Guest written by: Ondrej Kubovic, ESET‘s IT Security Specialist
End of year bargains – this is the time of year when retail sales go through the roof. According to a recent study by Deloitte’s, more people than ever before will hunt for deals and shop online this festive season, when total holiday sales globally are projected to reach as much as $1 trillion.
In another historic milestone, shoppers will spend just as much money in the virtual realm as in bricks and mortar stores this festive season. With the UAE home to a burgeoning e-commerce market, the surge in online sales leaves consumers vulnerable to various cyberattacks. In the run-up to the festive season, Ondrej Kubovic, ESET‘s IT Security Specialist shares five tips that will help keep attackers away from shoppers‘ hard earned money:
Use a Safe Connection
Not every internet connection is secure enough to be used for online payments. Public Wi-Fi available in a market is not necessarily the best of options for shopping. A safer alternative is to access your favorite e-shop via your personal data plan.
Protect Your Devices
Use a trustworthy device – be it your computer, tablet or smartphone – as it is much easier for you to spot any irregularities in its behavior. Also, keep your operating system and software up-to-date, to avoid unpatched vulnerabilities that could potentially be misused. Last but not least, install a reliable security solution with multiple protective layers and ideally one that can also offer protection for your e-banking and online payments.
Be Wary of Fake Deals
If you receive a festive shopping offer that seems too good to be true, there is a good chance it really is. Fake deals delivered to your inbox are common during the end-of-year season and are used to lure victims onto fake websites which harvest sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) or login credentials. To stay away from trouble, access e-shops of your choice by typing the correct URL directly into the browser bar.
Always Check the URL
If possible, opt for respected and trustworthy brands that offer a secure shopping environment and can help you solve possible issues. Even then, never let your guard down even when you see a well-known brand as fraudsters can create fake websites that look almost identical to their original counterparts. To avoid fake sites, keep a watchful eye on the URL as fakes are easily identifiable by their internet addresses being different to the official pages they are mimicking.
Use Credit Card or Secure Payment Services
Making a purchase online is safer with a credit card or secure online payment service, as this doesn’t involve any of the money you keep in your checking or savings account. Even in the unfortunate case of a fraudulent transaction, the damage can be partially accounted for by the bank or the service.
Sony MEA Intros Three New High-Performance G Lenses
Sony has announced three outstanding G Lenses to its impressive E-mount line-up – the FE 50mm F2.5 G (model SEL50F25G), FE 40mm F2.5 G (model SEL40F25G), and FE 24mm F2.8 G (model SEL24F28G). All three lenses deliver the high image quality and beautiful bokeh in a lightweight and compact design, perfect for photographers and videographers alike who strive for standout shots and easy mobility.
When paired with a Sony full-frame camera or APS-C, all three lenses boast high resolution, intuitive operability and fast, precise and quiet autofocus capabilities. The lenses have been introduced as the perfect set for photo and video for a wide range of uses including snap shooting, portraiture and landscape shots.
“At Sony we are constantly innovating to produce the tools that creators need to capture the beauty of this world” said Murat Gebeceli, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Middle East & Africa. “With superb resolution and mesmerising bokeh, all housed in a compact and sophisticated design, the FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G and FE 24mm F2.8 G enable users to experience the joy of owning lenses that capture different perspectives of the same scene”. These three prime lenses each deliver a focal length for any shoot with the 50mm best for portraits, the 40mm optimal for still or movie snap shooting, and the 24mm ideal for landscapes. With their intuitive operability and superb build quality they are a fantastic set of three.
What’s more, the three lenses are of the same size (68mm diameter x 45mm), have the same filter diameter (49mm) and are almost the same weight (FE 50mm F2.5 G 174g, FE 40mm F2.5 G 173g and FE 24mm F2.8 G 162g) and internal focus so lens interchange is easy – even when using a gimbal. They feature the same stylish exterior design, but focal lengths are clearly marked for quick switches.
The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G deliver the high image quality of a G Lens, whilst being compact and lightweight. The image quality is achieved by state-of-the-art optics using aspherical elements and ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, delivering high resolution and suppressing colour fringing. The aspherical elements ensure high-resolution performance in every corner of the image, even from the widest aperture with shallow depth of field. Enjoy shooting in high resolution using a compact design.
