By Cat DiStasio
While architecture on land strives ever higher, designers in wetter parts of the world are finding new ways to build beneath the waves. Underwater buildings aren’t exactly common — partly thanks to their enormous expense — but there are a few stellar examples of submerged structures that demonstrate how a trend like this could really take off. From the world’s largest underwater restaurant in the Maldives to a community of luxury floating condos in Dubai that put beachfront property to shame, undersea buildings illustrate what can be done when we fuse technology with architecture.
Roku has seemingly done the impossible with its latest Streaming Stick. It’s smaller than the previous 2014-era version, it packs in a faster quad-core CPU and it’s still just $50. The speed improvements, in particular, are a welcome change because the last Streaming Stick sometimes stalled when doing simple things like browsing menus. With performance like this, the only reason you’d choose a clunky set-top box over the Streaming Stick is if you needed 4K support (it’s stuck at 1080p for now).
We’re at the point where capable HDMI sticks are practically indistinguishable from USB flash drives. The revamped Roku Stick is significantly slimmer than its predecessor, with a more streamlined design. You could easily fit it in your jeans’ coin pocket and forget about it. (Pro tip: Don’t do that.) It’s almost a dead ringer for Amazon’s Fire TV stick; both are rectangular slabs with near-identical dimensions, but the Roku is an almost imperceptible two-tenths of an inch shorter and 0.3 ounces lighter.
While the company wouldn’t divulge full technical specs, Roku says the new stick’s quad-core CPU is eight times faster than the previous version. The company wouldn’t say if it upgraded the amount of RAM or storage, though. Reps tell me Roku also worked hard to improve the Stick’s antenna placement, which should lead to better reception. While it’s still stuck with 802.11n WiFi, it also works with 5GHz networks, which don’t have as much wireless interference to deal with.
Despite the faster hardware, the Roku Stick still only supports a maximum resolution of 1080p. That might seem like an oversight now that 4K sets are readily affordable, but there are still plenty of HDTVs that could benefit from the Stick. It’s ideal for houses with multiple televisions, and it’s also portable enough to move around your house or travel with easily. And let’s not forget that the latest Apple TV is also limited to 1080p.
Aside from its HDMI connector and a small reset button, the only other distinguishing feature on the Roku Stick is its mini-USB power port. The company recommends that you plug it into the included AC adapter, but the Stick worked just fine when connected to the USB ports on my TV and receiver. That’s ideal for any streaming stick because you don’t have to run a long USB cable to your wall. Future HDMI standards should be able to drive enough power to make extra power supplies unnecessary, but for now, this is as streamlined as you can get.
Roku also revamped its iconic remote control for the new Stick. It’s sleeker and thinner than previous models, which could best be described as comfortable but chubby, and it has a matte finish instead of a glossy look. It’s nowhere near as thin as the new Apple TV remote, or even the Fire TV Stick’s, but you probably won’t lose it as easily in your couch. It also feels good in your hand; the curve common to Roku’s remotes works even better with a thinner model.
One truly useful tweak: The “OK” button is now in the center of the directional pad, instead of awkwardly sitting below it. There are still Netflix, Amazon and Sling shortcut buttons on the bottom of the remote, but the now-defunct Rdio button has been replaced by Google Play.
Unfortunately, there’s still no headphone jack on this new remote, something Roku popularized with its set-top boxes. But that’s where its apps come in …
More so than its other players, the new Stick gives you plenty of good reasons to rely on Roku’s iOS and Android apps. For one, it’s the company’s first device to bring “private listening” with your headphones to its apps. While it would have been nice to have an integrated headphone jack on the remote, going the app route makes more sense because you won’t be draining batteries as quickly. I also wouldn’t be surprised if private listening made its way to other Roku boxes soon, as it’s something the company’s fans have been clamoring for.
Beyond that feature, the mobile app hasn’t changed much since I looked at the Roku 4. It still gives you full control over the Roku Stick (which is especially useful for typing in usernames and passwords), text and voice search, as well as the ability to add movies and TV shows (a new addition) to your feed. The latter feature lets you know where you can stream titles once they become available. Additionally, you can also send photos, music and video from your phone to the Stick, as well as browse and add new streaming apps.
