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Putting the Samsung Galaxy S10+ through its paces

Devices

Posted on March 8, 2019

3 min read

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range is out today, on sale in Telstra stores and online. To put it through its paces, I was lucky enough to jump in a chopper with Collingwood FC forward turned fly-fisherman Mason Cox and capture a wild day out in Marysville, Victoria with the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

Among other hot features like an incredible edge-to-edge Infinity-O screen and an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, the S10+ packs in a pro-grade camera – but you don’t need to be a pro to use it. I got the chance to take the S10+ for a full-on road test and give the camera a red hot go, and loved every second of it.

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ has some incredible camera technology built in, with not just two lenses for the rear camera but three – one telephoto lens for portrait shooting, one wide-angle lens for everyday shots, and an ultra-wide-angle for capturing even more of the action around you. The camera app is really straightforward to use, whether you know what you’re doing or whether you’re an amateur snapping away for the first time.

There are now two front-facing selfie cameras, including a wider-angle lens to get more of your friends in the frame, and this is the first Samsung that can record video in a new format called HDR10+ – which gets more detail in bright and dark scenes and makes everything look even better when you’re watching it back later.

More than that, Samsung has baked in some new image processing software to enhance photos, straightening out crooked horizons and improving colour quality using a specialised Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that uses artificial intelligence. It works well, too – your photos get better without you even realising. The Galaxy S10+ can even recognise scenes while you’re shooting, making your landscape shots look more lush and your beach selfies more sun-kissed.

All of the Galaxy S10 series features the new wireless PowerShare, which turns them into a wireless charger, letting you transfer power from your phone’s battery to any compatible device, like some Samsung Galaxy Buds. Feeling around for the fingerprint reader is a thing of the past on the S10 and S10+ too, with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor integrated right into the phone’s Infinity-O front display itself.

I loved pushing the Galaxy S10+ to see what I could get out of its pro-grade camera – I came away very impressed with what I saw and what I captured!

Look after your new Samsung Galaxy Note9 with these accessories

Devices

Posted on August 29, 2018

5 min read

With the Samsung Galaxy Note9 now available from Telstra stores, you might be thinking that it’s time to treat yourself to a shiny new smartphone – that’s not a sentiment we are going to disagree with! If you’re treating yourself then we also have a few suggestions: accessories to bring out the very best in your smartphone experience.

Protection – look after your new phone

Keeping your phone in prime condition helps you enjoy it from start to finish. The best way to do this is with a high quality case or cover, and the Galaxy Note9 has a variety of cases on offer to help keep its beautiful design free from scratches or scuffs.

We have a host of cases to choose from, including official Samsung covers such as the LED View Cover with customizable LED icons, a card pocket and shell-like design, the Clear View Standing Cover which offers three viewing angles, inner rub pads for scratch protection and anti-fingerprint coating – or, for the more sophisticated look, the Leather Wallet Cover made from premium Italian leather with microfiber lining and an integrated practical card wallet.

Power – max out your time on the go

Battery life is great with the Galaxy Note9 – its 4000 mAh battery should give you plenty of grunt. That said, if you – like me – push your smartphone use to the max, it might be worth looking at some external battery pack and charging options.

The Note9 is compatible with wireless charging (chargers sold separately), and Samsung has four options when it comes to taking advantage of this feature. There are two Fast Wireless Chargers – a standard which presents the phone in an upright position and a convertible which can also be used as a flat pad.

Additionally, Samsung has a Wireless Charger Duo, particularly handy if you need to charge your smartphone and compatible smartwatch at the same time – and also the Round Wireless Charger which features broad device compatibility and is Qi certified.

Beyond that, we also have a range of car chargers and power banks such as The Cygnett ChargeUp Rapid 15K, with a 15,000mAh capacity that should be more than enough for even heavy users – and can also be used to recharge compatible smartphones and tablets.

Toys – something a little more unique

Power chargers and phone cases are fine, but let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how old you are, a shopping trip is not a shopping trip without a peek at the toy section! Cast your eye over these unique options.

