Sony H.ear On Wireless NC

The Sony H.ear On Wireless NC is Sony’s latest wireless headphone to be on the market. Being quite similar to Bose’s QuietComfort 35, H.ear has an edge over QuietComfort in a few ways.

H.ear On Wireless NC is only 290 grams heavy, just slightly heavier than the QuietComfort and not as comfortable. However, with some parts of the headphone being not as elegant, it will take a while for you to fatigue. It is folds up into an included carrying case, though it does not fold flat. The case is also very bulky too. Aesthetically, H.ear comes in 5 colours, some of which are really striking.

Sound and track control are on the right ear cup, and you can choose to have noise cancelling on or off. You can also plug in a cord to make it a wired headphone. Its Automatic AI Noise Cancelling function constantly analyses environmental ambient sound components and automatically selects the most effective noise cancelling mode. H,ear is a textbook headphone for calling with two microphones, one external and one in the housing.

The headphone can last for 20 hours on Bluetooth and with noise cancellation active, it will last longer if you were to bring the volume down and not use noise cancellation. Compared to its rival, the QuietComfort 35, H.ear has an edge over it in terms of sound quality. The sound quality is also really clear, with tight bass, all these being natural for Bluetooth headphones, but it sure does a good job imitating a wired headphone.

Even though it is not the most comfortable Bluetooth headphone in the market, it makes it up for its excellent sound quality, being so good, that it does sound a bit like a wired headphone. For the price, 468 SGD is quite pricey, however, it is a good trade-off for the sound quality.

Photo Courtesy: https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/FjlQu4FPvYItnndErGSEhEZxuG0=/770×433/2016/07/08/658ecb87-7c44-48c9-a93a-70711f3324b9/sony-hear-on-wireless-noise-canceling-headphones-teal-04.jpg

Samsung Galaxy S7

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is Samsung’s latest phone that was released on 11 March. It is a a significant upgrade of the S6 in many ways, mainly the battery life and water resistance. Other than that, this is just a way better Galaxy than its older counterparts.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a comfortable curved back and sides which is quite resistant, falling a few feet wont crack or dent it, just don’t expect it to be the next Nokia. It is also water resistant and can survive 5 feet underwater, without any protective case. These feature already made a durable smartphone more durable. Aesthetics wise, the curves and build is better than previous Galaxies, the S7 is no doubt built better than its older counterparts. The drawback is that the glass and metal backing is a smudge magnet. There will always be fingerprints on the phone, making it annoying to clean all the time and sort of forcing you to buy a case to prevent this problem.

Phones nowadays are used for taking beautiful shots while on holidays or just selfies. This phone has a really good rear camera, with 12 megapixels  with dual pixel
CMOS 5MP front camera. The rear camera is a  low-light camera, whatever photos taken will come out crisp. Though the low light photos have better quality now, digital noise was still there, those small speckles of color that infiltrate the picture are an inevitability in low-light digital camera shots. The auto-focus is really fast and good , grabbing clear shots from moving objects. This is good news to those taking normal landscape photos, but the selfies camera, armed with 5 megapixels, was not really good. It has even more ‘beautification’ filters, making the skin look youthful, but it does it too much. It makes the skin look plastic. The selfies comes out either too fake or too harsh. The flash used for the front camera is quite good, considering it whites out the screen, so your next selfie in a dark location will not be really muffled, but the flash in unbelievably blinding.

The S7 has lesser bloatware, unlike the S6, which leaves the S& with tons of customisation for you to do. Samsung also added a Game Launcher which has a set off quick action tools for you to use, like screenshots and recording. It can be use to turn off all alerts except for calls. The call notification takes up a big bulk of space, which would be better if it were to be toned down. It has an always on feature that shows either the clock, calendar or an image. It is useful a you need not to wake your phone up to check the time, battery levels or date.