Unfortunately, Roku still hasn’t made any major improvements to the operating system that powers the Stick. It’s still a basic purple interface that relies on fairly simplistic menus. There’s none of the visual flair that you can find in the new Apple TV, or even some smart TV implementations, like LG’s WebOS. Then again, some might find that preferable because there’s less UI gunk to slow down the experience.
Setting up the Roku Stick was a cinch: I just plugged it into an HDMI port and connected the power cable to USB port on my TV. It booted up in a few seconds and paired the remote without issue. The rest of the process is standard for all Roku devices: I added it to my WiFi network and plugged in my Roku account details, and it proceeded to download all of the channels I set up on my Roku 3. All in all, setup took around five minutes.
It didn’t take long for me to notice just how much faster this Roku Stick is. Moving around its menus felt incredibly zippy; I didn’t notice any difference from navigating the beefier Roku 4 set-top box. And it also managed to load just about any video I threw at it, be it a short trailer or a long Netflix film, in under a second. There was none of the frustration I had with the last-gen Stick, which often hiccupped when trying to just browse menus. After bingeing on Archer, Girls and The Americans, I quickly forgot I was streaming video off a tiny device powered by a mere USB cable.
Netflix’s Roku app was particularly impressive on the Stick. It starts autoplaying videos as soon as you navigate to a title’s page, and there’s also the occasional trailer or preview on the Netflix home screen. Despite having to handle constant streaming of high-quality video, the Roku Stick never broke a sweat. Chalk that up to both its faster CPU and refined networking capabilities. It was a huge surprise to see a much more complex Netflix app running flawlessly on a $50 device, whereas I still occasionally have slowdown problems with its Apple TV app.
While I never had any issue with the old remotes, the streamlined model felt even better in my hand. I also had no trouble connecting my wired and wireless headphones with Roku’s iPhone app for the private-listening feature. I kept a close eye out for audio-synchronization issues and didn’t notice any problems with dialogue or instruments falling out of step during Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle.
As always, Roku’s search does a good job of telling you where to rent and buy content. You can also follow titles from the search results, as well as dig into profiles from the directors and cast members. I found the search to be even more useful on Roku’s apps, which is the only way to use voice search with the Stick. It’s a lot easier to sift through search results on a phone or tablet screen than it is to type letters individually with your remote. Roku’s feed feature, which lets you follow movies, TV shows, actors and directors, worked well from my testing, and it could be particularly useful if you have trouble keeping up with new streaming content.
I used the Roku stick on multiple TVs, as well as my AV receiver, over the course of a week. Every time I plugged it into a new device, it booted up in 15 to 30 seconds and went straight to the home screen. It never had any trouble connecting to my WiFi network, and it seemed to suffer no issues with my constant plugging and unplugging.
As you’d expect, Roku’s main competitor is Amazon’s Fire TV stick ($40 with a standard remote, $50 with a voice remote), which up until now was the fastest streaming stick on the market. Roku’s new quad-core CPU simply trounces the dual-core chip in the Fire TV offering, which never felt quite as speedy as Amazon’s set-top boxes. And, of course, it’s worth remembering that Amazon’s Fire TV devices have a far more limited selection of apps compared with Roku.
If you have an older TV without an HDMI port, then the $50 Roku 1 might be a better option for you. It won’t work with Roku’s voice search, but it’s the best way to revamp an older TV. And if you absolutely need 4K, the $130 Roku 4 is your best choice.
The more I used the Roku Streaming Stick, the more it seemed like the ideal streaming solution for most people. Aside from its lack of 4K, it’s cheap, easy to set up and incredibly versatile. Even if you already have some sort of streaming box, it might be worth getting one for additional TVs or for when you’re traveling.
And if you don’t need the Roku Stick, it’s still worth seeing in person. It’s a tiny reminder of how far we’ve come.
The Good The Plextor M7V is speedy, affordable and can handle years of constant data writing.
The Bad The drive is a tad slower than its predecessor and doesn’t include any accessories or software.
The Bottom Line The Plextor M7V is a budget solid-state drive that’s designed to last and will give any computer that still uses a traditional hard drive a big performance boost.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
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The Plextor M7V is a stasndard internal drive.
The M7V is the successor to the M6V and is Plextor’s new value-priced solid-state drive (SSD). At launch the M7V has a low suggested price of $50, $71 and $146 for 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, respectively (actual street price will likely be lower). In return, its performance was slightly slower than the M6V. Still, the drive does what it’s designed to do: act as a replacement drive for computers that still run on regular old hard drives. Used in this way, it will help significantly boost the computer’s performance.
