Apple Watch Series 3: Time to Upgrade?


Apple unveiled the latest generation of Apple Watch, Series 3 in the fall of 2017. During its keynote, Apple shared all the new tech and features that makes it a great smartwatch. The biggest highlight was its cellular capability, which essentially makes it independent of an iPhone. However, there’s a catch, actually couple of them. Firstly, cellular connection on Apple Watch is supported in limited countries only. Secondly, you need to pay an extra subscription fee to utilize cellular services on your Apple Watch Series 3.


Highlights of Apple Watch Series 3

  • 1.65” AMOLED Screen (Max Brightness: 1000 nits)
  • Cellular model supports Electronic Sim (Apple e-Sim)
  • Up-to 16GB of Internal Storage (Cellular model)
  • Built-In GPS for Location Accuracy & Outdoor Workouts
  • Waterproofing till 50 Meters, water-ejection through speaker.
  • Up-to 20 hours of Battery time

Comparing Apple Watch Series 3 with Series 0  

Essentially, Apple Watch Series 3 looks the same as all its predecessors. It is a tad bit thicker than the original Apple Watch but considering all new elements packed inside its shell, that’s quite an achievement. Apple has also added an extra speaker on the side to eject the water out of the watch once it has taken a dip. Although the screen size haven’t changed but screen brightness has increased significantly. It is up from 450 Nits in the original Apple Watch to 1000 Nits in Series 3. It does make a visible difference especially in broad daylight.


How Good is its Cellular Connection?

Apple has once again found an innovative way of integrating the cellular connection to Apple Watch. For starters, you don’t need to insert a physical SIM inside the watch. Instead, it utilizes the same LTE connection as your iPhone through an e-sim. Which means, if you are away from your iPhone, you would receive all calls/texts directed to your iPhone’s SIM on your Apple Watch. It makes the entire process hassle-free and user friendly. However, Apple hasn’t perfected it yet. There were a lot of instances where the signal dropped or it took a lot of time to fetch social media updates.


 Is it good enough to upgrade?

 Apple Watch has seen quite a lot of improvements throughout its life cycle. While the first-gen watch showed the world Apple’s take on smart watches, it lacked the seamless delivery of performance. Speaking of performance, the boot speed comparison of Apple Watch Series 0 and Series 3 showed a massive difference of 2 minutes. Take a look at it below.

Although, Apple provided incremental updates in all its new generations of Apple Watches, but Series 3 actually delivers the user experience that users always longed for. This is partly due to the integration of new S3 Chipset and a little boost in its RAM to 768MB from 512MB (Series 2). These specs coupled with Watch OS 4 makes it one of the best smart watches in the market.

During WWDC, 2018, Apple showcased WatchOS 5 and it adds even more features than the current WatchOS. However, it would no longer support the First-gen Apple Watch, probably due to its outdated specs. Hence, it seems like a perfect time to grab the latest Apple Watch Series 3. It starts from $359 in the US and around 47,000 PKR in Pakistan.


Is Apple Watch for you?

To answer this question, it’s important to focus on your preferences. Since Apple Watch only works with an iPhone therefore, it’s important to have an iPhone (preferably 6s onwards). It integrates exceptionally well with iOS as all your notifications are available on your wrist. In essence, you don’t need to take your iPhone out to glimpse at your notifications.

Furthermore, Apple Watch serves as a great fitness tracker. From tracking your grueling workouts at the gym to swimming with your pals at the local pool. It will give you a pretty accurate picture of your workouts. With WatchOS 4, it can also tap you from time to time to remind you to take a breath. In essence, it is a great accessory for health-conscious people.

Lastly, with the introduction of Cellular version, Apple has taken portability to another level. You are no longer dependent on your iPhone to make or receive calls. LTE connectivity ensures great use of SIRI commands. Although the quality of Apple Watch’s microphone is pretty good but for clearer communication, it can seamlessly pair with Apple AirPods to provide better communication.


Verdict

During our extensive testing of Apple Watch Series 3, it has proved yet again that it is the best smart watch for an iPhone user. Although, it’s rectangular design is not liked by many, but with time, it’s impressive functionality has overshadowed its rather different design. Besides, you could always customize your watch face as per your liking.

As far as its performance goes, it provides an exceptionally well user experience. There are no occasional jerks or hiccups and WatchOS 4 is extremely fluid. Recently, Apple Watch Series 3 was also declared the Best Smartwatch for iPhone (reviews.com)

YTD recommends getting the Series 3 Apple Watch, however, it’s important to note that cellular connectivity is supported in limited countries for now. Check the full list of supported countries by clicking HERE before buying the cellular version. In case your country is not on that list, then you can go for the non-cellular version for around $70 less! The non-cellular version provides a better user experience as it does not suffer from LTE related issues.