Are drones still cool? This one is. From one of the world’s leading drone manufacturers, the Tello drone from DJI can fly stunts, shoot quick videos and is also billed as a great entry-level drone for adults and kids alike. You can check out the details here. A quick note: if you are considering buying a drone it is worth spending a little time finding out the rules and laws associated with flying drones.

What about music? With huge onboard memory storage and great onboard audio including AKG tuned stereo speakers, the Note9 is a great portal for all your music needs. That said, no reason you can’t treat yourself to state of the art speakers for when you are rocking out at home. There are plenty to choose from.

The one that jumped off the shelf for us is the Harmon/Kardon Onyx 4. One of the best sounding portable Bluetooth speakers in its class, the Onyx Studio 4 offers two device connections, up to 8 hours of playtime and the HK Connect+ app. It also has a built-in microphone and voice integration that can be used with most popular voice assistants. As an added bonus, it looks great.

Viewing – watch your new phone from anywhere

With the Samsung Galaxy Note9’s Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen, the largest Samsung has ever put into a smartphone, this is going to be a great phone for watching, well… everything.

Pair that with some of Telstra’s entertainment offerings, particularly our many different sports streaming and Foxtel packages, and the fact that on selected plans, you will be able to say goodbye to pesky ‘excess data charges’ in Australia – well, it might be time to up your streaming game. (On selected plans for use in Australia).

We’ve trawled the weird and wonderful to give you some thought-starters. Telstra does not stock these wacky items as yet, but we can all dream.

Up first, the mother of all shower curtains. The Galaxy Note9 is IP68 rated, which means it is tested fresh water resistant to 1.5m for 30 mins. You should be okay to take your phone into the shower with you, if you are that way inclined – but you would still need to hold it and that is where this shower curtain comes in. A hands free experience letting you stream and shampoo at the same time.

Travelling in the back seat of a car and the conversation has run dry 20 minutes into a three hour drive? Then you might need one of these. Can’t talk, must Foxtel.

“Hey, I want hands free mobile streaming but I am socially responsible and take public transport,” I hear you say. Well then, say hello to the Lazy Neck. We cannot guarantee you won’t look weird though.

These are all just the tip of the iceberg. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is out now. If you want to check out the phone, or our range of Telstra stocked accessories you can visit our Galaxy Note9 page here. Alternatively you can pop down to your nearest Telstra store and see what else is on offer.

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note9: our first impressions

Devices

Posted on August 21, 2018

3 min read




With the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note9 launching this week, we got hands on with Samsung’s latest smartphone to check out some of its key features.

The screen

The first thing you notice is the screen – and it’s a big one. Samsung has an excellent reputation when it comes to high quality smartphone displays, and this Infinity Display is the biggest that Samsung has ever put into a smartphone. It’s a Super AMOLED panel and has a Quad HD+ resolution; that’s better twice the pixels ofthan the Full HD TV in your living room.

The cameras

On the back of the Galaxy Note9, you’ll see its 12 megapixel super speed dual camera module. This is the same camera module as the one Samsung launched (to great acclaim) in the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus earlier this year.

It has dual aperture for low light photography, and you can actually see the lens dilate like a human eye as it adjusts to the light. It also has intelligent scene recognition and flaw detection – it can spot when a subject has blinked, for example.

That aperture is variable from f/1.5 to f/2.4 for the technically minded amongst you, and it can shoot 960 frames per second super slow motion video.

Flip the phone back to the front and you can see its 8 megapixel front-facing camera – for selfies and the like.

Power

You can’t see it, but the Galaxy Note9 packs a whopping 4000 mAh battery – that’s larger than in any other smartphone that Telstra currently sells. The Galaxy Note9 is also configured for wireless charging – although the wireless charger itself is sold separately.

IP68 water resistance

With another key feature that is not immediately apparent but incredibly handy, the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. This means that it’s certified to be fresh water resistant to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes. It’s still not advisable to take it swimming, because that certification is not for salt or chlorinated water.

