Tag Archives: Samsung


Follow my daily 12 tech days of Christmas. The words of the perennial 1909 festive song by Frederic Austin’s original have changed slightly, but the meaning is all the same. Merry Christmas!

“On the ninth day of Christmas my tech love gave to me, nine stocking stuffers, eight vacuum cleaners, seven image catchers, six shiny laptops, five top-tier smartphones, four odd collections, three streaming players, two instant photos and a java in a pear tree”

Here are some of my favourite affordable gift guide stocking stuffers that offer great value.


  • Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker, $30 for 1-pack or $90 for 4-pack, tracks your stuff live up to 100 ft away using low energy Bluetooth technology. Simply attach Tile to an item and find it through your phone App. Activate the Tile app to see the last location of your item on a map. Built in Li-ion battery keeps Tile fully functional for an entire year. Pressing the Tile also finds your phone! Available at Best Buy and London Drugs.

  • Samsung Gear Fit 2 (Bluetooth and WiFi) automatically starts monitoring where you go, specific activities like walking or running and heart rate, all while you are away from your phone. This includes setting alarms. When you carry your Android phone (unlike other Samsung personal wear, the Fit 2 works with all Android phones) the Fit 2 updates the stored workout info on your phone. It also notifies you with incoming messages like email, social sites and more on its generously sized AMOLED bright screen. You can upload music to its 4GB of memory for wirelessly listening to music when away from you phone vi Bluetooth speakers. You can also control more music playing from your nearby phone using the Fit 2. Download the S Health app to your smartphone to compete against a friend and push each other toward your fitness goals (requires connection to mobile device). Available in several ccolours for $130 at Best Buy.

  • The Philips Vacuum Beard Trimmer, $50 at London Drugs and the Bay, is unique with its built-in vacuum which catches cut hair as you go along for a mess-free trim. It includes accessories for beard, moustache and sideburn It has 20 precision lock-in length settingsfrom 0.5 – 10mm and is easy to clean by water rinsing. Double self-sharpening steel blades lasts a long time, with no oil requirement and it even works while charging. It’s compatible with all world-wide voltages.

  • This is cool. The Black & Decker Lithium-Ion GYRO rechargeable screwdriver is small enough to fit in kitchen drawers. It has no on/off or speed control buttons! Instead, you simply twist your wrist clockwise or counter clockwise and vary for speed control. Smart? A small light guides your work in dark places and the battery charge lasts over long storage times. Available at Lowe’s or Amazon.ca for $40.

  • Logitech Illuminated Keyboard Living-room Bluetooth Keyboard for wirelessly controlling your laptop when connected to you TV. It features a large gesture capable touch pad with left and right mouse-like buttons. Auto-adjusting backlit keyboard is handy when you dim the lights for TV watching. One charge lasts more than a week of use and only takes three hours to re-charge. The Tiny Logitech Unifying receiver is plug-and-play, allowing you to start typing immediately. Available at the Bay for $99.99.

  • The Samsung Gear VR (2016) headset gets you into the world of 360 VR online. It easily connects with Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, and Galaxy Note5 phones for an immersive gaming and viewing experience available online. In the VR world with 2D and 360-degree videos, photos, and games you simply turn your head around to view additional action above, below and around you. It’s large enough to be worn with most eyeglasses. Available at Samsung Experience Stores in selected Canadian cities and currently on sale for $99.99 at Best Buy till Dec 23.

  • Ventev makes attractively designed mobile phone accessories. They feature a smooth, almost velvet-like touch on their two-tone grey surface with orange highlights. Although US-based Ventev will be in Canadian stores soon, you can order their eclectic collection on Amazon.ca. Like all things online this week, you can alternatively buy Amazon gift certificates instead at  Check out the smart Ventev Desktop charginghub s500, $79.12 which features two surge protected outlets and three USB charge outlets (two 2A and one 2.4A) as well as a neat device stand for several devices. Smart!


  • Running out of memory on your iPhone? The Leef iBridge 16 GB Mobile Memory, $89.99 for 16GB to $399.99 for 256GB, is a smart way to expand your iPhone or iPad memory. It unobtrusively inserts in the lightning port and can either automatically back up your files or capture video and photos directly while you shoot. Alternatively, you can load your Leef with more movies and music to enjoy when travelling.

  • Luci Inflatable Solar-Charged Lanterns, frosted $25.95, clear $19.95, are waterproof, feather light and compact. They charge up during the day with natural light and provide night light for anywhere at home out outside like camping. They have two intensity modes and an SOS alternating white and red color flashing feature. You can inflate them from 2.5cm – 9cm tall and enjoy up to ten hours of illumination from the ten LED lamps. Available at Lee Valley stores across Canada. leevalley.com


Follow my daily 12 tech days of Christmas. The words of the perennial 1909 festive song by Frederic Austin’s original have changed slightly, but the meaning is all the same. Merry Christmas!

