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iOS 10 Review: What’s New for iPad

Apple continues adding new features and tweaking old ones with iOS 10. There were a great many changes in iOS 9 for iPad, but the follow up has more to offer iPhone. Still, there definitely are enhancements to benefit those with an iPad Pro1 or iPad mini2. We extensively tested iOS 10, and here are the new or updated features that will mean the most to tablet users. We also catalogued some much needed enhancements that are notably absent.

Split View Safari Tabs

iOS 9 brought much needed support for side-by-side multitasking the ability to display two applications on-screen at the same time. While that was all very well, each app was still limited to a single window. This was especially burdensome in Safari, as people frequently want to display two web pages simultaneously. This limitation began changing with iOS 10. Apple s web browser can now show a pair of sites, with each taking up half the screen. Arranging the two pages on the display is simple go to the list of open browser tabs and drag one to the side of the screen to open it in a second window but this split-view feature is limited only to landscape mode.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

Split View Safari Tabs in iOS 10

Ending split view is just as easy, but not as intuitive as it could be: Touch and hold on one of the Tabs icons and choose Merge All Tabs. This is a welcome step in the right direction, but now this functionality needs to be extended even further. iOS 11 should give third-party app developers the same feature. iPad users need to be able to work with two Word documents at the same time, for example.

Notification Center

iOS 10 changes the look of the Notification Center, and makes it more functional too. Dragging from the top of the screen brings down a list of recent notifications that now appear in grey boxes with rounded corners. Dragging each of these to the left allows the user to either clear the notification or jump to the application that sent it. A small X button can be used to clear all notifications at once.

From the Recent Notifications page, dragging the screen to the right brings up two columns of widgets. These can be a thumbnail view of the calendar, weather reports, and similar snippets of information.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Widgets

An Edit button at the bottom of the left column opens the controls of which settings are displayed, and in which column, and in what order.

Lock Screen

Apple made significant changes to the way people use their tablets before they are even unlocked. First off, Slide to Open has been removed, and just pressing the Home button has taken its place. This simplifies the process considerably, especially as everyone should already be touching this button so their fingerprint can be scanned to unlock the computer.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Lock Screen

Before the iPad is unlocked, iOS 10 can show users their newest notifications. They can also respond to these, by dragging the notification to the right. A whole conversation can take place in Messages without ever unlocking the tablet. Dragging down from the top of the Lock Screen brings up a list of other recent notifications. Dragging to the right on the Lock Screen gives quick access to the same widgets displayed in the Notification Center. Anyone who wants to keep private their notifications and the information displayed by these widgets should turn this feature off by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. This is especially important because otherwise anyone can respond to incoming text messages without unlocking the tablet.

Bad news: No current iPad has the motion-sensing chip necessary for Raise To Wake, so it s only users of recent iPhone models that don t have push the Power button to activate their devices.

Control Center

Dragging a finger up from the bottom of the screen still opens a set of controls for toggling WiFi, Bluetooth, etc., but this has received a facelift with iOS 10. It s now split over two screens so everything is less crowded.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Control Center

The main screen has the controls for various wireless functions, the backlight, as well as links to the camera and Clock app. Sweeping the finger to the left moves to a second screen that s focused on audio.

Notes Collaboration

The Notes application has been gradually improving in recent iOS versions, and has now acquired collaboration capabilities. Users can notify another person that a note has been shared with them, and then they can both see and make changes. Apple suggests using this for simple jobs, like a family sharing a grocery list, not for a team collaborating on a patent filing.

iMessages

Possibly the most important change in iOS 10 for iPhone users is the improvements to the Messages app. Although instant messaging is done primarily on a phone, that doesn t mean tablet users should overlook it. By turning on Settings > iMessage, conversations happening on a iPhone can also be displayed on an iPad. The larger screen and keyboard make longer conversations easier.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 iMessage on iPad

Apple added all kinds of fun features to iMessage, like bubble effects which cause texts to swell up, fall onto the screen with a bang, and more. Messages can be handwritten, or moving images can be inserted into conversations like really big emojis. These look better on a tablet than they do on a phone, even an iPhone 7 Plus.

What s Missing

Apple has tried to keep iOS simple, even to the point of leaving out features it doesn t consider necessary. This is why this operating system debuted on the original iPhone without a central file system accessible to users. But what was the right decision in 2007 has since become a serious limitation. iOS 10 is intended to be used by businesspeople on tablets as powerful as laptops, and they need to be able to easily view and manage their files. Last year s iCloud Drive was a step in the right direction, but iOS 10 should have taken it much further. There s another missing feature that s forcing buyers toward Windows-based alternatives: the new iPad Pro series is being positioned as laptop alternatives, and most people aren t yet accustomed to controlling this type of computer with a just a touchscreen. Apple recognized this when it released its Smart Keyboard3, and it s time to take the next step and add a trackpad to this accessory, as well as support for it to iOS. It would be a step backward a touchscreen is better than a mouse but it would increase iPad sales. Plenty of people have been asking for a removable memory card slot in iPad and iPhone for almost a decade, and at this point it s clear Apple isn t ever going to add one. Fortunately, many accessory makers offer very good alternatives, allowing iOS tablets to access microSD cards and flash drives. There are very good alternatives from SanDisk4, Lexar5, Leef6, and more.

