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I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus to compare with my iPhone XS Max. Samsung was generous enough to throw in a free pair of its $129 wireless Galaxy Buds for early adopters. How does Samsung’s take on truly wire-free earbuds compare with Apple’s AirPods? Watch our hands-on video walkthrough for the details.

Specifications

Premium sound by AKG

Charging case

Easy pairing

Customizable Touchpad controls on both earbuds

Up to 13 hours of battery life with charging case

Up to 6 hours of play time from earbuds

Quick 15-minute charge garners 1.7 hours of play time

USB-C charging

Wireless charging

Recharge via Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Wireless PowerShare

Ambient Aware to allow surrounding noise in

Quick Ambient Mode for quick listening to the outside world

Comfortable ear fit with three adjustable ear and wingtips sizes included

IPX2 splash-resistant to handle light splashes and sweat

Android and iOS compatible

White, yellow, and black color options

Price: $129.99

Video: Galaxy Buds vs Apple AirPods

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Unboxing & Design

The Samsung Galaxy Buds arrive in a small square box that’s similar to the AirPods. Inside, you’ll find the Galaxy Buds charging case, along with an accessory box, and documentation packet. The buds I got for free thanks to a promotion that Samsung is running for early Galaxy S10 buyers. That explains the ugly “not for resale” sticker on the front of the box.

Like Apple’s AirPods, Samsung includes a case with the Galaxy Buds that not only allows you to store your earbuds, but also serves as the method for recharging them.

As with the AirPods, Samsung’s wireless headphones employ the use of magnets to align the buds perfectly to the charging contacts inside the case, while keeping them secure in the case upon opening the top cover.

The charging case features a pair of contacts for each earbud that aligns with the two contacts on the Galaxy Buds. Thanks to the magnetic alignment, users can simply place the buds inside the charging case and rest assured knowing that they’ll begin charging automatically.

Each bud features several components, including a pair of charging contacts, a touch-sensitive sensor, microphone, and touchpad speaker output. The buds also accommodate different sized wingtips and earbud tips, which both help with fit.

Charging

Although the look of the Galaxy Buds are different than AirPods, their basic premise is more or less the same. While the earbuds are charging inside the case, you’ll notice an LED charging indicator inside the case, not at all unlike the indicator that appears inside of the AirPods charging case.

Unlike the AirPods, however, Samsung includes an exterior LED for indicating the battery status of the charging case. A green LED indicates that the battery is between 60% and fully charged, yellow between 30% and 60%, and red charging or below 30% battery. A flashing indicator denotes an error or a low charging case battery.

This is one of the areas where Samsung’s approach and OS integration falls behind Apple’s AirPods. With the AirPods, you’re able to see the charging status of not only the two individual earbuds, but also the battery status of the charging case. These indicators aren’t tucked away inside an app, but can be viewed directly from a widget within Notification Center’s Today View.

Samsung only allows you to view the exact battery status of each individual bud. You’ll need to launch the Galaxy Wearable app or open the charging case with your buds inside and your Galaxy S10 close by.

Apple is planning on releasing a Qi-enabled version of the AirPods charging case, a device that was supposed to complement the company’s long-delayed AirPower wireless charging mat, but it’s been M.I.A. thus far. Perhaps we’ll see it released at Apple’s upcoming March 25th ‘It’s Show Time’ event.

As I noted in my hands-on look at Samsung’s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy Buds can also be wirelessly charged via the Galaxy S10 Plus itself. Samsung introduced a new feature called Wireless PowerShare that turns the handset into its own mini wireless charger. Wireless PowerShare isn’t very useful for recharging smartphones with large batteries, but it’s perfect for topping off the smaller battery inside the Galaxy Buds charging case.

Watch our iPhone XS Max vs Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus coverage

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Battery life: AirPods vs Galaxy Buds

Despite the compact design of the AirPods, Apple’s earbuds offer better battery life than Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. Samsung notes that combined, its Galaxy Buds will last for 13 hours. That’s 6 hours of play time from the earbuds when fully charged, and an extra 7 hours from a fully charged charging case.

Apple’s AirPods last much longer, up to 24 hours. That’s 5 hours of play time from the earbuds when fully charged, and an additional 19 hours from a fully charged charging case.

What about quick charging? The Galaxy Buds provide users with 1.7 hours of play time from a 15-minute charge. AirPods provide users with 3 hours of play time from the same 15-minute charge.

