Chasing Happiness

At barely 25, I have come to peace with something that I never thought I would be 5 years ago. Hell, even since I was in elementary, I never would have imagined I would find myself in this situation. Where I am chasing happiness. Happiness and comfort over money and experience. Facially, I am one of those who you can brand as someone who chases money. Back in High school, our teacher asked, ‘Who among you wants to be a Politician?’ Two of us raised hands, the other one was the loveable goof of the batch. My teacher commented that he would be a great fit in politics as he has the charm. Comments to me? “You are one of those who would only want to run for money” At that, time she was spot on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that teacher and I was actually surprised that she saw right through me.

 

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a pilot, but boy could I not be more wrong. By High school as well, I realized that this is an impossible dream. Why? Aside from the fact that it would literally take me Millions which we do not have, I am physically unfit, I’m too short, too un-pilot-like (Tall and Philippine-parlance accepted Handsome) looking and I do not have a perfect eyesight, something apparently is a requirement for Pilot. And barring the latter I still don’t have millions to spend.

 

Then I decided to become an Engineer. Choosing UST was by far one of, if not the best decision I have ever made, as I felt HAAPPY AND CONTENT THERE. What happened to my ECE dream?  Of course it failed, what else did you expect. Not only did I not pass the Boards I generally felt ECE is not for me, I did not excel the way I wanted and even if I put some effort, I really felt no connection to the subjects.

 

Moving on from one of my biggest failures in life, I decided to work in the IT industry and be still my aching balls! I AM GREAT AT IT. I legitimately enjoy IT-ing and learning new stuff as I move forward. My lack of knowledge did not come as a hindrance, rather, it became a challenge to learn more and more. I can confidently say I instilled a stereotype on ECE to me, I am a jack-of-all basics, master of none. I love breezing through basics of concepts and technologies and learning them.

 

Envy. Originality. Confidence. Dreaming Big. Physical Attribute. These, I realized, are my most glaring weakness.

 

Biggest mistake of my life thus far? I left a place where I was extremely comfortable, I left a place where it has accepted me and my body accepted it, I left my Happy Place. Why? Because I thought I could get more. You can and probably will argue that 2 years of experience is not enough but some of my friends were already jumping from company to company getting hired with 1 year experience on their companies. How could I not be empowered to do the same? Learning your batch mates now earns twice as much as you do on similar fields, how could you seriously not want to try other options?

 

Why am I not given other lucrative opportunity? That has always been my question and I answered it now.

 

I don’t actually blame employers as my ECE background and my self-proclaimed self-studying WILL NEVER hold ground against actual IT graduates and those with more experience than me. In a sea of potential candidates, of course the best one should be picked.

 

Plus I will always attribute back to that fact that I am Philippine-parlanced unattractive hahaha Why? I don’t know if this is coincidence but the moment I removed my picture in my resume I started having MORE CALLS than when I had my picture on. and yeah, tons of my pogi friends or babae friends are constantly getting JOBS THEY WANTED.

 

Also, I did have some job offers and you know what all of them have in common? The job offers I get are from companies where the one that interviewed me were Foreigners. I HAVE NEVER GOT A JOB OFFER from a company where the manager or the final interviewer is a Filipino. How could I seriously not attribute my face there? Call-based I get accepted, Face to face not? Don’t me, I’m ugly, that’s it. Foreigners take chances on me yet my fellow men don’t. If I could, I would seriously consider going abroad but how do I even get VISA, I don’t even have enough to fund myself finding a job on a foreign land. Plus I’m gonna miss my dog. Lol.

 

Lastly, start my own business? Business of what exactly? I don’t have any specialty, my passion is in IT, and I don’t have the funds (Don’t me on Loan wala ngang maisip na business eh).

 

This has been my life and statistics would tell me that it would continue to do so. I was stuck on an impasse, but I have made peace with the fact that this is the best I can be. Work -> Bills -> Work -> Bills. With this, I am now continuously searching, actually I am wanting to come back to my Happy Place and never leave. EVEN IF MY BATCHMATES WILL EARN 200K/MONTH I won’t care anymore. I just want to be happy. I want to come back to Happy Place, be content with friends. I have the attitude to want to learn continuously and I want to do it in my Happy Place. I am now searching to be Happy at Work -> Bills -> Happy at Work -> Bills. Never mind the experience, Never mind the money. What I want is to be Happy.

 

CHASINGHAPPINESS#

Cow Evolution Review: MOOre Poop is MOOre Profit!

Cow Evolution Review: MOOre Poop is MOOre Profit!

