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.

 

 

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.

Huawei P9 Hands On – Change the way you see the world #OO

Huawei P9 – Reinvent Smartphone Photography #OO

Pricing & Design

Huawei P9 is the latest flagship phone introduced early this year, along with P9 Lite & P9 Plus. Huawei is commonly known to be introducing flagship-standard phone at a much affordable price. P9 is no exception with its retail price of $768 during their first launch. It is one of the most affordable flagship when you consider the fact that it is the easiest entry to get yourself into the Leica bandwagon.

At 6.95mm, Huawei P9 is the slimmest flagship phone introduced this year so far. Consider it an achievement as Huawei managed to squeeze in a 3000mAh battery and managed to avoid the dreaded camera bump at the back of the phone.

sdr

On the back of the P9, an additional fingerprint sensor was added, a great improvement from last year omission from Huawei P8 where fingerprint sensor are becoming mainstream on flagship devices.

5.2 inches display are vibrant and sharp despite only having the resolution of Full HD 1920×1080. At screen PPI of 423 pixels/inch, it is almost impossible to distinguish each pixel from a usual viewing length and angle.

Performance
Huawei is one of the only few companies that produce their own chipset for their devices, P9 is using brand new octa-core Kirin 955 CPU, an slight upgrade from previous Huawei Mate 8.

Daily usage proven to be smooth & responsive despite the fact that benchmarking are considerably lower than other flagship running on Snapdragon processor.

Huawei’s own power manager are able to identify the power-hunger application and shut it off when needed, along with Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s Doze function. Users of Huawei P9 are able to get a decent amount of screen on time without reaching for the charger in the midday. Huawei P9 will be available with 32GB/3GB RAM & 64GB/4GB RAM version. With the help of Huawei’s Power Manager, I did not experience any occasion where application are forced close due to lack of memory. I am able to run multiple app at once without any lag.

Leica-certified Camera

Duo camera phone has been here for years, from 3D camera to purely creating bokeh effect, no one seems to have an idea what to do with the second rear camera. Unlike others phones where the second rear camera are often an assistance to create effects, Huawei P9’s second camera can actually work on its own. The co-development with Leica results in one of the most interesting duo camera set up so far – a pure monochrome camera.

Leica users should be familiar with their monochrome camera series that only shoot in B&W. Huawei P9 works exactly like that without a color filter array on the sensor, hence the sensor is able to take in as much lights as possible.

With the duo camera setup, P9 is said to be able to capture 270% more light than typical smartphone these days despite the fact that the F stop is at F2.2 for both 12 megapixels sensor.

Focusing is assisted by laser focus to provide fast focusing. Duo-LED flashlight are also here for your night shooting need, though I would not recommend using any flashlight for shooting on phone but the overall quality remains acceptable.

Monochrome camera

Only one word to describe the monochrome camera performance – Stunning. Details are kept to their best – as opposed to taking a color photo and covert it to B&W. Check out the monochrome photo sample below!

RGB camera

The usual camera benefits from the help of monochrome camera & laser focusing. Color turns out to be accurate and night time shot does not suffer from shutter lag.

Wide Aperture Mode

Huawei P9 make use of the duo camera set up to produce a realistic bokeh – RGB camera taking the usual shot while monochrome calculate the focal distance. With P9’s top tier processor & camera application, you are able to view the bokeh effect live while shooting photos without any lag. Noted that the effect can be best achieve within 2 meter distance.
 

Pro & Other Modes

The overall UI are different from usual Huawei phone we’ve seen so far. With the collaboration with Leica, the camera UI has been revamped with the standard Leica interfaces.

 

While the amount of different mode seems to be overkill, there are a good reason to it.

Pro mode is available for both RGB & monochrome camera. Photographers will appreciate the whole range of customizable setting similar to a standard DSLR.

Swiping left & right on the camera app will brings you to various mode (HDR,Night mode & time-lapse, to name a few)

I particularly love the light-painting mode. In light-painting mode, there are four different choices given – Trail lights, Light graffiti, Silky water & Star track. What sets P9 light-painting mode apart from pro mode is that P9 took the photo in right exposure first, and you are freely to add in any lighting effect for almost an unlimited time period without risking the photo being over-exposed.


(Trail lights)


(Light graffiti)


(Silky Water)

Conclusion

With the expectation of camera innovation raised so high this year. Huawei P9 has proven to be a worthy contender for this camera race for 2016. Along with the affordable price, slim design & Leica-certified camera, it is hard not to recommend Huawei P9 to everyone this year.

Bonus

Do you know that Huawei is the first to introducing a warranty scheme that last more than one year?

You are able to get up to two year of prestige warranty for your Huawei P9, along with one year of free screen protect (changing of screen within one year due to screen crack). Huawei also provided a Google app called HiCare (installed on P9) that can provide you with more tips & contacting services to ensure you that Huawei is always there for you when you required assistance.

LG 2016 TV Range Singapore

If you are in the market for a new TV, you should check out the latest LG Lineup, it just might whet your appetite.

LG Signature

For the grandest, look no further than the LG SIGNATURE OLED TV. It may not be the biggest panel (available in 65″ or 77″, but will impress guests with a as thin as four stacked credit card silhouette). It boasts advanced technologies such as an OLED panel, 4K resolution, OLED high dynamic range, Ultra HD Alliance’s (UHDA) HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
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