Qualcomm Announces First 3GPP 5G NR Connection, X50 5G NR Modem

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 27, 2017 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: x50, Sub-6 Ghz, qualcomm, OFDM, NR, New Radio, MWC, multi-mode, modem, mmWave, LTE, 5G, 3GPP

Qualcomm has announced their first successful 5G New Radio (NR) connection using their prototype sub-6 GHz prototype system. This announcement was followed by today's news of Qualcomm's collaboration with Ericsson and Vodafone to trial 5G NR in the second half of 2017, as we approach the realization of 5G. New Radio is expected to become the standard for 5G going forward as 3GPP moves to finalize standards with release 15.

"5G NR will make the best use of a wide range of spectrum bands, and utilizing spectrum bands below 6 GHz is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and capacity to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases. Qualcomm Technologies’ sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype, which was announced and first showcased in June 2016, consists of both base stations and user equipment (UE) and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities in bands below 6 GHz."

5G NR Sub 6 GHz prototype.jpg

The Qualcomm Sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype (Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm first showed their sub-6 Ghz prototype this past summer, and it will be on display this week at MWC. The company states that the system is designed to demonstrate how 5G NR "can be utilized to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit-per-second data rates at significantly lower latency than today’s 4G LTE networks". New Radio, or NR, is a complex topic as it related to a new OFDM-based wireless standard. OFDM refers to "a digital multi-carrier modulation method" in which "a large number of closely spaced orthogonal sub-carrier signals are used to carry data on several parallel data streams or channels". With 3GPP adopting this standard going forward the "NR" name could stick, just as "LTE" (Long Term Evolution) caught on to describe the 4G wireless standard.

Along with this 5G NR news comes the annoucement of the expansion of its X50 modem family, first announced in October, "to include 5G New Radio (NR) multi-mode chipset solutions compliant with the 3GPP-based 5G NR global system", according to Qualcomm. This 'multi-mode' solution provides full 4G/5G compatibility with "2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip", with the first commercial devices expected in 2019.

X50_Modem_Logo.jpg

"The new members of the Snapdragon X50 5G modem family are designed to support multi-mode 2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip, providing simultaneous connectivity across both 4G and 5G networks for robust mobility performance. The single chip solution also supports integrated Gigabit LTE capability, which has been pioneered by Qualcomm Technologies, and is an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience as the high-speed coverage layer that co-exists and interworks with nascent 5G networks. This set of advanced multimode capabilities is designed to provide seamless Gigabit connectivity – a key requirement for next generation, premium smartphones and mobile computing devices."

Full press releases after the break.

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm Announces the Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem

Subject: Mobile | February 21, 2017 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: X20, snapdragon, qualcomm, modem, LTE, DSDV, Category 18, Carrier Aggregation, CA, 5x20 MHz

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, their 2nd-generation Gigabit LTE solution built on 10nm FinFET and offering what Qualcomm says are “a number of industry firsts”, which include first to Category 18 (downlink) and first to receive up to 12 spacial LTE data streams simultaneously.

X20_LTE.jpg

“It is the first commercially announced Gigabit LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, a 20 percent improvement in download speeds over the previous generation. Additionally, it allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies, as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to three aggregated LTE carriers. Lastly, it supports integrated Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) capability, a first for Snapdragon LTE modems. These leading-edge features of the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem are supported by the first commercially announced single-chip RF transceiver capable of simultaneously receiving up to 12 spatial streams of LTE data.”

Compared the the X16 modem featured in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem moves from Cat 16 to Cat 18 on the downlink, with support for 5x20 MHz (vs. the X16’s 4x20 MHz) Carrier Aggregation and “can simultaneously receive 12 unique streams of data on as few as three 20 MHz carriers”, with up to 256-QAM and 100 Mbps per stream. Uplink is at the same 2x20 MHz/64-QAM as the X16 modem, for speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

X20 infographic.jpg

The X20 LTE modem now includes VoLTE for both cards in a dual-SIM implementation:

“The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem also features more advanced dual SIM functionality and, as the first Snapdragon LTE modem to support DSDV, it provides users with the benefits of Ultra HD Voice and other IMS-based services on both SIMs inserted into the device.”

Qualcomm has begun to sample the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to customers, with the first commercial devices expected 1H 2018.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Qualcomm

Jack Sprat would approve of the third incarnation of the ASUS Zenbook

Subject: Mobile | February 20, 2017 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: zenbook 3, UX390UA, ultrabook, kaby lake, asus. zenbook

We caught a glance at the new ASUS ZenBook 3 at CES and today Kitguru provides a full review of one, albeit a slightly different model.  The UX3901UA model contains a Kaby Lake i5-7200U with HD 620 graphics, 8GB LPDDR3-2133 and a 512GB M.2 SATA SSD.  The 12.5" screen is 1080p with no adaptive graphics or other tricks.  Where things seem to go off the rails is when you look at the thickness of the Zenbook, at its thickest it is 11.9mm (0.46").  This means you get no ethernet nor USB type A plugs as they simply would not fit and you have to content yourself with a single Type C plug.  For some the sacrifice is worth it; if you are one who likes petite sized computers you should head over for the full review.

open2 (1).jpg

"What has really caught my eye about the ZenBook 3 is its physical dimensions – it measures just 11.9mm thick, while it weighs a mere 910g. With Kaby Lake hardware inside, as well as the promise of a crisp 1080p display and Harman Kardon speakers, could this be our new ultrabook of choice?"

