The EPIC from Celluon is a silver and black box that stands under 3 inches tall, 1.5 inches wide, and measures just over half an inch thick. But don’t let its small size deceive you. It casts a full-size QWERTY keyboard onto any opaque surface in front of you.
You’ll notice that all the virtual keys are outlined by red light. That’s the laser projection of the keyboard’s template. As we aren’t in on the top secret specifics of how this particular keyboard works, we can only give a general overview. We suspect that there is a sensor embedded in the device, and it may also emit infrared light (which is invisible to humans) too.
As you type, your fingers interrupt the light, and the EPIC’s sensor translates those interruptions into keystrokes. Then it communicates what you’re writing over Bluetooth to your phone, tablet, or computer. And that’s all you need to type your homework or browse for cat videos.
The EPIC uses Bluetooth version 3.0, so it’s compatible with iPhones, Android and Blackberry smartphones, as well as Windows and Mac computers. Basically, it works with anything that can pair over Bluetooth with a keyboard.
As for the best surface to use, transparent glass is a bad idea. But anything opaque and flat, like a tabletop, a book, or even the floor can become your new “keyboard.” Even cooler, the EPIC virtual keyboard becomes a mouse trackpad with the press of a button if it’s paired with a PC instead of a mobile device. You’ll also be able to adjust its sensitivity, the brightness of the laser light, and the little sounds it emits when you type.
Of course, the downside is that you’ll need to remember to charge your keyboard every once in a while. It has a built-in lithium-ion battery that you can refill by plugging in a USB cable.
Check out this video to see the Celluon EPIC Virtual Keyboard in action:
Celluon, in Korea, was one of the first companies to start manufacturing virtual keyboards in 2002.
AGS Wireless Laser Projection Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard for iPhone, iPad, Smartphones, and Tablets
AGS also makes two red laser QWERTY keyboards similar to Celluon’s EPIC. The first model we’re reviewing here has a projection that’s angled toward the top instead of appearing completely rectangular. And the projector itself is thicker and taller than the Celluon model, measuring 4.7 inches tall by 2.8 inches wide by 2 inches thick.
This AGS keyboard pairs over Bluetooth v3.0 with practically any device that also has Bluetooth enabled, including PCs with Windows or Mac, as well as tablets and smartphones running iOS and Android.
Users are reporting up to three hours of battery life if they use the keyboard continuously. Then it’s simple to charge over USB with your computer or a phone charger.
As you type, the device makes a soft beep with each key you “press.” But this sound can be disabled. You can also use the keyboard as a mouse—just press the angled arrow key in the bottom row.
We’ve heard a couple of complaints for this AGS laser keyboard. One is that the SHIFT button works like a CAPS LOCK. Another is that the laser is somewhat dim and works best where the ambient light in the room is also dim. As a result of these two issues, the happiest users seem to be the ones who use this keyboard for light-duty with a media center, not as a full-time tool for everyday work.
AGS Laser Projection Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard & Mouse for iPhone, iPad, Smartphone and Tablets
The next AGS laser projection keyboard is quite similar to the last one with regards to function, but it’s quite a bit smaller in size. It measures 2.8 inches tall, 2.8 inches wide, and 2 inches in thickness, making it much easier to transport. But it’s still larger than the EPIC from Celluon.
Like the previous two laser keyboards, this device from AGS shines a QWERTY format keyboard onto any opaque, smooth, flat place like a desktop. It’s best to avoid textured or shiny surfaces. But you can pair it with your smartphone, tablet, or your PC, it doesn’t matter as long as both devices can communicate over Bluetooth.
Keep in mind that the keyboard, while advertised as full-size, has smaller keys similar to a tablet keyboard. Users with larger hands may find it difficult to use. On the other hand, its laser appears to be stronger and brighter than the previous model by AGS.
FAQS about virtual keyboards with laser projection
Q: How fast can I type on a laser keyboard?
A: Most laser projection keyboards can handle up to 400 characters per minute. Of course, in reality, your typing speed may be affected by your ability to deal with the smaller-sized keys. And please don’t plan to use one of these for gaming as they may not respond quickly enough.
Q: How far away do I need to place the projector from where I want to type?
A: We’ve found that most projectors for virtual keyboards only need a little space. You can put most of them just two to three inches away from your keyboard space.
Virtual keyboards are a nifty way to transport a versatile input device right in your pocket. If you travel and prefer to have a keyboard with you, a laser projector like one of these won’t take up hardly any space or weight.
Visit us again soon for reviews of top tech products and the best gadgets to make your life better.
