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Samsung’s Priority to the Snapdragon 835 Chipset Stock Pile

 Samsung Calling Dibs on Snapdragon 835 Chipset



In our last article about the Snapdragon 835 here, Samsung in conjunction with Qualcomm developed the next generation Snapdragon 835 processor. The new processor’s were developed on Samsung’s own 10nm FINFET process which bolsters a new era of power efficiency, performance boosts and thinner, lighter mobile devices. The SD 835 is the newest upcoming SoC (system-on-chip) which will change how phone’s are manufactured, performances measured on devices, and much more for 2017.

It seems, at this time, that Samsung has pretty much locked away all of the chipsets from their competitors. This means that HTC, Sony and various other manufacturers will not be able to gain access to these resources until Samsung gives the green light. We know that Qualcomm and Samsung have close ties so this is possible. It may be a business tactic to make sure that Samsung’s new and upcoming Galaxy S8 (and possibly the Note 8) will be the first to show off these powerful chips. Does this mean that the flagship models from other manufacturers will only contain last year’s SD 821 chipset? How long will Samsung hold out on them? We have many questions in regards to this and we can see that there are also disadvantages to them.


Samsung’s relationship with Qualcomm quickly improved since the time Samsung did not use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor 2 years ago. Though it seemed like relations back then deteriorated we were sorely incorrect. Samsung and Qualcomm suddenly became powerful allies with very strong ties today in 2017. Samsungs close ties with Qualcomm was speculated to enable Samsung to “soak up the earliest supplies of the Snapdragon 835 processors”.

Due to this situation there has been reports that LG’s next flagship device, the LG G6, will be based on the older Snapdragon 821 processor. Albeit the SD 821 is no joke and will run all of your daily tasks and programs beautifully, it is still a bummer to know that a better, more efficient processor chip exists. Given the current data we cannot fully know the full extent of the SD 835 chip’s performance boosts over the 2016 SD 821 chipset. However, on paper there is strong indication that there may be quite a gap between the two.


The only people who will be thoroughly disappointed will involve Android enthusiasts who were looking forward to a Snapdragon 835 powered device in the month of March or April.

Samsung is known to keep up a strange habit of releasing devices with mixed CPU availability (Exynos and Snapdragon). Snapdragon models of their flagship phones are generally released to the West (U.S. and Canada) while their own in house Exynos processors are released everywhere else in the world. We prefer the Exynos chips due to better performance in multitasking, optimizations and battery life which we have seen hard evidence of through the S7 Edge comparison (Snapdragon vs Exynos).

Snapdragon CPU’s could not keep apps running in its process and forced users to re load apps once users started having too much in its RAM storage. With equivalent apps opened the Exynos chip ran beautifully eliminating the need to launch games and apps from scratch again (skip the loading screen please). We hope that the Snapdragon 835 (which is most likely coming to Canada) will be more optimized in the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 to come.


Sony’s Current Flagship the Xperia XZ

“Sony Xperia XZ” Sony’s Current Flagship Model



The Sony Xperia XZ is a premium smartphone which offers many specifications one should expect from a “flagship model”. If you are a newcomer to the realm of Sony this may be a good purchase, but if you already own a Sony device, it may not be compelling enough to buy.

Quick Take-Away Specifications:

  • Display: 5.2 Inch Full HD Triluminos IPS LCD
  • Processor: Quad-Core, 64-bit Snapdragon 820
  • Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno 530
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32 GB (single SIM), 64 GB (dual SIM model) +microSD support up to 256 GB
  • Dimensions: 146 x 72 x 8.1 mm
  • Weight: 161g
  • IP rating: IP65/IP68
  • Main Camera: 23 MP with triple image sensing, predictive hybrid autofocus, 5-axis stabilization
  • Front Camera: 13 MP
  • Battery: 2,900 mAh, Quick Charge 3.0, Qnovo Adaptive Charging, USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint sensor: Yes, (outside of U.S.)
  • Connectivity: A-GNSS (GPS+GLONASS), Wi-Fi Miracast, Bluetooth 4.2


  • Refined Design
  • Strong improvements on camera
  • Waterproofing
  • Speedy performance
  • Hi-Res Audio Support
  • Vibrant Display
  • MicroSD Slot
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Comfortable in hand
  • Great Camera Features


  • Fingerprint scanner not available for US models
  • No Nougat yet
  • Display is running FHD
  • Design may be feeling aged for some
  • Speakers are underwhelming
  • Expensive

The Sony Xperia XZ is the fourth flagship within the last two years. After the death of the Xperia Z line up Sony is beefing up its X series. Their latest and strongest offering is the Xperia XZ.

Some Features

  • Fingerprint sensor is fast (only available on some markets)
  • Water Resistance is back (IP68 Rating)
  • Users can enjoy PS4 games on the Xperia XZ display

The XZ is a combination of all of Sony’s developed tech. Water resistant designs make a return this time around along with speedy finger print scanner (but not for all markets). Users can also play PS4 games on your device.

Sony had a lot of fun with adverts showing their tablets and devices being water resistant in the shower and various other scenes. This has returned with the XZ. Users will not have to worry about a bit of water splashing on your beloved device.

