Multiple Motorola Devices Will Not Be Upgraded to Lollipop

These days we are being told that we need to install or swap out software and hardware all the time to keep it up to date. With everything from Windows Updates recommending a whole new operating system to a “security update” locking up your iPhones. When I decided to try out Windows Mobile (when it was first released) I liked the OS, except that it didn’t support anything. To my surprise (or not as the case was) they decided that my handset would be one of the ones that wouldn’t get the Windows 8 Mobile upgrade, leaving my phone outdated and out supported. It would seem that Motorola made the same decision with the Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini editions regarding the latest Lollipop update.

On their forums Motorola posted the following:

“We apologise that we will not be upgrading DROID Ultra/Mini/Maxx to Android Lollipop, as we had hoped. We know how important software upgrades are to our customers, and we’re very sorry that we are unable to provide the upgrade.”

In an attempt to bring back any customers upset by this those with the Ultra/Mini or Maxx handsets can upgraded to the DROID Turbo 2 for $524 or the DROID Maxx 2 for $334.

The worst part about all of this is that the upgrade was promised and now instead of delivering on that promise they want you to pay for a new handset. No doubt this is going to upset anyone with one of the mentioned headsets, are you one of those people and if so how do you feel about this?

Revive an Old PC With the Android-Based Remix OS

Last year, Jide launched the Remix Mini, the world’s first Android PC, and now the company is launching its Remix operating system, a forked version of Android Lollipop, for free later this month. Remix OS works on any x86 PC that supports USB legacy booting, so if you’ve an old computer begging for a new lease of life, this Android OS might be just the ticket.

“In emerging markets where computer hardware is inaccessible for many, Remix OS aims to make personal computing more accessible than ever before,” Jide says. “Individuals will no longer need to rely on personal desktops or laptops to create, store, and manage data, they will merely need to be within walking distance of a device–in their village, in libraries, in internet cafes, or in community centers.”

Remix OS includes mouse and keyboard support, including shortcut key-mapping, and the desktop interface features a traditional taskbar, start menu, system tray, and file manager. Through Google Play, Remix OS supports over 1.5 million Android apps.

To boot Remix OS, you will need a USB 3.0 drive that supports FAT32, has a minimum capacity of 8GB, and a recommended write speed of 20MB/s.

Remix OS will be available for free download from the Jide website on Tuesday (12th January).

Omate Rise Android Smartwatch Crowdfunder Raises $50,000 in Half-an-Hour

The Omate Rise, billed as the “World’s first standalone water-resistant smartwatch with carbon Fiber bezel powered by Android 5.1” by its creators, has smashed its $30,000 goal on Indiegogo, raising over $50,000 in the first half-hour of its 65-hour crowdfunding campaign alone.

Omate is an ambitious, two-year-old startup, based in both the Mountain View in California and Shenzhen in China, and focuses on creating fashionable wearable tech, often in partnership with other brands.

The Android 5.1 Lollipop Omate Rise runs on a 3G Dual-Core 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex-A7 processor and an ARM Mali-400 MP GPU, with a 360×360, 1.3-inch innolux display.

Croundfunding options range from the Super Early Bird Developer package (SIM Unlocked + Open Source Access + Limited Edition Engraved + Free Heart Rate Monitor and Keychain. Retail Price: $398) to the Super Early Bird Partner Pack (SIM Unlocked Five (5) units SIM Unlocked + Limited Edition Engraved. Retail Price: $1,745) both available for the first 48 hours only.

At the time of writing, the Omate Rise has raised $53,963, courtesy of 246 backers, with 64 hours of its crowdfunding campaign yet to go. Omate aims to ship its first run of smartwatches by March 2016, with a full retail version following soon after.

Stagefright 2.0 is Here and Every Android Device Could be Vulnerable

Stagefright 2.0, the long-awaited sequel to August’s devastating Android vulnerability, is here, and this time every device with an Android operating system could be at risk. This new iteration of Stagefright exploits how Android reads MP3 and MP4 files to install malware on the device.

While Stagefright 2.0 definitely affects devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and above, the Zimperium researchers that discovered the new exploit thinks that older Android operating systems could also “be impacted”.

According to Zimperium:

The vulnerability lies in the processing of metadata within the files, so merely previewing the song or video would trigger the issue. Since the primary attack vector of MMS has been removed in newer versions of Google’s Hangouts and Messenger apps, the likely attack vector would be via the Web browser.

  1. An attacker would try to convince an unsuspecting user to visit a URL pointing at an attacker controlled Web site (e.g., mobile spear-phishing or malicious ad campaign).
  2. An attacker on the same network could inject the exploit using common traffic interception techniques (MITM) to unencrypted network traffic destined for the browser.
  3. 3rd party apps (Media Players, Instant Messengers, etc.) that are using the vulnerable library.

