Category Archives: Tech

The next Dell XPS 13 gets teased way ahead of CES 2018

Dell gave TechRadar an early preview of the next XPS 13 during a tour of its Round Rock, Texas headquarters.

It’s clear the electronics firm’s latest 13-inch Ultrabook has taken design cues from the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Gone are the full-size USB 3.0 ports in exchange for three USB-C ports. Sadly, this has also meant the SD card reader has been switched out for a Micro SD card slot.

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Thinner than ever

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So long to the underside door cover

Dell also introduced the updated Dell XPS 13 with a new Alpine White and Rose Gold color. The palm rest is made of a new woven glass fiber material that feels. Similar to carbon fiber material involves weaving a crystalline medium and a clear resin that give it a soft but firm structure.

Dell explained it had to develop the new material because it couldn’t produce an authentically white carbon fiber and it was unsatisfied with just giving it a coat of white paint.

Otherwise, Dell is keeping its lips sealed on more details about the new Dell XPS 13, but you can expect to hear much more about it at CES 2018.

6 biggest announcements from Google's Pixel 2 event

It turns out the long-rumored Pixelbook was a Chromebook, after all. It’s also a tablet if you want it to be, as the design allows you to switch effortlessly from tablet to laptop and to a tent display for interacting with the 12.3-inch touchscreen on a table. You’ll get around 10 hours of battery life from the device, as well as access to Google Assistant. 

If you talk to Google Assistant, it’ll give a voice response, but if you type out a question, it’ll give you a silent, written response so you’re not bothering everyone around you. Optionally, you can also pick up a $99 (about £75/AU$126) stylus that was created from a partnership with Wacom. 

Preorders open today for the device, which starts at $999/£1,199 (about AU$1,270). You can also get a high-end version for $1,649/£1,699 (about AU$2,097) with more RAM and an Intel i7 processor.

Google Pixel 2 will fix the original phone's biggest camera flaw

The Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL is about to remedy the fatal flaw that left my original Pixel XL vulnerable, broken and hobbled for snapping photos.

Yes, the photos were great while it lasted and the bump-free camera design was touted as innovative, but it was a case of be careful what you wish for.

A shallow drop of my prized Google Pixel XL onto cement proved that Google’s odd glass-and-metal back shattered right through the most important part of the phone, even if the camera wasn’t the point of impact.

A stunning reenactment of when I dropped the Pixel XL waist high

There’s no bump and no border around the camera on this phone. It’s all one piece of glass, unlike the mostly bump-free Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8.

Here’s where things are about to get different in the Google Pixel 2 series.

The two Google Pixel 2 phones appear to include an important protective border around their single-lens camera, according to the latest leaks.

The camera lens also appears to be masked by a separate piece of glass. There’s less of a chance of similar spiderweb crack incident that gets worse over time.

The bump-free camera design seemed ideal when the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL launched 12 months ago. But it can lead to a gory ending, as pictured.

Worse, when I first broke the Pixel XL, no one knew how to fix it. Repair shops all over town didn’t have the parts to fix this unique piece of back glass.

The front glass? Sure, that’s an easy and common repair service. But the back glass required replacing the entire back, including the aluminum and frame.

I didn’t take them up on that offer. It was too costly. So I’m left with a Pixel XL that’s still good for Google Daydream View, but no longer the ideal camera.

As you can see from the link below, my colleague had a year to remember thanks to the Google Pixel’s spec-defying camera. While I’m happy for him, I’m just going to keep sitting here with my broken, optically-useless Pixel XL until the Pixel 2 XL release date.

Xbox One X release date, news, and features

 

When it’s released in November, the Xbox One X is set to not only be Microsoft’s most powerful console ever, but the most powerful console on the entire market. It represents a big step forward in terms of the amount of graphical horsepower it’s packing and in the amount of detail in the images it can render.

Despite its power, however, the Xbox One X remains an Xbox One. When it launches it will not only be able to play all the Xbox One’s existing games, but will also receive no exclusive games of its own.

That’s right – every game released for the Xbox One X will run on the existing Xbox One just fine. Not only that, but all the same accessories – controllers, chatpads, headsets and the like – will all work across each system.

So, if Microsoft has created one big happy console family, what’s the purpose of upgrading to Xbox One X?

Well, Xbox One X will be the company’s first native 4K video game console and will have the ability not only to render games at a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, but often run those games at 60 frames per second. That’s unlike the Xbox One S which can only render games at 1080p and then upscale them to 4K.

