Buyers Beware! Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Warning

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING THE GALAXY S7 EDGE

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Warning

If you want the best advice on which new smartphone to buy, ask someone who deals with broken devices... and broken hearts.

Here lately, I've had to be the bearer of bad news to a lot of Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge owners who've come to me with a sad face and a cracked smartphone screen. Fixing these things is not fun, and it's super expensive. Telling my customers how much it will cost to replace their shattered curved edge screen is enough to make them cry.

But why am I seeing so many Galaxy S6 and S7 Edge smartphones coming through the doors for repairs, you ask? It's the design of the phone. The problem is, there's no way to protect the curved edges on one of these handsets. You can't get a case that will keep it from shattering when it falls face-down.

The replacement LCD (that's the "tv screen" thingy) and glass digitizer assembly for any of the curved Galaxy Edge line of phones is very costly. The S7, at the time I'm writing this, will set you back $270. And that's just for the part. Labor is another $60 to $80 to extract off the broken screen and install the new one.

The curved edge screen is a great novelty, but it's not a good choice for people who are clumsy or hard on smartphones. It's one of the easiest phones to break on the market. Period. And as I mentioned before, you can't get compete protection from a shock-proof case, thanks to those curved edges.

Besides being super careful, you can get a tempered glass screen protector with curved edges that will give added protection to the phone. But I haven't heard much as far as how effective they are when absorbing an impact from a drop.

My best advice to you is that you think twice before buying this phone, if you are super active and will be handing the phone a lot while you're on-the-go. If you do decide that you just MUST have that cool curved edge on your smartphone, GET IT INSURED.

The total cost including parts and labor for fixing a Galaxy S6 or S7 Edge can cost in the $260 to $340 range. The deductible on most insurance plans on smartphones is $200 or less. Therefore, it is absolutely worth taking out additional insurance on these fancy devices.

If you own one of these phones and you don't have it in a case with a tempered glass screen protector, and you don't have insurance, I suggest you get the case immediately, and don't leave your house with the phone until you've called your carrier to add device insurance.

Trust me, accidents can and will happen. It only takes a fraction of a second. And I don't want to see you sad, dejected, and broken-hearted when you bring your beloved Galaxy Edge to me for a facelift.

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

http://www.facebook.com/gadgetgurusJC

 

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - This Will Shut You Up

HIDEOUSLY OBVIOUS REASONS I CHOOSE THE GALAXY NOTE 4 OVER IPHONE 6 PLUS

iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

The iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are out on the streets. The talking Apple heads claim that the iPhone 6 Plus is the hands-down winner over the new edition of the Note series.

Even tech blog sites are giving the checkered flag to Apple over Samsung in this race to have the most phabou phablet. It doesn't stack up per the tech specs, but Apple clearly has the most votes of confidence.

Everyone has an opinion about device brands and it is mostly due to preference. But I'm having a hard time trying to follow the "logic" of the loyal Fruit Cult following. I don't think they care what the specs are at all, it's just a foregone conclusion that the Apple device will magically be "better" by default.

In fact, I'd like to know exactly what kind of hallucinogenic drugs these people are doing to think the specs give Apple the win, because it would seemingly take some pretty strong stuff to overlook this helpful little handful of hardware facts...

  • The CPU - the Note 4 uses an Octa core processor while the iPhone 6 Plus sports dual core
  • 1.9GHz cpu processing speed on the Note 4 compared to 1.4GHz on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • Screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 on the Note 4 versus 1920 x 1080 on the 6 Plus
  • Super sharp screen on the Note 4 packs 515 pixels/sq.in but iPhone 6 Plus is only 400pix/sq.in.
  • 16Mp camera on the Note 4 as opposed to 8Mp on the 6 Plus
  • Front-facing camera on the Note 4 has twice the resolution than it's Fruity Phablet counterpart
  • Real multitasking on the Galaxy Note 4, nothing of the sort on the iPhone 6 Plus
  • A whopping 3 gigabytes of RAM packed into the Note 4 while the 6 Plus gets a paltry 1Gb
  • 3,220 mAh of battery power on the Galaxy Note 4 edging out the 2,915 mAh on the 6 Plus
  • Killer download speed of 42.2Mbps on the Galaxy Note 4 while iPhone 6 Plus drags along at 7.2Mbps
  • The super solid build of the metal-band-clad Note 4 as opposed to the lighter, cheaper, more slippery feel of the iPhone 6 Plus

My conclusion? The amount of hallucinogenic drugs or head-meds needed to "make" the iPhone 6 Plus a better device choice than that of a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 would therefore be significant. But right when you think logic and hardware specs rules the day, I will say this...

I like the look and feel of the iPhone 6 Plus better than the Galaxy Note 4, and would have chosen it over the Android product if Apple included a pen digitizer on their device. Plus the lacking hardware specs don't appear to give it any less of a speedy user experience.

So there you have it.  Shocked that Mr. Android Boy would say such things? Well you shouldn't be. The point is, none of the specs listed for or against a device amount to a hill of beans. It's all about user preference and the user experience.

For me, the lack of a pen digitizer on Apple mobile devices is a deal-breaker. The Galaxy Note 4 is close enough as a great device that I will stick with it just to have my digitizer pen. I can live with the design changes that I don't like as much, as long as I have the digitizer.

Ironically, the one thing Apple Fruit Cult members boasted about most was that their devices were solid and heavy, while Samsung's devices felt cheap, light and "plasticky" (which I prefer). The chickens have come home to roost.

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Guru

Apple-Samsung Smartphone Slugfest Phablet Style

SAMSUNG GETS SNIPPY WITH NOTE 4 VIDEO DISS

Okay people I'm back. I've been out-of-pocket lately, on blogging vacation. But with the recent developments on the tech forefront, I think this is a good time to chime back in.

Transient

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch has passed, and phones will start shipping within the next few weeks to anxious customers. While the iPhone 6 Plus breaks "new ground", Samsung has taken the opportunity to make a snarky video about Apple's sudden change in design.

It is truly ironic to see what has transpired, truthfully. Looking back over the last handful of years, we have seen Apple make multiple accusations against Samsung for stealing their designs. At that same time, the Apple execs swore that a smartphone bigger than 3.5" was entirely stupid, and it was something you would never ever see their beloved company produce.

