Leica SL Review: To Make Great Creations

DSCF0639This is only the second time I’ve had a Leica camera in my possession for a review — the first time, I reviewed the Q, a masterpiece of a fixed-lens camera. Well, the German camera manufacturer of great esteem has decided to pursue the pro photography market, with another full-frame mirrorless camera, but with some additional touches that put it in a class of its own, costs included.

Want a synopsis? I can say without a doubt, never have I felt more empowered with a camera on the streets of Manhattan.

Facebook Messenger For Android Gets The Material Design Treatment, Finally

facebook-messenger-material-designIt’s always nice when an app gets updated to fall in line with the overarching design formula of the mobile operating system that it runs on. In this case, Facebook Messenger, which is used by millions, got the Material Design treatment for Android. Thus, the app hasn’t been dramatically changed, but it does look nicer — and that’s important, too.

Funny enough, Messenger head David Marcus wrote on Facebook (naturally) why this update took so long, since Material Design debuted back in 2014:

“Any major redesign of an essential app used by hundreds of millions of people around the world is painstakenly [sic] hard, and that’s why we took every precaution to ensure you’d truly enjoy this evolution.”

Via: Facebook

The DJI Phantom 4 Drone: Hello, Autonomous Control

phantom-4Another day, another DJI drone — maybe even one that famed YouTuber and creator Casey Neistat can control?

The Phantom 4 is the latest and greatest attempt at there being a consumer/pro level drone that has fully autonomous abilities. Two new cameras on the front, two on the bottom, two belly-mounted Ultrasonic sensors, with the main camera — this setup allows for the building of a 3D world in which the drone can recognize and avoid obstacles, including people.

Better yet, there are automation abilities, including sending the Phantom 4 towards areas seen in the distance, or an ActiveTrack system that allows the Phantom 4 to lock-onto a subject and follow them, getting smooth footage along the way. To top it all off, it lasts 28 minutes on a single charge, tops out at 45 mph, shoots stabilized 4K video.

Price? $1,400. But it most likely will be worth every penny and Benjamin.

Via: DJI

Windows 10 Gamers Get Forza Motorspot 6: Apex For Free, Not Bad

cef6f57a-2272-4207-9f25-ff54ce2fde19For the first time ever, Forza Motorsport will grace PC gamers, and for free specifically on Windows 10 machines.

A tweaked version of Forza Motorsport 6, Apex will include all the original Xbox features, plus DirectX 12 support and 4K resolution (gaming beast of a machine, not included). In total, there will be 63 cars and more than 20 tracks in six locations. The launch? This spring.

As to why the title is free?  Dan Greenawalt, head of Turn 10 Studios, the Microsoft studio that makes the Forza games said the following: “Why is it free? Because we can.”

It’s also worth noting that there won’t be any ads of the sort, and night/weather cycles are also coming to the PC version of the racing simulator.

Best part? Future Forza Motorsport games will be made for both Xbox One and Windows. That’s legit.

Via: FM

Fujifilm X100T Review: The Pro Toy

L1120012There’s a Japanese camera manufacturer by the name of Fujifilm — and they’re rather good at what they do, despite being behind better-known counterparts — one starts with an “N” and the other with a “C” — however, that doesn’t matter. When Fujfilm has a camera as small and lightweight as this one, with all the tech needed to make great photographs — 16 megapixels are enough; the spec-wars aren’t important in this context.

So let’s get to it: the chance to work with one of their most-beloved cameras: the X100T. It’s a small, mirrorless camera with a fixed lens, but with the control and quality to stand-in for a bigger, more expensive camera in a pinch.

Also, it looks rather charming.

Samsung Galaxy S7 And S7 Edge: The New Flagships Are Announced

PostLivestreamHeros22116It’s about that time — Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where many of the world’s major smartphone manufacturers announce their new wares. It’s Samsung’s turn, and so the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were born — or at least, revealed to the press and public.

