• Dell Venue 8 Pro Review

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FHcPYiCsu6Y/U-RKhaf2YZI/AAAAAAAAQJU/pcPuZOr-6Rc/w490-h300-no/dell-venue8pro-big.jpg

    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+

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-W2A1Q24ENVI/UZt2C0WUuHI/AAAAAAAADYg/2PbQSJLdXjY/s490/audioengine-review-big.jpg

    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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review: Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Headphones

I’m not much of an audiophile so this is the first time I’ve ever heard of the brand Beyerdynamic. I don’t have any background information of the company before but apparently they have been in business since 1924 in Berlin, Germany. That’s a long time ago!

Click to enlarge photos

I was sent this Custom One Pro headphones to try out so here are some of my impressions as a regular Joe, who knows a thing or two on audio and sound quality.

The Custom One Pro is called that way since it allows the user to customize their headphones through different faceplates, own detachable cables, headband pads and ear cups as well as the Custom Sound Slider with variable bass reflex system.

Technical Specifications:

  • Transducer type: dynamic
  • Operating principle: closed
  • Nominal frequency response: 5- 35,000 Hz
  • Nominal impedance: 16
  • Nominal SPL: 96 dB
  • Max. SPL: 116 dB
  • T.H.D: <0.2%
  • Power handling capacity: 100 mW
  • Ambient noise attenuation: approx. 18 dBA
  • Sound coupling to the ear: circumaural
  • Nominal headband pressure: approx. 3.5 N
  • Weight (without cable): 290 g
  • Length and type of cable: 1.5 m, Material PVC
  • Connection: gold plated stereo jack plug (3.5 mm) and 1/4 adapter (6.35 mm)

Out of the box, you can instantly see and feel the quality build of the Custom One Pro. The ear cans is made of metal as well as the flexible arms. There are some plastic components all around but overall, it has that German premium look and feel that you probably won’t get in the usual run-of-the-mill generic China-made headphones.

What I find good about the Custom One Pro is the ability to replace most parts of the headphones itself. From the cup plates, to the cup foams and even the headband pads itself.

So if down the road, wear and tear happens, you just need to buy that specific part and you’ll have a brand new set again. I’m not sure where they’re selling these locally but checking out online, I spotted a few on Amazon.com for the ear pads and the headband – but it’s quite pricey I should say. You do get a choice of black, brown and white color options.

These are the cup plates included in the box. You could probably print out your own on a hard photo paper and use that (try printing out a Beats logo for fun). The free ones are not bad at all but most are just some patterns and some Beyerdynamic branded-ones.

Installation is just simple, just use the included Allen driver in the box to unscrew the faceplate (the original is made of metal, the free ones are just hard cardboard)

One highlight of this headphones is the variable bass reflex system. It’s just basically 4 notches with holes that you could toggle to adjust the bass response to your preference. The first stop has minimal bass  while the bottom stop (showing all holes) allows for a more bassier sound.

There are 2 cables included, one 1.8” for the usual mp3 players, computers, and mobile phones – that one comes with microphone and remote to pick up calls and control media playback. The other cable is 1/4” for plugging it on mixers, and is for a more professional setup. Both are interchangeable depending on your use case.

In conclusion, I really like the sound of the Beyerdyamic Custom One Pro. Audio was clear and sharp. Noise cancellation was also great albeit the headphone cups does seem to lack ventilation so I had to remove it after a few hours of using just so my ears could ‘breathe’

While there is that option for the bass reflex system, I still find the bass sometimes lacking on audio files I tested. I’m not sure why but you may need to test this out in-store before buying to be sure it fits your taste. The toggle does add bass but not that much for me but  I do have Dell Maxx Audio Pro installed on my machine (by default) so I can still fine-tune it.

But despite this, If you have the money to shell out for professional headphones such as these, I would still recommend the Custom One Pro.

The Custom One Pro retails for Php9,900 and is available at A.Refinery branches across the country

  • A.Refinery UPTC, 2nd floor, Phase 1B, UP Town Center, Katipunan
  • A.Refinery Cebu, Level 3, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu
  • A.Refinery Davao, Level 2, Ayala Abreeza Mall, JP Laurel Ave, Davao City

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Surface Laptop Leaked, Runs Windows 10 S?

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The Surface Laptop that Microsoft is presumably going to announce later at their hardware event has just leaked.

This is Microsoft’s take on the Google Chromebooks for the education market. It looks really nice and sleek. Hopefully Windows 10 S is slimmer and lighter as they would want it to be.

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The Surface Laptop is said to weigh at 2.76lbs and is 14.47mm thick at the back and 9.9mm at the front. The assortment of available colors also adds some personality to the hardware but I still prefer the Magnesium platinum/silver one.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Acer Leap Ware Watch looks like the Pebble Time Round

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Acer just introduced the Leap Ware smart fitness watch today at its Next@Acer Presscon in NY. The watch is surprisingly not Android Wear but Acer's own software powered by MediaTek's MT2523 and MT2511 chip.

