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The Best Accessories for the LG G6

The Best Accessories for the LG G6

The LG G6 is a solid choice as it is rated as one of the best all-around smartphone LG has ever created. While waiting for your package or before you pick up your brand new phone you may want to check out our list of the top Accessories available for the LG G6!


 

1. Spigen Liquid Crystal LG G6 Case

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We love clear, see through skins and cases because not only does it actually show what you’ve invested in but it usually just feels great in the hands as long as it is slim. The LG G6 is a fantastic phone to look at from its interesting screen shape to the premium build of the body. Why cover it up when you can purchase this case to not only protect it from bumps, scratches, and drops but also show off your G6.

The case is slim, doesn’t cover up the modern look of the LG G6 and because it is designed by a long time manufacturer Spigen we are happy to recommend a quality product such as this.

2. Samsung 256 GB EVO+ UHS-I  microSD card

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LG G6 devices in the west are getting a variant with only 32 GB of storage. This is certainly not enough in a short amount of time if you are a heavy media user. Those photos and videos you take will need to go somewhere and though the cloud may be reliable for long term storage, it isn’t really good for reliability in remote places or places you need to stay offline. Here we recommend the Samsung EVO+ 256 GB microSD card.

Samsung’s own microSD cards are actually fantastic for smartphones. They are fast, reliable, and high quality. Reviews on these cards are high as it can keep up with all your photography, videography, gaming and 4K content with relative ease. Get yourself a 256 GB microSD from Samsung to be future proofed with storage. Don’t ever run into insufficient storage issues like you do on iPhone’s.

3. SUPCASE Full-body Rugged Holster Case

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For those who use their phone’s in more rough environments should consider getting a rugged case. These cases have a “rugged” design with bumps and symmetrical shapes that all contribute to a very high level of protection for your device. The SUPCASE provides sturdy protection while it provides a grip that enables you to use your phone with a peace of mind. This is perfect for heavy duty jobs and out door adventures into the wild.

4. Mpow Phone Air Vent Car Mount

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Most places in the world forbid the use of mobile devices in hand while driving. These Air Vent mounts are perfect for a nice drive down to wherever which leaves your hands free to focus on driving safely. The device attaches to your air vent and your phone will stick to it with a magnet on the back. This enables users to use it in portrait or landscape.

5. SuperShieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector for LG G6

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Despite the intriguingly new display style the phone still needs protection on the front glass element. The SuperShieldz provides a tempered glass protector that fits snugly and perfectly on your LG G6. Screen protectors are a must if you plan to sell your device away later down the road or if you simply would like to keep the display itself pristine and clear of tiny scratches. Screen protectors also bring a peace of mind to many people.

6. Sony SRS-XB3 EXTRA BASS Bluetooth Speaker 

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Bluetooth speakers are quite a common thing to see amongst student’s and people on the go even. People use it for snowboarding, at their dorms, in their rooms, and just about anywhere permitted. The Sony SRS-XB3 will provide solid bass and sound fidelity that can wow your friends and yourself.

7. Anker Micro-USB to USB-C adapter (2-pack)

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For people still transitioning into the whole USB-C future will most likely own a whole lot of micro USB cables. If you do not want to forego those precious cables you may want to get a pair of Anker Micro-USB to USB-C adapters in those cases. These little adapters will transform your aging microUSB cables into up-to-date usb C cables. This is especially useful in those moments you only have a microUSB on you.

8. Anker PowerPort Qi 10 Wireless Charging Pad anker-fast-wireless-charger-press    

LG G6 in the U.S. will support Qi wireless charging. To take advantage of this feature we recommend the Anker PowerPort Qi 10 Wireless charging pad. The charging pad features a premium build design, materials, and also breathing LED’s to indicate different status’. The pad is a non-slip material to keep your phone secure and not sliding around and the pad also takes advantage of Fast Charging. It will deliver 10W of charging to your LG G6. Safety features are still provided so that your phone will not overheat and is also protected from short-circuiting and electrical surges.

 

Xiaomi Mi 6 has the Same Specs as the Samsung Galaxy S8 for Half the Cost

Xiaomi Mi 6 has the Same Specs as the Samsung Galaxy S8 for Half the Cost

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The Chinese electronics company Xiaomi unveiled their latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 6. As tradition of Xiaomi the smartphone packs in high end components that rival the likes of the Galaxy S8. Sure, it isn’t perfect and it is missing a lot of other hardware components that the more premium Galaxy S8 boasts, but for about half the cost of the high end S8 what is not to like?