If you’d like to see a video review of the AGS keyboard, take a look at this video
#gadgets #tech #lifestyle #future Your Guide To Wilderness Survival [ad_1]
As a hunter, I have stranded in the wilderness many times. There came a stage where it seemed impossible to survive. I lost my way, I lived in dark, I had no food. But still I managed to escape. How??All these years of hunting and exploring wilderness, have taught me a good deal about unusual survival tactics to protect myself. These days, most of the novice hunters act quite overconfidently about this profession and consider, only their iPhone and a GPS navigation appis enough to aid them in the race of their ultimate survival. My only question to them, how long can you keep your battery charged??
Survival Tactics Every Hunter Should Know!
There is an array of ways, knowing which can get you out of trouble in any situation. Read on to find your guide to wilderness survival here.
1. Share your Destination
Never leave your place without informing some close pal or family member about your final hunting abode. It is the key point in your survival. At least some of your close fellows must know where you are heading to. In case, you get stranded, it would help them in tracing you out.
2. Don’t Get Panic!
That is the most common mistake that inexperienced hunters commit after straying in the wild. Staying fit both physically and mentally is really important for your survival. If you face such situation, stay calm and cool. Stop, sit and take a deep breath. Think cleverly and plan your way out.
3. Find a Secure Place for Shelter
In a situation like this, the first thing should be to look for a safe campsite. Once you are settled safely, you can plan your survival tactics there. Your shelter should be on a place both high and dry. Simply put, avoid valleys and pathways, as such places are always at the risk of getting flooded(flash flood).
4. Start a Fire
Surviving without fire is impossible. You need fire to stay warm, to cook food, to boil water, to keep the predators and bugs away and most importantly, to use as a sign for help. Never forget to store a Firestarter in your survival kit. Even a tactical pen(a tactical pen comes with a number of uses for the strayed) with Firestarter can work for you. In case you’ve missed it, there is another trick to start the fire. Using a battery is a handy way to lit the fire. How? You simply need to short-circuit the battery. Connect the positive and negative terminals to some steel wool, foil or a wire. It would cause a spark. Lit your bundle of wood with it.
5. Look for Drinkable Water
Your body can’t survive without water for more than three days. You’d be lucky if you find a body of potable water in the wild. If water seems polluted (water in puddles), never use it without boiling. What if you don’t find water? Wait for the rain, dew or snow. That’s the best I can suggest in a tricky situation like this. All three are the natural and the safest sources of water and do not require boiling.But unfortunately, you can’t predict weather. What if none of it happens and you don’t get even a single drop of water? My survival tactics are not over yet. Look for the maple trees around. Cutting a hole in its bark releases a liquid. That is quite safe to drink. To survive, gulp it down.
I always advise to pack a bundle of edible items with you. As you can’t predict the duration of your adventure. In case, you are running short of food, look for food in your surroundings. Otherwise, you are going to be the victim of malnutrition. Once that happens, getting out of wild may become a dream. Now the question is; which edibles you can find in such wilderness? Read on your guide to wilderness survival to know more. To cop up with this hard situation, your body needs protein. Let’s hunt around for some bugs, critters, frogs, eggs and lizards. If you happen to be a vegetarian, forests are sourced with edible (and non-edible) berries and plants. Some edible plants include—lambsquarter(wild spinach), dandelions and cattails. Research well about these plants before leaving for the hunt. When you already know about plant’s structure and shape, it would be easier to identify them.
7. Something to Cut
A knife is a must have tool. It helps in a number of ways—for cutting anything, for cooking food and also for your own protection against elements. Before you set out, make sure to pack a couple of tactical knives with you.
8. Use Survival signals
Fire is the most recommended survival signal that you can send to the outer world, especially when you hear the sounds of some plane or rescuer’s helicopter nearby. Find some open place or a hilltop to lit the fire(to avoid the spreading of the fire).Gather twigs and dry leaves from your surroundings to lit the fire. Once the fire is kindled, add spruce leaves and fresh pine to intensify the fire and the smoke. You must have your combustible material saved for this very critical moment (or else you might miss the chance of getting rescued).Don’t forget to extinguish the fire before leaving this spot. The second survival tactic can be a mirror signal. The light that flashes from a mirror signal can travel to miles. Even at night time, you can send a flash signal with moonlight.
Note:It is not essential to have a mirror to send the signal. Any reflective surface including your mobile’s screen, can be improvised in this regard.