The XZ holds a higher water resistance standard than the S7 Edge and the iPhone 7 Plus with the IP68 rating. As with any water resistance, it is always warned to never keep phone’s submerged for long periods of time (usually 30 minutes in about 1 meter depths of water). The device uses a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C port which are both opened. Despite the open design the phone is water resistant to a higher degree.

The finger print reader was included on the model for some markets only. In the U.S. this feature is not available. The Fingerprint scanner is located on the Power Button which is found on the right hand side of the phone. This is a perfect position as your thumb is usually resting there. The sensor is also extremely fast working instantaneously as soon as you hit your power button.

PS4 Remote Play is also included into the package. User’s can play PS4 games on the Xperia XZ over the same Wi-Fi network the PS4 is on. This is only useful under a handful of circumstances such as; when someone is using the TV or when you need to keep it on the down low.

This brings us to the…



The Sony Xperia XZ has a 5.2 inch display integrated. It is also worth noting that we do not see a QHD display here, rather a FHD (full HD display). The display is still bright enough and looks great, nonetheless. FHD should help with battery life as it does not have as many pixels to operate compared to the S7 Edge (from Samsung) running a Quad HD display. The XZ may not be the best choice, however, for VR as it only contains 424 ppi (Pixels per Inch). Usually in VR situations users would want the highest ppi density available for a more enjoyable visual experience. (Compare 424 ppi to the Galaxy S7 Edge’s 534 ppi).

Moving on to the…


  • New high quality materials used on the back of the phone
  • Feels comfortable
  • Looks good

The design language has not change much over the course of the years with Sony phones. This is not necessarily a bad thing at all. It does mean that Sony is very consistent with their design and customers can identify a Sony phone from all other devices a lot easier compared to comparing the iPhone 7 with the iPhone 6S.

The build quality is premium. Sony calls the materials used “ALKALEIDO”. In practice, you won’t really see anything drastically different compared to other metal phones. However, the feeling of the device is different. It also looks a lot better than the glass window panel found on the Xperia Z series. The device, unfortunately, is still prone to finger prints.

The phone is easiest to hold in your hand compared to all other Sony devices put out into the markets. The boxy design remains but Sony has cut the corners a bit to give it a bit more of a rounded edge (not much though). We believe all of this helps to contribute to an overall more comfortable usage experience.

The top and bottom edges of the device are flat. This is unique compared to many flag ship phones out there with curved sides. This enables the XZ to stand up literally on its own.

The 3.5mm head phone jack is found at the top of the phone and a USB – C slot at the bottom of the device. MicroSD support is available with the tray found on the left hand side. This doubles as a SIM tray.

On the right hand side we find the power button (doubling as the speedy fingerprint sensor array / * Only found in some markets) with the volume button rockers a bit below that. Then we find the camera key. The camera key is uniquely useful when trying to take pictures. A lot of smartphone manufacturers have long since compromised by key mapping the shutter button to other buttons such as the volume or other available buttons on the phone. However, the placement of the camera button on the Xperia XZ is what makes it quite nice to have.



  • Speakers are weaker than expected
  • 32 GB of storage + 256 GB microSD support
  • Powerful processor for gaming
  • Android 6 with Android 7 (Nougat) coming up
  • UI is clean

Sony is one of many manufacturers who are opting for a more Google-esque look. We all know what Google’s stock Android UI looks like. Some love it, some hate it. We love the diversity of Android UI’s and creativity founded upon an open sourced spirit. With that aside we have noticed the awkward duplicated apps of (Sony Messages, Phone, Contacts). We wish they can remove Google apps that make a lot of their own Sony Designed apps repetitive.

Sony also included Playstation, Xperia Lounge and Movie Creator. You can download PS4 Remote Play from the Google Play Store. Bloatware includes an AVG app, Kobo app, and Amazon app.

Out of the box the XZ runs on Android 6.0 (Marshmellow) but we know that Android 7.0 Nougat is coming soon to many users.

Multimedia Continued…


The Full HD display is bright and it is big enough (somewhere between small and too big). User’s will be able to enjoy the fast processing speeds provided by the Snapdragon 820 processor when working with multimedia apps. The Adreno 530 GPU on board also provides huge boosts in graphical performance in games and other media.

The speakers on the phone, however, feel a little underwhelming. The highest volume feels weak when directly compared to other high end mobiles. Sony included their own Music app which has an interesting integration with Spotify or Google Play Music. On the bright side the XZ supports Hi-Res audio files such as FLAC, ALAC, DSD, and LPCM. The audio system can also upscale a compressed music file to present a more vibrant sound. You can hear this difference with a good set of head sets.

32GB is not enough. The size of the apps on Android are ever increasing and the extra storage space that apps take (Kakaotalk, Spotify… etc) become enormous (upwards to a few GB’s due to images, videos saved, cached files, offline music). But Sony does include a 256 GB microSD support slot.

Performance and Specs


The Xperia XZ uses the Snapdragon 820 processor alongside 3 GB’s of RAM. The performance is reliable. The 820 processor is one of the best on the market as of this moment still (Until the 835 comes out). You are hardpressed to find lag, performance issues with any games you play, or apps you run. Everyday tasks are also reliable and quick. The phones were also difficult to heat up to high levels. They do get warm but nothing that causes concern.


