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3 weeks ago

Huawei P9 second opinion: A well-rounded smartphone with a brilliant camera

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The quick take

The latest flagship smartphone from Huawei, the P9, has a lot of things going for it in tandem to offer a great Android smartphone experience, along with arguably the best mobile photography credibility a smartphone has offered yet.

The Good

  • Brilliant camera
  • Excellent fingerprint sensor
  • Good display
  • Elegant design and build quality

The Bad

  • Not cheap
  • EMUI is overwhelming
  • Occasional lags
  • Single SIM only

Huawei P9 Full Review

Huawei does a lot of things right. It's made some great hardware for the past couple of years, like the Nexus 6P and the P8. Then there's the Honor sub-brand that has offered some very capable and nice-looking smartphones for customers on a budget. It took the Nexus 6P, obviously aided by the Google branding, to make a lot of people aware about the company's research, engineering, and design capabilities.

The Huawei P9 with Dual Leica Lens is an engineering marvel on paper, and has much improved EMUI software – the biggest showstopper for Huawei phones till date. Let's see how the P9 fares against the flagship smartphones and the value-for-money flagship killers — because it sits right on the fence between the two.

About this review

I used the Indian retail variant of the Huawei P9 (EVA-L09) that ran EMUI 4.1 running on top of Android Marshmallow 6.0 out of the box. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR. There is another higher spec'd variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage that is on sale in some markets. This 32GB variant had about 25 gigs of storage available out of the box.

Huawei P9 Design

The Huawei P9 has an industrial design that is consistent with the company's design ethos, yet the metallic unibody construction gives it an elegant look. It's solidly built and the craftsmanship with the chamfered edges and the nicely milled aluminum is impressive.

Because of the smaller screen size, the overall footprint is compact and it is a delight to use with one hand – something which is a thing of the past when it comes to the current trend in flagship smartphones. At 144 grams, it is light and easy to handle, and yet doesn't feel flimsy because the weight is evenly spread across the surface area of the device. With less than 7mm of thickness and curved edges, it feels great to grip the P9 in your hand and you'd not want to reach for your pocket or bag to put it away all the time.

The back sports the camera unit which, despite the advanced optics, does not have a bump like the Nexus 6P had. Of course, there's the Leica branding next to it which is something definitely worth flashing.

There's no doubt the P8 and P9 are part of the same lineage, which isn't a bad thing. The Huawei P8 was a well-designed smartphone, and the P9 is a nice evolution of the same. There's nothing flashy about the Huawei P9 and yet it is one of the best designed smartphones on the market – not just in looks but in ease of use as well.

Huawei P9 Hardware

Category Features Operating system Android Marshmallow 6.0 with EMUI 4.1 Display 5.2 Inch Full HD (1080 x 1920) IPS LCD | 423ppi Processor 2.5GHz Huawei Kirin 955 Quad-core RAM 3 GB Internal Storage 32 GB; expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card Battery 3000mAh Rear Camera Dual 12MP (color & monochrome) | ƒ/2.2 lens | Co-engineered with Leica Front Camera 8MP Dimensions 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm Weight 144 grams

Powered by Huawei's home-brewed octa-core Kirin 955 chipset with four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz, the P9 packs in 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

The Kirin 955 packs in enough muscle for being a daily driver without breaking a sweat, and it's a shame that many question Huawei's decision to opt for its own chipset instead of going with a Qualcomm one without taking it for a spin in the real world. From multi-tabbed browsing to Full HD video playback to playing graphic-intensive games, the P9 handles everything thrown at it smoothly. It does tend to get a little hot when playing games for an extended period.

It's not all hunky-dory though. While there's a lot of memory management optimizations under the hood, I did run into occasional lags with the P9. It's not a showstopper, but one wonders if packing in 3GB of RAM (or having a lower spec'd variant for India) was a wrong decision by Huawei. Overall though, the Kirin 955 does well to offer a fluid Android experience with a lot of tweaks for the camera experience.

