Qualcomm 8cx benchmarked: Faster than Intel’s i5 8250U?

Qualcomm first announced its 8cx laptop processor back in December of 2018. The chip promised to bring two times the performance of its previous chip, the Snapdragon 850, while at the same time bringing 60 percent better battery life and new features like H.265 and dual 4K monitor support.

Today, we got our first look at PCs running the new Qualcomm 8cx chipset. Qualcomm has partnered with PCMark and 3DMark to produce ARM 64-native benchmarking apps for the platform and pitted the chip against Intel’s most comparable laptop CPU, the i5 8250U.

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As a recap, the Qualcomm 8cx is a 7nm chip with a TDP of 7 watts, while Intel’s i5 8250U is based on a 10nm process and has a TDP of 15 watts. Based on these specs alone, it’s no surprise that Qualcomm is achieving about two times better battery life. The real surprise here is application benchmarks and graphics performance.

Qualcomm 8cx - Application Benchmark test

In a standard application benchmark test, the 8cx was neck-and-neck with Intel’s offering. The 8cx beat the i5 8250U in some tests and fell slightly behind in others. This is fairly massive because it shows that a chip with half the power consumption of an Intel CPU can deliver just as good day-to-day performance.

In graphics benchmarks, Qualcomm’s 8cx beat Intel by a good amount. The graphics score in 3DMark’s Night Raid was between 6138 and 6266, while Intel measured between 5172 and 5174. Take this with a grain of salt though, because the display on Intel’s model was a 2k panel, while Qualcomm used an FHD panel.

Qualcomm 8cx - Graphics test

The benchmarking session showed just how competitive Qualcomm has gotten already. Its Always Connected PCs (ACPCs) allow users to pull down data extremely quickly wherever they are, especially with the new 5G modem Qualcomm is offering to laptop OEMs. With graphics performance on par with Intel’s equivalent offerings, it shouldn’t be long before these laptops start flying off store shelves.

Qualcomm 8cx PC - Lenovo Project Infinite head on
Qualcomm 8cx PC - Lenovo Project Infinite top down on keyboard
Qualcomm 8cx PC - Lenovo Project Infinite Lenovo logo

Alongside the benchmarking session, Qualcomm announced a partnership with Lenovo for the development of the first 5G Always Connected PC. Lenovo is calling this laptop Project Limitless for now, but we didn’t get much more detail than that. Qualcomm told us that this laptop will be running on a 45 watt-hour battery and will use the Qualcomm 8cx SoC and 5G modem, but until we hear more details that’s all we have to go on.

Another interesting thing to note is the total lack of 5G modem competition. With Intel pulling out of the market completely and Huawei currently in disarray, it’s likely that Qualcomm will own this market for a good while.

What do you think about 5G Always Connected PCs? Are you looking to pick one up once they start shipping next year? Let us know in the comments section below.

OnePlus 7 Pro update delivers camera tweaks: Expect better HDR, low light shots

OnePlus 7 Pro shooting a photo at angle

The OnePlus 7 Pro is one of our favorite smartphones of 2019 thus far, even if the camera quality didn’t meet our expectations. Fortunately, the brand is taking action with a new update, delivering several key improvements.

The OnePlus 7 Pro update (Oxygen OS 9.5.4.GM21AA) was spotted on our review unit, and weighs in at just 182MB. In terms of standout tweaks, the firm said it improved photo quality in HDR and low-light scenarios. You can check out the changelog below.

System

  • Optimized Double Tap To Wake and Ambient Display
  • Optimized audio delay with the Bluetooth headset when playing games
  • General bug fixes and improvements

Camera

  • Improved image quality in HDR scenarios
  • Improved image quality in low light
  • Fixed white balance issue in several scenarios
  • Fixed focus issue in several scenarios

The improvements come a few days after the firm pledged to deliver camera-related tweaks, also detailing its testing procedure in the process.

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“Every time when there is a photo sent to us due to negative feedback, our engineers are requested to find the same light condition and object of same color and texture to simulate the photo in order to reproduce the same problem,” a staff member noted on the forum, adding that it received dozens of photos each day.

This OnePlus 7 Pro update also arrives after it emerged that the phone is using a 13MP 2.2x telephoto zoom camera, cropping the image to deliver 3x “lossless” zoom at 8MP.

NEXT: Arm Cortex-A77 — Everything you need to know

Deal: Become a data guru with the Data Mastery Bundle for just $39

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links.

Essential Data Mastery Bundle

Data management and analytics are the supporting pillars that keep businesses together. Adding these skills to your resume could be your ticket to a lucrative career in many fields.

To begin, check out the Essential Data Mastery Bundle, a comprehensive learning kit that’ll teach the necessary skills to start earning a bigger paycheck.

Essential Data Mastery Bundle

This bundle includes seven parts and over 36 hours of training in MongoDB, MySQL, Big Data, and more. You may not recognize some of these words, and that’s okay. Once you’ve completed the online learning kit, these tools will become second nature to you.

