Page 1


The Static Page

The demonetisation dilemma

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Siddharth Parwatay Managing Editor

Banks are free to create their own UI layer around this base technology. It eliminates the need for “loading” wallets with money (so that’s one step less) and you don’t even have to reveal your phone number to random people when making or accepting payments – just your unique VPA will do. The system is interoperable across the various banks so you don’t need the the same apps installed on the sender and receiver’s phone – all money is transferred between accounts. There’s also the RuPay initiative, and alongside, within the private sector, there are a number of apps and services such as Udio, PayUmoney Seller App, and RazorPay that are doing their bit to enable merchant payments. There are also startups like Paynear One that are trying to push their low-cost mobile-enabled POS machines. To ease the transition for the large section of the population that have feature phones, carriers have already waved off charges for USSDbased mobile banking (the *99# service). So yes, all of this is there, but the point is, more education and simplicity is needed through the supply chain in order for digital payments to become second nature. There might also be the legislative push needed to increase adoption. For example, I still don’t find UPI as an option on many payment gateway providers. Now I don’t know what other trump card the honourable PM has up his sleeve to follow up this 500 and 1000 kiloton bomb, but if it doesn’t involve providing a much-needed boost to digitisation, we will be back to square one in a decade.

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f you are reading this, you are one of many loyal readers who chose to spend your limited cash reserves on an issue of Digit. A good decision, and I’m sure it was a difficult one since we’ve all been facing these tough choices since the demonetisation announcement on the 8th of November. Why am I talking about demonetisation? Although most would think this isn’t a topic that a tech magazine should be bothered with, the fact is that technology is the key enabler and facilitator of everything these days. Tech-savvy city dwellers like me were fortunate enough to not be affected too much. All my money is legal and digital. Since the 8th of November, I’ve been using netbanking and digital wallets exclusively for all (if not most) of my daily needs. And Mumbai has enough POS debit card readers for me to go on about my life without being inconvenienced at all. That said, I will probably have to stand in line pretty soon as the end of the month approaches, because I will have to pay my doodh-wala and dabba-wala and we all need to spare a thought to those hardworking sections of society who have been the most affected. What we really need now is wide scale digitisation, because without it, all that will happen is that the government would be successful in hitting a reset switch on black money. The black money buildup will just begin again. A crooked businessman could theoretically put all his black money in the bank, and then wait to deal with the over-burdened and perhaps corrupt income tax representative who will come calling and then settle with an under-the-table deal. Basically, the same problems that have plagued the system before will continue to do so even in a post-demonetised India. Remember, people are fallible. Machines are not. A move to digitisation may seem almost forced on the people, and whether that is right or wrong is for the history books of the future to decide. However, I see something akin to the mobile revolution happening again. We might actually manage to go cashless faster

siddharth.parwatay@digit.in

“Without digitisation, the govt will have only succeeded in hitting the reset switch on the flow of black money”

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than western economies – imagine how cool that India would be! Digitisation is an all or nothing game though – the entire supply chain needs to go digital. The informal sector within the country is a mind-bogglingly large employer of unskilled labour. Until the movement of that money, materials and labour (via official contracts) comes onto the books we can’t expect much to change. What is encouraging is that even the RBI in its Vision 2018 document emphasises the need to encourage greater use of electronic payments by all sections of society so as to achieve a “less-cash” society. I’ve been able to observe steps in this direction for sometime. Around the beginning of September, banks started publishing their UPI apps. For those of you who don’t know about UPI, don’t fret because even I never bothered to explore UPI properly and get myself a Virtual Payment Address (VPA) until demonetisation happened. UPI or Unified Payment Interface can be thought of as the backend layer on top of the existing IMPS system , created by NPCI for enabling easy transfer of money between all bank accounts.

Reach me at: facebook.com/staticsid | @staticsid | editor@digit.in

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 1


Big Bytes

Farewell

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who joins us in May or November every year, because it’s true. I can proudly proclaim that I survived the Digit experience! And what an experience it has been! Digit gave me lots of opportunities to flourish. My managers (Robert and Soham) never said no to anything, fought on my behalf, gave full freedom to pursue stories and demanded analytical approach and thought for every process-based review and comparison. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you, and I didn’t always do a great job, but I think I did enough to not get fired! I rose through the ranks and pretty much ended up doing a little bit of everything on the editorial side -- ideating, executing and publishing a story, working closely with junior and senior team members in edit and other business units within 9.9. I’ve also had the honour of representing Digit at various international tech forums, speaking at events, and of course meeting important people shaping our tech world -- all opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Digit. And for all that and more, I’m eternally grateful. One of the best things about Digit is the love and respect it commands among fans who’ve followed it for close to 15 years. And having made the transition from a Digit fan to Digit Editorial member, let me tell you it’s great to connect with fellow Digit admirers and well-wishers. I am living proof of the fact, as are several others at Team Digit, that if you have an inconsumable passion for technology you, too, can realize your dream of working for Digit. So don’t wait, apply now! While I’m sad to no longer be behindthe-scenes at Digit, I’d like to sign off on a positive note. There are plenty in the team to rise to the occasion and do a better job than I ever did, and I’m rooting for their individual and Digit’s success from the sidelines, as I transition back to life (coming full circle) as a reader.

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ear Reader, it has been an honour and a privilege writing for you within the pages of Digit. This column is literally the last piece I wrote as I bid farewell to the past five and a half years’ way of life. Because that’s what Digit is, it’s not a job, it’s a way of life. I invite you on one last journey, a trip down memory lane with me as I try to put into words the highs and lows of my time here at Digit, and my decision to move on. There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to do what you believe in, test your limits and see how high you can fly. It was the same belief that made me join IDG and PCWorld back in Jan 2008 (much against my parent’s wishes) and brought me to Digit back in May 2011 (easing my parent’s stress levels). Moving away from Digit was the last thing on my mind as an opportunity presented itself not too long ago. As much as I was happy at Digit, I knew deep down that I would forever regret not accepting what was on offer – a chance to prove something to myself. Which is what my last nine years spent in technology media have been all about. I have no regrets of my time at Digit, only treasured moments and memorable lessons. I remember my first day vividly: no sooner had I finished unpacking my bags from Bangalore than it was time to report to duty at Digit’s Mumbai office. Why HR wouldn’t allow me to take a week off before joining soon became clear as Robert dropped the 10th Anniversary Special Issue challenge (no less than a 10 gigaton nuclear bomb to my unsuspecting eyes). I remember gulping audibly, no exaggeration, as the immensity of the task sunk in. As things turned out, I ended up planning and closing one half of the special double-sided Digit issue and an additional SKOAR supplement! And in the process spent many a sleepless nights at the office with the team (good fun!), stressing out whenever we missed a deadline but working extra hard to ensure the issue shipped out on time. Scrambling to the finish line, not against each other but with everyone together. I was reassured constantly that if I could survive that manic anniversary issue month, I could survive anything. We still use that line on any intern

Jayesh Shinde Technical Editor – Test Centre jayesh.shinde@digit.in

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“One of the best things about Digit is the love and respect it commands among fans who’ve followed it for close to 15 years."

Let me know your thoughts on this column at: facebook.com/jayesh. shinde | @jshinde | jayesh@digit.in

2 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in


Contents DECEMBER 2016

VOLUME 16 \ ISSUE 12

QUICK

NAVIGATOR

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001 ENTER 016 DGT Desire

Greed Temptation

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LIFE 032 DIGITAL Geek Life Origins

TECH 064 SCI Tomorrow’s Tech Space Age

070 TOOLBOX Workshop

Q&A Tips and Tricks

083 DEVWORX 087 WORLDVIEW AND 091 TRIED TESTED Bazaar

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SMART 100 STREET Agent 001

Awards 2016 38 ZERO1 If you want the best gadget money can buy, you

Killer Rigs Top 3

can’t go wrong with a Zero1 winner.

105 TECH@WORK Industry Connect 137 ESC Unwind

Living Machines

Machines are coming alive to advance human technology

67

TRIED & TESTED

4 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

93 CANON 5D MARK IV

95 XIAOMI MI MIX

User-friendly, fast, versatile and powerful

96 BLACKBERRY DTEK60

Xiaomi’s futuristic Mi Mix is a concept for the future

BlackBerry’s latest smartphone packs a punch, but is it too late?


ON THE DV­­­D Software updates   7-Zip   Brackets   Burnaware  EaseUS Todo Backup  Intel Graphics Drivers  K-Lite Codec Pack

Nintendo has the world excited about the Switch, have they cracked the console code?

FILL SCREEN FILL SCREEN WITH IMAGE WITH IMAGE DOWNLOAD DOWNLOAD BLIPPAR BLIPPAR

BLIPP...BLIPP...

FILL SCREEN IMAGE JUMPS IMAGE JUMPS WITH IMAGE TO LIFE! TO LIFE!