Battery Life and Camera


  • Non- Removable 2900 mAh battery
  • Great camera but not the best of the best
  • 23 MP Rear sensor
  • 5-axis Stabilization is software based

If you take a look at all the camera modules installed in all the smartphones around the world you would find that the majority is manufactured by Sony themselves. Unfortunately, Sony does not seem to have their own camera modules perfect compared to other flagship devices released thus far. Albeit there has been a lot of improvements made to their camera systems embedded into the XZ and all other X series and Z series Sony phones but there are still a ways to go for them. There is a new sensor in the Xpera XZ along with a 23 MP resolution the new sensor enables a software based 5 axis stabilization system. There is also a new auto focus sensor, RGBC-IR focus system to capture better white balance in varying lighting conditions.

Unlike Sony’s flagship cameras such as the A7 mark II or the A5000 APS-C camera the Xperia XZ smartphone does not have any moving parts for its 5-axis stabilization system. It is all purely software based. The stabilization activates when the user records up close or takes macro shots. All other shooting situations uses its 3-axis stabilization instead. From tests we found that images and recordings were extremely stable and we were hard pressed to see any warping or distortion in our footage.

The Front facing selfie camera is a 13 MP sensor. A lot of details and colors are captured easily with this system and the front facing camera also enables zooming and cropping shots.

The app behind the camera is very simple. You have Superior Auto, Manual, Video Recording, AR Effect, Sweep Panorama and the usual Time Shift (or Hyperlapse) video recording / photography options. It is a straight forward app with lots of functions you can have fun playing around with. The only issue we found was that the HDR mode was found only deep within the apps settings and was usable only during Manual Mode.

The dedicated camera key we mentioned earlier comes with its pros. With one click of the button we can instantly launch the camera and take quick snaps of the life that goes on around us. The image quality was found to be pretty good. For a smartphone the images are very sharp and detailed and colors are a little more truer to life. To track movement of objects Sony implemented a predictive hybrid auto focus system which is also found in many other smart phones. As long as objects move across your sensor at reasonable speed the image should be quite sharp.

In low light situations we still see a fair amount of details. Images have somewhat lower amounts of noise but we found that the camera overexposes its shots. The camera is sometimes very slow at taking a picture when there is not enough light.


We like this phone. It is a great step for Sony and provides some of the best that Sony has to offer till now. If you already own a Sony product we aren’t quite sure if it is enough of an upgrade for you. Perhaps wait a bit to see what else Sony has planned in a year or two. However, if you are someone who is in need of a smartphone soon (and not currently living in the U.S.) we do recommend the Sony Xperia XZ. It has good camera capabilities, vibrant and bright display, strong performance with up to date internal hardware, and a cleaned up UI to enjoy. Android 7.0 should be in the works and soon released as well for the rest of the market.


Unlock Your Sony Xperia XZ Today!


Unlocking Phones with Iris Scanner

Unlock att iphone

Unlocking With The Eyes: 3 Phones That Use An Iris Scanner

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is undoubtedly the first phone that features an iris scanner, i.e. it

uses your eyes to unlock your phone. They’re rumored to be more secure than the biometric

finger scanners which hackers are now known to fool using high-resolution images. But iris

scans are one of the most accurate forms of biometric scans available today. Is this the

technology of the future, or a security nightmare – given the fact that fake irises can be used for

identity theft? Time will tell, but for now, here are 3 phones that use the iris scanner technology

to unlock phones:

– The Microsoft 950 XL

Besides the front facing and the rear facing cameras, the Lumia 950 XL has an infrared camera

and another camera that’s designed to take pictures of your eyes. It works with different light

conditions and captures your biometric information. This information then is validated with the

information stored on your phone. The entire process takes around 2 seconds or even less. If it

fails to recognize, use the PIN you’ve already created.

– The 2018 iPhone

This is just a rumor, but one floated by CNET, so there must be some credibility to it. There were

rumors that Taiwan-based Xintec may provide iris-scanners for this purpose. Are they going to

use the technology? We’ll have to wait until 2018 for news on that. They do have a patent on

device control mechanism using face-detection and recognition, though. Whenever’s the release

date, we’ll be there to help you unlock your AT&T iPhone!

– Fujitsu NX F-046

The iris scanning technology isn’t the only unique feature of this phone. The phone boasts of a

5.2-inch display with 2K resolution powered by octacore Snapdragon 810 CPU.

Whatever phone you buy, there’s no reason to stay tied to your carrier. Call us to unlock your

phone. We unlock AT&T iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, and other brands.

The New Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

Introducing the New Qualcomm Snapdragon 835


Qualcomm in conjuction with Samsung announced the creation of their newest silicon called the MSM8998 Snapdragon 835. It replaces the Snapdragon 821 and will offer significant improvements to speed, performance, and efficiency. Based on an advanced 10nm FinFET process (thanks to Samsung) we can expect to see a boost in performance and efficiency. Since last years 16nm SoC we can see a 35% reduction in processor size which in turn uses approximately 25% less power compared to previous designs. Qualcomm advertises this feature to provide exceptional battery life on your devices.

Qualcomm’s interest in the AR / VR market is clearly shown in the SD 835 as well. The processor is now optimized to take advantage of all the rigorous requirements that VR and AR applications demand which ranges from highly advanced camera systems to extremely fast Gigabit Class download speeds.

