TIME Smartwatch

Samsung’s New Smartwatch Has 1 Very Unique Feature

Samsung Gear S2
Samsung Samsung Gear S2

A "rotating bezel" offers a new way to control the device

Samsung on Monday announced the Gear S2 smartwatch, the company’s follow-up to last year’s Gear S.

In a move differentiating the device from Apple’s Apple Watch, Samsung designed the S2 in circular style more reminiscent of typical watches. And whereas the Apple Watch has a rotating “digital crown” for controlling many apps, Samsung’s new device has an input mechanism called a “rotating bezel,” along with Home and Back buttons.

Samsung is offering the Gear S2 in two varieties: The default Gear S2, available in grey or silver and seen above, and the Gear S2 “classic,” a black version of the device with a leather band. The device is powered by Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, as opposed to the many non-Apple smartwatches that run Google’s Android Wear.

Customers can also opt for a 3G version of the Gear S2, which boasts wireless data connectivity that allows the device to serve up information without the help of a nearby phone.

Other features found in Samsung’s Gear S2 include NFC payments, a fitness app and a battery the company says lasts two to three days.

Samsung has not yet revealed details about the Gear S2’s availability or price. The company may release more information during this week’s IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany.

TIME Samsung

People Are Complaining About a Nasty Problem With Samsung’s Newest Phone

Samsung Celebrates The Unveiling Of The Galaxy S6 edge+ And Galaxy Note5
Donald Bowers—Getty Images for Samsung Samsung unveils the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

It's way too easy to break

Samsung users have discovered a design flaw in the new Galaxy Note 5 that makes it all too easy to reinsert the S Pen the wrong way, disabling certain features on the phone, The Verge reports.

With previous versions of the Note, it was difficult to insert the pen incorrectly. It required a certain amount of force, making users aware that the pen was facing the wrong direction. With the new Galaxy Note 5, inserting the pen incorrectly requires virtually no force, providing users with no warning that they are mistakenly reinserting the pen backwards.

Removing the pen from its slot is supposed to launch either a quick note taking app or the S Pen’s radial menu, but a video from Android Police shows that this flaw with the S Pen slot could permanently disable these features. However, a similar article from Ars Technica reported that it was able to get the features working again.

TIME Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung's latest devices go head-to-head

There’s a lot riding on Samsung’s latest smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. Ever since the South Korean company hit a bit of a rough patch early this year it’s been looking for ways to improve its bottom line. Meanwhile, profits at the company have declined for seven straight quarters, forcing it to cut prices for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Samsung is in dire need of a hit device to put the company back on a path towards rising profits, which is hopefully where the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ can help. For the past week I’ve tested both devices, using them non-stop to snap photos, capture videos, and do all the things you’d normally do on a smartphone. And you know what? These devices just might be what Samsung’s looking for.

Design

As noted in a previous story, the company will no longer offer smartphones equipped with microSD card slots and removable batteries and instead offer devices made from svelte aluminum and glass; much to the chagrin of its most faithful of users.

The S6 Edge+ and Note 5 were each crafted with a different type of consumer in mind. The S6 Edge+ is for those who like to watch videos and play games thanks to the immersive experience its curved display lends itself to. Meanwhile, the Note 5, as its lineage dictates, is aimed directly at those who want a productivity device, complete with a stylus for jotting notes and sketching ideas.

Storage options are limited to 32- or 64-gigabytes for both devices, again, with no option to add storage via a memory card. The lack of storage is a confusing omission when looking at the Note 5, a device that’s made a name for itself as a productivity-first device.

Is one device better than the other? It depends on how you plan on using it. I suspect the majority of users will opt for the S6 Edge+ due to its curved design. The S6 Edge+ is lighter and thinner than the Note 5, and overall just feels easier to hold.

The Note 5 was more to difficult hold on, an issue that’s undoubtedly a byproduct of it’s 5.7-inch, but also an unfortunate side effect of its design (and despite the fact the back of the Note 5 is curved in a similar fashion to that of the screen on the S6 Edge+).

The S6 Edge+ is equipped with the same screen size as the Note, and is .7 millimeters thinner on the spec sheet.

