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Laura Ingraham and Kimberly Guilfoyle wanted Sean Spicer's job. Now they're not so sure.

Washington Post - Tue, 2017-06-20 14:00
Are they having second thoughts or saving face?

20 GOP criticisms of Obamacare's secrecy that now look eerily hypocritical

Washington Post - Tue, 2017-06-20 14:00
The GOP attacked Democrats for crafting an unpopular bill behind closed doors. Now they're crafting an even-more-unpopular bill with doors closed even tighter.

How the people who asked Trump to run on Twitter in 2013 feel about him now

Washington Post - Tue, 2017-06-20 14:00
Checking in with the people who first demanded that Trump run for president.

Among House staff, women are well represented. Just not in the senior positions.

Washington Post - Tue, 2017-06-20 14:00
You'll find most of the women in administrative, not managerial, positions.

This explains why there are so few Republican women in Congress

Washington Post - Tue, 2017-06-20 14:00
Republican women donors don't care much about electing women. Democratic women make it a priority.

Shame beats punishment for stopping student drinking

Futurity.org - Tue, 2017-06-20 13:33

The possibility of feeling shame and embarrassment may be a more effective deterrent for problematic drinking on college campuses than the threat of punishment, a new study suggests.

The findings could have implications for universities implementing policies and fostering environments to try to curb alcohol use because they examine how students construct their drinking lives on campuses.

“In this case, it seems that peer relationships, especially friendships but also casual or even what we might think of as pre-professional relationships, are more important from the standpoint of moderating drinking behavior than the threat of formal punishment, or even being kicked out of school,” says Margaret Kelley, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Kansas.

“The ideas of day-to-day embarrassment or feeling basic social shame were more of a deterrent.”

The Journal of Drug Issues recently published Kelley’s study, which arises from a phone survey with 508 full-time students at a large, southwestern US state university. The survey took place one year following a newly instituted dry policy on the campus.

Most students surveyed did drink alcohol, and some reported intending to violate the ban in the future. Of the men, only 33.8 percent reported abstaining from drinking alcohol during the time period with 44 percent of women doing so.

Perceived police enforcement of the policy did not concern most students, who reported either believing they likely wouldn’t be caught or possibly moving their drinking to a location where they would less likely be discovered.

However, students did report that feelings of guilt or shame, especially from the perception of fellow students, reduced their intention to violate the university’s alcohol policy.

“I think it’s because people try to make sense of someone else’s experience by attributing their problems to personal failings, and if they themselves drink too much, they are likely to self-blame in similar ways,” says Kelley, whose research focuses on gender, health, and marginalized populations.

Shame did appear to be slightly more important for deterring female students than male students, but overall, students were deterred from risking future policy violations more due to shame and blame than enforcement among police or other official sanctions.

To cut drinking for college freshmen, double up on interventions

“It’s a tricky policy implication in that our responsibility as educators on a college campus should lead us to engage students in ways that empower them to make mature choices rather than ones based on fear or shame,” Kelley says.

“At the same time, these findings demonstrate a need to understand the importance of the relationships that students have with each other and with key staff and faculty members who work with them directly. The sort of shame that showed up in these results is interpersonal rather than public.

“We should work at having students connected to each other. That is especially hard at large, state universities, with a high percentage of first-generation students who might be from towns smaller than their dorms,” says Kelley.

Kelley says the analysis on blame and potential deterrence of drinking is important, especially because drinking statistics among college students have remained at high levels. University administrators and community leaders are actively looking for effective strategies to address the problem.

Putting effort into positive social events might generate the right kind of social environment and networking to encourage the normative processes of accountability that moderates drinking behaviors. The findings also could be important as larger universities turn to online education and other tools of virtual training to curb underage alcohol use and abuse, because research might show those ways don’t help foster relationships on campus that might deter problem drinking, she says.

College drinking amps up PTSD, and vice versa

“You don’t meet people and have a relationship with them through a computer program,” Kelley says. “That’s really not tapping into what might be effective, though education is obviously important.”