TITLE

Casual Gamers. The term rose significantly as iOS and Android dominated the market. And what does Casual Gamers play? Well, Casual Games of course! There are tons of games to play on either platform, lately a friend suggested me to play this game. I usually don’t take advice from friends but we were close for a long time I had to trust his word.

The moment I played Cow Evolution, I had one thing in mind. This is stupid. This game is so stupid it’s actually great! How? Read on and find out!

Disclaimer: All Images/Footage are screenshots from playing.

COW PUNS EVERYWHERE

CLICK

One genre of casual games would be clicker games. These are games that require you to, well, click, and tap endlessly. A great example would be Tap Titans, but their mechanics is no way the same. Think of this as a hybrid of 2048 and Tap Titans.

Basically, the goal for you is to fuse cows until you reach the Ultimate Cow Being.

COWPUNS

In addition, Cow Evolution has this weird humor injected all over the place. The Headlines at the bottom right are corny and sometimes funny. The entries from the MooPedia are disastrously insane and actually quite funny, and the Cow names themselves is MOOrbidly the best factor if you would want to continue what Cow Puns they have next or you want to stop. I’m a corny person so I pushed and actually finished this game.

DRESS

Cow Evolution extends its value by way of grinding to collect all the headgears for the game. I never knew playing dress up could be so much fun.

If I have to nitpick on Cow Evolution, I would have to say the lack of Social Media/Google Play cloud save integration. In this day, many people change their device consistently. Not that you would play this game for years but it would have been a nice feature. Here’s hoping cloud saves come in the near future.

I can’t say anything more, that’s basically what Cow Evolution is. And reiterating what I said before, it sounds and probably looks stupid and non-sense at first glance, and it probably is.

CONC

But there is something weird about this world that wants you to play more. This maybe due to the relative ease on how the game praises you and gives positive reinforcement for insignificant tasks. I don’t know about you guys, but when I am praised, I tend to feel better and, in turn, give more. If we feel like we have this sense of accomplishment and we are properly recognized, we feel better. Fuse the first two cows and you get this congratulatory sign. Fuse for the second level, you get another, and so on.

  1. Graphics 

Cow Evolution is a 2D Game that looks like it was drawn by a kid who thinks everything in the world can be cows. It’s silly fun.

  1. Gameplay 

Fuse, fuse, fuse, buy cows, cows make poop, poop is money.

  1. Sound 

I can’t tell you how much I’ve muttered –TATATATATATATAT. The sound is like music of this generation. Pointless, but it gets in your head.

  1. Replay 

Fusing for the next Cow Pun is your best source of replay.

Score

Conclusion

GET COW EVOLUTION FROM GOOGLE PLAY Image From PrizeRebel.com

Cow Evolution may not have the same action like Tap Titans, it doesn’t even need the skills to beat 2048 but it does categorize as a stupidly great Casual Games when you are bored while travelling or helping you to sleep. Cow Evolution is weird and pointless but in a very good way. It’s not for everyone but those cute cows will get some hearts and fans one evolution or another.

Asus Zenfone 2 – The Dark Knight of Smart Phones

Asus Zenfone 2 – The Dark Knight of Smart Phones

Back to the Future Part II. Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets. X-men 2. 22 Jump Street. The Dark Knight. What do all of them have in common? They are all sequels to a good movie but they are not just sequels. They are movies that took a quantum leap and took the franchise to new heights. So how does this connect to Zenfone 2? Duh! Zenfone 5 was a sure-fire sleeper last year and now, its successor took that same Quantum Leap and what I assume I assume correctly, has propelled Asus to the upper echelon of Smartphones. Zenfone 2 is not just a successor or a simple sequel. It is the #SmartPhoneDarkKnight! #BoldStatement

Zenfone 5 almost had it all last year and what momentum it had is used by Zenfone 2 with so much more. Zenfone 2 maybe twice the price but it still delivers the same bang for the buck as its predecessor. Maybe even banger-for-the bucker! Zenfone 2 is undoubtedly one of this year’s most anticipated phone and has it lived up to the hype? Well, I can say yes now but I still want you to read on and find out why Zenfone 2 is The Dark Knight of Smartphones

This model is Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 4GB 32GB Model

  1. Design and Build

 Looks

Zenfone 5 was, if not the, one of the best looking budget phone in the market last year. Its design language was unique it screams premium. Now, as superficial as this world is, Zenfone 2 also received a facelift which looks stunning, high-class and premium. That 5.5 Inch Screen with generous bezel. Those capacitive touch buttons with Asus’ shiny thingy at the bottom just tells you ‘Hey this is Asus’. The back is reminiscent of the G3 which is not a bad thing considering G3 is one of the more amazing looking flagship last year. The Intel with the Zenfone logo sits at the bottom with the speaker grill. The thin bezel helps with ease of one-handed usage but most of the time, two hands will be required. The center positioning of the power button is quite peculiar. Headsets attached it’s harder to reach with the left hand. Spoiler alert, this phone supports double tap to sleep and wake so use of the power button will be lessened.

