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AppDate: A Mac media makeover

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In his latest AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Elmedia Player for Mac, HelpOut, the Enhanced Harry Potter series, MSC Cruises, New Truedialer, Vodacom Video Play, Tag Me, Impossible Super Ninja, 360 Panorama for BlackBerry and WhatsApp Web.

Elmedia Player for Mac

Elmedia Player for Mac is a great application for playing just about any kind of video and media file on a Mac without first having to convert it. Users are able to either stream online movies, or can store them for later viewing. The free version offers standard streaming and viewing of movies, but the pro version lets users download from YouTube, tweak audio settings and take screenshots while videos are playing.

Platform: Apple Mac OS X and above.

Expect to pay: A free download, with the pro version costing around R275

Stockists: Visit mac.eltima.com

 

HelpOut App

The HelpOut App connects households with registered service companies like plumbers, electricians, and taxi drivers. Users don’t need to trawl the Internet or Yellow Pages to find a plumber or electrician as it is all done via the app by using the phone’s location. This also means that users don’t have to wait too long for someone to get to their place. When searching for a service, only authorised companies are listed, ensuring users get the best services.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Enhanced Harry Potter series

Enhanced editions of all seven books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are now available on the iBooks Store for readers around the world to enjoy on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. Customers can download individual books featuring full original text, interactive animations and  artwork bringing the stories to life. Harry Potter fans will also find annotations throughout their literary journey, written by the author herself.

Platform: iOS and Apple Mac OS X

Expect to pay: R137 per book.

Stockists: Visit the iBooks Store from an Apple device.

 

MSC Cruises app

The MSC Cruises app offers users features like itineraries, shore excursions and even virtual ship tours. Users can also the browse MSC Cruises’ range of holiday choices and gain insights into cruise destinations. The app also allows users to set push notifications to ensure that they remain updated with the latest news and special offers. Thanks to the global positioning feature, one can also track the MSC fleet across the oceans.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

New Truedialer app

The new Truedialer app includes a more intuitive app design, and a quicker, more convenient way to find contacts. Unlike other dialers, the app offers instant access to relevant information on someone a person is about to call, and fills in missing contact information. The dialer uses a simple and easy to use numeric pad to help find numbers within as well as outside of the device’s phonebook. It comes with Truecaller integration, which offers the ability to identify more than 1.7-billion registered Truecaller numbers.

Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and above, BlackBerry OS 10 and above.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Vodacom Video Play

Video Play is an app that uses spare network capacity to download and cache selected video content at a reduced cost.  Users pre-select their content, which is then downloaded during low-demand periods (typically overnight). Instead of billing per unit of data, Video Play bills in minutes, not megabytes, allowing customers to control and manage their spend. At the moment, users can download content from local producers like eNCA, eTV, Urban Brew and MobiTV.

Platform: Android and Blackberry.

Expect to pay: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Tag Me

The Tag Me app allows selected friends to track each other in real-time by inviting a friend or group of friends to track them. It also has the ability to pin-point their location and raises the alarm if they go off-route or don’t reach their destination when expected. As a result of this functionality, this feature is also of great value-add for cyclists, hikers, runners and others, as it leaves a ‘bread crumb trail’ via blue dot navigation. The chosen rout is displayed and is updated every 10 seconds – showing total distance and time covered and indicates lost connectivity or stops longer than 10 minutes.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Impossible Super Ninja

In Impossible Super Ninja, players slip into the role of a Ninja. They have to clear towers filled with a range of traps and collect every diamond they find along their journey. They have to scale walls, jump and hop using an innovative one-touch control that is easy to pick up, yet rather hard to master. During the course of the game, users are able to unlock all the ninjas of their clan, which are illustrated in a 2D style.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download, but with loads of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

360 Panorama for BlackBerry

Even though the BlackBerry camera offers a range of great functions, including multiple modes, scenes and aspect ratios, there are still some things it can’t do. One of these is taking panoramic photos. 360 Panorama is an app that allows users to take great surround panorama shots. The app is also simple to use: one can save files or share them instantly.

