Archive | February, 2016

Caterpillar S60 – Smartphone With a Thermal Camera

Posted on 29 February 2016

Caterpillar Inc is an American Corporation which specializes in designs, manufacturing, engines, financial products and insurance to customers worldwide but recently it has also started producing high-tech smartphones. The Cat S60 was announced in 2016 and created hype in market.

This smartphone comes equipped with all the hardware expected from a company like Caterpillar, i.e. a strengthened, steel frame body that exceeds and equals the US Military’s 810G drop test specifications and water resistance capability of up to 16 feet. This phone is also recognized as “the World’s Best Waterproof Smartphone” plus it is the only smartphone with a built-in thermal imager.

Specifications and Features
The phone is armed with a Super Octa-core processor, 4.7-inch HD IPS Display, Adreno 405 GPU, 32GB internal Memory, SD card capacity up to 32 GB, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 13 MP Autofocus dual LED Flash thermal Camera, 5 MP Secondary Camera and 3GB RAM with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The features of Cat S60 make it unique and it stands out from other new smartphones. The core features are the thermal imager at the back which complements the camera plus Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), which allows the camera to measure variations in temperature when capturing an image to ensure the best quality. This feature is great for various purposes e.g. Engineers can easily find hotspots over an area and it can also be used by the military and doctors.

Verdict
Cat S60 is a niche smartphone but a professional device. The hardware is well designed for tough situations. Since there are many other options to choose from when it comes to smartphones, the Cat S60 caters to a niche audience only.

The price of the phone is $599, which is on the higher side. However, when you consider it features FLIR’s thermal imaging plus its waterproof and shatterproof design, it stands out. It carries great novelty value as well, as it is the first phone to feature FLIR technology.

Photo courtesy catphones.com

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Oculus Rift – Next-Generation Virtual Reality

Posted on 26 February 2016

Technology has evolved immensely over the past decade and innovations have changed the world. It’s hard to imagine and predict the future because of how fast technology develops. Every day new products are invented and released in market for consumers.

One of the most anticipated technologies today is VR (Virtual Reality) Headsets. This technology was just a concept few years back and was under research and development but finally has been launched with only conceptual prototype products to create hype and publicize the technology.

Many products are under development by top companies to offer an authentic VR experience to users. Oculus Rift is a state of the art VR device, from Oculus VR, a company which specializes in virtual reality technology.

Rift is an all in one device and offers a number of features to provide the best possible experience. Not only this, the Rift is designed to provide 3D experience which makes it the most advanced VR gadget available in market.

Hardware specifications of Oculus are considered unique since it offers gaming as well as music and movies. Rift is lightweight and has a comfortable surface with a soft body to comfort the face and also ventilation so the user doesn’t end up sweating.

Plus, high quality internal materials, which include an HD OLED display with a 2160 x 1200 resolutions which offers high definition picture and also less eye convergence to protect the eyes and prevent eyesight related problems.

The Positional Tracker is a discreet undisclosed feature along with 3x USB and HDMI slots. The device supports the Windows and Linux platforms. The key component which makes the Rift unique is the Adjacent Reality Tracker which features a magnetometer, a gyroscope and an accelerometer. When combined, they provide accurate tracks to Rift across all three dimensions.

The Rift carries a slightly hefty price tag of $599, but given that it offers something never seen before, it is well worth the money.

Photo courtesy of Oculus

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A Review of Amazon’s Fire Phone

Posted on 25 February 2016

The Amazon Fire Phone was released in 2014. The phone was advertised well and launched with great hype but was unable to grab the attention and gain focus mainly because of the price as well as high competition.

Specifications
The Fire Phone is akin to a shopping tool for Amazon with some cool features added. An HD IPS Display with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (front and back), Amazon based OS 3.5 (Android Based OS), Qualcomm snapdragon chipset, Quad-core 2.2GHZ, 32/64GB internal memory, 2GB RAM, 13 MP OIS autofocus LED flash camera and a 2.1 MP secondary camera are what you get in this device.