For the superficial race that we are, Zenfone 2 is one of those you will boastfully whip out and friends will say that it looks great mistaking it for a higher-tier device. A tiny criticism with the design would be how slippery it feels in the hand. For sweaty handed people like me, Zenfone 2 feels like it could slip out sooner rather than later. As the expression goes here in the Philippines, ‘Kanin palang ulam na’ (Rice only, viand too). That is the perfect expression for Zenfone 2’s look.

  1. Display

display

Zenfone 2’s relatively big 5.5 Screen is partnered with a gorgeous Full HD 1080p Display. Sure, QuadHD is now the trend but what are you seriously going to do with those alleged power hungry screens? Full HD is an amazing complement. Text looks sharp, images are clear and vibrant. The Zen UI helps with how punchy Zenfone 2 is.

disp2

Zenfone 2 has polarizing backlight. Its lowest is not too low, which is a good thing, but its Highest is relatively low too. It has ok viewing angles but a brighter max brightness could’ve made it much better outdoors.

Same with Zenfone 5 complaint I had last year is the non-backlit capacitive touch buttons. It’s a minor minor gripe but it is worth mentioning. Luckily, most phones do have the same layout of Back-Home-Recent so it’s not that much of an issue.

  1. Entertainment

Entertainment

You can’t use a smartphone without using it as a multimedia driver. Zenfone 2 is the Mid-range phone to beat with respect to multimedia performance.

For audio quality, the only reason loudspeaker will fail from time to time is because of its single driver at the back. Plug in your earphones, I now use an Awei ES900i, ughhh, eargasm. High volumes, useful for drowning out everything else, partner it with clean audio output at max volume, Heaven!

Fancy a movie or a series? Zenfone 5 was an amazing Movie Player sans some 1080p here and there. Zenfone 2 breaks that wall like Bane breaks Batman’s back that it can play anything you throw at it. I haven’t tried those movies which are 20GB+ but it has played a 9GB file flawlessly. I don’t see the point of watching movies beyond those 1080p, 2GB files on a smartphone so as far as Video playing goes. Zenfone 2 is a Beast. Do note that MX Player is better than the stock. Just. Just. Ok?

games

Gaming. Do I really need to tell you how Zenfone 2 plays Angry Birds? Yes? Alright, fantastic. So let’s get on to the more graphic intensive games like Dead Trigger and Goat Simulator. Still Great. Nova 3? You bet your ass it still is fine. As far as gaming goes. Zenfone 2 is still an amazing performer. Do note that playing continuously will heat your device up and once it is hot, battery drain is inevitable. Contrary to Zenfone 5, Zenfone 2 is leaps and bounds ahead.

As with my previous review, Web Browsing and Streaming has been upgraded significantly on Lollipop. Partner it with the hardware, Zenfone 2 soars through web pages. Facebooking actually felt great again. Well, it maybe due to Facebooking using a new device but still. Another thumbs up.

  1. Camera

 Camera

Zenfone 2 is equipped with a 13MP Camera t the back and a 5MP Snapper in the front. Same as with last year, Zenfone 2 is loaded with shit loads of features which make picture taking much more fun.

As far as image quality is they sit beyond the above average right below great. Under good natural lighting, Zenfone 2 captures good photos. Inside, not much can be expected but the good thing is, it is still useable. You can check out some of the pics yourself.

  1. Software

Perf1

Zenfone 2 is power-packed with Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-core 2.3 GHz Processor. The model I got was 32GB but it is expandable up to 64GB. It also comes with Lollipop. Finally it is packed with a whopping 4GB of RAM. That is right. FREAKING FOUR GB RAM. The amount of apps you could run in the back ground is just insane. This is one of the first, if not the, to have this insane amount of ram and it translates into performance. Dead Trigger, Goat Simulator, YouTube, Twitch, Limbo, MX Player, Messages. As non-sensical as running the aforementioned simultaneously, Zenfone 2 did it, without slowing down swiping between screens and animations. It ran all of it seamlessly like how Brock Lesnar suplexed the crap out of John Cena in Summerslam last year. This is a testament on how powerful Zenfone 2 is in terms of performance.