It’s not that the AirPods are able to fit a massively bigger battery than the Galaxy Buds, it’s that Apple’s custom W1 chip inside the AirPods provides an uber-efficient wireless connection, and handles the heavy lifting when it comes to intelligent battery management. Needless to say, the results speak for themselves.

Fit

While AirPods’ fit can be hit or miss depending on the person, the Galaxy Buds are more likely to fit the majority of customers. This is because Samsung includes several pairs of silicone earbud tips and wingtips inside the box to facilitate a great fit with a variety of ear sizes.

The earbud tips work with small, medium and large ear canals, helping to isolate the sound from background noise, while the wingtips work to apply pressure on the outside portion of the ear flap creating friction that keeps the Galaxy Buds locked into place. I tested the buds while walking, jogging, and even engaged in a full sprint. Even so, the earbuds stayed locked in my ears.

Walking or even jogging with my AirPods is doable, but there’s no guarantee that they won’t fall out of my ear when running full speed. This is one of the biggest complaints with Apple’s truly wireless headphones, and remains a frustration for many would-be users to this day. Recent rumors suggest it that Apple is seeking to address fitment issues with the second generation AirPods by including a gripper exterior to help keep them in place.

Some people will prefer Samsung’s approach of using noise-isolating earbud tips, which help to keep sound from leaking out, while keeping outside sounds at bay. Personally speaking, I’m not a big fan of noise isolating tips, as they provide an undesirable ear sensation that stems from being cut off from outside sounds.

I don’t like being totally shut off from outside sound while I’m out running, walking through an airport, etc. It’s one of the reasons that I prefer Apple’s approach with the AirPods, even though it may result in a slightly inferior fit for some users.

Samsung allows you to mitigate the sound isolation through the use of ambient technology, which allows you to pipe in and amplify ambient sounds directly into your ears. It’s a nice feature to have, but it’s not a replacement for an open ear design, and results in reduced sound quality.

Range

For both the Galaxy Buds and the Apple AirPods, wireless range isn’t what I’d consider a strong point. Both sets of earbuds can travel a fair distance from a paired device, but I find that neither works well when more than a few dozen feet away.

The Galaxy Buds, in particular, suffered from wireless dropouts in certain places around my house, even when close by the paired Galaxy S10 Plus. The AirPods were usually able retain a strong signal, although these too began to drop out when straying too far away from my paired iPhone.

Sound quality

Sound quality is inherently more subjective than anything else I’ll discuss in the post, but I think the Galaxy Buds sound okay. Neither the AirPods or Samsung’s wireless earbuds are going to make your jaw drop when it comes to sound quality, but both wireless buds do a decent enough job.

That said, when comparing both sets of earbuds back to back, I think that the AirPods sound noticeably better. The AirPods sound more refined on the low-end, and this was immediately noticeable to me, as I like to listen to instrumentals with no shortage of bass while working.

Although the AirPods aren’t audiophile grade gear, they are more acoustically refined than the Galaxy Buds. A quick listen to the Eagle’s Hotel California was all I needed to see that the AirPods were the better choice for instrument separation for highs and mids. My ears were able to pick up subtle sounds that I wasn’t able to pick up as easily with the Galaxy Buds.

Call quality

For me, this is one of the areas where the AirPods stand head and shoulders above the Galaxy Buds. Call quality on Samsung’s earbuds is merely passable, while most people can’t tell I’m even talking to them using my AirPods.

When asked specifically about call quality with the Galaxy Buds, one caller noted that it sounded like I was conversing from inside of a bag. In other words, the call quality came across muted and muffled.

This is disappointing, but it’s not all that surprising considering the design of the Galaxy Buds versus the design of Apple’s AirPods.

Today, AirPods are ubiquitous, and no one even bats an eye when I wear them. But upon launch, they caught a lot of flack for their design, which admittedly looked odd, as if someone cut off the wire from a pair of earbuds and left the stem behind. The reason for such a design had much to do with call quality.

Apple uses a voice accelerometer and dual beamforming microphones to help filter out background noise for phone calls, or when conversing with Siri. The technology makes a noticeable difference when talking on the phone in both noisy and quiet environments.

Functionality and customization

When you remove a single AirPod from your ear, music playback stops. This is handy when someone wants to talk to you, or when you need to listen to the environment around you. Once you place the AirPod back inside your ear, music playback resumes right from where it stopped.

