Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By May 19, 2014 Read More →

5 Must have tech gadgets for summer 2014

panono-panoramic-ball-camera-designboom04

The Panono Ball Camera is set to revolutionize the way we take panoramic images.

With each new season comes an abundance of new gadgets; and summer 2014 is certainly no exception. The tech industry is all about increasing efficiency and improving upon previous inventions with new innovative tools that were not available in the past. These 5 must have tech gadgets have been hotly anticipated ever since they were announced and are expected to become market leaders in each of their sectors.

 

Panono

A few years ago everybody was raving about the GoPro. Taking HD footage while on the move revolutionized the way in which photographers shot extreme sports and other dangerous activities. The Panono Ball Camera takes still photography to a whole new level. When it’s thrown in the air it will take 360 images to create one complete panoramic image. Its robust design ensures that it won’t break under pressure and can withstand freefalling from huge heights without even suffering a dent. At 549 Euros, it’s not cheap; however, as with other cameras, no doubt after the first year of release prices will plummet into the lower hundreds.

 

Kenwood DNX521DAB

The Kenwood DNX521DAB will no doubt give tablets, smart phones and GPS systems a run for their money in the near future. This device is specifically designed for Volkswagen vehicles and is one of the most comprehensive multimedia systems on the planet. With a wide selection of media playback functions; a high definition touch screen; and Bluetooth capabilities, it’s not only a well-equipped entertainment station, but also completely hands-free. And that’s not to mention the world class GPS navigation system that it’s actually intended for.

 

Sony Short Throw 4K Projector

At an estimated $30,000 – $40,000 the Sony Short Throw 4K Projector will without a doubt be one of the most expensive gadgets on this list. This home cinema system is disguised as a piece of furniture and will provide a crisp image that can’t be matched by any conventional televisions. The device is capable of projecting a 147 inch image without hindering the quality. Although at present very few people will be able to fork out this much money for a home entertainment system, it could be the future of television viewing.

 

JVC Everio

The new JVC Everio is a compact little camcorder with some very impressive features. With a 40x optical zoom; 60x dynamic zoom; 4.5 hours of battery life; and excellent low light performance, it’s a more than worthy companion for a pocket. In addition, it is water, dust, freeze and shock proof, making it pretty robust and ready to tackle any challenges that natural elements throw its way.

 

PS Vita TV

Sony’s PS Vita TV is one of the most talked about gadgets in the console market. While it’s currently only available in Japan and yet to have an official Western release date (though it’s expected in the summer), this micro-console is yielding more excitement than many of the larger next-gen devices. This is because more and more people are making the transition over to PC gaming. The PS Vita TV allows users to play handheld games on the television; stream from the PS4; and watch television shows and films using a variety of third party TV streaming applications.

Technology moves at an alarming rate. While it can be mildly frustrating, new tech gadgets significantly drive down the price of older models. Although these five gadgets will certainly be on the pricey side when they’re released, perhaps by the time the autumn and winter comes around, they’ll be more affordable.

Image Credit: Mangahaikei

 

Posted in: Editorial, Gadgets, News
By May 17, 2014 Read More →

HTC One mini 2 hands-on video

HTC One mini 2Just a few days ago HTC offcially announced the HTC One mini 2, successor to last year’s HTC One mini and little-brother to the HTC One (M8) released a couple of months ago.

As always, there had been a lot of leaks, speculation and rumours surrounding the mini 2 so much of the specification and design was alread ‘known’ but the full and official specification can be found below.

I’ve managed to get hold of an HTC One mini 2 and I’ve recorded an initial unboxing and hands-on video for you below. Covering the specification, hardware, side-by-side with the HTC One (M8) and a look at the user interface this is just a quick video for now, futher in-depth details and a review are to follow.