Moving on to its insane backgrounding power is the Lollipop under the ZenUI. Having a skin is personal preference, personally, I would have preferred a stock look but Asus needs to have their identity. ZenUI is close to stock so minor gripes here and there but out of the box, Zenfone 2 did have tons of bloatwares. Some are useful but some cater to niche audiences. You can remove them though.

features

As far as useful extra features go, Zenfone 2 comes with one-handed usage option, smart-cover feature, battery saver, motion gesture and my all-time favourite, gesture features which include the mega super useful double tap to wake and sleep. Samsung S5 did not even have this feature, if it does do tell me how. Kudos to Zenfone 2 for this amazing feat.

Call

As far as performing as a phone, Zenfone 2 is a Dual Sim Dual Standby phone which has LTE on Sim 1. Another thumbs up. As far as reception go, I was able to constantly get LTE driving from Quezon City to Taguig. Call quality both as a receiver and transmitter is excellent. As far as my calls with some of my friends went, I did not have any problems.

  1. Battery 

battery

This phone was officially released a few days ago. I haven’t fully tested the battery yet. But ever since I got it I have been constantly using it. If it can give me 3.5 Hours of screen on-time (which I am close to achieving), then this is another aspect Zenfone 2 succeeds.

That 1.5 Hours of screen on-time consists of 1 Hour Movie Watching and the rest for little gaming, browsing, and testing the device. As far as initial testing is, it looks to be another winner.

Executive Summary

scores

CONS:

  • Non-Backlit Capacitive touch buttons
  • Slippery to hold
  • Lots of Bloatware
  • Peculiar button placement
  • Low Brightness

PROS:

  • Lollipop out of the Box
  • Expandable Storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • Great Audio Headset Output
  • Great Design Keeps Asus’ Identity
  • Dual Sim Dual Standby with LTE
  • Rumoured to be supported at least for the foreseeable future
  • Mid-Range Price for a High-End Device

 LIMBO (I cannot judge if these are Pros or Cons):

  • ZenUI

conc

At P13, 995, Asus is once again gunning for that Mid-range Crown. As of now, it looks like it is firmly in its grasp. P13, 995 may seem like a lot especially considering as how Zenfone 5 was aimed for the lower tier market. Zenfone 2, I think, was looking to target more here. I think Asus wants to punch a hole in Samsung and Apple and I think it will. That punch could cause a rattle that the debris it causes may ultimately lead to permanent damage to local performers Cherry and MyPhone, not that I care.  As far as Brand Recognition is, you are certainly getting more out of Asus than the latter aforementioned locals and probably the same as the former Superstars mentioned. Zenfone 2 is way beyond any Cherry Release and way cheaper and more powerful than Samsung Galaxy A7. I’m not saying that Zenfone 2 performs as well as S6 or IPhone 6 but it’s so damn good I’m seriously considering turning this into my main phone over my Samsung S5.

Zenfone 5, the same way Batman Begins brought us a new light into the Smartphone market and Batman, respectively. Zenfone 2, much like the Dark Knight, exceeded expectations significantly and raised the bar maybe to the point that Zenfone 3 maybe the Dark Knight rises. I certainly hope not but as it stands now, Zenfone 2 is the Real MVP.

SmartPhones tend to give you all but one thing. Most, if not all, have one giant disappointment along with other greats. S5 has that Bandage back, G3 has that washed out look, HTC M8 and Nexus has that disappointing camera. For the cons I have noticed, it can be ignored, encased, removed and lessened. For those looking for a high tier device in a budget, I find it hard to find a better suggestion. Same as Last Year, it maybe premature, but Zenfone 2 is now the King of the Mid-Range. I may have had a bias review but keep in mind that I am looking at this as an evolution to Zenfone 5 and at the price point of P13, 995.

Asus has created great devices since 2012. Nexus 2012, 2nd Generation, Zenfone 5 and now Zenfone 2 continues that trend of great releases. Congratulations to Asus for the successful event last weekend and thank you for this beast phone.

Zenfone 2 is the Smartphone Everyone Deserves. #SmartPhoneDarkKnight

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

VIDEO REVIEW

Updates. The one word Cherry Mobile is having a hard time understanding. Since 2012, I have come from a super excited fanboy to a sceptic meh-tista on their releases. Cherry Mobile has released hundreds of flagCheaps, flagshit or, alright, FLAGSHIP but have they ever bothered to update any of them? Yes. Granted many top notch company also does not update their phones, that doesn’t mean Cherry should too, or do they?

