We knew it was coming. Last week, HTC’s upcoming handset, the One X9, bared all in a leaked photo shoot. The Taiwanese manufacturer has now decided to let the cat out of the bag.
The suspicions about the One X9 were on point. As of late, HTC has been focusing on strong midrange smartphones (see One A9) and the X9 lines up with that strategy. Let’s take a look at the specs:
- Display: 5.5″ 1080P
- SoC: MediaTek Helio X10 (octa-core, 2.2GHz) and 3GB of RAM
- Storage: 32GB on-board and microSD expandable up to 2TB
- Camera: 13MP rear (OIS, f/2.0 aperture) and 5MP front (f/2.0)
- Battery: 3,000 mAh
HTC doesn’t specify the display technology in the X9. The A9 uses an AMOLED panel, so we can make a guess. Additionally, we don’t know what version of Android the X9 will ship with, but Marshmallow supplemented with the latest HTC Sense UI would be a good guess.
The reversion back to capacitive navigation buttons is certainly interesting. HTC may feel like it’s a cleaner look than with the infamous black logo bar. Lastly, BoomSound makes a return. The X9 packs dual, front stereo speakers that are enhanced with Dolby Audio.
If you like what you see, it’s unfortunate that we have no idea if the One X9 will be offered worldwide. We only know that it’s slated for the Chinese market. The X9 will launch at 2,399 yuan (~ $370 USD), which is no doubt a great value.
Toshiba hasn’t always made the best laptops. The company is perhaps known for the sort of bargain-basement machines you’ll find at big-box stores like Best Buy, and when it has dabbled in flagship systems, its efforts have sometimes fallen short. The Radius 12 could be different, though. It ticks off almost all the right boxes, with a 4K, Technicolor-certified screen option and a 2.9-pound design — particularly impressive for a convertible like this with a 360-degree hinge. And though the entry-level $1,000 model makes do with a lower-res, lower-tech screen, even that configuration offers some impressive specs for the money. All good things, and yet, I can’t recommend it — not now, anyway.
The Radius 12 is a halo product, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first glance, with the machine powered down. Though the lid is fashioned out of faintly brushed metal, the smooth, plasticky surfaces throughout make the device feel less than premium.
Then you pick it up. The machine is so light that it nearly excuses the drab design. (I say “nearly” because there are, in fact, machines like the 12-inch MacBook that weigh even less and manage to feel more luxurious in-hand.) And while it might not be much to look at, it’s well-built underneath its ho-hum surface; the screen doesn’t wobble when touched, and the palm rest doesn’t flex when you grip it between your fingers.
On a practical level, too, the chassis is home to a useful selection of ports, including a full-sized HDMI socket, two USB 3.0 connections, a smaller USB Type-C port, a full-sized SD card reader, a headphone jack and a volume rocker for when the device is in tablet mode. Compare that to the MacBook, which makes do with one measly USB Type-C connection, and doesn’t even come with a dongle in the box.
So far in our tour we haven’t yet powered on the Radius 12, but now would be a good time: The optional 4K display is likely the reason you’re considering buying this in the first place. The glass stretches virtually from edge to edge, with the skinniest of bezels acting as a nominal buffer between the display and the rest of the machine. I remain unconvinced that 3,840 x 2,160 resolution is necessary on a display this small — a slightly lower pixel count would still look sharp and would be less devastating on battery life, and there’s not yet much 4K content to watch anyway. Even so, there’s no question that the pixel density helps make the screen as gorgeous as it is.
Just as important, perhaps (or more so): The 4K version of the display (not the entry-level 1080p one) is Technicolor-certified, which means when you boot up the Radius 12 for the first time, you’ll be hit not just with super crisp images, but vibrant, saturated colors. It reminds me of how I felt years ago when I tested the first phones and tablets with Super AMOLED screens: The Radius 12’s panel is stunning in a way that most other laptops haven’t yet come close to matching. Fortunately, though, color-accurate screens are becoming more common, and perhaps one day we’ll even begin to take them for granted.
The audio doesn’t disappoint either. For the Radius 12, Toshiba went with Harman Kardon, which it only does on its highest-end machines; for everything else, it uses Skullcandy’s tech, which doesn’t sound as good. In this case, the sound comes out of a speaker on the backside of the hinge, which means you should get unobstructed sound regardless of the mode you happen to be using the laptop in. Aside from the fact that the speakers aren’t muffled on the bottom, the audio is balanced and the volume loud; I rarely had to pump it past the halfway mark when alone in my apartment.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Radius 12’s keyboard is more comfortable than it looks. With a flat profile, and a handful of undersized buttons, including the Caps Lock, Ctrl, Shift and arrow keys, it’d be easy to write off as poorly designed. Somehow, though, I enjoyed typing on it in spite of myself. In fact, this thousands-of-words-long review you’re reading was composed on the Radius 12. Even with the shrunken-down buttons, I rarely hit the wrong one when touch-typing, which isn’t always the case — the Lenovo Yoga 900 also has a few undersized keys, and the typing experience was at times so frustrating that I implored the company to reconsider the design on next year’s model.
