ShopBack.my website app gives you sweet cashbacks

ShopBack, the cashback shopping site with a presence in Indonesia, India, Singapore and the Phillipines had now finally made it to Malaysia. The premise behind this new site is relatively simple : you shop with ShopBack’s list of accredited merchant partners and get up to a 30% cashback on all your online purchases.
Payouts are immediate and credited to your PayPal or bank account though the amount of cashback varies from merchant to merchant. The site also handily rounds up all the codes and vouchers that a participating merchant has so you can rack up better discounts. The good news? All these discounts and voucher codes stack so you can rack up some pretty sweet bargains.

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The ShopBack site acts as an intermediary of sorts – you fire it up first and it redirects you to its partner merchant websites so it can track your purchases and in doing so allow you can rack up discounts and that sweet cashback.

For Malaysia, the list of merchants include: Lazada, Tesco, Taobao.com, Agoda, Groupon, Zalora and more with the option to shop by merchant or by the category of item that you’re looking to buy.

 

Sounds like a win win situation. To swing by their official Malaysia website login to www.shopback.my. They also have an official Android app too with an iOS app launching tomorrow for Malaysia. There’s even a Chrome extension so you can keep it within easy reach that you can snag here. A Safari extension exists as well which you can acquire here.

 

Casing manufacturer outs Galaxy Note 7 casing line-up before official launch

It’s likely a clerical error more than a crazed horde of buyers wiping out everything in sight ahead of the Galaxy Note 7 launch that will be happening this 2 August but casings manufacturer Ringke has showcased on their website their latest line-up of protective casings for the Galaxy Note 7 at significant discounts ahead of the Unpacked launch.

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The site shows nine products available for sale ranging from US$25 to US$30 along with discounts aplenty though the prices are presumably placeholders since the Note 7 itself hasn’t been launched yet. The casings range from slip-on cases, some translucent, some made of TPU while others are flip cases made of leather along with one model that is half wallet and half phone casing.

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Short of leaks, this is currently one of the closest views we have of the Galaxy Note 7. The base of the phone integrates a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port and a speaker grill. Final confirmation of the specs of the Note 7 and its design isn’t far off as all will be revealed at Samsung Unpacked when it happens on August 2nd.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – here’s what’s going around the grapevine

Samsung’s next epic phablet is about to make its official debut in a matter of weeks and so far everything seems to be straight from the official Samsung playbook. For the past several years, Samsung has kept to a dual-flagship phone launch schedule with the Galaxy S-series phone making its debut in the first half of the year at Mobile World Congress and the latest iteration of the Note series sometime later in the year.

Last year, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge was announced at MWC on 1st March 2015 and hit multiple markets in April while the Note 5 made its debut later in the year on 21st August with regional launches arriving within weeks.

The S7 and S7 Edge were launched this year right on schedule, also at MWC. Media invitations have been sent out for the next grand Unpacked event that will take place on August 2 which, if it follows the game plan, will be the successor to last year’s Galaxy Note 5 that has been determined to be the Galaxy Note 7 . Here’s what we know so far about Samsung’s next gen phablet.

 

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What happened to the Note 6?
While pundits wonder why Samsung is skipping a generation in their Note series, seeing as the Note 5 was released last year, rest assured it’s for a reason and not on account of a distortion in the time-space continuum or that we’re living in an alternate reality. The jump by one series straight to the Note 7 is so that symbolically syncs with the rest of their current year product line-up made up of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and to ensure that it doesn’t imply that it is made of last year’s technology on account of the nomenclature of the S6 and S6 Edge.ClxP9rlUsAEEF0z

What does the Galaxy Note 7 look like?
Top leaker Evan Blass has released renders of the device and it looks like a beauty with a curved edge to edge screen and three different finishes at launch. Recently, several more detailed renders have surfaced, specifically of the Note 7 in its Coral Blue finish which is a departure from the usual line-up of black, white, silver and gold paint jobs. The image, sourced from IT Home, looks like an internal leak from a casings manufacturer, who usually get the dimensions of an upcoming device so they prepare the moulds for production. In the image below, it looks like a flexible clear silicone slip-on casing from Ringke.

