HTC may have poked fun at its competitors’ plastic flagship devices in the past, but it looks like the Taiwanese company will soon be offering one as well. And no, we’re not talking about the Butterfly line here. According to a reliable source of ours, HTC’s upcoming “M8 Ace” — which was teased by @evleaks earlier this month (as pictured above) — will actually feature a plastic unibody instead of aluminum. Additionally, the M8 Ace will apparently pack almost identical specs as the Galaxy S5, including a 5-inch 1080p display plus a 2.5GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC. But here’s the twist: HTC’s phone will be much more affordable, which could pose a huge threat to Samsung if true.
What remains to be seen is whether the M8 Ace will also get the M8′s Duo Camera feature. According to an earlier rumor by Chinese site TMTpost, a phone matching our source’s aforementioned description could launch next month for as cheap as CN¥3,000 (about $480) unsubsidized, which would be quite attractive; though we’ll have to wait and see what the camera situation is.
As was initially reported last week, Apple’s updated MacBook Air may launch this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
Shipments of new 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs are currently arriving in Apple Stores across the country, according to 9to5Mac, with plans to put the computers on display beginning tomorrow morning.
The MacBook Air refresh is expected to be minor and could arrive with little fanfare. Updated MacBook Air computers may include a slightly improved Haswell processor with a small speed boost and few other changes.
Tomorrow’s 11-inch and 13-inch Airs are codenamed J41A and J43A, respectively, and their SKUs are simply a variation to the current MacBook Air SKU labels. For example, the entry 13-inch MacBook Air of today is known as “MD760LL/A”, while this week’s refreshed version is known as “MD760LL/B.” It’s unclear if Apple will even promote the updated Airs.
Though Apple is planning just a minor MacBook Air refresh for this week, the company is also said to have a second 12-inch MacBook Air in the works that will be released later in the year.
The 12-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature some major design changes in the form of a slimmer chassis without fans, a Retina display, and a buttonless trackpad.
It is unclear when the tomorrow’s updated MacBook Airs might make their first appearance, but it is possible Apple will take its online store down tonight in order to update inventory ahead of an in-store release tomorrow.
Sprint mobile virtual network operator CREDO Mobile on Monday announced the upcoming availability of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Starting from May 1, the flagship handset will be offered for $149.99, some $50 lower than some of the bigger players. The deal, as you might expect, does require a two-year service agreement and only lasts through the end of the month. Like other wireless providers, CREDO will toss in some bill credits good for up to $350 per line (up to five lines) for those who break a contract. Because CREDO piggybacks off of Sprint’s network, this version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 is tri-band 4G LTE ready.
LG will once again employ the rear volume and power button configuration for the successor to the G2 smartphone. That is, of course, provided these recently leaked photos prove to be legitimate. In one image we see what appears to be the back side of the device while the other alleges to be a protective case for the phone.
Assuming the image of the smartphone is real, the buttons have undergone a slight change in layout and look. Not that we would expect otherwise. Flanking the camera we have two objects, one of which we figure is a flash. The other, as some point out, could be a fingerprint sensor or hear rate monitor.
It’s worth pointing out that the case does not look like it would match up perfectly; proceed with caution. Otherwise, we’re cool with the look and think it works well for LG.
In an attempt to bring their products to every facet of your home, Samsung has just released a new line of premium audio products. The line is called “Level”, and will be available to ship mid-May. So, what exactly is Level? Let’s take a look.
Offer a premium audio experience without breaking the bank
Sound – 40mm dual layered diaphragm
Design – Comfort ear pad and Headband
Interface – 3.5 mm ear jack
Feature – S Voice
Inbox – Premium carrying case, Detachable audio cable with microphone and remote controller
Dimension – 161.75×181.4×70.4 mm, 209.8g
Considered to be the “flagship” earphones, these offer touch control, Bluetooth connectivity, and offer superior HD organic sound.
