Nvidia Shield Tablet – hardware and cover review

IMG_1084_2

Today I am going to look at the Nvidia Shield Tablet hardware in more detail. I will start by stating this is not built to the same standards as the Apple iPad. Nor is its 1080p screen as good as the iPad. But it is nonetheless a decent enough screen by far.

If you look at the photo above you can see on the screen side the right “front” loudspeaker. The stereo speakers are dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone. The sound from the left and right front speakers is reasonable and adds to the media enjoyment. You will notice sound also comes out of the side too, top right side slat. On the front screen side is also the 5mp front facing camera. The rear also has a 5mp front facing camera. I will cover off the cameras in another post, but needless to say the camera software included is more than expected. Going back to the right side, from the bottom right you can see the headphone jack, HDMI and then micro usb socket. You will notice the micro usb port has green paint on the top. The cable also has one side green, allowing for easier connecting.

IMG_1086

The rear is a soft plastic finish. Nothing special but easy to hold. It does show my fingerprints a little. On the rear you can see the 5mp rear camera and the stylus.

IMG_1081_2

The Nvidia Shield cover is a smart cover. It has two stick out bits that slot in to the gaps on the side of the tablet. The cover is held in place by magnets and can only be held one way around. It is a strong magnetic connection. The cover has a keyboard, and two upright modes. Opening the cover turns the tablet on and off.

On the top edge is the power and volume controls. I must admit I find the power button fiddly to use.
The top edge also house the micro SD slot and micro SIM card as well as the stylus.
IMG_1082
IMG_1083

So overall the hardware is fine and to be honest I don’t miss my iPad, and at £239 for the 16 GB WiFi only model and £299 for the 32 GB LTE/WiFi it really is a great offering.

The full specs are as follows -

- Processor NVIDIA® Tegra® K1 192 core Kepler GPU, 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU with 2GB RAM
– Display 8-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch Full HD display
– Audio Front facing stereo speakers, dual bass reflex port with built-in microphone
– Storage 32 GB (WiFi+4G LTE) / 16 GB (WiFi-only)
– Wireless 802.11n 2×2 Mimo 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
– Bluetooth 4.0 LE
– GPS / GLONASS
– Connectivity WiFi+4G LTE or WiFi-only
– Mini-HDMI output
– Micro-USB 2.0
– MicroSD storage slot
– 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with microphone support
– SIM Card Micro-SIM
– Motion Sensors 3-axis gyro
– 3-axis accelerometer
– 3-axis compass
– Gaming Features SHIELD wireless controller compatible
– NVIDIA GameStream™
– NVIDIA ShadowPlay™
– GRID Cloud Gaming Beta
– Console Mode
– Gamepad Mapper
– Cameras Front: 5MP HDR; Back: 5MP auto focus HDR
– Video Features 4K Ultra-HD Ready
– Stylus DirectStylus 2 with 3D Paint (Included)
– Software Updates SHIELD software upgrades directly from NVIDIA
– Battery 19.75 Watt Hours
– Weight and Size Weight: 13.7oz / 390g
– Height: 8.8in / 221mm Width: 5.0in / 126mm Depth: 0.36in / 9.2mm
– Operating System Android KitKat OS (Android 5.0 Lollipop ready)
– Software Google Play™, NVIDIA SHIELD Hub, Trine 2: Complete Story, Multi language Handwriting Recognition, NVIDIA Dabbler™, JusWrite, Evernote, Adobe Reader, Camera Awesome

-Cellular Connectivity
North America: Unlocked (compatible with AT&T, please check bands supported)LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 2G, GSM, EDGE
-Outside-North America: Unlocked (please check bands supported)LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 2G, GSM, EDGE
Cellular Bands North America:LTE: Bands 2,4,5,7,17 (1900, 1700, 850, 2600, 700)
HSPA+: Bands 1,2,4,5 (2100, 1900, 1700, 850)

Outside-North America:LTE: Bands 1*,3,7,20 (2100/1800/2600/800)HSPA+: Bands 1,2,5,8 (2100/1900/850/900)
* In certain regions band 1 and voice support is enabled

Microsoft launches the Microsoft Band – cross platform fitness band – details

microsoft-band_hero_2

Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Band. It lasts 48 hours on a single charge and tracks all activity including your sleep. There are 10 sensors that track standard health statistics like heart rate, a UV sensor to measure sun exposure and galvanic skin response, which can identify stress. Like smart watches, the Band can also receive notifications from a user’s smartphone.

Full details of what it can do are -

- Activity tracking and goal setting : Heart rate monitor 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.

