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 December 25, 2013 Read More →

Merry Christmas

xmasOn behalf of the team here at tracyandmatt I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and listeners a very Merry Christmas! Thank you all for fab support and for following us on twitter etc.

Thanks also from me to the guys that work with me on the site, Gareth, James, Phil and Chris. Your helps and support is amazing and greatly appreciated.

Over the next few months we have a lot planned and there will be some changes as well as more of the same news, reviews and videos. We’ll be further developing our podcast hangouts and there’s a few other things up our sleeves too.

We’ll be be back to posting news and reviews again in a few days.

By December 21, 2013 Read More →

LG’s 105-inch curved TV

LG's 105-inch curved TVYesterday LG announced that they were to release the worlds first 105″ curved LCD TV at CES in 2014. Furthermore, the giant display will have a 21:9 aspect ratio, the likes of which we’ve not seen for some time.

The full press release from LG can be seen below:

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By December 16, 2013 Read More →

Google Glass unboxing video

Google Glass unboxing videoGoogle Glass has been around for a little while now with early ‘Explorer Edition’ versions being made available to a select few testers and developers at the beginning of 2013. Over the past few months the Explorer programme has been further extended and I’ve now been lucky enough to have been invited to join and have just now received my very own Google Glass. Excited is not the word…

Google Glass has been a little controversial of late and there have been some privacy concerns, in fact some shops and restaurants going so far as to ban their use. Part of my desire to use Glass is to consider these issues myself and I’ll be talking about this more as I get to use it more.

So as is always the way with any new tech I get my hands on, I’ve recorded a short unboxing video for your viewing pleasure. You’ll notice that I’m not in my normal studio environment recording this one, I’m in a hotel having just picked the Glass up. As a result, there is some noise for the first minute and 10 seconds, so I hope that doesn’t detract from the video too much.

Google Glass Unboxing video

Google Glass Specification:

  • Dual-core 1GHz OMAP CPU*
  • 1GB RAM (682MB available to developers)*
  • OS: Android 4.0.4
  • 3 axis gyroscope
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • 3 axis magnetometer (compass)
  • Touchpad Control
  • Bone Conductor Speaker
  • 16GB Storage/ 12GB Free
  • 1 Day Battery Life
  • Voice Control
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth
  • Titanium Headband
  • 5MP Camera
  • 720P video recording
  • 640×360 display

* Specs for the CPU and RAM are not totally clear, has been a lot of contradictory information so we’re going with the consensus.

 

Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using “voice actions”. To activate Glass, wearers tilt their heads 30° upward (which can be altered for preference) or tap the touchpad, and say “O.K., Glass.” Once Glass is activated, wearers can say an action, such as “Take a picture”, “Record a video”, “Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]”, “Google ‘What year was Wikipedia founded?'”, “Give me directions to the Eiffel Tower”, and “Send a message to John”

By December 12, 2013 Read More →

Samsung loses another fight with Apple

apple-vs-samsung1_2The seemingly tit-for-tat battle between Apple and Samsung has been rumbling on for quite some time and there have been wins for both sides during the legal wrangles.

However, Samsung’s latest loss has come as something of a surprise and it’s happened in Korea, Samsung’s own home.

Patent violation claims have been raised by Samsung against Apple and Samsung steadfastly maintain that Apple are infringing upon key patents and have been calling for a sales ban on a number of Apple products in South Korea – including the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad 2. The three separate claims are based on three patent infringement allegations these Apple products were using mobile messaging technology from Samsung.

In a statement Samsung said:

“We are disappointed by the court’s decision, as Apple has continued to infringe our patented mobile technologies, we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.”

The sales ban was rejected in the Korean court and the claim of around £58k in damages was also dismissed.

This will be a bitter loss for Samsung but the legal tussle between the two tech-giants is sure to wage on for some time to come.

Posted in: News
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By December 12, 2013 Read More →

LG Gx details emerge

lgLG seem to have had a pretty successful end to 2013 with two of the more popular Android smartphones on the market at the moment coming from LG; The Nexus 5 and the flagship LG G2.

Already we’re starting to see some details of what could be the LG G2’s successor and if ppomppu.co.kr are correct the device will be called the LG Gx.

Based upon a google translate of the page, the LG Gx will have a diaplay slightly larger than the Nexus 5 and G2 at 5.5-inches,  a claimed 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and LTE-A support. It has also been said that there will be a 13-megapixel rear camera and a whopping 3140 mAh battery.

Where the information seems to have been called in to question is in the chipset department where the claim is that a Qualcomm 600 rather than the ‘usual’ 800 is listed which doesn’t seem to ring true as the devices that the Gx will succeed are 800 based.

We’ll be keeping or eyes peeled for more on this one as we’re pretty big fans of the Nexus 5!

LG-Gx5

Posted in: News, Phones
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By December 11, 2013 Read More →

Getting the Most Out of Your DSLR Camera: 7 Tips

6860378070_c0501eef67A DSLR camera is so much more than a point-and-shoot tool to take nice family pictures. With a few basics tips and a lot of practice, you can create artistic-studio quality work that you will be proud to share with family and friends. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your purchase.

