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A Case Built To Withstand A Tantrum

June 25, 2013 in Accessories, Android, iPhone, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Main Blog, Phones, Product, Slideshow

As much as I appreciate the beautiful curves of the iPhone, I cannot help cover it up with a case. How some people can tolerate using a shattered iPhone when I can’t even stand a tiny scratch I will never know. Literally the second I took my iPhone out of the box I popped it into a case. Although I do want to protect my phone as much as I can, I have never opted to put it into an Otter Box. I just find that cruel and unusual to wrap Jonny Ive’s masterpiece in a fat suit. I mean you would never wrap a Lamborghini in bubble wrap would you? There is a Kickstarter Project, that is in it’s final stretch that is near indestructible, but still keeps your phone looking sharp. Introducing The Tantrum: The Indestructible Case for iPhone and Galaxy phones.

Design: 

The Tantrum is an all aluminum exoskeleton case that is capable of withstanding several thousand pounds of force.The case is held together with stainless steel posts. The case boasts that unlike other cases that use the phone as part of the support system and that bend and fold without the phone inside; the Tantrum case provides all of the support. Any shock is absorbed and distributed though the case instead of your phone. The Tantrum can withstand drops, throws, and even being run over by a truck.

 

So go back this awesome kickstarter project. You can do so here.Or hit up their website here.

Jackery Air, The Perfect iPhone Companion

June 19, 2013 in Accessories, Android, Business, iPad, iPhone, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Main Blog, Phones, Product, Productivity, Productivity, Productivity, Slideshow, Tablets, Travel, Travel, Travel, Uncategorized

If you have read some of my other posts, you would have discovered that the only thing I hate about technology is the constant need to charge devices. I am always on one device or another and the fact that I have to worry about finding an electrical outlet or getting tangled up in a series of extension cords so I can charge and use my iPhone at the same time is a major nuisance. May I introduce to you, the Jackery Air a new project on Kickstarter. While I have yet to get my hands on this new power pack, I think it is worth looking into.

Design:

The Jackery Air comes in a beautiful orange color, and is made using the same aluminum molding process that Apple uses. This not only makes the device look sleek and sexy, but also it looks like it belongs next to your Apple devices. The Air measures only 4.9×2.4×0.3 inches and weights right around 5 ounces, meaning that it can back up its claim for being “The World’s Thinnest Portable Charger”. The Air has a three-color LED status indicator tells you how much power level is left. It’s so powerful that a fully charged Jackery Air contains enough power to charge a typical smartphone two to four times.

Specs: 

The Jackery Air has two power options: 2800 mAh and 5000 mAh, depending on the amount of charger you want the device to hold. The Air is capable of charging all of the most common consumer electronics including:

  • Apple: iPhone 5 4s 4 3g / iPad 4 (Retina display) 3 2 1 / iPad Mini
  • Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S4 S3 S2 S / Galaxy Note 2 / Galaxy Nexus / Ace / Focus
  • Google: Nexus 7 / Nexus 10
  • HTC: One X, S, V / Sensation XE XL / Inspire / Droid / ThunderBolt / EVO / Radar
  • Amazon: Kindle / Kindle Fire
  • Motorola: Droid Razr Maxx Bionic / Triumph
  • Sony: Sony Xperia Z J P
  • Blackberry: Blackberry Z10 / Curve
  • LG: Nexus 4 / Optimus / Touch
  • Others: PS Vita / MP3 MP4/ GoPro
So you do not have to worry about compatibility when using the this power pack.
The Packaging: 
 I for one, am a strong believer in the aesthetics of product packaging. And though I do not know what magic the interior design of the box holds, the outside is quite appealing which in my opinion is the mark of a good quality product.I also like judging books by their cover, so there you go.
Inside this box you will find the Jackery Air of course, as well as a high speed usb charging cable that can also be used to charge most Android devices.
Also to note, if you back them on Kickstarter you can also receive a dual USB car charger as well as other rewards.
The Conclusion: 
So the Jackery Air looks like it will turn out to be a welcome addition to the device family of anyone looking to extend the battery life of their smartphones and tablets. With a combination of design and power that cannot be beat, I know that the Jackery Air will definitely be soaring to the top of everyone’s wish list.
Check out their Kickstarter page here or connect with them via one of these channels:

