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25
Sep

From the Editor’s Desk: How to launch a smartphone


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It’s okay, and entirely expected, to be frustrated by cumbersome phone launches — but some perspective on what’s happening can be helpful.

Launching a smartphone is difficult. Even if you think you understand how difficult it is, it’s far more difficult still. When you’re a small company you have a certain set of problems, usually limited by money and scale of distribution; but if you’re big, you have an exponentially larger customer base to serve and the issues associated with the momentum of a huge company.

In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a range of issues come front and center before consumers. On one hand, we have the Note 7 — it hit the market swiftly with carrier and retailer support, but had a critical battery flaw that required weeks of backtracking and recalls. Then we have Moto and Sony, which both just launched unlocked phones in the U.S. for what most are calling “too high” $699 prices — bonus round of fail is Moto is launching unlocked nearly four months later than its Verizon Droid Editions (which themselves launched over a month after announce). And finally we have the LG V20, which was unveiled three weeks ago now and we’ve yet to see even a peep of pricing, availability or pre-orders from the U.S. carriers — and no indication whatsover that it’s coming to Europe.

When launching a phone, stumbles are almost inevitable.

The point here is that no matter how big or small the company is, the process of creating and launching a phone while hitting every last point to a T is near impossible. And even when you think you’ve really nailed it, something happens in the open market that can torpedo the plans. There are so many moving parts, whether it’s manufacturing, distribution, carrier partnerships, pricing quibbles with the accounting department or a problem with a supplier. Something inevitably has to give, and there are compromises made throughout the process.

We hold these companies to extremely high standards, and rightfully so — they’re asking for a lot of our money, loyalty and patience when launching new products. But if we take a minute to consider just how many balls are up in the air at any given time for a phone launch, it can help us understand what’s happening while we’re frustrated that our next phone costs $700, is launching two months late and is missing a key feature.

Now, a few other thoughts on other things:

  • On my monrning Alaska Airlines flight, we received a specific announcement from the head flight attendants that Note 7s should be turned off and unplugged for the duration of the flight. Seems like a common refrain, based on my Twitter feed over the past week.
  • I now have a new Note 7 with a fresh battery and its associated green battery icon. Everything seems normal.
  • The Note 7 is on the back burner for now, though, as I have an LG V20 to spend more time with (it’s pre-production and not review-ready, but I’m excited nonetheless). It’s bigger than I remember it being; much more imposing than the Note 7.
  • I’m already loving the wide-angle rear camera on the V20, though. The build dramatically nicer than the LG G5 as well.
  • Also been using a pair of Samsung Gear IconX earbuds (those totally wireless ones). Russell Holly’s handling our review, but I’ll contribute some thoughts also. They’re a great tech demo, and are clearly positioned for exercise — but they’re pretty bad for daily listening headphones.
  • I love that when I travel internationally I don’t even have to think about connectivity. T-Mobile and Project Fi have me covered.

This Editor’s Desk is nicely timed, as I’m going to have a little bit of a vacation. Enjoy whatever your local equivalent of a beach and a fruity drink is, and have a great week.

25
Sep

Amsterdam’s autonomous canal boats, and more in the week that was


Hydrogen-powered cars and planes are on the rise, and this week Germany announced plans to launch the world’s first completely hydrogen-powered passenger train in 2017. In other transportation news, Volvo unveiled a new SuperTruck that’s 70 percent more fuel-efficient than big rigs on the road today. The world’s first solar-powered helicopter lifted off on its maiden flight in Maryland. And Amsterdam is getting set to launch a fleet of autonomous boats in its famed canals.
Tesla’s battery technology can power your car and your house, but how about an entire neighborhood? The company just announced plans to install the world’s largest backup battery in Los Angeles, and it’ll be able to run 2,500 households for an entire day. The cost of solar power continues to fall, and Abu Dhabi just set a new world record by hitting a price point of just 2.42 cents per kilowatt hour. General Motors announced plans to power all of its operations with 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050, and we took a firsthand look at the largest airport solar farm on the planet.