Fast forward to the highly anticipated iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with their massive 4.7" and 5.5" diagonal displays, and it makes me sit rubbing my head wondering what just happened. Apparently, I'm not the only one who wonders what happened in Cuppertino. Maybe they all inhaled, or drank their own Kool-Aid.

How in the world could the same company who accused Samsung of blatant copyright infringement turn an about-face and produce a phone which is in the form of the Galaxy Note without a stylus? Especially after swearing off phablets and larger-screened smartphones?

Samsung released a very sarcastic video that sums it all up. But what I am left wondering is whether or not Samsung will quickly blow the whistle and sue the pants off of their hypocritical chief competitor much in the same way that was done to them.

Only time will tell.

As far as I'm concerned, I'll stick with my Apple iPad Retina Mini for all my iOS needs, but I'll take a pass on the iPhone 6 Plus and stick with the Galaxy Note line and move from the 3 to the 4 when it is released.

I'll let the hypocrites OOPS I mean Apple Enthusiasts have their feeding frenzy with the stylus-less iPhone 6 Plus that they swore off before Apple lost its mind and followed the leader on phablet phorm phactors.

Carlton Flowers
THE GADGET GURU

Apple Gets Samsunged By Timex - Introducing Ironman One!

TIMEX SHOCKS ALL, INTRODUCES INDEPENDENT SMARTWATCH

Sorry Apple, but Timex just beat you to the punch. While we've all been patiently waiting for the Apple Geniuses to release a smart watch that will one-up Samsung, Timex kicks the door in and beats them all. I for one never saw this coming.

The Timex Ironman One will be the first smartwatch that will work independently of a smartphone. Why it took this long for someone to come up with a stand-alone smartwatch that isn't just a bluetooth extension of a smartphone is beyond me. But it is really refreshing to see the age old watchmaker make mince meat of the big players.

The Ironman One GPS smartwatch will run on the AT&T network, independent of a smartphone. Finally, someone has gotten this right. And I think it will take quite a bit to catch up to Timex now that they have entered the market for smartwatches.

Looking at the Ironman One's features, this is a serious device. Here's what the company reports that it will feature:

  • Stand-alone wireless connectivity without a phone
  • Email-based messaging capabilities
  • Tracking capabilities that communicate the user’s location to friends and family anytime, anywhere
  • Custom-built “Find Me Mode” safety solution, which allows users to send an alert with
  • exact location in case of an emergency
  • Ability to track speed, distance and pace in real-time and instantaneously share
  • performance metrics through your favorite social media and online fitness platforms
  • Water resistance up to 50 meters, an essential feature for water exposure, training in the rain or swimming
  • Built-in MP3 component with 4 GB of memory to play music via a Bluetooth headset
  • Always-on, sunlight-readable, high-resolution touch display

This is the real deal, folks. If I'm going to drop the bucks on a smartwatch or a GPS unit for running, this is exactly what I would be looking for. I see no reason to have to drag around my smartphone while running when there is a device like this out on the market.

I'm not sure of pricing yet, but I would assume it would be in the range of some of the current Garmin GPS watches that are on the market now. But one thing is for sure, Timex has the reputation and experience to make this work, and to put the marketing behind it with the help of AT&T.

Samsung has enjoyed all of the spotlight while Apple farts around (as they usually do) waiting to enter this market. But both Samsung and Apple will hurt if this takes off. I'll be looking for an opportunity to test this device in the future and give a full report!

Until then, Apple has my sympathy.

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Guru

New Galaxy S5 - Top 5 Reason Samsung Engineers Are STUPID

WHY SAMSUNG ENGINEERS GET THE "STUPID SIGN" ON GALAXY S5 FEATURES

Time for another Top 5! This time, we will give you the top five indisputable reasons why Samsung enginerds have about as much common sense as a tree stump when it comes to the latest and greatest flagship smartphone coming from the far East, the Galaxy S5:

1) No Text Reflow - Want to be able to zoom in to see text with ease, but without panning side-to-side? You're not gonna be able to do that with the Galaxy S5 stock browser.

2) Must Use After-Market Browsers To Read - Tired of panning on smartphones when the text is not reformatted to fit the screen? You can download an after-market browser. But that means you don't get to use all the new gadgety cool tricks and features that the stock browser provides like tilt scrolling, eye scrolling, and touchless gestures. Pure stroke of stupid if you ask me.

3) The Text Reflow Is M.I.A. - How do you like pounding your head on the table after trying to read tons of text on your smartphone? You better get a helmet and get used to it if you buy a Galaxy S5 this spring.

4) Lack of Text Reflow - How bright are the Samsung enginerds to throw in everything but the kitchen sink into the stock browser... EXCEPT TEXT REFLOW? Ya got me, partner. If they could only dumb them down to include the most obvious advantageous function of the browser, that would be nice. But I guess they aren't HTC engineers.

5) Text Reflow No-Show - We complained when the Galaxy S2 didn't have it. We passed rumors about it coming with the stock S3 browser before it came out, and were sorely disappointed. Then we groaned and pounded our heads when it was left out AGAIN on the fabulous Galaxy S4. So if you're holding your breath waiting for it to be included on the Galaxy S5, plan on turning blue.

So there you have it folks! If this doesn't prove that the Samsung enginerds are stupid, I don't know what does. I guess you can tell that this text reflow thing really chaps my buns. Hopefully that has been made obvious here.

I've stuck by Samsung thus far, and it is by far the best smartphone on the market... in my opinion. But if someone releases a device that can out perform and function as well as the Galaxy S5 when I'm due for an upgrade, it's bye bye Samsung for me.

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Activist

 

Samsung Galaxy Text Reflow Fail - Will They Ever Get This Right?

TEXT REFLOW STILL A "NO-SHOW" ON GALAXY ANDROID DEVICES

If you found this page using a search engine, you share my frustration. It's about the lack of text reflow on Samsung's Galaxy smartphone devices running Anroid. I haven't ranted about this in a while, so it's high time I shoot the flame thrower at Samsung over this issue.

For those of you who have not been enlightened, "text reflow" is the ability for a mobile browser to reformat the text dynamically to fit the screen when you zoom in on an article of any type. The Galaxy series has never had this ability.

For people like me who consume tons of article content on their smartphone, this is both maddening and frustrating beyond imagination. I still cannot understand why such a useful function can't be incorporated into the best line of smartphones on the planet.

And before any Apple lovers sneer and gloat about an Android fan criticizing Samsung, your crappy devices don't do this either. This is something only HTC and a few other smartphone manufacturers have the common horse sense to value and include in their mobile browsers.

