Sunday, April 30, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 red tint fix rolling out in Europe and India (updated)

Update, May 1: Following its release in Europe, the red tint fix update is now rolling out to India, Sam Mobile reported. The 426MB patch brings “improved color optimization and convenient color adjustment.”

Original post, April 29: After putting out a software fix for the red tint issue on the Galaxy S8 in Korea earlier this week, Samsung is now rolling it out in Europe. Germany, Turkey and the UK are the first countries to get the patch, which adds a slider for making the entire display warmer or cooler. Somehow I doubt there’ll be too many folks wanting a warmer display on their Galaxy S8, but it’s there if you want it.

The individual RGB sliders can still be accessed, but they are now found under an Advanced section. That section also includes a Screen edge color balance setting, that allows you to to change the white balance at the edges of the screen, where multiple Galaxy S8 owners noticed the red tint at its worst. According to Samsung, changes may take up to ten minutes to appear.

If you’re in one of those countries and you don’t see a notification icon in your status bar already, just head to Settings > Software update > Download updates manually to check. The update is a rather hefty 426 MB, indicating there might be a little more included than just a fix for the screen tint but we’ll have to get back to you on that.

Samsung has vowed to replace devices for unsatisfied owners and it may need to, as the calibrated display settings are only available in Adaptive display mode. Switch that to AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo or Basic and you’ll lose your color balance changes. Also, changes won’t take effect if you have the blue light filter on.

Hit the comments and let us know when you get the update and if it was sufficient to fix the problem on your device (if you were suffering from it in the first place). With two fixes going out for some of the Galaxy S8’s launch problems in the last week, Samsung seems keen to address user issues quickly, which is just the way it should be. Now, if only we could get fixes issued within a couple weeks all year round…

Crowdfunding project of the week: Cosmo Connected smart break light for motorcyclists

It’s time for another ‘Crowdfunding project of the week”, where we highlight the hottest projects from sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. This one goes to my fellow motorcycle riders as they make their way back home safe this Sunday afternoon. Today’s featured campaign will keep you visible and your family at peace. Want to learn more? Let’s look into it.

Other featured projects:

The rumble of a motor, tremoring pavement and piercing wind are addictive. Motorcycles are a symbol of freedom and pleasure, but they also represent a dangerous lifestyle. Riding requires attention, but not only from you; also from people you share the road with. This is why we buy things like reflective material, extra lights and louder pipes. It’s important to help other notice us.

Enter Cosmo Connected, a smart break light that easily attaches to the back of any helmet. The location is important. Riders will know it’s always better to keep your head as visible as possible, as it is closer to driver eye level. Simply stick the magnetic base to the back of the helmet, then you are ready to mount the break light.

Of course, the Cosmo Connected’s main purpose is to light up when decelerating. This is done with the use of a gyroscope, which means it works with gravity and inertia, making it functional even when motor breaking. The team promises this will work flawlessly for up to 8 hours per charge, but there’s more to this little device.

Staying safe and visible is only part of this gadget’s functionality. Every time we mount the saddle there is a chance of an accident. We take the risk and hope we will be ready when the moment comes. And when it does happen, what happens right after an accident is critical and can make all the difference.

Cosmo Connected detects accidents and links to a smartphone app to get you help as soon as possible. The application will immediately alert a roadside assistance service. An operator will try to reach out to the rider and send help to his GPS coordinates if there is no answer. All within 3 minutes. The user can also select a number of personal contacts to be alerted in case of an accident.

Interested? Cosmo Connected starts shipping this July and can be had for as low as 99 Euros (about $108 USD) from Kickstarter. That’s not a bad price for the added security and peace of mind. Are there any fellow riders out there? Say hi and tell me what you think of this product. I would consider buying it, but do wonder how well the gyroscope system actually works. It’s a great concept, though.

