Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

What’s the best wearable device you can get?

Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft has taken the wraps off of its latest and greatest wearable device, an updated version of the Microsoft Band. The fitness tracker/smartwatch combo looks to be even better than the hit that was the original Microsoft Band, featuring improved fitness tracking capabilities and a number of new smart wearable features.

Microsoft, however, isn’t the only company that’s been working hard in the wearable market.Samsung recently announced the Samsung Gear S2 and, but if we’re going to talk about wearables, it would be hard not to include the Apple Watch, a device with fitness features Apple doesn’t shy away from promoting (there’s even the rubbery strap for the Apple Watch Sport edition that’s suited exercise).

Of course, it’s important to mention that the Microsoft Band is positioned as a fitness tracker, while the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are both smartwatches that have some fitness features. However, each are flagship wearables with top-notch hardware and software, which evens the playing field. If you’re having trouble deciding which device best suits your needs, read on as we compare the most important features of each against the others.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Design

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band has an improved design with a curved display. Generally speaking, the Band offers a simple, sporty design, including a flat black strap that hooks together with a subtle clip.

The Samsung Gear S2, by comparison, looks like a real watch. It has a round face and offers a sporty design with the band itself made of plastic, a design element that helps it flow well into the main body of the device. Some would argue the Gear S2 is one of the best designed smartwatches on the market. It’s also fairly thin, coming in at 11.4mm (0.45 inches) thick.

The Apple Watch really is one of those devices that looks better in person than it does in pictures. It offers a square display, which seems to be out of fashion for wearable devices of late, however the multitude of color and band options is certainly a plus. The Apple Watch is a little thinner than the Gear S2: it measure 10.5mm (0.41 inches) thick.

It’s difficult to compare design of a device that’s clearly a fitness band with the design of a smartwatch. It’s even difficult to compare a round smartwatch with a square one. While it really comes down to personal preference here, for a subtle fitness tracker then the Band is the best option in terms of design.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Display

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band display is 32mm x 12.8mm (1.26 x 0.5 inches), a rectangular display indeed but one that seems to work great considering the device is a fitness tracker. The display’s resolution is 320 x 128 pixels.

By comparison, the Samsung Gear S2 offers a display that’s 1.2-inches across, has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels and a pixel density of 302 pixels-per-inch.

Finally, the Apple Watch is actually available with two display options. The first is 38mm (1.5 inches) diagonal, with a resolution of 340 x 272 pixels. The second display is 42mm (1.65inches), and has a resolution of 390 x 312 pixels.

When all’s said and done, the Samsung Gear S2 has the densest and therefore crispest display.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Processor, storage and RAM

Microsoft hasn’t listed the processor, storage capacity or RAM on the Microsoft Band, so it’s impossible to judge it on those front.

Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

The Samsung Gear S2, meanwhile, offers a 1GHz Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

Fitness tracking

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

This one is a no brainer. The Microsoft Band was built as a fitness tracking device, offering GPS connectivity, a heart rate monitor, calorie tracker and sleep tracker. These features are complemented by things like an accelerometer to measure altitude and a gyrometer. Not only that, it can also track VO2 Max, which is basically how much oxygen passes through the body in the span of one minute.

Microsoft also offers a pretty great dashboard, called Health, for health tracking metrics, which will help users watch and monitor of all the data the Band is collecting and storing.

That doesn’t mean the the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch don’t have fitness tracking features, though. The Gear S2 also offers an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor. Not only that, the Samsung S Health applications is a big part of how the Gear S2 performs fitness tracking tasks. It works in much the same way as Microsoft Health to keep tabs on users’ activity and fitness goals.

The Apple Watch is similar to the Samsung Gear S2 as to what it offers when it comes to fitness tracking, including a heart rate monitor. Both the Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are good options for anyone who want a watch with some fitness tracking as part of the overall package. However, the Microsoft Band is the device for people looking specifically for a wearable that’s first and foremost a fitness tracker.

Battery life

The battery size of the Microsoft Band isn’t official, however Microsoft claims the Band lasts 48 hours, putting it square in the middle of the pack compared to other two devices’ batteries.

The Samsung Gear S2 has a battery size of 250 mAh, with the company claiming that the device will last two to three days.

