Honor, the more budget subsidiary of Huawei, has officially announced the Honor 9 in China. But even though it’s from the budget brand, it doesn’t scrimp on specs.
- Honor 8 review: A different take on the premium mid-range market
- Honor 8 Pro review: Flagship that’s no money pit
The Honor 9 has a 5.15-inch full HD display with 2.5D glass which slightly curves off at the edges and the same Kirin 960 chipset that features in the Huawei P10. There are two different versions of the Honor 9 available, one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM – more than the Huawei P10 – with either 64GB or 128GB of storage.If you need any more space for storing media content and apps, then you can expand it by up to 256GB with a microSD card.Around the back of the phone Honor has fitted a dual camera, one lens has a 20-megapixel monochrome while the other is a 12-megapixel RGB sensor. The rear-camera feature 2x optical zoom, portrait and bokeh shooting modes. On the front is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture. Other features of the Honor 9 include a 3,200mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack and Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 skin over the top. The phone itself has an all-metal body and will be available in grey, blue and gold colour finishes. It will be available to buy in China from Friday 16 June for CNY 2,300 ($340/£270), for the 4GB/64GB model, CNY 2,700 ($400/£315) for the 6GB/64GB model or CNY 3,000 ($440/350) for the 6GB/128GB model.
There’s currently no word on a European release, but given other Honor phones are available already, we’d expect it show up at some point.
GoPro has given us a sneak peak at the Fusion and, while not all the details are clear yet, we have a relatively good sense of what the camera will offer and why it could well be one of the most interesting products of 2017.
GoPro Fusion: Design
- Two cameras – one on each side
- Large square device
- Fixes to almost all existing GoPro mounts
GoPro Fusion has a mostly square design that’s noticeably different to the Hero 5, it’s also clearly larger. We don’t know the exact measurements, but it’s roughly an inch thick and around 3.5 inches tall and wide.
While its shape is clearly different from the Hero 5, there are some similarities. It has a similar two-tone grey finish, with the same rubbery texture and the same grippy pattern around all four of the edges.
There’s one 180-degree camera on the front, and another on the back, both sitting behind concave glass, but only protruding slightly. The front plays home to the quick capture button, which you press to start recording video or taking a photo. This, again, is different to the Hero, since it’s not placed on the top of the camera. There’s also the small, monochrome LCD screen on the front.
The mode/highlight button is on the right edge, roughly half way up the side. Underneath is where you’ll find the place fix the multi-accessory mount. With this mount you can attach it to every GoPro accessory, except the Karma Grip or Drone.
GoPro Fusion: Features
- 5.2k 360-degree video
- OverCapture editing for flat screens
- Probable waterproofing
Cameras: All we know so far about the cameras is that – together – they can shoot 5.2k 360-degree footage. We don’t know what the megapixel count is on the two sensors. We should find that piece of information out before the end of this year.
Editing/OverCapture: One of the great features of the GoPro Fusion is OverCapture. It means you shoot everything at once, and then choose afterwards what angles, panning, zooming and transitions you want. That means it has the potential to look great both in VR and on a flat screen.
- GoPro Fusion preview: The 360 action camera you’ve been waiting for
Waterproofing: While it hasn’t been confirmed by the company, we’re confident the Fusion is waterproof to the same level as the Hero 5. Not only because of the similarities in design and finish, but also because we witnessed being submerged in a few feet of water.
GPS and other features: With the Hero 5 featuring GPS, we suspect the flagship VR camera will as well. We also think it will feature the voice control abilities. It would make sense to tie the camera ranges together, and make sure they’re competitive with everything else on the market.
GoPro Fusion: Price
At the moment, we don’t know how much the Fusion will cost. While it has two cameras, it doesn’t have the large colour touchscreen that the Hero 5 has. Depending on which optics it uses, this could make it similar price to the Hero.
GoPro Fusion: Release date
- Pilot program this summer
- Retail launch planned for end 2017
GoPro Fusion will be sent out to select pilot testers at the end of summer 2017, with a retail launch planned to roll out slowly from the end of the year.