How to customize the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Always On Display

One smartphone feature that’s been growing in popularity as of late is the Always On Display. Major phone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and Motorola have been including these display options on their phones for the past few years, and it’s no surprise that Samsung included it on the new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus review

2 weeks ago

For those unfamiliar, Always On Display lets you check the time, date, battery percentage, and notifications, even when the phone isn’t in use. As you can see in the image attached above, most of the screen is completely black, aside from the clock and notifications on the screen. It’s a subtle way to get the information you need as quickly as possible, without the need to turn on your phone’s screen.

Plus, Samsung made the Always On Display super customizable. If you want to learn more about the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus’ Always On Display, check out the full tutorial below:

Enable Always On Display

  1. Pull down your notification shade, and tap on the Settings cog.

  2. Scroll down and select Lock screen and security.

  3. Ensure the toggle next to the Always On Display category is turned on. To turn it on, simply press it one time.

  4. Then, select Always On Display.

DNA in dirt can reveal where human ancestors lived

It starts by releasing the soil-bound DNA into a solution using chemical reagents. If you fill the solution with the synthesized DNA halves of the species you’re looking for, the soil DNA will naturally attach to those halves and let you sequence it.

The implications are huge for anthropology, paleontology and archaeology. In theory, you only need to sift through dirt to know whether or not hominids (or really, any relatively recent species) were in a given area. Early tests bear this out: the researchers not only found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA (both in expected and unexpected places), but even woolly mammoths and woolly rhinos. This could help verify mysteries like a recent discovery suggesting that humans may have been in North America over 115,000 years earlier than previously thought. Do you have evidence of early tools, but no bones to go with them? Just test the soil and you’ll know which species likely made them.

There are limits. DNA only survives for so long before it degrades, so it won’t help with dinosaurs and other species that have been gone for millions of years. And of course, the collection methods are imperfect. You need an idea of what species might have been present, and there are no guarantees that there won’t be some contamination. Even so, it won’t be surprising if this new gene discovery approach eventually fills in some important gaps in human history, and Earth as a whole.

Deal: Snag a Google Home for just $114 from the Google Store ($15 off)

With Mother’s Day just around the corner (it’s Sunday, May 14, by the way), it’s time to start thinking about getting your mom a special gift for the big day. If you’re still struggling to find the right gift, perhaps this new promotion at the Google Store will help.

From now until Saturday, May 13, you can pick up a Google Home for just $114, which is $15 off the normal retail price. Google says this deal is available while supplies last (or until May 13), so you might want to take advantage of the promo sooner rather than later.

The complete list of services with Google Home support

2 weeks ago

For those unfamiliar, the Google Home connected speaker works with both Android and iOS devices, and is powered by the Google Assistant. You can ask it for weather updates or trending news, tell it to play a certain playlist, and a lot more. I use my Google Home every day in a variety of different scenarios, and I think it’s super handy to have in an office or living room. If you’d like to learn more about the Google Home, check out our full review here.

Interested? Head to the Google Store link attached below.

Tesla ends SolarCity's door-to-door sales pitches

These in-person sales were sometimes effective, but it’s not hard to see why Tesla would shake up its strategy. It’s indicative of a maturing home solar energy market, particularly in Tesla’s home turf of California. Why chase after fewer and fewer customers through sales reps, especially when you’re effectively asking homeowners for an on-the-spot commitment to a solar panel installation? Tesla has already said it would focus more on saving money with its solar business than boosting its sales, and there’s no question that face-to-face sales are expensive when success is far from guaranteed.

As it is, SolarCity’s methods aren’t exactly in sync with Tesla’s upscale, relatively low-pressure sales approach. While the electric car and solar panel groups sometimes aim at very different audiences (one is eager to splurge, the other is trying to scrimp and save), the end to door-to-door sales should create more of a united front when Tesla pitches its eco-friendly vision of the future.

Amazon Alexa can now whisper or scold you

Amazon’s Alexa is already a daily interlocutor on your conversations but you may have occasionally found yourself wishing that talking to Alexa could be a little more… lifelike. Well, that time is now here. Amazon engineers have recently detailed additions they’ve made to the Speech Synthesis Markup Language that Alexa uses, which will allow skills developers to humanize Alexa in a number of new ways.

