Meizu PRO 6 Plus looks great, works even better

meizu-pro-6-plusMeizu is a smartphone manufacturer that is based in China, and they have come up with their fair share of smartphones in the past that certainly looked great, with constant improvements being introduced in newer models as time goes by. This time around, the flagship Meizu PRO 6 is all set to be replaced — with the aptly named Meizu PRO 6 Plus, taking a page out of Samsung and Apple’s play book, we presume. This new flagship smartphone will also be accompanied by a totally new operating system version — the Flyme 6 OS.

The Meizu PRO 6 Plus has been marketed to be “stronger than ever”, although that remains to be determined what the adjective “stronger” would cover. Would it mean that it is hardier in terms of its build, or will it be a more powerful device? From what we do know about this flagship smartphone, it will come with clearer and sharper 5.7-inch display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, which would certainly offer eye-popping visuals. There will also be the powerful octa-core Samsung Exynos 8890 processor working underneath the hood, letting it handle all that you throw at it with aplomb, and then some.

In terms of imaging, the Sony IMX386 sensor is used, and this 4-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) system should be able to deliver some great looking images. This sensor offers a 12MP f/2.0 large aperture camera with customized Sony IMX 386 sensor and 6-element lens, allowing it to capture photos relatively well even when used in low light conditions.

You will have 4GB of RAM to keep the Meizu PRO 6 Plus company, in addition to USB Type-C technology which should be able to do away with worries of plugging in the charger or cable the wrong way. It has a battery capacity of 3,400mAh, and will arrive in 64GB and 128GB capacities.

Press Release
[ Meizu PRO 6 Plus looks great, works even better copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Smart LED bulbs, ergonomic keyboards, light sabers and more – Weekly update

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We’ve been busy this week with 24 posts. That’s a lot of reviews and news. Did you get a chance to read all of them? If not, click through for a handy list of all the posts.

Reviews

Articles

News

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Smart LED bulbs, ergonomic keyboards, light sabers and more – Weekly update originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on December 3, 2016 at 8:46 pm.

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Get a Huge Amount of Storage for Your Desktop Courtesy of OWC’s Latest SSD

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If you are someone who needs plenty of expandable memory and want elite performance out of your SSD, you should really check out OWC’s ThunderBay 4 Mini Raid.

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Expandable up to 40TBS (yes you heard me, FORTY TERABYTES) is hands down the highest capacity OWE desktop SSD solution on the market today. OWC is popular for their Mac & PC technology, and a lot is the same with their new ThunderBay 4 Mini Raid. Powered by the SoftRAID engine which not only monitors your disk at lightning speeds up to 1,314MB/s though a Thunderbolt 2 connection that is enclosed in aluminum.

“ThunderBay 4 mini has accelerated UHD, 3D, and VR production workflows around the world with our 4TB SSD configurations,” said Larry O’Connor, CEO, OWC. “We’re thrilled to offer a tenfold increase in SSD capacity with these new high-capacity solutions up to 40TB, empowering producers to take their creativity even further.”

But there is so much more. The ThunderBay 4 mini Raid is configured for elite performance thanks to it’s ability to provide the same level of data redundancy and fault-tolerance as the RAID 5, all while offering up to a 25% boost in read speeds for SSDs. As a Plex user and overall media consumer, the ThunderBay4 will accelerate video production producing multiple 4k streams, and large RAW photo libraries. There’s nothing NOT to like about the opportunities presented wit the Thunderbay 4 Mini Raid.

Why not check it out for yourself? Available in 10TB, 20TB, 30TB and 40TB capacities, you can purchase your storage today from MacSales.com

Everyone Should Watch This Video About High Schoolers

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At the risk of sounding like click bait, don’t read the rest of this post until you’ve watched the video below.

This is an incredibly well-done ad. It sucks you in with what seems like an adorable premise, and the hard swerve reminds us that we are all guilty of looking past the sadness of others in favor of happier stories. It also reframes the subject of school shootings back onto preventing it by outreach…we can’t control every instance of a troubled teenager’s access to a weapon, but we can look for ways to help someone before they turn to violence.