Motorola has already announced several smartphones this year, including two new Moto Gs, two Moto Cs and two Moto Es. Based on the rumours though, that won’t be the last we hear from the Lenovo-owned company this year with a new Moto X and Moto Z also claimed to be in the pipeline.
With so many Moto phones available and three ranges sitting in what is considered the mid-range or budget end of the market, which is the right Moto for you?
We have put 2017’s Moto C and Moto C Plus up against the new Moto E4 and E4 Plus and Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus to help you work out the differences between a £90 Moto device and a £250 Moto.
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Design
- All ranges have similar design with circular rear camera and flash array
- Moto E4 is smallest, Moto C is slimmest, while Moto E4 Plus is heaviest
- Moto G and Moto E range have fingerprint sensors, Moto Cs don’t
All the devices being compared here feature the new design from Motorola. The Moto G devices and Moto E devices have full metal bodies and a large circular camera and flash array on the rear, with the signature “M” positioned beneath and a fingerprint sensor situated on the front. They differ slightly in that the G5 range offers a higher grade of aluminium and the E4 range has an antenna band across the top, while the G range has a visible join, but overall, their designs are similar.
The Moto C devices have a similar large circular camera array on the rear, again with the signature “M” beneath. There is no fingerprint sensor on the Moto C devices like there is on the other two ranges, with three on-screen navigation buttons beneath the display instead.
The Moto E4 measures 144.7 x 72.3 x 9.3mm, which makes it the smallest of the devices being compared here, but only just with the Moto G5 almost identical in size at 144.3 x 73 x 9.5mm and the Moto C not far off either at 145.5 x 73.6 x 9mm. The largest is the Moto E4 Plus at 155 x 77.5 x 9.6mm and this device is also the heaviest at 198g. The lightest is the Moto G5 at 144.6g.
- Moto G5 Plus review
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Display
- Moto C, C Plus, E4 and G5 have 5-inch IPS LCD displays
- Moto G5 Plus has 5.2-inch display, E4 Plus has 5.5-inch
- Moto G5 has sharpest display, Moto C has softest
The Moto C, Moto C Plus, Moto E4 and Moto G5 all have a 5-inch display. The Moto Moto G5 Plus has a slightly larger screen at 5.2-inches and the Moto E4 Plus offers larger still at 5.5-inches. Resolution differs across the ranges too.
The Moto G and G Plus both have Full HD displays, putting their pixel densities at 441ppi and 424ppi, respectively. The Moto E4, E4 Plus and the Moto C Plus all have HD displays at 1280 x 720, resulting in a slightly lower pixel densities of 294ppi for the Moto E4 and Moto C Plus, and 267ppi for the E4 Plus. The Moto C reduces its resolution further to 854 x 480 pixels for a pixel density of 196ppi.
The Moto G and Moto G Plus therefore offer slightly sharper, crisper images in comparison to the other four devices. The Moto C Plus and Moto E4 follow in terms of sharpness, then the Moto E4 Plus, while the Moto C will have the softest display of the device being compared here.
All six devices have IPS LCD displays. The Moto G5 Plus is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Motorola hasn’t specified any protection for the Moto C or C Plus, while the Moto G5 is said to come with scratch resistance but no specific grade is mentioned and the E4 and E4 Plus are both said to offer 2.5D cover glass.
- Moto G5 preview
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Cameras
- Moto G5 Plus has most capable rear snapper
- Moto E4, E4 Plus, G5 and G5 Plus have same front snapper resolutions
- Single LED front flash on Moto E and Moto C ranges, Display Flash on Moto G
The Moto G5 Plus has the most capable rear camera of the devices in this feature with a 12-megapixel sensor, offering an f/1.7 aperture, dual LED flash and 4K video recording capabilities.
The Moto G5 and E4 Plus follow closely behind with a 13-megapixel rear sensor, slightly narrower f/2.0 aperture and single LED flash. The G5 offers up to 1080p video recording capabilities however, while the E4 Plus is only capable of 720p video recording.