The fingerprint sensor on the P9 is one of the fastest in the business and supports 360-degree recognition. You can also configure the fingerprint sensor for additional functionality like answering calls or taking phones et al. Also, the EMUI offers several gestures in conjunction with the fingerprint sensor for extended functionality — like swiping down on the sensor to bring down the notifications shade or double-tapping it to clear the notifications. One of the more useful gestures is the ability to swipe left or right on the sensor to browse photos without your finger blocking the view over the display.

Interestingly, the Huawei P9 has a single nanoSIM card slot that supports 4G LTE instead of the common hybrid Dual SIM slot – surprising considering the trend in the Indian market. So if you use two SIMs on an everyday basis or on your frequent travels, the P9 is a no go for you.

Huawei P9 Display

The Huawei P9 features a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD. Unless you're a fan of the 6-inch-and-around display sizes, the display on the P9 is just about perfect for most people. Huawei steers clear of the temptation for boundary-pushing 4K or even a Quad HD display, and the 1080p screen makes absolute sense on a 5.2-inch display. Anything higher would only drain the battery faster.

In any case, the display on P9 is extremely good and with a pixel density of around 423ppi, the P9's panel makes images look incredible and the text crisp. The 2.5D curved glass looks beautiful and accentuates the display. The viewing angles are great and the color reproduction is pretty accurate. You can also adjust the color temperature of the display from the settings to make it warmer or cooler as you'd prefer.

The sunlight legibility is just good enough, though slightly marred by the reflective glass. Overall, the display is sharp, and watching a movie or viewing your photos is a treat.

Huawei P9 Software

Emotion UI, or EMUI, is Huawei's custom UI layer running on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Far from just a skin, it adds a ton of features to the operating system including a variety of gesture controls. The number of features can actually be intimidating, so you may need to spend a couple of weeks moving things around to make everything work for you.

Like most of the proprietary UIs from Chinese brands, the EMUI lacks an app drawer. There's a one-hand UI with shifting keyboard (not sure why you'd need it on a compact smartphone like the P9 though) as well as a simple UI mode for basic users and for those who are visually impaired. There's the 'Phone Manager' app that gives easy access to, well, phone management options like system optimizations, memory clean-up, traffic manager, battery manager, as well as a harassment filter for blocking unwanted calls and messages.

The EMUI 4.1 is thankfully a good progression and takes care of some annoyances of the past. It's a very usable user interface with a host of customization options. Once you get a hang of it, it becomes clear that EMUI 4.1 is the best version of the EMUI yet, and as powerful as any other launcher. Of course, if you don't like what Huawei has done with the EMUI, you can switch to your favorite launcher just fine.

Huawei P9 Battery life

The Huawei P9 includes a respectable 3,000mAh non-removable battery, and big props to Huawei for packing a battery of that size into the slim form-factor of the P9. With average usage, the P9 easily lasts a day. The lack of Quad HD or 4K panel is a definite factor here, as well as the power-efficient optimizations of the Kirin 955 processor. You can squeeze out even more juice with the useful 'ROG power saving' mode which reduces the phone's resolution to 720p — further knocking down the battery consumption.

Overall, the battery life on the P9 is pretty good — not stellar — and since it supports fast charging, you can charge it up to two-thirds in less than 30 minutes. Trouble is, the supplied charger is the normal 5V/2A charger and takes over two hours to charge the phone from empty to 100%.

Huawei P9 Camera

Of course, the highlight of the Huawei P9 is the camera — co-engineered with Leica, the legendary optics enterprise from Germany. It's obviously less of a hardware partnership and more of a branding collaboration, similar to the Dolby Atmos or Beats tie-ups we've seen in the past for audio component.

Yet, imaging is a critical aspect of a smartphone experience today, and the collaboration with Leica and the execution is impressive, and so let me just say it outright. The photos clicked with the Huawei P9 are some of the best photos clicked with smartphones – the flagships included. Shots from the 12-megapixel rear camera offer a lot of details with impressive color reproduction.