She adds that relationship focus might combine with education or targeted education to key students or students in key positions in student networks.

Source: University of Kansas

The post Shame beats punishment for stopping student drinking appeared first on Futurity.

Lab-grown cartilage mimics the real thing

Futurity.org - Tue, 2017-06-20 13:03

Biomedical engineers have created an artificial, lab-grown tissue that mirrors natural cartilage.

The tissue, grown under tension but without a supporting scaffold, shows similar mechanical and biochemical properties to natural cartilage.

Articular cartilage provides a smooth surface for our joints to move, but it can be damaged by trauma, disease, or overuse. Once damaged, it does not regrow and is difficult to replace.

Lab-grown cartilage grown with tension (top) shows similar mechanical and chemical properties to natural cartilage, which allows our joints to move smoothly. The lower image shows computer modeling of strain distribution across the artificial tissue. (Credit: Athanasiou lab/UC Davis)

Artificial cartilage that could be implanted into damaged joints would have great potential to help people regain mobility.

Natural cartilage is formed by cells called chondrocytes that stick together and produce a matrix of proteins and other molecules that solidifies into cartilage. Bioengineers have tried to create cartilage, and other materials, in the lab by growing cells on artificial scaffolds. More recently, they have turned to “scaffold-free” systems that better represent natural conditions.

The team, led by Kyriacos Athanasiou, a professor in the biomedical engineering department at University of California, Davis, grew human chondrocytes in a scaffold-free system, allowing the cells to self-assemble and stick together inside a specially designed device.

Once the cells had assembled, they were put under tension—mildly stretched—over several days. They showed similar results using bovine cells as well.

“As they were stretched, they became stiffer,” says Jerry Hu, a research engineer and coauthor of the study. “We think of cartilage as being strong in compression, but putting it under tension has dramatic effects.”

Stem cells grow cartilage to fix hips

The new material had a similar composition and mechanical properties to natural cartilage, they found. It contains a mix of glycoproteins and collagen, with crosslinks between collagen strands giving strength to the material.

Experiments with mice show that the lab-grown material can survive in a physiological environment. The next step, Hu says, is to put the lab-grown cartilage into a load-bearing joint, to see if it remains durable under stress.

“In this comprehensive study, we showed that we can finally engineer tissue that has the tensile and compressive characteristics of native tissue,” Athanasiou says. “The artificial cartilage that we engineer is fully biological with a structure akin to real cartilage.

“Most importantly, we believe that we have solved the complex problem of making tissues in the laboratory that are strong and stiff enough to take the extremely high loads encountered in joints such as the knee and hip,” he says.

How to 3D print ‘joint patches’ with ink made of cartilage

The results of the research appear in the journal Nature Materials.

Additional authors on the paper are from UC Davis and Stanford University. The National Institutes of Health supported the work.

Source: UC Davis

The post Lab-grown cartilage mimics the real thing appeared first on Futurity.

Tesla Model S warned driver in fatal crash to put hands on steering wheel

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 12:49

Enlarge / The Tesla Model S following its recovery last year from the crash scene near Williston, Florida. (credit: National Transportation Safety Board)

Federal regulators said Monday that the driver of a Tesla Model S killed in a collision while the car was in autopilot mode did not have his hands on the steering wheel for a prolonged period of time. He was repeatedly warned by the vehicle that his hands were necessary, the regulators said.

That's one of the findings contained in documents that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is releasing as part of its ongoing probe into the death of Joshua Brown. The motorist from Ohio was killed last year in a Florida highway crash when the Tesla he was driving struck a tractor-trailer (PDF) as the semi was crossing an intersection of a divided highway that did not have a traffic signal. The crash raised eyebrows about the safety of new automated driving features when used during long stretches of driving. It was also the nation's first crash fatality involving a vehicle in self-driving mode.