The Moto E4 and Moto C Plus take things down a notch to an 8-megapixel rear camera with a f/2.2 aperture, LED flash, autofocus and 720p video recording capabilities, while the Moto C drops its rear snapper resolution to 5-megapixels and fixed focus, but it retains an LED flash and 720p video recording.
The Moto G5, G5 Plus, E4 and E4 Plus all have 5-megapixel front cameras with an f/2.2 aperture, but the Moto G5 and G5 Plus have a display flash while the Moto E4 and E4 Plus have a single LED flash. The Moto C and Moto C Plus both have 2-megapixel front cameras but they offer an LED flash rather than Display Flash too.
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Hardware
- Moto G5 Plus has most powerful processor, more RAM and more storage
- Moto E4 Plus has largest battery capacity
- Moto G and Moto E ranges have NFC, Moto Cs don’t
The Moto G5 Plus takes the accolade for the most powerful hardware in this feature, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset under its hood, supported by 3GB of RAM. The Moto G5 takes a slight power hit, though not much, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor and either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on the model.
The Moto E4 has a 1.3GHz MediaTek processor and 2GB of RAM, while the E4 Plus has the same processor and 3GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the Moto C has a 1.1GHz MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM and the Moto C Plus has a 1.3GHz MediaTek chip and either 1GB or 2GB of RAM.
In terms of storage, the Moto C, Moto C Plus, Moto E4, Moto E4 Plus and Moto G5 only come in a 16GB option. The G5 Plus has the most internal storage at 32GB. The Moto C range and Moto G range offer microSD support for storage expansion but the Moto C and Moto C Plus can only be expanded up to 32GB, while the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus will offer up to 128GB. Motorola hasn’t specified microSD for the Moto E range as yet.
Battery capacity is pretty much on par across the six devices, except in the case of the Moto E4 Plus which has the largest by far at 5000mAh. The Moto E4 and G5 have 2800mAh capacities, the G5 Plus has a 3000mAh battery. the Moto C Plus has a 4000mAh and the Moto C has the smallest at 2350mAh. It’s also worth mentioning that the Moto C, C Plus and E4’s batteries are all removable.
The Moto G5, G5 Plus, E4 and E4 Plus all have NFC, allowing them to be used wth Android Pay, while the Moto C and C Plus don’t.
- What is Android Pay and how does it work?
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Software
- All Android Nougat with some Motorola apps
- Experience should be almost identical
The Moto C, Moto C Plus, Moto E4, Moto E4 Plus, Moto G5 and Moto G5 all run on Android Nougat with a couple of extra Motorola-specific apps so the experience should be almost identical.
It’s pretty much vanilla Android on Motorola smartphones so you don’t get the same level of bloatware as you do with some other devices, such as Sony and LG. This tends to mean quicker updates to the latest Android software and it also allows for a cleaner experience.
- Android Nougat review
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Price
The Motorola Moto C is the cheapest of these six devices starting at £89.99.
Moving just over the £100 mark is the Moto C Plus starting at £109, followed by the Moto E4 at £129. The Moto E4 Plus and Moto G5 both cost £159, while the Moto G5 Plus is the most expensive starting at £249.
Motorola Moto C vs Moto E4 vs Moto G5: Conclusion
The Moto C is the device to opt for if you need a Moto for under £100, but for £20 more you’ll get a higher display resolution, better rear camera capabilities and a much larger battery capacity, almost double in fact.
Pay another £20 on top of the C Plus price or £40 on top of the Moto C for the Moto E4 and you’ll get the addition of a fingerprint sensor, NFC for Android Pay, more RAM as standard, a higher resolution front camera and the same improvements as the Moto C Plus over the Moto C.
Another £30 on top of the Moto E4 price for the E4 Plus and you’ll get a more capable rear camera again, a larger though not sharper display and a much larger battery capacity. The E4 Plus is the heaviest of the devices being compared here though and it has the same processor as the E4.
