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31
Aug

New ‘Weather Atlas’ App Has Been Designed for Apple’s Upcoming iPhone 8


Contrast and Agile Tortoise, the developers behind popular apps Launch Center Pro and Drafts, respectively, have teamed up to introduce a new weather app called Weather Atlas.

Weather Atlas has been developed from the ground up with the unreleased “iPhone 8” in mind, and it is meant to take advantage of the device’s taller display. It also incorporates iOS 11-style design elements like bolder text and crisp, simple icons, and bottom-focused app controls, so it’ll fit right in on Apple’s upcoming 2017 devices.

The app has also been built to take advantage of all of the latest functionality in the iOS operating system, so it also supports features like Split View on the iPad Pro.

Meant to offer up a wealth of information in a single glance, Weather Atlas features both hourly weather and 10-day forecasts overlaid on a map with standard radar and cloud layers so you can check the temperature and see weather patterns at the same time. The 10-day forecast features prospective highs and lows along with precipitation, wind speed, and sunrise and sunset.

The hourly forecast for a single day displays the hourly temperature, humidity, wind speed, and cloud cover along with precipitation.


Multiple locations are supported, so you can see the weather across several cities, and there are built-in weather warnings for your location. There’s an option to see the weather patterns on the map over time, and tools for customizing the look of the app and sharing weather forecasts in other apps. Warning layers can be set to provide additional data on thunderstorms and tornados, wind, winter conditions like blizzard warnings, hurricanes, fire, floods, fog, and more.

Weather Atlas is a free app and it is supported by ads, so there are some somewhat intrusive ads at the top of the app and when looking at a full 10-day weather forecast. Removing the ads requires a Pro account, priced at $0.49 per month or $4.99 per year. A Pro account includes support for different themes, extra widgets, improved maps, and of course, no ads.

For the time being, Weather Atlas is only available in the United States, but it may expand to other countries in the future.

Weather Atlas can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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31
Aug

Apple Urges FCC Not to Roll Back Ban on Internet ‘Fast Lanes’ in Push for Net Neutrality


In a letter submitted during the Restoring Internet Freedom comment period, Apple has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission not to roll back a ban that would allow for so-called “paid fast lanes” on the internet.

Image via Change.org. Apple logo added by MacRumors.

Broadband providers should not create paid fast lanes on the internet. Lifting the current ban on paid prioritization arrangements could allow broadband providers to favor the transmission of one provider’s content or services (or the broadband provider’s own online content or services) over other online content, fundamentally altering the internet as we know it today—to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.

Apple warns that paid fast lanes could result in an “internet with distorted competition” based on an online provider’s ability or willingness to pay, which in turn could put some customers in the “slow lane.”

Consumers today seek out the content and services they desire based upon numerous factors, including quality, innovation, ease of use, and privacy considerations. Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers’ ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service. Moreover, it could create artificial barriers to entry for new online services, making it harder for tomorrow’s innovations to attract investment and succeed. Worst of all, it could allow a broadband provider, not the consumer, to pick internet winners and losers, based on a broadband provider’s priorities rather than the quality of the service.

In May, under the leadership of chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC proposed to roll back the Barack Obama administration’s classification of internet providers as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Apple is far from the only major technology company that has urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. Last month, companies including Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Netflix hosted an internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality.

The FCC received a record-breaking 22 million comments from the public during the comment period, which closed Wednesday. The FCC will now revise and vote on the proposal, at which point it could become official policy.

Full Letter: Apple’s Reply to “Restoring Internet Freedom” via Recode

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: net neutrality, FCC
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31
Aug

Apple Invites Media to September 12 Event at Apple Park: ‘Let’s Meet at Our Place’


Apple today sent out media invites for its annual iPhone-centric event that will be held on Tuesday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the Steve Jobs Theater at the company’s new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. The media invites offer a first look at the theme of the event and feature the tagline: “Let’s meet at our place.” (via The Loop)

Apple’s fall 2017 event will be its most significant in years thanks to the debut of a radically redesigned iPhone that features an edge-to-edge display, a vertical rear camera, facial recognition capabilities, a much improved processor, and wireless inductive charging functionality. The new iPhone features a display similar in size to the display of the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, but with a body closer in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7.

Along with a nearly bezel-free display, the device includes a glass body and is promised to be the most advanced, most revamped iPhone we’ve seen since the introduction of the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. We expect the OLED iPhone, which is rumored to be more expensive than traditional iPhones, to be sold alongside two 4.7 and 5.5-inch LCD models that more closely resemble existing devices.

A dummy model featuring the upcoming OLED iPhone
The upcoming 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhones have not been heavily featured in rumors, but they too are said to feature glass bodies, support for wireless charging functionality, and improvements to the processor, camera, and other components.

The iPhones aren’t the only upgrades Apple will unveil at the event. Rumors suggest Apple will introduce a third-generation Apple Watch with an LTE chip that allows it to be decoupled from the iPhone. There’s been some talk of a potential redesign, but it’s sounding like the third-generation Apple Watch will look a lot like the Apple Watch Series 2.

At the event, we may hear more about upcoming products like the iMac Pro and the HomePod, and there could be one other major hardware surprise in store for us – a new 4K Apple TV. Hints of such a device have been spotted in firmware leaks and we’ve known Apple has had a new Apple TV in the works for some time.

