Review of ASUS Zenfone 5 (2018) – A Good Budget Phone?

In the budget phone space, the idea of a “good” product varies as it really depends on customer’s perception of “good”.  Today, I am going to review ASUS Zenfone 5. I am going to share with you on my idea of a “good” budget phone. I have broken it down into the following which I think it may help you in deciding whether you should buy the ASUS Zenfone 5.

ASUS Zenfone 5

Simplicity

This is perhaps my most important criterion on budget phone. As a budget phone user, I don’t need sophisticated features. I just need a phone that works while at the same time, saves my credit card bills. The Android user interface (UI) should not be that different from the Android phones that I have used before. To put it simply, the UI of the budget phone should look just like a stock Android.

 

Back to our topic on ASUS Zenfone 5, the phone deserves a thumbs-up. The ZenUI 5 of Zenfone 5 is almost identical to stock android. I have no problem familiarising the interface. I can locate the contact and phone app easily. Setting up is extremely easy as you could easily by-pass the FaceID and fingerprint setup. (Yes, I really don’t think these are important features for a budget phone).

 

I am not a photo-person but as we are communicating more on social networks these days, camera plays an important part of your entire smartphone experience.  We all love to shoot beautiful photos. The AI camera of Zenfone 5 detects and automatically adjust the image setting to make stunting-looking photos.

 

I have put up some of my photos shot by Zenfone 5 in Europe. I don’t think the image quality is perfect but there are good enough for me to share on my social networks.

Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5
Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5
Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5

 

What needs to be there should be there

The Zenfone 5 is equipped with 3.5mm audio jack

Ironically, phone makers are trying to remove some standard features as part of their new product offerings I don’t think that’s the right way (at least for budget phones). Fortunately, the Zenfone 5 is equipped with USB Type C and 3.5mm audio jack (3.5mm audio jack is not a standard feature for some phones).

 

A battery that could last you for a whole day. The ASUS Zenfone 5 is packed with 3,300 mAh which is not too bad considering some flagship phones in 2018 may offer even less than that.

 

Price

Value vs Money – the game of the budget phone maker. The ASUS Zenfone 5 is selling at SGD 488 which is not exactly attractive (at least to me). At that price range, I could be looking other alternatives from Xiaomi.

 

Verdict

I must say ASUS has come a long way. The ZenUI has improved a lot since they launched their first phone. It is very easy to navigate within the phone. The camera is up-to-mark and it serves my social media needs

 

Front camera and the notch of Zenfone 5

In general, almost everything about this phone seems to hit the right spot. Its price at SGD 488 is kind of turn-off. Although the Zenfone 5 has packed with features that you could find in the premium phones like the face unlock, that is not necessary for most users. As a budget phone user myself, I will rather have this feature removed in exchange for a lower price.

 

Despite it is a good product, my advice is to wait for a better discount which I believe it should be happening soon as ASUS is releasing newer models.

Dell Launches Wallet-Friendly G3 and G7 Series Gaming Laptops

Moving from “Inspiron Gaming” to the “Dell G Series”,Dell Singapore introduces two new gaming laptops Dell G3 15 and Dell G7 15 in Singapore; all featuring gaming-forward design and snappy performance at affordable prices. These gaming laptops are equipped with powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series GPUs, 8th Gen Intel® Core processors, thermal management solutions, intelligent content prioritisation software and anti-glare IPS panels.

Dell G7 Series Laptop

Dell G3 15 (3579)

  • In a 15-inch form factor, the Dell G3 15 laptop is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX discrete GPUs from 1050 to 1060 with Max-Q design technology, up to 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 CPUs, dual fans and dual drives with SSD options
  • The laptop’s 2×2 WiFi antenna design provides great wireless performance, while the SmartByte software prioritises gaming and video content keeping them smooth, even during large file downloads
  • Encased in a refined performance inspired design and a silky matte exterior finish, the laptop boasts a slim 22.7mm profile encouraging gaming-on-the-go
  • The G3 15 is Dell’s thinnest gaming laptop to date
  • Dell G3 15 will offer three colour options (Licorice Black, Recon Blue, Alpine White) subject to availability

Dell G7 15 (7588)

