Bose Soundlink Mini 2 Short Preview

I just got my SL Mini 2 today. I have huge expectations for this little beast. Mainly coz I owned a Bose SL Mini 1st generation. And I loved it so much. I regard the Bose Mini range very very highly. It’s the best portable speakers that I have. And I compare that with my other speakers, such as Bose Soundlink 3, Bose Soundlink Color and Moto Republic X-Sol. At any time, my Bose SL Mini comes up top.

Yes, it’s amazing to hear that Bose SL Mini 1st Gen beats even it’s bigger brother, the Bose Soundlink 3. The Mini 1 is THAT good. It’s got clarity both on the high and low notes. But I do have my complaints about Mini 1.

Often, when traveling, I sigh at the fact that I have to bring along its own charger. I wished that I could just charge it with my phone charger. And just because of that, when Bose came out with Bose Soundlink Color, which charges with a typical mini-USB phone charger, I grabbed it.

Even though the SL Color is way below compared to the Mini, I took it wherever I go, just because it’s easier to charge.

So, enter Mini 2 and just with the mere fact that it now can be charged with a phone charger, I grabbed it without even reading reviews. Why? Coz the Mini 1 is so damn good. I don’t think I need anyone else telling me how it would sound like.

As soon as I got the Mini 2, I linked it with my phone and, wow. It sounds just as good. Probably slightly better. Maybe. Whatever it is… it sounds awesome.

I took the black version. It’s really solid to hold. The black is beautiful. But I somehow missed the metal look on the Mini 1. If I could change anything, I’d probably would want my Mini 2 to be grey just like the Mini 1. I think it looks better.

The charging port is located at the back of the docking station. Which is better compared to Mini 1, which had it’s port at the side. But the headphone jack on the docking station is missing on Mini 2. But no biggie here.

There’s no more AUX button. Rather, there’s a weird button with 3 little dots. I don’t really know what it does. So far, I only pressed it once, when it prompted me to select my language. After that on, I only use the Bluetooth button.

Seriously, if you are a huge music fan, loves quality sound that are portable, the Mini 1 or 2 hits the bullseye. Hands down. Don’t think that the more expensive range of Soundlink means better sound quality. I made that mistake, and was very disappointed to hear that my Mini 1 sounds better than my more expensive Soundlink 3. Try it first.

But, Mini 1 or 2…. it doesn’t matter. Both are good. And even unreal, to think of something so small, sounding so delicious.


Samsung Tab A with S Pen Short Review

The reason I bought this tab was simple; I just wanted my kid to stop playing with my Note 4 as she really loves using the S-pen. So, without doing any research other than knowing that the Tab A is the cheapest device out there that comes with S-pen, I grabbed one.

First off. I didn’t know that there are 3 colors to choose from. This is great. The grey version is the best as it has chrome border all around. Black version is nothing but black. White, well… too white for my taste.

Price wise, it’s cheap. It’s only RM1099 at retail price. Some store can actually give a discount up to RM1019. That’s RM80 savings. You can have a good meal with that money.

After buying it, I saw the word LTE at the corner of the box. Omg, is this a phone too? Does it have cellular feature? The answer is YES! I was shocked. And this is truly a pleasant surprise. At this price range… this is such a great buy. I didn’t expect that at all.

Next, there’s another pleasant surprise. The memory is expandable! Coming from an iPad user, this, and the cellular feature, are truly priceless. The Tab comes with a 16Gb internal memory. I kinda expected that and feel it’s the right size for the price.

Turning it on, I was greeted with an OK display. I have no complaint at all. In fact, I loved it. For the price, that is. I started downloading stuff into it via Play Store and it performed just as good as a regular up-market smartphone. Definitely my Note 4 is faster, but with 2Gb of RAM, this tab is smooth.

The S-Pen is a blessing. It’s a cheaper version than the Note 4, but it performs just as good. I was surprised though that my Note 4 S-Pen doesn’t work on the Tab.

When I got home, my kids started playing with the Tab. And I got worried as they are quite rough with it. So, I went back to the store to buy a bookcase cover. Another pleasant surprise here. Samsung’s cover is really nice. It’s solid and does the job awesomely. The clever bit is that, it clips to the body of the tab. You gotta see it to really admire this ‘attention to detail’ bit.

