Yes Virginia, there is a Nokia ... and there is a new phone

Subject: Mobile | July 16, 2018 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: nokia 6.1, nokia, HMD, android 8.1

Ah Nokia, what a strange life you have lived.  You went from being the eminent cellphone company, to a cell company that didn't actually make any phones, to being purchased and decimated by Microsoft to being taken over by a Finnish company called HMD Global.  Ars Technica delves into the story behind how all this happened, as well as reviewing the actual phone in this article.  The Nokia 6.1 will cost you ~$270 all told and it's 1080p 5.5" screen is powered by the popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of local storage.  There is a microSD slot to expand this and not only is there a Type-C USB port it also has a headphone jack which leaves that USB port open for use.  

Also worth noting is that it runs vanilla Android 8.1, no fancy skins or weird enhancements!

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"Enter HMD's Nokia phones, an entire lineup of cheap smartphones ranging from $100 to $400. HMD recently launched the second generation of its lineup, with phones like the Nokia 2.1, 3.1, and 5.1. We recently spent time with the highest end phone in this series that happens to be one of the few HMD devices for sale in the US: the Nokia 6.1."

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Source: Ars Technica

A shiny new tablet from Acer, the Chromebook Tab 10

Subject: Mobile | June 29, 2018 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: Chromebook, acer, tablet, chrome os, Tab 10

Featuring a 9.7" 2048×1536 IPS touchscreen powered by a Mali T860, an OP1 which is a dual-core Cortex A72 and quad-core Cortex A53 with 4GB LPDDR3 and 34GB of local storage the $330 Acer Tab 10 sounds quite interesting.  The performance of the OP1 chip falls behind the pack, falling behind even the Tab S3 however this extends the battery life, Ars Technica saw it last 651 minutes in their WiFi test.   Along with the tablet you get a Wacom stylus, which is effective for note taking and simple sketches, though the tablet does not offer real time writing to text which could be a turn off.  Also worth mentioning is the USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port that charges the tablet but can also be used for data transfer or connecting to an external monitor.

It might not be great for architects and artists but for a student this might be a great low cost mobile tool.

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"Chrome OS took over schools with clamshells, but now Google is shaking things up with slabs. After a spring announcement, Acer has built the first Chrome OS tablet, the $329 Chromebook Tab 10, to give teachers and students a more flexible device to use for schoolwork both in and out of the classroom."

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Source: Ars Technica

MSI slips on a suit, the WS63 8SJ mobile workstation

Subject: Mobile | June 8, 2018 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: WS63 8SJ, mobile workstation, msi

Inside the svelte 4.2lb, 0.7" thick chassis of the W63 8SJ laptop is an i7-8750H with 32GB of DDR4-2400, a 512-GB Samsung PM981 NVMe SSD and most importantly an NVIDIA Quadro P2000 GPU.  The 15.6" IPS screen is 1080p and the bottom of the laptop is, well, coated in microfleece.  The performance of the laptop was decent but doesn't hold up to thicket workstation class laptops which are able to fit more RAM and cooling in.  The Tech Report were also less than satisfied with the Thunderbolt 3 implementation on the W63, which you can read more about here.

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"I took a walk on the wild side and picked up a mobile workstation not made by HP, Dell, or Lenovo with MSI's W63 8SJ. Will my impatience lead to regret, or have I discovered a new notebook contender for my on-the-go CAD users?"

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This is your Yoga on tiger blood; Intel's dual display demo duo

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2018 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: Tiger Rapids, Intel, kaby lake

Recently seen in the Lenovo Yoga devices, mobile devices with dual screens are attracting attention but so far the implementation has not been without troubles.  Intel showed off two prototype machines at Computex that they believe will offer what this segment of customers is looking for.  The Tiger Rapids machine has a conventional touchscreen on one side and some sort of electronic paper display on the other, which has a bit of give to it so that using a stylus on it gives you some tactile feedback.  It is powered by a Kaby Lake processor of some description, with an SSD and the unfortunately common lone USB Type-C port on it.  At 4.7mm thin it is a fairly impressive design. 

Their second does not bear a code name but resembles the Yoga as it has two traditional touchscreens with one generally displaying a keyboard.   We don't know much about them, but you can take a peek at them over at The Inquirer.

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"The first machine codenamed Tiger Rapids - this is Intel after all - mixes one touchscreen panel with an electronic paper display designed specifically for note taking and stylus scribbling, even coming with a slight give to simulate writing on paper."

