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Getting a Galaxy S5? 7 things you must know

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 has been described by some as the superphone of 2014. LIRON SEGEV discovers that it is packed to the brim with new features and outlines seven tips to help users get started with it.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was first announced in January at the Mobile World Congress, and was then unveiled in South Africa earlier this month.

The phone is packed with features and functions, and although this sounds great, it can be confusing for some, especially those who are new to the Galaxy user interface or the Android operating system. Samsung has however included a step-by-step guide on how to set up the phone and here are some tips to help users get started with the S5.

7 must know tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S5

Use the finger:

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a finger scanner built into the “Home” button, allowing users to unlock the device by simply running their finger over the scanner. The feature needs to first be set up by going into Settings > Finger Scanner > Fingerprint Manager.

But there is more.

If you tap on the Features List, you are able to use the same fingerprint scanner to identify yourself instead of entering a password to confirm purchases – much like the functionality offered on the Apple iPhone 5S.

Save power:

There are two power saving options on the S5. The first is the Power Saving Mode that allows you to block background data, reduce the time the screens stays on, reduce the power of the processor and turn off resources like GPS.

This is a good enough option when you know you will get to a charger soon and still need most of the phone’s features.

You access this mode though Settings > Power Saving > Power Saving Mode > On

If you are in serious battery trouble, then you can use the Ultra Power Saving mode. This mode switches the phone’s screen from colour into grey-scale and reduces the number of apps that can be used. It also turns off mobile data when the screen switches off, and disconnects Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can still make and receive phone calls.

When I first enabled this mode, I was a little alarmed, but it certainly does the job.

You access this mode through Settings > Power Saving > Ultra power saving mode > On

Open the toolbox:

Toolbox is perfect for opening apps using one hand. When you tap on it, the apps you selected are listed with little icons so you don’t have to go looking for them.

Toolbox is accessible from the Quick Settings option or under Settings > Sound and Display.

Be more sensitive:

Using a touch screen with gloves has never been easy, and in some cases impossible. But, the Galaxy S5 lets you increase the sensitivity so it responds better and you don’t have to take your gloves off.

You access this mode though Settings > Display > Increase touch sensitivity (right at the bottom)

For the kids:

The Samsung has a Kids Mode feature that allows you to select which apps the children can access and lock the apps they can’t. When activated, the entire screen changes to make it kids-friendly and doesn’t just disable selected apps.

There is a great voice app that allows parents to record their voice and the S5 plays it back in different character voices. Children’s pictures are stored separately from the main gallery, so there is no chance of one of their creative artworks sneaking its way into your presentations.

The app not only keeps track of which apps the kids have used and how much time they spend on the phone, but also allows you to set daily playtime limits.

Quick connect:

If you want to share something with another S5 user, you can use Quick Connect, which is available from the Quick Settings icon. Once you tap it, it will list all the nearby devices that have Quick Connect enabled. The two phones make a connection and you can share content with each other. This takes away complexity of pairing Bluetooth or sharing over a Wi-Fi and can be done ad-hoc and switched off just as easily.

Multi-Window:

Samsung has extended the ability to have multiple apps open at the same time to the Galaxy S5. The screen is large enough to have Google Maps running at the top half of the screen and an e-mail client at the bottom

To activate this, select Multi Windows from Quick Settings. Then hold the Back button and you will see a little arrow appear on the left side of the phone (you can hold the Back button to hide that arrow too). Tap that arrow and the app list opens. Now drag an app to the top and an app to the bottom.

* Follow Liron Segev, aka The Techie Guy, on his blog at thetechieguy.com, or on Twitter at @Liron_Segev

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Nokia 9 PureView pioneers new camera tech

Nokia packed five camera-lenses into its latest high-end flagship, but does more lenses mean better pictures? BRYAN TURNER took it for a test run.

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Nokia is not new to the high-end mobile photography market. In 2012, it led Mobile World Congress (MWC) with its 41MP Nokia 808 PureView. This year, Nokia returned to MWC with its next PureView handset: the Nokia 9 PureView.

Instead of pushing megapixels, the mobile device maker chose to focus on intelligent exposure and sharp focus quality. It achieved this with a set of five cameras on the rear of the device – the most ever on the back of a handset. All of the lenses are 12MP f/1.8 lenses, and three of them are monochrome. The five lenses work in tandem to blend the best parts of a captured image. This is achieved through software image blending, which has been trained to know what’s good and bad about the image. 

Why monochrome? 

Lighting is dramatically improved with a monochrome sensor. About 2.9x more light can be captured with a monochrome sensor when compared to a conventional sensor. Huawei showed off the advantages of integrating a monochrome camera with the P9. 

Why three monochrome lenses? 

Detail can be captured at three different lighting settings, one to absorb a lot of light, one to absorb a little less light, and one to absorb very little light. These photos can then be blended into one great photo, without the user having to worry about setting the camera’s exposure manually.

