Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple

Introduction and Specifications

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are here, and while outwardly they look very similar to last year’s 6s models, there have been some significant upgrades (and a highly controversial change) to the new phones. Is there enough in this iterative update to justify an upgrade? After spending a couple of weeks using one as my primary device, I will attempt to answer this question.

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While there had been rumors swirling of an all-new design featuring an OLED display, Apple appears to be holding back until next year - which just happens to be the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Considering this fact, it may just be that the iPhone 7 is something of a stop-gap for 2017. Some of the rumored elements are here, however; with the elimination of the physical home button (it's a solid-state version now) and 3.5 mm headphone jack (the latter causing much consternation). The camera on both phones is completely new as well, with a special dual-lens version exclusive to the 7 Plus.

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First we'll go over the specs of these phones. As you can see, there are still some areas that are not fully known, such as the exact speed of the low-power cores in the new quad-core SoC, and the specifics about this year's GPU.

  Apple iPhone 7 Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Processor Apple A10 Fusion SoC
2.34 GHz dual-core + 2x low-power cores (? MHz)
Graphics 6-core (unknown GPU)
Memory 2GB 3GB
Screen 4.7-inch IPS, DCI-P3 capable 5.5-inch IPS, DCI-P3 capable
Storage 32GB/128GB/256GB
Cameras Back: 12MP, ƒ/1.8, OIS
Front: 7MP, ƒ/2.2
Back: 12MP, f /1.8, OIS
Dual-camera with 2x telephoto lens
Front: 7MP, ƒ/2.2
Video Video: 4K @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 60/30 fps, 720p @ 30 fps Video: 4K @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 60/30 fps, 720p @ 30 fps
Audio Stereo Speakers
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO 
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Cellular
(Model A1778/1784)
FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30) 
TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41) 
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz) 
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Connection Lightning
Battery 1960 mAh 2900 mAh
Dimensions 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
(5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches)
138 g (4.87 oz)
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
(6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
188 g (6.63 oz)
OS iOS 10
Price $649 - $849 $769 - $969

Nearly a Decade of iPhone

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The iPhone was introduced in 2007 (Image credit: Apple, via archive.org)

It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years since the original iPhone launched. Announced in January of 2007 by Steve Jobs during his keynote speech at CES, it set a standard that the rest of the industry would take some time to meet (remember, the first Android phone was over a year away at this point.) But nine years is an age in technology years, and that first version seems like an antique now. (The original iPhone specs: 3.5-inch display with 320x480 resolution, single-core ARM processor running at 412 MHz, 128 MB of system memory, 4GB/8GB storage.)

Continue reading our review of the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus!!

Putting fingerprints on the Google Pixel

Subject: Mobile | October 6, 2016 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: google, pixel, pixel xl, nougat, Android 7.1

The Inquirer had a chance to lay their hands on the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL and have shared their experiences here.  We have covered the specs of the phone previously and so will not reiterate them here, check out Tim's coverage for the details.  The impression that The Inq immediately had upon grasping the phone is that it feels very much like a slimmer HTC 10, which they were not overly impressed by. That HTC phone was rated 88 in DxOMark, the Pixel an 89 while the iPhone 7 garnered a rating of 86, if you follow that particular benchmark tool.  They had a strong feeling that Google may have missed too many marks on this phone to justify the pricing, read on to see if you agree with their experiences.

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"On first impressions, we can't help but feel that the Pixel is a bit of a wasted opportunity. The handset has a largely boring design, doesn't offer much in the way of innovation and is expensive compared with previous Nexus smartphones."

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Source: The Inquirer

A Second Allegedly Replacement Note7 Catches Fire

Subject: Mobile | October 5, 2016 - 10:26 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note 7

Last week, we passed along a Bloomberg report about a Galaxy Note 7 that caught fire in China. It was allegedly a replacement device from Samsung's recall, which was supposed to fix this issue. We have not heard anything about this phone since, but, at the time, we suggested keeping your replacement device powered off and disconnected from the charger until we receive further info.

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Now a second, allegedly post-recall device has caught fire. This time, it occurred this morning on a plane. The Boeing 737 was about ten minutes from take-off when the passenger, who claims the phone was both shut down and in his pocket, noticed the device begin to smoke. He tossed it onto the floor when it begun to billow a thick, gray-green smoke, and burned through the carpet. He claims that it had the green battery icon to indicate that it was a fixed device, which should rule out a pre-recall Note7 getting incorrectly classified as post-recall by, for instance, a retail store goof.

All of that said, we don't know if either of the two cases are accurate yet. Samsung's released a statement over today's issue, which we include below via The Verge, that basically says no comment until they can perform their own investigation.

  • Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.

Obviously, we could speculate over a number of things that could be to blame. Part of the issue is just physics -- you're storing a lot of energy in a small volume. This is inherently difficult, and a rapid release of a lot of energy tends to be explosive. It's always good to remember this, even though it's the company's responsibility to produce devices that are safe from all but the most unreasonable of uses.

