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Oct
10

Google has just announced its take on the 2-in-1 productivity tablet: the Google Pixel Slate. The tablet is priced like that of other flagship tablets of this ilk, but with the performance profile of any old Chromebook to start. So, how does Pixel Slate stand up against a leading competitor?

To answer that question, we’re looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is a similar size and not much more expensive to start. Not to mention that it, too, uses an operating system (OS) that has only recently come up to speed with the demands of mobile professionals.

So, should you buy a Google Pixel Slate in the face of an iPad Pro? Sadly, it’s never quite that simple.

Ipad Pro

Design

Both the iPad Pro and Pixel Slate are very similar in design. They’re both basically like any other tablet, with smoothed aluminum casings and fingerprint readers for security. However, both designs have their benefits and flaws.

The Pixel Slate, for instance, uses front-firing speakers and sports not one, but two USB-C ports. However, it’s lacking a headphone jack and its screen slides against the official keyboard cover.

Meanwhile, the iPad Pro has a gorgeous display and an ironclad OS for security purposes, but it also doesn’t support mouse or touchpad and it has a single Lightning port.

All said, we’re preferring the iPad’s Smart Keyboard to the Pixel Slate’s Keyboard, on account of its feedback and travel as well as how it connects with the device. The Pixel Slate uses a similar proprietary method to all the rest with magnetized pins, but the screen seems to slide all over the display when in this use case.

Ultimately, both Google and Apple are killing it when it comes to straight product design, and we’d gladly use either as a straight tablet. It’s when you introduce the accessories that things begin to diverge, and in this case for the better regarding the iPad Pro – and it doesn’t even have a touchpad.

Google Pixel Slate

Display

When comparing displays, it’s important to get the brass tacks out of the way first: the 12.9-inch iPad Pro display is one of Apple’s True Tone displays with ProMotion technology for easier viewing. 

Meanwhile, the 12.3-inch Pixel Slate is what Google calls a ‘Molecular Display,’ which applies physics to drawing out more pixels per inch out of low-temperature polymer crystals that move electrons faster than standard displays.

Ultimately, this means that the Google Pixel Slate display is actually sharper than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro at 293 pixels per inch (ppi) and 264 ppi, respectively. Of course, this isn’t exactly apples to apples, as one display is larger than the other and therefore affects those calculations.

This might not mean a ton in straight day-to-day tasks, but games and videos may look a little sharper on Pixel Slate than iPad Pro. That said, the iPad Pro uses the industry-grade P3 color gamut, which is a popular feature with digital creators. Ultimately, we find the iPad Pro’s to be a more impressive display with features that should please a wider swathe of users.

iPad Pro

Performance and price

This is where things get interesting – and, before we get into it, we’re only comparing the basic Google Pixel Slate configuration against the base level iPad Pro. The Pixel Slate calls for $599 (about £459, AU$847) before asking for another $199 (about £152, AU$281) for the Pixel Slate Keyboard cover.

This gets you an Intel Celeron processor that’s still unnamed, 4GB of memory and a 32GB solid-state drive (SSD) inside to power the experience.

Meanwhile, the iPad Pro 12.9 calls for $799 (£769, AU$1,199), and another $169 (about £169, AU$245) for the Smart Keyboard cover. For that price, you get an Apple A10X Fusion processor, 4GB of memory and a 64GB flash storage drive inside.

So, at the entry level, you’re looking at an $800 purchase for the (almost – we’re not counting the stylus) complete Google Pixel Slate experience at the ground level, whereas the iPad Pro gets you there at a whopping $970.

Both are mighty expensive, but we’re willing to wager that the iPad Pro is more powerful than the base-level Pixel Slate. That might even out as you dig into more powerful Pixel Slate configurations all the way up to Intel Core i7 processors, but at what cost?

On the other hand, the iPad Pro iOS operating system simply doesn’t compare to what the Pixel Slate is capable with the now-enhanced Chrome OS. So, the iPad Pro may be more powerful on paper, but the Pixel Slate is more immediately useable in a productivity setting.

So, if you have a specific use case that both the iPad Pro and Pixel Slate can enable, then you might be best served by the iPad Pro in this situation. However, if your use case changes regularly and you’re looking for more generalized productivity, the Pixel Slate may have the advantage.

Google Pixel Slate

Takeaway

Generally speaking, the Pixel Slate is actually rather comparable with the iPad Pro, but perhaps for different reasons than you might expect. The Pixel Slate may not pack as much raw power at the onset, but it’s immediately more versatile and flexible than an iPad Pro.

