Samsung NX300 mirrorless camera review

Oct 09, 13 Samsung NX300 mirrorless camera review

Posted by in Featured, Imaging & Photography, Reviews

The NX300 is Samsung’s latest mirrorless flagship camera, offering 20.3MP with an APS-C sensor (23.5×15.7mm), and capable of shooting RAW files. It sells for Php36,990.00 and is available in brown, white and black. We had a chance to try one out which came just in time for a recent trip to Puerto Galera. How did the camera perform? In a nutshell I was really impressed by it. Spec-wise this camera seems aimed at photo enthusiasts but offers a wide range of controls that makes it a serious consideration as a secondary camera for professionals. This would do well for casual users who wants a good camera with a little more money to burn. Some of the things you might like about it are the connectivity options, which come with both WiFi and NFC, to enable you to conveniently upload to several online services or sync photos to compatible devices. It is not without its flaws however and to those who want to find out more can read on. I have to mention a disclaimer. This is the first mirrorless camera that I have used for an extensive period of time. I have for the most part as a photography enthusiast have shot using film and my trusty Canon G12. I’ve always felt that although mirrorless cameras produce really good quality shots, with the price-point I would rather just buy a DSLR; which is why for this review I will judge the NX300 by its own merits. Out of the box you get the camera body, the 20-50mm kit lens, camera strap, a small flash, a microUSB cable and wall socket adapter to charge the camera, documentation and a couple of CDs; one for Samsung software to use for your camera and the other is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. Yes, that’s Lightroom 4 and you’ll see that on the box as well. You would think that Samsung has been really generous here but I believe that it was absolutely necessary to include it in the...

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JBL J33 In-Ear Headphones Review

Oct 06, 13 JBL J33 In-Ear Headphones Review

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Reviews

The JBL brand is more known for their audio speaker but lately, they’ve been churning out decent personal audio equipments as well. The JBL J33 is a simple in-ear pair of headphones that does only one thing, output good audio. We have the white one here and it looks something not cheap with its pristine white cube-ish drivers accompanied by matching dirty white transparent silicon tips. It also comes with 2 other silicon tip sizes plus a pair of foam tips for a more snug fit. The cables are flat and rather thick which adds a little bit of heft but also makes it more durable than your traditional cables. It doesn’t have an in-line mic and all you get is a cinch to keep the cables in order. I did observe a huge amount of microphonics with the thick cable. This is the “echoey” sound you hear when the cable is rubbing your skin or shirt. It’s interesting to note the chrome buckle-like contraption where the cable attaches to the driver. This makes it hard to damage the connection between the cable and the driver from accidental pulls or from bending. There’s very minimal sound leakage coming from the J33 even at high volume and it does a decent job in blocking outside noise. I was able to enjoy my in-flight movie even while seated beside a crying baby using these headphones. Now trying it on a few songs using a Sony VAIO Pro 13 laptop as my source, here’s what I observed. The strings on Avicii’s Wake Me Up was pleasantly vibrant and the vocals smooth with just the right amount of bass as to not drown the song. On Drake’s Hold On, We’re Going Home, bass was quite deep highlighting the wide sound stage being delivered by these headphones. Even Lady Gaga’s Applause showed the wide range and levels the J33 can produce with distinct clarity. Trying something light, Gone Gone Gone by Phillips Phillips was vibrant with just the right...

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D-Link Cloud Camera DCS-5020L Review