Install Now

Split-screen support in Safari is probably the best feature for iPad users, but just about all of the new features in iOS 10 are useful, and others are fun. Some oft requested changes are still missing, though. even so, people are wondering when they should install this onto their tablet. We have been testing the official release version on an iPad Pro7 since it debuted, and so far have encountered no significant problems. Apple s new strategy of allowing anyone who s curious to install iOS betas appears to have resulted in a final release version that s more stable than iOS 9 was when it debuted. That said, there have been a few small bobbles. Anyone feeling very cautious might wait for Apple to introduce iOS 10.1.

References

  1. ^ iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  2. ^ iPad mini (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  3. ^ Smart Keyboard (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  4. ^ SanDisk (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  5. ^ Lexar (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  6. ^ Leef (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  7. ^ iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com)

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Photo Review 9

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In summary

Like its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV enters the market with several advantages in the form of high resolution for still pictures, 4K video recording, top-rate autofocusing, a decent continuous shooting speed and touch-screen monitor controls. Add an up-to-date image processor and interesting innovations like the Dual Pixel RAW functions. Add to that comfortable handling, fast autofocus, and strong performance in our image quality testing and you’ll see why we’ve awarded 5D Mark IV an Editor’s Choice in the Pro DSLR category.

Full review

Since publishing a detailed First Look at the new EOS 5D Mark IV last week, we have been able to carry out our standard suite of technical and user tests. This report has been prepared to complement the initial review, adding comments about our experiences using the new camera plus the results of our standard tests. Links have been provided to enable readers to jump between the two reports.

3

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Angled view of the EOS 5D Mark IV with the new EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II lens. (Source: Canon.)

As outlined in our initial report, the 30.4-megapixel EOS 5D Mark IV, provides some significant improvements on its predecessor for both still photographers and video shooters. Since the 5D IV was announced, we have been able to find out what readers could expect to pay if they decide to invest in the new camera. Because no lens was supplied with the camera, we have reviewed it with our own EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, which is the same lens we used for our review of the 5D Mark II4 and the 5D Mark III5 cameras.

Handling
As a 5D Mark II owner, we found the new body s handling comfortably familiar. The two camera bodies are identical in weight and 50 grams lighter than the 5D III (surely a good thing when weight can be critical in many situations).

We were delighted with the small changes to the user interface that have been made over two generations of the camera and welcomed the fact that the 5D IV uses the same LP-E6N battery as recent Canon DSLRs. The camera is also backwards-compatible with the slightly lower-capacity LP-E6 batteries used in the 5D III and 5D II (also a definite plus). Another welcome feature is the LCD monitor, with its new touch-screen controls that can be interchanged seamlessly with manual adjustments. This often eliminates the need for time-consuming menu diving, particularly when the Quick Menu function is used. It’s a pity the 5D IV’s monitor wasn’t articulated as that would have made it easier to overcome some of the limitations of having to frame shots using the monitor screen for movie recording. Adjustable monitors enable you to position the screen for optimal viewing and are a real advantage when shooting video, including when it’s on a tripod without a separate HDMI monitor that can be placed where you want it. With a fixed screen, there’s only one way to hold the camera and your back and shoulders can suffer during long shoots when using the camera hand-held.

The new ‘Intelligent’ viewfinder in the 5D IV is more efficient to use and being able to see the sensor’s full field of view with overlaid icons showing camera settings and warnings made it easier to change settings without constantly having to resort to the monitor. It’s comfortable to use, thanks to a decent 21 mm eyepoint and provides 0.76x magnification with a 50mm lens at infinity. We’d have liked a slightly wider dioptre adjustment range, although the -3.0 to +1 adjustment should be adequate for most potential users. We noticed some impressive improvements to autofocusing performance, particularly in Live View mode when recording movie clips, where our tests set out to gauge the camera’s ability to track moving subjects. We also assessed the system’s ability to focus upon small, fast-moving subjects at close distances to the lens with the lens at a wide aperture setting. We couldn’t fault the AF system’s tracking ability when we recorded movies of skateboarders; even when someone passed between the camera and the subject, the camera was quick to lock on again and follow the subject faithfully. For close-ups, AF performance wasn’t quite as good, although it was still impressive.

There were a few times when the camera jumped focus between foreground and background when recordings were being made close to the near limit of the lens. This was most likely to occur when there were bright objects in the background to ‘distract’ the sensors and when focus was not established initially by half-pressing the shutter button at the start of a recording. Memory card speed is a critical issue when you want to record movies with 4K resolution. For SD cards, the 5D IV’s instruction manual states clearly that you need a UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3) card which supports up to 90MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds. Sadly, the 5D IV is not able to ‘read’ the latest UHS-II SDXC cards, an unfortunate omission in our opinion. Slower cards either won’t record the movie or, if it is recorded, you’ll only get a second or two of footage. For CF cards, UDMA 7 transfer speeds of at least 100 MB/second are required.

