Samsung chose this year’s MWC to be a quieter launch. There was no Galaxy S III fanfare despite the rumours, and there was very little in the way of new gadgets. The Korean giant launched three new models to the public, the details of which are below.
First shown off was their upgrade to the Galaxy Note range. To date, the Note has sold over a million units in Euro and American countries and Samsung took note of the success of the mini-tablet that could. The Note 10.1 improves on the 5” model by upgrading the screen to 10.1 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 800 (with a 149ppi density) it looks all set to become the better competitor to the HTC Flyer. A dual-core 1.4GHz processor, 3.15MP auto-focus camera with flash and HD recording and a superlative 7000mAh battery ensures the tablet will be used for days on end for both media consumption and creation.
Speaking of creation, Samsung uses a different digitizer than the Note 5”, so there’s no swapping S-Pens. Accuracy and sensitivity is much improved, and its enough of a statement to note that the Note 10.1 comes with the full version of Adobe Photoshop Express for Android. While its nothing like the iPad 2, it definitely gives Apple a run for their money when it comes to sheer value. Also interesting are the drawing algorithms that the Note uses when you draw specific shapes – make a circle, and it’ll make a correct one for you with the same dimensions. Draw something that looks like a rhombus, and it’ll ask if you want it to be a square instead. Make a slightly skew arrow, and it’ll perfect one designed to bring knees crashing down. It’s very cool technology, and one that I hope Samsung keeps improving and bettering.
Next up is the Galaxy Beam – not quite what many were expecting. Roughly the same size as the Galaxy S and S II with mostly the same hardware internals, the Beam one-ups the competition with a built-in projector running in nHD mode (640 x 360 pixels). That’s right, now you too can beam Princess Leia on your wall before you go on an important Galaxy-saving mission (Pun. Yes, it was intended). Hands-on reviewers noted that the Beam was still in development judging by the final finishes and on-board software. The picture couldn’t be focused easily with the hardware controls or rotated (it only plays in landscape when you hold the phone normally), and maximum distance to the wall is said to be around two metres. Nontheless, you do get a nice, clear 30” image straight from your phone, perfect for those nights when you visit your family/friends and want to show off those holiday photos/videos you took.
The Beam rounds it off with Android ICS 4.0, a 5MP camera with flash, a huge 2000mAh battery and 8GB of internal storage. If you played video non-stop, the Beam’s battery would last about 3 hours in projector mode, and that’s good enough for most movies and presentations that you’ll be doing with it. My only hope is that someone realizes how much power this phone gives to educators in rural areas without whiteboards or chalk – having a tiny, portable projector this size would make life a lot easier.
Lastly, bringing up the rear is the upgraded versions of the Galaxy Tab2 7 and 10.1. Functionally the same as their older siblings, the new Tabs come fresh with ICS 4.0 and slightly upgraded internal hardware. The Tab2 7.0 comes in 8, 16 and 32GB variants, with the Tab 10.1 in 16GB and 32GB variants. Both share the same CPU and GPU as well as the same camera module. Screen-wise, the Tab 10.1 has a lower ppi of 149 but with a Gorilla glass screen and the 7 takes it with a higher ppi of 170. At this point, the Note 10.1 is better value for money.