Monthly Archives: February 2017

2017 Ford Ranger XLT v Volkswagen Amarok V6 Highline comparison

The space between working ute and family SUV is getting greyer. Quite literally, when you consider our test cars here.

The hugely popular 4×4 double-cab is getting smarter, safer and more comfortable, but until now, one key area has remained somewhat elusive: power.

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Sure, the four- and five-cylinder turbo diesel pick-ups have been predominantly designed for working, which means good, solid, low-end torque for towing and carrying. But outright oomph has remained somewhere at the ‘adequate’ end of the scale.

Volkswagen is looking to rectify this with its new 2017 Volkswagen Amarok V6. This sees the older 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel swapped for a 3.0-litre turbo V6, the same engine as found in the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

It makes sense: give your ute some SUV feel by powering it like one.

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But is this enough?

The 2017 Ford Ranger XLT is considered by CarAdvice to be one of the best pick-ups on the market. It also shares its engine with an SUV, the Ford Everest, but unlike the VW, the 3.2-litre five-cylinder started life in the ute.

There’s no class-leading output here, but there is still power in the Ranger’s punch when it comes to equipment and value.

So which one is the better all rounder?

Price and Specification

Both our cars are the penultimate specification in their respective ranges.

The Ranger XLT starts from $47,515 (all prices are noted before options and on-road costs) as a rear-wheel drive manual. Our Ingot Silver ($500 option, one of six choices) example is the $57,615 four-wheel drive, automatic version.

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It is equipped with the $800 Tech Pack (lane departure warning and steering assist, forward collision warning, driver attention detection system, adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights) which we consider to be an absolute must-have option to include on your Ranger.

The alloy sports bars, tub liner and tow pack, are all standard equipment, bringing the total retail price of the big Ford to $58,915 (before on-road costs).

Owning your Ranger for three years will cost $1465 under Ford’s capped-price service program, which is roughly 2.5 per cent of the base list price.

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Our Indium Grey ($590 option, one of six colours) Amarok V6 starts from $59,990 (before options and on-road costs) and is fitted with the Alcantara-trimmed seats which are heated for the driver and passenger ($1890 option).

Again the sports bars and tub liner are standard, as are the LED running lamps, which make the Ranger’s halogen headlights seem positively prehistoric , but a tow-pack would set you back about $1000 extra, and there is not one fitted to our car.

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That brings the Volkswagen to $62,470 (before on-road costs), with three years of capped-price servicing adding a further $1690, or 2.8 per cent of the base list price.

So with a $3555 as-tested saving, a further $225 servicing saving, and that standard tow-pack, the value ball falls firmly in the Ranger’s court.

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Driveline

This comparison isn’t just about value, though. You pay a premium for the Amarok, and in terms of hardware, you get more for your money.

Under the bonnet is a 165kW/550Nm 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, a big improvement on the 132kW/420Nm output of the older twin-turbo four-cylinder. Power peaks at 4500rpm where that slab of torque is on tap from just 1550rpm.

What’s more, for kick down overtaking, the engine activates an over boost function which increases output to 180kW and 580Nm of torque.

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This is all sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the constant all-wheel drive ‘4Motion’ system, which allows variable torque split from a standard 40:60 front-to-rear, to an 80 per cent rear bias under acceleration or just 40 per cent for when the going gets tough.

When things get really tough, there’s a locking rear differential and hill descent control system to help get the big VW up, over and down almost anything.

The Ranger’s 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel is much less flashy by comparison. There’s no overboost function or any other buzzword gee-wizardry, but peak power is reached at just 3000rpm and torque from 1750rpm, giving the Ford a very tractable powerband.

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There’s a six-speed automatic transmission which drives the rear-wheels, until you select high-range four-wheel drive (on the fly), or the low-range setting while the transmission is in neutral.

Again there is a lockable rear differential for challenging terrain.

For those who spend time under the bonnet, the Ranger relies on a pair of gas struts where the Amarok uses a single, prop-up pole.

We put both utes through a 0-100km/h acceleration test, measured by our GPS VBox, and here the Amarok’s trump card was slapped down as confidently as a Venusaur during a good old-fashioned Pokemon fight.

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Over three runs, the V6 VW recorded a best of 8.2 seconds, against the Ford’s more pedestrian 10.7 seconds.

But all that power needs to be reigned in, and in rare form for the segment, the Amarok features four-wheel disc brakes, 330mm at the front and 302mm at the rear. Conversely the Ranger runs the smaller, 302mm brake rotors up front, and drums at the back with a 295mm braking surface diameter.

So again, a no-contest win to the Amarok?

Strangely, no.

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Both cars, over a trio of tests, pulled up in the same time, just 3.4 seconds, but the Ranger managed to stop about half a metre shorter in 44.8m to the Amarok’s 45.5m. The Ford running 265mm wide, 17-inch Dunlop Grandtrek AT rubber, the Volkswagen on 255mm wide, 18-inch Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport tyres.

The 2159kg Ranger has a 10kg advantage over the 2169kg Amarok, and we were testing both utes unladen, with Paul behind the wheel.

An interesting result, but none the less, the Amarok’s clear and obvious advantage in the grunt stakes sees it take the win here.

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Cabin Room and Comfort

Power and value sorted, what are these big machines like on the inside? Both have been widely praised for their SUV-like quality and comfort, not to mention a very easy day-to-day nature.

Where the range-topping Ranger Wildtrak blends function with questionable taste and orange highlights, the XLT is a sea of sensible and drab greys.

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It is comfortable, and the materials pleasant enough for a ute, but it isn’t as modern or as welcoming as the Volkswagen.

The manually adjustable cloth seats are quite supportive and cosy and offer a lumbar support function.

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Storage is good too, with a phone tray and a pair of USB and 12-volt points in front of the transmission lever, a big glovebox and central storage cubby, as well as a pair of cupholders on the console, a dash-top tray and good-sized door bins.

The 8.0-inch SYNC3 multimedia touchscreen system supports native navigation with traffic mapping, DAB digital radio, voice commands and Apple Carplay and Android Auto projection.

It’s a big improvement on the previous SYNC2 software, and despite looking quite basic, works very well in the Ranger.

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As noted, the tech pack includes plenty of assistance goodies which aren’t even available as an option in the Amarok.

The instruments use a central analogue speedometer which is flanked by a pair of colour LCD screens to display audio, navigation and telephony information on the left, a digital tachometer and other driving or assistance data on the right.

The Volkswagen, by contrast, has a slightly more modern and upmarket feeling to the dashboard layout. The switchgear is familiar to other VW products, the steering wheel, in particular, looking as if it was lifted from a Passat. Not a bad thing at all.

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The seats are without question, excellent. Bettered only by the upgrade seat option in the Amarok V6 Ultimate variant.

They are terrifically comfortable and offer great support and manual adjustment, and with the reach and rake, adjustable steering column allows you to get into a comfortable driving position.

There’s a handy dash-top tray with a 12-volt outlet, but the glovebox and central console storage bins are quite small, and while there is a phone tray and pair of 12-volt outlets in front of the transmission lever, there is only one USB point.

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You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto projection support on the 6.3-inch touchscreen in the Volkswagen, as well as native navigation and DAB radio, but some of the more advanced functions like traffic alerts are non-functional at this point in time.

Strangely though, despite some other Volkswagen models offering a range of driving data, including off-road incline angles, none of this is present in the Amarok, leaving the system feeling a little light on.

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In front of the driver too, is just a single monochrome LCD screen, supported by a pair of traditional analogue dials. It’s a very basic display (the Ultimate grade Amarok scores a colour screen) but shows all the key trip and fuel consumption data.

Both cars offer dual-zone climate control, but neither have vents in the back.

Again, both cars feature front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, the vision on the Amarok is slightly obscured by its placement in the rear step, but it works well regardless.

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(Ford Ranger top | Volkswagen Amarok bottom)

The rear compartment in the Ford is very spacious too. The bench itself is comfortable, but really only for two passengers. There’s a central armrest with cupholders, a pair of map pockets, bottle bins in the doors plus a 12-volt and 220-volt accessory power outlet point.

We use this a lot, especially to charge camera and computer gear, and find it a very practical inclusion in a car which serves a multitude of roles.

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The back of the Amarok is much tighter to access and to sit in, although you can feel the extra width of the cabin and would comfortably fit three-across, providing they weren’t too tall.

The head room too is excellent, and really highlights the benefits of the square-shaped design of the Amarok.

Like the front, the bench is fantastically comfortable, although there is no centre armrest, and just a pair of flip-out cupholders on the floor. Having had a number of drinks spilt by errant feet in the back of Amaroks over the years, I’m not a big fan of these.

I do like the felt-lined door pockets, though.

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Both cars are sold with a five-star ANCAP rating, but the Ford scores a higher 36.72 points (out of a total of 37) against the Volkswagen’s 32.99 points largely due to the fact the VW doesn’t offer full-length curtain airbags or any other rear-passenger airbag system.

This is a crucial point for many buyers, particularly those who plan to regularly cart around small children in the back of the cab.

The Amarok is the only vehicle in its class not to offer this level of occupant protection, which for a vehicle like this from a company like Volkswagen in 2017 is pretty poor form.

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There are no other advanced safety assistance features in the Amarok either. But where the Ranger has a pre-collision warning system and a lane-keeping function, there is no blind-spot alert or autonomous emergency braking function on either car.

As nice and comfortable as the Amarok is, the compromise on safety and rear passenger room, as well as the level of equipment gap to the Ranger sees the Ford take the win on the cabin.

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Tub size and load capability

Somewhere there is someone wearing a t-shirt proclaiming that they have the biggest tub in class. Until we discover that person, though, the crown stays with the Amarok, which does, in fact, have, the biggest tub in its class.

Measuring 1555mm deep by 1620mm wide, the VW has enough room to fit a standard Aussie pallet (1165mm square) between the arches, and have room to spare. The 1222mm gap between the wheels makes it a hugely practical alternative to a cab-chassis ute if pallets are your thing.

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Even if you aren’t needing all that space, the four tie points and 12-volt accessory outlet make the tub highly functional, plus the easy-lift tailgate helps when you’ve simply had a long day and just want to close up shop and head home.

While the Ranger’s tub might be smaller, at 1549mm deep and 1560mm wide, and just 1139mm between the arches, it is far from unusable.

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Sure, you can’t fit a pallet, but I’ve never actually needed to. There are six tie points, two more than the VW, a single 12-volt accessory point and a number of circular cut-outs in the tub liner than do a great job of holding your coffee.

Both utes offer over 900kg of payload ability (911kg for the Amarok and 907kg for the Ranger) and share a GCM (gross combination mass) of 6000kg. The Ranger has a 120kg higher GVM (gross vehicle mass) at 3200kg (against 3080kg) and a more meaty tow-rating of 3500kg to the Amarok’s 3000kg.

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( Volkswagen Amarok )

That said, in real-world use, we’ve never really needed to tow more than 2.5-tonne, which both these machines will do without breaking a sweat.

So despite the Ranger’s better towing performance in Excel, the win here goes to the Amarok for quite simply, having the biggest tub in its class. That tailgate helps too.

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( Ford Ranger )

Driving performance

So how does all this translate to driving manners on and off road?

That VW V6 is a sweet, sweet engine both around town and on the highway. It pulls well from a standstill and cruises very happily, but it’s the midrange response that is the most noticeable.

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Squeeze the throttle from 70-80km/h and the Amarok piles on speed smoothly, and feels very much like the SUV that it is, in many ways, trying to be. It’s also efficient, we averaged 8.5L/100km for our mixed testing loop, marginally up on Volkswagen’s claim of 7.8L/100km.

The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly, opting for a higher gear as early as possible to help keep consumption down.

The Ford too gets up to speed quickly, and is reasonably efficient, returning 9.2L/100km against a claim of 8.7L/100km, but you notice the lack of midrange punch after driving the Amarok.

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It’s not a dire thing, though, just meaning that overtaking or steeper inclines need a more considered approach, and perhaps a bit of extra run up.

The six-speeder of the Ford is again a smooth and intelligent unit. It’s somewhat idiot-proof, just drop it into ‘drive’ and worry no more, with a self-shift ability available from the lever to help manage low-speed control.

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In urban environments, the 5.2-metre long utes feel big and dominant, but are virtual pussy cats to live with day-to-day. Vision is good, and the extremities all quite obvious.

While you will take up the best part of any car space, the chunky pick-ups will still fit in most underground parking garages and low-speed manoeuvring is ably aided by the rear-view camera when in a tight spot.

At speed on the highway, you would be hard pressed to tell the cars apart. Both are quiet and refined for what are predominantly working vehicles.

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The Ranger’s adaptive cruise and lane-keeping aids are handy, but the VW is an easy car to tour with and the seats seem to become more comfortable the longer you spend in them.

Both pick-ups ride very well considering their load-bearing leaf-spring rear ends, there’s the odd jitter and jump from corrugations and larger imperfections, but even at 80km/h on an unsealed road, each car seems to relish in the journey.

There’s good communication back through the wheel, with the electric steering rack in the Ford making light work of all situations.

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The constant four-wheel drive in the Amarok gives it a more predictable nature, especially on dirt. It’s a point and shoot vehicle, the off-road mode only required for especially steep or technical terrain.

It’s far more user-friendly, and just as capable as the more traditional system in the Ranger, which also manages nearly everything in high-range four-wheel drive.

Even on a steep, rutted incline, both vehicles managed to adjust to having a wheel in the air at various points, and effortlessly climb the loose surface, without needing the rear lockers activated.

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VERDICT

In terms of blurring the line between working pick-up and family SUV, our grey pair is very much at home in the grey area.

Both provide a refined and pleasant driving experience beyond the expectation set by their harder working forebears. There’s no bad car here.

The V6 engine in the Amarok is a welcome addition to the segment, offering smooth power and usable torque in line with impressive fuel economy, but in terms of the rounded proposition on offer, isn’t quite enough to take the prize in this test.

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The Ranger, while more conservative in its output, simply ticks a few extra boxes at almost every step to continue behind an excellent jack-of-all-trades everyday ute. The comfort and capability is on par with the Volkswagen, but the technology and overall value on offer presents a case too good to ignore.

Things may change, however when a lower trim level Amarok V6 arrives, as more basic Rangers miss out on many of the goodies that make the XLT such a winner. When that time comes, we look forward to throwing down the gauntlet once again.

(caradvice.com.au, https://goo.gl/tegR8q)

Xiaomi Mi 5C : All you need to know about the Surge S1-powered phone

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE XIAOMI MI 5C

Xiaomi Mi 5C: All the details on Xiaomi’s new Mi 5C phone which runs using the company’s own new Surge 1 chipset.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Xiaomi Mi 5C

LATEST MI 5C NEWS

Xiaomi has latest smartphone, the Mi 5C, is an intriguing new entry in the Mi series, but it’s what’s running the thing that’s really interesting. The company has joined the likes of Apple and Samsung in producing its own processors, which means the new Mi 5C smartphone is powered by the in-house Surge S1 chipset.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Xiaomi Mi 5C

The 2.2GHz Surge S1 is apparently faster than Qualcomm’s midrange Snapdragon 625, and has been built by Pinecone, a Xiaomi subsidiary set up two years ago. The new processor’s arrival makes Xiaomi the fourth phone manufacturer in the world to make its own chips, after Apple, Samsung, and Huawei.

Read on to find out more – here’s a detailed round-up of all the Mi 5C information

MI 5C AT A GLANCE:

When does the Mi 5C come out? March 3, in China

What’s new about the Mi 5C? New Xiaomi-made Surge 1 processor

How much will the Mi 5C cost? 1,500 yuan, (about £175, $220)

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2016

MI 5C RELEASE DATE – WHEN WILL THE NEW MI 5C COME OUT?

Xiaomi has confirmed the new handset will arrive on March 3. However, like all Xiaomi phones, the Mi 5C will only be launched in China, so if you want to get your hands on the phone and you live in the US or UK, you’ll have to import it. There’s numerous websites that will let you ship the Mi 5C direct to your door, though, so if you want to try out the latest Chinese smartphone it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Mi 5C

MI 5C FEATURES – WHAT IS THE SURGE S1?

Xiaomi’s latest offering is a spinoff from the Mi 5, and seems to be a step down hardware-wise. But before we get to the specs, the main draw here is the new Surge S1 processor.

Built in conjunction with Beijing Pinecone Electronics, which is owned by Xiaomi, the Surge S1 is a mid-range SoC, with the company claiming it will top Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 in terms of performance. We can’t verify that claim of course, but the eight Cortex A53 cores, half of them clocked at 2.2 GHz and the other half at 1.4 GHz, should be able to provide speedy performance.

The 64-bit capable chip is made on the 28 nm HPC process, and also pairs with a quad-core Mali-T860 GPU. According to Xiaomi, it offers “upgradable baseband” along with security against fraudulent base stations.

There’s also support for VoLTE (voice over LTE) HD calls, which comes alongside improved static and background noise-reduction capabilities.

Mi 5C

In a press statement, Lei Jun, CEO and co-founder of Xiaomi said: “The ability to create its own chipsets is the pinnacle achievement for any smartphone company. For Xiaomi, the move is an essential next step in our development. In order to deliver on our promise to make innovation available to everyone, we need to master the core technologies of our industry and tightly integrate the development of our hardware with our software.”

It’s not clear yet whether Xiaomi plans to license the processor to other countries, but the likelihood of seeing the chip outside of China seems very slim at this point.

MI 5C SPECS – HOW POWERFUL IS THE MI 5C?

Xiaomi’s new handset is definitely a mid-range device, but what exactly is under the hood besides the Surge S1 chipset? Well, like the Mi 5, it has a 5.15-inch display with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, which means you’ll get more than enough pixels to ensure a sharp image on a phone of this size.

However, the Mi 5C loses to its predecessor in the RAM department with just 3GB of memory instead of the 4GB on the Mi 5. Similarly, a 2,860mAh battery should ensure the phone lasts a day easily, though again, that’s smaller than the 3,000mAh cell in the Mi 5.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Xiaomi Mi 5C

Elsewhere you’ll find 64GB on internal storage, which is a decent amount of memory, while a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera should take adequate shots, though we’re not expecting anything revolutionary here what with the f/2.2 aperture. The front-facing shooter is a 5-megapixel offering, so the selfie fans should be able to take a few decent snaps, too.

Here’s a full rundown of the specs:

144.4×70.7×7.1mm

5.15-inch, 2,560 x 1,600-resolution display

2.2GHz octa-core Surge S1 processor

12 megapixel rear camera, 8 megapixel front-facing camera

3GB RAM

64GB of internal memory

2,860mAh non-removable battery

9V/2A fast charging

Android 7.1 Nougat

Black, Rose Gold, Gold variations

MI 5C SOFTWARE – ANDROID NOUGAT IS HERE

Happily, the Mi 5C will come running the latest version of Google’s mobile OS: Android Nougat. It’s a great update to the software, introducing new features such as support for multi-window multi-tasking, a new Doze feature, and revised notifications. Nougat manages to keep the best parts of Android while adding useful new tools, and is certainly a welcome addition to the Mi 5C.

However, one thing you most certainly won’t be getting with Xiaomi’s latest handset is a stock Android experience. The company will be using its proprietary Android skin MIUI. It’s not the worst of the Android skins, however, and is a cut above the likes of Samsung’s TouchWiz. It does add a load of Xiaomi’s own apps to the mix, though, and comes with a few design tweaks.

We’ll have more on the phone once it launches on March 3.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/nAfLQg)

MyKronoz ZeTime Hands-on Review

KEY FEATURES
  • 1.22-inch 240 x 240 TFT display
  • Traditional mechanical watch hands
  • Rotating crown
  • 3-axis accelerometer and heart rate monitor
  • 200mAh battery
  • 3-day battery life, 30 days for watch only
  • Android and iOS support
  • Manufacturer: MyKronoz
  • Review Price: free/subscription

Kết quả hình ảnh cho MyKronoz ZeTime

HANDS-ON WITH THE MYKRONOZ ZETIME, A SMARTWATCH THAT COMBINES A TOUCHSCREEN WITH TRADITIONAL WATCH HANDS
  • Release date: September 2017
  • Price: €199.99

There are a few valid complaints when it comes to smartwatches today and one of those is nailing the timekeeping aspect when you’re not swiping through messages or dismissing notifications.

The simple act of telling the time or appearing like a watch when not in use is still a problem. The Apple Watch Series 2 turns its display off and while many Android Wear watches, alongside the Samsung Gear S3, feature always-on-displays, these are sometimes a pale imitation of the standard colourful, vibrant watchfaces they display when in use.

MyKronoz has tried to get around this by integrating traditional watch hands for those times when you want your smartwatch to look just like any other traditional analogue timepiece. Doing this, which is a first, took some engineering expertise to drill a hole into the centre of the round TFT display.

MyKronoz ZeTime

It means the ZeTime to the casual observer looks just like a standard watch, in a similar approach to what Withings and Misfit have taken with their hybrid smartwatches as of late. But unlike those two, you’ll have greater versatility thanks to that colour touchscreen.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho MyKronoz ZeTime

It means being able to read messages and see notifications in a more meaningful way than the Withings Steel HR or Misfit Phase that had to find alternative ways to display notifications without a large digital display.

The ZeTime has a 1.22-inch 240 x 240 resolution TFT display. It’s not going to compete with some of the pricier flagship smartwatches out there, but it looked bright and easy to read even if a little low-res. The ZeTime comes with either silicone or leather strap options, but can also take 22mm watch straps.

MyKronoz ZeTime

The stainless steel watch case felt really nice in my hands and you can see some of its Swiss design inspiration. There are different colour case finishes, too.

MyKronoz ZeTime

Unfortunately, the ZeTime watch at MWC was only an early prototype, so was stuck in demo mode, so it’s too early to judge what the interface will be like. Sarah Brault, MyKronoz’s Chief Marketing Officer told me that the custom software – no Android Wear here, folks – will deliver the usual notifications, messages, calendar events and caller ID you would expect. You can also expect media playback controls as well.

MyKronoz ZeTime

When you need to interact with the touchscreen, the analogue hands will point to 3 and 6 so they don’t obstruct your view as much. The crown on the side of the watch will also rotate, much like the Apple Watch, letting you scroll through messages and navigate the watch’s interface. There are buttons you can customise as shortcuts, too.

MyKronoz ZeTime

On top of the smartwatch functionality, MyKronoz is including fitness and activity tracking, as is becoming the norm for anything adorning one’s wrists. There’s an accelerometer inside for step and sleep tracking and an optical heart rate monitor on the back. The ZeTime can work with either iOS or Android companion apps.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho MyKronoz ZeTime

So what about all-important battery? MyKronoz says the smartwatch functionality should last for about 3 days on a single charge, but the mechanical hands can last up to 30 days.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The MyKronoz ZeTime looks like a good-looking watch and having analogue mechanical hands is an innovative solution to one a long-standing smartwatch problem. It would be all the more impressive if the Huawei Watch 2 wasn’t just shown off at MWC, which boasts an ultra power saving mode that shows not only the time but also the steps you’ve taken, turning it into a basic fitness tracker.

Still, for those that like the look of a traditional watch and find the notification management of the Withings Steel HR or Misfit Phase still too basic, the MyKronoz ZeTime may well be a watch worth keeping an eye on. Considering it’s launching at €199, with a release date in September, it’s competitively priced, too. All that remains to be seen is how well its software performs but, for now, colour me intrigued.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/3iykJP)

Bragi The Headphone Hands-on Review

KEY FEATURES
  • Truly wireless headphones
  • Audio transparency mode
  • 6-hour battery life
  • Media playback controls
  • Manufacturer: Bragi
  • Review Price: £149.99/$225

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Bragi The Headphone

HANDS-ON WITH BRAGI’S NEW ENTRY-LEVEL TRULY WIRELESS HEADPHONES THAT TAKE A MORE SIMPLE APPROACH

Bragi’s The Dash headphones tried to do an awful lot as ‘the world’s first hearable’, from fitness tracking to acting as an in-ear computer. Unfortunately, so far that’s only been with a modicum of success, although software updates are set to refine the experience.

Bragi The Headphone

With its aptly named The Headphone, Bragi has simplified things considerably the second time round. These are truly wireless earbuds without any of the extra trimmings. Gone are all the in-ear personal assistant aspects along with all the fitness tracking.

What’s left are a pair of wireless headphones that play music and act as a hands-free headset, which in the days of Apple AirPods is all many will want. That means the price is also significantly less than The Dash, too, at £149/$223 when they reach the UK, which should be soon.

Bragi The Headphone

I had a chance to try The Headphone out at MWC and going from the slightly convoluted experience of The Dash, these are somewhat refreshing in comparison.