The Xiaomi Mi 6 features a Snapdragon 835 processing chip which is also found in the Galaxy S8, 6 GB’s of RAM, 64 GB’s of internal storage and a 12 megapixel dual camera setup on the back. There is also a decent 3,350 mAh battery pack, stereo speaker, and a USB-C port at the bottom.

Quick Specs Sheet:

  • Dimensions
    • 145.2 x 70.5 x 7.5 mm (5.72 x 2.78 x 0.30 in)
    • 168 g / 182 g (Ceramic) (6.42 oz)
    • Dual SIM
  • Display
    • IPS LCD 1080p display (1920 x 1080) (~428 ppi pixel density)
    • 5.15 inch
  • Platform
    • Android v7.1.1 (MIUI 8.0)
    • Snapdragon 835 CPU
    • Adreno 540 GPU
  • Memory
    • 64 / 128 GB internal
    • 6 GB RAM
  • Camera
    • Dual 12 MP (27mm f1.8 OIS 4-Axis stabilisation + 52mm f2.6)
    • Front facing 8 MP camera capable of 1080p video
  • Features
    • No 3.5mm headphone jack
    • Bluetooth 5.0 A2DP
    • USB-C
    • Quick Charge 3.0
    • 3,350 mAh Battery

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The phone is certainly shaped up to be competitive on paper and in terms of performance. The most compelling part of the deal is the price which Xiaomi says their entry-level Mi 6 will start at about $365 which then goes up to $435 if you opt for a higher grade version. They will have a nice looking ceramic back panel variant in the high tier. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus begins around 750$ US.

The Mi 6 will not have Samsung’s Infinity Display which eliminates the majority of the bezels, nor will it have Samsung’s pressure sensitive home button beneath the display. The display itself will also be a lot sharper and high quality on the Galaxy phones compared to the Mi 6. The Xiaomi Mi 6 features a standard-yet-outdated design language that we have seen in a box phone for quite a few years. This does not mean that the phone has a premium build. It has a glass and metal frame with a 5.15inch 1080p display. The Mi 6 is not bezeless as their other device, the Mi Mix. The Mi 6 also forgoes the 3.5mm headphone jack (it must have taken a lot of courage, Apple knows this well). In contrast, Samsung made the wiser decision of keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack as it supports a near infinite selection of music accessories.
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Another little snag would be availability. Xiaomi has not been keen on releasing their models in the West side of the world. What ever hype or expectation the masses had has all but been extinguished by now. It seems that Xiaomi is having difficulty in expanding their business reach further out. Since it’s explosive popularity online in 2014 sales have been taking a nose dive due to a drop in online sales which is Xiaomi’s preferred method of business. The company is now looking to India to spur growth. jpg (2) jpg (3)   jpg (1)

 

 

Possible Reasons Why Samsung didn’t upgrade the main camera on the S8

Possible Reasons Why Samsung didn’t upgrade the main camera on the S8

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With the introduction of the next best from Samsung; the S8 and S8 Plus introduces a fantastic “infinity display” that eliminates most of the bezel’s on the phone, alongside a blazing fast Qualcomm SoC built on Samsung’s latest 10nm FinFeTT process and much more. One big notable point is the main camera. It remains largely unchanged from last years S7 Edge. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t really complaining here because the S7 Edge still has, hands down, one of the best cameras on the market still today. But why? Let us dive a bit deeper.

A representative from SamMobile did point out that the S8 seems to utilize a new image chip though the megapixels and features seem largely the same. Samsung did not make any big sales pitches on it during the unveiling. It still has that fantastic f/1.7 aperture for fast low light photography and the module still captures brilliant colors and detailed images.

Again, during the unveiling, Samsung did not spend much time but rather brushed on the topic of it’s camera. This is quite unusual compared to past unboxing keynote events. Previously Samsung would spend a great deal of time touting all sorts of new tricks their camera could do. Even back when they announced the S4 the keynote was accompanied by a super awkward live skit of people pretending to use the phone’s camera in their choreography.

What has changed, however, is the front facing camera. We see a bump from 5 MP up to an 8 mega-pixel camera with an added feature: Auto Focus. The S7 Edge’s 5 MP front facing camera was already a big winner and has been receiving countless awards and praise from critics and users alike. Now that Samsung added autofocus we are quite excited to see what amazing results would start popping up online. The AF (autofocus) function will be able to detect faces in the front facing camera and focus on them all to prevent a blurry face.