 

 

HTC One mini 2 specification:

SIZE: 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm

WEIGHT: 137 grams

DISPLAY: 4.5 inch, HD 720p

 

CPU SPEED

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU

 

PLATFORM

  • Android™ 4.4 with HTC Sense™ 6
  • HTC BlinkFeed™

 

MEMORY

  • Total storage:  16GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

 

NETWORK

2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

  • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

 

3G – WCDMA:

  • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

 

 4G – LTE:

  • EMEA: Bands 3, 7, 8, 20
  • Asia: Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 28

 

SIM

  • Nano SIM

 

SENSORS

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor

 

CONNECTIVITY

  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • NFCii
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
  • DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer,
  • HTC Connect™
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port

 

SOUND

  • HTC BoomSound™
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
  • Sense Voice

 

CaMeRA

Rear camera

  • 13MP, BSI sensor with f/2.2 lens
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

Front camera

  • 5MP, BSI sensor
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

MULTIMEDIA

Audio supported formats:

  • Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .flac, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
  • Recording: .aac

 

Video supported formats:

  • Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mkv, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
  • Recording: .mp4

 

Location

  • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
  • Digital compass

 

BATTERY

  • Capacity: 2100 mAh

 

By May 15, 2014 Read More →

HTC One Mini2 surfaces

htc-one-mini2The worlds best Android smartphone, the HTC One (M8), get’s a little brother.

It’s certainly no surprise arrival but the HTC One mini2 arrives bringing with it some of the HTC One (M8) features and design cues in a diminished package size.

Unlike last-years HTC One mini, which was almost entirely plastic, HTC have kept the metal design and looks of the M8 for the mini2. Featuring stereo BoomSound speakers, 4.5-inch 720p display a quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU and chipset with 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM. Also included are NFC, a miroSD card slot, and a larger 2,100mAh battery.

The the announcement HTC CEO Peter Chou says:

The perfect choice for those who love the iconic design of the HTC One (M8) yet want something more compact.

Sadly, HTC haven’t included the IR blaster of the Duo Cam on the mini2 which may prevent a more widespread appeal.

HTC One mini 2_PerLeft_GunMetal

 

 

HTC One mini 2 specification:

SIZE: 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm

WEIGHT: 137 grams

DISPLAY: 4.5 inch, HD 720p

 

CPU SPEED

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU

 

PLATFORM

  • Android™ 4.4 with HTC Sense™ 6
  • HTC BlinkFeed™

 

MEMORY

  • Total storage:  16GB
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

 

NETWORK

2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

  • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

 

3G – WCDMA:

  • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

 

 4G – LTE:

  • EMEA: Bands 3, 7, 8, 20
  • Asia: Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 28

 

SIM

  • Nano SIM

 

SENSORS

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor

 

CONNECTIVITY

  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • NFCii
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
  • DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer,
  • HTC Connect™
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port

 

SOUND

  • HTC BoomSound™
  • Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
  • Sense Voice

 

CaMeRA

Rear camera

  • 13MP, BSI sensor with f/2.2 lens
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

Front camera

  • 5MP, BSI sensor
  • 1080p Full HD video recording

 

MULTIMEDIA

Audio supported formats:

  • Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .flac, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
  • Recording: .aac

 

Video supported formats:

  • Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mkv, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
  • Recording: .mp4

 

Location

  • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
  • Digital compass

 

BATTERY

  • Capacity: 2100 mAh

 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By May 13, 2014 Read More →

Apple MacBook Pro battery issue

apple burst batteryOver the past few months I noticed a decrease in the battery life on my Apple MacBook Pro 15″. Initially the drop was not that significant but over time it became more noticable and a few weeks ago it began to turn itself off even though the battery was at a claimed 23%. I also realised that the power levels were falling quite dramatically even when the laptop was turned off.

As I do not use my MacBook on battery power all that often it didn’t bother me that much but last week I was using the MacBook on my lap on the train. I suddenly became aware that the bottom of the MacBook was getting VERY hot and the aluminium base was uncomfortably hot against my leg and the top was pretty warm too.

Realising that this was a sign that I should probably investigate what was going on I decided to unscrew the bottom of the MacBook and to take a look at the battery.

As I released the screws the bottom suddenly sprang open and the battery pack itself had burst!

So, if you have any of the symptoms above it’s definitely a good idea to either take a look at the battery or else take it to the Apple store and have them take a look at it for you. Who know’s what might have happened if I had continued to use it like this!

