4 Nov 2018

Google's brand new flagship phone - the Pixel 3 and its bigger sibling the Pixel 3 XL is now available in Singapore. The Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL is an upgrade to the hardware that is found in Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL.

Having the Pixel 3 XL in my hands for a review, the experience of using it so far is more than delighted. 

First Look

The Pixel 3 XL spots really attractive curved corners and with the white review set, the power button is coloured lime green. At first, I thought that the lime green button glows in the dark but, it does not. The fingerprint reader is at the back, around 3 cm away from the top and place right in the middle. For me, the index finger can easily reach the button with minimal effort. The Pixel 3 XL spots the same USB type C connection with no headphone jack again like its predecessor.

Display
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL spots a 5.5 inch and 6.3 inch OLED display respectively. The experience on the Pixel 3 XL with 6.3 inch OLED display is pretty impressive. Videos look a little bigger, details look much clearer on the Pixel 3 XL. Typing out parts of this article is also a breeze.

As smartphone makers tries to max out the screen estate available, "the notch" is seemingly the trend these days. As much as I would love to be bugged by the notch, in reality, it does not seem to hinder my use of the phone.
Most of the apps I used on the phone could take advantage of the extra estate next to the notch. This includes YouTube which could zoom to take advantage of the extra estate on the side of the notch. But there are a couple of them, this include games and streaming video apps that could not zoom out to fit the screen. The extra estate just remains dark whenever I use those apps. So, it is back to the 16:9 aspect ratio we are familiar with.

The colours looks brilliant on the default adaptive mode on the Pixel 3 XL, something that Google did paid attention to in Pixel 3 series. This looks much better when compared to the natural colours of the Pixel 2 series. It is not overly saturated nor under saturated which makes it is pleasing to the eye.

Camera

The two front facing cameras makes it easier to take better selfies. The photo booth mode works well and makes it simpler to take selfies while holding onto the phone. Besides testing the front cameras we tested the rear cameras. The Google lens can recognize objects pretty well and pulls the text from photos effortlessly.

You can check out some photos taken using the Pixel 3 XL on a variety of conditions here. Do note that Pixel 3 XL does support RAW files so pro-sumers can post process their photos on a compatible software.



Sound

The sound, is fantastic. The clarity is there with the included two stereo speakers gave a great experience when watching videos and listening to music. As it is frontward facing, the music is loud enough given a reasonably noisy room.

Intentionally or not, if there are more bass or the volume is too loud, the vibrations coming from the speakers are quite pronounced You can feel the light vibrations due to the speakers when holding the Pixel 3 XL.

The Pixel 3 XL comes included with the USB-C earbuds. The earbuds give a smooth clean sound and is light and comfortable on the ears, that is if you don't mind the cable loops. However, if you are using it on a daily commute to work on a bus or train, you might want to up the volume past the recommended maximum.

Operating System and App Usage

Google uses its latest operating system Android 9 Pie on the Pixel 3. This means as a user of the previous Android 7 and 8 OS, there is some getting used to fore me. There is a lot of gesture-oriented controls in Pixel 3. Swiping up to bring the recent apps, and further to get the app drawer. Swiping on the finger print sensor to pull down the notifications. Switching between apps by swiping left and right on the on-screen bottom bar.

Just one thing that I could not get used to, doing two things at a time. In order to open the multi-task feature, I have to tap on the app icon on the recent apps screen to activate it. Would love to see the multi-tasking made simpler to access, but it would be okay to leave it this way with the other gestures in place.

Introduced together with Android 9 is the digital well-being module (in the settings menu). It has included a setting category dedicated to it. The tracking is quite accurate with a dashboard to see how much time you spent on the apps. You can go into a graph for the time spent on the various apps on different days, set up do not disturb and turn on night light (reduced blue light mode) or grey scale mode.

To me, the digital wellbeing module seems like a more detailed breakdown of your app usage, which is currently tracked together with your battery life. I would definitely prefer this as it even includes a timer to allow you to limit your screen time.  

Battery Life

The battery life on the Pixel 3 XL is pretty good for a day to day working phone. It spots a 3430 mAh battery. That is a pretty weird number, as I would expect 3400 mAh or 3500 mAh. But weird number aside, I used the Pixel 3 XL for some gaming, some YouTube streaming, surfing webpages, using social media and it last me thoughout the working day with a pretty decent battery life by the time I get home. Do note that individual results may vary and the review is done using a combination of 4G network and the WiFi available at workplace and home.

