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MWC: HTC 5G Mobile Smart Hub

HTC unveiled the first dedicated 5G mobile router, the HTC 5G Hub, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. It is designed for use in both home and office environments, and enables smooth 4K video streaming, low-latency gaming, and 5G mobile hotspot features for up to 20 users.

Click here for the specs and features of the 5G mobile smart hub.

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The HTC 5G Hub allows customers to use 5G on multiple devices while on the go, at work or at home, for fast connectivity. A 5-inch HD touchscreen allows for intuitive use for existing smartphone users, and long-lasting power makes for a travel companion that harnesses 5G speeds dramatically faster than 4G LTE networks. 

This product is also at the forefront of cloud-based virtual reality (VR) technology. In the future, users will be able to stream VR content from the cloud to a VIVE Focus headset via the HTC 5G Hub — no PC or unnecessary cables required — to enjoy a mobile, high-end VR experience in real time.

“HTC is proud to bring to market the world’s first 5G mobile smart hub,” said Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “5G will be the game-changer for VR and AR, and the new HTC 5G Hub will seamlessly deliver the great bandwidth of 5G to our devices, driving our vision of Vive Reality—a boundless, immersive environment where human experiences will come to the forefront.”

As a home media centre, the HTC 5G Hub uses next-gen 5G speeds to stream 4K videos to a second screen and deliver crisp, clear content. It can also replace a Wi-Fi router and remove unnecessary cables with a plug-and-play setup. 

Voice command and remote-control features enable management of entertainment and productivity needs. For gaming, ultra-low-latency, 60fps, and 4K resolution, it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X50 5G Modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end (RFFE) and antenna elements. Along with Android 9 Pie, this allows for high download speeds and power for native Android and PC games supported on the large screen.

It is also designed for high-speed mobility use with the next-generation business environment in mind. This product supports the powerful Wi-Fi capabilities offered on the Snapdragon 855 Platform by including the Qualcomm 60GHz Wi-Fi chipset (based on the 802.11ad specification) for multi-gigabit speeds and wire equivalent latencies. Additionally, the Qualcomm 2×2 Wi-Fi 6-ready chipset for next-generation capacity, efficiency, and performance at range. 

A 7,660 mAh battery makes the HTC 5G Hub ready to support a wide range of on-the-go duties. Businesses can connect up to 20 devices safely and securely on a high-speed encrypted network or configure for a corporate VPN. As businesses grow, the 5G network is also scalable via a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port.

The HTC 5G Hub will be available through select retailers beginning in Q2 of 2019. Please visit the HTC 5G Hub website for more information.

Product of the Day

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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Lenovo launches new device for smart collaboration

Lenovo has introduced a new type of device for meetings and collaboration, called the ThinkSmart Hub 500.

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According to a report by conference call provider, LoopUp, many conference calls are fraught with distractions and technology challenges that cost businesses over $34 billion a year. Therefore, most organisations incorporate expensive systems and practices to ensure the right information is communicated at the right time. These systems include resource-consuming physical meetings, unreliable video conferencing, or traditional phone calls.

Lenovo has introduced the ThinkSmart Hub 500, an all in one collaboration platform that can be used for increased efficiency, comfort, and reliability.

It can eliminate time lost due to technical issues during meetings and provide a desirable working environment for a conference call or meeting. Pre-configured for Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, or Zoom Rooms, it facilitates most communication software. Its movable touchscreen display helps attendees around the table to record their input and structure plans in real-time.

Its 360° microphone array and Dolby Audio premium sound keep the conversation clear, while an innovative cable management system helps eliminate cable clutter to provide a seamless experience. Additionally, the cable management door locks, to secure physical ports and prevent cables from being accidentally disconnected. With audio and video capabilities, users can press a button to initiate the meeting faster.

As a total business solution, the device can be placed in many types of offices to provide users with a consistent, seamless experience, whether they’re calling from a room across the street or across the globe.

The device is enabled with ThinkShield—Lenovo’s industry-leading suite of security solutions—which protects privacy and data. It also comes preloaded with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise software to provide intelligent enterprise-grade protection, while the Intel vPro processor helps maintain remote devices.

As more businesses in the region work towards creating a more productive work environment, technology has the potential to become an accelerator for efficiency and creativity. With Lenovo’s ThinkSmart Hub 500, organisations are empowered with the ability to connect with fellow employees and stakeholders seamlessly, providing more time to concentrate on building relations and meeting their business objectives.

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