Samsung's New Galaxy Smartphones, Unusual Tablets

Samsung unveils hybrid tablet that runs Windows and Android apps and Galaxy smartphone that takes underwater pictures.
Tablet Buying Demystified: 10 Tips
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Tablet Buying Demystified: 10 Tips
Samsung unveiled an array of new devices Thursday including three additions to the Galaxy smartphone family, Ativ tablets and the Galaxy NX camera.

Samsung did not announce pricing or ship dates for the devices; the lineup's functionality cuts across several mobile categories. "We will show you how we can bring our customers a wider variety of choice," said DJ Lee, executive VP and head of sales and marketing at Samsung.

The Galaxy S4 Mini, a compact version of the Galaxy S4, has a 4.3-inch gHD screen. At a time when phones are also fashion accessories, this sleek device fits right in. Fans of the iPhone 5 should take note -- the two devices are almost the exact same size. The Mini features an 8-megapixel camera with a 1.9-megapixel camera on the front.

The Galaxy S4 Active features a 5-inch screen and 8-megapixel camera (2-megapixel in front). It can shield against dust and resist liquid damage for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water, Samsung says. Noteworthy features include the Aqua Mode camera setting for underwater pictures and a glove-friendly screen. Users can choose from dive blue, orange flare, and urban gray.

Samsung says the Galaxy S4 Zoom is the first smartphone to feature a 16-megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom. With a 4.3-inch screen, it's about the same size as the S4 Mini, with a zoom lens attached to the back. Those people who don't need such a camera might find the device heavy, but the image quality is fantastic. Also, users can capture and send images during phone conversations.

[ For background, see our related story, Samsung Zoom: Camera Phone To New Level. ]

In addition to the new devices, Samsung announced that it will be releasing the Galaxy S4 in new colors including blue arctic, purple mirage, red aurora, brown autumn and pink twilight.

As for tablets, Samsung added to its Ativ collection with the Ativ Q and Ativ Tab 3. Notably, the Ativ Q hybrid tablet lets you switch between Windows 8 and Android. Its 13.3-inch screen features qHD+ (3200x1800) resolution and is bright enough to use in sunlight. The Ativ Q comes with a keyboard and Samsung S pen because it is designed to straddle the worlds of laptop, notebook and tablet. At 1.29 kg, it's lightweight for a laptop and has a promised battery life of nine hours.

The Ativ Tab 3, based on Windows 8, measures 8.2mm and weighs 550g, with a 10.1-inch screen -- so it's lighter than an iPad but no bigger or heavier than an Android tablet. Both the Ativ Q and Ativ 3 feature SideSync, which allows users to switch from working on a PC to a Samsung smartphone. Bundled with a version of Microsoft Office 2013, this tablet also contains an S pen and promises a battery life of 8.5 hours. Users can type answers to text messages with a PC keyboard, or simultaneously display and edit photos on two devices.

The Galaxy NX takes the concept of "connected camera" to a new level with Android software, 30 interchangeable lenses, and a 4G LTE connection. Its 4.8-inch HD LCD screen displays an easy-to-use interface. The camera is heavier than the other mobile devices, but its many functions, camera modes and apps could make it worth the weight.

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