Covid 19 Crisis – Like it or not, Cryptocurrency is Here to Stay

Like our old saying, “When there is recession, there is an opportunity”. In 2008, we faced the world’s worst financial crisis. Lehman brothers’ collapse has shown the world the inherent vulnerabilities of our monetary system. Central banks across the globe were caught off guard. European Central Bank (ECB) hastily made deep cut in the interest rate in the hope to restore investor’s faith. However, market did not recover at the rate as expected since then. Ironically, another historical event happened in the same year – bitcoin.org domain was registered.

Fast forward to today. ECB’s idea of negative interest rate fails miserably, and US Fed follows Japan’s zero interest rate policy will lead to monetary failure in the long term. Investors, flooded with these “free” money, are facing a challenge of finding returns in their investment. As such, they are more willing to take up more risks in exchange for higher returns. Cryptocurrencies, once known to be highly speculatively, starts to re-ignite the interests of investor amid Covid-19 crisis.   

Quick Recap of Bitcoin’s History

Hailed as the “King of Cryptocurrency”, Bitcoin first appeared in investors’ radar in 2013. During that time, almost all markets were trying to recover from the Global Financial Crisis. Investors were extremely cautious not to put money in conventional financial instruments; stocks, bonds and even commodities were not spared as well as they were all interlinked with financial instruments one way or another. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is the only “tradeable asset” that was unlinked to other financial products while at the same, it offers certain degree of liquidity to investors.

That year, Bitcoin was priced at around USD 13. In less than a year, the price had skyrocketed to slightly less than USD1,300 (That’s approx. 100x returns in a year!) That price spike was not sustainable which inevitably, Bitcoin crashed; pricing it at about USD 600 in the same year.

It was a choppy ride for Bitcoin between 2013 to 2017 but it was also a “Golden Era” for Bitcoin. Thousands of new cryptocurrency exchanges were formed. Regulators from all around the world refused to acknowledge Bitcoin as an asset class. However, market will not succumb to regulations; it will just find their ways for survival. Start-ups which struggled to raise fund via conventional means starts to offer their own coins in what they called “Initial Coin Offerings”. At the end of 2017, Bitcoin was priced as high as USD 19,783!

Many crypto investors became millionaires during the Golden Era of Bitcoin. However, the peak was short-lived. By the end of 2018, many cryptocurrency exchanges collapsed, and Bitcoin had crashed to USD 3,300.

Resurgence of Cryptocurrencies during Covid-19 crisis

Over the years, we have heard many criticisms debating the intrinsic value of Bitcoin. I believe most of them are valid but not all of them. At the very least, Bitcoin laid an important pillar for further technology advancement in the area of finance and business – Blockchain technology. A classic example is Ripple (XRP) which made used of this technology to create an architecture that could facilitate faster payment settlement for financial institutions. In Japan, banks are using Ripple protocol to facilitate payment via mobile app.    

Blockchain has created an entirely new market of its own – cryptocurrency and that has completely changed the way how investors look at the economy and after more than 10 years, investors began to accept the fact that Bitcoin is here to stay. For the past 5 years, Bitcoin’s transactions has grown more than double to about 300,000 daily (source: ycharts.com last checked on 26 Apr 2020, link here)

Zhao Changpeng (CZ), CEO of Binance. Source: Binance

However, we do not see sharp price spike of Bitcoin as what it had experienced before in the last decades. One logical explanation is the fact that investors have more options these days.  Over time, the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem has expanded and become more diverse. There are many more cryptocurrencies now. Each is developed to solve a specific problem faced by business. Bitcoin, though it is the largest by market cap, is not longer the only cryptocurrency that investors have eyes on. For instance, Binance, one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges, offers its own Binance coin (BNB) that is used as a base currency to buy/sell other cryptocurrencies.  