Zimperium has brought the issue to the attention of Google’s Android Security Team, which has assigned it the code CVE-2015-6602 and is working on a solution, scheduled for release next week.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.

Android Lollipop Lock Screen Can be Bypassed Using Really Long Password

Any Android Lollipop device that is not using the latest build of the mobile operating system is vulnerable to having its lock screen bypassed by inputting a long string of characters as password. The bypass was discovered by researchers from the University of Texas this week and can be applied to any Android 5 device that does not have the latest security updates, released last week.

“A vulnerability exists in Android 5.x <= 5.1.1 (before build LMY48M) that allows an attacker to crash the lockscreen and gain full access to a locked device, even if encryption is enabled on the device,” the researchers wrote on the University of Texas blog. “By manipulating a sufficiently large string in the password field when the camera app is active, an attacker is able to destabilize the lockscreen, causing it to crash to the home screen.”

The Texas researchers also included a proof-of-concept video, tested using a Nexus 4 with an Android 5.1.1 factory image:

Google has patched the flaw, but in the meantime it is advised that Android Lollipop users that do not have the latest updates use either a PIN or pattern lock, since neither are vulnerable to the above exploit.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

New Android Vulnerability That Kills Devices Discovered

Following the discovery of the Stagefright vulnerability, another potentially dangerous Android hack has been found. The bug, uncovered by Trend Micro, can leave an Android device effectively dead, killing the screen and all communication functions, including calls, and can be found in Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) up to the current Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop). Though it was first reported late-May of this year, there has not been a patch fix released through the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code by the Android Engineering Team.

The fault can be exploited by either a malicious app or a phishing site, using a malicious MKV video file – much like Stagefright, which also used media files to compromise Android operating systems – designed to auto-start whenever the device boots.

As for the technical details, I’ll leave that to Trend Micro:

The vulnerability lies in the mediaserver service, which is used by Android to index media files that are located on the Android device. This service cannot correctly process a malformed video file using the Matroska container (usually with the .mkv extension). When the process opens a malformed MKV file, the service may crash (and with it, the rest of the operating system).

The vulnerability is caused by an integer overflow when the mediaserver service parses an MKV file. It reads memory out of buffer or writes data to NULL address when parsing audio data.

This wil cause the device to become totally silent and non-responsive. This means that:

  • No ring tone, text tone, or notification sounds can be heard. The user will have no idea of an incoming call/message, and cannot even accept a call. Neither party will hear each other.

  • The UI may become very slow to respond, or completely non-responsive. If the phone is locked, it cannot be unlocked.

Short of being careful and vigilant when downloading apps or visiting websites, the vulnerability will remain a potential threat until patched by Google.

Thank you Trend Micro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ausdroid.

Marshall Announces Their Very First Music Dedicated Smartphone

When you hear of Marshall, you are thinking about speakers, headphones or dedicated music gadgets for your instruments. But a Marshall smartphone? That’s something completely new and somewhat interesting.

While Marshall is just ‘borrowing’ the name and not building the actual handset, the thing itself looks pretty good. However, the specs seem a bit low for what they are asking for the flashgrip. It is said that it bears a 4.7-inch 720p IPS LCD screen, Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera and a removable 2500mAh battery. Oh yeah, and it also has a MicroSD slot to help extend your storage, should you want to put more music on it.

The flashgrip’s key parts, being a Marshall and all, stand in its music-oriented parts. The handset is said to come with two (loud) front-facing speakers, two headphone jacks, a dedicated button for launching your favourite music app at the top and, surprisingly, a volume rocker to adjust the handset volume. Also, Wolfson seems to handle the audio hub, coming with a Wolfson WM8281 Audio Hub. If you haven’t heard about them, they seem to be named the best in the mobile audio solutions.

What we haven’t mentioned is that the flashgrip is powered by the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS and comes with a lot of customized music apps. The Marshall handset will be released in the UK, Scandinavia and Baltic states on August 21st, with a price tag of £399. But really now, is it worth the money they ask for what they offer? What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Bluboo X550 Smartphone Features 5300 mAh Battery

If you were looking for a decent Android Lollipop phone that boasts a big battery to last your through the day, you might consider waiting another week. Why? A new Android-powered smartphone with a massive 5300 mAh battery is set to launch and it looks impressive!

Meet Bluboo X550, a mid-range Android Lollipop-powered phone that aims at keeping you online throughout the day. The phone is made by a small Chinese company and set to launch next week, on May 19th. The best part about it? It is available worldwide.

Bluboo X550 is said to run the latest 5.1 Lollipop version and in terms of spec, it comes with a 720p 5.5-inch screen, a MediaTek MTK6735 CPU, 2 GB Ram, 16 GB storage and an option between a 13-megapixel or 8-megapixel rear camera. For those of you who want to switch to a 4G ready phone, it is worth mentioning that the Bluboo X550 also comes with LTE support.

