This post was created in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Street Price: $440; MSRP: $600; Deal Price: $400
We’ve reported a couple deals on this TV recently, but this is $20 lower than anything we’ve had on our deals page. And up until about a week ago, we’d never seen any deals below $430.
The Sharp LC-48LE653U is our pick for best $500 TV. Chris Heinonen says, “Our main $500 pick for the time being is the Sharp LC-48LE653U. This $480 48-inch TV offers 1080p resolution, Netflix support, three HDMI inputs, and good picture quality for the money (according to current reviews). At this price level, it has the best picture quality, size, and features for the dollar compared with the competition.”
Street Price: $200; MSRP: $200; Deal Price: $155
Here’s a solid deal on this Bluetooth speaker from Logitech. Woot! isn’t offering the lowest price we’ve seen, but it’s still a good $45 below its current going value. You have four choices for colors with this deal: red-blue, white-pink, red-pink and blue-green. The price includes Woot!’s standard $5 shipping fee.
The UE Boom is being discontinued by Logitech because of two newer models: the Logitech UE Megaboom and the UE Boom 2. All that means right now is that we’ll probably see it hit several of these low prices while retailers clear inventory until it becomes hard to find.
The Logitech UE Boom is our runner-up pick in our guide on the best water-resistant Bluetooth speakers. Brent Butterworth said, “It offers an outstanding feature package, delivers very good sound quality, can withstand a splash or a rainstorm (but not a trip to the bottom of the pool), and has a compact and easily portable design.”
Street Price: $30; MSRP: $100; Deal Price: $15 with code 1NEWDEAL
This looks to be the lowest price ever on this version, although it can be hard to tell with coupon codes. This deal is pretty close to the lowest we’ve seen on the 11200mAh version, which has gone down to $13 before. You can also get the 15000mAh for $17 with code 2NEWDEAL.
While we’ve never tested the 13000mAh or 15000mAh, they are simply higher capacity upgrades of the 11200mAh battery pack, our runner-up pick for the best USB battery pack. Liam McCabe likes the IntoCircuit because “It takes up a bit less space overall than Anker’s Astro E4 [our main pick], but it also has a smaller battery capacity. Of the finalists, it’s the only one with a numerical charge-level indicator, which is as close as any of these packs comes to having a user interface.”
Street Price: $60; MSRP: $100; Deal Price: $45
We’ve had a similar deal up on this a number of times recently and while this isn’t a huge drop from the previous $47 low, it’s the new best price. Much like the previous deal, it’s available in black or red and comes with a special kit of 4 bottles and a reusable CO2 carbonator.
The SodaStream Jet is our pick for the best soda maker. Jamie Wiebe writes, “It’s simple to use, makes decent-tasting seltzer water, has a CO2 tank that lasts for about 40-60 liters, and is one of the most eco-friendly options.”
She added, “In our blind taste test, the Jet scored third, behind the Purefizz and the store-bought control. It’s neutral-tasting, and not as fizzy as the store-bought version, but it still tastes effervescent and bubbly.”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
Sharp’s financial problems have forced it to leave the LCD TV business in North America. Chinese TV maker Hisense has paid a mere $23.7 million for the company’s Mexican factory and the right to use the Sharp brand in North and South America. Sharp lost 34 billion yen ($274 million) last quarter and $13.4 billion over the last four years, according to Bloomberg. Though the Japanese company recently received a $1.8 billion bailout, president Kozo Takahashi said “we have to consider all options, including a spinoff of the LCD business. The LCD market is changing very rapidly.”
Hisense is an up-and-coming player in the HDTV business that is known for its inexpensive 4K models, along with other China-based companies like TCL and Xiaomi. It doesn’t enjoy much brand recognition over here, however, which is where Sharp comes in. “The acquisition (of Sharp’s brand) will help Hisense gain an upper hand in both North and South America,” according to the company. That said, Sharp’s Aquos TV lineup has struggled in the US against not only established rivals like Samsung and LG, but also newcomers like California-based Vizio. Sharp does have its fans, though, so it’ll be interesting to see what a value brand like Hisense does with it.
