iPhone 6s Plus Going for RM700 Less (Again) in Malaysia

iPhones are getting discounted pretty often over the past few months, and yet another retailer in Malaysia is giving a rather good offer on the iPhone 6s Plus. Much like how it was back in April this year, the 2015 iPhone is now going for RM700 less – it can be purchased from only RM2,499.
This price cut is currently available from Switch, a local official Apple reseller. Two variants of the iPhone 6s Plus are discounted: the 32GB and 128GB models. Naturally, this price cut applies to four colours of the 6s Plus: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold.

Back in April, Senheng ran the same promotion for the iPhone 6s Plus, and the discount is currently still ongoing. However, instead of a RM700 price cut, Senheng is only offering RM600 off now. Still a good discount, of course, and Senheng is bundling quite a number of freebies too.

At the time of writing, both 32GB and 128GB models of the Silver iPhone 6s Plus are sold out; the 32GB Rose Gold model is also not available anymore. Aside from these three models, other variants of the 6s Plus are still available on Switch’s online store.
(Source: Facebook (Switch))
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U Mobile To Provide Network For Connected Car Solutions

U Mobile has signed an agreement with Atilze Digital to provide cellular network facilities for connected car solutions. This will see the telco provide 3G and LTE connectivity for Atilze’s devices, allowing car owners to access cloud solutions for their vehicles.
Connected car solutions are not particularly new, although they are largely concentrated on more premium vehicles. These are things like all round proximity sensors (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS) and onboard diagnostic systems. That said, Atilze sells many of these sensors that can be installed as third party equipment for other cars.
The company cites statistics that connected ADAS on commercial vehicles is capable of reducing accidents by up to 80 percent. Which is part of why it is focusing on getting the system onto Malaysian roads.

Then there is the OBDii system; an onboard diagnostic system that allows car owners to remotely check on the status of the vehicle. Through cloud processing, it is capable of alerting car owners about any impending problems that might occur, offers GPS tracking, and can even remind owners about maintenance requirements.

Data collected from connected ADAS and OBDii could also be used for Usage Based Insurance products. This adjusts insurance premiums based on how the user drives, and has become possible in Malaysia with the Insurance Detariffication that came into effect on 1 July 2017.
Atilze’s solution is currently only available on selected Volkswagen cars, although it is in talks with other car OEMs. Companies like Mazda, Ford, and even Proton are being engaged; but there is nothing to report on the matter yet.
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Maingear Unveils The R2 Razer Edition Gaming PC

It looks like Maingear and Razer has partnered up once again to create a custom gaming PC. This time round both companies have collaborated to create the beastly R2 Razer Edition gaming PC. It should be noted that the R2 Razer Edition is a small form factor gaming PC, which features liquid-cooling as well.
Let’s first talk about the design. Aesthetics-wise, the Maingear R2 Razer Edition gaming PC features a minimalistic chassis that is endowed with Razer’s signature green accents. A Razer logo is also boldly etched on the “angular” front panel. According to Maingear, the R2 Razer Edition gaming PC is apparently 50% smaller than last year’s variant (R1 Razer Edition).

When it comes to specifications, the Maingear R2 Razer Edition is compatible with mini-ITX motherboards from both Intel and AMD. Judging from the photos, it seems that this small form factor gaming PC will be able to house a full-sized graphics card as well. That aside, Maingear did mention that the R2 Razer Edition will eventually support mini-ITX X299 motherboards when they become available in the coming months.
When it comes to pricing, a pre-built AMD-based R2 Razer Edition is priced at US$1,099 (about RM4,710), while an Intel-based configuration comes with a price tag of US$1,119 (around RM5,138) – both of these configurations, however, do not come with liquid-cooling components. Meanwhile, the “Super Stock” configuration of this custom gaming PC, which is fitted with all the high-end components, is priced at US$4,299 (approximately RM18,425).
(Source: TechPowerUp)
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HTC U11 Review: 2017 Hardware in a 2016 Smartphone

The HTC U11 is a much better attempt at a 2017 flagship smartphone from HTC; the HTC U Ultra – while eye-catching – wasn’t exactly a very good premium-tier device. Even though the U11 is pretty similar to the U Ultra on the surface, the U11 is a much more refined and focused product.
Unfortunately, the HTC U11 faces some tough competition, and despite it being HTC’s most impressive smartphone yet, the U11 isn’t the most obvious choice for those shopping for a shiny new flagship smartphone.
Design & First Impressions

