Realme C11 hands-on

The Realme C11 was announced for India today and we got our hands on the device for some early impressions.

Let’s start with the retail box. Realme is pushing for affordable here (the phone launches at Rs 7,499 or USD $100), which means you don’t get a silicone case inside the retail box. There’s a sim eject tool, USB cable and a 10W charger, which is the largest Realme has even shipped us.

Holding the 6.5-inch 196g C11 feels nice. The display doesn’t impress on paper – it’s a 720x1560px IPS LCD of generic refresh rate – but it’s bright and sharp enough.

It’s also uninterrupted for the most part – there’s a single teardrop intrusion for the 5MP selfie camera.

The rear of the Realme C11 is textured, not unlike the Realme C3 (image below for comparison), giving the C11 a similar feel in the hand as the C3. We got the grey model, but users will also get a choice of green.

The square camera island on the rear means the Realme C11 wobbles less when flat on a table, if that’s a consideration for you.


Realme C11 front and rear, alongside Realme C3

Costs have been further cut by omitting a fingerprint scanner on the Realme C11, but we found the less-secure face scanning to be a fine alternative. It’s easy to set up and works fast. We had no issues unlocking the phone with face unlock, even with sunglasses and in a dim-lit environment.

Button-wide the Realme C11 has the typical volume rocker and power button combo on the right side. On the bottom there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, a single speaker and a microUSB port – it’s a shame Realme didn’t include USB-C, but at this price it’s understandable.


Realme C11 controls

The Realme C11 runs Android 10 with Realme UI on top. Hardware-wise the C11 is powered by a MediaTek Helio G35 chipset, which uses eight Cortex-A53 cores, which max out at 2.3GHz. The chipset uses PowerVR GE8320 graphics and is paired with 2GB of RAM.

We ran some benchmarks, which were on the lower spectrum of our database. Suffice it to say the Helio G35 is a bit behind chipsets like the Exynos 9611, found in the Galaxy M21, because of its lack of Cortex-A73 cores.

However real-world performance was quite alright. The C11 runs smooth and there were no hiccups to talk of.

We’ve used Realme UI on top of Android 10 in devices like the Realme 6i.

The new launcher looks a lot like vanilla Android with no-nonsense homescreens, simplistic notification/toggles area, and easy-to-use task switcher. An App drawer is available, too, and it is as clutter-free as one could hope for.

Realme’s handy Smart Sidebar isn’t found on the C11, sadly. Like on the Realme X3, the dialler and messages apps are Google’s Phone and Messages. Realme’s PaySa and Link apps are available.


Realme UI under Android 10

The Realme C11

In ‘Ghost of Tsushima,’ Sony saves PS4’s best for last

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Sucker Punch hasn’t released a game since Infamous: First Light back in 2014. But the developer has not spent the six years since sitting idle. They’ve undertaken a herculean effort to produce one of the final AAA titles for the Playstation 4 platform — the PS4’s swan song, if you will. I, for one, have been eagerly awaiting its release since its early previews at Paris Games Week 2017 and am delighted to report that Sucker Punch has crafted a game that would make Akira Kurosawa proud.

Based on the Mongol invasion of Tsushima island in the 13th century, Ghost follows the exploits of Jin Sakai, a samurai and nephew of the local lord, as he attempts to rally the island’s populace and drive back the invading horde after a crushing defeat at Komodahama beach. The story follows a traditional three act format, beginning at the battle on the beach and progressing as Sakai liberates more and more of his home. The mission structure is similar to FarCry or Assassin’s Creed,

‘Ghost of Tsushima’ review: Sending off the PS4 in style

Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world, action-adventure game from Sucker Punch Productions about a samurai that must save his homeland from the invading Mongol Empire. Sucker Punch is best known for the Sly Cooper and Infamous franchises. Ghost of Tsushima will be available for PS4 on July 17th, 2020.

Ghost of Tsushima is only the second full-length title developed by Sucker Punch Productions for the PlayStation 4, but it’s also the last major first-party exclusive made for the console ahead of the launch of the PlayStation 5. There’s obviously no way the team at Sucker Punch knew this would be the case when development on the game began, but it’s a fitting send-off for one of the most successful video game consoles of all time.

Sucker Punch is best known for Sly Cooper — a franchise about a thieving raccoon with a heart of gold — and Infamous — an open-world action-adventure series with a superpowered protagonist. Ghost of Tsushima draws from both, but as fun as those games are to play, the reason that Sucker Punch has been one of my favorite developers for nearly two decades is because their storytelling chops match their game design strengths. And Ghost of Tsushima features, without question, the most serious and dramatic story the studio has ever told.

