LG's V50 ThinQ '5G' phone

Subject: Mobile | March 15, 2019 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: V50 ThinQ, LG, 5G

We know for sure which came first, the 5G modem before 5G service, no matter what certain companies branding might say.   LG's new V50 ThinQ contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 modem inside it's shell.  It has already been announced that LG will not be releasing a folding phone this year, but this phone comes with an interesting compromise.  You can purchase a second device, a screen with POGO pin connectors that you can then attach to the phone, the hinge technically makes it a folding phone but not in the way that others are developing.

Take a quick peek at it over at The Inquirer.

IMG20190225160745-540x334.jpg

"That's not a bad thing, but it serves as a reminder that the days when a new technology meant a retrograde in form factor are gone. There's nothing about the V50 ThinQ 5G that sets it apart from any 4G phone - at least on the outside."

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Source: The Inquirer

Samsung Announces Galaxy Smartphone Lineup for 2019

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 2, 2019 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: MWC, snapdragon 855, SD855, Samsung, galaxy, foldable, android 9

During Samsung's own Samsung's Unpacked press conference as well as Mobile World Congress in Spain the Sourth Korea-based tech giant unveiled a beaucoup of new smartphones, tablets, and accessories. The new Galaxy series smartphones were the headliners though with Samsung revealing a new flagship foldable smartphone at the top, four high-end S10 tier phones, and two budget A tier smartphones all within the Galaxy brand. Needless to say, it is a lot to process!

Samsung Galaxy Fold.png

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the new Galaxy flagship and is Samsung's first smartphone with a foldable AMOLED display [Video]. At first blush the new device is a thck bar of soap with rounded edges, a USB-C port along the bottom edge, and a camera bump around back with three lenses. A 4.6" full HD display sits in the center of the front face with a 10MP selfie camera and large bezels top and bottom. The right side is where the magic happens though, where the smartphone can be opened up like a book to reveal a larger 7.3" dynamic AMOLED display (QXGA) where it can be used like a tablet with up to three applications running at once in separate windows. Samsung claims that "app continuity" allows apps to switch between the cover display and the main tablet display with ease. When the 2-in-1 device is opened up in tablet mode there are two front facing selfie cameras (10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth camera). Around back there are three cameras including a 12MP wide angle, 16MP ulta wide angle, and 12MP telephoto camera. The camera system offers dual optical image stabilization as well.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Cover and Rear Camera.png

On the inside Samsung has opted for Qualcomm's Snaptdragon 855 platform paired with 12GB of LPDDR4x memory and 512GB of storage. Unfortunately there is no micro SD card support on the Galaxy Fold, but at least the internal memory is UFS 3.0 rather than the older (and slower) UFS 2.1 used in the rest of the Galaxy series. Two batteries (one in each half to balance the weight) add up to 4,380 mAh.

Samsung's new flagship comes at quite a premium though, with MSRP of $1980. It should be available starting in April 2019.

Moving down to the (slightly) more affordable S tier, Samsung has refreshed the Galaxy S series with four new devices: the S10+ at $999, the S10 at $899, and the entry-level S10e at $749. There is also the S10 5G that includes the optional X50 modem to all the largest S10 to connect to upcoming 5G cellular networks.

Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10Plus.jpg

The Galaxy S10+ offers a 6.4" Infinity-O edge QHD+ AMOLED display sans notch with a 10MP dual pixel camera and 8MP RGB depth camera in the top right corner of the display in a slim body with rounded corners. Around back, the S10+ features a triple camera system with a wide angle, ultra wide angle, and telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and dual OIS. The S10+ comes with glass display and either a glass back or a ceramic back with the ceramic variant weighing slightly more but, at least in theory, being much more durable.

The S10+ comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Ceramic White, and Ceramic Black. The glass backs' prism colors have a glossy pearlescent look while the ceramic models are more solid and matte.

Internally, the S10+ uses a Snapdragon 855 SoC, 4,100mAh battery, and comes in configurations of 8GB RAM / 128GB ROM, 8GB RAM / 512GB ROM, and 12GB RAM / 1TB ROM. Yes, that's 1TB of internal memory on a phone – and it can be expanded with a Micro SD card officially up to 512GB.

  S10e S10 S10+ S10 5G Fold
Display 5.8" Flat FHD (2280x1080) 6.1" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.4" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.7" QHD+ 4.6" (FHD) - 7.3" (QXGA)
Cameras

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle

OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

 

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom) + 3D depth sense camera (ToF sensor)
Dual OIS

Cover: 10MB

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

CPU SD855 SD855 SD855 SD855 + X50 SD855
RAM 6GB / 8GB 8GB 8GB / 8GB / 12GB 8GB 12GB LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB / 256GB 128GB / 512GB 128GB / 512GB / 1TB 256GB 512GB
mSD Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Battery 3,100 mAh 3,400 mAh 4,100 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,380 mAh
Dimensions 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm 57.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.94 mm ?
Weight 150 g 157 g 175 g (glass) or 175 g (ceramic) 198 g ?
Price $749 $899 $999 $? $1980

Stepping down to the standard S10 model gets you a slightly small phone with a similar quality edge QHD+ AMOLED display albeit at 6.1". There is only one front facing camera here though, with the depth sensor being removed and only the 10MP dual pixel camera remaining. Bokeh effects in selfie portraits are still possible, but using the NPU to simulate it rather than doing it in hardware. Around back, the S10 matches the triple camera system of the S10+ model so you are not losing anything there. The smaller phone is also lighter at 157 grams vs 175+ on the S10+ and it comes in the same Prism color options sans the ceramics.

You lose some battery going with the smaller S10 though at just 3,400 mAh as well as hardware specifications with the smartphone maxing out at 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 storage.

Samsung also introduced the S10e which is a new entry level tier to the Galaxy S series that gets you most of the features at a more affordable (for today's smartphones anyway) price with some compromises. The S10e is the smallest and lightest of the bunch and offers a 5.8" flat full HD+ display that is still Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED and HDR10+ certified like the higher end models but is flat rather than curved. There is a single front-facing 10MP camera in the top right corner of the display and a dual camera system on the back of the phone which includes a 12MP wide angle and a 16MP ultra wide angle lens. There is no telephoto lens for optical zoom and the optical image stabilization is also of lower caliber. While the higher-end S10 and S10+ have ultrasonic fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, the budget S10e opts for an optical fingerprint reader integrated into the side power button which is not the end of the world so long as it's fast.

