We pit the quality Galaxy S8 versus the economical OnePlus 5 to find out which one particular is the improved invest in.
The iPhone X is here, and it might be the most dramatic update to Apple’s flagship smartphone in years. Gone are mainstay features like the iconic home button and Touch ID, replaced by a bezel-free OLED display and a new Face ID feature that relies on 3D face-scanning technology to unlock your phone and process Apple Pay purchases.
And that’s not counting other upgrades to the iPhone X — like the faster A11 processor, wireless charging, and a True Tone display for better color accuracy — that the device shares with the more modest iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models that Apple also announced today.
The iPhone X may be the most powerful iPhone ever, but compared to almost any other Android flagships, it’s hard to pick out a category where it leads the pack — at least on paper when comparing raw specifications. But if Apple has shown one thing time and again with every iPhone generation, it’s that optimization of hardware and software matter just as much — if not more — than the hard numbers of which phone has more RAM, which is why Apple’s phones tend to perform so well, even with comparatively weaker hardware.
That said, it is still informative when considering what phone to buy next to see how the numbers play out head-to-head, so we’ve put Apple’s newest devices up against the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the Essential Phone, LG V30, and more to see which smartphone’s specs reign supreme.
iPhone X spec comparison
|Specification||iPhone X||iPhone 8||iPhone 8 Plus||Galaxy Note 8||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8 Plus||Essential Phone||LG V30||iPhone 7||iPhone 7 Plus||Pixel||Pixel XL||HTC U11|
|Specification||iPhone X||iPhone 8||iPhone 8 Plus||Galaxy Note 8||Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8 Plus||Essential Phone||LG V30||iPhone 7||iPhone 7 Plus||Pixel||Pixel XL||HTC U11|
|Display||5.8 inches||4.7 inches||5.5 inches||6.3 inches||5.8 inches||6.2 inches||5.71 inches||6 inches||4.7 inches||5.5 inches||5 inches||5.5 inches||5.5 inches|
|Resolution||2436 x 1125||1334 x 750||1920 x 1080||2960 x 1440||2960 x 1440||2960 x 1440||2560 x 1312||2880 x 1440||1334 x 750||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080||2560 x 1440||2560 x 1440|
|Processor||A11 Bionic||A11 Bionic||A11 Bionic||Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core)||Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core)||Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core)||Snapdragon 835 (2.45GHz and 1.9GHz, octa-core)||Snapdragon 835||A10 Fusion||A10 Fusion||Snapdragon 821 (quad-core)||Snapdragon 821 (quad-core)||Snapdragon 835 (2.45GHz, octa-core)|
|Storage||64GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB||64GB||128GB||64GB, 128GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB||32GB, 128GB||32GB, 128GB||64GB, 128GB|
|Rear camera||12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide)||12 megapixel||12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide)||12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide)||12 megapixel||12 megapixel||13 megapixel, 13 megapixel (monochrome)||16 megapixel, 13 megapixel (wide)||12 megapixel||12 megapixel, 12 megapixel (wide)||12.3 megapixel||12.3 megapixel||12 megapixel|
|Front camera||7 megapixel||7 megapixel||7 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||5 megapixel||7 megapixel||7 megapixel||8 megapixel||8 megapixel||16 megapixel|
|Weight||0.38 pounds||0.33 pounds||0.45 pounds||0.43 pounds||0.34 pounds||0.38 pounds||0.41 pounds||0.35 pounds||0.30 pounds||0.41 pounds||0.31 pounds||0.37 pounds||0.37 pounds|
|Dimensions (in.)||5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30||5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29||6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30||6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34||5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31||6.28 x 2.88 x 0.31||5.57 x 2.80 x 0.31||5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29||5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28||6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29||5.66 x 2.74 x 0.29||6.09 x 2.98 x 0.29||6.06 x 2.99 x 0.31|
|Starting price||$999.00||$699.00||$799.00||$930||$749.00||$849.00||$699.00||TBA (rumored $749.99)||$649.00||$769.00||$649.00||$769.00||$649.00|
|Misc.||Face ID scanner||Wireless charging||Wireless charging||S Pen, Iris scanner, USB-C||Iris scanner, USB-C||Iris scanner, USB-C||Modular attachement system||Quad DAC for hi-fi audio||Force Touch home button, no headphone jack||Force Touch home button, no headphone jack||Google Assistant, fast charging||Google Assistant, fast charging||Squeezable side function|
If there’s one image that comes to mind when choosing between an Apple and Microsoft product, it’s probably actors Justin Long and John Hodgman standing alongside one another against a white backdrop. “We use a lot of the same kinds of programs,” says Hodgman, playing the role of a PC dressed in a beige business jacket and slacks, in one iconic “Get a Mac” ad from 2006. “But we retain a lot of what makes us us.”
Fast forward more than 10 years later, and little about that sentiment has changed. Both Microsoft and Apple have recently launched new tablets that they say are designed for productivity and creativity. The fifth-generation Surface Pro, launching on Thursday and starting at $799, is the company’s fastest model yet, with Microsoft claiming longer battery life, better performance, and more accurate stylus input. Apple unveiled a new iPad Pro just last week, which has an updated processor, a new size option, and improved screen technology. The 10.5-inch version starts at $649, while the 12.9-inch size begins at $799.
Both are powerful, portable, and expensive machines designed to fulfill similar roles, each excelling and falling short in their own ways. The iPad Pro functions better as a tablet overall, while the Surface Pro is more capable of replacing your PC.
That’s largely because of the software powering these devices. The iPad Pro runs on iOS, which boasts a massive library of more than two million apps, many of which are optimized specifically for the iPad. You can feel comfortable knowing that when a popular app launches, there’s a good chance it will be available for the iPad and it’ll look good. Meanwhile, Microsoft has long been criticized for its smaller selection of apps, which is part of the reason its mobile platform never took off. Spotify and YouTube are two popular apps still missing from the Windows Store, for example.
The desktop experience is where the Surface has a sizable lead over the iPad Pro. Yes, Apple is making an effort to turn the iPad into a better laptop replacement. When iOS 11 launches in the fall, the iPad will gain a dock that holds more apps, a redesigned app switcher, and a new file management app, all of which make it more like a “real” computer. Even before that update, the iPad Pro can display apps in a split screen view, minimize a video and play it in the corner so you can continue with other tasks, and pull up apps in a sidebar.
But the Surface runs full-fledged Windows 10, making it better equipped for multitasking right out of the gate. That’s the biggest advantage the Surface has over the iPad. If you’ve been using Windows at all in the past few years, you already know how it works. Plus, you can use a mouse with the Surface Pro, which is tremendously helpful for precision.
For getting serious work done, I prefer Microsoft’s Signature TypeCover ($159.99 for Signature, $129.99 for regular) over Apple’s Smart Keyboard ($169 for 12.9-inch, $159 for 10.5-inch). The TypeCover is more spacious, with plenty of room to rest your palms, a full row of function keys, and a sturdier design than in years past. It still doesn’t feel like a laptop keyboard when you’re using it in your lap rather than on a hard surface, but it’s enough to get the job done. The iPad’s keyboard cover is adequate if you’re taking a few notes or sending quick emails, but it’s too cramped to use for a full workday.
Both Apple and Microsoft are marketing their tablets as ideal for creative professionals. With that in mind, both have engineered their own styluses for everything from taking notes to editing photos and sketching artwork. Both the Apple Pencil ($99) and Surface Pen ($59.99 for regular, $99.99 for Platinum) are responsive and fluid, but I prefer Microsoft’s for two reasons: it magnetically attaches to the Surface so it’s harder to lose, and it can simply do more than the Apple Pencil. Clicking the Surface Pen’s top button pulls up a side panel on the tablet with apps designed for stylus input, like Sticky Notes and Sketchpad, as well as suggested apps. The Apple Pencil works well but doesn’t provide any additional functionality, and there’s nowhere to store it.
The Surface Pro has another design advantage over the iPad Pro, too: The kickstand. It makes it possible to adjust the viewing angles to your liking and prop up the Surface on a table or desk even when it’s not connected to its keyboard case. The kickstand on the newest model is even more flexible, allowing the Surface to lie nearly flat against a table similar to a drafting board.
In terms of hardware, both the Surface Pro and iPad Pro are equipped with gorgeous screens, zippy processors, and pretty good battery life. But there are some important differences. Although the Surface Pro’s screen (12.3-inches with a resolution of 2,736 by 1,824) and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro’s display (2,224 by 1,668 resolution) both looked sharp and colorful when streaming video side-by-side, the iPad was better suited for reading. This is mostly thanks to Apple’s TrueTone technology, which softened the blue light coming from the screen to feel easier on the eyes. Scrolling is also smoother on Apple’s tablet, although the difference is only noticeable when quickly flipping through content.
But Microsoft gives buyers more options when it comes to processing power. Surface shoppers can customize their machine with a lower-powered Intel m3 or desktop-class Core i5 or Core i7, all of which are new seventh-generation processors. Microsoft also offers up to 1TB of storage space, while all iPad Pro models run on Apple’s A10X Fusion chip and have a maximum of 512GB of storage space.
Still, both machines offer speedy and smooth performance and can multitask with ease. On both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro, I worked on spreadsheets, wrote articles, opened nearly 20 tabs in Google Chrome, played games with heavy graphics, and streamed video without any stutters. The Surface Pro scored slightly higher in performance tests designed to measure speed when it comes to running apps and processing images, but not by much. However, I did notice that Microsoft’s tablet began to feel warm to the touch while it ran a full system virus scan in the background of those tasks.
Because I chose to use Google Chrome during the course of this test, which gobbled up 80% of my battery usage, the Surface Pro’s didn’t last quite as long as I had expected. I got about six hours out of the device, which might not be enough to get through a full workday without plugging in. If you don’t mind primarily using Microsoft’s Edge browser, you’ll likely get much more mileage out of the device. But the iPad still lasted longer: After using a mix of Chrome and Safari, I only burned through a quarter of the battery after three and a half hours.
If you’re trying to decide whether a Surface Pro or iPad Pro is right for you, the answer largely depends on your preferences and how you plan to use it. The iPad Pro has a better selection of polished apps, is lighter and more portable, and is better for reading. In my experience, it’s plenty powerful enough to keep up with devices running on the latest Intel processors. But the software just isn’t there yet if you often plan to use it as a laptop replacement. The Surface Pro’s Windows 10 support, integrated kickstand, and superior accessories make it better at functioning as a work computer, but its app selection needs work.
Think of it this way: The iPad Pro is the device I’d choose to take on a long car ride, especially if I want to catch up on a lot of work-related reading, fire off some emails, and squeeze in some gaming. The Surface Pro is the computer I’d toss in my bag on the way to a conference to publish stories or bring a meeting to manage notes. Perhaps Justin Long, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans as the Mac, puts it best: “You should see what this guy can do with a spreadsheet,” he says in the ad, gesturing toward his PC counterpart. “It’s insane.”
Smartron Srt.phone vs Motorola Moto G5 Plus
Here we are with the comparison of two budget devices that are Smartron srt.phone vs Motorola Moto G5 Plus.
Availability, Colour and Price:
Smartron Srt.phone launched in the month of May this year. It is available in Titanium Grey colour and has two variants which are priced at:
- 32 GB variant- 12,999.
- 64 GB variant- 13,999.
Motorola Moto G5 Plus launched in February 2017. It is available in Lunar Grey and Fine Gold colour variants with the price tag of 14,999.
Display and Design
The Smartron Srt.phone comes with the 5.5-inch full HD Capacitive touchscreen display. It has a display resolution of 1920×1080 Pixels with a pixel density of 401 PPI. It measures 153mmx77mmx8.9mm with a weight of 155gm. The display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The Motorola Moto G5 Plus comes with 5.2 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display. It have a display resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels with a pixel density of 424 PPI. It measures 150.2 x 74 x 7.9 mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.31 in) with a weight of 155 g (5.47 oz). The display is shielded with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. As we compare both the devices, the displays of them is same with a little difference in size.
Hardware and Software
The Smartron Srt.phone runs on the Android Nougat 7.1.1. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-Core and Quad ARM Cortex 1.8GHz A72 + Quad ARM Cortex 1.44GHz A53 processor. It has a support of Adreno 510 GPU. The phone has 4GB Dual Channel LPDDR3 RAM with a 64/32GB of internal storage. The Motorola Moto G5 Plus runs on an Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat). It inbuilts Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset and Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53 processor. It sports Adreno 506 GPU with 4GB of RAM. There is 64 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256 GB via MicroSD card slot. In this section, the Smartron Srt.Phone have little advantage over the Motorola Moto G5 Plus.
As in the camera section, the Smartron srt.phone packs a 13MP of rear camera and 5MP of front camera for the selfies and video chats. The primary camera is capable up 1080p video recording. It includes Autofocus with PDAF, BIS sensor, Single Flash and Wide angle. On the other hand, the Motorola Moto G5 Plus packs a 12 MP primary camera and 5MP secondary camera for selfies. The primary camera is capable of 1080p@30fps, HDR video recording. It includes Geo-tagging, touch-focus, face detection, panorama, auto-HDR, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash. Both the devices have a great camera quality. Talking about the quality, Moto G5 Plus packs a better camera with bigger pixel size. Lenovo has used camera shooter similar to that the Samsung has used in the Galaxy S7.
Both the devices have a 3000 mAh capacity with the Non Removable battery. The Smartron srt.phone has a feature of Quick Charge 2.0 while the Motorola Moto G5 Plus has a feature of Fast battery charging. The device has a good battery backup, now it is up to the user which on they love to buy.
Read More: Smartron Srt.phone vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
Sensors and Connectivity
List of Sensors in both the devices.
- Accelerometer sensor,
- Gyroscope sensor,
- Proximity sensor,
- Ambient light sensor (In Smartron srt.phone),
- Digital Compass, and
- Fingerprint sensor.
In Connectivity options both the phones have a little difference that are:
Smartron srt.phone includes:
- WiFi: Dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth: v4.1
- USB Type-C reversible connector
Motorola Moto G5 Plus includes:
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
- Bluetooth- v4.2, A2DP, LE
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
- FM radio
- USB- microUSB v2.0, USB Host
Specs comparison of Smartron Srt.phone vs Motorola Moto G5 Plus:
The Nikon KeyMission lineup was announced in January 2016 at the Consumer Electronics Show and left many people scratching their heads. Hadn’t GoPro tried this action camera thing before? Overshadowed by the confusing press around the KeyMission 80 and the KeyMission 170, however, was a gem in the otherwise oddball KeyMission lineup, something unique that got lost in the shuffle, the KeyMission 360. It’s a true 360-degree camera that captures spherical video without any gaps in the footage, something that wasn’t as common in consumer 360 cameras at the time. So after many months with the camera, how good is it, and how does it compares to its nearest competition, the Samsung Gear 360?
What Is It?
If you’re looking for a detailed list of what’s in the box, you can check it out on Nikon’s website, but the highlight features of the camera are that it shoots 4K video (3840×2160) at 24 fps, and photos at 7744×3872 resolution. There’s a pair of 180-degree lenses and two sensors sandwiched back to back to form the spherical 360 images and video, and the whole camera is waterproof to 100 feet and shock proof to 6.6 feet (although these aren’t things I tested in actual use). While resolution is higher than the Samsung Gear 360’s 3840×1920 for video, the frame rate is a bit slower at 24 fps versus 30.
The big deal for 360 shooters is that all of the stitching is done in-camera. There’s no software to mess around with, no synching of multiple cameras (anybody who has used a GoPro Omni rig can sympathize with me), just equirectangular footage spit right out onto a MicroSD card and ready to go in your favorite video editing software. This is a huge deal, and something Nikon got very right on this camera. Even stitching two images together with Samsung’s offering takes valuable time.
Here’s a sample image stitched straight from the camera (which you’d need to download and watch in a 360 image viewer, such as GoPro’s free VR Player):
Really, Really Bad Software — Until It Wasn’t
One thing they didn’t do right, initially, was software. It’s better now than it was at launch.
Early versions of the software were so bad, an editor at the Associated Press put a guide out about the camera and offering as the first piece of advice (in bold letters): “don’t use the SnapBridge App.” Up until firmware version 1.3, which was released in early April, I was inclined to agree with him. I actually lugged a laptop on shoots to plug the camera into the desktop app and change settings, connecting with the Snapbridge 360/170 app on my iPhone 6S was that much an exercise in futility.
Once I updated, I could connect to the Snapbridge 360/170 app on my phone, and I could preview my images, adjust my exposure, and change settings to my heart’s content. It connected almost seamlessly now and I only experienced an odd crash here and there (which Nikon’s social media team asked me about, but then never followed up on).
That said, for all of this talk about software, Samsung’s Gear 360 doesn’t support Mac or iOS phones (though in theory that’s set to change this summer with the next version that’s coming out). At least Nikon tries.
How Does It Handle?
Once the software issue was fixed, how did it handle?
In short, it’s a mixed bag. Because it’s a 360 camera, it’s inevitable that you’re going to not have a lot of places to hold it, but for some reason, the two buttons that are on the camera — one for photo, and one for video — have almost no resistance. I would easily hit them taking the camera in or out of a case and it would start recording without me even knowing it, eating up space on my memory card (which comes at a premium; a 2 minute clip took just a bit over a gigabyte each time). Both buttons power on the camera and immediately start recording (holding them down powers on the camera without recording).
The Samsung Gear 360 ostensibly has the same design limitations, but it has better thought-out controls: a power button that you have to hold for a second before it turns on, and a separate record button. However, the body on the Samsung feels a bit more frail compared to the Nikon, and you can’t change the lenses on the Gear 360 like you can on the KeyMission 360.
The flap on the side of the camera, which houses the memory card slot, battery, airplane mode switch, and connections, is a bit fiddly. There are two sliders to move before you can access anything, and it sometimes required some force to lock everything back down again.
The lenses are huge for a body that’s just a bit smaller than my fist, but thankfully they are replaceable, so if they do happen to scratch, it’s not the end of the 360 world.
The biggest handling problem comes though in the lack of the screen. The only indication you have that things are recording (or aren’t) are a cryptic set of lights on top of the camera that flash red or green. These lights do double (triple?) duty to signal firmware updates and other camera errors.
This means you are entirely reliant on the desktop app or phone app to set your camera up, or to enable a special mode, such as time-lapse (which disappointingly is not available at full resolution, unlike the Samsung Gear 360 that the Nikon competes with). The Samsung Gear 360 at least crams a tiny screen on top to change settings, so if your phone battery dies, you’re not left without options.
How Do Things Look out of the Camera?
Image quality, for this class of cameras, is acceptable. In still photos, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between other cameras in this class, including the Samsung Gear 360.
Video is comparable, though not as sharp as the Samsung Gear 360 (you can see footage shot with that camera here). Without stepping up to something like a $5,000 GoPro Omni setup, this is about what you’d expect from this class of camera that uses two lenses and two sensors. While you can see the difference on a computer monitor, things look about the same for both Samsung and Nikon cameras when viewed on a phone or an Oculus Rift headset despite the resolution difference between the cameras. It’s disappointing that Nikon’s higher resolution didn’t provide a clear benefit here, but that doesn’t mean it’s image quality for video isn’t usable.
Stitching quality is very good. It gets the lines right most of the time, and there are only hints of ghosting as images move between the lenses. You can see it towards the end of this sample footage here where I walk towards the camera to shut it off:
Colors are generally vibrant, though I found them more appealing with the “Active D-Lighting” turned off. They looked a bit washed-out with the setting turned on. Dynamic range is about what you’d expect for the small sensors in this camera. You can’t adjust specific settings for images, just exposure compensation.
If none of that sounds like a ringing endorsement, it’s because of one major factor that hobbles the camera: the price tag is $500. At $200 for the Samsung Gear 360, you can buy two cameras and still have money left over compared to the Nikon, with comparable image quality and features. Food for thought.
What I Liked
- In-camera stitching is a huge time-saver, and something every manufacturer should be doing.
- Image and video quality is decent in its class.
- App is easy to use and has a good number of features once you update the firmware.
What I Didn’t Like
- Expensive for what’s now an older product in this space.
- Buttons are too easy to accidentally push.
- Needs a screen on the camera to change settings without an app.
- Trick modes, such as time-lapse, are only available at lower resolutions (960p).
We’re on the cusp of seeing second and third generation 360 cameras from many manufacturers, and this product is firmly in the first generation for Nikon. Foibles with the controls, growing pains with the software, and good-but-not-great image quality are evidence of that.
If you’re a PC and Samsung Galaxy phone user, and are willing to put up with stitching after a shoot, then the Samsung Gear 360 is a better purchase for the money. But Mac and iPhone users will find a lot to like about the Nikon KeyMission 360 if they can swallow the $500 cost, which is simply too high for the class it’s competing in.
Nikon did a lot of things right with this first stab at 360 video, enough to make me hope that they’ll keep at it for a second iteration of the KeyMission 360. If you can wait, it will be interesting to see Nikon’s response to the updated, live-streaming Gear 360 2017 edition.
If you’re interested in seeing what the camera can do, here’s an edited piece I put together where I ran the camera through a car wash (inside the car!):
The Samsung HW-K950 and Sonos Playbase are two of the finest sound systems I’ve heard in ages. The HW-K950 is a four-piece sound bar-wireless subwoofer-wireless surround speaker system with a $1,299/£1,299/AU$1,999 price tag, and the PlayBase is a $699/£699/AU$999 sound base. Both were favorably reviewed by Ty Pendlebury here on CNET, and those reviews have in-depth information about the products.
The first thing you’ll notice about the HW-K950’s sound is the way it completely fills a room, a feat few sound bars can match. That’s because most ‘bars only spread sound across the front wall of a room. In addition to the sound bar, the HW-K950 system has a pair of wireless surround speakers, and not only that, those speakers each have two sets of drivers. One forward-firing driver, and a second upward-firing one, aimed toward the ceiling. The HW-K950’s sound bar has a similar arrangement with up-firing drivers required for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround sound.
So it’s no wonder the HW-K950 produces such an immersive sound. With my favorite Atmos Blu-ray, “Gravity,” the sounds of the astronauts voices moving through space were well reproduced by the HW-K950, though I wasn’t as aware of the height effect of their voices moving up as I had with the Pioneer Elite SP-EFS73 speaker system, paired with an Atmos AV receiver. Granted, separates-based systems are far more expensive than the HW-K950, but in terms of producing the full Atmos or DTS-X experience, there’s no doubt, separates are far more effective.
That said, the HW-K950’s sound floated free of the speakers with the scenes in “Gravity” where astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) moves around and through different chambers in the International Space Station, and I was immersed in the sounds of buzzing and beeping electronics, air circulation systems and the film’s music score.
When I popped on Mel Gibson’s World War II film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” to test the HW-K950’s home-theater stamina with a barrage of explosions and onscreen mayhem the HW-K950 didn’t flinch. It was so good I almost forgot I was listening to a sound bar system. That’s high praise indeed!
Sonos Playbase and more!
With the “Avatar” Blu-ray, the Sonos Playbase’s sound was lively, clear, with a big and spacious image. Dialogue was remarkably natural. Bass was plentiful, which also made the Playbase sound a lot bigger than it really is. Even so, I couldn’t resist adding the Sonos Sub ($699/£699/AU$999) to the Playbase, and that subwoofer propelled the sound to the next level. The Sonos Sub is far and away the best sub I’ve heard with any sound bar or base system. The bass is deep, defined and taut. It not only blended well with the Playbase, together they increased the system’s dynamic range and impact.
The Playbase/Sonus Sub system played rock, dance, jazz and classical music with ease. The tonal balance was smooth, and this system can play loud without sounding like it’s working very hard.
Things were going so well I added a pair of Sonos Play:3s ($299/£299/AU$395 each) for use as wireless surround speakers. They all but disappeared as sound sources, and with the Playbase, they united to seamlessly fill the room with sound. Continuing with action sequences from “Avatar,” the HW-K950 system was nowhere as potent and dynamically alive as the Sonos Playbase-Sub-Play:3 system. However, the Sonos system doesn’t have Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround capabilities, so it lacked the HW-K950’s ability to add a vertical dimension to the sound.
Even so, I still preferred the Sonos system for its superior clarity, dialogue intelligibility, dynamic punch and potent bass — it’s simply terrific. Yes, it is expensive, but a worthy upgrade over the Samsung HW-K950. Then again, for $1,299 the HW-K950 is no slouch, and its performance is ahead of the Playbase on its own.
Google Home, the smart home accessory debuted by the search engine giant at the I/O expo last year, finally launches in the UK. The compact gadget is currently available online on John Lewis for GBP129, among other physical stores and retailers, Know Your Mobile noted.
Google describes it in its blog as:
“With a simple “Ok Google” you can play songs, artists, radio stations, your favorite playlists and more from Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and YouTube Music with additional services like iHeartRadio coming soon. You can also play a podcast while making pasta or listen to today’s news while tying your shoes. And if you just want to stream audio directly from your phone, you can cast music to Google Home from 100+ Chromecast-enabled apps on your Android or iOS device. Google Home’s smart audio design integrates a high-excursion driver with a dual passive radiator design that delivers crystal-clear highs and deep lows for Hi-Fi sound that streams over WiFi. That means a lot of big sound from a small package. Even while you jam out to music, it can easily hear you from across the room, thanks to two omnidirectional microphones and neural beamforming.”
Google believes that customers shouldn’t be bothered about the speakers installed in the gadget. However, Mirror UK thinks that Google Home, and just about every smart accessory, may not sit well with people who do not like to have their information collected. Google Home’s rival, Amazon Alexa, was brought up in a murder inquiry the same year the former was launched.
But to be able to have a device that can allow you to perform certain tasks using voice commands will certainly be appealing to the generation who is used to smart devices. The Sun notes that Google Home, which is slightly cheaper than Amazon Alexa (GBP 149.99), comes in a variety of colors, including customizable fabric and metal bases. The gadget also allows users to ask follow-up questions unlike its rival, and uses YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio as its resources.
All shipments will be shipped in June, Google told the BBC.
After much speculation, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has entered the wireless space with a new service that takes advantage of its Wi-Fi network, while piggybacking on Verizon‘s (NYSE:VZ) network when needed.
Called Xfinity Mobile, the service will only be offered, at least at first, in markets the company already serves with cable and internet. Comcast is not looking to directly take on the national carriers, including Verizon, AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S), and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS). Instead, it’s hoping to tighten its hold on its customer base by offering them one more product to bundle with cable and internet service. That’s a strategy AT&T and Verizon have used as well, while Sprint and T-Mobile have stuck with being lower-priced wireless-only players.
“Our goal is to improve loyalty and drive customer growth,” Comcast Mobile President Greg Butz told CNET, also noting that being in the wireless game could change the company’s less-than-stellar reputation. “We see this as a halo to let customers think about cable differently.”
Comcast promised, in the service’s launch press release, to provide consumers with a “better wireless experience, for less money.” Those are bold claims for a company that scored below industry averages as a pay television and internet service provider (ISP) in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report (registration required).
To be fair, Comcast did improve its ACSI ratings in 2016, climbing by 15% in pay TV while showing a 5% jump as an ISP. It’s fair to say that Comcast is now just one of the most-hated companies in America, which is better than being alone with that designation. Its ACSI ratings of 62 (pay TV), 59 (internet), and 64 (land-line phone) place it well behind T-Mobile’s 74, AT&T’s 71, Verizon’s 71, and Sprint’s 70 in the wireless category.
How do the prices compare?
Comcast’s goal is to make it more attractive for consumers to get all of its services by offering the best deals for customers who bundle more products. In the case of Xfinity Mobile, the cheapest priced unlimited deal is reserved for customers who subscribe to its “best X1 packages,” according to a press release. Comcast is selling its new wireless service at two different unlimited price points, and on a per gigabyte basis. It is also offering a very limited amount of free service.
- Any existing Xfinity Internet customers who add the new service to their account get unlimited talk and text, and 100 MB of shared 4G LTE data for free.
- Low-use customers can opt to pay $12 per GB of cellular data across all lines on an account each month.
- Xfinity customers on lower tiers who want unlimited can pay $65 per line, for up to five lines.
- For customers with the highest-end X1 internet and cable packages (which the company did not define) the price drops to $45 per line, with the same five-line limit.
The first two offers sound nice, but 100 MB of data is an effectively useless deal, unless you are the type of person who only uses your phone for talking and texting or you want a phone just for emergencies. It’s a proposition that may not work for many customers, but could have appeal to the older cable audience. The $12 per GB deal is similarly limited, though it might be a good offer for customers who use their phone mostly for calls
The unlimited deals, however, beat Verizon’s and AT&T’s prices at least for the first two lines, and the single $45 line for top-tier existing X1 customers is the lowest unlimited price offered by any major carrier.
Sprint currently has the lowest price for unlimited talk, text, and data service among the four major carriers, albeit through a limited-time offer for new customers. The No. 4 carrier charges $50 a month for one line, $80 for the second, $100 for the third, and $120 if you need four lines. T-Mobile comes in second at $70 for the first line, $100 for two, $140 for three, and $160 for four, but the Un-carrier does not charge any additional taxes or fees to its customers, while all the other carriers do.