When you do the same thing with the Galaxy Buds, music playback continues. It’s only when you remove both earbuds that music playback stops. When you place the buds back in your ears, music playback doesn’t automatically resume.

What I just described here illustrates another reason why I prefer the AirPods over the Galaxy Buds. Being able to quickly stop and resume music playback automatically is one of my favorite features.

Configuring AirPods within Settings → Bluetooth on iOS

Samsung’s app allows users to set up per-app notifications that route to the earbuds, customize Touchpad controls, change Ambient sound settings, use Find My Earbuds to quickly find a misplaced bud around the house, and adjust the EQ.

The Galaxy Buds Touchpad controls let you play/pause with a single tap, skip or go back with a double or triple tap, and more. As far as customization is concerned, the Galaxy Wearable app lets users change the tap and hold properties of each bud. You can tap and hold to adjust volume, invoke Google Assistant/Bixby, or enable Quick Ambient Mode.

9to5Mac’s Take

The Galaxy Buds are a solid offering from Samsung. They feature a better overall fit than Apple’s AirPods, and come with handy features like wireless charging. The Galaxy Buds are available in multiple color options, and are $30 cheaper than Apple’s AirPods.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

But the Galaxy Buds are lacking in a few key areas when compared to the AirPods. Samsung’s earbuds feature less overall battery life when taking into account a pair of fully charged buds and corresponding charging case. Much of this battery discrepancy is owed to the custom-designed W1 chip, which provides wireless connection efficiency that Samsung’s buds aren’t able to match.

Another big difference between the Galaxy Buds and the AirPods has to do with call quality. Apple specifically designed the AirPods in such a way to garner better call quality thanks to its microphone configuration and voice accelerometer.

Although sound quality is largely subjective, I think most people will agree that a pair of AirPods sound better than the Galaxy Buds. Especially is this noticeable in the mid to high range frequencies, where Samsung’s offering doesn’t sound as crisp and clear. I’m also not a fan of the lows, and the sound isolation that stems from the silicone earbud tips, but again, preferences will vary from person to person.

Lastly, there’s OS integration. Apple’s AirPods prove to be superior when it comes to OS integration, although Samsung has made strides to replicate Apple’s easy set up.

If you’re a Galaxy S10 owner, then the Samsung Galaxy Buds are a good choice, but make no mistake, they aren’t on the same level as the AirPods just yet. What do you think?

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How To Reset Your Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are excellent all-around earphones that cost less than the competition. Although there’s much to love about Samsung’s earbuds, things can still go awry. When that happens, you’ll need to perform a soft restart or a hard reset. Let’s walk through how to reset your Galaxy Buds.

How to factory reset your Samsung Galaxy Buds

To reset your Samsung Galaxy Buds, you’ll need the Galaxy Wearable app for Android or Galaxy Buds app for iOS. The latter only works with the first three Galaxy Buds models (Galaxy Buds, Buds Plus, and Buds Live), while the former works with all Galaxy Buds. Once you download the correct app, follow these steps:

Place the Samsung Galaxy Buds in the case.

With the lid open, place the case near your phone.

Open the Galaxy Wearable app or Galaxy Buds app on your device.

Confirm that you want to reset your earbuds and wait for the process to finish.

Your Galaxy Buds aren’t connecting to your device anymore.

Your experience connection hiccups with your Galaxy Buds.

The Galaxy Buds aren’t charging properly.

You noticed a change in sound quality.

The noise canceling is less effective.

Place the Galaxy Buds in the case and close the lid.

Wait 7 seconds before removing the earbuds from the case.

Once the earbuds have restarted, they will reconnect to the last-used device.

We recommend trying a soft restart before a hard reset. If a restart works with your Galaxy Buds, you won’t need to go through the rigamarole of setting them up with your phone.

How to reset your Samsung Galaxy Buds without a phone

Unfortunately, the only way to factory reset your Galaxy Buds is with the Galaxy Wearable app from the Play Store or the Galaxy Buds app from the App Store. That said, there are some workarounds for when you need to access the Wearable app but can’t.

You can manually restart the buds with just the hardware, but you’ll need to use one of Samsung’s apps for a factory reset.

This is a niche use case, but if you purchased the Galaxy Buds 2 when you owned an Android phone and have since started using an iPhone, you won’t be able to reset the Buds from your device. In that case, we recommend borrowing a friend’s Android phone to pair the earbuds, download the Galaxy Wearable app, and factory reset the buds.