Sound – 50mm Bio-Cellulose Diaphragm with Neodymium Magnet, Active Noise Cancellation
Bluetooth – BT 3.0 / apt-X, SBC
Design – High elasticity sponge on the ear pad, Smooth leather-like material on the Headband
Interface – Smart Touch Control / 3.5 mm ear jack
Feature – S Voice, Bluetooth pairing ,2mic noise reduction / Echo cancellation, Talk(Listening) / Standby time when ANC On : 15hr/30hr, Talk(Listening) / Standby time when ANC Off : 30hr/200hr
Inbox – Premium carrying case / Micro USB cable, Detachable audio cable with microphone and remote controller, Plug adapter (for Airplane)
Dimension – 175x190x78 mm, 350g
Samsung’s new premium ear buds for a more portable experience
Sound – Three-way speaker system, 2 Balanced armatures (HD Sound for Treble & Mid-Range), 1 Dynamic speaker (Deep bass)
Interface – 3.5 mm ear jack
Feature – S Voice
Inbox – Premium carrying case, 4 silicon ear tips, 3 memory foam tips
Weight – 15.7g
Bluetooth speaker with metal design, offering noise reduction, echo cancellation, and, you guessed it, S Voice.
Sound – 56mm Large stereo speaker with passive radiator
Bluetooth – NFC, Bluetooth pairing button
Design – Compact & Metal design
Feature – S Voice, Speaker Phone (Conference Call), Built-in MIC & Noise reduction/Echo cancellation
Inbox – Micro USB cable, Travel adaptor, 3.5 mm Audio cable
Dimension – 164.3×62.3×69.2 mm, 600g
No pricing information has been outed quite yet, so we’ll have to wait until mid-May to find out!
Source: Samsung Mobile
The post Samsung outs “Level”, a new series of premium audio products appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Cromatica is a Bluetooth speaker and lamp combo. That’s kinda cool. It’s also based on arduino, so you can hack it to respond to your own wishes. Even better! It’s also not bad to look at, thanks to its stylish, Italian design. But the big story with Cromatica is that it’s the first product to come out from a new crowdfunding platform that’s designed specifically for homegrown tech hardware — a project that could invigorate the already lively maker community in the UK.
Somewhere deep in the belly of London’s iconic Somerset House, via an inconspicuous trade entrance, you’ll find Makerversity — a space where makers can transform ideas into products, or at least into prototypes. What really turbo-charges things, however, is the fact that Makerversity is partnered with a crowdfunding platform, called Crowdrooster, which sits inside the same wing of the building. This potentially makes a small corner of WC2 the new hotbed for indie product designers, builders, makers and glue-fingered entrepreneurs.
Step inside Makerversity, and it’s like walking into the the ultimate geek-cave. Think rented work space for people who are more power tools, than Powerpoint. Walk around the (sometimes labyrinthine) interior and you’ll see desks laden with 3D printers, “messy” workshops and dedicated studio space — all of which are available to members. Upstairs is where Crowdrooster lives, and by working closely with Makerversity, ideas can go from brain, to prototype, to fully-funded enterprise all under the same roof. Crowdrooster tells us that a benefit of being located on-site, is that it can assist makers with all the obstacles associated with upscaling its manufacturing, without the slow back and forth, you might get with a remote organisation. Crowdrooster is also trying to differentiate itself from other funding sites by focusing specifically on the maker community/hardware-only projects. Think “Kickstarter for makers,” and you’d be mostly right. Despite its prestigious river-side location (the view only spoiled by streams of lunchtime city joggers obscuring it), desk space at Makerversity remains competitive.
Of course, you don’t have to put your product through Crowdrooster if you choose to work from the Makerversity, nor must your idea originate from Makerversity for it to be placed on Crowdrooster — but there’s no denying that the combination of space, access to tools and funding resources could make this corner of London an exciting addition to the UK’s maker movement. The team behind Cromatica, for example, didn’t develop their product from the Somerset House location, but were still extremely excited about that future projects could come to life from this collaboration. While Crowdrooster has only just launched its first campaign (that’d be Cromatica), there’s already another five hand-picked projects ready to go, and with the Makerversity members breathing the same air, providing a steady stream of prototypes, it’ll no doubt be eager to capitalise on that, as part of its efforts to establish itself as the the shop window for the UK makerverse.
Filed under: Misc
The bad news for Rovio, the company that makes Angry Birds, is that gaming sales were down slightly over last year. The worse news? The private company now has 300 more employees, meaning it made less than half the money it did in 2012. Still, Rovio claims it isn’t worried about falling profits, which were eaten up in part by a new animation studio, theme park deals and a merchandising arm. The latter division is undoubtedly a success, with plush toys and other consumer products now accounting for nearly half the company’s sales.
But the other new ventures remain a question mark, since the Angry Birds movie isn’t scheduled to arrive until 2016, for instance. That leaves gaming to carry the rest of the load, and the news there is a downer. Despite having launched Angry Birds Star Wars II and other properties in 2013, the company actually made less on games than the year before. To counter that, Rovio recently launched freemium features like in-game purchases, which can make money but tend to alienate gamers. However, it remains to be seen if that will boost Rovio’s earnings. Like the animation studio and other recent decisions, we’ll likely have to wait until next year to find out.
