Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Review: Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip to Liven Up Your Home

Monday, September 6th, 2021

Having had to #WorkFromHome for the past year, I decided to liven up the garden with a Philips Hue Lightstrip (Outdoor). It was a fun little project that was quick and easy to set up.

I got myself the 5m version of the Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip.

I got myself the 5m version of the Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip.

The Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip is a flexible, weatherproof LED strip that can be bent and shaped to produce your own lighting designs and mood in your garden or patio.

You can also use it indoors although there is a cheaper version (Lightstrip Plus) for indoor usage that’s not weatherproof..

With its diffused glow, the lightstrip can be used for direct or indirect lighting, and is able to display 16 million colour and 50 shades of gray all shades of white to create your personalised desired effect.

In the box is the lightstrip itself, the weatherproof power supply for plugging into the mains outdoors, as well as clips and screws to fasten the lightstrip onto the ground or wall based on the design you want to shape it to.

The lightstrip itself is quite flexible so if you’re just laying the lightstrip on the ground, I found that I could shape it without using any clips.

The lightstrip comes in 2m (S$209) and 5m (S$339) versions and is part of the Philips Hue line of intelligent lighting products for the home.

 

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#t4tTUCU: Philips Hue Outdoors Lightstrip from Signify – freshly unboxed. Time to add some fun and snazzy (or calm and relaxing) ambience to the garden.

Note that, in order to maximise the use of the lightstrip, you’ll need to have a Philips Hue Bridge (S$89), which is sold separately.

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TUCU: Philips Hue Bridge for Smart Home Lighting

Sunday, September 5th, 2021

Tech-U-Can-Use (TUCU): The Philips Hue Bridge (S$89) is the starting point for anyone thinking of building a smart lighting system for their homes. It is the hub that connects and controls smart lights and accessories from the Philips Hue family of smart lighting products.

The Philips Hue Bridge is the HEART of the Philips Hue home smart lighting.

The Philips Hue Bridge is the HEART of the Philips Hue home smart lighting.

Since we’re all spending so much time #WorkingFromHome and doing #HomeBasedLearning – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to turn as much of my dwelling into a smart home.

There are already Google Home wireless speakers around the home, so the next step is to introduce some nice lighting to enhance the ambience for both work and play.

One of the easiest ways to fix up smart lighting in the home is the Philips Hue bulbs and lights from Signify (foremely Philips Lighting).

The Philips Hue Bridge is the hub to which all the Philips Hue smart lights are connected and through which the Philips Hue App controls those lights.

 

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Philips Hue Bridge – freshly unboxed. Excited to take the first step in setting up a smart lighting system at home.

The Hue Bridge is a compact little box that measures 90.9 x 90.6 x 26 mm and weighs 280g.

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Review: Huawei FreeBuds 4 Open-Fit Wireless Earbuds with ANC

Saturday, July 17th, 2021

Huawei launched the FreeBuds 4 TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earbuds for APAC less than two weeks ago and I’ve been trying it out since then. Pre-orders for the earbuds are now open from today till 23 July, 2021 before it hits Singapore shelves on the 24 July.

 

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Here’s my Silver Frost version of the new Huawei FreeBuds 4. Also available is Ceramic White.

I like the physical design for the FreeBuds 4, especially the chrome shiny metallic Silver Frost colourway.

The other colour available is the Ceramic White version, which looks similar to Apple AirPods.

In the box are the earbuds, the charging case, a USB-C cable and the regular documentation that includes a quick-start guide, safety information, warranty card and warranty certificate.

Currently only the wired charging version of the FreeBuds 4 has been launched.

There is a slightly more expensive wireless charging version that is not available yet.

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#tech4WorkFromHome: Turbocharge Home Wi-Fi with Linksys E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Want to improve the quality, speed and coverage of your home Wi-Fi for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning? I’ve been using the E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router from Linksys since its launch half a year ago and I’m very happy that it has delivered.

The Linksys E9450 Dual Band WiFi 6 Mesh router to expand Wi-Fi coverage and performance for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning, as well as for gaming.

The Linksys E9450 Dual Band WiFi 6 Mesh router to expand Wi-Fi coverage and performance for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning, as well as for gaming.

I’ve been using a telco-provided router for years – it has served me well although it could not reach the study, the bedrooms and the garden outside – so Internet access has always been confined to the kitchen, living and dining rooms.

Beyond the reaches of the old router, we had to switch on the mobile data connections on our handphones and hotspot the data to devices (speakers and computers etc) without a mobile data connection.

You can imagine how frustrating and limiting (and expensive) that can be.

And as the number of Internet-lusting devices being used in the household began growing rapidly, connection quality began to deteriorate, with slow speeds and dropped connections occurring more frequently.

Which was why I decided to upgrade the old router with the Linksys E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router.

To expand the coverage of my home Wi-Fi network, I deployed a 2-node (1 parent + 1 child node) mesh network.

This was because a single-node network provided roughly a similar spatial network as my old router, probably because it was a matter of physical topology due to the layout.

The optical network terminal (ONT) for Singtel’s fibre optic network is located at one end of my apartment near the main entrance – instead of the center of the entire apartment – hence the distance between the router (which is connected by wire to the ONT) and the bedrooms tend to render the Wi-Fi signals too weak for connection.

 

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I have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) connected (by wire) to the E9450 so that devices can upload/download files/photos and stream music/videos wirelessly via the Wi-Fi network. Another reason why I need a good Wi-Fi network with reach and performance.

So with a second E9450 router placed at the far end of the living room, the coverage of the Wi-Fi network was successfully extended to every bedroom – because the second router was located at the center of the entire apartment.

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Review: Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDD with Synology DS918+ NAS

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

With the growing demand for storage space at home, I’ve set up an NAS (Network Attached Storage) with three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB NAS HDD (Hard Disk Drive) in a Synology DS918+ DiskStation. Just in time for World Backup Day 2021 today.