However, when it comes to Pixel Slate, we could easily think up similarly priced solutions that are just as versatile and flexible while being much more powerful, like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

At any rate, the iPad Pro wins out against the Pixel Slate when the primary use case lines up with the Apple tablet’s capabilities, primarily digital art creation and editing. But, if you’re looking at these two tablets and have more general computing needs, then Pixel Slate is your best bet.


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Oct
9
Dyson’s new Airwrap Styler makes hair styling a breeze
Posted by Olivia Tambini on 09 October 2018 11:02 PM

Dyson is following up its acclaimed Supersonic hair dryer with its latest hairstyling gadget: the Airwrap Styler.

Tapping into the current vogue for healthy hair styling, the Airwrap Styler is designed to create curls, waves, and bouncy blow drys without using extreme heat that can leave your stands feeling frizzy and dry.

The Airwrap Styler uses jets of air to create curls and waves, which should lessen the effects of heat damage and tangling when styling your hair. 

Dyson has engineered the Styler to make use of the Coanda effect, which causes high speed air to follow the contours of a surface in a similar manner to a liquid - a phenomenon also used to high effect in motor racing.

Just blowing hot air

This effect in turn “attracts, wraps, and curls the hair around the barrel”, which should make styling your hair an absolute breeze...literally. 

The Airwrap Styler comes in three different varieties with a number of different attachments, including a dryer, smoothing brushes, curling barrels, and more. 

Dyson is claiming its invested £75 million into researching the science of hair to date in a bid to confirm that it's more than just hand-dryers and vacuum cleaners that it can produce.

It’s available to buy now in the UK from £399.99 online and in Dyson stores. 

The Dyson Airwrap Volume + Shape and Smooth + Control models both retail at £399.99, whereas the Dyson Airwrap Complete costs £499.99 - although you do get a few more attachments for your money.

In Australia, the Airwrap Styler's complete package, with all attachments, will be available from October 13 at David Jones and Myer, but is already available to purchase on Dyson's own website for $699.


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Oct
9
Intel Coffee Lake Refresh release date, news and rumors
Posted by Kevin Lee on 09 October 2018 09:40 PM

Intel had everyone guessing when it launched its 8th generation desktop processors with Kaby Lake Refresh, but the manufacturer didn’t have us fooled us again when it launched the 9th Generation Intel Coffee Lake Refresh CPUs. This time around Intel is offering even higher core counts and about 400MHz faster speeds across the board – welcome to the 9th generation. 

With Coffee Lake Refresh Intel has closed the gap between itself and AMD’s Ryzen 2nd Generation processors. It’s doing this mainly through the Core i9-9900K, Intel’s first 8-core 16-thread chip for consumers – even if it is much more expensive than Team Red’s alternative. With these higher core counts and high clock speeds, Coffee Lake Refresh is a game changing release.

Now, these are just the highlights of Intel Coffee Lake Refresh, but we have so much more information to dive into, so strap in for the long ride and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Intel’s 9th-generation CPUs.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Intel’s rumored 9th generation CPU architecture
  • When is it out? October 19 
  • What will it cost? From $262 (£349, about AU$370) 

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh release date

At its 2018 Desktop Launch Event, Intel finally revealed when we can get our hands on its 9th-generation desktop lineup. The good news is that all the speculation was pretty much spot on – preorders are live now, and the chips will start shipping out on October 19. 

However, we’ve only seen the announcement of there of the Coffee Lake Refresh processors – the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K. We’re sure that the lineup won’t end here, so keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it when new processors get announced.

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh price

 Now that Intel has announced its new desktop platform, we now know what the pricing is going to look like. For the most part, it falls in line with what Intel charged for Coffee Lake desktop chips, though the Intel Core i9 is much more expensive than the competition, namely the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X. The prices are as follows: 

  •  Intel Core i5-9600K – $262 or £349 (about AU$370) 
  •  Intel Core i7-9700K – $374 or £499 (about AU$530) 
  •  Intel Core i9-9900K – $488 or £599 (about AU$700) 

We’re sure that Intel is going to pad this lineup with other mid-range and entry-level processors over the next year or so to pad out these massive price gaps. Until then, though, we can still expect fantastic multi-core performance at a reasonable price. 

Image credit: Videocardz

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh specs

Now that Intel has shown us what Coffee Lake Refresh is capable of, we have a clear picture of what these new processors look like. And, while only three Coffee Lake Refresh processors have been revealed, we’re sure there’s more to come in the near future.   

