Signing off…

Happy new year friends! This is Calvin signing off from Pinoy Tech Blog as this will be my last post for the blog. Don’t worry, PTB will still continue to exist and provide you with relevant tech news under the management of Joey Abiog. Back in 2005, Pinoy Tech Blog started off as a collaborative effort from a group of well-known bloggers headed by Abe Olandres of Yugatech. Unfortunately, after a few years it kinda died down until it was only Abe who posting sporadically for the site just to keep it updated. In 2008, when I started blogging, Abe entrusted me with Pinoy Tech Blog along with Joey and Raffy to help me. We changed its design, created social media accounts, and made it grow to what it is now. I can say that looking back from what it was before, we really accomplished a lot and all the hard work paid off. Unfortunately, now’s the time for me to let PTB go. I just want to take this time to thank you my readers, for keeping this site worth managing and writing for. Thank you to all those who are subscribed to our social media accounts, those who made this site a part of their daily reading, and those who somewhat made PTB a community. Thank you for the questions, the comments, and the numerous grammatical corrections on my part. Hehehe. I also would like to thank my trusty contributors who shared their insights and reviews over the years. It’s really difficult for one person to manage a site of this magnitude without any help. There are also the brands and PR agencies who regarded PTB as a respectable tech site in the country capable of delivering insightful news and reviews for Filipinos. Thank you for trusting us. I will definitely miss covering events (mostly overseas ones), trying out the latest gadgets, and definitely mingling with friends I made in the industry. Abe and I now entrusted PTB to Joey who will...

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PTB’s Top 5 Smartphones for 2013

Dec 26, 13 PTB’s Top 5 Smartphones for 2013

Posted by in Featured, From the editor, Mobile

Every year, we take a look at the top 5 smartphones that made a huge impact in the market. These phones aren’t necessarily the best ones out there or the ones with the latest features, but the ones that generated a lot of buzz (in a positive way), did well in sales, or just plain changed our mobile market. Without further ado, here’s our top 5 smartphones for 2013. 5. Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 Cherry Mobile is well ahead of local phone brands in terms of sales and popularity and for this year, their forerunner is the Omega HD 2.0. Not any of the Cosmos line, not their first Full HD phone, not even their first HD phone which was the original Omega HD. The 5-inch quad-core dual-SIM Omega HD 2.0 didn’t get any major launching and was quietly released to the market last June. Cherry Mobile didn’t knew that it would be their best-selling smartphone for 2013 as people continue to pick them over CM’s newer releases during the holidays. The combination of looks, specs and a reasonable price (P7,999) brought the Omega HD 2.0 on our Top 5 list. 4. Nokia Lumia 1020 Usually, it’s the platform and the ecosystem that dictates how people decide on which smartphone to get. For the Nokia Lumia 1020, it’s all about the hardware especially its 41-megapixel PureView camera on a slim and attractive frame. It’s clearly a big improvement from the first PureView phone and having it on Windows Phone 8 makes it a bit more appealing. It’s clearly the go-to choice for those wanting a phone to double as a really good compact camera. 3. Sony Xperia Z1 Being rugged and beautiful doesn’t always match but somehow, Sony did a good job on it with their Xperia Z1. It’s sleek and premium design doesn’t really scream waterproof and dustproof but it is. It’s just beautiful to look and feel and it’s amazing that Sony was able to put a 20.7-megapixel f/2.0 Sony G...

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Integrated GPU vs Dedicated GPU in today’s world

A few years ago, when the first generation Intel Core processor was introduced, Intel has been touting the new integrated GPU on their chip as good enough to replace entry-level dedicated GPUs. Well it was only good enough for basic graphic tasks and having a dedicated GPU still has a significant advantage over it. Integrated GPUs improved with the second generation and I was at the launch when Intel showed how the 2nd gen Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) can handle a war game without the aid of a discrete graphics card. However, over time, casual gamers still find 2nd gen integrated graphics lacking as the game progress. Take for example this comparison below of a 2nd gen iGPU vs a GeForce GT 630 graphics card on the game League of Legends. With integrated graphics, some of the details were not rendered by the game. Then came 3rd gen Intel Core processor (Ivy Bridge) but games got more intense and requires more processing power. What about the latest Haswell chip? The 4th generation Intel Core processor with its improved GT2 integrated graphics also known as the Intel HD Graphics 4600 having a 400 – 1350MHz shader speed. Is it enough to play top titles of last year out of the box, as if you’re playing with a discrete graphics? NVIDIA has been claiming the same thing with regards to integrated graphics. Every year, with new iGPUs coming out, it’s still not enough to keep up with the pace of how games are being developed. Check out this video comparing Street Fighter IV on a Core i5/i7 Haswell iGPU and a GeForce GT 630 card. Although the graphics rendering is almost the same, the iGPU performs unbearably slow for the game. The GeForce GT 630 shows up to 2.6x better performance compared to the iGPU. 40% of the top 30 games of the previous year are unplayable with the latest integrated graphics for that year. NVIDIA started the test since Sandy Bridge, and it has been...