The development of cryptocurrency exchange played an integral part of the ecosystem. In recent years, the cryptocurrency market has grown tremendously. In 2017, market capitalization was approx. USD 23 Billion which Bitcoin contributed approx. 86% of the market share. As of Apr 2020, the total market capitalization is approx. USD 218 Billion but Bitcoin’s contribution falls to approx. 63%. (Source:  https://coincodex.com/)

Hunger for “Safe Haven” and Returns

Low interest rate environment is pushing investors to the edge. “Risk-free” returns from government bonds are not longer attractive and that have domino’s effects to money market. On the other hand, term deposits in bank is eroding the value of money.  

Investors are forced to take on higher risk. Ironically, investors deemed the more speculative Bitcoin as a “safe haven”  because it is the only “asset” that is unlinked from other markets such as stocks and bonds which are expected to hit badly in the worsening Covid-19 situations.    

Such behaviour exhibited by investors prompted cryptocurrency e-wallet players to provide more “banking” services. The idea of staking requires cryptocurrency holder to deposit their cryptocurrency to their e-wallet accounts. In exchange, holder will receive an interest, generally higher than what conventional banks are offering, which are paid in cryptocurrency into the e-wallet. For instance, Crypto.com is giving up to 18% interest (per annum) if you are staking their CRO coins.

To attract more investors jumping into the cryptocurrency world, cryptocurrency players are releasing “Stablecoins” which are pegged to the fiat currency. The idea is well received by the investors. At the point of writing, the total market capitalization of the Stablecoin has already surpassed USD 7 Billion. (source: https://cryptonews.com/news/billions-in-crypto-dry-powder-on-exchanges-ahead-of-bitcoin-6326.htm)

With no where to put their dollar, investors are using these “crypto-banking services” to battle this low interest rate environment. All investment carry risk and it is all about managing it. The Stablecoin, in one way or another, eliminates volatility and that has been perceived by investors as a “safe haven”.

Central Banks – The Only Reason Why Cryptocurrency Survives

Central bankers are lacking the understanding of the hyper-globalized markets. Lowering interest rate to prevent the economy from falling apart is like giving a cold medicine to a flu patient. It manages some symptoms, but it does not prepare the markets for recovery.

The modern economies are more complex but central bankers are not equipped with the skills and tools to tackle the economic problems. Flooding the market with “free” money is detrimental to entire financial system and investors are losing their faith. Banks are not able to earn enough profit (interests) from their loan business. Consumers are pushed to put money in all type of financial products fearing that their savings might be eroded in future value terms if they just put it with the bank as deposit.

In short, money is devaluing persistently forcing investors to put their dollars on high-risk technology sector to seek for better returns. In fact, it is already happening before cryptocurrency even exists. Tech stocks, which have all-along been speculative in nature, advanced in the last recession. From an investor’s perspective, it was counter-intuitive decision, but the bet was rewarding. In the short 10 years, technology has advanced, and it is the only resource that we could rely on to keep our economy engine moving despite the lockdowns in major cities.

That is the way the global economy is heading – Technology. Like it or not, our financial system will be getting more complex in future (in fact, it is complex enough now) that human central bankers may not be able to tackle multiple economic problems at the same time. To put it objectively, we will not know how financial technology will play out in the future but now, those with money are betting on cryptocurrency.

This article has been reposted @medium https://link.medium.com/QpcvKrMc15

Binance Announcement – Up to 10% Cashback on Crypto Purchases via the “Pay with Bank Card” Service

Source: Binance

Binance will launch a cashback promotion for users to buy cryptocurrency using their Visa debit or credit cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service on Binance. The promotion will run for 4 days and the rewards will be given out on a first come first served basis. The rewards will reset each day. 

Activity Period: 2020/04/25 8:00 AM to 2020/04/29 8:00 AM (UTC)

Each daily activity period runs for 24 hours from 8:00 AM (UTC) to 8:00 AM (UTC) the next day. Daily reward resets will occur at 7:59:59 AM (UTC) each day.

Activity Rules:

Number of RewardsFirst Daily Purchase Amount (USD Equivalent)Bonus Amount 
30$5,000+500 BUSD
100$1,000 – $4,999100 BUSD
200$500 – $99940 BUSD
1,000$300 – $49920 BUSD

Users are entitled to one bonus amount per day based on their first purchase amount for each daily period.

