Huawei P9 smartphone

Huawei P9

I got a chance to play around with the new Huawei P9. It’s co-engineered with Leica and meant to reinvent smartphone photography. The thing that jumps out the most is the dual-lens at the back of the phone. That’s right, this smartphone has TWO lenses instead of the usual one at the rear. It also has 2 sensors so you can capture more light. I took it out to snap photos during the weekend.

Huawei

Nowadays, smartphones are primarily used to take photos of weekends, food and miscellaneous daily happenings to post to Instagram, Facebook, blogs. That’s what I use mine for anyway, and the image quality so good that I don’t feel the need to carry a regular digicam or dSLR anymore. It’s still not as good as a dSLR, of course, but the Huawei P9 is really close, close enough that I’ll choose the portable smartphone any day.

Professional Mode

The Huawei P9 has dual 12 MP cameras with a professional mode! This allows you to control all the aperture, shutter and ISO settings and save photos in RAW so it feels like a dSLR.

Tokyo Secret

The technologies packed into the smartphone camera is quite impressive too – there are now built-in dual-core ISP (image signal processors), professional DSP, and depth-measurement ISP for improved image focusing, speeds and processing. This allows you to take action shots of fast moving objects in low light conditions.

HDR

There are several presets you can use to take good photos well, like the HDR mode.

Document

The P9 has a feature which automatically takes documents too! I found that quite useful.

Chateraise

The lens are co-developed with Leica so the image quality is really good.

Honey Wings

I love how bright and vibrant the colors are.

Pocky Brazilian Orange

I got this new Pocky Brazilian Orange just to show off the intense color production of the camera. I can’t go back to using faded looking smartphone cameras after this beautiful shot. Oh, and the Pocky is pretty good too, it’s a Japan import to celebrate the Rio Olympics and it tastes intensely orange-y.

Panoramic

This is the Panoramic mode.

Photos

The camera will also auto-detect faces and focus on them.

Flash

There’s also a 8 MP front facing camera for selfies too! This was taken in pure darkness and the built-in flash went off, illuminating my face well enough to temporarily blind me. It also colored my face pretty decently, when you keep in mind that this was taken with zero other lighting, it’s really impressive. I remember when 8 MP was a lot for a rear facing camera in a smartphone and now even the front-facing ones are 8 MP. Amazing!

Beauty Mode

The Huawei P9 also has a dial for “Beauty” which can go from 0-10. You remember those third-party apps that some teenagers use to artificially enlarge and add shine to their eyes and add a BB cream smooth sheen to their skin? It’s all built-in now – no need for 3rd party apps.

Beauty

I took one as a demonstration. This is ultra boosted up to a 10 so it looks mildly ridiculous. I personally don’t approve of apps like this coz I don’t like how it looks. I don’t use them myself but that may be due to the fact that I already have nice eyes genetically (thanks mom). I can see that a lot of people like them though, so to each his/her own.

P9 Home

The smartphone also does everything well. I like the automatic step counter and the vivid 5.2” FHD display. The 3,000 mAh battery is pretty useful too. I don’t need to recharge every few hours and it works for up to 24 hours at full capacity in my daily tasks. There’s a fingerprint sensor and a virtual triple antenna with WiFi+ 2.0 which switches automatically between HSDPA+ and WiFi networks. I love the feel of the aerospace-class unibody aluminum and 2.5D glass. The Huawei has all the functions of a modern smartphone you’ll expect and more.

HuaweiP9

I actually saw the Huawei P9 advertisement in the cinema and thought it looked like a brilliant smartphone. As the smartphone market matures, non-camera technical specifications have increased so much that it makes little difference even in the most graphics intensive games. As such, it falls to other things to differentiate one smartphone from another and I like the direction the Huawei P9 is taking with the camera. It’s the most useful thing on a smartphone for most people and I appreciate how the superior camera and lenses allows me to capture high quality photos in such a small and sleek handset.

