OnePlus 8 Pro – More like one more broke bro

OnePlus 8 Pro specifications

OnePlus just announced their new OnePlus 8 flagship series. I think many would agree that it felt a lot like an iPhone launch. For the most part, the OnePlus 8 Pro is your typical flagship phone that checks all the boxes. There are 3 key features that stand out but it comes with at a disappointing price point.

Display

It’s clear that there was a focus on the material design of the phone. They claim that they’ve tested hundreds of colors, materials and finishings to develop a new matte-frosted glass in Onyx Black, Glacial Green and Ultramarine Blue. One of the best features of the OnePlus 8 is the 120Hz refresh rate that provides an extremely smooth scrolling experience. Other phones have this 120Hz display, but OnePlus offers it with their QHD (1440p) display turned on. In my previous post about Samsung’s new S20 series, I shared how they only offer 120Hz with the FHD (1080p) display. The OnePlus 8 has a JNCD (just noticeable colour difference) of 0.4 which allows for colour reproduction on the display to be apparently indiscernible from real life. It sounds a bit like a gimmick but DisplayMate, the industry standard of excellence for image and picture quality rated it very high in a wide array of tests in their recent article.

Camera

OnePlus 8 Pro Camera Modules

The 8 Pro’s 48-megapixel main camera and ultra wide-angle camera can shoot sharp, vibrant daytime shots and above average shots in dark environments. The hybrid zoom camera has 3x hybrid optical and 30x digital zoom (the max I would probably go is 10x for a decent quality picture). The color filter camera is fairly new – it allows you to swap out colours in your pictures on-the-go to supposedly bring out your inner creativity. This seems like an unnecessary gimmick so that they can say it’s the first OnePlus phone with four camera modules. Here are some of the unique camera features:

  1. Optical image and video stabilization on both the ultra wide and main camera
  2. Dynamic video that captures three different exposures and blends them together for the best quality
  3. Windscreen technology that aims to filter out wind noise from your videos
  4. Audio zoom technology that lets you zoom in to different audio sources (for your eavesdropping pleasure)

Warp Charge

Finally, an amazing feature you didn’t know you needed… warp charge. You can get up to 60% charge in 30 minutes when plugged into their warp charger and a never-before seen 50% charge in 30 minutes using their warp wireless charger! OnePlus’ whole reasoning for not supporting wireless charging until now was that previous technology wasn’t fast enough for them to support. It’s great to see they’ve really pushed the boundaries of current technology. Check out how fast the 8 Pro charges compared to the new Samsung S20 Ultra and Apple iPhone 11 Pro below.

Pricing

Pricing is not a highlight here, it’s actually quite disappointing considering the first OnePlus One phone was known for its “Never Settle” campaign, offering flagship specifications for a fraction of the cost. There’s no doubt that you’re still getting value – it’s just a shame it couldn’t come for less this time around. The OnePlus 8 doesn’t have all the features of the Pro model but comes it in at $200 USD less.

OnePlus 8 Pro pricing; $899 for 128GB and $999 for 256GB.
OnePlus 8 pricing; $699 for 128GB and $799 for 256GB.

What do you think of OnePlus’ new colour filter camera? Would you use it? The OnePlus 8 is a strong contender in the current market but to be honest, it’s hard to be excited when the world is at a halt. Good thing technology never sleeps, just like Technomuscle.

Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra 120Hz Display – Does it stand up to the hype?

The Galaxy S20 lineup has been touted for it’s new cameras but tech enthusiasts will probably not care to use their phone for photography. Luckily, they all come with one upgrade that many would consider as a huge leap – 120Hz displays.

New super smooth 120hz display

First, let’s get into how great this display really is – it’s amazing. The refresh rate of the screen has doubled from the original 60Hz to 120Hz which makes menu transitions, scrolling through websites, and enjoying supported media* and games impressively smooth. I say supported media and games because YouTube doesn’t truly support 120Hz yet and most games don’t have that option either but you can bet that they will catch up with this display evolution soon. The S20 lineup isn’t the first or only phone to have this either, the older OnePlus 7 Pro has a 90Hz display and the new Oppo Find X2 Pro has a 120Hz QHD (1440p) display.

The downfalls

120Hz means that the screen refreshes double the amount of times every second which takes a significant toll on its battery life. Testing from Tom’s Guide shows the difference as the phone took a three-hour (or 25%) hit on their browsing test. That’s not to say that the S20 phones don’t last, because the S20 Ultra, with a 5000Mhz battery can last up to 14 hours a day with about 5 hours of screen on time on a single charge. It also has new fast charging, capable of a full charge in only 38 minutes!

Another main downfall that Samsung wasn’t very clear on announcing at launch is that the 120Hz display is only supported when using the FHD (1080p) display option. Ever since the S6, Samsung phones have supported QHD resolution. Some will argue that the 120Hz is worth the downgrade to FHD, while others prefer the higher resolution at 60Hz for an increased battery life.

THERE’S HOPE!

