Category Archives: Everything Mobile

News, Analysis and Reviews of Mobile Phones and Tablets including smart watches

Deals: Grab T-Mobile Moto Z2 Force for $375, Google Home for under $65

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If you are a Motorola fan in the US, and are planning to purchase a high-end smartphone, you’ll be glad to know that T-Mobile is currently offering a solid discount on the Snapdragon 835-powered Motorola Moto Z2 Force.

The magenta carrier currently has the handset listed for $375, down from the usual $500 price tag the device usually carries there.

It’s worth mentioning that Motorola is officially selling the T-Mobile variant for $720, so purchasing directly from T-Mobile will currently save you around 50%.

Moving on, if you are planning to purchase a voice controlled smart speaker instead, you might want to check the deal an eBay seller is offering on the Google Home. Specifically, yapper_wireless is selling the device for $79.

Given that officially, the device is still being sold for $129, that turns out to be a discount of $50. However, if you want, you can take that discount up to $65 by purchasing the speaker through eBay’s Android app and applying the code PSHOPAPP during checkout.

So that means you can currently get a Google Home unit for just $64. No information on when both these promos end (and the eBay listing says limited quantities are available), so those interested in availing any of the deals may have to act fast.

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iPhone X is now only 1-2 weeks behind delivery in the US

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There’s no doubt that the iPhone X is a phone with high demand, so much so that Apple had delays as long as 5-6 weeks before you could get one when placing an order online.

Thankfully that’s no longer the case for those of you trying to snag an iPhone X in time for the holidays. Right now, Apple US and Canada offer the iPhone X with expected deliveries 1-2 weeks after placing an order.

Alright, so that’s still a lot of time to wait, but it still beats over a month’s time of waiting. All variants are available in 1-2 weeks’ time. That includes models for all four major US carriers and unlocked phones sold in either Space Gray or Silver.

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Razer Phone will see camera improvements over the next few weeks

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Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan has published a post on Facebook about the future of the Razer Phone’s camera app and performance. In our review, we didn’t find that the Razer’s camera did as well as it could have, and most of the shortcomings that we found were software related.

The Facebook post mentions that Razer is focused now on improving the experience of the software. Starting with the app itself – Razer will push an update via the Play Store “in the near term” that will improve the performance of the camera app. This is followed by updated in the shutter speed, low-light performance, and other optimizations, which will be progressively updated (also via the Play Store) over the coming weeks.

Razer plans to add the following features as part of its next major camera app release: a new Instazoom button which will help quickly jump to the telephoto lens for better zoom performance. Min-Liang Tan says this feature was widely requested by many reviewers. Also, Razer says it will “very likely” add 4X slow motion video recording.

As for updates coming with the Android Oreo update, Razer will add portrait mode, 60fps video recording, and more general speed improvements in the later half of Q1 2018.

Razer is still brand new to the smartphone business, but it’s great to see that the company appreciates and values feedback from customers, reviewers, and fans alike.

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Casio announces G'z EYE series of rugged action cameras starting with GZE-1

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Casio has announced a new series of rugged action cameras, a first for the brand, called the G’z EYE. The first model to be launched in the series is the GZE-1.

The GZE-1, which looks remarkably like the company’s G-Shock series of watches, is like an armoured version of your typical GoPro camera. The body is dust, shock, water and low temperature resistant, making it suitable for use even in the harshest of conditions. The camera works underwater up to 50m without requiring any additional case and in temperatures as low as -10°C. The similarity with G-Shock watches is intentional, as the GZE-1 uses similar cylindrical guard structure and urethane resin material to absorb shocks and impacts.

As a camera, the GZE-1 has a 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 6.9MP. The camera can capture 6MP still images and 1080p30 video. You can also record slow motion video in 240fps at 384p or 120fps 480p. The camera a 13mm f2.8 lens for wide-angle photography. Built-in Bluetooth allows you to control the app from Casio’s smart watch or transfer images to the mobile app.

The Casio GZE-1 is priced in Japan at 46,000 yen, which is about $410.

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New report suggests that the iPhone 8 won’t be Apple’s last LCD phone

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Whatever you think of the iPhone X, there’s no debating that it’s the most drastic evolution that Apple’s smartphone line has ever seen. With it’s all-screen design, OLED display, lack of home button and sensor array, it looks unlike any iPhone we’ve ever seen. But alongside the iPhone X, Apple launched a more traditional phone: the iPhone 8. Though it looks like a relic next to the X, it might not be the last LCD iPhone that Apple ever releases.

In a new report this week, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said that as “steady” as iPhone X sales have been, the price is still a hurdle for many customers. Some customers simply aren’t willing or able to pay $1,000 for a smartphone, which is why he believes that next year, Apple will release a new phone next year that retain the LCD display of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but feature a similar design to that of the iPhone X.

“We believe Apple might bring down the cost of an iPhone X by using an LCD screen next year making the iPhone 8S a more differentiated product from the iPhone 7 and 8,” Zhang said in his report. This follows and seemingly backs up a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month which featured a similar prediction:

We believe the major hardware difference in the two new OLED models is size, in a bid to satisfy various needs of the high-end market. The new TFT-LCD model will differ significantly from the OLED models in hardware and design specs (for instance, the PPI will be lower). The primary selling points of the TFT-LCD model may be the innovative user experience of an integrated full-screen design and 3D sensing with a lower price tag (we expect it will likely be US$649-749)

The iPhone 8 is already “stuck in the middle” in the current lineup, with the iPhone 7 priced more competitively and the iPhone X offering a brand new experience. If Apple does release two, or even three, all-screen phones next year — especially if one is markedly cheaper than the others — the iPhone 8 will be in an even tougher spot.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) shows off its Infinity Display in a case

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As this year nears its end, we’re getting ever closer to the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy A (2018) series, comprised of follow-ups to the Galaxy A (2017) devices of course. Today the upcoming Galaxy A5 (2018) has been leaked once again. This time around we get to see it inside a case, in four different color versions.

