TIME Gadgets

Tablets: Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S

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Samsung's 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S tablet Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

You won’t believe the colors you can see with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S, which Samsung unveiled in New York City last night. Colors on the Tab S, Samsung’s new flagship tablet, are obviously noticeably deeper, brighter and crisper than on an iPad or even Samsung’s own former flagship Galaxy Note Tab tablet.

But the best news about the new two-model Tab S series are the prices: just $499 for the 16 GB 10.5-inch version, $399 for the 16 GB 8.4-inch version. Maybe these price tags aren’t bargain basement, but they compare more favorably with Apple’s iPad ware than in the past, and offer some decidedly higher-value viewing advantages.

The Tab S’ brilliant color display is achieved thanks to its Super AMOLED screen rather than the usual LCD. AMOLED displays have long been known to produce not only brighter, deeper colors but better stand up to sunlight (although, from past smartphone comparative experience, I’ve not been overly impressed with AMOLED’s sunlight reflecting capabilities vs. traditional LCD) and are less power hungry; Samsung claims you’ll be able to watch 11 hours-plus of 1080p video on the Tab S on a single charge.

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Apple iPad Mini (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S (right) Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Images and video are also startlingly sharper on the Tab S thanks to their 4K 2560 x 1600 displays versus iPad’s Retina 2048 x 1536 screen (although, quite honestly, I’m not sure if Samsung wasn’t using the original non-Retina iPad Mini for comparative purposes).

Adding to the Tab S image/video viewing experience is its adaptive brightness; its sensors sense and adjust white balance to provide just the right amount of brightness depending on not only ambient light – fluorescent, home reading lamp or outdoor sunlight, but to your activity – reading, watching a movie, viewing images, game playing, etc. Unfortunately, there was no sunlight or other variable lighting conditions available to ambiently tax the Tabs.

Samsung also uses a wider 16:10 aspect ratio (your HDTV has a 16:9 width vs. height ratio) than the 4:3 aspect ratio on iPad. As a result, images and especially widescreen video on the 8.4- and 10.5-inch Tab S models look far larger than you’d expect compared to the 7.9-inch iPad Mini and 9.7-inch iPads, which have to letterbox movies.

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Both Samsung Galaxy Tab S models are 6.6mm thin Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Both the new Tab S models are also thinner and lighter than their Apple competitors, despite having larger viewing area. Both the Tab S models are 6.6mm thin compared to the 7.5mm thickness of both iPads; the 10.5-inch Tab S weighs in at 465 grams vs. the smaller iPad Air’s 469 grams, while the 8.4-inch Tab S tilts the scales at 294 grams vs. the smaller iPad Mini at 331 grams.

Features and Apps

Aside from advancing the tablet display and thickness state-of-the-art, Samsung is pushing its Paper Garden magazine app. The company unveiled partnerships with Condé Nast (Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, GQ), National Geographic and – geek alert – Marvel Comics, each with specially-designed and some exclusive content.

The Tab S will come with a pile of free short-term and trial music, video and reading subscriptions, including a copy of the movie Gravity.

Samsung also demonstrated a new Content Home widget, which aggregates all your sound and image content sources into single home page.

You’ll also be able to use your Tab S in conjunction with your Galaxy S phone to transfer or make WiFi phone calls or for “mirroring” – seeing the content from your phone on the Tab S screen. Samsung also has ported several features from its pro Galaxy Note tablet series including multi-window for side-by-side app viewing.

Technically, the Tab S seems extra speedy when compared side-by-side with earlier Note tablets. The Tab S brains are “octacore” engines – a 1.9 GHz quad core processor paired with a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, and apps swim in a generous 3 GB of memory. The Tabs will come in 16 GB and 32 GB varieties – no prices for the 32 GB versions were announced. Each can be expanded by 128 GB via a microSD card slot.

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Bluetooth keyboard case for the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Each will be available in bronze or white, each sharing the dimpled rear cosmetics of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 phones, and ringed in gold. Also available will be two types of cases, a simple flap-over or a “book” case that offers three angles for writing or viewing. There’s also be a 7.5mm thin Bluetooth keyboard designed for each.

