Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Tech I use: Dell Vostro 14 5000 (5468) business notebook review

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Dell launched its series of four business laptops end last year and the Vostro 14 5000 notebook has been my computer of choice for the last few months. Here’s why. (Prices start from S$1,164.)

The Dell Vostro 14 5000 is an affordable notebook that packs good performance to keep you productive, with excellent connectivity, long battery life and light weight that won’t break your back.

The Dell Vostro 14 5000 is an affordable notebook that packs good performance to keep you productive, with excellent connectivity, long battery life and light weight that won’t break your back.

First off, I use the notebook in the course of work – churning out word documents, browsing the web for research, reading PDF and web articles, viewing videos and presentation slides, as well as browsing and simple editing of work and personal photos, with the occasional video production.

So I’m looking for a no-frills machine that just works – it doesn’t have to look good or offer any gimmicks – just something portable with the essential connectivity to let me set up anywhere quickly.

The Vostro 14 5000 is just that.

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Review: LG G6 Android flagship smartphone in Singapore

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

The G6 is LG’S flagship smartphone sporting a sleek 18:9 aspect ratio, beefed up rear dual cameras and a stunning display all ready for HDR movies. Price in Singapore: S$988.

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My take: The LG G6 packs a large display in a compact body, and is a strong flagship offering that goes back to basics to strengthen usability. Its 18:9 aspect ratio introduces new flexibility in terms of screen layout and user friendliness. The G6 also makes it easy to share the good photos it takes on social media through tight integration in the user interface.

The LG G6 sports a 5.7-inch QHD+ display with an 18:9 wide-screen aspect ratio.

The 2,880 x 1,440 pixels on-screen has a high resolution of 564ppi that’s similar to the 570ppi on its rival, the Samsung S8.

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The LG G6 was first unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2017 towards the end of February and will be officially launched in Singapore tomorrow. I have been trying out the G6 (pre-launch handset) to get a feel of the new smartphone.

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Review: SuperCharged Huawei Mate 9 Android flagship phablet

Friday, December 30th, 2016

The Mate 9 is Huawei’s flagship phablet boasting the fabulous camera from P9 that was co-developed with Leica and now improved, a fast Kirin 960 processor and Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.0 user interface. Price in Singapore: S$898.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

My take: The Huawei Mate 9 is another winner from Huawei. The Android 7 flagship phablet works swiftly as a smartphone and has a fabulous camera that churns out wonderfully toned black and white snapshots. Fantastic for monochrome shooters that want Leica-like photos without any post-editing.

The 5.9-inch smartphone has dual SIM slots capable of supporting 4G and 3G networks.

The Huawei Mate 9 ships with 4GB RAM and 64GB memory, and you can use the secondary SIM card slot to add up to 256GB from a microSD card.

Have been trying out the Huawei Mate 9 since its launch & availability in Singapore last month. Was curious to see whether the camera performance of the Mate 9 had improved over the P9, which had impressed me when I tried it (see the P9 photos here).

With the demise of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7, the Huawei Mate 9 is a strong candidate to take up the mettle left by the Korean flagship phablet.

The phone sports a Type-C USB socket – an adaptor to convert into a regular mini-USB is included in the box – and has a 4000mAh battery that can be SuperCharged for a day’s usage within 20 minutes.

I brought along the Mate 9 when I went on vacation in Taiwan to put it through the grind of daily usage, and to take some photos with its fabulous camera (see the Mate 9 photos here).

The highlights

  • Android 7 Nougat.
  • EMUI 5.0 user interface.
  • Latest Kirin 960 CPU for faster performance.
  • SuperCharge technology (full day’s charge in 20min).
  • 2nd gen Leica dual-lens camera with 12MP RGB sensor, and now with 20MP monochrome sensor and Hybrid Zoom, enabling 2x digital zoom.

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tech4xmas Review: Xiaomi Mi Max entry-level Android phablet

Friday, November 18th, 2016

There’s been much excitement surrounding the launch of the entry-level Xiaomi Mi Max phablet some six months ago. Oliver Ong Chor Yew bought one online to review it below.