Their design is similar to The Dash, with a glossy black casing, and you get three different sized tips included. Two are silicone, while the largest come in the form of compressible Comply foam tips. Once inserted into your ears, the headphones don’t protrude very much and feel secure even without additional wingtips.

When not in use, the headphones stow away in a case, which notably does not charge the headphones. Bragi says that this was a conscious decision to keep the cost of The Headphone low and also because The Headphone will run for six hours on a single charge, which should be good for a day’s worth of listening.

Bragi The Headphone

I can see the point, six hours is more than you’ll get even from the Apple AirPod, but I’ll need to test the headphone’s battery stamina properly to be sure. Often, battery claims can be exaggerated or based on very specific – and not realistic – listening criteria so I might well find myself yearning for a charging case after all.

Even in my little time wearing the headphones, I’ve already come across one annoyance, though. The headphones don’t automatically turn off when put them inside their case, something every other truly wireless headphone I’ve tested to date has done. You’re going to need to remember to turn the headphones off before putting them away.

There are media playback controls on the right earbud, which lets you skip tracks and adjust volume as you would expect. The buttons are quite hard to press, though, and I find myself mashing the earphone into my canal whenever I want to press a button. Hopefully that gets easier with time.

Bragi The Headphone

The case comes with a lanyard looped through, so you can wear the headphone case around your neck if you want. For a case that doesn’t pack in a battery pack, it’s puzzlingly big, though.

The sound isn’t something I can really judge without spending more time with The Headphone, especially preferably somewhere not quite the hive of activity that is the MWC show floor. There doesn’t seem to be any glaring problems off the bat with them at least, which is reassuring.

One neat trick comes in the microphones department. There’s one microphone on the outside of the earbud as is common, but the other microphone is actually inserted into your ear canal. The microphone picks up your voice from inside your head and the headphones will dynamically cancel the external noise so your caller can hear you clearly.

Bragi The Headphone

From my brief test, it worked well and could be a really useful feature. Having struggled with a phone conversation on the blustery streets of Barcelona already this week, I’m keen to give the hands-free calling experience a more thorough go.

There’s also the audio transparency mode from The Dash that lets you hear the outside world, which will be useful for situational awareness or for when you just don’t want to have to take the earbuds out.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Bragi The Headphone

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

For someone looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds simply for listening to music and hands-free calls, Bragi’s The Headphone could be a decent contender. They feel comfortable from the time I’ve spent with them.

Six hours of continuous use is an impressive duration on paper, but it remains to be seen how this holds up in reality. It’ll take more time with The Headphone for me to decide if I’m going to miss having a charging case, or if the sacrifice was indeed worth it for the lower price point. Be sure to check back for a full review in the coming weeks.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/tpz4Mn)

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs Lenovo ZUK 2 vs Meizu M5 Comparison

Nowadays mobile phones have more and more impact on daily life. But this doesn’t mean people are obsessed with top brand handsets. Vice versa, the pricing for them is getting lower. So a thousand-yuan ($145) budget will allow you to get your hands on a pretty nice device. This niche is overpeopled. That’s why smartphone makers make more powerful, stylish and better devices to stay afloat.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Currently there are many handsets sporting the same features what you can find on high-end models. Those features include metal housing, fast charge options, larger memory and so on. However, the best examples of this niche still continue to be the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime, Meizu M5, and Lenovo ZUK Z2. They may seem a bit outdated in comparison to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X and Meizu M5S. But these models are the founding fathers of thousand-yuan smartphones niche. So we decided to compare these beasts.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Display

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime and Lenovo ZUK Z2 sport displays at 5 inches and Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080p), while the Meizu M5 comes with a 5.2-inch display at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Though the latter differs from its rivals, a naked eye can’t determine any difference.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

On the other hand, if looking at the same photo via these handsets the contrast differences become obvious.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

When comparing these phones in terms of brightness, we can see the Meizu M5 provides the best view (all phones are set at 50% of brightness).

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

When viewing pictures rich of bright colors like green we can see the worse result performance is provided by the Lenovo ZUK Z2, which have obvious reddish shades.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

As for viewing angle, all three models have the same level.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Verdict: The Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime is the winner in this mini-battle thanks to a 5-inch Full HD and accurate color reproduction. The second place is occupied by the ZUK Z2, because it provides brighter viewing performance. But it yields the Redmi 4 Prime due to some reddish shades. Finally, the Meizu M5 is on the third position because of a 720P display. But to be honest, it has the highest level of brightness.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Camera

Cameras on smartphones are decisive. That’s why manufacturers try to pack their handsets with better camera modules. The thousand-yuan niche is no exception.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

All three models feature rear cameras at 13MP, but the sensors models and apertures are different. As a result they provide quite different shooting experience. It is obvious when looking at sample photos below. Green color dominates in the first photo (Lenovo ZUK Z2). The Redmi 4 Prime’s sample comes with yellow shades, while the Meizu M5’s sample provides reddish photos.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The next bunch of sample photos show the brightest capture is provided by the Redmi 4 Prime. So it’s more pleasant to eyes than the photos taken by the ZUK Z2 (left) and Meizu M5 (right).

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

As for indoor shooting, the brightest photos are provided by the Redmi 4 Prime. Because of lack of brightness the Lenovo ZUK Z2 and Meizu M5 come with more gray shades. So the overall color performance is more vivid at the XIaomi Redmi 4 Prime captures.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Lenovo ZUK Z2

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Meizu M5

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Verdict: As all three models come in with different sensors and apps, the color reproduction, brightness and other features are quite different. But as many customers pay more attention to the white balance, we decided to put the Meizu M5 on the first position as its performance is more accurate. The Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime is the second due to brightness and the ZUK Z2 is the third.

Design

When talking about the appearance of a phone first we pay attention to the material its housing is made of. Different materials provide different feel and appearance. Currently more and more manufacturers use metal as the material for their handsets. So we have to write down there is a huge progress from times of plastic bodies to the current state.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Each of these handsets come with different material. The Meizu M5’s body is made of polycarbonate. As you know, this is one of the most popular materials used for making smartphones’ housing. Thanks to wide temperature range it’s easier to shape, paint and color. Meizu has added a paint spray and pearl powder to make the M5 to look like a metal-body handset.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The physical buttons are made of polycarbonate as well. So the overall body comes at a highest build quality. But plastic provides another kind of feeling. Plus, it can be scratched easily.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

There is also the much popular mBack button responsible for fingerprint identification, Home key, back, and other funtions. The Meizu M5 also supports Alipay and WeChat fingerprint payment features. At last, the Meizu M5 comes in various color options including Mint Green, Glacier White, Champanage Gold, Sapphire Blue, and Matte Black. The color reflection differs from color to color.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The ZUK Z2 comes with a double glass ‘sandwich’ structure. Those who have used phones with glass housing know the feeling of such devices is ethereal. That’s why many top smartphone makers such as Apple and Sony use this material for their high-end models.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

There is also a U-Touch Home key below the screen. The manufacturer claims this button can be used over 300.000 times. It carries a fingerprint scanner supporting WeChat, AliPay, and FIDO pay. So the key’s area is a bit larger.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

As for the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime, it comes with a metal housing passed CNC crafting process. Thanks to the sandblasting process every detail is made perfectly. The front panel is covered with a 2.5D arc glass. So this combination of a metal and glass makes it competitive to any material.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The buttons located on sides are made of metal as well.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

As for the back panel, the manufacturer has used two different technologies for the top and bottom sides. The top part uses hollow injection molding process, while the bottom is a common antenna with nano-injection molding. Many customers do not appreciate its appearance, but it provides the best signal quality.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vsXiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Verdict: The Meizu M5’s plastic body looks more attractive. It’s also cheaper than other materials. No reason to worry about the signal as well. But it has a list of disadvantages such as scratches. The metal housing of the Redmi 4 Prime is acceptable, but as there is a glass-body ZUK Z2, we think it’s the winner.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Battery

Currently many smartphone makers try to improve the batter life of their products expanding the battery capacity as well as coming in with innovative technologies. These smartphones have something to offer.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The Meizu M5 sports a 3070mAh battery; the Redmi 4 Prime sports a 4100mAh battery; and the ZUK Z2 comes with a 3500mAh battery. We have tested them via AnTuTu to find out which of them wins the race.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The power is 90%. The display brightness is set to 100%. The recording is made every 10 minutes.

After 60 minutes of heavy testing the ZUK Z2’s power is still remaining 68%. Total power consumption is 22%.  Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

The Redmi 4 Prime still have 72% of power. Total consumption is 18%.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Finally the Meizu M5 still has 65%. Total consumption is 25%.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Verdict: So the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime showcases the best result. But the ZUK Z2 features a battery with 600mAh less capacity than the Redmi 4 Prime. The test shows it yields the Xiaomi phone only by 4%. So we can state the ZUI power optimization is very good. The Meizu M5 sports a battery with 1000mAh less capacity than the Redmi 4 Prime. Thus its result is acceptable as well. But it will be fair to give the prize to the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

Conclusion

Generally, all three competitors show almost similar results. So it’s difficult to define which of them is better. This allows us to think the thousand-yuan smartphones market offers different models made of different materials and packed with different features. All three manufacturers are doing their best to come in with excellent models. As for this comparison, none of them is a winner. On the other hand, if taking into account the absolute number of ‘prizes’ the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime can be conditionally considered as the leader in the thousand-yuan market.

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs

(xiaomitoday.com, https://goo.gl/qOEIyu)

Philips 43PUS6401 review

Not all 4K TVs are created equal, so when considering a 43in 4K HDR set for under £400, you have to be prepared to make some compromises.

The Philips 43PUS6401 embodies the word, delivering exactly what you might expect for its price tag. But is that enough to make it worth your cash?

Features

Your money certainly isn’t wasted on a flashy design – it sensibly goes for simple but stylish, with a slim silver bezel and two aluminium feet.

However, there is a trick up the PUS6401’s sleeve in that it packs two-sided Ambilight for bringing a little added flare to proceedings where its design doesn’t.

It’s easily toggled on or off from a dedicated menu button, but we quite enjoy it when watching movies (setting it to follow the on-screen picture works best). The solid white light option also proves handy for softer bias lighting, which is particularly useful because we find the PUS6401 to be a little reflective.

Watching TV in our testing room, we see our own reflection, which is distracting to say the least, especially during darker scenes.

Turning the lights down in the room will help this, as will positioning the set away from direct sunlight.

There’s one remote in the box, which is just your regular Philips remote – none of the QWERTY keyboards we’ve seen on some.

It’s well laid out, but not the most responsive – it needs to be pointed directly at the TV and the buttons pressed with real conviction for your command to be registered on first try.

Philips also has one of our least favourite menu systems, so this can make the rather unintuitive lists of menus and options even more of a headache to navigate.

In particular, be aware of the unconventional wording – for example, there are several different options that describe themselves as “contrast”.

You’ll find the actual contrast controls hidden away under an option called “video contrast”, while the main “contrast” option actually controls the backlight. Confusing to say the least.

For this reason, setting up the Philips isn’t as straight forward as we might like, but you’ll certainly want to dive into the picture settings to get things looking better than they do out of the box.

A good first step is turning off all of the processing so you’re working with the raw picture. Eco settings have a tendency to default to on, so you’ll want to ensure they’re turned off for the best results.

The Philips 43PUS6401 doesn’t carry the UHD Premium badge, not least because it only has a maximum brightness of 350 nits (a UHD Premium set needs to reach at least 1000 nits).

HDR is still technically possible on this set, but you’ll need to make sure you have the most recent firmware update to get it.

Once you do, the PUS6401 will automatically recognise an HDR source and tweak its settings to suit, though annoyingly, Philips TVs still don’t support Netflix or Amazon HDR content.

Connectivity-wise you’re fairly well covered, with four HDMIs (though only two support HDCP2.2), three USBs and single component and analogue ins.

There’s even a SCART for older connections and a single optical out for outputting your TVs sound to a soundbar, for example.

There’s wi-fi or ethernet for hooking up to your home network, and once you’re online, you’ll be able to access to the TV’s on-board Android TV system.

It’s not our favourite user interface by a long shot (particularly as it’s a hybrid alongside Philips own menus and EPG, so feels a little disjointed), but it is slowly improving.

Now with apps for Netflix, Amazon and iPlayer, it will tick enough boxes for many, but we’d still like to see more by way of UK catch-up services.

The built-in ability to cast from portable devices will help with this for now, but Android TV is still behind the competition when it comes to breadth of choice.

Picture

Once set up, the Philips 43PUS6401’s lack of brightness is noticeable in its rather subdued picture performance and colour palette.

On the whole, colours lack the ability to convince, with reds looking a touch orangey while blues and greens are overly bold. It’s not unexpected at this level, but something we weren’t able to balance out with the regular settings – more in-depth calibration may well improve this.

The PUS6401 is at its best in brighter scenes. Even then, there is a noticeable drop in detail from the Panasonic TX-40DX700B, and a much smoother overall picture that lacks the same level of clarity and detail as you’ll see in better sets.

It’s not unwatchable by any means, but it shows the upscaler is not a strong point here, and means the picture lacks the same sense of depth.

This improves with a 4K Blu-ray signal by some stretch, but the picture is still not as insightful as we’d like. HDR pictures lack sufficient punch in colour and brightness to really get the benefits across.

You’ll see a touch more subtlety and sparkle in highlights compared with regular SDR content, but it isn’t capable of hitting home with the same intensity.

It’s in dark scenes where the picture is most lacking, with the set not capable of deep enough blacks, nor shadow detail, to give a murky scene much impact. Watching in a darkened room helps, but will also emphasise the rather poor backlight uniformity that can become noticeable in darker scenes.

The set ultimately lacks a good grip on contrast – introduce a bright element to a dark scene and it’ll struggle to balance out the two, not to mention outlines could be better etched too.

The last thing to look out for is motion, and we found that with no motion processing employed, fast moving pans could looks a little strange and unnatural. Setting the Philips Natural Motion settings to minimum (any more will worsen the picture elsewhere) will help.

Sound

You’ll certainly want to consider investing in a soundbar or external speakers for this TV as its internal speakers aren’t up to much.

It’s a small, enclosed sound that lacks detail, and can be quite hard to listen to for long periods of time. We wouldn’t expect more at this price, but it’s worth adding to your budget.

Verdict

So can you really get a decent 4K HDR TV for £400/$600? There’s no doubt it’s a tempting proposition, but we’re not sure you’re really going to see the benefits of 4K on this set, and certainly not of HDR.

4K Blu-ray pictures will benefit the best from the capabilities of this set, but its struggles with darker scenes and the overall lack of brightness can’t help but takes the sparkle off it just a little – even with the price tag in mind.

Compromise is the word here, and there’s plenty to be made with this set. You may find saving up a touch more means less compromises where it matters.

(whathifi.com, https://goo.gl/ugDI00)

 

KingWear KW88 Smartwatch Review – Best Smartwatch Deal!

AMOLED Display, Pedometer, Heart-Rate sensor, GPS and SIM Slot!

KW88 Smartwatch Review

KingWear KW88 smartwatch is just a phenomenal, most noteworthy stunning value for the price. Chinese smartwatches have never been this good at such a low price, offering an incredible AMOLED display, GPS, SIM Slot and a full Android experience it simply shines compared to the competition.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at why KW88 should be your choice for a smartwatch!

KW88 Smartwatch Display

Specs

Chiese smartwatches used to be slow with just a handful of features and compared to big brands Samsung Gear and LG G Watch, they felt like a step back, but KW88 is actually a step forward!

KW88 Smartwatch Specs

Running on a Quad-Core CPU with 512MB RAM and a complete Android experience, KW88 is not only a smartwatch but can be a smartphone replacement!

Just log into your Google account and download any app you use on your phone and it will run on the KW88! There is also a decent speaker and camera on the watch and you can take photos and videos and upload directly to Facebook and Instagram with the watch!

Browsing the web and watching youtube on your watch are now possible too!

Functions

Smartwatches are mostly used as fitness trackers and with GPS enabled KW88 really stands out!

You can download the full Runtastic app and keep track of your runs, heart rate and mileage!

The included Pedometer app can also be used and is very accurate.

KW88 Pedometer

KW88 Smartwatch supports BT, GPS, Wi-Fi and Cellular Data with a simple press.

Functions menu is located by swiping up from your watch face/home screen.

KW88 Smartwatch Settings

Connecting to your smartphone is done via third-party software called SinWear, which can be installed from Google Playstore. SInWear is also available for iPhone, so the KW88 can be used as a iOS Smartwatch too! With the app, you will get all app notifications from social media and emails, as a bonus you get to see the picture of who’s sending you something and if you have the app installed on the KW88 you can directly reply from the watch! SinWear app can also be used to find your phone and find the watch if you’ve misplaced it somewhere nearby. You can also use the KW88 as a remote control music player and camera. The apps and settings menu can be located by swiping to your right from the home screen.

KW88 smartwatch apps

If you want to use the KW88 Smartwatch as a full smartphone replacement you can pop-in your nano-sim card in the back and use it to make/receive calls and everything you can do on a smartphone really! The sim-slot is bolted shut on the back, but KW88 comes with a small screwdriver packed in the box, just for that.

KW88 sim slot

Above the sim-tray, you can see the heart-rate sensor and next to it is the charging module.

KW88 smartwatch also supports the mandatory wrist-turn for the time function flawlessly.

KW88 smartwatch box

WATCHFACES

Naturally, no smartwatch experience is complete without watch faces, so that every user can customise their own experience, here are some of the awesome ones provided from the get-go

K88-watchface K88-watchface K88-watchface K88-watchface K88-watchface K88-watchface

Battery Life

With moderate usage, you can definitely get 2 days out of the KW88, which is more compared to the competition. You can use the watch-only mode at any time to save battery and even turn it off at night if you don’t need it and by doing so you can even get up to 3 days!

Be warned that installing apps from the Playstore, playing videos and using GPS a lot takes a heavy toll on the battery and as a more smartphone experience battery will get you through the day most of the times, but not more. Luckily, KW88 charges super-quickly and you’ll be up to 100% within 40-50mins!

(xiaomitoday.com, https://goo.gl/DOXmF6)

Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (A025) Review

Pros
  • Excellent sharpness
  • High level of CA correction
  • Low distortion
  • Low flare
  • Moisture and dust resistance
  • ​Very attractive price
Cons
  • Minor handling issues

Tamron 70 200mm G2 Front Oblique View

Designed for users of full frame Nikon and Canon cameras, the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens is a new, upgraded optic with moisture and dust resistance, faster AF and improved 5 stop VC (Vibration Compensation). Intended as a premium quality lens, it arrives hot on the heels of various marque lenses that have been proving to be very strong performers. Let’s see how the Tamron fares as it joins the fray of 70-200mm zooms, using the Canon EOS 5DS R camera body for this review.

Handling and Features

Tamron 70 200mm G2 On Canon 5dsr

Starting at the front of this substantial lens, which weighs in at a hefty 1500g (1485g for the Nikon version), we find a generously sized petal lens hood that bayonets cleanly and crisply onto the lens. Its click stop is sufficient to hold the hood firmly in place, but not excessively tight. There is a 77mm filter thread.

The zoom ring lies behind this, reasonably wide and although smooth in operation it does not have any silkiness in its feel. The lens does not extend on zooming, nor does it do so on focusing. The focusing ring is smaller than the zoom ring and again operates smoothly but without a silky feel to it. The focusing scale is housed under a protective clear plastic window, with indications in feet and metres. The lens focuses down to 0.95m (37.4 inches), offering a maximum magnification of 0.16x, or 1:6.1. Manual focusing tweaks can be applied at any time during AF operation.

Closer again to the camera body are located a series of switches. The AF range can be selected between Full and between infinity and 3m, useful perhaps when shooting more distant subjects to prevent any possibility of the lens hunting through its full range. The AF/MF switch and VC (Vibration Compensation) on/off switch are both self-explanatory. There are three VC modes selectable via the last of the switches. Mode 1 is standard and stabilises the compensation of lens and viewfinder image equally. Mode 2 is for panning shots. Mode 3 is similar to Mode 1 but prioritises stabilising the lens over stabilising the viewfinder image, offering therefore an improvement in the speed of the process. A 5 stop advantage is quoted for the VC system.

The usual tripod mount collar is well made and looks well up to the job. The lens can be rotated into portrait mode or any other point by loosening the screw provided. This is a tremendous convenience for switching between landscape and portrait orientated shots when the lens is tripod mounted.

Tamron 70 200mm G2 Side View Showing Switches Close

Lens construction is a complex 23 elements in 17 groups, with a 9 bladed diaphragm and e Band and Fluorine coatings. There are both LD (Low dispersion) and XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens elements. The lens is also moisture and dust resistant, an indispensable feature for use in challenging outdoor shooting. The diaphragm is an ultra-smooth electromagnetic design, now on both Nikon and Canon variants of the lens.

Although quite a heavy combination with the Canon EOS 5DS R body, in practice this does not seem too much of a burden. The package balances well and operates efficiently. Although it depends on the individual photographer and their grip, it is possible to nudge the manual focus ring or even one of the switches as the hand has to reach over them to gain access to the zoom ring.

Lens compatibility with various Tamron accessories enables use with the Tele-converters TC-X14 (1.4x) and TC-X20 (2x), which will extend the focal length range of the lens. There is also compatibility with Tamron’s TAP-in console, a decvice that makes a USB connection to a PC. Updating of lens firmware and some lens adjustments can be made easier in this way.

Notwithstanding very minor handling issues, the lens is very pleasing to use, focuses swiftly and is an efficient photographic tool.

Tamron 70 200mm G2 Rear Oblique View

Performance

Sharpness is generally excellent throughout. Starting at 70mm, at the centre results are excellent from f/2.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and drop a little but remain good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8 and f/4, excellent at f/5.6 and f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16. The edges at f/22 do suffer from diffraction and are quite soft.

The centre at 100mm is excellent from f/2.8 through to f/11, and at f/4 is actually pushing towards the point where it could be described as outstanding. At f/16 sharpness is very good, and still good at f/22. The edges at excellent from f/2.8 to f/11. very good at f/16 and become soft at f/22.

135mm sees excellent central sharpness from f/2.8 to f/8, very good results at f/11 and f/16 and still a good level at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and become soft at f/22.

Results at 200mm are maintained extremely well. At the centre, we have excellent sharpness from f/2.8 to f/8, it is very good at f/11 and f/16 and good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/5.6, very good from f/8 to f/16 but are again quite soft at f/22.

The overall picture is one of a lens with extremely even sharpness, with edges closely matching the centre, with a very high level of performance.

MTF Charts

MTF@70mm

MTF@100mm

MTF@135mm

MTF@200mm

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is almost perfectly corrected at the centre of the image field, at all focal lengths. Correction is not quite so perfect at the edges, but not far behind and definitely a credit to the lens designers. CA is not readily observable in images and can be corrected in software. It is unlikley that additional software correction will be needed for most subject matter.

Chromatic Aberration Charts

CA@70mm

CA@100mm

CA@135mm

CA@200mm

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

No flare was observed throughout the review period. Admittedly the weather conditions were appalling throughout the review, meaning that no direct sun was available to shoot towards, but light sources and high contrast edges could induce no flare whatsoever.

Most zoom lenses show distortion, some returning quite high figures, but this new Tamron lens has a very impressive set of results. At 70mm, barrel distortion is -0.962%. This changes to pincushion distortion as we zoom, measuring +0.139% at 100mm, +0.749% at 135mm and +1.39% at 200mm. These figures are unlikely to be noticed and in any event could be reduced still further in software if desired.

Bokeh is the quality of the out of focus areas in an image. This is of course easier to notice in a telephoto lens and probably especially important for portraiture, flower studies and any other applications where the subject is sharp but the background rendered out of focus. Tamron have succeeded in making a very sharp lens with very pleasant bokeh and with smooth gradations throughout.

The VC system makes a very ambitious claim of 5 stops advantage, but in reality it can perhaps even exceed that slightly. At 200mm I was able to make a sharp image at ¼ sec, which is ridiculous by conventional standards, where received wisdom would suggest 1/200 sec is the absolute minimum without VC. There are of course many applications where a tripod is still needed, especially macro photography where the point of focus is critical, and in these circumstances the instruction are clear in stating VC should be switched off.

Sample Photos

Bokeh At F/2,8 | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 127.0 mm | ISO 100

Bokeh At F/8 | 0.5 sec | f/8.0 | 127.0 mm | ISO 100

Bokeh At F/22 | 3.2 sec | f/22.0 | 127.0 mm | ISO 100

Boat House | 1/60 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 800

Broken Tree | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 96.0 mm | ISO 1600

CA Test | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 800

Canal At Worsley | 1/50 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 800

Portrait 3 | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 200.0 mm | ISO 400

Portrait 4 | 1/500 sec | f/2.8 | 182.0 mm | ISO 400

Snowdrops | 1/100 sec | f/8.0 | 200.0 mm | ISO 1600

Value For Money

The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is priced at £1349/$2023. It is possible that the first version of this lens, the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, might still be available at £1099/$1648 and there are also lower priced options. The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is £729/$1093, and the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro is £549/$823.