Narratively, Ghost of Tsushima wears its influences on its sleeve. When you load up the game for the very first time, you are given the option to turn on Kurosawa mode, which desaturates the visuals and gives the game the look of an Akira Kurosawa film from the 1950s. Jin Sakai, the samurai protagonist and presumptive savior of Tsushima, feels like he was ripped straight from the big screen as well, tasked with fighting back against the Mongol horde that had taken over the island by rallying its denizens and becoming their beacon of hope.

Khotun Khan’s army of dangerous Mongols is just one of many obstacles Jin will have to overcome, as his uncle, Lord Shimura, is rooted in tradition and refuses to watch Jin drift from the guiding principles of the samurai. Meanwhile, the other samurai clans, decimated by the Khan, need Jin’s help as they seek justice of their own. Eventually, all of the disparate stories and characters collide, and the impacts of the decisions these characters make when they are pushed to their limits had me fully invested by the time I reached the end of the campaign.

Mechanically, it’s hard not to compare Ghost of Tsushima to its contemporaries, but two influences stand out. With the Assassin’s Creed series, Ubisoft has refined the open-world gameplay loop down to a science, placing landmarks and activities and collectibles in every corner of its virtual playgrounds, nearly to the point of oversaturation. In fact, some would argue that the studio took this design past its logical conclusion with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which had enough side quests and optional content to keep a player occupied for quite literally hundreds of hours.

Ghost

PNY Unveils XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB DDR4-3200 Memory

Perhaps more widely known for its array of NVIDIA based graphics cards, American based company PNY has announced its latest product, the XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB DDR4 memory. Built upon the same lineage as its XLR8 graphics cards, the Epic-X RGB will be available in three capacities ranging from 8 GB to 32 GB kits, with speeds of DDR4-3200.

The PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X has been designed around support for X.M.P 2.0 compatible profiles, with speeds of DDR4-3200 and CAS latencies of CL 16. It has an operating voltage of 1.35 V and is available in four different kits. This includes a separately available single 8 GB and 16 GB modules, or in kits of 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) and 32 GB (2 x 16 GB). 

Focusing on the design, the XLR8 Epic-X RGB includes a V-shaped LED bar along the top of the primarily black heatsink, which includes a red and white XLR8 logo in the middle. The RGB LEDs themselves are certified to work with motherboard vendors RGB software for user-friendly control and customization. This includes ASRock’s Polychrome RGB, MSI’s Mystic Light, GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion, and the ASUS Aura RGB ecosystems. PNY mentions each kit is using preselected memory chips, but it doesn’t specify the type it is using. 

The PNY XLR8 Epic-X RGB memory will be available to buy from the 20th July at Amazon and Best Buy, while customers can also purchase them directly from the PNY online store. The 8 GB single-channel module has an MSRP of $40, the single 16 GB module for $70, while the 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) kit costs $80 and the biggest kit, the 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) will be available for $135.

Gallery: PNY Unveil XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB DDR4-3200 Memory Related Reading SK Hynix: HBM2E Memory Now in Mass Production GeIL Unveils Orion Series Memory, Up to DDR4-4000 with 32 GB Memory Modules Patriot’s New 32GB Modules Available: UDIMM up to DDR4-3600, SODIMM up to DDR4-3000 New ZADAK Twist DDR4 Memory, Up to DDR4-4133 and 256 GB XPG Spectrix D50 Memory: A More Subtle RGB DDR4

Eskom may have broken law in R14-billion contract

Eskom may have broken tender laws in concluding a 2005 agreement with Black & Veatch that increased more than 100-fold in cost, according to a probe of the contract commissioned by the South African utility.

A former high court judge who conducted the investigation, which cleared Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer of corruption, questioned why the cost of the continuing contract increased to more than R14-billion from an initial R114-million. He said the deal should be investigated.

“This contract, and the allocation of funds, may not have met the requirements of the tender law in that it was an open tender, subject to abuse without finite limitations,” Nazeer Cassim, the former judge, said in his report on the probe, which hasn’t been released publicly. “It may be prudent to investigate the particularities justifying the increase” to assess whether there was “improper conduct”, he said.

This contract, and the allocation of funds, may not have met the requirements of the tender law…

Black & Veatch, a Kansas-based engineering firm, denied any wrongdoing. Eskom declined to comment.