What began as a device to just keep my kids away from my Note 4, has developed to be a device that I carry just about everywhere I go. I started downloading my emails and Kindle there. I really don’t see why I shld be carrying my KIndle around anymore. This tab is really really good. And since the price is reasonable, I don’t feel overly protective over it. And that’s a kind of freedom that I like.

If there’s any complaint, it would be on the difficulty of getting the S-pen from it’s place. There’s only a very small opening to which you can place your nail to pull the pen out. My kids are having a hard time pulling it out.

Just a few days of using it, I load my Tab with a SIM card and now, it’s becoming a very important member of the family. What a surprise.

Anyway, that’s my Samsung Tab A review.

Never Say Never… transitioning from iOS to Android

I have been an Apple fanboy since ages. Especially when they came up with the iPod. At that time, I couldn’t afford to get one. But few years later, I bought the iPod Touch. It was the first gen, so there were a lot of shortcomings. As soon the 2nd gen came out, I bought that too. I gotta tell you, I was hooked. So, I had my sights on iPhone.

Back then, in iOS 2 and 3, iPhones were poorly featured. No MMS, no video, no multi tasking. Way behind on the handful of Blackberries that I had. Until iOS 4 came. Needless to say, I grabbed an iPhone 4 as soon as it hit the shore.

I was loving the iPhone. It was 2009 and I had the best phone. I felt good having it. 2 years on, I moved on to iPhone 5. Another perfect gem, other that it was made from super thin alu and I had dents all over it.

But 2 years goes by again, and iPhone 6 popped up. The design seemed to go backwards. It has none of the WOW factor that the previous iPhones had. And at first glance, hit the HOME button, and you see the same outlook on its homescreen. Rows of icon. Seriously, it was becoming really boring. 6 freaking years, looking at the same screen of icons.

So, I passed on iPhone 6. Gave my iPhone 5 to my daughter. And got myself an Android device, the SAMSUNG NOTE 4. It’s a new phone at that time. Funny, the flagship of Samsung, yet it’s way cheaper than an iPhone 6. Yes, the price is cheaper. But is it any better than an iPhone?

Well, my jaw dropped. It was WAY better than an iPhone. I was shocked to the ground. How could I been so naïve to think that iPhone is the best phone out there? Even without tinkering the phone, I can list down 5 items that made this phone superliciously better than iOS.

  1. Android has an actual usable NOTIFICATION system. It has blinking LEDs instead of having the whole screen pop up for a few seconds and remain silent after that. The drop down notification lists it down chronologically. iPhone users have been terribly shortchanged on NOTIFICATIONs.
  2. I can have 2 Instagram accounts in one phone. This alone is a huge thing for me. Especially I have a personal and also a corporate Instagram account.
  3. I can DOWNLOAD any music and videos, and even torrent movies into my phone, and have iPhone users using my phone to watch movies.
  4. I can personalize the phone anyhow I like. From the way the icons move, to the desktop arrangement. And LAUNCHERS…. they are just great. Download different Launchers and each of it makes you feel like you’re holding a different phone, everytime.
  5. WIDGETS. I love this thing. I can design my phone to show what’s important to me, real-time, on the screen – at first glance. And don’t get me started on expandable memory and so much more.

So, hands down, Android is way better in almost every way. And when iOS 9 was launched, other than the 3D screen technology, I felt sad seeing iPhone users been shortchanged and getting excited over features that has already been available on Androids.

Seriously, it’s sad to see Apple saying 7″ tablet is crap and got everyone in the hall to clap hands on that, only to see a few years later, Apple came out with a 7″ device. And when Apple said 10″ the perfect size, they came out with 12″ device, mimicking Samsung’s 12″ tablet that was out in the market years before. And also when it was mentioned that 4″ device is perfect for phones, they came up with a 5″ and 6″ devices called iPhone 6… obviously mimicking the phablets that has been around for sometime before.

I just hate to be hyped like a fool by Apple and being made to believe that they are the best. The truth is, real technologies that meets the REAL needs of the market, is OUT there. I found it in Android.

For now, I’m happy that I dumped by iPhone for an Android device such as Samsung Note 4. Especially after 6 years using an iPhone and was made to believe it was the greatest phone out there. For now, Android gives you the best features.

