Meet Jelly, the Nougat smartphone that we didn’t ask for in 2017

There was a time where Samsung Galaxy S’s 4″ WVGA display is being introduced as “Large, high-resolution display” while the first Galaxy Note is known as “Giant” and reviewer noticed weird stare by the public for holding such a huge phone. As time passes, we reached a point where 5.1″ Full HD display for 2017 flagship is considered too small & low resolution. In the time of everyone fighting to squeeze the biggest display into their phone, a small company called Unihertz decided to go opposite and introduce possibly the smallest smartphone that runs Android Nougat, meet Jelly.

Spec sheet wise, the Jelly actually packs a whole lot of feature on its 92.3 x 43 x 13.3 mm size (It’s barely a quarter of the size comparing to iPhone 7 Plus or Pixel XL!). You get a 2.45″ display with a resolution of 240 x 432 pixels running on a Quad-core Mediatek processor, 1/2GB of RAM & 8/16GB of ROM. Most importantly, Jelly is running on the latest mainstream Android version in the market, the Nougat 7.0. Even my 2016 flagship Huawei P9 has yet to get a taste of Nougat at the time of writing.

As a phone size that small, Jelly comes with compromise. For instance, the battery is only 950mAh, probably won’t be the longest-lasting phone that you want but at least it is interchangeable so you can pop in the spare battery if required. The charging time for this phone is going to be significantly shorter since there is so little power consumption on the 2.45″ display.
One thing to be clear of, Jelly is not going to replace your iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy S8 as the primary phone. Jelly is rather a really compact secondary/backup phone with a decent specification. You are able to get the Jelly (1GB RAM/8GB ROM) or Jelly Pro (2GB RAM/16GB ROM) on Kickstarter by clicking here. Pricing for Jelly starts at US$69 while Jelly Pro starts at US$85 with limited quantity before moving on to the next price range. Their Kickstarter page is fully funded within 57 minutes shows that Jelly is definitely here to stay.

 

Lifepack : Work. Life. Balance

What do you get by combining a laptop backpack with a portable solar charger and a Bluetooth speaker?
Solgaard Design aimed to create the backpack to suit anyone, anytime. Introducing the Lifepack, the Solar Powered & Anti-Theft Backpack.

One of the unique features that stand out from the competitors is that each Lifepack comes with Solarbank (10,000 mAh solar charger + portable speaker) at the top of the bag.

Solarbank comes with 2 USB port with 1A & 2A power hence you might not get the fastest charging speed as you might be expecting. What’s interesting is that you can connect the cable to an extension port inside the bag and able to charge your phone from the bag itself without removing the charger at all.

The solar panel on the charge can ensure that Solarbank is always topping up via solar power while you are on the go. The speaker is located directly on the other side of the solar panel (Check out the image above). Solar power charging may not be the most practical way to charge the Solarbank due to its lower power conversion thus you should always rely on USB charging to top up the juice. The Solar panel will be much useful In the situation such as hiking where you may find yourself without any power source around during emergency situation and it should at least provide you with some power juice to keep in contact with outside world.

A little design concern here, you may wish to note that with the Solarbank removed, the pouch that holds the Solarbank are not covered up hence there will be the risk of water getting into the bag during rainy weather. Thankfully Lifepack also included a fully waterproof cover which you can easily access from the bottom of the bag.

For those who are concerned about the security when carrying Lifepack out for work, Lifepack has you covered by having an integrated 3 digit passcode lock that you can use to lock your bag’s zipper or simply lock the bag to the table or chair to prevent potential theft.

Additionally, there are four hidden pockets round the strap & back that are big enough for you to keep your passport, cards and earphone. Lifepack also included a built-in pouch for laptop size up to 14 inches to protect it from other contents in the bag. Since it is introduced as an Anti-theft bag, Lifepack feels extremely durable and sturdy while you are carrying it. No matter how much/little items you put into the bag, the size of the bag feels the same thus it might feel too bulky for most users who are smaller in body size.

At the current retail price of USD$269 on https://solgaard.co, it is certainly not the bag for everyone. Overall, I recommended this bag for people who looking for multiple usage backpacks that are suitable for both leisure & business due to its feature & better security measure. The SolarBank itself is also a nice bonus for someone who is looking for entertainment on the go with Bluetooth speaker and Powerbank combined into one.

