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Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Review Is a Top Choice for Comfort

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Review

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CellUnlocker Summary:

Rating: 4.9/5.0


 

Keyboards are an important part of any office job, writer, business man, and enthusiasts. Most keyboards are designed as flat rectangles that simply work. The flat design of keyboards can actually contribute to carpal tunnel and injuries from repetitive movements such as typing. According to Microsoft, our hands (while resting on the table and outstretched) are at a bit of a slant and are not perfectly flat when in their natural state. Most of us force our hands into a flat positions to accommodate our flat keyboards.

Microsoft seems to have been hard at work to figure all this out and to design an ergonomic design that would help people prevent injuries and provide a more comfortable typing experience. That is where the Microsoft Sculpt  Ergonomic Keyboard comes in. It is a fantastic peripheral that helps you get your job done but at the same time prevent any damages that would have otherwise happened to your wrists.

The keyboard has a wavy design and is curved upwards in the middle of the keyboard. The design is also known as a “manta ray” design. There is a split middle and from the split we see downward hills out towards the sides. The keyboard is thin, sleek, and light. The keyboard is also quite small as it does not have a number pad attached, rather it is detached as an additional accessory. Being small in size enables users to carry the device around. The keyboard also ships with an added number pad (detached) and a matte plastic stand that you can simply place underneath the front end of the keyboard which raises your hands as well.

The Sculpt Ergonomic is great at keeping good care of your wrists which is its main purpose and selling point. Microsoft describes the angle and slant as a “natural angle” for your hands, wrists and arms. There is a wrist resting pad as well on the front end of the keyboard. The cushion is not as soft as we would like but it does it’s job better than hard wood desks.

The keyboard has strangely enlarged keys (especially the keys at the center) due to the “split” design. It may take some time to get used to the keyboard but once that is mastered the keyboard is a joy to type on. The key’s are large and give a pretty nice “chiclet” style feedback but with deeper actuation’s. The angle this keyboard enables users to type in is the optimum typing position that enables users to stay comfortable and get their jobs done.

A bit about the Build…

The keyboard is mostly plastic, the plastic in between the keys are of the glossy type while the key caps are matte plastic (along with the underside). Black is the only color option we have seen. The space bar has a nice clicky feel to it and is also separated into two segments (left and right space bars). This enables you to use either thumb which are already resting on the space bars to take action when needed. I found it quite fun when alternating between each thumb. The front end where the palm of your hands (wrists) rest is covered in a soft rubbery clothe material. It is not super soft and pillow like, but there is firmness to it and we believe it does provide a level of comfort. The keyboard is not bluetooth, but it is wireless using a wireless receiver USB dongle. The USB dongle is non-replaceable so be careful. The keyboard uses two AAA batteries and they last a very long time. In our tests we found that the keyboard still operated after 2 months of usage which includes daily article write ups, and a lot of emails.

In Conclusion…

We have tested this keyboard throughout the years and found a lot of this to be true. Compared to it’s flatter counter parts the Sculpt keyboard truly takes off a lot of strain off your wrists. Writing thousands of words per day, everyday can take a toll. We have felt it before in a lot of different cases. If you are in the market for a truly comfortable, sleek, light and compact keyboard that was built with your wrists in mind, we recommend you to take a look at the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard. This summary was written with that very keyboard.

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Sony Xperia XZ Premium: “Best New Smartphone for 2017

Sony Xperia XZ Premium: “Best New Smartphone for 2017

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Sony has had a strange past in terms of smartphone identity. It was confusing at best with all the naming schemes involving X’s, Z’s and Y’s with all the same Xperia prefix. Regardless, the Xperia XZ Premium is a solid piece of device with great innovative features. It is basically Sony’s best work all combined from different departments (from audio, imaging, to displays) into the XZ Premium. We expect this device to cost a lot which should be comparable to super high end phones such as the coming S8, LG G6, and other flagship phones.

Pros:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor
  • 4K Display
  • 807 ppi pixel density
  • HDR10 support
  • Large screen and good build quality

Cons:

  • Battery capacity is underwhelming
  • Most likely Expensive

Specs Sheet for the Xperia XZ Premium:

  • Dimensions:
    • 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm (6.14 x 3.03 x 0.31 in)
    • 195 g (6.88 oz) (Weight)
  • Body:
    • Front and Back: Corning Gorilla Glass 5 panels
    • IP68 dust/water proofing
  • Display:
    • 5.5 inch IPS LCD display
    • 3840 x 2160 resolution (~807 ppi pixel density)
    • HDR10 / Triluminos Display / X-Reality Engine
  • Platform:
    • OS: Android v7.1 Nougat
    • CPU: Snapdragon 835 (Octacore Kryo custom cores 4×4 configuration)
    • GPU: Adreno 540
  • Camera:
    • Main 19 MP f/2.0 aperture camera
    • 25mm focal length / EIS (gyro based stabilisation) / predictive phase detection + laser AF
    • Video: 2160p @ 30fps, 720p @ 960 fps
    • Front Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0 (23mm focal length)
  • Others:
    • 3230mAh battery capacity (non-removable)
    • 3.5mm head phone jack (24-bit/192kHz audio support)

 

Sony brought back 4K displays with the XZ Premium and this was a surprise for many. For what seemed like a nonsensical feature that wouldn’t work out any time soon on a previous Xperia phone (Xperia Z5 Premium) the 4K display made a strong return. The 4K display actually looks good. The Xperia XZ has all the necessary high-end stuff necessary to compete against its rivals (notably the S8, LG G6 and others). This includes features such as: the Snapdragon 835 chip, 5.5 inch 4K display, Android 7.1, higher water/dust resistance, and HDR support.

