We all know that Huawei’s latest Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro will not come with Google Mobile Services and that mean customers outside China who bought their latest flagship phones will not be able to use Youtube or Google Maps.
In the early October, Huawei Singapore has finally released the price plan for the Singapore customers. The new Mate 30 Pro is selling at SGD 1,298. Customers can now register their interest for the Mate 30 Pro which comes in either Black or Silver color.
As part of its early bird special, interested buyers who bought the phone will be invited to an exclusive private event and on top of that, they will receive a set of free gift worth SGD 463.
We have heard good reviews about the Mate 30’s camera. No doubt, the Mate 30 is a high-quality phone. However, we don’t just use our smartphone for photography only. We use that for other purposes which is why we need Google Play to download other essentials apps to suit our needs.
Now, Google Play has been taken away and Huawei customers have to get accustomed to their in-house Huawei Mobile Services. To the Android users, this is a switching cost and that’s bring back to one question, “Is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro worthy enough for that switch?”
Personally, I am adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to see how Singapore market reacts to this. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have some unique insights on this matter. I will love to hear from you.
For those who are interested in the phone, here are the key things to know to get your hands on the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro:
STEP 1: Register your interest online here from 5 -15 October, 2019 STEP 2: You may receive a call or email between 16 – 24 October 2019 with an invitation to a private event (limited to 200 successful registrants, selected at random) STEP 3: Upon invitation, you may attend a private event to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro and receive an exclusive gift bundle worth $463 NOTE: Those who did not receive the invitation will be informed of the next opportunity to purchase the HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro.
2019 is a big year for
true wireless earpiece. Headphone giant Sennheiser released their very first
true wireless under their Momentum series – Momentum True Wireless which was a
surprise to the market observer and smashed the market taboo that “tiny
earpiece can’t deliver good sound”. Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless said it
all. Tech journalists from around the world has been writing positive reviews of
this product in the first quarter of the year. The “momentum” did not stop.
Sony responded with their WF-1000MX3 that wowed the market with its noise
cancelling capabilities. Both products have been selling like hot cakes despite
a high price attached to them (Momentum True Wireless – RRP SGD469, Sony WF-1000MX3
– RPP SGD 349)
Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless and Sony WF-1000MX3 are the winners but
they are obscenely expensive. I can’t help but ask myself,” Aren’t there
unorthodox products in the market that could deliver same or similar quality
but at a lower price point?” I decided to try Creative Outlier Gold.
What’s in Creative Outlier Gold that caught my attention?
Last year, Creative (stock
quote: C76:SGX) shocked the world with their Super X-Fi, personalized
3D immersive sound technology which they termed as “holy grail” of headphone
processing. Instead of restricting this technology to headphones, they are
bringing this into their true wireless, the Outlier Gold.
How Creative Outlier Gold fare against other Super X-fi headphones?
Super X-Fi requires
both algorithm and their processing chip. In other words, to get the full potential
of Super X-Fi, both software and hardware side of things are built within the
audio device and that’s the main shortfall of Creative Outlier against other
Super X-Fi headphones. Given its physical constraint, Super X-Fi in Outlier
Gold is purely software-driven.
To enjoy Super X-Fi, you
need a Super X-Fi app (which you need to download for setting up purposes) to
play music file that is stored locally in my phone. Unfortunately, you won’t be
able to enjoy Super X-Fi if you are playing music from Spotify or other
How’s the sound performance?
Unable to enjoy full potential of Super X-Fi on Creative Outlier Gold is kind of a turn-off, the performance via the app is quite impressive. I am convinced that small device like Creative Outlier could deliver reasonable 3D holistic sound stage; for a lack of better description, I would like to quote from my good friend, Chester Tan (@musicdairy) who happened to own Creative Outlier Gold. He said, “ (music) sounds more comfortable and roomy”. With technology advancement, I am not surprised that true wireless could deliver multi-directional sound performance (drivers) as headphones could in the future.