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A big theory that we have in terms of why Samsung decided to play out their 2016 camera module for another year could be also found in the DSLR / Mirrorless camera market. Manufacturer’s in the DSLR and Mirrorless camera market do not provide massive upgrades every year as the market would stagnate with a lack of innovation. Great photo’s aren’t necessarily provided by the newest bodies or even lens’. Not even innovation could help a poor photo sometimes. No we believe that rather, Samsung is taking a back seat on an already fantastic award winning image sensor. We believe the next big upgrade will arrive on the Note 8. This can fall in line with what president of Samsung Mobile, DJ KOH, also mentioned. He mentioned that he would bring back the Note in a more safer, more innovative, and more powerful way.

Almost all the leading smartphone manufacturers are utilizing a 12 to 16 MP main cameras with most of them already with apertures of f2.0 or faster. Almost all phone’s now do the same thing, take consistently good photos without too much effort. The camera is becoming less and less of a factor in the buying process of a new smartphone. The only upgrade we know of is on the software front with the Galaxy S8. This increases speed, performance and now combines three images to give a highly detailed final image. Instead of the best specs, we are seeing manufacturers try to be “unique” in how they introduce their camera system on their flagship smartphones now. This includes Google who made a huge emphasis on software performance for increased image quality (IQ), and with Apple who added on a secondary “telephoto-ish” lens with a slower aperture that takes tighter shots (as an added bonus for users to use). LG also added a secondary camera that is used for ultra wide angles. It is becoming increasingly difficult to really judge who’s image quality is the best. It is possible that Samsung is heading in a direction that Google has begun treading upon already: software. By tweaking and innovating on the software front, manufacturers are able to find new ways to make an already existing (yet still fantastic) image sensor do something beyond what it’s limitations are supposed to be.

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Software advancement and innovation gave Google the edge in low light photography with their Pixel line. Using Pixel’s HDR+ mode users are able to produce images that would have normally been under exposed, noisy, with less detail (due to lack of light). Google truly nailed it there.

Normally, the traditional Samsung used their Note line (that usually comes out in late August) to introduce revolutionary tech. We hope that the Note 8 would come out with some new camera technology on top of others to really differentiate itself from the competition. While it seems that Samsung is exercising well timed patience with the Galaxy S8 line up we are excited to see what the company has in store for the rest of the year.

Samsung killing the physical home button is (Not) a big deal

  Samsung killing the physical home button is (Not) a big deal

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Last year, with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple got rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack that triggered the nation and possibly the world. Today, we discuss a rather common question that is being asked by new and old fans of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus: “what happened to the iconic Samsung home button?”

There are quite a few reviewers and people out there who criticize Samsung for getting rid of the physical home button but we stand on the other side applauding the company for this move. Think of it this way, Apple hindered their devices by calling it a “courageous move” by removing a stable feature, the 3.5mm headphone jack. There really is no way around this other than through adapters or expensive bluetooth solutions. The physical home button is definitely not as bad as the removal of the 3.5mm head phone jack because it opened up a new world for Samsung’s future.

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Look closer underneath and you will find that Samsung integrated a pressure sensitive piece of tech that acts as your button now. For users of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, you may find this as a familiar feature. Sure some folks may say that Samsung is sort of copying Apple here but who cares. Aside from this point the home button (though not in a form of a fake physical home button that takes up space that could have made room for a 3.5mm headphone jack) but a seamless integration with the infinity display Samsung created. The new home button works even when the display is turned off or when you are watching a movie or when playing a game full screen. You do not need to swipe the navigational buttons in from the bottom or the sides in order to go home. You simply need to press down on the spot (on the bottom part of the S8) where the home button should be and it activates the home button. This feature saves us a lot of space and enables the now iconic “infinity display”.

The big argument against this move is also sound for this new flag ship. Mostly because of Samsung’s decision as to the location of the Fingerprint Sensor. Yes, it is not under the screen along with the pressure sensitive strip at the bottom of the phone. It is sitting up quite high right beside your camera module. A head scratching position indeed. We hope that the Note 8 will come to the rescue and make sure the fingerprint sensor will be in a better location for reach. Samsung did state that this could be inconvenient while pointing out that iris scanning biometrics is a lot better compared to finger prints.

We will see how that plays out.

Overall, we are impressed with this innovative design. The S8 and S8 Plus come with fantastic design languages that really does excite the sagging smartphone market full of boring designs that which we keep calling “sorta cool”. Now we are talking. The under the screen solution to still keep an always activated home button is brilliant and we are excited to take advantage of this.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Today (March 29 2017)

  Samsung Unveils Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Today (March 29 2017)

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The Next Galaxy…

The Galaxy S8 is the most fantastic and the most premium smartphone ever revealed so far. With a beautiful combination between metal, glass, and a massive bezel-less display crafted into a body that is actually smaller than expected.

There are two versions available: The Galaxy S8 that features a 5.8 inch display and the Galaxy S8 Plus with it’s larger 6.2 inch display. They will be shipped out to the US on April 21st. The price will certainly be high end.

