Monthly Archives: August 2016

LG 32LH604V review

  • Exciting picture and bold sound make this 32in LG a good proposition – if you can live with that sluggish interface
  • Glossy, deep blacks
  • Bright whites
  • Vibrant picture
  • Big and weighty sound
  • Frustratingly slow interface
  • Rivals offer greater subtlety and a more natural picture
  • Doesn’t have all the necessary video apps

Image result for LG 32LH604V

There are two reasons to fly the flag for an LG TV: OLED screen technology and its intuitive WebOS interface.

The 32LH604V isn’t high up enough in LG’s TV range to qualify for an OLED panel, nor does it have Ultra HD 4K resolution.

Then again, we’re not expecting top picture tech on a small screen at this price.

Full HD resolution is perfectly respectable for a 32in TV, but you’ll be glad to hear that this 32in TV also comes with the latest WebOS 3.0 interface.


Since it was first introduced in 2014, we have waxed lyrical about LG’s WebOS.

Now in its third iteration, WebOS’s colourful and clever card-launcher interface has been tweaked rather than completely redesigned for its 2016 TVs.

Two new sections join the neat row of cards at the bottom of the screen: My Channels and My Content, where you can store your favourite channels and shows for even quicker access.

Want to watch the next episode of Archer but don’t want to wait a few seconds for the Netflix app to launch? Just add the show to My Content, and the spoof spy show is just a click away.

But there is one glaring problem: it’s slow. Where WebOS is slick and seamless on the top-range TVs, it’s a real drag to use on the 32LH604V. Launching apps, or even the programme guide, takes far too long.

We sat with LG’s equivalent of the spinning wheel of death for a good 10 seconds (and sometimes more) when waiting for the TV guide to appear.

We can allow for a few seconds’ delay when launching video apps, but on a daily basis, waiting this long for the EPG to show up is deeply frustrating.

You’ll need an ounce of patience when using the TV, but it does mar the overall WebOS experience somewhat.


It’s a shame about the response issues, as the 32LH604V has plenty to offer. The included remote control is a standard design with logically laid out buttons, and would work smoothly with the TV if it weren’t for that lag.

Along with Netflix, you have Amazon Video, Now TV, and Demand 5, but curiously, no BBC iPlayer or YouTube.

These are odd omissions, but considering we’ve seen both apps on other LG models, we hope they will be available after a software update.

LG is also reportedly in line to integrate Freeview Play into its TVs, which should give you more catch up apps in the guise of ITV Hub and All 4.

A Freeview HD tuner gives you all your channels, and there is a wired ethernet port for stable internet connection. Don’t worry if your TV isn’t near your router, as the LG has built-in wi-fi as well.

There are three HDMI inputs, two USB ports and analogue connections on the back panel, plus an optical output for plugging in a soundbar – although the LG’s speakers are fairly robust-sounding.

At this budget price, we’re not expecting a slim, flatscreen telly, and the LG is rather on the chunky side. You wouldn’t know it from the front, though. The slim bezel and plain black feet aren’t particularly smart or sleek.


That means your attention is focused on every inch of the 32in screen. The 32LH604V may be frustrating to use, but its glossy, eye-catching picture makes up for it.

What strikes us most is just how velvety deep the blacks are. They’re not OLED-scales of black, but they’re much darker and more solid than we’ve seen on rival 32in sets, such as the Panasonic TX-32DS500B and Sony KDL-32WD603.

It lends the LG an exciting contrast: stark whites gleam against the inky blacks, and colours have a rich depth to them.

Play Guardians Of The Galaxy on Blu-ray, and the bold yellow jumpsuits, the green skin, and the sci-fi blues all pop vividly against a background that has a believable depth. It draws you into whatever you’re watching on screen.

The LG’s colour palette teeters just on the right side of looking oversaturated.

We’d keep the colour dialled down a touch to get the most natural-looking palette – not too much, though, as you don’t want to lose the vibrancy that makes the LG such fun to look at.

Skin tones look decent, and there’s plenty of subtlety in shading to make characters look three-dimensional. Strands of hair, the rough texture of roads and metal, threads on clothes – they’re all crisply etched out on the LG’s Full HD screen.

Objects look crisp and clean on the LG, across high-definition and standard-definition channels. Then again, its closest rival the Sony KDL-32WD603 only has HD-Ready resolution, so we’re expecting a sharper picture quality on the LG in comparison.

But the Sony isn’t too far off in performance: its blacks may not go as deep as the LG, but it does offer a tad more shadow detail without compromising its strong contrast.

The LG swallows up some finer nuances in inky pools of black, and it doesn’t always look as solid during daylight scenes.

The Sony can glean more information in the bright areas, too, and it does a slightly better job at conveying just how intense and punchy a lamp or light source is.


The sound quality mirrors the LG’s picture performance: loud, powerful, full-bodied and enjoyable. It can be rather bottom-heavy at times, but it’s a small price to pay when you’re getting such a big, bold sound out of a 32in TV.

Voices are full of warmth, and there’s a decent heft to engines and sound effects. We don’t feel the immediate need for a soundbar.


The LG 32LH604V’s glossy picture is an enjoyable watch, though the set is slightly flawed. The main grumble lies with its frustratingly slow interface.

We’d almost swap WebOS 3.0 for a less power-hungry interface if it meant the LG would run more smoothly.

If you can valiantly live through this TV’s foibles, then the 32in LG’s punchy and appealing picture quality is well worth searching out.


The best Pebble Time and Pebble Time Round watch faces

So you have yourself a Pebble, Pebble Time or Pebble Time Round. You’ve charged it up, figured out the tricks and downloaded our edit of the best Pebble apps. What’s next in your Pebble customization journey?

Part of any Pebble’s appeal is the retro looks so you’ll want a watch face to match. Now Pebblers don’t have quite the pick of feature heavy watch faces that Apple Watch and Android Wearusers can choose from, but there are still plenty of Pebble faces with little tricks of their own.

The best part is that the upcoming Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2watches will also be able to support all the current watch faces – and there will be plenty of new ones to choose from too.

Best Pebble watch faces

Bear in mind that colour Pebble Time watch faces will look more vibrant on your smartphone’s screen than on the smartwatch itself, and not every face will work with Pebble Time Round because of its circular shape. That said, there are many more Round options now and the store is often updated with new designs.

Just go to the watch faces tab of your Pebble smartphone app and hit the plus button to get to the store, or the Pebble site to check it out on a bigger screen.


There are so many variations of this ridiculously simple watch face, it’s awesome. No matter what you choose, you get a very straightforward way (hence the name) to view the time and weather, or time and date with tons of colors, fonts, themes and so much more. There’s also StraightForecast andStraightscape with the former showing you more detailed weather updates and the latter showing landscapes.


Tick Tock Weather

This cute face changes its animations based on the local weather. It also updates every 20 minutes from OpenWeatherMap and even shows different animations depending on how much it rains.


Daily Steps

Daily Steps displays a squiggly graph of your step activity, taken from Pebble Health, against a 24-hour clock so you can track your daily activity and compare it against your previous day’s steps. There are customizable settings for your daily goal, temperature scale, screen colors and more too.


Music Time

Music Time is a watch face that lets you enjoy your Music even when you aren’t listening to it. The watch face colors adapt to the album art of the songs you’re listening to and will even display the current album art and Pebble Health stats. You can also choose to display time, date, steps, active time, sleep and distance traveled.


R2D2 or BB-8 face

This face from dev Wootzee would have been great during the height of the Star Wars craze. Oh wait, that’s still a thing, so might as well download this face. It’s tough picking between the two cute droids but the customizations on both are the same: background colors, battery life indicator, weather, Bluetooth indicator and vibrations can be configured. If you’re feeling the dark side, Darth Time from TenaciousDev is another awesome option that has papa Vader raising his hand when the time changes.


UP for Pebble

A neat option for tracking fitness on a Pebble, Jawbone doesn’t have an app for Pebble like Misfit does but it does offer this watch face which tracks steps, calories and sleep and syncs with Jawbone’s iPhone app with Android sync coming soon. No Jawbone UP band required.

You can choose from three watch faces and flick to see a seven day view of your progress though it hasn’t been updated for the Time’s colour screen yet.


Mario Time Watchface

There’s plenty of geek love in the Pebble watch face selection – if you own a Pebble Time, try this from Alexey Avdyukhin in which Super Mario jumps every minute with a background that changes throughout the day. It can also show the weather and your Pebble’s battery level as well as the day and date.

If you have a Pebble or Pebble Steel, try the original monochrome Mario Time watch face by Denis Dzyubenko. DKTIME with Donkey Kong from the NES is also worth a look for nostalgic gamers.


Real Weather

This classy looking weather app from developer reno is one of the most popular watch faces on the Pebble store and for good reason. There are fourteen, colour weather images of the sky to cycle through, for day and night, and the time, date and current temperature are displayed clearly in monochrome in the lower half of the display. YWeather, the most downloaded app for Pebble, is also worth a look as it shows a neat three day forecast.


Slides of Time

Inspired by that classic Pebble watch face Enigma, Slides of Time adds two things – customisation of fonts, colours and animation styles and the ability to view dates, temperatures and watch battery levels as grids of digits. Slides of Time is available in both colour and black and white.


Kiezel Time

Pebble has been promoting the Kiezel Collection and we can see why – it’s a fun set of simple, clean, colourful watch faces, pixel art and brain teasers. The catch? Each watch face is free for the regular monochrome option but you have to pay to customise the background colour, hour and minute hand colours (where applicable), fill colours, you get the picture. It’s really customisable.

Kiezel Time 2, Pixel Perfect, Simply Time and Essential are more winners from Kiezel.

Free (Pay for customisations)


For Strava users, Streble – as the name suggests – isn’t an official Pebble watch face from the app but it does display weekly goal progress for runners and cyclists right on the watch face. Shake your wrist to get monthly and all-time stats plus planned future features include Timeline integration and relevant weather info such as temperature, wind speed and rainfall. Neat.



Purely from an aesthetic point of view this is one of our favourite watch faces for the Pebble Time – the preppy face and neat lines just seem to suit the chunky, retro looks of the watch itself. And no you don’t need to worry about being naughty, the Dutch painter’s work – including his 1930 piece Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow is in the public domain which is the basis for this. No doubt this is just what he would have wanted.

Materials is another good shout if you want something simple and fuss free, inspired by Android’s Material Design.

A newer watch face from another developer also calledMondrian is slightly more complex with its options to show the date, weather, battery and time on the screen.


Cool Weather

Rather than squinting to see small, minimalist icons of weather icons, Cool Weather from SetPebble hits you with colour (still simple) animations of sun, rain and everything in between. They take up half the display so you can’t miss them.

You can customise which weather service it uses (including Yahoo, OpenWeatherMap and and if you shake the watch while on this watch face, it gives you a description of the weather and location in words e.g. ‘Fair, Shoreditch’ as well as the time it last updated. Time, date, temperature and battery levels are also visible.


BCD Minimalist

If you like to work for your time update, try this watch face inspired by binary coded decimal clocks. It works with both monochrome and colour Pebbles and displays the time using coloured squares in columns – two columns each for hours, minutes and (optionally) seconds with each row having a different value (1,2,4 and 8 if you must know). If you’re a real nerd you can configure the watch face to show the time in true binary format where the columns have values of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32.



2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited v Volkswagen Touareg 150TDI comparison

When it comes to SUVs, two names that have featured prominently in the segment’s expansion are Volkswagen Touareg and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Both names embody the meaning of SUV — they work well in and around the city, while also remaining fairly capable off the beaten track.

With a starting price of just under $70,000, these two SUVs represent a curious position in the market. They’re only available with five seats and cost considerably more than the rest of the five-seat SUV pack.

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited v Volkswagen Touareg 150TDI comparison

The price premium is redeemed on the towing front, however. Both vehicles offer an impressive 3500kg braked towing capacity, which is only matched by more expensive SUVs, or in the case of the Y62 Nissan Patrol, one that is only available with a petrol engine.

We saddled up and hit the road to figure out which of these two offers the best value for money and most importantly, the best drive.


Pricing and equipment

Starting from $67,990 (plus on-road costs), the Touareg 150 TDI is the most affordable of the two. Available only as a diesel, the Touareg range comes in 150 TDI trim, V6 TDI and V8 TDI, with the more expensive V8 TDI costing an eye watering $114,990 (plus on-road costs).

To simplify things, there’s only one option available with the Touareg. The metallic paint pack costs $1500 and is a mandatory option on the six available colours unless you tick the solid white option box.


The standard features list is quite impressive and includes items like: 18-inch alloy wheels; an eight-speaker sound system with MP3, Bluetooth streaming and CD player; dual-zone climate control; nine airbags (including driver’s knee airbag); rear-view camera; rear parking sensors; eight-inch colour infotainment touchscreen with inbuilt hard disk; satellite navigation; LED daytime running lights; electric seats for the front row; electronic differential lock; active bi-xenon headlights; electric park brake; leather seats; automatic windscreen wipers and automatic headlights.

Powering the Touareg is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 150kW of power and 450Nm of torque. It consumes 7.2L/100km on the combined cycle and does the 0-100km/h dash in just 8.5 seconds.


Torque is sent through an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. In terms of off-road equipment, the constant all-wheel drive system (4MOTION) pairs with an ‘off-road’ mode that adjusts throttle response, gearbox shifts and stability control intervention. Upper models are available with air suspension and adaptive dampers.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited on the other hand starts from $69,000 (plus on-road costs). The Grand Cherokeerange is far wider ranging with both two- and all-wheel drive versions and petrol and diesel engines on offer. The range starts with the two-wheel drive petrol Laredo at $47,000 (plus on-road costs) and caps out at with the Grand Cherokee SRT at $90,000 (plus on-road costs).


Unlike the Touareg, the Grand Cherokee is available with a few more options. Buyers can opt for premium paint (which costs $650 and is available with all nine colours, except the solid white), perforated and ventilated leather seats ($700), an off-road package that adds a limited slip differential and skid plates ($1950), a rear seat entertainment system ($2500), a dual-pane electric sunroof ($3250) and Quadra-lift air suspension ($3250).

Standard features include: 20-inch alloy wheels; nine-speaker sound system; electrically adjustable steering column; dual-zone climate control; seven airbags (including driver’s knee airbag); rear-view camera; front and rear parking sensors; 8.4-inch infotainment system with DAB+ digital radio; LED daytime running lights; front row electrically adjustable seats; steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters; satellite navigation; automatic headlights and windscreen wipers; bi-xenon headlights; first and second row heated seats; keyless entry and start; power tailgate and electrically-assisted steering.

Under the Grand Cherokee’s bonnet is a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 184kW of power and 570Nm of torque. Torque is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission with full-time four-wheel drive. On the combined cycle, the Grand Cherokee consumes 7.5L/100km of fuel.


Unlike the Touareg, the Grand Cherokee comes with a proper low-range transmission. There are also several off-road modes that tailor the vehicle’s stability control, throttle and gearbox to enhance the driving experience. The modes include automatic, sand, snow, mud and rock.

Serious off-roaders can option the off-road adventure group, which adds a 230mm rear axle, an electronic differential lock, along with a host of underbody protection for $1950. 


As you set foot in the Volkswagen, it feels like a step back in time — albeit only a brief one. The interior is dated compared to the rest of the Volkswagen range, but it remains functional, clean and easy to use.



The eight-inch infotainment screen is Volkswagen’s RNS510 system, which features satellite navigation, an inbuilt 30GB hard disk, along with a colour touchscreen.

Looking around the rest of the cabin, it looks and feels very well built. It doesn’t feature some of the cost-saving plastics used in a number of modern SUVs and the doors close with a confidence-inspiring thud.

The switchgear and buttons are conveniently located and easy to locate. Despite the lack of some modern features, the infotainment system is fast and responds quickly to inputs. The sound system is also a cracker, featuring eight speakers, plenty of bass and excellent high frequency clarity.



The cabin contains a number of storage spaces, along with an air-conditioned glove box. The Touareg also still features the characteristic keyhole to the left hand side of the steering wheel.

Both front seats are electrically adjustable and offer plenty of side and bottom bolster. In fact, they are incredibly comfortable, especially over long distance journeys.

The seating position is excellent, with all switchgear within easy reach. The steering wheel sits nicely in hand with plenty of room for circular movements about the wheel. Sometimes in SUVs like this, the centre console can get in the way of some steering motions.



Second row shoulder and knee room is very good. It would be a stretch fitting three adults abreast in the second row in both cars, but two is a comfortable fit. Legroom is better than the Grand Cherokee, but can be a little limited at times. It’s also easy to catch the B-pillar when getting in and out, but practice makes perfect.

Rear seats can be conveniently folded 60:40 via a release in the boot, making loading luggage an easy task. There are also two ISOFIX points located on the outer seats.

Cargo capacity is where these two differ greatly. The Touareg offers 580 litres of capacity with the second row raised, which increases to 1642 litres with the second row folded. The Grand Cherokee on the other hand delivers 782 litres with the second row in place and 1554 litres with the second row folded.



In terms of spare wheels, the Touareg comes with a space-saver spare tyre, while the Grand Cherokee comes fitted with a full-size spare wheel.

Over in the Jeep, the ambience is totally different. The cabin feels bigger and more modern. Jeep uses an 8.4-inch infotainment unit that features a colour touchscreen, inbuilt hard disk storage and a host of extra features.

Grand Cherokee Limited drivers get a heated steering wheel, in addition to seat heating in the first and second rows. There’s also a modern satellite navigation system and an LCD screen that sits further back that between the tachometer and speedometer.



While the cabin feels a little more cavernous, it doesn’t feel as premium as the Touareg. The finishes are cheap in some areas, while some controls are hidden in menus.

The second row is more cramped than the Touareg with a distinct lack of leg and toe room. It’s also a little tricky to get in and out with the B-pillar sometimes getting in the way of things.

Two sets of ISOFIX points are located on the outer two seats, with the second row offering 60:40 split folding.



Over a longer distance drive, we found the driver and front passenger seats to be a little firm. The Touareg seats hug you nicely, while the Grand Cherokee seats are flat and firm, meaning there is movement through corners and a lack of support for longer journeys.

The Grand Cherokee comes with keyless entry and start, but the Touareg still requires the key to be used for entry and start, which feels a bit behind the times. We also found the lack of power tailgate in the Touareg a little frustrating, given its price tag — it’s fitted as standard on the Grand Cherokee.



On road

As we hit the road, both cars started to show their true colours. The Touareg’s engine turns over quietly with a silent rumble audible inside the cabin. Even from the outside the Touareg is quiet and doesn’t sound like a traditional diesel vehicle.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox perfectly complements the engine with smooth gearshifts and quick kick downs on command. Throttle response is good, but can be a little delayed when called upon on the move while the gearbox and engine sorts itself out. From a standard start it’s quite responsive.

In gear response is excellent with the full complement of 450Nm delivered confidently. As the revs rise, the Touareg actually emits a meaty engine note that is uncharacteristic of a diesel. It’s quite impressive and is welcomed with each dab of throttle.


Steering feel is absolutely spot on, as is the ride. While the entry-level Touareg doesn’t get adaptive dampers, it is compliant over choppy surfaces and deals well with potholes and sudden changes in road quality.

While neither of these vehicles set the world on fire in terms of handling, it’s the Touareg that offers the most confidence inspiring drive. The body remains fairly flat through corners and the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system does a commendable job of continuously shuffling torque between the axles. Of the two, the Touareg is the lightest, weighing in at 2146kg, while the Grand Cherokee comes in at 2281kg.

It’s certainly the sportier of the two and feels the most car-like to drive. This is also helped by the excellent visibility out the front and rear. We did take issue with the low-quality rear-view camera, though, which is blurry and almost pointless at night. 


The experience in the Jeep is completely different. As the Jeep turns over, it idles loudly and offers a minor vibration through the chassis. It certainly sounds more like a traditional diesel and is louder than the Touareg both at idle and during operation.

While there has been some confusion with the gear shifter, we found it fairly easy to use with lights on the gear shifter indicating the gear with a secondary indicator on the dashboard.

It’s disappointing to see the Jeep still uses a foot-operated park brake, unlike the Touareg’s electric park brake. It’s one of those cumbersome things that makes the Grand Cherokee feel much older than it actually is.


As we hit the open road and departed the smooth highways, the Grand Cherokee’s ride felt firmer than the Touareg and didn’t feel as compliant over poor surfaces. It sometimes crashed over bumps and didn’t feel as well planted.

One of the most obvious downfalls was the steering. The electrically-assisted steering system lacks feel, with the steering rack much slower than the one in the Touareg. The Grand Cherokee requires 3.5 turns lock-to-lock, while the Touareg is almost a full turn less at 2.63 turns lock-to-lock.

That means that the Grand Cherokee requires more steering input to achieve the same turn radius. This is most noticed when parking or during tight turns.


While the engine offers a load of torque, there is noticeable turbocharger lag before that torque is delivered from a standing start. But, to its credit, it’s delivered in spades during overtaking and when the car is in gear and within its torque band.

