and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

First Galaxy S9 Reviews Find A Careful Balance

It’s not quite a home run for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in the first reviews. Although the new hardware and features are noted by all, the S9 family is very much a series of small steps forward. They all add up to a better product, but not one step is an obvious great leap forward. Dan Seifert sums it up nicely for The Verge. It has all the positives and negatives that you expect from Samsung:

There comes a point in most successful products’ existences where they become predictable. The new model, building off of the triumphs of its prior version, maintains the same look and feel while introducing more subtle enhancements. Apple’s used this tack with the iPhone and iPad for multiple generations, and Microsoft has done the same with the Surface Pro in recent years. Don’t rock the boat; don’t fix what isn’t broken.

And so, if you’ve seen last year’s Galaxy S8 from Samsung, you’ve seen this year’s Galaxy S9. Content with the design and appearance of the S8, Samsung focused its efforts on small, mostly unseen changes that result in a better overall experience, but not a dramatically different one. Of course, Samsung being Samsung, there are a bunch of new gimmicky features crammed into it so there’s something to show on commercials.

Read his full review at The Verge, and more reviews via Techeme.

A congress attendant with the new Samsung Galaxy S9 at Samsung pavilion, during the Mobile World Congress day 4, on March 1, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Should Samsung Worry Over Galaxy S9 Pre Orders?

How successful will the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus be in the retail market? The first indications from the pre-order period suggest a level on par as the S8, perhaps a bit less, reports Peter at GSM Arena:

“We believe that the pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 are similar to that of the Galaxy S8,” an official from Samsung Electronics said. The official claims that last year the S8 had a longer time between announcement and pre-orders to build up hype.

However, officials from carriers have a different estimate on the sales: similar or slightly lower. “Customers may be finding the Galaxy S9 not much different from other smartphones. The popularity and customers’ interest are not as high compared to the previous model,” an insider from a local mobile carrier said.

More at GSM Arena.

Camera Shootout: Galaxy S9 v iPhone X

One of the areas that Samsung was keen to emphasise at the launch of the S9 was the ability of the camera. While the super-slowmo mode has been getting a lot of press, Paul Monckton has taken a more detailed look at the camera and how it performs next to its closest rival, the iPhone X, through the latest DxOMark scores:

With an overall score of 99, the Galaxy S9 Plus has edged former champ, Google’s Pixel 2 XL, into second place by a single point. However, when compared to the Pixel 2, the S9 Plus isn’t simply ‘better by one’.
That overall DxOMark score, useful as it is, is a rather blunt instrument for determining the best camera for your needs. The headline score is calculated from separate photo and video tests, each of which is broken down further into subtests aimed at specific types of performance.

It’s possible, therefore, for a high final result to mask significant inconsistencies and weaknesses, as a superb result in one subtest can make up for less-than-stellar performance in another.

More here on Forbes. Of course camera fans will be disappointed with the Galaxy S9 for another reason – the front facing camera has not received any updates at all, it’s the same as the S8.

I’m unsure why Samsung would do this. Love or hate selfies, there’s no denying their popularity and going with a mediocre performer from 2018 that’s already in “most recent Samsung devices” for its 2019 flagship phone is bizarre. This may even be a dealbreaker for some. It’s a good thing DxOMark doesn’t test front-facing cameras or the new Galaxies would’ve scored considerably lower on its controversial benchmarks.

More on this nasty surprise from Gordon Kelly.

Ewan Spence

Nokia 8 Sirocco (photo: Ewan Spence)

HMD Global Improves Nokia 8 Sirocco Camera

Staying with the lure of the camera, HMD Global’s latest batch of handsets were announced at MWC, including the flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco. I’ve been comparing the new handset’s camera to that on last year’s Nokia 8 and I highlighted three key features earlier this week, starting with the dual lens:

The Nokia 8 Sirocco changes the dual-lens combination to something a little more traditional. The first (main) lens is a 12 megapixel sensor with a f/1.75 aperture lens and equipped with OIS. The second rear lens is also 12 megapixels but with an f/2.6 aperture. This combination offers 2x optical zoom, and that makes a big difference to certain types of shot. The Sirocco also copes much better with low-light conditions.

More on the Nokia 8 Sirocco camera here on Forbes. It’s also worth noting that the Nokia 8 Sirocco, as well as the Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6 (2018) have joined the Android Enterprise Recommended program:

All three of these new phones were just announced at MWC 2018, and their addition to Android Enterprise Recommended really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

One of the biggest requirements for the program is that OEMs need to push out security patches within 90 days of their initial release, and that should be a piece of cake considering that all of Nokia’s phones going forward are also part of Google’s Android One initiative.

While this move doesn’t mean much for regular consumers, it’s yet another sign of how dedicated HMD Global is to making the Nokia brand one of the go-to’s in the Android space for secure software, fast updates, and a clean user experience.

More on that at Android Central.

