps my favorite feature for the phone. Samsung had introduced Easy Mode originally on the Galaxy Note II as a set of pre-loaded widgets to get feature phone owners accustomed to a smartphone without scaring them off. Essentially, even if you’re not comfortable with a smartphone, Samsung has given you training wheels so you can grow with the phone and not outgrow the phone. Easy Mode has been refined on the Galaxy S4 to become its own skinned experience rather than just widgets.

Enter Easy Mode through the Settings menu.

Enter Easy Mode through the Settings menu.

Gone is the Sprint ID-esque pre-configured widgets from before from the Note II’s implementation. Now, Easy Mode is even more baked in and well integrated throughout the entire experience. When you launch your phone into Easy Mode, it’s like turning on a feature phone and you won’t even feel like Android is there.

Main home screen of Easy Mode

Main home screen of Easy Mode

Easy Mode also takes over some apps and core settings to make things more friendly. When you launch the system settings, you’ll get a more simplified UI and the camera app is stripped of some of the Samsung introduced features to make it less daunting.

Even the daunting Settings menu has been simplified for Easy Mode users

Even the daunting Settings menu has been simplified for Easy Mode users

If you’ve got an older relative or a tech-challenged friend who wants an easy to read phone with a large screen due to vision problems, the Galaxy S4 can serve that purpose as Easy Mode increases the font size and icon size. You can tell your older friends to toss away their Jitterbug and try Easy Mode.

The Calendar app is one app that was customized for Easy Mode. Here, in Easy Mode, it's simplified to remove clutter and focus on the basics. You won't see appointment previews, but it makes things less intimidating.

The Calendar app is one app that was customized for Easy Mode. Here, in Easy Mode, it’s simplified to remove clutter and focus on the basics. You won’t see appointment previews, but it makes things less intimidating.

Lockscreen Widgets. Outside of Easy Mode, once you return to normal mode, the Galaxy S4 will give you more controls of your lock screen than the Galaxy S3.

At its core, you still have the standard lock screen that displays the date and time, along with the Life Companion branding. However, you can add a number of widget pages to quickly launch apps.

Swiping between the standard date/time lock screen page with missed call notification to the quick app launcher lock screen widget.

Swiping between the standard date/time lock screen page with missed call notification to the quick app launcher lock screen widget.

One page will be an app shortcut page, allowing you to launch even more apps than the standard tray at the bottom of the device.

I customized another tray to show recent messaging, which pulls in messaging from various sources like emails, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other feeds. This unified messaging hub reminds me a lot of BlackBerry Hub, and I wish that Samsung would let me access it from anywhere in Android and not just as a lockscreen widget. It’s a nice touch to see all your new messages in one location.

Recent un-read messages and alerts on the Communication Notifications lock screen widget

Recent un-read messages and alerts on the Communication Notifications lock screen widget

And lastly, I have set up another page with remote controls to quickly operate the TV remote function of the Galaxy S4.

While this may not seem all too useful–it only takes a quick swipe and then a dive into the apps drawer to launch your favorite apps–for corporate users who secure their phones with a complex alphanumeric password, it will make accessing simple tasks easier. Now, rather than entering my full 12-digit password comprised of numbers and letters, I can quickly glance on the lock screen to see quick message previews and change my TV channels without having to unlock my phone. And given Samsung’s enterprise focus with the KNOX security features, this will be great for users who use one phone for work and personal life.

Touchless Gestures. Touchscreens are so 2007 when the iPhone debuted. Samsung is slowly introducing new ways for users to interact with their phones. On the Galaxy Note II, Samsung allowed users to hover over the display–and not tap it–with the S-Pen to allow users to gain more information. Now, the same hover, or Air View, feature has been ported and on the Galaxy S4, users don’t need the S-Pen. On an email, message, Flipboard, or the Samsung Hub (for movies, books, TV shows purchases), users can just point at the screen and not touch it to see more information pop-up. On an email, you get a nice message preview. It’s like hovering your mouse cursor over something on the desktop and getting a pop-up.

And if you have poor eyesight, when you’re in the browser and hover over the text content, you get a nice magnified view.

Air View hover feature shows magnified text when browsing a web page. Here, we're magnifying some copy text from the mobile view of the GottaBeMobile home page.

Air View hover feature shows magnified text when browsing a web page. Here, we’re magnifying some copy text from the mobile view of the GottaBeMobile home page.

Sadly, though, these features are not enabled by default. To enable them, simply pull down the drop down notification bar, Click the grid icon on the upper right, and long press Air view to pull up the Air View settings. From there, you can enable individual elements that comprise the features we had mentioned.

New notification bar widgets from the Android notification drop-down. A lot more options if you want them at a glance.

New notification bar widgets from the Android notification drop-down. A lot more options if you want them at a glance.

Air Gestures is another new feature and works with the front-facing camera and/or front IR sensor. This allows you to wave your hand in front of your Galaxy S4 to scroll down a long webpage or answer the phone. While the feature doesn’t sound all too useful, it worked great when I was browsing the web and eating a sandwich for lunch. If you don’t want to wave, you can use the Eye Scroll feature, which tracks your eyes and the position of the phone to your eyes to scroll.

Eye Scroll works in two ways. The first way would be to move your head as if you were advancing to the bottom or to the top of the webpage with your eyes. When I gave the phone to some friends visiting from Los Angeles, they went overboard with this and it looked like they had an episode of whiplash. In reality, subtle movements are tracked so you don’t need to jerk your head. The second way would be to hold your head still and angle the phone away from you or towards you, depending on the direction of the scroll. Again, subtle moves go a long way to achieve scrolling.

Camera

You can flick through the various Scenes modes.

You can flick through the various Scenes modes.

The camera UI has received a major overhaul and now most of the camera settings are placed accessible front and center. Samsung says that it has learned a lot from its experience with designing the Galaxy Camera, a point and shoot camera with a 21X optical zoom that’s built on the Android OS, and it’s bringing those experiences to the Galaxy S4.

Now, you don’t have to dive into the Settings menu within the camera to find popular settings. A dial will expose some of the popular Scenes mode that make it easier for you to shoot night portraits, beauty shoots, and a number of new options.

Some of the chief new Scenes modes include:

  • Sound and shot–this allows you to add a short audio clip that will record as you’re taking a still shot. It gives some personality to your photo.
  • Drama mode–this mode stitches together a series of motion shots. This will create sort of a flip-book style animated effect as you see a basketball player going in for the slam dunk or your toddler racing across the floor. It’s sort of a stitched together time-lapsed photo and you can customize this as well.
  • Animated photo–this creates an animated GIF image.
  • Eraser mode–like drama mode, this one captures a series of photos. If an intruder walks through your photo inadvertently, the camera will process this motion and erase the intruder from the photo. For me, this is more gimmicky as you have to plan to be in this mode for it to work. It’s like saying I expect a tourist to walk through my group shot every time you take a photo. If you’re not in this mode, forget about erasing that photo bomber.
  • Fast and slow motion video–this will capture and speed up or slow down motion recorded with the 1080p video camera. It’s a cool mode if you want to edit some cool effects into your videos.
Showing you what I am seeing with dual camera photo mode. Can also be used in video mode as well.

Showing you myself and what I am seeing with dual camera photo mode. In the camera settings, my picture can be put into various frames and I can re-size my little portrait and re-position it anywhere in the frame. This mode can also be used in video mode as well.

Additionally, there’s also the ability to use dual camera mode for both still photos and motion videos. This way, you’ll always be in the shot even though you’re the one operating the camera. If you’ve traveled with a group and want to take a group photo in front of the Statue of Liberty, you can be the photography and also place yourself in the shot. If you’re a mother and are taking a photo of your infant, you can film your own reaction to the cute things your child is doing at the time. I find dual camera mode to be fun and it’s a nice way to always be included in an image and not have to ask some kind passerby to take a photo of your group.

In terms of performance, the camera’s 13-megapixel sensor offers a bit more dynamic range and can capture more details than the predecessor, which was the 8-megapixel sensor on the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. I still find that exposure was a bit trickier to nail on the Galaxy S4’s default camera app than the iPhone.

If you’re taking a picture with high light contrast, like a bright window placed on a dark wall, on the iPhone you can tap the wall to focus and expose the wall correctly, which means the window would get overblown and washed out. If you focus on the window on the iPhone 5, then the wall will be clipped with shadows. On the Galaxy S4, it wasn’t that easy. Focus was done by tap, and despite choosing the various exposure settings (center metered, matrix or spot), it wouldn’t be quite as intuitive as the iPhone. I’d have to shift the camera to get the exposure that I want.

The main settings are easily accessible on the screen so you don't have to dive into menus.

The main settings are easily accessible on the screen so you don’t have to dive into menus.

And while professional shooters won’t get the variable aperture settings to control subject isolation and background blur, the Galaxy S4’s UI does give users access to ISO settings, with a maximum ISO of 800, which makes the camera decent under poor lighting.

In darker restaurants, there is less noise on the Galaxy S4’s shots, especially when used with night mode and no flash, than the iPhone 5 without the flash.

And speaking of the flash, if you do turn on the flash, you do get washed out images. Colors aren’t reproduced as natural as they would be with a Xenon flash, for example, with the Galaxy S4’s single LED flash. That said, the photos were usable, although lighting was harsh and colors appear washed out. Don’t expect to nail any glamour shots with the LED flash without some post-processing.