By May 7, 2014 Read More →

ZTE announces the arrival of the Blade L2 in Europe

ZTE Blade L2ZTE have been busy recently and today have announced that their latest ZTE Blade L2 will be available in across Europe later this year. No word on an exact date as yet but the Blade L2 looks like a great mid-tier device. The handset is the latest and most stylish handset to come from the affordable and highly popular Blade series that has already received millions of global sales.

Today, ZTE celebrates the introduction of its latest mobile phone, ZTE Blade L2, in Europe. The ZTE Blade L2 is already ranged in countries including Spain, Greece, Germany, Slovakia and the UK and will be rolled out globally later in 2014. The ZTE Blade L2 is the latest and most stylish handset to come from the affordable and highly popular Blade series that has already received millions of global sales.

Featuring an elegant design with a 5” touch screen and white exterior finish, the Blade L2 not only delivers on style but also packs a powerful performance with its 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor. Thanks to its narrow frame design, the ZTE Blade L2 looks and feels even slimmer than its 8.9mm effective thickness.

Like its popular predecessors in the Blade series, the Blade L2 offers a superior photo experience, boasting a 5MP camera which includes a number of different settings from continuous shot and panorama to anti-flickering as well as a multi angle view that can easily be turned into 3D animation. To make sure that users get the perfect photo, the camera functions also include autofocus, flash, self-timer, face detection and ZTE’s Smile Shot. The ZTE Blade L2 also includes a 0.3MP front camera for self-portraits and video-calling.

Mr. AO Wen, General Manager of ZTE Handset European Operation Office, said, “At ZTE, it’s no secret that we pride ourselves on the affordability of our smartphone handsets that makes smartphone technology available to everyone. We’ve had huge success with our Blade series to date in Europe, and we’re excited to introduce the latest edition. We’re confident that the ZTE Blade L2 will offer our ever-more discerning customers across Europe a stylish and high performance device at the right price.”

The 5” large screen offers a superior experience for browsing, watching movies and previewing photos taken with the 5MP camera. Preinstalled with Evernote, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter, the ZTE Blade L2 enables people to easily share their memories with friends and family at just the touch of a button.

 

Posted in: News, Phones
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By May 1, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8) benchmark (video)

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8)Although it’s quite a controversial topic, then benchmark performance of new devices always attracts a lot of interest.

At the moment, the two top Android phones are the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5. In theory, the Galaxy S5 should be ahead of the M8, in terms of performance at least. The S5 has a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU whereas the M8 has a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU. Both run the Qualcomm 801 chipset and have 2GB RAM but the extra clock speed that the S5 has should definitely give it the edge.

There have been lots of Tweets and blog posts elsewhere questioning the performance of the Galaxy S5 and comments like “What’s up with the Galaxy S5 performance ?” seem not to be uncommon.

In the video below you can see me running a benchmark test on the Galaxy S5, side-by-side with the HTC One (M8). The results may surprise you…!

 

 

 

By April 29, 2014 Read More →

More Pixels and More Mobile Than Ever!

shutterstock_176319386In graphics, pixels are everything. More pixels give us sharper images and make the images on a screen look more lifelike.

Here’s a refresher about pixels: the word itself stands for picture element, and a pixel is a single point within a graphic image. On colour monitors, each pixel consists of three dots in the primary colors (red, blue, green) making colour images a bit fuzzy. High-definition display screens pack pixels very tightly, until you can no longer see individual ones, providing sharper images and less blur.

Pixels are key to display qualities. People want high-quality display monitors. More than ever, they want them on their mobile devices as well.

People Watch More Video on Tablets

It makes sense to crank up tablet display quality. More people are watching video on tablets, according to Broadcast, which reported this more than doubled between June 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the British video provider Ooyala found that more than one-quarter of all video were viewed on a mobile device by the close of 2013. People now watch long-form video content (video running for at least 10 minutes) equally on tablets and laptops, and 53% of all tablet use is spent watching video.

Video stream is replacing television. Across the pond, Mashable says that it’s the Millenial generation (those who reached adulthood around 2000) who are watching video online. Thirty-four percent prefer viewing this way, rather than traditional television. Ten percent of this group doesn’t even watch broadcast TV at all, instead accessing the networks’ streams. (British TV also offers online streaming.) Forty-four percent said they like watching on mobile devices because it lets them decide when, and where, to watch a show.