Without a doubt the U11 takes many design cues from the U Ultra. In fact, they’re almost indistinguishable from a distance, bar the less pronounced camera bump and lack of a secondary display. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the U Ultra’s design is one of its winning qualities – there are a couple of caveats here.
For one, the U11 isn’t as sleek-looking as other 2017 flagship smartphones. More precisely, it’s not as eye-catching as the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and the LG G6; both devices have very minimal bezels and better ergonomics, thanks to their taller and more narrow form factor. In contrast, the large top and bottom bezels of the U11 don’t look quite as appealing, although overall this still is a good-looking smartphone.

Another issue I have with the U11 is the fact that it’s a very slippery phone. While I took a liking to the U Ultra’s glass back – I can get a good grip on the device thanks to its glossy nature – the same doesn’t apply to the U11. Its glass back is more slippery, and the matte metal frame of the phone doesn’t help either. In fact, I actually lost grip on the U11 more times than I care to admit.
Apart from its design, the U11’s fingerprint sensor works like a charm. It can detect my fingerprints accurately and quickly most of the time, and I really like how I can unlock the phone by simply tapping on the fingerprint sensor.

The HTC U11 is still quite a sleek-looking smartphone, but compared to its competition, the U11 is missing that “wow factor.” Nonetheless, we haven’t gotten to the U11’s other aspects yet, and they are actually good; in some areas, even great.
Hardware

Needless to say, the U11 has hardware befitting of a 2017 flagship smartphone. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset keeps everything fast and responsive – gaming is a joy on the U11, by the way – it has an IP67 rating, and the phone’s 5.5-inch 1440p Super LCD 5 display is quite the looker. Of course, there’s also the U11’s unique Edge Sense, but we’ll get to that further down this review.
However, as it was the case with the U Ultra, the U11’s rather modest 3,000mAh battery is the most concerning piece of hardware here. But thanks to the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 835 chipset, the U11’s battery life is definitely better than the U Ultra, though not necessarily class-leading.
Benchmark

Software

HTC’s software approach has definitely improved over the years, and HTC Sense on the U11 is largely similar to the U Ultra’s software experience. It’s responsive, minimalist, and bloatware isn’t too much of an issue. Interestingly, unlike how it was on the U Ultra, HTC Sense Companion actually works on the U11.
Much like Google Now, Sense Companion sends useful notifications as and when you need them. For example, it knows when I usually leave the office, so it will send a notification as I’m leaving the office on the traffic conditions going back home. If I set for an early morning event on my calendar, Sense Companion will also notify me the day before if I want to set an early alarm. In some ways, Sense Companion is a nice add-on to Google Now, but not a replacement.

Another noteworthy aspect of the software is how well Google Now is implemented on this phone. With the U11 in my pocket, locked and connected to my car’s Bluetooth, I can simply say “Okay Google” and the U11 will respond; I can then ask Google Now to play some songs on Spotify. Not only is this something not many Android smartphones can do (surprisingly enough), this hands-free approach is very convenient.

And then we have the HTC U11’s Edge Sense feature, which takes advantage of the phone’s pressure-sensitive frame. By squeezing the bottom half of the U11, I can set it to open the camera app, activate the torchlight, or even launch Google Now. However, as intuitive as this sounds (it is), Edge Sense is not exactly a feature I can’t live without. It’s a neat feature, of course, but it is by no means groundbreaking.
That said, I can see how this feature can be useful for those in more temperate climates. In cold climates, for example, activating the camera or turning on the torchlight would be a lot easier with a squeeze than fiddling with software buttons.
HTC Sense on the U11 is definitely one of the most polished Android skins in the market, and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I had no issues with stability throughout my time reviewing the U11, and the phone is still plenty fast even after several weeks of usage.
Battery Life