Rating: ★★★★ Recommended


 

 

How to Choose the Best Portable Charger?


In this booming era of smart phones and accessories, everyone is striving to stay online and connected with their social network. However, with more apps and on-screen time, smartphone’s battery drains in no time. Hence, many tech companies have started offering their own iterations of Portable chargers aka power banks.

Companies like Xiaomi, Anker and RavPower are some of the leading manufacturers of power banks. These companies have also managed to make other battery powered accessories like Bluetooth speakers, headphones, stabilization gimbals etc.

Skeptics argue that the market for portable chargers has been saturated and going to decline soon. With the plethora of choices, it gets really hard to choose the right power bank that suits your needs. Your Tech Dose is going to make it easier.


 

What to consider before buying a Power Bank?

To start with, one should always consider their phone size and its battery life. Smartphones with bigger screens tend to have bigger batteries and therefore need a higher capacity power bank. In case your smartphone constantly dies halfway through the day, then you would need something portable to carry around every day.

The following pointers cover many important things to consider for opting a power bank.

  • Usage Frequency: The more it is, the more you would have to carry around. Hence, choose the one which is less bulky with a decent Battery Power like Xiaomi Mi 10,400mAh.
  • Number of Devices: If you carry multiple phones that needs to be charged often, then it’s better to go for something with at least 2 USB Ports with a minimum capacity 20,000mAh.
  • Portability: If you’re always on-the-go and need something light and small for your handbag. Choose the portable chargers that has a capacity of around 5000mAh. They usually take longer to charge and you would have to re-charge them more frequently.
  • Bulkiness: Although it might not sound that important, but it could be a deal breaker for many. Essentially, weight of the power bank is dependent on a number of factors like its internal components, battery capacity and built materials.

Best Performing Power Banks

 In order to rate the performance of a power bank, it’s important to see it’s rated capacity (MAH), physical size and number of charging ports. Having a fast charging capability is a big plus point as well. Without further ado, let’s have a look at our best-rated portable chargers.

  1. Xiaomi Mi Power Bank Pro 10,000mAh     Rating: ★★★★★

It offers a perfect balance of Portability and Productivity. Capable of charging iPhone 7 up to 4 times. Equipped with a USB-C for fast re-charging (only input though).

  1. Anker PowerCore 26800mAh     Rating: ★★★★★                                                                            

Apart from its bulky design, this power bank has no short-comings. It features 3x USB-A and 2x Micro-USB ports. Needless to say, PowerCore is capable of fast charging 3 devices simultaneously! It’s not only capable of charging smart phones but also small laptops like the latest MacBook! Interestingly, this beast can be recharged by plugging in two Micro-USB cables together, making it reach 100% battery from 0 in just 7-hours!

  1. Xiaomi Power Bank 20,000mAh     Rating: ★★★★

Despite being 20,000 mAh, it has a very minimal footprint as compared to other chargers from its league. It’s equipped with 2 USB-A ports, capable of charging 2 devices simultaneously. It doesn’t support either fast charging or fast recharging.

  1. RAVPower 26800mAH Power Bank     Rating:  ★★★

RAVPower has been around for a long time. They have been known for making multi-purpose power banks. However, this one is the heavy-duty beast capable of charging 3 devices simultaneously. It is also less bulky than most of its competitors, however, it doesn’t support fast charging!

  1. Anker PowerCore 5000mAh     Rating: ★★★

This is ideal for anyone who has to carry their portable chargers every day. Its capable of charging iPhone 7 twice through its high-power 2A charging output. The only downside is its scratch prone surface.


Verdict

Despite all these recommendations, it all boils down to your needs and overall use. If you find your phone running out of power often, then portability should be your prime concern. However, if you want something for occasional travelling then a mix between portability and higher capacity would be ideal. In essence, 10,000mAh power banks suit most of the people considering their slimmer bodies and decent charging capacity.


 

Samsung T5: World’s Fastest Portable SSD?


Samsung recently unveiled the successor to the famous T3 Portable Solid-State Drive (SSD). The new line-up is called T5 (not sure why they skipped T4 though). It comes in two colors and 4 different memory capacities. 250GB & 500GB comes in light blue color whereas 1TB and 2TB comes with a Deep Black color.


Highlights of Samsung T5

Our test unit is the 500GB T5 which comes in “alluring blue” color. At the time of the review, it is available for $170 on Amazon.