For the same price as the E4 Plus, you can also pick up the Moto G5, which will get you that higher rear camera resolution again but with 1080p video, a water-repellant coating, more capable processor and more storage expansion through microSD. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the G5 and G5 Plus, especially not when you’re talking an extra £90 again, though you will get 4K video recording, a more powerful processor again and double the internal storage, as well as a better rear snapper.
The Moto C and C Plus offer plenty for their price but if you can stretch to the Moto E4, it is probably worth it given the addition of the fingerprint sensor, NFC, extra RAM and higher resolution front camera.
For those that have a little extra cash to splash, the Moto E4 Plus and Moto G5 are great middling devices, especially with its huge battery in the case of the E4 Plus, while the G5 Plus is for those that don’t mind going over the £200 mark just for better camera capabilities and performance.
E3 2017 is here! The videogames show officially opening its doors on starting on Tuesday 13 June, but the press conferences have already started.
Microsoft has unveiled its Xbox One X 4K powerhouse of a console, so it’s now down to Sony to show its hand. We don’t expect a significant piece of hardware news, but we cannot wait for the PS4 games announcements.
So here’s how to catch up with the PlayStation E3 Media Showcase today.
- E3 2017: Rumours and what to expect from the world’s biggest games show
When is the Sony PlayStation E3 2017 Media Showcase?
Sony will start its annual E3 press conference at 6pm (PT) today, Monday 12 June. That’s 2am, Tuesday 13 June in the UK, sorry.
It traditionally runs for two hours.
We’ll be there ourselves and bringing you the news as it happens.
Is there a Sony PlayStation E3 2017 Media Showcase livestream?
You will also be able to follow the action yourself through the livestream below. It’ll kick off properly as the show gets underway.
It will also be hosted on the official PlayStation Twitch channel and YouTube.
There’s an official PlayStation site for the Media Showcase, which will host the feed too.
What will be announced during the Sony PlayStation E3 2017 Media Showcase?
As we’ve said above, we don’t really expect any major hardware announcements in response to the new Xbox One X console – after all, the PS4 Pro was only released at the end of 2016.
There could be a price drop for the PS4 Pro, if rumours are to be believed, but nothing more on that front.
Instead it’ll be games, games, games.
Gameplay for The Last of Us 2 will undoubtedly be on display. We’ll see more on Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, God of War and Days Gone too.
Sony has a strategic alliance with Activision, so you’ll see COD: WW2, new Destiny 2 gameplay and, more than likely, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.
There will also be new details and footage of the Sony-exclusive Spider-Man game. But perhaps the most exciting rumour is that we’ll actually get to see early gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2. Oh yes.
Now on with the show…
Like the idea of customizing a controller in the Xbox Design Lab, but wish you could add a little more flair or (gasp) practical features? You just got your wish. Microsoft has added a slew of new customization options, including four new main colors, 11 thumbstick colors, metallic finishes on D-pads and triggers, and (most importantly) rubberized grips. Personalized gamepads are still expensive at $80, but you might feel like that money is better spent after this.
Importantly, too, Microsoft is expanding where you can use the Design Lab. As of today, the Lab is available in the UK, France and Germany, meaning it’s no longer a strictly North American affair. More European countries are arriving this summer, Microsoft says. British gamers can expect prices to start at £70, so you won’t be paying much of a premium versus your American or Canadian counterparts. If you want a controller that matches your favorite FIFA team, it’s now trivially easy to make that happen.
Follow all the latest news from E3 2017 here!
Source: Xbox Wire
Bethesda took just over a half hour to reveal all of its news at E3 2017, but you don’t have to sit through the entire ordeal to catch up on all of the announcements. We’ve compiled a clip that will bring you up to speed in under eight minutes. How’s that for efficiency?
Follow all the latest news from E3 2017 here!
We spend every minute of the working day bringing you news, reviews and features on every aspect of technology. Like everyone else, though, we also use tech outside of work hours. Last month we launched a new series about the gadgets we use every day, the apps and services we can’t live without and what we watch and play.