Tesla's autopilot mode allows a vehicle to maintain the speed of traffic, and an auto-steer function is designed to help keep the Tesla inside its lane. The board said the Tesla alerted the driver seven times with a visual of "Hands Required Not Detected." The authorities said the motorist, a former Navy Seal, had his hands on the wheel for 25 seconds during the 37 minutes of the trip when they should have been placed on the steering wheel. That's according to "system performance data" from Tesla, the government said.

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OnePlus 5 review—The best sub-$500 phone you can buy

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 11:45

Smartphone companies don't seem to care about cultivating a true "lineup" of phones. If you aren't spending at least $650, most companies will offer you anonymous, second-rate devices that seem like they've had no thought put into them. With the death of the Nexus line and with Lenovo's continued bungling of Motorola, the "good but not $650" market is slimmer than ever. Enter the OnePlus 5, which continues the company's tradition of offering an all-business, high-end smartphone for a great price.

SPECS AT A GLANCE: OnePlus 5 SCREEN 1920×1080 5.5" (401ppi) AMOLED OS Android 7.1.1 (Oxygen OS) CPU Eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Four 2.35GHz Kyro 280 Performance cores and four 1.90GHz Kyro 280 Efficiency cores) RAM 6GB or 8GB GPU Adreno 540 STORAGE 64GB or 128GB NETWORKING 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC BANDS GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/8
FDD-LTE: Bands  1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/ 20/25/26/28/29/30/66TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41TD-SCDMA: Bands 34/39
CDMA EVDO: BC0 PORTS USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack CAMERA Rear: 16MP main camera, 20MP telephoto camera,

Front: 16MP

SIZE 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25mm ( x  x in) WEIGHT 153 g (5.4 oz) BATTERY 3300 mAh STARTING PRICE $479 / £449 OTHER PERKS "Dash" charging, three-position physical notification mode switch, fingerprint sensor, notification LED, Dual SIM slots

Today OnePlus is both announcing the OnePlus 5 and lifting the review embargo on the device, which we've had for about two weeks now. $479 (£449) gets you an aluminum-clad pocket computer with a 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3,300mAh battery. You still get OnePlus' physical 3-way alert switch, a USB-C port, capacitive buttons with a front-mounted fingerprint reader, and a headphone jack. The phone has two cameras on the back: one 16MP main camera and one 20MP telephoto camera, arranged in the most iPhone-y way possible. Besides the $479 version, there's a more expensive $539 (£499) version, which ups the RAM from 6GB to a whopping 8GB, adds another 64GB of storage for a total of 128GB, and changes the color from "Slate Gray" to "Midnight Black." This more expensive version is the one we tested.

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“Internet of Ships” tells tale of USS Fitzgerald tragedy—or half of it

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 09:28

Enlarge / YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (credit: US Navy)

On early Saturday morning off the coast of Japan, the Philippines-flagged cargo container carrier ACX Crystal struck the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) on its starboard (right) side, crushing the part of the Fitzgerald's superstructure where its commanding officer's quarters were and rupturing the ship's hull below the waterline. Seven sailors died in a flooding berthing compartment, and the captain (who was in his quarters) and two other crewmen were injured.

As the incident was unfolding, the world was given an almost immediate look at part of the story behind the collision thanks to data from the Automated Identification System (AIS) aboard the Crystal. AIS, a tracking system that has become the "Internet of Ships," was intended to help prevent such collisions, but it has also become a tool for nearly anyone to identify and track ships traveling around the world through websites and mobile applications. And the half of the story that Crystal's track told quickly raised questions about what exactly was going on with the freighter just before the collision—and whether the incident was something more than just a random accident.