  • The first 30 users to buy 5,000+ USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 500 BUSD each.
  • The first 100 users to buy between 1,000 USD and 4,999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 100 BUSD each.
  • The first 200 users to buy between 500 USD and $999 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 40 BUSD each.
  • The first 1,000 users to buy between 300 USD and $499 USD in crypto via their Visa debit or credit card as their first transaction each day will receive a reward of 20 BUSD each.

Terms & conditions:

  • Crypto purchases must be made using Visa cards via the “Pay with Bank Card” service, where users need to add their bank card details on Binance. 
  • Accepted fiat currencies include: USD, EUR, GBP, PLN, NOK, DKK, RUB, UAH.
  • Rewards will be determined by each user’s first daily purchase amount and will run on a first come first served basis each day.
  • Rewards will be distributed within a week after the competition ends. You will be able to login and see your rewards via the Distribution History page in the Account Center.
  • Binance reserves the right to cancel or amend any Activity or Activity Rules at our sole discretion.

See Original Post here

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is highly speculative and it is not suitable for investors who are not ready to lose their investment. Investors who don’t have prior knowledge in cryptocurrency investment should speak to their financial advisors before making an investment commitment.

Important Note: Existing cryptocurrency investors who wishes to jump onto Binance platform may wish to consider using my referal https://www.binance.com/en/register?ref=URB5YCE6. I will receive a commission for every trade that my invitee made. However, I have set aside additional 5% commission fee which will be “kicked back” to my invitees (those who have used my referral codes to sign up an account with Binance) to reduce their trading fees. Once you are a Binance user, you could customize referral code to invite your friends like what I am doing now! Happy Trading!

Press Release – New Microsoft 365 Personal and Family Subscriptions now available in Singapore

Source: Microsoft Singapore

[Asia Pacific, Singapore, 22 April 2020] – Microsoft 365 is now available in Singapore. It is a refresh of Office 365, which provides users with new artificial intelligence (AI), rich content and templates, and cloud-powered experiences. 

These experiences are being rolled out regionally and will reach over 38 million Office 365 subscribers globally in the next few months.

“We want to continue to empower everyone to remain connected with those who matter inside and outside of the workplace. The Microsoft 365 Family and Personal subscriptions will provide users with innovative experiences that enable them to co-author, video chat, organize, and come together with friends and their families anytime and anywhere,” said Rami El Bayadi, Regional Director, Microsoft Office Asia. 

Users can look forward to two new Microsoft 365 experiences. Firstly, a new Microsoft Family Safety app designed to keep families safe across the digital and physical worlds. Microsoft will also launch Microsoft Teams later this year for users to stay connected with their family and friends. There will also be new features in Microsoft Teams that make it easier to connect, organize and collaborate with family and friends.

The new Microsoft Edge browser also takes a step forward with new features to protect users on the web with Password Monitor, and to simplify research with Collections.

Other new features available with Microsoft 365 are listed below.

  • AI-Powered Microsoft Editor: To help people put their best foot forward at home and at work, Microsoft Editor – an AI-powered service available in more than 20 languages – is now accessible across Word and Outlook.com, and as a standalone browser extension for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers have access to advanced grammar and style refinements such as rewrite suggestions and additional style critiques to allow greater clarity and conciseness.
  • Presenter Coach Features in PowerPoint: An AI-powered Presenter that helps correct monotone pitch and refine speeches. This will be available as a free preview, and then eventually only to Microsoft 365 subscribers. 
  • PowerPoint Designer: This feature effectively boosts creativity, such as transforming text into a beautiful timeline, or even auto-generated slide layouts. Microsoft is also providing Microsoft 365 subscribers with exclusive access to over 8,000 beautiful images and 175 looping videos from Getty Images, plus 300 new fonts, 2,800 new icons to create highimpact and visually appealing documents. 
  • New Data Types and Smart Templates in Excel: This presentsa different and less timeconsuming way to interact with data, providing deeper meaning for over 100 topics. Microsoft 365 subscribers have exclusive access to the over 100 new data types powered by Wolfram Alpha. 
  • Organizing Time Across Work and Life with Outlook: New features in Outlook on the web help users manage all commitments, across work and life, in one place. With these new features, they can link their personal calendar to their work calendar to show their real availability, while still maintaining their privacy.
  • Deepen Connections with Family and Friends with Skype and Microsoft Teams:  Skype has seen an increase in usage with 40 million people using it daily, up 70% month over month and, we are seeing a 220% increase in Skype to Skype calling minutes month over month. To help people get connected even faster, Microsoft recently introduced a new feature in Skype called Meet Now, that allows users to easily connect over video (for free) with up to 50 people in just a few clicks.
  • Protecting Families in the Physical and Digital Worlds with Microsoft Family Safety: Coming soon is the Microsoft Family Safety app, a new mobile experience on iOS and Android for Microsoft 365 subscribers. The application empowers families in a variety of ways with both free and premium offerings, including managing screen time across Windows PCs, Android and Xbox. 