The latest Mercedes-Benz cars can connect to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

1 week ago

Once these SSML tags are applied, Alexa will be able to whisper to you – which could be helpful when sharing sensitive information like passwords and login information – or even ‘bleep’ out expletives (or any terms considered potentially offensive), which could be pretty handy if using Alexa as a storyteller. Other changes will allow devs to modify Alexa’s rate of speech and volume to emphasize certain words or generally change the way the voice assistant speaks.

These new abilities could be used to great effect. For example, as Amazon notes, “Remember when you were little (and in trouble), a parent would begin talking low and slow and this got your attention? Well, that’s exactly what [the emphasis tag] does for Alexa and the tenor of the conversation. It varies dialog and thus maintains engagement”. Alexa will also be able to substitute words, to say something other than what’s written, which should make for some pretty comedic dev jokes.

The new features are now available for Alexa skill builders in the US, UK and Germany and they can be previewed in Amazon’s voice simulator on the developer portal. Amazon has also released ‘speechcons’ for Alexa in the UK and Germany (they were made available in the US in February), which allow snippets of speech to be delivered in a “more characterful way”. With more regional variations and greater control of how and What Alexa says, Amazon is only likely to further its substantial lead in the digital assistant space.

After Math: Keeping it 100

As America’s least likeable plutocrat rounds out his first 100 days in office, we’re taking a look at other centennial achievements from the world of technology. Google and Facebook were named as victims in $100 million scam, Instagram now boasts 700 million users and a drunk guy in California pulled a Florida Man after being arrested for brawling with 300-pounds of security robot. Numbers, because how else will we know how long we have until the midterms?

How to Automatically Sync iPhone Photos with Your Computer

The iPhone camera takes great shots and shoots high-quality video, but how do you get your photos or videos off the phone and back them up to your computer? We’ll offer a few automatic solutions so you can confidently takes photos and now they’ll end up on your laptop or desktop computer within minutes.

The iPhone 7 Plus camera is better in many ways.

The key word in this process is “automatically” syncing photos. Anyone can plug their phone into their Mac or PC and back up the photos manually from the phone to the computer. Mac uses the Photos app for this and on Windows you can set it up to back up to Windows. Follow the steps listed on Apple’s support site to do that on either platform manually.

Upload iPhone Photos to Photo Sharing Sites

You can upload iPhone Photos to photo sharing sites like Flickr, Facebook, 500px and others. Many may not know that a lot of these services offer an automatic back-up for iPhone photos. For example, Flickr is the best service left in the Yahoo universe. The Flickr iOS app has a setting that lets users automatically upload their photos.

iphone photos flick auto uploader

Install Flickr and sign into your Yahoo account. Then select the last tab on the right across the bottom of the app. It shows your account and photos uploaded to Flickr already. Tap on the settings icon in the upper right corner. The first item in the settings screen says Auto-Uploadr. The next screen shows two settings buttons. Turn them both on so they turn blue. The first one says Auto-Upload photos, which does what it says. The second one does this over cellular. You can keep that off if you don’t want to use your data plan. It will only upload when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Other apps work similarly. Lightroom from Adobe can automatically backup photos to your Adobe Creative Cloud account. It takes some setting up, but works really well.

iphone photos-backup-using-lightroom-1

Open Lightroom for iPhone and sign into your Adobe Creative Cloud account. Do this by tapping on the Lr icon in the upper left corner. After signing in, turn on Auto Add Photos. If you don’t want to sync using your cellular data connection, then turn on Sync Only Over Wi-Fi as well.


Exit the settings area by tapping on the right edge of the screen. Now tap on the Plus icon in the upper right corner and create a new Collection. Name it something like “iPhone Backup” and tap on OK.

Scroll down to the new Collection you just created and tap on the three horizontal dots icon to the right of the name of your Collection. Tap on Enable Auto Add.

Lightroom and Flickr offer two great services to automatically backup your iPhone photos. If you use another online service, then you can probably set it up to automatically backup iPhone photos. Facebook stopped supporting this within the Facebook app, but their Moments app still does.