  •  Core i5-9600K: 6-cores, 6-threads, clocked at 3.7GHz to 4.6GHz 
  •  Core i7-9700K: 8-cores, 8-threads, clocked at 3.6GHz to 4.9GHz 
  •  Core i9-9900K: 8-cores, 16-threads, clocked at 3.6GHz to 5.0GHz 

This initial lineup is noteworthy, as it marks the first Intel Core i7 chip in a while without hyperthreading – instead it just features eight single-threaded cores. Still, that should be  plenty, especially considering the impressive 4.9GHz boost clock. Luckily, there is still a 9th-generation consumer chip that retains hyperthreading in the Intel Core i9-9900K. 

These new processors also feature much improved thermal performance, thanks to soldered thermal interface material (STIM). This should help these processors overclock more efficiently without having to resort to exotic cooling solutions to stretch the performance out. 

This is big, because Intel has stuck with non-soldered thermal paste to transfer heat between the processor dies and the IHS – much to the chagrin of enthusiasts and overclockers. This new soldered material should be a much more efficient heat transfer medium, which Intel says will lead to easier overclocking.

Image credit: Videocardz 

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh features

Of course, it wouldn’t be a new Intel processor lineup with a new motherboard and chipset platform. Interestingly enough, Intel’s forthcoming Z390 chipset is on the way, and can finally be preordered, after months and months of speculation.

This new platform supports t onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 – both of which are features not found natively supported on the current Z370 chipset. This new chipset now supports up to 40 lanes of PCIe Express 3.0, but is still limited to dual-channel, 2,666MHz memory.

Intel Coffee Lake Refresh performance

While we haven’t had the chance to fully test any of these chips, we were able to do some testing at Intel’s event. The Core i9-9900K, with its 8-cores and 16-threads was able to hit a score of 33,108 in the World of Tanks Encore benchmark. We were also able to play some PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, where we got an amazing 175fps at 1080p with Ultra settings, when paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080.

Meanwhile, the Intel Core i7-9700K was able to hit 30,339 points in that same World of Tanks benchmark – which is impressive given that chip doesn’t feature multithreading.

Unfortunately, those are the only benchmarks we really had access to. We’ll perform our full suite of benchmarks when we get our hands on the chips for a full review, and we’ll see how they stack up against AMD’s Ryzen 2nd Generation offerings like the Ryzen 7 2700X.

That’s all we know for now. There is surely still a ton of news to come. Per our usual advice, we encourage you return to this page periodically for in-depth coverage of the latest Intel Coffee Lake Refresh news and information.


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Oct
9
Google Pixel 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9
Posted by Mark Knapp on 09 October 2018 08:49 PM

Google announced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL today, and while they definitely seem to move the phone line forward, they don't seem to do that all that much. Google's focus seems to be largely on software an AI improvements, and while they'll surely help, the phones have to compete with other flagships, like the Galaxy S9

Unlike the comparison of Apples to Android we did for the Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS match-up, it's a little more straightforward comparing two Android flagships, and that makes this one a tight race. As we'll see, the Galaxy S9 is better in virtually every way, unless the Pixel 3 manages to have the best smartphone camera.

Design and display

The Samsung Galaxy S9 wallops the Pixel 3 in its design and display, not just for looking like a more strikingly premium phone, but also for catering to users' needs in more ways.

The Galaxy S9 is a little heftier at 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm and 163 grams, compared to the Pixel 3's 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm and 148g. Both have Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, while an aluminum frame wraps around the phones' edges. 

But, where the Pixel 3 may have gone thinner, the Galaxy S9 makes better use of its size. The Pixel 3 still has readily apparent bezels, though they've thinned down from the Pixel 2, and the top and bottom bezels house stereo speakers. The Galaxy S9, meanwhile, just has thin strips at the top and bottom of the screen, which curves at each side of the phone. The Pixel 3 design easily lags behind Samsung's.

The Pixel 3 offers an IPX8 rating against water ingress, but the Galaxy S9 holds an IP68 rating against both water and dust. So, it takes the lead in protection as well.

For ports and slots, the Galaxy S9 just gets further ahead. It features a USB-C port for charging and Dex desktop support, while also including a 3.5mm headpone jack and a microSD card slot. The Pixel 3 just has a USB-C port.

Both phones include fingerprint scanners, but Samsung goes further by also offering facial recognition and iris scanning.

The displays just set the two phones even further apart. The Pixel 3 fits a 5.5-inch Full HD+ display for a pixel density of 443ppi. It has an 18:9 aspect ratio, HDR support, and uses an OLED panel. 

Everything is stepped up on the Galaxy S9. It's 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display has a 2,960 x 1,440 resolution for a sharper 570ppi. It also supports Mobile HDR Premium content.