This week, it’s time for music and podcasts. We start with a personal story from Dana Wollman on her on-again-off-again relationship with podcasts, before four other editors offer quick takes on the music and shows they’ve been obsessing over this month.
The first time I tried to get into podcasts, it was to impress a guy. He loved podcasts, so I was going to love them too. Looking back, my early collection mostly amounted to NPR’s greatest hits, with a few other public radio standards thrown in. Think: Planet Money, Marketplace, Radiolab, This American Life. Generally speaking, it was basic stuff, with a heavy dose of pundits engaged in rambling conversation.
Being the purist I am, I made myself back-listen to older episodes that had piled up, even news programs like NPR Politics that, by definition, had a limited shelf life. It didn’t help that I had a tendency to listen precisely when my concentration was at its most impaired. Pro tip: If you’re riding the train home drunk from Brooklyn to Harlem at 2AM on a Sunday morning, Ira Glass’s voice isn’t the best pick-me-up.
Soon enough, I burned out. I went on to date men who were indifferent to podcasts, and I ignored all of you as you grew obsessed with Serial. I continued to appear as guest on various programs — including Engadget’s own! — but never subscribed to any myself.
When I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one who I didn’t want to think about any more.
Incidentally, when I finally did give podcasts another try, it was also because of a guy — one I didn’t want to think about anymore. I had to get out of my head, away from my tired Spotify playlists and daydreams of running into him on the street.
This time around, I started with S-Town from the team behind Serial and This American Life, which launched to critical acclaim about a month before my current podcast kick. Despite those accolades, I somehow loved it even more than I expected. No longer was I nodding off on the train, losing 10-, 15-, 20-minute chunks. I was listening intently, on my commute to work, and then home again. When I walked through my door, the episode continued, on my phone or laptop speaker.
This was aural literature and, indeed, I was as reluctant to finish it as I would have been a great novel. I wanted to talk to people about the storytelling, the narrative arc, the ethical problems with delving into the life of a man who never consented to be profiled, per se. I even tried to get my dad (a book lover in his own right) to give podcasts, and S-Town in particular, a try. Who was I?
The truth is, I like my brain better on podcasts. I’m learning, I’m thinking critically and I’m not ruminating — or if I am, it’s nowadays usually not about myself. In my case, podcasts have distracted me from disappointment and sadness. But I’ve heard various friends say the same, including people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others still who would otherwise find their workweek dull and repetitive.
In addition to S-Town, I’ve binge-listened to Codebreaker, The Leap and Still Processing, along with the first season of Serial. You guys were right: It’s pretty good. For politics, my current diet includes Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It and the occasional Pod Save the People, with a tolerable amount of overlap there. My Dad Wrote a Porno is the only podcast that can make me laugh out loud on the subway, though I’ve also been enjoying 2 Dope Queens, a standup-comedy roundup hosted by Jessica Williams ofThe Daily Show fame.
Not everything I’ve tried has stuck. I feel like the only human on the planet who doesn’t find Jordan, Jesse, Go! funny. I listened to Missing Richard Simmons with interest but ultimately found it ethically suspect, with one interview, in particular, amounting to a character assassination. I also gave The Human Race from Runner’s World, Girl Friday and New York Magazine’s Sex Lives a try, but haven’t yet committed to any of them.
I did also give news podcasts another shot, by the way. The Daily from the The New York Times is a 20-minute morning podcast in which host Michael Barbaro interviews two or so Times reporters about whatever big story they broke the afternoon or evening before. I’ve been enjoying the concise length, the added insight and, in particular, the behind-the-scenes element of hearing journalists discuss their work. Even so, listening to The Daily still sometimes feels like eating my vegetables before I can proceed to dessert (in this case, true crime stories and tales of dating schadenfreude). Maybe news podcasts really aren’t my jam.