A night spent wardriving

Damansara Utama

Okay, maybe wardriving is the wrong definition, but it did bring back memories of doing exactly this back in the early 2000’s when WiFi hotspots were hard to come by. You’ll be surprised at just how many unsecured WiFi Aps there were back then. Back to the point, I have armed myself with an iPhone 6 with a U Mobile SIM card and the Open Signal app to see how the network performs.

iPhone6

I was quite surprised when I started up the new iPhone 6 and saw the coverage was just limited to 3G at my home.

3G

(I later found out that this was untrue)

Umobile

Not to be deterred, I started my adventure by going to Damansara Utama and was puzzled to see it was *still* in 3G in an area I know has 4G coverage.

U Mobile 3G

A quick check with Open Signal showed that the download speed was 9 Mbps. That’s more than most HSPA+ speeds and it’s the fastest of ALL 4 major telcos! I was flummoxed for a very long time until I got this message:

LTE Active

Mystery solved! It turns out that it takes a couple of hours before 4G LTE is enabled when you first use the SIM card.

TTDI

I went to TTDI to check the entertainment outlets near boatHouse and found out that the Taman Tun Dr Ismail area is covered by 4G as well with a very commendable 12.92 Mbps upload.

U Mobile Speed Test

I swung back and went to Mutiara Damansara and monitored the coverage map along the way.

Mutiara Damansara

Yes, there are gaps in 4G LTE coverage, with 3G only areas in between, but for the most part, the densely populated and built up areas are all 4G.

U Mobile LTE TTDI

The Sunway Giza area in Kota Damansara is also covered by U Mobile’s 4G coverage so I thought it was strange that my place (which is just opposite the mall) is not.

U Mobile LTE Kota Damansara

It turns out that my home is also covered by 4G – not that I’ll need it much as I have WiFi at home. My primary Internet connection is quite fast as Open Signal shows:

Home Fiber Speed

This sounds right according to the U Mobile #datastrongnetwork media briefing I went to.

Umobile Data Strong Network

U Mobile has completed the first phase of their 4G LTE network ahead of schedule with 1,000 new 4G sites. The coverage is not just limited to Klang Valley, but also Putrajaya, Seremban, Port Dickson and Johor Bahru. I’ve heard the top brass there share their philosophy on the 4G rollouts and it’s quite solid.

Umobile Event

They plan to implement 5,000 new 4G LTE sites over the next 5 years, with a concentration on urban areas. I thought that was a good plan as people would want to have high speeds at places where they’re most often at during work and play and that means high density coverage in high density areas.

U Mobile 4G LTE Speeds

I’ve also been loaned an iPhone 6 with a U Mobile prepaid SIM card to test it out for myself and the results of the tests are very promising. The areas I’ve driven too has faster Internet speeds than most people have at home (discounting myself, I’m on a very expensive high speed fiber line). I see areas around me having up to 17.60 Mbps speeds (!!!) and that’s A LOT faster than 90% (maybe even 99%) of most home broadband solutions.

iPhone Hotspot

It even rivals my 30 Mbps home fiber line!

Personal Hotspot

I even tried using it as a Personal Hotspot in Mutiara Damansara (coz at the time I didn’t know my home had 4G LTE) and it loaded everything on my notebook fine. It’s perfect for data-on-the-go – U Mobile has truly solved their teething problems and become the only data-centric telco in Malaysia.

U Mobile 4G

It was quite an enlightening experience. I learned that there are lots of places with 4G LTE coverage around me. I know the U Mobile 4G coverage is good in KL but it was nice to find out that the 4G areas extend to the outskirts of Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.

U Mobile 3G 4G Coverage

I verified it for myself during the late night real world testing – the data was fast and reliable with low latency.

Personal thoughts:

When I started out, I didn’t expect much from the U Mobile network. I have heard some negative things about it (these were all a couple of years ago) so I took it with a grain of salt when they said all the overload issues in the past has been resolved. I am pleased to report that this is actually true – the U Mobile 4G LTE is extremely fast and consistently comes in as the top performer of all four major telcos (as shown in Open Signal).