One of the major letdowns with the HTC U Ultra was its average battery life, and thankfully, the U11 doesn’t suffer the same fate. During my time using the device, I got about four to five hours of screen on time. Yes, this isn’t exactly excellent battery life, but I can get through a typical day of usage with the phone comfortably.
Fast charging on the U11, on the other hand, was quite a surprise (and not in a good way). Within 30 minutes of charging, the device only charged up to about 35% – far shorter than the standard Quick Charge 3.0 charging rate.
We conducted the charging test twice using the bundled QC 3.0 charger and got roughly the same rate, which leads us to conclude that the review unit – which was a HTC test unit, and not a retail one – may not be fully optimised (and thus should not be reflective of the charging rate of a retail unit).
Display

The 5.5-inch 1440p Super LCD 5 display of the U11 is one gorgeous display. At first glance, its punchy, vibrant colours is very similar to that of an AMOLED display, which is very impressive. The display can also get plenty bright for comfortable usage under the sun.
HTC’s Super LCD displays have always been fantastic, and I’m happy to report it’s more of the same here.
Audio

Good audio quality has always been one of HTC’s most renowned features, and the same remains true on the U11 with its BoomSound speakers. Although there’s no front-facing stereo speakers here – this phone has a bottom-firing speaker and a tweeter in the earpiece – the U11’s audio quality is noticeably better than other flagship-tier smartphones.
Unfortunately, the HTC U11 ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack like the U Ultra. To make up for this, HTC provides a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box along with a Type-C HTC USonic earphones (complete with active noise cancellation), which were pretty great considering these are bundled earphones. However, it does not remove the inconvenience of not having the jack built into the device itself.
Camera

This is one of the most highlighted features of the HTC U11. With a DxOMark rating of 90 – the highest rating the site has given to any smartphone – the U11’s 12MP camera is very, very capable. In fact, it’s easily one of the best shooters I’ve ever tested.
Autofocus speeds of the U11’s camera is very impressive; it even rivals the autofocus performance of the excellent Samsung Galaxy S8+. Aside from that, the camera performs admirably regardless of lighting conditions. Whether it’s shooting at night or daytime, the U11 rarely failed to deliver.

That being said, there is one thing I don’t quite like about the U11’s camera: it’s not as effortless to use. In comparison to, say, the Galaxy S8+, the U11’s camera app isn’t as responsive. For one, there’s a noticeable pause in between shots due to HDR processing; this is especially true when shooting in low light conditions. On a 2017 flagship, this should not be happening.
But for what it’s worth, the HTC U11 is easily one of the best shooters I’ve come across. I can confidently take out the U11 out of my pocket knowing that I can get great-looking shorts regardless of lighting condition, and not many phones can inspire this kind of confidence.
Sample Images

Competition

Retailing at RM3,099, the HTC U11 is not an affordable smartphone, but it’s actually priced pretty well for a high-end, premium smartphone. For context, let’s compare it to one of its most noteworthy competitors: the RM3,299 Samsung Galaxy S8.
For RM200 more, the Galaxy S8 offers a sleeker design as well as a more impressive 5.8-inch 1440p 18.5:9 Super AMOLED Infinity Display. But on the flip side, the S8 only comes with half the internal storage of the U11 at 64GB, not to mention only 4GB of RAM instead of the U11’s generous 6GB RAM.

Aside from that, there’s also the Huawei P10 Plus, which also retails at RM3,099. In comparison to the HTC U11, the P10 Plus comes with the same RAM and internal storage capacities at 6GB and 128GB respectively, a larger 3,750mAh battery, and a dual-camera setup, though it’s not necessarily better than the U11’s single rear camera.
Of course, the U11 has a few key advantages over the P10 Plus. The former comes with the unique Edge Sense feature, it has a sleeker glass and metal design – although this is subjective – and more importantly, the U11 is IP67-rated for water and dust resistance; the P10 Plus is only splash-resistant.