I also found that although the Radius 12’s keyboard is flat, it feels sturdy; no matter how fast or vigorously I typed, the keys bounced right back. Whereas on other machines I might have to mash the buttons to make sure my presses register, that wasn’t a problem here. I appreciate too how relatively quiet it is. The backlighting came in handy as well, though that’s of course standard fare on notebooks in this price range.
If only I liked the touchpad as much. (What is it with this resurgence of bad laptop trackpads, by the way? I feel like I’ve hated every one I’ve tested in recent months.) The cursor doesn’t always go where I want, and I found myself accidentally rearranging my pinned browser tabs (ugh!) many, many times. Even single-finger tapping frequently went awry: I’d try to hit send on an email or select messages to delete, and my tap wouldn’t register. Two-finger scrolling can also be choppy.
It got to the point where I used my fingers to scroll when possible, and even used my finger where I really wasn’t meant to — things like the small “select” boxes in Gmail. Interfaces like that may have been designed primarily for a mouse, but ultimately, I found that my own digits were usually the more accurate input tool.
Performance and battery life
|PCMark7||PCMark8 (Creative Accelerated)||3DMark11||3DMark (Sky Diver)||ATTO (top reads/writes)|
|Toshiba Radius 12 (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,458||3,684||E2,865 / P1,622||3,605||552 MB/s / 489 MB/s|
|HP Spectre x2 (1.2GHz Core M7-6Y75, Intel HD 515)||3,395||3,307||
E1,884 / P1,148 / X331
|2,737||554 MB/s / 281 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)||5,403||3,602||
E2,697/ P1,556/ X422
|3,614||1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s|
|Lenovo Yoga Pro 900 (2.5GHz Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,368||3,448||
E2,707 / P1,581
|3,161||556 MB/s / 511 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Book (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)||5,412||3,610||
E2,758 / P1,578 / X429
|3,623||1.6 GB/s / 571 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Book (2.6GHz Core i7-6600U, 1GB NVIDIA GeForce graphics)||5,740||3,850||
E4,122 / P2,696
|6,191||1.55 GB/s / 608 MB/s|
|HP Spectre x360 (2015, 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD 5500)||4,965||N/A||
E1,667 / P932 / X265
|N/A||555 MB/s / 270 MB/s|
|Dell XPS 13 (2015, 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD 5500)||4,900||N/A||
E2,114 / P1,199 / X330
|N/A||515 MB/s / 455 MB/s|
It would be inaccurate to say that Toshiba didn’t cut corners — it clearly made some tradeoffs here — but when it comes to certain key specs, like display quality and internals, the company clearly wasn’t messing around. The configuration I tested (valued at $1,300) makes use of a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i7-6500U CPU, along with 8GB of RAM, integrated Intel HD 520 graphics and a 512GB solid-state drive.
And it’s just as fast as you’d expect it to be. The machine boots into the desktop in just eight seconds, while the SSD (made by Toshiba itself), reaches peak read speeds of 552 MB/s and top writes of 489 megabytes per second. While those read speeds are typical for a flagship laptop, the write rates are exceptional: Other machines can achieve little more than half those speeds. Need benchmarks? I’ve put some scores in the table above. As you can see, the Radius 12 delivers numbers that are just as good if not slightly better than similarly specced machines, like the Yoga 900.
|Toshiba Radius 12||5:12|
|Surface Book (Core i5, integrated graphics)||13:54 / 3:20 (tablet only)|
|MacBook Air (13-inch, 2013)||12:51|
|HP Spectre x360||11:34|
|Surface Book (Core i7, discrete graphics)||11:31 / 3:02 (tablet only)|
|Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (13-inch, 2015)||11:23|
|Chromebook Pixel (2015)||10:01|
|Lenovo Yoga 900||9:36|
|Microsoft Surface 3||9:11|
|Apple MacBook (2015)||7:47|
|Dell XPS 13 (2015)||7:36|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4||7:15|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 3||7:08|
|HP Spectre x2||6:43|
Toshiba rates the battery life at up to nine hours on the 1080p edition, and up to six and a half on the 4K model. Unfortunately, I only got to test the higher-res edition, which didn’t quite live up to its six-and-a-half hour claim, at least not in my tests. With video looping and fixed brightness, I got five hours and 12 minutes. That’s not surprising — it is a taxing test, after all — but even lowering the brightness to 50 percent from 65 didn’t help; the machine still managed just five hours and four minutes. As I read reviews written by my colleagues at other tech publications, I see they encountered short runtime as well. Not surprising, I guess: a bright, super-high-res panel will do that.
