Samsung Galaxy S8

Travel Tech News, April 2017: The Sheep View Edition

In News by Dave Dean4 Comments

Samsung’s new device could be the sexiest phone we see all year, Apple tweaks the iPad, users of the LastPass password manager need to be careful, and sheep have taken over the camera duties in the Faroe Islands.

It’s Travel Tech News time once again!

The New Samsung Galaxy S8 Might be the Sexiest Smartphone This Year

All the tech talk last week was about the latest version of Samsung’s premium smartphone, the Galaxy S8, and that’s no surprise. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and could well be the best-looking phone we see this year.

Why? The screen is curved on all four edges and corners, and the bezel — that bit around the edges of the display — is almost completely gone. Other companies (including Samsung) have attempted this in the past, but this is easily the best attempt so far. It’s stunning.

The S8 comes in two display sizes, 5.8″ and 6.2″. Those sizes are deceptive, though — because of the lack of bezels, the phones are actually smaller than the 5.5″ and 6.0″ iPhones they’re undoubtedly competing with.

Specs are as good as you’d expect them to be — one of two high-end chipsets, 4GB of memory, and very good, super-speedy cameras front and rear. There’s 64GB of storage, and a micro-SD card slot to add even more if you need it.

It’s got an oddly-placed fingerprint scanner on the back, iris scanning and face recognition on the front, and a virtual assistant that Samsung loves so much, it included a physical button to activate it. The hopefully-non-exploding battery has a 3000mAh capacity on the S8, and 3500mAh on the S8+. There’s dust and water-resistance built in as well.

Honestly, I don’t even need a new phone, yet I’m seriously tempted by how sexy and powerful this thing is. Or at least I would be, if it wasn’t so expensive.

You’ll pay only a fraction less than for an equivalent iPhone model, and while you’ll get one of the very best smartphones on the market for that money, you’re still looking at a minimum of $720 for the smaller version, $840 for the larger. That’s a lot of cash to drop on any phone, no matter how good it is.

Still, if you’ve got the money for a top-of-the-line Android device, Samsung’s just jumped straight back to the top of the list. It’s on pre-sale this month.

Apple Bumps Specs, Drops Price, Changes Name of Mid-Range iPad

New iPads

Apple released a minor update to the iPad-Formerly-Known-As-Air last month, with surprisingly little fanfare. The mid-range iPad is now called, well, the iPad — the Air is gone from the name.

The chipset got an upgrade, making the new iPad a bit faster than the old iPad Air 2, but that’s about it. Nothing else of note changed on the hardware side, so really, the most exciting part of the announcement is the price. There’s been a $70 price cut, so it now starts at $329 for the 32GB Wi-fi version.

At the same time, Apple announced extra storage for the iPad Mini 4 and iPhone SE (no price drop, though), and a new red version of the iPhone 7. All in all, nothing to write home about, but hey, any improvement is welcome.

 

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Use LastPass? Be Careful

Passwords

In an age of hacks, data breaches and a million different online accounts, password managers like LastPass, KeePass and others are a godsend. I’ve used LastPass for years, and its vault of strong, auto-generated passwords has kept me much more secure than the hodge-podge of bad, reused passwords I had in the past.

That said, any tool that keeps all your passwords in one place needs to itself be incredibly secure. LastPass has had minor security bugs in the past, and announced last week that it was in the process of fixing another, more major one.

There’s no sign that customers have been affected by the latest issue yet, which was discovered and revealed to the company by a security researcher. For now, though, LastPass is telling users to launch sites directly from the app’s Vault, enable two-factor authentication, and be extra-vigilant about ‘phishing’ attacks coming in by email or elsewhere.

There’s undoubtedly more to come on this. For now, if you’re a LastPass user, be careful!

Google SheepView. It’s a Thing

Sheepview

Move over, Street View cars. The sheep are taking over.

Originally a gimmick dreamed up by the Faroe Islands tourism board, some of the islands’ 80,000 sheep were loaded up with 360-degree solar-powered cameras, and sent wandering through the hills and valleys of this North Atlantic archipelago.

Once Google got wind of the idea, it jumped on board, loaning the island’s residents several cameras so they could capture shots using “selfie sticks, sheep, bikes, backpacks, cars, kayaks and ships.” All of those shots are currently being loaded into the Google Street View system, and the company expects they’ll be available online by the end of 2017.

So, if you want to get a sheep’s eye view of a beautiful yet rarely visited part of the world, check back towards the end of the year. As Google’s pun-tastic blog post says, “where there’s a wool, there’s a way.

Let’s hope the photos are better than the jokes.

Images via Samsung, AppleChristiaan Colen and Visit Faroe Islands

About the Author

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a wanderer for nearly 20 years and a geek for even longer. When he's not playing with the latest tech toy or working out how to keep his phone charged for just a few more minutes, he can probably be found sitting in a broken down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

Comments

  1. Love the idea of getting 64g of on board memory in the new Samsung8, and all of the new goodies that undoubtedly would be discovered with their new phone. However as a full time traveler, cannot upgrade from the S5 which remains the last version with a user removable/replaceable battery. Being able to bring my cell phone back to like new battery performance for $8.00 with the purchase of a new battery every couple of years, and of course the joy of simply switching out to a second fully charged spare battery while on the go without having to wait for a charge up or carry around larger heavier more cumber sum auxiliary chargers is too tantalizing a feature to give up yet.

    Unfortunately, the days of user serviceable batteries are probably not on the horizon to return as Samsung has weighed the advantages of sealing the batteries and how non-removable versions allow them to save space by integrating the battery into the conformity of the interior of the phones electronics.

    1. Author

      Yeah, I really miss removable batteries too — it was one of my fave features about my ancient Galaxy S2. Such a shame that hardly any manufacturers do it any more. I understand the reasons, but it doesn’t make me want them any less!

  2. Since the acquisition of LastPass by the -claimed by some – unethical LogMein, I’m going with 1Password. What are your thoughts on LogMein?
    Bob

    1. Author

      I don’t have a strong opinion on the company to be honest. There was quite a bit of noise at the time of acquisition, but it died down quickly. I haven’t seen any changes of note in LastPass since then, so haven’t had a reason to migrate.

      For me, if you’re using any good password manager, you’re a lot better off than someone not using one, so use whichever one you’re most comfortable with.

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