Well it’s time to get some posting underway for 2021 (other than rail maps) so here is a brief run down of a recent acquisition, a Samsung Galaxy A12 phone. This model was released late last year so there is relatively little information available for it on a lot of sites. The example mentioned here was obtained from PBTech who have featured it in their Waitangi Day sales specials and it also appears on Noel Leeming’s site at the same special price. These phones are distinctive for their quad rear camera which provides several different lenses such as wide angle and macro, in addition to a front facing camera. Basic specs are 4 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM, dual sim, SD card slot, Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI. It could possibly be expected this model will update to Android 11 when it becomes available although currently unconfirmed.
Posts on my previous computing blog, the posts from which should soon be imported to this blog for the sake of continuity, have panned Samsung as a manufacturer of Android phones because of their own platform being pushed over vanilla Android and phones like Motos and Google Nexus were the general preference until it became obvious that vanilla Android is a license for Google to dominate. Samsung itself has every desire to go head to head with Apple as the big cheese of mobile and in order to achieve their goals, their bad blood with Google definitely helps to keep dominance over the latter. Hence it is nice to buy a Samsung phone and get one that only has a minimum of apps installed and from a manufacturer that is definitely out to keep Google in their place.
Previously a Nexus 5X with Lineage OS sufficed, and a PinePhone running KDE has been considered an option and is still a possible contender in the future, but right now the Samsung is going to achieve desirable outcomes with only the apps needed on it, all the more to keep some modicum of privacy which is pretty hard to achieve on Android because of Google’s sustained and concerted efforts to suck as much blood as possible out of their end users in the name of gigantic profits and highly dubious ethics, generally known as “surveillance capitalism”.
The A12 has a nice big display around 6.5″ diagonal making it the biggest ever owned by myself and almost crossing over into the phabled phablet territory yet it is no wider than anything else I ever had, this is because the form factor is now stretched to 20:9 making it extra tall but still very practical to hold in the hand. Samsung have certainly listened to criticism about the number of apps under their own name as well as others which are included on a phone by default. There are only about 35 installed including the Google ones out of the box so it doesn’t push Facebook / Instagram or other stuff you may not want to use onto you. However Samsung has stepped back from providing alternatives to Gmail as it did in the past but this is not really an issue as I have deliberately avoided having email on the phone and at present are not considering using it. In any case I use a special Google account only for my phones and tablets that isn’t linked with any of my regular email addresses and may well consider setting up an account just for use with this phone with ProtonMail with forwarding from one or two of my other accounts… or maybe do nothing.
Apart from the aforementioned quad camera on the back, which gives the phone quite a distinctive appearance although it may be a copy of an Iphone feature, there is a fingerprint reader which is somewhat different in being integrated into the power button on the side, and whilst perhaps a little hard to get used to, does a very good job of integrating these two functions and making the phone easy to unlock. The A12 comes with a USB-C socket and having its own special charger that can supply up to 15 watts makes for fast charging, although it does not support wireless charging, since Samsung wants people to pay a premium for higher spec Galaxy models to access this feature. There is a 5000mAh battery installed and it will be some time before I can get a handle on battery life. This model apart from black is also available in white which I purchased, and Samsung also offers blue worldwide but I have not seen this colour advertised with retailers here so it may not be available in NZ. The main camera has an incredible-sounding 48 megapixel capability but how it compares with 24 high quality MP on the EOS M100 remains to be seen although there is obviously a large difference in form factor. Overall I would say this phone fits well with my overall philosophy of not spending more than $400 on a phone (this came in at $299) whilst trying to get as much performance as possible for a handful of specialised uses rather than everyday communications / social media.
Finally this blog now looks a little different. The Twenty Twenty One theme is now being rolled out across all Converser.nz blogs for a more uniform appearance and with a template that supports all the latest WordPress functionality.