The new Office features have been rolled out to all existing Office 365 customers and Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions are now available worldwide. These include premium desktop Office apps, 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per person, 60 Skype minutes for calling mobile phones and landlines, advanced security features to protect users from malware and phishing attacks, ongoing technical support, plus all the new features and benefits announced today. Microsoft 365 Personal costs $10.80 SGD a month. For the best value, a family of up to six people can use Microsoft 365 Family for $14.80 SGD a month. 

Apple Launches their budget iPhone SE (2nd Gen) in the midst of Covid-19 crisis

Apple has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Apple share (stock quote: AAPL) has slumped more than 30% since Feb this year and given the fact that US is experiencing the highest unemployment rate never seen since The Great Depression, Apple has reacted by launching cheaper iPhone SE (2nd Gen) to the market.

The new iPhone SE comes in three beautiful colors — black, white and (PRODUCT) RED. Source: Apple

The new iPhone SE comes in three beautiful colors — black, white and (PRODUCT) RED— and will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, April 17, 8PM SG time from SGD 649 onwards.

The new iPhone SE is armed with A13 Bionic chip, the one that is used in iPhone 11 series. When comes to camera, there is a slight upgrade from its predecessor, the new iPhone SE features a single 12MP rear camera. The front-facing camera is powered by a 7MP sensor.

Apple has also improved the iPhone SE with features such as wireless charging and water resistance of IP67 rating. You can literately wash your iPhone to disinfect. Unlike the iPhone 11 series, Apple has also brought back the popular physical home button which you could use the Touch ID to unlock and make Apple Pay transactions.

Source: Apple

What is missing here is the Face ID which I believe Apple is trying to use that feature to distinguish the premium iPhone series from the budget SE series. Anyway, you don’t need your face to access to your apps so it is not a must-have.

The display has got larger. The new iPhone SE is now powered by 4.7 inch LCD display. Note that this is not the OLED display used in the iPhone 11 series. Well, Apple has to find way to cut corner to lower the price, but I don’t think that will affect the whole Apple experience greatly. Anyway, how much difference between LCD and OLED, in terms of quality, can you spot?

In view of the current Covid-19 situation, Apple has lowered sales forecast in the near term. It is not surprising that the new iPhone SE could be a nice alternative for the current users who are retiring their old iPhone 7/8.

Headphone Review – Adidas RPT-01 On-ear Headphone, A Perfect Fitness Companion

“I will never run with my headphones. It looks silly” This is what I used to perceive of people running with their headphones but my perception changes when I got hold of the new Adidas RPT-01. The RPT-01 is such a beauty.

Knitted fabrics-covered Adidas headphone is a class of its own.

In terms of physical appearance, I really like the knitted fabrics covering the overhead rim of the headphones. The perfect blend of black and grey appeals to me. Maybe I am Asian, the headphone seems to compliment well with my black hairs.