Specifications wise, the S10e retains the Snapdragon 855 (or Exynos 9820 depending on market) of the rest of the S series but RAM and storage options are limited to 6GB / 128GB or 8GB / 256GB respectively though there is still a micro SD card slot. You also lose a bit of battery at just 3,100 mAh but the loss is not as big as the gap between the S10 and S10+.

The S10+ comes in all of the same glossy Prism color as well as a Canary Yellow option with not all regions getting the same colors (if you want the yellow version you'll need to import it in the US, for example). The prism colors have a pearlescent look while the Canary Yellow is a solid flat but bright color.

According to Samsung, the various S10 models (which are all also IP68 rated) are the first smartphones with HDR10+ and Wi-Fi 6 certifications. The Snapdragon 855 offers 29% more CPU and 37% GPU performance versus last year's Galaxy S9. Samsung is using an intelligent battery algorithm to improve battery life by up to 25% by analyzing how you use apps and reducing CPU usage accordingly. The phones support wireless charging (Fast Wireless Charging 2.0) as well as reverse wireless charging with Powershare to charge other Qi devices (like the new Samsung Galaxy Buds (video), but that's a different story). All the S10 smartphones reportedly offer displays that can get very bright (850 to 1250+ nits) which should help a ton when trying to use it outdoors on sunny days. Other interesting tidbits of information that have come out include a heart rate/oxygen sensor on the back of the S10 and S10+, the S10+ (and only the plus version) using heat pipe / vapor cooling, and the ability to (finally) remap the Bixby button coming soon (for the S10 and older Galaxy devices).

The S10e, S10, and S10+ are slated for US availability on March 8th, with the Galaxy Fold coming sometime in April and the S10 5G making its debut over the summer.

Engadget got hands-on with the S10 5G at MWC 2019 on a test 5G network.

Samsung also showed off the "Galaxy S10 5G" which is an even larger Galaxy phone with a 6.7" display. The company did not reveal as much information about this 5G capable devices as it did about the others, but it is a bit of an odd duck. It has the same front facing camera setup and the rear camera system has been beefed up with a fourth sensor: a Time of Flight sensor that allows for more realistic depth of field as well as adjustable bokeh effects when recording video and taking portraits.

The S10 5G gets the Snapdragon 855 and the X50 modem along with a larger 4,500 mAh battery, but storage has been limited to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is no microSD card support on this model.

Pricing and available colors are still an unknown though it is expected to launch this summer in the US.

Left: The Galaxy A30. Right: the Galaxy A50. (Image Credit: Samsung)

Finally, it is worth also mentioning that Samsung also announced two budget A tier Galaxy phones with the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50. These cheaper Galaxy devices use Samsung's notched Infinity-U displays at 6.4" (2340x1080 resolution) and a "3D Glasstic" body construction. The A50 gets a 25MP + 8MP ultra-wide + depth camera in back along with a single 25MP front camera while the A30 only have a dual rear camera system (16MP + 5MP wide angle) and a 16MP front camera. The Galaxy A50 is powered by an Exynos 9610 SoC, Mali G72 GPU, and either 4GB RAM / 64GB storage or 6GB RAM / 128GB storage. It uses a 4,000 mAh battery. The A50 will come in black, white, blue, and coral colors. Meanwhile the Galaxy A30 steps things down to a Exynos 7885 Octa and Mali-G71 GPU along with 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM or 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM. It will be available in black, white, or blue. While the A50 has an in-display fingerprint reader, the A30's fingerprint reader is mounted on the back of the phone. The A series is also IP68 dust and water resistant like its more expensive S siblings. These budget phones which are primarily going to launch in non-US markets (e.g. India, China, et al) are expected to be available in Q1.

What are your thoughts on Samsung's 2019 lineup? I think they did some interesting things and while I'm not sold on the Galaxy Fold (the front/cover display bezels are a bit much especially on an almost $2,000 phone!), I am looking forward to the reviews on the S10+ and the S10 5G with the video recording and photo/camera improvements they've made along with things like the laser cutout for the front cameras eliminating the need for a notch and the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor (though I think I would still prefer the rear mounted sensor like my V30 has as the positioning seems more natural than at the bottom of the front face). The battery AI sounds cool, but how useful it will be in practice remains to be seen. If the reports of the much brighter displays is true though, that's going to be pretty huge as viewing OLED in direct sunlight is a pain.

Source:

Huawei Knows When to Hold ‘em and When to Fold ‘em, Shows Off Mate X Foldable Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2019 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: nm card, MWC, mate x, Leica, Kirin 980, Huawei, foldable, balong 5000, android 9

Huawei raised the stakes at MWC 2019 with the reveal of its new flagship foldable smartphone that is nearly all screen wrapping around the front and back in phone mode and able to fold outwards into an eight-inch tablet.

Huawei-Mate-X16.jpg

The upcoming Mate X measures 78.3 x 161.3 x 5.4 to 11mm when folded up in phone mode and expands to 146.2mm x 161.3 x 5.4-11mm in tablet mode. The Interstellar Blue phone weighs in a 259 grams (0.57 lbs) and is nearly all OLED display except for a small bump along the right side (which can double as a useful handle when in tablet mode akin to Kindle devices or Lenovo’s smaller tablets) where the three cameras, fingerprint sensor/power button, volume controls, USB Type-C port, and many of the internal hardware components are nestled.

As far the screen, Huawei is using an OLED panel covered with plastic (no glass here, unfortunately, but that’s the tradeoff for going foldable) with a resolution of 2480 x 2200 when unfolded in tablet mode or 2480 x 1148 for the 6.6” front display and 2480 x 892 for the 6.38” rear display when folded. Huawei’s Mate X is a very sleek design with rounded edges and corners that is able to fold into a fairly slim package (slimmer than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold which folds inwards). A button on the side unlocks the rear display and allows it to fold outwards to make a display that is reportedly flat without a crease or visible divider though does have a different feel to it than other flagship smartphones that have moved to glass displays. It certainly looks impressive though long-term reviews will flesh out how well the display holds up over time and many folds.