As rumored extensively before, the A (2018) family will sport Infinity Displays, and the A5 is no exception. Samsung is intent on bringing one of the main differentiators of its high-end S and Note lines to the mid-range with the new A series. Like 2017’s flagship Samsungs, the new Galaxy A5 will have its fingerprint sensor on the rear.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) in a case Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) in a case Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) in a case Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) in a case
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2018) in a case

However, unlike the S8, S8+, and Note8, this time around it won’t be in an off-center position horizontally. Instead, it’s been placed right underneath the single rear camera, as you can see. That should make it easier to reach and harder to miss, though it’s still pretty close to the lens – and not very big, which means some occasional smudging of the camera is bound to occur.

The A5 (2018) appears to have the infamous Bixby key on the left side, under the volume buttons, which means the virtual assistant is ready to make its debut in the mid-range too. The Galaxy A5 (2018) will probably become official in January, along with (at least) the A7 (2018). It should sport the Exynos 7885 SoC or the Snapdragon 660 (depending on market). Expect 4 or 6GB of RAM to be baked in too, but unfortunately the phone could be launching with Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, and not Oreo.

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YouTubers claim to hack the iPhone X’s Face ID with a plaster mask

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The iPhone X comes with a sophisticated 3D facial recognition system that has no rival in the mobile business right now. It’s more secure than Touch ID, almost as fast, and works pretty much as intended — that’s to say there have been no “Facegates” issues to date.

However, the security of Face ID isn’t foolproof. Children can already Face ID into the iPhone X of their parents, and some people have had similar successes with the handsets of their siblings. Hackers also successfully unlocked the phone using a 3D-printed mask, although they haven’t answered all the questions related to their procedure.

A new video now claims to show how Face ID can be fooled with a plaster mask.

Posted online earlier this week on YouTube channel WolfieRaps, the video is a bit on the trolly side. It’s not exactly a scientific kind of show, but the video does prove that 2D images can’t break the Face ID lock.

However, the YouTubers video demo a successful mirror Face ID unlock which seems impossible at first. It turns out that if you hold the iPhone X at an angle while facing a mirror, it’ll be able to measure the depth of your face. I tried it and it works. Of course, this isn’t a real hack, as you do need the iPhone X owner to perform it.

Moving on to the plaster hack, I’ll have to say I’m not convinced it actually works. If it does, however, it’s still something you can’t really pull off. You’ll need physical access to your target’s head, and that person will suspect something’s up the minute you ask them to let you make a plaster mask of their face.

As seen towards the end of the clip below, the plaster mask does work. It does unlock the iPhone. But because the video doesn’t seem to be a continuous recording, there are reasons to suspect something may have happened during different takes that allowed it to happen, and I’m going to quote from Apple’s white paper on how Face ID works:

To improve unlock performance and keep pace with the natural changes of your face and look, Face ID augments its stored mathematical representation over time. Upon successful unlock, Face ID may use the newly calculated mathematical representation—if its quality is sufficient—for a finite number of additional unlocks before that data is discarded. Conversely, if Face ID fails to recognize you, but the match quality is higher than a certain threshold and you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID takes another capture and augments its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation. This new Face ID data is discarded after a finite number of unlocks and if you stop matching against it. These augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimizing false acceptance.

In other words, if the iPhone in the video below was unlocked with a passcode, then Face ID may have mapped the mask. For this to happen, however, the mask should have been placed in front of the TrueDepth camera while the passcode was introduced, or soon after it. On the other hand, the video also shows the time on the iPhone, as the screen is mirrored to a computer to record the Face ID unlock success or failure. The successful unlock occurs only a couple of minutes after the first unsuccessful attempts.

Again, the hack does seem to work. But this isn’t the most scientific Face ID hack out there. Watch the entire thing below:

Multimedia Table Tops My Holiday Wish List

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Never have I been so enamored with a table.

Belgian design studio Blue Blood this week revealed the Smartables multimedia stand.

Pronounced “smart-tables” (not “smart-ables,” like I keep reading it), the minimalist furniture is anything but.

Aside from a cool detachable tray and sneaky hidden compartment, the table boasts Bluetooth speakers, wireless charging, LED lights, and two USB ports.

Charge devices wirelessly, or using two USB ports (via Blue Blood)

My ideal nightstand, there’s a drawer for stashing late-night snacks and a supply of earplugs, a shelf to store my currently-reading pile, and enough room on top to fit a picture frame and some tchockies.

Plus, I could juice up my new iPhone 8 (and up to two more QI-compatible devices) by simply placing it on the magic wood (inside of which magnetic coils transfer energy to the smartphone).

Non-wireless mobile gadgets can connect via two USB sockets on either side of the console.

A dimmable LED light is controlled with just a touch (via Blue Blood)

The table’s natural oak wood—assembled by hand in the Blue Blood workshop—also features a strip of dimmable LED lights, controlled through an invisible sensor.

And when I’m feeling a bit funky, or just want soothing sounds to lull me to sleep, two 10-watt speakers and a built-in amplifier wirelessly project music and other audio to the whole room.

A conveniently magnetic tray, meanwhile, seamlessly separates from the table top—perfect for serving breakfast in bed, or getting some work done after hours.

Bluetooth-enabled speakers let you connect with your favorite music apps (via Blue Blood)

Available in natural wood oak or pearl white, with the option to mix-and-match drawer colors, the table is expected to retail for €799 ($939).

Early-bird buyers can snag one now for the discounted price of €449 ($528). Unsurprisingly, the sleek piece quickly surpassed its crowdfunding goal, collecting more than €5,000 in less than 24 hours.

Scheduled for arrival in March, Smartables is compatible with the Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile platforms, as well as apps like SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, and Tidal.

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Black Friday 2017: Best Online Deals

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Black Friday, Black November, Pre-Black Friday, Cyber Monday… The buzzwords for November’s big holiday sales are as plentiful as stuffing on Thanksgiving. And we’d like you to enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of getting shoved around at your local big box store just to save $20, hop on your PC! With a little help from our friends at TechBargains, we here on WIRED’s Gear team have found some of the absolute best tech deals online before, during, and around Black Friday.

(Be sure to also check out our main Cyber Monday deals guide for a lot more sales.)

Handpicked WIRED Black Friday Guides:

The Latest Deals

Featured

All-New Amazon Fire HD 10 32GB 10.1″ 1080p WiFi Tablet for $99.99 (list price $149.99).

Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Core i5-7300U 14″ 1080p Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD & 3-year warranty for $779.35 (use code: THINKBFSALE – list price $1199).

New Dell XPS 13 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U Coffee Lake 13.3″ 1080p Ultra-thin Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $999.99 (list price $1299.99).