Dell G7 series Laptop
  • For those seeking a step-up in performance from the G3 systems, the Dell G7 15 comes in a sleek 25mm thin 15-inch chassis, with powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPUs with Max-Q design technology
  • The system features 6GB GDDR5 dedicated memory, up to 6-core performance with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (with up to Core i9), dual fans, and dual drives with SSD options
  • The G7 15 offers optional 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 CPU and UHD display (3840×2160) configurations
  • Killer Gigabit Ethernet networking optimisation (or optional Killer Wireless 2×2 LAN) or SmartByte software responsively prioritise content downloads for smooth, uninterrupted gaming and streaming
  • Designed to push heat and noise away from the player, Dell equipped a front air intake and rear exhaust vent keep players cool, and enable longer gameplay
  • Immersing players deeper into the game, the Dell G7 15 will also offer an optional IPS UHD 4k panel to summon a premium on-screen experience
  • The Dell G7 15 is available in either Licorice Black or Alpine White subject to availability.

“We recognise the diversity of the gaming ecosystem and the evolving needs of the modern gamer,” said Jarebb Chua, Consumer Country Manager, Malaysia & Singapore,Dell. “Customer experience is at the heart of our design philosophy and the new affordable G Series is reflective of our commitment to enable gamers of all levels to game at their best. We always strive for continuous innovation to deliver the best gaming solutions without sacrificing mobility, ease of use and reliability.”

 

Pricing & Availability

The Dell G Series laptops are now available through Dell and its authorised partners:

Product Price (SGD)
Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop  From $1,199
Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop From $1,699

Review of Sudio Nivå – A Serious Contender In The True Wireless Earbuds Market

Remember my last article on Sudio Tre? We highlighted 2 potential improvements for Sudio Tre– Makes a truly wireless earphones and adds voice notification. This time, you have them all  in the Sudio Nivå

Sudio Nivå and Case Battery

Truly wireless

You can’t find a single wire on the product. Besides that, the Nivå is also much smaller, more portable and stylist than the Sudio Tre. Despite its small size, the performance of the Niva is not compromised. Slightly smaller than the size of the thumb, the Sudio Niva is able to last 3.5 hours on a full-charge and it could be extended to 17 hours with the case battery which is included in the purchase.

 

Both left and right earphones could be seemed as an individual unit that has its own power button. Once you turn on both sides, you receive the voice notification that both sides are connected. I have tried turning on only the right side and the earpiece still works fine. It could be a good hands-free device while driving.

 

Sound Quality and Isolation

Sudio has been working to improve the sound experience for the customers. Personally, I like the sound produced by Nivå. The bass is rich and strong but does not overpower the treble. The well-balance between the bass and treble gives a very pleasant listening experience especially under quiet indoor environment.

 

 

The Sudio Nivå is designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. The sweat-proof Nivå is shipped with 3 different size earbuds to ensure a suitable fit to user’s ears. Despite the product is not equipped with noise cancelling feature, the earbud does do a decent job in isolating the surrounding sound.

 

 

It is more than “sweat proof”!   

Sudio claims that this product is sweat-proof. I was running out of idea on how to run a test on this. One day, I have “coincidentally” misplaced my Nivå in the small pocket of my running short and threw them into a washing machine! I manage to get them out before the completion of the washing cycle. It was soaked in the water for at least 20 minute and I did whatever I can to save them – to blow dry them under the fan throughout the night. Luckily, the product survives. I think this unintended experiment speaks a lot about the hardware of the earphones. However, my advice to all my readers out there – Please don’t try this on your earphones.

 

Competitive Price

The Sudio Nivå retails at SGD 165. Comparing to products with the similar specfication, the price is actually very competitive. On top of that, Sudio is giving a more attractive discount to TND readers. Those who use TND promocode “NEODIMENSION15” on Sudio’s Singapore online store will get 15% discount. On top of that, you get free shipping and one year warranty from Sudio.

 

Verdict

This is the best Sudio product I’ve ever used. I like it because the sound profile is very general and it just delivers across different music genre. It is a lifestyle product that meets the general needs of the market. Comparing to other products at the similar price range, Sudio Niva is definitely value-for-money once you have applied TND’s 15% discount code.