I have forty-something eyes that are plagued with horrible astigmatism and near-sightedness. Reading tiny text on a smartphone really sucks. It makes people like me feel as if companies like Samsung (and definitely Apple) just don't care to take the simple steps to encode this feature into browser codes.

Apparently, not enough people are complaining about this, because Samsung has no plans to incorporate this any time soon. I've waited for years to no avail. If I could take a big stick and whack some of the software development engineers upside the head at Samsung headquarters, I would do it if it meant they would address this and get it right.

HTC on the other hand apparently "gets it", and has included text reflow in all of their browser builds. There are some older devices made by other manufacturers who also had this feature, but it disappeared over time.

I first discovered text reflow when I owned an iPhone 4, and a friend of mine was showing off his flashy big screen Droid Razr Max device. He showed me an article on the BGR website, and while zooming in on the text, it cascaded automatically, increasing in font size, wrapping the sentences vertically so no side-to-side panning was necessary. I was instantly jealous.

Sure, some of the smarty pants geniuses out there claim that Samsung devices do have what they call 'text resizing", but it is hardly text reflow. You basically zoom in on tiny text, but then you have to double-tap the display to make the text fit the screen. But when you do this, it shrinks the font size down considerably, and limits you to a very small amount of resizing.

I want the font size to be as big as possible, and I want to scroll in one direction (vertically) to rapidly read articles. I can tear through text at around 800 to 1,000 words per minute with full comprehension using a device that properly reflows the text.

Another lame work-around that you can use on a Samsung smartphone is setting the text size in the settings window. You can make the text bigger, but you are still limited to the "double-tap-and-reshrink" action. Additionally, it screws up all the text on the screen, giving you major problems with overlapping text blocks. I call that 100% useless.

What people like me want is dynamic text reflow. That means watching the text reformat right in front of our eyeballs while zooming in, ending up with a super large font and sentences that don't fly off the right edge of the display.

The only half-@%$ option we now have is to use a third-party browser like Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. Chrome will not dynamically reflow the text, but it will allow you to increase the font size a lot more than the standard Android browser. Opera will reflow text, but it's not dynamic.

We hit another problem head-on when opting for the third-party browsers... none of the fancy gimmicks and functions that are built into the standard browser will work. I've grown to love the tilt-to-scroll, hands-free scrolling gestures, and other functions of the standard browser. But none of those work when using a third-party browser on a Samsung device.

While this isn't a deal breaker for me, it still makes me mad enough to grind my teeth when I see friends with an HTC One enjoying dynamic text reflow. If you haven't seen this, grab a friend that owns an HTC device and give it a try. You'll instantly see what I mean when you zoom in on text.

Samsung has done so many things right, and I absolutely love their devices. I'll probably stick with this brand for the forseeable future, because there are just so many great things I like about them that you just don't get with other brands.

But at the same time, I sure would be happy if Samsung would listen to customers and tell their developers to pull their heads out of their rear ends and get this encoded into the next software update. But I won't hold my breath.

If you share my frustration, post a comment in the Disqus comments section and tell me what you think!

Carlton Flowers
Arch Text Reflow Advocate Supreme

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 Rumor Watch Begins!

SAMSUNG SET TO RELEASE GALAXY S5 IN SPRING OF 2014

Well folks, it's time for me to start reporting on the rumors of "The Next Big Thing" by Samsung, the Galaxy S5 smartphone. It's gonna drop sometime in the spring of 2014, so let's get this rumor roundup started and see how accurate my guesswork pans out to be!

I'll run through all the worthwile details that the rumor mills are sharing, and give you my thoughts on whether or not I think they will have a chance of becomming reality on release day.

DISPLAY

It's gonna be bigger. That is a foregone conclusion. The tech blogs are saying it will sport a 5.2" diagonal, and that's pretty realistic. They might be able to get that slight increase just by reducing the bezel and stretching out to the limits of the case. 1080x1920 resolution with 423ppi is the call, and I think this is entirely reasonable aso. I don't think this will be the upcomming flexible OLED display, but it will be the best we've ever seen from Samsung. Count on that!

THE HOUSING

The Galaxy S5 will more than likely be made from the same lightweight plastic material that we've seen thus far. I don't believe Samsung is ready to dump what has worked for them thus far, just because there are heavier smartphones on the market that are made of glass, metal, or polycarbonate material. I hope this is the plan, because this makes the handset far more durable, and it will survive drops much better than its heavier competitors.

FINGERPRINT SCANNER

I'm calling this a foregone conclusion also. Why? Because it's already on the iPhone 5S. The market for fingerprint recognition is heating up, and "biometric security" is where everything is headed in tech. I think there will be a slight chance that Samsung will "one-up" Apple by burying their fingerprint detector under the screen, which would keep the surface perfectly flat.

PROCESSOR

Look for a Quad Core 32-bit Snapdragon 800 under the hood of the Galaxy S5, which will be supplied "in-house" from Samsung itself rather than outsourcing to other CPU suppliers. This is in line with the natural progression of smartphone processing power, and will bring it to the next level of multitasking capability and speed of operation. The processor will be supported by 3Gb of RAM, which again is what we would expect.

CAMERAS

The rumor mills mostly agree that we will see a 16MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing camera in the Galaxy S5. I would bet that the camera capability will be that of the current Galaxy Note III, but possibly with more advanced special effects and picture taking options. I'm hoping it will be a serious improvement over the camera in the Galaxy S4, though.

GIMMICKY STUFF

All of the crazy extra gimmicks and tricks that came with the Galaxy S4 will probably be carried over to the Galaxy S5, but rumor has it that they will be adding 3D gestures into the mix. I found most of the crazy extras that were packed into the TouchWiz 4.0 overlay to be quite useless, but a few were really useful. I'm hoping the new tricks will have real utility.

ADVANCED MODEL

Many blogs are reporting that Samsung will release a "standard" and an "advanced" model of the Galaxy S5. I'm not completely convinced of this yet. The reason being is that Samsung has stuck to the formula for providing a standard price mainline Galaxy smartphone while the Note series carries a higher price tag thanks to the extra digitizer layer for the S Pen. But anyhow, word has it that the standard model will only have 2Gb of RAM (I don't believe that) while the advanced model will get 3Gb plus a display with an even higher resolution and pixel density. I don't see the masses paying extra for that, but we'll see.