The Black & Veatch contract was one of a number that Eskom said earlier this year would be scrutinised by the state after cost escalations. The power monopoly, which has R450-billion in debt and can’t supply South Africa with sufficient electricity, has been mired in corruption allegations, many of them made in public testimony at a state commission of inquiry into graft over the past two years.

In a June document, Eskom said it overpaid several companies by a total of R4-billion.

Engineers

Eskom hired Black & Veatch to help provide engineers and other specialists needed to build the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power plants, both of which have run over budget and are behind schedule. It also helped with the Ingula pumped-storage facility, Cassim said.

Black & Veatch said it was appointed under a transparent procurement process and its contract had been scrutinised by both Eskom and the government.

“Our original mandate was to provide Eskom with the experience and resources necessary to execute this critical project, not as a labour broker,” the company said in a response to queries. “Over time, scope was added to our role, which required additional resources.”  — Reported by Antony Sguazzin, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP

Minister paves way for digital radio in South Africa

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Image: GCIS

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has published a policy direction to industry regulator Icasa, asking it to fast-track the licensing of digital radio broadcasting services in South Africa.

The minister published the policy direction in the Government Gazette of 10 July, asking Icasa to introduce digital sound broadcasting under the Electronic Communications Act. The move comes after several successful digital radio trials run by South Africa’s broadcasting industry in recent years.

Specifically, Ndabeni-Abrahams wants Icasa to determine priorities for the establishment of digital broadcast networks and services. They must be introduced alongside existing analogue radio services (FM and AM) and must achieve various goals, including universal service and access for all; the introduction of new entrants into the industry; promoting investment; promoting competition; fostering innovation; and reducing costs.

Radio’s strength is its portability and that’s it’s free. Licensing digital players will help “keep radio relevant” in South Africa

Icasa must also ensure that the three-tier system of public, commercial and community broadcasting services is catered for.

It must also take into account the lessons learnt during South Africa’s disastrous analogue-to-digital television migration project and developments around the introduction of digital radio elsewhere in the world.

The minister has asked Icasa to find ways of encouraging the availability and purchase by consumers of multi-channel digital radio receivers capable of using both Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB – in effect, a digital FM dial) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM, an AM or medium-wave replacement).

Specifics

Specifically, Ndabeni-Abrahams has asked Icasa to consider these digital radio standards to complement analogue FM and AM broadcasts:

DRM30 to complement AM radio in the band 535.5kHz to 1 606kHz. DRM+ to complement FM radio in the band 87.5MHz to 108MHz and in the allocated VHF sound broadcasting band of 214MHz to 230MHz. DAB+ to complement VHF sound broadcasting services in the allocated VHF band 214MHz to 230MHz. All DAB and DRM variants should complement existing analogue radio in any other applicable band within the confines of the radio frequency plan and consistent with International Telecommunication Union regulations.

The question now, however, may not be who is licensed to offer digital radio services but whether there’s any demand, especially given the lack of devices in South Africa that can receive such broadcasts, but also as Internet radio and podcasts eat into radio’s market share.

Lynn Mansfield, chairman of the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association and a board member of global industry organisation WorldDAB, said he welcomes the publication of the policy direction and believes digital radio has a bright future.

Describing the minister’s move as a “significant” step that comes after a “long and lengthy” process, Mansfield said it will allow Icasa to finalise the regulations dealing with digital radio and allow it to begin licensing commercial broadcasters.

He cautioned, however, that this could still take a while – especially given that Icasa is busy with other big projects that may take considerable time and attention, including licensing mobile broadband spectrum in an auction slated

Oppo A12s announced: Helio P35 SoC, 6.2″ display, and dual camera

After unveiling the A12 back in April Oppo has announced the A12s. But it’s not an entirely new phone. It’s actually the A12 with a different design, meaning it comes with a Helio P35 SoC under the hood with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and there’s also a microSD card slot for storage expansion up to 256GB.

The Oppo A12s runs the dated Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.1 on top. It’s built around a 6.2″ LCD of 1520×720-pixel resolution that has a notch up top for the 5MP selfie camera, which comes with AI Beauty mode.

Around the back, we have a fingerprint reader keeping company to the dual camera setup comprising a 13MP main and 2MP depth sensor units.

Fueling the entire package is a 4,230 mAh battery which charges through a microUSB port.

The Oppo A12s comes in Light Blue and Light Silver colors and will be sold in Cambodia for $129.

