Microsoft isn’t the only company considering a minor console refresh: Sony is also reportedly working on a slightly faster PlayStation 4 to deliver 4K gaming, Kotaku reports. Several developer sources have caught wind of the project, which they’re unofficially calling the “PlayStation 4.5.” Naturally, it’s said to pack in more graphical horsepower, which it’ll need to spit out games in 4K. And of course, that’ll make it even more useful for PlayStation VR, which is currently limited by the PS4’s aging hardware (and is facing stiff competition from the PC-powered Oculus Rift and HTC Vive).
At this point, we don’t really know anything about Sony’s plans. It could end up being some sort of add-on device for existing PlayStation 4s, or it might be an entirely new console that will leave existing PS4 owners behind. Given the amount of gamer goodwill Sony has built up with the console, I could see it offering some sort of upgrade path to ease the transition. The company wouldn’t comment on the rumors to Kotaku, but that’s no surprise.
We’ve already seen several alleged part leaks for the next-generation iPhone 7, and now Chinese site Digi.tech.qq.com [Google Translate] (via HDBlog.it) has shared images of what is believed to be the battery that will be included in the device.
The battery lists a capacity of 7.04 watt-hours, slightly larger in capacity than the equivalent battery capacity listed for the iPhone 6s (6.61 watt-hours) and almost identical to the iPhone 6 (7.01 watt-hours). Voltage is not visible on the alleged iPhone 7 battery, so the exact charge capacity is not yet available, but should be similar to the iPhone 6 battery.
Rumors suggest the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be thinner than existing iPhones, with Apple perhaps making room for the similarly-sized battery by eliminating the headphone jack and cutting down on the extra space around the Lightning port.
While we still have several months to go before the iPhone 7 debuts, we’ve already heard a long list of rumors about the device and we’ve seen multiple part leaks. The iPhone 7 is said to include a faster A10 chip, a Smart Connector, up to 256GB storage space, stereo speakers, no headphone jack, a thinner design with no rear antenna bands, a faster LTE modem, and dual cameras in the iPhone 7 Plus model.
Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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After you’ve used your phone or tablet for a while, you may notice the recent apps list grows quite long. It might seem like closing these apps running in the background will preserve your precious battery life, but it won’t.
In both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS software, these apps are in a paused state in the device’s memory that lets them open quickly. If you close each one, you’d be removing it from memory, forcing the app to reload from scratch the next time you open it. Depending on the app, this process may actually consume more battery life.
Instead of closing the apps, here are two better ways to prolong your device’s battery life:
Open any app that often alerts you and disable some, or all, notifications. Some apps will also allow you to increase the time interval for syncing notifications. If you want to disable an app’s notifications entirely, head to your device’s Settings > Notifications. Then just find the app and turn them off.
Restrict data usage
For most versions of Android, you can head to Settings > Data usage and see which app is the worst data hog. From there, you can remove the offending app’s permission to use background data.
On iOS, head to Settings > General > Background app refresh, then turn this feature off for as many of your apps as you want.
Restricting notifications and data usage will help you recover a little more screen time so you can enjoy even more of your apps.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
Windows 10’s new Phone app is deceptive, because it’s not really a fully-functional app that lets you make voice calls from your device. Instead, the Phone app — which is basically just a call log with a customizable speed dial menu — is a companion app that feeds directly into the Skype video app.
You can only call people on your Skype contact list, which is different from the people listed in your address book (the People app). To add someone to your Skype contact list, you’ll need to open up the Skype video app and click Add contacts. You cannot add Skype contacts from within the Phone app, and there’s no direct link to the Skype video app.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
To call someone on your contact list, click the Phonebook icon at the bottom of the screen. This opens a separate Phonebook window, which is searchable and organized alphabetically.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
Find the person you want to call, click their name, and click Skype video Call to make a voice-only call. To make a video call, click Skype video Video call. Both voice and video calls open Skype video.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
The Phone app has two screens: History and Speed dial. To add someone to your Speed dial list, click Speed dial and click the + button to open up your Skype contact list.
Select the person and the type of call (video or voice-only) you want to add to Speed dial.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
To delete someone from Speed dial, right-click on their name and click Delete. You can also rearrange your Speed dial list by clicking and dragging names into your preferred order.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
To delete calls from your call history, click the … button in the lower right corner.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
Click Select calls and select the calls you want to delete. Once you’ve made your selection, click Delete to delete the calls from your records. You can also delete individual calls by right-clicking on the call and clicking Delete.