BLIPP...

IMAGE JUMPS TO LIFE!

DOWNLOAD BLIPPAR

Step 1

Step 2

Download the Blippar app

 Awkward Dimensions Redux  Battle Islands: Commanders Off-Peak Shadowverse

Blizzcon 2016 Highlights BlizzCon 2016 Warcraft Cosplay Compilation  Forged by Fire: Heroes of the Storm   Overwatch Developer Update  The Conflict of Warchiefs  The Upgraded Vikings

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MAKE THIS ISSUE OF DIGIT COME ALIVE

NASA eClips NASA eClips™ are short, relevant educational video segments. These videos inspire and engage students, helping them see real world connections.

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113 SKOAR! (Now inside Digit)

Free to play games

  Prime95   SuperPi  USB Flash Benchmark   Unigine Valley   VRMark

Step 3

Keep an eye out for Blip the image and get access the Blippar icon next to video reviews, interactive to some images games, and much more!

35 The Origins of Photography

PC Benchmarking Tools

  AS-SSD   CatZilla Image   Cinebench   CrystalDiskMark   FurMark   Geekbench 4   Unigine Heaven   PCMark8

Photography’s journey through history to the perfect shot!

100 Buying a Gaming Laptop?

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Here’s your guide to picking the optimum gaming laptop

BLIZZCON 2016 HIGHLIGHTS NASA ECLIPS

DVD

97 ZEBRONICS MAX The most affordable gaming mechanical keyboard is here

PC BENCHMARKING TOOLS

99 ASUS TRANSFORMER 3 PRO Providing the same as what is available, for cheaper

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 5


The RSS Feed

Cheats and monopolies in general, you felt like you’re dealing with a person, and not just a phone number, or nickname. Because you are a real person on Facebook, you behave better on it than you would on a site where your identity is anonymous. This makes Facebook perfect for classifieds. Sadly, Facebook forces instant messaging on the phone to be done via Messenger (which I hate). Thus, when you message someone about an ad on the Facebook app, Messenger opens. If this is not irritating enough, Messenger hasn’t been rebuilt to work with Marketplace, and what they’ve done seems more like a hack. I digress though… This service will probably come to India in 2017 (Facebook haven’t announced it officially, I’m just assuming that it will), and if what’s happening here is any indicator, the existing classifieds sites are either going to be pushed out of business, or will have to seriously innovate to stay alive. The impetus is certainly with Facebook, since we all have the app and already spend a lot of time on it. For us users it just makes sense to quickly click a picture, set a price and try and sell stuff on it. If you’re buying, the interface right now could use a bit of polishing, and searching could be made a lot easier, but that’s sure to happen given that Facebook has developers coming out of their ears, and large software development budgets. Facebook’s R&D spends are a lot less than the $13 billion that Amazon and Alphabet spend per year, but it’s still in the billions… and they pretty much only work on software! Be prepared for the Facebook juggernaut to squish a lot of online businesses next year – and like a reality TV show, all of us are going to watch in glee, because competition means we users win, no matter what. Either way, it’s going to make for a very interesting 2017 for all of us. What other businesses do you think will be threatened by the likes of Facebook and Google soon? Write in and tell me, I’d love to discuss it with you.

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Robert Sovereign-Smith Executive Editor

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’ve had a seriously hectic month, and it isn’t because of the December special issue you’re holding in your hand. As you know I moved to Australia last year. As a newcomer to the country, I took up residence in a fully furnished apartment. However, we decided to shift into a house to get more space, and this was the month I shifted. It was to a house that was totally unfurnished, and so I had to furnish it from scratch. Obviously, this meant I went online and used the Australian equivalent of Quickr and Olx – it’s a site called Gumtree. One of the first things every modern house needs is obviously a refrigerator – we can do without beds and chairs, but we need a fridge. So I went on to Gumtree, went through hundreds of fridge ads and found one that seemed like a really good deal. I contacted the seller, bargained (I’m Indian after all), he said he would deliver it (perfect) fixed a time, he came and delivered it, was super polite, I turned it on, it whirred to life, all the lights came on, etc., I paid him, he left, and a few hours later I realised it wasn’t cooling at all. I tried to call him back, his number was disconnected, and I found that I had been cheated. I tried looking up his number on TrueCaller and other such services... nothing… it was a new number, probably prepaid, and the guy was obviously a professional swindler. My friends claim that I trusted him because he was a white guy, or because it was Australia, whereas I wouldn’t have been cheated in India… they even made jokes at my expense about me being racist...Oh well. Lesson learnt. As I started using the classified site more to try and buy all the other things you need in a house, I realised most people were cagey and distrusting, and everyone had stories of being cheated – sellers and buyers both. Luckily, Facebook had just launched its Marketplace feature in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, so I started using that. Just a month after launch, I found Facebook’s Marketplace to be more active than Gumtree, and the people were generally more trusting. This is probably because the buyer and seller could both check out each other’s profiles, you could see when the other person joined Facebook (new accounts could be fake), and

robert@digit.in

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“Because you are a real person on Facebook, you behave better on it than you would on a site where your identity is anonymous. This makes Facebook perfect for classifieds.”

6 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

Liked or hated this column? Let me know at: robert@digit.in | @raaabo facebook.com/raaabo


December 2016 • Volume 16 • Issue 12 TO ADVERTISE Email: sales@digit.in Sales Director: Lalit Arun, Mobile: +91-9582262959

Managing Director Dr. Pramath Raj Sinha Printer and Publisher Kanak Ghosh Publishing Director Vikas Gupta Editorial Executive Editor Robert Sovereign-Smith Managing Editor Siddharth Parwatay Multimedia Co-ordinator Abhijit Dey

South: Ram Sarangi, Mobile: +91-98864 06961 West: Suvarna Shringarpure, Mobile: +91-93249 28247 North: Mayank Sharma , Mobile: +91-8800661912 East: Jayanta Bhattacharyya, Mobile: +91-93318 29284

Writers Arnab Mukherjee, Manish Rajesh, Nikhil Punjabi

ADVERTISING INDEX Test Centre Technical Editor Jayesh Shinde Asst. Technical Editor Mithun Mohandas Reviewers Hardik Singh, Souvik Das, Shrey Pacheco

digit.in

Editor Soham Raninga

Assistant Editor Prasid Banerjee, Sameer Mitha Features Editor Adamya Sharma Mgr - Online Shauvik Kumar Design

Brand.............................................. Page No.

D-Link........................................ Inside front cover

Toshiba.......................................Inside back cover

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Assistant Vikas Patil

Sr. Art Director Anil VK

Associate Art Director Shokeen Saifi Visualiser Baiju NV

Lead UI/UX Designer Shri Hari Tiwari

Sr. Designers Haridas Balan, Charu Dwivedi, Peterson PJ & Manoj Kumar VP

Gigabyte............................................Back cover, 29 ICTS............................................................................ 3 Seagate....................................................................... 7 iBall.......................................................................9, 79

LIC............................................................................. 11 Kingston................................................................. 133

Circle..........................................................................19

TP-Link......................................................................21 Coolermaster..........................................................23

Photography

Sr. Photographer Jiten Gandhi Contributors

Bazaar Cannon 5D Mark IV Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire HP Pavilion bc-008TX Xiaomi Mi Mix BlackBerry DTEK60 Huawei Honor 8 Zebronics Max Sony MDR-XB50BS Samsung Galaxy On NXT Asus Transformer 3 Pro Zero1 Apple iPhone 7 Plus Apple iPhone 7 Moto Z OnePlus 3 LeEco Le Max 2 Lenovo Z2 Plus LeEco Le 2 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime Google Pixel Google Pixel XL Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge MSI GT72VR 6RE DominatorProTobii Asus ROG G752V MSI GE62VR 6RF Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Dell Inspiron 15 7559 HP Pavilion 15-au620tx Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Lenovo Yoga 900 HP Pavilion x360 13-u131TU Lenovo Ideapad 710s Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Acer Predator X34 Asus ROG PG348Q Benq XL2730Z ASUS ProArt PA328Q Benq BL2711U Benq BL3201PT Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 UE Boom 2 UE Roll 2 Intel Core™ i7-6950X Processor Extreme Edition Intel Core™ i7-6900K Intel Core™ i7-6850K Intel Core™ i5-6500 Samsung 960 Pro 1 TB NVMe SSD ZOTAC SONIX GAMING SSD 480 GB, Samsung SM951 512 GB Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - GIGABYTE ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AMD RX 480 - Sapphire Sony 65-inch Z9D 4K HDR TV Sony X9350D 4K HDR TV Thermaltake Core V51 Corsair Carbide Spec Alpha Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5 Apple Watch Series 2 Samsung Gear S2 Pebble Time Nikon D5 Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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Intern Yangerlong Jamir

PRODUCTS REVIEWED THIS MONTH

Writers Abhishek Balaji, Dhinoj Dings, Sahil Dawka, Swapnil Rastogi

MediaTek..................................................................27

RCA Magazine........................................................31

CII - 1.......................................................................77

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Production and Logistics

IOCL..........................................................................25

Manager Operations Rakesh Upadhyay

Manager Logistics Vijay Menon

Asst Mgr Production & Logistics M P Singh Executive Mohd. Nadeem Ansari

Brand

Brand Head Mitin Kumar

Asst Product Mgr Madhuri Goel

Co-ordinator / Scheduling Kishan Singh Circulation Sales

CII - 2.................................................................... 125 India AntiVirus...........................................141, 143 Quantum................................................................ 144

Published and printed by Kanak Ghosh for and on behalf of the owners, M/s Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt Ltd. Published at A-262, 2nd Floor, Defence colony, New Delhi-110024 and printed at International Print-O-Pac Limited, C/4-11, Hosiery Complex, Phase II Extension, Noida-201306 (U..P.) INDIA. Editor : Kanak Ghosh.

