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Apple iPhone 12- What We Know So Far

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Apple iPhone 12

The iPhone holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. Aside from the fact that it is the first-ever commercially available smartphone, it is also quite good in a lot of things.

The iPhone 11 Pro, for example, sports three cameras that can provide users with the best possible snaps in an instant. 

That being said, every year, the company releases a new model, so everyone is quite excited about the unveiling of the next iPhone. Judging from the company’s naming scheme, it should be called the Apple iPhone 12.

What We Know So Far

Apple usually announces their new phones in the second half of the year, but as an avid iPhone fan, I scour the internet for any information or rumors that I can get so that I will know what to expect when the next big thing launches.

In this article, I will go over the things that I’ve learned about the new phone so far- the specs, the design, the price, and of course, the release date.

Design

It took a couple of months before the rumors were out. Jon Prosser, a well-renowned Apple analyst, has released a few leaks about the possible design mockups of the iPhone 12.

Apparently, the phone will have a much smaller notch; about ⅓ of the notch that is currently on the iPhone 11. If this rumor is true, we can expect it to look so much better while also making sure that the screen real estate is increased for your content.

It is also rumored that the iPhone 12 lineup comes in four different sizes. This is punctuated by Ming-Chi Kuo, another well-known Apple analyst.

Kuo said that the iPhone 12 will have four possible models: one model will have a 5.4-inch display, two models will have 6.1-inch displays, and the last one will have a 6.7-inch display.

All of the iPhone 12’s screens are also going to be OLED and if the sizes are final, the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 is going to be the biggest iPhone model yet.

The overall dimensions of the phone might seem to be smaller as well. Again, if this is true, even if you have the 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch models, both of them will be easier to grip in the hand.

One interesting rumor that I found is that the company is probably going to add a LiDaR sensor at the back to improve image quality and to improve the performance of augmented reality applications. This idea is not outlandish at all since the company has already included such a sensor in its newest iPad Pro.

It is important to keep in mind that the upcoming iPhones will not have a headphone jack. This is nothing new since the company has removed the said jack for a couple of years now.

Under the Hood

iPhone 12 Rumors

Now that you know how the phone will probably look like, it is now important to tackle what is inside this beast.

First and foremost, all iPhones are powered by Apple’s ‘A’ bionic chips. The iPhone 11 comes with the company’s A13 processor which is slightly better than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 flagship processor found in higher-end Android phones.

The new Apple iPhone 12 will definitely get the newest iteration of the bionic chip and it is rumored to be the best chip in existence (at least, at the time of writing this article)

Leaked Geekbench results show a score of 4100. That is a truly impressive score and it is indeed so much higher than what the Snapdragon 865 can get.

However, I would like to caution you to take leaked benchmarks with a huge grain of salt as such things can be faked quite easily. It is best to wait for actual benchmarks first.

As for the RAM, Jon Prosser said that the base model, as well as one of the 6.1-inch models, will get 4GB of RAM, while the remaining two will get 6GB of RAM.

For those of you who do not know, 6GB of RAM is the biggest capacity RAM that is ever put inside an iPhone. This will definitely improve performance across the board, especially when it comes to multitasking and demanding apps.

Cameras

One of the reasons why people really love iPhones is their camera. The ‘pro’ models will most likely have 3 cameras (like the ones found in iPhone 11) but will come with a LiDaR time-of-flight sensor that was mentioned above.

There are a couple of reasons why the inclusion of such a sensor may become a reality. Aside from the fact that it already exists in the iPad Pro, a recent data mine suggests that there was a time-of-flight sensor code that is found in the latest iOS 14.

Now, why should you be excited about this new sensor? Well, this sensor can more accurately judge the distance between the object that you want to take a photo of and you. Aside from that, AR applications will have great use of such a sensor.

Another likely addition is the inclusion of an improved telephoto lens. This is because of the patent that was filed by the company just a few months ago.

If this patent is to be believed, that would mean that the phone’s cameras will do a good job of zooming in even if the subject is located at long distances.

Smooth Display

iPhone 12 Leaks

Something that really piqued my interest in the upcoming iPhones is that they are going to have a 120hz refresh rate display.