The Tab S goes on pre-sale today on Samsung.com and Amazon: $399.99 for the 8.4-inch model, $499.99 for the 10.5-inch model. Wi-Fi versions will be available in July; LTE editions will go on sale later this year.

This article was written by Stewart Wolpin and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME

Watch The Daily Show Rip Apart Google Glass Enthusiasts

No, Google Glass discrimination isn't a "hate crime"

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Thursday night’s episode of The Daily Show perfectly ripped apart Google Glassholes—referred to by correspondent Jason Jones as iDouches—who claim discrimination in the streets because passersby think that they’re being recorded… “which sometimes they were.”

“Yes, it seems even in this day and age you can still be treated differently just because of how you look — wearing a $1,500 face computer,” Jones said, before declaring to Glass hater and tech expert Larry Rosen, “I bet you don’t think they should be able to get married either.”

On the one hand, Glass owners are sometimes getting assaulted in the streets of The Mission in San Francisco (not ok) or verbally accosted in bars (“it was a hate crime!”) On the other hand… Google Glass.

Watch how the Daily Show trolled Glass wearers to perfection in the clip above.

TIME Gadgets

New Samsung Tablets Use Size and Screens to Take On iPads

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Samsung's 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S tablet Samsung

Samsung has trotted out another round of tablets: The 8.4- and 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S line looks to take on the 7.9- and 9.7-inch iPads by offering larger, more colorful screens while keeping thickness and weight comparable.

The $399 iPad Mini with Retina Display, for instance, measures 0.29 inches thick and weighs 0.73 pounds. The 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S, by comparison, is 0.26 inches thick and weighs 0.65 pounds. Take the $499 iPad Air: also 0.29 inches thick, and it weighs 1.03 pounds. The 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S is 0.26 inches thick and weighs 1.025 pounds.

To the average person, the size and weight differences amount to splitting hairs; from a marketing perspective, Samsung gets to claim its tablets are thinner and lighter despite having bigger screens.

As for those Samsung screens, they’re color-rich Super AMOLED screens, each with 2560×1600 resolutions. Apple’s Retina displays are of the IPS variety and sport 2048×1536 resolutions. As far as total resolution goes, it’s another marketing point for Samsung. As for the merits of Super AMOLED versus IPS screen technology, the conclusions aren’t nearly as clear-cut. Here’s a good IPS vs. AMOLED piece if you’re interested. Spoiler: Let your eyes decide.

Samsung — and, by extension, Google — are still playing catch-up to Apple, however, when it comes to tablet-optimized apps. Android has made gains towards stocking its store with bonafide tablet apps recently, but with so many Android devices — both phones and tablets — out there, from a developer’s standpoint, the path of least resistance is to make an app that works well on Android phones and then hope it scales well enough to keep tablet owners happy.

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Samsung’s 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S Samsung

With Apple, you have far fewer devices for which you have to try to build apps: all iPhone models from the iPhone 5 onward have 1136×640 screen resolutions; all the Retina iPads have 2048×1536 resolutions. Your major outliers are the non-Retina iPad Mini and earlier iPhones that are on their way out.

Samsung’s arguably done a good job getting its tablets into the hands of consumers. As The Verge’s Dan Seifert notes, Sammy shipped 40 million tablets last year, against Apple’s 70 million. Samsung has also not been shy about flooding the zone with Galaxy tablets: “Samsung has released at least nine tablets in just the first six months of this year, many of which have overlapping features and designs,” writes Seifert.

And Samsung does have some neat software tricks up its sleeve. This line of tablets will let you dock two apps next to each other, and you have access to a specially-designed, high-definition Netflix app. You also get a feature that mirrors your Samsung phone on the tablet’s screen and Galaxy Gifts, a package of almost 30 time-limited premium services from the likes of Box, WebEX, Evernote and several newspapers.