Internally, Huawei is using the Kirin 980 SoC along with the Balong 5000 5G modem to power the smartphone. The smartphone further includes 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal memory. The Kirin 980 SoC is comprised of two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.6 GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 1.92 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz, a Mali-G76 GPU, and NPU for AI acceleration tasks. The Balong 5000 modem supports 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G multi mode in stand alone or non standalone configurations. The phone supports a dual SIM design with one SIM for 5G and the other for up to 4G networks. Alternatively, instead of a second SIM card users can slot in a nano memory card (NM card) up to 256GB which is Huawei’s expandable storage form factor that is a memory card with the size and form factor of a nano SIM. A 4,500 mAh battery powers the foldable phone with a 55W SuperCharger able to charge the battery from 1% to 85% in 30 minutes (4G standby, screen turned off). Connectivity options include 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0 (with AptX and other features supported), and USB Type-C 3.1 gen 1 with a cable purchased separately (the out-of-the-box cable is USB 2.0). The Mate X runs Android 9 with Huawei’s EMUI 9.1.1 skin.

Huawei-Mate-X-Camera-Selfie-2.png

The Leica cameras include a 40MP wide angle, 16MP ultra-wide angle, and 8MP telephone camera with the ability to mirror the screen when taking photographs (or selfies) so that the subjects can see the photo at the same time as the photographer to help compose the shot.

Huawei’s flagship Mate X foldable will be available in around the second half of 2019 with a MSRP of 2299 Euros (~$2615 though we likely won't see it in the US unless imported) that demands your wallet to go all in or fold. With that asking price, it is likely out of reach of most people, but it is an interesting look at the future and what it could bring as costs go down and the hinges and bendable display technologies are refined. I was admittedly not very excited about the idea of a foldable phone, especially seeing the rumor now reality where Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has a smaller screen in phone mode, but Huawei’s design has piqued my interest of what’s possible and I’m ready. Having a bigger screen on tap would be very helpful in being able to blow up text and make reading textbooks and fiction not yet available as an audiobook much easier on the eyes. It also just looks cool and futuristic to me as well(heh) with the only thing missing being a stylus/pen input hidden away in the ridge on the right side (if only!).

If you are curious to see the folding action, Michael Fisher was able to get hands on video  at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

I’m ready. What are your thoughts on these foldable flagships and the idea of a foldable phone?

Source: Huawei

MWC: HMD Launches Nokia PureView 9 Camera-Focused Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2019 - 08:10 PM |
Tagged: nokia, HMD, android one, pie, light, camera, photography, pOLED, snapdragon 845, qualcomm

Finnish company HMD Global Oy unveiled an interesting new smartphone under its Nokia brand at Mobile World Congress that, in typical Nokia fashion, focuses on camera quality. The Nokia PureView 9 offers up five rear cameras along with the hardware and software to harness computational photography techniques to deliver high quality HDR images.

Nokia PureView 9 Android One Smartphone.jpg

The PureView 9 nestles a 5.99-inch QHD+ pOLED HDR10 certified display (2880x1440 resolution) in a two-tone Midnight Blue body with front and back glass faces and aluminum sides with curved stylized edges. There is an optical fingerprint reader under the display and a small front facing camera sitting above the display. If you are looking for an edge-to-edge display, the PureView 9 is not the phone for you as it does have small bezels top and bottom and the front face does not curve into the sides. Ars Technica compares the design to the LG V30 which I would say is fair as both phones have similar bezels with curved display corners. For a most specific comparison, the V30 puts the “selfie” camera on the left not the right like the PureView 9, the bezels on the Nokia may be ever so slightly thicker and there is also a Nokia logo in the top right corner while there is no branding on the front of the V30. Nokia’s PureView 9 features a single USB-C port on the bottom edge along with what looks to be a single speaker. The right side holds the volume and power buttons while the left side is blank. The top edge appears to be the SIM tray slot.

I like the blue colors HMD has chosen, and while a good portion of the back is taken up by the camera system, the lenses sit flush with the body which is nice to see (Nokia has never been one afraid of cameras protruding from the phone in the name of photo and lens quality). There are five Zeiss camera lenses, one LED flash, and a sensor suite including time of flight grouped in a hexagonal shape.

The cameras are the star of the show with the Nokia PureView 9 and where most of the money was focused. HMD/Nokia partnered with Light to design a system with five 12MP f/1.8 camera sensors two of which have the RGB color filters and three of which are monochrome sensors that let it far more light than your usual camera sensor thanks in large part to not having a color filter which absorbs most of the light that enters the camera. In fact, HMD claims that the PureView 9’s five camera sensor system captures 10 times as much light as single sensor of the same type. Light provided its Lux Capacitor co-processor to allow all five cameras (it supports up to six) to shoot simultaneously allowing Nokia to use up to 60MP of total data from a single shot from each of the five 12MP cameras or up to 240MP of data when doing temporal image stacking with each camera taking four shots each combined and then downstacked/downsampled into, ideally, a much better 12MP (JPG or RAW DNG) image than would be possible with a single camera on its own using various computational photography and “Image stacking” techniques. The camera should do really well in low-light situations as well as being able to offer depth of field and bokeh effects that are much closer to reality and DSLR cameras than to your typical smartphone that can fake it. Nokia’s also partnered with Google to allow photographers to save shots to Google Photos with GDepth at up to 1200 layers of dept of field data that can be adjusted later to get customized photos in editing. Speaking of editing, Nokia and Adobe are supporting the PureView 9 in the Android version of Lightroom with a camera profile allowing you to work with the RAW DNG images right on your phone which is interesting, at least in theory (it’s not clear what performance will be like with the SD845).

In typical Nokia fashion, its Pro Camera UI offers a full manual mode as well as features like long exposure (with a tripod), time lapse, bokeh, filters, scenes, and more.

What is powering this camera that happens to make calls and run Android though? Well, here is where Nokia has compromised in the design with the use of the older Snapdragon 845 chipset though it is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 internal memory (not expandable as there is no microSD card support). There is a 3320 mAh battery though and a stock Android One (Pie) OS experience.

HMD’s Nokia PureView 9 will reportedly be a limited production run product with an MSRP of $699. The flagship pricing may be difficult for some smartphone enthusiasts to justify especially with competing flagships also being announced at MWC featuring newer designs with edge-to-edge displays, newer processors, and support for 2TB microSD cards. For amateur photographers and anyone that uses their smartphone as their primary camera and love taking photos though the Nokia PureView 9 may be the niche product to beat in 2019 so long as the usual build quality, I’ve come to expect from Nokia holds up.

I do worry about the glass back and how that will hold up (it is Gorilla Glass 5 at least and the phone is IP67 rated for dust/water resistance) and 9-to-5 Google’s hands-on video mentions that the optical fingerprint reader was hit-or-miss (which can hopefully be improved between now and launch). No microSD card slot and no headphone jack may also turn off buyers (one advantage the V30 retains), and while many photo-happy users could live without the headphone jack, no expandable storage is a real disappointment and the 128GB of internal storage simply may not be enough.