Xbox One X will also have a neat trick called Super Sampling, a way to make 1080p images look even better for those who aren’t ready to go full 4K yet. What Super Sampling does is scale down the 4K resolution for a 1080p screen, giving you some of the benefits of the better hardware – think texture improvements, faster framerates and improved image quality – but on your old 1080p TV. Super Sampling something the Xbox One X’s predecessor, the Xbox One S, was capable of, but it’s going to be taken to a whole new level on the Xbox One X.

The two other features that the Xbox One X will borrow from the Xbox One S are the ability to play games in HDR and a built-in 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player – something that its main rival, the PS4 Pro, doesn’t offer.

If you’ve heard about Xbox One X in the past, you might’ve heard it called Project Scorpio. Project Scorpio was the codename Microsoft gave to the press at the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to whet our appetites for the new console. To make matters slightly confusing, however, Microsoft has announced an Xbox One X Project Scorpio edition – but that’s just a limited-edition console and not its own separate entity.

Read on for all the information Microsoft has given about its new console, including its specs, games, and the latest information Microsoft has given on its console’s long-rumored (yet still unseen) VR support.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A new 4K-equipped Xbox One
  • When is it out? November 7, 2017
  • What will it cost? $499 (£449, €499, CA$599 or AU$649)

Pre-orders for the Xbox One X

Pre-orders for the Xbox One X are back in stock right now. When pre-orders opened in September, they sold out in a matter of days, so if you want to be one of the first to get your hands on this top-of-the-range console when it comes out on November 7, don’t hang about.

For the latest details on Xbox One X pre-orders, be sure to keep an eye on our Xbox One X pre-orders page. As of the time of writing, there isn’t any difference in pricing between retailers, but if that changes we’ll have information on that page so be sure to check it before committing to an order.

Xbox One X Design

When you hear the words “most powerful console on the planet”, you might think of a towering monstrosity the size of a PC case. In actuality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Xbox One X is almost identical to the Xbox One S in appearance – a slim, sleek rectangular console the size of a cable box or a big Blu-ray player. Instead of the all-white exterior of the Xbox One S, however, the base model Xbox One X has a classy space grey finish.

The space grey might not be the first choice for most gamers – many of whom have grown up with the all-black facades of the original Xbox, PlayStation 2 or SEGA Genesis consoles – but the space grey should feel both subtle and fresh when it lands in living rooms. (If you’re absolutely against the space grey, however, check out the aforementioned Project Scorpio edition of the console, which will be available in traditional black).

Microsoft first showed off the physical hardware itself back at E3 2017.

Of course, there’s more to a system than its color. Like Xbox One S, the One X looks to have two physical buttons: one in place of the touch-capacitive power button and one for the eject button on the face of the console. Beneath them, you’ll find an IR receiver on the left-hand side of the system and a USB port and controller syncing button on the right-hand side.

But the big difference – if you can even it call it big – is the shift of the drive from the front top section down to the very middle of the console. It might not make any difference when it comes to how the console actually works, but it does feel a bit more confusing for players handling the system for the first time.

To get all this power into a console this size, something needed to be cut. In this case it was the lesser-used dedicated Microsoft Kinect port. You can still use the face-reading, microphone-equipped camera should you like (Microsoft is firm about supporting the accessory long into the future) but to do so you will need an additional USB adaptor.

What’s powering Xbox One X?

So what exactly makes the system so dang powerful? Try 12GB of DDR5 memory, a custom octo-core CPU overclocked to 2.3GHz and a custom overclocked GPU with 40 CUs and a computational output of 6 Tflops. Those specs help align the Xbox One X with modern gaming computers and should help consoles keep pace with the ever-advancing PC hardware space. The amazing part? All of this power will come inside a shell that’s actually a bit smaller than the current Xbox One S.

Let’s take a closer look at the hardware itself, starting first with the GPU as that’s the main component enabling the Xbox One X’s crazy boost in power. Microsoft hasn’t given us the specific model sitting inside the Xbox One X, but we can safely assume it’s a custom component made for the system. Inside it, you’ll find 40 customized compute units clocked at 1172MHz. That works in conjunction with the upgraded 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and puts the card, on paper, close to the Nvidia Titan XP.

But before you jump on the PC Gamer forums to tell them how consoles have finally surpassed PCs in terms of value performance, just know that unlike a video card’s dedicated VRAM, the Xbox One X’s 12GB of RAM is split in between the system and the GPU, i.e. it’s not comparing apples to apples. The closest comparison for the Xbox One X’s GPU to a card you’d find in a PC is a AMD RX 580 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – but keep in mind that the Xbox One X has a tighter integration between system design and hardware that allow it to run at slightly higher speeds than either of those two cards.