The Snapdragon 835 is the new processor that will be found in most 2017 flagship devices going forward. We expect Samsung to include this in their upcoming Snapdragon 835. The new chip is much smaller than a penny and contains 3 billion transistors. Due to the chip being 1000 times thinner than a strand of hair we expect devices to have bigger batteries, notable efficiency improvements and longer battery life.


The Snapdragon 835 contains an octa-core (finally!) set up compared to last years Snapdragon 820/821. They are calling each core the Kryo 280. Clock speeds reach up to 2.45GHz. An octa – core cpu is actually a QUAD core cpu on top of another Quad core set up. Utilizing the big.LITTLE architecture enables the processor to utilize the faster 2.45GHz quad core when needed then to take it easy with the more efficient 1.8 GHz quad core’s also available.

The SoC also includes a newer Adreno 540 GPU on board which is said to be 24%  faster in graphics rendering with half the power consumption compared to the Snapdragon 801 while still giving a 20% performance boost over the relatively new Snapdragon 820.

Cristiano Amon, executive vice president of Qualcomm stated: “Our new flagship Snapdragon processor is designed to meet the demanding requirements of mobile virtual reality and ubiquitous connectivity while supporting a variety of thin and light mobile designs”.


Battery Life

Qualcomm gave us a list of battery life figures as well. It is as following:

  • 1+ day talk time
  • 2+ hours VR gaming
  • 3+ hours continuous 4K video capture
  • 5+ days music
  • 7+ hours 4K video streaming
  • 11+ hours 4K video playback

Battery life is a huge topic in any conversations regarding smartphones. They are mobile and we expect them to stay mobile without being tethered to a wall or charger for as long as possible. Qualcomm’s statement of better battery life may be exaggerated as many manufacturers tend to do but we have high hopes for this processor. We can tell, on paper, that the Snapdragon 835 has the ability to be the most efficient processor to date.

The 10nm FinFET Process has a part to play in this. Utilizing Qualcomm’s Symphony System Manager the processor directs tasks to various parts of the chip in an efficient manner (Cpu, Gpu, DSP, Isp etc.)

On top of this we see the introduction of Quick Charge 4.0 coming into play. Qualcomm claims that users can charge for 5 minutes for 5 hours of use. This is a huge improvement from the 30 minutes of charging = 5 hours of use days (QC 2.0) and QC 4.0 is still faster than last years QC (Quick Charge) 3.0 by 20%.


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

A huge talking point for Qualcomm is in the realm of AR and VR. They decked out their chip with various features to meet the specifications demanded by applications found in this market. We are talking about live entertainment, 3D Video recordings, communication in AR/VR and of course gaming. Thanks to a faster GPU, CPU and support for 4K UHD Qualcomm aims to deliver a jitter free display.

The processor is claimed to be able to render 60 times more color compared to previous generations and also generate true-to-life sounds using an integrated 3D positional audio. Qualcomm states that the Snapdragon 835 also totes superior signal to noise ratio and support for DSD format which should provide high fidelity in the audio section. Qualcomm states the chip is capable of 15ms of MTP latency (motion to photon latency) which is a 20 percent reduction from the past on top of 6 degrees of freedom for precise and intuitive motion tracking. The chip can support Daydream as well.

Qualcomm states that this is made possible by isolating each section of the chip via a heterogeneous computing approach. The audio, video, and motion functions are designed to deliver their best on their own which should all come together to provide a fantastic experience.


Image Processing

The chip is what also controls how your camera captures the world around you. The SD 835 improves on image quality compared to previous generations. Qualcomm included improvements to zoom and stabilization’s for images and videos utilizing optimized algorithms to toggle between the Qualcomm Spectra 180 ISP, Hexagon 682 DSP, and Adreno 540 GPU to create a smooth zoom experience. They implemented a new generation of video stabilization that they call the EIS 3.0. This is engineered to provide 4K video stabilization through advanced yaw and roll. They claim that this should also reduce rolling shutter issues.

Of course, improvements have been made to auto-focusing, and they’ve included support for a new feature called the Dual Photodiode (2PD). Qualcomm Clear Sight is found in the chip again which enables improved sharpness and noise reduction.

Connectivity and Network Performance

Qualcomm improved on last years connectivity functions as well. Including the new Snapdragon X16 Gigabit LTE modem and support for 802.11ad multi-gigabit alongside the 2×2 11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi users can experience 10x faster than first-generation 4G LTE devices. This means that a 4K movie which is approximately around 100 GB in average size could be downloaded in about 13 – 15 minutes. Anything smaller (such as a Blu-ray movie) would be completed within a fraction of that time. It is good to know that we have chipsets that support such massive speeds, but it is ultimately up to your network provider to provide said speeds. These speeds are not yet available everywhere and only in certain regions of the world.




LG Face Losses in Q4 with the LG G5

LG Face Losses in Q4 with the LG G5 and Automotive Division


The Korean giant LG known for their home appliances, displays, TV’s, various technologies and of course, their smartphones recently posted their Q4 financial report. It does not look to good yet again. LG’s mobile division has been facing losses with their mobile device releases. A large part of the reason is that most of their mobile creations simply do not create traction with the public. They had a bit of a flop with attempts at modular design (in the LG G5) and issues plagued their devices into the past (boot loops, quality questions).

On account of another poor performance from the mobile deivsion LG posted a net loss of $223.98 million for Q4 2016.  Out of 6 years this was the first company-wide loss. In 2015 LG recorded a profit of 348.9 billion won. Even though LG has had positive revenues of $12.79 billion (up 11.7 percent on the previous quarter) and 1.5 percent increase year on year, however, the hit in losses is a step backwards.

