There’s a ton of 4K content available now thanks to services like Netflix, YouTube and iTunes, with the latter two not even charging a premium for the higher resolution. Many high-end phones record in UHD as well. Combine all that with falling TV prices, and it’s a great time to buy a 4K television. However, if you really do care about getting the best picture, you’re going to want an OLED display. They’re still more expensive than LCD sets, but in exchange you get deeper blacks and more vibrant colors. But with so many new televisions boasting fantastic image quality, which is the best for your particular needs? We’ve scoured the web, reading reviews from trusted critics to determine which OLED TVs you should be considering right now.
The W7 is only 2.57 millimeters deep, with one hell of a party trick: You can actually bend this thin set, which is sure to freak out your friends on movie nights. But that ridiculous slimness belies the W7’s outstanding picture quality, which Digital Trends likes for its “perfect blacks, excellent brightness and contrast, near-perfect color, and top-notch picture processing.” Basically, everything you could ever want. The W7 is no slouch in the sound department either, outsourcing it to a separate bar that offers “crisp, clear audio” that Stuff says “most TVs and a number of soundbars just can’t match.” Couple all that with LG’s excellent webOS user interface and you’ve got a TV that impresses across the board, living up to the two Best of CES Awards that Engadget gave it back in January. Unfortunately, its price is also four times that of other LG sets. Many of those even use the same panel, making them better deals if you don’t need a statement piece for your living room.
The E7 may not have the “wow” factor of the astonishingly thin W7, but it’s still in the running for most attractive set of 2017, thanks to its “picture on glass” design that puts the OLED display directly on its front surface. Pocket-Lint calls it “ridiculously gorgeous” with strong image quality to match. What Hi-Fi took note of is its improved brightness over last year’s models as well as a “neutral and natural approach” to colors that delivers punchy tones when needed but also handles subtle shades well. The sound is also respectable, though it doesn’t quite live up to its Dolby Atmos badge; audiophiles should invest in a home theater system instead. However, most people will probably be satisfied — Tom’s Guide says the audio is “surprisingly robust” enough that a standalone soundbar is probably unnecessary.
Buy: $2,700 and up
Plenty of OLED TVs boast about bright colors and deep blacks, but the Europe-exclusive EZ1002 is the only one that can make the claim to “reference grade,” meaning it’s the kind of TV that film professionals use to calibrate colors. Forbes says it certainly lives up to that promise, thanks to its combination of “stunning tonal finesse” and a “startlingly wide but always natural range of tones.” It’s the “most accurate out-of-the-box greyscale and gamma performance” ever measured by AVForums, and Pocket-Lint goes so far to say it’s the “finest picture quality the TV world has ever seen.” If you’re a hardcore cinephile who would like to watch films as the director intended, this is the ideal set to hook up to your UHD Blu-ray player.
Sony’s Bravia televisions have always been one of its more outstanding product lines, and with its first foray into 4K OLED, the company comes out swinging. The A1E boasts one of the more unusual designs on the market, putting a kickstand on the back so all you focus on is pure picture. With no stand to tuck a soundbar into, the set uses the screen to deliver audio. The overall effect of this “acoustic surface” is that Tom’s Guide felt as if dialogue was coming right out of the mouths of the actors. Pocket-Lint says the soundstage was expansive enough to “fill a big room,” though Forbes noticed it occasionally trips up on the bass at louder volumes. One thing that doesn’t falter is the image quality, with TechRadar admiring its “exquisitely detailed, contrast-rich and colourful pictures” and Pocket-Lint finding it “nothing short of beautiful.” The only mark against the A1E is that the user interface relies on Android TV, which isn’t as elegant as LG’s solution. However, anyone already invested in Google’s ecosystem will feel right at home.
Buy: $2,798 and up
LG B7 / C7
LG dominates the OLED market right now, and with sets like the C7 it’s easy to see why. Its thin bezels and simple stand has CNET calling it “a beautiful study in minimalism.” If you don’t like the stand you can always opt for the slightly cheaper B7, which offers the same display panel and user interface but with a base shaped like an arc. Both stands offer what Stuff calls “spacious sound with pretty decent dynamics,” but you’re still better off buying a dedicated soundbar or home theater system. The image quality is certainly no slouch, and Wirecutter actually calls it “close to perfect.” Stuff was impressed with how the set handled dark scenes, calling them “dynamic and dramatic,” while TechRadar loved the “gorgeous consistency” of its colors. It might not be reference quality, but the C7’s (and B7’s) images are real stunners, offered at a far more wallet-friendly price than the sets from Sony and Panasonic. Add in webOS for an appealing and intuitive user experience, and you’ve got a set that will please everyone in your household.
B7 – $1,797 and up / C7 – $1,997 and up
We liked what Everysight accomplished with its Raptor AR Smartglasses — they present helpful cycling info like directions, cadence and your heart rate in front of you so that you can keep your eyes on the road. If you’re feeling the same way, you now know when you can get a pair of your own. Everysight has announced that you can sign up for a pre-order invitation at its website today, with pre-orders starting on November 15th ahead of the February 2018 release. That’s a long time to wait (sorry, no AR fall rides for you), but the prices sound about right for projector-equipped eyepieces with their own onboard computing and GPS: you’re looking at an “early adopter” price of $499 for glasses with 16GB of storage and $549 for 32GB.
