F5 refreshes the page in the web browser on your computer. So what’s the Oppo F5, then? Is it a refresh of sorts, too? Or maybe it’s a refreshing mid-range smartphone that’s trying to look like it’s more expensive than it actually is. Refreshing, but not niggle-free. Pretty, but not without its faults. Good in most areas, frustrating in others.
I reviewed the Fitbit Ionic when it launched late last year, and at the time I didn’t much care for it. I was not into the design, and there were multiple software issues. I’ve continued to wear the watch on and off since then, and I spent about a week with the Fitbit Versa just recently. The Ionic has gotten several updates since my original review, including the recent bump to FitbitOS 2.0 that matches what ships on the Versa. With Google’s Wear OS still on a downward trajectory, I’m giving Fitbit’s flagship smartwatch another shot.
Fitbit Ionic long-term review: Fitbit may be on track for a wearable win was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
I’ve never been a fan of buying expensive laptops, even once I could actually afford them. Just like with smartphones, there’s a certain point where the added features can’t justify the $ 1,000+ prices, unless you are doing heavy productivity or gaming. My first laptop was the ASUS Eee PC 1001PXD netbook, which I was pretty happy with at the time (now the 1024×600 screen sounds atrocious), but the casing eventually started to crack apart.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 long-term review: The laptop that brought me back to Chrome OS was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Here’s a Mate 10 that is less than half the price of any other Mate 10. Yet it looks similarly modern with its tall screen, and even comes with four cameras. So what’s going on? Can you really get flagship-like features for a fraction of the price?
While some phones are inspired by the less is more’ mantra, Samsung’s Galaxy Note family has always proudly claimed that more is more’. More features, more options, more settings, more ways to interact with your handset, more choice made possible by the use of the best components adding up to the biggest and baddest spec list. To paraphrase a well known…
Following up on a "Most Innovative Company" award, business magazine Fast Company on Wednesday published a wide-ranging interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, covering topics like the stock market, long-term plans, and the importance of Apple Music to the bottom line.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News
With only 2,000 ARKit-enabled apps to its name and installs showing a downward trend, the hype around Apple’s augmented reality technology went quickly from red-hot to lukewarm. News of the latest ARKit update has reignited excitement among developers and brands alike, with the changes inching us closer to a new world of AR possibilities and increased adoption. The question is, can Apple’s news finally be the much-anticipated catalyst that shifts the current lackluster perception of AR from short-term gimmick to long-term staple for brands?
Apple’s recent ARKit changes have opened up an ocean of possibilities for AR experiences, and the quiet ripples around the AR debate have quickly massed into tidal waves. Developers, brands, and consumers are starting to understand that AR can indeed be more than a bit of fun: it can be genuinely useful. And this realization might just push ARKit adoption on a whole new trajectory.
Marked believable change
From a developer’s perspective, the changes enable designers to make their AR experiences react to the real world in a much more believable and accurate way. Before ARKit, most developers could only really use marker-based AR, which restricted the experience to being overlaid on a physical marker in the real world — and if that marker moved out of the field of view of the camera, the experience would disappear.
Then, when ARKit first launched, it took away the need for the marker — giving developers much more freedom by suddenly enabling the experience to be anywhere around you. But it was still limited — it could only detect horizontal surfaces such as tables and floors, which meant that although you could do things such as simulate a ball bouncing off the floor, you couldn’t bounce it off a wall or a door or a pillar. The experience would stop working, thus breaking the illusion.
But this new update provides the additional functionality that allows you to be able to track walls and doors and any vertical surface. So, not only can your AR objects interact with those surfaces — for instance, an animated character leaning against a doorframe — it also means that the effects within the experience, such as lighting, can be made much more realistic.
For example, we can simulate lighting within the experience to reflect where windows and doors would be in a space, therefore casting shadows and reflections that are true to life. All of this adds an additional level of believability – making the experience more immersive, while allowing developers to have more fun too.
The other major feature that ARKit adds is the capability to detect markers, which it couldn’t actually do before. This means you can layer your AR experience with triggers for new content. So, you could be using an AR experience which then detects a marker, which then triggers the next stage of content — giving you a staggered and comprehensive overall experience.
This opens up all sorts of exciting opportunities, from gaming to storytelling to brand experiences. And the more compelling the experience, the more developers will be interested in trying it and engaging with it.
Power to the people
To date, the growth and adoption of AR has been stunted by its Achilles heel: the widespread perception that it’s cool, but not very useful. In reality, devices like the Microsoft HoloLens have shown us that far from being a gimmick, AR can be an incredibly powerful tool. You only have to read about the medical uses the HoloLens is being put to – for example, during cross-continent surgery – to see that.
What this ARKit update does is put the power that the (very expensive) HoloLens offers into the hands of anybody with a reasonably modern smartphone.
And the scope of use is diverse: from education to medicine, entertainment or construction. Imagine being able to point your tablet at a wall in a new building development and have X-ray vision showing you where all the pipework and cabling runs in the wall. That’s a genuinely useful application and it’s just there, on your smartphone, in your hand, in the moment.
Fortunately, amongst the serious talk, the fun hasn’t fizzled. There’s much more potential to design addictive and responsive AR mobile games too. So, all in all, the update will make AR more engaging and useful, both of which are crucial for adoption.
Return on reality
AR has always been about making an existing environment into something better than it already is — and the more it can model and reason with the environment it’s being used in, the more powerfully it can do that. This opens the floodgates of potential for in-the-moment AR experiences. Smart brands will turn this into an opportunity for enhanced ROI. The question is, how?
With augmented point of sale materials, brands can appeal to customers more directly, as Ferrari proved when AR first started attracting attention. Now the ARKit updates can take that direct appeal even further – making it accessible to everyone. Imagine a poster for a new car at a bus stop or in a waiting room. With ARKit, you scan the poster and the phone will put you in the point of view of the driver, so you’re free to explore the inside of the car with a good sense of scale. You could slide over to the passenger seat to see what that’s like. Turn around to look in the back. You could even reduce the car to a radio control size and drive it around on the sidewalk in front of you.
James Burrows is the Technical Director at Immersive VR.
This review is our fourth article in a series of long-term reviews – a format which we hadn’t attempted previously. While our regular reviews are focusing on assessing every aspect of a device’s performance in the most objective way possible, the long-term review is where we will give you a more subjective look – an outline of what it’s like to live with a specific smartphone every day – in this case, the iPhone 8 Plus.
Past the initial hype and a few months after our initial review full of benchmarks and tests, we’re ready to tell you what the Nokia 8 feels like when used as a daily driver for a longer period of time. Hopefully, this would give you a fuller picture of the device is capable of.
The introduction of Face ID and the removal of the Home button has resulted in a paradigm shift in the way we interact with our iPhones. Three of us have been using the iPhone X since launch and this long-term review covers what the iPhone X is like to live with on a day to day basis and we are ready to answer what’s good and what’s bad about it from a different perspective.