The company has made blames on the mobile division as well as its auto components division for decreasing numbers. The mobile division gathered a total of $2.51 billion in revenue in Q4 2016 (a 15 percent increase from the previous quarter) but it is still a 23 percent drop year on year.


As mentioned earlier the company attempted a new design language that they called the “modular design” with the LG G5. Unfortunately, it did not catch on with most of the consumer base and is considered a flop.

According to LG their latest flagship device (LG V20) is apparently experiencing “strong sales”. The LG V20 was released in October featuring dual cameras and a secondary display.

It is no surprise with poor sales and performance found in the generation of the LG G5 that LG has decided to ditch the modularity front altogether. It seems that LG will go for a more mainstream approach with their next flagship which is expected to be called the LG G6. Rumors and speculation from sites such as the Verge indicate this phone to have “bezel-less” display designs and a unique 2:1 aspect ratio.

We expect this device to be unveiled at MWC 2017. We know that Samsung will not be attending MWC this year so LG may have a better start for 2017 depending on what they reveal.

LG Automotive Unit Reports Losses Due to R&D

We have also received news that LG is working directly with automotive company Chevy on the upcoming electric car. Business here witnessed revenue jumps of 64 percent year-on-year reaching $749.2 million. Investments in R&D costed $12.5 million losses in Q4. Of course, this is an investment thus LG stated that they expect profits to pay off going forward in 2017 and beyond.

Long Term Review: Apple iPhone SE

Long Term Review: Apple iPhone SE


We are revisting an Apple product that we feel was one of the better devices amongst smartphones released. The iPhone SE. This fantastic device falls somewhere between High end and Mid range in terms of specs but the majority of it (from the build to the hardware) is very high end. This phone uses body of the iPhone 5S device but contains the more powerful iPhone 6S hardware. Because it uses the iPhone 5S’ body we find it to be the perfect phone if you want a smaller device but that still uses powerful specs. This phone is for smartphone users who want a smaller foot print.


  • 4 Inch IPS Retina Screen
  • iOS 10 (latest)
  • A9 Dual-Core processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 1624 mAh battery
  • 16 or 64 GB storage
  • 12 MP rear camera
  • 1.2 MP FaceTime Front facing camera
  • Live photos
  • Relatively cheap ranging from 200 – 400$

The iPhone SE is not the newest device out there today (2017 January) but it still deserves a lot of credit. Today Apple totes their newest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus smartphone devices. Despite the fancy new devices pumping out each year we found that the iPhone SE is the unsung hero. The iPhone SE has a three year old design (due to it using the iPhone 5S’ body) but sales for these devices did not slack due to its powerful hardware. It supports Apple pay and is as fast as last years iPhone 6S.

Design, Screen and Audio

Many people do not fail to mention that they would like to have a smaller device. Even in our own office we have some who would love to ditch the trend for larger screens and go for a high end but small screen, small body device. Enter the iPhone SE. A fantastic choice for anyone who wants just that. The iPhone SE comes in standard colors of white and black but this time it includes the iPhone 6S’ Rose Gold colour model. The cut edges of the body show matte rather than a shiny chrome. The iPhone 5S’ design is very iconic and used for so many adverts and graphic designs. It is the design that everyone is familiar with. The brushed aluminium back is cool to the touch, the buttons are premium, and the device is small enough to be used one-handed.

After so many cycles of giant screened smart phones people would have a bit of a hard time getting used to the small screen again. The keyboard is smaller, the options and buttons are a lot smaller and require more squinting and close ups with your eyes.

Some aspects about the design is a bit out dated and may not be the best over time. This includes the sharp edges of this boxy device. Over time it can feel a bit too edgy compared to the rounded, curved edges found on today’s flagship models. Since this was a few years ago as well the screen technology and trend for bezeless displays were not in force at the time. This means the iPhone SE has rather large bezel’s for a small screen. The screen resolution is a 1136 x 640 with a sharp 326 ppi (pixels per inch). This screen, however, does feel out dated compared to AMOLED displays. Despite these little issues the display is bright and sharp.

There is a headphone jack, 2 speaker grills at the bottom and the lightning port. As usual the sound quality is decent. The audio of the head set is great as well. Good call quality, loud ear speaker and good noise cancelling on calls.



The Camera on the iPhone SE is fantastic. Especially because the SE costs a lot less than the iPhone 6S.

The front camera, however, seems to drop the ball. It uses a 1.2 MP sensor compared to the 5 MP found on the iPhone 6S. Megapixel’s are not everything but when it comes to details and quality they can matter at such a difference between the SE and the 6S.

The iPhone SE does have the Retina Flash feature. This lights up your display 3 times its brightness a few times to light up your face for a selfie.


The iPhone SE uses a dual core A9 processor with 2 GB of RAM included. On benchmarks it doesn’t sweat at all beating many of its competition. It uses the identical processor found in the 6S so it can blast through hardcore gaming without any issues.

The device has a small screen which enables higher framerates as it taxes the cpu / gpu a lot less. The device doesn’t get too hot and you wont find any stuttering. We give props to the optimization process that Apple demands all apps strictly adhere to.

