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Pinnacle unveils LTE phone

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Pinnacle Africa has unveiled its first LTE smartphone, the Proline XM-502, available to the market from 7 August at a recommended retail price of R1 699. The Proline XM-502 is one of a few to offer LTE connectivity under R2 000.|Pinnacle Africa has unveiled its first LTE smartphone, the Proline XM-502, available to the market from 7 August at a recommended retail price of R1 699. The Proline XM-502 is one of a few to offer LTE connectivity under R2 000

The Proline XM-502 delivers lightning-fast LTE connectivity up to 10 times faster than a typical 3G smartphone. Real-world testing shows download speeds exceeding 25Mbps, making the XM-502 even faster than the majority of broadband ADSL connections.

“LTE is fast becoming the standard on mobile phones,” says Max Stone, Brand Director at Pinnacle Africa. “We partnered with MediaTek to launch the first commercially available smartphone based on their new 64-bit LTE platform, delivering performance that has never been seen before in a sub-R2 000 smartphone.”

With four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processors, the XM-502 delivers supercharged performance right out the box. Applications load faster and respond faster. Games run better with smoother graphics. The XM-502 will always be able to keep up with today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

With an overall thickness less than 8mm and an edge that narrows down to 4mm, the XM-502 defines a new style that is both modern and functional. The non-slip rubberised back wraps elegantly around the XM-502, framing the large 5” display in an eye-catching red or white. The flush-mounted camera, colour-coded side buttons and hidden navigation buttons contribute further to a timeless design that is instantly recognisable.

Running Android 5.1, the XM-502 benefits from the very latest version of Lollipop. With major design improvements over KitKat (Android 4.4), Lollipop is better at managing RAM and storage and has an improved user interface with a vastly enhanced notification system. Security and connectivity is improved and new features, such as Smart Lock, Quick Settings, and on-screen navigation buttons are utilised.

The XM-502 can capture stunning pictures with the 13-megapixel rear camera, or snap better ‘selfies’ with the 5-megapixel front camera. With a sub-second launch time; users are never more than a heartbeat away from capturing their special moments. Be more creative with Live Photo, Panoramic and Multi-angle View modes. Anti-shake, motion tracking and face detection make it even easier to take better shots. The XM-502 also lets users press the volume button for the shutter, giving back the pleasure of using a real button to take pictures.

“We’re giving our customers an affordable phone that delivers real performance,” says Max Stone. “With the runaway pricing of many brands, the Proline XM-502 offers an alternative that delivers the highest performance-to-price ratio on the market.”

Key Specifications:

•             Display: 5.0” IPS qHD (960 x 540), 220ppi

•             Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop

•             CPU: MT6735M (64-bit quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 1.0 GHz)

•             RAM/Storage: 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, expandable via MicroSD card slot (max. 32GB)

•             Cameras: 13MP primary (5MP hardware) with LED flash, 5MP secondary (2MP hardware)

•             Network: Dual SIM, Cat 4 LTE (up to 150Mbps)

•             Battery: 2,000mAh battery (user replaceable)

•             Dimensions: 144.4 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm

•             Accessories (included): Charger, USB cable, earphones, screen protector, silicone cover

•             Available colours: Boston Red or Snow White

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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