If you want to get the Bluboo X550 as cheap as you can, then you have to hurry. The company said that it will sell the X550 for just $149.99 between May 19th and June 4th. After that, the phone’s price will go up to $159.99 from June 5th ’till July 4th and settle at a price tag of $169.99 after the latter date.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Phonearena

Amazon Fire Phone Finally Recieves Android Update

Amazon, global online e-tailing giant has taken a dip into a multitude of different markets with varying success rates. Its own branded product range includes the highly regarded Kindle range, which in its own right is massive. Then you have the Fire smartphone and tablet range; the Fire Tablet was a good introduction into the market, but the Fire Phone stagnated with little input.

It started life as a high-end competitor boasting huge specs and a huge price tag to go along with it. Since then the price has dramatically dropped to around the $200 mark and still includes a year Amazon Prime subscription, which is $99 alone.

Those of you that bought the phone and whatever price point can now rejoice, the Fire Phone has its own Android skin overlayed over a previous Android version. Up until recently it used Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and has now been updated to 4.4 (KitKat). To those who keep up to date with Android will know that it is still over a year old and massively behind the current 5.1 updated Lollipop version.

“KitKat is responsible for a bunch of the new things Fire OS picks up, including Bluetooth 4.0 support, improved accessibility, printing support, security and accessibility features, and an emoji keyboard (Amazon uses unchanged versions of Google’s emoji, the same you’d see on a Google-blessed Android phone). The Fire Phone still lacks support for Google’s closed-source apps and APIs (much to the detriment of its ecosystem), but if it ended up in the open-source bits of Android 4.4, then it should be here. A handful of Fire OS-specific features, including lock screen notification improvements and the ability to change the home screen wallpaper, have also been added.”

I’ve always stuck by what I know, I love my Samsung Galaxy S6. What phone manufacturer do you use? Did you consider the Fire Phone when it was released? Let us know in the comments

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing this information.

Sony Unveils Xperia Z4

Sony have unveiled the latest phone in their Z range.The announcement arrived on their Japanese website outlining the specs for the new device.

The Z4 will have a 5.2-inch, HD display and is 6.9mm thick. The device will weigh 144 grams and contains a 1920*1080 resolution screen. Sony have made they Xperia range known for their waterproofing and their ability to withstand dust and dirt. The new phone comes with an IP6X dustproof rating and is also IPX5 and IPX8 certified, meaning it is not just splash resistant but can be fully submerged in water for a long period of time. The new device will also have a fully waterproof USB port so there is no requirement for the little caps that were used on earlier devices.

The new device will be available in 4 colours, White, Black, Copper and aqua green but Ssony have not released a price as of yet.

The Z4 will be equipped with a 20.7 megapixel camera on the rear with a 5 megapixel one situated on the front of the device. Underneath the solid construction, the device contains a 2930mAh battery, a 64-bit Qualcomm snapdragon 810 processor, a whopping 3gb of ram and comes with Android Lollipop installed. Sony state that the device will have 32GB of internal memory with an SD card slot that supports up to 128GB.

As yet Sony have not released an international release date.

Thank you to Cnet for this information.

Image courtesy of GSM arena.

Cyanogen 12 is Finally Available for the OnePlus One

Cyanogen just announced that Cyanogen 12, the Android 5.0 Lollipop version is finally done and available for OnePlus One owners. The update had taken so much longer than expected that OnePlus created the OxygenOS Rom for its users to be able to update to Android Lollipop.

The drama between OnePlus and Cyanogenmod was interesting to watch there these last couple months with words being exchanged by both companies. Kirt McMaster, Cyanogenmod CEO took to Twitter on March 31st to say “guys… calm the f down… it’s coming soon… when ready!” something that didn’t sit well with everyone. Now they have finally come out with the update and everyone can be happy for now. The new Cyanogen 12 contains many updated apps and utilities, including a theming engine called App Themer. The new Cyanogen email debuts in the new ROM, containing Exchange support, the ability to handle multiple accounts, and many customization options. The new ROM will soon be an OTA update for those who are running the stock Cyanogen ROM that came with the One. If you are inclined to do it yourself now the zip file can be found here.

Thank you, Android Police for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of geeksnack.com

Sony Xperia Phones Get Lollipop Update

Sony are continuing their Lollipop roll-out to their Xperia range of devices. The electronics company released on their blog today. The 5.0 upgrade will be available for the Xperia Z3 Dual, Xperia Z1, the X1 compact and the Xperia Z ultra.

Sony plans to bring updates to the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, the Xperia ZR and the Tablet Z in the next few weeks.

The update includes features such as multi user profiles, a new and updated user interface and advanced sync features across your other android powered devices. It also includes security features such as trusted devices for your Bluetooth and NFC capable accessories.

