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Xiaomi’s affordable Yi action camera versus the GoPro Hero

The first thing my Spanish mother-in-law asked me when she saw the Xiaomi Yi was, “Is that a toy camera?” With its lime-and-aqua-marine color scheme, it’s not hard to see why she might think that. But no, it is not. In fact, Xiaomi’s Yi camera raised a few eyebrows when it was announced recently. Here was yet another action camera that looked suspiciously like a GoPro — but, at the equivalent of about $65, it was almost half the price of the market-leader’s cheapest offering (the $130 Hero edition), with a spec-sheet that bested it on many key features. Importantly (perhaps more so for GoPro), the Yi camera has the backing of Xiaomi, a brand that’s gaining traction in China. A market everyone wants a slice of. But does it really best a GoPro?

The first issue for those in the US interested in this camera will be getting hold of one. Xiaomi isn’t actively selling, or promoting, it in the states. When we asked the company for a test unit, it declined. Thankfully, some independent retailers are stepping in and making the camera available to US buyers such as Gear Best, which provided the loan camera for this comparison.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Yi camera was reported to be waterproof to 40 meters, like the GoPro Hero is. This is not the case. You need to buy a separate dive housing for that (unlike the Hero, which has one built in). The Yi cam was also initially reported to have 64GB of storage. To clarify, it can read SD cards of that capacity (up to 128GB in fact, according to the official website), but you still need to provide one. The Yi camera is also technically made for Xiaomi under license from the (not-at-all-confusingly named) separate company, Xiaoyi.

Xiaomi Yi GoPro Hero
Video 1080p/60 fps 1080p/30 fps
Photo 16 megapixels Five megapixels
Time lapse (second intervals) 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 0.5
Burst 3/5/7 per second/7 in 2 seconds 10 photos in 2 seconds
WiFi Yes No
App Android / iOS (coming) N/A
Waterproof No (case required) 40 meters
Battery 1,010mAh replaceable 1,180mAh non-replaceable

In terms of hardware, toyish looks aside, the Yi camera does bear more than a passing resemblance to a GoPro Silver or Black (without the housing). Not just the matchbox-like body, but the button placement too (shutter on top, power on the front). Unlike a GoPro, though, there’s no LCD display. You have to rely on LEDs, or the mobile app to know what mode the camera is in, or any other feedback (battery level, SD card capacity, et cetera).

Despite all the similarities, the Yi camera doesn’t fit any GoPro accessories. I was a bit surprised; I expected it to conveniently slip into the GoPro dive housing, or the frame mount or… well any accessory. But it doesn’t. The lens isn’t positioned high enough, and the body is just a touch bigger, meaning there’s zero compatibility with GoPro’s extensive catalog of accessories. This includes GoPro’s three-pronged connector, and its shoe clip. The Yi cam just has a regular tripod connection.

One fairly big annoyance with the Yi camera is that until you shell out on some accessories, you have to take special care of the naked lens. The GoPro Hero can be thrown in any bag/backpack without concern. The Yi camera’s exposed glass made me nervous about putting it pretty much anywhere, including a few times when I set it down the wrong way with the lens directly on the table. I ended up carrying it in my hand for the most part, which soon gets frustrating. Another minor gripe is that the battery/port covers are very losable. The GoPro Hero’s all-built-in design also makes it a bit chunkier (and limits you to one battery charge per outing), but you’ll come back with as much camera as you went out with. A plus for the Yi is that you can swap the batteries, but you’ll need to buy more. If you can find ’em.

What you really want to know is, though, is this thing any good? The answer is, “It’s not bad.” In fact, in some of my tests, it definitely gave the GoPro Hero a run for its money. I took both cameras out and shot several things side by side. This includes time-lapse videos, standard photos and, of course, regular video. In photo mode, the Yi has more pronounced colors and sometimes details are sharper. This, unsurprisingly, translates up into time-lapse videos, too — which are, of course, just a series of photos. The examples below are shot with the Yi cam set to five-megapixel mode to be more comparable to the GoPro (which only shoots five-megapixel photos).

