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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Should You Upgrade?

As expected, Apple announced the newest iPhone model iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch 2 on September 7, 2016. A merely 12 months ago, iPhone 6S was out of the production line. Since the existence of iPhone 7, many iPhone 6S owners might have been wondering whether or not to upgrade iPhone 6S to iPhone 7. Therefore a comparison between iPhone 7 and iPhone 6S is made here in order to help you make a good decision.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Design

iPhone 7 has the similar design of both iPhone 6S and iPhone 6. The metal-clad slab with curved sides and a flat back remains, but Apple has altered the antenna lines slightly to make them less obvious. They now snake around the sides, rather than around the rear, to blend in much better.
The camera hump looks a little different too, but it continues to jut out. Some folk find this an irritation, but we're not that bothered; if a camera bump means a better snapper, we're all for it.
The iconic Touch ID-toting home button is present, but it now offers a haptic response rather than actually depressing. It buzzes when your phone rings too, and apps can use it.

The biggest visual change, however, is the number of colours in which the iPhone 7 will be available. The iPhone 6S came in four hues – Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and Space Grey. With the iPhone 7, Apple ditches the Space Grey option in favour of two hues of black: Dark Black, along the lines of the iPhone 5; and a glossy Piano Black, à la iPhone 3GS.
Turn your attention to the bottom of the phone and you'll notice another significant change. Not only do the speaker holes appear on both sides of the Lightning connector, but the trusty 3.5mm headphone jack is now off in Apple's private graveyard of killed-off sockets along with FireWire and Ethernet.
The iPhone 7 is also the first phone from Apple to be water resistant, and IP67 certified. This is a big upgrade from the iPhone 6S. It's dust resistant, too.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Say Good-Bye to Headphone Jack

The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone to ditch the headphone port, thus you are unable to plug any old pair of headphones into the iPhone 7. To listen to music on the iPhone 7, Apple offers two solutions. Each iPhone 7 is bundled with a new pair of EarPods that plug directly into the Lightning port, and there's also a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter available that will enable you to continue using your preferred cans. There are also the new AirPods – completely wireless earphones that have a five-hour battery life and charge up in their own case.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Plenty more power, and no more 16GB

With the iPhone 7, Apple replaces the A9 CPU with the A10 Fusion – and the speed improvements appear impressive. It has two high-performance cores, which are 40% faster than before. It's 120 times faster than the original iPhone.
Two high-efficiency cores are there too, which are used when you're doing basic stuff like emailing. The new GPU is 50% faster than the A9, so games should be much improved.
Apple makes no specific mention of RAM in reference to its phones, but the rumours suggest that the iPhone 7 will stick to 2GB, while the iPhone 7 Plus bumps this to 3GB.
There have been some internal storage improvements too; we can finally wave goodbye to 16GB units. Storage will now begin at 32GB and jumps to 128GB and 256GB. The iPhone 6S is available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB flavours.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Mostly Same Display and Battery

The iPhone 7 retains the 4.7-inch Retina Display of its predecessor, but it now displays a wider colour gamut, just like the iPad Pro. The resolution, too, appears to remain the same at 1,334 x 750, but Apple didn't divulge all the inner details. It's 25% brighter, with end-to-end colour management.
Of course, you still benefit from the 3D Touch tech that Apple introduced with the iPhone 6S; this lets you apply different levels of pressure on the screen to access further functionality. This feature is improved heavily in iOS 10 – but this will be available for the iPhone 6S too.
Apple claims the iPhone 7 has much improved battery life, but we'll have to to test it out ourselves to know for sure. During the announcement it was shown you'll get 2 extra hours over the iPhone 6S.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Camera Bump

More than any other area of the phone, Apple loves to talk up the optics. Since the iPhone 4, the company has been on or near the top of the camera game, but that has dropped somewhat thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.
The biggest camera alterations this year come to the iPhone 7 Plus model. Its dual-lens arrangement is a first for the iPhone, but the exclusivity to the Plus will no doubt irk many folk.
There are some notable improvements with the iPhone 7 camera, but many of the specs remain the same. It's still a 12-megapixel camera, capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps. Apple has finally added optical image stabilisation, a feature formerly exclusive to the Plus, and this should help steady shots and video, and further improve low-light performance.
The aperture has been widened to f/1.8, while it's 60% brighter. Low-light shots should be massively improved.
The front-facing camera has been bumped up too, to 7MP. It was just 5MP before.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – iOS 10 adds some nice updates

iOS 10 will not only be available for the iPhone 7 but for the older 6S too. So even if you decide against a hardware upgrade, you"ll still have some new features to play with this year.
iOS 10 adds in deeper 3D Touch functionality, a redesigned lockscreen, and a clever new Home app for controlling HomeKit-enabled smart home tech.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Price