Riders in the UK and EU won’t get their invitations until January, but they can pre-order at the early adopter price with shipments due in April. And yes, there will be accessories: a $59 handlebar controller will spare you from reaching up to control the glasses, while $29 prescription frames and $79 tinted visors are available if you need a better view. You could end up spending a lot when all is said and done, but the glasses might justify themselves if you’re serious enough about cycling that you’d rather not look down at a biking computer (or wait until afterward) to know how well you’re performing.
Sure, you know that most wireless charging pads will top up the iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but what about the pad in your car? That’s a little more complicated, but Apple is willing to help out. It just posted a list of manufacturers whose vehicles can charge the latest crop of iPhones, and it’s mostly good news… mostly. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and the PSA group (Citroen, DS, Peugeot, Opel and Vauxhall) all have cars that will charge at least the iPhone 8 (and likely X), and can charge the 8 Plus if there’s enough room. Be careful if you’re a GM fan, though, as you’ll have to be extra-picky about your driving machine.
Apple warns that only some 2018 GM cars can charge iPhones, including the Chevy Bolt and eight other rides (mostly trucks and SUVs) across Buick, Cadillac, Chevy and GMC. If it’s a 2017 or earlier car, you’re out of luck — these older vehicles don’t meet the Qi certification spec. That’s bound to be frustrating if you bought an incompatible car and were hoping you could wirelessly charge your iPhone one day, but you’ll at least know what to get if you’re ready to update your ride.
The situation is likely to get better. Although wireless phone charging is far from new, including in cars, adding the iPhone to the mix gives automakers a considerably wider potential audience. Your preferred badge may add it simply because they know you’re that much more likely to have a compatible device. And that’s helpful even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Android fan — you might not have to settle for a less-than-ideal car just to avoid plugging in a cable.
We’ve discussed some of Sony’s absurdly priced endeavors recently — the absurdly priced Xperia Touch projector comes to mind — and now here is another one. The Xperia Hello, a robotic assistant designed to rival Amazon’s Alexa speakers, is now available for preorder in Japan. The price is advertised as 149,880 yen at Sony Stores, which is equivalent to about $1,300. Devices will ship starting November 18th.
What do all those dollars buy you with the Xperia Hello? Engadget Editor James Trew had a few minutes with the device at IFA and came away impressed with its performance (before the pricing was announced, of course). The robot responds to voice control, but it also can read facial expressions and gestures. It runs on Android and has an onboard 4.55-inch tablet with a resolution of 1,280 x 720.
Otherwise, it has the features you’d expect from a smart speaker with an LCD screen. You can make video and voice calls via Skype, as well as leave video messages for other people. The speaker can also deliver calendar notifications, make new appointments, check the traffic and weather, and keep an eye on other members of your family in the house. Xperia Hello is also compatible with LINE, a popular Japanese messaging system; additionally, it can move around on its own.
The features are pretty standard, so it’s difficult to justify the high price of this device. Many of Amazon’s smart speakers can do similar tasks for a fraction of what this costs, and with this Sony speaker, you’re locked into the company’s proprietary Agent platform (a rival to Alexa). Sony wants consumers to think of this as a robot and a member of the family, rather than just a smart speaker. But until it can actually drive to the coffee shop and bring me a latte, it’s safe to say that this device is overpriced.
Via: The Verge
By now we’re sure you’ve heard about The Engadget Experience, an all-day event we’re hosting in LA next month that combines five high-tech art installations with a series of panels bringing together the brightest minds in creative and technology circles. If you’ve been meaning to buy tickets, you’ll want to do that this week — tickets are currently being sold at a 36 percent discount, but they’ll rise $70 back to their full price on Friday at about midnight, Pacific Time.
There are lots of reasons to come join us on November 18th. There are those tech installations, for starters, which make art out of everything from virtual reality to AI to search results. We have a panel exploring just how weird VR can get. In another talk we’ll delve into the future of VR and AR. Then there’s another panel we haven’t told you much about — it’s called “Identity and Representation in the ‘Empathy Machine’” and we’ll be talking stock of all the various VR experiences lately that have aimed to help us better understand other people’s perspectives. Why is virtual reality so conducive for building compassion and empathy, and what makes the most effective experiences work as well as they do?
Join us next month to both experience the latest in immersive tech, and also hear some of the smartest minds talk about where the space is headed.
Delphi is already a significant player in the self-driving car realm, but it’s not taking any chances — it wants whatever edge it can get. To that end, the GM spinoff just bought the autonomous driving startup nuTonomy for an up-front price of $400 million. The move theoretically “accelerates” Delphi’s self-driving car plans (it’s their pun, not ours) by giving it more than 100 new employees as well as access to nuTonomy’s “full-stack” autonomous driving software.
The nuTonomy crew will stay in Boston, where the company and Delphi are running driverless car tests. The two companies expect to have over 60 autonomous rides on the street by the end of 2017, and that’s only likely to grow following the deal.
