Tech News

Here's the secret behind 8K AI upscaling technology

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 16:47

Samsung’s 2020 business strategy for TV sales is simple: 8K or bust. With its QLED 4K TV sales being undercut by budget 4K TVs, Samsung plans to shift the market again, to a format that has (so far) very few competitors, but also very little native content.

Yet as we saw in our 4K vs 8K comparison test earlier this year, you don’t actually need video shot in 7680 × 4320 (8K) resolution to take full advantage of those millions of pixels—Samsung’s 8K TVs use AI upscaling to convert any video type (SD to 4K and everything in-between) into 8K resolution. 

Upscaling, of course, isn’t anything new. For years, 4K and even HD sets found ways to stretch lower-resolution content to fit the greater pixel-per-inch ratio of modern TVs. But with 8K TVs needing to fill four 4K TVs worth of pixels, conventional upscaling methods just don’t work, for reasons we’ll get into below.

Now, after visiting the Samsung QA Labs in New Jersey and speaking with its engineers, we have a better idea of how Samsung uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to make 8K upscaling possible—and how its AI techniques compare to other TV manufacturers’ early AI efforts.

Why conventional upscaling looked so terrible 

Before 1998, television broadcast in 720x480 resolution, and films shot in higher quality were compressed to fit that format. That’s 345,600 pixels of content, which would only take up a tiny window on modern TVs with higher pixels-per-inch (PPI) ratios. That SD content? It must be stretched to fit over 2 million pixels for high definition, over 8 million for 4K or over 33 million for 8K. 

The baseline for upscaling is maintaining the proper pixel ratio by simple multiplication. To convert HD to 4K, the TV’s processor must blow up one HD pixel to take up four pixels of space on the higher-res screen. Or 16 pixels during an HD-to-8K conversion. 

Without any image processing the picture ends up, to quote Tolkien, “sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” Each bit of data becomes unnaturally square-shaped, without a natural gradient between details and colors. The result is a lot of blocking, or noise, around objects on screen.

You’ll also likely see something called “mosquito noise”. To compress a video to work for your limited internet bandwidth, broadcasters and websites must fill the stream with intentional color flaws, or “compression artifacts”. The purposefully flawed pixels will swarm around parts of the screen where there are sharp contrasts, like the brown bridge before blue sky in the image above.

The math behind upscaling 

In the face of these issues, TV programmers taught their TVs to analyze and digitally process the images in real time to fill in or repair missing or damaged pixels. And they accomplished this using mathematical functions, which you can tell your loved ones the next time they say that too much TV rots your brain.

Specifically, engineers taught the TV processor to interpolate what each missing pixel’s color value should be, based on its surrounding pixels. To do so, it had to define its kernel: the function that assigns color priority to a pixel’s neighbors, based on their proximity.

The most basic kernel used in TVs is nearest neighbor kerneling, which simply calculates which pixel is nearest a vacant pixel and pastes the same color data into the empty pixel. This method causes the picture to take on a blocky zig-zag pattern, or aliasing, with poor edging. Picture a black letter “A” on a white screen; a missing pixel just outside the letter may be filled in as black, while a pixel on the edge of the letter could display as white. The result will either be a gray blob around the letter or a jagged staircase of black and white going up and down.

This chart shows the process for calculating an empty pixel (the green “P” dot) based on bilinear interpolation. 

Bilinear interpolation requires more processing power but is more effective. In this method the blank pixel is compared against the nearest two neighbors to form a linear gradient between them, sharpening the image. This produces smoother visuals but can be inconsistent. So other TVs use bicubic interpolation, which pulls from the 16 nearest pixels in all directions. While this method is most likely to get the color as close to accurate as possible, it also typically produces a much more blurry picture, with edges taking on a distracting halo effect.

You can likely guess the problem already: these TVs fill in pixels based on mathematical formulas that are statistically most likely to produce accurate visuals, but have no way to interpret how they’re thematically supposed to look based on what’s actually on the screen. 

So, after explaining how these algorithms consistently came up short, Samsung’s team explained how their AI overcomes these shortcomings.

Samsung’s secret: Machine learning, object recognition and filters 

Samsung’s secret weapon is a technique called machine learning super resolution (MLSR). This AI-driven system takes a lower-resolution video stream and upscales it to fit the resolution of larger screen with a higher PPI ratio. It’s the equivalent of the old ridiculous TV trope of computer scientists zooming in and “enhancing” a blurry image with the tap of a keystroke, except done automatically and nearly instantaneously. 

Samsung’s reps explained how they analyzed a vast amount of video content from different sources—high- and low-quality YouTube streams, DVDs and Blu-Rays, movies and sporting events—and created two image databases, one for low-quality screen captures and one for high-quality screen captures.

Then, it had to train its AI to complete a process called “inverse degradation” by the AI industry. First, you take high-resolution images and downgrade them to lower resolutions, tracking what visual data is lost. Then you must reverse the process and train your AI to fill in the missing data from low-resolution images so that they mirror the high-resolution images.

Samsung’s team calls this process a “formula”. Its 8K processors contain a formula bank with a database of formulas for different objects, such as an apple or the letter “A”. When the processor recognizes a blurry apple in an actor’s hand, it’ll restore the apple edges, repair any compression artifacts, and ensure that blank pixels take on the right shade of red based on how apples actually look, not based on vague statistical algorithms. Plus, along with specific object restoration, the AI will adjust your stream based on whatever you’re watching. 

According to Samsung, it has dozens of different “filters” that change how much detail creation, noise reduction and edge restoration is needed for a given stream, based on whether you’re watching a specific sport, genre of movie or type of cinematography.

The edge restoration shown in the slideshow above—an insane amount of text to restore in real time—isn’t even the most difficult task for the AI, according to Samsung's engineers. Instead, replicating the proper textures of an object in real time remains a difficult challenge. They must ensure that the processor augments the appearance of objects without them taking on an artificial appearance.

What the processor won’t do (according to Samsung) is miscategorize an object. “It won’t turn an apple into a tomato”, one engineer assured us, though without giving any details. Very likely the processor is trained to avoid any drastic alterations if it doesn’t recognize what an object is.

You also won’t see the AI alter the “directorial intent” of a movie, as Samsung’s team put it. So if a director uses the bokeh effect, the blurred background will stay blurred, while the foreground gets dialed up to 8K crispness.

They also claimed they don’t specifically analyze more popular streams for their object categorization, aiming more for general quantity and diversity of content. So, no word if they have a “dragon” or “direwolf” formula for your Game of Thrones binge-watches.

 The latest lineup of QLED TVs 

New Samsung 8K (and 4K) TVs ship with the most recent formula bank installed, and then new object data is added via firmware updates that you must approve. Samsung says that it will continue to analyze new visual streams to expand its object library, but that it does that locally on Samsung servers; it doesn’t analyze data from people’s TVs.

Just how many object formulas has Samsung accumulated from its endless stream analysis? One of its engineers gave an off-the-cuff amount that sounded impressively large, suggesting the processor will typically recognize a huge number of objects on screen. But a PR rep cut in and asked that we not print the number, saying that they’d rather that consumers focus on how well Samsung’s MLSR works than on arbitrary numbers.

AI upscaling: the new normal? 

Samsung isn’t the only TV manufacturer that currently uses artificial intelligence and image restoration for its TVs. 

Sony’s 4K ad page goes into obsessive detail about its AI image processing solutions. Its new 4K TVs contain processors with a “dual database” of “tens of thousands” of image references that “dynamically improv[e] pixels in real time”.  

LG also announced ahead of CES 2019 that its new a9 Gen 2 TV chip would feature image processing and machine learning to improve noise reduction and brightness—in part by analyzing the source and type of media and adjusting its algorithm accordingly.

Beyond the AI elements, however, it seems as though these TV processors do still depend somewhat on automated algorithms. When we previously interviewed Gavin McCarron, Technical Marketing & Product Planning Manager at Sony Europe, about the AI image processing in Sony TVs, he had this to say:

"When you're upscaling from Full HD to 4K there is a lot of guesswork, and what we're trying to do it to remove as much of the guesswork as possible. [Our processor] doesn't just look at the pixel in isolation, it looks at the pixels around it, and on each diagonal, and also it will look up the pixels across multiple frames, to give a consistency in the picture quality.”

Sony, along with LG and Samsung, very likely use some form of bilateral or bicubic algorithm as its baseline upscaling system. Then they analyze the near-4K content and determine which pixels should be augmented with image processing and which should be deleted as noise.

In that sense, most TV manufacturers are relatively close to one another in the AI upscaling race. The exception is Samsung, which uses the same techniques but fills in four times the number of missing pixels to fit an 8K screen. We’ll have to wait and see if other manufacturers’ AI efforts will allow them to leap into the 8K market as well. 

Categories: Tech News

Motorola One Zoom leak reveals quad-camera specs

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 15:35

The Motorola One Zoom’s rumored quad rear camera may get a 5x hybrid telephoto lens and depth-measuring Time of Flight sensor, according to a new leak.

The phone will pack a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with FHD+ (1080p) and have an in-display fingerprint sensor, according to info courtesy of noted leaker Arshan Agarwal via MySmartPrice. He also passed along additional renders of the phone:

Confirming earlier leaks, clarifying the name

While some of the details confirm what was first revealed in a previous leak, including running on 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage along with a Snapdragon 675 processor, the new report is the first we’ve heard about the telephoto and depth-sensing lenses. The phone will also reportedly have a 48MP main lens and a wide-angle lens of uncertain quality, rounding out the other two parts of the quad-camera setup.

