TV Takeover: Step aside LG & Samsung. Philips is here and it means business!

 

Philips took the center stage at IFA 2017, Berlin by introducing their smacking line up of TVs for 2017/18. With this lineup of TVs Philips has done what no other TV manufacturer has – have both Quantum Dot and OLED TVs in their flagship segment. Has Philips has found the perfect recipe for a flawless TV for today’s world? Here’s what I think:

Sophisticated Design: 

Throughout the keynote, Philips kept mentioning the design of their new TVs and it’s pretty evident they did their homework.  They do stand out, look really beautiful (even while the screen is off, might I add) and are mind blowingly thin. Not LG Wallpaper TV thin, but really thin. Philips said the design reflects the company’s European heritage in contrast to their Japanese and Korean competitors who all make similar TVs. And I think I agree with Philips on this one. “All TVs look alike” is what you’ll find most people around you saying. But things might change with these new Philips TVs. Philips also took time to talk about the awards and acclaims their TV won for their design and performance.

pHILIPS-oled
Source: http://www.channelnews.com.au

Display:

Like I mentioned earlier, Philips is the only company in the market to sell both OLED and Q-Dot TVs simultaneously. Their first flagship and debutant Quantum Dot TV is the Philips 8602. Quantum Dot technology helps for a wider colour gamut and ridiculously high brightness (up to 1100 nits!). It comes in 55 inch & 65 inch flavours. While their actual flagship –  the 9 series (Model No: 9002) is the OLED model which is much thinner than 8602 and the recipient of the above discussed awards. It goes up to to 900 nits of brightness and is available only in 65 inch. Apart from the display panel technology, these two TVs are essentially the same. Both of them are 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) HDR(High Dynamic Range) TVs, in case you are wondering.

Ambilight – Putting the m in mood: 

The new TVs from Philips are all about the experience. And to support that, they are bringing an updated version of Ambilight to their OLED and Q-Dot TVs. A lighting technology exclusive only to Philips TVs. Ambilight is a lighting technology that improves the immersion and also makes the TV look kinda bigger by gleaming light on the walls around the TV. This light matches the content on the TV, making it appear as though the visuals are extending beyond the screen. I really think Ambilight adds a new dimension to how we watch TV. Sync the Ambilight with those insanely expensive Philips Hue bulbs and you’re right in the mood. Be it intense gaming on your console or watching  a beautiful documentary on Scotland or chilling with your friends while watching your Saturday night match or some Netflix and Chill with your special one, the Amblight + Hue combo is definitely going to make your content more immersive than any other TV.

Picture Processing like never before:

Philips also introduced the all new and powerful P5 picture processor. Like the name suggests, this processor accomplishes 5 major tasks. I’ll run them down quickly. Source Perfection – corrects the picture and takes care of all the imperfections before displaying it on the screen. Perfect Sharpness – up-scales standard content to full UHD 4K resolution. media-20170903 (5)Perfect Colour – Intensifies the colours to give you some really bright visuals. Perfect Constrast – giving you extended Dynamic Range to make it look as real as possible. Perfect Motion – it smoothens out all the jerky movement in the raw content to give you a friction-less experience. With the P5 processing, Philips shows Image Processing which has taken a backseat in the last few years is just as important as the display resolution or the display panel.

Audio:

Just like other premium OLED TVs in the market, The Philips 9 series TV comes with a separate full fledged sound bar attached to the base of the TV, giving it a floating experience. The difference here is the 9002 comes with a 60 W speaker with 6.1 surround and 6 drivers while the 8602 comes only a dual driver soundbar with a lower wattage. Both these speakers output sweet Dts Premium HD sound.

Best in class Software: 

Philips is also one of the first TVs to come inbuilt with Google Assistant since it runs on the Android TV platform. You can do all your favourite stuff like “Open Netflix”, “How’s the weather”, “Book me an Uber” and also control other smart devices in your house. chromecast-built-inBut the Google Assistant will be available only on TVs running on Android 7.0 Nougat to which the update would coming around 2018. Luckily, that’s exactly when the TVs are expected to hit the market. And speaking of release, the flagship 9002 OLED 65 inch 4k UHD TV is rumored to be a whopping 35% cheaper than the flagships from market leaders like Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic.

