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15
May

WhatsApp Updates With New Group Features and More Admin Controls


Facebook-owned chat app WhatsApp today updated its iOS and Android applications with a collection of new features aimed at making group chats more in-depth and easier to catch up with. The update also introduces revamped administrator controls to enhance a group’s privacy during chats.

To start, users can set a short blurb under their group info to highlight the “purpose, guidelines, or topics” that will be the main focus of the discussions. This way, when a new member joins the blurb will appear at the top of the chat and they’ll understand the general goal of the group.

When users have been away from a group chat for a period of time, they can now catch up on any messages that specifically mentioned them, in a similar vein to Discord and Slack. Users can find the catch-up feature behind a new @ button at the bottom right corner of chat. Additionally, a new participant search lets users find anyone in their group through a search bar on the group info page.

Groups have been an important part of the WhatsApp experience, whether it’s family members connecting across the globe or childhood friends staying in touch over the years. There are also people coming together in groups on WhatsApp like new parents looking for support, students organizing study sessions, and even city leaders coordinating relief efforts after natural disasters. Today, we’re sharing improvements that we’ve made to groups.

For admins, there is a new control to restrict which members can change the group’s subject, icon, and description. Admins can also now remove admin permissions of other group participants, while group creators can no longer be kicked out of the group they started. The company said that it has also introduced a safeguard that will protect users from repeatedly being added to groups they have already left.

The updates are rolling out today for WhatsApp on iOS [Direct Link] and Android.

Tag: WhatsApp
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15
May

YouTube Testing Incognito Mode for Private Video Browsing in Mobile App


Google has offered an Incognito Mode in its Chrome web browser for nearly ten years now, offering users the chance to disable their browsing history and web cache while the mode remains active. Features like Incognito Mode offer peace of mind since users can navigate to any website without being tracked and without cookies being stored, all while maintaining the same features as a normal web browsing experience.

Today, AndroidPolice reports that Google might extend this feature into its mobile YouTube applications, following the discovery that Google is testing an Incognito mode in the Android YouTube app. For users in the test, Google has combined “Switch account” and “Sign out” into one menu item behind account settings, leaving a new slot for “Turn on Incognito.”

When this is on, it appears to act similar to Incognito in other Google products, with a pop-up box explaining that all activity from the Incognito session “will be cleared” and the user will go back to the last-used account when they decide to exit the mode. At the bottom of the screen a small bar reminds users that “You’re incognito,” and AndroidPolice discovered that subscriptions are hidden as well during this time.

Image via AndroidPolice
However, YouTube warns that “your activity might still be visible to your employer, school, or internet service provider.” Otherwise, the mode in testing acts similarly to Google Chrome’s Incognito feature and will prevent any video searches and watched videos from being saved to the account history. Notably, this means the service’s recommendations would not be affected by anything watched while a user is Incognito.

Apple’s Incognito alternative for Safari is called Private Browsing, which prevents a user’s browsing history from being saved, while also asking websites not to track users. If you’re wondering how to activate Private Browsing on an iOS device, be sure to visit our How To guide on the topic.

Tags: Google, YouTube
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15
May

Tapbots Launches Tweetbot 3 for Mac With Redesigned Interface, New Features


Tapbots is today launching Tweetbot 3, a new and updated version of its popular Tweetbot for Mac app.

Tweetbot 3 features a revamped interface that was rewritten from the ground up for the Mac. Compared to Tweetbot 2, the new app features a cleaner interface with more white space, persistent icons for replying, retweeting, liking, profile options, and more, and an overall cleaner look.

With the new timeline design, there are single-click tools for muting an account, blocking an account, or filing a report with Twitter so there is no need to go to a person’s profile or open a profile in Safari to perform these tasks.

When viewing details for a particular tweet, there are now persistent icons that enable one-click replies, retweets, and likes for existing replies without needing to hover over the tweet.

At the left side of the app, there’s a collapsible side bar that offers easier access to your follower count, lists, direct message conversations, and profile options. While the bar is expanded by default, pulling it to the left will collapse it back down so it’s similar to the current Tweetbot 2 interface.


The new one-click button for composing a tweet is now located at the bottom right of the app rather than the top right, and it offers quick access to images, location, and emojis. Mentions and Activity notifications have been merged into one single “Notifications” tab, but there’s still an option to view these separately if so desired.

It’s much easier to work with multiple columns in the new version of the app. Rather than clicking and choosing “open in new column,” you can simply drag from the right hand side of the app to create a column, with a drop down menu at the top available to choose what the column displays. Closing a column is as simple as dragging it back to the left.


There’s also a new option for allowing media like GIFs and videos to autoplay right in the timeline, which is enabled by default (but you can disable it in the settings section of the app), and there are new one-click options at the top of the app for saving lists, searches, and DM conversations, plus an option to disable in-line media previews.

Both light and dark themes are available through the preferences portion of the app, and there are more options for customizing font size. Tweetbot 3 users will also notice that the app has an entirely redesigned icon, going from the standard square-shaped Tweetbot 2 bird to a rounded bird icon.


Customers who are planning on purchasing Tweetbot 3 may be concerned about some upcoming changes that Twitter is planning to make to its APIs. Twitter initially planned to introduce these changes on June 19, which would have involved deprecating certain APIs used for streaming purposes, but has indefinitely delayed them following developer outcry.

If and when Twitter does opt to disable these APIs, Tapbots says that Tweetbot 3 and other apps will continue to function, but a few features could be slower or removed. Twitter does, however, have replacement APIs, and should access to these be provided to developers, all functionality that is being deprecated will be able to be re-added to Tweetbot.

Tapbots says that the worse case scenario on Mac is that notifications for likes and retweets will not be displayed, and notifications for tweets, mentions, quotes, DMs, and Follows could be delayed by one to two minutes.