They may bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but it’d be unfair to call Oppo’s newly announced R9 and R9 Plus smartphones simple clones.
Focusing on selfie enthusiasts, both devices come equipped with a 16-megapixel front camera. Many companies have built smartphones around their selfie-taking abilities, such as Asus’ ZenFone Selfie and HTC’s Desire Eye, but a front camera with this many megapixels is an impressive first.
In fact, the R9’s 13-megapixel rear camera is smaller than its front shooter. The R9 Plus is even Steven with its snappers: both of its cameras capture at 16 megapixels. The Plus is a reference to its 6-inch display, half an inch bigger than the R9’s screen.
Oppo R9 specs:
- 5.5-inch full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel AMOLED display
- Octa-core 2GHz Mediatek Helio P10 chipset
- 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage
- Dual SIM slots, one of which can be used as a microSD slot to expand storage up to 128GB
- 2,850mAh battery
The R9 and R9 Plus’ similarities with Apple’s iPhones don’t end with the hardware. Their ColorOS 3 software has evidently has taken inspiration from Apple’s iOS 9 operating system too. Disappointingly, ColorOS 3 is based on the older Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, not the latest version, 6.0 Marshmallow.
The phones will go on sale in China soon, with global availability due sometime next month. International pricing isn’t yet available, but the R9 has been priced at 2,799 yuan, which converts roughly to $430, £300 or AU$560. The R9 Plus will cost 3,299 yuan — that’s about $510, £350 or AU$660.
For that midrange price you’ll get some premium features, such as a front fingerprint sensor and VOOC Flash Charge, which Oppo claims enables the phones’ batteries to be charged fully in 15 minutes. Both the R9 and R9 Plus pack fairly large batteries, too.
Oppo R9 Plus specs:
- 6-inch Full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel AMOLED display
- Octa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 652 processor
- 4GB RAM, up to 128GB of storage
- Dual-SIM slots, up to 128GB of expandable storage
- 4,120mAh battery
While the specs look solid and the price reasonable, Oppo has major competition from fellow Chinese vendor Xiaomi. The company has turned many heads with its newly announced Mi 5, which features the mighty Snapdragon 820 processor, the same chip used to power this year’s hottest Android phones, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and LG’s G5. The Mi 5 will cost $415, £295 or AU$575 — slightly less than the Oppo R9.
The Good The Urbanears Hellas are an attractively designed, lightweight, sweatproof wireless Bluetooth headphone with a removable headband and earpads that are washable. The headphones are pretty comfortable (for on-ear) and stay on your head securely, even while running. They have touch controls that work well and the sound is decent for Bluetooth. Battery life is good.
The Bad They look a plastic-y, and they work OK, but not great as a headset for cell phone calls.
The Bottom Line The Urbanears Hellas are an appealing set of wireless workout headphones that can also be used for running and everyday use.
Urbanears’ Hellas, a lightweight on-ear wireless Bluetooth sports headphone that retails for $119 (£80) and comes in multiple color options, has a few things going for it. (It’s not available in Australia presently but would cost around AU$155 at today’s currency exchange rate.)
First, it sits on your head securely, making it suitable for running or gym use, and is fairly comfortable for an on-ear headphone though it’s a good idea to work it in a bit so it doesn’t clamp down on your ears too firmly. It also has touch controls on the right earcup that work well. With a swipe of your finger you can raise and lower volume, skip tracks forward and back, and pause and play your music as well answer and end calls — yes, the headphone has a built-in microphone.
The headphones come with a carrying/washing bag and a USB charging cable.
Another plus is that you can easily remove the earpads and headband and wash them by sticking them in the washing machine. A washing bag is included along with a USB charging cable, and battery life is good at 14 hours.
And finally, the sound is decent. I like their sound better than Urbanears Plattan Wireless, which looks similar but has a different headband design and costs $20 less.
I wouldn’t say the Hellas sound great, but the sound is definitely a step up from an entry-level Bluetooth headphone. They sound fairly well balanced (the bass is ample but not over-accentuated) and offer a reasonable amount of clarity, though there’s a touch of harshness in the treble. The on-ear design and cloth covered foam ear pads muffle ambient sound better than you’d think, but enough sounds leaks in for you to hear traffic if you’re running or biking.