It’s curious to note that the Volkswagen Touareg was only crash tested back in 2004. It scored a five star adult occupant rating when tested, but has never been tested since. The Grand Cherokee on the other hand scored a five star ANCAP crash test.  

Warranty and servicing

Both vehicles come with a three year warranty. The only difference is in the included mileage, with the Grand Cherokee offering three years or 100,000km and the Touareg three years and unlimited kilometres.



On the servicing front, Volkswagen offers capped price servicing for the first six services of your vehicle. The Touareg tested here requires servicing every 12 months, or 15,000km and over a period of six years would cost $3621.

Jeep on the other hand requires the Grand Cherokee to be serviced every six months, or 10,000km. Jeep doesn’t offer capped price servicing, but does outline the cost for the first 36 months of services (six services). The total cost over a three year period is $3238.32, making it cheaper to service than the Touareg, despite the shorter service intervals.


Despite how long the Touareg has been on the market without significant change, we were surprised how easy it was to live with and how enjoyable it remained to drive.



It puts the ‘sport’ in SUV and remains a great car to look at and drive. We’re excited to see what Volkswagen can do with the new model, which we expect to hear more about next year.

The Grand Cherokee remains a good value for money proposition when you consider its towing capacity and features. But, it’s ultimately let down by an average driving experience.


In the interim, great deals can be had on Touareg, so make sure you have an overnight drive to see if it’s the premium-ish SUV you’ve been looking for.


The Acer Predator 21 X : Blazing Specs on the World’s First Curved Screen Laptop

When you’re talking about a gaming laptop with presence, Acer’s Predator 21 X has it. Not only does this giant rig weigh in at over 15 pounds, but it also sports a full RGB mechanical keyboard and not one but two Nvidia 1080 GPUs. Oh, and its 20-inch screen is the first curved display we’ve ever seen on a laptop.

predator 21 x 675403

The beefy specs don’t end there either, as Acer says the Predator 21 X will also feature one of Intel’s upcoming 7th gen Core i CPUs, up to 64GB of RAM and room for four SSDs, which can be configured in RAID 0 for blisteringly fast storage speeds.

predator 21 x reversible numpad 675403

But what impressed me the most is that the 21 X isn’t just a big brute; it’s got some secrets too. To the right of the keyboard is a numpad with the kind of low-profile chiclet keys you’d get on a traditional laptop. While that would normally be OK, it arouses some suspicion on a system featuring a mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches. That is until you realize you can pry out the whole numpad and flip it over, revelaing a big two-button touchpad for when you can’t use a mouse. This gives the Predator 21 X a level of of adaptability and sophistication that’s a cut above other gaming laptops.

predator 21 x rear ports 675403

I’m also a big fan of the 21 X’s rear ports, which put all the connections you need to hook up a VR headset in one place. And with two Nvidia 1080 GPUs with 16GB of vRAM each, there’s no question about the 21 X being VR ready.

predator 21 x keyboard 675403

And then there’s the 21 X’s cooling, which features a total of 5 fans to keep the whole rig chilled. Acer even made three of the fans out of metal, which the company says should aid in the system’s ability to move heat away from sensitive areas even faster. Then the company put a big glass window on top, so you can see watch the fans at work.

predator 21 x side 675403

The only downside to the Predator 21 X is that you’re going to have to wait until early 2017 to get one. And while Acer hasn’t specified a price range either, we’d be surprised if it goes for less than $2,500.

predator 21 x closed 675403

In addition to its new flagship gaming rig, Acer says that it will also be updating its Predator 17 and 15 series gaming notebooks with Nvidia Pascal GPUs. This is a big boon for systems such as the 17 X, which was one of our top picks among Nvidia 980-equipped laptops, but was looking a bit slow now that notebooks such as MSI’s GT62VR and Asus’ G752VS OC Edition have hit the market.


Meizu U20 Unboxing Tour – Simply Perfection!

This year, Meizu seems to be on fire with some breathtaking releases including Meizu MX6, Pro 6 and the budget friendly Blue Charm series. The Chinese manufacturer continues to celebrate as two more terminals join the Blue Charm Club named as ‘Meizu U10’ and ‘Meizu U20‘.

However, our today’s destiny for the tour is Meizu U20. So, let the journey began.

Meizu U20 – The Unboxing

Meizu’s latest smartphone appears to be brilliantly placed inside an attractive white box. The first impression leaves a long lasting impact on the user and Meizu knows how it should be done.

MEizu U20 12

After removing the top, we finally witness the majesty embedded in the box.

Meizu U20 14

Meizu is not famous for providing extra accessories as a gift like Elephone, but it surely renders the essentials.

meizu U20 15

Meizu U20 – The Details

Meizu U20 appears to be among the most charming smartphones made by Meizu. The reflective double-sided glass and the glittering metal chassis further exaggerates its beauty. In simple words, Meizu U20 is a mid-end terminal highlight the most premium design offered by the company.

Meizu U20

The edges are curved and highly processed into to achieve perfection as Meizu did with MX6. The borders with the silver streaks appear to be flawless handled.

Meizu U20 8

The front matches Meizu’s previous smartphone with no change. The arrangement of the front shooter, earphone, and LED notification is the same Meizu U20 is a 5.5-inch terminal with an appealing Full-HD display. It’s available in four colors: white, black, gold, and rose gold. Here we have the white one.

Meizu U20 3

The side view of the screen also appears to be fabulous avoiding the black shade effect.

Meizu U20 7

The rear somewhat resembles stunning smartphones like Sony Xperia Z series and ZTE Nubia series. All of the three terminals resemble regarding the camera position and design as well as the glass protection.

Meizu U20 5

Under the hood is the MediaTeK MT6755M eight-core processor. Regarding memory and internal storage the phone divides into two variants: Standard Edition(2GB + 16 GB) and Higher Edition (3GB + 32 GB). However, the storage is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). Apart from this, Meizu U20 also supports 4G network with a single SIM.

Meizu U20 10

Heading towards the cameras, this time, Meizu U20 equips a 13 MP Sony rear camera accompanied by a 5 MP front shooter.

Meizu U20 6

As far as the OS is concerned, it’s the same Android v6.0 (Marshmallow) under the Flyme UI. You should be interested to know that U20 supports the traditionalfingerprint reader and uses the mTouch 2.1 technology and fingerprint payment for Alipay and multiple functions. At last, the phone runs on a standard built-in3260mAh battery.

Meizu U20 2

Price & Availability

Meizu U20 has a price tag of:

  • 1099 yuan ($165) for Standard version
  • 1299 yuan ($195) for High version

You can buy the Standard version from Aliexpress for $190.


Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Review

Today I’m taking a look at one of the first FE lenses released for the system, the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS.  Until the recent announcement of the new G Master 70-200mm f/2.8, this lens was the only option for a native telephoto zoom lens for full-frame E-Mount.  It fills the classic telephoto zoom range that is a staple of many photographers’ kits, and the constant f/4 aperture strikes a balance between speed and compactness. This lens is one of Sony’s ‘G’ series lenses, which are intended for high-end glass, so my expectations are fairly high for the lens. Let’s take a look.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS on the Sony A7 II

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS on the Sony A7 II

Construction and Handling

The FE 70-200mm f/4 is billed as a pro-grade lens, and as you’d expect, the build quality is on a very high level.  The lens body is constructed of a mix of high quality plastics and metals, and the result is a solidly built lens that isn’t overly heavy.  The lens is similar in size to 70-200mm f/4 lenses for DSLRs, as is expected: the benefits of a short flange distance are lost once you get into the telephoto range. The FE 70-200mm has very smoothly operating zoom and focus rings that are well damped and feel great to use.  The included lens collar and white plastic lens hood are also well-built and fit the lens well.  In short, there’s nothing to complain about here.


The FE 70-200mm f/4, like most lenses of its type, has both internal zooming and internal focusing, such that the lens is constant in length regardless of zoom or focus setting.  Unfortunately, the internal focusing design suffers from significant focal shortening when focusing up close.  When comparing to my Canon 70-200mm f/4L (also an internally focusing and zooming lens) at focus distances around 2-3 meters, the Sony gives up around 35mm of reach at the long end to the Canon, even though the field of view of both lenses is near identical when focused at infinity.  This doesn’t matter for distant subjects, but if you’re trying to maximize close-up framing and subject separation, be aware that at close to medium focus distances, the lens has a true focal length of around 60-165mm.

The FE 70-200mm f/4 has a plethora of control switches on the side

The FE 70-200mm f/4 has a plethora of control switches on the side

The side of the lens features several controls.  There are dedicated switches for the optical image stabilizer settings, for switching between manual and autofocus, and for a focus limiter, that can limit the focus range to 3m and further to help increase focus acquisition speed. Finally, there are three focus stop buttons that sit forward of the manual focus ring.  These buttons, when held, will prevent the camera from trying to autofocus.  This can be a useful feature to have if you are prefocusing on a subject, to allow you to keep that focus locked for multiple different shots, or simply so you don’t have to keep the shutter button half pressed.  The placement of the three buttons ensures that one of them is always at the ready to depress with your left hand, regardless of camera orientation.

Autofocus and Image Stabilization

The FE 70-200mm f/4 has a fast and quiet focus motor, making it an ideal choice for most any type of shooting. In single shot mode, I experienced quick autofocus that locked surely and accurately in good light.  When the light gets dim, I did have some occasional trouble with obtaining a focus lock, and speed definitely suffered a bit, but this may be as much a camera limitation as it is a lens limitation.

The speed of the focus motor in good light makes the 70-200mm f/4 a great lens for which to shoot action.  On both my Sony a6000 and A7 II, the FE 70-200mm f/4 was able to accurately track a moving subject, even when it was moving directly towards me. The shot below was taken at 200mm as the man rode his bicycle towards me at a fairly good clip.

Biking in the Park - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS at 200mm, f/8 (continuous AF)

Biking in the Park – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS at 200mm, f/8 (continuous AF)

I only took a 3 shot burst for this frame, but all three were in perfect focus. Testing it in other situations, I had a very good success rate.  This is a great lens to choose if you shoot moving subjects, and are OK with the moderate amount of reach. The lens does pair very well with the a6000 (and the new a6300), for a relatively lightweight setup that is capable of high-speed tracking and burst shooting.

The FE 70-200mm f/4 also has Sony’s Optical Steady Shot (OSS).  The OSS system will work in concert with the in-body stabilization on the Mark II series A7 bodies, or by itself on all other E-mount bodies. The stabilizer works, though I found it to be only an average implementation.  I regularly achieved between 2 and 3 stops of extra handholdability, which is decent, but nothing special. The OSS system didn’t seem to gain much when used with my A7 II, as my results were similar to what I get with my adapted Canon 70-200mm f/4 using the IBIS.  I did very much appreciate the OSS when shooting on my a6000.

There’s one key thing to note with this stabilizer, though: It doesn’t play too nicely at very high shutter speeds.  I had several instances where the OSS system actually induced some blur when shooting at speeds faster than 1/1000s, which was a bit odd, so it’s probably a wise move to flip the OSS switch to OFF when shooting in bright daylight.

Image Quality

70-200mm lenses are often one of the bread-and-butter lenses of a camera system, and they tend to be workhorse lenses that get a lot of use. With these things in mind and the moderate 2.85x zoom ratio, manufacturers also tend to focus on excellent optics with their 70-200mm lenses, and Sony, thankfully, has done so as well.


The FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS produces images with very good image sharpness throughout the focal range and at all apertures, though how good it is across the frame varies with focal length and focus distance.  At 70mm, the center is impressively sharp at all focus distances, and this sharpness extends across the majority of the frame.  The edges and corners show a little minor softening at wide apertures, though these sharpen up to quite good levels upon stopping down.

In the middle of the zoom range, the 70-200mm is excellent closer up, with very sharp results across the frame from f/4, with only a touch of minor softness in the corners that disappears when stopping down, though it oddly inverts its edge performance at infinity, with a bit of softness at the edge of the frame.

Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4 - Click here for a 100% crop of the focus point

Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

At the long end, the lens can be a bit of a mixed bag, though it’s still quite good throughout.  The center is sharp at all apertures and focus distances, though the corners lag behind when focused closer up.  They’re very soft wide open and don’t ever get truly sharp stopped down.  However, at infinity, the lens is quite sharp across the frame at 200mm.   The edge sharpness at the long end when focused close doesn’t bother me, as most of the time these compositions don’t require great corners. See the image above (and the included 100% crop) to see how good this lens can be wide open. Overall, I think the lens engineers did an excellent job balancing sharpness where and when it’s needed.


The 70-200mm f/4 does a nice job with regards to out of focus character, producing generally pleasing background blur with smooth falloff..  Specular highlights show no obvious outlining, but they do show fairly prominent onion ring centers due to the aspherical elements in use. On the whole, however, I don’t feel this distracts from the rendering of the lens in most instances, and I was pleased with the bokeh produced by the lens.

City Window - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

City Window – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 106mm, f/4

Color, Contrast and Chromatic Aberration

The Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 produces images with a pleasing contrast profile and relatively neutral color response.  This lays a nice base for postprocessing, as it’s punchy enough to be pleasing, but not over the top.  The images take saturation and contrast adjustment with ease. The performance here is perfectly fine, though it’s a bit of a flatter rendering than what I’ve experienced with other 70-200mm zoom lenses for other systems. For example, I noticed when I compared the lens to my Canon 70-200mm f/4L, the Canon produced richer color to my eye.

Lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration are both very well controlled with this lens.  It is very rare to see in real world images even at 100% magnification.

Distortion, Flare and Vignetting

With regards to distortion, the FE 70-200mm f/4 produces similar results to many telephoto zoom lenses.  There is mild barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom range, that progresses to slight pincushion distortion at the middle of the range, which worsens towards 200mm.  While the distortion at 200mm is noticeable when shooting buildings and such, it’s not severe. When shooting subjects with straight lines, using the built in-profile for correction in Lightroom or Capture One eliminates the distortion with minimal residual effects on image sharpness.

Columbus Sunrise - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Columbus Sunrise – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 81mm, f/11

Unfortunately, I found flare resistance to be fairly poor with this lens.  In some situations, contrast is only minorly affected, but shooting around the sun in these situations shows purple and green flare emanating from the sun away from the center of the image frame, along with some smaller ghosts. However, in other situations, especially at the wider end of the zoom range, contrast can be significantly affected, and large flare ghosts appear throughout the frame.  The shot above is a 3 shot HDR, but the contrast was so severely limited that detail was lost in all three exposures. Also, large purple and smaller green ghosting is clearly visible.  Thankfully, with the narrow angle of view this lens produces and the deep lens hood, these situations aren’t too common when shooting the lens.

The lens shows notable corner shading at f/4 at all focal lengths, which eases significantly at wider focal lengths when stopping down.  At the long end, however, some vignetting is visible even at f/8.

When looking at the lens as a whole, the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is a strong performer, but it’s certainly not a flawless performer.  While I was very pleased with the images I got from the lens, the high price tag left me wanting just a bit more.


  • Very well built lens with excellent zoom and focus feel
  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • Sharp over most of the frame right from f/4
  • Good bokeh
  • Versatile focal range
  • Very good chromatic aberration control
  • Good contrast and neutral color
  • Optically Stabilized
  • Poor flare control
  • Some edge softness at 200mm, even stopped down
  • Focal length shortens considerably at close focus
  • Expensive

The FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is a high quality telephoto zoom lens that produces sharp images with pleasing bokeh and good color and contrast.  The lens focuses very fast and the optical stabilizer allows for an extra two to three stops of handholdability.  It’s also a very well built lens with great haptics.  If you need a native telephoto zoom, it’s a great option.  However, given the high $1,499 price tag, I expected just a bit more.  It’s a very good lens, but performance wise, it’s about on par with my $599 Canon 70-200mm f/4L.  Now, that lens is a very good lens, and the FE is very good as well, but Sony is asking $250 more than the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS (which is optically superior) and $100 more than the Nikon variant.  For the extra cash, you’d hope for some extra performance.

Still, price aside, it’s a very good zoom lens, and one that will fit perfectly for shooters on both the full-frame A7 bodies and the APS-C E-Mount cameras. If you can get over the price premium, it’s an excellent option for the Sony shooter.

Image Samples

Columbus Bridges - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Columbus Bridges – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 128mm, f/8

Goose at Sunrise - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

Goose at Sunrise – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

Flowing Kiss - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Flowing Kiss – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 83mm, f/4

Ruin Monster - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Ruin Monster – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 149mm, f/4

Goose in the Snow - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Goose in the Snow – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

On the Scooter - Sony a6000 with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

On the Scooter – Sony a6000 with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4 (continuous AF)

Metal Poles - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Metal Poles – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 172mm, f/11

City in the Background - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

City in the Background – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

Snow Train - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Snow Train – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/4

Columbus at Night - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Columbus at Night – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 70mm, f/8

Building in the Snow (focus on the snow) - Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @

Building in the Snow (focus on the snow) – Sony A7 II with Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS @ 200mm, f/5.6


OUKITEL K4000 Pro 4G Smartphone Review – Latest & Cheap

In our previous reviews of Everbuying products, we have reviewed various super products like smartphones, tablets, Phablets, etc. Smartphones are the most sold electronic devices in the world. Smartphones have become the substitute for the Desktops and Laptops. You can do almost all tasks more conveniently on a smartphone with an ease of portability. There are smartphones available in the market with large screen sizes, great battery backup, good RAM & ROM capacities, Large memory storage space, etc.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho oukitel k4000 pro 4g

The product which I am going to review today is – OUKITEL K4000 Pro 5.0 inch 4G Smartphone which is available on the  at $84.99 only. It has 2 GB RAM & 16 GB ROM which are good memory features. This makes smartphone very fast in terms of processing and operation of apps. It has a quad-core 1.0 GHz processor which enables its users to download & run apps and games of any size in this OUKITEL K4000 Pro Smartphone. You can also enjoy watching movies & videos on this smartphone as it has a large 5-inch high definition screen which shows all colors of the videos to you. It has Dual SIM card slots by which you can use 2 SIM cards simultaneously in this smartphone. You can also enjoy very high-speed 4G services on this smartphone.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho oukitel k4000 pro 4g

Now, I am going to give you the full description of this 4G smartphone and we’ll see if the product is worthy of its price?


  • Brand: OUKITEL
  • Type: 4G Smartphone
  • OS: Android 5.1
  • CPU: MTK6735 64bit
  • Cores: 1GHz,Quad Core
  • GPU: Mali-T720
  • RAM: 2GB RAM
  • ROM: 16GB
  • External Memory: TF card up to 32GB (not included)
  • Screen type: Capacitive (5-Points)
  • Screen size: 5.0 inch
  • Screen resolution: 1280 x 720 (HD 720)
  • Back-camera: 5.0MP
  • Front camera: 2.0MP
  • Battery Capacity (mAh): 4600mAh



This smartphone has an artistic design and craft. It has a CNC metal frame and 2.5D glass feature. It has an anti-drop arc design frame having improved 80% anti-drop endurance. It has  a very classic leather texture design. The product size: 14.56 x 7.20 x 1.25 cm / 5.73 x 2.83 x 0.49 inches, which is  good for a Smartphone to do everything. You can use this phone very easily as it has Product weight: 0.162 kg only making it an easily portable device. You can carry this smartphone in your pocket very easily without getting a feel of bulkiness.



To see everything in fine details, the quality of screen/display matters the most. You can enjoy every video stuff on this phone as it has a large 5-inch screen size. It is a capacitive touchscreen display which is very smooth while operating. Oukitel K4000 pro has a Screen resolution: 1280 x 720 which makes its screen an HD display. You can watch movies & music videos in full brightness and contrast with full color. You can also enjoy playing games on this smartphone as it has a large screen size. Also, there are inbuilt features of making power point presentations, spreadsheets, word documents, etc. on this smartphone.



It has MTK6735 64bit Quad Core 1.0GHz processor with 2 GB RAM & 16 GB ROM. You can do all your personal & professional tasks on this smartphone. You can do official works like making presentation slides, spreadsheets, documents, etc. Oukitel K4000 Pro can store, share and watch your favorite videos on this smartphone as it has an expandable memory up to 32 GB. It has Android 5.1 Operating system which is one of the latest OS.


It has a battery capacity of 4600 mAh which is very good to keep this device power ON during the whole day. You don’t need to carry a power bank with you always as with this battery backup you just need to charge this device once in a day. You can play games & watch movies without any interruption on this smartphone.


It has various networks support:

  • Network type: GSM+WCDMA+FDD-LTE
  • 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • 3G: WCDMA 900/2100MHz
  • 4G: FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz

You can enjoy 3G & 4G services on this phone with which you can surf the internet at a very fast speed up to 150 MB per second. You can download a full-length movie in just a few minutes and high memory games in few seconds.



  • Camera type: Dual cameras
  • Back-camera: 5.0MP (SW8.0MP)
  • Front camera: 2.0MP (SW5.0MP)




  • Video recording: Yes
  • Touch Focus: Yes
  • Auto Focus: Yes
  • Flashlight: Yes

It has various media format/file support:

  • Picture format: BMP,GIF,JPEG,PNG
  • Music format: AAC,MP3,OGG,WAV
  • Video format: 3GP,AVI,FLV,MP4
  • MS Office format: Excel,PPT,Word
  • E-book format: PDF,TXT

You can create and read almost any kind of documents on this phone. You can read your favorite ebooks on this device in your preferred language as this phone has multi-language support.