Other marques offer similar specifications, such as the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR at £2649/$3973. The previous model, the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, may still be available at £1999/$2998. The Sony G Master FE 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS lens is priced at £2499/$3748 and the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G at £1249/$1873.

There are other examples to measure VFM against, such as the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G SSM II for Alpha DSLRs (£2799/$4198), the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (£1848/$2772) and the HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW (£1699/$2548).

Offering as it does top-of-the-line performance on a par with the most expensive lenses, at a much lower price, then the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 looks a very attractive proposition.

Specifications

Manufacturer Tamron
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon AF
  • Canon EF
Lens
Focal Length 70mm – 200mm
Angle of View 12° – 34°
Max Aperture f/2.8
Min Aperture f/22
Filter Size 77mm
Stabilised Yes
35mm equivalent No Data
Internal focusing Yes
Maximum magnification 6.1x
Focusing
Min Focus 95cm
Construction
Blades 9
Elements 23
Groups 17
Box Contents
Box Contents Lens hood, Lens caps, Lens pouch
Dimensions
Weight 1500g
Height 193.8mm

Verdict

The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens is on the same level playing field as lenses costing up to twice as much, punching far above its weight. It may not have the same silky smoothness in operation as its more expensive competition, but it delivers the goods, making no compromise on image quality.

Add to that the amazing VC system and moisture and dust resistance and Tamron have a definite winner on their hands.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/hBn7ud)

Panasonic TX-58EX750 Hands-on Review : First Look

The biggest recent news from Panasonic might be the launch of a new range of OLED TVs, but there’s plenty of new LCD TV action for those whose pockets aren’t deep enough to buy into the OLED dream.

Heading up that LCD action, and introducing some highly promising new technology, is the EX750 series.

With 2016’s DX802 and DX902 series continuing into 2017, the EX750s are the most premium new LCD models. They wear their premium status by way of brushed metallic silver frames and strikingly large cross-shaped chrome feet.

Panasonic TX-58EX750

Most startling about the EX750s design is the way in which the 50-inch and 58-inch models “swivel and lift”. It’s possible to turn the screens round to an angle that suits, and set them to rest on their pole-style mounts at four different heights. This effectively means you can place the TV on a piece of furniture or directly on the floor.

Note that due to their extreme sizes, the 65-inch EX750 only supports swivelling, while the 75-inch model can’t be swivelled or lifted.

The most important EX750 innovation is its so-called Digitally Enhanced Local Dimming technology. This combines the local dimming we’d expect of an edge LED TV – where separate zones of lights can output different amounts of light – with a completely new processing/shuttering system. That system apparently adjusts the angle of each liquid crystal so that the external light source hits it more effectively.

Panasonic was confident enough in this new technology to run a dark room demo – with seriously impressive results. The demo comprised an exceptionally dark sequence packed with shadow detail, punctuated by occasional bright elements such as car headlights. The EX750 handled it far better than the 2016 DX750 sitting next to it.

Panasonic TX-58EX750

Black levels were deeper, with far less interruption from low-contrast greyness. Shadow detailing was also vastly improved, with the EX750 revealing subtle shading, detailing, and even colour information that was completely lost to the relatively hollow, empty-looking picture of the DX750.

Even more impressive was the almost complete absence of the backlight instability, clouding and blooming problems usually associated with edge LED TVs (including the DX750). There’s simply no overstating how much more immersive this made the experience of watching a dark scene on the EX750.

The EX750 range carries quite a glassy screen that was prone to picking up reflections from Panasonic’s bright show floor. Even the EX750’s new light-control system couldn’t stop the dark scene’s bright highlights from looking much less bright and intense than they did on a tiny reference LED mastering monitor sitting alongside it.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Panasonic TX-58EX750

However, they didn’t look any less bright than on the DX750, which is a significant achievement given that the EX750 is managing this without any of the DX750’s backlight artefacts.

On the subject of brightness, it was a little surprising to learn that despite being a relatively premium 4K and HDR-ready LCD model, the EX750 is rated to deliver only around 550 nits of peak brightness. This falls way short of the 1,000-nit peaks demanded by the current Ultra HD Premium recommended specifications.

Not surprisingly, the lack of raw peak nits seemed to cause some clipping (loss of tonal subtlety and detail) in the brightest areas of the HDR demo footage.

Panasonic TX-58EX750

Intriguingly, Panasonic claims that the “Super Bright Panel Plus” technology inside the EX750 range is capable of sustaining a much brighter average picture level (APL) than typical HDR TVs – especially typical mid-range HDR TVs. This means you’ll see a more consistently bright image – something that potentially makes much more sense given that most people watch TV in a fairly bright room.

Certainly, the EX750s looked vastly brighter and more vibrant than the step-down EX700 models on show next to them.

With the ability to combine this eye-catchingly high APL alongside new black level prowess, the EX750s have the potential to be much more impressive HDR performers than their basic “peak nits” figure might suggest.

The EX750s are also the only new LCD models on show to benefit from Panasonic’s new Studio Master HCX2 picture processing technology. This means they have the 3D Look Up Table technology, previously only available on Panasonic’s most high-end TVs. It’s designed to deliver a much subtler and more accurate colour palette than you’d normally expect to see on a mid-range TV.

It was hard to judge the technology’s effectiveness with the relatively limited content on show, but it has delivered excellent results on other Panasonic screens. Even at the convention, you could see that there was greater refinement and detail in the EX750’s colour than on the EX700.

Panasonic has yet to reveal pricing for the EX750 models, but if they’re anywhere near as competitive as last year’s DX750 range, I think Panasonic could have a sizeable hit on its hands.

Especially, it turns out, with 3D fans. In one final surprise, the EX750 is the only series in Panasonic’s entire 2017 TV range – and from any brand’s 2017 range – to support 3D playback.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/bAOnzs)

Huawei P10 vs LG G6 : Two Solid Android Phones For 2017

How does the LG G6 compare to the Huawei P10? Let’s find out shall we…

The blindfolds have been removed and the biggest handset makers are finally taking the wraps off their flagship Android smartphones for 2017. Two of the biggest announcements so far have been the Huawei P10 and the LG G6.

Both are 5in+ beasts and both will be competing for your pocketbook. But which, in the end, deserves your money. We take a look at both the Huawei P10 and the LG G6 to see how each stacks up. Which one has the better display? Which has the faster processor and RAM? Which looks cooler? Let’s find out.

Huawei P10 vs LG G6: Specs

Here’s the specs for the Huawei P10:

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Huawei P10

  • Display: 5.1in display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 432ppi
  • Dimensions: 145.3 x 69.3 x 7 mm
  • Weight: 145 grams
  • Storage: 64GB, plus support for microSD cards up to 256GB
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Processors: Kirin 960 2.4GHz 64-bit Octa-core processor
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Rear camera: Dual 20 + 12 MP
  • Battery life: 3200 mAh
  • Colors: Mystic Silver, Rose Gold, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Dazzling Blue, Greenery

And here’s the specs for the LG G6:

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG G6 hands-on

  • Display: 5.7in display with a 2880×1440-pixel resolution at 564ppi
  • Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 163 grams
  • Storage: 32 or 64GB, plus support for microSD cards up to 256GB
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Rear camera: Dual 13 MP
  • Battery life: 3300 mAh
  • Colors: Astro Black, Ice Platinum, Mystic White

Both phones come in 64GB storage options, but the G6 also comes in a lower 32GB option (not that anyone should opt for such low storage). All seems even, so far, right? And it is as both phones also supports storage expansion via the microSD card slot up to 256GB in size.

When it comes to RAM, 4GB is what you get with either phone, no matter what storage size. As for processors, the P10 features Huawei’s new Kirin 64-bit Kirin 960 2.4GHz 64-bit Octa-core processor. As for the G6, you get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821. Which is better? In all the real world tests I’ve seen they’re about equal.

When it comes to battery, the G6 eeks out just a bit more battery power at 3300 mAh versus the P10’s 3200 mAh battery. Still, expect virtually the same battery life for each device, since the larger battery in the G6 needs to power a higher resolution display.

Huawei P10 vs LG G6: Design & Build

I’m a big fan of the P10 with its precision-engineered aluminum and ceramic body and its good selection of color options.

It also features a new textured back finish the company calls “hyper diamond cut” on select models. In truth, however, it’s really hard to compare the body designed of flagships nowadays as most feature all-metal or aluminum bodies, as the G6 does as well.

What is no surprise is the P10 is 0.9mm thinner than the G6. The almost-1mm thickness difference is because the G6 has the physically larger display and I guess LG couldn’t find a way to flatten the larger battery the G6 needs to power it.

Huawei P10 vs LG G6: Display

We come to the first HUGE difference between the two when we talk displays.

The Huawei P10 has the smaller 5.1in display with a resolution of 1920×1080-pixel at 432ppi. It’s a nice display, sure, but when you compare it to the G6’s 5.7in beast of a display with 2880×1440-pixels at 564ppi, well, the contest is over. The G6 hands down has the better display.

Huawei P10 vs LG G6: Cameras

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Huawei P10

But the P10 strikes back in a BIG WAY when you get to the camera department. The P10 features a dual-camera Leica lens in its rear camera. That’s right, there are TWO lenses in the back camera, one 20MP and one 12MP, leading to pictures that approach DSLR quality. The G6 features a dual lens camera as well, but it only features two 13MP lenses. No question about it, you will get MUCH better pics using the P10’s camera.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG G6

As for front facing cameras, the P10 beats the G6 there too. The P10 has an single 8MP front lens, while the G6 is stuck with a single 5MP lens front camera.

Huawei P10 vs LG G6: Verdict

Yeeesh! This is a very VERY tough call. In many ways the LG G6 wins: it’s got better storage options and a MUCH better display. But the P10 is incredibly compelling thanks to its superior dual lens camera system. Your pics will be better than ever thanks to the P10’s 20MP and 12MP dual lens rear camera.

So which to choose? My advice is if gaming and everyday app-usage is the most important thing to you in a phone, opt for the LG G6 over the P10. However, if picture taking is something you primarily use your smartphone for, grab the P10. Pics don’t get better than that (without a DSLR).

(knowyourmobile.com, https://goo.gl/1CRqve)

The Electric Vehicles America Needed but Never Got

While electric vehicles are gaining momentum in the U.S., there’s still a long way to go. In December 2016, the segment’s peak month to date, plug-ins managed just a 1.5% market share. So breaking through to the mainstream (say, over 10%), remains a while away.

There are many theories as to why EVs have not caught on in America, but high cost for low return is the gist of it. Let’s start with the 2013 Ford Focus Electric, a car that offered 76 miles of driving range at a sticker price of $39,200. Even the most steadfast environmentalist would lean toward a brand-new Mercedes C-Class for the same cost. Products by Volkswagen, Smart, and Kia didn’t fare much better than Ford’s first EV.

A silver Tesla Model 3 driving down a scenic road

The future of electric vehicles is much brighter than the past | Tesla

In fact, only the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, and Chevrolet Volt ever made hay on the sales charts. While automakers sputtered by sticking batteries in gas cars, the plug-in market’s top sellers had the opposite approach and were successful. As we enter the next generation of electric cars, we can’t help but think of models that would have done well if automakers ever made them (or exported them here).

They may be impossible, but who’s to say what would have happened if Detroit really tried? We call the right to the “chicken or the egg” theory here. Here are 10 EVs Americans wanted but never got.

1. Renault ZOE

White Renault Zoe

The Renault ZOE made headlines in Europe | Renault

This one is real. Renault ZOE was Europe’s best-selling EV in 2015 and 2016, but because the automaker doesn’t do business in America, we never got it. There was nothing particularly magical about the Renault ZOE. The thing is, it wasn’t as hard to look at as the Smart Electric Drive, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, or Chevrolet Spark EV. Renault’s mini electric car offered solid performance without embarrassing its driver. In 2016, a model featuring over 180 miles of range hit the market. All the while, the Renault ZOE was a good value. Go figure.

2. Ford Focus Energi

A red Ford Focus Electric sits parked in the street

Rumors of a Ford Focus Energi never materialized | Ford

If you haven’t noticed, auto writers sometimes get carried away with car rumors. One such example was the possibility of a Ford Focus Energi that was floated for a few years. The theory was beautiful: Take the fun-to-drive Ford Focus Electric and make it a viable and economical plug-in hybrid. Electrifying what was then the world’s most popular car would have solved so many problems, and (if Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi are any predictors) it would have sold like hotcakes. Alas, it never happened.

3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

A silver Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

A Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid remains an intriguing concept after all these years | Mitsubishi

We turn back to reality for this one. Like the Renault ZOE, the Mitsubishi Outlander has been a big seller in Europe since it debuted in 2013. How big, you ask? It had 56% of the plug-in market in 2014, and it led the pack each of the other three years, too. Again, the concept was not revolutionary: Take an SUV and give it a decent amount of electric range as a plug-in hybrid. Mitsubishi planned to bring it to America, but it got delayed at least four times. Next up is 2017, but we don’t want to get anyone excited.

4. A midsize Chevrolet Volt

A red 2017 Chevrolet Volt sits parked in front of a house

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt might have ample electric range, but when it comes to its size, it leaves much to be desired | General Motors

The redesigned Chevrolet Volt gives green car lovers just about everything they could possibly want. There’s ample electric range (53 miles), excellent economy (106 MPGe), and enough total range to travel 420 miles without stopping. The only complaint you might lodge here concerns the car’s size. We can’t help but feel a bit constrained inside the Chevrolet Volt (front seat or back), and we’ve met bigger people in our lives. Make us a midsize Chevrolet Volt and we’ll show you a hot plug-in model. This one is much easier said than done, though.

5. Electric Toyota Prius

A blue 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime would make a fine electric car | Toyota

It’s almost so obvious that we didn’t think of it: How is there no electric Toyota Prius? Somehow, there’s a fuel-cell Toyota Mirai in existence that costs about $60,000, but you can’t find fuel for it anywhere. On the other hand, everyone has electrical outlets at home. Plus, everyone in California has a Toyota Prius. How this never happened defies common sense. Not to go negative, but we can’t think of a worse play than investing all that money in Toyota Mirai when a Toyota Prius EV would have been a smash hit.

6. BYD Tang

2016 BYD Tang

The 2016 BYD Tang has 500 horsepower and 50 miles of electric range | BYD

If we’ve learned anything from the Chinese market, it’s that EVs don’t have to necessarily cost a fortune to deliver the goods. Take the 2016 BYD Tang, for example. This fire-breathing plug-in hybrid SUV sports 500 horsepower and 50 miles of electric range (foreign cycle), yet it doesn’t quite cost $50,000. We’ll let those statistics speak for themselves.

7. All-electric Ford Fusion

A white 2016 Fusion Energi sits in a parking lot

The 2016 Ford Fusion Energi could use more electric range | Eric Schaal/Autos Cheat Sheet

This take is similar to the one calling out the Chevrolet Volt’s size. We’d like much more electric range in Ford Fusion than you get in the very convincing Fusion Energi model. An all-electric Ford Fusion would probably be impossible given the engine placement, weight restrictions, and other issues (i.e., price). However, one obvious solution to the segment’s early malaise would have been to take a midsize American car design everyone loved, and equip it with serious electric range. Even a 40-mile Ford Fusion Energi would be hot.

8. BYD Qin

An orange BYD Qin

The BYD Qin plug-in hybrid gets over 40 miles in electric mode | BYD

Continuing with the Chinese-have-better-EVs-than-us theme, we’ll point out the attractive specs of the BYD Qin. This plug-in hybrid packs 300 horsepower, gets over 40 miles in electric mode, and would not top $30,000 once we claimed the federal tax credit. As milquetoast EVs and plug-ins crowded the U.S. market, the BYD Qin blithely hit 60 miles per hour in five seconds and sold in volume to Chinese consumers.

9. Tesla Model 3

A silver Tesla Model 3 driving down a scenic road

If there is one car that represents the future of electric cars, it would be the Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

This one isn’t a joke. Timing is everything, and Tesla Model 3 looks like it’s coming out about a year late, assuming it arrives toward the end of 2017. Clearly Tesla could not afford to build the car as battery prices were still high as of early 2016. Nor could the automaker clear the decks to make way for its affordable performance EV. But, wow, what a splash this car would have made — even at $40,000 — when consumers were absolutely exhausted with the segment late in 2015. It would have exploded. Sure, Tesla Model 3 will do great when it arrives, but what if it was already on the roads …

10. BMW i5

A black BMW i3 drives down the street

The BMW i5 would have been the missing link between the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 | Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

The funky BMW i3 and the gorgeous BMW i8 supercar were both minor hits, and they gave the brand real juice in the EV space. But after the early fascination with the BMW i3, we got a minor range boost and nothing else. What could have made waves was a larger sedan with a full electric powertrain, or something close to it. It could have hooked the luxury market and been on every green car driver’s wish list. Whenever Tesla had production issues, this theoretical BMW i5 would have dominated. But no such luck.

(cheatsheet.com, https://goo.gl/sFnh2C)

LG G6 vs Huawei P10 Plus Specs Comparison

With the 2017 MWC ongoing, a couple of handset manufacturers have already announced new phones but some of the most anticipated releases were those from LG and Huawei with their G6and P10/P10 Plus, respectively. Let’s take a quick look at the best offerings from both phone companies in this side-by-side specs comparison.

LG G6 Huawei P10 Plus
5.7-inch QHD+ Full Vision display @ 2880 x 1440 resolution 5.5-inch WQHD IPS LCD display @ 2560 x 1440 resolution
565ppi 510ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (front) / Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (back) Corning Gorilla Glass 5
2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core CPU 2.4GHz HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core CPU
Adreno 530 GPU Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
4GB LPDDR4 RAM 6GB LPDDR4 RAM
32GB/64GB UFS 2.0 storage 64GB/128GB storage
Expandable up to 2TB via microSD Expandable up to 256GB via microSD
13MP (f/1.8, OIS, 3-axis) + 13MP (f/2.4) wide-angle Laser AF rear cameras w/ dual LED Flash 3rd-gen Leica-certified 20MP monochrome + 12MP color sensors, dual-tone flash, OIS, F1.8 aperture
5MP wide-angle front camera, f/2.2 aperture 8MP Leica-certified front camera, f/1.9 aperture
4G LTE-A Cat.12/13 4.5G LTE Cat. 12 (4×4 Mimo Quad LTE antennas)
WiFi 802.11ac, dual-band WiFi (2×2 Mimo antennas)
Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.2
NFC NFC
USB Type-C USB Type-C
Fingerprint Sensor Fingerprint Sensor
No IR Blaster IR Blaster
Hi-Fi Quad DAC No Hi-Fi Quad DAC
Dust and Water resistance Dust and Water resistance
3300mAh Li-Ion battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 3,750mAh battery with Super Charge
Android 7 Nougat with LG UX 6.0 UI Android 7.1 Nougat w/ EMUI 5.1
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm 153.5 x 74.2 x 7mm
163g 165 grams
Ice Platinum, Astro Black, and Mystic White Dazzling Blue, Greenery, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black, Rose Gold, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold

First off, the LG G6 is equipped with a larger screen at 5.7 inches. This is due to the company’s Fullvision implementation that comes with a new 18:9 aspect ratio. This also puts more pixels at 2880 x 1440 as compared to P10 Plus’ 2560 x 1440 resolution.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG G6 vs Huawei P10 Plus

Inside, the P10 Plus is embedded with a Kirin 960 octa-core CPU while the G6 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 chipset. It has a lower memory at 4GB compared to Huawei’s 6GB RAM. Internal storage also favors the P10 with a choice of 64GB or 128GB.

Both devices feature dual rear cameras but they function differently from each other. The LG G6 combines a regular camera with a wide-angle one — similar to what we’ve seen on the G5 and V20. Meanwhile, Huawei’s 3rd-generation of Leica-certified cameras are now better at capturing 20MP monochrome images to get the details, then mixes data from the 12MP color sensor. The front shooter of the G6 also has wide-angle for group portraits but the P10 carried its Leica optics to the front with a bigger F1.9 aperture for low light shots.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho LG G6 vs Huawei P10 Plus

Additionally, an IR blaster for controlling appliances has surprisingly been ditched by LG for its G6 which is then picked up by Huawei for the P10. LG makes up for it by incorporating a Hi-Fi Quad DAC for high-res audio. Both resist dust and water so you can use them in more instances than before. Finally, the two flagships carry fast charging capabilities but the P10 has more capacity at 3750mAh.

(yugatech.com, https://goo.gl/wyuB7U)

Seagate Backup Plus Hub 6TB Review

What we liked about it:

* Exquisite Design
* Portable, despite being slightly bigger
* Good performance in terms of read/write speeds
* Additional features via Dashboard
* Reasonable price point

What we did not like:

* Slightly Bigger than most hard drives
* Requires external power

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Seagate Backup Plus Hub 6TB Review

External HDDs aren’t new in the computer industry. Each year, there are advancements which push HDDs and SSDs to be cheaper, lighter, sturdier, and higher in storage size capacity.

Despite external drives being slightly more expensive than traditional desktop hard drives, their advantage over the latter is that external hard drives are portable and have a wide-range of storage capabilities suitable for each and everyone’s needs.

Today, we have the 6TB Seagate Backup Plus Hub — one of Seagate’s high-capacity portable hard drives.

Features and Design

Right out of the box, the Seagate Backup Plus Hub dashes out with an elegant and stylish look – featuring a glossy finish on the sides and front, and an etched pentagon-pattern on the rear, bottom, and top exterior of the hard drive.

On the front we also see 2 USB 3.0 ports for device charging, and an engraved Seagate logo on the upper left corner alongside a matte finish. Despite being glossy on the sides, it also doesn’t catch fingerprints as quickly as other glossy finishes.

Even though it can be carried, the drive is larger than a typical 1TB/2TB external hard drive, and a full 3.5″ internal hard drive. Also, unlike most external hard drives, the Seagate Backup Plus Hub requires additional external power.

We were expecting the USB 3.0 ports to be compatible on general USB powered devices such as mice, keyboards, and general flash drives, but it turns out as we tested, the ports only function as they were advertised: they only charge devices.

We are unsure if there are reasons behind Seagate’s decision of having an etched pentagonal-pattern on the design, as it clearly isn’t for exhausts or anything related to cooling. The same can be said at the bottom, and rear sides of the hub.

Benchmarks

In our benchmarks we tested the Seagate Backup Plus in read/write situations of various softwares, files, and games. While overall CPU performance won’t make much of a difference in getting results, here are the specs that we used for testing:

CPU Specs:
GPU Intel Core i7-6700
GPU Palit GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5XX
RAM 16GB Corsair (8×2, 2400Mhz)
MOBO: Gigabyte H170 Nano
HDD: Seagate Skyhawk
SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 512GB (256GBx2)
PSU: Silverstone SFX 500Watts

Without a doubt our test rig won’t bottleneck the performance of the drive thanks to the 6700, however, since this is not a SATA drive and it only runs USB 3.0, read and write speeds will vary.

The drive supports USB 3.0 and promises very good performance in terms of transfer speeds.

Sequential Read: 171MB/s
Sequential Write: 49MB/s
Random Read: 101MB/s
Random Write: 53MB/s

We used PCMark8 to benchmark the drive and found that the speed of the drive is somewhat faster than most external harddrives, possibly due to the external power required for the drive.

All in all, the drive is fast and efficient thanks to the USB 3.0 port.

Software

The highlight of the Seagate Backup Plus Hub, and all of their products is the Seagate Dashboard. Each hard drive is readable and manageable by the Dashboard and provides quick and easy options for backup and recovery.

The Software’s UX is great. On the left corner you’ll see all Seagate enabled devices (in our case, the BackupPlus Hub), and easily choose whether to backup, upload, or restore your files.

Dashboard

The software offers PC and Mobile backup, with mobile requiring you to install the Seagate app depending on whether IOS or Android.  Within the PC backup, you can create your own custom backup action plan or automatically backup the device using Seagate’s standard settings.

PC Backup

In mobile backup, you can easily backup your files from your mobile phone to the hub via WiFi or the PC via the use of the Seagate Backup app.

In the social media feature, you can choose either to save your photos/videos/files from the internet or directly share them instantly to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts.


If you click the device icon, you’ll see device info such as size, speed, and you can easily view the device files by simply clicking “view files”. There are three sections within it: “Info”, “Manage”, and “Support”.


In the manage section, you can automatically generate thumbnails for all videos without thumbnails, control the LED lights, test your drive, and handle power saving options for your device.