I am looking forward to the reviews on this and am curious to see how the camera performs in the real world and what is possible with video recording as well. I don’t see the PureView 9 winning any popularity contests in 2019 and it appears to be kind of a mixed bag even with its exciting camera system with certain drawbacks dragging it down but I can also appreciate why some users might well choose it even with its compromises.

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Source: 9to5Google

Gigabyte's Aero 15, more thoughts on tracing rays while on the go

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2019 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Aero 15 X9, RTX 2070 Max-Q, Core i7-8750H, Intel, nvidia, gaming laptop, 144hz

Gigabyte's Aero 15 X9 has been upgraded to an RTX 2070 Max-Q to power the 144Hz 1080p screen, though if you have the money there is a model with an RTX 2080 Max-Q and a 4k display.  Techspot reviewed the former and tested its performance against previous models as well as determining if the laptop has enough power to provide a decent experience with DLSS or DXR enabled.  They also discovered the laptop gets rather warm while testing and that thanks to the thin bezel the camera has been moved to the bottom, providing a handy way to trim your nose hairs.

gaming.PNG

"Today we are reviewing the Gigabyte Aero 15 X9, the first Nvidia RTX laptop we tested and used for our RTX 2070 Max-Q feature earlier this month. It's a cool gaming laptop, pretty similar to the Aero 15X v8 we looked at last year, but with a few upgrades that we'll walk you through here."

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Source: TechSpot

Gigabyte's Aero 15-X9, RTX on the go

Subject: Mobile | February 12, 2019 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, gaming laptop, aero 15-X9, 8750H, 4k, 2070 Max-Q

Gigabyte's Aero 15-X9 gaming laptop will set you back $2800, if you want the full 4K display and there is a more expensive model with an i9-8950HK if you feel the i7-8750H is underpowered.  Kitguru reviewed the i7 model, with an RTX 2070 Max-Q, a 1TB Intel 760p M.2 NVMe SSD and 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz and the slightly less expensive 1080p 15.6" display with a top refresh of 144Hz. 

Unfortunately this review was completed before the newest GeForce driver dropped, so Kitguru couldn't test DLSS, however the comparative performance scores are still valid.  Take a peek right here.

1-P1122234.jpg

"The combination of Intel 6-core CPU and RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics was always going to work well but the thing that makes this potentially the single most interesting laptop that was launched at CES was the inclusion of a Microsoft Azure AI feature."

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Source: Kitguru

Do you change your Razer Blade once a year?

Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2019 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: razer, razer blade stealth, gaming laptop, whiskey lake

Razer have released an updated Blade Stealth for 2019, with a few base upgrades and a wide variety of upgrades to choose from.  All will have a Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U, though the 13.3" display can be 1080p or 4K depending on your preference.  You can have either 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 and a choice of a 256GB SATA SSD, or if you prefer a PCIe SSD you can choose 256GB or 512GB.  Not all models will have a discrete GPU, but those that do will have an MX150.  As far as peripherals go, you get a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-C 3.1 port and two USB 3.1 Type-A ports plus a headphone jack; at the cost of a full sized HDMI port.

TechSpot published a review, covering the additional features Razer included as well as the performance.

lappy.PNG

"The new Razer Blade Stealth uses an all-new design with new hardware. Powered by a Core i7-8565U processor, the 13.3" ultraportable offers models with and without discrete graphics, 8 or 16GB of RAM and two performance levels of 256GB SSDs running on a 53 Wh battery."

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Source: TechSpot

He's got the whole world (wide web) in his phone

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 30, 2019 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: Terabyte, Samsung, eUFS, 1TB, smartphones

Samsung wants to make sure you don't run out of space on your phone by upping their game and providing 1TB of embedded Universal Flash Storage on a single chip.  The new chip is physically similar to the current 512GB version, so you won't have to buy a phablet to download all your 4K cat videos for offline viewing.  They have also increased speeds at the same time, as we have become accustomed to with other flash storage, with Ars Technica reporting sequential reads of up to 1,000Mbps

Rumour has it we might see this as a choice in the upcoming Galaxy S10.

YH1xBez.gif

"The 1TB eUFS is expected to play a critical role in bringing a more notebook-like user experience to the next generation of mobile devices," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales and Marketing at Samsung."

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Source: Ars Technica

Looking at Chromebooks now that we know Ryzen will soon be an option?

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2019 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: Chromebook, guide

During AMD's CES keynote they mentioned that their new Ryzen chips will be appearing in some models of Chromebook, which might create some new interest in these mobile devices.  Ars Technica recently published an in depth guide walking you through the important features to look for if you are shopping for a Chromebook.  They also offer quick overviews of the best models currently available, if you weren't going to wait for the new ones to be released.

asuschromebookflip1-1440x960.jpg

"All of those factors, plus the recent introduction of Android apps into the ecosystem, have made Chromebooks popular with younger users, teachers, and anyone who works and plays primarily within the confines of the Chrome Web browser."

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Source: Ars Technica

ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY Laptops Powered by AMD Ryzen 3000 Series

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2019 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, RX 560X, radeon, notebook, mobile, laptop, gaming, asus, amd

ASUS had a pair of AMD-powered gaming laptops to announce at CES 2019, with the TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY, both of which feature the latest Ryzen 3000-series mobile CPUs as well as discrete Radeon RX 560X graphics.

FX705DY_1.png

“Experience smoother, more immersive gameplay with the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 AMD Edition. Featuring a cutting-edge IPS-level NanoEdge display with AMD® FreeSync™ technology and a refresh rate up to 120Hz, and armed with the latest AMD Ryzen™ processor and discrete Radeon™ graphics, it delivers high-performance gaming at an affordable price. It’s also tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so you’re guaranteed toughness and durability that’s second to none.”

The CPU powering these systems is the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with clock speeds ranging from 2.1 GHz up to 3.7 GHz and a 35W TDP.

"AMD’s Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn’t compromise battery life.

Vega-based integrated graphics allow the APU to power the laptop all on its own, which helps conserve power and extend battery life to over seven hours of 1080p video playback on FX705DY and nearly six hours on FX505DY. Discrete GPUs are where it’s at for proper gaming so when it’s time to play, AMD Switchable Graphics tech automatically activates the laptop’s discrete Radeon RX 560X. The GPU pumps out smooth frame rates in mainstays like Fortnite and Overwatch, as well as esports classics like League of Legends and Dota 2."