9. Find the Best Ways to Navigate
In case, you don’t find any signs of aid from any side (even if the building the fire signal gone useless), it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time sitting there waiting for aid. You must have some navigation tool, map or a compass. What if you don’t? Get help from mother nature. In the daylight, sun can be a part of your survival tactics in the wild. You know sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Simply following the sun can help in determining your current direction. In the night, get help from the starry sky. Find the Polaris (north star or pole star). It’s lined up with the constellation, little dipper. When you are facing north star, you are actually heading in the north direction.
10. Other Ways to Find your Way!
Every forest or wild area has some mountains, paths or rivers in it. If you find one, keep following it. These often lead to civilization or pathways.
Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.
#gadgets #tech #lifestyle #future The nonda ZUS Smart Car Charger Review 2018 [ad_1]
Sure, you could settle for a cheap phone charger. But we’re convinced that the nonda ZUS smart car charger is a better deal. We’ll discuss all the reasons why below.
To begin, the ZUS charges two smartphones or tablets at the same time. For example, it can refill the batteries of two iPhone 6s in less than 2 hours. In fact, it can recharge just about any mobile device that accepts 5V.
Specifically, it outputs 4.8A of current, or 2.4A from each USB port when you charge a regular device. And if you have Qualcomm Quick Charge, the ZUS car charger can recharge your phone 2.4 times as fast.
But it’s more than a car charger
But there’s a lot more to the ZUS than the fact that it tops off your phone. It also has a thoughtful design. For example, the two USB ports are reversible. That means you can plug in your charging cable any which way and it will fit. And the ports also have a soft illumination to help you see them in the dark.
Now, have you ever killed a charger by leaving it in your car on a hot day? Fortunately, the ZUS can take the heat. It’s made of German Bayer polycarbonate, a material that meets the US Military High-Temperature Standard. It’s not going to melt during a summer day in Las Vegas.
Next, if you want to install the free app, you can pair the ZUS car charger with your phone. Then you can do surprisingly useful things like check your car battery’s health, log miles traveled, and find your parked car.
The charger’s LED lights blink to show when it’s ready to pair. Then once it’s connected over Bluetooth, the lights stay steady. When you drive around, the app logs your mileage. And that’s handy if you need to track that for expenses.
Once you park the car, the car locator feature remembers where you leave it. But unlike some car finder apps, you don’t need to leave Bluetooth connected. Instead, the ZUS app uses GPS to mark your position. Then later it can tell you how far away you are from your vehicle as long as you’re not parked where you don’t have GPS.
Also unlike other car finders, the ZUS app can help you avoid parking tickets. You can set a timer to remind you when time’s up at the meter. It will warn you ten minutes beforehand, just in case.
Finally, the ZUS app reveals your battery’s health. Since it tracks it over time, it can advise you if there’s a problem developing before you end up needing a jump start. This intriguing feature works along with other products from nonda, like their Smart Tire Safety Monitor.
In conclusion, you might be wondering what other details you need to know about the ZUS Smart Car Charger. To finish up, here is some of the fine print:
The ZUS charger is compatible with iOS 8.0 and later as well as Android 4.3 and newer
Works with Bluetooth 4.0 or later
Compatible with Carlock, Linxup, Vyncs, Automatic, and Navdy
Some BMWs have incompatible cigarette lighter ports
Consumes less than 0.2Amps of current while not charging a device
nonda offers a 7-day return policy and a 1-year warranty on the ZUS
if you would like to see the ZUS in action, this video from nonda provides a detailed overview. We hope you found our review of the nonda ZUS Smart Car Charger helpful. We love it when multipurpose gadgets like this one make life so much easier!
[ad_2] The nonda ZUS Smart Car Charger Review 2018
#phones #iphone #android Design, specs, price, and everything we know so far [ad_1]
While OnePlus has outgrown its roots of aggressively-priced phones, it still offers an unbeatable value-for-money that easily surpasses the multiple security-related scandals which surround the company on a regular basis. With each and every year, OnePlus has become more and more capable and its products have recently really outdid themselves – save for a few issues and shortcomings in-between, OnePlus has been mostly killing it in the affordable super-flagship segment.
At this point, we haven’t heard anything not so much is know about the OnePlus 6 but thanks to a recently leaked set of surprisingly-wholesome images, we can draw out a lot of conclusions and assumptions about that one. Then again, the device has a peculiar model number (P7819), which could mean it’s merely a prototype.
Glass is in
Judging from the leaked images, OnePlus could be preparing a paradigm shift and forego the predominantly-metal design it has been utilizing for the past 2 years. While the OnePlus 3, 3T, 5, and 5T all had that all-metal body going on for them, OnePlus could be going the same way as many of its rivals and grace the OnePlus 6 with what seems to be a curved glass back with metal frame on the sides.