Here's the pricing for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the UK and US:
  • iPhone 7 | 32GB | £599 / $649
  • iPhone 7 | 128GB | £699 / $749
  • iPhone 7 | 256GB | £799 / $849
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 32GB | £719 / $769
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 128GB | £819 / $869
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 256GB | £919 / $969

Friday, September 9, 2016

PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) vs. Xbox One S: Which One Is Better?

On September 7, 2016, Sony unveiled the slimmer version of PlayStaion 4 and another game console PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) while Microsoft's Xbox One S has been available since August. For many game console users, in order to decide which one is better, a comparison between PS4 Pro and Xbox One S is needed.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Performance

The performance difference between the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One S is pretty huge, and this directly affects what the two are capable of.
The Xbox One S is essentially the same machine as the Xbox One in terms of internal specifications. There are very minor performance differences in very specific circumstances, but for all intents and purposes it's the same machine. This makes life easier for developers.
The PS4 Pro, meanwhile, has had some significant performance boosts and what looks like entirely new hardware – it's twice as powerful as the PS4 at certain tasks. There's better processing performance and what sounds like an entirely new graphics chip from AMD, using the firm's Polaris architecture that made the Radeon RX 480 PC graphics card such an amazing piece of kit.
In terms of raw power, the PS4 Pro's graphics chip is rated at 4 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second), where the Xbox One is at around 1.4TFLOPS.
As a result, the PS4 Pro is able to deliver higher-resolution content, which we'll get to in our next section.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Resolution and HDR gaming

Both the Xbox One S and the PS4 Pro support HDR.
The difference between the two here is that the PS4 is able to output games at a higher resolution than Full HD. Unfortunately, Sony hasn't said exactly what that resolution is, but on the company's follow-up stream after its "PlayStation Meeting" event, several game developers spoke of "close to 4K resolution".
It looks like whatever the elevated resolution is will then be upscaled to 4K. If you're playing in Full HD, you'll end up with smoother anti-aliasing, meaning the divisions between objects on screen will be much smoother than on the regular PS4.
The Xbox One S only upscales games to 4K with no visual fidelity enhancements aside from HDR, as mentioned above.

PS4 Pro – No 4K Blu-ray

Features-wise, the two are very similar, but there's one key differentiator that gives the Xbox One S a massive boost, and that's its Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Incredibly, despite owning the UHD Blu-ray standard, Sony has chosen not to include the technology in its new flagship console.
This is quite a stunning omission and points towards two things: a future console that actually includes a 4K Blu-ray player, and the fact that Sony is desperate to undercut Microsoft's competitively priced Xbox One S.
Either way, anybody who was hoping to watch the latest movies in Ultra HD in disc form will have to shell out upwards of £400 for a separate 4K Blu-ray player.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – HDR and 4K content

If you were never planning on buying 4K Blu-rays, you won't miss the Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 Pro support streaming 4K and HDR content from the likes of YouTube and Netflix, with more services on the way to both.
Of course, you'll need a 4K HDR TV to enjoy any of this stuff.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Games

Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S support all the games designed for the PS4 and Xbox One respectively. Some new PS4 games, including Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, will support PS4 Pro out of the box, while any that don't will still work just fine, but will just be upscaled to 4K without any extra graphical enhancements.
The same applies to the Xbox One S – some new games will get HDR support, but those that don't will still work.


PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Dimensions

The PS4 pro is significantly wider than the Xbox One S, measuring in at 295 x 327 x 55mm where the One S is 229 x 292 x 63.5mm. It's also longer, but ever so slightly thinner.

PS4 Pro vs XBox One S – Conclusion

The Xbox One S and PS4 Pro are two very different devices. Where Microsoft has focused on 4K video content, Sony has gone all-out to produce a more powerful console specifically for games.