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series are born to perform

Jul 03, 13 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series are born to perform

Posted by in Featured, From the editor, Gaming

NVIDIA finally introduced their GeForce GTX 700 lineup of graphics cards that are sure to make real gamers out their giddy to upgrade their rig. The GeForce GTX 760, GeForce GTX 770, and GeForce GTX780 are cards that are born to perform to give you that pure gaming experience. GeForce GTX 780 For the cream of the crop, there’s the GeForce GTX 780 which is a follow-up to last year’s GeForce GTX 680 and is this year’s high-tier product. It can be viewed as the mini GeForce GTX TITAN having been produced in the same GK110 GPU. It may have a lower clockspeed than the its brothers but its 2,304 shaders and 3GB/384-bit memory config makes up for it in a big, big way. Here’s a chart showing how the GeForce GTX 780 scores against the GeForce GTX 680 and the competitor’s HD 7970 when running popular games and benchmark tools at Full HD and high settings on a Core i7 machine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Performance GeForce GTX 770 The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 is the first graphics card to have a 7GBPs memory speed which is 1GBPs more than current graphics card leaders in the market. In benchmark tests, the GeForce GTX 770 and its high GPU and memory clockspeed can give you up to 10% performance boost compared to the GeForce GTX 680 which is the current graphics king. GeForce GTX 760 Aiming to be the next king of the mid-range GPU cards, NVIDIA introduced the GeForce GTX 760. This will effectively replace the GeForce GTX 660 Ti which simply tells us how impressive this thing will be considering it’s not a “Ti” model. The GeForce GTX 760 is based on the GK104-225 GPU with 1152 CUDA cores clocking at a 980MHz which can go up to 1033MHz with NVIDIA’s GPU Boost 2.0. It is equipped with 2GB or a 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 memory with a memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s. Based on preliminary test against the competition’s Radeon HD 7950...

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Experience pure gaming performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 and GTX 780

Jun 18, 13 Experience pure gaming performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 and GTX 780

Posted by in Featured, From the editor, Gaming

It’s not surprising anymore when you ask gamers what brand they associate with pure gaming performance. NVIDIA is always on the top of their head and why not? NVIDIA has always been in the forefront when it comes to delivering the best PC gaming experience out there. Their current graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 680 which has been a gamer’s choice for quite a while, GeForce GTX 690, and also the recent monstrosity which is the GTX Titan, are considered by many to be the kings of the crop when it comes to GPUs. Now, they’re topping themselves again with the release of the GeForce GTX 770 and GeForce GTX 780, two new graphics cards that will bring even more power and performance boost compared to current top-of-the-bin cards in the market today. The GeForce GTX 770 boasts of the fastest memory for a graphics card ever at a whopping 7GBPS, that’s 1GBPS faster than current graphics leaders. It also gives at least 10% boost in performance when compared to the current graphics king which is the GeForce GTX 680 mainly due to higher GPU clockspeeds, memory clockspeeds, voltages and TDP. The GeForce GTX 780 on the other hand will give you at least 35% boost in performance compared to the GeForce GTX 680. Thanks largely in part to its 2304 CUDA cores and 3GB/384-bit memory. It’s like the mini GTX TITAN having been produced in the same GK110 GPU mold. Here’s a chart showing how the GTX 780 scores against the GTX 680 and the competitor’s HD 7970 when running popular games and benchmark tools at Full HD and high settings on a Core i7 machine: These new graphics cards are equipped with NVIDIA’s latest GPU Boost 2.0 which gives your rig the graphic processing power only when it needs it. GPU Boost 2.0 will automatically boost the clock speed, power-draw permitting, during those critical graphics-intense portions of the game so you don’t have to worry about your system bogging down in the...