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Source: Kitguru

Just Picked Up: Google Daydream View

Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2017 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: zte, VR, google, daydream

As I mentioned last week, my ZTE Axon 7 has just received Android 7.0 Nougat, which also unlocked Google Daydream VR. I wasn’t able to pick up Google’s VR headset at the time, but now I can, so I did, and I spent a couple of hours messing around with it.

google-2017-daydream-view-closed.jpg

First, I have to say I am very glad that Google made one headset (and controller) that works with all Daydream-compatible phones. That wasn’t entirely clear when I ordered my Axon 7 last summer, and I feared it would lead to a lot of waiting for my OEM to release a specific headset that may or may not be as good as any another vendor’s, especially sight unseen. I don’t really know how they properly align the screens, across all possible phones and accounting for user-error, but it seems to accept my phone perfectly without really any fiddling. Maybe it’s a simpler problem than I am envisioning, but, either way, the one viewer works with my ZTE Axon 7 -- it’s not just for the Pixel.

My second point is that the phone gets very hot, very quick. I’m sure ZTE knows about this, and the phone is designed around it, but it doesn’t just get warm, it borders on hot-to-the-touch at times. To be safe, I’m removing the case each time I insert it into the Daydream View, although the device seems to work either way. The battery does drain quickly, relative to other workloads, but a single, hour-or-so VR sitting took about 25% off (~75% remaining). Despite the heat and the quick battery drain, you will probably be done with a VR sitting before the device is, so I consider those aspects to be all-around positive.

As for the YouTube app, I’m glad that the virtual screen for standard video can be adjusted in pretty much any way. You can make it bigger or smaller with the track pad, pull it in any direction with motion controls, and adjust whether it’s flat or curved (so all points are equidistant) in the settings. If you want to lay on your back in bed and watch movies “on the ceiling”, then you can... and without holding the phone over your face while your arms go numb.

Yes, I’m speaking from experience.

google-2017-daydream-view-open.jpg

As for games? Eh... about the only thing that caught my eye is maybe “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”. I’m pleasantly surprised it’s there, but it’s about the only thing that is. I knew there wasn’t a whole lot of apps, and that’s fine for me, but you probably shouldn’t get too excited outside of video.

Also, it’d be nice to see Google Chrome in VR. Get on that, Google! A virtual void would make a good place to keep my many, many tabs. It will apparently support WebVR content very soon, but in a “browse, click the Daydream button, mount it in the View, and put it on your head, then undo all that when you’re done” sort of way. It’d be nice to just... stay in the headset to browse.

Anywho, I have it, and those are my thoughts. It’s early, but it seems to work pretty well. I haven’t tried an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive yet, though, so I can’t make any comparisons there.

Source: Google

ZTE Axon 7 Receives OTA Nougat Update

Subject: Mobile | February 9, 2017 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7, google, nougat, Android, android 7.0

Well that was quick. About two weeks ago, we reported on ZTE Mobile Deutschland’s Facebook post that said Android 7.0 would miss January, but arrive some time in Q1. For North America, that apparently means the second week of February, because my device was just notified, about an hour ago, that A2017UV1.1.0B15 was available for over-the-air update. It just finished installing.

zte-2017-axon7-nougatupdate.jpg

In my case, I needed to hold the on button a few times to get the phone to boot into the second stage of installation, but ZTE mentions it in the pre-install notes, so that’s good. Then, when the phone moved on to the new lock screen, my fingerprint reader didn’t work until after I typed in the lock screen password. I’m not sure why the phone didn’t accept the fingerprint reader until after I successfully logged in, especially since it used the fingerprints on file from Android 6.0, I didn’t need to set it up again, but it’s a small inconvenience. Just don’t perform the update if you can’t access your password manager and you don’t remember the unlock code off the top of your head.

While I don’t have a Daydream VR headset, I’ll probably pick one up soon and give it a test. The Daydream app is installed on the device, though, so you can finally enjoy Android-based VR content if you pick one up.

If your phone hasn’t alerted you yet, find your unlock password and check for updates in the settings app.

Source: ZTE

Lenovo Announces new ThinkPad P51s P51 and P71 Mobile Workstations

Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 6, 2017 - 08:37 PM |
Tagged: xeon, Thinkpad, quadro, P71, P51s, P51, nvidia, notebook, mobile workstation, Lenovo, kaby lake, core i7

Lenovo has announced a trio of new ThinkPad mobile workstations, featuring updated Intel 7th-generation Core (Kaby Lake) processors and NVIDIA Quadro graphics, and among these is the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad mobile workstation to date in the P51s.