The rear camera on the P9 packs in two sensors – RGB and Monochrome – with 27mm focal length and an f2.2 aperture, assisted laser AF as well as a dual-tone LED flash. The smartphones that boasted dual camera sensors in the past typically used them for 3D effect or for sensing depth of field, and hence never made a big impression. For Huawei, the dual camera sensors allow you to snap outstanding pictures using the two sensors, which work in unison with the RGB sensor capturing the colors and the monochrome sensor capturing the details. Despite sporting a smaller sensor as compared to the Samsung Galaxy S7 for example, the P9 has terrific low-light performance because of that monochrome sensor.

The P9 also includes a dedicated depth sensor which allows users to mimic depth of field just like shooting with DSLRs. Several other phone cameras with similar attempts end up clicking pictures that look unnatural. But the P9 excels here, allowing for bokeh effects that are pleasant to look at and look real.

Just as the marketing pitch of Huawei proposes, snapping monochrome photos on the P9 is an indulgence in itself. The monochrome mode captures photos with the monochrome sensor – unlike other smartphones where the photos are taken with an RGB sensor and then desaturated to look like a black-and-white photo. Nah, not the same thing! The monochrome photos with the P9 are brighter with more details. If you're like me and love monochrome or B&W photos, you'll end up shooting random things using the monochrome mode on the P9 all day for the sheer delight of the results.

On the front, there's an 8-megapixel camera with a f/2.4 aperture. It does well for those selfies outdoors, and even in low light although they are a tad darker in the latter case. There's also the functional beauty mode if vanity is your thing.

The brilliant results the P9 camera manages to offer are not just due to the optics hardware, but also the under-the-hood processing as well as the stock camera app. The latter may be intimidating as there is a lot going on here. There are almost too many options and features baked in, including 14 modes for clicking pictures and the option to shoot in RAW or the manual mode to granularly adjust ISO value, exposure, shutter speed, and focus.

At the end of the day, this is still a smartphone camera. It will not replace your DSLR (no smartphone can make such a claim at the moment) like some hyperbole headlines would suggest, but it's a darn nice camera with tons of options to get the photos you want for those likes and shares.

The video recording tops out at 1080p and 60fps and the P9, despite all its camera credentials, doesn't shoot in 4K. Frankly, like most people, I don't care about 4K, but it's a dent on the specifications sheet. Even on other flagships that support 4K recording, I record only 1080p to save storage space. You still get manual controls, and an option of standard, smooth, and vivid colors for video – but not the star monochrome option here. There's no optical image stabilization as well. So, yeah, you can shoot decent videos on the P9 but nothing fantastic or extraordinary like the stills it manages to capture.

Huawei P9 Bottom line

After the Nexus 6P, which probably isn't a Huawei phone in absolute terms, the Huawei P9 is the best smartphone from the Chinese brand. As Phil NIckinson says, the P9 is the "best mainstream phone Huawei has made." It's one of those smartphones that can't be judged on mere specifications and impresses you when you hold it in your hand and start using it.

The EMUI is in its best avatar on the P9, and although a little overpowering, it offers what the best in business offer feature-by-feature. It's got powerful internals with a well-executed dual-camera setup encased in a beautiful chassis with understated elegance. There are misses, too. Like the underwhelming RAM — in number or in memory performance. With all the camera hype, expert videographers and photographers — not me — would point at the lack of 4K recording and the just about average f2.2. aperture. And there's no dual SIM variant, mind you.

Should you buy it? Yes

The Huawei P9 is a top-notch smartphone, but alas, it's not a 'value for money' device like the Xiaomi Mi5 or OnePlus 3. At ₹39,999, the P9 is expensive but also a really impressive smartphone, and Huawei is within its rights to charge the premium for it.

Go ahead and buy it if you love mobile photography (who doesn't?) or like a stylish-looking slab that fits snuggly in your hand.

See at Flipkart

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3 weeks ago

FAA 'strongly advises' against Galaxy Note 7 use, charging on planes

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The Note 7 recall saga continues, with government agencies now getting involved.

As Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 recall picks up speed, with retailers and carriers taking in and replacing phones, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has officially recommended that travelers not use or charge Note 7s on flights. Going a step further, the FAA says that you shouldn't put a Note 7 in your checked luggage either — bring it with you on board, but turn it off, is the message.