 

Asus ZenBook Flip UX360UA : Compact convertible for your needs

Zenbook Flip is Asus’s method of combining convertible 2-in-1 with their high-class Zenbook laptop range. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360UA is their one of the latest attempt at creating the perfect convertible and it is one of the most powerful convertibles around.

Specifications


Unlike the previous Zenbook Flip UX360CA which runs on Intel® Core™ M3 CPU, the review UX360UA unit is running on an Intel® Core™ i7-6500 CPU along with 8GB DDR3 RAM and 512 GB SSD to ensure the snappiest performance.

13.3″ QHD LED IPS screen sounds like the sweet spot for convertible laptop size. The only concern with the glossy screen is that it’s highly reflective under strong sunlight and it might not be the perfect device to be used outdoor. On the other hand, based on indoor usage experience, this is by far one of the best screen display I have seen with its high resolution and vibrant colour. I would personally prefer a matte display for future models.

Zenbook Flip UX360UA are surprisingly thin without sacrificing all the major ports that are still being used in the current 2 in 1 convertible market. UX360UA comes with combo audio jack, a USB 3.1 TYPE C port, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot and an HDMI port

The trackpad on the UX360U is on par with Macbook standard in terms of size & comfort. If you are worried about accidental click you are able to disable it via the keyboard command.

On the other hand, the backlit keyboard is surprisingly pleasant to use and well laid out with enough travel between keys.

On the other hand, the hinge on my review unit got a minor issue that the screen moved when you are using the touch screen on few different angle. You may wish to take note on your unit if you are interested in using it in table top mode.

Battery life on UX360 is decent like the majority of the Thin & Light laptop in the market, I used it at a local Starbucks for 3 hours and the battery went down from full battery to around 60%. Do note that I was using it to stream Spotify, watching Youtube videos & web browsing. If you are using it for basic web browsing and document editing purposes, you should be able to stretch the battery life to a longer duration.

Available now at all major IT outlets, with the price starting from S$1,598.00 for i5 model to $1,898 for the i7 model, it’s not the cheapest convertible we see around but it is one of the most powerful convertibles that can fulfil most of your needs on the go. For those who are budget conscious and does not require the top performance on the go, you may wish to consider the intel core M3 model UX360CA with a slightly different design that is also available right now at a cheaper price.

 

 

Review : Samsung Galaxy Folder G1600

*Disclaimer: The Galaxy Folder G1600 is an exclusive model in China, hence Google Play are not available. The one we are reviewing is running on a rooted ROM with Google Play installed for the full Google experience if you are interested in the device.

We covered on Android Flip phones on our article previously. I got the chance to purchase it online and used it as my primary phone for the entire October. So here’s my review of the Galaxy Folder G1600.

Design

At first glance, Galaxy Folder looks like a compact Android phone that is similar in size to Samsung S4 mini. However, when you open up the phone, the length is double and it just looks gigantic compared to your usual iPhone/Galaxy devices. That being said, Galaxy Folder is still able to bring the full Android experience with its unique design.

Similar to Apple’s latest trend, Galaxy Folder does not come with 3.5mm headphone jack. The main reason for Samsung to omit the headphone jack is due to the phone being marketed as the Business phone, and users in the business segment often relying more on Bluetooth headset instead of plugging in an external headset. Samsung did bundle a micro-USB headset in the package if you are interested in listening to music on it.

Performance; Software & Battery Life

Samsung Galaxy Folder packs a 3.8″ WVGA display, running on the Snapdragon 425 along with 2GB RAM. By current standard, the minimum screen size is at least 5.0″ and trying to navigate your way through the Galaxy Folder is definitely hard to get used to. But with a little practice along with the keypad, you should be able to get used to the phone easily.

Despite its lower end specification, the overall performance is smooth thanks to its rather generous 2GB RAM. And also, its form factor also ensure that you are not going to play power-intensive games on this phone.

Galaxy Folder is running on Android Marshmallow, which isn’t the latest version of Android you might be expected. Android update to Nougat seems to be unlikely given that it being an exclusive model in China market, however, it is still on par with most of the Android phone in the current market. You are able to run most of the Android app through Google Play Store or sideloading and they work just like a typical Android smartphone. Some apps such as Facebook and Twitter would work with the D-pad on phone for scrolling but most of the time you have to rely on the touchscreen.