Start with the Basics

Read your manual; it’s a time investment you won’t regret. The great thing about the user manual is everything you read can be applied right away. If the thought of reading the whole thing at once intimidates you, start with a chapter at a time, and experiment with what you learn. Remember to thoroughly clean the camera lens before each photo session. 

Posted in: Cameras, Editorial
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By December 10, 2013 Read More →

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 410

qualcomm-snapdragon-chip-580x326Today Qualcomm have announced a new chipset to join their existing, impressive lineup. The Snapdragon 410 will

With today’s introduction of the Snapdragon 410 processor, Qualcomm is extending its leadership in emerging regions by bringing integrated 4G LTE to sub $150 smartphones. With a multimode, multiband world mode LTE modem, users will be able to take advantage of LTE speeds as 4G LTE begins to ramp in China and other emerging regions globally. Qualcomm also announced plans to bring 4G LTE to all tiers of Snapdragon processors.

The Snapdragon 410 will also be Qualcomm’s first 64-bit capable product, ensuring OEMs customers are ready for the transition to the next-generation of mobile operating systems. Additional upgrades to the Snapdragon 410 include the Adreno 306 GPU, support for 1080p video playback and up to a 13 Megapixel camera.

By December 10, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 gets Android 4.4.2

Screenshot_2013-12-10-06-30-25Just a few days after the Android 4.4.1 update for the Nexus 5 another alert appeared on my phone this morning advising that there was an update available, this time Android 4.4.2 provided over the air.

This latest Android 4.4.2 update promises further camera improvements for the Nexus 5 with faster shooting, less shutter lag, less motion blur, faster and more accurate auto focus, better white balance and more accurate exposures.

Whist it’s too early for me to pass much of  a judgement, I can say that there is a marked improvement in the shutter lag but I’ll need to take more pictures to comment on the other improvements.

This OS update does state that there are ‘Other Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements’ but does not provide a list. I haven’t seen anything as yet…

UPDATE: As Steve Wilson points out, 4.4.2 is also available for the Nexus 4,7 and 10.

Posted in: News, Phones
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By December 8, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 battery life better with ART

Screenshot_2013-12-08-12-56-34If you have your hands on a Nexus 5 one of the things you may not like so much about the phone is the battery life. While the Nexus 5 battery life isn’t terrible by any means, it’s certainly not one of it’s better features and many of us are just about able to get to the end of the day before the phone is screaming for power.

There are lots of battery optimisation apps on the market and some work better than others. I’m personally using Snapdragon BatteryGuru which seems to work well and gives me up to an extra few hours from each charge. One good thing about BatteryGuru is that it spends a couple of days gethering data about your own actual usage and optimises the battery saving features based upon how you use the phone rather than a stock set of profiles.

If you have a Nexus 5 there is another option that you could try in order to get a little bit more from each battery charge: Switch from Dalvik runtime environment to Android RunTime or ART.

Nexus 5 battery life better with ART

Whilst you may not have heard of Dalvik, it’s the underlying runtime environment for every Android phone and Google have spent a lot of time optimising it of the years. However, the new kid on the block is Android RunTime.

ART comes as part of Android 4.4 KitKat and while you may not notice much of a performance difference, Android RunTime operates in a totally different way from Dalvik as it’s an Ahead-Of-Time compiler. This directly affects how applications run in the background and should have an impact on battery life.

In practice switching to ART does indeed have an impact on battery life and definitely the Nexus 5 battery is life better with ART.

How to enable Android RunTime on the Nexus 5

Switching to Android RunTime from Dalvik is really simple, takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require unlocked boot loaders or a rooted device or anything scary like that.

First of all we need to enable the developer options on the Nexus 5. Head in to Settings > About Phone and then at the bottom of the page tap repeatedly on the Build Number row. You’ll see a message telling you that developer mode is enabled and this provides us with the developer options under the Settings menu.

Once in developer options go to Select Runtime and switch to ‘Use ART’. After a reboot and a short update the phone will restart.

It’s that simple and you can always switch back if you need to.

We’ve discovered that the batter life is certainly better with Android RunTime and while all the apps we’ve tried work just the same under ART there’s no performance improvements to be seen either.

Give it a try and let us know how you get on!

Posted in: News, Phones
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By December 7, 2013 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 benchmarks show 2.5GHz CPU

Samsung-Galaxy-S5Seems like only yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S4 hit the scene but already we are looking towards the S5 with eager anticipation.

If the benchmarks that have apparently surfaced claiming to be a Samsung SM-G900S turns out to be the Samsung Galaxy S5 then we really are in for a treat!

The benchmarks appeared on the GFXBench website and show that the device claiming to be the Samsung SM-G900S has an incredible 2560×1440 display (presumably circa 5.5″), a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU running at 2.5GHz, Adreno 330 GPU and Android 4.4 KitKat.

So speculation has already started and the guess is that the mystery device could well be the anticipated Galaxy S5 but other thoughts are that it could be the Samsung Galaxy Round.

We are already aware of Samsung’s plans for 560ppi (45 um) displays on smartphones coming next year and 4K displays in 2015 and foldable displays towards 2016 if the technology barriers can be overcome.