 

Atlas SV Introduces State-of-the-Art Loewe OLED TVs

SINGAPORE – May 8, 2018 – Atlas Sound & Vision,  officially introduces the Loewe range of OLED TVs. Dubbed “the most beautiful OLED TV in the world”, Loewe’s TVs have won more than 200 international design awards and are characterised by their precise and elegant design, high quality as well as ease of use.

 

Established in 1923, Loewe‘s products are handmade in Germany, combined with cutting-edge technology in design and quality. Each OLED TV setup is customizable based on the customer’s preferences, and comes with Bluetooth connectivity to allow music lovers to listen via the TV speakers as they stream music from their devices.

 

 

“Rising affluence amongst consumers, coupled with the rise in demand for 4K resolution content, has led to an increasing demand for premium audio and visual products. Around 70 percent of Southeast Asian consumers see themselves to be financially better off than they were seven years ago[1] and the global OLED market is expected to reach around USD41 billion come 2023[2]. We are excited to bring Loewe’s state-of-the-art viewing experiences to savvy consumers and screen buffs in Singapore. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Loewe in Singapore and the region,” said Michael Tien, Chief Executive Officer for Atlas Sound & Vision.

 

Loewe bild 7

Powered by Loewe OLED Technology

Loewe’s family of OLED TV uses organic light-emitting diode technology which creates perfect blacks, life-like visuals, a wide viewing angle, as well as having ultra-thin displays. Each OLED TV screen is thinner than an average smartphone. The display for Loewe’s bild 3 and 5 series come at 4.9mm while the bild 7 series comes at 7mm.

 

Every single pixel in a TV produces its own light. When the TV is switched off, absolute blackness within a response time of less than a microsecond is achieved. In contrast to liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens, OLED does not require back-lighting. Hence, eliminating the problem of clouding effect (light spots/grey haze), which appears when viewing scenes filmed in dark environments.

 

It incorporates three HDR standards, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision to consistently deliver the best possible picture quality and ensure that your Loewe OLED TV is future-proof.

 

Uncompromising Sound and Brilliant Image Quality

Built with powerful, built-in front speakers, Loewe OLED TVs allow consumers to experience acoustic quality of concert halls at their own living room. Home owners can also create their personal configuration by adding a klang soundbar or other Atlas curated sound solutions to their home entertainment system. Loewe bild 7.77 also comes with an integrated soundbar, providing a rich 120 watts of audio output.

 

Loewe OLED TVs produce brilliant high dynamic range (HDR) images which are of higher contrast and a much wider range of colours for pictures that are extremely brilliant and natural.

 

Sleek Elegance for any Modern Home

Recognized for their sophisticated design and clean lines, Loewe TVs provides its customers with endless possibilities to create their perfect TV.

 

The Loewe bild 3.55 is designed to be an eye-catcher for even the most basic living spaces and the extravagant; while the Loewe bild 5, designed by Bodo Sperlein, integrates one of the most traditional and soulful design materials: oak wood. Loewe bild 7 oozes confidence, is elegant and assured.

 

The three series of Loewe OLED TVs are now available at Atlas @ Millenia Walk:

  • The centerpiece: Loewe bild 3.55 oled, which comes with a table stand, is priced at S$4,999
  • The masterpiece: Loewe bild 5 oled range, is priced from S$6,399
  • The statement piece: Loewe bild 7 oled range, which comes with a wall mount, is priced from S$10,999

Collaboration between Singtel and Razor To Build The Largest E-payments Network in South East Asia

Everything started with a tweet by a Singapore Leader. In Aug 2017,  Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong  tweeted about the need of single e-payment system and Razor CEO Tan Ming-Liang tweeted back that he could roll up a system island-wide in 18 months.

Since then, Razor has been betting on cryptocurrency as a strategy to compete in the gaming market; rarely mentions about Singapore  or South East Asia (SEA) market. 9 months have passed and  finally, they are entering a MoU with Singtel, largest telco in Singapore to collaborate in high grown areas of e-payment, esports, gaming-related digital media and telecommunication services across Southeast Asia.