The Leap Ware smartwatch has diverse fitness tracking features thanks to an array of sensors with advanced algorithms. It can monitor heart rate, stamina, stress/fatigue levels, and exposure to ultraviolet rays. It also boasts three to five days of battery life.

The Acer Leap Ware will be available in North America in July with prices starting at $139; in EMEA in Q3 with prices starting at €139; and in Taiwan in August with prices starting at NT$4,990.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Developments That Could Change VR

VRCrowd_1

Virtual reality has come a long way in the last few years. In 2015 we saw hints of the best headsets to come, and in 2016 these and others were rolled out to the public. So far in 2017 we’ve seen the expansion of the entertainment options that are available for these headsets, and we’ve seen the general public becoming more comfortable with the idea of VR. That said, the full “VR revolution” we've expected has happened just yet. These are still fairly new gadgets, and their emergence has been slow and steady rather than sudden and explosive.

That means that there are still a lot of improvements and changes that can be made to take VR to the next level. Here are just a few that could conceivably be around the corner.

Motion Issues Can Be Ironed Out

As impressive as some existing VR experiences already are, there are still some issues that players experience on a regular basis. The tracking of eye and head movements doesn’t always line up flawlessly with what’s happening on the screen, and some have even experienced motion sickness problems. Naturally, these are things developers will be looking to iron out, and it’s probably a matter of when, not if, more precise VR rolls out. A headset called FOVE VR, not as well known as the likes of Oculus or the HTC Vive, is already boasting about making eye tracking the next big thing. Expect to see more headlines like this in the coming months until VR becomes more reliable where motion and eye-to-screen interaction are concerned.

Apple Could Launch A System

Rumors about Apple’s VR ambitions persist, despite the fact that the company has revealed almost nothing. What we know (or think we know) is that Apple is working on augmented reality glasses, and that CEO Tim Cook has suggested he sees a brighter future for AR than VR. But it still feels like a stretch to assume that Apple will simply voluntarily withdraw from VR competition. More likely, the company is biding its time and attempting to come up with a product that can become an industry leader. We may find out later this year, in what’s expected to be a busy fall for Apple.

Casino Developers Could Tweak Their Software

The online casino industry is actually pretty intricate when it comes to how it operates on different platforms. Recent years have brought about significant growth in app-based casino games, and reading into how they’re built and operated it becomes clear that companies design apps specifically to take advantage of operating systems they run on, whether that's Android, iOS, Windows, or whatever is available. However, the underlying framework of the gaming options remains consistent, because it’s always popular. It seems like we won’t have to wait long for similarly adapted games to be built for VR operating systems, which means big business for the developers.

Price Ranges Can Be Clarified (And Lowered)

Right now, VR systems come with a somewhat problematic range of prices. Low-end options exist for $100 or less but are fairly limited in what they have to offer. Meanwhile, the top VR systems can cost $700 or more. PlayStation VR is somewhat in between the two, but it operates alone in this middle ground, and many might still consider it to be on the pricey side. One article from Tech Radar suggested that there need to be good/better/best solutions, offering clear tiers for different customers and preferences. This should come naturally as more systems are unveiled and perfected over time, but until then price remains a stumbling block for many consumers.

VR Accessories Will Emerge

As one post on the potential emergence of “VR Ecosystems” pointed out, CES indicated that some were already betting on VR as the next accessory market in tech. It’s hard to say exactly what this means beyond different types of controllers, but one can begin to imagine various treadmill-like stands or apparatuses meant to facilitate movement within VR games. We’ll have to see how far machines like these are ultimately taken for the home market, or if such an application would even be feasible.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Leef iBridge 3

I am a pure Android user for many years now, and one of the reason is that iOS devices are just limiting in terms of storage space. Android phones support MicroSD cards of up to 256GB (right now, I have 128GB on my Note 4) and these expandable storage options were just not available on iPhones and iPads – getting the higher capacity model means forking stupendous amount to Apple I don’t think is fair.

This Leef iBridge 3 is taking leverage on the lack of storage upgrade options and offers up to 256GB of extended storage on-the-go. I had the opportunity to try one out and here’s my take on it.

The Leef Bridge 3 is the successor of the older Leef Bridge model. The primary function of this device is to allow quick transfer of documents, photos, files from your phone to your computer.

The build quality of the Bridge 3 is solid. It also has a silicon case which you can tether to your keychain so you always have a way to pull off and backup your data on the fly. It is USB 3.0 already so you gain advantage on copy and transfer speed specially on large files.

This is the Leef Bridge 3 plugged on an iPad Mini 4. If you plugged it the first time before downloading the required app, It will display a message and then automatically open the App Store on the app itself. So, there’s little room for confusion here.