Monday, August 15, 2016

10 Best Streaming Services on the Market Right Now

As more and more people have started streaming videos online as their primary way of watching TV shows and movies, maybe you've wondered if you should join the crowd. Lucky for you, many companies are trying to stake their claim on the streaming audience, even YouTube is getting in the TV streaming game, which means you have plenty of options to choose from.
If you are looking for the best streaming services currently available, check out our list below before making your subscription decision.

#1: Netfilix

For many people, Netflix is synonymous with streaming. Not only does this service offer a variety of critically acclaimed movies and television shows, it also produces award-winning content like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Its catalogue isn't complete, but you'll have more than enough content at your fingertips to keep you binge-watching for weeks.

#2: Hulu

 If Netflix is the default service for watching movies, Hulu is the default for watching television. New episodes of most major shows are available within a few days of airing. Its free subscription option lets you watch recent episodes, but customers who pay for Hulu Plus get access to many shows' complete catalogues. This service is not just for TV, however: its movie selection may not be as robust as others, but it does have access to the Criterion Collection.

#3: Amazon Prime Instant Video

Available as part of an Amazon Prime subscription or on its own, Amazon Prime Instant Video has a few original series under its belt — including the Emmy Award–winning Transparent — but the thing that really sets the service apart is its access to HBO classics. The company also offers a variety of add-on packages from partners like Starz and Showtime, which also allow you to use your Amazon Prime credentials to log in to their standalone apps.

#4: HBO Now

 If even Amazon Prime doesn't offer enough HBO content to keep you satisfied, don't worry as there are plenty of ways to watch HBO content. The company's newest service is HBO Now, which allows you to watch all of HBO's stellar original programming — Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones — without a traditional cable subscription. Their movie selection is narrower than other services, but monthly updates keep it fresh.

#5: Crackle

 Crackle is the streaming service for viewers on a tight budget — it's always 100% free. While admittedly not as impressive as most paid services, it has a solid library that is being constantly updating.There are plenty of choices including Crackle originals like Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The service won't cost you anything to try, and odds are Crackle will work with whatever device you're already using.

 #6: Sling TV

Most services focus on libraries of on-demand content. Sling TV, on the other hand, acts as a sort of cable replacement: its main emphasis is on allowing you to stream live television. A basic subscription lets you watch most major channels, including ESPN, AMC, Cartoon Network, and CNN. The service also offers special add-on packages for an additional monthly fee, including a sports package and "Best of Spanish TV" to personalize your subscription.

#7: PlayStation Vue

 Like Sling, PlayStationVue aims to replace cable subscription by offering live TV streaming. It might even be a viable alternative to a traditional cable subscription, as it offers a pretty good selection of channels for its price. As it currently stands, however, Vue is available only through PlayStation consoles or Amazon Fire TV, which does limit who can use it.

#8: CBS All Access

It may seem odd to pay to stream content from a free broadcast network, but when it comes to original programming, no streaming service can compete with a member of the Big Three. CBS All Access offers thousands of episodes from classics like I Love Lucy and more contemporary fare like The Late Show with Steven Colbert. Stream live or on-demand: new episodes are available on the app the next day.

#9: DISH Anywhere

If you already have a cable or satellite subscription, many now allow you to take your subscription with you. DISH Anywhere, for example, lets you watch TV, movies, and clips for free. DISH customers with a Sling-enabled DVR can access their live TV and DVR recordings, plus the networks they subscribe to through DISH — like HBO, Starz, and TNT.  Other pay-TV companies also offer this kind of deal, so if you're currently paying for a TV subscription, check with your provider to see what streaming options they offer.

#10: Crunchyroll

 Crunchyroll is a great example of a new kind of streaming service: instead of casting a wide net, it focuses on a specific genre — in this case, anime. The site offers free and premium memberships, which deliver professionally translated media within minutes of the original TV broadcasts. Other streaming services, like Twitch and Funny or Die, cater to other specific audiences. These specialized services aren’t as robust as the giants above, but if you’re looking for a specific type of content they may be your best bet.

If you've ever considered streaming video, now's the time to jump in and give it a try. Many of these services offer free trials, so get out there and immerse yourself in the stream. Just be sure to come up for air every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

7 Things You Need to Know about Samsung's Galaxy Note 7

Samsung's new phone Galaxy Note 7 will be shipped on the 19th day of this month. The sharp screen is accentuated by a slight curve on the edges that makes the device easy to handle. It has a snappy, 64-bit processor, and it can rock games and virtual reality with the companion Gear VR headset. Samsung’s attention to smaller details makes it a fine device. Here are seven things you need to know about Note7:


Many similarities with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge 

The Galaxy Note7 is a large-screen version of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, with a 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel display. The USB-C port is an improvement over S7's micro-USB 2.0 ports. Common features include a 12-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and wireless charging. The Note 7 is pre-loaded with Android 6.0.1, weighs 169 grams and is 7.9 millimeters thick. It has 64GB of internal storage and an SD card slot. 