Sep 29, 13 D-Link Cloud Camera DCS-5020L Review

Posted by in Accessories & Peripherals, Featured, Reviews

CCTV systems are the talk of the town these days and even mandatory for businesses. Who can forget about that vile person caught on cam doing atrocious acts on a poor little baby? Having a baby myself, that video really made me consider getting a surveillance camera that I can access while I’m at work. Luckily, the folks at D-Link sent a Cloud Camera, the DCS-5020L, for us to try out. Overview The D-Link DCS-5020L Cloud Camera is an indoor wireless surveillance camera that can be accessed via internet. The camera touts an easy setup process and the ability to control the camera remotely through their My D-Link app on iOS or Android and the My D-Link webpage. The controls allow us to pan and tilt the camera to get the viewing angle that we need. Digital zoom up to 4x is available and also allows us to hear what happening within the vicinity of the camera. Features also include a night vision mode and a WiFi signal repeater.    The camera comes with a power supply, an install guide, an install CD, a LAN cable and a wall mount. For those that are wondering why we have a LAN cable included with a wireless cloud camera, don’t worry, you’ll only use it during the initial setup. Setup Overall, the initial setup of the camera did not go as smoothly as D-Link claimed. Some of the challenges we encountered was the outdated installation wizard found in the install CD. So an extra step is needed to get the latest installation wizard from the D-Link site. The install wizard also had a hard time getting the wireless camera to establish an internet connection with our router. We basically did the wizard steps over and over and over again…I can’t remember how many times we ran the wizard until it just magically decided to work. I can’t imagine doing this process on multiple cloud cams. Maybe the installation might have been smoother if I had a...

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First Impressions: LG G2, now officially available starting at P27,490

Sep 27, 13 First Impressions: LG G2, now officially available starting at P27,490

Posted by in Featured, Mobile

LG finally launched their latest superphone, the phone that a lot of people from a recent PhoneArena.com poll are saying is currently the best in the market. The LG G2. This phone incorporates a lot of innovations based on what the consumer needs, keying on the message “Learning from You”. The LG G2 has a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS screen which LG claims is the optimal maximum size for a handset. Am not really a fan of phones having 5-inch and up displays but this one actually felt just right despite my not-so-overly huge hands. The side bezels on the LG G2 are the narrowest on a handset in the market today and makes it more compact even when compared to some 5-inch phones. It’s not as slim as other phones with its 8.9mm-thin body but its arching design makes it really easy to grip despite its size. It uses the latest quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip clocking at 2.2GHz and supports LTE-Advanced, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (no microSD), and a 3,000mAh SiO+ battery. It also boasts of the industry’s first 24bit/192KHz Hi-Fi sound playback for studio-quality audio. At the back is the 13-megapixel camera protected with sapphire crystal glass to prevent smudges and scratches on the lens. This camera has an Optical Image Stabilization built into it instead of the usual software-based OIS making it much better when taking action shots especially with its 9 multi-point auto-focus. Video recording has this feature which lets you zoom in on a particular audio source made possible by three stereo mics so as to soften background noise. One of the most talked about feature is the Rear Key setup, foregoing buttons on the sides as we’re accustomed to. The reason behind this is that as phones get bigger, drop accidents are most likely to happen when pressing buttons on the sides or on top. The Rear Key setup aims solves this problem and has the volume control as well as the Power/Sleep button. You can...

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First Impressions: iPhone 5S

Sep 26, 13 First Impressions: iPhone 5S

Posted by in Featured, Mobile

Got the chance earlier to briefly play with the successor of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S, and here are my first impression about this new iPhone. Physically, the iPhone 5S feels and looks similar to the iPhone 5. Same aluminum construction, same size, same finish. The only difference would be is the dual LED flash found on the iPhone 5S, and also the addition of the Gold color. Internally is where the updates on the iPhone 5S happens, but not by much as expected from a minor update. It now uses a 64-bit 1.7GHz dual-core A7 chip which they claim gives twice the CPU and graphics performance as the previous chip. I wasn’t able to feel the boost from launching a few apps or navigating within iOS7 because the iPhone 5 doesn’t lag as well. What I noticed though is that the new chip made the camera perform faster. In fact, the iOS7 camera app will show the slow-mo option for video recording when using the iPhone 5S, but is not available on the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S also shoots faster burst photos compared to the iPhone 5. Other expected improvement would be the battery life but it was impossible for me to check that in just a limited amount of time. Another notable addition would be the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the Home button allowing you unlock your phone simply by resting your thumb on it. No more pesky passcodes but there’s about a second delay before the screen unlocks. Oh it also works with your elbow, your nipple, or any part of the body with unique, distinguishable lines. Although, I don’t know why you would want to have those as your security print. Obviously, aside from Touch ID, there’s no clear reason why you would want to upgrade from your iPhone 5. Well unless you want that gold iPhone. The iPhone 5S was made for those coming from an iPhone 4/4S or those new to iPhone. The iPhone 5S...

