Google Pixel

 

With the massive recall of the Note 7 and the recent release of iPhone 7, Google made a timely release on their latest device, the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. Not only was the release of the Google Pixel at an opportune time, the device also have various outstanding perks.

One of its most outstanding feature would be its 12.3 megapixel camera. The camera is capable of focusing quickly and brings it does an excellent job at emphasising the contrast of colours. The camera also performs remarkably when taking objects that are far away due to it being able to sharpen the photos with ease. Another feature that it possesses would be its wide-angle camera lens which results in photo seeming like they were taken further away. Also, the camera’s flash is very natural and the light disperses very evenly, thus making its pictures look truly natural. Its front camera also performs well due to its wider angle, allowing its users to not stretch his or her arm too much. It can also take 4K videos and has a gyroscope which helps to steady your video shootings.

However, of course, the camera was not void of flaws. For example, even though its flash did a good job at brightening up the picture, it didn’t handle dim lighting as well. Also, it underperformed in taking portrait photos compared to its landscape pictures as it often is not able to identify the background fully. Also, the camera’s minimum focus distance isn’t extremely near and as such it is lacking in terms of close up shots.

 

Next, the device also has a decent voice search service. Its voice search service, Google Assistant, integrates with the Google search engine to dig up the results that you require. Some of its functions include searching on Google, scheduling events, playing music and finding pictures in your phone.

Though the Google Assistant doesn’t boasts many new functions, the voice search service works decently and its integration with Google search helps to make searching more convenient.

 

 

Google also implemented various tiny features in the Pixel. For example, you are now able to send GIFs using Google Keyboard. There is also a fingerprint reader for additional security when using services like Android Pay. Also, you can hold onto applications which allows you to access the additional menu options. It also runs on the new Android 7.1 Nougat, though developers have acknowledged that the newly released operating system still contain a few bugs.

 

The Google Pixel has a Snapdragon 821 processor which allows the Pixel to work smoothly. It is also able to handle high intensity mobile games without trouble.  It performed relatively well compared to other high end phones and were not inferior in terms of its specs.

 

Now, for some of the device’s drawbacks.

First of, it isn’t fully waterproof. Also, it had a very noticeable flaw in which it is challenging to view the screen in direct sunlight. Its battery is also average at most and there are various other phones which contain better ones.

All in all, the Google Pixel remains as an outstanding phone and a really good phone to consider. I would strongly recommend you to consider this phone as long as it is within your means.

 

Photo courtesy of : https://www.google.com.sg/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwj6wdCBy-7RAhWELY8KHcbWAZsQjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.knowyourmobile.com%2Fmobile-phones%2Fsamsung-galaxy-s7-edge%2F23817%2Fgoogle-pixel-xl-vs-samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-specs-price-features-hardware-detailed&psig=AFQjCNEXYXtXUSv9VPGANO9pSBuRPMbY5A&ust=1486027775007193

 

Milestone Pod

Over time, smart watches and fitness trackers are getting relatively trendy while foot pods hasn’t been as popular. However, this does not reduce the reliability and functionality of foot pods and you should definitely consider the Milestone Pod if you are looking for one.

To start off, it records a wide variety of information that will be very useful for your physical activities. You would be able to view these data after syncing the device to your iOS or Android device. It can measure a variety of information like running pace, distance, duration and it is pretty consistent too.

One of its big plus point would indisputably be its incredibly light weight. It only weighs a meagre 9 grams which provides immense convenience to runners.

It also has sensors which will start recording when you beginning running and stop when you are stationary. Its waterproof feature also means that getting caught in the rain will not be much of an issue.

The pod is Bluetooth – enabled so that syncing is available. However, it does not sync automatically and you have to sync it by opening the app every time you use the pod.

The pod is also fairly accurate and its calculation is about 93% or better. The device is not chargeable as it uses a coin battery which typically lasts between 6 and 10 months.

In conclusion, the pod would be a good consideration for new runners to try out. Though its functions are not as in – depth as modern smartwatches or other forms of trackers, it has an excellence performance given its very affordable price.

 

Photo Courtesy of : http://www.milestonepod.com/the-product/the-milestone-pod/

360fly 4K

With 360 degree videos coming into trend among different types of social media and platforms, 360 cameras are thus also rising in popularity and demand. The 360fly 4K might be worth considering if you are interested in joining the trend.