P51s.jpg

"Engineered to deliver breakthrough levels of performance, reliability and long battery life, the ThinkPad P51s features a new chassis, designed to meet customer demands for a powerful but portable machine. Developed with engineers and professional designers in mind, this mobile workstation features Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processors and the latest NVIDIA Quadro dedicated workstation graphics, as well as a 4K UHD IPS display with optional IR camera."

Lenovo says that the ThinkPad P51s is more than a half pound lighter than the previous generation (P50s), stating that "the P51s is the lightest and thinnest mobile workstation ever developed by ThinkPad" at 14.4 x 9.95 x 0.79 inches, and weight starting at 4.3 lbs.

Specs for the P51s include:

  • Up to a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
  • NVIDIA Quadro M520M Graphics
  • Choice of standard or touchscreen FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, or 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS display
  • Up to 32 GB DDR4 2133 RAM (2x SODIMM slots)
  • Storage options including up to 1 TB (5400 rpm) HDD and 1 TB NVMe PCIe SSDs
  • USB-C with Intel Thunderbolt 3
  • 802.11ac and LTE-A wireless connectivity

Lenovo also announced the ThinkPad P51, which is slightly larger than the P51s, but brings the option of Intel Xeon E3-v6 processors (in addition to Kaby Lake Core i7 CPUs), Quadro M2200M graphics, faster 2400 MHz memory up to 64 GB (4x SODIMM slots), and up to a 4K IPS display with X-Rite Pantone color calibration.

Thinkpad_P51.jpg

Finally there is the new VR-ready P71 mobile workstation, which offers up to an NVIDIA Quadro P5000M GPU along with Oculus and HTC VR certification.

"Lenovo is also bringing virtual reality to life with the new ThinkPad P71. One of the most talked about technologies today, VR has the ability to bring a new visual perspective and immersive experience to our customers’ workflow. In our new P71, the NVIDIA Pascal-based Quadro GPUs offer a stunning level of performance never before seen in a mobile workstation, and it comes equipped with full Oculus and HTC certifications, along with NVIDIA’s VR-ready certification."

Thinkpad_P71.jpg

Pricing and availability is as follows:

  • ThinkPad P51s, starting at $1049, March
  • ThinkPad P51, starting at $1399, April
  • ThinkPad P71, starting at $1849, April
Source: Lenovo

ZTE Axon 7 Nougat Update Needs More Time

Subject: Mobile | January 27, 2017 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7, nougat, Android

The German offices of ZTE Mobile have announced (via their Facebook page) that the Android 7.0 update will be coming later in this quarter, which would be before the end of March. In November, this branch announced that the update would be coming in January. This update is supposed to bring Daydream to the handset, as this was one of the big promises that ZTE made about the device before it launched. They are not confident with it in its current state, though.

zte-2017-axon7-logo.png

Our readers were asking about my opinion of the device, since I published a “Just Delivered” post about it four months ago. I said that I would wait until the Nougat release, which I was, at the time, expecting in October or November, because I had a feeling that ZTE envisioned the phone with that OS version. Since then, bugs have come and gone, most of which were relatively benign, like messing up whitespace in the lock screen’s current date. Personally, I started getting a bug where my camera would occasionally fail to focus, instead humming and blurring like it’s focusing in and out tens or hundreds of times per second until you close the app using the camera. (It started happening, off and on, just after the last service update, although it could just be a coincidental hardware issue with my unit. I’m waiting until I see it in Nougat to call customer support.)

Either way, it’s probably a good thing that ZTE is taking their time with this one. I’m guessing this update is when those who adopted the Axon 7 will begin to solidify judgments about the company as a higher-end phone vendor going forward.

MSI GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro, 4k GSYNC in a 15.6" size

Subject: Mobile | January 23, 2017 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: msi, dominator pro, GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro, gaming laptop, 4k gsync

MSI takes their Dominator series of laptops seriously and the new Kaby Lake model is no exception.  The GSYNC IPS display is natively 4k and the 8GB GTX 1070 should drive it at 60Hz without issue, or you could skip the monitor and go straight to VR as the required ports are present.  The CPU is an  i7-7820HK, with 32GB of DDR4-2400 in a dual channel configuration and Samsung provided an M.2 500GB SSD rated at 540MB/s read, 520MBs write, with a 1TB HDD for extra storage.  It weighs in at almost 3kg (6.4lbs) so it is not as heavy as you might expect, though the 230W power adapter may add a few straws to that load.  eTeknix tired it out to see how effective it was at replacing a gaming desktop, you can see the results and photos of the internals right here.

unnamed.jpg

"MSI’s gaming laptops have gained a special status for their gorgeous sense of style and astounding features. It’s no surprise that the latest data puts their firmly in the lead as the world’s most successful gaming laptop manufacturer. Honestly, it’s thoroughly deserved and I’m pleased to see the MSI pushing the technical envelope further and making laptops a true alternative to traditional desktops."