Keep reading to learn how to connect your Samsung Galaxy Buds to another phone.

How to pair your Samsung Galaxy Buds to another phone

Place the earbuds in the case, and shut the lid. Wait 4-5 seconds.

Open the lid.

Press and hold both earbuds’ touch panels for 4-5 seconds. The case’s LED alternates between red and green.

Select the Samsung Galaxy Buds from your phone’s Bluetooth menu.

The batteries deplete at different rates, so one earbud may run out of juice before the other. If you know both earbuds are charged, it could be a software issue. In this case, you’ll have to reset the earbuds.

You may not be able to reset your Galaxy Buds if they’re not compatible with your phone’s app. For instance, the iOS Galaxy Buds app only works with the Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Buds Plus, and Galaxy Buds Live. You won’t be able to reset newer Galaxy Buds with an iPhone. The Android app (Galaxy Wearable) works with all Galaxy Buds models.

Samsung Galaxy S Iii: 15 Power User Tips

It’s no secret that the Samsung Galaxy S III is the must-have phone this summer. After all, this high-end Android phone has won over reviewers and consumers alike, selling more than 10 million units in less than two months on the market. PCWorld gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Much of the hype surrounding the Galaxy S III is well deserved?the phone comes packed with cool features, including its voice controls, gesture controls, and multimedia-sharing tools.

Calls made easier

The Samsung Galaxy S III supports smart gestures.

Dialing phone numbers or even tapping a contact’s name to place a call? That’s so 2011. The Galaxy S III’s motion controls allow you to place a call simply by moving your phone to your ear when you’re viewing a contact or a text message.

The phone’s voice controls also allow you to answer and reject calls by voice. And if you really feel the need to touch the screen, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy S III speeds up this process, too: When you’re viewing a contact, you swipe left to send a text and swipe right to initiate a call.

If you’re not a Galaxy S III user, but you’re still hankering to try out motion controls, you’re not out of luck: Super Missed Call is a free (ad-supported) Android app that lets you place and reject calls by moving your phone.

Steady that snapshot

Apple has made a big deal about the Siri voice-control features included in the iPhone 4S.

Anyone who’s captured an off-kilter shot caused by tapping and accidentally moving a touchscreen will appreciate this voice control as a way to steady a shot, and it can be used to snap self-portraits, too.

Anxious to try voice controls on your Android device’s camera? Download Voice Remote Control Camera from Google Play.

Know who’s calling, silently

Customized ringtones make it easy to know who’s calling without a glance at your phone, but they work only when you’re able to keep your phone’s ringer on.

Looking to get this capability on your own Android phone? Head to Google Play and download Contact Vibrate or ViBe.

Wake up in style

Let’s face it: We all have to get out of bed sometime. And what better way to face your day than to be prepared for all it has to offer.

Using the “Briefing” setting on your Galaxy S III’s alarm clock, you can have your phone wake you by reading the time, weather and weather forecast, news headlines, and any appointments you may have lined up. To turn this feature on, go to alarm type in the settings menu and change it to briefing.

Not a Galaxy S III owner? Download WakeVoice ($2.99) from Google Play to get some of these features on your Android phone.

Hear your calls, crystal clear

No cell phone is going to offer perfect sound quality, but you can improve the Galaxy S III’s call quality by customizing it to your needs.

Get the whole picture

Don’t miss out on those big, scenic shots: Capture the entire thing using the Galaxy S III’s panoramic mode.

The Galaxy S III’s panoramic mode.

When you’re in the camera, just switch your shooting mode to panorama,and you can pan across some gorgeous scenery as the Galaxy S III goes to work, snapping the photos you need and stitching them together to make a panoramic image.

Want to get this functionality on your Android phone? Try out Photaf Panorama (free) or Pano ($3.06), both available in Google Play.

Next: Video, web browsing, location, volume tips and more.

Here’s How Beats Studio Buds Compare Against Airpods And Airpods Pro

The newest Beats in-ear headphones have officially arrived and they come with a compelling set of features priced $100 below AirPods Pro. But even though they come with active noise cancellation, transparency mode, Hey Siri support, and more, there are some tradeoffs. Let’s look at the Beats Studio Buds vs. AirPods and AirPods Pro to see how they all stack up.

Update 6/25: Beats Studio Buds are arriving to early customers and are in stock at many Apple Stores. Shipping times for new orders are 3-4 days at the time of writing.