AIS was developed in the late 1990s as a radio-based transponder system, initially intended to be used as part of a collision avoidance system for ships operating out of range of land-based shipping controllers. AIS has been extended further by the addition of satellite monitoring of AIS traffic and the integration of AIS data into navigational beacons and local vessel traffic services (VTS)—think air traffic control for ships. Mandated for all ships over 300 gross tons starting in 2002, nearly all commercial sea-going vessels are now required by one authority or another to be equipped with AIS for tasks such as fishing fleet monitoring, search and rescue, and maritime security. It also can be used for accident investigation along with the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) "black box" mandated by the UN's International Maritime Organization. VDR is limited to 12 hours of data storage.

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Rick Perry says carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 08:42

Enlarge / US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry addresses employees for the first time at Energy Department headquarters in Washington, DC, March 3, 2017. Image courtesy Ken Shipp/US Department of Energy. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities aren't the primary driver of climate change. Instead, the former Texas governor responded that "most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."

It’s unclear how Perry envisions this “control knob” and how it works; a generous analysis of his answer would be that he misunderstood the question. Ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide and are changing, much like climate, because of it. And the oceans have short-term cycles that influence equally short-term temperature trends. But those cycles can't drive the ever-upward trend in temperature.

Oddly, Perry continued by affirming that climate change is happening and that we have to do something about it. The secretary told CNBC, “The fact is, this shouldn't be a debate about 'Is the climate changing? Is man having an effect on it?' Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?"

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The Journey to Mars seems to be pretty much dead

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 08:27

NASA

On Friday, the space agency released what it called a "mid-year report" on NASA five months into the presidency of Donald Trump. The nearly five-minute video is mostly a chronological summary of NASA's announcements so far this year and seems designed to highlight all of the things the new administration has accomplished in space. However, there are some curious inclusions and omissions in the promotional video that provide clues about where NASA is headed under the new administration.

Planetary science

The exploration of most of the Solar System enjoys widespread support from Congress, and evidently the Trump administration as well. The video celebrates the announcement of the Lucy and Psyche missions to asteroids, Cassini's exploits at the Saturn system, Juno's scientific discoveries at Jupiter, and the Hubble Space Telescope's apparent confirmation of plumes on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

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Crystal stacks up qubits in first-in first-out memory

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 07:57

Enlarge (credit: NASA)

Quantum computing and quantum communication require a different way of thinking about handling information. Not only are quantum states extremely delicate, but you can't copy a quantum state. To put it in perspective. If I want to send a qubit from a lab in Europe to somewhere in New York, that qubit has to make it all the way by itself—you can't read and replace it along the way. To get around this limitation, you have to make use of quantum mechanics: teleporting quantum states from one place to another.

To do that in a flexible way that allows computation, you need to store quantum states as they arrive. That means you need some sort of register that stacks qubits on top of each other. This is quite challenging. But, it seems that ions embedded in a crystal might be able to do the job. Before we journey into the heart of ions, crystals, and qubits, let's see why we can't just take ideas from classical computing and bolt them onto quantum computing.

Qubits are not bits

A very simple example that comes up in normal computing is sending one bit to two gates at the same time. All I need to do is to have a branch in a wire so that the branches terminates at two different gates. The bit is then sent to both gates. This can be done because the bit consists of many charges, so the junction simply sends half the charge to one gate and half to the other. Of course there are limits to that approach but, even if I needed to branch many more times, I could simply increase the amount of charge in each copy of the bit through some kind of amplifier.

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Review: The Toyota C-HR Hybrid is a mass-market vehicle with panache

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 07:47

The hybrid version of the Toyota C-HR is not yet available in the US.

Alun Taylor

From the Auris and the Avensis to the Yaris and the RAV4, all of Toyota’s recent mainstream cars have been depressingly vanilla. White goods. Reliable, serviceable, capable—but as engaging as a washing machine or fridge freezer.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nintendo Switch’s dumb dock gets beaten by hyper-portable Nyko option

Ars - Tue, 2017-06-20 05:00

Enlarge / This tiny $45 Nyko dock will transform my portable use of the Nintendo Switch. (credit: Nyko)

One of the Nintendo Switch's biggest issues is about to get fixed—by Nyko, of all companies.

