PQI Announces New Metallic Rose Gold iConnect for iPhones

One of the things that attract people to Apple devices is the design and that is something that can be matched to a whole lot of peripherals and accessories. Among those are the portable storage drives with a Lightning interface. PQI just updated the recently released iConnect series with a new Rose Gold version to match that style iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

The iConnect Lightning flash drive is made with a finish to perfectly match the popular Rose Gold iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and also comes in the previously available gold, silver, and grey versions. The iConnect’s outer casing is made with a metallic finish that has the same look and feel as the new Rose Gold iPhone for a more cohesive appearance as well as increased durability.

There are four different capacities available ranging from a small 16GB version and all the way up to 128GB. That is quite a lot of extra storage for your phone. The iConnect lightning drive also features a normal USB 3.0 port for connection to other devices such as PCs and laptops.

“Apple customers seek accessories that are an extension of their Apple experience, which is why PQI developed the new Rose Gold iConnect to meet Apple’s strict design specifications and are MFI (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) Certified,” proclaimed PQI Global CEO, Spencer Chiu. “The iConnect gives Rose Gold iPhone 6S and 6S Plus owners a high capacity external storage device that compliments their iPhone rather than detracts from it.”

In terms of pricing, the MSRP is $59.99 for 16GB, $71.99 for 32GB, $107.99 for 64GB and $179.99 for 128GB. Could be worse.

EE Announce Plans to Block “Intrusive ads”

United Kingdom based mobile network EE (Merger of Orange and T-Mobile) have announced plans to offer ad blocking services to anyone using the mobile network.

Olaf Swantee, Everything Everywhere (EE) CEO, demonstrated this new feature himself showing what would happen to the Web if his company did block mobile ads. This feature is far from revolutionary, desktop users have been blessed with this for many years in the form of the popular Adblock Plus. In recent years, this software has made its way to mobiles and in the latest iOS 9, Apple has included a similar blocking feature for certain content.

The main use for Ad Blockers is more prominent on free to use games and services such as YouTube where an Ad may pop up between each song or every half way through a long video. By doing this, you are reducing the revenue being paid to the developers and uploaders of the content which is why we have seen a sharp rise in Pay-to-use services such as YouTube Red.

Swantee stated the aim was not to block all mobile ads, but the more intrusive ones. By this, we are assuming those highly annoying full-page ads that you sometimes encounter while trying to view certain webpages.

eMarketer predicted that UK marketers would spend around £3.2bn on mobile marketing for 2015. This list could become a marketing tool for EE who could then block all ads and sell specific ad spaces to selected companies.

Beats Launches New Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

The brand Beats and its Pill lines have been somewhat a revelation since entering the market in 2012, from celebrity endorsements to a booming sales forecast, this form of portable wireless unit has certainly captured the imagination of consumers. Now, the company has announced a new incarnation of the successful Beats Pill series with hopes of expanding its base even further.

Today, (7th October 2015) Beats have introduced a new product by the name of the Pill+ speaker, below are the announced features within the press release.

Sound – The Beats Pill+ is slightly larger than the original Beats Pill speaker, allowing for a bigger and fuller sound. The stereo active 2-way crossover system creates an optimized sound field for dynamic range and clarity across all genres of music. Tweeter and woofer separation uses the same acoustic mechanics found in professional recording studios around the world.

Design – . Compact and durable enough to throw in your bag, the Beats Pill+ has implemented convenient button controls which are now at the top of the speaker.

Power management – The Beats Pill+ speaker has a 12-hour battery life to stay charged on the go. The lightning cable and power supply provide a quick full charge in just 3 hours. Keep track of your power levels with the fuel gauge so you always know how much battery is left and use the USB port to charge out.

Additionally, a new feature by the name of the “Beats Pill+ app for iOS and Android devices” takes full advantage of app functionally. The additional features include controlling two Bluetooth sources, allowing consumers the chance to play from two Pill Plus speakers and also the opportunity to sync two units together for dedicated left and right playback and also a dynamic experience.

These features may be “added value” in order to increase the price instead of being of use to many consumers. The product is priced at $229.95, but it remains to be seen concerning the RRP for other countries and the release date is expected to be around November 2015 for the US.