- Run Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.

- Steps tracker Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.

- Built in GPS Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.

- Calorie tracking Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.

- Sleep tracking Sleep tracking: When activated, Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Analyze the sleep charts in your app to gain insights about your slumber.

- Guided workouts Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.

-Goal setting Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.

The Microsoft Band goes on sale for $199. Looks promising.

Source – http://www.microsoft.com/Microsoft-Band/en-us

CurrentC is already hacked before launch – reviews are not good to

CurrentC, the mobile payment system that is to rival both Apple Pay and Google Wallet, announced on Wednesday that it has been hacked and that some users’ email addresses may have been obtained.

MCX, the company behind CurrentC, sent out the email on Wednesday, revealing that its security systems were breached by unauthorized third parties within the last 36 hours. The company says its investigations suggest that only users’ email addresses were obtained, but not any additional information.

In addition on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store users are leaving one star or dreadful reviews deliberately.

Not a good day for CurrentC!

Source -Appleinsider.com & theverge.com

Moga Rebel Game Controller review – iOS iPhone and iPad Game Controller

IMG_1076.JPG

The MOGA REBEL game controller is a full-featured controller which includes shoulder buttons, shoulder triggers, four action buttons, and two pressure-sensitive analog sticks. Its S.M.R.T. Lock Arm lets you secure your iPhone or iPod touch directly to the controller, creating an integrated mobile gaming system. Or use the controller as a stand-alone device with iPad. All devices connect via powerful Bluetooth wireless.

Specifications

- Full-size MFi game controller including extended control shoulder buttons and triggers, a D-pad, and two analog sticks
-MOGA S.M.R.T. Lock secures your iPhone or iPod touch to the controller
-Use as stand-alone controller with iPad
– Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
– LED battery-life indicator 680 mAh rechargeable battery
– Height: 2.4 in./6.1 cm
– Width: 6.3 in./16 cm
– Weight: 13.12 oz./372 g
Length: 4.4 in./11.18 cm
– Manufacturer Information

IMG_1078.JPG

The Moga Rebel reminds me of Moga’s android game controller the Moga Pro and Moga Pro Power. They all have similar designs along the lines of a Xbox controller. In terms of holding a 6 Plus in the locking mechanism this is a simple affair and works well. Below are some screen shots of games I have played using the Moga Rebel.

IMG_0971.PNG

IMG_0970.PNG

IMG_0969.PNG

As you can see there are a number of great titles that work with the controller. The problem is there are considerably more that don’t. Unlike Moga’s android controllers which have two Bluetooth modes allowing for more games to work with the controller, iOS games have just one method. And if they developers haven’t implemented the support properly then it is a non runner. Playing games with the Rebel is great fun and a joy to use. My main issue is it costs £59.99. That’s £10 more than the Nvidia Wifi Controller and £20 more than Moga’s android equivalent. And the Rebel is the worst featured out of the bunch.

So despite all the goodness of enhanced game playing it is very difficult to recommend. Whilst iOS might have the larger game catalogue it has the poorest support for games working with a game controller. So if you browse Mogaanywhere.com and there are enough supported games that you want to play then perhaps give it a go.

Tomorrow I will have the review up for the Moga Pro Power for android which offers more functionality. In terms of game control they are very similar.

Any questions just ask as usual.

Forget the OnePlus One – Take the Honor 6 for £249 via Amazon

IMG_3010.JPG

Amazon are selling from today the Huawei Honor 6. At the moment it is only being offered via Amazon.

The key selling point is the price at £249. Available in black or white.

This is what you get for your money.

- OS: Android 4.4 (Emotion UI 2.3)
– CPU: Kirin 920 8 Core 1.3GHz; GPU: ARM Mali T628MP4 4) RAM: 3GB + ROM: 16GB.
– Memory card up to 64GB supported
– Display: 5.0 inch IPS Capacitive Screen, 1920 x 1080, 16M Colours
– SIM Card: Dual Micro SIMs /Multi Bands
– Camera: Front: 5.0MP; F2.0 aperture, support HDR Movie Back: 13.0MP (with LED flash)
– Connectivity: 2 x Micro SIM slot, Micro USB, Earphone 3.5mm, Memory card slot, Microphone, Speaker
– Sensors: Gravitation, Light, Proximity, Acceleration, Electronic compass, Gyroscope
– Support OTG, GPS+ A-GPS.
– Network: 1) Type: FDD-LTE & WCDMA & GSM 2) Principal card: FDD – LTE (4G Global): B1 (2100 MHZ)/B3 (1800 MHZ) TDD-LTE (4G Only works in China): B41 (2496-2690 MHZ) WCDMA (UMTS 3G) : B1 (2100 MHZ/B8 (900 MHZ) GSM (Main 2G): 850/900/1800/1900 Deputy card: SUB GSM: 900/1800/19003) WiFi: 802.11b/g wireless internet
– Bluetooth: V2.1+, with A2DP
– Languages – English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, etc.
– Battery 3.7V/3100mAh Li-ion battery (Not-removable)
– Talk time: Approx 27 (Unit: Hour) 3) Standby time: Approx 414 (Unit: Hour) – – Additional Features: FM radio, Ebook, Email, Google, Search, WPS Office, Play Store etc
– Dimensions: Size: 139.6mm x 69.7mm x 7.5mm 2) Weight: 130g (Including battery)
– Package Contents: 1) 1 x Phone 2) 1 x 100~240V power adapter 3) 1 x Data cable (80cm)