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Source: eTeknix

Just Picked Up: Google Chromecast Ultra

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 20, 2017 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: google, chromecast ultra, chromecast

One of the disadvantages of the ZTE Axon 7, which a lot of other phones share, is that you cannot directly connect it to a TV over HDMI via MHL. Granted, it’s a good screen and great speakers, so I can just pass the device around, but sometimes you want to show a video (or something) on the TV. As such, I was looking around at the Chromecast, but I heard a bunch of complaints that ranged from low frame rate to frequent stutters in some apps.

google-2017-chromecastultra.jpg

Then Google announced the Chromecast Ultra, which launched in November. I put my email address on the official waiting list and... haven’t heard a thing since. I also haven’t seen it in many stores. I then found out that the local Best Buy Mobile kiosk had it (yet the full store a few blocks away somehow did not???) Interestingly, when I arrived, they had several of them, and on sale for $20 off, too.

Upon bringing it home, it had a little difficulty connecting to my WiFi router. (The 5 GHz band was a little weak at that location.) Once that was resolved, though, it was a very pleasant experience. It played 1080p60 video from YouTube without any trouble, even switching to the correct input automatically with HDMI CEC (although I needed to manually change it back to the digital TV box when I was done).

I don’t have a 4K or HDR TV, though, so I cannot test its more advanced features. Sorry!

Source: Google

GTX 1070 on the run, Gigabyte's P57X v6 gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2017 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, P57X v6, gaming laptop, gtx 1070

NVIDIA no longer adds an 'm' after this generations mobile parts, the GTX 1070 in this gaming laptop from Gigabyte is simply labelled GTX 1070 even though it's boost clock of 1645MHz is somewhat lower than the reference of 1683MHz.  A 256GB Transcend MTS800 M.2 SATA SSD gives your OS and programs somewhere to live while the 1TB Hitachi Travelstar 7K1000 provides data storage and believe it or not this laptop also comes with a DVD-RW drive.

The slightly lower clock still provides enough performance for the integral 1080p display, and will power a VR headset over the USB 3.0 Type-A and HDMI 2.0 ports.  The Tech Report;s testing shows performance that tends to fall between the desktop GTX 1060 and 1070 which is not terribly surprising.  Check out their full review here.

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"Powered by Nvidia's mobile GeForce GTX 1070, Gigabyte's P57X v6 laptop promises truly desktop-class desktop-class performance in a relatively compact and portable chassis. We put it to the test to see what a new generation of mobile graphics means for gamers on the go."

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CES 2017: Gigabyte Updates Gaming and Professional Laptop Lineup

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 9, 2017 - 02:25 AM |
Tagged: thin and light, nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte, gaming, CES 2017, CES

Gigabyte had a full line of new laptops to show off at this year’s CES, with models ranging from larger gaming enthusiast designs to slim machines that still offer plenty of gaming power from their discrete graphics.

P56.jpg

We’ll start with the P56, a 15.6-inch machine with an optional 4K display, 7th-gen Intel Core i7 (Kaby Lake) processor, and GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.

“The P56 provides enthusiasts with not only ultra smooth performance but also with tools to victory. All packed in a portable quality chassis. Equipped with the next gen Intel 7th Gen Core i7 7700HQ processor and the all-powerful GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. The main core of the P56 is set to drive all the latest games, not at just 1080P but even at higher resolutions with the optional 15.6” UHD 3840x2160 display.”

The P56 is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, island-style keyboard with customizable per-key RGB backlighting, and a large 91Wh battery.

Sabre15.jpg

Next we have the Sabre 15, which is also powered by a new 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) and GTX 1050 (2GB) graphics options.

“Gamers can now fully enjoy the latest performance from the pascal architecture, with fluid gaming graphics at 1080p for most recent game titles. The keyboard plays a big role in winning or losing a game, that is why the Sabre 15 comes with optimized 2.2mm travel scissor type keys, for that extra feel and precision. To top that off, the Sabre 15 features RGB backlight keyboard with 16.8 million colors (optional).”

Rounding out the updated lineup are a trio of thin-and-light professional models that are still very capable gaming machines, beginning with the AERO 14, a 19.9mm-thick (and 4.17 lb) aluminum design which features a QHD (2560x1440) IPS screen, GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 94.24Wh battery.

AERO.jpg

Finally we have the P34 and P35 laptops, which claim the title of “world’s lightest 14” GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptop (P34) and “world’s slimmest 15.6” GeForce GTX 1070 laptop”, respectively.

P34.jpg

The P34 is indeed light for a gaming-ready laptop, with a weight of just 3.73 lbs. For its part the 15.6-inch P35 laptop is a very high-end option, regardless of its slim construction.