That’s pretty much what Samsung, Apple, and many others have recently done in the ultimate quest of fleshing out the most premium phone out there. OnePlus going full glass is still a wild rumor at this point, but it makes a lot of sense: while its flagships have been sufficiently powerful and capable, they have generally lacked any pizazz.
Don’t get us wrong, that’s not a bad thing, but seeing OnePlus strives tooth and nail to become mainstream, it would make a lot of sense for it to spice up the design of its phones with a brittle, yet snazzy glass exterior.
Death to the bezel
Just as one might expect from a flagship phone that is to launch in 2018, a bezelless design will likely be utilized. The OnePlus 5T was already a pretty efficient device when it came to screen-to-body size ratio, but the leaked images of the OnePlus 6 tells an even more impressive tale. We will be quite impressed with OnePlus if it really slims down the bezels of its next flagship phone to an extent similar to the one in the initially leaked image.
Notch you too!
Aside from the supposedly-glass back, the OnePlus 6 seems like it would sport another rather controversial design feature – an iPhone X-like notch at the front. It is housing the front camera and the earpiece as there’s simply not anywhere else to put these vital hardware elements due to the super-slim bezels. Hate it or love it, the notch is a fad that’s sticking around for now. Yet, if done correctly, for example by teaming it up with an OLED display, it is not that much of a nuisance.
Further down the line, the leaked OnePlus device features a slightly-protruding dual camera that looks quite similar to the setups we’ve seen on the OnePlus 5 and the 5T. Just beneath them one could make out a concave fingerprint sensor that looks like it’s well-separated from the surrounding glass and would be easy to locate without much fumbling.
While we can’t really make out the signature OnePlus mute switch on the side, it’s unlikely that it will get axed down. After all, it’s one of the most useful features of OnePlus’ phones and doesn’t really have an analogue on the Android market.
It also seems that one of the devices that is expected to donate its general design to the OnePlus 6, the Oppo R15, has been recently teased sporting a notch. Normally, Oppo’s flagships share a ton of similarities with OnePlus’ phones as both companies are owned by the same conglomerate – BBK Electronics – and regularly collaborate on their devices.
The glass back that could grace the OnePlus 6 hints that the phone could potentially come with wireless charging on deck. Now that Apple has embraced this technology, it’s cool once again and Android manufacturers are quite possibly way more open to employing it in comparison with previous years. Will the OnePlus 6 have this? Probably.
As we mentioned, the OnePlus 6 will most certainly come along with a bezelless 18:9 display similar to the one on the OnePlus 5T. We also mentioned the notch which should be considered a necessary evil that needs to be employed so that the front-facing camera, earpiece, and proximity sensors have somwhere to go.
No beating around the bush: display specifics are unknown at this point and will likely remain this way for quite some time.
Yet, we can speculate that the company will continue to use those nifty Samsung-made Optic AMOLED displays it’s been employing on its devices for quite a while. For years on end, OnePlus hasn’t ventured past Full HD resolution for its displays and we don’t think the company will employ a sharper Quad HD panel as the cons likely slightly outweigh the pros. What we do hope is that OnePlus continues to improve its color calibration methods and still offer its users a choice between an accurate sRGB color mode and a more punchier and vivid one for all those who crave for more oomph.
In-screen fingerprint scanner
Oh, and talking about displays, a certain rumor exists that says OnePlus could be one of the first manufacturers to use a fingerprint scanner embedded into the display. Of course, this is contradicting with the leaked image which clearly shows a rear-positioned fingerprint scanner, and it’s clear as a day no one needs two of these on a phone. We’ve seen prototypes with other devices with fingerprint scanners on board, the freshest one being the conceptual Vivo X20 Plus that was showcased at MWC 2018. Given that OnePlus is using OLED displays, which are a prerequisite for certain in-display fingerprint scanning techs to work, this rumor is not at all unsubstantiated. Yet, we wouldn’t put our money on that.
No second opinion – once you go dual-cam, there’s no going back. The OnePlus 6 will certainly boast a dual camera, just like its predecessors. Dual cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but the difference between the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T was much more drastic than meets the eye. While the older device had a dual setup that paired a regular camera and another one with a longer focal length, the OnePlus 5T ditched the longer lens for a secondary one that had a wider aperture and aimed to fire up in in low-light scenarios.
Why are we telling you this? Just to illustrate the point that when it comes to cameras, OnePlus is very open to experimentation and there’s no telling if the OnePlus 6 will retain the wide-aperture secondary camera or bring back an optical zoom one again. We’d argue that the overall camera performance of the OnePlus 5 was a bit more fleshed-out than the OnePlus 5T the secondary camera of which only works as intended in specific scenarios and doesn’t improve things as much as expected.