The stunning bokeh of the G lens is achieved with the optimisation of a circular aperture and is delivered at the widest point of each lens (FE 50mm F2.5 G F2.5 at 50mm, FE 40mm F2.5 G F2.5 at 40mm, and the FE 24mm F2.8 G F2.8 at 24mm). All three lenses were carefully designed for optimum mobility and are compact and lightweight enough to suit any location. Whether shooting with a full-frame or APS-C body for portraiture, landscape, snapshots or movies with a gimbal and more, the size and weight are balanced perfectly. Experience the benefits of interchanging lenses to suit any scene or subject.
As well as the 50mm angle of view is perfect for portraits and snap shooting stills or movies, the FE 50mm F2.5 G has a minimum focus distance of 0.35m (AF) / 0.31m (MF) and a maximum magnification of 0.18x (AF) / 0.21x (MF), meaning it’s ideal for a variety of scenes and objects. The FE 40mm F2.5 G 40mm angle of view is ideal for snap shooting stills or movies with a minimum focus distance of 0.28m (AF) / 0.25m (MF) and a maximum magnification of 0.20x (AF) / 0.23x (MF). Particularly for movie shooting, 40mm is the preferred angle of view as it corresponds to the natural field of vision and for stills, 40mm allows subjects to stand out against backgrounds.
With a wide 24mm angle of view, the FE 24mm F2.8 G lens is perfect in situations where the background is included, such as gimbal or selfie shooting with a grip attached. And with a minimum focus distance of 0.24m (AF) / 0.18m (MF) and maximum magnification of 0.13x (AF) / 0.19x (MF), you can also shoot close-ups with a blurred background.
Despite their compact size, the lenses feature a focus hold button, focus mode switch, aperture ring, and Aperture click switch for ideal operability. The focus hold button is customisable from the camera menu and can be assigned a function that the user prefers. The aperture ring provides a more intuitive and direct feel, compared to operating the aperture from the camera body when shooting either stills or movies.
The aperture also provides switchable click stops that can be turned off for movie shooting using the aperture click switch. Furthermore, with Linear Response MF, the focus ring responds precisely and linearly when focusing manually so control feels immediate and intuitive, directly reflecting the intent of the photographer and allowing delicate focus adjustments.
The aluminium exterior and engraved Sony logo ensure a premium, sophisticated finish as well as increased strength and durability. Conveniently, the diameter of the filter threads on the hood and the lens barrel are equal (49mm), allowing the same cap and filter to be attached to both the hood and the lens barrel. The lenses are also designed to be dust and moisture resistant to ensure usability in any outdoor environment.
The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G feature two linear motors to deliver fast, precise autofocus (AF) with excellent tracking performance which is maintained despite instantaneous changes in subject motion – making the lens ideal snapping moving subjects. The AF is also quiet, so works for both still and movie shooting.
The FE 50mm F2.5 G, FE 40mm F2.5 G, and FE 24mm F2.8 G will be available in selected countries in the Asia Pacific from April 2021.
Review: ASUS ROG Flow X13 (GV301)
The new ASUS ROG Flow X13 is the company’s ultra-slim gaming laptop that measures just 15.8mm thin and weighs just 1.3-kgs.
As soon as we took it out of its packaging, we were quite surprised at how thin the laptop was. This 13-inch gaming laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge, which ASUS calls Ergolift.
This hinge lets you use the laptop in multiple form factors to fit your needs. You can use it in the clamshell mode for the usual laptop usage. You can also flip the screen all the way to the back to use it as a tablet. In addition, you can even switch it to tent or stand modes to increase cooling that according to ASUS, lowers processor temperatures by up to 8°C.
And the Flow X13 looks pretty! You get textured lines across its surface for added grip for easy carrying. We also liked the fact that it has the metallic ROG badge on it, which makes it even cooler to look at. The ROG Flow X13 also supports the ROG XG Mobile external GPU, which is sold separately.
In terms of connectivity, you get plenty. On the left edge, you get a ROG XG Mobile interface, one HDMI 2.0b port, the 3.5mm audio combo jack, the activity LED and the power LED. On the right edge, you get one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports which come with DisplayPort 1.4 + PD support, and the power button, which also doubles-up as a fingerprint reader.
Around the edges of the Flow X13, you will find plenty of cooling vents to keep the device cool, even during your intense gaming sessions. The laptop also comes with two Speakers and a Smart Amp, with support for Hi-Res Audio and Dolby Atmos. In terms of battery, you get the 62Whr variety and ASUS bundles a smaller power adapter rated at 100W. The charger uses the USB-C connector to charge up the device.
