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iPad Mini rival ifive mini 4 HD tablet in pictures

Posted by Tom August - 30 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

The ifive mini 4 tablet debuted earlier this year at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair and now it’s broken out of the show stalls and is being shown off in a hotel room with a friend.

The ifive mini 4 is one of the closest rivals to the iPad Mini, with a spectacular 2048 x 1536 resolution 7.9-inch retina display, powered by a RockChip RK3288 A17 core processor.

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Via imp3

Dual boot 64-bit Teclast X89HD goes down iPad Mini route

Posted by Tom July - 9 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

A contender for the iPad Mini’s crown of slick, portable computing is the Teclast X89HD tablet: a dual boot Windows 8.1 and Android slate what’s powered by a nippy 64-bit Intel Bay Trail T processor.

It has a 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display, 2GB of DDR3L RAM, a nice 32GB of flash storage and is 7.4mm thick.

Via tablet-news

5 free HD video players for Android you should try

Posted by wicked July - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

With the proliferation of high definition video – whether streaming or in file form – available for Android devices, and with the ever-improving video performance and higher video resolutions being shipped with handsets and tablets, one would now start to understand the need of a great media player application that will be able to handle such content. Given that the stock Android players that come together with your new devices would probably be able to handle most of the file types out there, it would be unbecoming of any user to not look around the Google Play Store and see the multitude of options – free options at that! – available. So we took it upon ourselves to give you our top 5 free HD video apps.

Moboplayer

MoboPlayer_Banner

Any respectable discussion about free media players will honestly not be complete without mentioning Moboplayer, as it has been one of the most popular free media players out there for quite a bit of time now. MoboPlayer supports a lot of the video file formats that are rampant in the Internet, including ones that your device might not normally support, this through a feature called software decoding. The player itself also supports multiple audio tracks, subtitles – even multiple onscreen subtitles, and media streaming to media and home entertainment servers. The player takes some time in opening HD video files – especially 1080p ones – but it is rarely more than 3 seconds. With our Samsung Galaxy S3 Alpha (SC-03E) test bed – 4.8-inch 1280×720 screen, 1.6Ghz Exynos processor, Mali-400MP graphics, 2GB RAM – there was no visible lag opening a 1080p MP4 file.

It is available free the Google Play Store, with ad support.

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MX Player

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One of the more substantial free media players out there, great for general purpose video viewing, is MX Player. Using this app, you get a feeling that the developers chose to put in just that right balance between ease-of-use and robust features. The video viewer itself is sleek and logical, and the app supports most popular formats. For better format support, there is a codec download available, both from the developers, or you may choose to use any other codecs out there. There are gestures galore, and pinch-to-zoom. You have access to subtitle options, aspect ratio control and other stuff just from the main screen, while a lot more tweaks can be discovered in the settings menu. No lagging on this one as well, the software and hardware decoding holds up well. And since this is a free version, there will be ads, but the experience was altogether unobtrusive and tolerable.

Download from Google Play Store here.

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Vplayer

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Vplayer is a simple approach to a media playing. It lacks the bells and whistles of most premium players and even like Moboplayer and MX Player, but if you want a straight up video player, this is one of the “lighter” media players out there. It supports the common file formats, and then some. Vplayer will also detect all your folders that contain video files and display them in folder view, but there are no ways of filtering or organizing your content. One of the cool things about Vplayer is that it lets you copy and paste links out of Youtube and Vimeo and play them on Vplayer.

Download free from Google Play.

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DicePlayer

Dice-Player

DicePlayer is another feature filled player that leverages on a streamlined and uncluttered viewing window, with some straight up features available. When viewing your movie, the controls for view lock, playback speed controller, audio track and subtitle support, and aspect ratio adjustment is immediately available. DicePlayer even has controls for subtitle sync calibration, for those times when annoying subtitles are just not synced with your movie file. Finally, Dice Network playback support allows users to push their device-based media to media servers and home networks over Samba filesharing, FTP, and other such processes.

Download free over Google Play.

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BSPlayer

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Our last media player on this list is definitely not the least of them all, as the BSPlayer is a solid all around media app as well. Robust to the core, BSPayer offers software and hardware decoding in what seems to be a pretty uncluttered viewing pane – and we do realize that an uncluttered and simple viewing pane is one of our main considerations in a video player. One of the major selling points for the BSPlayer is that it lets you customize the interface to your liking with a variety of skins available. The app has support for subtitles, even built-in subtitles in video container files such as MKVs. As an added feature, the BSPlayer can even automatically find subtitles for your files online – very neat. The BSPlayer also has a “pop-out viewer” where you can keep your video on top of any app you may be running at the moment. As with everything here, it is available for free download and install over at the Google Play Store.