Lastly, located in the “Support” section are the general links and references to the product as well as customer support, FAQs, and troubleshooting.

The inclusion of a software with a UX as easy and intuitive as Seagate’s software is very useful. Instead of manually looking for files in your PC, Phone, you can easily and automatically backup your important files on a scheduled basis.

While not everyone might appreciate Seagate’s Dashboard, we would definitely use it especially since it can help in saving time and energy when backing up files. There is a learning curve in using the software, but its entire UX is very pleasing, and can be learned in less than 15 mins.

Conclusion

The best thing about the Seagate Plus Hub is its design. Unlike most harddrives, the Seagate Backup Plus sports a very elegant design that complements almost every PC. Asides from the great design, it’s also lightweight and portable.

The downside of the drive, however, would be the external USB ports. Whilst it is a great idea to have external ports for charging, Seagate, however, could have made the ports more useful by enabling other devices to use it as well.

Asides from the design, Seagate’s Dashboard is very intuitive and easy to use. The UX is great, and the storage options of the Backup Plus are plenty, ranging from 4TB up to 8TB.

Overall, if you’re looking for your own personal backup hub that has great software support as well as design and storage capabilities, then the Seagate Backup Plus Hub will be great for you.

Seagate Backup Plus specs:
  • USB 2.0, 3.0 Support
  • 4TB, 6TB, 8TB storage options
  • Windows and macOS support

(yugatech.com,https://goo.gl/hCV96c)

 

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3 : Which outdoor GPS watch should you choose

When it comes to the best outdoors watches, Garmin has had the market sewn up. Its GPS sports watches have set the gold standard, but for our money, it’s TomTom that’s offered the best response with the new TomTom Adventurer.

The problem with Garmin’s outdoor watches is that they’re eye-wateringly expensive. Despite the Fenix 3 about to be superseded by the Fenix 5, it still costs in excess of $500.

 TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

TomTom has seen an opportunity, and prices its watch at an attractive $299. But can it compete in terms of data and performance? We put the two head-to-head to find out.

Update: A word to the wise, however. We’ve based the above prices on the RRPs. The Fenix 3 is currently being treated to a range of discounts because of the impending Fenix 5. Check Amazon for the latest offers.

Design

For our money the Fenix 3 wins in the design stakes, but it’s not that clear cut for everyone. First, it’s absolutely massive, with a 47mm body that dominates even above average-sized wrists. What’s more, if you plump for the Fenix 3 Sapphire or Chronos version (just $599) it gets ludicrously heavy to wear.

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

The watch is controlled by five chunky buttons which surround the watch’s case. The user interface is pretty easy to navigate on the colour display. But don’t expect HD visuals, colour is sparingly used and washed out, but it’s nicely splashed about for things like heart rate zones. There’s a blacklight for night-time use, accessed by pressing the button at 10 o’clock.

The TomTom takes a different approach, using plastic to keep the Adventurer impressively lightweight. It comes with a bright orange strap which is pretty bright and borders garish. That kind of eliminates all-day wearability for those who don’t make sports a part of their lifestyle, but we were happy to wear it on weekend jaunts to the countryside.

The screen is a low-res monochrome LCD panel, which is easier to read but not as versatile as the Fenix 3. There’s also a backlight which is summoned by covering the screen with your palm and lasts about five seconds.

The software is pretty easy to navigate – you get used to it quickly. It’s controlled by the four-way control under the screen, which is fairly easy to use with sweaty hands. The two devices are pretty much even stevens in terms of usability.

Features

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

For the extra money, it’s not surprising that the Garmin Fenix 3 offers more complete features. There are modes for running, cycling, swimming, hiking and skiing – and obscure modes for paddleboarding, golf, rowing, hunting, fishing, the gym and more. What’s more, more sports can be added using the Garmin Connect IQ feature.

The TomTom Adventurer covers off the key sports here, with running, trail running, cycling, swimming, hiking and skiing all catered for. Obviously the versatility offered by Garmin and its app store of additions is preferable, but for most people, the cheaper Adventurer offers everything they need.

The TomTom Adventurer boasts heart rate sensing from the wrist, which is also available if you plump for the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. The TomTom Adventurer fared better in our accuracy tests, although the Garmin uses heart rate data for all-day tracking.

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

But the Adventurer bundles in two features that leaves the Garmin reeling. The first is music playback and you can add MP3s to its 3GB memory, and listen with a pair of Bluetooth headphones while you work out. It’s a bit old school adding music to your watch via your PC/Mac, but it’s liberating working out without a phone for tunes.

The second is perhaps even more powerful. The trail exploration feature means you can add GPX files for routes to the watch, and fire these up when you start a session. That could mean grabbing GPX files for hikes from the web or creating running routes in apps like Strava. The routes are then displayed on the watch and you can ensure you’re staying on track. It’s hard to emphasise how much we loved this feature, both for getting out in the wilds of Scotland and completing cross-London runs in uncharted territory.

Garmin does manage to land one punch on the TomTom’s, however. Its smartwatch functionality will show pretty much any notification from your phone on the display. And while both make a good fist of activity tracking, the Fenix 3 HR will keep tabs on your resting heart rate, making it a much better fitness tracker replacement.

Sports tracking

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

So what do you get out of every activity?

Well, the Fenix 3 is probably the gold standard when it comes to running. You get all the usual metrics, and the addition of heart rate via the Fenix 3 HR or the chest strap yields impressive metrics: VO2 Max, race predictor, stress scores, heart rate zones. But when you pair it with a chest strap, things get seriously in-depth. Aside from heart rate, it adds vertical oscillation, cadence, stride length, to name but a few top end data sets. It’s a runner’s dream.

The TomTom Adventurer does a good job too, offering pace, distance and the usual stuff, along with heart rate and zones. But it can’t match the Fenix 3’s sports science metrics.

Hiking is similar on both devices, with distance, speed, elevation and time all tracked. You can also get a map of your progress on both devices and a live compass which is pretty handy. While the Garmin edges the battery life – about 20 hours of GPS versus around 10 hours from the TomTom – the GPX route uploading feature on the Adventurer is one of the highlights.

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

Cycling is similar. Out of the box the two offer similar metrics of distance, speed, elevation, time and laps. Again, the Fenix will access stress scores and heart rate data and will plug into Garmin’s array of additional bike sensors for cadence, power, intensity and torque if you want to max out your stats.

Swimming is well catered for on both watches with lengths, speed, distance, calories all recorded, as well as the number of strokes. Again, the Fenix trumps here by recognising the main four stroke types. It just takes things up a level in terms of data every time.

The final big metric is skiing. Both are pretty similar here, offering heart rate, descent, run count, distance, duration and speed. Both will also give you a summary of your run at the bottom and pause until you get started back at the top. However, the TomTom will display your run data when it detects your safely on the lift.

App and ecosystem

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

TomTom has improved its app experience markedly in the past few months, but it’s still no match for Garmin.

TomTom MySports is well-laid out and syncs much more easily than the previous iteration. It’s also much at blending your all-day activity stats and workout data much more pleasingly than before. Dive into a workout and you get a host of in-depth information and graphs – and crucially, anything can be exported to Strava, Runkeeper or any app you can think of. It’s a perfectly decent app now, but not quite at Garmin levels.

TomTom Adventurer v Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin’s ecosystem is similarly open, and plays nicely with most fitness services. If there’s one criticism that can be levied at Garmin is that the app is too complex and data can be a little hard to find.

However, hit the web app and you get a tonne of features that just blows the opposition out of the water. You can access training plans for races, plan routes, workouts, access challenges, a calendar of workouts – it’s immense.

There is work to be done in each of these areas to up the usefulness, but as a repository for a host of multisport data, which is exactly what the Fenix 3 offers, it’s a winner.

Verdict

If you want the best outdoor and multisport watch, the Fenix 3 is still a market leader. The detail and metrics offered – particularly for runners and cyclists – is second to none. However, you have to be totally committed, to pay the huge outlay and to make the most of those metrics and wear the appropriate chest straps and attach the right sensors to get them.

The TomTom Adventurer is a more complete out-of-the-box experience, that’s suited to serious amateur athletes who realise that the most complex data is beyond their needs. The price is superb for the array of tracked sports, it works fantastically well and the built in GPX routes is something everyone should explore and enjoy. We’re huge fans, and for most people, the TomTom is the best choice out there.

(wareable.com, https://goo.gl/NEVUvR)

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: Is this year’s Huawei flagship a worthwhile upgrade?

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: We look at if this year’s flagship update is a worthy successor to the photography-focused Huawei P9.

Huawei has finally unveiled its P10 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it builds upon the photographic elements of the Huawei P9. As before, Huawei has partnered with Leica for its rear dual camera sensors and that’s going to be the main selling point for many.

But while the dual sensor setup was slightly less prevalent when the Huawei P9 first launched, it’s not being adopted by rivals, such as the LG G6, and we fully expect to see it again in the iPhone 8.

But if you picked up a Huawei P9, you’ll want to know what’s changed and what’s new with the Huawei P10 update. Well look no further, as this article will answer those very questions.

In this article, I’ll be answering the following questions:

  • How do they look and feel different?
  • How do the Huawei P10 and Huawei P9 specs compare?
  • What’s new with the phone software?
  • Which phone is better value for money?
  • Is the Huawei P10 the phone for you?

Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a summarised version of this article.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 Design: What’s the difference?

The main difference you’re immediately going to notice is the almost ridiculous amount of colour options available for the Huawei P10. There are eight colour choices in total, including Greenery, Dazzling Blue, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Ceramic White, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold and Graphite Black. It means you’ve got considerably more colour options. The Huawei P9 only came in Grey, Silver, Red and Blue.

Huawei

Huawei P10

The Huawei P10 also has High Gloss, Hyper-Diamond Cut or Sandblast finishes depending on what colour you opt for, so some models have a slightly textured finish.

The other difference is the fingerprint sensor, which has been moved to the front of the Huawei P10, whereas it was on the back of the Huawei P9. You also have the option of integrating all of Android’s navigation into the front fingerprint sensor, so a tap goes back, a hold takes you to home, and swipes left or right bring up recent apps. The fingerprint sensor is supposed to be faster to respond, too, although we found the P9’s no slouch.

The Huawei P10’s display has actually gotten a fraction smaller, measuring in at 5.1-inches compared to the Huawei P9’s 5.2-inch display. The resolution remains the same at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The reduction in size with the same resolution actually bumps up the pixels-per-inch so the P10 will be very marginally sharper.

Huawei P9

Huawei P9

Otherwise, the design of both phones are very similar in the sense that they feel solidly constructed. Both phones make use of USB-C charging and the Huawei P10 has retained its 3.5mm headphone jack, so no controversies here.

HUAWEI P10 VS HUAWEI P9 SPECS: WHICH PHONE IS MORE POWERFUL?

The flagship phones of today hardly leave you wanting for power, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to say no to an extra boost in performance. Here’s where we de-construct the performance of each of these two smartphones.

While rivals all swarm to the latest Qualcomm chipsets, Huawei likes to do things its own way. First of all, the Huawei P10 now uses a Kirin 960 chipset. That’s an Octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) chipset for those wondering.

This is the very same chipset as seen in the Huawei Mate 9. For gamers in particular, Huawei reckons this delivers a 180% increase in performance and 40% in power efficiency from the GPU. The Huawei P9 uses the older Kirin 955 chipset, which equates to Octa-core (4 x 2.5 GHz A72+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53).

Huawei P10

Huawei P10

The other big change is that the Huawei P10 has 4GB of RAM as standard, whereas the Huawei P9 made do with 3GB. Base storage has also been bumped up, so you’ll now have 64GB of storage as standard, whereas the Huawei P9 came with 32GB. This has impacted the starting price of the Huawei P10, however. It’s also worth noting that both phones have microSD slots, so you can easily upgrade the storage for much less.

Battery capacity has seen an increase in the P10, up to 3,200mAh from 3,000mAh in the P9. That should hopefully result in better longevity alongside some of the software updates present in the P10. The Huawei P10 also supports SuperCharge, which should get you to a day’s worth of use within 30 minutes of charging.

But it’s the camera that’s the star of the show on both phones. The Huawei P10 has that same ‘Co-engineered with Leica’ badge of honour but the camera sensors have been improved for the Huawei P10. As before, there are two sensors round back, one monochrome and one RGB.

Except this time, the monochrome sensor has been bumped up to 20-megapixels, with the RGB sensor remaining the same at 12-megapixels. On the Huawei P9 both sensors were 12-megapixels. The rear lens apertures remain the same at F/2.2.

Huawei 12

Huawei P10

It’s around the front where more prominent camera changes can be found. The front camera remains 8-megapixels, but the aperture has been greatly improved to F/1.9 where the Huawei P9 made do with a much poorer F/2.4. This means more light can reach the sensor for greater low-light selfie opportunities, as well as better background blur for better selfies.

Huawei P9

Huawei P9

We haven’t had a chance to really put the Huawei P10’s snapper through its paces just yet, but considering the P9 was a good performer, we have high expectations, especially as Huawei has improved its Camera app with dedicated portrait modes, which can also be used for the front facing camera in the P10.

Here’s a full comparison of the two phone’s specifications:

Huawei P10 Huawei P9
Screen 5.1 inches 5.2 inches
Display Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 pixels 1,080 x 1,920 pixels
Dimensions 145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98mm 145 x 70 x 6.95mm
Chipset Kirin 960 Kirin 955
RAM 4GB 3GB
Storage 64GB 32/64GB
Rear Camera Dual: 20-megapixel monochrome, 12-megapixel RGB, f/2.2 Dual: 12-megapixel, f/2.2
Front Camera 8-megapixel, f/1.9 8-megapixel, f/2.4
Battery Size 3,200mAh 3,000mAh
Charging SuperCharge Standard
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Waterproof No No
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C
Colours Greenery, Dazzling Blue, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Ceramic White, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black Grey, Silver, Red, Blue

HUAWEI P10 VS HUAWEI P9 SOFTWARE: WHAT’S NEW WITH THE PHONE SOFTWARE?

Both phones use Huawei’s EMUI Android skin, and the Huawei P9 is getting an update to a version based upon Android 7.0. The Huawei P10 will launch with EMUI 5.1 right off the bat and this brings with it some performance improvements that Huawei is calling Ultra Memory and Ultra Response.

Huawei P10

Huawei P10

Ultra Memory impacts how the operating system frees up and recycles memory and Huawei says it’s so good that 4GB of RAM can perform as well as 6GB in competing phones. Ultra Response includes touch prediction, so that the software can guess where your finger will go next to reduce touch input latency, making for a smoother user experience when navigating.

The EMUI experience visually is very similar on both phones, even when running EMUI 4.1 on the Huawei P9. With a software update coming to the P9 – and already available in some territories – software isn’t a massive separator between these two phones.

HUAWEI P10 VS P9 PRICE: WHICH PHONE IS BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY?

With the Huawei P10 starting at €649 for the 64GB/4GB RAM model, it immediately looks more expensive than the Huawei P9’s launch price of €599, but in fairness this was for a 32GB/3GB of RAM model, so it’s not a direct comparison. The P9 had a 64GB/4GB configuration available in certain territories for the same price as the P10.

So the price hasn’t changed drastically for the Huawei P10. Comparing these two phones for the same money, the P10 is the clear winner. But as the P9 is now much older, it can be had for considerably less money.

HUAWEI P10 VS HUAWEI P9: WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU BUY?

If you’re considering a Huawei P10, here’s our advice:

If you want the best camera hardware, choose the Huawei P10. Unsurprisingly, the Huawei P10 improves on the Huawei P9 in terms of specifications, so you’re going to get much better performance with the newer phone. But the cameras have been improved, and that’s going to be the main draw of the Huawei P-series of phones. The front-facing camera in particular is much better for the narcissists out there.

If you want to save some money, choose the Huawei P9. It’s a tough call to say whether or not the Huawei P10 is really worth the extra cash, especially with the Huawei P9 available for a lot less money than its launch price and software updates still being released to keep it up to date.

Consider the alternatives before buying either phone. The Huawei P10, as a flagship phone, is pricey, so it’s competing with the likes of the new LG G6 and undoubtedly the Samsung Galaxy S8 when that launches. Then there’s the slightly older, but still great, Google Pixel for around the same money, too. For the budget-conscious, the OnePlus 3T is still ridiculously hard to beat for value, too.

Huawei P10

Huawei P10

HUAWEI P10 VS HUAWEI P9 SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Here’s a brief overview of the key differences between the Huawei P10 and the Huawei P9.

Design: Really, both phones are very similar in the design stakes. If you want a ridiculous amount of colour choices, the P10 takes it, though. The different textured finishes of the P10 also make them a bolder choice.

Specs: Unsurprisingly, the Huawei P10 takes this, with newer internals and better performance. The improvements to the camera sensors shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Price: Considering the price of the Huawei P9 has fallen since it’s launch, it has to win this one at least. The starting price of the Huawei P10 has also been pushed up as the baseline specifications have been improved, but that might push it out of reach of some.

Value: We would have to give this to the Huawei P9, too, based on its lower price. If you’re comparing the launch prices, then it’s a dead rubber.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/60tQtL)

 

Moto G5 vs Moto G4: Is there a new king of the budget phones?

Moto G5 vs Moto G4: Motorola had a hit on its hands once again with the Moto G4 and G4 Plus last year. Has it managed to keep its impressive run going in 2017? We take a close look.

For some time, the undisputed king of the budget phones has been, at least for us at TrustedReviews, the Moto G. For the past three year’s we’ve been handing out awards to the Moto G phones, and now, we’ve got the latest in the range: The Moto G5 and G5 Plus.

With new all-metal designs, the phones certainly look more premium than last year’s offerings, but there’s been some significant changes on the hardware side too. Have these new tweaks added to a stellar series, or will this be the year Motorola finally drops the ball in the mid-range market? Well, we’ve had some hands-on time with the new phones so we’re qualified to fill you in on that point. Here’s all you need to know.

In this article, I’ll answer the following questions:

  • How do the designs differ?
  • How do the Moto G5/G5 Plus and Moto G4/G4 Plus specs compare?
  • Which phone has better software?
  • Which phone is better value for money?
  • Should you buy the Moto G5 or the Moto G4?

Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a summarised version of this article.

MOTO G5 VS MOTO G4 DESIGN: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Motorola has gone with an all-metal design for both of its new phones which makes a welcome change to the glass front, plastic back on last year’s G4 and G4 Plus. The G5 and G5 Plus both look similar, and are made from aluminium, which gives them a premium aspect somewhat lacking from their predecessors.

The G4 and G4 Plus look like respectable if slightly boring phones, and while the new versions aren’t the slickest devices you’re ever likely to hold, they certainly feel more premium.

Moto G5

Moto G5 and G5 Plus

From the front, however, things look very similar to last year. The G5 and G5 Plus have a simple black bezel, silver trim on the speaker on the top, and the Moto logo adoring the upper bezel. That’s pretty much what you get with the G4 phones, but the difference this year is that both have a physical home button. Or shall we say a home ‘indent’. The bottom of the G5 and G5 Plus have a recessed pad which is used for fingerprint scanning – something only seen on the G4 Plus last year.

On the rear, the G5 Plus has a protruding circular camera enclosure, while the standard model’s camera is recessed into the body. You’ll also find a Micro USB charging connection, headphone jacks, and Micro SD card slots for expanding the memory. This year, however, you’ll need to use a SIM tool to access the SIM and Micro SD trays on the G5 Plus as the all-metal design means the removable backs of the G4 and G4 Plus are gone on the larger model. Interestingly, the back of the new G5 still comes off, allowing you to remove the battery.

But perhaps the biggest difference this year, design-wise, is the reduction of the two phones’ form factors. Last year, our only major qualm with the G4 and its Plus cousin was the enlarged 5.5-inch screen which made the phones rather uncomfortable to use. Now, the G5 has been shrunk to 5 inches, while the G5 Plus is now a 5.2-inch device. It made for a pretty unwieldy device that was firmly in phablet territory. The reduction in size has made for a much more reasonable handset size and a much more comfortable user experience. And while the G5 Plus is bigger than the standard model, its 5.2-inch size is still fairly easy to use.

Moto G4

Moto G4

MOTO G5 VS MOTO G4 SPECS: WHICH PHONE IS THE MOST POWERFUL?

Last year, the G4 Plus offered a better camera and fingeprint sensor, but that was about it. This year, there are some significant differences between the two. You can choose between 2GB or 3GB of RAM on both devices, but the Plus model also comes with a 2GHz Snapdragon 625 processor instead of the 1.4GHz Snapdragon 430 chip powering the G5.

The G5’s underwhelming processor is a tad disappointing, especially considering last year’s G4 and G4 Plus came with a Snapdragon 617. It makes for a bit of a strange update. You’re getting a 625 chip on the G5 Plus which is a step up from last year, while the standard G5 is arguably a step down. You likely won’t notice the difference in either case, however. All these phones are fast enough to offer a smooth user experience.

Storage is a lot simpler this time around, though. Whereas last year’s G4 came with 16GB, and the G4 Plus offered 16, 32, 64GB options, this year the G5 offers 16GB while the G5 Plus offers 32GB of internal storage. All these phones have a Micro SD card slot, however, so the memory can be expanded.

Moto G5

G5 Plus

Battery wise the G5 actually has a smaller cell than the G4, with a 2,800mAh battery instead of the 3,000mAh offering in the G4. That said, this year’s model doesn’t have to power that larger 5.5-inch screen, so battery performance shouldn’t be to adversely affected.

The Plus model retains the same 3,000mAh cell as its predecessor, however, so you should even get a bit more life out of the Plus considering the upgraded processor and smaller screen.

Either way, you’ll be able to charge the newer phones much more quickly than last year’s models. Motorola has provided fast charging tech on both the G5 and G5 Plus, though the latter actually comes with a superior ‘turbo charge’ feature that will give you six hours of battery in just 15 minutes according to the firm. The standard model ships with a 10w charger that will apparently deliver four hours in 15 minutes of charging. It’s a nice new addition, and gives the newer models another edge on their older counterparts.

No such luck with the screens, though. You’re getting a Full HD panel on all these phones. It’s no bad thing, though. Full HD is more than adequate for phones of this size. Of course, the smaller 5-inch screen sizes this year will make for a very slightly sharper picture, with a 441 pixel-per-inch density and 425 on the G5 and G5 Plus respectively. That’s in comparison to 401 pixels-per-inch on the G4 and G4 Plus. In reality, though, you’re not really going to notice the difference.

Moto G5

Moto G5

Finally, the cameras. The G5 offers a 13-megapixel f/2.0 setup, while the Plus model comes with a 12-megapixel sensor with what Motorola is calling “Dual Autofocus Pixels”. That means it uses 10 times more pixels on the sensor to focus on subjects up to 60% faster than the Moto G4 Plus. It certainly seemed very speedy when we managed to get some hands-on time with the phone.

That upgraded camera on the G5 Plus is backed up by a large f/1.7 aperture and bigger pixels, which let in more light. It’ll also shoot video in 4K, while the G5 is limited to Full HD video.

These are significant upgrades over last year’s Plus model. The G4 also had a 13-megapixel setup with a f/2.0 aperture, so things haven’t really changed much this year. But when it comes to the Plus models, it seems Motorola has done quite a bit to offer a smoother experience. We’ll have more once we’ve fully tested the cameras on the new phones.

For a full spec comparison, check out the table below:

Moto G5 Moto G4
Screen 5 inches 5.5 inches
Display Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 1,080 x 1,920
Dimensions 144.3 x 73.0 x 9.5mm 153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm
Chipset 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 430 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 617
RAM 2GB or 3GB 2GB
Storage 16GB Expandable 16 or 32GB Expandable
Rear Camera 13-megapixel f/2.0 13-megapixel, f/2.0
Front Camera 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Battery Size 2,800mAh 3,000mAh
Charging 10W rapid charger provided N/A
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, Micro USB Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, Micro USB
Colours Lunar Gray or Fine Gold Black or White
Moto G5 Plus Moto G4 Plus
Screen 5.2 inches 5.5 inches
Display Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 1,080 x 1,920
Dimensions 150.2 x 74.0 x 7.7mm 153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm
Chipset 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 625 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 617
RAM 2GB or 3GB 2,3, or 4GB
Storage 32GB Expandable 16,32, or 64GB Expandable
Rear Camera 12-megapixel f/1.7 13-megapixel, f/2.0
Front Camera 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Battery Size 3,000mAh 3,000mAh
Charging Turbo Charge tech N/A
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, Micro USB Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, Micro USB
Colours Lunar Gray or Fine Gold Black or White

MOTO G5 VS MOTO G4: WHICH PHONE HAS BETTER SOFTWARE?