Tweetbot 3 is available from the Mac App Store for $9.99. It is a paid upgrade from the existing Tweetbot and Tweetbot 2 apps, so existing Tweetbot users who want to use the new version of the app will need to purchase it. [Direct Link]

Tags: Twitter, Tweetbot, Tapbots, Tweetbot for Mac
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15
May

DirecTV Now Launches Cloud DVR With 20 Hours of Storage at No Extra Monthly Cost


DirecTV Now is today officially launching its “True Cloud DVR” for all subscribers of the cord-cutting service, while still retaining that the DVR is in beta at this point. The new DVR feature supports 20 hours of recorded shows and movies on DirecTV Now across devices — including Apple TV and iPhone/iPad — at no additional cost. When users record a show on the DVR they will be able to skip through commercials, but DirecTV Now noted that the DVR is “not available for select channels.”

Recordings will be deleted after 30 days, and if a user is nearing the 20 hour storage limit the app will notify them. If the limit is then exceeded, then the first program listed will make room for the newest one. The DVR lets users record an entire series or just one episode, and “fast forward and rewind at will.”

Notably, DirecTV Now says that it’s working on debuting “more capacity options” later in the summer so that users can keep more on their DVR lists for longer periods of time. One of these tiers will be a plan that can to record up to 100 hours and store shows for up to 90 days, for an extra $10 per month.

The company is also revamping the “Watchlist” to become “Bookmarks” so that users can pin shows to easily return to later. In general, it said there will be improved navigation, search options, and more UI overhauls that put a user’s favorite programs front and center in the app. The guide itself has been revamped to show more information, and viewers can browse for something new to watch while still viewing their current stream.

Additionally, the service is expanding its on demand content of 25,000 titles with more capacity, so that new episodes on select channels will be available on-demand after they air live. The update also brings the option to add a third stream to an account for $5 extra per month, letting three people stream on one account simultaneously, and improves local channel streaming availability for users traveling. Check out more details about the update below:

Travel with your Locals – granted the local is also available in the market you’re traveling to, you can now stream your local channels when you travel.
Less Searching, More Streaming – find favorite shows and movies faster with customizable search.
Entertainment, Uninterrupted – you’ll never miss a beat with our new layout, because your stream will be playing in the background, or on a pop-up.

DirecTV Now has apps on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and for Apple’s set-top box the company still has the best price available online for the 32GB Apple TV 4K. Under the offer, you can pre-pay for three months of DirecTV Now at $105 and get the Apple TV 4K at no extra cost. Head over to DirecTV Now for more information on both the Apple TV deal and the new DVR update, which should begin appearing across iOS, tvOS, and Chromecast devices as the day progresses.

Tag: DirecTV Now
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15
May

iPad Pro and iPhone X Win ‘Displays of the Year’ Awards


The iPad Pro and the iPhone X were today named Displays of the Year by The Society for Information Display (SID) during the annual Display Industry Awards that will take place at Display Week, a yearly symposium and trade show.

The display awards are meant to highlight “high-quality, innovative work that is taking place in the display industry.” All 2018 award winners cover products that were available for purchase during the 2017 calendar year.

Apple’s 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, released in June of 2017, won an award for the ProMotion display technology introduced in the two devices. ProMotion introduces a 120Hz display refresh rate, which is designed to make all motion content on the screen smoother, crisper, and more responsive. It improves text, scrolling, gaming, Apple Pencil latency, movies, and more.


The 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models feature a 2224 x 1168 and 2732 x 2048 resolution, respectively, with a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. The two devices also include support for True Tone, which adjusts the white balance of the display to match the ambient lighting in a room, and P3 wide color gamut for more vivid, true-to-life colors.

Apple’s iPhone X was also given a Displays of the Year award for its edge-to-edge Super Retina display that’s entirely screen (aside from the notch) with no physical buttons. It offers the first OLED display in an iPhone, with support for HDR and True Tone.

The 5.8-in. Super Retina display features resolution of 458 ppi and is the first OLED panel to match the standard set by prior iPhone generations, delivering striking colors, true blacks, a million-to-one contrast ratio and superior, system-wide color management. The HDR display supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, which together serve to further heighten the image quality of photo and video content. In addition, True Tone dynamically adjusts the white balance of the display to match surrounding light for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience.

Other non-Apple devices won awards, too, including the Sharp 70-inch 8K LCD TV and new technologies that include Continental Automotive’s 3D Touch surface (the first touchscreen with a 3D surface on top of a display), Colorless Polyimide from Kolon Industries (for creating flexible displays), the Optical In-Display Fingerprint Sensor from Synaptics (for infinity displays with no visible Home button), and the LG UHD Crystal Sound OLED (an OLED panel-integrated speaker).

All of the Displays of the Year award winners will be recognized during the Display Week awards luncheon, set to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, May 23.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPhone XBuyer’s Guide: 10.5″ iPad Pro (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Neutral), iPhone X (Neutral)
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15
May

How to take a screenshot on an iPad


Here’s the short answer: Press the Home button and Sleep/Wake button at the same time. For a more detailed explanation, keep reading.

The iPad is a mean, sleek, sharing machine. It can share photos, links, and websites in seconds. It can also make easy work of a screenshot. The ability to take screenshots may not be the most glamorous feature on the iPad, but it’s certainly one of the most useful, allowing you to capture enlarged PNG images of your display you can then share with anyone. Why do you need screenshots? For starters, they’re handy when you need to interface with coworkers, family members, and the Genius Bar from afar. They’ll also allow you to create fantastic guides and flaunt your high score in Super Mario Run and other great iPhone games. After all, photo evidence goes a long way.

Whatever the reason, all iterations of the iPad can capture and share screenshots in five simple steps, whether using the iPad Pro or the last-gen Mini. Here’s how.

How to take a screenshot on an iPad using the Sleep/Wake buttons

Step 1: Locate the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons. The Home button is located directly below your iPad’s display, and is the only button on the front-side of the iPad. The Sleep/Wake button, on the other hand, is the oval-shaped button atop the iPad in the right-hand corner.

Step 2: Simultaneously press the Home button and Sleep/Wake button when viewing the screen you want to capture. Your iPad screen will then flash momentarily if done correctly, and you’ll hear a faint shutter noise, assuming your device isn’t in silent mode.