Belgium is known for its beer — and one brewery in Bruges just built a two-mile-long underground beer pipeline to cut down on transportation costs and traffic congestion. In other design and technology news, an Australian father and his son used crowdfunding to raise over $13 million for a honey harvesting hive that supports threatened bee populations. A Turkish company has found a way to turn cars into fully operational real-life Transformers. And in wearable tech news, Wair unveiled a pollution filtering scarf that monitors air quality and Felder Felder created a dress that is basically 97 percemt car.

25
Sep

Audi TT RS review: A serious upgrade, with serious performance


Of all the Renn Sport models that Audi makes, the TT RS perhaps makes the most sense. At its basic level, the Audi TT is a sports car lite. That dropping roof and low-slung stance point to a sporty little coupé or roadster, even when it’s a front-wheel drive diesel.

With the 2015 release of the Audi TT, the third-generation model, Audi continued the move towards a more aggressive-looking car. Creases and an evil squint meet more polish and an uplifted interior.

Well, Audi only went and made it into a racing car in the new TT RS. And here it’s not only aggressive-looking, it’s just downright and wonderfully aggressive.

Audi TT RS review: Design

Where the first-generation TT was about curvy fun, the Audi TT has fought ever since 1998 to throw off the tag of “hairdresser’s car”. If the new Audi TT is a hairdresser’s car, then sign us up at Toni & Guy’s academy, because we want in. 

With the regular model a slick road racer, the makeover to arrive at the TT RS isn’t as dramatic as it might be. The lines are more or less the same, but with reworking of the front for bigger air intakes, trimmed in matte aluminium colouring, ready to gulp in more air for that pepped-up engine.

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It’s the rear oval tailpipes and spoiler that really give the game away. Both the Coupé and the Roadster carry the good looks of the regular car through and give it an RS boost.

We’re not looking at the sort of arch widening that once dressed models like the RS4, leaving the TT RS a little more understated. There’s even the option to swap that rear wing for an auto-raising alternative, continuing the subtle approach. 

There are some nice details, like the TT badging sitting within the new rear OLED lights. That’s right, the TT RS is the first Audi to offer this new lights tech – so expect to see more of that over the next year.

Overall, the TT RS is a makeover that you could almost miss. Well, until you thumb that steering-wheel mounted start button and hear it roar and splutter.

Audi TT RS review: Engineering performance

This understated nature flows through into one of our favourite options: control of the exhaust noise. When equipped with the RS sport exhaust system, you have the option to control the TT’s exhaust flaps to release the throaty, guttural roar of the engine, or silence it. With the noise button on, you certainly won’t miss a thing.

There’s no artificial boosting here, it’s all natural, you just have a button that will switch between quiet and noisy by moving a flap in the exhaust. As we said of the Audi R8, the thing that really defines what Audi is doing with its performance models is giving you ridiculous power, but paired with control and practicality.

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Being able to turn off that engine noise (something you can’t do in the RS3, for example) means your neighbours won’t have to hate you (although they might be jealous, because you own one). But when you hit one of those tunnels skirting the shoreline of Lake Garda, the TT RS can roar like a supercar and you can bask in the magnificence of the noise from the 5-cylinder engine. 

With engineering in mind, the Audi TT RS has a new engine that’s been on a diet. Sticking to five cylinders, Audi walked through a number of steps to shed weight and increase power. The engine block is now aluminium rather than iron, the cam shaft is stronger but lighter, the sump is a much lighter magnesium alloy and the turbo has been reconfigured, to make it more compact and more efficient.

The result is more power and greater efficiency, a better engine all round, and less weight at the front, to improve the handling.

Audi TT RS review: Hitting the track

Pairing this new 2.5-litre, 400bhp petrol engine with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive, routed through a 7-speed S tronic gearbox, you’re looking at a TT that races to 62mph in 3.7-seconds for the hard top Coupé, or 3.9-seconds for the soft top Roadster. The 480nm torque is delivered across a huge band of revs too, so there’s power, power and more power – and right from the off.