Below we’ve got a side-by-side comparison of Apple’s most popular fully wireless earbuds – AirPods/Pro – and the new Beats Studio Buds when it comes to design, battery life, features, and sound quality. And for more details, be sure to check out our full review:

Beats Studio Buds vs. AirPods and AirPods Pro Design

The first thing many will notice is the stemless, compact design of the Beats Studio Buds. You’re also getting an in-ear fit with three ear tip sizes included like AirPods Pro.

One benefit over AirPods/AirPods Pro is the option to go for black or red with the new Beats instead of being limited to white. However, you’re not getting a wireless charging case and will have to power that up with the included USB-C cable.

Beats Studio BudsAirPods ProAirPodsFully wireless✅✅✅In-ear fit with 3 tip sizes✅✅❌“Universal fit”❌❌✅ColorsWhite, black, redWhiteWhiteWireless charging case❌✅Optional

Battery life

Another leg up on AirPods is Beats Studio Buds featuring eight hours of battery life without active noise cancellation or transparency mode. If using either of those features, you still get a solid five hours. With the Beats Studio Buds charging case you get up to 24 hours of total playback, and you get the same fast charging as AirPods.

Beats Studio BudsAirPods ProAirPodsBudsUp to 8 hoursUp to 5 hoursUp to 5 hoursCharging case16 hours19+ hours19+ hoursTotal with case24 hours24+ hours24+ hours15 min. charge =3 hours of playback3 hours of playback3 hours of playback

Features

Instead of using Apple’s W1 or H1 chip, the Beats Studio Buds use a custom chip that brings many of AirPods’ features but does skip a couple.

Specifically, you’re not getting auto device switching (between iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.) and the new Beats also skip the ear-detection and auto-pause/play functionality. You do get Spatial Audio support, but not with head tracking like AirPods Pro.

Beats Studio BudsAirPods ProAirPodsEar-detection, auto-pause/play❌✅✅Sweat and water-resistant✅✅✅Track with Find My✅✅✅Active noise cancellation (ANC)✅✅❌Transparency mode✅✅❌Spatial Audio✅ without head tracking✅ with head tracking✅ without head trackingInstant one-touch pairing✅✅✅Auto device switching❌✅✅“Hey Siri” support✅✅✅Bluetooth 5.0✅✅✅

Price

While Beats Studio Buds share many of the AirPods Pro features, they undercut them in price. While they’re $100 less when looking at the MSRP, it’s good to keep in mind that AirPods and AirPods Pro often sell for less than the suggested price.

Beats Studio BudsAirPods ProAirPodsMSRP$149$249$159 and $199

Sound quality and performance

After reviewing the Beats Studio Buds, my colleague Chance found the sound quality “quite nice” but a bit less rich compared to AirPods Pro or Powerbeats Pro.

Beats Studio Buds vs. AirPods wrap-up

If you like the stemless design, the option for black and red, and an in-ear fit with ANC, the Beats Studio Buds are a great way to get most of the AirPods/AirPods Pro features at a reasonable price. But that’s as long as you don’t mind missing out on a wireless charging case, auto device switching, and ear-detection/auto-pause and play.

Beats Studio Buds are available direct from Apple (in stock at various Apple Stores) as well as Amazon (currently out of stock).

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First Impressions: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

We’ve heard a lot of chatter about the coming army of Android tablets, but we haven’t seen any real contenders posing a challenge to Apple’s dominant iPad–until now. Samsung first unveiled the Galaxy Tab at the IFA show in Berlin earlier this month; now, the company has formally introduced the Tab to the U.S. market for all four major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon). And judging from my initial hands-on with a preproduction Samsung Galaxy Tab, this tablet has the chops to compete with the iPad.

In their respective announcements, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon each discuss a few of the customizations they’ll make for their customers, but details are sparse. AT&T mentions that the AT&T Connection Manager will automatically connect to AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots. Sprint says the Galaxy Tab will have mobile hotspot capability for up to five Wi-Fi devices. Verizon’s release also mentions mobile hotspot support, and the company is the only one to talk about the tablet’s exclusive software tie-ins with its service: You’ll find V Cast Music with Rhapsody, V Cast Video on Demand, V Cast Song ID, VZ Navigator, and the games Let’s Golf and N.O.V.A. all preinstalled on the Verizon version of the Tab.