Head - Circulation Samir Mehta

Regional Mgrs Jayanta Bhattacharyya,

Norbert Joseph

Manager Circulation Dharmendra Singh Reader Services Team Leader Sudhir Patel Executives Poonam, Bhishm, Nilesh & Narendra +91-22-67899678 / help@digit.in Cover Design Peterson PJ

10 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

“We do not endorse or recommend any product or service advertised in the magazine. The advertisement’s in this magazine are for information purposes only. We do not, expressly or impliedly, warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the quality, accuracy, completeness, legality, reliability, usefulness or claims of any product or service advertised in the magazine. Our readers are strongly advised to carry out their own independent assessment of the product or services advertised in the magazine.”

Disclaimer For every Digit contest, there will be only one winner, unless specified otherwise. In the event of a dispute, the Editor’s decision shall be final.


Contact us Tell us what you feel about Digit If you have an opinion about anything published in Digit, or about technology in general, write to editor@digit.in or call at +91-22-678 99 700. To interact with the authors of specific articles, please write to the email address specified under the author’s name Software on the DVDs To submit and suggest software or any other type of content, to be included in the Digit DVDs, write to dvd@digit.in or call +91-22-678 99 707 Q&A If you’re having trouble with your PC or a gadget, our experts can help solve your problems. Just write in to sos@digit.in. Remember to include full system configurations in your email.

http://www.facebook.com/ thinkdigit Your favourite magazine on your favourite social network. Interact with thousands of Digit readers and have some geeky fun! http://www.facebook.com/ techkranti Let’s wake ourselves up and gather the tools of tech to change the future of our great nation. Join The Revolution!

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Help!  For copy-related issues, delivery status or any other complaints regarding out service, write to help@digit.in or call +91-22-678 99 678

Join the group that suits your need!

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Agent001 Our very own secret agent will give you the lowdown on what to buy, from where and for how much. Send in all your buying advice or questions to the coolest agent ever. Write to agent001@digit.in

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Subscribe Want to subscribe to India’s #1 Technology Magazine? You should, because we have exciting offers for everyone, and you save money in the bargain. SMS: <DIGIT SUB> to 92200 92200 or visit www.digit.in/subscribe Product testing Want your product reviewed by Digit? Contact our Test Center at testcenter@digit.in or call +91-22-678 99 708

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Business enquiries Think we can help you grow your business, or maybe you can help us grow ours? Get in touch with us at business@digit.in

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Forum

12 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

http://www.facebook.com/ IThinkGadgets Community of People who love mobiles, laptops, cameras & other gadgets http://www.facebook.com/ consumermate Expert buying advice and some awesome offers http://www.facebook.com/ devworx.in Community of software programmers who enjoy writing code and want to grow their career in software development


DGT

) Why don't you provide any of your

apps on Windows Phone, it seems like you are banning Windows Phone on your office campus. I bought my windows phone by reading your articles about Windows Phone and it seems like you are cheating me. Please start any of your apps on windows phone. –Mathew George

You can now hack your iPad to simulate the Touch Bar features of the new MacBook Pro http://dgit.in/ipadhck

Feedback for the November 2016 issue of Digit

M PL

Windows Phone has always been recommended by us as a good option for those looking for simplicity. Over time though Android has morphed itself into a simple OS that can scale with the needs of a power user. Windows Phone hasn’t been able to keep up. Don’t get us wrong, Windows Phone is still very good for simple UI performance. But, the lack of developer support and apps keeps us from recommending Windows Phones anymore, and leaves very little to write about. When both iOS and Android offer so much more why wouldn’t we cater to them? Plus in terms of installed user base it only makes sense to concentrate on the more popular OSes out there. Even Microsoft shows little interest in Windows-based phones nowadays, which further reduces the content that we can create around it. –Prasid

Touch Bar in an iPad

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16

Enter

All the latest lifestyle technology, gadgets to drool over and gizmo porn like never before. Desire, Greed and Temptation ahead...

) Greetings Digit!

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I am Snehit Sah from New Delhi. I am 14 and have been reading Digit since the past year. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I used to play Road Rash on my PC. My earliest memories are those of my father opening up the PC cabinet and meticulously cleaning it. Over the years I got to know more about technology and soon also started learning web designing. The FastTracks from the Digit archive have helped me a lot to learn languages. I first read Digit in my school library and got hooked. I asked my father to subscribe to the mag, and amazingly he did it the very first day. Trust me, it’s very lucky to have a dad who never screams at you to be either an engineer or a doctor. Since then I have read a lot about guys building custom PCs and fiddling with CPU insides (Sangharsh?), which makes me pretty nostalgic about the good old

days. Digit also inspired me to start my own YouTube channel (Computer DudeSnehit). Thanks to you guys, I know what must go into a good channel. Some suggestions: 1. If you feature some software in the mag, give it in the DVD too 2. Thanks for all the distros! 3. Sid, Jayesh and Robert: All of you have got something interesting to discuss and all three are the best. 4. Only three guys can look nice without hair – Anupam Kher, Brodha V and (obviously) Robert. But, shouldn’t you smile some more? 5. I missed the Space Age section. Even though it was there in the contents, I couldn’t find it. 6. Special mention: 15 men and 1 woman. I am unbiased now 7. Agent 001, you are missing the limelight that the three leaders (SRJ) enjoy. Come-into-the-limelight! –Snehit Sah

14 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

Hey Snehit! First of all so nice of you to remember Sangharsh *wink wink*. Now about your suggestions - all awesome ones. Abhijit, our DVD guy, has already taken note of the suggestion to bundle relevant software. The SRJ trinity is pleased and also

sad that there will be no more SRJ :-( Also Robert probably has no idea who Brodha V is. Neither do I! –Siddharth

) Hey guys and girls, I'm just one of

the millions of people in your fan base. Okay, that may be an underestimation, but you know what I mean. I started reading your magazine about a year ago. I saw Digit on the shelf and felt it stood out from the others. All other mags were about word processing, spreadsheets and other boring stuff. But you, kind sirs and madams, you have made a magazine that was actually, in my crude words, a manifestation of pure computer awesomeness! Time to get serious: I didn’t get the October issue yet while I already got the November one. Please look into it. As for improvements to your magazine, I have none, except to put SKOAR! back outside the magazine. As for the poster, I'd really like a Witcher 3 poster. And please forgive my over usage of fancy english, I just like to use the computer. (Yeah! PC Master Race!) P.S Just in case I win, I want a Digit hoodie pls pls pls pls. –Rohit P.S


SECTION

SUBSECTION

GREED

TEMPTATION

For those who just want more than should be humanly allowed, we have enough to satisfy your hunger...

If you’re wondering what to do with yourself or how to spend some time getting cultured, this section is for you...

THIS MONTH: Samsung Gear Fit 2, Pentax Papilio II Binoculars, Fiio X1 2nd Gen, Roomba 980, Michael Kors Bradshaw and more...

THIS MONTH: Movie: Doctor Strange, Book: Aurora and upcoming stuff to watch out for...

DESIRE

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TECHNOLOGY WITH STYLE SHOWCASE

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DJI Phantom 4 Pro Drone There’s a pro in the sky

Cubetto

hinese drone maker DJI’s latest drone is the Phantom 4 Pro, an update to the Phantom 4 which released earlier this year in March. Of course the Pro tag isn’t just for show, it comes with a better camera, greater battery life, and several more flight modes. The Phantom 4 Pro has also got better and more advanced obstacle avoidance in comparison to the Phantom 4. The Phantom 4 Pro comes with a 20 megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor and can capture up to 11.6 stops of dynamic range. This enables the Phantom 4 Pro to be able to better balance between light and dark, which can be a problem especially when capturing aerial footage. The Phantom 4 Pro also comes with a

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At first glance the Cubetto looks like a simple cutesy wooden block for your toddler to mess around with, but upon closer inspection you will notice that there’s much more to it than meets the eye. This little wooden robot can teach your child the basics of programming. Cubetto comes with coding blocks, which represent actions, which the child combines to create programs for Cubetto. You simply place the blocks on the board, hit the blue button and watch Cubetto execute your program!