Plextor M7V SSD’s specs
|SATA 3 (6Gbps) 2.5-inch standard||SATA 3 (6Gbps) 2.5-inch standard||SATA 3 (6Gbps) 2.5-inch standard|
|256MB DDR3||512MB DDR3||768MB DDR3|
|Marvel l 88SS1074B1||Marvel l 88SS1074B1||Marvel l 88SS1074B1|
|Toshiba Toggle 15nm TLC||Toshiba Toggle 15nm TLC||Toshiba Toggle 15nm TLC|
|Up to 560 MB/s||Up to 560 MB/s||Up to 560 MB/s|
|Up to 500 MB/s||Up to 530 MB/s||Up to 530 MB/s|
|Up to 97K IOPS||Up to 98K IOPS||Up to 98K IOPS|
|Up to 51K IOPS||Up to 84K IOPS||Up to 84K IOPS|
|3 years||3 years||3 years|
The M7V can fit in any space where a regular hard drive is used, however in a desktop, you’ll want to opt for a drive bay bracket (not included) to keep it from moving around inside the case. The drive supports the latest SATA 6Gbps standard but will work with all SATA revisions.
The Good The $199 Kuna Light Fixture elegantly merges home security with outdoor lighting in a way that looks nice, is easy to manage and helps you keep a closer eye on any unexpected visitors.
The Bad There’s no dedicated night vision setting and a single light bulb really can’t capture low-light conditions that well. Kuna lacks an IFTTT channel and doesn’t work with any smart-home hubs or otherwise play well with products from other manufacturers. You have to pay a fee for cloud storage and other advanced features.
The Bottom Line Despite some notable caveats, the Kuna Light Fixture is a discreet and stylish security camera for your home.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
The $199 Kuna Light Fixture has a secret. From a distance it looks like a plain ol’ mild-mannered porch light. But when you get closer, you can see that it’s actually equipped with a security camera — and an impressive one at that, including 720p high-definition live video, motion detection, two-way talk, an on-demand siren and optional cloud recording beginning at $60 per year.
Since this DIY device is also a functional outdoor fixture (you do have to buy your own bulbs, though), you have access to advanced light control options that work in tandem with the security camera — all accessible via the straightforward Kuna Android and iPhone app. The downside? There’s no night vision or third-party integration and Kuna only has a 2-hour free storage “grace period” for video recordings, versus the minimum of 24 free hours most competitors offer.
Even so, the Kuna light-camera hybrid is a product I can comfortably recommend to anyone interested in something discreet that’s rated for the outdoors and connects seamlessly to your old wall-mounted porch light’s wires for steady, continuous battery-free power (it won’t work with ceiling-mounted entry lights).
This sleek porch light can also alert you…
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Kuna up close
The Kuna is an interesting concept, one that got its start on Indiegogo back in 2014 and raised a grand total of $229,373 — well over its original $50,000 goal. Now it’s available for sale in the US on Amazon, as well as on Kuna’s online store. Note: The Maximus Smart Security Wall Lantern available at Home Depot and elsewhere is the same product and uses the same Kuna app.
If you don’t fancy the craftsman style of the Kuna we tested, don’t worry. There are also traditional and contemporary designs available. And all three come in either a black or a bronze finish.
More home security coverage:
- Knock, knock: August’s Doorbell Cam helps you see who’s there
- Home security 101: Local vs. cloud camera storage
- Smart lock buying guide
- Security camera buying guide
- You won’t have to guess who’s coming to dinner with these smart doorbells
- Top 4 things you need to know before you buy a smart lock
Our craftsman-esque review unit is the heaviest of the three Kuna styles at 3.1 pounds, and it measures 11 inches tall by 6 inches wide with a depth of 8.5 inches. I like its heft and size, though, as it feels durable enough to withstand the elements and is a welcome design upgrade to the tarnished brass fixture that was installed there before.
A Kuna should be able to replace most existing wall-mounted porch lights with standard 120V-AC, 60Hz circuits and it took me roughly 20 minutes from start to finish to set mine up, with a little help. Here’s an overview of the steps:
- Turn off power to the light you’re replacing.