Did you get it? Have an app or product you want me to review? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up at chanced@plomonet.com

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Bolt, A Revolutionary New Way to Charge Up

June 18, 2013 in Accessories, Android, iPad, iPhone, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Main Blog, Phones, Product, Productivity, Productivity, Productivity, Slideshow, Travel, Travel, Travel, Utilities, Utilities, Utilities

I recently came across a new Kickstarter project that has great potential. It is a charging block with a twist. This little guy, by the name of Bolt can plug into your wall like the standard Apple charging block, but then when it’s time to go the Bolt can come with you and still charge your phone. You see, the great guys at Fluxmob have found a way to pack a 3000 mAh battery into this small rectangle giving you the ability to charge on the go. What is great about the Bolt is that it can be charged up with a standard outlet, no more carrying around a separate USB charging cord. Hopefully I will get the chance to do a more in depth review on the Bolt later on, but until then go check out their Kickstarter campaign here or there website here. I believe this will be a revolutionary new accessory that definitely deserves funding, so go help them out! 

 

Quad-core Phones – the New Era?

April 17, 2012 in Android, Slideshow

With 2012 projected to be the year of quad-core, for mobile device processors at least, I thought it would be best to recap on and do a comparison of what we are likely to see in the upcoming months. While HTC has been the first of the more recognized brands to announce their quad-core product, other less internationally recognized brands such as ZTE and Meizu have also stepped up their game and announced their quad-core phone counterparts in an attempt to grab a slice of the very lucrative smartphone market cake. So without further ado, here is a direct comparison (or face-off) of the quad-core smartphones that will have people talking, in areas where it really matters.

As a final note, this information is comprised entirely on phones that have been announced, so while the Samsung Galaxy SIII may very well have a quad-core processor with outstanding specs, up to this point there has been nothing but speculation surrounding the subject, and so I will not be covering it.

HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Processor

Not all processors are the same; they are manufactured by different companies and can have a substantial effect on the overall performance of the phone, not matter how many cores it has. The LG Optimus 4X HD, HTC One X, and the ZTE Era all have the same line of the well-known Nvidia Tegra 3 processors (which has been previously mentioned before in our ASUS Transformer Prime review here). The Nvidia Tegra 3 also has, aside from the four cores, an additional fifth companion core for less demanding requests such as music playback or web-surfing. The processors of the 4X HD and the One X are clocked at 1.5GHz, while the ZTE Era’s processor is only a tad slower by 0.2GHz. The Meizu MX Quad-core, which was announced just two days ago, is set to be powered by Samsung’s Exynos A9 quad-core chipset, which is also rumoured to be the processor that will be used for Samsung’s not-yet-announced Galaxy SIII phone (yes, yes, no speculation, I’m sorry).
Winner: Results not clear enough yet.                                                                                                                                            HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Dimensions/Weight/Display

  • LG Optimus 4X HD: 8.99 millimetres thick, 130 grams, 4.7 inch display, other statistics not yet confirmed
  • HTC One X: 8.9 millimetres thick, 134.36 millimetres long, 69.9 millimetres wide, 130 grams, 4.7 inch display
  • ZTE Era: 7.8 millimetres thick, 4.3 inch display, other statistics not yet confirmed
  • Meizu MX Quad-core: 10.3 millimetres thick, 121.3 millimetres long, 63.3 millimetres wide, 139 grams, 4 inch display

Winner: Based on the available statistics, it is apparent that the winner in this case depends on what one is looking for in a phone. The HTC One X is a clear winner if you are looking for a big phone with a wide screen, while the ZTE Era looks like the choice for people looking for a more compact, iPhone-like mobile.

HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Camera

The four phones all have both back-facing and front-facing cameras, with the back-facing cameras shooting 8 megapixels with full 1080p video recording. The front-facing cameras in the LG Optimus 4X HD and the HTC One X shoot 1.3 megapixels, with the One X’s back-facing camera also being capable of shooting 720p video. The front-facing camera in the Era and the MX Quad-core are a lower standard VGA shot. An additional selling point of the HTC One X is the ability to record videos and take images simultaneously.

Winner: HTC One X, because of its ability to shoot 720p video with its front-facing camera and simultaneous video and image capture.

HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Memory and Storage

Meizu MX Quad-core

Each phone has a different combination of internal storage coupled with microSD storage to give a relatively similar storage space: the HTC One X has 32GB of internal storage that is non-expandable; the LG Optimus 4X HD has 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded to 32GB; the ZTE has the lowest amount of internal storage at 8GB, which can however be bumped to 32GB using a microSD slot; but the Meizu MX Quad-core has the highest possible storage size with options of either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. All four smartphones has 1GB of RAM.

Winner: Meizu MX Quad-core, because although it doesn’t have a microSD slot for expandable storage, it makes up for it with a more than generous 64GBs of internal storage.

HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Operating System

All the handsets feature Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, with the main differences being the phones’ added skins. The HTC features a revamp of the iconic HTC Sense overlay, called Sense 4.0. Meizu has also revamped their unique skin, called the Flyme OS for the MX Quad-core, and so has LG.

Winner: Results not clear enough yet- tie.

HTC One X vs. Meizu MX Quad-core vs. LG Optimus 4X HD vs. ZTE Era: Release Date

For those dying to explore the power of quad-core processing NOW, you’re in luck: in everywhere except for North America, the HTC One X has already been released (anyways, North America’s HTC One X doesn’t feature a quad-core processor in the first place). The Meizu MX Quad-core and the LG Optimus 4X HD are both slated for a Q2 2012 release, with the ZTE Era expected to come out in the second half of the year.

Winner: HTC One X, if you’re all for getting your new phone ASAP.

Conclusion

While it’s still early days, you can see that it’s going to be very hard to separate these four phones holistically; each phone has its pros and cons, as well as its own unique selling point, and only time will tell whether these phones will come out being the greatest of 2012’s smartphone lineup.

Android Fragmentation – Truth or FUD? Hardware or Software?

November 6, 2011 in Android, Slideshow

It is often debated whether or not Android is a fragmented ecosystem. Some Android users believe that the fragmentation is media FUD. Some users believe that the fragmentation is irrelevant to consumers but to the app developers. And some other users believe the opposite and believe the fragmentation a big problem towards the consumers compared to the developers. Android fragmentation can also be split into two perspective: is it a hardware fragmentation caused by the different screen size, device types and button configuration, or a software fragmentation caused by the different modifications Android phone manufacturers do to make their phones stand out? Besides individual modifications, there was a branch in the Android ecosystem with two different versions being the dominant version: Android Froyo 2.2 and Gingerbread 2.3.x for mobile phones, and Android Honeycomb (3.x) for tablets. Google’s newest Android OS Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), announced early October in Hong Kong, aims to tackle and solve the fragmentation problem.

 

Hardware

Android runs on mobile phones, tablets as well as Google TV. Screens of all different sizes: from 2.5 inch to 4.3 inch mobile phone screens; from 5″ to 10.1″ tablet screens; and much bigger screens for Google TVs. Does this difference in range of screen size makes creating applications more difficult for application developers? Games like Paper Toss all scale well to the different screen sizes. Although it may not be a significantly more difficult, it creates more phones for developers to test against.

There is also fragmentation caused by the different device manufacturers. Although, fragmentation in this sense is good, as it gives consumers more choice in product, allowing them to choose until they find a perfect phone for themselves. Unlike Apple, which only have colour choices and memory choice, Android phones have manufacturer choice (Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson etc.), phone style (keyboard, screen size, stylus, shape, colour etc.), and memory (internal and external micro SD expansion). There are also a range of phones that are only released for certain geographical markets, creating phones suited for the users of that area.