The Apple Watch has a battery size of 205 mAh, however the device seems to be more battery-intense and only really lasts almost a full day (18 hours by Apple’s measurement) on a single charge.


Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

All of this comparison doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a smartphone that one of these a devices works with. The Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, and isn’t really meant to be a standalone device. The Android Wear-running Gear S2, by comparison, is compatible with most Android smartphones, and is available as a 3G option, which would make it a full standalone device.

Last but not least, is the Microsoft Band, which is compatible with Android phones, iOS phones, and, of course, Windows phones. As a device that works with any phone, regardless of OS, the Band has the other two beat in terms compatibility.


Of course, price also plays into the decision, with the Apple Watch starting at $349 (£299, AU$499). The Microsoft Band starts at $249 (£199, about AU$347), and the Samsung Gear S2 starts at $299 (about £195, AU$410).


For someone looking for a dedicated fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band is the best device among the three. For someone who is looking for a good all-around device, the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear S2 are better options. Both the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2 are great smartwatches, however the Gear S2 looks a lot more like a watch than the Apple Watch.


Telkom Indonesia and Sony to form Strategic Partnership on Smart Card Systems

BANDUNG, Indonesia and TOKYO, Japan – October 15, 2015 – PT Telkomunikasi Indonesia, Tbk (“Telkom Indonesia”) – a leading telecommunications, information, media, edutainment, and services company in the Republic of Indonesia – and Sony Corporation (“Sony”) – a leading manufacturer of electronics, information technology products and component devices – today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and will partner to develop an “NFC common platform” based on Sony’s FeliCa technology, targeted at the Indonesian market. The two companies will also collaborate in order to promote the platform and encourage its adoption across a variety of industries in Indonesia.

Telkom Indonesia and Sony share a vision for smartcard systems, whose introduction they see as making people’s daily lives considerably easier and smarter. With smartcards, customers will be able to use their cards, mobile phones and devices of other shapes and sizes at various locales, such as public transport stations, retail locations, and schools.

The two companies have thus agreed to collaborate on the development of the NFC common platform, which will serve as a secure all-in-one solution platform for service providers. It will realize greater convenience across various applications, including electronic prepaid transactions, security access, and loyalty rewards services.

“Telkom’s cooperation with Sony -a leading manufacturer of electronics information technology products and key devices Including FeliCa- is expected to increase the use of NFC technologies base in Indonesia,” said Indra Utoyo, Innovation and Strategic Portfolio Director of Telkom Indonesia.
Indra Utoyo added, “Telkom has experienced and understands the market conditions in Indonesia, therefore I am optimistic through this MoU both companies can further enhance the cooperation developing FeliCa service both for the consumer and professional segments.”

“We are very pleased to have come to this agreement with Telkom Indonesia – a powerful and influential solutions company in Indonesia,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Sakamoto, Senior General Manager at Sony Corporation’s FeliCa Business Division. “We will work hard to make a positive contribution to and enhance the solutions that Telkom Indonesia provides, using Sony’s FeliCa technology. We will also leverage the wealth of experience that we have accumulated in Japan and Hong Kong, where many services – from transportation to e-payment to NFC-enabled mobile services – have utilized our FeliCa technology.”

As the first initiative under this MoU, Telkom Indonesia and Sony will work together with Trans Metro Bandung to implement a trial run for this NFC common platform, for the purposes of automated fare collection.

About Telkom Indonesia

PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk (Persero) (“Telkom”) is a State Owned Enterprise which is engaged in the field of telecommunications and network services in Indonesia. Telkom’s shares are listed in the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX: TLKM) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TLK). Serving millions of customers nationwide, Telkom with business portfolio TIMES – Telecommunications, Information, Media, Edutainment and Services, provide a broad range of network and telecommunication services, including domestic and international basic telecommunication services, mobile communications, fixed wireless as well as interconnection services used among other license operators (“OLO”). Telkom Group also provides various services in the field of information, media and edutainment, including cloud-based and server-based managed services, e-Payment services and IT enabler, e-Commerce and other portal services.

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $68 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015.

Apple’s ad-blocking move causes big problems for retailers like Walmart

Did you download an ad-blocking app? Good luck buying stuff online.

