Neo Elan L5756 High Performance Notebook Review

Apr 14, 12 Neo Elan L5756 High Performance Notebook Review

Posted by in Featured, Laptops & Tablets, Reviews

Neo Manufacturing and Services Inc. (Neo) is a Philippine-based manufacturer of personal computers. The brand was launched in May of 2003 alongside the PLDT CyberMadness event and the Notebooks followed later that year and was able to establish itself as the leading brand of Intel Centrino-based notebooks all the way to 2004. Neo sent us one of their laptops from the Élan series which is their performance line. The Neo Élan L5756 is one heck of a machine. Look at its specs then look at the price, I bet you’ll ask the salesperson if he has the right price. The L5756 that we received has an Intel i7-2670QM (2.20 GHz, 6mb Cache) Processor, a whopping 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 750 gigs of hard drive space, and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT540M 2GB Graphics card. This might be one the best specs on a sub-40k laptop I’ve seen so far. You might find this too good to be true, but read on. Design The Élan L5756 looks sleek with the glossy black finish and the subtle pinstripe. As with all glossy finish, it is a fingerprint magnet. It also doesn’t look cheap at all but with all the plastic, it feels fragile.   The interior has the same design as the lid and features the keyboard, a touch pad, the power button, a set of media buttons and the speakers. The Élan L5756 measures 340 (W) x 240 (D) x 25.1-31.2 (H) mm.   On the left side we can see the power adapter port, an Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI ports and 1 USB 2.0 port. You might notice that the HDMI and USB ports are a little bit depressed, this might cause some trouble for bulky USBs and HDMI adapters. However, my wireless mouse’s receiver sits in there perfectly and is out of harm’s way of accidentally tugging it. On the right side we can see the microphone and headphone jacks, 2 more USB 2.0 ports and the DVDRW drive. Display The screen...

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LG Prada 3.0 Review, smartphone for the classy ladies

Apr 10, 12 LG Prada 3.0 Review, smartphone for the classy ladies

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

Phone manufacturers collaborating with fashion brands are not new but it’s important for both to strike that balance between price/exclusivity and specs/design. The LG Prada is the latest result of LG and Prada’s long history of collaboration and is marketed towards the sophisticated female market with its simple yet stylish all-black look. However, is the performance of this phone at par with the classy image it’s trying to project and the price it’s commanding? Let’s find out. Design The LG Prada 3.0 is certainly a looker every time you whip it out in public. It has an all-glass front with a very thin bezel and a curved dark chrome sidings. It’s one of the thinnest phones out there having an 8.5mm thickness similar to the Samsung Galaxy S2. It’s also light at 138g making this phone suitable for a lady’s hands. Instead of the LG logo, you will only see the Prada brand proudly presented on top of its 4.3-inch display beside the 1.3 megapixel front camera. At the bottom are the Android capacitive touch buttons that are invisible to the eye when idle. Top side are these small circular flat caps that lends to its classy design. These are actually buttons, well at least two are. The one close to the edge is the Power/Sleep button, beside it is used to slide open the covered microUSB port, then another button to quickly activate the front camera (can also be toggled to activate the rear camera instead), then finally the 3.5mm audio jack. I find these buttons looking really nice but it’s a bit small and flat to use and the Power/Sleep button is far to the edge for a natural press. Then on the left side are the volume control buttons which again may be a bit too small and flat to press easily. The right side is bare and the bottom side has those two circular caps on both ends that are simply design elements. The back panel looks really elegant with...

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Sony Xperia S Review, Sony’s first smartphone