I have since used it for close to a month and have been very happy with my experience with the U Mobile data network. I tend to use a lot of data from gaming (play a lot of Hearthstone) so I want a fast and reliable data service when I’m not on my premium connection at home. To be honest I thought I didn’t need a fast and reliable network when I’m out and about but it turns out that expectation (or lack thereof) is a learned behavior.

Ever since I’ve been on the 4G LTE network of U Mobile, I have raised my standards and expect my data to be fast even when I’m out. I want the smooth YouTube streaming I’ve been getting for the past month, the seamless loading of Facebook, the fast Instagram refreshes and all that. I’ve learned not to expect it with my previous telco but now that I’ve been exposed to real speed, I am expecting it now and that’s why I’m using U Mobile as my primary line.

Lok Lok

I also found out that lok lok trucks are still around at 3 am in the morning. I was hungry after all that driving and ran up a RM 16 bill here. Seriously though, it was a good strategy for U Mobile to loan the phones and SIM cards for testing, personally I’m impressed with the network and will switch over to the Hero P70 package to save myself from the current prices I’m paying with another telco.

U Mobile new iPhone 6s / iPhone 6s Plus plans allows everyone to own one with zero-deposit no-credit-card installments!

iPhone 6s Plus

U Mobile is one of the launch partners of the iPhone 6s and they’re offering a great deal with their all-new Flexi U MicroCredit. You can own a brand new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with no deposit, no collateral and no credit card required! You just need to pay for the device over time. This applies for both postpaid and prepaid plans.

I’ve gone through this plan and it’s very innovative – they’re the first to allows anyone, and I literally mean everyone, to own an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus. This level of affordability based on your means opens up possibilities for students and young adults who don’t own a credit card as well as working adults who wants some flexibility in payment terms.

U MicroCredit

The best thing about the U Mobile Flexi U MicroCredit is the ability to choose the financing amount (RM 1,000 to RM 3,500) and repayment tenure (12 months – 36 months). That means you’re the one who selects the amount of financing you need and the number of months you want to repay the installment.

The affordable monthly installment starts from just RM 48. You can even elect to pay in cash if you don’t have a credit card.

There’s also a Full Financing option for the people who wants a complete loan.

Here’s an example of how it works:

U MicroCredit Plan

The prices are all inclusive of GST and the above calculation is based on a fixed interest rate of 1.2% for Flexi U Mobile MicroCredit and an interest rate of 0.84% for full financing.

iPhone 6s Plus Plans

The plans come with increased data allowance from i60 upwards with unlimited calls if you go for the i90 plans and above. They also have a clause called Contract Freedom which allows you to terminate your contract with zero penalty fee for postpaid subscribers!

Of course, you’ll need to pay back the subsidy for the remaining number of months left in your contract but it’s still a pretty sweet deal if you decide you want to change your mind.

There’s an upfront payment for prepaid subscribers but postpaid users who pay via credit card and subscribe to auto debit for their monthly commitment will have the upfront payment credited back to them over 24 months.

U Mobile Trade In

U Mobile also has a trade-in offer where you can give up your old smartphone in return for rebates up to RM 1,900!

iPhone 6s

You can apply for MicroCredit here (or walk into any U Mobile branch) and collect your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from a U Mobile branch or dealer. Get more details on their iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plans and Trade-In Offer and own your dream device now!

Are you a chatterbox or a data muncher?

Sister

My sister (of all people) introduced me to this book by Gary Chapman. It’s called “The 5 Love Languages” and basically it talks about how different people have different preferred methods of communication. This doesn’t just apply to relationships and it’s a great book. I realized that I’m very big on talking (and listening) as my mode of communication. It’s what I find comforting but not everyone is like that.

Talk Text

I have seen others who prefer to write (or use social messaging) to express their feelings. It’s their preferred method of communication. There’s no wrong or right to this, we’re all born differently and along the way, we have acquired the methods in which we prefer to communicate. The book goes about how to bridge that gap and understand why others operate in a different way and I found it rather illuminating.

