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10
Oct

Nubia Z11 preview: Edge-to-edge screen, sleek design and custom Android


Nubia chose IFA 2016 in Berlin to show off its latest feature-rich smartphone, and to let us know that we’ll be able to get our hands on them in Europe. This sub-£500 phone boasts a specs and features which impress on first read through, but will they translate to a great experience in today’s saturated smartphone world? 

We got our hands on the latest Nubia phone to see if it would cut it against so many other affordable and exciting smartphones. 

Nubia Z11 preview: Design

As far as design goes, there’s only one element that’ll force a step back, and catch your eye. That’s the edge-to-edge screen on the front. Unlike many other devices claiming to offer a screen without borders, this one gets mighty close to being a true edge-to-edge display.

There’s no bezel on either side, just the metal frame on the edges. Because of the slightly curved glass towards the edges, you can barely see the black screen gap, but if you look closely it’s still there. It’s so slim, you’ll more than likely not notice it, at least not from arm’s length. As with so many phones these days, the metal edges are slightly rounded, bead-blasted for a soft finish and polished with angled chamfers to add a reflective border.

Because of this, the phone is noticeably narrower than either the OnePlus 3 and Huawei P9 Plus, despite having the same sized display. That makes it slightly more comfortable to hold in one hand than either of those two.

Rather than go with a full metal case for the back with antenna bands, the manufacturer opted for a metal panel with plastic caps on the top and the bottom. The camera and dual LED camera sit in the top panel, while the round fingerprint sensor sits in the centre of the metal back panel.

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The bottom edge is home to a USB Type-C port and two sets of machined holes, only one of which covers a speaker, the other covers the mic. There’s a 3.5mm jack on the top edge, along with an infrared blaster and noise cancellation mic.

To add at least a hint of individuality to the front panel, the capacitive home button is marked by a simple red ring which lights up when pressed. Likewise, the two capacitive option buttons are invisible until touched, when they’re indicated by single red LEDs. It reminds us slightly of the original LG Chocolate, from years ago.

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Nubia Z11 preview: Hardware

As specifications go, there’s little to separate the Nubia Z11 from flagship devices. A Quad HD resolution display would be nice, but the 1080p IPS LCD panel on the front is plenty sharp enough and has settings options which allow you to adjust colour temperature and saturation to suit your preference.

Apart from that, there’s the 4GB RAM inside paired with Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and a generous 64GB storage. Of course, that storage is expandable via microSD card, if you opt to use the second slot in the dual SIM tray to shove in a memory card.

As well as those there’s the 3,000mAh battery which should easily get through the day and a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter in the box to ensure it fills up speedily once depleted.

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Nubia Z11 preview: Software

Underneath the custom Nubia UI skin, Android 6.0 Marshmallow powers the phone, but you’d be hard pushed to tell it was Android at all. Like so many other Chinese smartphones with custom software, there’s no app drawer, and there are many non-removable duplicate apps like the calendar, web browser, messaging, calculator and clock apps.

Confusingly, there are even individual app icons to launch a software update check and one for locking the home screen. Perhaps more confusingly, there’s no TV or Quick Remote app to take advantage of the built-in IR blaster on the top edge.

Overall, the skin is quite colourful, although – due to their size and flat design – the app icons don’t quite match up with the regular Android icons.

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Nubia Z11 preview: Camera

When it comes to the camera, it’s not necessarily the 16-megapixel sensor, or 4K video capture we find most appealing. We’ve seen those before, many times. Rather, it’s the built in optical image stabilisation and other stabilisation features.

Nubia speaks about “Hand-Held Electronic Aperture” and HIS “Hand-held image stabilisation”, and claims that it’s so good, you’ll be able to shoot long exposure shots without a tripod. That means you can take sharp, on-point panoramas as well as misty river or waterfall shots, just holding the phone in your hands. How well it performs is yet to be seen, but we’ll be testing it before we publish our full review.

Similar to Huawei’s phones, the camera app also has built in modes for light-painting, and for creating star-tracking images in the night. It also has a number of multiple-exposure options for overlaying images on to each other, or creating “clones”, as well as a “PRO” mode for manually adjusting important settings. 