Hi-definition voice calling will also be available as part of the update, this will give you ultra-clear voice calls between compatible devices.

Sony have announced that the update won’t be available in all countries at once, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to become available for your device. My device in the UK hasn’t shown that the update is available so I’m just going to hold tight for now.

It is said that the update is approximately 1.2GB so make sure you have plenty of room available on your handset. It is also a good idea to have a charger and a full battery as sometimes the upgrades can take a fair amount of time.

Image from sonymobile

OnePlus Releases Version 1.0 of In-house OxygenOS ROM

It is no secret that smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has had a falling out with its initial software supplier Cyanogen. The public spat over the CyanogenMod 12S update delay has led the company to go ahead and develop its own ROM.

OxygenOS is now available to download for owners of the OnePlus One, and it should make many owners happy as it will be an upgrade to Lollipop. It is based on Android version 5.0.2 and has and has been worked on by some of the members of the Paranoid Android ROM team. Unfortunately, OnePlus missed its self-imposed March 27th deadline, but hopefully the extra time will mean that there are fewer bugs for those who update to the ROM.

Source: Android Police

New NVIDIA SHIELD Portable Coming Soon, According to Bluetooth SIG

The next NVIDIA SHIELD Portable games console model will be launching soon, according to documentation from Bluetooth SIG and Wi-Fi Alliance. Both bodies, responsible for setting the standards in their respective areas, have the Android-powered NVIDIA SHIELD P2523 listed.

According to the certification, the P2523 supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi on the A, B, G, N, and AC bands, runs Android Lollipop.

Since the NVIDIA SHIELD P2523 has been certified, its release is surely imminent. Hopefully, NVIDIA will reveal the console’s release date soon.

Source: Hexus

Android 5.0 Lollipop More Stable than iOS 8

With Android Lollipop 5.0 being such a major update, including its new Material Design, change from JIT to ART compiler, and adding support for 64-bit procressors, we have a chance now to look at its progress. Specifically it’s stability, which now preforms better than older versions of Android.

Lollipops crash rate comes in at a low 2.0%, as reported by CrittercismBy comparison, iOS 8 has a crash rate of 2.2%. Now I know what you’re all thinking, and yes it is a very marginal difference, but in the ultra competitive world of Android vs Apple, anything good is bragging rights. Looking back at older versions of each OS, we can see that Android is trending up with KitKat’s crash rate being 2.6%, and even if a bit, iOS is trending down with iOS 7’s crash rate being 1.9%.

Source: NextPowerUp

Samsung Galaxy S6 Could Have Wrap-Around Display

It seems that Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge, with its curved edge display, could be more than just an experiment, instead acting as the prototype for the latest in the company’s S-series, the Galaxy S6. According to Bloomberg, the 5.1-inch S6 will double-up on the curved edges, making the display wrap-around both sides.

Though this was the only titbit that Bloomberg revealed, more information about the handset is expected at the Samsung Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona on 1st March.

Other rumours suggest that the S6 will have an all-metal body, which will house an Exynos 7420 processor, Quad HD (2,560×1,440) screen, and a 16-megapixel camera, with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system.

Source: Engadget

Sony Xperia E4 to Have Two-Day Battery Life

Sony’s forthcoming mid-range smartphone, the Xperia E4, will have a 2,300mAh battery that can handle up to 48 hours of active use. The Xperia E4, due to go on sale later this month, could even run for longer, using its STAMINA and Ultra STAMINA power-saving modes.

“With Xperia E4, we wanted to offer people some of the premium Sony features they have come to expect — with unparalleled ease of use — at a highly competitive price point,” Tony McNulty, Vice President of Sony Mobile’s Value Category Business Management, said. “With a simple setup, great screen and unrivaled two-day battery life, we’ve created an on-the-go entertainment device that will keep on going, wherever you are.”

The 5-inch Xperia E4 has a MediaTek MT6582 1.3GHz quadcore processor, a RAM 1GB, and 8GB built-in storage. The handset also features a rear 5MP camera with full HD video capabilities, a 2MP front camera, and a microSD slot. It will run Android 4.4.4 KitKat, but no news on whether it will have an Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade.

The smartphone will not be available in the US, and is rumoured to be priced at around £100.

Source: Tech Times

939 Million Android Devices Vulnerable to Hacks

Android devices not running either the KitKat or Lollipop versions of the operating system – of which there are approximately 939 million devices – have been found to have a vulnerability in Android WebView, leaving the software open to attack. Google has been aware of the problem for months, but is yet to provide an update or patch to fix it.

The vulnerability in Android WebView allows apps to display web pages without opening a separate app window, meaning access to WebView potentially gives a hacker access to other apps and services on the phone or tablet.

