Our Fall 2017 – 18 Technology Preview

By Joey Babbitt and Marti Cook

(With Gary Kaye, Richard Sherwin, Elisabeth NG, Brandon Schwartz and Ilinca Tuvene with Tech50plus.com)

It’s Fall and the new technology is starting to come out in preparation for the holiday season. The Samsung Note8 launched last week (see our featured article here) and other companies have announced new technology at IFA Berlin. In addition, DFA’s team of industry analysts, reporters and columnists have been attending events across the globe and North America.

QUICK HIGHLIGHTS

Acer

Acer’s Predator X35 monitor provides a fast 200hz refresh rate and best in class performance. The Acer Chromebook 15 features a stylish aluminum body and uses the USB type-C standard. It features Acer’s award winning display with longer battery life than the previous model.

Motorola

Motorola announced the Moto X4. It features a glass design, Amazon Alexa, waterproofing and powerful technology. The design looks stylish and stands out among mid-range smartphones. With an estimated $400 price tag and Android 7.1 Nougat, this phone will be the choice of many families this holiday season.

Sony

Sony fans and camera aficionados have reason to be happy! The New Xperia XZ1 has a Motion Eye Camera. Using knowledge and technology from their Cyber-shot and other cameras, this new camera allows brilliant recording of full motion photos. The camera records at 960 frames per second, allowing for super slow motion photos. The phone will go on sale late this fall. The Xperia line of Cameras, MP3 players and other devices is one of the few segments in Sony’s revised repertoire of products that has stayed successful.

Panasonic

Panasonic unveiled a 77-inch OLED Ultra HD TV, its largest, which supports HDR10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). Panasonic talked about its plans to enable the EZ1000 and previous HDR models to playback content encoded in HDR10+. Amazon has announced it intends to release content encoded in HDR10+. The EZ1000 contains the Studio Color HCX2 chipset, which enhances black levels and creates more accurate color. The EZ1000 will also be sold in a 65 inch version. The price and availability of the EZ1000 will be announced at a later date. Panasonic is slowly but surely reentering the high end  Smart TV market after cutting its products line by 2/3 in last few years and concentrating on other areas of home technology.

LG

The LG V30 is one of the most anticipated phones of the holiday season. At an estimated price of $750, the LG V30 will provide high end performance at a lower price than the Galaxy Note 8. The LG V30 includes Bang & Olufsen audio, voice recognition, MIL-STD 810G rating for durability, and IP68 dust and water resistance certification. A particular highlight is the dual rear camera setup with f/1.6 aperture, a first for the smartphone industry. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. The phone features high end video capture and the newest Android features.

BeoVision Eclipse TV

https://youtu.be/SF3QyRgw8DQ

The new BeoVision Eclipse TV, which will push the boundary of the premium TV experience, signifies the first fruits of the relationship between LG and Bang & Olufsen. The BeoVision Eclipse is striving to be the definitive high end TV. It features the latest 4K HDR OLED screen technology and state of the art TV sound.

The Picture

The LG BeoVision Eclipse TV features the brightest  arguably the most vivid colors imaginable delivered with absolute black contrast, which lets BeoVision Eclipse reproduce cinematic imagery true to the original source. BeoVision Eclipse is a true OLED TV. The OLED pixels have the ability to turn on and off individually, reproducing absolute blacks and virtually infinite contrast levels. The High Dynamic Range expands the range of both contrast and color. Bright parts of an image get even brighter, which in turn gives your image more depth.

The Sound

Bang & Olufsen has always been known for creating outstanding audio experiences. Their object is to design the world’s best-sounding TV. The TV’s SoundCentre features an integrated 450 watts 3-channel speaker system that outperforms even the most potent sound bar on the market. It has the ability to deliver speech-optimized center channel audio as well as powerful stereo performance. The TV features an impressive wireless music system with best in class sound performance. Bang & Olufsen added all your preferred audio streaming technologies including Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in, giving users the freedom to play music directly from your mobile device. The Eclipse integrates seamlessly with Bang & Olufsens collection of Multi-room products. You can send audio from your TV to other rooms or use its phenomenal speakers to expand the entire music experience in your home.