Pixel Stand
 The Pixel Stand that is launched with the Pixel 3 series comes packaged separately in a box. One thing to note is that it comes equipped with a separate USB-C charger. One thing I spotted on both the Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 charger equipped with my review set is that they are similarly power rated. So technically, you can leave one at home and one in your bag or office. With that said, the decent battery life on the Pixel 3 XL should reduce the need to look for a wall socket out on the street.

The Pixel Stand may look flimsy at first but it is quite well constructed. The charging is pretty fast, with an hour of charging yields about half charge. When the Pixel 3 rests on the Pixel Stand to charge, you can set it to display photos from your Google Photos albums. You could also set a sunrise alarm which slowly brighten the screen in warm sunrise colours before the alarm goes off.

All in all, the Pixel 3 XL is one of the flagship phones out there with a very decent battery, great hardware and software combinations. If you like the vanilla Android experience plus the flagship specs, Pixel 3 series is likely to be one contender in your list of choices.

You can check out the phone at https://store.google.com/product/pixel_3 or in stores at Singtel or Starhub.

Google Pixel 3 XL Review

28 Oct 2018


LG’s new PC389 Pocket Photo Snap is a hybrid instant camera and portable printer that will change how people capture memories through photos. Beyond possessing the traditional advantages of instant cameras such as ease of use, shareability and the ability to see a shot straight away, this unique device promises a higher degree of control with charming settings and features. 

Combining the latest mobile trends with the nostalgic feel of a traditional analog camera is another way the Pocket Photo Snap enhances the photographic experience. It effortlessly connects to a smartphone and PC tablet via Bluetooth to print photos taken by other devices in either Android and iOS. 

Print from phones or tablets through clear prints within 45 seconds. Finished photos can go in a wallet or in a neat frame on an office desk or bedside. Also, the Pocket Photo app makes it easy and convenient to edit and enhance the pictures in those devices prior to printing.

Available in both blue and pink, check out https://www.lg.com/sg/mobile-phone-accessories/lg-PC389S for more information. 

LG's PC389 Pocket Photo Snap

22 Oct 2018

Trick or Treat?

It's treats of course!

This Sunday, tune into AXN at 10pm for the channel premiere of Insidious: Chapter 3.
The chilling prequel takes place before the unforgotten haunting of the Lambert family 

When paranormal investigators Tucker and Specs team up with the psychic Elise to help a teenage girl contact her late mother, Elise is forced to venture back into The Further where she finds a ruthless supernatural entity craving the souls of the living. It's the darkest chapter yet in this spine-tingling portrayal of evil unleashed.

Besides Insidious: Chapter 3, AXN have you covered from 9.50am with Supernatural’s crossover episode with Scooby-Doo where the brothers are transported into the world of Scooby-Doo and must attempt escape.

At 10.40am, join McGyver and co. as they explore the Bermuda Triangle to locate the son of the Vice President. Who knew Halloween could be this deadly!

From 11.30am, it’s time for some laughs with back-to-back airing of Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2! 

At 3.05pm, it’s time for some real-life scares as we bring you some of the creepiest and scariest acts from Asia’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent! Expect to see acts like viral sensation The Sacred Riana and Magus Utopia while keeping your wits with you until the premiere of Insidious: Chapter 3 at 10pm.

For full programming schedule visit www.AXN-Asia.com or visit @AXNAsia on Facebook for the latest news on AXN.

AXN is available on Singtel TV Ch 304 and StarHub TV Ch 511.

Catch Insidious: Chapter 3 on AXN this Halloween!

1 Oct 2018

OtterBox offers a full portfolio of style, color and graphic case options available now for iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max and coming soon for iPhone XR!

OtterBox offers a broad suite of cases, Symmetry Series, Defender Series, Pursuit Series, Strada Series Folio, Commuter Series.

The Symmetry Series has been redesigned with a slimmer form and easy-push buttons and comes in a broad array of colors and graphics in a sleek, one-piece design.

The Defender Series offers rugged protection for iPhone X, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR. The multi-layer design absorbs and dissipates shock, while port covers keep dirt and debris out. Available in a wide variety of colors and build- your-own options.

The OtterBox’s thinnest, most protective case with protection against drop, dust, dirt and snow intrusion. The Pursuit Series features a two-piece design that seals together around iPhone and has audio scoops, a sealed camera opening and an included lanyard to tether it to your arm.