Using these services means you can find your photos by going online to the service you chose. If you install Lightroom on your Mac or PC, then the iPhone Backup Collection will sync automatically to the computer or you can use the online version of Lightroom.

Let iCloud Handle iPhone Photos Backup to Mac or PC

The iCloud Photo sync gives users a simple way to upload and back up photos to Apple’s services. The user can then open their Mac’s Photos app or even sync them to Windows using the Windows iCloud sync client. On a Mac follow our guide to setting up iCloud, part our new Mac setup guide on


On the iPhone go into Settings and tap on the Apple ID at the top of the screen. Tap on iCloud in the middle of the next screen. The Photos sync settings show up at the top of the list. Tap Photos.


Turn iCloud Photo Library to On so it looks green. You probably want to choose Optimize iPhone Storage instead of Download and Keep Originals. This preserves storage space on the iPhone so you don’t over fill it with your Photos library. You can see thumbnails of your photos in the Photos app, but the full-size originals stay on iCloud.

You should now turn on Upload to My Photo Stream. This automatically backs up all your photos to iCloud. If you like to take Burst shots (taking multiple shots by holding down the shutter release button in the Camera app) and want to save them, turn on Upload Burst Photos, too.

The last item on the list of settings lets users share their Photos by turning on iCloud Photo Sharing. Turn this on if you plan to share photos with others.

These settings will keep all your photos backed up to iCloud so you can open them on your Mac or PC.

AirDrop iPhone Photos to a Mac

If you don’t like the idea of automatically sharing Photos to a cloud service or even iCloud from Apple, then you can manually send photos to your Mac without ever connecting the iPhone via cable. AirDrop does a nice job of quickly moving photos from the iPhone to a Mac.

Open up Photos on the iPhone and select some photos. You can tap on the word Select above a group of photos to quickly Select all the photos in the group. Or tap on each photo you want to share using AirDrop.

recieving iphone photos through airdrop

In the lower left corner you’ll see an icon that looks like a box with an arrow pointing up. That’s the sharing icon. Tap it and then find your Mac on the next screen in the middle of the screen. Tap on it and the photos will quickly copy over to the Mac’s Downloads folder.

There’s An App for That

Multiple apps will also automatically upload photos backing them up to various syncing and backup services. Here’s a list of the most notable apps that include automatic photo uploading and backing up. We’ve already mentioned Flickr and Adobe Lightroom above.

15 best strategy games for Android

best strategy games featured image
Strategy is among the oldest game types in human history. Whether it’s chess, board games, or even some card games, we’ve been playing strategy games since long before there was ever a computer. Strategy games have come a long way, but the basic premise of using your brain to beat your opponents remains true even to this day. It’s a fantastic way to test yourself to see how creative you can be. Here are the best strategy games on Android!

Age of Civilizations

Price: $2.14


Age of Civilizations is a mix between a strategy game and a board game. It has a lot of the same qualities as Risk, where your job is to obtain territories from other civilizations. You’ll have access to a variety of scenarios, such as World War I and II as well as a modern world scenario. You can also create your own scenarios to challenge yourself. It also contains 193 civilizations, two planets, and some interesting mechanics. It’s complex, difficult, and highly addictive. Best of all, there are no in-app purchases. It’s one of the better, simpler strategy games.


Age of Civilizations

Card Thief

Price: Free / $1.99


Card Thief is one of the more unique strategy games. It’s a mix between strategy and a card game. Your goal is to move around to avoid detection. You’ll have equipment, stealth points, and more to help you avoid the guards and finish the level. It boasts a play time of two to three minutes per play. That makes it great for casual gamers. You can can download the game for free and unlock the full version for $1.99.


Chess Free

Price: Free


Chess is one of the oldest strategy games. Chess Free is probably the best chess game on mobile. The graphics aren’t a lot to look at. However, you’ll have 12 difficulty levels across two game modes, ELO Ratings, save and load games, local multiplayer, a chess tutor, and a bunch of other cool stuff. It’s about as complete of a chess game as you can find. It utilizes the Treebeard Chess Engine. It’s the same one from MSN Chess. It’s completely free with no in-app purchases or advertisements.