My Favorite Murder
Like many women across the world, my life is tinged with the subtle yet constant anxiety that, one day, when I least expect it, I’m going to be raped and murdered. On top of this anxiety — or perhaps because of it — I’ve sustained a lifelong obsession with the macabre mental processes of serial killers. How do they choose their victims? Why do they do such horrific things? Would I be able to spot a murderous sociopath at the bar? Would he be able to spot me?
My Favorite Murder doesn’t answer all of these questions, but it scratches all of my most morbid itches. It’s hosted by two hilarious women, Georgia Hardstark (Drunk History) and Karen Kilgariff (Mr. Show), who manage to infuse the most disturbing descriptions of brutality with sarcasm, wit and warmth. My Favorite Murder is a podcast about the violent death of innocence, but it feels more like a slumber party at Rory and Lorelai Gilmore’s house.
True crime has been hot since Serial and Making a Murderer burst onto the scene, and there’s no shortage of podcasts covering crazed killers. But My Favorite Murder occupies a unique space within the genre. Consider The Last Podcast on the Left: It’s a fantastic show that happens to be hosted by a group of dudes who often dive into murders from the perspective of the killers, using words like “prostitute” to describe female victims without pause. My Favorite Murder tends to focus just as much attention on the killers and the victims, often with an undertone of, “That could have been any of us.” This is usually followed by a joke about the dangers of men with briefcases, of course.
My Favorite Murder has spawned a litany of fan-favorite lines, including “Fuck politeness,” “You’re in a cult. Call your dad,” and “Stay out of the forest.” But, the show’s sign-off offers a perfect summary of its place in the true-crime podcasting universe: “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.”
Reviews Editor, Engadget UK
I swear by my Spotify Discover playlist, but first thing on a Monday morning, my brain typically relegates it to white noise. On this initial playthrough, it’s rare a track stands out enough to steal my attention away from stimulants and Twitter. One recent such song, however, was “Vireo’s Eye” by Future Islands; thus started a several weeklong binge of the band’s back catalog.
The dominant bassline and muffled, repeating vocals of “Vireo’s Eye” gave me serious Cure vibes, leading me to believe Future Islands were an ’80s group that had somehow passed me by. I was surprised to see, then, that the synthpop act — Wikipedia’s description, not mine (I’m useless at genre determination) — had released a new album just a few weeks before my fortuitous discovery.
Turns out that Future Islands have only been around for the past decade, but the influence of late-20th-century rock and pop is palpable throughout their music. And that is very much my jam — or one of them, at least. For a time, the five albums available on Spotify were even upgraded to offline download status, which is quite the honor considering storage space on my 16GB iPhone is at a premium.
Not all of Future Islands’ tracks are quite as anthemic as “Vireo’s Eye,” which is the perfect introduction to their signature sound of slightly OTT vocals, commanding bass guitar, melancholic undertones and healthy doses of synth. It’s variety within the band’s catalog that’s kept me coming back, though. “Walking Through That Door” and “Long Flight” are relatively high-intensity, whereas “The Great Fire” and “Where I Found You” sound like tracks pulled from Donnie Darko’s slow-dance playlist. Then there’s the aching vocals on “Beach Foam,” which make it one of my favorites.
A friend tells me that vocalist Samuel Herring is even more charismatic live than he sounds on studio recordings, so I’ll most definitely be catching a Future Islands gig the next time the opportunity presents itself.
The Handsome Rambler
Timothy J. Seppala
Hannibal Burress isn’t the only comedian with a podcast, but he’s the only one I listen to. In fact, The Handsome Rambler is the only podcast I listen to, period. Like my boss Dana, I took an extended break from podcasts, but my reasoning was I got tired of listening to video game shows and not having a commute means my time for listening was basically nonexistent. And when I’m home, I’d rather listen to music than talking heads or my TV. After switching over from night shift recently, though, I started walking a few miles a day for exercise and needed a soundtrack for my jaunts — something to completely zone out to and take my mind off from work and current events. At the recommendation of my coworker Richard Lawler, I gave Rambler a spin.