“>

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the first reviews of the Galaxy S9, worrying pre-orders for Samsung’s flagship, S9 vs iPhone X, Nokia 8 Sirocco camera review, the notch appears in Android, Huawei’s three-lens camera, Android P arrives, and new inboxes for Gmail.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

First Galaxy S9 Reviews Find A Careful Balance

It’s not quite a home run for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in the first reviews. Although the new hardware and features are noted by all, the S9 family is very much a series of small steps forward. They all add up to a better product, but not one step is an obvious great leap forward. Dan Seifert sums it up nicely for The Verge. It has all the positives and negatives that you expect from Samsung:

There comes a point in most successful products’ existences where they become predictable. The new model, building off of the triumphs of its prior version, maintains the same look and feel while introducing more subtle enhancements. Apple’s used this tack with the iPhone and iPad for multiple generations, and Microsoft has done the same with the Surface Pro in recent years. Don’t rock the boat; don’t fix what isn’t broken.

And so, if you’ve seen last year’s Galaxy S8 from Samsung, you’ve seen this year’s Galaxy S9. Content with the design and appearance of the S8, Samsung focused its efforts on small, mostly unseen changes that result in a better overall experience, but not a dramatically different one. Of course, Samsung being Samsung, there are a bunch of new gimmicky features crammed into it so there’s something to show on commercials.

Read his full review at The Verge, and more reviews via Techeme.

A congress attendant with the new Samsung Galaxy S9 at Samsung pavilion, during the Mobile World Congress day 4, on March 1, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Should Samsung Worry Over Galaxy S9 Pre Orders?

How successful will the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus be in the retail market? The first indications from the pre-order period suggest a level on par as the S8, perhaps a bit less, reports Peter at GSM Arena:

“We believe that the pre-orders for the Galaxy S9 are similar to that of the Galaxy S8,” an official from Samsung Electronics said. The official claims that last year the S8 had a longer time between announcement and pre-orders to build up hype.

However, officials from carriers have a different estimate on the sales: similar or slightly lower. “Customers may be finding the Galaxy S9 not much different from other smartphones. The popularity and customers’ interest are not as high compared to the previous model,” an insider from a local mobile carrier said.

More at GSM Arena.

Camera Shootout: Galaxy S9 v iPhone X

One of the areas that Samsung was keen to emphasise at the launch of the S9 was the ability of the camera. While the super-slowmo mode has been getting a lot of press, Paul Monckton has taken a more detailed look at the camera and how it performs next to its closest rival, the iPhone X, through the latest DxOMark scores:

With an overall score of 99, the Galaxy S9 Plus has edged former champ, Google’s Pixel 2 XL, into second place by a single point. However, when compared to the Pixel 2, the S9 Plus isn’t simply ‘better by one’.
That overall DxOMark score, useful as it is, is a rather blunt instrument for determining the best camera for your needs. The headline score is calculated from separate photo and video tests, each of which is broken down further into subtests aimed at specific types of performance.

It’s possible, therefore, for a high final result to mask significant inconsistencies and weaknesses, as a superb result in one subtest can make up for less-than-stellar performance in another.

More here on Forbes. Of course camera fans will be disappointed with the Galaxy S9 for another reason – the front facing camera has not received any updates at all, it’s the same as the S8.

I’m unsure why Samsung would do this. Love or hate selfies, there’s no denying their popularity and going with a mediocre performer from 2018 that’s already in “most recent Samsung devices” for its 2019 flagship phone is bizarre. This may even be a dealbreaker for some. It’s a good thing DxOMark doesn’t test front-facing cameras or the new Galaxies would’ve scored considerably lower on its controversial benchmarks.

More on this nasty surprise from Gordon Kelly.

Ewan Spence

Nokia 8 Sirocco (photo: Ewan Spence)

HMD Global Improves Nokia 8 Sirocco Camera

Staying with the lure of the camera, HMD Global’s latest batch of handsets were announced at MWC, including the flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco. I’ve been comparing the new handset’s camera to that on last year’s Nokia 8 and I highlighted three key features earlier this week, starting with the dual lens:

The Nokia 8 Sirocco changes the dual-lens combination to something a little more traditional. The first (main) lens is a 12 megapixel sensor with a f/1.75 aperture lens and equipped with OIS. The second rear lens is also 12 megapixels but with an f/2.6 aperture. This combination offers 2x optical zoom, and that makes a big difference to certain types of shot. The Sirocco also copes much better with low-light conditions.

More on the Nokia 8 Sirocco camera here on Forbes. It’s also worth noting that the Nokia 8 Sirocco, as well as the Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 6 (2018) have joined the Android Enterprise Recommended program:

All three of these new phones were just announced at MWC 2018, and their addition to Android Enterprise Recommended really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

One of the biggest requirements for the program is that OEMs need to push out security patches within 90 days of their initial release, and that should be a piece of cake considering that all of Nokia’s phones going forward are also part of Google’s Android One initiative.

While this move doesn’t mean much for regular consumers, it’s yet another sign of how dedicated HMD Global is to making the Nokia brand one of the go-to’s in the Android space for secure software, fast updates, and a clean user experience.

More on that at Android Central.

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