Happy Family

You may not consciously choose how you’ve grown up communicating, but Digi has something for everyone with their new Digi SmartPlan! It’s a new postpaid plan that allows you to choose which method of communication you’re most comfortable with – talking or social messaging. Thus, you can either go:

  1. High Voice
  2. High Data

I thought this made a lot of sense, especially since people use their smartphones differently. Believe it or not, there are still people who prefer to talk and use voice to communicate (like me – even though I was born right during the PC revolution and has grown up with IRC, ICQ and now to Facebook). There are also people who’re the opposite, who prefer to use Instagram and are high data consumers.

Girl Taking Photo

With the new Digi SmartPlan, this really gives the power to choose right back to you – you can either opt for High Voice (unlimited calls and SMS) or High Data (up to 6 GB). If you’re a traditionalist (like me) who just wants to pick up the phone and dial up a loved one, the former would suit you very well.

However, if you use a lot of FaceTime, Skype and LINE/Viber then the latter plan would make much more sense. It’s all about giving choices back to the consumer.

DiGi SmartPlan

I think it’s great and as a Digi user, I’m going to switch to the High Voice – the Digi SmartPlan really is versatile. I already have a fast fibre based Internet connection at home so I don’t need to use a lot of data. Plus, with the Digi SmartPlan 78 and above, I’ll get unlimited Whatsapp/WeChat even with High Voice! I used to be the opposite – no Internet connection at home and constantly using up my 3 GB of data per month just from surfing and updating my blog.

On top of Unlimited Whatsapp, WeChat (from SmartPlan 78 and above) and Facebook (with selected plans), Digi has recently launched their music app – Digi Music Freedom where you can stream music with zero data charges – this means that you can enjoy free music from Spotify, Deezer, KKBox and more! It’s a very good initiative from Digi for their clients, especially those who cannot live without music, and also it is a very positive initiative by Digi in helping to minimize the problem in illegal music downloads.

Niece

Thus, wherever you are in life, and whatever you like to do, with the new Digi SmartPlan, the choice is really up to you – High Voice or High Data! Choose which one you want here.

Say YES!

Christmas Turkey

It’s the festive season now! Christmas just passed and we have also welcomed 2015 not long ago. You’ve eaten your roast turkey dinner and pandoro and it’s time to usher in 2015. There’s awesome shopping deals everywhere, so where do you put your hard-earned money?

Christmas Photo

Well, for me it should be something which you use everyday. No point in getting a huge stuffed bear (even if it’s on sale) if you’re not going to do anything with it.

Huge Stuffed Bear

Cell phones on the other hand, is an essential tool in today’s life. You need it to take selfies, call people, chat on Whatsapp, play games, basically everything you do is revolved around the smartphone and DiGi has got an awesome deal for you!

Christmas KL

Need a new phone to replace your old one? Looking for a better model for the new year? Or just getting a backup phone for you or a loved one? This is where the deals start to get awesome!

These are just some of the range of smartphones you can get for free with DG SmartPlan!

DG SmartPlan Free Phones

Just to illustrate on the discounts that you’re getting, here’s what you would normally pay for it:

Lenovo A606
RM 139 with DG SmartPlan 78 or FREE with DG SmartPlan 108
Asus Fonepad 7
FREE with DG SmartPlan 78
Samsung GALAXY Grand Prime
RM 249 with DG SmartPlan 78 or FREE with DG SmartPlan 108
Samsung GALAXY Grand Quattro
FREE with DG SmartPlan 78
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
RM 209 with DG SmartPlan 78 or FREE with DG SmartPlan 108
Xiaomi Redmi 1S
FREE with DG SmartPlan 78
Huawei Honor 6 (LTE)
RM 599 with DG SmartPlan 78, RM 359 with DG SmartPlan 108 or FREE with DG SmartPlan 148
Xiaomi Mi 3
RM 389 with DG SmartPlan 78 or FREE with DG SmartPlan 108
ASUS Zenfone 5
FREE with DG SmartPlan 78
Lenovo A536
FREE with DG SmartPlan 78

In addition to the free phones, new signups can get free extra 2,400 minutes and 2,400 SMS and that’s a deal that’s only valid during the Jualan Terhebat DiGi. It’s always useful to have plenty of call minutes and text messages coz wishing someone makes it all that more sincere when you take the time to pick up the phone and call instead of just using a massive cut-and-paste Whatsapp message (and don’t fool yourself, everyone knows it’s cut and paste ;)).