On the CPU side of things, the Xbox One X is running a custom chip with eight Jaguar CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz. That’s a 76% increase compared the CPU inside the original Xbox One and Xbox One S, but probably only puts it in the ballpark of a current-gen Intel Core i3 processor. What that means is that you’ll probably see games that look as good on Xbox One X as they do on a low-to-mid-range gaming PC, but we’re still a ways away from Xbox outclassing custom-built gaming rigs.

The more important comparison for the Xbox One X, and the one Microsoft would rather you focus on, is to the PS4 Pro. Sony’s system is a fairly competent competitor – its GPU has 36 compute units at 911Mhz that work in tandem with a 2.1GHz CPU and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. That memory runs into a bit of a bottleneck at the buffer, which is limited to 218GB/s, but it still puts out around 4 Teraflops of performance.

What about Xbox One X vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One? The Xbox One X is definitely the most powerful of the bunch, and will trounce the original in nearly every way. The harder battle the One X will face is against its immediate predecessor, the Xbox One S. The One S is a system that offers upscaled 4K instead of native 4K, HDR and a 4K Blu-ray player. The two systems’ feature sets are similar, even if the hardware inside is radically different.

What’s your takeaway? The Xbox One X is a more powerful console than the PS4 Pro or the original Xbox One, and it’s by a relatively substantial margin, too. It’s still not as fast as your friend’s gaming rig, however, despite the additional 4GB of GDDR5 memory inside.

Gears of War 4 will be receiving a patch to allow it to run in 4K on the Xbox One X.

What does Enhanced for Xbox One X mean?

Hardware is wonderful, yes, but it’s easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees. The end-goal for Microsoft’s new high horsepower system is to play gorgeous games in 4K HDR – all without creating games that can only be played on the new hardware.

So if Microsoft isn’t creating new games for Xbox One X, what is it doing? It’s implementing a solution called “Enhanced for Xbox One X”, a broad marketing term that implies that the developers are tweaking a game for the more powerful hardware.

In practice, that means some games will have an all-new set of 4K textures that will make your game look more visually striking. For others, it may be that the game will now utilize High Dynamic Range technology to make colors more vivid and contrast more noticeable. It might also mean that games are optimized to run at higher or more stable frame rates – close to, if not exactly, 60 frames per second in some cases. Some games could very well offer all of the above and give you the option of picking which one is the most important to you.

Which games will get the update? According to Microsoft, all of the company’s first-party titles  going forward will come with these enhancements right out of the box.

That said, older games are getting love, too, with titles like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Minecraft, Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy 15, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rocket League and dozens of other popular Xbox One games receiving free updates to take full advantage of the power of the Xbox One X when the system launches.

In total, the list of announced Xbox One X games has now grown to over 130 according to Microsoft.

So while we’re not getting new games entirely, we are getting some better-looking games in the future and a few visual improvements to games in the past. Neat! …Well, sort of.

The exact improvements made will vary on a title-by-title basis. Halo 5, for example, will feature enhanced textures and will render in 4K, but will not support HDR due to the amount of work such an upgrade would require, as explained by one developer on NeoGAF

Interestingly, it looks like not every game will look at its best in 4K resolution. Digital Foundry has played through a segment from Rise of the Tomb Raider in both 4K and Full HD modes and found that in 4K the game suffered from some unfortunate framerate troubles. Granted, this is non-final code and so these issues might be resolved for the final patch, but it looks like we might end up having some hard decisions to make about resolutions and framerate compromises.

According to an interview with Xbox Chief Phil Spencer, Gamasutra reports that not every Xbox One game is required to support the new hardware. “So the Xbox One games are going to run on Scorpio,” Spencer said. “And when you ship an Xbox One game two years from now, even if you don’t look at Scorpio as something that you want to take advantage of, fine. That’s up to you. We’re not mandating that people go and do Scorpio-specific work.”

Not mandating that all games take advantage of the new hardware? That could be problematic.

So what’s going on with virtual reality?

When Microsoft first announced the new hardware – then codenamed Project Scorpio – at E3 2016, it made a big deal about how it would be a VR-capable machine.

However, as of October 2017 (one month before the console is due for release), we’re yet to see VR running on the machine, and Microsoft is still to outline exactly how the functionality will work.