The WSJ has another reality check, too. It has shown that Rovio’s growth is seriously lagging behind others — not only the big fish like King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, but also other, far less experienced Nordic game devs. Come to think of it, all of these outfits might want to pay attention to Rovio’s current plight. Given consumer attention spans, relying on a small number of gaming properties can be a risky strategy.
Comcast said it would be willing to shed customers to secure its buyout of Time Warner Cable, and today it’s backing up those words with (tentative) deeds. The media behemoth has reached a deal that will see it offload 3.9 million subscribers if the merger goes through. About 1.4 million of those would go to Charter; the remaining 2.5 million will go to a spin-off company where Charter will have a one-third stake. The move should keep Comcast under 30 percent of the TV market and make Charter the second-largest cable provider in the US. In theory, that’s good news for those worried that Comcast would carry too much industry clout if it gets TWC under its belt.
However, this all assumes that regulators approve the acquisition in the first place — and the deal doesn’t address larger competitive issues. Public advocacy groups and internet media providers like Netflix still believe that a post-merger Comcast would have too much say over what products succeed in the marketplace, letting it restrict services that compete with its own offerings. Without answers to these concerns, the company may not be much closer to completing its takeover.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
For the first time in the history ESPN’s X Games, pro gamers will compete for medals playing Call of Duty: Ghosts in Austin this June. Major League Gaming (MLG) has partnered with the sports broadcaster for the MLG X Games Invitational where the same hardware will be up for grabs as those athletes competing it skateboard, BMX, Moto X and other extreme sporting events. The top 5 teams based on MLG Pro Points rankings will get an invite, and three more teams from the recent COD Championship will round out the field. Upon arriving in Austin, groups will compete in a three-day tournament on Xbox One to determine the winner. What’s more, the gaming event is said to be part of X Games TV coverage that’s set for ESPN and ABC.
[Image credit: Washington Post/Getty Images]
Filed under: Gaming
Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset Review: A multi-platform beast with a whole lot of tricks up its Sleeve
Multi-platform gaming headphones are a very unique breed of audio accessories. Getting the right balance between all the supported platforms is extremely tough, particularly when you start asking for the amount of cash that implies this ability. The Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset is the creme de la creme of Steelseries‘ H Series and is the latest premium audio system to try and walk this tight rope.
What’s in the box
Steelseries know how to make a box; that might sound incredibly mundane, but every techie understands what a big difference an exciting unboxing makes. In what is a mammoth of a box, you’ll find buried in it the headphones themselves, its matching mixer box, a spare battery for the headphones and a whole number of useful, little cables.
I was really impressed by the number and completeness of the wires and connections that are available in the box. In particular, I was very impressed to see that the power adapter for the the mixer was detachable and had the different fittings for four different regions; who wouldn’t want to travel with these headphones?
The H Wireless is designed to be compatible with Windows PC, Mac OSX, Xbox 360, PS3, iOS and Android and in the box you will a cable for each of these, whichever one is your gaming device of choice. Each of the cables is a metre long which will give you the flexibility to place the mixer in a place where you can see the graphical interface.
The headphones themselves are a super sleek, black affair; covered in matte plastic and leather, there’s only a hint of orange on the stitching of the earcups and inside them as well. The outside of the earcups are a more polished plastic and hide the battery and a small firewire port (which is used for firmware updates). They are a mean, meaty set of headphones and even make the other entries in the H series family look a bit inadequate.
As is almost customary now on Steelseries headsets, there is an exquisite retractable microphone that simply slides in and out of its dwelling whenever you need it. It is bendable into any position and has a light on the tip of it to let you know whether it is muted or not.
There are controls located on the headset itself, but they are decidedly minimal; the power on/off switch doubles as the microphone mute button and the volume wheel doubles as the menu navigation. Remarkably, the wheel and button are very well placed to be manipulated by your fingers when you simply place your hand on the right cup.
When I reviewed the Steelseries 5Hv3 (read the full review here), I said that they were possibly the most comfortable headphones I had ever worn. The H Wireless follows closely after the 5Hv3, but with a small proviso. The H Wireless employs the same circumaural earcups (or as I call them, “pillows”) as the 5Hv3 which do a fantastic job of providing a very cushioned experience. This makes the H Wireless a very comfortable headphone to wear over short periods of time (1-2 hours).