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ECLIPSE

ORBI Prime

Messy cables are something all of us struggle with and let’s be honest, nobody likes the clutter. ECLIPSE is your solution for cable management and it has fast charging as well!

Ever wanted to do photography with your eyewear? The ORBI Prime records in 360 degrees with four 1080p cameras offering 4K resolution, built-in WiFi, water resistance.

16 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

new mechanical shutter to help alleviate the “rolling shutter” effect many drones struggled with, and which resulted in shaky footage for quick camera movement. The Phantom Pro can shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode and capture slow motion videos at 60fps. It comes with obstacle avoidance sensors on all four

sides unlike the Phantom 4 and the more recent Mavic Pro which only had sensors on the front. In addition to being able to fly backwards or sideways without worry, the top speed has also been bumped to 31 mph from 22 mph. DJI Phantom 4 Pro starts at $1,499(`1 lac/approx) and it’s available for pre-order on their website.

NES Classic Edition

TAPS

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition looks and feels just like the original NES and comes with all of Nintendo’s greatest and most iconic NES titles. Get one for a nostalgia ride.

TAPS can help you use your touchscreen phone with your gloves on. These stickers can make any glove touchscreen compatible and really handy to use in the winter, when gloves are unavoidable.


Origins

Digital Digitallife life

35

Snapchat Spectacles

From plates to pixels, we trace the evolution of Cameras from their humble beginnings.

The new Snapchat Spectacles are sunglasses that can record a 10 sec video, which can be uploaded to Snapchat.http://dgit.in/SnapSpc

How

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digital tech is changing the way music is made

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From accidentally discovered machine sounds to holograms of long gone artists, technology is infusing itself into the very fabric of music.

Dhinoj Dings

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How affordable digital audio workstations change the art of making music

While the aesthetics of music have certainly been altered dramatically thanks to digital technologies, the main reason why a lot of music production has transitioned from analog to digital isn’t artistic. In fact, you can say that there are two main reasons: cost and convenience. While puritans argue that digital music-making sacrifices sonic purity, the aforementioned factors are also significant. Now, there’s no argument that some of the vintage hardware is still unmatched– a $40,000 compressor would still give the most modern technological innovations a run for the money. But the inexpensive abilities that digital tech gives you can also make the music sound great. And as any sound engineer worth his salt would tell you, it’s not about the gear but about how you use it. The key aspect is to apply certain smoke and mirror tricks that would trick your ears into thinking that the sound that you’re hearing comes from a super-expensive setup. And the good

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he 90s were a time period when, musically speaking, the world was kind of directionless– with mainstream musicians not quite sure how to take things forward from the disco vibe of the preceding decades. Meanwhile, on the technology front, the digital revolution happened in that same decade. And that certainly shook things up more than a little in the musical landscape. The shake up was felt most by those artists who were already set in the old ways. This meant that a lot of ‘veteran’ artists found the going tough. But on the flipside, the new wave of change also gave a younger generation of aspiring musicians the possibilities to create music which their predecessors would have killed for in their younger years. And even now, technology is changing the way music is made and shared everyday. Internet has single handedly pushed music’s reach to new levels. It’s interesting to look at how digital platforms change the way music is produced or recorded too. For one thing, the story points to the significance of embracing changes and what incredible things could happen when

you do so. Also, it gives some fresh insights into the interesting auditory landscape in which we find ourselves in the present day.

32 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

news is that digital tech gives you a whole bag of tricks to play with.

The DAWs

These days digital audio workstation (DAWs) software from brands like Logic, Pro Tools, Nuendo, Cubase and Ableton are widely used in recording studios. In earlier days, the recording process was restricted to a small number of people – the biggest reason being, of course the cost. But now, thanks to the power of software, the modern music makers needn’t spend too much on huge mixing consoles, high-end compressors and endless rows of expensive equipment. Software like Garage Band– the free DAW that comes with all Apple computers makes things easy for the modern musician. Also, there are online DAWs like Indaba. But it must be said here that the requirement for hardware depends on

DAWs - Bringing all the essentials to your table


Zero1 Awards

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THE VERY BEST TECH OF THE YEAR

IMAGING: PETERSON PJ

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The Zero1 Awards exemplify the best of performance and the year 2016 has had some remarkable products.

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Zero1 Awards

We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to all the brand representatives who’ve supported us in the past and continue to do so, helping us serve the Indian tech enthusiast even better. Certainly there have been instances where the better product bags the Zero1 Award by just a sliver, so while the awardees rejoice, those who’ve trailed shouldn’t be disheartened. We’ve chronicled their might alongside the awardees. Each category has two other Digit recommended products – these might offer the best value, the best design, or maybe even a ton of features. While we go through hundreds of products throughout the year, the month of November sees an even greater inflow as manufacturers try their hardest to send in their latest and greatest with the hopes of bagging the coveted Zero1 Award for their category. So after a ridiculously hectic month of benchmarking and testing, the Digit Team is proud to announce the winners of the Zero1 Awards 2016. These are the best performing products that have entered our hallowed halls and will serve as benchmarks for future challengers to emerge.

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waited by technology enthusiasts and coveted by technology brands, the Zero1 Awards have been the hallmark of quality and performance since 2001. The Zero1 is the only award in this space which relies on extensive tests and is awarded only on the basis of pure performance. Every year, the Zero1 Awards evolve to keep up with new category launches and rightly so. This year’s Zero1 Awards not only features the regulars from the PC and mobile categories but delves deeper into sub-categories of the mobile segment aside from incorporating newer categories. So what makes Zero1 so different from the rest of the awards Digit confers? We have one of the best equipped Test Labs and an army of reviewers with in-depth domain knowledge. The combination of the two allows us to pick out the very best performers in all aspects where cost, design and features don’t matter. Simply put, if you want the best thing money can buy, then you can’t go wrong with a Zero1 winner – and that’s something our readers have long known and look forward to every year.

– Mithun Mohandas

CATEGORIES

Professional Monitors....................................................................... 53

Smartphones - Highend................................................................... 42

Portable bluetooth speakers........................................................ 54

Smartphones - Midranged.............................................................. 43

Processors................................................................................................55

Smartphones - Budget...................................................................... 44

Solid State Drives.................................................................................56

Smartphones - Android..................................................................... 45

Graphics Cards.........................................................................................57

Smartphones - Camera.....................................................................46

Wireless Routers...................................................................................58

Laptops - Gaming.................................................................................48

Mini-PCs......................................................................................................59

Laptops - Mainstream.......................................................................49

4K UHD Displays.....................................................................................60

Laptops - Hybrid....................................................................................50

Mid-tower cabinets .............................................................................61

Laptops - Ultrabook..............................................................................51

Wearables - Smartwatches............................................................62

Gaming Monitors.................................................................................. 52

DSLR Flagships........................................................................................ 63

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Smartphones - Premium..................................................................41

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 39


Zero1 Awards

WINNERS SMARTPHONES while the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were in our hands the day they launched in India. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 was one of the first truly disruptive phones this year, while LeEco’s entry into India gave us something new to write about. Amidst all this, we even reviewed the Xiaomi Mi Mix, just a few days ago, identifying what may be another step in the future of smartphones. You can read that one in the Bazaar section of the magazine. Zero1, though, is all about the present. It’s about what the best phone of the year was, across price brackets. It’s about the best there is, how far ahead it is of the best there was, and whether it is the best there ever will be.