Flash used in this group photo shows overexposed and washed out colors.

Flash used in this group photo is bright, but also shows overexposed and washed out colors. A Xenon flash would have been better.

The camera does offer a lot of versatility, however, for consumers who don’t care about pro-level features that camera phones like the Nokia 808 offer. There are plenty of Scenes to choose from to nail your shots and I think the dual camera feature is a winner. If you have a new baby who is learning to talk or make fun sounds, or a new pet, Sound Shot is a fun one to play with. If you have a child who is more advanced, the Drama mode that allows you to capture a trail of frozen frames to signify moments through a sporting maneuver will be fun to utilize. And animated GIFs are always fun.

There are definitely examples of Drama mode, but here I am walking across a restaurant in this demo.

There are definitely examples of Drama mode, but here I am walking across a restaurant in this demo.

For Instagram lovers, there are also a number of pre-loaded filters that you can take advantage of as well.

Most of the time, however, I stick with the Auto mode and let the camera figure out the right settings for my photo.

My chief complaint with the camera is when it is used with the S View flip Cover. The flip cover sensor sometimes can disengage the touchscreen and you’ll be tapping with no results. I’ve ended up with a few missed photo opportunities as a result of this.

Another small complaint is that switching between modes requires a second or two of delay before you can fire off a shot. It is not too slow, but you definitely notice it when you’re switching between dual camera mode to standard photo mode in an attempt to capture a swift baby crawling by. Hopefully, a future software update will speed up the camera UI so you won’t miss any of the ‘Kodak moments’ that you want to capture and treasure.

Pre-bundled filters work with some modes, like Auto mode, but not with others. There is an extensive collection of filters for the phone.

Pre-bundled filters work with some modes, like Auto mode, but not with others. There is an extensive collection of filters for the phone.

As for sharing, instead of the Zoe clips that the HTC One creates, Samsung bundles the Samsung Story app. Here, you can create photo books and you can order printed books as well to send to grandma.

Sample Images

20130421_135918_Alyssum Ln

The front-facing camera takes surprisingly bright images so you'll be properly lit up when you're making those video calls.

The front-facing camera takes surprisingly bright images so you’ll be properly lit up when you’re making those video calls.

20130420_193729_Marshlands Rd20130420_184528_Marshlands Rd

20130420_184202_Arnold Way

20130420_175445_Unnamed Rd

20130420_153011_Bayview Trail

Playing with some of the pre-loaded live filters in the camera

20130420_183655_Arnold Way

20130420_183655_Arnold Way

20130420_183904_Marshlands Rd

20130420_183625_Arnold Way

20130420_183542_Dumbarton Bridge

Business Utilities

The camera is the central personal and play experience of the Galaxy S4 with new modes and features, but it is also boasts new features that business users, travelers, and students would appreciate. A new S Translator app works in a similar way as Google’s Translate app to allow for translation of words and phrases. You can type in what you’re looking to get translated, speak the phrase using the microphone and get your translated query in text or voice spoken back, or even scan the phrase, if you’re looking a restaurant menu or a book as well.

Samsung’s Optical reader app works surprisingly well given there’s enough light, allowing you to scan what needs to be translated or even scan in business cards. When you’re doing the latter, you can save business cards as a contact where all the fields would be intelligently populated with the appropriate email address, name and title, business name, address and work number, mobile number and fax number.

And for those who love to simul-task, the Multi-View windows utility has been ported from the Note II allowing applications to be snapped in resizable side-by-side windows. This allows you to browse the web and write an email or view pictures and reply to text messages. Unfortunately, like the debut version on the Note II, it only works with a few pre-selected apps so don’t expect to multitask with third-party apps.

TV and Entertainment

Samsung is really going for the ecosystem play here with entertainment. You still get the same sharing features that were introduced originally through NFC and WiFi Direct sharing on the Galaxy S3, but those features have now expanded and include more capabilities on the Galaxy S4.

Now, when you’re away from your home content, you can still continue to enjoy your music and television shows. One example, which Samsung has borrowed from the dropped Motorola feature called MOTO CAST, is the ability to play the music content from your home PC through your phone. This way, you don’t have to upload all your tunes to the cloud and you don’t have to carry around a massive memory card to enjoy your digital library. If your PC is connected to the Internet at home or work, you can link that computer to the Samsung cloud called Samsung Link.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-20-57-46

From Samsung Link, you can connect your Galaxy S4 via 3G, 4G, or WiFi to stream the song on your PC to your Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-20-58-06

Additionally, you can now pair multiple Galaxy S4 smartphones together to use them as paired network speakers. You can set all the Galaxy S4 to play at the same time, or you can also create a stereo network by identifying which Galaxy S4 units on the network will be used for left speaker function and which Galaxy S4 units will be used for right speakers.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-21-00-26

I don’t really know how much use this feature will get, but I’d imagine it to be popular for college students who may want to get an impromptu jam session in the dorms or at a small party.

In terms of video, the Galaxy S4 has a number of new features to keep users entertained. On the device itself, if you’re watching videos through Samsung’s video players–like purchased content through the Samsung Hub or video you’ve recorded yourself with the 13-megapixel camera–you can use the hover feature by gliding your finger along the video progress bar without tapping on the screen itself. This Air View feature will give you thumbnail previews of the video in case you want to jump to a specific point ahead.

And if you want to watch television at home in your living room, the Galaxy S4 will be a great companion thanks to Samsung’s partnership with Peel. Now, users can point the IR blaster at the top of the Galaxy S4 to your HDTV or home entertainment center and Peel’s excellent visual-based user interface will be used to allow you to search, discover, and watch your favorite shows. We’ve talked about the early iteration of Peel’s UI lovingly when it debuted on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, and now the UI has been refined for the smaller Galaxy S4’s display.

Peel's visual UI on Samsung's Watch On app

Peel’s visual UI on Samsung’s Watch On app

All of Peel’s functionality has been wrapped together in the Samsung Watch On app, which adds even more capabilities. If you’re the owner of a more recent Samsung HDTV set, connecting your TV to your GS4 will allow you to seamlessly share content between the two devices. Additionally, if your TV is located in the living room and you need to grab a drink from the kitchen, for example, and a big game is playing, you can continue to watch the game on your Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone through placeshifting provided you’re on the same WiFi network or connected through WiFi Direct with your Samsung HDTV. It’s like having a built in Slingbox that works at home. And still, the Watch On app will allow you to search Internet sources, like Blockbuster, YouTube, the Samsung Hub, and Netflix for even more content. Watch On in this case serves as both a controller for your TV hardware as well as content finder and aggregator.

Basic Watch On remote

Basic Watch On remote

And of course, you can share documents, photos, and files between paired Galaxy S4 units through the Group Play application, similar to what you can do with a Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2. The nice part about this feature is that users on any device can actually control the presentation so any users can annotate and mark up a slide and all viewers on the same connection would see the edits live, not just the host device. The feature works between Samsung smartphones and tablets, and is a nice way to create an ecosystem across devices.

Searching for movies to rent or own on-demand through Watch On

Searching for movies to rent or own on-demand through Watch On

Samsung Hub

Samsung has renamed its video hub, music hub, and other branded content hub into the Samsung Hub. The Samsung Hub now encompasses books, TV shows, movies, and music into one destination so it means less app clutter. The Samsung Hub ties in with your Samsung ID account so any content you purchase here should work across any Samsung-branded account, including Samsung Smart TV sets.

While Samsung is providing a nice alternative to Google’s Play Store, the Samsung Hub is still incomplete and more of a befuddled iTunes rival. At its best, some TV series are missing series and at its worse, seasons are missing episodes leading to an incomplete experience. Unfortunately, that means season passes to popular shows (I personally am a Mad Men addict) are a non-starter unless you want to complete your seasons through Play Store, Blockbuster, and other video sources.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-20-56-48

Moreover, movies are just as complex on Samsung’s experience. Some content are available only as rental, others as SD video purchases only. Some allow for HDMI out while others you can only watch on your device. Others are available in 1080p while a majority are 720p HD downloads only.

Hopefully, Samsung will work out better agreements with its content partners to bring a simpler experience to customers. Even if it can’t build out a robust catalog, hopefully seasons of TV shows aren’t delivered as incomplete in the future.

In addition to the entertainment hub, Samsung also has the Samsung Apps, which is an App Store for users. It is arranged so that users can discover apps more easily and offers an alternative to the Google Play Store.

Health and Fitness

For Nike+ FuelBand owners who are migrating from the iPhone and iOS, Samsung has integrated many of the functionality into its new S Health app that comes preloaded on the Galaxy S4 to make you feel right at home. The app will allow users to track how many steps they’ve taken, how many calories they’ve consumed, and how many calories they’ve burned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Foodies can also take pictures and upload their culinary masterpieces just before consuming them into the app, which syncs with Samsung’s own servers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The app will let you also monitor your own local weather so you know if it’s a good time to go for a jog or perform more strenuous exercise. The Comfort Zone feature allows you to view temperature and humidity so you can plan your workouts accordingly if you’re not sweating off those calories in the comfort of an air conditioned gym. Users can also manually input their exercises as well into the S Health app.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These features were roughly implemented in the past in limited part by Motorola through its MOTO ACTV smartwatch and companion Android app. However, the more integrated solution on the Galaxy S4 really makes it easy as everything is tracked on the phone.

