Vancouver Sun

WARS WE LIKE

Smartphone rivalries mean more choice for consumers. Here are Samsung’s latest arrivals in Canada along with accessorie­s for your mobile phone

- Gillian Shaw gshaw@vancouvers­un.com vancouvers­un.com/digitallif­e

Samsung Alpha

Rather than taking a one-sizefits- all approach, Samsung is expanding its range of smartphone­s with the latest, the Galaxy Alpha, its most elegant phone yet. At 4.7- inches, it has the same screen size as Apple’s new iPhone 6 and it’s considerab­ly smaller than the Galaxy S5, with its 5.1- inch display. While the S5 has more features than the Alpha, the Alpha has the look and feel of a premium phone. It’s wrapped in a polished aluminum frame, answering a call by critics and fans alike for a phone that’s more than plastic. There are a few diff erences between the Alpha and the S5. The Alpha comes only in a 32GB version and doesn’t off er the extra storage option off ered by the S5 with its microSD slot. Unlike the S5, the Alpha isn’t waterproof. Both have the same UHD4K video although the main camera on the Alpha is 12 megapixels compared to the S5’ s 16MP. Starting at $ 150 with a two- year contract, or $ 700 with no contract. samsung. ca.

Samsung S5 Active

I’m trying out both the Alpha and the Active and for my active West Coast lifestyle, the S5 Active is the answer — delivering all the features of the S5 but in a more rugged form that will take more of the mishaps of daily life without having to be safeguarde­d inside an expensive case. The S5 and the S5 Active are pretty much the same phone under the cover, except that the Active doesn’t have a fingerprin­t scanner. Instead it has three physical buttons across the bottom on the front of the phone — likely part of the rugged package. The phones share the same dust and water resistance rating — the S5 and the S5 Active are water resistant up to one metre and for 30 minutes. It has an active button on the left hand side that when pressed launches the Activity Zone, which includes apps like a barometer, compass, flashlight, stopwatch and other shortcuts. Pressed down and held, it activates the camera. The S5 Active is somewhat pricier than the S5, at $ 250 with a two- year term and $ 750 with no contract. samsung. ca.

Olloclip for Samsung Galaxy S5

Olloclip, which you may know for its excellent iPhone and iPad clip- on camera lenses is now making a lens for Android fans — a 4- in- 1 photo lens for the S4 and the S5. It’s a diff erent design than the iPhone version, since the iPhone has the camera to one corner while the S5 has it centred. To use the 4- in- 1, which has both lenses mounted on a single bracket, you clip it over the top and then the second clip goes either on the right or the left side of the phone, depending which lens you’re using. It gives you a wide- angle lens, a fi sh eye, a 10 times macro and a 15 times macro. $ 70 US, olloclip. com.

Jabra Move Wireless Headphones

Jabra’s wireless headphones mean you can listen to music cord- free, although for times when the eight- hour battery life isn’t enough, you can plug them in with the optional cord. Lightweigh­t, with an expandable headband, they come in three colours, red, blue and black. These $ 100 headphones use Bluetooth technology to pair with your smartphone or other device. A button on the headset also lets you answer calls without having to reach for your phone. jabra. ca

iStabilize­r Flex Smartphone Tripod

This smartphone tripod that earned a USA 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award comes with a standard mount and with the release of wider phones including the iPhone 6, the 6 Plus, the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4, for a limited time it’s now being sold with an extra- large mount, the Mount XL included. It has fl exible legs that wrap around almost anything. The mount clamps onto your phone and then secures it to the tripod, which has a standard ¼ - inch tripod thread and so works with any digital camera except it won’t work for larger heavier cameras or DSLRs. $ 30 US, at istabilize­r. com.

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