[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]
Filed under: Home Entertainment
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If you haven’t been paying attention, Sharp has been making some pretty gorgeous smartphones of late. Throwing all caution to the wind, the Japanese manufacturer has made a conscious decision to minimize the bezels on all its devices, and we have to say, we like it. Sharp has just announced its latest bezel-less device, the Sharp Aquos Zeta, and although it’s only available in Japan for now, we’re hoping it makes the jump West sooner rather than later. I mean, just look at it:
The Aquos Zeta has some pretty impressive specs to match its pretty face: a 5.5-inch 1080p display will be powered by a Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The back is adorned with a 13MP camera with OIS as well as a fingerprint scanner, and the whole package is waterproof and will run Android Lollipop. All-in-all, an intriguing package, so we’ll have to see how much Sharp wants for the device if, or when, it brings this device to a market outside of Japan.
What do you think about the Sharp Aquos Zeta? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post The Sharp Aquos Zeta is yet another gorgeous, bezel-less smartphone arriving in Japan appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
The question of whether we need 4K (Ultra HD) displays on a smartphone has been raised in many discussions and the answer is usually that we don’t, as 4K is beyond what the typical eye can see. Yet the smartphone market is progressing at such an advanced rate that the question should be a case of when – and not if – 4K (UHD) displays become truly portable.
I vividly recall a conversation I had with a few colleagues early last year, that turned into debate about whether Quad HD would ever become a reality. Yet now, less than 18 months later, the industry already looks to be moving past QHD.
Both Samsung and LG have introduced QHD screens in their smartphones, while other manufacturers don’t seem to be showing as much interest. With that said, there are still plenty of manufacturers that strive to be the first to reach 4K UHD. Let’s take a look at who is most likely to make the first 4K phone and the benefits and drawbacks that moving to such high resolution will bring.
Display panel manufacturers
Before we can consider who will be first, we need to consider which display manufacturer is capable of producing a 4K smartphone display. There are several major LCD manufacturers, who create displays for everything from smartphones and tablets to automobiles and navigational equipment, but here’s the few that are most likely to be involved with the production of a UHD smartphone display.
The name really speaks for itself; the company is one of the world’s leading display manufacturers and supplies displays to many of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers, including Apple. Samsung Display has already produced Quad HD Super AMOLED displays – which are used in both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6 – and also has the world’s first dual-curved smartphone in the Galaxy S6 Edge (which also uses a QHD Super AMOLED screen).
Better known for its TV display heritage, LG Display provides most of the panels used in LG smartphones, including the stunning Quad HD Quantum Dot Display used on the LG G4. Its display technology is also used in other smartphones. It’s worth noting that LG Display has been the world’s leading large-sized LCD manufacturer for the past four years and, in 2014, the company accounted for 26.7 percent of the market for displays measuring 9.1 inches and above (closely followed by Samsung, who had 20.2 percent).
Sharp has a long and proud history in displays, beginning with its first television sets way back in 1953. The manufacturer produces screens of all sizes and owns the only 10th generation LCD manufacturing plant on the planet. In 2010, it struck an agreement to produce displays for Samsung and it can also count Apple and other OEMs amongst its customers. In 2014, the company recorded 2.8 percent of the large-sized LCD market and it has already shown off the world’s first 4K smartphone screen (more on that below).
The Taiwanese company is relatively young, having only been founded in 2003 before being publicly floated in 2006. In March 2010, the company in its current state was founded through the biggest merger in the flat panel display industry, when Innolux, Chi Mei Optoelectronics and Toppoly Optoelectronics merged. In 2014, Innolux was the third largest producer of large screen displays with 17.8 percent of total shipments including supplying panels to Samsung, LG, Sony and providing most of the screens used in Toshiba, Sharp (where it is equal to Sharp itself), Panasonic and Phillips devices.
AU Optronics (AUO), the second Taiwanese manufacturer on our list supplies several manufacturers including Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and several Chinese manufacturers (including HiSense, Konka and Haier). With several smartphone players amongst its customers, AUO would have plenty of potential buyers if it developed a 4K smartphone screen. In 2014, the company controlled 16.8 percent of the large LCD market and provided a large amount of the displays used in Sony devices measuring 9.1 inches or more.
Japan Display Inc (JDI) is the youngest company on the market, having launched only on April 1st 2012 through the government-backed merger of the loss-making display divisions of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi. JDI was created specifically to manufacturer small and medium sized displays for mobile devices and has the largest production capacity of LTPS LCD displays in the industry.