You read that correctly. The company best known for unofficial gamer accessories like rubbery controller condoms and bulky console carrying cases has emerged with a rare burst of engineering genius: the Portable Docking Kit. It's basically the Switch Dock, only a lot smaller—maybe a tad smaller than a deck of cards.

Nyko announced this Nintendo Switch accessory during E3, but I wanted to be sure it was worth recommending, so I stopped by the company's E3 booth and demanded to see it in action. In the process, I regretfully ordered a grown man to dive into a pit full of colored, plastic balls.

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Install and monitor services using Monit on ubuntu 17.04 Server

Ubuntu Geek - Mon, 2017-06-12 07:35

Sponsored Link google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3561711309083119"; google_ad_slot = "5550623370"; google_ad_width = 336; google_ad_height = 280; Monit is a utility for managing and monitoring, processes, files, directories and devices on a UNIX system. Monit conducts automatic maintenance and repair and can execute meaningful causal actions in error situations.

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Huawei Mate 9 Review: Dual Cameras in a Solid Smartphone

brighthand - Tue, 2017-02-14 13:46

The Huawei Mate 9 has three features that could well define 2017’s smartphone crop: barely-there display bezels, AI, and a dual camera.

There’s nothing revolutionary about the implementation here. Bezels have been shrinking for years, as smartphone makers balance larger displays with small builds. Dual cameras are quickly becoming the norm, with Huawei itself having multiple devices with them. And between Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, voice-powered AI is NBD.

But combined in a decent piece of hardware with high-end specs, they make for a quality smartphone. That’s what Huawei is going for with large the Mate 9, a follow-up to last year’s Mate 8.

Did Huawei succeed in creating something decent for its latest and greatest? Find out in this full Huawei Mate 9 review.

Huawei Mate 9 Build & Design

Huawei makes great hardware, so it’s no surprise the Huawei Mate 9 is a sharp and well-built smartphone. It measures 6.2 x 3.1 x .3 inches, and weighs .42 pounds. The phone has an all-glass front, with aluminum back and slightly rounded sides.

It looks like a slightly smaller version of the Mate 8, which we praised as “excellent,” and feels just as solid. (Huawei thankfully sticking to the “if it ain’t broke…” hardware philosophy.) Aluminum and glass are the best smartphone combo going, making any device cool to the touch and resistant to smudges and fingerprints. The Mate 9 also has Gorilla Glass 3, and should survive the occasional drop. If that’s not good enough, it ships with a clear plastic rear bumper for a small bit of additional protection.

Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof or dustproof. All flagships should be, not because we want to take them swimming, but because spills happen and sometimes we get caught in the rain.

Looking at the Huawei Mate 9 head on, the front sports two thin bezels above and under the display, with the top housing an ear speaker, sensor, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The bottom sports Huawei branding. The back sports a slight round bulge, with a pinhole mic, dual cameras (20 megapixel monochrome and 12 megapixel RGB, f/2.2 lens), flash, sensor, and round fingerprint reader.

The 3.5mm audio input and an IR blaster sit on the top, while the speakers sit on the bottom, surrounding the USB Type-C input. A single-piece volume rocker sits on the right side, just above the power button, while a dual-SIM/microSD tray sits on the right. Huawei claims the Mate 9 has four microphones, so there must be some hidden in the speakers and maybe the headphone jack.

It’s a good layout, with the fingerprint sensor especially easy to reach in one-handed use. The only complaint is a common nitpick: having the power button and volume rocker on the same side too often results in accidental power button presses. Most devices add texture to the power button, making it easier to distinguish blindly, but Huawei didn’t do that for the Mate 9.

Huawei Mate 9 Display & Speakers

Huawei Mate 9 display

The Mate 9’s 5.9-inch LCD IPS display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution, resulting in about 373 pixels per inch. While other flagships have more pixels, and ppi counts exceeding 500, the Mate 9 has more than enough pixels for day-to-day use. VR-ready headsets benefit from the added pixels, and the Mate 9 has two smaller variants in the the Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 9 with curved 5.5-inch AMOLED displays that each have 534 pixels per inch. These two support Google Daydream, while the standard Mate 9 does not, at least as of this writing.