The A9 processor also includes an M9 co-processor which kicks in as a lower powered processor for lower end applications and jobs. This saves a lot of power. The SE does last a long time in terms of battery life.

The iPhone SE lacks the 3D Touch feature which enables additional options when pressing with varying pressures on the phone screen.


Should I buy the iPhone SE?

For those in need of a smaller phone that is usable with one hand but also not wanting to compromise on specs this is the phone to buy. We recommend getting the 64 GB model instead of the 16 GB as iPhone’s cannot use microSD to expand memory and 16 GB is just not enough at all. The performance is solid, build quality is great and camera works great (except the front facing selfie camera). We highly recommend this device if you are considering it.

iPhone 7 Plus Long Term Review: Is it still worth it?

iPhone 7 Plus Long Term Review: Is it still worth it?

ip 7 plus dual cam

When the iPhone 7 Plus first released many reviewers and fans were not impressed. Apple seemed to have lost their “magic” touch that accompanied all their previous releases. Alongside the exclusion of the 3.5mm headphone jack and a design that screams iPhone 6S  it seemed to have let down a host of people. Today we take a look at the iPhone 7 Plus once more after some months have passed by. We want to focus on collective data found on the battery life, performance, camera, and what it was like to not have the 3.5 headphone jack.

Yes, the iPhone 7 does look like the iPhone 6s or 6s plus without a doubt. So many times have we ourselves still been confounded when asked which is which. Only the experienced and the tech enthusiast would be able to tell once they examine both devices closely. Regardless of this issue the iphone 7 Plus is still a nicely crafted device. We prefer the matte black colour as the jet black attracted way too much finger prints and mysterious scratches that amassed over time. Is the iPhone 7 Plus a good upgrade? Or is Apple stalling for time for the upcoming iPhone 8? What should iPhone 6 Plus (2014) owners do?

Let’s get this out of the way: Headphone Jack

ip7 call

This is Apples biggest move in that they really enraged millions of people around the world. It, however, can be a huge step towards a new generation of jack-less devices. We do not see it as an innovation. We have seen schematics and arguments of better technological advancements because of this move. One argument asserts that because audio streaming is moved to the lightning port headphone makers can create their own DAC / sound chips integrated into their headsets and control how the headphones read the signal waves coming from the device. We just found it inconvenient of having to carry around an extra little line just to plug your expensive 3.5mm headphones into and also lose the ability to charge while using the device (sitting at the office). Of course you can alleviate the issue with another adaptor but if I am paying over 1000$ for this device I would appreciate not needing to pay more for basic features.

CU Verdict: Inconvenient Decision that can affect many. Looking forward to what Apple has planned to further this move.

Brand New Home Button:

ip 7 quad layout

We love the new home button designed by Apple. This is something I wish other manufacturers can learn from. Gone are the old days of physical home buttons and here we are living the days of technological advancement’s. At first we were afraid as to what removing a physical button meant as we were used to Android devices with capacitive home buttons (which we did not fully like in any phones released thus far. However, this was a completely different story and a good game changer. The home button works as a special haptic feedback device on its own. It actually feels like a physical button when it is not. When you click into it you get a very nice feedback which is followed by another feedback when you let go. The cool thing is that you can click and hold onto the home button and the second feedback does not come until you let go. A pleasantly engineered feedback engine combined with a nice glass body made it a joy to simply click the home button. We believe Apple uses their 3D Touch which they have been working on for a while to make this possible.

CU Verdict: Fantastic, we loved the new Home Button and this raises the bar for what a quality home button should look like.


ip7 optical stab

The Camera is the iPhone 7 Plus’s strong suit. Compared to the iPhone 6S Plus we can see large improvements overall. The colours are a lot more realistic, and photos are a lot more detailed and sharper in low light circumstances. People who are into photography would be quite pleased with the iPhone 7 Plus’ performance. Apple did a good job as usual on the camera front. We enjoyed the unique depth of field mode which makes the back ground shallow compared to your subject. All of this is done in the software but we really liked how it came out. iPhone’s cannot replace DSLR camera’s for Pro work just yet but it is slowly getting there.

The iPhone 7 Plus includes a secondary camera which functions as the “telephoto” module. This module is capable of taking high quality photos with a narrower field of view (2x zoom). Many users can take meaningful photos using this module when you need that extra reach without losing quality or detail.

CU Verdict: The Camera may be worth buying this new device for.

Battery Life:

ip 7 2

There is not much to say here, the battery life is actually almost the same as the older iPhone 6s Plus. In a way that could be good as the iPhone 7 has some newer features. Some reported worse battery life while others reported slightly better usage times. Overall, not much is talked about here as it is neither an improvement nor a downgrade compared to the older iPhone 6s Plus.

CU Verdict: No Impact.

Performance and Display:

ip 7 screen

Looking at real world usages we found that the iPhone 7 Plus does have a slight Edge against the iPhone 6S Plus. Of course, all phones today are blazing fast already and we have pretty much hit quite a plateau in terms of real world performances amongst the high end devices. Even though the iPhone 7 Plus features the newer Apple A10 processor which is advertised to have significant boosts in power and speed we could not see too much of this. Apple iOS apps are already incredibly optimized and we have had zero performance issues with the iPhone 6S Plus. However, we have seen a bit of speed improvements overall when we paid attention. It isn’t too much but it is there. We attribute this to the additional RAM (3 GB) integrated into the iPhone 7 Plus. The Display is still a fantastic thing to look at. Apple manages to nail this on all their devices year after year. This year Apple included greater colour accuracy by tweaking and improving the Gamut colour schemes in the display. We heard that Apple purchased a huge batch of OLED displays from Samsung for an amount of about 2 Billion$ last year. We are saddened to not see this in the iPhone 7 Plus but we guess it will come out for the iPhone 8 instead.