Conclusion:

To sum it up, with the  award wining  European design, excellent picture quality (thanks to superior image processing), best in class software (Android Nougat), unique Ambilight technology, a rock solid soundbar and a significantly lower selling price makes the Philips 9 series a perfect TV that seems too good to exist. But lucky for us, it does and you could go and one yourself come 2018.

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Acer Switch 7 Black Edition: Finally a true Surface Pro killer? {IFA 2017 Snippets #2}

 

Almost every year a device which markets itself as a “Surface Pro Killer” don’t exactly do the job. But this time, The Acer Switch 7 Black Edition might finally do it because it does everything a Surface Pro does, but does it better and you’ll understand why.  Once again, Acer is looking to bring the competition directly to Microsoft with the Swift 7 taking on the Surface Pro. The Swift 7 has a beautiful 12.5 inch 2256 x 1504 p display with a home button and the embedded fingerprint scanner placed to the  side of the screen.media-20170901 (6)

The device also comes with a pretty good stylus and a standard keyboard cover.          ( detachable and connect via magnetic pins ). media-20170901-12.jpgAnd, the keys are back lit this time. The I/O is skimpy, it just has USB 3.0 port, a USB type C port, a micro SD card slot and a headphone jack. The Switch 7 has a cool new feature – Auto-stand. What happens is, whenever the device is pressed against hard surface, it automatically opens the stand so that you don’t have to awkwardly fiddle around the back and save yourself those precious 2 seconds.

If you’re thinking  ” Wow! the device looks so beautiful”  Let me tell you, it’s true beauty lies on the inside. And that beauty in this one is the cooling system. Thermal Management – undoubtedly the biggest nemesis to a super thin and light notebook. It has been that way for many years now, but Acer seems to have found a very elegant solution for this. They showcased us a technology they invented – Liquid Loop Cooling Technology and I should say, it’s pretty darn impressive. They said it was inspired by space science and the human circulatory system.

 

How it works is, The heat generated by the CPU heats up the liquid in the chamber and drives in through the loop where it cools down. And this cooled liquid in turn cools the CPU ( the latest Quad Cor Intel 8th Gen Core i7 ). It’s all one closed loop. And what’s better than one closed cooling loop? That’s right, Two. Even the GPU (Nvidia MX 150) has it’s own Liquid Loop. File_000 (1)This technology eliminates the use of a battery and fans, leading to ridiculously thin device. I have to say, this is by far one of the most innovative technologies in electronics in the past few years. And I predict this cooling solution will definitely makes it’s way to other Acer laptops in the coming years. Kudos to Acer!

 

But the big question is, how well will it fare against the good old ventilator-fans setup found on most laptops. We’ll only know once they’re out. Speaking of release, the Swift 7 is set at a base price of $1699 (INR 1,00,000. But don’t expect to make its way officially to India any time soon 😦 ) which is same as the Surface Pro ( price is without the keyboard and pen ). Add up the prices of the keyboard cover and the Pen, you’re looking at $200. This effectively makes the Swift 7 200 bucks cheaper. And it has way better internals and a better looking design. Like I said, the Switch 7 Black Editon is defintely bringing the competiton to the Microsoft Surface Pro and I’m really looking forward to how it’s going to play out.

 

  • If you want to learn more about the Microsoft Surface Pro, be sure to check out my article covering the device! 

https://wordpress.com/post/thetechnophilescorner.wordpress.com/468

  • If you want to know more about the Aspire S 24 – the  latest All in One PC by Acer, click here: 

https://wordpress.com/post/thetechnophilescorner.wordpress.com/1488

 

Aspire S 24 is Acer’s All in One PC for the modern era {IFA 2017 Snippets #1}

 

IFA 2017 – one of the world’s largest tech conferences has just begun in Berlin, Germany and many Tech giants have already dropped some hot products. In this section of IFA 2017 snippets, I’ll write about stuff I found the most exciting and innovative. Let’s talk Acer. Acer showed some really great products and one of them is the new All in One – Aspire S 24.

acer-aspire-s24-launchedAcer is looking to breathe fresh air into the decaying All in One PC with the Aspire S 24, which is all but boring. It has a whopping 90% screen to body ratio, with all most no bezels on the sides and top making for a really elegant design. It is also strikingly thin at just 5.97 mm. The screen is a 1920 x 1080p Full HD IPS panel.