- Uninstall your existing porch light from the junction box — you should have three wires: a power wire, a return wire and a ground wire.
- If you don’t already have a comparable mounting bracket installed in your junction box, here’s where you’d add it. (Since our junction box already had one, we skipped this step.)
- Connect the Kuna’s wires to the ones in the junction box using wire nuts (this was the hardest part for me, as it was challenging to hold the light in one hand and connect the wires with the other — here’s where I enlisted a friend to help).
- Secure the Kuna to the mounting bracket and turn the power back on — voila! You’re done.
Still have questions? Check out Kuna’s detailed installation guide.
35 connected cameras for a safer smart home…
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The software side
Kuna by day — and by night.
Screenshots by CNET
If you installed everything correctly, the Kuna should start flashing a blue LED status light almost immediately. Download the Kuna app on your Android or iOS device and follow the instructions to add the camera for remote access on your phone.
This process is very straightforward, as Kuna’s software automatically starts searching for the camera when the blue LED begins to blink. From there, you simply plug in your local Wi-Fi details and that’s that. You’re ready to start customizing your alerts, light settings, cloud recording subscription (optional) and more.
The Good The Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 is one of the best standmount speakers you can buy. The speaker combines immaculate build quality and sumptuous good looks. Sound quality is amongst the best of the best with a wide and deep soundstage and excellent articulation and dynamic heft. The diamond tweeter’s detailed treble never resorts to the harshness seen in cheaper speakers.
The Bad The 805 D3 is priced like the ultra-high-end speaker it is. Its relative lack of low end won’t suit bass heads.
The Bottom Line The Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 are the supercharged sportscars of the high-end speaker world, combining whiplash-inducing looks, cutting edge technology and exquisite performance.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
Bowers & Wilkins’ co-founder John Bower once said, “The best loudspeaker isn’t the one that produces the most, it’s the one that loses the least.” Those words rang true when I started listening to the company’s flagship 805 D3 monitors; they let the music speak for itself.
At $6,000 per pair the all new 805 D3 is the most “affordable” stereo model in Bowers & Wilkins’ 800 Series lineup. (They are £4,500 per pair in the UK, and AU$8,500 in Australia). I first heard the Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3 at a launch event for the new range at Sterling Sound NYC — a local mastering studio — and was immediately taken with their immaculate sonics.
I listened to a live recording of Ryan Adams singing “Winding Wheel,” and was immediately transported from a small control room in Chelsea to a lively venue in downtown Dublin. The speakers virtually mapped the large performance space in seemingly minute detail — I could even tell where the rowdiest audience members were standing. Yet at the same time, these speakers also created the illusion that I was alongside the singer as he crooned and whispered into the microphone. Very few speakers at any price can do this without compromise, but the 805 D3s manage to pull this off.
Now that I’ve had the speakers to myself, and have spent some quality time with them, I am no less impressed by their considerable talents. These are very special speakers indeed. For me, they have become the new “diamond standard” for loudspeakers — an especially apt description, because these speakers actually utilize diamond particles in their exquisite tweeters.
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Bowers and Wilkins has got your high end audio needs covered with the beautiful 805 D3 speaker set.
Few audiophile speakers “cross over” and find favor with music recording, broadcast, and film sound professionals, but that’s exactly what happened with Bowers & Wilkins very first 800 Series model, the 801, introduced in 1979. Other 800 Series speakers have been used in Abbey Road Studios, Skywalker Ranch, Capitol Records, Warner Music Group, Sterling Sound and many other pro studios.
The 800 D3 Series speakers are the culmination of seven years of development at the company’s research center in Steyning. It’s just a few miles from the factory in Worthing, England where all 800 Diamond Series speakers, including the 805 D3, are made.
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The 805 D3 is a large, two-way monitor speaker. Though it doesn’t look radically different from the second generation 805 Diamond Series speakers, Bowers & Wilkins claims hundreds of design changes have been made from the model that was introduced in 2010.
My samples were finished in a lovely matte Rosenut veneer, but gloss black is also available. Build quality standards are commensurate with the 805 D3’s high asking price. Bowers & Wilkins also offers handsome floor stands for use with the 805 D3 which will cost $1,000/£450/AU$1,499 per pair.