 

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The three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDD freshly unwrapped (lower photo) and just prior to installation into the Synology DS918+ DiskStation NAS.

With the exponentially increasing demand for storage space, businesses and home users constantly find themselves exhausting whatever storage they have – be it to store text documents, databases, photos or huge video files.

 

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The NAS sitting pretty alongside the Linksys E9450 router, all set up with RAID5 in a Synology DS918+ DiskStation with three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDDs within.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are working from home and students are doing home-based learning – resulting in large increases in demand for storage needs at home eg. if you’re a creative pro who now have to do your video-editing at home instead of at the office.

 

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The three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDDs and Synology DS918+ DiskStation NAS just prior to unboxing.

Having gotten by with a desktop expansion HDD connected to my work laptop, I’ve decided to set up an NAS at home – to not only increase storage capacity but also to share that storage with all members of the family.

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tech4xmas Review: Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O E-Reader

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O is the Christmas present for my wife who is an avid reader. I chose it because it offers all the features that she needs and uses at a reasonable price. Looks good, works well and value-for-money.

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O e-reader (S$279.90) and the optional sleep cover (S$59) is available online (https://sg.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-libra-h2o) as well as at key retailers such as Challenger, Courts, and Sprint-cass.

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O e-reader (S$279.90) and the optional sleep cover (S$59) is available online as well as at key retailers such as Challenger, Courts, and Sprint-cass.

So the two flagship e-readers that I started out looking at were the Kindle Oasis 3 and the Kobo Forma.

Eventually, I decided on the Libra H2O because it offers almost the same set of features but at a much lower price.

 

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Borrowing books from the public library and discovery of books from the Kobo eBookstore is easy and intuitive. I like the recommendations of similar books based on the books that I have read.

The Libra H2O has a seven-inch Carta E Ink HD touchscreen with 1690 x 1264 pixels at 300ppi.

The display is sharp and the content is clearly readable in dim light or in bright sunlight.

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tech4xmas Review: Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro Smartwatch

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

The S$398 smartwatch from Huawei offers itself as a fitness and health companion, packaged in a design that combines sports and style. Great Christmas gift for the sporty male.

 

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Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro smartwatch (Night Black).

The Watch GT 2 Pro is the most advanced smartwatch from Huawei, offering a comprehensive range of features, with a number of upgrades from its predecessors.

With 100+ workout modes available – including the recently added golf driving range, skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing – you’re highly likely to find your favourite workout whatever your sports of choice is.

 

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Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro smartwatch in the box.

In addition, the GT 2 Pro offers attentive health features such as its proprietary TruSeen™ 4.0+ heart rate monitoring technology, TruSleep.

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Review: Trek iSSD 4-in-1 Portable Wireless Storage Server cum Power Bank

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Once in a while, you come across a device that does it all – and does it well. When it comes to a mobile storage companion, Trek iSSD ticks the check boxes of all the functionalities that I’ve always wanted in a single device.

In the box: Trek iSSD, USB Type-C data cable, user manual, microSD card adaptor, pouch.

In the box: Trek iSSD, USB Type-C data cable, user manual, microSD card adaptor, pouch.

Three of biggest problems holding back a mobile worker on the move are: storage space, battery power and the ability to share.

With the limited storage space on notebooks, tablets and mobile phones, workers on the move quickly run out of storage space on their mobile devices, especially if their work require huge media files that they have to present at meetings and discuss with their clients.

 

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The Trek iSSD measures 120 x 75 x 15mm and weighs 230g. It has an aluminum alloy frame with glass cover.

At home, the easy solution is to buy a desktop hard disk drive (HDD) with a huge capacity eg. 6-12TB – but it is not something you can bring on the road.

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New Arrival: Livinguard Masks Against COVID-19 SARS-COV-2 Virus

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

Livinguard has brought its reusable face masks in Singapore. Three versions for different levels of protection (and breathability) are available online at Shopee, Lazada and ORO. Prices below.

 

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Here are the Street (2 layers) and Pro (3 layers) of the Livinguard masks.

I tried out the Street and Pro versions and liked them.

It feels light, fitting and doesn’t clog up the nostrils when you breathe.

There are three versions for different levels of protection and breathability, in 4 colours and 3 sizes.

Each mask can be rinsed once a week for up to 30 times – so that works out to 210 days of usage.

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Review: Suunto 7 Stunningly Beautiful Sporty Smartwatch

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

If you want to make a fashionable statement about your sporty lifestyle, the Suunto 7 offers you a Google Wear OS smartwatch along with sporty DNA from the Finnish watchmaker.

I have the all black version - Suunto also offers the Black Lime, Graphite Copper, Sandstone Rosegold and White Burgundy colours. Here you can see the watches displaying various modes and screens.

I have the All Black version – Suunto also offers the Black Lime, Graphite Copper, Sandstone Rosegold and White Burgundy colours. Here you can see the watches displaying various modes and screens.

Suunto is a Finnish adventure instrument maker known for its design and innovation in sports watches, compasses and dive computers since 1936.

The 84-year-old brand makes the rugged, adventure-proof Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 for casual, enthusiast and professional sportsmen and women.

 

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Really love the beautiful heatmap watchface of the Suunto 7 sports smartwatch. Been using it since its debut in Singapore back in September.

These watches are design tested in Finland to be shock-proof, water-proof, and dirt-proof.

Its Suunto 3, 5 and 9 emphasizes autonomy and sports features that do not require connection to the Internet.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon WEar 3100 platform, the Suunto 7 offers connectivity to the Web via Google Wear OS to enable lifestyle smartwatch features that its brethren do not enjoy – namely Music, payments and an app platform.

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