Speaking about designs, the overall ergonomic is well thought of. The slide-able feature caters for different head sizes and the clear indication of the sides of the earphones. Although these are standard across all headphones, one special addition to the Adidas RPT-01 is the rubber headband that prevents the headphones from slipping while you are out exercising. I am sure many people had bad experience of keep adjusting the headphones while exercising. The simple solution by putting a headband keep the device in place is brilliant! More so, the rubber headband is removeable for washing.

Removable parts that you could wash. Easy to maintain

Comfort

Often, headphone is not as comfortable especially after prolong wearing and it is certainly not so while you are running in humid Singapore condition. I am surprised that RPT-01 is in fact quite comfortable. The knitted earcups cushioned well on the ears and I don’t feel warm near my ears even though I am perspiring like mad after a 5km run. Same as the rubber headband, both earcups could be removed for washing.

Good music quality

All’s good. How about sound? The Adidas RPT-01 is one of the first 2 headphones developed under the partnership with Zound, the company behind audio brands such as Marshall speakers and Urbanears headphones. That sets the mark high and it does deliver reasonable bass while listening to high tempo music though I would like the bass to be more punchy. In terms of clarity, it scores acceptably well.   

This headphone is a pure wireless listening companion. There is no 3.5mm audio option for us to compare the sound quality between wired and wireless settings.

Nonetheless, the claimed 40 hours battery life is impressive. I have brought it along for several runs and I have never done a single charge during the testing phase.

Verdict

This product is specifically designed for sports enthusiast. Priced at $299, you get an Adidas branded headphone that promises you comfort and style. On top of that, you get a good-looking headphone that will help you to attract eyeballs in the gym.

Having said so, I think that there should be more features that targeted for fitness training. The current smartphone app serves pretty much as an equalizer which I think it is very underserved. Afterall, Adidas is a sports brand. I think the app could provide more useful data on the activities that could help users to improve their performance.

Wirecard and Grab Partners; Aim to Drive Cashless Payment in SEA Region

Wirecard (stock quote: WDI.DE) is entering into a payments partnership with Grab that will see Wirecard process transactions made via the GrabPay e-wallet, starting with the Malaysian, the Philippines and the Singapore markets. Consumers can use their GrabPay e-wallet to pay for transactions online and offline, for example for ridehailing or food delivery, but can also use it to pay for purchases on e-commerce sites or at physical stores.

Through this partnership, Wirecard will process card transactions for GrabPay via its digital financial commerce platform and will extend GrabPay to more merchants to expand the acceptance of the mobile payment method. According to a recent global Wirecard consumer survey, over 90% of consumers in Southeast Asia have used digital payments both in-store and online. Mobile wallets are almost twice as popular in the region as they are worldwide, with 44% regularly choosing them as a payment method compared to the global average of 25%.

“We are proud to partner with Grab, a Southeast Asian icon,” commented Georg von Waldenfels, Executive Vice President Group Business Development at Wirecard. “Together, we aim to continue disrupting the payment, tech and mobility industries with innovative solutions that can improve the lives of millions.”

Reuben Lai, Senior Managing Director of Grab Financial Group, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Wirecard as we progress on our journey of building a cashless economy for millions of businesses across Southeast Asia. Wirecard’s innovative mobile payments solutions will not only complement our GrabPay e-wallet platform, but also offer businesses and consumers the opportunity to transact with greater security, convenience and flexibility.” The GrabPay e-wallet is one of the most popular e-wallets in Southeast Asia accepted by over 600,000 merchants and small businesses.

Sudio Fem Review – Designed for the “Workout-aholic”

Sudio, as a brand in the true wireless earphones (TWS) segment, is not well known for making audio product that is tough enough for sports but my water test (though it is unintentional) on Sudio Nivå, their first TWS, has totally changed my perception about this brand despite it comes without IP rating. (If you want to read my review on Sudio Nivå, you can read it up here)

Although it took them almost 2 years to get IP rating for their products, it is better late than never. Their latest TWS – Sudio Fem is now IPX5 water resistance which essentially means that it can survive in a wet weather condition.

