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Microsoft and Kano are launching a build-your-own Windows 10 PC kit



Kano, educational startup known for creating build-your-own computer kits for kids, has partnered with Microsoft to create a DIY touchscreen laptop that runs Windows 10 S, a lite version of the OS. Called Kano PC, the laptop closely mirrors the design of a Surface PC, with a 11.6” display that latches onto a keyboard case. Everything about the Kano PC, from the transparent backing that reveals the modular pieces of the computer, to the included apps that encourage tinkering with sound and touch, is designed “specifically for the 21st century classroom”.

Kano’s released DIY computer kits before, but they were powered by Raspberry Pi 3s and Kano’s own OS. This time around, it can run full Windows 10 (albeit it in S Mode, which limits it to only runs apps from the Microsoft Store.) The touchscreen PC is powered by a 1.44 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage that’s upgradable with a microSD card. There’s an HDMI port, a headphone jack, microphone, 2 USB ports, plus WiFi and Bluetooth.

Kids can learn to assemble their computer through instructions presented as a step-by-step storybook, and learn more from an app called “How Computers Work”, which also teaches them to code and create emoji with binary code. An education edition of Minecraft will be included in the PC, along with other Microsoft apps like Paint 3D and Microsoft Teams bundled in.

Kano PC is available for preorder on for $299.99 USD. It’ll launch in the US, Canada, and the UK on October 21st.


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This tiny laptop makes the MacBook look positively gigantic




The One-NetBook OneMix 1S is sure to divide opinions; as not everyone will consider a $499 Celeron-based laptop to be a good deal, but then this is no ordinary laptop. 

The OneMix 1S is probably the smallest devices on the market today, targeting a niche user base searching for extreme portability with as few compromises as possible.

The Celeron processor that powers it is slightly faster than the N4100 model that powers a lot of similar devices on the market today, and it also sports 8GB of RAM and a true PCIe 256GB SSD rather than the sluggish eMMC storage that powers many other entry level laptops. 

Miniaturized computing

Add to that a full HD, touch capable display that supports pen input, a large 6500mAh battery, a fingerprint reader, plenty of connectivity options and it is easy to see why this format is – like vinyl and tape for audio – seeing a resurgence.

Bear in mind that the keyboard may infuriate touch typers and given its lilliputian dimensions, a touchpad is out of question. On the other hand though you will be able to charge this laptop using a standard portable battery charger. 

Lastly, it might be a good idea to take a Type-C hub adaptor given that it doesn’t have an HDMI port should you want to use a big screen.


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Mobile Phones

Google Pixel 4 XL revealed in full in three new hands-on video leaks




Last year’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL both suffered from high-profile leaks before their official launch, but Google’s 2019 flagships seem to have taken things to another level entirely. A new leak – or rumor – about the Pixel 4 seems to rear its head every single day, and with three new hands-on videos appearing online today, just about everything there is to know about the next generation of Google phones now seems to have been revealed.

The three new videos basically show off the larger Pixel 4 XL in full, even going as far as to showing off all three different colors the handset is expected to come in – white, black and coral. None of the videos are in English but, between them all, there’s unlikely to be any huge surprises when Google finally announces the Pixel 4 range next month.

The videos confirm the rumors of the 90Hz Smooth Display on the Pixel 4 phones, with the screen being able to dynamically switch between 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates, depending on the content being displayed. However, the 90Hz mode’s smoother scrolling can affect battery life – like we saw on the OnePlus 7 Pro – and it seems you will be able to turn off the Smooth Display feature to conserve battery.

Another new feature that, so far, Google has omitted from its previous Pixel handsets is a pre-installed Recorder app. Whether the app will be able to record both external audio (like voice memos) as well as internal audio (screen recording) is as yet unclear, but we’re sure we’ll find out soon enough.

The phone’s camera app is also shown off, revealing an updated user interface, improvements to the Night Sight mode, as well as sample images taken on the Pixel 4 XL.