On paper, this latest tablet salvo from Samsung looks impressive, but now we get to see how consumers react. The 8.4-inch model starts at $399, and the 10.5-inch model starts at $499. Both will be available as Wi-Fi models in July, with LTE versions to follow later in the year.

TIME health

Now Doctors Can Use Google Glass to Record Your Visits

Google Glass Prescriptions
John Minchillo—AP

Google's face-computer may be coming soon to a doctor's office near you

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are about to get a new tool in the medicine bags: Google Glass.

Drchrono, a digital health startup, claims to have created the first “wearable heath record” that can be accessed through Google’s futuristic face-computer. Doctors can use the app to store patients’ records as well as record medical visits and even procedures via Glass’ camera for consulting later on.

While some patients may be hesitant to let doctors record their visits, Drchrono says its Glass application complies with HIPPA standards which protect patient privacy — and patients will have to give permission to have doctors record their visits via Google Glass.

The application is currently in its beta phase, though Reuters reports about 300 physicians have signed up to use it. Drchrono, just one of a plethora of startups tapping into the healthcare app market, has also developed digital health records apps for iPads and smartphones.

 

TIME Internet

Facebook Lifts Ban on Exposed Nipples in Breastfeeding Pictures

The social media site said the ban was quietly lifted about two weeks ago. It does not apply to other images of female nipples

It appears Facebook has withdrawn its ban on female nipples in photos of breastfeeding mothers.

Facebook has drawn heat from feminists for considering images of topless women as violations of their policies against nudity and obscenity —even when the photographs depict breastfeeding mothers.

Feminist writer Soraya Chemaly brought attention to the policy change on The Huffington Post, noting that the social media company had quietly changed its policy on obscene content in regard to breastfeeding mothers. Images that include the exposed nipples of breastfeeding can now be posted on the site without the risk of removal.

“The female nipple ban no longer exists for breastfeeding mothers, which should make many people who have been pushing the company to address a nudity double standard at least partially happy,” Chemaly wrote on Monday.

The ban drew the attention of women last year who took the site to task over the policy, which they said is an example of gender-based discrimination. A campaign led by Chemaly called on Facebook to combat both hate-speech and “obscenity” double standards. It garnered over 60,000 tweets, 5000 emails, and a bundle of disgruntled advertisers, and led Facebook to respond with an explanation of its policy.

A year later, the breastfeeding ban has been lifted, though bans on artistic displays of female nipples remain in place. Facebook has not yet acknowledged that the ban was lifted for breastfeeding women.

[Huffington Post]

TIME e3 2014

Watch: Nintendo’s Squid Ink Game “Splatoon” Preview

Take a look at how the new Wii U game is played

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Nintendo unveiled its new Wii U game “Splatoon” on Tuesday, featuring squid-human characters in a 4-vs-4 ink shooting game. Set for release in 2015, the premise is simple: try to cover the most square footage with ink. The best part? You can decide whether you want to be a human or a squid.

TIME tried it out at the E3 conference — watch how to play in the video above.

TIME electronics

This Smart Cup Knows What’s Inside of It

A smart cup to help users achieve health and fitness goals

Vessyl, whose pre-sale began on Thursday, looks like most portable cups: plastic, handy and durable. But it’s far smarter than your average container.

Created by startup Mark One over seven years, Vessyl is sensor-equipped and immediately reports your drink’s nutrition facts, according to the product’s promotional video.

Once a liquid is poured into the Vessyl, a small digital display will tell you the caffeine, fat and calorie content, among other information. It also identifies the drink—it can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, for example, by calculating differences in sugar content. It even works for alcoholic drinks and thicker fluids like milkshakes and yogurt.

Charged wirelessly, the Vessyl is linked via Bluetooth to your smartphone, where you can manually enter drinks you’ve consumed elsewhere on the Vessyl app. The app then collects data on your hydration level and chemical intake to facilitate a healthy lifestyle.

The Vessyl can be pre-ordered for $99 (it will retail for $199), and will be released by early 2015.