There’s also been confusion over the phone’s name, which was originally known as the Motorola One Pro.

According to this new leak, that name will persist for the main version; the Motorola One Zoom will instead be a variant including Alexa integration and several other Amazon customizations. This model will only be sold in select markets and won’t be part of Android One – again confirming prior reports that the Zoom wouldn’t use the pared-down version of the operating system.

Categories: Tech News

Intel's own benchmarks suggest it's still king in the face of AMD Ryzen 3000

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 15:16

Intel is trying to hold onto its standing as the processor (CPU) champion after the launch of AMD's Ryzen 3000-series processors, and the company's latest attempt comes in the form of benchmarks comparing the Intel Core i7-9700K to the Ryzen 9 3900X, MSPowerUser reports.

Intel's benchmark comparisons come in the form of a slideshow, and they show the Intel CPU winning in most cases. The benchmarks include SYSmark, MobileMark, WebXPRT and 16 video game titles.

The choice of benchmarks appears aimed at "a realistic day-in-a-life" according to one slide and a "better indicator of mainstream PC experience" according to another. SYSMark runs actual applications like Microsoft Office programs, and both MobileMark and WebXPRT perform some typical computer tasks.

Then, Intel claimed "on par or better" performance in a variety of video games, with the Ryzen processor only winning out in Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Intel claimed Final Fantasy XV, Far Cry 5, CS:GO, PUBG, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, among other games, for itself.

Missing or obscuring the point

While what Intel is claiming in its slides may well be the case, there's plenty of information absent, and some important considerations left unmentioned.

For instance, in the video game benchmarks, Intel claims on par or better performance, but doesn't indicate which of the games were only on par, thereby giving itself a victory for what may only be a draw. It's also worth noting that many of the games it lists are older, like Grand Theft Auto V, CounterStrike: GO, and Crysis 3.

Another important consideration is system configuration. We don't see a slide showing the exact configuration of the Ryzen machine, and while Intel likely built similar machines, Ryzen CPU performance can vary significantly depending on the RAM installed.

Then there's the big elephant in the room: use case. Intel emphasizes realistic use cases, but fails to acknowledge the Intel Core i7-9700K and Ryzen 9 3700X aren't CPUs for typical computer users who just want to browse the web and crank out spreadsheets. They are high-performance components meant for folks with serious computing needs. Benchmarks like Cinebench show just how much raw performance people can get out of a machine, and core counts can really come in handy when it comes to creative workloads.

There are extras for Ryzen 9 3900X to consider as well, like PCIe 4.0 support, an included cooler, and the possibility that future games and programs will offer improved support for more cores and threads as chip makers like AMD and Intel continue to boost those numbers.

Intel may be posting a win for itself here, but we're still standing by our ranking of the best CPUs, which sees the Ryzen 9 3900X squarely at the top.

Via XFastest

Categories: Tech News

Dell Labor Day sale: save up to 40% on laptops, 4K TVs, monitors and more

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 13:26

Labor Day is fast approaching, and aside from a long holiday weekend, it also means massive savings from your favorite retailers. Dell is kicking things off with its Labor Day Early Access sale that starts today and lasts through September 4. You can save up to 40% on laptops, TVs, desktops, headphones and more with new doorbuster deals added every day.

Dell's top deals include the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones on sale for $299, the Alienware 25 gaming monitor on sale for $407.96, and the Inwhich is 15 5000 2-in-1 laptop that's on sale for $699.99 and includes a $100 Visa prepaid card.

Our top early access pick is the LG 70-inch 4K TV that's on sale for $669.99. That's a $530 discount and Dell is including a $100 Dell eGift card to sweeten the deal. The big-screen TV delivers a life-like picture with bold colors and stunning accuracy thanks to the quad-core processor and 4K Active HDR format. The smart TV also features ThinQ AI technology which works with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant to become your smart home hub. You can browse movies, adjust the channel, launch shows, and control other smart home devices using just your voice.

Shop more of Dell's early access Labor Day sale below and keep this page bookmarked as we'll be adding new doorbuster deals throughout the week. 

Dell Labor Day deals:

You can shop more TV deals with our roundup of the best cheap TV sales and 4K TV deals happening now.

You can also shop more cheap laptop deals and cheap monitor deals that are currently available.

Categories: Tech News

OnePlus ushers in Rs 1,000 crore investment for its biggest global R&D facility in Hyderabad

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 13:10

OnePlus, on Monday inaugurated its first global research and development (R&D) center in the Indian city of Hyderabad. The R&D facility was inaugurated by Pete Lau, Founder & CEO of OnePlus along with Former Minister of Telangana, K. T. Rama Rao and Principal Secretary for IT and Industries, Jayesh Ranjan.

Over the course of the next three years, OnePlus intends to put as much as Rs 1,000 crore into creating its biggest R&D center, right here in Vamsiram's Sohini Tech Park, Nanakramguda, Hyderabad. 

Why Hyderabad?

OnePlus decided to establish an R&D centre in Hyderabad as it is a major centre for startups and MNCs. It wouldn't be wrong to call it one of the biggest IT hubs in India. Moreover, the Chinese electronics maker believes that the city attracts a lot of talent in the area of emerging technologies and as such, it will help generate more employment opportunities. 

The company already has a workforce of 200 people for its Hyderabad R&D center and Lau mentioned that some of  the Product Managers are being relocated to Hyderabad to assist in a more inclusive development.

OnePlus also conducts a campus hiring program in major premiere universities and institutes of India like the IITs, to provide opportunities and nurture young talents. The R&D centre will warpcharge this program with an aim to generate more interest amongst youngsters.

What will the OnePlus R&D center do?

Lau also revealed that the R&D facility will be home to three OnePlus Labs. These include the camera lab, networking and communications lab and automation lab.

The new R&D facility will headline development of India exclusive features for OxygenOS and drive 5G network deployment for India, Europe and the UK. But, that's not all. The centre will also work on global product development, improving cameras, AI and performance tests. 

OnePlus has a dedicated camera lab in Taiwan and the company now wants to set up a second and an equally compelling lab in India.

Vikas Aggarwal, General Manager OnePlus India, stated that the company will be taking part in the 5G spectrum trials sometime later this year. The Hyderabad R&D center is expected to play a major role in testing 5G connectivity for its products but we don't have a definite timeline for the same, yet.

What's more for India?

OnePlus currently holds the top position in the premium smartphone segment in India. It has captured 43% of the segment in India and 2% globally, which is enough for it to be listed amongst the top five premium smartphone companies of the world.

While discussing the company's plans for India, Pete Lau said, “In three years, we plan to grow the new R&D centre in Hyderabad into our biggest globally. We plan to re-focus our R&D efforts on a large scale and drive innovations in India for the global product, especially on the software side with special emphasis on Artificial Intelligence, 5G and IoT.”

Apart from its online exclusive partnership with Amazon India, OnePlus is also present in the offline space with 15 OnePlus experience stores and over 1500 partner stores.

The company is also looking at large format experience stores as a viable option in its expanding offline strategy. The first OnePlus experience store is also being constructed in Hyderabad and is expected to be fully functional by the next quarter.

OnePlus plans to take this concept of large format super experience stores to major metro cities in the next 2-3 years. Besides, now that the R&D centre is operational, OnePlus wants to produce and source more components locally, in line with the Indian government's Make in India strategy.

Categories: Tech News

New Rise of Skywalker trailer, Marvel TV shows headline Disney’s D23 expo

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 12:59

The Disney D23 Expo has become a font of information for breaking Disney news, and this year’s event - which took place over the weekend - was no different. 

In fact, D23 2019 might’ve been one of the biggest ever in the company’s history as it brought us new trailers for Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian and tons of Marvel shows, plus new details on Disney Plus, the company’s streaming service that launches on November 12.

Want a quick recap of the weekend’s biggest Disney announcements? Here’s a handy guide to Disney D23 2019. 

Disney Plus details 

The star of Disney’s D23 Expo was most definitely Disney Plus. The House of Mouse announced that attendees would be among the first to be able to subscribe to the service at a discount (if they didn’t mind signing a three-year agreement) before giving us some details on the quality and quantity of the streams at a special panel. We know now that the service will support up to four simultaneous streams in 4K / Dolby Vision at the base monthly package price of $6.99. 

In terms of timing, we learned that Disney Plus will release new episodes of its shows weekly rather than in one season chunks like Netflix, which could give the service time to catch up with competitors who already have massive catalogues (cough, Netflix) and keep users coming back for more. 

In some less good news, Disney reiterated that the service will be available in the US, Canada, The Netherlands and Australia on November 12, but still didn’t mention a UK release date - sorry folks.

The Mandalorian trailer 

That said, you can’t talk about Disney Plus without talking about its flagship Star Wars title, The Mandalorian, which got its first trailer during this year’s D23 event.

The series will be set after the fall of the Empire post-Return of the Jedi (aka Episode 6) and stars a lone bounty hunter donning traditional Mandalorian armor, looking like a color-swapped Boba Fett. The series was created by director/producer Jon Favreau (director of Iron Man and Chef), which bodes well for an interconnected Star Wars TV universe, and stars Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martel from Game of Thrones and Javier Peña on Narcos). 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer 

The Mandalorian wasn’t the only piece of Star Wars content that came out over the weekend - we also got a new trailer for Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker that’s set to debut in December. 

