Archive for 2014

By February 3, 2014 Read More →

You are seeing a red Nexus 5

Red-Nexus-5-front-back-2Looks like a red  Nexus 5 will arrive in the near future. The Nexus 5 has been ruimours to get a bit of paint thrown at it much like several other leading brands out there and could be set to launch in the Google Play Store as early as the beginning February 4th. It would be unlikely for the Nexus 5 will have anything different under the hood and still boasts the 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel camera, either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and more. No mention of price just now however, this being Google, we have no reason to believe they would ask you to pay more for simply a colour.

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By February 1, 2014 Read More →

Apple TV or Roku? 5 Considerations for Buying a Set-Top Streaming Box

Apple TV or RokuIn 2007, around two million American homes were without cable or satellite television. A 2013 Nielsen study found that today more than five million homes have embraced an existence without traditional TV. But that doesn’t mean they’re staring at their four walls. More than three-quarters of these homes rely on the internet for their entertainment. If you’re ready to join them, just one question remains: Apple TV or Roku?

Roku Offers More, Easy-to-Use Channels

In June 2013, Apple TV offered just 18 channels compared to more than 750 on the Roku box. In late 2013, Apple expanded its library with some more crowd-pleasing channels, including ABC, Crackle, and Bloomberg, but Roku users have been enjoying these for years. Roku now offers more than 1,200 channels on offer, but quantity doesn’t always equate to quality. Many users insist they only watch a small percentage of Roku’s offerings, so in actuality your viewing experience might not be too different.

Roku is the clear winner when comparing the bare bones systems, but canny Apple fans have found ways to expand their viewing options. For example, many compare the price of a standard internet service with a FiOS bundle, which allows them to stream or download movies. If you’re going to spend money on additional entertainment, this package may end up being more cost effective. 

Roku’s extensive channel list could get unwieldy without its universal search. Tech bloggers have suggested Apple would do well to incorporate this feature, which allows users to search for the title of the movie or television program they’ve been dying to see. The Roku interface displays the installed apps that can show the content, and how much streaming will cost on each.

Roku Has Headphones

It sounds like a small point, but if you’re one of the many people who enjoys binging on television while the rest of your household sleeps you’ll love the Roku’s headphone functionality. Its remote control has a headphone jack to make private viewing easy. Just pop in the included earbuds and you can watch your favorite shows without disturbing your loved ones. The quality of the earbuds isn’t outstanding, but audiophiles can easily use their own.

Apple TV Feels Familiar for Brand’s Fans

Apple’s familiarity will give it an edge for many consumers discovering internet television for the first time. Its interface resembles Apple’s popular iOS system, with rectangular channel icons which resemble apps. It also integrates with iTunes so users can use their existing account to purchase television series and movies.

It’s not that Roku is difficult to use, but it can’t capitalize on brand loyalty the way that Apple can. A 2013 study found 81 percent of Apple smartphone customers stuck with the iOS platform over a 12-month period, compared to 68 percent remaining loyal to Android. Another 2013 report by international brand consulting firm Interbrand ranked Apple as the world’s number one brand, ahead of Coca-Cola, Google, and IBM. When it comes to brand loyalty, Roku simply can’t compete.

Apple TV Offers AirPlay

Apple appeals to the loyalty of its faithful followers with AirPlay, a feature which lets you wirelessly stream photos, music, and videos from your iOS device or iTunes to your television set. This innovative device also integrates with key third-party apps including Pandora and Spotify. 

To be fair, Roku has attempted to mimic AirPlay’s success with the release of its new Roku 3. This latest streaming set-top box features Play on Roku, which allows users to stream the photos, music, and video files stored on their favorite Android or iOS device. However, unlike AirPlay, Play on Roku doesn’t allow device mirroring, so it’s still got some way to go.

Roku is Often More Affordable

Both units have comparable recommended retail prices, with Apple TV selling for $99 and Roku 3 costing $99.99. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Apple knows it can count on customer loyalty, so it rarely discounts its streaming television. In contrast, the latest Roku set-top streaming box is regularly sold online for around $10 less than its nearest rival. If you’re still not certain which unit is best, then the price could sway you.

