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30
May

Researchers create high-speed electronics for your skin


Make no mistake, today’s wearables are clever pieces of kit. But they can be bulky and restricted by the devices they must be tethered to. This has led engineers to create thinner and more powerful pieces of wearable technology that can be applied directly to the skin. Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, have developed “the world’s fastest stretchable, wearable integrated circuits,” that could let hospitals apply a temporary tattoo and remove the need for wires and clips.

With its snake-like shape, the new platform supports frequencies in the .3 gigahertz to 300 gigahertz range. This falls in what is set to become the 5G standard. For a mobile phone, 5G enables faster speeds and greater coverage, but with epidermal electronics, engineers have discussed the possibility that wearers could transmit their vitals to a doctor without having to leave their home.

While the idea isn’t unique, the integrated circuits created by Ma and his team have a much smaller footprint than those developed by other researchers. Earlier transmission lines can measure up to 640 micrometers (or .64 millimeters), but UW–Madison’s solution is just 25 micrometers (or .025 millimeters) thick. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research also supports Ma’s research, suggesting that his wearable breakthroughs may help pilots of the future.

Via: Science News Journal

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

30
May

ASUS’ me-too VR headset sure looks fancy


Well, look at what we have here. Tucked away in the corner of ASUS’ Computex event is what looks like a VR headset, and a particularly fancy-looking one at that. The goggles part of it is a shiny silvery metal and its straps seem to be made out of leather. After digging around, we found out that it’s meant to be used in much the same way as the Gear VR, except you’d use it with an ASUS’ ZenFone instead. Like with the Gear VR, you’d use the touchpad and buttons on the side for navigation. There’s not much else we know about it, but we’re guessing we’ll learn more about it later this year. At IFA, perhaps?

30
May

ASUS ROG unveils Avalon, a hassle-free approach to a DIY PC


If you’re a serious enough gamer, you’ve likely looked into building your own PC for the ultimate gaming experience. But the process can be a little tedious, especially if you’re new to figuring out where all the different components fit. ASUS’s ROG (short for Republic of Gamers) division has unveiled a new product called the Avalon that’s designed to alleviate exactly that concern. Think of it as a semi-homemade approach to DIY PC building.

It’s just a prototype at the moment, but the Avalon is essentially a motherboard and chassis hybrid that’s designed as a single unit, so you don’t need to buy the two parts separately. Because it’s built as a single entity, this supposedly allows ASUS to optimize the layout of all your various internal hardware. The big thing here is that the Avalon features SSD, PSU and graphics-adapter boards so you can just plug those components right in without any cabling, plus they’re all located at the front for easier access. On the rear of the machine is a modular rear input / output unit that lets you have whatever connectivity options you want. The concept reminds us a little of Razer’s Project Christine, though the Avalon setup looks more traditional.

There’s no word yet on the Avalon’s pricing as well as when it’ll be available, but we’ll update this post as soon as we know.

Mat Smith contributed to this report.

30
May

ASUS upgrades its crazy ROG liquid-cooled gaming laptop


ROG, ASUS’ well-respected gaming PC arm, likes to unveil a barrage of weird systems at Taipei’s Computex — and this year is no different. To start with, its insane liquid-cooled GX700 gaming laptop is coming back for another round. The GX800 still has the giant attachment at the rear, but will now be powered by an NVIDIA SLI GPU, along with Intel’s K-series CPU — there’s two 330W power supplies to ensure all that liquid-cooled overclocking you’ll be doing. If you’re not planning to overclock, then you’re possibly looking at the wrong gaming machine. We’ll add more specifics when we hear them.

The GX800 will have ROG’s latest mechanical keyboard, with (a very Computex thing) multicolor LED keys that can be customized to suit your gaming style. Yes, the notebook is thinner and lighter than other high-end systems, but the full performance is only available with the attached water-cooling.