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Source: The Inquirer

ASUS reveals the new ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 at Computex

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2018 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: xenbook, UX580, thunderbolt 3, pantone, asus

ASUS revealed their new Xenbook, with its new ScreenPad and NanoEdge bezels, which give this laptop an 83% screen-to-body ratio.  You will be able to get a variety of models, including a 4k alternative for those who can't stand 1080p anymore. 

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Inside you will find a processor of up to an i9-8950HK, 16GB of DDR4-2400, a GTX 1050 Ti and a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD.  The 15.6" screen is PANTONE vaildated with guaranteed Delta-E colour difference of less than 2.0 for the 4K display model and less than 3.0 for the 1080p, as well as 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB coverage. 

UX580 Webpage_02.jpg

The ScreenPad is a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, replacing a standard touchpad with support for up to to four finger gestures.  As it is more capable than the run of the mill touchpad, ASUS included a configureable menu at the top of the ScreenPad, which can perform a variety of tricks.  If you are using a compatible Microsoft Office product the menu will offer you various ribbon commands, or you can control your YouTube and Spotify sessions.  If you prefer you can also use it as a secondary monitor or use the ASUS Sync app to display and control your smartphone.

This adds up to a powerful little machine, with a reported MSRP of $2300.   Now have some PR ...

Source: ASUS

Computex 2018: ASUS Unleashes ROG Phone for Serious Mobile Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 5, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, gaming, mobile gaming, game streaming, Gigabit LTE, computex 2018, computex

In addition to the usual Republic of Gamers branded gear, ASUS unveiled the new ROG Phone at Computex which is a high-end Android device aimed at gamers that extends the ROG brand to mobile devices. The new ROG Phone packs a ton of hardware into a six-inch smartphone that can double as a portable gaming machine and is complete with the requisite aggressive ROG aesthetics especially around back where, yes, there is even configurable RGB.

Asus ROG Phone.jpg

ASUS’ new smartphone measures 158.8mm x 76.2mm x 8.6mm (6.25”x3”x0.34”) and weighs in at 200g (0.44 lbs). The device is black with white accents drawing aggressive angles on back along with vents for cooling and both Republic of Gamers branding and a configurable RGB ROG logo. The front of the phone looks fairly standard with a large 6” 18:9 AMOLED display taking up most of the front face and surrounded by dual front facing SmartAmp speakers that can reportedly get quite loud according to the various hands on videos online. The display has a resolution of 2160 x 1080, a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a 1ms response time, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and is rated at 108.6% of the DCI-P3 color space. A dedicated image processing chip handles HDR support and the ability of the display to boost the local contrast of certain areas of the display.

As for cameras, there is an 8MP camera in front and dual cameras around back with a main 12MP camera and a 8MP 120-degree wide angle camera.

One interesting thing as far as I/O is that the phone has two USB-C ports with one in the usual spot on the bottom edge and one on the left edge to make using it in landscape mode easier. The included AeroActive cooler can plug into this port and blow air onto the back of the phone to help cool it and your fingertips while also breaking the USB-C port out into a USB-C and 3.5mm headphone jack. As far as audio, ASUS’ ROG Phone supports Dolby DTS Headphone 7.1 virtual surround sound and Qualcomm aptX for wired and Bluetooth headphones respectively.

Asus has also placed ultrasonic buttons around the edges with two on the left edge corners and one on the bottom right edge that can be used as triggers while in landscape mode for gaming or to do usual Android stuff like taking photos or launching an app.

As far as internal specifications, Asus managed to work out a deal with Qualcomm for binned Snapdragon 845 chips that can run all eight Kryo 385 CPU cores at 2.96 GHz (+160 MHz over stock). The Snapdragon 845 processor also contains the Adreno 630 GPU, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, Qualcomm SPU, Aqstic audio, Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and 802.11ad Wi-Fi. The chip also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 though I’m not sure which level Asus has enabled as Asus is calling it HyperCharge (up to 20W with the charging IC in the adapter to reduce phone temps). The SD845 is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage. The ROG Phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged to 60% in 33 minutes or 85% in an hour with the included charger. The USB-C ports reportedly only support USB 2.0, however so no USB 3 speeds when transferring files – I suppose Asus needs to at least try to keep the pricing in check! Wireless I/O includes 802.11ad 60GHz Wi-Fi, 802.11ac 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz 2x2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and Gigabit LTE.

ASUS ROG Gaming Phone.jpg

ASUS is using a copper heat spreader as well as a 3D vapor chamber to keep the phone cool while gaming and to keep the Snapdragon 845’s CPU and GPU clocked as high as possible for as long as possible. For the serious mobile gamer wanting to keep the frame rates up there is also the clip on AeroActive cooler or “enhanced cooling” in the TwinView dock.