As for other hardware, many iPads and Macs were refreshed in June, so we are not expecting any updates to the Mac and iPad lineups, but expect to see new Apple Watch bands and new iPhone cases.

We’ve already been testing next-generation operating systems including iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, but following Apple’s event, we may see some of these updates released to the public. iOS and watchOS updates are often released just ahead of new iPhones, while macOS updates tend to come somewhat later. tvOS 11 is such a minor update that it isn’t clear when it’ll be released, but it could come alongside the other updates. One thing we may not see — an Amazon Prime Video app. There’s one in the works, but word is it won’t be ready in time.

In line with past events, Apple’s 2017 iPhone unveiling will kick off at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple will stream the event live on its website and on the Apple TV, but for those who are unable to watch, MacRumors will be providing full event coverage, both on MacRumors.com and through our MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10, Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4, iPhone 8, iOS 11, macOS High Sierra
Tag: September 2017 event
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy), Apple Watch (Caution)
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31
Aug

Apple Seeds Ninth Beta of iOS 11 to Developers


Apple today seeded the ninth beta of iOS 11 to developers for testing purposes, just a few days after releasing the eighth beta and more than two months after introducing the new update at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed.

iOS 11 brings several new design changes like a customizable Control Center and a new Lock screen that’s been merged with the Notification Center. Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments are coming in the Messages app, which is also gaining a new App Drawer, and there’s a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that’s meant to help drivers stay focused on the road. Siri, Photos, the Camera app, and more are also gaining new features and refinements.

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ARKit for developers will bring a range of new augmented reality apps and games to iOS devices, and a new Core ML SDK will let developers build smarter apps. iOS 11 is also the biggest update ever for the iPad, with a new Dock that introduces much improved multitasking, a Files app for better managing files, improved Apple Pencil support, a revamped App Switcher, and a system-wide drag and drop feature.


iOS 11 is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and be released to the public in September alongside new iPhones. We are getting closer to the end of the beta testing process and should see a golden master release candidate soon.

For complete details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our extensive iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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31
Aug

Apple Seeds Ninth Beta of Upcoming tvOS 11 Update to Developers


Apple today seeded the ninth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update designed for the fourth-generation TV, just a few days after seeding the eighth beta and more than two months after releasing the first beta during the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the tvOS 11 update by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.

tvOS 11 didn’t receive a lot of attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference because it’s a modest update, but according to Apple’s release notes, it does introduce a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 brings automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, improvements to Mobile Device Management, and more.

The ninth beta of tvOS 11 most likely focuses primarily on bug fixes and other small refinements, as the first eight betas did. Apple’s new tvOS 11 update is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and will see a public release this fall.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)
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31
Aug

BLU Vivo 8 (review)


BLU is one of the most prevalent smartphone manufacturers on the planet right now. While most of the devices BLU creates are quite niche and not big-time sellers, there’s enough variety to cover all types of customer needs. BLU’s Vivo line is generally considered among the premium lineup even though the specs and price aren’t in the same ballpark as Samsung’s, LG’s, HTC‘s or Sony’s best smartphones.

BLU is targeting the budget-conscious consumer with the new Vivo 8 – customers that may be considering the Motorola G5 Plus or OnePlus Five. This device is launching at $299 USD but will be available at the promo price of $199 USD from August 31 to Septemer 1, 2017 on Amazon. This price point makes the Vivo 8 extremely competitive in the ever-growing budget market, but the overall design and specs make it a top consideration for anyone looking for a new unlocked phone.

In the box

Inside the box, BLU includes the Vivo 8 smartphone, earbud headphones, a power adapter, a micro-USB charging/data cable, a silicon protective case, a plastic screen protector, sim ejection tool, quick start guide and manual.

blu vivo 8 boxThe Vivo 8 showed up in this nice little box and as a collector of neat boxes for electronic devices, I was pleased.

Upon removing the phone from the box I was pleased with the overall feel of the Vivo 8. It’s not overly heavy or obtuse and feels balanced in the hand. While holding the Vivo 8 I felt as though the metal backing was quite slippery and I immediately worried about dropping it. Thankfully BLU includes a silicon case that adds protection and some additional grip.

blu vivo 8 backThe BLU Vivo 8 features a soft gold metal back plate that looks great from any angle.

Setting up the Vivo 8

After just a few moments I had the Vivo 8 booted and completely set up – or so I thought. Once at the home-screen, I was completely lost. I’ve played with a lot of Android devices and my home-screen never looked quite like this. After a few minutes of tinkering, I discovered that BLU employs a unique overlay to the stock Android OS that lay hidden somewhere below this monstrosity of a UI.

blu vivo 8 frontWhile the overall design won’t turn any heads it will feel comfortable in most hands.

Quick settings and toggles are at the bottom and accessed by swiping up. Notifications are still found by swiping down and look slightly different than stock Android, but are still completely functional. It all felt foreign at first glance with the strange icons, a wonky launcher and flip-flopped quick menus. Thankfully, this is Android and I was able to install a new launcher and icon pack as well as disable some basic BLU add-ons that were more annoying than helpful.