Anyways, after almost 2 year hiatus from Cherry Android, I am now back, and I have here a Google project slapped on with Cherry Mobile’s tramp stamp. The Cherry Mobile Android One. Cherry Mobile one is said to be the one which will receive the latest from Google for the foreseeable future. Aside from the promised updates, what else does this phone have to offer? Read on and find out.

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  1. Design and Build

 Design

Generic. That is the one word that will perfectly describe the Cherry Mobile One. It has a 4.5 Inch TFT Display. The back has the 5MP Camera and is covered by a removable plastic back. Plus one for not being fingerprint-magnet. The sides houses the power button and volume rocker while the top and bottom has the 3.5mm jack and USB port respectively. Nothing special with regards to its looks. It looks cheap, it feels cheap because it is cheap. It seriously looks like Flare of previous iterations. I have no gripes with the design, its average at best in its price range.

  1. Display

Display

Accompanying the 4.5 Inch screen is a display of 854×480. After years of looking at 720p or better, going lower is now very noticeable. Display is not bad perse but colours seem to be slightly washed out. Some texts, icons and images will look stretched out at times.

One also seems to have a relatively low brightness which can be a huge problem outdoors. One has terrible viewing angles, many times when I am outside, thankfully, that rarely happens, I have to put my hand over the screen just so I can see it. Yes I am at maximum brightness. Indoor visibility is fine though.

  1. Entertainment

Entert

Functioning as a multimedia driver, One is average if not a little better. Carrying a single driver at the back for the speaker, you shouldn’t expect much. It’s ok if you are alone in a quiet room but it is not advisable to use it outside. Aside from the fact that you will not be able to hear it, you will drain your battery.

Headsets attached, I am now using Awei ES900i as opposed to JVC FX3X on other reviews, as far as quality goes, again, it is ok. One comes with Google Music for your out of the box player and it plays the music fine. Nice amount of loudness is always a good thing.

Watching on One is enjoyable if you can keep the resolution to 720p or lower. It CAN play 1080p videos but it does stutter from time to time. I have enjoyed watching Malcolm in the Middle at 480p and I did not have any problems.it is worth mentioning that Stock Android has shitty codec so download MX Player as fast as you possibly can.

Games

As for gaming, Mainstream Games like Angry Birds is fine. Jump into more graphic intensive Games, Dead Trigger and Goat Simulator will be playable, but I don’t think this is meant for hardcore gamers.

Web Browsing has been significantly upgraded on Lollipop and even with a mediocre-ly powered phone, Web Browsing and Streaming is great. I have been able to watch seamless hours on Twitch. I do have PLDT FibR at home, but it does not change the fact that Android One has performed better than expected. One thing to note is that it can only play up to 480p videos on YouTube. And yes, there are some phones with 480p displays capable of running 720p videos.

  1. Camera

 CameraIMG_20150512_083138 IMG_20150512_083122 IMG_20150512_082427 IMG_20150512_082416

Sporting a 5MP shooter at the back and 2MP front, the One’s camera maybe subject to the user. In my opinion, the camera could have been so much better as I have seen cameras on the same price range which perform much better. Google Camera is your app out of the box and it is simple to use. What I did notice was the LONG, and I mean LONG time before it captures a shot after you have pressed the Capture button.

If, for some reason, you wanted to take a video using the One, it records at 1080p. Hurray, I guess?

Images are decent at best and if you have shaky unstable hands, partnered with that lag between pressing the shutter and the actual capture. Ughhhh.

  1. Software

Software

One is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6582m Quad Core Processor, 1GB Ram with 8GB storage expandable up to 32GB. Under the hood comes the almighty 5.1 Lollipop. Which, personally, is the best Android update in recent memory. I enjoyed it tremendously on my Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5. The 5.1 Lollipop is Android One’s Coup De Grace, The Brock Lesnar to Undertaker’s 21-1. The one which makes it all worthwhile. How many sub 5k phones offer Lollipop out of the box? How many come with 5.1? And how many comes with alleged support for the next 2 years. The aforementioned questions has only ONE answer! For Android Purists, it will be exciting to be part of the first. Lollipop is so good, that if you have a taste for one, you will not want to go back to previous iterations. As to why I love lollipop, I may make a new post about that but for now, read from other sites. Haha!

As far as performance go, Android One is one of the faster smartphones out there in the market. Animations feels snappy and screen feels responsive. I am actually able to run Two Games simultaneously, Goat Simulator and Angry Birds. That is actually quite an amazing feat even though, no one will play two games at the same time on the same device.

Call

Functioning as a phone, Android One provides you with essentials like calls and text which are fine. FM RADIO is a big plus, it may not be that useful to some, but having this is really useful from time to time. Being cheap means you can whip this out in public.

