• Dell Venue 8 Pro Review

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    A small, powerful, next-gen atom-based Windows 8.1 tablet

    Dell Venue 8 Pro
  • My Desktop: Dell XPS 2720 All-in-one

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    Dell's monster powerhouse desktop takes on the Apple iMac. Read my journey on why I got this machine :)

    Dell XPS 2720
  • Pebble Smart Watch

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    This may be the start of a new trend in smart watches

    Pebble Smart Watch
  • Google Chromecast Review

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    Google’s take on conquering your living room

    Google Chromecast
  • Audio Engine 5+

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    High-end performance for desktops and home entertainment systems

    Audio Engine 5+ Speakers
  • HP Pre 3 and Dell Venue Pro

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    Top slider phones from 2 unexpected companies.

    Dell Venue Pro and HP Pre 3

Monday, September 15, 2014

Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5 Billion

minecraft-microsoft

So it’s official, Minecraft is now part of Microsoft. All for a cool $2.5 Billion. Mojang posted the announcement on their site (https://mojang.com/2014/09/yes-were-being-bought-by-microsoft/). Microsoft also posted it on their Xbox blog ( http://news.xbox.com/2014/09/games-minecraft-to-join-microsoft )

“Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

Microsoft plans to continue to make “Minecraft” available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

Panasonic Lumix CM1 Camera Phone running Android

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Panasonic returns to the smartphone market with the introduction of the Panasonic Lumix CM1 Camera. They are calling it ‘connected camera’ as it runs Android 4.4 to power it instead of their proprietary software. Really intrigued with the specs. Hopefully the price is affordable enough.

Lumix CM1 Specs

  • 4.7-inch full-HD 1080p touchscreen
  • 20-megapixel f/2.8 Leica DC Elmarit lens (shoots 4K)
  • 2.3Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Android 4.4
  • 16GB internal storage but microSD cards are supported up to 128gb
  • 2,600mAh battery

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 Introduced

panasonic-lumix-lx100-2014-09-14-01

Panasonic just introduced the DMC-LX100 with 4/3-inch large High Sensitivity MOS Sensor and is the successor to the highly successful LX line. I still use my Lumix LX5 compact camera even though I already have the Sony NEX-6 simply because it’s more portable and the battery life is excellent. The LX100 boasts 4k video recording and integrated Live View Finder.

The LX100 is going to be on sale by the end of October and pricing is around $900 (40,000 pesos) comparable to the Sony RX100 III line + a bit more since this is not just an excellent pocket camera, but a micro four thirds sensor with 12.8 megapixel MOS chip.

LX100 Specs (Source: DPReview)

  • 16MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor (Up to 12.7MP used)
  • 24-75mm equiv. F1.7-2.8 lens
  • Multi-aspect feature maintains diagonal angle-of-view at 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9
  • Venus Engine from DMC-GH4 and DMC-FZ1000
  • XGA-resolution electronic viewfinder (1024 x768 pixels)
  • Aperture and control dials around lens, shutter speed dial on top plate
  • 3" 921k dot touchscreen LCD
  • 11 fps continuous shooting (6.5 with C-AF)
  • 4K video recording at 30p, Full HD at 60p
  • In-camera Raw conversion
  • Wi-Fi with NFC

 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Cherry Mobile Windows Phones introduced

Cherry Mobile has entered the Windows Phone territory with the launch of 2 Windows Phones devices – the Cherry Mobile Alpha Style and Alpha Luxe. Now that Windows Phones is free for OEMs to use, will we see other local OEM’s push Windows Phones more? I certainly hope so.

Cherry-Mobile-Alpha-Style

Cherry Mobile Alpha Style

  • OS: Windows Phone 8.1
  • Display: 4” IPS Touch display
  • CPU/GPU: 1.2 Ghz Quad Core Adreno 305
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB with support for micro SD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 5MP rear camera, 0.3 front camera
  • Connectivity: Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth
  • Price: 2,999 Pesos

Cherry-Mobile-Alpha-Luxe

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe

  • OS: Windows Phone 8.1 (Dual Sim)
  • Display: 5” IPS Touch display Dragon Trail Glass
  • CPU/GPU: 1.2 Ghz Quad Core Adreno 305
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB with support for micro SD up to 32GB
  • Camera: 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
  • Connectivity: Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+
  • Price: 4,999 Pesos

Upgrade to a new iPad with Power Mac Center’s ‘Trade to Upgrade’

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August 19, 2014 – Upgrading to the latest iPad is now made easy for Apple enthusiasts at Power Mac Center. As the most reliable Apple partner in the Philippines celebrates its 20th anniversary, Power Mac Center introduces an exclusive trade-up offer that makes it more attractive to upgrade from old tablets and previous generation iPads to a new iPad.