Step 3: Once captured, your iPad will automatically save the screenshot directly to your camera roll in the Photos app. Tap the Photos app as you would normally — the app icon resembles a multi-colored flower — and swipe to the bottom of the screen to view your recently-captured screenshot.

How to take a screenshot on an iPad using AssistiveTouch

AssistiveTouch lets you perform complex tasks by selecting a few menu items. One of the things the feature allows you to do is take a screenshot without having to press a combination of buttons. If you’re reading this and you are unable to press multiple buttons at the same time for whatever reason, then taking a screenshot with AssistiveTouch is the way to go.

The first thing you have to do is to turn AssistiveTouch on. To do so, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

Step 2: Make sure AssistiveTouch is toggled on at the top of the menu.

Now that AssistiveTouch is active, we can start taking screenshots using the AssistiveTouch menu.

Step 1: Tap the AssistiveTouch menu button.

Step 2: Go to Device > More.

Step 3: Tap Screenshot. Your iPad screen will then flash for a moment, and you’ll hear a faint shutter noise, assuming your device isn’t in silent mode.

Step 4: Once captured, your iPad will automatically save the screenshot directly to the Photos app. Tap the Photos app as you would normally and swipe to the bottom of the screen to view your recently-captured screenshot.

How to share a screenshot

There are a multitude of reasons why you might want to share your recently-captured screenshot. Thankfully, sharing with a friend, family member, coworker, or tech support is relatively easy to do, whether you want to do so via social media, AirDrop, or email. Read on to find out how.

Step 1:  To share a screenshot from your iPad, tap the image to enlarge it and tap the share icon in the lower-left corner.

Step 2:  Next, choose the social network you’d like to post to — Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. — or share your screenshot via the corresponding AirDrop or email icons at the bottom. Keep in mind that AirDrop requires iOS 7 or later, and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to be active.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Here’s how to take a screenshot on any generation of iPhone
  • How to take a screenshot on a Google Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone
  • 10 annoying iPad Pro problems, and what to do about them
  • How to take a screenshot on a PC
  • How to take a screenshot on a Chromebook


15
May

Honor 10 review: Reflections of a flagship


Buy Now: Honor 10

With high-end phones increasing in price every year, it seems almost inevitable that we’ll see far more OEMs attempt to crack the bubbling sub-flagship market.

Samsung, Motorola, and more recently Nokia, have all tried to tempt consumers with devices that offer near-flagship-level specs on a modest budget, but it’s Honor — Huawei’s youth-focused sub-brand — that has repeatedly made the “affordable flagship” arena its own.

Fresh off the recent launch of its elite offering for 2018, the Honor View 10, Honor is back with a successor to the Honor 9. Priced at 399 pounds/euro in Europe, can the Honor 10 live up to its heritage — and increasing competition — to deliver a premium experience at a mid-range price point? Find out below in our Honor 10 review.

Don’t miss: Top Honor 10 features  |  Honor 10 specs

Design

The Honor 10 sports the same dual-glass panel with a metal frame design we’ve seen from the Chinese firm’s N-series devices ever since the Honor 8. This is a huge plus as the latest phone once again belies its actual price tag with a look and feel that could quite happily go toe-to-toe with the industry’s biggest hitters.

There are a few design tweaks this year, though, including one potentially controversial change which we’ll address in the display section below (not-ch to make any assumptions, but you probably already know what I’m talking about).

The most striking change is the new Phantom Blue and Phantom Green colorways and the 3D glass design. If you thought Honor’s previous experiments with light-refracting glass produced impressive results, you’ll be absolutely blown away by the Honor 10’s shimmering rear panel.

honor 10 side

Constructed from 15 different layers of glass with a nano-scale optical coating, the resulting visual effect can be absolutely mesmerizing. The Phantom Blue version pictured for this review shifts between different shades of blue and purple from different angles, while the Phantom Green has been designed to evoke the blue and green hues of the aurora borealis. If the more jazzy colorways aren’t to your liking, there are also Midnight Black and Glacier Grey variants available in select markets.

You’ll be absolutely blown away by the Honor 10’s shimmering rear panel.

Unfortunately, that ultra-smooth rear panel comes with a couple of downsides. For starters, the Honor 10 is possibly the most slippery phone I’ve ever used. Not only is it a wriggly customer in the hand when you’re not tightly gripping the frame, I’ve also caught the device very gradually sliding its way off all manner of seemingly flat surfaces. The glass is also prone to fingerprints and other unwelcome smudges, although it’s far from the worst offender in this regard.

Sticking with the rear of the phone, some may be a little put off by the protruding dual-camera module, although the horizontal orientation is a welcome change from the current crop of me-too iPhone X copycats rocking vertical shooters. Meanwhile, the adjacent AI Camera branding is subtle enough to ignore, but it’s still a little superfluous.

honor 10 phantom blue

On the right side, we have a physical volume rocker and power key, with the former doubling up as a shutter button, while the left is home to a solitary dual-SIM tray. Unlike previous models, there’s no option to use a microSD card in one of the slots, so you’re stuck with just the built-in storage.

Aside from the USB Type-C port, a top-mounted IR blaster and Honor’s continued support for the 3.5mm headphone jack, the only other notable design feature is the fingerprint sensor. In a smart bit of design, the front-facing sensor is now under the glass, with the usual indent replaced with a minimalist oval outline on the flat bottom bezel. Honor says the new design means you’ll be able to use the reader when it’s wet — which is absolutely true — but it’s worth noting that the Honor 10 hasn’t been IP certified for water or dust resistance.

Display

Honor 10 notch

The Honor 10 features a Full HD+ 5.84-inch display with a 2,280 x 1,080 resolution and a 19:9 aspect ratio. That translates to a respectable 432 pixels per inch. The extra surface area comes from, you guessed it, that notch.

The wider Android Authority family and you, our lovely readers, have all aired varied opinions on the controversial cutouts, but the reality is that you won’t know for sure if it’s a genuine problem until you’ve used a notched phone for a little while. For what it’s worth, I forgot about the Honor 10’s notch within a few hours and was happy to find that Honor has followed Huawei’s lead by including a notch on-off toggle.