The Display

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The most important thing about the phone is the display. Samsung calls it the “infinity display”. It extends up and down cutting away almost all of the top and bottom bezels and eliminates the bezels found on the left and right side. The four corners of the display also have a bit of a curved shape (like the LG G6) compared to a traditional sharp square corner. This new design idea brings about some creative interest and give’s off a premium feel.

The new smartphone is the culmination of Samsung’s promise that they would keep on creating a bigger display upon a smaller body. The S8 and S8 Plus follows this philosophy and provides a device that is more useable in the hand compared to other large displayed phones. Just like the Note 7 (with its palm rejection curved edges) the S8 and S8 Plus also did not exhibit issues of accidental touches from holding the phone by the curves.

The S8 and S8 Plus is absolutely fantastic and well designed. Future owners of the device will fall in love.

The Hardware

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The traditional Samsung home button makes an exit for the new upcoming generation. Instead, we are provided a software (on screen) home button alongside classic navigational buttons with modern icon’s in place. The difference here is that Samsung also built in a haptic feedback engine (like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus) which creates a virtual feeling of pressing an actual button. We actually love this feature. The haptic feed back home button works even when the screen is turned off. You would need to press the button on the specific part of the display (on or off) to activate the home button which is found near the bottom side of the phone. A cool aspect to this function is that even if apps goes full screen mode and removes the navigational buttons, you can still press on the spot where the home button would have been at the bottom and it would still activate the home button to go home or perform any other function.

The transformation of the home button also prompted Samsung to re-position their fingerprint sensor. This sensor moved to an awkward position (as leaked many times) to the back and up beside the camera. Samsung has stated that the S8 and S8 Plus’ Iris scanning security system is a lot faster and better compared to the finger print scanner. In honesty, the finger print sensor may be a bit too high up for some users to use.

“3.5mm Head Phone Jack Remains! (YES!)”

The 3.5mm head phone jack is still found on the S8 and S8 Plus! Let us rejoice. Such a premium phone will still enable you to take advantage of cheap, traditional, head phones or high end wired head phone’s for maximum audio performance (eliminating the need to worry about blue tooth taking up your phone’s battery life, non removable batteries, and the inevitable degradation of battery life in your blue tooth head sets).

The USB-C port (along side the 3.5mm headphone jack) is found at the bottom of the phone. The power button is found on one side with the volume buttons on the other.  Underneath the volume button is another button that launches Samsung’s shiny new software called Bixby. This is Samsung’s answer to the current trend that is AI. This Intelligent Assistant will, apparently, be a lot more diverse and useful compared to it’s big name competitors (Google, Apple…etc.)

Specifications

The S8 and S8 Plus comes with the best of the best that the world can offer at this time. We listed the specifications below:

Processor

  • US: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa core (2.35 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHZ Quad)
  • International: Samsung Exynos Octa core (2.35 GHz Quad + 1.9 GHZ Quad)

Display

  • Galaxy S8: 5.8-inch OLED, 2960 x 1440, 570ppi
  • Galaxy S8 Plus: 6.2-inch OLED, 2960 x 1440, 529ppi

Cameras

  • Rear: 12-megapixel, OIS, F1.7
  • Front: 8-megapixel, auto focus, F1.7

Batteries

  • Galaxy S8: 3,000 mAh
  • Galaxy S8 Plus: 3,500 mAh

Dimensions

  • Galaxy S8: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm, 155g
  • Galaxy S8 Plus: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g

Other specs

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • NFC and MST for Samsung Pay
  • IP68 water and dust resistant
  • Wireless charging
  • LTE Cat.16
  • Bluetooth 5.0, can stream to two devices

Battery Life and Performance

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This will be certainly a big talking point for Samsung. Due to the Note 7 failure that occurred in 2016 Samsung had to revamp their security check process and make sure that customers will trust Samsung’s battery safety efforts.

Perhaps due to the issues that occurred in the past Samsung did not increase the size of the batteries to some astronomical capacity. Rather they kept a (still large) 3,000 mAh (on the S8) and a 3,500 mAh battery on the S8 Plus. The 3,500mAh is the same capacity found in the Note 7. Samsung has made a claim that the battery chemistry was tweaked to extend the longevity of the batteries life past the year or 2nd year of usage.

Powering the infinity displays can be a challenge for the battery packs (thus a larger capacity would have helped here) but to compensate for this Samsung is introducing Qualcomm Quick Charge and support for major wireless charging standards.