TIME e3 2014

The Evil Within Refuels Survival-Horror Games, Fuels Nightmares

Please turn on the lights to watch this video.

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King of creepy Shinji Mikami’s newest game looks to scare you. That’s the only goal.

Unlike some of Mikami’s recent work like latest Resident Evil titles, The Evil Within does not require you to kill everything that moves in an environment. Instead, it takes the survival-horror genre back to its roots of scarce resources, chilling isolation and seemingly un-killable enemies.

Stealth and ingenuity are the best weapons against the game’s monsters, but even the character’s own mind will not be safe, as hallucinations and visions blur the line between reality and nightmare.

When the The Evil Within hits shelves, make sure to leave the light on while playing.

TIME technology

Verizon, Netflix Spar in Epic Battle Over Who Should Pay for What

Amid an escalating dispute with Verizon, Netflix reminded everyone this week of its standing offer to fix — for free — the problem of slow download speeds, the issue at the heart of rising tensions between the video streaming company, Verizon and a host of other major Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The latest Netflix-Verizon tiff started last week, when Verizon sent Netflix a cease and desist letter in which Verizon threatened to sue Netflix over new error messages blaming Verizon, as well as AT&T, for streaming issues experienced by customers. Netflix General Counsel David Hyman wrote in a letter Monday that Netflix would not abide by Verizon’s cease and desist, arguing that slow loading speeds are indeed caused by Verizon’s overcrowded network.

But Hyman also added that Verizon had specifically refused to solve the problem by failing to let Netflix install its magic box on Verizon’s network — for free. Netflix’s so-called “Open Connect” box would cache Netflix content so that Internet users can stream Netflix videos quickly and smoothly, all at no cost to the ISP — it could even help ISPs save a few bucks.

The problem, Netflix says, is that Verizon, along with the country’s biggest ISPs — AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Comcast — have all refused to take Netflix up on its offer. Some smaller ISPs, like Cablevision and Suddenlink, have utilized Open Connect, which has been available since 2012. Both Cablevision and Suddenlink now provide among the fastest streaming speeds for Netflix video in the U.S., beating out other cable broadband providers, like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and clocking in 30% faster than Verizon’s FiOS service and nearly twice as fast as AT&T’s U-Verse service, both fiber networks that should smoke cable competition.

So why wouldn’t Verizon and the other big ISPs, want to use Open Connect? The simple answer is that the standoff between Netflix and the big ISPs has very little to do with streaming speeds.

In fact, it’s not really about technology at all.

It’s about money.

Specifically, it’s about who should be responsible for paying to deliver content over the Internet. The big ISPs say that web companies like Netflix should pay ISPs to deliver their content, especially since Netflix alone now accounts for roughly 30% of total evening Internet traffic in the U.S., according to network research company Sandvine. The major ISPs argue that when they move data for major content delivery networks — companies that move data around the Internet but don’t interact directly with Internet users — they get paid a fee for delivering that content. Netflix’s Open Connect box does basically the same thing as those delivery networks, so the ISPs say they should get paid for that, too.

Netflix says that’s just not how the Internet works. Internet subscribers already pay Verizon and the other ISPs for access to the Internet — demanding payment from web content companies on top of that amounts to shameless double dipping, says Ken Florance, Netflix’s VP of content delivery. Advocates for an open Internet say demands like this create a worrisome precedent, wherein ISPs could easily become “gatekeepers” of the Internet, extracting tolls from any web company that wants to reach Internet users.

Mark Taylor, an executive at Level 3 — one of those non-public facing delivery networks — says the problem arises from the fact that the big ISPs enjoy dominant market share in the regions they serve. That means that they don’t have to worry about dissatisfied customers switching to a different provider when the latest episode of Orange Is the New Black is stuck buffering. Instead, these big ISPs are free to “deliberately harm” the quality of their customers’ Internet connections in order to demand fees from web companies, Taylor wrote in a blog post — though it hasn’t been conclusively proven any ISPs have yet done so.