As long as Google keeps its promise of continuous updates for the next 2 years, and for the Love of God, if Cherry actually complies with this rather than possibly releasing a statement where they will not update a device and redirect us to a forum on XDA, in which case Cherry Deserves an Intergalactic F*ck Y*u, Android One is an enticing phone to have, regardless of how it average-at-bestly performs on other aspects.

  1. Battery

 batt

As average as this phone performs, its battery is the most polarizing one. For a light user, you will have no problem with this device, and depending on how you use it, duh, it will polarize your judgement. I have been able to watch almost 3 Hours (2 Hours Series, 1 Hour Twitch streaming) with a good chunk of 40% left. But turn on Data, play a game (HD or not), or use Waze, your device heats up and the burns battery like Ford EcoSport burns gas driving in the city. It’s terribly Polarizing especially if you are to use it as a primary phone.

Executive Summary

SCORES

CONS:

  • GENERIC DESIGN
  • Game stuttering, long loading times – Not meant for gaming
  • 1080p video playback stutter
  • Terrible viewing angles
  • Camera
  • Low Brightness

PROS:

  • Lollipop out of the Box – PURIST DREAM
  • Expandable Storage
  • Good Audio Headset Output
  • Web Browsing Streaming is Good
  • Dual Sim Dual Standby
  • FM Radio
  • UPDATES FOR TWO YEARS– FOR REAL?
  • CHEAP

LIMBO (I cannot judge if these are Pros or Cons):

  • 854×480 Display
  • Polarizing Battery Life

20150514_081634

At P3, 999 and performing averagely on most if not all factors, One may seem like a bad purchase. Keep this in mind, One is not here to impress you with Gigantozoid specs, or that Metal, premium look, or that battery life that lasts longer than your relationship, it is meant to keep you updated with Android Updates you will rarely, if never, see on your non-Nexus device or any Cherry Mobile device to be more specific, at a cost which puts your Kit Kat Powered Note 4 to shame. I had a Nexus 5 before I decided that I needed a better camera and jump shipped to S5, without Lollipop available for Philippines just yet, I had to go to xda to get my fix. If you are like me who itch to have the best, One is an obvious great pickup for you. It can also be a nice purchase for those who mayant to try the Android Ecosystem (ehem Fanboys), needs dual sim phone, and extra phone for commuting.

The One does not target everyone, but the Ones it target can be influential. This is a great project for Google, and even though only Cherry Mobile and MyPhone are the only one to adopt it, the former having terrible after sales, while the latter has lesser specs at a higher price, I’m glad to see that it is being rolled out in our Country.

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HP 7 Plus – Plus for the Build, Plus for the Price

HP 7 Plus – Plus for the Build, Plus for the Price

 Hewlett-Packard, probably the best IT Company out there. With top of the line laptops and printers and tons of innovation over the past half century, HP is a brand and name which can be trusted and relied upon. It is also home to thousands of hardworking, industrious, cheerful and kind employees any company ever has. One of those being me. Hihihihi.

HP is without a doubt a name not to be ignored especially in technology, but as technology continues to grow the fastest on Smartphones/Tablets, HP may have left the contention to the point that people, especially here in the Philippines, are unaware HP releases some tablets and smartphone here and there once every blue moon.

Today, we gander at a relatively new release from HP. HP 7 Plus. 7-Inch Tablet at a crazy affordable price of only about P4,300.  What does this tablet have in store for you? Read on, and find out!

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  1. Design and Build

 design

HP 7 Plus is an 8.5 Inch Tablet with a 7-Inch Screen. It has no glass protection but it is enclosed in a metallic/aluminium back which makes it feel more premium albeit being heavier. The front houses the screen and the 0.3MP Camera, One side both has the volume rocker and the Power button, the top has the 3.5mm jack, USB Port and the microSD slot which is uncovered. L The back has the 2MP camera, speaker grill at the bottom and metallic aluminium enclosure which makes the device a little bit more premium.

7 Plus is quite heavy and it has LARGE BEZELS. With the trend of less is better with respect to Bezels, 7 Plus fails dramatically. Keeping in mind the ridiculously cheap price tag, it actually feels quite premium sans the bezel and heaviness, the HP Logo at the non-plastic, easy to grip back is more plus for the Plus.

  1. Display

displaay

The 7 Plus sports a measly 1024×600 display which may net conclusion of an eye-sore for a screen especially today where 720p have somewhat become a standard for tablets. Admittedly, display is average at best and could certainly have been much better. For pixel junkies out there, pixels are quite noticeable. Aside from noticeable pixelations, some images, icons, text even games, look stretched out. If you can get over the mediocre display, it actually has one of the better viewing angles for a tablet. It has right amount of brightness to make it visible even with sunlight. Not much can be said for other tablets of the same price range.