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3 weeks ago

Shoot for the moon with these lunar wallpapers

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Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars...

The stars might be too far away to dream of visiting, but the moon is so close. It's right up there in the sky, almost every night. It's taunting us as it twirls around the Earth in its near-monthly rotation. And even though most of us will never see it up-close, we'll continue to reach for it every day... as the wallpaper on our phone!

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3 weeks ago

BlackBerry brings whole productivity app suite to more Android phones

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Last month, BlackBerry announced they would be bringing their Android apps such as the BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper to even more Android users through a new subscription offering called Hub+.

Now, they have announced an expansion of that access adding even more of the productivity apps to the mix.

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3 weeks ago

Here's what the new S Pen can do on the Galaxy Note 7

93

Learn what you can do with the S Pen and the Galaxy Note 7

Samsung's flagship releases for 2016, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7, are arguably the top-class smartphones of the year. While there are a number of similarities in terms of design and features between the two phones, the most marked difference is the Note 7's S Pen, which adds a host of awesome features.

From tools to keep you productive and organized to instant translations and animated gifs, the S Pen will be at the center of your experience with the Note 7 if you embrace it. Here are the core features that use the S Pen and how they work.

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3 weeks ago

5 things I learned traveling with the Honor 8

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Honor 8 travel

Travel lessons from a week with the Honor 8 at IFA.

If you're a frequent traveler, you'll know that nothing taxes a phone like dragging it halfway across a continent, through airport security bins, onto planes and back again. So whenever I take a phone with me on a trip — as I did with the Galaxy S7 edge earlier this year — it's fun to reflect on the lessons learned.

This time around my phone of choice was the Huawei-built Honor 8, and the venue was IFA 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Read on to find out how it fared.

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3 weeks ago

Best Chromebook

Dell Chromebook 13

The Dell Chromebook 13 is the best Chromebook you can buy today.

Best overall

Dell Chromebook 13

Dell Chromebook 13

See at Dell

I can just come right out and say it — Dell has made the best non-Pixel Chromebook to date with the new Chromebook 13. This 13.3-inch Chromebook has a great metal build coated in durable soft touch material, along with a great backlit keyboard and a big glass-covered trackpad.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

Why the Dell Chromebook 13 is the best

Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

The display on the Dell Chromebook 13 is a 1920x1080 IPS panel that looks great in the non-touch matte version, but there are also models with a Gorilla Glass-covered touchscreen of the same resolution.

At its lowest configuration — starting at $429 — you'll be getting a new Intel Celeron processor that's plenty capable when paired with 4GB of RAM, but if you have a specific reason for higher specs Dell will oblige and sell you one of a few different higher configurations. You can add a touch screen, up to 8GB of RAM and a Core i3 processor, all of which together add $200 more to the MSRP — but it could be worth it if you're looking for something higher end that doesn't say "Pixel" on it.

The Chromebook 13 offers fantastic battery life, is built super well and really checks all of the boxes aside from being a bit heavy at 3.23 pounds. If you're okay spending a little extra money to get something better than your standard cheap plastic Chromebook, this is the model to get — just make sure you choose the right configuration that works for your needs and budget.

The real question is which Chromebook 13 model you should choose. Dell doesn't have complete build-to-order configuration here but does offer plenty of different models, and I recommend you consider one of the first three. At minimum you'll want the Celeron model with 4GB of RAM, and optionally you could go for a higher model with a Core i3, 32GB of storage and a touchscreen for $629. Anything above that and it starts to be less of a great value, so be sure to weigh the features against the price before you buy.

Best on a budget

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C100)

ASUS Chromebook Flip

See at Amazon

The ASUS Chromebook Flip was rather unassuming and a little confusing when it was first unveiled, but has turned into a mini revelation. This little laptop with its 10.1-inch display and folding design that turns it into a pseudo-tablet is the go-to choice for anyone that wants a good, inexpensive and hyper-portable Chromebook.

