This week was all about smartphones at Engadget. Cherlynn Low spent some time with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to determine who it’s really for. Terrence O’Brien compared and contrasted the Pixel 5a against previous versions to find out where the value lies in the upgraded model. Cherlynn also put the ASUS-Qualcomm Snapdragon smartphone through its paces to see how it stacks up against mainstream devices.
Cherlynn Low was upfront about the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in her review. Not only is it the best foldable phone yet with a fast, large screen, neat software tricks and water resistance, but it’s also now available at a (relatively) reasonable $1,000. She says it’s basically a regular smartphone that folds in half with a satisfying snap. The stronger aluminum, refined hinge and tough screen made it the first foldable she was willing to throw into a purse without worrying about scratching. She liked the widgets available for the Cover Display window, the new color options and the Flex mode, which assisted with one-handed use.
Despite that, she still feels the Z Flip 3 is a hard sell. The battery life was woefully short and rarely lasted an entire day, and the software was a bit buggy. While most apps fit nicely on the screen, there was an occasional mismatch of aspect ratios that caused difficulties. For example, the pop-up dialogs in Settlers of Catan disappeared into the edges of the display. Plus, it was hard to find the benefit for more mainstream audiences who could purchase an iPhone or Samsung handset for the same price. For those who are nostalgic or curious enough to buy the Z Flip 3, they ‘ll find themselves with a capable device that has the best any foldable can offer.
Terrence O’Brien is quick to point out that the $449 Pixel 5a is a bit of a stop-gap: The Pixel 4a 5G was a solid offering and the Pixel 6 should be right around the corner. That being said, there’s still a few things about the 5a that make it worth considering. While the 5a keeps the same processor, RAM and camera experience as the previous version, it adds IP67 water and dust resistance and an incredible battery. Terrence said the 4,680mAh battery survived through nearly 23 hours of video play before powering down, and was still at 40 percent after 24 hours of general heavy usage.
The rest of the features on the 5a include a metal unibody with a matte texture, an upgrade to Gorilla Glass 6 and a 6.34-inch OLED panel with HDR support and 2,400 x 1,080 resolution. Terrence admits that the Snapdragon 765G processor is a bit outdated, but also says that the 5a still felt responsive and quick while reading email or playing The Elder Scrolls: Blades. However, it stuttered a few times while navigating YouTube and editing photos. The camera experience is also excellent, though the same as the features on the 4a 5G: an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, a 12.2-megapixel main lens and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle. Overall, Terrence’s biggest objection to the 5a was that it was a bit boring in that it’s very close to a reproduction of the 4a 5G.
Qualcomm and ASUS teamed up to create a smartphone for fans of the Snapdragon chipset, but Cherlynn Low says it’s a bit too niche to broadly recommend. With a 6.8-inch screen and weighing in at 210 grams, this is one of the heavier phones that she’s tested recently — and its looks differentiate it from the competition. Cherlynn says its rounded-rectangle body, matte blue finish and shiny red accents make it stand out, but she was less fond of the illuminated icon on the rear which can glow on and off.
The rest of the $1,499 device includes a 144Hz refresh rate display, comprehensive 5G support and rapid charging. The AMOLED panel runs at a resolution of 2,448 x 1,080 and delivers vibrant colors and deep blacks. However, the 20.4:9 aspect ratio cut off some content like the ends of longer messages in Telegram. The phone includes a pair of wireless Master and Dynamic earbuds to pair with Qualcomm’s High Dynamic Range Audio Record to support high-res 24-bit 96kHz audio. However, there were several features that had yet to be released, and the phone did tend to run hot. Cherlynn says unless you’re a big Qualcomm fan or really need the refresh rate, you’ve got better options elsewhere.
First, James Trew wants you to understand what the Loupedeck Live is: a Mac or PC control surface with multiple configurable dials and buttons. He also wants you to understand what it’s best for, which is audio- or image-editing and a workflow of dynamic profiles. When using these profiles, the Loupedeck will automatically switch to the assigned buttons and rotaries you’ve selected for that program. This means the Live is adaptive and will follow you with a variety of actions and choices as you navigate.
That puts it in contrast to the competition, the Elgato Stream Deck, which works as more of a program launcher. The Loupedeck Live offers three models of control surface with each being physically distinct and intended for different uses; James says the Live version looked good on his desk. He particularly liked the mini LCD displays on the buttons, which show what each does, and the rotary dials, which he found useful for volume control or scrolling through a list. James felt the particular strength of the Loupedeck was the large amount of native-app support it offers — not only can it be helpful for streaming, but it will also lend a hand when editing or designing a logo.
EU Commission proposes removing chargers from all smartphone boxes – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
In a new press release by the European Commission, legislation is being put forth by the European Commission to standardize the charging plug across all consumer devices. It also plans to “harmonize” a fast-charging standard and “unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices”. This proposal will apply to “smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld videogame consoles.”