Without Super X-Fi, sound
from YouTube or Spotify lacks depth. Instead, you are getting a clearer and sharper
tone. Bass is reasonably strong and punchy which I believe it is most people’s
likings. Personally, I prefer hi-tempo dance music especially when I am out for
run. Hence, I prefer the bass to be stronger.
In general, it is a
good device to listen to any genre of music.
If I am buying this, what am I getting?
Sound performance is
subjective and what I like may not be of your likings. But, we could look at
the technical aspect which it is very comparable across all models. First,
battery life of Creative Outlier Gold is 14hrs (without the case) which is kind
of unspoken standard in the market. It is not exceptional impressive but at the
very least, it is almost as good as some of the mid and top-end models that are
offering in the market.
Like other true wireless, Creative Outlier Gold comes with a battery-cum-storage case that gives a total playtime up to approx. 39hrs.
It has a water
resistance rating of IPX5. Yes, It is sport-friendly. After your run with
Outlier Gold, you could wipe your dirty sweat away with a wet tissue and the
water won’t cause any damage to your earpiece. A point to note here – Sony
WF-1000MX3 has no IP rating. From this aspect, the cheaper Outlier Gold beats Sony
The Creative Outlier
Gold is also packed with Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm aptX. If you are using
compatible smartphones, lower latency will help in keeping fast connection between
the earpiece and phone. To put it simply, you could listen to hi-res audio without
any loss connection via Creative Outlier Gold.
Creative is not a
premium brand. As such, I believe most consumers won’t be paying a premium for
a Creative brand product. (Sad for Singapore brand…) Anyway, the Creative
Outlier Gold is priced at SGD 139 which is very wallet-friendly for those who
are looking for a true wireless.
Truth to be told, this
product is not the prettiest true wireless I have seen. In terms of sound
qualities, the Creative Outlier Gold has certainly exceeded my expectation at
that kind of price. The Creative Outlier Gold is also water resistance and
packed with premier features that you could only find in more expensive hi-end
true wireless models. At the low-to-mid price category, I would say the Creative
Outlier Gold offers the best-in-class values to the customers. If you are not that
brand conscious, this is one product that you should consider.
Singapore, 25 June 2019 – Garmin Singapore today announced the vívoactive 3 Element, a fuss-free companion that has the essentials that you need to stay active and achieve more fitness goals with over ten preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps including yoga, running and more.
The vívoactive 3 Element features an always-on high-resolution Garmin ChromaTM display for great readability in all lighting conditions.
With thousands of different watch faces, widgets, data fields and apps available to download for free from the Garmin Connect IQ app, users can customise and personalise your vívoactive 3 Element to complement your mood, or style for the day.
The vívoactive 3 Element is available in three colors – Grey, Cerise and Azure from today at a recommended retail price of SGD 329 at all authorised retailers.
By now, urban dwellers who are glued to their smartphones all-day should know the harmfulness of Blue Light also known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV) Light. Under prolonged exposure, the HEV light can produce negative eye health consequences, including digital vision syndrome, melatonin suppression, and long-term effects on the retina that could lead to potential increases in age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Thankfully, there are companies out there trying to develop solutions to circumvent the problem without compromising our current city lifestyle. Eyesafe® works with display manufacturers in developing standard on measurement of exposure of Blue Light as well as providing solutions to minimize the user’s Blue Light exposure. For instance, Eyesafe® has worked with ZAGG (stock quote: ZAGG), a mobile accessory maker, in developing screen protector which could filter blue light emitted from the mobile phones and laptops.
At the recent Computex, Taipei, Eyesafe® has launched their latest solution – Eyesafe® Display in conjunction with DELL’s (stock quote: DELL) latest laptop series. The partnership with DELL allows Eyesafe® to use both hardware and software to manage Blue Light at the source. As such, the display disperses the Blue Light across the spectrum without comprising the color integrity. Striking a good balance of RGB, the display maintains vivid color accuracy.
DELL is the first OEM to integrate this technology to their new Dell G7 17” and
Alienware m17. Dell plans to expand Eyesafe® display across the entire
Alienware portfolio in coming months.