Even compared to these two, the Mate 9 is no slouch. These days it’s near impossible to tell the difference between AMOLED and LCD on smartphones, and the Mate 9 has all the hallmarks of both: deep blacks and bright whites, with heavy contrasts and colors that pop. It’s bright enough to cut through glare as well as any other smartphone. Huawei sets itself apart with deep display settings, allowing users to tweak the color temperature, and it includes and “eye comfort” shortcut that cuts out the blue tones for yellow.

We’ve never bought into this feature, particularly in regards to smartphone use at night before bed, but others swear by it. Either way, we won’t knock Huawei for including added controls.

The Mate 9 has no buttons, and all controls are on the screen. In addition to the insanely-thin left and right bezels, the display glass protrudes slightly above the body. Huawei and others refer to this “floating” effect as “2.5D,” and it adds a bit of style to a strong display.

The speakers are also very good, at least grading on the smartphone curve. They are loud and produce relatively robust sound — certainly more robust than most other smartphones — with limited tin on the high end and some mud on the bottom.

Huawei Mate 9 Performance

Huawei’s Kirin 960 processor keeps the Mate 9 running. It’s the latest from the Chinese mobile maker, based on the premium ARM Cortex-A73. It’s quad-core, with four A73s running at 2.4GHz, and four A53s running at 1.8GHz for simpler tasks. It pairs with an i6 co-processor, octa-core Mali-G71 GPU, and 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

This is a potent combo, and our Huawei Mate 9 review unit rivals the Google Pixel XL as the best performing smartphone we’ve tested to date. It ships with Android 7.0, and runs it extremely well, with no hiccups, stuttering, bugs, or crashes. The Mali-G71 handles 3D gaming especially well, including the demanding Riptide, Modern Combat, and Asphalt titles.

In addition, Huawei claims the Mate 9 has a “cutting-edge Machine Learning algorithm,” which “delivers consistent performance by automatically prioritising CPU, RAM and ROM resources based on user habits.” Basically, it learns user habits and prioritizes accordingly, all within the device, and not through remote servers on the cloud.

The benefit should be zippy performance through the Mate 9’s lifespan, and it’s unfortunately impossible to test based on the few weeks we used our Huawei Mate 9 review unit.

This feature extends to storage, with the addition of UFS 2.1 flash memory, which Huawei claims has “data transfer speeds that are 100% faster than eMMC 5.1.” The Mate 9 ships with 64GB storage, of which about 48GB is available out of the box. The Mate 9 comes with plenty of bloatware (News Republic, Booking.com, TripAdvisor), along with some useful tools (Smart Controller, Sound Recorder, Phone Manager). Just as it is with previous Huawei smartphones, all of it can be uninstalled.

All this is backed up in the benchmarks. Our Huawei Mate 9 review unit either outperforms every other smartphone on the market, or closely matches. We ran into an issue with Geekbench 4’s GPU test, with the Mate 9 crashing during every attempt to run it. This is likely due to conflicts with Mate 9’s very new chipset.

Geekbench 4 is a cross-platform benchmark that measures overall performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu is a cross-platform benchmark that measures overall system performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu 3D is a cross-platform benchmark that measures graphical performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu CPU is a cross-platform benchmark that measures complex app and multitasking performance. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu RAM is a cross-platform benchmark that measures system speed. Higher score is better.

AnTuTu UX is a cross-platform benchmark that measures experience. Higher score is better.

As with general performance, storage performance is lightning fast. Apps open and close very quickly. The fingerprint sensor is also very quick and reliable. Huawei continues to have best overall on any device.