Thank you businesswire for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of wired

Pokémon Go is Coming – For Free!

I’m so excited, I woke up this morning to a flood of links to the same video and I’m so glad I woke up and not just turned over. Pokémon Go is in the pipeline for iOS and Android devices and more importantly it’s free; well there will likely be in-app purchases, but at least we get to try it out first. The game will be in good hands, being primarily created by Niantic with key influence from Junichi Masuda of Game Freak; yes the game director of the Pokémon series.

The video starts off almost like episode one of the Pokémon series with players (or trainers) getting ready to go outside. Once there, the app is loaded and they are directed towards the possible location of Pokémon in the area. The video doesn’t really focus on anything in particular, you can seemingly just catch Pokémon or choose to battle if you want; unlike the previous games where you had to catch them to battle your way to progress through the game.

The ultimate ending is hundreds of ‘trainers’ in the middle of Times Square in NYC battling MewTwo. Maybe this won’t happen in real life, but who cares, it looks cool.

What’s good about this is that it seems to take real life maps and adapt the game around those, so you will have to go to completely random locations or maybe even climb mountains to find the legendary beings. From watching the video, am I the only one that thinks this game is aimed more towards adults/ anyone that has more freedom to roam around randomly?

Along with the mobile app, a rather large wearable will be released. Currently known as Pokémon Go Plus, it resembles the location pin from Google maps. Maybe this is a nod towards Google and that the stunt last year will be incorporated into this game.

Will you be downloading this game on release? Let us know in the comments.

OnePlus 10000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank Review

Introduction


Mobile power is something that’s on most of our minds, no doubt several times a day. Watching your battery life drain towards the end of the day can be a painful process, especially if you know you’re a few hours away from being able to charge your device and you’ve already got that “less than 10%” warning message on your device. When you need to watch that YouTube video, check those important emails, or simply browse Facebook to stop you from becoming bored to death on the Train, you’ll want to know you’ve got the power available to get it done.

The latest mobile USB battery from OnePlus promises impressive performance, touting a 10000mAh battery, which is more than enough to charge most modern smartphones at least three times.

“Every inch of the OnePlus Power Bank was designed with you in mind. Sleek lines, gentle curves, and an emphasis on minimalism create the ideal companion for your OnePlus One. Available in Silk White and Sandstone Black, the soft glow of the Power Bank’s battery indicator LEDs is awoken with a gentle shake. Without any buttons or excess weight, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. Perfectly simple.”

The OnePlus power bank is available in Sandstone Black or Silk White; we have the Sandstone Black at our disposal today. There are two 5v 2A USB ports on offer, although these convert to 1A when two devices are connected. What’s really interesting is that it weighs just 220g, significantly lighter than any other similar size power bank I’ve ever seen!

The packaging is pretty minimal, although confusingly the box for our black power bank has an image of the white one on the front; that could confuse a fair few people.

Around the back, you’ll find the power output ratings, all pretty standard stuff. You’ll also notice the “true” rating of the battery is 9760mAh, close enough to 10k that you likely wouldn’t notice the difference.

Open up the box and we find the power band, which is nicely secured with some padding around it and a protective plastic film.

Under the power bank, we found a flat-type Micro-USB to USB cable, which can be used to charge the battery and then reversed to charge your mobile device, as well as an easy to follow user manual.

First impressions of the OnePlus are very positive. As I said before, the unit is incredibly lightweight, which is a huge bonus given that this is something you’ll like want to carry in your pocket, hold in your hand or have in your bag when in use; no one likes carrying around anything heavy for too long!

There’s a pair of USB ports on the end, which are rated at 2A for one device, but change to 1A when two devices are being charged at the same time. I like this design, as some chargers has a dedicated 1A and a dedicated 2A port; you can plug into either and get 2A without having to check which is which. There’s also a 5V 2A Micro-USB in, perfect for quickly charging the battery back up between uses.

The design is pretty funky, with a rounded edge on the top and left, and a flat side with silver trim on the other two. This gives it a nice sleek and modern look, a lot nicer than the often plastic brick designs we see from most power banks.