The iris scanner has its own camera

A unique Note 7 security feature is the ability to scan the iris as a way to log users into the device. Here's how it works: Place your eyes in front of the iris scanner—an IR camera located on top of the screen—which will scan your eyes. It will match up the scan against encrypted iris information stored in a secure hardware layer on the phone. Iris scanner works in multiple light settings, but it won’t work with sunglasses, Samsung said.

What chip does your Note 7 have?

In U.S., China, and Japan, the Galaxy Note 7 will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset; in other places, it'll be Samsung's Exynos 8 Octa 8890 chip. The Snapdragon 820 has been modulated for cellular networks and spectrum bands in those countries, and U.S. carriers like Verizon prefer Qualcomm's chips for backward compatibility of CDMA networks. The Samsung Exynos chip works on cellular networks in Asia and Europe.

What chip is better?

Qualcomm's Snapdragon has a better modem and a slight edge in graphics over Samsung's Exynos. Regardless, the Note 7 delivers booming graphics and runs applications much faster than its predecessors. The LTE data download speeds could reach up to 600Mbps (bits per second) and upload speeds up to 150Mbps. Snapdragon is more versatile with support for LTE-U, which allows for faster data transfers over licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

Old peripherals will work with the USB-C port in Note 7

The Note 7 has a USB-C port, a first in Samsung smartphones. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have micro-USB 2.0 ports, and many peripherals—like portable mobile phone chargers and storage devices—are designed to plug into that port. Those peripherals can be used with Note7 with a micro-USB 2.0 to USB-C connector that Samsung provides with the new handset.

Note 7 will log you into your Samsung-based Windows PC

Like Apple, Samsung wants its hardware devices to work seamlessly. That's been difficult because Samsung's devices run on three OSes: Windows in most PCs, Android in mobile devices, and Tizen in wearables. The Note 7 shows some results of Samsung's effort to bridge that gap between devices. Users can swipe a finger on the Note 7 fingerprint reader to log into a Windows-based Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrid. Users can also login into a TabPro S by pattern authentication—by drawing specific shapes—on a Note 7.
Samsung Flow is different from Windows Hello, a Microsoft feature for biometric authentication to log into laptops, but a Samsung spokesman said the companies are working together to see how the features could be used together.

No clarity if Note 7 will support Google's DayDream

A great add-on to the Note 7 is the new Gear VR headset, in which the phablet can be fitted to virtually roam cities, play games, or ski down a mountain slope. Samsung declined to comment if Note 7 would work with Google's emerging DayDream VR platform, which will be available in specific handsets by the end of the year. Rather, it runs the same Oculus store and software as the Gear VR for current Samsung phones. The Gear VR headset and Note 7 could be combined for DayDream, which has minimum hardware requirements of a high-resolution screen, specific sensors, and strong graphics capabilities. Samsung said announcements on DayDream-compatible devices will come at a later date.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Troublesome Moto G4 Problems, and What to Do About Them

At the budget end of the Android market, the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus reign supreme. These are great Android smartphones with big displays, good cameras, and decent battery life. We think the G4 Plus is worth the extra $50, but neither of these smartphones is flawless. We've been trawling through user forums and comment sections gathering some common Moto G4 problems and trying to find solutions, or at least workarounds.
The two phones have almost identical innards, so it's no surprise that the Moto G4 Plus is suffering from many of the same issues. This troubleshooting guide covers both phones. 

#1 Problem: Overheating

We noticed some serious heat during extended gaming sessions on the Moto G4 and there are also a lot of reports online about the Moto G4 Plus overheating while people are using the camera to record video. All phones are going to heat up from time to time –particularly when playing graphic-intensive games, recording video, or charging — but if your Moto G4 gets uncomfortably hot at other times, or the performance starts to suffer, then you may need to do something about it.