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Source: IT Home

What makes the Galaxy Note 7 special?
Until the Note 7 is finally revealed at the Unpacked event, the purported specifications could all be spurious rumour but titbits of information have surfaced with varying levels of authenticity. In terms of hardware, the Note 7 will purportedly, according to famed leaker @evleaks  pack a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD dual edged Super Amoled display, come with the same high-end 12-MP camera with OIS, F/1.7 aperture and Dual Pixel imaging tech as the S7 and S7 Edge, integrate a 5-MP front-facing selfie camera and IP68 rated water resistance.

Interestingly enough, shots have surfaced on Weibo that mention that the Note 7 has an iris scanner for security verification and shots of the user interface have appeared on Weibo along with a patent for it too. According to the grapevine, the Note 7 will come with dual Edge displays like the S7 Edge by default though that may change later on.

Storage options are purported to start from 64GB and up and unlike the S7 and S7 Edge, it is likely to have a USB Type C port to charge its 4,000mAh battery which will also possibly incorporate wireless charging.

It is expected that the Note 7 will come with the Snapdragon 820 or 821 processor paired with an Adreno 530 GPU and 6GB of RAM. Likely, for Asian markets, it will probably swap it out for an Exynos 8890 processor and in all likelihood, come with a hybrid SIM card tray (which will mean it will pack a microSD card slot) and the Duos suffix as well. This handily addresses the major gripe with the Note 5 that lacked a microSD card slot to expand its onboard storage capacity.

Another interesting rumour relies on a patent that Samsung has applied for last year in August where users can scribble on the curved part of a device with an Edge display.

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Image via: Patently Mobile

This bears out with a recent leak that offered the tagline “Write on the edge of something great” along with a silhouette of a stylus and a starburst of light in the shape of the number 7. This would imply enhanced functionality for the Edge screen and the phone’s S Pen along with, presumably, the ability to doodle, annotate or add notes or access/manipulate apps via the edge screen.

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Source: Phone Arena

What colours will it come in?
While there’s no official word as yet, leaked renders have revealed that the Note 7 will initially appear in three colours – Black Onyx, Silver Titanium and the new signature theme colour of the device: Blue Coral. There may also be colour variants later on to cater to specific markets like prior iterations of the Note series so there may be in all likelihood a metallic pink gold version down the line.

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When is it launching?
The global reveal of the Note 7 will be on August 2 in New York at 11AM local time at their Unpacked event where it will make its global debut. From there it should take about one to two months to arrive in regional markets so our best bet for it arriving in Malaysia will likely be sometime in August or September. Usually, there’s a bit of a delay to accommodate for shipping to regional markets. According to Korea IT News, Samsung has already commenced mass production with a slated five million devices ready for sale in August to coincide with the launch to strike while the proverbial iron is hot.

In terms of accessories, it will likely follow the playbook and will have a compatible variant of the S View flip cover at the very minimum plus a likely variant of the snap-on keyboard case that fits its expanded dimensions. All will be revealed soon as Samsung Unpacked will be taking place in a matter of weeks. To catch the action, swing by their official site here

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Plantronics launches Voyager 5200 and Backbeat Go 3 wireless headsets

Plantronics today took the wraps off two wireless headsets, one intended for those who mean business while another is designed for more casual users – the Voyager 5200 and the Backbeat GO 3

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Voyager 5200 Bluetooth headset
The Plantronics Voyager 5200 is a mono wireless Bluetooth headset that perches on your ear in a manner befitting the lines of a tacticool headset or for more business oriented folk. It features a foldout boom mike to take calls and has four integrated mikes in its matte black casing to offer active noise cancelling so you can continue discussing your plans for world domination even in the noisiest environments.