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

Sep 17, 13 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Review

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

‘Phablets’ are getting all the attention these days that they are now being sought after, despite being larger than a single hand can handle. So with the release of the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note 3, we couldn’t help but drool on the specs such as the latest Snapdragon 800 chipset, 2.3GHz processor and the whopping 3GB RAM! Knowing that the Note 3 is a successor to the famous Galaxy Note 2, we couldn’t help but have high expectations for this device. We were fortunate enough to get hold of this hot item and get up close and personal even before it’s yet to be released. So enough of the introduction and let’s see what the Galaxy Note 3 has to offer. Design While it’s not much of a face lift, the Galaxy Note 3 sure looks much better from the usual design that Samsung applies on their smartphones. What we have here is the black one which also comes in variants of white or pink. One thing that’s apparent is the slightly curved edges that is reminiscent of the Galaxy S2 but more stylish due to the grooved metallic edges. Also, the power button and the volume rocker has a really nice metal finish to it so you won’t feel anything ‘plasticky’ when pressing them. Looking at the screen size, the Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7″ Super AMOLED 1080p display which is just a little bit bigger than the Note 2’s 5.5″. And the brushed metal bezels are thinner on this one so overall, the phone doesn’t seem too big as compared to the previous Note 2. The Note 3’s side is just 8.4mm thin rather than the 9.4mm of its predecessor and it’s also lighter at just 167 grams compared to 182 grams. The weight difference is a bit minimal so you still get that heft which makes up for a premium feel. Flip the Note 3 over its back and you’ll see a nicely done, leatherette back finish (don’t mind...

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LG Pocket Photo Printer Review

Sep 15, 13 LG Pocket Photo Printer Review

Posted by in Accessories & Peripherals, Featured, Reviews

The LG Pocket Photo Printer is a portable wireless and self-powered printer that can print pictures from your mobile device in just a snap. It’s a perfect companion for those who want to print their shots quickly to give to friends or families. I was able to use this a lot during our trip in the US allowing me to easily and quickly print souvenir photos of my baby to give to my relatives who I seldom see. It produces wallet-sized photos so it’s easy for them to carry around. This printer is not exactly pocketable but you can easily stow it in your purse or bag so it won’t take up much space. It looks nice with its white textured body and is quite easy to use. The only button you’ll see is the Power button which also glows to let you know it’s turned on, charging, or low on battery. It turns off after a few minutes of inactivity to save you on battery. There’s also only one slot that you’ll have to bother with, the covered microUSB slot for charging. This makes it easier to bring on trips as most likely, you’ll be carrying your own microUSB charger cable with you. At the bottom side of the printer is a catch which you need to slide to open the compartment for the paper. This printer uses ZINK or zero ink paper. Basically, the colors are already embedded in the paper and it uses heat to produce the appropriate colors per pixel. It can accommodate only a pack of ZINK paper which consists of 10 sheets. The blue paper which has the bar code should be placed at the bottom and this will come out on the first print for every pack. The LG Pocket Photo Printer communicates to your mobile device via NFC or Bluetooth. It requires an app download which is available in iOS and Android. The app is very easy to use and allows you to rotate, crop, resize,...

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Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, size matters