Huawei Mate 9 Battery

The Mate 9 has a 4000mAh battery, and our Huawei Mate 9 review unit lasted 8 hours and 38 minutes streaming Netflix over Wi-Fi with the display brightness set to max. This is about the bare minimum one can expect from a Mate 9, and it’s an average result. Eight hours is the cutoff, anything less than that is bad. The best devices hit 20.

Huawei packs many battery management features in the Mate 9’s settings. So take advantage, and it should easily hit 10 to 12 hours on a single charge with normal use.

Our Huawei Mate 9 review unit charged quickly, hitting 28% with 15 minutes of charging, and 78% with 45 minutes.

Huawei Mate 9 Features

Huawei once took a heavy hand with its Android implementation. Dubbed EMUI, its Android skin “borrowed” elements from iOS in the past, combining them with traditional Android and Huawei’s own branding, creating a garish aesthetic. It never bothered us as much as other reviewers, mainly because it didn’t bog down Huawei’s hardware. But, we’re still happy to see Huawei scale things back with its latest version, EMUI 5.

Huawei finally added an app drawer, and took a more standard approach to notifications, ditching the two-screen alerts/settings setup. Stock apps are less severe, with a brighter color scheme, while EMUI “feels” more like an official Android device rather than an Android-based device, like the Amazon Fire tablets and smartphone.

Huawei kept its deep settings options, allowing users to tweak the theme, background apps, power settings, button layout, and notifications, to name a few. A new “app twin” feature is a standout, as it enables users to run two instances of the same app with different accounts. As of this writing, it only works with WhatsApp and Facebook, though we’d love to see it expand to other apps like Chrome, Twitter, Hangouts, and any number of cloud services (and ultimately Android to “borrow” it for future updates). Finally, Huawei’s odd knuckle gestures are still present.

Ultimately, even the most ardent stock Android fan shouldn’t be turned off by EMUI, given it’s easy enough to download the Google Now launcher and set it as the default.

In addition to the clear plastic bumper, the Huawei Mate 9 ships with a USB Type-C charger and cable, headphones, and a USB Type-C-to-microUSB adapter. That’s a good haul. We’re suckers for extras, and the bumper and USB adapter are extremely useful, especially since USB Type-C is not entirely ubiquitous yet.

At its CES 2017 event, Huawei made a big deal of the Mate 9 being “the first smartphone with Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service.” That functionality is slated to arrive in February, and wasn’t ready at the time of this review. We’re interested to see how this is implemented, as an Alexa app is widely available in the Google Play Store. Will it just be a preloaded app? Will Alexa be baked in? What about Android Assistant?

We’ll update this review once it goes live.

Huawei Mate 9 Connectivity

In addition to the standard dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi support, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, and GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS, the Huawei Mate 9 is a GSM unlocked smartphone. It’s dual-SIM with plenty of support for worldwide 2G/3G/4G networks, including Cat12 LTE.

In the US, it’s typical of a Huawei unlocked smartphone. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will have no trouble connecting, while Verizon and Sprint customers are out of luck. The Mate 9 actually supports CDMA similar to Sprint and Verizon, though it’s limited to China Telecom.

Huawei Mate 9 Camera

Apple popularized dual lenses with the iPhone 7 Plus, but HTC, LG, and Huawei itself all shipped devices with them beforehand, going back all the way to the gimmicky 3D smartphones from 2011.

These days, the dual lens mainly serves to create a shallow-focus effect in pics — the blurry background kind. It used to be shallow focus, or bokeh, was limited to expensive interchangeable-lens cameras. Through a combination of two lenses and some software trickery, smartphones like the Huawei Mate 9 can do the same.

Huawei differentiates itself in that it has two image sensors: a 12-megapixel RGB sensor for capturing colors, and a 20-megapixel sensor for capturing black and white. Both are backed by optical image stabilization and f2.2 lenses.

Huawei Mate 9 camera

It’s “co-engineered with Leica,” and includes Leica Summarit lenses. The Huawei Mate 9 has the second-generation of this particular setup, as versions of it have already appeared on the Huawei P9, Honor 8, and Honor 6X.