Tod Beardsley of security researchers Rapid7 contacted Google regarding the matter. He was told: “If the affected version [of WebView] is before 4.4, we generally do not develop the patches ourselves, but welcome patches with the report for consideration. Other than notifying OEMs, we will not be able to take action on any report that is affecting versions before 4.4 that are not accompanied with a patch.”

“Google’s reasoning for this policy shift is that they ‘no longer certify 3rd party devices that include the Android Browser’, and ‘the best way to ensure that Android devices are secure is to update them to the latest version of Android’,” Beardsley said. “On its face, this seems like a reasonable decision. Maintaining support for a software product that is two versions behind would be fairly unusual in both the proprietary and open source software worlds.”

Source: BGR

eTeknix 2014 Christmas Tech Buying Guide

Christmas time is almost here and as we wrap up warm over winter, we’re also wrapping up on a year of incredible products here at eTeknix HQ. We’ve had hundred of reviews this year, but no doubt many of you are eagerly writing your letters to Santa, or at least dropping hints to your parents, partner or friends for what you want for Christmas. Of course, there’s no doubt a fair few of you who are eager to treat themselves to something cool this Christmas. We’ve scratched our heads and had a really good think about what some of our favourite bits of technology are from this last year, and if you’ve still got some money left after the manic Black Friday sales, perhaps some of these products will be perfect for you.

While I admit that I couldn’t fit all of our favourites onto this list, its certainly a killer list of great products and they’ve all won awards from us here at eTeknix for one reason or another. If you’re after a headset, a chassis, a new keyboard, graphics card, or other cool gadget, you’ll find something that’s right for you in our guide.


Astro A38 Wireless Gaming Headset

The Astro A38 headset really stood out for me, not only is it one of the more stylish looking headsets I’ve ever reviewed, but the sound quality is nothing short of incredible. They’re a little expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for and Astro have yet to create a product that was anything less than stunning. They’re a perfect gift for yourself or someone else and ideal for those who love to listen to music and play games on the go, and the wireless technology and NFC pairing makes them very user friendly.

Check out our full review here – £144 from Astro Gaming


NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Chassis

A great PC deserves a great chassis and the H440 is certainly one of my all-time favourites. It’s not the biggest, and it may not even be the best chassis ever, that much is subjective, but it’s certainly got a lot of great features.  From the PSU shroud that helps keep cable management looking neat and tidy, to the comprehensive set of dust filters, thick sound dampening material lined panels and the large side panel window; you’ll find a lot to love about this chassis.

Check out our full review here – £89.99 from Overclockers


Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis

Not all chassis’ are created equally, the Core V71 packs an incredible range of features that make it an ideal choice for high-end systems. The Thermaltake Core V71 looks great, but the real magic comes from its extreme flexibility. It has class leading radiator and fan mounting support and there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to build a stunning air-cooled system thanks to its array of 200mm pre-installed fans, or an incredible custom water cooling loop thanks to its modular interior. If you need extreme performance without spending crazy amounts of money, this chassis needs to be at the top of your list.

Check out our full review here – £131.34 from CCL Computers


Cooler Master Novatouch TKL Keyboard

Treating yourself to a high-quality mechanical keyboard is a solid investment for anyone who uses their computer a lot. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, but their overall build quality and performance goes a long way to justifying the cost. The NovaTouch TKL isn’t your average mechanical and features something called Hybrid Capacitive Switches that offer a truly premium and luxurious typing experience. If you want to treat your fingers to a more enjoyable typing experience, try out this keyboard!

Check out our full review here – £149.99 from Overclockers


Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse

I have yet to use a Zowie mouse that wasn’t impressive and the FK1 is by far one of their best. While this mouse only offers minor revisions over its previous model, such as a slightly larger body and an improved sensor, it’s performance is second to none. It’s ambidextrous, has one of the best performing sensors available, great ergonomics and a stylish design. If you’re serious about your gaming and want something that offers eSports levels of performance, then you’ll love what the Zowie FK1 has to offer.

Check out our full review here – £49.99 from Overclockers


Nvidia Shield Android 5.0 Gaming Tablet

Mobile gaming is something that never really excited me, but Nvidia have really pulled out all the stops with their Shield Tablet. It’s powered by the incredibly powerful Tegra K1 graphics chip and it’s one of the fastest tablets on the market. It recently received an update that added the latest Android 5.0 operating system, as well as enabling Nvidia’s GRID cloud gaming service and all this comes on top of features like in-home game streaming, 4K video output, wireless controller support and a whole lot more. The Shield Tablet is easily one of the most versatile portable on the market.