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The Voyager 5200 with the optional case that gives it extra juice and protects it from dings and dents

The Voyager 5200 also sports what they call WindSmart tech that also ensures that wind noise is squelched with extreme prejudice. The headset offers nine days of standby time and 7 hours of talk time and can pair with up to two devices at a time with the headset’s Class 1 Bluetooth offering a range of up to 30 metres away from a paired device. Bundled with the Voyager 5200 is a charging case as well as a Bluetooth adapter to hook up to kit that lacks Bluetooth integration.

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The Voyager 5200 retails for RM499 on its own and you can snag a charging case that helps to act as a supplementary battery to give it a juicing in the field to the tune of two or so extra charges along with some extra protection when not in use for RM168. It comes in the only colour that you’ll ever need, which is, in this case, black.

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The supplementary case acts as a battery pack to top up the Voyager 5200 on the move and also doubles as a charging dock.

 

Backbeat GO 3 wireless headphones
The Backbeat GO 3 is a sportier oriented design that plugs into both ears with an extended strap that lets you wear it like a necklace of sorts when not in use. The headphones sport 6mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz along with 20dB of passive noise reduction, making it ideal for most mainstream music. The buds take 2.5 hours to charge via a micro USB port and offers a whopping 14 days of standby time with 6.5 hours of listening time. The line-in control offers control over music and to take calls.For extended use in the field, it comes with a handy protective charging pouch that also tops up the Backbeat Go 3’s built-in battery by an additional 13 hours.

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A light nano-coating on the GO 3 that allows for it to survive light rain, sweat and the like, making it ideal for general use on the Tube and the commute. The Backbeat GO 3 along with its integrated charging pouch retails for RM499.

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Both devices are available nationwide in Malaysia at all good dealers and retailers. For more details swing by their official dealer Ban Leong electronics here as well as the official Plantronics site at www.plantronics. com

HTC 10 makes Malaysia debut plus HTC announces arrival of Vive and Healthbox

While it has been seen on the local grey market in one fashion or another, the HTC 10 is finally officially launched in Malaysia. It’s a bit late to the party but HTC’s flagship blower is still a strong contender on several  fronts.

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HTC representatives showcasing the new HTC 10 at a recent media launch in Kuala Lumpur

The chassis is a delicately chamfered unibody aluminium job though one that’s distinctly different from the earlier M9 that comes in two different colours – gold and a shade of dark grey. Holding it and hefting it is a novel experience akin to handling a bespoke timepiece with the HTC 10’s knurled metal buttonry, lustrously smooth finish and chamfering around the machined diamond-cut edges making it quite a delight to hold.

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The hardware is equally fetching with a 5.2-inch Quad HD display with Gorilla Glass, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor clocking in at 2.2GHz, 4GB RAM, 32GB of expandable storage and a rear 12-MP camera with an F/1.8 aperture along with their UltraPixel tech that can take 4K video too. The front 5-MP selfie snapper on the HTC 10 also has an F/1.8 aperture with the ability to take 1080P video but what makes special is that it also has OIS too, making it so far the only phone on the planet that has an OIS-equipped selfie camera.

The key ace in the HTC 10’s bid for flagship supremacy is that it’s the most ably equipped out of the contenders in the field on the aural front. The HTC 10 is rated for stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording which it is also capable of rendering alongside luscious 4K video from the rear camera. The phone is also Hi-res audio certified and a built-in headphone amp juiced up by their BoomSound as well as Dolby audio tech delivers sweet, rich music to your ears. The icing on the cake is that the phone also ships with a Hi-Res audio certified pair of headphones too. Fast charging comes as a matter of course and it also has the corresponding fast charger plug bundled with the box too. In Malaysia, it costs RM2,799 at all retailers as well as on 11Street online.

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At the press conference announcing the launch of the HTC 10 , HTC also announced the upcoming availability of the HTC X9 phablet which was also seen at MWC earlier this year but which is slated to arrive sometime in August or so.