Sony is good at developing and manufacturing imaging sensors and lens’. We can see evidence of that in their line up of phones. Slowly but surely we see a “mobile” edition of a super high end feature found in their modern mirrorless cameras (such as gyro stabilisation) make its way into their top end phone. Sony’s knowledge and hand in the TV display and audio departments are invaluable as well as shown by the brilliant 4K display and strong audio suite including a 3.5mm headphone jack with enhancements to the bit rate to improve sound quality.

Design

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The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is pretty much a phablet. In fact, most high end phone’s are. Due to everybody making phablet sized phones the Xperia XZ Premium can be considered rather compact compared to other beefier phones. We say this is compact because it is easy to hold in one hand and operate. The power key is found on the right hand side of the phone which doubles as a finger print scanner (fingerprint sensor is missing in the U.S. version).  Sony’s research over the years to figure out where the users thumb would fall on easiest may have paid off here. Sony positioned the power key perfectly to accommodate this (we wonder how this will play out).

The XZ Premium is super glossy. It is an all glass and metal design (but mostly Gorilla Glass 5) so we will definitely see high levels of finger prints, and glare. You can use the phone to check out your own reflection if you so need to. The Chrome colour variant exaggerates the glossy finish compared to the darker colours. Better break out those microfiber clothes.

Display

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One of the most talked about feature in this phone is the 4K display. The device comes with HDR support (which was first seen in the late Note 7 device) which provides a noticeable difference when watching movies and performing other tasks on the device when active. For the HDR function to work you would need to be watching content that supports HDR in the first place. Basically this would enable more details in darker parts of the scene and make colours a lot more deeper / saturated. What the Xperia XZ Premium does better than LG (at this point in time) is that the Sony phone can stream 4K content as well (while LG will need to provide an update).

In terms of sharpness, clarity and colour in the XZ Premium is wonderful (at least in the demo video shown). We will need to look at it in further detail once we have the phone in our hands. Many content creators such as Netflix have already created a large library of 4K productions that we should not have any issues in getting our hands on them.

A mind blowing trait that the 4K display brings is also the ridiculously high ppi of 807 ppi pixel density. This is awesomely sharp and detailed which is perfect for virtual reality and just about everything else. It will be a joy to watch content and play games on the XZ Premium.

Camera & The Dawn of the Slo-Mo Mobile Era

Sony-Xperia-XZ

As mentioned, Sony is great at designing and putting together photography / videography equipment. It is a fact that Sony (who provides the camera modules for manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and others) somehow could not deliver the same amount of real world performance in their own phones when compared to their competitors. The XZ Premium reduced the amount of megapixels on the back of the phone from 23MP down to 19MP this time around (Samsung S7 Edge with one of the best camera’s has a 12MP camera sensor). Sony’s camera module on the XZ Premium, however, contains a max aperture that is smaller than some high end phones with the best camera’s around (f/2.0 on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium vs. f/1.7 found on the S7 EDGE 2016). The amount of f-stops is almost negligible for a smartphone camera but f/1.7 is a larger aperture providing more light nonetheless. We were hoping for Sony to follow suit in this area but we do recognise that doing so may potentially hinder other functions. (The Google Pixel has an aperture of f/2.0 and still takes amazing photos).

Sony included their Motion Eye sensor feature into the camera module as well. This apparently enables the XZ Premium to process images almost 5 times faster than normal. This means that the phone can take pictures before you even capture the image (the camera hardware + software determines via prediction as to what the best image would be). This would enable users to get clearer results when shooting something in motion (like in sports or on the mountain while snowboarding with your buddies). This technically does beat the regular way of shooting in auto. We hope that the XZ Premium will be able to take good photos in normal mode as well.

The Slow-motion function is fantastic and fun. We will definitely be able to see some cool creative projects and little video uploads in 2017. The camera will be able to shoot at 960 fps (frames per second) which blew our minds initially. This is unheard of for a smartphone. The video recorded from the tests looked great and turned out fantastic compared to other smartphones. There are some trade-offs to consider here; this mode can shoot only in 720p and due to the high fps rate the system will need to crank up the ISO which introduces a lot of noise as you move into an area with less light availability. Also during shooting the camera is zoomed in (the frame is narrower) compared to a wider shot.

Slow motion features in a smartphone is a new thing that is slowly coming out and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium does a really good job. It can definitely be found at the top of the food chain amongst other upcoming high end phones.

Battery Life Questions

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The phone is not yet released so we cannot test the battery life. However, there are some question’s that are easily raised. How much power will that 4K HDR display consume? Will the battery which is rated at 3230mAh be big enough? By keeping the phone slim (as per Sony’s decisions) the battery most likely had to also be slimmed down. Qualcomm touted their next generation Snapdragon 835 to be 40% more power efficient under certain circumstances compared to the Snapdragon 821 of 2016. However, we are not so sure what that would really look like in the real world. Snapdragon 835 chipset’s will be able to provide a 21% boost in performance OR a 40% boost in battery life, so whether or not your battery life will be lasting or a big drain is determined by your software configuration and other optimisations made by the manufacturer. It is possible, that the 3230mAh battery may not be enough to support the fire power kicking inside the Xperia XZ Premium.