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iOS7 Design: Yay or Nay?

Jun 14, 13 iOS7 Design: Yay or Nay?

Posted by in From the editor, Mobile

Apple finally bared its highly-anticipated iOS7 which sports a “stunning new user interface” according to CEO Tim Cook. It’s the first major design overhaul Apple did on the iOS since its first appearance in 2007. It boasts of a lot of new and useful features that Apple has been missing over the years, but did the new design fare? Observe the new design of the iOS7. Gone are the slightly detailed and raised icons in favor of flatter ones. However, I’m not seeing the consistency across the icons. For example, Photos, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and Game Center have plain white background but Camera and Settings doesn’t. I think they also overdid it with those psychedelic gradients. It seems that the icons have been designed by different people. We see the Camera, Weather, and Newsstand having that “clip-art” look. Notes and Reminders looked very elementary unlike the smart design on the Passbook. Things should now be flatter but Game Center still has that 3D look. And check out the Settings icon, somehow it looks like a stove burner to me. iOS has elements with redesigned typography, having big and thin fonts on white background, like what Microsoft has been doing with some of their products. We can see this heavily implemented in Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Clock. It looks good although there are also apps that have regular Arial font on white background. The Camera’s video record button looks comically out of place with its design. While the Safari buttons looked like something taken from the pages of Android’s design book. Overall, it seems that too much cooks spoiled the broth on this one. It looks like Windows Phone’s UI on LSD with some childish-looking icons thrown in the mix. From the design standpoint, it’s a disappointment for a company that has always been known to make good-looking products. Personally, I like the well-thought of and carefully designed look of the old iOS more. At least we’re finally getting Control Center. So what do you...

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Step up to better graphics with NVIDIA cards

May 27, 13 Step up to better graphics with NVIDIA cards

Posted by in From the editor, Gaming

When building a PC rig from scratch, you would sometimes get advice to skip on graphics card to save on budget. While integrated graphics have come a long way in terms of performance, so are games and apps pushing for more heavy requirements. Eventually, you’ll find the need for discrete graphics to satisfy your performance craving especially when gaming. According to a US survey back in 2010, two out of three owners of PCs with integrated graphics are unsatisfied with its performance. A year after, a new study in China reveals the same level of dissatisfaction. It just shows that the level of graphics performance would always outpace the advancement in integrated graphics. So what sort of performance upgrade can you get from a discrete graphics card? With a GPU, you will often get a gig or 2 of memory dedicated for graphics computing compared to integrated graphics which has to share the same memory of the system. Having a dedicated memory will keep your system responsive especially while multitasking. A GeForce GT graphics card with just 1GB of memory can help alleviate memory bottle-necks when a lot of apps or even browser tabs are open. If you want to speed up your digital life, go with a discrete graphics card. You can play games 5 times faster and with better quality. You’ll get faster frame rate while not getting stuck with low and boring settings which you usually get when playing on integrated graphics. For example, in the game of StarCraft II, an integrated HD 2500 graphics will only get 9 fps when on high settings whereas the GeForce GT 630 gets 45 fps. Of course you can use low settings to play but you’ll miss out on the beautiful imagery the game was made to play on. Photo and video processing is also way faster allowing you to save on time. Using vReveal video editor, a system with integrated HD 2500 graphics will process a Full HD video in 12 minutes whereas...

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5 smartphone features that are overrated