I only watched this video once, but it has haunted me all day, and I don’t think I will forget the lesson anytime soon!

You can read a longer analysis of this ad at Adweek.

Julie’s gadget diary – Using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Day 4-7)

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I’ve been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for almost a week now and I’ve enjoyed it significantly more than I thought I would. The size and weight make this convertible laptop perfect for everyday and travel use. I’m even seriously considering switching from MacOS to Windows 10 if you can believe that! Having said, that, will I ditch my one-year-old 13″ MacBook Pro for the SP4? Keep reading to find out.

Since Monday, I have only used my MacBook Pro for a few minutes to edit some review pics that I had stored on the MacBook’s hard drive. Other than that, I’ve spent every night using the SP4 at a desk or on my lap while I’m living the good life reclining in my double LazyBoy recliner with my better half while we watch TV.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 on my lap

I have mainly been using the SP4 on my lap with the kickstand open and the Type Cover attached. I like to use my laptop on my lap a LOT, so I have been aware of the comfort level due to the straight edges of the computer and the kick stand sitting on my thighs. Using the SP4 like this is not as comfortable as using a regular clamshell style laptop on my lap. I can deal with it, but I prefer the feel of a normal laptop on my lap.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 on a desk

Using the SP4 on a desktop has not been an issue. It feels just as comfortable as a normal laptop… at least to me.

I haven’t had any issues with the keyboard. I can touch type on it as well as I can other laptop keyboards. The Touch Type cover’s keyboard is very nice. The key layout is perfect, the key size is perfect and the feel is very good. When I use the SP4 on a desk with the Type Cover attached, I have noticed a very slight flex or bounce due to the fact that the keyboard does not lay flat attached the desk surface. This is not a big deal for me because it’s barely noticeable.

As for the touchpad, once I learned how to right click properly, it’s been fine. It pretty small, but it works fine for scrolling and moving the cursor around the display.

Using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a tablet

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I thought I’d use the SP4 as a tablet more than I’d use it as a laptop. I was wrong. I actually had to force myself to use it as a tablet. This isn’t because I hated using the SP4 as a tablet, it is because I use Gmail and work on reviews more than I do anything else. So I am constantly typing. Using the onscreen keyboard works well enough, but it is very slow for me compared to typing with both of my hands on a physical keyboard where I’m able to type about 50-60 words a minute. It was suggested that I try the onscreen split keyboard, which did end up being better but not nearly as good as a real keyboard.

When I did use the SP4 as a tablet, I found that surfing sites like Pintrest and Facebook in tablet mode was enjoyable, as was playing games like Solitare. Using Windows 10 in tablet mode on the SP4 was not a problem like I thought it might be. I was able to touch and tap every onscreen button that I needed to activate without any issues.

As for using the stylus, I thought I’d use it all the time, but just like the tablet mode, I had to force myself to use it. The stylus included with the SP4 is really nice and provides pen on paper feel. I’m not an artist and I prefer to take notes with a keyboard, so I just didn’t find a reason to use the stylus unless I just made myself do it.

The three main issues that I have with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4

During the last week of exclusively using the SP4, I only ran into three issues. The first issue is comfort due to the kickstand on my lap. The second issue is that the Surface Pro 4 only has one USB port which means that I have to remove a USB dongle for my wireless mouse when I need to tether my Canon 70D to take review pics, use a flash drive, etc. The third least annoying issue is that the SP4 does not have

The first issue is comfort due to the kickstand on my lap. Using the SP4 on my lap is doable, but it’s slightly awkward and just doesn’t feel as natural as a laptop.

The second issue is that the Surface Pro 4 only has one USB port which means that I have to remove a USB dongle for my wireless mouse when I need to tether my Canon 70D to take review pics, use a flash drive, etc. The third least annoying issue is that the SP4 does not have

The third and least annoying issue is that the SP4 does not have a SD card slot. It has a micro SD card slot. That means I can’t use all my existing SD cards unless I use a USB card reader. Not a huge issue since I don’t use cards that often anymore because I tether my camera to the computer now, but something to be aware of if you’re thinking of buying this computer.