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e’ve seen everything there is to see in the smartphone market this year. To be very honest, 2016 has been somewhat boring for the smartphone market. Barring Samsung’s Note 7 fiasco, there was really nothing that was mind-blowing (see what we did there?). However, boring doesn’t mean there haven’t been good phones. From the new iPhones, right down to the very bottom of the food chain, the smartphone market did evolve this year, as it does every year. They identified dual-cameras as the future of smartphone photography, while the modular concept finally gained some relevance. We attended Google’s Pixel launch,

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SMARTPHONE PREMIUM

Zero1 Awards

SMARTPHONE – PREMIUM If you’ve got deep pockets, then look no further than these smartphones

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any say that the premium segment is becoming irrelevant. With companies like OnePlus, Asus and Xiaomi ruling the roost, Samsung and all are fast losing the market. Why then, does the iPhone keep selling so much? Granted, the Indian market doesn’t buy as many premium phones as some others, but it’s a high margin market, and you literally want every penny’s worth when spending what could be a whole month’s salary, on a phone. After searching far and wide, from Asia to the US, we finally found our winner, and it was just in time for this issue. Most of the changes in the premium segment happened around the end of the year when all the leaks and rumours finally came true. Over the past month, we tested every premium smartphone there is, to figure out what made the cut, and what fell short. The results weren’t surprising, but they sure are definitive. The winner for the best premium smartphone of the year is…

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Apple iPhone 7 Plus Price: `72,000+

RUNNER UP

Apple iPhone 7

ZERO1 WINNER

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

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Yes, yes, we’re just as excited about next year’s iPhone 8 as you are. But while Apple works on its iPhone decennial, this year’s iPhone 7 Plus swooped in as the winner of the premium segment. It has Apple’s first quad-core SoC for iPhones, the A10 Fusion. That, with 3GB of RAM and a 32GB memory on the basic model, makes the iPhone 7 Plus the best performer. The iPhone 7 Plus is fast, fluid and powerful. Its AnTuTu scores are about 27% ahead of the Google Pixel XL, which is the best Android phone this year. All this is complemented by the dual-camera, which is the hero of the device. The 12MP dualcameras combine telephoto and wide-angle lenses to produce images that are amongst the best that smartphone today can do. The iPhone’s true power, though, is in its vertically integrated ecosystem. That’s what has won Apple awards like this one before, and it does so this year too. The Google Pixel XL can match the iPhone’s number in many respects, but it cannot produce the real-world smoothness that Apple’s top product does. It is expensive, and most of us can’t afford it, but if you have the money, this is the one to buy.

Apple iPhone 7 Price: `60,000+

You expected the Google Pixel here, didn’t you? The truth is that barring its camera, the iPhone 7 is basically the same phone as the iPhone 7 Plus. It performs the same as its bigger brethren, and the smaller screen produces a few frames more than the 7 Plus when rendering graphics. Overall, the performance numbers are the same, and both phones score 80 on Digit’s ratings. While the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera isn’t as great as the iPhone 7 Plus, it’s still mighty close. Oh, and another thing. The 32GB variant indeed has slower storage, but seriously, it’s not slow enough to affect anyone.

BEST BUY DECEMBER 2016

Moto Z

Price: `39,999

Moto Z

Innovative, powerful and a shot at the future of smartphones, that’s what comes to mind when discussing the Moto Z. The best modular smartphone of the year brings buttery smooth performance and a really impressive camera. All that at almost 20k less than the Google Pixel devices, or an iPhone. That makes it the best buy amongst premium smartphones. The mods are indeed expensive, but we expect more options with time. Meanwhile, the Moto Z is still a really powerful device. The Snapdragon 820 on this one goes toe-to-toe with the best smartphones out there today. www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 41


Zero1 Awards

WINNERS LAPTOPS desktop cards (albeit at a slower clock speed). So there’s almost no difference between scores achieved on the MSI gaming laptop’s NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU’s and the NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card on desktops. This is no meagre feat, something that restores the consumer’s faith that laptops are now capable of more grunt work than before. Great news for the category as a whole. The trend of miniaturization, or making laptops even more thinner and lighter than last year, obviously continued into this year as well, where Acer unveiled their Switch 7 – claimed to the thinnest laptop in the world – measuring less than 1 cm at its thickest point, which is again a great sign of dynamism and healthy competition among brands in the laptop arena.

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his year was an interesting one for laptops. No longer the apple of the customer’s eye, analysts and industry reports still peg laptops as the last remaining bastion of the PC era, not wholly defeated by the smartphone and connected devices boom. We may all love our smartphones and eagerly look forward to the next best flagship, but we still need a laptop to get work done, and in 2016 the laptop held strong and fought back. For never before in the history of laptops have GPUs been as good as a comparable graphics card for desktops in any given year, but this changed forever in 2016. With its Pascal GPUs launched this year, NVIDIA dropped the “M” on laptop-class GPUs, hailing them to be near identical to the 10-series

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From the labs

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Sci-Tech

Waste to jet fuel

Nature runs on its own complex design. Can we emulate them to technology in our daily lives?

Airlines are working on new ways to reduce greenhouse gases by converting wood waste alcohol to biofuel. http://dgit.in/WWAtoJF

EXPERIMENTING AT THE FINAL FRONTIER

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The most interesting studies performed where Newton’s apple won’t fall

The International Space Station floating around since 1998

always microgravity. Other than the escape from gravity, another motivation for these experiments is progress towards our future life in space. Here we present to you some of the coolest experiments performed in space!

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Sahil Dawka feedback@digit.in

Prepare for lift off

An integral part of the human spirit of conquest is the acquisition of knowledge. We isolate phenomena in the world and meddle with it to deduce descriptions that best fit our understanding. For performing science rigorously the ‘isolation’ becomes imperative because if there are many forces at play, it becomes harder to be sure of the proposed causal relations. There’s always a lot going on Earth, rendering space into an almost ideal playground. Other than understanding the playground itself, space offers the opportunity to perform experiments free from (technically speaking, controlled for) the effects of gravity. Well, almost free, since there’s

64 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

Astro-wolverine (Space tissue loss - stem cell regeneration) This experiment, conducted between March and September of 2010, studied some of the effects of the removal of ‘mechanical loading’ due to gravity, on the embryonic stem cells of mice. As they can differentiate into any cell of the adult body, the embryoid body is considered a model for studying how cells differentiate and develop. This experiment aimed to study the effects of microgravity on stem cell differentiation and the associated gene expressions of

the process. As Earth’s gravity is crucial for the development and regeneration of our cells, long-term disuse or removal from this gravitational environment causes atrophy, both by degeneration of existing tissue as well as impeded stem cell regeneration. All cells come from stem cells, so it was hoped that this experiment would give crucial insights and pave the road for further studies of the regeneration mechanisms of our body, both on Earth and in space. The embryonic stem cells were specially cultured with a growth factor (LIF – Leukemia Inhibiting Factor) to maintain their immortality. Once this growth factor was removed, the cells began to do in the lab what they would do in the body – turn into the various nondividing cells of the body. The patterns of gene expression during this process


Tips & Tricks

74

Toolbox

Q&A

Our tips to master Google Allo and Assistant, while setting up smart monitoring tools for your PC's status.

78

We tackle defective keyboards, mice, GPUs, internet connectivity issues and some more automatic shutdowns.

Get your Android device

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Xposed! Abhishek Balaji

Follow this workshop and you’ll know how to tweak every aspect of your Android instance. It’s time to get more out of your phone and really put it to work.

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dgit.in/ACRoot]. Make sure to read the correct instructions for your handset and take extra care for OEMs who discourage rooting. For the sake of this workshop, we’ll be using an international version of the Oneplus 3 running OnePlus’ custom OxygenOS 3.0. After rooting your phone and installing SuperSU and getting a custom recovery in place, you can begin installing the Xposed firmware. You should note that some apps check for the installation of the Xposed framework and might even disable access to the app until you uninstall Xposed. Apps like Snapchat and Android Pay are notorious for this. The Xposed framework and rooting an android device in general lowers the security rating of your phone and may void your manufacturer warranty. To install Xposed, follow these steps: 1) You’ll need to download two files from the xposed website http://dgit. in/XpsdFrmwrk. SDK21 is Android 5.0, SDK22 is Android 5.1 and SDK 23 is Android Marshmallow 6.0. Next, you’ll see the various processor architectures like arm, arm64 and x86. While x86 refers explicitly to Intel’s mobile chips, arm and arm64 are the most common

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he Android OS is an open source project and one of the largest ones till date. It has millions of developers worldwide working on just the system and many more developing apps for the platform. The huge appeal with the Android OS is with the customisation for OEMs. OEMs are trying hard to differentiate from one another, and apart from hardware, the software is the biggest differentiator. The average consumer might be satisfied with stock features as seen on Google's flagship lineup. But there are ways the Android system can be customised those who want to go the extra mile. One of the major ways to modify the system configuration not accessible to the common users is by installing a framework called Xposed.

Xposed installation

Xposed is a framework which installs on top of your existing system, giving you more control of the finer settings and configurations of the phone, giving you much better tweaking power. However, Xposed requires access to the Android system at the root level. To root your phone, follow the instructions given in the link [http://

70 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

versions. If your processor architecture is a 64-bit system, you should select arm64 and arm if it is 32 bit. The processor architecture can be quickly verified with a google search. After selecting, we download the latest version of Xposed (at the time of writing this workshop) in zip format, v76. Before installing, you should refer to the official Xposed thread on xda-developers [http:// dgit.in/XpsdXDA] to download the uninstaller zip and the app. The Xposed uninstaller is just in case something goes wrong. 2) Once you have obtained these files, you should install the app and let it run. Now, copy the two other files onto your Android phone and then reboot into the recovery mode. Once you are in your custom recovery menu, you should select any option that says ‘Install ZIP’ and navigate to the location where you copied the installer file. Xposed will now install successfully and if not, you can redo the steps to make sure you are doing them correctly. 4) After installing, Wipe your Cache and Dalvik partition and reboot your phone. When you successfully boot your phone and open the


> code / creativity / community > SQL Server on Linux after Microsoft joins Linux Foundation http://dgit.in/SQLonLnx

The Power of Speech support from HTML regarding the same. Therefore speech recognition is yet to be popular as a medium of interaction between the user and the web. But Google Chrome rolled out a speech recognition engine bundled with its browser in it’s version 25. So you can now invite users to talk to your web applications and process their speech in various languages recognised around the world.

