News

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch will arrive in PH on January 14th

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The holiday season is just around the corner. And really, Christmas isn’t Christmas until you get a gift for yourself, yes?

To that end, Samsung Philippines is making a bid to get into every techie’s last-minute shopping list with the Gear S3 smartwatch, which broke cover two months ago as the centerpiece of Samsung’s IFA announcement in Berlin.

The Gear S3 will be available from January 14, 2017 in the Philippines, but preorders start today, December 12, on Lazada and Abenson’s website. Local pricing is set at P16,490, or $330. Early adopters, though we probably shouldn’t call them that given the timing of the release, will receive an extra watch band (valued at almost $40) so they won’t have to spring for one when they eventually get tired of wearing the same strap all the time.

Left: Gear S3 Classic; right: Gear S3 Frontier

Similar to its predecessor, the watch has two designs: the Classic and the Frontier. The former is classier, updated with stainless steel and a polished silver finish, whereas the latter tends to appear more casual and rugged, sporting a darker, gunmetal face with textured buttons and a silicone band.

Regardless which model you pick, you’ll get an Tizen-based timepiece with the same hardware on the inside, in addition to wireless charging via the included magnetic dock; GPS for fitness-tracking purposes; NFC for wireless payments; and a speaker for calls and music playback. Both also tout a large, always-on AMOLED display and an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

The Gear S3 Frontier that’s coming to the Philippines will not have standalone LTE connectivity found on models sold in other markets.

Samsung has packed a lot of features into a very small package, but in doing so, it’s sacrificed the thing that makes the Gear S2 so appealing and physically satisfying to wear. The new Gear smartwatch is bigger and much thicker than what came before. Still though, props to Samsung for not compromising on style and keeping them looking like traditional timepieces, the kind Apple Watch fans must miss having on their wrist.

News

Apple, Xiaomi lead wearable market during the start of 2018

Wearables are not dead!

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Smartwatches may not be as in demand as smartphones, but the top smartphone manufacturers are also in the lead in the wearable market. We’re talking about Apple and Xiaomi which both garnered 18 percent of the market share according to the latest data from Canalys.

Apple leads the whole wearable market during the first quarter of 2018 with 3.8 million shipments and most of these are the latest Watch Series 3. Xiaomi is close behind with 3.7 million shipments and their most popular watches are the basic Mi Band models.

Trailing behind is Fitbit with an 11 percent market share followed by Garmin with 7 percent. Huawei also made a significant 6 percent cut in the pie.

We might not feel it, but wearable shipments grew 35 percent compared to the same quarter last year with a total 20.5 million units. Full-blown smartwatches managed to grab 80 percent of the total revenue despite managing just 43 percent of the overall shipments.

It looks like the price is not an issue among wearable customers, especially for Apple clients. The Cupertino company’s key smartwatch is the LTE-enabled Watch 3 series which adds a new revenue stream because of the data subscription it requires.

During the same quarter, Apple has 59 percent of the cellular-enabled smartwatch market while Garmin is the second smartwatch vendor.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone X remains as the best-selling smartphone in the world

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Gaming

Acer Predator Helios 500 can overclock its Core i9 and GTX 1070 chips

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition gets launched as well

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Acer is well known for unleashing some of the most unreal gaming notebooks we’ve ever seen. And while it’s difficult to top the Predator Triton 700 and 21 X, the company is certainly continuing to turn heads with its newest Helios lineup.

First up is the Predator Helios 500, which is a follow-up to the Helios 300 we saw launched around this time last year. Acer is calling this new model “exceptionally powerful” and I can’t argue with that.

Both its Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 chips are overclockable. They’re already fast on stock speeds, so being able to go past their limits is something mobile gamers will wholeheartedly enjoy. On top of that, the Helios 500 can be fitted with Intel’s Optane memory, providing users with the shortest of load times. If that’s not enough, up to 64GB of RAM can be installed, too.

To make the most of the high-end components, the 17.3-inch IPS LCD (available in UHD or Full HD) can manage a 144Hz refresh rate along with NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech to prevent annoying instances of stuttering and tearing during intense gameplay. And so that things stay cool, the brand’s signature AeroBlade 3D metal fans are once again employed.

Since this is a gaming machine, you get the usual gamer essentials, including a backlit RGB keyboard and host of ports such as Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0.

Interested? The Helios 500 will go for US$ 1,999 in North America starting June, EUR 1,999 in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) beginning this month, and CNY 15,999 in China in June. Specific configurations depend per region.

Going back to the Helios 300 mentioned earlier, there’s now a Special Edition of the year-old gaming laptop. What’s different this time is the all-white aluminum chassis with gold trim — quite a unique design choice that stands out in the sea of black gaming notebooks.

It also comes with updated specs, namely an 8th-generation Core i7 processor coupled with up to 16GB of RAM (which you could still push to 32GB), 512GB SSD, Intel Optane memory, and a GTX 1060. The display is slightly smaller than its larger counterpart at 15.6 inches, but the Full HD IPS panel can handle a refresh rate of 144Hz, as well. Two AeroBlade fans are inside to keep everything in order.

The Helios 300’s regional pricing and availability will be disclosed soon.

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Laptops

The new Swift 5 from Acer is a lightweight 15-inch notebook

A large notebook for people on the go

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One of Acer’s newest devices is the 2018 version of the Swift 5 which now comes in a bigger 15-inch variant with thinner screen bezels. The new Swift 5 is also one of the lightest notebooks in its class.

When Acer unveiled the new Swift 5, they wanted to sell it to users who want a notebook with superb portability, solid performance, and a beautiful design. The magnesium alloy body of the new laptop weighs less than 1kg, making it lighter than your typical 15-inch laptop.

To be specific, the Swift 5 has a 15.6-inch display with a Full HD resolution. It’s an IPS LCD touchscreen with narrow bezels that gives the laptop an impressive 87.6 percent screen-to-body ratio. Good thing they didn’t put the webcam in an awkward position just to achieve this.

The laptop is powered by the latest 8th-gen Intel Core processors with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and 1TB of SSD storage. Despite being a thin notebook, the new Swift 5 still sports a full-size USB 3.1 port, HDMI port, and an SD card reader. It also has a USB-C port for 10Gb/s data transfer, display output, and charging.

There’s also dual-band Intel Wireless-AC 9560 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello.

Acer didn’t specify the battery capacity of their new premium notebook, but they claim it can last through the workday.

The new Swift 5 is coming to select markets soon in multiple configurations and varying prices depending on the region.

SEE ALSO: Acer Avengers Edition Laptops Unboxing

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