Unboxings & Choosing Your Next Smart Device - II

Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Now this is what I'm talking about when I say there is a lot of quality material out there from Pinoys into tech reviews. Just take a peek at these 2 videos on the features of the Cherry Mobile Omega HD. The content is just so compelling, I almost want to run out and buy one of these phones.






Check out Rommel Manzano's channel at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rommelmanzano?feature=watch

The MSI MK9132 Keyboard-Mouse Duo

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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When I did my most recent build last year, I just so happened to purchase an MSI A75MA-P35 motherboard and installed it on an MSI Eagle slim-ATX case. A few days ago I bought an MSI keyboard+mouse combo I've been eyeing at CD-R King for months. I didn't really know if this was an actual product from Microstar, but heck the price won me over.

For the low-low price (which is what CD-R King is best known for) of 320 pesos, I got this set:


The keyboard is actually quite good. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic. It's supposedly spill-resistant. A quick inspection of the bottom confirms the presence of drain holes. Well, sorry but I won't be testing that for you though. It's also supposed to have laser-etched markings so the letters printed on it should last at least a few years. What surprised me was how quiet this thing is when you're typing. It is quite silent compared to my trusty old A4Tech KLS-5UP mini-keyboard.

The mouse on the other hand felt quite flimsy in comparison. The material for the right and left buttons felt so plasticky I was afraid I'd chip it if I pressed too hard. The wheel was noisy compared with how quiet the keyboard was...LOL. The sensor was spot-on though. No complaints there. I mean, this ain't gaming quality, but for simple everyday browsing, it works fine. I did put it back in the box though. I still preferred my A4Tech V-Track N-400.

I now have a complete system though. I won't be buying an MSI monitor any time soon, so scratch that. But I think having a set like I have now is quite satisfactory.

Samsung Mega - Phones Just Got Ginormous...Again!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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Samsung announced the Galaxy Mega last week in a press release. I've been waiting for videos of the product in actual consumer hands but they have been hard to come by. But here's a video that was apparently leaked, with commentary from the poster:



I haven't seen units yet in any local stores either. What is known for certain are the specs, as published in the press release. In a nutshell, the specs I find important are as follows:
  • Display: 6.3-inch HD TFT  
  • Processor: 1.7GHz Dual Core ARM Processor 
  • OS: Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: 8 MP rear-facing camera, 1.9 MP front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, BT 4.0, USB 2.0
  • Memory: 8/16GB Internal Memory (microSD up to 64GB) + 1.5GB RAM
  • Battery: 3,200 mAh Li-ion Standard Battery

This thing is huge compared to the Galaxy Note II's 5.3 inches. It is just ever so slightly smaller that a 7-inch tablet. Aside from the pudgy-fat-fingers use-case and the i-can't-type-properly-on-a-small-screen issue with users like me, this is not a phone for everyone. However, personal opinions aside, right now it's Samsung that is forging ahead of the competition in terms of creating new niches in the market. Creating products like the Samsung Mega explores the possibilities. If you check stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, other lesser known brands like Starmobile, Cherry Mobile, Cloudfone, MyPhone, etc. already have their own 5-inch or slightly smaller screened phones. That niche was non-existent if we were talking about screen sizes before the original Galaxy Note was launched.

With the positive response from the way the Galaxy Note II got sold out when it was launched, only time will tell if the consumer market will embrace an ever bigger phablet. This is a gamble that I think Samsung will win though. But ultimately it's going to be the consumer who decides whether this niche deserves it's own line of products.

Unboxings & Choosing Your Next Smart Device

Saturday, April 13, 2013

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With the increasingly overlapping release dates of so many competing smartphone brands, it's been hard to keep up with the latest device releases. It's become harder to maintain a good grasp of what products give the best value for money, especially if you're on the lookout for your next phone or tablet. So reviews, specifically unboxings with demos, like the one below are really useful for evaluating products you may want to consider buying. The one linked below is for the about to be released Starmobile Diamond:



Increasingly, I find myself watching the feeds for sites like Rappler.com. You should look for local reviews when looking for a product to buy. The important thing is to see the Filipino perspective about a device before looking at it. Like other Asians, we don't necessarily have the same use-case scenarios that North Americans have. It's better to look for local tech journalists reviewing locally released products, so you get to experience a review that is as relevant to you as possible.

Also look for product information on stores you can physically go to to try the thing. It's common for stores not to give you hands on time with device, so walk away if the retail store does that. You should 'vote' with your money. Buy from the stores that give you the chance to test the product before you actually buy it. Let them know you appreciate the tinker time they give you.

So what will your next smartphone be? Where did you first hear about it? Did you watch a detailed review of it before deciding to go to store to check it out?

Best Cans for Your Portable Audio

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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Every music and podcast lover wants to take their music with them. Be it a boring commute to work, or the  dreary atmosphere at the office, having your own audio to make the day bearable always helps gets you through. Here are in my opinion the best cans out there:

Heil Sound Pro Set 3 - with  high quality 40 mm Rare Earth Neodymium magnets and voice coils, a frequency response of 10 Hz - 22 kHz and the solid engineering of Bob Heil behind it all, what's not to love about it?  Well, maybe the price. But then again, these cans are worthy of any studio and are frequently used by recording artists, pro podcasters and musicians. If you want to show everyone you've evolved into the  pro, get these headsets. Available at Amazon and Heil Sound. Price: US$110.



Audio-Technica ATH-M50WH Professional Studio Monitor - Nothing says cool like a white set of Audio Technica cans. And nothing is cooler than a bargain! You know me, I love bargains. This pair used to cost US$209. It's available now at Amazon for almost $90 dollars less! And these don't scrimp in quality either. With 45 mm large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnets, a closed-back cushioned ear cup design and an adjustable padded headband, you'll wear these all day long and enjoy that progressive rock playlist you've been keeping secret from friends. It even has a coiled cable and a collapsible design for easy portability and convenient storage. I would prefer these over any $200, celebrity-endorsed, big-letter-B-branded pair any day! Available at Amazon and Audio Technica. Price: US$121.

505527_FREE SHIPPING On ANY Product! Shop Klipsch Today for Gifts Klipsch Image ONE Premium - Time for another bargain! Klipsch, another one of those less popular but reliable brands came out with this a few years back, but now is the time to snap a pair. This used to cost US$ 150. It can now be had for almost half that. With a 16 Hz - 23 kHz frequency response, 40mm dynamic moving coil speakers, professional grade memory foam ear-cups, these cans won't shortchange you even one bit for its current price. And it's perfect for your iPhone, with its iPhone-friendly mic & 3-button remote. For smartphones, this one is a nice compromise between portability and quality.  Available at Amazon and Klipsch. Price: US$85 (for a limited time, Klipsch is offering Free Shipping ON ALL Orders At Klipsch.com! Click Here!).

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