Last year, I reviewed the Sudio Nivå and I am rather impressed by its quality sound packed into a compact size. If you have read my review, you would have known about my water test on the Nivå. Despite it is not certified water-resistance, it survives the water test. Sudio is a young player in the audio lifestyle business but they have been catching up fast. The Nivå is impressive if you compare it with other incumbent brands at similar price range.
This year, I am exceptionally looking forward to their new product. The new Sudio Tolv promises to have longer battery life and better sound quality than Sudio Nivå. Let’s see whether it can deliver what it promised.
Tolv’s battery size is bigger than Niva. In fact, it is twice
as much as its predecessor. The official number given by Sudio – the Tolv
earbud has a battery life of 7 hours whereas the Nivå has only 3.5 hours.
Unlike the Nivå, the Tolv is armed with Bluetooth 5.0. With
Bluetooth 5.0 technology, the battery life of Tolv may even last longer when
paired with smartphone which similarly equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
Like the Nivå, the Tolv comes with portable
charging-cum-storage case. This will give 4 extra charges to the Tolv. In another
words, you could get extra 28 hours of battery life on the go. Nivå’s case, on
the other hand, has a battery capacity of approx. 14hours which is half of what
Tolv is providing.
We have been using the device in a normal circumstance like listening to Spotify while on the train to work and back home. A fully charged Tolv has proven to last almost five days.
This is the most difficult part of the entire review. When comes to sound quality, we kind of have equal liking on both Nivå and Tolv. However, each has its own style. Nivå has a very balanced bass-and-treble and that makes it a very good travel companion to listen to a very wide genre of music. This time, Sudio has included graphene driver on their new Tolv which audio quality is perceived to be better. Is it true that it sounds better? Personally, I think it depends on the music you are listening.
It is a different kind of experience. we tested the same
music on both Tolv and Nivå. Tolv can bring up the clarity of string
instrument. When listened to vocal, especially at high note, the contrast is
more evident. Vocal is more “airy” and that adds more “life” to the music. We
are not implying that the Tolv can’t deliver clear sound quality; just that the
soundstage is different for the Tolv and Nivå. Upon further testing on more concert
videos on YouTube, we tend to prefer the Tolv to Nivå.
Clearly, the Tolv is a good attempt by Sudio. We love the
soundstage and at that price point of SGD 189, it could be an attractive headphone-alternative
for audiophiles who might be looking for something small and yet, it still
delivers. I am surprised given its small size (unlike headphones, wireless
earbud has limited number of drivers), the product is impressive in trying to
create that kind of live concert experience.
I am looking forward to the future development of Sudio’s new range of headphones.
Should you buy?
In general, the Tolv is very small and compact. More
importantly, the battery life is impressive; you will never run-up of juice while
listening to your Spotify.
If you are addicted to instrumental and vocal music, this product could be of your likings. At that price of SGD 189, you are getting a wireless earbud that is lighter and more comfortable to wear than the pricier headphones.
There is a summer promotion from now till 31 July 2019. Sudio will be giving free Sudio tote bag with every earphone/headphone purchased at Sudio’s website.
Furthermore, we are bringing in more discount to the readers. Apply my TND promocode “neodimensiontolv” on Sudio’s Singapore online store, you will get 15% discount. On top of that, you get free shipping and one-year warranty from Sudio.
SINGAPORE, MAY 9, 2019 – Yesterday, Huawei rolled out their latest EMUI 9.1. updates. As part of the update, HUAWEI P30 and P30 Pro users will be accessing to one of the most exciting and innovative features offered in the smartphone camera space: dual-view camera mode.
With this capability, users can create split-screen videos by simultaneously using the phone’s primary camera and zoom lens, showing two perspectives at once on the screen.