Both the new phones run on Google’s latest Android 7.0 Nougat software. That’s a welcome update as the new OS brings numerous upgrades and new features with it. There’s new support for multi-window multi-tasking, revised notifications, a new Doze function, and Vulkan support for more gaming power. Nougat retains all the best things about the Android OS while adding some really useful new features. For a full breakdown of features, check out our comprehensive Android 7.0 Nougat guide.

Many will also be glad to hear the stock Android experience – one of the main reasons to buy a Moto G – has returned this year. Motorola always refrains from tinkering too much with the Android OS, and it’s the same this time around. Getting an untouched version of Andoid is increasingly rare, so it’s great to see it return.

Moto g4

Of course, you’ll still get a near stock experience with last year’s models, it will just be on Android Marshmallow, rather than the newer Nougat. Which isn’t a massive issue. Marshmallow is a fine operating system that offers a load of useful features. That said, the G4 phones will be getting a Nougat update very soon. We’re confirming when this will take place.

The only real benefit of having the newer Moto G models is support for Google Assistant. Google’s digital assistant allows you to send messages, make calls, navigate, manage everyday tasks and more, just by holding the Home button. The company says it’s worked with Google to make sure the assistant works well on its phones, and it’s certainly a welcome addition.

Whether the G4 phones will get the assistant when they upgrade to Nougat is unclear at this moment, however.

MOTO G5 VS MOTO G4 PRICE: WHICH PHONE IS BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY?

Miles Norman, General Manager UK & Ireland & European Operators at Motorola, confirmed the Moto G5 will go on sale in March for £169, while the Plus model will also go on sale in March for £259. You can currently pick up the Moto G4 for around £150, while the G4 Plus is available for around £190.

With only a £10 difference between the G4 and G5, we’d say the newer phone offers better value for money, with its new design and numerous new features. However, things aren’t so clear when it comes to the Plus models. The G5 Plus certainly packs in a load of new and useful features. It’s more powerful, has a better camera, and is generally a better phone than the G4 Plus. But if you don’t want to shell out £259, you can get a really great phone that’s not even a year old yet for £190 with the G4 Plus.

SHOULD YOU GET THE MOTO G5 OR MOTO G4?

If you’re weighing up your options, here’s our advice about which phone you should buy.

If you want the best possible hardware, go for the G5 Plus but be wary of the G5. The new Plus model offers some big hardware upgrades, but the G5 isn’t all that more powerful than the G4. It has a fingerprint scanner and the new design, but it’s got arguably a less capable processor than its predecessor.

If you’re looking to spend the least amount possible, the G4 is the way to go. It’s the cheapest of the four phones compared here, but will provide you with great performance and that all-important stock Android experience. It’ll only get cheaper in the coming months, too.

Consider the alternatives before purchasing either phone. There’s some great mid-range and affordable options out there, including the impressive OnePlus 3T. OnePlus gives you top-end hardware at affordable prices, and the 3T comes with powerful features for £399. It’s more expensive than the Motos, but you get top-end stuff.

MOTO G5 VS MOTO G4 SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Here’s a brief overview of the key differences between the Moto G5 and the Moto G5 Plus.

Design: Smaller, all metal, and generally more comfortable to use, the G5 and G5 Plus are great-looking phones. Gone is the glass and plastic design, replaced by an aluminium body that looks great for phones in this bracket.

Specs: The G5 Plus is the best of the bunch. It’s got an upgraded processor, better camera, and will generally beat out all the other Moto Gs when it comes to performance. The G5 however, isn’t that much of an upgrade over the G4 in terms of specs, so be wary.

Price: The G5 is £169/4253.5 while the G5 Plus comes in at £259/$399.5. You’ll be able to pick up the G4 for around £150/$225, while the G4 Plus is currently going for around £190/$285.

Value: Motorola has done well to keep its prices low at a time when every other company is raising them and blaming Brexit. For that fact alone, we have to say the new phones offer incredible value for money.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/b9RQzj)

 

JVC DLA-RS4500 D-ILA Projector Review

PRICE $35,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
True 4K (4096 x 2160) D-ILA panels
Improved HDR support including HLG
Reference-quality optics
Minus
Fan noise can be intrusive
HDMI sluggish to sync
Native contrast not quite on par with rest of JVC line

THE VERDICT
While JVC’s first native 4K projector for consumers doesn’t quite deliver the contrast of its 1080p lineup, its projected image is breathtaking with both 1080p and 4K content. With its advanced laser light engine, reference-quality optics, and enough lumens to light up a massive range of screens, you have a true flagship-caliber offering from JVC.

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While 4K has become the new norm for the flat-panel industry, its adoption into the home projection market has been slow, to say the least. Until now, Sony has been trailblazing native 4K for the consumer home theater market while others have offered quasi-4K options that use techniques to deliver near4K quality with 1080p imaging systems at more affordable pricing. Among those manufacturers, JVC led the way with their e-shift system, which over time has matured to contend quite convincingly with native 4K designs. But e-shift has always been seen as a temporary measure until the day we finally get true 4K D-ILA chips from JVC. Thankfully, that day has come with the company’s new flagship, the DLA-RS4500. This design is a departure from JVC’s projectors of the past, combining three new 4096 x 2160 D-ILA imaging chips with a laser light engine and a massive 18-element all-glass lens. At $35,000, it breaks new ground for JVC on pricing as well, but it actually offers stiff competition in its segment.

A Beauty of a Beast
If you only saw pictures of the DLA-RS4500, you might be fooled into thinking that it isn’t much different from the rest of JVC’s line. It shares some similar styling, but it’s a whole different beast that weighs in at 86 pounds and has a significantly larger chassis.

JVC is rightly proud of the 18-element, 16-group 100mmdiameter all-glass zoom lens, which was designed specifically for this projector. The company has always provided fantastic optics, but this design takes it to a new level. Pixel sharpness was nearly perfect from edge to edge on my screen, and the vertical blooming from bright objects on black seen from the less pricey JVC projectors has been eliminated. Color fringing was visible only on the most extreme edges of the test patterns I looked at, and only with my nose at the screen. Full motorized lens control (focus, zoom, and shift) is included, and once again JVC provides the best motorized setup I’ve used on a projector to date. Adjusting any of these settings is extremely intuitive, with steps allowing for unprecedented fine-tuning. Unlike JVC’s other consumer models, the DLA-RS4500 doesn’t include a motorized lens cover, but there’s a standard cover if needed.

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The back panel is devoid of analog video inputs, offering only a pair of up-to-date full-bandwidth (18 gigabit-per-second) HDMI 2.0b ports with HDCP 2.2 copyright management. There’s a 3D sync port that works with both the IR and RF versions of JVC’s 3D emitters (sold separately). You’ll also find a trigger output, an Ethernet port, and an RS-232 port. But the most notable inclusion on the back panel is the new USB port for firmware updates, a feature that has been sorely missing from previous JVC offerings—and one I hope the company takes advantage of over the life of the design with upgrades.

Inside is a completely new second-generation laser light engine dubbed BLU-Escent. JVC has been using laser illumination in their professional projectors for the simulation market, and their experience there led to this new design for home theaters. The engine uses six independent light banks, each made up of eight laser diodes. Unlike Epson’s laser-based projectors so far, the diodes are replaceable if they fail or you manage to whittle them down to an output that you find unusable. [Ed. Note: See our review of the laser-driven Epson LS10500 on page 50.—RS] The light engine can be operated in three different levels for your desired brightness. Since laser engines are far more stable over time than traditional lamp-based designs (keeping most of their original brightness until failure), this allows you to light up a larger screen for a much longer period of time without having to worry about replacing a bulb as it dims, or performing frequent calibrations. JVC specs the life of the light engine at 20,000 hours at full laser power in the High mode.

The laser engine also has a dynamic modulation feature to increase perceived contrast and the black floor. Similar to a dynamic iris, this allows the projector to modulate the level of light on a frame-by-frame basis. The system offers two options, Mode 1 and Mode 2, with the latter being more aggressive. As with any dynamic contrast system, neither mode is 100 percent transparent, and I imagine your results will vary depending on just how sensitive you are to the artifacts as the system adjusts to different scenes. I got to the point where I left it off more often than not and engaged it only for films that I knew would be dark most of the time. But even in use, I didn’t find it overly intrusive, with only occasional image flickering as the picture brightness changed or very minor pumping on some opening credits, and this was less of a problem than with other dynamic iris systems I’ve used.

The dynamic laser did improve perceived contrast (and measured contrast) significantly enough to recommend its use by default until you find it bothersome. Hopefully, JVC will refine this technique over time to make it even more transparent. Unlike the Espon laser light engine I’ve reviewed, the one in the DLA-RS4500 won’t completely shut off the laser when it sees full black. That also means you won’t get the annoying, jarring jump from pure black to the native black floor of the projector.

Setup and Calibration
JVC has refined the setup process for this new projector compared with that of earlier models. While the menus are mostly the same, some of the labels are clearer. For instance, the color profiles are now appropriately named for the color gamut employed including BT.709 for HD material, BT.2020 for HDR, and DCI for professional applications. Gamma selections are easier, too, with options for standard 2.2 or 2.4 gamma curves as well as clearly labeled HDR (ST.2084 or Hybrid Log) gammas. There’s also a THX mode that shoots for a fairly calibrated picture for both 2D and 3D playback, but I found that the Natural preset did just as good of a job with standard HD playback.

The remote is nearly identical to those of previous models, but the buttons have been changed up to give better access to viewing modes and lens setups. The backlit design has always been easy to use, and overall it gets the job done.

As with most JVCs projectors I’ve used in the past, the out-of-box calibration wasn’t too far off, with only a minor touchup needed in grayscale to get things dialed in to reference-quality playback for standard HD material. You can find my exact user settings in the online version of this review. Little adjustment was needed to get an accurate picture.Standard settings for brightness and contrast were dead-on out of the box, and I was pleased to see that a brightness setting of 0 had no problem resolving near black (digital level 17). This has been an issue with recent JVC models. As before, you can select different HDMI picture modes that allow you to pick your clipping points. The Standard mode clips at digital 16 and digital 235 for standard video playback, while Super White clips at 16 and extends white to digital 255 if you prefer the headroom. Enhanced is offered for PC-based sources encoded from 0 to 255.

Along with the three selections for laser brightness mentioned earlier, the projector features a manual lens aperture for fine-tuning brightness and contrast even further. On my screen, in about the mid-throw zoom range, the projector could deliver 23 foot-lamberts in low mode, 41 ft-L in mid, and a blistering 53 ft-L in high mode with a calibrated image. The manual aperture is more aggressive than what we’ve seen in JVC’s standard models and, when fully closed, would bring those numbers down to 5, 9, and 12 ft-L, respectively. JVC claims a healthy peak brightness of about 3,100 lumens, and I was able to measure just under 2,900 in the High Bright settings, but calibrated lumens fell more toward about 2,500 lumens. Obviously this will vary a bit with how much zoom you use.

The laser light engine was probably my favorite feature overall—and I absolutely love the ability to turn the projector on and off anytime without regard to lamp health. The engine was also the source of my biggest complaint: noise. In the past few years, we’ve become accustomed to nearly silent projectors from Sony, Epson, and JVC. My reference projector is another JVC, the DLA-X750R. In low lamp mode, its fan is nearly undetectable, even with nothing else on in the room. But the noise from the DLA-RS4500 is noticeable even in low laser mode. It also has a scalable cooling system that will ramp up the longer you use it, so while it may start out pretty quiet, with extended viewing it will eventually get to the same noise level as found in a higher laser mode. How perceptible this is while you’re watching a movie depends on the volume of the soundtrack, obviously, but also on where you are in relation to the vents on the front. Thankfully, the noise isn’t mechanical in nature; instead, it sounds like air rushing, so it’s easily drowned out by most movies. At the tail end of my review period, JVC sent me their optional exhaust covers, which are designed to divert air away from the lens (if that is an issue in your room). A side benefit is they cut a little bit of the noise. While this didn’t completely eliminate the fan noise, it did dampen it somewhat in the higher laser modes (depending on your seating position in relation to the projector). I also found that careful placement of the projector so you are a bit out of the line of sight of the vents can help a lot, but JVC really needs to address the core issue in future models. As we’ve become so accustomed to nearly silent designs, it’s a hard sell for a flagship projector to be as noticeable as this one compared with lower-priced designs. Integrators using this in high-end installs might consider enclosing the projector in a ventilated compartment.

Excellent contrast with low black levels has always been the biggest claim to fame for JVC, with their current line offering the highest native contrast numbers I’ve ever measured for projectors. While the DLA-RS4500 obviously has more brightness firepower on board for driving very large screens, it unfortunately takes a pretty substantial dive in native contrast. Numbers for the new 4K panel, taken at about mid-zoom position, measured out around 9,000:1, with the highest native contrast (no laser dimming) achieved at about 28,000:1 in high lamp with the aperture fully closed down. Engaging the dynamic laser helped a lot subjectively, and measurements improved as well. I was able to achieve a peak contrast ratio of 150,000:1 in high laser with the aperture fully closed and dynamic laser engaged, but for normal viewing in my setup the contrast ended up around 80,000:1. This puts the contrast performance in line with the Sony VPL-VW665ES that I reviewed in our April 2016 issue. Overall, subjective contrast was quite good, though it did fall short of my reference DLA-X750R. Intrascene contrast didn’t have the inky blacks of that projector, but overall performance was still fantastic for all but the most demanding dark material.

Like most projectors on the market, the DLA-RS4500 comes with a bevy of different video processing “enhancements.” Among them is frame interpolation, which works with all incoming signals, including 4K HDR—though even in its lowest mode, I detected a bit too much of the soap-opera effect with motion. The projector also has a new low-latency mode for gamers. Image lag has been an ongoing issue for the JVC line, though I’ve never personally had much issue with it in my limited gaming use. This new mode makes it a non-issue and doesn’t seem to have any effect on the quality of the image, though the frame interpolation function can’t be used at the same time.JVC reports that their HDMI sync times have improved versus earlier models with this new design, but I’m reluctant to back up that claim. While there may be some small improvement, syncing video signals with the projector still takes much too long compared with other projector brands I’ve used. I hope this is something that JVC will concentrate on with future designs, as it can be quite frustrating, depending on your input source (or when you have to deal with test discs). If you can feed the projector a constant input resolution and frame rate, you can eliminate a lot of the issue, but this typically means converting video sources with an AVR or video processor before the projector, which may not always be an option.

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In Use

JVC’s new flagship is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to evaluation. At $35,000, it represents a massive increase in cost compared with the already excellent line of projectors JVC offers below $10,000. There’s a reason those projectors are often compared directly with models we’ve reviewed that cost upward of $20,000, and it would be difficult to ignore them in this writeup as well. They represent a really high bar in performance, and with the boost in light output that we saw last year across the line, they can be used in a lot of large-screen applications and still offer fantastic brightness and contrast performance. Still, it’s impossible to ignore the tremendous increase in fine detail with true 4K material that this projector brings to the table.The DLA-RS4500 is by far the sharpest projector I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. The new lens, coupled with native 4K imaging chips, made a more profound difference than what I was expecting compared with my reference DLA-X750R. Fine image detail really goes to a new level, and I found myself constantly distracted (in a good way) by the small details that popped out from some of the newer 4K eye candy available on the market today. Ultra HD Blu-ray titles like Lucy and The Revenant delivered small object detail that my DLA-X750R just couldn’t quite manage (though it came closer than you’d expect for a 1080p design!). Having previously reviewed several of the native 4K projectors from Sony, I wasn’t expecting to see a big difference with 4K content here, but the new JVC shined over and over again with my collection of UHD Blu-ray titles. Razor-sharp titles like Sicario and Pacific Rim had my jaw on the floor, while lesser discs like Oblivion and Underworld showed the limitations of their capture and transfer. This is a projector that will really test the quality of the sources it’s fed.Another highlight of my time with the DLA-RS4500 was the opportunity to view a first for UHD, the 4K/60 frame-per-second HDR presentation of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Shot in 4K at 120p, this was supposed to be a showcase title for the future capabilities of Hollywood.

High frame rate is part of the UHD spec, so I was anxious to see if Ang Lee pulled it off better than my experience with the 48-fps version of The Hobbit that I saw in theaters. Unfortunately, he didn’t. The film had a lot of the same qualities that I didn’t care for with The Hobbit, namely no sense of what I’d call cinematic quality and ultra-sharp video that looked like something that you’d see on daytime TV, not in a feature film. It also didn’t help that the film was pretty lousy on all other fronts, with a heavily scripted feel and lackluster performances. But the DLA-RS4500 had no issue at all with the frame rate or resolution and delivered the film flawlessly.

Viewing 1080p material was also a revelation. The internal scaling of the DLA-RS4500 is some of the best I have ever evaluated, cruising through even the most difficult test material. In my reviews of Sony 4K projectors, I have remarked on their poor performance with 1080p-based test patterns, but that was anything but the case here. The JVC displayed the same demanding patterns with aplomb, resolving even the most difficult cases with razor precision on my 120-inch-diagonal Stewart StudioTek 100 screen. A great example was the recent documentary View from a Blue Moon from the folks at Brain Farm. The film focuses on pro surfer John Florence and his life on the North Shore of Hawaii. The video quality was nothing short of staggering. Since 1080p content is still the most available type on the market today, it’s extremely important that 4K projectors display it with as little compromise as possible, and this one does it better than any other 4K projector I’ve used to date.

The interest in 3D seems to be waning among manufacturers, but last year’s models from JVC took a big step up in 3D performance over prior models. The DLA-RS4500 also does a great job here, and the added brightness goes a long way, but its default settings produced a bit too much ghosting for my tastes. I had to reduce the crosstalk settings in the 3D menu to nearly all the way down before I saw the crosstalk go away in most of the material I viewed. I’m personally still not a real fan of 3D (I get eye fatigue, and I generally don’t like wearing the 3D glasses and enduring the light loss). But if 3D is important to you, it is still handled well by JVC’s latest design.

HDR
I’ve reviewed a couple of HDR-capable projectors now from JVC and Sony. I chose not to comment on that performance, as HDR playback on projectors was more of a work in progress (and really almost a beta-level implementation). Since then, both JVC and Sony have improved their HDR, and this is the first chance I’ve had to see JVC’s completely new HDR mode and operability.

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Unlike the last design, when the DLA-RS4500 detects an HDR signal, it switches to the HDR picture mode immediately. The preset uses the HDR color gamut, gamma curve, and high laser mode, though any of these can be changed or tailored to fit. The HDR color gamut is a wider gamut than BT.709, but it falls short of the BT.2020 color profile because it doesn’t use the filter that comes into place to increase the saturation coverage. Looking at gamut coverage with the HDR mode shows a loss of saturation in red compared with the BT.2020 mode, but the latter mode’s filter cuts light output by 40 percent. This makes it difficult to get accurate color performance while still maintaining a bright picture for larger screens. In fact, with the BT.2020 profile selected, I could only achieve about 30 ft-L on my screen in high laser mode with the aperture fully open. I can achieve the same with my reference projector in low lamp with the dual aperture system fully open. Hopefully future designs will be able to figure out a filter closer to what the other line uses or possibly leverage different laser solutions to increase saturation without sacrificing brightness.

The rest of the setup for HDR was a breeze. Obviously there are no standards for HDR playback on projectors, but I’ve found that you can still dial in a fantastic image nonetheless with some readily available test patterns. The new gamma mode for HDR is far better than the “Gamma D” of previous models, and the default values are more in line with the suggested values from before. But one major plus is that the dark level adjustment (a control that adjusts the bottom end of the gamma) no longer raises the black floor of the projector, allowing you to bump up the low end of the image without sacrificing blacks.

This does wonders for HDR playback and eliminates the darker look that so many complain about. I hope we see similar performance from the rest of JVC’s updated line that incorporates this new HDR profile. Subjectively, HDR viewing was easily the best I’ve seen from a projector to date. The wider color gamut and increased luminance easily outshined the standard dynamic range Blu-ray counterparts with nearly every movie I watched, and since the laser dimming is still enabled, you don’t have to sacrifice as much of your black floor to enjoy them as you do with the standard line of JVC projectors. I still hope we see a true calibration standard emerge for HDR playback on projectors, but this one is nearly plug-and-play out of the box and delivers some sublime HDR imagery.

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Wrapping It Up
Reviewing flagship projectors in this kind of price range is always difficult. While most consumers can’t afford to buy a projector that costs the same as a midsize car, others can and do all the time. And although I’ve seen quite a few projectors in this segment of the market, I haven’t seen any that can match the performance of the DLA-RS4500. I can’t ignore how good JVC’s standard 1080p line is for most applications, or that it delivers the better contrast performance that has made JVC a sought-after name in projection. But, this model’s refinements in setup, fine detail, and HDR, as well as the simple wonder of the final picture on the screen, are something to behold. If you’re out to get the best-looking 4K and HDR from a projector, I can’t see much in the way of competition at or near this price point. I hope JVC continues to refine this design, but for now you’d be hard-pressed to find a better 4K image out there.

Specs
Dimensions (WxHxD, Inches): 19.7 x 8.5 x 28.4
Weight (Pounds): 86
3D Glasses: Active, $180 each (PK-AG3 RF); PK-EM2 RF emitter, $100
Video Inputs: HDMI 2.0b (2)
Other: 3D synch port, 12 volt trigger, Ethernet, RS-232C, USB (firmware only)
Price: $35,000

(soundandvision.com, https://goo.gl/MksPT6)

Hands on: Haier L7 review

OUR EARLY VERDICT

The Haier L7 is a perfunctory addition to the unremarkable everyman ranks of upper middle range Android handsets.

FOR

  • Lovely little vibrate
  • Specs are okay
  • Screen is acceptable

AGAINST

  • Dull
  • Uninspiring
  • Case appears to scratch easily

It’s very easy to review a bad phone, and it’s very easy to review a good phone.

Ask any mobile phone guru the reviews they dread and their response will be unanimous: the dull ones.

Unfortunately, the Haier L7 is just such a phone. On paper, or at very least on  the glossy mat that you have next to phones when you’re at MWC 2017, this is a well-featured and thoroughly decently-specced phone.

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The bottom of a phone, ladies and gentlemen

It’s just… well, if I had to name this phone it would probably be Trevor. It would be the kind of mate who neither got you in horrible and yet deliciously memorable trouble when on a night out, nor held your hair out of your face while you threw up on the way home.

Nope, the Haier L7 would be the person you noticed in the Facebook photos a year hence, and realised you didn’t remember them being there at all.

And, you know, for many people that’s not a bad thing. It does the job. Just don’t expect Trevor – sorry the L7 – to do much beyond that.

Haier is best known for making very well-received white goods, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that its phone is so lacking in color.

Speaking of colors, the L7 definitely looks better in rose gold; in fact I think I almost remember holding the rose gold version, whereas I needed to check my camera roll for evidence the grey version existed at all.

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The rose gold version in all its, er, glory

Haier L7 performance

I’m labouring the point; Haier has packed some decent tech into the L7. The 5.5-inch FHD display was colourful and perfectly crisp, while 3GB of RAM and an LTE-ready octa-core processor kept everything snappy enough when I was delving in and out of apps.

The OS is Streamline UI, based on Android 6 Marshmallow – and in fairness that does appear to have worked pretty hard to squeeze any life or personality out of Google’s OS to make it gel so adequately with the phone.

There’s DTS-approved sound, and a 3,000mAh battery which is, well – you know what I’m going to say – pretty standard on Android phones.

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Haier L7 design

Design-wise, the Haier L7 is reminiscent of every other smartphone you’ve ever seen. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, and the curved edges feel okay in the hand.

Weight-wise it’s not too badly balanced, and it’s not going to stop you moving at your normal walking pace.

I did have a bit of an issue with the metal body however, which somehow manages to feel like plastic – and even after just a few hours on show it had picked up a worrying amount of dents and scratches.

Perhaps people forgot it existed and dropped it. Who knows?

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Early verdict

You’ve probably got the gist of what I think about this phone. It’s okay, fine, meh, unremarkable, and whatever the emoticon is for shrug.

In the spirit of things, and because the Haier L7 is so wholly difficult to find an angle on, I have racked my mind to find something different about the phone that I liked.

And you know what, I found something: when you press the home key the little rumble is very satisfactory.

So there you have it. Well done Trevor.

(techradar.com, https://goo.gl/aS5EzW)

Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 Comparison

In this article we’ll compare Canon’s direct competitor in this segment. Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 comparison shows what separates these DSLRs and which is the best one for your needs.

Canon EOS 77D DSLR Camera Announced

Canon has unveiled the EOS Rebel T7i (800D) and EOS 77D, two new choices to the company’s entry to mid-level lineup. We’ve already break down the EOS 77D vs EOS 80D before. Now let’s show the features of the opposing bodies.