As Asia’s leading communications group and the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers respectively, the Singtel Group and Razer will leverage each other’s strengths and capabilities to engage the region’s consumers and audiences. The Singtel Group, which includes whollyowned subsidiary Optus and regional associates Airtel, AIS, Globe and Telkomsel, has a combined reach of over 680 million mobile customers across the region.

 

Mr Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, said, “As a Group devoted to connectivity, we are making a big push to create an ecosystem of digital services for our customers. Digital services from mobile payments to entertainment have become a big part of their lives, especially the millennials. Our collaboration with Razer, which shares our vision on e-payments and esports, will help advance our goal to empower customers to spend seamlessly across borders and experience the thrill of esports. We look forward to working with gaming partners and supporting community initiatives to grow esports in the region.”

 

“We are incredibly excited about the many opportunities Razer and Singtel can tap together to benefit millions of gamers and consumers in Southeast Asia,” said Mr Min-Liang Tan, cofounder and CEO of Razer. “This is our opportunity to lead and accelerate the growth of esports and e-payments in a unified push across the region.”

Creating the largest e-payments network in Southeast Asia: The e-payments scene in the region is currently fragmented across multiple platforms. Subject to regulatory approvals, the Singtel Group and Razer plan to enable the interoperability of their respective e-payments systems to create a seamlessly integrated regional network.

Both companies have recently taken bold steps in this direction.

 

In March, the Singtel Group announced plans to connect the mobile wallets of Singtel and its associates through an interoperable platform, which will link over 50 million registered wallet users with more than 1 million merchant points across Asia. This interoperable platform can also connect with other third-party payment apps offered by telco and non-telco companies, providing ready access to the Group’s customer and merchant bases.

 

Last month, Razer announced its intention to acquire MOL Global, which operates one of the largest e-payment networks in South-East Asia. The latter’s online payment gateway is used by major companies such as Lazada, Grab and UNIQLO, and offers more than 1 million offline payment points across the region. MOL Global handled over US$1.1 billion of digital payments in 2017.

 

The interoperability of both networks will create one of the largest connected e-payment networks in Southeast Asia. Mobile wallet users of Singtel and its regional associates will be able to seamlessly access Razer’s e-payment merchant network of over a million payment points, the zGold virtual credit system, and Razer’s full suite of gamer-related digital services, which has more than 40 million registered users.

 

At the same time, Razer will deepen its penetration in Southeast Asian countries by adding Singtel Group’s more than a million merchant points across Asia to its network, as well as gain access to the Group’s more than 680 million mobile customers.

Swedish Bedmaker is Making Wave in Asia

Bed is probably one of the most personal items that one used for years. For most people, this is not the understatement. We heard people complaining that they can’t sleep well in the hotel because the beds are not as comfy as their own ones. This could also be the main reason why people spend months shopping for their ideal beds. Afterall, it is not a cheap item and people definitely put in more thoughts when comes to finding their beds.

 

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“Is there one bed in the market that cater to all?”

YouBed, a Swedish startup, creates a bed that could be personalized to individual’s needs. YouBed claims that they have created the world’s first and only bed that provides adjustable firmness without compromising comfort features.

YouBed

We have the opportunity to speak to Mr Mattias Sörensen, CEO and Founder of YouBed who was exhibiting their products at Singapore’s Food and Hotel Asia 2018. When asked about the strategies in penetrating the market, Mr Mattias is clear that hotel operator is the strategic partner for YouBed.

“This might sound too good to be true, but our invention is so groundbreaking it will probaly change the hotel industry at its core” says Mr Mattias.

Full Control the firmness from the shoulder to the back.

The one-bed-fits-all innovation is already making fast success across Europe, where for example Mövenpick Hotel & Resort has installed YouBed in all of their European hotels. Singapore is YouBed’s first stop in Asia. Business Sweden (The Swedish Trade & Invest Council) have identified YouBed as a prioritized trade interest and will support the company in finding the most suitable hotel brand to introduce the innovation in Singapore and the region.

 

 

Guest Writer Shares Her First Impression of Sony A7III

In the past, we see brands were introducing complicated, professional features into cameras, which as a regular consumer, we would like to get our hand on it to make our beautiful photos, but the price of these high-end cameras are just way too expensive for armature to own one to use it for leisure purpose.

