Earlier this year, Dell showed us the new XPS 13 notebook with its new webcam placement. The laptop’s camera is finally where it should be and thankfully, the company is making it the same across the latest XPS laptops.
After CES 2019, Dell is now in Taipei, Taiwan for Computex 2019 where they just unveiled two new XPS notebooks: the XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) and XPS 15 (7590).
The 2019 version of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is not just a mere refresh of its predecessor because it’s an entirely new notebook. It features a new InfinityEdge touch display with a slightly taller 16:10 aspect ratio. It’ll be available in 4K UHD+ resolution with HDR400 certification and it’s protected with Gorilla Glass 5. It supports Dell Premium Active Pen with magnetic attach as well.
Like with the regular XPS 13, Dell managed to keep the display bezels thin by using their smallest webcam. The now top-mounted webcam can finally show users at a proper angle during video conferences. Also, the new convertible version of the XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge MagLev keyboard and a larger Windows Precision touchpad.
Dell has equipped its new convertible with the latest 10th-gen Intel Core processors, Intel Iris Plus graphics, up to 32GB LPDDR4x SDRAM, and up to 1TB PCIe SSD. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, and a long-lasting 51WHr battery for up to 16 hours of battery life.
Design-wise, it’s still made from CNC machined aluminum with either a carbon fiber or woven glass fiber palm rest. A lot of things are bigger and better in the new XPS 13 2-in-1 but it’s the same size as before. This makes it still the smallest 13-inch convertible in the market.
The new XPS 15, on the other hand, doesn’t look any different from its predecessor, although it has noteworthy upgrades for those looking for a professional-grade multimedia notebook.
The new XPS 15 retains its 15.6-inch 4K UHD InfinityEdge display with 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage, but there’s now an option for an OLED panel with 100 percent DCI-P3 and 100,000:1 contrast ratio. Like with other new XPS notebooks, it has its webcam on top using Dell’s smallest laptop camera.
Specs-wise, it’s powered by a 9th-gen Intel Core chip (up to an 8-core i9) with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics. It’s paired with up to 64GB DDR4 memory and up to a 2TB PCIe SSD. The new laptop has advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology and a battery that’s rated to last for more than 20 hours.
The build remains the same as before with machined aluminum, carbon fiber, and Gorilla Glass 4. Thanks to its slim bezels (despite the top-mounted webcam), the XPS 15 is the smallest 15-inch notebook in the market with superb performance. Dell also claims that it has the longest battery life in its category.
The port selection on the new XPS 15 includes a Thunderbolt 3, two USB 3.1, an HDMI 2.0, a full-size SD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Price starts at US$ 1,000 for the XPS 13 2-in-1 in the US. The bigger XPS 15 will also start at US$ 1,000 as well, but the OLED version has a starting price of US$ 1,900. Dell is yet to announce when the XPS 13 2-in-1 will be available in stores, but the XPS 15 will be up for purchase starting May 28.
In Singapore, the XPS 13 2-in-1 will be available in August but it doesn’t have a definite price as of writing. Meanwhile, the XPS 15 will be available in stock by the end of June with a starting price of SG$ 2,899.
AI Facial Recognition continues to scare me
Technology is indeed getting creepier
AI or artificial intelligence used to be something we only see in sci-fi movies. Today, AI is very much part of our daily lives with a lot of it deeply embedded in the smartphones we all use.
Apple, through the iPhone X, then introduced AI facial recognition as a secure way to unlock phones. They call it Face ID and it’s widely considered the most secure facial recognition system on smartphones right now. But it’s not perfect. It once failed to tell the difference between two Chinese women.
Before all of these advancements, it was in the 1960s when Woody Bledsoe created a system that detects facial features by plotting coordinates through a tablet. Thus, the facial recognition system was born. It has then made its way to smartphones, laptops, and security cameras.
In Computex 2019, we found CyberLink’s FaceMe. It’s an advanced AI facial recognition system that determines one’s age and emotions through a web camera. To my surprise, it accurately detected my approximate age group — around 21 to 26 years old. I thought the mood detection was subjective as my appearance won’t exactly tell you what I really feel. Bottomline? I found it amusing but scary.