Just like the popular Microsoft Surface Studio, all the processing power has been moved from the back, to the base. Hence, the super thin screen. You get to choose from the Quad Core Intel i5 or i7, both which are the latest 8th Gen Processors. This is actually the first All in One in the market to use the 8th Gen chips. And that’s not all that’s in the base. media-20170901 (2)You get the Acer’s TrueHarmony speakers and also a sub woofer to you give you extra bass (A base that gives you good bass xD). The S 24 also comes with Dolby Premium Audio. The S 24 has a healthy port selection as well – 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB type – C ports, an SD card slot and a 3.5 mm headphone/microphone jack. And finally, the cherry on top – The base acts as a Qi Wireless Charger which you could you use to charge your supported smartphones, tablets and smart watches.

There are two things I would’ve liked on this device, optional QHD or 4K screen given the price and the possessing power and an optional GPU – maybe a MX 150, GTX 1050 or a RX 560. It would’ve definitely helped in multitasking or some light gaming. Other than that, this looks to be a really fresh and a promising product from Acer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is everything you wanted it to be and more.

Back by popular demand – Samsung launched the successor to the infamous Note 7 on 23rd Aug at the Unpacked event held in New York which hands down was the coolest launch event EVER. They had 3-D projectors. Tell me when was the last time you saw 3-D projectors for a launch event. That’s right, never. File_001 Anyways, Samsung said the only reason for the Note 8 to exist are the loyal customers. So as you would expect, Galaxy Note 8 is an out and out crowd-pleaser for all the Android fans. At its heart, the Note 8 is just a S8 with some noteworthy enhancements about which I am totally psyched. So get yourself something to munch and sit tight because I’ve got a lot to talk about. Mostly about the things I completely loved and a couple of things that were disappointing.

Things I love about the Note 8:

  • The cutting “EDGE” Display: 

Back in 2014 when Samsung introduced the Edge display feature with the Galaxy Note 4 Edge, people thought it was just a gimmick and Samsung wasn’t exactly able to justify the edge display since it had very limited functionality. And moreover, it looked weird and out of place. But after years of work Samsung looked like they perfected the Edge Display by blending it seamlessly to the sides with the ill-fated Note 7.260002 And the Edge display was only strengthened when the S8 came out this year. But now, with the Note 8 the Edge display is more functional than ever. You have many new features and for me, the most exciting one is the App Pair functionality. With App pair you can club any two apps and launch them simultaneously through split screen just with a tap on the Edge display.

That Display. The gorgeous Infinity Display. Best Screen Ever. Sure, the iPhone, Pixel, G6, U11 and Xperia Z all have some great displays but nothing to beat the gorgeous QHD+ AMOLED displays found on the Galaxy S8 and now, the Note 8 too. At this point everyone might be familiar with the infinity display found on the galaxy devices and how they are extremely immersive while watching videos and how such a massive screen fits in a small compact body. Samsung demonstrated great pride in their display yesterday during the event which they rightly should because they perfected the bezeless display like no other company has.Do_Bigger_Things_Logo_DSKT_1440_20170820

Speaking of the beautiful display, Samsung wants you to have enough of it. So the Note 8 comes with a gigantic 6.3 inch screen!! 6.3 inches. This is no small phone or in fact a medium sized phone either. This thing is big. And yet, Samsung confidently claimed this phone to be perfectly usable in one hand. They achieve this with 3 main changes – the bezeless display ( obviously ), a taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen and lastly, by have the smaller curvature of the edges so that it’s easier to hold.

  • Hardware: 

Now that I am done drooling over the design and display, let’s me quickly run you through on what’s inside. Like on the S8, you get the Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 processor for US customer and the Exynos 8895 processor for all the other countries, 6 GB of RAM( A first for any Samsung smartphone ever ) and 64 GB of RAM( expandable via SD card slot ). Both the Note 8 and the S-Pen are IP68 water and dust resistant.