The Strada Series Folio features a genuine leather cover, magnetic front clasp and folio design to keep the screen from scratches. The inside cover offers a card slot ideal for holding a credit card and ID.

Thin, protective and ready to go, Commuter Series is perfect for the everyday trek to work. The outer shell and inner slipcover absorb shock and stay slim, while port covers keep dust out of ports.

Pair it with a Alpha Glass fortified screen guards to protect against scuffs, scratches and dings to the brilliant display on the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR.

Learn more at otterbox.asia.

Otterbox Announces its iPhone Case Line-up

30 Sep 2018

Razer announced the Razer Nari Ultimate with Razer HyperSense.

Razer HyperSense is an advanced haptic technology that delivers an added dimension of touch to gaming, movies, and music experiences out of the box. It was developed in partnership with Lofelt, a German engineering firm that specializes in creating haptic technologies for immersive, natural, lifelike experiences.

The Razer Nari Ultimate also features the THX Spatial Audio, which creates realistic depth and immersion by simulating 360-degree sound with pinpoint accuracy for greater awareness during gameplay. 

It also works in both wired and wireless mode for added compatibility across PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and mobile devices.

The Nari Ultimate is also available in Nari and Nari Essential versions. 

The Nari omits HyperSense and delivers great value to gamers, while the Nari Essential focuses on core wireless gaming headset features that includes THX Spatial Audio and unparalleled comfort.

To find out more about the Razer Nari Ultimate, visit the official website at 
https://www.razer.com/gaming-audio/razer-nari-ultimate.

Razer announces flagship Nari Ultimate wireless gaming headset

Looking for a case to keep your latest iPhone protected from day one? Take a look at LifeProof cases! Choose from SLɅM, NËXT, or FRĒ.

For the first time, LifeProof SLɅM will be available with an array of stylish clear graphics that complement any style while accenting the sleek lines of iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR.

The NËXT is ready for adventure with protection against drops, dirt and snow with an open-screen design that allows direct access to the display, while drop protection and port covers keep your iPhone safe from the bumps!

The award-winning FRĒ protects from water, drops, dirt and snow. The two-piece design has a built-in screen protector to guard against scratches which locks in 360-degree, water, drop, dirt and snow protection will be coming soon to Singapore too!

NËXT and SLɅM from LifeProof is available now at Best Denki, Epicentre, iStudio, LOL, Newstead, Nubox, and other authorised retail stores in Singapore!

Visit lifeproof.asia for more information!

LifeProof Launched New Phone Cases For Your iPhone

8 Sep 2018

WhizComms launches its new home digital line (HDL) service at COMEX 2018! 

This free home digital line service will be offered to all subscribers for free, on top of the exclusive WhizComms COMEX deals for 300Mbps and 1Gbps home broadband subscriptions.

The home digital line (HDL) service includes:
- Free unlimited local calls (Incoming & Outgoing)
- Free Number Retention service
- Waiver of One-time HDL Activation Fee (worth $53.50)

To find out more, drop by WhizComms booth at Level 6 Booth 6329 at COMEX 2018!

WhizComms Launches New Home Digital Line Service, Completely FREE at COMEX 2018

1 Sep 2018

Microsoft Surface Go is now available in Singapore.


Starting at S$618, the most portable and affordable Surface yet is now available on Microsoft Store, as well as authorised retailers including Microsoft Official Store on Lazada (Acommerce), Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Elush, Harvey Norman, and Newstead.

Weighing at just 522g and 8.3mm thin, from schoolwork and home projects to managing email and relaxing with a movie, Surface Go is perfect for sharing. Unwind with the sharp and vibrant PixelSense Display to enjoy a good book or magazine. Fast, efficient, and plenty of unplugged power. Count on Surface Go to provide up to 9 hours of battery life all on a single charge. The best of Microsoft. Surface Go comes equipped with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which offers a familiar, productive Windows experience that’s streamlined for security and performance.

From today till 24 September 2018, purchase a Surface Go at any of the participating retailers and you can redeem S$50 worth of Grab vouchers.


Microsoft Surface Go Available in Singapore

11 Aug 2018

Celebrating the launch of Samsung Galaxy Note9, Samsung partnered with Viu to invite Park Min Young and Kim Jong Kook to Singapore!



The fans get a chance to get up close to the stars for games and photos opportunities using the newest Samsung Galaxy Note9.