Performance

Both devices are equipped with Samsung’s 2.1 GHz Exynos 7420 64-bit octa-core processor, which translates into a fast experience. Apps were always fast to open and close, with no discernible delay. Even after a full day’s use of installing, loading, and customizing over 50 applications, neither device showed signs of slowing down.

The only time I briefly experienced a slight slowdown was when using Samsung’s multi window feature, which allows two apps to run at the same time in a split-screen orientation.

Software

When Samsung launched both devices at its Unpacked event it failed to include one word: TouchWiz. The term refers to Samsung’s divisive proprietary software that runs atop Google’s Android platform, adding features and customization options.

Unfortunately, the omission wasn’t an indication the company had decided to walk away from the interface. The software is still present, for better or worse, and still a hindrance.

For example, S Voice is the company’s digital assistant, much like Apple’s Siri, and responds to voice commands. After summoning your personal assistant, you can ask it for weather updates or to set reminders.

The setup process for S Voice requires you to set your own activation phrase, repeating it several times to train your device. In my case, I opted for “Hey Edge” to beckon its attention. Only, I rarely was able to activate it on first try. Unfortunately, many times the device had no reaction. How did I figure out if I needed an umbrella? I asked Google instead, and it responded nearly every single time.

Compounding the frustrating experience, S Voice would randomly turn on. I can only assume the device thought that it heard my personalized “Hey Edge” command from something on TV or radio, and that whatever it heard did a better job at sounding like me than I did.

Inconsistent experiences such as what I experienced with S Voice are found on both devices’ software. Thankfully, however, most of it can be disabled.

Camera

Samsung put the same 16 megapixel sensor from its previous generation phones in its Note 5 and S6 Edge+.The result means performance is the same, but the larger screens make it easier to frame and setup photos.

Samsung offers different camera modes designed for specific situations, such as sporting events or, yes, even food pics.

Low-light performance was a weak spot, as it is with most smartphone cameras. Instead of grainy photos, however, both devices struggled with capturing the proper white balance. In comparison, the iPhone 6 offered up grainy photos with better balance.

Battery life

The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are each equipped with a 3,000 milliamp-hour battery. The size may be a disappointment to some, given the battery is smaller than the Note 4 and no longer removable, meaning users can’t simply replace a dead battery with a fully charged spare when needed.

Unlike my experience with Samsung’s smaller flagship devices, the battery life on the Note 5 or S6 Edge+ was a non-issue. I failed to completely deplete either battery throughout the day, in spite of heavy use.

At one point I forgot to place the Note 5 on its charger before bed, and when I woke the battery was at 16%. Normally when this happens—and I think we’ve all been there—you charge your device while you get ready for the work day, and leave the house with a half-charged battery.

However, I plugged the Note 5 in and 15 minutes later the battery had an extra 25%; another 15 minutes later I was nearing 60%. Samsung’s integration of Qualcomm, a quick-charging technology for devices, is an invaluable feature.

Samsung Pay

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test Samsung Pay on either device during the review period, but the beta is scheduled for launch this month.

Both devices are equipped with the required hardware and—according to Samsung—already contain the software needed to use the mobile payment service once it’s available (users will still need to download the Samsung Pay app to enable it, rather than wait for a software update as is the case for S6 and S6 Edge owners).

If Pay works as advertised, it has the potential to be one of the increasingly rare features capable of changing smartphone use through its ability to work with both standard credit and debit card terminals and NFC readers.

Pricing

Both devices are available starting August 21 across all four major U.S. carriers, plus U.S. Cellular. Pricing is carrier dependent, but most are offering the device at $700 for the 32GB Note 5. Full retail pricing of the 32GB S6 Edge+ is in the neighborhood of $770. Though some carriers such at AT&T still provide the option to sign a two-year contract, putting the cost below $300 for either device.

Samsung’s latest devices carry a steep price tag in a market that’s increasingly seeing quality Android devices hit the market at cheaper prices, and with the added benefit of no contract or monthly payments. For example, the OnePlus 2’s most expensive model is $390, while Motorola’s $399 Moto X will soon be available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs. S6 Edge+

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are the best Android smartphones I’ve ever used. Their large, vibrant displays were a joy to look at. I even began to appreciate the curved screen of the S6 Edge+, a departure from the my feelings after using the S6 Edge.