For the uninitiated, a 120hz display will refresh the contents of the screen more readily than your standard 60hz screen. This makes everything that is found on the screen to be more fluid and smooth.

I think this is the year that Apple will likely add this to their new phone lineup. That is because most flagship Android phones are already rocking 90-120Hz displays and if the company doesn’t do anything to improve their displays, they are going to be left out.

It is worth noting, though, that such displays will drain a lot of battery. But, since everything is built in-house and because of the seamless integration of both hardware and software, I know that the company will have solved this issue before release.

Battery

Now, there is no tangible information or rumor yet regarding the battery capacities of all the new iPhone 12 models, but there is something interesting that you need to know.

For quite a while, Apple has been using its proprietary lightning port as a means to charge their device, but recent EU regulations will probably force the company to switch to the more conventional USB Type-C, mainly for convenience.

Although Apple is opposed to such a ruling, the company, if it really wants the iPhone 12 models to sell like hotcakes, will be forced to comply with the said regulation.

This can actually be a good thing for consumers because that would mean that the phone will most likely come with a really fast charger right out of the box.

Price

The pricing of the upcoming iPhone models is quite appealing. Assuming that the phones will be called the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, their rumored prices are as follows:

  • iPhone 12- $649
  • iPhone 12 Max- $749
  • iPhone 12 Pro- $999
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max- $1,099

Conclusion

While there is still no specific release date, the iPhone 12 will most likely come out in October or November.

With a new and fast screen, OLED display, better cameras with a LiDaR sensor, 4 display sizes to choose from, and the possibility of a USB Type-C port, there are a lot of things to be excited about the launch of the upcoming iPhones.

Just bear in mind that everything in this article is all rumors, but the information stated above came from reliable Apple analysts. Still, take these things with a grain of salt.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.

It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.

Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?

Design

One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.

The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.

You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.

Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.

I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.

Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.

An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.

So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.

3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.

I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.

To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.

The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.

You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.

Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball. 

For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.

You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.

You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.

Conclusion

Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.

The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.

You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.

Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?

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Apple iPhone 12- What We Know So Far

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Apple iPhone 12

The iPhone holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. Aside from the fact that it is the first-ever commercially available smartphone, it is also quite good in a lot of things.

The iPhone 11 Pro, for example, sports three cameras that can provide users with the best possible snaps in an instant. 

That being said, every year, the company releases a new model, so everyone is quite excited about the unveiling of the next iPhone. Judging from the company’s naming scheme, it should be called the Apple iPhone 12.

What We Know So Far

Apple usually announces their new phones in the second half of the year, but as an avid iPhone fan, I scour the internet for any information or rumors that I can get so that I will know what to expect when the next big thing launches.

In this article, I will go over the things that I’ve learned about the new phone so far- the specs, the design, the price, and of course, the release date.

Design

It took a couple of months before the rumors were out. Jon Prosser, a well-renowned Apple analyst, has released a few leaks about the possible design mockups of the iPhone 12.

Apparently, the phone will have a much smaller notch; about ⅓ of the notch that is currently on the iPhone 11. If this rumor is true, we can expect it to look so much better while also making sure that the screen real estate is increased for your content.

It is also rumored that the iPhone 12 lineup comes in four different sizes. This is punctuated by Ming-Chi Kuo, another well-known Apple analyst.

Kuo said that the iPhone 12 will have four possible models: one model will have a 5.4-inch display, two models will have 6.1-inch displays, and the last one will have a 6.7-inch display.

All of the iPhone 12’s screens are also going to be OLED and if the sizes are final, the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 is going to be the biggest iPhone model yet.

The overall dimensions of the phone might seem to be smaller as well. Again, if this is true, even if you have the 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch models, both of them will be easier to grip in the hand.

One interesting rumor that I found is that the company is probably going to add a LiDaR sensor at the back to improve image quality and to improve the performance of augmented reality applications. This idea is not outlandish at all since the company has already included such a sensor in its newest iPad Pro.

It is important to keep in mind that the upcoming iPhones will not have a headphone jack. This is nothing new since the company has removed the said jack for a couple of years now.