Both models have NanoEdge displays with thin bezels and wide viewing angles and variable refresh rates, and while the larger FX705DY provides a FreeSync range of 40-60Hz, the FX505DY offers 48-120Hz capability.

FX705DY_Red Matter.png

Specifications from ASUS for the TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY include:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
  • Display:
    • 15.6" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display up to 120Hz
    • 17.3" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X
  • Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Up to 1TB FireCuda SSHD
  • Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Connectivity:
    • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x HDMI 2.0
    • 1x RJ-45 jack
    • 1x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
    • 1x Kensington lock
  • Keyboard and touchpad  : 1.8mm key travel
  • Customizable RGB or red backlighting
  • Audio: DTS Headphone: X
  • Battery: 48Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX505DY), 64Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX705DY)
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs (FX505DY), 5.73 lbs (FX705DY)

Official pricing was not revealed in the press release, but we should be able to expect some fairly agressive sub-$1000 pricing with these at the base configuration level.

Source: ASUS

Looking for an inexpensive laptop for a friend or your family?

Subject: Mobile | December 31, 2018 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: dell, inspiron 15 3000

At first glance the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is rather boring, a Core i3-8130U, a single 8GB stick of DDR4-2800, a 1TB drive and a 1366x768 15.6" display as standard equipment.  TechPowerUp made one simple change to the standard model, upgrading to a 250GB Silicon Power Ace A55 SSD, taking the price from $337.59 to $375.79 with tax included.  Now, for a very low price you have a laptop which will meet the needs of many casual users, including those still used to optical media as it sports a DVD drive.

If you know someone who doesn't ask for much out of a laptop and could use a newer machine, this is defintitely something to consider.

close7.jpg

"Dell's Insprion 15 3000 is an entry-level notebook that remains not only highly affordable after a quick upgrade to an SSD, but feels quick and responsive. Take that into account, along with the surprisingly good battery life, and you have a decent system for on-the-go that won't break the bank."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Samsung Refreshes 2-In-1 Lineup With New Notebook 9 Pen Models

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2018 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: windows hello, windows, Samsung, s pen, notebook 9 pen, convertible tablet, convertible, 2-in-1

Samsung is updating its laptop lineup to include the new Notebook 9 Pen which is a 2-in-1 convertible with built-in S Pen that comes in 13.3-inch and 15-inch form factors. Featuring full body aluminum frames, diamond cut edges, and narrow display bezels, the Notebook 9 Pen weighs in at 2.47 pounds and 3.44 pounds for the 13-inch and 15-inch models respectively. The new “Notebook 9 Pen” PCs should not be confused with the existing Notebook 9 Pen notebooks which were released earlier this year. The new models which are slated for a 2019 release introduce a 15” model to the lineup as well as more memory, brighter (500 nits) displays with narrower bezels, and two new colors and designs.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen 2019 Refresh.jpg

Available in Ocean Blue or Platinum WHite, the Notebook 9 Pen includes a full HD display with very small bezels and a HD webcam paired with a backlit keyboard and decently sized trackpad joined by a 360-degree rotating hinge. The convertible laptop also has dual 5W AKG speakers with ThunderAmp technology. External I/O includes two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C, one combo headphone/microphone, and one UFS/microSD port. As far as wireless connectivity, the notebook supports 802.ac Wave 2 2x2 WiFi.

The modern I/O is supported by modern internal hardware including up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB LPDDR3, and a 512GB PCI-E NVMe SSD. The Notebook 9 Pen with 13.3” display uses Intel UHD graphics, but the 15” model can be equipped with a NVIDIA MX150 GPU with 2GB memory. Both models are powered by a 54 Wh battery that supports fast charging and allegedly offers up to 15 hours of battery life.

Of course, the interesting aspect of the Notebook 9 Pen is the S Pen which Samsung as reportedly improved to be more responsive with up to a 2x reduction in latency to 7ms. The S Pen comes with three different pen tips so that artists can get the feel they want when drawing on the screen. The S Pen can do the usual things its smartphone counterparts can like drawing and writing and it can also be used to control media playback, advance slides, and record voice notes with its built-in microphone.

First impressions look promising, but pricing is going to be key as well as build quality and feel and with this year’s model starting at $1,400 MSRP ($1,000+ on Amazon for the 8GB RAM version) the updated 2019 Notebook 9 Pen isn’t going to be cheap! Unfortunately, exact pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.

With that said, assuming rewiews hold up, it looks sharp and for artists and designers that like to work on the go it may be worth checking out!

Source: Samsung

Intel Plans Ghost Canyon X NUC With Discrete Graphics Support In 2020

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 13, 2018 - 01:02 AM |
Tagged: Intel

Slated for an early 2020 release, Intel is planning a new larger (but still) small form factor NUC system dubbed Ghost Canyon X according to a report by FanlessTech. Ghost Canyon X will feature a larger 5 liter form factor that will be able to accomodate a discrete graphics card along with both M.2 and SATA 3 storage.

Intel Ghost Canyon NUC 5L Mini PC Coffee Lake HR.png

The Ghost Canyon X NUC will be powered by 9th Generation Coffee Lake HR processors that will come in i5 and i7 flavors. The chips have a 45W TDP and will come in quad core i5-9XXXH, six core i7, or eight core i7-9XXXH configurations (with HyperThreading) and will be paired with two DDR4 DIMMs (up to 64GB DDR4 2400 MHz or 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz). Ghost Canyon X NUCs will have three HDMI 2.0 video outputs, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a SD card slot for external I/O (likely along with USB 3.1 and audio outputs though those are not pictured). Internal storage includes up to 3 M.2 drives (two M.2 2242 80/110 and one 80mm) using PCI-E 3.0 x4 links and SATA 3 for standard hard drives and SATA SSDs. The biggest change with the NUC platform is the inclusion of a single PCI-E x16 slot which can be used to add a discrete graphics card to the system. While 5 liters is quite a jump up from the 0.7L standard NUCs and the 1.2L of the Kaby Lake-G powered Hades Canyon gaming NUC, it is still a fairly small system so not all graphics cards are going to fit but enthusiasts should be able to use GPUs that have shorter Mini ITX designs easily enough.

FanlessTech notes that the reference Ghost Canyon X NUC will most likely be actively cooled, but third party fanless cases from makers like Akassa, Streacom, Tranquil PC and others should be achievable with a 45W TDP CPU (and even GPU if you go with a lower end model).