By default, when you’re recording onto two memory cards, slot 1 indicates the CF card while slot 2 is for the SD card. In the default Standard mode, images are recorded to Card 1 by default, although you can change this to Card 2 by diving into the menu and selecting the Record func+card/folder set item from the settings menu. If the Auto switch card mode is selected, the second card takes the overflow when the first card is full. Selecting Rec. separately causes each card to record the same still image but in different formats; for example you can record JPEGs to one card and CR2.RAW files to the other. You can set image sizes and quality options individually for each card. Movies can’t be recorded simultaneously to both cards but will be automatically recorded to the card selected for Playback in the menu. This cannot be changed. The Rec. to multiple mode records each image simultaneously to the CF and SD cards with the same size and quality settings, acting as an in-camera backup.

Video
One factor that has come to light since the 5D IV was announced concerns the way it records movie files. According to an article on the Canon USA website, the 5D IV uses the same Motion JPEG compression method as used by the EOS-1D X Mark II and EOS-1D C. This codec produces a separate JPEG image for each frame of video.

Since MJPEG uses the same kind of compression as JPEG does for stills, an extremely high bit-rate is required to maintain image quality. This means recording at approximately 500 Megabits per second, compared with up to 100 Mbps for competing cameras that use the more efficient H.264 4K codecs and record with the consumer-level 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. And whereas competing cameras capture the full width of the image frame in 4K movie mode, in the 5D IV, the 4096 x 2160-pixel 4K movie area is extracted from the centre of the frame, effectively cropping the full-frame view in order to eliminate the need for pixel binning. This helps to prevent the reduction in image quality and potential for moir and aliasing that occurs with pixel binning as well as constraining image noise in low light levels. Full HD and HD movies are not cropped. Because of the pixel density on the 5D Mark IV s 30.4-megapixel sensor, the 4K crop factor is equivalent to using a lens with approximately 1.74x the indicated focal length. The view would be similar to what you would see when shooting with a camera with an APS-C sized sensor. This cropping makes shooting wide angles rather challenging, depending upon which lens you use. However, you gain a small telephoto advantage, which can be helpful for close-ups.

In another video-related issue, the 5D IV doesn’t include the Canon LOG function, which is provided in the video-orientated EOS-1D C, and allows recorded footage to be graded and colour corrected with professional software. You don’t even get a flat picture profile, which is the consumer-level equivalent and is provided in 4K enabled cameras from Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony. So users planning to integrate footage recorded with the 5D IV into a current professional video workflow will probably encounter a few problems. Professional video shooters need to be aware that you can’t record 4K clips to an external drive via HDMI out. The only option available is Full HD (1920 x 1080), which doesn’t have high enough resolution for grabbing still frames for printing (one of the main reasons for including 4K video in this camera). These issues aside, thanks in part to the AF performance improvements, we were quite impressed by the overall quality of the clips we recorded with the 5D IV, particularly in the 4K mode, cropping notwithstanding. Even though it can be difficult using the screen to frame subjects in bright outdoor lighting, the combined Still/Video switch and Live View/movie start-stop button made it easy to switch between stills and movie capture and keep the camera steady while recording.

We were keen to follow-up a report by the Amazon-owned DPReview website that claims the 5D IV suffers from ‘significant’ rolling shutter effect. This occurs where each frame is captured by scanning across the scene and can introduce predictable distortions of fast-moving objects. We found no signs of distortions in our recordings of the skateboarders moving across the field of view but did notice some slight vertical skewing when focusing close-ups, as shown in the enlarged sections from three frames, below.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Soundtracks from the built-in microphone were nice and clear in the default auto mode and the manual mode provides 64 levels of adjustment to control sound levels by turning the Quick Control dial. Audio recordings can be monitored as you shoot when you connect a set of headphones via the standard 3.5mm jack. A wind filter/attenuator is available. Time coding is similar to the options found on the 5D Mark III, allowing users to select between rec run and free run, synch the time code to the camera’s internal clock or pre-set a starting time code. It can be applied to movies recorded on the memory card and also appended to movies that are output via HDMI to an external recorder. HDR movie recording is also supported. Selecting the High Frame Rate movie mode in the Movie rec. quality section of the menu, lets you shoot movies with HD (1280 x 720 pixel) resolution and a frame rate for the PAL system of 100 fps (the NTSC frame rate is 119.9 fps). When clips recorded in this mode are played back the action will be slowed to 1/4 normal speed. Focus is locked on the first frame and no audio is recorded.

We found the High Frame Rate mode produced disappointing results and not only because the resolution was low (the ALL-I Intra frame recording mode is used to preserve as much data as possible). The locked focus meant we could only use this setting for subjects that maintained a constant distance from the camera so we haven’t provided a sample frame grab. In addition, we found multiple skipped frames within the relatively short clips we shot. Recordings are limited to seven and a half minutes in this mode.

Dual Pixel RAW
The new Dual Pixel RAW function utilises the image sensor’s dual photodiode construction, which allows the sensor to pick up two separate signals from each photodiode pair and detect phase differences between the two signals. The camera’s Dual Pixel AF system combines these signals to achieve sharp focus. During Dual Pixel RAW shooting, two images one containing data from only one photodiode and the other with combined data from both photodiodes in each pair are saved as a single raw file. This file, which is roughly double the size of a normal raw file, contains both the normal image and also any parallax information picked up through the phase difference detection.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Opening the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer function in Digital Photo Professional.

Dual Pixel data has to be decoded with the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer function in Digital Photo Professional software. But, once decoded, it enables three types of fine-tuning to be applied to raw images: focus microadjustment, bokeh shift and ghosting reduction.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The user interface in the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer showing the three adjustments available.