However, data is very important too, I’ll say it’s essential in this day and age, and that’s why DG SmartPlan offers one of the best data packages around:

DG SmartPlan 2014

DG SmartPlan 78 offers a total of 3 GB of data per month, DG SmartPlan 108 gives out a whopping 5 GB of data and DG SmartPlan 148 is for the power user with 6 GB total of data. There’s a plan for every user and need.

There are also a lot of extra benefits when you sign-up:

DG SmartPlan Extra Benefits

Yup, weekend calls are free from DiGi to DiGi and there’s unlimited music streaming via Deezer too. My favorite has got to be unlimited surfing via Opera Mini – please feel free to browse my mobile friendly but image heavy blog at sixthseal.com. Heh. Seriously though, with free Norton Mobile Security, you can surf anywhere without having to worry about malware and there’s free DiGi Visual Voicemail.

I’m personally on the DG SmartPlan as well. You can send a Whatsapp my way if you don’t believe me, my number is 016 888 2069 and it’s free for you since the DG SmartPlan offers free Whatsapp too! Just surf on over to the Jualan Terhebat DiGi to get more details or purchase a new smartphone at great deals. You get up to RM 200 rebates if you’re switching to DiGi too! Don’t miss out!

P/S – Just don’t send me any naughty photos, I’m past the age where I’ll snicker at them.

Wherever I may roam…

photos

I have a couple of things that I always carry around – a camera is one of them. I usually have a compact digicam which I use to take photos of everything that, er…catches my eye.

However, that is just one of the gadgets I carry. I have to lug around a dSLR, a tablet, and cell phones while I’m on assignment. I’m a freelance writer for a couple of publications so usually I carry this battered and gaudy sling bag which totally clashes with my outfit 9 times out of 10.

north face

It’s red. It doesn’t go well with any color (except maybe red). The North Face sling bag can get rather heavy when it’s fully loaded too. I have always wished for something that just integrates everything…

…and I’ve found it! :D

samsung galaxy note

The Samsung GALAXY Note is very high on my list of stuff to get right about now coz it has just about everything I want. The 8 MP back camera beats the image quality of the digicam that I usually carry around. The 5.3” screen makes it easy for me to jot down notes while I’m covering an event. It also happens to be a cell phone that you can easily slip into your pocket!

People always ask me why I don’t use pen and paper. Well, the answer is quite pragmatic – writing on a tablet saves you from having to transcribe it again – it’s already in digital format. I can even write an entire article and send it to my editor on a tablet, but then again it doesn’t solve the integration issue. #firstworldpains

The best thing about the Samsung GALAXY Note is that it offers all the performance, functionality and features of a tablet in a portable smartphone!

It also keeps you connected and entertained with games and all the email, messaging and social media applications you’re used to in today’s stay-connected world.

Here’s some of the awesome features that Samsung GALAXY Note has:

android gingerbread

Android 2.3 Gingerbread running on a 1.4 Ghz dual-core processor
It’s one of the fastest Android smartphones around

screen

5.3” HD Super AMOLED display
It’s like the Goldilocks story – not too big, not too small, just right! You can slip it in your pocket (try doing that with a full sized tablet) and it has enough high resolution screen real estate to work (and play) with

camera

8 MP camera
The cameras in smartphones nowadays are so good you don’t even need a separate digicam for regular use. I notice that you tend to take far more photos when it’s easy e.g. just whipping out your cell phone, instead of digging around for your digicam. Catalog every minute of your life! :)
There’s a 2 MP front camera for Skype or video chatting too.