OS and power

There's a fair bit of similarity between the two phones here. While the Pixel 3 runs Android 9 Pie and the Galaxy S9 runs Android 8 Oreo, the Pixel 3 doesn't gain much of an advantage from the difference. The Galaxy S9 will likely be getting the new operating system next year. That said, the Google's own phones will always get software updates sooner than 3rd party manufactured handsets.

Both phones are powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset (though some version of the Galaxy S9 have Samsung's own Exynos 9810) and come with 4GB of RAM. The base storage for each is also 64GB, with upgrades to 128GB available on both. However, the S9 internal storage can be configured as high as 256GB, and microSD card support allows for even more storage beyond that.

The Galaxy S9 has a 3,000mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the Pixel 3's 2,915mAh battery. However, neither should struggle to get all-day performance. And, wireless charging is an option on both phones.

The fairly even match-up here makes it tough to call, but Samsung's more flexible storage and ability to power a desktop-like experience though Dex may give it an edge for some customers.

Camera

Both Samsung and Google know how to make a great smartphone camera. Samsung has done it this time with its dual-aperture rear camera, which has a 12MP sensor able to shoot using either a fast f/1.5 aperture or an f/2.4 aperture. The wide aperture combined with 1.4 micron pixels offers improved low-light performance. The rear camera also has optical image stabilization (OIS), and can record video in 4K at up to 60fps or in 1080p at 240fps.

The Pixel 3 rear camera is worse on paper. It has a 12.2MP sensor with 1.4 micron pixels and an f/1.8 aperture. It does offer optical and electronic image stabilization, but its video capabilities are limited, only hitting 30fps for 4K and 120fps for 1080p. However, Google has shown its might in AI-powered image processing, so it may still pull ahead in image quality. But, we'll have to wait and see.

The Pixel 3 does offer a big more with the front-facing cameras, since it has two 8MP sensors. One has a 97-degree FOV for group selfies, and the other has a narrower FOV but faster f/1.8 aperture for better low-light performance. 

The Galaxy S9 front-facing camera has an 8MP sensor with an 80-degree FOV an wide f/1.7 aperture. It may not be as flexible, but it does enable AR Emoji for whatever that's worth.

Price

For all the premiums that the Galaxy S9 seems to have over the Pixel 3, perhaps the most surprising thing is that it's also cheaper (generally).

The Galaxy S9 (64GB) launched at $719 (£739 / AU$1,199), and it isn't hard to find on sale for even less than that. Adding another 64GB of storage doesn't even bring the cost as high as the Pixel 3's price.

The Pixel 3 is starting at $799 (£739, AU$1,199), but a storage increase bumps that up even further.

Given the newness of the Pixel 3, it seems unlikely we'll see major price drops soon. Meanwhile the Galaxy S9 gets deals all the time, and we'd expect even better ones when Black Friday and Cyber Monday come along.

Google Pixel 3 vs Samsung Galaxy S9

Takeaway

Google really needs to offer something special with the Pixel 3 camera. The fact that it's lagging behind in so many areas to a cheaper phone that as released more than half a year earlier is not good. While some people may take comfort in the Android experience Google offers and the guaranteed OS updates, Samsung is no slouch when it comes to offering a good experience. 

The Galaxy S9 offers great performance, a dazzling screen, and a good camera all packed into an outstanding design. The Pixel 3 has a design that's not quite keeping up with the times as well as the larger Pixel 3 XL, and its screen isn't topping any specs charts, yet Google wants a premium price. Unless the camera tops every other phone currently on the market, it'll be a tough sell.


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Oct
9
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
Posted by Matt Hanson on 09 October 2018 08:05 PM

After years of anticipation, we finally got our hands on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, along with its mainstream cousin, the RTX 2080.

But, how does the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti compare to its processor, the GTX 1080 Ti? We've now updated this versus piece as we've had time with the brand new graphics card, and have put the two cards through their paces to find out how well they really compare to each other.

The GTX 1080 Ti is certainly a tough act to follow, being one of the best gaming graphics cards ever made. It certainly feels like we’ve got the RTX 2080 Ti earlier than expected, but does this mean it’s less of a leap when it comes to performance? Let’s find out.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti price

The GTX 1080 Ti launched on March 10, 2017, for $699 (£699, around AU$1,000).  Even by Nvidia’s flagship GPU standards, this was a very high price tag, but for many, the pure gaming performance of the GTX 1080 Ti was well worth it.