Dell OptiPlex 3050 Intel Core i5-7500 Quad-Core Kaby Lake Win10 ProTower Desktop for $509 (use code: EXTRA50 – list price $979.99).

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 6″ WiFi eReader for $89.99 (list price $119.99).

PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Gaming Console for $199 (list price $299.99).

Sony Playstation Plus 12-Month Membership (PS3, PS4, Vita) for $39.99 (list price $59.99).

iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (w/ Alexa) for $274.99 (list price $374.99).

ecobee4 WiFi Smart Thermostat w/ Sensor (Alexa Compatible) for $199 (list price $249).

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker Immersion Circulator (Bluetooth) for $95 (list price $149).

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart 700W Electric Pressure Cooker for $51.99 (list price $69.95).

Amazon Warehouse: Extra 20% off Outlet Electronics, Tools, and More (Discount applies in cart).

Laptop & Desktop Computers

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Intel Core i7-7500U 14″ 1080p Laptop w/ 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $1227.85 (use code: THINKBFSALE – list price $1889).

Lenovo ThinkPad T570 Core i5-7200U 15.6″ Business Laptop for $649.35 (use code: THINKBFSALE – list price $999).

Lenovo ThinkPad T470s Intel Core i5-7200U 14″ 1080p Laptop for $779.35 (use code: THINKBFSALE – list price $1199).

New Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad 15.6″ 1080p Gaming Laptop w/ 6GB GTX 1060, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD for $849.99 (use code: 50OFF699 – list price $1099.99).

Dell Latitude 15 5000 Intel Core i7-6600U 15.6″ Win10 Pro Laptop w/ AMD R7 GPU for $639 (list price $1617.14).

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Core i7-7500U 14″ 1080p Laptop w/ 256GB SSD for $649.99 (list price $959.99).

Dell Latitude 13 7000 Intel Core m7 3200×1800 13.3″ Win10 Pro Laptop w/ 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD and 2.5yr Dell Warranty (Refurb) for $899 (list price $1199).

Dell Inspiron 3650 Intel Core i7-6700 Quad-Core Win7 Pro Desktop (16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, AMD R9 360 2GB GPU) for $629 (use code: INS629 – list price $1145.85).

Apple iMac 21″ 4K Retina Intel Core i5 Quad-Core Desktop (Refurb w/ 1yr Apple Warranty) for $879 (list price $1049).

Dell XPS 8920 Intel Core i7-7700 Quad-Core Desktop w/ 24GB RAM, AMD RX480 8GB, Win 10 Pro (Refurb) for $879 (list price $979).

Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Core i5-7300U 14″ 1080p Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD & 3-year warranty for $779.35 (use code: THINKBFSALE – list price $1199).

New Dell XPS 13 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U Coffee Lake 13.3″ 1080p Ultra-thin Laptop w/ 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD for $999.99 (list price $1299.99).

Dell OptiPlex 3050 Intel Core i5-7500 Quad-Core Kaby Lake Win10 ProTower Desktop for $509 (use code: EXTRA50 – list price $979.99).

Electronics & Components

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor for $199.99 (list price $236.60).

Netgear Orbi Home WiFi AC2200 Mesh Router + 2 Satellites (Clip $30 Coupon) for $319.93 (list price $399.99).

Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub for $49 (list price $99.99).

Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones for $179 (list price $279).

TP-Link Archer AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Gigabit Router for $109.99 (use code: LNK20OFF – list price $169.99).

Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Waterproof Earbuds w/ HR Monitor for $149.99 (list price $249.99).

UE MEGABOOM Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for $177.49 (list price $299.99).

Sony PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset (PS3/PS4) for $59.99 (list price $99.99).

Samsung Gear 360 2017 360° 4K VR Camera for $129 (use code: 40OFF360 – list price $169).

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2040 1080p 2200-Lumens Projector for $549.99 (list price $799.99).

Aduro On-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones w/ 18hr Play Time for $24.74 (use code: ADUROO25 – list price $32.99).

ANTOP Outdoor TV Antenna for Multiple TVs (up to 65-mile range) for $62.99 (use code: 32JAMSV5 – list price $145.99).

JBL Charge 3 20W Water Resistant Portable Bluetooth Speaker for $89.95 (list price $149.99).

Cowin E-7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones for $38.99 (use code: CBDEAL11 – list price $69.99).

Norton Security Premium Software (10-Keys/1yr, Digital Download) for $34.99 (list price $89.99).

Norton Security Deluxe Software (5-Devices, 1 Year) for $19.99 (list price $79.99).

Otium Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Sport Earphones for $9.80 (use code: OTIUM68K – list price $19.99).

All-New Amazon Fire HD 10 32GB 10.1″ 1080p WiFi Tablet for $99.99 (list price $149.99).

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 6″ WiFi eReader for $89.99 (list price $119.99).

HDTVs & Home Entertainment

PlayStation VR Headset with Gran Turismo Sport + PS4 Camera for $299 (list price $399.99).

Destiny 2 (PS4) for $41.99 (list price $59.99).

PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Gaming Console for $199 (list price $299.99).

Sony Playstation Plus 12-Month Membership (PS3, PS4, Vita) for $39.99 (list price $59.99).

Home & Miscellaneous

3-Months Amazon Music Unlimited (Discount appears at Checkout after signing in) for $0.99 (list price $7.99/month).

iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner for $599 (list price $699).

iRobot Roomba 980 WiFi Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner for $799 (list price $899).

Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner for $80 (list price $159.99).

Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner for $69 (list price $99.99).

Elechomes 10-cup Touch Electric Rice Cooker for $59.99 (use code: 8OSPG29W – list price $79.99).

Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven for $109.99 (use code: 20PUCKPO – list price $129.99).

Crock-Pot SCCPWM600-V2 Wemo Smart Wifi-Enabled Slow Cooker for $83.95 (list price $149.99).

Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool Fan Heater for $299 (list price $449.99).

Deik 22.2V Cordless Vacuum Cleaner w/ Motorized Brushead for $98.99 (use code: MBYO8EUH – list price $399).

Oittm Outdoor Wifi Smart Plug (Alexa compatible) for $22.39 (use code: 93EPH8YF – list price $39.99).