The curve design allows the dongle to hug the back of the device easily avoiding any protruding thing sticking out of your phone or tablet, which just doesn’t look good, but an accident waiting to happen.

The magic of the Leef Bridge 3 is on the software it runs on. It has a free app on the App Store that allows you to read files, copy and backup photos and also use the storage space as you shoot photos and record videos in real-time. So those HD 4K videos will directly go here instead of filing up your precious phone’s storage. I think this is one of the best feature of Bridge 3.

There is also an auto backup system that you can set that when you plug your iBridge 3, it would automatically backup all your photos and contacts. You can’t be too sure these days specially when you get your phone stolen or lost.

One thing that I don’t like on the iOS ecosystem is that everything ‘needs’ iTunes. If I want to copy a music, a file, or photo to the device, I would need iTunes, If I want to download that very same file, I would need iTunes (discounting other wireless transfer methods) so the Bridge 3 is a very quick solution to pull out and upload and files to and from the device and just plug it on your preferred machine. Really convenient.

The Leef iBridge is already being sold in the Philippines. You can check it out at Leef MOA Cyberzone, Rapha's Gear ATC and Glorietta 2, Power Mac Center, Beyond the Box, Digital Walker, and Switch Stores.

SRP for models: 16GB – 2,800 / 32GB – 3,800 / 64GB – 5,200 / 128GB – 7,800

For more information, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/LeefPH/

Thanks to Cascos Inc, for sending the Leef iBridge 3 used for this review.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trying out Leef iBridge 3

I have just been sent to test out the Leef iBridge 3 for iPhone and iPads. Will post the review in a couple of days.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Dell’s new XPS 27 All in One 2017 introduced at CES

Precision 27 5000 Series All-in-One Workstation

Dell has just revealed the all-new XPS 27 all-in-one refresh this year. They haven’t updated this product segment for nearly four years so it was really due for an upgrade. I’m currently using the last-generation, Dell XPS 2720 and it still is an awesome beast of a machine albeit with a quite older 4th-gen Haswell Intel i7 CPU.

So what’s new?

1. Display

First really the obvious one is the display. This one packs a UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD display with a resolution bump to 3840x2160 (from the old 2560x1440). I can attest that the XPS 27 has gorgeous IPS panels that are factory color calibrated.

It also uses Dell’s Infinity Display technology with edge to edge display allowing for more thinner bezels at the expense of your webcam’s location. Speaking, the old 2720’s had a unique but critical security feature on their webcams, they had a toggle cover that you can flip to show the webcam, or hide it when not in use – these new ones doesn’t seem to have that thanks to being integrated below and due to Windows Hello needing to see you all the time.

2. Build Chassis

The new XPS 27 now uses aluminum instead of the plastic (that resembled aluminum) This should make the unit tougher and more solid – no more creaking and bending plastic I guess. I just hope that servicing this unit is still easily like the one it replaced.

3. Speakers

While the XPS 2720 had pretty average all-in-one speakers, the MaxxAudio plugin that Dell included makes up for it. This new one obviously would sound better since it has 10 speakers and front-facing at that.

 

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Complete technical specs:

  • Display: UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD 3840x2160 Edge to edge
  • CPU: 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700 Processor
  • Memory: 8, 16, 32GB. Supports up to 64GB Memory
  • Storage: 2TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive + 32GB mSATA SSD
  • Ports: 4x USB3, 1x HDMI-out, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet port
  • Camera: 720p Windows Hello compliant
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0

Differences from the old XPS 27 AIO

1. No HDMI-In

One thing that I noticed on this newer model spec is that it removed the HDMI-In port of the last model. I’m not sure why they did this but this makes the display kinda useless if you only want to use the display with your game console or video player - with this, you can’t. (the Surface Studio also doesn’t have HDMI-In). This really negates the beauty of the display.

I have used my XPS 27 display for playing Xbox games before and while I haven’t used it for a while now, it adds more value to this device in cases where the machine innards will become outdated and you can still salvage and use the high-end and expensive display for other purposes or for a secondary monitor.

2. Increased RAM slots

More RAM slots the better. So this new one is better - up to 64GB Ram. Wow.

3. No Blu-ray Player

This one is really not that important but a Blu-ray player on a desktop machine is pretty useful than none at all.

4. External USB Receiver (for Mouse and Keyboard)

The last model had kept the Logitech unifying receiver inside the machine. It has the exact same dongle and was plugged on an internal USB socket. So technically, that socket can still be used in the future for a small usb drive which is great. However, this new one only has 1 USB slot on the side of the machine (as opposed to 2 usb slots on the old) wherein that small dongle will reside. It doesn’t look nice with it protruding an all – not a problem if you use Bluetooth peripherals though.

Pricing and Availability

Dell XPS 27 AIO is available on Dell.com in the U.S. starting at $1,499.99.

 

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