The S Pen

The S Pen stylus is the calling card of the Samsung Note series, and this year it has been given a major overhaul. The new S Pen now boasts powerful Bluetooth Low Energy technology, letting you press a button to take control of your camera, scroll presentations and more – without touching your phone. It should be noted that the S Pen remote function is subject to Bluetooth connection quality, which is subject to environment and circumstances. The function may also vary by app.

Also worth noting is that the stylus does an excellent job for drawing, taking notes, and sending Live Messages – it’s as intuitive and natural as pen and paper, thanks to the fine tip and true-to-life pressure sensitivity of the Galaxy Note9’s screen and S Pen.

Under the hood

The Note 9 includes Samsung’s latest chipset for superfast processing. There are two memory variants – the entry level has 128GB of internal storage, and the step-up model holds a massive 512Gb. User accessible memory will be approximately 108GB for the 128GB memory variant and 492GB for the 512GB version.

So what comes in the box aside from the phone?

Included within are:

  • Travel adaptor / charger
  • Headphones tuned by AKG
  • USB Connector
  • S Pen
  • Phone cover
  • Quick start guide & warranty card
  • Ejection pin

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is currently available for pre-order here at Telstra.

Australia by Telstra: testing the Samsung Galaxy S9’s camera

Devices

Posted on April 6, 2018

5 min read

We decided to put the camera in Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, to the test by giving the new phone to five Telstra staff members in the most beautiful parts of Australia.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is out now, and from the outset Samsung has put the camera front and centre in the promotion of its latest handset – ‘The Camera Re-imagined’, they’ve called it. That is a big claim, but with the S9’s 12 megapixel rear camera using a revolutionary dual-aperture lens, could Samsung have a winner on its hands?

To test those specs, we decided to the put the new camera to the test. We sought out five Telstra staff members with an interest in photography, and supplied them with either a Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+. Their mission: to field test the camera and get landscape photographs for a collection we’re calling Australia by Telstra.

The results are impressive.

Chris Marks, Telstra State Media Manager (SA): “The quality of the camera on the Samsung S9 is amazing – the best I’ve seen. It offers a range of pre-set automatic options for quick shots and also has the Pro option which lets you have full control over speed, exposure and focus- just like my old SLR.

“However, the auto setting is the one for me on most occasions – it delivers great results every time, especially if you are in a hurry”.

Barry J Polden, Telstra Professional Services Technician (TAS): “As a DSLR user I only occasionally use a smartphone as a camera. Having said that, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the results (even in auto mode) and the range of settings available (especially in pro mode). It would make a great little camera, even without the added smartphone.”

Kat Bampton, Telstra Business Specialist (QLD): “I love using the camera’s ‘Pro’ feature, particularly for the clarity of shots like my sunrises, but my favourite to play with was the focus feature and depth of field. I love taking photos of flowers and plants, and the S9 works amazingly.”

Annemarie Gallard, Telstra Communications Advisor (NSW): “The S9+ has an awesome dual camera, offering 2x optical zoom and a live focus feature that automatically blurs out the background to increase the depth-of-field in your photos. I love nature and taking wide landscape shots, so naturally I played around in Panorama mode. I really liked that it automatically captures a video at the same time as a still panoramic photo!”

Rick Andrews, Telstra Senior IT Domain Specialist (QLD): The S9 has the option to automatically and manually switch between an aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4, which provides great low light performance. In daylight, the S9 delivers beautiful crisp photos that look impressive on the AMOLED display of the device.

“The standard camera app that comes with the S9 is very versatile, providing a simple and intuitive point-and-shoot capability plus a “Pro Mode” that lets the photographer get in and have more advanced control of the camera settings to change the look and feel for those more creative photos. So with the Samsung Galaxy S9 at hand the saying “The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You”, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the quality of the photos that you take.

Our top tips for Galaxy S9 photos

We also asked our camera testers if – having trialled the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ – they had any top tips for anyone lucky enough to already have a S9, or those considering buying one.

Chris – “Look for good light. Morning or late afternoon are the best. I would say, crop out the clutter on the sides of images if they distract from your focus and when in doubt shoot lots of photos and keep the best one.”