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INTRODUCTION They say that a few words could bring down entire empires, start a war or cause a revolution. We speak to express. Voice has been the primary medium of communication between humans. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could speak to the web pages on your screen and tell them what to do and they in turn would respond to your instructions. Imagine the power that voice recognition could bring to modern web applications. From filling forms, searching using your voice, replying to your mail, chatting while playing an online game, or just plain navigational controls to telling web sites to show you your favourite movie or play your favourite song, the possibilities are truly endless. Voice recognition has been around for quite some time with Native Operating Systems as well as with smartphones and other smart devices. Google Now, Siri or Cortana are widely used by the common man in mobile devices today. Be it high performance fighter aircraft terminals, VOIP telephony, gaming or handsfree computing, speech recognition has already played significant roles. However, the web hasn’t seen major adoption or usage of voice recognition or voice controlled commands. This has been vastly due to the unavailability of any good speech recognition capabilities of the browsers as well as due to the lack of initial

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>>After smartphones and home assistants, now you can talk to the Internet> by Koustav Ray

WHY ANNYANG? The library that we are going to use today is known as “annyang” written by a well known open source contributor named Tal Ater. The reason we chose this library is primarily due to the following facts: • Uses the highly accurate speech recognition engine provided by Chrome. • It’s pretty lightweight (just 2kb when minified). • Progressively enhances browsers that support speech recognition, while leaving users with older browsers unaffected. • No external dependencies are required. • Can be easily integrated with Speech KITT, A flexible GUI for interacting with Speech Recognition (Also written by Tal Ater). • It’s free to use!

*Coding Matters

*Cmd Prompt Replaced

>>Microsoft has replaced Command prompt with Powershell in the latest build of Windows 10.

http://dgit.in/ByeByeCMD

*Visual Studio for Mac

>>Microsoft announced Visual Studio for Mac with macOS based IDE, available as preview release.

http://dgit.in/VSMacOS

*x86 on ARM alive?

>> Microsoft may be working on emulator enabling ARM systems to run x86 applications, say sources.

http://dgit.in/x86ARM

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 83


OUR PICK OF THE BEST TECH ARTICLES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

(MUST READS)

[The Atlantic Corner]

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SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU

THE SOVIET INTERNET

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After trying for decades to construct a national computer network for the Soviet Union, scientist Viktor Glushkov’s idea was to inaugurate an era of electronic socialism to upgrade the Soviet economy. However, it didn’t go anywhere.

http://dgit.in/SvUnInt

REDESIGNING EVERYTHING

It is said, change is good, and is often welcomed. 21st century seems to have brought with it the craze to redesign every possible thing, but is it really necessary? What’s the problem with the existing?

With the onset of Internet of Things, the home is becoming smarter, starting to measure everything and even scrutinizing the data collected. Here’s how our smart homes will start monitoring us, along with monitoring themselves. http://dgit.in/HomeMonitorng

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http://dgit.in/ReDesign21

WHAT VR MIGHT BECOME As Virtual Reality continues to evolve, the most surprising twist in this evolution turns out to be its pace. Here’s a peek into the future of Virtual Reality by having a look at its past developments.

http://dgit.in/VREvltn

PALANTIR’S SECRET

Palantir, one of Silicon Valley’s most secretive and highly valued companies has lost its blue-chip clients among others as they express doubts over Palantir’s mined data and insights, points cache of internal documents leaked recently.

http://dgit.in/PalantirSc

Silicon Valley blamed Its official and Donald Trump has won the presidential elections and will be USA’s next president. Donald Trump’s victory might not be a very welcoming thing back in the Silicon Valley as it is a newcomer in the entire political blame-game. Or is it?

Attack the DNS Attacking a website with a DDoS attack has been a common way to put a website down, but to destroy the entire internet network of an area – all at once – is new. Some DNS service servers are now facing DDoS attacks, breaking the entire internet locally at once.

Dating App Fatigue Tinder, Hinge and other dating apps need no introduction and play a very important and significant role in Modern Dating. However, some users are now starting to find the continuous use of these services more frustrating than fun.

http://dgit.in/DTSlcVly

http://dgit.in/DNSAttckd

http://dgit.in/DtngAppFtg

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 87


Column

Why Mini-PCs don’t do well in India

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(Core-i5 6400T). Essentially, we are looking at the same configuration in two different form factors. When you throw in a monitor, better sound solution and a keyboard with the Mini-PC you are essentially getting the same configuration for the same price. And here’s the thing, powerful Mini-PCs have been around for two years in India, yet every brand executive has a dejected look on their face when I broach the topic of Mini-PCs. The only factor in favour of laptops is their portability. But here’s where it gets interesting. Those little stick PCs are also mini-PCs, and if they have, let’s say, an Intel Bay Trail SoC (2013) then you could power the device with a power bank. And if you want to simplify it even further, the upcoming lineup was demonstrated to be capable of playing games like DOTA 2 and CS:GO. Clearly, performance isn’t lacking. Cost isn’t exorbitant. Portability isn’t that big an issue. So what is it? Is it that hard for the average Joe to go down to the store, grab a mini-PC, a monitor, an SSD, a stick of RAM and a decent keyboard-mouse combo? Is that too much of a hassle? Then you do have All-in-Ones which are doing slightly better since most AIOs tend to work right out of the box. But wait, let’s go back to mini-PCs. Every e-commerce store now has recommendation engines which tell you what the most popular accompanying purchases are so there’s little chance that you can screw up when shopping for the aforementioned miniPC components. And even if you do screw up, the big e-commerce giants are more than happy to sort your issues. If it’s plain laziness, then I’m pretty much speechless. But if it’s because we aren’t doing our part in demystifying this little piece of technology then we do hereby declare ourselves guilty. Do write in to let us know that given the choice between two equally powerful configurations, would you pick a laptop or a mini-PC.

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he trends in the Mini-PC segment in India is somewhat contradictory to what’s being observed the world over. Globally PC shipments have nearly bottomed out with 2016 and 2017 being projected as the years when the PC market will rise again. However, as we go deeper into the different segments, the sales figures clearly favour small-form factors. The personal desktop computer isn’t as popular with the mainstream crowd anymore and it’s just the gamers, professionals and DIY enthusiasts that are driving sales. Rightly so, we’ve seen manufacturers rebrand their product lines to cater to these very people. While laptops do sell like hotcakes here, the situations isn’t quite the same with Mini-PCs. Most manufacturers skipped India when Mini-PCs first started out resulting in the trend not catching up in India at all. And later, when common sense did finally prevail the manufacturers decided to pawn off unsold stock from other markets in India. This obviously meant that the Mini-PC hardware being sold in India was a generation or two older than what first world countries had. Consumers aren’t stupid, the early adopters decided to not waste their money on old hardware. The few retailers in India who were adventurous enough to stock Mini-PCs were still having the older SKUs. Most of the blame lies with the manufacturers who decided to skip including India in their global launch programs. And since the early adopters and influencers decided to skip these older hardware, the notion in the market is that Mini-PCs are simply not as powerful as mainstream laptops. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If there was a laptop configuration that you can buy, then you can get a Mini-PC for the same or lesser price. To add a little perspective, let’s take the example of current gen hardware. On one hand you have a laptop like the MSI GS63VR which features a notebook GTX 1060 and a high-end Skylake CPU (Core-i7 6700HQ) priced at $1,799 and on the other hand you have a mini-PC like the ZOTAC Magnus EN1060 which too has the same notebook GTX 1060 and a high-end Skylake CPU

Mithun Mohandas Senior Reviewer mithun@digit.in

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“Consumers aren’t stupid, the early adopters decided to not waste their money on old hardware and this led to the Mini-PC not catching up at all in India.”

Let me know your thoughts on this column at: @mithun_mohandas

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INSIDE

Bazaar

Page 95 Xiaomi Mi Mix

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THE LATEST PRODUCTS REVIEWED FOR YOU

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Page 94 Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire

The Digit Test Centre receives hundreds of products every month. Each of these products is put through a series of tests and is finally given a score. The final score is arrived at after considering a number of factors and evaluating them in terms of features, performance, value for money, build quality, and, in the case of software, even ease of use.