The finish and quality are premium from head to toe and the sandstone finish provides the unit with excellent grip and great visual appeal.

It’s quite a large device, but no bigger than most high-end smartphones; it’s about the same size as my Xperia Z3.

TteSports Theron Plus Smart Mouse Review

Introduction


TteSports, the gaming division of legendary manufacturer Thermaltake have been a dominating force at eTeknix many times in the past, winning many awards for their great gaming products. Now we’re happy to see another entry in their product range, the Theron Plus Smart Mouse. Now, there’s something obviously unique about the name, what exactly is a “smart mouse” anyway?

The THERON Plus SMART MOUSE – the classy sheen smart mouse that built with an upgraded AVAGO laser sensor with up to 8200 DPI that consist an additional integrated Bluetooth communications device to sync your mobile device (iOS/Android) with Tt eSPORTS PLUS+, the mobile application that can store gamers’ stats to the Tt eSPORTS PLUS+ Community & Data Management Platform

This mouse incorporates the “Internet of Things” or IOT philosophy, much like the current trend of smart wearables, the mouse tracks your gaming performance data, allowing you to analyze statistics, improve your strategies and more, as well as share this information with your team or fans; this could be a real hit with eSports gamers and their fan bases!

On the basis of the I.o.T. (Internet of Things) concept, users can obtain and share gaming performance data. Additionally, users are capable of analyze statistics records for improved strategies via data management on both PC or mobile devices – anytime anywhere. With Tt eSPORTS’ Plus+ mobile application, you can even review all recorded performance histories on your mobile devices.

As you can see, the Theron Plus is targeted at the eSports community, who are obviously the best ones to benefit from the smart tracking features.

The box opens up, giving us a sneak peak at the mouse design as well as running through some of the major smart features; cloud integration, stat tracking and more.

In the box, you will find a protective pouch, a few product documents and the hard-wired mouse.

The cable features a high quality braiding, a fixed velcro cable tidy and a good quality gold-plated USB connector.

The mouse is really nicely designed, with an oversized body that promotes a comfortable hand resting position. There’s a pair of switches down the left side and their bright red finish provides a nice contrast from the glossy black finish.

Around the back of the mouse, you’ll find a set of LED indicators between the top and left side panel. There’s also a colour customisable LED strip along the bottom left side, the back and the right side of the mouse; well take a closer look at this shortly.

The right side of the mouse features a single switch near the front, handy for deploying extra macros or profile changes.

Both the left and right mouse buttons are heavily recessed with a curved shape; this provides a great finger resting position and should help prevent your fingers from slipping away from the mouse.

There’s a deeply recessed scroll wheel, which features a soft rubber grip coating, a light tactile bump when turned and a fast rotation speed; perfect for making quick and accurate adjustments mid-game.

On the underside of the Theron Plus, you’ll find even more features! There’s two large slip-mats that provide an excellent amount of glide, a profile switch, lock and on-the-fly polling rate adjustments.

The bottom panel can be clipped off, where you’ll find five add-in weights, to help you better tune the mouse performance to your liking.

The included carry pouch is of a good quality and handy for those who need to travel with the mouse; it’ll help keep it free from scratches.

Thecus Announced RAM Upgraded WSS NAS

It isn’t that long time ago that we had a closer look at Thecus’ amazing W4000 Windows Storage Server 2012 r2 Essentials NAS and it did really great in our review, but the 2GB RAM they come with might not be enough for everybody’s needs. And while they are RAM upgradeable, a lot of people don’t want to fiddle with it and rather buy it pre-made and eliminate the risk of incompatibility. Thecus knows that and they’ve just announced the new plus series of the three that come with 4GB DDR3 RAM from the factory, the W2000+, W4000+, and W5000+.

Thecus WSS NAS line is the first to deploy WSS 2012 R2 Essentials software and it offers enterprise-class features with a user-friendly and familiar experience. It allows users to utilize a host of Windows features including Storage Spaces, Data deduplication, and integrated cloud services such as Office 365 and Azure as well as easy administration through the Essentials Administrative Dashboard.