The first thing that jumps out about the Galaxy Tab is its manageable size. Not surprisingly, the front face is all screen, with four capacitive touch-sensitive buttons running along the bottom (or the left side, if you hold the device in landscape orientation). With a 7-inch display and a weight of 0.8 pound, the Galaxy Tab is small enough to fit into some tight spaces (such as a roomy pocket), light enough to hold with one hand, and large enough to provide satisfying viewing. I found the Galaxy Tab comfy to hold in one hand, unlike the Apple iPad, which at 1.5 pounds is just too heavy to grasp with a single hand for any length of time.

The dimensions and weight allow you to hold the Tab and type on it with your thumbs at the same time, using two hands or even one hand. Users with smaller hands will have to stretch to type one-handed; for larger hands, the arrangement is no problem. The keyboard seemed decent overall, though I didn’t pound on it enough to pass final judgment on its usability.

Clearly influenced by Samsung’s Galaxy S line of phones, the Galaxy Tab appears notably more stylish and less clunky than some of the early, off-brand Android tablets we’ve seen pop up across the Web. It does stand at a half-inch thick, the same as Apple’s iPad; admittedly, though, in this comparison the latter benefits from rounding conventions, as the iPad measures 13.4mm to the Tab’s 13mm.

Impressive Specs

The wide, Super VGA, 1024-by-600-pixel TFT display appeared bright and viewable at an angle, but I did not get a chance to test the display in bright sunlight. Samsung claims that its display has a better viewing angle and contrast ratio than the higher-resolution iPad screen; however, I did not test the two side-by-side.

The device has very little else on it physically, aside from volume-up and -down controls and a power button. It has a proprietary charger port; like the iPad, the Tab requires more juice than is available solely over USB. If you plug the Tab into a computer’s USB port, you’ll get a trickle charge, but not a full charge as you would with a phone. The 4000-mAh battery provides 7 hours of video, according to Samsung.

All About the Software

Like the Galaxy S phones, the Tab has Swype for faster typing; Samsung’s Social Hub for aggregating your messages across e-mail, text, and social networks; and Media Hub installed for accessing television shows and movies for download and rental.

Adding fuel to the debate over what exactly defines an e-reader, the Tab comes with three e-reader apps preinstalled: PressDisplay for news, Kobo for e-books, and Zinio for magazines. Of course, you can download any Android e-reader app for use with the Tab, as well; the only question is whether the app you choose has been designed in a way that works with tablets.

The Tab carries the Google-certified logo, and has the Google Android Market on-board. Samsung says the 80,000-plus apps in the Android Market will work on the device, although only a small number of those are actually optimized for the Tab’s roomy screen size and resolution. Apps that aren’t optimized, according to Samsung, will appear centered in the screen at 800 by 400 resolution, which may help explain why I had the initial impression that unscaled apps looked better here on the Tab than unscaled apps on the iPad do.

With the introduction of the Media Hub movie and TV service, Samsung offers a one-two-punch that squarely positions its Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets as mobile entertainment centers. (Even though the company has just one tablet today, it’s not a stretch to imagine future products in the line, at different screen sizes.) The Galaxy Tab looks and feels very promising; we look forward to seeing the actual shipping products that each carrier offers, as well as their prices. Cost, in particular, will help determine whether the Galaxy Tab family sinks or swims.

Samsung Syncmaster Sa550 Full Review And Final Impressions

To start off I would like to address a question that I’ve been asked countless times.  “Does the monitor get that nasty yellow tint?” As I’ve mentioned in my first impressions, I have had no problems with any yellow tinting. My brother’s iMac has a slight yellow tint problem so no worries guys (and girls ;D ) I know what I’m talking about here.  If I open a blank word document and maximize it, it looks white as snow. (Without that yellow stuff you find time to time!)

Samsung SyncMaster SA550 With brightness max

The monitor has a refresh rate of 2ms and to this day I have not noticed once any ghosting problems.  But I have noticed some pixilation lag which I mentioned below in the Macbook Section; it’s more likely to be a graphics card issue rather than a monitor one though.

The LED backlit display has a crisp resolution of 1920×1080 and it is simply a pleasure to work on. ( As cliché as that sounds!) In my first impressions I said that the colors aren’t as vibrant than glossy monitors, while that may be true, I’ve noticed I’ve been watching more movies on this monitor than my glossy Macbook Pro’s. Not just because of size but I have noticed that after a long period of watching movies or shows on any glossy monitor my eyes start to hurt a bit. (My friends HP monitor) But with the Samsung, while it isn’t the most vibrant, it is a great companion monitor to watch movies on.  And I do watch plenty of movies! And whether I’m watching DVDs or simply watching youtube videos the Samsung SA550 gets the job done right.

