All posts in “Oled”

The Skagen Falster is a high fashion Android wearable

Danish understatement meets Mountain View tech

Skagen is a well-know maker of thin and uniquely Danish watches. Founded in 1989, the company is now part of the Fossil group and, as such, has begin dabbling in both the analog with the Hagen and now Android Wear with the Falster. The Falster is unique in that it stuffs all of the power of a standard Android Wear device into a watch that mimics the chromed aesthetic of Skagen’s austere design while offering just enough features to make you a fashionable smartwatch wearer.

The Falster, which costs $275 and is available now, has a fully round digital OLED face which means you can read the time at all times. When the watch wakes up you can see an ultra bright white on black time-telling color scheme and then tap the crown to jump into the various features including Android Fit and the always clever Translate feature that lets you record a sentence and then show it the person in front of you.

You can buy it with a leather or metal band and the mesh steel model costs $20 extra.

Sadly, in order stuff the electronics into such a small case, Skagen did away with GPS, LTE connectivity, and even a heart-rate monitor. In other words if you were expecting a workout companion then the Falster isn’t the Android you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for a bare-bones fashion smartwatch, Skagen ticks all the boxes.

What you get from the Flasterou do get, however, is a low-cost, high-style Android Wear watch with most of the trimmings. I’ve worn this watch off and on few a few weeks now and, although I do definitely miss the heart rate monitor for workouts, the fact that this thing looks and acts like a normal watch 99% of the time makes it quite interesting. If obvious brand recognition nee ostentation are your goal, the Apple Watch or any of the Samsung Gear line are more your style. This watch, made by a company famous for its Danish understatement, offers the opposite of that.

Skagen offers a few very basic watch faces with the Skagen branding at various points on the dial. I particularly like the list face which includes world time or temperature in various spots around the world, offering you an at-a-glance view of timezones. Like most Android Wear systems you can change the display by pressing and holding on the face.

It lasts about a day on one charge although busy days may run down the battery sooner as notifications flood the screen. The notification system – essentially a little icon that appears over the watch face – sometimes fails and instead shows a baffling grey square. This is the single annoyance I noticed, UI-wise, when it came to the Falster. It works with both Android smartphones and iOS.

What this watch boils down to is an improved fitness tracker and notification system. If you’re wearing, say, a Fitbit, something like the Skagen Falster offers a superior experience in a very chic package. Because the watch is fairly compact (at 42mm I won’t say it’s small but it would work on a thinner wrist) it takes away a lot of the bulk of other smartwatches and, more important, doesn’t look like a smartwatch. Those of use who don’t want to look like we’re wearing robotic egg sacs on our wrists will enjoy that aspect of Skagen’s effort, even without all the trimmings we expect from a modern smartwatch.

Skagen, like so many other watch manufacturers, decided if it couldn’t been the digital revolution it would join it. The result is the Falster and, to a lesser degree, their analog collections. Whether or not traditional watchmakers will survive the 21st century is still up in the air but, as evidenced by this handsome and well-made watch, they’re at least giving it the old Danish try.

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro lineup is a new high-water mark in comfort and quality

SteelSeries has two new Arctis Pro gaming headsets out, and they pack a lot of tech and versatility into a comfortable, visually attractive package. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and Arctis Pro + GameDAC are both incredibly capable headsets that deliver terrific sound, and depending on your system needs, should probably be your first choice when looking for new gaming audio gear.

The Arctis Pro Wireless is, true to its name, wire-free, but also promises lossless 2.4GHz transmission to ensure lag-free audio, too – a must for competitive gaming. The combination of the wireless functionality, the long-wearing comfort of the suspension system headband and the included transmitter base that can hold and charge a swappable battery as well as display all key information on an OLED readout makes this a standout choice.

There are some limitations, however – compatibility is limited to either PS4 or PC for this one, for instance. The wired Arctis Pro (without GameDAC) is compatible with the Xbox One, but both the wireless version and the version that connected to the wired DAC will only work with either Sony’s latest consoles or with a Windows or Mac-based gaming PC.

I’m a bit saddened by that since I’m a big fan of PUBG on Xbox, and also lately of Sea of Thieves, but I also do regularly play PS4 and PC games, and the Arctis Pro Wireless is my weapon of choice now when using either, either for multiplayer or single player games. The wearability and sound quality (which includes DTS X 7.1 surround on PC) is so good that I’ll often opt to use them in place of my actual 5.1 physical surround system, even when I don’t need to chat with anyone.

Other options, like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Headset, offer different advantages including more easily accessible fine-tune control over soundscape, balance of chat and game audio and other features, but the SteelSeries offers a less complicated out-of-box experience, and better all-day wearability thanks to taking cues from athletic wear for its materials and design.

The GameDAC option additionally has Hi-Res Audio certificate, which is good if you’re looking to stream FLAC files or high-res audio from services like Tidal. The DAC itself also makes all audio sound better overall, and gives you more equalization options from the physical controller .