CONCLUSION

My prediction is that Samsung will keep the options tight. The only realistic scenario I see for a higher priced version would be for one that has more flash memory, similar to what we see with the iPhone line. The company has so many handsets out on the market, I just don't see why they would splinter their flagship smartphone into too many variations.

My biggest struggle will be staying content with my Galaxy S4 when this is released. My bonus prediction? I sell my S4 on eBay before the end of May and scrounge up the extra cash to buy a Galaxy S5 straight-out. Then I pout and whine when the Galaxy Note 4 is released shortly after I drop the load.

Stay tuned and we'll watch for more developments on what this thing will actually look like, along with a firm release date. What would YOU like to see in the Galaxy S5? Shout it out!

Carlton Flowers
Watchman of the Galaxy

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite - Could This Be A Hit?

SAMSUNG TO OFFER LESS EXPENSIVE VERSION OF NOTE 3

If this report turns out to be true, I could be looking at my next smartphone purchase. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite could hit a sweet spot with what I want most in a smartphone.

I'm still thoroughly enjoying my Samsung Galaxy S4, don't get me wrong. And I've been eyeballing a Note 3 since its release. But I just can't justify spending the money on making that purchase outright.

But with the prospect of the Galaxy Note 3 Lite, I'm thinking seriously of taking that leap if the price is right. And I'm talking about buying off-contract.

The current Galaxy Note 3 can be found used on eBay for around $550 if you look hard. That's an excellent price, considering this phone is priced at $724.99 via AT&T brand new. But if the Galaxy Note 3 can be obtained brand new for what you would pay for a Note 3 that is used, this could be a winner.

As far as tech specs, the Galaxy Note 3 Lite is looking like it will fall right between the Galaxy Note 2 and the Note 3. Instead of a full HD display, we're talking 720p HD. And that's not bad. I'm sure they will pack at least as much RAM and memory storage as the Note 2, but it could be a bit higher.

I'm going to be watching closely for developments, and I'll report back as soon as I see something solid. This would be a great smartphone to run on the AT&T network, my carrier of choice!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Watcher

Black Friday Smartphone Report - Samsung Jackpot!

MY BLACK FRIDAY SMARTPHONE SNAGGING SUCCESS STORY

I spent Black Friday 2013 in Eastern Ohio, and was lucky enough to bag the Samsung smartphone special, getting two Galaxy S4 handsets for nothing down. The regular price is $199 with a 2-year contract agreement.

My college "kids" were both due for an upgrade, so this was perfect timing. We didn't hear about the deal until we arrived in Ohio the day before Thanksgiving. I had previously planned on plucking a couple of Galaxy S3 devices for their gadget pleasure, but that idea quickly got nixed when I heard about the deal.

We could have actually gotten the new Galaxy smartphones on Thursday, but we waited until Friday. We figured the masses would go after the first day, and the crowd would be much smaller on the second day. That wasn't the case...

We arrived at Best Buy at twelve o'clock. I made my way to the cell phone area, and there was quite a line. It wasn't like one of those obsene lines that go outside and around the building, but it was bad enough. Activating new smartphones takes some time, so even a short line can take an eternity.

The Best Buy rep told us that we were approximately 3 hours away from being served. We all looked at each other, wondering if this would be worth the trouble, but decided to go for it. My wife and daughter bailed to go shoe shopping while my son and I held our place in the line.

Some people were worried about the Galaxy S4's running out of stock by the time they arrived to the front. But we were told that 90% of the people in line were on Verizon, so we were safe with our need of AT&T handsets. That was a relief.

Originally, I had planned on upgrading my son, daughter, and wife's smartphones. The son and daughter had their Samsung Galaxy S2 handsets, and the wife had a Galaxy S2 Skyrocket with an LTE radio. Sadly, we were told while in line that there was a 2-phone limit per family on the zero-down upgrade deal. 

By the time we made it to the front of the line, we found out that my son and daughter's upgrade date was actually one day away. We were a day early! I didn't think once about checking my upgrade eligibility before getting in line. That wasn't very smart!

But thankfully, after speaking to the representatives over the phone at AT&T, we were relieved and truly thankful when they rolled back the upgrade date by one day. Our 3-hour wait was not made in vain.

It took an additional hour to get our phones activated, because I didn't have my bill current. After paying my monthly bill, we were able to move forward and set up the new phones. Since I had an existing plan that I wanted to keep, it took quite a bit of work for the Best Buy rep and the AT&T phone rep but they finally got everything switched over.

We were all exhausted after this long process, but in the end, I would do it all over again. The special is still on today, a day later, but there's no guarantee that it will go beyond today. 2 years ago, I was able to land the S2's and the Skyrocket on similar Black Friday deals. Both of those models returned to their full prices after Cyber Monday.

Last but not least, my wife's upgrade will be available in two days. I have a big decision to make. I'll either look for another Galaxy S4 deal, or pass down my own Galaxy S4 (after I fix it) and get a Galaxy Note 3 for myself. But we will save that for the next post!

Did you land a great deal on Black Friday that you would like to share? Post it in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Black Friday Gadget Sniper 

Apple iPhone 5C Fruit Fest - Hot Or Not?

AUDIO POST - THOUGHTS ON FRUITY IPHONE 5C

Check it out folks, I'm still jabbering on about the iPhone 5C and all of its colorful greatness. There are a few more points that I cover in this short audio post that I threw together from my smartphone today, and some of the same points I made in yesterday's audio post.

Come join me as I continue on with my discussion about the iPhone 5C, and hear my thoughts on what I would pick as a second smartphone device! Click the image below to launch your device's audio player, and hit me up in the comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Audio Podcastasaurus

CLICK IT!

 

 

CZ Audio Podcast Is Back! Is iPhone 5C Influencing Samsung?

THE AUDIO PODCAST RETURNS! LATEST TALK ON IPHONE RELEASE & MORE

I have finally gotten around to getting back to my audio podcasting. I'd like to know from you, my great CZ Blog gang, whether or not you would like to see more audio podcasts like this posted to the site to fill up all the dead space between my fantastic blog posts.

I tend to write in streaks, and then disappear into the land of being "too busy". But as much of a talker that I am, it's very easy for me to post audio content to the site as opposed to writing the super fabulous techno nerd content that you've enjoyed for so long.

Post your thoughts in the comments section on what you think of more frequent audio podcasts. You can even suggest topics for discussion, ask questions, or even request a song selection for me to sing. I'll leave that up to you.

