30 Jul 2012

The Nexus 7

It's been about a week now since the Nexus 7, Google's tablet (built by Asus) was launched.

Light and small enough to hold on one hand, a powerful quad-core Quad-core Tegra 3 processor, scratch-resistant Corning glass display, a battery that literally lasts the whole day, running the latest Android OS - Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and best of all - a tablet we can afford (£159 for the 8GB and £199 for the 16GB model).

What's there not to like about the Nexus 7?

On the downside, I just wish it had a back facing camera, higher resolution camera as well. I guess, that's how they kept the price down.

Anyway, apart from some jealous iPad owners, everyone seems to be singing it's praises:

The Nexus 7 will drastically change the way I buy mobile phones

Google Nexus 7: a device that finally raises awareness of the 7 inch form factor

CNet UK's Google Nexus 7 review

PC Advisor's Google Nexus 7 review

25 Jul 2012

BassBuds - affordable earphones with amazing sound quality

I often take the bus to work and I realised a while ago that the standard earphones or earbuds that came with my Samsung was not really up to the job. Don't get me wrong, I am not really an audiophile and I was quite happy with the original earbuds, that is, until I bought my wife a pair of Sennheiser earphones as a present. The sound quality really blew me away.

That convinced me that I had to get a high quality pair of earphones. I had been seriously considering on buying a pair of Beats by Dr Dre headphones (highly recommended by my students) but somehow I do not fancy myself going around with a pair of big headphones wrapped around my head and I honestly think that they are way overhyped and overpriced.

So you can imagine my delight when I got the fantastic opportunity to review a pair of BassBuds. To be honest I had not heard of the brand before this but II could not wait to see if they were as good as their website claimed.

Unboxing the BassBuds

The BassBuds came in a nice looking black gift box.

They have a range of different colours and I was really eager to find out the colour of the one I had. Inside the box were a pair of white coloured ear buds and I am quite happy with it, even though I would have liked something from their funky fashion collection. The pack said that it was "limited edition" but I am not sure.



It came with a protective bag and replacement earbuds in black and white silicone and memory foam in  3 different sizes. I promptly changed the original white silicone for the memory foam buds. One thing I hated about the original Samsung earbuds that came with my phone was that the cables would always get tangled up and I was really happy that the BassBuds came with anti-tangle cables. They are thicker and shorter than the Sennheisers as well.


First impressions

The first thing that people usually notice about these earphones are the Swarovski ® crystals. They would definitely appeal to people who go for "Bling". I was more concerned about the sound and I was not disappointed - in fact I was pleasantly surprised. The audio was really sharp and clear, with a deep bass.

I have been using the BassBuds for slightly more a week now and I have to admit that though I was initially sceptical, their fancy sounding "Crystaltronics Sound Technology" definitely works. I guess the gold plated audio jack (similar to my Sennheisers) helps improve the connectivity as well. I realised later that the earbuds has noise cancelling as well - quite useful when I on my way to work on the bus with loads of school kids around.

Some negatives

However, I realise that these buds were designed with the iPhone in mind as the controller which has an intergrated microphone, works perfectly on an iPhone but only allowed me to answer/end calls and play/ pause the music player on my Samsung. On the iPhone, two pushes of the button would take me to the next track while three pushes would take me to the previous track on my music player. Another important feature which I really miss is a volume control. I hate having to take out my phone every time I want to adjust the volume.

Value for money

Having said that, I have to say that I am really impressed with the BassBuds and they are actually better then the Sennheisers. They are reasonably priced as well - they are now available for a special price of only £34.95 on their site - that's almost half of what I paid for my wife's Sennheisers.

For more information check out the BassBuds mini site.

17 Jul 2012

Zenus Cover for the Samsung Galaxy Note

My wife absolutely loves her new Samsung Galaxy Note and she's using it for everything from reading emails to selling stuff on eBay. Before this, she had always gone for Nokia but after failing to get a good deal for the Nokia 900, finally went for the Note and now's she's suddenly a Samsung (and Android) fan. 