Nvida Shield Tablet – more impressions

Last night I got to spend some more time with this gaming beast of a tablet. There are so many superb aspects to this tablet, a few bugs and a few surprises.

In another post today I reviewed the Apple game control!er by Moga. Well compared to the Nvidia controller, Moga and iOS are really embarrassed. First of all the Nvidia controller connects via WiFi instead of Bluetooth. This is done instantly via the Nvidia app. You use this app to connect a total of 4 controllers. However, with this controller not only does it provide an even faster seamless connection due to using Wi-Fi, it also enables voice search, headphones to be connected to it via the inbuilt jack, and includes android media controls. If that isn’t enough, for games that aren’t working with the controller out of the box, there is a game mapping app that allows you to map the keys swiftly. To give you some idea of the controller compatibility check out this HUGE list from Nvidia http://shield.nvidia.com/android-game-list/ Photos of controller at the end of the post.

So far I have found that games often have better graphics for the device over what I was used too. In many cases the games format and fill the screen better. Then there is the HDMI cable. Connect this to your TV and the tablet PC and decide between console or mirroring mode. Console mode is amazing. The tablet screen is turned off and the whole control is now via the game controller. And the game graphics on your TV are rather good too.

The tablet is great playing Half Life 2, Portal, Jet Set Radio, Emulators likes SNES, N64oid, FPSe, and PPSSPP. Other great games I have played include Table Top Racing, Shadowgun, T.E.C. 3001 and so many more.

Of course the gaming tablet is also a superb tablet. This post was typed on it for example. So apart from having all my games installed, normal apps and special Shield games, I have 6.9gb free of internal storage. If you intend to use the Shield tablet as a tablet, you can activate a number of power saving, processing saving modes. This will prolong the battery life, but there is also an insane mode, to crank the processor to full and enjoy gaming at its ultimate. As I discovered, at full processor mode the battery depletes much faster. The only saviour is if you have a HDMI cable attached and are using your TV as the screen, you can still charge the tablet and play.

More views as soon as I can escape playing Half Life 2!

Update – android lollipop is meant to be ready as soon as Google release it or very close too that date.

IMG_1079.JPG I

IMG_1080.JPG

Microsoft want to rule the Cloud – OneDrive just became a great offering

Microsoft has announced that all Office 365 subscribers are now eligible to receive unlimited storage on OneDrive for no additional cost. The rollout for Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers has begun and will continue over the coming months.

This represents great value and will now put pressure on Dropbox and Google on their respective storage platforms. Sadly I do not see Apple making it cloud offering as competitive for a while.

Nvidia Shield LTE 32gb Tablet – First Impressions

IMG_1075.JPG

I have been waiting for the Nvidia Shield 32gb LTE version to go live in the UK and finally this has happened. The photo above includes the tablet, Wireless Controller, tablet cover and a 5m HDMI cable. And all of this cost less than the 16gb iPad Air 2 !! In fact its about £25 less. In fact that is not quite true as this is the LTE version so is actually £125 cheaper than the LTE iPad Air 2 in 16gb. But specs aren’t everything or are they?

What you get is tablet with a purpose. That purpose is gaming. It runs a near stock version of Google Kitkat with an update due soon for Lollipop. It has stereo front speakers, 32gb storage and LTE. That means if I am correct, once I insert my sim card, I will be able to make and receive telephone calls and SMS. It has a Nvidia K1 Processor running at 1080p and 60fps. It also comes with a stylus and special note and drawing applications. The optional Wireless Controller is connected via WiFi and not bluetooth for a faster and more responsive connection. In fact, you can connect up to 4 controllers. You can not only play android games, but bespoke Nvidia games made for the tablet like Portal and Half Life 2. You can stream games from your PC and play on the tablet or stream your gaming directly to Twitch. If that is not enough, there is a dedicated HDMI socket. Connect a HDMI cable between your TV and the tablet and with the WiFi controller you can play the games on your TV at 1080p and 60fps. The tablet also has a memory card slot. The micro usb connector is available as well as a separate HDMI slot.