Further details are still unknown and the pictured case design is still subject to change as the system gets further along in the design process and closer to launch. Curiously, that expected early 2020 Ghost Canyon X launch would coincide with Intel’s plans for launching its own discrete graphics solution so an Intel NUC with an Intel graphics card would be an interesting system to see!

Stay tuned for updated NUC information as we get closer to Computex 2019 and CES 2020!

Source: FanlessTech

NVIDIA Rumored To Launch RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Max-Q Mobile GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 12, 2018 - 10:04 PM |
Tagged: turing, rumor, RTX 2070, RTX 2060, nvidia

Rumors have appeared online that suggest NVIDIA may be launching mobile versions of its RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 GPUs based on its new Turing architecture. The new RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 with Max-Q designs were leaked by Twitter user TUM_APISAK who posted cropped screenshots of Geekbench 4.3.1 and 3DMark 11 Performance results.

NVIDIA Max-Q.png

Allegedly handling the graphics duties in a Lenovo 81HE, the GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design (8GB VRAM) combined with a Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake six core CPU and 32 GB system memory managed a Geekbench 4.3.1 score of 223,753. The GPU supposedly has 36 Compute Units (CUs) and a core clockspeed of 1,300 MHz. The desktop RTX 2070 GPU which is already available also has 36 CUs with 2,304 CUDA cores, 144 texture units, 64 ROPS, 288 Tensor cores, and 36 RT (ray tracing) cores. The desktop GPU has a 175W reference (non FE) TDP and clocks of 1410 MHz base and 1680 MHz boost (1710 MHz for Founder's Edition). Assuming that 36 CU number is accurate, the mobile (RTX 2070M) may well have the same core counts, just running at lower clocks which would be nice to see but would require a beefy mobile cooling solution. 

As far as the RTX 2060 Max-Q Design graphics processor, not as much information was leaked as far as specifications as the leak was limited to two screenshots allegedly from Final Fantasy XV's benchmark results page comparing a desktop RTX 2060 with a Max-Q RTX 2060. The number of CUs (and other numbers like CUDA/Tensor/RT cores, TMUs, and ROPs) was not revealed in those screenshots, for example. The comparison does lend further credence to the rumors of the RTX 2060 utilizing 6 GB of GDDR6 memory though. Tom's Hardware does have a screenshot that shows the RTX 2060 with 30 CUs which suggest 1,920 CUDA cores, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores though with clocks up to 1.2 GHz (which does mesh well with previous rumors of the desktop part).

Graphics Card Generic VGA Generic VGA
Memory 6144 MB 6144 MB
Core clock 960 MHz 975 MHz
Memory Clock 1750 MHz 1500 MHz
Driver name NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with Maz-Q Design
Driver version 25.21.14.1690 25.21.14.1693

Also, the TU106 RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design reportedly has a 975 MHz core clock and a 1500 MHz (6 GHz) memory clock. Note that the 960 MHz core clock and 1750 MHz (7 GHz) memory clocks don't match previous RTX 2060 rumors which suggested higher GPU clocks in particular (up to 1.2 GHz). To be fair, it could just be the software reporting incorrect numbers due to the GPUs not being official yet. One final bit of leaked information included a note about 3DMark 11 performance with the RTX 2060 Max Q Design GPU hitting at least 19,000 in the benchmark's Performance preset which allegedly puts it in between the scores of the mobile GTX 1070 and the mobile GTX 1070 Max-Q. (A graphics score between nineteen and twenty thousand would put it a bit above a desktop GTX 1060 but far below the desktop 1070).

As usual, take these rumors and leaked screenshots with a healthy heaping of salt, but they are interesting nonetheless. Combined with the news about NVIDIA possibly announcing new mid-range GPUs at CES 2019, we may well see new laptops and other mobile graphics solutions shown off at CES and available within the first half of 2019 which would be quite the coup.

What are your thoughts on the rumored RTX 2060 for desktops and its mobile RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Max-Q siblings?

Related reading:

Source: GND-Tech

Developers! Developers! Developers! ... might just prefer an Ubuntu powered Dell XPS laptop

Subject: Mobile | December 12, 2018 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: dell, linux, ubuntu 18.04, XPS developer edition, Kaby Lake R

Dell have updated their Linux powered XPS Developer's Edition laptop with a Kaby Lake R processor, up to a 2TB PCIe SSD, 4-16GB of RAM and either a 1080p screen or a 4K touchscreen depending on how much you are willing to pay.  Dell included all the latest features, including a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as a Type C 3.1 port; there is even an SD card reader. 

Apart from the webcam and the lack of older style USB ports, Ars Technica gives this new Linux power laptop top marks.

dellxps-front.jpg

"Recently, Dell finally sent Ars the latest model of the XPS 13 DE for testing. And while Dell did put a lot of work into this latest iteration, the biggest upgrade with the latest Developer Edition is the inclusion of Ubuntu 18.04."

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Source: Ars Technica

Snapdragon 8cx is Qualcomm’s answer to higher-performance for Windows PCs

Subject: Mobile | December 6, 2018 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon x24, snapdragon, qualcomm, NVMe, kryo 495, adreno 680, 8cx

While yesterday was all about Snapdragon 855, and the enhancements it will bring to mobile devices, Qualcomm’s focus today at their Snapdragon Tech Summit was all about the “Always on, Always connected” (AOAC) PC.

Announced almost exactly a year ago, AOAC is the term that Qualcomm uses to brand Snapdragon devices featuring the Windows operating system.

8cx-1.png

In the past year, Qualcomm has shipped PCs based on both the Snapdragon 835 and well as the PC-only Snapdragon 850 SoCs.

Today, Qualcomm is taking the wraps off of their higher-performance Snapdragon option for PCs, Snapdragon 8cx.

Snapdragon 8cx Badge.jpg

From the start, Qualcomm assures us that Snapdragon 8cx won’t be completely replacing Snapdragon 850 in the marketplace, pointing to it being a more upmarket solution.

8cx-2.png

Kryo 495

8cx-4.png

Unlike the Prime Core design on the Snapdragon 855, the 8cx platform is sticking with a more traditional BIG.little design with four performance and four efficiency cores. However, we do see larger cache sizes than previous Snapdragons, with a total of 10MB system cache.

8cx-5.png

Qualcomm did make a few performance claims against Intel's notebook parts, but they are a bit confusing.

While they did compare the Snapdragon 8cx to Intel's mainstream 15W U-series quad-core mobile CPUs, the performance numbers Qualcomm showed were for both CPUs running at 7W. 