The Camera

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While many manufacturers started pushing 5x optical zoom’s, dual camera system setups, and many other fancy software integration’s, Samsung did not make much changes here. They kept their 12 Megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization but Samsung has worked on the software to improve the IQ (image quality). The camera (and the app) is a lot faster compared to the fantastic S7 Edge which is good to see.

Previously, users would need to double tap the home button to launch the camera but this time Samsung made it so that you can launch the camera app by double pressing the power button.

The Front facing camera has been updated to an 8 megapixel camera (from 5 MP) with an added feature: autofocus.

It is too early to give any sound judgement’s on the image quality of the S8 / S8 Plus so we will need to wait and see until further tests are carried out. The camera competition is quite fierce in 2017 with the like’s of Apple and LG loading their flagships with multiple camera modules and the Google Pixel still at top with the highest image quality score.

Software, Iris Scanning, and Face Scanning

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Samsung introduced a new, improved and cleaner UI skin on top of Android that they call the “Grace UX”. The design and color choices that pain the user interface of the phone is very clean and modern. Long gone are quirky Samsung icon’s that dominated the clean modern simplicity of Android. Now, we see unified, flat icons, unified colors, and a lot of good stuff.

The Iris scanning is back. It is secure and extremely fast if you fancy it. However, Samsung introduced a new feature as well called Face Scanning. After 20 seconds of following along with the set up it works very well. This is not the same as the terrible face unlock system Android introduced many years ago (with Ice Cream Sandwich), this is a brand new system entirely made by Samsung.

With the whole duration of testing the feature never failed a single time. The process of detecting, recognizing and scanning your face then unlocking was so fast that you would sometimes forget that it was doing so. It is like turning your phone on normally. Samsung does admit that face detection security measures are not as secure compared to Iris and Fingerprint biometric measures.

Samsung DeX

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As leaked here, Samsung DeX, unsurprisingly did make an appearing today. This is Samsung’s attempt at trying to combine the Galaxy Smartphone experience with a Desktop UI experience. You would still need some monitor or display, a keyboard, and a mouse.

Samsung DeX is a dock into which you simply stick your S8 into to begin utilizing Samsung’s Desktop mode. Instead of of providing a desktop (like Windows, or Motorola’s attempt with the Atrix) the dock offers Android apps instead. The whole package is well designed and offers full access to notifications and re sizable windows running your apps. Unfortunately, there is an undeniable fact that Android app’s are naturally not optimized for big screens beyond the scope of smartphone display sizes.

We cannot really think of a good reason to use this but people who call them selves “Road Warriors” who used to work in IT back in the 90’s would love it. Some good use may be discovered by a creative individual but at this very moment, we aren’t quite sure.

Bixby, Samsung’s Virtual Assistant

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Samsung has been focusing on their Bixby project for some time now. Bixby is a virtual assistant.

Bixby is launched by a dedicated button below the volume button.

There are three modes

  1. A short press will launch Bixby Home (available as a page on your android home on screen)
  2. A Long press will enable Bixby’s voice features
  3. A small button is available in the camera app that utilizes Bixby’s augmented reality features.

Samsung’s goal is to create a virtual assistant whom you can speak to and get answers and also certain tasks done. The assistant’s goal is to actually create calendar dates and appointments based on your conversation’s through other apps or through information you tell Bixby with. This beat’s having a voice program where we just ask random questions.

At today’s launch Samsung provided some demos of this feature. In one instance they opened the gallery app and commanded Bixby with instructions to edit a photo. This would be something like “Bixby, rotate the image to the right”, or “Bixby, send this photo to my friend”. You can even tell Bixby to broadcast videos straight to a smart TV or utilize Smart Home Appliances that may be installed in your house.

The difficulty Samsung faces is the challenging task ahead to enable users to control their devices with voice just as they would be able to with touch. At launch only 10 of Samsung’s apps are supported and with apps that are created to support Bixby. The assistant will be able to set alarms, provide information, and take advantage of fitness data, local news, and weather. This is, however, also seen in virtual assistants provided by Google already. We are interested to see how Samsung begins to steer away from this initial launch to be more recognized and differentiated from it’s competitors.

Bixby home is, in it’s current state, a bit too crowded and unpolished. It is possible that the application will be more refined by released date but it is highly unlikely. It felt like a big ball of widgets and cards showing all sort’s of information from your various apps.

The best feature we have seen is Bixby’s camera features. Launching is done through the camera app or through Bixby Home. This turns the camera into a search engine. Pointing the camera at any object will prompt Bixby to analyze and make suggestions as to what it is or any thing pertaining to the object through web searches. Pointing it at a cup launched amazon sites or the internet to give info as to where you could buy cups.

Pointing the camera at label’s and title’s would yield a tighter search due to concise parameters.