And while the solution sounds like a fun way to get more active and take more steps each day, I find that at this early stage, the pedometer functionality isn’t reliable. It would record steps and randomly reset itself several times a day throughout the course of the day so don’t expect to know how many steps you’ve taken in any accurate form in a 24-hour period. Hopefully, a software update in the future will fix this glitch.

Network and Call Quality

The Galaxy S4 unit that I tested was on the Sprint network. Sprint is slowly rolling out its 4G LTE network here in the Bay Area, and although some pockets of San Francisco is live with LTE, the network hasn’t officially launched the network yet. As a result, LTE speeds and coverage right now is spotty, and I’ll revisit this section in a future post once LTE officially launches on the Now Network.

On average, though, I do get roughly 6 Mbps on the download side and uploads hover between under 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps. Sprint is promising download speeds anywhere between 6-8 Mbps and uploads between 2-3 Mbps, so I am within range even at this early phase in LTE deployment. In select areas, I’ve seen peak speeds close to 25 Mbps on the download and 10 Mps on upload.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-17-21-37

Call quality on Sprint was good. Calls came through clear and tones were warm, and despite speaking in a windy area the Galaxy S4 was able to cancel out most of the wind and background noise so the other party could here me clearly. Call quality and audio fidelity during calls were on par with other Sprint flagship releases in recent years, and I didn’t notice any hiccups in my testing.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Galaxy S4 smartphone is surprisingly good and is slightly better than battery life on the Galaxy S3. Samsung has injected more battery power on the Galaxy S4’s battery with a 2600 mAh battery, bringing the device closer to the Galaxy Note II realm. In general, battery life isn’t quite as good as the Note II but the batteries between the two devices are very similar with the GS4’s battery being slightly shorter than the Note II’s in dimensions.

On heavy use in mostly WiFi coverage around the house, I was able to squeeze out over one and a half days of heavy use. However, when WiFi was turned off and I was on the Sprint network, I got just over a full working day of use under moderate conditions of web browsing, emailing, and updating my various social network accounts. The main reason for the wide spread of battery life is that I don’t live in an area with built out LTE coverage yet on Sprint, so the Galaxy S4 is always trying to jump between 3G CDMA/EVDO coverage and 4G LTE, which burns through more battery power.

Screenshot_2013-04-22-20-32-24

I’ve also noticed, like with all phones, extensive use of the camera will deplete the battery quicker, especially if you’ve set the camera to geotag your images. Geotagging was very accurate and I was able to get street-level GPS accuracy for my photos using the Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel camera.

Accessories

One of the popular accessories for the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2 was the Flip Cover, which turns the smartphone into a folio-like device and offers screen protection. The Flip Cover snaps onto the rear where the rear battery cover would go, replacing the rear battery cover. It’s a little bit thicker than the stock rear battery cover, but as it replaces that cover, the Flip Cover adds little bulk to the phone. A polyurethane cover folds over on the left spine of the phone, giving it a book-like appearance.

On the Galaxy S4, there’s a new S View Flip Cover in addition to the original. While priced more expensively at $60, the S View Flip Cover has a small window at the top where notifications can be display. This allows you to quickly push the on/off button and have a view of any awaiting notifications, including incoming emails, missed calls, SMS, and any notifications in your Android notification tray.

There’s a sensor that activates the cover and in a way, it works like the Apple iPad Smart Cover, but is tuned to display content to fit the window. The concern here is that the plastic window is thin and is more prone to fingerprints and grease than the display itself. Users will likely have to be careful not to scratch the plastic cover. The good thing is that you can buy a new cover if your original one gets scratched up over time, which is a whole lot better than having a scratched up display.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The display gets lit up for a few seconds and then turns off in this view. You can quickly open and close the flap, or press the power button, if you want the S View screen to turn on again with the S View Flip Cover, an optional but useful accessory for the Galaxy S4 that offers protection and added utility.

Notifications are display as white text on a black background, a move likely made to extend the battery life given Samsung has chosen AMOLED technology for the screen. With AMOLED, the display doesn’t consume power if it’s displaying black, and having ample black with white text will serve the purpose of lengthening the massive 2600 mAh battery’s duty.

Additionally, if a call comes in now, you can swipe to answer the call from the S View window so you don’t even need to open the S View Flip Cover to see your caller ID and choose to answer or send the call to voicemail. It’s a nice innovation from Samsung and I can see this being a useful and popular accessory.

The problem with the cover when you first use it is that the smart sensor is a bit too sensitive. When you’re taking a photo with the camera, for example, sometimes the sensor engages and the screen becomes unresponsive. I know I’ve missed a few moments when using the S View Flip cover because of this. Part of the reason is that the cover is stiff when you first get it, but I believe that with time, the cover will become more flexible with use and it will not be as snug to the spine of the phone to engage the sensor. Moreover, if you tend to wrap the cover to the back, like you would bend a magazine around to read, the window does provide an opening to the camera lens. However, you’ll get a bit of glare and light flares when you do this and forget that you’ve wrapped the cover around back to take a photo.

Samsung had also introduced a number of health-related accessories, including a bitness S Health Band and a wireless scale. The company says that those accessories are likely coming this summer alongside the wireless charging back cover, which is an optional accessory. Users who buy the wireless charging removable battery cover will also need a compatible wireless charging pad to take advantage of this feature, allowing you to merely place your phone on the pad to charge. You don’t need to fumble around with wires at all, which is great for those who like to check their phone or listen to music in bed at night.

Conclusion

It’s pretty astounding how many new features Samsung has managed to cram into the Galaxy 4, a device that is slightly more narrow, slightly thinner, and slightly longer than the footprint of the Galaxy S3. However, given that many of the changes to the device, aside from the placement of the sensors, are internal in the form of software, it could be argued that too much has changed on the Galaxy S4 from a design perspective. If Samsung had gone the Apple route and kept the same external design for two consecutive generations of flagships, users would benefit more by being able to reuse old cases and accessories from the Galaxy S3 to the Galaxy S4.

With the subtle change in design, suddenly specialty cases like the forthcoming Lifeproof waterproof case for the Galaxy S3 and the newly released Galaxy S3 extended battery Mophie hardcase no longer work. This means that users who invest in a Galaxy flagship and buy these specialized accessories–valued close to $100 a piece–would only benefit for one hardware life cycle if they upgrade. If Samsung had gone with a more dramatic design, we couldn’t fault them for the lack of accessories compatibility, but given the similarity between the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy S4, this issue may be a nuisance for GS3 owners looking to upgrade.

In terms of upgrading, if you’re a Galaxy S3 owner who is happy with your phone, there may be little reason to upgrade. Sure, the new gestures are fun, the better camera is nice, but at the end of the day, the Galaxy S3 is a pretty darn good phone with solid features. This is a good thing; it really shows that after a year, the Galaxy S3 still is aging well. Right now, the main reasons to upgrade would be if you’re viewing the new gestures and motion control as a non-gimmick and you’d like to control your TV with your phone. As to whether the gestures and new user interactions with the phone are gimmicks, that’s up to you to decide. With some training, I find that eye scrolling and air gestures work well, and the Air View hover feature is a useful tool in quickly obtaining additional information without having to click or tap.

Samsung will likely roll down some of the software-based features to older devices, including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, through a future update. Unfortunately, hardware-based features, like the S VIew Flip Cover with the S View sensor on the phone, cannot be deployed to older devices as it requires new hardware. Some of the motion sensing likely will require new hardware as well as Samsung is implementing that with the IR sensor, rather than the front-facing camera, so you won’t be able to swipe across webpages by waving your hand in front of your old Galaxy S3’s front-facing shooter.

It’s still a tough call on the upgrade situation as many of the interactions introduced are novel, and you may not know you need them until you use them and find them useful.

And for those definitely looking to upgrade, there is still a lot to love about the Galaxy S4, including the gorgeous adaptive display with more natural colors. The optical reader and translator apps are great tools for travelers and Samsung has put a lot of thought into the camera UI. However, the experience with all the sensors isn’t as seamless as I’d imagine, and sometimes the technology does get in the way with sensors thinking you mean to do one thing when you’re attempting to do something entirely different, but this isn’t something that a software update in the future cannot rectify.

For a user of an iPhone or another Android or other smartphone, upgrading to the Galaxy S4 should be an easier decision. You will be getting one of the most powerful and brilliantly smart phones made today.

For the Android flagships announced so far in 2013, you’re going to have to either place your bets on the HTC One’s hardware design, which is more revolutionary, or the Galaxy S4’s software innovations. The Galaxy S4 is no slouch in the hardware department with top notch specs and powerful features like a removable memory card slot, accessible battery, and USB OTG. With its powerful features and forward-thinking software innovations, the Galaxy S4 deserves our ranking of 4.5 stars. We’re hoping that Samsung will fine tune some of the sensors to keep things moving.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. New Root Software

    04/25/2013 at 5:26 am

    Nice review! the features are so cool. it must be called the KING! All its rival are no match.

