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Sound on: Mastercard debuts sonic brand

One knows what Mastercard looks like, but what does Mastercard sound like?Mastercard is setting a new tempo for brand recognition by debuting its sonic brand identity. Wherever consumers engage with Mastercard across the globe – be it physical, digital or voice environments – the distinct Mastercard melody will provide simple, seamless familiarity.

Click through to hear what Mastercard sounds like, and read more about the sonic brand.

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The news comes on the heels of the company’s recent transition to a symbol brand and is part of its continued brand transformation.

“Sound adds a powerful new dimension to our brand identity and a critical component to how people recognize Mastercard today and in the future,” says Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard. “We set out an ambitious goal to produce the Mastercard melody in a way that’s distinct and authentic, yet adaptable globally and across genres. It is important that our sonic brand not only reinforces our presence, but also resonates seamlessly around the world.”

Global Resonance, Local Relevance

In pursuit of this resonance, Mastercard contracted musicians, artists and agencies from across the globe, including Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.

The result is a distinct and memorable melody with adaptations across genres and cultures, making it locally relevant while maintaining a consistent global brand voice. In addition, the use of varying instruments and tempos help to deliver the Mastercard melody in several unique styles, such as operatic, cinematic and playful, as well as a number of regional interpretations.

The Mastercard melody is the foundation of the company’s sound architecture and is expected to extend to many assets, from musical scores and sound logos to point-of-sale acceptance sounds.

“What I love most about the Mastercard melody, is just how flexible and adaptable it is across genres and cultures,” says Mike Shinoda. “It’s great to see a big brand expressing themselves through music to strengthen their connection with people.”

A Digital Brand for a Digital Consumer

Audio identities not only connect brands with consumers on a new dimension, but they are also tools enabling consumers to shop, live, and pay in an increasingly digital and mobile world.

“Audio makes people feel things, and that’s what makes it such a powerful medium for brands, says Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet. “With the explosion of podcasts, music streaming, and smart speakers, an audio strategy is no longer a “nice-to-have” for brands – it’s a necessity. A sonic identity — the audio calling card for a brand — is now just as important as a brand’s visual identity.”

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Asus ZenBook Pro Duo reimagines dual screens

Asus’s ZenBook Pro Duo implements the dual-screen concept very differently: instead of side-by-side, the extra screen sits beneath the main screen. BRYAN TURNER tried out the laptop.

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Asus’s strong ZenBook line, aimed at creatives, has added a powerful laptop to the game: the dual-screen ZenBook Pro Duo. This machine shows some of the most thoughtful design on the market, including a new type of dual-screen layout that makes a lot of sense. 

When closed it looks like any other laptop and has a concentric circle design etched into aluminium. The laptop feels sturdy on the base as well as the screen, and looks like it could withstand a drop. It’s 24mm thick and weighs around 2.5kg, so it seems pretty thick until one looks at the internals of this machine. 

We had the Intel Core i7-9750H processor configuration but can come with an Intel Core i9-9980HK configuration. Both configurations come with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM. This makes this laptop more of a high-performance desktop with laptop features rather than a high-performance laptop. 

When opening up this computer, we were greeted with a large 15.6” 4K (3840×2160) OLED panel and another 14” (3840 x 1100) 4K UHD display below that, called the ScreenPad Plus. Both screens are touchscreens, 100% DCI-P3, and are brighter than most laptops. As a result, the keyboard and trackpad have been shifted below the second screen. The lowered keyboard takes some getting used to, but is totally worth it for the second display.

The ScreenPad Plus comes with a set of its own apps, including Spotify, handwriting mode, and a few other quick settings. It comes with a stylus called the Asus Pen, which allows for 1024 pressure levels and rejects one’s palm, making it very useful for apps like Adobe Illustrator. The top screen supports that pen too, but writing feels far more natural on the ScreenPad Plus.

An ErgoLift hinge raises the computer up at an angle, to make the lowered keyboard more comfortable to type on, as well as aid the cooling system. It’s at a small 4.5 degrees tilt with this hinge that makes a huge difference in typing comfort.

On the left side, a USB-A port, a regular size HDMI 2.0 port and a proprietary charging jack. On the right side, it features a USB-A 3.1 port, Thunderbolt 3, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Both sides feature air outlet ports. 

We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, with the RTX 2060, and set the game to its highest preset graphics settings. The game’s frame counter was used. It hovered between 70 and 75 frames per second (fps) with 10 minutes of gameplay, which is really good compared to most desktop computers. 

The processor is a 6-Core 9th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-9750H), which provides snappy performance. We noted a start-up time from shutdown to desktop around 7 seconds. This was made possible by a combination of the fast processor and solid-state drive in the computer. This also makes opening programmes lightning fast.

Now for the trackpad. The off-centre trackpad placement feels a bit weird, even though we know why it’s placed that way. We found ourselves using an external mouse and using it in a very handy NumPad mode. The trackpad is extremely precise otherwise. 

The laptop’s battery is 71 Wh, which may seem large, but it needs to power two big screens and heavy processors. As a result, it’s difficult to get more than 6 hours of productivity out of the machine. We played Rise of the Tomb Raider with both screens on for about 1 hour before we needed to charge it. 

It will be available for about R48,000 (depending on when one buys it) in the Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, and 16GB RAM configuration, putting it up there with the high-performance laptops in terms of price.

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LG G8X ThinQ doubles up on multitasking

The G8X Thinq from LG features two screens, in a new take that isn’t quite foldable but definitely more affordable.

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LG has announced the global start of sales of LG G8XThinQ with LG Dual Screen, both previewed at Mobile World Congress in February and unveiled in September at IFA 2019 in Berlin. Together, LG G8XThinQ with LG Dual Screen offer consumers a new way to interact with a mobile device, by allowing two apps to run on full screens, side by side.

The handset lets consumers stay on top of two apps at the same time, whether texting a friend while watching a video, updating fantasy football while researching stats, or sharing and comparing while online shopping. And if users don’t want the second screen (depending on the scenario), it can detach.

It features a convenient cover display, with the essentials like notifications, date, time, battery life available at a glance. With a 360° Freestop Hinge, LG Dual Screen is able to lock into at any angle, making it practical for use as a game controller at 120°, a mini-laptop at 140°, flat at 180°, a stand or tent at 270°, or to take a call flipped back on itself at 360°.

LG Game Pad is a dual screen experience designed to level up mobile gaming and deliver an edge in the competitive moment. It gives gamers a view of a game on one screen and a full virtual controller on the other, giving the options to choose from multiple controllers or build a custom layout to match specific game play needs and styles. LG Game Pad mimics touch input on the main display, making it compatible with most games. 

The LG Smart Keyboard converts the device into a mini-laptop. The bottom display transforms into a full-screen virtual keyboard, which makes it possible to write emails on one display and watch the text flow on the other.

LG’s newest G-series smartphone features a dynamic 6.4-inch OLED FullVision display, a powerful 32MP front-facing camera, impressive dual rear-facing cameras with new photo and video modes, two balanced 1.2W stereo speakers, the first in-display fingerprint sensor on an LG smartphone and a large 4,000mAh battery.

“The introduction of LG G8XThinQ and LG Dual Screen enables us to be part of the conversation around larger mobile displays but at a much more price-friendly entry point,” says Morris Lee, senior vice president at LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “From the industry’s first wide angle camera in a smartphone, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and optical gesture control, LG continues to push the boundaries of smartphone innovation and this continues with LG G8XThinQ Dual Screen.”

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