Honor 7X Hands-On Review: Bigger Screen Brilliant Display, Best Performance At Very Low Price

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Over the past 2 months, we have seen some serious high-end smartphones which include iPhone X, iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8 and Pixel 2. Out of these, high range smartphone companies never get down to grab Indian market as only very few people can afford such pricey phones. While some people don’t want to waste their hard-earned money on a gadget, yet they want to enjoy all the high tech specs on a smartphone at an affordable price. To satisfy the needs of such people, Huawei, the largest telecom infrastructure maker in the worldis coming with Honor 7X. This phone is available at an extremely reasonable price to meet the needs of all such buyers who crave for sophisticated features.

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We here provide the hands-on review experience about the Honor’s latest 7X, the juicy bezel-less design smartphone which looks like a twin sibling of Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus from the front and iPhone 8 Plus from the back!

Display

The one hottest trend that every smartphone maker is following is all screen bezel-less design. The Honor 7x features a 5.93-inch screen with an 18:9 display ratio that looks slightly taller than the 5.5-inch Honor 6X.

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However, with fewer bezels, the device looks very modern with a taller and longer screen. The 2160 x 1080-pixel resolution makes the images and text look extremely clear and the brightness is easy enough to use under any harsh lights.

Design

Perhaps the most important part of the new Honor 7X is that it feels like we’ve been here before, and that starts with the design. Though much of the 7X design language remains as familiar as the Samsung S8 Plus and iPhone 8 plus, the fit and finish of this bezel-free beauty are extremely nice with well-rounded corners, attractive full-metal uni-body design and it fits very well in the hand.

This handset is available in 3 gorgeous colors deep blue, black and silver and each color has its unique styling and finishing which becomes a tough choice to choose the right one for your need!

The fingerprint sensor stays on the back of the phone, slightly above the center where your finger rests naturally like the Honor 6X. The fingerprint sensor has got an additional cool feature where swiping down on the sensor drags down the notification bar easily. Also, you can tap on it during selfies and capture pics with ease. (Cool gesture feature for those who have little fingers, isn’t it!)

Camera

The dual camera system at the rear is equipped with a 16MP primary sensor and a 2MP sensor depth and extra light sensor. There are tons of modes available to choose from for shooting portrait photos, moving pictures, etc. All the pictures taken with Honor 7X camera are pretty colorful with precise details. The 2MP sensor gives an attractive blur in the background to isolate the subject just as the iPhone 8.

HONOR 7x camera

The front-facing camera has an 8MP sensor with a wide lens. With the wide lens, you don’t need to struggle for fitting all your friends in the frame. There are a plenty of beauty modes available to play with along with a display powered flash to take pictures in low light.

Here are few samples I took from Honor 7X during my leisure time. Most impressive thing about this beast is that selfies at low light which made me go crazy! (I’m not a professional photographer though! Stop judging my photography skills after watching these! 😛 )

Hardware

The Honor 7X is powered by 1.7 GHz octa-core, Huawei-made Hisilicon Kirin 659 processor with 4GB of RAM, Mali T830 GPU. It is equipped with a 3340mAh non-removable battery.

One feature that it still included while the other companies are ditching is the headphone jack. Yes, Honor 7X understands that the users still like a headphone jack on their phone and it is equipped with a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom.

CHARGER slot honor 7x

To the left of the phone, there is a hybrid SIM tray to put a SIM card and a micro SD card(up to 256 GB). But if you want the other slot for dual SIM you need to compromise on the storage.

Performance

After using it for 2 weeks hands-on, I felt that the performance of the Honor 7x is way too impressive, and so it should be noted  that it’s packing a 1.7GHz octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM, which is just great.

Android 7.0 N runs very smoothly, and I personally didn’t experience any slow down or lag during operation. Applications and high-end graphics games loaded quickly, and even for very heavy weighted apps, there was no noticeable dip in the performance.

The battery is quite good, not the best but it was decent even after heavy usage for long hours. The 3340 mAh power source did a quite decent job even when I had some heavy gaming and long on screen usage.

charging on honor 7x
Charging Interface on Honor 7x is quite impressive!