Source: Instagram user @weewu

Comfort

I am not sure this works for others. The Sudio Fem is bigger than their previous Tolv and Nivå and I find the fit is just nice for my ears. Well, this varies across different people. However, the ear tip of Fem is slightly longer than the Sudio Tolv’s which allows the earbud to go further into the ear. That blocks off some of the surrounding noise.

Even though Sudio Fem does not come with noise cancelling feature, the overall listening experience is not completely disrupted by the surrounding sound. Ok I am not a huge fan of noise cancelling, so I might be bias to a certain extent. Anyway, I will disable any form of noise cancelling feature while I am doing my outdoor runs for safety reasons.

Just like other TWS, the Sudio Fem has packed 5 ear tip sizes.

Sound Quality

The bass is quite impressive given the small size of the product. If you are always on a “Beast Mode” while listening to your Spotify, Sudio Fem is one of the products that can deliver the best listening experience.

Vocal performance is decent. It has the necessary clarity. However, the sound stage is slightly different from the Sudio Tolv. The Tolv has a more natural vocal performance while watching a live concert on YouTube. That adds “life” in the concert music experience. Although the Fem can deliver clarity, I feel I don’t enjoy as much as the Tolv when comes to live concert music.

Other enhancement

Beside IP certification, the Sudio Fem has also equipped with Google Assistance and Siri. This voice assistance will be extremely useful to access your smartphone when you are busy with your outdoor activities.

On top of that, Sudio is offering 18 months international warranty for purchase of Sudio Fem.

Verdicts

Given its sound stage and IPX5 rating, the Sudio Fem is a perfect companion for runners. Personally, I think that it is reasonable for Sudio to price the Fem at SGD 219.

Source: Instagram user @weewu

But… (as you might have expected) If you are getting this with my promocode: theneodimensionFem, you can get a 15% discount on your purchase. On top of that you get a free special edition CNY gift packaging and a crossbody pouch if you made a purchase before 14th Feb.

Since Valentine’s Day is coming, you can buy any 2 Sudio earphones and get a further 10%. That’s 25% discount (15% from code plus the additional 10%)!   

We all know that there is no one product that caters for all. By and large, it pays to get good quality product but Sudio has proven that good quality product may not come at a sky-high price.  

Singapore-based Digital Wealth Manager – Syfe launches REIT+ portfolio to Retail Investors

Syfe’s latest portfolio combines SGX-listed REITs and Singapore Government Bonds to create a risk-managed solution

SINGAPORE – 3 February 2020 – Digital wealth manager, Syfe, today launched the REIT+ portfolio, a first-of-its-kind initiative that allows anyone in Singapore to start risk-managed investing in Singapore real estate with no minimum investment.

Unlike buying a property or REITs as a private investor, Syfe’s REIT+ product offers an easy, risk-managed and low-cost way for investors to access Singapore’s thriving REIT market with a fee as low as 0.4% per annum of your invested capital.

REIT+ consists of 15 high-quality SGX-listed REITs (S-REITs) that span retail, industrial, office, and hospitality amongst other sectors. To protect REIT+ portfolios, Syfe’s Automated Risk-Managed Investing (ARI) will manage risk by balancing portfolios of S-REITs with Singapore government bonds.

Through backtesting, a process that tests algorithms by running them through historical data, the REIT+ portfolio on average has yielded a return of 9.0% over the last five years. The portfolio also pays a dividend, which in 2019, was 4.6%, and can be automatically reinvested or paid-out at regular intervals offering investors a great source of passive income.

In recent years, REITs have proven to be a great investment option because it allows Singaporeans an easy way to become real estate owners, without dealing with the day-to-day worries of being a landlord. By investing in an REIT, you’re investing in properties managed by that REIT and you’re eligible to earn dividends on the rental income earned by those properties.

Dhruv Arora, Founder and CEO of Syfe said: “The launch of the REIT+ offering represents another strong step forward in our journey to making quality investment solutions accessible to all. In addition to our flagship Automated Risk-Managed Investing (ARI) global portfolio, we now offer investors an easy way to enter Singapore’s exciting and rewarding REIT landscape.”