Check out our full review here – from £239.99 at Overclockers


Nvidia GeForce “Maxwell” GTX 970 Graphics Card

Nvidia are on our list once again, first they dominate the mobile gaming market, now they’re showing their worth once again in the desktop GPU market. While we admit that the GeForce GTX 980 is an incredible graphics card, you’ll not be disappointed by their GTX 970 as it offers most of the performance of its bigger brother at a much more affordable price tag. This card is packed with the latest features, it looks fantastic and for gaming, it’s one of the best cards you can buy right now. If you want to welcome your computer into the world of high-end PC gaming, this is a great place to start.

Check out our full review here (Asus Strix GTX 970) – from £247.99 at Overclockers


Asus Rampage V Extreme LGA 2011-3 Motherboard

Intel really set a new standard for PC performance this year with the launch of their consumer X99 chipsets. It’s not a cheap upgrade right now, but a new support for the latest high-end CPUs, DDR4 memory and a wave of new features make this motherboard perfect for the enthusiast and professional markets. The Asus Rampage motherboard series has long been a popular choice and the V Extreme is certainly one of the best available right now.

Check out our full review here – £329.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Z97X Gaming5 1150 Motherboard

Extreme motherboards are one thing, but they’re a little out of the reach of your average consumer. The Gigabyte X97X Gaming 5 series of motherboards offers a lot of exciting features that make them a great choice for high-end gaming PCs, without the colossal price tags that you’ll find with enthusiast grade products. We loved this motherboard when we review it and while the black and red colour scheme is getting a little bit repetitive in the gaming market, it’s still a great looking board that is perfect for a wide range of systems.

Check out our full review here – £109.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Brix Ultra Compact System

A lot of the fame and glory goes to big gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards, loads of hard drives, water cooling and all that other crazy stuff, but this system turns all that on its head. The Brix may be small, but it packs enough power to be worthy of our Extreme Performance award! When space is limited, this little rig will fit on the back of your monitors VESA mount and it packs enough performance to get through a heavy workflow with ease. It’s a little expensive, but for a full-fledged PC that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, it’s a bargain!

Check out our full review here – £503.96 from Scan


PC Specialist Vortex 440 System

If you’re looking to upgrade to an X99 equipped system, then it’s likely that you’ll also be investing in DDR4 memory, a new CPU and a whole host of other components, so why not take all the fuss out of the process and invest in one of the best systems we’ve reviewed this year, the PC Specialist Vortex 440. We loved this system, partly because it was packed full of high-end hardware, but also because it was incredible value for money. Despite what the high price tag may suggest, the Vortex 440 actually worked out cheaper to buy than it would to build it yourself; now that’s a deal we can get behind!

Check out our full review here – around £1500 (customisable) from PC Specialist


OCZ Arc 100 240GB SSD

There’s a lot of SSD hard drives on the market right now and there are so many great ones that it’s now very easy to find one suitable for your system. The OCZ ARC 100 really stood out for us as it offers excellent performance, solid reliability, lots of features and it’s also competitively priced (per GB). Upgrading to an SSD is a great way to give your system a new lease of life, your system will boot faster and all of your games will benefit greatly from the speed boost. There is a cheaper 120GB model available, but the 240GB is the best balance of storage and value, making it a great choice for a boot drive.

Check out our full review here – £94.99 from Overclockers


Asus RT AC68U Dual Band Wireless Router

A really great router is something a lot of people overlook, it can be daunting spending a lot of money on tech like this, but the rewards soon pay for themselves. With more and more devices becoming internet connected, it’s likely that you’re not reaching the full potential of your devices networking capabilities. If you’re wanting to stream movies around your house from a NAS, play games online, while browsing the web from smartphones, tablets, consoles and other devices, then you’re going to see huge benefits from a router that can handle the most demanding workloads without sacrificing performance. The Asus RT AC68U looks great and offers a simple way to improve your home network. It’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Check out our full review here – £166.98 from Overclockers


Crucial 32GB 2133MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit

DDR4 memory marks the first major update to RAM memory formats in desktop systems in years, but it comes with a steep price tag. However, should you choose to make the leap for your high-end X99 platform build, then you should really consider the Crucial 32GB 2133MHZ kit. If you’re not too bothered about the aesthetics, this memory really does impress in terms of performance and offers excellent value for money vs many of the other DDR4 products on the market.

Check out our full review here – £319.99 from Overclockers


So, what will you be asking Santa for this year?

“Legends of Hearthstone” Comes to Android Devices

Blizzard has recently revealed that their special edition “Legends of Hearthstone” game will be soon released to Android devices and be seen as similar to the iPad offering. Quoted to require a 6-inch screen and a minimum of 1GB of system memory, alongside needing the user to update to an Android 5.0 operating system.