Page 96 BlackBerry DTEK 60

Page 97 Zebronics Max

For better understanding of our ratings, hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a quick guide to our overall score to

30

Extremely poor product. Keep away!

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10

31

to

50

Strictly OK.

51

to

70

Decent product.

71

to

90

Very good product.

91

to 100

Page 98 Sony MDRXB50BS

Not recommended

Go for it, but there may be better products out there.

Highly recommended.

Ground-breaking product. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never seen anything like it before. A definite must buy!

92 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

&MORE...

Page 99 Asus Transformer 3 Pro


Hyperloop design concepts

Skype insider program

Hyperloop One company released a highspeed rail system design for Dubai. http://dgit.in/hyprdsgn

Bazaar

Skype now has a new insider program where you can get early access features. http://dgit.in/skypeIS

Corsair K70 RGB HP Pavilion Rapidfire 15-bc008TX

For gamers and regulars alike

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A new leader in mechanical switches for gaming

Price00 96,2

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Price99 13,9

switch. The Speed is close to the Reds with the same actuation force of 45g. The change here is the reduced actuation distance of only 1.2mm rather than the comfortable 2mm on the Cherry MX Reds. While this makes it impressive for gaming towards incessant tapping and spamming, it might not sound like the best choice for typing. But after a couple of days, we found it comfortable enough to type with. The short key travel of 3.4mm enables you to go on typing without exerting much stress on your fingers. We can definitely say that we now have a new favourite for mechanical switches, previously held by the Cherry MX Silent. Although, you get all the premium features on the K70, including the Corsair Utility Engine to control the RGB lighting and firmware updates, it all falls down to whether you’re willing to spend a truck load of money on your next mechanical gaming keyboard.

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orsair has once again exclusively partnered with Cherry to launch a new type of mechanical switch called the Cherry MX Speed with the K70 RGB. The Rapidfire is no different from the K70 RGB, the keys being the only difference and that’s what we’ll be focusing on here. Shifting from tactile switches to linear switches takes a day or two to adjust because of the absence of the tactical bump in the

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Features.....................................81 Build Quality.............................82 Value...........................................75

Specifications

Keyboard size: Standard, Numpad included; Keyboard backlighting: RGB LED; Switch type: Mechanical keyboard (Cherry MX Speed); Key-rollover: Full-key rollover; Extra: USB Passthrough port, Polling rate switch

Contact

Corsair Email: corsairindia@gmail.com Website: http://www.corsair.com

94 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

Abhijit Dey

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aming laptops are usually clad in black, with edgy designs and an imposing presence. However, there’s a second kind of gaming laptop, the kind that hides in plain sight. The HP Pavilion 15-bc008TX is one of those. Like most Pavilion laptops, this one also has a

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Features.....................................62 Performance.............................74 Value...........................................86 Design.........................................73

Specifications

Processor: Intel Core-i7 6700HQ; GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M; RAM: 16GB DDR4; Internal Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD; Display: 15.6-inch 1080p; Keyboard: Chiclet type (backlit); OS: Windows 10; I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, SD card reader, 1 x Headphone/mic jack combo, LAN port

Contact

HP India Pvt Ltd Phone: 1-(800)-180-1810 Email: hpestore.in@hp.com Web: http://www.hpshopping.in

plastic build. HP has done a good job with this one as the whole machine feels quite robust. The 15.6-inch display on this machine is one of the better display we have seen in this price category. While the typing experience on the laptop is good, we would have loved a little more resistance as it suits gamers. The laptop may not be aimed at gamers, but it’s a darn good entry level gaming machine. The HP Pavilion beats dedicated gaming machines, like the Asus ROG501VW and the last generation HP 14-j008tx. In addition to that, the HP Pavilion 15-bc008TX has undoubtedly the best battery life among its peers. Under normal usage, the laptop served more than six hours of battery life. Overall, the HP Pavilion 15-bc008TX is definitely a laptop you should consider if you need a machine that can handle all kinds of heavy software, while also indulging some casual gaming habits. Hardik Singh


Price watch

Killer rigs

Street smart

102

We tell you about the best components to look for at various PC rigs at different budgets

103

This time it’s all about routers and 2 in one laptops or what some people prefer to call convertibles.

Frag with no limits on a gaming laptop

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The rules of the game when you’re going for a gaming laptop Agent 001

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agent001@digit.in

ou’re a Gamer. Gaming is your life. Eat, game, sleep… repeat. That’s pretty much your mantra. You don’t want a cute laptop, neither should you settle for a mediocre machine that calls itself a “budget gaming notebook” – because there’s no such thing! For gamers, only the best hardware will do. The best hardware, super-sized… to the max. All hail #PCMasterRace

Do not compromise on these specs GPU is everything!

After the GPU, pay attention to a laptop’s CPU, as it’s the heart of the machine. Don’t even consider Intel’s Core i3 chips, a gaming laptop should at least have an Intel Core i5 processor, and ideally the Core i7 processor. The latest generation of Intel processors is called Sky Lake and denoted by a four digit number that starts with seven – “7xxx”. You can learn more nuances of Intel CPU nomenclature online, but as far as gaming laptops go try to focus on machines that sport either an “HQ” or “U” suffix. Also, the higher its clock speed, the better. So a 2.8 GHz processor is better than 2.1 GHz processor. RAM directly affects your laptop’s speed. When a game is launched, its data is loaded and temporarily resides in a laptop’s RAM. So, greater the RAM the better, and the same goes for the clock frequency. DDR4 is the latest generation of RAM, an upgrade over DDR3. In any case, a gaming laptop

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Without a high-end discrete (or dedicated) GPU from NVIDIA or AMD, your gaming laptop is severely handicapped. Don’t settle for Intel HD graphics, obviously, because it’s peanuts in comparison to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 960M/980M or AMD Radeon R7/R9 graphics chips. This should be the bare minimum a gaming laptop should sport. However, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 / 1070 / 1080 are the best current-gen GPUs available on high-end gaming laptops. Another crucial point about GPUs is that unlike desktop GPUs that can be removed and replaced, a laptop’s GPU is soldered onto its motherboard. You can’t replace the GPU without replacing the motherboard, in most cases. Even if you have to extend your budget by a bit, definitely buy a gaming laptop with the best-possible GPU outright at the time of purchase.

CPU & RAM matters

100 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

should have at least 8GB of DDR3 RAM. The more the merrier..

Speed vs Storage

Should a gaming laptop have traditional HDD or an SSD? SSD is based on flash-memory, which is quick to boot and a lot faster than traditional spinning HDD (hard drive). But highercapacity SSDs are a lot costlier than HDDs. Most good gaming laptops, hence, try to offer a nice balance between the two. They have at least 16 or 32GB SSD paired with a traditional large-capacity 500GB or 1TB HDD, in the form of a hybrid drive. This ensures the operating system and game files launch quickly, because of the SSD, and also offers you the flexibility of installing a large number of games because of the HDD’s capacity.

Keyboard > Trackpad A trackpad is useless in a gaming laptop – don’t give it any thought. Pay


Feature

Tech@Work

106

We show you how to run your business from a Smartphone. With apps available for every business need, it’s easily possible

Touched by tech

109

Technology is advancing medical science to great heights. Find out how tech is saving lives.

Browser banter with Opera co-founder

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We chat with former CEO and Co-founder of Opera Software, Jon von Tetzchner about the future of the mobile, web standards and his latest brainchild – the Vivaldi web browser

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Siddharth Parwatay editor@digit.in

Jon von Tetzchner, founder Vivaldi Browser (former CEO, Opera Software)

to take my code, you can introduce it.” that’s always welcome. On the other hand, having a totally uncontrolled project has its drawbacks. We take the input but we make sure that those features that come in work really well together. So there really is a coherent thread to everything that we do. There is one design to our software. One design does not mean that there is only one correct way to do things, it just means that the way we adapt, it all works. I’m sure you’ve downloaded extensions that have messed stuff up. That’s in a way what we avoid by taking the code and writing it ourselves and ensuring that it all works together. Most of the Chrome extensions work in Vivaldi still, and we spend a lot of time making sure that they do and that’s important to us. Again, we work very closely with the end users because end users give us feedback, some of them actually do send us code that ends up being included, but in general this process of working, we would like to control that.