  2. Mark Dumais

    04/27/2013 at 2:41 am

    The Most awaited phone Samsung Galaxy s4 is now available from sprint at price from $149 (depending on service agreement) from here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CEKXJ3Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00CEKXJ3Y&linkCode=as2&tag=dismarket-20

  3. Mark Dumais

    04/27/2013 at 3:04 am

    The Most awaited phone Samsung Galaxy s4 is now available from AT&T at price from $198 (depending on service agreement) from here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CDZU40Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00CDZU40Q&linkCode=as2&tag=gottabemobiles-20

  4. Handytechplus

    04/30/2013 at 2:15 am

    Thanks for your review info dude… This is tutorials on how to root samsung galaxy s4. please check it out here: How to root samsung galaxy s4

  5. Colin

    05/07/2013 at 4:35 am

    Great review. I have an S4 and love it. One thing I am trying to do is get emails to notify me when they arrive in my inbox instead of me having to go looking. Is there a way to make this happen? Ive looked in manual and tried FAQs everywhere.

  6. Michaela Herz

    05/14/2013 at 2:04 pm

    Really nice and thorough review! The only thing is once you get home and unpack it what do you do about apps? Which one should I download? App discovery is becoming a real hot topic where the majors don’t feel the need to evolve some newcomers are ready to start setting the pace. Check this one out https://www.mevvy.com/

  7. Android Fanatic

    05/18/2013 at 8:48 am

    NO WONDER WHY S4 IS BEING SOLD LIKE HOT CAKES. This is one amazing piece of technology. Samsung says the device is expected to cross 10 million sales mark next week.
    Source: https://www.theandroidtimes.com/2013/05/samsung-galaxy-s4-expected-to-hit-10.html

  8. FlatKnees and Fotography

    07/08/2013 at 7:15 pm

    Wow, extremely complete review. I found it very useful. I need a new phone in September, and if nothing better comes out, it looks like this could be the one. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Android

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Update Info (2020)

Published

on

With the official Android 11 roll out underway, we want to take you through everything you should know right now Samsung’s plans for Galaxy phones and tablets.

In September, Google pushed its next operating system, Android 11, to Pixel users. That was huge news for the Pixel community and it’s also big news for those who own other Android-powered devices. It means an official release is getting closer for those phones and tablets.

With Android 11 rolling out and Samsung’s Android 10 roll out slowing down, Galaxy smartphone and tablet users are starting to think about the future.

While some Android OEMs started talking about Android 11 months ago, Samsung remained silent. That changed after the launch of the Galaxy Note 20.

Samsung’s confirmed early Android 11 plans. And thanks to that information along with rumors and traditions, we can put together an overview for those of you curious about Android 11.

In this guide we’re going to take you through what you should know about Android 11 if you currently own, or if you’re planning to buy a Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, or another Galaxy device.

We’ll take you through what we know about Samsung’s version of Android 11. We’ll take you through what we know about the release date and we’ll outline which devices will get an upgrade to the new version of Android.

Try Starz or HBO Free with Amazon Channels

Let’s start with what’s coming out before the official version of Android 11. Samsung is still rolling out Android 10 updates and it’s also pushing monthly updates to its stable of Galaxy phones and tablets.

Samsung Galaxy September Update

Samsung’s September update is pushing out right now.

The update is rolling out to the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A50, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy M01s, Galaxy M31, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab Active Pro, and Galaxy Tab S6 and you can expect it to hit more devices in the near future.

The company’s September update includes a ton of patches including 15 fixes that are for issues related to Samsung’s own software.

If you own a Galaxy Tab S6, your upgrade should include software features from the new Galaxy Tab S7. Namely, Wireless DeX and the ability to request Wi-Fi passwords from people on your network if they’re in your contacts list.

If you want to learn more about Samsung’s September security update, head on over to the company’s website.

As a reminder, here’s the current breakdown of Samsung’s current Android security update coverage:

Current Models for Monthly Security Updates

  • Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Fold2, Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Flip 5G
  • Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Galaxy Note8, Galaxy Note9, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy Note10 5G, Galaxy Note10+, Galaxy Note10+ 5G, Galaxy Note10 Lite, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy Note20 5G, Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
  • Enterprise Models: Galaxy A8 (2018), Galaxy A50, Galaxy XCover4s, Galaxy XCover FieldPro, Galaxy XCover Pro

Current Models for Quarterly Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S8 Active
  • Galaxy A2 Core, Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2018), Galaxy A8s, Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Galaxy A10, Galaxy A10e, Galaxy A10s, Galaxy A20, Galaxy A20e, Galaxy A20s, Galaxy A30, Galaxy A30s, Galaxy A40, Galaxy A50s, Galaxy A60, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A70s, Galaxy A80, Galaxy A90 5G
  • Galaxy A01, Galaxy A01 Core, Galaxy A11, Galaxy A21, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy A31, Galaxy A41, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A71 5G
  • Galaxy J4+, Galaxy J4 Core, Galaxy J6+
  • Galaxy M10, Galaxy M10s, Galaxy M20, Galaxy M30, Galaxy M30s, Galaxy M40
  • Galaxy M01, Galaxy M11, Galaxy M21, Galaxy M31, Galaxy M31s, Galaxy M51
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 Plus (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8.4 (2020), Galaxy Tab A7, Galaxy Tab Active2, Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy View2
  • W20 5G

Current Models for Other Regular Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8 Lite, Galaxy Note FE
  • Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A6, Galaxy A6+, Galaxy A7 (2017), Galaxy A8+ (2018), Galaxy A8 Star
  • Galaxy J2 Core, Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J3 Top, Galaxy J4, Galaxy J5 (2017), Galaxy J5 Prime, Galaxy J6, Galaxy J7 (2017), Galaxy J7 Duo, Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy J7 Prime2, Galaxy J7 Pop, Galaxy J7 Top, Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Neo, Galaxy J7+, Galaxy J8
  • Galaxy Tab A (2017), Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018), Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy Tab E 8 Refresh

So while devices like the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 probably won’t get Android 11, they will get security patches and bug fixes for the foreseeable future.

The company’s pushed One UI 2.1, the interface that arrived on board the Galaxy S20 series, to a number of devices including the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy A51, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy M01s, and Galaxy M31.

These updates brought a variety of changes including:

  • Quick Share
  • Music Share
  • Single Take
  • AR Zone
  • Pro Video Recording

That said, the One UI 2.1 update for older devices was missing at least one feature that’s present on Galaxy S20 models: Bixby Routines.

The company’s also released another version of One UI, dubbed One UI 2.5, that brings a number of improvements to Galaxy devices. The software debuted on board the Galaxy Note 20.

Samsung is pushing One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Lite, and Galaxy Tab S6 with more releases on the way.

The company is also planning to bring One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, and Galaxy Fold. It’s unclear when these updates will roll out.

One UI 2.5 is a fairly minor update, but it does bring a few notable changes including the ability for your device to remember the angle you used for your last selfie.

The camera app will also remember the last shooting mode you used (video, etc). There’s also support for full-screen navigation gestures in third-party launchers.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11: What’s New

Samsung’s version of Android 11 will look a lot different than the version Google releases for Pixel devices because it will utilize the company’s new One UI 3.0 user interface.

While we have some information, we don’t have the full picture because Samsung’s version of Android 11 is still in development. That said, it should bring a lot of Google’s features with it.

Google’s version of Android 11 includes features like:

  • Improved Quick Replies.
  • Mute notification sounds & vibrations during video capture recording.
  • Chat Bubbles.
  • Native Screen Recording.
  • Bluetooth improvements for headphones.
  • Memory Input/Output improvements.
  • Biometric Authentication Strength
  • Low Latency support.
  • Variable refresh rates.
  • Resume on Reboot.
  • And a whole lot more.

You can learn more about Android 11 on Google’s website.

As for Samsung’s version of Android 11 with One UI 3.0, we now have a full change log thanks to the company’s beta program.

As expected, the software is loaded up with changes. Here’s the first Galaxy Android 11/One UI 3.0 change log from the beta, courtesy of XDA-Developers:

Home screen

  • Touch and hold an app to add an associated widget.
  • Turn the screen off by double-tapping on an empty are of the Home screen. You can turn this on in Settings > Advanced features > Motion and gestures.

Lock screen

  • Dynamic Lock screen now has more categories,, and you can select more than one.
  • Lock screen widgets are improved.

Quick panel

  • See your conversations and media more conveniently in their own sections when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

AOD

  • Always On Display widgets are improved.

Accessibility

  • Get quick access to the most important accessibility settings during device setup.
  • Get recommended accessibility features based on what you use.
  • Set the Accessibility shortcut more easily in settings.
  • Sound detectors now work with your SmartThings devices such as TVs and lights to give you more visible alerts when the doorbell rings or a baby is crying.

Samsung Keyboard

  • You can find the keyboard in settings more easily under General management in Settings, and the settings have been reorganized to put the most important ones first.

Samsung DeX

  • You can now connect to supported TVs wirelessly.
  • New touchpad multi-gestures let you change screen zoom and font size more easily.

Internet

  • Added ability to block websites from redirecting you when you tap the Back button.
  • Added warnings and blocking options for websites that shot too many pop-ups or notifications.
  • Rearranged menus to make things easier to find.
  • Added several new add-ons, including one that translates websites.
  • Added option hide the status bar for a more immersive browsing experience.
  • Increased maximum number of open tabs to 99.
  • Added ability to lock and reorder tabs.
  • Improved design for tab bar which is now supported on all devices.
  • Ended support for Samsung Internet edge panel.