  1. Take regular breaks to let your phone cool down.
  2. People using Moto G4 cases should try removing them and see if that helps.
  3. Don't use your Moto G4 while it's plugged it in and charging.
  4. Don't use the Turbo charger. Charge with a regular charger, or through your laptop or PC.
  5. Keep your Moto G4 out of direct sunlight or really hot environments.

Potential solutions:

  1. Take a look in Settings > Storage & USB and tap on Cached data, then tap OK to delete it. Restart your phone by pressing and holding the Power key for 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. It's worth ruling out a third-party app as the cause. Press the Power key, then tap and hold Power off and tap OK when Reboot to safe mode appears. The Moto G4 will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If the overheating issue is gone, then a third-party app is probably the culprit. You can simply restart the phone to get out of safe mode. Try uninstalling apps that you've installed one by one and test to see if it makes a difference in performance.
  3. You could try a factory reset. Make sure that all your precious files are backed up first, then go to Settings > Backup & reset and make sure Automatic restore is off. Afterward, tap Factory data reset and Reset phone. Test the phone before you enter your Google account to avoid automatically downloading all the same apps.
  4. If you've tried all of the above and you still have an issue, then it's time to contact your retailer, carrier, or Lenovo and ask for a replacement.

#2 Glitch: Ghost touches when charging

Quite a few people have reported an issue with ghost touches when they try to use their Moto G4 or G4 Plus while it is plugged in and charging. The notification shade might come down by itself, or they find that they can't answer calls. Some people are also reporting severe lag on the touches that do work.


  1. Don't use your Moto G4 while it's charging. It will charge faster and you'll avoid potential overheating issues.
  2. Try using a different cable and charger. Some people report that this alleviated the problem, though it didn't work for others.

Potential Solutions: 

Find out where your nearest service center is and contact it, then send your phone in for repairs.

 #3 Issue: Crashing in some apps or games

A few Moto G4 and G4 Plus owners have reported regular crashes associated with specific apps or games. If you find that you get a high volume of crashes when playing a specific game or when trying to open it, there are a few things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  1. Turn your phone off. Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons until the Moto G4 starts up. Use Volume down to highlight Recovery mode and press Power to select it. You should see the Android mascot on screen. Hold down the Power button and tap Volume up once, then release the Power buttonUse the volume buttons to highlight wipe cache partition and press the Power button to select it. When done, use the Power button to select Reboot system now.
  2. It's also possible that this problem is being caused by your MicroSD card. If you formatted your card as internal storage, then that could be the culprit. You should have triggered a warning if your card is too slow, but there's always a chance that something has gone wrong after the initial formatting. You can find out more at the Motorola site.

#4 Annoyance: Yellow tint no display

There have been some complaints about a yellowish tint on the Moto G4 and G4 Plus display. Some people feel it's too warm, or more specifically, that whites appear slightly yellow.


You could try using an app like Screen Adjuster Free to see if you can alter the color to your satisfaction.

Potential solutions:

  1. Take a look in Settings > Display > Color mode and change your settings.
  2. Consider contacting your retailer, carrier, or Lenovo and asking about a replacement handset.

#5 Problem: Headphones not working properly

A few people have been having trouble getting their headphones to work properly when plugged into the Moto G4. In most cases, the problem is that sound only comes through on one side, so you only get sound in the left ear.

Potential solutions:

  1. Make sure that your headphones are properly plugged in. Try blowing gently into the port to make sure nothing is stuck in it.
  2. Try a simple restart by holding down the Power button for 10 seconds or so, or until the Moto G4 goes off and comes back to life.
  3. Make sure that you test your headphones with another device and test different headphones with your Moto G4. Quite a few people report that some headphones work and others simply don't.
  4. A third-party app could be causing your problem. Press the Power key, then tap and hold on Power off and tap OK when Reboot to safe mode appears. The Moto G4 will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If your headphones work properly, then a third-party app is probably to blame for your problem. You can simply restart the phone to get out of safe mode. Try uninstalling apps one by one, starting with anything that has an obvious audio component. Restart your phone after each uninstall and test to see if the problem is resolved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Xbox One S vs. Xbox One: Specs comparison

Xbox One S is the smaller version of Xbox One. According to Microsoft official, Xbox One S will be avaialble in 25 different countries on August 2. These 25 countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the US.

Before the Xbox One S hits the market, it is better for you to figure out the differences between Xbox One S and Xbox One. Here is the right place for you to visit in order to learn the differences between these two console devices.

