Driving a 4K Monitor at 60Hz from the 2015 13″ MacBook Pro

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One of the important features I was looking for in my new laptop was the ability to drive a 4K monitor at full resolution and 60Hz. Basically when running Mac OS X, this means you get a 1080p looking resolution with pixel-doubled retina goodness! Nice for my aging eyes ;)

Apple’s website claims that the new 2015 13″ MacBook Pro can handle it, so that’s the model that I went for. But I had problems getting it running at anything higher than 30Hz on my Dell P2715Q 4K monitor. Turns out the problem was the cable that they include with the P2715Q. I purchased this well-reviewed cable on Amazon, hooked it up, and kaboom! I was running 4K at 60Hz. On the P2715Q, make sure to turn the MST setting off so that it uses the default SST setting.

May the 4K be with you, always. (until 8K)

Thinking Android? Think Sony!

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I’ve used a lot of Android phones over the years starting with the first one ever. The quality of Android phones can often let you down, even the high-end models (I’m looking at you, HTC). I was getting tired of the recent trend in Android devices, mainly that they were getting way too enormous in size to be able to comfortably fit in your hand and pocket. The new Nexus 6 is just ridiculously ginormous:

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Image from CNET’s Nexus 6 review: http://www.cnet.com/products/google-nexus-6

I set out to find an Android device that would meet my requirements:

  • Comfortable size with a nice display.
  • Good camera.
  • Fast CPU and storage.
  • Good battery life.

Lots of manufacturers struggle to meet even 3 of those requirements. Samsung has the Galaxy S5 mini but its camera is no good. HTC offers the One Mini 2 but it has a much slower CPU and also a lousy camera. Sony is the only one who has put all of these things into one package in the Sony Z3 Compact:

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Small in size, yet powerful under the hood.

This device has really impressed me. The UI isn’t stock Android, but Sony doesn’t mess it up too badly with their customizations. And besides, Google is offering so many apps in Google Play like Google Now Launcher and Messenger which make it easy to pretty much get back to an experience that is very much like stock Android.

The camera performs really well on the Z3 compact as well. It’s not as mind blowing as you get with something like the iPhone 6, but I typically get sharp photos with little noise and correct color reproduction. All of the recent photo posts on this blog were taken on the device. It struggles a bit in low light, but that’s the only area where I’ve noticed any problems. It can also shoot slow motion video which is really fun.

The battery life is also shockingly good. I can use this device for two full days before needing to connect it back up for more juice. The fact that the device is a 720p display probably helps it use less power when compared to its flagship counterparts.

One issue I’ve had is that Sony is slow to update the software on the device. It is still stuck on Android 4.4, although it appears that they are rolling out the Lollipop update soon.

Hopefully other Android manufacturers will pick up on what Sony has achieved with this device and apply it to their lineup. If Samsung came out with a Galaxy S6 mini with similar specs to the regular S6, that would be hard to resist!