Holidays are a time to spend with loved ones family. Getting together for a delicious turkey dinner, laughter around the dinner table and presents galore. It’s a time to reconnect, bond and celebrate the year gone past. Unfortunately sometimes, that is not possible. Seven years ago, my baby sister moved to Thunder Bay. A 24 hour drive or 3 hour flight can get very expensive and nearly impossible around the holidays. My kids and I miss her dearly! The holidays aren’t the same without her! To stay connect, we try to call each other during the present opening madness and festive feast, to feel as if she is still part of it many miles away. This holiday season, I am armed with the ideal electronics to keep my sister and I connected during the festivities. That phone is the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and Galaxy Gear from TELUS!
This holiday season, I was given the opportunity to review these two Samsung products from TELUS and I was blown away by what they had to offer. I have been a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone owner for the past year and half and have been thrilled with its service. It provided me access to my social media applications, it takes moderate quality pictures and it worked well as a cell phone. It wasn’t until I began playing around with the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini on the TELUS’ 4G LTE wireless network, that I realized how limiting my old phone was.
Design: Bigger is always better?
My first impression of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini was its size. Over the past few decades the size of smartphones have become increasingly large at(almost ‘tablet’ like). Although they are easy on the eyes, the shear size can make it difficult to transport them around. Being a Mom of 3, my hands are always full. When it comes to my phone, I need it close by to answer a call, capture that once in a lifetime picture or pull up a shopping list. The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini solves this problem by creating a smaller smartphone that packs a huge punch! Measuring in at 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm3, its compact size makes it easier to slip in your pocket, more comfortable to grip, and a lot easier to use one-handed (A MOM MUST!). Don’t let the small size scare you! The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini’s 4.3-inch qHD sAMOLED display (which is larger than that of the iPhone 5) provides an adequate viewing surface while giving you more bang for you buck.
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is ready to tackle any job with a busy Mom of three. Running on the Android JellyBean 4.2.2 support system enables you to do more tasks easily and quickly. Upgraded processor, 16GB of Memory, a high resolution camera, and amazing Samsung Apps allow you to make daily chores into extraordinary memories!
The more time I spent with the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, the more I loved it. Here are a few of my favourite features:
Normally, I dread getting a new phone! I hate change and I hate the repetitive nature of entering all my contacts in to my new phone! Thankfully I am a Samsung member already, so switching my information, contacts and favourite apps were easy with the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. Upon set up, you are asked if you are a Samsung member. By entering in your email address and password, your contacts, information and pictures are immediately transferred to your new phone.
Being a Mom, I am always snapping pictures of my kids. Whether it be a messy face only a mom could love, capturing the game winning goal, or sending my sister a “We miss you” picture, a camera is essential. Samsung Galaxy S4 mini comes stocked with a 8 megapixel camera, power LED flash and an auto focus lens. My favourite feature is I can talk to the camera. Imagine being up to your eyeballs in flour after a Christmas baking session with the kids. Full of smiles and covered in flour, it is an image you want to capture! I simply grab my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and say “Capture” or “smile” and the moment is forever captured in a photograph! The pictures come out crisp and clean and there is also the ability to turn the camera on a macro setting that allows you to capture those close up pictures too.
One feature that I can’t believe I lived without for all these years is the Voice Control. Being a Mom, I’m use to using my voice, repetitively asking kids to pick up their toys, to stop fighting and other mom things. Having the ability to use my voice to control my phone is very convenient too. Once you activate the voice control setting your phone is ready to react to your voice. I love how there was no set up or voice training required. It was click on and go!
CAMERA: You can snap a picture by saying “Capture” or “Smile”
ANSWER THE PHONE: Have you ever been driving in your car, when your phone rings and your car doesn’t have Bluetooth capability? It’s against the law to answer your phone while driving, but what if its your child’s school or another important call? With the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, you can answer or reject calls with the voice commands “Answer” and “Reject”. The phone will automatically go on speaker phone so you can continue driving safely, while answering your call.