I can also add a four issue which isn’t really an issue, but more of a wish. I wish the SP4 had a USB Type-C port for charging. I bet the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 due out next year will have one…

What’s the verdict?

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a great little computer and I have really enjoyed using it for the past week. I think that the weight and size are ideal as it only weighs 2 lb 7 oz. with the Type Cover attached. Carrying it around the house is a breeze, so I know that it would be great for travel too. But then I compared my 13 inch Dell XPS to the SP4 and found that it is only slightly heavier at 2 lb 12.8 oz. The Dell also has two USB ports and a full-sized SD card slot. Since I don’t think I’ll use the SP4 as a tablet or use the stylus, I don’t think the difference of 6 oz justifies keeping it, so I’ve decided to return it. If I didn’t already have the Dell XPS, I’d keep it the SP4. I also do not have any trips planned until the spring of 2017, so I’ll put that $1000  back in my checking account and wait till then to consider another upgrade. Maybe it will be an SP5.

Although I may not be keeping the SP4, this experiment did help me decide one important thing. I will NOT buy another Apple MacBook. Apple computers cost way too much and they don’t innovate anymore. No, I don’t think a touch bar counts as an innovation or removing all the ports. I’m even seriously considering selling my current one and switching to Windows 10. Does anyone want to buy my 1-year-old 13″ MBP which is in perfect condition? 🙂

I’m even seriously considering selling my current MacBook Pro and switching to Windows 10 now. Does anyone want to buy my 1-year-old 13″ MBP which is in perfect condition? 🙂

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Julie’s gadget diary – Using the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Day 4-7) originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on December 3, 2016 at 10:29 am.

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The Pocket Shot Arrow Shooting Kit review

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Back in September of 2015, I reviewed a pretty interesting take on the slingshot, The Pocket Shot. I thought The Pocket Shot was a good product not only for everyday adventure but also as a survival tool. I was aware of another add-on for The Pocket Shot that would allow you to shoot arrows using The Pocket Shot as the base. The conversion consisted of a new pouch, an end cap, and arrow knock covers. Having previously reviewed The Pocket Shot the owners of Pocket Shot sent me everything I would need to convert The Pocket Shot to shoot arrows in The Pocket Shot Arrow Shooting Kit.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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I am not going to go into depth on the nomenclature of the original Pocket Shot, but I did link the original article above. Basically, it takes three things to convert The Pocket Shot to shoot arrows:

  • Arrow Pouch
  • Whisker Biscuit Cap
  • Arrow Knock Caps (optional but suggested)

Combine these and you are William Tell or Robin Hood.

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There are two main components to the conversion the first is the Arrow Pouch. You can see compared to the original pouch for The Pocket Shot its longer. This is naturally to accommodate arrows. Changing out pouches was straightforward as the design makes it almost idiot proof so even I could do it. The Arrow Pouch is red so it is easy to distinguish it from the regular and Pro Pouches (black and blue respectively). On the product website, it says that you can achieve a full draw with a 30-inch arrow and will shoot that arrow up to 130 FPS (Feet Per Second).

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The other main component for my conversion of The Pocket Shot is the Whisker Biscuit. The Whisker Biscuit screws on to The Pocket Shot allowing you to shoot arrows with it. Looking at the front of the Whisker Biscuit you can see a bunch of what looks like hairs or whiskers. They feel like a bunch of thick monofilament fibers. They do a great job of holding the arrows in place allowing you to make an accurate shot.

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The last of the trio of items that are included in The Pocket Shot Arrow Kit were the Arrow Knock Caps. These caps cover the arrows knock to protect the pouch and to provide a little better grip on the arrow for shooting.

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The Knock Cap slips firmly onto the knock of the arrow I will be using to shoot. As I said above it also provides some grip.

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Shooting arrows with The Pocket Shot is pretty straight forward, place arrow through the Whisker Biscuit into the Arrow Pouch, draw back, and let the arrow fly. Since I am not a bow hunter, I am using 24″ bullet nose tipped arrows to test with. As with any shooting activity, it takes some practice to get consistent. As you can imagine shooting an arrow with The Pocket Shot is very different than using a regular bow, although aiming was not as difficult as I thought it would be but it did take a few shots to get the mechanics down.