Why are tablets popular for watching videos?

Television still offers the best high-definition quality, but tablets are fast catching up. Why are they popular? Marketing Pilgrim say’s it because they are mobile. With a tablet, you can watch video anywhere. It also allows people to browse for programs and apparently fosters intimacy, too: Business Intelligence reports that more people stream TV and video on their tablets in the bedroom than watch live TV there.

Lightweight, 4G tablets should appeal to Millenials everywhere. The latest ones feature 1920 x 1200 pixel displays ( 323 pixels per inch, or PPI) on 7-inch screens, (the standard is 1280 X 800) and weigh around 300g (.66 lbs) with 4G technology. Nexus 7, offered by T-mobile, Google, and Asus, offer these specs. Plenty of other larger and heavier tablets also have these speeds and resolutions.

4G Service Providers

4G is available everywhere although service is still spotty outside of major cities. The number of 4G services offered in the UK tripled in 2013 when Vodaphone and O2 invaded EE’s territory; EE, however, has the largest 4G network. Tesco and Three Mobile have joined since then. Check here to see if you have 4G coverage in your postcode.

Posted in: Editorial
By April 27, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 unboxing video

samsung-galaxy-s5-vs-apple-iphone-5sAt the moment there is a strong battle between the flagship Android smartphones from both Samsung and HTC. We’ve already discussed the HTC One (M8) a lot on the site but this weekend we’ve finally managed to get hold of the Samsung Galaxy S5. 

The Samsung Galaxy phones have always been popular with the S3 and S4 versions selling at both incredible speed and volume. This latest Galaxy S5 builds upon the previous versions and brings a 5.1″ Full HD AMOLED Screen, Quad-core 2.5GHz CPU, 2GB RAM and either 16 or 32GB of on board storage. If the on board storage isn’t enough for you then you can also add up to another 128GB with a microSD memory card.

Samsung have added other features such as a fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor to mention a few. 

Samsung have been more conventional than HTC with their camera. Here you’ll find a 16 mega-pixel camera with phase detection autofocus. Rather different to HTC’s 4.1 Ultrapixel approach.

As ever, I’m starting off here with an unboxing and hardware tour as well as a look at the UI and OS features.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 specification:

  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • 4G Network: LTE (market dependent)
  • Micro-SIM
  • Dimensions: 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm (5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 in)
  • Weight: 145 g (5.11 oz)
  • Fingerprint sensor (PayPal certified)
  • IP67 certified – Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
  • Display: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.1 inches (~432 ppi pixel density)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • TouchWiz UI
  • 3.5mm jack
  • microSD, up to 128 GB
  • Internal Storage:  16/32 GB storage
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth: v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE
  • NFC
  • Infrared port
  • microUSB v3.0 (MHL 2), USB On-the-go, USB Host
  • Primary Camera:  16 MP, 5312 x 2988 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1/2.6” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, [email protected], [email protected], HDR, video stabilization
  • Secondary Camera: 2 MP, [email protected], dual video call
  • OS: Android OS, v4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
  • CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Sensors
    • Accelerometer
    • gyro
    • proximity
    • compass
    • barometer
    • gesture
    • heart rate
  • GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • TV-out (via MHL 2 A/V link)
  • Battery: Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery
By April 26, 2014 Read More →

Five Reasons to Buy the HTC One (M8)

HTC M8The recently released HTC One M8 is already garnering attention in the smart phone industry, once again serving as a reliable alternative to the steeply priced more famous brands.

And although there are some concerns about the new HTC One, like its questionable quality of the camera or the not always perfect screen color reproduction, there are plenty of things to like about it as well, which should make the new HTC a popular choice once again.

Here are some of the best features of the new M8 that help it to hold ground in the very competitive smart phone market:

1.       BoomSound Speakers

The HTC One Boomsound Speakers are one of the hallmarks of the phone, separating it from the competition as the hands down best speaker system in any smart phone.