Speaking of docks, ASUS wants gamers to be able to get serious with the ROG Phone by plugging it into docks that will be sold separately. The TwinView dock adds a second display (that is reportedly identical to the AMOLED on the phone itself), physical trigger buttons, and a 6,000 mAh battery while the Mobile Desktop Dock turns the ROG Phone into a portable computer by allowing you to hook it up to a 4K display, keyboard and mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1 channel speakers, and other USB peripherals. For those wanting to game on the big screen to share games with friends there is also a WiGig dock and compatibility with the third-party Game Vice controller that turns the ROG Phone into something resembling the Nintendo Switch with joystick and physical buttons on either side.

The ROG Phone is packed with enough hardware to make it competitive with other high-end smartphones as well as the other gaming-focused phone offerings from Razer, Xiaomi, and other entrants to this market. At launch Asus has the docks and accessories down, but pricing is going to be a major concern as the phone itself is not going to be cheap and after adding the docks it might be equivalent to a budget DIY PC build (well before the GPU and RAM price spikes I guess)! On the other hand, it would be a powerful mobile device for running emulators and Fortnite and PUBG are on mobile now (heh) so maybe there is a market serious enough about mobile gaming willing to pay a premium for the ROG Phone.

What do you think? Will you be picking up the ROG Phone?

If you are curious Hardware Canucks and Austin Evans were able to get some hands-on time with the phone and some of the accessories in Taipei, Taiwan.

The ROG Phone is slated for release later this summer with specific pricing not yet available.

Source: Asus

Fancy the underdog? HTC has the new U12+ available

Subject: Mobile | May 28, 2018 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: htc, U12+, smartphone

HTC has been having Nokia-like difficulties in the smartphone market, but they refuse to give up ... perhaps because of what Microsoft did to Nokia. That hasn't stopped them from putting out new phones, and interesting ones at that.  The camera on this phone is almost, but not quite as good as the one found on the new Pixel but The Register found the overall performance and features of the HTC to be superior and significantly better priced.  Check out their hands on review here.

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"HTC's only flagship smartphone of 2018 – the U12+ – looks like a sensibly priced alternative to the Pixel and Galaxy, without the eccentricities and flaws of the Huawei P20 Pro."

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Source: The Register

A new year means a new Yoga 920

Subject: Mobile | May 22, 2018 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: Yoga 920, Lenovo, yoga, Kaby Lake R

Lenovo has been updating their Yoga lineup for more than a few years now, with the 920 model being one of the more popular models in recent years.   This refresh keeps the same body and watchband hinge, instead the updates are all hidden inside.  The base model features a Kaby Lake R Core i7-8550U, 8 GB of DDR4-2400, a 256GB NVMe SSD and a 1080p display, these can be upgraded to 8 GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe drive and a 4k display if you so choose.  Regardless of the display you choose, the touchscreen has been developed by Wacom and offers 4096 levels of sensitivity which makes grabbing a stylus a very good idea, though including one would have been even better.

Take a look at Techgage's full review to see how the new Yoga 920 performs as well as more details about the included features.

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"Lenovo’s Yoga series has long been respected for its notebooks’ ability to bend to your will, and the 920 (14) proves to be one of the best models the series has seen. With its incredibly sturdy design, sharp watchband hinge, super-thin frame, and beautiful aesthetics, the Yoga 920 is the ultralight 2-in-1 to consider."

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Source: Techgage

Google, Qualcomm Partner for Faster Android P Upgrade Adoption

Subject: Mobile | May 9, 2018 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon, sd636, sd 845, sd 660, qualcomm, android p

It's no secret that one of the easiest to point out critiques of Android is the lack of major software updates for the majority of handsets. While this has gotten slightly better over the years, new Android releases still take a substantial amount of time to roll out to existing phones, if they do at all.

However, with Android 8.0 (Oreo), Google began to address some of the core technical issues preventing phone manufacturers from quickly releasing software updates through an initiative they call Project Treble.

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Essentially, Project Treble decouples the Android Operating System from the proprietary software bits such as drivers needed to provide support for a given SoC. Instead, Android 8.0 and up moves the SoC support to a separate software layer, which a vendor like Qualcomm can universally implement for their SoCs and pass to a handset maker, instead of needing to be implemented into software updates for each specific model of phone.

