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Crunch Report | Gawker Files For Bankruptcy

Uncategorized June 11, 2016

cr-template6.10 Gawker files for bankruptcy, Line will IPO on July 14 on the New York Stock Exchange, Greg Kumparak goes in-depth with the mobile game Pokemon Go from Niantic, Andreessen Horowitz closes a $1.5 billion dollar fund, and Meem is both storage and a charging cable. All this on today’s Crunch Report. Read More


Source: TechCrunch

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Rumors are flying about a new Amazon music streaming service

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Rumors are flying about a new Amazon music streaming service

If a new streaming service from Amazon sounds like music to your ears, you’re in luck – the Bellevue, Washington-based company might be on the verge of releasing a Spotify competitor.

According to a report from Reuters, who cited two Amazon insiders, the company is eager to break into the music streaming space to compete with Apple Music, Google Play Music and Spotify.

The sources say that it will be a standalone service and slightly different than the existing Amazon Prime Music service subscribers have access to today.

The play here, it seems like, is to create a new service that will make the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap and Amazon Dot speakers more appealing.

Sources say that the service will cost $9.99 (around £3.99/AU$14.99) and could launch as early as this fall.

The idea of a recurring monthly subscription has been one that Amazon has adopted full bore – the company recently uncoupled Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming service from the annual subscription to the tune of $10.99 per month – therefore, it’s not a huge stretch to imagine the company has the same plan for Amazon Prime Music.

At this point, however, it’s not totally clear what the service would be called or, more importantly, what exactly will happen to Amazon Prime Music. Clearly both services can’t exist simultaneously, which means either current users will have to fork over an extra $11 per month for streaming music privileges or get grandfathered into this new plan.

I’m hoping for the latter.


Source: TechRadar

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6 amazing Tango apps that will make you want an AR phone

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

6 amazing Tango apps that will make you want an AR phone

Apps are where it’s at

Tango VR

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first Tango consumer phone, arrived for all to admire this week. It delivers astounding augmented reality (AR) capabilities in the package of a first-rate handset, letting you interact with the real world in a completely new and imaginative way.

As I noted in my hands on review, however, a large part of what will make or break the Phab 2 Pro – and all Tango devices – is the apps that accompany it. If the apps fail to deliver a useful or delightful experience, then Tango will fail, too.

Thankfully, Tango apps are off to a good start. I checked out six applications at Lenovo Tech World on June 9 that, though still in beta, offered a glimpse at exciting AR to come. They weren’t perfect and may not be subject to a ton of use after a few initial go-rounds, but each was unique and impressive in its own way. What’s more, each illustrated what Tango is capable of, and that alone is reason to celebrate.

Lenovo says 30 Tango-enabled apps (including the six in this list) will be available when the Phab 2 Pro launches in September, and 100 more will arrive by the end of the year. Read on for a look at six Tango apps that herald the era of AR handsets.

Measure It

MeasureIT

OK, measuring things may not sound that thrilling, but, for me, this app is all about showing off Tango’s area awareness and 3D rendering capabilities.

The Measure It app takes measurements of walls, floors, cabinets – really anything you want. It can accurately detect how big something is without you having to get down and dirty with a tape measure.

Because it can measure in a third dimension, you can literally map the outline of a table to see if it will fit in a space. While you may not have to measure stuff on a daily basis, it could be one of those, “I have just the app for that!” triumphs whenever you do.

Or, you could just start measuring everything for fun. I won’t stop you.

One drawback that you’ll see with other apps in this list is that Measure It requires good lighting in order for its marker points to detect and stick to an object. The beta app, at least, has trouble detecting a surface if the lighting is too low. When it works, Measure It is a solid app, but that necessity for certain conditions is one flaw of AR.

Raise prototype

Raise

I’ve seen the Raise prototype app demonstrated on the 7-inch Project Tablet before, and the version on the Phab 2 Pro isn’t much different.

You essentially become the owner of a blue dog, delivered to the floor in front of you in a brown box. The cartoon creature “sits” on the floor, its waggly tongue hanging out.

You can play games the pooch, including fetch. You “hold” a virtual ball using the Phab 2 Pro and chuck it to a spot in front of you. The ball will actually bounce off an object if you throw it against one. The dog retrieves the ball, and drops it back at your feet.