Mar 27, 12 Sony Xperia S Review, Sony’s first smartphone

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

Sony finally purged itself from the Sony Ericsson brand and to kick things off, they introduced the Sony Xperia S. It’s the flagship model of their NXT or next-generation line of smartphones which is characterized by a transparent strip at the bottom of each device. The Sony Xperia S feels underpowered compared to other 2012 flagship phones from other brands with its dual-core processor but let’s take a look if it still has some tricks to propel itself into the top of the class of smartphones arriving this first half. Design Sony really knows how to design eye-catching devices and the Sony Xperia S is no different. We have the white version of the phone and first thing you’ll notice is the almost edge-to-edge glass display in front with the Sony logo proudly presented on top beside the 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. At the bottom of the display are three tiny dots which are actually the touch points for the Back, Home, and Menu buttons shown in the transparent piece of strip just above the Xperia logo near the base. It’s confusing for first-timers who will be pressing the icons themselves on the transparent strip instead of the dots. Top side you’ll see the 3.5mm audio jack and the tiny sliver of a power button. On the left is the covered microUSB port and on the right are the covered miniHDMI port, the volume rocker and a dedicated camera button. The buttons look really nice against its body but it might be to small for some people. At the back you’ll see the lens of its 12-megapixel camera near the top edge, along with the LED flash, and speakers. Sony retained the Sony Ericsson green sphere logo which is a nice touch in my opinion. The back panel by the way is made of a flimsy plastic with a matte finish which easily attracts smudge and dirt. It got really dirty after spending a few days inside my backpack but good thing I...

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Smart Rocket WiFi Plus Review

Smart’s latest pocket router, the Rocket WiFi Plus, is based on the Huawei E587 mobile WiFi. A mobile WiFi is a small battery-powered device that is capable of sharing mobile internet access to multiple devices wirelessly. In the case of Smart’s Rocket WiFi Plus, you can have up to 5 devices connected. Talking to reps from Huawei, this mobile WiFi is exclusive to Smart and gives you high-speed packet access to take advantage of Smart’s HSPA+ network. One obvious thing about Smart’s Rocket WiFi Plus is that it’s bigger than your usual pocket WiFi’s. It’s now also simplified with only a couple of buttons present, one for Power and another one for WPS, which you probably won’t use if you manually setup your WiFi security. Having a bulkier body makes room for a bigger battery which I really need on a pocket WiFi. It is also charged via microUSB so I can use the same charger I use for my smartphone. The microSD slot can be accessed from the inside so it’s not hot-swappable. The display on the Smart Rocket WiFi Plus is quite detailed. It shows the signal strength, the type of signal acquired, WiFi availability, internet availability, unread messages on the SIM, and the battery life. It also shows the bandwidth consumed and duration it is connected to a data plan. Very detailed as compared to old mobile WiFi’s in the market. Setting up First thing you would like to do here is set up the WiFi name and security. It’s quite easy to do so with the web admin page. Turn on the device and connect to its WiFi with your laptop or mobile device. Login to the web admin page by going to 192.168.1.1 on your web browser using ‘smartbro’ as both username and password. You will be brought to the main screen where you can see details and the status of your mobile WiFi. Click Settings to set up your WiFi security. In the WLAN Basic Settings, you can...

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Norton 360 v6 Review, an all-in-one computer security suite

Mar 19, 12 Norton 360 v6 Review, an all-in-one computer security suite

Posted by in Featured, Reviews

Every year more cyber-threats and attacks are popping up and every year, Symantec is making sure that they’re on top of it with the latest technology to counter them. Norton 360 v6 is their latest and most complete PC protection package in the market today. Building up from previous 360s, Norton 360 v6 not only offers an anti-virus solution but also identity protection, parental control, system tune-up and online backup. Upon installing 360 v6, which I might say was quite a breeze, you’ll notice how simple the interface is which is good since most people who needs this kind of rounded protection are afraid of too much complicated menus. The ones on the v6 looks to be designed to fit the upcoming Windows 8 with its simple, blocky interface. PC Security is where you do your scanning and virus updates. It’s also where your live protection settings can be configured powered by Norton Insight which monitors applications you intentionally or unintentionally (malwares) install if they’re harmful or not. Actually a good feature for those who are click-happy whenever they see something pop-up while browsing. They also included the Facebook scan here which scans your news feed for malicious links and strips them off your wall. This is already an available Facebook app but they included it here as well. It’s also where you can manage Firewall behavior but I just leave it to its default settings and let it handle decision-making automatically when dealing with suspicious activities in your network. Identity Safe is a critical feature for those who love doing business online or those who find themselves falling for scam sites. For one, it securely stores your personal information, passwords, addresses, cards, etc., if you wish to do so. But the most useful feature here I might say is the Norton Safe Web which attaches itself to your browser so it can warn you of links that might be harmful to visit, including those found when doing a Google search. Not really their...