But, never say never. In a few years, there is a possibility that Apple might get their balls back between their legs and stop copying others and start innovating again. But until then, I’m happy that I jumped on the Android train.

Windows7 Nokia Lumia 800 Review

I am a huge iPhone user. In fact, I have been using one for more than 2 years. I sometimes squabbled over iOS and Androids but on every occasion, iOS comes up top…

No insult to Androids, in fact since Samsung discovered Google, it has leaped over bullet-trains in the user-experience race. The latest S3 and Note2, which were launched just before iPhone5, has shaken many iOS loyalists. But I still think Androids are super messy… huge functionalities but little aesthetic values.

Now, enter Windows7.

But first, why would 18 billion humans need Windows-based smartphone when there are Androids and iOS that can double up as a PC, and a little bit of BlackBerries for a touch of different flavor?

Answer: Because (1) MeeGo is dead – yes, MeeGo is THAT good! (2) Both Android and iOS are not even close to the sheer beauty and engaging user experience that Nokia-Windows offer.

My experience began with Nokia’s Lumia 800. First, the setting up. And I was surprised that the beautiful experience of Windows7 started right from this. It was classy and simple with huge beautiful typography showing the way. Within minutes, the phone was ready for use. Everything was responsive, beautifully executed with little dots dancing animatively.

Then enter the homescreen customization – catered to your liking. Those squarish tiles are definitely original. And functional too. Pin up shortcuts here. Un-pin what you don’t want. And for the full length menu, just swipe your finger to the left. Ahhh, so beautifully done.

Now, the clever part of Windows is a little tile called People. Once you’ve registered your Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you have, you’d see that all of those are integrated into this little tile. It’s beautifully done too. Same thing for another tile called Pictures. Again, you’d see photos from your camera as well as pictures uploaded in your social networks. Everything seemed to be so well integrated!

What this means is that, you are no longer confined to a Facebook app to see Facebook friend-details. You can get it all from those little tiles. It makes iOS feels very outdated.

Then observe the typography. The way an SMS comes in, where the text are in bold as per the color of the phone theme. Neat. Super neat.

And the most amazing user experience is, no longer I am bothered about the running apps or low memory. It seems that Windows7 will work that out for you. Just tap on the app you want and use it. Done? Tap the home button. That’s it. Hassle free.

Lumia 800 is blessed with a super camera. I took some low-light pics using my iPhone4 and Lumia800, hands down, the Nokia shined in every occasion.

Beautiful experience is what I got from using the Lumia. Even running over to marketplace and downloading an app feels good. It’s fast, integrated in multiple pages, while it’s being downloaded. Simply amazing.

Run a Twitter app and you’d get beautifully designed tweet account. Gosh, everything is just naturally beautiful. This is a phone for those who love neat, simplistic design that’s artsy and tasteful. A phone for artiste.

Anyway, I’m going to stop here. You get the message. Nokia is a great cellphone company. Linking up with Windows7 makes them better. But in the river full of iOS and Androids, it’s hard to see it float.

If you’re just an artistic freak and wants everything to be beautiful, Nokia’s Windows phone is definitely worth looking at.

Note: Windows7 phone is not upgradeable to Windows8. Attitude like this from Microsoft will not help Nokia to regain their spot in the smartphone race. Hopefully, Nokia will spank Microsoft for this and not repeat this blunder.

iPad Mini: Real-world Thoughts

I have always been a strong believer that tablets should come in various sizes for various usages. Which was why I was puzzled with Steve Jobs’ forward-thinking when he dismissed the 7″ tablet form-factor from his disruptive game-changing roadmap. 