Besides the range of phones, mobile phones from the same manufacturer or series also do not use a consistent button configuration. Some mobile phones have 3 hardware buttons at the front, some have 4, some have capacitive buttons, some have a scroll wheel and many more variations. Not only does this create confusion between Android users, users may need time to get used to the button configuration. Below is a picture (from: engadget) that demonstrates the button fragmentation between the different mobile phones.

Google aims to fix the problem of button fragmentation by removing the need for hardware buttons and replacing them with standard software buttons embedded inside the Android ICS OS (from techradar):

Software

Android fragmentation is also apparent in the software OS level. Besides hardware differences between manufacturers, each manufacturer also modifies the OS UI to stand out from the standard Android OS, and to unify the range of phones from the same manufacturer. Below is a picture demonstrating different skins applied to the default Android OS:

On the left is the Sony Ericsson Xperia (X8/X10) skin, the middle the default Google Android skin (Nexus), and the right is the HTC skin.

Besides slight modifications to the OS, sometimes changes are made to the Android OS that causes it to not resemble Android at all, for example the Amazon Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire runs on Android, but does not even have the Android marketplace.

Because of the different modified skins, new versions of the OS are not given to users as promptly as iOS updates are given to iPhone users. This is because the manufacturer has to test and modify the skin to work for the new version of the OS. This causes a delay in releasing the OS for existing phones. This sometimes causes phones to becoming several versions out of date as shown by the diagram below (from theunderstatement):

Most Android phones are at least one version behind, compared to the top of the chart, which shows iPhones consistently being on the most current version. Google also is not shown to advocate long term support for their phones as the Google Nexus One will not support ICS (as demonstrated by the chart). Comparing the Apple’s support cycle, the original iPhone was supported and updated by Apple for much longer time than the Google Nexus One.

Besides manufacturers being slow to adopt update cycles for their phones, it is not necessarily in the best interest of the manufacturer and carrier to push out updates. Although pushing out update will increase customer satisfaction, it is more profitable for manufactures and carriers to have customers buying a new phone. Once a phone is sold, manufacturers and even carriers to some extent do not earn any more money, hence it is more beneficial to them to get a new phone. This is not the case for iPhones, as Apple earn money from the apps used on the phone, and users will only be able to use the apps if they have the most recent OS update, creating an incentive for Apple to create support for previous phones for at least one data plan contract.

Besides manufacturer modifications and update problems, Android had two major versions, Android Froyo (2.2) and Gingerbread (2.3) for phones, and Android Honeycomb (3.x) for Tablets. Google created fragmentation between phones and tablets as the UI is very different between the two versions. Furthermore, Honeycomb introduced many new and updated many old features that greatly enhanced the usability of Android, such as multitasking. The two versions also look significantly different and hence reducing a unified Android experience. Android ICS aims to unify the mobile phone and tablet, as ICS will run on both phones and tablets.

 

Overall, there is no denying the fact that fragmentation definitely exists. However, frequently Android fragmentation is greatly over exaggerated in the media. Despite fragmentation happening, the experience is still pleasant and friendly, especially in the tight integration with Google products. Furthermore, Google is now starting to take measures to reduce fragmentation with ICS. Since ICS has yet to be released on a phone yet (Google and Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus soon), it is not possible to judge if ICS solves the problems of fragmentation.

Samsung Galaxy Ace First Impressions [Videos]

August 3, 2011 in Android, Main Blog, Uncategorized

After using the Samsung Galaxy Ace smartphone for a week, I have noticed a lot of cool things that does not exist on the iOS platform, and some negative points that I was slightly disappointed by. I have listed the pros and cons below, along with two videos with my full extended explanation of my first impressions.

Note: this is only a FIRST IMPRESSIONS video, as a full time iPhone user, and therefore is NOT a FULL REVIEW.

