When you think about new smartphones, you probably think of fancy specs like a big gorgeous display or a powerful rear camera system. But Hisense’s new E-Ink smartphone, the A9, will make you think differently about gorgeous displays.
While the phone doesn’t boast a gigantic bright OLED display that’ll look good while you’re gaming or watching videos on TikTok or Twitch, it offers a display that readers will love. Its 6.1-inch 300ppi E-Ink Carto 1200 display uses a HyperWave ultra-wave engine that should make for a 33% faster refresh rate and more precise color temperature adjustment (with 36 levels to choose from).
What’s really cool there is that the phone’s display also features 27 LEDs. This makes the phone super tuned to readers, as it minimizes eye strain, even if you spend all day scrolling Twitter or enjoying reading a bunch of ebooks.
With a 4,000mAh battery, you’ll have plenty of juice for reading all day long or doing anything else you might do with your phone. It also sports a 5MP front camera, 13MP rear camera, and a side-mounted fingerprint reader. Connectivity-wise, the phone supports 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Inside, you’ll find a Snapdragon 662 processor powering the A9, which runs on InkOS; this is based on Android 11 and you can load any compatible apps onto it that you want. As far as audio goes, you’re looking at the ES9318 chip for HiFi output and support for popular codecs like LDAC, SBC, AAC, and AptX Bluetooth. This makes it great not just for listening to music, but also for listening to your favorite audiobooks.
You can purchase the Hisense a9 E-Ink smartphone today here, and it’s priced at $409.99. It’s available in two configurations: 4GB RAM + 128GB storage, or 6GB RAM + 128GB storage. It looks to be an interesting mid-range phone aimed at readers, and hey, it beats toting around your phone AND your Kindle, right?
It might not seem like the needle-moving announcement that Apple would make. But thanks to a news bit from a trusted analyst, there’s hope on the horizon that someday soon, Apple iPhones and Android smartphones will stop being separated—by charging cables, at least. (Don’t expect any parity on messaging any time soon!)
This week on Gadgettes, we dive into the most recent Apple leaks. With WWDC 2022 fast approaching, we figured it’d be an appropriate time to round up some of what we’ve heard in the rumor mill.
In addition to the USB-C tidbit, there’s chatter about everything from what the Apple Watch Series 8 will be capable of to whether iOS 16 will see much of a significant bump. We’ll also get into some of the patents revealed over the past few weeks, including a Surface Pro-like keyboard for the iPad and a foldable iPhone with a color E Ink display.
Then, Sony does it again, grooving into our hearts with its new WH-1000XM5 headphones. The model name doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but you won’t care once you realize these are some of the best headphones money can buy. We’ll talk about why these headphones are worth their $400 price point. We’ll also get into the caveats of headphones like these and why the WH-1000XM5’s new folding mechanism might make you go for the last-generation model.
Finally, we’ll defend printers. We’ll explain why you might consider springing for an all-in-one printer for your at-home print shop. The compact HP Deskjet 6700 is an all-in-one that comes in a few colors and pairs rather nicely with the Amazon Basics laminator if you need to make reusable worksheets! HP also offers Instant Ink, which ships you ink cartridges so that you don’t have to worry about securing more when they run out.
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You might not know it from glancing at a Chromebook, but Google’s Chrome OS is in a constant state of evolution.
The operating system receives minor updates every two to three weeks and major releases every six weeks. And, at any given moment, Google’s staff is working on features and software enhancements that most people won’t see for a matter of weeks — or months.
Here’s a little secret, though: if you’re feeling adventurous, you can gain access to those unreleased enhancements. All it takes is the flip of a virtual switch in your Chromebook’s settings, and you’ll have all sorts of interesting new options at your fingertips.
First, it’s important to understand exactly what’s involved so you can make an educated decision about which setup makes the most sense for you.
Understanding the Chrome OS channels
Chrome OS actually exists in four separate development channels. The software you see on your Chromebook varies considerably depending on which channel you choose:
The Stable channel is the polished and ready for prime time version of the software that all devices use by default.
The Beta channel is updated weekly and receives new features about a month ahead of its Stable sibling.
The Developer channel is updated as frequently as twice a week and sees stuff that’s actively being worked on and has undergone only a small amount of testing.
Finally, the Canary channel is what Google describes as the “bleeding edge” Chrome OS path — a channel that receives dailyupdates prior to any widespread testing and can be accessed only by a Chromebook that’s switched into a special developer mode (which, somewhat confusingly, has nothing to do with the Developer channel).
The Stable channel is the safest option and what the vast majority of people should use — particularly those who need to know their computers will always work flawlessly without any hiccups or unexpected glitches.
If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind a bit of a risk, the Beta channel is a good way to get a peek at unreleased features without too much instability. The odds of running into something funky are certainly higher than with Stable, but, by and large, elements in Beta are fairly well-developed and just in the final phases of testing.
Most day-to-day users would be well advised to stay away from the Developer channel since it receives updates as they’re built and is quite likely to contain bugs. And, as for the Canary channel, if you’re not sure whether you ought to be using it, the answer is probably no.
Changing your Chrome OS channel
Once you’ve decided which channel you want to try, here’s how to make the switch:
Open your Chromebook’s settings.
Click About Chrome OS in the menu on the left, then click Additional details.
Look for the category Channel and click the Change channel button. That’ll cause a pop-up to appear that lets you select the Stable, Beta, or Developer channel. (Canary, remember, is available only if your device is in Developer mode — a level of access that opens the door to more advanced forms of OS modification but also disables some of the software’s standard layers of protection. It requires several extra steps to enable and, again, isn’t advisable for most Chromebook users.)
Click the channel you want, then click the blue Change channel confirmation button that appears.
Click the left-facing arrow at the top of the screen to get back to the About Chrome OS page. When you see the Restart button appear near the top of the page (it may take a minute or two), click it.
And that’s it: as soon as your Chromebook finishes restarting, you’ll be on your new channel with all your accounts, files, and preferences in place just like you left them.
If you ever decide you want to move back to the Stable channel, repeat that same process and select Stable.
Just note that moving in that direction — from a higher channel to a less experimental one — generally requires you to Powerwash your Chromebook. Powerwash means all of your information and data will be erased, and you’ll have to sign in anew and start over.
The one exception: if your Chromebook is connected to a work- or school-based G Suite account, your data won’t be deleted and the change won’t take place immediately. Instead, you’ll have to wait until the lower channel catches up to the higher one in version number, which could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Update May 20th, 2022, 9:30AM ET: This article was originally published on October 15th, 2019, and has been updated to account for changes in the OS.