Firstly, based on my experience, almost all cube holes and storage compartments that we are accustomed to, such as glove compartments, drawers, a ladies handbag and pockets in knapsacks or luggage bags, have been tailored for something that fits comfortably in our hand, such as books, filofax, organiser and even maps – which is exactly the size of a 7″ tablet. 
Secondly, 7″ form factor is perfect for Angry Birds. It’s a great steering wheel for Need for Speed. In fact, it’s perfect for any games. I totally enjoyed playing games on my Playbook. 10″ tablet is just too heavy and big for games. Don’t you think playing Temple Run on the iPad is just too weird?
Thirdly, it’s mobility at its best for emails, reviewing PowerPoint package and browsing pictures and watching videos. As unimaginable as it seems, but my Playbook does this flawlessly. It fits in my wife’s handbag and we bring it almost everywhere for a complete mobility feature. My 10″ iPad is an overkill – and most of the time, left at home. 
But something that a 7″ will never be good at – browsing the internet. Webpages look way too small for a satisfying internet experience. For that, which is what tablets will mostly be utilised for, you need a 10″ tablet. It’s perfect. 
So, back to the main point – tablets should have come in 2 sizes since the beginning. A 10″ for internet and 7″ for mobility. For Apple to finally realise this at this point of time, that’s a huge opportunity loss. As for me, I just can’t wait to get rid of my Playbook and replace it with the iPad Mini. It would go so well with my iPhone, iPad and Mac. Finally, the ecology environment is complete. 
Next stop: For Apple to replace Mac OS with iOS – for good. 

which one to dump: iphone or bb?

Courtesy of my employer, I was given the opportunity to be imprisoned to my corporate email 24×7. Since it came with an iPhone 4, needless to say, I grabbed it on first breath.

That was 7 months ago. And since then, I have been ferrying 2 phones everywhere I go; a BlackBerry and the iPhone. You see, I am a BlackBerry user since 2007. And for a simple guy who does not carry a ‘man-bag’, it has been a pain.

So, the big question is, why carry both? Why not just bring along the all-expenses-paid-for iPhone and ditch the BB? That’s what this blog entry all about. A 7 month self-revelation and an ultimate decision making.

A famous saying would sum it up: “Once you go Black, you will never go back”. That’s the thing about BlackBerry. It’s not just a phone. It’s an eco-system. And no matter how bitchy Engadget is about BlackBerry’s hardware design, BB users just love the practicality it provides. And they just keep buying it.

Engadget’s argument would probably be from the perspective of a smartphone virgin who is hunting for a date in a pub. Yup, he would probably ignore the sober looking boxy-shaped BB and approach a sexy fun-looking iPhone instead.

But I’m not from that category. I’ve been a BB user way before the birth of iOS. I shunned iPhone when it was first launched simply because, in iOS1.0 (and even 2.0), it was too inferior. But that was 2007. In iOS4.0, they are now setting the benchmark.

Anyway, I’m at the tipping point right now. One has to go. I HATE carrying 2 phones.

So, calling defendant #1, will BlackBerry proceed to the stand. “BlackBerry, why should I keep you instead of iPhone?”

“Well, I’m easier to type. Faster to make calls and SMS. Always connected via BlackBerry service. Push-contents. Great FB and Tweeter clients. Able to upload photos just about anywhere in a click.”

True enough, the jury buy that. BlackBerry’s system allows you to be connected (and being connected to a BlackBerry server vs. TMNet has a HUGE MAJOR advantage!).

“Oh, wait a minute. I also have BBM.”

Oh man. That’s the sucker punch! BBM is one reason why I stayed on BB. The group BBM feature is the best I have seen. If you have never BBM’d before, you don’t know what you’re missing. Period.

Calling defendent #2: iPhone, please come to the stand. What’s your defense?

“Ok, I admit that I have caused you shitloads of high blood pressure whenever you use the keypad, not having a customizable dictionary, inability to post a simple photo to the cloud without having to use a 3rd party app, video format limitations, shitty reception signal, shitty Facebook app, dependent on iTunes, shitty notification system and unable to let you download anything from the website other than photos or via a 3rd app…. for these, I apologize. Please bear in mind that I’m just at my fourth year. Ok, fine, Androids made a huge improvement in just 2 years, but they don’t have a control freak as their CEO.”

“In my defense, despite all of my limitations, I think you used me more than that BB thing. The only time you use that BB thing for is making calls, replying Facebook and BBM. Right? Other than that, it’s just me for almost everything. Right? I swear that by the time we get to iOS6 or 8, you’d have nothing to complaint. Please, please keep me!”

Hmm. iPhone has a point. I did utilize it more that the BB. It has been such a good device for everything except making a call. And I don’t make calls that much.

I guess, thinking about this brings Android to mind. It’s got the functionality of the iPhone, and freedom of the BlackBerry. But HTC? Samsung? Sorry… no-go.

Hmmmm…. hard decisions to be made. Maybe I should be reviewing man-bags instead.