You can see the full trailer down below, but in it we see a quick recap of the Skywalker storyline throughout the last eight episodes that concludes with Rey battling Kylo Renon atop the remains of the Death Star II that was destroyed in Episode 6. It’s a scene that hearkens back to the battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan in Episode 3, and it’s going to be awesome.

Speaking of old Ben, actor Ewan McGregor confirmed that he will reprise his role in an untitled Star Wars series that will debut on Disney Plus with filming set to begin next year.

Marvel TV Shows 

The end of the last Avengers film might have wrapped everything up in a nice little bow, but don’t worry, Disney Plus will unravel everything with a slate of new shows that will introduce new villains - and heroes - to the Marvel cinematic universe. 

Among these shows are The Falcon and The Winter Soldier which will debut in 2020 and star Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, respectively, as well as WandaVision, Loki and What If…, which will all make their debut in 2021. 

Disney also announced new series for She-Hulk, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel, which will debut on the service at some point in the future.

Marvel Movies 

While Disney’s slate of serialized content is growing in scale, it hasn’t forgotten about its movie-going fans. To that end, Disney divulged new details about Black Panther 2 (that’s now set to release on May 6, 2022) and a new film called The Eternals at D23. 

According to Disney, the cast of Marvel Studios’ The Eternals includes "Richard Madden, who portrays the all-powerful Ikaris; Kumail Nanjiani, who plays cosmic-powered Kingo; Lauren Ridloff, who portrays the super-fast Makkari, the first deaf hero in the MCU; Brian Tyree Henry, who plays the intelligent inventor Phastos; Salma Hayek, who plays the wise and spiritual leader Ajak; Lia McHugh, who portrays the eternally young, old-soul Sprite; Don Lee, who plays the powerful Gilgamesh; and Angelina Jolie, who stars as the fierce warrior Thena." 

The President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige revealed concept art images of each character, before announcing three additional cast members: Sersi, to be played by Gemma Chan; aloof loner Druig, to be played by Barry Keoghan; and non-Eternal Dane Whitman, who’ll be played by the King in the North, Kit Harington. 

We’ll get a full look at the film when it comes out on November 6, 2020.

Categories: Tech News

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis: which Amazon ereader should you buy?

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 12:30

If you’re looking for a great ereader, you've probably scoped out the Amazon Kindle range, a diverse series that touches a lot of price points. Amazon is one of, if not the, biggest name in ereader market with the largest virtual library around, so you’re definitely not making a mistake by checking out its Kindles.

If you're hunting for a great reading experience and want to save all your money for ebooks, perhaps the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is what you’re looking for – it sits far shy of the top of Amazon’s Kindle range, but is still a great reading experience at a relatively low price.

But if you’re a serious reader with money to burn, you’re probably looking towards the higher end of the series to the Amazon Kindle Oasis, with its premium design and broad array of features.

To help you work out the difference between the two Kindle ereaders, and point you in the right direction for your new book-centric tablet, we’ve run through the differences between the slates.

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis price

The Amazon Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s highest-end ereader, so it goes for a fitting price. The baseline 8GB storage space costs $249.99 / £229.99 / AU$399, while the 32GB option is priced at $279.99 / £259.99 / AU$449. For four times the storage space that’s only an increase of $30 / £30 / AU$50, so if you’re planning to download loads of books at once, we’d recommend the latter option.

If those prices make you weak in the knees, perhaps the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a better deal for you. An 8GB Paperwhite will cost you $129.99 / £119.99 / AU$199, and 32GB will set you back $159.99 / £149.99 / AU$249, making it a lot more affordable than the Oasis.

Bear in mind, you’re going to be paying a bit more cash for Amazon Kindle Unlimited, or to buy your ebooks individually, so your expense doesn’t stop at the hardware itself.

Design and display

When you think of an Amazon Kindle ereader, you probably envision the standard flat rectangle design found in most tablets these days - and that’s exactly what the Kindle Paperwhite looks like. It’s got a plastic body framing the display, and is a touch bigger than your standard smartphone, so it gives a different ‘feel’ than just reading on Google Play Books.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Amazon Kindle Oasis has a far more intriguing design: on the back of the body is a large ridge that offers a natural hand-hold to make the ereader easy to grip in a range of situations (like walking, or laying on your back). For its premium price tag you get a range of other improvements on the Paperwhite, like the metal body and physical buttons to help you navigate pages quickly.

In terms of screens, the Paperwhite has a 6-inch display, which is short of the Oasis’ 7-inch screen but both have the same 300 pixel-per-inch resolution. The Oasis really shines (pun intended) through its range of extra display options, like a high max brightness and an optional orange ‘warm light’ intended to reduce eye strain when reading.

The Kindle Oasis has the superior design and display over the Paperwhite, and this makes it a better device for certain audiences, like people who constantly bash or drop their device, or have sensitive eyes, but the design improvements might not be necessary for all users.

Battery life

While we don’t have exact battery sizes for the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis, during the course of our review we made a few estimations based on how long they lasted and how quickly the battery dropped. This isn’t quite a scientific or empirical way of measuring the battery life of either device, but without specs it’s the closest we can do – and the winner is pretty clear.

The Amazon Kindle Oasis with its hand-hold ridge

The ridge on the back of the Kindle Oasis isn't just a handgrip – it houses the ereader’s chunky battery, so you can expect the device to last a long time. In our review, we estimated the Oasis could last about six weeks if used for half an hour a day, which meets Amazon’s official estimations.

The Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, seems to last about three weeks if used the same amount of time, depending of course on how bright the display is.

So it seems like the Kindle Oasis lasts for twice as long; although both last for such a long period of time that the difference is kind of moot. It's far less annoying than having to recharge your smartphone every day.

Other features

Both the Amazon Kindle Oasis and Paperwhite run Amazon’s Kindle operating system, which lets you rent or buy books on the Amazon Store, and there’s not much difference in terms of software.

Neither ereader has a 3.5mm headphone jack though, so if you want to listen to an audiobook, you’ll have to do it with a wireless headphone.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Talking of ports, both the Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis charge up using micro USB. That’s quite an outdated socket, so the devices are quite slow to charge.

In fact, the Kindle Oasis and Paperwhite have most features in common, and once you’ve looked past the surface appearances, they’re rather similar devices.

Verdict

The main differences between the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis lie in their designs and displays. The Oasis aims to be easy to hold in your hand, and even easier to drop without worrying about it breaking, thanks to its metal chassis.

Screen versatility is a big difference too, and the Oasis’ warm light, as well as its increased max brightness, make it a better device for reading in the dark or in bright sunlight.

Beyond that, the two devices are rather similar in terms of operating system and user interface, so you’re not going to get a terrible experience on the Paperwhite compared to its premium-priced sibling.

So if you’ve got a lot of money to spend on a new device, or the design or display features of the Oasis are vital to you, it’s definitely the device to look for, but if you just want to buy an ereader tablet to get through all your books and comics, then the Paperwhite may be a more viable - and certainly more affordable - choice.

Categories: Tech News

Best domain registrars in 2019

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 11:10

Every great website needs a snappy, memorable domain name. Coming up with something new is a serious challenge, but once inspiration strikes, you'll need to register that name with a domain name registrar before you can use it online.

Registration isn't difficult, but first you must choose from the hundreds of companies competing for your business, and there are several things for you to consider before signing the virtual dotted line.

How to choose the perfect domain registrar
  • Pricing structures can be complicated. A low headline figure could become expensive on renewal, for instance. Prices vary between domain extensions, too, so a registrar that offers great value for a .com domain might give you a poor deal on when it comes to .org.
  • There may be extra costs for tasks like transferring your domain to another registrar, too. Read the small print before you sign up.
  • Look for any bundled or optional extras. A Whois privacy service prevents your address, phone number and email address appearing as public contact details for the domain, something which could otherwise get you a significant amount of spam email and phone calls. We've seen this cost as much as $11.20 a year, but several registrars provide it for free.
  • Many domain registrars offer hosting as an extra, but keep in mind that web hosting companies can also register domains. If you have an idea of which web host you'd like to use, check the details of its plans: you may be able to register a domain for free when you buy hosting, and that's often the cheapest option.
  • Finally, take a look at the support a registrar offers. You may never need any help at all, but if anything critical crops up – maybe an issue which might cause a problem with renewal – it's important that your provider is on hand to ably assist. 
  • Balancing all these priorities can be tricky, so that's why we've created this list of top domain registrars to help point you in the right direction. 


With a name like Domain.com, the EIG-owned brand, means business, focusing primarily on small and medium businesses. It offers most popular top level domains and over 25 country code top level domains and also sells premium domains as a broker.

With nearly two decades of online presence, the company - which is one of the world’s biggest domain name registrars - expanded in web hosting and now ranges a number of products including a website builder, a full design service and web hosting.

Domain.com prices tend to be average but we have managed to blag a 25% discount off almost everything in your cart*. Non-premium TLD (.Club, .Men, .Win etc) start from $2.99 for the first year ($2.24 with our code). In line with the rest of the industry, they rise significantly after the second year).