For less than $300 you're getting a 1080p touch screen, a metal build, great battery life and solid performance out of a MediaTek processor and 2 or 4GB of RAM (do choose 4GB if possible). It's one of the first Chromebooks to receive initial Google Play Android app support, showing Google's confidence in this little device. On a budget and looking for a great Chromebook, you can't do much better than this.

Bottom line: The Chromebook Flip is also one of the first models slated to pick up Android app compatibility through the Google Play Store, which could tip the scales a bit for folks looking to be ready for the new feature addition.

Best for the future

Acer Chromebook R13

Acer Chromebook R13

See at Acer

Looking to the future, the Acer Chromebook R13 was just announced in September as the new mid-range offering from the company. The R13 represents the future of Chromebooks, carrying on from the ASUS Chromebook Flip. It has a 1080p IPS touch screen for interaction with Android apps, can fold back into various modes for an all-touch experience, and charges using the new USB-C standard rather than an older connector.

Beyond that, the Chromebook R13 offers a lot for its higher-than-average price. It has a solid metal build and nice-looking screen, with a solid (but quite standard) keyboard and trackpad. It isn't particularly light, but that's partially because of its large battery. The only real concern here is performance and configurability, as you're getting a MediaTek ARM processor and can only choose to get 16, 32 or 64GB of storage — there's no choice to get a higher-end processor or more RAM.

Bottom line: If you're happy with the base configuration and don't need something that's hyper-portable, this is going to be a great all-around choice to experience the future of Chrome OS.

Best to configure

HP Chromebook 13 G1

HP Chromebook 13 G1

See at HP

The HP Chromebook 13 G1 is nominally designed for the enterprise, but that's why it offers so much for a Chromebook enthusiast. No matter what model you get you're going to be using a full-metal laptop that comes in under three pounds, a crazy 3200x1800 touch screen, a backlit keyboard, and it charges up over USB-C (there's an additional USB-C port as well).

But here's the thing: you don't have to settle for the base model at $499. If you want more, you can have more — you can configure the Chromebook 13 G1 with up to 16GB of RAM and a top-end Intel Core m7 processor if you really need more performance.

The downside? Price. The base model at $499 is pretty good, but the whole idea behind getting the Chromebook 13 G1, for some people, is the configuration — and if you spec it up, this laptop will push over $1000. That's a lot of money to spend on a Chromebook, even when it's as nice as the HP is. The spec bumps when you configure it just lead to seemingly disproportionate increases in price.

Bottom line: If you have the money to spend, you're getting a great Chromebook here — but value-conscious buyers can choose better.

Conclusion

There's a Chromebook to satisfy most any need that you may have. Whether you're buying for yourself, as a gift, or giving guidance to someone else for their own purchase, be sure to start here before making a buying decision. For most people, though, most of the time, Dell Chromebook 13 is the overall best bet.

Best overall

Dell Chromebook 13

Dell Chromebook 13

See at Dell

I can just come right out and say it — Dell has made the best non-Pixel Chromebook to date with the new Chromebook 13. This 13.3-inch Chromebook has a great metal build coated in durable soft touch material, along with a great backlit keyboard and a big glass-covered trackpad.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Dell has made the Chromebook for you.

Chromebooks

Android Marshmallow

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3 weeks ago

How to disable auto Bluetooth audio streaming on Samsung Galaxy phones

21

Are you bothered by your music playing every time your Galaxy phone connects to your vehicle's Bluetooth? Here's how to fix it.

Owning a Bluetooth-enabled car stereo makes life easier in many ways. Once paired to your Samsung Galaxy phone, you'll be able to quickly connect your phone every time you get in your car and receive phone calls and text messages hands-free while you drive.

It also enables you to play music from your phone on demand, and by default you may notice it automatically playing the tracks stored on your Galaxy phone as soon as you turn on the vehicle. If you find autoplay to be more of a nuisance than a useful feature, here's how you can toggle media audio from playing in your Bluetooth car stereo.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to pull down the Notification shade.
  2. Tap the Settings icon.
  3. Tap Connections.
  1. Tap Bluetooth
  2. Tap the Settings icon next to the paired device you're having issues with.
  3. Tap the Media audio toggle switch to turn it off.