Release Date, Options, Price

The S8 and S8 Plus will come in black, gray, silver with the gold and blue options available outside of the U.S.

Pre order begin’s on March 30 2017. Pre ordering will get you a free Oculus package including a headset, controller and a set of game’s.

Official release date in the US is on April 21st.

Pricing is not officially provided yet (but the word is it will be starting at $720)

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Samsung Galaxy S8 DeX Dock Resembles Continuum

The New Samsung Galaxy S8 DeX

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As we approach the official unveiling of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus on March 29 leaks and news reports are becoming more unified and clearer. It is possible that Samsung will fail to surprise the crowd with their “hidden” design anymore. It is more of a re-introduction than anything else. However, today we discuss an interesting accessory that will be included (reportedly) with the S8 devices; the Samsung DeX docking station.

What is Samsung DeX?

Running under the brand “Samsung Galaxy Desktop” this DeX station will enable a Microsoft Continuum-esqe functionality. Simply plop your brand new S8 or S8 plus into one of these docks and you will have a desktop experience using the power of the S8’s hardware.

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The connection is handled through an HDMI port for transferring 4K content at 30 frames per second. There is also two USB 2.0 ports and a 100Mb/s Ethernet port. The USB ports will enable users to connect a mouse and keyboard for use with the interface.

The hub also features a power supply port and an embedded cooling fan to keep the phone cool while delivering 4K content.

Dropping the S8 into the dock is purported to launch a desktop friendly UI on the monitor which Samsung may call the “Samsung Galaxy Desktop.” The pricing is said to be about $214.47 CAD.

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Nokia 5: A Good Mid Range Device

Nokia 5: A Good Mid Range Device

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Quick Specs Sheet:

  • Dimensions
    • 149.7 x 72.5 x 8 mm (5.89 x 2.85 x 0.31 in)
  • Display
    • 5.2 Inch IPS LCD (1280 x 720) resolution (~282 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass (Unknown type)
  • Operating system
    • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (Octa-Core 1.4 GHz Cortex A53)
    • GPU: Adreno 505
    • OS: Android v7.1.1 (Nougat)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Storage: 16 GB, microSD up to 256 GB
  • Camera
    • 13 MP, f/2.0 PDAF + Dual-LED
    • 8 MP, f/2.0
  • Battery
    • 3,000 non removable Li-Ion battery

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Good Points:

  • Affordable Cost
  • Good Design
  • Fingerprint Scanner is available

Nokia 5 Pricing

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The Nokia 5 is a middle child amongst Nokia’s new 2017 smart phone line up. Sitting just below the Nokia 6 the Nokia 5 has specs that fit a middle range smart phone market. The pricing is going to be about $200 US. This will buy you a smartphone with an HD display, octa-core cpu processor, a premium full metal body and a sizable battery.

We expect the Nokia 5 to go on sale during Q2 2017 which translates to sometime this April or June.

Design and Display

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The Nokia has a compact full metal form factor which should help convince potential buyers to make the purchase. The design gives it a more ergonomic feel with curved edges which allow the phone to comfortably nestle into your palm. The screen is small enough as well to allow one handed use thanks to its 5.2inch IPS HD display which is also quite sharp and good to look at. The body is also compact with dimensions measuring

  • 149.7 x 72.5 x 8 mm (5.89 x 2.85 x 0.31 in)

According to Nokia, the body is made from a single block of 6000 series aluminium that gives off a premium finish. Gorilla Glass is added to increase durability of the display.

The available colors of the Nokia 5 will be: Matte Black, Silver, Tempered Blue, or Copper.

Performance, Specs and Features

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The phone features relatively small bezel’s which feels like it blends into the chassis. The display resolution is a 1280 x 720 HD panel which is expected for a mid range pricing in the market. The display, despite the 720p spec, was still found to be vivid, bright while display good colors.

The Nokia 5 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 processor which is also the same one found on the older brother the Nokia 6. The 430 processor has an integrated Adreno 505 graphics card. The device also packs a 2 GB RAM inside. By today’s standards the Nokia 5 shouldn’t cause any performance issues. the 430 is a low to mid range processor but should still be enough for daily tasks and smooth performances for various tasks. Heavy gaming would not be ideal for this hand set.

16 GB of internal storage is include along side microSD expansion support for up to 128 GB.

The Nokia 5 will come shipped running on the latest Android update (Android Nougat 7.1.1). HMD Global (the company that bought out Nokia) decided to go with a “Pure Android” experience which gives users a stock Android minus any OEM skins. Vanilla Android fans will love this.

Thanks to a vanilla approach to Android, HMD Global has promised regular updates to the software.