ALARM: I am awful at remembering what time the bus comes. As a result, I always set my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini alarm, to let me know when its time to get the kids ready to pick up their siblings from the bus. Sometimes, I’m on my game and up to my eyes in snowpants and scarves when my alarm goes off. With the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, all I have to say is “Stop” or “Snooze” and my needs are met!
MUSIC: Who needs an Mp3 player when you have the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini? Download and store all your music on your smartphone and next time you go for a run you can skip (“Next” or “Previous”), “Play”, “Pause” or change the volume (“volume up” or “Volume down”) with the command of your voice.
Have you ever used a smartphone where you are reading or rereading an email and the screen goes dark halfway through. As a result you have to continually touch to screen to keep it lit? This is one of my biggest pet peeves! The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini has the ultimate solution; the smart stay and smart rotation. With the smart stay, the screen stays on as long as you are looking at it. With the smart rotation, the screen rotates according to the orientation of your face. They may be little things, but I appreciate them.
Long Lasting Battery Life
My husband always jokes that my phone is an extension of my limbs. It is always with me and I’m always on it. My previous phone would barely last from when I left for work at 7 am until it was times to pick up the kids at 3 pm. There is nothing more frustrating than going to pick up your phone to send an important text (i.e. Hunny bring home dinner!) and your phone is dead! However, with the Samsung Galaxy S4, the battery life is amazing. I can go from the start of the day to the end of the day, while still maintaining the same number of tweets, emails and pictures, with the battery dying at all! For this reason alone, I love this phone!
Awesome App upgrades
The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini opens doors to many amazing apps. One of my favourite is the Samsung WATCHON app. What if I told you could turn your smartphone into a television remote? With the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, you can set up the Samsung WATCHON app to control your television like a regular remote, remind you of your favourite shows and suggest show to watch based on your selection history.
The must have accessory to EVERY Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is the Galaxy Gear! The Galaxy Gear is a smart watch which provides an invaluable extension of your smartphone. Instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket or digging it out of the bottom of your purse, you can perform simple functions such as answering your phone, taking a voice memo, or even capturing a photograph with a device that sits on your wrist. The Galaxy Gear includes a camera with 4GB of storage, a pedometer, a stopwatch, media controls, voice memos and the capability to make and receive phone calls.
I was a little intimated when I first took the Galaxy gear out of the box. Although it looks like fancy dress watch, the functions it held were unbelievable. Setting up the Galaxy Gear turned out to be very simple. After the initial charging of the device, you turn the integrated NFC on your smartphone (Note 3 , Samsung S3, S4 or S4 mini) and tab your smartphone to the back of the cradle (which has the NFC function imbedded in it). Within seconds, your phone is connected to your watch! Navigating through the Galaxy Gear is extremely easy. Simply swipe left and right to choose the application (Notifications, S Voice, Voice Memo, Gallery, Media Controller, Pedometer, settings, APPs, Logs,Contacts) you wish to use, swipe down to activate the camera, click the power button to take you to your home screen, and double-click the power button to activate the voice memo function. Since all of your contacts and vital information is shared between devices, it is simple to swap back and forth without worrying about the other one being left behind.
I really enjoyed wearing the Galaxy Gear (although, I wish it was a little smaller as I have tiny wrists!). It was very convenient to have the ability to glance at my wrist when notifications and phone calls were coming in. My favourite feature was the “Find my Gear” feature. I can’t tell you how many times DD2 has decided to hide Mommy’s phone and I end up using my landline to call and locate my phone. Now with just a click of a button my wrist, I am able to send off a signal to my phone which will beep to let me know its location!
Finally a smartphone designed for the busy Mom on the GO! With the fastest technology, a fantastic camera and the TELUS’ 4G LTE wireless network
What more could you want in a smartphone? If you are looking for the perfect gift for a busy mom, a techy lover or somebody you love, I highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and GALAXY Gear combination!
What do you love most about the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini?