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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone is quite the Smartphone, got the latest innovations from Samsung, be it in a Smartphone that’s more or less the same as the S9 before it, but overall, a positive addition to Samsung’s lineup.
Of course the name “Note” has quite a few alarm bells in terms of recent history with Samsung, but we’re past that, right? The Note 8 was fine, everything’s good, we would NEVER return to the Note 7 debacle right … right?
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Battery Explodes in Women’s Handbag
Despite Samsung Mobile chief DJ Koh claiming the battery was safe, claiming, “The battery in the Galaxy Note 9 is safer than ever — Users do not have to worry about the batteries anymore”, well, turns out you might still after all.
Samsung’s previous woes were with the companies Note 7 Smartphone, a Smartphone, interestingly, the company conveniently misses out of spec info graphs, as you can see above.
However, it’s important to remember one thing before we get to the story. The Note 7 had A LOT of reports of Smartphone batteries exploding, the Note 9 has ONE. That’s a huge thing of note, as let’s not beat around the bush here, you can find reports of iPhone models, Google’s Pixels, LG, Sonys, you name it, exploding in isolated cases. Obviously, with Samsung’s Note series of devices, they’ve more of a history in this, but we though we’d clear that up.
The women in question, a retail estate agent Diane Chung, was the victim of the report, and, according to NYPost, has already sued Samsung for the incident, which was as follows.
Diane reports, her Note 9 “became extremely hot”, on September 3rd, whilst she was in an elevator. The Smartphone itself was in her bag, however, upon attempting to get the device out, “she heard a whistling and screeching sound and she noticed thick smoke” coming from where the phone was contained.
Naturally, wishing to find out what was going on, she went to get the Smartphone out of her bag, burning her fingers in the process. Baring in mind, she was still in an elevator, Diane claims that she “extremely panicked”, and understandably so. She was smashing buttons on the elevator, as the thick smoke began to fill the elevator making it hard to see.
The phone was kicked out of the elevator, once at the lobby to do so, at which point it was carefully placed in a bucket of water. She claims, the fire left her unable to contact clients, naturally ruining everything else in her bag.
Should sales continue for the Note 9? We say yes, for now
Diane claims that Samsung “should have known” that Note 9 devices were defective, and is ordering that the Smartphones are ceased from sale, but we just want to zoom out and get a reality check for a moment.
Whilst it’s entirely understandable that Diane is traumatised in this situation, as we mentioned earlier, this isn’t just a Samsung thing, and, no single device has EVER been dropped from sale after one single incident.
Naturally, Samsung were quick to get a response to the media, stating they “have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note9 device and we are investigating the matter”.
But! We stand by what we said, this is an unfortunate situation for all involved, and couldn’t be worse for Samsung, in terms of press, but we wouldn’t stop recommending the Note 9, or expect any ceasing of sale of the devices.
Obviously, just like with the Note 7, if many more reports come through, that will change, but for now, this is just a single case.
As always for an Apple Event, we were never going to be too surprised at what was announced at the Steve Jobs Theatre, and this event was definitely no exception, but they did it anyway, so let’s look at what did get announced!
We’ve a full round-up of all the things announced at the Apple Event below, which you can re-watch above, or read below.
Apple iPhone XS … that’s 10 S
Yes it’s iterative, but you should expect that from an S year, we’re still impressed with the iPhone XS, plus there’s now an all new iPhone XS Max for those who were fans of the prior Plus series of iPhone models.
This is it, the all-new iPhone XS. The name shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, it does continue Apple’s usual “faster but no design change” naming strategy, but that was before we switched from numbers, to letters that mean numbers, on the name of these things, now it’s just confusing.
But that’s fine, the new iPhone excess, as most will refer to it as, improves upon the iPhone X in pretty much every way it could. It’s faster with the new A12 Bionic, though only sizeably, has better Cameras and has faster Face ID at the front, despite no claims of it being generation 2 of Face ID interestingly.
The problem with the new iPhone XS, despite the fact it is a great Smartphone and we’re on the list of folk to be getting one, is simple. If you have an iPhone X, there’s literally no reason to get an XS. In fact, that’s something that may have been true with all S releases, but, people have very selective memory when it comes to complaints, but we understand that’s mostly targeting the continued £999 base price, however, with Samsung expected to follow this trend with the S10, it’s just something you either go for, or simply don’t.
That’s not to say the iPhone XS doesn’t have improvements over the previous model, oh trust us it does, but naturally they’re likely no improvements worthy of an upgrade. It’s worth the upgrade if you’ve got an iPhone 7 series or earlier, or maybe iPhone 8 series if you’re ready to plunge that new change now.
Here’s all the improvements over the iPhone X, and we’ll let you decide;
Improved ISP on the Cameras
Depth Control, post photo taken
Smart HDR (similar to Pixel 2 models) as aside to Auto
Extended Dynamic Range in Video up to 30fps on Front Camera
Cinematic video stabilisation in 1080p or 720p on Front Camera
STEREO AUDIO RECORDING IN VIDEO (finally!)
Faster Face ID thanks to Neural Engine
More Wireless bands supported, including new Band 7 for T-Mobile LTE and up to a Gigabit speed supported
IP68 Water and Dust Resistance for first time in an iPhone
Even faster Fast Wireless Charging support (expected to be 10W, from 7W on X and 8)
New 512GB option
Dual SIM using eSIM Technology, or physical Dual-SIM in China
Minor improvements to battery life (up to 30 minutes more than iPhone X)
Interesting oddity, the iPhone XS is 4 grams heavier, and doesn’t come with the 3.5mm adapter anymore!
The model most will go with, however, is this, the new iPhone XS Max! That’s right, not Plus, but Max. Whilst the XS maintains the same 5.8 inch display, the Max turns that up to a massive 6.5 inch in a body just about fitting that of the iPhone 8 Plus, and we highly expect a repeat of the iPhone 6 days, where the bigger model, will be the most popular.
One thing we’re very happy about with this release of iPhone models, is the fact that it’s the first time that an iPhone release hasn’t mattered, feature wise, which one you choose. You get an EXACT experience between both. Same Cameras, same PPI with higher resolution naturally on the Max to keep that, but everything is even between the two. Plus, we’re happy that there’s only a £100 difference between all XS and XS Max models.
So, there you go, that’s the new iPhone XS models, and here’s how much they’ll set you back before their Friday release. £999 for the iPhone XS, and £1099 for the iPhone XS Max, with a £150 increment for storage, which is now 64GB base, with 256GB and 512GB available as options.
Apple iPhone XR … that’s 10 R
It may have a stupid name, but this is clearly going to be the iPhone that sells the most, is wanted the most, and, offers a surprising amount of features, including the best battery life out of an iPhone yet! Impressive right, until you realise it’s called the XR, but if you can get past that, let’s have a look.
Is that a 5C I see, no it’s not, but it’s so much better! We just mentioned that we think most will pick up the Max version of the XS, that’s not including the majority of consumers who’ll probably just got for this!
Apple learned a lot from the 5C, and it’s clear to see here, is it slower than the XS? Not really, is the Camera worser than the XS? No, same primary sensor. This is actually a fully fledged flagship with a variety of colours to match, we’re in!
The iPhone XR falls slap bang in the middle of the sizes of the iPhone XS and XS Max with a 6.1 inch display, the display might not be as impressive as the XS series of displays, but it’s gonna be the best LCD displays on the market and maintains the PPI of the iPhone 8 and earlier series at 326PPI.
Most haven’t spoke about this too much, but we think it warrants a quick mention. EVERY Android phone that’s copied the Notch design of the iPhone X, or just had a Notch in general, has always had one thing in common, surprisingly, whether they’ve been OLED or LCD! And that’s that they’ve all had a thick distracting chin as well. The way Apple got around this in the iPhone X was to wrap the bottom panel around inside, so the display controllers could still lay flat, whilst the display itself renders clear to the bottom. This wasn’t possible to do on an LCD, so it’s a big deal that Apple have being able to design and build a Smartphone that offers that experience with a wrap around display with a bezel around the size of the sides at the bottom as well! Yes it’s a thicker outline than the X and XS models, but this is really impressive from an LCD, and not a single Android manufacturer has managed to pull this off!
Design wise, the iPhone XR is like a mash up between last years iPhone 8 models, with the aluminium sides and same glass back design, and the iPhone X. On the back of the iPhone XR, you could fool anyone that it was an iPhone 8, it just looks that similar at the back, but, of course, up front it’s all new, plus you can get this in A LOT more colours!
The iPhone XR also features the True Depth Camera System up front with the same front facing Camera tech as the XS, with Portrait Mode at the back despite the single lens which is impressive to see. As we briefly touched on, the iPhone XR is actually just about as powerful as the XS models as well, it’s got the same A12 Bionic chip, 1GB less of RAM, but if that’s all you’re losing out in performance, you’re still left with quite a beast of performance, and, that’s the same 3GB of RAM that the iPhone X had anyway last year.
You know another area that the iPhone XR champs at, battery life! Seriously! It’s a whole 1 hour and 30 above the previous iPhone battery champ, the iPhone 8 Plus. This is big news, you will get a lot out of this phone!
The iPhone XR will begin shipping a month from now, which is a shame, October 19th to be exact, but will start at quite a nice price of £749. Which, considering the power you’re getting out of this thing, we think, that’s a very decent price, and, with a battery that’s gonna last the longest of any iPhone so far! £50 more will get you a 128GB configuration, and the iPhone XR tops out a £100 less than the iPhone XS at £899 for a 256GB configuration.
Apple Watch Series 4
A day we never thought we’d see finally happened at this Apple Event … well, we gathered it would eventually but the clever analysts never expected this, an Apple Watch stole the show!
Even though this leaked, just like the XS did, it still managed to impress, and that in itself, is impressive. This is the all new Apple Watch Series 4.
For the first time since the original Apple Watch, Apple have changed up the design, and, it’s all about the display. Whilst the Apple Watch physically doesn’t get much bigger, the displays themselves are finally edge-to-edge. This has led to a much more curved UI design, which, admittedly, we’re not a massive fan of in all areas, such as that button curving on the picture shown above, but the overall experience is there!
Performance has been doubled with the S4 chip in the Apple Watch, which, is actually very impressive, as the Series 3 was a big improvement in performance, and, Apple have kept the same Apple Watch battery life, which, by the way, is very good.
The biggest “phew”, we think, all will be feeling, that comes with the Apple Watch Series 4, without a doubt, is that all previous Apple Watch straps will work with the new Series 4, though, admittedly, that will be rather confusing, at first, so we’ll just lay it out for you, we hope this clears things up;
38mm straps work with the 40mm Apple Watch Series 4
42mm straps work with the 44mm Apple Watch Series 4
The big highlight feature of the Apple Watch, wasn’t the twice as loud Speaker … I know, but was the inclusion of a sensor which is just going to continue the Apple Watch benefits medically, an ECG sensor is built right in! This means you can perform an Electrocardiogram right from your wrist, by putting your finger on the crown! This is massive for those with heart conditions, BUT shouldn’t be something you use regularly or on reliance, plus ECG scans are very sensitive so it will be recommended, especially if something is found using the Watch, to consult a Doctor for a second opinion.
The Apple Watch can now detect if you fall, which sounds really stupid, but it’s actually again a useful feature, and depending on the situation, can offer up Emergency contacts, or services, should you not get up after a set amount of time.
That’s about it really, the Apple Watch Series 4 did go up in price, as expected, but this is one year we’ll let that slide, as this is one very impressive Watch, both on a display stand-point, and, potentially, as one of the best fitness devices, leapfrogging everything else in it’s path.
The Series 4 starts at £399 for a GPS only model, and £499 for a GPS+Cellular model. All prices increase by £40 to the larger model. For us UK folk, Vodafone was added to the list of Apple Watch supported Carriers for the Series 4, where EE were previously exclusive.
The biggest disappointment from the “Gather Round” Event!
Seriously! The biggest disappointment from the whole Apple Event, wasn’t even the products that were announced! I mean, we saw welcome and sizeable improvements with the iPhone XS, with a larger model as an option, and, one everyone was waiting for, a brilliant colourful iPhone XR, and, one of the best Watches on the market, but, the way they were presented was unusually terrible for Apple!
The pace in the Event was beyond off, additional presenters for no reason just broke the feel of the presentation every time, and a larger than normal focus on third party app demonstration, just all added up to an incredibly boring keynote. The event was near 2 hours long, and, we guarantee, if it was half that, everyone would be much more happier with the Event!
Don’t get us wrong, it wasn’t Samsung keynote bad, and we’re sure to expect Keynotes from a collection of companies that will be massively worse than this Event, but for Apple, it was noticeable.
Ever since the Nokia brand returned to the masses, thanks in part to HMD Global, a collection of actually very impressive devices have been released since. Whilst today may have been expected to be the big Nokia 9 announcement, Nokia’s next expected flagship, instead we got theses, two new mid-range devices, iterative upgrades to the existing 5 and 6 models, the Nokia 5.1 Plus and 6.1 Plus.
For better or worse, both devices support an, infamous, and, as always, divisive, notch at the top of the screens, but, that does mean that they have a much higher screen-to-body ratio so that’s something. Unfortunately, like all Android “notch devices”, the Nokia devices also contain a big chin at the bottom, something, it seems, only Apple can figure out in this day and age. Nokia have used that space, as all do, to go down the usual two options, hide and try and make the user forget it’s there, or, as Nokia have, add branding.
Nokia 5.1 Plus
We’re kicking things off with the lower end of the two, the new Nokia 5.1 Plus. Unlike the 6.1 Plus, which we’ll get to in a minute, the 5.1 Plus supports a much more iPhone X like notch, with the usual curvature, so look forward to the infamous confusion at first glance. Luckily though, Nokia thought of this, and have included a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, so you’ll surely instantly know it’s not an Apple product, right?!
The display itself is a 5.86 19:9 IPS LCD panel, with resolution of 1520 x 720, so definitely not too crisp, but, at the same time, not a bad display for the market it’s targeting. However, the display is clearly going to be no match at all to the iPhone X it seems to be inspired from.
Outside the inspired front, the Nokia 5.1 Plus is actually a decent looking Smartphone, and considering this is expected to be under $200USD value, not too bad. Naturally, however, you are getting fairly mid-tier specifications for that. Nokia have gone with a MediaTek Helio P60 Octa-core processor, which may sound good, but in hindsight, it’s the equivalent to a newer Snapdragon 400 series processor. That processor is backed up by 3GB of RAM, has 32GB of internal storage, which, as always, is expandable by microSD.
Camera wise, you do actually have a dual-Camera setup, which is pretty impressive. It’s a shame Nokia don’t add Xeiss Optics to their lower end devices, but we’re sure it’s still decent. You’ve a 13MP main Camera at the back, and a 5MP depth sensor, and up front you’ve a 8MP Camera … yes that notch is only hiding a 8MP Camera and earpiece, nothing else, strictly aesthetic.
The 5.1 Plus also comes with the usual, WiFi AC, Bluetooth 4.2, USB-C port (USB 2 however, no fast charging), dual NANO SIM slots. Battery wise, you’ve a decent 3,060mAh power pack.
Whilst the 5.1 Plus does come with Android 8.1 Oreo, running on the Android One software, knowing Nokia, it will get Pie fairly soon.
Nokia 6.1 Plus
Supporting a more expected notch for Android, and a beefier processor, this is the new Nokia 6.1 Plus. Whilst the Nokia 6.1 Plus is still a mid-tier Smartphone, it is pretty much a step up from the 5.1 Plus in every way. Some things remain the same, such as the 3,060mAh battery, USB-C (USB 2 non-fast charging), WiFi AC and the infamous 3.5mm headphone jack, but everything else is either a moderate, or significant, step up.
Bluetooth is bumped up to Bluetooth 5.0, RAM is increased to 4GB, and you get double the base storage at 64GB, whilst still including support for a microSD card slot. The display is around-about the same size, at 5.8 inch, however now a Full HD+ IPS LCD display at 2280 x 1080, with the inclusion of Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
The biggest difference however is the inclusion of the Snapdragon 636, which is actually quite the performer as far as mid-range processors go, up to 40% faster than the 630, so you’ll definitely get a decent level of performance out of it, whilst continuing to being efficient enough too keep the decent battery life.
The Nokia 6.1 Plus is expected to release with around about a $250USD price tag, which is actually pretty decent for what you’re getting.
Like, the 5.1 Plus, the 6.1 Plus will come with Android 8.1 Oreo running on the Android One platform, HMD and Nokia confirmed however both devices are ready for Android 9.0 Pie, and will have the update by the end of the year.
We reported earlier in the week, of a leaked Motorola device with a striking resemblance to a certain other smartphone, and, whilst many didn’t even believe it as even true, never mind those just shaking their heads at it, let us be the one to inform you, it is indeed both official and it’s real, as you can see on Motorola’s website here! Many will be happy to know this is looking like a Chinese exclusive device, but, who knows, maybe it will cross to English regions, wouldn’t that be something.
Now that the P30 is official, we, naturally, now a much clearer look at the device in it’s full glory, and, as you’d expect, it’s the real deal. It’s a shame that Motorola have been so unoriginal with the P30, but what else can we really say, this is that same iPhone X rip-off we saw from the leaks.
To put it better in perspective, just look at this. On the left you’ve an iPhone X image ripped straight from Apple’s website, and the new Motorola P30! We’ve seen devices with “inspired” design before, but this is truly taking the biscuit. Don’t get us wrong, the iPhone X is a fairly well designed Smartphone, so it’s natural Motorola would want a piece of that action, but some originality would have been nice.
Now the Motorola P30 is official, we can now officially share what the device consists of, namely you’ve a mediocre Snapdragon 636 Processor, so this thing is actually a midrange device for Motorola, backed up by a decent 6GB of RAM. Other specifications include 128GB of storage, a sizeable 3,000mAh battery and dual-Cameras at the back at 5 and 16MP, the display has also being confirmed to be LCD and 6.2 inch.
Despite that fancy notch, Motorola haven’t fitted anything too special inside of it. Front-firing speakers? Nope. Iris scanning of any kind? Nope! The notch literally hides an earpiece, ambient light sensor and the front 12MP Camera.
We’ll end on one press image that doesn’t look exactly like the iPhone X.
The Motorola P30, for now, is exclusive to China at the moment, where it will fit in perfectly with all the other iPhone X clones that are filling the stores of China. Price of the device, as of yet, is unclear, but given a Snapdragon 636, we would expect around the $200 – $300 USD area of pricing. We’ll be very interested to see how the device does, if it does well. We expect many imports from those just interested to see how close that resemblance really is.
If there’s one thing that you can never predict, it’s the relationship between Google and Microsoft. Both companies just don’t know what the other one thinks, though, granted, this is a lot more from Google, than Microsoft. Whilst Microsoft still has a stronghold in the desktop market with Windows, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Google’s, early dismissed, Chrome OS line is making a very big impact.
Microsoft have made numerous attempts to distract from the Chromebook line, with the introduction of Windows 10 S, now (S-mode), a free version of Windows 10 to inspire lower cost options that uses the Windows Store, and, most recently, the Surface Go, a lower cost Surface option starting at less than £400. Despite their efforts, Chromebooks, at least in the US, are a vastly increasing market, but as much as Google would like to say otherwise, they really are just the Chrome browser wrapped around a basic Linux desktop, and outside of that, are very limited devices, even with the advent of the clunky Android additions.
This has led to something rather surprising from Google, but, when you think about it, something that makes complete sense. Google are expected to soon debut a new feature for Chromebooks called Campfire. The best way to describe Campfire in a sentence, it’s Apple’s Boot Camp for Chrome OS. Apple introduced Boot Camp at the later stages of Mac OS X Tiger (for Intel), and was launched officially in the Mac OS X Leopard release. Whilst Boot Camp has become far less of an important addition to the Mac, not just due to virtual machines improving, it’s a convenience which is there and will now be there for Chromebooks.
However, we highly doubt that Google, even could if they wanted to, would bring Campfire to the lower tier Chrome OS devices, it just wouldn’t work well, and the experience would be incredible limited. This is hinted in the fact that Campfire will require at least 30GB of available storage to even start, an amount of storage that some Chromebooks in the past haven’t come with in their entirety.
It’s unknown whether Campfire will be limited to just Windows 10, or all versions of Windows compatible, maybe even Linux too, or whether, like Boot Camp, with a little trickery, you could realistically install anything that recognises the hardware. We’ll have to see, but it’s sure interesting, and we’re sure Google isn’t too happy they’re having to rely on Microsoft for Chromebooks to work for some.
When Apple announced the iPhone X last year, it was hilarious to see just how many people didn’t like the notch, however, that certainly didn’t deter Android manufactures from further adopting the notch on all their devices. However, most Android devices have previously adopted the notch to include just the front facing Camera and ambient light sensor, which has meant their notch was typically narrower, now in comes the Motorola P30.
Before we get to the majority of the design, can we just say a massive FINALLY, that Motorola has finally used the technique we’ve being asking for years now, of using their M logo in a circular fingerprint scanner! It’s alright Motorola, we won’t sue, but sure took you long enough to notice our suggestion.
To say the P30 resembles the iPhone X is now beyond the usual. At least with devices like the OnePlus 6, or G7 etc, the notch is different and at least the back of the devices has a design uniquely their own, but Motorola just went, forget that, we’re making an iPhone X.
From the notch at the top centre, with the same curvature, to even the wallpaper default, it’s clear that the iPhone X was beyond inspiration. Naturally, like with all Android rip-offs, it comes with an awful chin, which Motorola has used to add their logo to, the only visible cue to anyone that the device isn’t the iPhone X.
Even the back has the same dual-Camera with middle flash module that Apple offers, this is beyond a copy. Where the Apple logo would be expected, Motorola’s signature “M” is placed, which as we mentioned will be a fingerprint scanner. It is not expected the P30 will offer advanced facial recognition like Face ID.
The P30 is part of three devices the company is expected to begin launching as part of their P line of smartphones. Again, we don’t know if Huawei will be too happy about this, considering the companies last flagship was the P20, will be an interesting battle there.
This of course is a leak of the Motorola P30, which was found by Android Pure, who also have reported the full specifications of the device as well. Naturally, with the chin, we’re expecting the P30 to be housing an LCD display, as it’s more difficult to built without a container at the bottom, a challenge everyone is interested to see if Apple can beat with the “lower-cost” iPhone this year.
That similar shaped display is set to be a 6.2 inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio, taller than most Android manufacturers typical 18:9, likely due to the iPhone esc design chosen. An unknown, at this point, Octa-core processor is expected, backed up by 6GB of RAM and storage options of both 64 and 128GB varieties. The dual-Camera set-up is comprised of a 16MP main shooter and a 5MP shooter with f/1.8 aperture, whilst the front Camera offers a very decent 12MP sensor with the same aperture as the 5MP. The device also comes with a decent 3,000mAh battery with fast charging support with the included 18W charger.
For now, though, that’s all we know about the upcoming Huawei … I mean iPhone … I mean, new Motorola flagship! Are you interested in this incredible unoriginal smartphone, will be interesting to see the reaction if an when it comes out in the next few weeks to month.
Microsoft have announced yet another addition to the Surface family with the new Microsoft Surface Go. Unlike most Surface devices, it seems to bridged the gap upon the land of being affordable, and has a much smaller footprint than prior models, as well as pretty attractive starting price of £379, which begs the obvious question, what gives?!
Well, this is a Surface device, and if you’ve any experience of using a Microsoft Surface product, especially in terms of buying one you’ll already know that £379 starting price doesn’t tell the full story! For a Surface to truly work, it is a must to get a Surface keyboard which will add an additional £124.99 if you want the fancy alcantara finishes, or an extra £99 if you want the standard black cover. So, already the Surface Go is suddenly not starting at around £400, but now £500 for the base model, you get the idea.
Being the price that it is, it’s natural to assume the Surface Go is the rightful successor to the Surface 3, which makes sense, it to was a smaller version of the Surface Pro 3 of the time, and came in at less of a price. Microsoft claim the Surface Go is twice as fast as the Surface 3, which considering the abysmal Intel Atom chip found in the Surface 3, ain’t much of an achievement, but what’s the Surface Go packing;
Whilst many tech followers already squeam at the Intel Atom brand, they’re probably not going to be much less deterred by the sound of an Intel Pentium processor, specifically the Pentium Gold 4415Y. Not only is this a low end chip, but it’s also a last generation chip. To Microsoft’s credit, their hasn’t being a successor announced yet, but that doesn’t help the Surface Go’s mediocre at best internals.
If you opt for the base model, you’ll get 4GB of RAM which is workable, but you’ll get a little nasty surprise in the 64GB of internal storage, in that it’s eMMC storage. Whilst, yes, eMMC is still solid-state, if you like, it is basically an SD Card so don’t expect much performance out of your read and write speeds, which you might think isn’t too important, but trust us, it is!
To add an extra salt to the wound, if you pay £509 for the base Surface Go (this is before keyboard), you’ll not only get double the RAM to 8GB, but 128GB of full and fast SSD storage, leaving the base model as almost a marketing gimmick, and one we’re not too happy about.
The good news is, though, everything else about the Surface Go is actually very good. The design is refined, with some well need curved edges, sure the display has a lot of bezel, but at least the panel is decent and crisp, something which definitely the £379 doesn’t typically grant you. The front firing speakers are decent, and the inclusion of USB-C is also great to see finally on a Surface device … though, naturally if you’re still living in the USB-A world … yeah, donglelife.