As for the display quality, it’s very much on par with the usual 1080p panels found on the majority of mid-range phones. Colors are crisp, viewing angles are fairly consistent, and it’s bright enough for use even in direct sunlight.

Honor 10 front no notch

Out-of-the-box, the Honor 10 defaults to Vivid mode which oversaturates colors for an added visual punch. This can be switched to a far cooler Normal mode in the Settings menu. There’s also a temperature dial for more granular tweaks, an eye comfort mode for filtering out blue light, which can be scheduled for a certain time of day, and an optional smart resolution toggle that automatically drops the display resolution down to a 1,520 x 720 resolution to conserve battery when required.

While the Honor 10’s LCD panel won’t ever deliver the kind of deep blacks or popping colors of a top-end OLED display, there are no glaringly obvious compromises compared to other far more expensive devices. The only exception to that rule is the possible lack of toughened glass — we’ve reached out to Honor to clarify the situation, but it seems as though the Honor 10’s front panel may be as fragile as its V-series counterpart.

That aside, at this price point, it’d be a struggle to find any phone that can match the Honor 10 in the display stakes — notch and all.

honor 10 review

Hardware and performance

The Honor 10 is kitted out with the same HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC that powered the View 10, as well as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro and P20 series.

We’ve waxed lyrical about Huawei’s current flagship processor for months now, and for good reason. The SoC has a proven track record of delivering smooth, reliable performance, and enabling advanced AI features thanks to the Neural Processing Unit (NPU).

Editor’s Pickrelated article

Why the Kirin 970 NPU is faster than the Snapdragon 845

As artificially intelligence creeps its way into our smartphone experience, SoC vendors have been racing to improve neural network and machine learning performance in their chips. Everyone has a different take on how to power these …

The fact that the Honor 10 is now the cheapest device on the market to boast a chipset of such a high caliber is a huge boon for the device on paper, and it didn’t fail to live up to that promise during real-world tests.

Be it HD gaming, high-quality audio streaming, or intensive multi-tasking, the Honor 10 didn’t stop to catch it’s breath once. That’s due in part to the 4GB of RAM, which is standard for the European model, and the Mali-G72 MP12 GPU.

Honor 10 media

The Honor 10 comes with 64GB or 128GB of storage, depending on region (Chian gets a version with 6GB of RAM). 128GB of onboard storage is double the total found on the Honor 9, but there’s no expandable storage this time around. On the plus side, both SIM slots now support 2G, 3G, and 4G networks across GSM, HSPA, and LTE bands.

While Honor’s decision to position the fingerprint sensor on the front may irk some potential buyers, even if it is all-but-invisible under the glass, I’m happy to report that it’s as lightning fast as any other Honor or Huawei reader. In addition to one-touch tap to wake support, it also doubles up as a handy capacitive home button.

honor 10 fingerprint sensor

On the audio side, traditionalists will no doubt be happy that Honor has retained the 3.5mm jack on the bottom edge for wired headphones. Huawei Histen also returns with optional 3D audio profiles and a plethora of EQ settings.

Shifting over to the right side, the Honor 10 features a single speaker tucked alongside the USB Type-C port. The mono speaker setup pales in comparison to devices that offer stereo speakers, but it does deliver a relatively clear and rich audio experience as long as it isn’t cranked up to the max.

honor 10 speaker headphone jack

Looking at endurance, the Honor 10 houses a non-removable 3,400mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the Honor 9 (3,200mAh) and a tad smaller than the View 10 (3,750mAh). There’s also support for two power saving modes and fast charging, with the latter refilling 50 percent of charge in roughly 30 minutes.

For general use, the Honor 10 managed to get through the day with juice to spare. When put under pressure with the occasional Monument Valley 2 puzzle and a few Overwatch League streams on Twitch (over Wi-Fi), the Honor 10 mustered just over five hours of screen-on time. That dropped to between three to four hours when streaming over a 4G network and playing online 3D games like Paladins Strike.

Software

The Honor 10 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with EMUI 8.1 on top. For some buyers, myself included, the custom UI has historically been something of a dealbreaker. Be it excessive bloatware, app redundancy, or its tendency to drift towards an aggressively kitsch design language, there’s always been something that immediately pushed me towards whatever custom launcher I could find on the Play Store.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that EMUI is an increasingly versatile, feature-packed skin that gets progressively better and more customizable every year.

Love it or hate it, though, there’s no denying that Huawei has created an increasingly versatile, feature-packed UI that gets progressively better and more customizable every year. In its latest guise, there’s almost no visual element you can’t tweak to some extent. That includes the notch, which can be masked with a black bar with a quick trip to the Settings — although it’s a shame there’s no quick toggle in the notifications bar.

There are almost too many control options to take in and remember, so much so that I got a little confused after enabling as many as I could at once. Give it a few hours, though, and you’ll be taking screenshots using knuckle gestures, muting notifications by flipping the phone over, and will have settled on a navigation bar layout that suits your personal style.

honor 10 controls

If I have one niggling complaint here, it’s that the notch and app drawer toggles, gesture controls, and navigation button options are scattered all over the place. Some are filed under Display, some under Smart Assistance, while others are stored in the main System menu.

This isn’t solely an Honor/Huawei issue, of course, and Android P’s renewed focus on gestures and native notch support should help in the long run — that is if Honor can improve on its historically hit-and-miss update schedules.

honor 10 face unlock

One thing that can’t be called hit-and-miss is Face Unlock, which has become a staple of Honor phones from the View 10 all the way down to entry-level devices like the Honor 7A. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it other than it works exactly as it’s supposed to by unlocking the phone with a quick glance.

Camera

Honor has championed dual-lens camera tech for several years now, so it’s no surprise to see two sensors on its latest offering. The Honor 10 sports a primary 16MP f/1.8 RGB lens and a 24MP f/1.8 monochrome sensor for taking detailed black and white shots and providing additional sharpness and detail to color images.

Honor 10 camera

The biggest change this year is the AI Camera functionality. We’ve already seen plenty of AI photography features on Honor/Huawei phones, with the Honor P20/P20 Pro’s scene recognition features a recent highlight.