But in today's podcast, we'll talk about the release of the new iPhone 5S and 5C, and what surprising twist has popped up in terms of sales for Apple. Also, has the iPhone 5C influenced Samsung in some special way? Find out how in the podcast!

Looking forward to hearing back from you, and here's your audio podcast. Just click the podcast image or the link below and it will open up your mobile device media player:

 

Click Here To Listen Now!

Carlton Flowers
Techie Podcast Yapper 

 

Rant Alert! What Is With All The "Plastic" Samsung Yip Yap?

ARE SAMSUNG PRODUCTS CHEAP PLASTIC LOW QUALITY JUNK?

I must be on an island all by my lonesome... I'm the only blogger on the planet who doesn't constanty berate Samsung for making cheap, flimsy, plastic-like products.

Is it just me, or is it actually appear that every noteworthy blogger and tech junkie reviewer seems to slam and smear Samsung smartphones for having a cheap build? I see this happening almost daily when I search for Samsung stories.

I've noticed a repeating pattern. The prognosticators will predict that the next big Samsung smarphone will come in new bullet-proof heavy metal packaging, parting ways with their previous plastic design. Then the product is released, and said prognosticators pummel Samsung for failing to provide a new "higher quality" build.

But has the thought ever occured to these writers who constantly complain about the plastic casing that Samsung might have an actual reason for sticking with their basic design? Wouldn't it stand to reason that the #1 selling smartphone manufacturer would be doing this on purpose?

Somewhere back in history, someone equated bulk, breakability, and heaviness with "quality". And this opinion has somehow stuck in the minds of the tech world. If a smartphone doesn't pass the basic weight test, the product must be "cheap".

Writers continue to implore Samsung to produce a "higher quality" device, or suffer sagging sales if they continue to keep the same stance. But the sales success has not stopped.

I'm guessing that I am the sole tech blogger who believes lighter, thinner, less breakable smartphones are what people want. After breaking each and every iPhone I've owned, I'm left with no desire invest a dime in a heavy device that can't survive a drop.

All one needs to do in order to be swayed to my line of thinking is to watch videos of drop tests. Drop an iPhone, an HCT device, and a Samsung smartphone from 3' high to a nice unforgiving concrete surface. I don't need to tell you the results that you will plainly see.

So for all of the critics and complainers, you can keep cursing Samsung and pleading with them to ditch their plastic design concept on their next series of smartphones. I for one sincerely hope that Samsung turns a deaf ear to the anti-plastic yip yap, and continue manufacturing durable, less breakable devices.

As far as the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy Note III is concerned, I say wrap it up in plastic. Stick to your guns, and I'll be the first in line to buy. If you break with tradition and create a heavy, bulky, breakable Galaxy line, I'll say you will have made the dumbest smartphone move possible.

Hopefully someone at Samsung headquarters will see my silly little rant. Maybe it will help them keep on keeping on, making smart smartphone design decisions as they should.

Until then, the critics can keep buying iPhones and the likes, along with their bulky $75 monstrous Otterbox cases... because they have to. Ha.

Carton Flowers
Plastics Proponent

 

 

Samsung vs HTC - The Slug Fest

SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES OR HTC? WHICH IS SUPERIOR, AND WHY?

Okay all you smartphone geeks. Let's start a fight. In this round, we will pit the Samsung Galaxy S4 against the HTC One. Of course you know, I own a Galaxy S4. But this post is not about me. I want to hear from you.

Samsung smarpthones are said to be cheap, light-weight cheap devices with way too many useless gadgety features that muck up the user experience. But others claim Samsung makes the best device on the planet with far superior features.

HTC smartphones are said to be heavy, clunky, and breakable, with a horrible after-market interface (HTC Sense). But they are also said to be the devices with a high quality build, superior features, and devoid of all the junk packed in to Samsung smartphones.

Do you own a Samsung Galaxy S4? Or do you pack an HTC One in your front pocket? PhoneRocket gives the edge to Samsung. But I want to hear why you believe (or don't believe) that your device is better than the competition.

I won't interject my opinion in this post. But I will respond to your comments and tell you what I think. Make your point strong, and show me why your device can lay the smackdown on the competition.

Ding ding ding! Let the fight begin, and slug it out!

Carlton Flowers
Cheif Smartphone Debate Instigator

 

Samsung Galaxy S4 2-Month Review (AT&T)

THE REAL REASON THE CZ BLOG HAS BEEN SO SPARSE

I'm sure you're wondering where all the tech updates have been over the past couple of months. Well, I've been busy... playing with my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Today I'll give you my unrehearsed report of what I think of my Galaxy S4 smartphone, which has been enough of a distraction to keep me from blogging and reviewing other devices.

I'll cover what pops into my mind as it comes, and try to cover the details from the exterior build to the display and then to the performance of this device.

First, I'll tell you what my experience has been on the physical form factor of this device. As you all know, I'm very hard on smartphones. I've broken enough of them over the past 4 years to give you trustworthy report.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been reported to be a cheaply build phone that is lightweight and "plasticy" feeling. This is definitely a positive. I've dropped my Galaxy S4 just a few times, definitely not the number of times that I drop-kicked my Galaxy S2. But due to the light weight and plastic body, the phone has not broken.

There is a large percentage of consumers who feel that a smartphone should feel "solid", and carry enough weight to give the impression that it is a "good build". I can honestly disagree with that. Dropping a Galaxy S4 is not nearly as traumatic of an experience as dropping an iPhone, whatever the model. The lighter the weight, the easier it hits the ground.

I did notice that what I thought was a metal ring around the circumference of the phone is a "faux" metal band. It's really just shiny silver plastic made to give the impression that it has something similar to the iPhone. I would have liked to see a real metal ring around this smartphone, but that would add uneccesary weight. So I can live with that.

The face of the phone and the thin back plate are equally light weight and made of some type of plastic, and this is also somewhat of a negative for some consumers. But for the price you pay for a smartphone whether straight-out or on a 2-year contract, this is something you will appreciate when you drop it.

I have experienced some heating issues when talking on the phone or while multitasking, but it doesn't seem to be any worse than most smartphones. With the size of the processor in this device, you can expect that it will generate a fair amount of heat when in heavy use. Maybe this is something that will be improved on all smartphones in the future.