Because they work at pixel level, the adjustments offered through the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer are tiny. The focus microadjustment can’t replace the AF microadjustment control in the camera’s menu, which works with an installed database of Canon’s lenses. The Dual Pixel RAW adjustments also depend on the camera’s exposure parameters. According to Canon, the best results will be obtained with lens focal length of at least 50mm and an aperture of f/5.6 or lower plus an ISO value lower than 1600.

We found it difficult to obtain images that would demonstrate each of these adjustments and our samples show just how small they are. Don’t expect to be able to correct anything beyond the smallest deviations from the desired state. But, if your exposure is very close to the mark and a small amount of fine-tuning is required after an image has been captured, as long as you have set the camera to capture Dual Pixel Raw files, they could minimise the need to re-shoot. Examples are shown below.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Focus microadjustment. The top image is a crop from the original JPEG image. Below it is a crop from the equivalent CR2.RAW file taken with the Dual Pixel RAW shooting mode. This image has been adjusted in Digital Photo Professional.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Bokeh shift. The top image is a crop from the original JPEG image. Below it is a crop from the equivalent CR2.RAW file taken with the Dual Pixel RAW shooting mode. The red rectangle outlines the area selected for adjustment.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Ghosting reduction. The image on the left is the original JPEG image. On the right is the equivalent CR2.RAW file taken with the Dual Pixel RAW shooting mode and subjected to ghosting reduction.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

This pair of flare-affected images demonstrates that the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer adjustments are unable to correct gross defects. Once again, the image on the left is the original JPEG image while the one on the right has been tweaked with the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer’s ghosting reduction adjustment.

Performance
While images from both cameras are more than adequate for printing at A3+ size, with a resolution roughly 30% higher than the 5D III’s, shots taken with the 5D IV will fit more comfortably on larger A2 paper providing more scope for photographers who like to make large prints. However, even greater gains will come from the new camera’s superior image quality, particularly with moderately high ISO settings. JPEG files straight from the camera with the default Standard Picture Style setting were very clean although somewhat subdued in colour rendition across most of the available sensitivity range. Saturation was slightly lower than we normally see in JPEGs, setting up shots very well for post-capture editing. Colour fidelity was generally very good and detail was finely rendered, although most images benefited from a little unsharp masking in post production.

Since CR2.RAW files are not yet supported in Adobe Camera Raw, our preferred raw file processor, we had to convert them into 16-bit TIFF format with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software, Version 4.5.0.0 of which is supplied with the camera. This application is superior to most proprietary raw converters and we were able to extract the expected level of resolution from the test files. Imatest showed the review camera to be capable of almost meeting expectations when JPEG files were analysed and slightly exceeding them with raw files. Resolution held up well across the camera’s ISO range, with the expected gradual decline as ISO sensitivity was increased, as shown in the graph of our test results below.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

In our after-dark test shots, the first evidence of image noise appeared between ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, with increased softening as noise-reduction processing was applied. Softening was noticeable at ISO 25,600 and increased gradually thereafter. Interestingly, the ISO 102,400 setting delivered images that would be usable at modest output sizes after unsharp masking, even though resolution had been significantly reduced. Like the Mark III, the Mark IV was capable of recording a wide range of tones in subjects with extended brightness ranges, although it didn’t cope well with extreme differences between shadows and highlights. Nevertheless, blown-out highlights were rare in JPEGs, when the Highlight Tone Priority setting was selected.

Unlike the Mark III, the Mark IV provides two auto white balance settings: ambience priority and white priority. The former is the ‘normal’ auto mode, while the latter aims to keep white areas in the subject as close to white as possible. We found the ambience priority setting came very close to producing neutral colour rendition under fluorescent lights, while the white priority setting delivered a high level of correction. Under incandescent lights, neither setting was able to correct the orange cast but the white priority setting reduced the orange cast to a noticeable degree. Pre-sets are provided for daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent and flash or you can take custom measurements or use Kelvin temperature settings. Each setting can be fine-tuned in the camera. We found the tungsten and fluorescent pre-sets tended to over-correct, although not excessively.

For our timing tests we used a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF card, along with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC U1 card. The review camera powered-up ready for shooting almost instantaneously, taking less than 0.1 seconds. When the viewfinder was used, we measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds. This delay was eliminated by pre-focusing the lens. The average delay times were similar in Live View mode, which is unusual as they tend to be slower in most DSLR cameras we’ve tested. The dual pixel AF system is a likely explanation for such good performance since capture lag is largely a result of autofocusing lag. In both modes, it took an average of 2.5 seconds to process a single JPEG file and 2.6 seconds for a raw file and 2.8 seconds for a RAW+JPEG pair, regardless of which card the images were recorded on. Shot-to-shot times with both cards averaged 2.65 seconds because in single-shot mode, the camera can’t record a shot until the previous one has been processed.

We couldn’t get the review camera to operate in the high-speed continuous shooting mode when the viewfinder was used but it worked perfectly in Live View mode. With the CF card, we were able to record 45 Large/Fine JPEGs in 6.5 seconds, which equates to 6.92 frames/second, just a whisker below the specified frame rate. It took 4.9 seconds to process this burst. For raw file capture, the camera also recorded 19 shots in 2.6 seconds, again, matching specifications. It took five seconds to process this burst.

