Dell New Alienware Laptops is VR Ready. But where are the games?

Dell announced its new line of VR-ready Alienware laptops – the Alienware 15 and 17 – that boast the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series family of GPUs for 85% better performance. For the more business minded folks, there’s also the new XPS and Inspiron laptops, Inspiron 2-in-1, and XPS Tower.

Engineered for gamers, the Alienware 17 gains more power with overclocked Intel Core i7 k-series processors and Tobii eye-tracking technology to optimize immersive gameplay. The Alienware 15 comes complete with the VR-ready NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and NVIDIA G-Sync for smooth, synchronized frame rates. However, the elephant in the room remains: when will the VR headsets and games be commercially available? It’s kind of pointless to splurge on a VR-ready headset when the future still remains fuzzy.

The cost of entry to VR is steep. There’s the headset, controllers to get as well. Maybe that’s why the Playstation VR is so attractive, despite the lower specifications. Nevertheless, is there really a need to rush into VR at this stage? Other than Minecraft, what’s the flagship VR experience?

The Alienware new laptops offers a new hinge-forward design, new metals and materials, bolstering the Alienware’s iconic look. Newly added support for optional IR Tobii eye-tracking technology adds accessibility features based on where you’re looking. It allows gamers to fine tune their skills with a new Overwolf app that can replay your gaze pattern so gamers can track where they were looking during gameplay; gamers can then learn from their mistakes. Tobii partnered with Alienware to add exclusive features including enhanced presence detection tied to our iconic AlienFX lighting zones; the full LED system illuminates and changes based on where you look.

Here’s the full lineup announced:

Product Starting Price in SGD / Availability
Alienware 17 3,999 – available end of October on, mid-November in retail
Alienware 15 2,399 – available end of October on, mid-November in retail
Alienware Aurora desktop 2,199 (6th Gen Core i5)
Alienware Graphics Amplifier 419
Dell 27 Monitor (S2716DG) 999
XPS 13


Inspiron 15 5000 (5567) 749 (7th Gen Core i3)
Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming (7566) 1,899
Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 1,199 (7th gen)
XPS Tower (8910) 1,049 (6th Gen Core i5)

Experience the ASUS Z3nvolution

Currently on at Suntec (Tower 2) Level 1 is ASUS Z3nvoluton Experience Zone where you can try out their latest products. The ASUS Zenvolution Roadshow will be held till 16 October 2016.

Encompassing the power of 3, the “3” series is a concept born from the ASUS trinity of power, design and transformation. The third generation product line-up includes:

  • The ZenBook 3 an ultra-sleek and lightweight notebook with a premium aluminum design
  • Transformer 3 Pro, the 2-in-1 PC featuring a combination of mobility, convenience, and expandability.
  • Zenwatch 3, the latest third generation smartwatch
  • ZenPad 3 which combines both performance and design



The LG V20 – Double Screen and Double Camera

The V20 is designed for audio and camera lovers, featuring the Hi-Fi Quad DAC, HD Audio Recorder, Steady Record 2.0 and front and rear wide-angle lens cameras. It comes with Android 7.0 Nougat OS, and well, is likely to be your only choice for a Nougat phone now as Pixel won’t be launching in Singapore anytime soon. With LG’s collaboration with B&O PLAY, the V20 will come bundled with a special pair of B&O PLAY earphones worth $198. It will be available from November 5, 2016, in two colour options Silver and Titan, retailing for S$998. Each purchase comes with a mobile casing premium pack worth $88 while stocks last.


Note7 Exchange Halted

Two months. For Samsung, it probably felt like an eternity as the Note7 went from cradle to grave.

The Note7, Samsung’s ‘best’ phone yet was plagued with battery and overheating issues and could result in a costly 17 billion bill for Samsung. In Singapore, sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 have been stopped amidst reports of exchanged units catching fire too. Consequently, production has been stopped which would mark the end of the Note7. 

Damage Control

August 2016. Samsung had a fantastic year till date. The runaway success of the S7, increased market share in VR, launch of Samsung Pay, and all these were to culminate with the Note7. The phone once held so much promise for Samsung but the only action left is damage control to minimise further hits on the reputation. No surprises that consumers are upset. I can imagine the frustration in backing up, setting up the replacement and now you can’t even use the phone as it is a safety hazard.

Singapore customers will be able to exchange their Galaxy Note7 for another device, with a refund of the price difference between devices. Alternatively, they may return their Galaxy Note7 for a refund.

Who to step up?