Apple TV and Roku both have their merits, so it’s worth thinking carefully before committing to your preferred device for streaming internet entertainment.

By January 31, 2014 Read More →

Two Chromebooks coming from Lenovo

Lenovo-IdeaPad-Yoga-13-modesHere is a bit of news for Chrome OS and Lenovo fans out there – the popular PC manufacturer has just announced two new laptops! The Thinkpad 11e and the Thinkpad Yoga 11e come in two versions, sporting Windows 8 and Chrome OS (wouldn’t it be nice if they could dual-boot?).

These Chromebooks are said to be aimed towards education, but they seem to be great options for the regular consumer too. Specs were not specified, but we do have some details you might want to know.

Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook

As the name entails, the ThinkPad 11e sports what is now the standard in terms of Chromebook displays. Of course, we are talking about an 11.6-inch HD, LED display. HD probably does mean 1366x768p resolution, which is what most other 11.6-inch Chromebook displays have.

You will also get “over 8 hours of battery life”, but that is not what makes the ThinkPad 11e special. Its main feature is its construction, which comes with a rugged nature. The laptop will feature “rubber bumpers, reinforced ports and stronger hinges.” It’s a Chromebook built to last.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook

The ThinkPad Yoga 11e will not be as resistant, but it will be a much more functional and flexible (literally) tool. This laptop takes on Lenovo’s signature Yoga design, allowing a laptop to take on 4 different configurations. It adapts to the type of use you want to give it at any given moment.

You can transform Yoga laptops in the following configurations: laptop, tablet, tent and stand. You can see the image below to see examples.

The TinkPad Yoga 11e also comes with an 11.6-inch display, but it sports an IPS panel. This will give the screen much better viewing angles and color accuracy. It’s also important to note that this is the third Chroembook to come with a touchscreen! I know many of you will fancy that.

All versions are set to be released during the Spring of 2014. Price is a bit more vague – Lenovo says the Chromebooks will start at $349. Are you getting one of these bad boys?

Posted in: Laptops, News, Tablets
By January 31, 2014 Read More →

Retro Tech Addicts Podcast 10: Life is Good

RTA Logo MTAGareth and Phil enjoy a warm and fuzzy recollection of days gone by in this the latest instalment of the Retro Tech Addicts podcast.

This week Gareth and Phil take a closer look at the tech-giant LG and discuss a variety of the company’s products and hostory.

 

Direct Download

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Get the Android App from Amazon

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By January 31, 2014 Read More →

Sony DSC-QX10 and QX100 Firmware v2.0 is available to download from Sony Asia

IMG_4172Towards the end of 2013 Sony announced that a firmware for the DSC QX10 and QX100 lens cameras for use with Smartphones would be released in January. With only a few days left to meet this target, the promised update has appeared on the Sony Asia support site. At the time of writing the UK site still doesn’t show the download.

New features for the version 2.0 update are:

  • ISO Setting added
  • Movie Recording size changed: MP4 1440 x 1080(30p) to MP4 1920 x 1080(30p)
  • Shutter Speed Priority Shooting mode added (DSC-QX100 only)

I updated my QX10 yesterday and the time taken to connect to my Nexus 5 has reduced drastically and the connection itself seems to be much more stable. These were two issues that I highlighted in my review and once I have had a chance to play with the the camera with the new firmware some more I will update the review with my new thoughts.

The update was painless and all of the steps required are clearly explained in the updater software. It seems that the existing firmware on the lenses is a mix of v1 and v0.1 so it looks like some units were sold with an earlier release and no update was offered.

If you’d like to grab the update now, try these links.

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/dsc-qx100

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/DSC-QX10

Posted in: Cameras, News
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By January 30, 2014 Read More →

Samsung to halt Windows notebooks in favour of Chromebooks

Samsung-Chromebook-ConnectiSources within the supply chain serving the South Korean electronics giant, are reporting that Samsung “will no longer launch conventional notebook models except Chromebooks” from 2015. Samsung will no longer launch conventional notebook models except Chromebooks…

The company was one of the first on the block with Google’s thin-client cloud-based OS, launching one of the first Chromebooks back in 2011. A refreshed version of their best-selling ‘Samsung Chromebook’ is rumoured to arrive near Easter, utilising an eight-core ARM processor.

