Wednesday, November 14, 2012

AnandTech Article Channel

AnandTech Article Channel

HTC Droid DNA Hands-On

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 08:22 AM PST

Today’s HTC Droid DNA announcement brings a few big advancements over the HTC One X that never made it to Verizon's line-up. We'll start our hands-on discussion with the most obvious change: the screen.

The Display

The rapid advance of screen technology means that we're just a year removed from the arrival of 720p displays, and just two years removed from WVGA being the defacto resolution. Today we see the efforts of Sharp’s display team come to fruition with a seemingly uncompromised 5" 1080p display. The pixel density is an unchallenged 440 ppi, and it seems to retain the brightness and fidelity of its predecessors, most recently seen in the HTC One X. 

Hands-on events aren’t the place for detailed analysis, the time is too short, and the venues to cramped to pull out a colorimeter. What I will say is that the display is easy on the eyes and offers such a glut of pixels that no amount of squinting allowed me to discern. Viewing angles seemed good, with no distortion noted, and colors were bright without being oversaturated. So, at first glance, a somewhat expected excellent for the display. Here’s the thing: do we want a 1080p 5” display? At this pixel density, we would be approaching an angular subtense of two thirds of a degree. That's well below the human ability to discern at twelve inches. So is the likely battery hit worth the improved pixel density? We'll have to wait and see. 

The Design

The great display is surrounded by narrow bezels all around, and the result is a body that is just 15 mm longer than the One X, despite the larger screen, and less than a millimeter wider. Gorilla Glass 2 is used and actually extends across the entire face of the device and forms part of the edge of the handset, a surefire sign of confidence in the strength of the glass. The effect is to make the frong glass and back seem fused into one solid piece. Accent grills adorn the sides of the device, in the bright red we’ve come to expect from HTC phones on VZW. The back is a softly curving single expanse of matte black, with the HTC logo etched and inlayed in silver. An LTE logo, Beats Audio logo and the single speaker grill grace the bottom of the back, and the 8MP rear-shooter sits at the top. One particularly unique feature on the back is a concealed status LED to the left of the camera lens. When the phone is face down and a notification is received, the LED will blink to alert the user. The LED is also used to alert self-shooters when the shutter will release. 

At nearly a centimeter at its thickest point, this is not the thinnest phone; but the way the back tapers down to the edge gives it an excellent in the hand feel, and makes it feel thinner than its specifications would indicate. Despite deviations from the One series design language, the solidity that defines that lineage can be seen here. 
Physical Comparison
  HTC Droid DNA HTC One X (AT&T) Samsung Galaxy S 3 (USA) LG Nexus 4
Height 141 mm (5.55") 134.8 mm (5.31" ) 136.6 mm (5.38") 133.9 mm (5.27")
Width 70.5 mm (2.78") 69.9 mm (2.75") 70.6 mm (2.78") 68.7 mm (2.7")
Depth 9.73 mm (0.38") 8.9 mm (0.35") 8.6 mm (0.34") 9.1 mm (0.36")
Weight 142 g (5.01 oz) 129 g (4.6 oz) 133 g (4.7 oz) 139 g
CPU 1.5 GHz APQ8064 (Quad Core Krait) 1.5 GHz MSM8960 (Dual Core Krait) 1.5 GHz MSM8960 (Dual Core Krait) 1.5 GHz APQ8064 (Quad Core Krait)
GPU Adreno 320 Adreno 225 Adreno 225 Adreno 320
NAND 16 GB NAND 16 GB NAND 16/32 GB NAND with up to 64 GB microSDXC 8/16 GB NAND
Camera 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 2.1MP front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing 8 MP with LED Flash + 1.9 MP front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 1.3 MP front facing
Screen 5" 1920 x 1080 LCD-TFT 4.7" 1280x720 LCD-TFT 4.8" 1280x720 HD SAMOLED 4.7" 1280x768 HD IPS+ LCD
Battery Internal 7.47 Whr Internal 6.66 Whr Removable 7.98 Whr Internal 8.0 Whr