  • S-Pen: 

The S-Pen has undoubtedly been the heart and soul of the Note lineage. The S-Pen adds a whole another dimension to how we use our phone. It was something we didn’t know we actually needed a lot until Samsung actually put in a stylus with the phone. And obviously, as years passed by, the S-Pen matured and is now smarter and feels more responsive than ever with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity( same as that of the Apple Pencil ) and a real pen like 0.7 mm tip. The functions of SPen are just endless, it gives great control over taking screenshots and screen captures, helps you in signing PDFs, taking quick notes, memos and setting reminders. But these functions can be performed by most of the leading styluses in the market. Too bad none of them actually work with a smartphone.

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                             Source: Digital Trends

But here’s what even the laptop/tablet styluses can’t do – Screen off Memo; a feature which enables you to take notes, make lists, set reminders all while the screen is off. Thanks to the always-on display. You can even edit them by double tapping,  Last year, the limit for the screen off memo was just 1 page. But this year it is 100 pages. Notes for days !! Another cool feature of the S-Pen is the Translate and Convert feature which instantly translates sentences highlighted to your desired language. It also converts basic conversions like pounds to kg, miles to km, $ to Rs, etc just by highlighting the part.

File_009(1)                File_002

  •  Camera: 

Samsung has finally entered the dual camera patry, which has been all the rage this year. You get two of the industry leading 12 MP cameras- one is a f/1.7 standard sensor like the one found on the S8 and the other is f/2.4 telephoto lens. At this point it is completely redundant to say they some extremely good pictures, because everyone sure as hell knows Samsung devices always have one of the best cameras. File_002And things only get better with the secondary camera which allows you up to 2 x optical zoom without any loss in resolution. Samsung also introduced this new feature called Live Focus, where you can select a point to focus and blur the surroundings. What separated it from the rest of the competitors like iPhone and One Plus 5 is that you can adjust the focus and the extent of background blur in real time. And, a non-blurred picture with the background detail in stored in the gallery as well so that you never miss out on great pictures. And the icing on the cake is both the Cameras come with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) to help you get blazing fast pics and clear pictures in low light as well.

file_0002.png,                    File_004

  • Software:

Much like the Samsung S8, the Note 8 runs on Samsung’s skinned version of Android 7.1 Nougat. Samsung promised that an Android 8 Oreo update will hit the Note 8 soon. The UI is not exactly industry leading unlike all the other aspects of the phone. It still does come with a little bit of bloatware but the UI nowhere as bad as it was earlier. Infact, the TouchWiz UI had been one of the biggest shortcomings of earlier Galaxy devices. Gladly, that’s not the case now.File_008

The S-Pen, the Infinity Display and the software all work in perfect synchronization to give the user a truly premium and unique experience. One such experience which everyone seems to be going crazy about is Live Messages which works only with the S-Pen. With Live Message, you get to draw or write sparkly text over your photos or on just a blank space and it exports as a GIF so that it can be shared across every chatting and social media apps.

  • Battery:

And obviously this wouldn’t be Note 8 article without talking about its battery. Samsung told us there is absolutely no reason to worry because each battery has undergone a 8 step safety check in an exclusive facility built just for this purpose. And I’ll take their word for it. Coming to the device, Samsung plays it safe by putting in a mediocre 3300 mAh battery which is totally understandable and could actually be forgiven because of its support for wireless fast charging. At this point, it straight up embarrassing to all the other smartphone companies because except the flagship Samsung Galaxy devices, no other phone in the market supports wireless charging.

  • The Samsung Eco system: Bixby and Dex

The two other highly talked about things in the event were Samsung Dex and Bixby. I’ll soon be posting another article dedicated to just this. But in short, Bixby is Samsung’s own smart assistant which isn’t as good as Google Assistant or Siri but does have a couple of unique features up its sleeve. Bixby can be activated by pressing the Bixby button on left side of the phone. file_001.pngSamsung worked on the Dex to integrate it more seamlessly with the Note 8. If you haven’t heard of Dex, it’s basically a dock for your phone and the Dock connects to a Monitor. Hook up a wireless mouse and keyboard, and you can now use your phone as a PC.

