Friday, May 20, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Lens kit and case initial impressions

Today I received my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Lens Kit in the mail :) Yay!

Just while playing, I mounted it on a tripod and took these pictures:

Standard shot with no lens on it other than the S7 Edge camera lens.

 With the telescopic lens.

With the wide angle lens

I'll have a ton more images as the days come. I'm going to do a complete review of it :) I just need the time!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

LG G5 Time-lapse vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Hyper-lapse

Time Lapse and Hyper Lapse videos on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5

The UI

The interface of the LG is always a pleasure. I really do think the that the UI is much cleaner and much more professional on the LG G5. They have been doing camera and video UI much better for the last few years - better than most other phones. The only other UI that I think can match or even surpass this UI is the Lumia UI way back when. Regardless, here is screen capture of the UI

Here is the UI of the Galaxy S7 Edge

The first option you'll notice between the two is that the LG doesn't have this "auto" mode. The Samsung is able to look at the video you're recording and slow down specific parts and speed up others. It actually makes a pretty cool effect. If you don't like it, you can turn off Auto and do it manually, just like the LG.

Both record time lapse and hyper lapse videos at 1080p by default. The LG can be lowered to other resolutions, but the Samsung cannot be changed. Why you can't is beyond me. Ask Samsung!

Regardless, here are the two clips on auto for the Samsung and Auto on the LG. These were about 12 or 13 minutes in real life.



Honestly, they are both great - but the auto is VERY good! I really enjoyed that. You won't see so much change in this video since clouds generally follow the same speed - but when walking around recording people or streets, it automatically slows down for parts and then speeds back up. I really enjoy that.

Wide Angle vs Standard camera on the LG

The LG can also record a time lapse with the wide angle lens which is just spectacular!
Here is the FOV of the normal sensor on the LG:
And here is the FOV of the camera with the wide angle lens:
You just get so much more out of the image with the 8mpx wide-angled lens, even though the corners are a little bit more distorted as if it were a fisheye lens. The end product is no less magnificent.

Here is a video of the wide angle time lapse.

Pros and cons to each:
+ Very good settings
+ Ability to lower resolution if desired
+ Wide angle hyper lapse is fantastic
+ Fantastic quality
+ Ability to choose speed

- No automatic slowdown or speed up

+ Very good auto setting will speed up the boring moments and slow down the action moments
+ Ability to choose speed
+ Fantastic quality

- Can't modify resolution
- No wide angle lens without the Galaxy Lens Cover kit, which I have on its way.

I'd say they are both very good devices, but the LG wins in this department, but Samsung very close by due to that auto mode.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Google Photos bug not uploading / backing up images taken with camera on Android.

Well this was frustrating. I have 2 phones, and both are set to back up the pictures I take from the cameras. One is an LG G5 and the other is a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. The G5 is uploading the pictures just fine. On my Galaxy S7 edge it isn't working.

There is practically 0 support from Google, and the only thing you can do is go to the support forum and leave a message and hope that someone will answer you. I'd rather tinker...

These are the steps I took:
  • Turned off and on the device
  • Went into application manager and manually stopped Photos
  • Went into application manager and cleared cache
  • Went into application manager and cleared the application storage
  • Went into application manager and disabled, reenabled and then updated via Google Play store.
  • I have changed where the camera saves its pictures: SD and Internal Storage - it made no difference.
After EACH step above I tried the following:
  • In the photos app, I go into the settings and enable auto backup. The assistant says "backing up X photos", and it has been like this for days.
  • I have tried changing from ON to OFF for the backup
  • I have tried toggling only on wifi, to cellular, and also from always to only while charging.
None of those options worked.

But if I want to backup a specific image, I can press and hold and press the backup now button on the top right, and it will upload it successfully.

I know it's not my account since it's uploading the images on my other device.
I know it's not an internal error since I can manually backup the images I select

Finally! I found a solution!

So what did I do? well, I got so frustrated after DAYS of dealing with this and just manually backed up everything and deleted the entire DCIM folder on both the SD card and the internal storage. Everything in those folders and the folders themselves. This fixed it!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Urban Armor Gear for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

I have always been a big fan of the Urban Armor Gear case line. It is always hard to find a fault with this line of cases. Let's see how the S7 Edge case holds up.

This case is not like your other Urban Armor Gear cases in the sense that it just protects. When Samsung came out with the S7 (flat version), UAG just had to find the right dimensions and put it together. With the S7 Edge though UAG had to really find a balance between protection and usefulness.

The Edge of the S7 Edge is both very useful and a big hindrance. Let's see how UAG designed the case to work in favor of the S7 Edge.

