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This past Thursday was a very important date in the consumer electronics industry because Samsung finally unveiled its successor to the massively popular Galaxy S3 smartphone, the Galaxy S4.

Galaxy S4

Mark Watson’s hands-on picture of the Galaxy S4

International Business Times attended the unveiling and noted a few hardware upgrades. The new smartphone features a 5-inch display that sports a 1920×1080 resolution. This gives the phone a 441 ppi (pixels per inch) and is now the most clear and crisp display on the smartphone market. The phone also improves on battery life, featuring a 2,600mAh battery which is almost 25% more juice than the S3. Lastly, Samsung has upped the ante with a 13-megapixel camera that rivals many other  digital cameras out there.

What does this mean for us students? The bigger battery will give you more time to browse Facebook, text message and coordinate club meets. And heck, even if you’re just using it to play more games, that’s always a plus! The improved camera will give your self-portraits a bit more clarity to a point where it is near impossible to tell that it was taken on a mobile phone.

Although the hardware upgrades are great, what Samsung really showcased in this iteration of their flagship device was the amount of software features that they packed in. CTV lists a few features that intrigued them including:

  • Smart Scroll: the ability to scroll through content on the screen without lifting a finger. The phone will be able to track your eyes and its direction as well as your wrist movements to progress through your reading content
  • Air Viewthe S4’s infrared and proximity sensors will be able to tell when your finger hovers over an email, video, or a text message and shows you a preview of what’s inside. This way you can take a peak at your content without loading it up.
  • S-Health: this feature will benefit students a lot. The phone can track your health with some basic input action and with the built-in barometer, it can determine your comfort based on temperature and humidity levels.

 

Now, if you are like me, you already have a smartphone that is good at what it does. I personally have the iPhone 5 and if you have an iPhone 5 as well, you may want to consider this chart that compares the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 side-by-side. Picture taken from @zilevandamme on Twitter.

Comparison Chart

We can see from the chart that the only specifications that the iPhone 5 wins in is the thickness and weight category. Am I going to make the switch? Probably not. But thats not because I think the iPhone is better, I believe Samsung’s next flagship phone (Galaxy S5?) will be another monumental upgrade and that is when I might heavily consider switching smartphones.
But thats just me! If you feel somewhat convinced after reading this, check out the video below from Samsung Mobile‘s YouTube Channel

 

 

 

Mark Watson’s Hands-on Picture: http://storify.com/elements/fab37a84c4a0a13192b63061
International Business Insider Specs: http://storify.com/elements/adfa3378e023437a3e79773f
CTV’s Top Features: http://storify.com/elements/a08f2282a1dfc180b62c031d
@zilevandamme’s Comparison Chart: http://storify.com/elements/6dc727785b6ffe01aa83efad
Samsung Mobile’s YouTube Video: http://storify.com/elements/59a19c52e52fcbc9f1d3d9cd

 

This product that I recommend next for students is a smartphone case specifically tailored to students who don’t want to carry a huge wallet and instead put their cards with their phone. The Case-mate card-holding iPhone case tailors to this very specific demographic by providing a way to put all your credit, debit and student cards on the back of your smartphone, therefore allowing you to leave your wallet at home.

Case-mate ID Card Case Purple

This case works for me because I personally hate carry cash, coins and anything unnecessary. The only real cards that I NEED are my debit & credit card, student card, and my driver’s license (for ID purpose). This is because 70% of my wallet is loaded with materials that I don’t need for example: gift cards, pictures of friends, various business cards, stamp cards for restaurants and of course… COINS. I hate coins. I’ll be honest, it took a bit of getting used to because I had to plan my days ahead. If I was going to the mall, I would have to remember to bring the various gift cards I have. If I was going a restaurant for dinner, I would have to remember to look through my coupons or discount cards before going out. Nevertheless, after I developed the habit, I haven’t regretted once not bringing my entire wallet with me.

Now for the case, it feels a bit flimsy but once your iPhone is snapped on, it provides a snug fit. The card slot itself also provides a tight and snug fit. Case-mate brings in eleven different colours for the case so that you’re free to highlight your personality as best as possible. How much does it cost you ask? This ultra-slim case retails for $30 and because Case-mate is a high-end and respectable brand, it is available in most places such as the Apple Store and Best Buy. Of course if you don’t have the time to venture out to a physical store (hopefully because you’re too busy doing work haha) you can always order it on Amazon or Ebay.