Swapping to the SDHC card, we recorded 56 Large/Fine JPEGs in eight seconds, which equates to exactly seven frames/second. It took 8.2 seconds to process this burst. Seventeen raw files were recorded in 2.3 seconds, a frame rate of 7.4 fps. It took 13.6 seconds to complete the processing sequence.

Summing Up
Like its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV enters the market with several advantages in the form of high resolution for still pictures, 4K video recording, top-rate autofocusing, a decent continuous shooting speed and touch-screen monitor controls. To these you can add an up-to-date image processor and interesting innovations like the Dual Pixel RAW functions.

Currently, there are three other cameras that might compete with the 5D IV in this market sector, although they don’t provide the full array of benefits: Canon’s 50.6-megapixel EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R6 pair and the-megapixel Nikon D8107. We’ve reviewed two of these three cameras. Local pricing for the EOS 5Ds and Nikon D810 cameras is lower than the current p8

TESTS

Based on JPEG files:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Based on CR2.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Digital Photo Professional:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

SAMPLES

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Auto white balance ambience priority mode with incandescent lighting.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Auto white balance white priority mode with incandescent lighting.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Auto white balance ambience priority mode with fluorescent lighting.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Auto white balance white priority mode with fluorescent lighting.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 58mm focal length, 30 second exposure at f/4.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 58mm focal length, 30 second exposure at f/4.5.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 800, 58mm focal length, 20 second exposure at f/4.5.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 3200, 58mm focal length, 20 second exposure at f/9.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 6400, 58mm focal length, 13 second exposure at f/10.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 12800, 58mm focal length, 8 second exposure at f/11.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 25600, 58mm focal length, 5 second exposure at f/18.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 102400, 58mm focal length, 1 second exposure at f/9.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 105mm focal length, 1/250 second exposure at f/9.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 105mm focal length, 1/100 second exposure at f/8.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 58mm focal length, 1/125 second exposure at f/8.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 50mm focal length, 1/200 second exposure at f/11.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 105mm focal length, 1/100 second exposure at f/8.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 70mm focal length, 1/250 second exposure at f/7.1.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 92mm focal length, 1/100 second exposure at f/8.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 105mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/9.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 400, 105mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/6.3.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 45mm focal length, 1/200 second exposure at f/13.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 400, 92mm focal length, 1/320 second exposure at f/5.6.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 100mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/10.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 70mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/11.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 105mm focal length, 1/320 second exposure at f/8.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 47mm focal length, 1/125 second exposure at f/11.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 90mm focal length, 1/80 second exposure at f/5.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 200, 105mm focal length, 1/320 second exposure at f/5.6.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

ISO 100, 105mm focal length, 1/1000 second exposure at f/4.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Still frames from 4K video clip taken with MJPEG format.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Still frames from Full HD 1080 video clip taken with 50p, ALL-I compression.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Still frames from Full HD 1080 video clip taken with 50p, IPB compression.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Still frames from Full HD 1080 video clip taken with 25p, ALL-I compression.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Still frames from Full HD 1080 video clip taken with 25p, IPB compression

Rating

RRP: AU£5699; US£3499 (body only)

  • Build: 9.0
  • Ease of use: 8.8
  • Autofocusing: 9.0
  • Image quality JPEG: 8.7
  • Image quality RAW: 8.9
  • Video quality: 9.0

BUY

References

  1. ^ Log in (www.photoreview.com.au)
  2. ^ create a user account (www.photoreview.com.au)
  3. ^ First Look at the new EOS 5D Mark IV (www.photoreview.com.au)
  4. ^ 5D Mark II (www.photoreview.com.au)
  5. ^ 5D Mark III (www.photoreview.com.au)
  6. ^ 5Ds R (www.photoreview.com.au)
  7. ^ Nikon D810 (www.photoreview.com.au)
  8. ^ www.canon.com.au (www.canon.com.au)

Samsung Galaxy S6 – CNET UK

Summer ’16 update

Anointed by CNET as the “first great smartphone of 2015,” the Galaxy S6’s attractive aesthetics, first class components, and wireless charging support made it stand out from the field. Since then, Samsung introduced its successor, the Galaxy S7, to rave reviews — and the Galaxy S7 Active1, which was subverted by some inconsistent (but now improved2) waterproofing. Though the Galaxy S73 and Galaxy S7 Edge4 don’t look dramatically different than the Galaxy S65 and S6 Edge6, the newer models have expandable storage, are water-resistant, and come with bigger batteries and more powerful processors. To get a feel for how Samsung’s current top models stack up against their predecessors, check out our comparison7 of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge vs the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 5 and S6+. Bottom line: the fast, powerful, beautiful Galaxy S78 is 2016’s all-around phone to beat. But the Galaxy S6 (and its plus-sized sibling S6 Edge9) remain affordable, competent, full-featured Samsung phones that are well worth the money.

Also worth noting: Samsung has released the Galaxy Note 710, a phablet that comes equipped with an array of hot features including a 5.7-inch curved screen11, USB-C port12, and iris scanner for unlocking the phone with your eyes. And of course, there’s the forthcoming iPhone 713, expected to come in early September, and rumored to include three models — an iPhone 7, an iPhone 7 Plus, and an iPhone 7 Pro — all of which may (or may not) include a new waterproofing feature.