CU Verdict: Not much Impact, Display is still great.

Water Resistance:

iPhone 7 jet black gloss

Apple finally introduces an official water resistance rating into their build manufacturing process. We appreciate this change and it is always welcome. It may not be the higher standards found in the S7 Edge or the LG V20 but it should suffice. No one here at the office actually dared to try and dunk our iPhone 7 Plus’ into a bowl of water yet so we could not test this feature. However, in case of accidents we believe we are well covered (just as long as it isn’t into a 50 m deep end pool). This feature would be most useful for people who need to use the iphone in wet environments. However, I would still most likely use a water proof case.

CU Verdict: It is a welcome feature that would be more appreciated by certain people out in the field our outdoors.

ip 7 main

Final Verdict:

Keeping everything in mind the iPhone 7 Plus is still a great device to use. We believe it is actually a good upgrade from the older iPhone 6S Plus. These days manufacturers are not introducing ground breaking features but they are good enough. Some are just nice to have (such as the newer home button). The greatest things about the iPhone 7 Plus includes the camera, new home button, improved 3D Touch, and water resistance. Some of the more mediocre facts include the battery life, lack of 3.5mm headphone jack, same design found in the iPhone 6S, and the fact that the device still does not use an OLED display. We view the iPhone 7 Plus as a great interim upgrade until you upgrade to the iPhone 8. However, for the cost and features altogether we would not have a hard time saying, save your money, and wait for the next best thing.

Latest Apple iOS Update Patches Huge Vulnerabilities

Latest Apple iOS Update Patches Huge Vulnerabilities Get it Now


Updating your iPhone or Apple device is a pretty routine thing to do. Many do it, but there are some who prefer waiting for large updates. Updates usually include various hot fixes, tweaks and changes to the software of your device. In most patches the company fixes various “holes” in your device’s line of defence against attacks via various means. The severity of these vulnerabilities range from not so much to devastating levels. Of course, to have security bring’s a peace of mind as cyber attacks on people is still a big thing happening today. With the latest update (iOS 10.2.1) which was released today Apple patched a large batch of vulnerabilities. This includes 11 issues found around WebKit (which is used as the browser engine inside Safari), the App Store and a lot of iOS apps. There are two instances where malicious apps can take on admin privileges and take complete control over your device.

Such an attack can add files, delete files, and execute any actions on your device. The apps can do all sorts of things such as “recording conversations and forwarding them to another person” or “install other damaging malicious software’s” and “uninstall programs that you did not intend to delete”. All these things can be easily cloaked and hidden away as well. Google’s project Zero identified 9 of these vulnerabilities. A few top level hackers found them which sets the bar very high. To protect yourself from any issues you can perform a quick firmware update by going to

Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and Install.

You never know when the next attack will be or which innocent bystander will get hit. Protect yourself today.

Samsung Announced Why Note 7 Exploded

Samsung Announced Why their Note 7’s Exploded


The Galaxy Note 7 was shaping up to be the best smartphone of 2016 with the best features, design, and hardware. Unfortunately due to a fatal battery issue the product got cancelled. Since then, Samsung has reportedly conducted deep searching tests to figure out why their Note 7 devices were catching fire. Samsung came out with sincere apologies, and a clearer explanation. On Sunday night of January 22 2017 mobile division president DJ Koh announced the findings.

DJ Koh opened with an apology on behalf of the division by stating:

“First of all, I deeply apologize to all of our customers, carriers, retail, and distribution partners. […] We believe that, as a first step to regain your trust, it is important to provide you with a thorough understanding of the cause behind the Galaxy Note 7 incidents and to implement a comprehensive plan to take preventative measures.”

They made efforts to reassure the public that they are taking proper measures to prevent this from happening ever again. Samsung did not dodge responsibility and accepted the blame entirely for their failure in the the procedure involving quality assurance (QA). Many corporations such as Apple are infamous for talking around various failures and blaming the public / users. Samsung is one of the rarer companies who stepped up and admitted their faults.

Samsung then went on in great detail to explain the issues behind the fiery battery problems. Samsung announced their own findings alongside three other independent investigation results from various firms. Conclusions were made and Samsung provided us a clear and comprehensive plan as to how to deal with these issues into the future.

DJ Koh admitted that Samsung “Rushed” the design, manufacturing, and delivery of the products that they did not account for an abnormal battery that resulted. They showed many images, specs and specifics in regards to this. As other independent firms reported, the batteries had “no room” to expand. This resulted in a “cramped” space. Batteries naturally expand and physically enlarge with heat and use. The unfortunate circumstance was the result of a failure to recognise this potential problem. Electrodes were bent as batteries took on unusual curved shapes due to its limited space.