The phone weighs 170g and has a 5.5-inch 1080p display, runs Android Marshmallow on a MediaTek Helio X10 octacore processor, has 3GB RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, has a rear offset mounted 13-MP camera with OIS and 4K video recording capability, a front-facing 5-MP camera and a 3000mAh battery. Frequent SIM and SD card switchers will be chuffed to note that the X9 has ports that you can open with just your nails rather than the usual ones that need a paper clip to open.
The HTC X9 is priced at RM1,499 and will come in either gold or gray this coming August.

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The HTC X9 is quite a bit larger than the HTC 10

The most interesting takeaway news that HTC announced though is that their UA Healthbox, their fitness solution in a box that consists of a digital weighing scale, heart rate monitor and smartwatch made in cooperation with sports garment brand Under Armour will be making its way to Malaysia.

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Source: Under Armour

No prices have been announced but it’s around US299 (RM1175) and will be available at Under Armour retail stores in Malaysia. Saving the best for last, HTC also announced that their legendary Vive VR suite will also be arriving in Malaysia. It costs US$799 which works out to RM3150 though the price for the Vive and Healthbox are not set in stone and have not been finalised yet in any official fashion. Both the UA Healthbox and the Vive have been slated to arrive sometime in Q4 of 2016 so it can be anywhere from October onwards till December. We’ll keep you posted on any updates.

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The HTC Vive is one of the most eagerly anticipated and sought after VR suites yet made.

The Superbook wants to turn your Android phone into a laptop

The elusive grail of turning your smartphone into a notebook has been attempted numerous times over the years with mixed results. Asus tried it with their PadFone S that had the complexity of a matryoshka doll as you had to slot the phone into a tablet dock and then attach the combined phone/tablet hybrid to a docking station to finally get something with akin to a netbook. The SuperBook, which will be hitting Kickstarter soon is attempting to offer its own spin on the idea.

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Essentially, it’s a laptop shell of sorts that plugs to your Android phone be it via a micro-USB or a USB Type-C cable which then acts as the pixel crunching brains of the device. The rest of it consists of an 11.6-inch HD display, a keyboard and a touchpad. A built-in battery lets you charge your phone and offers 8 or so hours of battery life.

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The magic here is on account of an installable app that you install on your phone dubbed Andromium that lets you have a desktop style, multi-window environment. The minimum requirements for Andromium are fairly modest and cover most phones made within the past two or three years – any phone running Android 4.4.2 KitKat or higher. The Superbook will hit Kickstarter for US$99 a pop though Andromium is currently a free beta for now. Swing by their official site here for more details on the Superbook.

Quick demo of how the Superbook plugs into your smartphone

Logitech’s quaint new Party Collection mice want to be the life of the party

Mention the word mouse and you’ll likely conjure up images of either the harbinger of the bubonic plague or that plastic clicky thing that lives on your desktop. Both usually come in a motley, unremarkable grey but Logitech aims to jazz up the latter with their new Party Collection range of mouse devices that come in an array of rather memorable motifs to jazz up your desktop.

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The 2016 Party Collection consists of six wireless mice done up with kitschy, 80’s motifs – it’s your choice of gorillas, astronauts, popsicles, flamingos, cocktails or toucans. Regardless of motif, each two-button wireless mouse in the collection runs on a single AA battery that lasts you a year before needing a top-up, has a scroll wheel and a mini USB receiver that lets you mouse away wirelessly from up to 10 feet away from your target device.

Party Collection M238 Cocktail
The Logitech 2016 Party Collection is sold individually with each mouse clocking in at RM69 inclusive of GST. Swing by their official site here for more details.Logitech 2016 Party Collection

Ultra budget RM359 6-inch Chat 6 phablet hits stores

If you’re on a tight budget, you may find EXMobile’s Chat 6 phablet something worth a look. The phone has a 6-inch 720P display, has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage with a supplementary microSD card slot.