Conclusion

Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium was awarded the ‘Best new Smartphone’ for 2017 during MWC 2017 by the GSMA. We also do agree that the XZ Premium touts some of the best hardware we have seen yet and with such premium build quality whats not to like about the phone? The only caveats we had was that the battery capacity is a bit underwhelming. Other than that, the 4K resolution, crazy high 807 ppi pixel density, next gen CPU/GPU chip, next gen camera functionality, and high end protection on the front and back brings the device together into a powerful tool that many would be able to enjoy.

 

Nokia 3310 Makes a Stunning Return at MWC 2017

Nokia 3310 Makes a Stunning Return at MWC 2017

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Do you remember when your parents carried an old Nokia device? When cellphone’s started becoming commercialized there is a legend of a device called the Nokia 3310. The Nokia 3310 is a phone created many years ago. It is a “brick” style device which had a strong following and has it’s own culture and meme happening in the world. Nokia (now owned by TCL) decided to re-release the classic device with a modernized update. It is a low cost device with a rather nice feature set and extremely long battery life. This would be the best phone to get if one were to look for a retro device or a back-up phone. Yes, the classic game of snake which first shipped with the Nokia 3310 mobile devices is back as well.

Design

The Nokia 3310 is not the exact model, shape or form of the older 3310 of the past. The buttons on the front are similar in terms of shape and its border around the display. The device is made of cheap plastic (just like the old generation 3310) so this is actually a welcome feature. The phone is chunky and each button has a ha  rd core cheap plastic feeling to it. It is the best. The color choices are all mostly bright-neon type colors which feels rather playful and up to date with today’s style. (Some may say that the colors are tacky).

Display

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The Nokia 3310 has a display of 2.4 inches with a resolution of 320 x 240. This is certainly a huge upgrade compared to the original 3310’s monochrome 1.5 inch display. This modernized 2017 Nokia 3310 is an escape for those who want to get away from all the fancy 1080p or 3K displays you would find on most phones. It is like a place of rest from all the competition between all the many manufacturers.  The display is brightly lit and is big enough to provide content that is easy to see, read and navigate.

Performance

We sort of expected the Nokia 3310 to have an updated operating system and application list but all this did fall apart with reality. No, the Nokia 3310 will not have instagram, snapchat, and the usual social apps. It is the bare, stock Nokia 3310 ecosystem (with an updated Snake), the old SMS messaging, and a phonebook to give people a call from.

Navigating is a bit choppy, which reminds you of the classic 3310. This phone is pure nostalgia. The device run’s Snake easily which is a part of the Nokia 3310 identity. The game did receive an overhaul. The snake is a lot more animated now, and the little bits of food are now juicy fruits. Compared to the black and white version of the game this new snake game is a bit too overwhelming in terms of design. We still love how snake is introduced as a keynote for the Nokia 3310 (2017).

Battery life and Connectivity options

Battery life won’t be disappointing. The display is small and has little impact on the battery. The phone can be left on standby for up to a month before it needs to be charged. You can also call someone and stay on the phone for 24 hours. The Nokia 3310 also has a 3.5mm headphone jack that plays your music. This is something the Nokia 3310 does better than the latest “high-end” iPhone.

Camera

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The 3310 isn’t meant for camera. Don’t try to compare it to anything today. The camera is also meant for nostalgia, which means that the imaging is slow, jittery, and takes pretty bad pictures. Think back to your ancient phone you had during high school, yeah, now picture that on the Nokia 3310.

Conclusion

The Nokia 3310 is a blast from the past. This is the most nostalgic phone with a strong cult following that I would not be surprised if everyone had one as their back up phone by the end of 2017. The phone is also cheap so we won’t have any issues in breaking any banks. Given every detail thus far we view the Nokia 3310 as a modernized time machine for many people. It will take you back even if it is for a moment.

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Leakiest Galaxy S8 Images (Clean Images)

Leakiest Galaxy S8 Images (Clean Images)

We have been following the Galaxy S8 leaks scene for a while now and the following images are the clearest, most reliable photos we have ever come across. The reveal date for the S8 is set to March 29 by Samsung. So it may be no surprise at all that a clean leak was, well, leaked a few weeks before launch. Evan Blass is a reknown leaker who really specializes in Samsung devices before they are even revealed to the public officially. Recently he tweeted a few photos that pretty much seem to sum up what the phone would look like. It fits the look and description of previous leaked Galaxy S8 photos and leaks as well as renders people try to “recreate”. m8eN3FgNP9DRj5PuR2DZNk-650-80We can clearly see that the the S8 will indeed have a double edge (like the S7 Edge did) and prominently thin bezels. The display will be sharp with punchy colors thanks to the Super AMOLED display. The home button is indeed gone and most likely moved to the back side beside the camera. The display is truly edge to edge from left to right and very close top to bottom. It is a lot sharper than the LG G6’s edge to edge display. We can see that the navigational buttons also got a make over from the standard Google triangle, circle and square to a more futuristic design. Refinements to the Samsung Grace UX looks very promising with simpler designs as usual. We can see that the Front side (at the top) contains the camera with a wide aperture and other sensors including: light, and an Iris Scanner.

Finally, we are assured that the Galaxy S8 will continue to carry on the important tradition of supporting the 3.5mm head phone jack. The device also has an extra key under the volume rocker which we assume will be an extra accessory button for launching applications. This button, however, could be used for launching Bixby, Samsung’s own integrated AI.