Qualcomm announced earlier this week that they have been working with Google ahead of the Android P developer preview release to "pre-integrate" support for the next version of the operating system with Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices, specifically devices with Snapdragon 845, 660 and 636.

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We are already starting to see some of this work pay off, with an expanded list of devices that are already compatible with the Android P developer preview, as compared to previous Android betas.

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In addition to the standard Google development devices, the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL, other various other phone makers are rolling out options to enroll in the Android P developer preview program, including:

  • Essential Phone (Snapdragon 835)
  • Nokia 7 Plus (Snapdragon 660)
  • Oppo R15 Pro (Snapdragon 660)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 (Snapdragon 845)
  • Vivo X21 & X21UD (Snapdragon 660)
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S (Snapdragon 845)

Despite Qualcomm's work with Google on Android P "pre-integration", the ball remains in the court of OEMs like Samsung, and carriers to push these updates through to consumers.

Source: Qualcomm

Microsoft releases 64-bit SDK for Windows on Arm platforms

Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 8, 2018 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: windows on snapdragon, windows on arm, microsoft, 64-bit

During the Microsoft BUILD developer conference, the Windows initiative for Qualcomm and Arm processors got a much needed shot in the arm (heh) with announced support for a 64-bit SDK.

Visual Studio 15.8 Preview 1 contains the early version of these tools that will give developers the ability to build native 64-bit Arm apps. Microsoft claims that this “represents the next step in the evolution of the Always Connected PC running Windows 10 on ARM” and I couldn’t agree more.

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This gives software developers the ability to target Arm-based processors like the Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm natively without forcing users to depend on emulation layers provided by Microsoft. While the emulation layer is critical for compatibility, it does slow performance quite a bit compared to native-running code.

While the Windows Store already supports ARM32 packages, ARM64 packages will be supported “soon” based on what Microsoft is telling us. Even more interesting, Microsoft is promoting the ability for developers to post the Win32 (non-Store) ARM64 version of software online, rather than waiting for the Store apps to be approved.

The Microsoft website has details on how developers can start this integration. Qualcomm has its own documentation as well.

From my own view, this a necessary step for Microsoft to take, even if it does seem later than many would have liked. The benefits of Windows 10 running on Snapdragon and Arm are real and substantial, but being hindered by performance due to emulation was always known to be a speedbump. Getting developers access to better, and easier to use, Arm compilation is the next step.

I would also like to see Microsoft take a more proactive role in pushing developers to offer both versions of software. MS simply cannot take a passive, backseat approach to the Always On, Always Connected PC initiative and have it be a success.

Source: Microsoft

ZTE Shuts Down Their OTA Servers...

Subject: Mobile | April 28, 2018 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7

So, for the last couple of years, ZTE was making a point to keep their devices supported with up-to-date software. They were a bit on the slow side, but devices got their updates eventually, including new features and other improvements.

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Then, recently, the US Department of Commerce banned American companies from exporting goods to ZTE for seven years. This means that they can no longer acquire things like Qualcomm processors. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade followed in the US’s footsteps and banned companies in Taiwan from selling to ZTE, which also rules out sourcing from companies like MediaTek.

At around the same time, ZTE was wrapping up their Oreo update beta. A new wave of participants was added for a couple of weeks, and then it was announced that the program has ended. The export ban occurred between those two points. This could have meant that they were ready to release, and it could have also meant that they gave up.

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It'll just keep doing this... over and over...

Now, if you attempt to run ZTE’s system update app, it just spins forever – they shut their update servers down. It looks like they gave up.

So… yeah. That sucks. It was a good phone, too.

Gigabyte's Aero 15X can work all day and play all night

Subject: Mobile | April 27, 2018 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: x-rite, laptop, i7-8750h, gigabyte, coffee lake h, aero 15Xv8, 144hz, 1070 Max-Q

Gigabyte's Aero 15X is a working laptop, it may have a GTX 1070 Max-Q powering its 144Hz panel, but it does not offer G-SYNC.  Instead it has X-Rite Pantone certification, perfect for professional work.  The 15.6" laptop is 18.9mm thick and weighs in at 4.4lbs, with a fair amount of that being the 94Wh battery.  TechSpot was somewhat disappointed to discover the 16GB of DDR4-2666  is on a single DIMM, and suggest picking up another immediately to enjoy the benefits of dual channel memory.  If you are looking for a laptop you can design graphics and video on, with enough power for occasional gaming then check out the Aero 15X.

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"Today we're taking a closer look at the Gigabyte Aero 15X, launched alongside Intel's new H-series Coffee Lake processors which brought up to 6 cores and 12 threads to the laptop form factor. Gigabyte is key to stress this isn't just a gaming laptop, but a machine designed for productivity, and that shows with features like an X-Rite certified display."