To switch the AI Camera features on, all you have to do is tap the AI button in the camera app. When activated, the Honor 10 will automatically tweak the camera settings to best capture the subject in real-time based on data for over 500 scenarios across 22 categories.

Unfortunately, the Honor 10 doesn’t quite deliver the same kind of versatility as its more expensive siblings like the P20 or Mate 10 Pro, as you don’t have any control over the scene recognition process. In fact, the user’s only choice comes down to whether to turn the AI Camera features on or off.

Honor 10 camera app

You can judge for yourself whether the AI Camera does a better job than the regular auto mode in the comparison photos below. On the whole, I found that even though the AI Camera takes away a lot of control from the end user, it does generally produce better images with far richer colors and a greater dynamic range. That’s especially true for shots with multiple subjects as the camera can analyze multiple scenes — like rivers, trees, and skylines — at once.

honor-10-camera-5-mono
honor-10-camera-3-ai-off
honor-10-camera-4-ai-on

If you prefer a little more control over the camera (and a bit of fun), the Honor 10 has you covered too. As well as a detailed Pro mode and a dedicated monochrome mode, there are also options for taking 3D panoramas, a document scanner, time-lapse and light painting modes, and an Artist mode which lets you apply a bunch of quirky Prisma-like filters to your snaps.

Bokeh fans will also be glad to hear that the Honor 10 camera features a dedicated Wide Aperture mode where you can change the aperture level using a slider. You can also get the phone to do the work for you via the Portrait mode. This works with both the rear shooter and the front-facing selfie camera which clocks in at a whopping 24MP.

The front-facing selfie camera clocks in at a whopping 24MP.

Portrait shots can look a little artificial, especially when the blur encroaches over from the background and into the foreground, but the results are decent considering the camera hardware limitations. The aggressive beautification settings don’t help matters either. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that want to turn their faces into creepy, featureless husks with anime eyes, but I’m not one of them.

honor-10-camera-selfie
honor-10-camera-selfie-portrait
honor-10-camera-selfie-beauty

One major omission is the lack of optical image stabilization. You won’t notice when taking photos during the day, but try to take a snap in low-light conditions and you’ll start to see why it’s still such a sought-after feature for flagship camera phones. The results aren’t terrible by any means, but noise and blur will start to creep in when taking photos at night. This also affects video capture — especially at 4K quality — although it seems as though there’s some kind of AI assistance going on in the background to reduce screen shake.

In addition to a host of new smart gallery features, the Honor 10 has one final trick up its sleeve: AI Shopping. Tap the eye icon and the camera app will transform into a visual shopping app that can theoretically analyze any product in the viewfinder and take you directly to a link where you can buy it online.

honor-10-camera-15

I say theoretically because the mode barely ever worked for me. The first issue is that the feature is based on Amazon Assistant, so unless the item you want is for sale on Amazon, you’re fresh out of luck. The other major problem is that I couldn’t ever get it to actually find any of the products I scanned, including those that I know for a fact are readily available on Amazon over here in the U.K.

While I’m sure the feature will improve over time, at the time of review the Google Lens-like mode is barely functional, with only barcode and QR code scanning options producing accurate results. Sometimes.

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Specs

Display 5.84-inch FullView LCD Display
2,280 x 1080 resolution
19:9 aspect ratio
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 970
(2.36Ghz quad + 1.8Ghz quad)
GPU Mali G72 MP-12
RAM 4GB/6GB
Storage 64GB/128GB
Non-expandable
Cameras Rear
Main camera: 16MP f/1.8
Secondary camera: 24MP f/1.8 monochrome

Front camera: 24MP

Audio 3.5mm jack
Battery 3,400mAh
Non-removable
Supercharge fast charging
IP rating N/A
Sensors Fingerprint sensor, Digital compass, Ambient light sensor, Gravity sensor, Status indicator, Gyroscope, Hall-sensor, IR blaster
Network 4G LTE TDD: B38/B40/B41
4G LTE FDD: B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B19/B20
3G WCDMA: B1/B2/B5/B8/B6/B19
2G GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz/5GHz Bluetooth BT4.2, USB 2.0 (Type C),
NFC,
GPS/AGPS/Glonass
SIM Dual nano-SIM
Software Android 8.1
EMUI 8.1
Dimensions and weight 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm
153g
Colors Phantom Blue
Phantom Green
Midnight Black
Glacier Grey

Gallery

Wrapping up

I’ve aired a few concerns and nitpicks throughout this review of the Honor 10. The lack of OIS on the camera is a bummer, EMUI still won’t be to everyone’s tastes, the decision to ditch the microSD card slot is questionable, and the device itself is as slippery as a snake that’s been slithering around in olive oil for several hours.

Editor’s Pickrelated article

The best Honor phones

Honor has a number of great offerings out there that cover all ranges of phones and budgets. From low-end phones, to flagships that make your mouth water, Honor is killing it. There’s also a little …

In the end, though, these downsides are heavily outweighed by how impressive the overall experience is for a phone that retails for less than 400 euros (399 euro and 399 pounds in the UK).

There were times that I was subconsciously comparing the Honor 10 to phones that sell for at least 200-300 euros over the Honor 10’s asking price, and it still felt like a genuine rival in certain areas — particularly the overall hardware performance, the generally impressive dual-camera, and the stunning design.

Honor 10 rear

If you have a little extra cash to spend, you might want to opt for the Honor View 10 which offers many of the same features you’ll get with the Honor 10 but with a larger screen, expandable storage, and a marginally larger battery. There’s also the OnePlus 6 or even OnePlus 5T to consider if you can stretch your budget even further.

Regardless of your choice, there’s no doubting that the Huawei sub-brand has once again delivered an outstanding level of quality at an enticingly low price with the Honor 10.

Buy Now: Honor 10

15
May

Can a $500 nerve zapper help you lose weight? We tried the Modius headset


Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Most of us could do with losing a few pounds. We know that being overweight is bad for our health, but with cheap, abundant, delicious food versus the time and effort it takes to exercise properly, it’s not surprising that more than 30 percent of Americans are classified as obese.

