NZXT Debuts Its N7 Z370 Motherboard

Well known PC case maker NZXT is apparently planning to release its first ever motherboard in the coming weeks. Dubbed the N7 Z370, NZXT’s upcoming mainboard will, if you didn’t already know, be compatible with Intel’s existing lineup of Coffee Lake processors. NZXT has also boldly mentioned that “you can’t build a quieter, better-looking system as easily as you can with our new N7 motherboard.”
When it comes to design, the NZXT N7 Z370 motherboard comes with a very minimalistic look. One can get the motherboard in either an all black colour scheme, or black and white. Nothing about the N7 Z370’s design scream “high performance.” That said, this motherboard does feature LED-lit areas.
Specification-wise, the NZXT N7 Z370 is fitted with two M.2 connectors, multiple PCIe ports (which support both Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX technologies) and four DDR4 DIMM RAM slots. Some notable features that come with this motherboard include an all metal cover and heatsink cover that comes in a variety of colours.
NZXT mentioned that the N7 Z370 motherboard will be made available for sale around late January for US$299 (about RM1,193). Unfortunately, it’s not known whether NZXT will be brining the N7 Z370 motherboard to Malaysia.
(Source: TweakTown)
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HTC 11+ Arrives In Malaysia For RM3,099

HTC has finally launched the U11+ here in the Malaysia. Originally scheduled to arrive last month, the large form factor smartphone is a sort of upgrade to the HTC U11. It is also the phone that almost became the Google Pixel 2 XL.
The U11+ shares most components with the smaller U11. Including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform, 6GB RAM, and 128GB of storage. Improvements come in the form of a new 18:9 6-inch display, and an impressive 3930mAh battery. HTC is only bringing in the 128GB storage variant, and it doesn’t look like the 64GB variant will be offered.
It also features HTC’s Edge Sense interface, which has the user squeezing the phone to activate features. The customisable menu is designed to quickly access things like the camera, quick settings, and apps. Some 22 different functions and apps can be mapped to the Edge Sense menu, although there are only six quick settings to choose from.

The menu can be accessed even while the screen is locked, allowing the user rapid access to the settings. That said, launching apps will still require the phone to be unlocked.

HTC will only be selling the Translucent Black option of the HTC U11+ in Malaysia, with no plans to bring in the other colours. As the name implies, this finish allows users to glimpse at the electronics beneath the plastic body. This is especially noticeable from the NFC coil that is clearly visible; even from a distance.

The HTC U11+ will be on pre-order from Lazada, 11Street, and Shopee from 15-21 January. Online pre-orders will receive additional gifts, including a leather pouch, 8000mAh powerbank, travel kit, notebook, lanyard, and phone stand. In all, the gifts The phone itself will appear in stores from 22 January onwards for RM3,099.
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CES 2018: Panasonic Launches The GH5S Mirrorless Camera With Video-centric Features

Panasonic has announced the release of its latest mirrorless camera, the GH5S. It has the same design and body as the GH5, but features video-focused specifications and functions in mind for professional videographers.
For starters, the Panasonic GH5S has a lower pixel count than it’s predecessor. The Micro FourThirds sensor is now a 12.5-megapixel sensor, down from the 16-megapixel on the GH5. When using the Multi-aspect mode – which gives videographers the option to record in 4:3/16:9/17:9/3:2 aspect ratios – the actual pixel count is 10.5-megapixel. With the bigger pixel size, you do get more light on the sensor which translates to better low-light performance.
Panasonic has also disabled the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) module on the GH5S; as it will interfere with gimbal operations. While this is great for professionals, some users are already complaining about the lack of IBIS for handheld recording.
Vlog-L is now offered as standard for better control over video grading and the autofocus is now rated all the way down to –5 EV as compared to –4EV in the GH5. Talking about the sensor, Panasonic is introducing “Dual Native ISO” where two separate sensor read-out circuits are used with one used to maximise dynamic range while the other prioritises noise reduction.

Other functionalities includes 240fps recording in 1080p resolution, an electronic viewfinder with a 120fps refresh rate, 14-bit Raw stills shooting and 4K PHOTO mode.
The Panasonic GH5S will be available from February onwards with a body-only price of US$ 2,499 (RM 9,958) and it is compatible with a wide range of Micro FourThird lenses.
(Source: DPReview)
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WhatsApp Server Flaw Could Allow Attackers To Add Themselves To Private Chats

WhatsApp tries its best to reassure users that it practices secure communications to maintain privacy. This is mostly done through end-to-end encryption that prevents third parties from deciphering the content of messages. However, researchers have found a flaw in the messaging service’s servers that allow attackers to bypass the encryption by simply joining private chat groups.
This vulnerability requires an attacker to gain access to the WhatsApp servers, which makes it a little difficult to pull off. However, once access is gained (which is what the researchers did) it is a small matter of being added to any and all chats.
Group chats are usually formed when the admin creates a room and adds individuals to it. For the most part, this is an encrypted process that is relatively secure. However, it turns out that the WhatsApp servers do not authenticate invites from an admin; instead simply approving anything that remotely looks like it came from the right person.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that people can be added to chat groups in secret. Participants will still see a notification that someone has been added, and vigilant users will be able to spot the interloper. Of course, the notification could also be lost in a sea of messages. Either way, it’s not a foolproof system.
What is worrying is that the researchers claim to have alerted WhatsApp to the flaw last year. Despite this, the messaging service has not done anything to solve the problem. The excuse is that closing the problem would end up breaking the public invite link feature that allows anyone to join a chat group through a URL.
This vulnerability isn’t all that dangerous on its own, and probably won’t be used on that many people. However, the worry is that it may be used by nation-states to spy on people; which essentially violates their rights to privacy. Although most nation-states that spy on their own citizens don’t really recognise most human rights.
[Source: Wired]
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Pokemon Go To Stop Working On Older iPhones; On Purpose

