We checked out a couple of ambitious Samsung products this week, plus a few other gadgets. Cherlynn Low tested the Galaxy Z Fold 3 smartphone, which is the third generation of Samsung’s foldable hybrid, and the Galaxy Watch 4, which is one of the first devices to run on the new Wear OS platform. James Trew popped off keys and customized the Keychron Q1 keyboard, while Daniel Cooper was pleased with his time with HP’s light yet capable Pavilion Aero 13 laptop.
Although Cherlynn Low likes a lot of the improvements made to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and calls it an impressive piece of tech, she still isn’t sure it can replace a regular smartphone for most people. The third generation of the folding device has a stronger, redesigned screen, a streamlined hinge and a robust aluminum build, and Samsung says it’s 80 percent more durable than previous models. According to Cherlynn, it easily withstood being thrown in a purse full of sharp and heavy objects, and the IPX8 water-resistance kept it safe from water droplets.
The Fold 3’s external 6.2-inch, 2,268 x 832 display refreshes at 120Hz and uses a Dynamic AMOLED panel, which made for fast scrolling and vibrant images. The phone also has S Pen support, although the stylus costs extra and there isn’t a slot for it on the device. There’s also more software support to improve the full-screen experience, like Multi Window and Flex Mode panels, plus five onboard cameras, which generally produced bright and colorful shots. Despite these wins, she felt that the device was over-reaching and attempting to do too much to achieve mainstream adoption.
Cherlynn Low is candid about how the Galaxy Watch 4 makes her feel, calling it and the rest of Samsung’s smartwatches the best Android wearable options around. The combination of capable hardware with intuitive software features and comprehensive health tracking continue to provide a satisfying experience. The Galaxy Watch 4 adds some interesting marquee features with body composition scans and snore detection, but Cherlynn says she’ll need more time to determine how useful these features are as they are, for now, somewhat unreliable.
The Galaxy Watch 4 includes a sharp 1.4-inch screen with a 450 x 450 resolution, a touch sensitive rotating bezel, and an updated 5nm processor with more storage. It also supports gesture controls that allow you to respond to calls or messages, but Cherlynn says they don’t work very well yet. She was also disappointed with the watch’s battery life, which barely made it through a day. She was more impressed with how accurately and quickly it registered her walking, and she liked that the watch tracks 95 different workouts. She also was pleased that the Wear OS platform strongly echoed the intuitive UI strengths of Tizen, save for the new ability to download apps directly from the Play Store. Despite some hiccups, she’d still recommend the Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic to Android users.
Keychron is known for making economical keyboards and James Trew says its newest offering, the Q1, is affordable, easy to customize and full-featured. The Q1 has hot-swappable switches and an Aviator style USB-C, which should appeal to both avid tinkerers and those who are interested in getting deeper into the geeky details of mechanical keyboards. It comes with a keycap puller and a switch remover, plus keycaps for Windows and MacOS layouts, but it lacks Bluetooth so you’ll have to live with it as a wired peripheral.
The Q1 features the expected RGB key lighting, but has a south-facing integration for a more subtle effect. Inside are a noise-reducing foam deck and screw-in stabilizers for steadier keys. James particularly liked the option to etch a customized metal badge where the Insert key goes. He reported that swapping out keys was easy, and that using the companion Via app was a convenient way to customize the Q1. However, he points out that, at 3.5 pounds, the Q1 isn’t designed for portability and that its height cannot be adjusted.
Daniel Cooper found plenty of reasons to recommend HP’s new Pavilion Aero. The lightest laptop yet from the company weighs in at a mere 2.2 pounds and still manages to fit in a 13.3-inch, 16:10 display with 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. Rounding out the specs list on our review unit was AMD’s Ryzen 5800U with Radeon Integrated Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Daniel said the build quality is solid, save for the malleable display hinge; the keyboard is well-engineered and satisfying; and the trackpad has tolerable accuracy. He also approved of the battery, which lasted for 9 hours and 43 minutes during testing.
He was less thrilled that the keyboard wasn’t backlit by default, but you can pay $20 extra to get that. And while he was pleased by the performance of the WideVision 720p webcam, he said the downward-firing B&O speakers pumped out audio you could put up with but not fully enjoy. The preinstalled software was another annoyance — getting pop-ups for plugins is never appreciated. Being a relatively affordable laptop, Aero isn’t set up for intensive gaming but Daniel was able to play Fortnite pretty smoothly with medium graphics power. Overall, he says the Aero is clearly punching above its weight and could almost be recommended as an alternative to the Dell XPS 13 for those with tighter budgets.
Razer’s new 14-inch Blade laptop hits all the right notes for Devindra Hardawar: It’s plenty powerful thanks to an NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPU and AMD’s latest processor, and at just under four pounds, it’s still light enough to carry comfortably. Featuring a minimalistic design and a sleek black aluminum case, Devindra’s review unit came equipped with an RGB LED keyboard, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a quad-HD 165Hz display. He reports that the laptop easily handled demanding games even in maxed-out settings and that the ray tracing performance was solid.
Devindra also liked the responsiveness of the keyboard, but said the layout felt a bit cramped for longer gaming sessions. During battery testing, the Blade 14 made it 10 hours and 50 minutes (running productivity tasks, not games). But during heavy gaming sessions, Devindra reports that the CPU reached up to 94 degrees Celsius, which is unusually high. Another downside? The RAM isn’t upgradeable like it is in the larger Blade 15 and 17 laptops. He says if those compromises aren’t deal breakers, then this is worth recommending given its $1,800 starting price.