When Apple  AAPL 1.81%  last week released a new operating system that permits ad-blocking extensions, all sorts of media publishers protested. But a much larger outcry may soon some from retailers and those who use their iPhones to make online purchases.

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

The issue was first brought to our attention by Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh-based company whose platform powers mobile commerce sites and apps.

“This upcoming holiday season… content-blockers are going to cause a lot of problems,” Mason says. “First, the experience for customers will be lessened. Lots of sites will be missing content, have broken links or customers won’t be able to add certain items to their shopping carts. They’ll probably just think the site is broken, but it’s really their content blocker. Second, retailers will be data-blind, or at least data-dark. It will really impact their ability to make quick judgments.”

Mason sent us a list of retailers with Crystal-related glitches, and we replicated them on our own iPhones. For example, check out this page for a pair of hunting boots on the Bass Pro Shops mobile website (as rendered on an iPhone 6 using iOS 9):


Now when the same page is loaded on the same device — but this time with Crystal enabled — the image of the boot disappears:


But that’s only the tip of a giant iceberg that the USS Retail is hurtling toward.

For example, here is what happens when we went to on mobile Safari without Crystal:


Now here is what happens when we went to  SHLD 0.45%  with Crystal:


Notice anything missing? How about everything!  WBA 0.28%  had a similar problem to Sears, when using Crystal. The homepage worked, but the Safari browser went blank after clicking the “Shop Products” link.

And, as Mason said, this issue goes far beyond just image rendering. For example, everything (mostly) loaded just fine on the mobile sites for Lululemon  LULU -0.71%  and Walmart  WMT -0.04%  with Crystal enabled. But it was impossible to add any products to the shopping cart. So if you just went to browse the pretty pictures, then there’s no problem. If you want to actually buy something, however…

Even for mobile websites that are working properly from a customer perspective, such ad-blocking technology also can strip out back-end code like Google Analytics or Adobe’s Omniture, which provide retailers with real-time insights into customer behavior. And then there is the whole matter of how retailers generate around 60% of their mobile web traffic inorganically, via online ads that Crystal and other ad-blockers are designed to eliminate.

“Retailers can work around it on the consumer side by doing a lot of recoding, but a lot of them freeze their codes on November 1, ahead of the holiday shopping season,” Branding Brand’s Mason says. “So that gives them just over a month or so to get it done. On the back-end they could use different sources of information for sales — kind of like checking the cash register instead of receipts — but it is a different process and also depends, in part, on if the sites are hosted on servers in-house or not.”

For retailers, this all presents a real and present danger. Even if only a small number of people so far have downloaded ad-blockers, there are two trends worth remembering: (1) The percentage of e-commerce being done on mobile is increasing; and (2) A disproportionate percentage of mobile purchases are made via iPhones rather than Android devices (which have allowed for ad-blocking apps for quite some time).

As for Crystal specifically, creator Dean Murphy said last night that he can remove select e-commerce sites from his app’s “blacklist,” and that he’d look into some of the examples we provided (four or five retailers already had contacted Murphy on their own, as of last night). In fact, several hours after we spoke, the homepage was rendering properly with Crystal enabled, although we were unable to click through to many items. We also told Murphy about the Walmart shopping cart issue, and are now experiencing a similar problem as with Sears (i.e., product pages not loading at all). In short, these fixes seem to be tricky and ad hoc.

As for the back-end analytics, Murphy said that he was considering whether or not to create some sort of “tracking opt-out” functionality for users, but that he hadn’t yet made a final decision. He declined to say how many downloads Crystal has had, except that it topped 100,000 during a 12 hour promotional run in the App Store.

The trouble for retailers, of course, is that Crystal is just one ad-blocker. Another, Purify Blocker, currently sits at #5 in the App Store, and all of this is just one week after Apple unveiled its new operating system. Even if retailers reach out directly to one, they may be playing whack-a-mole. Moreover, they are entirely at the mercy of the ap

When media folks complained about ad blockers, we were called dinosaurs that had to change our business models. Does this mean, therefore, that retailers must abandon the mobile web? Or at least expect artificially deflated sales figures this holiday season? Perhaps. Or perhaps Apple will realize what it has wrought, and change its mind.

Ex-Nokia Engineers launch new Smart Phone


Engineers who used to work for Nokia are hoping to grab a share of the lucrative and highly competitive smartphone market with a new handset, which is based on the former world No. 1 cellphone maker’s old software and is faintly reminiscent of its recent models.