The battery life is astronomically long lasting, even better than the iphone 6S. I mean if 16 hours of heavy use(still dependent on what the use is) is not enough for you, there is the S7 Edge anyways.  The amount of storage has been increased too, with a microSD card slot to use, that is an extra 64GB or more extra storage.

Here are some specifications that you might need to know. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, has 4GB or RAM and capture videos in 4K

Though it is pricey, I think it is worth buying it if you have no phone or have the money to buy this high-end phone. It costs 905SGD to buy the S7.

Photo Courtesy: http://s.tmocache.com/content/dam/tmo/en-p/cell-phones/samsung-galaxy-s7/black-onyx/spin/samsung-galaxy-s7-black-spin-0001.png

Samsung Gear S2 3G

This smartwatch, unlike others does not require you to pair this to your phone. It works independently.

The Samsung Gear S2 3G is a smartwatch that has its own cell service. It can work without any phone at all. The smartwatch has a little e-SIM card inside it which would mean that the smartwatch can receive messages, calls, and even allows you to checks the weather.

This smartwatch’s design is slick and comes with the rim of the watch which can be rotated. Inside it has many apps available for download from Tizen, a separate operating system with a separate app store from smartwatches on the Android Wear platform.

The rotatable rim of the watch allows you to view different pages of the phone, just like using your finger to swipe through the pages of your phone. Besides those, it also has different layouts of the digital watch within it.

The smartwatch costs only $200. When i saw it on display in a shop, it caught my eye as it was circular and most of the smartwatches were square which is not really appealing to the eye in my opinion as for those who wear watches who want to get a smartwatch, they may not get used to it as it is square. Overall, in my opinion, $200 is considered a cheap price for me for a smartwatch from Samsung considering that it has quite a lot of abilities.

Photo courtesy of : http://cdn.slashgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Z-7.jpg

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

The Sony Xperia Z5 Compact is the latest from Sony’s line of Compact smartphones, with the Z5 Compact boasting the latest flagship hardware, but packed in a small, lightweight package. With an IP68 rating, the Z5 Compact is both waterproof and dustproof, and despite Sony’s recent statement warning users not to submerge the Z5 series of smartphones underwater, the Z5 Compact should stand up to splashes and water droplets well enough.

Starting with the exterior, the Z5 Compact has a mostly polycarbonate body with a matte finish that feels great to the touch, as well as a translucent glass back. Our review unit came in yellow, which may not appeal to all tastes, however Sony offers three other colour choices, black, white and coral, which users can choose from. I personally recommend users to purchase a case for the Z5 Compact, as it is is prone to minor scuffs on the polycarbonate body, as our review unit already has a few scratches on the exterior after a few weeks of daily use, and this is more noticeable on the models with the brighter white, yellow or coral colours.

Going down the right side of the smartphone, there is the usual 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a volume rocker and dedicated camera button, which is especially useful during situations where shots have to be taken quickly. The audio output through the headphone jack is pretty good, and has enough power for high-end headphones and earphones. I tested the audio output with my RHA S500 in-ears, as well as my Sennheiser HD 219 and HD 598 headphones, and audio levels with all of these were high enough to not have to require the use of a dedicated audio amplifier.

On the left side, there is a nanoSIM card slot underneath a protective cover, however there is another highlight here, which is the microSD card slot. This is a surprise considering the recent flagships on the market do not sport microSD card slots, which is a shame considering the potential increase in storage space a microSD card slot can offer. The microSD card slot on the Xperia Z5 Compact in particular supports up to a 200GB microSD card, while most other smartphones only support a 128GB card. The Z5 Compact still uses a microUSB charging port instead of the modern USB Type-C that popular handsets from the Nexus line of smartphones, the 6P and 5X have, however, this has proved more convenient during my daily usage of the smartphone, as standard microUSB cables remain far easier to find as compared to USB Type-C connectors. The Xperia Z5 Compact supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, however the included charger in the box when we received our review unit was not a Quick Charge 2.0 compatible charger, and users will have to purchase a second charger which supports Quick Charge 2.0, which is a disappointment.