Aduro 6-Outlet Charging Station Surge Protector w/ 2 USB Ports for $12.74 (use code: 25OFFHYD – list price $16.99).

Ragnaros 70W 110V Adjustable Thermostat Soldering Iron Kit for $27.71 (use code: L5VIJPGW – list price $99.99).

Nursal Shiatsu 3D Neck & Shoulder Deep Massager w/ Heat for $37.99 (use code: V5XREYRO – list price $99.99).

Amazon Warehouse: Extra 20% off Outlet Electronics, Tools, and More (Discount applies in cart).

iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (w/ Alexa) for $274.99 (list price $374.99).

ecobee4 WiFi Smart Thermostat w/ Sensor (Alexa Compatible) for $199 (list price $249).

Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker Immersion Circulator (Bluetooth) for $95 (list price $149).

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart 700W Electric Pressure Cooker for $51.99 (list price $69.95).

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Cyber Monday 2017: Best Tech Deals, from Playstations to Sonos Speakers

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We put together a few different WIRED Black Friday Deals Guides to help you find the best deals at home over Thanksgiving weekend and avoid the horrible lines and madness at your local store or mall. Cyber Monday, which is November 27 this year, will likely have even better deals going on.

There aren’t a lot of deals yet, and most Cyber Monday pages from retailers are still blank, but we’ve collected a few starter deals to kick things off. We’ll update this guide throughout Black Friday weekend to ensure we give you our favorite picks for 2017’s big online discount day.

Handpicked WIRED Black Friday / Cyber Monday Guides:

Our Favorite Cyber Monday Deals

PlayStation 4 Console Bundle – $200 ($100 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon

There are a lot of Xbox One deals this holiday thanks to the new Xbox One X, but the PS4 is still the most popular console this generation, and at $200, it’s finally getting some deep discounts as well. Sony is also discounting its Dual Shock controllers.

TCL 49-inch 4K Roku LED TV – $350 ($130 off)

Available Now

Buy on AmazonYou can’t go wrong with a 49-inch Roku TV. This won’t be the greatest TV money can buy, but with a 49-inch size, high-resolution 4K screen, and built-in Roku streaming, it’s a great pick for anyone. Roku is the best streaming platform around. This TV looks like a winner for the price.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus – $50 ($20 off)

Date: Nov. 22 9 p.m. ET – Nov. 27

Buy on Amazon

If your TV doesn’t have Roku already built in, this Roku Streaming Stick can give you access to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services with ease. Even if you don’t own a 4K TV yet, having a streaming stick that supports 4K means it will probably work on your next TV as well. At $50, this is a no brainer if you’re in need of a streaming solution.

PlayStation VR headset with Skyrim VR – $350 ($100 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target

Sony’s PlayStation VR headset is a lot more user-friendly than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headsets on PC, and it works with any PS4, which means most of the games should work on your system with minimal lag or trouble. This bundle comes with a special version of Skyrim, two motion controllers, the headset, and camera.

Sonos Speakers – ($25 – $100 off)

Date: Nov. 23-27

Buy Sonos One for $175 ($25 off) on Sonos, Amazon

Buy Sonos Play:1 for $150 ($50 off) on Sonos, Amazon

Buy Sonos Playbar for $600 ($100 off) on Sonos, Amazon

Buy Sonos Playbase for $600 ($100 off) on Sonos, Amazon

Sonos is discounting quite a few of its speakers over Thanksgiving weekend. We highly recommend the Sonos One because it has Alexa support, as well as the Play:5, Sonos Playbar, and Sub. If you really don’t care about Alexa, the Play:1 is also available and the Playbase, which is great if you want your soundbar to sit below your TV (though the Playbar sounds nicer).

The best thing about Sonos (outside the excellent sound quality) is how easily they all connect up. You can have a speaker in every room of your house and play music to all of them independently, or group them up. It’s easy, and that’s why they’re some of our favorite home speakers.

Cyber Monday Deals Pages:

As of publishing, all Cyber Monday pages are still blank, but we’re linking to them anyway, in case something has changed by the time you read this post.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

ADATA Announces XPG Storm: A Cooler for M.2 SSDs with a 16500 RPM Fan

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ADATA this week has introduced its first aftermarket cooler for M.2-2280 SSDs. The XPG Storm is meant to ensure stable performance with the latest drives under high loads, while also adding some visual effects via its integrated RGB LEDs.

The ADATA XPG Storm features a large, ten fin anodized aluminum heatsink painted to resemble copper. The heatsink in turn is cooled by an Sunon MF20100V1-10000-A99 20-mm fan, a small-but-powerful fan that can spin at up to 16,500 RPM (see detailed specs of the unit below). Overall the cooler is 2.4 centimeters thick and is among the largest cooling devices for M.2 SSDs launched to date.

While dimensions of the XPG Storm will affect its compatibility with small form-factor PCs (e.g., Mini-ITX motherboards with an M.2 slot on the backside), the maximized surface area means better heat dissipation, further reducing any remaining thermal throttling under high loads. ADATA does not quantify advantages of its XPG Storm (it only says it makes SSDs 25% cooler, but that is not a very precise valuation), but according to EKWB, a passive heatsink can reduce controller temperature by 8-10°C, or even more with appropriate airflow. Since the XPG Storm has its own fan, expect it to perform a bit better than passive coolers. Meanwhile, keep in mind that the noise generated by the aforementioned 16,500 RPM fan is speced at 25 dBa, which is noticeable.

Besides just cooling SSDs, the ADATA XPG Storm is an accessory that adds style to a modern gaming PC. The shroud of the XPG Storm’s cooler features RGB LEDs that support external 4-pin RGB controllers, as well as ASUS Aura Sync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync applications. The fan can be connected to a system fan header on a motherboard, or directly to a PSU using a an appropriate adapter.

The vast majority of high-performance SSDs these days use M.2 form-factor because of PCIe interface and broad compatibility with all types of desktop, laptop and even hybrid computers. However, M.2 drives have a drawback that affects their performance occasionally: they are hard to cool down. Modern SSD controllers contain multiple computing cores to perform rather intensive mathematical operations while using ECC based on LDPC algorithms in order to work with contemporary NAND flash memory, all the while the NAND dies themselves also produce heat of their own. As a result, high-end drives in particular have been known to throttle some in heavy write scenarios, especially in systems with poor airflow.