Just check it out below:

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It looks as though Samsung is throwing everything they have ever developed on this device. With extremely thin bezels, curved displays, fast processors and hardware and the highest quality in materials. It looks very thin, long and quite sizeable. Samsung’s Note 7 initially had big impacts on the company which, over time, did not actually cause too much damage. The S8 is expected to fill in pretty large shoes here that which the Note 7 has left behind.

Let us know what you feel about the design and what could possibly be running the Galaxy S8 below!

Blackberry KeyOne Preview: QWERTY is Back!

Blackberry KeyOne Preview: QWERTY is Back!

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Blackberry is going back to their roots with their next flagship Android device, the KeyOne. Owned by TCL (who also owns Alcatel) Blackberry made a new debut at MWC 2017 as a launch party. Notice anything about the device? You got it, it resembles an old school Blackberry but with an Android twist.

Pros:

  • Blackberry custom security implementation for business is very strong
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Excellent classic tactile keyboard
  • Performance is good enough
  • Great build quality

Cons:

  • Design could be found as a bit odd by some
  • Display is an awkward size due to keyboard
  • Device is top heavy when holding by the keyboard
  • Budget CPU decision

Full Blackberry KeyOne Specification Sheet:

  • Dimensions:
    • 149.1 x 72.4 x 9.4 mm (5.87 x 2.85 x 0.37 in)
  • Body:
    • Keyboard – QWERTY
  • Display:
    • IPS LCD 4.5 Inch (1620 x 1080) (~434 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Internals:
    • OS: Android 7.1 (Nougat)
    • CPU: Snapdragon 625 (Octa Core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
    • GPU: Adreno 506
    • 3 GB RAM
    • 32 GB Storage (microSD support available)
    • Battery: 3505 mAh battery (non – removable)
  • Camera:
    • 12 MP, f/2.0 PDAF dual LED back camera
    • 8 MP Front facing camera (1080p)

 

First Impressions

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The Blackberry KeyOne aims at a specific crowd of smartphone users: the people who appreciates Blackberries classic keyboard design. The KeyOne is a flagship device that retains Blackberries iconic identity in terms of hardware and software yet still manages to keep up to date with the latest popular operating system. If we were to talk about keyboards it is Blackberry who got it in the bag. For many years in the past the Blackberry devices were the king of physical keyboard experiences. With the KeyOne we are pleased to find this feature making it’s return to the market.

As fans of the older Blackberry with the pure hard plastic prowess of the BB Keyboard we all grew up with, we actually found the KeyOne to be very pleasant. People who are seeking out a physical keyboard experience may need no look any further. It is a blast from the past.

KeyOne Keyboard

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Thanks to the physical keyboard the BB KeyOne was set apart from the crowd. It combines todays Android 7.0 software, Blackberry DTEK series security, and the old Blackberry Classic’s hardware and creates a nostalgic experience that manages to be up to date.

Immediately you would feel the benefits of having a QWERTY layout with good tactile feed back with each press. Without a doubt, a keyboard is very different from the touchscreen counterpart. The keyboard also acts as a touch screen module allowing users to simply slide their fingers up and down over the keys to scroll through pages. This feature was also found on the Blackberry Passport.

It isn’t the most elegant solution, however. During our tests we found the scrolling to be a little bit rough and was not as smooth as it would be with regular touchscreen scrolling. Other than the track pad feature of the keyboard we found that the space button also acted as your fingerprint scanner. The space bar does not act as a home button (that is found among the capacitive buttons on screen).

UI and Performance

BlackBerry-KEYone

While the keyboard brings about nostalgia we are still hit with a smack of modern reality with an updated software running on the KeyOne. We see Android Nougat (7.0), we see a stock Android experience, Google Play Store, and a super high security encryption technology integration that pleases world class governments. Unlocked Keyone Blackberry

We see similar efforts in this industrial security sector found in Samsung’s and Apple’s portfolio with Samsung Knox and iOS 10. However, Blackberry seems to have this right so far and it may be an important stepping stone for BB to come back strong.

The system uses an older Snapdragon 625 chip and 3GB of RAM. While the performance won’t be stellar or high end, it is good enough. We are pretty far in our technological rabbit hole that even the most budget chipsets can provide excellent performance experiences in various devices. For what it’s worth, the KeyOne provided good enough performance compared to other high end models out there.

We see 32 GB of storage with microSD support as well so storage should be quite adequate.

Display and Design

The KeyOne does have a strange display. The display is a 4.5 inch touchscreen with a 1620 x 1080 resolution. This is because the keyboard takes up the bottom part of the device. While it may be a worthy sacrifice to endure (a trade off in order to satisfy our guilty pleasures for physical button mashing) some might wish for a bit more screen real estate. Especially in our current time of increasingly huge displays and shrinking bodies we rarely see display sizes below 5 inches anymore. It may take some getting used to when viewing videos on the 4.5 inch display after using a large display (if you had one prior).

Remember that the device is still physically larger than the Blackberry Classic. This means that users may still need to grasp this device with both hands in order to operate it or to type. We noticed that the phone may be a little bit top heavy while holding thus it gives it a bit of an unbalanced sensation. People with large hands may still be able to manage one handed usage.