Both phones retain core values from the year prior, but also improve drastically in performance, software and even design sectors. To begin, the S7 holds its 5.1-inch, quad HD Super AMOLED Plus display, but the S7 Edge is now the size of a phablet, sporting a  5.5-inch display, but still retains the quad HD Super AMOLED tech and curvature on both sides. 32GB of storage is the default for both devices, but microSD storage has been added to the same tray that houses the nano SIM, so that’s a plus. Also, IP68 water and dust resistance was added, meaning submersion up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes at a time — this is accomplished through sealed ports, meaning no flaps or anything silly of the sort.

A Qualcomm 820 Snapdragon processor, 4GB of RAM and improved battery capacity across the board (3,000mAh in the S7 and 3,600mAh in the S7 Edge, up from 2,550mAh and 2,600mAh, respectively); fast charging and wireless charging also make a return, but with micro-USB in lieu of a USB-C upgrade.

Looking for more drastic changes? Look at the 12 megapixel camera — 4MP smaller than last year’s — but with larger pixels, allowing for a brighter f/1.7 aperture and a 4:3 ratio. In a nod to Canon engineering, all of the 12 million pixels in the S7 line can also act as focusing pixels — this is called dual pixel technology, by the way.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow makes its debut with Samsung software customizations, including an Always On display for notifications and the time, which consumes half a percent of battery every hour, and shuts off completely if the proximity sensor is covered (like in a bag or pocket).

Launch details: the S7 and S7 Edge launch in the US starting on March 11th, with preorders beginning on February 23rd. The S7 will come in black or gold, while the S7 Edge will come in black, gold, or silver options. All carriers are hopping on board, per usual, making the crew a Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint affair.

This all should be mighty interesting.

Via: Samsung 

HTC’s Vive VR Headset Is Finally Finished, Costs $799, Launch In April

HMD_V2_Light_1280x520_0113Besides making some (needed?) adjustments to the HTC Vive VR headset, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer is finally touting the headset’s price: $799. This price includes the headset plus two wireless haptic feedback controllers, so have at it — oh and thus, the Vive is more expensive than the $599 Oculus Rift. Smarpthone functionality for iOS and Android has also been added to the Vive.

Oh, and this also includes two games (that I’ve never heard of): Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives by Owlchemy Labs and Fantastic Contraption by Northway Games.

Pre-orders begin February 29th, with a shipping time of early April.

Via: HTC Vive

LG G5 Debuts At Mobile World Congress, With Modular Accessory System

lg-g5It’s a big bet for a flagship phone, let me tell you that much. The LG G5 is a noticeable departure from the architecture of previous flagship handset from LG, and sports a new modular accessory system, on top of the new design, specs and software.

Oh, and always-on display? Check, LG has it here.

First off, the G5 is all-metal — it finally happened, as LG was the last of the major Android manufacturers to be making a flagship phone with a non-metal body. Secondly, the modular accessory system: things like a camera grip that also includes a 4,000mAh charge, or a Hi-Fi DAC for audiophiles, can be slid in via the removable bottom bezel — which also means this is the first all-metal flagship phone of recent memory with a removable battery.

LG is getting a lot right here, but for some reason got rid of the app drawer, so every app downloaded goes to the screen — sigh. Still, there’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a returned LG skin, so that should (hopefully) make up for this shortcoming). Also, like th eNexus 6P, the fingerprint sensor is located in the power button, which means you can unlock in a jiffy.

Specifications are as follows: Snapdragon 820 processor, 5.3-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS Quantum display (554 PPI), 4GB of RAM, 32B internal storage (microSD up to 2TB), 2,800mAh battery, a 16 megapixel rear camera (78-degrees) + 8 megapixel rear camera (135-degrees) for wide-angle shots, 8 megapixel front camera, and network support in the US on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Price and availability are to be announced, but it is worth noting that LG even made accessories like a VR headset and a 360 cam, so the G5 experience — when it does come out — will be pretty interesting.

Via: LG