 

As the technology advance and the growth of the photography enthusiasts, all thanks to the mobile phone camera, camera makers must be innovative and advanced in creating camera with features which can create more wonders and bring back the pleasure of taking photos with a proper camera.

 

The acclaimed Eye AF feature has been made available for this camera, even in AF-C mode, which is extremely useful for situation where the subject is turning around, looking down or otherwise obstructed.

 

It tracks the movements of the subject’s in an incredible speed that allows the shots to be always in focused.

 

The new A7III is also equipped with an updated image processing system that allows it to shoot in full resolution images at up to 10fps with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 177 Standard JPEG images or 89 compressed RAW images or 40 uncompressed RAW images

 

What this means is that you could take multiple shots of a fast-moving subject without compromising the image’s resolutions.

 

Well, the Sony’s Eye AF technology is unique in the world of cameras. The A7III is not just good in taking pictures. The new A7III is capable of taking 4K HDR video –  an enhancement from the A7II. You could capture important moments in high quality 4K resolutions!

 

Packed with so many advanced features, you might wonder about the storage capability of the camera. The A7III comes with dual SD card slots; in case one is full, you still have another one as backup. Worry no more!

 

For better management of data-intensive images and videos, the Sony A7III is also equipped with a USB Type C that could facilitate faster transfer of files as well as shorter charging time of the device.

 

I have rather good impression of the Sony’s A7III. It is supposed to be a “more-basic” model but seems to me that this device is packed with advanced features that are previously available in higher-end models. In short, it should be a good travel companion that could capture memorable moments.

 

Written by Jesley Neo, Founder of Kins Corporation

Creative achieves next breakthrough with Super X-Fi by investing USD 100M and 20 years into R&D

Falling sales, reduced production and loss of investors’ interests – for the last decades, these are some of the negative stuff you’ve heard about our homegrown Creative Technology (“Creative”). However, this has not deterred Mr Sim Wong Hoo, founder of Creative, from continuing his fight in the struggling audio business and this year, they are coming back with their latest technology that aims to change the way how consumer experience audio entertainment – Super X-Fi. The Neo Dimension is fortunate to be invited to Creative headquarters to hear first-hand from Mr Sim on this technology.

 

Announced in the CES 2018, Super X-Fi received positive reviews from the media and audio experts at the event. This latest technology has also been named “Best of CES 2018”. Back in Singapore, this technology has sparked investors’ interests in the company. The stock (stock quote: C76.SI) has jumped more than 300% within a week and the rally does not show any signs of slowing down!

 

So what exactly is Super X-Fi?

To put it simply, it is a new audio technology designed specifically for headphones to produce an immersive surround audio experience to users. Mr Sim further explains that every person is unique and perception of “good audio” varies person-to-person. This perception of “good audio” is what he called individual’s custom sound map. The beauty of Super X-Fi is that it matches the audio output to the individual’s custom sound map by analysing anthropological features of one’s head and ears.

Creative has invested USD 100M in research on a perfect sound profile. For the past 20 years, they have run countless trials on rooms, sound systems, headphones and test subjects. With the help of an artificial intelligence (AI) engine, the anthropological features of a person’s head are extracted along with the dynamics of the targeted headphones, and the AI engine synthesizes them to create a multi-dimensional map of the desired room acoustics.

 

Using this synthesized SXFI map, Super X-Fi recreates the audio holography to create a magical listening experience for headphones, custom-made to each individual’s unique physique.

 

Despite the level of sophistication in the technology, the end-user experience is extremely simple. All users need to do is take pictures of their head with their phone, select their headphone type, and they can start playing.

 

Technology – Good or Bad?

Before the presentation started, they took images of my head and ears using a mobile phone. Then the technology analyzed the data and mapped a sound profile that is customized to me. I listened to the demo and it was mind-blowing! The surround sound I heard from the headphone was amazing and I even took the headphones off just to confirm that I wasn’t hearing the sound from the physical surround speakers. Judging from the guests’ reactions, they were equally or almost as impressed as I am.

 

As part of the demo, we get to hear other guests’ sound profiles and indeed, those sounded horrible to me.

 

We all know that everybody has their own perception on what is considered a “good sound” but no one in the industry could solve this decades-long problem. Creative’s Super X-Fi could be the game changer.