Nikon D5600 Camera Officially Announced

Canon 77D features a 24.2MP sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus and updated Digic 7 processor. The specs list include a 45-point all-cross-type AF system and 7650-pixel RGB+IR metering system. Nikon D5600 offers a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor too. See the differences below.

Specifications comparison of the Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 Cameras

Below you can see the specifications comparison table of Canon 77D vs Canon 80D cameras. Some differences like sensor, image size, shooting speed, lcd size etc.. detailed as bold on the table.

Feature Canon 77D Nikon D5600
Effective Megapixels 24.2-Megapixels 24.2-Megapixels
Sensor type / size APS-C – 22.5 x 15 mm APS-C – 22.5 x 15 mm
Low pass filter Yes Yes
Image processor DIGIC 7 EXPEED 4
Image Stabilization No No
AF system 45 points (all points cross type) 39 point AF (9 cross-type)
ISO 100 – 25600
(51200 with boost)
100 – 25600
(25600 with boost)
Max shutter speed 30 – 1/4000 30 – 1/4000
Continuous shooting speed 6fps 5 fps
Video Full HD 60fps Full HD 60fps
Display 3″ Rear Touchscreen Swivel LCD (1,040,000) 3.2″ Full articulated TFT-LCD with touchscreen
Viewfinder Optical Optical
Hot shoe Yes Yes
Wireless Wi-Fi Built-In Wi-Fi, NFC. SnapBridge
Environmentally sealed  No No
Battery life 600 shots 820 shots
Dimensions 131.0 x 99.9 x 76.2 mm 124 x 97 x 70 mm
Weight 540g 415g
Price $899 $696

As a verdict from the Canon 77D vs Nikon D5600 comparison, the photographers who are thinking about their savings but still require a marvelous camera then they can easily go with the Nikon D5600.

(dailycameranews.com, https://goo.gl/hPLvQq)

2017 Aston Martin DB11 By Q Review

Introduced in 2016 as a replacement for the long-running DB9, the Aston Martin DB11 is returning to the Geneva Motor Show exactly one year after its debut. This time around, the British firm is using the Swiss event to showcase the first DB11 tailored by Q, its personalization division. What’s more, the DB11 by Q also marks the debut of Aston Martin’s enhanced bespoke service, which now includes more options than ever.

Specifically, the Q division evolved into a multi-tiered offering that gives customers almost limitless opportunities to create their unique Aston Martin. The new collection includes exclusive paint and upholstery colors, and new material finishes and craft elements. These range from a unique leather quilt upholstery pattern to tinted wheel finishes with body-colored blades, as well as new wood and leather inserts inside the cabin.

The DB11 by Q will share the stage with two other fresh Aston Martin vehicles. Visitors will be able to take a closer look at the new Vanquish S, the most powerful and dynamic grand tourer to date, as well as the AM-RB 001 hypercar, which makes its European debut after going public for the very first time at the Canadian International Auto Show.

What Makes The Aston Martin DB11 Q By Aston Martin Special

Aston Martin DB11 by Q

So why is Aston Martin getting all excited about this DB11? Well, for starters it’s finished in an exclusive paint called Zaffre Blue. The hue is indeed special, as it appears to shift colors depending on the lighting. It’s very similar to standox, which isn’t exactly common on production cars. The paint is paired with gloss, satin twill, and forged carbon-fiber details, including the front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser, engine hood strakes, and side mirrors caps. The wheels are finished in blue and have carbon-fiber hubcaps. The color seems to be a tad lighter than the body, but it could be just the different metal it was applied on.

Aston Martin DB11 by Q

It’s finished in an exclusive paint called Zaffre Blue. The hue is indeed special, as it appears to shift colors depending on the lighting. It’s very similar to standox, which isn’t exactly common on production cars.

More extra features can be found inside, starting with acres of Obsidian Black semi-aniline leather and “Q by Aston Martin” logos embossed on the headrests. There’s also Zaffre Blue detailing on the seats and door panels, as well as matching stitching on the center console and dashboard.

Q by Aston Martin also offers a color-matched, four-piece luggage set.

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More extra features can be found inside, starting with acres of Obsidian Black semi-aniline leather and “Q by Aston Martin” logos embossed on the headrests.

Open the hood, and you will be greeted by a carbon-fiber cover. However, don’t look for anything special underneath, as Q is only about looks. All told, the drivetrain is as standard as they get, bringing together the newly developed, 5.2-liter V-12 and an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The twin-turbo mill cranks out 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, enabling the coupe to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is set at 200 mph. Needless to say, it’s not like customers will complain about a lack of performance.

Pricing information is not available because it pretty much depends on how many options you request for your build, but expect to pay more than the $211,995 sticker.

DRIVETRAIN SPECIFICATIONS

Engine 5.2-litre twin-turbo V-12
Horsepower 600 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 516 LB-FT @ 1,500-5,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 3.9 seconds
Top Speed 200 mph

Press Release

Aston Martin marks the 87th Geneva international Motor Show with a significant trio of major debuts.

In addition to being the global motor show debut of the acclaimed new Vanquish S – the most powerful and dynamic iteration of Aston Martin’s Super GT – the British luxury brand is also proud to announce the European show debut of the AM-RB 001. This ongoing collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the AM-RB 001 is a thrilling demonstration of technological innovation and design sophistication, resulting in a truly contemporary hypercar.

Aston Martin DB11 by Q

Finally, Aston Martin will be showcasing the marque’s enhanced Q by Aston Martin bespoke service with the unveiling of ‘Q by Aston Martin – Collection’ at Geneva. Aston Martin is pleased to announce a new era of tailor-made sports cars with the expansion of its personalisation service. Q by Aston Martin has evolved into a multi-tiered offering, giving customers almost limitless opportunities to create their own unique Aston Martin through enhanced levels of design and customer interaction.

Q by Aston Martin has grown substantially since it was established in 2012. ’We set strong foundations for the service and we’ve had continued success,’ says Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, ’now we have the opportunity to work with our customers and take personalisation to a different level.’

Aston Martin DB11 by Q

Q by Aston Martin – Collection

The Q by Aston Martin – Collection brings an array of distinctive design touches to your Aston Martin. This selection of exclusive trim and enhancements can be added to your Aston Martin at the point of specification and installed and hand-finished at the luxury marque’s Gaydon headquarters. Going above and beyond the standard options list, Collection includes exclusive paint and upholstery colours, material finishes and craft elements. These range from a unique leather quilt upholstery pattern to tinted wheel finishes that incorporate body-coloured blades to the diamond turned spokes, as well as the use of new wood and leather interior elements.

Aston Martin DB11 by Q

DB11 Q by Aston Martin

The range and breadth of the new Q by Aston Martin – Collection is demonstrated by the exclusive DB11 showcased at the upcoming 2017 Geneva Motor Show. DB11 Q by Aston Martin is finished with exclusive Zaffre Blue paint, paired with gloss, satin twill and forged carbon fibre details including – front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser side strakes, bonnet strakes and door mirrors. Inside, the upper and lower cabin environments are cloaked in swathes of Obsidian Black Semi-Aniline leather, with the Q by Aston Martin Logo embossed on the headrest. While carbon fibre wheel centres and engine cover add subtle touches. The colour matched four-piece luggage set is also available through Collection.

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/fLrv8M)

Hands on: Sony Xperia Touch review

OUR EARLY VERDICT

A novel concept, but one we can’t see being too alluring in this iteration. However, make it slimmer, more portable and brighter, and there’s a lot to like about having a 23-inch tablet in your pocket at all times… Sony’s onto something here, but the Xperia Touch has a long way to go before this is a must-have product.

FOR

  • Large display
  • Fun multiplayer games

AGAINST

  • Display too dark
  • Large unit

When we first saw the Xperia Touch last year, it was nothing more than a concept, boringly called the Xperia Projector.

However, it’s made it out of the Sony labs and into the real world – and we’re finally going to see whether the ‘taste of the future’ so many brands have touted (ie embedding projectors onto spaces around the home) will actually work.

The blocky device will sit wherever you want it to and even has an embedded battery to let you take it out and about – and there are multiple ways to use it, from projecting down onto a table, gesturing in the air to connecting to your PS4 as a Remote Play machine.

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But is this just a concept with a real name, or is this a new wave of device that Sony is pioneering?

 Sony Xperia Touch release date

While we annoyingly don’t have much information on price (although educated guesswork would put this around £300 / $400 / AU$ 550) the Xperia Touch release date has been set for spring of this year – and pre-orders have gone live already.

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So if you want to start projecting bits of your life into the real world, you won’t have to wait too long to step into that future.

 Design

The design of the projector feels rather large for what it is: basically a large tablet screen thrust onto any nearby surface.

Then again, it needs to hit a certain brightness intensity to work well enough to use day to day, so a larger body allows for more powerful optics and lamps.

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While there is a battery inside, the Xperia Touch clearly isn’t a portable device, rather something that’s tethered around the home but mobile enough to be carried into different scenarios.

If the kids want to play some PS4 in their room, they can just lift it off the kitchen table and take it upstairs, until they’re shouted at by their parents to ‘BRING THAT THING BACK DOWN, DO YOU KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE IT WAS? WE’VE TOLD YOU ABOUT TAKING IT WITHOUT ASKING’.

The top of the device has a camera on the top, which allows the Xperia Touch to see your gestures from afar – there’s not much else on the top apart from an NFC section, which is presumably something to do with Bluetooth pairing, although we couldn’t get a definitive answer on that.

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Interface and use

If you’ve used an Android phone, the Xperia Touch will be a very familiar experience for you: it’s an Android tablet, with a screen size of 23 inches projected either directly in front of the device or onto a wall above

If you move it further out, you’ll extend that up to about 80 inches, but you’ll lose the touchscreen ability as it needs to be flush to a surface to register your digits.

That means you’ve got the same app drawer, swiping functions and notifications shade you’ll find in other Android devices, making it easy to use and navigate through.

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The Xperia Touch is surprisingly easy to use, with your finger being picked up easily despite feeling like it should be hard to register. Shadows don’t seem to get in the way, with the (presumably) laser sensors working out where your digits are, and even responding to multiple touches at once.

The response is remarkably quick for something you can’t really touch – however, depending on the surface you’re projecting onto it can feel a bit weird gliding your finger through the interface.

There are a lot of sketching options available on the Xperia Touch (obviously, given your finger is the perfect paintbrush, especially for children) but if you’ve got a harder or rough surface it can get tiring to keep stroking across.

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We’re not saying it’s terrible, but there’s a disconnect with the tactility that we’re not used to any more, thanks to years of swiping shiny glass in the hope that someone, anyone, out there will talk to us.

There’s also a gesture mode available for the Sony Xperia Touch, so the projector can be throwing the screen up onto the wall and you’ll be able to move your hand around from many feet away and be able to scroll through a map – it doesn’t work that well though, as even the ‘experts’ on the demo were unable to properly zoom in and out of web pages, and controlling the cursor was quite hard to be accurate with.

In terms of the way that the interface looks, it’s surprisingly bright and ‘filling’ on a table with some apps, and utterly pointless in others –  for instance, YouTube videos looked really bland. The projector can only fire out 100 nits, which is a fifth of the amount the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 can manage.

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It seems to depend on which app is being used and the lighting conditions around, but in a normally-lit house you should be able to get the experience of a tablet on any surface.

The range of apps available that are tailored to the tablet are obviously limited at the moment, but the demos are pretty fun: the collaborative kids math app is a good example of how the Xperia Touch will enable interactivity, and the sketching apps are fun to play with if not great options for becoming a world-renowned artist.

Early verdict

There’s just one thing that’s concerning with the Xperia Touch: why is it any better than a tablet? The gesture mode, where you can project onto a wall and interact from afar, is a good use case, but it’s not really necessary.

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It’ll depend on the price, but the current iteration of the Touch is only slightly larger than an iPad Pro, and that’s got all the elements that people are looking for: bright screen, easy interactivity and a smoother surface to glide across.

Essentially, if Sony created an Android tablet at the size of the iPad Pro that you could use around the house, it would have all the benefits of the Xperia Touch without the lack of brightness you get with a projector.

Then again, there’s something nice about having a display dedicated to certain functions that sits in the corner – perhaps this is the first step from Sony to something bigger, but right now it feels like a concept that’s still trying to find a home.

(techradar.com, https://goo.gl/ErocBO)

Hands on: Porsche Design Book One review

OUR EARLY VERDICT

The Book One is about as alluring as Ultrabooks come, pairing a stunning design with performance that will likely stack up with the leaders, like the Microsoft Surface Book. Keep your eyes on this one.

FOR

  • Very striking design
  • Can go 360-degrees amd detach
  • Competitive specs for the price

AGAINST

  • Quite pricey
  • Are we hurting for premium 2-in-1s?

Some pairings look weird on paper, but the result winds up something that makes total sense the moment you lay eyes on it. The Porsche Design Book One is one of those results.

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Teamed up with Microsoft and Intel, Porsche Design – yes, the auto maker – unveiled its Book One at MWC 2017, and it boasts some distinguishing features, as you might expect it to.

First off, it’s a 2-in-1 laptop that can be flipped 360-degrees into tablet mode, but said tablet portion can also be detached for portable use. For reference, the Microsoft Surface Book can only rotate 180-degrees.

Speaking of Microsoft’s stunning laptop, the Book One more or less matches its Surface Book i7 pricing at $2,495 or £2,395 (about AU$3,250; release unconfirmed).

We only had a few moments with an early production model of the Book One, Porsche Design’s first-ever soup-to-nuts computer. But even so, it gives off an air of confidence in both design and general performance that the company has done this before.

If the Surface Book was the reference model for Microsoft’s partners to follow, the Book One looks to be one of the few to actually challenge it.

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Design

If I had to describe the design language of the Book One as simply as possible, I’d say that it’s like the Surface Book, but with some elements borrowed from the latest MacBook Pro and Google’s Chromebook Pixel alike.

Coated in anodized aluminum, every bit of Porsche Design’s 13.3-inch machine feels and looks high-quality. It makes for a grand first impression, as does its 3,200 x 1,800 IPS touch display. Though the press event was dark and flashy, the Book One’s screen looked bright and bold.

Running around the machine revealed a duo of USB-C ports – one just 3.1, the other Thunderbolt 3 – as well as two standard USB 3.1 ports, the latter of which being especially awesome to see here. The tablet houses the Thunderbolt 3 port, while the backlit keyboard dock is where you’ll find the rest. This space is also shared by a microSD slot. So far, so good.

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One feature that stood out in particular is that this laptop does away with perhaps my biggest gripe found in many 2-in-1s, the unsightly hinge that prevents the screen meeting parallel with the keyboard base.

It all comes together in a form factor that’s just slightly more compact than most competitors. Though, it’s the extra mile that counts, right?

Performance

As the Book One on display was an early prototype, it’s possible that my time spent using it wasn’t representative of the final product. But, in all honesty, I hope it is.

Inside of the 13.3-inch tablet, Porsche Design stuffed in a 7th generation dual-core Intel i7-7500U processor that powers the visuals with its integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics processing unit (GPU).

Compare that to the latest Surface Book i7 in this price range and you’ll find that the Book One is only outdone in terms of graphics hardware.

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In addition, it also matches the Surface Book i7’s 16GB of RAM and 512GB solid state drive (SSD). We’d be remiss not to pit these two head-to-head in a full review.

Running Windows 10 Pro as a touch-sensitive device, Porsche Design’s 2-in-1 is afforded all of the latest tricks, like Windows Ink. The company even built its own pen with Wacom that magnetically attaches to either side of the computer.

Other signature features, like Windows Hello, are set to appear on this machine as well via a 5MP infrared webcam.

As you can see, the specs and design pair up to tell a pretty convincing story, especially from a company that has never attempted such a device before. The price is quite a lot to swallow, but we’ll determine if it’s a balanced value when we test it in-depth for the full review.

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Early verdict

Porsche Design’s Book One was one of the more surprising debuts at MWC 2017, as the conference is usually reserved for the mobile industry. But in a way, it was the perfect time to show off the fruits of the collaboration between computing giants.

The Book One, despite its impressive design, isn’t exactly the most novel product. Sure, it can fold more than just about every other convertible, but it’s hard to say if there’s an untapped market of people who have been holding out this long until it finally arrived.

(techradar.com, https://goo.gl/XZbFfT)

MSI PE60 Prestige Review

The Pros

Comfortable keyboard; Strong gaming and productivity performance; Useful software

The Cons

Inaccurate display; Not as sturdy as other aluminum notebooks

Verdict

The MSI PE60 Prestige packs solid gaming performance into a conservative chassis, but a dull screen holds it back.

A low-end gaming rig in a conservative business laptop’s clothing, MSI’s PE60 Prestige ($1,199 to start; $1,249 as reviewed) looks equally at home in the boardroom and the living room. Thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU and optional quad-core Core i7 CPU, this 15-inch laptop packs enough power to play the latest games, though not always at high settings. The screen isn’t as accurate or as bright as some competitors, and although MSI opted for an aluminum chassis, it doesn’t feel all that sturdy. But the Prestige’s comfortable keyboard and useful software may be enough to win over entry-level gamers who also need a laptop for work.

Design

I wouldn’t have guessed just by looking that the Prestige had gaming-ready power. It has a pedestrian design with a brushed-aluminum, silver lid (though it doesn’t feel as sturdy as other aluminum laptops) featuring MSI’s logo. From far away, I’d think it was a business laptop, and I can appreciate that it doesn’t scream “Gaming!” with black and red stripes.

MSI PE60 Prestige

Lifting the lid reveals a 15.6-inch, 1080p display surrounded by a thick bezel. The plastic keyboard deck features the same pattern as the lid and houses an island-style, backlit keyboard complete with a number pad. The bottom of the notebook is made of simple black plastic.

At 5.4 pounds and 15.1 x 10.2 x 1.1 inches, it’s a tad lighter than other entry-level gaming notebooks but roughly the same size. The Asus ROG Strix GL553VD is 15.1 x 10 x 1.2 inches and 5.6 pounds, while the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming is 15.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches and 5.8 pounds.

MSI PE60 Prestige

There are more than enough ports for peripherals and extra storage flanking the sides of the Prestige. The left side boasts a lock slot, two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, HDMI and mini DisplayPort outputs, USB Type-C, and headphone and microphone jacks. The right side is sparser, with a DVD drive, a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot.

Display

The screen on the Prestige isn’t terribly bright or accurate, which made the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming look dull and dark. The Spider-Man suit appeared more maroon than bright red as Spidey stopped masked foes from robbing a bank. I tried to turn up the brightness, hopingthe picture would become more luminous, but the screen was already at its maximum.

MSI PE60 Prestige

When I played Battlefield 1, the fire spouting from a German flamethrower started as a distinct orange. However, the parts of the flame that were supposed to be red and white had a slightly purple tinge. But the sticks and rocks in the muddy war zone were detailed and sharp, even though  they were similar shades of brown.

The panel covers an excellent 133 percent of the sRGB color gamut, surpassing the mainstream average of 92 percent, the Strix (122 percent) and the Inspiron (a shameful 67 percent).

But those colors aren’t very precise. The Prestige’s display has a Delta-E color accuracy score of 5.1, which is much worse than the category average (2.6) and the Strix (1.6), but not as bad as the Dell Inspiron’s shameful score of 12. (Lower numbers are better.)

The Prestige’s display isn’t very bright, either. It measured 192 nits on our light meter, falling well below the average (266 nits), the Inspiron (253 nits) and the Strix (269 nits).

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Prestige has a really comfy keyboard; it’s like typing on a bouncy cloud (albeit a really responsive one). With its deep 1.8 millimeters of travel and 60 grams of force required to press the keys down, it never made me bottom out (hit the base hard).

MSI PE60 Prestige

I typed the low end of my average range, 107 words per minute, with a 2 percent error rate on the 10fastfingers.com typing test. I wish the keys would have popped up with a bit more force, but that didn’t stop me from being fast and accurate.

Some of the shortcut placements are atypical. The display brightness and volume adjustment functions are situated on the arrow keys rather than the function row, which I could get used to but initially found distracting. The backlight keys are tucked away on the number pad, and although I understand the reasoning behind removing the left Windows key to keep it out of the way while gaming, I wish it were there with an option to disable it.

The 4.2 x 2.3-inch touchpad is roomy and smooth, with two clicky buttons, and I two-finger scrolled around the web without any issues.

Audio

The Prestige’s speakers produce lifeless sound. When I listened to Blue October’s “Drilled A Wire Through My Cheek,” the guitars were quiet, and the vocals were strained. The bass, however, was deep, to a point where I felt it was suppressing the rest of the track. The song was too quiet, and only filled the room during the screamy chorus.

I opened up the preloaded Nahimic 2 audio app and adjusted the sliders for treble and vocal clarity, which made the song more palatable, but still strained.

When I played Battlefield 1, the game was crystal clear. The pained screams and cries as soldiers were gunned down around me were horrifying, and there was a little punch to every gunshot; I only wished it all had been a little louder. I opened Nahimic 2 and switched to the preset for first-person-shooter video games, and I got the volume I was looking for. The bullets thudded harder, but the soldiers’ voices sounded rougher and were harder to understand.

Gaming and Graphics

The Prestige’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics will play just about any game, though not always at the highest settings. I managed to play Battlefield 1 at 1080p and high settings at a smooth 47 frames per second  as I gunned down German soldiers with a machine gun in World War I. When I got bold and switched to ultra settings, it was still playable, at 38 fps, though there was some pretty noticeable screen tearing.

On our budget gaming benchmark, the Prestige played Rise of the Tomb Raider on high settings with SMAA anti-aliasing at 44 fps. It’s smoother than the mainstream average (36 fps) and the Strix GTX 1050, 38 fps), but slightly behind the Inspiron (GTX 1050, 49 fps).

When we ran the Hitman benchmark (1920 x 1080 on ultra settings), the Prestige played the game at 39 fps, which isn’t as smooth as the average (53 fps, but this includes gaming notebooks with GTX 1060 or 1070 GPUs) but better than the Inspiron (35 fps) and the Strix (30 fps).

Metro: Last Light bested the machines with GTX 1050 GPUs. With the settings on high at 1080p, the Prestige played the game at 26 fps, falling below our 30-fps playability threshold. The Strix reached 23 fps, and the Inspiron hit 29 fps, but neither hit the 33-fps average.

Performance

With a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU; 16GB of RAM; a 128GB NVMe PCIe solid-state drive; and a 1TB, 7,200-rpm HDD, the Prestige is primed for juggling your work. I had 30 tabs open in Chrome, including one streaming a 1080p episode of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” without any sign of lag at all.

The notebook earned a score of 12,678 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, beating the mainstream average of 10,801 and just surpassing the Strix’s (Core i7-7700HQ ) 12,253. The Inspiron (Core i5-7300HQ) was the worst in the field, scoring 10,363.

MSI PE60 Prestige

The Prestige copied 4.97GB of files in 22 seconds, for an effective transfer rate of 231.3 megabytes per second. That’s speedier than the average (168 MBps), Inspiron (106 MBps) and Strix (94.2 MBps).

It took MSI’s notebook 3 minutes and 39 seconds to pair 20,000 names and addresses in our OpenOffice Spreadsheet macro test. Though that beats the 4:20 mainstream average, both the Strix (3:31) and the Inspiron (3:37) were a little bit quicker.

Battery Life

The Prestige can’t go very long without a charge. It lasted just 4 hours and 13 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous browsing over Wi-Fi). While that’s longer than the Strix (3:41), it’s lower than the mainstream category average (6:47) and the Inspiron’s whopping 11:14.

Webcam

The Prestige’s 720p webcam produces muddy, pixelated images. Shots that I took at my desk were out of focus, so my face appeared extremely blurry. I was able to see the jagged pixel outline on my headphones, and the lights behind me were completely blown out.

Heat

During regular use, the Prestige was nice and cool. After we streamed HD video from YouTube for 15 minutes, it measured 92 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom, 85 degrees between the G and H keys, and 89 degrees on the touchpad.

Things got a tad steamier when I played Battlefield 1. The bottom of the notebook climbed to 104 degrees, the center of the keyboard reached 100 degrees and the touchpad was 96.5 degrees.

Software and Warranty

MSI packed the Prestige with a mix of its own gaming software, multimedia utilities and a whole bunch of bloat.

Most notable is MSI’s Dragon Center, a hub for monitoring system performance, customizing settings and getting technical support. MSI’s True Color lets you change the screen’s color temperature to reduce blue light, as well as tweak preset options for gaming, designing and the office.

You also get your fair share of multimedia apps, including CyberLink PowerDVD for DVD playback, Magix Music Maker Silver and Photo Manager 16.

And then there’s the bloat: Minecraft, Twitter, Facebook, Royal Revolt 2, Candy Crush Soda Saga, and Houzz.

MSI sells the PE60 Prestige with a two-year warranty. See how MSI did on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.