Editor’s note

Xiaomi’s reputation for selling well-spec’ed phones at super low prices manifests itself in the Mi Max, offering huge value to the consumer.

I tried out the phablet too and found it was indeed slightly unwieldy to use one-handed.

But its huge and bright screen is great for reading ebooks, watching videos and surfing the Web.

And the battery life is the longest I’ve encountered – only the ASUS Zenfone Max is comparable.

You won’t get the same quality and feature set of the Samsung’s unfortunate flagship Galaxy Note7 – but at only a fraction of the price, Xiaomi’s Mi Max presents itself as an extremely value-for-money alternative to grab part of the market share vacated by the Note7.

Hence, I’ve included the Xiaomi Mi Max in the tech4xmas gift list.

Read Oliver Ong Chor Yew’s review below.

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

My Mi Max is a 6.44inch large-screen phablet with android 6.0 and MIUI 8.0 interface.

Overall verdict

With the $259 price tag and the huge screen size, the Mi Max is a good budget phone for every use.

The camera image quality is quite good.

Fingerprint sensor is extremely responsive and the device build quality makes this phone worth buying.

It is powered by a 4850mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery which is a standard for mid-range to high end phone nowadays.

The Mi Max has a Qualcomm snapdragon 650 chipset with Hexa-core processor (4 x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 & 2 x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72) and 3GB RAM.

This model I am reviewing is the 32GB variant which costed me S$259 on Qoo10 at the time of this review was written.

There is a 64GB variant with Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-Core processor.

First impressions

The device is quite huge and it is quite difficult to use with one hand.

The build quality is quite sturdy and it feels like I am holding a premium device.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

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tech4xmas reviews for Christmas 2016

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

So Christmas is now less than two months away, this series of reviews serves up gift ideas for those planning to buy presents for their friends and loved ones.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

Planning your Christmas shopping? Stay tuned for quick and easy-to-read reviews of some of the best-in-class gadgets available today.

With Christmas 2016 less than two months away, it’s a good time to begin planning gifts for those that are close to us.

So this series features quick and easy-to-read reviews of some of the best tech gadgets/products that I’ve personally tried.

Not all are the latest and newest, but they are what I think are some of the best-in-class in their category of products.

The reviews are meant to provide ideas and start you off, so do check out some of them online and in the shops if they are what you think would bring a smile to your loved ones this Christmas.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

Dell XPS 13 notebook.

Have been using this beautiful workhorse during Strata + Hadoop World in Singapore. Surpassed all expectations. Love how it’s compact yet has two full-sized Type-A USB 3 slots & a Type C slot.

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Review: ASUS Transformer Book T100HA 2-in-1 detachable laptop

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The Transformer Book T100HA is an ideal laptop-cum-tablet hybrid companion for the mobile warrior looking for good performance, portability, connectivity and long battery life – all at an affordable price of S$499.

The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA 2-in-1 hybrid features the latest quad-core Intel® Atom™ x5 ‘Cherry Trail’ processors, Windows 10 (64-bit) operating system with Cortana, the voice-powered personal assistant, and support for Windows 10 Continuum adaptive interface technology.

The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA 2-in-1 hybrid features the latest quad-core Intel® Atom™ x5 ‘Cherry Trail’ processors, Windows 10 (64-bit) operating system with Cortana, the voice-powered personal assistant, and support for Windows 10 Continuum adaptive interface technology.

I used the Transformer Book T100HA from ASUS for two weeks as I went about between meetings and events on the road, to see how usable the hybrid 2-in-1 laptop-cum-tablet would be for someone constantly on the move.

Lighter & thinner than predecessors, the tablet measures 265 x 175 x 8.45mm physically and weighs 580g, while the keyboard dock measures 265 x 175 x 10mm and weighs 470g.

Lighter & thinner than predecessors, the tablet measures 265 x 175 x 8.45mm physically and weighs 580g, while the keyboard dock measures 265 x 175 x 10mm and weighs 470g.

I found the device ideally suited as a workhorse for the typical mobile warrior – it’s compact and therefore highly portable, and its battery easily lasts an entire workday before you put it to charge when you retire for the night back at home or at the hotel.