Metallic Blue Case-mate Case

Over at Tech Crunch, they write that “Between the easy-slide plastic adhesive sheet for the back of the iPhone and the thumb-sized hole at the base for sliding cards out, you can tell they definitely put a lot of thought into this”. Their conclusion is that if you can minimize your life down to a couple of cards, this is definitely the accessory for you.

What’s cool is that I got a lot of positive “wow” or “woah” reactions when pulling it out. It is a very simple concept yet very functional and is sure to impress friends. In a nutshell, it can help minimize a student’s baggage when going out. Amongst all the heavy textbooks, binders and laptops that are irreplaceable, the Case-mate ID Card Case is a product that I wholeheartedly recommend in order to simplify a student’s life.

Check out Tech Crunch’s review at: http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/22/review-case-mate-id-credit-card-case-for-iphone-4/

For students who own a Mac, iPhone and/or iPad, iStudiez Pro is a fantastic organizer and digital agenda that was built specifically for students. The app can be downloaded via the Mac’s App Store as well as iOS’ App Store. The amazing thing about the software is that if you download the app on your Mac and your iPhone, it synonymously syncs with each other. For example: if you add a new chemistry class on the computer, you can access the information including room number, start and end time from your smartphone when you are away from the computer. The same can be done with assignments and exams.

Cloud Sync

iStudiez Pro boasts numerous features including:

Smart Summary
Shows all the events you have for the current day. This real-time mode view tracks your schedule during the day, giving you a full overview of the classes you need to attend

Assignments Review
The app allows you easy managing of all your homework and assignments: sorting them by date, course and priority, setting due dates and track your marks or grades received

iCal Integration
Using iOS 4 (Mac OS 10.6 for Mac) and later allows you to see all your events from the native device calendar in iStudiez Pro. This means you can easily track not only your academics, but also your sports trainings and dance classes.

Schedule Planner
Good planning is crucial to get a hold of your schedule. Plan and manage your courses and classes details, locations, instructor info, holidays and grades

Cloud Sync
Synchronize your iStudiez data in the blink of an eye between all your iOS and Mac devices. Creating Cloud Sync account is free and fast, and it also gives you additional guarantee of safeguarding your data.

Notifications and Badges
You will never miss your class or due date for an assignment thanks to the built-in notifications. Flexible settings system allows you to customize your notifications according to your preferences

Grades & GPA
You can enjoy integrated grades tracker, allowing you to track your grades in percents, points or letters. Grades received for your courses will then be calculated towards your overall GPA

Interactive Calendar
Reflects all of your classes and assignments in month and week views. Colour coding and cute icons for classes helps structuring your vision and makes it easier to follow your academic schedule

Mac Window

Nathan Snelgrove of App Storm reviews the app and gives it a 9/10 and writes:
“If you’re a starving student or a parent trying to figure out how ot make sure your kid gets through the seventh grade, I can’t recommend iStudiez Pro highly enough. It suffers from a little bit of feature bloat, but in this app’s case, one student’s feature bloat is another student’s paradise. Since I started using the app, my grades have gone up, my productivity has more than doubled, and my schedule has become much easier to manage. Even planning vacations got a lot easier when I could see where the gaps were in between assignments and work. iStudiez Pro comes with my absolute highest recommendation, and it’s a no-brainer download for anybody in school.”

Alex Heath from Cult of Mac also gives a positive review of the app. He writes:
“iStudiez Pro is the perfect example of an app that maintains a consistent experience across multiple platforms. You won’t get confused moving from app to app, and you’ll find iStudiez’s clean and simple UI very inviting. It almost makes planning your schedule fun.With cloud sync and push notifications, iStudiez Pro does it all.”

iPhone App

iStudiez Pro for Mac is available for $9.99 in the Mac App Store. The app is available as a universal download for $2.99 in the iOS App Store. Cloud sync is free once you buy one of the apps. A free version is also available with ad support called iStudiez Lite.