The Jolla handset’s Sailfish platform has been developed from the MeeGo operating software, Nokia’s last open-source platform which it abandoned in 2011 when it switched over to using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows system.

The sleek 4.5-inch phone, which almost looks like it could be part of Nokia’s Lumia range, features an eight megapixel camera, supports fast 4G Internet connections and includes the well-received Nokia’s HERE mapping services that cover more than 190 countries.

But, unlike Nokia’s phones, Jolla is also compatible with more than 85,000 apps provided by Google Inc.’s Android, the popular and dominant operating system that has helped Samsung overtake the former Finnish bellwether to be the world’s largest cellphone maker.

Marc Dillon, head of Jolla software and one of four founders of the company in 2011, spent 11 years working for Nokia after moving from the United States. He says Jolla’s open operating system gives it an edge over rivals.

“We are providing a world-class choice … that is an alternative for consumers (and) that can be very agile and powerful,” Dillon said in an interview in a Helsinki office block previously occupied by Nokia employees before it laid off thousands. “For our operating system business we have a huge opportunity because there is currently one choice really available to every global mobile manufacturer and that’s Android.”

Other systems, such as Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows, can be carried only on handsets manufactured by those companies.

In a consumer test, the Jolla, which has a price tag of 399 euros ($540), didn’t seem to have much to make it stand out among other smartphones. Its camera is standard; it uses a MicroSD card; has 16GB of memory storage, with a talk time and battery time of some 9-10 hours. But it has nice touches, including multiple swipe features and a useful user-replaceable battery, unlike many other models.

Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics near London says the Jolla is not “an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy killer” although it but could find a niche in the relentless smartphone race.

“At some point people will start looking for an alternative to Android and Apple so there might be an opportunity in this very cyclical market for Jolla to grab market share,” Mawston said. “But I think it will be two or three versions down the line before we really know whether Jolla or Sailfish is worthy of challenging Apple or Android or Microsoft.”

Finnish telecoms company DNA, which started selling the Jolla handset on Wednesday evening as hundreds lined up outside the Jolla-DNA marquee in the city center, said it had “thousands of preorders” in 136 countries, led by Finland, Germany and Britain.

The company Jolla, which now has more than 100 employees in Finland and Hong Kong, has found backers among Finnish and foreign investors, including Hong-Kong based China Fortune Holdings Ltd., but Dillon declined to give more information.



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Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) Review

The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) is the laptop you want if you care about performance, thinness, and the screen. It’s not the vaunted “15-inch MacBook Air” that was rumored prior to 2012’s WWDC—it’s better, thanks to an up-to-date components, super-thin chassis, and impressive battery life. This “next-generation” MacBook Pro hasn’t just caught up to the thin and powerful Windows laptops and ultrabooks on the market; it has surpassed them to become the high-end choice for media professionals, enthusiasts, and general Mac fans alike. As such, the MacBook Pro is our new Editors’ Choice for high-end desktop replacement laptop PCs.

Design and Features
The MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) carries the same Jony Ive–design DNA as previous systems—it’s all aluminum unibody chassis, glass, and black plastic for the keyboard. In fact, it still looks like a MacBook Pro, which is good news, because the cachet of the Apple ID is part of the reason people go nuts for the company’s products. It even feels similar to previous models in your hand, though it’s noticeably thinner and lighter (4.46 pounds versus 5.6 pounds); if you’ve held a 13-inch MacBook Air, you’re not too far off.

The 15.4-inch screen now looks more seamless, if that’s possible. The bezel around it is black, but unlike on the MacBook Air it’s of a piece with the screen glass. The screen electronics are built into the glass, which helps the laptop’s thin profile. Apple mentioned that the screen is less prone to glare than was the case with previous MacBooks, but the glare is still visible when you’re viewing a black background and if you’re really picky. If you want a matte-finish screen, for now you’ll have to go with the updated MacBook Pro with Ivy Bridge.