Configurations

Our review configuration of the MSI PE60 Prestige costs $1,249 and comes with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of VRAM (it falls back to integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 when you don’t need the power), a 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD and a 1TB, 7,200-rpm HDD.

For $1,199, you can get the same laptop, but with a dual-core Intel Core i7-7500U CPU instead of the quad-core processor in our review configuration.

Bottom Line

With its silver, professional stylings, the MSI PE60 Prestige might not look like a powerful gaming or multimedia laptop, but that’s its most obvious use. The combination of an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics is more than enough to play most games, albeit not at their highest settings.

But the display leaves a lot to be desired, as its colors aren’t accurate and can sometimes skew dark or a little purple. If you want something with a better screen and don’t mind a laptop that screams “I’m a gaming PC,” check out the $1,099 Asus ROG Strix GL553VD, which has a more vivid panel and a comfortable keyboard, and costs hundreds less.

Those who prefer to use their laptop in a more professional setting and appreciate MSI’s applications for gaming and audio should give the PE60 a look, even if that look is a little purple.

(laptopmag.com, https://goo.gl/Pqjmj6)

Sony Xperia 2017 smartphone differences: XZ Premium vs XZs vs XA1 vs XA1 Ultra

There are few companies, if any, that launch as many smartphones in one year as Sony Mobile. We saw the death of the Z range and the rise of the X series at Mobile World Congress 2016, while at MWC 2017, we have the continuation of the X range with four new smartphones. Yes four.

Wondering what the differences are between them all? We were too. Here is how the Sony Xperia XZ Premium compares to the Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1 and Xperia XA1 Ultra.

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  • Xperia XA1 Ultra is the largest and heaviest
  • XZ Premium and XZs have waterproofing and fingerprint sensor
  • XZ Premium has most seamless design

All four of the 2017 Xperia smartphones look like Xperia smartphones. They all have the signature OmniBalance flat-slab design, large bezels above and below the display and they all have a side-mounted power button.

The Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia XZs have the oblong power button with built-in fingerprint sensor and they are waterproof, while the XA1 and XA1 Ultra have the circular power button found on older Xperia devices and they don’t appear to be waterproof.

The largest and heaviest of the bunch is the Xperia XA1 Ultra measuring 165 x 79 x 8.1mm and weighing 210g, which is followed by the glossy and most seamless in design, Xperia XZ Premium, that measures 156 x 77 x 7.9mm and weighs 195g. The XA1 is the smallest and lightest at 145 x 67 x 7.9mm and 145g, while the XZs sits in the middle at 146 x 72 x 8.1mm and 161g.

The XZ Premium comes in Luminous Chrome and Deepsea Black colour options, both of which are mirrored, while the XA1 and XA1 Ultra come in four metallic finishes comprising black, white, pink and gold. The Xperia XZs is available in three colours: Ice Blue, Warm Silver and Black.

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  • Xperia XZ Premium has 4K resolution and HDR
  • Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra have edge-to-edge displays

The Sony Xperia XA1 has the largest display at 6-inches, while the Xperia XA1 has the smallest at 5-inches but both of these have edge-to-edge screens making them a little more exciting than the other two. The Xperia XZ Premium has a 5.5-inch screen, while the Xperia XZs has a 5.2-inch screen, like the Xperia XZ.

In terms of resolution, the XZ Premium is the clear winner, offering a 4K display like the Z5 Premium, which delivers a pixel density of 806ppi but it also adds HDR to the mix. The Xperia XZs and XA1 Ultra both have Full HD displays, offering pixel densities of 424ppi and 367ppi, respectively. The lowest resolution appears on the XA1 with its 720p screen, offering a pixel density of 245ppi.

The Triluminos and X-Reality Sony technologies are present on the XZ Premium and XZs devices, as well as something called Dynamic Contrast Enhancer. The XA1 and XA1 Ultra both have something called Super Vivid Mode, but they miss out on the other technologies.

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  • Xperia XZ Premium and XZs have new Motion Eye camera
  • 960fps super slo-mo video on XZ Premium and XZs
  • 16MP front camera on XA1 Ultra with OIS

The camera element is where the four new Xperia devices differ the most in terms of hardware. The Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia XZs both have Sony’s new Motion Eye rear camera, which features a 19-megapixel triple sensor with 1.22µm pixels. They also both have a 13-megapixel front-facing camera.

The Motion Eye camera also comes with a new lens which is said to help deliver more clarity but the most exciting feature on board is its ability to capture super slow motion video at 960fps.

The Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra both have 23-megapixel single sensor rear snappers, with an 88-degree wide-angle lens and 0.7-second quick launch. The XA1 has an 8-megapixel front camera, but the XA1 Ultra pulls its selfie game out of the bag with a 16-megapixel snapper featuring OIS and a flash.

sony_xperia_xz33_thumb800

  • Xperia XZ Premium has fastest processor and largest battery capacity
  • All have microSD
  • High-res audio support on XZ Premium and XZs

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There is a 3230mAh battery capacity on board, along with all Sony’s latest battery technology including Smart Stamina, Battery Care and support for Quick Charge 3.0.

The Xperia XZs has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and it comes in 32GB or 64GB storage options. It’s battery capacity is 2900mAh and it too has Stamina and Battery Care, as well as support for Quick Charge.

The Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra both run on an octa-core MediaTek processor with 32GB of RAM. The XA1 has 3GB of RAM support and a 2300mAh battery, while the XA1 Ultra has 4GB of RAM and a 2700mAh battery.

All four devices have microSD support for storage expansion, as well as USB Type-C. The XZ Premium and XZs both support high-res audio and offer digital noise cancelling.

xperiaxzpremiummain

  • All devices will have Android Nougat

All four of Sony’s new devices will launch on Android Nougat with Sony’s bloatware over the top, meaning the user experience will be similar across them.

There will be a few extra features on the Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZs compared to the XA1 and XA1 Ultra, such as the camera functions and battery software, but overall, they will all look very familiar and almost identical.

xzpremiumfinal_1488188072678

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the flagship device, with the flagship specs and probably the one to go for if your budget allows. It has the nicest design, most advanced display and it comes with the most powerful hardware and the newest camera. It will be expensive though.

The Xperia XZs gives you the camera and the RAM, but not the latest processor and it has a lower resolution display that lacks the latest tech, like HDR.

The Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra are going to be the cheaper options out of these four devices but they still get some pretty decent specs, including the edge-to-edge display and good camera resolutions, especially in the case of the XA1 Ultra.

(pocket-lint.com, https://goo.gl/1lgL7Y)

2017 BMW M240i ACL2S By AC Schnitzer Review

Noted BMW tuner AC Schnitzer has been in the tuning game for three decades and the company is preparing a special edition package to commemorate its 30th anniversary. And it’s only fitting with the 2017 Geneva Motor Show just around the corner. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ACL2S, an evolved version of the ACL2 Concept the tuner showcased at last year’s Geneva show. Befitting its status as a legitimate anniversary piece, the ACL2S will not only be limited to just 30 units, but just as important, it was developed to encompass the tuner’s storied history as the quintessential tuning shop for all models wearing the BMW badge.

There’s a lot to piece through here, but it is quite obvious from the photos that AC Schnitzer has another winner on its hands. Not that people need to be convinced of that, but for those who are curious to know why the ACL2S is as good a celebratory special edition as there is in the market today, evidence can be found under the M240i’s hood where Bimmer’s new 3.0-liter straight-six B58 engine resides. Even with a few extra cc’s and a slightly larger turbocharger, the German tuner still put in the work to get the output up to 400 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Don’t look now, but those numbers actually slot comfortably between the BMW M2 and the BMW M4.

Beyond the impressive power gains, the ACL2S is also defined by extensive upgrades on the car’s exterior and interior, all of which come with the full scope of AC Schnitzer’s patented aftermarket expertise.

The attractive 30th-anniversary special edition M240i will no doubt turn some heads when it makes its official debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. From there, it should be a mad dash to scoop up one of the 30 units that AC Schnitzer is going to make available to the public.

Exterior

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

One look at the BMW M240i ACLS2 and you can immediately tell that it went through a significant amount of changes from where it looked like in standard form. That’s neither an accident nor a coincidence because AC Schnitzer put in the time and the work to prepare an extensive 10-piece aerodynamic wide-body kit that places emphasis on making the M240i look the part of a meaner and more menacing sports car. Up front, the goodies start with a bespoke carbon front spoiler, a front splitter, and the carbon front side wings that all look at home in the M240i. The fact that even the BMW M2 doesn’t have the spoiler and splitter tag-team speaks to the attention to detail that the German tuner put into its special edition anniversary-tinged creation.

One look at the BMW M240i ACLS2 and you can immediately tell that it went through a significant amount of changes from where it looked like in standard form

Move to the sides of the car and you’ll see new side skirts and carbon fiber side mirrors while at the back, some heavy-hitting components are all there, including a choice between a rear roof spoiler or a carbon fiber rear wing that help improve the car’s downforce and a carbon rear diffuser that makes room for a new exhaust and four sport tailpipes.

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

The wider wheel arches are another understated addition to the M240i. Not only do they help accommodate bigger-than-usual wheel sizes, but they also play a role in expanding the coupe’s overall width by as much as 80 mm (3.15 inches). Speaking of those wheels, AC Schnitzer’s exterior upgrade program for the M240i is finished off by a new set of its very own 19-inch AC1 alloy wheels that come in a standard black and silver finish. There are options to put some color to the wheels in case the standard set isn’t to your liking.

Cosmetic badges featuring AC Schnitzer’s badge and some “ACLS2” decals have also been thrown in for good measure, at least in case some people need to be reminded of the model’s outright exclusivity.

What other tuners are offering

If we’re going to be technical about it, there haven’t been any notable programs that have been made available to the BMW M240i. Remember, the M240i and the M2 are two different models. In that light, we’re going to make an exception here because the M2, for all intents and purposes, has been an aftermarket favorite and a lot of the programs available to the M2 fall in the space of what AC Schnitzer developed with the BMW M240i ACLS2.

One such example is G-Power, which has a body kit for the M2 that includes components similar to what the ACLS2 has. Up front, there’s a new splitter with extra inlets. Side sills are also part of the aerodynamic kit, as well as a revised rear bumper, a small diffuser, and a trunk lid spoiler that itself comes with tiny winglets on each side. The tuner also has its set of wheels – 20-inch Hurricane RR forged alloys – to complete its exterior upgrade program for the M2.

Another tuner with a sweet exterior program for the M2 is Alpha-N Performance, which features a carbon fiber front spoiler with an adjustable air splitter in its tool box of updates. A four-position adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing is also part of the tuner’s kit and a carbon fiber roof panel that helps aid in dropping the coupe’s weight to where the tuner wants it to be. Not surprisingly, a new set of wheels is also included in Alpha-N’s program for the M2. In this case, customers are offered a set of 19-inch OZ Superforgiata lightweight alloys.

BMW M2 by G-Power

Note: side-by-side photos of the BMW M2 by G-Power and the BMW M2 by Alpha-N Performance

Interior

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

There aren’t that many interior upgrades for the ALCS2, but that’s to be expected since AC Schnitzer prioritized quality over quantity in this section. Even with the minimal upgrades, the tuner still made the ALCS2’s interior pleasant to the eyes with a host of interior trim that includes a black-anodized aluminum handbrake handle, an aluminum pedal set, and aluminum footrest, both of which, mind you, are matte-anodized, and velour floor mats. As extra options, the German tuner is also offering Recaro sports with a two-color leather combination and a three-spoke leather steering wheel with color-matched stitching. Last but certainly not least is a stainless steel badge that reads “ONE OF THIRTY” with laser-engraved text and the ACL2S logo, both of which serve as a good reminder to everyone on the outright exclusivity of the model.

What other tuners are offering

Like in the exterior, we’re touching on what at least one other tuner has prepared with its own program for the BMW M2. The aforementioned Hamann tuning kit includes its own modest upgrade with the only notable items being aluminum footrests and pedals, as well as LED door entry illumination.

BMW M2 by Hamann

Unfortunately, that’s the extent of interior upgrades that are available for the M2 from other tuners. It has become the status quo for these companies to leave the M2’s cabin alone so if you’re looking for a nice dress-up in that section of the car, our choices are limited to only a few tuners, a category that includes the likes of AC Schnitzer and Hamann.

What BMW is offering

The good news is that owners of either BMW M240i or the M2 can go directly to BMW to address this need, if there is one in the first place. Bimmer, for example, has the M Performance Pack to offer to those looking for some new parts and accessories for either of the two models. There’s an option to get a flat-bottomed racing wheel with paddle shifters and other controls in red illuminated gauges. Then there are the extra options, which include Alcantara wraps on parts and sections like the previously mentioned M Performance steering wheel and center console. Carbon fiber is also another option to consider as you can avail of the material and use it on the shifter knob and its own surround.

Drivetrain

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

AC Schnitzer’s BMW M240i ACLS2 special edition car is defined by a lot of things, none more important than what the tuner did to the coupe’s new 3.0-liter inline-six engine. The engine upgrade is mostly of a software nature as the tuner relied on an ECU remap to bring out more horses out of their stables. Combine that with the addition of a custom air intake, an exhaust and downpipe, and high performance silencers made from stainless steel with different chromed tailpipes, and you get a rip-roaring sports car that has an improved output of 400 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.

The engine upgrade is mostly of a software nature as the tuner relied on an ECU remap to bring out more horses out of their stables

The German tuner didn’t say how the power gains affect the car’s performance numbers, but since a standard M240i with all-wheel-drive capabilities can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, it’s not inconceivable for the ACLS2 to cover the same distance in four seconds flat. On the flip side, top speed is likely to remain at 155 mph.

What other tuners are offering

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

This is where it gets interesting because the sheer number of tuners that have engine upgrade programs for the BMW M2 is, well, staggering. We’re not going to go through each and everyone of them, but we have picked out some aftermarket firms that have presented tuning kits that offer similar results to what AC Schnitzer is offering with the M240i ACLS2.

First up is Evolve Automotive, which has a similar strategy than AC Schnitzer. That plan features an engine ECU tune and modifications to the air intakes and exhausts. It’s no surprise then that Evolve was able to squeeze out 401 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque out of the M2’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Roughly identical numbers, right? That said, Evolve says that with its program installed, the M2 is capable of covering 60 mph from an idle position in 4.2 seconds while top speed also remains at 155 mph.

The next tuner is Hamann. Yes, it provides one of the most comprehensive aftermarket tuning programs for the BMW M2 and for good reason. Hamman is one of the best in the business at what it does and is considered a legitimate peer and sometimes rival to AC Schnitzer. It’s fitting then that Hamann’s tuning blueprint for the M2 is also about the software, which in this case involves tweaks to the M2’s ignition mapping. The result from that nipping and tucking is an output of 420 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, slightly higher in terms of outright horsepower than the ACLS2 but a little short on the torque figures compared to the special edition M240i. Still, Hamann’s program can also do 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with a top speed that’s pegged at 180 mph provided, of course, that the car’s speed limiter was removed.

Hamann’s program can also do 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with a top speed that’s pegged at 180 mph

The last one tuner we’ll profile here is G-Power, a company that holds numerous top speed records from a lot of the programs it’s built over the years. Sadly, this one doesn’t count as one of them even though it’s still good for 410 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque on the crank. The tuner hit this number courtesy of two of its very own tuning modules – the Bi-Tronik 2 V1 or the Bi-Tronik 5 V1 – that customers can choose from. Either way, the output remains at the said number and the performance figures amount to a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.2 seconds to go with a top speed of 180 mph.

While we’re at it, let’s look at what AC Schnitzer’s program for the BMW M2 is all about. Just like its kit for the ACLS2, AC Schnitzer is offering engine modifications that are mostly of the software variety, although it did add a charge cooler into the mix that helps improve the engine’s efficiency, something that can spell wonders for the M2’s 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine. All together, AC Schnitzer was able to increase the M2’s output to 420 horsepower, only 20 horses more than the ACLS2. Interesting, right?

For a clearer look at how AC Schnitzer’s M240i ACLS2 special edition sports car compares to BMW M2 tuning programs, take a look at the table below.

Tuner Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 mph Top speed
BMW M240i ACLS2 by AC Schnitzer 400 horsepower 442 pound-feet 4.0 seconds* 155 mph
BMW M2 by Evolve Automotive 401 horsepower 450 pound-feet 4.0 seconds* 155 mph*
BMW M2 by G-Power 410 horsepower 420 pound-feet 4.2 seconds* 180 mph*
BMW M2 by Hamann 420 horsepower 391 pound-feet 4.2 seconds* 180 mph*
BMW M2 by Speed-Buster 426 horsepower 457 pound-feet 4.0 seconds* 180 mph*
BMW M2 by Lightweight Performance 450 horsepower 420 pound-feet 4.0 seconds* 184 mph
BMW M2 Alpha-N Performance 450 horsepower 420 pound-feet 4.0 seconds* 180 mph*

Pricing

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

This is the most anticipated section of any review because it’ll ultimately determine whether AC Schnitzer’s BMW M240i ACLS2 is going to worth its special edition status. Well, depending on how deep your pockets, the entire upgrade package costs €35,900, which converts to just under $38,000 based on current exchange rates. Now let’s do the math here. The base price of the BMW M240i is $44,500 so if you add that to the price of the package – let’s put it up at $40,000 – to have some room for added costs, that gives us a total amount of $84,500 for a super limited (only 30 units), heavily modded BMW M240i ACLS2 that produces 400 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, can sprint to 60 mph in the lower end of four seconds, and has a top speed of 155 mph. Good deal? I’d say so.

Competition

BMW M2 By Raze By RevoZport

BMW M2 Raze by RevoZport

Since we still don’t have enough tuning kits available for the BMW M240i, let’s take this opportunity to once again shine the spotlight on some other programs for the M2 that weren’t mentioned in the “Drivetrain” section.

One of the most recent programs for the BMW M2 comes by way of RevoZport, which prepared one of the more software-centric engine programs for the sports coupe. While it did add a new intake system and a free-flow lightweight titanium exhaust, the tuner still managed to bring the car’s output up to 480 horsepower, which puts it on the top-shelf among tuners that have similar programs available for the car.

BMW M2 MH2 630 By Manhart Racing

BMW M2 by Manhart Racing

So far, this is one of th more impressive tuning programs we’ve seen done on the M2. It comes from Manhart Racing and while it is a one-off, it does provide a glimpse into the tuning possibilities of the M2. In this case, Manhart didn’t just do a software nip and tuck, it actually replaced the M2’s 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder N55 engine with the BMW M4’s S55 twin-turbo six. Once the swap was done, the German tuner performed some extra tweaks to the new engine, bringing the car’s overall output to 630 horsepower, a staggering increase from the M2’s standard output of 365 horses, not to mention the M4’s N55 engine, which peaks at 431 ponies. Manhart Racing didn’t announce the torque number post engine swap, but somewhere around 600 pound-feet of twist should be in the cards.

Conclusion

BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

Of all the years I’ve covered the Geneva Motor Show, I will cop to imagining bringing home some of the cars that were a part of the show. I think everybody does that anyway, right? Well, I’ve done it in the past and I’m going to do it again when this year’s event opens its doors next week. On that note, you can be sure that AC Schnitzer’s BMW M240i ACLS2 already has a spot on my Geneva wish list. Really, what’s not to like about this beauty? It looks the part of a menacing sports car. It has a lot of aftermarket aerobits in it. It’s got more power than a standard BMW M2 and is within whiskers off of the BMW M4 . Best of all, it’s only limited to 30 units, which means that if I end up owning one, I’m only sharing that distinction with 29 other people…in the world.

Granted, the price is admittedly steep since I could get a base M4 for just $66,200. But for what it has, the status it represents, and its overall limited quantity, I wouldn’t mind paying that much for the car. At the very least, I’d be owning arguably one of the most exclusive aftermarket-prepared BMW M models in the world today.

LOVE IT

  • Very aggressive looking
  • Ample power gains
  • Exclusive for days
LEAVE IT

  • Quite pricey
  • Not for everyone
  • Could have stretched more power out of that new six-cylinder

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/GZ0XtE)

Prism Sound Callia review

PROS

  • Dynamic sound with good timing
  • Solid build

CONS

  • Looks cheaper than it is
  • Lack of mid-range clarity

KEY FEATURES

  • S/PDIF optical, coaxial digital, USB inputs
  • RCA phono and XLR balanced outputs
  • 6.3mm headphones socket
  • Hi-Res Audio playback up to 384kHz, DSD64/128
  • 285 x 242 x 50mm, 2.1kg
  • Manufacturer: Prism Sound
  • Review Price: £1,495.00/$2,242.50

WHAT IS THE PRISM SOUND CALLIA?

Prism Sound is renowned for its pro audio kit, and the Callia is the company’s first foray into the home hi-fi market. It’s a DAC headphone amp and digital pre-amp that’s aiming to mix with the very best.

Prism Sound Callia 9

PRISM SOUND CALLIA – DESIGN AND FEATURES

The Callia is a heavy, well-built beast – there’s no doubt about that. It’s heftier than it looks, with a thick metal fascia.

Its styling, however, reminds me of Arcam separates from the 1990s, or something you might have picked up in Maplin to make up for your CRT TV having only one Scart. This isn’t the stuff of which high-end hi-fi legends are made.

Still, it has most of the accoutrements you could hope for. The front panel has a 6.3mm headphones socket with a dedicated volume knob, plus a main volume control for line outputs, a source-selector switch, and an array of LEDs to indicate the source and the bit-rate of the files you’re playing.

Around the rear are inputs for S/PDIF optical, coaxial digital and USB, as well as RCA phono and balanced XLR line outputs.

Prism Sound Callia 7

Thanks to the latter and that dedicated main volume knob, the Callia can double as a pre-amp in a full hi-fi system. However, the lack of a remote control or any analogue inputs makes it less than ideal for that duty.

Lastly, the back panel has a set of four small dip switches – for adjusting the Callia to suit different headphone sensitivities – and a standard kettle-plug power socket.

In the box, you also get one of the classiest USB keys I’ve ever seen. It’s only for the Windows drivers, but it’s a nice touch.

PRISM SOUND CALLIA – SOUND QUALITY

I tested the Callia mostly using a pair of Grado Labs GS1000e over-ear headphones and a pair of Noble Audio Katana in-ears, and I also fed it to my main hi-fi system to test the DAC only. Source files from my Mac were a mixture of CD-quality FLAC, Hi-Res Audio FLAC and old 320kbps MP3s.

Starting off with something gentle and intimate in the form of Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, the first thing that became apparent about the Callia was a lack of separation in the mid-range. Individual instruments were nowhere near as easy to pick out in the enchanting “The Stable Song” as when listening to the Chord Hugo. The Callia just doesn’t have the clarity, subtlety and precision with transients of the Hugo.

Prism Sound Callia 5

What the Prism does do well is to keep things sounding exciting, thanks to plenty of attack and a great sense of timing. Moving on to Yeasayer’s Fragrant World, the waves of pulses and beats washed over with toe-tapping regularity.

Again, that mid-range smearing just stops the music from being truly immersive, however, and doesn’t make the most of headphones or speakers that are particularly capable of outstanding resolution. The Noble Audio Katana felt like they were on the leash through the Callia, and that certainly isn’t what you want when you’ve spent £1,700 on in-ear monitors.

On the plus side, poorer recordings weren’t so badly exposed – but I’d rather tap the full potential of the many glorious tracks than hinder them for the sake of papering over the duff ones.

prism-sound-callia

SHOULD I BUY THE PRISM SOUND CALLIA?

The Callia serves up an exciting listening experience, but it really can’t compete with the Chord Hugo. The Hugo sounds better in every department, and has the added benefits of portability and Bluetooth aptX streaming.

VERDICT

A lack of mid-range clarity and a slightly naff design stop this DAC headphone amp from justifying its high price.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/ovVE1v)

 

LG G6 vs LG V20: What’s the difference?

LG G6 vs LG V20: Can LG’s latest flagship trump the last year’s Android powerhouse titan, the LG V20? Read on to find out.

The LG G6 is finally official, and we’re impressed so far. It’s got powerful specs, a gorgeous new design, and runs on the latest version Google’s Android operating system.

Still, last year’s LG V20 is also a formidable smartphone, rounding out 2017 with top-end hardware and an impressive design that attracted plenty of customers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t launched in the UK, to the chagrin of many keen customers.

But which handset is better?

In this article, I’ll answer the following questions:

  • How do the designs differ?
  • How do the LG G6 and LG V20 specs compare?
  • Which phone has better software?
  • Which phone is better value for money?
  • Should you buy the LG G6 or the LG V20?

Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of the page for a summarised version of this article.