For connectivity & sensors it has:

  • I/O Interface: 3.5mm Audio Out Port,Micro USB Slot,TF/Micro SD Card Slot
  • Bluetooth version: V4.1
  • Sensor: Ambient Light Sensor,Gravity Sensor,Proximity Sensor
  • OTA: Yes
  • OTG : Yes
  • Smart Gesture Feature




You can directly transfer/share files by a pen drive through OTG function. It has additional features such as 3G,4G,Alarm,Bluetooth,Browser,Calculator,Calendar,E-book,FM,GPS,MP3,MP4,People,Sound Recorder,Wi-Fi, etc.


If you are looking for a Budget smartphone with all latest tech features at such a low affordable price $84.99 from, then I suggest you go with this OUKITEL K4000 Pro 4G Smartphone. It has many high-quality features such as 2 GB RAM, Android 5.1 OS, HD Display, etc.


GenZe 2.0 Electric Scooter Review

I hate to break this to you, regular reader, but you might be the wrong audience for the GenZe 2.0 electric scooter. How do I know? Well, if you’re here then you appreciate the speed, the sound, and the power (both mechanical and personal) motorcycling provides. The triple threat is an addictive combination to stir the emotions. The GenZe 2.0 doesn’t have any of that.

To keep it technically classified as a moped, 30 mph is the fastest it’ll go. Since it’s electric, it hardly makes a sound. And, according to GenZe, with a 170-lb rider it’ll take 10 seconds for the aluminum scoot to hit 30. So, power is scant, too. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate – the GenZe 2.0’s motor is rated to produce max torque of 74 lb-ft. It’ll easily go faster than 30, but it’s electronically governed to stop there. Any more and Uncle Sam will want GenZe to meet homologation standards and Johnny Law will require you to get a motorcycle license. As it stands, in many states if you have a license to drive a car then you can ride this scooter. In California, however, you’ll need an M2, or moped license.

Does this look intimidating to ride? Because it shouldn’t.

Does this look intimidating to ride? Because it shouldn’t.

So then, what’s the point of the GenZe 2.0 scooter, anyway? Even if you’re an e-bike sympathiser – but especially if you’re not – you need to place yourself in a different mindset to understand the GenZe 2.0. Do so and, like me, you might have an entirely different appreciation for what GenZe is trying to do.

Appealing to Millennials

First off, the name. GenZe, or Generation Zero emissions, is a global brand initiative that parent company Mahindra is putting in place to promote green, clean, transportation. The company is hoping to appeal to a new customer base: people living in dense cities, with relatively short commutes, who largely rely on public transportation, walking, cycling, or Uber to get around. They’re typically up-to-date on tech trends and embrace new technology, and want to utilize this technology to get around. Millennials are generally the first set of the population to come to mind, but are definitely not exclusively so. By and large, however, the types of people who would consider a GenZe 2.0 are not your average motorcyclist.

To appeal to this type of crowd, a vehicle like this can’t break the bank. At $3000, it’s a price a city dweller looking for wheels, but not wanting a car, will at least consider. This is all the more impressive when you learn that Mahindra, one of India’s largest conglomerates, is building the all-electric GenZe 2.0 in Michigan, “from parts largely sourced in Michigan as well,” says GenZe Brand Ambassador Holly Brinkman. So while some American companies are outsourcing jobs to India, India is reciprocating, creating manufacturing jobs for Americans.

The GenZe’s hub-mounted motor provides direct drive, with no belts or chains required, minimizing maintenance. Note also the disc brake and steel-braided line.

The GenZe’s hub-mounted motor provides direct drive, with no belts or chains required, minimizing maintenance. Note also the disc brake and steel-braided line.

Beyond that, the vehicle has to offer something different, and the GenZe accomplishes this on two fronts: via hardware and software. On the hardware front, by virtue of being electric, it already stands apart from much of scooterdom, but it’s also convenient in that you don’t need to park it by a charging station. Park it anywhere you like, remove the battery from under the seat (which, admittedly, is a hefty 45-ish lbs), then take it inside with you and plug it straight into the wall. From a completely drained battery, three hours will top it off. Even if you work part-time, you should have enough juice to get home, with a fully charged range of about 30 miles.

Continuing the hardware theme, the GenZe’s trunk, or Back Bay in GenZe speak, has earned the GenZe the pickup truck on two wheels tag line. In our testing, it easily fit two bags of groceries. There are also accessory liners and tops for it so your things don’t go flying out. Adding to the convenience is a 12-volt power outlet located under the seat to charge a device while on the go. The seat also tilts upward, allowing you to stuff more junk underneath. Or, if you prefer to sit virtually upright while riding, the seat design allows you to do that, too.

Other hardware items the traditional motorcyclist might appreciate include a 16-inch front wheel for greater stability than some smaller-wheeled scooters (12-inch in the rear), and disc brakes at both ends accompanied by steel-braided lines – hugely impressive for its $3000 price tag.

The Control Center is a big, colorful, TFT touchscreen display providing all the necessary information. For traditional motorcycle riders, gloved hands make it difficult to use the screen, though it’s possible with thin summer gloves.

The Control Center is a big, colorful, TFT touchscreen display providing all the necessary information. For traditional motorcycle riders, gloved hands make it difficult to use the screen, though it’s possible with thin summer gloves.

On the software front, the GenZe’s 7-inch touchscreen display gives you all the information you need and runs on Android software. You don’t need a key to “start” it either (the key is only used to unlock the battery from its compartment so you can take it with you). Simply press the power button, enter a PIN code, put up the sidestand, put the kill switch to ON, and away you go. Oh, and don’t forget to flip the switch to “F” for Forward – the GenZe comes with reverse to help make turning around a little easier, a feature that could help appeal to fleet customers.

One of the more interesting features of the app is the ability to locate your ride via GPS. Handy if you forgot where you parked, especially so if you’re the victim of theft.

One of the more interesting features of the app is the ability to locate your ride via GPS. Handy if you forgot where you parked, especially so if you’re the victim of theft.

Four riding modes are available – Sport, Eco, Easy, and Custom. Three of those modes should be self-explanatory. Easy mode is especially tailored to brand-new riders and limits acceleration to be as unintimidating as electronically possible. It was a hard concept to grasp being a seasoned rider and all, so once I tried it, I kept it in Sport afterward. Even then, pickup is soft initially, but still enough to get the holeshot from the cars behind at a red light, barely. After about 10 mph, acceleration in Sport feels fairly brisk all the way to 30 mph, when the limiter kicks in.

Otherwise, the touchscreen Control Center, as it’s called, displays the usual readings for speed, battery life, estimated range remaining, etc. What’s cool is the added GenZe app for both Android and iOS smartphones which, apart from showing the battery life and range remaining, has options to plan a route that avoids highways while factoring remaining charge, to give peace of mind you can make it to your destination (or not).

The app also allows users to locate their scoot in case they forgot where they parked it (or worse, in the event it’s stolen), can call an emergency contact in case of a crash, and can even program a geo-fence. A notification will be sent whenever the scoot leaves the boundaries of the geo-fence; a useful feature for parents or fleet managers.

Fun Under The Speed Limit

A domestically made scooter, at a fair price, loaded with tech, but limited to 30 mph. Could it really be any fun? The answer is a resounding yes, assuming it’s used within the confines of its intent. For the purposes of this shoot, Evans Brasfield came along to point the camera, and the lovely folks at Hollywood Electrics, an authorized GenZe dealer as well as the largest dealer of Zero Motorcycles in the world, provided him with an extra GenZe scoot for the two of us to zip around on. Immediately we realized the beauty of the scooter’s Back Bay, as Evans’ camera backpack fit perfectly within the space and away we went.

A scooter with a truck bed? Genius!

A scooter with a truck bed? Genius!

In the confines of the snarled and congested West Los Angeles traffic, our scoots were easily able to slice through gaps between cars, and the speed was never an issue. On less congested roads, simply staying to the right of the lane often allowed faster traffic to go around. As it turns out, though, riding the GenZe is like the proverbial tortoise and hare scenario: faster traffic would often zip around us but get stuck at red lights. Meanwhile, we would reunite with the faster traffic once the light turned green and start the process all over again.

Case in point: I challenged my wife with a race to the store, 11 miles away. She would take her car and could use whatever method of getting there she wanted, including the freeway. I’d hop on the scoot and take back roads. The result: we both arrived at the store at the exact same time. Since I still had ample charge left in the battery I didn’t bother taking it and plugging it in. However, the route home involved several inclines which took considerable juice from the battery. Once it was down to 20% or so, the GenZe crawled up the hill to preserve its battery and still have enough power to get home. With a full battery, the same hill was easily tackled at the 30 mph limit.

The battery is removable with the key by unlocking it, pulling aside a tab, and sliding the battery out. With the included charging cable you can plug it straight into any 110v wall outlet.

The battery is removable with the key by unlocking it, pulling aside a tab, and sliding the battery out. With the included charging cable you can plug it straight into any 110v wall outlet.

As for range, GenZe says the scooter can achieve 30 miles. Like any other electric vehicle, however, real-world range varies depending on several factors. The display on Brasfield’s scoot reached 0% and flashed various warning signs after only 24 miles, and yet he still successfully rode it another two miles back to Hollywood Electrics. Meanwhile, my scoot read 6% charge still remaining, so I could have surpassed the 30-mile range. Granted, Evans does carry an extra 30 pounds on me.

Overall, Evans and I had a gas on the GenZe (get it?). For its intended purpose of being an easily accessible, practical, urban mobility device, it’s great. Speed is hardly an issue and neither is range. And the fact you only need a car license to operate it makes it that much more appealing.

However, there are some niggles. There’s no bag clip on the leg shield for one – those should be mandatory for a step-through scooter, if you ask me. Instead all your cargo has to go in the back. Another is the broad seat. It’s comfortable, but narrows only slightly towards its leading edge. Once at a stop I found it difficult to touch down without scooting completely forward. Third is its suspension. The telescopic fork would occasionally stick, and the shock would bottom over moderate bumps, causing us to look for the smoothest piece of road everywhere we went.

(Recently our own Dennis Chung reported about a recall for the GenZe scooter in which the fork tubes may not be sufficiently clamped into their mounts. Our ride aboard the GenZe occurred before the recall was announced, though the issue stated in the recall notice wasn’t experienced by us, even after loading the scooter in the back of a truck and securing it with tie-downs. —TS)

Battery charging while the author and photographer grab a bite to eat.

Battery charging while the author and photographer grab a bite to eat.

But my biggest gripe is that the phone app and the Control Center don’t mirror each other’s displays. Meaning things like the app navigation can’t be seen on the 7-inch display. Brinkman says, “We do not mirror the two intentionally as legally when the scooter is operating it can only display odometer, ride mode, battery life, etc.”

All of those are issues I can overlook considering the relative ease of entry for the scoot and its practical usability. If I lived in a city like New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco or Chicago, I’d really consider snatching one up to run errands. The GenZe 2.0 scooter comes with a three-year, 5,400-mile warranty, and there are currently dealers in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Michigan. The midwest and Florida are next.


Visit the GenZe website to learn more.

GenZe 2.0
+ Highs

  • Super practical
  • No motorcycle license needed
  • Especially convenient for apartment dwellers
– Sighs

  • Broad seat
  • App and display don’t mirror
  • Suspension a bit harsh


Acer Swift 7 Hands-on Review

  • Low-power Intel Core i ‘Y’ processors
  • Up to 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 1.1kg
  • 9.8mm thick
  • 13.3-inch, Full HD IPS display
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: to be confirmed

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Spin 7


The Swift 7 sits right at the top of Acer’s new lineup, and according to the firm it is the first laptop in the world to measure in with a thickness of less than 1cm.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7

The Swift range also includes the 1, 3 and 5 models and is a move away from Acer’s older Aspire branding.

Acer has trimmed just enough fat off the 13.3-inch Swift 7 to bring the thickness in at 9.98mm. It weighs 1.1kg, putting it in the same weight category as the HP Spectre, but just a little heavier than the 970g MacBook.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7

The Swift 7’s all-aluminium design with grey and gold coating is eye-catching. In my opinion, it looks substantially better than the HP Spectre 13. The design tapers off towards the front, making the Swift 7 look even thinner than it is when viewed straight on.

Acer Swift 7 1

Along the laptop’s right edge there are three connectors: two USB Type-C 3.1 ports (one for charging and one for data) and a 3.5mm audio jack. It’s nice to see more than one USB Type-C connector, although it’s one fewer than the HP Spectre 13.

The touchpad is extremely wide, providing ample room to move your digits around. However, it does make it a little harder to activate Windows 10 gestures that require you to swipe onto the touchpad from the sides. The pad itself is Microsoft Precision Touchpad-certified, and throughout testing it proved responsive and reliable.

Acer Swift 7 3

The Acer’s keyboard is similarly excellent, with a lovely soft-touch, slightly rubberised coating that makes the keys both grippy and comfortable. There’s decent travel too, making this one of the best keyboards I’ve used on an ultra-thin laptop.

The Acer Swift 7 is powered by Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. However, these aren’t in the same category as the Core i chips in the HP Spectre 13. Instead, they’re the recently re-branded Core M chips that operate at a tiny 4.5W TDP.

Acer Swift 7 4

This means, in Core i7-7Y75 guise, this dual-core laptop gets a base frequency of 1.3GHz and a maximum Turbo frequency of 3.6GHz. How long it will be able to sustain that Turbo figure remains to be seen; in fact, with its ultra-thin, fanless design it is likely to stick to its base clock speed more often than not.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7

A mix of specifications will be available, but the 256GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM configuration will likely be the most common option.

The screen is a 13.3-inch, Full HD IPS panel. It’s bright with punchy colours and high contrast, although it somewhat fails to to stand out against the bezel that surrounds it.

Acer Swift 7

The success of this machine will likely hinge on its battery performance, so I’ll be looking at this closely when the final product launches.Battery life on paper is rated at nine hours, which is impressive.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7

It’s likely that you’ll have to dim the display somewhat to reach this figure, but with such a low-power processor on board it probably won’t be hard to get a full day of battery life out of the Swift 7.


Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Swift 7

With a launch price of €1,299 in Europe (around £1,326/$1,989 inc VAT), presumably for a Core i7 model, this is an expensive machine. If this turns out to be an accurate specification and price, the Swift 7 will offer better value than the 12-inch MacBook but will be more expensive than the powerful HP Spectre 13.

Acer says the Swift 7 will launch in October, along with its Swift 5, 3 and 1 stablemates. If the price can be kept down, the Swift 7 could find itself as one of the better-value ultra-premium laptops around.

However, with several other manufacturers yet to reveal their hands, and the potential of Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors only just dawning, expect to see several rivals appearing soon.


Urbanears Plattan review


  • Plenty of colour choices
  • Runner-friendly grip
  • Reasonable lower bass control


  • Low-detail, resonant mids
  • Not comfy for glasses-wearers


  • One-buton remote
  • Music-sharing socket
  • Folding design
  • 17 colour options
  • 40mm driver
  • Manufacturer: Urbanears
  • Review Price: £45.00/$67.50


The Urbanears Plattan are stylish on-ear headphones, and one of the most common brands to be found on the high street. They’re everywhere.

These headphones have been around for years, but with a new set of colours just released, it seems there’s no end to the Urbanears Plattan’s longevity.

Successful headphones that have been on the market for some time are often tweaked every now and then. Let’s see how this £45/$67.5 pair feels and sounds in 2016.



The main aim of the Urbanears Plattan is to offer a great-looking pair of headphones on a budget. They launched at a time when half of today’s headphone companies didn’t even exist, and they still look good.

Almost every part of the set is colour-matched, apart from the little ring around the earcups. They’re small and don’t stick out far from your head in any direction.

The Urbanears are currently available in a whopping 17 colours. I’m reviewing one of the new shades, called Snow Blue – in Dulux terms, you might call it an off-white.

Urbanears Plattan 5

At £40-45, it won’t be a surprise to discover that design-wise the Urbanears Plattan’s aren’t particularly fancy, but some thought has been put into making them tactile. The plastic is soft-touch and the headband padding and the cable covering are braided.

These headphones are more geared towards high-street shoppers, rather than those who are likely to spend some time researching which headphones to buy – but Urbanears works its audience pretty well. There’s plenty of style here, but it’s low-key, and their personality shifts as the colour changes.

The Urbanears Plattan include some neat features. The cable is removable and there’s a one-button remote that will let you take calls and play/pause music with Android phones and Apple iPhones.

Urbanears Plattan 7

More unusual, but a feature of quite a few cheaper headphones, is the second jack on the right cup. Plug someone else’s headphones into this hole and they’ll get to share your music. Urbanears calls it a ZoundPlug, and it’s a handy function if you often find yourself with a travel companion watching films together off a tablet.

Like a number of portable headphones, the Plattan also fold up to take up less space in your bag.

Plenty of features for a cheap set of headphones, then, but in terms of comfort the Urbanears Plattan’s are mixed. For those who don’t wear glasses, the Urbanears Platten will be fine once the firm foam has bedded in a bit. If you do wear glasses, however, the headphones become quite uncomfortable within an hour.

The Urbanears Plattan are designed to stick on your head no matter what, with a combination of ultra-light build and fairly firm headband pressure. They’re good for runners; bad for nerds, hipsters, the short-sighted and so on.

Urbanears Plattan 13


These are ultra-populist headphones, and that’s clear in their sound too. They have a wide, bassy sound, but one that doesn’t immediately strike you as being clouded or boomy.

Initial impressions of the Urbanears Plattan’s sound is fairly positive. However, they are some way from the best-sounding headphones in the sub-£50 range.

Let’s start with the good stuff. Contrary to some of the old reports on these headphones, the treble isn’t too veiled or weak. This is enough to provide a reasonable impressions of detail. The treble isn’t sharp or sibilant either, with the very top-end softened before it has a chance.

Urbanears Plattan

The lower-frequency bass is fair, too. It isn’t boomy, although still offers the feel of “extra bass” that’s been the default portable headphone sound for years now. I find the Plattan fairly good as a podcast headphone; many cheap, bassy headphones can make spoken-word audio sound as if it’s floating on an inflatable lilo of bass.

It’s what’s in-between the top and bottom of the sound that’s the problem. The Urbanears Plattan fill out their sound with mid-bass – where the bass meets the mid-range.

Adding this bulk is the easiest way for a headphone to provide the warm and rounded sound that many find easy to digest. It’s reliable filler. However, the quality of the Urbanears Plattan’s mids is quite poor.

Urbanears Plattan 9

While treble detail is reasonable, mid-range detail is not. It’s a bit of a featureless mass that’s prone to resonance-like distortion at higher volumes, which is hard on the ears.

With the sonic issues largely localised to the mids, it’s possible to play music that can actually sound fairly decent. Instrumental electronic music sounds pretty good through the Urbanears Plattan, and a couple of times I found myself pleasantly surprised by the handling of beats that could easily have become boomy or sludgy.

However, as soon as natural-sounding vocals, guitars and so on start to be added to the mix, these headphones get into trouble. Vocals can sound weighed down, lacking the definition that should be provided by mid texture, and rooted in that excess mid-bass, which is like a deep-pile carpet. Arrangements of natural instruments often end up muddled.

Urbanears Plattan 3


The Urbanears Plattan are the kind of headphones I can imagine lots of people being happy with for quite a while. They look good, are fairly comfy if you don’t wear glasses, and they offer a thick sound that will stand up fairly well to noisy environments.

That their sound problems are confined to the mids helps to protect the Urbanears Plattan from some criticism too, since you’re less likely to notice them with casual listening.

However, nowadays there are better options available for your cash. For those after a bassy sound, the AKG Y50 are better and also come in some bright shades if the Urbanears Plattan appeal because of the extensive colour range.

Then there are the Skullcandy Grind. These offer that street-friendly style but it’s backed up with some truly surprising audio quality. Just want clarity? The Sennheiser HD201 will sound a little thinner and their design is less attractive, but they’re a lot cheaper too.


Stylish and light, the Urbanears Plattan are best suited to casual listening.



Acer Spin 7 Hands-on Review

  • Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 14-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen display
  • 11mm thick
  • Weight: 1.2kg
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: to be confirmed

Acer Spin 7


Acer has revealed its new range of hybrid laptops, replacing its “Aspire R” brand with the “Spin” name. Like the Swift 7, the Spin 7 sits at the top of its range, with high-end components, a super-thin design and premium build quality.

Also in the Spin range are Spin 5, 3 and 1 models, which become less powerful and chunkier as you move down the range.

Acer Spin 7 3

The Spin 7 is one of the best-looking hybrid devices around and has a similar feel to Lenovo’s Yoga Pro machines. At just under 1.1cm thick and weighing in at 1.2kg, it’s impressively thin and light for a laptop that features a 14-inch screen and a hinge that allows it to fully rotate.