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Source: TechSpot

Running Windows on Qualcomm is a Snap with the HP Envy x2

Subject: Mobile | April 16, 2018 - 03:40 PM |
Tagged: hp envy x2, qualcomm, snapdragon 835

The first laptop to hit the market running Windows and powered by a Snapdragon 835 is a bit of a strange duck.  When you see an ARM powered device you expect a low price tag so you are in for a bit of a shock; $1000 is the going price for the HP Envy x2.  The price comes from the extras, the body is constructed entirely of metal, the screen is Gorilla Glass and audio is provided by Bang & Olufsen.  When TechSpot benchmarked the device the issues with this price point became very obvious, as it performs as you would expect and lags significantly behind laptops with more traditional CPUs.  The battery life is quite good but during video playback the Dell XPS 13 lasts longer than the Envy x2 so not even the lower power draw helps this notebook.

It is an interesting product but priced at twice what you would expect; all the details are here for your perusal.

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"Today we're looking closely at the first Snapdragon 835 device running Windows: the HP Envy x2. Having used it for a few weeks, there's a lot of things HP did well to make this a hardware experience to rival the Microsoft Surface."

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Source: TechSpot

Don't have a meltdown, pick up on Coffee Lake instead with the Gigabyte Aero 15Xv8

Subject: Mobile | April 4, 2018 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: Intel, gigabyte, gaming laptop, coffee lake h, coffee lake, aero 15Xv8, Aero

Intel have stated that their new Coffee Lake processors are immune to Spectre and Meltdown, which is one of the more compelling reasons to consider an upgrade in several generations of chips.  Gigabyte's new Aero 15Xv8 contains such a chip, the i7-8750H which runs at 2.2 GHz base and 4.2 GHz in Turbo Boost 2.0 mode.  Along with the new CPU is a GTX 1070 Max-Q which makes this 0.7" (18 mm) thick, 4.4lb (2 kg) laptop an impressively compact gaming machine.  Take a look at The Tech Report's review to see how this new CPU performs, as well as the laptop overall.

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"Gigabyte's Aero 15Xv8 mixes Intel's Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H and Nvidia's GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics card into a potent blend of gaming and productivity potential. We put those parts to the test to see whether the Aero 15X's thin-and-light chassis is up to the task of keeping all of that processing power in check."

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Huawei Unveils Flagship P20 Pro Smartphone With AI-Powered Triple Leica Cameras

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 4, 2018 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, p20 pro, Oreo, Leica, Kirin 970, Huawei, android 8.1

Huawei recently unveiled a slew of new smartphones and its new flagship P20 Pro is quite impressive and is the first smartphone to pack three rear cameras with Leica optics. The Huawei P20 Pro measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, weighs in at 180 grams (0.0275 lbs), and comes in black, midnight blue, pink gold, or gradient twilight colors.

Huawei P20 Pro Kirin 970 Android 8 Smartphone.png

The P20 Pro is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance and features soft rounded edges and flat faces. The front of the smartphone is dominated by an edge-to-edge 6.1’ FullView OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2440 (408 PPI). a fingerprint sensor sits below the display and is the only hardware button on the front fact. While there is a notch (that is smaller than the iPhone X’s), Huawei offers a setting that will turn off the top of the display to the left and right of the notch to hide it if the notch is too annoying to you. The notch in the display is where the front facing camera with 24.8 MP CMOS sensor is located (the camera can be used for facial recognition to unlock the phone). External I/O includes a single USB-C port on the bottom (there is no 3.5mm headphone jack but Huawei does include the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter).

Around back is where things get interesting as Huawei has managed to pack three Leica cameras as well as an LED flash into the top corner. The rear cameras can be used alone or in combination and offer various forms of autofocus and depth detection along with bokeh portrait modes, improved low light and long exposure performance, and AI-powered image stabilization, scene detection, camera settings, and shot composition assistance. That's quite the run-on sentence, but in fact the P20 Pro managed to obliterate the DxOMark benchmark with an overall score of 109, a photo score of 114, and a video score of 98 which is very impressive! The NPU-powered AI is trained to recognize 500 scenarios in 19 categories and is able to assist the user in taking fast motion shots as well as night shots without flash using long exposures even when handheld, and looking at some of the night photos DxOMark was able to get seems to show it works well. Other camera features include 4D predictive focus, up to 102400 ISO, 960 FPS 720p video, and a 5-time hybrid zoom. Phase Detection Auto Focus is used in the main sensor and the cameras also support laser focus, deep focus, and contrast focus. Huawei claims that its "super snapshot" mode allows users to go from off to taking a photo in as little as 0.3 seconds.