And the attention to detail with the green shading on the packaging and accessories is lovely. Opening the tablet box and removing the device with its accessories feels special. The same applies to all the accessories. I still cannot believe how much tablet and accessories I got for the money.

So like all devices, I needed to charge both the controller and tablet. I also checked for a software update. There was a 700mb update. Once this had downloaded it installed it in under 90 seconds. That was really speedy. Now for the slow part. Installing all my games of which there are so seriously large files to download.

It is very early days with this tablet but so far I am loving it and not missing my iPad Air. Nvidia Shield recommend a number of stockists. I used Scan Computers as the 5m HDMI cable was provided free of charge. Also Scan use DPD and provide a detailed update every step of the buying process. A superb buying experience.

I have connected the wireless controller. Simple process using the Nvidia app. And it really is brilliant. So is the gameplay and graphics. But more to come on the game play.

More to follow once I have got to grips with everything. If you have any questions, please let me know as usual.

Update – sadly you can’t make normal phone calls on this model. Nvidia will be releasing a different sku which will allow for this feature. That means you can only use calling via for example Google Hangouts.

Tim Cook – Apple Pay is already the World Leader

Via Appleinsider.com -

“At The Wall Street Journal’s inaugural WSJD Live conference on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Apple Pay is off to a booming start, with more than one million card activations in its first 72 hours of service.

According to Cook, the massive uptake makes Apple Pay the largest contactless payment system in the U.S., more than the combined total of cards registered with competitors.”

That is really impressive and it shows how dangerous it might be for those retailers who have decided not to support it. Tim Cook even stated that ultimately customers will decide with their feet and not the retailers. I am excited to see this hit the UK next year, although I reckon it will taken 1-2 years to become more mainstream.

The Note 4 is light years ahead of the iPhone 6 Plus

Want to read one of the worst reviews that I’ve read about the Note 4 then head over to the Daily Mail. Click here.

Here’s a taste of the article

“Sadly for Apple, the school bully, Samsung, has swaggered up and walked off with its lunch money without even making an effort. Next to the Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus looks like a bodged-together mess. “

And it gets much worse! I know it’s the Daily Mail but this is well below their normal trashy editorial.
And don’t even look at the comments.

However, if you feel the article is correct, well constructed polite comments are accepted.

Raw video footage from the iPhone 6 Plus

Uploaded to YouTube is the raw footage of a 30 sec video clip. I filmed this at 1080p and 60 fps. Problem is from the iPhone the highest quality you can upload is 720p. So I had to copy across to my computer and upload that way. Seems a bit archaic. Also YouTube seemed to have stripped the stabilisation off the footage. Anyway below is what’s possible. Just bear in mind the original is smoother and less jittery. The other thing I noticed is that using iMovie to make a film or trailer using video and photos, iMovie on the iPhone 6 Plus downgrades the quality to 1080p at 30fps instead of the recorded 60 fps. Again not ideal.

Fight – Apple Pay facing challenges from retailers own payment system

Apple Pay (and Google Wallet) is not going to have an easy ride as a number of retailers are taking a stand against mobile payment servIce. The retailers are blocking Apple Pay and in some cases the retailers actually deliberately switched off their NFC terminals.

Those opposed include Old Navy, Lowes, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sears, Best Buy, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Wendy’s, and several petrol stations. These retailers are behind the CurrentC mobile payment service coming into play in 2015.

The benefit of using CurrentC will be the lack of processing fees as the credit card companies are not at all involved. CurrentC is designed to work by taking funds from the user’s checking account.

Just when mobile payments had potentially been made simpler by Apple, the battle ground has expanded. This is a big money earner and therefore competition will be fierce.

Episode 26 – Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast is now live – Please RT

As you know, I co-host a weekly podcast with David from UKMobileTech called Gav & Dave’s Tech Podcast. It is a light hearted tech podcast broadcast bi-weekly. To subscribe click here for iTunes or copy and paste this link into your favourite podcast app.

Episode 26 is now live for your listening pleasure.

If you have enjoyed the podcast, please leave a 5 star review in iTunes. It helps others find our podcast.

If you have any comments, questions or feedback, please drop a line at feedback@gdtpodcast.com .