The Android navigation keys are above the keyboard which may prove to be quite annoying for some. We are so used to having these important navigational buttons on the bottom of our phones, but we may need to get used to it for when using the KeyOne. We hope that the keyboard will have some programmable settings to offset some of the navigational functions onto the keyboard itself and give us a bit more display space.

The KeyOne has its power button on the left side, while the volume rocker sits on the right side. Below the volume rocker sits a “quick access” key which launches any apps that you point it to.

Finally, the KeyOne is kind of thick compared to today’ sleek phones. Some will like this added heft while others may have an issue with it. We like it. It gives it more substance and the textured back feel great in the hand by providing grip. The KeyOne is certainly not a phone that has the same sexy factor you would expect from an iPhone or a premium Galaxy device but we want to give credit to Blackberry and TCL for creating a well-built flagship in their own way.

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Motorola Reveals Two New Smartphones at MWC 2017

Motorola Reveals Two New Smartphones at MWC 2017 (G5 and G5 Plus)

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At the MWC 2017 convention in Barcelona, Motorola also had something to offer. It came in the form of the brand new Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus. Currently owned by Lenovo, Motorola has been releasing various budget smartphones in recent years. In 2017, this is no different. However, some may call these phones the “budget kings”.

Basic Specifications for G5 & G5 Plus:

Moto G5 Plus:

  • Dimensions:
    • 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.30 in)
    • Weight: 155 g (5.47 oz)
  • Display:
    • IPS LCD capacitive display (16M colors)
    • 5.2 inches (~67.1% screen-to-body ratio)
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (~424 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Internals:
    • OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat)
    • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 Octa Core (2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
    • GPU: Adreno 506
    • RAM: 3 GB RAM
    • Storage: 32/64 GB (microSD support)
    • Battery: 3,000 mAh battery
  • Camera:
    • 12 MP f/1.7 back camera
    • 5 MP f/2.2 front camera

Moto G5 (Standard):

  • Dimensions: 
    • 5.68 x 2.87 x 0.37 inches (144.3 x 73. x 9.5 mm)
    • Weight: 146 g (5.13 oz)
  • Display:
    • IPS LCD capacitive display (16M colors)
    • 5.0 inches (~65.53% screen-to-body ratio)
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (~441 pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Internals:
    • OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat)
    • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430 Octa Core (1.4 GHz Cortex-A53)
    • GPU: Adreno 505
    • RAM: 3 GB RAM
    • Storage: 16 GB (microSD support)
    • Battery: 2,800 mAh battery
  • Camera:
    • 13 MP f/2.0 back camera
    • 5 MP f/2.2 front camera

Design

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Both the G5 and G5 Plus will have metal builds. This launches the two devices ahead of the budget curve and compared to Motorola’s past devices with cheap builds. Both devices look identical aside from their size.

The regular G5 is the smaller device of the two and also weighs less than the G5 Plus. Both come with fingerprint sensors found on the front (on the oval shaped home button). Both also come with a circular camera on the back. Both also come with a splash – resistant coating that prevents devices from breaking down with a bit of water. But do not dunk it in water as it does not have any ingress certification.

It also looks like Motorola is ditching the MOD front line for these two devices. There were no contact pins to be found on them which led us to believe that they will not support Moto Mods.

The devices have a curved back which makes it easier to hold. The available colors will include: Lunar Grey and Fine Gold.

Display

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  • Both models have Full HD displays (1080p)
  • The G5 will have a 5 inch display vs 5.2 inches on G5 Plus
  • Both will have Corning Gorilla Glass 3

We found that both the G5 and the G5 Plus will feature a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. Of course, because the G5 (standard) has a smaller display it will have 440 ppi compared to the 423 ppi found on the G5 Plus. Anything above 300 ppi on a FHD display will ensure optimal sharpness anyways so there is nothing to worry about here. We also do not see any 2.5D glass or curved displays on these devices. Both comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The Moto G5 will have a 5 inch display compared to the G5 Plus’ 5.2 inch display.

Cameras

  • G5 will have a 13MP f/2.0 camera on the back
  • G5 Plus will have a 12 MP, f/1.7 camera on the back
  • Camera mount is circular on back and gives it a premium feel.

Both devices will have a circular design for the camera mount on the back. This gives it a better finish and simply looks better in a design point of view.

The G5 has slightly more pixels with its 13 MP (megapixels) phase -detection autofocus camera compared to the G5 Plus’ 12 MP camera. However, the major difference is that the G5 Plus’ 12 MP camera will have a wider aperture of f/1.7 (just like the S7 Edge) compared to the aperture of f/2.0 found on the G5’s 13 MP camera.

Remember that megapixels aren’t what takes beautiful pictures. A 12 MP f/1.7 camera would let in more light and would be considered a lot “faster” due to the availability of light hitting the sensor compared to a slower lens of anything smaller (f/2.0 to f/16). Therefore, there is no surprise that the better low light performer is found on the G5 Plus.

4K video is available on the G5 Plus while 4K is Not found on the regular G5’s camera.

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Specs and Internals

  • 3GB RAM
  • Good performance’s
  • Storage space is more adequate on G5 Plus

The G5 will utilize the Snapdragon 430 CPU with 3GB of RAM while the G5 Plus uses the Snapdragon 635 CPU with 3 GB of RAM.

We saw that the G5 Plus will come in a standard storage of 32 GB while the G5 will only have 16 GB of storage. MicroSD support is available on both models if needed.