Xbox One S FAQ:

  1.  Q: What is the release date of Xbox One S? A: Confirmed by Microsoft, it is August 2, 2016.
  2.  Q: Does it support 4K? A: Yes, it does, for video and Blu-ray, but not for games.
  3.  Q: Is it more powerful? A: Yes, a slight boost to processing power over the Xbox One to accommodate HDR gaming.
  4.  Q: Is a controller included? A: Yes, contrary to early reports, one is included in the price.

Xbox One S Price: $399/£349 for 2TB launch edition, 500GB and 1TB models also incoming

There are three different capacities. Prices start at $299 for the 500GB version, moving up to $349 for the 1TB and $399 for a massive 2TB. When it comes to UK and European pricing, here's what you need to know. The 2TB launch edition Xbox One S will cost £349/399 Euros, while the 1TB will be £299/349 Euros and the 500GB £249/299 Euros. That's pretty sweet for a 4K Blu-ray player let alone one that also plays games.

Xbox One S is 40% smaller, has built-in power supply

The Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the original – it's a huge reduction. Given how big the original Xbox One is – at 333mm x 276mm x 78mm, it dominates the comparatively slight PS4 – it's an important change that could entice potential buyers.

What's doubly impressive, however, is the power supply is now built-in. The bulky power brick on the Xbox One was a serious pain and was another con against it given the PS4 has it built-in. Therefore a smaller size yet with power supply built-in will definitely be a hot sale.

4K Ultra HD, 4K Blu-ray and High Dynamic Range support

This is huge. Not only does the Xbox One S support 4K video playback from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, it also has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray built-in.
This is especially good news for AV fans and the announced $299/£249 starting price makes it good value compared to dedicated Ultra HD players currently on the market, which at this time cost anywhere from £400 to £650.
In fact, if you have a 4K TV, we'd argue it's a must-have to enjoy the full potential of your TV.
While the original Xbox One is technically capable of supporting 4K gaming and video, it comes with an HDMI 1.4a port, which means it can only output 4K at 30Hz, which is useless for games and problematic for some video. The Xbox One S adds support for HDMI 2.0a, so it now supports proper 4K 60Hz output.
HDMI 2.0a, with its capacity for a deeper colour space, also allows for High Dynamic Range (HDR).
In short, you can expect more natural colours, deeper blacks, and brighter whites from an HDR image, providing you have a compatible TV. It could be great for games and video, so this is another major plus point.
There's been some talk that old Xbox Ones could be upgraded to the new HDMI standard through a firmware update, but we've heard nothing since E3 so it seems a distant hope now.

Plus, it can upscale games to 4K

When the Xbox One S was first announced, Microsoft neglected to mention that the new console is also capable of upscaling games to 4K.
The upscaling capabilities were revealed by Jeff Henshaw, Group Program Manager at Xbox at an E3 session (via TechRadar).
Henshaw said: "It's not native 4K, but the Xbox One S can upscale games from 1080p to 4K."
It means the Xbox One S will be able to offer a taste of gaming at a higher resolution than its predecessor, although it won't quite be as good as native 4K.

It can be stored upright

Yes, that's right, you can store the Xbox One S upright. That's great news, though the stand is an optional extra, unless you buy the 2TB model, which comes with the stand bundled. As it only costs $20, however, it's not a huge imposition.

There's no dedicated Kinect port

Not a huge surprise here. The Xbox One S removes the dedicated port for Kinect. Given its increasing irrelevance this isn't a huge loss, though owners who want to use one can do say via a USB adapter. We assume the adapter will be sold separately, too.

But there is an IR blaster

In the place of a dedicated Kinect port, the Xbox One S comes with an integrated IR (infrared) blaster. That means you can configure your Xbox One S to turn on other devices, like your TV, audio/video receiver, and cable or satellite receiver.
The idea is that you can reduce the number of remotes you need to control your stuff. Pretty neat.

Xbox One S vs Xbox One: Should you upgrade?