Source (in Khmer)

Amazon's one-day Razer sale includes a $250 discount on the Blade Stealth

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Devindra Hardawar / Engadget All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. If you buy something through one of the links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Today only, you can grab a bunch of Razer devices for less on Amazon. The sale includes things like gaming mice, keyboards, microphones and more, but two of the best deals are on the Razer Stealth 13 gaming laptop and the Kraken X headset. The Razer Stealth 13 is down to $1,450 and the Kraken X USB headset is down to $48 — both are the devices’ lowest prices ever.

Shop Razer sale at Amazon

Buy Razer Blade Stealth 13 at Amazon – $1,450

Buy Razer Kraken X USB headset at Amazon – $48

The Razer Blade Stealth is a beast of a laptop in a relatively unassuming shell. Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar gave it a score of 83 when he reviewed it at the end of

You definitely don’t want to miss Amazon’s secret iPad Air sale

The 7th-generation 10.2-inch iPad has been sold out at Amazon for more than a week now, but it’s finally back in stock and it’s also on sale with a nice $30 discount. In addition, a secret sale most people don’t know about slashes the price of the latest-generation 64GB iPad Air to one of the best prices we’ve seen all year. There’s a very good chance that both of these deals will sell out soon, so you should definitely check them out before it’s too late.

There were so many great sales last month on different iPad models at Amazon. And if you’re wondering what makes us say the deals were so great, it’s pretty simple: Just about every iPad SKU covered by Amazon’s big blowout was completely sold out, which is obviously a pretty good indicator that the retailer’s deals were very attractive.

Where the iPad Pro is concerned, most models are now back in stock but none of them are on sale at a discount anymore. That said, the iPad Pro is overkill for most people so you really don’t need to spend $800+ on a new Apple tablet. Unless you’re a graphic artist or someone who has a real need for a device that powerful, it’s just a waste of money. When it comes to running normal apps and even multitasking, Apple’s lower-cost iPads are just as fast these days. And that’s where the good news comes in: After selling out last month, several best-selling iPad models are now back in stock at Amazon and discounted once again!

Amazon’s most popular iPad model is the new 7th-generation iPad with a 10.2-inch display, and it normally has a starting price of $329. Grab the gorgeous Space Gray model right now, however, and you’ll enjoy a nice $30 discount that slashes the price down to just $279. That’s an incredible deal for a brand new Apple tablet — in fact, the same iPad is available as a refurb right now at Amazon and it costs $326!

If you need a little more oomph thanks to Apple’s newer A12 Bionic chip and you want twice as much storage as you’d get on the 7th-gen iPad we mentioned above, there’s a secret sale on Amazon that you’re definitely going to want to check out. The latest-generation Apple iPad Air retails for $499 with Wi-Fi and 64GB of storage, but today it’s listed on Amazon for $469. We know, we know… there’s nothing secret about that. What most people don’t realize, however, is that Amazon will shave off another $39.01 at checkout, making the final price for this hot new iPad just $429.99! That’s one of the best deals we’ve ever seen for this model iPad Air, and it’s definitely not going to be available for much longer.

Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals we find around the web. Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited

Spotify debuts podcast charts to let you know what's popular

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Spotify has made a serious commitment to podcasts over the last few years, and today the streaming service is debuting its newest tool for listeners in the US, UK, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden, Germany and Australia. Like the company does for music, Spotify will now offer charts that rank the most popular shows based on audience and the biggest trending selections. They’re called Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts, and they’ll be easy to find under Browse > Podcasts > Podcast Charts on both iOS and Android.

Top Podcasts will keep tabs on the “overall most popular podcasts” based on “recent listener numbers.” Spotify says it will update the list monthly so that it remains accurate. Trending Podcasts will be ranked by algorithms that facilitate “discovery of newly-launched shows.” Basically, it will compile the fast climbers to provide you with new shows to listen to. The company explains that the charts will also be available for each category. For example, you’ll be able to see the most popular news or true crime

Lego's buildable NES console comes with a 'playable' game

Well, that didn’t take long. Following yesterday’s tantalizing tweet, Lego has officially unveiled its brick-based replica of the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System (which just so happens to turn 37 tomorrow). As expected, the ‘console’ doesn’t actually play any games. There’s a buildable TV, though, with a tiny 8-bit Mario figure and a crank that slowly moves the level in the background. The kit also comes with a special ‘Action Brick’ that can be scanned by the Lego Mario that comes with the upcoming Starter Course play set. Once activated, the portly plumber will react to the enemies, obstacles and power-ups that are sliding by on screen.