Chess Free

Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition

Price: $4.99


Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition is a strategy survival game. It starts with you being thrown into the wilderness of some random planet. Your job is to survive. You’ll have to gather resources, craft things, build structures, and even find sources of food. It does so with a fun tongue-in-cheek flavor. The graphics aren’t half bad either. It was a very popular game on PC and the Pocket Edition is pretty much the same game. You’ll have to fork out $4.99 to play, but at least there are no in-app purchases.


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Price: Free with in-app purchases


Hearthstone is one of the most popular card dueling strategy games on mobile. With this title, you build decks of cards and then use them to duel other players online. You unlock cards as you go and gradually get better and stronger. This game also has cross-platform support. You can log in using your account and play on PC or mobile. Blizzard has done a decent job of adding in new content to keep the game fresh and it remains among the best card duel options available right now.


Kairosoft Co games

Price: Varies


Kairosoft is a game development studio that has a ton of interesting strategy games. Some of their more popular titles include Game Dev Story, Ninja Village, Anime Studio Story, Grand Prix Story, and others. Currently, their collection spans dozens of games with free and paid versions of most of them. The games are challenging, but not too difficult, and it’s easy to sink several hours into pretty much any of them. We recommend giving Game Dev Story and Ninja Village a try first. Click the button below to view their entire collection!


Kingdom Rush games

Price: Free / $1.99 / $2.99 with in-app purchases


Kingdom Rush is one of the most successful tower defense franchises out there. There are three games in the series. They include Kingdom Rush, Kingdom Rush Frontier, and Kingdom Rush Origins. They all have the same basic mechanics. You’ll build towers and employ heroes to defend yourself against wave after wave of bad guys. Each title has plenty of levels and upgrades to unlock. The first Kingdom Rush game is currently free while the others will cost you a few bucks. The only downside is that they all have in-app purchases, even after you pay for them. Otherwise, they’re great strategy games.


Machines at War 3

Price: $6.99


Machines at War 3 is one of the better real-time strategy games. Your job is to beat the bad guys and save some scientists. It features a deep story that covers 21 missions. It also features 130 different types of units and tech to build, unlimited random map skirmishes, online multiplayer, and more. There is even an unlimited random skirmish mode in case you just want to kill a few minutes. The game is delightfully challenging as any good strategy game should be. It’s a tad expensive at $6.99 but there are no in-app purchases.


Out There: Ω Edition

Price: $3.99


Out There: Ω Edition is one of the most difficult strategy games that we’ve played. The objective in this game is to survive in the vastness of space after your character wakes up from a cryo-chamber. You’ll have to manage things like your oxygen levels and other resources as you travel, encounter various forms of alien life, and slowly repair your ship. It’s about as hard as it sounds. It also has Google Play Games achievements, four alternate endings, and each new game is freshly created so no two plays will be the same.


Pandemic: The Board Game

Price: $1.99 / $1.99


Pandemic is among the best board games out there. You and up to three other people play as CDC scientists. Your job is to traverse the world to kill disease. Diseases will crop up as you try to destroy them. If you wait too long, the diseases cause a pandemic and it’s game over. There are seven characters to play, up to four players via local or online multiplayer, three difficulty settings, a full rulebook, and more. You can also pay a few extra bucks for expansions that give you more roles, more events, and more content. This is really one of the best strategy games out there.


Plague Inc

Price: Free with in-app purchases


Plague Inc is one of the most popular and successful strategy games of all time. The premise is that you’re supposed to infect the entire world with a disease. Thus, you must develop and evolve a disease that is strong enough to do that. You’ll have 12 disease types to play around with along with save/load functionality so you can keep going between play sessions. It’s quite a complex game. The developers have also done a great job adding in expansions over the years. Even the CDC likes this game. Yes, really.


Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic

Price: $5.99 / $5.99


Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic is a port of the original Rollercoaster Tycoon. The game comes with both the first and second title in the series. There are additional expansions available as in-app purchases as well. For those who have never played, Rollercoaster Tycoon gives you a theme park. There is also a set of conditions that must be met. You must build a park that also fulfills all of those conditions to win the scenario. There are 95 scenarios to play through, tons of coasters and attractions to build, and more. There is even a Park Scenario Editor to create your own scenarios. It’s a ton of fun and definitely one of the best strategy games out there.


Supercell games

Price: Free with in-app purchases


Supercell is the developer of three of the most successful and popular strategy games ever. They are Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Boom Beach. Clash of Clans and Boom Beach are RTS strategy games where you build a base, defend it against other players, and then attack other players. Clash Royale is a card game similar in scope to Hearthstone. Each game boasts a massive player base and that’s good news because they’re all online multiplayer games. Each one is also a freemium game.



Price: Free with in-app purchases


Vainglory is arguably the most popular MOBA on Android right now. It features three-on-three online battles that last up to 20 minutes each. You can play as many as you want without restriction. The game boasts 60fps and a sub-30ms control response which caters to the hardcore fans of the genre. There are quite a few heroes available and more are frequently added. You can also customize them with skins if you prefer. There are casual, ranked, and quick play modes depending on what kind of challenge you’re looking for. It’s also popular with eSports fans.


XCOM: Enemy Within

Price: $9.99


Last and certainly not least on our list is XCOM: Enemy Within. This is a tactical strategy game where you move your characters on a chessboard style map and kill off the bad guys. On top of that, you’ll be able to recruit new characters, upgrade a variety of things including your gear and abilities, and more. There is also a campaign mode with tons of stuff to do. It also has online multiplayer in case you feel like doing a little social gaming. It’s a bit expensive, but there are no in-app purchases and the graphics are pretty fantastic. It’s one of the best strategy games out there.


If we missed any of the best strategy games for Android, tell us about them in the comments!

You can give the LG G6 a see-through back too


Zack Nelson from YouTube durability testing channel JerryRigEverything has responded to requests on social media to see if the same approach to creating a Galaxy S8 with a see-through back panel would also work on the LG G6. Turns out it does. Zack now has the world’s first clear LG G6 to go with his see-through Galaxy S8.

The process starts out much the same as with the Galaxy S8, just apply a heat gun to the back to soften the glue and carefully pop the Gorilla Glass 5 panel off. But where the Galaxy S8 required a solvent bath to remove the paint layer from the inside, the LG G6 simply has a plastic-like layer that can be peeled off by hand.

A few minor nips and tucks follow to fully show off the internals and the naked LG G6 is born. If you’re at all interested in trying this on your G6, just be aware that besides voiding your warranty you’ll also lose your water-resistant rating and wireless charging if you choose to remove the coils, but it’s still an easier-looking project than the clear S8. Zack’s taking requests for the next phone to receive the naked treatment, so hit the comments on the video to make your suggestions.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

New 2017 iPad Review: Apple Offers a Budget Tablet

Apple’s new 9.7-inch 2017 iPad doesn’t come with a lot of surprises except for one, the $329 price tag Apple gave the 32GB model. It now competes with other budget tablets including the company’s own iPad mini 4, their former low-price option. Potential buyers may want to know if this new 2017 iPad offers enough reasons to upgrade from their present iPad or switch from another company’s tablet. We’ll let readers know in our review of the new low-cost iPad.

new 2017 ipad

Apple and other retailers sell the iPad in two storage sizes, 32GB for $329 and 128GB for $429. That gets the buyer a Wi-Fi only model. Add Cellular for an extra $130 making them $459 for 32GB and $559 for 128GB. You can also add Apple Care for $99, which delivers premium support and an extra year to the warranty life.

Apple sells the new 2017 iPad in three colors, Space Gray, Silver and Gold.

apple 2017 ipad color options

2017 iPad: Hardware Design

The hardware design of the new 9.7-inch 2017 iPad looks almost exactly like the rest of the iPads Apple sells or sold earlier. It’s got the same rounded corners, brushed aluminum edges that bring the front glass display together with the aluminum back and the same rounded edges.