If some of the technical terms already scare you, don’t be. This bundle dilutes all the complex topics into simplified modules using hands-on examples. You’ll learn how to manipulate, extract, manage, and analyze data of all different sizes.

The Essential Data Mastery Bundle:

The Essential Data Mastery Bundle would normally run you $661, but for the next few days, you can get it for just $39.

If you’re ready to level-up your career, then hit this button below to commence.

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Price drop! Nintendo Switch Adapter just $34 (this weekend only)

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links.

Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Audio Adapter

Sometimes you don’t want a pesky headphone cord dangling between you and your Nintendo Switch while you’re pulverizing waves of fighters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. That’s why the Nintendo Switch Audio Adapter lets you use any Bluetooth headset you want.

The result? You can enjoy the full immersive sound of your gaming without keeping yourself anchored to the headphone jack on your system.

Feel the impact of every Final Smash attack.

The adapter plugs easily into the Switch’s docking port and draws power from the system directly, so you don’t need to worry about buying batteries. It also supports a dual connection setup so you can stream audio to two pairs of headphones. Handy for when you and a buddy are passing time with some ferocious Mario Kart action.

You can even stream to your household set of Bluetooth speakers, for when you really want to feel the impact of every Final Smash attack.

The Nintendo Switch Adapter at a glance

  • You can stream Switch audio to Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
  • A Simple dual connection setup lets two headphones connect for multiplayer mode.
  • The Battery-free design lets the adapter power from the Nintendo Switch directly.
  • A Qualcomm chipset provides ultra-low latency transmission with aptX or aptX Low Latency codecs.
  • It lets the Switch stand upright or on a flat surface while plugged in.

The Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Audio Adapter retails for $60, but right now it’s on offer for $39.99. Better still, if you add it to your cart and enter the promo code WEEKEND15 at the checkout, you’ll pay just $34.

The promo code is only valid until March 27, so don’t miss out. Hit the button below to find the deal.

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Samsung said to be providing Apple with OLED displays for 16-inch MacBook Pro, iPad Pros

A photo of an iPad showing a game developed by the Final Fantasy creator. Apple

Samsung is reportedly in talks with Apple to supply the latter with OLED displays. According to The Elec, Apple will feature the displays in its rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro and future iPad Pro models.

The Elec doesn’t have a track record of Apple rumors, so take the report with a big grain of salt. That said, the report claims that Samsung is using a Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE) method of production to create thinner OLED panels. Such a method can lead to thinner versions of the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, though it also offers more space for something like a larger battery.

Samsung currently supplies Apple with OLED displays for the iPhone X, XS, and XS Max.

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If the report is true, the rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro will be the first Apple computer to feature an OLED display. The future iPad Pro models will also be the first in Apple’s series of tablets to make the switch from LCD to OLED.

According to leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the machine will launch sometime this year with a new design. Kuo also said Apple will start to mass-produce two new iPad Pro models between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.

NEXT: Report: Apple’s in-house 5G modem over 5 years away, Qualcomm truce only way out

KaiOS gets $50m in funding, hits 100m phones shipped

Google Assistant on a KaiOS phone.

KaiOS has quickly become one of the most popular mobile platforms in the world, bringing smartphone-style features to cheap feature phones. The platform previously received a $22 million cash injection from Google last year, and it’s now received a $50 million round of funding.

The funding round, led by Cathay Innovation, includes Google and TCL as well, according to an emailed press statement. So what will the team do with its cash injection?

“With the Series B funding, Kai plans to expand into new markets, invest in product portfolio research and development, and expand its ecosystem by accelerating the growth of the KaiOS developer community; to further bridge the digital divide,” KaiOS Technologies explained in the statement.

Google is bringing more than just money to KaiOS though, as it’s also delivered Youtube, Google Assistant, and Google Maps. The company also announced earlier this year that it would be bringing Voice Typing to the platform.

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The platform-holder also revealed that its partners have shipped over 100 million KaiOS devices to date. That represents a substantial leap over its reported 85 million shipped figure back at MWC in February.

KaiOS phones recently arrived on the African continent too, thanks to devices like the MTN Smart S and Orange Sanza. We spent a week with the former device, finding it to have plenty of positives, but a very weak spec sheet too.

“In markets where $10 extra can mean the difference between eating for the week and not, a $17 phone with WhatsApp and other smart features might be a game-changer. As woefully compromised as it is in terms of specs, there’s really nothing like it in many markets,” we wrote in our KaiOS phone review.

NEXT: US startup claims Huawei exec stole trade secrets

This refurbished surround sound system is just $60 with promo code

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links.

No home entertainment setup is complete without a killer surround sound system. Luckily, we can fill that void with this certified refurbished Laut BT Surround Sound System that’s currently on sale for under $60 with the promo code below.

Movies nowadays are made with surround sound in mind. Without it, you’re only getting half the experience. While films benefit most, it can also immerse you in sports, TV shows, and games.

