The IFA conference is currently going on and electronics giant Samsung has made some product announcements at its Unpacked 2012 event. Included are the Galaxy Note II smartphone/tablet, an Android powered Galaxy Camera, and several additions to their ATIV line of Windows 8 products. These are going to be pretty quick rundowns, so for complete specifications and features, check out their product pages.
Galaxy Note II
The Galaxy Note made a big splash when it was announced at IFA 2011. Some loved the in-between size, others not so much. Our own Cali Lewis fell in love with it, even though she isn’t too crazy about the term “Phablet” (Phone/ tablet hybrid). Well, it’s a year later and the Note is coming back bigger and better.
Galaxy Note II is centered around a 5.5” High Definition SuperAMOLED screen at 1280×720 and is the first Samsung device using Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The design language from the Galaxy S III is very apparent inside and out with the Note. Powering it is an especially-speedy-for-a-handheld-device 1.6ghz quad core CPU, up slightly from the processor in the GSIII. Other specifications are similar to the GSIII.
The new S Pen has been updated (as have the apps) from previous versions of the Note line and is designed for a more natural writing experience. The Note II comes in 16, 32, and 64GB flavors and will be available this October in major markets In Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Americas and Africa, would presumably come later.
Remember that iPhone 5 parody video from a couple weeks back where they grafted a smartphone into a DSLR body? Turns out that there weren’t as off-base as you’d think. They just got the manufacturer wrong.
Samsung’s Galaxy Camera combines the interface of a 4.8” Android smartphone (without the ability to make calls) with a 21x Super zoom camera. On the Android end, you get a Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 1.4ghz quad core CPU, 8GB of internal memory with a MicroSD slot. You also get GPS/GLONASS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. A SIM card slot for 21Mbps HSPA+ is also present. While the form factor might be a bit awkward with the camera lens compared to a smartphone or media player, the android implementation is fully functional and not hampered in any way.
Speaking of the camera lens, it looks to be on the higher end of super zoom point and shoots. You get a 16.3 MP 2.3” CMOS sensor, a 21x lens at f2.8, and a max ISO rating of 3200. For still images, Samsung’s camera app has full manual controls and 10 shooting modes to choose from. Video is 1080p at 30fps or slow motion at 480 SD at 120FPS. File formats are pretty much standard with JPEG and MP4. The battery is 1650mAH and it’s not clear whether it’s removable.
The ATIV Line: Windows 8 All In
Where Galaxy is Samsung’s brand name for it Android products, they’re running with ATIV for the Windows 8 ecosystem (Windows 8/RT/WP8) phone and tablet products. Samsung announced four products during the Unpacked keynote:
ATIV SmartPC / Smart PC Pro
The ATIV SmartPC and Smart PC Pro are Samsung’s entry into the Windows 8 convertible tablet market. Both are centered around a tablet base with a 11.1” 1366×768 display that docks into a full keyboard and trackpad to effectively turn the system into a ultrabook-class notebook. Both models have WiFi-N, BT4.0, and available 3G/4G networking up to LTE.
The SmartPC is based around the latest Intel Atom CPU and what it gives up in power, it makes up in battery life with a very tablet-like 13.5 hour run time from the 31Wh battery. The SpartPC comes standard with 2GB of system memory and 128GB of storage with a MicroSD slot for additional storage. There are two USB 2.0 ports (though one is reserved for the keyboard dock), and a MicroHDMI port for video out. There are 2MP front and 8MP rear cameras with rear LED flash.
The SmartPC Pro takes the opposite approach to its Atom powered brethren packing the full notebook power of a Core i5. Memory and storage are doubled to 4GB and 256GB respectively. Battery life is down considerably to an ultrabook standard 8hr, but the notebook class components and 47WHR battery make the Pro slightly thicker and heavier. The USB port not meant for the dock has been upgraded to USB 3.0. The rear camera is 5MP and has no flash.
ATIV Tab/ ATIV S
If you think you’ve seen these before, it’s because you have. Their casings are pretty closely related to their Android-running cousins the Galaxy 10.1 and Galaxy S III. Both are centered around a 1.5ghz dual core CPU. Not as fast as the quad-core CPUs in the Galaxy Note 10.1 or the GSIII, but still very speedy.
The ATIV Tab is running Windows RT and comes with a 1366×768 10.1” display, has 2GB of memory, and comes in 32 and 64GB flavors with a MicroSD slot in case you want to stick another 64GB in there. Wirelessly, have BT4.0, an NFC chip, and 2.4/5ghz 802.11N wireless. For photography/video you get a 5MP 720p back back camera with LED flash and 1.9MP front camera. The battery is is 8200mAh, but no word on actual battery life.
The ATIV S is the Windows Phone 8 flagship and as of now, the only announced WP8 phone coming out of Samsung. Borrowed from the GSIII, you have a 4.8” AMOLED HD screen and 8MP rear and 1.9mp front cameras. There are the standard 802.11 and NFC connections, but the Bluetooth looks to be only 3.0 instead the 4.0 chip you’ve seen in high-end smartphones in the last year. The battery packs slightly more punch from the GSIII going from 2100mAh to 2300.
With the exception of the Galaxy Note II, none of these products have an official release date and pricing is nowhere to be seen. For the latest product announcements, remember to keep an eye on our blog and on our daily show.