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Your McMurray Tech Talk

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Samsung Underwhelms A few issues ago (Volume 1 Issue 3), I told the world my story about my fall from grace with our country’s own Research in Motion and their BlackBerry smartphones. What I didn’t share then is exactly what ship I jumped to in my time of need.

I’ve never been a huge fan of what’s popular; some people may called that being a “hipster”, others may call me an Internet troll, but reality is I’ve always tried to follow the path less travelled simply for the thrill. When I decided to toss my BlackBerry to the wind, I was left with two primary choices for a mainstream smartphone: the Apple iPhone 3G, which was taking the world by storm; and the Samsung Galaxy S2, a follow-up to the surprisingly successful Samsung Galaxy. I was sick of hearing about how awesome the iPhone was and nearly everyone I knew that same black candy-bar device, so my selection was clear. My rebound smartphone relationship would be with Samsung and its Android Operating System.

A few of my friends would rave about Google and how well the Android OS worked, so I was eager to dive in. Since breaking my Samsung cherry, I have owned every version of its Galaxy series. With each new variation I grew more proud of my decision to support the South Korean juggernaut and you could imagine my excitement when the new Galaxy S5 was announced at the recent Mobile World Congress. Now, that was of course true until the Samsung Marketing Team took the stage and began showcasing the new device.

What proceeded on that stage literally wiped the smile right off my face. I’ve never been a fan of the yearly device upgrades from modern communications companies, but money talks and I guess selling millions of devices each year allows for it to happen. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was rumored to have such amazing features: flexible screens, eye tracking technology, a metal body design…yeah, we got none of that.

The newest version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 gives us more of the same. It’s rounded-edge plastic body the S4 but this time it includes a different back panel “dimple” motif and comes in a few more colours than just black and white. It rocks a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, which is a slight upgrade from its predecessor. The screen increases to 5.1 inches to test your patience with the new larger-screen revolution. While still being reasonable, I flat out refuse to use the Samsung Galaxy Note due to its sheer tablet like size. The device will ship with the latest Android OS (4.4.2) called “KitKat”. This has some newer features in itself such as an upgraded TouchWhiz interface that previous Galaxy users have not experienced. The software that integrates with Android has been completely redesigned for the new flagship phone that provides users a smoother experience with an easier settings menu and fresh tweaks to the icons layout. Think something similar when the new iOS hit the iPhone and how the icons looked.

Now I may be shedding the Galaxy S5 in a negative light but the truth is it’s not all bad. The camera has been upgraded to a whopping 16 megapixel with some excellent 0.3 second Auto-Focusing. This is due to the addition of what Samsung calls Phase Detection autofocus, a feature usually found in DSLR cameras making its first appearance in a smartphone. That means you’ll have a higher success rate capturing the moment with squirmy kids and pets. The S5 also boosts a military spec of IP67, which means its dust-proof and water resistance up to 30 minutes at about 3 feet down. Also added is a fingerprint scanner, surprise surprise. The scanner integrates into the screen above the home button, so that you swipe your finger down half over the bottom portion of the display and home button. While it can be used to unlock your phone and for mobile payments (ie – with PayPal), what interests me is that it can also used to take your heart-rate. Part and parcel with the camera flash, you hold your finger over it to take your pulse; the area glows red when activated when you launch it from the stock S Health 3.0 app and you have yourself your own heart-rate monitor.

I guess that’s the problem with Internet rumors, it can get you excited for a future that may not come fast enough. While the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a solid flagship device, it’s just not the major hardware upgrade and feature game-changer we come to hope for and even expect. I recommend upgrading to this phone if you are a Galaxy S3 user or an iPhone user that wants to switch. I would say your Galaxy S4 can still hold up to the world until the S6 comes out next year, where again will expect to see the future in the palm of our hands. If you want to know if I will be purchasing the Galaxy S5, the answer is probably…because I’m an addict.

Game of The Month

Instead of a recommended app or device, this time I’m going to recommend a video game that should be on every gamers want list. TITANFALL! From the creators of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 comes this very interesting First-Person shooter that pits humans and mech-style robots against each in online-only multiplayer action. The player controls futuristic pilots that have a WIDE range of weapons and tactics including wall-running, cloak, jet-pack (that’s more of a boost) and also the ability to call upon large machines called Titans to do battle. Both the Titans and the Pilots can be customized with different weapons the more times to level-up. The game is definitely entertaining and an interesting spin to the latest pack of same-old style shooters that plague the market. Here’s the kicker, the game is only available for Microsoft PC, XBOX 360 and the XBOX One.


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