The Retina display itself is glorious. The resolution is 2,880 by 1,800, which sounds like a lot, but text is scaled so it doesn’t look too small. Instead of making the letters smaller like on the iPhone 4 or 4S (to see this effect, use one to visit a non-mobile-optomized Website), Apple kept the font sizes consistent with what you’d expect in the real world and just made them smoother. In contrast, text on a MacBook Air looks smooth from your seat, but the individual letters are still jaggy close up. Text on the new MacBook Pro looks smooth from both far away and close up, as if it were laser printed on paper.

The real magic is when you view photos (and high-res video). You can view images straight from your camera and they will look more like printed images than electronic ones. Look at a geometric form, like a picket fence in front of a yellow wall, and the lines look smooth, not jaggy. Likewise, a 1,920-by-1,080 HD video takes up a relatively small portion of the screen at full resolution, leaving the video editor with lots of space for timelines, toolbars, and other interface items. It’s almost like having a dual 20-inch-screen setup in a 15-inch diagonal space. When playing back 1080p video full screen, the improved IPS display exhibits rich colors, deep blacks, and a generally pleasant viewing experience. It really is like having a large-screen HDTV you can rest on your lap.

If there’s any drawback to the Retina display, it’s that all of your existing Mac applications will have to be updated for it (kind of like what happened with the iPhone 4/4S and latest iPad). Apple-sourced apps like Safari, Final Cut Pro, and Aperture look terrific, but non-optimized apps like Google Chrome will show upscaled and jaggy fonts. It’s a problem that’s likely to go away as more developers update their programs, but it’s an annoyance right now.

The power button has moved to the upper right of the keyboard proper, like it is on the MacBook Air. The island-style keyboard has the same feel as the MacBook Air; key travel feels shallower than the previous MacBook Pro. The function keys match those of the MacBook Air, which may be a hang-up for people with older-generation MacBook Pros, particularly ones made before the advent of Mission Control and the Launchpad in Mac OS X Lion. The backlighting is everything we expect from a MacBook, clearly visible in a darkened room. After several straight hours of playing back video during our battery rundown test the bottom of the system was still cool to the touch, demonstrating the new chassis’ cooling capabilties.

There is a full-size HDMI port on the side of the laptop. The new MagSafe 2 port is wider yet shorter than the previous style, so you’ll need an adapter for existing LED Cinema and Apple Thunderbolt Displays, as well as older power adapters. (Newly purchased Thunderbolt Displays will come with the MagSafe 2 adapter.) The USB 3.0 ports aren’t colored blue like they are on some Windows PCs, but because there aren’t any USB 2.0 ports on this MacBook Pro, you won’t need color coding to tell the difference.

Copying a 1.22GB test folder from a USB 3.0 drive took 21 seconds, which is half the time we needed to copy the same folder using a USB 2.0 drive on the previous MacBook Pro. Speedier drives using the Thunderbolt interface are likely to be even faster. Two Thunderbolt ports are a boon for the video editor: You can connect up to 14 devices, seven devices per port. The system can also support at least two Thunderbolt Displays for more screen real estate. An SDXC slot and a headphone audio jack with headset support round out the ports.

One thing you won’t find on the new MacBook Pro is a DVD SuperDrive: The optical drive has been eliminated to benefit the new profile, which is 0.71 inch (18mm) at the thickest point (meeting the spec for 13.3-inch or smaller ultrabooks, and slimmer than the 21mm requirement for 14-inch or larger ultrabooks). The MacBook Pro is the same height as both (11- and 13-inch) MacBook Air models at their thickest points, an impressive feat. The slim profile prevents Apple from using Ethernet and FireWire 800 ports (they simply won’t fit); if you need either, you’ll need to buy adapter cables (at $29 each). Using a Thunderbolt Display is also an option, as it has built-in FireWire 800 and Ethernet. On the plus side, the MacBook Pro includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 2.4GHz and 5GHz support, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, so you’ll be able to connect to almost any hotspot or wireless audio device.

The system comes with Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4, so you’ll get all the same iLife apps and familiar Mac OS interface. Systems purchased now will be eligible for a free upgrade to Mac OS X Mountain Lion (Mac OS X 10.8 in all but name) when it is released in a month or so. Mountain Lion will introduce iMessage, Notification Center, Power Nap, AirPlay, and lots of other iOS-like features to the MacBook Pro and other Macs.