The monochrome mode captures photos in crisp detail, while giving an authentic dramatic monochrome photography feel.

Only five lenses have been mentioned so far but the back of the device sports seven holes. The sixth hole is for the flash and the seventh is for the depth sensor. This sensor captures the depth of an image, so autofocus can be a little sharper and focus depth on bokeh images can be adjusted after the picture is taken. This adjustment feature is especially useful when a subject’s hair has been “bokeh’d out”.

Click here to read about the other features of the Nokia 9 PureView.

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Bose Portable: quality at a price

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The Bose SoundDock Portable looks great and performs well, but SEAN BACHER finds the price doesn’t justify the better sound quality.

Since its inception in 1964, American-based audio specialist, Bose, has built a name synonymous with quality. Along with that, it has built a reputation of being more expensive than many of its competitors, but not deterring many from making the expensive investment. The mini sound speakers are quite often used in boardrooms, bars and restaurants around the world and offer crystal-clear sound that rivals most speakers twice their size.

Testament to the Bose sound quality is that it is used as the standard audio system in luxury cars like Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and according to Wikipedia, Bose products can be found in many military and NASA applications.

It is therefore not surprising to find Bose accessories compatible with smartphones. One example is the Bose SoundDock Portable. A portable docking station for iPhones and iPods that works off rechargeable batteries.

We put the Bose SoundDock Portable through the Gadget Five Question User.

1. Ease of use (including set-up)

Although the Bose SoundDock Portable, comes with instructions, they are not needed and in most cases, it will be ready to operate the minute it is removed from the box and an iPhone or iPod is plugged into it.

If the batteries on either the phone or docking station are flat though, the charger needs to be plugged into it before it can be used. You don’t need to wait for the batteries to charge fully before using it.

Bose has taken the minimalist approach with the SoundDock as on the right are two touch-sensitive Volume buttons and that’s it. No Power or other controls. The included remote is also very easy to use. It uses standard Play, Pause, Volume and Skip buttons, all well labelled.

The front of the docking station is made up of a silver grill, below which is the retractable iPhone dock. Although the casing around the connector is designed to accommodate an iPhone’s protective skin, it was not big enough to for the bumper I had on my phone, which meant I had to take the phone out of the case every time I wanted to plug it in.

On the plus side though, unlike many other portable docking stations, the Bose will charge a docked phone even if it is just running off battery power.

The Bose SoundDock Portable’s ease of use along with its elegant design cannot be faulted. But its dock connector counts against it.

Score: 18/20

2. General performance

The two front facing speakers offer crisp sounds and when the volume is cranked up all the way the SoundDock does not distort at all and is deafeningly loud.

At the rear is 3.5mm jack, allowing you to connect non-Apple phones, MP3 players and other audio equipment.

According to Bose, the 1 900mAh rechargeable battery pack will offer up to three hours of music at a maximum volume a different approach to rating battery life as most other vendors rate operating times at ‚”typical listening volumes‚”. I have been using the SoundDock on and off and not at full tilt for the past week without having to plug the mains adapter in yet.

This is however a good thing. Although the Bose SoundDock Portable is elegant and well made, Bose didn’t pay to much attention to the adaptor. It is a bit bigger than two cellphone chargers placed next to each other. It monopolises all the other electrical outlets, when plugged into the wall, meaning you need a dedicated plug for when you want to charge the battery.

The Bose SoundDock Portable provides a beautiful sound, its battery life is great, but the giant-sized charger is a complete let down.

Score: 12/20

3. Does it add value to your life?

Unlike many docking stations that are designed for bedside listening, the Bose SoundDock Portable is powerful enough to offer good sound in an average sized dining room or lounge.

Weighing in at just under three kilograms, it is not the lightest of them all, but the rear, recessed-handle makes carrying it fairly easy. (A carry bag is available as an optional extra.) Overall, it is a nice addition for a picnic or where an electrical outlet is not available.

18/20

4. Innovation

Sound docks have been around for years, and although the SoundDock offers superior sound, it offers nothing in the way of innovation. In fact, the lack of Bluetooth or any wireless connectivity for that matter is limiting.

13/20

5. Value for money

Much like the die-hard Apple Mac fans that will spend more on a product that performs much the same as cheaper alternatives, you get the same in the audio/visual world.

This becomes especially clear when reading the various reviews posted on the Internet. Reviewers either dislike the Bose SoundDock Portable due to it price, while others like it, saying the sound quality justifies the price.

But at R5 000 for a docking station I would have to agree with the former reviewers. R5 000 is ridiculously overpriced, even though it offers superior sound.

10/20

Conclusion

There is no faulting the Bose SoundDock Portable in terms of elegance and sound, but its clunky charger and high price are complete turnoffs.

Total score: 71%

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @seanbacher

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