The Camera

Cameras, like displays before them, were long ignored as just value adds, and not features that must be optimized and perfected. It’s really exciting to see manufacturer’s compete for the best phone camera and not just through software trickery. HTC’s approach is, perhaps, the most traditional, and that is to provide an optical package that mimics the higher-end discrete glass you’d find on a proper SLR. The same f/2.0 28mm optics package is used here, as in the One X, and most likely the same sensor is in play. The ImageChip ISP remains a feature, and the software (now called Sense 4+) has a few additions to improve usability. It’ll be interesting to see how Sense 4+ and Android 4.2’s new camera software will play together, but for now the camera seems intuitive and the results look to match that of the One X. 
The front-camera from the HTC WIndows Phone 8X finds a home here, bringing its f/2.0 optics, ultra-wide angles and 2.1MP sensor, which shoots 1080p video.

The SoC

Obviously, we’ve spent a little time with this particularly SoC, recently. UI performance was smooth, and hard to trip up, even with the graphical flourishes HTC favors. The home screen carousel is no more, but cycling through home screens remains a wrap around affair and a second tap on the home button still brings an overview of all your home screens. All those flourishes render fluidly, and hopping in an out of apps and the app drawer, I didn't notice any particular hiccups. Performance should be excellent in our typical tests, based on SoC alone, but software is always a key component to the experience, and it'll be interesting to see how this S4 Pro equipped handset differs from the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G. 

The Audio

HTC has been focusing on handset audio for sometime, including their investment in and use of Beats Audio's DSP algorithms. Beats Audio remains, and there’s even a VZW tie-in with the Beats Pill, a portable Bluetooth speaker. Added to the mix is a dedicated 2.55v headphone amp, which should be able to drive even the most high-end cans. Sound quality should be improved in all headphones, and they were certainly able to power my modest earbuds well. No specifics were provided, but a dedicated amp for the rear speaker should give audio a boost there, as well. This sort of focus on audio quality is always nice to see, and we’ll be excited to put the DNA through its paces to see how it stacks up. 

Synology Launches SAS-Enabled Flagship 10-bay 2U RS10613xs+ NAS and RX1213sas Expander

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 04:59 AM PST

Synology is a well respected brand in the low to mid-range NAS market. However, they missed a high-end flagship in their lineup to compete against products such as the ReadyDATA units from Netgear and the TS-EC1279U-RP from QNAP. These high-end flagship units support both SATA and SAS drives and serve as a solution for SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) who don't need all the bells and whistles of a SAN, but still require virtualization support and scalability. Today, Synology is launching their first product to target this market, the RS10613xs+. The unit has 10 bays in a 2U form factor. It can accept both SATA and SAS drives, an essential requirement in this market. (The Synology RS3413xs+ also targets large scale businesses, but doesn't support SAS drives).

The RS10613xs+ can be connected to up to 8 RX1213sas expansion modules, each of which has 12 bays. A system based on the RS10613xs+ can, thus, scale up to 106 SAS drives in total.

The highlights of the RS10613xs+ include:

  • Optimization for virtual network storage, with support for both iSCSI and NFS.
  • VMWare Vsphere 5, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer certifications.
  • VAAI integration, including Hardware Assisted Locking (ATS), Block Zero, Full Copying, and Thin Provisioning.
  • Synology High Availability Manager for minimum downtime.
  • SSD caching for improved speeds

Unlike the ReadyDATA series (and similar to the QNAP SAS-enabled TS-EC1279U-RP), the RS10613xs+ doesn't offer ZFS. Instead, the unit offers RAID for data redundancy and runs Synology's own OS, the Disk Station Manager (DSM). The detailed hardware specifications are provided below:

Though Synology doesn't explicity specify the CPU, we believe it is the Xeon E3-1240. By default, the unit comes with 4 GbE ports, but a PCIe 2.0 x8 slot is available to accommodate a dual 10GbE card. With link aggregation configured over these 6 links and SSDs in all the 10 bays in RAID5 configuration, Synology claims that the unit provides 2 GBps+ throughput and 200K+ IOPS.

