30 Sept 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in brief

So what's new about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3?

This phablet has definitely come a long way from the original Galaxy Note which was launched in 2011.

  1. Simpler S Pen - allows for more precise control.   
  2. Air Command - short cut system for easy access to new functions, including Action Memo and Scrapbook.         
  3. Large screen - 5.7" Full HD Super AMOLED screen. 16M Colour Depth with 1920 x 1080 Resolution
  4. CPU - 2.3GHz Quad GHz
  5. My Magazine - personalise news, social media and entertainment content in a magazine style layout
  6. Improved Find My Mobile - allows users to disable the phone when it is stolen or lost. Enhanced user authentication makes it difficult for stolen mobile phones from being reset to factory settings, and allows users to remotely track or erase the data from their lost or stolen mobile phones.

24 Sept 2013

Apple iPhone 5C accessories

The new iPhones are flying off the shelves and according to the latest reports today, Apple has already set a new record - selling 9 million phones in just 3 days. They have actually sold out their initial supply of the iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 5C is the cheaper model which comes with a plastic back in 5 colours and cover in 6 colours. It has an A6 chip, compared to the A7 chip on the iPhone 5S. However, it shares common features with the 5S including an 8MP iSight camera and 4-inch Retina display, running on the new iOS 7.

The 16GB model is available for £469 and the 32GB model for £549. Check out the Green phone with the blue cover.

However, if this is not to your taste, a range of accessories are already available online including more formal wallet type and flip cases. Check out the Mobilefun site which has among the largest collection of accessories for the iPhone 5C.

11 Sept 2013

The new iPhone 5S

Read what all the top tech sites are saying about the iPhone 5S:

Mashable: iPhone 5S Hands On: All Change Under the Hood "The biggest difference for most users will be iOS 7."

The Next Web: What the iPhone 5s ’64-bit’ processor means, in plain English. "the iPhone just got a whole lot more powerful."

Stuff: iPhone 5S preview "it's nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor."

Wired: iPhone 5S: Meet Apple’s New Flagship Phone

Watch the best review below:

8 Sept 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 1 charging problems and repair

My wife's Samsung Galaxy Note 1 ( (N7000) recently started having problems recharging. She asked me to have a look at it and exchanged it with my Samsung Galaxy SII.

Apparently there was something wrong with the USB port and for a while, the only way I could recharge it was via the USB cord connected to the PC. However, that stopped working after sometime as well.

While researching on the net, it became clear that this was a common problem with the Samsung Galaxy Note. According to one "expert", it often happens as a result of shock when dropped on a hard surface (has happened a couple of times) or due to water damage (had been caught in a shower once).

I was really excited when I found out that it could be fixed quite easily by changing one component. However, I found out that the repairs charged about £70 just to fix it.

When it looked like I was going end up with a bricked phone, I came across a YouTube video tutorial on how to repair the Galaxy note. Went through the video a couple of time and I realised it was quite straightforward (scroll down to the bottom of this post for the video).

To find the replacement part, I went to Amaxon.co.uk and found a few sellers selling the "BisLinks® USB Charging Dock Port Flex Cable with Mic". I bought one for just £5.99 from one seller who had the highest ranking. I received the part after a few days.

Replacing the component was quite easy and took me around 15 minutes.

I put everything together and eagerly tried out recharging and it worked. I was so happy with my DIY skills and the fact that I had saved a few quid in the process.

However, that is not the end of the story. 

When the phone was fully charged, I realised that there was no network reception. I am on Orange which is now on EE. The reception in our area has not been that excellent anyway but now I had none at all. The funny thing was that I could see both O2 and Vodafone networks. I know what network to change to next time. 

Now I had ended up with a very expensive mini tablet. I could still access all the features and call out using Skype using our wifi but could not use the phone. 

Anyway, this week I decided to have another look around but it looks like Samsung does not sell internal components. I found another seller, this time on eBay and decided to give it another go - slightly more expensive at £7.79 with free delivery. 

The component was delivered quite fast but when I opened it the package, found out that it was identical to the one I had bought from Amazon. 

I went ahead and fitted it in and with a bit of trepidation, put it on.

Yes! It automatically recognised the EE network. My phone has come back to life.


The phone works but the network reception is not as good as before. I often have poor or no service inside buildings and I am still looking for the original component. 

From my online research, I discovered that I am not the only one facing this issue and I hope Samsung has solved this issue in their newer versions of the Galaxy Note. 

If anyone knows where I can find the original USB Charging Dock Port Flex Cable with Mic for Samsung Galaxy Note 1, please drop me a line: ahoklah@gmail.com

Note: All pics here taken using my Nokia Lumia 900.

  1. Attempting to carry out this repair will definitely invalidate your warranty.
  2. If you are not into DIY, would like original components, have servicing carried out by qualified personal and money is not an issue, you would be better off sending your gadgets to the authorised dealer for servicing.
  3. Be careful. I dropped one of the tiny screws and I cannot find it anywhere. However, it does not affect the proper functioning of the phone.
Anyway here is the video I was referring to earlier:

5 Sept 2013

Sony's next generation cameras

Sony has launched two new products at the at IFA 2013, which they call "Lens-style Cameras". The Sony Cyber-shot QX100 and QX10 looks like lenses but they are fully fledged cameras. However, the best part is that they easy attach to smartphones - both android and iPhones) which they can use as a viewfinder, take high quality images and then immediately share on various social media.

The Cyber-shot DSC-QX10

Samsung "unpacks" their next generation gadgets

Samsung unveiled 3 new products at Samsung UNPACKED 2013 at the Tempodrom in Berlin: The GALAXY Note 3 GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) and the GALAXY Gear. The GALAXY Gear is a wearable device that allows for full hands free calls and notifications.

Some pics from the event just 4 hours ago (pics from their Facebook and Twitter pages):

If you are in the UK, you can now preorder here: http://www.samsungnote3andgear.co.uk/

4 Sept 2013

Some common ways eBay sellers are committing fraud

I was recently bidding on a kids bike on eBay. I was the only bidder and winning at 0.99p. However, with only a few hours to go before the end of the auction, the bid was suddenly cancelled. The reason - "This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available."

I did not think much about it until the next day when I happened to drop by the old link and noticed some suggestions below. One of them was the exact item with nothing changed. The starting bid was 0.99p again.

Apparently some unscrupulous sellers on eBay are using this technique to avoid selling their items at a low price. The starting bid is 0.99p in order to avoid having to pay charges to eBay, which you have to if you put the starting bid higher or put in a 'buy-it-now' price.

One way some sellers try to avoid paying fees to eBay is to end the bidding and contact the highest bidder directly and arrange the transactions outside of eBay.

Another way some eBay sellers are committing fraud is by opening up multiple accounts and starting bidding wars to boost the price of the products they are selling. I think eBay is aware of this and I read in the newspapers sometime back about some sellers being fined for bidding on their own products.

However, another similar way that sellers boost their prices are by using families, friends or associates to bid on the item for the same reasons. I sometimes noticed the same people bidding for products from the same seller and it did raise some red flags but I never bothered to raise an alarm because they might actually be genuine collectors (this particular seller was specialised in vintage watches). I guess this is much more difficult to detect especially if they are bidding from different places (with different IP addresses) and even more so now that bidders' accounts appear private on listings.

Do you know of other ways some unscrupulous eBayers are getting away with fraud?