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Not wanting to be a sports car that talks the talk and fails to walk the walk, the TT RS offers launch control (just as you’ll find in the Audi RS3 and the likes of Porsche 911 Turbo S). Switching over to Sports mode, there’s a special mode of the ESP (the traction control system) designed for racing. You simply have to put your foot on the brake and floor the accelerator and the engine will leap to, and lock at, 3,500 revs. Release the brake and it’s like being fired from a cannon. 

So this might clash with what we’ve been saying about practicality, but if you’re after a performance TT, you want some of the fun stuff too. When you’ll actually get to use it, we’re not so sure, but you can say the same of the Ford Focus RS’s drift mode, or the Mustang’s line lock. 

Like the Audi R8, the TT RS offers you huge performance, but holds your hand, keeping you heading in the right direction, with a feeling of competence. This isn’t a car that’s so powerful it’s scary; it’s not a brute, it’s not unruly.

For some that might be the downside. The TT RS is about precision and getting you where you’re going, rather than slithering and sliding. Purists will point out that this isn’t a mid-engine rear-wheel drive sports car like some of its close rivals, but Audi will point to its performance figures and smirk, perhaps reminding you that you’ll be going forwards, rather than sideways.

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Offering a little more assistance and to help control the body roll of those sitting within, the sports seats also offer powered side adjusts, so your lithe body is gripped, or your expanded girth accommodated, resulting in a seat that’s really comfortable, in an interior that’s plush and, like the original car, centred around the driver. That means the passenger gets to look at an empty piece of dash or out the window, rather than doing anything useful like fiddling with the music.

Unlike some of the other RS models – the RS Q3, or the RS6 Avant, for example – the TT RS feels much more like a car designed to race. It has the stance and the poise meaning that on the track it’s a blast; squirming as you brake hard, keeping you on the line, gripping through the corners, and exploding with power as you come out and hit the straights. 

There are options for those who want more: there’s the RS sports exhaust that we’ve mentioned, but there’s also a carbon ceramic brake option. The sports suspension is standard, but there’s an option for adaptive dampers with magnetic ride control. There is no manual gearbox option, however, so it’s a case of taking Audi’s autobox and liking it – but manual paddle control is also offered, which might help you avoid the occasional pause in power when the revs drop low (not that this happens in Sports mode).

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These different aspects of the car’s drive systems are pulled together in the drive select modes, so when you’re in Dynamic, you’re really in dynamic and set to hit the track, skipping through gears and keeping the revs high, popping and booming with orchestral majesty when you hit the brakes hard. The sound is very much part of the thrill and everything comes together with precision once you’re in the driving seat.

Audi TT RS review: On the road

Flipping to Comfort mode and the engine noise drops, the gear change is regular enough to keep things quiet and the throttle response is just the way you’d want it for popping to the supermarket to buy some curly kale. 

You might be sitting in a track-happy thoroughbred, but the TT RS is as useful on a Sunday drive as it is midnight street racing. The suspension is naturally firm, keeping the car flat through fast corners, but forgiving enough to not cave in your posterior when you hit a speed bump a little faster than you should.

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The TT RS Coupé sees a 2+2 configuration with the suggestion of a backseat. Just as you’ll find in the rear of something like, say, a Porsche 911, there’s a rear seat that’s better suited to your coat or bag than it is a childseat or your dog (ok, it’s probably perfect for your dog). You can fold an adult into that space behind the front seats, but with the move to racing seats, there’s a little less space than you get in the regular model. Perhaps a BMW M2 would suit your needs better, if backseats are really a point of focus.

For the Audi TT RS Roadster, the rear seats are lost so that the cloth roof can be accommodated, so it’s a two seater like, say, a Porsche 718 Boxster. The Audi does feel more modern with its Virtual Cockpit display, keeping the centre console clear of other displays, while still offering support for things like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay alongside Audi’s great entertainment options – just as you’ll find in the regular Audi TT. 

Audi will also be offering a smartphone app to owners, meaning you’ll be able to track your stats from your phone, check your lap times and everything else.