Platform: BlackBerry OS 10 and above

Expect to pay: R50

Stockists: BlackBerry World.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is a fairly old app, very few people know about it and how helpful it can be. Go to WhatsApp.com, click on WhatApp Web and then scan the barcode displayed through the WhatsApp application on your smart device. Once properly scanned, all current conversations are displayed through your desktop’s browser, allowing you to quickly read and reply to messages without touching your phone.

Platform: Most Internet browsers on a Mac or PC.

Expect to pay: Free to use.

Stocksits: www.whatsapp.com

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.

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Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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LG G7 arrives in SA

LG this week introduced South Africa to its latest premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, focused on bringing useful and convenient AI features to the smartphone experience.

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Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the LG G7 ThinQ offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage to run demanding tasks and apps with. It is equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Bright Display, but the LG G7 ThinQ remains compact enough to use with one hand.

Sporting a new design aesthetic for the G series, the polished metal rim gives the LG G7 ThinQ a sleeker, more refined look, complemented by Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back for enhanced durability. Rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the LG G7 ThinQ is also awarded MIL-STD 810 c certification, having been subjected to a range of extreme temperature and environment tests designed by the United States military.

The LG G7 ThinQ has an 8MP camera up front, rendering clear and natural selfies, with two 16MP cameras at the back that deliver higher resolution photos with more detail, as well as a Super Wide Angle configuration.

As with other leading brands, LG has evolved its signature camera by including AI functionality. The AI CAM offers 19 shooting modes for intelligence-optimised shots. Users can also improve their photos by choosing from an additional three effect options should the AI CAM recommendation not suit their taste.

The new Super Bright Camera captures images that are up to four times brighter than typical photos shot in dim light. Through the combination of pixel binning and software processing, the AI algorithm adjusts the camera settings automatically when shooting in low light.

Live Photo Mode records one second before and after the shutter is pressed for snippets of unexpected moments or expressions that would normally be missed. Stickers uses face recognition to generate fun 2D and 3D overlays, such as sunglasses and headbands, that can be viewed directly on the display.

New to the G series is Portrait Mode, which generates professional-looking shots with out-of-focus backgrounds. This effect can be generated using both front and rear standard lenses as well as the rear Super Wide Angle lens.

LG G7 ThinQ offers further AI functionality with the inclusion of Google Lens features. Google Lens is a new way to search using the AI and computer vision. Google Assistant and Google Photos allow users to access more information on objects such as landmarks, plants, animals, and books. It can identify text or visit websites, add business cards to contacts, events to the calendar or look up an item on a restaurant menu.

A button just below the volume keys launches the AI functionality. A single tap of this button launches the Google Assistant, while two quick taps launches Google Lens. Users can also hold down the button to start talking to the Google Assistant without the repetition of the OK Google command.

With Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) and the highly-sensitive G7ThinQ microphone, the Google Assistant can recognise voice commands from up to five meters away. SFFVR is able to separate commands from background noise, making the LG G7 ThinQ an alternative to a home AI speaker, even when the TV is on. Commands for the Google Assistant have been increased in the LG G7 ThinQ so users can get more done with their voice alone.

“The LG G7 ThinQ is strongly focused on the fundamentals and its launch marks a new chapter for our company,” said Deon Prinsloo, General Manager for Mobile Communication, LG Electronics S.A Pty Ltd. “Through the combination of personalised and useful AI functionalities with meaningful smartphone features, this is LG’s most convenient and in the moment smartphone yet.”

Key Specifications

  • Mobile Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.1-inch QHD+ 19.5:9 FullVision Super Bright Display (3120 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:
    • LG G7 ThinQ: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM / 64GB UFS 2.1 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:
    • Rear Dual: 16MP Super Wide Angle (F1.9 / 107°) / 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°)
    • Front: 8MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 80°)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Size: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 162g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Colours: New Aurora Black
  • Others: Super Bright Display / New Second Screen / AI CAM / Super Bright Camera / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / Boombox Speaker / Google Lens / AI Haptic / Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Google Assistant Key / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / FM Radio
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