Any Android user can and will find the widgets, apps, features and particular settings that he or she likes – and I appreciated that BLU did not go overboard with some of the OS specific settings and overlays. This was a minor inconvenience but honestly my biggest gripe with the entire Vivo 8 experience.

Initial Impression

After logging into my email, social media sites, and general user accounts, I felt at home on the Vivo 8. I have used Samsung Galaxy devices as my daily drivers for years now but felt that the Vivo 8 could do anything I needed when it came to daily smartphone tasks. The front-mounted fingerprint reader is super snappy and unlocks the Vivo 8 from the lock screen as well as sleep mode – major kudos here!

Applications downloaded super fast and installed within moments. While connected to my home network I ran a few different speed tests that gave me some mixed results but speeds were always sufficient for browsing and downloading. I never felt as though the Vivo 8 was having a hard time with my requests and I rarely noticed the device stutter while loading content. The Vivo 8 easily flips between open applications, the camera app, and music and video players without so much of a hitch.

vivo 8 app memoryPressing the recent apps button brings up your apps and current memory usage which I found very informative.

After a few hours of heavy use I found that the battery was hefty enough to easily get me through the day. The impressive 4010mAh battery really packed a punch without adding too much weight to the device. Coupled with the 1080p LCD screen, the embedded battery could easily push me through two days of general use.

BLU crammed the Vivo 8 with impressive specs in all the key areas such as a large, vivid screen, a hefty battery, a functional camera and a fast and accurate fingerprint reader. While there is no water resistance, ultra high-res screen, or top of the line cameras, the Vivo 8 still rocks a ton of RAM and storage as wells as an eight-core processor. The Vivo 8 feels like an “everyman’s” smartphone.

Spec Rundown

  • Dimensions:  154.3 mm x 76.5 mm x 8.3 mm
  • Weight:  180 Grams Total
  • CPU:  Octa-Core 2.0GHz ARM Cortex-A53
  • Chipset:  MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10
  • GPU:  ARM Mali-T860 MP2 700MHz
  • Rear Camera:  13 Megapixel With AF and Dual-LED Flash
  • Front Camera:  16 Megapixel Front Camera with LED Flash
  • Memory:  4GB
  • Storage:  64GB with Micro-SD Expansion
  • Display:  5.5″ LCD
  • Resolution:  1080x 1920 (2,073,600 pixels @ 410ppi)
  • Connectivity:  LTE CAT 6, USB-PC File Transfer, OTA Sync, Tethering, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Battery:  Non-Removable 4010 mAh
  • SIM:  Dual-SIM GSM
  • Sensors:  Proximity, Accelerometer, Compass, Ambient Light, Front Fingerprint
  • Color:  Black/Grey or White/Gold
  • Operating System:  Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Input/Output:  microSD Card Slot, Micro USB Charge Port, 3.5mm Audio/Headphone Port, Power Button, Volume Up/Down, Microphone, Speakers
  • Additional Features:  Metal Body Design, LTE Cat 6 300 Mbps Download, 50 Mbps Upload, PC File Transfer, 2.5D Curved Glass Screen, 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, OTA Sync, OTG Support, Tethering, Noise Cancellation, Hi-Fi Sound, Ergonomic Shell, Quick Charge Technology, 2A Charger

True Performer

I ran the BLU Vivo 8 through a multitude of benchmarks to see how the processor performed in simulated tests. Overall, I was impressed at some of the capabilities of the Vivo 8–especially with overall processing, but when comparing scores I determined that a lot of these numbers were close to half of what premium phones were capable of–at least on paper.

Benchmark Scores

Geekbench 4:
729 Single-Core
2814 Multi-Core
Antutu Benchmark:  50,306
QUADRANT:   Standard: 21,754
PC Mark for Android
Work 2.0:  3,406
Computer Vision:  1,608

Benchmarks are great for getting an idea of how capable the internals of a device is, but to fully understand actual real-world performance I put the Vivo 8 to the test by using a variety of everyday applications.

Web-browsing through Chrome as well as applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were quick to load and scrolled smoothly and with little interruption. Applications downloaded and installed quickly and sometimes rivaled high-end devices like the Galaxy S8+ and iPhone 7. I was impressed at the basic processing capabilities of the Vivo 8 from the moment I started using the device.

vivo 8 comparisonThe Vivo 8 [left] has a similar screen and external design when compared to an iPhone 7 Plus [right] yet operates more like a specced down Galaxy S8+ [center]I also tried a host of photo editing utilities, office software, and productivity apps. I found that the display on the Vivo 8 was very responsive while editing photos and typing up long-worded text documents and emails. Adobe Photoshop was quick to render photo effects and WPS Office ran great while editing standard office documents. I did some head-to-head tests with a Samsung Galaxy S8+ and discovered that the Galaxy phone was anywhere from a few milliseconds to a maximum of three seconds faster than the Vivo 8 when it came to loading larger applications.

Next up I wanted to put the Vivo 8 through the paces with some “high-end” Android gaming. I loaded up some of the most demanding games like Need for Speed No Limits, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Temple Run 2, Assassin’s Creed Pirates and Bullet Force.

blu vivo 8 childWhile some may consider the Vivo 8 a large smartphone, a child can easily use this device

Every game I played performed perfectly fine. Some had slightly lower frame rates or lesser effects when compared to other, more expensive devices, but all games were 100% playable. I don’t know if this is a testament to the capabilities of the Vivo 8 or more to the scalability of Android applications–but the fact remains–the Vivo 8 is a perfectly capable gaming smartphone.