Manufacturers of SSDs naturally try to tackle heat issues by equipping their drives with thermal pads (Samsung) or heatsinks (ADATA, Plextor), but since the majority of M.2 SSDs come without any cooling, the market of custom cooling solutions for such drives is expanding. Over the past 12 months we have seen aluminium M.2 coolers from Alphacool (passive and liquid cooled) and EKWB (passive), whereas Silverstone is selling aftermarket thermal pads. As it appears, ADATA decided to take aftermarket cooling of its M.2 SSDs into its own hands, thus offering a comprehensive service to its demanding clients as well as increasing its revenue and profits.

ADATA XPG Storm at a Glance
AnandTech.com ASTORM-C
Bearing Type Vapo-Bearing
Fan Diameter 20 mm (?)
RPM 16,500 RPM ± 15%, non-PWM
Airflow 1.9 CFM (at 16,500 RPM)
Noise level 25 dBA (max)
Fan life unknown
RGB Compatibility External controllers
ASUS Aura Sync
GIGABYTE RGB Fusion
MSI Mystic Light Sync
Dimensions 81.5 × 24.55 × 23.1 mm
Voltage 12 V, 80 mA
MSRP $29.99
Check Availability Amazon
Newegg

ADATA will start selling its XPG Storm cooler for $29.99 starting early next month. The unit will be covered by a one-year warranty.

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Intel to Remove Legacy BIOS Support from UEFI by 2020

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The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) will turn 45 in three years, and as it turns out, this is when it is going to die on 64-bit Intel platforms. In recent years, Intel has implemented its Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) mechanism with legacy BIOS support as an additional option, however the company intends to remove legacy BIOS support from its UEFI by 2020 in an effort to improve security. For most users, the removal will go unnoticed, but for those who use and rely on legacy hardware on the newest platforms, it means migrating to other platforms.

BIOS functionality has evolved over the years, but its key purposes remained intact – run the POST (power-on self-test) to identify and initialize key system components (CPU, RAM, GPU, storage, DMA controllers, etc.), lead to OS boot and then provide certain I/O functions for older operating systems. Standard PC BIOSes from the 1970s had numerous limitations (a 16-bit processor mode, 1 MB of addressable memory space), which needed to be hacked around in the 1980s, but in the 2000s the industry started to move on to a new iteration: UEFI. UEFI was designed to not have decades-old constraints and is considerably more sophisticated in general.

In order to guarantee a smooth transition from BIOS to UEFI (by ensuring compatibility with legacy software and hardware that uses 16-bit OpROM), the Unified EFI Forum (which consists of virtually all the important developers/suppliers of hardware) defined several UEFI system classes and introduced an optional Compatibility Support Module (CSM) to UEFI class 2 to help smooth the process.

 

The vast majority of PCs today feature UEFI class 2 and thus can expose either UEFI or BIOS interfaces, which can be selected in the BIOS configuration. There are systems that belong to UEFI class 3/3+ already (e.g., Microsoft Surface Book), but they are rare. In a bid to make capabilities like UEFI Secure Boot ubiquitous, Intel plans to remove CSM support from new client and server platforms by 2020. As a result, all new platforms from that point on will be strictly UEFI class 3.

Once CSM is removed, the new platforms will be unable to run 32-bit operating systems, unable to use related software (at least natively), and unable to use older hardware, such as RAID HBAs (and therefore older hard drives that are connected to those HBAs), network cards, and even graphics cards that lack UEFI-compatible vBIOS (launched before 2012 – 2013). Those who need older programs will still be able to run them in virtualization mode, but outdated hardware will have to be retired or remain on older platforms.

For the remaining years, Intel recommends to its partners to improve the UEFI user experience, promote UEFI features like secure boot, signed capsule and other, and remove DOS/BIOS dependencies from production maintenance tools. Essentially do everything to lower significance of CSM.

An interesting question regarding depreciation of legacy BIOS support on Intel’s new platforms is which of them will be the first to drop CSM in the client space. Intel is preparing a number of client platforms for mainstream desktop and mobile PCs (Cannon Lake, Ice Lake) to be released in the coming years, but at present we have no idea whether the company intends to trim CSM to a point in 2020, or if it will be a hard change over.

It remains to be seen whether AMD has similar plans – we have reached out to determine the state of play. The main reason Intel is performing this change is due to security, and certain OEMs may require specific UEFI features in their future products. 

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How to find the best 4K TV for your space

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There has never been a better time to buy a new TV. Huge 4K sets are cheaper and look finer than ever. Perhaps more important, there are finally a few new technologies that make upgrading from your old set worth it: HDR (high dynamic range) video and a wider color gamut. And if your budget allows, OLED TVs are well within reach. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with these new options, so let’s break down what you need to know before buying a new TV.

Sizing it up

The first thing you have to ask yourself is pretty straightforward: How large does your new TV need to be? Given how much prices have fallen, it might be tempting to go as big as your budget will allow. But that could easily lead to buying something that looks ridiculously oversized in your space.

A good way to figure out the best screen size is to measure the viewing distance from your couch to your TV stand. Once you’ve got that, just plug it into this tool from the TV review site Rtings.com, which uses viewing recommendations from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. A 50-inch set, for example, should sit 6.8 feet away for mixed-use viewing (basically, a combination of TV, movies and gaming). At that point, it’s taking up 30 degrees of your field of vision. If you’re a cinephile and want to truly immerse yourself, though, you’d need to sit five feet away so that it covers 40 degrees of what you’re seeing.

Most living rooms could easily fit a 50- to 55-inch set, but if you’ve got a large space to work with, then a 65-inch model might make more sense. Of course, your existing TV should give you an idea of what fits in your space. But keep in mind that newer TVs are thinner and have smaller bezels, so you might be able to fit something larger than your aging HD set. If you really can’t fit anything bigger than a 42-inch TV in your space, though, then you’re better off not upgrading. There’s just no point in getting a 4K set that small.

The 4K HDR basics

OLED TV sets in a Sony store. During the May Day golden...

While 4K is the marketing term you’ll see attached to new TVs, it’s not an upgrade that you’ll immediately notice. Technically speaking, 4K sets have four times as many pixels as 1080p, or “Full HD,” TVs. But most people won’t see a significant difference from their couch.