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There are plenty of options for giving the interior a lift, too: from colour trim to carbonfibre door handles, engine covers and centre console tops. We have to say this carbon treatment gives a really good finish to the TT RS, although we’re sure it will cost you a pretty penny on a car that’s already pretty expensive.

The TT RS Roadster launches alongside the Coupé, meaning you get the option of soft or hard tops and, having driven both, it’s the Coupé that has the edge on performance for us. We also think it’s slightly better looking with that rear roofline. For those wanting the wind in their hair – and roof down driving is one of the best things about having a sports car – then the Roadster offers much the same set of driving thrills.

The drawback of the Roadster is the level of compromise you make for that roof in a car that’s already compact: you lose those back seats and the boot is smaller, as is the opening, so managing luggage is slightly less convenient. If it’s pure practicality, it’s the Coupé that wins. If your other car is a Volvo XC90, go with the Roadster.

Verdict

The Audi TT takes a compact and sporty car and makes into a ridiculously fun racer, fit for all conditions. It punches right into the middle of the Porsche pack, doing what Audi does so often: engineering itself to better performance and, as it is, pricing itself into the middle of the Porsche pack.

Of all the RS models, we can’t help thinking that the TT RS makes the most sense. It’s the car that feels the most natural with this enhanced power and performance, in a way that an SUV doesn’t. At the same time, will Audi be able to shake off that old image of the TT of old? Will prospective Porsche buyers consider a car that’s quite similar on the surface, even if the skin beneath delivers a very different setup? That’s perhaps the TT RS’s biggest barrier. 

Like all Audi RS models, the TT is expensive. Something it justifies with impressive performance figures and a high level of trim. But starting just north of £50,000 there are some really tough choices to be made about what you’re actually looking for in a compact sports car.

The bottom line is that Audi has taken everything we love about the TT, kept every ounce of practicality, and made it into a monster; a beautiful monster at that.

25
Sep

Clinton tech says he warned of email server violations in 2009


The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server continues to turn up important new details. Reuters has found interview summaries showing that Bryan Pagliano, a technician who joined Clinton’s team when she became Secretary of State, says he shared concerns about the legality of the server with chief of staff Cheryl Mills back in 2009. Two colleagues pressed Pagliano to bring up the server with Clinton’s “inner circle,” according to his statements, including one who was specifically worried about a possible “federal records retention issue.” One said he “wouldn’t have been surprised” if there was classified info passing through.

It’s not certain just how Clinton’s upper echelon responded to this heads-up. If accurate, though, it contradicts what Clinton and government officials have said. Mills has previously testified that she can’t remember anyone warning that the private email server might run afoul of retention laws — Pagliano suggests she knew about it early into Clinton’s term in office.

This may not be the only issue arising from interviews, either. An anonymous State Department worker claims that there was pressure to downplay the presence of classified email while screening soon-to-be-published messages in 2015. This may be difficult to prove (the Department “strongly disputes” the allegations, a spokesman tells Reuters), but Clinton isn’t helped by her changing response. She first denied handling any classified messages on her server, only to respond to the FBI’s investigation by saying she didn’t consciously handle classified info.

A lot of this is water under the bridge. Both Mills and Pagliano have secured immunity from prosecution, and the Attorney General has already said that the feds won’t press charges in the Clinton case. However, the mounting evidence suggests that Clinton and crew had at least some inkling that the server was breaking rules.

Source: Reuters

25
Sep

UNITEK 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station (review)


It’s very commonplace for me to see people who move their single port chargers with them whenever they need a charge. Most people stick with the chargers that came with their phones or tablets, only to be forced to swap it out when another wireless device needs power. There are only two plugs per wall outlet, and single port chargers take up half of the plugs even though there’s more than enough power to supply multiple devices at the same time.

It’s time you consider upgrading to a multi-port charging station.

The verdict is in – UNITEK makes solid and reliable chargers. Two weeks ago I reviewed a massive 10-port charging station from UNITEK and since then my desk has been organized and much more pleasant to look at. I’ve been using UNITEK’s 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station and have come to the conclusion that it offers great chargers at excellent prices.