You can also feed your new pet a variety of snacks (I chose steak). It’s all pretty mindless and might make for a fun few minutes when you need to unwind after a long day. Though it’s basic, Raise illustrates Tango’s ability to read a room, and perfectly illustrates how the tech layers virtual images onto real environments.

Domino World

Domino World

Domino World does an even better job than Raise of showing you how AR can overlay onto the real world, and how physical objects can become a part of your virtual games.

All you really have to do in this game is create a line of dominoes, though you can throw in curve balls like dragons and exploding dominoes for fun. You can lay a string of dominoes anywhere in your environment, starting on top of a table and continuing onto the floor – or wherever. Once you hit start, the dominoes will tumble one-by-one, no matter where you’ve placed them.

As Lenovo aptly pointed out, it takes a lot of work to set up actual dominoes, plus clean up once you’ve knocked them over. Domino World eliminates the mess, and lets you add in more farfetched elements to enhance the enjoyment.

This app isn’t going to change the world, but it demonstrates the limitlessness AR offers users. Physical confines disappear with AR, and you’re left with the ability to push the boundaries and create your own reality. It comes to life in this simple application, and it’s an amazing concept.

Lowe’s Vision

Lowe's Vision app

I wasn’t exactly kind to furniture-arranging AR applications in my Phab 2 Pro hands on, and while they fall into the same category as measuring apps for me (how often do you need to see how a new couch will fit in your living room?), the Lowe’s Vision app does have a lot going for it.

The app lets you see what items from the home improvement store will look like in your home. The app laid gray tile on the carpet in front of me, stretching it to cover a wider surface area so I could see what it would look like in an entire room, not just small square patch.

I also put a virtual refrigerator into a nook, which is way better than hauling a 200-pound fridge home only to find out it doesn’t fit or look good in my kitchen. Though I knew I was looking at an AR rendering of the appliance, it was realistic and detailed. Turns out, I wasn’t a fan of this fridge, but at least I discovered that on my phone without wasting hours in the aisles.

The Lowe’s Vision app shows how Tango could revolutionize shopping. You could try out an endless number of appliances and fixtures in your home without ever setting foot in a store. Prices are also listed, so you can keep your budget in mind while you’re in the virtual showroom. I even imagine Lowe’s adding a delivery option, letting shoppers request their new fridge be brought to their doorstep. It’d be a start-to-finish shopping experience, and one many consumers would likely take advantage of.

PHANTOGEIST

PHANTOGEIST

This is the most fun game/application I tried, but also the most difficult to get to work right.

PHANTOGEIST has you shooting phantom aliens that you detect on a radar. Red dots show which direction they’re coming from, forcing you to move around a room and swivel to quickly take them out. It’s all about killing evil aliens who are trying to attack you, which, come on, is always fun.

But like the Measure It app, PHANTOGEIST is finicky about lighting. It also doesn’t work especially well in a room where people are moving around as it has trouble picking up points with which to orient itself. If you were in the quiet of your home, this probably wouldn’t be a problem, but PHANTOGEIST is not a game for playing in crowded spaces. Because you move around so much, it pretty much eliminates playing in public places anyway, but it’s worth noting the game’s limitations.

One thing Lenovo threw in the mix was affixing a Phab 2 Pro to a NERF gun and letting Tech World attendees move around a mini tactical course as we played the game. I had lighting and detecting issues in this space, though pulling the NERF trigger to shoot my laser blaster was awesome. It did feel a little precarious to be walking around the course with hip-high obstacles affixed to the floor as I was simultaneously trying to focus on my phone to play the game. This illustrates a concern of AR (and VR, for that matter): keeping tabs of where you are in the real world while you also trying to lose yourself in the virtual.

Dinosaurs Among Us

Dinosaurs Among Us

I’ve saved my favorite Tango application for last.

Dinosaurs Among Us is an app from the American Museum of Natural History. It brings dinos to life on your phone screen, giving you a sense of their size, features and ferociousness. You can put more than one dino into a space and walk around them or get up close and personal (just watch out when the T-Rex flashes his razor-sharp teeth).

There are also fact blurbs that offer insights into the ancient creatures, giving you a little paleontology lesson along with a super delightful animation.

