4K Phones and Tablets FAQs
Mobile phones with the ability to shoot 4K ultra HD video are indeed a relatively new development but they’re also hardly something that’s just barely come into existence. In fact, they’ve been around commercially since 2013, when the chipmaker Qualcomm launched their powerful Snapdragon 800 chipsets and gave phone makers the processing ability to create 4K ultra HD video inside a device as tiny and highly versatile as a phone.
Now of course, in 2015/2016, 4K video recording has gone from being a deeply exotic feature to something that pretty much every truly high-end flagship smartphone from a name brand “must have”.
And the recording specs of these 4K UHD cameras in the smartphones we’ll be covering in just a bit are no slouch either: While 4K resolution technically refers to “True 4K” at 4096 x 2160 pixels, its more practical manifestation comes in the form of what is called 4K ultra HD, at 3840 x 2160 pixels.
This is the most common recording resolution for even many high-end 4K cameras and it’s also the same resolution at which all current smartphones with 4K cameras record. What’s even more impressive is that these phone cameras, despite their absolutely tiny size, manage to capture some impressive ultra HD video at frame rates comparable to those of many great 4K DSLRs, camcorders and prosumer video recorders. That is, at about 24 to 30 frames per second. Thus, the current high end phones with 4K video from brands like Apple, Samsung, Sony or LG feature not only all their normal rich connectivity technology but also pack in video camera power that’s in a certain way superior to that of many rather expensive Full HD video recorders and camcorders!
As for 4K display in smartphones. We can safely say that the technology does indeed have a future, but as a current consumer feature of smartphones, it’s far less developed than 4K video recording in these devices. Specifically, at least as of the end of 2015, only one single smartphone model with an actual 4K UHD display exists, and it belongs to the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium phone, which we’ll cover in more detail further down. However, we expect this to change in 2016, even if some brands are rumored to be ignoring 4K phone display.
Best 4K Video Recording Smartphones: iPhone 6S, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5 And More
The smartphone has certainly come a long way. Starting off from the most basic of mobile phones that are only used for making calls, smartphones now also function as video game devices, personal assistants, mini-computers, and many more roles depending on the apps installed.
One other way that smartphones are being used today are as video cameras, and with a multitude of models already incorporating 4K video recording capabilities, smartphones being used as video cameras will surely continue as a trend into the near future.
For users that are looking to purchase a new smartphone with 4K video recording in mind, here are the best ones to choose from.
Apple iPhone 6s / iPhones 6s Plus
Apple’s iPhone 6, along with the bigger iPhone 6s Plus, features 4K video recording with 3,840 x 2,160 dimensions at 30 frames per second. The iPhone 6s Plus, in addition, features optical image stabilization for video.
The video camera functions of the smartphones also support slow-motion video recording for 1080p at 120 frames per second and 720p at 240 frames per second, time-lapse video recording with stabilization, continuous autofocus video and the ability to take 8-megapixel pictures while recording 4K video.
The maximum capacities of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, however, are 128 GB, which could be a problem for hardcore video users that would like to have more memory capacities for their devices.
Samsung Galaxy S7/Galaxy S7 edge/ Galaxy S6 / Galaxy S6 edge / Galaxy S6 edge +
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 line of smartphones all feature 4K video recording, with videos displayed on the quad HD Super AMOLED screens of the smartphones.
Similar to the iPhone 6s devices, the smartphones in the Samsung Galaxy S6 line are limited by a maximum capacity of 128 GB. While there are rumors that the company will be bringing back the expandable memory feature for the Galaxy S7, users that choose the current flagship smartphones of Samsung will have to get by with the fixed internal memory capacity.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 follows with the same features of the Galaxy S6 line in terms of the camera, with 4K video recording that can be viewed on the company’s quad HD Super AMOLED screen. The device also has the same limitation of only up to 128 GB of memory.
In terms of features for video recording, the Galaxy S6 devices and the Galaxy Note 5 are basically the same. The difference would be in the extra features, With the Galaxy S6 edge smartphones featuring dual-edge display and the Galaxy Note 5 coming with Samsung’s S Pen stylus.
Motorola DROID Turbo 2
The Motorola DROID Turbo 2 is a Verizon-exclusive smartphone that features 4K video recording plus slow motion video capture and video HDR for 4K and 1080p recordings. The smartphone also has a massive 3,760 mAh battery, which will allow users to capture more video before the device’s power runs out.