After about 10-15 minutes of gaming, I felt that the Vivo 8 had become quite warm, but never so much that I was concerned about the temperature and no games crashed or displayed errors from extensive gaming sessions. In fact, I’ve used other devices that felt much hotter over a shorter amount of time.

vivo 8 od01The Vivo 8 has a vivid LCD screen that’s perfect for outdoor use on those bright, sunny days.

Camera capabilities

The BLU Vivo 8 has a 16MP selfie cam that faces forward and a 13MP rear-facing shooter. Both cameras take decent shots in well-lit environments but struggle in low light. A large amount of grain is evident in any outdoor shot taken after dusk. HDR modes can assist as usual, but also take a super steady hand or tripod to pull off effectively.

Click here to see some BLU Vivo 8 sample photos

The Vivo 8 does not feature optical image stabilization nor an optical zoom. The f/2.0 lens does include autofocus as well as touch-to-focus capabilities as well as face detection and the typical geotagging feature of practically every smartphone today. While not overly impressed by the quality of the photos I shot, I still found the camera to be one of the better shooters on a device in this price range.

Multimedia experience

Listening to music on a smartphone is never a great experience. It’ll do for those times where you don’t have access to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones but is obviously not recommended. With that in mind, the Vivo 8 still does a decent job of providing a legitimate aural experience. At the bottom of the device, you’ll find dual speakers that are loud and clear. As a bonus, the earpiece at the top also outputs sound while playing music, games or video with sound. By using all speakers available the Vivo 8 gets plenty loud and rivals flagships from other manufacturers.

Video content on the Vivo 8 is sharp and accurate. I was impressed by the viewing angles on the 5.5-inch screen and never experienced any color wash-out. With a large screen and great viewing angles, the Vivo 8 is perfect for sharing photos or video content with friends and family at social gatherings.

blu vivo 8 speakersThe dual speakers at the bottom of the Vivo 8 get plenty loud and remain clear at any volume. The inclusion of two also prevents muffled sound from accidental blocking while holding the device

 

Wrap up

BLU has created a smartphone that can hang with the big boys at a fraction of the price. While it lacks in high-end 3D processing and overall camera capabilities, the BLU Vivo 8 can do virtually anything else an $800 premium phone can do. If you need a GSM phone and don’t need the best camera or gaming prowess, the Vivo 8 has a great design with solid specs at a great price.

BLU has included a plethora of usable features and software functions that make the Vivo 8 a great device for everyday use. The BLU Vivo 8 is an admirable alternative to the high-priced premium phones that so many users gravitate towards. While it lacks tech such as an infinity display, dual rear cameras, waterproofing or retina scanner, the Vivo 8 is still a smartphone worth considering at a much more affordable price.

You can pick up the BLU VIVO 8 on Amazon for only $199.99, a $100 discount, until September 2, 2017.

31
Aug

24 hours with the LG V30 (first impressions)


LG is having a killer year. After the disaster that was the LG G5, in the past 12 months, LG has released two of the best phones on the market today, the V20 and G6. Now, we’re getting our first hands on to the LG V30, the third phone in a row to blow us away.

Just a disclaimer here, we haven’t had the device for very long (just about 24 hours) and this isn’t a final review unit. LG was gracious enough to send over a preview unit. Our full review will be conducted with a retail unit so that we’re working on the exact same hardware and software that you may walk into a carrier store and pick up.

Hardware

While it isn’t using all the same premium materials that the Samsung Galaxy S8 is using, it still feels amazing in the hand. The back of our preview unit is running non-final hardware so we don’t get that premium Gorilla Glass 5 backing that retail units will have, but to be honest, it still feels pretty damn good. I’m interested to see how the LG V30’s retail unit incorporates the glass back because this is already a really nice phone without it.

The V30, much like the G6 and Galaxy lineup is almost entirely display. The 6-inch display retains the 2:1 aspect ratio of the LG G6 but ditches the IPS LCD technology for a new FullVision OLED display. One of the reasons that Samsung has continued its dominance over LG is the display quality and technology. Finally, we see LG jump on board the (far superior) OLED bandwagon. The V30’s display looks amazing in our testing so far, but we’ll definitely need more time with it and side by side the Galaxy S8 to determine if LG’s display stands up to the current champ.

What we do know, however, is that the screen is massive, bright, and gorgeous. The 82% screen to body ratio is among the highest out there and makes the V30 a legitimate contender for one-handed use even though it has a massive 6-inch display.

I was honestly surprised to find out that the G6 had a 6-inch display because the device is much easier to hold and use than the Samsung Galaxy S8, which has a smaller 5.8-inch display. I believe the reason for this the lack of a dual-curved display. This gives you actual sides of the phone to hold onto and makes it a lot easier to handle.

Due to not having final hardware, we can’t comment too much on how thin and light our device is. Realistically though, even with a heavier, thicker panel of glass on the rear of the device, this still going to feel like one of the thinnest and lightest on the market.