This will turn off all audio media from playing via Bluetooth in your car — an admittedly extreme option for fixing autoplay issues. When you decide you want to play music through your car stereo, you'll have to go back into your phone's Bluetooth settings and re-enable media audio.

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3 weeks ago

Amazon brings Alexa to the $89 Fire HD 8 tablet

6

Amazon has refreshed its $89 Fire HD 8 tablet, bringing Alexa functionality to the device along with a slew of spec upgrades. You can now interact with Amazon's voice assistant to control media playback, launch apps and games, check the weather, set a reminder, find news, and more.

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3 weeks ago

Wireless Fast Charging explained

81

Qi Fast Charge brings faster and more efficient charging without any change in how we use it.

The Qi charging standard has come a long way since it was first specified. What started as a very slow and very wasteful technology to recharge low-power devices (like the battery in your phone) has expanded to include things that need more power like a laptop and the Wireless Power Consortium has even demonstrated the tech powering kitchen appliances at 1kW. But for most of us, the biggest advance has been the introduction of wireless fast charging.

Any Qi-enabled phone will charge on any Qi pad, even if Fast Charge isn't available.

Qi (pronounced Chee and roughly translated to "spiritual energy") is a charging standard. The Wireless Power Consortium — think a group of electrical engineers that really love chargers and the smart people who make things that need to be charged — developed the specification in 2009. The first version supported wireless power transfer up to 4.999 watts, and it works by using two coils and some computer logic that sends a signal across the gap when they get close to each other, then uses magnetic induction to produce electricity on the receiver side. In the early days, you had to waste a lot of power creating an oscillating magnetic field in the base that was strong enough to induce the same oscillation and field in the receiver in order to charge your phone. And even then it charged very slowly. It was more of a convenience thing than an efficiency thing.

More: Wireless charging, in plain English

The folks at the WPC have kept expanding and developing the standard and besides additions like a medium-power mode that can provide up to 120 watts, they have been working on three specific ways to make it better: a longer range (it's up to 40mm now), higher output done safely, and less wasted power in the form of heat.

In June of 2015, the WPC released the latest version of the standard and increased the power transfer to 15 watts without any increase in the amount of wasted electricity as heat. That means the power created by the receiver coil (the one inside your phone) has increased by 300% and charging is faster, without either coil getting any hotter.

Using a charger and a phone with the "Fast Charge" label you can charge a typical phone (for example, the Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung's Wireless Fast Charger) to about 50% in 30 minutes, or charge fully in 90 minutes. While not as fast as a wired quick charge solution, this is a lot faster than it used to be.

Like every quick charging specification the tech has to monitor the transfer rate, the temperature, and the amount of charge the battery has. From a "cold" state, it takes about a fair amount of time for things to reach the point where they need to be scaled back. Reducing the amount of electricity provided (the base modifies the frequency and wavelength of the magnetic field created by its coil) is done to protect the battery and electronics inside your phone from getting too hot. At this point, the power (watts are a measure of power) generated is dropped until the battery is full, at which point it shuts down. Your phone monitors itself and sends a signal to the base to indicate that things need to change.

A lot of engineer speech is involved here, because of the subject matter. Essentially, your phone and your charger carry on a little electronic conversation.

  • Phone: I need some power!
  • Base: OK, I'll start my end. Make sure you stay close enough so the way my coil hums makes your coil hum, too. If I see your coil stop humming I'll turn everything off.
  • Phone: Gotcha. Staying close.
  • Base: I see that you are using the latest Qi standard, so I'll go full speed ahead until you give the word.
  • Phone: OK, I'm getting warm, so scale things back a little.
  • Base: OK. Lowering the frequency and pitch of my coil's hum so things don't get any hotter. Let me know when we're done.
  • Phone: My battery is full. You can stop now.