Niantic is dropping support for older iOS devices in March. Going forward, Pokemon Go will only work on devices running iOS 11 and later; leaving a large number of Apple devices in the dark.
The reason for the new requirement is as “…a result of improvements to Pokémon GO that push the application beyond the capabilities of the operating systems on such devices.” In other words, the inclusion of new augmented reality features means that people will need new hardware.
The company also shared that February 27th will be the last day for older iOS devices to be supported, as the update will go into effect at the end of the month. Some of the affected devices includes the iPhone 5, 5c, iPad Mini and iPad 2.

Accounts on the older devices will still be intact; users just need to migrate to a supported device to continue to play Pokemon Go. There are no restrictions for Android devices so far, but we may see something similar in the near future as Niantic introduces features that require support from newer technologies.
(Source: Niantic )
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CES 2018: HP Updates Omen Brand With Nvidia’s BFGD Monitor And Game Streaming

HP has had a relatively quiet CES this year, but it still has some rather interesting ideas. The company has announced a massive gaming monitor which adopts the BFGD standards set out by Nvidia; and also an app that allows users to remotely stream games from their Omen gaming computers.
The Omen X 65 Big Format Gaming Display follows Nvidia’s requirements to a T. It’s a 65-inch monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate. If that isn’t enough, it also supports 4K resolution with an low latency mode for serious gaming.
Nvidia’s Shield technology is built into the Omen X 65, a trend that will be seen on all BFGDs. Including those from other manufacturers. In this case, the Android based system allows the monitor to independently play games from the Shield library, as well as run other Android based app. This includes the Google Assistant for voice activated controls.

Omen Game Streaming, on the other hand, is something rather unusual. It turns any Omen branded gaming rig into a remote game streaming server. Similar to what PlayStation Remote Play does with offloading the processing work to a remote machine. In this case, the remote machine is the Omen computer.
HP says that this allows its customers to bring the high-end gaming experience to older computers, and it works even if the two machines are not in the same place. According to the announcement, it works over the internet.
Ideally, this should allow HP Omen owners to make the most of their gaming rigs while out of the house. It’s clearly intended to work with the Omen gaming desktops, seeing as that is where the most processing power (and least mobility) is located. Of course, it requires a fast and stable internet connection to work.
The HP Omen X 65 and Omen Game Streaming will be available later this year.
[Source: HP 1, 2]
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Dell Wants to Put a Webcam in the Middle of Your Screen

Dell is aware that the webcam placement on the new XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1 is not ideal. In fact, the company is planning to put the webcam right back on top, but ideally, it wants to integrate a webcam directly in the laptop display itself – a very lofty goal, to say the least.
We sat down for a quick interview with Dell’s vice president of consumer design, Justin Lyles, and he mentioned that Dell ultimately wants to put the webcam in the middle of the laptop display without it being visible. According to the company, it’s the most ideal position for a webcam – you are looking directly at the camera.

However, Lyles also said that there’s no existing technology today that can make this a reality. But if fingerprint sensors can be integrated below smartphone displays now, perhaps putting a camera behind a laptop screen isn’t that technologically far.
Nonetheless, Lyles elaborated that once there is a camera module that is small enough to be fitted on top of the XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1’s displays without sacrificing the tiny bezels, Dell will absolutely do it. The challenge then, of course, is to retain the Windows Hello capability.

Beyond the webcam placement, we also spoke with Lyles on the maglev keyboard of the XPS 15 2-in-1. While it’s only available on the convertible laptop for now, there is a chance Dell will implement the unique keyboard on other XPS machines in the future. After all, it allows for thinner laptops, and Lyles assured us that the maglev keyboard will get better with every revision too.

The new Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1 are certainly interesting laptops, and while their webcam placement could’ve been better (and Dell knows it), they’re very polished premium laptops. To learn more about the new XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1, click here and here.
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Dell XPS 13 (2018) Hands On: The Next Logical Step

Aside from the very capable and sleek Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, Dell also unveiled the new XPS 13 at CES 2018. While this particular refresh was announced last week, we managed to get our hands on the XPS 13 today at Dell’s experiential zone.
While it’s not a huge difference from its predecessor, the new XPS 13 definitely brings some meaningful improvements to the table, albeit at the expense of some features.