So, what’s my bottom line here? Although I love the concept and versatility of The Pocket Shot, I am not in love with shooting arrows with it. Let me explain. I consider The Pocket Shot to be a survival tool (it is also fun to just shoot), as such, it needs to be compact enough to fit in a pocket or a day bag. Although the Arrow Shooting Kit worked great (I do love the thought that went into this adaptation of The Pocket Shot) it takes some thought or pre-planning to use. If I had that much planning time I would probably have a bow to shoot my arrows with. Putting the practical side of me away for a minute I did enjoy shooting arrows using The Pocket Shot Arrow Shooting Kit. The Pocket Shot Arrow Shooting Kit can be purchased from The Pocket Shot website for $50. So, if you’re looking for a different arrow shooting experience you may want to give The Pocket Shot and the Arrow Shooting Kit a try. Just a side note here, it seems that the price and included items for The Pocket Shot Arow Kit has changed since I started this article. The Pocket Shot Arrow Kit now includes the inner and outer ring used to attached the arrow pouch too. The price also decreased to $50.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by The Pocket Shot. Visit their site for more info and their Amazon store.

 

Product Information

Price:$50
Manufacturer:The Pocket Shot
Retailer:Amazon
Requirements:
  • Arrows
Pros:
  • Complete conversion kit
  • Fun to shoot
  • Well made
Cons:
  • I am not sure how practical it is

Filed in categories: Health, Fitness, Sports, Outdoor Gear, Reviews

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The Pocket Shot Arrow Shooting Kit review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on December 3, 2016 at 8:36 am.

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Martian Watches introduces Alexa service to mVoice collection

mvoiceSmartwatches was originally thought to be the next best thing since sliced bread, and the hyped increased all the more when Apple went ahead with the release of their Apple Watch. Well, there has been a fair number of smartwatches released over the past couple of years with varying degrees of performance ability, and here we are with Martian Watches making an announcement for their mVoice range of smartwatches which will certainly carve a smile on your face — with the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa service.

Yes, you read that right. Martian Watches have just thrown in Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service to their mVoice timepieces. Martian will bring together the classic design of an analog timepiece alongside the functionality of a smartwatch, which means that users do not have to sacrifice style when it comes to rich smartwatch features. In addition to that, this collaboration with Alexa would then help to improve, simplify and enhance digital communication, changing the way we go about our everyday tasks. With Martian timepieces that look elegant while working great, one will be able to control one’s home and prioritize one’s communication while being on the move using simple voice commands.

You will first need to download the Martian Voice & Alerts app enabled with Amazon Alexa, before your Martian mVoice watch will play nice with Amazon Alexa. This will then open up the doors to more than 5,000 of Alexa’s skills, all without having to pick up an Amazon Echo Dot or Echo. Since Amazon Alexa is built in the cloud, it is constantly being refined, gaining intelligence along the way. The more Alexa is used, to better it adapts itself to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and preferences with new features.

mVoice have been made available on MartianWatches.com since the middle of November, with prices starting from $295 a pop.

Press Release
[ Martian Watches introduces Alexa service to mVoice collection copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Grab an Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet for only $159.99 (refurb)

Is there someone on your holiday shopping list that is wishing for a tablet? If you act fast, you can save 20% off Amazon’s Fire HD 10 16GB Black Variant (Certified Refurbished) tablet. The Fire HD 10 features a 10.1″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, and 16 GB. This special offer takes the price from $199.99 to $159.99. This is a special deal that will end on 12/10 (11:59 pm PST) or till supplies last. All you have to do is head over to Amazon and use the promotion code FIREHD10 at checkout.

Filed in categories: News, Tablets, Ultra Portables

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Grab an Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet for only $159.99 (refurb) originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on December 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm.