Under the hood, the Z5 Compact is all business, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-cre processor with 4 Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and 4 Cortex A57 cores clocked at 2 GHz, the same processor that is found in the hugely popular Nexus 6P. The Snapdragon 810 is one of the fastest on the market, beaten only by the Exynos 7420 found in the S6 line of smartphones, such as the S6 Edge+ that was recently reviewed on this site. However, both processors are exceptionally powerful, and performance on the Z5 Compact was great, as expected, with even demanding games like Need For Speed:No Limits and Riptide GP2 running without a hitch at smooth framerates, thanks to the high-end Adreno 430 GPU in the Z5 Compact. The Z5 Compact has 2GB of RAM, which some may feel is too little for a flagship smartphone of 2015, given that its larger siblings, the Z5 and Z5 Premium have 3GB of RAM. However, there was no effect on daily use as result of the lower RAM, and never at any point did I feel the RAM on the Z5 Compact was insufficient or bottlenecking the smartphone throughout my time with the smartphone.

The display is a 4.6 inch, 720 by 1280 Triluminos display, and while I would have liked to see a Full HD display on this smartphone, 720p is more than sufficient for a screen of this size, and the smaller resolution screen in fact contributes to the improved battery life of this smartphone, with about 6 hours of screen-on time under heavy usage, web surfing and gaming with WiFi enabled, and thus, unlike several flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Z5 Compact can easily last through a day or even two depending on the usage pattern of the user. The Z5 Compact comes packed with power-saving features such as STAMINA mode and ULTRA STAMINA mode, both which can improve battery life greatly, and I have often used the STAMINA mode myself during overseas trips.

The Z5 Compact has Sony’s custom 23 megapixel wide-angle G lens for its rear-facing camera, whih it shares with both the Z5 and Z5 Premium, and while some review sites such as Dx0Mark rate the Z5’s lens as the best smartphone camera on the market, my personal experience with the Z5 Compact is that while camera performance under good lighting was good, the low-light performance remains somewhat of a letdown, considering the high expectations I had for the Z5 Compact’s camera before launch. This is not to say the camera on the Z5 Compact is bad, it is still one of the top performers on the market today, and perhaps even on par with the iPhone 6S or S6 Edge in certain situations, however, my personal opinion is that the LG G4 and LG V10 have one of the best cameras on the market right now, and the Z5 Compact still has room for improvement in that aspect.

In the software department, the Z5 Compact comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, and a update to Marshmallow will come in the near future. However, given Sony’s track record of software updates, this will probably take some time and stretch into the first quarter of next year, assuming there are no delays. Thankfully, Sony’s custom UI is extremely lightweight and mostly keeps the original Android feel and interface without adding too many extras, an example of a heavily customized UI being Samsung’s Touchwiz. Performance is smooth and stutter-free, with UI elements remaining almost stock Android, something which I find a rarity on smartphones these days.

The Z5 Compact’s combination of flagship-tier performance, compact size and battery life has certainly won me over during my time with it, as being able to use the Z5 Compact one-handed comfortably has made a great difference to my user experience, and thus I would recommend the Z5 Compact to any consumers who are looking for a smartphone with an compact form factor. The Xperia Z5 Compact doesn’t have much competition, as there are almost no other options on the market for a Android smartphone of this size and performance, with the only other smartphone that comes close in size and performance being the Nexus 5X, however the 5X has the Snapdragon 808 with a lower-specced GPU, which while has little effect on day-to-day usage, may not be as future-proof as the Z5 Compact should even more demanding games and apps hit the market.