Along the top right we get the power button and on the top right we find the volume up and down buttons.

new 2017 ipad top edge

Apple didn’t remove the 3.5mm stereo headphone/mic combo port like they did on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It’s still there on the top edge on the left.

The left edge doesn’t show us much, but Apple placed their magnets there to connect to the Apple Smart Cover and other covers.

new 2017 ipad bottom edge

The bottom edge of the new 2017 iPad has the speakers and a Lightning port between them.

Why doesn’t Apple change their iPad design more drastically from model to model? First, why mess with something that works? People like the thin slab of glass and metal design because it works well, Apple makes them to last and it helps users view content and attach accessories in a useful way.

2017 iPad: Performance and Battery Life

new 2017 ipad home button

The new 2017 iPad comes it at only $329 and it’s budget price shows somewhat. Pressing the home button to unlock takes a second or two longer than my iPad Pro or iPhone 7 Plus. Apps usually launch instantly, but after a little use, the iPad does launch them noticeably slower. However, it’s not enough that the average user will mind. In fact, if I wasn’t looking for a speed difference while launching apps and unlocking my iPad next to my other iOS devices, then I might not have noticed.

new 2017 ipad back

The graphics chip and CPU built into the new 2017 iPad run slower than the iPad Pro and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 bests the 2017 iPad’s A9 as does the M10 over the M9 for graphics processing. In real world, that means the new iPad’s not the top choice for gaming and design, but it will still play casual games and in my experience works well for most common tasks.

The battery of the new 2017 iPad compares favorably to the other iPads. Apple promises 9-10 hours depending on what you’re doing. That’s pretty accurate in real-world experience.

Despite the low price, the new iPad isn’t a slouch in terms of power and battery life. Most users will enjoy using it, but the power user might want the iPad Pro instead.

2017 iPad: Camera

new 2017 ipad camera and volume buttons

Apple put an 8MP camera on the back of the new 2017 iPad and it enjoys many of the same features seen in iPhone cameras. You can use it to take Live Photos, panorama photos, HDR images, burst mode, timer mode photos and videos. It shoots 1080P video at 30fps, 120fps Slo-mo video and time-lapse video with image stabilization.

facetime camera app new 2017 ipad

The FaceTime Camera on the new 2017 iPad takes decent shots and excels at FaceTime video chat.

On the front, there’s a 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera that’s capable of Life Photos, 720P video and burst mode as well. Strangely, the front facing camera has a better aperture of f/2.2 compared to f/2.4 for the back camera. Aperture gives the user better low-light photos and narrower depth of field which blurs out the background.

animated gif of a live photo

Live Photos are fun. I created the above animated GIF of a Live Photo using the iOS app LivePix ($1.99).

The camera doesn’t give users the Portrait mode we enjoy in the iPhone 7 camera. In spite of that, the camera app on the iPad works a lot like the iPhone camera app. You can switch from the front to back easily.

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On the left, you’ll see the digital zoom control. Digital zoom isn’t recommended since it blows up the size of the pixels instead of moving the lens like a traditional DSLR or Point-and-shoot photo camera zoom lens. You’ll get softer focus like the photo in the gallery above. The gallery above has two images, one with zoom and one using normal zoom without digital zoom.

new 2017 ipad camera app options

On the right side of the Camera app screen (seen above), we see the controls to turn on or off features like Live Photos, HDR or the Timer. They’re on the top right above the shutter release button. Immediately above the shutter release below these buttons, you’ll find the toggle to switch from the front to back camera.

sample hdr shot

This HDR version of the photo shows color in the sky.

Below the shutter button, there’s another button that opens the Photo gallery. View your photos and edit them. Next, you get the camera mode options starting with Time-lapse, Slo-mo, Video, Photo, Square (takes a square photo instead of a wide or tall shot) and Pano (stitches together multiple shots to make a very wide-angle shot.

sample non-hdr shot

This normal shot without HDR shows how the sky gets blown out without the HDR setting turned on.