The Design Vision

A sharp, black glass screen cutting straight through an organic aluminum body. Bang and Olufsen desires to create a bold and clear design statement of picture and sound in perfect alignment, creating something even greater than the sum of its parts. The Eclipse is designed with true craftsmanship.

Size and Price

BeoVision Eclipse is available in 55 and 65 inches. Both versions are compatible with all placement solutions, both manual and motorized. The 55 inch TV will cost $10,990, and the 65 inch is priced at $15,990.

The recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 represents not only a huge improvement in its flagship phone, but it was also the moment for the Korean electronics giant to put the disaster of the exploding Note7 behind it.

Samsung has taken its beautiful Quad HD AMOLED Infinity Display, which is on the Galaxy S8 and extended it to the new Note8.  It’s a 6.3″ display, which is actually only 1/10″ larger than the display on the S8 Plus. The biggest difference between the Note8 and the S8 Plus is the S-Pen capability which has always distinguished the Note, and the new dual lens, dual 12MP Optical Image Stabilization rear facing cameras. Some people will understandably choose to by the less expensive S8 Plus.

Samsung bravely showed off some A to B comparisons with stills and video from both the Note 8 and the iPhone 7 Plus, and yes, the differences, at least in their demo, were quite discernible.  But again, that’s Samsung’s demo. We look forward to seeing and doing testing upon release.

In Dual Capture mode, both rear cameras take pictures simultaneously—and you can keep both images: One close-up shot from the telephoto lens and one wide-angle shot that shows the entire background.

The wide-angle lens has a Dual Pixel sensor with rapid auto focus, so you can capture sharp and clear shots even in low-light environments. The Galaxy Note8 is also equipped with an 8MP Smart Auto Focus front-facing camera for sharp selfies and video chats.

The new cameras will also enable the user to sharpen or soften the background, either at the time you take a picture, or afterward.  The ability to change depth of field is a nice addition to a smartphone camera. And it gives you the flexibility of simultaneous close and wide images.

The Galaxy Note8 has the biggest screen ever on a Note device, yet its narrow body makes it comfortable to hold in one hand. The 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display lets you see more and scroll less. The screen size makes both video viewing and multitasking enjoyable.  There’s a new App Pair feature, which lets users create a custom pairing of most apps on the Edge panel that will simultaneously launch two apps in Multi Window mode. Watch a video while messaging your friends or dial into a conference call with the number and agenda in front of you.

The S-Pen Improved

The S Pen has been one of the Note’s defining features. With the new Note, the enhanced S Pen includes a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity, unlocking new ways to write, draw and interact with the phone and communicate with others. We’ve used other Samsung Galaxies in the past without the S Pen and the difference is making lots of mistakes typing and virtually none with the S Pen

Live Messages allows you to reflect your unique personality and creative vision. You can now handwrite a message, add special effects and share it as an animated GIF on several popular messaging and social apps.

The Always On Display allows you to stay on top of your notifications without unlocking your phone. Screen off memo allows you to take notes as soon as you take out the S Pen. From there, you can pin a note to the Always On Display, edit them right there and write as many pages as you need—up to 100 pages.

Unparalleled Translation Capabilities.

One of the standout features is the ability to highlight other language text with the pen. You hover over text to quickly translate not only individual words but entire sentences, into 71 languages and instantly convert units and foreign currencies. Using Bixby, Samsung’s personal assistant, you can also point at a street sign and it will automatically translate it as well. Very handy on the trip to Europe!