 

Images used for this review were sourced from the following sites, all images are courtesy of their respective copyright holders:

https://staticshop.o2.co.uk/product/images/sony_xperia_z5_compact_yellow_header.png?cb=3ce007bfc2f32b2fef2471cd3744b3ad

http://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/08/27/dab6538a-d981-478d-9ef7-ad1ec740f773/resize/1170xauto/b46d8cff186343c5f3a8e23f7d60ed1b/sony-xperia-z5-compact-3.jpg

http://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/08/27/2662bafe-13e9-4d83-9859-134bd75b54cc/resize/1170xauto/745def75c307e5cc612d3baa5ae90290/sony-xperia-z5-compact-4.jpg

http://cdn1.expertreviews.co.uk/sites/expertreviews/files/2015/10/sony_xperia_z5_compact_7.jpg?itok=O2VINEuL

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

 

 

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is not just a larger version of the original Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. In fact, it is just a small upgrade from its smaller counterpart, it adds a shortcut menu to the edge screen for quickly opening apps, in addition to the existing menu for contacting your favorite people.

Sharing the exact same specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5,  which includes a strong 16-megapixel camera, 4GB of RAM and an octa-core processor of Samsung’s own design (that means it has eight computing chips for completing tasks). Besides its snazzier design, though, the Edge+ lacks the Note 5’s signature stylus. That leaves potential buyers having to choose between the Edge+’s inviting curves or the Note 5’s scribble-friendly practicality.

As of now, the S6 Edge+ comes in gold, silver, black and white, though different regions may carry different colors. Prices vary by retailer and country, but this Edge+ will cost more than the Note 5 overall. The design of the Edge+ are as follows:5.7-inch display; 2,560×1,440 pixels (518 pixels per inch), metal and glass construction, 6.1 by 3 by 0.3 inches (154 by 76 by 6.9mm), weighs 5.4 ounces (153 grams).If the regular Edge’s curved screen and thin edges are familiar to you, you should know how the Edge+ looks like.

Unlike the other Galaxies, this one does not have a removeable battery or microSD card.The curves on the screen, unlike previous curved-screen Galaxies, are not merely ‘cosmetic’ but a function. A special display utilises the curves on the screen.Hence, it hides from view until you pull it out, so most of the time, you don’t see it. When you do want to summon the edge display (which you can now do from any screen, not just the home screen, as was the case with the original S6 Edge), you grab a slim onscreen tab that tastefully lies low on whichever side you put it, and swipe to reveal the full menu. The settings menu also lets you turn on a newsfeed, so you can see various alerts and news headlines in the sidebar as well as through the customary notifications tray up top. The benefit here: the edge screen’s longer window lets you see more text, without expanding the alert the way you would with the notifications shade.

In my opinion, this is basically a Note 5 with a slighty larger Edge cover with extra features. Worth the price of more than the original Edge? If you really need a new phone and or have the money, this probably will suit you. If not, I’d say skip this phone.

 

Assassin’s Creed:Pirates

 

When someone think about Assassin’s Creed in general, one will visualise  a hooded figure doing parkour in a famous time era, brutally assassinating enemies. However, taking out the naval combat of Black Flag and Rogue, the basic formula for Pirates is made.

In basic, there is no land combat at all, thus putting this game in the Everyone and Teens section of ESRB. The main focus is its naval combat. The story in brief is that, you play as Alonzo Batilla, a budding pirate who just so happen to rescued by other pirates and together, they hunt down a Piece of Eden(some holy artifact that had special powers, the Sword of Eden in Unity can shoot arc bolts everywhere, for example) with some famous people then, like Blackbeard. The storyline may however inter-twine with Black Flag mainly die to Blackbeard’s appearance(I have not completed the game yet).

The gameplay was spectacular as they kept the main weapons from Rogue and Black Flag naval conflicts. The missions were usually a hunting mission, although some times it will be different. Sadly, the missions had a steep difficulty slope, meaning it would be hard to catch up after doing a mission , thus having a feeling that you have to do long grinding game time or simply pay to win(you can buy currencies and material). The sidequests and missions are pretty enjoyable to play, but the assassination mission in the pain in the neck.As you have to drag your ship through guards from a birds eye view, your finger size does matters heavily. The Mayan temple escapes are ridiculously difficult as the controls just simply does not work.The only sheer thing that makes me still want to play this game is the ‘love’ for the Assassin’s Creed franchise and missing out Black Flag. The graphics are outstanding too. Adding to the immersive gameplay to its naval only gameplay.