What I’m drawn to about Dinosaurs Among Us is its educational purpose. It shows that Tango isn’t just about playing games or shopping, but could modernize education in a truly immersive and effective way. All of us are absorbed in our smartphones these days, so why not infuse new life into staid museums and deliver a history lesson everyone can relate to?

Since Tango applications are 3D and not 2D, I become more engaged with the AR than if I was looking at a flat image on a screen. There’s just something about seeing what feels like a living, breathing dinosaur on the actual floor in front of me that sparks my imagination, much more so if it was a drawing in a regular app. Kids will love this app, but grown-ups will, too.


Source: TechRadar

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Review: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Review: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X

Introduction and design

Nvidia’s original GTX 970 was long hounded as the best value for money card you could get last generation. Packing a meaty 1,664 CUDA cores and a final boost clock coming in at a respectable 1,178 MHz, this 4GB card was fully capable of powering practically all AAA titles at 1080p at fairly respectable frame rates.

The GTX 1070 is its successor and the new generation of young blood poised to take the crown off its value-oriented older cousin. So what’s new?

Well, there’s an additional 256 CUDA cores this time round, a higher boost clock running up to 1683 MHz (1797 MHz on the MSI Variant we have in OC Mode) and an additional 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

Of course, it’s running off of Pascal’s mighty 16nm FinFET manufacturing node, enabling 6.5 TFLOPS of overall performance, or thereabouts. That’s close enough to a Titan X in spec, but for half the price.

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X comparison

If you take a look back at our first review of the GTX 1080 that launched at the beginning of this June, you’ll know our biggest complaint was with the price. The Founder’s Edition looks fantastic and really does wonders to reinvigorate the now ageing metallic cooler we first saw with the launch of the GTX 680 way back in the day.

The problem with Founder’s Edition cards is that you end up paying an absolute premium for the sake of what? A few weeks early access and a slightly worse cooler? Color us not convinced. Unfortunately the story rings true again with the GTX 1070.

UK-based retailer Overclockers will be selling the Founder’s Edition version at £410 (around $584 or AUS$792). There is a reason to be optimistic, however, as partner cards will be coming in at a far lower price.

MSI’s Aero Cooler for instance, with a default blower style cooler is priced at £380 (around $541 or AUS$734), while an aftermarket Twin Frozr will set you back 10 pounds (around $14/AUS$19) more.

X marks the spot

The GTX 1070 variant we have here is non-other than MSI’s top of the line Gaming X that comes with a fully custom PCB, improved fan design, LED lighting and stock overclock as standard. And, a meaty one at that. Thanks to MSI’s Afterburner software, you have access to three different modes: Silent, Gaming and OC mode.

I’m a little confused as to why these exist, as once buried in your case you’ll barely hear this thing. Especially coupled with its 0dB fan technology keeping the fans entirely subdued until post 60 degree temps hit the core.

The extra megahertz on that core clock will net you a good 20% improvement to frame rates in-game. Now, we know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but as far as minimum frame rates go, the higher they are the smoother your overall experience will be.

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X power connectors

So, what separates this monster from the likes of the GTX 1080 I reviewed a few weeks back? Well, in short, a few less CUDA cores, a lower base clock and a departure from the 10GHz memory of GDDR5X. That being said GDDR5 is still a strong competitive VRAM memory specification, so it’s hardly like you’re going to be losing out to a huge degree, certainly not at 1080 and 1440p.

The overall aesthetic design of MSI’s new Gaming X 1070 is clean. It’s a nice reiteration on the last generation, but there are still a few things that bug us here – not least the inclusion of RGB LEDs on a card that’s predominantly black and red, as realistically you just can’t change the color on that from anything other than white, red or off. But other than that it’s a fairly nice update.

Performance

The GTX 1070 is, by far, Nvidia’s king of 1440p gaming. The 8GB of VRAM (all intact), the Titan X level of performance, the price point. It’s all there for high-end, 1440p gaming.

I’m not talking entry point and low average frame rates here, we’re on about the upper echelon of those frame barriers; 120Hz plus – the sweet spot – and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Take a quick look at PCMark’s Fire Strike Extreme, and you’ll notice a 3,200 point deficit between the GTX 970 and this monster, and an even more impressive 2,200 points of difference between the 1070 and last generation’s now-nearly-defunct GTX 980.