Build and Usage

UNITEK’s 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station has enough ports to satisfy even the most tech savvy consumer. Six ports is enough to charge a smartphone, tablet, wireless headphones, speaker, power bank and smartwatch all at the same time.

UNITEK’s 6-port charger has one Quick Charge 2.0 port for charging smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the fastest possible speed. No wireless accessories are capable of charging at QC 2.0 speeds so having more than one QC USB port would add unnecessary cost. This is a well thought out decision by UNITEK considering most people only have one smartphone capable of Quick Charge speeds.

The UNITEK charging station has five 2.4A charging ports with integrated smarts to take advantage of charging most devices at the maximum speed. iOS devices come to mind when I think of 2.4A as the maximum amount of power they can take at any given time.

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The UNITEK 6-Port charging station is compact for its capability of charging six devices at simultaneously. It measures in at 4.5” L x 3″ W x 1.1″ thick. The Amazon description lists it at 6″ x 6″ x 3″, but that is a reference to the product packaging. I didn’t quite think this charging station was anywhere near as long or as wide as six inches, so I measured it myself with a calibrated set of digital calipers. The station is made of high quality plastic, which keeps it light weight at just .8 ounces.

There’s a small vent on the back for releasing heat when it is under full load. The front is where the six USB ports are located, and the one QC 2.0 port is clearly labeled and separated from the rest. It’s a simple yet effective charger.

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One nice feature I came across is the built-in rotating stand. All other multi-port charging stations I have used in the past include a stand, but it is usually a separate piece that can easily be lost.

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This kind of feature normally shouldn’t make news, but it shows UNITEK’s commitment to perfecting its products. The integrated stand is very effective at keeping the charging station upright and is a detail I appreciate. It simply proves to me that while others may consider it an afterthought, UNITEK does not, and that gives me even more confidence in the internals.

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The QC 2.0 port is perfect for charging my Note 7 from 5%-50% in just over 30 minutes. It’s nice to have this feature when I am in need of quick power, although the other five ports suit me just fine 98% of the time.

Being so compact makes this a great travel companion, as the last thing I want to bring along is more than one charger. I can easily fit this into a laptop bag or backpack and set it on my hotel desk to recharge all of my devices at the same time.

Summary

It’s a fact that most of you have more than one wireless USB device. Rather than sticking with single USB chargers, upgrade to a multi-port version. UNITEK hooked up AndroidGuys’ readers with an exclusive discount code so you can grab it for just $16.99 at Amazon with discount code LQCABGRV at checkout. 

You can search for multi-port charging stations on Amazon, but you have to be weary of low-quality versions. They have the potential to fry your devices. UNITEK sits on my desk and nightstand with its multi-port charging stations, and I wholeheartedly recommend both, especially at the prices they are listed for.

Check out the UNITEK 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station at Amazon.

If you would like to read my full review of the UNITEK 10-Port Charging Station, click on the link below.

UNITEK 60W 10-port Charging Station with QC 2.0 (review)

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25
Sep

CBS News will feature Instagram Stories in debate coverage


Monday’s US Presidential debates are shaping up to be the most easily streamable live TV in history, with options ranging from Twitter and YouTube to Facebook Live and Snapchat. Not wanting to be left out of the party, Instagram and CBS News have announced a new partnership that will make CBSN the first network to feature Instagram Stories in live coverage.

Unlike ABC’s deal to stream the debates on Facebook Live, CBS News will be taking a slightly more editorial slant. According to a statement from the nework, CBS News anchors and reporters will contribute original Instagram stories that will be rolled into the traditional debate coverage alongside additional curated Stories from political experts and voters across the US. The Instagram tie-in is also a slightly different approach than their competition at Snapchat, which will cover the debates from a variety of different angles via a Live Story with contributions from a variety of students, volunteers and media personalities on the ground at the debate.

CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 Streaming service is currently available on CBSNews.com, via the CBS News mobile app for Android and iOS or connected TVs and streaming devices.