Buy it now
It’s a new year and Xiaomi is not stepping down in the competition for releasing devices that offer the most bang for your buck. Only some months after the release of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, the Chinese manufacturer has released the Redmi 3.
I have been spending some time with the new handset and am ready to give you the full rundown, so let’s dig right into the details.
- Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 review
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review
- Xiaomi Mi 4i review
- Xiaomi Mi Note Pro review
In terms of aesthetics, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 takes many elements from the Redmi Note 3. Except they were able to fit all those goodies into a 5-inch form factor.
This time around Xiaomi has implemented a non-textured pattern on the back side that makes the phone look quite good. But the all-metal Xiaomi Redmi 3 doesn’t only offer a premium look. Its sturdy materials, smaller size and pronounced curves also make for a handset that feels great in the hand.
You will find the power and volume buttons on the top-right side of the phone, offering excellent tactile feedback.
Also included is the IR blaster located on the top of the smartphone. It can be controlled with the included Mi Remote app, but keep in mind it offers very little support outside of China. The good news is there are plenty of third-party apps that can take care of the job just fine. Among my favorites is Peel Smart Remote.
There’s no capacitive key backlighting at the bottom, but there is a multi-colored notification LED, which is certainly nice to have.
This is not exactly your high-end handset, so don’t expect the best display in the market. With that said, we can certainly tell you the 5-inch 720p panel is still a respectable offering for the price and size of the Xiaomi Redmi 3. I do believe the Redmi 3 has better contrast and saturation than the Redmi Note 3, though.
On the other hand, I did find a bit of a defect on this screen. There seems to be a minor shift in color when viewing the display from certain angles. Also, while the adaptive brightness feature worked very well during our testing, we found it difficult to view the Redmi 3’s display in direct sunlight, which may be problematic for some users.
Under the hood we can find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor, which works pretty well (once again, considering the price). But yes, you will find the occasional hiccups, including unresponsive typing and choppy animations. But it did work pretty well while performing light tasks.
See also: Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, 412, and 616 are official8
There’s also 2 GB of RAM in there, but that still offers reasonable multi-tasking capabilities. Remember, not long ago 2 GB of RAM was considered premium.
But the real test is done when you run those awesome games we all love so much. Can the Xiaomi Redmi 3 keep up? It can play most games reasonably well thanks to that Adreno 405 GPU backing the graphics up, but some higher-end games will exhibit frame drops and lag. The experience can vary a bit, though, as even games like Asphalt 8 ran with little hiccups.
You won’t find much lacking in terms of connectivity. Packed inside is 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth 4.1, all of which worked just as we had expected.
This device is unlocked and does feature dual-SIM capabilities, which will be great for those of you who travel often or rely on multiple carriers. And if you aren’t in that situation, one of the SIM slots can also be used as a microSD card slot (up to 128 GB).
Speaking of storage, there’s 16 GB of on-board memory here. Enough for plenty of casual users, but those who need plenty of songs, video sand other files will probably need to expand.
I was surprised to find that the Xiaomi Redmi 3 speaker is actually quite loud. But nothing is perfect, and the sound here does come with some distortion. Not much to worry about, though. I would say its biggest drawback is the back positioning, which muffles the sound when the phone is placed on a flat surface.
But let’s talk battery life. Oh my… battery life. This little guy features a 4100 mAh battery. That battery power is hard to find, even on high-end, big handsets. Add the lower resolution and resourceful processor into the equation and you will be holding a winning handset. I was able to use it for over 2 days with moderate usage, but I am sure even the hardcore users will be able to get a full day out of it… and then some.
See also: Best of Android 2015: Battery46
|Processor||1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616|
|Storage||16 GP, microSD support (up to 128 GB)|
|Rear camera||13 MP, F/2.0|
|Front camera||5 MP|
|Dimensions||139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5 mm|
The Xiaomi Redmi 3’s 13 MP f/2.0 rear camera is able to take some pretty good shots. Once again, though, this is no high-end performer, and that is something you will easily notice here. There’s a lack of dynamic range and a tendency for over-sharpened images. HDR helps a bit, but it also makes taking shots slower and often makes images look unrealistic.
What I did like is MIUI’s camera app, which offers great manual controls. You can adjust things like white balance and ISO in manual mode, or use a variety of other modes like panorama.
The Xiaomi Redmi 3 comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, skinned with MIUI 7. We know plenty of you don’t like MIUI’s similarities with iOS, but if you can get past its downsides you will find that it is an enjoyable UI to use.