Huawei P20 Pro Smartphone Kirin 970.jpg

The three cameras include:

  • 20 MP Monochrome (1/2.78”) f/1.6 27mm equivalent
  • 40 MP RGB (1/1.73”) f/1.8 27mm equivalent (10 MP photos produced using quad bayer patterning)
  • 8 MP RGB (1/4.4”) f/2.4 80mm equivalent with optical image stabilization

Enough with the covers though, what's inside this smartphone? Well, Huawei has chosen the HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC which features four ARM Cortex-A73 cores at 2.36 GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.8 GHz, a "micro core i7" NPU (neural processing unit), and Mali G72 MP12 graphics. The SoC looks to be somewhere between the Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 835 in performance (according to AnandTech) is paired with 6 GB of  RAM and 128 GB of flash storage. Connectivity includes NFC, GPS, and LTE (oddly, they don't list any Wi-Fi information on the specifications page) and the P20 Pro has the usual sensor compliment (e.g. gravity, proximity, ambient light, hall, gyroscope, compass, color temperature sensor). A 4,000 mAh battery with Huawei supercharging powers the device. As of the time of writing the Huawei P20 Pro comes with Android 8.1 Oreo for the operating system.

According to Hexus.net, the Huawei P20 Pro will be available across the pond in both dual and single SIM versions starting at £799 RRP (recommended retail price) which comes out to about $1,230.93 in US dollars for those curious. Needless to say, the Huawei P20 Pro isn't going to be cheap when (or if) it hits the US but at least you get a of hardware packed into it!

I am interested to see the reviews on this one though I just recently bought the LG V30 due to my G3 dying so I'll likely be holding onto it for as long as possible as well (heh). I can't lie that I'm a bit jealous of the camera though; guess I should have waited – my corgi photos could have been so much better! (haha) What are your thoughts on the Huawei flagship?

Source: Huawei

Gigabyte's new 8th generation Core powered laptops

Subject: Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, gaming laptop, Aero, i7-8750h, Core i9-8950HK, X9 DT, X7 DT V8, X5 V8, 144hz

Gigabyte have updated their Aero and Aorus family of laptops with the new 8th generation Intel chips.  Depending on the model, you will find either a i7-8850H or i9-8950HK inside as well as a GTX 1080 or 1070.

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The Aero laptop has a 'bezel-less' 144Hz monitor, by which they mean a 5cm bezel surrounding the 15.6" 4k display.  The chassis is an impressively svelte 1.8cm thick, especially when you consider they squeezed a GTX 10X0 inside.  Audio is provided by Dolby Atmos and Sound Radar and of course there are RGBs below your keyboard which you can program, along with macro keys.  The 94.24 Wh battery will keep you gaming for quite a while, even when you are on the go.

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Also announced were the The Grand Trio, the X9 DT, X7 DT V8 and X5 V8 gaming laptops.  All three models feature a 144Hz IPS G-SYNC panels which have been X-Right Pantone corrected.  They sport the same Dolby Atmos audio as the Aero as well as RGB infested keyboards.  Storage is provided by a pair of M.2 PCIe SSDs as well as a 2.5" HDD for your larger files.  Connectivity includes a Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen.2 Type-C port as well as a USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen.2 Type-A ports, with both HDMI and DP video out. 

The basic specs of the laptops can be seen below. 

specs.PNG

 

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Announces new ROG Zephyrus M GM501 Notebook

Subject: Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: zephyrus m, ROG, i7-8750h, gm501, coffee lake h

Along with the announcement of high-performance 8th Generation mobile processors from Intel today, comes plenty of announcements from partners about new gaming notebooks built around these processors.

One of the most appealing notebooks to be announced so far is the all-new ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GM501. 

Previously launched alongside NIVIDIA's Max-Q initiative, the first ROG Zephyrus served as ASUS's flagship thin-and-light gaming notebook. We were quite impressed with the performance in our review but had some qualms about the odd form-factor decisions, including keyboard placement. 

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The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M address these concerns, moving the keyboard and trackpad to a more traditional location along with a plethora of hardware changes. 