The display is nothing less than spectacular. Everything that Samsung promised with the 5" Super AMOLED HD 1920x1080 display was delivered in full. Watching video content on this device is unparalleled. I can sit and watch movies, HD YouTube videos, and more without feeling the need to sit and stare at my LCD television. I have no real need to upgrade my television when I can watch quality video wherever I happen to be.

The audio quality of the speaker on the Galaxy S4 gets a passing score, even though the HTC One (and even the One X) have far superior audio performance. But I didn't buy my smartphone to use as a boombox. I don't find myself in many situations where I would prefer using the external speaker over a pair of quality headphones, or the stock ear plugs that came with the device.

The camera is giving me everything I need for taking pictures with my smartphone. I don't expect it to replace a consumer grade digital camera. The 13mp rear camera captures decent still photos, and I have yet to even play with the special effects. The Burst mode feature is fantastic, and gives you a chance to capture the perfect picture without spending a ton of time framing an active scene.

Video quality of the camera is good enough to upload content to YouTube, and this is something that I do use quite frequently to capture and create videos for marketing purposes. Uploading video content via AT&T's 4G LTE network makes YouTube production a snap.

Internally, you've got plenty of muscle with the 1.8GHz processor coupled with 2Gb of RAM. That means multitasking will not considerably drag down the phone's performance when running several apps. You have somewhat of a multitasking capabiltiy with the split screen feature, but you do only have a limited number of apps that can run via split screen.

All of the gadgety fuctions that are jam-packed into the phone give you the ability to customize your experience. I find myself using the hands-free scrolling feature a lot, but I'd love to see this work on all applications, not just the stock Android browser.

I will tell you that the Eye Scroll feature is somewhat useless. It is quirky, and more trouble than what it is worth. I can live without it. But I'd rather have a pile of useless and useful features than none at all. Once you turn off the features that you don't really need, you can settle for the ones that make operation of the phone more fun and convenient.

My only problem is the amount of time that it is taking me to discover all of the hidden features that are built into the phone. But each time that I discover a new hidden feature, it only raises my enjoyment experience.

I tend to use my Galaxy S4 for a lot of busines-related functions, including using a Square Card and Paypal's credit card reader. This turns my smartphone into a mobile credit card terminal. I can perform point-of-sale funcitons on the go, accepting payments on many items that I sell with my businesses.

Looking on the inside, I have no complaints. The powerful processor and 2Gb of RAM is plenty enough to push as many as applications that I want to run at a time. And I love the flexibility of being able to pop off the back and toss in a spare battery that is always fully charged.

All in all, I'm very pleased with my Galaxy S4. Surprisingly, I'm not missing the S Pen that I so hoped this device would have. For now, I'm happy using a rubber-tipped after market stylus. But I will be watching the horizon for the Galaxy Note III and contemplating a switch at that point.

That's all for now, until I dicover more with this amazing smartphone!

Carlton Flowers
Galaxy S4 Enthusiast 

 

Why Samsung Laid An Egg With Galaxy S4 Stock Android Browser

LEAVING OUT THE OBVIOUS - NO TEXT REFLOW ON STOCK GS4 BROWSER

They went for broke on the Galaxy S4 with every useless "feature" you could imagine, but Samsung dropped a big fat egg when they left out the most usable feature that should have been included in the stock Android browser - Text Reflow.

You can wave your hands to scroll, wave side-to-side to page through windows, and even tilt the phone to scroll up and down pages. It makes the browser very convenient, and I love having the ability to use the gesture-based constrols. The engineers at Samsung must have stayed up extra late with a big pot of coffee to make all of this happen.

But what makes me want to grind the teeth out of my head is the fact that the stock Android browser does not come with text reflow. I can download a 3rd-party browser like Opera, or Maxthon, or even Chrome, all of which have text reflow. But when you are using a 3rd party browser, none of the advanced gestures work. They only work on the stock browser.

My question is this... how could Samsung spend so much time coming up with such great browser add ons, but leave out something as simple and functional as text reflow? Why would they ignore this, while HTC has it built in with the stock browser on their flagship product, the HTC One?

I don't have a clue. Doesn't make sense.

This brings my frustration back to the forefront in the same way that it did back in my Apple days. I had an iPhone 3GS and was very jealous of the Android devices on the market that had dynamic text reflow. I had high hopes that Apple would bring text reflow to the iPhone 4, and I was sorely disappointed when they passed up on the opportunity and chose to remain with their heads up their rear ends on the issue.

Samsung has surpassed the stupidity of Apple on snubbing text reflow by releasing the most advanced mobile browser on the market that has everything thrown in it but the kitchen sink... and text reflow. They have officially laid an ostrich egg on this. I hate to say that I am disappointed, but I am.

I love my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, and I would not think of trading it for anything. There is a zero percent chance of me going back to iOS, and I'm not really that excited about HTC products. So there's not chance that this issue is a deal breaker for me.

But I sure would appreciate it if Samsung developers took a short coffee break from creating all these useless magical features just long enough to add one simple feature that could make all the difference in the world for people who use their smartphones for heavy reading.

Rant over.

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Posterboy

Samsung Galaxy S IV - Where I'm Buying, Plus Network Choice!

SAMSUNG GALAXY S IV - WHERE TO BUY, BEST NETWORK

I'm up for an upgrade! I couldn't be more excited to replace my current Samsung Gaalxy S II that just can't keep up with Android 4.0.4 and all of the pressure I put on it to multitask and make my life more simple. My choice for an upgrade? I'm sticking with the team and getting a Samsung Galaxy S IV.

There are several reasons why I have chosen the Galaxy S IV to serve as my secondary external brain and memory unit. I would assimilate if I could, but this is the next best thing. But the biggest reasons? Big brilliant display, touchless gesture control, removable battery, light weight, and durable construction.

Sure, the Galaxy S IV has a laundry list of other things that motivate me to get my hands on one, like the 1.9GHz quadcore processor, 2Gb of RAM, 13 Mp camera, super thin and lightweight form factor, and more.

I could bore you all with those details, but I won't. The main point is, it's the most technologically advanced smartphone on the market and comes from a trusted manufacturer that has experienced a ton of success.

Where will I pick up my Samsung Galaxy S IV, you ask? I'll be getting mine on Amazon.com for the lowest offering of any retailer. Right now, they are selling the AT&T version for only $168 with a 2-year contract for all eligible upgrades and new accounts. You can't beat that with a stick.