You need to pay for privacy protection, a reasonable $8.99, plus you can add email, web hosting, SSL certificates and malware protection, none of which is compulsory. You can stick with its basic website builder which is free with every domain: you get a drag and drop website builder, tons of mobile-friendly templates, up to six pages, SEO tools, Paypal integration and even access to stock image library.

Support is more than adequate with 24/7 chat, email and phone support. Domain.com may not have the cheapest prices but it provides with a very balanced offering.

*All renewals after the initial discounted period will be charged at the then current standard list price for the selected period. Coupon is not valid with sunrise registrations, landrush registrations, EAP registrations, pre-registrations, premium registrations, renewals, transfers, custom website design, other coupons, or special pricing.


Web giant GoDaddy is the world's biggest domain registrar, currently managing more than 75 million domains for 17 million customers around the globe.

The company is well-known for its low headline prices, and it's the same story here, for instance,  .co domain is available for $1.99 in year one. On the other hand .com and .org are less impressive (though still apparently cheap) starting at $12.17 and $10.17 respectively. Beware, though: these aren't the bargains they initially seem.

The first catch is that GoDaddy's starting prices only apply if you pay for two years upfront, and the second year is significantly more expensive (.com rises to $18.17, .uk and .co.uk domains are $12, .org and .mobi are ridiculously high, $21.17 for .org and $26.17 for .mobi - at the moment, first year for .mobi is $7.17, due to an offer). 

The second problem is that there are no bundled extras, so adding something like Whois privacy – a valuable service often included for free with other providers – costs $8 a month for year one, and $10 on renewal.

There's clearly much better value to be had elsewhere, but GoDaddy may still appeal to web beginners looking for a bundled hosting and domain registration deal. The company has an array of products covering every possible requirement, with telephone support if you need it, and buying your domain and hosting from the same provider will make life a little easier.

Just keep in mind that other providers can also combine hosting and domain registration, and GoDaddy may not provide the best package for you. Check out our various hosting guides for possible alternatives.

Hover is a popular domain name registrar owned by Tucows, which also operates eNom and the domain reselling platform OpenSRS.

Hover's website is clear and straightforward. A domain pricing page allows for checking registration costs before you start, or you can use the search box to immediately locate your preferred TLD (top-level domain).

By default the results page displays every domain you can register and their prices, giving you a lot to scroll through and read. But a handy sidebar allows filtering domains by categories including Personal, Businesses, Audio and Video, Food and Drink, and more. It's a neat touch which could help you spot an appealing domain that you otherwise might have missed.

Prices are very reasonable, with .com domains costing $12.99 for year one, .co.uk priced at $10.99, .org costing $13.99 and .mobi reaching $15.99. Shop around and you'll find slightly lower prices elsewhere, but Hover generally provides good value.

There's a welcome bonus in Whois Privacy, which comes free for as long as the domain is managed by Hover.

The company keeps upselling to a minimum, even in the final shopping cart stage. You're simply offered three email-related extras: email forwarding at $5 a year, a 10GB email account for $20, or you can opt for a 1TB inbox, file sharing, a calendar and more, for an annual $29.

If you have any questions, support is available via email and chat, although it's not 24/7. Working hours are 8am to 8pm (Eastern Time) Monday to Friday, and 12pm to 5pm at the weekend.

Most domain name registrars offer a simple identikit service with little to separate them from the competition, but Dynadot is an interesting exception which has some unusual advantages.

This starts right at the beginning, with your initial search. You can use the website much like any other – type your preferred domain, press Enter, read the results – but you also get Bulk and IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) search tools, and advanced options allow defining which domain extensions to include in your searches, as well as setting those as defaults for all future searches.

These searches can optionally return results from domain auctions, Dynadot's Marketplace (where other customers sell domains they no longer need) and other sources. There's also a Backorder option to try and grab a domain that isn't currently available, if it's not renewed.

Prices are on the low side, with Dynadot offering both special deals on some extensions and good value at renewal. .com sites are $6.99 initially, $8.99 on renewal. If you’re after a .co.uk domain, that’ll set you back $6.95, with .org costing $7.99 initially, $10.99 on renewal, and .mobi domains are $3.99 initially, $13.99 on renewal.

That's just the start: Dynadot also piles on the free extras. A Website Builder allows you to build and host a simple one-page responsive website. There's free domain forwarding if you'd like to redirect visitors somewhere else. DNS support allows creating 50 subdomain records, 10 email addresses, and 5 each of MX and TXT records. There's even a Grace Deletion list which allows returning a domain if you change your mind.

This requires a small fee and won't always be allowed (the details on how it works are here), but it's still a welcome extra you'll rarely find with other registrars.

Dynadot's support wasn't always as impressive, with live chat being offline when we checked. But the website does have a publicly available forum, allowing anyone to browse common questions and see how happy (or otherwise) Dynadot's customers might be.


Founded in 2000, Namecheap is a popular domain name registrar and web host which now manages more than five million domains.

Namecheap's excellent website allows searching for individual domains, or in batches of up to 50.

If the domain is taken, you can view the Whois record or offer to buy the domain (via DomainAgents) from the current user.

If the domain is available, results are displayed across four tabs: Popular, New, Discounted and International. This is a neat approach which makes it easier to browse the list and find what you need.

Prices are generally very good at $8.88 (£6.8) for .com domains - $12.98 on renewal, $7.58(£5.8) for .co.uk - $9.58 on renewal, $9.98 (£10) for .org - $14.98 on renewal, and $16.88 (£13) for .mobi (at the moment, you can get .mobi for $2.88 for the first year). There are some special deals available, and Namecheap has an Agent 88 set of domains which are almost always available at $0.48 (£0.35) for the first year (these usually include the following: .site .website .space .pw .press .host .tech .online and .fun – but there may be others as well).

That would be good value all on its own, but Namecheap doesn’t stop there: you get  WhoisGuard domain privacy thrown in for free.

Namecheap's billing is straightforward and honest, with current and renewal prices clearly described in your Namecheap shopping cart, and Auto-Renew turned off. But if there's something you don't understand, helpful FAQ pages and live chat are just a click or two away.

Shopping around for a domain registrar can involve a lot of hassle as you research companies you've never heard of, try to separate genuine bargains from marketing tricks, and browse the small print looking for hidden catches. With potential savings only amounting to a few pounds or dollars a year, at best, you might prefer to simply sign up with a big-name provider that you know will give you a reasonable service, even if it does cost a fraction more.

Enter Google Domains, Google's lightweight domain registration arm, a straightforward provider that puts speed and simplicity at the top of its priority list.

Google Domains doesn't confuse you with endless sales, or 'special' deals that turn out to be not so special after all. Upselling is kept to a minimum. Instead, it's all about making the purchase process as easy as any other online shopping site: search, click, and check out.

The difference is obvious from the moment you reach the site. There are no animated ads at the top of the page, no 'Sale!' banners, no low headline prices: just a search box where you enter a single domain.

The results page is equally straightforward, with prices listed for nine common top-level domains, and an All Endings tab listing every option in alphabetical order (domain.academy, domain.bargains, domain.camera).

One potential problem is that Google Domains doesn't support all the domain extensions you'll get elsewhere, and this includes some quite common examples (.mobi, .tv). If you think you might ever want to buy something beyond the most popular extensions, it’s a good idea to check that your likely choices are available before you buy.

Prices are standardized to whole numbers, so for example .com, .co.uk and .org domains are all priced at $12. That's a little above average overall, but better than some, especially as Google Domains throws in free Whois privacy for as long as you're registered. That's a valuable extra which could cost $2.80 to $11.20 a year elsewhere.

If you do have any questions, a Help link displays articles on common problems. If that's not enough, the Contact Us page enables talking to a support agent by email, live chat or telephone (Google calls you), the highest level of domain registrar support we've seen anywhere.

Categories: Tech News

Redmi Note 8 e Note 8 Pro: Xiaomi conferma le caratteristiche a pochi giorni dalla presentazione

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 09:08

Redmi Note 8 e Note 8 Pro verranno presentati in Cina il 29 agosto con l'obiettivo di diventare i migliori modelli della serie economica di Xiaomi. Nel frattempo la stessa Xiaomi ha confermato le specifiche di entrambi.

La serie Redmi Note ha da anni un grande successo in tutto il mondo per le sue caratteristiche evolute e per l'ottimo rapporto qualità-prezzo. Negli ultimi anni poi anche design e fotocamera sono stati migliorati e ora con la serie 8 le aspettative sono alte.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro

Il Redmi Note 8 Pro è sicuramente il più potente grazie anche al nuovo chipset MediaTek Helio G90T nato per chi ama giocare con i suoi dispositivi. La batteria arriva a 4,500 mAh, una delle più grandi in assoluto e ci sarà il supporto per la ricarica a 18W via USB Type-C.

25x zoom teaser

L'aggiornamento più interessante riguarda però le fotocamere, il Note 8 Pro sarà il primo dispositivo a montare una fotocamera con sensore da 64MP, il nuovo Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1. Si tratta in realtà di quattro fotocamere, oltre a quella principale ci sarà quella tele, la grandangolare e il quarto sensore per la profondità. Xiaomi ha condiviso immagini che mostrano un tele 25x anche se si tratta di sicuro di una soluzione ibrida. 