Xiaomi Yi:

GoPro Hero:

In the above two videos, the color difference is quite pronounced. The Yi camera has brighter, more saturated colors. The GoPro also shows some noise, particularly on the right-hand side of the image, around the more intricate details of the cathedral.

Xiaomi Yi:

GoPro Hero:

In the above images, we can again see that the colors are dialed up on the Yi camera, and that the image is actually sharper on some of the more detailed elements (the white grout between the blue tile mosaic that I’ve added at 100 percent crop). But, this isn’t consistent. The Yi camera has a setting in the app to correct the lens curve (a common annoyance in action cameras). Once you set this, anything that’s not in the center of the image seems to become a lot blurrier. The lens issue is an easy fix for the GoPro; there’s free/official software to do it, and specific settings in modern imaging software. Not so with the Yi; you’ll have to fix it manually.

The Yi camera at 100 percent crop, with lens correction setting

The GoPro Hero makes the sign on top of the hotel much easier to read

In video mode, things are a little more complicated. The color difference is still present, but footage from GoPro’s Hero feels less shaky, and differences in image sharpness become less pronounced between the two. In my tests, both cameras were mounted in a “Norbert frame.” They are right next to each other, and most of my filming was done by holding the cameras (not using a tripod). The Yi camera footage feels like it has more wobble from just the smallest of movements. You can still see some of that on the GoPro, but it’s less dizzying. Below are two video edits containing a mixture of footage, one from the Yi camera, the other from the GoPro Hero.

Xiaomi Yi:

GoPro Hero:

If you’ve ever used a GoPro, you’ll know that navigating the menus can take a little getting used to. But, once you’ve got the rhythm down, you can zip around, and change settings pretty quickly. Not so with the Yi camera. The lack of a display means you’re guided by LEDs. The power button has one around it that changes color as battery levels decline. There’s also one on top of the camera that remains on, or off, depending on which mode you are in (video and photo, respectively). But in terms of feedback, for the Yi camera, that’s largely it. If you left it in burst mode, for example, you’d have no idea until you took a picture, and heard the camera rattle off multiple shots. You also can’t change that back to normal camera mode without the app.

The app is actually a big dividing factor between these two cameras. The GoPro Hero doesn’t have WiFi, so it won’t work with the GoPro app (like the Black and Silver editions do). But, at the same time, the little LCD on the Hero means you don’t actually need the app. You can easily change settings and know where you are at any time. Try using the Yi camera without the app, and you have to have a bit more faith. For example, there’s an LED that flashes to confirm you took a photo. However, in bright daylight, this is easy to miss. You kinda have to hope for the best.

The Yi camera leans on its app a lot more. The downside to that is, without it, you’re stuck to switching between photo and video modes, nothing else. You’re also stuck when it comes to things like knowing how much memory card space you have left for photos and videos, or battery life (other than a very basic indication). The upside is that the app is quite easy to use. It also expands the capabilities of the camera quite a lot. You can not only change modes, but also fine-tune the settings within those modes. There are more general settings for things like exposure and auto power off, too. It’s not a bad app at all. That said, on a few occasions, it would just refuse to connect to the camera, for no obvious reason, leaving you high and dry if you wanted to change the settings.

This is pretty much the theme throughout. The Yi camera is a mixture of surprise and disappointment. It pleases you one minute, then frustrates you the next. It’s inconsistent. The GoPro is the same every time you pick it up. Then there’s the higher-end GoPro Hero 4 cameras (Black and Silver), which are more expensive, but with many, many more features (and improved camera internals, even over the Hero). If you enjoy the GoPro Hero, and decide to upgrade, you can move your skill set and accessories with you. Once you’ve added a waterproof case and a tripod-to-GoPro adapter to even things out a little, and savings on price are less dramatic. Of course, the Yi makes sense if you’re happy to offset its limitations against the dollars you do save, or mostly want selfie stick video. On the bright side, the Yi probably looks at least one level less contemptible hanging off the end of one than a phone?