That actually leads me to my next revelation (that was already revealed), which is my carrier of choice: AT&T. We've got 4G LTE coverage in Central Missouri now, so I will have super fast download and upload speeds on a network that I have had no problems with whatsoever.

You can get your Samsung Galaxy S IV right here on Amazon.com and help to support the Carlton Zone blog site while at the same time, getting it for the best price available. Amazon is one of the most trusted suppliers in the nation, and they will ship the smartphone right to your doorstep. Nothing could be more simple than that!

Carlton Flowers
Galaxy Gadgetologist

GET IT NOW! GALAXY S IV ON AMAZON AT LOWEST PRICING

Grab your Samsung Galaxy S IV right now at Amazon Wireless for the best pricing possible on all major carriers when you sign a valid 2-year agreement! Click the link to jump to Amazon and join the Samsung revolution!

Samsung Galaxy S IV Vs HTC One - Close Call!

GALAXY S IV OR HTC ONE? MY RECOMMENDATION

Today we're going to take a look at the top two Android smartphones on the market. The Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One. This is a close call, but I have a clear recommendation!

Many people have asked my opinion on which one of these smartphones to pick up in May of 2013. You can't go wrong with either one of these super handsets, but I'll point out a few differences and tell you why my choice edges out its chief competitor.

CPU

First, let's look at the processor. The Samsung takes a slight edge in this category with a faster core speed for the quad core processor. The average user won't notice much of a difference, so this isn't a deciding factor. If speed is critical, Samsung takes the checkered flag. For CPU speeds, they are as follows:

  • Galaxy S IV CPU - 1.9GHz quad core
  • HTC One - 1.7GHz  quad core

DISPLAY

Next, let's take a look at the displays. The Galaxy S IV has a slightly larger display than the HTC One, but they are both very vivid and boast brilliant color reproduction. As the current trend with Android smartphones, bigger is better, and both are excellent choices for watching multimedia content. Here are the specs on each display:

  • Galaxy S IV - 5" 1920 x 1080 HD display
  • HTC One - 4.7" 1920 x 1080 HD display

CAMERAS

The cameras on both of these units are outstanding. One has a much higher megapixel camera, but don't let that fool you. The HTC One may only have 1/4th of the megapixel rating as the Galaxy S IV, but it takes pictures that are just as vivid and brilliant. I have heard reports that the Galaxy S IV camera is incredibly fast, however. I'm not sure what the thinking behind such a small rear camera on the HTC One, but I don't think it will dissapoint. The only advantage here is that the Galaxy S IV can capture images with both cameras at the same time for an interesting effect. Both have great front-facing cameras. The specs are as follows:

  • Galaxy S IV - 13Mp rear camera, 2.0Mp front facing camera
  • HTC One - 4Mp rear camera, 2.1Mp front facing camera

FORM FACTOR

The Galaxy S IV is a smaller, thinner, lighter handset than the HTC One. But some people prefer the heavier, more solid build of the HTC One. Others prefer the lighter composite plastic build of the Galaxy S IV. For clumsy people like me, I would rather drop a Galaxy S IV. I don't think the HTC One will survive a similar drop to a hard surface, but it is still built in a way that it won't be nearly as fragile as an iPhone. Here are the specs on size & weight:

  • Galaxy S IV - 8mm thick, 130 grams
  • HTC One - 9mm thick, 143 grams

BATTERY

This is a category where the Galaxy S IV is the clear winner. This aspect alone gives me reason to pick the Samsung product. The batteries on both are very capable, but the Galaxy S IV packs a bit more juice. But the deal breaker for me is that the HTC One does not have a removable battery. I love the option of having the capability of popping in a spare battery with the Galaxy S IV. Here's the battery comparison:

  • Galaxy S IV - 2,600 mA·h, removable
  • HTC One - 2,300 mA·h, non-removable

OTHER SIMILAR FEATURES

Both of these incredible smartphones come with 32Gb of internal memory plus 2Gb of RAM. Both units are built to run on the 4G LTE networks of all major carriers that have coverage. Android Jellybean operating system is the standard for both, and each comes with its own version of a UI overlay. As of recent, HTC has added similar features that allow eye scrolling and smart pause for watchin videos. So there's no clear winner with any of these general categories.

One comment I have heard from Leo Laporte was that the HTC One has a slightly less durable front glass. He reported that he scratched the display while testing the HTC One, and really wasn't being haphazard with handling the unit. A screen protector could help to avoid this, but if you are one who doesn't like to mask your screen, this could be an issue.

What it boils down to is personal preference. If you are the type of person who conserves the juice in your phone, you'll do fine either way. For heavy users as myself, the lack of a removable battery will be a significant issue.

I prefer the lighter, thinner design of the Samsung Galaxy S IV because I am accident prone. Others might like the stronger, "heavier" build that gives the impression of better quality. But the heavier they come, the harder they fall. Add to that the issue with the battery removal, and I give the slight edge to the Samsung Galaxy S IV.

But again, you can't go wrong with either of these smartphones. The HTC One is still a beautiful, well-built phone with several superior capabilities than most other Android phones. So I give them both a green light. You'll just see me packing a Galaxy S IV with two spare batteries if you catch me out on the streets.

What is your opinion of these smartphones? If you are due for an upgrade, or if you've just bought one of the two of these smartphones, I'd love to hear why you chose one over the other. Share your thoughts in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Lover Supreme

GO SHOPPING NOW FOR THE BEST PRICING ON SMARTPHONES AT AMAZON!

Hit the link above to check out the Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One on all major carriers in the Amazon Wireless Store! You'll get the best pricing on both of these units with a new 2-year contract with super fast shipping

 

 

"Soft-Bricked" by Android - How My Galaxy S2 Got Whacked

LATEST ANDROID UPDATE SOFT BRICKS SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, you might have been one of many people who got "soft-bricked" by the latest Android update to version 4.0.4 this month. I was one of them.

Listen to the audio and I will tell you about how I originally thought I damaged the phone, what my phone did when it got stuck into a "boot loop", and what I had to do to save it. You'll also hear about the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of certain things on my phone after I erased it.

As a nice bonus, you'll hear my opinion about the life of Samsung smartphones and how they conflict with the carrier's contracts. Enjoy the podcast, and share your thoughts in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Podcaster Supreme

The "Heavy" Question On Quality - Samsung, HTC, iPhone

REAL TALK ON QUALITY - IS HEAVY BETTER?