Anyway, I’ve been lusting for the Samsung GALAXY Note ever since they launched it on the 11th of November at La Bodega in Pavilion. I’ve done a bit of research and Celcom’s plan sounds like the best among them. You can get a Samsung GALAXY note for as low as RM 1,368 (normal retail price is RM 2,299) with the Celcom Exec 250.

celcom

My cell phone bill usually goes slightly over RM 300 per month so this would be the ideal one for me. I need that 5GB of data volume per month and you can’t go wrong with Celcom – it has the widest network coverage in Malaysia. The network quality is awesome for data and calls and the connection stability is rock solid.

Get more details and find the perfect Celcom Samsung GALAXY Note plan Find out more about the Samsung GALAXY Note packages that Celcom offers and get more details on the pocket tablet here.

Samsung GALAXY Note – the phone-tablet hybrid

notebook pencil

I get a lot of questions about what I’m doing right now. I’m actually a freelance writer. I do assignments for a wide range of publications around the world.

Now, this is all well and good, but as anyone can tell you, the tools of the trade for a writer is…

(No, not a notebook and a pencil, that was 20 years ago)

It’s a tablet.

However, I’ve always found tablets a bit clunky to carry around. I have to bring a special tote bag when I interview people and cover events and it’s just a bit too unwieldy. I need something a bit smaller and yet does everything a tablet can.

samsung galaxy note

Thus, I’ve been eying the new Samsung GALAXY Note with a lot of interest. I have been hearing a lot of good things about the new it and the first thing that impressed me was the size:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Portability

It fits in your pocket! The same goes for all smartphones but what differentiates the Samsung GALAXY Note is the sheer size of the screen. It’s a 5.3-inch HD WXGA resolution (1,280×800) screen!

That makes it just about perfect for work – you can slip it inside your pocket but the screen is still large enough so you don’t have to squint whenever you type.

Samsung GALAXY Note full specifications:

Network

  • HSPA+ up to 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • 4G LTE
  • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

Processor

  • 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor

Display

  • 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) screen
  • HD Super AMOLED

screen

Platform

  • Android™ 2.3 (Gingerbread)

android gingerbread

Camera

  • Main(Rear) : 8 MP with LED Flash / Front : 2 MP
  • Action Shot, Beauty, Panorama Shot, Smile Shot

camera

Video

  • 1080p Full HD video recording & playback
  • Recording: 1080p @ 24~30fps/
  • Playback: 1080p @ 30fps
  • Codec: MPEG4/ H.263/ H.264/ DivX, Xvid, WMV, VC-1

Audio

  • Codec : MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS

Multi Input

  • Full touch
  • + S Pen (Advanced smart pen)

s-pen

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth® technology v 3.0 + HS
  • USB 2.0 HOST
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct

Sensor

  • Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity, Barometer, Light

Memory

  • 16GB Internal memory
  • + microSD (up to 32GB)

Size

  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm, 178g

size

Amazing right?

The Samsung GALAXY Note is the most talked about Android phone on the market right about now. I can see how the Polaris Office works for me too:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Polaris Office

It has the full range of features you’ll expect to find in an office productivity suite on the PC. It’s perfect for someone like me who writes for a living! It’s compatible with the Microsoft Office suite, has handwriting recognition and I can just send off articles to my editor right from the phone itself.

Also, for those moments when you feel a need to catch up with your friends on your social feed, there’s always the Social Hub and Reader Hub:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Social Hub & Reader Hub

It’s perfection! The Samsung GALAXY Note is just the thing I need for my work (and play) – it’s not too big, not too small, and does everything I need it to.

This feature packed pocket tablet launched on 11/11/11 in Malaysia. I looked around and the retail price for it is RM 2,299. You can get it for cheaper if you sign up with one of the telcos.

galaxy note

I really love what the Samsung GALAXY Note has to offer. I wish I have one so I can carry a single device instead of a tablet and a smartphone. It has an awesome 8 MP camera too so it can probably replace your digicam for everyday use.

I want! smirk

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