Other Note 8 Features:

  • Water and Dust Resistance:  Water resistant in up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes—including the S Pen.
  • Fast Wireless Charging: The Galaxy Note8 supports advanced wireless charge, so you can get a quick, convenient charge without having to mess around with ports or wires.
  • Security: Galaxy Note8 offers the choice of biometric authentication options—including iris and fingerprint scanning.
  • Performance: With 6GB RAM, a 10 nm processor, 64GB of storage and expandable memory (up to 256GB), there’s plenty of room to browse, stream, play games and multitask.
  • Bixby Voice Assistant:  This is Samsung’s answer to Siri, Google Voice Assist, Alexa and Cortana. It’s been a little slow coming to market but has learning functions its competitors don’t have. The more you use it, the more it anticipates what you want.

Price and Availability

The Note8 is available for pre-order at Samsung.com, Amazon.com and Best Buy.  There are numerous deals and special offers available for early purchasers from the major carriers.  The unparalleled power comes as expected at the top price point for smartphones.  Verizon’s pre-order price for full retail is $960, but has a sale for a limited time. T-Mobile is currently offering Buy One Get One Free as well.

We’ll have a complete review upon release of the phone.  In the meantime, here’s Samsung’s introduction video, which does a really nice job of showing off some of the key features.

https://youtu.be/RKYjdTiMkXM

A Unique Drum Pad for All Ages

BeBop Sensors http://www.bebopsensors.com. Using smart fabric sensor technology, introduced what they claim is the world’s most responsive smart drum pad: BopPad. Created in collaboration with BeBop Sensors and Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) musical instrument company, BopPad smart drum pad employs the world’s largest smart fabric sensor to create a uniquely expressive and accurate electronic drum pad for drummers, percussionists, and producers. BopPad interprets any style of percussion playing, providing accurate hit detection, velocity, continuous radius and pressure at a speed of 2.4 milliseconds with 4 independently programmable zones that output MIDI notes: velocity, pitch bend, pressure and location for the world’s most responsive and accurate drum pad.  Priced from $200.

LG LAUNCHES ULTRA HD 4K BLU-RAY PLAYER

So playing video disks is not dead yet. LG Electronics USA has launched the 2017 LG Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc™ Player with high-dynamic range (HDR) compatibility. Previewed at CES® 2017, and by DFA earlier in the year, LG’s first 4K Blu-ray player (model UP970) will support Dolby Vision™ Blu-ray disc playback. Leveraging the HDR technology that powers Dolby’s most advanced cinemas around the world, Dolby Vision delivers greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors. Dolby’s deep expertise in bringing advanced technologies from the cinema to the home has led to distinct features that enable Dolby Vision to deliver extraordinary viewing experiences to home consumers. In addition to Dolby Vision, the LG UP970 also offers support for generic HDR (HDR10), giving consumers the peace of mind that they will have access to the widest library of HDR content available.

Epson launches new wireless home cinema systems

Epson’s Home Cinema 2100 and Wireless Home Cinema 2150 Offer Affordable Full HD Performance for oversized movies, sports, TV, and More, the Home Cinema 2100 ($849 MSRP) and Home Cinema 2150 ($899 MSRP) bring immersive entertainment experiences to any room or outdoor space. The Home Cinema 2100 and 2150 offer incredible value and features – including built-in sound, 1.6x zoom, and 3LCD technology for vibrant, rainbow artifact-free images. Additionally, the projectors add vertical lens shift which allows users to place the compact projectors nearly anywhere, from a bookshelf to a table.

Epson Home Cinema Projectors Offer Bright and Compact Full HD at a fraction of the price of Oled TVs – For consumers on a budget or entertaining in small spaces, the Home Cinema 660 ($359 MSRP), Home Cinema 760HD ($549 MSRP) and Home Cinema 1060 ($649 MSRP) offer affordable, creative solutions – from the compact, coffee table design to delivering huge high-quality images, as well as connected home integration, portability, and setup flexibility. Users can easily connect Blu-ray players, gaming consoles or streaming devices via HDMI® to enjoy favorite content.

UP NEXT:

The Apple Special Event will be on September 12 at 10 a.m. PDT to watch the keynote, the first-ever event at the Steve Jobs Theater in the new Apple corporate campus. Digital Family Advisor will be covering all the announcements from the highly anticipated event.

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