ROG’s compact desktop PC is getting a special 10th anniversary edition, which ASUS is claiming is the world’s most powerful. Inside the G31 Edition 10, you can expect one-click CPU overclocking, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 2-way SLI for 4K gaming, as well as its own ESS audio DAC and amplifier headphone jack for louder gunshots and such. The tower itself even looks like a structure from a futuristic shooter of your choosing:

30
May

The bible has been translated into emojis


It was inevitable: The bible has been updated for the 21st century with a new… emoji translation. According to The Guardian, an anonymous translator, who prefers to be identified only by 😎, reworked the King James Version of the bible using unicode emoji, as well as common internet abbreviations and slang. The bible, appropriately titled Scripture 4 Millenials, took six months to complete, and was translated with a program created by Mx. 😎 that matched up 80 distinct emoji with 200 words. If you’re curious (or pious) enough and are willing to part with $2.99, you can check out the 3,000-plus page work right now on iTunes.

The Bible… translated w/ Emojis! pic.twitter.com/3OsT7Nr8iD

— Bible Emoji (@BibleEmoji) May 29, 2016

Source: iTunes, The Guardian

30
May

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


The company’s most impressive looking flagship to date, the Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe overpowers the ZenFone 3 and large-screened ZenFone 3 Ultra phones it was announced alongside at Computex in Taipei. It looks like it has the chops to match up with other flagship phones in the market, too.

Sporting a monster 6GB of RAM, the base 64GB model will cost $499 (£340, AU$695). The competitively priced phone will be available in Q3, sometime after July.

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe impresses with metal…
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Own looks

Unlike the glass-clad ZenFone 3, the Deluxe model has a curved aluminium back, though it shares the same rear camera design and a fingerprint sensor on the back.

The phone is comfortable to hold and has a slightly larger 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display as compared to the ZenFone 3’s 5.5-inch screen. Some may have a little bit of trouble reaching over with their thumb due to the slightly wider screen, but for me each corner was reachable with a bit of a stretch.

Asus has also worked on removing antenna lines to give the phone a clean looking back. We’re told that the antenna is located around the sides of the phone instead. If you look closely, you’ll see little antenna bands on the small chamfered edges near the display. Asus’ engineers said the Deluxe won’t have the “grip of death”/Antennagate issue found on the iPhone 4, as the chamfered edges aren’t likely to be in contact with your hands while holding it.

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If you look carefully, you should be able to see a small tiny white antenna banding on the chamfered edges.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Top grade hardware

Like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Xiaomi Mi 5, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. Unlike those devices, it houses a whopping 6GB of RAM.

The Deluxe will come with different storage capacities that go all the way up to 256GB. It blows my mind that a smartphone will soon have more onboard storage than the laptop I’m using to write this right now.

Like the ZenFone 3, the Deluxe’s camera will have four-axis optical image stabilization, but it’s on a 23-megapixel camera instead of a 16-megapixel camera. Asus is using the Sony IMX318 sensor, which features a super quick 0.03s autofocus and three-axis electronic image stabilization for video. The phone can shoot 4K 3,840×2,160-pixel video, and there’s also two tone flash, a colour sensor and laser autofocus.

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The fingerprint sensor is located at the back.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Should you get it?

The ZenFone 3 Deluxe seems like great addition to Asus’ ZenFone line. I’m glad the company is finally budging its focus from budget and midrange handsets, which its ZenFone 2 line was largely comprised of, to make this high-specced device.

If you’re due for a smartphone upgrade, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe is a device to keep your eyes on.

Key specs

  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display, full HD resolution (1,920×1,080-pixels)
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor
  • Five magnet speaker and NXT amp
  • Three colours: Grey, Silver and Gold.
30
May

Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


Taiwanese electronics maker Asus has a fascination with big phones, which explains why the ZenFone 3 Ultra emerges with an absolutely enormous 6.8-inch screen. Two years ago, I tried out Asus’ FonePad 8, an 8-inch tablet phone that felt silly-big. Compared to that, this slightly smaller 6.8-incher is at least somewhat bearable.