“The P35 comes in at an unbeatable 20.9mm thin and weighs just 2.3Kg. It is hard to believe that such a thin chassis has a GeForce GTX 1070 inside, outputting the same performance as the desktop GeForce GTX 1070, now on the go. GIGABYTE has swapped out the old 6th gen and opt for the latest 7th gen Core i7 processor, giving professionals multitasking capabilities like never before. The unparalleled graphical power of the GeForce GTX 1070 further drives the stunning 15.6” UHD 3840 x 2160 IPS display, professionals will definitely take advantage of such a high pixel density and high RGB accuracy display, stationed or mobile. The Swappable bay gives professionals the power to swap between Blu-ray drive or up to 2TB HDD of extra storage, providing that extra customization on the go.”

P35.jpg

Pricing and availability information for the new laptops is not yet available.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Gigabyte

CES 2017: Razer Project Valerie Multi-Monitor Laptop Concept

Subject: Displays, Mobile | January 5, 2017 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: razer, Project Valerie, notebook, multi-monitor, laptop, gaming, concept, CES 2017, CES

Razer has announced Project Valerie, a radical concept for a triple-monitor gaming laptop described as "the world’s first gaming laptop capable of housing three individual G-SYNC displays". A picture is worth a thousand words, and there is just something about a laptop with three 17.3-inch 4K displays.

Razer Project Valerie - Top Open.jpg

Each 17.3-inch 4K IGZO display is equipped with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology that is capable of producing the smoothest possible framerates and expansive 180 degree NVIDIA Surround View gaming. Creative professionals can look forward to 100 percent Adobe RGB color accuracy and the greatest amount of screen real estate ever assembled in a single computer.

Project Valerie uses an automatic deployment mechanism designed by Razer. Each display mechanically slides out of the side of the main screen and adjusts into place, making it easy for users to deploy. With integrated multi-monitor support, users will no longer have to deal with the cable clutter from traditional desktop setups. The result is a clean gaming and working environment that’s just as easy to maintain.

Razer Project Valerie - Open Perspective.jpg

Razer has released a video for Project Valerie:

Called a "proposed system" at this point, the Project Valerie notebook would be based on a 1.5 inch thick unibody aluminum chassis with a weight of under 12 lbs. Razer states that the notebook would be equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, and exceeds the minumum hardware requirements for VR. The design includes Razer’s Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical switch keyboard, and the notebook would be cooled using a thermal system comprised of "custom-designed fan and dynamic heat exchangers pair(ed) with a vapor chamber to maximize heat dissipation".

Razer Project Valerie - Front Perspective.jpg

The full press release is available after the break.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Razer

CES 2017: ASUS Announces ZenFone 3 Zoom

Subject: Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: zenfone 3 zoom, zenfone 3, zenfone, CES 2017, CES, asus

ASUS has just announced the ZenFone 3 Zoom, which resides in the camera and battery life areas of their product stack. While we will discuss its performance below, this phone prides itself on a 5,000 mAh battery and two rear-facing cameras, which are paired for an interesting feature: optical zoom.

asus-2017-ces-zenfonezoom.jpg

Instead of trying to fit a lens assembly into a smartphone that expands and contracts to zoom in and out, this phone switches between two cameras, one with a wide-angle lens, and the other with a telephoto one. Typically, cameras attempt to solve the “zoom” problem by including higher and higher megapixel sensors, which provides finer images but reduces low-light performance -- you have to acquire a signal from a smaller and smaller fraction of the photons that hit your sensor.

Going one step further, because their users will need to crop less of their photo, ASUS used a fairly large, but 12 megapixel sensor for each camera. This means that the pixels are fairly big, 1.4 microns, allowing them to gather more light. This should translate to good and relatively consistent low-light performance at either zoom level, which are 2.3x apart.

As for the battery? That’s a lot of power. The original ZenFone 3 had 2,600 mAh with the same SoC. The ZenFone 3 Zoom almost doubles that. ASUS claims 40 days of 4G standby, but I’m more curious how long it can play games and watch videos untethered. Update: It was quick, but I believe they said over eight hours of live video streaming on a single charge.

Being based on last year’s mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, it will perform like the base ZenFone 3, rather than the flagship ZenFone 3 Deluxe and its Snapdragon 820. Despite the chip’s GPU being listed at about a third of the performance of its bigger sibling, depending on clock rate, it is still capable of Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.1 should ASUS ship a driver.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom is expected to be available in February, but prices and SKUs are TBD.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS Announces ZenFone AR

Subject: Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: zenfone AR, zenfone, asus

ASUS has just announced the ZenFone 3 AR, which implements both Google’s DayDream VR API as well as Google’s Tango AR platform. The former is designed for games, apps, and videos, allowing the user to block out their vision a headset that the phone is mounted into. Tango, on the other hand, was announced a couple of years ago. It creates a 3D representation of the space around the user, which is accessible to compatible apps.

asus-2017-ces-ZenFone AR (ZS571)_front and back-wide.png

The phone itself is built around a large, 5.7-inch, 1440p AMOLED display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. While this the same SoC that you would find in the already-released ZenFone 3 Deluxe’s high-end SKU, the ZenFone AR is expected to launch in Q2, which is makes the 821 the fastest chip that they could have possibly integrated. Also, ASUS claims that the Snapdragon 821 is designed with Tango in mind, with the API able to accelerate positional awareness using its DSP.