You won’t have to wait long for the availability of the new WSSE PLUS Edition as they will begin shipping globally in April 2015.

Thanks to Thecus for providing us with this information

Tinder Plus Set to Launch This Monday

It looks like a new version of the Tinder app is set to launch on Monday. Bearing the name of Tinder Plus, the app is said to include some new features compared to the free version at a $9.99 price tag.

There is also mention of a subscription package within the app, leading to the conclusion that Tinder is yet again trying to set a new pricing structure. So far, the current version of the app is known to include subscription packages ranging from $0.99 to $19.99 per month.

A subscription to Tinder Plus is said to grant the user the Rewind feature, granting him or her the ability to reverse previous left swipes. The Passport feature seems to come in the new version as well, expanding a user’s searches beyond the current geographical location set by the smartphone.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Samsung Tease Eye-Controlled Mouse

Set to help the disabled use computers with ease, Samsung’s eye-tracking technology will allow users to control their computers functionality without needing to handle a physical mouse.

Developed in-house by Samsung engineers, this technology is an advancement of their EYECAN system, a mouse control device utilized through glasses worn by the user. This updated technology is coined the EYECAN+ and enables you to simply look at where you wish to click and physically blink to activate commands and controls on your system. In their demonstrations, Samsung made sure to point out that you can type and perform ‘drag-and-stop’ commands with their new advancement – meaning you can perform simple tasks and play games such as Angry Birds.

This is reportedly not the first eye-tracking software to hit the market and quoted as not the best. However, Samsung are rumored to be making this a open-source style project, meaning other companies are able to gather and build on this technology, with a lot of the ‘hard yards’ already being completed by the Samsung engineering team.

This means that if it were to make it to the public (which Samsung is not planning to do), we could see this retail for an expected $150 in the local market. Further meaning that any person or carer should be able to purchase this device without too much difficulty, massively increasing their computer using abilities.

Image courtesy of TrustedReviews

Seasonic Release ECO 430W Power Supply

Taiwan-based power supply manufacturer Seasonic has just announced their launch of two new skews – set to be on sale in mainland China in the coming weeks.

Their first announced product is the ECO430, being given a 80PLUS 230VEU certification, this PSU is marketed at those who are looking to save a little extra on their power bills. For those who are unaware, an 80PLUS Bronze rating means that the power supply efficiency rate is that of 85% or above – signifying that at least 85% of the power that is drawn in through the wall socket can be distributed throughout your PC components.

This unit comes with your standard 120mm FBD bearing fan alongside Rhine temperature control technology. By looking at the images provided, it doesn’t look like this model is modular (news sources were unable to confirm) – but modular capabilities is something that we don’t often see in a budget-level power supply. The ECO430 does however feature a flat 24-pin Motherboard cable to help a little with your cable management capabilities.

The announced release price for this product is 399 yuan ($65 US), which see’s it competing with budget ‘eco’ offerings including Thermaltake’s TR2, FSP’s 400w, The Corsair CX500 and Antec’s Neo.

There is no set plan of release in the Western world as of yet – we will report if the story develops. Looking at the links provided above, will this Seasonic unit be worth the extra $10 US for a 430w offering when compared to the Corsair CX500 which comes in at $55 US?

 

Images courtesy of Chiphell

OCZ Sneak in Update of Vertex 460A, Features A19 MLC NAND Flash Upgrade

“Vertex Transitions to Next-Gen Toshiba Technology” reads the latest release press from solid state manufacturer OCZ. Their Vertex 460 disk series has seen a small update to Vertex 460A – providing a revitalized flash to the Toshiba A19 MLC NAND, upgraded warranty and a slight appearance change.

Originally released as an upgrade to the 450, the 460 series utilized OCZ’s Barefoot 3 master flash and contained an upgrade to 19nm components from 20nm. The newly released 460A series now steps this up yet again, changing it up to A19 MLC flash memory. According to reports, this has made no changes to the overall performance of the device however. These drives are still available in a 120GB edition providing a 530,420 MB/s read and write or 240/480GB models with a 540,525 MB/s read and write ability.