Source: CBS News

25
Sep

Hacker faces 20 years in prison for helping ISIS


The US just broke new ground in its bid to fight pro-terrorist hackers. A judge has sentenced Kosovo citizen Ardit Ferizi to 20 years in prison for hacking a US company in order to collect information about 1,300 government and military personnel and help ISIS create a hit list. It’s the country’s first conviction for terrorism-related hacking, according to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin. Ferizi pleaded guilty on June 15th, roughly 8 months after Malaysian police arrested him on the US’ behalf.

The 20-year term isn’t as tough as it could have been (Ferizi was facing a maximum of 35 years), but American officials still see it as a warning. The case “sends a message” to those who’d materially support terrorist groups, Carlin says — the US will come after you, and you’ll get much more than a slap on the wrist. This isn’t going to deter the most committed ISIS hackers (at least not those operating from ISIS-occupied territories), but it may give pause to others who are still considering cyberattacks.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Department of Justice

25
Sep

Honor 8 feature focus – Camera


While popular smartphone manufacturers like LG and Apple have just recently adopted dual camera configurations, Huawei has largely led the way, beginning with the Huawei P9. While the P9 never made its way to the United States, the Honor brand is now bringing its own dual camera tech to the US with the Honor 8.

More Huawei Coverage:

  • Honor 8 review
  • Huawei P9 feature focus – Camera

As we highlighted in our comprehensive review, the Honor 8 offers two factors that are often mutually exclusive: a high-end dual camera experience and an affordable price. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly the Honor 8’s camera is packing with our Honor 8 camera feature focus!

Buy Honor 8 now!

Technical Details

Before we jump into our image analysis, it’s worth reviewing the technical details of the Honor 8’s cameras. The primary configuration is composed of two lenses with f/2.2 apertures. Thanks to Honor’s unique technology, when you go to take a picture, the first lens captures a color image while the second lens captures a monochrome image.

This in itself may seem a bit futile, but when combined with some clever software processing, the Honor 8 is able to produce better, more vivid 12 MP images with crispier details. This can be primarily attributed to a greater availability of light ― up to three times more than a single lens, according to Honor.

This dual lens configuration, in addition to the fast aperture and larger 1.25 μm pixel size, are remarkably functional in lower-light conditions as well, which we’ll analyze below.

The cameras are accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash, which helps balance skin tones when using the flash. There’s also a laser module for laser autofocus, which is utilized in synchrony with contrast detection. Honor says that this improves the Honor 8’s autofocus speed, which is obviously very important when capturing time sensitive subjects.

Of course, we can’t forget about the 8 MP front-facing camera. It has an f/2.4 aperture, and you can view a couple sample images below.

Results

Normal mode
Beauty mode

Generally speaking, the front-facing camera produces great results. Yes, Honor’s Beauty mode is alive and well in the Honor 8’s camera software, but there’s now a slider to control the amount of skin softening. It’s fair to say that the results can still look slightly unnatural, but this effect can always be toned down from the default setting or turned off completely.

Honor 8 Camera Samples FF-33

The camera app also offers a myriad of primary camera modes, including but not limited to manual, panorama, HDR, time-lapse, and slow-mo. Each of these modes works as you would expect. In the panoramic image above, the Honor 8 did an excellent job with stitching each piece of the photo together.

Honor 8 Camera Samples FF-32

In this panoramic image, there are some areas where the stitching wasn’t perfect, but it’s still a great image overall.

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As we have seen with previous Honor smartphones, the Honor 8 includes a wide aperture mode which enables artificial background blur, up to f/0.95. The effect can be very fun to play around with and certainly gives otherwise plain looking images artistic looks.

This effect is still artificial though, and can stumble a bit in lower contrast scenes like the one on the left. Mainly, the processing software seems to have trouble isolating the banner from the cloudy sky in the background. Regardless of the sometimes disappointing results, this mode can really take your smartphone photography to a more creative level.

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Although there is an HDR mode which can be manually selected from the modes view, the normal auto mode often provides more than enough dynamic range, making many of the HDR photos virtually indistinguishable from the normal photos.