Specific information regarding the operation requirements include:

  • Display: 6-inch or larger
  • System: Android version 4.0 after
  • Memory: 1GB

Recommended devices to run this game include:

  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 (2014)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 (2014)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 (2013)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 (2014)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014)
  • Asus Google Nexus 7
  • Huawei MediaPad X1
  • NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Note LTE 10.1 N8020
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
  • Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet LTE

The devices above have been recommended to run the game at a sooth frame-rate. However given the specifications listed above, it is to be noted that Asus’ Transformer Pad TF300T will not function correctly – this is due to VR540 and 544 GPU’s may cause image display issues. The avoid some display issues, it is recommended that you can however try to update your device to the latest operating system to Lollipop 5.0 or Fire OS 4.5.1.

Hearthstone Legends does not have an exact reported release date as of yet, we will report as the story develops.

Image and information courtesy of Chiphell

Nokia Unveils First New Device Since Microsoft Sale, Looks Like an iPad

What is now left of the original Nokia, after the Finnish company’s sale of its former devices and services business to Microsoft, has unveiled its first major product since that acquisition closed.

The Nokia N1 tablet has a 7.9-inch screen with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, along with 2GB of RAM, a 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor and 32GB of storage. It also features an 8-megapixel camera and will come with Android 5.0 Lollipop. It’s being released in China first, for $249 next February.

Now that screen size and resolution may sound similar to some of you, and that’s because it’s exactly the same as the screen used in Apple’s iPad mini.

The similarities don’t stop there – just take a look at some of these pictures:

 

Now here’s some shots of the iPad mini for comparison:

Uncanny?

Source: The Verge

Nvidia Shield Tablet Android 5.0 Lollipop Review

Introduction


The Nvidia Shield Tablet has already landed many awards for being a great gaming tablet, I myself reviewed it just a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it! However, not all of the features were ready from day one and Nvidia have been working hard to bring the latest Android 5.0 update to their powerful tablet.

The Shield Tablet is already packed full of features, as you can see from the chart below. The new update not only updates the OS, but paves the way for even more features in the near future.

The most notable coming-soon feature is certainly Nvidia GRID, which will be launching in the EU next month when the new servers are brought online. We actually covered a lot of information on GRID recently, which you can read here. To celebrate the new updates, Nvidia are bringing even more entertainment to their already feature packed device with The Green Box Bundle. The bundle contains Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and Portal, which will run natively on the Shield Tablets mighty Tegra K1 processor. You can expect us to fully review the performance of that gaming bundle in the very near future.

Android 5.0 has been a long time coming, but owners of the Shield Tablet will be able to download the new OS from today! So time to get your tablets out and see what all the fuss is about. Which is exactly what I’m about to do right now!

NVIDIA GRID Event Coverage

Several days ago, we at eTeknix were invited to a special event held by Nvidia in the Hilton Hotel in Reading, near to their UK offices. Only a select amount of media were invited and the event itself was very small, but the announcements were anything but.

With the recent announcement of Android Lollipop from Google being on many people’s minds at the moment, it was inevitable that NVIDIA were going to bring it to their Android based SHIELD and SHIELD tablet devices, and not only that, but within their press show, they made it very clear that they were the FIRST to bring it to a gaming tablet. Screw you Samsung!

NVIDIA were a bit coy when it came to a release date as technically it’s out of their hands and instead lays with Google, but they are expecting it to be released sooner rather than later, as we hear the Android fans rejoice. With the update, we can expect many bug fixes, some new features and great speed and performance inprovements and with the SHIELD being the fastest tablet on the market for gaming, thanks to the Tegra K1 architecture, they wanted to bring some special goodies along with the update, and special is what they brought.

Does anyone remember the Orange Box bundle that Valve released many moons ago? Giving us the hottest titles that their customers wanted? NVIDIA have done exactly the same, and upon listening to their customers, they are announcing “The Green Box” bundle. Comprising of Half Life 2, Portal, and Half Life 2: Episode 1. They were abundantly clear that Episode 1 was something to shout about and we couldn’t agree more. Not just leaving things there, but they showed us that 60FPS is where they wanted to aim for (unlike Ubisoft) and with high resolution imagery and 60FPS, Half Life 2 among the other games will simply look awesome. “The Green Box” bundle is only available on SHIELD so don’t go expecting Valve to be offering it for other devices.

A downside some may say, but I happen to think it’s the best way to play on the SHIELD Tablet is that you have to use the controller, which personally adds to the whole experience of gaming (short of using a keyboard and mouse of course). In typical NVIDIA fashion, to redeem the code, it will require the user to enter a code on the portal system.

Many questions flew around the room for tech journalists from all over Europe including if War of Thunder would be coming, and the simple answer was yes, and no more was said about that. No date, no rumour, no nothing, so at least NVIDIA are giving us a few more surprises along the way.

Game streaming

Another big announcement was that GRID is coming to Europe. W00000h0000!