The screen itself is surrounded by a super-thin bezel, which puts it close in dimensions to a conventional 13.3-inch laptop rather than a 14-inch machine. In real terms, it doesn’t make a huge difference to its portability, but it certainly looks great.

Acer Spin 7

The grey aluminium coating looks classy, and its straight lines, curved corners and sharp edges give the Spin 7 a sturdy look and feel.

Along the right edge sit two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the left is a power button and the volume rocker for use when the device is in tablet mode.

Acer Spin 7 2

The screen itself is a Full HD IPS panel. It’s bright and capable of displaying punchy colours, and the touch controls themselves are fairly accurate and sensitive, at least during initial testing.

The keyboard features the same grippy coating as seen on the new Swift 7, and is nicely weighted. It’s one of the better ultra-thin laptop keyboards out there right now.

The touchpad is Microsoft Precision-certified, meaning it’s sensitive and capable of performing all the multi-touch gestures you’ll need without fuss. The pad itself is very wide, which provides more space than you’d otherwise expect from a small laptop.

Acer Spin 7 4

The headline feature of the Spin 7 is the screen’s ability to flip around into Tent and Tablet modes. This works well, although the hinge Acer has employed feels a little flimsy. I hope this is something Acer is able to rectify for the final model because, as it stands, this particular element doesn’t befit such an expensive laptop.

The Spin 7 gets the same Intel Core i7-7Y75 as the Swift 7. This is a re-branded Core M chip with a base clock speed of 1.3GHz and a maximum boost speed of 3.6GHz. You’ll get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD alongside it.

Raw performance will be speedy enough, but don’t expect this fanless laptop to put in the same performances as its higher-end Core i7 siblings; it won’t be able to sustain that 3.6GHz boost speed for extended periods.

Acer Spin 7 5

Acer reckons the Spin 7 will have an eight-hour battery life, and with such a low-power processor this is likely to be accurate.


Kết quả hình ảnh cho Acer Spin 7

Prices for the Spin 7 will start at €1,299 in Europe (around £1,326/$1,989 inc VAT), making it one of the more expensive hybrid laptops on the market. It’s a niche proposition, but equally a very tempting one for those in the market for a hybrid.

The Acer Spin 7 will be available in October.


Hsu Research ULS-15 mk2 Subwoofer Review

  • Product Name: ULS-15 mk2 Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Hsu Research
  • MSRP: $ 769


  • Excellent sound quality
  • Not huge or very heavy
  • High dynamic range
  • Well protected against bottoming out
  • Above average finish


  • Limited headroom in EQ1 mode

After feedback from customers who wanted a subwoofer that was friendlier to living room decor than the behemoth ported boxes and tall cylinder subs Hsu had been producing, Hsu Research released their first sealed subwoofer in 2008- The ULS-15. Hsu had already built a solid reputation for deep-digging, accurate, and affordable subwoofers. The caveat had always been size per Hoffman’s Iron Law which states that you can have two of the following, but never all three: sensitivity, small enclosure size, and deep bass. Low sensitivity necessitates a powerful amp and heavy-duty driver, which raises costs considerably. So, in an effort to make their subwoofers affordable, Hsu had traditionally decided to compromise on size instead. However, a strong demand for subwoofers with a more attractive size and shape prompted Hsu to break with their tradition in the ULS-15. While the ULS-15 went on to successfully fill its niche in the Hsu line-up, the years went by and new technologies made a compelling case for an overhaul, which brings us to the ULS-15 mk2.

The ULS-15 mk2 shares some of the same design features of the mk1, but also some important differences. However, before we get into design discussion, let’s begin where most users would with the ULS-15 mk2: unpacking.


Unpacking and Setup Guide

The ULS-15 mk2 showed up in a large box proudly sporting the Hsu logo. The external packaging is serious, with both packing tape and heavy-duty staples holding the box shut. There is certainly no danger of the subwoofer falling out, as I had to use pliers to pull out the staples in order to open the box.

Inside the box, removing a light foam cover reveals an inner box and some heavy cardboard corner protection pieces. Inside the inner box we see a large heavy-duty foam top and bottom piece neatly sandwiching the subwoofer. The subwoofer itself is wrapped in an internal layer of a soft foam-ish plastic cover and an external layer of a heavier plastic covering, presumably to protect it from liquids and moisture. The packaging overall consists of double-boxing, double foam insert shock-absorbtion, both tape and staple sealing, and double-bagging. This is the best packaging I can recall seen on a subwoofer. I guess Hsu reallyhates dealing with shipping damage claims.


The included Owner’s Guide is well done if not exhaustive. It has a lengthy trouble-shooting section and contains lots of tips and advice about optimizing subwoofer performance as well as basic instructions for subwoofer novices. It is also available on the ULS-15 mk2 website product page as PDF file. One thing that might be easy to miss for those who are unpacking the ULS-15 mk2 is the Hsu demo disc that is shipped in the packing list envelope. This CD contains a handful of tracks of classical music that makes for excellent demo material, and also a number of different subwoofer test tones. The demo disc is a nice touch, and the first track, the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony excerpt which contains a powerful 16 Hz fundamental from a pipe organ, is a real corker for subwoofers.



The ULS-15 mk2 does not look dramatically different from the original ULS-15,  which sported a conventional and tasteful appearance. The mk2 cabinet is the same, and the only obvious visual difference is the cone. With grille on, they look identical, except for markings on the plate amplifier. The ULS-15 mk2 comes in satin black finish and also a real rosewood veneer for an additional $150. The satin black of this review unit is a very smooth black that is not polished-level shiny but certainly not a matte-black light sink either. It reflects light but in a diffuse manner. The cabinet itself is essentially an 18” cube with rounded longitudinal edges; this symmetry lend it a stylish simplicity that would make for a great fit in modern decor, but its conservative demeanor lets it blend in with more traditional interiors, especially in the Rosewood veneer. For those who want minimalism, the grille makes the ULS-15 mk2 look nearly featureless. However I prefer it with the exposed cone; the glossy woofer center and beefy surround make the mk2 look poised to do some serious rocking.

Design Overview

The 18” cube cabinet is constructed with 3/4” MDF side-walls and a 1.5” front baffle. A ¾” window brace helps support the driver while reinforcing the side-walls at the center length of the cabinet. The sidewalls are neatly lined with egg-crate type foam for stuffing, which is a departure from the mk1 which used fiberglass wall insulation for stuffing. The foam stuffing looks like it would work well, while staying well out of the way of the driver and amplifier. The feet are sturdy rubber rings that do well to protect the cabinet when setting it down, although they make it awkward to move the sub by sliding.  These feet look like they would make use of a subwoofer isolation pad a moot point, much like SVS’s SoundPath Isolation feet. Altogether the ULS-15 mk2 sports a simple and sensible enclosure for a sealed subwoofer of this size. A higher-end and more expensive subwoofer might sport more bracing and thicker walls, but that would only add weight and expense for negligible returns. The ULS-15 mk2 cabinet construction is orderly and very pragmatic.



The biggest point of departure of the mk2 from the original ULS-15 is the driver.  The first ULS-15 used an underhung XBL^2 motor. A design goal of the XBL^2 design was greater linear excursion due to a more uniform magnetic field for the voice coil to travel in (for those who want to get into the details of the XBL^2 technology, here is a good starting point). Indeed, the ‘ULS’ stands for Ultra Linear Sealed, denoting the extraordinarily long linear stroke delivered by the XBL^2 design. Another characteristic of the XBL^2 design is a wider-band driver than conventional topologies, since not as much voice coil mass is needed, thereby greatly reducing induction. However, a disadvantage of the XBL^2 design was a hefty penalty in sensitivity. Hsu dispensed with the XBL^2 design in favor of a more traditional overhung design in the mk2. While the XBL^2 design was an interesting approach in the mk1 driver, the mk2 driver is no slouch. A stack of two hefty 1” x 6.75” magnets comprise the bulk of the motor.  The pole piece is undercut for a better magnetic field symmetry, and multiple shorting rings reduce induction effects which reduces even-order distortion. The mk2 uses a 12 spoke aluminum basket and a Butyl foam surround holds a fiberglass-impregnated cone in place.


The amplifier is a 600-watt continuous BASH amplifier. BASH amplifiers have been around for a while and combine the efficiency of Class D amps with the fidelity of class AB amplifiers (although that is somewhat of an over-simplification). The ULS-15 mk2 amplifier has a host of noteworthy features. Balanced XLR inputs make it a good choice for higher-end and pro-audio setups. Speaker-level inputs make it a good choice for setups with no line-level outputs such as older receivers and integrated amplifiers. An operating mode switch can set the frequency response flat down to 20 Hz in the ‘EQ1’ mode or a more typical roll-off to sealed subwoofers with a shallow slope starting at 50 hz in ‘EQ2’ mode. A ‘Q control’ knob changes the slope of the response; lower Q settings will make for a steeper rolloff and mid bass will be accentuated more. There are also the more traditional features on the amplifier such as a 0°-180° phase switch and a 30 Hz to 90 Hz variable low-pass filter. One nice touch is the 120V~60Hz/240V~50Hz voltage selector which makes for easy use in electrical standards around the world.


Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On

As a limited edition of just 55 pieces, this Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I limited edition watch (debuted here) is going to be rather rare – but at the same time, it should also be a sign of things to come, as this is the first watch released by Sinn with an exclusive new UWD movement. Sinn is based in Frankfurt and worked closely with UWD (Uhren-Werke-Dresden) in Dresden to develop the caliber UWD 33.1 mechanical movement that you see inside of the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I watch. It is a real beauty and feels like a decent value for the money. Who is behind UWD? None other than Marco Lang of Lang & Heyne watches, that produces very fine and traditional German watches.

According to Marco Lang, he and his partners were keen to open up a real German watch manufacture whose goal was to do special watch projects for other brands. Until UWD opened up, as far as I know, there were no major players in Germany who were in the business of producing movements for others. Apparently, Sinn is their first major client and helped them to get to the point where they are now. Sinn also apparently worked closely with them on the design of the UWD 33.1 movement which has an incredible-looking design, even if it is a basic manually wound time-only movement.

Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On Hands-On

What really strikes me about the UWD 33.1 movement is both the architecture of the movement as well as the finishing. There is a combination of hand- and machine-finishing, it seems, and the particular style and quality is quite captivating, I must admit. The movement plates are produced from nickel silver (and not brass), and the balance wheel is designed with weights (similar to screws) which allow for precise tweaking by a watchmaker.

Apparently the architecture of the mainspring is unique and UWD calls it a “flying spring barrel.” It has 55 hours of power reserve while the movement operates at 3Hz (21,600bph). There is a hacking seconds feature and the movement indicates just the time with a subsidiary seconds dial. It is really a great-looking movement and certainly a highlight of the watch.

Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On Hands-On

The Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I watch itself (there will clearly be a Meisterbund II) comes in an 18k rose gold case that is 40mm wide and 9.3mm thick. The case is produced in Glashütte by the noted German watch case maker SUG (Sachsische Uhrentechnologie GmbH Glashütte). You can see the SUG branding on the case between the lower logs. “Mesiterbund” refers to a partnership between a few “master” entities, and it is thus fitting that the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I watch has Sinn, SUG, and UWD branding on various parts of it. The entire point for Sinn was to produce a high-end collector’s watch that celebrates some of the best of German watchmaking (that isn’t necessarily priced at A. Lange & Söhne levels).

The dial design itself is not really new, but rather is taken from Sinn 6110 family watches. The dial itself has some light machine guilloche-engraved-style decoration and some applied hour markers. Style is conservative and traditional, even though I am not sure Sinn emulated a specific classic timepiece for the design. I would like to see the UWD 33.1 (or other new movements like it) in sportier Sinn watches in addition to this dressier fare that is nice, but not what many collectors associate with Sinn (a mostly “tool watch” brand). Moreover, the 6110 is a fraction of the price of the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I and contains a base Swiss UNITAS movement, and not something fancy like the UWD 33.1. Nothing per se wrong with that, and the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I does have a finer case that is in gold, but I think that I would have liked more visual distinction in the watch since it does highlight a very special movement.

Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On Hands-On

Recall that compared to more “collaborative” Swiss watches that use parts and elements from different suppliers, this German Sinn is much more “open” about the relationships it has with “partner” companies. The Swiss watch industry is typically marked by extreme, almost pointless secrecy in many instances in their pursuit of trying to evoke the notion that “we did it all by ourselves.” Usually that is simply a marketing fairytale, and the reality of most high-end watches is that they are born of an effective relationship between a series of specialist partners who each come together to offer what they do best. Why this fact is often ignored is beyond me at times (though, admittedly, I’ve never been in the role of a Swiss watch brand CEO). With that said, it feels good that at least in some circles such as Sinn/SUG/UWD the importance of the collaboration and each company bringing its best to the table is part of the value proposition, not a situation they are trying to put a veil over.

Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On Hands-On

It is difficult to imagine what is next for Sinn when it comes to producing these more exclusive German-made movements either alone or with companies like UWD. Their modified Swiss movements have served very well in a large range of their tool watches, and producing more interesting in-house movements will increase collector appeal, but also price. Sinn would further be following in a trend of other German watchmakers (like Tutima, for example) who are trying to shift from using sourced to in-house movements. In Tutima’s case, they have moved to in-house movements almost entirely, even though they continue to use some sourced movements.

Sinn would be unwise to lose their base of fans who love their rock-solid tool watches such as their many divers and pilot models that, as well as being well-made, are not insultingly priced. What I think will happen is simply more brand expansion as their range of products increases, and items like the Meisterbund watches will be an ongoing but very small part of what Sinn releases each year. The good news is that Sinn is held in a very high regard by watch lovers around the world. The problem, however, that can come with this success is quickly being able to lose sight of what made them popular with their core fan base in the first place. For now, Sinn is in a great position, and I feel that someone could own both one of their military-style watches and something the like Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I and be perfectly happy with each.

Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I Watch With UWD Movement Hands-On Hands-On

While the Sinn 6200 Meisterbund I watch is more than certainly premium-priced for a Sinn product, taking together the movement and the gold case, it isn’t terribly priced at all. I encourage people to check out the lovely movement and take notice of what the Meisterbund II is all about, as I have a feeling the 55 pieces in this limited edition could be gone very soon. Sold by Sinn Watches official North American distributor, price is US$13,740.


Kia Optima Sportswagon first drive: A big friendly giant that lacks a bit of personality

The Kia Optima is the sort of car that you see starring in flashy US TV commercials, where enormous NBA superstars cram their frames into the cockpit and ramble on about its superb comfort and desirability, despite the fact they likely own a fleet of Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis.

As such, the Optima has never been one to make waves in the UK, partly thanks to the fact that four-door saloons sales largely fall into the company car category, which has long been bossed by the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and, more recently, the Skoda Superb.

Sensibly, Kia has decided to stretch the salesman’s favourite and offer it in an estate body style, which it refers to as the Sportswagon. Us Brits love a spacious estate – what with our dogs and kids and bicycles – and the Korean marque hopes it will appeal to families with plenty of junk to haul, as well as more traditional business users.

First thing to note is that Kia offers some seriously impressive kit on even the most basic “2” trim line Sportswagon models.

Granted, there’s no opportunity to order the barebones “1” specification level that’s offered on other models, but £22,295/$33,4425 for a spacious vehicle that comes equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels, hints of leather inside and a full suite of DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity isn’t a bad start.


Spend a couple of grand more and “3” level customers are treated to an 8-inch touchscreen display, which is bright and responsive, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The dash in these more expensive models isn’t quite on par with those offered by the VW Group – but the tech works seamlessly and the more expensive cars also get larger wheels, which helps the Optima Sportswagon live up to its athletic moniker.

Kia owes a great deal to chief designer Peter Schreyer, who has single-handedly transformed the budget brand into something that can genuinely compete with the big German players in terms of styling.

In keeping with recent from, the Optima Sportswagon is a handsome machine that features plenty of sweeping lines, a large and bejewelled front grille, and the latest LED head and tail lamp technology that ensures it cuts an imposing figure on the UK’s roadways.


It’s also cleverly packaged, with 552-litres of load space in the back when the rear seats are upright, or 1,686-litres when those rear thrones are flipped down – via a single pull-lever, we hasten to add.

All those riding aboard get plenty of head and legroom, while handy little tech features, such as USB charging slots in the rear, are a welcome addition.

The Optima Sportswagon was never intended to offer scintillating performance but the driving experience is rather dreary. This is partly down to the fact that only one engine is on offer – a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel unit.

There’s not a lot of low-down torque, which renders quick getaways or speedy overtakes quite tricky, while the unit itself isn’t particularly refined. Give it a boot-load of throttle and it grumbles away until the car is up to cruising speeds.


The steering is also quite vague and slow, which can be an issue if you’re trying to hustle the thing along a twisting country road. Granted, the soft suspension is comfortable on long cruises and doesn’t wallow too much through corners, but it’s certainly not the sharpest tool in the box.

A Ford Mondeo Estate is arguably more entertaining to drive and Skoda’s 2.0-litre TDI engine is more powerful.

Kia also revealed a plug-in hybrid version of its Optima Saloon, which potentially returns a staggering 176.6mpg on the combined, belches out just 37g/km of CO2, and can be driven for up to 33-miles on electricity alone. The driving experience isn’t any more enthralling but it could be a good way to reduce the household motoring bills.

Those with a bit of cash to splash should look towards the GT-Line S, purely because it comes offered with some very neat kit.


The interior is given the full leather treatment, the wheels increase to 18-inches and there’s a suite of semi-autonomous safety features that rivals those of the premium German rivals.

Adaptive smart cruise control, high beam assist, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, smart park assist and a 360-degree around view monitor are all thrown into the deal, while ambient interior lighting and chrome flourishes help elevate the overall quality no end.


The Kia Optima Sportswagon will make a solid daily hack for most customers. It’s a good looking machine, especially in the top-of-the-range GT-Line S trim, while its infotainment system is slick and intuitive and the “3” models and above spearhead a suite of standard kit that’s more impressive than its rivals.

The problem, however, is poor engine choice. More importantly, an engine that isn’t as clean nor as fuel efficient as its closest competition, which will prove a stumbling block for company car users and fleet buyers. That, paired with the dreary driving experience, make the competition more compelling overall.


Audio Physic Avanti review

Why should you buy Audio Physic’s Avantis when there are a multitude of better-known speakers from the likes of B&W, Focal and PMC? At first glance that’s not an easy question to answer.

The Avanti looks like just another premium two-way floorstander, and the world is hardly short of those.

But those familiar with the brand – admittedly, probably not so many in the UK – know that these towers are likely to have considerable substance.

Over its 30-year history, Audio Physic has turned out more than its fair share of fine speakers, and this current Avanti can be counted among them.


Despite appearances, these floorstanders are three-way designs. The tweeter and midrange drivers are obvious enough, but where’s the bass unit?

Usually, it would be found on the front or one of the side panels, but it’s hidden inside the cabinet, mounted to the base, and ported through a slot below the front baffle.

Here’s where things get really interesting. The woofer – a 22-cm paper cone unit that crosses over to the midrange at around 130Hz – fires through the base.

Take a look under the speakers and you’ll find the base isn’t the usual veneer-covered wooden board but made of ceramic foam instead.

This porous foam not only adds strength to the speaker’s structure, but also allows the sound from the driver to pass through.

The unusual bass arrangement helps to make the speakers less fussy about room placement. It works, with the Avanti’s sounding balanced across a wide range of positions. We wouldn’t put them right up against a wall or in a corner, but given a little room to breathe they’re perfectly happy.

At the other end of the frequency spectrum what initially seems like a conventional dome tweeter turns out to be a far less commonly seen cone design. It uses a 38mm aluminium diaphragm.

The metal theme continues with the 13cm midrange, it – like the tweeter – uses an elastic damping ring along the outer edge of the cone to control any resonances. The midrange’s chassis is unusual too.

It uses a plastic basket inside the aluminium frame to deliver a structure that combines rigidity, low resonance and an element of decoupling. Clever.


The same could be said of the cabinet. Inside it’s solidly braced, and lined using more of that ceramic foam, which not only adds to rigidity but improves the vibration damping of the enclosure panels too.

We’re impressed by the lovely glossy finish too. The fit is excellent, with every panel lining up just so, giving the Avantis the air of quality designer furniture – an impression reinforced by their slanted design.

There are several finishes available, from the usual walnut, black ash and cherry to the fetching ebony of our review sample. For an extra £1000/$1500, there’s also a premium all-glass option, which looks stunning in the right surroundings.

Audio Physic’s company motto is ‘No Loss Of Fine Detail’. Not the catchiest tag line, but it describes the sound of the Avantis pretty well.

Connected to our usual reference system – Naim’s NDS/555PS streamer, the Clearaudio Innovation Wood turntable, Cyrus’s Signature phono stage/PSX-R2 and the Gamut D3i/D200i pre/power combination – these speakers impress.


Our first impression is of a remarkably clean presentation. The Avantis deliver an upfront and detailed sound that positively brims with agility.

Give them a sparse recording such as The xx’s Angels and they shine, rendering the group’s vocals with considerable finesse.

The Audio Physics capture the subtlety and emotion of the track beautifully with each part of the minimal instrumentation rendered with breathtaking crispness.