As I rant a bit or two about iPad 2…

1) The Display Sucks
Some PhD guy might have said that it’s close to a Retina screen. Obviously, Dr. Smartass does not have an iPhone 4. He’s way out by a continent. But if you’ve not seen iPhone 4’s display, you’re in luck. To you, iPad’s display is OK. So, either stay away from iPhone 4. Or wait for iPad 3.

2) The USB Cable Doesn’t Charge Via USB
Don’t think leaving your iPad hooked up to your computer will reward you with 100% battery level when you’re done watching the 216th season of Friends. It only charges via wall-mounted power supply (min. 2.1Amp). Good thing it lasts more than 5x than a regular iPod Touch.

3) It’s Thinner. And Big.
Yada yada yada about it being thinner. The fact is, anything with a 10″ screen will always be BIG. 15% thinner won’t make it fit into your pocket nor make it possible to be placed in the front pocket of your Eastpak. Nor your nerdmobile glovebox. And your wife KNOWS when you secretly chuck it into her handbag. It’s so big to a point that sometimes you do the unthinkable: you leave it at home.

4) It’s Not Cool To Be Bringing An iPad Around
When you carry something with a size of an World Atlas to wherever, you get tattooed “NERD” on the forehead. If your forehead is big enough, there’s also “I Only Have Virtual Friends”. Walking around with a leather casing that makes the tagline “Thinner” a complete waste of alphabet does not help. Remember you dad’s granny-looking filofax? Now look at your iPad’s leather casing.

5) It’s Not A Laptop For Goodness Sake!
If you buy the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you are missing the point. Please start talking to people.

6) Typing On An iPad Is Dumb.
First of all, the virtual keyboard design on the iPad is dumb. It’s got so much display real estate yet it can’t place a line of numerics and a line of frequently-used symbols above the QWERTY. They just HAVE to make us press the Shift or 123 to access to it. And do you actually use all 10 fingers to type on an iPad? OK, even if you do, an option to have a compact keypad has to be there for 1-finger typist out there.

7) It’s Got A Camera. Yay?
Not having Retina does not help the camera’s reputation at all. In fact, it cuts it open in half and even points out how sucky it is. But, it’s better than none (really?). But look at it this way, at least it’s preventing you to make it as your primary camera, coz the last thing you need it to look like a moron snapping pictures in public with a chopping-board.

8.) I Like To Read Books. So I Buy An iPad.
Really? Wouldn’t a book be cheaper? Don’t kid yourself. As if reading a book under bad lighting is bad enough, what’s worse is to be flourishing your reading habits on something that has a BACKLIGHT. We buy iPad because of internet, social networking and games. And not to mention because it’s such a gorgeous gadget to have. If you like to read books (reading article in Internet does not count!) and be techy at the same time, get a Kindle. Or Nook.

9) You Can’t Draw On It.
Well, you can draw a stick man. But no work of art will come from an iPad. Unless you’re cat and use paws to paint. Using fingers to sketch is like a caveman drawing a picture of a dinosour to another caveman on sand, moments before they became Tyron’s dinner. Your work of art will look like you really miss your kindergarten days. Again, the unthinkable: Apple should really provide a stylus for precision drawing or writing purposes on an iPad. Since an iPad looks like a flip-chart, sribbling notes and ideas sounds practical. Am quite definite it will outsell the wireless keyboard.

10) You Can’t Delete The Photo’s You’ve Synched.
This is not new for iOS users. I hate this. I thought things would be different in the iPad… but what was I thinking. You can’t managed the photos in the iPad. You can’t create folders or albums. iTunes is your king. You just have to accept it. Dammit.

The good news: iOS5 is coming.

iOS Twitter App Review: UberSocial

If you have experience using a BlackBerry, you would probably have heard about an app called UberTwitter. It was a great app. By far the best until… BlackBerry came up with their own Twitter app, which superceded all the great attributes of UberTwitter.

Well, the UberTwitter guys have kept themselves busy and made their version of UberTwitter for iOS. Only this time, they call it UberSocial.

Prior to using UberSocial, I’ve been using the official Twitter app for iPhone. This is an amazing app which goes so well with iPhone’s simplicity and clean looking UIs. But when it started to develop a habit of crashing all too often, I switched to TweetDeck. But TweetDeck has always been too messy to me. Yes, it’s loaded with features. But hello, this is iPhone. It’s simplicity. I really think TweetDeck is much suitable for Android users. But it gets the job done.