Under the Hood

iPhone 12 Rumors

Now that you know how the phone will probably look like, it is now important to tackle what is inside this beast.

First and foremost, all iPhones are powered by Apple’s ‘A’ bionic chips. The iPhone 11 comes with the company’s A13 processor which is slightly better than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 flagship processor found in higher-end Android phones.

The new Apple iPhone 12 will definitely get the newest iteration of the bionic chip and it is rumored to be the best chip in existence (at least, at the time of writing this article)

Leaked Geekbench results show a score of 4100. That is a truly impressive score and it is indeed so much higher than what the Snapdragon 865 can get.

However, I would like to caution you to take leaked benchmarks with a huge grain of salt as such things can be faked quite easily. It is best to wait for actual benchmarks first.

As for the RAM, Jon Prosser said that the base model, as well as one of the 6.1-inch models, will get 4GB of RAM, while the remaining two will get 6GB of RAM.

For those of you who do not know, 6GB of RAM is the biggest capacity RAM that is ever put inside an iPhone. This will definitely improve performance across the board, especially when it comes to multitasking and demanding apps.

Cameras

One of the reasons why people really love iPhones is their camera. The ‘pro’ models will most likely have 3 cameras (like the ones found in iPhone 11) but will come with a LiDaR time-of-flight sensor that was mentioned above.

There are a couple of reasons why the inclusion of such a sensor may become a reality. Aside from the fact that it already exists in the iPad Pro, a recent data mine suggests that there was a time-of-flight sensor code that is found in the latest iOS 14.

Now, why should you be excited about this new sensor? Well, this sensor can more accurately judge the distance between the object that you want to take a photo of and you. Aside from that, AR applications will have great use of such a sensor.

Another likely addition is the inclusion of an improved telephoto lens. This is because of the patent that was filed by the company just a few months ago.

If this patent is to be believed, that would mean that the phone’s cameras will do a good job of zooming in even if the subject is located at long distances.

Smooth Display

iPhone 12 Leaks

Something that really piqued my interest in the upcoming iPhones is that they are going to have a 120hz refresh rate display.

For the uninitiated, a 120hz display will refresh the contents of the screen more readily than your standard 60hz screen. This makes everything that is found on the screen to be more fluid and smooth.

I think this is the year that Apple will likely add this to their new phone lineup. That is because most flagship Android phones are already rocking 90-120Hz displays and if the company doesn’t do anything to improve their displays, they are going to be left out.

It is worth noting, though, that such displays will drain a lot of battery. But, since everything is built in-house and because of the seamless integration of both hardware and software, I know that the company will have solved this issue before release.

Battery

Now, there is no tangible information or rumor yet regarding the battery capacities of all the new iPhone 12 models, but there is something interesting that you need to know.

For quite a while, Apple has been using its proprietary lightning port as a means to charge their device, but recent EU regulations will probably force the company to switch to the more conventional USB Type-C, mainly for convenience.

Although Apple is opposed to such a ruling, the company, if it really wants the iPhone 12 models to sell like hotcakes, will be forced to comply with the said regulation.

This can actually be a good thing for consumers because that would mean that the phone will most likely come with a really fast charger right out of the box.

Price

The pricing of the upcoming iPhone models is quite appealing. Assuming that the phones will be called the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, their rumored prices are as follows:

  • iPhone 12- $649
  • iPhone 12 Max- $749
  • iPhone 12 Pro- $999
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max- $1,099

Conclusion

While there is still no specific release date, the iPhone 12 will most likely come out in October or November.

With a new and fast screen, OLED display, better cameras with a LiDaR sensor, 4 display sizes to choose from, and the possibility of a USB Type-C port, there are a lot of things to be excited about the launch of the upcoming iPhones.

Just bear in mind that everything in this article is all rumors, but the information stated above came from reliable Apple analysts. Still, take these things with a grain of salt.

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

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Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

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Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.

It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.

Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?

Design

One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.

The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.

Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.

You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.

Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.

I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.

Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.

An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.

So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.

3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.

I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.

To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.

The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.

You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.

Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball. 

For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.

You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.

You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.

Conclusion

Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.

The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.

You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.

Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?

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