On the connectivity side we found that both devices came with 3.5mm headphone jacks. Both the G5 and G5 Plus do not use USB type C but rather than the legacy standard of micro USB. Only the G5 Plus features NFC.

The G5 will have a 2800mAh battery compared to the 3,000 mAh battery found on the G5 Plus. Motorola also included “TurboPower” charging which, Motorola claims, should provide 6 hours of battery life for 15 minutes of charging.

Both the Moto G5 and G5 Plus will ship with Android Nougat 7.0.

Release Date

While both devices were announced at MWC 2017, the G5 is said to be available from the month of March onward’s while the G5 Plus will be available from late-April onward.

 

New Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: A True Successor?

New Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: A True Successor?

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Writers around the world may have been waiting for this very moment. The Galaxy Tab S3 is a successor to the aging Galaxy Tab S2 tablet. The S series tablet line is Samsung’s flagship tablet models featuring top notch specs and build quality. The S3 does have the flag ship feel to it. It has a new glass back build and upgraded specs including the Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 6,000 mAh battery, 13 MP camera with 4K support, and 32 GB of internal storage (with microSD storage upgrade available up to 256 GB).

Here is the Basic Specifications Sheet:

  • Display
    • 9.7 inch Super AMOLED / @ 2048 x 1536 resolution (~266ppi) (Aspect Ratio =  4:3)
  • Processor and RAM
    • Snapdragon 820 SoC w/ Quad Core (2 x 2.15 GHz + 2 x 1.6 GHz)
    • 4 GB of RAM
  • Storage
    • 32 GB Internal
    • microSD storage support up to 256 GB
  • Camera
    • 13 MP, Auto-Focus, Flash Back Camera
    • 5 MP Front Facing Camera
  • Connection
    • USB-C 3.1
    • Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band
    • GPS
    • LTE (Depends on Model and Country)
  • Battery
    • 6,000mAh / Fast Charge
  • Water Resistance
    • None
  • Input
    • S-Pen w/ 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
    • Finger print sensor
  • Dimensions & Weight
    • 237.3 x 169 x 6 mm
    • 429g (Wi-Fi) / 434g (LTE)

Build Quality

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The materials used in the construction of the Tab S3 came with mixed reviews. From afar the tablet is very stylish, still, and looks quite premium. Take a closer look and we quickly notice that the glass back may not be quite sturdy as we would like (compared to metal backs or even plastic backs). Not only is the glass panel a finger print magnet but it can also be quite slippery for some. Of course, from initial theory if one were to drop this tablet anywhere there is potential for cracks to appear. In essence, as one reviewer puts it, the Tab S3 is basically a blown up Galaxy S7 with Gorilla Glass back and front and metal sides. We still do not doubt it’s premium feel, nonetheless. There will be a silver and a black colour.

The S Pen

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Writers will welcome the S pen with open arms (including myself). The S Pen is a big selling point for this tablet. The pen does not need to be charged and will just work (compared to the Apple pen). The S pen offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. This translates to a more precise writing experience with the pen. Hand writing in cursive is a lot more do able and drawing art works will be that much more efficient. The Pen tip is also measured at 0.7 mm and the pen’s width is at 9.4mm. The 9.4mm width gives the pen a more pen like feel (when holding it) as it is more thicker compared to the traditional thin S pen found in the Note series. The 0.7mm pen tip is actually the same measurement found on the Note 7 and that was marketed as a slimmed down tip compared to previous S pens giving the user a more precise writing / drawing experience. The one down side to the S pen included is that it does not have a place to store it away in the tab itself. You would have to carry it around separately in your bag or pocket or perhaps keep it at home. It does not have a magnetic side (like the Microsoft Pen’s do) but it does have a clip and flattened sides to keep it from rolling away.

The S pen on the tablet reminds me of another tablet that I am currently using which is the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with S Pen. This is also a Samsung tablet which was quietly released in the U.S. in 2016. It did not receive it’s own press conference and took a bit of digging for me to pick up this device. Compared to the Tab S3 the Tab A was able to store the S pen away, had a 1080p display and worked fantastic for the money paid. As a writer for Cellunlocker.net I love to write, doodle, and take a lot of notes mainly on the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with S pen (R.I.P. Note 7).

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Display

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As shown the display will be 9.6 inches diagonally, with a resolution of 2,048 x 1536 (266 ppi) and will have the strange display ratio of 4:3. By now users would prefer a landscape ratio of 16:9 instead as it just makes more sense compared to watching movies in portrait 4:3 but due to apps becoming more advanced and fitting any ratios this should not pose a big problem.

Hardware

The Galaxy Tab S3 will ship with the Snapdragon 820 which is also found on all other high end smart phone’s from 2016. The tablet will run, out of the box, with Android 7.0 Nougat which is the latest version thus far. The Snapdragon 820 with updated software should give the tablet a snappier and an improved gaming and navigation experience.

There is also a four-speaker set up on the tablet (one one each corner). Samsung partnered with recognised sound company AKG to fine tune their audio chip sets. The speakers will rotate the sound as the user “rotates the tablet around”. All of this should, in theory, provide a more immersive sound experience when watching movies or videos or even listening to music.

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Samsung includes a USB-C connection type for faster charging and added a fingerprint sensor.

The Tab S3 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, volume and power buttons on the side and it also comes with connection contact points on the side as well. This is used to connect to a keyboard developed by Samsung for the Tab S3.