Sep 12, 13 Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, size matters

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

Here comes another phone and tablet hybrid from Samsung, a phablet as people would call it. Samsung releasing yet another device in a new size was not a surprise at all. From the Galaxy Note, Samsung has explored on developing such devices because there seems to be a steady niche for biggie-sized phones. The Samsung Mega lives up to its name, taking it a notch higher when it comes to phone sizes. The review unit I got was a 6.3-inch model but Samsung also released a 5.8-inch version. Read on to know more how the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 actually fares. Design This goliath phone looks like a larger version of the S4. Its build quality is relatively good like its siblings as it sports a polycarbonate plastic battery cover and a metal bezel surrounding the soft-edged sides. While the plastic build of this device gives it a poor hand grip, it makes up for being lighter than expected. The Mega series comes in black and white variants.   The front panel is mostly dominated by the 6.3-inch 1280×720 TFT LCD screen with a physical Home button at the bottom. There is a 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera located at the upper right portion in line with the speakers, power indicator and sensors.    The power button is found at the right side of the phone and the volume controls on the left side. On top is the 3.5mm headset jack along with the infrared sensor and one of the two microphones, while at the bottom is the micro-USB connector and the other microphone. The back is made of hard plastic in a shiny coating with the same pattern as that of other current Galaxy devices. Here you can see the 8-megapixel camera lens with the LED flash underneath. Hardware Within the hardware spectrum, Samsung Mega still falls in the mid-range category. It is powered by a 1.7GHz Dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5 RAM. It runs on the latest Android 4.2 Jellybean, made a...

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Hands on with the Sony QX100 and QX10 attachable lens

One of the coolest things we played with during the Best of Sony event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was their smartphone attachable lens, the QX100 and QX10. At first, I thought it was like one of those lens you attach to your phones to improve the phone’s camera but it’s clearly way more than that. This attachment will transform even your measly Php4,000 Android phone into a respectable shooter. First and foremost, the Sony attachable lens are cameras on their own. Yes, you can take photos with them by themselves without attaching it to any smartphone. Each has its own sensor, lens, shutter button, zoom lever, battery, microUSB port and a microSD slot. You can even attach a tripod onto it. In fact, the Sony QX100 is just like the enthusiast-level Sony Cybershot RX100 without the viewfinder, flash, menus, and dials. The Sony QX10 has a 1/2.3-inch 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor (same size as the Xperia Z1’s sensor) paired with a 10x optical zoom f/3.5-5.9 Sony G lens. It comes with an optical image stabilizer as well. The Sony QX100 on the other hand has a huge 1-inch 20.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor to go with a f/1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens. It’s the To fully utilize the lens though, you need to connect it to an Android or iOS device (iPad or iPod Touch will work as well) and download the free Sony PlayMemories mobile app from the App Store or Google Play. This app will allow you to use your device as the viewfinder, control different settings (auto or manual) on the lens, use touch focus, click the shutter, and act as secondary storage for the photos/videos. You can clip a bracket to the lens so you can clamp it to your phone. It can accommodate a device of up to 13mm thick and from 54-75mm wide. It was able to snugly clamp on my iPhone 5 even with a thick case on. Attaching it is optional though. You can...

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First Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Aug 31, 13 First Impressions: Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Posted by in Featured, Mobile

Sony Philippines just launched their beast of a phablet, the Xperia Z Ultra, last week and we got the chance to play with it for a short while. This should be a direct taunt to Samsung and its upcoming Galaxy Note III and Sony becomes the first company to market a device that sports Qualcomm’s latest and fastest Snapdragon 800 chip. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is for those looking for a tablet and phone in one. Its size is a cross between the Galaxy Note II and the 7-inch tablets out there. Fairly big but the 6.5mm thickness and the 212g weight makes this device comfortable to hold even with one hand, that is if you don’t mind having your prints on the screen and on the back which are protected by scratch-resistant tempered glass. Despite its thin and light frame, the Xperia Z Ultra feels pretty solid unlike the Galaxy Mega 6.3 which has the same weight but has a plastic chassis. Knowing Sony’s penchant for water-proofing their high-end devices, the Xperia Z ultra was not spared. In fact, it has a higher rating than their previous devices. Its IP58 rating is the highest level you can get against liquids and this is achieved even if the 3.5mm audio port is left exposed (rest of the ports have flaps). The 6.4-inch screen has a Full HD resolution giving it a 344ppi pixel density which is still impressive for a screen its size. Sony also put all their TV display technology on this phablet. The Triluminos display gives it a wider gamut of colors compared to regular LCDs which you can easily notice. It also has their X-Reality image processor that automatically and smartly enhances saturation, contrast, and reduces noise so that your video will look good on the Full HD resolution. There’s also the OptiContrast design which makes the display more readable in direct sunlight by reducing optical flare. Powering the Xperia Z Ultra is the best Qualcomm has to offer, its...

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