Last but definitely not least is the OnePlus 5, which costs only RM2,688 for the 128GB model with a whopping 8GB RAM. For about RM400 less, the OnePlus 5 is also powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset; it also arguably offers a more pleasant software experience. There’s also the RM2,388 variant which comes with 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM – still no pushover.
However, there are a couple of reasons why the OnePlus 5 isn’t as costly as the HTC U11: the former doesn’t support expandable storage, it’s not water-resistant like the U11, and the OnePlus 5’s display is a lower resolution 5.5-inch 1080p panel. (We can’t yet comment on the camera aspect as we have not yet reviewed the OnePlus 5.)
Conclusion

The HTC U11 is definitely the best smartphone to come from HTC in a very, very long time. It has a fantastic camera, flagship-tier performance, and a unique – though not exactly must-have – Edge Sense feature. Carrying a RM3,099 price tag, it’s not a very costly flagship smartphone either – it can even be purchased for only RM2,799 now.
While the U11 is an excellent smartphone, its design feels somewhat dated at a time when bezels are a flagship smartphone’s worst enemy. Of course, it’s still a sleek-looking device, but next to the Galaxy S8 devices – or even LG’s mid-range Q6 smartphones – the U11 doesn’t quite look as appealing.
But if you can look beyond the HTC U11’s conventional design and form factor, you have a perfectly capable flagship smartphone – it wouldn’t put too much of a dent in your wallet either.

Photography by Terry Bass and Leon Lam.

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Xiaomi Merdeka Promo Offers Discount on Redmi 4X & Free 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2

In conjunction with the upcoming Merdeka celebration, Xiaomi is offering a pretty good deal on the Xiaomi Redmi 4X. Aside from cutting the retail price of the mid-range device, the Chinese company is also bundling a complimentary 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2 with every purchase of the Redmi 4X.
Originally retailing at RM679, the Redmi 4X can now be purchased for RM649 – that’s RM30 less. While this isn’t exactly a huge amount, any discount is always welcomed.

On top of the price cut on the Redmi 4X, every purchase of the device will come with a 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2. Considering the fact that the power bank retails at RM85, that’s RM115 worth of saving after taking into account the discount on the Redmi 4X. Naturally, this offer is only valid while stocks last.
As far as specifications go, the Redmi 4X is your everyday mid-range smartphone. It features a 5-inch 720p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor paired with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing cameras, as well as a 4,100mAh battery.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi did not mention exactly when its Merdeka promo will end. Nonetheless, if you’d like to take advantage of the deal, you can do so on Xiaomi’s Lazada store.
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Apple Granted Patent for iPhone Dock with Siri, Discreet Emergency Calls, & More

Apple has recently been granted a handful of patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some of the patents granted include a new iPhone dock with Siri support, a more discreet emergency calling method, new ways to determining when a driver has exited their vehicle, and more.
The first patent granted today is to a new iPhone dock with built-in Siri. Apple already has an iPhone dock, but it looks like a flimsy plastic dock that could break easily. The new patent shows that the new dock is not only sturdier looking, but also has built-in display, speaker, microphone, and voice recognition, presumably for use with Siri.

Another patent granted to the Cupertino company is the ability to determine when the driver has exited his or her vehicle. Done via sensors within an iPhone, this can be used in various situations like locating where the user has parked the car, changing navigation on Apple Maps from driving to walking mode, and such.
Apple has also been granted a patent that makes it more discreet to make an emergency call. iOS already allow users to easily make an emergency dial, but Apple thinks that this may not be practical if someone is watching. The patent allow users to use a certain combination of fingerprint readings or screen touches to activate an emergency call; users would have to determine the pattern during the device’s set up.

Other notable patents granted to Apple include a new earpiece design, a new iPad smart cover design, Bluetooth enhancements, data migration technology, and much more.
Do note that patents do not confirm any upcoming products from a company. It does however, give a good guideline to what the company has been working on.
(Source: Patently Apple, 9to5Mac)
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Samsung Trying To Recover 175 Tonnes Of Rare Metals From The Galaxy Note 7

Samsung is working on recycling units of the failed Galaxy Note 7 to reduce its environmental impact. Any unit that isn’t being refurbished for sale is being pulled apart for parts and then melted down for the precious metals contained within.
A statement from Samsung indicates that the company wants to use camera modules, chips, and displays as spare parts. Mostly as replacement parts for the Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition that may come in for repairs. It may also consider selling these components to third parties.
Whatever is left is being sent to be melted down for raw materials. Every smartphone contains trace amounts of precious metals like gold and copper; and Samsung hopes to recover some 175 tonnes from the recycling exercise.
It’s unclear if the reclaiming of components means that Samsung does not intend to sell the Galaxy Note 7 FE on a global level. There weren’t that many of the original Note 7 made before the recall, and it will certainly take several million of the units to make up for the amount of metals Samsung intends to reclaim.
[Source: Reuters]
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Tune Talk Introduces new +Vibe 200 Data Plan – RM200 a Year for 72GB