Benchmarks

Here are the benchmarks I achieved with the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X running at stock (test system was an Intel Core i7-6700K, 16GB of HyperX Savage DDR4 @ 2400 MT/s on an MSI Z170A Gaming M7 motherboard, with games tested on highest preset with AA at maximum settings – average frame rates given):

gtx 1070

A quick look in Far Cry Primal at 1440p saw the GTX 1070 munch up a monstrous 65 frames per second (fps) on average, as opposed to last generation’s GTX 970 attaining a measly 31 fps.

That’s with everything ramped up to ultra, AA on max, and with the high-resolution texture packs included. As for your everyday games, and more mainstream titles, 144 fps is nothing short of guaranteed. In World of Warcraft, I enjoyed an impressive 165 fps at 1440p, with all the settings ramped up in a raid environment.

Performance isn’t everything

With the launch of Pascal, Nvidia also introduced us to some rather dishy new software components in the form of Ansel and VRWorks Audio. Ansel in short is an in-engine in-game screenshot utility that takes you out of the game as a floating head.

In short, you can pause the game float your camera around until you’re in the correct position, adjust the lighting, and up the resolution to take your perfect screenshot. All the way up to 61,440 x 34,560.

That’s 1,064 times larger than 1080p – no biggy, right?

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X top down

On top of that, for those with the fancy VR headsets you can also take full 360 degree screenshots, making this a great way of blagging to your friends how fantastical a system you’ve got. And then there’s VRWorks Audio, a re-imagining of 3D audio primed and ready for the latest generation of VR games going forward.

Cool under pressure

As far as temperatures go on the GTX 1070, you can expect to see that Celsius reading under load hit 81 degrees similar to the GTX 1080, rocking all the way up to 90 if you really let GPU Boost have all the fun. Nothing new here.

With MSI’s Gaming X, I saw temperatures stick steady at around 60 degrees under load. And once I tuned in our own overclock (far beyond the factory overclock settings), at most I only ever saw 70 degrees. Pretty impressive, then.

This is all thanks to MSI’s new and improved TORX 2.0 fan tech, which, according to the military grade company, ensures that this edition of the Twin Frozr produces 22% more air pressure than it’s last generation of GPUs. It’s something that really shows, too.

Coupled with that 0dB fan technology we mentioned earlier and using this aftermarket variant, even though it was a little pricier than the Founder’s Edition was a solid choice, especially for what you get.

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X side-by-side

Overclocking experience

Although MSI’s GTX 1070 Gaming X does come pre-overclocked, there’s always bound to be a little extra leeway when it comes to really getting the most out of your GPU. In this case, I decided to see just how far I could push the GTX 1070’s cores.

With my final overclock, I managed to achieve an additional 130MHz on the core clock and 400MHz on the memory, bringing it up nicely to a final boost clock of 2,076MHz, and 8,910MHz on the memory.

Temperatures still remained sub-70 degrees under load in Firestrike, and those final scores increased from 15,440 on the Gaming X’s OC setting, to 16,435. Just under 1,000 points – that’s 1,500 points more than a stock reference GTX 1070. In game we saw average frame rates increase from 65 fps in Far Cry Primal up to 71 fps. Hey, who can argue with (sort of) free performance?

Verdict

The GTX 1070 is an astronomical card, especially for the pricing at the low end. Although a little pricier than the GTX 970 of last generation, this beauty is capable of plowing through almost all AAA titles at 1440p without a sweat.

We liked

The performance for price is fantastic, especially on the AIB partners. At 1440p, it absolutely dominates, and the inclusion of DisplayPort 1.4 is a god send for future proofing. 4K monitors at 120Hz, anyone?

We disliked

I’m still stuck behind that Founder’s Edition price point. All that for the sake of early access, and for what you get in comparison to the aftermarket competition, it’s just not enough in my eyes to stick a flashy cooler on it, bump up the price, limit accessibility and call it a day. Otherwise, this is a powerful GPU on a fantastic card.

Final verdict

Couple that with its insane overclocking potential and thoroughly well-developed cooler design from partnering manufacturers, and you’re onto a winner. The only thing that could potentially make this card better were if the price would drop – if even a fraction. And, with AMD’s Polaris RX 480 right around the corner, that might be something we’re likely to see soon, as team Red starts snapping up the middle ground once more.