Leading edges are superbly defined, but never over-emphasised. It’s an articulate sound too, right from the lowest bass notes upwards.

Through it all, we’re aware of just how little that beautifully engineered cabinet contributes to the final result. All this structure does is give a very quiet backdrop for the sound to emerge from.

Tonally, things are a touch brightly lit, a little lean and can be provoked with aggressive recordings or edgy systems. But, carefully matched, the presentation remains balanced enough to convince.

The integration between the three drivers is seamless, which points to a carefully calibrated crossover.

The Avanti’s low-end is pleasingly taut and punchy, and delivered with far more authority than most would credit from such a slimline tower – these floorstanders may be 109cm tall but they’re only 17cm wide.

This helps to make them an unobtrusive addition to any listening room.


Switch to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and these speakers respond positively. They cast an expansive sound stage that extends well beyond their physical form. It’s nicely layered and stable, even when the music gets busy.

We’re also impressed by the Audio Physic’s composure. They always sound unflustered, regardless of the music’s complexity or to a large extent, volume level.

Dynamically, the Avantis are pretty good. They deliver large-scale swings with confidence, though by the highest standards they stop just short of conveying the ebb and flow of the piece with total conviction.

Radiohead’s In Rainbows shows another minor crack in the Audio Physic’s case. For all their considerable talents, these speakers aren’t particularly great at communicating rhythms.

While each note is defined with clarity, they aren’t strung together well enough to convey the hard-charging momentum of 15 Step with the energy it deserves.

This shortfall doesn’t go so far as to spoil our enjoyment, but it certainly takes it down a notch.


We still like the Avantis, though. They’re smart, elegant and packed with clever engineering.

Their sound brims with agility and clarity and it’s all backed up with class-leading build and finish. They’re worth a serious audition.




Ford Escape EcoBoost Review: Turbo Four-Cylinder Double Take

Back-to-back loans of the redesigned Ford Escape have left us with an interesting conundrum: Which is better, the smaller 1.5-liter Ecoboost fuel sipper, or the 245 horsepower 2.0-liter with its torque focused turbo? Both vehicles have the looks we like, plenty of options to ogle over, and tons of clever tech, but is one powertrain preferable over the other?

Ford did a fantastic job of jumping the gun in the race to turbocharge everything a few years back, with its EcoBoost line of powertrains impressing critics and consumers alike years later. The Blue Oval has done a damn good job of addressing any complaints or shortcomings within the Escape line too, reshaping the current generation into a capable and clever crossover for the masses to enjoy and utilize.

2.0-liter EcoBoost Escape | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Driving the Escape forces you to ponder its namesake, and whether it was coined to encourage drivers to tune out the world around them thanks to having a quiet, tech-filled cabin that’s as smart as it is sensationally equipped. Or perhaps the badge was designed to inspire owners to elude the constraints of urban gridlocked life, and use the standard all-wheel drive system that comes on EcoBoost models to hit the back roads in order to simply “go further.”

Whatever the reason, the all-new Escape is happy to help, and regardless of whether you opt for the 1.5 or 2.0-liter turbo engine, chances are it will give drivers exactly what they want and need in a crossover. But be forewarned: While they are closely related, these two engines perform quite a bit differently from one another. And though both models we tested came to us in Titanium grade, we found ourselves leaning toward certain add-ons, and recommend foregoing others to cut down on cost.

Sport appearance package | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet


So much of the Escape’s appeal comes from its sharp looks, and the Titanium grade takes it up a notch when it comes to appearances. With additional packages giving drivers things like 19-inch black alloys, mirrors, and roof rails, standard features sport LED lighting that add extra appeal to the slick CUV. It’s a nicely-sized and stylish spin on a Ford staple, and outside of a few small hiccups, hits the piston on the head.

Active grille shutters | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Exterior pros and cons

+ Adaptive grille shutters, a large, foot-activated rear liftgate, and keyless entry choices place function up there with form.

+  In Titanium trim, this generation looks great, and with the optional Sport Appearance Package, buyers can get sharper aesthetics with black mirrors, trim accents, headlamps, performance-focused wheels and tires, and roof rails.

+ The tech package offers tricky adaptive lighting and sharp external LED touches.

–  The rear rides noticeably higher than the front, making for a peculiar looking profile.

– No keyless entry to the rear bench, exhaust tips look cheap despite being Titanium-grade, and fake plastic portholes cheapen the overall look.

1.5-liter EcoBoost motor | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet


Although both Escapes came to us as top-tier models, the results you get from going half a liter in one direction or the other is astounding. While both EcoBoost engines remained mated to six-speed automatic gearboxes, the 245 horsepower 2.0-liter, with its 275 foot-pounds of torque was a big winner for us compared to the 1.5-liter option. That’s not to say that the smaller, 179 horsepower motor would not be adequate for most commuters in normal driving environments, but anyone living in mountainous terrain will likely find themselves over revving to get over a pass, which defeats the purpose of having a more efficient motor.

EcoBoost AWD | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Powertrain pros and cons

+ Both EcoBoost motors pull hard in Sport Mode and get respectable fuel efficiency estimates from the EPA.

+ The six-speed automatic feels confident and can be manually controlled via paddle shifters or buttons on the gear selector.

+ 2.0-liter option has 245 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque, and feels rightfully quick for the segment.

– Manually clicking paddle shifters resulted in noticeable gear selection delay.

– The 1.5-liter motor struggles on inclines, and negates the purpose of going with a smaller, more efficient engine.

Leather interior | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet


When it comes to optioning out a cabin, Ford does a solid job. In the Escape, this translates to 10-way heated power seats up front, one-touch windows on all four doors, smart-charging USB ports, and an electronic e-brake. It also sports a 10-speaker Sony audio system, loads of leather, plenty of deep storage pockets, and easy fold-flat seats. With the optional panoramic roof installed, and customizable mood lighting aglow, the interior of both vehicles felt welcoming and well-engineered.

Fold-flat seats | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Interior pros and cons

+ Heated steering wheel, customizable mood lighting, supple leather, and a nicely designed cabin.

+ The fold-flat second row is easy to engage and storage compartments are plentiful and deep.

+ Two USB ports, a 110V plug, electronic e-brake, 10-speaker Sony audio system, two 12V plugs front and rear, and one-touch controls for windows and sunroof.

–  Flimsy-feeling interior door handles, no vented seats, rear seat feels heavy when lifting back into place, and steering wheel won’t telescope very far.

Ford SYNC 3 infotainment | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Tech and safety

While Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system comes standard on Titanium models, it was the optional tech package that came in our 2.0-liter loaner that impressed us the most with things like rain-sensing wipers and lane-keep assist being two notables. Stepping up and spending an extra two grand also gives buyers things like Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, and an enhanced active parking assistant that tackles parallel, exiting, and reverse perpendicular moves. This setup also features forward and side sensors, auto high beams, and the aforementioned LED external lighting touches for greater appeal.

Securicode keyless entry | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Tech pros and cons

+ Optional $600 variable cruise control works well, as do other tech safety features like lane keep assist, and Ford’s fantastic park assistance setup.

+ SYNC 3 works extremely well and comes loaded with weather maps, gas info, traffic updates, and more via Sirius Travel Link.

+ Driver display is easy to read and navigate through, and camera lenses offer crisp images, day or night.

– Side sensors fire off warnings randomly, even when there is no danger present, and weather maps are graphically dated compared to alternatives like VW or Nissan.

– There’s no central command knob, so drivers are split between steering wheel controls, a few center stack buttons, and the touchscreen.

2017 Ford Escape cockpit | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

The drive

‘Encouraging’ would probably be the best word to describe the drive feel of the latest generation of Escape. Although the steering can feel a bit emotionless, the response one gets from the suspension and traction control system is commendably sharp, which makes for a fun driving experience. The braking and paddle shifter response times were also on the tired side, but the gliding sensation one gets on the highway squashes those minor qualms with an exceptionally smooth ride and cabin calm that’s world-class.

This CUV makes a strong case for making time for fun drives, especially when outfitted with the optional 19-inch alloy wheels and low-profile performance tires, both of which make for a sharper appearance that pays off in the traction department as well. Sport Mode engages sharper responses from the gearbox, and keeps revs considerably higher in order to force the  turbo to spool all the harder.

As for recommending one of the EcoBoost engines over the other, we are quick to stand behind the 2.0-liter option. With 275 foot-pounds of torque and 245 horsepower at the ready, the larger motor feels lively and willing to tow its 3,500 pound maximum capacity. Plus, with a 20/27 fuel mileage estimate from the EPA for city/highway driving, it averages just 1 mile per gallon less than its 1.5-liter baby brother. This isn’t to say that the 1.5-liter variant is a bad option, but it struggles a bit at times and in our mind doesn’t offer enough significant gains in fuel efficiency or power to make it the obvious choice.

American made crossover | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Wrap up and review

Ford has done a great job of turning the Escape into a CUV that goes above and beyond, especially when optioned out in Titanium trim with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost upgrade at the ready. It’s a very rewarding drive with many internal and external updates to make it both attractive and practical, and outside of the small faux pas here and there, makes for an excellent contender for CUV shoppers.

One downside, however, is the Titanium’s price tag, which starts at $30,850 and jumps to almost $40,000 after adding a tech package, wheels, sunroof, navi, adaptive cruise control, and the $1,295 engine upgrade. That price point opens you up to numerous other options, including the svelte Lincoln MKC, or a bigger and better SUV from Ford.

But the Titanium Escape offers far more appeal and purpose than problems. The 2017 model won’t be the final say for the now well-established nameplate. Ford will keep honing its well-rounded CUV for years to come, and with installments like this making waves, we are excited to see how much further the Blue Oval can take the CUV game.


O+ Sonic Review

  • Support for 700MHz Band 28 LTE
  • Good display
  • Decent camera
  • Not for heavy gaming
  • Protruding rear camera is prone to bumps and scratches

Kết quả hình ảnh cho O+ Sonic  smartphone

O+ has one of the most affordable LTE devices in town in the form of the Sonic — it’s a five-inch phone that sports a quad-core Mediatek chip, and supports Band 28 700MHz LTE right out of the box. Is it your best bet for better connectivity? Here’s our review.

Design and Construction

Like other previous releases such as the XFinit, The Sonic employs a signature O+ design of a unibody polycarbonate back shell accentuated by chrome edges. At the front, we have the five-inch display enclosed in black bezels with a 69.8% screen-to-body ratio. At the top is the call speaker chiseled inside, the usual sensors, and the 2MP front camera.

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At the bottom, we have three unlit capacitive buttons that are difficult to see in low light conditions. The home button also acts as the gateway to the phone’s recent apps list and is not in any way conflicting to the presently-installed Google App.

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At the top is the 3.5mm audio jack. The rear camera is also seen from this angle, since it protrudes a lot from the back case.

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At the bottom is the microphone situated on the right side, along with the microUSB port for charging and data transfer.

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Like other O+ devices, its sides are embellished with a chrome accent that creates a feel of sophistication. We have at the right side the volume rocker and the power/lock button, all covered in chrome.

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Flipping the device back, we have the 5MP rear camera at the top-right side, and the accompanying LED Flash on its right side. The stereo speaker is located at the bottom part. It’s worth noting that the camera, emblazoned in a chrome accent, is protruding much that its covering plastic gets a fair share of bumps. This can be easily amendable by placing a phone case to minimize the risk.

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Prying the device open, we have dedicated slots for two SIMs and a microSD card. It is also equipped with a removable battery, so you may replace it in the future if ever it starts degrading.

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The phone has a good grip, and is easy to hold. It’s a bit light, and the device is not that hard to hold for long periods of time. A nitpick would be the back plate, which gets a ton of fingerprint smudge when used as daily driver.

Display and Multimedia

The Sonic is equipped with a 5-inch HD display that emits good viewing on most angles, vivid color, and reasonable amount of contrast and sharpness for its size at 294ppi. It’s legible enough to be seen outdoors with its brightest setting, while the lowest is dim enough to be comfortably viewed at night. It only employs two-finger multitouch function, which is enough for the most basic of tasks in the phone.

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Audio, meanwhile, is generally decent. It can play most common files with its stock music player which seems to be taken out from the Gingerbread era, and is a joy to hear especially when using earphones. Its speaker has decent loudness that can take on a quiet, medium-sized room.


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The Sonic employs a five-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash. The camera, despite the low resolution, is able to produce photos of great colors, exposure, and brightness. Take a look at some of the photos we took:

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Working with the rear camera for shooting videos, on the other hand, provides decent quality as it is able to generate HD resolution clips albeit in a 3gp format. Here’s a sample video:

OS, UI, and Apps

Android Lollipop is the star of the show, and there are very minimal changes as most of the vanilla features are kept intact. A few instances we would see on the Sonic are the addition of the trademark software — there’s Air shuffle, doodle control, and data protection, to name a few. O+ also placed a ‘Kill all apps’ button on the recent apps screen, albeit the animation is slower.


There’s not too many apps pre-installed aside from a few Google ones and Facebook, leaving you with 4.99GB of space to use. Nevertheless, it’s still best to have a microSD card ready should you wish to transfer apps from the internal storage.

Performance and Benchmarks

Performance has generally been okay, save for a few instances of hiccups and lags on multitasking efforts. As such, it heats up at the upper part of the device when taking on heavy load but not that prevalent. With a 1GHz quad-core chip, it can run games decently, although you’d see dropped frames and slowdowns on a few instances, especially with graphic-intensive ones.


Here are the scores we got from our benchmark tools:

* AnTuTu – 24,415
* Quadrant Standard – 9,130
* Vellamo – 1,199 (Multicore), 2,006 (Browser), 786 (Metal)
* 3DMark – 3,053 (Ice Storm Unlimited)
* PCMark – 2,644 (Performance), 1,868 (Storage)

Connectivity and Battery Life

We have used the O+ Sonic as our to-go device for benchmarking telecommunication networks and their recently-launched Band 28 LTE platforms. We did it with Globe in the previous months, and we’re bound to do it with Smart as well. Nonetheless, the Sonic connects really fast on mobile data and is a joy to use. We didn’t have a problem with our test as we were able to single out the band for us to measure the needed instances.

Calls made were also clear and with decent loudness. WiFi and Bluetooth work well, and GPS has a few locking issues which is a prevalent problem with Mediatek chips.


Battery-wise, the Sonic can stay awake for up to five days, or a whole day of medium usage such as 4G and WiFi browsing, calls and SMS, and taking photos. Our PCMark Test gave the O+ Sonic a 7 hours result, which puts it alongside other smartphones such as the ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 2.3GHz, Lenovo A7000, and the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra — these smartphones mentioned bear bigger battery capacities. Putting on the video loop would give out an 8 hours and 47 minutes result.


Equipped with a decent display, a good camera, and a great 4G LTE connecivity, O+ is set to capture your hearts with the Sonic and the hardware it brings. Now priced at Php3,690 in most stores, it’s one that should not be missed out if you’re looking for a good device bearing great connectivity features for a low price.

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With that being said, there are still improvements that needs to be addressed — the fingerprint and grime-magnet back plate is yet to be ditched, and the non-lit capacitive buttons still exist up to this day. The protruding camera could also be an issue to those who do not want to opt for phone cases. Nevertheless, you can’t deny it — the O+ Sonic is the most affordable Band 28 LTE smartphone available in the market today.

O+ Sonic specs:

  • 5-inch HD IPS Screen @ 720 x 1280, 294ppi
  • 1.3GHz Quad Core Mediatek T Processor
  • No RAM information (we assume this has 1GB of RAM)
  • 8GB internal storage
  • expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 5MP AF rear camera w/ Flash
  • 2MP front camera
  • 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+
  • Dual-SIM (micro), Dual Standby
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • FM Radio
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 2000mAh battery
  • 139 x 71 x 8.4 mm (dimensions)


7 Things You Need to Know About Intel’s 7th-Gen Core Processors

Intel has a new family of processors coming soon to a laptop near you. Dubbed Kaby Lake, the 7th-Generation Core processors should be of particular interest if you’re making do with an older machine, like to stream a lot of high-resolution video or enjoy gaming on the go — or some combination of all three.

At this month’s Intel Developer Forum, we got a taste of what the 7th-Gen Core processors could do. During a demo at the forum, a Dell XPS 13 laptop was able to play the graphically demanding game Overwatch, using standard integrated graphics on the new platform. With Intel’s announcement today (Aug. 30), we now have a better idea of just how these CPUs will power the performance of an upcoming spate of notebooks, 2-in-1s and other computers.

Intel 7th Gen Core

Here’s what we know so far about Intel’s 7th-Gen Core processors:

1. Core-powered machines are coming.

At its developer forum, Intel announced that 7th-Gen chips were already in the hands of the chip maker’s PC partners, and that should mean lots of laptops featuring the new processors will be coming before the end of the year. Chris Walker, Intel’s general manager for mobile client platforms, said new processors from 4.5-watt to 15-watt will be the first to arrive, powering new 2-in-1s and ultrathin notebooks. Look for 100 designs featuring 7th-Gen Core processors to be available by the fourth quarter of 2016, Walker said.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Intel 7th-Gen Core Processors

The new processor family will expand to other markets in January — specifically, enterprise, workstations, performance gaming and virtual reality, Walker said. That will mean more notebooks aimed at enthusiasts, as well as desktops with the 7th-Gen Core CPUs.

2. These chips have a familiar architecture.

Intel built the 7th-Gen Core chips on the same Skylake architecture it introduced last year, so don’t look for Intel to reinvent the architecture but rather refine it.

intel 7th gen chris walker

Specifically, Intel said it improved the transistor channel strain on these CPUs. The result is a microarchitecture that’s more power-efficient, so that the 7th-Gen Core chips can offer a performance boost over previous generations of Intel processors.

3. The Core m5 and m7 names are going away.

Intel is making a change to the way it names its low-power chips, eliminating the Core m5 and Core m7 designations and turning those two 4.5-watt chips into Core i5 and Core i7-branded SKUs. The company hopes this change will help consumers, many of whom didn’t understand the difference between a Core i5 and a Core m5. However, because the 4.5-watt CPUs, also known as Kaby Lake Y series chips, are lower-power, they won’t perform the same as a U series 15-watt CPU. If you see a “Y” at the end of the SKU, you have one of the chips formerly known as Core m5 or m7.

To make matters more interesting, Intel is keeping the Core M brand for its entry-level Core m3 chip, which is the slowest and least expensive of the bunch. So in order of performance, the 4.5-watt chips are named Core m3, Core i5 Y series and Core i7 Y series.

4. You’ll see performance gains over last year’s CPUs.

You’re probably not going to ditch that Skylake-powered machine you picked up last winter in favor of one with a 7th-Gen Core CPU. But Intel says that if you were to do so, you’d notice a faster machine. Using SYSmark to measure productivity, Intel found a machine powered by a 7th-Gen Core i7-7500U processor notched a 12 percent gain over a 6th-Gen Core i7-6500U CPU. That 7th-Gen-powered machine also recorded a 19 percent boost in web performance as measured by WebXPRT 2015.

Performance Gains

Obviously, the performance increases look more substantial when stacked up against older PCs, and that’s where Intel is betting most of the upgrades to 7th-Gen chips are going to come from. A new Core i5-7200U-powered machine recorded a 1.7x improvement over a five-year-old Core i5-2467M in SYSmark. On the 3DMark Cloud Gate Graphics test, Intel said the new CPU tripled that five-year-old machine’s score.

Intel representatives told us that 7th-Gen Core CPUs could play Overwatch on medium settings at 720p with integrated graphics or at 4K with a compatible graphics amp. Kaby Lake won’t kill gaming laptops, though, as hard-core players will want to play in 1080p at the minimum.

5. These chips are designed for video.

Intel has taken notice of all of the 4K and 360-degree video we’re consuming. In response, the chipmaker introduced a new video engine to its 7th-Gen Core processors that aims to handle whatever content demands you can throw at it.

The new chips add HEVC 10-bit decode capability, which should let you play back 4K ultra-HD video without any hiccups. Intel also added VP9 decode capability to the 7th-Gen Core chips to boost power efficiency when you’re watching those 4K and 360-degree videos while also performing other tasks.

Create 4K content

The chips will also create video content a lot faster. For example, according to Intel, you’ll be able to transcode a 1-hour, 4K video in just 12 minutes.

6. The chips will be more power efficient during playback.

In terms of the battery boost you’ll see, Intel said the 7th-Gen Core machine can last for 7 hours when streaming 4K and 4K 360-degree YouTube video, compared with the 6th-Gen Core processor’s 4 hours of battery life when handling the same demands. As for 4K streaming video, Intel is promising all-day battery life, or 9 and a half hours with the 7th-Gen Core processors.

7. Intel looks to boost performance in other ways.

The 7th-Gen Core processors offer a few other features aimed at making your laptops perform more efficiently, such as Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology. That’s the feature that manages both processor performance and power so that tasks get more processing oomph when they need it. Hyper-Threading Technology helps the CPUs complete tasks faster by delivering two processing threads for each core.