It’s quite possible that the Note series would end here as Samsung would want to dis-associate with the phone. We will see. For now, current Note7 users need to plan which phone to switch to. The suitable Note7 replacements would be the Pixel XL, iPhone 7 Plus, the LG V20 and maybe the Sony Xperia XZ. Otherwise, the smaller Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a good choice considering its similarity to the Note7. 


Review: Orange Pi

The Raspberry Pi created an entire market by itself – the ability to have a complete Linux system for a low price, alongside GPIO pins for simple electronics prototyping, has made it a popular device with hackers and makers. The Pi is now on its third iteration, and other direct competitors have popped out. Orange Pi from Shenzhen Xunlong is one such variant.

The Orange Pi is an entire family (there are at least five different variants) with slight differences across function and price so you can find the right board for your requirement. The latest variant, the Orange Pi PC Plus, is the current value for money champ. At US$19, you get a 1.3GHz quad core, 1gb ram, 8gb EMMC storage, and WiFi. 


I now have three Pi(s) at home. A Raspberry Pi 3, an Orange Pi PC, and a Orange Pi PC Plus.

What do I use them for?

The Raspberry Pi by virtue of being the most expensive, gets the least use / hacks since I wouldn’t want to brick it. It is currently running Home Assistant. If you use the TP-Link HS100, check out my script for it.

The Orange Pi PC Plus is my favourite hack, as it runs Alexa(Pi), a developer friendly edition of Amazon Alexa services. It is currently hacked into an old R2D2 and responds to the codeword “Artoo”. From there, it is able to ping back and forth with Amazon Alexa services to call up skills, turn on / off your smart home devices, listen to Internet radio and your other Alexa stuff (mostly). It was the original reason why I bought the Raspberry Pi 3, but it required a USB mic. The Orange Pi PC Plus has an onboard mic – which works decently for Alexa purposes. At US$19, it is great value. Code is available here at Github but in need of a cleanup.

The other Orange Pi PC is currently serving as a Retro gaming platform, through RetrOrangePi which has received a fair bit of community love. The entire start up sequence is just sweet. Supported emulators include MAME, FBA, SNES, NES, Genesis, Dreamcast(!), N64, PSX and PSP. 

In a nutshell, the $15 Orange Pi PC has the things you’d expect on a Pi (HDMI and Ethernet) along with other extras like an IR receiver and an on-board microphone. Not bad for $15 considering it has a quad-core processor, a GPU and 1GB of RAM. But for $4 more, WiFi and fast inbuilt storage seems to be a no brainer.

There are definitely more bugs compared to Raspberry Pi. For example, The Orange Pi GPIO library is not as robust (no edge waiting), the display resolution cannot be switched easily, overscan controls are non-existent, and the WiFi settings are a mess. But the community seems to be picking up, and its encouraging to see the fast pace of development and improvement.
Yes, the Orange Pi is the new black. At lower prices than the more popular Raspberry Pi, there are many different options to fit your geeky needs. I am picking up another one for a smart doorbell project.

Google Pixel & Pixel XL is out! (Bye Nexus)

The rumor has been proven true – the Google Nexus line is officially dead. Yep, bye Nexus, as Google just introduced two Google Pixel smartphone, namely the Pixel & Pixel XL (a href = “″>made by HTC).

Specification of Pixel & Pixel XL

  • 5-inch Full HD / 5.5-inch Quad-HD AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB/128GB storage
  • 12.3-megapixel camera with f/2.0, 1.55um pixels
  • 8-megapixel-front-facing camera
  • 3.5mm headphone jack (Rejoice my friends!)
  • 2,770 mAh / 3,450 mAh
  • Android 7.1 Nougat with new Pixel Launcher, Google Assistant and Google Magic
  • Google Daydream (VR)

Unlike last year Nexus 5X v 6P where there is a significant difference between the specification (eg. Snapdragon 808 v Snapdragon 810). The Pixel line has similar specification so you are able to get the same amount of power regardless of which model you chose. An interesting thing to note is that both Pixel & Pixel XL are smaller than previously Nexus 5X & Nexus 6P in term of screen size, which should be more suitable for one hand usage.

The Pixel comes in three colour – Quite Black, Really Blue & Very Silver (Yes it’s not a hoax).
The end of Nexus line also means the end of affordable stock Google devices, the 32GB Pixel costs US$649 and goes up to US$869 for the XL with 128GB.

With the HTC struggle to bring in HTC 10 into local market for months, we are highly doubtful that Pixel will be available in local market in near future.