  • Read and Write Speeds of 540MB/s
  • Comes with USB-C input
  • Includes USB Type-C to C and USB Type-C to A Cables
  • Shock Resistant Frame
  • 3-Year Limited Warranty
  • Compatible with Mac OS and Windows PC
  • Password Protection and AES 256-bit encryption

Performance of Samsung T5

Samsung T5 500GB performance on Mac
Samsung T5 500GB performance on Mac

During the testing with MacBook Pro 2015, T5 managed to give an average write speed of 415MB/s and the Read Speed of 425MB/s. Although, this is slower than their claimed speed of up to 540 MB/s, but still it is fast enough to edit a 4K File on Pro Res. To put it into perspective, a file of 30GB/s was transferred in 110 Seconds to the SSD. Its staggering performance is largely due to the superior components used in its hardware. Overall, it’s performance was quite impressive!


Software of Samsung T5

T5 comes preloaded with Mac OS and Windows compatible software. It’s a proprietary software which can be used to set the password and update its software as well. The setup is fairly simple and hardly takes a minute. It’s a well-thought out software with no complication what so ever.


 Alternatives of Samsung T5

The market for portable SSDs is very saturated with some well-established players like WD, SanDisk and Seagate. All of them are offering very impressive products. One of the prime competitors for Samsung T5 is WD’s My Passport SSD which is a few bucks cheaper and promises to deliver the similar read and write speeds. However, it all boils down to the durability and overall user experience.


Verdict on Samsung T5

During the extensive tests and performance measures, T5 performed pretty well. Although, it didn’t fulfill the 540MB/s Read/Write claim of Samsung, but still it was blazing fast and transferring large files was no issue at all. It definitely is one of the fastest portable SSDs currently available in the market!


 

Apple TV Finally Offers 4K HDR

Apple has just unveiled the latest Apple TV which finally supports 4K and HDR and provides an extensive coverage of various TV apps like Netflix and Amazon. Furthermore, it would also bring new features like integration of live sports and reminders of upcoming sport events.

Apple TV A10X Chip
Apple TV A10X Chip

Upgrades in the New Apple TV

  • 4K & HDR Support
  • A10X chip, same as the latest iPad Pro 10.5″ or the iPad Pro 12.9″
  • Free upgrade of existing HD users to 4K content
  • Buy 4K content at the price of HD
  • New gaming capabilities and a plethora of new TV apps
  • Completely redesigned User Interface & User Experience

More updates coming soon…

Airpods: Best Wireless Headphones?


Last year Apple introduced their latest generation of iPhone, named iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Although the aesthetics remained similar to its predecessor but there were some significant changes made in this generation of the iPhones. Two of the most unusual changes were the elimination of physical Home Button and the 3.5mm Headphone Jack. However, this time Apple had something unique to offer, which would most likely shape the future of its smart devices. Although Apple eliminated their iconic Home Button, but they replaced it with a software-backed haptic button with an in-built Touch ID. Similarly, Apple launched an alternative to the conventional headphone jack, called the AirPods. Although it sounds quite similar to their wired $30 EarPods, which comes free with an iPhone. However, AirPods are neither cheap nor comes free with an iPhone. At $159, these costs as much as some of the very capable headphones. However, in this Review, Your Tech Dose will test to see if AirPods are worth their hefty price tag!


Whats Included inside Airpod’s Packaging?

  • 2 Completely Wireless Earpieces (Airpods)
  • 1 Charging Dock with Magnetic Latch
  • 1 Lightning Cable (1-Meter)
  • Instruction booklets

First Impressions and User Experience

Well, the packaging and included accessories seems pretty standard for $159 headphones. However, things change pretty pleasantly once you see AirPods in person. Upon opening the latch of the charging case, you are greeted with both earpieces resting  inside the case. There is a charging status light in the middle which turns green once AirPods are fully charged. While we were having a good look at the AirPods, the iPhone 7 showed a Pop-up screen showing the battery status of AirPods and the charging case. Basically, everything was paired with just the opening of the latch, Pretty Impressive! Putting on the AirPods was as simple and comfortable as the pairing process. They are light-weight, ergonomic and sounds pretty impressive for their size. They won’t sound as good as some high-quality headphones, but still the sound quality is adequate.

Let’s talk about some of its highly interactive features. Before we begin, it’s important to know that AirPods don’t have any physical button on them, which means that it uses a combination of motion sensors to respond to user inputs.

For instance, if you are listening to music and for some reason you have to take one earpiece out, the music will automatically stop till you put it back on. This makes life much easier especially when you are amidst a bunch of people and want to talk to someone.