First Impressions

From a hardware perspective, the Nubia Z11 seems like a decent device on first impressions. It’s not quite as premium, material-wise, as something like the OnePlus 3, but it matches a number of its specifications. With a retail price of around €499 (currently £450), it’s more than £100 dearer than the OnePlus, and its software experience may not please many Android fans, so it’ll be a hard push to get anyone to stump up the cash for this over its competition. 

Still, the bezel-free display is something to behold, and the camera features could be fantastic if they live up to their claims. What’s more, if the battery can really last two days in regular use, this could be one of the most competitive premium mid-rangers on the market

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10
Oct

Limited edition Doctor Strange Honor 8 phone will be up for grabs soon


Honor has teamed with Marvel for a whole slew of Doctor Strange tie-ins, one of which being a limited edition version of the Honor 8.

The Huawei-owned brand will be offering a special version of its Android phone with the “Eye of Agamotto” etched onto the back, but won’t be selling the handset sadly. Instead, fans will get the opportunity to win won through Marvel UK’s Facebook page soon. You need to keep checking it.

In the meantime, you can nab two adult cinema tickets for the new film, plus four Marvel movie downloads care of Honor and Three.

Honor

All you need to do is buy an Honor 8 through Three and you’ll get details of how to claim your Doctor Strange rewards.

  • Best films to look forward to in 2016 and 2017: Here are all the top movie trailers
  • Best Comic-Con 2016 trailers: Justice League, Wonder Woman, and more

The Honor 8, which came out in August, has an octa-core Kirin 950 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable on-board storage and a 5.2-inch Full HD display.

It comes with a 3,000mAh battery and a dual camera with two 12-megapixel sensors on the rear. The front camera is 8-megapixels.

Doctor Strange is the latest superhero movie from Marvel Studios and features Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as the mystical magician from the comic books. It hits UK cinemas from 25 October, with a preview screening at IMAX in Swiss Cottage, London tonight, 10 October.

10
Oct

MegaBots forced to scrap its ‘unsafe’ combat robot


Building a robot that can do battle Pacific Rim-style is harder than it looks. The biggest problem? Keeping the pilot alive, apparently. MegaBots — the US half of a proposed mecha duel — is scrapping its Mk.II machine after deeming it completely “unsafe for hand-to-hand combat.” In “almost” every test, the team discovered that the human operator (buried inside, a little like Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion) would have been seriously injured or killed. That’s…not good. Now, the crew is working on the Mk.III — a new robot with a safer cockpit, improved controls and modular arms.

(The image up top is some early concept art. I like the cigar in particular.)

The improved model will be powered by a V8 engine, combined with hydraulic valves that are supposedly “the fastest responding in the world.” It’ll weigh 10 tons — a hefty increase on the 6 ton Mk.II — and scuttle around at a top speed of 10MPH. All of the parts should cost $750,000, while the complete build, including labor costs, will set the team back roughly $2.5 million. “The Mk.II was designed to be an inexpensive prototype,” MegaBots co-founder Matt Oehrlein said. “The Mk.III is designed from the ground up to be the best robot possible, with the best hydraulic, robotics, and pilot safety technology available on the market.”

MegaBots has spent years trying to realize its dream of robot-on-robot combat. Back in 2014, the company pitched a fighting tournament that would rely on “cannonball-sized, paint-filled projectiles.” The Kickstarter failed, but the company persisted and came back with a new pitch in 2015. Now, it wanted to take on the mighty Kuratas from Japan — and people were interested. The team raised $554,592 from 7,857 backers, making the dual (somewhat) of a reality. If and when they’ll actually fight is anyone’s guess — in the meantime, there’s always Robot Wars and Titanfall.

10
Oct

Google’s search engine now converts color values


There are plenty of nerdy things that Google’s search engine can do, and the latest is a peach if you’re a graphic designer. If you type in “RGB to Hex,” you’ll be shown a color converter that’ll let you pick a shade and get the RBG and Hex values for both. In addition, you can hit the Show Color Values toggle and get a breakdown of the HSV, HSL and CMYK counts for those shades. Yes, it’s not the most useful feature in the world, but it’ll save you having to open up Photoshop just to get a color value for your web design project.