I’m a stand-up comedy nerd and have devoured almost everything Burress has put out in the past few years. I even saw him play in Michigan last fall. I’m not sure what I was expecting out of Rambler but what’s there never fails to make me smile. The show isn’t him just testing out new material or talking solo into a mic for an hour. More often than not, it’s just Burress having a conversation with his friend and touring companion Tony Trim about everything from the Airbnb reviews they’ve gotten, life on the road and the different “energies” everyone gives off.
The best parts, though, are the commercials. A running joke is that once he finishes his comedy career, he’s going to become a rapper and producer. He doesn’t have a record contract, so commercials for MeUndies, Seat Geek and Squarespace are his outlet. They’re absurd in the best way possible, usually freestyle rapped over a beat from Trim. There’s no real way to do them justice by describing them, though, but know that Autotune and a Moog Theremini appear in the most random places at the most random times. Listen to the SoundCloud embed above to hear what I’m talking about.
Lofi Hip Hop Radio
Associate Editor, Engadget UK
At the peak of Vine’s popularity, I was obsessed with a six-second subgenre that blended classic anime moments with relaxing, jazz-infused beats. I’ve seen the terms “vaporwave” and “chillwave” attached to the movement, but honestly, I have no idea if they’re accurate — music categorization isn’t my forte. What I can confirm is their sumptuous tone and considered, note-perfect editing. Studio Ghibli films were a popular choice, no doubt because of their slow, melancholic tone. Cowboy Bebop, Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion would crop up too, slowly stretching the genre and the people that stumbled upon it.
Vine’s collapse left a Spike Spiegel-shaped hole in my heart. Thankfully, a similar community has popped up on YouTube. Channels like AnimeVibe and Lophee are posting the same sort of music in full, but with anime stills or fanart in the background. The thoughtful editing is gone, and while that’s a shame, I can still appreciate the music and nostalgic anime callbacks. My favorite upload, however, is a 24-hour livestream managed by “ChilledCow.” It’s a nonstop playlist of lo-fi hip hop that is constantly updated with new tracks from up-and-coming beat-makers. For a writer like me, it’s the perfect office soundtrack.
The legality of such a setup is unclear. From what I can tell, ChilledCow has (or at least seeks) permission from all of the artists he or she streams. YouTube, however, was never designed to support internet radio, and I have a hunch this playlist breaks some service terms somewhere. Regardless, it’s a hypnotic, serene and lovingly crafted playlist that never fails to brighten my mood. The looping GIF ripped straight from Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart. The live chat box that slowly scrolls by as new listeners voice their appreciation. It’s a weird but wonderful corner of the internet — one that I hope keeps streaming for many months to come.
“IRL” is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they’re buying, using, playing and streaming.
Slowly but surely, Lenovo’s Motorola is updating all of its major smartphone lines. We got the refreshed Moto Gs while traipsing around at MWC, the Moto Z2 Play just recently broke cover, and now we have a new pair of low-cost Moto E4s to consider.
For those on a tight budget, the regular Moto E4 may do the trick — it packs either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 427 chipset, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a 5-inch, 720p display. You’ll find an 8-megapixel camera around back, and, deeper inside, a relatively capacious 2,800mAh battery. That’s not a bad package for $130, especially when you consider two more things: it’s going to ship with Android 7.1 Nougat, and it’ll eventually be available for even less money as part of Amazon’s ad-subsidized Prime Exclusive phone line.
If you can swing an extra $50, though, the $180 Moto E4 Plus is almost certainly the way to go. Lenovo opted to use a larger, 5.5-inch full HD screen and the more powerful Snapdragon 427 chipset, not to mention an improved 13-megapixel main camera and a fully metal body. Normally, a bigger screen and faster processor would make battery life more of a concern, but you don’t need to worry too much. Just as all those leaks suggested, the E4 Plus comes with a 5,000mAh battery tucked away inside. That’s more juice than we got from last year’s Moto E Power, not to mention just about every modern flagship smartphone put there. (Seriously, OEMs: maybe worry a little less about extreme thinness and give us some incredible batteries.) And even better, the phone plays nice with MotoLenovo’s 10W rapid charging.
