I am here in Berlin to cover the Samsung Unpacked event, and they have unveiled a bunch of new devices, mostly centred around the new Note 4.
The Note 4 sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560x1440) Super Amoled display and comes in four colours, White, Black, Gold and Pink (they used fancier names but I can’t remember them off hand lah, simi Frost White or something).
The build quality looks better than the previous Notes, less plasticky. The front camera is 3.7 megapixels and the rear is 16 megapixels, which is fairly standard but the 3.7MP front camera aperture is now F1.9 for better low light use. They also added Smart OIS to the 16MP back camera to take away the shakes, and you can now do Wide Selfies with the front camera, a kind of panorama mode that stitches three portrait mode shots with the front camera together giving you a 120º field of view.
Also added to the Note 4, better multitasking, fast charging (you can get a 50% charge within 30 minutes) and also the Ultra Power Saving Mode inherited from the Galaxy S5.
With three microphones built in (yes, three), the Note 4 has improved ambient noise suppression, and if you use the Meeting mode to record a bunch of people talking around the Note 4, you can isolate up to 8 voices in a 360º circle.
Samsung says the Note 4 is meant to simulate pen on paper and the touch screen now has double the press sensitivity, so the touch and feel is improved and you get more elaborate brushes, like this fountain pen mode I used.
Also new is the Galaxy Gear VR goggles. It currently works with the Note 4 only, and you snap a Note 4 on the front and wear the VR to get a 3D experience to watch movies and play games.
I liked the 3D content I watched but I wonder how much content is going to be available for this gadget at launch. The circus video was in 3D and by turning my head I can see different views of a performance. Look up and see the trapeze artists, look right and see the clowns, turn 180º and see the seats in the theatre. It was pretty surreal.
I think most of us enjoyed the gaming part most. By turning your head to aim and tapping the touch pad at the side to fire, you can play games with the Galaxy Gear VR in 3D. You have to take off your glasses to use the Galaxy Gear VR but there is a built-in diopter to adjust the lens inside till we shortsighted fellows can see clearly.
The new Samsung Gear S watch looks way better than the previous ones. Now with Bluetooth, Wifi and 3G built-in, you can use a nano sim and operate the watch without being connected to a smartphone. The screen is a 2-inch curved Super Amoled display, and there are more apps now, supporting the Gear S. Straps are interchangeable.
And finally, the Galaxy Note Edge, which was quite cool to me. It is essentially the Note 4 with an additional curved screen on the edge.
You can park different menus and info along that edge, like the camera controls in the camera mode so the whole screen can be used for composition. Or watch a movie and if an SMS comes in, it just scrolls across the edge screen instead of interrupting your movie on the main screen itself.
You can even use the edge screen as a night clock (it involved rubbing the edge screen while the main screen is off, which I felt a little strange doing).
I think if you gave me a choice between the Note 4 and Note Edge, I would pick the Edge. That edge screen thing is pretty cool.
I am off to get more food now. I am surrounded by sausages and meats here in Germany. And for some reason, wasps.
Our driver told us, with a totally deadpan face, that it was the end of the wasp season, and they die off by the dozens during this time. And they tend to get a little crazy before they die. I am like lolwut?! Loco wasps?!