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM501)
MSRP $1499 (Best Buy Exlusive, coming 5/6) $1899 $2199
Screen 15.5" (1920x1080) IPS 120Hz 15.5" (1920x1080) IPS-Type 144Hz G-SYNC
CPU Core i7-8750H (6 core / 12 threads)
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1060 + Intel UHD 630 (Switchable) NVIDIA GTX 1070 + Intel UHD 630 (Switchable)
RAM 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage 128GB SATA + 1TB FireCuda SSHD 256GB PCIe + 1TB FireCuda SSHD
Network Intel 8265 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity 1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Gen1
2 x USB 3.1 Gen2
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
Weight 5.5 lbs ( 2.45 kg)
Dimensions 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.7~0.78 inches
(304mm x 199mm x 8 -13.7 mm)
Battery 55 WHr

The biggest hardware change of course is the move to Intel's 6-core, 12-thread i7-8750H processor. 

Instead of the previous Max-Q GPU options (GTX 1070 and 1080), ASUS has opted for configurations up to a full GTX 1070, as well as the GTX 1060 on the lower end models.

In addition, the new iteration of the Zephyrus gains switchable graphics, which should help with battery life. ASUS says there will be a dedicated keyboard shortcut to manually switch between graphics modes, potentially alleviating some of the issues users have with Optimus technologies in certain applications.

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Battery capacity also sees a 10% bump to 55 WHr from the previous 50 WHr. Hopefully, these changes will provide a much-needed battery life improvement over the original Zephyrus notebook.

Storage options for all configurations of the GM501 will contain both an SSD and a 1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD hybrid drive for fast mass storage. The highest-end GM501s will be offered with 256GB NVMe drives, while the lower end will stick with just a 128GB SATA SSD.

Pricing for the new Zephyrus M is in line with the last generation, meaning that users looking for the ultimate marriage of gaming performance and portability will have to sacrifice a bit on price. However, I think the $1500 Best Buy exclusive SKU coming next month is a pretty compelling package for a lot of gamers. 

Expect these notebooks to start shipping on April 16th for the two highest configurations, with the lower end option coming in May.

 

Source: ASUS

Intel Unveils More 8th Generation Mobile Processors, 6-Core Mobile CPUs

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: Intel, Core i9-8950HK, coffee lake h, 8th generation

Intel's rollout of their "8th Generation" processors has been glacial compared to other generations, and overall a bit confusing when it comes to trying to decode what processor belongs to what architecture. 

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Past the 8th generation Kaby Lake-R 15W quad-core mobile processors in August of last year, the Coffee Lake-S desktop CPU launch in October, and the recent Kaby Lake-G launch combining Intel processors with AMD graphics, there has still been one big missing market—high performance mobile processors.

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Today, Intel is finally rounding out it's 8th Generation Mobile processor line-up with the addition of Coffee Lake-H processors. 

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The biggest change with Intel's new mobile lineup is the delightful addition of more cores. All i7 and Xeon-based SKUs will now have 6 cores with Hyper-threading enabled for a total of 12 threads. In addition, the entire i5 lineup is gaining Hyper-threading support, bringing them to 4 cores and 8 threads. 

Coffee Lake-H also marks the introduction of Intel's first "i9" branded processor, the i9-8950HK. Taking the top spot of the mobile lineup previously held by the i7-7920HQ, the i9-8950HK is fully unlocked, with a turbo frequency of up to 4.8GHz. 

In addition, all of these new 8th generation mobile processors will bring support for Optane Memory caching to mobile for the first time.

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Intel is achieving the 4.8GHz single core turbo boost on the i9-8950HK through what they are calling "Intel Velocity Boost." While there aren't a lot of details about exactly how this technology will work yet, Intel has told us that essentially it's a way of providing extra frequency if there is thermal headroom on a given notebook design.

Below the 50 degrees C target temperature, we were told to expect about a 200MHz single-core boost and a 100MHz multi-core boost. With factory overclocking, Intel says they expect to see OEMs hit 5GHz and beyond, thanks in part to Velocity Boost.

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In addition to new processors, Intel is also unveiling their new 300-series mobile chipsets today. The major additions include the adoption of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports directly from the chipset, as well as the integration of an 802.11ac radio.

The all-new wireless radio is said to be capable of Gigabit speeds using 2x2 MIMO at 160MHz, which is part of the Wave 2 specification. While routers that support the 160MHz band are few and far between today, hopefully, Intel's adoption of this technology into its chipset will help spur faster adoption.

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In addition to the H-series processors, Intel also unveiled several new U-series parts today with Iris Plus graphics.

While the 28W notebook processors combining Intel U-series parts with Iris graphics containing 128MB of eDRAM have been available for generations, the only major customer for these parts historically is Apple. I fully expect these processors to make it into a revised 13" MacBook Pro later this year.