LG G6 VS LG V20 DESIGN: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Both handsets are attractive by modern standards, but we’d say that LG’s latest flagship has the edge when it comes to design.

The LG G6 has received a major design overhaul when you compare it to the LG G5, and that’s for the best. Gone is the LG G5’s quirky modular design that allowed users to swap out a very limited roster of insertable features – we’ve now got an attractive, solid glass and metal unibody instead.

The other big change is a massive increase in screen-to-body ratio, meaning that much more of the phone’s front face is occupied by display. This very modern design approach is expected to be mimicked by the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple’s iPhone 8 later this year, so it’s good to see LG getting in on the trend early.

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LG G6

The LG V20 is also very pretty, featuring a minimalistic metallic design with a very thin bezel. It’s constructed from lightweight AL6013 aluminium, while the top and bottom of the phone are protected by a new silicon-based material called Silicone Polycarbonate.

But it’s fair to say that although very similar, the LG G6 looks and feels just a little bit more premium and refined – though as we’ve said, neither looks bad.

Here’s our Mobile Editor Max Parker’s take on the two phones’ design:

“The V20 is a fine looking phone, but it feels like LG has taken a huge step forward with the whole look of the G6. The limited bezel and generally small body – when you consider the substantial screen – just make it a far nicer phone to hold and look at.”

LG V20

LG G6 VS LG V20 SPECS: WHICH PHONE IS THE MOST POWERFUL?

These handsets are only launching a few months apart, so there’s not a very big difference in specs. We’d also forewarn you that it’s impossible for us to fully compare the phones’ performance until we’ve reviewed and benchmarked the LG G6. But how do the handsets compare on paper?

Well the LG G6 has a few advantages, not least because of its higher-resolution display. Both devices have the same 5.7-inch screen, but the LG G6 display boasts a 1,440 x 2,880 pixel resolution compared to the LG V20’s 1,440 x 2,560 pixel screen. That means the LG G6 is more pixel dense (564ppi) compared to the LG V20 (513ppi).

That said, it’s not a huge difference, and we’d like to see the two side-by-side to see how they compare. Of more interest, potentially, is the fact the G6 supports HDR video content, whereas the G6 doesn’t.

We’d also expect the LG G6 to have improved performance thanks to its more powerful processor. The LG V20 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, while the LG G6 features the newer Snapdragon 821 processor, which Qualcomm says is 10% faster than its predecessor. Both phones use the same 4GB RAM module and come in 32GB variants, although you can also get a 64GB version of the LG V20.

It’s too soon to properly compare cameras, because quality photography depends on so many different factors. But we do know that both the LG G6 and LG V20 use a dual-camera arrangement. The LG G6’s rear-facing camera has a 13-megapixel OIS sensor plus a normal 13-megapixel sensor, both with a f/1.8 aperture. You also get a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera on the front with a f/2.4 aperture.

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LG G6

By comparison, the LG V20’s rear camera features a 16-megapixel sensor with a f/1.8 aperture plus an 8-megapixel sensor with a f/2.4 aperture. And the front camera is 5-megapixels with a f/1.9 aperture. Based on that information, we’d wager that the LG G6 camera will offer slightly better quality images from the main camera, on account of its high-resolution sensors combined with a very wide aperture – allowing more light through.

The LG G6 has some other exclusive perks, including IP68-certified waterproofing and wireless charging, neither of which are available on the LG V20.

For a full spec comparison, check out the table below:

LG G6 LG V20
Screen 5.7 inches 5.7 inches
Display Resolution 1,440 x 2,880 pixels (564ppi) 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (513ppi)
Aspect Ratio 18:9 16:9
Screen-to-body Ratio 80% 72.4%
Dimensions 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm 159.7 x 781 x 7.6mm
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 32GB (+ MicroSD) 32/64GB (+ MicroSD)
Main Camera 13-megapixel OIS (f/1.8), 13-megapixel (f/1.8) 16-megapixel (f/1.8), 8-megapixel (f/2.4)
Front Camera 5-megapixel (f/2.4) 5-megapixel (f/1.9)
Battery Size 3,300mAh 3,200mAh
Charging Quick Charge 3.0, Wireless Quick Charge 3.0
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Fingerprint Scanner Yes Yes
Waterproofing IP68 Certified N/A
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G, USB-C Wi-Fi, 4G, USB-C
Colours Black, White, Platinum Titan, Silver, Pink

LG G6 VS LG V20 OS: WHICH PHONE HAS BETTER SOFTWARE?

There’s very little to compare when it comes to software; both the LG G6 and LG V20 use Google’s latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system skinned with custom LG UX software.

LG V20

LG V20

Perhaps the biggest difference is that LG has modified the software on the G6 to support the quirky new 18:9 (read: 2:1) aspect ratio. This allows two apps to be used in a multi-task mode, displaying both as perfect 1:1 squares. How useful is this? We’re not quite sure, but it’s unique at least.

LG G6 VS LG V20 PRICE: WHICH PHONE IS BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY?

Until we have official pricing for the LG G6, we can’t say exactly which of these two devices will be better value for money. In the USA, the LG V20 base model costs $799 (£643 at current exchange rates), which makes it one of the most expensive smartphones available.

We’d expect the LG G6 to come in significantly cheaper, likely pricing somewhere south of £600. However, given the volatile nature of British Sterling, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a price bump from the LG G6. In any case, we reckon the LG G6 will offer greater value for money that then LG V20, but we’ll need to see proper pricing before making a final judgement.

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LG G6

SHOULD YOU GET THE LG G6 OR LG V20?

Weighing up your options? Maybe this will help:

If you want the best possible hardware, get the LG G6. It’s a plain fact that the LG G6 has the better specs on paper. You’re getting a faster processor, a more pixel-dense display, and bonus features like wireless charging.

If you want the best value, you’ll have to wait for final pricing. Unfortunately, we’ve got no idea how much the LG G6 will cost in the UK, so if you’re trying to be frugal, you’ll have to hang around.

Don’t forget to consider the alternatives. Remember that there are plenty of non-LG phones worth their salt, including the recently released Google Pixel. We’ve also got plenty of big name brands set to launch phones this year, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, which will be announced on March 29.

LG V20

LG V20

LG G6 VS LG V20 SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Here’s a quick overview of the main differences between the LG G6 and LG V20.

Design: Both phones look great, but the LG V20 has a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio and a sleek metal unibody design. You’ll be happy with either, however.

Specs: The LG G6 slightly edges out the LG V20 in terms of specs, featuring a better Snapdragon 821 processor, a higher-resolution display, and perks like waterproofing and wireless charging.

Price: The LG V20 isn’t available in the UK, but costs $799 in the USA. We haven’t got LG G6 pricing for the UK yet, unfortunately.

Value: Until we’ve got pricing, we’ll have to keep mum on this one.

(trustedreviews.com, https://goo.gl/0IVoqQ)

 

2017 BMW I8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition Review

It’s easy to see why some people have become weary of BMW’s penchant to dress up the i8 in special editionwardrobes when the common call for the German automaker is to drop some serious updates on the car. After all, the long-promised i8 Spyder has not yet arrived and a next-generation model isn’t making its debut anytime soon. Heck, there was even one point when talk of a “hotter” i8 – reportedly called the i8S – was in everyone’s radar. Nothing has come out of it though and the restless have become even more angsty. In the meantime, BMW seems to be content in dropping one special edition i8 after another and the latest to get that treatment is the i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition.

In truth, the i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition was announced together with the i8 Protonic Frozen Black Edition. You might even say that with the exception of the body color that’s carried over into their actual names, both special edition i8s are somewhat identical to one another.

BMW’s approach with the i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition is simple and straight to the point, as it has been for other Protonic special editions that the German automaker has released in the past. Remember the i8 Protonic Red Edition and the i8 Protonic Dark Silver Edition from last year? Lump in the the i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow’s tag-team partner, the Protonic Frozen Black Edition, and you can see a familiar template being followed here.

Yes, the family of special edition BMW i8s is growing and until we get to see some concrete movement in the expansion of the model’s line-up, we might have to settle ourselves with the understanding that for now, the scope of BMW’s expansion plans for the i8 will largely be focused on more special edition models in the near future, possibly of the “Protonic” persuasion.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing since there’s still a segment of the population that get excited over these models. But the novelty is also wearing thin for some people and as creative as these special edition i8s are, the time when people we’re falling over their feet in excitement every time BMW released one has clearly passed.

There’s a good chance that the BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition will still attract a lot of people. But don’t be surprised if just as many start jumping off the bandwagon.

What Makes The BMW I8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition So Special?

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

That’s an interesting question because at the heart of all the Protonic special edition i8s we’ve seen in the past, there is one prevailing theme behind them. The uniqueness of each of these models can be traced to their body colors, which BMW even put in the names of the special editions. The i8 Protonic Red Edition came with a Protonic Red paint while the Protonic Dark Silver Edition featured a Dark Silver body color. Notice the trend here?

The i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition is the latest to get this treatment, and as you might expect, it’s enduring special quality is the Proton ic Frozen Yellow paint finish that it comes with. To be fair, BMW Individual created these paint finishes to be exclusive to the models they come in so no standard BMW i8 is in line to receive the same color or treatment.

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Move past the unique body color of the i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition and you’ll notice that most of its other exclusive features are shared with its Geneva co-star, the aforementioned i8 Protonic Frozen Black Edition. One of these chard characteristics is the set of BMW’s new 20-inch i light-alloy wheels that not only come in a “W-Spoke” design, but also with matte-painted surfaces.

Step inside the cabin of the special edition i8 and, once again, the similarities are impossible to ignore. Sure, the door still strips with the “Edition” inscriptions are different – it says Protonic Frozen Yellow for this particular model – but everything else, including the yellow contrast stitching on the seat surfaces, center console, as well as the side panel trim and door cards, on the floor mats, and in the lower section of the instrument panel. Serving as distinguishable complements to the yellow stitching is an anthracite-colored headliner, grey seat belt straps, and ceramic applications for the selector lever and iDrive Controller.

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

Step inside the cabin of the special edition i8 and, once again, the similarities are impossible to ignore.

Aesthetically, the interior amenities work in adding a nice touch of sportiness and personality to the interior of the BMW i8. But it is getting a little predictable, which has become a common concern for a lot of people.

Has the novelty of these BMW i8 Protonic special editions worn off?

It really depends on who you ask because some people still appreciate the fact that BMW and BMW Individual continue to work hard in presenting the i8 in different aesthetic iterations. There’s something to be said for being committed to providing more variety for future BMW i8 owners.

On the other hand, I can’t dismiss the frustrations other people are getting by what they think is a very long and obscenely slow play coming from BMW with regards to adding more variety to the i8 line that isn’t limited to fancy colors from BMW Exclusive. It’s a legitimate source of concern because the i8 has been around for 2014 and the closest thing to any meaningful changes it has received since that time is the removal of the gullwing doors that were used in the first few years of the model.

As far as these special edition models are concerned, I don’t think BMW is going to stop building them for as long as there’s interest from people who are willing to buy them. The key from here on out is to ensure that all future special edition i8s receive bolder upgrades than the ones we’ve seen from these Protonic special editions.

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

The key from here on out is to ensure that all future special edition i8s receive bolder upgrades than the ones we’ve seen from these Protonic special editions.

If anything, BMW could even tap into some i8-based concepts it has unveiled in the past and try to draw inspiration from them. The i8 Concours d’ Elegance Edition is a nice example, as is the i8 CrossFade Concept that BMW, together with Garage Italia Customs, presented at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Those two examples show that there’s still plenty of potential for the current BMW i8 to be more than what it currently is.

It’s going to be tricky for BMW to navigate this terrain as it probably has its hands full on cars like the long-overdue i8 Spyder. But if anybody can pull it off and do it with absolute efficiency, it’s BMW.

Personally, I’m not against the Protonic special edition i8s. I actually like the Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition because it gives some character and personality to the car. But I can’t dismiss the growing frustrations either and all those who share in that opinion have valid points to make.

Ultimately, I think a lot of people wish the same thing for the BMW i8 as I do. These SEs are nice to look at, but we’d rather see some progress made on the second-generation BMW i8, or at the very least, the i8 Roadster that’s been talked about for a number of years now.

Want to really catch our attention, BMW? Focus on those things.

Press Release

The BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Black Edition – which will be produced in a limited run and go on sale in April 2017 – owes its striking appearance to a model-specific BMW Individual paint finish. The exclusive exterior shade Protonic Frozen Black shares its canvas with accents in Frozen Grey metallic. A sophisticated application process is employed to transfer the paint to the BMW i8’s carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) bodywork.

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

The Protonic Frozen Black finish has a silky-matt shimmer and shines a particularly vivid spotlight on the plug-in-hybrid sports car’s dynamic lines and flowing surface design. The i8 line-up will be joined, later in 2017, by another special-edition model variant – the BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition, which is likewise headlined by an exclusive BMW Individual paint finish. Both special-edition models will sport newly designed 20-inch BMW i light-alloy wheels in W-Spoke design with matt-painted surfaces and mixed-size tyres.

BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition

Inside the two special-edition models, contrast stitching in Yellow for the seat surfaces and centre console underlines the sporty and extravagant looks that dominate the cockpit design of the BMW i8. Yellow contrast stitching can also be found in the side panel trim and door cards, on the floor mats and in the lower section of the instrument panel. An anthracite-coloured headliner, grey seat belt straps, ceramic applications for the selector lever and iDrive Controller, and door sill strips with “Edition” inscriptions add the finishing touches to the exclusive interior ambience of the special-edition models.

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/3Y1K35)

New Nokia 3310 vs original Nokia 3310: which phone is king?

The Nokia 3310 is an iconic handset, and 17 years after it first launched Nokia has brought the handset back to the life in the shape of the new Nokia 3310.

But is newer always better?

We’ve pitted the new Nokia 3310 against the original to see which one comes out on top. This isn’t just a simple spec shootout though – there’s plenty of nostalgia, emotional attachment and pure gut feeling here too.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: price

The new Nokia 3310 price is low… really low. It will go on sale globally some time between April and June for €49 (around $40, £35, AU$55).

In comparison, the original Nokia 3310 launched at £129.99 (around $160, AU$210), although 17 years later it can be picked up secondhand for a lot less.

A quick search on eBay shows multiple hits for 3310 devices, with Buy it Nowprices ranging from £15-£50 (around $18-$60, AU$24-80).

Winner: New Nokia 3310
With a supremely low launch price the new Nokia 3310 is highly affordable, making it a great option as a back-up, festival or holiday phone. While you can pick up the old Nokia 3310 for next to nothing, you can’t guarantee the condition it’ll arrive in, and it doesn’t support many modern SIM cards.

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New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: design

The design of the original Nokia 3310 is iconic. Back in 2000 its 113 x 48 x 22mm dimensions were viewed as impressively compact, coming off the back of the taller 3210, and more importantly it could take one hell of a beating.

Dubbed by many as ‘indestructible’, the 3310 put solid build quality front and center, with a noticeable thickness and removable fascias, which meant that if you did manage to crack the casing it was cheap and easy to replace.

The 133g weight provided a reassurance presence in the hand, without being overbearing, and you could easily use the phone one-handed.

Nokia has put the new 3310 on a diet – it tips the scales at 76.9g and measures 115.6 x 51 x 12.8mm, making it a lot more compact and lightweight than its predecessor.

While this makes it supremely easily to handle, and almost undetectable in a pocket, it doesn’t feel as solid. You also can’t remove the front cover, only the rear, so swapping out the current fascia for a new one is out of the question.

Winner: Original Nokia 3310
They built them better back in the day. The Nokia 3310 wins this round with its solid, hardy build. It may be thicker and heavier, but it’s still easy to use one-handed and will comfortably nestle in the pocket. Plus, the ability to switch the fascias for funkier options is always fun.

Short on time? Check out our new Nokia 3310 vs old Nokia 3310 video below.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: display

What makes a good screen? Is it the size, the resolution, the colors, the viewability in bright light? It’s somewhat of a mixed bag on both the old and the new Nokia 3310.

The original 3310 packs a monochrome display with an 84 x 48 resolution that’s laughably low-res in today’s world.

That said, it consumed very little power, and was still perfectly readable even in direct sunlight.

Things have been stepped up a notch on the new Nokia 3310, with a 2.4-inch full color display adorning the front of the phone.

A 240 x 320 resolution gives a more detailed look to the interface, but it’s still nowhere near as good as the displays you get on even entry-level Android smartphones.

It’s still power-efficient however, and while Nokia claims a polarizing layer will help with viewability in bright light we’re not convinced it’ll be as good as the original 3310.

Winner: New Nokia 3310
A higher resolution, bigger screen and larger display all play their part in giving the new Nokia 3310 the win here. The extra detail makes texts and images easier on the eye, although we do miss the green glow of the original 3310’s display.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: battery

The original Nokia 3310 is fondly remembered for its days of battery life. The handset featured a 900mAh power pack which could give up to 2.5 hours of talktime and up to 11 days of standby, making it a bit of a road warrior.

Things get even better with the new Nokia 3310 though, with a larger 1,200mAh battery giving you 22 hours of talktime and up to a whopping 31 days of standby.

Winner: New Nokia 3310
The battery life on the original Nokia 3310 was great, but the quoted stats for the new Nokia 3310 are simply fantastic. We’re yet to put the new 3310 to the test to see if it can live up to the claims, but the early signs are positive.

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New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: interface

Pick up an original Nokia 3310, hit the menu button and use the arrows keys on the right and you’ll scroll through a familiar list of options.

It’s simple yet effective, giving you access to call logs, contacts, messages, games, calculator, settings and… not a lot else.

The menu on the new Nokia 3310 isn’t exactly feature-packed, but it has a number of additional options over its predecessor.

There’s a calendar, basic web browser, a simple app store and a camera application to name a few. It runs the Nokia Series 30+ operating system, which is navigated via the directional key below the screen. It’s all very intuitive.

Winner: New Nokia 3310
In this case, more is more. The additional features on the Nokia 3310, along with the updated UI, make for a strong yet straightforward experience.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: camera

This is a quick section. The old Nokia 3310 doesn’t have a camera. Why? Because it was around before cameras were being put into phones.

The new Nokia 3310 does have a camera – but don’t get too excited. The rear-mounted 2MP snapper features a digital zoom and single LED flash – but that’s your lot. For the odd snap it’s fine, but it’s not going to be your main camera.

Winner: New Nokia 3310
Well it’s obvious: only the new 3310 has a camera, so there’s only one winner here… unless you hate cameras, in which case the original 3310 is your champion.

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New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: connectivity

When it comes to connectivity the old Nokia 3310 is very limited. There’s no Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, microSD slot, USB port or NFC. All you get is basic cellular connectivity. It was a simpler time back in 2000.

While the new Nokia 3310 adds a few extras – namely Bluetooth, a microSD slot and a microUSB port – it still misses options such as Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC.

You get a slightly better cellular connection – 2.5G to be exact – but that’s only enough to give you a very basic web experience.

Winner: New Nokia 3310
Just… there’s not a lot in this one, with neither handset packing Wi-Fi, GPS or NFC. But the new 3310 edges it with 2.5G connectivity and the inclusion of Bluetooth.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: Snake

The old Nokia 3310 is sometimes mistaken for a handset which came with the original version of Snake, but in fact it ran Snake II. The second generation of the popular mobile game added a few new levels, a head to your snake and bugs for bonus points.

It’s simple, yet utterly addictive – and even today you can spend longer than you’d probably like to admit trying to get a new high score.

The new Nokia 3310 has a modern-day take on the game called Snake Xenzia. It have full color graphics, a wider selection of levels, a more lifelike snake and a simpler way to control it – just use the 4 and 6 number keys. It’s still fun to play, but lacks the simple charm of Snake II.

Winner: Original Nokia 3310
You can’t beat a bit of classic Snake II action. It’s as simple as at.

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New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: ringtone

Da da der der, da da der der, da da der der der. It’s a ringtone which is synonymous with Nokia, and both handsets have the ‘Nokia tone’ as a ringtone in their settings menu.

The original Nokia 3310 has the classic monophonic jingle, which always raises a smile when it’s played.

The new Nokia 3310 has a more polyphonic variant of the tune which makes it a little fancier. It’s a matter of taste as to which you’ll prefer, but purists will always opt for the monophonic version.

Winner: Original Nokia 3310
As with any classic song, remixes are all well and good, but the original is always the best.

New Nokia 3310 vs Original Nokia 3310: verdict

If you tot up the totals, the new Nokia 3310 wins this shoot-out with a score of 6 category wins to 3 – but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The new Nokia 3310 doesn’t offer the nostalgia, the twang of sentiment you get when you think back and remember the original 3310. For some it can never be bettered, and the reboot won’t hit the same heights.

We’d have liked to have seen the design follow the original a little more closely, but the addition of the new features, improved battery life and color display means the new Nokia 3310 is a worthy winner.

(techradar.com, https://goo.gl/l2D2Xw)

Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs Xperia Z5 Premium: What’s the difference?

Sony announced four smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, one of which is the Xperia XZ Premium, which is the company latest and greatest device with an all new camera and 4K HDR display.

It succeeds the Xperia Z5 Premium, which launched at IFA in September 2015, but how does it compare? Here is the Xperia XZ Premium against the Xperia Z5 Premium.

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  • XZ Premium is larger and heavier
  • More seamless design on XZ Premium thanks to 2.5D glass
  • Both IP68 and IP65 water and dust resistant

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia Z5 Premium feature the same OmniBalance, flat-slab design that Xperia smartphones are known for. There’s a side-mounted power button with a built-in fingerprint sensor on both, large bezels at the top and bottom of the displays and the rear camera lens in the top left-hand corner on the back. They are also both IP68 and IP65.

The Xperia XZ Premium does introduce 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass to the Premium party however, on both the front and rear of the device, offering a slightly more seamless design to its predecessor. The new model also opts for USB Type-C over Micro-USB.

The Xperia XZ Premium comes in Luminous Chrome or Deepsea Black and measures 156 x 77 x 7.9mm, with a weight of 195g. The Xperia Z5 Premium comes in Chrome, Black, Gold and Pink and is a little smaller and slimmer at 154.4 x 75.8 x 7.8mm. It is also quite a bit lighter, weighing 180g.

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  • Both have 5.5-inch 4K display
  • XZ Premium adds HDR

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia Z5 Premium both have 5.5-inch displays with 3840 x 2160 resolutions, resulting in a pixel densities of 806ppi for super sharp displays.

Both include various Sony display technologies including Triluminos and X-Reality but the new model also adds something called Dynamic Contrast Enhancer and more importantly, HDR.

The inclusion of HDR should mean the XZ Premium will offer better colour vibrancy and contrast compared to the Z5 Premium, though as the resolution is the same, the crispness and sharpness of the two displays should be on par.

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  • XZ Premium has new Motion Eye camera
  • Higher resolution front camera on XZ Premium
  • Super slow motion video recording on XZ Premium

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium features Sony’s new Motion Eye rear camera, offering a 19-megapixel sensor with 1.22µm pixels, along with a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0.

The rear camera is capable of 4K video recording, along with super slow motion video capture at 960fps. It also offers various technologies including Predictive Capture, Predictive Hybrid Autofocus and five-axis stabilisation.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium on the other hand, has a 23-megapixel rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0 and phase detection autofocus, coupled with a 5.1-megapixel front facing camera with an aperture of f/2.4.

The Z5 Premium is also capable of 4K video recording and it has a number of Sony features on board again, though it misses out on the new 960fps super slow-motion video feature.

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  • Newer, faster processor on XZ Premium
  • More RAM and storage on XZ Premium
  • Larger battery capacity on Z5 Premium

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, supported by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

There is microSD on board for further storage expansion and a 3230mAh battery runs the show, coupled with Sony’s Stamina Mode and Battery Care software working in the background.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor under its hood, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Again, microSD is on board, along with a slightly larger battery than the XZ Premium at 3430mAh.

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  • Both will have Android Nougat

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium launches on Android Nougat with Sony’s software on top. The Xperia Z5 Premium launched on Android Marshmallow but it is upgradable to Android Nougat so the software should be very similar once the Z5 Premium is updated.

There will be a couple of extra features on the XZ Premium over the Z5 Premium, such as the slow motion video function, but the overall user experience between these two handsets will be familiar for Sony fans.

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The Sony Xperia XZ Premium features a more seamless design, along with camera enhancements, and display improvements. It also brings with it a more powerful processor, a little extra RAM and more storage.

The Xperia Z5 Premium might be smaller and lighter, while also offering a larger battery capacity, but it doesn’t have everything Sony has to offer. It is likely to drop in price when the XZ Premium hits shelves though so if you’re just interested in the 4K display rather than the latest camera and hardware, it could still be a good option for you.

(pocket-lint.com, https://goo.gl/9YNMut)