Secondly, you can double tap on either of the earpieces and it will activate Siri, and then you can easily give commands to Siri.


Shortfalls of AirPods

AirPods come with a few nuances, which needs attention from Apple. For instance, there is no way to perform basic functions like Volume Up/Down or Next/Previous Track from AirPods, instead one has to ask Siri to do so. It would be much appreciated if Apple could give these functionalities to AirPods with a software update.

Secondly, due to being completely wireless, they are very easy to lose. It’s highly recommended to get a neck strap if you intend to use it for long cardio sessions.


Final Verdict

AirPods are definitely quite expensive but their core value lies behind its outstanding user experience and convenience. It is definitely one of the best companions for an iPhone and also offers a great level of utility value to Apple’s ecosystem. If price is not a problem for you, then by all means, go for it and it won’t disappoint you!


 

 

 

Microsoft’s Modern Keyboard comes with a finger Print Scanner!

Microsoft Modern Keyboard keys layout view
Microsoft Modern Keyboard

Microsoft just announced a new keyboard for Windows 10 devices. The new keyboard has a very minimal foot print, which is complimented by its strong and sturdy aluminum body. The hype of the keyboard is created by its inconspicuous finger print scanner housed in the Windows Key. This makes it extremely convenient for users to log in and use it with other Windows Hello compatible apps.


What we know about the New Microsoft Keyboard

  • It can be used via Bluetooth or a USB connection.
  • According to Microsoft, it is only compatible with Windows 10 devices.
  • It uses a 2.4 GHz Bluetooth signal, which translates into a maximum working distance of 33 feet.
  • Thanks to the Low Energy Bluetooth 4, the battery can last up to 4 months on a single charge.

Our Take on the Modern keyboard

Despite the higher price of $129, the keyboard lacks backlit keys, which might be a deal breaker for users, as other companies like Logitech already offers backlit keyboards that are much cheaper as well. However, none of them has the integrated finger print scanner. Having said that, the new Microsoft’s keyboard is expected to be available soon in stores.


We’ll update our review once the keyboard makes an appearance in the market.


 

Microsoft Modern Keyboard finger print reader

 

 

 

 

 

4K TV in 2017: Owner’s guide to Ultra HD Displays

 

sony 4k UHD display with playstation
Sony 55″ 4K UHD Display (Wall-Mounted)

4K TVs have been around for a while now and they have always been considered a luxury item for your living space. Many people blamed lack of 4K supported content for the slow adaption rate of these Ultra High Definition (UHD) displays. However, things have changed drastically due to the exponential increase in the 4K supported content. But is it the right time to upgrade?

In this review, we will be providing a detail insight about common questions that influence the buying decision of consumers.


What is 4K and Why is it so hyped up?

4K refers to the resolution of a display, which basically shows the number of pixels packed in it. It is called 4K because it packs 4 times the number of pixels than a 720P (HD) display. We have done the math for you and in short it has a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. These extra pixels result in a much clearer and detailed image. A reason for all the hype is the life-like image quality, which has won hearts of a lot of enthusiasts.


Is there enough 4K content available?

In order to fully utilize the potential of the Ultra HD display, content availability is of great essence. Luckily, the amount of 4K content has been growing at an unprecedented rate. From movies to games, the arsenal of 4K content is rapidly increasing. Just this week, Microsoft launched the new Xbox One X, which is capable of 4K gaming at 60 Frames Per Second (FPS). You can check our first impressions of the new Xbox One X by clicking on the link below

Apart from games, many video service providers like Netflix and YouTube have also started offering 4K content. Thanks to 2017, there is a plethora of video services available that allow you to upgrade to 4K content for an additional fee. Hence, the odds are definitely in the favor of 4K displays.


How Expensive are 4K TVs?

A few years ago, 4K displays were quite expensive, however, thanks to the rapid growth, they are available in all shapes and sizes. You can get yours as per your budget and there are a number of decent options available under $1000. Check out the list of Best 4K TVs, you can get in 2017 (courtesy, TechRadar).


Verdict

 If you are upgrading from a Full HD LCD, then you would most certainly feel a lot more crisp and detailed image quality. However, other factors like screen size, display panel and the OS would make a huge difference as well. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to experience the display for yourself before choosing one. Having said that, it would be pretty hard to be disappointed from an upgrade to a 4K display!


 

Smart Watch: Should you get one?

 


Smart watches have been around for a few years now and with every passing year, new players are entering in to the market. In the tech world, Samsung was one of the earliest entrants in this industry. They had a whole line up of Samsung Gear that was exclusively supported by their flagship devices. As the time went forward, other tech giants like LG, Asus and Apple also jumped in to the market with their own iterations.