A rumour like this is probably most unlikely however when thinking of Dell’s decision to discontinue shipping Windows 7 on their hardware there might be something in it. With that said, the report does give a potential reasoning for such a switch. Samsung expected to ship 17 million notebooks in 2013 but only managed to shift 12 million. As a result, insiders say the company has lowered its notebook forecasts for 2014 to 7 million units. Do it make sense to drop an entire platform when notebook and laptop sales are down and tablet sales are up?

 

Posted in: Laptops, News
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By January 29, 2014 Read More →

Some New Mini-Games for Glass

Google-Glass-Mini-Games-MatcherWhile Google still works on getting Google Glass ready for official public consumption, the company has been to building five simple games for the wearable technology in the hopes that it will encourage developers to make more games for it. There are already a couple of games out from third parties however on a whole things are pretty sparse.

These new games are all current available on Glassware to try out for those few people who were approved and managed for fork out $1500 for an early version of Google Glass. If you’re looking for some seriously advanced gaming to be found with these five titles, you won’t find it. These games are pretty simple but do illustrate different things you can do with Google Glass in conjunction with games.

Interested in seeing what these games are like? Well lucky for you Google has released a short video showing each one which you can watch above. It will be interesting to see if this does spur on some additional developer interest for Google Glass when it comes to games.

 

By January 29, 2014 Read More →

Google Announces Prescription Glass Frames for Google Glass

TitGoogle announced their newest upgrade to the Google Glass wearable smart-glasses, only this time it isn’t a software or hardware upgrade, but is actually a structural one. They now have prescription glass frames available that are specifically designed to fit with Google Glass. They are called the Titanium Collection, and that doesn’t just describe their aesthetics. These new Google Glass frames are literally made of ultra-light titanium alloys. 

Their Titanium Collection includes “four feather-light titanium frames and two new styles of twist-on shades, designed just for you.” Now you can consider getting Google Glass without worrying about looking like a full-blown dork, just a half-dork! (We kid about this because some of us here at HQ are actually becoming more intrigued by this device regardless of how it looks to other.)

 

By January 28, 2014 Read More →

HTC One gets Android 4.4.2 KitKat

HTCOneKKThanks to HTC’s own Android update status page, we knew that the KitKat update for the HTC One was pretty imminent and today many users will have been presented with a notification to say that there was indeed an update available for their HTC One.

At the moment I’m installing the update on my own HTC One and so far it seems to be pretty painless.

The latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat update promises the following:

  • System improvements
    • Android 4.4.2 update
    • Security Enhancements
  • Printing imrovements
    • Cloud Print Services
  • Bluetooth improvement
    • New Bluetooth profiles to support more media interactions
  • Browser
    • Support of Flash Player removed
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By January 28, 2014 Read More →

A 4G router arrives at Solwise!

mailerSolwise are pleased to announce their first 4G/LTE router has finally arrived! The Solwise 4G-LTE-S4 is a full 4G router that includes 150Mbps 11n WiFi and WAN connectivity. The ‘S4’ router includes a  4G modem with SIM slot (standard size) so just insert your 4G SIM card, configure the unit with the login details for your 4G data account and you are then ready to share your 4G data connectivity. No need for a dongle. The S4 also supports 3G data SIM cards. 

The S4 has two antenna connectors for 4G and 1 built-in WiFi antenna. The antenna connectors allow you to attach an external antenna which may improve the 4G signal into your home.   The S4 works for UK standard 800MHz, 1800MHZ, and 2600MHz LTE (4G) bands.

Speed (4G) 100Mbps download; 50Mbps upload
Speed (3G) 42.2Mbps DC-HSPA+ download; 5.76Mbps upload

NET-4G-LTE-S4 – £215.06 including VAT
http://www.solwise.co.uk/3g-routers-4g-lte-s4.htm

Solwise offer a number of 4G antennas to compliment the new S4 4G Router.
http://www.solwise.co.uk/3g-antenna-outdoor.htm