The company now claims their phones will no longer over heat and cause fires again. To ensure this, Samsung implemented an 8 point check which really shows that laziness will no longer be a factor in battery safety. The 8 point battery safety check test is as described below.

infographic 8-point battery safety check





The next step for Samsung is to push out safe devices that are equally high end to compete with Apple and other manufacturers who all had a bit of a kick out of this situation. The next iterations of the Galaxy line up needs to regain the trust of the people. It also looks like Samsung is not giving up on the Galaxy Note brand as well. Of course the world will need to wait and see as to how Samsung’s next phones will follow through on their promise of safety. The Galaxy S8 is expected to arrive in Spring 2017.

Here is an infographic Samsung designed to help explain the situation further.


Samsung Nougat Update InBound

Samsung Nougat Update InBound


Samsung has released some new information about it’s Nougat update progress thus far. Information was officially provided by Samsung via their Samsung Newsroom site. It lists the devices expected to receive the update, the approximation of ETA, and some major features included in the Android 7.0 N update. Around the world the S7 and S7 Edge models already began receiving the Android N update beginning on January 17 2017. Canadian S7 and S7 Edge models are expected to receive their official Nougat updates in the weeks to come on approximately Feb 8 2017 (reportedly by Koodo).

In a nut shell the supported devices are listed below:

  • Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
  • Galaxy S6 Edge
  • Galaxy S6
  • Galaxy Tab A with S Pen
  • Galaxy Tab S2 (LTE Unlock)
  • Galaxy Note 5
  • Galaxy A3
  • Galaxy A8

Beta testers had a chance already to test the new major update via Samsung’s Galaxy Beta Program. This program began with Android 6 Marshmellow beta testing featured on the S6 models. Now that the various phases are done and the update packaged and released we look forward to Nougat to be available on various other Galaxy devices. Naturally, the S7 and s7 Edge will receive the updates first.

Some of the major changes are explained in detail below.


Samsung Pass

The Samsung Pass feature is a payment system that was created and implemented by Samsung. It is taking it’s time to populate various parts of the world such as Canada but it is on the verge of becoming fully available soon. Utilizing Samsung’s secure system called Knox, Samsung Pass can be used to make quick purchases in shops, restaurants and others that support NFC and / or MST (magnetic secure transfer). It basically turns your smart phone into a big credit card with Tap. MST uses a tiny metal coil which is bent into a loop. Electricity passes through the coil forming a magnetic field which relays information to standardized magnetic credit card readers. It is an emulation of users swiping a card. Samsung Pass can also work as a “master key” for logging into websites using Samsung Internet on the device. Using your fingerprint to log into websites and making payments with full mobile banking app integrations in the works.

UI Clean Up


Key changes are found in the UI itself. The old Samsung Touchwiz icons, color schemes and design has been overhauled completely. Colors are a lot more calm and cohesive with less circles and shapes surrounding various icons. The menu is more modern and laid out just like the Note 7 menu. This includes enhanced features such as adjustable display sizes, and the back button (on screen in menus) is clickable with bold titles. Other notable changes include improved notification headers which is cleaned up. No more titles under the icons but just clean symbols alone. The S finder and Quick connect positions have been integrated into the quick panel as well.

Nougat Notification panel handling is introduced as well which allows notification grouping and direct reply.

On the home screen we see the added Nougat ability to long press a home icon to bring up a mini menu on top for more options.


Multi Window

Split screen adjustments and handling has been improved as well. Easier selection of options are introduced to help users in adjusting the size or function of their window size and usage. User’s can now open up more than 2 apps at the same time as we have seen in the Galaxy Note series.


AOD (Always On Display)

Note 7 AOD functions are further implemented into the S7 and S7 Edge AOD options. This means increased clock styles, colors, options to change color and pictures and the added ability to double tap on a notification to launch the linked application.


Improved Lock Screen

The lock screen is also cleaned up to look more like an iPhone with toned down colors for a calming effect and a clean notification system. You can now double tap on notification panels to launch them.


Other notable changes

The Call screen has been enriched with smoother colors instead of the old green and red color scheme found on older versions. Overall the call screen can be a good standard upgrade which is both pleasing to the eye and functional. Modern upgrades are always welcome. The Calendar app also received it’s own update which simplifies its usefulness. First off the app name “S Planner” is finally officially changed to “Calendar” (no more going through apps looking for “s planner”). The color language is, again, consistent with the rest of the OS, neutral, and primary colors splashed about in a cohesive manner.

A lot of the icons have been toned down as well looking more enhanced and consistent all around. Less colors are used and more calmer colors were chosen.


Camera Application

The Camera App finally takes on the improved version found on the belated Note 7. Users can now quickly swipe in different directions (left, right, up, down) to launch various functions. A lot of the clutter found on the camera app’s main screen (various options on top and bottom) have been removed and tucked away into its options. Overall, expect to enjoy a more cohesive, consistent experience and a cleaner UI.

Battery Smart Manager

Smart Manager makes its way from the Note 7 days to the S7 and S7 Edge. Smart Manager enables users to decide to use a HD / FHD / or the standard QHD display to help conserve battery life. You can also tap “optimize now” to automate a system clean up which can noticeably free up storage space, ram, and various other junk all at once. A use ful tool to have and a welcome feature addition. User’s can Mix and Match the various included options for each step of power saving intensity choice. For a moderate power saving profile users can pick HD, FHD or stay on QHD, then users can decide how the system should limit the CPU and what the RAM should do and so on.