So that’s a shame. If you otherwise find the Radius 12 appealing, perhaps you’ll consider the 1080p version, with the idea that you’d be exchanging some pixels for longer battery life. I too would be interested to test the entry-level model. If I do, I’ll be sure to update this review with my findings.
Configuration options and the competition
As of this writing, the Radius 12 is available in two configurations on Toshiba’s website. The cheaper one is listed at $1,000 (after instant savings) with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1080p screen and a 256GB solid-state drive. The second option is the one I tested, currently retailing for $1,300 with a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a larger 512GB SSD and, of course, that higher-res 4K display. Either way, the inclusion of 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is notable, especially at this starting price.
Spec-wise, then, the Radius 12 isn’t a bad deal, while the keyboard, lightweight design and colorful screen also make it worth a closer look. That said, the battery life and finicky touchpad will be a dealbreaker for some, in which case there are several other worthy options waiting in the wings. The most obvious comparison is Apple’s 12-inch MacBook ($1,299 and up), which weighs just two pounds and features a 2,304-by-1,440, 226-pixel-per-inch screen. This too is a compromised machine. The battery life is significantly longer, offering nearly eight hours of video playback, but it comes at the expense of watered-down performance. Also, while the MacBook has a leg up in certain areas, like its easier-to-use touchpad, it’s a step back in other ways, like that shortage of ports I mentioned earlier.
If you were looking for a Windows machine, particularly one with a convertible design, the Radius 12 is notable for how thin and light it is (a 360-hinge and touchscreen do add heft, after all). That said, if you can stomach a slightly heavier design, you’ll be rewarded with much longer battery life. Case in point: HP’s 13.3-inch Spectre x360 ($900-plus) starts at a heavier 3.17 pounds, but lasted about 11 and a half hours in our tests (and that was with last-generation processors; I’m sure it does even better with Intel’s new sixth-gen Core CPUs). Throw in a comfortable keyboard, well-made design and bright screen, and it’s one of our favorite Windows notebooks of 2015.
Another convertible to consider is Lenovo’s Yoga 900 ($1,200 and up). At 2.8 pounds, it’s actually slightly lighter than the Radius 12, despite having a larger 13-inch screen. It also competes with the Radius 12 on specs, with the base model including the same Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, plus a 3,200 x 1,800 display. The battery life is longer, though: about nine and a half hours in our tests. If I could change anything, I’d have Lenovo correct those undersized keys I alluded to earlier, and issue an update for the wonky touchpad. As with the Radius 12, where I have some similar concerns, it’s more an annoyance than a dealbreaker.
Lastly, there’s the Dell XPS 13 ($800-plus), my favorite Windows laptop of the year. The only reason I didn’t mention it sooner is that it has a fixed screen, which may come as a disappointment to people dead-set on a convertible 2-in-1 design. Fixed or no, though, it’s a very nice display: The glass extends nearly edge to edge, flanked by some very thin 5mm-thick bezels. That smart use of the screen real estate also means that the XPS 13 has a more compact footprint than other 13-inch laptops. Additionally, I like the build quality; I enjoy the comfortable keyboard and bright screen; and the performance is fast. Here, too, the touchpad can be a bit jumpy, and while the battery life is respectable, it’s not best in class. Those shortcomings aside, it deserves its high rating.
I like the Toshiba Radius 12 more than I thought I would. When confronted with the poor battery life results early in my testing process, it was easy to assume that between that, the flat-looking keyboard, and Toshiba’s unimpressive track record in ultraportables, that the company had taken another wrong turn. In fact, the keyboard is more comfortable than photos would suggest, and while the runtime is indeed short, the Radius 12 can still lay claim to fast performance, a generous selection of ports and one stunning display.
With the battery life being as short as it is, it’s still impossible for me to give the Radius 12 my highest recommendation, or maybe even a strong recommendation at all. But Toshiba got enough things right that even if you choose not to buy the Radius 12 now, it’s still worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps as chip technology improves, Toshiba will be able to put out a machine that’s just as light, and just as fast, with just as nice a screen, but that can last longer on a charge. That would really be something.