Filed under: Cameras


Source: Gear Best


TomTom put its navigation know-how to work in an action cam

TomTom, a company best known for its GPS gadgets and a line of watches for runners and athletes, is diving deeper into action sports. Meet the Bandit camera: a GPS action cam that’ll beam footage to a connected smartphone. If you’re in a hurry, and don’t want to futz with proper edits on a computer, TomTom’s app will pull videos from the camera so you can share them quickly — all you have to do is give your phone a shake. The company claims that its device is the first of its kind to pack a built-in media server, capable of processing files before sending them to your phone. That’s where the phone shaking comes in: doing so will alert the camera/app duo to automatically compile a video for you. In addition to that bit of heavy lifting, the Bandit’s on-board motion and GPS automatically tag highlights based on speed, altitude, acceleration, G-force and heart rate — the last of which is likely tracked with one of TomTom’s fitness watches. Don’t worry, you can manually pick those spots, too.

As you might expect, the mobile app allows you to edit and add music and stats overlays to those videos if you don’t like what the software automatically creates. The app also servers as a viewfinder so you can keep an eye on what’s being captured in real time. In terms of the camera’s specs, the Bandit shoots 1080p at 30 and 60 frames per second and 720p at 60 and 120 fps with native time lapse and slow motion features. It’s also 4K capable (at 15 fps, like the GoPro Hero 3/3+) and snaps 16-megapixel stills should the need arise, and both WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity are included, too. There’s also an included Batt-Stick that allows for an additional 3 hours of footage while handling microSD storage and USB transfers. Like other action cams, there’s a collection of mounts and accessories to help you get the best view, including a waterproof housing and remote.

Unfortunately, the companion app is iOS-only at launch, but an Android version in the works. Speaking of launch, the Bandit will arrive next month for €429 (about $475) with a premium pack that includes some of those accessories, and probably a bigger price tag, set for June. There’s no definite timeline for the US just yet, as the on-sale date is expected sometime later this summer.

Filed under: Cameras


Source: TomTom (1), (2)


You can buy your own smell-o-vision VR headset, if you wanna

Aside from the anguished cries of our loved ones begging us to go to work, there are two things that are left out when we play games in virtual reality: our senses of smell and taste. After all, we can see, hear and sometimes feel the action in the FPS realm, but we won’t be truly satisfied unless we’re getting artificial blood, sweat and seawater in our faces, too. That’s what FeelReal’s smell-o-vision headset is all about, which sits beneath a VR headset and pumps air, water and various scents into your face in an attempt to add a little more realism to your gaming.

Essentially, the face mask contains a pair of fans that can blow hot and cold air, a water mister and an odor generator that can vaporize certain smells right into your nose. Then, the idea is that when you walk past the sea in a game, you’ll be able to feel the sea mist on your face and the smell of seagull poop in your nose. If you’re walking past some fire, by comparison, you’ll feel the warmth on your face and burning sulfur in your nostrils.

Naturally, this innovative product is making its debut on Kickstarter, where pre-ordering a single unit will set you back $300 and a pair of kits priced at $500. The company, however, is also tempting users by letting you know that it’s also working on a full-face helmet that combines virtual reality and, er, smells in a single package, called the Nirvana. If you’re prepared to wait for one of those to arrive, you can also get an early prototype for another $500.

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, Wearables


Via: VR Focus

Source: Kickstarter


Microsoft Unveils New ‘Edge’ Browser to Replace Internet Explorer

Earlier this year, Microsoft debuted a new browser designed to succeed Internet Explorer. At the time, it was still under development with the code name Project Spartan, but at today’s BUILD conference for developers, Microsoft shared additional details on the new browser and unveiled its name: Microsoft Edge.