We are happy to report that OnePlus rarely skimp it on the hardware side. You always get the latest top Qualcomm chipset in the company’s flagship phone, and paired with the lightweight interface, the device usually flies and feels snappier than its contemporary rivals.
That’s why we are almost certain OnePlus would go with the latest Qualcomm chip on the block, the Snapdragon 845, which has already been slated to appear in a trove of existing and upcoming Android top dogs. The chip introduces a welcome performance boost over the Snapdragon 835 that powered both the OnePlus 5 and 5T.
With the OnePlus 5T scoring juicy 8GB of RAM in its top version, it’s normal to expect a similar variation of the OnePlus 6 to also have that amount of multitasking prowess available at user’s fingertips. Again, a 6GB RAM version of the device will likely be available in the base version of the device. While having 8GB of RAM will mostly serve a bragging service for many, it’s nice to see OnePlus leading many of its rivals with that much memory available.
Storage-wise, OnePlus will likely continue to offer 64 and 128GB of storage versions of its next phone, though we wouldn’t be surprised if its decides to jump the gun and go for 256 gigs of the stuff, just like the most spec’d out version of the recently-released Galaxy S9/S9+.
As far as one of the most important aspects of a modern phone – its battery – we have no clue what OnePlus is prepping. A sub-3,500mAh unit is probably a safe bet, but we are super-open to surprises.
Release date and price
Now, if OnePlus’ latest releases tell us anything, it’s that the company has adopted a 6-month release cycle of its devices – a flagship in late May/early June followed by an improved version of the same device in late October/early November. There’s no reason to believe the OnePlus 6 won’t adhere to the same time windows. This means that we should expect more and more rumors and leaks surrounding OnePlus’ next phone in the coming months leading to its announcement in late Spring.
In terms of pricing, OnePlus has slowly increased prices with each and every of its products over the years, starting with the super-affordable $299 OnePlus One (16GB version) and lately going as high as $599 for the 8GB/128GB OnePlus 5T. Generally, we can point out a gradual $30 to $50 price hike between the various OnePlus phone generations. Here’s a neat table to summarize this:
OnePlus One 16GB (2014)
OnePlus One 64GB (2014)
OnePlus 2 16GB (2015)
OnePlus 2 64GB (2015)
OnePlus 3 64GB (2016)
OnePlus 3T 64GB (2016)
OnePlus 3T 128GB (2016)
OnePlus 5 64GB (2017)
OnePlus 5 128GB (2017)
OnePlus 5T 64GB (2017)
OnePlus 5T 128GB (2017)
Judging from the trends showcased in the table above, we’d prophesize that the OnePlus 6 will start in the ~$560 price window for the base version and could go as high as ~$620 for the top-tier version, if such one exists. Of course, take this with a grain of salt, but OnePlus is surprisingly punctual and predictable with its pricings.
#phones #iphone #android Top 10 iOS Apps of February 2018! [ad_1]
We’ve compiled a top 10 list of our favorite iOS apps to hit the App Store in February 2018. The apps highlighted in this video include Wehe, Calzy 3 Calculator, Glitch Dash, Thunderly, Doctors Report Illness Tracker, Make 10, Sketch, Moleskine Actions, Mubert, and Jump Jam. Which app is your favorite?
#phones #iphone #android Samsung Galaxy S9 has ‘best-performing smartphone display’ according to DisplayMate [ad_1]
In recent years, it’s seemed that every time a new Samsung flagship smartphone has come out, DisplayMate has rated the screen as the best it’d ever tested. It happened with the Galaxy S7 and Note 7, it happened with the Note 8, and now it’s happened with the Galaxy S9.
Testing firm DisplayMate has issued a report on the Galaxy S9 screen, deeming it “the best-performing smartphone display that we have ever tested” and giving it an A+ rating. “Samsung continues systematically improving OLED displays,” DisplayMate says in its report.
The report goes on to praise Samsung for its efforts to optimize the picture quality and color accuracy of its OLED display with factory display calibration. DisplayMate also found that the GS9 has the lowest screen reflectance level of any smartphone it’s ever measured, which is important for screen readability, picture quality, and color accuracy in ambient light. Viewing angles are good, too, with DisplayMate saying that the GS9 has a “relatively small decrease” in brightness and color shift when viewing the screen at an angle.
The Galaxy S9 features a 5.8-inch 2960×1440 Super AMOLED display. Samsung has been using Super AMOLED panels in its flagship smartphones for years, and it’s clear that the company sees its displays as a big way to help its phones stand out from the competition.