Speed Shift

The 7th-Gen Core chips also include Speed Shift technology, which should make for speedier apps. The technology allows a processor to more quickly settle on its best operating frequency, thus optimizing performance and efficiency. This pays off particularly when you’re performing short bursts of activity, such as browsing the web.


Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2: Release date, specs, price and everything you need to know

When it comes to activity tracking devices, Fitbit is a name many will recognise. The company already offers a huge number of options and they have just announced two more are on their way.

There are currently eight devices in the Fitbit line-up comprising the Zip, One, Flex, Alta, Charge, Charge HR, Blaze and Surge. The Charge, Charge HR and Flex have just had their successors announced though.

Here is everything we know about the Fitbit Charge 2 and Flex 2.


The Fitbit Charge 2 looks like a larger version of the Fitbit Alta but with the addition of heart rate monitoring and a number of other features.

Until the launch of the new devices, there were two Charge devices – the Charge and the Charge HR. They were almost identical in design, apart from the latter had Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate monitor on board, while the former didn’t and they fastened differently. Both have been replaced by just one new Charge, combining the two older devices together.


The Charge 2 sports a display five times larger than the current Charge devices, allowing it to show some smartphone notifications like the Fitbit Alta, along with steps, distance travelled and the rest of the more common metrics found on an activity tracker.

The Charge 2 also has interchangeable bands, again like the Alta, allowing the user to change the elastomer strap for a different look. The standard buckle fastening found on the original Charge HR, as well as the Blaze, is still be present for the Charge 2, meaning it will feel secure on the wrist. It comes in black and silver, plum and silver, blue and silver and teal and silver as standard options but there are also lavender and rose gold or black and gunmetal special edition models.

The Flex 2 is a more simplistic and smaller device, in comparison to the Charge 2. Like the original Flex, the Flex 2 will be a plain elastomer band with LED lights to represent progress.

The original Flex had a smooth finish, while the Flex 2 has a textured finish like the Fitbit Alta. It will feature five LEDs like the original but they are positioned vertically, rather than horizontally. It will come in four colour options comprising black, lavender, magenta and navy.


The Flex 2 uses a two-pin fastening method, like the Alta does and like the original Flex does. There will also be interchangeable accessories for the Flex 2, in the form of the Luxe collection which comprises a bangle or pendant with the bangle available in silver, gold and rose gold options, while the pendant comes in gold and silver. This follows the path of the original Flex, where the removable tracker could be placed into specially-made accessories from Tory Burch.

The Charge 2 offers PurePulse heart rate monitoring, as we mentioned above. It also offers all-day activity and sleep tracking, as the original Charge and Charge HR do, as well as Multi-Sport tracking and smartphone notifications, both of which the Alta does. Connected GPS is also on board, along with two new features called Cardio Fitness Level, which gives you a personalised fitness score over time, and Guided Breathing, which offers personalised breathing sessions based on your heart rate.


Additionally, the Charge 2 measures steps taken, distance travelled, floors climbed, calories burned, heart rate, active minutes and sleep duration, along with call, text and calendar notifications.

Sadly, there is no waterproofing capabilities for the Charge 2 so you won’t be able to swim with it, but there is for the Flex 2. The Flex 2 is swim-proof, while also offering sleep quality information and all-day activity monitoring. It is the only water-resistant Fitbit tracker available.

The Flex 2 also measures steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, active minutes and sleep duration. There is no altimeter so it won’t measure elevation but it does deliver call and text alerts in the form of colour-coded LED lights. The Flex 2 will light up blue for calls and purple for texts.


The Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 were both announced on 29 August and both are available to pre-order already through Fitbit’s website.

The Fitbit Charge 2 will ship in mid-September, while the Fitbit Flex 2 will ship early October.

The Fitbit Charge 2 will start from £129.99 ($149.99). The special edition model will cost £149.99 ($169.99). The Charge 2 will come with a Classic band as standard.

Each extra Classic Band for the Charge 2 will cost £19.99 ($39.99) and there are five options. A Leather Band costs £59.99 ($79.99) and there are three options.

The Fitbit Flex 2 will cost £79.99 ($99.99). Both the Luxe Collection Bangle and Pendant start at £69.99 ($89.99).


Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 1:1 Full-Frame Macro Lens

Sony has introduced what it is calling a lightweight and compact 50mm Prime lens with 1:1 Macro capability, weighing just 236g, the lens is dust and moisture resistant, and can focus on subjects as close as 16cm. The Sony SEL50M28 will be available in Europe in October priced at approximately £500/$750 and €660.

SEL50M28 A

From Sony: Sony today introduced a new full-frame lens for the É‘ E-mount camera system, the FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens (model SEL50M28).

Ideal for everyday photography, this versatile 50mm macro lens features an f/2.8 maximum aperture that offers outstanding image quality and bokeh, while its 1:1 macro capability allows the photographer to get sharp close-up shots of their subject. Additionally, its comprehensive range of controls including focus-mode switch, focus-range limiter and the focus-hold button ensures a quality macro shooting experience for a wide range of users.

Great for scenery and portraits as well as macro shots, it offers a 0.16m minimum focusing distance and a wider frame for capturing more background, compared to longer focal-length macro lenses. Weighing just 236g, the lens is extremely lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around and is dust and moisture resistant[i] for use in different weather conditions.

The new FE 50mm f/2.8 Macro lens features ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass to effectively compensate for axial chromatic aberration at close focus, allowing it to create consistently sharp and high quality images.

The circular aperture design produces beautiful bokeh effects and the optical and mechanical construction of the lens has less flare and ghosting even without a lens hood.

[i]Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture resistant

SEL50M28 A7II Top

Sony FE 50mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro Specifications

Manufacturer Sony
Lens Mounts
  • Sony E Mount
  • Sony FE Mount
Focal Length 50mm
Angle of View No Data
Max Aperture f/2.8
Min Aperture f/16
Filter Size 55mm
Stabilised No
35mm equivalent No Data
Internal focusing No Data
Maximum magnification 1x
Min Focus 16cm
Blades 7
Elements No Data
Groups No Data
Box Contents
Box Contents No Data
Weight 236g
Height No Data


7 common Samsung Galaxy Note 7 problems and how to fix them

Having problems with Samsung’s new phablet? Here’s all you need to know about the key Galaxy Note 7 problems, and how to fix them.

Samsung’s latest high-end phablet has been getting pretty much universally great reviews – including from ourselves. It’s pretty stunning.

Note 7

That’s not to say that the Galaxy Note 7 is perfect. Oh no. There have been a few issues highlighted since its release earlier in the month.

Here are some of those problems, along with some advice on how to fix or mitigate them.


The Galaxy Note 7’s new iris scanner is an interesting piece of technology, but it’s not wholly successful. We found it to be a little finicky to use, and some on the internet seem to be struggling to get it working reliably.

To ensure it works properly for you, there are a few things you can do. Make sure the screen isn’t too grubby – particularly the bit covering the infra-red iris scanner itself, of course. It’s easy for this to interfere with things, as it naturally picks up grease from your hands and face.

samsung galaxy note 7

Also, make sure you hold the phone up, still, and between 10 and 14 inches from your face.

Failing all that, you should probably try starting again with the iris scanner setup by going to Settings > Lockscreen & security > Irises > Remove Iris.

Oh, and if you wear glasses, you might want to just disable it altogether.


Pretty soon after the Galaxy Note 7’s release reports started filtering in that its Gorilla Glass 5 was more prone to scratching than previous models.

Corning has issued a statement denying this, and subsequent test videos appear to support such the company’s claims.

Note 7

Other sources have claimed that the Galaxy Note 7’s dual-glass displays crack a little too easily. Of course, the very fact that the phone is largely glass means that it’s never going to be the most durable of phones.

Still, if you’re worried about damaging your new phone, the only way around it is to buy a decent case. Fortunately, we’ve written a round-up to help you with that very thing.


Some Galaxy Note 7 owners have complained of a light bleed issue – that is, bright light pouring out of a gap in the edge of the phone, where the glass meets the metal.

Note 7

The first point to note is that there probably isn’t a physical gap there. Rather, it’s more likely there’s a painted frame on the screen that isn’t quite covering everything up. Samsung also says that there’s a natural effect from light reflecting off the edge of the curved display.

If this applies to your phone, we’d recommend getting in contact with Samsung about it. Providing you haven’t thrown the phone around, you may well be able to have it replaced under warranty.


Many people like to use Google’s Now Launcher with their non-stock Android phone. It’s a neat option, especially if you don’t like the look of Samsung’s TouchWiz skin.

However, Google Now Launcher seems to have some issues when running on the Galaxy Note 7. This conflict can cause apps to apparently disappear from the app drawer.

Note 7

The problem has to do with the Samsung’s KNOX security software, but there is a way around it. First, uninstall Google Now Launcher. Next, disable KNOX by going to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure Folder > Uninstall > Back up and Uninstall.

Now install Google Now Launcher, hit the home button, and configure the launcher as needed.

Next, reactivate the Secure Folder feature by going to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure Folder and following the set-up instructions.


Some users are reporting that the Galaxy Note 7’s otherwise excellent camera isn’t booting up, and a failure message appears. This may be the phone’s Smart Stay feature interfering.

note 7

Smart Stay detects when you’re looking at the screen, and keeps certain elements visible while that’s the case. However, it may be interfering with the camera under certain conditions.

To turn it off, go to Settings > Advanced Features, and turn off Smart Stay.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has an IP68 rating, which means it’s largely water and dust resistant. However, water can get into the speaker holes, causing the sound to change.

If that happens, don’t worry. You just need to remove the water from the speaker. Make sure the phone is dry on the outside and give it a shake and a tap to dislodge any droplets from the speaker.

Note 7

Other than that, it’s just a matter of being patient and allowing it to fully dry in its own time. Rest assured that it won’t damage your phone. If it does, and the issue persists, contact Samsung.


Some are finding the newly reshuffled app tray to be a little confusing. It pushes the most recently installed apps to the top, which, for those who are used to simple alphabetical order, is pretty bewildering.

You can change this by hitting the little three-dot menu button in the top right and selecting A-Z.

However, the next time you install an app, you’ll be back to square one. You have been warned.

We’ll be adding more solutions to problems as and when they emerge so make sure to check back in the near future for our updated list.


Intel Kaby Lake : Everything you need to know about the 7th-gen processor

Intel has revealed performance information on its 7th-generation Core processors, and it’s looking very promising indeed.

We have full information on the new media engine that can decode 4K Ultra HD on-chip, and the graphics engine, that can play Overwatch at 1080p. With better power management, Intel promises smaller and thinner laptops and 2-in-1 devices as well. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

The below information is only about laptop hardware: desktop chips aren’t set to land until January 2017, so we won’t get more information for a few months yet. However, both chips share the same core architecture, so many of the improvements found in the mobile chips will also be on the desktop versions.

Intel Core i5-6400


Kaby Lake is the code name for Intel’s 7th generation Core processors. In the general scheme of things it’s a minor upgrade over 6th-gen Skylake kit, but it’s still a big enough improvement to make 2017’s laptop market look very interesting indeed.

Kaby Lake is a minor upgrade because Intel has ditched its ‘Tick-Tock’ approach to processor design, meaning there are no major structural changes to the chip or what it’s capable of.

Previously, each generation of Intel processors would see a reduction in process size (smaller, lower power consumption) and then an improvement in architecture (more powerful). This was called Tick-Tock.

Instead of Tick-Tock, Intel has now stretched out the lifespan of a given process size, in this case 14nm (nanometers), to three phases. Its new approach first sees a reduction in process size, then an upgrade to architecture with a final ‘optimisation’ phase added in to make the most of what’s been done so far.

Process, Architecture, Optimisation. Drum that into your head.

This is bad for fans of big-number upgrades, but obviously great for Intel, which is able to make the most of what has become an increasingly complex process of designing chips.

It also means it’s able to offer up fairly small semi-annual upgrades with brand-new model names, which laptop and desktop manufacturers can use to show off and shift more units.

In the case of this generation of 14nm hardware, 5th-Gen ‘Broadwell’ was the process redesign, Skylake was the architecture redesign (meaning an entirely new socket), with Kaby Lake the last hurrah for 14nm before Intel moves onto ‘Cannonlake’, which will be a 10nm design.

For 7th Generation Core, Intel is describing its 14nm process as 14nm+. With the move to Broadwell, Intel started to manufacture taller and thinner transistor fins. This essentially allows for increased drive current and performance. A continuation of this technology is what’s letting Intel drive more performance for Kaby Lake with the same power consumption as 6th Generation Core. Better efficiency in the chip also means that the processors can Turbo Boost to higher speeds for longer.

Image result for Intel Kaby Lake


Perhaps the biggest change to the processor is the addition of a new media engine, which can decode Ultra HD video on-chip. While previous Core chips may have been powerful enough to do so in software, the effect on battery life was noticeable.

By shifting decoding into hardware, Intel can improve battery life and reduce heat, and is quoting three times the battery life when decoding 4K video. That figure will depend on the particular laptop, but it’s certainly an impressive feature. Intel’s media engine will decode VP9 and HEVC 10-bit codecs, which covers the most popular Ultra HD formats, especially for streaming.


The dual-core Intel Core i7-7500U is the first chip Intel has shown off. Expect to find this chip in ultra-thin laptops and tablets such as the next-generation Microsoft Surface Pro 5, whenever that appears. It’s a dual-core chip with Hyper-Threading.

Official Intel benchmarks explicitly compare the Core i7-7500U to the previous-generation Core i7-6500U. Intel is claiming a 12% performance increase in productivity, as measured by SYSmark 2014, and a 19% increase in web performance, as measured by WebXPRT 2015.

In short, your most frequently used basic applications as well as your favourite websites should be significantly snappier.

Intel Kaby Lake

Below you can see a comparison table of the U-series processors that Intel’s announced, complete with their core specs.

Intel Kaby Lake

Intel is claiming a similar performance increase for its 4.5W low-power Core M processors. In its benchmarks, comparing the new Core m7-7Y75 to the Core m7-6Y75, Intel is claiming a 12% performance increase for productivity apps and an 18% improvement in web browsing performance.

Elsewhere, Intel has said that the new HD graphics chips are capable of playing Overwatch in HD. If this claim rings true for other popular eSports titles, we might start seeing laptops without dedicated graphics cards being marketed as budget gaming machines.

Intel Kaby Lake

Below, you can see the low-power mobile processors that Intel has announced, along with their key specs.

Intel Kaby Lake


We don’t know much about 7th-generation desktop chips at the moment and we’re not expecting any new information until later this year or early next year. Kaby Lake desktop chips will use the same socket type (LGA1151) as the current 6th-generation Skylake hardware.

Intel logo

In theory this means that if you have a current-generation motherboard designed for Skylake chips (H110, B150, Q150, H170, Q170 and Z170), a new Kaby Lake chip should fit nicely. But, you should confirm this with the manufacturer as, generally speaking, a fairly hefty BIOS update will be required to get a new processor to play nicely with a motherboard with an older chipset.


Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On

Given the sales success of the INOX (aka I.N.O.X.) watch collection, Victorinox Swiss Armyadded more models to the durable, decent-looking sport watch family for 2016. In addition to the slightly larger Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Professional Diver (hands-on here) and additional strap/bracelet options, the INOX now comes in a titanium versus steel case.

Let’s just get the irony out of the way first. What irony, you ask? Well in French, inox is used to refer to stainless steel (inoxydable). It makes sense for the watch collection that is otherwise produced out of grade 316L stainless steel, but is it just weird when they then release a titanium model in that same collection? Yes it is, but only for snobs like us who know that inox means steel. Though, that is easy to disregard for one of our favorite analog quartz sport watches that now benefits from a lighter case in a new sand-blasted finish.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Like the original INOX (aBlogtoWatch review here), the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium has a 43mm-wide case. If you recall, this is the watch for which Victorinox Swiss Army invested in dozens of stress tests. Overkill or not, the INOX watch collection is meant to stand up to a lot, including aging, shock, cold, heat, and extreme velocity. Steel handled the barrage of tests well, and I understand that the brand has now put the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium through the same testing (and it presumably passed).

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Unlike the brushed and polished steel case of the standard INOX, Victorinox Swiss Army renders the titanium version in an all-sandblasted finishing. I have a feeling this is a grade 2 versus grade 5 form of titanium, which is actually interesting because the crisp angles and precise curves of the INOX-style case are done very well. The gray look of titanium compared to steel is also emphasized in the design. Moreover, the matte finishing of the case flows onto the dial making for a more sober, tool-style look to this lifestyle sports watch.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The dial design itself is unchanged from the standard INOX aside from the color options and finishes. You still have applied hour markers and hands richly painted in lume, as well as the sense of depth made available thanks to the sloped flange ring. This is really one of best-looking quartz sport watches at this price point, in my opinion.

Once again, this matte Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium is water resistant to 200 meters, and over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. Victorinox Swiss Army offers the INOX Titanium in three versions that come on different color straps. The models also have ticking seconds hands that match the strap color – which, theoretically, makes it tough to swap out straps as easily. With that said, these are an off-sized 21mm-wide strap, and offered in a high-quality rubber that lends itself well to a comfortable wearing experience. The three color options are (reference 241759) blue strap with blue seconds hand, (241758) orange strap with orange seconds hand, and (241757) gray strap with red seconds hand. To be honest, they are all nice, even though I think the gray with blue INOX titanium model will do the best.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium watches are the same Swiss Ronda caliber 715 quartz movement that offers the time and date. I really liked the steel INOX, but in titanium you get a different way of appreciating the well-designed case with its crisp angles and cool-looking crown guard size and shape.

While the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium is more expensive than the steel model (by $100) it isn’t per se a better watch, merely different. Titanium is going to be stronger and – more importantly – lighter, but the style difference between this matte sand-blasted finish and the polished/brushed look of the steel one is really a matter of personal preference. It merely adds yet another way of wearing the INOX.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I think the real point here is that Victorinox Swiss Army is trying to create even more ways of broadening the appeal of the INOX to new customers. Moreover, I wonder how many people who like one of these colors will get an INOX who have been holding off before. I am further curious as to who is going to get one of these Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models who already owns one of the steel “true” INOX watches. Oh, and one thing I don’t know is whether the brand will offer the same plastic case protectors or something different with these Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models.

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One again, Victorinox Swiss Army has affirmed the solid value proposition and design appeal of its uber-tough and still sexy INOX collection, while at the same time showing fans that it can continue to expand on a good thing. With that noted, I’d like to see more variation in the collection aside from new colors and case materials. The INOX Professional Diver was a nice tweak to the original design, and I hope they continue to play with the core look and see how much adaptation the INOX collection can endure while still retaining the design DNA that makes it both an INOX and a Victorinox Swiss Army timepiece. Retail price for each of the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Titanium models is $595.


Asus MG248Q review


For the money, you can’t buy a faster gaming display that offers a 144Hz refresh rate. Some might be turned by the TN panel, but it still looks darn good in the flesh. You won’t be disappointed.


  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • 1ms response time
  • Adaptive Sync


  • TN panel
  • Is 24 inches too small?
  • Adaptive Sync for AMD and Intel only

The Asus MG248Q breaks many of the rules we’ve become used to with desktop PC monitors. It’s a 23.6-inch display with a 1080p native resolution that’s aimed squarely at gamers, with emphasis placed on features that will result in lightning-quick response times and fast refresh rates over image quality.

It uses a twisted-nematic (TN) panel, rather than the more advanced in-plane shift (IPS) technology. TN screens have fallen out of favor in recent years, as they can’t offer the same viewing angles as IPS, so when they’re viewed from an angle that’s not quite head on the colors will appear ever so slightly less bright, or skewed. The 16.7-million colour TN screen in the Asus MG248Q is limited to 170-degree horizontal and 160-degree vertical viewing angles.

But by opting for a cheaper panel technology, Asus has managed to add some extra features while keeping the price within very reasonable bounds.

Asus MG248Q rear-650-80

Speed demon

It has a 144Hz refresh rate, and TN panels naturally have a faster 1ms response time than IPS, which typically varies around 4ms at best, and above 10ms at worst. That’s crucial for lightning-quick reactions in games, and there’s also support for a technology called Adaptive Sync. These features offer some pretty fast performance when gaming.

Until the last year or so, monitors were a fairly mundane component in a PC build, without much major variation between models, aside from screen sizes or panel technology. Just about all 24-inch LCD displays now on the market can produce a picture that is good enough for general desktop use, and with falling prices across the board, they are relatively inexpensive as well. That frees up your PC building budget to be spent on other components – like a bettergraphics card or faster processor.

Asus MG248Q front-650-80

But for gamers, things have changed recently. There are now displays that offer 4K resolution, and there are ultra-wide, curved displays that dominate your desktop with screen sizes that go up to 35-inch. Displays now offer faster refresh rates, beyond the normal 60Hz that has been the standard since the invention of VGA graphics. And there are two competing technologies that improve 3D animation, by eliminating the visible tearing effect that sometimes happens in games.

Sync or swim

These are called G-Sync, for use with Nvidia graphics cards, and Adaptive Sync, which is the successor to AMD’s FreeSync technology and works with both Intel and AMD graphics cards. They work by synchronising the monitor’s refresh rate with the frame rate of your video card.