Benefits of 4K
There are many benefits to using 4K on smartphones, both immediate and in the future. The key benefits and reasons to use 4K in smartphones are the knock-on effect and the benefits to virtual reality.
Virtual reality may seem like something that belongs in the movies but over the past year, we’ve seen a new breed of virtual reality devices, which are powered by smartphones. Samsung’s Gear VR range uses the company’s next-generation handsets (the Note 4 and Galaxy S6) as the display in a virtual reality headset and this trend looks like one that might be followed by other manufacturers.
Using 4K on a smartphone would offer more pixels for virtual reality to work with; the current smartphone market plateaus at Quad HD and while the experience is certainly immersive, the higher resolution offered by 4K would mean an even better experience.
Packing millions of pixels into a smartphone display would also mean colours and vibrancy are improved, resulting in an overall better VR experience. Virtual reality might still seem like a concept at times, but with smartphones ever developing, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes an integral part of our daily lives.
The knock-on effect
Arguably the biggest reason for manufacturers to go to 4K on their smartphones is the knock-on effect; as 4K Ultra HD panels become affordable at a smaller size, the cost of panels with Full HD and even Quad HD would reduce dramatically. As a result, manufacturers would be able to use these panels in handsets where, previously, this wasn’t possible due to the cost.
Affordable for all…
The knock-on effect is not just with the display, as 4K on smartphones would mean advanced processors are being used in flagships. As a result, all components that are currently used in flagships would reduce in price and instead of being limited to just premium devices with a high price tag, they would be affordable enough to be used further down the smartphone chain. As a result, the knock-on effect of 4K would mean the entire smartphone industry advances ahead of where it currently is.
Those are some of the big benefits of 4K on smartphones, but what about the potential pitfalls? What do manufacturers need to watch out for and is 4K on smartphones even technically possible?
Pitfalls of 4K
There are three perceived major pitfalls to using 4K on smartphones – battery life, cost, and lack of available content – and I personally believe that the design factor will also be a concern when considering 4K smartphones. Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
The biggest concern with using 4K on a smartphone is an issue that affects all smartphones and doesn’t just apply to Ultra HD: battery life. Although mobile technology has advanced considerably over the past few years, battery technology hasn’t followed suit and one reason that manufacturers are avoiding even Quad HD resolution is the additional strain on the battery from powering those extra pixels.
The current crop of Quad HD enabled smartphones feature battery capacities between 2,550mAh and 3,300mAh and these provide on average, between 10 and 40 hours battery life depending on usage. Something I’ve personally noticed is that using Quad HD displays at full brightness – which is really the only way to enjoy the next-generation display and resolution – can reduce battery life by half, and with Ultra HD displays, the temptation will likely be to use the display at full brightness wherever possible, to make the most out of the next-generation display.
Powering an Ultra HD display will require more than just the display itself as next-generation processors will be needed to power the display in the most effective manner. Alongside the cost factor (which we’ll look at below), these may also draw more power and the effect on battery life is likely to be impacted even further.
The smartphone industry has followed a predictable trend over the past decade; at first, smartphones were very expensive with a small feature set and then as technology advanced, the cost of components and handsets themselves reduced considerably.
Over the past eighteen months, we’ve seen a trend where smartphones are currently rising in cost and this looks set to continue as the feature set of premium flagship handsets becomes more advanced. Consider the cost of the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as outlined in the table below:
|Storage||iPhone 6||iPhone 6 Plus||Galaxy S6||Galaxy S6 Edge|
|16GB||$649 / £539||$749 / £619||N/A||N/A|
|32GB||N/A||N/A||$699 / £599||$849 / £ N/A|
|64GB||$749 / £619||$849 / £699||$799 / £660||$949 / £760|
|128GB||$849 / £699||$949 / £789||$885 / £730||$990 / £899|
Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S6 Edge has a starting price of $849 for the base 32GB model, which rises to $990 for the 128GB model and makes the Galaxy S6 Edge the highest-priced flagship on the market to-date. This handset comes with real innovation – the dual-edged curve makes the Galaxy S6 Edge the true flagship – but if the same handset were to sport Ultra HD resolution and next-generation internals, the price could conceivably increase by $200-$300, if not more.