Of course, any NES wouldn’t be complete without a rectangular controller and cartridge. You can even pop open the front and ‘load’ your favorite game. (It won’t actually do anything – it’s just a nice storage option.) The mammoth build, which includes over 2,600 bricks, will be available to purchase through Lego’s retail stores and website from August 1st for $229.99.

Update 7/14/20 9:36AM ET: Updated with official pricing from Lego’s website.

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You can now build custom synths for the Sensel Morph

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Sensel’s Morph is, by design, a bit of a shapeshifter. It can be a film editing bay, a drum machine, a drawing pad, etc… That malleability is getting another boost today with the announcement that it now integrates with Pure Data — the same programing language at the core of the Organelle.

Having API integration with a programing language might sound a bit boring on the surface. But, it means that the Morph can now be used to control custom software instruments, visualizations and even lighting. The tool gives programmers access to 16-points of contact and 20 parameters per contact for building out unique controls. You could for instance create a custom synth in Pure Data that you play by tapping the Morph, but then you control the level of a delay effect by sliding your finger up and down, and open the filter cutoff by pressing down with more force.

Obviously, this is only going to be

Kano's $300 DIY Windows 10 PC Kit is finally ready

A little more than a year ago, Kano unveiled a colorful build-it-yourself tablet running Windows 10. But then the company went quiet and, well, we never knew if the product actually came out. The Kano PC was sold, it turns out, but only to a small group of fans that were happy to act as unofficial beta testers. Clearly, the design team wasn’t happy with its first attempt at a Surface-style convertible. That’s why we didn’t hear much about it, and why today the company is back with a “next-generation” Kano PC that’s ready for store shelves and post-lockdown classrooms.

The basic concept is unaltered. The Kano PC is a chunky tablet that you have to assemble with components wrapped in colourful plastic. They snap together like Lego and can be viewed afterwards through a transparent rear panel. Like the original, it will ship with an 11.6-inch touchscreen that lets you tap and swipe around Microsoft’s desktop operating system. While not indestructible, Kano says the panel can withstand “a steel ball dropped from six feet.” The new version also has the same 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and microSD card slot.

SoundCloud now offers Dolby audio mastering for $5 per track

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Terrence O’Brien/Engadget

SoundCloud has been a popular place for creators and professional musicians to post demos, experiments and finished work. The company’s Pro Unlimited plan gives users more tools and info on their tracks, including the ability to schedule releases, real-time stats and more for $12 a month. Now, with help from Dolby, SoundCloud will offer mastering services to anyone for $4.99 per song. Pro Unlimited subscribers will get three free masters every month with the option to tack on additional tracks for $3.99 each.

The company says the Mastering on SoundCloud will be the last step in the upload process, making tracks “release ready” in minutes. If you’re unfamiliar, the mastering process is what makes professional recordings sound… professional. It fine-tunes loudness, EQ levels and overall clarity to created a balanced and full sound. It can be pricey, especially if you’re paying for one song at a time instead of a full album or EP. By adding the option to a plan creators may already paying for, SoundCloud has removed

Possible sighting of Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 at Geekbench shows Snapdragon 662 chipset

A Samsung tablet – possibly the Galaxy Tab A 7.0 – surfaced on Geekbench with an unknown Qualcomm chipset. The tablet, SM-T505, runs Android 10 and has 3 GB of RAM, which suggests this is a more affordable model.

What chipset is it using, though? It’s listed as “Bengal” and has an octa-core CPU clocked at 1.8 GHz. This is one of several recent chips from Qualcomm: Bengal, Lagoon, Scuba and Lito (this last one has been surfacing quite often).


Samsung SM-T505 tablet at Geekbench with (possibly) a Snapdragon 662 chipset

Based on kernel source code, the Bengal has an Adreno 610 GPU running at 980 MHz. The CPU cores are unknown, but they are in two clusters of four (one cluster runs at 2.0 GHz, the other at 1.8 GHz).

The only chips that match this description are the Snapdragon 662 and 665. Bengal seems to be the 662, which despite its model number, is actually better than its sibling with an upgraded ISP and better Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support.


Details on Qualcomm “Bengal” from the Android kernel source code

If this is indeed the S662, the Galaxy Tab A 7.0 will have four Kryo 260 Gold cores (based on A73) and four 260 Silver (A53-based). The X11 LTE modem promises speeds of up to 390 Mbps down and 150 Mbps up, which is slower than the X12 inside the S665, though the difference in real life performance should be fairly small.

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