Contacts & Phone

  • Added the ability to edit multiple linked contacts at one time.
  • Added an option to help you quickly delete duplicate contacts.
  • Enhanced the search experience.
  • Extended the storage period of the Trash bin from 15 to 30 days.

Phone/Call background

  • Added the ability to customize the call screen with your own pictures and videos.

Messages

  • Created a Trash bin to store recently deleted messages.

Call & Text on other devices

  • Added the ability to turn Call & text on other devices on or off with Bixby Routines.

Calendar

  • Events with the same start time are now shown together in month and agenda view.
  • Reorganized options for adding and editing events.
  • Improved layout for full screen alerts.

Reminder

  • Improved layout for full screen alerts

Digital wellbeing and Parental controls

  • Added trends to your weekly report. You can see how your usage has changed since the previous week and check your usage time for each feature.
  • Added phone usage time while driving to the weekly report.
  • Added a lock screen widget so you can check your screen time without unlocking your phone.
  • Added separate profiles for personal and work modes so you can track your screen time separately.

Camera

  • Improved auto-focus and auto exposure functionality and usability.
  • Improved stabilization when taking pictures of the moon at high zoom levels.

Photo editor

  • Added the ability to revert edited pictures back to their original versions.

Bixby Routine

  • Grouped preset routines help you get started quickly and learn how to build your own routines easily.
  • You can now see what actions are reversed when a routine ends.
  • New conditions have been added, such as a specific start time, the disconnection of a Bluetooth device or Wi-Fi network, a call from a specific number, and more.
  • New actions have been added, including talking to Bixby and accessibility actions.
  • You can add a customized icon for each routine and add routines to the Lock screen for quick access.

The software is a work in progress and there’s always a chance Samsung adds, or subtracts, features from this list as the beta progresses.

For instance, Google’s smart home controls are reportedly missing from the pre-beta software, but we could see them added into the final version of the software. Time will tell.

Samsung’s also working on the software that will power the upcoming Galaxy S21 series. The firmware was, as expected, is based on Android 11.

We don’t know what the software will look like, but the devices will almost certainly be powered by a new version of One UI, probably dubbed One UI 3.1.

These Galaxy Devices Will Get Android 11

Samsung typically keeps devices updated with major Android software updates for two years. Fortunately, it looks like the company will change this policy for Android 11.

The company says it’s committed to providing three years of major software upgrades going forward. This is obviously a huge development.

Initially it looked like this might only apply to higher profile devices, but according to Samsung, lengthier support will also be extended to other devices.

Here’s the full list:

  • Galaxy S series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20 in addition to Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Lite and upcoming S series devices.
  • Galaxy Note series: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 5G, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 5G, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Lite and upcoming Note series devices.
  • Galaxy Foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Fold 5G, Galaxy Fold and upcoming Z series devices
  • Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A90 5G and select upcoming A series devices.
  • Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and upcoming Tab S series devices.

As for Android 11, Popular phones like the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S10Galaxy S10+Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Note 10 are shoo-ins. The Galaxy Note 20 will make the move to Android 11 as well.

As for the company’s tablets, the Galaxy Tab S6 and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) will get upgraded to Android 11. You can also expect the new Galaxy Tab S7 to get upgraded as well.

Mid-range phones and tablets from 2019 should also move from Android 10 to Android 11.

Here is a preliminary list of device we think will get upgraded to Android 11 in 2020 and 2021:

  • Galaxy S20
  • Galaxy S20+
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Galaxy Note 20
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10 5G
  • Galaxy S10+
  • Galaxy S10e
  • Galaxy S10 Lite
  • Galaxy Note 10
  • Galaxy Note 10 Lite
  • Galaxy Fold
  • Galaxy Z Flip
  • Galaxy Z Fold 2
  • Galaxy A10
  • Galaxy A10e
  • Galaxy A10s
  • Galaxy A11
  • Galaxy A20
  • Galaxy A20e
  • Galaxy A20s
  • Galaxy A21
  • Galaxy A21s
  • Galaxy A30
  • Galaxy A30s
  • Galaxy A31
  • Galaxy A40
  • Galaxy A41
  • Galaxy A50
  • Galaxy A50s
  • Galaxy A51
  • Galaxy A60
  • Galaxy A70
  • Galaxy A70s
  • Galaxy A71
  • Galaxy A80
  • Galaxy A8s
  • Galaxy M01
  • Galaxy M11
  • Galaxy M21
  • Galaxy M30s
  • Galaxy M31
  • Galaxy M40
  • Galaxy Tab S7
  • Galaxy Tab S6
  • Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
  • Galaxy Tab S5e
  • Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019)
  • Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019)
  • Galaxy Tab A 8 Plus (2019)
Sale
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
4,336 Reviews
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
  • Stunning 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard and Touch ID
  • Tenth-generation Intel Core i3 processor
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Fast SSD storage

These Galaxy Devices Might Not Get Android 11

Any Galaxy device that’s not on that list is currently on the fence when it comes to Android 11. That means popular devices like the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 series are very much in danger of getting left behind on Android 10.

Here are a few Samsung Galaxy devices that could stick around on Android 10:

  • Galaxy S9
  • Galaxy S9+
  • Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Galaxy A8 (2018)
  • Galaxy A8+ (2018)
  • Galaxy A7 (2018)
  • Galaxy A6 (2018)
  • Galaxy A6+ (2018)
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

Older models like Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 probably won’t get upgraded to Android 11 either. Neither device has been upgraded to Android 10.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Beta

Google’s Android 11 beta included the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and the Pixel 4a.

Other companies that took part in the Android 11 beta included OnePlus (OnePlus 8 series), Xiomi (Mi 10, Mi 10 Pro, and the POCO F2 Pro), and OPPO (Find X2 and Find X2 Pro).

As for Samsung, it will host its own Android 11 beta for Galaxy devices.

The company has launched its Android 11 beta program. The program has started in the pre-release phase which requires users to register to become a Samsung developer partner. You can do that over on its website.

Samsung’s Android 11 pre-beta is limited to Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra models in South Korea and the United States, but the company will open the beta up to users in China, Germany, India, Poland, and the United Kingdom once the pre-beta process ends.

As for the start of the public Android 11 beta, it looks like it could happen soon. An update for the company’s Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app includes support for Android 11.

Samsung used to keep its Android betas exclusive to its Galaxy S flagship models. In 2016, the Android Nougat beta was exclusive to Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge users. In 2017, Samsung limited the Android Oreo beta to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

It took a different approach with Android Pie. Instead of keeping it limited to Galaxy S flagships, Samsung expanded the Android Pie/One UI beta to former flagships and mid-range devices. The Android 10 beta reverted back to the old days with a far more limited release.

While we don’t know how the Android 11 beta will work exactly, you can expect the Galaxy Note 20 to take part at some point. We also expect to see a release for Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 models down the road.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy Android 11 beta program, take a look at our guide.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Release Date

So when will Samsung release its first Android 11 update? Let’s start with what we know.

Now that the Galaxy Android 11 beta program is live, we know that the company is hard at work on updates for the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The Galaxy S20+ Android 11 update recently appeared in a benchmark on HTML5test which is a sign that testing is underway behind the scenes. The device being tested was running the company’s unreleased Samsung Internet 13.0.

The company is reportedly testing Android 11 on the Galaxy S10+. Earlier this year the device showed up in a Geekbench benchmark.

Last year, Samsung pushed its first public Android 10 beta in October, or, several weeks after Google pushed the official version of Android 10 to Pixel devices. With the official version of Android 11 out for Pixel devices, the public beta is getting close.

Samsung says the Galaxy S20 series will be the first to Android 11 and we expect the Galaxy Note 20 series to follow closely behind. These devices will followed by older models like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10.

And while a lot of Galaxy models will probably get Android 11 in the second half 2020, many others will have to wait until 2021. Samsung’s Android roll outs typically span across several months.

We’ll continue to update this post with new information as the year goes on so make sure to check back in with us.

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-22. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

Continue Reading

Android

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Published

on

While you might have your sights on the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, the Galaxy S10 series, the Galaxy Note 10 series, or another device, some of you might want to think about holding out for the Samsung Galaxy S21/Samsung Galaxy S30.

The Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra are the company’s current flagships and they’re certainly worth of consideration if you’re on the hunt for a new smartphone in 2020.

If you’re looking to stay in the Galaxy family, you’ll also want to check out Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ from last year. They’re dependable devices and they’re much cheaper than they once were.

Outside of the Galaxy family you’ll want to take note of devices like Apple’s flagship iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They’re excellent alternatives to Samsung’s top names.

If you’d prefer to stick with Android, make sure you look into the OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro and Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL as well.

You’ll also want to take note of some of the phones that will arrive later this year. The list includes the 5G-powered iPhone 12 and the Google Pixel 5.

We’re also hearing about the phones coming in 2021. We’ve heard a lot about Apple’s iPhone 13 and we’ve also heard about the Samsung’s Galaxy S20’s successors.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Rumors

According to one leaker, the next Galaxy S is dubbed “Project U” behind the scenes. Presumably called Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30, the new models will almost certainly take the popular Galaxy S series to greater heights with improved hardware and software.