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Seagate GoFlex Satellite WiFi portable drive review

Mar 13, 12 Seagate GoFlex Satellite WiFi portable drive review

Posted by in Accessories & Peripherals, Featured, Reviews

It’s common for people nowadays to own multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, portable media players, and laptops. Sometimes, there’s just the need to sync your media files between them or just expand the storage capacity of such devices. Seagate offers a solution for such situations in the form of the GoFlex Satellite hard drive. Essentially it’s just a portable hard drive but at the same time, it has a built-in battery and WiFi to stream/share content across devices when on the go. Perfect during family trips to keep the kids occupied during a long drive. The GoFlex Satellite looks like your ordinary Seagate GoFlex portable hard drive, just a tad chunkier. It comes in only one capacity model, 500GB and works with both PC and Mac out of the box. It comes with a miniUSB 3.0 cable and just like other GoFlex drives, you can change the adapter for Firewire or eSATA if you have them. Transfer speed is just average compared to other USB 3.0 portable hard drives. I tried copying a 4GB folder with hundreds of event photos into it and got a transfer rate of about 35 MBps which is a bit slow for USB 3.0. Transferring from it was much faster but still just average compared to others with a rate of 51 MBps. This drive also serves as a WiFi access point with the sole purpose of sharing its content to connected devices via the GoFlex Media app (Android and iOS). By default, its WiFi is set to open but if you wish to change the security settings, you may do so from the GoFlex Media app. Only three devices can connect to the GoFlex Satellite at the same time to ensure that the streaming experience won’t degrade. Do note that since you’re connecting to the Satellite’s own access point, you cannot use your device to surf the internet. UPDATE: The new firmware update now allows five devices to connect simultaneously and you can also use the Satellite to...

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SteelSeries Merc Gaming Keyboard Review

Mar 10, 12 SteelSeries Merc Gaming Keyboard Review

Posted by in Featured, Gaming, Personal Computing, Reviews

Part of a gamer’s arsenal is his ever trusty keyboard. Steelseries took the keyboard and shifted it to a whole new level. The SteelSeries Merc Gaming Keyboard has a unique design dedicated to gamers. If you’ll notice the isolated area on the left side of the keyboard, this is the gaming terrain which is composed of 34 dedicated gaming keys which is fully customizable. It’s uniquely shaped and angled to prevent gamers from straining their hands for long sessions of gaming. The gaming terrain takes all the frequently used keys in most games, i.e. the W,S,A,D keys, jump, crouch, action keys. It takes a while to get used to the orientation though, but once you do, gaming is a breeze. Aside from the gaming terrain, of course there is the standard QWERTY arrangement in the middle. Media buttons on top and 3 hotkeys for a certain profile in the Z-engine driver. The SteelSeries Merc is a rubber dome keyboard, although for a rubber dome keyboard, the response is actually good. The numpad is quite compressed and is combined with the arrow keys. I find this debilitating since I use my numpad when buying in Counter-Strike and other hotkeys for games like League of Legends/DotA. I just spent 3 weeks with this keyboard, and up to the last day, I still find it hard to get used to. The Z-engine driver and software looks very basic and simple but it’s very useful as you can see there are game presets on the left-hand side. It doesn’t feature any of the newer games but I there is a community dedicated to creating presets for the SteelSeries Merc. You can customize every key on your keyboard according to your liking. Overall, the SteelSeries Merc is a good keyboard if you get past the getting used to part. You’ll find the gaming terrain a delight to use if it improves your gameplay on any of the games you play. The SteelSeries Merc gaming keyboard is already available with...

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Samsung Galaxy S Advance Review