“On the sixth day of Christmas my tech love gave to me, six shiny laptops, five top-tier smartphones, four odd collections, three streaming players, two instant photos and a java in a pear tree.

Just a few years ago, laptops were doomed to extinction along with desktops as iPads and multi-tasking smartphones got more attention. Not anymore. Laptops are back, as gaming devices and more importantly, consumer targeted as innovative, thinner, lighter and portable computers with sharper multi-swing screens, especially for Windows 10.

Continue reading 12 TECH DAYS OF CHRISTMAS…DAY 6

Samsung Galaxy S7 sets new standard for camera phones

Samsung Galaxy 5.5 -inch dual curved S7 edge left and 5.1-inch S7 right

Samsung Galaxy 5.5 -inch dual curved S7 edge left and 5.1-inch S7 right

Today Samsung’s new flagship  5.1-inch Galaxy S7, $400 with two-year term and 5.5-inch S7 edge featuring dual curves, $500 with two-year term are available in Canadian stores.

Both have longer battery life, always on display, are waterproof/dustproof, microSD expansion, 4 GB RAM and more.

Its totally redesigned smaller 12 megapixel rear camera with f1.7 lens is now the de facto standard for mobile camera phones. The faster lens and larger pixel sensor let more light in and cleaner noise free imaging.

I posted the following portfolio of an early version of the Galaxy S7 edge on my Facebook page   shortly after its launch in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2016.

Continue reading Samsung Galaxy S7 sets new standard for camera phones

IFA Berlin 2015 delivers on the newest smart watches

IFA Berlin 2015, one of the largest annual global tech shows, is again the launch base for the world’s coolest technologies.

Although IFA covers a broad spectrum of technologies and trends at home, work and play, the first two days are particularly exciting as global tech giants announce their newest technologies.

One hot item showing at IFA, are smart watches, with some 40 million to be sold this year. Half of that is expected to be Apple Watches. That still pales in comparison with the 1.5 billion smartphones that will ship this year.

Continue reading IFA Berlin 2015 delivers on the newest smart watches

Two new phones, one budget and the other for hardcore business and play


Motorola continues its production in high gear with a flurry of new affordable phones over the past year. It heats up the competition in affordable phones you can buy outright with no plan.

Moto G

  • The LTE-capable Moto G features IPX7-rated protection and scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass for the 5” HD display. Its water proof in up to 3 feet of water—for up to 30 minutes. It has an all-day battery and the 13 megapixel camera can turn on with the flip of your wrist. The 5” HD display and Quad Core processor to keep up with today’s mobile demands. It feels nice to hold with careful edge wedging and a non-slip front surface. The Moto G is available in more than 60 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. In Canada it’s available for as low as $200 outright or free with a two year plan at TELUS, Bell Mobility, Koodo, or Virgin Mobile and soon at Wind Mobile.

Continue reading Two new phones, one budget and the other for hardcore business and play

The best smart phone cameras are impressive but still can’t match enthusiast digital cameras

Despite today’s sophisticated smart phone cameras, I still like to take more serious camera hardware along when I travel.

Why? Because a 16 megapixel cellphone picture is not the same as a 16 megapixel quality mirrorless or DSLR with interchangeable lenses.

Why? Picture sensors on phones, with the exception of the Sony Xperia Z3, are half the size of your pinky  fingernail. Compare that to the postage size sensors of interchangeable lens cameras like the  Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Fujifilm X, Olympus Pen  and bulkier DSLR cameras.

Physically larger sensors record richer colours, more detail in shadows and less noise at higher ISO settings.

Phone cameras have no real zoom lens. They basically shoot wide angle photos with the ability to zoom in closer, but at the expense of megapixel size and quality. This means phone cameras can’t shoot from far away like zoom lenses on real cameras. Nor can they shoot extra wide angle photos.

The lens on a smart phone has one aperture, typically f2, leaving the shutter speed to control the picture’s exposure. Due to the physically small size of the picture sensor, the depth of field on smartphone pictures is quite large (making near and far subjects look just as sharp) and cannot be changed. Again, zeroing in on closer objects, or portraits with an out of focus background is impossible to do with phone cameras.

Phone cameras are best at quickly recording personal moments near you. They are small and handy, but there are images further out that are worth capturing beyond your personal sphere.

Here are examples of “tourist” photos I recently took in Barcelona after the Mobile World Congress I reported on my Global TV Sunday Morning News today.

They were shot with a 16 MP Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and the Fujifilm weather resistant 16 MP X-T1 with top tier fast aspherical extra wide angle XF 10-24 mm f4 zoom which captures 3 times as wide a view as normal lenses, the new 16-55 mm f2.8 aspherical weatherproof and the 18-135 mm f3.5-5.6 aspherical zoom, also weatherproof, for my ultra-zoom close-ups.

See the first group of still impressive quality Note Edge pictures, unbeatable selfies, great panoramas and medium wide angle views. Compare the variety of  wider and  tight telephoto views shot with the X-T1.