And since speakers play such a big role in the smart phone when watching videos, listening to music or gaming, this is definitely a big plus even over the big guns like Apple and Samsung.

2.       Camera Features

As mentioned before, the quality of the camera could sure use an improvement, but it still has plenty of terrific features that compensate.

The Duo Camera function allows for some unmatched editing features, and the Ufocus feature allows editing the focus of pictures that were already taken.

3.       Durable Construction and Design

The MTC One has always been renowned for its beautiful designs, and the new M8 is no different. The reliableand sturdy construction is yet another reason many people decide to go with the MTC.

4.       Battery Life

Unlike many other alternative smart phone brands, the TMC One M8 is showing great longevity in its battery life, lasting up to 48 hours with active usage, and even more in power saving mode.

5.       Motion Launch Gestures

We can’t leave the M8 without talking about its new groundbreaking Motion Launch Gestures feature – it’s a very convenient unlock feature that allows users to enter directly into the pre-determined features while unlocking.

Although for now it only allows the pre-set functions, hopefully with future updates custom apps will be available to launch with the system.

Author Bio

Christy Root is a contributing author for Prepaymania. She is one of the renowned technological products reviewer and voice for must buy gadgets. Christy has been quoted in various online and offline technology publications. To know more about her, follow her on Google+

Posted in: Editorial, Phones
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By April 24, 2014 Read More →

Online Gaming Technology Trends For 2014

indexLike virtually all aspects of daily life, modern technology has redefined recreation by enabling the creation of online gaming venues. eCasino platforms afford easy access to the best of all possible worlds.  Besides obvious perks of convenience and privacy, odds of hitting bigger jackpots at Euro Palace casino are much higher and more frequent. 

Other fringe benefits begin even before the first spin or draw is taken with hefty sign-on bonuses worth up to thousands of dollars. Moreover, constant entry into free-play tournaments and games are standing orders of every day at eCasinos.

Of course, very well is never good enough for e-vendors.  Instead, they constantly view to gain the lead with improved editions and entirely new additions to existing product lines.

Below is a sneak preview of five major online gaming technology trends for 2014.

Fiber Internet

Popular expert consensus holds that fiber Internet technology will set a new standard of true high speed online gaming in 2014 and 2015.  Fiber optic accessibility transmits data via light rays so fast it turns copper DSL cables dinosaur relics of a distant past.  Even better news is no need for special devices or apps to access exponential speed.  This capability could also allow web-based games that are 100% guaranteed for fairness and fast-paced play.

Second Screen

Recent close of 2013 4Q commenced the opening season of Second Screen technology.  Its main attraction is full access to advanced functions without distraction of disrupted play.  Instead of constant mouse clicking to switch HD maps and inventory lists, players could access those items via interactive second screens.

eSports

Variously called “competitive online gaming,” eSports technology has recently gained tremendous popularity.  Its growing visibility is most often given credit to a global focus that brings gamers across the world into direct contact for virtual combat.  Many commentators express firm belief in eSports as the next format of multi-casino online tournaments with huge cash prizes.

Virtual Reality

Largely driven by enormous popularity of Facebook’s recently acquired Oculus Rift platform, virtual reality is likely to make a long-awaited appearance by year’s end.  VR players don specially designed goggles to get an overall effect of direct participation from perspectives inside the game. This means saying goodbye to screens as barriers to final frontier of online gaming with physical presence from remote distances.

Augmented Reality

A very close second runner-up and relative of VR, augmented reality allows solitary interaction with customized interfaces to suit players’ wildest imaginations.  This surreal experience is enabled by artificial intelligence for truly interactive engagement by manipulating integrated electronic controls.  Combined with exponentially enhanced motion sensing technology, net effects like pushing virtual buttons or being dealt real cards by live dealers could be possible.

Final observations of 2014 online gaming innovations

Regardless of whether players use a desktop PC, laptop, Smartphone, iPad or tablet for remote access to hot gaming action, one reality cannot be denied.  Great things lie just ahead that make it very worthwhile to keep close tabs with vigilant watch of virtual gaming venues.  After all, if early birds get the biggest worms, it’s a safe bet that newest players get the best perks.

Posted in: Editorial