“At Syfe, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of financial innovation, and we’ll continue to do so to meet the investment needs of investors in Singapore,” added Mr. Arora.

REIT+ is Syfe’s latest addition to the platform, following the launch of a Financial Advisor team, which allows customers to secure consultation sessions with wealth management specialists, providing high quality financial advice.


About Syfe

Syfe is a digital wealth manager offering professionally managed portfolios to everyone, which have previously only been accessible to institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals, driving innovation and democratising investment. Syfe’s proprietary algorithm, developed in-house with state of the art technology and proven investment models, build personalised portfolios for each customer and continuously monitors and adjusts each portfolio to maximise returns and manage risk.

Source: Media Outreach

Realme XT – A Bring-It-Out-For-Holiday Camera Phone

Admit it. We still desire to own an iPhone; we won’t want to be seen carrying a cheap phone while having drink session with friends. However, running the risk of losing their over-priced iPhone during vacation is like “Ouch”. It is no secret that most of us carry more than 1 device– one for “work” and a second one for practical use.

Here, we got our hands on the new realme XT. One of the key highlights of the phone is its quad-camera. Yes you heard it right. This phone is packed with not 2, not 3 but 4 rear camera and that is against the triple camera of the iPhone 11. The 64 MP image sensor by Samsung, which realme claimed that it is the highest resolution image sensor in the smartphone market, could shoot ultra-high-resolution photo that is equivalent to the size of a 3.2m X 2.4m poster print-out.

Source: Instagram user @weewu

Supreme Camera Specs

Wow… The technical specs do look good on paper. But more camera does not mean anything? How about the overall image quality?  We challenged the phone to take night scene of our beautiful Singapore city. The 64MP camera sensor produces reasonable clear, crisp landscape photo even under low light condition. Below is the sample photo of the night scene shot with the 64 MP sensor.

Singapore City

Night shot has always a challenge for camera phone. If we zoomed into the night scene photo, we observe some “noise” on the background. However, the building names are captured reasonably well by 64MP sensor under challenging city lightning.  

We have also tested the night mode. The sensor manages to snap the photo within 3 seconds. The image is quite impressive, and its algorithm manages to brighten the dark parts of the photo. For instance, we captured the red hook of the crane in the photo with the night mode turned on.

Limited Internal Storage

As a relatively new brand, realme XT’s camera performance has surprised us. The 64MP image sensor is very appealing to smartphone users. However, The image size shot at 64MP could be as high as 12MB and that is significantly larger than normal (one 64MP image is about 5 times more than the usual image size).

The 128GB internal storage may not be enough for users who love to take pictures with their smartphones. Fortunately, the realme XT has included external microSD slot that could allow user to store additional 256GB.

Camera is good but what else?

I know this may not be relevant as the customer moves towards wireless earpiece. Who still expect to get complimentary earphone when unboxing a new phone? But still, we may want to bring along our favourite headset when we are out for vacation. The option to connect via the legacy 3.5mm audio jack is still more favourable. Well, you can argue that we could bring an additional 3.5mm-to-Type C adaptor. I am on vacation. I just want to bring the minimal.

It has in-display fingerprint sensor which works reasonably fast and the ColorOS by OPPO gives a very clean Android interface which makes the navigation within the OS very pleasing.

Verdict

This OPPO’s spinoff brand has surprised me. In terms of performance, the phone does deliver what most consumers want but at the fraction of the price of high-end models in the market. Camera performance is very decent for the price point.  

I do carry a handful of phones out for work purposes, but I always have the tendency to use the realme XT for street and food photography. The attractive price tag on realme XT is appealing to frequent travellers who might afraid of losing their “work” phone (yes I am refering to your iPhone) while traveling. The realme XT could save your travel photo in the old school micro-SD card and you don’t need to rely on internet access to backup your photo and this is especially useful when you visit countries where internet accessibility is poor.

Singapore-Based Startup, iTask Lists “Renting-a-Friend” During the Festive Season in The Top 10 Freelance Jobs in Singapore

SINGAPORE 16 December 2019 -Singapore based technology start-up iTask releases their findings with compilation of a list of top 10 freelance jobs only found in Singapore during the festive season.

