Archive for the First Look Category

First Look: HTC One (M8)

HTC just announced their new flagship phone and I’m fortunate to have a sneak peak at this beauty one week before it was officially announced.

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The HTC One (M8) feels good in the hand. It has a new full metal body that is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. The ful metal body and glass sandwiched together gives the phone a strong construction. And most importantly, the back looks beautiful with premium jewelry grade finish and fine hairline brush. It has a beautiful 5 inch 1080p screen with Gorilla Glass 3.

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The HTC One (M8) comes in 16GB and 32GB version with expandable microSD storage that supports the latest 128GB microSD card. And even though the new HTC One (M8) no longer comes with Beats Audio, the sound quality is still impressive. The brand new speaker system and amplifiers is able to produce 25% louder and clearer sound. And yes, the speakers are front facing, just like the HTC One.

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The HTC One (M8) comes with a 2600 mAh battery with quick charging that charges 80% in 1 hour. According to HTC, the new HTC One (M8) has 40% longer battery life compared to the HTC One.

The HTC One (M8) also comes with the new redesigned HTC Sense 6. I’m always a fan of HTC Sense UI. The new Sense 6 comes with new colour code for easy navigation. One interesting feature is the Motion Launch. When the phone screen is off, a simple double tap on the screen to turn on the phone. Swipe up to go to the last app, down for voice dialing, left for widget screen or right for BlinkFeed. It’s dead simple and convenient.

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And perhaps the most interesting feature of the HTC One (M8) is the new UltraPixel Camera. According to HTC, the new camera is able to capture 300% more light to give you great picture under any condition. The HTC One (M8) is also the first smartphone with duo camera for depth capture. The 2 camera allows the phone to detect and separate subjects, foreground and background. This gives the HTC One (M8) ability to shoot first and select the focus point later. It’s not light field technology like the Lytro camera but it produce almost similar results. The duo camera also allows interesting post editing like changing the background of an image to highlight the foreground. These features are cool to have. But if you don’t need them, the HTC One (M8) camera can still take normal pictures like any other camera phone.

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And since selfie has become a big thing recently, HTC added a wide angle 5 megapixel f2.0 front facing camera to the HTC One (M8). Cool.

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The new HTC One (M8) comes in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver colour and will be available in Singapore from the first week of April. If you are looking for an Android phone, look no further. This is the One.

First Look: Panasonic Toughbook CF-LX3

Panasonic is famous for their rugged laptop. But not everyone need the super rugged laptop that can survive a trip to Mount Doom in Mordor and back. Sometimes you just need a tough laptop to get you through the hash environment of the corporate world. Well, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-LX3 seems to be designed for this.

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The Panasonic Toughbook CF-LX3 is the world lightest 14 inch business rugged notebook. Powered by the new 4th generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor and running Windows 8.1, the 14 inch laptop weighs just 1.29kg with a battery life of 7 hours. Yeap, that’s lighter than the 13 inch MacBook Air.

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The rugged Toughbook CF-LX3 is able to withstand up to 100 kgf pressure and drop from a height of 76cm. Pretty impressive for a lightweigh laptop.

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Panasonic Toughbook CF-LX3 is targeted at the mobile business professionals who needs a rugged laptop.

First Look: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1

Panasonic recently announced the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1, a fully-rugged 7 inch tablet running Windows 8.1. And the best way to show off this ruggedised tablet is to put in on a block of ice.

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The Toughpad FZ-M1 fully rugged design is certified to meet MIL-STD-810G for drops (up to 1.5 meters), shock, vibration, altitude, humidity and extreme temperatures. The fanless design allows it to meet IP65 standards for rain and dust. The tablet has also been submitted for ANSI 12.12.1 certification (Class1, Div2) for use in incendiary environments.

We even got someone wearing heels to stand on the Toughpad. No problem. Don’t do this with your normal tablet.

