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A Few Thoughts on the Galaxy NX and Galaxy S4 Mini

galaxy s4 mini

Yesterday morning, Samsung unveiled a bevy of products at a Premiere event in London, some of which were brand new, others that were previously announced just unseen publicly. We got to see new tablets, phones and even a new mirrorless-Android-powered camera. I wouldn’t blame you if you were unable to list all of them. I was, however, able to play with a few of the new devices and see if Samsung has delivered any innovATIV products. Here are some quick thoughts on the Galaxy NX and the Galaxy S4 Mini.

Galaxy NX

The first product to grab my eye was the Galaxy NX, the world’s first Android-powered camera with interchangeable lenses. Think of it like a mirror-less DLSR, but with a 4.8-inch screen and powered by Android with LTE support. My first question, and probably yours too, was does it have Touchwiz? It does, unfortunately. Those mammoth quick toggles are present in the pulldown and take up half a screen’s worth of real estate. That’s not my only gripe with Touchwiz, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Samsung Galaxy NX

The camera takes some great pictures surprisingly. It doesn’t compare to a top-of-the-line Nikon/Canon, but the pictures are hands-down better than anything you’ll take on a smartphone. I used to think that the Galaxy Camera was the perfect combination of Android functionality and optical zoom action, but this device is the new champion. The screen is HUGE and takes up the entire backside of the device. On a typical camera, you have physical input buttons to change up the settings, such as shutter speed or ISO. All those settings are placed into Samsung’s camera app, and you use the touchscreen to switch them via some on-screen dials (much like you do on the Galaxy Camera). While outside of the camera app, you can also twist a knob (on the lens) that will allow you to immediately jump to some of the camera features.

It’s at this point that Touchwiz rears its ugly head. There is significant lag while switching between the various UI elements. It’s not hard to imagine that they want semi-serious photographers to use this device, but those same individuals don’t have the time to waste on a photo shoot, waiting for the camera to respond to their gestures. The same lag appears when you swipe away from the camera and back to Android home. Outside of the camera app, the device functions as a normal Android device with full access to your normal apps, since the device has the Google Play store. Again, lots of hiccups when scrolling or swiping. We were told that the software is currently not finalized, so maybe we’ll see that lag disappear. As an owner of an S4, I’m not holding my breath for that.

As the NX approaches a retail launch, we’ll hopefully have a chance to spend additional time with it, along with retail-ready software.

galaxy s4 mini

Galaxy S4 Mini

It’s certainly something, when a 4.3-inch phone earns the moniker “Mini.” The Galaxy S4 Mini comes packing with 1.7GHz dual-core processor and a qHD AMOLED display. Despite being smaller than the S4, the device actually felt heavier to me. The build quality looks to be the same as its bigger sibling, with the same metal band and plastic battery cover. The screen is not as gorgeous as the S4, but that should be expected. Surprisingly, in my limited usage, the phone was quite snappy and did not display the lag that you come to expect with Touchwiz. The phone is running 4.2.2, but I was unable to see anything else because the rep quickly told me I was not allowed to be looking at that section of the phone and pushed the home button on me. If you have smaller hands or a dislike for larger screens, you certainly won’t go wrong with this phone.

Overall

I have to say that I was really impressed with the Galaxy NX, even with the present lag issues. In my opinion, it’s a great marriage of an interchangeable-lens camera that can take great photos and then use Android to automatically upload them to Flickr or social networks. Don’t forget, you can do all of this while utilizing a 4G network. I’m looking forward to seeing how this product moves forward. You’ve got a winner here, Samsung.

Despite all the devices they had available, I had really been hoping to play with the ATIV Q, which is Samsung’s Windows-powered tablet that also runs full-blown Android. The single button instant-switch OS feature just looks amazing. Unfortunately, that device was not available. I’m really excited about the idea of multi-tasking between Windows and Android, let alone having that awesome form-factor. Even though the ATIV Q is technically a Windows product, we’ll do our best to try and get ahold of one for a review.

Keep in mind that most of the products we saw today were either not announced for U.S. markets or were not available to be viewed at the event we attended. We’ll most certainly have more as these devices inch closer to retail launchers.

In the mean time, be sure to check out our massive gallery of all of the products we were able to get our hands on.

  • Froosh Freak

    Pretty sure that the NX was contracted by Verizon as a tool to annihilate your data plan. Can you imagine what your overage charge will be when your wife uploads 10TB worth of photos of your 1 year old eating spaghetti for the first time to Facebook? The humanity!!

  • Aquent White

    Forget about the devices! Where can I get that sweeet wallpaper???

    • http://www.kovdev.com/ kover

      The Android puking the rainbow? Available on my G+ or in Stark’s next update.

      • Aquent White

        Sweet, thanks! Keep them coming, can’t wait to see the rest!

  • Blue Sun

    Your commentary of the Touchwiz (on the NX) is the only thing that concerns me regarding my consideration of the Galaxy Note III.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I”m pretty sure the NX is geared toward the press.

  • RR

    What is the set up you have running on the GS4? The Stark icons look great, how did you get that grid arrangement? I’ve been messing around with my Nova settings for a while and can’t seem to get a clean look like that

    • http://www.kovdev.com/ kover

      Nova desktop grid, increased to like 7×6. Bump icon size to 130% and you’ll get a close grid like you see.

  • randy

    Samsung is in trouble. They are throwing everything against the wall hoping something sticks. S4 reviews were mixed to say the least. They had to cut part orders for the s4 after sales have dropped off a cliff. They lost about 15% of their stock value in the past couple weeks. They need to focus on making great products and not a different device for every conceivable need.

    • Cory_S

      That’s what Samsung has always done. They aren’t in trouble, they just have a different, arguably inefficient and wasteful, strategy.

  • sc0rch3d

    just had a flash meme image in my head of someone holding a DSLR up to the ear…..”what do you want? no mom, ….. stop! i’m in the middle of a photo shoo….yea mac and cheese will be just fine. lov u bye.”

    • Froosh Freak

      Howard!!

    • Brenda Thompson

      as Jacqueline answered, I can’t believe that you able to profit $9975 in four weeks on the computer. did you read this page w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • BRIM

    Galaxy NX: Professional Instagram camera.

    If anyone is looking for a camera, I sure hope they do their research and realize there are FAR better options with FAR better track record.

    Biggest mistake consumers can make: purchase new first-time model products.

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

      I think in some circumstances, that 4G LTE connectivity could really come in handy.

      • NorCalGuy

        Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a hotspot on your plan instead of adding another device?

        • S2556

          People still pay the carriers for hotspot access?

        • WAldenIV

          If you have a limited data plan the Verizon pre-installed hot spot works just fine in a pinch.

          • NorCalGuy

            That’s what I thought but I am of the dark side and am rooted with the mobile hotspot built into my rom so I am good to go. So that means pretty much every one has access to a hotspot of some form with out needing LTE in their camera, but on the other hand I could see having WiFi be a huge plus

      • randy

        The only circumstances I can see is a professional photographer who needs his photos uploaded in real time. Those types of photogs are not buying a camera from Samsung.

        • http://www.droid-life.com/ Tim-o-tato

          Well, when I’m at press conferences and need the photos up for a live blog, it’s perfect.

      • sc0rch3d

        I have Eye-Fi card in my DSLR. Not the fastest or best medium…but the convenience factor is great. The data plan aspect is what scares me about this product (NX cam).

    • Cory_S

      One could argue that is the second gen of this product, the Galaxy Camera being first.