Firstly, it is able to capture photos with its highest quality being 2,880X2,880 pixels and videos at up to 30fps. Moreover, you can also stream your videos at 24fps. Unfortunately the camera is not fully spherical as it only has a 360X240-degree lens. Thus the camera will not be able to capture the 120 degrees below the lens.

The video quality is overall relatively decent when compared to other 360 cameras. The mobile application for the 360fly 4K has many different functions which really allows you to have a unique experience compared to other 360 cameras. For example, it has a Watch Me mode where you can choose different parts and scenes of a video that you want the viewers to see and piece them together to form a 16:9 video. Having this function allows you to continue recording the camera without stress as you can clip and edit the entire recording effectively.

The application is also available on desktop but lacks certain functions that the phone app contains. The audio of the camera however has less spectacular results as it really isn’t capable of capturing high quality audio well. It often sounds muffled and does not have an audio port as well. Using the camera to live stream is also possible with streaming applications but you will have to keep your phone close to the camera to keep the connection healthy. The 360fly 4K has a battery that lasts for about 15 hours. The camera also has an internal storage with 64GB of space or  about 3 hours of 4K recording.

There is a dock at the bottom of the camera called the PowerCradle for charging the device and you need to use a microUSB to connect it to your charger. You can also transfer your photos and videos manually by connecting the device to your computer. Though, this can only be accomplished with the cable.

In conclusion the 360fly 4K is a really all – rounded 360 camera. Its mobile application brings you really efficient and effective editing. Though its audio flaws are really concerning if you do require decent audio. Overall I feel that this 360 camera is really worth considering if you are looking for one.

Photo Courtesy of : http://hiconsumption.com/2016/05/360fly-4k-camera/

Motorola Moto Z

The Motorola Moto Z boasts a classy built and is versatile with various modifications you can purchase. This unique flexibility not only sets it apart from other phones, but also proves itself very useful.

First of all, these ‘Moto Mods’ have various types of functions. For example, the Moto Insta-Share Projector allows you to attach a portable projector and you will be able to beam out whatever that is shown on the phone screen to an image of size 70 inches. There is also a kickstand so that you can project from any angle. To prevent battery loss, there is also an integrated battery in the projector. Moreover, the mod is extremely convenient as all it takes is a snap to equip and unequip the mod. It is also very thin and doesn’t look very awkward when used. Thus carrying the mod seperately won’t feel weird at all. However it is after all a projector and doesn’t come at a cheap price. It costs about S$400

Another example of a mod is the Power Pack Batteries by Incipio. It works just like a portable charger and furthermore, adds more battery life to your phone and has a price of about S$80. Lastly there is the portable speaker by JBL. It gives off a sound of acceptable quality and you would not need Bluetooth to pair it to your phone. All it takes is to snap the speaker onto the phone and you’re ready to go. It does however comes at of about S$110.

Even though the mods might seem like the main attraction of the phone, the device itself does have relatively good specs as well. It is thin yet sturdy but has edges which are a little sharp. The device also does not have an audio jack but the phone comes with a headphone jack adaptor dongle. This will also result in you not being able to plug in your earpiece and charge your phone at the same time, but I don’t feel that that would be too big of a problem.

The device’s camera also pops out of the phone a little awkwardly, which can get a little uncomfortable. The Moto Z has a fingerprint reader at the front but it’s its only function and does not double as a home button. It runs on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, the latest Android software.

There are also some fancy features here and there such as a twist of the wrist to launch the camera application and a wave to view your notifications. The device has a relatively decent 13-megapixel camera. Its performance overall is pretty acceptable but isn’t the best photo quality that you can find out there.

The Moto Z contains a TurboCharger battery which lasts about 12 hours when tested with a video playback and it performs fairly well when compared with the batteries of high – end phones like the S7.

However, the phone does comes at a very high price of more than $900. Moreover, this price does not include the mods and you would have to customize them manually. I personally wouldn’t pay such a price for the Moto Z but I feel that the innovative mods will certainly propel smartphones in a creative direction.

Audeze Sine

Looking like an ordinary headphone, the Audeze Sine actually has lots of quality up its sleeves. For a first, it features planar magnetic drivers. This technology is meant to lower the device’s rate of distortion, get stronger bass and have more responsiveness by making use of electromagnetic force. Next it also offers a Cipher Lightning headphone cable which you can choose to purchase together with the headphone. Thus you would be able to listen through the lightning cable if your device contains the Lightning port.