This distinction between competing technologies and the different video cards they support is a crucial aspect of the Asus MG248Q. If you have a GeForce, you won’t be able to use Adaptive Sync on the MG248Q, but you will still be able to run games at 144Hz, which will offer a vastly superior gaming experience to a standard 60Hz display.

For the best gaming performance, it’s no longer enough to simply own a very powerful PC. You also need a display that supports some of these features. We can’t exactly demonstrate the difference when you’re playing games on a display with G-Sync, Adaptive Sync, or a super-fast refresh rate, but take our word for it (or check it out in a PC shop) and you’ll see Adaptive Sync is a very noticeable effect. Animation become buttery smooth, with no on-screen tearing in certain sense. Characters move in a far more realistic manner, and it’s one of those subtle things that you get used to very quickly.

Asus MG248Q close-up-650-80

It can get expensive if you want all these modern features, though. There are now displays on the market which alone cost more than a typical mid-range PC. You can spend up £1,000 (around $1,309) for an ultra-wide curved display with a high refresh rate.

Perhaps, then, the killer feature of the Asus MG248Q is its pricing. At £269 (around $352) it brings down the cost of these top-end features, which were previously only available on displays that were priced beyond the level most people would spend on a PC monitor.

In addition to a 144Hz refresh rate and Adaptive Sync at a reasonable price, there’s a bit more to the MG248Q. The design and build quality is notably rock solid and an immediately noticeable improvement on many competing displays in this approximate price bracket.

Asus has used the same dark grey and red styling seen on some of its more high-end displays, with a small red joystick and large chunky buttons sitting behind the panel to control the on-screen menus.

Out of the box, the MG248Q ships in two main parts, with the panel and stand requiring some simple assembly. The back of the display has a cool pattern of random lines and shapes over it for some variation on plain, flat plastic.

The screen tilts forwards and backwards, can be raised and lowered, pivots round into portrait mode and rotates on the spot, with a bright red groove around the base. There’s a narrow cable management hole at the back of the stand and the plastic bezel is fairly thin, measuring just a few centimetres across. It’s not as thin as some ‘bezel-free’ displays, but you’ll still see the difference if you’re used to an older monitor with a chunky plastic edge.

The offering of display inputs isn’t especially generous. You get a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, HDMI and DVI. There are also built-in speakers, which unsurprisingly aren’t very loud, but are clear, at least.

In the menus, Adaptive Sync is an option that you’ll need to enable manually before the effect takes hold in games, while 144Hz is an option that should always appear when choosing a resolution in whatever game you’re playing. Adaptive Sync works at a far greater range of refresh rates than its FreeSync predecessor, from 40Hz to 144Hz in the case of the Asus MG248Q, which makes it a lot more useful. Although this means if your game is running below 40fps, the Adaptive Sync effect wont be noticeable.

Even without Adaptive Sync, gaming at 144Hz makes a big difference to how you play, as long as your graphics card is powerful enough to output a frame rate near that level. In some recent games, you can’t expect 144fps with all the graphics settings at their maximum level, even at 1080p resolution.

Asus MG248Q menu-650-80

There are other features in the menus too. There are four levels of blue light filtering, and you get a number of ‘GameVisual’ preset options. The GamePlus menu offers an on-screen crosshair, timer and an FPS counter. This provides an accurate on-screen frame rate as long as Adaptive Sync is working.

The MG248Q is also one of the first Asus displays to support the company’s new Asus DisplayWidget desktop software. By utilising an under used feature of modern displays, the ability to transfer data over display cables, it’s possible to control the monitor’s settings from a desktop application. Asus has given this software some real polish, with a red styling that matches the display, and most of the same settings can be adjusted from the desktop that you find in the menus.

When using the Asus MG248Q, we were expecting noticeably worse picture quality than most IPS screens, but it seems TN panel technology has improved a huge amount since it was used in the earliest TFT displays – and the difference is more subtle. Subjectively, the panel looks as good as TN gets when viewed head on. It’s bright and the colours look just fine, at least with the default ‘Racing Mode’ preset selected.

Asus MG248Q stand-650-80

Viewing angles aren’t the issue you might think them to be either. Again, some older TN screens are simply impossible to see unless viewed head-on but it’s not really a dramatic issue here.

That said, the image test results, captured with a DataColor Spyder Elite 5 colorimeter, are notably just below those of most IPS screens. It managed a full 100 per cent sRGB coverage and 78 per cent Adobe RGB, when some screens can go above 80 per cent. But it’s not a difference to worry about too much. Brightness levels of 380 candelas and a contrast ratio of 740:1 confirm our view that the screen looks bright, with good black levels. That said, it still lacks the crystal clear sharp detail you get from IPS. Non-gamers buying a screen on image quality alone might want to look elsewhere.

We liked

As we’ve said already, this is a screen clearly aimed at gamers who will prioritise fast performance over the best possible image quality. Yes, it’s TN and TN doesn’t look as good as IPS. But it’s one of the best looking TN screens we’ve ever seen.

And that helps lower the price, which is a crucial part of the offering here. These features were once only found on hideously expensive monitors, but with a killer price tag it should fly off shelves.

We disliked

Sure, Adaptive Sync is restricted to AMD and Intel graphics cards, but Nvidia GeForce owners will also be delighted by the low response time and fast refresh rates.

Final verdict

The Asus MG248Q really shines when it comes to gaming – its intended area. FPS games in particular are greatly improved at a higher refresh rate, and we spent a good few hours enjoying playing at this fast speed. We’ve seen it before on other displays of course, but few with a price tag as low as this. Don’t be put off by the MG248Q’s TN panel – it’s simply one of the best we’ve seen.



BMW R nineT vs. Harley-Davidson Roadster vs. Triumph Thruxton R vs. Yamaha XSR900 – COMPARISON TEST

I was raised to believe that motorcycles are an accumulation of parts. My father, a racer in every sense of the word, has built countless examples of them. He pushed every last one to their limits and, on a bad day at the track, crashed them, all without forming an emotional connection with a single one. They were parts. And easily replaceable ones at that.

four riders standing with their retro roadster motorcycles

These four motorcycles vary in terms of specification but are similar in their ability to bring a smile to your face.

What my father didn’t realize is that motorcycles can be more than that. They can be the things that light a fire inside of you—that make even the simplest commute seem special. Certain motor­cycles can stir your soul in such a way that you miss them every moment you’re not out riding them. And smile when you are. That, to us, is what heritage-inspired bikes like the BMW R nineT, Harley-DavidsonRoadster, Triumph Thruxton R, and Yamaha XSR900 are.

These are also four very different motorcycles, we know. Motorcycles that you’d have a hard time squeezing together into one category, and motorcycles that you can’t compare solely based on outright performance. And who says you have to? Bike A might stop better than bike B, but does it make you feel as alive as bike C when you throw a leg over it?

BMW R nineT on-road action

BMW’s R nineT may lack a little character when compared to the other bikes in this test, but is otherwise tough to discredit, with great brakes, solid chassis, and a smooth, predictable power delivery.

BMW’s R nineT is the perfect example of how important the balance between those points is. From the looks to the seating position, it is exactly what BMW intended for it to be—an homage to the past and something that performs with the aptitude of a modern motorcycle. Fueling is smooth, the suspension a nice balance between supportive and stiff, and the chassis feels better the harder you push it. Add to that a seamless transmission and brakes that are strong, despite some play in the first bit of travel, and you have a bike that doesn’t give up much in terms of performance.

The feel is special. You sit flat on the R nineT and look down on its rounded tank with classic BMW badges, which work with the flat-twin engine to transport you back to that boxer twin that sat in your garage when you were a kid. The engine torques you to the side like its ancestors would, but, aside from that small bit of character, the bike seems somewhat dull.

BMW R nineT front section details

It also looks sharp…

Which brings us back to the issue of emotionally stirring, and the fact that none of our test riders walked away completely rattled by the nineT’s presence. Like flat twins of yore, it has that quietly assuring nature, but in this bike it’s a little too quiet. And the high polish of this package perhaps smoothed out too many of the bumps in personality we enjoy in a bike like this.

Add in an MSRP of $15,095 (more than BMW’s own super naked, and only just less than its literbike offering) and it’s clear you are going to have to really want what it has to offer. Yes, it’s stylish and performs well, but does it have a personality as bold as its price tag? Not exactly.

Harley-Davidson Roadster on-road action

Harley-Davidson Roadster may lack ground clearance and not have the same level of performance as the Triumph Thruxton R or XSR900, but it is an emotionally stirring motorcycle. We like that.

Harley-Davidson’s Roadster suffers from almost the exact opposite problem. Its twin-piston front brake calipers clamping 11.8-inch discs provide admirable stopping power, sure, but aren’t even close to what, say, the Thruxton R’s brakes are. And while the 43mm inverted fork and emulsion shocks provide a nice ride with modest road-holding performance, testers described them as, “Lacking comfort in rougher sections of road.” Couple that with a chassis that’s not as stable as any others in this group, notchy transmission feel, limited range, and even more limited cornering clearance, and you have a bike that nobody wants to ride, right?

Wrong. That’s because we here at Cycle World are humans, and humans tend to put emotions over practicality, especially in a class like this. And, oh, if the Roadster isn’t an emotional thing—its slammed drag-style bar and wide-spread footrests putting you in a riding position akin to a board-track racer. This motorcycle turns you into something other than a nine-to-fiver commuting home from work. Pair that to the V-twin’s charming little rumble and you have a motorcycle that’s something more than the sum of its parts. More than the sum of any Sportster’s parts, we’d argue.

Harley-Davidson Roadster front wheel details

As an example of its performance level, brakes are good on the Harley-Davidson Roadster, but don’t offer nearly as much stopping power as the brakes on the Triumph Thruxton R.

Sure, the Roadster’s aforementioned footrests are placed in the absolute worst position for putting your feet down at a stop—you will hit your shins. You might even almost fall over when you catch them on your pant leg as you try to get the kickstand out, but you’ll forgive the bike for that. Forgive its performance for what it offers in style and attitude.

Regardless of how different the Roadster is from a bike like the XSR900, there’s a hint of similarity too, both bikes having been built around a previously available platform but with pieces that change its overall presence and feel.

Yamaha XSR900 on-road action

Like the FZ-09 it’s based off of, Yamaha’s XSR900 wheelies. Really well.

In the case of the Yamaha, I don’t feel like those pieces do much for adding personality or tapping into the Tuning Fork brand’s history. Sure, you could draw connections to three-cylinder XS models of the late ’70s/early ’80s, though that connection is lost but a few miles down the road. This bike’s personality comes mostly from its sporty behavior.

There’s no flat-twin pull or V-twin thump, but the clutch is great, there’s more power to play with through the rev range, and the sportier chassis makes quick work of a canyon road. The only real negative is wooden-feeling brakes that have an aggressive initial bite, too.

Yamaha XSR900 instrument details

Design elements like this LCD screen are nice, too. Even if not truly retro.

The FZ-09’s big downside—soft suspension—has been addressed via revised fork and shock, and the result is a bike that actually now starts to feel stiff, if not geared more toward sporty riding than stints down the freeway. The seat is stiffer as well but shaped better than the FZ-09’s and altogether more comfortable.

I’d argue that the XSR900 is still not all that comfortable, while Associate Editor Sean MacDonald would say that the Triumph Thruxton R is actually the more uncomfortable bike of the two thanks to an elongated tank that has you stretched out over the front of it.

Triumph Thruxton R on-road action

It’s hard to argue with how well the Triumph Thruxton R handles.

Outside of that, however, he and the rest of the test riders agreed that the Thruxton R is one hell of a motorcycle—one that finds a happy balance between performance, style, and attitude. The R has the best brakes of the group, its suspension feels very controlled through its travel, and fueling is buttery smooth. Triumph has hid its electronic rider aids well but at the same time made them easy to adjust. Little elements like the backlit digital display on the analog gauges are a nice touch too and highlight Triumph’s ability to sneak modern elements into a classically styled package.

Triumph Thruxton R engine details

The “high-output” version of Triumph’s new 1200cc twin actually lacks a bit of top-end punch, but is overall a real gem, with good torque down low and smooth power delivery.

You can ride the Triumph fast down a twisting section of road with utter confidence and only a small hint of heft, or cruise it happily down the freeway. And chances are you’ll be smiling regardless. Sure, at $14,500 it’s not all that much cheaper than the BMW and quite a bit more expensive than the XSR900. Personality doesn’t come cheap.

These motorcycles were not actually meant to go head to head. They are, however, all worth looking at if you’re interested in something that kicks you square in the feels.

Of course, there’s a chance you might not even be cross shopping these models. If you’re interested in the Thruxton R, you may have looked at the R nineT, but if you’re interested in the XSR900, you’re unlikely to have considered the Roadster. And that’s fine; these motorcycles were not actually meant to go head to head. They are, however, all worth looking at if you’re interested in something that kicks you square in the feels.

They are also all proof that some motorcycles are more than an accumulation of parts. And while each will speak to you in its own language, they will speak to you. Which language you understand best will be the only thing that dictates the direction you go. For us, it’s the way of the Triumph, but for you it could be the performance-minded XSR900, classic-feeling Roadster, or seamless R nineT—all great parts.

BMW R nineT studio side view

BMW R nineT
PRICE $15,095
DRY WEIGHT 464 lb.
WHEELBASE 58.1 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.6 in.
1/4 MILE 11.30 sec. @ 118.02 mph
0-60 MPH 2.9 sec.
TOP GEAR 40-60 MPH 3.0 sec.
60-80 MPH 3.0 sec.
HORSEPOWER 96.5 @ 7610 rpm
TORQUE 74.3 lb.-ft. @ 6090 rpm
BRAKING 30-0 MPH 30 ft.
60-0 MPH 120 ft.
Harley-Davidson Roadster studio side view

Harley-Davidson Roadster
PRICE $12,344
DRY WEIGHT 550 lb.
WHEELBASE 59.6 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.4 in.
1/4 MILE 13.61 sec. @ 96.38 mph
0-60 MPH 4.7 sec.
TOP GEAR 40-60 MPH 4.5 sec.
60-80 MPH 5.1 sec.
HORSEPOWER 65.4 @ 5910 rpm
TORQUE 69.7 lb.-ft. @ 3770 rpm
BRAKING 30-0 MPH 33 ft.
60-0 MPH 129 ft.
Triumph Thruxton R studio side view

Triumph Thruxton R
PRICE $14,500
DRY WEIGHT 469 lb.
WHEELBASE 55.4 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.0 in.
1/4 MILE 11.66 sec. @ 115.45 mph
0-60 MPH 3.1 sec.
TOP GEAR 40-60 MPH 3.1 sec.
60-80 MPH 3.0 sec.
HORSEPOWER 87.4 @ 6750 rpm
TORQUE 75.0 lb.-ft. @ 3730 rpm
BRAKING 30-0 MPH 31 ft.
60-0 MPH 126 ft.
Yamaha XSR900 studio side view

Yamaha XSR900
PRICE $9,990
DRY WEIGHT 409 lb.
WHEELBASE 56.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.6 in.
1/4 MILE 11.07 sec. @ 122.33 mph
0-60 MPH 3.0 sec.
TOP GEAR 40-60 MPH 2.8 sec.
60-80 MPH 3.3 sec.
HORSEPOWER 102.8 @ 9980 rpm
TORQUE 59.4 lb.-ft. @ 8460 rpm
BRAKING 30-0 MPH 34 ft.
60-0 MPH 128 ft.


Yamaha YSP-2700 review

There are numerous reasons you might shun a traditional full surround-sound system in favour of something more convenient – lack of space, too many wires, too much hassle.

Yamaha’s YSP soundbar range has been one of the best solutions for over a decade now, offering a simpler, more compact way to get the surround-sound effect into your home.

And we think the Yamaha YSP-2700 could be its best iteration yet.


It works by using 16 2.8cm array drivers, each driven by 2W of amplification, to beam sound around your room, bouncing it off the surrounding walls to create a 7.1ch effect – up from the Yamaha YSP-2500’s 5.1ch capabilities.

The grunt of the set-up is handled by the new cube-shaped front-firing wireless subwoofer, which works with the bar to create a total power output of 107W, and can be placed anywhere in your room.

The soundbar should be placed centrally, but thanks to the Intellibeam calibration technology, which tests your room’s acoustics and changes settings accordingly, it works with corner set-ups too.

The procedure takes no more than a few minutes, and once it’s completed, you’re ready to go.


There are two main modes on the YSP-2700 soundbar – surround and stereo. Select the former for anything movie-based and the latter for music listening, with both tuned by Yamaha specifically for a UK audience.

We’d avoid the third ‘target’ option entirely though, which creates a very narrow soundfield.

There are also a number of DSP modes labelled up for movies, music and entertainment, but it adds unnatural effects to the performance that are at best distracting, and at worst, off-putting.

The YSP-2700 certainly delivers when it comes to connectivity, with three HDMI ins and a single out, plus one each of optical, coaxial and analogue audio.

All HDMIs support HDCP 2.2 and 4K/60p video, plus they are able to decode HD audio formats like Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS:HD.

For that reason, we recommend using the soundbar to do the HDMI switching instead of your telly – as long as it has enough inputs for you of course.

As for wireless connectivity, this Yamaha soundbar is a MusicCast device, which automatically makes it part of a multi-room system with any other Yamaha kit, plus it supports streaming over Wi-Fi (up to 24-bit/192kHz), Bluetooth, and Apple Airplay.

It can even transmit via Bluetooth to a pair of wireless headphones or a speaker.


Put on a movie and this Yamaha sounbdar immediately demonstrates just how wide it’s capable of throwing the sound.

It’s not quite as convincing with pushing sound behind us, but anything else is placed with superb space and precision in a way you rarely get with other soundbars.

During a shootout with the Butcher’s henchmen in American Sniper, gunshots and explosions are delivered with good weight and a hefty amount of punch, whizzing from left to right and overhead with an enveloping sense of accuracy and agility.


It’s a well-balanced sound, with low-end wallop controlled and light-footed enough that it doesn’t impress itself too heavily upon the rest of the frequency range.

It gives more substance to the midrange, which is focused and decently detailed. Voices have no hard edges and the sound has a touch more authority.

The slight clipping of the treble means there’s not as much expression in dialogue as with the Dali Kubik One, for example, and the top-end zing in gunfire doesn’t have the same bite either.


Dynamically it works well with sound effects and soundtracks to ramp up tension. It articulates the differences between loud and soft with ease, jumping into action but equally capable of scaling right back too.

The YSP-2700 makes a good case as a decent music system too, with its balanced sound working as well with lossless music as it does lower-res Spotify streams.


It times well, keeping itself coherent and organised during more complicated pieces of music. Play an upbeat track like Flume’s Smoke and Retribution and there’s enough drive to keep your toes tapping.

Opt for a more considered acoustic track, like John Martyn’s Head and Hearts, and you’ll hear the subtleties of every guitar strum.

The Dali does pip it for musical capabilities though, delivering more detail, nuance and insight, which ultimately makes for a more upfront and engaging performance.

That’s a fair reflection of their characters with movies too, but then the Dali can’t boast such a wide, precise soundstage, such a wealth of connectivity options or such an accommodating design – you’ll need a whole shelf on your rack to house the Dali.


That wide soundstage in particular is certainly not something to be sniffed at.

It isn’t as explicit an effect as a full surround-sound system will deliver, of course, but the placement of sound in areas that other soundbars simply can’t reach makes for a more involving soundbar experience than any other we’ve heard.

There’s no doubt its price tag will mean the YSP-2700 sits at the top end of most budgets, but its excellent performance and unique capabilities more than justifies it.



LG MUSICflow P5 Special Review – Good Style And Sound Combined!

LG’s MUSICflow P5 Special is one of the few Bluetooth powered speaker that caught our attention lately. Why? It looks sleek and great with the promise of “HiFi” sound on a compact size.

Hello to LG MUSICflow P5 Special 

Recently, we were able to borrow one from LG Philippines to check what is it all about and if it is worth all you bucks. Let’s start.

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by LG Philippines for an honest review

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG MUSIC flow P5

LG MUSICflow P5 Special Specs

  • Drivers: 2.0 CH, Built-in Subwoofer (single passive radiator)
  • Battery: 2,100 mAh (up to 15 hours)
  • Certification: IP65 (Waterproof, shockproof)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5 mm
  • Dimensions: 153 x 58 x 59.5 mm
  • Weight: 500 g

Unboxing / Accessories

The box of P5 Special
The box of P5 Special

The P5 Special is inside the small white box with nice print of the speaker, its case, and the iF design award it got last 2015.

Important accessories inside
Important accessories inside

Inside the package is standard where you’ll get a speaker itself and a white long micro USB charging cable. What makes it special is the protective case included that’s highly stylish especially for the ladies.

However, there’s no inclusion of a wall charger and a 3.5 to 3.5 mm male audio jack for aux connection.

Build Quality / Design

Effective rubber stopper below against slips
Effective rubber stopper below against slips

The main highlight of this speaker is its build and design. It features a well refined wood like frame with metallic buttons. There’s also a nice in the eyes type of speaker grills on each side and a high quality rubber stopper below with MUSICflow print.