Pros:
- Good build quality.
- Android apps auto-update without having to go through the Marketplace.
- Widgets are nice to have, especially because it does not exist on the iPhone.
- Can view running applications, and can quit them easily through a widget, or settings.
- Can view CPU and RAM usage. Can also clear out RAM.
- Can view how big (data) each app is, and can also check usage of storage clearly.
-Can run Google Maps 5.0 (or above) with turn by turn navigation (beta)

Cons:
- Camera quality, both stills and video, are very poor especially in low-light conditions. Auto-focus feature does not really focus properly, and there is no tap-to-focus feature.
- Screen resolution is fine with images, but is very jagged and pixelated when viewing text.
- Sometimes confusing when quitting certain apps, as their services still run in the background (such as Gmail, Skype, Facebook)

Below are two videos of my extended views on my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Ace:

About the Author: Kenta Arai is a tech enthusiast who was born in Japan, and grew up in Hong Kong. He is very passionate towards technology and he became one of the most enthusiastic technophile student in his high-school, and was also well-known for consulting many of his school-mates when purchasing new computers.

Unboxing: Samsung Galaxy Ace [Video]

July 30, 2011 in Android, Main Blog, Uncategorized

The Samsung Galaxy Ace smartphone is Samsung’s new mid-range phone that they announced and released early this year. This phone is known to have a fast 800MHz processor with Android 2.2.1 Froyo installed. Although we have no notes as to when Gingerbread will available, it is still very respectable that this phone is offered at a low price of HK$2,400, without a contract. Below is the unboxing video of the phone:

Full specifications of the phone:

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
Announced 2011, January
Status Available. Released 2011, February
SIZE Dimensions 112.4 x 59.9 x 11.5 mm
Weight 113 g
DISPLAY Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches
- Gorilla Glass display
- Multi-touch input method
- Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
- Touch-sensitive controls
- TouchWiz v3.0 UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes, check quality
- DNSe sound enhancement
MEMORY Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Practically unlimited
Internal 158 MB storage
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB included, buy memory
DATA GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
3G HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, v2.0 microUSB
CAMERA Primary 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, check quality
Features Video-calling, geo-tagging, face and smile detection
Video Yes, QVGA@15fps
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo), upgradable to v2.3
CPU 800 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email
Browser HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Games Yes
Colors Black
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
- MP4/H.264/H.263 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
- Organizer
- Document editor
- Image editor
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa integration
- Voice memo/dial
- Predictive text input (Swype)
BATTERY Standard battery, Li-Ion 1350 mAh
Stand-by Up to 640 h (2G) / Up to 420 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 11 h (2G) / Up to 6 h 30 min (3G)

A full review of the phone will be coming very soon, so make sure to check out our YouTube channel at STUDIOaraikenta or by searching plomonet.

About the Author: Kenta Arai is a tech enthusiast who was born in Japan, and grew up in Hong Kong. He is very passionate towards technology and he became one of the most enthusiastic technophile student in his high-school, and was also well-known for consulting many of his school-mates when purchasing new computers.

Discussion: Thoughts on Google Android & Chromebooks [Video]

May 14, 2011 in Android, Main Blog, PC, Uncategorized

Google has pretty much filled this week’s tech news with their announcements from the Google I/O, held in Moscone West in San Francisco. In their 2 day keynote, they have announced an update to their Android OS Honeycomb (3.1) with new features like re-sizable widgets. They have also announced the next generation of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich. This OS is said to be universal and will run on both phone and tablet devices. On the same day, they have also announced their new cloud based music service, oddly name, Music Beta by Google. This allows users (invited users only at this point) to upload their entire music library onto their servers, and can access and listen to them from any computer, or from Android devices. Android@Home was also discussed where your Android device becomes the remote of home accessories, such as lights.

On the next day, Google has discussed about their Chrome OS. Chrome OS laptops, named Chromebooks, will be coming to the market on June 15th. The first manufacturers will be Samsung and Acer.

 

Here are my thoughts on Google Android and Chromebooks. We apologize for the mismatched syncing of audio and video.

 

If you like our videos, please subscribe to us at STUDIOaraikenta on YouTube!

About the Author: Kenta Arai is a tech enthusiast who was born in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan. He passion towards technology began to develop as he grew up in Hong Kong, where technology had its solid place in the mass market. Arai became one of the most enthusiastic technophile student in his high-school, and was also well-known for consulting many of his school-mates when purchasing new computers. His expertise in the tech industry is focused on Apple Inc. and Google Inc.