Enter UberSoc. Upon installing it, the first thing I noticed after scrolling the timelines downwards, I can’t go back to the top of the page by tapping the top screen. WTH? That is a basic iOS feature and they missed it? So, 1 point down.

Then I tapped a tweet, a new page pops up and the tweet was shown in full page. Here’s a shocker: ugly! It’s degrading. The font used was horrible. The background color was distasteful. See for yourself. I wondered if they even reviewed the final outcome at all. Another point down.

Then I tried Direct Message. When it matters, people actually use DM. In fact, it’s Twitter’s mechanism of minimizing spam. It’s a great feature but unfortunately, it’s hidden in UberSoc setting menu. To access to it, you have to perform multiple taps. In BlackBerry’s Twitter, you know when a DM comes in, it gets pushed and you’re notified. In UberSoc, no notification whatsoever when a DM comes in. 3 points down so far.

Next, I wanted to change the refresh rate. iPhone battery doesn’t last that long, so I prefer an hourly refresh rate. But wait! You can’t do that in UberSoc. I was only given a choice of Manual or Auto-refresh of every 3 mins. 3 mins???? 4 points down!

Ok. So far, it’s all shit. But there are a few good things about UberSoc. Read on.

All of the tweet in the timeline is shown in its entirety. So, in practice, there’s no need to tap on a tweet for full page. So we can actually disregard one of the point above. So, 1 point up.

The real Gem of UberSoc is actually tapping on a tweet with a link to an article in a website. When tapped, UberSoc will present the link in a very readable format, without having to redirect to the full website. I think this the sweet. For this, I forgive the another disadvantage. Score now: -2

For the almost non-existent DM notification feature, the workaround solution is actually subscribing to email notification for DMs. Though it sounds primitive, it helps a bit. Score: -1.5

Oh, I like the icon. It looks good on my iPhone. Up by 0.5 point.

In the end, my score for UberSoc is -1. But compared to Twitter that hangs too often or overcomplicated TweetDeck, UberSoc will be my Twitter app for now.

If UberSoc enhances it’s implementation of DM, tap on screen top to move to top of the page and allow customizable refresh rate…. then I can say that UberSoc is in contention for the BEST Twitter app evah!





iPhone Free App Review: Dailybooth

Ok, I’ve seen Dailybooth before this via a computer. And I thought it’s pointless, a time waster and extremely sad. But then again, that’s the view from a 37-year old. To a 14-year old, it could be ‘the reason to live’. So whatever la.

Then I saw Dailybooth in iPhone’s App Store. My first thought was, hey, maybe they have FOUND a use for Dailybooth in this hard-living world where by developing an app for it could make a difference to the world’s poverty and famine. And since it’s free, I downloaded it.

First impression, the user-interface is really clean. It’s actually great. But after a few minutes, I realized it’s exactly like the ones in the web.

It’s just looking at faces of people who means nothing to me. Pointless, a waste of time and… pointless!

And the thing is, most of them are really proud posting photos of them being drunk. And of their cleavages. hmm, maybe that’s the point.

Needless to say, I deleted the app. Maybe if I’m feeling down or sad, I’ll reinstall it, just to have a good laugh.

Could This Be My 2011 Camera? Fuji X100?

I’ve been quite obsessed with cameras since my early age. And ever since cameras went digital, I’ve been buying at least one every year. Not intentionally though as every purchase has ALWAYS been backed-up with a long list of justifications, not withstanding how stupid it could be.

In simple note, I am a sucker for beautifully designed cameras. Which is why most of my compact cameras were Panasonic. Anyway, enough about me.

After going retro with Olympus EP2 and EP1 (which I bought by selling off my Sony NEX5 to replace my stolen EP2…and all of these buy/sell happening in 2010), it did play on me “what camera will I buy in 2011”?

So far, the prospect of yet-to-be-released Olympus EP3 sounds inviting. And with Leica seeming to be out-of-reach, I think Fuji’s X100 would probably be just the right candidate to fulfill my empty 2011 camera list. We’ll just have to wait and see until it comes out. Hopefully EP3 will be released around the same time.

Meanwhile, let’s salivate at this gorgeous picture (from Ahhhhh. Bellisima.