Archive for the First Look Category

BlackBerry PRIV

No, this is not a dream. BlackBerry is finally making an Android smartphone. The BlackBerry PRIV is the first ever BlackBerry smartphone powered by Android. And it combines the best of BlackBerry’s productivity, security and privacy features with the wide world of Google Play store apps.

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Firstly, let’s talk about BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry said that the company remains committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system and will continue to release platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements. So fans of BlackBerry 10 need not worry.

For existing BlackBerry 10 users who wants to switch to Android, BlackBerry is making it easy for existing users to switch to PRIV with the seamless merging of key BlackBerry 10 productivity features like the BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Calendar.

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The PRIV has a beautiful 5.4-inch dual-curve OLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution and 540 PPI. Along the screen’s curved edge is the Productivity Tab that provides an “at a glance” view of the most pertinent info from BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, Task, and Contacts. The PRIV comes with a 18 Megapixel camera certified by Schneider-Kreuznach. The PRIV has a 3410 mAh battery and is able to power the phone for 22.5 straight hours of mixed usage according to BlackBerry.

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It’s not a BlackBerry if there’s no advance privacy and security controls. The BlackBerry PRIV comes with an exclusive DTEK by BlackBerry app for Android that monitors and reports on application access to the microphone, camera, location and personal infomation. Users can know at a glance when their privacy could be at risk and take action to improve it.

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For those who loves the BlackBerry keyboard, you’ll be glad to hear that the PRIV comes with a slide out keyboard. And yes, its just as good as your usual BlackBerry keyboard. You can still use virtual keyboard if you want but I think most people will prefer the physical keys.

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BlackBerry PRIV is now available in Singapore at S$1098 without contract.

First Look: Samsung Galaxy Note 5

As expected, Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ last night at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. I’ll talk more about the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ later. I’ll talk about the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 first since it is launching this Saturday in Singapore.

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The Galaxy Note 5 is the latest in Samsung’s successful Galaxy Note line. Or we like to call it the phablet line. And although it is a phablet, I don’t really feel that its too big when holding it. The thinness and curve at the back makes the Galaxy Note 5 feels good in the hand. For a moment I forgot that I’m actually holding a 5.7 inch phablet. But Samsung sacrifice the removable battery in order to achieve this. Personally, I think it is a good move. It’s difficult for Samsung to continue to make thin phablet with a removable battery. But fans of removable battery will have 1 less option now.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. Powered by 14nm processsor with 64bit platform and 4GB RAM. The Note 5 feature Samsung’s fast wired and wireless charging technology with long lasting battery life and embedded wireless charging technology compatible with most Wireless Charging Pads available in the market. Through wired Ultra Fast Charging, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is able to charge fully in approximately 90 minutes.

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The S Pen on the Galaxy Note 5 is now enhanced to offer improved writing capabilities and detection for faster, more intuitive access to its features. The S Pen is great for doodling or writing a personalised message. One of my favourite feature is the Screen Off Memo that launches immediately upon the removal of the S Pen so that user can quickly jot down quick memo without turning on the screen.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will be available in Singapore from 15 August 2015 in Black Sapphire and Gold Platinum colour. Retail at S$1088 and S$1188 for 32GB and 64GB respectively without contract.

First look at Redmi 2

I had the opportunity to check out the Xiaomi Redmi 2 recently before the start of the sales in Singapore.

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The Redmi 2 has a 4.7 inch screen (1280 x 720 HD screen, 312ppi), weighs 133grams and measures 134 x 67.2 x 9.4 mm. That’s thinner and lighter than the Redmi 1S even though both have the same screen size. Quad-core 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor, Adreno 306 GPU, 1GB RAM and 8GB Flash (expandable to 32GB). The rear facing camera is a 22mm wide angle lens, 8 megapixel with f2.2 aperture. Front facing camera is 2 megapixel.

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The Redmi 2 comes with a 2200 mAh removable battery with Quick Charge 1.0 that charges 20% faster than the Redmi 1S.

Perhaps the most interesting feature is the Dual SIM slot that support 4G. This means you can have two 4G SIM card on standby at the same time. You get to control which card to make outgoing call and which card for data usage. Great for those who have a work line and a personal line. And it’s also great for those traveling and want to use the local SIM card for data only.

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The Redmi 2 will be available in Singapore starting 17 March 2015, 12 noon at mi.com. Priced at S169 and available in White Colour. Past experience tells me that it will be sold out within seconds. So do camp early and good luck.

Mi Band available in Singapore from 16 December

Xiaomi’s fitness monitor and sleep tracker, the Mi Band, will be available in Singapore from 16 December 2014.

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The Mi Band tracks motion to count the number of steps you take each day when walking or running. It also monitos your sleep pattern automatically when you keep it on your wrist in bed. The Mi Band works great with your Xiaomi phone like Mi 3 and Redmi Note 4G. It can automatically unlock supported Mi phone’s screen.

The Mi Band is IP67 water and dust resistant and battery last for 30 days.

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Best of all, the Mi Band will be available in Singapore at just S$19.99. Mi Band will go on sale on 16 December 2014. For more info on how to get the Mi Band, visit Xiaomi Singapore Facebook page.

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.