Via: Android Police

Source: Reddit

10
Oct

YouTube says some games are weirdly popular by region


Some games are universal — Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto, for instance, are popular in almost every country despite being different from each other in nearly every way. Pokémon Go is also a hit everywhere except, not surprisingly, Russia. After checking game streams against regions, YouTube researchers found that many games are popular in some regions and a not at all in others, though. For instance, Madden NFL ’16 is uniquely popular in the US, which is not a shocker for such a regional sport.

But did you know that German YouTube viewers can’t get enough of Deponia, a click-and-point adventure game set in a junk world, or that Lego Marvel’s Avengers is a huge hit in Brazil, and not so much elsewhere? And while Russians may distrust Pokémon Go, they love S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a ten-year-old mutant horror game about an incident from the Soviet days. France, Japan and Taiwan, meanwhile, are big fans of three different RPGs — Dofus, Puzzles & Dragons and Tower of Saviors, respectively. None of those has made a huge impact elsewhere lately, though.

Oddly, many of these games are quite old — Dofus is originally from 2004, for instance, and Heroes of Newerth, a game beloved uniquely in Thailand, was released in 2010. Their recent popularity might have to do with the fact that some of these games (like Newerth) are now free to play. Others might be due to regional quirks or popular mods for games like Farming Simulator in Poland. In any case, YouTube’s poll reflects gaming viewership on YouTube, and not necessarily gameplay — so much of the regional interest may be strictly voyeuristic.

10
Oct

The best pressure cooker


By Lesley Stockton

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

After 40 hours of research and testing—including cooking 15 pounds of brisket, 13 pounds of black beans, and 12 pounds of brown rice—we think the best pressure cookers for most people are the electric Instant Pot IP-DUO60 (for hands-off cooking) and the stovetop Fagor Duo 8-Quart (if you want more manual control). Of the 12 pots we tried, these two offer the best combination of great performance at a reasonable price. They’ll help you get dinner on the table in less than half the time of cooking in a regular pot. And unlike the finicky, volatile pressure cookers of the past, our picks are totally safe and easy to use.

Who should get this

A stovetop pressure cooker can double as a regular pot for boiling pasta or heating soup. Photo: Michael Hession

Anything that you would braise, stew, or boil, you can make in a pressure cooker—but faster. These pots that use steam under pressure to cook quickly have long been popular in other parts of the world, like Europe and India, because they’re so efficient (they save time and electricity). It’s a great tool if you’re often out of energy at the end of the day but need to put something nutritious on the table for your family.

If you live at high altitude (above 3,000 feet), a pressure cooker will help you make meals in a timely fashion. Because the boiling point of water decreases as elevation increases (PDF), boiling a pot of noodles or beans in a regular pot can take longer because you have to cook at lower temperatures. A pressure cooker solves this by increasing the cooking temperature.

If you have an old pressure cooker (made before around 1990), you might want to upgrade. Those older cookers are the ones notorious for blowing their lids, but newer models are totally safe.

How we tested

Brisket browned darker in stovetop cookers, like this one from Kuhn Rikon. Photo: Michael Hession

We put all the pressure cookers—stovetop and electric—through the same tests. We cooked unsoaked black beans, brisket, and brown rice. We sautéed onions and aromatics, and seared some beef to test how well the cookers could sauté.

After all of our testing, the end result was more or less the same. Any cooker will cook basic dishes, like beans and braised meat, no problem. The difference was how usable they were and how well they seared meat. Poorly designed electric cookers had complicated interfaces and nonsensical instruction manuals. Flimsy stovetop cookers scorched while searing meat, and had lids that were difficult to attach.

Our pick for an electric pressure cooker

The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 has a complicated-looking interface, but we soon found it simple and intuitive to use. Photo: Michael Hession

The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is our overall favorite if you’re looking for a super-easy pressure-cooking experience. It’s simple to use and will turn out delicious meals in a fraction of the time conventional cooking requires—you can cook black beans from scratch in 20 minutes, for example. Compared with other electric models, it has more heat settings, and it sautéed onions better (none of the electric models brown meat all that well). As a multi-cooker, this pot can also function as a slow cooker and a rice cooker (which it did okay, but if you’re a rice snob we prefer our upgrade rice cooker pick).