The Sine looks relatively simple. Covered in leather with earcups made of sturdy metal, it doesn’t have a really complex and unique design to make it stand out but it does have some small details which makes it really convenient. For example, its cord is tangle-resistant and is also detachable so you will be able to switch between the Lightning and the default cables. The Lightning cable is also said to improve the headphone’s performance. However, this performance boost does come at a cost of taking up more battery from your phone. The Lightning cable also has an integrated microphone, which is unfortunately not available on the standard cable, so that you would be able to make calls with it.

The Audeze Sine sounds really revealing and clear so it’ll sound really similar to the source itself. Compared to other headphones at this price range, the Sine performs really well and really shows its worth in this aspect. Along with its planar magnetic drivers its sound really proves how its popularity did not come by luck at all.

Spearheading the new technology of planar magnetic drivers, the Sine is definitely a headphone you should consider if you are looking for something high – end sounding but yet not all that unaffordable. Even though it doesn’t have spectacular features or unexplored technology, I strongly believe that the Sine is worth a listen.

 

Photo Courtesy of : http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/5/10713110/audeze-sine-planar-magnetic-headphones-release-date-price

Avegant Glyph

Starting off as a Kickstarter project, the Avegant Glyph’s concept is simple. It brings the movie screen to you. Now don’t be fooled by the way it looks almost identical to a earpiece, there are actually two eye holes inside the head band. The sound does function like a regular earphone though, so you would look like you’re oddly staring at the headband.

The image is projected to the eye hole using a relatively complex micromirror technology by containing chips which contains lots of these tiny mirrors and projecting the image with a precise colour. A resolution of up to 720p is supported.

However, it only works as an external HDMI source so you would need to connect it to another device. This would then mean that you wouldn’t be able to view if you did not have a phone or other external device. But fret not, the Glyph does has a few features to boast about.

For a first, the image quality is relatively decent and a definition of 720p isn’t all that bad either. The device also gives you a really immersive experience, as if you really were watching right from the screen. The fit of the device could be improved however as it does gets uncomfortable after a period of time.

Below the eye holes, there are magnetic nose pads. There is also a cover so that your hair wont be interfering your viewing experience. The Glyph is also sturdy and not that flexible but only to give you a tight and comfortable. This also contributes in removing external sounds but does not have proper noise cancellation features. Nonetheless, it still does its job of giving you that immersive and personal experience.

Setting up the device was not much of a problem as the main focus is only getting the optics right. There would be sliders to aim the image into your eyes and conveniently, you can also tweak the settings if you are vision – impaired, so you wouldn’t have to wear your glasses inside the device.

The result you get is really cinema – like. The areas out of the image are black except below the headband. With the immersive sound kicking in, it certainly does give you a cinematic feeling.

The device also supports 3D viewing if the video source has the feature. This results in a really cool and unique experience as it feels really private and from a first person view it is an amazing experience, as if you were viewing everything again right through your own eyes.

Though being a really creative device, it still feels as if there is still much room for improvement. The device is impressive and unique but it definitely has not reached its top potential yet. That being said, with all its feature, it does come at a overwhelming price of about S$970. Worth it? I guess not. Personally, I would not consider purchasing the Glyph just yet. Waiting for a little more development and stability would probably do no harm at all. That said, this still remains a really exciting product to keep track of.

Photo Courtesy of:http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/4/7491191/vr-company-avegant-shows-off-headphone-inspired-glyph-headset-ces-2015

Bose SoundTouch 30

Finding a speaker with decent sound and bass? Then this tabletop speaker might not be a poor pick. Though distortion might be evident when at a high volume, the speaker doesn’t really have that many other flaws. The sound quality is really decent at mid – range volumes.

The SoundTouch sounds revealing and open and can pack a whole load of bass and aggression too. Moreover, it is able to be controlled via the device application. With that said, Bluetooth is also supported so the device is really flexible.

With a wideness of 43cm, height of 25cm and a length of 17cm, it isn’t bulky or that inconvenient to transport around at all. The speaker also looks smart and simple with black and white finishes and a display located in the middle of the device.

Without a touchscreen function, a remote will come together with the speaker so that users would be able to control the device easily. With the remote, you can pre-program radio stations conveniently while it has other basic buttons to control the tracks and volume. Black in colour with a rubberized finish, the remote looks relatively simple. You would also be able to launch an application by Bose available on both iOS and Android to have these same controls. There are also identical controls on the system itself but oddly enough, the ones on the system does not have a pause button. The Bose is equipped with two full – range drivers configured in stereo and also a single bass woofer while having a vertical bass port.