Based on historical trends, it could take two years for Ultra HD to become truly affordable for smartphones and even then, it might take a year or two extra before it’s widely used on all smartphones. By way of comparison, the LG G4 also has a Quad HD display but can be had for approximately $699 and the varying price is down to the difference in materials and design.
As mentioned above, battery life would also need to be improved and innovation in battery technology may result in increasing the cost of a 4K smartphone further. As a result, it’s possible we could see 4K smartphones cost upwards of $1000 when they are first introduced to the market and this could make them inaccessible to most, if not all, consumers.
At present, 4K Ultra HD televisions can be purchased for as little as £400 (approx. $600) in the UK but no more than two years ago, these retailed for upwards of £2000 (approx. $3000). The drastic reduction in the cost of a 4K TV suggests that 4K smartphones would initially be higher priced but reduce in cost as more manufacturers explore the use of next-generation displays.
Lack of 4K video
4K televisions may have been around for a few years but the available 4K content doesn’t currently reflect the wide availability of 4K TVs. In the UK at least, broadcasters are yet to adopt the next generation standard and on more than one occasion, I’ve overheard discussions where consumers opt not to go for a 4K TV as the available content doesn’t reflect the cost of said TVs.
Producing content in 4K requires advanced equipment and an overhaul of existing infrastructure. Currently, broadcasters see very little reason to bare the cost of these upgrades as consumers themselves see very little appeal in 4K and this cycle could result in a stunt in growth and innovation.
The introduction – and adoption – of 4K on smartphones could provide the boost necessary to tempt media companies into making more 4K content. However, it’s also possible that manufacturers investing in 4K on mobile devices could find that consumers themselves have little interest in it.
The design factor
This is a pitfall to 4K that I personally believe should also be taken under consideration: the design factor. Smartphone design has followed the trend of handsets becoming smaller and thinner before displays became larger and larger; the current crop of handsets suggest that displays measuring between 4.7 and 5.2 inches are the plateau for a normal smartphone with displays between 5.5 and 6.5 inches indicating a phablet device.
OEMs currently follow one of two design strategies: go as thin as possible – like the flagship Huawei P8 which measures just 6.4mm thick – or go stylish with as many features as possible – like the curved HTC One M9 or the LG G4 which measures between 6.3mm and 9.8mm thick. The introduction of a 4K smartphone along with the extra battery capacity needed and the advanced internals could result in an impact on the possibilities of design. Could manufacturers like Samsung bring a handset that is as slim and feature-packed as the Galaxy S6 or dual-curved like the Galaxy S6 Edge and still incorporate an Ultra HD display, bigger battery and next-generation internals?
Do we need 4K on smartphones?
A couple of years ago, we may have asked the same question about Quad HD and before that, even about Full HD. 4K definitely has both major benefits and major pitfalls that OEMs will need to consider and evaluate before introducing a 4K smartphone, but the question of whether we need 4K is different to both Quad HD and Full HD.
The minimum density the human eye can see without being able to discern pixels is 350 pixels per inch density, which is slightly higher than Apple’s Retina Display on the iPhone 6, which offers 326ppi pixel density.
|HD Ready||1280×720||4.196 inches|
|Full HD||1920×1080||6.294 inches|
|Quad HD||2560×1440||8.394 inches|
|Ultra HD||3840×2160||12.588 inches|
Reverse calculating the density leads us to the figures in the table above, which suggest that a Full HD screen measuring 6.294 inches is the point at which the average human eye stops discerning individual pixels. For Quad HD resolution, the display size increases to 8.394 inches – like the QHD display on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 – and for Ultra HD, this increases further to 12.588 inches.
Considering the trends we highlighted earlier in the design factor, a 4K smartphone measuring 5.0 inches would result in a pixel density of 881ppi – almost three times as much as the human eye actually needs – while a phablet measuring 6 inches would result in a pixel density of 734 pixels per inch (which is far above anything on the market at the moment).
The average human eye doesn’t need anything above Full HD resolution in a 5-inch phone, but the market has already moved significantly past this threshold. Likewise, bar some major technological obstacles (battery consumption, insufficient processing power), it looks like the industry will adopt 4K. To answer the question, we probably don’t need 4K, but the electronics industry rarely settles for “good enough,” so it looks like we’re going to get it anyway.