You can read DisplayMate’s full report on the Galaxy S9 screen at the link below. Will you be getting a Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ when they launch next month?
#phones #iphone #android Music streamer Spotify files for an IPO; company could be valued as high as $23 billion [ad_1]
With 71 million paid subscribers, and 88 million listening to an ad-supported free tier of service, Spotify is the world’s largest streamer of music. Spotify might not hold that position forever, which is why the company has decided that now is the time to file for an IPO (Initial Public Offering). In second place is Apple Music, which has garnered a total of 36 million paid subscribers and is projected to surpass Spotify in the U.S. by this summer. Apple does not have a free ad supported tier of service although it does offer a free three-month trial.
One of the bad things about going public, as far as Spotify is concerned, is that it requires a company to be more transparent with its financial data. Along with the filing came the news that Spotify lost approximately $1.5 billion last year on nearly $5 billion of revenue. The top line is growing as that figure was up 38.6% from the $3.6 billion grossed in 2016 and $2.37 billion in revenue that Spotify realized in 2015. The company says that the number of paid subscribers was up 46% in 2017 on a year-over-year basis. The number of monthly active users rose 29% from 2016 to 2017.
Spotify will use a direct listing which will allow its shares to be listed on a exchange faster than usual. The ticker symbol will be SPOT. Based on trading of Spotify’s shares on private markets, the company could have a valuation of $23 billion despite the fact that it has not yet turned a profit since its launch in 2006. As soon as its filing becomes effective, Spotify plans on completing the IPO.
#phones #iphone #android Amazon running sale on SanDisk microSD cards, including 400GB model [ad_1]
If you’ve got a smartphone, tablet, or other device with a microSD card slot, then you may want to check out Amazon today.
Amazon is now discounting several SanDisk microSD cards. Included in the sale is SanDisk’s 400GB microSD card, and while that model is currently listed as “Usually ships within 2 to 4 weeks”, you can buy it now and still get the deal.
With this deal, you can add nearly half a terabyte of storage to your phone, tablet, gaming console, or other device. This is the best deal we’ve seen on SanDisk’s 400GB microSD card since its launch last year, so this sale is definitely one to consider if you want more storage for music, photos, or games on your device.
Also of note is that Amazon is discounting other SanDisk microSD cards, like the 256GB and 200GB models, if 400GB is a little more than you need.
For every smartphone market watcher out there, it’s clear as day that Samsung is doing a rather awesome job with its Android smartphones. In fact, the company is doing tremendously great – its Galaxy S line of high-end phones is incredibly successful, and is the only smartphone you can see in celebrities’ hands, other than iPhone. Indeed, the Galaxy S has achieved what almost no other Android smartphone has: people like it and desire it for the sleek product that it is, and not for reasons such as ‘affordable price’ or ‘good value for money’.
2017’s Galaxy S8 was a great leap forward, introducing a superb new design with a gorgeous Infinity Display and materials that just begged to be touched. It also built upon Samsung’s excellence in camera and unique software experience. This year, the new Galaxy S9 and S9+ don’t bring a striking reinvention of the exterior; however, they do introduce a wonderful set of new features and improvements that make them even more enjoyable phones than their predecessors. If you are an S8 or S8+ owner, you’re not expected to upgrade with this generation. For most other Android users, though, the S9 and S9+ will be extremely tempting propositions.
Externally, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ don’t differ much from their predecessors. In fact, you may easily mistake an S9 for an S8. Samsung says the bezels have been reduces even further, but the difference seems mostly negligible. What’s easier to notice is that the corners of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ aren’t as rounded as those of the S8. They are not as rectangular as the Note 8, but somewhere in the middle between the S8 and the Note 8 in terms of roundness. This new shape looks quite good.
While the S9 and S9+ are still made almost entirely from glass (and are just as water- and dust-resistant), there’s been a change in the metal frame’s design – it has to do with the finish, which is now somewhere between the high-gloss polish finish of the S8 and the matte frames of past devices, like the S7. So it’s neither very matte, nor entirely polished. Whether you like this or not will be personal preference, but what we feel is that this new, middle-of-the-road finish will do well at appeasing fans of both shiny and matte surfaces.
There are just two more design changes to talk about, but they are important: first, the fingerprint sensor has been re-positioned below the camera, as expected, so it’s now considerably easier to reach and find by touch. This is an especially important change for the S9+. And second, there’s good and bad news concerning the color variants. The bad news is the Arctic Silver (light gray) color is unfortunately gone, but the good news is it’s replaced by a darker gray variant (kind of like Space Gray), which does look rad in its own way. The black color option continues on, and it’s just that – black, while the blue and orchid gray color variants have more saturation to them now. While in the S8 they were quite toned down and easy on the eye, on the Galaxy S9 they seem more vivid and saturated – not to the point of looking toy-ish or cheap, but maybe just not as mature and accessible as on the S8.