A more intuitive electric pressure cooker

The Breville Fast Slow Pro has a simpler and more intuitive interface than our main pick from Instant Pot. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a slightly nicer electric pressure cooker, we’d go for the Breville Fast Slow Pro. Its interface is more streamlined than the Instant Pot’s, using dials and a big LCD screen rather than a bunch of buttons. It also has a better selection of venting methods to cook delicate foods or release pressure more quickly, and a really handy altitude setting. It’s harder to clean, though, and we don’t love the nonstick insert. We think this is worth the upgrade if you live at high altitude or need a completely hands-off cooking device.

Our pick for stovetop pressure cooker

The 8-quart Fagor Duo’s wide base makes it great for searing meat. Photo: Michael Hession

The Fagor Duo 8-Quart stovetop cooker is a better choice than the Instant Pot if you want to sear meat directly in the pot, if you want more control over depressurization, and if you want slightly faster cooking times (and don’t mind keeping an eye on the stove). It has a wider base than most stovetop models, so it will brown meats better and allows you to use a higher flame to bring the pot up to pressure faster. Unlike cheaper models, it has two pressure settings, so you can cook at low pressure for delicate fish or vegetable dishes, and at high pressure for roasts and heartier fare. It wasn’t the absolute best stovetop model we tried, but we think its balance of good price and performance will make most people happy.

A top-of-the-line stovetop pressure cooker

The Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker has a nicer lid and a wider tri-ply base than our main stovetop pick, but it’s also nearly $70 more. Photo: Michael Hession

Our favorite stovetop cooker was our upgrade pick, the Fissler Vitaquick 8.5-Quart Pressure Cooker. Currently, it’s around $70 more than our main pick, but worth the money if you prefer top-of-the-line pots and pans. It has a wider and thicker tri-ply base than the Fagor Duo, so it does a better job at searing meat and browning onions. Its pressure settings are a tad easier to read and its lid slides more smoothly onto the pot than that of our main pick. If you plan on cooking under pressure often, this well-constructed cooker will deliver years of superb service.

A budget option for the pressure curious

The Presto 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker has only one pressure setting, but it’s a solid pot if you just want to try out this cooking method. Photo: Michael Hession

If you’re curious to see whether pressure cooking is right for you, but you aren’t ready to drop over $100, the stovetop Presto 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is a good starter pot. It has just one pressure setting, but it decently sears meats, sautées aromatics, and delivers well-cooked dishes. Its recessed pressure indicator is a little harder to see, so you need to keep a close eye on this pot to know exactly when to turn off the heat. But if you don’t mind being a little more attentive, this is a solid pressure cooker, and like the rest of the stovetop models we recommend, it will double as a regular pot without the lid.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

10
Oct

Google Assistant is getting a sense of humor from ‘The Onion’


As Google Home gets closer to launch, the AI assistant is not only getting smarter, but also a little more friendly and — hopefully — a whole lot funnier. As the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims notes in a piece about friendly AI like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, Alphabet’s big play for the space includes hiring up comedy writing alumni of Pixar and The Onion.

While none of the major AI assistants on the market today or coming soon are truly “artificial intelligence” (that is: the device itself doesn’t actually understand the conversation) people have a natural tendency to form an emotional connection with the little robot voice in the kitchen speaker. So, subtle improvements like a witty joke or unexpected bit of humor can go a long way to improving the user experience, especially as voice and conversation becomes the interface itself. Although Siri and Alexa already have a few jokes in their repertoire, they tend to be pretty bad and definitely don’t have quite the same punch as the topical humor of “America’s Finest News Source.”

Since Amazon and Alphabet’s endgoal is to get Alexa and Google Assistant into any connected device within earshot, then it’s good to know those devices will at least have a sense of humor about listening to us humans 24 hours a day.

Via: CNET

Source: Wall Street Journal

10
Oct

Apple Accepting Donations for Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief


Apple today added a banner to its United States website, iTunes Store, and App Store asking customers to provide donations to individuals affected by the recent devastation from Hurricane Matthew. Like its usual relief efforts, all donations collected will go to the American Red Cross.