Source: TechRadar

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Breaking down the outrage over Windows 10 automatic upgrades

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Breaking down the outrage over Windows 10 automatic upgrades

The Windows 10 upgrade controversy explained

There’s been plenty of outrage on the Internet over Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade initiative. From bothersome prompts to seemingly unsolicited installs, the Windows 10 hate has reached a fever pitch and some are even taking it upon themselves to start petitions and investigations against Microsoft.

Windows 10 is getting a bad rap, but is all of this user outrage rightfully deserved and where did it even come from? Here we’ll take a look back and explain just why some are hating on Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Ever since its release last July, Windows 10‘s reception has been bittersweet. Though we were excited to see Microsoft return to its roots with a desktop-focused OS, the reintroduction of the beloved Start button and truly Universal apps, the insistent free upgrade offers have become aggravating for many vocal customers.

W10 explainer

To most of us, this deal was a no-brainer. The first-ever free upgrade to a new version of Windows? Count us in.

As with each new generation of software, though, there were some users who had already grown comfortable with, and accustomed to, previous editions – namely Windows 7. For many in that select crowd, seeing the “Get Windows 10” (GXW) recommendation dialogs has been deeply irritating.

Beyond small annoyances, the reminders have become a meme. In one instance a live weather broadcast in Iowa was interrupted by the GXW notification, hilariously replacing the green screen weather map with a blown up version of Windows.

Viral fun aside, the disdain for Microsoft’s practices has escalated in concert. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s string of muddled messaging hasn’t helped its case, and an angry mob of petitioners has risen against Microsoft, sans the pitchforks and torches.

The problem

The controversy over Windows 10’s upgrade system stems from miscommunication from a number of different sources, including Microsoft, the press and even a handful of Windows users.

The latest arc of this whole saga started out subtlely, with an automatic upgrade being triggered only if you’ve 1) neglected to disable “recommended updates” in your Windows Update settings and 2) ignored every warning sign from Microsoft that, yes, an upgrade has already been scheduled for your convenience.

In other words, users would have to make an effort to cancel their upgrades rather install them. Microsoft’s’ messaging around Windows 10 changed from reserve your optional upgrade to schedule the recommended upgrade, forcing users to opt out rather than opt in.

Win10 explainer

The only way to cancel or reschedule the recommended Windows 10 upgrade was following a tiny link to an outside web page.

This was arguably a means for Microsoft to shore up the slowing Windows 10 adoption back in April.

For that reason, it wasn’t as unexpected for Microsoft to encourage upgrades in such a brazen manner as it was disappointing to see the company take such aggressive action towards its devoted following of Windows 7 and 8 users.

And, as a result, many customers opted to fire back.

The response

Users were understandably outraged over Microsoft’s increasingly forward practices, to the point that Redmond itself refined the process due to “customer feedback,” adding a supplementary notification and thereby another chance for users to cancel or reschedule their upgrades. While it wasn’t a complete reversal in policy, responding favorably to audience dismay was clearly a step forward for Microsoft.

However, the exasperation did not end there. In fact, rage over the infamous “Get Windows 10” (GWX) app only grew more severe with time, compounded by some unfortunate misinformation circulated throughout the media.

It started with a report from UK IT news outlet The Register, whose headline implied that the option to close out of the GWX scheduler had been removed completely, denying users a choice in whether they wished to upgrade. Numerous websites, perhaps prematurely, cited the story in published works of their own, though it was ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley who investigated the situation further.

Deeming the report a “false alarm,” Foley confirmed that the only way to see the notification that The Register’s Gavin Clarke had written about was by going into Windows Update, approving the Windows 10 install and agreeing to the terms of Microsoft’s EULA. Obviously, there was more to the story than some outlets may have been privy to.

W10 explainer

Microsoft, on the other hand, responded to The Register’s report more harshly, condemning the website for its inaccuracies.

“The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice – designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows,” the company’s statement reads. “People receive multiple notifications to accept the upgrade, and can reschedule or cancel the upgrade if they wish.”