Galaxy S9 & S9+ Display & speakers
Screen sizes in the Galaxy S9 and S9+ remain the same as in their predecessors: 5.8″ and 6.2″, respectively. Resolution is also unchanged, at 1440 x 2960 pixels, guaranteeing superb screen clarity and legibility. One small change Samsung mentions is that the front glass now does a better job at hiding the front camera and other sensors in the upper bezel, while on-screen blacks should be slightly deeper. We’ll need more time with the S9 to evaluate whether there’s an actual difference in screen quality compared to the S8.
A pleasant surprise is there are stereo speakers on the S9 line now – a first in a modern Samsung phone. The configuration Samsung’s chosen is more or less identical to that of iPhone 7 and up, with one bottom-facing speaker (accompanied by a 3.5mm jack), and one that is built into the earpiece. Our first impressions of the new speakers, which are tuned by AKG, are that they sound very good, but since we are yet to compare them against rival products, we can’t make any bold claims regarding their sound quality. In terms of overall loudness, they are promised to be about 1.4x louder than the S8 speaker.
Galaxy S9 & S9+ Performance: processor and memory
Customers shouldn’t expect anything less than a top-shelf chipset in Samsung’s finest, and that’s what we get here. As usual with Samsung smartphones, the US market will see a Snapdragon 845-powered Galaxy S9, while internationally, the phone will feature the new Exynos 9810 SoC. Both of these 64-bit chipsets are built on 10nm process and have powerful octa-core CPUs. Traditionally, the Exynos-powered Galaxy S excels in graphics processing, and whether or not this will also be the case this year remains to be seen. The Snapdragon 845 comes with the new Adreno 630 GPU, which is supposed to be 30% faster than that in the Snapdragon 835. Meanwhile, the ARM Mali GPU in the new Exynos 9810 is estimated to be about 20% faster than its predecessor, so it’ll be interesting to see how the two variants will stack up against each other.
RAM memory gets a slight upgrade, but only on the Samsung Galaxy S9+, which will now sport 6 GB RAM, while the S9 remains at 4 GB. It looks like this year Samsung is willing to differentiate the S9+ from the S9 a bit more, and the extra amount of RAM is a good step towards justifying the higher price.
Storage-wise, Samsung’s new phones again come with the nicely balanced option of 64 GB, and there’s also the good old microSD card slot, in which you can insert cards of up to 400 GB in capacity.
Galaxy S9 & S9+ Camera
There are some really cool new improvements as far as the Galaxy S9 camera is concerned. But, first things first – the S9 again comes with a single 12 MP shooter, while the S9+ gets the Note 8 configuration, with a 12 MP main shooter and a secondary, telephoto (zoom) camera of 12 megapixels.
One of the biggest new features is the variable aperture, which can now be either F1.5, or F2.4, as opposed to strictly F1.7 as was before. With this upgrade, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be able to capture up to 28% more light, and cause 30% less noise than their predecessors. During our demo with the new devices, the new camera’s low-light capabilities looked really impressive.
Another awesome new feature is the improved slow-motion mode. The GS9 and GS9+ can now record 960fps slow-mo video (just 0.2s are turned into 6s slow-mo footage!) at 720p resolution, and the implementation itself looks very promising. The phone is capable of automatic motion detection, which sets the appropriate part of the clip in slow-motion without you having to do almost anything. A manual setting is available as well. The demonstrations Samsung showed us looked awesome, but of course we’ll need to test it more to see whether Samsung’s implementation works well in different types of scenarios. Other than that, the produced slow-motion clips can be shared normally, shared as GIF, or if you’re particularly proud of your creation, you can set it as a lockscreen wallpaper, which play every time you wake the phone up.
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ camera is now augmented with the new AR Emoji, which are Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Animoji. AR Emoji work a bit differently, though: the S9 and S9+ don’t have a sophisticated facial scanning tech, which is why they simply use the front-facing camera to take a picture of the users. After a few seconds, the phone generates a 3D avatar that kind of attempts to look like the user, although in our demo the resemblance didn’t seem too meaningful. Still, you can try to further make it look like you by adjusting things like the hair color, hairstyle, and clothes. Once this is done, you get to play in real time with the 3D avatar (similar to Animoji), which may be fun for a while, but the motion detection and 3D animation are somewhat stiff and limited, compared to Apple’s implementation.
