Tech round-up for October 27: Xbox One X, Samsung QLED, iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3

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This week, it’s time to preorder your iPhone X and why I’m frustrated with the Apple Watch Series 3. But the Q series of televisions from Samsung have me smiling. As does the new Xbox One X, which is just days away from release.

Xbox One X, the most powerful game console, arrives on November 7

In just over a week, the new gaming console from Microsoft ships. The Xbox One X is the third model in the Xbox One family, and from the specs alone it appears that the claim it is the most powerful console in the world is true.

Equipped with an 8-core AMD CPU, 128 GB of GDDR5 memory, and a 6 teraflop graphical processing unit (GPU), the Xbox One X is designed to deliver full 4K resolution graphics with high dynamic range (HDR).

The Xbox One X also delivers the latest sound engineering, supporting both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

WIth a 4K Blu-ray player and the ability to stream and record 4K video, the Xbox One X is also the best deal for an entertainment system. A Blu-ray player with similar functionality costs at least $400. The Xbox One X costs $600, but you can also play games on it.

Games that are equipped to take advantage of the Xbox One’s unique features include:

  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • Forza Motorsport 7
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Gears of War 4, developed at The Coalition in Vancouver, has also been updated for the Xbox One X to deliver a visual and auditory experience unlike anything you’ve had before, with improved shadows, reflections, and character textures.

Keep in mind that you don’t need an Xbox One X to play any of these titles. Games and accessories designed and developed for the Xbox One console will work with any of the three models, the original, the “S”, or the “X”.

If you preorder an Xbox One X at a local Microsoft Store – in Calgary at Chinook Centre, in Edmonton at the West Edmonton Mall, in Burnaby at Metrotown, and in Vancouver at Pacific Centre – you can pick it up at 9 p.m. PT (10 p.m. MT) on Monday, November 6.

Some Best Buy and EB Games stores will also be open at 9 p.m. PT on that Monday (midnight ET on Tuesday) to support preorder pickups. Many will have giveaways and other launch offers available.

You’ll be able to watch the New York launch party on Mixer, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live.

Samsung’s Q-series sets a high bar for televisions

The Q in Samsung’s top line of TVs might stand for “quantum dot”, which is the company’s way of referring to the technology used to make the screens vibrant and colourful. These are ultra high definition screens which provide four times the resolution of a basic high definition screen. That means you can get even closer to the screen without seeing the pixels.

I’ve been using a 55-inch QLED for a couple of weeks now, and the crispness of the images I see on screen is noticeable. These sets also support high dynamic range (HDR) which leads to greater detail in all images.

As nice as the picture is, it’s the extra features in the QLED that really make it stand out. First, it can be mounted to the wall without a gap because the TV has a space in the back to accommodate the mount.

It’s also lacking a bezel around the screen, so the 55-inch screen I’ve been using is nearly a quarter smaller than the 55-inch screen I own.

The real kicker, though, is that you don’t have to run a bunch of thick, black cables up to and in behind the TV. Samsung’s moved all those connections to a box you can set well away from the TV, and sends the data to the set through a nearly invisible optical cable. Clean and tidy.

The QLEDs aren’t cheap, they start at $3,800 and go up from there to as high as $9,000, but if you’re looking for a new LED TV, these are the best you can get.

You can preorder your iPhone X now

If you’ve been waiting, don’t wait any longer. The iPhone X is available for preorder starting today.

Available in silver and space grey, there are two storage capacities, but I don’t know why anyone would bother with the 64 GB model for $1,319 when you can get four times the capacity in a 256 GB handset for $210 more ($1,529).

The new phone includes the new facial recognition software that delivers your login experience as well as enables “animoji”, the emoji that you can animate with your own facial expressions.

Apple also has a trade-in program that can get you up to $455 towards a new handset.

Apple Watch Series 3 test drive

I’ve got to say that I’m surprised I like wearing a watch so much, after not wearing a watch for more than 20 years.

But the Apple Watch provides so many conveniences. I love that it gives me haptic feedback when I’m navigating by car or by bike. The Series 3 is pool-proof so the fitness tracking features are more useful, and the various timing apps make it easy to stay on top of things.

And I really like to get notifications about messages and calls. I even like being able to make and take phone calls on my watch.

Which brings me to the reason I’m frustrated with this Series 3 on my wrist. One of its key features is that it is equipped with cellular functionality, so the Apple Watch can operate independent of an iPhone. This is a liberating shift, and one that I’d really like to be able to tell you works amazing.

But my cellular carrier is Rogers. Which seems to have no intention of supporting the cellular functionality of Apple Watches. The only provider in Canada that does at the moment is Bell, which is not even available to people in Manitoba and Sask. According to Apple, Telus will apparently be offering some kind of Apple Watch plan “later this year”.

I mostly love the Apple Watch. It’s Rogers I’m annoyed with.

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