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Samsung redefines ‘widescreen’

Samsung affirms display leadership with a new ultra-wide 32:9 aspect ratio gaming monitor, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Samsung is well-known for its brilliant display, being one of the market leaders in display technology, in formats ranging from smartphones to smart TVs. It now brings an unusually good gaming monitor to market, with the launch of the CHG90 49-inch ultra-widescreen display. While this may sound too big for gaming, the diagonal 49-inch measurement is equivalent to about two regular 24-inch monitors placed side-by-side. 

The monitor is hard to miss. The ultra-wide curved display leaves one feeling a little overwhelmed at first because, wherever one looks, it’s just screen. This delivers on Samsung’s claim that this monitor delivers “VR-like” experiences to gamers. The wide-legged stand sits sturdily on the desk, allowing the user to adjust the screen vertically, and allows for tilting to obtain the perfect viewing angle. That said, this monitor is so wide, that the sides of the display will probably protrude past the ends of the typical desk, while the stand might not fit on a smaller desk.

In terms of display quality, there’s definitely something to be said for QLED. There is so much attention to detail in the display layers, that it’s hard to be unimpressed with what it can replicate on screen. For example, QLED technology makes the pictures come to life with the darker pixels being less illuminated (or simply off, if it’s pure black), leaving the rest of the lighter pixels to really shine. 

The 144Hz (144 frames per second) refresh rate is something to admire, as gaming becomes more lifelike with an incredibly smooth motion experience. All of this is combined with AMD Radeon FreeSync 2 support for the ultimate HDR experience in desktop gaming.

Gadget tested two operating systems, macOS and Windows 10, to get a sense of where its applications fit best. The macOS system was a Mac Mini with Intel HD Graphics 4000. This was tested as an office environment computer, running Microsoft Office and other office-like applications. 

For display interfacing, we used DisplayPort, which comes built-in. The Mac played nicely with the screen, matching a colour profile directly to the screen type, ensuring true colour. The set-up could not be simpler. The refresh rate was capped at 60Hz, due to the Mac’s hardware limitations. 

We split three windows across the screen, and it was excellent for multitasking. Overall, the display is well-suited for office work if one is comfortable with a two-screen setup. However, it is sheer overkill for single-screen use, and will leave one dizzy rather than more productive.

The Windows 10 system was an AMD Ryzen 1800X with an AMD Radeon RX 580. This was tested for gaming performance, where FreeSync 2 was enabled by installing the driver. DisplayPort was also used for this, as HDMI didn’t work with FreeSync 2. 

The first game we tested was Skyrim with an HDR and 2X enhanced texture patch. The colours were vibrant and the wide viewing angle provided a VR-like experience similar to Skyrim VR on PlayStation – without the headset. Moreover, the adaptive eye-saver mode adjusts the screen’s blue hue to make it easier to play longer with less eye-strain.

Overall, the applications of the screen aren’t strictly limited to gaming, as the name of the monitor suggests, but it does perform best in a gaming environment with all the compatible equipment. 

Its business applications were interesting, because it changes the two-screen setup, which is often opted for in software development environments. At a retail price of R19 500 from Takealot.com, this ultra-wide screen may be an option worth considering for consumers who are planning to purchase two HD screens for simultaneous use.

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Funko Fortnite hits SA

Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars.

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Fortnite phenomenon in the world of gaming and the Battle Royale game mode has drawn over 125 million players worldwide in less than a year.

In the game, players can gather materials to create defensive fortifications around an objective or trap-filled tunnels to lure unsuspecting enemies to. 

In Battle Royale mode, players can quickly traverse the map; protect themselves from enemy fire, or just delay an advancing foe by means of building obstacles and structures from gathered materials. Players are encouraged to be very creative in designing their fortifications.  Although Fortnite is a shooter game, it highly promotes creativity and the most creative and clever methods tend to be that of the winner.  Any gamer in the country knows of, or has played Fortnite and Funko has come on board to bring South African players the collectables of their favourite Fortnite avatars.

The following Funko POP characters have been released to SA, just in time for Christmas:

Drift: Journey into the unknown, and find your way to victory.

Ragnarok:  The cold harbinger of fate.

Dark Vangaurd:  Exploring the outer limits.

Valor:  A beacon for hope.

Havoc:  Striking fear into the opposition.

Tricera-Ops:  Sink your teeth into victory.

Sparkle specialist:  It’s time to shine!

Zoey:  Candy-coated chaos.

Burnout:  All roads lead to victory.

Raven:  Brooding master of dark skies

If you want to have your character with you at all times, there are Funko Keychains that can accompany you anywhere, of all the same characters.

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Here is 2019’s tech

From AI to flexible displays, this is the tech that will shape 2019, writes CY KIM, MD of LG SA

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2018 was incredibly exciting for the technology sector which has seen myriad advancements. These include the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) being established, robots helping around the house and consumer electronic innovations such as TVs that are so thin, they might be mistaken for windows, or paintings.

2019 promises to be another significant year as people’s attitudes are changing and technology becomes embedded in our lives. Smart electronics manufacturers will ensure their plans for the future match evolving consumer needs with suitable technology.

We take a look at the biggest innovations for 2019 from AI to lightning-fast internet speeds and flexible viewing surfaces, and we shed some light on how these evolving technologies will impact on how we live and work.

AI will come of age

AI has experienced a marked increase in investments and according to Forbes, 80% of enterprises are investing in AI while 30% are planning to expand their AI investments in the next three years. It’s estimated that during 2017, venture, corporate and seed investors put about $3.6-billion into AI and machine learning companies.

This investment trend has given rise to innovation in deep learning products that have the potential to change the world for the better.

Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its consumer benefits weren’t visible until recently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to really take off and become a necessity, not just in the home, but in every facet of our lives.

The potential of AI is endless as this technology goes into everything from small watches to cars and even gigantic, connected smart cities. AI is also starting to find its way into TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, mobile phones and even air cons as products adapt to human behaviour.

Lightning-fast internet speeds

Faster internet speeds enable quicker response times for business tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will increase the efficiency of workers and will provide reliable communication tools for companies that rely on remote workers.

Given that the so-called gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, the expectation is that the evolving workforce will contain a higher percentage of employees, or contractors who do not work in a central office.

5G has the potential to change the world the way the internet did a few decades ago. The fifth generation of wireless technology will take internet connectivity to a new level as the internet of things (IoT), will bring about the potential for everything to be connected to everything.

However, 5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It will create new possibilities in numerous sectors, including medicine, transportation and manufacturing.

A smarter world through IoT and AI isn’t possible without 5G’s speed and capacity as the system is able to carry large numbers of connections simultaneously, and is therefore crucial to the development of smart cities, autonomous cars and smart homes.

Life-enriching smart technology

Much like technological innovations, consumer habits and preferences are changing drastically when it comes to home appliances and particularly, home entertainment.

Most consumers believe that advancements in home entertainment tech is life-enriching and that their life is better with the latest tech at their fingertips as it allows them to stay indoors and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

The value of home entertainment tech lies in how it allows loved ones to share experiences, thereby bringing them closer together, particularly during big events such as major sporting events and holiday celebrations.

The potential of flexible viewing surfaces will not only change home entertainment, but also marketing techniques in shopping malls, city centres and shop fronts. With the ability to curve around any environment, this technology creates the perfect platform for signage and consumer engagement that stands out from the crowd.

LG Electronics is an established market leader in innovation and has already started to incorporate these futuristic technologies into its products, which are designed to make consumers lives more convenient. We will continue to release amazing products that utilise smart tech to connect with consumers while staying ahead of the evolutionary curve.

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