The weight loss market in the U.S. is worth $66 billion annually, according to Marketdata, but there’s a growing realization that diets and supplements simply don’t work for most people. Exercise does, but shedding weight and keeping it off can be challenging.

What if you could wear a headset for an hour every night and suppress your appetite or speed up your metabolism? That’s exactly what the Modius headset is designed to do. We tried it out for a few weeks to find out how well it works, and what it’s like to use. In short, the Modius headset gives you small electric shocks to stimulate your hypothalamus via your vestibular system. We’ll delve into the science a bit more in due course, but basically you stick electrodes to the bony bit behind your ears, attach the headset, and then use your phone to control it. Let it shock you for up to an hour a day and you should notice a drop in appetite and fat storage, an increase in your metabolic rate, or possibly both.

The set up

In the box you get a Modius headset, some medical wipes, some electrode pads, and a USB to MicroUSB charging cable. You’ll also need to install the Modius app for Android or iOS. We had some issues with the first headset we received – it refused to charge up properly. After trying to reset it several times, the company behind the product — Neurovalens — shipped us a new one.

Second time around there were no issues with charging, and we easily connected to the headset via Bluetooth on an LG V30. The app is fairly simple, and runs you through the process of getting started. It acts as a remote control for the headset, which has 10 levels of intensity. You can add details about your current weight, fat percentage, and waist line into the app, and it will track your progress over time, displaying your body mass index and a chart plotting your weight change.

You begin by using a medical wipe to clean the bony area behind each ear, then attach a sticky pad with an electrode, and finally attach the wires from the headset which snap into place like a typical stud closure on a purse. The headset is lightweight and comfortable to wear. There’s a button on the right that you press to pair with your phone and then you can use the app to start a session.

What’s it like to use?

The makers recommend that you sit or lie down to use the Modius headset because it affects your balance. You may not feel anything beyond a light tingling behind your ears to begin with, but as you increase the levels by tapping in the app on your phone, you’ll feel the electric shocks and the room will start to sway. It’s an unusual feeling that’s akin to being on a boat in choppy waters.

We started to dread having to put it on each night.

The first time we tried it out was only for a few minutes at MWC. The swaying feeling wears off instantly when the headset is deactivated. Trying it out at home for a full hour session was a different prospect. We felt nauseous and uncomfortable after 10 minutes or so and so we stuck with a low level of intensity, as recommended. After the session, it took a few minutes for the feeling of nausea to subside.

We persisted with it, using the headset for an hour each night for two weeks, gradually increasing the intensity, but it didn’t get any more comfortable. The feeling of nausea was joined by a bit of a headache on some evenings, and we started to dread having to put it on each night. After forgetting to take the Modius on a short vacation, we felt relief, but we couldn’t face the prospect of using it again when we returned.

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Everyone is different, and your mileage may well vary, but for us the Modius headset was no fun at all to use. The feelings of motion sickness were quite intense and unpleasant. It felt like a chore to use the headset daily, we frequently checked the app to see how much time was left before we could turn it off, and it left us with a light headache after a couple of sessions.

The app is also a little temperamental and didn’t always work properly. We found that force closing it and then starting it up again usually got it working.

The science behind it

We spoked to the highly credible and personable neuroscientist Dr. Jason McKeown, the CEO of Neurovalens, at MWC. He explained that the shocks are stimulating your vestibular nerve and sending a signal along your brainstem to impact your hypothalamus. The idea is that your brain has determined how much fat your body should store and what rate you should burn it at, and dieting or exercise can only go so far to combat that.

The Modius headset is sending signals to your brain telling it you’re engaged in increased physical activity.

This idea that everyone’s body has a natural weight it tends to want to be at has a lot of support, but whether you can change that weight by sending electrical signals to your brain is far from clear.

The Modius headset is sending signals to your brain telling it you’re engaged in increased physical activity. These horizontal movements stimulating the utricle are behind the swaying feeling and they’re also supposed to trigger your body to burn fat faster because it makes sense for your body to be leaner for prolonged increased activity — it can save energy if it doesn’t have to carry around so much fat.

There have been a few studies over the last 50 years that show vestibular stimulation causes a significant reduction in the body fat of animals.

Does it get results?

It’s important to note that Neurovalens suggests the minimum effective period before people notice reductions in body fat and weight loss is between six and 12 weeks. However, it also suggests that most users feel a reduction in appetite and carb cravings from as early as week one.

For us there was no reduction in appetite, except for the period when we were actually wearing the headset and immediately after, when we felt nauseous. In fact, after the first week we felt an increase in appetite and wondered if it might be linked to an increase in our metabolic rate.

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We deliberately didn’t change our diet or limited exercise routine while using the headset in the hopes of isolating it as the cause of any weight change. Our weight fluctuated by two or three kilograms (four to six pounds) day to day, which isn’t unusual. We got briefly excited about a nine-kilogram drop after a week and a half, but it turned out the kids had been messing with the scales. After two weeks of using the Modius headset our weight had dropped by just under one kilogram.

Weighing ourselves again today, more than two weeks after we stopped using the Modius headset our weight is down by another one kilogram. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really tell you anything about the effectiveness of the headset.

Neurovalens claims that almost 80 percent of people using Modius daily for an average of three months and recording at least five weight entries, lost weight – 7 pounds (around 3 kilograms) on average. With 10 percent of them losing 18 pounds on average. However, this relies on self-reporting and doesn’t consider their diet and exercise regime.

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

To date, Neurovalens has only conducted one study which followed nine people for 16 weeks and showed that the metabolic rate did speed up and that appetite fell. The control group didn’t lose as much weight as the others, but this is too small a group to draw any major conclusions, and the study wasn’t peer reviewed.

There is a new clinical trial underway, but the results aren’t expected until December 2019.

Looking at the anecdotal evidence of people using the Modius headset, we see some positive and some negative reviews. However, if you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a weight loss device, it’s likely that you’re motivated to lose weight. How can we separate changes in diet and exercise from headset use? How can we be sure that it isn’t just a placebo effect?

