When you see or hear the word Google, hardware isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But they do release devices. While their Nexus launch event, held last week in San Francisco, was a snoozefest, there is plenty to be excited about.
Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P
The much loved Nexus 5, released in 2013, finally gets a refresh. Like its predecessor the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X makes a great case as being one of the best all around phones.
Starting at $379, it is competitively priced with a decent spec sheet and its polycarbonate shell is light and comfortable to grip. Can it draw the same level of interest and attention that the Nexus 5 did? We’ll have to wait and see.
Google pulled in Huawei to make the this year’s premium Nexus device. It helps Huawei position itself as a premium phone maker and they did a splendid job on the 6P.
The 5.7-inch 6P is made of aluminum. It is the first Nexus phone with a full-unibody construction. It also has, at least on paper, an impressive camera, 12.3 megapixels, but that’s not the number Google wants you to focus on. The company is touting the 6P’s 1.55 micron pixel size – larger than most phones on the market today.
Bigger pixels mean the ability to shoot with little to no light. We’re excited to see more sample photos to see if this is really the case.
The high-end Nexus 6P, which starts at $499, also has a host of other camera features including slow-mo capture, and a new smart burst mode. But I’m not feeling that whole band of black at the back of the device hosting the camera. Sure, it helps differentiate it from most other phones today but aesthetically, I wish Huawei went in another direction.
Both phones come with the new reversible USB Type-C for faster charging and will run the latest version of Android – Marshmallow.
The fingerprint scanners for both the 5X and 6P are located at the back right underneath the main camera. I had the chance to test a phone with a similar fingerprint scanner placement and I found it felt natural if you unlock the device while holding it up. But if you want to unlock the phone while its back is lying on the table, you might have to resort to using a lock code.
Google did well to address two needs with their 2015 Nexus phones – a value-for-money Nexus that most fans craved for after the pricey Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 of 2014, and the best of pure Android on a premium smartphone.
Chromecast and Chromecast Audio
Google tweaked the look of its media streaming device and made two of them – one for your TV, another for your speakers. Both are priced $35.
Instead of a stick, the redesigned Chromecast is now clearly more circular with a bendable HDMI arm that’s supposed to make it easy to hide the device behind your TV. It also has additional WiFi antennas for better range and support for modern wifi standards.
It comes in three colors: black, lemon yellow, and bright red.
Chromecast Audio, as its name suggests, focuses on music. With support for RCA, 3.5 mm, and optical inputs, Chromecast Audio should be able to take any speaker you have lying around and make it ‘smarter’.
Along with it comes the announcement that Chromecast now supports leading music streaming service Spotify. Now more than ever, it’s easier to blast your favorite playlists whether you want to rock out, dance, or, if the mood is right, ask someone to ‘Marvin Gaye And Get It On.’
In yet another crack at mobile productivity, Google announces the Pixel C (C stands for convertible).
It’s a 10.2-inch slate that pairs magnetically with a keyboard and it looks really promising. At the demo, Google showed off how the tablet seamlessly attaches to the keyboard without nasty ports and docks. You also don’t need to charge the keyboard as it is already charging the moment you stick it to the tablet.
It appeared the Pixel C will automatically come with the keyboard. Unfortunately that is not the case. The Pixel C tablet will retail for $499 and if you want the keyboard too, it’ll burn another $149 hole in your pocket.
That aside, the tablet, which runs Android Marshmallow, looks absolutely gorgeous and does appear like a step forward to actual productivity when you’re on the go.
[irp posts=”8575" name=”Android made downloading from Google Play much easier”]
Select ASUS laptops come with free Instax cameras
Get a free Instax Mini 9, SQ6 or Mini LiPlay
Christmas season is the time for creating memories. What better way to capture these memories than with an instant camera?
Bundled Instax cameras are the Instax Mini 9 worth PhP 3,999; Square SQ6 worth PhP 7,999; and Mini LiPlay worth PhP 9,999. The Instax Mini 9 is one of the best-selling products in the lineup, while the Instax Square SQ6 is the first analog camera that uses a square film format. Meanwhile, the Instax LiPlay is can convert recorded sounds into a QR code for sharing. They are available with these ASUS laptops:
- Duo / Pro Duo — Instax Mini LiPlay + ASUS 30th premium freebies + Nereus bag
- Pro 14/15 — Instax Mini LiPlay + Nereus bag
- S — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve
- Flip 13 / 14 / 15 — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve
- 13 / 14 / 15 — Instax Square SQ6 + laptop sleeve
- S13/ S14/ S15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
- Flip 14 / 14 / 15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
- 14 / 15 — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
- X series (Intel Core models) — Instax Mini 9 + Nereus bag
To claim the Instax camera and the freebies, buyers must log on to ASUS’ promo redemption site and provide the necessary information. After confirmation, they must pick the freebies at ASUS Philippines headquarters.