MIUI is easy to use, but also offers a commendable amount of customization and extra features, which will appeal to Android enthusiasts. You can do special things like record calls, set scheduled battery profiles, change the LED color and modify the size of the one-handed display mode.
There is one bad thing here, though. And sadly, it could be a deal breaker to many of you. It does not come with Google Apps out of the box. Installing them is an extra step, and there is no news of an international version of the device coming.
Also bad news is the fact that Xiaomi has started locking more bootloaders. To our dismay, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 is one of the affected handsets. This is for your security, but tinkerers can still play around if they are patient.
Xiaomi is requiring users to apply for unlocking privileges and await an acceptance or denial response, which Xiaomi says can take up to 10 days to receive. It’s good to keep phones secure for the casual user, but we feel this process is a bit to inconvenient. And we feel that Xiaomi’s process for unlocking only invites malware to be preloaded on devices leaving China, as users will have a very tough time removing it.
You should probably not expect too many updates for this phone. We know that sounds pretty bad, but it is super affordable and does what it is meant to do, which would put it in the low-priority list in most cases. However, we should also note that MIUI does receive updates of its own, which are released relatively frequently.
Let’s talk money! I have been boasting the device’s price over and over, but you still don’t know just how affordable this device is. It is currently only available from China at just 699 RMB. That translates to about $108 USD!
Do keep in mind, however, that resellers and exporters will probably mark the price up to anywhere between $140 and $160.
I find it hard to complain about the Xiaomi Redmi 3. It’s not the best build handset, nor does it have the best specs and it definitely needs performance improvements. But we must also keep in mind that very few other products can beat it at this price points. For about $108 this is one hell of a phone.
Its excellent design, great software, and crazy good battery life greatly overshadow its flaws. With that said, unless you have an unusually tight budget, want a smaller form factor or need the extra battery life, we recommend its older brother.
The Redmi Note 3 has a higher resolution display, faster processor, still great battery life and a fingerprint reader for only $30 more in China, and even less through resellers.
Buy it now
T-Mobile has announced that it will begin accepting pre-orders of the LG G5 on March 29, two days before its official April 1 release. To entice customers to upgrade or make the switch, T-Mobile is also offering those who purchase before April 5 a free LG 360 Cam. This is on top of the existing battery bundle offer, that includes a spare battery and charging cradle for it. From T-Mobile:
As an added incentive, customers that purchase the G5 before April 17th will qualify for a free LG Battery Bundle, an $80 value that includes a battery and docking station. And for those early birds that purchase before April 5th – T-Mobile will also throw in the new LG 360 CAM, a $200 value (while supplies last).
Pre-orders open on March 29, and T-Mobile will be selling the G5 for $26.25 a month over 24 months, or $629 outright. You can sign up now at T-Mobile to receive additional information about the phone and pre-orders.
Join the LG G5 pre-order discussion in the forums
See at T-Mobile
- LG G5 hands-on
- LG G5 complete specs
- LG G5 CAM Plus module
- LG G5 B&O Hi-Fi audio module
- The G5 has an always-on display
- LG G5 keeps the SD card, shuns adoptable storage
- Join the LG G5 discussion
Shazam has announced the launch of the Google Play Music Hub. This new feature enables consumers who have shazamed music on their Android-powered smartphone to stream and purchase said songs from the Google Play Store. As well as playing and buying individual tracks, the new hub will also allow a station to be launched that has been curated by specific musical taste, beginning with the most recently shazamed track.
To celebrate the launch, Google is offering Shazam users the chance to try out three months of Google Play Music for just $1. This is an absolute steal of a deal, unlocking access to not only music, but also YouTube Red membership and more. Shazam chief revenue Greg Glenday commented on the announcement:
“We created these features with music fans in mind. We’re constantly looking to streamline the listening and discovery experience. The Google Play Music Hub does just that. It’s more music with fewer taps.”
You should be able to take advantage of the new functionality today, so be sure to download Shazam from the Google Play Store. Hit us up in the comments with how you’re getting on.
You’ll need to cancel your weekend plans. Daredevil season two is now available for streaming on Netflix. The Marvel creation picks up where season one left off with the likes of Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll making a return with the rest of the gang.
Does the season trailer have you on the edge of your seat? If so, you’ll definitely want to stock up on popcorn and soda for the binge viewing ahead.