Rather than build the cabinet from more common medium-density fiberboard the 805 D3’s cabinet is constructed from multiple layers of beech wood bonded to a laminate, which is curved under pressure at the Bowers & Wilkins factory. When combined with the cabinet’s internal Matrix bracing–which is made from medium-density fiberboard–the company claims the result is a stronger, more acoustically-inert design. Wrap your knuckles against the 805 D3’s cabinet, and all you’ll get are sore knuckles.
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The Contiuum driver
The most obvious change to Bowers and Wilkins 800 Diamond Series speakers is that they no longer feature woven Kevlar mid-bass drivers. The 805 D3 instead sports a grey 6.5-inch Continuum cone which was developed inhouse by Bowers & Wilkins. The brand new Continuum driver is a sandwich consisting of a metallized weave and a foam core that’s said to be lighter and stronger than the Kevlar cone, and which the company says results in much less distortion.
The 805 D3 comes with removable black cloth grilles, but I never used them. A flared and stippled “Flowport” bass port, which the company has long used to combat the chuffing effects of “port noise”, sits just below the woofer on the front baffle.
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The diamond tweeter is decoupled from the speaker
The one-inch (25mm) diamond tweeter that sits atop the 805 D3’s cabinet is now fitted to a solid aluminum housing, which is compliantly mounted to the cabinet to decouple the tweeter from cabinet vibrations. The tweeter’s diamond dome is formed by ” chemical vapour deposition”, a process Bower & Wilkins uses to “grow” diamond particles into a complex shape. The company claims the 805 D3’s diamond tweeter remains “pistonic” at higher frequencies than metal, plastic, or fabric dome tweeters, so the highest treble is “cleaner,” less distorted and stereo imaging is enhanced.
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The beautifully-machined, solid-metal speaker connectors work with banana plugs, spades, pins, or stripped bare wires. Each speaker has a double set of connectors, so the 805 D3 can be biwired, or used with standard single wire cables.
Instagram Is Ruining Vacation
Instagram users, myself included, share many daily activities with the social channel’s filter-driven photography and videos. That habit is only amplified when we go on vacation, nabbing photos of sights, meals and more. Is our desire to snap a picture actually ruining our ability to tune out the world and relax when we’re away? It sure seems like it.
Hollywood’s Upcoming Films Prove It Loves Asian Culture — As Long As It Comes Without Asians
The trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film debuted last week, offering a tease of this fall’s release. The movie seems to be full of Asian culture from the comics, minus Asian actors.
What If Everyone Voted on Everything?
Just over half of United States citizens take time to visit the polls for presidential elections. That number drops even further during the mid-term cycle. What if we had to vote on everything? What if each person was able to cast an opinion on a bill or other piece of legislation?
3D Printing Our Way To The Year 2050
NASA and Star Trek are using 3D printing to inspire the next generation of makers. And they’re doing it in space as well as here on Earth.
The UX Of Ethics: Should Google Tell You If You Have Cancer?
If algorithms built by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and the like can tell that you have cancer based on your search queries and conversations, should the technology inform you of your condition?
Today on In Case You Missed It: Brazil is taking on the Zika virus by creating a smart billboard that attracts, then kills mosquitoes. Columbia University researchers built a camera prototype that takes pictures at a curve. And a Chinese company has stepped to Tesla with a self-driving, electric-only vehicle, though it isn’t in production yet.
Definitely share the latest in the Volkswagen emissions scandal with your friends who could use $5,000 (but might not get it); or just take in this performance from Prince as he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame. He was just so talented. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.
Developer Mojang might be best known for wildly popular and influential Minecraft, but it’s no one-trick pony. Which brings us to Crown & Council, the studio’s latest that, from the sounds of it, is a fast-paced strategy game in the vein of Risk or Civilization. In the tradition of Minecraft, the studio says that the game was developed entirely by one person, Henrik Pettersson. It uses a charming 16-bit style of pixel art and maybe best of all, it’s absolutely free on Steam. Need something new to play over the weekend? Now you’re all set.
Source: Mojang, Steam
There are so many Windows-powered tablets that connect to slim keyboard covers that we’ve taken to calling them Surface-alikes, after the flagship Microsoft hybrid. But while most of the competition costs less than the current Surface Pro 4, those systems, from Samsung, Asus and others, cut corners by relying on low-power processors from Intel’s Atom and Core M lines.