According to Microsoft, the Edge name refers to being on the edge of consuming and creating. Microsoft is calling Edge “a browser built for doing,” with a simple, no-frills design and access to tools for enhancing the browsing experience.

Edge has built-in note taking capabilities, letting users annotate, draw, and take notes right within the browser, and then share those website notes with friends. Microsoft says that Edge uses “blazing fast core technology,” with more details available on the speed enhancements in the future.

Edge includes a distraction-free reading mode and a tab page for getting to frequently-used apps quickly. There’s support for Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana, a competitor to Apple’s assistant, Siri. Cortana integration helps to build a user’s home tab page, populating it with relevant content and making suggestions on related sites to visit.

One of Microsoft’s earlier BUILD announcements covered tools to bring Android and iOS apps to Windows 10, and similarly, the company has built support for Chrome and Firefox extensions into the Edge browser. These existing extensions will be able to be quickly repackaged and submitted to Microsoft’s extension portal, giving Edge users a wealth of extensions to use shortly after the browser launches.

One of the Chrome-based extensions that Microsoft demonstrated on stage was the Reddit Enhancement Suite, a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that improves the browsing experience on reddit. The RES extension took “virtually no work” to take it from the Chrome Extension store to Edge.

resedgeEdge browser running Reddit Enhancement Suite from modified Chrome extension
Microsoft Edge is a next-generation browser designed to replace Internet Explorer, but Internet Explorer will stick around as its used by many of Microsoft’s Enterprise customers. The Microsoft Edge browser will be built into Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 update.


Samsung adds two new products to Level line of audio equipment

samsung level on wirelessSamsung has introduced two new products to its Level line of audio equipment, including a wireless pair of headphones and a Bluetooth connector for making your other devices wireless.

First up is the Level On Wireless, which is just a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The headphones have six microphones for excellent noise canceling, plus a simple touchpad for connecting them to your devices. They also fully integrate with your existing Samsung devices, allowing you to easily access things like S-Voice for using your phone. A cool trick is that they support Samsung’s Share Play, so you can easily share your music with other Level On Wireless users. You’re gonna have to know other people that actually buy Samsung’s Level headphones, though.

The second device introduced the Level Link. It’s a small Bluetooth receiver that you can connect to other devices that will allow you to wirelessly stream music. The interesting thing about the Link is that has both a send and receive mode, so you can connect it to just about anything and send audio both ways. Very convenient if you’re trying to reduce the amount of wires you have around your house. The device will also stream audio to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, so Samsung made sure to tick off as many boxes in the feature column as possible.

No word on pricing or availability just yet, but we’ll keep you updated.

source: Samsung

samsung level link
samsung level on wireless

Come comment on this article: Samsung adds two new products to Level line of audio equipment


New Vivo X5Pro teaser reveals iris scanner


The Vivo X5Pro should be announced sometime within the next two months, but we are learning about the device before its official launch. Vivo posted the teaser image (seen above) that reveals the presence of an iris scanner on the X5Pro. The text going along with the image claims that the iris scanner analyzes vein patterns in the eye “achieve a high level of security.”

Here are the other rumored specifications of the X5Pro:

  • Metal design
  • 2.5D display
  • Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 32MP front camera
  • 3500mAh battery
  • USB Type-C port

Source: Weibo
Via: G for Games

Come comment on this article: New Vivo X5Pro teaser reveals iris scanner


ASUS’ Jerry Shen confirms Snapdragon 615 in future ZenFone devices


Jerry Shen, CEO of ASUS, sat down for an interview with YugaTech and announced a plan for his company’s devices moving forward. The naming of them will follow the strategy of many, including Apple and Samsung, by using numbers. Also, new ZenFone devices will be released about every six months. The more important news from the interview is the decision to use more Qualcomm processors due to their ongoing partnership. Shen says that we should expect ZenFone devices to feature the Snapdragon 615 in the future.