The fingerprint reader is fast, and most importantly, reliable. The camera is one of the best I’ve ever used on a smartphone, giving me pause each time I pulled out my iPhone to snap a photo. The battery offered enough power to get me through an entire day of heavy use.

If I was asked to pick between the S6 Edge+ or the Note 5, I’d be inclined to pick the former. The curved display doesn’t offer any true advantage other than making the device easier to grip, and the Note 5’s biggest differentiator (and only feature worth nothing) is its stylus. Outside of that, both devices offer the same software and hardware experience.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Huge Discounts on Coffee, Running Shoes

150818_EM_Deals_Keurig
Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Keurig, Nike, and Samsung have sales that got our attention.

Whether you want to cool your house on a budget, purchase some new footwear on the cheap, or score the latest tech, here are the best bargains this week:

Clearance Sales on A/C Units

The weather might still be sweltering, but now that August is coming to a close, end-of-season clearance sales are springing up. And that means it’s time to save big on seasonal items that stores want to unload, like air conditioners. This Quirky + GE 8,000-BTU air conditioner, for instance, costs $149 with free shipping. That’s a savings of $50 and one of the cheapest AC units around. The unit isn’t just cheap, but also technologically advanced. The “smart” unit can be controlled by a smartphone app, and can even power-on based on your proximity to your home.

Keurig’s Best Sale of the Year

Keep caffeinated at the lowest price possible while Keurig slashes 40% off select K-Cups via coupon code “40DEAL.” (Eligible K-Cups are marked at the bottom of the product page.) Plus, the “CAREFREE” coupon code bags free shipping, saving you an additional $7. Combined, these are the best discounts of the year from Keurig, making it easy to stock up on coffee, or to just buy one or two packages since you don’t have to worry about delivery fees. Deal ends September 26.

First Deal on Samsung’s New Flagship Phones

The latest and greatest phones from Samsung might not be on shelves just yet, but you can already get an amazing deal on both the Samsung Galaxy Note5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. If you preorder these phones at Best Buy, you’ll receive a free Samsung wireless charger, which is a $39 value. If you also trade in a working phone at the same time, you’ll get a $200 Best Buy gift card as well. (Click here for details.) These phones are due for release on August 21, but the deal lasts through August 29.

Up to 55% Off Nike and Sperry

Whether you want to relax or be active, there’s a clearance shoe sale this week that will work for you. Fans of Sperry Top-Sider’s casual, preppy styles can rejoice while the store takes an extra 30% off clearance items via coupon code “EXTRA30.” Since items are already marked up to 50% off and include free shipping, it’s one of the best sales we’ve ever seen from Sperry. This deal ends August 23.

If boat shoes are a little too country club for your taste, then dig into Nike’s sale instead! The athletic brand takes up to 55% off both shoes and clothing in its clearance section, and now coupon code “BACK2SPORT” cuts an extra 20% off. Plus, Nike+ members get free shipping, no minimum purchase required. (Not a member? It’s free to sign up.) This is also one of the best sales we’ve seen from Nike, too. Not sure what sneakers to get? Check out this guide to find the right athletic shoes for you.

Amazing bargains pop up at any given moment, so consider signing up for a daily email digest from DealNews to have the best offers sent directly to your inbox.

MONEY mobile payments

Samsung’s New Mobile Payment System Has One Big Advantage Over Apple Pay

Injong Rhee, of Samsung Electronics, speaks about Samsung Pay during the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event August 13, 2015 in New York.
Don Emmert—AFP/Getty Images Injong Rhee, of Samsung Electronics, speaks about Samsung Pay during the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event August 13, 2015 in New York.

Apple Pay requires NFC connectivity and Samsung doesn't. Point: Samsung.

Last week Samsung announced its new Note 5 and Galaxy Edge 6+, the Korean electronics giant’s new big-screen smartphones. In addition the standard buzz of hardware specs came the first demonstration of Samsung Pay, the contactless payment system to challenge Apple Pay that will come standard on these devices.