That said, I’m not sold. I think any handset above 6 inches is just way too much phone to use, but perhaps Asus is banking on its customers buying this as a hybrid device — one that gives you some of the large-screen benefits of a tablet without the cost of buying both tablet and phone. Anyhow, while the Ultra shares the same branding as the ZenFone 3, it’s a totally different beast.

The Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra is a huge 6.8-inch…
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Same name, different phone

Apart from its “ZenFone 3” prefix, the Ultra doesn’t share the same design as the other two ZenFone 3-branded phones. The rear camera mount is square instead of round and located on the left side instead of the center. Asus also put the fingerprint scanner on the front where the home button is, rather than on the back panel, where it might be harder to reach because of the phone’s size.

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Of the three ZenFone 3 phones announced by Asus, the Ultra is the biggest and it shows.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Hardware for entertainment

The large 6.8-inch display has 1080p full-HD resolution, which understandably doesn’t look as sharp as it does on smaller screens. But in terms of density, the Ultra’s display comes in at around 324 pixels per inch. This is still sharp enough to view content without making out individual pixels — unless you bury your face deep into the display.

If you’re watching videos, nothing is more annoying than watching your image break up while trying to keep up with a panning video. Luckily for you, Asus has included a 4K TV processor inside the phone. I’ve seen the demo of this in action and I’m impressed with just how much smoother panning video becomes when it’s turned on.

Other entertainment-centric features in the phone include two superloud five-magnet speakers, as well as DTS 7.1 headphone audio which can enhance your movie-watching experience.

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The Ultra was just way too big to fit in my pocket. The iPhone 6S Plus in my pocket looked small in comparison.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Other key specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM, up to 128GB of onboard storage
  • 4,600mAh battery
  • 23-megapixel rear camera with four-axis OIS
  • Three colors: Grey, Silver and Pink

Yay or nay?

Despite the impressive entertainment features built into the phone, my first impression is that the 6.8 monster here is simply too big to comfortably use. Right now, I happily use “smaller” phones from other manufacturers in the range of five inches in screen size. Still, it will be interesting to compare the pros and cons of all of the ZenFone 3 models when the final units come in for review.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra will be available in mid-June in Taiwan, Asia Pacific, the EU and China. There’s no word on US availability for now. It will cost $479 (converting to around £330, AU$670) for the 4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage model, with prices increasing for models with more storage.

30
May

Canon EOS Rebel T6/EOS 1300D review – CNET


The Good The Canon EOS Rebel T6’s photo and video quality are definitely better than those of a point-and-shoot.

The Bad Its feature set is beyond minimal and it’s slow for a family camera.

The Bottom Line The Canon EOS Rebel T6 (aka the EOS 1300D) hits the basics for a low price, but that’s about it.

Why are you considering a cheap dSLR? Think it through before forking over the money for the Canon EOS Rebel T6, aka the EOS 1300D.

At $500 for the kit with an 18-55mm lens (£385, AU$650), it’s really inexpensive for a model with a press release dated 2016. But newer is not always better. Much of the camera is based on a higher-end model from 2013 that’s still available, the EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D), but with features stripped out and Wi-Fi added. And that model was only a minor update over its predecessor from 2012, the T4i (EOS 650D).

Like most basic dSLRs in its class, the T6 is basically a point-and-shoot with a big sensor for better photo quality; though one of the attractions of a dSLR is the ability to swap lenses, most people stick with the one that comes with the kit.

Fine for stepping up

The photos look like they were shot with a dSLR or mirrorless camera with the same size sensor, so they’re definitely a step up from a phone or point-and-shoot. And they’re about as good as its direct competitors, like the Nikon D3300 and the Pentax K-S2. But its photo and video quality aren’t nearly as good as the Sony A6000’s, either.

30
May

Asus ZenBook 3 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Aloysius Low/CNET

Asus isn’t shying away from a laptop battle with Apple, on Monday introducing its new ultra portable ZenBook 3. At the launch event at Computex here in Taipei, the company talked about how its new laptop was thinner, lighter and more powerful than Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Air ranges.