Let’s talk specifications. The XPS 13 features a sleek 13.3-inch 4K or 1080p InfinityEdge touch display – a non-touch model is also available – eight generation Intel Core i5-8250U or i7-8550U processor paired with up to 16GB of RAM, SSD storage options from 128GB to 512GB, and a 52WHr battery – it’s said to provide up to a whopping 19 hours of battery life.
Also new on the 2018 XPS 13 is a new white-and-gold colour option, and it looks really good in person. However, unlike the rubbery finish of the black-and-silver model’s palm rest, the white palm rest of the new colour option…isn’t quite as impressive. While it looks great – it’s also said to be stain-resistant – it feels rather plasticky, which doesn’t exactly fit in well with the premium positioning of the XPS 13.

Nonetheless, let’s move on to the gorgeous InfinityEdge display. Unlike its predecessor, the new XPS 13 features a 4K touch display, and it looks absolutely stunning in person. It has deep blacks, vibrant colours, and it can get really bright too. The original XPS 13 already had a very good display, but the new model definitely takes it up a notch.
Another compelling feature of the new XPS 13 is its compact form factor. It is ever-so-slightly smaller than its predecessor, it’s about 3.4mm thinner, and it weighs a hair lighter at 1.21kg. Not a huge difference by any means, but the original XPS 13 was already a very portable 13-inch laptop to begin with.

Given the slimmer profile of the new XPS 13, I was a little concerned if the typing experience of the keyboard was affected in any way. Thankfully, it still feels a lot like the original XPS 13’s keyboard. While the key travel isn’t great, there’s enough travel for a satisfactory typing experience. The tactile feedback is quite decent too.
The trackpad, on the other hand, isn’t hugely different either. It can track my fingers accurately, it can recognise gestures well, and I really like just how smooth the trackpad feels. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than a “grippy” trackpad, especially for a productivity-focused laptop like the XPS 13.

While the keyboard and trackpad of the new XPS 13 are still largely similar to its predecessor, there is one aspect Dell had to sacrifice to make the laptop slimmer: connectivity. Gone are the full-size USB-A ports in favour of newer and faster USB-C ports, and the SD card reader has been replaced with a microSD card slot. There is, of course, one good thing there: the new XPS 13 charges via USB-C now, although users will have to rely on dongles for everything else.

The new Dell XPS 13 brings incremental, but meaningful improvements to Dell’s beloved productivity laptop – it’s really the next logical step for the premium Ultrabook. Sure, its connectivity options aren’t quite as compelling as the original XPS 13, but that’s where PC makers are headed now anyway. Dongles will likely be a part of our lives until USB-C adoption really takes off.
Available now from $1,000 (that’s about RM4,000) the new XPS 13 will likely arrive in Malaysia in the near future. It will certainly serve as another compelling option for those who are looking for a premium productivity laptop – provided it’s priced right.

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Lenovo Legion Concept Store to Open Soon in Kuala Lumpur

Lenovo is set to open a Legion concept store in Kuala Lumpur in the very near future. The gaming-skewed concept store will not only host Lenovo’s large portfolio of products under its Legion brand, but the store will also be an experiential area for consumers to try Legion gaming products.
Ivan Cheung, General Manager of Central Asia Pacific (CAP) at Lenovo, confirmed the news at an interview session held after the company’s CES 2018 press conference. Cheung stated that the location has already been selected, and renovation works are well underway, with an expected opening slated within the next quarter.

With Lenovo’s Legion brand being fairly young – it was established just a year ago – the company felt it necessary to provide a platform for consumers to test and experience Legion products themselves before making a purchasing decision. In just one year, Lenovo has expanded the Legion portfolio to include gaming laptops, desktops, as well as peripherals such as gaming mice, keyboards, and even backpacks. The Legion concept store would serve as a means to exclusively showcase its products.
To pull people in, Lenovo is also aiming to turn the Legion concept store into an experiential area. Details are still being finalised, but it is likely that the company will take a similar approach to MSI, which recently opened its own flagship store in Kuala Lumpur, where the Taiwanese company has a dedicated esports area to host small-scale tournaments.

From a business perspective, the Legion concept store would mark another step in further establishing the brand in Malaysia. Lenovo has identified Malaysia as one of the markets in Asia Pacific with the highest potential for growth in gaming, and the success it has achieved in its first year of business is encouraging enough for the company to increase resources to cement its position.
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Insta360 Nano S Delivers 4K 360-degree Photography For The iPhone

Insta360 has launched its latest 360-degree photography accessory for the iPhone. The Insta360 Nano S is an update of the company’s first ever product, and features 4K surround image and video capture.
The company bumped up the resolution on the camera attechment from 3K to 4K; thanks to the new 20-megapixel sensor. The Insta360 Nano S also now supports Multiview Shooting, which allows you to extrapolate your video into different camera angles from the app itself.
Video Chat, meanwhile, gives any users a live 360-degree view of the caller’s location without the need of the Intsa360 app. There is also built-in electronic stabilisation for a smoother looking video.

Insta360 has kept the design of the Nano S the same as the previous model, which means it can be used on older iPhones all the way to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Video captured on the Insta360 Nano S can be stored on the iPhone or in an SD Card.
The Insta360 Nano S is now available for US$240 (RM 960) from the online store right here.
(Source: DPreview )
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