Nevertheless, like a bad game of telephone, word spread like wildfire that Windows 10 was automatically being installed on computers with users having no say in the matter. This, of course, inspired organizer Todd Kleinpaste to petition the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asking it to investigate the legalities of Microsoft’s upgrade practices.

Calling the actions “malicious,” the petition sparked even more negative press. In fact, Computerworld’s Preston Gralla went as far as to boldly regard Windows 10 as “malware”. Being compared to a virus – no matter whether you think that’s fair – isn’t good for Microsoft’s biggest money maker, especially considering users still had a choice in the matter, despite the elusiveness.

What’s next for Windows 10?

While Windows 10 is undeniably an improvement over Windows 8, its reputation is faltering due to less-than-transparent methods of spurring installs. Fortunately, as we approach the release of the major Windows 10 Anniversary Update, there’s hope we’ll see favorable changes arrive just in time for the operating system’s first birthday.

Furthermore, with the free upgrade offer about to expire, concerns over pesky marketing techniques will inevitably be put to rest.

Because, after all, this isn’t to be compared to the challenges Microsoft faced with Windows 8. Rather, Windows 10 was released as a largely sound platform that delivered on the same fronts as Windows 7 six years prior. Once users embrace the free upgrade instead of rejecting it based on Microsoft’s aggressive upgrade techniques, who knows, maybe they’ll come to enjoy it as much as gamers seem to.

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Source: TechRadar

61 total views, 1 today

Mozilla’s multi-process architecture project cleared for takeoff

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

lego firefox Attention. Project code-name Electrolysis is a go. Mozilla’s long running project to bring multi-process architecture to hundreds of millions of Firefox users has finally met release criteria for a full scale rollout. Nearly every other browser on the market has adopted multi-process architecture, splitting tabs and extensions into separate processes. For the average non-technical… Read More


Source: TechCrunch

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What to expect at Apple’s WWDC keynote

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

apple-wwdc-20150411 Apple is about to kick off its annual developer conference in San Francisco on Monday. As usual, the company will get things going with a good old keynote filled with secret and not-so-secret announcements. Here’s what I expect to see.
A good chunk of the conference should be about iOS and OS X updates. Usually, Apple showcases some of th Read More


Source: TechCrunch

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Slack is down, so enjoy your three-day weekend

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Panic on keyboard, close-up Chat and collaboration app Slack is experiencing serious outages today, but we’re not sure of the nature or extent of the disaster, because status.slack.com is also inaccessible! What? This is like a fire station burning down! Read More


Source: TechCrunch

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Review: Shure SE112

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Review: Shure SE112

Shure SE112

What kind of sound can $50 buy? Quite a lot, actually, as the market is crowded with affordable headphones. However, not all of them are designed to sound good and last forever.

Shure, known for its professional microphones and studio monitors used by musicians across the globe, didn’t settle for mediocrity, even with the constraints of building a headphone for under $50. The Shure SE112 we’ll be looking at today is the culmination of the company’s efforts to bring its legendary sound quality and durability to the masses.

So what does $50 buy you? In the case of the Shure SE112, quite a lot.

Shure SE112

Features and design

If you haven’t used Shure earphones before, you’ll be immediately impressed by the build quality. There’s no metal anywhere to be found on the earphones but that doesn’t stop it from feeling like a quality product. The SE112 are built like a tank, which is unsurprising as musicians use similar style earphones to monitor themselves on stage.

The Shure SE112 is built like a tank even though it’s made out of rubber and plastic. The earbuds themselves are a bit larger than your typical earbud, but for good reason. Inside, you’ll find a Dynamic Microdriver, a tried and true technology that’s driven easily by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Further enhancing durability is the beefy cable Shure uses with the SE112. The Y-connector that joins the left and right earphones is surprisingly thick. The headphones terminate in a durable 3.5mm right angled plug, which I prefer over straight plugs as it doesn’t put as much pressure on a device’s headphone jack.

Shure SE112

Noticeably absent are a microphone and remote control for controlling your smartphone. Shure does offer a version of the SE112, the SE112m+, with these features for an additional $10. For $50, you’d expect an earphone designed for listening to music on the go to have these features but Shure used every bit of budget on build and sound quality so it’s forgivable. If you must have a mic and remote, spend the extra money to get the SE112m+.

