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The low cost handset

I recently got to have a play with a new Lumia 640 XL and couldn’t help but think about how far low cost handsets have come over the last few years. Only recently did a cheap phone mean that you were restricted to a low cost Andriod phone that lacked a decent screen or camera and an out of date OS among other limitations. However, as I updated a few apps for my father in law I couldn’t help but be impressed at what you can get these days for a couple of hundred Australian dollars.

The 5.7″ HD display looked reasonable crisp and seemed a good size in my hand. No longer having physical buttons on the front took some getting use to but didn’t cause any real issues. While Windows phone 8 was responsive and fluid more so then it had been on my aging lumia 920. Despite not getting to really put it through it’s paces or check out any benchmarks it is clear that the 640 XL would satisfy the average person’s needs. Possibly the biggest advantage is that Microsoft somehow managed to fit a 13 megapixal rear facing camera without breaking the bank which is easly better then anything else you’ll find at this price point. A common criticism remains the polycarbonate body but while some view this as cheap it often becomes pratical as I’m still not really sold on the “premium” feel argument about metal since most people like myself wrap thier iPhones or Galaxy S6 in a plastic cover. One of the things I liked about the Lumia 920 was for 2 and a half years I didn’t need a case and I feel the 640 XL would be the same.

At anywhere between $240 and $400 outright depending on your shopping skills and prefered currency the 640 XL is good value. In Aus you can even pick it up on plans under $50 with a $5 device charge. It’s clear to me why such products are gaining some traction in emerging markets. The only thing holding these new budget Lumia’s back is still the same story, the app gap. Hopefully, Windows 10 with it’s universal apps and iOS conversion tools can deliver the remedy at last.

Galaxy S6 edge review

After deciding to upgrade last month with the release of Samsung’s newest flagship. I went shopping still with an important decision to make, S6 or S6 Edge. Even as I was playing with both phones at my local Samsung store I still struggled with myself. The edge was simply stunning to look at but with the exception of the people function which gives quick access to my favorite contacts it doesn’t offer too much for the extra cash. In addition the thin sides made the phone feel uncomfortable in my hand. However the right nudge from the staff sent me down this path. In hiensight I’m still not 100% sure whether it is worth it but I do like the way the screen bends around the curve and when Apple fans complement the look of my phone I do get a warm fuzzy feeling.

Beyound the aestetics the Galaxy S6 is everything you would expect from a flagship handset. A powerful octa-core processor makes everthing run lighting quick and deals with multiple apps with easy. While the 2560×1440 screen with a whopping 577 pixisl per inch (iPhone 6 retina comes in at 326 and 6+ 401pixals per inch) is spectacular with crisp images and the right balance of brightness for reading the odd bit of tech news. Both of these elements emphasise the improved build quality found on the Galaxy S6 and Samsung’s movement away from the plastic body of the S5.

In fact the only negatives of the hardware are the absence of expandable memory and the limited battery life. Both of these are no longer major limitations as exspansion of cloud storage solutions allow users to move photos and videos off their
phone while streaming music futhur decreases the demand for memory. Unfortunately, this can really run down that battery but fast charging which gives you 40% battery life after only 10 minutes means the Galaxy S6 has an answer. Combinded with wireless charging it’s easy to make sure that my phone doesn’t run out of battery. Samsumgs compatibility with other wireless charging pads means that I can use my existing nokia pad from my Lumia 920.

It would be remiss if I did not talk breifly about the 16 megapixal camera. Used to a great camera on the 920 I perhaps haven’t noticed to much difference except when taking photos of documents. Even so all the snaps I have taken out and about, even under difficult light conditions at the footy have come out a treat. The quick launch feature works well but the camera app itself I find is horribly limiting as I miss Nokia Camera but software can easily be updated so it’s only a minor frustration.

image

Essendon vs Richmond dreamtime at the G 2015 taken on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Overall I’m loving the Galaxy S6 Edge and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new high end phone especially if your like me and prefer one that fits in your jeans pocket.

Proformance 10/10
Storage 8/10
Battery life 6/10
Screen 10/10
Camera 9/10
Operating system 8/10

Overall 8.5/10

Jono