Click on photos to enlarge

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge with medium wide views, wider selfies and amazing panoramas
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge with medium wide views, wider selfies and amazing panoramas
Fujifim X-T1 with extreme wide and telephoto zoom lenses
Fujifilm X-T1 with extreme wide and telephoto zoom lenses






Samsung keeps the WOW factour at Barcelona launch

Today Samsung announced its newest Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

2015-03-01 14.49.37


The S6, features a smooth rounded metal bezel, while the S6 Edge has curved glass screens on both sides with a uniquely crafted bezel hugging both exposed corners.

2015-03-01 14.49.37

More 64 bit processing power and faster response to finger touch are in order here. Both models are sealed, thus no interchangeable battery with build-in wireless re-charging. You get 4 hours of normal use after a 10 minute charge.

National coffee stores and Ikea will soon feature under the surface cordless chargers on counters and night tables from Ikea. Samsung supports an open standard in wireless charging.

No more memory upgrades either. There will be 32, 64 and 128 GB models. Samsung decided its new battery was good enough to be sealed permanently shaving the S6 down to 6.8 mm. It also said the S6 “won’t bend.”

A 16 megapixel main camera features less than a second instant on from the get go by pressing the menu bar twice, even on locked phones. It has easy to use settings for beginners and a Pro mode to grow into.

The 5 megapixel selfie uses a fast f1.9 lens and shoots gorgeous FullHD video.

Samsung showed tough picture and movie taking comparisons in bad light against an iPhone 6 with noticeable quality gains.

Both phones will be available in Canada on April 10 with all cellcos. The 32 GB S6 is expected to sell in the $250 range while the Edge will cost about $100 more.

For that you get a well crafted constant companion with Gorilla Glass 4 and a curved screen that was subjected to 8,000 Celcius during assembly.

Thinness, dazzling looks and smart functionality with speed is Samsung’s latest effort to compete with Apple’s recently successful iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones sold worldwide.

Samsung Canada's Paul Brannen "We listened to everyone's pain points on phones and delivered on design and functionality."
Samsung Canada’s Paul Brannen “We listened to everyone’s pain points on phones and delivered on design and functionality.”

The curved S6 Edge has room for separate narrow side panel information viewed from the top or the side. This gives fast access to app icons, auto-scrolling sports and news and a nifty non-intrusive bed light mode, with time weather and alarm showing on the curve edge.

When face down, the S6 Edge glows colours assigned to specific contacts so you know who might be buzzing you in a meeting.

Despite its “wow” tecnology showcase at the premiere mobility show of the year, the South Korean giant finds itself with decreasing annual profits and playing catchup to Apple’s hugely successful 75 million global iPhone 6 sales.

Analysts place Apple and Samsung at par with 20 per cent each on global phone shipments in the past quarter. Samsung recently reported a 37 per cent drop of its company-wide operating profit from last year.

Will Samsung’s glass screen-bending magic save it from its current woes?

Faced with Apple’s lightening fast market growth outside North America, low price busting Chinese smartphones from Xiaomi and its growing dissatisfaction with the Android operating system, Samsung is in the unenviable position of having the coolest technology in need of the right market.

Tech love for Valentine’s Day

How do you say I love you for Valentine’s Day with technology?

For a range of affordable new personal tech gift suggestions check out my globalnews.ca/techuntangled  and Edmonton Global News Sunday Morning News Tech Talk segment.

If your love has no limit, here are a few items, costing more, that have a lot of tech love to give back for the next few Valentine’s years.


The Kobo Auro H2O keeps your digital books dry
The Kobo Auro H2O keeps your digital books dry
  • The Kobo WiFi Aura H20, $169.99, is an all-weather E Ink eReader with enough internal memory to carry 3,000 books. The 6.8 – inch antiglare 265 dpi screen features adjustable ComfortLight backlight technology for reading in brighter places.
  • The New Kindle eReader, $79, is winner in many ways. It’s small, light, with weeks of battery life, 20 per cent faster processing and twice the storage capability as the previous model. The new touch interface is simple and the new Word Wise feature makes it easier for readers learning English to understand new words.

Continue reading Tech love for Valentine’s Day

Streaming Content will trump hardware in 2015

My selfie above, from CES 2006 in Las Vegas got me into thinking about what technology is all about. Especially after having attended similar shows for the past 25 years or so.

The word technology has Greek origins, combining “craft” and “discourse” a lot of which happens at every Las Vegas CES event. It plays itself out in many ways in four days and nights of events in Las Vegas , press conferences, walkabouts, personal meetings, and hands-on on what might show up in store shelves.

The CES 2006 “technology” playing field was much different than today. The BlackBerry smartphone had the North American market to itself with its “CrackBerry” line while Korean, Japanese and US tech giants still showed flip phones. The first Apple iPhone was a year away to be followed by the first Android phone in 2008.

Continue reading Streaming Content will trump hardware in 2015