Have you ever wondered how Facebook detects you on other users’ photos? In 2015, Facebook created a deep learning facial recognition system called “DeepFace” that detects faces through images. Innovative? Yes. Creepy? Well, Mark Zuckerberg made headlines when a photo of him surfaced online with his laptop’s webcam had tape covering it. This then led to the speculation that Facebook spies on its users.
— Allen He (@heling1682002) June 28, 2019
On the other hand, the Chinese government has a totally different way of utilizing facial recognition. While the rest of the world pays through cash or contactless payment, Chinese establishments use AI facial recognition system as one of their primary payment methods along with using WeChat.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg; if you have already seen Black Mirror’s Nosedive, you can relate the story’s plot to China’s “Social Credit System”. They score points or earn rewards by doing good deeds such as following traffic rules, volunteering, or even donating blood. They can they use the the points and rewards to buy goods.
Having debt or legal troubles will lower your credit. Punishments include a ban from traveling outside the country and not being able to buy your own property. It even goes as far as being shown through the “reel of shame” where “laolai” (a derogatory term for citizens who failed to pay their debts) were named and shamed during a film premiere — just like how it happened in an Avengers: Endgame screening.
Huawei, despite being a Chinese brand, has been successful in gaining customers’ satisfaction and trust in just a short time. Those on the Western side think the opposite: The US government accused Huawei of spying but US later lifted the ban. Even the arrests of their officials in Europe and Canada are undeniable. The commotion between US and China even opened a lot of discussions about spyware, including the safety and danger of AI facial recognition systems.
A lot of questions still remain. Do we really consider facial recognition our friend for keeping our data safe and secure from others? Or is it becoming our foe after all these allegations about the government and companies spying on us? One thing is for sure: AI facial recognition is far from being flawless.
The ROG Experience at Computex 2019
Fans were treated to the future of gaming by ASUS
Fans all over the world gathered in Taiwan to witness the festivities of Computex 2019. Several tech companies showcased what’s ahead for the industry, from all-around devices to gaming peripherals. ASUS’ star shined even brighter during the event as one of their biggest booths had people buzzing and raving all throughout.
ASUS boasted its experiential Republic of Gamers (ROG) booth, the company’s biggest at Computex. The booth showcased the latest and greatest of ASUS’ ROG lineup for gaming peripherals and hardware. Visitors were greeted with a design that hopes to evoke the future of gaming as ASUS envisions it. It showed off the latest in the ROG’s thermal, portable and panel solutions.
The booth featured ASUS ROG’s latest ROG Strix and Zephyrus laptops sporting bigger and more responsive screens. The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR III and Strix Hero III G731 are the first gaming laptops to boast a 17-inch, 240Hz refresh rate screen. Apart from that, these two laptops will also sport the latest NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics card that promises superb gaming performance.
ASUS ROG also featured its collaboration with BMW for its ROG Face Off laptop. Through this concept laptop, the primary focus is to reflect gamers’ unique tastes and preferences. In this extensive collaboration, the company showed off several ROG Strix and Zephyrus laptops in a bold Glacier Blue color.
Perhaps the most visited attraction is the Thermal Solutions area that houses the ROG Mothership announced back in CES 2019. Visitors got a chance to try out ASUS’ take on a portable gaming battle station loaded with Battlefield V. Of course, this was done to show off its impressive overall performance and unique thermal solution.
WUDI-IDI Arctic Neck Cooler and Bluetooth Speaker
The product you never knew you needed
Startup products are something we shouldn’t underestimate. WUDI-IDI is a Taiwan-based brand that has made these neck coolers come to life. While these products are still not in mass production, the idea of creating this lifestyle product is innovative.
Both coolers feature three-speed fans, but there’s a common difference between the two variants — the Arctic Neck Cooler features a thermoelectric cooler with heat dissipation brick and cold aluminum in order to relieve the heat you feel whenever it’s placed on your neck.
The other cooler lacks the additional cooling feature but you can play your favorite music or Spotify playlist by just connecting your phone to its built-in Bluetooth speaker. Forgot your phone? The built-in microSD slot solves your dilemma. You don’t wanna disturb everyone? You can also plug your earphones through its 3.5mm audio jack.
All those features explain why this product was tagged as the Best Lifestyle Product of Computex 2019. It’s the perfect accessory not just for athletes, but also among consumers who just can’t stand the heat.
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