The Commission officially proposes four things:
- A harmonized charging port for electronic devices: USB-C will be the common port.
- Harmonized fast-charging technology: will help prevent different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
- Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: the Commission says that EU consumers already have an average of three chargers and will only use two.
- Improved information for consumers: OEMs will need to provide information about charging speeds and whether the device supports fast charging.
According to the EU Commission, European consumers spend €2.4 billion annually on standalone chargers not included with devices. Also, an estimated 11,000 tonnes of e-waste are made up of disposed/unused chargers every year. The EU Commission hopes that the proposed legislation could potentially save consumers €250 million per year on unnecessary charger purchases.
Fast-charging standardization is an interesting one. Many Chinese phone makers all use different fast-charging standards to compete with each other, but most will support some form of USB-C Power Delivery fast-charging. So OEMs would need to provide fast-charging information so that they are informed about what charging speeds they may expect from the charger they already have at home.
iPhone 12 Pro with included Lightning to USB-C cable
The proposed legislation will affect Apple the most. They’d need to make the switch from Lightning to USB-C. It’s been rumored for years that Apple would make this switch, and even though Apple’s MacBook and iPad have already switched to USB-C, its two most popular product lines: the iPhone and AirPods, continue to use the Lightning cable. This would hurt Apple’s sales of chargers and cables, so Apple isn’t giving in without a fight.
Even so, the proposed legislation still needs to be approved by the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision): It needs to be adopted by the EU Parliament and Council. Once (and if) the legislation is approved, a transition period of 24-months will be given to OEMs to transition to the new EU laws.
Some iPhone 13 Pro animations affected by an issue that will be fixed – The Verge
Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup launched Friday, and one of the key features of the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are their ProMotion displays with variable refresh rates that can top out at 120Hz. But as spotted by 9to5Mac, some app animations in third-party apps are currently only running at 60Hz. That might be frustrating if you were expecting to see buttery-smooth animations across all of your apps with the new phones, but when we asked Apple what was going on, the company shared two reasons why this might be happening.
One reason is that developers will need to update their apps to declare that they use the higher refresh rate. This can be done by adding an entry to the app’s plist, Apple tells The Verge, and the company says it plans to share documentation about the entry you need to add soon. But in some cases, animations built with the company’s Core Animation technology are also affected by an issue that will be fixed in an upcoming software update, Apple says.
Variable refresh rate screens offer a lot of benefits, including smoother animations and scrolling when you’re using the device and battery savings the screen runs at lower refresh rates. We were impressed with the screens on the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max in our review, and it’s good to hear that third party apps will be able to take full advantage of what they have to offer — though some may have to wait until after that software update.
Today’s Homes Need a Professional Electrician’s Touch
Credit: Ed Harvey via Pexels
Modern technology can be jaw-dropping at times, but it must be installed correctly and safely. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to show off one of the latest gadgets, only to see that it doesn’t work!
Professional electricians have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure that the wiring tucked out of view works as it should, so what is visible performs the way it’s expected to. Let’s check out the different services electricians provide for your home.
Safely, Efficiently Wire Smart Homes
The idea of a Smart Home where people can control a room’s temperature from their phone did not exist when many homes were built. Whether your home is from a previous generation or you’re building a new one from scratch, professional electricians can ensure the wiring will safely and sufficiently power all your devices if you want Smart appliances in it.
The electrical requirements are not the same in a house designed to power the lights versus one that can charge a car in the garage. Even though some aspects of a Smart Home can be self-installed, if you’re confident enough, most laypeople don’t know how to install it optimally.
If you have multiple smart devices, it’s better to have them streamlined, so they can talk to each other and be interconnected. You want your speakers, thermostat, locks, and more to work effortlessly, and professional electricians make it easy.
If you’re going to be charging an electric vehicle at home, ensure your EV Charger is hardwired to the electrical panel. A certified, licensed, and insured electrician needs to confirm the installation meets certification requirements.
If you need an electrician in Pickering or anywhere in the Durham region to wire your home for modern technology, look for a family-owned business that can get the job done quickly and with excellent customer service. Family-owned businesses specialize in customer satisfaction.
Safety Matters Above All
It’s hard for laypeople to identify faulty or dangerous wiring when they see it, and it’s hard to see behind those walls. Professional electricians have the equipment to measure the rate at which electricity is conducted, so they can safely install your home’s lighting.
Whether you’re moving into an old home that may have outdated systems or building a brand-new house, hiring a professional electrician to inspect and install the wiring is essential. Confirm first whether they’re an apprentice, journeyman, or a master electrician, and double-check that the business is bonded, licensed, and insured.
The safety of you, your family, and your home may be at risk unless a professional electrician has inspected your home’s wiring and deemed it safe. You can’t get this peace of mind any other way.
A home ought to have lights that turn on brightly and safely, but it’s common to expect a lot more from our gadgets, given today’s incredible consumer technology. Make sure you have a professional electrician inspect and wire the home, so you can feel confident that everything will work smoothly and safely.
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