These new U-series parts will also be able to take advantage of the new 300-series chipsets with the integrated 802.11ac and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity. It will be interesting to see if Intel finally integrating Wi-Fi capability directly into the chipset will cause Apple to ditch Broadcom on their MacBook lineup.

Stay tuned for more announcements from Intel today, as well of announcements from notebook vendors utilizing these new processors!

Source: Intel

Tobii and Qualcomm Announce Collaboration on Mobile VR Headsets with Eye-Tracking

Subject: General Tech | March 16, 2018 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: xr, VR, Tobii, snapdragon 845, qualcomm, mobile, HMD, head mounted display, eye tracking, AR, Adreno 630

Tobii and Qualcomm's collaboration in the VR HMD (head-mounted display) space is a convergence of two recent stories, with Tobii's impressing showing of a prototype HMD device at CES featuring their eye-tracking technology, and Qualcomm's unvieling last month of their updated mobile VR platform, featuring the new Snapdragon 845.

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The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Platform

What does this new collaboration mean for the VR industry? For now it means a new reference design and dev kit with the latest tech from Tobii and Qualcomm:

"As a result of their collaboration, Tobii and Qualcomm are creating a full reference design and development kit for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, which includes Tobii's EyeCore eye tracking algorithms and hardware design. Tobii will license its eye tracking technologies and system and collaborate with HMD manufacturers on the optical solution for the reference design."

The press release announcing this collaboration recaps the benefits of Tobii eye tracking in a mobile VR/AR device, which include:

  • Foveated Rendering: VR/AR devices become aware of where you are looking and can direct high-definition graphics processing power to that exact spot in real time. This enables higher definition displays, more efficient devices, longer battery life and increased mobility.
  • Interpupillary Distance: Devices automatically orient images to align with your pupils. This enables devices to adapt to the individual user, helping to increase the visual quality of virtual and augmented reality experiences.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination: By using your eyes in harmony with your hands and associated controllers, truly natural interaction and immersion, not possible without the use of gaze, is realized.
  • Interactive Eye Contact: Devices can accurately track your gaze in real time, enabling content creators to express one of the most fundamental dimensions of human interaction – eye contact. VR technologies hold the promise of enabling a new and immersive medium for social interaction. The addition of true eye contact to virtual reality helps deliver that promise.

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Tobii's prototype eye-tracking HMD

For its part, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845-powered VR mobile platform promises greater portability of a better VR experience, with expanded freedom on top of the improved graphics horsepower from the new Adreno 630 GPU in the Snapdragon 845. This portability includes 6DoF (6 degrees of freedom) using external cameras to identify location within a room, eliminating the need for external room sensors.

"Together, 6DoF and SLAM deliver Roomscale - the ability to track the body and location within a room so you can freely walk around your XR environment without cables or separate room sensors – the first on a mobile standalone device. Much of this is processed on the new dedicated Qualcomm Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Adreno Graphics Processing Unit within the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm Technologies’ reference designs have supported some of the first wave of standalone VR devices from VR ecosystem leaders like Google Daydream, Oculus and Vive."

It is up to developers, and consumer interest in VR moving forward, to see what this collaboration will produce. To editorialize briefly, from first-hand experience I can vouch for the positive impact of eye-tracking with an HMD, and if future products live up to the promise of a portable, high-performance VR experience (with a more natural feel from less rapid head movement) a new generation of VR enthusiasts could be born.

Source: PR Newswire

Chuwi made a lot of friends, see if the SurBook 2 might convince you to count yourself among them

Subject: Mobile | March 5, 2018 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: chuwi, surbook, convertible, apollo lake

You may not have heard of Chuwi but they are not a new player, they have been around since 2004 and have been partnering with Huawei, Google, Microsoft and Intel to try to make it onto the world stage.  This recently cumulated in a successful IndieGoGo campaign and the release of the SurBook convertible laptop. Inside is an Intel Celeron N3450 with 6GB DDR3-1600 and 128 GB eMMC flash storage with a 2736x1824 IPS touchscreen.  The design which TechPowerUp tested cost a hair under $500, which is just about perfect for what you get.  It won't win any benchmarking awards but for what it is intended for it seems to do well; check it out for yourself.

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"Chuwi looks to conquer the convertible 2-in-1 market with their new SurBook. Featuring an all-aluminum shell and a rather large battery, it has the looks and specifications to turn a few heads, which may have something to do with its successful Indiegogo campaign in mid-2017."

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Source: TechPowerUp