 

  1. Entertainment

ENTER

The main function of a tablet should be as a multimedia driver. Period. Functioning as such, 7 Plus, in terms of school grading, would have to be a C+.

Loudspeaker is actually quite loud. Headsets attached, it offers clean audio output. Even at maximum volumes there are no noticeable distortions. Play Music, Google’s stock music player, plays FLAC files out of the box just fine. It is not that loud but is sufficient especially if you are alone at home.

If you are a heavy series watcher, you will be glad to know that Plus 7 can play 480p files and below just fine. Trouble starts to brew when you watch HD videos both 720p and 1080p. Stuttering is Plus 7’s friend. Again MX Player Pro will solve your codec needs.

As for Gaming, stick to the lower tier mainstream games as even games like Minion Rush show significant loading times and lags. Its accelerometer is something 7 Plus left a lot be desired. I always die at the slide L . Moving into HD Games causes a lot more headaches as even Dead Trigger is playable at best.

Web Browsing and YouTube streaming is fine on the 7 Plus. Even if it only sports a 600 display, it was able to play up to 720p videos.

  1. Camera

 CAMERA

Plus 7’s worst aspect would have to be the camera. Sporting a 2MP rear cam and a 0.3MP Front cam just screams absolutely terrible and it is. Partner it with 4.2.2’s stock camera and the result is just awful. The interface itself is laggy and slow and the pictures come out noisy and washed out even at good lighting condition. The front cam looks out of focus. IMHO, this could have been a better tablet if the time spent on the camera was spent on something else, maybe porting it to 4.4.4?

IMG_20141105_101436 IMG_20141105_101441

  1. Software

perf

7 Plus is powered by Quad-core 1 GHz Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 Processor with 1GB Ram. It has 8GB Internal memory and 5GB useable. Which I think is quite generous with an additional expandable storage slot. Under the hood is Android 4.2.2 which is relatively outdated especially noting that this device was released on last May 2014 where Kitkat mayhem has reached so many devices.

PERFORM

As far as performance go, 7 Plus functions fine but you have to take note that it does slowdown especially if you are multitasking. It goes from responsive to laggy after a few apps. Personally, I think this problem can easily be solved by KitKat (Solved My Motorola Xoom Problem), but seeing as relatively no one knows this tablet and it has no dev support, an update is only a normal person’s dream.

 

  1. Battery

 BATT

7 Plus sports a 2800mah battery life. For a tablet, a sub 3000mah battery sounds bad and it is. It has great standby time, but its screen on-time is a measly 1.5-– 2.5 Hours only. As good as its standby time is, a tablet is supposed to function as your multimedia player and netting you below average usage is just unacceptable. I also have to point out that continuous use heats up your battery relatively quickly. The device itself heats up and the battery drop gets much worse. Very disappointing.

Some practical advice, as mentioned earlier, this device is not made to handle HD Videos and games. Sticking to music playing and series watching (20-40 minute episode shows) will net you decent battery life.

 

Executive Summary

scores

CONS:

  • ENORMOUS Bezels
  • Mediocre 1024×600 Display
  • Quite Heavy for a 7 Inch Tablet
  • Game stuttering, long loading times – Not meant for gaming
  • 720p and 1080p video playback stutter
  • Terrible Camera Performance
  • Disappointing battery life
  • No Glass Protection
  • Android 4.2.2 without Dev Support

PROS:

  • Good Build with Premium Feel
  • Expandable Storage
  • Great Audio Headset Output
  • Web Browsing and YouTube Streaming is Good
  • CHEAP

CONC

At P4, 300 HP 7 Plus is kind of a mixed bag. Personally, I would suggest this for those who is tight on a budget who need to get the basics done without much else. And by basic I mean listening to music, light streaming/browsing and watching series.

You can’t expect maximum performance from a minimal price standpoint. For the price and from a trusted well-known brand, HP 7 Plus offers decent performance at best. In hindsight, this phone would have been a lot better if the camera was scrapped and the effort for the camera was shifted to a better display or 4.4 KitKat out-of-the box.

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Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe – Windows Rebrander Alpha

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe – Windows Rebrander Alpha

 Cherry Mobile. Probably the most famous, well-received, hated brand out there in the Philippine Market. They have released TONS of smartphones including Cherry Mobile Titan, Omega line up, Cosmos line-up, and probably the one that started their domination the Flare line-up. What do they have that other rebranders don’t? Great Marketing, cheap price for a ‘great’ phone, at least on paper.