Instead, the bigger benefit with this generation of TVs is the addition of HDR, which highlights bright and dark content better than we could ever see before. There’s also support for wide color gamut (WCG), which, as you’d expect, lets you see a larger variety of colors. Together, they add more detail and contrast to what you’re watching — in many cases, the image “pops” off the screen more than with older TVs.

In Daredevil, on Netflix, for example, you can see much more during the show’s many night fights. One scene in the first episode, where Matt Murdock is showing off the giant neon billboard right outside his apartment, demonstrates how HDR can juggle both extreme brightness and darkness in the same shot.

Currently, there are two competing HDR formats: HDR10, which is widely supported across the industry, and Dolby Vision, which works only with select TVs, players and content. When buying 4K equipment, just make sure it supports both formats. They each do everything we described above, but Dolby Vision technically looks better. It uses dynamic metadata, which allows it to adjust color levels and contrast settings for every scene. HDR10, on the other hand, relies on static metadata, which gives it only one set of instructions for every piece of content.

Unfortunately, we can’t demonstrate the impact of HDR and WCG with a screenshot or video; it’s visible only on displays that support the technology. You’d have to stop by an electronics store for an in-person demo. Once you do, though, you’ll notice the difference immediately. For the most part, HDR and WCG best serve newer films and TV shows, which were likely produced with the technology in mind. It’s a more contentious addition to classic films, since it effectively changes what the original director and cinematographer wanted you to see. HDR in the 4K version of Goodfellas, for example, actually makes the film look worse.

Choosing a TV: LCD or OLED?

The 55-inch TCL Roku TV in our holiday gift guide is one of the best deals we’ve ever seen. It supports both HDR formats, has great image quality and currently retails for a mere $650. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of TCL before. They’ve been making sets for years (including for Samsung), and as of 2013 they were the third-largest TV maker in the world. And if you’re looking for an upgrade, Vizio’s P-Series line is among the best we’ve ever seen. Reviewing and comparing TVs is time- (and space-) consuming work, so I’d also recommend following Wirecutter‘s excellent breakdown of the best TVs on the market.

As I noted during CES in January, OLED TVs are finally getting their chance to shine. While LG’s B6 lineup started at $4,000 when it launched in 2016, it ended up as low as $1,800 by the end of the year. And the comparable 2017 model, the C7, is now selling for around $1,700. Sure, that’s a significant leap over the TCL set above, but it’s still a steal if you’ve been following OLED TVs over the past few years.

So what’s the big deal about OLED? Simply put, these panels look incredible. They can produce pure darker levels, wider viewing angles and a higher contrast than LCDs. Altogether, that makes OLED sets look brighter, though it’s worth noting that newer 4K LCDs are also much brighter than they used to be. Again, you’ll have to see them in person to truly grasp the benefits. But if you’re the sort of person who’s been holding out for a serious upgrade over your existing HDTV, OLED will likely be worth the extra cost. (Confession: I bought an LG OLED last year, and it still wows me every time I use it.)

When and where to buy?

There’s a reason we’re publishing this piece before Black Friday: Now is the best time to seriously look at a new TV. Plenty of retailers have discounts running all week long, while others will have deals ready on Friday. If you’re following the best prices, where you buy probably won’t matter to you. In general, though, I like ordering TVs from Amazon, since its delivery service will also set them up for you. (Installing a TV stand on your own isn’t fun.) Physical stores are also good options if you can transport a large set, and of course it’s easier to return large items on your own rather than shipping them back.

If you’re still on the fence about upgrading, though, there are advantages to waiting. For one, OLED prices will eventually drop even further. And you can be sure that next year’s TVs will offer minor improvements over the current models. I wouldn’t expect any significant upgrades, though. The 4K standard won’t be changing any time soon, and while Dolby Vision and HDR10 will see some revisions, they won’t change much. (And there’s a good chance those revisions will also trickle down to existing sets.)

What else do you need?

Since most TVs today have streaming apps built in, you don’t really need a set-top box. Still, the new 4K dongles from Roku and Amazon are great options if you prefer their interfaces. And if you rely on iTunes, then the new Apple TV 4K is worth considering (especially since it’ll upgrade your existing library to 4K). As for 4K Blu-ray, it’s not worth the investment for most consumers, since it requires a new player (or an Xbox One S or X). It’s best suited to cinephiles who want the best possible picture and audio quality and don’t mind the added expense.

A more essential upgrade: sound. Even the best TVs on the market typically have mediocre audio, so it’s worth snapping up a soundbar, at the very least. Vizio’s 36-inch 5.1 wireless system is a solid entry point for surround sound — especially at the current price of $179, when it typically retails for $250.

Wrap-up

If you’ve been anticipating a new TV for a while, now’s the time to pull the trigger. After years of sounding like marketing hype, 4K/HDR sets are finally here and cheap enough for most people to afford. While they won’t offer the night-and-day difference that HDTVs did, compared with older sets, they’re still a significant step forward. And they’ll make binge watching all the more worthwhile.

 

 

Best SSDs: Holiday 2017

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It’s been only two months since the last update to this guide, but with the holiday sales starting it’s time to check where SSD prices are at. There haven’t been many new SSD product releases lately and the rollout of 64-layer 3D NAND is proceeding slowly. We don’t expect any new releases of significance before the end of the year. Most brands are saving up their announcements for CES in early January. As a result, our recommendations have barely changed.

The most visible SSD product launch in recent months was obviously the Intel Optane SSD 900p. In almost every way it is the fastest SSD on the market and its pricing is far lower than the enterprise Optane SSD DC P4800X, but the 900p is still too expensive to be a reasonable choice for any kind of bargain hunter.

November 2017 SSD Recommendations
Market Segment Recommendations
Mainstream 2.5″ SATA Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB @ $149.99 (30¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D / SanDisk Ultra 3D 1 TB @ $284.99 (28¢/GB)
Small and Cheap SATA Crucial BX300 120 GB @  $59.99 (50¢/GB)
Entry-level NVMe Plextor M8Pe 256GB @ $118.88 (46¢/GB)
WD Black 512GB @ $199.75 (39¢/GB)
Intel 600p 1TB @ $338.03 (33¢/GB)
High-end NVMe Samsung 960 EVO 1 TB @ $447.30 (45¢/GB)
Samsung 960 PRO 2 TB @ $1159.00 (57¢/GB)
M.2 SATA WD Blue 3D M.2 1 TB @ (30¢/GB)

Above are some recommendations of good deals in each market segment. Several of these aren’t the cheapest option in their segment and instead are quality products worth paying a little extra for.