Source: The Verge

Mozilla Discontinues Firefox OS for All Devices

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 29, 2016 - 06:15 AM |
Tagged: mozilla, Firefox OS, firefox

Update: There has been a little confusion. The web browser, Firefox, is still going strong. In fact, they're focusing their engineering efforts more on it, by cutting back on these secondary projects.

Less than a year after their decision to stop developing and selling smartphones through carriers, Mozilla has decided to end all commercial development of Firefox OS. Releases after Firefox OS 2.6 will be handled by third parties, such as Panasonic, should they wish to continue using it for their smart TV platform. Further, source code for the underlying operating system, Boot-to-Gecko (B2G), will be removed from their repository, mozilla-central, so it doesn't hinder development of their other products.

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Obviously, this is quite disappointing from a platform standpoint. Many applications, especially for mobile and similar devices, can be created in Web standards. At this point, we usually get comments about how web browsers shouldn't be app platforms, and that JavaScript is too inefficient. The thing is, Web is about the best, ubiquitous platform we have, and it will only get better with initiatives such as WebAssembly. Also, native applications don't necessarily perform better than Web-based ones, especially if the latter are packaged standalone (versus sharing resources with other tabs in a browser).

Regardless, Mozilla needs to consider their long-term financial stability, and throwing resources at Firefox OS apparently doesn't return enough value for them, both directly and for its impact on society.

Source: Mozilla

Samsung Investigating Replacement Galaxy Note 7 Fire

Subject: Mobile | September 29, 2016 - 01:04 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, recall, galaxy note 7

Bloomberg is reporting that a 25-year-old customer from China, Hui Renjie, claims to have received a replacement Galaxy Note 7, and that it caught fire within 24 hours. A representative of the company immediately visited him and asked to take the phone to investigate, but the customer wished to go public first, assuming that he wouldn't get any answers if he just gave up the phone silently. The explosion allegedly caused minor burns to two of the customer's fingers, as well as damaged his MacBook.

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Naturally, Samsung is very interested in what happened. The previous incident involved Samsung-developed batteries. The manufacturing process accidentally pushed some the battery batch's two terminals together. Shorting out a battery causes it to release energy quickly as heat, which is often undesirable, to say the least.

Samsung is waiting to examine the device before they comment further. If you have also receive a replacement, then you might want to keep it powered off and disconnected from the charger until we find out what happened.

Source: Bloomberg

MSI's GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K; a gaming laptop almost as impressive as its name

Subject: Mobile | September 22, 2016 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: msi, GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K, gaming laptop, VR, GTX 1070M

At 15.6" the IPS screen on the MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K is just big enough for a 4k resolution to make sense.  The mobile variant of the GTX 1070 inside the laptop is powerful, with 128 more cores than the desktop model and slightly lower clocks but it will strain powering some games at 4k.  The rest of the components are equally decent, an i7-6820HK, 32GB of DDR4 and a 512GB PCIE GEN3 NVMe SSD for your OS and software backed up by a 1TB HDD for storage.  Kitguru mentions in their review that they have seen this laptop running an HTC Vive so VR support is a given.  Drop by to see how the laptop did in their benchmarks and power testing.

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"MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K has an absurdly long model name that gives us a fair amount of information about this impressive gaming laptop. The GT part tells us this is a chunky chassis that can dissipate a fair amount of heat, VR shows support for your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and 4K is, obviously, the number of pixels in the screen."

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Source: Kitguru

ASUS ROG Announces the Strix GL702VM

Subject: Mobile | September 21, 2016 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: VR, Strix GL702VM, ROG, gaming laptop, g-sync, asus

It does not yet show up on the ASUS page (there it is) but those looking for a gaming laptop with both G-SYNC and proper support for VR headsets can consider the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM.  The 17.3" screen is 1080p with full G-SYNC support, though there is no mention of the maximum refresh rate.  Your keyboard will not click but the 30-key rollover should be good for everyone who is not a feline seeking warmth.  It sports a single USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, along with three USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort out which ensures your VR headset will work with the laptop.  Check out the full PR just below.

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Fremont, CA (September 19, 2016) -- ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the immediate availability of the ROG Strix GL702VM VR Ready gaming laptop, featuring an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, Intel core i7 CPU, and a Full HD G-SYNC display for smooth and stutter free gaming. The GL702VM also packs next gen connectivity with a USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, capable of lightning fast data transfer speeds and Ultra HD display output.

Portable and powerful gaming
The ROG Strix GL702VM delivers powerful performance in a light and portable package capable of fitting snuggly in messenger bags or backpacks. The GL702VM employs a 6th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB GDDR5, 16GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM, and a vibrant 17.3” Full HD display. The anti-glare matte display features G-SYNC technology to create beautifully smooth gaming experiences, eliminating tearing, and reducing stutter and lag.