Memory capacity is not a limitation for the DROID Turbo 2 in comparison with the Apple and Samsung smartphones. The device, has an internal memory of only up to 64 GB, but it features microSD card support for extra memory of up to 2 TB.
The LG G4 will soon be replaced by the LG G5 as the company’s flagship smartphone, but it is still a very capable device for 4K video recording. The smartphone is also capable of sending 4K video directly to HDMI-enabled TVs.
The smartphone also supports microSD cards for up to 2 TB of extra memory, which is great for storing as many 4K videos as possible.
Google Nexus 5X / Nexus 6P
Google’s latest Nexus devices are both capable of 4K video recording, with slow motion recording capabilities at 120 frames per second for the Nexus 5X and at 240 frames per second for the Nexus 6P.
The Nexus 5X only has a 2,700 mAh battery and up to 32 GB of internal memory though, which would make the Nexus 6P with a 3,450 mAh battery and up to 128 GB of internal memory a better choice as a 4K video recorder among the two Nexus devices.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium 4K phone
The biggest and most flashy of them all, the Zperia Z5 Premium is the top dog phone in the Z5 family of new Sony phones that also includes the Z5, Z5 Compact and the Premium itself, which is the one and only phone on the market right now with both a 4K ultra HD video recording camera that can shoot at 30 frames per second and a 4K ultra HD display that lets you watch your home 4K movies right on the device itself after you’ve shot them.
This camera’s photo capture capacity is also downright impressive, sitting at 23 megapixels thanks to the phone’s ½.3” Exmor RS sensor and also including Sony’s SteadyShot Intelligent Active Mode OIS system and an insanely fast hybrid autofocus system.
So far, no other phone on the market offers both technologies and the latest rumors from Sony’s main rivals like Samsung, LG and Apple seem to indicate that there will be no other phone with 4K display for most of 2016.
The Xperia Z5 Premium is big, bad, flashy and definitely not cheap, though it’s not as expensive as we’d have expected either at less than $700.
It’s also worth noting that while Sony already had 4K UHD video shooting in their older Z3 mobile phone, the 4K video we’ve seen from the Z5 Premium is much better than that of the previous model.
Best laptops and tablets of CES 2016:
The Consumer Electronics Show marks the launch, or at least announcement, of thousands of devices and products. These range from activity trackers and smartphones to TVs and laptops, with all sorts in between.
This year’s show saw several laptops announced from the likes of Lenovo, HP, Acer and others so we have rounded up the best of the bunch here.
You’ll find a brief summary of each laptop and we will be adding any links to our first impressions as we get our hands and eyes on them. Here are the best laptops of CES 2016.
LG Gram 15
LG announced the LG Gram 15 laptop at CES 2016, which looks rather like Apple’s MacBook. It joins the 14-inch model launched at the end of last year and brings with it a 15.6-inch display and a magnesium alloy body.
An Intel Core i5 or i7 processor powers the ultra-slim laptop that measures just 16.7mm and hits the scales at 980g. A Full HD IPS display is on board too and it runs on Windows 10 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of internal storage. LG has said it is coming soon but details as to when and how much have yet to be revealed.
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
Samsung announced the Galaxy TabPro S at CES 2016, looking to take on the likes of Microsoft, Lenovo and Apple with a portable device that doubles as a laptop and tablet in one.
The Galaxy TabPro S is a Windows 10 2-in-1 device that is not only super light, but super slim too. It has a 12-inch 2160 x 1440 Super AMOLED display, a 10.5-hour battery life and it runs on a 6th gen Intel Core M dual-core processor.
Samsung Notebook 9 Series
Samsung also announced two additions to its Notebook 9 series at CES 2016 including a 15-inch and 13.3-inch laptop. Both devices run on Windows 10 and can be specified with up to Intel Core i7 processors.
The smaller-screened device measures 13.4mm slim and hits the scales at under a kilo, while the larger model has a thickness of 14.5mm and a weight of 1.29kg. Both have Full HD displays and come in silver and pink, while the 15-incher also adds USB Type-C to the party. The Notebook 9 series will be available in select markets from early 2016, but not the UK.
Lenovo Yoga 900S
The Lenovo Yoga 900S spearheads the company’s 2016 line-up with its pencil-thin 12.8mm build that weighs just shy of a kilo. It sports a 12-inch QHD display, 10.5-hour battery life and it features a 360-degree watchband hinge, allowing you to flip the screen over for a Windows 10 tablet.
There’s a full keyboard on board, along with an optional active pen stylus. The Yoga 900S will ship in March 2016, priced from $1099 in the US.