Firstly, let's talk about the design. The design is quite on par with the other designs - you have that modern design that really looks like it's very industrial and sturdy.

It features very well reinforced black rubber in the corners and hard plastic at the back.

As usual, the UAG line comes in a multitude of colors (sadly, far less than the iPhone lineup has). To check them out, click here. In this review I have the Magma colored case which is actually very nice. Over the years I always got the ICE color because it would really shine through devices which could change their back plate or color with a skin. I really felt like this time I wanted to keep my S7 Edge with 1 color and just get a colored case. Magma is certainly eye catching, isn't it? I also have a blue case on the way that my partner really wanted, so when it arrives next week I'll update the post with comparative pictures.

Going back to the review we can see that there is also a thick and raised rubber that surrounds the camera. I'm quite a shutter bug if any of you visit my other shootouts :
S7 vs G5 part 1
S7 vs G5 part 2
S7 vs G4

As I was saying, the rubber around the camera and LED flash has 0 effect or warping on the camera which is great news. A lot of other cases tend to move those borders around the camera and flash and when you fire up the flash it leaves some ghosting or artificial whitening to the image. Luckily this doesn't happen. Also, as you can see in the image above, there is an shallow widening of the rubber to accommodate a finger for those of us that actually use the finger heart rate monitor reader. Good stuff. That's some attention to detail that the Supcase didn't take into account, having to do some finger gymnastics to get a good read.

 While there is added weight and width to the device, it's rather minimal.
The S7 E weighs 157 grams without a case, and with the UAG case it goes up to 192 grams, which isn't much. The Supcase went up to 213 grams.

 As you can see in this image the entire edge is very readily available. You lose absolutely no functionality while using this case.

One of the good points that I was talking about is that this case adds a little thickness to the sides. When I use the S7 Edge without using a case, I often touch the sides of the screens by accident and it opens apps or does functions that I didn't want it to do. With a case that adds a little thickness to its sides you avoid a lot of these issues. Now if you compare this case to other cases, you still have that awesome feeling of the infinity display in your hand - in other cases it feels a little more like a case with the sides, but this removes from the beauty of having a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with those gorgeous edges! The UAG case keeps those edges nice and clean. Galaxy
If you take a look at the front of the case you can see that there are lips on the top and bottom to raise the case from a table if you place it on top. This is a must have for any case with such an expensive case and device! 

I have a few other cases that cost practically nothing that would protect my device from absolutely nothing other than a casual scratch that would have been caused by entering or exiting my jeans - but if you often place your phone face down on the table you'd better have a case that raises the screen off the table! Also, the added rubber keeps it from sliding off the table (fantastic for airplanes and tray tables on trains or buses). 

These rubber pads are, of course, also present on the back.

 Ports are open and exposed, but this is a waterproof phone, so it doesn't matter. Speaker phone and microphones don't get muffled. Port sizes are also very generous so you can use basically any micro USB cable and headphones. This compatibility issue is something of the past. 

OK, any bad things about this case? Of course! There are always drawbacks. If you drop your phone with this case on any corner or on the back it'll probably be OK with this case on it. But what about the sides? Since the case actually starts below the edges, that would leave it vulnerable.  Just something to keep in mind.

So would I recommend a UAG case? Of course! This is one of the BEST cases you can get for your device! It's about 30,00 euros on Amazon, and 35 USD with free world shipping if you buy it directly from their website. The price is right on target for the quality of the case and design, but is it for everyone? No. It's pretty noisy, and actually detracts from the beauty of the device. But then again, ANY case that actually protects the device will. Just something to take into account. :) It's a VERY good case and I highly recommend UAG to everyone. My partner uses it at the gym every day because we all know which case will protect it if it falls. 

+ Very stylish
+ 4 colors to pick from
+ Very VERY well designed 
+ Lighter than other solutions, but heavier than minimal solutions
+ It doesn't raise my screen protector (BestSkinsEver, case friendly)
+ Very easy to put on and take off, but it won't fall out!

- Kind of expensive if you don't spend money on cases
- The sides are more exposed than other cases, but this also allows you to enjoy the infinity display
- Shipping times take a while to Europe. I have tried both direct from Amazon (1 week delivery), and directly from UAG took about 2 weeks. 

Here are some more pictures. Enjoy

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Supcase Unicorn Beetle case for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Hello everyone! And welcome to another one of my reviews. I just wanted to tell everyone about the Supcase Unicorn Beetle case. I got this off of Amazon for 19€ from Amazon Spain.

But is it a good case? Let's find out!

