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HP Spectre x360 13 improves on all the pain points

HP’s premium Spectre laptop shows a little listening to the customer goes a long way.

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Yesterday, HP unveiled its next generation Spectre x360 13. It offers its signature premium craftmanship, high performance and mobility, and strengthened security.

“Premium consumers desire beautiful, highly mobile devices that adapt to their on-the-go lifestyle,” said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, Consumer PCs, HP Inc. “The HP Spectre x360 13 combines the cultivation of innovative design and mobility, along with thoughtful security and performance capabilities that allows customers to pursue their passions without constraint.”

Market trends show that users increasingly want a single device for their work and personal tasks. HP reports that premium laptop buyers spend nearly half of their PC time outside of the home. Additionally, it reports that nearly six in 10 consumers are concerned their privacy could be compromised on their PC. 

With these insights in mind, the Spectre x360 13 features a new sophisticated design, with improved mobility and security, as well as high performance needed to create and consume content.

Most importantly, it seems consumers have spoken and HP has listened. The following improvements are notable when compared to the previous Spectre:

  • The body has been reduced by 13% in size from last year’s model, with a 90% screen-to-body ratio and a 1.27kg chassis.
  • A 400-nit display, HP’s first 4K OLED 13-inch diagonal display with True Black HDR for a 100,000:1 high contrast ratio for perfect blacks, anti-reflection display for outdoor viewing, and factory colour calibration with Delta E <2 for a 30% wider colour range for far better viewing experiences.
  • Gem cut and dual chamfer angular design achieved with high-precision aluminium CNC for a more scratch resistant design.
  • Integrated functionality with USB-C port placement angled in the right corner for improved cord management and the power button on the left corner of the device to avoid accidental power shut-offs.
  • Natural Silver is the newest colour option in addition to Nightfall Black with Copper Luxe accents and Poseidon Blue with Pale Brass accents.
  • It offers two times the performance of the previous generation, enabled by HP’s first convertible featuring a quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core processor with Iris Plus Graphics.
  • HP says it offers up to 22 hours of battery life.
  • Standard Intel Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and optional 4×4 Gigabit LTE concurrent networks for 122% faster speeds compared to a Cat9 2×2 configuration, allowing for up to two times the throughput versus the previous generation and up to three times faster file transfer speeds than Wi-Fi 5.
  • With six in 10 consumers physically covering their laptop’s webcam to feel more secure or prevent it from being compromised, the HP Webcam Kill Switch keeps users safe from webcam hacking with a physical on/off switch to electrically turn off the webcam when not in use.
  • New dedicated mute mic with LED key to switch the microphone on and off.
  • Optional built-in privacy screen, HP’s award-winning Sure View Gen3 with up to 1,000 nits display, expected to be available in January 2020.
  • Log into the device using Windows Hello with standard features like HP’s smallest IR camera at 2.2 mm and a fingerprint reader, located on the keyboard deck.

Pricing and availability:

  • The HP Spectre x360 13 is expected to be available in October via HP.com, with a starting price of $1,099. 
  • The HP Spectre x360 13 in Nightfall Black with 16 GB of RAM, a 4K OLED display, and 1 TB SSD with 32 GB Optane will be avilable at BestBuy.comin the US.
  • The HP Spectre x360 13 in Natural Silver with 8 GB of RAM, an FHD display, and 512 GB SSD with 32 GB Optane will be avilable at BestBuy.comin the US.

Update: HP has provided us with South African pricing and availability below.

  • The HP Spectre x360 13 is expected to be available in in South Africa  in December for a starting price of R26,999
  • The HP Spectre x360 13 in Nightfall Black with 16 GB of RAM, a 4K OLED display, and 1 TB SSD with 32 GB Optane is expected to be available in in South Africa in December for a starting price of R39,999
  • The HP Spectre x360 13 in Natural Silver with 8 GB of RAM, an FHD display, and 512 GB SSD with 32 GB Optane is expected to be available in in South Africa in December for a starting price of R29,999

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Samsung to release Galaxy Note10 Lite in SA

The Samsung Galaxy Note10 Lite, unveiled at CES 2020 two weeks ago, will be released in South Africa next month.

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Samsung has unveiled the new Galaxy Note10 Lite at a preview event in Johannesburg. Building on the legacy of the Galaxy Note series, this Lite model brings key premium features like the latest camera technology, signature S Pen, immersive display and a long-lasting battery, at a more accessible price point. The Galaxy Note Lite is positioned between the Galaxy A Series and Samsung’s flagship devices. It will be launched in South Africa in February, with a recommended retail price of R12,999.

What’s different from the Note10?

The Note10 Lite drops support for wireless charging, waterproofing, and a curved screen. Other than that, it’s a very capable device at a far lower price

“The Galaxy Note devices have met consumer demands around the world and has proven to be popular in South Africa,” said Justin Hume, director of integrated mobility at Samsung South Africa. “These devices represent our continuous effort to deliver industry leading innovations, from performance and power to intelligence and services. The Galaxy Note10 Lite will make the experience more accessible to South Africans.”

To read the full breakdown of device specifications, click here.

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Sony Xperia 5 scores high

The latest compact flagship from Sony, the Xperia 5, scores a high 95 in DxOMark.

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The Sony Xperia 5, announced in September 2019, is the latest compact flagship, intended as a more affordable, pocket-friendly alternative to the full-sized Xperia 1. Key features on the Xperia 5 include a 6.1-inch OLED display, as well as the high-end Snapdragon 855 chipset with 128GB of internal storage and 6GB RAM. Storage is expandable up to 1TB via micro SD.

The main camera boasts the same triple sensor and lens setup as on the Xperia 1. All three sensors offer 12MP resolution, with a large 1/2.55-inch sensor for the main camera, and a smaller 1/3.4-inch sensor for each of the ultra-wide and telephoto modules. The main sensor is coupled to a 26mm-equivalent f/1.6 aperture lens; there’s also a 16mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 52mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens offering x2 optical zoom shots.

Other features include 5-axis optical image stabilization (OIS) and predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus on the main and telephoto cameras, eye-tracking autofocus, HDR, and LED flash. 4K video is available for 2160p@24/30fps capture on the Xperia 5, but the Sony’s 5-axis gyroscope-enabled OIS only kicks in for HD video recording at 1080p@30fps.

Key camera specifications:

Triple camera

  • Primary: 12MP 1/2.55-inch sensor with 1.4µm pixels and 26mm f/1.6-aperture lens
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 16mm f/2.4-aperture lens
  • Telephoto: 12MP 1/3.4-inch sensor with 1.0µm pixels and 52mm f/2.4-aperture lens
  • Predictive Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus & 5-axis OIS (main & telephoto)
  • LED flash, HDR, eye-tracking
  • 4K 24/30fps video with HDR
  • Full HD 1080p@30fps video with 5-axis gyro-EIS
  • Although not officially launched in South Africa, it is available from some online outlets.

Click here to see samples of the photography on DxOMark’s website.

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