Apple Pay may have reached market first with the iPhone 6, but Samsung’s version appears to have one distinct advantage. In addition to near-field communication (NFC) connectivity, Samsung’s new devices employ a technology called “Magnetic Secure Transmission,” which allows its mobile payment system to be used on standard credit card machines. Apple Pay only uses NFC connectivity, which is far from ubiquitous in the checkout lane.

The public has known about this advantage since Samsung made its first announcement in March, but an event on Thursday marked the first demonstration of its user-friendliness. All you have to do is swipe up on the screen, select a card, and input your PIN or fingerprint to authenticate. Then wave the phone over the credit-card reader and be on your way.

While reports of “payment wars” are heating up over the news, including one from Time’s Victor Luckerson, don’t expect too much of a battle. Even if Samsung users embrace Samsung Pay wholeheartedly, Apple is unlikely to suffer, since something as marginal as a mobile payment method is unlikely to draw users away from their iPhones. And since Apple updates its phones every year, if Samsung’s technology causes a seismic ripple in the way we pay for things, expect any significant advantage to be countered with the next release.

TIME Samsung

Samsung Unveils The World’s Biggest Hard Drive

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2015 International CES
David Becker—Getty Images A general view of the Samsung booth at the 2015 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It has 16TB of storage.

Samsung is the maker of the world’s largest hard drive. The upcoming product has 16TB of storage, which it announced at California’s Flash Memory Summit recently, according to The Independent.

Samsung is reportedly using a stacking technique for the memory within the standardly-sized product to fit more memory than in past items.

As the publication noted, the previously biggest hard drives could fit about 10TB of memory. The product will most likely be used by businesses to be used in servers, according to Samsung.

Per Ars Technica:

The secret sauce behind Samsung’s 16TB SSD is the company’s new 256Gbit (32GB) NAND flash die; twice the capacity of 128Gbit NAND dies that were commercialised by various chip makers last year. To reach such an astonishing density, Samsung has managed to cram 48 layers of 3-bits-per-cell (TLC) 3D V-NAND into a single die. This is up from 24 layers in 2013, and then 36 layers in 2014.

Ars notes that it probably won’t cost less than $7,800, although a price has yet to be officially announced.

TIME

These Are Samsung’s Best Phones Right Now

A guide to the many Galaxies in Samsung's universe

Samsung unveiled two new large-screen phones Thursday at a press event in New York. The new Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 both feature 16-megapixel cameras, a new livestreaming video function tied to YouTube, and most importantly, high-quality 5.7-inch screens. The main difference between the two is that the Note 5 has a flat screen and comes with a stylus, while the S6 edge+ has a curved screen and no stylus.

The devices add to a sometimes confusing constellation of similarly named devices from the South Korean electronics giant. Here’s a quick guide to the best high-end mobile phones Samsung is currently offering.

TIME Smartphones

Hands On With Samsung’s Newest Phones

Meet the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Note 5

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Samsung finally showcased its two new devices at its “Unpacked” event in New York. The announcement detailed Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+.

The event and subsequent launch comes nearly a full month earlier than Samsung’s past announcements; a move likely influenced by Apple’s upcoming announcement in September, which will detail the company’s new iPhone lineup.

Unlike previous models, the new phones won’t include a removable battery or expandable storage via a microSD card. Meanwhile, a glass back and metal housing can be found on both devices.

On paper, the devices are nearly identical. Both run Google’s mobile OS, Android 5.1 and are equipped with Samsung’s own Exynos 7420 octa-core processor, a 5.7-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED screen and 4 gigabytes of RAM. It also includes a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, 3,000 milliamp-hour battery, fingerprint sensor, 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage, and fast charging capabilities.

On the outside, however, it’s clear the two devices are far from identical. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is best described as a bigger version of the Galaxy S6 Edge; a device that was released in March of this year. Available in black or gold, the highlight feature of the S6 Edge+ is its curved display on either side of the screen.

The S6 Edge+ also includes the capability for users to quickly pull up favorite contacts and apps for quick access; a feature that’s tucked away in one of the curved edges of the display.