This has to be ONE OF my FAVORITE cases if you're looking for top level protection for a low price - but there are a lot of compromises.

 This a dual layer case. This means that you have to first insert your phone in the section of the left and then you have to fit it into the section to the right. This is how it gives you so much protection. First, it is suspended in the left plastic frame. After you insert it into the right silicone and rugged plastic you get a dual layer case.

As you can see in this image the top ear speaker and all the sensors are completely exposed but they are also protected from drops. This case also adds a lip to the phone so that if you were to place it screen down on a table the phone would clear the table considerably not having to worry about scratches while sliding it around on the table. It shouldn't slide around regardless due to the fact that the case is also rubbery, so it should stand its ground on an airplane tray table or your own glass table.

 There are also some rubber feet on the back of the phone as well to avoid sliding around.

 I do believe that Supcase stole some of its inspiration from the UAG case (here's a shot from my upcoming UAG case)

It's hard NOT to see the similarities in design, right?

 Regardless of the design, we can see that the edge corners are exposed all the while being protected, which is good. They do not have any negative effect on the actual usage of the screen or the edges. Everything is very usable still - you can tell that they spent a lot of time and R&D on this device case so every little feature is still accessible. Kudo points for you, Supcase. :)

One thing to note about this case is that most Supcase Unicorn Beetle cases come with a screen protector attached to the front, but this design didn't. Right now manufacturers are having a hard time creating screen protectors for the S7 Edge because of the curved display. Just keep that in mind. This case doesn't lift up the screen protectors since your device sits IN it rather than wrapping the case around it.

The weight on the other hand of this case is actually A LOT. It makes the phone much heavier.

Weights for the S7 Edge:
  • 157 grams -  No case at all (and just a screen protector on)
  • 213 grams - With the Supcase Unicorn Beetle + the same screen protector on mentioned before
That is pretty substantial - but I guess for the dual layer protection you're getting it's all right. But I am telling you, it feels like a brick now - so heavy!

Even though it may look like the corners are extra protected, I don't believe they are any thicker than any other part of the rim of the case.  I could be wrong, but just by looking at it inside, it does seem this way. Regardless, it does feel very substantial and protected.

The charging port and 3.5mm jack are protected with a silicon flap. This is a very good idea for those phones that aren't waterproofed, but I don't think it's 100% necessary for the S7 Edge since it is already waterproof.

On the downside of these flaps, I feel that they're very rugged - they put a lot of pressure on the micro usb charger when plugged in and also the 3.5mm headphone jack. It's probably nothing, but you can feel the resistance it is putting up while plugging it in.

 Buttons are plenty tactile and clicky. So no issues here!
The ring around the camera lens and LED doesn't affect your shooting abilities at all, yay for that! Some cases do give you a ring while shooting with the LED.

How about how easily it comes out of your pocket? It slides right out! The rubber is a very smooth rubber so it doesn't grab onto the inside of your pocket like silicone cases do. While on the topic of your pocket, it does add some thickness to your device (of course). Which means that it'll mark your inside pocket a little bit more, too ;). So bulging phone outline is way more noticeable than without a case FOR SURE. 

Heat - I never felt my phone warm to begin with, and so with the case I didn't feel it either. While using the fast charger, normally the S7E gets warm, or maybe even warmer than normal but never hot. In the case you are bound to notice that it doesn't get as warm. This is probably because the layer between your hand and the phone is so thick that you won't really feel the heat! That's good and bad. Good because you won't feel the heat, and bad because the heat will be trapped inside the case and will take longer to dissipate. 

In the end, the design is nice, it is rugged and it will protect your phone very well despite adding all that weight I'd say it's a keeper!

Here are some photos comparing it to the S7 Edge Urban Armor Gear case, coming up in the next review.

I'd say give it a go! It's only 19,00 euros and it really does protect your device well

+ Very good protection
+ Protection for money
+ It feels VERY solid in hand, and the weight is something that I like personally, but I can see why it might defer some people
+ Nice design
+ Screen protector friendly

- A little hard to remove from its case
- I don't like the pressure the flaps put on the plugged cords, but I'm sure it won't be a problem. No one has complained about this yet, but it's still something to watch out for in the future! So it goes in this category.
- Heavy - but it gives a sense of solidity and strength

Sunday, May 8, 2016

LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Shootout: Part 2

I got a second LG G5 and I decided I put it through its paces as well versus the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  I only used the main camera on the LG G5 to compare - I can say that the wide angle camera is awesome. 