 

Mr Sim Wong Hoo analogize Creative’s Super X-Fi to a Color TV. He further elaborated, “Before TV you are watching black and white, then the switch of black and white TV to color TV; so we are now witnessing the switch right now!”

 

 

A Good Technology = A Good Business?

A good technology is an asset to the company but how much return you could squeeze from this technology depends on the strategies and business models.

 

For the past decades, Creative has been making losses. In recent years, it has been increasingly more difficult to compete with new and upcoming entrants in the market. The key success factor for Creative’s Super X-Fi would be to gain adoption in the market speedily by licensing this technology to headphones or smartphone markers. Speed is crucial, especially in the technology space.

 

 

As part of the plan, Creative will be launching a free Super X-Fi app where users could play downloaded content without purchasing any Creative headphones. Creative hopes to acquire 50 million users.

 

To get the full experience of Super X-Fi, users can purchase the dongle which Creative plans to sell at a competitive price point of USD 150 to attract consumers.

 

The free Super X-Fi app and the dongle will be available by mid-2018.

 

Creative, A Growth Stock Again?

 

Investors seem to be convinced that Super X-Fi is going to turn Creative around. It makes perfect sense for the company to focus on the headphones market given the projected high growth in the global market.  Quoting Mr Sachin Mittal, a DBS analyst in a Bloomberg report, “If the product gains just 0.5 percent share of the global headset market in 2020, Creative would gain revenues of $232 million”

 

I believe that the growth of the global headset market is inflated in the Bloomberg report. Based on their statement, this puts the value of the global headset market at USD 46B. Several research papers suggest that the global market could be worth USD 11B to USD 20B by 2020 to 2025. Suppose we take a more conservative yet optimistic estimate of USD 20B, that would be approx. USD 100m of revenue by 2023 (more than 100% jump from Creative’s revenue in 2017!).

 

Without a doubt, Creative is a growth stock. However, high growth essentially means high-risk. The challenge for Creative is to sign their first purchase order to start the first mass-production of the chip.  Now, it is hard to predict which headphone maker is going to give them the business. On the flip side, they are competitors as well.  The strategies of launching app and dongle are sound but is it good enough for Creative to turn their enemy into Frienemy?

 

How about licensing their technology to smartphone makers? Smartphone leaders like Apple and Samsung have already started the battle in the audio space. Apple has acquired celebrity headphone brand Beats Audio in 2014 and has started to manufacture their own audio headsets. Samsung, on the other hand, has acquired a US-based audio specialist Harmon in 2016. Ever since then, they have been bundling AKG earphones, Harmon’s subsidiary, with Samsung Galaxy S’s series of phones. Now, the question is, “If not Apple nor Samsung, who else can Creative offer their technology to in the smartphone market?”

 

To the investors, is the risk worth taking?

Fundamentally, Creative is holding approx. USD 100M of cash and more importantly, it is debt-free as of now. They should have sufficient financial capacity to market this technology for the next couple of years (They should be able to weather through if this new technology fails).

 

However, this stock is likely to be volatile in the short term which could be an opportunity for speculative traders.

 

For long term investors, this stock is a high-risk-high-return play. As I have mentioned earlier on, the extreme scenario is unlikely to bankrupt the company, but the high volatility may be of concern to some investors. Based solely on the potential of this technology, this stock could be undervalued but sign of market acceptance has yet to be seen.

 

Important! Please Read: All comments and suggestions here are purely my opinions. Investors should exercise their own discretions before taking up any positions on this stock.     

Samsung Singapore Launches Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. introduces the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ this month. The new phones are redesigned with a new Dual Aperture lens that powers an innovative low light camera, Super Slow-mo video capabilities and personalized AR Emoji.

Samsung unveil Galaxy S9 and S9+

First Impression – What’s New in Galaxy S9 and S9+ compared to S8 and S8+?

In terms of hardware, the most notable difference is the overall dimension and weight. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ is slightly shorter  and wider than its predecessor making the device looks less elongated.