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2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Is the Real Hot Hatch

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Volkswagen says its GTI defined the term hot hatch – a fun-to-drive hatchback offering power, playful performance, refinement, and style. The latest iteration was North American Car of the Year for 2015 and recently we spent time behind the wheel of the 2016 Golf GTI.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI/Images courtesy VW

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI/Images courtesy VW

If ever there was truth in advertising it is the embodiment of the Golf GTI. Volkswagen got things right with this one despite its struggles with TDI models. The Golf GTI is offered (for now) in two- and four-door models with our tester arriving as the latter. At the heart of the fun is a turbcharged 2.0-liter TSI four-cylinder engine with direct injection producing 210hp and 258 lb. ft. torque with the power band beginning low in the rpm range. An available performance package allows the engine to gain an extra 10 horsepower and hold power a bit higher in the revs.

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Volkswagen mates the third-generation EA888 engine to either six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic transmission. We drove a model with the DSG gearbox and enjoyed the solid shifts at peak power point with no needed input from the driver. For those wishing for more input, there is sport and manual shift mode along with steering wheel paddle shifters. We did engage sport mode quite often but never found it necessary to shift for ourselves – the GTI handled that splendidly.

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Our tester arrived in the S trim package complete with cool Clark plaid cloth interior seat covers. There was still plenty of leather to go around in other areas of the spacious cabin and the front bucket sport seats were very supportive. There are also some nice GTI highlights of red ambient lighting and illuminated door sills along with aluminum finishes for the pedals. We enjoyed the new MIB II touchscreen infotainment system that includes VW Car-Net connected services.

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Exterior styling was upgraded for this seventh-generation car and the striking new front end hints toward something in an Audi showroom. The Golf GTI gets red-colored horizontal highlight on the grille along with standard LED foglights in the lower fascia. There are red-painted brake calipers inside the 18-inch alloy wheels shod with summer performance tires and the car is finished with rear spoiler, GTI bumpers, and other exterior trim.

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Pricing for the 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI begins at $24,995 for the S 2-Door model with our S 4-Door arriving with a final sticker of $27,515. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. Your mileage may vary as mine most certainly did.

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The Golf GTI embodies the heart and soul of the hot hatch and has long been the benchmark for other manufacturers. Plenty of power on demand, balanced ride and handling with just enough spring in the suspension to handle cornering without jarring your teeth, and comfort and convenience in a compact space with cargo room in the rear for the gear. The spirit of driving is alive and well in this one and I join GTI in thumbing its nose at all those autonomous bots around the globe.

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Accessorize Your Echo Dot

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Amazon’s Echo and they latest Echo Dot have taken off with them becoming mainstream as of late. The Black Friday special on the 2nd Generation Dot being only $39.99 is what triggered me to finally order one. After you get the Dot, it’s time to accessorize as it’s virtually made to be a hub for your smart home.


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First let’s start with what I think is a pointless accessory, the cases that Amazon has released for the Dot. I like the look of the Dot out of the box, and I won’t be purchasing a case for mine, but if you need or want to make your dot fit your home decor a bit better, it might be worth picking up one of these. They are available in Charcoal Fabric, Indigo Fabric, Merlot Leather, Midnight Leather, Saddle Tan Leather or Sandstone Fabric. These cases are nice and all, but since I like the styling of the Dot out of the box I just don’t see the point to pay and additional $14.99 or $19.99 to make it look different.

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Next, I would suggest looking at a lighting/home automation system. Philips Hue and the Belkin WeMo are the leading candidates but I’d also check out the Osram Lightify system (review forthcoming from yours truly). This is one category that I will say stick to one of the top three or four systems with the fourth being Samsung’s Smart Things. Now some of these also include integration for items that aren’t lighting like Crock-potsCoffee Pots, or just plain switches. There’s something satisfying about saying “Alexa Living Room Light on at 50 percent” to turn the lights on when entering your house with an armload of groceries or turning lights on and off from your smartphone.

Lastly, I would look at adding Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon’s own music service to your Echo or Echo Dot. Being able to start music in your kitchen while you are cooking with just your voice is great!

The Echo, Echo Dot and Google’s Home are ushering in an age of Smart Home and Internet of Things (IOT) technology that I always thought would one day be possible but not in my lifetime. For someone who grew up watching Star Trek captains talking to their computer with natural language, I never thought this would happen, but the tech is here now and it’s only going to get better over time.