The aluminium bodied laptop sports a 12.-5 inch screen and will start at $999 (which converts to £685, AU$1,395) for the base model with 4GB RAM, an Intel Core i5 processor and 256GB of onboard storage. That puts it in a similar price range to Dell’s XPS 13 and the Razer Blade Stealth, two other strong Macbook alternatives.

Asus ZenBook 3 is slim, shiny and powerful
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The top of the line model will retail for $1,999 (£1,370, AU$2,790) and will feature an Intel Core i7 processor, a whopping 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.

If you’re not a fan of the shiny metal on your devices, then perhaps the ZenBook 3 isn’t for you. But I liked the shininess of the ZenBook 3, especially the gold trim around the edges. It’s a bold statement and stands out in a sea of more mute-coloured notebooks.

I spent some time with the Zenbook 3 on the Computex show floor and came away impressed. The laptop was light, very portable and well constructed.

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Are you a fan of shiny metal laptops, because the Asus ZenBook 3 will dazzle you.


Aloysius Low/CNET

There was one issue though — the keyboard. I tried three units, and two of them had trouble registering my keypresses. It’d be a shame if the retail model is hampered by a lacklustre keyboard.

Asus has not yet revealed when the ZenBook 3 will be available.

Key specs

  • 12.5-inch full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display
  • 11.9mm thick
  • 910g
  • USB Type-C
  • Price starting from $999
30
May

Asus Transformer 3 Pro Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Aloysius Low/CNET

Slim, portable and packed with power. That’s the best way to sum up what Asus wants from the Transformer 3 Pro. And no, it’s not just the name that bears a resemblance to Microsoft’s Surface Pro range. There’s also the detachable keyboard, kickstand, pen and, well, the whole thing, really.

On the top of the range, an Intel Core i7 processor provides the power, you can get up to 16GB of RAM and an impressive 1TB of storage via an SSD drive, and there’s also a Thunderbolt 3 port for connectivity.

Specs

  • 299 by 210 by 8.5mm thick and 795g (11.7 by 8.3 x 0.3 inches and 1.7lbs)
  • 12.6-inch display with 2,880×1,920-pixel resolution display and a 275ppi pixel density
  • Core i5/i7 processor
  • Up to 16GB RAM
  • Up to 1TB SSD storage
  • Thunderbolt 3 port
Meet the family: Asus unveils 3 new Transformer…
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Gamers get a nod as well, with an external GPU option from Asus’ gaming arm ROG. The ROG XG Station 2 has the brand new GTX 1080 graphics card that’s currently wowing the gamer world. Asus even says that the 3 Pro will be ready to deliver high-end VR experiences, which until now has been the domain of the big and bulky desktop PCs.

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Nic Healey/CNET

In the mere minutes of hands on time I had with the 3 Pro (after bullying my way passed the thronging photographers) I was impressed with the combination of durable design with low weight and thin profile. I was even more impressed, in a different way, with just how much it looks like a Surface, even down to the connectors on the keyboard. I get that there’s not much you can do with a 2-in-1 design by its sheer nature, but if it wasn’t for the Asus logo on the back you might not tell the difference at first.

In the same family is the Asus Transformer 3. That’s also using Intel’s 7th generation processors, offers up to 512GB of SSD storage and also has a Thunderbolt 3 port. Asus hyped the battery life of the Transformer 3, claiming a solid 9 hours.

The 3 drops thickness and weight down to just 6.9mm and 695g (0.27 inches and 1.5lbs) but still has the same screen size and resolution.

The third family member is the Transformer Mini. This ditches the Core processor for an Atom X5, but that in turn boosts the battery life

Both the Transformer 3 and the Pro have Harmon Kardon speakers for an improved sound experience despite the small form factor. Asus also offers an universal dock with an array of ports, including USB-C 3.1, USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, RJ45 LAN, and a 3-in-1 SD card reader.

Pricing for the Transformer 3 Pro starts at $999 (that converts to AU$1,395 and £685) but you can be sure it’ll go up from there. The Transformer 3 is a little cheaper, starting at $799 (AU$1,115 or £545). There was no pricing immediately available on the Mini.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

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