One thing that the V30 is definitely lacking, intentionally so, is the ticker display that both the V10 and V20 have had. LG dropped the display for a Floating Bar within the software in lieu of that hardware display. I was never a big fan of the ticker display so I’m perfectly fine with this. I felt it made a huge phone even bigger for almost no benefit. I’m going to have to play with the floating bar a little bit more, but it’s definitely a better solution than the ticker display in my opinion.

The V30 brings back the IP68 rating of the G6 and compliance with the MIL-STD-810G drop standard that the V10 and V20 had. That’s extremely impressive considering that the V30 is more a “glass sandwich” than the rugged bodies of its forefathers. I’ve yet to drop the V30 (and hopefully I don’t anytime soon) but based on how solid the device feels in hand, I have no doubt that it’s a durable device. I do worry about having that much exposed glass, but we’ll have to see how the final retail unit stands up to drop and fall tests to truly know.

Inside the device, you’ll find a Snapdragon 835 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that can be expanded via a microSD card. The lack of a RAM bump from the G6 feels a bit weird and I feel like it’s going to cost LG as it goes up against the Note 8 that has 6GB of RAM. In my extremely limited time with the device, it has run smoothly almost the entire time I’ve been using it. The only issue I’ve had is the homescreen redrawing once or twice.

Software

The LG V30 comes out of the box with Android Nougat with its skin on top of it. Last year we saw the V20 launch with the newest version of Google’s software so I was hoping that the V30 would shock us and come with Oreo, but alas, it does not. We’ll see how long the software upgrade takes since Oreo has just rolled out to Pixel devices within the last few weeks. Hopefully, we see it by the end of the year.

Not much has changed in the software from the LG G6. It feels pretty familiar and still comes default with a launcher that doesn’t have an app drawer. It’s honestly baffling why LG does this. It includes a version of its launcher with an app drawer so it recognizes that customers want that, but doesn’t enable it by default. I don’t get it. Please cut it out, LG.

As I mentioned before, the second ticker display has been dropped for a software solution that LG is calling the “floating bar”. It comes in the way of a small chip on the right side of the screen that you can tap to display or hold to move around wherever you want. It houses shortcuts to actions like creating a new memo, taking a selfie, capturing the screen to create a gif, controlling your music, or accessing some quick contacts.

Even though I own a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, I’ve never really loved the edge features which is why I’m so surprised that I like the floating bar so much. It doesn’t do anything revolutionary and it only saves me one or two taps, but… I don’t know how to put my finger on it. It’s just really convenient and doesn’t get in the way. I wouldn’t mind seeing quick access to some user-selected apps in there, but that’s my only qualm so far.

Ths Always-On Display makes a comeback with some improved functionality. First off, it lets you put a picture of pizza on there, so yeah, there’s that. But, also you can scroll through some options at the top of the display too to control things like your music selections and some quick toggles. I like how LG went about it but wonder if it’s an easier option than just turning your display on fully or unlocking your device. Kudos for putting it in though.

LG’s skin will feel familiar if you’ve used any of its devices in the past few years. I’ve never been a huge fan of its skin, but it does have some nice features like the ability to customize your navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen. I love being able to hit a drop down button to lower the notification shade instead of reaching the top of the display. I like the new floating bar and the rest we can fix with themes and third-party launchers for the most part.

Conclusion

There’s a lot we’ve not been able to cover yet due to the limited amount of time and lack of final hardware and software. But, that doesn’t stop me from being very excited about the V30. I’ve seen some definite steps forward here, even compared to the G6 which came out just six short months ago.

LG is making a massive push on the media front and aims to make the V30 a multimedia powerhouse. It has included a Quad-DAC once again and support for Bluetooth 5.0 and AptX-HD which means no matter how you’re listening to audio from the V30, it’ll sound great. The OLED display looks fantastic when viewing media with the deep blacks and bright colors that it displays.

But, it’s not just consuming media that the V30 does well. It’s creating it too. LG has packed in a brand new f/1.6 lens and an absolute TON of software features into both photo and video editing to make the dream of shooting and editing a movie on your phone closer and closer. I’m really excited to play with these features and we’ll be sure to bring you our thoughts in the full review that we should have up soon.

So, bottom line, what do I think? This is a fast, beautiful, powerhouse of a phone that fixed the few faults of the LG G6. It’s going to be a contender for phone of the year unless Google really blows our socks off with the Pixel 2.

31
Aug

LG V30 vs LG G6 quick look: LG has finally hit a groove


What used to be Samsung’s stomping grounds is now being taken over by LG. In the absence of the Note 8, which launched in New York earlier this month, the talk of IFA 2017 is, without doubt, the new LG V30.

See also:LG V30 hands on – a mobile photography powerhouse

LG V30 hands on – a mobile photography powerhouse

9 hours ago

We had the opportunity to use the LG V30 for several days ahead of its launch in Berlin this week, and one question we wanted to answer during this time was “How good is the V30 compared to the LG G6?”

Is the V30 LG’s real 2017 flagship? Is it worth shelling out for the V30 if you already own the relatively new LG G6? Let’s take a look in our LG V30 vs LG G6 comparison!

LG v30 vs lg g6

LG V30 vs LG G6: Design

First off, let’s talk size, and we have to give it to LG here for making the 6-inch V30 a few grams lighter than the 5.7-inch G6.