Through the application, you can choose from various streaming services, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Deezer and Sirius XM. However, the device in flawed in a way that you are not able to play music directly from your phone or any other device as it is not supported within the Bose application. Rather, Bluetooth is required to sync in order to play music directly from your phone.

Compared to other speakers in the price range, the Bose performs really well with a stronger and more distinct sounding bass. Despite this being true, it does not overpower the balance of the entire music track unless it is at an extremely high volume. It also has decent amount of clarity. Bluetooth connectivity had no problems at all as the connection is really stable and reliable.

Overall, the Bose is a very decent speaker. Though it might not seem really outstanding, nor have any fancy feature to boast about, the speaker does perform really well in everything it needs to. Thus, if you’re looking for a sound system, the Bose is in fact not a bad pick at all.

Photo Courtesy of : http://cdn.ndtv.com/tech/images/gadgets/Bose%20SoundTouch%2030%20Wi-Fi%20music%20system.jpg

 

Immedia Blink

Though it may not look like it, this is in fact a security camera. Simple and compact, this camera alone costs less than a S$100. Though lacking features that puts it up on a different level compared to other security cameras, I feel that this is forgiveable considering that it falls into the category of a low-budget camera

The device is cordless and battery operated. Despite its relatively low price, the Blink definitely does not neglect performance for its price. It had a solid connection with Wi – Fi and did not have interruptions. Though, the application for the camera was not flawless and gets frequent lags due to its system being busy.

Being in the shape of an exact square, the Blink measures approximately 7cm on each side. Along with the camera, two AA lithium batteries, a stand and mounting hardware will also come along with it. Made to be placed indoors, the Blink isn’t exceptionally durable largely due to the fact that the device is made from plastic. The lens has a 110 degree field of vision and has image quality worth 720p. It is also equipped with a motion sensor, infrared LED made for night vision and a micro-USB slot.

Together with the Blink, customers would also get a Sync Module, a white square accessory which includes a power adapter and performs various rather unique functions. For example, it would communicate with the Blink servers to prevent extensive draining of battery. Whenever the uses wishes to stream live videos, the Sync Module will change the performance mode of the Blink in order to maximize its performance via a radio channel. Furthermore, the Sync Module also has a USB port which can be used to install updates and setup the Blink application on the user’s phone. The application is relatively simple to set up. All you need to do is connect the Sync Module to any device and with Wi-Fi, the setting up should only take a moment. The Sync Module does help with connection and ease the camera of having a USB port but at the same time, this is at the cost of carrying the two devices around. In my personal opinion, I feel that the camera would do just fine without the Sync Module and it would actually be much simpler if everything was done on the Blink itself.

Though it has a pretty eye-catching price tag, its features aren’t really that much to brag about as it just lacks more unique functions to put itself in a league above the rest. There is also minor flaws in the motion sensor as it is unable to differentiate between a person, a pet or any other moving object. Compared to its rivals in its price range, there really isn’t much that sets the Blink apart from the rest but do expect more from the camera in future as Immedia has stated that more features and functions would be added to the Blink. However, as it is right now, the Blink does not stand out. Therefore, if you’re looking for a budget security camera, don’t take the Blink out of your consideration but taking a look at others would not be an unwise decision. With that said, I honestly would not put the Blink at the top of the list of budget security cameras.

Photo courtesy of : http://prefundia.com/uploads/home/ecd66c05fb1696eecdbb07ea03cff832.jpg

Google Nexus 5X

Priced at about S$530, the Google Nexus 5X has a light weight, thin and small in size. In fact, it’s so small that you would be able to  control the phone from one side of the screen to the other single – handedly. The Nexus 5X comes in the operating system of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The device comes in both black and white. The white colour has a plastic rear and due to the plastic material, many users have pointed out that its design looks a little cheap compared to other phones on the market. On the other hand, the black colour version is made up of rubber, which probably is the reason why most of the consumers prefer the black one over the white version.

On the right edge of the phone, you would be able to find the volume and power buttons. The buttons are relatively shallow so that it suits the small design of the Nexus 5X. There are two visible speakers which sticks out at the front of the device. The 5X also has improved and sharper graphics compared to the Nexus 5. And the graphics isn’t the only thing that has improved, the new 5X has other functions too.

At the rear of the phone below the camera, there is an imprint fingerprint scanner on a silver disc. It also serves as a disc which you can balance your phone using your index finger when you only have one hand available. Google has intelligently hidden their fingerprint scanner beneath this disc, therefore allowing it to serve various purposes at the same time. It also is placed really conveniently and would definitely be in the reach of your finger. Furthermore, it also acts as the phone’s power button, meaning that no swiping or touching on the screen is needed at all. This way, you can power up the device efficiently without needed to place your thumb in an awkward position by finding it at the bottom of the device. This feature seems really remarkable and definitely is one of the main attraction of the phone.

