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Microsoft Windows 10 devices highlights

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In what could be Microsoft’s most exciting event in years, the company launches a new set of devices including the HoloLens, Microsoft Band, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, the highly anticipated Surface Pro 4, and the surprise of the event – Microsofts first ever laptop – the Surface Book.

The event kicked off with what looked like a cool presentation of the HoloLens. Demoing a game codenamed Project X-Ray, Microsoft showcased what it calls ‘Mixed Reality’ gameplay.

Next up is the Microsoft Band 2. Like other wearables, it’s designed to be your quick access and fitness companion. But the most interesting about the band continues to be how it collects your fitness data, stores it in the cloud, and then shows you a graphic representation of that data. Talk about advanced analytics.

Then, Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia phones specifically designed to run Windows 10. The Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL. The phones sport powerful processors, 20 megapixel PureView cameras, and for some reason, are equipped with a liquid cooling system. But the most impressive thing about the showcase was the Windows 10 feature called Continuum. With the help of the Microsoft Display Dock, a Windows 10 phone can give you a Windows desktop experience. Powerful stuff.

Another important announcement was Facebook backing Microsoft’s universal apps strategy by building universal apps for the Windows 10 platform. If other developers follow Facebook’s footsteps, good things are bound to happen for Microsoft.

The most awaited device was the Surface Pro 4 – the tablet-laptop hybrid, essentially a category that Microsoft invented, that was inadvertently hyped thanks to Apple’s release of the iPad Pro and Google’s unveiling of the Pixel C. It turns out Microsoft was really onto something when they first released the Surface, and now the device-type is catching on.

Microsoft calls Surface Pro 4 the thinnest, lightest, and most powerful PC ever made. It also comes with an improved type-cover keyboard that now features a fingerprint scanner. The Surface Pro 4 also comes with a pen that actually has an eraser… *cough* Apple Pencil *cough*

And right when everyone thought Microsoft was done with announcing devices, they unveiled what they call ‘the ultimate laptop’ – the Surface Book. It’s a essentially a bigger, more powerful big brother of the Surface Pro 4. It is Microsoft’s first ever laptop. It’s 13-inch display supports both touch and stylus input so yes, the Surface Pen will work with the Surface Book. It also promises 12-hours of battery life.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella nicely caps off the event with this quote on why they make these devices. He said, “We make things, to help you make things, to make things happen.”

If this event was any indication, it looks like big things are in store for Microsoft.

Laptops

Acer announces new Chromebook Spin 11 for a cheaper price

Fully compatible with a Wacom pen

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It’s a case of déjà vu. A year after the first one, Acer has announced the Chromebook Spin 11 for a second time. This time, it has better parts, a cheaper price, and more consumer-friendly availability.

Previously, the Spin 11 was launched exclusively for the education sector, offering the needed durability and flexibility for a student. The new Spin 11, however, packs more punch for a lower price. The announcements comes only a few weeks removed from Acer’s other announcements at CES 2018.

The new Chromebook Spin 11 (CP311-1H/CP311-1HN) comes in three flavors of processors — Intel Pentium quad-core N4200, quad-core Celeron N3450, or dual-core Celeron N3350. It’s a bit more than the previous model which came only with the N3350.

Acer also offers variability with storage and memory. It is available in either 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4 for RAM. Meanwhile, it offers 32GB or 64GB variants for internal storage.

It also comes with a 11.6-inch IPS display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. Like the previous model, the notebook is fitted with a 360-degree hinge that allows for laptop, tablet, display, and tent modes.

The Spin 11 pushes the emerging trend for USB Type-C charging. While it does reduce variability, it will boast of an uptime that lasts “all day.”

Besides charging, it sports two USB-C 3.1 ports, two USB-A 3.0 ports, and a microSD reader for connectivity. Likewise, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 round the laptop out for wireless connectivity.

However, the new notebook’s biggest upgrade is its compatibility with a Wacom EMR stylus, which comes packaged with the CP311-1HN model. It doesn’t require a battery and is resistant to trauma. Before the Spin 11, only a handful of hybrid notebooks came with a stylus.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 will start shipping out in March. It’ll come with a price tag of US$ 349.

SEE ALSO: Acer’s new Swift 7 is thinner than ever

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Drones

DJI launches new Mavic Air drone

It’s the size of a smartphone!

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DJI is at it again with its consumer quadcopters.

The Chinese company has launched the new Mavic Air and it fits right between the Mavic Pro and the smaller Spark. Think of the Spark’s size but with the folding arms of its predecessor.

DJI says the Mavic Air is lighter by 41 percent compared to its previous model but receives the entire gesture system of the Spark — something that attracts consumers. This means you can make it snap a photo, make it move to a different spot, and call it back to land by simple hand actions.

Using your hand to manipulate the drone has a range limit of almost 6 meters (19 feet). Connect a smartphone and it bumps up the range to 80 meters, but using a dedicated remote will increase that to 4km.

Just like the Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air has a 4K video resolution, 12-megapixel image sensor, and three-axis gimbal. It also has HDR, and low-light shooting to help you achieve better photos in general. DJI also threw in a new software algorithm that lets users stitch together 32-megapixel shots for panoramas and photo spheres.

DJI added 8GB of internal storage to the Mavic Air. There’s also a USB-C port which is a bump up from the Pro’s micro-USB, although battery life saw a downgrade as the new Air has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes. In real-life usage, that means around 16 minutes.

Don’t let it dishearten you, since position tracking, obstacle avoidance, and the ventilation system have all been improved according to DJI.

Finally, and unlike the Pro, it comes in different colors. The new Mavic Air will be available in white, black, or red. Pricing will start at US$ 799 which is a little more expensive than the Spark but more affordable than the Mavic Pro. Pre-orders start immediately and shipping will commence next week.

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An upcoming Nokia phone is rumored to have a penta-camera setup

When two are not enough

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In the photo: Nokia 8

Remember the PureView camera phones from Nokia? They lead the race of megapixels in a smartphone and the best possible image quality back in the day. In 2018, we might see the rebirth of PureView-like phones from Nokia, but it won’t be about megapixels anymore.

According to a leak from China’s Baidu social network, a concept phone is rumored to be in the works which will have five lenses positioned in a circle and paired with an LED flash. It’s not named PureView, but it’ll be called Nokia 10.

The diagram shown above is supposedly the layout of the back of the phone. The LED flash is at the center of the six circles which should be the camera lenses, but what’s the additional circle for? We don’t know yet but since this is just a rumor, we shouldn’t really expect too much. The lone circle outside of the group is the fingerprint reader.

The rumored phone will be powered by the new Snapdragon 845 processor which can support up to seven camera sensors and up to 32 megapixels for pictures and 4K for videos. Other than that, there’s not much info available for now.

We might see the phone later this year, probably during IFA 2018 in Berlin, but there’s really no solid info on the upcoming Nokia phone yet.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 8’s camera performance underwhelms at DxOMark

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