HP Spectre x360
HP announced several laptops at CES 2016 including the Spectre x360 family with lots of exciting features for this year including a 4K display, OLED, Bang & Olufsen audio and a larger 15-inch model.
The 13.3-inch model returns with an OLED Quad HD display option, meaning a 50g lighter device and a higher colour gamut. The 15.6-inch model is new for 2016 and comes with a 4K display, 15.9mm slim body and a 9.5-hour battery life. The 15.6-inch Spectre x360 will start at £1000 this month, while the 13.3-inch OLED model will be available in spring but pricing has yet to be announced.
HP EliteBook Folio
Along with the HP Spectre x360 refresh, HP also announced the EliteBook 1040 and the EliteBook Folio. It is the latter that really caught our eye however, despite being business focused.
The EliteBook Folio is pitched as the world’s thinnest and lightest business class notebook. It is 12.4mm thin, weighs less than a kilo and offers a battery life up to 10 hours. There is also a 4K display on board, all for a starting price of $999 in March.
Acer Aspire Switch 12 S
The Acer Aspire Switch 12 S is a 2-in-1 notebook that features the company’s Snap Hinge Gold that is said to support fast data streaming between the tablet and keyboard for a quick connection, while the Acer ExoAmp antenna is claimed to offer reliable Wi-Fi.
The anodised aluminium body is just 7.85mm thin and the latest 6th Generation Intel Core M processors are under the hood, while USB Type-C supports fast data transfers. Users can choose between a 4K or Full HD display, both protected by Gorilla Glass 4, and prices start at $999.99 in North America and €1199 in Europe from February.
Acer Chromebook 11
Acer’s latest Chromebook – designation CB3-131 – has an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display, with the company’s anti-glare technology. It offers up to nine hours of battery life and can be spec’ed with either 2GB or 4GB of memory to add to the Intel Celeron quad-core processor, and either 16GB or 32GB of internal flash storage.
However, it’s biggest draw is the super slim form factor. It measures just 18.6mm so has a small footprint and is 1.1kg, making it light enough to sling in a backpack comfortably. With different specifications being available, the new Acer Chromebook 11 series starts at $179.99 in the US and will be available from February. UK prices are yet to be revealed.
Most our smart phones and tablets support up to 1080P HD playback. If you want to watch 4K videos on your 1080P device, you can convert 4K to 1080P HD or SD formats with a professional video converter – Pavtube Video Converter Ultimate (Mac) for easy playback. With it, you can quickly convert any SD/HD/4K videos to any smartphones/tablets/laptops more friendly formats with three simple steps.
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Free Download and trail:
– Pavtube old official address: http://www.pavtube.cn/blu-ray-video-converter-ultimate/
– Cnet Download: http://download.cnet.com/Pavtube-Video-Converter-Ultimate/3000-2194_4-75938564.html
PS: What 4K means in a smartphone: current pros and cons
It’s one thing to have a 4K camera or display in your phone so you can brag about it to your friends, and it’s another thing to practically use this technology and see how it affects phone performance.
This is in fact where the main catch of 4K video recording and even more-so, 4K phone display lies: The processing power and consequently battery capacity needed to render and capture all those 8.29 million pixels of 4K video are not light and phone makers have to look at innovative new chip technologies and processer architectures in order to make either UHD display or video shooting work in a consumer-friendly way in their phones.
This is an issue that’s obviously still being resolved and while it’s come a long way for 4K video shooting in particular, problems for both 4K cameras and display still exist, along with the benefits of so much power. Here’s a breakdown:
Exquisite video quality from a device that you can carry everywhere in your pocket or purse
4K video can be disabled while the phone still runs with all the processing technology needed for it
You can even produce professional video with just a phone (the iPhone 6S Plus has been used to film documentaries already)
Extraordinary levels of detail in photos and video
4K display creates razor-perfect video and image quality
Both display and video recording technologies in phones are still expensive
Some phone models can quickly overheat when filming UHD video
Battery life can be seriously affected
4K display visually indistinguishable from Full HD display in a tiny 5 to 6 inch screen
A serious lack of 4K UHD video content which can be viewed on a 4K smartphone display
As you can see, while 4K smartphones definitely come with their benefits, there are still plenty of kinks to work out in them before the technology becomes easy enough to build that phone makers include it as an afterthought. However, we’re virtually certain that this is exactly what will eventually happen; phones with both 4K recording and display will absolutely become as common as HD-equipped smartphones are today.
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