Huawei is bringing
professional-grade photography and videography functions to its users through
the award-winning HUAWEI P30 Series camera. Top features of the dual-view mode
in the P30 and P30 Pro include:
Capturing a wide view with more of the background and surrounding objects
Simultaneously zooming in on desired subjects via the split screen
Shooting two different angles, panoramic and close up, at the same time
Ability to adjust the magnification level
Taking artsy and creative shots for a vivid recollection of special moments
For those in-the-know, the MASTER Series is the name given to only the very best Sony TVs and provides premium picture quality, colour, contrast, and clarity approaching that of a professional-grade monitor. The MASTER Series TVs are Sony’s only TV series that features Netflix Calibrated Mode to further ensure that content is delivered as intended. This month, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific add their new OLED 4K TV, A9G, into their MASTER Series.
The new model features the next generation Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate for accurate detail and contrast. The new Picture Processor X1 Ultimate has a unique algorithm that can intelligently detect and analyse each object in the picture resulting in greater detail and contrast for a more realistic picture. The A9G features the new Sound-from-Picture Reality which faithfully reproduces the position of the sound on the screen so when actors are speaking, the sound appears to be coming directly from their mouths and not from a speaker off to the bottom.
Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate Over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by Picture Processor X1™ Ultimate. In addition to the processor, the A9G has Pixel Contrast Booster for more colour and contrast in bright areas. As a result, the A9G provides premium picture quality approaching that of a professional- grade monitor, showing images and colours as they truly are, as the creator intended. The processor improves SD and HD content to near 4K HDR quality and shows 4K content in stunning clarity.
Acoustic Surface Audio+
Acoustic Surface Audio+ provides a totally immersive sound experience with the sound coming from the entire screen, enveloping viewers in exciting new entertainment experiences, providing pictures and sound in perfect harmony. In addition, a TV Centre Speaker Mode provides choice to use the TV as the centre speaker.
The A9G OLED feature Sony‘s Android TV which supports a huge range of apps from Google Play™, including YouTube™, Netflix, Amazon Video and more for deep smart home integration (availability varies by region). And making your TV and home even smarter, the A9G TVs have Google Assistant built-in. These TVs have built-in microphones that will free users’ hands. Viewers can simply talk to the TV using the Google Assistant to find what they quickly want, or to play TV shows, movies, and more. (Google Assistant availability depends on region.) The TVs also work with popular smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. With smart speakers, users can control TV and stream content by simply using their voice – with more features to come later this year. Sony Android TVs will be compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. AirPlay 2 lets you effortlessly stream content from your iPhone, iPad and Mac right to your Sony TV. Watch movies and shows from iTunes and other video apps, and view photos directly on your Sony TV. Play music or listen to podcasts on the television and AirPlay 2 speakers throughout the home – all in sync. HomeKit lets you easily and securely control smart home products using the Home app or by asking Siri on your Apple devices. TVs can be added to the Home app and included in scenes or automations with other HomeKit accessories. For example, users can create a “Movie Night” scene in the Home app to easily turn on their smart TV and dim the lights, and simply ask Siri to launch the scene. AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support will launch in A9G, X95G, X85G models in 2019.
For even more user-friendly experience, a new easy to control smart remote enables viewers to control their connected devices such as cable/satellite
boxes, Blu-ray disc player, game console (supported devices vary by region)
without switching remote controllers. Also added to the smart remote is an RF
so users can control the TV without pointing the remote. And a newly developed
UI brings seamless and quick access to your favourite apps and settings.
The Sony’s new flagship
4K OLED TV A9G is available in 77”, 65”, and 55”. Prices will be announced in
the second quarter of 2019.
The wait of the new Galaxy S10 is over. This year, Samsung is doing a little different from the past. Instead of introducing 2 variations of Galaxy S10 (standard S10 and S10+), they are launching another a more affordable S10e.