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Conclusion

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Will the Galaxy Tab S3 work for the many users out in the world? There are many things to consider. The price is one of the most important factors that will make or break the buying decision of individuals. From initial reports, it does not seem like the Galaxy Tab S3 will be priced competitively but will be priced with a luxurious premium attached. We may be looking at prices from 599$ up to 799$.

Despite the price, one will need to decide whether or not the S pen will have it’s usefulness as well. The tablet is a strong product which was a long ways coming. On the fore front the Tab S3 is certainly an upgrade compared to the Tab S2 and especially compared to the more budget Tab A series. However, some may argue that the Tab S3’s pricing may conflict with the pricing with Samsung’s own chrome book (which also feature an S pen) and also end up competing with other devices such as the Surface which offer a lot more versatility and function.

We assume that Samsung is aiming the Tab S3 at Apple’s iPad Pro line up (the smaller 9.7 inch version) if they do intend to keep a premium price on the S3.

2017 is a good year for writers and doodlers. Alongside Microsoft and Apple, Samsung has carried on their S pen culture and provided significantly more compelling options to help people upgrade their digital writing and content creation experiences via the S pen.

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Share with us what you think in the comments below!

 

New Galaxy S8 Leaked Photos

New Galaxy S8 Leaked Photos

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We all know that Samsung won’t be revealing the S8 until late March (around 28 – 29) in New York. DJ Koh, president of Samsung Mobile Division already stated that Samsung won’t be showing the S8 at MWC 2017 either. However, recently we received leaked photos which show the Galaxy S8’s design in further detail. It looks like the phone has a thin case for it and as leaks foretold, it will be a big phone with curved edges like the S7 Edge.

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All “leaked photos” are hard to trust but it is the most convincing as of yet. The photo quality is not really good and looks like it was taken quickly to prevent being caught by management. The photo’s show what the regular and the plus designs may very well look like by now. We have seen leaked s8 specs showing a 5.7 or 6.2 inch display model for the plus and a 5.1 and 5.5 inch display for the regular s8. The corners of the dev   ices also look smooth and curved with just the right amount of curves. The LG G6’s display is actually curved at the edges (not just the body) but the S8 looks to have corners at right angle’s. One of the leaked specs for the S8 Plus did indicate a “curved display” option, however.

If the S8 Plus (with its large 6.2 inch display option) still follows the Note 7 design language and based on the photo it looks like it can be actually comfortable to hold. The note 7 is a big device but the curves on the back and front made it very nice to hold.

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The photo’s also show some of the UI that may ship with these phones. The home button is indeed gone. And it looks like it is seen on the back instead. The home button is replaced by on-screen navigational buttons. Dropping the physical button enabled Samsung to further cut away the bezel’s at the top and bottom and replace it with more display space. The finger print sensor is on the back (next to the camera). The placement of the finger print sensor is argued to be too high up on the phone and may cause a lot of inconveniences. We are unsure how this will play out just yet but we aren’t letting this dampen our moods.

The 3.5mm Headphone Jack is still here with us thank you very much.

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Here is a video showcasing the Galaxy S8 in all of its glory (well, partially due to poor video qualities). Many may still question the legitimacy of such leaks but again, as with any leaks, we always take it with a grain of salt. The design and what we see may easily change before the actual announcement late March. We know Samsung will announce this exciting device on March 29 at Samsung’s Unpacked event. The Galaxy S8 is expected to be the first smartphone to sport the new Snapdragon 835 chip set. This would be because Samsung sort of hogged it all (first dibs).

Tell us what you think below!

The New LG G6 is Stunning

The New LG G6 is Stunning

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Finally, LG’s next flagship device is here and it shall be the one and only LG G6. The G6 is the successor to the previous flagship device the LG G5. Yes, it is true that the LG G5 did not receive much of a warm reception compared to the many other flagship devices released in the past. Over time the LG G5 endured a slew of issues from boot loops to failures of the finger print sensors. The modular design language LG sought after did not really work out either.

With the LG G6 of 2017 this may mark a refreshed effort to try and bolster the companies mobile front lines. The phone is sleek with a unique display choice and of course it features high end specs including HDR 10 / Dolby Vision, Android 7.0 Nougat, very thin bezels, 3300 mAh battery, USB-C, and a Snapdragon 821 processor with 4 GB RAM.

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Here is the Basic Specification Sheet:

  • Announced February, 2017
  • Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm (5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 in)
  • Weight: 163 g (5.75 oz)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the back side
  • IP68 certification (Dust/Water Resistance over 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.)
  • Display:
    • IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
    • 5.7 inches (approx. 78.6% screen-to-body ratio)
    • 2880 x 1440 pixels (~564 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on Front Panel
    • HDR 10/ Dolby Vision compliant
    • Always-on display
    • LG UX 6.0 UI
  • Android OS 7.0 Nougat
  • Processor:
    • Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821
    • Quad-core (2 x 2.35 GHz Kryo & 2 x 1.6 GHz Kryo)
    • GPU: Adreno 530
  • Memory:
    • microSD support up to 256 GB
    • 32/64 GB storage internal
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Camera:
    • Dual module: 13 MP (f/1.8, OIS, 3-axis) + 13 MP (f/2.4)
    • laser auto focus and LED flash
    • Sensor size: 1/3″, 1.12µm pixel size. HDR mode available
    • Video: 2160p@ 30 fps, [email protected], HDR, 244-bit/192kHz stereo sound recording.
    • Front Facing camera: 5 MP, f/2.2, 1080p
  • Sound:
    • 3.5mm Jack (32 bit / 192 kHz audio
  • Battery:       
    • 3300 mAh, Li-Ion Non removable battery
  • Other:
    • Finger print sensor (rear mount)
    • USB-Type C