Promo runs from November 18 to December 31. It is applicable to all participating ASUS concept stores nationwide and via the official ASUS Philippines digital store. For more information, visit their website or their Facebook page.
Dell’s new innovation keeps your monitor and CPU together
Saving space in the work place
Dell prides itself in being the leader of innovation for the modern computer. Such innovation allows for better and more efficient work spaces in offices. And with their latest innovation, the company hopes to expand the work space by simply cutting the technology down.
The company introduces the Dell OptiPlex 7070 and OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, a desktop machine that cuts all the space in the work place. This desktop computer, coined as a “zero-footprint” computer houses the CPU within the monitor. Dell designed the OptiPlex 7070 to conserve space while you’re working in the office.
It features a relatively compact and flexible design while retaining potential areas for upgrading. The monitor stand houses the components of your PC — including the CPU, RAM, and storage to reduce the space taken up compared to a separate computer unit. According to the company, users can upgrade either the PC or the display — whichever fits their needs more.
In terms of hardware, Dell promises to offer the OptiPlex 7070 with up to an Intel core i7 vPro processor, 64GB or RAM, and 1TB worth of SSD storage. Additionally, users can avail up to 2TB of added storage through an internal HDD flexible for multiple users.
The Dell OptiPlex 7070 is now available, starting at Php 53,500.
Solar-powered classrooms bridge educational gap in rural communities
Making education more accessible one classroom at a time
GadgetMatch is founded on the premise of making life better and easier through technology. For many of us who get caught up in emails and social media in our day to day, it’s easy to forget how technology changes lives.
It teaches new skills, builds self-confidence, and brings new job opportunities especially to rural communities; but that’s easier said than done. High costs and complex societal challenges hampers not just access to technology in developing countries, but human progress as well.
There are companies like Dell Technologies who make it a point to harness its resources and global reach to make technology more accessible. In areas where access to consistent energy and technology are scarce, Dell has partnered with Computer Aid International to create Solar Learning Labs.
These labs are solar-powered and created by converting old shipping containers. The classrooms are filled with Dell Wyse Thin Client workstations managed by an air-cooled PowerEdge server. Up to 20 students can use a classroom at a time.
Reusing and converting what is otherwise considered waste is inline with Dell’s use of circular economy concepts. Relying on solar panels to generate electricity makes the containers self-sufficient. They can also be placed even in the most remote locations because of their size. They help deliver sustainable and affordable connectivity to schools.
A commitment to advance education
EMEA Strategic Giving Manager Houcine Faik says Dell is committed to enabling and empowering communities with technology, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s core to its business.
The goal is to help increase the exposure of entire communities to digital skills, particularly in developing countries where many students and schools still struggle to access reliable technology, infrastructure, and electricity.
The initiative first kicked-off in Lagos, Nigeria in 2013. Since then, Dell has already funded 18 labs in six countries around the world including South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mexico, and Colombia.
More than 10,000 students have benefited from the project during school hours. The labs are also open to other members of local communities even after school.
Faik tells Gadgetmatch that they chose South Africa to start expanding the program by leveraging a crowd-funded approach. The average number of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the last decade.
There is also a national commitment to improving ICT for education in schools, but a shortage of training capacity and equipment.
Expanding to more countries
For now, Dell is focusing their efforts in scaling the Solar Learning Labs in South Africa, and then Latin America. “Based on the success in these locations, we’ll then look to expand to other regions,” shares Faik. By enabling crowd-funding, Dell hopes to open up the opportunity to partner with others to make scaling the project easier.
While there are no plans of expanding to Asia just yet, Dell recently released its full 2030 Progress Made Real plan. This outlines the company’s goals of creating a lasting, measurable impact on people and the planet over the next decade.
One of Dell’s 2030 commitments is to advance the health, education, and economic opportunity of 1 billion people. Using the company’s expertise and technology, it can help 1,000 nonprofit partners digitally transform to better serve their communities.
With its 2030 vision now set, Dell hopes to create a total of 100 labs by 2030. If you are interested in helping fund a Solar Learning Lab, visit solarlearninglabs.org.
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