According to Samsung-centric blog SamMobile, Samsung is developing three versions of the Galaxy S21 which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that that’s been the company’s formula for a couple of years now.

The models in development are reportedly dubbed SM-G991, SM-G996, and SM-G998. These likely correspond to the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

One rumor suggests Samsung will stop selling phones with a bundled charger as soon as next year in an effort to keep costs down. Apple is reportedly doing the same with the iPhone this year.

Another rumor suggests Samsung is currently testing screen sizes for the largest Galaxy S21 model with 6.911″, 7.076″, and 7.095″ supposedly under consideration right now.

While the Galaxy Note 20 is built out of “glasstic,” one leaker claims the smallest Galaxy S21 is not made out of the material, at least not yet.

One report claims Samsung will bring the Galaxy Note’s S Pen stylus to the Galaxy S line starting with the Galaxy S21 Ultra model.

Ice Universe, a respected leaker, says that while the S Pen might come to the Galaxy S21, it won’t prevent Samsung from releasing a Galaxy Note 21.

Another leaker says the Galaxy S21 won’t take a significant leap from the Galaxy S20 series. He says the devices are more like “S20.5” or “S20s.” Galaxy S20 sales numbers haven’t been great so it’ll be interesting to see if that plan sticks.

We’ve seen a steady stream of Galaxy S21 rumors and that means we can start to piece together some expectations. From there, we can help you make a decision about whether to buy a new phone now or take a wait and see approach as we push deeper into the year.

The Galaxy S21 release date is months away and many of you can’t or simply won’t want to wait until 2021 to upgrade. That said, the Galaxy S21 should definitely be on your radar if you’re planning to upgrade your phone later in the year.

Sale
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | Cosmic Black
359 Reviews
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | Cosmic Black
  • Power of 5G: Get next-level power for everything you love to do with Samsung Galaxy 5G; Share more, game harder, experience more and never miss a beat
  • Single Take AI: Capture video and multiple types of images with one tap of the shutter button; Lenses, effects and filters capture the best of every moment, every time
  • Hi-Res Camera Zoom: Capture hi-res images from 300 feet away that look like they were taken from 3 feet away; The game-changing new 100x Space Zoom delivers unprecedented power and clarity
  • Ultra Bright Night Mode: Capture pro-quality content in Ultra Bright Night mode to capture dazzling, blur-free photos and vivid HRD video without flash, even in low light
  • Super Fast Charging: Charge up quicker with Super Fast Charge so you can keep moving, with more juice; Give your buds – or Galaxy Buds – a boost of power with Wireless PowerShare right from Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G

In this guide we’ll take you through the best reasons to wait for the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the best reasons to go with another device.

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-22. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

Continue Reading

Android

Samsung Galaxy Android 10 Update Info (2020)

Published

on

With the Samsung Galaxy Android 10 update rolling out and new info starting to emerge, we want to take you through everything you should know right now about Samsung’s Android 10 plans for Galaxy phones and tablets.

In this guide we’re going to take you through what you should know about Android 10 if you currently own or if you’re planning to buy a Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, or another Galaxy phone or tablet.

We’ll take you through what we know about Samsung’s version of Android 10. We’ll take you through what we know about the release date and we’ll outline which devices should, and shouldn’t, get an upgrade to the new version of Android.

Samsung Galaxy September Update

Samsung’s September update is pushing out right now.

The update has landed for the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab Active Pro, and Galaxy Tab S6. You can expect it to hit more devices in the days ahead.

The company’s September update includes a ton of patches including 15 fixes that are for issues related to Samsung’s own software.

If you own a Galaxy Tab S6, your update should include software features from the company’s new Galaxy Tab S7. Namely, Wireless DeX and the ability to request Wi-Fi passwords from people on your network if they’re in your contacts list.

If you want to learn more about Samsung’s September security update, head on over to the company’s website.

Try Starz or HBO Free with Amazon Channels

As a reminder, here’s the current breakdown of Samsung’s current Android security update coverage:

Current Models for Monthly Security Updates

  • Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Z Fold2, Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Flip 5G
  • Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Galaxy Note8, Galaxy Note9, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy Note10 5G, Galaxy Note10+, Galaxy Note10+ 5G, Galaxy Note10 Lite, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy Note20 5G, Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G
  • Enterprise Models: Galaxy A8 (2018), Galaxy A50, Galaxy XCover4s, Galaxy XCover FieldPro, Galaxy XCover Pro

Current Models for Quarterly Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S8 Active
  • Galaxy A2 Core, Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2018), Galaxy A8s, Galaxy A9 (2018)
  • Galaxy A10, Galaxy A10e, Galaxy A10s, Galaxy A20, Galaxy A20e, Galaxy A20s, Galaxy A30, Galaxy A30s, Galaxy A40, Galaxy A50s, Galaxy A60, Galaxy A70, Galaxy A70s, Galaxy A80, Galaxy A90 5G
  • Galaxy A01, Galaxy A01 Core, Galaxy A11, Galaxy A21, Galaxy A21s, Galaxy A31, Galaxy A41, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A71 5G
  • Galaxy J4+, Galaxy J4 Core, Galaxy J6+
  • Galaxy M10, Galaxy M10s, Galaxy M20, Galaxy M30, Galaxy M30s, Galaxy M40
  • Galaxy M01, Galaxy M11, Galaxy M21, Galaxy M31, Galaxy M31s, Galaxy M51
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8 Plus (2019), Galaxy Tab A 8.4 (2020), Galaxy Tab A7, Galaxy Tab Active2, Galaxy Tab Active Pro
  • Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy View2
  • W20 5G

Current Models for Other Regular Security Updates

  • Galaxy S8 Lite, Galaxy Note FE
  • Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A6, Galaxy A6+, Galaxy A7 (2017), Galaxy A8+ (2018), Galaxy A8 Star
  • Galaxy J2 Core, Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J3 Top, Galaxy J4, Galaxy J5 (2017), Galaxy J5 Prime, Galaxy J6, Galaxy J7 (2017), Galaxy J7 Duo, Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy J7 Prime2, Galaxy J7 Pop, Galaxy J7 Top, Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Neo, Galaxy J7+, Galaxy J8
  • Galaxy Tab A (2017), Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018), Galaxy Tab S3, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy Tab E 8 Refresh

So while devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 won’t get Android 10, they will get security patches and bug fixes for the foreseeable future.

Samsung Galaxy Android 10: What’s New

Samsung’s version of Android 10 looks a lot different than Google’s version because it utilizes the company’s One UI user interface.

Try Starz or HBO Free with Amazon Channels

The company’s developed multiple versions of the One UI. The first, One UI 2.0, is on board all of Samsung’s Android 10 updates. Some of the highlights on board include:

  • A new streamlined design.
  • Enhanced Dark Mode.
  • Improvements to Device Care.
  • Enhanced Biometrics.
  • New features for One-handed Mode.
  • Full screen gestures.
  • Improvements to apps like Calendar, Reminder, and My Files.
  • DeX for PC. (Galaxy S9 & Galaxy Note 9).

Samsung’s also released Good Lock 2020 with Android 10 support. The customization app includes support for Dark Mode.

Samsung’s version of Android 10 also sports features from Google’s version of Android 10 including Focus Mode and improvements to Digital Wellbeing. Others include:

  • Improved Privacy Protection & Controls
  • Privacy Manager
  • Expanded Location Controls
  • Multi-Tasking Bubbles
  • Support for Foldable Displays
  • Sharing Shortcuts
  • Smart Reply, Suggested Actions
  • Live Caption
  • Settings Panels
  • Gestural Navigation
  • Theme Controls
  • Notification Assistant
  • Improved Peer-to-Peer and Internet Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi Performance Mode
  • Dynamic Depth Formats for Photos
  • New Audio and Video Codecs
  • Native MIDI APIs
  • Improved Vulkan Graphics & Neural Network APIs

If you’re curious about Google’s Android 10 features, we recommend checking out our walkthrough. It’ll take you through all the key changes.

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series debuted with Android 10 and a new version One UI, dubbed One UI 2.1, on board.

Samsung’s pushed the One UI 2.1 out to the Galaxy S10 series and Galaxy Note 10 series. This means these devices now have official access to Galaxy S20 software features like Single Take and Pro Mode for Video.

One UI 2.1 has also rolled out to the Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy S10 Lite, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S5e, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy A71, and Galaxy A51. It’s also pushing out to the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 9.

The Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 One UI 2.1 updates bring a variety of changes including:

  • Quick Share
  • Music Share
  • Single Take
  • AR Zone
  • Pro Video Recording

The One UI 2.1 update for older devices is missing at least one feature that’s present on Galaxy S20 models: Bixby Routines.

On top of that, the company has released a new version of One UI, dubbed One UI 2.5, that brings several improvements to Galaxy devices. The software debuted on board the new Galaxy Note 20.

Samsung is pushing One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Z Flip, and Galaxy Tab S6.

The company is also planning to bring One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 9, and Galaxy Fold. It’s unclear when these updates will roll out.

One UI 2.5 is a minor update, but it does bring a few notable changes including the ability for your device to remember the angle you used for your last selfie.

The camera app will also remember the last shooting mode you used (video, etc). There’s also support for full-screen navigation gestures in third-party launchers.