Like the Surface 3, the Surface Go also supports Pen input, the latest generation of Microsoft’s Surface Pen is supported, naturally that’s another £99 to shell out if you want it, but the support is there, and the Pen does work very well, as well as it does on other Surface devices in the lineup. It’s worth the additional mention that the left of the Surface Go has a very strong magnet for the Pen, this thing ain’t falling off unless it’s pushed!
So, what’s our final take on the Surface Go. Well, as you saw from our top image, it’s small, in fact, it’s barely larger than the 9.7 inch iPad, but that’s also its charm. This is a portable on the truest sense, the Kick Stand is completely positionable, and it maintains that signature Surface design. Are we going to follow EVERYONE else and say you should only buy the 128GB model, of course we are, it’s got the RAM Windows 10 needs to be future proof, and, the SSD storage versus eMMC is no competition.
The Surface Go launches in the UK, August 23rd, and will retail at either £379 or £509 for the 64GB or 128GB variants.
Was only a matter of time, and, today, it happened, this is Samsung’s Smart Speaker, the Galaxy Home. Powered by Bixby, which probably will put most off instantly, the Galaxy Home seems to have been designed by a few fired employees at IKEA, but we digress. We’re trying not to mock, but look at this thing. Many mocked the HomePod for looking like a stale trash can, but this just looks like an obscure chair.
The Galaxy Home joins a pretty established market in the Smart Speaker space, with Apple barely making an impact whilst Google and especially Amazon rule the space. The problem for Samsung is there’s a reason for why that is, and why we said them in that order, they’re actually good at virtual assistants, Bixby … let’s just say, has a few issues. Now, we’re not talking about the 15 second delay oops at the keynote, but didn’t help, it’s just that Bixby has had a consistent history of promising more and delivering less, at least with Siri you know you’re getting less but you get it fast, as for Bixby versus Google or Amazon, it starts to look pretty bad.
Unlike most Smart Speakers, Samsung gave their Galaxy Home legs, which remind us of those cheap touchscreen stylus you used to see, and a fabric coating around the Speaker, akin to HomePod, with a singular wire to power the AKG powered Speaker array. The speaker also has 8 microphones to allow voice detection from afar, so when you say “Hi Bixby”, it should, in theory, hear you and deliver your command, whether thats for basics such as Weather or from any SmartThings command.
On the audio front, Samsung don’t have a music service, unlike all of the major competitors in this field, so they’ve partnered with Spotify instead to deliver the music and offer seamless integration from the Spotify app to the Galaxy Home. It’s unclear, as of yet, whether that will be exclusive to just Samsung phones, or Android, we don’t know yet.
One thing that’s disappointing coming from the company still touting headphone jacks on their Smartphones, the Galaxy Home does not have aux input, which is quite surprising from Samsung.
As for everything else, that’s all we know. The Galaxy Home was more teased than announced, with an unknown release date, price or anything else, guess we’ll watch this space if you remember it exists when it comes out!
Samsung today announced, alongside the Note 9, an all new Smart Watch, though interestingly, instead of using their traditional Gear branding, Samsung have opted simply to name the watch, the Galaxy Watch. The name is ironic as most people simply refer to Gear watches as a “galaxy watch”, in the same irony of if Apple announced a watch literally called “iwatch”, but is what it is.
The name may have changed, but it’s clear the direction hasn’t, the Galaxy Watch continues to follow the Gear S line-up roadmap with the same “real” watch look, as well as maintaining the same rotational navigation around the sides to operate the Tizen OS, it’s very clear this would be the expected Gear S5. The Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes, but in tradition, the full features are found on the bigger variation. As always with Android watches, the smallest is actually bigger than any Apple Watch with a circular 42mm (though is physically bigger than Apple Watch 42mm), which has a Gold exclusive colour, as well as a larger 46mm.
Samsung are making some very bold battery claims on the Galaxy Watch, claiming 4 days of active use and up to 7 days of normal use from a single charge … we’re not quite sure if we believe that, but it would be an incredible feat if they managed it, and would definitely put the pressure on Apple to sort the battery out on the next Apple Watch.
The Galaxy Watch comes with more Watch faces than you’ll probably ever see, 39 workout types though can automatically detect 6 common activities, and with that battery life, the device is able to track sleep quality.