Anyway, she asked me to buy her a good cover for the note and I decided to get her a classy looking cover from my favourite mobile accessories site - Mobile Fun. They carry a huge range of phone covers for possibly almost every mobile phone in the market and even for those models no longer available in the shops.

It was quite hard to come to a decision as there were so many great choices but I finally decided on the Zenus Masstige Stripe Print Diary Series brown cover.

zenus (2)


zenus (3)

It's made of really high quality artificial leather with an embossed striped surface and really detailed stitching. The cover fits the Note perfectly with easy access to all the buttons.

It has some pockets inside for keeping your cards but it kind of ruins the slim look and feel when you do so. It also has a handy strap for holding the phone.

It's a bit on the pricey side at £34.95 but you can feel the quality of the product even without holding it in your palms and it really looks elegant as well.

My wife is really happy with the cover and when my wife is happy, I am happy as well.

Check out the video I found on the site:

13 Jul 2012

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Note

My wife's mobile phone contract with 3 ended a couple of weeks back and we had been scanning the net for good deals. She initially had her eye on the Apple iPhone but one of our friends helped change her mind an she decided to go for the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Anyway to cut a long story short, we finally found some great deals on Phones4u.co.uk . She signed up for a 24 months contract with Orange for only £20.50 per month. She had to go for slightly lower network minutes and 500MB data allowance. Initially we thought that the data allowance would be enough but looking at the way she is using it right now, it looks like she might have to upgrade.

The phone is simply fantastic with a big 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreeen display. The Note is one of those, "either you hate it or love it" products. It's something between a mobile phone and a tablet and can't seem to make up it's mind.

Opening and using the various applications are really fast, thanks to the 1.4GHz dual core processor. Best of all is the 8 MP auto focus camera with 1080p HD video recording. She loves the fact that she can now Skype with video (using the front facing camera).

The phone initially came with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but we have upgraded it to Android 4.0 (Ice cream Sandwich) and even though I cannot explain it, there was a clear difference - a definite improvement in the feel of the interface.

We are still playing around with the note and hope to have another full review later.

9 Jul 2012

Top Smart Phones - spoilt for choice

My 24 month long contract with 3 is now finally up and I am looking for a replacement for my old Samsung Galaxy Portal.

I a really spoilt for choice because there is an amazing range of smart phones to choose from. After going through the various reviews on the net I have finally narrowed it down to four phones based on four main criteria:

1. The processor speed. Anything more than 800MHz processor.
2. Camera. At least 5MP.
3. Battery life.
4. Price. I guess this might be the deciding factor in the end and depends on whether I can get a good deal.

The phones are as listed below:

1. Samsung Galaxy SIII Just tried it out a couple of days ago - this phone is amazing.
1.4 GHz quad-core processor
Camera: 8MP rear and 1.9MP front
Battery life: Standby: 790 hours and Talk Time: 700 minutes

2. Nokia Lumia 800
Was a bit worried about some problems reported in a few reviews however, an expert friend informs me that Nokia has solved most of them via software updates. Though I am still a bit pissed that the guys from Nokia failed to send me one to review after promising to do so. (Update: I later received the Nokia Lumia 900 instead.Wooo Hooo!)
1.4GHz single core processor
Camera: 8 megapixel
Battery life: Standby: 380 hours Talk Time: 300 minutes

3. Apple iPhone 4S
No one who owns one seems to have a bad thing to say about the Apple iPhone 4S and I am definitely tempted to buy one. Trying to find a cheap monthly contract is proving to be quite tough and the iPhone 5 is on the way. Should I wait?

1.5 GHz Qualcomm dual-core A5 processor
Camera: 8 MP rear
Battery life.: Standby: 200 hours and Talk Time: 480 minutes

4. Samsung Galaxy S II
Yes, though the oldest of the lot, the specs are still impressive. Best of all the prices are falling (but not fast enough unfortunately).

1.2GHz Dual Core Application Processor
camera: 8 MP rear and 1.3 MP front
Battery life: Standby: 400 hours and Talk Time: 700 minutes

Watch this space.