Meanwhile, you won’t find a curved display on the Note 5, but that doesn’t mean those same curves have disappeared altogether. The back of the device features curved edges, replicating a similar look and feel to that of the S6 Edge+. Instead of the screen itself curving, the metal back of the Note 5 features the familiar bend Samsung has become well known for which makes the phone easier to grip. The Note 5 looks a lot like the Galaxy S6, although it’ll be impossible to mistake the two.

The Note 5 also offers a redesigned S Pen and upgraded tip for an enhanced writing feel, as well as an extra button on the opposite left side for added functionality. I look forward to trying out the Note 5’s writing feature that turns the device into the digital equivalent of a piece of paper when using the S Pen from the lock screen. When the Note 5’s screen is off and the device is locked, removing the S Pen automatically brings up a blank screen, ready for a quick note taking session. Once you’re done, tap on save and place the pen back into the bottom of the device.

Additionally, the camera app on both devices will include a new live-streaming mode. When enabled, a user can broadcast live videos from his or her device via their YouTube account. Live streaming has quickly become a popular platform, with the introduction of mobile apps Meerkat and Periscope ushering in a new ways to share original content.

My time with both devices was fairly limited; essentially enough time to gather my first thoughts, capture a few photos and ask Samsung reps some questions. The new design approach, which was first introduced with the Galaxy S6 lineup, looks refined on the larger screened devices.

The biggest concern I have with both devices is battery life. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge both offered one of the best Android experiences available, but its battery life lasted only about seven hours. The larger batteries in the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are welcomed, but with larger screens sitting on the front of both devices a bigger battery doesn’t necessarily mean stellar battery life.

The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be available from all four major U.S. carriers starting August 21, with pricing to be announced by each carrier.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Gadgets

Samsung Unveils Two New Phones With Huge Screens

New large-screen devices in Galaxy line should be easier to hold in one hand

Samsung unveiled two new smartphones Thursday to appeal to mobile users increasingly clamoring for big-screen phones. The Galaxy Note5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+ offer essentially identical specs, but the Note5 has a flat screen and an accompanying pen while the S6 edge+ features a curved screen. Both devices have 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED displays, 16 megapixel cameras and 4GB of RAM. The devices also feature 3,000 mAH batteries capable of wireless charging.

The Note5 has the same screen-size as last year’s Note4 model, but Samsung has shrunk the casing a bit to make it easier to hold in one hand. The curved back also makes it easier to gain a grip on the phone. However, the device is losing the microSD slot and removable battery that were part of older Note models.

In terms of software, the phones will have a new feature called Live Broadcast, that allows users to instantly stream video from their phone directly to a YouTube channel. Users will also be able to record in 4K, the super-high-definition video format. The Note5 also has a nifty feature that allows people to use the pen to write and record messages on the phone’s screen without unlocking the device.

Both phones will also come preloaded with Samsung Pay, the company’s new mobile payment system set to compete with Apple Pay and Android Pay.

The Galaxy Note5 and S6 edge+ will be available in 32GB and 64GB models beginning Aug. 21 across all major carriers. Pre-orders for the devices begin Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT.

TIME mobile payments

Samsung Enters Mobile Payment Wars With Samsung Pay

New system will work with old-school credit card readers

Samsung is taking on Apple and Google with its own mobile payment system. At a press event in New York Thursday, the company announced Samsung Pay, a new contactless payment system that lets people buy products in physical stores with their phones.

While Apple’s Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay rely on Near Field Communication sensors to interact with point-of-sale systems at retailers, which are not yet widely distributed, Samsung is using a technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission that will allow Samsung Pay phones to communicate with the typical magnetic strip reader found in credit card terminals around the country (Samsung Pay also supports NFC). Like other mobile payment systems, customers use their fingerprint to confirm a purchase after they’ve placed their phone near a point-of-sale system at the register. “It is easy, safe, and most importantly, available virtually anywhere you can swipe a card, in most cases without new costs for merchants, from day one,” JK Shin, CEO of Samsung’s mobile division, said in a release.

Samsung Pay will come preloaded on the new Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 and will be available as a free download on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The app launches in Korea on Aug. 20 and in the U.S. on Sept. 28, with later rollouts planned in the U.K., Spain, and China. Samsung is partnering with major credit card companies American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as banks such as Chase, Bank of America and U.S. Bank.

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