It’s a wellness device

The fact that Modius is currently classified as a “wellness device”, which means it doesn’t need FDA or MHRA approval, means that it has not been fully tested for safety or effectiveness. It’s important to note that Neurovalens is careful not to make any promises. You should read the FAQ on the Modius website if you’re thinking about trying it.

Neurovalens is careful not to make any promises.

Many of the people we told about it were mildly horrified that we were willing to test it out and “mess with our brain”. We’re not aware of any lasting effect, the nausea and headaches ceased almost immediately after we stopped using it. When we spoke to Dr. McKeown, he also mentioned anecdotal evidence of the Modius headset relaxing people and helping them sleep better, but unfortunately, we didn’t find that to be the case for us. He did also stress that it wouldn’t work for everyone.

What does it cost?

If you want to buy the Modius headset then you’ll have to shell out $500 (£300 in the U.K.). That’s a lot of money to pay, though the 90-day money back guarantee does remove some of the risk. You can always try it and return it if you don’t feel it’s working for you but be prepared to pay shipping costs.

It comes with three months’ worth of wipes and pads. You can subscribe and pay $36 to get a new pack of wipes and pads every three months or buy three months’ worth for $40. Based on our brief research, it’s a reasonable price for the wipes and pads.

There is also a 12-month limited warranty that covers basic defects in the headset.

Worth a try?

The Modius headset claims to help you reduce your appetite and lose weight, but it is impossible for us to say with any certainty whether it works. The idea you can lose weight without changing your diet or exercising more is obviously enormously attractive, but after using it we’re still skeptical.

There’s a lot of weight loss tech out there, but the vast majority focusses on your eating or your exercise. We’re not aware of anything else out there that’s quite like the Modius headset, though we are seeing more neurostimulation devices hitting the market, for example, we recently tried out Kortex which is designed to relax you and improve sleep.

If you’ve tried different diets and exercise regimes and you’re finding it hard to shift the weight, then you might want to give Modius a try. If we had bought it, instead of borrowing a review unit, we would definitely have returned it for a refund. The motion sickness was a killer for us, but clearly a lot of people are using it happily, so your experience may be very different.

If you do decide to try it, we advise caution and a healthy dose of skepticism. While we have no doubts about Neurovalens good intentions and Dr. McKeown’s faith in the device, until we see the results of a proper clinical trial, there’s no way we can say it works with any confidence.

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15
May

To unlock secrets of evolution, scientists want to sequence all life on Earth


Earth BioGenome Project

Humans have a bad habit. Since biblical times, we’ve ushered in apocalypses only to hatch last-minute plans to save the planet from destruction. If the animal kingdom was a classroom and each species was a student, humans would be the churlish kid who ruins recess for everyone and then kisses ass to get it back.

Well, we may have been spared the wrath of God but not yet the consequences of climate change. So with sea levels and global temperatures on the rise, a handful of modern-day Noahs have taken on the task of preserving life for future generations. Instead of an ark, they’ve turned to technology as their vessel for preservation.

“There were literally hundreds of questions we needed to ask to know the secrets of life.”

On a remote island in arctic Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault offers a fortified stash house for the 1,700 or so other seed banks peppered across the globe. The organization’s goal is to preserve genetic diversity and save agriculture from catastrophic failure as a result of an unforgiving environment.

The interdisciplinary team behind Digital Life, on the other hand, use high-definition cameras to take 3D images of animals, with a focus on endangered species. By publishing these 3D models for free online, the project helps share scientific data across the globe, while preserving specimens — albeit digitally — for future generations.

Now a team of genomicists has set its own ambitious goal — to sequence the genome of all plants and animals on Earth. Called the Earth BioGenome Project, they hope to unlock the secrets of evolution, aid in conservation efforts, and help preserve the blueprint of species for perpetuity.

Origins

The project came to life in an appropriate way — on the back of a napkin while a few scientists mulled over the mysteries of life. In their discussion, Harris Lewin, Gene Robinson, and John Kress reached an impasse. Their scientific pursuits differed — Lewin studies the evolution of the genome, Robinson the origin of social behavior in insects, and Kress the co-evolution of plants and birds — but they all agreed they’d need a lot more data to crack their particular codes.

Professor Harris Lewin of the Evolution and Ecology Department at UC Davis. UC Davis

“There were literally hundreds of questions we needed to ask to know the secrets of life on the planet,” Lewin, a professor at the University of California, Davis, told Digital Trends.

As genomicists, much the information they needed was packed in DNA, so Lewin scribbled a few back-of-the-napkin calculations to see what it would take to do a full sweep, sequencing the genomes of all plant and animal life. It seemed feasible, he said, so they began to consider the consequences of having such an extensive genomic map of life on Earth.

“We realized that what we’d have would sort of  be the infrastructure for a new biology,” he said, “a scientific structure for really understanding how life evolved on the planet, and of course what you could derive from this knowledge.”

Later, the researchers developed a timeline and performed a few more formal calculations, creating a 10-year plan at an estimated cost of $4.7 billion.

Reasons

The Earth BioGenome Project is driven by two main pursuits. First, such a resource would grant genomicists unprecedented access to the instruction manuals of life. If you think of genes as ingredients and organisms as a meal, genomes are like recipes in an evolutionary cookbook. Reading through a genome might not tell you exactly why an organism is the way it is, but it gives you a pretty clear framework to study how it came to be.

Showing evolutionary development information for Archaea (red), Bacteria (purple), Fungi (orange), Plantae (blue), Protista (brown), and Animalia (green). The current state of genomic information available from NCBI’s GenBank is shown in the inner circle, with complete genomes colored in red, chromosome level in blue, scaffolds in dark gray, and contigs in light gray.

“How did life organize?” Lewin says, beginning to list the mysteries of evolution. “What are the relationships are between organisms on the planet? This isn’t clear from how traditional taxonomy is done … But by comparing the DNA sequences to each other you can understand the relationships and, in time, find out things like where ancestors converged.”

The other aim of the project is to map DNA for the sake of conservation and preservation.

“For many species in the world there’s just a single person that can identify that species.”

“Once you know this genetic information, you can design programs that will enable conservation biologists to develop plans for conservation and preservation based on that information,” Lewin said. That may sound simple but it will entail customized plans for each species in question.