To charge the Galaxy Watch, as always, its a wireless charging accessory, but Samsung decided to take it a step further and announce the Wireless Charger Duo which allows you to charge both your brand new Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch right next to each other in a sleek black design. Having such a device available day one will be an obvious dig at Apple’s still unavailable AirPower.
Pricing of the Galaxy Watch is still TBA, but if it falls in line with previous S models, we should be looking around the £400 price for the larger model.
In the Smartphone market these days it’s always tough to stand out, and that’s clearly hitting every brand, this year that seems to include Samsung. With the launch of their new Note 9 Smartphone, we’re left with more than mixed feelings. Its not that the device is bad, it’s most definitely not, but it fails to stand out quite as much as the Note brand used to serve.
Design, for the most part, remains unchanged, as well as the general aesthetics of the device which continue the very identifiable Samsung look. Of course Samsung haven’t just left the Note 9 to a simple spec bump, but let’s just say if you’ve a Galaxy S9 right now, you’ve little to sway you here.
The big improvements, and features that Samsung are touting about the new Galaxy Note 9 focus on battery life and storage … see what we mean;
On the battery life front, Samsung are finally confident enough to begin expanding the battery sizes on their devices again, with a sizeable 4,000mAh unit, up from the 3,500mAh unit from the Note 8, add that to the rather battery efficient Snapdragon 845, or Exynos 9820 for us non-US citizens, and you should realistically be experiencing that old school Galaxy Note battery life.
As far as storage is concerned, the Galaxy Note 9 will be available with a massive 512GB of internal storage, which with Samsung marketing allows them to market the Note 9 as one of the first 1TB devices, thanks to the availability of 512GB microSD cards.
The rest of the Galaxy Note 9 story comes down to general improvements, the S-pen is improved, the Bluetooth and WiFi chips are greater, though some features remain the same such as the same 12MP dual-Cameras from the Note 8.
Rest of the spec book is pretty passey of a 2018 Smartphone, latest SoC, 6 or 8GB of RAM depending on whether you go for the 128GB or 512GB respectively, same 12MP dual Cameras we mentioned, 4,000mAh battery, IP68, the S-pen, and yes in true Samsung fashion the previous version of Android 8.1 Oreo … okay we’ll let them off the last one for now as Pie literally just came out, but still.
“We’re confident this is the best device on the market”, claims Samsung
Whenever companies make claims like that we take them even less seriously, but no, maybe we are being a slight unfair to the Note 9, it is a very impressive Smartphone, it’s just that it is once again a purely iterative release, nothing new, nothing major, just a bit faster and newer.
We’ll have further coverage on the Galaxy Note 9 closer to its release, or after if we get a chance to review it, but, it wasn’t the only thing Samsung announced and we’ll be covering those shortly.
Availability and price
Pre-order today, available August 24th, for either £899 for the 128GB model, or £1,099 for the 512GB version
After many months of deliberating, we’re finally able to share what the next version of Google’s Android operating system will be called. The release following Oreo was simply known as Android P, then during and after I/O, it was still known as Android P, but now we can finally add a couple more letters to that P to give you Android Pie!
That’s right, version 9 of Android will be known as Android Pie … we’re not too keen of it either, though interestingly considering Android Kitkat was nearly called Key Lime Pie, you could say it’s far from the first time Android has had Pie involved in its naming scheme.
Of course Pie will be available today shortly for Pixel devices, though as far as other devices are concerned, we’ll just have to see, as always with Android.
THE ALPHABET OF ANDROID DESSERTS
Alpha (early build, not a dessert)
Beta (near final build, not a dessert, but the letters began from here)
Donut (yes we know doughnut, but that’s how Google spelt it)
For a company that basically popularised PayPal, it always surprises us when we see all the changes Ebay are making to payment methods on their website, especially with the separation of PayPal as a default payment method in February, though very soon this year you’ll have an all new option for your Ebay purchases, Apple Pay!
Ebay claim they are now managing end-to-end payment on its own platform, and allowing further payment methods is clearly proof of that going ahead.
The addition of Apple Pay will be great for users of iPhone and iPad, initially, as they will be able to through the Ebay app simply use Apple Pay through Touch ID or Face ID, and boom, purchase complete. No news, as of yet, when Apple Pay for Web will be supported on the Ebay website, so that Mac users will be able to join the fray, but we’re happy to see another merchant support Apple Pay!
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