All in all, if you really love Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Rogue’s gameplay, and just could not get enough, just download Assassin’s Creed Pirates. It is free to play anyways. It is available to download from Google Play or Appstore.

Photo  Courtesy: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/assassinscreed/images/0/02/AC_Pirates.png/revision/latest?cb=20131205195541

Sony MDR-1A

 

Sony’s new headphone, MDR-1A is the successor to the discontinued MDR-1R a “premium” over-ear headphone. Just like its ancestor, the 1A did inherit some of its traits.

The MDR-1A is just like the MDR-1R, being very, very comfortable. They both look really similar,  but thanks do design changes, 1A beats its ancestor. The earcup design is subtly different, with softer padding and cushions that are slightly angled to confort to the user’s head better, the finish on the MDR-1A is also a bit more textured. But the biggest change is that the earcups can rotate in an opposite direction from the MDR-1R’s. Which means, that the headphones can rest flat,(pads down), which makes it more comfortable when it is resting on your neck.

Now for the stats. Only being 225 grams light and fitting somewhere between snugly and not too snugly, this pair of headphones can fit well to all sizes of heads. The sound quality is quite balanced( the bass, midrange and the treble is really smooth), the stereo soundstage is spacious and the dynamic range is quite dynamic. It is not bass boosted whatsoever or zippy treble it is just there, balanced and all-rounded. And it is just so comfortable that fatigue will happen after listening to music after quite some time.

What you will get from its box is 2 standard 1.2 meters long,one of which has a one-button inline remote and microphone. It is also geared towards Android but it works well with iPhones but you are unable to adjust volume on the iPhone. But if you use an Android phone, you can use Android’s free app SmartKey to customise the button control. A carrying pouch is also included. Sony do sell 3 higher end cables if you want even better sound quality.

All in all, Sony’s MDR-1A is a very balanced headphone that balances clarity with just enough of laid-backness to make it a very versatile headphone that is well worth for a headphone in the SGD400 range, SGD417 to be exact.

Photo Courtesy:http://brain-images.cdn.dixons.com/6/2/10091426/l_10091426_001.jpg

HTC One A9

 

The HTC One A9 was confirmed by HTC themself on September 2015 and expected release date is November 2015. HTC claims that the HTC One A9 is a design worth imitating. Photos the professionals will admire. And offers a high resolution audio. Making the HTC One A9 the smartphone which gets all the important elements right.

The HTC One A9 offers a sleek metal frame with a touch of perfection. It has a SD Card slot and comes in many different colours.

With the HTC One A9 you can take blur free photos and any photo with a blurry person will most probably be some supernatural being. Capture RAW images with Pro mode and speed up your video by 12 times with Hyperlapse.

With a 1080p and energy efficient screen, and a 40% increase in colour compared to a normal LCD screen you’ll surely get the best graphics and gaming experience.

With a built-in DAC, all your 16 bit audio will turn into 24 bit high resolution sound for the best listening experience.

Design your own phone with the HTC One 9 it offers you the choice the personalize your smartphone.

For the price of US$399.99, the HTC One 9 is a phone that has quite a lot to offer. It has a great user interface, a great battery life and the other important elements of a smartphone are all perfect. A great choice for consumers looking for a new different smartphone.

Photo courtesy of: http://drop.ndtv.com/TECH/product_database/images/10212015110003AM_635_htc_one_a9.jpeg

Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II

The Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II is the successor of the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear with the addition of Bluetooth.

Only just weighing slightly over 200 grams, it has plush memory foam ear pads and a really strong frame. Although it does not look sturdy, Bose has tested this in their labs and said that it can survive falls, bumps and grabs due to the materials used are like impact resistant, like glass-filled nylon and corrosion-resistant stainless steel. However light and hardy this headphones are, it does not feature active noise-cancellation, but the around-ear design will help a bit by blocking off some noise, just do not wear it too long in hot areas as your ears will go steaming but during winter or cold areas, this will do fine to keep your ears warm and comfy.