Apr 04, 13 5 smartphone features that are overrated

Posted by in Featured, From the editor, Mobile

It seems that every week there’s a new smartphone announced or launched and most of the time, it’s almost the same as that of ones that are announced earlier. Just a little bit different spec-wise. When looking for a new smartphone, what’s that certain uncommon feature that matters to you? Before you say that a smartphone sucks because it lacks a certain feature, do you ask yourself if it’s something that you really want or need? Here are 5 features of smartphones that I think people (not all) should not be concerned about when a phone doesn’t have it. NFC Near Field Communication or NFC is the evolution of Bluetooth pairing. Instead of setting up BT on devices for pairing, NFC just require you to bump your devices together to communicate. Sounds cool right? On paper yes, and if you have a lot of NFC devices. However, just like Bluetooth, there’s the initial “setup” required to authenticate a device for future NFC pairing say for example an NFC speaker. So in that regard, it’s still the same as Bluetooth. Once paired, it will automatically pair the next time around if it sees it. Not that hot anymore huh? I guess at this moment, the practical application would be those NFC tags where you can set rules for your phone to follow once bumped. I’m sure there are far more better applications for NFC in the future but right now (and maybe next year), it’s just a nice-to-have phone feature. microSD slot When a phone doesn’t come with a microSD slot, I always see a lot of people cringe. It’s funny because I doubt if most of these people really need more than 16GB (they stopped producing non-microSD slot phones with only 8GB storage me thinks) worth of storage space. Of course, there are media hogs out there who don’t have time to delete games they don’t play, or videos they won’t watch anymore. To those types of people, maybe an extra 32GB might eventually...

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PTB’s Top IT Product of 2012

Dec 31, 12 PTB’s Top IT Product of 2012

Posted by in Featured, From the editor

Before the year ends, I would like to take time to write about what I think the best IT product of the year was. Last year I limited myself to gadgets and usually it’s either a phone or a tablet so I’m going to widen my scope this year. Just a few guidelines, the Pinoy Tech Blog IT Product of 2012 should be: It should be officially introduced in our local market this year. No gray market stuff. It’s something that a lot of people can use. Being innovative is not really a requirement but it’s a plus It should make an impact in its field, not really in terms of market share but on how people adapt to it and companies react to it… an influencer if you will. I asked this question over at Facebook and although the runaway winner is boring to write about, I have to agree with the few respondents who took time to share their thoughts. But before I reveal our top IT Product of the Year, I want to share a couple of runner-ups who can easily take the crown as our winner. I was about to say iPad mini because it was a big step for Apple to finally admit that they need to make a smaller version of the iPad to compete with Android. But then again, it’s just the same old iPad. Then there’s also the Google Nexus 7, the Android tablet done right, or should I say priced right. Quad-core 7-inch tablet with a high-def screen at an inexpensive price, I think the Nexus 7 pushed Apple to strongly consider the 7-inch tablet market. So that brings us to our Top IT Product of 2012, Microsoft’s Windows 8. Before you begin bashing this article by saying that you prefer Windows 7 than 8, allow me to explain. Windows 8 is the start of something special for Microsoft. From Windows 3.1 up to Windows 7, we always associate the brand to PCs and laptops....

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PTB’s Top 5 Smartphones for 2012

Dec 28, 12 PTB’s Top 5 Smartphones for 2012

Posted by in Featured, From the editor, Mobile

Every year, we take a look at the top 5 smartphones that made a huge impact in the market. These phones aren’t necessarily the best ones out there or the ones with the latest features, but the ones that generated a lot of buzz (in a positive way), did well in sales, or just plain changed our mobile market. Without further ado, here’s our top 5 smartphones for 2012. 5. Google Nexus 4 Although the Google Nexus 4 by LG is a latecomer for the year, it deserves a place here as being the most affordable quad-core smartphone from a premium brand. It’s one of the first few handsets that uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 pro chip and also comes with 2GB RAM on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. This 4.7-inch phone retails for around Php23k – Php25k in the local market which is still inexpensive as compared to other quad-core phones when they first arrived. 4. iPhone 5 Another latecomer is Apple’s iPhone 5. It was announced in September but only made its way here this month and got a lot of people lining up. It’s the first iPhone to get a screen size upgrade from 3.5″ to 4″. It’s not much in today’s standards but it’s enough for iPhone fans. You’ll get a gorgeous display, amazing camera, and overall fast performance in one compact and nice-looking package. That’s the iPhone 5 for you. 3. Cherry Mobile Flare A lot of you may be wondering why I placed the Cherry Mobile Flare this high. Allow me to explain. This phone changed (skewed even) the meaning of “budget” smartphone. If you’re talking about a budget smartphone in today’s standards, it should have at least a 4-inch screen and a dual-core processor. Because of the Flare, people can’t help but compare other phones having almost similar specs to its price and it’s unfair really… to the other brands that is. And because of the Flare, we’ll expect to see more similarly priced and specc’ed smartphones early next year. 2....

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