This is exactly how Qi charging has always worked. The only differences are changes to the resonant circuits in both the phone and the base that allow the coils to oscillate at a higher frequency with less damping (resistance) and less radiated energy (wasted energy in the form of heat) production. The current generated is higher while the resistance and heat produced are lower than previous versions, so more juice can flow from the coil in your phone to the battery without things getting too hot too fast. These changes were part of an update to the Qi standard, and everyone who is part of the WPC — Belkin, HTC, Lexus, Motorola, Samsung, Verizon and the rest of the 230+ members — can use the design to build chargers and devices that need charged and be sure everything is compatible.

Qi Fast Charge can generate up to 300% more current than the original specification.

The Qi specification has nothing to do with any USB charging standards and is generally followed to the letter by everyone involved. It's also freely available to anyone after a short term of WPC members-only access so everyone can use it — even a startup who might not have an extra $20,000 for the annual fee. Generally, you don't have to worry about the things you buy not meeting the full specifications. It just works. And now it works even faster.

For us as consumers, there isn't a lot to think about. If our phone is Qi Fast Charge compatible and we use a charging base that's also Qi Fast Charge ready, our phone will charge faster — about as fast as using an old (not quick charge) wall plug and cable. The system is designed to slow down before things get too hot and shut off completely once the battery is full — we don't need to intervene at any level. Qi is also backwards compatible so all your devices that use it will charge with any charging base, even if Fast Charge isn't available. The one thing we should do is to use the proper wall plug to make sure the right amount of current is available to the charging base and it doesn't overheat or charge too slowly.

If you like the convenience of wireless charging, make sure the next charging base you buy is Fast Charge ready!

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3 weeks ago

Australian airlines ban Galaxy Note 7 use as FAA considers options

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Galaxy Note 7

Note 7 may not be used or charged onboard Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia flights following battery fires.

The latest development in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall saga: Three Australian airlines have banned the use of Note 7 handsets onboard their aircraft, citing safety concerns after at least 35 devices suffered battery fires or explosions. Meanwhile the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority says it's considering its options.

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3 weeks ago

Samsung giving free Gear VR to Note 7 customers in India following global recall

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Customers that have pre-ordered the Galaxy Note 7 in India will have to wait to get their hands on the phone.

Samsung was yet to commence deliveries of the Note 7 in India when the company issued a global recall of the phone over battery cell issues. The South Korean manufacturer has now clarified in a statement that all customers that have pre-ordered the device will receive a Gear VR for free as well as a ₹3,500 ($50) content voucher redeemable on the Oculus store.

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3 weeks ago

PlayStation 4 Pro already available to pre-order!

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Pre-order your PlayStation 4 Pro.

Sony's PlayStation Meeting in NYC today turned out to be a lot more exciting than a lot of folks initially suspected. On top of a new, slim PlayStation 4 we got a ton of details surrounding the PlayStation 4 Pro. It's going to be great for those interested in 4K and HDR gaming, and PlayStation VR gamers will find an even better experience inside the headset. As first impressions go, PS4 Pro looks to be well worth the $399 asking price.

Best of all, it's available to pre-order now! Amazon currently has delivery listed at December 29th, 2017, but since there's also no image for the listing at the time of this writing it's pretty clear the order page hasn't been fully realized just yet. Sony is planning to make PS4 Pro available on November 10th, and if history is any indicator Amazon will ship to ensure these matte black consoles arrive on that day.

See on Amazon

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3 weeks ago

SanDisk's 200GB card is back to its lowest price for today only!

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Amazon's Deal of the Day can once again score you SanDisk's 200GB microSD card for just $60, a savings of $20 from its regular price. We've seen a number of deals over the past few months on this card, with this being the lowest price that the card has hit. Whether you need some additional storage for your phone, tablet, camera or other electronic devices, you won't want to miss out on this deal.

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3 weeks ago

The PlayStation 4 Pro is official!

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The 'Neo' is real and it has a name. Say hello to PlayStation 4 Pro.

The much rumored, now official, beefed up PlayStation 4 is now official; The PlayStation 4 Pro is inbound! Alongside the new, heavily leaked PS4 Slim, Sony made the announcement at its New York City event while unveiling the first true details on the console.

And naturally, PlayStation VR will be right there with it.

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