Motorola has a long record of delivering excellent cheap phones, and that thankfully hasn’t changed now that the company has been ingested by Lenovo. With these super-affordable boxes ticked, we can now turn our attention to the really interesting stuff coming soon: we’re still expecting official news on the new Moto Z Force and Moto X to hit in the coming months.
Pursuing more efficient sources of renewable energy has led to many iterations of the battery. But researchers just brought a really interesting new version to the table, one made from potassium ions and trash.
The scientists started with rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh and used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — which is also used in wine production and in fertilizers — to dissolve ions out of the mesh’s layer of rust. Those ions, including iron and nickel, then combined with other ions in the solution. Together, they formed a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanocubes that could store and release potassium ions. The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.
Lithium batteries have been the go-to version for renewable energy storage, but lithium is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Plus, lithium batteries have a had a troublesome history of exploding. Sodium-ion batteries have been suggested as an alternative because sodium is plentiful and cheap, two qualities that also apply to the potassium ions used in this study.
Though this battery was just a proof of concept study for the researchers, its specs make it seem pretty successful. It has high capacity, discharge voltage and cycle stability. And its use of recycled materials makes it an especially appealing possibility.
Source: Angewandte Chemie
$499. No matter how many games Microsoft showed (42) and which specs flashed across the screen (teraflops! ram!), most of the reaction to its One X unveiling at E3 focused on that. It’s not the $599 debacle that Sony faced with its PS3 unveiling over a decade ago, but the “most powerful console ever” has a large hill to climb when it’s also the most expensive console available, topping the 1TB PS4 Pro by $100.
There was no VR pitch during Microsoft’s presentation, nor any mention of video streaming or other home-theater bumps (the One S already supports 4K video streaming), beyond a brief acknowledgment of Dolby Atmos support. Since the original Xbox One reveal, gamers have asked for just games and today, Microsoft gave them that. The only problem is that while trailing in the consoles sales race to Sony, there are only so many exclusives (and timed exclusives) to get.
So what leg does Microsoft stand on to sell the Xbox One X? It’s got one sale here — I’ve already fallen for the pitch twice, purchasing both an Xbox One and an Xbox One Elite. Upgrading to a system that will make many of my games look better is a no-brainer. This is probably Microsoft’s strongest sales pitch: As long as the One X has the most horsepower (outside of a PC), it’s a worth piece of an upgrade to 4K and HDR along with the rest of my home theater. This is the system I want to play Forza on for the foreseeable future — let’s be honest, I’d pay any amount of money for the chance to play Rallisport Challenge 2 in 4K — and there’s little that will change that.
The problem is everyone else. If the exclusives you want to play are on PlayStation, or, God forbid, Switch, graphical fidelity isn’t as big a draw. Sure, not every PS4 Pro game is “true” 4K, but Microsoft may have a tough run trying to sell a few extra pixels on a cross-platform release vs. not having access to well-known and anticipated titles like The Last of Us, God of War and Gran Turismo, just to name a few. And if you’re a Nintendo fan, then you’ve likely already opted out of high-res graphical upgrades in favor of a few familiar franchises. Even if you want Xbox exclusives with the best graphics, a PC is the best option.
Like the PS4 Pro, the One X is also capable of super-sampling, which will upgrade the visuals of games even for people playing on a 1080p television, not to mention the possibility of smoother framerate. But there the Xbox is its own worst competition, with the One S selling for half the price.
Add it up, and this means Microsoft’s newest Xbox is the one facing the most challenges, with few tools to work with. Microsoft’s insistence on making games that work the same across its Xbox lineup mean that developers won’t build extra features and limit the differences to graphics. The really bad news? Unless you’ve already invested in an ultra-high-definition setup with support for 4K and HDR, you won’t be able to see the difference without looking on someone else’s screen.
So what is the One X, other than a $500 throw-in with your new TV? That’s the question Microsoft will have to answer come November and in the years beyond — or at least until Sony comes up with an enhanced PS4 ProStation.
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