Donation tiers available include $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, and will be processed as normal iTunes or App Store purchases through a user’s connected Apple ID.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall late last week, hitting the southeast coast of the United States and going on to ravage states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As of yesterday, more than 2 million businesses and homes were without power, and over 3,000 people have been placed in safety shelters.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by #HurricaneMatthew. Support relief efforts by donating to @RedCross at https://t.co/2b9MLALy4L

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 10, 2016

Following natural disasters, Apple normally puts out a call for disaster relief across its various storefronts. In the past, Apple collected Red Cross relief funds for the August floodings in Louisiana, the 2016 fires in Alberta, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the refugee and migration crisis in the Mediterranean sea, the 2013 Philippines typhoon, and more.

Tags: App Store, iTunes, Red Cross
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10
Oct

Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 10.0.1 to Developers


Apple today seeded the third beta of tvOS 10.0.1 to developers for testing purposes, one week after releasing the second tvOS 10.0.1 beta and a month after releasing the tvOS 10 update. tvOS 10.0.1 has been in testing since September 21.

Designed for the fourth-generation Apple TV, the tvOS 10.0.1 beta can be obtained by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, downloading and installing the software from a registered developer account via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Once a beta profile has been installed on the device through iTunes, new beta updates will be available over the air.

No obvious outward-facing features were discovered in the first two tvOS 10.0.1 betas, so it’s likely the update focuses on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements to address issues discovered since the release of the first version of tvOS 10.

Single sign-on, a feature that will allow Apple TV users to sign in once with their cable credentials to access all live cable content included in a cable subscription, does not appear to be included in this beta and will be introduced in the future.

tvOS 10 brings improved search, expanded Siri capabilities, a new dark mode, a Continuity option for using the iPhone for text input, automatic download of universal apps, easy access to live TV, and more.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Caution)
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10
Oct

The IOS 10 is now making the Iphone a more powerful gaming machine than ever


ios-10-nimblechappsThe word on the proverbial street is that with IOS 10 making Iphone a more powerful gaming machine than ever, people are getting more excited about all of the apps that are associated with Apple. The new iOS 10 is definitely different from the versions that it has replaced. People will see that the second that they actually look at the interface. Some tech fans really want everything to be different the moment that they look at the interface, however, because they want to be able to see the fruits of the upgrade presented to them without them having to look very hard. They’re not going to look very hard when it comes to the iOS 10.

The most recent features for the iOS 10 should improve many parts of the mobile experience for everyone. These features are free for everyone as well, making the situation perfect for the tech fans who want to enjoy all of the new phases of technological development. The Euro palace online casino app is free as well. People can enjoy all of these new upgrades all at the same time as both of these neighboring industries revel in the achievements and milestones that they’ve had in the last year. This is not a field that pauses, which is good for gadget fans of all kinds and all persuasions.

The new update for the iOS can be downloaded to iPad or iPhone mobile devices, and this has been the case for nearly a month by this point. The iOS 10 and the Euro palace online casino app both reflect the fact that their respective companies are able to interact with the fans directly in order to give them a much better product while still making the product free for the fans. The iOS 10 is actually the iOS 10.02 for the people who really want to keep records or keep score, depending upon their perspective. The app for Euro palace is the 3.1 app. This 3.1 app is an update that was made due to the fact that a lot of users reported a bug. The bug has been repaired. Now there are no bugs: there are just features. Some people would say that this is the case for the iOS 10.02 as well.

The device compatibility for the iOS 10.02 is better than ever, and people will have their pick of the relevant mobile devices that they want to use for everything from gaming to checking email. The shortcuts for the 3D Touch should make it easier for the people who are following certain games, which will help the players who are doing casino gaming of any kind. Visiting a Real Money Casino is just going to be easier for the gamers who are using the iOS 10.02 device now.

Gaming is better with this intermittent update. However, this update and the update of the Euro palace online casino app signify that the developers involved are communicating with their users. They care about the end user experience, and they will build better products as a result of the feedback that they receive.

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