  • Release and Availability: 

The Note 8 will officialy hit stores (online & retail stores) all over the world on Sept 15th. But pre-orders are already underway if you’re really excited. The Note 8 will be available in 4 colours rounf the globe – Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Maple Gold & Deep Blue Sea while in US it’ll be available only in 2 colours – Midnight Black & Orchid Grey. Samsung didn’t talk much about the pricing, but like I  said in my earlier Note 8 post it is expected to be priced around $950 USD ( Rs.60,000 ). You can check out that out here: 

https://thetechnophilescorner.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/tech-juice-weekly-samsung-set-to-launch-the-note-8-next-month-hows-it-going-to-fare/?preview=true

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                            Source: Android Authority

  • A little Extra for the fans: 

Samsung has partnered with Harmon to equip all Note 8 buyers with specially tuned AKG earphones so you don’t have to deal with those crappy stock earphones. And they announced this exactly how you would expect them to; by taking a dig at Apple for not having a headphone jack. Classic.

The Disappointments:

There are a couple of things I don’t like. Namely, the Fingerprint sensor and the Storage options. The fingerprint sensor positioning is just awful. It is very small and located right next to the camera lenses. You’ll be smudging your camera more times than you’ll be unlocking your phone. Sure, there is the Iris Scanner on the front. But given how integral a fingerprint scanner has become, it’s quite a disappointment. And it sucks that we only get a 64 GB storage variant given the near $1000 price. 128 GB storage would have been ideal.

Final Thoughts: 

Sure, Samsung themselves said this is phone for the fans but it doesn’t have to just that. It promises to be more, a phone for any kind of person (even an iPhone user ) who wants the ultimate smartphone experience. Because as of right now, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has pulled itself way ahead of competition with exclusives like the Edge Display & S-Pen, unrivaled design & display and rock solid performance to back all that up. But will things change when iPhone 8 and the Pixel 2 come out in a few months ?

 

 

 

 

The Asus Zenfone 4 and 4 Pro: 2 really confident phones with the dual cameras as the heart of their creation.

A couple of days back(17th Aug ), Asus unveiled the much awaited Zenfone 4 family of phones in a press event held in Taiwan. And yes, I did use the term “family” because Asus has 6 phones in their line up (Technically there are 3 models – Zenfone 4, Zenfone Selfie & Zenfone Max with a PRO version of each)! It starts of with the entry level  Asus Zenfone Selfie and goes all the way to their flagship device – The Zenfone 4 Pro. The launch event didn’t reveal anything unexpected, given Asus themselves leaked the devices along with the specs and the price on their French website by-mistake (of course, it was taken down very quickly). Jeez, a lot of these “leaks” by the makers themselves has been going around. Anyways, in this article I’ll focus mostly on the Zenfone 4 and the Zenfone 4 Pro.

ASUS-ZenFone-4


Asus Zenfone 4: 

This is their primary phone out of the bunch and in my opinion, the most interesting one. I feel the Zenfone 4 provides you the most value for your money. Starting at $399 (around Rs. 25,500),  you get a 5.5 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080p )screen 2.5 D Corning Gorilla Glass for protection and the screen is quite bright at 600 nits. The phone is build out of glass on the front & back and is complemented well by the metal frame. As for the hardware packed inside, you get the all-new Snapdragon 630 quad core processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. As for the battery, you get a healthy 3300mAh battery, and Asus also introduced their new Asus BoostMaster Fast Charge technology which apparently charges your phone up to 50% in just 36 min.file_003.png

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The Zenfone 4 also comes with dual stereo speakers (earpiece which also doubles as a speaker + rear speaker) and support for Hi-Res audio. The Zenfone 4 is the very first phone to have DTS audio technology. It provides 7.1 virtual surround sound when you plug in supported headphones /earphones.

If the Snapdragon 630 isn’t juicy enough, you can upgrade to it’s big brother – The Snapdragon 660. And this model also comes with 6 GB of RAM. Unfortunately, the pricing for this model wasn’t revealed but expect it to be around $499(Rs. 32,000). The SD 630 & 660 have some cool new features like support for NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, USB type-C and Dual camera all which have been included in the Zenfone 4.