The next table is a rough summary of what constitutes a good deal on a current model in today’s market. Holiday sales that don’t beat these prices aren’t worth standing in line for.

November 2017 SSD Recommendations: Price to Beat, ¢/GB
Market Segment 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Mainstream 2.5″ SATA 50 ¢/GB 36 ¢/GB 29 ¢/GB 27 ¢/GB 27 ¢/GB
Small and Cheap SATA 41 ¢/GB 34 ¢/GB 29 ¢/GB    
Entry-level NVMe 58 ¢/GB 46 ¢/GB 39 ¢/GB 32 ¢/GB  
High-end NVMe     47 ¢/GB 45 ¢/GB 57 ¢/GB
M.2 SATA 47 ¢/GB 36 ¢/GB 29 ¢/GB 27 ¢/GB  

As always, the prices shown are merely a snapshot at the time of writing. We make no attempt to predict when or where the best discounts will be. Instead, this guide should be treated as a baseline against which deals can be compared. All of the drives recommended here are models we have tested in at least one capacity or form factor, but in many cases we have not tested every capacity and form factor. For drives not mentioned in this guide, our SSD Bench database can provide performance information and comparisons.

Mainstream 2.5″ SATA: Samsung 850 EVO, WD Blue 3D/SanDisk Ultra 3D

The largest segment of the consumer SSD market is 2.5″ SATA drives intended for use as either the only storage device in the system, or as the primary drive holding the OS and most programs and data. This market segment has by far the widest range of choices, and virtually every SSD brand has at least one model for this segment.

These days, the best options for a mainstream SATA drive are all at least 240GB. This is large enough for the operating system and all your everyday applications and data, but not necessarily enough for a large library of games, movies or photos. Our recommendations in this segment now all use 3D NAND flash. Older models using planar NAND tend to be much slower if they use TLC, and either more expensive or hard to find if they use MLC.

  240-256GB 480-525GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 850 EVO $89.99 (36¢/GB) $149.99 (30¢/GB) $299.99 (30¢/GB) $677.66 (34¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D NAND $93.59 (37¢/GB) $151.53 (30¢/GB) $294.48 (29¢/GB) $584.75 (29¢/GB)
SanDisk Ultra 3D $99.99 (40¢/GB) $144.99 (29¢/GB) $284.99 (28¢/GB)  
Crucial MX300 $92.99 (34¢/GB) $149.99 (29¢/GB) $278.99 (27¢/GB) $549.00 (27¢/GB)
Crucial BX300 $87.99 (37¢/GB) $144.99 (30¢/GB)    
Intel 545s $99.99 (39¢/GB) $162.99 (32¢/GB)    

The Samsung 850 EVO is not quite the fastest SATA SSD possible, but it sets the standard for most of the SATA SSD market. The SanDisk Ultra 3D and its twin the WD Blue 3D NAND are almost as fast as the 850 EVO and are slightly cheaper. The Crucial MX300 is even cheaper but sacrifices some performance, especially at lower capacities.

Mainstream SATA - ATSB - Heavy (Data Rate)

The Intel 545s is still a bit more expensive than most drives in this segment, indicating that Intel and Micron haven’t gotten production of their 64-layer 3D NAND up high enough. It’s getting closer to competitive pricing, but we probably have another few months before Intel and Micron are ready to match the other 64L NAND prices.

Small and Cheap SATA: Crucial BX300

Some users are only interested in small SSDs, either because they know their storage needs are modest, or because they plan to keep the bulk of their data on a mechanical hard drive. Simply buying the cheapest SSDs that is large enough can be a bad idea: The smallest SSDs usually suffer from significantly worse pricing on a per-GB basis, and significantly lower performance due to having fewer flash chips to access in parallel.

This year, the 128GB capacity class is on its way out. 128GB is still enough space for an operating system and a reasonable number of applications and documents, but it fills up fast when used to store games, movies or photos. Our favorite SATA drives for the 240GB and up capacities are not manufactured in ~128GB versions, requiring a different recommendation. In this segment, we also assume that the drive is pretty likely to be used in a near-full state, which usually leads to reduced performance, but that effect is stronger for some drives than others.

  120GB 240-275GB 480-525GB
Crucial BX300 $59.99 (50¢/GB) $87.99 (37¢/GB) $144.99 (30¢/GB)
Crucial MX300   $92.99 (34¢/GB) $149.99 (29¢/GB)
ADATA SU800 $52.99 (41¢/GB) $87.99 (34¢/GB) $147.99 (29¢/GB)

The choice for this segment is very clear: the Crucial BX300 stands alone as a cheap but modern drive that doesn’t compromise. With Micron 3D MLC NAND and a solid Silicon Motion SM2258 controller instead of a cheaper DRAMless controller, it doesn’t fit the mold of a typical budget drive. It’s only a few dollars more than the cheapest TLC SSDs, and is definitely worth paying extra for. At higher capacities, its price is less compelling.

The market for consumer NVMe SSDs has broadened enough to be split into entry-level and high-end segments. This split will become clearer with the next generation of products as low-end PCIe 3 x2 SSD controllers make their debut, but even now there is a big difference between the Intel 600p and the Samsung 960 PRO.

Almost all consumer NVMe SSDs use the M.2 2280 form factor, but a handful are PCIe add-in cards. The heatsinks on many of the add-in cards tend to increase the price while making no meaningful difference to real-world performance, so our recommendation for NVMe SSDs are all M.2 form factor SSDs.

The latest generation 64-layer 3D NAND has not yet hit the retail NVMe SSD market. Samsung seems unlikely to deliver a replacement for their 960 PRO and 960 EVO before the end of the year. Toshiba’s XG5 offers a tantalizing preview of what their 3D NAND can offer, but a retail version has not been announced. Western Digital/SanDisk have also not announced any consumer PCIe SSDs using 3D NAND yet. Intel’s 64-layer 3D NAND available in one consumer SATA drive, but the rest of it is going to the enterprise SSD market for now.