Gone is the bulkiness of the V20. At 158 grams, the V30 is incredibly light for a 6-inch device, and it also feels very light and thin, thanks to the rounded edges of the screen and the glass back.

LG v30 vs lg g6

Whereas the LG V30’s sides are curved and smooth, the G6 has an “edginess” to it that you may or may not enjoy personally. The flat edges definitely make it grippier, which is not a bad quality to have on a glass-made phone.

Kudos to LG – the V30 is incredibly light for a 6-inch device

Both phones feature the curved screen corners that have come into fashion this year, but the G6 feels much flatter compared to the V30. Indeed, the V30 looks and feels a bit like the Galaxy S8 Plus, even if it doesn’t have the curved edges of the Samsung flagship.

LG v30 vs lg g6

As you’d expect, the V30 and the G6 share some design similarities. The dual cameras and the circular fingerprint sensor stand out on the back, and the V30 features the same shiny glass construction as the G6.

Even if it’s not fully metallic anymore, the V30 is said to be highly resilient to shocks, as the phone is certified to the MIL-STD-810G standard. Still, drop it at your own risk.

LG V30 vs LG G6: Specs and features

Both phones have 18:9 FullVision displays, which make them much more portable than their diagonal size would otherwise suggest.

The underlying technology is different however, as LG switched from LCD to plastic-based OLED on the V30. That’s a first for LG’s flagship lineup, if you don’t count the G Flex experiment.

Go in depth: What’s the difference between P-OLED and AMOLED?

OLED is the future of high-end smartphones and LG has poured billions into R&D and manufacturing facilities to catch up with Samsung.

LG v30 vs lg g6

The switch offers clear benefits on the LG V30, which is brighter than the G6 and also features a slightly more pleasant color balance. While the difference between the LCD G6 and the OLED V30 is not jarring, the traditional strengths of OLED shine through, with better contrast and a more vibrant color palette.

Specs-wise, the V30 is on par with competitors

While the G6 was somehow behind the curve in the specs department, due to the use of a Snapdragon 821 processor, the V30 is on par with competitors, with Snapdragon 835. There’s also 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage space.

LG v30 vs lg g6

LG’s decision to make certain features of the G6 exclusive to some markets caused confusion and even frustration among customers. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the V30: features like wireless charging and the Quad DAC are available globally this time around.

Audio has always been a big part of the V series experience, and that’s continued on the V30, which gets the aforementioned Quad DAC, a set of digital filters, audio presets, and the ability to use the phone receiver as an extra microphone to improve recordings.

More details: Full LG V30 specs – a true multimedia machine

The battery size is the same on both phones at 3,300 mAh, though the superior processor and different screen tech could tip the scales in favor of the V30 in terms of actual battery life. Quick charging and water resistance are two other features that are making a return on the LG V30.

LG v30 vs lg g6 LG v30 vs lg g6

Software is pretty similar on the V30 and the G6, with both phones running Android 7.1 Nougat. You do get an interesting update in the security department: besides facial recognition, which the LG G6 got via a software update this summer, the V30 also comes with voice recognition. You can set basically any voice command to unlock the phone hands-free. It’s not the fastest way to unlock your device, but it still might come in handy in certain situations.

LG v30 vs lg g6

The LG V30 also supports Daydream VR, made possible by the low refresh rates of its OLED screen. Another notable addition is the Floating Bar, which can be invoked with a tap on the side of the screen. If you miss the shortcuts from the secondary screen of the V20, this small addition could provide a little solace.

LG V30 vs LG G6: Camera

Which brings us to the camera capabilities, an area where the LG V30 should excel, at least on paper.

The V30 comes with two cameras on the back, a 16MP standard angle one, and a 13MP wide angle, for those times when you need to capture a wider section of a scene. The standard angle lens is extremely bright, at f/1.6, which is the largest aperture of any smartphone on the market. LG also used a glass lens for this camera, as opposed to the plastic lenses you typically find on smartphones. Thanks to this, more light can reach the sensor, resulting in better image quality.

LG v30 vs lg g6

The wide-angle lens has been improved in order to reduce the edge distortion that can occur when shooting in the wide mode.

There’s a bevy of software features to help mobile shutterbugs get the most out of their hardware. Videographers will appreciate the Cine Video mode, which color grades footage to add more depth and to extract more detail from really dark or really bright areas of the image. Users can pick one of the 15 different Cine Video presets to infuse their videos with a certain atmosphere, like Romantic Comedy or Summer Blockbuster.

LG v30 vs lg g6

Meanwhile Point Zoom lets you smoothly zoom in on specific parts of a scene, while Cinelog should make on-device post-processing a little bit easier. And, for static imaging, there’s Graphy, which lets you load up camera settings used by professional photographers.

LG v30 vs lg g6

The G6 on the other hand is not far behind, with its dual 13MP f/1.8 cameras, but if you’re looking for bells and whistles, it’s clear that the V30 offers a more well-rounded experience.

The V30 offers the superior experience, hands-down

Final thoughts

There you have it, our look at the LG V30 vs LG G6. It should be clear to anyone looking at these two devices, that the V30 offers the superior experience. It just has more features and better specs, and it’s arguably a nicer-looking phone than the LG G6. It took them a while, but it looks like LG has finally hit gold. Let’s just hope customers will reward them by opening up their wallets.