Il design del Redmi Note 8 Pro dovrebbe essere simile a quello dei Redmi K20 con il retro in vetro curvo brillante. I render usciti finora mostrano come colori il verde e il bianco, ma ce ne potrebbero essere altri. Il rilevatore delle impronte è sul retro e questo indica che non verrà usata la soluzione sotto lo schermo presente in altri modelli top. Lo schermo dovrebbe comunque essere un Full HD+ con un notch a goccia.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

Il Redmi Note 8 è il modello più economico della serie e dovrebbe avere  chipset, fotocamere e design differenti.

Redmi Note 8 monterà lo Snapdragon 665, lo stesso già visto sul Mi A3, che è un aggiornamento del 660.

Redmi Note 8 teaser

Anche qui ci saranno quattro fotocamere, ma la principale avrà un sensore da 48MP,   non è certo però che ci sarà il teleobiettivo.

La batteria dovrebbe essere da 4,000 mAh con il supporto per la ricarica veloce mentre lo schermo dovrebbe essere lo stesso.

Le altre differenze riguardano la struttura che dovrebbe essere simile a quella di A3 con un retro in vetro ricurvo. 

Redmi Note 8 e  Note 8 Pro saranno annunciati in Cina il 29 agosto insieme a una nuova Redmi TV e ad un portatile Redmi book.

Categories: Tech News

Fast charging tipped to be one of the key features of the Samsung Galaxy A90

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 08:10

What will Samsung bring to the phone market with the Galaxy A90 series? Fast charging and 5G, if we can believe a listing that has popped up on Samsung's Hungarian site.

The listing is actually for a fast 45W charger for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, but if you look close enough you'll see that it says 45W charging is supported on the Galaxy A91, and that 25W charging is supported on the Galaxy A90 5G.

Sounds like we can expect two new phones in the near future then. We'd already heard a few whispers about the upcoming A90 – like the lack of a pop-up, rotating camera – but this makes their existence (almost) official.

The phones are expected to act as follow-ups to the Samsung Galaxy A80, which did have a pop-up, rotating camera as one of its selling points. It seems as though the replacements might be a bit more... well... normal.

Charge of the fast brigade

Previous rumors have hinted at the possibility of the Galaxy A91 arriving with a quad-core rear-facing camera, and maybe even a 108MP resolution for one of the camera lenses.

Add in the suggestion that these phones are going to come toting the Snapdragon 855 processor, and it seems like these might be very well-specced phones indeed – not really the mid-rangers that Galaxy A series devices usually are.

With 25W and 45W fast charging now added to the equation, it seems you'll be able to juice these phones up very quickly too. The Note 10 Plus was the first Samsung phone to hit that 45W mark, but it won't be the last.

Considering the Galaxy A80 only launched in May, it might be a few months before the A90 and A91 models see the light of day – but now we know something about what to expect when they do.


Via XDA Developers

Categories: Tech News

Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro specifications confirmed by Xiaomi, days before the launch

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 07:15

 The Redmi Note 8 and the Note 8 Pro are going to be unveiled in China on August 29 as Xiaomi’s top budget smartphones. Redmi has revealed some more bits about these phones in the hype-building phase.

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series has been a  top-seller in multiple countries including India, thanks for its extreme value-for-money, great performance and reliable battery life. However, in the past few years, Redmi has upped its game by also improving the design and cameras massively. With the Redmi Note 8 series, things are shaping up to be even brighter.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro

 The Redmi Note 8 Pro is going to be the show stopper this time by bringing massive leaps in performance and photography. Powered by the gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T chipset, it should have no problems keeping up with user demands. It is likely to be the first device to be powered by this new chipset. 

Also seeing a big step up, the Redmi Note 8 Pro will ship with a 4,500 mAh battery, which is the biggest ever on a Redmi Note device. There will also be support for 18W fast charging over USB Type-C.

25x zoom teaser

 The most interesting upgrade comes in the form of the cameras, as the Note 8 Pro will be the first smartphone to sport a 64MP primary camera, implementing Samsung’s new ISOCELL Bright GW1 image sensor. This is going to be a quad-camera setup. While Xiaomi hasn’t mentioned how these cameras are going to be different from one another, we can expect a combination of a primary, an ultrawide, a telephoto along with a depth sensor. Xiaomi even shared teaser images that showed 25x zoom capabilities, which is likely to be a hybrid solution.

In terms of design, the Redmi Note 8 Pro will build upon the new style that we saw debut on the Redmi K20 series with a curved glass back with smokey edges that dances with the light. Official renders suggest a green and a white colour variant, but we could see more options too. The back also has a fingerprint scanner, indicating that there will not be an in-display solution. The display is expected to be a Full HD+ panel with a dot notch on the top.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8

 The stage will be shared by the Redmi Note 8 which will be a slightly more affordable smartphone. It will follow the same philosophy but will bring in a few changes in departments such as the design, processor and camera.

For starters, the Redmi Note 8 will be powered by the Snapdragon 665 chipset, which is the same one we saw on Mi A3, and is an upgrade over the Snapdragon 660.

Redmi Note 8 teaser

We will continue to get a quad-camera arrangement, but the primary camera will be a 48MP sensor instead of 64MP. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Redmi Note 8 does away with the telephoto lens in favour of a macro lens or something.

Other specifications are likely to be similar with a battery in the range of 4,000 mAh with support for fast charging. The display should also be the same. 

The other perceivable difference comes in the form of the design, as teased renders suggest a design similar to the Mi A3 with a curved glass back with cameras along the edge.

 The Redmi Note 8 and the Note 8 Pro will be announced in China on August 29, along with a new Redmi TV and a Redmi book laptop. Speculations suggest that these phones will launch in India in the coming months, right in time for Diwali.

Categories: Tech News

This isn’t the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Super GPU you’re looking for – move along…

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 06:09

A recent rumor hinted at the existence of a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Super, but it appears that Nvidia doesn’t have such a graphics card waiting in the wings, and in fact the GPU spotted is most likely a model made for its GeForce Now streaming service.

So, to rewind a little, earlier in August, details of a purported Super version of the RTX 2080 Ti were unearthed via the AIDA64 benchmarking tool, specifically information relating to an ‘Nvidia GeForce RTX T10-8’ graphics card.

However, keen-eyed GeForce Now beta testers have spotted the RTX T10-8 pop up as the GPU being used when streaming games on Nvidia’s US West 2 server (as noted on Nvidia’s GeForce forums, and also on Reddit here and here).

You may further recall that GeForce Now was recently upgraded to support ray tracing graphics – initially for servers in Germany and California – and it would appear that this RTX T10-8 graphics solution is an amped up Tesla product which is driving these new capabilities (which makes sense given that this appeared on US West servers).

So the theory is that the RTX T10-8 is therefore a GPU produced for Nvidia’s streaming solution, rather than a potential GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Super.

Of course, this is only speculation – as was the existence of the RTX 2080 Ti Super in the first place. And even if this is a GeForce Now-only GPU, that doesn’t mean Nvidia will never release a Super version of the RTX 2080 Ti.

Although it doesn’t seem like Nvidia really needs to improve on the RTX 2080 Ti right now, anyway, given that AMD’s high-end Navi graphics cards aren’t due any time soon (the latest rumor points to a mid-2020 launch). And also, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s not much room to maneuver between the existing RTX 2080 Ti and the Titan RTX to fit another product in, anyway.

Tracing trouble?

Another interesting point here is that you will no longer find these RTX T10-8 GPUs running on GeForce Now servers anywhere – seemingly they weren’t performing well, and were indeed inferior to current Tesla P40 GPUs, with considerably poorer frame-rates being reportedly witnessed. There were evidently teething problems, and fairly serious ones at that.

As PC GamesN observes, this could be down to the fact that the new RTX-toting GeForce Now servers are still running on an operating system (Windows Server 2012) that doesn’t support DX12, which is required for ray tracing.

So there’s certainly something of a confusing picture here, although any fresh technology can of course expect challenges upon introduction. Furthermore, perhaps there were a lot of gamers leaping on to GeForce Now in these particular areas following the announcement of the introduction of RTX graphics – and the resultant strain on the servers would hardly help matters.

Categories: Tech News

The best bank holiday sales and deals at Amazon, John Lewis, Currys, Boohoo, Argos and more

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 06:04

It's the final day of the August bank holiday sales and we've just updated our selection of the best deals you can get today. So if you want a super cheap Fitbit, a new pair of headphones, a waterproof ereader or maybe you're going to finally get a better broadband deal or a new smartphone there's lot to choose from today.

So sit back and check out our picks which include TVs, laptops, consoles, fashion brands, furniture and smart home gadgets too. Digging out discounts is what we do, not just every bank holiday or Black Friday, but every day of the week, so you know we'll steer you to the best ones.

To stay tuned on all our regular deal updates, bookmark our deals page or follow us over on Twitter.

Bank holiday sales: quick links
  • Amazon: currently running an end-of-summer sale.
  • John Lewis: save up to 50% on multiple categories.
  • Dell: fantastic discounts on a range of laptops and PCs
  • AO: going big on cheap TVs, laptops, household appliance and electricals.
  • Argos: Big Red Sale on home, garden and tech this weekend.
  • Currys: Summer mega offers and help to 'beat the heat'.
  • Sky TV: Great discounts on SKy Sports and Cinema TV bundles.
  • ebuyer: big discounts on laptops for heading back to school.
  • B&Q: Get that outdoor project sorted while the nice weather's back!
  • boohoo: Save up 80% off everything!
  • Very: Bank holiday deals on home, tech, outdoors, fashion and more.