Kate – “I am not sure if I have top tips, but I suppose when getting a new smart phone it’s brilliant to first play around with the camera features and get a feel for what works best when. That way if you play first, when those moments in life come up, you don’t want to miss the perfect snap. You’ll already know what setting is going to work best for it.’

Barry – “As far as a tip for taking photos with a smartphone, my top tip – if you are taking anything more than a quick snap and are trying out the many pro settings – is to set as many of the settings as you can before composing the shot. This is particularly important in very bright sunlight where it can be quite hard to see the screen – even move to a darker spot if necessary, set the phone up, and then move in to the sunlight to take the shot.”

Rick – “Don’t rush the photo. Take an extra second to make sure that the composition is good, and scan the background to avoid those nasty surprises that distract from the main subject of the photo.”

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are both available from Telstra now.

Samsung Galaxy S9 accessories: How to protect your brand new phone

Devices

Posted on March 23, 2018

4 min read

With the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ now out in stores, you might be in the market for a new smartphone – and while you’re getting your shop on, we have a few suggestions for accessories that might pair nicely with that shiny new handset.

Covers: The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a particularly cool looking smartphone, and we can see why you might want to show it off. A case or cover may hide away some of that lovely glass, but it also helps you protect your investment, helping to reduce the risk of daily wear and tear or an accidental crack from an unexpected drop.

We have a wide range to choose from, too – like the LED cover that syncs with your phone to display notifications using LED icons, a Samsung genuine Clear View Standing cover for those that like to prop up their phone to watch a movie or two, and the range of covers from Telstra and Tech21 which are just plain pretty. We also have a host of other alternatives.

Wireless Charger: If you took up our pre-order offer this is one you are not going to have to worry about. If you missed out though, a wireless charging pad is definitely worth your consideration – and even if you did get one with the pre-order, how about one for work or your bedside? Wireless charging is convenient – plonk the phone on the pad and it starts charging. Fewer plugs and cables to worry about can also make your home office look more social media worthy… if you’re into that sort of thing.

Headphones: These aren’t a necessity, since the Galaxy S9 and S9+ both come with headphones in the box, and nice ones at that – ergonomically designed, lightweight earbuds that have been tuned and branded by Samsung’s partner AKG. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still treat yourself to something fancy. The S9 and S9+ both have 3.5mm headphone jacks, which means you have the choice of wired or Bluetooth headphones such as the Beats Solo 3 Wireless available in all Telstra Flagship Discovery Stores.

A steady selfie prop: The Samsung S9 and S9+ both have great front-facing cameras, so your selfies are already taken care of – unless you’d prefer an aerial selfie or one in 360, in which case you may consider the AirSelfie or the Samsung Gear 360. The new phone can shoot at 4K and in 960 frames per second in super slow-mo mode, so you might think about a stabilising ‘gimbal’ to take your home movies to the next level!

Memory card: Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have built-in microSD card slots and can handle up to an additional 400GB of external storage – on the off chance you want to carry around 100 HD movies. SanDisk MicroSD cards also mean you can save plenty of photos or videos without having to upload them to the cloud if you’re travelling far from Wi-Fi.

Battery packs: The Samsung S9 has a gutsy 3000 mAh battery, while the S9+ has 3500mAh. That should be plenty of juice to get you through the day. But who hasn’t forgotten to charge overnight once or twice, or left a cable in the car? For these moments, we have a suite of funky power packs such as the Pocket Power Power Banks that come in a range of colours.

Bonus – something ridiculous: Still want to splash that cash? How about something over the top for your brand new phone? Our next section is for the budding lottery winners out there. This isn’t anything that we offer, I’m afraid, but we’ve had a quick look around the internet for you – how about bringing some real bling and getting your phone hand embellished in 24 carat gold? Or if diamonds are more your style, why not get your device encrusted with white, pink, or black diamonds? The world is your oyster and we expect the accessories for the new Samsung Galaxy S9 to only get more fun.