Not much has changed recently with the controllers for NVMe SSDs, either. Marvell announced a minor update to their 88SS1093 controller earlier this year but it has not yet been used in any shipping products. Silicon Motion’s new generation of NVMe controllers was previewed at Flash Memory Summit and it looks like they’ll offer a much-needed performance improvement over the current SM2260 controller, but they’re still months away from being ready for release. Drives using Phison’s entry-level E8 controller will probably show up as soon as Toshiba’s 64L 3D NAND is widely available, but no specific products have been announced. Their new high-end E12 controller is a bit further off.

High-end NVMe: Samsung 960 EVO and Samsung 960 PRO

The Intel Optane SSD 900p raises the bar for high-end SSD performance, but that speed comes at a steep cost. The price per GB of the 900p is more than twice that of the fastest flash-based SSD. Almost everyone would be better served by a much larger Samsung 960 drive that usually feels just as fast. The 960 PRO’s performance advantage over a 960 EVO of the same capacity can look impressive in benchmark charts, but is not noticeable enough during real-world use to justify the price premium.

High-End NVMe - ATSB - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

This high-end level of performance is currently hard to obtain from a 256GB-class drive: the 250GB 960 EVO is much slower than its larger siblings, and there isn’t a 256GB 960 PRO. The closest alternative would be the OEM SM961 256GB, available from some retailers but without the warranty and support that Samsung’s official retail products get.

  250GB 500-512GB 1TB 2TB
Samsung 960 EVO $127.99 (51¢/GB) $247.99 (50¢/GB) $447.30 (45¢/GB)  
Samsung 960 Pro   $289.99 (57¢/GB) $586.99 (57¢/GB) $1159.00 (57¢/GB)
Intel Optane SSD 900p (139¢/GB) (125¢/GB)    

Entry-level NVMe: MyDigitalSSD BPX, Intel 600p

Drives using PCIe x2 controllers or the NVMe Host Memory Buffer feature have not yet hit the retail market, so the entry-level NVMe segment is mostly defined by the use of TLC NAND or planar MLC. These drives mostly fall into two categories: those using the Phison E7 controller with Toshiba 15nm MLC, or those using the Silicon Motion SM2260 controller with Intel/Micron 3D NAND. There are a few exceptions where drives using a Marvell controller are currently offering entry-level pricing.

  120-128GB 240-256GB 480-512GB 1TB
MyDigitalSSD BPX $69.99 (58¢/GB) $114.99 (48¢/GB) $209.99 (44¢/GB)  
Samsung 960 EVO   $127.99 (51¢/GB) $247.99 (50¢/GB) $447.30 (45¢/GB)
Intel SSD 600p (66¢/GB) $139.00 (54¢/GB) (39¢/GB) $338.03 (33¢/GB)

The MyDigitalSSD BPX is usually one of the cheapest Phison E7 drives, and the 2.1 firmware revision it ships with is the preferred choice for real-world performance. At the moment, the BPX is by far the cheapest 120GB-class NVMe drive.  At the top end of the capacity range, the 1TB Intel 600p is unbeatable. Yes, it’s the slowest NVMe drive, but it’s still faster than any SATA SSD on light workloads, and it’s only slightly more expensive than top SATA SSDs like the Samsung 850 EVO. In the 256GB class, the Samsung 960 EVO is one of the cheapest and fastest options, but for heavier workloads a Phison drive with MLC may be a better choice.

Entry-Level NVMe - ATSB - Light (Data Rate)

(Note that the above performance data for the Patriot Hellfire should be representative of the MyDigitalSSD BPX and any other Phison E7 drive with 2.1 firmware.)

M.2 SATA: Crucial MX300 and WD Blue 3D

For notebooks, M.2 SATA has almost completely replaced mSATA. A few notebooks are using the shorter M.2 2242 or 2260 sizes, but most support up to the 80mm length. There are far fewer M.2 SATA options than 2.5″ SATA options, but most of the current top SATA SSDs come in M.2 versions. There is currently little to no premium for the M.2 versions of these drives, so these recommendations are quite similar to the 2.5″ drive recommendations: at larger capacities, the low price and low power consumption of the Crucial MX300 make it the top choice. At the smallest capacity, the higher performance of the WD Blue 3D is worth paying a little bit more for.

  250-275GB 500-525GB 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 $104.99 (42¢/GB) $168.00 (34¢/GB) $352.99 (35¢/GB)
Crucial MX300 M.2 $92.99 (34¢/GB) $149.99 (29¢/GB) $286.99 (27¢/GB)
WD Blue 3D M.2 $89.99 (36¢/GB) $154.99 (31¢/GB) (30¢/GB)

Top insider says 2018 iPhone X will feature much faster data speeds

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Even though the iPhone X hasn’t even been out for a full month, the Apple rumor mill never takes a day off. And neither, apparently, does Ming-Chi Kuo who has yet another research note regarding Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup. In a note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo writes that Apple’s next-gen iPhones will incorporate a brand new antenna design that will ultimately improve LTE transmission speeds.

Kuo’s note reads in part:

Antenna design upgrade a key factor in anticipated boost to LTE transmission speed in new 2H18F iPhone models. As a LTE antenna FPCB material, LCP is superior to PI in properties related to high-frequency, thermal performance and moisture resistance. We predict 2H18 new iPhones will be equipped with two LCP LTE antenna modules same as iPhone X or more, but with higher specs to support 4×4 MIMO standards.

Incidentally, Kuo just a few days ago issued a report claiming that Apple’s 2018 iPhone models will include remarkably faster baseband chips sourced from both Intel and Qualcomm. Kuo also believes that 70-80% of the baseband chips on next year’s iPhone lineup will come from Intel. On a related note, Qualcomm earlier this month filed suit against Apple for allegedly sharing proprietary information about its LTE chips with Intel.

As for what Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup will look like, Kuo doubled down on his report from last week, reiterating that Apple will introduce a revamped iPhone X along with two additional devices: an edgeless 6.5-inch iPhone with an OLED display and a 6.1-inch iPhone with an edgeless LCD display. Assuming Kuo’s projection is accurate, it will be interesting to see what Apple does with its iPhone 8 models. Will they simply remain as-is or might they see an S-style upgrade? Either way, it’s clear that edgeless displays with Face ID instead of Touch ID will soon become the de facto design for all new iPhone models.

Image Source: MacRumors