According to Max Weinbach, a well-known Samsung leaker, there should be a software update that will bring 120Hz to WQHD+ resolution in one to three months. Apparently, Samsung needs to test out the performance and battery life to ensure that it meets its standards before making the feature accessible. The 120Hz + WQHD+ resolution will probably reduce the battery life even further, but at least you will have the option.

Let us know in the comments if you are interested in the S20 lineup of phones. If you already have one, will you be using the new 120Hz refresh rate, or are you sticking with WQHD+ at 60Hz?

Tesla Model Y Unveiled – S3XY Lineup Complete!

Today at 8PM PDT (11PM EST), Tesla livestreamed the unveiling of the Tesla Model Y and what an exciting event it was! Look at this crowd…

Model Y Unveiling - Crowd

Elon said that up to today, they’ve made 550,000 cars and in 12 months, they will have made over a million vehicles. 11 years ago when “electric cars was thought to be a stupid idea” they made 1 car (the first Tesla Roadster). They had to break this mindset and make something for mass-production that could compete with gasoline cars, looked better than gasoline cars and was just as competitively priced – so they designed and created the Model S (‘S’ for “sedan”). From there, they designed:

  • Model X (‘X’ for crossover SUV), the best electric SUV
  • Model 3 (originally aiming for ‘E’ but “Ford killed SEX” says Elon because of the naming trademark infringement!), the cheapest electric car in their lineup that doesn’t skimp on performance
  • New Roadster, the fastest car in the world that can do 0-100 km/h in 2.1 seconds (60 mph in 1.9 seconds)

Afterwards, Elon highlights how far they’ve come in terms of production and scale through their new gigafactories. He also highlighted that “2019 is the year for the Solar Roof and Powerwall”. It has so far been delayed because the power cells were needed for the Model 3 production issues.

In 2010, there were no high-power superchargers. Today they have 1400 Supercharger stations and 12000 Superchargers in 36 countries and have introduced the Supercharger v3, delivering up to 1600 km range / hr (1000 mi / hr).

And finally, the moment we were all waiting for, the…

MODEL Y

Model Y Unveiling - Model 7

Driving out, the Model Y looks like a cute hatchback version of the Model 3. It has very similar design features with a big widescreen in the middle, no other user interfaces and a nice panoramic glass roof. A big difference, it has 3 rows of seats instead of 2 and can therefore fit 6 people comfortably and 7 max. Surprisingly, it comes in at very similar prices to the model 3, $47,000 for the first long range models and $39,000 for a standard version by Spring 2021. See other specs and full range/pricing below:

Other Key Specs

  • 0 – 60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Very low centre of gravity which allows for great handling and tight turns
  • 300 miles range true useful range

Model Y Unveiling - Model 7 pricing

Elon ends the formal presentation with “… and there you have the S3XY presentation”! Everyone there is then allowed to take a closer look and take a test drive if they’d like. I wish I was there! Let me know in the comments if you’d consider the Model Y over the other models :).

We’ve Learned More… RED Hydrogen Holographic Phone

Two months ago, we wrote a post about RED teasing it’s new holographic phone. Well, we are back with more information about their screen and it’s not as exciting as I hoped. The company is working with Leia Inc. to use their proprietary “Diffractive Lightfield Backlighting (DLB™)” solution which basically uses layers of LCDs with an underlying layer that acts as a directional backlight to manipulate your brain into seeing two different views with each eye of the same object , producing a 3D effect.

This sounds very similar to what Nintendo did many years ago with its Nintendo 3DS. I remember it had a lot of negative feedback regarding eye fatigue, so much so that the company is still selling and creating new Nintendo 2DS devices. Like the Nintendo 3DS, you can shut off the 3D and 4D capabilities to use a regular 2D screen like any other smartphone. If this is the case for Nintendo, you have to wonder if this type of a 3D display is really the future of mobile phone technology… Perhaps it will be a supplementary feature to current technology that is meant for limited use when playing new 3D/4D games or watching special content.

“The future of personal communication, information gathering, holographic multiview, 2D, 3D, AR/VR/MR and image capture just changed forever,” Red said. Let us know if you agree in the comments or if you think this is just a gimmick that won’t stick.

 

RED Releases Its First Phone and It Has a Holographic Screen!

RED Phone Back

The company RED is known for it’s very expensive products such as its high resolution modular video cameras (up to 8K) that only professionals get to see the likes of. However, they are taking a stab at the mobile phone market and put up the RED Hydrogen phone for pre-order at  $1,595 USD for titanium and $1,195 USD for aluminum. That is relatively much more reasonable considering their 8K video camera (named Weapon 8K) costs $49,000…

The Hydrogen will feature a 5.7-inch “Professional Hydrogen Holographic Display” that will switch between three modes: traditional 2D content, holographic RED Hydrogen 4-view content and stereo 3D content. The device claims that users do not need glasses to experience the 3D and holographic content. This reminds me of the Nintendo 3DS screens as those also don’t require 3D glasses. They did cause an eye strain after long use though…

From the picture, it is clear there will be a headphone jack and USB-C for charging. From the notes, it will include an SD-card slot which will be useful for storing the content that it can display and potentially record. The phone will also be modular, meaning you will be able to purchase accessories (at a nice premium I bet) that can connect directly to the phone, offering you more functions as you need. There are no indications of what these modules are yet.