Qualcomm says this is because of the thermal constraints of a fanless design, of which all the Snapdragon PCs are, but looking at the thermal performance of real-world fanless PCs with Intel U-series processors like the Surface Pro 6 with a Core-i5, 7W seems to be a lower power level than that PC ever actually sees.

As always, only time and independent performance analysis will tell the true competitive nature of these CPUs.

Adreno 680

Also all-new for Snapdragon 8cx is the Adreno 680 GPU, what Qualcomm is touting as their fastest GPU ever with a 2x performance improvement and 60% greater power efficiency over Snapdragon 850.

8cx-3.png

On the connectivity side, Adreno 680 will provide desktop-level outputs, including support for up to two simultaneous 4K HDR displays.

Despite the significant performance increases on the GPU side, Qualcomm is claiming that the Adreno 680 GPU in Snapdragon 8cx is 60% more efficient than the Adreno GPU in their current lead PC platform, Snapdragon 850.

Snapdragon X24

Snapdragon 8cx will sport the same X24 modem we saw announced alongside the Snapdragon 855 yesterday.

8cx-7.png

This new modem will enable both LTE connections up to 2Gbps as we saw with Snapdragon 855, but judging from the specification sheet that was provided, 8cx seems to lack the ability for Wifi-6 (802.11ax) and 802.11ay.

In addition, Qualcomm also teased that 5G-enabled 8cx devices (likely with the Snapdragon x50 modem) will also be coming in 2019.

Connectivity

One of the most significant downsides for the current generation of Snapdragon-powered PCs has been the carryover of UFS storage from the mobile phone side. While UFS can provide a sufficient experience on Android devices, it became a significant bottleneck on Windows-based devices.

8cx-6.png

Thanks to an available four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 connectivity, the Snapdragon 8cx will provide support for NVMe SSDs. While Qualcomm still hasn’t implemented a native NVMe controller into their SSD like Apple, this will at least enable the option for faster storage coming from OEMs.

However, it remains to be seen how many OEMs adopt NVMe SSDs in their Snapdragon 8cx products, due to the added cost, and potential thermal issues with higher performance, PCIe SSD in a fan-less form factor.

Software

8cx-8.png

Another pain point for Snapdragon PCs has been software support. While the initial Windows on Snapdragon releases were able to run native ARM 32bit applications as well as emulate 32bit x86 applications, software support has come a long way for this platform in the past year.

One of the biggest areas of concern has been native browser support. Currently, the only native ARM browser on Windows is Edge. With Microsoft's announced move of Edge to the Chromium rendering system, we will now gain an implementation of the open source engine that power Google Chrome, but not the Chrome browser itself yet.

8cx-9.png

Mozilla however, is set to ship a native ARM64 version of Firefox in the coming months, which will be the first high-performance answer to Edge for the Windows on Snapdragon platform.

Microsoft was also on stage today discussing how they are bringing Windows 10 Enterprise to Snapdragon devices, allowing for more wide deployments of these machines in large corporations.

Pricing and Availability

Despite bringing Lenovo on stage at the event to talk about their partnership with Qualcomm, no actual devices or even manufactures of 8cx devices were officially announced today.

Due to that, we have no real information on pricing or availability on Snapdragon 8cx-powered systems besides that they are coming in 2019, at some point.

That being said since Snapdragon 850 is still sticking around as an option in the marketplace, expect Snapdragon 8cx devices to be more expensive than the current crop of Snapdragon-enabled PCs.

Snapdragon 8cx Chip Comparison, US Coin.jpg

We expect more information to come on Snapdragon 8cx in the coming months at CES and MWC, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm talks more Snapdragon 855 - Performance, Features, and more!

Subject: Mobile | December 5, 2018 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 855, qualcomm, kryo 485, Hexagon 690, adreno 640

After yesterday's initial announcement of the Snapdragon 855 name and teasing a few key features, today Qualcomm has gone into more detail about what makes this new SoC tick.

Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Chip - Front.jpg

Starting from the top, we have the new Kryo 485 CPU cores.

SD855-1.png

The CPU cores found in Kryo 485 are based on arm's A75 design with some customizations by Qualcomm in regards to data prefetch, and the out-of-order execution window size. Overall, Qualcomm is claiming a 45% performance boost for the Kryo 485 compared to the Kryo cores found in the Snapdragon 845 due to IPC increase generation-to-generation.

SD855-2.png

Moving away from the BIG.little design seen in previous Snapdragon implementations, Snapdragon 855 is now utilizing what Qualcomm is referring to as a "Prime Core." Like BIG.little, the Prime Core setup consists of a set of four performance cores and four efficiency cores. The difference comes in the Prime Core itself, which is a part of the performance cores but can achieve an even higher clock speed than the rest of the performance cores (2.84 GHz vs. 2.42GHz).

SD855-3.png

Moving onto the GPU, we have some sizable improvements on in the Adreno 640. Qualcomm is claiming a 20% performance increase in graphics rendering when compared to the Adreno 630 GPU found in Snapdragon 835. 

SD855-4.png

Another area of focus is sustained performance. Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 855 with Adreno 640 graphics provides a much more consistent performance outlook than other competitor's SoCs built on 7nm (likely Apple and Huawei).

SD855-5.png

On the AI front, Qualcomm has made some major changes with what they are referring to as their “4th generation AI engine.” The AI engine consists of the Kryo CPU cores, Adreno GPU cores, and the all-new Hexagon 690 DSP.

SD855-6.png

The Hexagon 690 DSP has gone through an overhaul, introducing Tensor processing units for the first time as well as performance increases for the scalar and vector cores.

SD855-7.png

Developers will be able to target all of the AI engine through the use of integration with Google’s NN API on Android to help simplify picking the right hardware for a given AI task.

SD855-8.png

In addition to the AI capabilities found in the AI engine, there have been some major changes to the Spectra Image Signal Processor (ISP) to enable AI workloads on photos and videos with major power savings.

SD855-9.png

Touted as the world’s first “Computer Vision” ISP, the Spectra 380 provides some exciting capabilities without having to use the AI engine. For example, Snapdragon 855 thanks to the new Spectra 380 will not only be capable of “Portrait mode” photos as we’ve seen in many smartphones but now will be able to process the same portrait effect real-time for video, up to 4K HDR 60FPS.

SD855-10.png

Some other capabilities of the CV-enabled Spectra ISP include object detection, which can be used for things such as real-time background replacement, in which you’ll be able to see the effect rendered in the preview window of your camera app, before even taking the photo.