The Camera:
Like I mentioned before, the Camera/s has been the headlining feature of the phone. Asus spoke a lot about the cameras on their phones. And by a lot, I mean almost 75% of the presentation. And to support this notion, they included some really beastly cameras and quite a few camera technologies in the phone. The phone features a formidable trio of Sony Sensors. On the back, you get a dual camera setup – a 12 MP primary camera f/1.7 with Sony’s best – IMX 362 sensor and a 8 MP 120-degrees wide angle lens with a Sony IMX 351 sensor. This setup provides you 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom. Thanks to Asus’ new Pixel Sense Technology, and the dual camera setup, Asus claims the photos are around 8 times brighter in low light and night photos. But this claim is yet to be tested.

file_008.png
                         Low light photos taken by Zenfone 4

 And just like any other phone advertising a dual camera setup, even this one has the portrait mode which provides a depth in field thanks to the secondary camera.  Oh, that’s not all the secondary wide angle lens does, it increases the field of view by a whopping 200% to help you get those gorgeous wide angle shots. To complement these cameras, you get OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) , EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) and PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus), to help you get perfect crisp pictures at blazing speeds. On the front you have a 16 MP f/1.9 Sony IMX 319 sensor with EIS as well and a soft tone LED flash.

  Sample shots taken on Zenfone 4: 

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                     shot with wide angle lens enabled

Asus Zenfone 4 Pro:

The Asus Zenfone 4 Pro is just what you expected it to be, a more enhanced version of the Zenfone 4. On the outside, it looks just like the Zenfone 4. The only difference is that the there isn’t any camera protrusion as found on the Zenfone 4, on which it is quite prominent. And on the front, you are greeted with the same 5.5 inch FHD display, but this time it has an AMOLED screen. File_009 (1)I should say, I’m a little disappointed that Asus still went the same 1080p resolution instead of opting for a 1440p res screen which would make more sense given the slightly above average price tag and it being their flagship device. Since, we’re talking about the screen, I should say it does look quite ordinary. You can see, the phone doesn’t exactly have an edge to edge, bezeless display like other flagship smartphones that have come out this year. Looks like a missed opportunity here.

However, under the hood almost everything is upgraded. The phone is powered by the extremely powerful top of the line – Snapdragon 835 with advanced 10nm architecture and the Adreno 540 GPU. You get 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage which can expanded up to 2 TB via micro SD slot thanks to the first of it’s kind Triple Sim tray (2 sim slots + 1 Micro SD Card Slot) which is also present in the Asus Zenfone 4, Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie, Asus Zenfone 4 Pro.file_007-3.png The SD 835 consumes 25 % less power than the earlier SD 820 processor, this coupled with the fairly large 3600 mAh battery is surely going to get you throughout the day on a single charge without a problem. And just like Zenfone 4, even the Pro comes with Asus BoostMaster Fast Charge technology which charges up to 50% in 32 minutes.

Not too much of a change in the camera dept. Instead of the 8 MP wide angle lens, you get a 16 MP sensor. Everything else remains the same. Asus stressed quite a lot on the Zenfone 4 Pro being built ground up as a photographer’s phone. They did show sample photos of the Zenfone 4 Pro actually clicking brighter and clearer HDR photos than the other leaders like the S8 & HTC U11  But I’m not so sure how accurate this comparison is. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that is actually a very strong camera.file_003-2.png

Sample shots taken on the Zenfone 4 Pro BEFORE and AFTER enabling the wide angle lens:

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File_007 (1)                   File_006

As for the pricing, it starts at $599(around INR 38,000) and is available in 3 colours – Midnight Black, Moonlight White and Mint Green (same colour options for the Zenfone 4 as well).  It is quite a bit of money and definitely more than the other flagship killer devices like the One Plus 5, Huawei P10 but Asus gives you a truly premium feeling phone with a really superior camera which you don’t exactly get with the One Plus 5 or the P10 in my opinion.

Asus has a good thing going on in the laptop and the computer hardware segment and it looks like it’s carrying the momentum to their phones as well. The Zenfone 4 and the Zenfone 4 Pro are really confident phones with almost every feature you could ask for. They really do pack in quite a lot in a really beautiful looking phone and are offering it to us at a really attractive price. Unfortunately, the release dates for the phones weren’t given by Asus but I suggest you wait for wait in case you are on the look out for a new flagship phone but not interested cashing it all out on all the S8s, iPhones and Pixels of the world.