The Galaxy S10
is designed for those who want a premium smartphone with powerful performance
and sets the stage for the next generation of mobile experiences. For consumers
looking for a supercharged device, Galaxy
S10+ takes every spec – from display, to camera, to performance – to the
next level. Galaxy S10e is built for
those who want all the premium essentials in a compact package on a flat
screen. Anticipating the implementation of 5G network this year, Samsung also introduces
an extension of the Galaxy S10+ – Galaxy
Samsung’s stand for front camera is clear – no notch and
so, to get full edge-to-edge display experience or Infinity-O display as coined
by Samsung, the company has developed a “punch-hole” front camera that flushed
with the display panel. The notification bar blends well with the front camera without
affecting the viewing experience of the display. Galaxy S10’s unique Infinity-O Display packs
an array of sensors and camera technology into a hole-in display – so you can
maximize your screen real estate without any distractions.
Galaxy S10’s display also includes the first-ever
in-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner that reads the 3D contours of your
physical thumbprint – not a 2D image of it – for improved anti-spoofing. With
the world’s first FIDO Alliance Biometric Component certification, this next
generation biometrics authentication offers vault-like security to keep your
Galaxy S10 introduces new camera technology and
advanced intelligence that makes it easy to take epic shots and videos:
Wide Lens: A first for the S Series, Galaxy S10 offers an Ultra Wide Lens
with a 123degree field of view, like the human eye, so what you see is what’s
in frame. Perfect for impressive landscape shots, big panoramas and even
fitting the entire extended family into the photo, the Ultra Wide Lens ensures
that you’ll always be able to capture the full scene.
Steady & High-Quality Video Recording: Galaxy S10 offers Super Steady
recording with digital stabilization technology. Whether you’re dancing in the
middle of an amazing concert or trying to record every detail of a bumpy bike
ride, Super Steady allows you to capture the moment. Both front and rear
cameras can shoot in up to UHD quality, and in an industry first, the rear
camera gives you the flexibility to record in HDR10+.
AI Camera: Galaxy S10 makes already smart features more accurate with a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) so you can get pro-grade shots worth sharing without having to manually select any advanced camera settings. Scene Optimizer can now recognize and more accurately process additional scenes because of the NPU. And with Shot Suggestion, Galaxy S10 offers automatic composition recommendations so you can frame your photo better than ever.
PowerShare: Samsung introduces Wireless PowerShare on Galaxy S10, making it
possible to easily charge Qi-certified smartphones and even compatible wearable
devices. In addition, Galaxy S10 is capable of charging itself and a second
device simultaneously via Wireless PowerShare, while connected to a regular
charger, enabling you to leave your second charger at home while on a trip.
Performance: The new AI software on the Galaxy S10 automatically optimizes
battery, CPU, RAM, and even device temperature based on how you use your phone
and continues to learn and get better over time. Leveraging AI-capabilities,
Galaxy S10 also learns how you use your device to launch your most frequently
used apps faster.
Local Pricing and Availability
Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+
The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ will be available in
Singapore from 8 March 2019, at
local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), major consumer
electronics & IT stores, Samsung Experience Stores and Lazada Singapore.
The respective recommended retail prices for the devices are as follows:
The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ (128GB1) will be available in Prism White, Prism Black and Prism Green. The Galaxy S10+ (512GB1 and 1TB1) will be available in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black.
We all know that 5G is coming soon and I am sure every OnePlus fan is as excited as I am. OnePlus has already announced their next phone that is 5G-Ready and all the OnePlus fans can’t wait to own the phone. Wait a second, are we saying that 5G is going to happen soon? Personally, I don’t see the full roll-out of 5G infrastructure happening in 2019 (at the very least, not in Singapore). Even it does roll out this year, I foresee the price of the 5G service is going to be expensive. The switching cost from 4G to a better-latency and faster 5G may not be worthwhile. Then, what’s the point of waiting for OnePlus 5G?
Those who have read
our article on the OnePlus 6 knows we have very good impression of the phone. OnePlus
6 has almost all the ticks in our checklists but not quite there yet. Now, the
OnePlus 6T is even better than its predecessors.