As mentioned before, the outside appearance of the drive has changed slightly – as you can see in the cover image, it looks a little less ‘corporate’ and a little more ‘consumer new-age’, with OCZ painting some cool shades of white and blue running across the device. The warranty provided with the 460A has been upgraded to OCZ’s ‘ShieldPlus’ level, meaning that it’s still coming with the three-years as per the original 460, but means that members of the US and Europe are able to skip the broker and send their warranty claims direct to OCZ.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

iPhone 6 Sales Over Triple iPhone 6 Plus in the US

Over the last 30 days, Americans have voted with their wallets – showing that they find the iPhone 6 much more favorable to their needs. Apple’s iPhone 6 has amounted for 68% of total iPhone sales in the US, when compared to the iPhone 6 Plus sitting at 23% – with the remaining 9% being split throughout the iPhone 5c and 5s.

Comparing this to the iPhone 5 release, the iPhone 5c and 5s amounted for a total of 84% of iPhone sales, compared to the 6 release sitting at 91% – this goes to show that the iPhone 6 is a seemingly more worthy upgrade than Apples previous product release.

So why is the iPhone 6 almost 3 times popular than the iPhone 6 Plus? A few possibilities include the release price of the 6 Plus being likely to set you back a few extra hundred dollars, there was the major recent PR disaster of their iBend fiasco – seeing this premium device bend slightly in users pockets.

This latest gen release also saw Apple do away with their 32GB models – only providing 16, 64 and 128GB options into the market. According to market analyzers, this has drawn more people to spend a little extra coin on the 64GB editions and driving up a bit of extra profit for apple.

We’ve been told however that it’s a little hard to tell exactly what consumer demand is for the 6 Plus as there has been some supply issues worldwide. We might see these numbers become a little more even once this issue is fixed.

What’s your opinions on the 6 vs. the 6 Plus, is it worth the extra investment?

Image courtesy of Chiphell

iPhone 6 Plus Hammered by new Samsung Advertisements

[youtube width=”854″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxhSnNZH3Rk[/youtube]

Samsung have come out of the blocks with both arms swinging – producing a series of advertisements targetting competitor Apple’s latest technology.

Samsung has a long standing battle with Apple. Not only are they the main competitors on the telecommunications market, but Apple and Samsung have a legal history to boot.

What better way to get back at Apple than a funny ad campaign targeting their champion product? This advertisement takes no time in pointing out the similarities between Apple’s new iPhone 6 plus and Samsung’s long-standing Galaxy Note series, alongside showing that the note was ridiculed for its size and proudly displaying negative initial reviews of the series. One quote had us chuckling – “you’ll look like you’re talking into a piece of toast”.

The message of the video as a whole conveys the fact that Apple have “followed” or “copied” Samsung in making a bigger device to try and keep up with their developing technologies. All of this is backed up by supplying a few Apple skeptic tweets from the public, further reinforcing their innovative Samsung technology and then finally promoting their “next big thing”; the Galaxy Note 4.

It doesn’t quite matter which side of the fence you sit on, it’s always quite funny to watch two heavyweight companies battle it out in an ad campaign.

How will Apple reply? Will Apple reply? Here’s hoping that it all goes to plan.

Featured image courtesy of Phandroid

Hulu Bags the Rights Stream Every Episode of South Park

Hulu scored themselves a great deal earlier this week, securing rights to stream all 17 seasons of South Park via their Hulu Plus service, with new episodes being made available to subscribers just one day after they’ve been broadcast on TV.

This is a pretty big deal for the service, especially in light of Amazon and Netflix, who have been racking up the major exclusive deals constantly for quite a while now and personally, I haven’t even looked at Hulu for a long while, but this new deal will no doubt get the attention of many South Park fans who feel the need to plow through the 240+ episodes of the iconic animated series.

The deal didn’t come cheap, clocking a whopping $80 million on the Hulu cheque book, the massive profits of which will help Trey Parker and Matt Stone keep the show alive way beyond its 20th season.

