Reviews

LG Optimus Black Review

Android smart phones today are getting slicker and powerful but it is often limited to manufacturer’s flagship models. While there are more cheap and cheerful Androids today, they tend to sacrifice in terms of design and aesthetics. What if there’s something sleek without burning a hole in your pocket? That’s where LG aims to offer with its Optimus Black. Read on for the full review.

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HTC Incredible S Usability Review

The HTC Incredible S was launched in Malaysia just few months ago, about the same time as the Nexus S. Priced just slightly below the RM2000 mark, the Incredible S looks rather attractive considering it looks like a smaller sibling to its larger Desire HD.

Apart from the screen size which differentiates the Desire HD’s 4.3″ from the Incredible S’s 4.0″, the difference lies with the internals. First up, the Incredible S has a larger 1450mAh battery compared to the Desire HD’s 1230mAh which on paper should provide longer battery life. The screen on the Incredible S is a better S-LCD variant and it is also said to be using toughen Gorilla Glass. There’s also a front facing 1.3MP camera but video calls are not supported on the Incredible S.

The rest of the hardware features are rather similar as it also runs on 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 single core processor and a generous 768MB of RAM. Internally, the Incredible S has 1.1GB of storage which is 400MB less than the Desire HD. At time of review, the Incredible S runs on Android 2.2 Froyo but its upcoming Android 2.3 Gingerbread update should be available by now.

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Android Mini Collectibles Series 2

As previewed several months back, the Android Mini Collectibles Series 2 is finally here in Malaysia. The TakenShop is an authorised online retailer in Malaysia where you can order these collectibles locally without incurring expensive international freight charges.

For the collectibles, you are able to purchase random individual pieces at RM32/each while a complete box set is sold at RM465. The individual pieces are completely random and you won’t know know which design you’ll get. For serious collectors, you are guaranteed to get 11 of the base designs in the complete box set with some of them repeated like the Greeneon, Bluebot, Hexcode and IceBerg. The fun however doesn’t stop there as there’s a mystery design in every box set. We are told that there are 3 mystery designs in total. Read on for the full unboxing.

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LG Optimus 2X review

The LG Optimus 2X, which also happens to be the first dual-core Android device was recently launched in Malaysia. Offered as low as RM878 via Celcom, the Optimus 2X is an attractive Android smart phone our market being the first with a dual-core processor. Just recently, we were given the opportunity to test out the Optimus 2X for a short period of time and here’s our findings.

To recap on the key specs, the Optimus 2X is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor which runs on dual-core at 1GHz and 512MB of RAM. At the front, it has a modest 4” TFT LCD capacitive screen which does 800×480 pixels. The moment we picked this phone, we noticed a familiar feel with the Galaxy S which isn’t surprising as both are very identical in dimensions with the LG Optimus 2X being 123.9mm (H) x 63.2mm (W) x 10.9mm (D) and Samsung Galaxy S with 122.4mm (H), 64.2mm (W) x 9.9mm (D).

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Usability Review

This year the tablet wars are heating up with entrants from RIM (BlackBerry Playbook), Android (in the shape of the very capable Motorola Xoom) and of course, who can ignore the iPad 2.

A while back, one of the earliest Android tablets to hit the market comes from Samsung in the form of the Galaxy Tab which was launched in Malaysia together with Maxis. Earlier on, we had a brief hands-on experience with the Galaxy Tab at the launch roadshow but recently Samsung had given us the opportunity to test the device out more extensively.

After having the device for an extended period, we are able to share with you our findings on how is it like living with a Galaxy Tab on a day-to-day basis.

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First Impressions: Nokia E7

Apart from the Nokia N8, the other most anticipated Nokia device to come into the market in recent months is the business oriented Nokia E7. Having seen an early rendition of the device way back even before the iPhone 4 was launched, we noted that the prospect of having a device that has all the capabilities of the N8 with the added useful utility of a physical keyboard is something to look forward too.

But the scenario is decidedly different now. In a last ditch effort to remain relevant, Nokia jumped off the platform and right into bed with Microsoft at the expense of many die-hard Symbian fans who, for the lack of a better word, feel like they were cheated out of a long standing relationship.

So now that we know Nokia will be focusing its effort on churning primarily Windows Phone devices what is the outlook for the E7 — what can be considered as a last of its kind device? Dubbed as the spiritual successor of Nokia’s last rendition of its communicator series, the E90, can the E7 establish itself as a formidable business oriented machine in a sea of business-centric devices coming from Android, BlackBerry and iPhone?

This is our first impression of the Nokia E7.

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Yes 4G: Ipoh and Penang Road Test

Yes says they deliver a mobile 4G experience. With this notion in mind, took our Yes Go on a road test in KL and we’ve taken it on a road test in PJ.

From our findings, both tests produced consistent results. The Yes network is indeed capable of delivering mobile data services but there are several gaps in its coverage that we hope Yes can cover quickly to deliver true seamless mobility broadband. Having said that and considering the fact that Yes is a new network, we were mightily impressed by the extent of the network coverage so far as well as the speeds that we were able to achieve during the previous two road tests.

So things are looking peachy for this new network but we’ll have to keep reminding you this is still a new network with a relatively smaller load on it compared to the more established players. We’ve heard so many times before that Malaysians don’t mind paying for their Internet so long as it is consistent and reliable. This looks to be an opportunity in which YTL can capitalise on. There is no secret formula to being a successful Internet service provider, all they need to deliver is consistency.