There's no super technological insight on this post. This is just a rant based on a question that I'd like to put out there to the smartphone world. Why does "heavy" mean better quality?

Day after day, I read reviews on Samsung smartphone products from all the gadget pundits. 9.9 times out of 10, writers claim that Samsung devices feel "cheap", because they don't have the heavy build of HTC, Apple, and other brand products.

This does not make sense to me. But time after time, the "experts" claim that heavy is better, and a bulky solid build means "quality". While the tech world pushes to make devices thinner and lighter, the complaints seem to go on and on despite the obvious advantage.

Have you ever dropped an iPhone or an HTC smartphone? Unless you like spending your hard earned money on expensive fragile smartphones, I can't for the life of me figure out why so many people complain that lighter weight devices feel "cheap".

The Samsung Galaxy S IV is about to be released this month. For the third time (since the release of the Galaxy S II), the complaints about the apparent cheap build are rolling in strong. They say that the Galaxy smartphones are too plastic-like. Forget the fact that they are made out of durable polycarbonate material. They are just cheap... or so they say.

I drop my phone on a regular basis. It happens daily. I owned an Apple iPhone 3GS, and an iPhone 4. Both were dropped from a height of 2 feet or less, and both were destroyed in one drop. But I have drop-kicked my Galaxy S II trying to catch it with my foot, and I have yet to break it.

To me, a lighter weight smartphone with a stronger material is common sense design. The heavier the phone, the harder the impact it brings when it says "hello" to the concrete. That is why I have had so much better luck with my Galaxy S II.

But just as with comparisons to Apple products, writers claim that the HTC devices have more of a solid "quality feel" too. I don't get it. While the HTC devices can handle impact a little better than iPhones, they still can't survive a drop like a Samsung smartphone.

I don't know how you iPhone and HTC owners feel about this, but I don't want a smartphone that feels like a pack of lead sinkers in my pocket. I don't want to know it's there when it is snugly packed away in my front pocket. But the madness continues with writers claiming that "heavy" equals quality.

When I tested the Samsung Galaxy S III from AT&T, I thought the look and feel was fantastic. Never once did I feel that the S III was "cheap" because of the material used. And the Galaxy S IV will follow with an equally light design, but thinner.

I love the gigantic 5" screen size on the new Galaxy S IV. Bigger is better in my book. And I think it awesome that the S IV will be thinner, built with polycarbonate material, and maintaining it's feather-light weight while increasing the size.

So many people were expecting Samsung to "improve" the quality of the build by creating a heavy, more dense device with a new material. I imagine they wanted to see a composite build similar to the HTC One X or the Nokia Lumia 920. Both of those handsets, in my opinion, are just too heavy.

I'll be the first writer to say that I am happy that Samsung has decided to continue manufacturing lighter, thinner smartphones with the new form factor of the Galaxy S IV. I can't wait to get my hands on my own Galaxy S IV the minute my upgrade is available in May.

Maybe the rest of the mindless writers can go shopping for Galaxy S IV cases made from a lead alloy so they can get that "quality feeling" that they are looking for. Meanwhile, I'll take it like it is. And I will not be putting a case around my S IV... because it doesn't need one.

Carlton Flowers
Common Sense Gadget Commentator

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S VI Announcement Near! New S Pen Prediction

"SAMSUNG UNPACKED" EVENT IS SLATED - WILL WE SEE AN S PEN?

It's officially official! The next "Samsung Unpacked" event is scheduled for March 14th, 2013 for the unveiling of the wildly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S IV smartphone, to be held in New York City. That said, what is the status on inclusion of an S Pen?

By now, you all know that the magical S Pen sits on the forefront of my mind. I am more interested in this feature than any other. Up until now, the prognosticators have been waffling on this issue more than Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election.

As much as I want to have slightly-smaller-yet-more-powerful version of the Samsung Galaxy Note II with an equally capable S Pen stylus, I don't think it will come to fruition with the Galaxy S IV. There are two overwhelming reasons why I now believe the "no-S-Pen" predictors are calling this one correctly.

First, the inclusion of an S Pen would make the Galaxy S IV compete directly with the Note II, a phablet device that is still selling strong and not yet willing to be driven into obsolescence. Previously, I wishfully thought that the S Pen would become the new standard for all Galaxy handsets and tablets. But it doesn't appear that this is the direction the company is moving.

Even though Samsung likes to whip out updated devices faster than you can blink your eyes, they aren't going to kill the insanely popular Galaxy Note II this far ahead of the future third generation edition of the Note. We don't even have any fresh or credible rumors on the follow-up at this point. That makes me tend to believe that they are still going to ride out the popularity of the Note II and maximize their return on investment before killing it dead.

Second, I hate to admit it, but the addition of an S Pen stylus to the Galaxy S IV smartphone will add unnecessary extra thickness to a device that they might be trying to "thin out". If an S Pen was included similar to what we have with the Note II, the device would have to be about 9.1mm in thickness to house it inside of the case.

Everyone knows that the race is on to make the most paper-thin smartphone on the market. In my opinion, this is not practical, and it provides no advantage. How slim do we need a smartphone to be before we stop the maddening race-to-paper-thinness? I think it has gone too far. But the smarphone manufacturers don't seem to agree with me.

Therefore, with thinness being the call of the day, I seriously don't see Samsung switching from selling a super slim sliver of a smartphone to make a fatter S Pen-packing phablet just for the stylus nerds like myself. Sad as it seems, this is the reality of the situation. My Galaxy IV S Pen dreams will likely be dashed on March 14th, 2013.

That begs the question... will I still desire a stylus-less Galaxy S4 device? Possibly. Here's why.

If they diss the stylus nerds and leave out the S Pen on the S4, they will more than likely include touchless gestures for scrolling and selecting. This would liberate the user from gunking up the screen while manipulating the device. It is an exciting and welcomed feature. Not exactly a replacement for a stylus, but a nice concession.

If Samsung figures out a way to bring the multitasking, window-floating, and video preview features without the aid of an S Pen, it might be just as good of an experience as with the Galaxy Note II. And the obvious benefit would be that you could have the same powerful features without a stylus to misplace.

I would say that a Galaxy S IV without an S Pen would probably be used more like a smartphone and less like a phablet. Maybe this would be Samsung's slick way to force me into considering the Galaxy Note 8... and spend more of the money I already don't have.

Oh well.

Carlton Flowers
S Pen Enthusiast