The ZenFone AR also contains 6GB of RAM, because why not. Update: The ASUS presentation just said 8GB, although the press release says 6GB. I'm guessing both options will be available.

It is expected to launch in Q2, but that typically varies greatly by region for ASUS products.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS ASUSPRO B9440 Business Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: notebook, laptop, kaby lake, CES 2017, CES, business, B9440, ASUSPRO, asus, 7th generation core

ASUS has announced the ASUSPRO B9440, which the company claims to be "the world’s lightest 14-inch business notebook" at just 2.31 lbs.

B9440U_11.jpg

"The sleek B9440 is designed to be both stylish and practical, using an all-metal chassis crafted from magnesium alloy — a premium material that is lighter but more rigid than standard aluminum alloy. The ergonomic keyboard has an innovative tilting design that positions it perfectly for comfortable typing.

Like all ASUSPRO business notebooks, B9440 is designed to exceed military-grade durability standards. It also passes our extra-strict ASUSPRO reliability standards, undergoing a series of tough torture tests to ensure dependable operation in any environment.

The B9440 is equipped with the new 7th-gen Intel Core (Kaby Lake) i5 and i7 U-series processors optional Intel vPro support, along with up to 16 GB onboard LPDDR3 memory and up to 512 GB SSD storage, with security features including TPM 2.0 and a fingerprint sensor.

B9440U_22.jpg

Specifications for the ASUSPRO B9440 from ASUS:


  • Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i5/i7, with optional Intel vPro support
  • Display: 14-inch Full HD wide-viewing-angle display with anti-glare coating
  • Memory: 8GB/16GB LPDDR3 onboard
  • Storage: Up to 512GB M.2 PCIe or M.2 SATA SSD
  • Connectivity
    • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (one port supports docking, power delivery)
    • 1 x combo stereo headphone/mic port
  • Wireless: 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Security
    • Fingerprint sensor
    • TPM 2.0 (downgradeable)
  • Audio
    • Integrated dual-microphone array
    • Harman Kardon stereo audio system
  • Battery: 4-cell 48W Li-polymer
  • Operating system: Windows 10 / Windows 10 Pro
  • Dimensions: 12.65 x 8.51 x 0.35~0.58 inches
  • Weight: 2.31 lbs

B9440U_09.jpg

The ASUSPRO B9440 will be available in May with a retail price starting at $999.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2017: ASUS Updates Notebook and AiO Lineup to Intel Kaby Lake

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, intel core, detachable, convertible, CES 2017, CES, asus, all in one, AIO, 7th generation

ASUS has refreshed their notebook and all-in-one (AiO) desktop lineup with the new 7th-generation Intel Core (Kaby Lake) processors, with models ranging from the ultra-thin UX330 to the 27-inch ZN270IE AiO.

UX330.jpg

The ZenBook UX330

The refreshed notebook lineup includes the 13.3-inch ZenBook models UX310 and UX330, and 15.6-inch ZenBook UX510. The convertible ZenBook Flip UX360UA and detachable Transformer Pro T304 have also been updated to Kaby Lake.

UX360.jpg

ZenBook Flip UX360

On the all-in-one side the refreshed models include Zen AiO Pro Z240IE and Zen AiO ZN241IC desktops, with a new model announced in the Zen AiO ZN270IE, a 27-inch (FHD) model which pairs a 7th-gen Core i7 processor with discrete NVIDIA graphics.

ZN270.jpg

Zen AiO ZN270

Pricing and availability of the updated machines is as follows:

Available immediately are the ZenBook UX310UA ($699), ZenBook UX330UA ($749), and ZenBook UX510UW ($999). The ZenBook UX360UAK ($899) and Transformer Pro T304 ($999) will be available in May. Updated AiO desktops will be available in March, with the ZN241IC and ZN270IE priced at $999, and the Zen AIO Pro Z240IE at $1799.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2017: Qualcomm and ODG Announce AR Smartglasses Powered by Snapdragon 835

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 02:10 AM |
Tagged: VR, SoC, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, processor, mobile, CES 2017, CES, AR

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc and ODG (Osterhout Design Group) have announced that the R-8 and R-9 smartglasses will be the first devices powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. ODG is a developer of "mobile headworn computing and augmented reality technologies and products", and these new models leverage the reduced size and thermal requirements of the new Snapdragon 835 processor.

ODG-R8-Scale.jpg

The R-8 smartglasses, seated next to a glass mug for scale

"The premium Snapdragon 835 processor was designed from the ground-up to support new and innovative products and experiences beyond mobile phones, and it’s great to see that the first announced Snapdragon 835 devices will be ODG’s smartglasses," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Thermal dissipation on a heavy compute but small device is very difficult so higher power efficiency is a must. The Snapdragon 835 processor, with our unique SoC design expertise on a 10nm process node, enables ODG to meet their design goals and develop lighter, smaller and sleeker smartglasses that take advantage of the new processor’s superior performance and power efficiency."