Editors’ note: What follows is the original review of the Samsung Galaxy S6, which was updated regularly after its publication on March 26. In April 2015, CNET designated the Galaxy S6 an Editors’ Choice Award winner. We have since lowered the rating to account for the better features and faster performance of the newer Galaxy S7 phones discussed above.

The Galaxy S6 leaves much of its Galaxy S514 DNA behind. Perhaps even more shocking than this materials about-face are the decisions to seal in the battery and leave out a microSD card slot15, both choices made in service to staying slim. These are commonplace omissions in the smartphone sphere16, but Samsung has been a die-hard defendant of both the removable battery and the extra storage option, until now. It’s a move that makes a difference, too, at least on the power front. The S6’s ticker ran down faster than last year’s S5 did on a single charge. In many ways, Samsung had no choice but to adopt this svelte, metal chassis and a pared-down, less “bloated” variation of Android 5.0 Lollipop17. (Note that in February 2016 Samsung begun to roll out Android 6.0118 Marshmallow to the Galaxy S6, bringing with it a number of new features including Google Now on Tap19, “doze” mode for automatic extended battery life, support for Android Pay20 and more.) These moves silence customer complaints about the Galaxy S521‘s (and the S4’s and S3’s) plasticky build22, while also girding Samsung against staggering iPhone23 profits and an army of decent low-cost rivals from Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei. Luckily for Samsung, the S6 is good enough to win back straying fans while also surpassing the all-metal HTC One M924 in extra features, battery life and camera quality.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UKThe Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: can you tell the two apart? Josh Miller/CNET

On top of that, Samsung’s S6 follows Apple’s mobile payments lead with Samsung Pay25, and takes a chance on its sturdy and home-made Exynos processor (versus the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 that will be found in most of its high-end Android26 rivals). The S6 also bakes in wireless charging support and compatibility with a new version of the Gear VR virtual-reality accessory27 — two features you won’t find on any iPhone. Does the new phone have enough in the way of looks and specs to reverse Samsung’s sagging smartphone sales28? Without a doubt. Samsung continues to build on its camera strengths while also offering interesting extras its Android rivals don’t have. The only real danger is in longtime fans of microSD cards and removable batteries29 punishing Samsung by finding vendors that do. Samsung’s hardware has long stood up to the iPhone; at long last, its physical design does, too.

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: Two devices, one family

If straight-sided phones are too vanilla for your tastes, check out my review of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge30 and its wraparound display. While the two share nearly identical specs, the Edge kicks the S6’s premium feel up a notch.

Design: Metal and glass; plastic be damned

With a matte aluminum alloy frame and Gorilla Glass 431 on the front and back, the S6 lives worlds apart from the plastic construction of five generations of Galaxy flagships. It’s obvious that this is a different beast, and one for which fans have been crying out for years. Samsung didn’t get here overnight. It built on the metal-framed Note 4 and more midrange Galaxy Alpha32, before experimenting with all-metal chassis in the youth-focused Galaxy A5 and A333.

So, let’s talk about this silhouette. The S6 has Samsung’s familiar pill shape, with rounded tops and bottoms and straighter sides. The power button and nano-SIM card slot sit on the right spine. A micro-USB charging port and headset jack live on the bottom, and the left spine houses separate up-and-down volume buttons, just like the iPhone 634. A central, metal-ringed home button joins two capacitive keys for calling up recent apps and paging back. A terrific new feature lets you double-tap the home button to launch the camera at any time, even when the phone is locked (though that takes a little longer). Samsung has also improved the fingerprint scanner, which you can use to securely unlock the phone; instead of dragging your digit down across a sensor, you now just rest it on the home button. It’s fast and reliable on the whole. On the back, you’ll find the 16-megapixel camera (same as the Note 4), and a sensor array that includes the camera’s LED flash and heart-rate monitor. Up top, the IR blaster beams out infrared for folks who want to use their phones as a TV remote.

A few niggly negatives: the camera protrudes a bit from the back, which some may not like, and the phone’s glass surfaces become a smudge gallery for your finest fingerprints. And unlike the S5, the S6 isn’t waterproof.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

The sleeker, metal S6 and plastic S5, side by side. Josh Miller/CNET

In-hand feel

The Galaxy S6 feels far more fluid and thin than it looks in photos, especially compared with the slightly chunkier Galaxy S5. Next to its designer cousin, it’s the S6 Edge that feels much slimmer than the S6, despite its being a hair thicker at its chubbiest point.

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge dimensions

Galaxy S6 Galaxy S6 Edge Dimensions (inches) 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.27 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.28 Dimensions (millimeters) 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0 Weight (ounces) 4.9 4.6 Weight (grams) 138 132

Because of its straight edges, the S6 isn’t as smooth or seamless as the iPhone 6 with its rounded sides, but without a case, the S6 is easier of the two to grip. Keep in mind that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is also smaller all-around than the 5.1-inch S6. While we’re on the topic, the S6 looks too much like the iPhone 6 to ignore. Its footprint may be larger and it sides might be straighter, but the shape and placement of things like the headset jack, speaker grille and volume buttons are shockingly similar when you see two devices side by side. Even the color of the white phones is matchy-matchy, with nearly indistinguishable shades of matte silver trim. Notably, the S6 packaging includes tear drop-shaped in-ear headphones that look like the next evolution in the iPhone’s Apple EarPods35.