The mixer box shares the H Wireless headset’s design features, but still manages to be a very subtle piece of tech. Its mono-colour LED readout is simple and to the point and all the options displayed clearly, though it can be a bit of a labyrinth to find what you want. Probably the best party trick for the mixer box is the slot in its side. This slot can be used to charge and store the H Wireless’ spare battery, keeping it fully charged in the event that you run out of battery. When that does occur, all you need to do is swap out the flat battery, slot it into the mixer, put the new battery into the headphones and keep gaming.
How does it sound?
For gaming purposes, the H Wireless headset are fantastic. I remember when I first tried them at CES 2014 playing Call of Duty: Ghosts, I was immediately struck by the immense bass and the sheer amount of sound. 3 months later and my opinion still hasn’t changed. Make sure you play some games with explosions in it, turn it up and you’ll be in for a treat. With the aid of virtual 7.1 surround thanks to the Dolby Digital, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Logic IIx, you’ll get some incredible, atmospheric sounding audio for any game that you’re playing, whether it be Battlefield 3 or Diablo 3 (what, just me?). This, however, only applies to the sound you get through the mixer; you won’t have the benefits of Dolby-enhanced sound when you use the H Wireless with mobile devices.
For audio purposes, the H Wireless are also more than capable. I wouldn’t say that they are quite audiophile quality, but they will still give you fantastic sound. As you might expect because the headphones err on the side of bassy, the headphones are going to suit heavier music like rock and EDM, which I had a ball listening to with them. Mid range and treble sounds are also generally good, however when listening to classical music, I found the higher end of the scale to be a little muffled and not as bright as I would have preferred and despite what equalizer settings I had, the music was still very bass heavy. Having said that though, the modern listener will be more than happy with these headphones and their music playing abilities.
What I like about the Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset?
There’s an awful lot to like about the H Wireless headset. One of my biggest fears when using wireless accessories is that moment when you run out of battery power; that’s the gamer in me talking. In normal circumstances, this would usually require plugging the device in and being tethered for a period of time. Obviously, the H Wireless does away with this inconvenience with its spare battery, which is neatly tucked away in its mixer for charging, and the process of changing batteries probably takes less than 30 seconds, which I am a huge fan of.
I’m also a big proponent of multi-platform devices being provided with all the necessary accessories, which the H Wireless does by providing all possible cables that you might need. In addition to this, I really like that power adapters for all countries have been included, which I think is super convenient for buyers who are big travellers or buying from overseas.
I also know that it sounds inane, but I’m a huge fan of how the H Wireless headset looks, mixer included. While they definitely aren’t Steelseries’ most ostentatious-looking product, they look subdued enough to draw attention in most settings, but look fantastic when they are noticed. Plus, who doesn’t like all-black stuff?
What I don’t like about the Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset?
You may have noticed that earlier in the review I specified that the H Wireless headset is good to wear for 1-2 hours. While that does encompass the average gaming session, longer sessions of multiple hours, I found, did eventually put some stress on my head despite the cushioning of the massive, ‘cloud’-like earcups. Your experience may vary, however, as I used the headphones with the longest extension on the headphone arms; people with more normal or smaller heads may find them much more comfortable over several hours and this much was said in many other reviews; I may just have a really big head.
While the H-Wireless headset is touted as a multi-platform device, unfortunately I can’t really say that it is full realized as an Android or even an iOS accessory. While it is a plus that it can be used as a headset with just an audio cable without the headphones being switched on, you get none of the features that really make it a monster for gaming on consoles or PC. There are no additional buttons that can be used for mobile purposes and not even the volume wheel works in this configuration, which really makes it feel like mobile compatibility is not a priority for the H Wireless headset. And really, that’s fine because the headset excels in many other areas; just don’t be expecting it to be your smartphones’ best friend.
There’s not really any other way to say it; if you’re a PC or console gamer, the Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset is a hard choice to overlook. It’s really a combination of all its little features that make it into something great, and despite its price (MSRP $299 USD or RRP $399 AUD), it really is worth it if you’re big on games, how they sound and being immersed in the atmosphere. Naturally, I am a little disappointed that there aren’t more mobile features incorporated into the headset, but being able to use them at all with an unpowered, wired setup is a nice takeaway nonetheless.
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at the Steelseries H Wireless Gaming Headset, you can visit its product page on the Steelseries website, or if you’re interested in taking a look at Steelseries’ other products, you can visit their global website here.
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