The competition: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hands-on

That said, the G6 remains attractive, especially when you look at its price tag, which has gone down significantly since its release six months ago.

Let us know your opinions of the LG V30 and how it compares to the LG G6, and stay tuned for more coverage from IFA 2017!

31
Aug

Caterpillar’s rugged Cat S31 and Cat S41 smartphones can take a beating


Why it matters to you

Caterpillar’s new Cat S31 and Cat S41 are built to survive the harshest of construction sites — and tiled floors.

Rugged smartphones aren’t just a niche anymore and there is a good reason for that: They provide peace of mind that your phone won’t shatter when it hits concrete, or corrode after you’ve fished it from the bottom of a pool. So it seems almost fitting that Caterpillar Industrial, the company behind tractors, forklifts, and other heavy-duty construction equipment, is putting its spin on the trend with two new Android devices, the Cat S41 and Cat S31.

The Cat S41, the high-end model, has a Gorilla Glass 5-shielded screen that is scratch resistant, readable in direct sunlight, and responsive to wet and gloved fingers. Its textured soft-touch body, which has been MIL SPEC 810G drop-tested onto concrete from a height of six feet, is IP68 rated to withstand 6.5 feet of water for up to an hour.

But there is more to the S41 than meets the eye. A programmable shortcut key lets you launch utilities like the camera and flashlight with a single tap, and an included Battery Share connector turns the Cat S41’s 5,000mAh battery into a portable power bank.

The Cat S31, on the other hand, does not have as many bells and whistles as its bulkier counterpart and it is a bit less durable. A Gorilla Glass 3 screen protector and 4,000mAh battery stand in for the S41’s Gorilla Glass 5 and 5,000mAh battery, and the S31 cannot survive the watery depths that the S41 can. (It will survive four feet of water for 35 minutes.) But it has been drop-tested onto concrete from the same six-foot height, and it retains the S41’s IP68 water resistance rating and convenience key.

The other differences are internal, mostly. The Cat S41 has a 5-inch HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) screen, and the Cat S31 has a smaller 4.7-inch 720p (1,280 x 720p pixels) screen. The S41 sports a 2.3GHz octa-core MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB, while the S31 makes do with a 1.3GHz Qualcomm quad-core chip, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of memory (both phones have a MicroSD card slot). And the S41 supports LTE speeds up to Cat 6 as opposed to the S31’s Cat 4.

The S41 is equipped with better cameras too. The rear 8-megapixel selfie camera and 13-megapixel rear camera, the latter of which has an LED flash and phase detection autofocus, can shoot photos underwater. The S31’s 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera, on the other hand, can’t.

But the S31’s makes up for its shortcomings with a discount. When the S31 goes on sale later this year it will start at $392 — a good deal cheaper than the $535 S41, which begins shipping on August 31.

Both come with Android Nougat onboard.

Caterpillar didn’t design the phone itself, but Bullitt Group, the company’s global licensee, said it stayed true to the brand’s reputation for toughness.

“The Cat S41 is an uncompromised smartphone that’s truly fit for the tough environments in which our customers use their phones,” Peter Stephens, CEO of Bullitt Group, said. “We’ve been careful to listen and build on what we know is most critical for them.”




31
Aug

LG V30 vs. LG V20: Does the new outshine the old?


LG’s V series have always been the South Korean phone-maker’s technical best, often outdoing its more popular G series in specs and capabilities. Last year’s V20 had a secondary screen, and a Quad digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for higher quality music playback. This year’s LG V30 has dropped the second screen, but it offers far more screen real-estate.

So that brings us to the real question: How does LG’s newest contender match up to its predecessor? We take a look.

Specs

LG V30

LG V20

Size
151.7 × 75.4 × 7.3 mm (5.96 × 2.96 × 0.29 in)
159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6 mm (6.29 x 3.07 x 0.30 in)
Weight
5.57 ounces (158 grams)
6.14 ounces (174 grams)
Screen
6-inch OLED
5.7-inch LCD
Resolution
2,880 × 1,440 pixels
2,560 × 1,440 pixels
OS
Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Storage
64GB
32GB or 64GB
SD Card Slot
Yes
Yes
NFC support
Yes
Yes
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM
4GB
4GB
Connectivity
GSM / HSPA / LTE / CDMA
GSM / HSPA / LTE / CDMA
Camera
Front 5MP wide angle, Rear Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle
Front 5MP wide angle, Rear dual 16MP and 8MP wide angle
Video
4K
4K
Bluetooth
Yes, version 5
Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor
Yes
Yes
Other sensors
Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor
Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor
Water Resistant
Yes, IP68-rated
No
Battery
3,300mAh
3,200mAh
Charger
USB Type-C
USB Type-C
Quick Charging
Yes
Yes
Wireless Charging
Yes
No
Marketplace
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
Color offerings
Silver
Black, silver
Availability
Unlocked, unannounced

Unlocked, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint

Price
Unannounced
Starts at $770
DT Review
Hands-on review
4 out of 5 stars

In the LG V30, you’ll find Qualcomm’s latest high-end mobile processor: The Snapdragon 835. It’s the same chipset that powers the Samsung Galaxy S8, HTC U11, and OnePlus 5. It edges last year’s Snapdragon 820 found in the V20, both in terms of overall performance and energy efficiency.