This is also the first time the entire collection has been made available to stream, with Hulu, Netflix and SouthParkStudios.com previously offering a mixture of seasons and episodes each. The added bonus being that viewers can watch every episode of the series for fre eup until the new season starts on September 24th.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite Notebook Review

Introduction


Before I even start this review, I’m going to lay down the law so to speak. The term Ultrabook adheres to a device that follows Intel’s strict guidelines and while the device that we’re looking at today may look Ultrabook-esque, it features AMD CPU architecture and therefore cannot be claimed as an Ultrabook, though for the most part (barring the exclusion of an Intel processor) it pretty much is an Ultrabook.

What Samsung have done to create this notebook is to take the fundamental aspects of their Ultrabook range (Ativ Book) and given it the same treatment as its big brother; the Ativ Book 9 Plus, but to keep costs down an AMD quad-core processor has been used as opposed to the more expensive and slightly more powerful Intel equivalent. While Intel fan-boys across the world will be shouting at their screens right now, you have to remember that a device such as this has limited purposes and no matter what CPU the manufacturer favours, it will not see Crysis 3 being  run with all the settings turned right up to the max.

The term Ultrabook and the very similar AMD equivalent offer an unrivalled range of features in a convenient, small form factor that allows for superb battery life, fantastic connectivity options and of course the added portability factor due to the size and most importantly, the weight of a lightweight product like this.

As a journalist (as that is effectively what our line of work falls under) you’ll generally have a stereotypical view in your mind of me sitting in Starbucks with a Macbook Air/Pro in front of me and a large Americano steaming away as I ponder the latest happenings in the tech world; but whilst I am a typical journalist and I have coffee running through my veins, I don’t spend all my hours sitting in a coffee shop such as Starbucks or Costa waiting to chase the news. What I do instead is to attend pre-arranged press conferences and launches – typically in London and to get the news out as soon as possible or to make taking note down easier, I prefer to take either a tablet or more ideally a small laptop with me to type my notes on to – I still keep my trusty notebook and pen in the bag though!

This scenario is exactly where the Ativ Book 9 Lite comes into play. With a lightweight design, lightning fast performance and small form factor, on paper it ticks all the right boxes and to top that all off that it features a touchscreen panel. What’s more the Ativ Book 9 Lite retails at just a fraction of the price of an equally spec’d Ultrabook the features an Intel CPU at its heart.

This notebook that I’m having a look at today comes in one of two almost identical specifications, but with one component that is different between the two, but one that also affects the price quite considerably. This sole item that I’m referring to is the screen. Many laptops, notebooks and Ultrabooks that are coming to the market are now featuring touch-screen capabilities and the Ativ Book 9 Lite is yet another system that has this option available, although if you’re not a fond user of this new feature, or you simply don’t need it, then the Book 9 Lite does offer a non touch panel for a slightly lower price point.

In terms of the specifications, Samsung are a bit vague as to the CPU but after some digging we can see that it’s Socket FT3 (BGA769) A4/A6 APU 1.4GHz Quad Core offering which of course supplies the GPU side of the machine too.

The box in typical Samsung stylish is clean, crisp and to the point with a large image of the device and subtle branding. The image on the front showcases the Mineral Ash Black colour, though the model we have today is Marble White.

SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD Review

Looking at the vast number of drives on the market, there are so many different combinations of controller and flash memory to choose from, for some it is a daunting prospect and thus they stick to the big names that have a proven following and typically this means that they will end up with a drive that houses a SandForce controller and a traditional array of 16GB 22nm NAND IC’s from another partner.

SandDisk, like many other companies, are looking for a way to push their products to the forefront of the SSD market and in the case of SanDisk, this has resulted in a new architecture on the drive with the inclusion of a highly efficient Marvell controller with independent channels leading towards some of SanDisk’s home-brewed 19nm MLC NAND memory with a separate SLC layer for improved performance for small file writes which has been dubbed as nCache.

This in-house production of memory is an obvious advantage for SanDisk and it leads to more controlled production costs, however using this particular Marvell controller – the SS889175 – is new to me and it will be interesting to see how well it can keep up with the SF-2281 from SandForce – typically the chip of choice.

SanDisk as I’ve seen before keep the package to a minimum and alongside a product guide and warranty leaflet a drive spacer is put in for installation in larger drive cages.