When it comes to doing work such as photo/video editing this monitor is A-MA-ZING.  I can’t go back to editing on my Macbook Pro’s glossy monitor after using the Samsung for so long– again not because of size—but rather the colors aren’t as accurate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Mac guy and I love the Macbook Pro but when it comes to work the Samsung attached to it just blows it out the water.  At first glance, there isn’t much about the Samsung that separates it from your typical glossy.  However, I do a lot of photo editing and I’ve edited the same picture on the Samsung, the Macbook Pro, and the iMac. Once I’ve actually printed out the photo, I can easily say that the Samsung had the much more accurate colors; hence my opinion that the Samsung was the best to edit photos on.

NOTE: I am using an HDMI cable with this monitor which is NOT included in the box. Definitely get an HDMI cable if you’re planning to get this monitor for the best results.

I understand that looks don’t change but I had to bring it up again. As with a lot of new products that you buy the first impressions are always, “This machine looks incredible”. However about a few weeks later the looks seem to lose its lust. And I usually fall victim to this of course. However when it comes to this monitor I must say that it has not lost its appeal. It just sits nice and sleek next to my Macbook Pro and I CONSTANTLY get reminded by friends and family of how “Pro” it looks.

Setting up the monitor is a breeze. It has a few pieces that pop together in place. (Pieces are pretty much self-explanatory) The entire feeling hallow argument that I stated in my first impressions actually no longer bother me at all. I go to electronic stores often and I can say that as of 2011 a lot, if not all Samsung monitors, have the same hallowed feel to it.

Keep in mind that the actual display is plastic. (Including the what looks like a glass border around the display)

I stated in my first impressions that I didn’t like how the touch sensitive buttons felt unresponsive. I’ve tried tampering with it daily JUST to see if my opinions on it would change: it hasn’t.  I really never need to use them but for the sake of having my final impressions of it I had to give it some time.  I like physical buttons like my friends HP monitor. It feel faster to navigate through menus on my friends HP monitor with the physical buttons. On my Samsung I feel as if I have to be gentle with it to get the touch sensitive buttons to register. While not a huge deal it does slow you down. And of course I’m sure a lot of us won’t be changing the monitors’ settings hourly so it wouldn’t be a big deal regardless.

I think this monitor is a great deal. While it is a tad bit pricey at about 250 dollars, you do get what you pay for.  I know you can find many monitors online for a great bargain but don’t stump this monitor out yet. It’s hard to explain but you won’t notice how nice this monitor really is until you’ve used it for a long period of time and then try out another.  You not only appreciate it more but you also  really get the sense just how nice and accurate colors are. Thumbs up to Samsung!

Note: When using it in mirrored mode I did notice the resolution didn’t fit the Samsung’s monitor well.  So I had to use it in clamshell mode. Simply close your Macbook and use a mouse or keyboard to wake the machine up. (While the lid is still closed) And there you have it; the Macbook Pro on your Samsung SA550 with the monitors crisp maxed out resolution.

For those curious about the actual performance of this monitor being attached to the baseline 2011 Macbook Pro 13” look no further.  A lot of people have asked me whether the Intel HD 3000 was capable enough to run an external monitor smoothly. And my answer?  It works PERFECETLY fine when doing your basic task.  No lag, no ghosting, nothing.  However, I have noticed when I am doing work in Adobe Illustrator the Samsung Monitor pixelates. When I hover over the dock, a simple task such as adding a watermark to our TechShift pictures will cause the monitor to pixelate for a moment, which gets pretty annoying quickly.  (ONLY THE DOCK GETS PIXELATED) And yes, without the monitor there is no lag or pixilation with any of my software.

If you’re not on a tight budget then this monitor is definitely worth considering.  There isn’t too much to complain about. It is able to connect to a computer or laptop just fine. It’s built, while it’s not the best,  isn’t too far behind from what other monitors have to offer. I have enjoyed watching movies and videos on this monitor but I’ve even more so enjoyed more editing on it. And, while the touch sensitive buttons aren’t my ideal, at the end of the day I must consider that this product is a monitor and it does exactly what it needs to do without any compromise to the actual display. So if you’re in the market, check out the Samsung SyncMaster SA550. The TechShift team and I definitely recommend it.

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