Trade to Upgrade gives customers the chance to swap a previous generation iPad or tablet to get a rebate to purchase a new iPad at participating Power Mac Center stores nationwide. The amount of rebate will be based on the size of the device being traded.

Any brand can be traded provided that it is in good working condition and comes with the power plug / charger. Customers wishing to avail of the program using their credit cards can take advantage of the 12 months, 0% installment payment option offered by Power Mac Center.

On top of the rebate on a new iPad purchase, the Trade to Upgrade program also entitles customers to receive a screen protector and stylus for free.

Power Mac Center’s latest offering is available only until September 30, 2014. Visit Power Mac Center stores for more details.

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About Power Mac Center

Power Mac Center is a recognized Apple Premium Reseller, Authorized Education Reseller, Apple Authorized Training Center, and Apple Authorized Service Provider in the Philippines. Power Mac Center has become a reliable retail shop and service provider of Apple products to the Filipino consumer.

The company has grown to 20 branches, with stores located in Greenbelt 3, The Annex at SM City North EDSA, TriNoma, Robinsons Magnolia, SM Megamall, The Podium, SM Mall of Asia, SM Aura Premier, Festival Supermall, Cash & Carry Mall, Abreeza Mall, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Marikina, Power Plant Mall, SM City BF ParaƱaque, Harbor Point, SM City Pampanga, SM City Bacoor, SM City Santa Rosa, and SM City Batangas.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag 2014 Review

Timbuk2 has just updated its classic messenger bag this year with the release of the 2014 Edition Classic Messengers Bag.

I have had a ‘few’ Timbuk2 bags for a while (and also selling a bunch) that I just had to share what’s new and different between this new 2014 versions versus the old 2013 models. For those who are like TL;DR, I have also made a video showing of the new Timbuk2 2014 Dark Brown / Black Messenger Bag :)

I’m selling this bag along with other Timbuk2 bags so this post was as unbiased as I can be. Timbuk2 is not a sponsor in any way. To the buyer – to each his/her own.

Check out the photos and commentaries below.

This is the new Timbuk2 2014 Classic Messenger Bag. Size is small and the new Cordura fabric feels more like canvas than an alternative to a ballistic nylon material. The iconic swirl logo is replaced by a Timbuk2 badge with the logo and name.

This is my own custom made bag. It’s a canvas dark oak with a black tarpulin material in the middle. The customizable swirl ‘bike wheel’ logo is still visible.

Straps and Buckles

Quick differences that you can see is that the stealth clip buckles on the new ones are hidden under the flap. It depends on your taste, but I still find having the clips outside to be a bit convenient and easy to access.

The new straps and clips are slightly narrower than the original version. Notice the same Timbuk2 reflectors on both.

While the 2013 models have either an option for compression straps beneath, enabling you to cinch the bag to fit the contents, the new 2014 models have it already integrated and built-in in all new bags. This was possible since the the straps are now underneath the flaps. So that’s a premium that now comes as standard.

Another premium before that is now standard on all bags is the inclusion of the top handle strap. Custom 2013 model bags has this top strap option as well but it was a padded and thicker strap, so some cutbacks on those here.

The new straps are thinner and narrower plus it’s shorter. I don’t know what Timbuk2 was thinking but I like the quality and heft of the old ones. It felt durable and really hugs the chest nicely. Women in particular might like this new 2014 version since the strap has a more ‘velvety’ feel and is much narrower.

Another con for me are the new adjustable straps. They have removed the quick release buckle feature which allows you to take the bag off with ease, specially with bike helmets on, without readjusting the strap length.

On the upside, the new strap buckle system does clean up the ‘hanging loop’ that every old Timbuk2 messenger bag has when you tighten the fit.

