Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, 2016)

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Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, 2016)

Introducing, Apple’s new laptop, the Macbook Pro, with a touch bar. The new computer is slimmer and lighter than it’s predecessors, making it a slightly more transportable device. In this model, Apple has also removed all it’s legacy ports for Thunderbolt 3-powered USB-C, forcing you to have to buy a whole bunch of dongles. The main touch of this model is, of course the touch bar, that replaces the function keys.

Features

The macbook’s key feature is of course, is the mini slice of an ipad know as the touch bar, located at the top of the keyboard. The touch bar has a fingerprint scanner, allowing users to use Apple pay and Touch ID. It also allows you to adjust brightness and volume and works with other apps, which for now are mostly apple made apps but more 3rd party support is inevitable.

Pros

The macbook is currently the best macbook on the market with the touch bar making some task a little simpler and quicker. Also, being smaller and lighter than the rest of the macbook family, it is easier and more convenient to transport, making for better for using on the go.

Cons

One of the main problems is the large number of dongles required to get the legacy ports back, which some may find rather annoying. Also the computer runs at 16GB of RAM, which some find a little too low, expecting 32GB as a benchmark for the RAM. Also the lack of third party support is rather disappointing. All factors driving people away from macbook and to windows.

Specs

Operating system macOS Sierra
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600
PC CPU 2.9GHz Intel Core i5
PC Memory 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3
Graphics Intel Iris Graphics 550
Storage 256GB PCIe SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Price USD$1699

Overall

This is the ultimate macbook for now, with the addition of the touch bar, despite trading of several features.

 

Photo courtesy: http://iphoneroot.com/tag/macbook/page/2/

HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017)

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HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017)

Introduction

The HP Spectre 13 is like a smaller version of the HP Spectre x360 15 (2017) but with a 4k screen, that looks amazing, but the beautiful display comes with at a price. On the 4k display model, the screen eats battery up quicker than other, lesser screens, reducing the battery life to around 8 hours, lower than other laptop like HP Spectre x360 (2016) at 9.5 hours. There is a HD one with a battery life of 16 hours, so if you want a longer battery life, and can take a slightly worse screen, it can be arranged. The laptop is also a convertible, being able to change from laptop into a tablet.

Specs 

  • Cost:                                 2,170.11 SGD
  • Display size/ resolution: 13.3-inch 3,840×2,160 touch display
  • CPU:                                  2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
  • Memory:                           16GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866MHz
  • Graphics:                          128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Storage:                            512GB SSD
  • Expansion:                       2x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 USB 3.1 Type-A
  • Network:                          802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Operating system:           Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Cost

The cost is a big factor in the laptop, charging an extra 339.12 SGD for the 4k display and 474.61 SGD for the 1 terra byte option (generally).

Advantages

The keyboard, is really good compared to the Yoga 910, a close competitor of the HP Spectre 13, with much better right shift key. The size of the laptop is also a much more comfortable size than the bigger models, allowing for a much better tablet experience.

Disadvantages

The main draw back is the cost, that is rather pricey. Also the battery life, again, is affected by the power hungry 4k screen, making the laptop’s battery worse than normal.

Overall

The laptop, despite being a little pricey, is still a great high performance laptop that converts into a good tablet as well.

Photo courtesy: https://www.cnet.com/products/hp-spectre-x360-13-inch-2017/review/

Google Glass

Google Glass photo.JPG

Introduction

Google glass is a piece of futuristic tech worn similar to glasses, developed by X, previously Google X. The glasses work like a mini, wearable computer, with a display similar to a smart phone and hands off a experience.

Features

Google Glass, being a device on its own, has runs own apps, made by third party and also a few already existing google apps such as Gmail, Google+ and Google maps. Some of the third party apps include news apps, social media, photo manipulation, face recognition, exercise and many more. The Google Glass also has a companion app for Android and IOS called my Glass, allowing you to configure the Google Glass using your phone.

Uses

The Google Glass, being a hands-off piece of technology, has many uses. One such use would for Journalism, allowing you to see the story from the journalist point of view. Another would be for healthcare. The glass can store medical information, inform you when you next appointment and can even live steam appointments to patients. Even military uses have been explored, tracking animals and bird in the jungle.

Problems

 Such different and unique technology does not come with its downside. You are not allowed to where it into places such as cinemas and casinos as it has the ability to film and record. Some places have even banned Google Glass. The Glass does pose an issue to privacy, being able to use facial recognition on every stranger you meet on the street sounds scary and is something the Glass can do. The Glass can also film events and conversations, which raises more privacy concerns.

               Overall

Due to all the controversy surrounding the initial release, the Google Glass prototype has been discontinued on 15 January 2015, but a new Google Glass, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition may be released soon, but it has not been confirmed.

photo courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Glass

Playstation VR

Playstation VR

Introduction

Released on October 13 2016, the Playstation VR is a virtual reality headset manufactured by the Sony and developed by Sony Interactive entertainment. The headset allows you to immerse yourself fully in a fictional universe. Using different controllers (not included with the VR headset) allow you to interact with things in the fictional world, adding to the immersion.

Move controllers used for the VR

Games

Being part of the Playstation family, it has a plentiful amount of games. Ranging from horror games to shooting games, the huge variety of games allow you to find a game of your choice. Unfortunately some games require you to buy another controller/s to play.