The main thing to consider with the Arctis Pro + DAC ($249.99) and the Arctis Pro Wireless ($329.99) is the cost. They’re both quite expensive relative to the overall SteelSeries lineup and those of competitors, too. But in this case, cost really is reflective of quality – channel separation and surround virtualization is excellent on these headsets, and the mic sounds great to other players I talked to as well. Plus, the Pro Wireless can connect to both Bluetooth and the 2.4GHz transmitter simultaneously, so you can use it with your phone as well as your console, and the retractable mic keeps things looking fairly stylish, too.

Rylo’s shoot first, frame later camera is ideal for casual adventure-seekers

Action cameras are a gadget that mostly cater to a person’s wish to see themselves in a certain way: Most people aren’t skiing off mountains or cliff diving most of the time, but they aspire to. The issue with most action cameras, though, is that even when you actually do something cool, you still have to shoot the right angle to capture the moment, which is itself a skill. That’s the beauty of Rylo, a tiny 360 camera that minimizes the skill required and makes it easy to get the shots you want.

Rylo is compact enough to have roughly the footprint of a GoPro, but with dual lenses for 4K, 360-degree video capture. It has a removable battery pack good for an hour of continuous video recording, and a micro USB port for charging. In the box, you’ll get either a micro USB to Lightning, or micro USB to micro USB and USB C cables, depending on whether you pick up the Android or the iOS version, and you handle all editing on the mobile device you already have with you always.

The device itself feels solid, and has stood up to a lot of travel and various conditions over the course of my usage. The anodized aluminum exterior can take some lumps, and the OLED screen on the device provides just enough info when you’re shooting, without overwhelming. There’s no viewfinder, but the point of the Rylo is that you don’t need one – it’s capturing a full 360-degree image all the time, and you position your shot after the fact in editing.

Rylo includes a 16GB microSD card in the box, too, but you can use up to 256GB versions for more storage. A single button on top controls both power functions and recording, and the simplicity is nice when you’re in the moment and just want to start shooting without worrying about settings.

The basic functionality of Rylo is more than most people will need out of a device like this: Using the app, you can select out an HD, flat frame of video to export, and easily trim the length plus make adjustments to picture, including basic edits like highlights, color and contrast. Rylo’s built-in stabilization keeps things surprisingly smooth, even when you’re driving very fast along a bumpy road with what amounts to nearly race-tuned tires and suspension.

Then, if you want to get really fancy, you can do things like add motion to your clips, including being able to make dead-simple smooth pans from one focus point to another. The end result looks like you’re using a gimbal or other stabilized film camera, but all the equipment you need is the Rylo itself, plus any mount, including the handle/tripod mount that comes in the box, or anything that works with a GoPro.

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You can even set a specific follow point, allowing you to track a specific object or person throughout the clip. This works well, though sometimes it’ll lose track of the person or thing if there’s low light or the thing it’s following gets blocked. The app will let you know it’s lost its target, however, and in practice it works well enough to create good-looking videos for things like bicycling and riding ATVs, for instance.

Other companies are trying to do similar things with their own hardware, including GoPro with the Fusion and Insta360 with its Insta360 One. But Rylo’s solution has the advantage of being dead simple to use, with easily portable hardware that’s durable and compatible with existing GoPro mount accessories. The included micro USB to Lightning cable isn’t easily replaced, except for from Rylo itself, and it’s also small and easy to lose, so that’s my main complaint when it comes to the system as a whole.

In the end, the Rylo does what it’s designed to do: Takes the sting out of creating cool action clips and compelling short movies for people working mostly from their mobile devices. It’s not as flexible for pros looking for a way to integrated more interesting camera angles into their desktop workflow because of how tied content captured on the Rylo is to the Rylo app itself, but it seems clearly designed for a consumer enthusiast market anyway.

At $499, the Rylo isn’t all that much more expensive than the GoPro Hero 6. It’s still a significant investment, and the image quality isn’t up to the 4K video output by the GoPro, but for users who just want to make cool videos to share among friends using social tools, Rylo’s ease of use and incredibly low bar in terms of filming expertise required is hard to beat.

LG’s new 88-inch, 8K OLED display is absolutely gorgeous

If you were planning to buy an OLED TV but nothing out there was big enough for you, LG has a treat: The world’s first 8K, 88-inch OLED display. 

The TV has a 7,680×4,320 pixel resolution (that’s 33 million pixels), and that’s all LG shared in terms of specs at this point. Given that it’s an OLED, though, we can expect deep blacks, vivid colors, and wide viewing angles. Also, the TV has very slim borders, as you can see in the photo above. 

Of course, there are bigger 8K TVs out there — LG itself unveiled an LCD, 98-inch one at CES 2016 — but this is the only OLED TV that combines size and pixel density in such an impressive fashion.  

Again, even though 8K televisions have been around for a while, you’ll still have a hard time finding content for this thing. You can however enjoy watching content in lower resolution while knowing that your TV can handle so many more pixels. 

LG’s new 8K OLED TV will be shown at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which kicks off Jan. 9 in Las Vegas. 

A few weeks ago, the company also announced some ultrawide computer monitors, which will also be shown at CES. 