The all-new Galaxy Note9 is equipped with a new S Pen with connectivity features allowing control of powerpoint slides or even double up as a remote control when taking a selfie.




Pre-order and Local Availability
Pre-Order/ Registration of interest with Samsung Experience Stores, M1, Singtel, StarHub and major consumer electronics & IT stores for the Galaxy Note9 will commence from 10 August 2018, Friday, 3pm.

The Galaxy Note9 will be available from 25 August 2018, at local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), major consumer electronics & IT stores, Samsung Experience Stores, Lazada Singapore, selected marketplace and at all authorised mobile retailers. The respective recommended retail prices (with GST) for the device variants are as follows:

Model
Built-in Memory
RRP (S$)
Galaxy Note9
128GB
$1,398
Galaxy Note9
512GB
$1,728

The Galaxy Note9 will be available in Ocean Blue, Metallic Copper and Midnight Black.

Top two photos
from Samsung

Samsung Celebrates Galaxy Note9 Launch with Hallyu Stars

2 Jul 2018

The Google Home and Home Mini is launched back in April in Singapore. The smart speaker from Google spots a simple sleek design on both the regular Google Home and the mini version.

For the past few months, I had the chance to take the Google Home for a spin.
Once you open the packaging, the Google Home mini sits on top of the compartment that stores its power adapter.

The Google Home spots a clean white and grey design. The grey mesh bottom is its speakers and the top is touch sensitive for simple control of the Google Home. There is a mute button in case you do not want Google Home to listen to your conversations for the keyword or maybe you are watching a show that keeps “Hey Google”.

The Google Home is powered by the 2A adapter that comes with it. It uses a proprietary connector, which is kind of a disappointment as I thought they would use the USB-C (or a B) type connector.

Getting started is pretty easy for me as I have previously setuped the Chromecast. Take the Google Home app and follow the steps to get the Google Home configured for your account and WiFi network.
Home Control

The Google Home is placed on the TV console just below the TV. With an overhead living room fan running at full speed all the time, the Google Home have some trouble hearing me when I have the TV turned on and watching a show. That is me sitting around one meter away.

After some trial-and-error, the better way is to position it nearer to me on the coffee table or side table.

Unfortunately, the only thing I could control in my traditional home is the Chromecast. I do not have any connected home automation tools or devices.

It does a great job of ordering my Chromecast connected TV to playback videos from YouTube. I notice that the audio volume will temporarily throttle down when I try to speak to the Google Home. It could also turn on the TV if the Chromecast is in idle mode (while the TV USB port is still supplying power).

Playback

Currently, the music playback is only available from Spotify. As I do not have a Spotify premium account, I can only playback by playlist. It will be good if it can play the music from YouTube.

The playback is really good. The music is loud and clear with a good amount of bass.

If you like listening to radio stations, you can shout out to Google Home and it plays the local radio stations as you please using TuneIn.

Bluetooth enabled

The Google Home supports Bluetooth connection. I tried connecting via the Bluetooth and there are noticeable delays between the picture and the audio when I playback some YouTube videos. This delay is also present when I tried to cast from my computer to the device. Perhaps some delay via WiFi but it is weird to have that much of a delay with Bluetooth.

Answers Fast

The Google Home responds to most of my questions within a few moments, usually less than a second after my query. Questions like where is the nearest NTUC Fairprice? ,where is the nearest McDonald’s? Where is the nearest POSB atm? yielded correct answers. But it cannot understand “Where is the NEXT nearest” kind of questions yet. Scenarios that it could be useful would be if the nearest McDonald’s just closed for the day, or the ATM decided not to work.

I also tried the SG Bus Uncle on the device. The experience is not intuitive enough for a five stars experience. I have problem with the app misunderstanding my bus number, or thought that I am still enquiring bus A at bus stop A instead of bus B at bus stop B. Perhaps my enunciation needs work!

Personal Assistant

With the voice recognition feature, it knows that I am talking to it and not my family members. I could easily add tasks, enquire calendar entries and more using the device. This experience is the same as what I get with the Google Assistant on the phone.

All in all, the Google Home is a great addition to the household. I could check the weather, put down task and schedule with my voice. There are some work still needed to make some of the things work more natural and more integration required.
If you would like to get Google Home for yourself you can check out the new Google Store in Singapore at https://store.google.com/sg/

Google Home Review