Can Sony deliver another winning tablet in the unpopular 10” category and finally put the Snapdragon 810 to good use?
The 10” tablet category is the unloved class of Android devices. While 7” and 8” tablets sell well, larger devices have typically been less popular than rival devices such as the iPad. There could be several reasons for this – an underwhelming tablet software library, the 16:10 form factor or perhaps just a lack of desirable tablets. For a while now, Sony have been trying to resolve the latter with their Z range of devices.
Sony’s approach to both phone and tablet devices has long been one of evolution not revolution. The Z4, Sony’s latest Android tablet, continues this trend. It retains the ‘Omnibalance’ design, but improves on it’s predecessor, the Z2 Tablet in almost every way. The newcomer is incredibly thin at 6.1mm, extremely light at only 389g and with considerably shrunken bezels it is an impressive 12mm narrower than the Z2. This trimming in every dimension results in what could reasonably be considered the first 10” screened tablet that is comfortable to hold for extended periods. The Z4 tablet is IP65 + IP68 rated to protect against dust or water ingress.
While the body of the tablet has shrunk, as you’d expect, the internals have been upgraded to the very latest specifications. The centrepiece of the Z4 is the much maligned Snapdragon 810 with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. In this device however, the processor may have finally found its natural home. The tablet is extremely fast in use, running Sony’s lightly tweaked version of Android Lollipop. While the device can get warm, it never gets uncomfortably so, even under the most demanding of tasks. The screen on the Z4 Tablet is a 10.1″, 2560×1600 pixels IPS panel which is extremely bright and sharp. Although the screen is bright enough to be used outside, as with most tablets the reflective nature of the screen means glare can be an issue.
Google’s Artificial Neural Network Deep Dream has been creating some of the trippiest images ever.
Google is always trying to learn more about the world around it. To help the search engine giant do so, engineers are developing the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) that attempts to make sense of the world around it. This is the framework on which Google Now on Tap is being built.
Engineers show it thousands of images to try and get it to learn, for example, what a chair looks like. In time the network should realise that an object with four legs, a horizontal surface and a vertical surface is probably a chair and therefore searches should prove more intuitive.
To test how the ANN is progressing, Google’s engineers have been getting it to draw images and the results have been trippy to say the least. The ANN has been seeing dog faces, eyes and slugs in places where there are none, simply because there are shapes that it vaguely recognises. It has also been adding arms into pictures of dumbbells because the images of dumbbells it sees usually include arms. It’s sweet but ever so slightly scary.
We take a look at the iRig UA, the portable, palm-sized amp
Lugging around an amplifier wherever you go can be a right pain for guitarists but luckily the iRig UA is here to save all you budding Slashes and Hendrixes.
The iRig UA is a palm-sized, ultra-light device that you use to transform your mobile into an amp in seconds.
The company’s popular Amplitube app has an excellent user interface, recreating the look and feel of an elaborate amp set up. Each screen has a number of dials and switches that you can alter to you liking, which you can then queue up on your phone’s screen to create the effect you are going for.
Discover Android M’s Easter egg, how to adjust quick settings, and control app permissions in our video tour of the Developer Preview features you can actually use
So you’ve gone to all the effort of installing the Android M Developer Preview, now what do you do with it? While hotly-anticipated features like Google Now on Tap and multi-screen mode don’t work in the Preview, there is still lots of next-gen goodies to enjoy.
In the latest post to our all-new YouTube video channel, we take you through the look and feel of the next version of Android; show you how to use the new app permissions to restrict what private data your downloads can access; how to enable and adjust Android’s new customsiable quick settings; and reveal the Developer Preview’s hidden Easter egg.
The Idol 3 is the most advanced Alcatel OneTouch phone yet, but is it worth the £200 price tag?
Alcatel OneTouch is slowly building up a reputation as a solid, reliable low-end phone manufacturer. Ranges such as the Pixi and Idol are unspectacular but solidly built and not that pricey. However, the Idol 3 seems to have broken the mould somewhat, breaking through the £200 barrier and firmly into mid-range territory where it comes up against the likes of the ZTE Blade S6 and the Asus Zenfone 2. This is exulted company indeed so Alcatel would have to pull out all the stops to compete.
Alcatel OneTouch has brought out two versions, one with a 4.7-inch screen and the other with a 5.5-inch screen. We tested the 4.7-inch version, which has slightly inferior specs to its bigger brother in all areas apart from the rear-facing camera.
However, the spec sheet reads pretty well. The 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is gutsy and runs everything in double quick time. We never felt we were hanging around for anything, whether games or web pages. We ran a handful of common apps at the same time and didn’t notice any slowdown, so that’s a very big tick for the Idol 3. The screen is an impressive 312ppi and it felt crisp and clear when watching videos, pictures or browsing the web.