Some color, lots of flash

Although the colors are fairly staid — both models comes in platinum gold in addition to sapphire black and white pearl — Samsung injects shots of color into the lineup with topaz blue, which is really pretty if it catches the light, and just looks black or generically dark if it doesn’t. (The S6 Edge, meanwhile, tries on emerald green.)

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

The S6 and S6 Edge each get one startling new color. Josh Miller/CNET

The incredibly reflective rear surface flashes color and throws back light. Samsung says this is to add depth and warmth, but the skeptic in me notes that relentless reflectance gets annoying to look at. (The white version minimizes this effect, but it’s still apparent outdoors.)

Display so crisp it hurts

Even though Samsung hasn’t bumped up the screen’s 5.1-inch size, it has spiked the resolution of its AMOLED display to 2,560×1,440 pixels, a density of 577 pixels per inch (ppi), currently the best on the market. Now come the inevitable questions: can the human eye really appreciate detail that fine, and is the higher resolution worth the likely impact on battery life?

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

It’s a good thing Samsung kept the S6’s size in check. Josh Miller/CNET

The answer — predictably, unsatisfyingly — is yes and no. I grabbed an extra pair of eyeballs and placed the S6 side-by-side with the iPhone 6 (326ppi), Note Edge36 (525ppi) and Sony Xperia Z337 (424ppi). After staring at streaming videos, zoomed-in text and HD wallpaper, the S6 edged the rest only when we squinted really, really, really hard. The S6’s screen quality prowess was most apparent against the (poorer) Xperia Z3 in streaming video clarity and saturation, and less so against the iPhone 6. The Note Edge, which shares a 1440p resolution on a larger screen, came the closest to the S6 in terms of flawlessness. Ironically, some of the revamped icons on the S6 home page look less focused, though every other graphic is razor-sharp.

If you plan on using the S6 in its Gear VR38 accessory — which turns it into an Oculus Rift-style virtual reality helmet — the extra resolution should really pay off because the S6 will be only a couple of inches from your eyes. But in normal everyday use, the S6’s nosebleed-high screen pixel density is probably too exact for most eyes to notice; it’s an imposing feature on paper, but less critical in real life.

Softer software

In advance of the March 2016 rollout of the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung pushed Android 6.039 Marshmallow to Galaxy S6 users. Android 6.0 Marshmallow includes new features including Google Now on Tap40, “doze” mode for automatic extended battery life, support for Android Pay41 and more. Read more about Android 6.0 Marshmallow here.42

For years, customers have bemoaned the thick, heavy TouchWiz interface that Samsung uses as its custom layer over Android. No longer. Samsung’s take on Android 5.0 Lollipop43 scales back its own additions and leans heavily on Google’s Material design. Samsung succeeds in embracing a simpler layout without shedding all the software it’s built over the years, though Android deserves much of that credit for providing the framework.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Quickly disable or delete apps from the app tray. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The setup process is a lot smoother, thanks to Lollipop, with tutorials to help you turn on features (like S Voice and fingerprint scanning) along the way. I usually make new phones completely silent, since chirps and haptic vibrations annoy me, but Samsung toned both down to acceptable Windows Phone levels.

Samsung has also whittled down the menus. Multiwindow mode, for split-screen viewing, still lets you open two programs at once, but instead of toggling it on yourself and selecting from a pop-out menu, it’s always on and launchable from the Recents tray. You can still drag and resize these windows, even turning them into floating bubbles, like in the Note 4.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

An embedded battery helps keep these handsets lean. Josh Miller/CNET

Other mainstays include private mode and call blocking, easy mode and Do Not Disturb, as well as popular gestures (like Direct Call) and Smart Stay. An area for installing themes has also materialized (there are three in my review unit so far). Kids Mode (and many, many others) hide out in the Galaxy Apps app, but other erstwhile tools, like the S5’s floating Toolbox of shortcuts, get the boot. Here’s another axed power-user feature: a fuller list of quick-access controls and settings that you see when pulling down the notifications shade with two fingers. Doing this brings down the same shade as swiping down with a single digit.

Preloaded apps

A few folders prepopulated by vendor apps buttresses the simplified look. There’s a bucket of Google apps and services, and one for new partner Microsoft44 (this folder has Skype and OneDrive, for instance). Bonus: you can edit the folder color. As for preloaded apps, a few Samsung programs remain, like Milk music and video and S Health, which are Samsung’s answers to the iTunes45 Store and Apple Health46, respectively. S Voice is another constant. To get more Samsung apps and partner apps, you’ll need to open a shortcut and select them from the buckets marked Galaxy Essentials and Galaxy Gifts. One such Gift is Fleksy47, a keyboard alternative that will come free with all S6 phones.

Some unwanted preinstalls are easier to disable than others (press Edit on the app tray), but you won’t be able to jettison them completely48. Default Android 5.0 might allow this; Samsung does not.