Another pre-installed app called Pixel Themes indicates there could be multiple themes to choose from to customize the phone, while something called Ambient EQ could be something that screen color hue based on environmental conditions.

A hardware detection app confirms that the Pixel 4 XL boasts a 6.23-inch display with 3,040 x 1,440 resolution. There are two camera lenses on the rear – one featuring a Sony IMX363 12.2MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, while the other is a telephoto lens housing a Sony IMX481 16MP sensor.

In terms of other specs, the earlier rumors of 6GB RAM and 128GB on-board storage seem to be true.

One notable thing that isn’t demonstrated in the videos is the Soli aerial navigation gestures… so there’s a chance we may be able to see at least one new thing during Google’s launch event.


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Mobile Phones

Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 vs Samsung Galaxy A30




The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 and Samsung Galaxy A30 are two rival smartphones competing in the crowded South African mid-range segment.

They’re both feature-packed, boasting big batteries, large screens and a pretty large target market. But how do they stack up head-to-head?

We take a look at each of these smartphones and judge them by their key features.

Aesthetics and design

The Samsung Galaxy A30 is one of the Korean company’s newer mid-range smartphones. With it comes a large screen, minimal bezels and a choice of blue, black and white.

There is a rounded notch, which does eat away at some screen real estate and there’s a dual rear camera beside a physical fingerprint sensor at the back. At the bottom Samsung’s included a headphone jack, USB-C port for charging and data, and a single speaker grille.

The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 arrived in South Africa just a few weeks ago, and features no notch. In fact, the selfie camera is tucked away inside the body and pops out when need be. This means that it’s all screen up front, and a large screen at that.

Around the back, Huawei’s employing two primary cameras and a depth sensor beneath it, and a physical fingerprint sensor. At the bottom there’s a headphone jack, USB-C port for data and charging, and a single speaker grille.

The Y9 Prime 2019 comes in a few more exciting colours, including Midnight Black, Emerald Green, and Sapphire Blue.


The screen has become an important distinguishing feature for phones in 2019, and these two employ different philosophies.

For Samsung, the Galaxy A30 features an sAMOLED display at 6.4-inches from corner to corner with a 2340×1080 resolution. However, a piece of it is chunked away due to that notch in the top-middle of the screen.

The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 takes a different approach. It uses a larger 6.59-inch IPS LCD display with 2340×1080 resolution. The larger size does mean it has a lower screen density than the A30, but it makes up for this by ditching the notch. The Y9 Prime 2019 is essentially all screen, which is something we don’t see to often in South Africa.


Again, Samsung and Huawei tackle the power requirements of the modern user with their own technologies.

The Samsung Galaxy A30 uses the company’s Exynos 7904 chipset with eight processing cores with a clock speed of up to 1.8GHz, up to 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. The chipset is based on an older 14nm manufacturing process, but the phone does support microSD card storage expansion.

The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 uses its HiSilicon Kirin 710F based on the newer 12nm manufacturing process. It also has eight cores, but features a higher clock speed at 2.2GHz. This effectively means it’ll be better suited for gaming than the Galaxy A30.

The phone also features up to 128GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM with microSD card expansion support too.


Samsung’s notched selfie camera sports a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture.

Huawei’s selfie camera, as mentioned before, slides up from within the body when required. But it also sports a 16MP sensor with the same aperture.

At the rear, Samsung employs a dual camera setup. The primary camera has a 16MP sensor with autofocus and an f/1.7 aperture. The secondary camera features a 5MP sensor with a f/2.2 aperture. It’s used for wide-angle shots.

Huawei also uses this philosophy but adds a depth sensor, giving it a triple rear camera setup instead of Samsung’s dual camera solution. This allows the phone to snap better, more layered portraits.

The primary camera features a 16MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture. Beneath that there’s an 8MP wide-angle camera too.

Battery life

Battery life is becoming more critical for buyers, especially in this price range. And both manufacturers seem to understand this.

The Samsung Galaxy A30 features a 4000mAh battery and charges via a USB-C port. The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also features a 4000mAh battery, and USB-C charging.


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