The phones are more similar in other respects. Both feature 4GB of RAM, which is ideal for multitasking, as well as 64GB of internal storage alongside a MicroSD card slot for even more space for apps and media.

The V20 will be plenty powerful for most users, and is right on par with LG’s newest flagship in terms of RAM and storage space. But if you’re looking for the latest, greatest, and fastest — likely the case if you’re considering a V-series device in the first place — look no further than the V30.

Winner: LG V30

Design, display, and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The LG V10 was big, bulky, and brutish in its construction. The V20 scaled that aesthetic down considerably, and the V30 has toned it down further still. The new phone doesn’t look all that different from the LG G6, with a similarly styled edge-to-edge display and rounded corners.

The V30 could be the sleekest and meanest looking handset LG’s ever produced. The way the glass blends into the sides makes the overall product look much more polished than the V20 and its mashup of different materials. LG has fit a slightly larger display into the V30’s chassis than what was featured in the V20. You get a 6-inch FullVision panel, with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 2,880 x 1,440 resolution. The V20 managed a 5.7-inch LCD with a more conventional 16:9 aspect ratio.

This year, 18:9 displays have been popping up more frequently in high-end smartphones as they fill more of the available real estate on the front of the device. On the V30, it means LG has extended the display, and gotten rid of one of the V series’ defining features: The second screen.

In the V20 and V10, a 160 x 1040-pixel resolution secondary screen sits above the main display. You could customize it however you want, but it mainly allowed users to access shortcuts, quick toggles, and notifications. The V30 offers more screen real-estate, and there’s even a new software feature called Floating Bar that mimics the same functions of the secondary display, but on your home screen instead.

One considerable advantage the V30 holds over the V20 is how it is IP68 rated, meaning you can take it underwater up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The V20 is not waterproof. At the same time, the V30 is all-glass, so it’s more susceptible to damage from accidental drops, unlike the V20.

Winner: LG V30

Camera

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both of these phones feature dual-cameras at the rear, with one of them being a wide-angle lens ideal for landscape shots. It’s a unique perspective that’s rare among smartphones, and certainly makes LG’s products stand out from the pack for mobile photographers.

The V30 combines 16- and 13-megapixel sensors, with the latter being the wide-angle one. At the front, you’ll find a 5-megapixel shooter for selfies, which also utilizes a wide-angle lens. The V20 combines its 16-megapixel primary sensor with an 8-megapixel one next door, and another 5-megapixel on the front.

We were really pleased with the V20’s cameras, but we can expect a better experience from the V30. LG said it has improved the aperture on the V30, so wide-angle photos should see reduced distortion, and images should be brighter. LG has also added a new Cine Video mode where you can add color-graded themes to videos, and point and zoom into specific objects. These features easily put the V30’s cameras ahead of the V20.

Winner: LG V30

Battery life and charging

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Battery life was solid on our V20 in testing — not outstanding, but a bit better than you’d find in last year’s Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 7 Plus. LG shoved a 3,200mAh removable battery into the V20, which kept the phone chugging away for about a day-and-a-half after a heavy amount of use.

Fortunately, the V30 improves on that formula with a slightly larger 3,300mAh battery — though it is embedded into the device and cannot be removed. That’s a disappointing decision, as the ability to easily swap out batteries can make phones cheaper to own and longer-lasting over time. It won’t matter to everyone, as removable batteries began disappearing many years back, but it was one of the V20’s unique perks.

In our testing, we’re seeing phenomenal battery life on the V30, easily ending a busy day with 50 percent remaining around 6:30 p.m. The V30 also supports wireless charging, which the V20 missed out on.

Winner: LG V30

Software and features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Last year’s V20 was the first smartphone to launch with Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat. Unfortunately, you won’t find Android 8.0 Oreo on the V30 just yet. The new device ships with Android 7.1.2 out of the box. What’s more, LG says the Oreo update is currently in testing, and should ideally release shortly after the device reaches customers, so that’s a very encouraging sign.

The software experience on these two phones are very similar, and you also get the Quad DAC again, a technology designed to deliver a better audio experience. We found it effective in testing, and were happy to learn LG has brought it back for the V30. The aforementioned Floating Bar feature also replicates the secondary display well.

The V30 also has more ways to unlock your phone, with Voice Imprint — you can set your own phrase to unlock the device — and the ability to unlock your phone with your face. There are also a few special OK Google commands you can use with Google Assistant to perform certain functions.

Winner: LG V30

Price and availability

After a year on the market, the LG V20 can be had for much cheaper than at launch, going for as low as $370 from B&H. Other retailers are hovering around the $400 mark, and the four major carriers are charging much more.

We’re expecting major carriers to sell the V30 when it launches later this year, but LG hasn’t published pricing and availability. Either way, there’s no way it can match the V20’s price out of the gate. Because the V20 is easier to find unlocked at reasonable price, we have to give it the victory here.

Winner: LG V20

Overall winner: LG V30

If the V20’s price makes more sense to you right now, you should have no reservations about pulling the trigger on it. It’s a great big phone. But if you want the better device, there’s no argument: it’s the V30. The performance, design, and display are all better, and it’ll be supported with software and security updates for longer.




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