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Hands-on: Energizer Hardcase H550S

Energizer has introduced its Hardcase H550S smartphone that packs a serious 4000mAh battery and battery saving software, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Known for its battery technology, Energizer entered the smartphone space earlier this year with a slightly different way of looking at mobile devices: having an amazing battery life at the cost of having a thick phone.

At a retail price of around R7700, Energizer’s first take on smartphones is on the expensive side and won’t appeal to the low-to-mid-range market.

The phone looks like a typical rugged phone, featuring an unapologetically thick body and all sorts of water-sealing flaps. The front of the device features pretty thick bezels by 2019’s bezel-less standards, but still manages to look good with a 5.5″ display and capacitive navigation buttons below it.

On the back, a carbon-fibre-like pattern gives the device its own level of good quality feel that isn’t felt by many other devices in this price range. Closer towards the top, it features a camera, flash, and fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor is fast and in line with the speed delivered from other mid-to-high-range handsets. Thankfully, the camera is just far away enough from the fingerprint sensor to not smudge the rear lens.

The inclusion of a type-C port is great, although it is standard for Android devices nowadays. What’s becoming rarer is the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is almost always a plus. Both ports are covered with a rubber seal.

The speaker has average sound quality and average loudness.

The 4000mAh non-removable battery is the biggest redeeming factor on this device. It features battery saving software in addition, to the large battery capacity, to deliver multi-day performance. It provides a good 28 hours of medium usage (checking messages every half hour and watching videos for around 5 of those hours) until it reached 10%.

The secret to its battery efficiency is the battery saving software that comes preinstalled, which prevents misbehaving apps from draining the battery in the background, reducing the load on the CPU and GPU where it can.

Surprisingly, there is no bloatware in the device, making it one of the very few Android devices to feature a clean version of the operating system. That said, the version for Android included with the device is over 3 years old. This is not good from a security point of view and the security conscious buyer would most likely steer clear of this device with this knowledge.

Energizer is too new to the market for us to know if updates are going to be released for the device. Nevertheless, Android Nougat is good enough for the average user, provided they don’t install apps outside of the Play Store. It is powered by a powerful Mediatek MT6750, meaning the typical app is fluid and responsive.

The H550S has 32GB of onboard storage, but it can be expanded by up to 32GB with a MicroSD card in the second SIM slot. The LTE connectivity options are perfect for most high-speed broadband situations, with around 40Mbps download and around 10Mbps upload with good coverage.

As with many modern smartphones, it features a dual SIM configuration, where one is on standby for calls and SMS and the other is active for calls, SMS and a data connection.

The 16MP rear camera is good for quick shots and has decent colour replication. It’s also sharp enough for document scanning, which is a huge plus for productivity. The 8MP front camera snaps satisfactory selfies, and will be good enough for the outdoors user wanting to record their adventures.

Videos were recorded in 1080p and the quality was good in brighter situations. In darker situations, it struggled to record subject matter clearly and video was very noisy.

Overall, the H550S is a phone for the user that’s rarely around a plug point. It’s ideal for those who need to send messages, watch online content and play a lightweight game. For users seeking graphics intensive gaming, this is not the device. For its price point, it aims at a very niche audience that needs a very long battery life and doesn’t mind a bulky device.

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Huawei Watch GT 2 gets SA pricing

Huawei’s Watch GT 2 will be available in South Africa on 17 October, starting from R4999.

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The Huawei Watch GT 2 marks another big improvement in helping users promote healthy living.

It promises an upgraded user experience and battery life due to the device’s ultra-low power consumption capability.

To promote this new innovative smartwatch, Huawei has a pre-order special currently running on its e-commerce store. Users who purchase the Watch GT 2 from 7 to 17 October will receive a free pair of Huawei FreeLace earphones (valued at R2 499). The sporty 46 cm variant, priced at R4,999, will be available on 17 October.

Some of the useful features of the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 include:

  • A 3D glass screen, creating a wider, borderless display.
  • Ultra-low power consumption application processor and a separate power management unit.
  • Bluetooth calls with phonebook functionality so users can save friends’ contact information on the watch.
  • Music playback functionalities, with a large storage capacity of up to 500 mp3 songs.
  • In daily use, the 46mm variant can operate continuously for up to two weeks – with both the intelligent heart rate monitor and call notification functions on; weekly usage of up to 10 hours of Bluetooth calling; up to 24 hours of music playback; and up to 30 hours GPS running non-stop.
  • In the sports mode, it is compatible with 15 sports, including eight outdoor sports (running, walking, climbing, hiking, trail running, cycling, open water, triathlon) and seven indoor sports (walking, running, cycling, swimming pool, free training, elliptical machine, rowing machine). The watch provides targeted pre-exercise data analysis, data recording analysis during the exercise and professional advice afterwards.
  • Monitoring of sleep quality, real-time heart rate and sleep breathing quality. Huawei TruSleep 2.0 uses big data analysis to rate sleep quality, analyse sleep problems and provide sleep improvement suggestions.

Go to https://huaweistore.co.za/ to purchase your HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 now and take advantage of the pre-order special offer before 17 October.

Gadget covered this smartwatch in more detail here.

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AR Smart Glasses offer live language transcription

Vuzix Blade AR smart glasses are set to support real-time multilingual language transcription by using translation services from Zoi Meet.

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Vuzix, a leading supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and products, has announced the availability of the Zoi Meet real-time transcription app on the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses, enabling users to receive an instant transcription of what is being said in one of the 12 languages offered.

In May 2019, Verizon provided the first demonstrations of Zoi Meet real-time translation on the Vuzix Blade at its “Verizon Tech Day”, held at its Basking Ridge, NJ, headquarters. 

Now, the Zoi Meet service is available as an app on the Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses, allowing for hands-free language translation in which speech is automatically transcribed into text and projected directly onto the display of the headset. This launch is making a debut of the first collaboration on the market to support live multilingual communication through AR Smart Glasses technology.

The Zoi Meet application on the Vuzix Blade can also be connected to any Zoi Meet hosted meeting by entering the meeting PIN code into the application. Using the Zoi Meet application on the Blade meeting attendees can receive real-time language translation during the meeting from any one of 12 supported languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Japanese and Korean) or closed captioning by setting the ‘to’ and ‘from’ languages to the same language.

The Zoi Meet application can also be used to host a local meeting on the Vuzix Blade to transcribe local conversations by accessing the microphone on the Vuzix Blade, which transforms the Vuzix Blade into a live closed captioning device and converts spoken language into text on the display of the Blade. In the closed captioning example, the Zoi Meet app can be set any one of 12 languages such as English to English translation and the Vuzix Blade will translate and display verbal language to text in real-time.

Kevin Oranje, founder of Zoi Meet, says: “In times of rapid digital transformation we feel its key to provide people with the capabilities that allow them to navigate in highly connected, international environments. By enabling the unique Zoi Meet instant transcription service on Vuzix smart glasses we realize our goal of bringing people closer together and unlocking both personal and business opportunities unavailable to them before.”

Paul Travers, president and CEO at Vuzix, says: “The need for seamless communication across languages has never been greater. With this exciting collaboration we mark the breakthrough moment in the AR technology world and bring a great value to our users by offering a truly practical service on our glasses.”

As of today, Zoi Meet service is available to download as an app on the Vuzix App Store, allowing for hands-free language translation in which speech is automatically transcribed into text and projected directly onto the display of the headset.

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