These Galaxy Devices Will Get Android 10

Samsung typically keeps devices updated with major Android software updates for two years. That’s changing as the company says it’s now committed to providing three years of major software upgrades going forward.

Initially it looked like this might only apply to higher profile devices, but lengthier support will also be extended to a number of other devices.

Here’s the full list directly from Samsung:

  • Galaxy S series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20 in addition to Galaxy S10 5G, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10 Lite and upcoming S series devices.
  • Galaxy Note series: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20 5G, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Note 10 5G, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Lite and upcoming Note series devices.
  • Galaxy Foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Fold 5G, Galaxy Fold and upcoming Z series devices
  • Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, Galaxy A71, Galaxy A51 5G, Galaxy A51, Galaxy A90 5G and select upcoming A series devices.
  • Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Galaxy Tab S7+, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Tab S6 5G, Galaxy Tab S6, Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and upcoming Tab S series devices.

As for the devices moving to Android 10 in 2020, here’s what we know so far:

  • Galaxy S10 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S10 5G (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S10+ (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S10e (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S10 Lite (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Note 10 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Note 10 Lite (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Fold (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S9 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy S9+ (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Note 9 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A9 (2018) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A7 (2018) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A6 (2018) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A6+ (2018) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A80 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A70 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A70s (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A71 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A50 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A50s (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A40 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A40s (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A30 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A20 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A20e (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A10 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy A10s (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy J6 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy J6+
  • Galaxy J8 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy J8+
  • Galaxy M10
  • Galaxy M20 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy M30 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy M30s (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy M40 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab S4 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab S5e (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab S6 (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019) (Rolling Out)
  • Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (2018)

These Galaxy Devices Probably Won’t Get Android 10

Any device that’s received two major software updates (Oreo and Pie) is currently on the fence when it comes to Android 10. This means popular devices like the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 will most likely get left behind on Android Pie.

Here are a few Samsung Galaxy devices that will probably stick around on Android Pie:

The Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, and Galaxy S8+ aren’t listed on Samsung’s Android 10 roadmaps.

The Galaxy S8 has appeared in a GeekBench benchmark showing Android 10 on board, but this doesn’t confirm a release for the aging device.

In fact, it looks like the Galaxy S8 in question was running the LineageOS custom ROM. An official Android 10 update for the Galaxy S8 series is reportedly not in development at this time.

Samsung customer service reps have repeatedly told disgruntled Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 users that their devices will get upgraded to Android 10 down the road, but Samsung reps are extremely unreliable.

Samsung itself has reportedly confirmed plans to leave these devices behind on Android Pie so barring a change of heart, these devices won’t get an official version of Android 10.

Older devices like Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge probably won’t get upgraded to Android 10 either. Neither device received an upgrade to Android Pie.

Sale
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
4,336 Reviews
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray (Latest Model)
  • Stunning 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard and Touch ID
  • Tenth-generation Intel Core i3 processor
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Fast SSD storage

Samsung Galaxy Android 10 Release Date

The million dollar question: “When is Samsung planning to release Android 10 for my device?” Here’s what we know.

Galaxy S10 Android 10 Update

Samsung is rolling the official Galaxy S10 Android 10 update out to those on Android Pie. The update is widely available in many regions:

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Caribbean
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Kuwait
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam
  • Others

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have pushed the Galaxy S10 Android 10 update in the United States. T-Mobile’s also pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy S10 5G.

If you own an unlocked Galaxy S10 model in the United States, you should see Android 10. It’s rolling out to unlocked models right now.

As for Canada, the update is currently available on most carriers. If you own a Galaxy S10, you’ll want to check your phone for the download.

Samsung is also now pushing Android 10 and the One UI 2.0 to the Galaxy S10 5G. It’s also pushing Android 10 with One UI 2.1 to the Galaxy S10 Lite.

Galaxy Note 10 Android 10 Update

The stable version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Android 10 update is rolling out to the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+, and Galaxy Note 10+ 5G right now.

The upgrade is currently rolling out to those who participated in the Galaxy Note 10 Android 10 beta program and those running Android Pie. Here’s the list of places where the Galaxy Note 10 Android 10 update is currently available:

  • Austria
  • Baltic countries
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Nordic countries
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States
  • Others

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are currently pushing Android 10 to their Galaxy Note 10 models. The update’s also moving out to unlocked models in the U.S.

Galaxy Fold Android 10 Update

The Samsung Galaxy Fold Android 10 update is finally rolling out in the United States and the update includes features from Samsung’s One UI 2.1.

It’s also pushing out in other regions so if you bought Samsung’s foldable phone you should keep an eye out for your upgrade as it should arrive in the near future.

Galaxy Note 9 Android 10 Update

Samsung’s now pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy Note 9 and it’s available for beta testers and those currently running Android Pie in Canada, Germany, India, Turkey, and many other countries.

The Galaxy Note 9 Android 10 update is also moving out in the United States where it has landed for devices on smaller carriers like Comcast, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile.

It’s also pushing out to Galaxy Note 9 users on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and to unlocked Galaxy Note 9 models.

Galaxy S9 Android 10 Update

The Galaxy S9 Android 10 update has left beta and the official software is now pushing to users in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Many others

In the United States, the Galaxy S9 update is pushing to users on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular and Xfinity Mobile.

The update is also available for the unlocked model.

Galaxy M Android 10 Update

Samsung is also pushing Android 10 to mid-range devices.

The Galaxy M40 Android 10 update has made the move to Android 10.

The Galaxy M30 and Galaxy M20 Android 10 roll outs have begun. The two updates are currently rolling out in Germany, Greece, India, and Luxembourg. The Galaxy M30s Android 10 update is also pushing out.

Turkey’s also rolling out the Galaxy M20 Android 10 update and we expect the roll outs to pickup steam as we push deeper into the year.

If you can’t wait for the OTA, you can manually install Android 10 right now. If you own a Galaxy M20, head here. If you own a Galaxy M30, head here.

Galaxy A Android 10 Update

The company is pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy A80, the Galaxy A71, the Galaxy A70, the Galaxy A70s, the Galaxy A51, the Galaxy A50, the Galaxy A50s, the Galaxy A40s, the Galaxy A30, the Galaxy A20e, the Galaxy A20s, the unlocked Galaxy A20s, the Galaxy A20, the Galaxy A10, the Galaxy A10s, the Galaxy A7 (2018), the Galaxy A6+, and the Galaxy A6 (2018).

Galaxy J Android 10 Update

Samsung is pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy J series with the Galaxy J8 and Galaxy J8 picking up the update.

Galaxy Tab Android 10 Update

The Galaxy Tab S6 Android 10 update is rolling out in several countries and the upgrade brings the company’s One UI 2.1 along with it.

Verizon is also pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy Tab S6 in the United States though it looks like the update brings One UI 2.0 and not One UI 2.1.

Samsung has pushing Android 10 to the Galaxy Tab A 10.1, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, Galaxy Tab S4 LTE and Galaxy Tab S5e after a lengthy wait.

Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Update

Google’s released the official version of Android 11 and Samsung is currently working on its own version of the update.

The Android 11 update is available for the Google Pixel 4a, Pixel 4/Pixel 4XL, Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL, and Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL.

As for Samsung, the company has confirmed the start of its Android 11 beta program. The program is currently in the pre-release phase which requires users to register to become a Samsung developer partner.

Samsung’s Android 11 pre-beta is limited to Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra models in South Korea and the United States, but the open beta will expand to users in China, Germany, India, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

The company is testing Android 11 on the Galaxy S10+. The device showed up in a Geekbench benchmark with Android 11 on board earlier this year.

Look for the Galaxy Note 20 series, Galaxy Note 10 series, and the Galaxy S10 series to take part in the Android 11 beta at some point down the road.

Also of note: Samsung’s version of Android 11 has the company’s new One UI 3.0 on board. We initially thought One UI 3 would arrive alongside the Galaxy S21 next year, but Samsung will issue it with its first batch of Android 11 updates. We now expect One UI 3.1 to roll out alongside the Galaxy S21 series.

We don’t expect the official release for Galaxy devices anytime soon, but users should keep an eye out for more information as we push deeper into the year.

While you wait, have a look at our early guide to Samsung’s Galaxy Android 11 release. We’ve also put together a guide to Samsung’s Android 11 beta.

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-22. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

Continue Reading

Android

5 Things to Know About the Samsung Galaxy Android 11 Beta

Published

on

Samsung’s confirmed its Android 11 beta program and it’s running it a little bit different than it has in past years.

After staying silent for several months, Samsung’s finally talking about its plans for Android 11.

The company has confirmed an Android 11 beta program for Galaxy devices and the confirmation came a lot earlier than usual. Samsung typically announces its plans after Google’s pushed the official version of its new operating system to Pixel devices. This year, the company’s revealed its plans ahead the official Android 11 release.

Samsung’s Android 11 beta program allows you try out Android 11 features and the company’s brand new One UI 3.0 interface. You’ll also be able to help Samsung squash bugs and performance issues before it releases the official firmware. The company also says beta testers will be able to provide suggestions about the new UX.

Samsung hasn’t confirmed all of the pertinent information yet, but we can give you a rough outline based on official info, traditions, and our own expectations.