ODG-R9-Scale.jpg

The R-9 smartglasses

The Snapdragon-powered R-8 smartglasses are "lighter, smaller and sleeker than any other device in ODG’s portfolio", which should make their use a more attractive option for those interested in AR, VR, and Mixed Reality overlay capabilities. For their part the larger R-9 smartglasses are "based on ODG’s award-winning 50° FOV and 1080p Project Horizon platform". The company's previous smartglasses, the R-7, were powered by a Snapdragon 801 SoC.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Qualcomm

The GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti are going on a road trip

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | January 4, 2017 - 12:34 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050

Keep an eye out for reviews of new gaming laptops containing mobile versions of the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti.  These laptops should also be on sale soon, with a quote from NVIDIA suggesting prices will start at around $700 for a base model.

1050m.PNG

The price reflects the power of the GPU, you are not going to match a $2000 machine with a GTX 1080 in it, but then again there are many gamers who do not need such a powerful card.  If your gaming machine is a current generation laptop with integrated graphics this will be a huge improvement and even a laptop with a discrete mid-range GPU from a previous generation is going to lag behind these new models.  Of course, waiting to see what laptops based off of AMD's new Ryzen platform may be worth waiting for but for those hoping to upgrade soon, laptops with these cards installed are going to be worth looking at.

1080p gaming at 60fps will not be a problem, and for strategy games and online multiplayer entertainment such as LOL you should even be able to pump up the graphics settings.  The cards will support the various GameWorks enhancements as well as other features such as Ansel.

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The above example comes from The Verge, who spotted a 14" Dell laptop with the GTX 1050 already on sale at $800.  If you want the best choice you should look to the 15.6" model, which offers the choice of a GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti, an i5-7300HQ or i7-7700HQ and a 512GB PCIe SSD.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: NVIDIA

CES 2017: Acer Details Predator 21 X Curved-Screen Gaming Notebook

Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: Predator 21 X, notebook, laptop, gaming, curved screen, CES 2017, CES, acer

The Predator 21 X was originally announced back in August, but today Acer is providing detailed specs, pricing and availability for the world's first curved-screen gaming notebook.

Acer Predator_21_X_GX21-71_moodshot-number pad.jpg

"As the world’s first notebook to offer a curved 21-inch IPS display (2560 x 1080 resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate), it delivers a truly immersive gaming experience, especially when combined with the notebook’s eye-tracking technology from Tobii. Taking PC gaming immersion to new depths, eye tracking lets gamers identify enemies, aim and take cover simply by gazing at objects on the screen in over 45 titles like Elite Dangerous, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and WATCH_DOGS 2. The curved screen also features NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, ensuring smooth and sharp gameplay."

The specifications are as outlandish as one might expect from 21-inch curved-screen gaming laptop: dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphic cards in SLI, a 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor (overclockable, no less), 64GB of DDR4-2400 memory, and up to four 512GB solid state drives in RAID 0, among other things.

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Specifications from Acer:


  • Display: 21” Wide-FHD (21:9) 2560 x 1080, 120GHz refresh rate, IPS, G-SNYC, 2000R curved screen
  • CPU: 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HK (overclockable)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI with 16 GB GDDR5X VRAM
  • Memory: 64GB of DDR4 2400MHz
  • Storage:
    • Storage 1: SSD (NVMe /PCI-e)
    • Storage 2: SSD (NVMe/PCI-e)
    • Storage 3: SSD (SATA)
    • Storage 4: SSD (SATA)
      • RAID 0 support for SATA / PCI-e SSDs
    • Storage 5: 1TB 7200RPM hard disk drive
  • Cooling:
    • 5-Fan cooling system
    • 3 AeroBlade fans for CPU/GPUs
    • Aerodynamic design airflow
    • 9 heat pipes
    • DustDefender + CoolBoost fan control
  • Networking:
    • Killer DoubleShotTM Pro
    • 802.11ac with MU-MIMO (Killer WLAN 1535)
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN (Killer LAN E2500)
  • Audio:
    • HiFi quality 3-way sound (tweeter, squawker, woofer)
    • Smart amplifier boost
    • Dolby audio premium
    • Acer TrueHarmony system
    • 4 speakers + 2 subwoofers
  • Webcam: 1280 x 720 resolution, 720p HD audio/video recording
  • I/O Ports:
    • USB 3.1 x 1, Type-C Gen 2: Thunderbolt 3 port
    • USB 3.0 x3, USB 3.0 x1 with power-off charging
    • HDMI x 1 (v2.0, supports 4K2K output)
    • Display Port x2 (supports G-SYNC)
    • SD Card reader (3.0)
    • Mic-in x 1 / Headphone-out x 1
    • Ethernet (RJ-45) port
  • Kensington lock slot
  • Keyboard and Touchpad:
    • Mechanical Keyboard Cherry MX switch
    • Backlit Keyboard with RGB Color (16.7 million colors)
    • Numeric keypad can be flipped over and used as a Precision Touchpad
  • Additional Gaming Features:
    • Tobii EyeX eye tracking
    • Programmable keys
    • Customizable maintenance panel
  • Software:
    • Acer PredatorSense
    • Xsplit Gamecaster
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Battery: 8-cell, 88W hrs
  • Power: 330W x 2
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 22.36 x 12.38 x 3.27 inches / 568 x 314.5 x 83.25 mm
  • Weight: 19.40 lbs / 8.8 kg