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One last app that is probably worthy of mention outside of this list is the VLC Media Player Beta for Android. The downloadable app, even in its beta stage, is still very much usable with your device, and like its desktop version, it can pretty much play whatever file format you throw at it. The app is far from perfect, and being in the beta stage, it has a number of bugs and lags in most cases playing 720 and 1080p files. But in its defense, the team behind it keeps improving the program towards perfection until it finally decides to release it as a full pledged app.

This list is not by any means a comprehensive list, just the ones we like. Tells us what you guys like over at the comments section.

Cube Talk9X – slim octacore HD tablet with big features

Posted by Tom May - 30 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

The new Cube Talk9X is a slim tablet new with big features, including an octacore processor, retina display and 3G connectivity.

I know what you’re thinking, the lady in the picture needs to get herself a Thanko tablet stand for bedtime reading.

Regardless, she’s laying next to the new Cube Talk9X, which boasts a big 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 resolution HD display with a 178-degree viewing angle.

The Talk9X is powered by the octacore MediaTek MT8392 processor, which is clocked at up to 2GHz, and has a Mali-450 GPU that supports super-HD decoding for 4KH.263 and h.265/VP9.

It’s also good to go on the go, thanks to the 3G support and it’s not too bulky either thanks to its modest 7mm thickness.

The back camera is 5MP with a Schott glass lens, while the front cam is 2MP.

Via imp3

Google’s Video Quality Report monitors ISP quality and suggests solutions

Posted by wicked May - 29 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

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There is nothing worse than having poor video streaming quality. Issues can be blamed on the device being used, the router, or the internet service provider (ISP). Google has a solution to find a solution for folks in the United States: the Video Quality Report. While it was previously available in Canada, it is now available here as well. The Video Quality Report is primarily meant to help with YouTube streaming, but users can use it as an indicator for anything else.

Here are the different levels of quality:

  • HD Verified: If your provider can consistently deliver HD video, a resolution of at least 720p, without buffering or interruptions–it’s HD Verified.
  • Standard Definition: If you can watch videos at a resolution of at least 360p, your provider is delivering Standard Definition.
  • Lower Definition: If videos load slowly or frequently buffer, even at resolutions lower than 360p, your provider is delivering Lower Definition performance.

Experiencing an issue getting that high definition quality? Take a look at the infographic above. Google provides seven solutions for how you can the most out of your video streaming experience. Over time, Google does intend to add more countries to the Video Quality Report mix.

Source: YouTube (Official blog)

Come comment on this article: Google’s Video Quality Report monitors ISP quality and suggests solutions

Long-awaited Xiaomi Tegra-packing HD Android tablet announced

Posted by Tom May - 16 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

The official specs for the Xiaomi Android tablet are out and it’s shaped up nicely.

It’s a 7.9-inch tablet with a 2048 x 1536, 326ppi screen made with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Pushing the screen to its pretty limits is the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and a desktop-quality Kepler GPU.

It excels on battery life too, with its mighty 6200mAh battery from LG, which claims to offer 1200 hours stand-by, 24 hours reading and 16 hours of video playback, as well as quick charging.

It also comes with a Sony 8MP back camera, a 5MP front camera, 2GB RAM, 16-64GB storage options, which support for 128GB SD card expansion. To top it all off it comes in five colours.

In China the 16GB model costs 1499 yuan (US$240) and the 64GB model is 1699 (US$272).

Lookin’ good, Xiaomi. Lookin’ good.

Via gizchina

Newman K2S Smartphone MTK6592 2GB 32GB 5.5 Inch FHD Screen

Posted by wicked March - 17 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Newman K2S Smartphone MTK6592 2GB 32GB 5.5 Inch FHD Screen  Newman K2S details Processor CPU: MediaTek MTK6592, Cortex A7 Octa Core 1.7 GHzGPU: Mali-450 OS Android 4.2 Jelly BeanLanguage: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu, Cestina, Dansk, Deutsch, Espanol, Filipino, French, Hrvatski, Italiano, Magyar, Nederlands, Polish, Portuguese, Romana, Suomi, Svenska, Vietnamese, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Read More →

Share-wear: Quicksilver QS-1 HD headphones let a friend plug in

Posted by Tom March - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

“Duuuude, you gotta hear this.” Surf-wear company Quicksilver has debuted its first set of headphones – the QS-1 HD, which features a “sharing plug” that allows another person to plug in and enjoy the same music or podcast.
The headphones also come with interchangeable cushions that let wearers switch from on-ear to over-ear use and they pack in low distortion 40mm drivers.