This standoff leaves Netflix in a tough position. Since it has no other way of reaching its customers except through the ISPs’ “pipes,” it can either pay up or stand on the sidelines as its customers struggle to access its product. In February, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings agreed to pay Comcast an undisclosed fee to ensure that its videos streamed quickly. (He later told investors that he was “forced” into making the deal). In April, Netflix reached a similar deal with Verizon.

Despite that deal, Netflix says Verizon customers are still saddled with download speeds that are below last year’s average. Verizon’s fiber service, FiOS, service clocks in behind almost all the major cable companies, according to Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, despite the fact that FiOS’s overall speed tests are generally equal to or better than cable download speeds.

Netflix and the big ISPs have been facing off over these issues for years. With companies like Netflix accounting for an increasing share of Internet traffic and ISPs getting even larger–Comcast, the nation’s biggest ISP, made a bid in February to buy Time Warner Cable, the third biggest–the drama won’t be over any time soon.

TIME e3 2014

What It’s Like to Be the Kraken in Evolve

In which one monster vs. four hunters makes for a surprisingly even multiplayer match.

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Halfway through my hands-on time with Evolve, I could feel the disappointment of the 2K representative next to me. I was still getting the hang of the game, and my gigantic, flying Kraken had taken lots of damage from the four players trying to bring it down. Reading the rep’s face, a comeback seemed like a long shot.

But then, something clicked. I started using the Kraken’s powers more effectively, pinpointing my lightning blasts at exposed monster hunters, while keeping them on the defensive with a barrage of energy blasts from high in the air. I got better at dividing and conquering the hunters, and when one went down, he became bait as the other players tried to revive their fallen comrade. When the last monster hunter fell, I had only a sliver of health left, and my hands were shaking.

Evolve is strictly a multiplayer game, coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this fall. Four players team up and control the hunters, each with their own special abilities, while a fifth player controls an oversized monster with a handful of super powers. Over the course of a match, the monster can feed on creatures and “evolve” into a more powerful form, so there’s an element of hide-and-seek as the monster tries to become better equipped for fighting the hunters.

It was hard to believe my outcome wasn’t scripted, or at least pushed toward a thrilling conclusion through unseen handicaps. But speaking to Chris Ashton, the game’s design director, he assured me that Evolve’s mechanics are pure, with no extra assistance for ailing players.

“In a racing game, sometimes they’ll make the guy in the back go faster,” Ashton said. “But when you’re a seriously competitive game, you don’t want to artificially give the losing team an advantage or Nerf the winning team at all.”

There are, however, some subtle forces at work. The trapper, for instance, needs lots of time to recharge its containment field, so every few minutes, the monster has a chance to get away and get back to feeding. Meanwhile, the Kraken’s flying ability takes longer to recharge when it’s not in combat, so it’s much easier for the hunters to eventually catch up. Ashton said this creates a roller coaster effect, similar to the Turtle Rock’s use of safe rooms in its previous series, Left 4 Dead.

“We ratchet everything up, and then we ratchet everything back down so you have time to recover,” he said.

Evolve’s sense of balance comes from more than three years of prototyping and testing. The game was bare bones at first, with just a melee attack for the monster and assault rifles for the hunters. As the developers layered on new abilities–such as healing powers for the medic, a containment field for the trapper class, and a slew of special powers for the monsters–they constantly had to rebalance.

The entire studio would play the game for an hour every day, and their matches fed into a telemetry system to help the developers figure out which characters were too weak, or too strong. So by the time 2K started showing Evolve at public and industry events, Ashton expected plenty of close matches.

“We’ve played the game so much that there aren’t really any surprises,” he said.

Still, he thinks this will change when Evolve launches on October 21, and players start learning all the game’s tricks. One of the advantages of the latest game consoles is that it’s much easier to push out updates, so Turtle Rock plans to keep tuning the mechanics long after the game comes out.

“We know that once we release, if we sell millions of copies in the first day, there’s going to be millions of man-hours played,” Ashton said, “And that’s more than we’ve put into the game.”

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