For leisure, you can simply pull the screen off the keyboard dock and use it as a tablet.

Typically, a compact machine like this – and even those super-thin but larger Ultrabooks – suffer from a dearth of connectivity ports.

But the tablet/screen portion of the T100HA comes with 1 x Micro USB port, 1 x Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 1 x Micro HDMI, 1 x Micro SD card slot and 1 x headphone/mic combo jack.

The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA sports a durable aluminium-clad lid available in four colours: Rouge Pink, Aqua Blue, Silk White and Tin Grey.

The ASUS Transformer Book T100HA sports a durable aluminium-clad lid available in four colours: Rouge Pink, Aqua Blue, Silk White and Tin Grey.

The keyboard dock has an additional full-sized USB 2.0 port.

This means you can connect a mouse, an external hard disk drive and a mobile device all at the same time if you need/want to.

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Review: Lumia 640XL Windows Phone phablet from Microsoft Devices

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The 5.7-inch Lumia 640 XL (S$429) comes with Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim, a 13-megapixel rear camera and 3000mAh removable battery. Wee Wu Neo from The Neo Dimension checks out the affordable phablet from Microsoft Devices.

The Lumia 640 XL will be available in matte cyan, orange, black, and white.

The Lumia 640 XL will be available in matte cyan, orange, black, and white.

The Lumia 640 series features the first Microsoft-branded LTE smartphones since the acquisition of Nokia Mobile.

By the look of its price and hardware specification, the Lumia 640 series exhibits almost identical performance to the Android Motorola MotoG.

The Lumia 640 XL with its 3000mAh removable battery. Photo credit: Wee Wu Neo.

The Lumia 640 XL with its 3000mAh removable battery. Photo credit: Wee Wu Neo.

This review covers the Lumia 640 XL, the Windows Phone phablet in the Lumia 640 series.

Design and Build

The Lumia 640 XL measures 157.9 x 81.5 x 9.0mm and weighs 171g.

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Review: Seagate NAS 4-bay 20TB Network Attached Storage for businesses

Monday, May 11th, 2015

If you’re a small growing business looking for an easy-to-use and affordable NAS storage solution that keeps your data secure and always available, this Seagate NAS 4-bay 20TB (S$1,899) could well be your answer.

Seagate NAS 4-Bay 20TB.

Seagate NAS 4-Bay 20TB.

The NAS 4-bay 20TB is one of many configurations (see sidebar below) that Seagate introduced as part of its Network Attached Storage (NAS) product line refresh that saw the replacement of its previous Business Storage series with the NAS and NAS Pro lines of product.

In the box: Seagate NAS, power supply cable, Ethernet cable, Quick Start Guide.

In the box: Seagate NAS, power supply cable, Ethernet cable, Quick Start Guide.

With pre-installed hard disk drives (HDD) and pre-configured RAID disks, as well as its latest operating system – NAS 0S 4 – Seagate offers storage simplicity for SOHOs (Small Office Home Office) and small businesses with ease of use and private cloud access over the Internet.

The ease of use and set-up is particularly attractive to small companies without dedicated IT resources, while the cloud access is especially useful for organisations with mobile workers requiring secure remote access to vital documents, data and resources from the field.

Connection is easy: Simply connect the Ethernet cable to the NAS and the router. Then connect the power cable to the NAS and the outlet and you're ready to go. You can connect a second Ethernet cable for redundancy or performance.

Connection is easy: Simply connect the Ethernet cable to the NAS and the router. Then connect the power cable to the NAS and the outlet and you’re ready to go. You can connect a second Ethernet cable for redundancy or performance.

The easy-to-navigate HTML user-interface is driven by the new LINUX-based NAS OS 4, which now comes with a redesigned Device Manager, enabling users to manage preferences and configure settings from a single location.

It includes useful features such as App Manager and Seagate Sdrive for remote access – some of the most demanded features of NAS users in general.

I found the NAS device management effortless from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone.

I was also impressed by how silent the internal fan of the NAS was – you can just leave the NAS on and hardly notice any noise.

