Samsung S20 Ultra Review

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series was released back in Mar 2020, with three variants, the S20, the S20 Plus and the S20 Ultra. The S20 Ultra is the best of the best, sporting a 6.9″ massive display, an improved camera system with higher quality main camera shots and enhanced zoom. The hardware internals in the S20 Ultra is basically the best available now. As a trade-off, it’s relatively heavier and thicker, and also more expensive.

Key Features

The S20 Ultra display is great, the colors are vibrant and offers good brightness and readability. You can turn on 120Hz frame rate, which makes animations on the phone very smooth. This mode is best for gaming, and there are increasingly more games supporting the higher refresh rate. You can’t run 120Hz at full resolution though, Samsung applies a resolution cap at 2400 x 1080 for the 120Hz mode, which could be an attempt to save battery life, and reduce heat. I personally didn’t find the resolution to be a big issue. It’s probably not a technical limitation, since OnePlus and OPPO were able to do it on their 120Hz phones at the higher resolution, so maybe Samsung could turn it on in future, but I wouldn’t bet on it. To support the higher refresh rate, the touch sampling rate of this phone is 240Hz. It’s not immediately apparent, but it helps to make the phone feel more responsive.

The S20 Ultra has a 5000 mAH battery, that’s more than 10% larger than the S20 Plus. In addition, the S20 Ultra features 45W wired fast charging but the default charger in the box is only good up to 25W. So you would need to buy the charger separately. As I was reading, it appears the 45W is only triggered at specific conditions and other comparisons between the 25W and 45W charger indicates that the latter is probably only around 10-20% faster.

Let’s talk about the S20 Ultra camera. A 108MP rear camera, 40MP front camera, 100X zoom. The camera hardware and software has improved in this iteration, and what I like is that it generally works well enough in auto mode to allow you take great photos easily. I did experience that at times, especially in low light conditions, the autofocus can be more miss than hit, taking a while to achieve a proper focus.

Overall, landscape photos, portraits are all great. Photos are generally well saturated and vibrant. Night mode is a little too aggressive in requiring a long exposure time, and while it generally adapts well to minor shakes, getting your subjects (esp. kids) to stay still for almost 10 second is impossible.

The ultra-wide is one of the widest, and distortion is limited. The last camera feature is the 100X Space Zoom. It’s interesting but really more of a gimmick. While you can make out some details, it’s really just a mash of colour at that level of detail.

Is the S20 Ultra worth it? That really depends on how much you are willing to fork out for a phone.

Should we, as the tech community, be at Samsung’s throat about this price? Maybe. It’s insanely high for a normal, conventional glass slab phone. Hell, the Galaxy Z Flip cost $20 less than the Galaxy S20 Ultra and it’s a more charming and fun device. Some people will argue there is no reason to spend over $500 on a phone, and maybe for some, that’s true. The cameras, performance, display, and battery life will all be good enough on those devices. The Galaxy S20 Ultra isn’t about good enough. It’s about the best phone a power user can get and it’s going to cost you a lot to get that.

If the price still seems too high, you should get the regular Galaxy S20 or Galaxy S20+, or even a OnePlus 8 Pro. Those are considerably cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. At the time of writing this review, the Galaxy S20 is available on Amazon for $1,000, the S20+ is available for $1,200, and OnePlus 8 Pro is at $899. If you were to get a Galaxy S20 instead of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the $400 you save could be spent on a 1TB Micro SD card, 2 wireless chargers, some cases, a second 25W wired charger, and still have some money left over. If I were a reasonable man, I would have done that instead. The differences between the devices aren’t worth $400

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.

 

Review: The HTC U Ultra

The HTC U Ultra, designed for U, is the latest phone from HTC that is uniquely different from their previous phones. Moving away from the unibody metal signature look, the U Ultra boldly plonks for glass that has been made popular by the like of Samsung. I might miss the industrial look of the HTC One series, but the U Ultra with the new Liquid Surface looks good in a refreshing way, especially the brighter colours like blue and turquoise. The way it catches light and shimmers like a piece of jewellery is stunning. Let’s dive deeper with the phone.
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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: Probox2 Air Android 6.0 TV Box

Android boxes are extremely popular home multimedia accessories. The Probox2 Air is a TV box with a relatively new Android build (6.0), dual band WiFi and the like. These Android boxes pack a punch in terms of playback capability, and with the breadth of content in the app store (and other sources), it’s an convenient way to add content for your home entertainment.
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Review: Whizcomms Fibre Internet Setup

Whizcomms is the newest Internet Provider in Singapore, with their claims of the cheapest 1 Gbps plan. M1 just came up with a promotion at the same price plan but Whizcomms responded with a counter offer. Good times ahead. I managed to qualify for the Whizcomms free 3 months Fibre Internet trial, and they came over to setup the 1 Gbps promotion. Installation was a breeze. The appointment was set for 9am to 1pm and the 2 service engineers came down at about 920am. They took only 15 min to setup and test the internet connection.
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