The HDR setting does a great job of adding color where it would normally show none. The two sample shots above of my house show one with plenty of color in the blue sky while the non-HDR shot shows just white because it’s blown out because the sky is too bright.

a panorama shot taken on new 2017 ipad

A sample panorama shot taken on the new 2017 iPad.

Notice how the above sample of the Pano shot didn’t get the exposure right on the last section of the scene at the right side of the shot. Below you’ll see what the Camera app looks like while taking a Pano shot.

2017 ipad camera app pano setting

A screenshot of the Pano setting in the new 2017 iPad Camera app.

A few years ago people would die for a camera this good on their phone or tablet. Today, it’s clearly a step down from the great cameras we get on phones like the iPhone. The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 come with incredible cameras, too.

The iPad camera is great for snap shots and scanning things like documents, photos, the white board in a class or meeting room and receipts. You can take nice photos in regular light. Find a few samples below.

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2017 iPad: Display and Sound

new 2017 ipad display

Apple put their beautiful 9.7-inch Retina display in the new iPad with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, or 264 pixels per inch. It’s a color accurate display that also looks great while reading text, editing photos and watching movies or TV shows. We get a bright display with good color.

new 2017 ipad speaker

Apple skimped on sound in the new 2017 iPad. The stereo speakers flank the Lightning connector along the bottom edge of the iPad. They’re muddled and weak. You can use them to listen to audio books, podcasts and other spoken word content. They’re fine for a quick YouTube or Facebook video, but you’ll want a pair of earbuds or the Apple AirPods if you plan to listen to music or watch movies and want great sound.

new 2017 ipad reading

2017 iPad: Software

ios 10.3 on new 2017 ipad

The latest version of iOS looks just like the earlier versions. In other words, the design of the operating system desperately needs an update. iOS 10 feels old and out of date. The grid of icons matches the smaller screen iPhone, which makes no sense. Why not narrow the distance between icon rows and columns so users can fit more icons on the screen instead of the 5 x 4 grid in landscape mode? Even the iPhone 7 Plus fits six icons across in landscape mode, but that’s because it has a wider aspect ratio.

Also, static icons are boring. Why not let users place live widgets on the home screen? The force touch available on the iPhone helps, but we don’t get that on the iPad. We still have to pull down from the top of the screen to show the notification area and use widgets in iOS. There’s also the Control Center, which the user drags up from the bottom to show. The only customization we get comes from adding app widgets to the notification area and some settings for when the user can use the Control Center.

control center on new ipad

In case people think I’m only complaining because iOS doesn’t act more like Android, realize that I’m a iPad user since 1.0. I’ve owned many Android tablets, but none of them satisfied me like the iPad.

2017 iPad: Bottom Line

The new 2017 iPad didn’t get a big overhaul because it seems Apple set a brand new goal: to lower the price so that this iPad would appeal to schools. Google dominates the education market with their affordable and simple Chromebooks mostly due to price and simplicity. When you consider the price reduction, the new 2017 iPad makes for a great tablet for schools and others.

Even though the $329 2017 iPad comes with a couple of compromises, it’s still the best budget tablet in the 10-inch range. The iPad Pro wins the prize for high-end tablets, but none of the other comparably-priced tablets come close to it for the following reasons. First, it has the best hardware design and quality. It’s a beautiful tablet with a great screen, performance and nice battery life.

Second, iOS 10 is still a simple and easy to learn operating system. Sure, Apple needs to add some features that we enjoy on Android and even Windows Phone like active tiles or icons on the home screen and better customization. However, Apple kept iOS the same for all these years because it’s simple to use. People can pick up an iPad and become productive without a lot of education or training.

Finally, the screen look great. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 delivers better color, but not better text display. It’s not worse than the iPad, but it’s not better. The iPad starts at a lower price than the S3, too.

If you’re looking for a new tablet, then you should give the iPad a lot of consideration. Don’t replace your iPad Air with one. If you have an iPad older than that, you will want to look into upgrading. It doesn’t work with the Apple Pencil or Smart Cover, both designed only for the iPad Pro. However, you can find a wealth of great accessories to use with the 2017 iPad thanks to iPad line’s popularity.


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