Better Battery Life
OnePlus 6 and OnePlus
6T are run on the latest Android Pie version. (Note: The OnePlus 6 does not ship
with the latest Android ver. 9 installed but OnePlus has been known for keeping
up with the OS update much faster than other brands. The phone got updated
shortly after the OnePlus 6T was launched). User interface and graphic
performance are similar on both phones given that they are running on the same OS
version and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.
improvement is the battery life. OnePlus 6T is shipped with 3700 mAh battery
capacity giving 10% more battery life than OnePlus 6. After a month of heavy
usage, I have observed that the phone could last slightly more than a day. I
have never once used a power bank to charge the OnePlus 6T while I am on the
Better OTG/USB Type C Experience
Given that the OnePlus 6T has no 3.5mm audio port, the OTG will automatically activated once a Type C device is inserted. This is another improvement from the OnePlus 6 where you need to manually activate the OTG each time you inserted.
When you insert the
Type C port for the first time, the OnePlus 6T will automatically activated the
“Earphone mode”, a popular feature among OnePlus fans. In this mode, you could
activate a “Speak Caller ID” feature when connected with the headphones. This
feature will read out to you the incoming call number and if the incoming call
happens to be in your phonebook, it will read out the contact name.
such as “Auto Play” to resume music playback and “Smart Answer for Bluetooth” to
connect to Bluetooth audio to answer incoming call are also found in the
In-display Fingerprint Sensor
OnePlus 6T has shifted the finger print sensor from the back to the front and replace it with a in-screen one. To some of you out there, the technology may seem redundant but if you think deeper, this could give us a quick glimpse on how we could better secure the phone in future. Imagine the technology gets better in years to come, the fingerprint sensor may not be at fixed location and it could be anywhere on the screen or at the back of the phone. Instead of single fingerprint, the phone could be equipped with multiple fingerprints or a palm-print sensor just like the Judge Dredd’s “Lawgiver”. How cool is that?!
You have read many
reviews about the many similarities of OnePlus 6T against OnePlus 6. From the
hardware perspectives, I agree (at least most of them). Both the OnePlus 6 and
OnePlus 6T use the same chip and camera sensors. But I am not agreeing to the
fact that you should buy the cheaper OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T.
Don’t get me wrong. Both
OnePlus 6 and 6T offer top specifications in the market and they are selling at
very reasonable price. A quick check across the key e commerce sites in Singapore
– OnePlus 6 (8GB Ram/128GB ROM) is selling at SGD 699 and the OnePlus 6T (8GB RAM/128GB
ROM) is SGD738. Note that the OnePlus 6T is selling at only about 5% more expensive
than the OnePlus 6 in the Singapore market.
First, the battery
life of OnePlus 6T is more than 10% of OnePlus 6’s. That itself justified the 5%
premium over the OnePlus 6.
Second, the display of
OnePlus 6T is made up of Gorilla Glass 6, an upgrade from the OnePlus 6’s
Gorilla Glass 5. In terms of scratch resistance, both Glass 5 and Glass 6 are
equivalent. The main difference is that Glass 6 is designed to withstand
multiply drops from greater heights. In other words, the OnePlus 6T is
supposedly tougher than OnePlus 6. That’s a plus point for clumsy phone users (like
Third, there are
several software enhancements that may or may not relevant to phone users.
Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning if you are considering buying the OnePlus 6
or the OnePlus 6T. For instance, OnePlus claims that they use new algorithm in
the 6T to better optimize photo setting even though it is using the same camera
sensors as the OnePlus 6’s.
If you are one of
those who are still holding to your old OnePlus 5T or older, you should consider
upgrading to the OnePlus 6T. No doubt the OnePlus 6 is cheaper and gives similar
performance. The small price premium justified the added features against the
OnePlus 6 based on the latest price comparison.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Therefore, please expect this review to be biased in the favour of BlackBerry. If there’s something you don’t agree with, let’s just agree to disagree.
Despite the prevalence of full touch screen phones, and admittedly there are many very good options out there, there are still a bunch of us who are willing to sacrifice a 16:9 4K stereo sound movie experience on a giant phone for features which makes a phone more usable as, well, a phone.