For those who don’t know what GRID is, we entice you to check out the full section on the NVIDIA website here. We were lucky enough to try out GRID by using the American servers (I Guess it’s down to who you know, not what you know, amiright?). You can find plenty of coverage of what we thought of GRID on the original SHIELD gaming device, but now it’s coming to the SHIELD Tablet which is exciting stuff, especially as they are opening it up to further markets than ever before.

NVIDIA explained GRID to those unaware of it being similar to Netflix, but for games, and of course streaming games doesn’t go without its issues as it’s actually more complex to stream a game than doing the same task with 4K video content on Netflix. The GRID PREVIEW service will be launching very soon in the UK and the rest of Europe, with one exception. Sorry Germany but you will have to wait a bit longer due to your age restriction laws and some of the game titles having adult content (violence and the like), therefore they are hopeful of launching it there in Q1 of 2015. For those in the UK, November is when the preview service will open with an official full launch in December.

NVIDIA claim that the GRID experience with their uber Dublin based server will give the same experience as playing the conventional way on a PC and many times NVIDIA lifted the table cloth to show us all that no PC was to be found in that room. Instead, it was simple streaming across the internet from the servers in Ireland much like you’d expect Netflix to do.

Once the service opens up, you’ll be able to simply open up the SHIELD Hub application and be greeted with a list of games in a library style interface. Currently on the preview service, there are around 20+ titles including some AAA titles and sheer blockbusters such as Borderlands 2 and Batman Arkham City, which NVIDIA PR man himself Ben Berroando thought he’d show his dab hand at to show us the lack of lag/latency.

The lag or lack of it comes ultimately down to your internet connection and NVIDIA state that the minimum requirement is a 6mbit connection but recommend 10mbit to give the best possible ping and to reduce the amount of lag if any. In Europe, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially as government schemes are rolling out across the continent, even in rural areas.

The biggest competitor for NVIDIA right now is the Playstation NOW and with other streaming services like OnLive not gaining popularity, the green team think they have a prime opportunity to show what they can do.

For some exciting news, for the foreseeable future, they want as many users as possible to try this out, and while it’s still in a semi-beta stage, it would be unfair to charge people to “try” it out wouldn’t it? Of course, and NVIDIA know that, so they are giving away this amazing service absolutely free when the Android Lollipop OTA update hits.

NVIDIA are claiming a 2nd December 2014 launch, but obviously this is possible to change, and shouldn’t be considered gospel at this stage, as technically it’s out of their control and in the hands of Google.

Those of you may have a few questions and don’t worry, so did we so lets answer what we think would have been some of the most common questions asked if you, our readers, were at the event.

Latency is going to be a big word thrown around with a service like this, and NVIDIA claim that for the ultimate experience, you should have a ping of 16ms or lower, and with the servers being based in Dublin, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you can test your latency from within the app.

Streaming is one thing, but the actual graphical experience is another, and we have been told that playing a game across the GRID service is equivalent to gaming on a GTX 760 or similar, which in all honesty, is pretty damn impressive.

One thing that NVIDIA are working on for the future is multiplayer support, locally and across the cloud, and this in our opinion could be the start of something huge if they can make it happen.

We also asked about other titles and DLC’s and were told that DLC’s and updates will be auto added as they hit in the future and the likes of Indy titles and crowd-funded games are a possibility in the future too.

That sums up our coverage of the NVIDIA event, and I’ve got to say that this is one of the best announcements that NVIDIA have done. Yes they are currently leading the market with their GPU product stack, and for the most part, this is their bread and butter, but when they introduce a new technology to a complete region like they have here, it gets our hearts racing and wanting to try it, and you’re in luck as we’re frantically testing out the preview service as we speak, so stay tuned for some great articles coming soon based around that.

The Grid Gaming Service is effectively a supercomputer in the cloud. All of the hard work such as graphics rendering is processed on high-end hardware at the Nvidia datacentre, then streamed to your device much like a Netflix video.

The Nvidia Sheild Hub App will hit the Google Play Store on November 18th. Simply launch the app and select GRID Games Menu and you’ll be able to play any of the 20 games that are currently available on the service.

Remember, there is no cost for running this service. GRID Preview will keep the service free of charge until June 30th, 2015.

The service is being launched in North America and being expanded to include Western Europe in December, with Asia Pacific following later next year. You’ll require at least 10 Mbps internet with a 60ms ping time to the Nvidia servers for optimal performance.

The service has been configured for Shield device owners. If you own or purchase a Shield, you’ll be able to download the updated software shortly to access the GRID service.

At launch you can expect to find games such as Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and more available on the service.

More games such as Brutal Legend and Psychonauts will be launched on the GRID service every week.

GRID will stream games at 720p resolutions at 60 frames per second; of course this will also depend on the quality of your internet connection.

That’s everything we know about GRID right now, but we will bring you further updates as soon as we have them.