If you're after something specific that's not included above, you'll probably find it in one of our other regular updated deals hubs. We've got a massive list of super cheap TV deals, or maybe it's time for a new cheap laptop? If gaming's your thing and you're looking for a new console we've got you covered for a cheap PS4, or maybe Xbox One deals, or maybe you're after a Nintendo Switch bundle? We've seen some fantastic mobile phone deals too. Bank holidays are also usually a great time to get a cheaper Sky TV deal.

Categories: Tech News

MacBook Pro 2019 vs Asus ZenBook Pro Duo – which is the best pro laptop?

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 06:00

In many ways, the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are very similar devices. They are both packed with cutting-edge components that make them ideal laptops of creative professionals, which also means they’re both pretty expensive as well.

They also both have stunning main screens that make photos and videos look fantastic, and they each feature secondary screens that sit above the keyboards.

Those secondary screens are both noteworthy features that need to prove they are more than just gimmicks. And, with the high asking price of both laptops, it’s important to know which one to get.

So, read on to find out whether the MacBook Pro 2019 or the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the best professional laptop for you.

The latest MacBook Pro design.

Price and specs

The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2019 costs $2,399 (£2,399, AU$3,499) for the entry-level model with a 2.6GHz 6-core 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Radeon Pro 555X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage.

There’s also a model with a 2.3GHz 8-core 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor, Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 16GB DDR4 memory and 512GB SSD storage for $2,799 (£2,799, AU$4,099).

These are high prices, as to be expected from a high-end Apple laptop, but the price of the 2019 model is actually pretty good value when you consider that, in the US and Australia, the price remains the same as the 2018 model – essentially getting you an upgrade for no extra money if you waited a year.

You can also configure the MacBook Pro 2019 and add more powerful components. A fully maxed out version with an 8th generation Intel Core i9 processor with 8 cores and a 2.4GHz clock speed (5.0Ghz boost), 32GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory and 4TB of SSD storage costs $5,149 (£4,914, AU$7,859).

Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo comes in fewer configurations. One model comes with a 6-core Intel Core i7-9750H processor, and the price is $2,699 (£2,499, around AU$4,000).

There’s also a version with an 8-core Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, and that sells for $3,299 (£2,999, around AU$4,900). Both models come with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, a 15.6-inch OLED 4K touchscreen, a choice of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB of RAM (your choice here will raise the price of the laptop) and up to 1TB SSD storage.

The ZenBook Pro Duo has a much larger secondary display.

So, if you want more control over the specifications of your laptop, the MacBook Pro offers more choice – though it can be a bit bewildering if you’re not sure what components you need.

Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo offers less choice – just the two CPUs and amount of RAM, which means it’s harder to get a configuration that perfectly fits your needs, but it’s also simpler as well if you’re not interesting in fiddling about with specifications.

Price and performance-wise, the MacBook Pro 2019 and Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are pretty evenly matched, though the highest-end model MacBook Pro is a lot more powerful (and more expensive) than the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s top model.

The AMD Radeon Pro 555X (and Radeon Pro Vega 20 if you upgrade) of the MacBook Pro 2019 is also a graphics card more suited to professional use, compared to the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s RTX 2060, which is a decent graphics card, but its primarily a consumer GPU for gaming. That does mean the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo can also double as a gaming laptop, something the MacBook Pro 2019 cannot do as well.

The 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Design

It’s in the design stakes that the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo really start to diverge.

The MacBook Pro 2019’s design is quite conservative, and is identical to the previous model of MacBook Pro.

So, the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2019’s dimensions are 13.7 x 9.48 x 0.61-inches (34.92 x 24.07 x 1.55 cm), and it weighs 4.02 pounds (1.83kg) – which, again, is exactly the same as last year’s model.

That means the MacBook Pro 2019 remains an impressively thin and light pro laptop. However, once again ports are very limited – you get just four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports (two on each side of the laptop) as well as an audio jack port – a rarity on an Apple device these days.

Anyone who relies on older peripherals like mice, keyboards or external hard drives will need to purchase an adapter. This can look messy, and it’s an additional cost – as Apple doesn’t include an adapter.

Creative professionals in particular may be disappointed by the limited port selection of the MacBook Pro 2019 – is it a price worth paying for the slim design?

Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s design is far more revolutionary compared to previous ZenBooks – but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Because of the inclusion of the second screen (which we’ll get to in a moment), the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a particularly thick and heavy laptop. With dimensions of 0.94 x 14.13 x 9.68-inches (2.4 x 35.9 x 24.6cm) and a weight of 2.5kg (5.51 pounds), this is a bulky device that especially compared to the MacBook Pro feels rather outdated and cumbersome.

The Pro Duo is a thick, stocky laptop.

Port-wise, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is better than the MacBook Pro, but not by much. You get a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, audio jack and USB 3.1 port on the right-hand side of the laptop, and a power port, full-size HDMI and another USB 3.1 port.

Which means if you want to plug in an Ethernet cable or microSD card, you’re going to need an adapter, like the MacBook Pro.

However, while the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo has the slight edge over the MacBook Pro when it comes to ports, overall the design of the MacBook Pro is leagues ahead of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo.

Apple’s device is thinner, lighter and much more stylish in general. If you’re looking for a laptop to carry around with you, then there’s no competition – the MacBook Pro is the one to get.

Main display

Both laptops have similar screens, and they are both excellent. The MacBook Pro (2019) has a 15.4-inch screen with 2,880 x 1,800 Retina resolution. It uses a backlit LED IPS panel, and is capable of 500 nits brightness.

It’s also supports wide color P3 gamut – essential for video editors or anyone who needs their screen to be able to show colors accurately.

While the MacBook Pro (2019)’s screen is gorgeous, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo blows it away with a 15.6-inch, OLED Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) screen. The higher resolution, combined with the superior OLED technology means the screen of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is absolutely stunning – if you’re working with 4K footage, then this is the laptop to get.

It also offers 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, as does the MacBook Pro (2019), which is an important consideration for video editors.

The Touch Bar of the MacBook Pro.

Second screens

Now here’s where things get really interesting. Both the MacBook Pro (2019) and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo feature second screens above the keyboard, but both laptops approach this in very different ways.

The second screen of the MacBook Pro, known as the Touch Bar, is a lot more simple – and some would say limited – as it is a thin glass touchscreen that stretches along the top of the keyboard, displaying context-sensitive buttons on its 2,170 x 60 resolution screen.

These buttons change according to the application or task that you’re performing, and are designed to give you quick shortcuts for a more seamless workflow. Since the Touch Bar launched in 2016, an increasing number of applications support it.

The Touch Bar can be genuinely helpful in some respects, offering quick access to tools and shortcuts depending on what app you’re running. However, even if you don’t use it that much, it’s thin design means it will sit unobtrusively at the top of the keyboard, and it doesn’t feel like the design of the MacBook Pro has been drastically affected to accommodate the Touch Bar.

The Screenpad Plus of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo.

On the other hand, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s second screen, known as the Screenpad Plus, is a far more ambitious feature. Stretching along the top of the keyboard, and with a resolution of 3,840 x 1,100, the Screenpad Plus is effectively used as a second screen by Windows. This means you can have whole apps and windows open on the lower screen, freeing up the main screen for yet more apps and windows – a great tool if you’re into multitasking.

Asus also provides software for the Screenpad Plus that lets you pin shortcuts and apps to the screen, and to use it in a similar way to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. However, third party app support is basically non-existent due to how new (and rare) the Screenpad Plus is.

The Screenpad Plus can also be used with the included Asus Pen stylus, essentially turning the Screenpad Plus into a drawing tablet – making it a tempting choice for digital artists.

So, the Screenpad Plus is a far more versatile screen than the Touch Pad. However, it has also had a bigger impact on the rest of the laptop. The main reason why the ZenBook Pro Duo is so heavy and bulky is because of the second screen. It also means the keyboard is brought forward, and the trackpad shifted to the side of that. Battery life is also impacted – with the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s battery lasting five hours and 11 minutes in our battery benchmark test. In the PC Mark 8 benchmark, which aims to replicate moderate PC use including word processing and video calling, the battery lasted just two hours and 36 minutes.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro’s battery is hardly affected by the inclusion of the Touch Bar, and lasted seven hours and 36 minutes in our tests.

If you’re going to use the Screenpad Plus a lot, this won’t be too bad. However, if not, then it’s a lot harder to ignore – and even more difficult to justify paying extra for the second screen.

The MacBook Pro lasts a whole lot longer on a charge.

MacBook Pro 2019 vs Asus ZenBook Pro Duo: which should you buy?

Both the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are very powerful laptops that are aimed at creative professionals.

If you want the one with the best screen – and arguably one of the best screens on a laptop period – then the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the one to get. Its 15.6-inch 4K OLED screen looks absolutely phenomenal, and while the MacBook Pro’s Retina screen is very good, it just can’t compare on pure pixel density.

However, that’s the only thing the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo beats the MacBook Pro at – unless you’re going to be using the Screenpad Plus a lot. The additional 4K screen on Asus’ laptop is a remarkable feat, and definitely has some interesting uses, but it also makes the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo thicker, heavier, more expensive and much shorter lasting than the MacBook Pro on battery.