The GL702VM uses a specially engineered triple fan cooling system. The cooling system features independent heatsinks, heatpipes, and fans for the CPU and GPU, while a third fan is positioned to provide additional cooling to the GPU during lengthy gaming sessions to prevent performance throttling due to heat and maximize framerates.

Built for gamers, featuring the latest technologies
The ROG Strix GL702VM features an anti-ghosting tactile gaming keyboard with 1.6mm of travel distance and up to 30-key rollover protection, ensuring each keystroke is accurately recorded. The keyboard features highlighted WASD keys and neon orange accents throughout, complimented by an aluminum lid with a hairline texture finish.

The G702VM is also outfitted with a USI 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, for single-cable data and signal transmission rates of up to 40Gbps, while also capable of serving as a display output, or for future performance upgrades through external GPU enclosures, such as the upcoming ASUS XG Station II.

ROG Gaming Center
The ROG Gaming Center is available on all ROG gaming notebooks and is a portal to ROG utilities, apps, and tools. System monitoring, overclocking settings, setting macro keys, display and audio tuning, lighting effects, network optimization, and more are available via the ROG Gaming Center software.

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Source: ASUS

Just Delivered: ZTE Axon 7 (64GB Quartz Gray LTE)

Subject: Mobile | September 20, 2016 - 07:40 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7, just delivered

You can, for all intents and purposes, say that I haven't really had a smartphone until now. The only one that came close was my LG Optimus One, which ran Android 2.2 and had a few dozen megabytes of usable, internal storage. That said, I got it for about a hundred bucks around five years ago. I wanted a portable computer based on a modern Android OS for quite some time, but could never justify the cost give how little it would be used outside of WiFi.

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This year changed that quite a bit. With ZTE, OnePlus, ASUS, and other companies fighting for the mid-range space, it seemed like now would be a good time to buy, and the ZTE Axon 7 ended up being my choice. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, which is all over the place it seems, supports OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan, although the depends on the handset vendor to ship the compatible drivers. Since it's likely that ZTE will ship those APIs, especially when Android N is pushed to it, I was able to justify the extra cost with software development. It also has a beautiful, AMOLED display and surprisingly good sound, especially for voice-centric bands like The Tragically Hip.

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One thing that confused me was Newegg's pre-order bonus. For purchasing the device, already about half the price of comparable phones, they throw in a pair of Monster over-ear headphones for free. Yes, nothing is truly for free, and Monster products typically don't cost anywhere near their retail price, which claims to be $200 CDN, but the phone, itself, already seemed like it was pocket change over cost. Makes you wonder how much ZTE is selling it to Newegg for, and whether it's sustainable.

Anywho, I have now joined the modern mobile world.

Source: ZTE

Apple Dual-Sourcing Its iPhone 7 Modems

Subject: Networking, Mobile | September 17, 2016 - 12:48 AM |
Tagged: qualcomm, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iphone, Intel, apple

Not every iPhone is created equal. Dual-sourcing parts is fairly common, especially in the mobile space. Samsung, for instance, is known to have separate models of the same phone, with some using its own parts, and others using third-party components. Apple has even designed separate versions of the same SoC in the past, to fabricate them at different locations and on different process technologies.

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This case is more simple than that, though. Depending on the specific iPhone 7 that you get, which mostly varies by region and carrier, but also apparently between Plus and regular, you will either get a Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 modem, or you will get an Intel XMM 7360 modem. The ratio between these two parts, all markets considered, doesn't seem to have been announced yet, but old rumors claim about 70:30, Qualcomm-to-Intel. Still, Apple is a pretty big customer, so I'm hoping that both Intel and Qualcomm are moving enough to (Update: Sigh... input fail... original article cut off here. The rest of the sentence, after this update, was added a couple hours later.) be worthwhile for both parties.

Source: Fudzilla

The watercooled Asus ROG GX800VH

Subject: Mobile | September 13, 2016 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, GX800VH, watercooling

Kitguru got their hands on the ASUS ROG GX800, the gaming laptop with the docking station that provides watercooling.  The design is unique and it certainly looks big enough to deal with the heat produced by a pair of desktop class GTX 1080s and an overclocked i7-6820HK.  The laptop's cooling system links to the radiator and pump inside the docking station via a small port on the bottom of the laptop, which also has dual 330W power bricks to add extra power to the system.  From the testing it seems ASUS really did do a great job, the four different profiles based on the amount of power and cooling available to the laptop do have an effect on performance which shows in the benchmarks.  The price is going to be equally impressive, when ASUS finally releases the GX800.

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"The model code suggests that GX800 is an upgrade of GX700, however that is wide of the mark. GX800 has a similar appearance to GX700 but the hardware is all new, starting with a pair of Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI. Yes, two 1080s in a laptop, driving a 4K display for maximum gaming pleasure."

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Source: Kitguru