Initially we assumed that the console would support one of the two big PC VR headsets, either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but in the months since Microsoft has instead confirmed that the console will work with Windows 10’s upcoming ‘Mixed Reality’ headsets.

It’s all strangely nebulous at this point, a point further emphasized by a recent interview, in which a Microsoft spokesperson was unable to give a clear answer about what form the VR functionality of the console would take.

Dell’s Visor headset is one of the mixed reality headsets that Microsoft has said will be coming to the Xbox One X in 2018.

On PCs, Microsoft has said it will support a number of VR headsets. So far, companies like Acer, Dell and Intel have thrown their hats in the ring with headsets of their own, while Microsoft has quietly released developer units of its own Microsoft HoloLens out into the world for a cool $3,000 per unit.

Given how close the Xbox and Windows 10 platforms now are, we expect that these headsets will have similar functionality across both pieces of hardware.

For now, though, the specifics of Xbox’s virtual reality is a big ol’ question mark  – a point we expect Sony to make a point of throughout the holiday season.

High-Tech Gadgets and Appliances for the Lavatory

Whether you wish a luxe lavatory with all the bells plus whistles; a worldwide bathing zone that suits persons of all ages; a bath region created with luxury and wellness in awareness; or an ecological space designed to increase your carbon footmark, there are sufficiently of cool, high-tech inventions that will aid you create a lavatory that accomplishes your wants plus needs.

App-controlled automation 
You could do pretty much anything on your smart phone nowadays, because of the boundless number of apps that are accessible toward download, from shop online toward paying bills through your bank’s mobile app as well as keeping track of your health plus health progress as well as goals. There are yet app-organized smart home automation schemes, similar the one used in this bath region, that permit you to wirelessly regulator your living atmosphere, too.

Whereas this luxe lavatory creates a striking first impress, it is what you cannot see on the surface that is actually impressive. Through the touch of a key on a smart phone otherwise tablet, the proprietors can wirelessly control the temperature of the bath region, the size and kind of music that is streaming from its innate speakers, as well as also turn on as well as customize the ambient as well as accent light options.

Tap that 
Now, here is a tap that is the whole package. Not merely is it stress-free on the eye, however it is smart, engaging as well as decent with children, too. The technological tap is controlled through electronic sensor keys and feature an LED light that deviations color through the temperature of the water (the earnest red light designates that the temperature of the liquid is hot, magenta links with warm water, whereas blue is calm).

This smart tap is excessive for family households as it offers visual signals for children so they know while it’s safe toward wash their hands underneath the water, stopping scalds plus burns. Plus, youths will love the altering light, which alters the tap in to a statement-creating design component, too.

 

Smart lighting 
Want toward make your lavatory more energy effective and safer, also? Connecting sensor lights in your wash space is one method to accomplish both of these lavatory design necessities. These smart lighting resolutions prevent needless electricity use, as they spontaneously turn on otherwise off when the space is not in usage, proving very suitable for persons (like me) who occasionally forget toward switch lights off while leaving a room.

Frequently go to the lavatory in the mid of the night? A spontaneous sensor light would prevent you from tripping into doors plus walls, stumbling over otherwise hitting your toes. Somewhat than using sensor illuminations that are attached to the ceiling for this resolve (they usually deliver ambient illumination toward the space), install a ancillary light that is softer in strength and color, and not located in your straight line of sight, as was completed in this lavatory. This will confirm the nightlight mildly illumines the room as well as does not jolt you wide awake.

Peek-a-boo privacy glass 
Want your novel bathroom toward capture amply of natural light as well as take benefit of a pleasing sight, without compromising your secrecy? Then you might wish toward consider including switchable electric confidentiality glass in your novel bath zone, thus you can relish the finest of both domains. Through the riffle of a switch, the big floor-to-ceiling window in this cheerful, airy washing area glazes over toward shield the space from the sight of people who might be outdoors.

Moving mirror imagery 
Wish you might catch up on the newscast or your fav television shows while going around your business in the lavatory? Sure, you might support your tablet up on your pride otherwise verge of your bath, but the risk of it falling in to water or being smashed by steam may just put you off that choice. If you have a big sufficient space plus budget, you might like toward consider fitting a television mirror in your lavatory. Just make certain you don’t watch whatsoever too scary, exciting or funny (essentially anything that may create you jump otherwise laugh) when shaving, pulling your eyebrows, put on make-up or doing any other errands that involve placing sharp or pointed objects nearby your face!