By Wares October 27, 2016 Phones, Mobile Devices & Portable Audio

Samsung puts a stop on all Galaxy Note 7 sales and replacements

In the second week of October, Samsung in New Zealand issued an official voluntary product safety replacement notice for the Galaxy Note 7 after a series of fires.

This comes straight from the Samsung website where a red notification link can be seen on the home page:

“Samsung Electronics New Zealand is voluntarily conducting a replacement of the Note 7 to ensure the safety and quality of its products for consumers. We advise all customers who own a Galaxy Note 7 device to immediately back up, turn off the device...”

Samsung has also asked all New Zealand operator and retail partners to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and instead offer replacements in the form of a Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S7 or a refund. Samsung would refund the difference in cost if the customer selects a replacement.

The global advice follows US carriers stopping both new sales and like for like replacements and a series of incidents around the world with replacement product.


Blackberry finally out of the phone business

The end of September saw BlackBerry CEO John Chen officially announce that the company would end all internal hardware development and move towards outsourcing that function to partners, effectively completing the company’s transition to a software company.

“Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications,” Chen says.

Blackberry has been losing money for years and this latest announcement is seen as the final nail in the coffin for its phone business.


Brother increases onsite warranty

Brother has increased its warranty to 4-year onsite warranty. This is good news for new purchasers while current customers will be also backdated to the date of purchase.

Brother is also offering cashback promotions for October on from $50 to $70 on its DCPJ4120DW, MFCJ4620DW and MFCL2700DW all-in-one models.


Google Pixel and Pixel XL Smartphones

On top of the recent announcements of Google Home including the Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, Daydream View VR headset, and Google Home smart speaker, Google has designed and engineered (but not manufactured) its first smartphones from the inside out, the Pixel and Pixel XL in 5 and 5.5 inch displays respectively.

A major draw of the Pixel is what it is calling the “the highest rated smartphone camera ever”. With a best-ever 89 DxOMark Mobile score, Pixel’s camera “lets you take brilliant photos in low light, bright light or any light”.

Other pluses include unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos, built in Google Assistant, Daydream VR software for use with the Daydream View VR headset and a battery that “lasts all day”. The Pixel phones will be available in black, silver and blue. US consumers can currently place pre-order but there is no word as such when it will come to New Zealand. Prices look set to sit towards the premium end of the market.

3SIXT iPhone 7/plus Neocase, VR Headset, Digital Lightning Buds

The Neocase for iPhone7 or iPhone7 Plus has an inner shell for everyday protection while the premium leather outer holds up to three cards, cash and the phone in one lightweight case. For quick and easy in-car use, the Neocase is compatible with the 3SIXT NeoMount and NeoVent car mount solutions. 3SIXT Neocase is available in black and brown colour options.

Comprising powerful 9mm Neodymium Drivers and a Direct Digital Processor, the 3SIXT Digital Lightning Buds deliver deep extended bass with full mids and superb highs. The Apple certified Lightning Connection ensures zero noise transfer while the user-friendly in-line controller allows quick and easy operation of Track/Call Selection, Volume Control and Voice Commands via Siri. Compatible with new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones.

The 3SIXT VR Headset is compatible with 4.7-6” iOS, Android or Windows smartphones, offering an affordable means to turn their smartphone into a virtual reality and 360° video view with footage available right from YouTube, Facebook and other sources. Designed with comfort in mind, the inner mask comprises soft leather-like materials and features dials to adjust Pupil Distance (PD) and Focal Distance (FD) from 55-75mm for the perfect optical fit. The 3SIXT VR Headset also features a removable cover which allows smartphones to ventilate as well as strategically placed ventilation holes allowing you to continue to use the headset and your earphones while charging
your smartphone.

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus

September saw the release of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Featuring a 12 MP camera that includes optical image stabilisation on both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens to enable brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide colour capture allows for more vibrant colours with more detail.

iPhone 7 Plus also adds a second 12 MP telephoto camera, offering optical zoom at two times and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos. The dual 12 MP cameras also enable a new depth-of-field effect, using both cameras on iPhone 7 Plus to capture images, while sophisticated technology including Machine Learning separates the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras. Available in silver, gold and rose gold finishes and an all-new anodised matte black and jet black finishes.

Despite the hoo-ha at launch, the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack doesn’t seem to be affecting sales…

Sennheiser Pro Audio Amplifiers and Gaming Headsets

Sennheiser’s GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 PRO audio amplifiers for PC and Mac are the very first to feature an advanced 7.1 algorithm from Sennheiser that has been developed with the needs of core gamers in mind. Described as “Surround Sound reborn” that gives the “ultimate positional gaming audio, with incredibly precise spatial awareness for the most thrilling immersive experience.” The amplifiers are powered by dedicated DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chips that require no additional drivers, ensuring the ultimate ease of use even when mid-game as the GSX 1000 and GSX 1200 PRO handle all sound processing on their internal chipsets rather than the computer’s CPU.

Headsets are also on the table, from the start point GSP 300, the high end PC 373D open acoustic gaming headset and right up the latest GSP 350. GSP 350 features Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, a best-in-class acoustic seal with comfortable memory foam ear pads, a cleverly-hinged and adjustable split headband, inspired by aviation headsets, intuitive volume control on the right ear cup and a new Surround Dongle for PCs to quickly toggle between stereo and Dolby Surround Sound. A broadcast quality noise-cancelling microphone minimizes background noises and breathing sounds and the microphone automatically mutes by raising the boom arm. GSP 350 is built to last and comes with a two-year worldwide warranty.

Promate Prime 20w Wireless Loudspeaker

New from Computer Dynamics the Promate Prime 20w is a NFC/Bluetooth v3.0 hi-fi tower speaker with enhanced surround sound and proConnect technology to link up to 8 speakers together. Users can also experience crystal clear calls with the hands-free function play audio wirelessly or via the 3.5mm audio jack.

Parrot Bebop FPV Drone Pack

For those who really want to fly rather than just watch, the new Bebop First Person View (FPV) pack from Parrot is a must-have. The pack features a Parrot Bebop 2 video drone, Parrot Cockpit glasses (the FPV headplay uses your smartphone to live stream the airborne footage captured by the drone’s Full HD frontal camera and display the telemetric flight data) and the Parrot Skycontroller 2 lightweight and compact remote control with customisable precision joysticks and buttons, and a 2km range. The FVP pack allows you to immerse yourself in the full experience and to feel like you are in the cockpit of the drone as you follow its journey in real time. 

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