AT&T and Verizon would both be more expensive than the $65 per line, per month Comcast plan for the first two lines, but a better deal if you need at least three. In the $45 Xfinity Mobile category, Comcast offers better pricing for three lines at $135 a month than T-Mobile ($140), Verizon ($160), and AT&T ($165). Once you get to four lines with the Xfinity $45 deal, the Comcast product is cheaper than AT&T, tied with Verizon, and as noted above, pricier than T-Mobile and Sprint.
Is Comcast really offering a good deal?
Comcast’s pricing is set up to do exactly what the company said it wants to do. It’s designed to make consumers consider upgrading their internet package in order to receive the best pricing if they also want wireless. In addition, the pricing should be attractive to existing customers already on the higher X1 tiers, tying them even closer to the brand, making it harder for them to leave.
It’s hard to see this offer tempting too many people away from Sprint or T-Mobile, but some of Comcast’s best customers might find the savings worth it if they have AT&T or Verizon. Consumers are likely to be skeptical of Xfinity Mobile, which the the company said will be available “soon,” especially given Comcast’s history of advertising one price, then pushing the actual cost higher with fees. This new service looks like a good deal for some Comcast subscribers, but even they should wait until the company actually takes signups to see what the potential hidden costs may be.
How will the Xbox Scorpio — the upcoming reboot of the Xbox One, first announced at E3 last year — compare with last year’s PlayStation 4 Pro? That’s the big question and, judging by how it sizes up, it’s something you can expect Microsoft to trumpet loudly. But to start, it’s enlisted an independent expert to testify.
“Fundamentally, Scorpio is more powerful so it should be able to do everything that the PlayStation 4 Pro can do,” Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter said in a video interview as part of an exclusive reveal today.
“Well, to be clear it’s going to be more expensive because it’s putting in more technology into the box. So yeah, obviously in terms of the core computational power of the machine, it’s going to be better.”
To be clear, Leadbetter doesn’t know that the Scorpio console will actually cost more at retail; just that the cost to Microsoft to build a Scorpio box will exceed the cost to build a PS4 Pro box. “We know it’s important to deliver an experience that demonstrates the power gap between [the PS4 Pro and Scorpio] at a price that makes sense to console gamers,” Xbox’s Albert Penello told Polygon last year.
While the spec confirmation is welcome, it’s long been expected to best the PS4 Pro in sheer horsepower. Penello told us last September following the PS4 Pro reveal that the “performance delta will be obvious.” Here’s what that looks like on paper, with the specs provided by Digital Foundry:
Xbox Scorpio vs PS4 Pro
|Specs||Project Scorpio||PS4 Pro|
|Specs||Project Scorpio||PS4 Pro|
|CPU||Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz||Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz|
|GPU||40 customised compute units at 1172MHz||36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz|
|Memory||12GB GDDR5||8GB GDDR5|
|Hard Drive||1TB 2.5-inch||1TB 2.5-inch|
|Optical Drive||4K UHD Blu-ray||Blu-ray|
But hardware is only one part of the story. Without great games to take advantage of that hardware, Xbox Scorpio remains stuck where the Xbox One is stuck: competing against a console that has a much larger install base and a wealth of exclusive titles.
“Having the hardware advantage is always great and it does tend to translate into improved multiplatform game experiences,” Leadbetter said. “But it’s not going to change the situation that there’s a ton of great exclusives on PS4 Pro that just look incredible.”
Without Xbox exclusives to drive adoption — E3 is the obvious place for Microsoft to share its plans — it’s up to those third-party, multiplatform games to target the enhanced capabilities of Scorpio. But Microsoft is also hoping that a performance improvement for all Xbox One games will encourage would-be adopters to trade up.
“Here, it’s down to the platform holder to take ownership of compatibility issues, but the advantage is this: unlike PS4’s boost mode, Scorpio theoretically allows for the full power of the new console to be deployed on older games,” Eurogamer stated. Coupled with supporting — and also improving — your existing, compatible Xbox 360 titles, Microsoft is hoping to use compatibility with your Xbox library as a key point of comparison with the PS4 Pro.