Acer Predator_21_X_GX21-71_keyboard.jpg

Going over the above specs it's clear that the Predator 21 X is not going to fall within most people's budget, but the actual number is still pretty staggering: Acer states that the Predator 21 X will be available in February, with prices starting at $8,999 in the USA.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Acer

CES 2017: HP Announces EliteBook x360 1030 G2 Convertible Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 3, 2017 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: x360, tablet, notebook, laptop, hp, elitebook, convertible, CES 2017, CES, business, 2-in-1

HP's EliteBook x360 1030 G2 is "the world’s thinnest business convertible", with a sleek aluminum unibody design, the latest 7th-generation Intel Core processors, and a 360-degree hinged design for laptop/tablet functionality.

HP_EliteBook_x360_Front_Left.jpg

"With 360° of versatility across five modes, unmatched security, and up to 16 hours and 30 minutes of battery life, the thin and light HP EliteBook x360 1030 is the perfect PC for highly mobile professionals. Wherever business or pleasure takes you, set a new benchmark for work and fun."

The optional HP Active Pen provides "a natural inking experience" on the Gorilla Glass-covered 13.3-inch display, which is available with a resolution of up to 3840x2160 (UHD). As to power, HP claims that this new EliteBook lasts up to 16.5 hours on a single charge with its 3-cell, 57 Wh battery.

HP_EliteBook_x360_Tablet_Mode.jpg


Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7600U, Intel Core i5-7300U, Intel Core i5-7200U
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Maximum Memory: 16 GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM
  • Internal Storage
    • 128 GB M.2 SSD
    • 256 GB up to 512 GB M.2 SATA TLC SSD
    • 256 GB up to 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe TLC SSD
    • 360 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Display Options
    • 13.3" diagonal FHD UWVA ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (1920 x 1080)
    • 13.3" diagonal UHD UWVA ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (3840 x 2160)
    • HP Sure View integrated privacy screen 13.3" diagonal FHD UWVA eDP ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (1920 x 1080)
    • 13.3" diagonal FHD UWVA ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (1920 x 1080);
    • 13.3" diagonal UHD UWVA ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (3840 x 2160)
    • HP Sure View integrated privacy screen 13.3" diagonal FHD UWVA eDP ultra slim with Corning Gorilla Glass touch screen (1920 x 1080)
  • Wireless Technologies
    • HP lt4132 LTE/HSPA+ 4G Mobile Broadband; HP hs3210 WW HSPA+ Mobile Broadband; Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo (non-vPro)
    • Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo; Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo (vPro);
    • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo (vPro and non-vPro) (Compatible with Miracast-certified devices.)
  • Communications
    • NFC (optional)
  • Expansion Slots
    • 1 microSD
  • Ports and Connectors
    • 1 USB Type-C with Thunderbolt; 2 USB 3.1 (1 charging); 1 HDMI 1.4; 1 external micro SIM; 1 AC power connector; 1 headphone / microphone combo (base)
  • Input Device
    • Spill-resistant backlit keyboard with drain and DuraKeys
    • Clickpad with image sensor and glass surface, multi-touch gestures enabled, taps enabled as default
  • Touch Fingerprint Sensor for fingerprint authentication with Windows Hello
  • Camera: 720p HD webcam, IR camera for face authentication with Windows Hello
  • Security Management
    • HP BIOSphere; HP SureStart; HP Secure Erase; Preboot Authentication; Security lock slot; HP Client Security; HP Security Manager; HP Password Manager; Absolute Persistence Module; TPM 1.2/2.0; Microsoft Defender; HP Spare Key; HP Device Access Manager
  • Power
    • HP Long Life 3-cell, 57 Wh Li-ion
    • Up to 16 hours and 30 minutes
    • Battery is internal and not replaceable by customer. Serviceable by warranty.
  • Operating System
    • Windows 10 Pro 64 – HP recommends Windows 10 Pro.
    • Windows 10 Home 64
    • Windows 10 Pro 64 (National Academic only)
  • Dimensions: 12.48 x 8.6 x 0.59 in / 31.69 x 21.85 x 1.49 cm
  • Weight: Starting at 2.82 lb / 1.28 kg

HP_EliteBook_x360_Tent_Mode.jpg

At less than 3 lbs and a hair under 15 mm thick, the EliteBook x360 is a very attractive business convertible option, though pricing and availability were absent from the press release.

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PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: HP