Friday, July 29, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II official case review

This is the official Samsung Galaxy S II hard case. It is a very slim case with a mesh style that gives it a nice trendy and textured look. It actually makes the Galaxy S II grippier and easier to handle. The case is so slim and light it almost feels like holding the phone sans any case. The mesh/holes not only look good, but will also help ventilate the phone. The Galaxy S II (aka Galaxy S2) does get warm at times - after all there is a 1.2 GHz dual core processor ticking inside.

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II review

The Samsung Galaxy S II (also known as the Galaxy S2) is Samsung's flagship mobile device, their fastest veer selling smartphone. This isn't surprising, the Galaxy S II improves over the original Galaxy S by a huge margin. When the Galaxy S II was announced, it was the thinnest smartphone in the world with a dual-core processor. Even today the specs of the S II is still considered market leading, rivalled only on paper by phones that aren't yet on the market.

Read on to find out what I think of the Galaxy S II.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kanon Wakeshima @ Hyper Japan 2011

Kanon Wakeshima is a popular J-pop artist with a penchant for Gothic Lolita fashion. She was in London for the weekend of Hyper Japan 2011 and we had the opportunity to catch a 20 minute set by her. I am not much of a J-pop person myself, but Jenni seems to be a fan of her (part of the reason why we decided to go to Hyper Japan). You can purchase her albums here. Still she is a great entertainer and performer, and I was very fortunate to be able to shoot her. Below are some pictures of her set, with more pictures hosted here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hyper Japan 2011

Yesterday was the final day of Hyper Japan. The organisation was a bit better than on Saturday when they sold more tickets than they should. Like MCMExpo, Hyper Japan has its fair share of cosplayers, though participants were obviously restricted to Japanese-based characters. However it isn't a manga or comic con, though inevitably there were sections dedicated to anime sub-culture.

There were stalls set up to cater and promote all sorts of Japanese culture like sake drinking, sushi (including lessons), fashion, music as well as the latest in toilet tech and massage chairs. My body is also swarming with healthy bacteria after consuming endless amount of free Yakult... Nintendo, Konami and Namco Bandai has also set up demo areas to show off the latest video games including Dark Souls, the sequel to the fiendishly difficult Demon's Souls on PS3 and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater on 3DS.

Charity raffles were also set up to raise money for victims of the Japan quake and tsunami. An exhibition of photographs of the quake and tsunami's aftermath was on show, as were various items found during the clean up operation. Tears were shed.

We managed to find time to attend the lolita fashion showcase, Square Enix cosplay battle and a performance by Gothic lolita J-pop idol Kanon Wakeshima.
Lulu from Final Fantasy X
Lolita fashion showcase
Rosa from Final Fantasy IV
Square-Enix cosplayers

More pictures here.

Viber for Android review

I have been using Viber, a free VoIP and messaging service that was recently released on the Android platform. Previously it was also available on the iOS app store where it has been downloaded over 12 million times. Viber is similar to WhatsApp in that it uses your phone number as an identifier and not a user login, and uses data (WiFi, HSPA etc.) rather than cellular connection to make free calls and messages.

In fact, I am already a convert. Find out why in my review of Viber for Android at FoneArena.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Motorola XOOM review

When Apple stunned the tech industry last year with their iPad and a few Android manufacturers were eager to get a slice of the tablet market. There was no tablet-optimised Android versions back then but that did not stop a few manufacturers from attempting to shoehorn Android Froyo (and Gingerbread) onto tablets despite them being created for smartphones. The public were clever and did not buy into it, with many purchasers commenting that Android in its then iteration was ill suited for large screens.

Google has since released an Android version called Honeycomb which was designed from the ground up with a 10" screen in mind. While still icon-based, the UI was completely overhauled, now sporting a layout more similar to that of a desktop OS. With the XOOM, Motorola was the first manufacturer to launch a tablet based on the OS. But can they catch up with Apple, who has also made improvements with their second version of the iPad? 

Do read my review of the Motorola XOOM hosted at FoneArena here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sony Clié PEG-UX50

Back in 2003 I was a PalmOS-toting fanboy. I had a Palm Tungsten T3, but what I wanted really was the Sony Clie PEG-UX50 Personal Entertainment Communicator. Sony was in the process of exiting the PDA market, no doubt to concentrate on their Sony Ericsson partnership (which resulted in the Symbian-powered P800 the year earlier), but not before unleashing a couple of really desirable hardware (the TH55 was another one). Sadly the UX50 was too expensive, retailing at around £500, but then it had specs and features that were unheard of back then. In fact the 480x320 high resolution screen found on the UX50 was so advance that even Apple was still using that screen resolution on their iPhone models until 2010.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II unboxing

I have just received Samsung's flagship Galaxy S II smartphone as part of the Samsung Mobile Street Squad project (more on that later).

The Android Gingerbread-powered smartphone is solid and light. I found it to be very fast, though it doesn't actually *feel* that much quicker than say the sigle-core XPERIA Arc in the launchers. The Super AMOLED Plus screen is gorgeous. With the 'Plus' you get the advantages of a Super AMOLED screen, but with none of that PenTile Matrix nonsense. TouchWiz isn't too bad, but I've already ditched it for something a bit more practical (Zeam Launcher).

I expect I will be reviewing this bad boy in the next few weeks, but first here's a quick unboxing by yours truly - with the silent treatment (lucky you!):

Thursday, July 7, 2011

News of the World is dead

News of the World is no more. This Sunday's issue will be its last.

Rather than sacking Rebekah Wade/Brooks, News International and Rupert Murdoch has instead decided to sack thousands of staff. News of the World will morph into a Sunday version of the Sun (an equally nasty paper with equally gutter journalism integrity). This is merely a cost cutting exercise, which decision was made last week before the whole phone hacking scandal broke. A PR exercise to deflect from the phone hacking scandal and to increase Murdoch's chance of owning BSkyB? You bet it is.

In any case the battle isn't over yet. The next step will be to shut down News International, stop BSkyB takeover, get their senior staffs (Rebekah Brooks - being the editor at the time when the phone hacking occurred, James Murdoch - being her boss) prosecuted, as well as overhauling the Press Complaints Commission (who has been incompetent during the whole saga) and flush out the corrupt Metropolitan Police and politicians who has taken bribes from News International detectives, journalists and executives.

Oh and Tesco, you just fucked up big time. I will never shop at any of your stores again.