There's no doubt the new Xbox One S is a better all around console than its predecessor. Not only does it slim down what was an unbelievably bulky case on the original console, and by 40% no less, the Xbox One S comes with a load of features that make it a desirable device regardless of comparisons with the previous model.
Firstly, you get a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player built in. Currently, those things will cost you upwards of £400 on their own. Secondly, you can stream 4K at the proper 60 Hz in HDR from apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Plus, there's even a slight performance boost. The console benefits from extra processing power which will be used to run games in HDR.
All told, Microsoft may just have done enough here to warrant an upgrade from the original console. While the Xbox One will run all the games you can play on the S model, the extra features and reduced form factor make the new version a tempting offer.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Top 5 Best Blu-ray Player Software for Windows 8

Playing Blu-ray movies on the go on a laptop or in the living room on an HTPC with a Blu-ray drive doesn't have to be difficult. But if you want true HD video quality, cinema-like soundtrack enjoyment and the experience of navigating disc extras and menus, you will need a Blu-ray media player that is up to the task. Here are four of the best Windows 8 compatible Blu-ray player software, just based on Blu-ray lovers' nominations.

The best Windows 8 Blu-ray player software programs so far:

Currently the most popular and best Blu-ray playback software are PowerDVD Ultra by Cyberlink, WinDVD Pro 11 by Corel, Total Media Theatre by ArcSoft and Blu-ray Player by Leawo. I have compared all these Blu-ray player software programs and some suggestions are given to help you choose the right Blu-ray media player for your viewing needs. Just keep reading.

Top 1: Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra

Undoubtedly the Cyberlink PowerDVD is the Rock n' Roll one, and nearly all Blu-ray lovers like it! It has long been the best Windows 8 Blu-ray, DVD, music and video player to beat. PowerDVD fully supports Blu-ray discs, upscales standard definition content, plays any other type of video and even supports audio playback and photo slideshows. Now PowerDVD comes in three flavoers, Deluxe for $54.95, Pro For $79.95 and Ultra for $99.95.

  • Plays Blu-ray movies at full HD resolution.
  • 30 days to test this software.
  • Easy to use, rich and powerful features, supports audio playback, high video quality. 

  • It costs money. Not $19.99 USD or $29.99, but a hundred bucks. Neither I nor anyone I know would be willing and able to pay so much. 
  • Poor customer and tech support. 

Top 2: Corel WinDVD Pro 11

WinDVD Pro 11 is efficient and full-featured Blu-ray player software that delivers excellent 2D Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, AVCHD, DVD, videos and audios in all latest formats playback. Its newest version is packed with some standout features just like display stretching, 2D to 3D conversion, HD upscaling, Dolby soundtrack tech and more! Plus, WinDVD Pro 11 uniquely includes a premium online movie search engine that supports you to find favorite movies at the lowest price from popular websites. The software has a free trial available, but a full license will cost you $49.99

  • Provides impressive 3D upscaling and seamless Blu-ray playback. 
  • Clear playback of both BD, DVD media and media files .

  • No support for some of the lesser-known disc types such as VCD and SVCD. 
  • Computer freezes when trying to watch a DVD with Corel WinDVD.

Top 3: TotalMedia Theatre 5

ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre is sophisticated, user-friendly Blu-ray player software boasting dynamic features, an intuitive interface and exceptional video playback. Ideal for all types of film enthusiasts, the software provides a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy Blu-ray movies without the inherent limitations of a tangible electronic player. It supports 2D/3D Blu-ray playback and even supports upscaling other standard definition video, both locally on your system and DVDs you put into your system. You can also convert 2D movies to 3D with this software. Total Media also supports streaming video from YouTube and other Internet sources, the ability to change your system's region code to match the disc you want to play, and serves as an all-in-one media management tool and player for almost any video and audio type and format.

  • Boasts a sleek, intuitive interface and exceptional Blu-ray playback. 
  • High quality media playback, especially playback blu-ray Disc. 
  • Easy control and support dolby 5.1 sound well. 
  • Download youtube and watch directly on it easily. 
  • The audio can be adjusted and sounds good. 

  • The virtual remote control remains imposed over the interface unless minimized. 
  • Program just freezes when I try to start no matter how I do. 
  • Cannot customize user interface.
  • No karaoke capabilities.

Top 4: Leawo Blu-ray Player

Leawo Blu-ray Player is widely-acclaimed to be the best Blu-ray playing software for Windows 8 OS PC in the world. It provides extremely superb experience for Blu-ray, DVD and HD movie playback with full Blu-ray and HD movie playback navigation. Except Blu-ray playback, it can function as a cost free video player offering lifelong free service for playing DVD discs, DVD IFO files, common videos, and up to 1080P videos seamlessly. Apart from that, the advanced DTS5.1 cinematic stereo output, full-screen playback, flexible subtitles and audio tracks selection, etc. all make it fantastic than ever. 
Couple these features with the extreme efficiency that this program operates on, and you have nearly everything you could hope for to turn. 