Hit the break for the video of the interview.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: YugaTech
Via: GSMArena

Come comment on this article: ASUS’ Jerry Shen confirms Snapdragon 615 in future ZenFone devices


Google ‘Password Alert’ chrome extension further protects user identities

Google today announced software designed to prevent phishing attacks used by hackers which are often design to gain access to your password. To keep your account safe Google has launched Password Alert, a free, open-source Chrome extension that protects Google accounts and Google Apps for Work accounts.

phishing_caughtOnce installed, the extension will show you a warning if you type your Google password into a site that is not considered a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for multiple sites. The underlying message is for users to update and use different passwords for different sites. Too many people have used the same password across every site they utilize. Google hopes to encourage consumers to help prevent that.

Approximately 45 percent of hackers gain access to your password through bogus sites pretending to be websites that are used every day. Astonishingly, 2 percent of the phishing attacks are attempted while appearing to be Google mail. If you attempt to sign in to a bogus site, and the software detects the attempt, you will be notified by a message which appears on the screen.

Google’s working to constantly improve their Safe Browsing technology, which protects more than 1 billion people on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox from phishing and other methods of cyber-attacks.


The post Google ‘Password Alert’ chrome extension further protects user identities appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Android applications will be able to run on Windows 10

microsoft lumia logo mwc 2015 1

During the company’s Build 2015 developer conference, Microsoft announced that both Android and iOS applications will be able to run on the upcoming Windows 10 platform. Using the new Project Islandwood (iOS) and Project Astoria (Android) development kits, developers will be able to port their applications and games to Windows universal apps. Microsoft is letting Android developers use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, allowing applications to be quickly and easily compiled for the platform. Since the majority of the code being used by Android devs is being recycled, this will save app makers a ton of time and money in the long run.

Microsoft is urging developers to bring their code to Windows 10 with only minor changes at the start. Once the bulk of the app is built, the devs are encouraged to take advantage of some key integration points to build in Windows-specific features like Cortana, Live Tiles, Xbox Live, Holograms and more, which are all included in the Project Astoria dev kit. Microsoft has been testing its new APIs out for the past few months, specifically on the popular puzzle game Candy Crush. In fact, the Candy Crush version that’s currently on Windows is converted from iOS code using Microsoft’s new Windows APIs.

To clarify, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to install any APK on Windows 10. This is simply just Microsoft making it much easier for Android devs to convert their applications. Microsoft has struggled over the years to keep up with the number of apps available for both Android and iOS, so for the end user, this is certainly great news. The Google Play Store will never come pre-loaded on any Windows 10 devices, but rest assured many more applications will soon make their way to the platform.

We’ll be sure to update you as we learn more.


Alcatel OneTouch POP Astro arrives to T-Mobile, LTE and voice over Wi-FI for $150


These days there is no shortage of low-priced but solid performing handsets in the Android world, with some of the best known options coming from Motorola, Huawei, and Asus. Alcatel is now partnering up with T-Mobile to bring yet another option, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Astro.

Aside from the overly long and complicated name that we expect from Alcatel, the handset offers pretty low-end specs including a 4.5-inch TFT display with a 540 x 960 resolution, a 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek 6732 SOC, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSD, a 5MP front cam, .3MP rear cam, a 2,000 mAh battery, LTE, voice over Wi-Fi, and Android 4.4 KitKat with the Alcatel skin on top.

More from Alcatel OneTouch

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As for the pricing? You’ll pay either $179.76 off contract, or you can get it for $6.24 per month through a T-Mobile payment plan.

Should you actually get the phone? If your needs are modest, it’ll probably provide more than a good enough Android experience, but honestly, it’s hard to recommend this one when there are so many similarly priced devices that pack higher resolution displays and better processing packages. Really the only things the Pop Astro have going for it are the addition of LTE and voice over Wi-Fi support.

What do you think of the Pop Astro? Worth buying or not? For those interested, you can pick up the phone starting today.

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