Special Features:

Honor 7X Specs:

  • Display: 5.93-inch touchscreen with 18:9 ratio
  • Processor: 1.7GHz octa-core, HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor
  • Camera: Rear(Dual 16MP and 2MP), Front(8MP)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB (can be extended to 256GB via MicroSD)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2160
  • Battery: 3340mAh
  • Fingerprint: YES
  • OS: Android 7.0
  • Colors: Black, Blue, Gold

Pros

1. Best Display
2. Low light Camera quality
3. Best Interface and UX
4. Battery
5. Ultrafast fingerprint sensor
6. Price range

Cons

1. Ultra-thin, no grip to hold the phone. Slips very frequently.
2. Noise in camera while capturing images on heavy lighting
3. Poor Speakers quality.
4. No turbocharging.
5. Fingerprint magnet which makes the screen look ugly after usage.

Final Words:

Honor 7X is a promising phone available at an affordable price. Many points to talk in about this phone, because all you find is best in it!

tl;dr: Best smartphone at perfect price! You won’t regret!!

Buy Now at Amazon:

What Is MINIX? Is The World’s Most Popular OS A Threat?

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What Operating System do you use on your computer? Linux? Microsoft Windows? Mac OS X? You could be running any of the countless operating systems available in the market, but the thing is, that’s not the only operating system you are running. Yes, if you have a modern Intel CPU (released in the last few years) with Intel’s Management Engine built in, you have got another operating system running.

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You might not have had any clue about it, but inside your Intel system, you have an operating system called ‘MINIX’ running in addition to your main OS.  And it’s raising eyebrows and concerns.

So, what is MINIX?

It is an operating system that Intel puts deep inside your computer. This Unix-like OS was developed by Andrew Tanenbaum in 1987 as an education tool — to demonstrate the working of an OS.

It’s said that MINIX influenced the development of the Linux kernel created by Linus Torvalds. However, the two have major differences in their design.

After the release of MINIX 3, it is being developed as Microkernel OS. You can find MINIX 3 running on every Intel-powered desktop, laptop or server launched after 2015. This surely makes it the most used operating system in the world. Although, you don’t use it at all.

Why having MINIX has concerned people?

A closed source version of MINIX (which itself is an open source OS) exists on its own CPU (Intel Management Engine) that we (the user/owner of the machine) don’t have access to, but it has complete access to the system memory, hard drive, TCP/IP stack. In short, all of it. That level of privilege can make people uncomfortable.

The Intel Management Engine is a small, low-power computer subsystem, built into many Intel® Chipset–based platforms. It performs various tasks while the system is in sleep, during the boot process, and when your system is running.

Typically, x86-based computers run their software at different privilege levels or “rings”. The highest privilege ring used to enable different levels of protection, and can’t be accessed by the users is “Ring -3” (that’s “negative 3”). MINIX exists on “Ring -3” on its own CPU. Most user applications or programs run at lower privilege “Ring 3” (without the negative), and they have the least access to the hardware. The lowest “Ring” you have any real access to is “Ring 0,” which is where the kernel of your OS (the one that you actually chose to use, such as Linux) resides. The lower the number your program runs at, the more access they have to the hardware. Bare-metal hypervisors, such as Xen, run on ring -1. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) runs on ring -2. Rings two and one don’t tend to be used.

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However, MINIX runs on ring -3. This indicates that you have zero access to MINIX, but MINIX has total and complete access to your computer. You can’t see it or control it, but it knows all and sees all, which presents a huge security risk.

So, what can happen?

According to Google, which is actively working to remove Intel’s Management Engine (MINIX) from their internal servers (for obvious security reasons), the following features exist within that super-secret Ring -3:

  • TCP/IP networking stacks (4 and 6)
  • File systems
  • Many drivers (including USB, mouse, disk, networking, etc.)
  • A web server

It means, your CPU has a secret web server that you are not allowed to access. And apparently, Intel does not want you to know about it. The fact that Ring -3 has 100 percent access to everything on the computer and allowing MINIX to act as a web server, should make you just a teensy bit nervous.

Why on this Earth is there a web server in a hidden part of my CPU? WHY?

MINIX also has access to your passwords. It can also reimage your computer’s firmware even if it’s powered off. It means, if your computer is “off” but still plugged in, MINIX can still potentially change your computer’s fundamental settings.