Mar 06, 12 Samsung Galaxy S Advance Review

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

Recently announced last January 2012, the Galaxy S Advance I9070 is one of Samsung’s latest addition to the Galaxy S lineup. It’s been quite a while since the release of the Galaxy S Plus and now the Galaxy S Advance comes to join the ranks. Now, you might be expecting that this will be a souped up single-core phone but what we are looking at here is a ticking 1GHz dual core chipset. Having been a former owner of a Galaxy S, I have my expectations set for this smartphone as I try to play along with it. Design The overall design has deviated from the original Galaxy S look and has come to almost mimic the Galaxy Nexus look and feel. The phone is really light and doesn’t feel all too solid since it’s mostly made of plastic but it still fits well on the hand. At the front we’ll find the 1.3mp secondary camera for video calls and camwhoring. The usual Android menu and Back capacitive buttons can be located below the screen surrounding the physical home button at the middle. The screen sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, that is made of Gorilla glass with a WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels). At the back you’ll find the 5MP snapper with LED flash and the speaker right next to it.   At the left side, you’ll find the volume rocker while on the right side is where the power button is located. There’s nothing to see on top, the usual 3.5mm headphone jack is now located below the phone with the micro-USB port. I find it convenient to have the ports located below since the wires will only be from one place instead of having your phone wired from the top and bottom. Features and Performance As previously mentioned, the Galaxy S Advance sports a 1GHz dual core processor. It has 768 megabytes of RAM and runs on an Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with the same TouchWiz 4.0 UI we saw on...

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BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 OS Review, major changes ahead

Mar 04, 12 BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 OS Review, major changes ahead

Posted by in Featured, Laptops & Tablets, Reviews

The BlackBerry PlayBook got a major OS upgrade that made this solid tablet from RIM more complete. When the PlayBook was first launched, the limitations it presented made it only appealing to existing BlackBerry users because it depended a lot on a paired BB smartphone. With the OS 2.0 upgrade though, even non-BlackBerry phone owners can enjoy this tablet almost as much as those who have BlackBerries. Let’s take a deeper look at what the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 has to offer and see if it’s now really ready for prime time. Folders and Favorites First thing I noticed in the main screen was that there are no more Tabs (All, Favorites, Media and Games) which is what I prefer since there’s not much apps to go around anyway. What’s left are six slots which you can customize to hold your favorite apps. Swipe up and you will see the rest of your apps divided into pages. You can now also create folders to group your apps, similar to what iOS is doing. Press the app until you see it pulsating then drag and drop it on top of another app to create your folder. Accounts One of the first thing you would definitely do once you upgrade to 2.0 is to set up your accounts. You can set up E-mail/Calendar and Contacts accounts, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This will serve as your starting point before you can make use of the other new apps. One thing I noticed though is that you can’t enroll multiple Twitter accounts which is something that RIM should allow on the next update. Messages One of the major update here is the Messages app which is more than just a native e-mail app. Previously you can only access e-mail from your BlackBerry phone via Bridge. RIM decided on this one for security reasons but it really gave the PlayBook a huge limitation especially for non-BlackBerry users. With the new Messages app, you can enroll different e-mail accounts including...

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Promac PRO One Earphones, surprisingly good for a budget earphone

Feb 23, 12 Promac PRO One Earphones, surprisingly good for a budget earphone

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Reviews

Wait Promac? Earphones? Yep! Same brand that makes those TVs I often associate as “raffle prizes”. Now they’re venturing in the world of headphones and what we have here is their PRO One (they also have PRO2 and PRO3). The PRO does not stand for professional-grade by the way. The Promac PRO One earphones is advertised as having a detailed and bass-driven sound signature. For the curious ones, the PRO2 is said to give you warm and bright sound while the PRO3 has an in-line mic. That’s their lineup and they’re taking it slowly by introducing these affordable ones first. Anyway, back to the Promac PRO One. At first, it looks like your typical in-ear earphones with a high gloss finish. But when you pull it out from its plain-looking packaging, you would see an angled driver design (not meant for over-ear wearing) for a comfort fit and a flat tangle-free cable with a cinch to keep those buds together when not in use. Comfort fit you say? Yes, the angled design works and it’s one of the most comfortable and “just right fit for my ears” earphone I’ve used. It’s snug, not too tight and not loose either and they have two extra silicon tips too in case the default one doesn’t feel right on your ear. Performance To test this Promac PRO One, I have a couple of entry-level buds in the form of the Philips SHE800 and the Superlux HD381 to compare it with and a Nokia phone as my music player. According to the packaging, the Pro ONE has a detailed and bass-driven sound signature. Well one thing’s for sure, the bass is not that strong. It’s there but the sound is not necessarily bass-driven as they claim. After using it to listen to Kanye West’s Niggas in Paris, it felt that bass was weak compared to the Philips SHE800 which has the same driver size. It’s not that bad though especially if you don’t need those powerful bass. Let’s...

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