Plugging into their surf roots, the headband is made from TR-90 nylon and the detachable coil cable with aluminum plugs and 24K gold contacts is modeled on a surfboard rip cord.

Two versions have been released: the iOS-compatible QS-1 HD costs £125 (US$207) and the lower-spec, non-iOS basic model that omits the interchangeable ear cushions and swanky cable costs £95 (US$157).

Is a double output set of headphones totally bodacious or will wipeout as an unused gimmick? Join the discussion on the MP4Nation forum.

Via pocket-lint

China tablet ifive mini3 has HD screen to rival Apple’s retina display

Posted by Tom February - 28 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

With its 2048 x 1536 resolution screen, the forthcoming Chinese ifive mini3 tablet is taking on the retina display of Apple.
The 7.9-inch tablet has a slim, fill metal body and a 5 megapixel camera (that probably won’t make the most of the display).
Not much more has been revealed on the hardware side but there are plenty of picture of the tablet, sometimes in a still life scene, sometimes being enjoyed by, ahem, regular users… pics after the jump.

Via imp3

4K on Android – overkill or must have?

Posted by wicked October - 21 - 2013 - Monday Comments Off

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“4K” may seem like another bad marketing buzzword. But, unlike the meaningless jargon manufacturers like to throw around at press conferences, 4K content isn’t useless. It’s the high-definition successor to 1080p, and promises to change the way we experience TV, movies, and content by delivering an unprecedented level of detail.

There’s no doubt about it, 4K video is the future. But what is it, exactly, and do the current costs outweigh the benefits? Before we jump into the technology behind 4K, it’s important to understand why companies are so keen on the standard in the first place. Really, it all comes down to market dynamics.

Setting the Stage

The Canon EOS-1D, the world's first 4K capable SLR priced at $12,000

The Canon EOS-1D, the world’s first 4K capable SLR priced at $12,000

Oh, how times have changed. The introduction of the iPhone and Android turned the mobile industry on its head. Touch screens, components like accelerometers and proximity sensors have become ubiquitous. The improved usability of smartphones spurred their adaptation as companies vied for consumers’ attention. Innovation became a central tenet of many company philosophies, motivated by the pervasive belief that unique features would win over potential buyers.

That dedication to “different” is now stronger than ever, evident in features like the HTC’s heavily promoted UltraPixel camera and industry leading BoomSound speakers; the Samsung Galaxy S4’s myriad sensors and amalgamation of apps; and the Nokia Lumia 1020′s 42-megapixel rear camera, and now, the Galaxy Note 3’s ability to capture incredible 4K video. Though some aspects are more useful than others, few would argue any are completely undesirable.

Resolution continues to receive a lot of attention, and for good reason. Displays have been getting sharper each year, and high-definition output (via HDMI or Miracast) is always a highlight. But HD isn’t as fresh and exciting as it once was. It’s familiar, and not a novel selling point for $700+ smartphones. That’s why mobile device companies, always looking to invest in future trends, have started supporting a new format that holds a lot of promise.

A Primer

4K Gaming [click to enlarge]

4K Gaming [click to enlarge]

I distinctly remember my first HD TV. In so many ways, it was a bizarre thing. It seemed unusually lopsided, a peculiar orientation unsuited to television programming. And it was wispily, ungodly thin; the protrusion of electronics and inputs were, compared to my bulbous and tube-filled CRT set, utterly insignificant. In terms of picture, I didn’t know quite what to expect, and so powered it on with trepidation, fully prepared to return what I believed couldn’t possible best the quality of my tube TV from the ‘80/90’s. After a few minutes of watching, I practically threw my CRT out the window.

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That was 2003. Today, full HD 1080p is ubiquitous. Nearly 75 percent of Americans own HD televisions, and the most popular computer monitors are HD, according to a study by the Leichtman Research Group. From a technologist’s perspective, that’s an encouraging evolutionary trend. Manufacturers of displays see things differently, however. In their eyes, familiarity breeds yawns, which translates to lower sales. So, in an effort to once again awe the masses with technological magic, television and smartphones makers are rushing to mass-produce displays of unprecedented resolution. The most popular target by far is 4K, which has a minimum resolution of 3840 x 2160 . Nearly every major TV manufacturer has released a 4K model, and LG recently teased a 5.5-inch mobile display that, while not quite 4K, comes impressively close. (It has a resolution of 2560 x 1440.) Another display manufacturer out of Japan named Ortus Technology has demoed a 9.6 inch 4k display, too.