The rear camera is a 5-MP f/2.0 snapper with a dual LED flash while the front has a 2-MP selfie camera. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and keeps things juiced with a 2,800mAh battery and for a low RM359, you’ll get the phone along with a free screen protector and casing to go with it too in the box. The Chat 6 is available for purchase on Lazada and Dfaro. For more details swing by EXMobile’s official site here.Image_Chat 6 Black

Honor 8 camphone launched in China from RM1193

Huawei’s spinoff sub-brand Honor took the wraps off their latest flagship, the Honor 8 in a launch in China yesterday. The phone cribs a few notes off their flagship P9 that was launched recently though at a lower price tag; it only costs CNY1,999 which works out to a very reasonable RM1193.
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The Honor 8 comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD touchscreen display up front sheathed in 2.5D glass and runs Android 6.0 paired with their latest EMUI 4.1 user interface overlaying it on a Kirin 950 Octacore processor. It’s just a step behind the P9’s newer Kirin 955 processor though the Kirin 950 octacore proceossor is a very capable contender in its own right with a quartet of A53 1.8GHz cores for general work and a quartet of Cortex-A72 2.3GHz cores to handle the heavy lifting.
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The rear camera setup emulates the P9 and the P9 Plus in that it comes with a dual 12-MP camera setup each with f/2.2 aperture. One camera is able to take images in colour while the other takes shots in mono, combining them for better detail and colour rendition as well as some rocking mono shots. The front camera is an 8-MP job with an f/2.4 aperture. 

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The Honor 8 also comes with a fingerprint reader on the back that not just allows for access to the phone but also acts as a shortcut to turn on the rear flash as a flashlight, fire up the camera and more. It also sports NFC, an IR blaster up top  and VoLTE support so it’ll play just fine with Yes 4G’s newly launched networks. The phone comes with a hybrid SIM card tray so you can opt for either two SIM cards or one SIM and one microSD card.

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Charging duties are also taken up by a USB Type C port for the built-in 3000mAh battery. Externally, it comes in a fetching glass and metal finish that comes in five different colours – Pearl White, Sunrise Gold, Midnight Black, Sakura Pink and Sapphire Blue. The phone comes in multiple variants that vary in terms of onboard storage and RAM with the highest end model offering 4GB RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. The 3GB/32GB variant is the cheapest on offer at CNY1999 (RM1193) while the midrange 4GB/32GB variant clocks in at CNY2299 (RM1373) and the aforementioned flagship 4GB/64GB model retailing for CNY2499 (RM1492) with Honor taking preorders now and the devices hitting the China market on 19 July. There’s no official word on when the Honor 8 phones will officially launch in Malaysia, what price it will retail at nor what variants will hit the local market but we’ll let you know when it does. 


 

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Samsung’s huge A9 Pro (2016) phablet with 5000mAh battery now available for RM1999

If you’ve been on the hunt for a phablet with impressive battery life, you’ll be inordinately pleased to know that Samsung’s 2016 update of their huge A9 Pro phablet is finally official today. The A9 Pro (2016) comes with a 6-inch Full HD Super Amoled 367ppi display sheathed in Corning Gorilla Glass 4, runs Android Marshmallow 6.0.1, has a Snapdragon 652 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB of onboard memory.

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The bundle for Malaysia also throws in an additional 64GB microSD card as well on the house to give you a theoretical 96GB of onboard storage. The rear comes with a 16-MP camera with OIS and an F/1.9 aperture while the front has an 8-MP camera, also with f/1.9 aperture. The battery is a mammoth 5,000mAh job that also supports fast charging. Naturally, it also comes bundled with a USB power plug that supports it so you can get a good 50% charge in half an hour or so.

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Other bonuses include a fingerprint reader as well as dual SIM card slots. This is also on top of a dedicated microSD card bay. All this is wrapped up in a delightful metal finished casing that’s 7.9mm thin and weighs 210g. The A9 Pro retails for RM1,999 in white, black and gold and is now available nationwide. For more details swing by Samsung Malaysia’s official site here.

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