Because of that, we weren’t expecting the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti to be cheap, which is just as well when Nvidia unveiled its $999 (AU$1,899, about £753) price tag – though, you’ll have a hard time finding at that price. Instead, you’ll likely find most 2080 Ti cards sitting at or above the price of the Founders Edition card at $1,199 (£1,099, AU$1,899)

That’s a hefty amount of cash it’s asking for, so the performance better be worth it. Our full review of the RTX 2080 Ti goes into plenty of detail about whether or not it’s worth the steep price increase. In short, it’s a lot more powerful, but not when compared to the price.

If that price is too much, then bear in mind that the price of the GTX 1080 Ti may well drop now that its successor is out. It’s well worth keeping an eye out for any bargains on that front.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti specifications

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti packs 3584 CUDA cores, 224 texture units and 88 ROPs. It comes with 11GB of GDDR5X VRAM, which has a speed of 11Gbps – making this Nvidia’s quickest Pascal card. It also has a base clock of 1,480MHz, and a boost clock of 1,582MHz.

Meanwhile the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti features 4352 Cuda cores, 272 texture cores and 88 ROPs. Memory-wise it has 11GB of GDDR6 VRAM with a speed of 14Gbps. Its base clock is 1,350MHz, and it has a boost clock of 1,545MHz.

That's for the reference spec of the RTX 2080 Ti. There is also a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition which features an overclocked boost of 1,635MHz.

It's certainly a decent spec bump over the 1080 Ti, and in our full review of the RTX 2080 Ti we’ll give the new GPU a thorough test to see just how much faster it really is.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti performance

As we mentioned earlier, we've now had a chance to run a variety of benchmark tests using the RTX 2080 Ti, so we can better compare it to the performance of the GTX 1080 Ti.

As you can see from the results above, the RTX 2080 Ti offers a decent performance boost over the GTX 1080 Ti in a range of graphical benchmarks. While the performance difference isn't that huge in these benchmarks, it does mean that the RTX 2080 Ti is the most powerful consumer graphics card in the world.

Impressively, the RTX 2080 Ti also has a lower maximum temperature and maximum power draw than the GTX 1080 Ti, which means it doesn't just offer more performance, but also does it more efficiently.

Of course, we also wanted to see how the RTX 2080 Ti compares to the GTX 1080 Ti when it comes to playing games. In the results above you can see that you are getting around 10 frames per second more when playing Total War: Warhammer II.

Playing Middle Earth: Shadow of War at 1080p the difference is even more stark, with a 30 fps increase.

The RTX 2080 Ti is also a much better performer at 4K resolution. Shadow of War hits 74 fps, much higher than the holy grail of 60 fps at 4K. Meanwhile, the GTX 1080 Ti falls just short, hitting 52 fps.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti architecture

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti architecture

As with other series 10 graphics cards, like the GTX 1080, the GTX 1080 Ti is built on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, which Nvidia promised would deliver three times the performance of previous-generation graphics cards, while excelling at virtual reality and other advanced gaming technology.

With Pascal, Nvidia introduced its 16nm FinFET process, which brought improved efficiencies, higher densities of transistors, and increased performance.

The RTX 2080 Ti, however, is based on Nvidia’s new Turing GPU architecture. This features the debut of RT Cores, which are specialized cores used to compute how light and sound travel in a 3D environment at a rate of up to 10 GigaRays. They should allow Turing GPUs like the RTX 2080 Ti to process real-time ray tracing 25-times faster than Pascal architecture.

Turing architecture also carries over Tensor Cores from its Volta architecture, which can deliver up to 500 trillion tensor operations a second that benefits AI-driven rendering methods, such as deep learning anti-aliasing.

As with Volta, Nvidia Turing has adopted GDDR6 memory that clocks in as fast as 14Gbps, and features 18.6 billion transistors compared to Pascal’s 11.8 billion transistors.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti conclusion: should you upgrade?

Now that we've had time with the RTX 2080 Ti to properly compare it to the GTX 1080 Ti, we can conclude that there's no doubt that the RTX 2080 Ti is the world's most powerful gaming graphics card, and easily surpasses the GTX 1080 Ti.

If you want the very best of the best, then the RTX 2080 Ti is the one to go for.

However, the GTX 1080 Ti is still an absolutely brilliant graphics card, so if you want to save a bit of money and don't need to hit 4K resolution at full graphical settings, then the GTX 1080 Ti is well worth considering.

But what about if you already own a GTX 1080 Ti? Should you make the upgrade? We'd say probably not. The performance difference isn't that immense to warrant an upgrade. For most people, the GTX 1080 Ti will be more than good enough for the next year or more.

Otherwise, you may be able to sell your GTX 1080 Ti for a still decent price, then put that money towards an RTX 2080 Ti if you really must have the very best GPU.


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