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How to buy a TV online without losing your mind

A television is a great gift for all occasions, from birthdays to Christmas and graduations. But buying one for your spouse, friend, relative, or yourself can be an intimidating prospect. There are seemingly infinite models, brands, and features to choose from. And with every page full of long strings of letters and numbers, and science-y phrases like “Quantum Dot Color” and “Triluminous Display,” it’s hard to know which specs are important to consider, and which are just bluster. 

Luckily, Mashable is here to help. We’ve scoured the heaps of televisions available online to help you figure out exactly how to buy a TV online without losing your mind.

Before you start shopping, remember that TVs are a lot like speakers or computers. There’s not necessarily one model that’s agreed to be the best, but several brands usually stand out from the pack. Most experts agree that Samsung, Sony, TCL, Vizio, and LG are currently making the best televisions on the market. 

As a general rule, try to avoid shopping from brands you’ve never heard of, unless you’re on an incredibly tight budget. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Top-of-the-line brands sell products of high quality, won’t compromise your security, and will be there to help you if your product has a problem. 

With all this in mind, we’ve broken the TV buying process into a few essential steps to make sure you find just the one you’re looking for, in size, features, and price tag. Here’s how to find the perfect TV online, without all the hassle. 

Step One: Choose your size

While it may seem like big TVs are all the rage these days, bigger isn’t always better. To start, measure the space the TV will be in so you know exactly how much space you have to work with — you don’t want a TV that won’t fit. 

Next, find the best screen size to optimize your space. The ideal TV screen size is 7.5 times your viewing distance — that is, the distance between the screen and the place you’ll be sitting while you watch. 

Step Two: Choose your budget

TV prices can range from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. 

The most expensive TVs are OLEDs, which often cost a few thousand dollars, but the most expensive of which can run upwards of $15,000. You’re paying for the highest-quality picture on the market; OLED TVs produce the deepest blacks (the primary mark of a high-quality display) and have the highest color contrast and color saturation. 

Almost all other types of TVs use LEDs. LED products can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The blacks aren’t quite as dark and the whites aren’t as bright, but they can still deliver a great picture. LEDs often offer the best value.

And many newer LED TVs are able to nearly mimic the picture quality of OLEDs for less than half the price. QLED TVs and SUHD TVs both deliver colors almost as stark and rich as those of their OLED counterparts, but they usually cost between $1,000 and $3,000 — much less than similarly-shaped OLEDs in the high thousands. QLEDs received some of the best discounts on Black Friday this year, and are a great option for those without the budget for an OLED. 

Step Three: Should you buy a smart TV?

These days, most TVs you buy will have a proprietary operating system and apps: Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and whatever else you may want to download. 

We don’t recommend letting the quality or features of your TV’s operating system factor into your shopping decision, because you’ll almost certainly get a better, more responsive operating system from a streaming box such as Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, or Apple TV. These products are affordable and discounted often. 

You may find some cheaper TVs with Roku built in, but we would caution you against these as well: The picture quality isn’t as good as what you might get from a different type of set. 

Step Four: Look for deals from big retailers

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some products have seen bigger discounts from big retailers than they have from their manufacturers. Check all the major outlets, such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and NewEgg, and find the lowest price. Remember to check how much an outlet charges for shipping, and what the tax will be, and factor that into the final cost. 

Discounts pop up every day, and you never know where the next one will be. Walmart recently discounted a 65-inch curved Samsung TV by $300, and this past Black Friday NewEgg marked a 65-inch LG down by $600, and Amazon took $1,200 off the price of a 65-inch QLED. On many websites, you can sign up to be alerted about deals on the products you’re eyeing. 

Step Five: Check the manufacturer’s price

Retailers will always claim you’re saving money, but check the manufacturer’s website to see just how good any deal is. Manufacturers also offer their own discounts, and will sometimes have better prices than retailers. For example, this past Black Friday, Samsung offered the lowest prices on a number of its TVs, including a few QLEDs. 

Step Six: Check the reviews

The last, but most important, thing to do before locking in a purchase is checking a product’s reviews. 

When searching for reviews, be careful that you’re reading about the right model. If you’ve settled on buying Samsung’s 55″ Class MU7500 Curved 4K UHD TV, you don’t want to accidentally read reviews for the 55″ Class MU6500 Curved 4K UHD TV. To minimize risk here, copy and paste the full name of your product into Google, or individual retailers’ search engines. 

No matter where you’re buying the TV you’ve selected, read customer reviews from all the major retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. Read the most recent reviews, rather than the “best” or top-rated. This will ensure that you’re getting a more representative sample of customers (rather than getting only good or only bad reviews), and that you’re getting perspective on the most current software, without worrying about bugs that have since been fixed. 

On more popular models, you may also be able to find published reviews on credible websites such as CNET, Wirecutter, or, of course, right here at Mashable! These reviews can help you understand what distinguishes the technology in your TV from that of other products, and whether these features are worth their price. Once you’ve followed each step, you’re ready to purchase your TV. 

Happy watching! 

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