As soon as you open the top lid of the laptop, you come face to face with a 13.4-inches UHD touch display that offers an aspect ratio of 16:10. The screen offers a refresh rate of 60Hz, is Pantone validated, and comes packed into 4.9mm slim side bezels. For extra protection from drops or scratches, the display is equipped with Corning Gorilla Glass. You also get a webcam on top of the display that offers a resolution of 720P.
Everything displayed on the Flow X13’s screen looked awesome. You also get the ASUS Pen inside the box, which is bundled along with the Flow X13. Since the display is protected with Gorilla Glass, you don’t have to worry about scratches when you tap, swipe, and scribble on it. The ASUS Pen offers a smooth stylus action whether you’re sketching, writing, or just jotting down on the screen.
Under the hood, the ROG Flow X13 is powered by AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor with Radeon Graphics, running at a clock speed of 3.30GHz. You also get 16GB of LPDDR4X 4266MHz Dual Channel RAM, and 1TB of M.2 2230 PCIe SSD storage. The laptop is also equipped with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth v5.2 wireless connectivity.
The 15-inch keyboard on this 13-inch laptop comes with curved keys that make typing on it a breeze. The keys offer a 1.7mm travel distance that allows for effortless keystrokes. The keyboard also comes with a white backlit that offers better visibility of the keys under low-light conditions.
The performance offered by the ASUS ROG Flow X13 is top-notch, especially for a gaming laptop this thin and light. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, coupled with 16GB of RAM, lets you run graphics-hungry applications with ease. Even CPU-intensive workloads such as video editing and 3D rendering become effortless.
For a price of AED 6999, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 seems like a very good deal, considering the form factor it is available in. It is thin, light and is also a gaming laptop. It also comes packed with an outstanding specs sheet, which offers brilliant overall performance. If you are a road warrior who is heavily into content creation or hardcore gaming on the go, the ASUS ROG Flow X13 won’t disappoint.
Price: AED 6999
Photography by Ranbir Sen
Nubia Launches the RedMagic 6 Series Tencent Edition Gaming Smartphone
Developed together with Tencent Games, RedMagic announced the latest iteration of its mobile gaming flagship line, the Tencent edition of RedMagic 6 and 6 Pro devices.
Featuring an ultra-smooth 165Hz refresh rate gaming display, a unique active cooling system and cutting-edge mobile gaming performance, the Tencent RedMagic 6 Series aims to bring a new level of performance to mobile gaming. The company also unveiled the first ever wearable product from RedMagic, the RedMagic Watch as well as other gaming accessories.
A Revolutionary Screen Brings an Unprecedented Display Experience
The Tencent RedMagic 6 and 6 Pro adopts the industry’s highest refresh rate AMOLED screen at 165Hz, which refreshes with 21 more frames a second than the 144Hz panels. It reduces the lag and makes visuals even smoother, creating the industry’s smoothest and most stable screen display. The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series also supports Touch Choreographer, an intelligently adaptive technology that selects the most accurate refresh rate between 60Hz/90Hz/120Hz/165Hz based on your activity, resulting in a more comfortable visual experience, and saving battery power. Users can also manually lock the screen refresh based on their own preferences and activity, such as when playing games.
The Tencent RedMagic 6 and RedMagic 6 Pro also features the industry’s highest touch sampling rate – with a single finger touch sampling rate of up to 500Hz and a multi-finger touch sampling rate of up to 360Hz. The response time is as low as 8ms, which makes the device extremely responsive, enabling players to hit and play faster and more accurately.
To ensure these truly incredible display speeds do not impact battery life, NUBIA has implemented a mobile device CPHY-DSI Technology for the first time in the industry, increasing the transmission rate for high quality images by twice as much as before and uses 20-50% less power.
The display of RedMagic 6 Series Tencent Edition is also perfect for all kinds of entertainment. The visual experience is supreme. The 6.8” FHD+ AMOLED display also has a screen ratio of 20:9, a resolution of 2400*1080, and a screen-to-body ratio of 91.28%. The color performance is excellent with the stunning depth of color of 10bit and full DCI-P3. The peak brightness is 630 nits, and the contrast ratio is as high as 1000000:1. Every detail is vivid and sharp even in sunlight. This display is also certificated by SGS for eye care, low smear, and high refresh rate. The 6th generation fingerprint sensor sits under the display and unlocks 50% faster compared to the last generation. Press, unlock, and play quickly and smoothly.