 

Samsung Exynos 9: Best Tech Announcement of MWC 2017

Samsung Exynos 9 Launched (Exynos 8895)

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What is it?

At MWC we not only witness the birth of great new smartphones and gadgets but also some of the hardware that power our smartphones into the future. In 2017 Samsung has finally taken off the wraps on the new SoC (System On Chip) toted as the Samsung Exynos 9. Labelled as the Exynos 8895 Octa-Core Processor it is built on Samsung’s own 10nm FinFET Process Technology. This chip set is the latest premium product released by Samsung for 2017. On paper we expect to see a 27% increase in higher performance while utilizing 40% less battery power when compared to the 14nm FinFET chips.

The Exynos 8895 is an octa-core processor which includes four of Samsung’s custom designed CPU cores (2nd generation) and four Cortex-A53 cores for power efficiency. With upgraded SCI (Samsung Coherent Interconnect) technology the chip will support Heterogeneous System Architectures which enables faster calculations for use in areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Deep Machine Learning.

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On the graphical front the 8895 features an ARM Mali-G71 MP20 GPU. This enables future smartphones to take advantage of next level 3D graphic’s performances while minimizing 4K UHD Virtual Reality latency. The GPU contains 20 graphical processing cores which, again on paper, toute’s a whopping 60% increase in performance compared to the previous generation.

The Exynos 8895 will support display panels with WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) resolutions and 4K UHD (4096 x 2160) displays as well. The 8895 will also have the capability to support LPDDR4x memory speeds along side eMMC 5.1, UFS 2.1 and SD 3.0 for faster storage speeds.

4K UHD 120fps play back and video recording is made possible thanks to an advanced MFC (Multi-Format Codec) with codec support including HEVC(H.265), H.264 and VP9.

The ISP on board (Image Signal Processor) will support 28 MP camera sensors on the front and back of the device. Smart WDR and PDAF will be supported as well for a more efficient and faster focusing experience. The ISP also supports dual camera module support with a 28MP+16MP configuration. The chip will have two ISP units installed; one for high quality imaging while the other is dedicated to reduce power consumption through low power processing.

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The processor also will support biometric solutions such as iris and fingerprint scanners. A separate processing unit will be embedded on the chip to handle the security ends of the user experience. An embedded VPU (Vision Processing Unit) is used to analyze items and movements for improved video tracking of subjects, panoramic imaging, and machine vision technology.

Fast LTE Downlink and Uplink speeds

The Exynos 8895 will be the first mobile processor to support an integrated gigabit LTE modem. This modem can support up to 5CA (Carrier Aggregation) for downlink which supports maximum speeds of up to 1 Gbps (Cat.16) as well as Cat.13 speeds of 150Mbps or 2CA for uplink.

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Samsung has notified the press that the Exynos 9 Series 8895 SoC is currently under mass production. We should expect to see new high end smartphone devices to be unveiled later in the year with this fantastic processor. We hope to see the likes of the Note 8 unveiled with this chip, which will most likely be the case.


 

 

Nokia 6: Hands On Review

Nokia 6: Hands On Review

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The Nokia 6 was revealed at MWC 2017 and is the top end model among Nokia’s new offerings. In terms of specs and design the Nokia 6 does not impress anyone. However, what is impressive is that the Nokia 6 marks the return of an age old technology company who in a time past lead the world with innovative mobile products. The company was bought out by HMD Global (it’s headquarter’s found in Finland) while the staff of Nokia remains largely the same (original Nokia employees). Due to this fact we are quite optimistic about Nokia’s future and their smartphone’s to come.

The Nokia 6 is not considered a high end device. It runs a Snapdragon 430 processor which falls in between entry level and mid range. The processor features an octa-core design with all eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz. The clock speed here is quite low which would deter people who are used to fast speeds and performances in gaming. The Adreno 505 is the integrated GPU found on the chip set. The Adreno 505 will be able to achieve generally okay speeds in various android games but will need to be toned down to medium graphical settings to play somewhat smoothly in other more graphically intense games. Despite the low to medium end graphic and cpu chipset we found that the Nokia 6, as expected, is still very smooth in normal tasks and operation when launching, swiping through, and trying out the phone.

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The Nokia 6 comes with a 5.5inch IPS LCD 1080p display. The display looks sharp and bright. Many have commented that, in the age of manufacturers pushing a bezel-less trend, the Nokia 6 has rather large bezel’s. The glass looks smooth and covers curves into the bezel’s and we particularly liked the deep black color option. The black color of the device sort of masks the thickness of the bezel until you turn on the phone with a contrasting wall paper applied. The bezel will be made of metal materials which should help in withstanding drops or bumps.

