back to article Clue's in the name: Samsung's next Galaxy Note line captures scrawls with responsive stylus then punts them over to a PC

Samsung has unveiled two new models of its Galaxy Note smartphone and made sure they're really good at helping you to take notes. The new Note20 and Note20 Ultra have all the qualities you'd expect from a premium handset: bright screens, gleaming clusters of lenses that power cunning cameras, bountiful batteries and enough …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Biometrics crap like the S20?

    I had to replace my Galaxy S7 with a Galaxy S20+ three weeks ago, and the biometrics (fingerprint scanner, etc) on the S20+ are complete crap compared to the old S7. After a few days, the S20+ can't recognize my fingerprints nor face, and has to be redone. It's such a pain I just turned off all of the biometrics last week. GPS is crap as well. Seems to keep thinking my home is moving randomly about a quarter of a mile per day. Given the Note line has the same rubbish in it under the hood, I would expect it to be equally crappy.

    1. sorry, what?

      Re: Biometrics crap like the S20?

      I suffered crap GPS on my S5 Mini, but had perfect GPS on my S7 and great GPS on my S10e. Other S5 Mini users didn't have GPS woes.

      My S7 and S10e device biometrics both work(ed) well.

      Sounds like you have a duff device and you should get it exchanged.

    2. cb7

      Re: Biometrics crap like the S20?

      Face unlock on the S10e is so rubbish, my son, less than half my age, managed to unlock my phone by looking at it. And that's with slower "more accuracy" turned on.

      I've had to go back to fingerprint unlock.

      Oh & I hate the new on screen "virtual buttons". Especially when they don't stay on screen despite what the settings say.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2/10

    I just watched their "Samsung Unpacked" video, my teeth are gritting.

    For example, "The AI makes the latency 9ms, said Token, while reading the autocue. It predicts where the pen will be and coupled to the new 120hz refresh rate makes the pen more responsive, blah blah blah..."

    No, the tablet can track the pen, and even 30hz would look smooth if you tracked it properly. Android does everything with bitmaps, so every view has a bitmap it renders into, and these are composited into a single bitmap on the screen. Bitmap is blitted onto bitmap, sometimes hundreds deep, stacking them up into a single bitmap that is rendered onto the screen. Gigabytes of bitmaps are composited on the screen 50 times a second as you move the pen. Of course the hardware cannot do that and it slows down, so it can refresh 10 or 5 times a second. The redraw does not keep up with the pen. Tracking the pen is trivial, updating the screen to reflect where the pen moves is extremely difficult in Android.

    Worse the redraw is single threaded, all of this compositing is done on the one thread on the one core.

    The fix is to only update the tiny rectangles changed as the pen moves, but if any bitmap in the stack *might* have completely changed (programmers are lazy they call Refresh too often), then the whole stack ends up being composited onto the screen. A screen can be 16MB, and 50 layers would be 800 Mb, so, worst case, nearly 1GB of data is composited on the screen, 50 times a second.

    50GB a second? Too much data, it cannot keep up.

    You see why graphics cards have such high bandwidths and why Android refreshes can be slow?

    How would I fix that?

    Well redraw is on one thread, so I cannot multi-thread that one-and-only redraw, but the pen can be tracked by a separate thread so I can track it very accurately very quickly. The screen will lag but the pen will track properly. That won't look good in videos, but it is a sort of fix. Not one marketing will like.

    I can also fix the redraw and aggressively force the tiniest rectangle to redraw, and the wider rectangle that I am less certain needs updating? Well I can refresh that at a slower rate. That would be better, but complicated and would have temporary artifacts, and does not appear to have been done.

    No, instead, they seem to have estimated where the next point will be, done the full redraw. If the full redraw takes 100ms, and I can estimate roughly where the pen will be in the range 91ms to 109 ms, then I can claim a refresh rate of 9ms. I am estimating where it will be when my redraw finishes, and as long as I'm approximately correct it will appear to be responsive.

    Only sometimes my estimate will be spectacularly wrong.

    So many things in the Samsung unpacked annoyed me. It seems they are guessing as to what users might want, and disinterested focus groups are telling them where they should head and their hacks are nasty.

    Please tell me that connecting the keyboard to a tablet doesn't switch the tablet into Dex mode?, as if you want everything to change when you put it into its keyboard!!!??? I was literally using the tablet and now suddenly, connect a keyboard the fucking thing totally changes into a poor Windows copy? WHY?

    / late / rant

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2/10

      "I just watched their "Samsung Unpacked" video, my teeth are gritting.

      For example, "The AI makes the latency 9ms, said Token..."

      TR;DR

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "the noise-cancelling can tell the difference between ambient noise and chat directed at wearers."

    Isn't the latter part of the former?

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Pint

      Not if they are asking, "What would you like to drink?"

  4. hughbp

    Continuity?

    The app integration from device to device, sounds a bit like Apple’s “”Continuity” & “Handoff” feature that they’ve had since at least 2014?

    https://www.apple.com/au/macos/continuity/

  5. David 132 Silver badge

    Longevity

    From the article:

    “My impression was that both are lovely handsets that will offer years of service...”

    ...and about 6 months, if you’re lucky, of updates and security patches.

    Or am I being unfair to Samsung?

    1. sorry, what?
      Unhappy

      Re: Longevity

      ... a little unfair. You get three years if you buy the device at launch date, but how many people do that?

  6. AlastairBlakey

    Standard File dialogs for Android?

    That's silly talk. Giving Android standard file dialogs, so users could choose which directory and file to open or save? That's madness. It would be "helpful", which is the antithesis of Google UI design, under which apps are rated highest for maximum user-hostility.

  7. AlastairBlakey

    Samsung's Note app desperately needs "add" and "remove" horizontal space function.

    12 pages into taking some notes, I realise I need to add a paragraph on page 1. In any sane world, the app would offer functionality to "move everything after this point down by n centimetres".

    Then, when I'd added my paragraph, I could close up the notes by "moving everything up by n cm after this point".

    Compare with Windows Journal. Samsung are being plain unhelpful by not adding this functionality.

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