4K – who will get there first?
Now we know everything there is to know about 4K, the question becomes who will be first to market. Based on past innovation in the market, there are just a handful of companies who would be able to successfully bring a commercially viable 4K smartphone to market.
The most obvious of these are the two Korean manufacturers – LG and Samsung. Both companies have sibling divisions focusing on display technology and between them, they supply over 50 percent of the LCD panels used in consumer electronics today. LG was the first mainstream OEM to bring a Quad HD display to the market – the LG G3 – followed a few months later by Samsung with the Note 4.
Moving on from the big two and we come to two Chinese manufacturers: Huawei and Xiaomi. Speaking at the IFA 2015 GPC last month, Paul Gray – a Principal Analyst at IHS-DisplaySearch – quoted research that suggested 17 percent of all 4K televisions this year would be sold in China. The demand for technology in an ever-advancing market suggests that both of these manufacturers could be instrumental in bringing the first Ultra HD smartphone to market.
Huawei Tour of China 2015
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During our trip to China in January, Huawei confirmed that it had no current plans to adopt Ultra HD on smartphones due to the perceived cost to battery life but the company also revealed that it is looking into next-generation battery technology. Innovation in battery would solve the perceived cost of features over battery life and could mean that Huawei finally adopts displays above Full HD.
Rival Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is also worth a mention as a potential candidate to launch an Ultra HD handset, but this seems less likely as the company focuses on bringing devices at an affordable price. While some of their handsets may be higher priced than the company’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit), it’s unlikely Xiaomi could introduce the first 4K Ultra HD smartphone and still make it affordable enough.
Last on this list is Sharp and we’ve saved this until the end for good reason – the company appears to be working on the first 5.5 inch Ultra HD on the market, though the Japanese company never officially confirmed its existence. The screen boasts an eye-watering 806 pixels per inch density and is expected to go into mass production next year. Rather tellingly, Chinese manufacturers are being suggested as amongst the first customers for the advanced smartphone display.
This information suggests that the first commercially available 4K smartphones will launch towards the end of 2016 or in early 2017. Based on current smartphone launch cycles, if Samsung and LG were first, then we could see next year’s Galaxy Note or LG G flagship offer Ultra HD but it’s more likely that the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017 will be our first glimpse of a 4K smartphone.
4K – the conclusion
Talking to the BBC about Sharp’s new 4K smartphone screen, analyst Tim Coulling from Calasys suggested that the perceived benefits of upgrading from 2K to 4K are minimal:
“At a certain point, the improvements get less visually stunning. Once you jump from 2K to 4K, you’re going to struggle to tell the two images apart even if you have perfect vision.”
However, while this will certainly apply to smartphones, I personally think the benefits of using Ultra HD on a tablet would be more apparent. My thoughts are that Quad HD will suffice on any device up to 7 inches in size and Ultra HD should be limited to tablets measuring 7.1 inches or more.
Using this as an example, a Quad HD device measuring 7 inches would offer approx. 420 pixels per inch density (which is considered great by smartphone standards), while an Ultra HD display on a tablet measuring 8 inches (like the Galaxy Tab S) would offer 550ppi, which is slightly higher than the 533ppi density offered by the Quad HD display on the LG G4.
Smartphone displays have evolved drastically over the past two years, but while we’re able to get pixel densities in excess of 500 on a smartphone, the same can’t be said for the tablet market. As an example, the Retina Display on the iPad Air 2 offers 264ppi density while the Quad HD display on the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 offers 288ppi density – both of these are below the human eye threshold and offer an experience that is visibly worse than their smartphone counterparts. Increasing to Ultra HD would result in pixel densities of 454 and 419 respectively, which would bring tablets beyond the point at which the human eye can notice pixels.
It’s just a question of who’s gonna be first…
As compelling an argument the numbers make, the fact that Sharp have a Ultra HD smartphone panel in the making suggests that 4K and beyond will become reality sooner rather than later. Whether we need them or not is a debate that will be contested for years to come, but 4K on smartphones is soon to be reality; it’s just a question of who will be first.