A buyout like this is going to have a ripple effect on the self-driving car space. Lyft was working with nuTonomy on its long-term transition to autonomous ridesharing — now, it has access to a bigger and more financially secure partner. And when Delphi is a major automotive supplier that does business with companies like BMW and Intel (among many others), nuTonomy’s technology is now that much more likely to reach automakers. While this may not seem like a gigantic deal at first, it could prove to be important as self-driving cars inch closer to mass production.
That didn’t take too long. After several weeks of testing, Instagram has given all mobile users the option to add a guest to their live broadcast. Tap an icon and you can invite one of your viewers to participate, splitting the view in two. You can swap guests at any time, and these group videos can either disappear right away or live a while longer as Stories in your friends’ feeds. Friends can tell that it’s a two-person stream with a quick glance at the Stories bar.
You should see the feature in version 20 of Instagram’s apps for both Android and iOS. Instagram is pitching this primarily as a way to make live streams more social, but we can see this being particularly useful for celebs and social media pros. A musician could invite a fan for a virtual meet-and-greet, while a news outlet could use it for joint reports or discussions with viewers. You’re not about to see professional interviews (not when Stories vanish within a day), but this makes Instagram’s live video considerably more useful — or at least, not quite so lonely.
Source: Instagram Blog, App Store, Google Play
There’s no question that kids like talking to smart speakers, and Google knows it. As promised, the search firm is adding over 50 child-oriented activities to Google Assistant to make sure your Home speaker (or really, any Assistant-capable device) can entertain the younger crowd. It can orchestrate trivia games, start a round of musical chairs, tell a story or even help with homework. Not surprisingly, this includes a few branded experiences: you can ask the Assistant “what’s my Justice League superhero?” or tell it to “play Mickey Mouse Adventure.”
The games are rolling out right now, and Google is quick to tout that these are helped by Assistant’s ability to recognize individual voices and link them to specific accounts (including kid-specific accounts). Yes, this ultimately serves as a selling point for Home speakers, but it’s arguably necessary if smart speakers are going to see broader adoption. You can’t simply assume that adults are the only ones issuing commands — you need to anticipate the likely commands from everyone in the household.
Source: Made by Google (YouTube)
UK officials are wondering if Russia tampered with its Brexit referendum and they’ve now officially asked Mark Zuckerberg to look into whether Facebook possibly played a role, The Guardian reports. Damian Collins, the UK’s chair of digital, culture, media and sport committee sent Zuckerberg a letter saying that the committee was investigating fake news and wanted Facebook to provide them with any information it had on politically-divisive advertisements purchased by Russian actors.
In the letter, Collins said, “Part of this inquiry will focus on the role of foreign actors abusing platforms such as yours to interfere in the political discourse of other nations. It is for this reason that I am requesting that Facebook provides to my committee details relating to any adverts and pages paid for or set up by Russian-linked accounts.” Specifically, the committee wants to know if Russia-linked accounts purchased ads on Facebook, how much they paid to do so and how many times those ads or pages were viewed.
Facebook announced a few weeks ago that Russian groups purchased around $100,000 worth of ads used to spread fake news during the 2016 US presidential election and that around 10 million people viewed them. Those ads and related information have been handed over to congressional investigators. Following the US election and the reports that Facebook played a hand in the spread of fake news, the company made a concerted effort to minimize its impact on the French and German elections earlier this year.
Collins and the committee have asked that Facebook provide them with the requested information by November 7th.
Source: The Guardian
A new video posted to YouTube recently by Brooke Amelia Peterson has provided a detailed glimpse at the iPhone X in Space Gray (removed, but still available on Reddit). Peterson is the daughter of an Apple engineer and in the video she visits the company’s 1 Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California.
While touring the campus (which begins at around 2:10 in the video), Brooke and her dad stop for lunch at Caffè Macs, and he takes out an iPhone X to pay for their food using Apple Pay and Face ID. Brooke then takes a longer look at the iPhone X, swiping through the Home Screen’s pages, and activating Control Center and the Cover Sheet through the right and left “ears,” respectively.
A screenshot from the YouTube video, which has since been removed
It appears that Cover Sheet can also be toggled by swiping closer to the center of the “notch,” although Apple placed the activation hot spot for this piece of UI on the left of the notch to avoid users smudging the front-facing cameras.
The video provides glimpses at the new and elongated Side Button, as well as the Space Gray coloring on the back of the iPhone X. Brooke opens the Camera, Calendar, and Notes apps, and her dad sends an Animoji of an alien to show off the new facial recognition features coming to the Messages app. Her dad also briefly mentions that his team will be moving to Apple Park in December.
Pre-orders for the iPhone X will begin this Friday, October 27 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, and Apple today just announced that there will be some stock of the smartphone for walk-in customers arriving early to its retail locations on November 3, the iPhone X launch day. For more details about Apple’s upcoming tenth-anniversary smartphone, check out our iPhone X Roundup.
Update (8:45 a.m. PT): The video has been removed from YouTube.
Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Caution)
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