Acer is taking a different approach with its new Switch Alpha 12, a 12-inch hybrid first announced at the company’s New York press preview on April 21. The Alpha 12 uses current-gen Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs (like the Surface Pro), and has a 2,160×1,440 resolution, which isn’t as high as the Surface Pro, but is in the ballpark.
More importantly, the Alpha 12 comes with its magnetic keyboard cover included in the box, whereas the Microsoft version is an extra $129, no matter which base model you buy. That’s especially important, as the Switch Alpha 12 starts at $599 in the US, presumably for a Core i3 configuration.
Up close with all the new gear Acer announced…
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It’s also very quiet, as this is a fanless design, something usually only seen in very low-power Core M systems. That’s accomplished by way of a small liquid cooling component that pulls heat away from the CPU. Acer calls it the LiquidLoop Cooling System, and while it’s not as robust as the massive liquid cooling systems in some gaming PCs, it’s an interesting way to keep a slim tablet cool without fans.
In my brief hands-on time with the Alpha 12, I liked the manual U-shaped kickstand, which was deployed by simply pulling it out, unlike some other hybrids which rely on twitchy buttons and latches. On the demo unit I tried, the magnetic connection between the keyboard cover and the tablet was also very strong. So much so that it was hard to pull them apart. That’s good for security, but can also be a hassle if you want to go tablet-only on the fly.
The Switch Alpha 12, which weighs 2.76 pounds (1,260 grams) all together, or 1.98 pounds (900 grams) as a standalone tablet, will be available in June in the US, starting at $599. It will be available across Europe in May, at €699, which is about £ 544. There’s no word on Australian availability yet.
If you’re looking for a new smartphone in 2016, you’re facing a tough decision, with plenty of competitive devices on offer.
Samsung was the first to announce, showing off the new Galaxy S7 models, with the S7 edge attracting rave reviews.
HTC let the dust settle for a few months before launching its own flagship, the HTC 10, which is being heralded as a return to form for HTC.
We’ve lived with both devices, reviewed them, pulled them apart and found their strengths and weaknesses. So which is best, and which should you be spending your money on?
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Design and build
When it comes to design, both Samsung and HTC are made to high standards, offering some of the highest quality design you’ll find on current handsets.
The HTC 10 features a metal body, anodised and bead-blasted smooth, giving a serious look, and a seriously solid feel in the hand. It measures 145.9 x 71.9, with the sides varying between 3-9mm due to the deep rear chamfer and the curve.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge offers a larger display, so you’d expect it to be a larger handset, measuring 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, so it’s a little taller, but the flatter profile leads to a slimmer device.
The Samsung weighs 157g, compared to 161g for the HTC 10, so there’s little difference in weight.
The Samsung has a glass front and back, so it’s more prone to fingerprints, but the curves to the display add a design boost that the HTC 10 lacks. Samsung also offers IP68 proofing, giving it better protection against the elements.
Both handsets are very high quality and lovely to hold; where HTC offers an understated solidity, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is more extravagant.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Display
The HTC 10 offers a 5.2-inch Quad HD display. That means it has a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution for a sharp 564ppi. HTC has used an LCD panel, calling it Super LCD 5 with a Gorilla Glass surface to keep it scratch free.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has a 5.5-inch display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution again, although the slight increase in size sees the pixel density drop slightly to 534ppi. Samsung has stuck to using AMOLED for its display, but the biggest feature is the curved edges, giving wow factor to the display.
The Samsung display is brighter and more punchy, with more responsive autobrightness. The AMOLED technology is known to produce deeper blacks and more vibrant colours, perhaps verging on the unrealistic, but certainly not missing out on impact – and that’s exactly what you get in the S7 edge.
The HTC by comparison doesn’t handle bright conditions quite so well, often not raising the brightness to counter those reflections on the display quite so readily. The Samsung also offers better viewing angles, with the HTC 10 losing colour as you start looking from more oblique angles.
Although the edges on the Samsung display add wow factor, the features they provide really don’t add much and for those using full-width apps, you might find that the edges are less responsive than a flat display, as on the HTC 10.
There’s no avoiding the Samsung’s display, it has impact and it’s difficult not to fall for its charms.
READ: Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review: The new smartphone champion
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Hardware and performance
There’s a lot in common with the hardware builds of the SGS7 edge and the HTC 10. The HTC is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB of RAM. There is a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge version with the same hardware, although Samsung also offers an octo-core Exynos 8 Octo chipset with 4GB RAM too.