European Union could force all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging – MobileSyrup
Europe could soon require all smartphone manufacturers to use USB-C charging, according to a new EU Commission ruling proposal.
The commission says the proposal aims to reduce e-waste and the “consumer inconvenience” resulting from different chargers. The commission also mentions that it wants manufacturers to stop selling chargers alongside electronic devices to minimize e-waste further.
“With today’s proposal… USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles,” reads the report.
The report then says that it has reduced the number of mobile chargers in Europe from 30 to just three, with Apple’s proprietary Lightning port part of the smaller list. The report states that roughly 20 percent of devices sold in Europe feature the Lightning port, but that the EU wants to change this — possibly by forcing Apple to adopt USB-C.
EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager made the following statement in the report:
“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”
As you may have already guessed, Apple has resisted the shift to USB-C in the past concerning the EU’s efforts. For example, last year, when the organization voted on the concept of a standard charger, Apple released a statement stating that adopting USB-C would “stifle innovation.”
In a statement to the BBC, Apple said, “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.”
With the release of the iPhone 12, Apple stopped including a charging brick in the box of its smartphones, citing environmental concerns related to materials and shipping costs. This move also likely saved the tech giant a lot of money. The company has also shifted to USB-C charging with several of its other devices, including Macs, most iPad models and its accompanying ecosystem of accessories. Some Android devices from companies like Samsung, for example, also no longer include chargers in their boxes.
It’s unclear if this law will go through, given it’s still in the proposal stages and must first be passed by lawmakers and several governments. However, it’s possible that in a few years, Apple could be forced to adopt USB-C for the iPhones it sells in Europe.
Nintendo Switch Online will add N64 and Mega Drive games with a new subscription plan – Video Games Chronicle
Nintendo [2,050 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/”>Nintendo has announced that Nintendo 64 [151 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-64/”>Nintendo 64 and Mega Drive / Genesis games will be added to Nintendo Switch [1,941 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/switch/”>Switch Online in late October.
A new membership tier called the Expansion Pack will be introduced that adds selections of games from each system.
Special controllers for each system will also be released at $49.99 / €49.99 / £39.99 each.
The Japanese Mega Drive controller will have six buttons, whereas the North American and European version will be the 3-button controller released alongside the console when it originally launched.
Nintendo Switch OLED Model Trailer
The full list of games at launch will be:
- Super Mario 64
- Mario Kart 64
- Star Fox 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- The Legend of Zelda (Series) [110 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-series/”>The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Tennis
- Dr Mario 64
- Sin & Punishment
- Castlevania Bloodlines
- Contra Hard Corps
- Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Gunstar Heroes
- Phantasy Star IV
- Shining Force
- Shinobi III
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Streets of Rage 2 [37 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/rage-2/”>Rage 2
Nintendo has also confirmed some of the Nintendo 64 games that will be added after launch, including:
- Banjo-Kazooie [66 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/banjo-kazooie/”>Banjo-Kazooie
- Pokémon video games [230 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/pokemon/”>Pokémon Snap
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
- Mario Golf
- Paper Mario
- F-Zero X
There was no mention, however, of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on Switch Online, which had been reported in the past few weeks.
Nintendo discussed expanding the Switch Online library with other platforms as far back as 2019, 12 months after it launched.
During a 2019 shareholder meeting, president Shuntaro Furukawa [145 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/shuntaro-furukawa/”>Shuntaro Furukawa was asked specifically if the company had plans to re-release Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube [174 articles]” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/nintendo-gamecube/”>GameCube software.
“At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom [NES] software, as well as other methods of providing them,” he said.
“We also recognise that there are opinions wanting to play past titles.”
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launched a feature on Thursday to let users virtually wave at friends inside its audio-only chat app to show they are open to a private chat, in a move to expand beyond public rooms that can have thousands of listeners.
Clubhouse, which pioneered the “social audio” feature that has since been copied by Facebook and Twitter, wants to enable users to have private chats, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Paul Davison told Reuters.
“A lot of people know us for bigger conversations, but the reason people stay so long is they’re finding their friends and meeting new people,” he said in an interview.
Users of Clubhouse, which is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, can “wave” at friends online in the app and a private audio chat room will open when a person accepts the wave. The user can then invite more contacts into the private room, or choose to open the chat to the public, Clubhouse said.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Edmund Blair)
Art Beat: Coast artist heads to show in New York City – Coast Reporter
Aging, Art and the Modern Elder opens at the 1401 Gallery | Cranbrook – E-Know.ca
First Annual Art in the Park on Sept. 18 in Massey – Sault Star
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Business24 hours ago
BlackBerry beats quarterly revenue expectations on cybersecurity boost
Tech12 hours ago
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
Politics11 hours ago
Mail-in delays and recounts: Canada’s election tallying drags on.
Health22 hours ago
B.C. reports 759 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, 1 death in Island Health – CHEK
Tech15 hours ago
iPhone 13 benchmarks — Apple just blew away Android phones – Tom's Guide
Art13 hours ago
The art and torture of the empire – Al Jazeera English
Art13 hours ago
Public art, top floor of Kelowna's One Water Street tower revealed – Summerland Review – Summerland Review
News17 hours ago
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday – CBC.ca