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Lets get started…

So far, the LG G6 looks like a fantastic runner up. It may be the solution for LG to gain traction with the current mobile market and bring LG back up to speed. We see that LG dumped the whole modular thinking and jumped back on board with the more modern method of building a flagship phone. The glass back design is quite new for an LG device. This gives it a more premium look compared to the more “plastic” look or the fragmented look LG devices tended to have. Our first impressions for this device was very good. There will be a silver, black, and white variant of the G6. The white variant, however, will be available in certain countries only.

Display

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The very first thing we noticed about this device was its unique display set up. The display nearly reaches all corners of the device’s panel. Compared to the 16:9 aspect ratio which is found on almost every other smartphone’s out there, LG decided to go for an 18:9 (2:1) display ratio. Basically LG decided to pack in more screen onto a smaller body. The bezels are also very small thanks to the ~80% display vs the phones body. It is a lot smoother to swipe in and out from the sides and the quality of it gives it a more slightly luxurious feel. We love it.

The Display is a 5.7 inch 2880 X 1440 resolution IPS display with 565 pixels per inch. The screen is incredibly sharp. The corners are actually curved as well compared to the right angles we are used to on the devices. Some will like that, other’s will not. However, we found this to be very unique and quite nice to look at. It gives it a new characteristic which is sorely lacking in the smartphone market these days. Despite the display not being AMOLED, the display still packed vivid colours and deep blacks. The LG G6 is also the very first phone to be Dolby Vision compliant and enabled to utilise HDR 10 (high dynamic range) when playing back images and videos. HDR enables videos to be brighter and a lot more detailed when scenes become darker. LG has stated that HDR video content from Netflix and Amazon will work, however an app update is inbound to further support this.

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Being the first phone to utilise an 18:9 (2:1) display ratio does come with it’s own caveats. If one can remember when Apple switched out their displays from the 4 inch days up to the 5 inch days there was a time when apps did not fit properly. A similar thing is happening with the LG G6. There seems to be extra black bars (spaces) on the bottom. This is because apps such as Youtube and Netflix natively support 16:9 but not the unique 18:9 yet. LG has stated that there will be an option to stretch out the content and we know updates will begin to include the new display ratio.

Again there are black spaces (like black bars) sitting at the bottom when playing some games but other regular apps we use do work fine. LG’s apps have all been updated to take advantage of their 18:9 ratio display. This also means that the multi window function will give you extra space when working in the apps side by side.

Water and Dust Proof

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LG also included an IP68 rating which gives it a higher dust and water proofed design compared to the IP67 rating found in last years flagship devices (ie. Galaxy S7 Edge). This translates to about 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes of dunking the phone. To the normal person this simply means that dropping it into shallow waters wont be an issue anymore.

Remember that there are still things to know about “Water RESISTANCE”. For more information on IP ratings check out our article here about what IP ratings are.

New Camera Functions

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The G6 also has two camera modules available on the back side. Though you cannot take those artsy fartsy shallow depth of field photos (with a lot of bokeh) like you can on the iPhone 7 Plus, users can switch between the standard lens and the 120 degree wide angle lens to capture more of the shot. The front facing 5MP camera also features a wide angle view to capture more content as well.

LG included a new Square Camera app which is geared for serious instagram users who need better tools to create better square photos.

Google AI

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Google Pixel devices all featured the new Google Artificial Intelligence (AI) called Assistant. The G6 is the only other device out there to support this digital assistant natively. The Assistant is able to use Google gigantic search database and voice recognition systems. Chatting, and looking up things such as news and things to do or eat nearby has never been easier. If you own smart-home devices Assistant can control the various functions inside your own house including the thermostat, lights, and the house locks.

Anything Bad?

People who follow phone specs will immediately notice that the G6 uses the Snapdragon 821 processor instead of the newer Snapdragon 835 that was introduced this year. It is already shown that the 835 is a smaller die (10nm compared to 16nm) it is faster, more efficient in processing and also faster at charging compared to the 821.

However, we would like to make the arguement that the Snapdragon 821 is not actually that old. It is only a few months old (from 2016) and is also very fast in real world usages. The 835 will certainly gain an edge on benchmarks and on paper data but we most likely won’t see huge improvements in swiping around the phone. One thing that the 835 could be a lot better at compared to the 821 is battery life performance. Have a smaller die and a improved computational environment the 835 can certainly out last the 821 for some devices. Remember that it is also mostly up to the manufacturer’s to really optimise and milk the chips right.

In real world usages from launching videos, apps, and navigating the G6 is a speed demon.

A new change (sort of going back to the trend) is that the G6 will not have a removable battery. This was expected, however, due to the newer IP68 dust and water proofing. Just as the Samsung fan base got disappointed in this, LG fans may also find it quite hard to swallow. Swappable batteries are found only in a small number of phones now and LG was one of the last to continue the tradition. Removable batteries means that a user could easily refresh the batteries by purchasing a brand new one online. Unfortunately, this won’t be possible with LG G6’s.

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What do you think about the phone? Leave your comments below.