The really cool thing is that the moment you create your 3D avatar, it automatically generates animated emoji stickers based on your 3D avatar and puts them in your keyboard. You can then use those stickers in messaging, Facebook, or other platform, and everyone will be able to see them. The idea is awesome, as you practically get personalized emojis that look like you. In reality, though, it’s not perfect, because, as we mentioned, the avatar may end up being not-so-unique looking. Still, it’s a great idea worth developing further. Finally, there are also some preset characters that you can also play in real time with, a la Animoji, with the special appearance of Mickey Mouse. Again, it may be fun for a while, but feels kind of limited and leaves a lot to be desired.
Guess who’s back! That’s right, it’s your friend Bixby, whose latest version can do live translations, place landmark detection, and food recognition. For example, if you happen to be abroad and staring at a restaurant menu in a completely foreign language, you should be able to point the S9 / S9+ camera at it and Bixby will automatically show you a translated version of the menu. Place landmark is pretty obvious: you point the camera at a famous world landmark you happen to be lucky to be visiting, and Bixby will display relevant information about it. As for food recognition, Samsung is training Bixby to recognize different types of dishes, so it can give you nutritional information. Of course, the feature works quite well in the carefully prepared testing environments where Samsung demos it, but it’ll be interesting to see just how fluent it is out in the wilderness.
Galaxy S9 & S9+ Battery life
Now, now, now, we know you all want to hear good news about the batteries in the S9 and S9+, but here again, we have both good and bad news. The bad news is the battery capacities are unchanged from last year’s models. The S9 gets its 3000 mAh unit, and the slightly bigger S9+ gets 3500 mAh. So, what’s the good news? Well the good news is both the S8 and S8+ scored pretty good results in our custom battery life test, so we don’t expect the S9 and S9+ to be any worse than that. What’s more, Samsung’s latest handsets will benefit from the latest generation of Snapdragon and Exynos chipsets, which promise improved power efficiency. What this means is that depending on your usage scenario, it may be that the S9 and S9+ actually show slightly better battery life than their predecessors.
Galaxy S9 & S9+ Price and release date
If you’re willing to purchase the phones unlocked, Samsung is offering them at reasonable prices through its own website. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ can be pre-ordered right now at $720 and $840, respectively.
Through US carriers, prices unfortunately seem to be a bit steeper, with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint selling the S9 at around $790, and the S9+ at around $920. Only T-Mobile is sticking with the pricing suggested by the manufacturer so far.
As mentioned, preorders for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are already available, while the phones will be officially released on March 16.
Samsung Galaxy S9
Samsung Galaxy S9+
$799.99 or $33.33 per month for 24 months
$929.99 or $38.74 per month for 24 months
up to $350 off when you trade in your current device
$790.20 or $26.34 per month for 30 months
$915 or $30.50 per month for 30 months
$719.99 or $30 per month
$839.99 or $30 per month with $120 down
$360 trade-in offer for iPhone 6s and up, or Galaxy S7 and up
#phones #iphone #android Vivo Apex concept phone features super-thin bezels, pop-up selfie camera [ad_1]
Smartphones with minimal bezels are all the rage these days, but one company took things a step further with a new concept phone with such minimal bezels that it had to create a pop-up selfie camera.
The Vivo Apex is a concept phone being shown off at MWC 2018. The device has a 6-inch 2160×1080 OLED display with bezels that measure 1.8mm on the top and sides and 4.3mm on the bottom. Since 1.8mm isn’t much room for a front-facing camera, Vivo decided to give the Apex an 8MP camera that pops up from the top edge of the phone in 0.8 seconds.
That’s not the only interesting feature of the Vivo Apex, though. The device also has a fingerprint sesnor in the display — last year Vivo launched the first phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor — but the Apex’s sensor takes up nearly all of the bottom half of the screen. This lets you scan two fingerprints at once for added security if you’d like.
Finally, the Vivo Apex features an OLED panel that can vibrate to create sound for videos, calls, and gaming. This feature is called SoundCasting.
Other specs of the Vivo Apex include a dual rear camera setup and a Hi-Fi audio chip that consolidates the DAC and three amplifiers into one, creating more room for a bigger battery.
The thing to keep in mind with the Vivo Apex is that it’s currently just a concept phone, so there’s not currently any launch date or anything like that for the device. As a concept, though, it seems pretty cool. The pop-up selfie camera eliminates the need for a notch like the Essential Phone and iPhone X have, giving the front of the phone a cleaner look and letting you focus on that 6-inch OLED display.
Would you buy the Vivo Apex if it launched to the public?