Design and Features
The signature features are 3D dynamic perspective UI which is based on four cameras, system wild tilt, auto scroll, swivel plus peak functions and geo tagging and HDR as well. The design and look of the Fire Phone is what makes it worth buying. It’s quite similar to the iPhone 4s and Nexus 4.

The front and back with Corning Gorilla Glass Surface 3 gives a reflective stylish look. The phone also features a hardware button which is the dedicated “Firefly” button exclusive for the Firefly application. Users can launch the app directly and browse through products and get premium access to Amazon.

User Interface and OS
The Amazon Fire Phone is an Android phone. It comes with a skin on top of Android, known as the Fire OS and is similar to the one found on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. Instead of the regular row of icons and widgets, there is a carousel that scrolls around on your home screen with 3D effect wallpaper. The carousel shows all of the apps and videos you have used in chronological order.

Besides tracking movements, the camera on the front provides what Amazon calls Dynamic Perspective. This adds a 3D effect to the lock screen of the phone as well as games found on the Amazon store. The 3D effect is impressive.

Verdict
The Amazon Fire Phone is a good smartphone but poorly executed and developed. With a price tag of $159, there are a lot of better options.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

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HP Envy 13: An Overview

Posted on 19 February 2016

As the world and technology is getting advanced day by day, computers, laptops have become essential. New innovations are being invented with improved hardware and designs, laptops are substitutes to PC since they are sleek & portable.

One of the latest releases is HP’s Envy 13 series ultrabook. HP’s Envy series has been all about great looks and an example of HP’s engineering might, It cannot quite keep up with the current giants like the Dell XPS 13 and Apple Mac in respect to the performance

Envy 13 has a sleek design plus it is lightweight with a comfortable keyboard and decent speakers also a fingerprint sensor that makes signing into Windows a snap. HP basically took the big and beautiful Envy 17 series and, molded it into a smaller unit to create an elegant Windows 10 system.

Envy 13 costs around $799, a relatively unattractive price as compared to other Ultrabooks on the market. The envy 13 is equipped with a 13.3-inch HD IPS Display for 1080p quality, fairly similar to Apple’s Macbook.

Hardware specs are subject to models and versions, including the Intel Core i7 Processor, 4 GB DDR3 Extendable Ram, Intel HD Graphics 520,SSD Samsung 256gb and Intel Skylake-U Premium Mainboard with 3x Usb Slots and HDMI slot.

The HP Envy 13 is a great looking laptop with silver metallic finish to the wide track pad and has a flair that is just hard to miss, it bleeds smoothness everywhere in its design, and there is uniformity and elegance. The device, when compared to other laptops on the market, has an edge in terms of, plus its 13.3-inch 1080p Display is great.

It lacks in terms of power and hardware strength. It is the lightest laptop on the market, lighter than even Apple’s Macbook, making it extremely feasible and portable for users, especially women.

To conclude, the HP Envy 13 is an average ultrabook. Its QHD Panel Stands out from the rest as it is rare that you get a 13-inch system with so many pixels for the money, plus the handling of the device is just convenient and the system is responsive.

Photo: courtesy HP

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BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition

Posted on 17 February 2016

Smartphones have become extensively popular and advanced through years with innovation and emergence of touch screens, larger display, better memory and RAM plus shapes & designs and operating systems, e.g. IOS, Android and Microsoft. Tablets have also made an impact with their large displays and specifications. They give users a better cellular GSM experience as compared to smartphones.

Apart from Samsung, Apple and LG, BQ has emerged as one of the best companies in terms of tablet and smartphone innovations. A recent product from BQ is the Aquaris M10 Android Tablet while the BQ Aquaris Ubuntu edition will be out around March.

Being their first Ubuntu based device, it can be used as a laptop and a desktop with completely different interfaces as well as the option to connect the mouse and keyboard through Bluetooth. Plus, it can also be used as a desktop by connecting it to external display via HDMI.