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Taking a closer look at those “normal photos,” you can see just how well the Honor 8 balances the highlights and shadows. In the left image, this can be seen especially when looking at the properly exposed sky and detailed darker areas. On the right, the sky is just a tad overexposed, but the statue in the center is surprisingly well detailed.

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Contrast is quite good across the board, actually, as can be seen in the images above. The Honor 8 also seems to do well with color saturation; images don’t come out oversaturated like they often do with the Samsung Galaxy S7, but they’re also still fairly punchy.

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Overall, the Honor 8’s camera captures great stills in good lighting. Sadly, video recording isn’t up to par with competing options. In addition to maxing out at 1080P/60p when most others go up to 4K/30p, the actual video quality is a bit under what you might expect. Colors appear muted in comparison to how they do in still images, and the software processing sometimes mixes up the correct white balance mid-shot.

There’s also no optical image stabilization, so it can be tricky to get a steady shot at times. It’s hard to recommend the Honor 8 for video because many competing options simply offer superior quality.

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In low-light conditions, the Honor 8’s camera offers surprisingly strong performance when compared to other affordable flagships. Granted, images do still appear noticeably noisy in dim conditions.

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Colors also appear less punchy and more muted, although there’s still a good amount of contrast overall. Detail can be a mixed bag and primarily depends on how steady you hold the phone when taking the shot. In order to compensate for the lack of light, the Honor 8 lowers the shutter speed, meaning that the sensor is exposed for a longer period of time.

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If you have shaky hands, this can be problematic when trying to capture the details of a low-light scene. Once you minimize camera shake, you’ll get noticeably better results. While the Honor 8’s camera isn’t as impressive in low-light when compared to phones like the Galaxy S7, it’s important to consider Honor’s competitive pricing.

In fact, perhaps the most impressing aspect here is how Honor was able to defy our expectations. One of the most pressing compromises with the vast majority of affordable smartphones is camera performance, yet the Honor 8 still manages to impress in this department.

That concludes our Honor 8 camera feature focus. How do you feel about the Honor 8’s camera? Is it enough to make you go out and purchase the Honor 8? Please do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Buy Honor 8 now!

25
Sep

Chromebooks now have an easy time running Android apps


You no longer have to be an early adopter to run Android apps on a Chromebook. Google has released a stable version of Chrome OS that includes Google Play Store access in beta, giving you the opportunity to run mobile apps on top of your usual web access. You’ll have to own an Acer Chromebook R11 or an ASUS Chromebook Flip to give this update a shot, but it beats having to run a Chrome OS beta just to see what all the fuss is about.

It’s not certain which systems are coming next, although we’d expect the late Chromebook Pixel 2 to be next in line given that it’s the only one listed as supporting Android apps in beta Chrome OS releases. Almost all other compatible devices (including machines from HP, Lenovo and Samsung) are still waiting for their turn. But hey, it’s a step in the right direction — you’re that much closer to running your favorite phone apps from the comfort of your PC.

Via: Android Police

Source: Chrome Releases, The Chromium Projects

25
Sep

iTunes ‘Spoken Editions’ podcasts will read you written news


It looks like Apple is getting ready to launch a new iTunes offering, and someone pulled the trigger a bit too early. TechCrunch has spotted podcasts branded “Spoken Editions” on the service, which seem to be short programs reading written news from select publications, so you can listen to them while doing something else, like driving or working. Apple has already pulled them all down, but not before TC saw Spoken Editions of Wired, Time, Mic, Forbes, Playboy and even of its own publication.

Apparently, when you look at a file’s description, it says it’s powered by SpokenLayer, a service that creates and distributes audio versions of the written word. That company’s CEO told TechCrunch that it specializes in making each publication sound distinct, in making their voices shine through in the spoken renditions of their pieces. Participating publications and SpokenLayer will split what they make from the podcasts’ audio ads. While you won’t find the files that slipped through anymore, you’ll be able to listen to them soon — TC says the offering will be available as soon as early October.

[Image credit: TechCrunch]

Source: iTunes

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