We don’t like that those small, self-balancing and oft-exploding scooter things have come to be called “hoverboards” any more than you do. After all, they don’t even hover. Today, though, ARCA Space Corporation claims to be the latest company to have developed something worthy of the name, though it’s not what Back to the Future promised us exactly. If Lexus’ version of the hoverboard was an exercise in physics (using quantum levitation on grand scale), then ARCA’s is an exercise in engineering, and elegant it is not. The ArcaBoard uses good, old-fashioned upthrust to float in mid-air, with 36 electic fans kicking out 272 horsepower. And one can (almost certainly not) be yours for the meagre pre-order price of $19,900.
You apparently steer this “revolutionary breakthrough for transportation” using your smartphone, though you can disable the stabilization system and use your body weight instead if you’re feeling particularly extreme. The ArcaBoard has a software-limited top speed of 12.5MPH, which you can enjoy for all of six minutes before the batteries run dry, or only three if you’re a heavier rider requiring the “Enhanced Thrust Version.” A full recharge takes six hours, but the optional $4,500 ArcaDock accessory will cut that down to just 35 minutes.
We could go on, regurgitating every bit of information ARCA’s website has to offer, but it’d probably be a waste of breath. The ArcaBoard has vaporware written all over it, and is most likely the worst kind of attention-grabbing PR stunt. The concept itself is pretty simple, of course: Enough upthrust plus many individual fans for stability equals hoverboard. Aside from the fact you’d be silly to spend almost 20 grand on a slab that can float for three to six minutes, the product and company are one enormous red flag.
First, there’s the timing of this announcement. Utter the word hoverboard on one of the slowest news days of the year and journalists will be falling over themselves to cover it. Then there’s all the accompanying marketing materials, which are suspiciously slick and full of cringe-inducing, inspirational accounts of the development process. Even the idea for the ArcaBoard itself began as the dream of a child, because of course it did. The glossy, to-good-to-be-true vibe is inescapable, leading us to bet the ArcaBoard won’t really begin shipping in April 2016 as the company has promised. And can you really move around on this thing as the company claims, because the footage appears to show a pretty unstable, wandering block of fans and batteries?
Lest we forget, what is ARCA Space Corporation anyway? Well, it used to be a non-governmental organization based in Romania, established in 1999 to develop rockets and other aerospace technology. Moving to Las Cruces, New Mexico last year, it adopted the name ARCA Space Corporation. The company’s currently developing rocket systems and serious, commercial drones (that seem to be behind schedule), but its history is a bit mysterious for our liking. In more than 15 years, it’s performed numerous tests of aerospace technology, but we can’t see that the outfit has ever really done, made or sold anything. Thus, we reckon it’s incredibly unlikely that the first commercial product ARCA Space Corporation will actually deliver is going to be an overpriced hoverboard no one wants.
Via: Las Cruces Sun-News
Source: ARCA Space Corporation
Mozilla has put an end to plans to produce smartphones running their Firefox OS, but some newly leaked documents reveal this is not the end of the line for the operating system. Depending on how aggressive Mozilla gets moving forward, it looks like the company envisions production of several Firefox OS powered devices including a tablet, a keyboard computer device, a streaming stick dongle, and a “hub” device.
The tablet, tentatively dubbed the Firefox Pad, appears to be a stripped down 10-inch tablet aimed at late adopters or others who may be hesitant to use new technology. The device is simple in that it will not come loaded with apps and no app store will be available. Mozilla will only supply their web browser, so users will just have access to web sites and and web-enabled apps they happen to run across while browsing.
The Firefox Pi is built on Raspberry Pi hardware as a “keyboard computer” that users can plug into a TV or a monitor if need be. The leaked documents note that India has “millions of obsolete analog TVs” so the device may make sense there. Another area where it might be welcome is in an education setting for technology students.
The Firefox Hub device is described as being patterned after Google’s OnHub device and provides a means to improve network security via the Firefox firewall. The device would also let users run their own web server hosting their own internal content.
Finally, the Firefox Stick is an HDMI connected dongle for televisions that runs the Firefox OS TV platform. This gives users the ability to stream content from the web to their television. According to the leaked documents, Firefox is also working with content producers to establish partnerships and ensure compliance with DRM requirements.
Mozilla states the leaked information is a “concept work by one of its developers” so it is unclear how close to reality any of these devices may be.
source: Gadgets 360
Come comment on this article: Leaked document reveals Firefox OS devices of the future
Oculus co-founder and creator Palmer Luckey revealed in some tweets this week that the Oculus Rift virtual reality device is on track for release during the first quarter of 2016. Luckey also indicates that the company will start to accept pre-orders “soon after new year” and that the company will be sure to provide advance warning for interested consumers.