Extras: Fingernail sensitivity, parallax built-in

Samsung doesn’t crow about it, but it looks like high screen sensitivity, an option on previous Galaxies, is built into the S6’s display. Although the option has disappeared from the Settings menu, I was able to navigate the screen (but not the soft keys) using only my nail. Not so for my fuzzy chenille glove, though it should work with a more fitted leather variety. Some of the preloaded S6 wallpaper gives you a small parallax effect when you rotate the screen from side to side; the background shifts slightly while icons remain in place. I noticed the effect on two wallpapers. It offers a tiny bit of extra dimension. You can obtain the same visuals with wallpapers on other phones.

Mobile payments up ahead

That improved fingerprint reader we talked about above isn’t only for unlocking the phone. It also sets the S6 up for making mobile payments using Samsung Pay, which launches this summer in the US and South Korea. Although we’re not sure which markets it’ll work in next, we do know how it’ll work — here’s our hands-on with Samsung Pay49. In the meantime, you can use Google Pay (with the S6’s built-in NFC, or near-field communication, technology), or a variety of other payment apps50. (Install Google Wallet, turn on NFC, and presto: Google Wallet appears in the NFC and Payment submenu under “Tap and Pay.”)

Camera action

A 16-megapixel camera juts out slightly from the phones’ back, sporting the same resolution we see on its big brother, 2014’s Galaxy Note 451. The lens itself gets an upgrade over the Galaxy S5, to f/1.9, from the S5’s f/2.2 rear camera.

The S6 and S6 Edge become the second wave of Samsung phones to include optical image stabilization (after the Note 4 and Note Edge), which should help smooth out shaky hand shots. A new auto-HDR (high dynamic range) feature means you won’t have to stop to improve certain scenes, like landscapes. It’ll automatically adjust white balance, too.

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

Samsung Galaxy S6 - CNET UK

You can take selfies with this 16-megapixel camera, which also has optical image stabilization. Josh Miller/CNET

On the front, Samsung installs a 5-megapixel shooter for wide-angle selfies, promising improved low-light photos. As with the Note 4, you can shoot a selfie by tapping the sensor on the back of the phone, and you can download a separate Samsung shooting mode that’ll take a self-portrait from the phone’s rear camera.

Lay of the land, extra modes

The native camera app looks clean and simple (and similar to that of the HTC One M952, probably because of the common Android 5.0 denominator).

References

  1. ^ Galaxy S7 Active (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ now improved (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ Galaxy S7 (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ Galaxy S7 Edge (www.cnet.com)
  5. ^ Galaxy S6 (www.cnet.com)
  6. ^ S6 Edge (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ comparison (www.cnet.com)
  8. ^ Galaxy S7 (www.cnet.com)
  9. ^ S6 Edge (www.cnet.com)
  10. ^ Samsung has released the Galaxy Note 7 (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ 5.7-inch curved screen (www.cnet.com)
  12. ^ USB-C port (www.cnet.com)
  13. ^ forthcoming iPhone 7 (www.cnet.com)
  14. ^ Galaxy S5 (www.cnet.com)
  15. ^ seal in the battery and leave out a microSD card slot (www.cnet.com)
  16. ^ commonplace omissions in the smartphone sphere (www.cnet.com)
  17. ^ Android 5.0 Lollipop (www.cnet.com)
  18. ^ Android 6.01 (www.cnet.com)
  19. ^ Google Now on Tap (www.cnet.com)
  20. ^ support for Android Pay (www.cnet.com)
  21. ^ Galaxy S5 (www.cnet.com)
  22. ^ plasticky build (www.cnet.com)
  23. ^ iPhone (www.cnet.com)
  24. ^ HTC One M9 (www.cnet.com)
  25. ^ Samsung Pay (www.cnet.com)
  26. ^ Android (www.cnet.com)
  27. ^ new version of the Gear VR virtual-reality accessory (www.cnet.com)
  28. ^ Samsung’s sagging smartphone sales (www.cnet.com)
  29. ^ longtime fans of microSD cards and removable batteries (www.cnet.com)
  30. ^ check out my review of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge (www.cnet.com)
  31. ^ Gorilla Glass 4 (www.cnet.com)
  32. ^ Galaxy Alpha (www.cnet.com)
  33. ^ Galaxy A5 and A3 (www.cnet.com)
  34. ^ iPhone 6 (www.cnet.com)
  35. ^ Apple EarPods (www.cnet.com)
  36. ^ Note Edge (www.cnet.com)
  37. ^ Sony Xperia Z3 (www.cnet.com)
  38. ^ Gear VR (www.cnet.com)
  39. ^ Android 6.0 (www.cnet.com)
  40. ^ Google Now on Tap (www.cnet.com)
  41. ^ support for Android Pay (www.cnet.com)
  42. ^ Android 6.0 Marshmallow here (www.cnet.com)
  43. ^ Android 5.0 Lollipop (www.cnet.com)
  44. ^ new partner Microsoft (www.cnet.com)
  45. ^ iTunes (www.cnet.com)
  46. ^ Apple Health (www.cnet.com)
  47. ^ Fleksy (www.cnet.com)
  48. ^ but you won’t be able to jettison them completely (www.cnet.com)
  49. ^ hands-on with Samsung Pay (www.cnet.com)
  50. ^ variety of other payment apps (www.cnet.com)
  51. ^ Galaxy Note 4 (www.cnet.com)
  52. ^ HTC One M9 (www.cnet.com)

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