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Between the community-led model and the employee-led model of development, which approach has Vivaldi chosen and why? Jon: We’re using Chromium as the base for Vivaldi. A number of our users have found out that this is web code, and you can actually go in and edit it. This is because some of them believe that features are not being implemented fast enough so they go in and implement those features themselves. There are plenty of threads in our forums about people doing that. I think if you look at most of the open source projects, they don’t work the way you’d expect. Take Chromium for example. We may do a change to Chromium because we’re using it and it would be very good for us if that change went into the core. But that doesn’t happen. We could send it over to Google and Google might include it immediately because it was a critical bug fix. But if we propose a change that benefits us but doesn’t benefit them in any shape or form, they wouldn’t do it. So we too are often faced with this question: do you spend all your time getting in well-meaning bits of good code, but spending all your time trying to make sure it doesn’t break anything? Or do you write the code yourself? And we are in a way spending more time on the latter. That doesn’t mean we don’t value contributions. If someone wants a change and says “Guys, if you want

Vivaldi has an android browser in the works right? Jon: Yes, it’s something that’s coming.

Actually, when we started, we started with Android as a part of the equation. Unfortunately, we ran into some issues with how we were doing things and thats why its taking a longer time. It will go into next year. Probably the latter half of next year. What kind of interesting features are you looking at incorporating in the mobile browser? Jon: A lot of what we’re doing will be about reusing as much code as possible, so you’ll get a much more powerful browser. Typically, what we have today is we have limited mobile browsers. They’re not the same as the desktop browser. I think we can do a browser with the capabilities of the desktop browser, but actually running on mobile. This then opens up all those opportunities that a full fledged browser would have included. And obviously we’re not taking just any desktop browser, we’re taking the most powerful desktop browser by far with regards to the capabilities it brings to the table.

To read the full interview blip this page or follow this link: http://dgit.in/vjonvontetznr www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 105


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rone. h t e h t y cast awa â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s o d n e t it home? g Nin n i r b h witc Can the S GAME OF THE YEAR

TEAM SKOAR! PICKS THE TOP GAMES OF 2016


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Mafia III

Dogged Determination

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130

126 Game of the Year

Phranchise: Prince of Persia

115 | Mobile monthly

128 | Reevu: WWE 2K17

134 | Eevunt: NASSCOM GDC 2016

136 | Eevunt: IeSC

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MOAR

Bring SKOAR! To life by following these simple steps:

PICKS

Whether it’s speed runs, graphics tearing or any other momentous grabs from our favourite games, these are videos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Cover Design: Anil VK

CONTENTS | DECEMBER 2016

Claycat’s DOOM

Red Alert 2 Unreal Engine

BF1 Honest Game Trailer

Duration: 2 min 42 secs

Duration: 8 min 52 secs

Duration: 4 min 52 secs

If you’ve played the real game and are still aching for a little extra dose of Doom then check out this claymation!

Someone went ahead and remade the classic Red Alert 2 using Unreal Engine with support for VR!

Still undecided whether you should buy Battlefield 1 after our review? Check out this honest game trailer.

http://dgit.in/ClayDoom

http://dgit.in/RA2Unreal

http://dgit.in/BF1HGT

114 | SKOAR! | December 2016 | follow us on:

facebook.com/SKOAR


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K U VA H S T ORY

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K U VA H S T ORY

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Dramatic Flashback

Let’s talk a bit about why the Wii was so successful. 2006’s ‘Nintendo Revolution’ as the people at the time were calling it – the Nintendo Wii did something no other mainstream console was doing. The Wii gave gamers a unique experience they wouldn’t get anywhere else at the time. The “magic wands” or the “wiimotes” were something that had never been done before and it also bought motion sensor gaming to the mainstream. It’s thanks to the success of the Wii that the PS Move and

Nintendo’s thrown the bone. Can the Switch bring it home?

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ILLUSTRATION BY: ANIL VK

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intendo is known for doing things its own way, and for the most part, that works for them. It’s also great for us, the gamer community, to have something new and something fresh to do. We as gamers are more than happy to experience new things because the last thing we want is stagnation. Which is probably why we’re so worried about replayability and originality in new games. Anyway, back to Nintendo and doing things differently. Just look at the Nintendo Wii, when the Wii came out it was a huge success and Nintendo probably thought they hit the jackpot. But turns out, they were wrong about that, because simply having “Wii” in the name of your next console doesn’t immediately guarantee success. Case in point, the Wii U, which in case you need a reminder all over again, did NOT do too well. So why are we bringing this up? Well, everyone must’ve seen Nintendo’s latest console’s teaser, because if you haven’t, you should. Now. Go watch it. Seriously. We’ll wait. Finished? So what did you think about the Nintendo Switch? We’d say they nailed the trailer. That’s a really good trailer, the best trailer, only Nintendo makes the best trailers. But at the end of the day, talk is cheap. A good trailer doesn’t automatically mean that the console will be successful. But if we can ascertain anything from the trailer, it’s that Nintendo is definitely going in the right direction.

By Manish “Trigger Happy” Rajesh feedback@skoar.com

follow us on:

twitter.com/skoar | December 2016 | SKOAR! | 121


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PHE A C HUR

There are some great mobile games out there and not everyone is able to play them… or are they?

By xxxxlok” Krishna Lal feedback@skoar.in

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ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER EPIC 12 MONTHS OF GAMING

2016 was chock-full of great game releases and to be honest it’s incredibly hard to single out and pick the best game of the lot, especially, when there’s so many to choose from. But nevertheless, we’ve all taken our picks of what we think deserves to be Game of the Year.

126 | SKOAR! | December 2016 | follow us on:

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Manish “TriggerHappy” Rajesh

Total War: Warhammer | Platform - PC The Total War franchise and the Warhammer Universe are a match made in heaven. Makes you wonder why on earth this wasn’t done before. The marriage between the two just clicks and everything just fits into place. If you’re looking for epic large-scale battles in a high fantasy setting, you can’t go wrong with Total War: Warhammer. The best RTS if not the best game of the year!


Community

140

Esc

This section showcases the achievements and writing contributions from our reader community.

Unwind

142

We take a look at the craziest memes to have emerged this year and put our own little spin on them.

When tech failed the year!

Every year has its fair share of fails, and 2016 didn’t disappoint either! arnab@digit.in

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Note 7

Macbook Pro

digital AV adapter to be able to use an HDMI port along with a USB 3.0 port. A steal this one! And what if you just bought a brand new iPhone 7 Plus last month? Just $25 to get a dongle to connect that. Do you happen to have a Thunderbolt 2 device? There’s a dongle for that (at $50)! Got an SD card that you want to connect? A dongle for that (at $50 again)! VGA? Dongle ($50)! Gigabit Ethernet? Dongle ($26)! And if you’ve got older devices, Apple has already had a wide array of connectors available for you to make your world look like a tangled mess.

Apple has a thing about redesigning its devices. Of late, however, there appears to be a lack of logic when doing so. Some of you might really love the 2016 Macbook Pro, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, sometimes some things just defy common sense. The new Macbook Pro has killed all other connectivity ports in favor of Thunderbolt 3 via USB-C. So, no

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he world of technology can be awe inspiring in its glory. From devices that ooze brilliance to state of the art technology convincing us that the future is here, it might look like a big glittery scene to an observer. But someone once said that all that glitters is not gold, and they were definitely right about that for the technology world. Sometimes, all the brains and experience at the top tech companies all over the world cannot prevent a massive fail, that would seem pretty obvious in retrospect. Well, after all the judgement calls are out and the numbers are debated, we are left with a list of fails this year that definitely remind you of what NOT to do as a tech company – whether you make smartphones or sell groceries!

series on hold indefinitely. Well, when tech companies talked about explosive publicity, we’re pretty sure they didn’t mean it literally!

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Arnab Mukherjee

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This will perhaps go down as one of the worst tech fails of the decade, if not of all time. Smartphone launches, especially from leading manufacturers, have become increasingly grand and hyped in recent times. The Note series from Samsung has seen favorable demand over the years and hence, when Samsung announced the Note 7 this year in August a lot of people wanted to get their hands on the device. But once the device started selling, that demand was turned on its head as several handsets of this model began exploding around the world. Samsung was quick to respond, but by the time they did, the damage was done. And when the relaunched replacement Note 7 devices also began exploding, the fate of the Note series was almost sealed. Samsung recalled all Note 7 devices and has put the Note

LeEco’s audacious foray into self driving cars

HDMI, USB 3, Thunderbolt 2 and no connectivity for your iPhone either. If ever there was a design fail, it’s got to be this one. To add insult to injury, Apple has started a thriving dongle business. Want to connect anything that uses a regular USB port to your new Macbook? A pendrive perhaps, or a USB keyboard? You’re going to need a USB-C to USB converter that sells for a mere $19. Want to hook your macbook to a TV? Just $70 and you can get the

LeEco runs out of cash One look at Chinese manufacturer LeEco and you would think that they’ve expanded very quickly. You would be right. Perhaps a bit too right for LeEco’s well-being. The company has made 11 smartphone models along with Smart TVs, Bluetooth speakers and has recently also forayed into the domain of self-driving cars. This October, the car was unveiled in the US with LeEco’s ambitions in the space being apparent. What people did not www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 137


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