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are also slightly thicker and heavier than the S8 and S8+. (S9/S9+ is 8.5mm thick and weighs 163g and 189g respectively, S8/S8+ is 8.0mm thick and weights 155g and 173g) . This is probably due to the new Super Speed Dual Pixel 12MP AF camera sensor with OIS (F1.5/F2.4) used in the Galaxy S9 and S9+. Despite the slight difference in the overall dimension, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ shared the same display size of the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

The camera, which is the main selling point of this year’s Galaxy S9 and S9+, is packed with Samsung’s Dual Aperture (F1.5 / F2.4) that automatically lets in more light under low-light condition. Like Sony’s Xperia range of smartphones, Samsung has included Super Slow-mo features in Galaxy S9 and S9+ to allow users to take dramatic slow-motion video.

Having packed with new enhancement in Galaxy S9 and S9+, faster processors (10nm, 64-bit, Octa-core processor (2.7 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHz Quad) 10nm, 64-bit, and Octa-core processor (2.8 GHz Quad + 1.7 GHz Quad) respectively ) are used to power the devices.

Samsung adds AR Emoji in Galaxy S9 and S9+ which allows users to create an emoji that looks, sounds and acts like them. AR Emoji analyzes a 2D image of the user and maps out more than 100 facial features to create a 3D model that reflects and imitates expressions, like winks and nods, for true personalization.

 

Overall, my first impression on Galaxy S9 and S9+ – the phone looks and feels like the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Comparing the specifications, slight enhancement made in Galaxy S9 and S9+ may not attract consumers. Nonetheless, first impression may not do any justice to Samsung.

Price and Availability

The Galaxy S9 (64GB) is selling at SGD 1,198 whereas Galaxy S9+ is selling at SGD 1,348 (64GB)/SGD 1,498 (256GB). Pre-order commerce from 1 March 2018, Thursday 12pm.

Review of Garmin Vivosport – A Good Outdoor Sports Band

When I first received the product 3 months ago, the impression that I had for the device – sleek, sporty and comfortable. The design is very similar to the Garmin’s older Vivosmart 3. The silicon strap with the heart rate sensor flushed to the casing fits perfectly well around the wrist.

As a device designed for sports, the silicon casing protects the device from water and against tough usage.

Though it is very comfortable to wear, I have to get used to navigating the feature on a small display with no physical button.

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What’s good in Vivosport?
GPS: One notable improvement from the Vivosmart 3 is the built-in GPS system without increasing much thickness of the Vivosport. The Vivosport measured approximately 1cm in term of thickness which is only about 2mm thicker than the Vivosmart 3. See the image below.

(From left) Vivosmart 3, Vivosports

Activation of GPS is seamless. Once a GPS-enable activity, cycling for instance, is selected, the device will start to locate the signal. Initial start will take a good 5-10 sec. I guess the speed of acquiring the signal really depends on how overcast the weather is.


Colour Display: I am not a fan of this but seem like this is an important feature to highlight. Always-on chroma colour display seems to be appealing to some sport enthusiast. The sunlight-readable screen makes it easy for me to track my activities under outdoor conditions.

What’s bad in Vivosport?
Charging adaptor backward compatibility: I have tried at least 3 Garmin sportbands – Garmin Vivosmart HR, Garmin Vivosmart 3 and Vivosport. All 3 of them use different charging adaptors. It becomes cumbersome to find the compatible one for charging every single time when I switch devices. Afterall, it is meant for charging; keep changing the port does not seem to have additional benefits to the users.

Battery Life: For the past 3 months, I have noted that the device performs fairly in term of battery life. Under normal circumstance, Vivosport is able to last a good 5-6 days which is amazing considering the number of enhancements Garmin has packed into this sleek size. However, I have noted that the battery life greatly deteriorates once GPS is used. For example, if I run 5 km outdoors each day for two consecutive days, the battery will barely last through the 4th day before I have to put the device on charge.

Pricing: The product is currently retailing at SGD 299 which is more expensive than the Vivosmart 3(Last checked that you could get Vivosmart 3 at a discounted – less than SGD 200) Though the in-built GPS feature has impressed me, that enhancement does not justify the price premium of SGD100.

Verdict
Overall, a good comfortable sport band that packed with features that are useful to sport enthusiasts. However, most people may opt for the Vivosmart 3 which shares similar features of the Vivosport but selling at the discount.