Also on the Spectra side of things, Qualcomm is looking to make some changes on the image capture front, namely in the file format. While most Android phones currently use JEPG to capture images, Qualcomm with Snapdragon 855 is touting the advantages of the newer High-Efficiency Image File (HEIF) format.

SD855-11.png

HEIF not only improves file sizes by using an encoding pattern based on H265, but also enables some exciting new metadata for things like HDR color data, Depth data, and multiple focal points. This new common metadata format should help software adoption of some of these new camera features.

While Apple has been using HEIF for a few years now in iOS, Qualcomm says they are merely using it for the file size savings, and not taking advantage of these new extensions.

Ultimately, this change will still lie in the software and phone vendors, so it remains to be seen if we’ll see large-scale adoption of HEIF as phones start to ship with Snapdragon 855 next year.

SD855-12.png

As Qualcomm focused on yesterday, Snapdragon 855 will also be the platform that enables the first 5G capable phones, set to hit the market in the first half of 2019 from vendors such as Samsung. While the Snapdragon 855 will have to be paired with an additional modem in the form of Snapdragon X50 to achieve 5G, the integrated X24 modem still has some new connectivity features up its sleeve.

SD855-13.png

The primary upgrade in the Snapdragon X24 modem is the ability to go beyond Gigabyte LTE, with speeds of up to 2Gbps on LTE networks through the use of technologies like 7 Carrier Aggregation and 20 LTE layers. Techniques like these should help bridge the gap between 4G and 5G while 5G networks are being built out and coverage is sparse.

SD855-14.png

On the Wi-Fi front, the Snapgradon X24 modem in Snapdragon 855 will be capable of both Wifi-6 (802.11ax) as well as 60GHz 802.11ay (the successor to 802.11ad). However, it will depend on the handset manufacturers as to whether or not these technologies are implemented in the RF and antenna design stages.

Overall, Snapdragon 855 looks to be a promising upgrade over the previous Snapdragon 845 in many areas. Stay tuned for more news from the Snapdragon Tech Summit, including tomorrow's focus of always on always connected PCs featuring Snapdragon SoCs.

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855, enabling 5G connectivity

Subject: Mobile | December 4, 2018 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: sub-6, snapdragon 855, qualcomm 3d sonic sensor, qualcomm, mmWave, 5g nr

Today during their Day 1 keynote at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm has revealed some initial details of their next-generation Snapdragon 855 mobile platform.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G Badge.png

The biggest focus of Snapdragon 855 lies in the connectivity. Paired with the Snapdragon x50 5G modem, Snapdragon 855 will be the first available product to support even faster LTE networks, but also will enable true 5G NR mmWave and Sub-6 GHz radio technology.

IMG_8764.png

Combined, sub-6 connectivity for wide area coverage, mmWave technology for very high bandwidth applications, as well as high-speed LTE, represent the full breadth of the 3GPP 5G NR standard for mobile connectivity.

IMG_8762.png

In addition to the hardware support in Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm also discussed today worldwide carrier rollout plans for 5G technology in 2019, including commitments from all four major US carriers for both Sub-6 and mmWave networks.

Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform Hero Image.png

In addition, Samsung has announced they will be shipping their first 5G-enabled smartphone, powered by Snapdragon 855, in the first half of 2019.

IMG_8766.png

Other exciting aspects of Snapdragon 855 include the new 4th generation AI engine, consisting of the CPU, GPU, and Hexagon DSP, with claims of up to 3x the performance of Snapdragon 845 in certain AI workloads.

IMG_8767.png

The Image Signal Processing part of the Snapdragon 855 also sees an update. Qualcomm is touting the ISP as able to do advanced Computer Vision techniques directly on the ISP, without having to use traditional CPU or GPU resources. This will bring massive power savings to operations such as object detection and background replacement.

IMG_8768.png

Also announced today is the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor, what Qualcomm is billing as the world’s first ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for under display applications. As opposed to the optical solutions we see in shipping phones today, this new ultrasonic sensor should bring more speed and accuracy to under display fingerprint sensors.

Things are just getting started here at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit, so stay tuned this week for more information on topics such as 5G, Snapdragon 855, and Qualcomm-powered always on always connected PCs!

Source: Qualcomm

PowerVR Series3NX Neural Network Accelerator Announced

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 4, 2018 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: series3nx-f, series3nx, PowerVR, neural network, Imagination Technologies, imagination

Imagination Technologies has just announced the Series3NX line of Neural Network Accelerator (NNA) architectures. These products are designs that can be licensed by system-on-a-chip (SoC) manufacturers to include in their designs. The previous design, Series2NX, has seen some design wins, which Imagination claims is “predominantly focused in the mobile and automotive markets”.

Actually, there are two announcements today: Series3NX and Series3NX-F.

imagination-2018-series3nx01.png

The base NNA core is the Series3NX. Their press kit mentions six SKUs: AX3125 with 0.6 trillion operations per second (TOPS), AX3145 with 1.2 TOPS, AX3165 with 2.4 TOPS, AX3185 with 5 TOPS, and AX3195 with 10 TOPs. Multiple of these cores can be integrated at the same time, which allows products with over 160 TOPS of performance. These designs are available now for licensing.

imagination-2018-series3nx02.png

This brings us to the Series3NX-F. This product combines a Series3NX core with a programmable, floating-point processor (based on the latest PowerVR Rogue architecture) and some RAM. This will be available to license in Q1 2019.

PowerVR 9XEP, 9XMP, and 9XTP GPUs Launched

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 4, 2018 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: PowerVR, Imagination Technologies

Imagination Technologies has just launched three new GPUs: the PowerVR 9XEP, the PowerVR 9XMP, and the PowerVR 9XTP. The 9XEP is designed for casual gaming and UI, the 9XMP is designed for mid-level mobile gaming, and the 9XTP is for high-end mobile-and-up.

imagination-2018-powervr9-01.png

The press release notes that, with the release of Fortnite and PUBG on mobile platforms, gaming is pushing devices toward larger GPUs. As a result, they have worked on gaming-centric features like anisotropic filtering to improve performance an image quality. They specifically mention a 2x performance boost in anisotropic filtering and a 4x increase in shadow sample performance on the  9XMP.

imagination-2018-powervr9-02.png

imagination-2018-powervr9-03.png

There’s a lot of segments that these designs cover; check out Imagination’s slides above.

All three of these designs are available now for licensing.