The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar might not be quite as impressive, but it has some useful features, better third party support and crucially doesn’t mean Apple had to make major compromises to the MacBook Pro’s design.

The MacBook Pro beats the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo when it comes to performance, design and battery life. If you’re after a powerful pro laptop that’s easy to carry around and can handle modern creative tasks with ease, then the MacBook Pro is the clear winner here.

Categories: Tech News

Please don't put weapons or fireworks on your drones, FAA warns

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 05:42

When you invest in a drone to take some stunning video footage from the skies, you agree to abide by certain rules – and that includes not adding weapons or fireworks to your autonomous flying machine, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has warned.

The US agency has issued an update on the matter, seemingly prompted by the sharing of videos by people who've had their drones tricked out with all manner of dangerous equipment. A maximum fine of $25,000 is possible for those who break the rules.

"Perhaps you’ve seen online photos and videos of drones with attached guns, bombs, fireworks, flamethrowers, and other dangerous items," explains the FAA.

"Do not consider attaching any items such as these to a drone because operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account."

Keep on droning

The term "dangerous weapon" covers a lot of ground and extends to the use of fireworks as well as firearms, and more elaborate weapons like flamethrowers. Don't do it – it's not worth the YouTube hits.

Of course there's also the high chance of actually injuring someone with a weaponized drone, which then means you're in all sorts of other trouble with the law.

You can see the FAA's full list of drone-related rules and regulations here (the UK rules are here and the Australian rules are here). You need to keep your drone under 400 feet (about 122 meters) when flying it, keep your drone in your sight, and of course keep it away from airports.

You also need to abide by the rules of wherever you're flying your drone too – the small aircraft are banned in a lot of parks and public spaces, for example.

Via SlashGear

Categories: Tech News

Now TV Sky Sports pass £140 discount ends today - you won't find better all season

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 05:30

This is it, folks. This super cheap Now TV Sky Sports pass deal will be all over at midnight tonight. So there's still just about time to get signed up and enjoy ten months of access to all 11 Sky Sports channels at a super low price.

This special ten-month pass would usually set you back a total of £339.99 at £33.99 a month, but today you can save over 40% and get it for a stunningly cheap £199. instead, but this offer will expire at 23:59 tonight and we don't see a better offer coming for the rest of the season to be honest.

This Now TV Sky Sports pass will cover you for the 2019/2020 Premier League season, The Championship and the Carabao Cup. It's not just about the footy though, there's a serious amount of other sport to enjoy with this Now TV pass too. You can start streaming The Ashes cricket series and a bunch of F1 Grand Prix are coming over the next few months too. 

Actually, while the promotional page over at Now TV is mainly shouting about the footy aspect of this 10-month pass, you actually get all 11 Sky Sports channels. This includes Premier League, Football, F1, Racing, Cricket, Golf, Sky Sports News, Mix, Action, Arena and Main Event.

Now TV deals are a great way to access Sky's excellent content without signing up to a long contract. You can pick and choose access to packages like Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Kids and of course Sky Sports channels on a rolling 30-day deal. We've gone into greater detail on all of these options in our regular Now TV passes and offers page.

We know plenty of people that use the Now TV service as a beta test to see what's available on Sky's channels before signing up to a regular Sky TV deal with options for even more channels, recording live TV, HD and 4K viewing and potentially bigger savings with a longer contract. If you'd like to check out these options, be sure to take a look at our guide below:

Categories: Tech News

MySafe aims to cash in on growing demand for safe-deposit lockers

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 04:40

Many banks have chosen to stop providing a secure vault with safe-deposit boxes globally as it has become difficult and expensive to maintain the service.

As banks are closing branches and doing more of their business online, there are now fewer locations where these facilities are offered and mostly to most favoured customers.

Apart from this, banks see the provision of safe deposit boxes as a loss leader and it does not provide insurance cover to consumers for holding safe-deposit boxes.

Safe-deposit boxes are necessary for consumers to place their valuables such as gold or jewellery or important documents such as property deeds or birth certificates.

For keeping it at home, you need to make your arrangements to protect it from being stolen or destroyed in a fire. What happens when a thief steals your documents or gold when you are not at home?

So, keeping a safe-deposit box at home is not viable for security reasons. We have heard of burglary stories many times despite living in a safe environment. With skill and practice, almost any safe deposit lock combination can be decoded and opened.

Banks are not the safest place for lockers

Bank lockers are not the safest place for your valuables as they have no liability or responsibility for any loss of valuables in lockers and the global banking law does not support it, which means that you should not expect any compensation for theft or burglary of valuables in safe deposit boxes of banks.

For holding a safe-deposit box facility, you need to have a bank account and a fixed deposit apart from the locker fees per annum.

Despite this, many consumers are in the waiting list and a consumer can access his safe deposit only during banking hours.

So, there is a growing demand for safe deposit lockers in the UAE and globally and Dubai-based MySafe is aiming to cash in on the growing demand.

In a chat with TechRadar Middle East, Terry Downes, CEO and co-founder of MySafe, estimates that more than 8,000 eligible banking customers need to wait for many years to secure a safe-deposit box in the UAE.

To get a locker facility in the UAE, he said that a customer needs to have a residence visa to open a bank account and so it is very difficult for regular visiting people to open a bank account and their valuable assets are at risk. They have to either keep it in the hotel vaults, which are not insured or carry with them wherever they go.

Any time access

Downes, who hails from Ireland, said he had the first-hand experience after every bank exited the business three years after the financial crash in his home country and that lead led to a crime epidemic as there were no alternatives.

Explaining further, he said that he aims to transform safe deposit lockers similar to what ATM did to cash withdrawal.

ATMs were available only at banks before and transactions can be done only during working hours.

That concept has changed, he said, and added that every shopping mall now has different ATMs and can be accessed at any point of time.

Unlike traditional vaults where management retains one set of key and a customer keeps the second key, Downes said MySafe is a personal service and you alone control access to your safe deposit box.

MySafe booking process takes less than 10 minutes to complete and only needs a copy of the passport, a valid visa and ID.

“Customers can access the automated safe deposit service at any time and without talking to anyone. Our safe deposit lockers are secured using the latest security and robotic technology,” he said.

Service insured by Llyods

Moreover, Downes said that it is also monitored by Dubai Police and Dubai Police Response services 24/7.

MySafe claims to be the world’s first secure, insured and automated safe deposit service.

Additional security features include card access control, fingerprint scanners and PINs.

Downes said that every box at MySafe is automatically insured by Llyods for AED80,000 and clients can purchase additional insurance for up to AED1,000,000.

He opened the first facility at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) in 2017 and then at the lobby of Kempinski Hotel & Residences in Palm Jumeriah six weeks ago.

MySafe charges AED1,000 for three months and AED3,000 for one year, inclusive of insurance, for one box. Two people can be registered in one box.

 “Our game is to create an interest in the market and not to create the largest safety deposit box in the UAE so that we develop this network ourselves and in partnership with the industry or different partners in different segments,” he said.

Categories: Tech News

New Apple Music and YouTube Music playlists aim to keep you listening for longer

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 04:15

As music streaming services battle it out for more market share, one of the key weapons in the fight are recommended playlists – those auto-generated lists of tracks that save you the trouble of picking your own songs, and introduce you to new artists.

In order to better compete with Spotify, both YouTube Music and Apple Music have just rejigged the playlists that they offer users, so if you'd previously found their offerings rather stale, now might be the time to take another look.

First up is YouTube Music, with a new playlist called Released, that seems to directly match Spotify's New Music Friday playlist. As its name suggests, it features newly released songs – 50 of them in fact.

YouTube Music describes the playlist as "the hottest 50 songs this week, served up fresh to you every Friday", and it's separate from the New Release Mix that YouTube Music also offers (which is more geared towards your previous listening history).

Play it again

Not to be left out, Apple Music has rolled out a New Music Daily playlist that – you guessed it – serves up new tunes every single day, so you can start every morning with a selected pick of what's new on the music scene.

Apple Music describes the playlist as "the latest must-hear songs" and the first one we got access to was 62 songs long. It replaces the Best of the Week playlist (though obviously will get refreshed more often).

With new material out from Taylor Swift on both streaming services this week, it's a good time to introduce a playlist featuring new tracks, which is probably something both YouTube Music and Apple Music took into consideration.

Bear in mind that as with any automatically refreshed playlist, you'll need to save the songs out to your own library if you want to remember what they are, as they'll be replaced every day or every week.

Via 9to5Google / Digital Trends

Categories: Tech News

Best Nintendo Wii games: from Super Mario to Metroid, Zelda and beyond

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 04:00

Nintendo's all-time top-selling home console was a massive success, to say the least, but also enormously divisive. By focusing on accessibility and affordability, the Wii reached millions of players who might not have otherwise bought a pricier, more powerful console. That's great!

However, the focus on motion controls and weaker graphics put off some longtime Nintendo fans who felt like they were being ignored or edged out. That's not so great. Needless to say, the Wii couldn't be everything to everyone at all times—but when all was said and done, the console still delivered incredible games for all types of players, including many that are still worth looping back on today.

Looking to fill holes in your classic collection? Here's a look at our favorite Nintendo Wii games of all time, including an array of familiar Nintendo icons—and a couple of surprises along the way.