In reality, there’s little difference in performance, with both being exceptionally slick and fast in operation. Whichever you pick, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most powerful handsets around.
Both also offer microSD card expansion, meaning you can easily change the storage on your device. The HTC offers support for Android’s adoptable storage option, so it can be seamlessly integrated for more app and data expansion. The Samsung doesn’t offer this so it’s slightly less flexible.
In reality, there’s little in it: both devices offer an exemplary performance.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Battery performance
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge comes with a 3400mAh battery, with its increased size offering an easy advantage: the battery is bigger. The HTC has a 3000mAh battery.
The result is that the Galaxy S7 edge battery life is noticeably longer lasting in our tests. Where the HTC 10 will last you through the day, the Samsung offers better endurance and much of that comes down to sheer size.
The HTC supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and there’s a compatible charger in the box that will see the HTC handset fully charged in little over an hour. That beats Samsung’s performance: although Samsung will charge fast, it’s not quite that speedy.
Finally, Samsung also offers wireless charging adding an extra convenience advantage.
For power users, it’s Samsung that has the edge in battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Camera
Samsung’s reputation in camera performance has become rather formidable. The 12-megapixel camera of the Galaxy S7 edge offers optical image stabilisation, f/1.7 aperture, 1.4µm pixels and is fast to launch and use.
The SGS7 edge has an excellent camera, offering great results, with wonderful consistency, and the added advantage with its handy quick launch shortcut from the home button. At times it feels like the depth of field is getting too narrow, especially on macro shots, but overall its an excellent performer, giving real depth and punch in its photos.
HTC also offers a 12-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, f/1.8 aperture and 1.55µm pixels. It’s also fast to launch and use, with laser autofocusing. This is the best camera that HTC has put on a smartphone and we’ve also been impressed with its consistent performance. However, there are still a few areas it could be stronger, like being able to touch to meter, rather than just refocus.
When it comes to selfies, HTC has the advantage, offering autofocus and optical image stabilisation on the front camera.
We’d pick the SGS7 edge for fast consistent performance in all conditions, but HTC’s camera is stronger than it’s ever been before.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Sound quality
We’re going to talk about sound quality here, because it’s something that HTC fans will always be asking about. BoomSound Hi-Fi edition lives up to its name, offering crisp clear audio from the speakers that trounces the Samsung. There’s no contest really.
The HTC 10 is probably the best sounding smartphone around, whether you’re using the speakers or opting for headphones and that’s worth a mention, as there’s full Hi-Res and Dolby Audio support, and plenty of power to drive your headphones.
READ: HTC 10 review: Welcome back to the premier league
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Software
TouchWiz meets sense in this final clash. Samsung has been quietly refining TouchWiz and the moves made in the SGS6 in 2015 are continued into the SGS7 edge in 2016. This is slick software, much smoother and faster to use than older versions.
There’s a lot of change from Android, and although that means there are a lot of added features, there’s probably more features in the Samsung handset, than you’ll ever use. Importantly, however, it doesn’t seem to slow the phone down.
The HTC 10 on the other hand has ditched a lot of bloat out of Sense 8.0, bringing it closer to Android, opting for stock Android apps in some cases, rather than its own. That makes the HTC leaner and feel much more like an Android handset.
Of the two we like HTC’s lighter approach. This is the handset for a cleaner Android experience, whereas the Samsung still feels like a Samsung phone, tweaked, changed and moved along from its Android core.
This really is a case of personal preference, the full reworking of Samsung, or the lighter focus on core functions from HTC.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs HTC 10: Summing up
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge’s top billing perhaps isn’t a surprise: it’s a refinement of a very good handset from last year, but there’s enough of a change to make this model feel fresh. The result is strength in all areas: there’s little to dislike about Samsung’s flagship handset.
HTC has done a lot of soul searching and produced its strongest handset in recent years in the HTC 10. It has a solid design and wonderful slick performance. The camera is good and consistent and the software is light and uncluttered, with little bloat. It sounds better too, without a doubt.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge catches the eye more with that design however. The display is better and the battery will last you longer. It’s a little more expensive too, at £639 compared to £569 for the HTC. Both these handsets come highly recommended and whichever you choose, you’ll have an excellent device.