 

Tech Juice Weekly: Samsung set to launch the Note 8 next month. How’s it going to fare?

I just started this segment called Tech Juice Weekly. In this segment I’ll be sharing my opinions every week on all things hot in the world of tech and also discuss about the latest rumors, leaks  and other info on upcoming electronic devices. So, this week I’m going to discuss about about the release of the eagerly awaited Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and how last year’s incident might affect the sales this year and how it’s likely to be priced.

 

Release:

For those still wondering, the release is official! Samsung has confirmed the very anticipated launch of the Galaxy Note 8. Well, not technically but earlier this year Samsung said they would be launching the Note 8 somewhere at the end of August – early September. This falls exactly in line with the “Unpacked” event Samsung is holding on the 23rd of Aug in New York. And to clear all doubts, the pic shows “Do better things” in brackets which clearly hints towards the bezeless display of Galaxy devices and the pic also features a pic of the iconic SPen which has always been integral to  the Note devices. So this pretty much confirms the launch date.

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One important thing to note is this release date gives Samsung some serious advantage. Why? Because of the delay in the release of its rival – the iPhone (iPhone 8) which is confirmed to launch at the end of September. This gives Samsung enough breathing time to push out their devices at full capacity and also probably sway the minds of the eagerly waiting Apple fanboys.

 

Media Attention:

If you are a human being who is on the internet then you probably know what happened last year with Galaxy Note 7. I won’t dwell too much into the incident, but those who are unaware, the Note 7 kept exploding in user’s hands and pockets due to certain battery issues. Largely, because of fitting in a huge battery in an extremely sleek device. Samsung had acknowledged the incident and had to recall the devices twice (yes, twice) and they later on officially announced the death of the Note 7. Samsung also claimed that this would also be the end of the entire Note series. But now that’s clearly not the case. Needless to say, this infamous event garnered Samsung huge amount of attention (not in a good way of course!). But you also might be aware of the fact this device was an absolutely brilliant phone and it very easily would have been the best phone of 2016 had it existed for more time. Well, come 2017, Samsung launches the Galaxy S8/S8+. Once again magnificent devices and luckily with a stable battery. This kind of regained the trust of the consumers.160902121639-samsung-galaxy-note-7-fire-front-780x439

Now, with the launch of the Note 8, all the negative publicity from last year might actually turn out to be a  big positive for Samsung. Be it for good reasons or bad, the phone got a lot of media coverage and this made the public acknowledge the fact that this phone existed. So surely, all eyes are going to be on Samsung when the Note 8 launches and IF Samsung plays it’s cards right, they could have a solid phone at hand. This would impress a whole lot of people and Samsung would have a fighting chance at the top tier of the Smartphone market. BUT if they don’t (let’s all hope this doesn’t happen), this would obviously plummet the sales of Samsung and open up the market to Apple and Google who are both launching their flagship devices later on this year.

If you want more info on the Note 7 explosion incident, be sure to check out Cnet’s article on why the phones were exploding

Here’s why Samsung Note 7 phones are catching fire

Pricing:

Just like for any other device, pricing is going to play a major role in the sales of the Note 8 . As of now, nothing is confirmed yet. But various sources are predicting different price points. Some say its going to cost somewhere between $850-950 (roughly between 55,000 – 61,000 INR) just like the Note 5 & Note 7, while some speculate the price might as well shoot over the $1000 mark and cost around $1100 (71,000 INR). If that’s the case the device is going to be a tough sell since the supposed iPhone 8 and Pixel 2 XL are said to be packing even powerful hardware and that too below the $1000 mark. Remember, all these are speculations and we’ll only know for sure when it comes out. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the price drop in Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ which is bound to come around with the launch of Note 8.

Acer Aspire VX 15: A budget gaming laptop definitely worth your money

Over the last decade or so the term Gaming Laptops has been synonymous with either the Alienware or the Razer Blade. But in the past couple of years, the industry has seen a sudden growth in this category – “Budget Gaming Notebooks” with almost every company having a powerful laptop with quality gaming grade hardware under the $1000 mark in their lineup. And the Aspire VX 15 marks Acer’s entry into this segment. Let’s take a deep look into this device.