This is how I take my shots for the shootout: Completely 100% auto, no changing of the white balance, no modifying the stops for the exposure. If I were to do that for every shot then each one would be superb. I believe that most people want to take a picture at the moment and whip out their cameras. I mostly shoot in manual mode, but for these tests I stay with 100% automatic with maybe some tap to focus shots just to be able to see what LG and Samsung have implemented into their devices and the software optimizations they have carried out. 

In all images the LG G5 is on the left and the S7 Edge is on the right.

 As we can see in this image, the G5 captures more of the yellow flowers that are ever so tiny as well as the detail of the leaves. This is mostly due to the amount of megapixels the G5 has over the S7 Edge.
Point to LG G5.

In the same image I just lowered a little bit and you can see the detail on the bricks is much higher and in focus. Usually the S7 Edge is on top in focus, but this wasn't a tap to focus ordeal. Very well done LG G5.
Point to LG G5

The WB on the S7 Edge is a little off here, but that's OK. It's something you can fix in manual mode or even afterwards. Detail is better on the rocks and look more natural while the S7 looks a little over sharpened.
Point to LG G5

In this shot the colors are very well represented but there is something about the ground on the S7 image that looks sharper and better. You can also see the drops of rain on the flower in the center left and they are more in focus as are the bulbs of the flowers.
Point to S7 Edge.

Both of these images came out perfectly but to personal taste I enjoy more the colors and detail of the G5. It may not be as sharp but there is more detail and it looks more artistic. I would send that to print and be very happy with the result as you can see below.
Point to LG G5

 General shot. Point to S7

100% crop on this general focus shot, and the S7 nailed it.

 But how often do we just take a shot without focusing when pointing it at the only 1 thing that is in front of us? Well, I always tap to focus! So I thought I'd give the G5 a chance to focus and I manually focused both on the face of the statue and the S7 still came out on top even though both shots are very nice.
Point to S7

 G5 wins this hands down, the focus and details.
Point to LG G5

 A very nice shot. Tie.
Point to LG G5 and S7
 100% crop on close and distant objects at the same time, very nice detail for both again. Tie.
Point to LG G5 and S7

 In these two shots I tried to focus on the flowers and the S7 Edge was able to do so, but the G5 wasn't! It kept focusing on the floor. I would normally jump into manual mode but since is supposed to be a general shooter with everything on automatic except maybe tapping to focus, I decided to just leave it as is.
Point to S7 and another one for the second shot.
 In this shot I'm enjoying the G5 image more.
Point to LG G5
 Upon zooming with no touch to focus, I can see that the lamp post isn't as in focus neither are the leaves in the background on the G5. The S7 takes the prize!
Point to S7
 Then I tapped to focus on the G5, and got this gorgeous shot. Just because the colors are a little more pleasant of the leaves on the G5 I'd give it a point, but they're both excellent shots so they both get a point!
Point to LG G5 and S7

 These gorgeous flowers got a little rain the morning of the shoot and you can see the drops on the right and left, but each phone focused on a different spot.
Point to LG G5 and S7
Another try!
Point to LG G5 and S7

Point to LG G5 and S7. Both images are very well lit, exposed and good white balance.

While I was tempted to give the S7 this point, I decided to give it to the G5 because of those colors and representation. I think the leaves look nicer and less "crinkled" on the yellow flowers. The purple flowers across the bottom left also have a lot of detail over the S7.
Point to LG G5

The detail on those green leaves behind the white flowers are gorgeous in on the S7, but come one, let's be realistic, both shots are FANTASTIC.
Point to S7

 I can't decide with this shot.
Point to LG G5 and S7

Both shots are superb. The detail of the bulb and the color of the petals are higher on the G5 but the veins on the S7 are very nice.
Point to LG G5 and S7

 Point to LG G5

 The G5 crushed the reds, while the S7 Edge handled them better. You can still see the details of each petal while on the G5 it's harder but not impossible.
Point to S7
 JPG image is quite similar in this shot. The only real difference is the temperature of the leaves. Here's a close up.
 Point to LG G5 and S7
Two very nice shots
Point to LG G5 and S7
 Point to S7 due to the detail on the stone bench.

 This is probably one of my favorite shots from that morning.
I had to double check that these were different images because they're so crisp and perfect. They're very much in focus and very well developed.
Point to LG G5 and S7. Could I give another set of points for this macro shot? Why not, it's my blog :).
Another point to LG G5 and S7

 I really had to pixel peep on this one, the roof of the house on the G5 has more detail than the house of the S7.  Also, the window blinds have more detail than the same image of the S7.
Point to LG G5

 My moving parrot.
Point to S7 for indoor shots and having him in focus.

Another shot, same result.
Point to the S7.