The MacBook Pro’s 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3615QM (Ivy Bridge) processor comes with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. The laptop features Kepler-based Nvidia GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics for speedier 3D and media processing when you need it. The system also has 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 memory and 256GB of flash storage. All these components work together to make sure the MacBook Pro is fast. Testing in Mac OS X, the results were quick: a score of 6.18 on CineBench R11.5, and times of 1 minute 33 seconds rendering our video in Handbrake and 3:42 completing our test script in Adobe Photoshop CS5. This is similar to the previous Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Late 2011) ($1,799 direct, 4 stars) (which scored 5.08 in Cinebench, 1:30 in Handbrake, and 3:39 in CS5) and significantly better than the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Late 2011) ($2,199 direct, 4 stars) (which scored 5.07 in Cinebench, 1:53 in Handbrake, and 3:58 in CS5), which isn’t surprising: Remember that the new MacBook Pro, with its Retina Display, needs to push out a lot more pixels than the previous models with their 1,440-by-900-resolution displays. That said, both this and the last-generation MacBook Pro laptops are fast for this category.

Booting the system was quick: It was ready in a few seconds, as opposed to a hard drive–based machine that can take up to a minute to boot. Waking from sleep was instantaneous, and sleep will have positive improvements when Mac OS X Mountain Lion is released. Mountain Lion includes Power Nap, which continues to update your social networks, iCloud, and email over your Wi-Fi network while the system sleeps. We have to wait for Apple to release Boot Camp drivers for its system before we run our other Windows-based benchmark tests for comparison. Stay tuned for those results.

The new MacBook Pro is purported to be able to stay asleep for up to 30 days and not lose your work. When we tested the previous-generation MacBook Air, we found that its sleep claims were accurate, so we don’t doubt them for the MacBook Pro. Apple’s predictions of “up to seven hours” of battery life (on a wireless Web test with the non-replaceable 95Wh lithium-polymer battery) were spot on: We checked the MacBook Pro with our ten-hour video rundown test with the backlight set to 50 percent and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight both activated, and we managed an impressive 6 hours 53 minutes.

The big problem with trying to compare this MacBook Pro to other systems is that there really isn’t anything else like it in either the Mac or Windows worlds. Its Retina display, two Thunderbolt ports, and thinner construction help the MacBook Pro earn its price premium over the older MacBook Pro with optical drive (which itself is now available with Ivy Bridge). Ultrabook and ultraportable systems like the Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US) ($1,499 list, 4 stars), HP Envy 14 Spectre ($1,399.99 list, 4 stars), and Lenovo IdeaPad U300s ($1,495 list, 4 stars) all do slim with somewhat large screens, thin chassis, and speedy SSDs, but are left in the dust with slower processors, no discrete graphics, and much lower-resolution screens; even with their optional upgrades, they can’t reach the MacBook Pro’s feature set.

Thanks to its Retina display, the new MacBook Pro is also way ahead of the current crop of laptops, and likely to stay there for some time. You need to go with a big, bulky laptop like the latest 17-inch HP Envy 17 (2012) to get a laptop with a 1,920-by-1,080 display . (Speaking of which, the 17-inch MacBook Pro has been discontinued.) The new MacBook Pro has a higher-resolution screen (2,880 by 1,800 versus 1,920 by 1,200), even though it is physically smaller than the 17-inch MacBook Pro; on the other hand, it’s much more portable. Thanks to its new display, flash memory, up-to-date graphics and processor, and ultra-thin construction, the new MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display outperforms, outclasses, and outlasts the Samsung Series 7 (NP700Z5A-S03), and roars in (like a Lion) to be our new Editors’ Choice for high-end desktop replacement laptops.

Samsung Deny Nokia Takeover Bid

Samsung have told Reuters that they have no plans to purchase Nokia. Recent speculation has linked Samsung with a takeover bid for the Finnish phone manufacturer, but Samsung today stated that “such reports are purely speculative and are not true.”
Nokia is far from the success story it once was, and many tech pundits believe that the manufacturer’s pairing with the Windows Mobile platform is their last shot at getting it right. Once regularly producing the must-have devices for the UK and Europe, Nokia have struggled to maintain the popularity they saw during the pre-smartphone era.
Interestingly, the speculation saw Nokia’s share price rise by 6%, but with the merger dismissed by Samsung, it has since begun reducing back down.