The device may have minor changes in specifications when compared to its Android version. Sources reveal it features a 10.1-inch HD Display with a 1920 x 1200 display, Quad Core Arm Cortex Processor, 2GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, plus 64GB SD card slot, 8MP HD Camera, Micro HDMI and 7500 MAH Battery.

As far as the price is concerned, the Ubuntu edition would cost around EUR260 while the Android version is priced around EUR250. Android devices tend to attract more users and customers so releasing a Ubuntu based device might create a niche in the market but only time will tell if the revenue and profit of the company increases as a result of it.

Lastly, there are some Cons of the device which might affect sales. The 2GB RAM is quite low and there is some compatibility issues as most of the apps won’t work on the OS. Moreover, there’s no front-facing camera as is a standard on other products in the same price range. Also, the device only works with Wi-Fi and no cellular capability will limit the experience.

Photo: courtesy Ubuntu

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Starry Station Router

Posted on 11 February 2016

The router of the future is here and unfortunately it is quite pricey. While the router is often the most neglected yet essential part of the family of home electronics, Starry Station router is here to change all that. The cute, rounded white pyramid device with a touchscreen is undoubtedly the first of its kind. The router is certainly something that is meant to be showed off. The router is the first product from a new startup, called Starry.

The easy to use display can be used from up to 10 feet away and shows a score from 1 to 100 to indicate how strong your connection is. While a blue orb indicates a good connection, a red orb indicates a bad one. One of the most notable features of the Starry Station router is it has the ability to assign new network names and passwords all with ease from its touch screen. In addition, the router is smart enough to manage screen time for individual devices. This is a great feature for parents who want to control their child’s screen time but are unable to do so with conventional routers.

The Starry Station router intelligently assesses whether your device is connected to a 5GHz band or a 2.4-band and effectively helps you switch to a better connection when needed. When you walk up the router, it automatically detects your presence, causing the motion detector to automatically display everything from the number of devices connected to the router to the bandwidth which is actually being used by the router.

The Starry Station is not like your ordinary router which you would hide somewhere at the end of your desk, the device instantly adds visual appeal to your workstation. On the downside, the device is insanely expensive at $350 and only has two Ethernet ports. That being said, the features do make it somewhat worth the money you spend on it.

Photo: courtesy Starry

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Xiaomi Redmi 3

Posted on 10 February 2016

Finding yourself a good budget-friendly phone is a difficult task. The new Xiaomi Redmi 3 is sure to knock your socks off with its elegant metal design and great new specs. The phone comes with a powerful 4,100 mAh battery which is claimed by Xiaomi to have a longer talk time as compared to to the Redmi 2.

Similar to its predecessors, the Redmi 3 features dual SIM capabilities. Unfortunately, the phone is supports 4G coverage everywhere except the US, so this means, you will most likely have to make do with 3G connectivity.

Over the years, Xiaomi has established a reputation of making quality products at affordable prices and this is true of the Redmi 3 as well. Xiaomi will continue to live up to its reputation. The device offers only 16 GB of onboard storage but you can also use a second SIM card slot as a microSD card. The phone supports up to 128 GB of storage which is impressive for a phone in its price range. With the Redmi 3, you won’t have to worry about running out of space.

In addition to its wide storage space and cosmetic improvement, the Redmi also comes with super fast charging capabilities and a powerful battery. Other additional feature of the Redmi 3 includes a 5-megapixel front facing camera which is quite satisfactory for its low price.

A camera and single-LED flash are on the phone’s case at the top left corner on the back of the phone. At the bottom, you will find a speaker grille with a small plastic lip which is intended to raise the phone off the surface. The setup is conventional when it comes to Android phones, with the power buttons and volume buttons on the right side.

You usually get what you pay for when it comes to smartphones, but the Xiaomi Redmi 3 offers its users much more, and that is if you can find the phone since it is not officially available in the US.

Photo: courtesy Xiaomi

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