During the first phase of the project, the researchers will try to sequence about 9,300 species, Lewin said, at least one from each eukaryotic family. Of the $500 million Lewin estimates they’ll need to fund phase one, the team has raised $100 million.

They’ll widen their net in later phases, aiming to include the 23,000 species listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and, eventually, they hope to sequence all known life.

Doing this all on their own would be unfeasible so Lewin and his colleagues have enlisted some help. Fellow researchers, institutions, and even entire countries have shown interest in contributing to the Earth BioGenome Project, taking on some of the workload and helping foot the bill.

Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Genomics at the Laboratório Nacional de Bioinformática was one of the Brazilian organizations invited to participate in the EBGP. Ascom / MCTIC

“Countries around the world want to participate in a meaningful way,” Lewin said, “not just by providing samples to the project but also…developing their own internal capacity and infrastructure for doing the sequencing, interpretation, and informatics.” He pointed to Brazil, which, thanks to the Amazon Basin, represensts roughly ten percent of the entire global biodiversity, as a country that’s keen to get involved.

Challenges

The project is trailed by a couple questions not least of which is, Is it feasible and is it even worth it?

“This strikes me as being a long way away from the major challenges.”

Some 1.5 million species have discovered but experts think that represents a mere ten percent of the total number of plants and animals in existence. To date, we’ve sequenced just about 15,000 species.

But sequencing technology has advanced considerably since the Human Genome Project, a $3-billion initiative that took 13 years to complete. A few years ago companies boasted that they could sequence an entire human genome for less than $1,000. Last year, they claimed they could do it for $100. So Lewin isn’t worried about sequencing – he’s focused on getting his hands on specimens in the first place.

“The acquisition of samples is the most difficult part,” he said. “Sequencing is not the most difficult. We have the technology to do that. It’s vouchering, collecting, making sure the validity of a certain species is correct [that will be the biggest challenge]. For many species in the world there’s just a single person that can identify that species. There are so few experts in the world who can do that kind of work.”
Project overview and timeline for the Earth BioGenome Project over a ten year period. EBGP
Not everyone thinks the project is a worthy pursuit when it comes to saving species. In a place like the Brazilian Amazon, which loses thousands of square miles of rainforest annually and which the government seems indecisive in its commitment to protect, a campaign to sequence species may be missing the point.

“The principle question about a place like the Amazon is what we can do to prevent it from going up in smoke in the next thirty or forty years.” Stuart Pimm, a conservation ecologist and expert in extinction studies, said. “If it goes up in smoke, whether we know the genomes or not, that’s not going to do anything useful for us.”

“Any knowledge that derives from this project or the benefits generated can be returned, or a portion of those benefits can be shared …”

Pimm admitted he “doesn’t get excited about genomes” but said, “this strikes me as being a long way away from the major challenges … I don’t think this is a very useful project given the magnitude of the biodiversity challenges that are involved in protecting the Amazon and protecting the biodiversity around the world.”

To What End

Putting the preservation of species aside, it may not take a decade for the Earth BioGenome Project to begin to pay off in other ways. In a recent partnership, the project joined with the Earth Bank of Codes, a digital platform that records and registers biological data on a public blockchain. By making a country’s “biological assets,” including genetic code, open and protected from bioprospecting, the partnership hopes to help innovators develop bio-inspired drugs and technologies that could define our future. Some of the organization’s lofty ideas include using ants to influence self-driving cars and poisonous frogs to develop anti-microbial medication.

How the Earth BioGenome Project and Earth Bank of Codes will work together to help share discoveries, data, and samples with participating organizations. Earth Bank of Codes

“The purpose [with this partnership] is to ensure a benefit-sharing from any invention, innovation, and new technology that develops as a result of the sequencing of biodiversity where the biodiversity is sourced from any particular country,” Lewin said. “Any knowledge that derives from this project or the benefits generated can be returned, or a portion of those benefits can be shared with those countries.”

Such a partnership could spur a new economic model for places like the Amazon Basin, where the bio-economy could be based on inspiration from biological organisms rather than exploitation of natural resources.

But first they’ll have to start sequencing. Only a few million species left to go.

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15
May

Google doubles down on cloud storage with ‘One’ subscription service


Google rolled out a brand-new cloud storage subscription service today, replacing its old Google Drive subscription service. The new one is cheaper, features more options, and comes with a brand-new, well, brand. This is Google One.

If you have a Google Drive or G Suite subscription, don’t worry, you’re not going to see any major changes to your service. If you’re on Drive, you’ll be transitioned to a comparable Google One plan soon, and if you’re on G Suite, your plan and storage will be totally unaffected.

“We’re introducing Google One, a simple plan for expanded storage that includes extra benefits to help you get more out of Google,” the announcement states. “In the next few months, all paid consumer Google Drive storage plans will be upgraded to Google One. This change doesn’t affect G Suite business customers.”

All right, so what does Google One offer that Drive didn’t? Well, it marries Google’s philosophy as evidenced in its Project Fi cellular service: Simplicity, scalability, and no hidden fees.

Google One plans start at $2 per month for 100GB, $3 for 200GB, $10 per month for 2TB. Current Drive subscribers at the 1TB tier will automatically be upgraded to 2TB at no additional cost. You’ll also be able to share that storage space with up to five family members via Google’s Families program.

In addition to storage, Google One subscribers will receive 24/7 access to support personnel via chat, phone, or email. This effectively brings to the masses a tier of service previously reserved for enterprise users on G Suite. Now if you have any issues with your storage, missing files, or sync issues, you can take them up with an actual person.

“People who use a lot of storage tend to use a lot of other Google products, too. So with Google One you get one-tap access to experts for help with our consumer products and services,” the announcement stated. “Plus, you’ll gain access to extras from other Google products, like credits on Google Play or deals on select hotels found in Google Search. And we’ll be adding more benefits over time.”

All together Google One is a shot across the bow for rival cloud storage providers like Dropbox and iCloud. It remains to be seen, however, whether Google One ends up being a hit like Gmail, or a dud like Google Plus. Google’s announcement claims the service will be rolling out soon.

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