Upgraded to ICE 6.0 Cooling System Ensures Top Core Performance
Tencent RedMagic 6 series uses the new ICE 6.0 Multi-dimensional Cooling System with a built-in turbofan. The built-in high-speed centrifugal turbofan can reach up to an astounding 20,000 rpm and the canyon air duct design for airflow increases the air heat transfer coefficient by 500%. There’s also a large copper foil, covering the battery, while a vapor chamber (the world’s thinnest at 0.33mm) sits behind the motherboard, connected by thermal paste. Even the intense graphically demanding games run smooth and cold on Tencent RedMagic 6 Series.
The back of the RedMagic 6 Pro adopts an aero-grade heat dissipation ice blade design. The material selected is a high thermal conductivity aviation aluminum alloy material with a thermal conductivity of 200W/(mK). It greatly enhances the heat dissipation and thermal conductivity of the back cover, and can reduce the tactile temperature of the fuselage surface by 3-5 degrees on average.
Go a step further and complete the ultimate cooling solution with the new Dual-core Ice Dock. As the name implies, it is a dual system with dual fans and dual semiconductors for improved cooling. Not only does it keep the phone cool, but it looks cool too with its RGB lights and wing-shaped design, it’s a no-holds-bar cooling machine. Pair up with Bluetooth to control the fan and lights to fit your style and cooling needs.
Top Spec Supports Elite Gaming Adventure
The Tencent RedMagic 6 and Tencent RedMagic 6 Pro are empowered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. The CPU part uses the latest Kryo 685 architecture and adds a new Cortex-X1 super large core and can clock up to 2.84GHz, increasing the CPU performance of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 by 25%.
The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series is equipped with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 Storage. Faster application retrieval and caching speed, even if multiple apps are opened in the background, the phone can still run smoothly, without worrying about running into memory performance limitations.
RedMagic gaming phone 6 Pro is also equipped with a new UFS3.1 flagship flash memory, supporting HS-G4 specifications, and has a single-channel bandwidth of 11.6Gbps, which is twice the performance of UFS 2.1.
In terms of network, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform integrates a complete 5G solution from Qualcomm’s third-generation 5G modem to the antenna-Snapdragon X60 5G modem and radio frequency system. It has stronger performance, wider coverage and higher speeds.
The 5G solution uses dual-mode SA and NSA, supports n1/n3/n41/n77/n78 and other network frequency bands, allowing you to experience high-speed mobile communication anytime, anywhere.
RedMagic OS 4.0, Intelligent Software Optimization for a Fluid Experience
The Tencent RedMagic 6 Series edition adopts a deeply customized software system based on the Android 11 version and has carried out more than 100 in-depth game adaptations and optimizations to create the RedMagic OS 4.0. Based on the deep optimization of the software and hardware of the game’s bottom layer, Tencent RedMagic 6 series also cooperates with Tencent Games, using the SolarCore 3.1 gaming engine, bringing a better gaming experience.
RedMagic OS 4.0 can learn user habits and preloads frequently used applications in advance to achieve the effect of faster use. The intelligent scheduling of CPU, GPU and memory can quickly respond when performance is required, shortening loading times such as booting, application startup, game loading, and touch screen response; in addition, the rendering system can trigger related resources for scenes with different refresh rates to ensure a stable frame rate for high-refresh scenes, and intelligent power saving for low-refresh scenes.
RAM Boost memory compression technology, expands virtual memory, so that 12G memory is used like 18G memory. The more memory, the faster the system responses and the smoother the game.
Magic Write 2.0 is a fast read-write optimization patented technology developed exclusively by RedMagic. Through the intelligent classification of file content and characteristics, it can realize the systematic optimization of disk write synchronization and asynchronous mixed dispatch, taking into account asynchronous concurrency and serial writing. The long-lasting performance improvement brings faster, more stable and safer disk read and write performance. In addition to increasing the writing speed of small files by up to 10 times as fast, it also optimizes file reading and writing for Tencent applications such as WeChat and QQ, increasing the reading and writing speed by 50% and accelerating reading and writing.
RedMagic OS 4.0 also improves the Touch Choreographer feature which can make the frame rate more stable by up to 50% to always get the smoothest experience without worrying about screen tearing or battery life.
Through the all-around performance optimizations and upgrades of Red Magic OS 4.0, the game performance and user experience of RedMagic phones have been maximized. The RedMagic 6 Series Tencent edition is also empowered by Tencent’s Solar Core game engine, which solves the three major pain points of competitive mobile game response speed, frame rate stability, and network latency.
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