The battery capacity for Galaxy Folder is only 1950 mAh, far lower than the majority of the phone in the current market (in comparison, LG X Power released in the same year got 4100 mAh battery). Surprisingly the low amount did not translate to poor battery life in real life testing. On a typical day after powering it up at 7 am, it managed to stay above 30% at the end of the day most of the time with simple texting and web surfing.

Camera

Galaxy Folder comes with a F1.9 8MP rear unit and a 5MP wide angle front shooter. And to be honest, you shouldn’t expect too much from the camera performance from the low-end phone. The rear camera is OK, but the position of the camera is located at the back of the keypad hence it is awkward to hold the phone and take pictures.

Front Shooter
Rear Shooter

Pros & Cons

Pros
– Unique design
– Strong battery life

Cons
– Average camera
– Tall dimension when opened
– Lack of 3.5 mm headphone jack

Price & Availability
Galaxy Folder is China-exclusive for now, you are able to find it on Taobao for the average price of ¥1699 which is around S$350 excluding shipping cost. Do check for the reliable seller before making the purchase.

Verdict
I enjoyed using this phone for an entire month before going back to the mainstream Android phone. I would recommend this phone to people who are looking out for the unique phone in the market. Non-IT savvy user may find the keypad useful when they are trying to adapt to latest technology.

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 = “http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanbaptiste/2016/10/05/the-pixel-smartphone-is-actually-made-by-htc-not-google/#6aa1a1d54ac9″>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.

Do you want a Android Flip Phone?

Let’s face it, the phone you are using is getting bigger each year.


At 2011, Samsung introduced Samsung Galaxy Note, its 5.3″ screen is consider as gigantic and was deemed as potential flop where everyone thinks it’s just too large for a proper usage. However, it did went on to be successful and right now we are at the 6th Generation with Galaxy Note7.

In contrast, at 2016, ZTE just announced their latest Axon 7 Mini. The word ‘Mini’ would be misleading as the screen size is at 5.2″, which is just 0.1″ smaller comparing to 2011 giant Galaxy Note. While we can argue that with the improvement of design (especially with smaller screen bezel), it is easier to handle these phablet, but it’s still beyond comfortable one hand usage.

With a sole touchscreen design getting more common each year, the only way to make significant difference is to go beyond the norm and introduce a unique phone design. Blackberry does it with the sliding keyboard on the Priv, however the average specification that can’t justify the expensive price tag is unable to bring Blackberry back to their previous glory.

Here’s where Asia market came into picture, taking Japan as an example, 2016 will be the first time where Smartphone overtaking feature phone in the total mobile phone market share. In the past, as Japan are often advanced in their IT technologies, they have already been using cashless payment with their feature phone. Hence most of the population doesn’t feel the need to get a smartphone since their feature phone can get most of the task done.

However as the younger generation started to use Android/iOS smartphone, feature phone without the ability to install application (such as Line, Whatsapp) created a communication gap. To close up the gap, Japan phone maker such as Sharp introduced a flip phone running on Android, hoping to attract both older & younger generation at the same time.

On the other hand Korea phone maker, Samsung and LG brought smart-flip phone to Korea and China market.
LG Introduced LG Wine/Gentle/Ice Cream Smart which based on same design and specification of Snapdragon 400.

Samsung went further by tackling both lower & flagship market. Samsung introduced a Samsung Galaxy Golden in 2013 that feature dual touchscreen and continue to introduce a follow up with last year W2016 – technically known as a Galaxy S6 in Flip phone form. W2016 can only be purchased in China and costed more than SGD$1500 even in today’s market where S7/Note7 are widely available now.

Thankfully for people who are on budget, Samsung doesn’t neglected lower end market by introducing Galaxy Folder last year and continue with Galaxy Folder 2 as follow up.

According to leaked image and detail. Samsung Galaxy Folder 2 pack a 3.8″ WVGA display, running on the Snapdragon 425 along with 2GB RAM. Its expected pricing is around USD$285, a sweet spot for unique flip phone experience. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be introduce in Singapore market given that almost no Android flip phone has been officially available in Singapore before. Would you like to get your hand on one of these unique phone? I would definitely like to experience it all over again given that my last flip phone is the Panasonic GD88 which is introduced in 2002.