All we have to work with in terms of aesthetics is this picture and from the looks of it, it follows the same design as their modular cameras, with an industrial, rugged feel and the iconic RED logo on the back.

What do you think about the phone? Would you buy one over the new iPhone that will very likely cost over $1000 USD as well?

Review of the NEWEST (Late 2016) Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1s

dell inspiron 13 7000

A week after the announcement of the newest MacBook Pros, I’ve decided to review my daily laptop, the new Dell Inpiron 2-in-1. At Computex 2016 back in June, Dell announced this laptop and I must say that they have finally caught up to the competition. Aside from welcome hardware upgrades, I was very excited about the addition of a USB-C port. So I picked one up shortly after Dell Canada put a nice $200 discount on them and here is my review after using it for a couple months!

THE GOOD

  • New USB Type-C port for power and connectivity
  • New aluminum casing is very nice, feels more premium than older versions with a more solid feel
  • New Intel Realsense cameras are fun but I haven’t found much practical use for it other than facial recognition to log in.

THE BAD

  • They stopped including a stylus in the box and a convenient storage in the casing of the laptop for the stylus
  • The trackpad is what you expect at the price point. It’s not very big and the clicking gets annoying although you can just tap

My thoughts so far…

Although I was cheesed that the laptop did not come with a stylus out of the box like the older models, I must say, it doesn’t bother me. I prefer to draw designs by hand anyway so I have used the touchscreen very little and would not miss it. If you do not need to draw on your laptop, then forget about the stylus… you don’t need it and it wouldn’t be a digitizer like the Microsoft Surface laptops anyway!

I have yet to use the new USB-C port. I think this feature was more to make it future-proof but I think USB-C still has a long way to go before it becomes the new norm. Regardless, it’s there and I’m sure it would be useful to those who need it (I also haven’t needed to buy an adapter because my laptop has an HDMI port and 2 USB3 ports unlike some other laptops previously mentioned!)

Speaking of features I haven’t used, I also haven’t used the multi-mode hinge since I bought the laptop and was playing around with it. I feel like I still use a laptop like it was used when they were first invented. The touchscreen and 2-in-1 features seem more like gimmicks to me. I just use it for writing and design on the go and I’m happy having a keyboard with a nice screen that I can carry around without breaking my back.

Now, where it counts… I have felt slight drops in performance when doing heavy design work. This laptop comes with a 6th gen Intel Core i7 6500U processor which is great. I think the drop in performance was due to the 8GB of ram. It has been rare so I don’t think the work that I do warrants an upgrade to 16GB of ram but that would be necessary for power users.

Finally, my biggest pain throughout these months was getting the screen to work well with Windows 10. I don’t know if its the laptop or the software but text just doesn’t seem crisp on the screen. This may be in part due to Windows recommending that I zoom text and apps by 150% (which I have to do because if I change it to 100% some text and UI elements get very small). There is also a new feature called ClearType which is supposed to help customize text to look more crisp to an individuals preference. I played around with it but have since turned it off because I gave up tweaking it.

Overall Recommendation

This laptop is definitely something to consider. Dell has come a long way and if you can get the laptop on sale (which happens quite often), the specs and build quality are very high for its price point and compared to what else is out there. If you want a better screen and even better build quality, I would opt to spend more and get yourself the Dell XPS 13 but this is a great cheaper alternative. Keep in mind that the hardware on these computers doesn’t quite integrate with Windows 10 as well as something like the MacBook’s internals integrate with MacOS but it is an easy compromise to save money and still have a very capable computer. Good luck on your next laptop purchase!

Bio Processing: Your Heartbeat May Be the Key to Your Car, Home, Bank Account…

What if your heartbeat was the key to your car, home, bank account… It turns out this may be coming in the future! Samsung Electronics has developed a Bio Processor (BioP) which is able to constantly monitor one’s heart rate with a built in Electrocardiogram (ECG). This technology puts it far ahead of any current wearables in accurately detecting heart rate by being able to actually graph and record changes in electrical currents that cause heart muscle depolarizations. The applications for health informatics would be huge if this technology was affordable for the everyday consumer, especially for people with heart problems.

Aside from the obvious health applications, Samsung Electronics is looking to use the BioP’s technology to securely unlock car doors and homes. To do this, the BioP has an included bluetooth transmitter and flash-memory to connect to your phones and other devices and provide constant health-related information very similar to the smart wearables we use today. Due to its ability to constantly monitor one’s unique heart rate (which is very hard to copy), it provides a high level of security. The downside to the current iteration of the device is that it needs to be placed directly on your skin next to your heart. Samsung is working to make this chip smaller and hopefully more affordable.

As a side note, you may be wondering how everyone’s heart rate can be unique when one’s heart rate varies during different activities and that is a very good question. The uniqueness of one’s heart rate comes from the patterns of electrical currents within the depolarization of the heart muscle that generates the beat. So although you may have increased your heart rate substantially after running, the pattern of eletrical currents that causes your heart polarization, albeit at a faster rate, will still be constant and unique to you.

Sources: Samsung, EtNews