The RS10613+ is priced at $7000 and comes with a 3-year limited warranty, with an option to upgrade to a 5-year plan. Do readers feel that ZFS is essential in this market? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

In other NAS news from Synology, the DS713+ was launched last week. Recently, we have seen a number of Atom-based 2-bay NAS units such as the Iomega StorCenter px2-300d (based on the Intel Atom D525). Synology's latest offering in this space is the DS713+. It has dual GbE links and can be expanded with the DX513 expansion module to become a 7-bay NAS.

The DS713+ has the latest Intel Atom D2701 Cedarview CPU and can deliver up to 202.3 MBps read and 135.84 MBps write throughput as per Synology's claims.

Google Nexus 4 Review - Google's new Flagship

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 04:45 AM PST

The Nexus One was a groundbreaking device. It was the defining moment that Google got serious about making both a real consumer electronic, and pitting the Android platform against the incumbent iOS. While you could make the case that the original T-Mobile G1 was the original Google phone, it really was with Nexus One that Google set out on its path for defining a smartphone platform and distribution model of its own.

While the success of that particular handset was limited and Google’s aspirations perhaps a bit unrealistic, the truth is that the Nexus platform itself has been a growing success. Each year we see essentially the same pattern — Google chooses one OEM, one SoC vendor, and sets the Android team free toward building a tailor-made version of the next major release of Android for that combination. We’ve now had three generations of Nexus smartphones, with the Nexus 4 deriving its name from the obvious forth incantation of the same goal — an unadulterated version of Android free from OEM skinning and carrier politicking.

Read on for our review of the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2 platform revisions on that hardware.

AnandTech/Intel SSD Webcast Live Today at 9AM PST/12PM EST

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 04:40 AM PST

We are live at SC12 from Salt Lake City, Utah this morning and are preparing to answer your SSD, NAND and Intel SSD DC S3700 questions. In about two hours I'll be on a replica bridge set of the starship Enterprise from the original series, alongside Intel's Roger Peene, answering your questions live. Although its a replica of the original bridge, it is an officially sanctioned reproduction by Paramount.

We'll be talking about the S3700, SSDs in general, NAND architecture and even the future of solid state storage. It should be an awesome discussion.

If you didn't get to comment in the previous post prior to today you will be able to submit questions live during the webcast. Here's the link to the webcast which will begin at 9AM PST/12PM EST today. 

Thanks to everyone who tuned in, we'll repost the video shortly!

The HTC Droid DNA Announced: 5-inch, 1080p, S4 Pro

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 02:34 AM PST

You've seen the leaks, but now it's real. HTC and Verizon have just announced the Droid DNA, a 5-inch behemoth sporting an incredible 1080p Super LCD3 display. Powering those pixels is the capable Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, familiar to us as the APQ8064 with 4 Krait cores running at 1.5GHz and last seen in the Nexus 4. For modem, the Droid DNA is using MDM9615 which makes this HTC's first Qualcomm Fusion 3 based device. The Droid DNA also includes ImageChip and the usual ImageSense features, and brings the 2.1 MP F/2.0 camera we saw on the HTC 8X as well. There's 2 GB of RAM onboard as well.

The style of the phone alludes to its Incredible forebears, but only in the bright red accents. The design is sleeker, with a smooth back and thin profile. On the long edges of the phone are large red grills, though stereo speakers are not in order. What is available to audiophiles, is a 2.55v built-in headphone amp, not a common find in a smartphone but something that will go a long way to improving the listening experience. 

Wireless charging is also being introduced to the Droid line for the first time. It's unclear whether this will be  on the increasingly common Qi standard, but if Brian's growing enthusiasm for the technology is any indication, this could be a popular feature. 

As is the norm, the HTC Droid DNA will be available on-contract for $199, and pre-orders start today with shipments expected by November 21st. We'll be hands-on shortly, and give some impressions of the device. 

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