It looks like Tune Talk recently introduced a new +Vibe online exclusive data plan – the +Vibe 200. This is in addition to the existing +Vibe plans that was launched earlier this month. The new +Vibe 200 is a yearly data plan that offers a total of 72GB of data for you to use for the next 12 months.
With the new +Vibe 200 plan, there are a total of 4 +Vibe data plans. There’s a slight catch to the latest addition though, you get 72GB of data a year, limited to only 6GB a month (30 days).
Still, 6GB is a lot of data that should be enough for an average user. It also works out to be cheaper than the other +Vibe options – +Vibe 30 offers 6GB of data and RM5 airtime credit for RM30 a month. +Vibe 200 works out to less than RM17 a month for 6GB.

As with before, this is an online exclusive data plan from Tune Talk. You can only purchase it via the website at www.tunetalk.com/+Vibe, and you must use a local Malaysian credit card or debit card. These plans will be auto renewed upon validity expiry by using a “pre-created token to authorise the payment for the respective plan”; you will receive a notification.
Should you finish the data quota before the expiry, Tune Talk will send you a notification via SMS. You can use the link within the SMS to purchase additional quota, and check remaining available data quota by dialling *134#.
To unsubscribe to the new +Vibe 200 plan, simply send “DP200 STOP” to 2222. To check the status, send “DP200 STATUS” to 2222. Each SMS costs RM0.10. You can only subscribe to one plan at a time, and if you subscribe to a new +Vibe plan on top of the existing one, the new plan will supersede the current plan, and any unused quota will be forfeited.
Check out Tune Talk now for more information about its +Vibe data plans.
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Google Glass Lives On As An Industrial Tool

Google Glass is not dead. It has just been too busy working to talk to the press. Now, X Labs is ready to remind us that the smart glasses project is still very much alive; even if it isn’t designed for regular consumers.
The smart glasses has been in testing with some 30 different partners, including DHL and Dignity Health. Each has been testing a different applications of Google Glass, allowing them increase the efficiency of their jobs.
According to the announcement on Medium, worker efficiency has been increased between eight and fifteen percent. This was done by allowing employees to keep notes and instructions in their field of vision at all times, reducing the number of times the task needs to be paused to refer to the instruction manual.
It’s been two years of closed door testing and development, and X is now ready to market Google Glass Enterprise Edition to more enterprise customers. Of course, there’s no announced price tag, with this being an enterprise solution.
Chances are that most of the public will never get their hands on the Google Glass from now on. It was clearly a device that would succeed in industrial applications, and it’s no surprise to see it move away from the consumer market.
[Source: Medium]
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Apple Granted Patent for iPhone Dock with Siri, Discreet 911 Calls, and More

Apple has recently been granted a handful of patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some of the patents granted include a new iPhone dock with Siri support, a more discreet emergency calling method, new ways to determining when a driver has exited their vehicle, and more.
The first patent granted today is to a new iPhone dock with built-in Siri. Apple already has an iPhone dock, but it looks like a flimsy plastic dock that could break easily. The new patent shows that the new dock is not only sturdier looking, but also has built-in display, speaker, microphone, and voice recognition, presumably for use with Siri.

Another patent granted to the Cupertino company is the ability to determine when the driver has exited his or her vehicle. Done via sensors within an iPhone, this can be used in various situations like locating where the user has parked the car, changing navigation on Apple Maps from driving to walking mode, and such.
Apple has also been granted a patent that makes it more discreet to make an emergency call. iOS already allow users to easily make an emergency dial, but Apple thinks that this may not be practical if someone is watching. The patent allow users to use a certain combination of fingerprint readings or screen touches to activate an emergency call; users would have to determine the pattern during the device’s set up.

Other notable patents granted to Apple include a new earpiece design, a new iPad smart cover design, Bluetooth enhancements, data migration technology, and much more.
Do note that patents do not confirm any upcoming products from a company. It does however, give a good guideline to what the company has been working on.
(Source: Patently Apple, 9to5Mac)
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