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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5, 5 Plus due for December reveal

    It feels like just a few days ago that the Xiaomi Redmi 4A and 4X came to South Africa, but the smartphone industry waits for no-one and the Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus are set to be announced. Yes, the Chinese brand has confirmed that it'll be doing a proper reveal of the two phones on 7 December. But what should you expect? "The key attractions of this device are 18:9 full-screen display, soft-toned selfie-light, and a large battery," the company divulged. In other words, we see the tall screen trend filtering down to cheaper devices, having started proper with the...

  • Puzzle Fighter and GRID: this week’s top mobile games

    Welcome to Gearburn's Mobile Game Picks of the Week, a weekly series in which Hadlee takes a look at the latest, most entertaining, or time-consuming mobile games on portable screens. It's going to be tough to compare to the previous week's lineup of mobile games, but I think we managed to do a solid job nonetheless! Anyway, our highlights include GRID Autosport, Puzzle Fighter and three more nifty titles. GRID Autosport (paid - iOS) It's great to see recent console and PC titles hit mobile devices, and GRID Autosport is the latest port to mobile. The game obviously has tweaked controls (including tilt control), physical...

  • 7 possible alternatives to lootboxes in gaming

    It seems like you can't visit a gaming news website without hearing about lootboxes and the like. And for good reason, with Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Need for Speed: Payback and several other titles offering this feature. Lootboxes, for the uninitiated, are in-game boxes that contain randomly generated items and perks, for the most part. But the big issue was that these boxes often required a ton of in-game experience/credits or, even worse, real money, to unlock. Then there are the games that allowed you to buy in-game credits with real cash, which in turn can be used to buy...

  • Honor V10 is official, a taste of what to expect with P11?

    The Honor V10 leaked a few days ago, but the London event finally took place last night. So what's there to know about the new smartphone? For one, the phone indeed packs the same Kirin 970 chipset used in the Mate 10. And it's most likely the same chipset that will appear in the P11, as we reported earlier this month. The chipset, which consists of four high-powered A73 cores and four lightweight A53 cores, also packs a Neural Processing Unit for AI calculations. So what's the Honor V10 doing with the machine learning grunt? Well, Huawei's Honor website lists AI voice...

  • Another day, another battery ‘breakthrough’ using graphene

    Samsung has announced a battery breakthrough, using a "graphene ball" to achieve five times faster charging speed and a 45% increase in capacity. "The breakthrough provides promise for the next generation secondary battery market, particularly related to mobile devices and electric vehicles," read a release on Samsung's website. The research was conducted by the Samsung Advanced Insitute of Technology (SAIT), Samsung SDI and the Seoul National University's School of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Researchers found that the battery based on the 'graphene ball' material needs only 12 minutes to fully charge. Most smartphones need at least an hour to 90 minutes to...

  • A ton of Chromebooks now support Android apps [List]

    Google has been pushing Chromebooks in the last year or so, bringing Android app support to the platform via the Google Play Store. Buying a Chromebook with Android app support wasn't easy though, as the functionality took its sweet time to arrive on various laptops. But since our last look at compatible Chromebooks, the list has grown in a very big way. So who has stepped up to deliver? We see stable entries from: Acer (R13, 11 N7, C771, C771T, 14, 14 for Work, CB3-532, CB515-1HT), Asus (C101PA, C202SA, C300SA/C301SA, C302), CTL (NL61, J2/J4), Dell (3180, 3380, 3189), eduGear (K Series, M Series), Edxis (Education Chromebook),...

  • Samsung granted patent for under-screen fingerprint scanner

    A fingerprint scanner under the screen remains one of the most elusive goals in the smartphone industry, only being seen on prototype devices. But Samsung thinks it's closer to making the tech a reality, judging by a recently granted patent spotted by Let's Go Digital. The patent shows a fingerprint scanner that sits just above the actual display panel (but below the glass cover), being activated thanks to a pressure sensor within the screen. Aside from unlocking the phone, Samsung also reckons you could use the under-screen scanner to unlock certain apps by simply tapping them. For instance, a chat app can be...

  • When to expect Android Oreo from HMD, will Nokia 2 get it?

    HMD Global made a notable commitment when it launched Nokia-branded smartphones earlier this year, saying it would update the phones regularly. So when can we see updates for the phones? "We'll be sending a press release during this week, keep an eye out," an HMD Global representative told Gearburn when we asked about the availability of Oreo. It's worth noting that the update is currently being pushed to the Nokia 8, HMD confirmed on Twitter. But what about the Nokia 2? Will it receive Oreo? HMD's newest smartphone combines a low-end Snapdragon 212 chip with a large 4100mAh battery, delivering two-day endurance on...

  • Gearburn’s definitive guide to MediaTek chips [Updated]

    We've already done a Snapdragon smartphone guide, but what if you're leaning towards a MediaTek-powered phone? There are loads of processors from the Chinese firm out there, but how do you know which one is worth your cash? You can use our guide for this, as we demystify the MediaTek range of chips and give pricing recommendations in the process. For our definitive guide to Qualcomm Snapdragon smartphones, have a look at the piece linked below. Gearburn’s definitive guide to Qualcomm Snapdragon smartphones From general tasks to 4K video support, your smartphone’s processor plays a big part in the overall experience. And Qualcomm’s Snapdragon range...

  • 2017 smartphones: avoid these devices

    The year has really delivered in terms of smartphones, as LG, Samsung, Sony and others delivered great flagship devices. We're not saying that all the phones were fantastic though. In fact, there are a few you should generally stay away from... BlackBerry KeyOne Now, this one is a great phone for a BlackBerry-branded device, but is it worth the R9000+ price tag? No. No it isn't. For your cash, you get a mid-range Snapdragon 625 chip, a 12MP main camera that's pretty great and a 3505mAh battery. The combo of Snapdragon 625 and battery means that two days of usage is certainly possible. But...