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Most people would expect a rugged tablet to be bulky and heavy. But this is not the case for the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1. The 7 inch tablet weighs only 540 grams and 1.78cm thick.

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The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 is powered by the new 4th generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor with 128 GB SSD and 4GB RAM. Has the usual WIFI, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, 720p front facing camera, 5 megapixel rear facing camera and micro SDXC slot. Battery life is up to 8 hours and come with hot swappable option. Other options includes dedicated GPS, Ethernet or serial port, NFC, SmartCard, Barcode, RFID and magnetic stripe reader.

Here’s a picture of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 with barcode scanner.

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The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 will be available in Singapore from March 2014 at a starting price of S$2600. The price may seem expensive for a 7 inch Windows tablet. That’s because this is not a normal consumer product. Most consumer won’t need this kind of rugged tablet. It is more suitable for those working in extreme conditions.

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LG G Flex

The LG G Flex is the first smartphone in the market with a curved glass that follow the contour of the face.

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We all know it is just a matter of time before someone release a smartphone with a curve glass. According to LG, the curved glass reduce the distance between the user’s mouth to the microphone. The curved design offer a more reassuring grip and fits more comfortably in one’s back pocket (if you have curved bum). When in landscape mode, the display offer a cinematic experience to fit the contours of human’s eyes, resulting in a comfortable viewing angle for watching videos or playing games on the 6 inch screen.

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And since the LG G Flex is curved, the battery also need to be curved to fit into the body. And interestingly, the curved shape of the battery means more cells. The LG G Flex battery has a capacity of 3500 mAh. That should be able to last you a full day if you are a normal user.

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Besides the curved body, the LG G Flex also the first smartphone with a “Self Healing” coating on the back cover. The elastic coating has the ability to recover from light scratches. Yes, I tried scratching the back of the LG G Flex with my keys and it did heal within a few minutes. Pretty impressive feature. And fun too.

The LG G Flex will be available in Singapore from 21 December 2013 at a recommended retail price of S$1,088 without contract.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II

Whenever someone ask me to recommend a good compact camera, I always recommend them the Sony Cyber-shot RX100. It is, in my opinion, one of the best compact camera that money can buy. It has a small form factor and a 1 inch CMOS sensor. This allows the RX100 to produce beautiful image.

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Which is why I was pretty excited when I heard that Sony is releasing a successor to this great camera, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II. Basically, the RX100 II fixed all the shortcomings of the RX100 and added a few cool features. The biggest complaint that I had for the RX100 is that there is no hot shoe mount. Well, I’m glad that the RX100 II comes with a Multi Interface Shoe and Multi Terminal. This allows you to attach additional accessories like external flash, electronic viewfinder or even a stereo microphone.

The RX100 II comes with a new 20.2 megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R 1.0-type COMOS sensor. The 1 inch sensor together with the high quality f1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens produce excellent pictures even in low light conditions. We took the RX100 II out for a walk at night and I fell in love with it. Check out this low light picture.

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The RX100 II also produced some lovely Bokeh for those who loves Bokehlicious photos.

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The RX100 II also come with some interesting new feature. The camera comes with WIFI which allows you to transfer photos wirelessly to your smartphones or tablets easily. You can also use the WIFI to see what the camera is seeing on your smartphone and remotely trigger the shutter release. The RX100 II also comes with NFC which makes pairing and transferring photos to another NFC smartphone or tablet a breeze.

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Another feature that some users will love is the new 3 inch White Magic LCD that can tilt up and down. Great for shooting thing above a crowd or getting down low to capture photos from another perspective.

In short, the RX100 II is a worthy successor to the fantastic RX100. It is great for those who wants a compact camera that can produce high quality images and DSLR owners who needs a secondary camera. It may cost almost around the price of an entry level DSLR, but you most likely won’t find another camera that can produce such good images at this compact size.

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The new Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II will retail for S$999 in Singapore. Sony also announced that the price for the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 has been reduced from S$999 to S$849.