Pockets

This is the 2014 front pockets. Only 3. one front pocket, pocket and a napoleon side pocket. They really

On the 2013 models, Timbuk2 has 5 pockets. 3 front pockets, 1 top pocket and 1 napoleon side pocket. Notice also the presence of the Timbuk2 name on the bike clip strap.

The n2014 model has lesser and simpler pockets. There are only 4 pockets available. 2 of them are for pens and smaller items. An addition however would be the 2 mesh pockets on opposite sides for shades, water bottles, hard drive etc... These are nice additions though I think that accessing the water bottle compartment can be a minor hassle as opposed to just having them outside.

The 2013 models have a padded Velcro compartment for small items as well as trio slots for pens. There are also 2 extra pockets for other stuff. Both bags have dedicated laptop/tablet compartment at the back.

Pockets are now gone in the zippered compartment of the 2014 model.  So if you have keys or other small items, expect them to move around here.

Lots of pockets adorn the 2013 model. Perfect for keys, hand sanitizers, pepper spray (yes), mint candies, external battery, cards, etc..

A look at the Velcro (soft side) of the 2014 (bottom) and 2013 (top)

Conclusion

While there have been a few new additions to the classic line like hidden buckles, standard straps, bottle holders – the bag doesn’t feel like a real upgrade for us already used to using the old models.

The new Cordura fabric material which I have used on the Especial, is quite nice but it’s too soft for my taste. The straps are too thin and short and the lack of pockets on these new ones are a major let down. I mean pockets, who doesn’t like more pockets?!

Amidst the changes and ‘improvements’ made to the 2014 Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag. I would still buy the 2013 models since I think that the new ones are more of a spin-off of the classic line and not a replacement of it. I’m not sure if these bags are still being made in parallel with these new ones so I already got a few ones for my own. Hopefully they sell both and let the market decide who has the better design.

With all these said, new Timbuk2 owners will surely be pleased with this bag as it’s nicely built. I just don’t think that the ones who previously own the older models would have this as an upgrade.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cheap Windows 8.1 Tablets RoundUp

Microsoft is launching it’s latest low-cost tablet push with its Windows 8.1 with Bing release that lets manufacturers produce small devices with a lower Windows 8.1 license in return for making Bing the default search engine for Internet Explorer. (which the user can change after). Don’t forget that for devices that have displays 9”, Windows will be free to use by OEMs.

The following machines are running full Windows and not RT. These are also an improvement to the old low-cost “netbook” machines of past. Most are running the new processors like the Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor and also has an upgraded storage option in the form of solid-state drives, which really drives up performance.

acer-iconiatab-8w

Acer Iconia Tab 8 W

  • Display: 8” 1280x800 IPS touchscreen
  • CPU: Intel Atom Processor Z3735G (2MB Cache, Up to 1.83GHz)
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 32GB SSD
  • Battery life: up to 8 hours
  • Extras: Free 1 year Microsoft Office 365 Personal
  • Price: $199 (or 8,500 Philippine Pesos)

toshiba-encoremini

Toshiba Encore Mini

  • Display: 7.0” 1024 x 600 WSVGA LED touchscreen
  • CPU: Intel Atom Processor Z3735G (2MB Cache, Up to 1.83GHz)
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Camera: Front - 0.3MP camera with microphone / Rear - 2.0MP camera
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC with MicroSD card support
  • Battery life: up to 7.3 hours
  • Extras: Free 1 year Microsoft Office 365 Personal
  • Price: $119.99 (or 6,500 Philippine Pesos)
  • Product link: http://www.toshiba.com/us/tablets/encore/mini/WT7-C16

hp-stream7

HP Stream 7 (Upcoming)

  • Display: 7.0” 1280x800
  • CPU: -
  • RAM: -
  • Camera: -
  • Storage: 16GB or 32GB
  • Battery life: -
  • Extras: -
  • Price: $240? (or 10,000 Philippine Pesos)

archos-80-cesium

Archos 80 Cesium (Upcoming)

  • Display: 8” 1280x800 IPS touchscreen
  • CPU: Intel Atom Processor Z3735G (2MB Cache, Up to 1.83GHz)
  • RAM: -
  • Camera: -
  • Storage: -
  • Battery life: -
  • Extras: -
  • Price: $150 (or 6,500 Philippine Pesos)
 

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