  • Seamless Blu-ray playback.
  • Forever free DVD player to play back DVD. 
  • Fully support Windows 8.
  • DTS5.1 guarantees super high quality of stereo output. 
  • User-friendly media playback control.
  • Support playback video in various formats free.
  • Support subtitles and audio tracks option. 
  • Quite neat and simple to use interface.
  • Easy to navigate and install. 

  • Blu-ray playback is not cost free. However, if you wanna get a free keycode for watching Blu-ray movies on this media player, you can take part in Leawo's ongoing Blu-ray Player Beta test to test, review and get a $49.95 valued registration code before May 10, 2013.
  • No  3D playback function.

Okay, now you have seen the top 4 Windows 8 Blu-ray player software. Which one is your favorite? Is your favorite on the top four above? Did I miss a feature you love about one of the above Blu-ray media player software? Whatever you think, let me hear it in the comments.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

iPad Mini 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Which is Your Expect?

Recently we have seen so many smart phones and tablets being announced and/or launched by giants like Samsung, Nokia, Sony and HTC. It is now time for Apple devices like iPad Mini 2, iPad 5 and the iPhone 5S to get the spotlight. However, Apple always keeps silent when it comes to reveling its iDevices' specs. A direct consequence of Apple's silence is a plethora of rumors appearing as people try to guesstimate the specs of Apple's upcoming iDevices.

Samsung is at the other side of the spectrum as they never shy away from offering details about their upcoming products, even though they are not really official yet. Thanks to the rumors and the numerous reports about the 2 most stunning devices of 2013: the iPad Mini 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, now I have enough to make a direct comparison between the 2 giant mobile devices.

  • Release Date 

According to a few rumors from some time ago, Apple was said to release the iPad Mini 2 during this May. Those rumors were recently proved wrong when Tim Cook mentioned a fall launch for the company's iPad Mini 2. A September release seems likely.

There are no rumors regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 release date, so we have to speculate. Samsung likewise may opt for a fall release for the next generation Galaxy Note, so our guesstimate for the release date of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is September on 2013 IFA.

  • Processor 

Apple's A7 system on a chip (SoC) is supposed to launch this Summer, in June or July. It is a faster SoC than the Apple A6X used in the iPad 4 and I think that it will be used in the iPad Mini 2.

The Exynos 5 Octa SoC will be available in the second quarter of 2013 and it is the fastest SoC available at the moment for any mobile device. It will also power the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 so that is a good news for those looking for performance.

  • Battery 

Apple will probably make sure that its next iPad Mini tablet will have a battery that would assure a usage of about ten hours.

For the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung used a very powerful battery of 3100 mAh. The Galaxy Note 3 will probably use an even more powerful battery, necessary given an extra power that the Exynos 5 Octa SoC will bring. It is said that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will feature a 4000 mAh battery, making it superior to many other smartphones on the market. 

  • Display 

When it comes to the iPad Mini 2's display, rumors mention a 7.9-inch screen running at a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution which is four times higher than the iPad Mini's resolution. The iPad Mini 2 is also rumored to be equipped with an IGZO display made by Sharp, a display that would make the tablet even slimmer than the actual iPad Mini.

So with the release of Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphones Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Galaxy Mega 6.3, many speculate that Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s screen will measure somewhere in the void between the 5.8 and 6.3 inch Mega smartphones. (If you are interested in Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3, few days ago I have taken a full comparison between Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3. You can make reference to it.)

  • Camera 

Regarding the iPad Mini 2 cameras, there isn't much information available. However, we are pretty sure that the iPad Mini 2's cameras will have the following functions: iSight, FaceTime and Full HD video recording.

Samsung always equipped its devices with high quality cameras and the Galaxy Note 3 won't make an exception. The Galaxy Note 3 will probably come equipped with a high quality 13MP camera.

  • Price 

It's probably safe to assume that Apple will follow its standard pricing patterns so that the iPad Mini 2 will most likely have the same price as the first iPad Mini.

The price for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rumored to be up to somewhere around $800.

Okay, above 2 can be said to the most stunning mobile devices in the second half of 2013. So which is your expect? Welcome to share your thoughts!

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