In this guide we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Android 11/One UI 3 beta. Our walkthrough includes information about the beta’s release date, regions, the signup, and more.

Sale
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | Cosmic Gray
498 Reviews
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery | Cosmic Gray
  • Power of 5G: Get next-level power for everything you love to do with Samsung Galaxy 5G; Share more, game harder, experience more and never miss a beat
  • Single Take AI: Capture video and multiple types of images with one tap of the shutter button; Lenses, effects and filters capture the best of every moment, every time
  • Hi-Res Camera Zoom: Capture hi-res images as if you’re 3 feet away, from 100 feet away; Whether you want to zoom in close from afar or magnify details nearby, the new 30x Space Zoom gives you impressive power and clarity
  • Bright Night Mode: Capture crisp images and vibrant video in Bright Night mode and create high-quality content in low light – no flash needed
  • Super Fast Charging: Charge up quicker with Super Fast Charge so you can keep moving with more juice; Give your buds – or Galaxy buds – a boost of power with Wireless PowerShare right from Galaxy S20 5G

Samsung Android 11 Pre-Beta

This year, Samsung’s launched a pre-beta phase for developers. The company says this phase will “help ensure application store applications are compatible with the beta software before the public beta period.”

This isn’t an open beta that’s available to all users. Instead, Samsung says it’s limited to partner developers that want to perform compatibility testing with specific service providers and device models.

How to Signup for the Android 11 Pre-Beta

In order to participate in the pre-beta process, you’ll need to apply to become a Samsung partner developer.

If you’re interested in becoming a partner developer, you can submit an application on Samsung’s beta site. Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Apply for Partnership” and follow the instructions.

Samsung says it will get back to applicants within 5 business days after applying.

If your application is approved, you’ll be able to learn about the installation through the “ONE UI BETA FOR PARTNER” tab on the company’s beta page.

Samsung Android 11 Pre-Beta Devices

Samsung’s Android 11 pre-beta phase is limited to specific Galaxy devices.

As of right now, the company is focused on the Galaxy S20 series which includes the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra LTE/5G.

It’s unclear if other devices will join the Galaxy S20 series in the pre-beta process, but at this point, you shouldn’t hold your breath.

Samsung Android 11 Pre-Beta Regions & Carriers

The pre-beta is limited to two regions.

Developer partners in South Korea and the United States can take part in the pre-beta phase. And in order to join, you’ll need to own an unlocked Galaxy S20 model or a model tied to a specific carrier.

In the United States, you’ll need a Galaxy S20 model attached to Sprint or T-Mobile. In South Korea, you’ll need a device that works with KT, LGU+, or SKT.

Samsung Android 11 Public Beta

Samsung’s started with a pre-beta phase, but at some point it will open up the Android 11 beta to the public. If you can’t participate in the pre-beta process, you’ll be able to take part in the public beta whenever it becomes available.

The company hasn’t said how long the pre-beta process will last, but it looks like the Android 11/One UI 3 beta might open up to the general public in the near future.

An update for the company’s Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app includes support for Android 11 and that means we could see a public release soon.

Like the pre-beta, the public beta will be limited in scope. The public beta will be available to users in China, Germany, India, Poland, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

While the company might start with the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra, there’s a good chance the public beta expands to other devices.

It probably won’t open up to the company’s entire portfolio of devices, bu you can expect the Galaxy Note 20 to take part at some point. We also expect a release for Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 models down the road.

For more about Android 11, head on over to our walkthrough.

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-22. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

Continue Reading

Android

Android 11 Problems: 5 Things You Need to Know

Published

on

Google’s Android 11 is out of beta and available for Google’s Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, and Pixel 4a. The operating system went through extensive testing, but issues have slipped through the cracks into the final release.

After a fairly lengthy wait, Android 11 is finally live for Pixel devices. The update is pretty extensive and comes with a long list of changes including built-in screen recording, improved notifications, and a variety of under-the-hood improvements.

While some Pixel owners should install the Android 11 update right now, others might benefit from waiting.

Try Starz or HBO Free with Amazon Channels

Android 11 has been out for a short time, but we’re already hearing and seeing complaints about bugs and performance issues. Some of these issues are brand new, some have carried over from Android 10.

If you’re thinking about downloading the Android 11 update on your Pixel, you should be familiar with these issues before you tap download.

In this guide we’ll take you through the current state of Android 11 problems. We’ll also provide you with some potential fixes, show you where to find feedback about the Android 11 update, show you where to report bugs, and tell you about what’s coming next from Google.

Prepare for Android 11

You might be tempted to install Android 11 right now. However, before you tap download, make sure you prepare yourself, and your device, for the move up from Android 10.

You can’t predict exactly how Android 11 will run on your Pixel. Some of you might see a performance boost, others will run into bugs or performance issues. Preparing for the installation will help you cut down the number of potential issues you might encounter.

We’ve put together a guide that will take you through the pre-installation process we use before we install new Android software on our Pixel devices.

If you don’t have a ton of time to devote to the pre-installation process, you’ll want to make sure all of your files are all properly backed up.

Data loss issues are rare these days, but this is still an important step to take before you make the transition from Android 10 to Android 11.

Pixel Android 11 Problems

The beta squashed a number of bugs and performance issues ahead of the public release, but the final version of Android 11 is causing problems for some Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 4 users.

Some Pixel users are running into installation issues. If you’re experiencing issues with the Android 11 installation process, take a look at our guide.

Pixel users are also complaining about a variety of other problems including connectivity issues, abnormal battery drain, touchscreen issues, UI lag, sound issues, and more.

It’s a short list, but we expect the list to grow as more people download and install the new operating system.

Where to Find Feedback & Report Problems

We’ll start to see more feedback about the Android 11 update on sites like Twitter and YouTube.

You’ll also find useful Android 11 feedback on Google’s Pixel Help Forums and sites like XDA-Developers.

Short-term feedback is extremely useful, but you’ll also want to make sure you dig into long-term feedback from Android 11 users if you’re feeling leery about the move to the operating system.

If you do run into an Android 11-related issue on your Pixel you’ll want to report your issue to Google. You can do so via the company’s website or via the Pixel Help Forums.

How to Fix Pixel Android 11 Problems

If encounter problems on your Pixel you can’t rely on Google to fix them. New Android 11 builds won’t come every week and every new release will have its own set of problems.

If you encounter a bug or performance issue, you’ll want to try fixing it on your own before getting in touch with Google’s customer service.

We’ve put together guides that will take you through the most common issues impacting the Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 4. You can start there.

If you’re unable to find a fix for your problem there, you’ll want to take a look at Google’s Pixel help forum or XDA’s Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4a forums.

What’s Next

We haven’t heard anything about Android 11.1 yet. And given that Google failed to release Android 10.1, there’s a chance we don’t get a big maintenance update in 2020 or 2021.

The only Android 11 updates on our radar right now are Google’s monthly updates. These updates always bring new security patches and bug patches. And that means the first batch of bug fixes for Android 11 issues could roll out in October.

We expect Google’s October Android 11 update to roll out early next month. The company almost always rolls its monthly updates out on the first Monday.

If you’re dealing with Android 11 issues keep your eyes out for it.

5 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy S21 & 5 Reasons Not To

Wait for Even Better Performance

Wait for Even Better Performance

You can expect the Galaxy S21 series to build on the foundation left by the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Note 20 series

A sketchy report out of China claims Samsung will utilize the Snapdragon 865 inside the Galaxy S21 to keep the price down. 

That said, there's also a chance the Galaxy S21 makes the jump to Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 875 processor. If true, that should lead to notable improvements in overall speed, multitasking, and battery life. 

91Mobiles has released potential information about Qualcomm's new processor. It will supposedly include a new X60 5G modem and an Adreno 660 graphics processor.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't shed any light on how much it'll improve upon the Snapdragon 865. We probably won't get those details until much later this year.

Another processor rumor hints at a new Exynos 1000 processor for the upcoming Galaxy S21 Ultra and an Exynos 991 or or Exynos 992 for the cheapest Galaxy S21 model.

The Exynos 1000 is reportedly codenamed "Olympus" and the "Exynos 1000" moniker is currently a tenative name. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the Exynos 1000 will still "lose" to the Snapdragon 875, he says power consumption should be improved. 

The company is also reportedly thinking about ditching the Exynos name for its in-house processors.  

The Galaxy S20's 120Hz screens are extremely smooth, but they can drain battery life and the hope is that Samsung's improvements to next year's models will help tone that down. The Galaxy S20 represents Samsung's first stab at the technology. 

The Galaxy S20's 5G connectivity can also have a heavy impact on battery life and bringing a new modem aboard the Galaxy S21 could help counteract that.

As for the size of the Galaxy S21's battery, Samsung-centric blog Galaxy Club has spotted information about its size. 

The information points to a 4,660mAh capacity battery. The Galaxy S20's battery is rated at 4,370mAh so this would represent a small bump. 

The same site has also leaked the Galaxy S20 Ultra's battery capacity. According to Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S21 Ultra battery is rated at 4,885 mAh which means it could be marketed as 5,000 mAh.

So if you want a high-end Galaxy phone, but think you might want a little more polish, consider hanging around for next year's flagships. 

Last update on 2020-09-22. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

Continue Reading

This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.

Featured