For me, my phone is primarily a communications device – Telegram, WhatsApp and email. I am totally happy to use my tablet to watch movies and play games (I just got a Mi Pad 4 recently which is really good value-for-money and I have no complaints with it so far). As such, the typing experience on my phone is really important to me. I like to be able to type and walk at the same time and still be able to keep my eyes on the road. I like to be able to type confidently without having to check my phone for spelling errors (or worse, stupid autocorrects which can be potentially more embarrassing than some innocent spelling errors. If you have no clue on how serious or hilarious autocorrect mistakes can be, you can see them here).
This is where a keyboard comes in.
BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory. That accolade still goes to the good old BlackBerry Bold 9900 (back then, they manufacture their own phone. Now TCL is the manufacturer of all BlackBerry phones) but I think KEY2 is 80% there. The KEY2 certainly made a few improvements over the KeyOne. The keys are angled in such a way that it matches how the thumb would “hit” the keyboard. What I didn’t like so much was that in order to keep a slim profile for the phone, the right “shift” and “alt” key had to go, which at times is a bother if I need to type numbers. For example, to input “7”, I have to hold down the “alt” key and press the “z” key at the same time which is really difficult. Luckily it is possible to lock the “alt” (or the “shift” key for that matter) by double-pressing the “alt” key, but I definitely still prefer to have the alt and shift key on both sides. It is possible to customise the currency key so that it works as “shift” key, but now I chose to use it as “ctrl” key so that I can use it to do my cut and paste easily.
Another feature I like about BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is that it is possible to create a multi-language keyboard which gives predictive words for up to 3 compatible languages (read: similar writing systems). This could be useful if you regularly communicate using different languages (or better yet, a mix of them). Instead of having to change the input language all the time, you can now simply type away. That said, switching languages on the keyboard (say, English to Chinese) is super easy. Just hold “alt” and press “enter” to toggle between the available languages.
One of my favourite features on legacy BlackBerry devices was the global search feature. Instead of having to go into the contacts app to start looking for someone, I can simply type the person’s name and the phone will show me search results related to the person, including contact details, email conversations with the person, or social media stuff.
This feature is still available on the KEY2, but the setting is difficult to find. To enable the global search, tap the centre button (BlackBerry launcher), and click the “Settings” button on the top right hand corner, then “Typing action”, then select “Start a search”.
I have found this feature to be useful, unfortunately it is slow. I really hope that this will be improved going forward.
An important thing to note is that when this feature is switched on, in order to use the apps shortcut, you have to hold the bottom right key (the one with nine dots) in order to activate the shortcuts. Some may also notice that the options for creating “short press” shortcut is gone, which effectively reduces the available keys for creating shortcuts by half (long press vs short press). However, there is a workaround. If you create the “short press” shortcuts first, then switch to “Start a search”, the “short press” shortcuts will still work. So currently, I use a short press “T” for Telegram and a long press “T” for Twitter and still have the global search enabled.
The battery life on the phone is quite impressive. The battery easily last over a day with normal usage on the phone. That is despite the phone’s battery being only 3500 mAh. I am not sure, but I think it is because the processor Snapdragon 660 is a very power efficient processor.
But this brings me to my next point, while I will buy the phone, the price point vs the hardware specs makes it hard for me to recommend this phone to others. For Snapdragon 660, 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, BlackBerry KEY2 has a recommended retail price of SGD 899. It is currently possible to buy the Oneplus 6T at SGD 898 which has Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory. ( If you want to know how good the OnePlus phone is, read my review here)
I loved BlackBerry legacy devices, but the user experience on the android versions of BlackBerry hasn’t been quite as smooth so far. I still miss being able to swipe up and right from anywhere, any app to access the BlackBerry hub. That said, the KEY2 has proven to me that there is a future for BlackBerry in android, but admittedly it’s not for everybody.
Now I just gotta find the best discount I can get for this phone…
p.s. If you are keen to know more about my love for BlackBerry, read my older article on BlackBerry Passport here)