Included in the package are three different sized eartips, an ear wax scraper tool (gross but necessary) and a velvet carrying pouch that’s a dust magnet.

Performance

For $50, the Shure SE112 sound good but won’t blow you away. They don’t punch above their weight for the price like some other earphones do. My current favorite sub-$50 earphone is the Zero Audio ZH-DX200-CT as they offer a lovely detailed and balanced sound signature. However, they’re imported from Japan which means you’re on your own if you try to file a warranty claim.

Shure SE112

The Shure SE112 offer a balanced sound as well, but they don’t feature the energy of the Zero Audios. They’re also laidback instead of in your face, which I like as the sound won’t fatigue you after long listening sessions. Look elsewhere if you like that front row seat sound.

While more expensive headphones give you a nuanced presentation of music, allowing you to hear and pinpoint exactly where instruments are, the budget Shure SE112 muddles everything together. They still sound good, don’t get me wrong, but they can’t retrieve as much detail as more expensive headphones.

One thing the Shure SE112 do very well is convey a sense of space. While most sub-$50 earphones concentrate sound within your head, the SE112 provide good sound staging, though they don’t sound as spacious as the Klipsch Reference X6i. That’s to be expected as the Klipsch headphones cost nearly four times as much.

Shure SE112

But perhaps the best thing about the Shure SE112 is the noise isolation. These earphones block out outside noise better than any other earphones I’ve tried. Shure was able to achieve this by having the earphones go deep into your ear, which may be a strange, uncomfortable sensation for some. You really have to twist and push the earbuds into your ear canal to get a good seal, which is required if you want to experience the best sound quality.

You can wear the Shure SE112 two ways: down or over the ear. I prefer wearing them over the ear as this lays the cable flat against your head to fight cable noise. They’re also extremely comfortable over the ear as much of the weight is supported by the top of your ear rather than your ear canal.

Final Verdict

The Shure SE112 are remarkable for being unremarkable. Its design is understated, its sound laidback and it has no creature comforts like a mic or remote. But that didn’t stop me from really enjoying my time with them.

It’s challenging for companies to build a quality product within a tight budget and I think Shure did a great job with the SE112. You can tell most of the money was spent on the build and sound quality, things I look for first in an earphone.

If you’re looking for a durable set of earphones for your commute, you’ll be very happy with the Shure SE112. Its unrivaled sound isolation and balanced sound signature means you can enjoy all types of music on the go. Plus the SE112 is built for abuse and they’re backed by a generous two-year warranty in case anything goes wrong.


Source: TechRadar

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Nvidia Shield will soon let you stream to any device in your house

Uncategorized June 10, 2016

Nvidia Shield will soon let you stream to any device in your house

While some software updates tweak a setting or optimize a few lines of code, some radically change the functionality of the system.

Take, for example, the Nvidia’s Shield Experience Upgrade 3.2 update coming to the Nvidia Shield that will integrate Plex functionality directly into Android TV.

Nvidia Shield already won the majority of home entertainment enthusiasts’ hearts when it launched as the first 4K streaming video player back in 2015. But that love is going to turn into a downright obsession now that Nvidia’s little console can act as a full home theater PC (HTPC).

Plex, for those who don’t know about it, is a sort of media management system that keeps tabs on your movie and TV files that you’ve downloaded or ripped from DVDs and stores them on a local server.

Once it’s cached, you can stream the film from your device to any other system running a Plex client – i.e. any mobile device running iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Windows 8, as well as a stable of set-top boxes that include any Android TV platform, most smart TVs, the new Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast,Ouya, Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.

While Plex clients take every shape and form, it wasn’t until this update that you could turn your Nvidia Shield into a Plex server – a privilege that has typically been reserved for massive HTPCs.

Now, one limiting factor of using the Nvidia Shield as your entertainment storage center is that the cheapest units, the ones that cost $199 (around £130, AU$255), only came with 16GB of memory – i.e. not a lot of space for storing tons of movies. That could be remedied by shelling out for the larger size hard drive (Nvidia Shield also comes in a 500GB version) or slotting in a microSD card for an additional 256GB of space.

So when can you start loading up your new mini-HTPC? The Plex Media Server functionality will be included in Nvidia’s Shield Experience Upgrade 3.2, which should be coming along any day now.


Source: TechRadar

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