We’ve lauded it on those devices, and we’ll laud it here too. The Huawei Mate 9 has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. A dual-camera setup and the Huawei camera app offer granular image controls that rival consumer-level DSLRs, along with fun and pleasing image filters.

The shallow-focus effect has real potential, and the software/chipset combo does a great job creating an authentic-looking image. It’s still not perfect, however, and some shooting situations will create wonky results with blur bleeding into the subject. Smartphones aren’t replacing DSLRs just yet.

One other issue, which isn’t unique to the Mate 9: a touchscreen is poor for deep camera controls. Adjusting the exposure value and shutter speed with a display slider is awkward. It’s much easier and quicker with a physical dial.

To be fair, it’s a double-edged sword. We like having the control; it’s always frustrating on a touchscreen.

This shouldn’t bother most users, besides. The Mate 9 camera is great in dummy mode, producing clear pictures with accurate, vibrant colors; and it’s fast to focus, too. It’s the best at black-and-white photography thanks to the monochrome sensor. A double tap of the volume rocker launches it from sleep, enabling very quick snapshots.

Low-light performance is also impressive, though not the best. We were disappointed to learn the Mate 9 had f/2.2 lenses, when flagships are going as wide as f/1.7 (smaller number equals wider aperture equals more light hitting the image sensor, as we explained in our Google Pixel XL review). Our Huawei Mate 9 review unit surprised us by matching the current best low-light shooters on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and S7 (both have the same camera hardware) in a moderately challenging low-light situation (see example below compared against the S7 edge and a poor low-light performer, the otherwise solid Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10). Much of the credit has to go to the software and chipset for cleaning up these photos.

Huawei Mate 9 low-light photo

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge low-light photo

Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows 10 low-light photo

Dim the lights, and that changes. Noise creeps in and colors fade on the Mate 9’s pics, while the S7 and S7 edge pump out relatively excellent output. Just as with the bokeh effect, software can only match physical optics to a certain point.

The Mate 9 also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an f./1.9 lens. Huawei’s “beauty” mode returns, as does an automated “perfect selfie” mode. Both are still weird.

Huawei Mate 9 Sample Pics

Huawei Mate 9 Value

As reviewed, the Huawei Mate 9 costs $600, available at Best Buy, Amazon, B&H, and New Egg.

$600 is a good price for the Mate 9. It’s a flagship-level smartphone, coming out just ahead of new high-end handsets from Samsung, HTC, and LG. Those may have a spec bump over the Mate 9, or have more features, but they won’t perform much better where it counts. And they likely will cost more.

Huawei Mate 9 Review Conclusion

The common knock on Huawei smartphones: great hardware, poor software. Huawei took big steps to correcting that with the Huawei Mate 9. It’s EMUI is still heavy enough to retain distinction from stock Android, though much closer to the real thing than previous versions. Those familiar with Android will get used to it quickly.

On top of that, Huawei checks all the right marks. The Mate 9 is well-built and designed, features excellent display and speakers, and performs extremely well. The camera is also worthy of the current crop of flagships. It’s one of the best.

The biggest knock against it is the lack of water and dust proofing. Those should be standard on all high-end smartphones. The battery life is only a little better than average without turning to Huawei’s battery management software, and that’s another biggest issue. Both are far from a deal-breakers, but it stand out as a flaws given how well the Mate 9 compares in other areas. We’re also disappointed it doesn’t support Verizon or Sprint.

All that makes the Huawei Mate 9 one of the best smartphones of early 2017, with features we expect to see in competing smartphones set for release in the near future.

 

The post Huawei Mate 9 Review: Dual Cameras in a Solid Smartphone appeared first on Brighthand.com.

St. Victor

Saint of the Day - Thu, 2016-03-10 00:15
According to legend, Victor was a soldier in the Roman army at Marseilles when he was hailed before the ...
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