As we’ve been enjoying very good speeds on the Yes network, we hope Yes is able to keep this speed consistent even as the network gets loaded up with subscribers. If they can, then there’s really nothing to hold Yes back in winning the hearts and wallets of Malaysians.

So back to our topic of discussion. We’ve shared with you our findings on the performance — both in terms of mobility and speed — of the Yes network in certain areas in the Klang Valley, the question now is how does Yes perform outside Klang Valley?

It’s common sense for telcos to focus the bulk of their network resource towards market centres and high densitiy areas. This means more that often than not, outlying rural areas are not as well covered as it should be. At launch Yes boasts a population coverage of 65% deploying over 1,000 base stations throughout the country. This is more than its current 4G competitor P1 which currently claim around 40% population coverage with under 900 base stations currently being deployed.

All this is fine and dandy but right now what we want to know is where exactly in the populated areas is the 65% coverage focused on. Can Yes deliver consistent connectivity outside city centres? How is the network performance in areas outside of KL?

To find out, we took our trusty Yes Go along with USB modems and SIMs from DiGi, Maxis and U Mobile and hit the road up north to Penang for a mega road test shootout. On the way, we also wanted to find out if the Yes network has indeed got most of the North-South expressway covered.

Initially their map showed coverage blanketing most parts of the highway however a day before our trip, we found out that the map has been “updated” revealing a completely different coverage map with much less areas covered. This got us contemplating if we should carry on with the test as it looks like there is no coverage on our route, but with the understanding that sometimes coverage maps can be inaccurate, we continued with the test anyway.

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Yes 4G: Road Test #2

Having tested the Yes Go’s mobility performance around Kuala Lumpur and discovering that the Yes network is indeed mobile delivering rather good performance, we decided to go a step further by taking the Yes Go to various parts of Petaling Jaya and Subang as well.

We wanted to find out if the Yes network can deliver consistent speeds and throughput performance outside of KL. We tested the Yes Go USB dongle on two routes, one along the New Pantai Expressway and the other along Federal Highway.

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Yes, it’s a road trip!

We are heading up north to Penang to test the performance of the Yes 4G network outside of KL. We will be updating our twitter feed regularly along the way.

We’ve reached Ipoh and so far we found the coverage along the North-South highway from KL is patchy. We managed to get connectivity, albeit intermittent, up to the 404KM marker of the North-South highway. Where there’s coverage, the speed is generally better compared to 3G operators. Considering that Yes is a new network, we can see from our road test that Yes has better data coverage along the highway  compared to the more established 3G networks like U Mobile and in some instances DiGi. Look out for our full report coming soon.

For regular updates on our trip to Penang, follow us on twitter at @Soya_Cincau to find out how Yes compares with other 3G operators on the road.

Previous Yes Performance Tests
Yes 4G KL Road Test
Yes 4G Dongle First impressions and initial tests

Yes 4G: KL Road Test

Earlier, we took with the Yes Go USB dongle for a spin and we’ll be the first to admit that we were quite impressed with what the Yes network has to offer. In our stationary tests, we managed 5Mbps downloads and 2Mbps uploads with only two bar reception with the test done on the 17th floor. We know that the network is still new and there’s still very little load on it but even by this measure the speeds that we’re getting are rather impressive for a wireless network.

This was stationary tests but since Yes touts its 4G network as mobile we wanted to know how mobile is mobile. Yes’ closest competitor — P1 — has been in the market for the good part of two years with a claimed population coverage of around 40% and even with a good head start, P1 still can’t claim its network as a mobile network.

How does Yes fare in comparison? First up, Yes already has a lead in terms of coverage with a claimed 65% of the population covered. Next, Yes offers an all-4G mobile phone and a 4G MiFi, two devices P1 doesn’t have in its product arsenal at the moment. Based on this, it seems to us that Yes has their sights set on taking a few chunks of the mobile market from the 3G boys. And so, that will be the bar that we will measure Yes with.

We’re expecting the Yes 4G mobile network to deliver strong and consistent performance in places where 3G would as well as while traveling in between these locations — just like 3G. We will be looking for seamless connectivity and we will also be looking to answer some of the questions that you’ve asked in our comments section. How does the Yes Go and the Yes 4G network handle hand-overs between sites? Does it disconnect when switching base-stations?

Find out the answer to this and more in our road test of the Yes 4G network within Klang Valley.

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First impressions: Yes 4G network performance and the Yes Go 4G dongle

Things are starting to turn around for Yes. After a poor start off the blocks in this ridiculously competitive telco race, the new contender is looking like it might be able to keep up with the pace.

After receiving an email confirmation that our pre-registered account has been activated, we were finally able to log onto the Yes network with our Yes ID. And with that we immediately started on some performance tests of the Yes network and the Yes Go 4G dongle.

So here it is our first impression of Yes 4G network while using the Yes Go dongle.

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Samsung Galaxy S usability review

Previously in our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S, we were singing nothing but praises of the device. With a vibrant 4” Super AMOLED screen, a zippy 1GHz processor supported with a SGX540 GPU and incredible photo and HD Video shooting capabilities, The Galaxy S packs quite a punch in the hardware department.

So impressed were we with the Galaxy S that we noted in our first impressions that it was a worthy contender that’s capable of bringing the fight back to the iPhone contingent.

Beyond the hardware and the gorgeous display, the next thing that we would like to find out is how does the Galaxy S performs on a day to day basis? We’ve gotten some extended playtime on the Galaxy S and here are our findings on the usability experience of the Galaxy S.

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