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Samsung releases new power-efficient charging

Samsung has announced two USB Type-C power delivery (PD) controllers, SE8A and MM101. The PD standard is fast becoming the go-to standard for efficient charging.

Click below to read more about the controllers.

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The latest USB Type-C power delivery (PD) standard is charging redefined: instead of devices just pulling power from a charger, chargers communicate with devices on how much power to deliver. This standard is used in smartphones, drones, laptops and even the Nintendo Switch. The biggest plus is having one charger that can output a safe maximum amount of power to devices.
Samsung’s latest PD controllers, the SE8A and MM101, are built with an embedded Flash (eFlash) that allows the flexibility of modifying its firmware to meet the most up-to-date specifications and are able to supply up to 100 watts (W, 20V / 5A).

The new PD controllers meet the most recent USB specifications for fast-charging, USB-PD 3.0, that addresses the compatibility and efficiency challenges across different mobile devices as well as other electronics. Such challenges can cause the device to charge slower than usual or excessively than required that can also compromise the lifecycle of the battery. With the growing need to extend always-on experiences quickly and as more devices adopt USB interfaces for charging and data transmission, efficient and secure fast-charging technologies are expected to benefit consumers through a wide range of applications.

Cambridge Mokanyane, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung South Africa, said: “In addition to smarter features and larger batteries, innovative charging solutions allow us to do more through our mobile devices today. Following this trend, power adapters that can quickly charge devices while establishing safeguards against unauthorised access are increasingly in demand. Samsung’s power delivery MM101 and security-enhanced SE8A will not only make charging faster and safer but also enable new services that can enrich tomorrow’s mobile experiences.”

The MM101 supports a symmetric encryption algorithm, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), for product authentication and includes moisture sensing capabilities to ensure safer charging conditions. Samsung’s SE8A is the industry’s first solution that combines a PD controller and Secure Element (CC EAL5+ equivalent) in a single chip, providing extra measures of protection such as security key storage, and encoding and decoding of sensitive data within a device in a compact form factor. The SE8A supports USB Type-C Authentication, a certificate-based authentication program for USB Type-C chargers and devices that prevents the misuse of unapproved products.

By supporting up to a 100W capacity, compared to the general smartphone charger’s 10W, power chargers with Samsung’s PD controllers can be used for a variety of devices other than smartphones such as tablets, laptops and monitors. For additional safety, both chips also provide over-voltage protection. The MM101 is currently sampling and the SE8A is in mass production.

Product of the Day

Acer’s latest Chromebook means serious business

The latest Acer Chromebooks for business have arrived in South Africa. BRYAN TURNER reviewed the Acer Chromebook 715.

Click below to read the review.

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The Chromebook market has been perceived as very consumer-focused, until the recent introduction of management tools for Chrome OS.

To complement these corporate management tools, Acer has released the Chromebook 715, aimed at the business person that works in the cloud, in South Africa.

The unit we reviewed contained an Intel Core i5-8250U, 16GB of RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage. All of this was housed in a sturdy aluminium body. 

On the left side, the computer features a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, a standard USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack, while on the right it has a Kensington Lock, another USB Type-C port just for connectivity and a microSD card slot. 

When open, the narrow bezelled 15.6″-inch display has a Full HD resolution for crisp lettering in documents. The wide colour gamut also ensures that colours are accurately represented on screen. 

The keyboard features a first for Chromebooks: a num-pad. This is especially useful for those working with spreadsheets on Google Sheets or Excel Online, or accountants working in web apps like Xero.

The overall design of this computer shows the professional look Acer was going for with a business-facing Chromebook. It has a grey aluminium body, which looks heavy, but comes to a mere 1.8kg. It’s much lighter than it looks for an almost 16″ laptop.

The performance is great and switching between web apps is fast. This is thanks to the embedded i5 processor, which doesn’t make as much of a noise as its Windows counterparts.

The computer isn’t for the “slashie”: those who run their personal and business lives on the same device. As a result, games don’t run on the computer because it doesn’t run applications. This asserts the device’s status as a purely business-focused device.

Apart from the hardware features, the computer is handled via the lightweight Chrome OS. 

Chrome OS is Google’s answer for those who only work with web apps, and don’t want their computer’s performance hindered by unnecessary apps. With the increasing power offered from web apps, the computer application as we know is likely to disappear eventually. 

With Google’s Apps for Work platform, the Chromebook lends itself to the same admin management tools that exist on other platforms. 
The integrated 45 Wh battery may seem small but operates for around 9 hours, thanks to the lightweight software and good battery management.  

Overall, for those who want a no-nonsense approach to computing, the Acer Chromebook 715 may be their best next device. However, its pricing at R7,999 may deter those who would expect to pay less.

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Philips’s new toothbrush does more than clean teeth

Philips’s new Sonicare DiamondClean toothbrush comes with five brushing modes, including one focused on gum care.

Click below to read about the new toothbrush.

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Brushing one’s teeth and following a daily oral healthcare routine has more than just cosmetic gain.

Plaque forms a film of bacteria between one’s teeth and gums, that if not properly removed can lead to gum disease and a range of diseases like diabetes and coronary heart disease. With statistics from Philips indicating that an estimated 90% of South Africans suffer from gum disease at some point in their life, good oral health has never been more important.

This is why the company has created the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush.

The Philips Sonicare is tough on plaque but gentle on gums.

Its brushstrokes drive fluid deep between a user’s teeth and along the gumline. According to Philips, one brush with this toothbrush does more than a manual toothbrush does in a month.

It features 5 modes to cover more brushing needs, such as Clean, Polish, White Sensitive and Gum Care, it offers a customisable experience providing up to 7x more plaque removal than a manual toothbrush. Philips says the users of this brush can also get a whiter smile in one week with the DiamondClean brush head and improved gum health in just 2 weeks.

For the person on the go, the USB travel case doubles up as a charger to ensure the device remains charged. For home charging, the charger glass doubles as a glass for rinsing after brushing. To activate charge, place the brush into the glass to experience two weeks of regular use from a single charge.

Available in a range of colours at Takealot and Dis-Chem for a recommended retail price of  R3299.

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