The Laut BT Surround Sound Speaker System delivers a quality audio experience.

The Laut BT Surround Sound Speaker System is a powerhouse, boasting 340 Watts of power due to its innovative sound technology and design. The central speaker is a 6.5-inch woofer that’ll give you that rich bass experience.

The system’s exterior is built with a high-density natural polymer that prevents vibration and loss of sound. This focuses all the sound through their mesh protective shield, made to maintain steady audio quality and protect against external damage.

Laut BT Surround Sound System

The original price of this surround sound system was $149, but right now it’s subject to a price drop to $69.99. And, since you’ve made it to this point, then you deserve to know how you can save another 15 percent on top of that. Use the promo code WEEKEND15 at the checkout page to see the total cost drop to $59.50.

There’s only one caveat to this tremendous value: it’s refurbished. Certified refurbished in fact, which means it has gone through all the critical checks to ensure it works and functions like new

As part of the Memorial Day sale, the promo code is only available until May 27. Don’t miss your chance at this great saving. Hit the button below to find the deal.

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Sony Mobile will be dropping (or reducing) operations in these markets

Sony Xperia 1 Sony Xperia 10 10 Plus

Sony’s smartphone business has been in the doldrums for a while, as the likes of Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi streak ahead. The Japanese giant confirmed last year that it was investigating the possibility of downsizing operations in certain regions as a result. Now, these plans have indeed become a reality.

Sony held its investor relations day this week (h/t: Xperia Blog), and one of the slides in its presentation showed a list of markets that will be dropped or see reduced operations. More specifically, the affected markets include Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Latin America, the Middle East, South East Asia.

A list of Sony Mobile dropped markets. Sony Mobile

The slide also reveals Sony has way more defocused/dropped countries than focus markets. The company’s focus areas are Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. Now, that doesn’t mean Sony will only be operating in these regions. After all, “defocused” likely means affected markets will receive reduced resources and/or fewer models.

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The news comes almost a year after Sony Mobile first confirmed it was “reviewing business feasibility” in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. The Japanese brand has made several changes since then, including the closure of a manufacturing plant. Other reported changes include slashing 2,000 jobs and merging its mobile division with other business units.

Sony’s latest flagship, the Xperia 1, seems like a step in the right direction for the firm though. The new device offers a Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 4K HDR OLED screen, and a versatile triple camera setup. But we’ll need to wait until June for the device to actually hit markets. What would it take for you to buy a Sony smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Even without Android, Huawei could reshape the Android landscape

Save $90 on the HD Microscope Camera — now just $39

HD Microscope Camera

We’ve all got an inner geek. Powerful microscopes might have been invented for research purposes, but in reality, they’re the ultimate curiosity-satisfying tool.

If you want a super-strong microscope of your own, now’s your chance. This HD microscope camera lets you magnify anything by 1,000 times, and right now it’s down from $130 to just $38.99.

Whether it’s tech or an insect, if it fits under the scope then it’s fair game. The microscope camera has built-in LED lights with adjustable illumination to help you capture crisp, detailed images.

The microscope camera at a glance:

  • Magnifies objects up to 1000 times
  • Uses a dynamic image sensor and eight super-bright white LED lights
  • Allows you to snap photos and save to your computer with a single click
  • Comes with a stabilizing stand so you can focus easily
  • Adjusts between 40 times and 1000 times with ease

If you keep accidentally setting things on fire with your old magnifying glass, it’s probably time for an upgrade. If not for yourself, the microscope camera would make a great gift for a science-enthused relative.

Hit the button below to check out this temporary offer.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Entry level Redmi phone surfaces online, could be Redmi 7A

A Xiaomi phone believed to be the Redmi 7A. TENAA

The Redmi range is one of the most popular budget smartphone families in the world, and its cheapest devices usually offer a great price/performance ratio. Now, it looks like the Xiaomi sub-brand is readying another low-end device.

The new phone (model number M1903C3EC) might be the Redmi 7A, and it’s popped up on China’s TENAA website. A cursory glance at the spec sheet reveals its entry level trappings.

Xiaomi’s latest device serves up a 1.4Ghz octa-core chipset, 2GB to 4GB of RAM, 16GB to 64GB of expandable storage, a 3,900mAh battery, and a 5.45-inch HD+ (1,440 x 720) display.

Other notable features include a solitary 13MP rear camera, 5MP selfie snapper, and a 3.5mm headphone port.

Editor’s Pick

This device looks like a downgrade compared to the previously announced Redmi 7. Unlike the Redmi 7, this new phone lacks dual rear cameras, a fingerprint scanner, and has a lower CPU clock speed. All of this means we’re likely looking at the Redmi 7A.

As for pricing? Well, the Redmi 6A had a launch price of 599 yuan (~$87), so don’t be surprised if this new phone has a similar price tag. What do you think of this latest Xiaomi phone? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.