Another shocker is that the Management Engine chip can upload and download data packets even if the firewall of your main OS is turned on.

What’s the Solution?

Well, the solution is not “Switch to AMD chips”. The AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) line of microprocessors have a similar feature where they embed an extra ARM-based microcontroller, and that’s also a mysterious black box.

According to Ronald Minnich, a Google software engineer, who discovered this hidden MINIX operating system inside Intel processors, “the only solution I can see is that Intel to dump its MINIX code and use an open-source Linux-based firmware. This would be much more secure. The current software is only secured by ‘security by obscurity’.”

So, what do you think about MINIX and Intel’s ME chip? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

We All Know USB Fits Only One Way? Have You Ever Wondered Why?Why Wasn’t It Originally Designed To Be Flippable?

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Jabbing at computer ports, when trying to insert USB cables that are almost always the wrong way up, has been very annoying. It was in 2014 when USB 3.1 Type-C connector was created, making the USB port reversible. But, until then, what could have been the real reason for making it non-flippable in the very first place?

usb-plug-type-A.

Well, talking to Design News, the co-inventor of USB, Ajay Bhatt, shared some enriching insights into the early days of USB development. He says that when the development of USB started in the mid-1990s, its goal was pretty modest — to simply improve the compatibility among different devices. But as they got into it, they realized they could actually come up with something that would be more scalable. But the biggest issue his team encountered was cost as it had to compete with other standards to co-exist before convincing the users to make a complete transition.

“The biggest deal was the cost. The new standard had to coexist with everything that existed before. So before life got better it had to get a little more complicated because you couldn’t get rid of a serial port and parallel ports outright. You had to add one more port and over time move people from legacy to USB,” Bhatt said.

Back then, Bhatt and the team at Intel knew that making the connector flippable would go a long way in improving usability, but it was simply not feasible from a cost perspective. Making a reversible connector would have also increased complexity, as would have required double the number of wires and even more circuitry – all things that cost money and would have passed a higher price down to the consumer. As this technology was new and unproven in the market, this could have been an economic risk for them.

“If you have a lot of cost up front for an unproven technology it might not take off. So that was our fear. You have to be really cost conscious when you start out,” Bhatt said.

“I think, even looking back, starting modestly was the way to go. It allowed us to focus on a much wider variety of products to start with and over time we were able to improve the performance over time anyway,” Bhatt says.

Facebook Messenger Is Now For Young Children Too!

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How young is too young to be on Facebook? Only the children aged 13 and above are allowed to use this app. But according to studies, more than 20 million kids under 13-years are estimated to be using Facebook.

So, Facebook announced a new version of messenger app specially designed for kids between 6 to 12. Named Messenger Kids, this new app for children doesn’t require a facebook account to sign up because the federal law doesn’t allow kids under 13-year-old to legally sign-up for Facebook. Rather, their parents will manage the Messenger Kids app from their Facebook account allowing them to control which family and friends contacts their child will be able to contact.

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“Parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate,” said Loren Cheng, product manager for Messenger Kids.

“So when we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking.”

Messenger Kids offers features for kids to video, text chat and use playful filters like the ones in Snapchat and Instagram. It also contains a “library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities.” The kids can use these features of the app on their iPad or phone to contact their grandparents or parents at work and friends. Parents can fully control the contact list through the Messenger Kids Controls panel in their main Facebook app and their kids can’t connect with contacts their parent does not approve.

messenger-kids

How to Get Started?

To get started parents must download it from the app store and set up the app with their FB login credentials username and password. Then they can finish the setup process by entering the child’s name. After creating the account parents have to go to the Messenger Kids parental controls panel in their main Facebook app, click “More” in the bottom right corner and then “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section to add people in the child’s approved contact list.

Security

One thing that comes to our mind when talking about Messenger for Kids is that is it secure? Facebook ensures that the app doesn’t have exploitative content. “There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child’s information isn’t used for ads. It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases,” the company writes in a blog post. Facebook says that the app is designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act, or COPPA which is a federal law that protects underage children from exploitation online.

“A messenger app for kids under 13 that only parents can sign them up for sounds like a nice idea on its face,” said James Steyer, the organization’s chief executive.