It also has a two-way microphone system and what Bose calls Adaptive Audio Adjustments which changes volume based on speech level and ambient noise.It pairs well with both iOS and Android. It also pairs well with Bluetooth enabled computers but for iMacs and MacBook Air, the sound quality it is not as good. There is a case that carries the headphone itself and some wires that makes it a wired headphone. That carrying case has a pocket to store the USB charging cable and a headphone cable to use in case the battery dies and you want to listen to the headphones in wired mode (that cable doesn’t have an integrated microphone, but that’s a minor omission). It boasts remotes buttons that are placed on the right cup that can answer calls. Tapping the middle buttons allows you to skip tracks forward and back when you’re playing music. This headphone uses Bluetooth 4.0 multilink. It has NFC tap-to-pair technology is also on board (Apple’s phones currently don’t support this feature but most Android devices do). But AptX streaming didn’t make the features list. AptX is supposed to improve the quality of Bluetooth streaming but it’s unclear how much of an impact it has (Apple phones currently don’t support this feature either but many Android devices do). It also has a 15 hour battery life(dependent on usage) and charges really fast.

The sound quality is really fine too but it is not bass boosted whatsoever so you will not receive any extra crispness, sparkle, and depth that you get from a really good pair of wired headphones. But the sound is still pleasant and smooth.It also has digital processing going on board the headphone. This one,  Bose put in Active EQ and volume-optimized EQ. For volume-optimized EQ is designed to make your music sound better at lower volumes. Often, when you lower the volume, you lose the bass, and Bose’s digital processing makes things sound fuller and more detailed at lower volumes. Active EQ however, makes sure the incoming signal is complete and accurate and isn’t distorted. The idea is to get a more perfect transmission without boosting anything, the bass, for instance. The problem, of course, is that the quality of the digital files you’re streaming to your headphones vary but Bose is doing their best to smooth everything out and make it sound better.

All in all, this piece of headphones is not made for Techno songs or Pop songs, rather for softer songs instead.At a cost of 385SGD this is worth the price for its comfort and things Bose added to make this as reliable to Bluetooth connections.

http://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2015/09/01/35d677b5-4b15-4e3b-a0bf-38e9c9d36907/thumbnail/770×433/6f70c5a00deae056c93cfa705617d6b3/06bose-soundlink-around-ear-wireless-headphones-ii.jpg”

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0-inch

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2(8.0-inch) is a multi-touch tablet. It runs on Android OS and has a dimension of 198.6 mm x 134.8 mm x 5.6 mm. The tablet is also light-weight and has a weight of 272 g which is lighter than the average of 368 g.

The main body of the tablet is made of metal. The tablet has a physical size of 8.0 inches and a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 have a pixel density of 320 ppi. There are also some extremely useful functions such as the light sensor and scratch-resistant glass.

The camera of this tablet is 8 megapixels. There are also some exclusive features and settings for the camera such as face detection, autofocus, geo tagging, exposure compensation and white balance presets. The front-facing camera for this tablet is 2.1 megapixels which is used for people who would like to take selfies. It runs on an octa-core processor and has a system memory of 3072 MB RAM. The built-in storage for this phone is 64 GB. And, most important of all, the battery life. The battery capacity for this tablet is 4000 mAh.

In my opinion, this is a good tablet since it have many pros and only one con for this tablet. The pros are it have a high pixel density screen, high screen-to-body ratio, lots of RAM(3072 MB), 4G and thin body(less than 7.5mm). The con is that the camera lacks flash, so the photos taken in the dark or at night might not be too good. Hence, in my opinion, I will give this tablet a rating of 9/10.

Photo courtesy of: http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/phonesize/9207-logo/Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-S2-8.0-inch.jpg