To our surprise, renting-a-friend ranks number 9 in Singapore’s top freelance jobs. This market seem to grow acceptance in Singapore society. Fee could go as low as SGD 20 per hour.

iTask is an on-demand talents service marketplace mobile app platform creates the opportunity to improve the community’s living quality.

Here are the top ten unusual freelance jobs that arose from the hype of these two festive seasons:

#1 Spring Cleaning Helpers

Everyone expects their homes to look smack and clean during the festive season, however, not many bears the desire or motivation to perform the task of spring cleaning. A simple solution would be to engage the services of freelance cleaning professionals to do the job with no worries about cleaning up the mess after wild Christmas-eve parties, or fears of homes being not presentable enough for relatives and friends. The professional cleaning aunties and uncles will handle the task easily and prices start from $55 for a three-hour general cleaning service.

#2 Gift and Hamper Wrappers

Wish to wrap an impressive Christmas gift or a Chinese New Year hamper for business clients and associates but lack the proper gift-wrapping skills? Lack the time to buy gifts? An alternative would be to outsource these tasks to a freelancer and let them work their magic. Prices start from $8 per task.

#3 Courier Services

Gifts and hampers wrapped but do not have the time to deliver these personally? Just engage the assistance of a personalised courier service provider. Do note that such services are high in demand during the festive season; hence, try to book the services in advance. Prices start from $5 per item-basis task.

#4 Tuition and Enrichment Activities

The holiday season may not be a relaxing period for children with ‘tiger’ parents who have high hopes and expectation. While some parents may bring their kids out on recreational trips, some parents may wish to send the kids for extra tuition and enrichment classes. This is true kiasu-ism in the workings! Hence, during the holiday season, the demand is high for freelance tuition professionals and enrichment teachers such as a piano teacher. Prices start from $10 per lesson.

#5 Pet Sitting Services

Planning an overseas Christmas holiday or an ‘escapade’ from giving out too many hongbaos during Chinese New Year and need somebody to take care of the furry friends while away? Consider freelance pet sitting services where pet-sitters drop by to feed your paw buddies or take them out for a walk. Rates start from $10.

#6 Buying Groceries From Johor Bahru

Planning to stock up the low-cost groceries from JB for the upcoming Chinese New Year? Engage a freelancer to buy groceries from our neighboring city, for a small fee. Services like these allows for cheaper purchases minus the hassle of queueing at the customs. Prices start from $10 per task.

#7 Bakkwa Buyer

This is another hot-on-the-list request for freelance service providers in recent years. Not wanting to join the queue from a prestigious brand but as a bakkwa connoisseur who cannot survive a CNY season without bakkwa? Engage an errand provider who will queue many hours to buy the best bakkwa for your behalf! Prices start from $10 per errand.

#8 Picnic Set-ups

Wish to have something special for your Christmas party, New Year countdown or even Valentine’s Day? A pretty picnic set-up will definitely pump up the festive mood. There’s never a limit to how you can celebrate any occasions over picnic! Different packages and themes for you to choose from. What you need to do is just dress things up all nice and pretty for an Instagram-worthy-photos. Let the memories stay. Don’t be surprised if you get more likes for your FB & IG than your friends have. Packages start from $130.

#9 OMG… Rent a Friend / Date

No joke! This is also in the list! For all the ‘self-partnered’ people (thanks to Emma Watson for coining this term.) out there, there is an opportunity to rent a friend for the next Christmas or Chinese New Year gathering. Fees for renting a friend starts at $20 per hour. [minus any illegal and naughty stuff]

#10 Mental Supporter or Someone To Share Deepest Secrets With

The festive season are definitely a stressful period, either due to preparations and the mad rush of getting things done on time. Many seek a mental supporter or a companion to share with their worries and secrets with. Either a face-to-face session or via a personal listening service. Rates start from $10 per hour.

So here are the top ten unbelievable freelance jobs ONLY found in Singapore!

Source: Media OutReach