Who do you think will be first? Do you think we need 4K on smartphones? Let us know your views in the comments below.
Sharp has announced that it has begun mass production of its in-cell type touch displays for smartphones this month. This design technique promises thinner, lighter displays, which could reduce the thickness and weight of upcoming smartphones.
Typically, smartphone displays are constructed from two layers. One layer for the actual light emitting parts, such as the LCD, with a separate touch recognition layer placed on top to detect user inputs. Sharp’s in-cell display technology integrates the two parts into the same layer, with touch sensor circuitry and LCD drive circuitry sitting side by side in the LCD module.
Integrating the two parts into the same layer means that Sharp’s displays will end up being slightly thinner than before, enabling manufacturers to produce smaller devices or use the additional space for extra hardware, such as larger battery capacities.
Sharp has been at the cutting edge of several recent developments in mobile displays. As well as consistently pushing the limits of pixel density with a range of small form factor 4K panel prototypes, the company has also been pushing the use of IGZO backplane technology, resulting in lower power consumption and a wider range of possible free-form design shapes and sizes.
However, the company recently cut 6,000 jobs as part of this year’s restructuring plans, necessitated by Sharps’ third annual net loss in four years and a large bank bailout to keep the company afloat. Sharp’s LCD business accounts for the majority of its sales, thanks to orders from Apple and a number of Chinese manufacturers, so the company has been reluctant to make changes to this part of its business. Sharp seems to be hoping that new technologies will help increase orders from customers.
The first batch of in-cell displays to leave Sharp’s production line are destined for future smartphones. However, the company is also in the process of developing medium-sized in-cell touch displays for use in tablets and notebook PCs, where a little less bulk and weight will no doubt be even more appreciated.
Originally announced at CES 2015, Sharp is bringing its first five 4K Android TVs to the market, ranging from 60-inches to 80-inches. This makes Sharp and Sony to be some of the first to bring fully-fledged Android TVs to the market. But, they certainly aren’t cheap.
Sharp’s Android TV sets start at $2,099.99 and top out at about $6,299.99. However, Sharp says that they’ll be a bit less in-store, with its most expensive probably maxing out at about $5,000, making the TV about $1,300 cheaper than its posted price point.
These TV packages are part of Sharp’s UE30 product line, 60-inch, 70-inch, and 80-inch sets in it. Sharp’s top tier line, UH30, will have 70-inch and 80-inch sets, which is said to feature more vivid and rich colors than its other TVs. Of course, these are the more expensive of the two.
As a cheaper solution, Sharp is also introducing four other 4K Smart TV’s, starting with a 43-inch option priced at $599. When you consider that you can get an Android TV box for as low as $70, that’s a cheap, but quality solution to get a fully-functioning Android TV going.
Phillips is said to bring only fully-fledged Android TV’s to its 2015 product line at some point this year, too.
Sharp dropping the price of its 4K TV’s are certainly making the technology more affordable. And soon enough, 4K TV’s will be just as popular as 1080p HD TV’s are today. But, now we need 4K content readily available over just a select few titles. And then there’s Sharp’s 8K prototype. When will we see content for that? It’s a long way off.
source: The Verge
Come comment on this article: Sharp first 4K Android TV lineup now available to buy
Sharp first announced its new line of Android TV-powered 4K televisions back at CES 2015, and it looks like the sets are finally making their way to retail stores. The televisions come in five different sizes from 60-inches to 80-inches, and are part of the company’s UE30 and UH30 lines. While the original press release states that the sets will sell between $1,999.99 and $5,999.99, Sharp suggests that retail stores may sell them at a slightly cheaper price point.
The UH30 is Sharp’s top-of-the-line series that boasts more ports, more vibrant colors and a touchpad remote control. These TVs are available in both 70 and 80-inch variants. The UE30 series is still extremely premium and feature 60, 70 and 80-inch variants. If you’d like a full list of specifications, head to this page.
Google’s Android TV platform is still very new, though it’s still a solid platform that will help you consume media much more easily. There are certainly other options that you should go with if you’re looking to use Android TV, like Sony’s 2015 Bravia series or even the Nvidia Shield Android TV set-top box. However, if you’re in the market for a super high-end television, you could certainly do much worse than Sharp’s new offerings.