Today we have a handful of tech companies who are already working hard to increase their piece of the pie. Apple for instance, was a bit late in making an entrance. However, since the debut of Apple Watch in early 2015, they have worked hard on their WatchOS as well as the hardware. Where most of the watches have a circular face, Apple watch stands out with its rectangular appearance. Despite being late, Apple has managed to take the lead by capturing 55% of the global market share of smart watches. (www.smcp.com).


Is a smart watch ready to replace your conventional watch?

By this time, most of the companies have already launched 3 or 4 generations of their smart watches. It is safe to say that this rapid growth has resulted from an increase in the global demand. Initially, people were hesitant to adapt because they did not want to have another screen on their wrists. But now, developers have learnt different ways of making that screen ever so productive and aesthetically pleasing.

Here are the core reasons why you should replace your conventional watch with a smart one!

  • Enhanced productivity, smart watches work coherently with your phones to provide all the updates in a glance.
  • Active voice command helps you keep your hands off of your phone.
  • Physical fitness is enhanced by a wide array of sensors and monitors.
  • Plenty of customizable watch faces and bands makes it easier to match your outfits.

Well, despite these impressive features, there are still a few factors that keep people from choosing a smart watch. For starters, the dependability on a smart phone is a letdown for many. Especially for those, who do not like to carry their smart phones everywhere. Although, there are a lot of software upgrades coming in, however, no smart watch is fully independent yet.

Secondly, many people have a strong association with a watch. It acts as a status symbol, the craftsmanship that goes into making a classic watch is way beyond than any existing smart watches. Having said that, a lot of Luxurious watch companies are also adding a smart watch to their offering, however, for now there are only just a few of them.

Lastly, there is a need to charge smart watches. Although there are magnetic chargers and docks available to save yourself from plugging in, but the bottom line is that you need to charge them or you’ll be looking at a blank screen instead of time.


Verdict

The future certainly seems to be going towards smart accessories and watches are no exception either. The enhanced level of productivity and a plethora of customizable options makes life much easier. If you are future oriented and wants to keep up with the tech then I would definitely recommend going for a smart watch!


 

Philips Hue: Owner’s Perspective

 


The idea of smart home has been around for quite a few years now, however, still majority of households and commercial users rely on the conventional lighting setups. The slow rate of adoption is primarily due to the high initial cost associated with the smart accessories, especially the Philips Hue lineup. About a month ago, I decided to give it a try, hence, this review will talk about various aspects of owning Philips Hue.

Starting with some numbers, this review is based on the 3rd generation of Philips Hue’s starter bundle. It consists of three 800 Lumens, 10W multi-colour bulbs with standard A19 fittings. Apart from the 3 bulbs, the bundle includes a Philips Bridge (Hub), which is connected to the WiFi router with an ethernet cable for a stable connection. This bridge acts as the brain of the Hue network, as all the user inputs are communicated through it. The bridge is also capable of connecting and controlling up to 50 Philips Hue devices simultaneously.

This starter bundle will set you back around $200, which is definitely not cheap for 3 LED bulbs.


User experience

It takes about 10 minutes to get everything up and running. Once everything is set up, the first thing you need is your smart phone. There is a dedicated app for Philips Hue in the Appstore that can be used to interact and try different colour combinations. There are even some presets in the app that can quickly change the lighting of an entire lounge. However, the app sometimes does not communicate properly with the bridge and there is a significant lag in changing the light settings. Apart from that, it works as expected. Now, let’s talk about a few nice highlights about Philips Hue.

  • It allows to personalize an entire room by providing numerous colours to choose from.
  • Users can download Hue compatible third-party applications and enhance the usability of their smart lights.
  • The compatibility with Apple HomeKit makes it extremely easy to communicate via Apple’s eco-system.
  • The Philips Hue family is continuously expanding to enhance the user experience.
  • The brightness and colour accuracy is definitely top-notch.

Moving on towards the cons of Philips Hue.

  • The official app needs to be updated to enhance the usability, the remote on-off feature is glitchy and should be fixed.
  • If there is a power outage, the entire system resets and when power’s restored, the bulbs light up in a default warm-white colour.
  • The cost is certainly quite high as compared with a normal LED bulb of the same capacity.

Verdict

Philips Hue is definitely a step in the right direction. However, it comes at a steep price and some flaws in the usability which makes it a hard sell, especially for the masses. Having said that, it’s certainly a stepping stone towards smart homes and a user focused equipment. However, Philips need to work on making it cheaper so everyone can familiarize themselves with the future.