My take:

“Seagate’s NAS 4-bay 20TB offers an excellent affordable and reliable network attached storage solution for home and small business businesses with up to 25 employees – with easy set-up and usage, as well as cloud access from anywhere with an Internet connection, from mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.”

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Review: ASUS Fonepad 8 (FE380CG) Android phablet

Monday, February 16th, 2015

The ASUS Fonepad 8 is one of the largest and most affordable phablet on the market. At only S$299, it provides you with all the features and functionality that you need out of a tablet/phone combo.

ASUS designed the Fonepad series with affordability in mind. The Fonepad 6 and Fonepad 7 were released in 2013, while the Fonepad 8 were launched in late 2014.

ASUS designed the Fonepad series with affordability in mind. The Fonepad 6 and Fonepad 7 were released in 2013, while the Fonepad 8 were launched in late 2014.

The dual-SIM gives you much needed flexibility especially when you’re travelling and wants to slot in a cheap local SIM, but still wants to remain contactable on your regular number.

Two features which impressed me was the dual-SIM capability and long battery life of the ASUS Fonepad 8 phablet.

It is easy to slot in/out the two micro-SIM cards as both slots are in a special compartment on the left side of the phablet, along with the microSD card slot, that allows you to expand the 8 or 16GB internal storage of the Fonepad 8 by up to another 64GB.

Top right corner of the Fonepad 8.

Top right corner of the Fonepad 8.

The phone supports 3G for both SIM cards but not 4G/LTE.

I found usage of dual SIM straightforward like in other dual-SIM Android phones.

The internal, non-removable 4,000mAh battery provided long hours of usage without worry of running dry.

Even with intense usage and video viewing, the Fonepad 8 easily lasted an entire day and then some.

On my more typical day, there was usually at least 20-30 percent battery left at the end of the day.

Fonepad 8 is available in four colors—black, white, red and gold. White and gold models include white bezels, while the black and red models feature a black fascia. Out of the box, the pre-loaded ZenUI color scheme matches the device’s back cover color, which is plastic and features a non-slip diamond-pattern coating.

Fonepad 8 is available in four colours—black, white, red and gold. White and gold models include white bezels, while the black and red models feature a black fascia. Out of the box, the pre-loaded ZenUI color scheme matches the device’s back cover color, which is plastic and features a non-slip diamond-pattern coating.

ASUS rates the battery life to 14.2 hours of Wi-Fi Web browsing, 12 hours of HD video playback, and 21 hours of 3G talk time.

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Review: ASUS PadFone S Android smartphone cum tablet combo

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

As a pioneer of 2-in-1 mobile devices, ASUS offers with the PadFone S the portability of the smartphone and the larger screen of a tablet by selling both at the price of one device.

Two colours are available for the ASUS PadFone S - Dark Ruby (shown above) and Pure White.

Two colours are available for the ASUS PadFone S – Dark Ruby (shown above) and Pure White. Photo: ASUS Singapore.

The PadFone S was launched in Singapore on 14 October, 2014 together with 11 other new mobile and computing products.

The PadFone S is a 5-inch Android smartphone that comes with a PadFone S Station.

The PadFone S I reviewed was the Pure White version. Normal retail price: S$449.

The PadFone S I reviewed was the Pure White version. Normal retail price: S$449.

You can use the PadFone S on its own like any smartphone or you can slot it into the back of the PadFone S Station and use the combination as an 8.9-inch tablet, leveraging the larger backlit Super IPS display of the Station.

You can’t use the PadFone S Station on its own though, because it is simply a dumb display with no computer processors within.

Actually, the Station has more – it also includes a 4990mAh Li-Polymer (non-removable) battery to provide the larger energy demands of powering a larger display.

The larger battery can also be used to charge the PadFone S to extend its battery life from 22 hours talk-time (3G) to 64 hours.

The combined PadFone S in the Station felt a little bit hefty though, at a combined weight of 664g.

My view:
I found the ASUS PadFone S provided me with the portability of a smartphone and – only when I need it – a truely larger display and usability of a tablet –> all at the price of a single device (or less).

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