After shaking up the tech industry last year with the first almost bezel less (except at the bottom) phone, Sharp, the Japanese phone manufacturer, is already set to bring the next phone into its portfolio. Sharp just announced the Aquos Xx, a phone with no bezels on three of its sides.
The phone with looks amazing and boasts a pretty high end specifications to compete with the top-tier smartphones. The Sharp Aquos Xx packs a full-hd (1080*1920) 5.7 inch LTPS screen resulting in screen density of 386ppi. The LTPS screen panels are highly vivid and has great outdoor visibility.
Performance wise the phone packs Qualcomm’s tru-octa core 64-bit Snapdragon 810, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 430 GPU which will be more than sufficient enough to handle all the high graphics game available in the market, and 32GB of on-board storage with the option to expand via micro-SD card . The battery is 3200 mAh non-removable and should provide plenty of on-screen time.
In the optics department, the phone packs a 13.1 megapixel rear facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front facing camera. In my opinion, the front facing camera is a downside, as we are now in mid-2015 and almost every phone packs at least a 5mp front facing camera. But the software does pack a great amount of customization. One of the rear camera’s ability is that it can record slow motion videos upto 2100 frames per second but only at FWVGA resolution. though the camera can only record upto 120fps, its the software that make it into 2100fps .
To make it even more compelling, Sharp has also put a lot of extra features in its new Aquos Xx. The phone is water and dust resistant (IP57-certified), and packs DTS-sound certified speakers. Sharp Aquos Xx is said to be running stock version of Android Lollipop 5.0 . I
The Sharp Aquos Xx is set to release on Japan’s Softbank. For now there is no word on pricing and release date.
Sharp has been showcasing three new Android smartphones, the Aquos Zeta, Aquos Xx and Aquos Serie, which feature an option for 2,100 fps slow-motion video playback, promising a much smoother slow motion effect.
However, Sharp’s slow-motion technique is a bit of a trick. The handsets aren’t recording video at this very high frame rate, instead it’s a clever software solution that adds in additional copied frames to pad out the frame rate.
Capturing footage at a higher frame rate and playing it back at a slower-rate, say 24fps, produces a slow-motion result. However, a higher final playback rate, say 60 or 120fps, improves the smoothness of the final video, but means that you can’t slow down the original footage as much.
Although it might sound like a cheat, adding in extra copied frames should allow Sharp to up the playback frame rate and apply some additional post-processing, creating a smoother image. That said, we’re not entirely what type of processing is taking place to smooth out the video.
The Aquos Zeta, Aquos Xx and Aquos Serie feature image sensors that can record at 210 fps at a 854 x 480 pixel resolution (FWVGA) or 120 fps in 1080p (full HD). By copying 10 frames for each frame, Sharp can reach 2,100 fps FWVGA or 1,200 fps full HD slow-motion. You can see an example capture on the Zeta in the videos below.
Despite coming up with several new technologies in the mobile space, Sharp has been showing signs of struggling for finances and has been rumored to be looking to sell off its smartphone LCD business.
These new Sharp phones are scheduled for release in the coming weeks on Japan’s three main mobile networks, NTT DoCoMo, SoftBank and KDDI.
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Some of the world’s most beautiful smartphones of the past year have ironically come from one of the smaller players in the smartphone world. Sharp, a company name not normally tied with smartphone manufacture, has today announced another breathtakingly beautiful device to add to its lineup, this time the 5.7-inch phablet, the Sharp AQUOS Xx. Much like the Sharp AQUOS Crystal before it (which Stormy took a look at last year), the Sharp AQUOS Xx also has a bezel-less frame, featuring almost no screen-to-edge gap on its top and side edges.
Unlike the Sharp AQUOS Crystal, however, the Sharp AQUOS Xx won’t have mid-range specs – the device was announced with a Snapdragon 810 and 3GB inside, as well as shipping with Android Lollipop. Probably the only disappointing part of this package is the 1080p display, which would need to be 2K to stay toe-to-toe with other devices in its class, but who’s counting pixels anyway when you’ve got that bezel-less frame, am I right? Sharp has so far only announced availability of the Sharp AQUOS Xx in Japan, though we hope it makes the jump to other regions like its predecessor did.
What do you think about the Sharp AQUOS Xx? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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