Using The Headset

The headset is relatively easy to use, the headset has a few knobs to adjust the comfort of the headset and the how far away the screen is to your face, to accommodate for glasses. Other than that you look around the real world and it looks around a virtual world, ultimately does its job of being a VR headset well.

Cost

On release, it cost S$599. Compared to other headsets like the Oculus rift(S$862) and the HTC Vive (S$1104), it is relatively cheap.

Pros And Cons

The VR is comfortable to wear, cheap compare to other options like it, has a wide section of games and is a great bonus if you have an already existing Playstation 4. On the other hand, it is rather expensive, needs extra controller to work sometimes and requires a Playstation 4 to work, and not everyone has a Playstation 4.

photo courtesy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ57Cl3Nq6o   https://venturebeat.com/2016/06/20/playstation-vrs-weakness-is-the-move-controller/

 

Portal 2

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Overview:

Portal 2 is the long awaited sequel to Portal, made by Valve, the same developer of half-life, Team Fortress 2 and Counter strike.  The puzzle game challenges people to use their mind and navigate through the now decrepit Aperture Science facility with only a portal gun in hand to try to escape. Along the way you may find yourself solving test chambers the evil AI GLaDOS has set up, exploring the buried old Aperture Science facility and meeting new characters like Wheatley, an AI personality core that assists you as you escape.

Mechanics:

Other than the unique portal mechanic added with the first Portal, all new mechanics have been introduced to enhance the puzzle solving experience. Some of the new mechanics include lasers, laser redirecting cubes, bridges of made of light and gels that give surfaces and objects new properties.

Features:

One of the most long awaited feature is the 2 Co-op mode. Named the cooperative testing initiative, you play as 2 robots built by GLaDOS, Atlas and P-body. In the co-op mode, there are all new maps and puzzles to solve, pushing for communication and co-operation between the 2 players. Another new feature is the The Perpetual Testing Initiative, allowing players to make their own puzzles for others to solve.

Image result for cooperative testing initiativeAtlas on the left, P-body on the right

Story:

[Spoilers]

The game occurs an unspecified amount of time from the original game, but the state of the surroundings show that the time difference is quite sizable. You play as Chell, a portal gun wielding test subject from Aperture science. Woken up by Wheatley, an AI personality core, you try to escape the facility, accidentally reactivating GLaDOS. Eventually you defeat GlaDOS, and Wheatley takes charge of the facility. This drives Wheatley mad with power and knocks you down into the old Aperture facility. While doing so, he also puts GLaDOS into a potato. After exploring the old facility and uncovering the backstory of GLaDOS and the Aperture Science, Chell together with GLaDOS find a way back, put GLaDOS back in charge and send Wheatley to space.

Conclusion:

This is a great game with compelling story and interesting characters and the feeling of finally solving a puzzle on your own is a very rewarding one.

Photo courtesy: http://www.astrolabe-melun.fr/cms/articleview/id/1264

https://theportalwiki.com/wiki/Cooperative_Testing_Initiative

Cree Connected LED Bulb

Cree connected LED Bulb

The Cree Connected LED Bulb is an 11.5 watt smart light bulb made by Cree. The Cree LED bulb is able to be controlled by phone via a control hub, allowing it to be remotely controlled. Using the controls, you can turn the bulb off and on or dim and brighten the bulb from your phone.

The Cree Connected bulb is the cheapest connected bulb in the market at $15, slightly more than a non-connected bulb. It is pretty bright, illuminating at 815 lumens, and with an efficiency of 76 lumens per watt, it is also a relatively efficient bulb.

The Cree Connected LED bulb is also good at dimming and brightening without a buzz or flicker.  It is easy to pair with a control hub like wink, Hue Bridge, SmartThings and Staples Connect. With the wink app, using the Cree Connected LED bulb is a breeze. Tap to turn the light on and off and slide to make it dimmer or brighter.  Automation is quite easy with wink’s robots feature. You can make the light turn off and on when certain conditions are met, an example of this would be turning off the lights automatically when you are not at home. There is also a shortcut feature, allowing you to turn on more than one bulb at the same time. The Cree has some shortcomings though. One such example is its plastic cover that might look unsightly to some people.

Overall the Cree Connected LED Bulb is efficient at lighting up the place and is easy to use even though some might not like its aesthetics degisn

Photo courtesy: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2015/02/22/use-your-smartphone-to-control-cree-connected-led-bulbs-sponsored/

Pebble Time Steel

The pebble time steel is a smart watch made by pebble, it is an upgrade to the pebble time. Let’s start with the pebble time’s best feature, its battery life. The pebble steel’s battery life lasts for about 10 days on a full charge, beating the apple watch’s battery life of slightly more than 1 day and android wear’s battery life of 1 or 2 days. The screen is reflective so you can see the screen even in bright daylight.

The Pebble time steel also has a customizable watch face which you can get from the pebble app, which is available on iPhone and android, giving you the ability to customize the watch face to your liking. As the name suggests, it has an all-steel body. It is also water proof, allowing you to use it in the pool or the shower, although if you have a leather strap, you might want to take it off.

Even though the pebble time steel has it pros it still has its cons. One of its cons is its design. The design of the pebble time steel is very similar to the pebble time, so it does not stand out from the other watches.To add, the pebble time steel cannot take calls.

Overall, the pebble time steel is a good smart watch despite it’s short-comings.

Image courtesy of :Pebble Time Steel review: Steel-ing the smartwatch limelight? – Pocket-lint