Design: 

The VX 15 looks exactly how a gaming/business laptop should look like. It looks like a toned down and a more socially acceptable version of the Acer Predator laptop. The first thing you’ll notice when you look a the laptop are those huge dark red dual air vents (Acer’s new cooling solution; individual vents for the GPU and CPU). Aspire-VX-15_overview_design_largeSome might find that as an overkill but to me – they look incredibly good.The top is made up of brushed metal-like plastic and has the Acer branding in the centre and is surrounded by two red accents. One more thing that stands out to me is the silver central hinge. Imparts a really good look to the device.

Hardware:

Coming to the hardware department, you’ll find that Acer has packed quite a lot of hardware for a quite a reasonable price. You get an Intel i7 7700HQ – A Quad Core processor clocked in at a healthy 2.8 Ghz(Turbo BOost up to 3.8GHz), 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, 1 TB of HDD Storage and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.acer-notebook-original-imaeshfrcfdk8dgc Thanks to the latest Pascal Technology, companies can now incorporate the GPUs into the laptops in such a way that there is ALMOST no difference in the performance from their desktop counterparts which unfortunately wasn’t the case with the earlier generations of GPUs. Speaking of the GPU, the 1050 Ti is quite an able one. It definitely is a bang for buck graphics card and can take on any of the latest games at 1080p extremely well.

Battery:

The VX 15 uses a 55 Wh battery. Acer could have packed in a larger battery since it’s thicker and bigger than other notebooks of its kind and most of them actually have a larger battery. It gives about 6 ½ hours of general usage and around 1 hr of gaming just like any other gaming notebook in this price segment.

The I/O:

This is where the VX 15 trumps its competition. The VX 15 has almost every port you could ask for. It comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet jack, an SD Card Reader, a Headphone/MIcrophone Jack and the best of all, a USB Type-C port which is sadly missing from its competitors like Dell Inspiron 15 and the HP Omen 15.Aspire-VX-15_gallery-07

 

Display:

Meh……..Not exactly great but not too bad either. Definitely better than its direct competitor – Dell Inspiron 15. It is a 15.6 inch 1080p IPS panel. The screen is a little dull and is not so colour accurate either (65% Adobe RGB). It’s perfectly fine for 1080p gaming (since it’s the sweet spot for GTX 1050 Ti) and media consumption. But not recommended for photo or video editing purposes. One more thing to note are those really thick bezels. They are the first things you’ll notice when you open the lid. Just like the average display even this is another cost cutting measure.

Configurations:

This is where Acer falls short. Here in India, the Acer Aspire VX 15 is available only in a single configuration of i7, GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB RAM and 1TB of HDD storage and retails for around INR 89,000/- while in other countries, it is being sold in various options ranging from an i5, GTX 1050, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD (at a jaw dropping $800 USD) to an i7, GTX 1050 Ti, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD and 1TB of HDD(for $1200 USD). So, for those of you on a really tight budget it’s better to look elsewhere.

Keyboard and Track-pad:

Good news here. The keyboard and track-pad are very good. The extra thickness of the laptop gives the keys added travel distance (1.6 mm) and keys are actually fun to use. Aspire-VX-15_gallery-06They have a good feel and are also spaced well; thanks to the larger body of the laptop.  The WASD keys and the track-pad have a red outline and even the back light is also of red colour. Acer makes sure you won’t forget you’re using a gaming machine even for a second. The track-pad also feels good. Luckily, it’s using native Windows Drivers. So, there won’t be any problems with it.

 

  • In conclusion, the Acer Aspire VX 15 is a really powerful entry-level gaming notebook and is clearly one of the best in this segment because. I would strongly recommend this device to anyone who wants a gaming laptop under the INR 1,00,000/- price point. Sure like I mentioned earlier, there are many other options like the Dell Inspiron 15, Lenovo Legion Y520 and HP Omen. But all of them are a bit too mainstream and generic in my opinion. Acer brings in a lot more character with the VX 15.  And with the all new hardware it is bound to last you for a while and serve you well.