The phone also has a brand new Android feature called Google Now on Tap. It allows you to search on Google without interrupting your activity on the phone. After scrolling through information, all you have to do is hold down the home button and the device will automatically search for that particular information through Google. This feature is pretty refreshing and creative. It does make searching more convenient though manually opening your browser wouldn’t occupy that much of your time.

The rear camera of the Nexus 5X has 12.3 megapixels while its front camera has 5 megapixels. Interestingly, it has a sensor known as the Sony IMX377, which has relatively large pixels and therefore, let in more light so that pictures would have better lighting. The front camera though doesn’t have excellent images to boast about, but is actually quite sharp. However, it doesn’t cover that big of an angle thus taking fitting in a whole lot of people into the picture might prove as a problem.

The interface of the phone is also really smooth and seems to have little problems at handling games. Compared to the Galaxy S6, the speed of the Nexus 5X isn’t that far behind at all. The battery life of the phone though doesn’t really seem to be that impressive and lasts for only about 9 hours on an average, a result many high – end phones would be able to surpass easily.

Though the design of the phone isn’t the best you can get, I personally feel that the phone has lots to offer and its refreshingly convenient features are really attractive. It just feels absolutely convenient in every way possible. Does it have lots of mind – blowing specs and an unmatchable performance? I guess not. But all that isn’t the main attraction of the phone at all, its how all the features are so intelligently implemented in a way that you get a whole creative and unique device. I honestly feel that the phone is worth the price and has definitely gave me an excellent first impression.

 

Photo courtesy of : http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/features/xiaomi-mi-4-nexus-5-macbook-pro-lumia-1320-and-more-tech-deals-705550

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3

Looking for a low – budget phone without compromising functions? Then the OneTouch Idol 3 from Alcatel might just be the phone you are looking for. It has great speakers which are able to handle loud volumes and takes great photos which are relatively more remaarkable then other budget phones. Above that, it also runs on the Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Unlike the older models of Alcatel, the OneTouch Idol 3 shows an exceptional improvement in its consistent performance and better specs. It offers decent photography taking into consideration that the device is a budget phone. It has a LCD screen which is about 14cm in length, 1,920 X 1,080p worth of HD resolution. The whole phone has a measurement of 15.3 by 7.5 by 0.74cm and weighs 142 grams. Its resolution might not be something really worth to boast about but definitely is a plus point for a budget phone.

The Idol 3 has a smart – looking design with its slim plastic body and rounded corners with a dark grey finish. The battery of the device is also embedded in order for the phone to appear even slimer and more presentable. At the top and bottom edges, you would be able to spot out a pair of extended JBl speakers. This extension feature really contributes in the quality of the sound as the speakers are therefore able to play loudly while maintaining a certain level of clarity, proving itself suitable if you’re the type of person that likes to jam out to tunes at home or even outside.

On the right side of the phone, you would be able to find a thin button which controls the volume while the phone which locks or power ups the phone is on the left of it. Further down, there is a SIM card tool which pushes out the card tray which holds both the micro-SIM and microSD card. Meanwhile at the back of the camera, the camera is located at the top left corner with 13 megapixels while the front camera has 8 megapixels.

An interesting feature that the Idol 3 has to offer is undeniably the reversible mode, which orientates your phone wherever you rotate it. For example, if you’re making a call with the phone upside down, the speaker and microphone would swap positions accordingly, which according to users is pretty convenient in the sense that they do not need to be conerned with the orientation while picking up calls. Another unique feature that isn’t present in all smartphones would be the ability to double tap to turn the phone on and off. When you slide down again in the notifications menu, the quick – access menu would be available.

However, the device has also implemented a few features which users felt that was unnecessary such as the camera application which doesn’t give you a feedback after a picture is taken, this leaves you uncertain if you have actually already taken one. Users therefore will need to swipe the screen in order to view the pictures. Also, videos will start recording instantly when the phone is switched to video mode, which get a little annoying especially if you switch the mode accidentally.

Overall, the Idol 3 is a really impressive improvement compared to the older models of Alcatel. On top of that, the phone does have various plus points such as the additional unique features and the good camera quality. Thus, if a budget phone with refreshing features and consistent performance is what you’re looking for, this phone might be the one you are looking for.