Super Mario Galaxy

One of the Super Mario series' greatest strengths over the years has been its consistent ability to reinvent itself, and Super Mario Galaxy is undoubtedly one of its best permutations. This planet-hopping 3D quest is bursting at the seams with creative concepts and inventive twists, delivering a pitch-perfect platformer that can stand the test of time. And sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2 goes above and beyond being just a simple follow-up, thanks to its own plethora of brilliant ideas.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Just as the Switch did with Breath of the Wild a decade later, the Wii came out swinging with a brilliant Legend of Zelda game on day one. Twilight Princess was notably darker than previous games, delivering an epic quest that embraced the Wii's motion controls while making other strides for the series. It also launched on GameCube soon after the Wii debut, but it's primarily known for being a seriously captivating quest on a console known for its casual favorites. 

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Although not as beloved by the Smash community as the GameCube's Melee before it, Super Smash Bros. Brawl brought massive enhancements to Nintendo's cross-franchise battler. Most important, of course, was the addition of online play, but Brawl is also known for being the first in the series to implement third-party characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake, setting the stage for many, many more guest brawlers in future entries. 

Wii Sports

There were a lot of Wii games like Wii Sports, but none of them felt as effortlessly enjoyable as Nintendo's original pack-in. While simplistic, the motion-controlled versions of sports like tennis and bowling showed the brilliance of the Wii's focus on accessibility, and it's a game that you can keep coming back to—with any mix of friends and family in tow. Special shout-out to sequel Wii Sports Resort, which had a few super-fun Wii MotionPlus-enhanced games within but wasn't nearly as impactful overall.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Metroid Prime was originally built for a dual-analog gamepad, but Metroid Prime 3: Corruption showed how surprisingly adept the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo could be for a first-person shooter. Metroid Prime 3 marks a high point for the sci-fi adventure sub-series, delivering larger and more immersive environments and some of the best visuals you'll find on the Wii. And the later Metroid Prime Trilogy is even better, packing in updated versions of the GameCube originals with the same kind of added motion controls.

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Looking for a serious challenge? You won't find it in Kirby's Epic Yarn, but don't dismiss this gorgeous platformer because of that. What Epic Yarn lacks in difficulty it more than makes up for with immense charm, as the pink puff is reimagined in an absorbing world made of yarn and fabric. It's a whimsical affair that's sure to put a smile on your face, which is likely to stay put thanks to the creative levels and incredible heart packed within.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Wii houses not just one, but two brilliant Zelda adventures. The second is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a game that is built around Wii MotionPlus gesture controls and features a much brighter aesthetic than Twilight Princess before it. With a look inspired by impressionist painters, this dreamy-looking quest sticks to Zelda conventions in some ways while completely sidestepping them in others. The end result is thoroughly captivating.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii enters unexplored and unexpected terrain for the long-running series with the addition of four-player multiplayer support. The end result is raucous and hilarious, as the side-scrolling levels serve up both cooperation and competition as your heroes leap and bop en route to the finish. It's not as mind-blowingly inventive as Super Mario Galaxy, but this retro-redefined romp is still a blast whether playing solo or with pals.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Decidedly lesser-known than Marvel vs. Capcom and that lineage of cross-franchise fighters, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is an overlooked gem of a Wii exclusive. Pairing an odd mixture of Capcom characters—from Chun-Li and Mega Man Volnutt to Frank West and Viewtiful Joe—with various anime heroes from Tatsunoko Production series like Gatchaman and Yatterman, this explosive fighter is by far the best available on the Wii.

World of Goo

World of Goo is the only WiiWare game to make the cut and also the only indie game on this mostly Nintendo-dominated list—but it's just that good. This wonderfully offbeat puzzler makes perfect use of the Wii Remote's pointer, letting you drop in gooey, sticky ball-like creatures that can connect to devise makeshift structures. You'll have to build a bunch of them to get your way out of each level, and while the increasingly brainy challenges are a treat unto themselves, the charming look and music add so much to the overall experience.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

It's right there in the title: this is the proper, rightfully-celebrated comeback of Rare's Donkey Kong Country series from the SNES, only now in the careful hands of Metroid Prime maker Retro Studios. The end result tickles the nostalgia bone, no doubt, but doesn't feel like an old game lazily returned for the sake of it. Retro's take keeps what worked about the classics while adding new elements and giving it a seriously challenging edge. Long live Kong.

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii isn't the most inventive entry in the beloved racing series, but with accessible motion controls opening up the fun to an even wider array of players, it's yet another winner. The Wii Wheel shell for the Wii Remote was a fun touch, especially for kids, while online play was a blast and the addition of motorbikes added a neat twist to the familiar formula. If you have a Wii and plan to play with pals, then you have to have Mario Kart Wii alongside.

Xenoblade Chronicles

Wii owners lucked out with a pair of Zelda originals, but those aren't the only role-playing epics worth remembering on the console. Nintendo's own Xenoblade Chronicles continued on the spiritual legacy of games like Xenogears and Xenosaga, this time delivering a vast open world to explore along with compelling characters and satisfying combat. It kicked off a series that has since continued on Wii U and Switch.

Categories: Tech News

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 specifications, launch date, price and rumors

Latest Tech News - Mon, 08/26/2019 - 02:59

Xiaomi is gearing up to introduce the Redmi Note 8 series on August 29 at an event in China. The new lineup will follow the company's Redmi Note 7 series which was launched early this year on February 28 in India. Redmi followed it with the Note 7S which was announced on May 20. And now, Xiaomi is all set to unveil the next generation of its much popular Note series.

Xiaomi has also managed to ship over 20 million units of the Redmi Note 7 series globally which is a feat in itself. We found the Redmi Note 7 Pro to be Xiaomi's most refreshing upgrade to the lineup in a long time, as we noted in our review. The Note 7 series set a benchmark in the smartphone markets around the world and it's up to Xiaomi now to one up themselves.

The mobile phone turf has seen a lot of developments in the past quarter or so with consumers eyeing features like pop-up camera, in-display fingerprint sensor and multiple cameras under various budget segments.

Having said that, Redmi Note series is a pretty important lineup for the Chinese electronics maker which is why it is doubling down on making the phones feature rich.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 series  
  • When is it out? August 29, 2019 
  • What will it cost? sub-Rs 10,000 for Redmi Note 8 (expected)

Xiaomi is going to announce the Redmi Note 8 alongside the Redmi Note 8 Pro in China on August 29. Either of the two phones are expected to come fitted with a 64MP camera.

Xiaomi had recently revealed that it was developing a phone with Samsung's Bright GW1 64MP camera sensor and that it would be launched soon.

Now its confirmed that the phone in question is none other than the Redmi Note 8 Pro which will have a 64MP quad camera setup on the rear. Xiaomi has also teased that the 64MP camera will offer upto 25x zoom.

The Redmi Note 8 will also sport a quad camera setup, but with a 48MP primary camera.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 release date

Xiaomi has confirmed via Chinese social networking site Weibo that it is going to unveil the next generation of Redmi Note series on August 29. Previously, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun had hinted that the two phones in the series will be making an appearance during the August 29 event where the company will also take wraps off of its much awaited Redmi TV.

The event will be held in China and we can expect Xiaomi to announce atleast three new products-- Redmi Note 8, Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi TV.

Redmi Note 8 price

Xiaomi's Redmi Note series has almost always offered a great value for money smartphone with more premium features and design upgrades as seen on the Redmi Note 7 series. Considering that the Redmi Note 7 and its Pro version were priced starting at Rs 9,999 ($140) and Rs 13,999 ($195) respectively, we expect the Redmi Note 8 series to maintain the price of base variant for its regular Note 8.

As for the Redmi Note 8 Pro, we expect one of the storage variants to be priced at under Rs 15,000 ($210) when it arrives in India at a later date.

Redmi Note 8 Pro specifications

While Xiaomi hasn't spilled many beans on the upcoming Redmi Note 8 series, we know that the Pro version in the lineup will definitely have a 64MP camera in addition to three more sensors. So, its a 64MP quad camera setup we are looking at for the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

From the invite that appeared on Weibo, we can see three cameras along with a fingerprint sensor housed in a single vertical module. A camera sensor and flash are positioned just adjacent to the main camera module.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro will be powered by the Mediatek G90T chipset while the Redmi Note 8 will use the Snapdragon 665. 

Some rumours have also indicated that the Redmi Note 8 will support 18W fast charging, but apart from that, there isn't a solid information available on the specifications of the Redmi Note 8 series just yet.

Having said that, we expect the rumour mill to deliver some key details on the upcoming phones as we near the launch date.

Redmi Note 8 design

Redmi Note 8 Pro

Less than a week before the launch, Xiaomi took to Weibo to share official renders of both the devices. As expected, the Redmi Note 8 Pro looks very similar to the Redmi K20 but with an additional camera and a fingerprint scanner on the back. We also get a new green colour that wasn't available on the Redmi K20.

Soon after, Xiaomi also teased the Redmi Note 8 by sharing a render that gives us a glimpse of the back panel. We can expect a similar quad-camera setup, but with a 48MP primary camera. The same post also mentioned that the phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 665.

Camera samples

Continuing its trend of building hype around the launch of the Redmi Note 8 series, the General Manager of the brand shared a couple of camera samples shot on these devices, highlighting the low-light photography. These are likely to be shot using the Night mode.

Categories: Tech News

Pages