The 13.3" LCD display used in the Samsung ATIV S is an industry leading 3200x1800 pixels.

The 13.3″ LCD display used in the Samsung ATIV Q is an industry leading 3200×1800 pixels.

Why 4K? Well, 4K is effectively double 1080p, which certainly appeals to marketing sensibilities. More importantly, though, TV broadcasters are widely expected to adopt 4K as standard (some in Japan already have) and the popularity of 4K-capable digital cameras ensures plenty of movies will eventually become available for those with compatible displays.Quality Options YouTube 4k

While it delivers exceptional, highly manipulable content, there’s a dearth of affordable display hardware needed to actually see the difference 4K makes. In addition, it remains to be seen if mobile SoCs are powerful enough to produce quality, rather than blocky, 4K video. See the  sample video below for an idea of what I’m talking about. Also, remember to set the quality to original (requires powerful computer). If you’re running anything less than an Intel Core i3, it’s likely your computer will struggle.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of 4K

The main benefit of having the ability to capture 4K video is that you’ll be able to create stunningly detailed videos, that offer substantially better video quality. 4K video is video that is captured at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 vs 1080p’s 1920 x 1080. It’s over 8 million pixels with 4K vs 2 million with 1080p. Massive difference.

4K is a huge boon for those proficient in video editing, because of the nature of the resolution. It, if we recall, offers four times the resolution of 1080p. That means cropping without significant loss of resolution; conceivably, an edited video missing a significant amount of captured video could still qualify as HD.

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Watch our Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review, here. 

The Note 3′s 13MP BSI camera, is capable of capturing true, honest to goodness 4K video. With a resolution of 3840×2160, it shoots  glorious 4K video at variable frame rate of 26-35fps. The video length is somewhat expectedly capped at five minutes, and produces a whopping 1.5GB file. The bit rate of the video itself is approximately 48-50mbps. And while each experience won’t necessitate employing the 4K detail the Note 3 is capable of, it’s nice to be able to grab such incredible video from your smartphone whenever an exciting moment beckons.

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4K content is insanely sharp. If you’ve ever witnessed it first hand on a 4K capable display , you’ll know that it’s an order of magnitude sharper than 1080p, so in a word: stunning. It also allows for zooming without apparent loss of quality. (Think Nokia’s 42-megapixel Lumia camera, but for video.) Of course, a PC (or powerful mobile device) and software powerful enough to handle 4K footage is a necessity, but given the downwardly trending price of virtually all consumer electronics, it’s likely an upgrade probably isn’t an outrageous proposition for those able to afford a 4K-capable Android phone.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 - the world's first 4K capable SoC

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 – the world’s first 4K capable SoC

Clarity should be the primary benefit of 4K – more pixels is good in theory – but comes at a price. Recording 4K videos will consume substantial battery life and the files themselves will be massive. Qualcomm, the first company to produce an SoC (the Snapdragon 800) capable of capturing 4K footage, hasn’t been forthcoming about the compression and bitrate used. It isn’t unreasonable to assume, though, that the quality won’t be on par with what cameras like the RED Epic can produce. Just like smartphones won’t replace DSLRs for video any time soon, don’t expect to see Hollywood blockbusters filmed on the Note 3. Further research shows however, that the 4K footage grabbed by the Galaxy Note 3 is around 50mbps resulting in significantly larger file sizes than the 1080p video most smartphones are capable of capturing, today.

The Bottom Line

1080p vs 4K

There’s no doubt that 4K is the future. Ultra HD / 4K recording and content have the capability to redefine our media experience – though mainstream adoption is still a few years off. With current 4K displays starting to trickle onto the market with premium pricing attached, it’s likely that mass adoption will have to wait until pricing hits consumers’ sweet spots. Over the next several quarters, we’ll see more reasonably priced 4K cameras and smartphones with this feature hit the market. It’s only a matter of time before 4K, in all the glorious detail that it brings, is mainstream.

And how about you? Are you planning on getting a 4K television? Do you think 4K video is overkill? The consumer electronics industry is gearing up for it in a big way, and even has plans for 8K and beyond. Let us know what you think down below!

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