Thrilled to share some news: Manufacturing continues to go well, and we are still on-target for an awesome Rift launch in Q1!
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) December 22, 2015
Oculus recently started sending out what they hope is the final version of the virtual reality headset to developers for the final round of testing.
Along with the news regarding the Oculus Rift release window, Luckey revealed the company has been working with CCP Games on a space shooter game called EVE: Valkyrie. The new game will be included with all Oculus Rift pre-orders.
The Oculus Rift will be joining the Samsung Gear VR and devices from other manufacturers slated to hit the virtual reality headset market. If you are on the fence about buying a VR headset, a market that some think is poised for huge growth, check out what TalkAndroid’s own Brent D’Alessandro thought about the Samsung Gear VR after spending some time with it.
Come comment on this article: Oculus Rift prepares for early 2016 launch
The last Avengers film, Age of Ultron, capped off its world-saving adventure in a unique way: With a stunning statue rendering of our heroes in action. It was reminiscent of classical depictions of Greek gods and goddesses, which seems only fitting for the mythological titans of our time. The whole scene was produced by Perception, the company that Marvel also tapped to design Tony Stark’s elaborate user interfaces (along with plenty of tech companies). In the above video, the company’s creative director John LePore explains how they came up with the idea and went about creating it.
Check out our in-depth profile on Perception and their work developing interfaces for Hollywood and tech companies. (Or just watch the video below.)
Learning to develop applications or web pages, is very popular nowadays. That’s why you often see a lot of deals here at AndroidGuys that have something to do with learning how to develop. Today’s deal is an offer on getting you ready to pass two different Amazon Web Services exams.
This deal from AndroidGuys and StackCommerce is for the Amazon Web Services Engineer Certification Bundle. Within this Bundle you will find courses that will give you over 25 hours of instruction to give you the information needed to pass the Amazon Web Services exams.
- Prep for all three exams w/ 26 hours of instruction
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AndroidGuys Deals: AWS Engineer Certification Bundle
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I normally hate vertical videos. Why shoot with an upright phone when so many people will watch the finished article on their laptop, TV or PC monitor? After pressing play on a YouTube or Facebook clip, I don’t want to see a tiny slither with swathes of black on either side. Slowly, however, I’m starting to appreciate the portrait format. Periscope and Snapchat use vertical video to great effect, and now there’s the short movie Impact by French director Jean-Charles Granjon. It’s a beautiful snapshot which uses the inherent shape of a vertical video to better express its subject matter: Lionel Franc, a world champion cliff diver plunging into the ocean.
The video is only three minutes long, but each precious second is a feast for the eyes. The cinematography is top-notch, with some buttery-smooth slow-motion shots and a deliciously shallow depth of field. The delicate music in the background is also a treat, emphasising the feeling of quiet awe that washes over you during a truly exhilarating moment. The video’s creator, Bluearth Production, says it was shot using two Phantom Flex 4K cameras — one positioned at the top of the cliff, the other underwater, with both recording at a glorious 4K and 1,000 frames per second.
Source: Impact (Vimeo)
Drippler announced today that it made the code for its step-counting live wallpaper available on Android Experiments, allowing developers to examine how Drippler integrated Google Fit into this live wallpaper.
The developer’s step-counting live wallpaper is unique because it takes advantage of technologies in Google Fit that enables the wallpaper to visualize how many steps the user has taken. It does this by filling up a water drop. The more steps you take, the fuller it gets. Once it’s completely full, you’ve met your steps goal for the day.
If you want to take a look at all of the code that went into this unique live wallpaper, head over to the source link below.
Dripper’s step-counting live wallpaper is available to download for free from the Play Store.
source: Android Experiments
Come comment on this article: Dripper’s step-counting live wallpaper comes to Android Experiments
Samsung has begun rolling out the Android 6.0 Marshmallow beta firmware to those who registered for the Galaxy Beta Program in the UK. This comes only a couple days after the Korean tech giant originally began looking for beta testers.
The update brings all of the exciting goodies that come with Android 6.0, including App Permissions, Google Now On Tap, Doze, improved animations, and more.
— Samsung Mobile UK (@SamsungMobileUK) December 23, 2015
This is beta firmware, and as a result, there will no doubt be a lot of bugs that need to be worked out. In the meantime, if you’ve been anxiously awaiting Marshmallow on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, be sure to enroll in the Galaxy Beta Program.
Now that Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners are receiving the beta, it shouldn’t be too long before an official firmware release.
Come comment on this article: Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge owners are getting the Marshmallow beta in the UK