Still, Nokia did a good job with the design of the phone considering it as a medium range device. The edges are sharp and the device looks and feels excellent. There is a bit of a one plus look with an iPhone 7 glass. The back side came in a Matte Black color option.

Furthermore, the Nokia 6 comes with a 4 GB RAM module and 64 GB internal storage. This storage configuration will be made only available in the “premium” option of the Nokia 6. The standard Nokia 6 will have only 3 GB’s of RAM and 32 GB’s of internal storage.

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We found that the Nokia 6 has a 3,000 mAh battery pack (non removable). The Snapdragon 430, being power efficient and significantly less power hungry than its higher end counterparts (such as the Snapdragon 821) should have minimal impact on the battery life of the phone.

There is a 16 MP back camera with an aperture of f/2.0. The video recording is capped at 1080p so don’t expect any 4K or high end video features here. The CPU would have bottlenecked any resolution’s higher than 1080p. The front facing selfie camera is a 8 MP f/2.0 module.

The smartphone does come with a finger print scanner on the front. The module works pretty well but is not as fast or accurate as we would have liked. Perhap’s we are to used to finger print scanners to just work and not cause a fuss.

The Nokia 6 will ship with Android 7.0 Nougat.

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Sony Xperia XA1

Sony Xperia XA1 Review

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Quick Specs Sheet:

  • Dimensions:
    • 145 x 67 x 8 mm (5.71 x 2.64 x 0.31 in)
    • Weight: 143 g (5.04 oz)
  • Display:
    • 5.0 Inch IPS LCD Display (Resolution: 1280 x 720 (~294 ppi pixel density) Scratch-resistant glass (>9H)
    • Up to 4 fingers in multitouch
  • Processing Specs:
    • CPU: Mediatek MT6757 Helio P20 ( Octa-Core 4 x 2.3 GHz Cortex-A53+ 4 X 1.6 GHz Cortex A53)
    • GPU: Mali-T880MP2
    • Android v7.0 Nougat
  • Storage and Memory:
    • 32 GB (4 GB RAM)
    • microSD support available
  • Imaging Processor:
    • 23 MP f/2.0, 24mm, back camera (PDAF, Laser AF and LED Flash available)
    • 8 MP f/2.0, 23mm, front facing OIS camera
    • Video: [email protected], HDR
  • Battery:
    • Non-Removable Li-Ion 2300 mAh

 

Quick Review:

Compared to the Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra (the phablet version) the normal XA1 is a normal, smaller, version of the mid-range XA1 line up. It features a smaller display of 5.0 inches with a smaller resolution of 720p (1280 x 720) with less pixel density of ~294 ppi. This translates to a display with sharpness levels below that of the older brother, the XA1 Ultra. However, we must keep in mind that the phone is a mid range device with mid range specs. Don’t expect a fancy display here. With such a low resolution and low pixel density the XA1 may not be the best option for media consumption and other tasks. It will simply work as intended.

Aside from the confusing naming scheme the XA1 is found to be the least interesting device amongst Sony’s current 2017 line up. While Sony’s Xpera XZ is showcased as the device with a 4K HDR display and the older brother, the Xperia XA1 Ultra, showcased as a simply huge 6.0 inch mid range phone, the Xperia XA1 feels like a minor update from last years model, the XA.

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The design resembles that of other Xperia phones so far. It is not bad, rather we do like it in some ways. It has a striking design and is small enough to be somewhat lost in your deep pockets. The display is 5 inches which is a full inch smaller than the XA1 Ultra, but the problem does not end there. The display shows a lack of vibrancy and is simply dull without life. We have seen many other budget phones released with displays fantastically more vibrant and alive than the XA1.

Aside from the few bits of issues we have observed, the  XA1 does follow in its elder brothers footsteps, notably the camera. The Xperia XA1 uses the same camera found on the Sony 2015 flagship, the Xperia Z5. This is a 23 MP f/2.0 aperture camera module. The front camera is an 8 MP f/2.0 but this camera lacks optical image stabilization which is found in the selfie camera of the XA1 Ultra.

Given the track record of this particular camera module we expect good results in various lighting. The processor found in the XA1 is the same Helio P20 found in the XA1 Ultra as well. The processor is not the strongest available (hence the mid range category) and will not give you the best of the best. 3 GB of RAM is sufficient and is a good decision on Sony’s part to keep things running as smooth as possible while covering for the loss of performance values due to other components. The XA1 only comes with a 32GB internal storage configuration that can be expanded via a microSD card.

The battery is smaller in this model with a 2,300 mAh pack. We will need to wait for official release to see how the processor will impact the battery performance in the future.

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