“But without clear policies about data collection, what happens to the content children post, and plans for the future, it is impossible to fully trust the platform.

“We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears designed to put parents in control. But why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?”

Facebook has a tentative support for what it’s doing and it knows that any harmful content that gets displayed in its Messenger Kids will run the firm into a pitfall just like how Google was caught up by the pitfall when disturbing videos and sexually inappropriate comments aimed at kids were displayed in YouTube.

It took 18 months to develop Messenger Kids and Facebook says their goal was to create a messaging app that puts parents at the center because children use those kinds of apps anyway.

However, the Messenger Kids is only available in the US, with plans to expand its availability beyond iOS to the Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

 

This Japanese Artist Is Creating Magnificent Paintings Using Nothing But Microsoft Excel

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When Tatsuo Horiuchi got retired, he decided to try his hand at art. But instead of spending money on expensive paints, brushes, and canvases, Horiuchi used what he already had pre-installed on his computer—Microsoft Excel. For over 15 years, he has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests, all on the free graphing software.

The 77-year-old artist says that he prefers Excel even over Microsoft Paint because it has “more functions and is easier to use.” Using simple vector drawing tools developed primarily for graphs and simple shapes, Horiuch is creating amazingly intricate digital masterpieces of the Japanese landscape. Let’s take a look at some of his artwork in the pictures below:

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Check out how many layers are there in this image!

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You can explore more of Horiuchi’s stunning Excel drawings on his website.

As Horiuchi wields Excel like Michelangelo did paint and brushes, he is named as “Michaelangelo of Excel.” His artwork has been on the web for years and also featured in Gunma Museum of Art, Japan. He is also the winner of the Excel Autoshape Art Contest.

Nobody would have ever realized MS Excel could be used to create such beautiful pictures.

Earlier, we have also seen some MS Paint masterpieces created by Pat Hines. Think it’s time we should stop underestimating the real potential of software and apps.

Google’s AI Built It’s Own AI Child Better Than Any Made By Humans

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Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning are the two hottest terms in many industries in the recent years. The most recent technological advancement in this domain is the development of AI which in turn creates an AI better than any human-made AI.

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In January 2017 Google Brain started developing AI software that can build more AIs. Later in May this year, the researchers developed AutoML, a machine learning algorithm that is capable of creating its own AIs eventually reducing the dependency on humans. More recently, they decided to throw AutoML with its biggest challenge to date, i.e to create a “child” that outperformed all its human-made counterparts.

Google Brain’s team used an approach called reinforcement learning to automate the design of machine learning models. AutoML acts as a controller neural network that can create a “child” network to execute a specific task.

For this particular child AI, which the researchers called NASNet, it’s task was to recognize objects in a real-time video feed, like people, cars, traffic lights, handbags, or backpacks. Then its performance will be evaluated by AutoML’s controller neural net and then re-trains the child by giving the feedback until it enhances its performance and gets to a superior version of NASNet.

After going through the improvising process endlessly, the NASNet was then subjected to test on the ImageNet image classification and COCO object detection datasets – both of which known as“ the most respected large-scale academic data sets in computer vision”. And according to the results, NASNet outperformed all other computer vision systems.

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NASNet was able to predict 82.7% of the images it was shown on ImageNet’s validation set which is 1.2% higher than the previously published results, according to the researchers. Also, the system was 4 percent more efficient, with a 43.1 percent mean Average Precision (mAP). Additionally, a less computationally demanding version of NASNet outperformed mobile platforms by 3.1%.

The Google researchers also acknowledged that the improvised version of NASNet could be used for many computer vision applications. Also, they have open-sourced NASNet for inference on image classification and for object detection in the Slim and Object Detection TensorFlow repositories.

“We hope that the larger machine learning community will be able to build on these models to address multitudes of computer vision problems we have not yet imagined,” the researchers wrote in their blog post.

No matter how useful the NASNet and AutoML maybe, we do not know if the society can keep up with the systems that AutoML creates. To keep thing under control, it is very important to implement strict regulations and enhanced ethical standards to prevent the use of AI for malicious purposes. And various governments and companies are focusing on creating moral and ethical implications of AI.