The construction is solid and beautiful as a whole.

However, I still won’t suggest dropping and wetting it as it doesn’t have resistances against those forces.

3.5 mm jack, micro USB charging port, and LED charging indicator at right
3.5 mm jack, micro USB charging port, and LED charging indicator at right

Design-wise, I’m a huge fan of wood finishes that’s why I think that this is one of the best looking portable speaker out there. It also doesn’t have any sharp edges and simply feels great overall. The MUSICflow signature on top and below the speaker also adds flare and will make it feel like a specially crafted device.


Using this speaker is simple, easy, and convenient. All you need to do is press and hold the power button on top, then pair your Bluetooth music player (PC, smartphone, and etc.), and enjoy listening to music. It also comes with volume up / down, pause / play (press 1x), next (press 2x), and back (press 3x) controls.

LG MUSICflow app
LG MUSICflow app

Then the MUSICflow P5 Special can also connect up to 3 devices simultaneously, pair and play your favorite tunes, and control via LG MUSICflow app. You can also sync two P5 Bluetooth speaker to have louder tunes and that 2.1 surround sound feel.

The LG MUSICflow app is also smart. It acts as a music player with auto play music feature, battery saver, gesture controls (shake the device to disconnect), and multi play mode.

Note: There’s also an option that you can pair the P5 Special to your LG TV, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to try that one out.

Lastly, this speaker is packed with the best Bluetooth connection we tested on a portable speaker yet. It is very stable as I can move around our 30 square meter room without losing connection and getting noise.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG MUSIC flow P5

Battery Life

This speaker comes with a 2,100 mAh of juice that’s touted to last up to 15 hours of normal straight usage. In our test, it was able to loop tunes in mid volume for 12.5 hours only. Fortunately, we weren’t really expecting this to reach the 15 hour mark. Plus, that is still a lot of playback time for a Bluetooth speaker.

In real life usage, I only charge the device twice a week. Charging time is a little under 3 hours from 0 to 100%.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG MUSIC flow P5

Sound Quality

Dubbed as a “HiFi” speaker, we have high-hopes with the sound quality of this device. Fortunately, LG was able to back most of those claims. While it is not yet on true “HiFi” level yet, the sound coming from this Bluetooth powered speaker ranks among the better ones I heard for the price.

The LG MUSICflow P5 Special has a clean, enjoyable, and powerful sound for a compact Bluetooth powered speaker.

It has clear and clean sound signature with proper emphasis on lows and upper-mids. The lows isn’t overly bassy with average tightness and speed. The sub-bass can deliver and give that crawling like effect, though it won’t be like other badly bass boosted sets that can go deep.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG MUSIC flow P5

The mids also sounds clean, detailed, and decent. It can produce sweet, luscious, and enjoyable vocals as a whole. In particular, I enjoyed playing vocal centric tracks here from female audiophile grade songs. Highs is also good, has little distortion, doesn’t have annoying peaks, and has less hiss. Just don’t expect it to be sparkly great or well extended and you’ll be fine.

Overall details and separation are also impressive for a compact Bluetooth powered speaker as there are few who can deliver this type of quality. Soundstage also has a forward feel. It isn’t the widest around, but more than acceptable in terms of range.

If my memory serves me right, I enjoyed this one better than most of the “bass heavy sets” from competing brands on the same price range. This has better clarity and sounds more natural / balanced to my ears.

As long as you’re not maxing the volume out, distortion won’t be noticeable. Preferred loudness level is around the 60-80% mark for the best sound possible.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG MUSIC flow P5


Fantastic design and build, decent sound across the spectrum, consumer friendly quality, long battery life, strong Bluetooth connection


Not water and dust resistant, distortion on max volume is noticeable


We enjoyed using this speaker. Aside from its great looks, it can deliver a powerful and clean sound that’s great for your personal room or living room for music listening or watching movies.

As a compact speaker, it is also the portable type that can be easily placed in your bag without adding much heft. With its adequate loudness, it’ll be suitable for your outdoor listening with friends.

For the price of 5,490 Pesos, this is one of the better buys coming from a well respected brand like LG.


Fitbit Charge 2 Review : This Redesigned Tracker Shines

  • Interchangeable band
  • Accurate heart rate monitor
  • Great app
  • Good battery life
  • Not swim resistant
  • Hard to see display in sunlight

A refreshed design, larger screen and enhanced activity capabilities make the Fitbit Charge 2 an excellent midrange fitness tracker.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Fitbit Charge 2

After the somewhat lackluster launch of the Alta and Blaze, Fitbit is returning to its two most popular fitness trackers, the Charge and the Flex, and giving them a long-awaited overhaul. The more expensive of the two, the Charge 2 ($149) features a new design with a much larger display, interchangeable bands and enhanced activity tracking, as well as a new tool to help you find your inner calm. Are these tweaks enough to keep Fitbit as the leader of the fitness tracker market?

A Classier, More Personalized Design

The Charge 2 takes elements from both the Charge HR and the Alta; it’s about as wide as the former, but has the angular stylings of the latter, making this a much more attractive tracker. The face has a large black square screen, with a button on the left.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

To be sure, the Charge 2 still has a definite “fitness tracker” vibe, but it looks more elegant than the $129 Garmin vivosmart HR, which has a much plainer, plastic-y design. The Charge 2’s straps can also be removed, and the company plans to sell bands in different colors, as well as three in leather.

Probably the best decision Fitbit made was to give the Charge 2 a traditional watch band clasp. No more fuddling with rubber tabs.

I do wish the Charge 2 were waterproof, or at least water-resistant, like the vivosmart HR. While you can splash a little bit of water on it, taking it swimming is a no-no. This is still one of Fitbit’s biggest blind spots.

Display: Bigger But Not Brighter

The biggest change — and the most welcome — is the much larger screen on the Charge 2 as compared to previous models. While it’s still a black-and-white display, it shows a lot more information at a glance. For example, you can now see the date and time, along with your step count, at the same time.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

Similar to the Misfit Shine, you can tap on the Charge 2 to switch menus. While it doesn’t have a touch screen like the vivosmart HR, it uses its accelerometer to detect a tap.

As with many other fitness trackers — but not the vivosmart HR — the Charge 2’s display doesn’t remain on indefinitely; you have to move your wrist or tap the Charge 2 to get the screen to turn on.

I also found it hard to see outdoors, especially in bright sunlight; I wish there were a way to reverse the colors (like on the vivosmart HR) so that it could be black text on a white background, or vice versa.

Beefed Up Notifications and Exercise Tracking

Smartphone notifications have been beefed up on the Charge 2. As before, you get call and text notifications, but now the watch will show calendar events, too. That’s still more limited than the vivosmart — which also shows Facebook and Twitter, as well as the weather — but the Charge 2’s screen at least gives a bit more info at a glance than before.

If you use the Charge 2 in connection with your Android or iPhone while running, it can tap into the smartphone’s GPS to give you a more accurate distance and pace measurement. This is a nice feature, but if you’re already carrying your phone, there’s no real reason to also have a separate fitness tracker.

Fitbit has expanded activity tracking to include running, weights, treadmill, workout, elliptical, bike and interval training. However, unlike the vivosmart HR, which will automatically increase your steps target based on the number of steps you take each day, the Charge 2 will keep your goal at the same number until you change it yourself.

Another feature missing from the Charge 2 that’s included on the vivosmart HR is the ability to control music from the band. This is a really handy feature if you like to run with an iPod.

Sensors As Accurate As Ever

Like other fitness trackers in this price range, the Charge 2 uses an accelerometer to record distance. During a walk, it measured 500 steps as 462, which is a bit less accurate than other fitness trackers, but not appreciably so.

I also took the Charge 2 on a 3-mile run, while wearing the Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS running watch on my other wrist. Here, the Fitbit overcounted my distance, giving me credit for having run 3.34 miles. The same thing happened on a second run, but this isn’t too unusual for accelerometer-only fitness trackers. Fortunately, Fitbit allows you to fine-tune the Charge 2 by manually inputting your stride length. Still, if you want to precisely measure how far you’ve run, you’re going to need a GPS watch, as we outline in our guide to using tech to run a 5K.

The Charge 2’s heart rate monitor proved more accurate. On my run, it measured my average heart rate at 150 beats per minute, with a max of 181 bpm. That’s pretty much in line with the Forerunner 235 (whose optical heart rate monitor I’ve tested to be accurate), which measured my average heart rate at 154 beats per minute, and a max of 182.

In addition to resting heart rate, the Charge 2 can also estimate your VO2 Max score, which it dubs “Cardio Fitness.” VO2 Max is a gauge of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can process during physical activity, and is generally considered a good measure of your overall fitness level. The higher the score, the better. While this feature has been available on higher-end GPS watches, it’s nice to see it coming to lower-cost devices, and being made accessible to the average person. Here, the Charge 2 estimated my score to be between 41-45, which is good for a male of my age. It’s also in line with the VO2 Max score as calculated by the Forerunner 235, which put it at 44.

Also new to the Charge 2 are guided breathing sessions, intended to help you calm down during stressful periods. You can do either a 2- or a 5-minute session, during which time the watch measures your heart rate, and instructs you to breathe in and out according to a pattern it sets, which is indicated by an expanding and contracting circle on the screen. If you’re doing it right, little sparkles appear. I didn’t feel especially Zen-like after a session, but I’m usually a pretty relaxed guy.

Fitbit made a few tweaks to its already great app to make your data more accessible, and more user friendly.

As with the older Charge HR, the Charge 2 has automatic sleep tracking, which works as well as before. The Charge 2 thought I didn’t fall asleep until 1:44 a.m., at which point I had already been counting sheep for a good 2.5 hours. Fortunately, you can edit your sleep log in Fitbit’s app after the fact, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the band’s sleep-tracking algorithm.

The App Gets Better

Fitbit made a few tweaks to its already great app to make your data more accessible, and more user-friendly. Your dashboard now shows your current steps status at the top of the screen in a big circle, followed by floors, miles, calories and active minutes in smaller circles below. As you complete each goal, the circle fills with blue, and when you’ve met the goal, it turns green.

Below are other squares with additional health and fitness-related information, such as the number of days you’ve exercised and the hours you’ve slept. In addition, the squares can include heart rate, weight, water intake and diet tracking. You can reorder these squares as you see fit.

As before, the Friends tab lets you see how many steps your friends have taken compared to you, and lets you send them messages, cheer, and even taunt them if you’re crushing them. If anything, this is the biggest advantage that Fitbit has over its competitors; considering how many Fitbits are out there, it’s more likely that your friends are wearing one of its products than anything else.

If you’re more self-motivated, the app’s Challenges section now includes “Adventures,” which treats you to images of national parks if you walk a certain number of steps. As of launch, there were only three adventures: Vernal Falls, Valley Loop and the Pohono Trail in Yosemite National Monument.

Battery Life

The Charge 2 is rated to last up to five days; After two days, the band’s battery was down to “medium,” which isn’t all that precise of a measurement. I wish there was a battery meter on the tracker itself; in order to see its status, you have to open the Fitbit app on your phone.

Like its older bands, the Charge 2 uses a proprietary USB cable, but I like that this one has a spring-loaded clip, which makes securing it to the band much easier.

Bottom Line

It’s hard to say that a company is in trouble when it owns 70 percent of the entire wearables market, but many — including myself — were wondering if Fitbit had lost its mojo. There’s nothing hugely revolutionary about the Charge 2, but its new features, as well as its new design, make it the best fitness tracker in its price range.

For $50 more, the Garmin vivosmart HR+ also has built-in GPS (which I recommend for those who want to accurately record their outdoor runs and rides), is swim-friendly, delivers more notifications to your wrist, and lets you control music. But for those who want an everyday fitness tracker with some great features, or are looking to replace an older Fitbit, the Charge 2 is a worthy upgrade.


Samsung Targets Gamers With Gorgeous Curved Displays

Samsung is no stranger to producing gorgeous monitors for work and entertainment, but now the company is making a direct bid for your gaming den. The tech giant has taken the wraps off two new curved displays that leverage its quantum dot technology for gamers: the compact CFG70, and the ultra-wide, ultra-immersive CF791. Look for them later this year at $399 and $999, respectively.

The smaller, all-black CFG70 manages to look like a gaming peripheral without relying on extra-sharp angles or jarring red highlights. Its most notable feature is its a big blue LED light underneath the display, which will illuminate your equally colorful gaming peripherals while flickering in sync with whatever you’re playing.

The extra lighting is a nice touch, but I was more taken aback by just how flexible the CFG70 is. The monitor rests on a unique ball-and-joint stand, which lets you pivot it side to side or flip it vertically if you want to use it to keep up with your Twitch chat. Samsung’s $399 curved gaming monitor (a 27-inch model will run you $499) packs a 1080p screen with a fast 1ms response time and AMD FreeSync support, which should mean minimal lag and screen tearing for competitive players.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Samsung CF791

Samsung’s other new monitor, the CF791, is a bit of a stretch on the “gaming” side of things, but it’s still a gorgeous display nonetheless. The $999 C34 offers a rich 34-inch, 3440 x 1440 ultra-wide screen, which seems more ideal for getting immersed in a new planet in No Man’s Sky than, say, playing League of Legends competitively.

This more premium monitor also sports AMD FreeSync, but its 4ms response time isn’t quite as speedy as that of the CFG70. The monitor’s stunning silver design makes it look like an excellent living room centerpiece, whether you opt to watch movies on it or do some multi-window multitasking. It’s just an added bonus that games will probably look amazing on it.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Samsung CF791

Neat features aside, these two new monitors stand out by offering the same quantum dot technology found in Samsung’s high-end televisions. Quantum dot allows screens to display highly colorful and bright images without consuming a ton of power, which should be ideal for tournaments or marathon solo sessions.

We’ve come to expect great-looking displays from Samsung, but we’re eager to see how the company’s first dedicated gaming screens stack up to offerings from the likes of BenQ, Acer and Asus.


Nikon D3400 vs D3300 Comparison Review

Here is a quick comparison for the Nikon D3300 vs D3400 digital SLR cameras with APS-c sized image sensors.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Nikon D3400

The newly announced Nikon D3400 offers a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor.Previous model offers exactly the same resolution and size. So what may be the main differences when consider their specs list.

The Nikon D3400 is an entry-level digital SLR camera. The new model continues to offer an 11-point AF system. The device has a maximum ISO of 25,600, 12-bit RAW support. It has a 3″ rear screen with a resolution of 921,000 dots.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Nikon D3400

Nikon D3300 features a new 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter and an “Expeed 4” image processor.

Comparison Table of Nikon D3300 vs D3400 DSLR Cameras

Below you can see the specs comparison table of Nikon D3300 vs D3400 DSLR cameras. Some differences like sensor, image size, shooting speed, lcd size etc.. detailed as bold on the table.

Nikon D3300 vs D3400 Comparison

Nikon D3400 Nikon D3300
Playback Functions Auto Image Rotation
Full-Frame and Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
Histogram Display
Image Comment
Location Display
Movie Playback
Photo Information
Picture Rating
Playback Face Zoom
Playback with Zoom
Playback Zoom Cropping
Auto Image Rotation
Full-Frame and Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
Histogram Display
Image Comment
Movie Playback
Playback with Zoom
Live View Shooting Yes Yes
Monitor Size 3.0in. diagonal 3.0in. diagonal
ISO Sensitivity ISO100-25,600 ISO100-12,800
Hi-1 (ISO 25,600)
File Format Still Images Compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW)
JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant with fine (approx 1:4), Normal (approx 1:8) or Basic (approx 1:16) Compression
NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single Photograph Recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG Formats
Compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW)
JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant with fine (approx 1:4), Normal (approx 1:8) or Basic (approx 1:16) Compression
NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single Photograph Recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG Formats
Battery / Batteries EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
White Balance Auto
Direct Sunlight
Fluorescent (7 types)
Preset Manual
Direct Sunlight
Fluorescent (7 types)
Preset Manual
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Approx. Dimensions (Width x Height x Depth) 4.9in.(124mm)x3.9in.(98mm)x3.0in.(75.5mm) 4.9in.(124mm)x3.9in.(98mm)x3.0in.(75.5mm)
Monitor Resolution 921,000Dots 921,000Dots
Lens Mount Nikon F bayonet mount Nikon F bayonet mount
Battery Life (shots per charge) 1,200shots (CIPA) 700shots (CIPA)
Viewfinder Frame Coverage 95% Horizontal
95% Vertical(Approx.)
95% Horizontal(Approx.)
White Balance Bracketing
Storage Media SD
Effective Pixels (Megapixels) 24.2million 24.2million
In-Camera Image Editing Color Outline
Color Sketch
Distortion Control
Filter Effects
Image Overlay
Miniature Effect
NEF (RAW) Processing
Perspective Control
Photo Illustration
Quick Retouch
Red-Eye Correction
Selective Color
Color Balance
Color Outline
Color Sketch
Distortion Control
Filter Effects
Image Overlay
Miniature Effect
NEF (RAW) Processing
Perspective Control
Photo Illustration
Quick Retouch
Red-Eye Correction
Selective Color
Dynamic AF Mode Number of AF points: 11 (3D-tracking) Number of AF points: 11 (3D-tracking)
Flash Bracketing
Card Slot 1 Secure Digital (SD) 1 Secure Digital (SD)
AC Adapter EH-5b AC Adapter; requires EP-5A Power Connector (available separately) EH-5b AC Adapter; requires EP-5A Power Connector (available separately)
Lens Compatibility at a Glance Autofocus is available with AF-P and type E and G AF-S lenses AF-S Lens Required for Autofocus
Monitor Type Wide Viewing Angle TFT-LCD Wide Viewing Angle TFT-LCD
Viewfinder Magnification 0.85x(Approx.) 0.85x(Approx.)
Approx. Weight 14oz.(395g)camera body only 14.5oz.(410g)camera body only
Sensor Size 23.5mmx15.6mm 23.5mmx15.6mm
Fastest Shutter Speed 1/4000sec. 1/4000sec.
Auto-Area AF Mode Yes Yes
Image Sensor Format DX DX
Slowest Shutter Speed 30sec. 30sec.
Viewfinder Eyepoint 18mm (-1.0m¯¹) 18mm (-1.0m¯¹)
GPS GP-1A GPS unit
Top FP High Speed Sync
Flash Sync Modes Auto
Auto with red-eye reduction
Auto slow sync
Auto slow sync with red-eye reduction
Rear-curtain sync
Rear-curtain with slow sync
Red-Eye reduction
Red-Eye reduction with slow sync
Slow sync
Auto with red-eye reduction
Auto slow sync
Auto slow sync with red-eye reduction
Rear-curtain sync
Rear-curtain with slow sync
Red-Eye reduction
Red-Eye reduction with slow sync
Slow sync
Flash Compensation Can be adjusted by −3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 EV in P, S, A, M, and scene modes -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 EV
Scene Modes Auto
Auto [Flash Off] Child
Night Portrait
Special Effects Modes (night vision; super vivid; pop; photo illustration; toy camera effect; miniature effect; selective color; silhouette; high key; low key)
Auto [Flash Off] Child
Night Portrait
Movie Full HD 1,920×1,080/60
Full HD 1,920×1,080/50
Full HD 1,920×1,080/30
Full HD 1,920×1,080/25
Full HD 1,920×1,080/24
HD 1,280×720/60
HD 1,280×720/50
Full HD 1,920×1,080/60
Full HD 1,920×1,080/50
Full HD 1,920×1,080/30
Full HD 1,920×1,080/25
Full HD 1,920×1,080/24
HD 1,280×720/60
HD 1,280×720/50
VGA 640×424/30
VGA 640×424/25
Mirror Lock Up Yes (for image sensor cleaning)
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3 EV in P, S, A, M, Scene, and Night Vision modes ±5 EV in increments of 1/3EV
Top Continuous Shooting Speed at full resolution 5 frames per second 5 frames per second
Focus Modes Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)
Continuous-servo (AF-C)
Face-Priority AF available in Live View only and D-Movie only
Full-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View only and D-Movie only
Manual (M) with electronic rangefinder
Normal area available in Live View and D-Movie only
Predictive focus tracking activated automatically according to subject status
Single-servo AF (AF-S)
Wide area available in Live View and D-Movie only
Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)
Continuous-servo (AF-C)
Face-Priority AF available in Live View only and D-Movie only
Full-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View only and D-Movie only
Manual (M) with electronic rangefinder
Normal area available in Live View and D-Movie only
Predictive focus tracking activated automatically according to subject status
Single-servo AF (AF-S)
Wide area available in Live View and D-Movie only
Maximum Autofocus Areas/Points 11 11
Movie Audio Built-in microphone, monaural
Microphone sensitivity can be adjusted
Built-in microphone, monaural
Optional external stereo mini-pin jack (3.5mm diameter)
Microphone sensitivity can be adjusted
Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) CLS Supported CLS Supported
Exposure Bracketing
Picture Control Landscape
Selected Picture Control can be Modified
Selected Picture Control can be Modified
 Price $646.95 $546.95