Every time Cherry Mobile will release a new device, most, if not all fans, gets excited that even haters line-up to purchase their product. I have been part of two major events, Fusion Bolt and Flare. As unorganized as it is, it catered to the hundreds who waited. A major ehem to ZTE.

With tons of releases of Cherry Mobile to the point of almost monthly basis, CM may have had saturated the Philippine market the same way Samsung has saturated itself to decline [1]. I’m not sure what is happening there at CM but they, again, took a giant leap where no other rebranders had ever taken. Release a Windows Phone. I don’t know if this is the first rebranded windows phone, but I can say it’s the most famous one. This is what propels Cherry to the top, their great publicity. Personally, I have never had a Windows Phone due to its relatively high price for a flagship. I may have stayed away from Rebranders but this one is not one to pass up.

Packing so-so specs, HD Display and a new OS, at least for me, at a very affordable price, does Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe solidify Cherry Mobile’s Rebrander King Status, or is it just a Jump the Shark move from Cherry Mobile? Read on and find out!

DISCLAIMER: This is the first Windows Phone I have had. I have always been an Android Enthusiast. I will try to be as neutral as possible even if I come from another OS.

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  1. Design and Build

 Looks

Alpha Luxe is 5 Inch phone protected by Dragontrail Glass enclosed in Plastic. The device painstakingly looks similar to most, if not all, Cherry Mobile phone out there on the market. It looks like Cosmos Z, last year’s flagship. The front houses the front cam, and Windows’ usual Back-Windows-Search button. The sides offer the volume rocker and the power button, the back has the protruding camera which makes it wobbly when you put it on a flat surface. It is also covered in glossy plastic which attracts fingerprints like Daniel Matsunaga attracts girls.

looks2

Alpha Luxe is a phone you have seen hundreds of times, it is also quite bulky for a 5 Inch phone. The generic looks is something Alpha Luxe left a lot to be desired. Cherry Mobile has released quite a few phones that look much better than this at the same price. Definitely something to think about for those concerned about looks.

  1. Display

display

Alpha Luxe sports a 5 Inch HD 720p Display. The display feels just about right for the Luxe as its deep black technology makes the colors much more vibrant. Icons look sharp and texts look crisp. Another thing to give point to is the viewing angles. Viewing angles are quite good as tilting the device shows little to no annoying changes and it is still pretty visible even in sunlight. It may only have 3 modes of brightness but it’s highest is just right. Not too bright, not to dim.

 

  1. Entertainment

Functioning as your daily multimedia driver, Alpha Luxe is average at best.

music

Loudspeaker is fine. Plug in your headsets, Alpha Luxe is definitely one of the LOUDEST performers out there. I’m not kidding you. It’s DEAFENINGLY LOUD. It has ok sound quality, but distortions come up the louder you play your music. Avoid playing at max volumes as it has extremely high headset volume with noticeable distortion. Alpha Luxe’s loudness is something to check out for those who want their music extremely loud. I do have to point out that the stock music player has bad codec as it can’t play FLAC files. Also, when you plug in your earphone/bud you will hear some crackling and buzzing sound.

videogames

Sporting a 720p Display, Alpha Luxe might net you the conclusion that it can smoothly play all your videos. While it can play HD to Full HD videos, you have to know that the codec out of the box is extremely disappointing as it cannot detect AVI files. It can play mp4 files, though it had trouble playing Full HD 1080p of higher file sizes. I have not tried using a 3rd party app as I am yet to find a Reliable and Free video player.

As for Gaming, let’s just say at the price point, its ok. Angry Birds Epic plays fine but Metal Slug’s control is sluggish, pun intended and Asphalt 8: Airborne is playable at best albeit the long loading times and lags.

Everyone who is not a company hates Internet Explorer. Alpha Luxe, being a windows phone, carries IE, so that maybe an indication of what is in store for you out of the box. For those looking for Chrome or Mozilla, look elsewhere. There is also no YouTube app so IE, again, is your haven OUT-OF-THE-BOX. As far as YouTube and Streaming on IE, it can get your tasks done but it can be a lot better with installation of another browser.

  1. Camera

 camera

Camera and compromise are partners in crime to Cherry Mobile. Fortunately, for the Alpha Luxe, images are decent on good lighting conditions. It saturates images, but not too much. Low-light is not that good but still ok. Camera Settings are not gimmicky and is just basic. The front has a 2MP Camera and the back has an 8MP Shooter. Check out the pics below.

WP_20141102_003 WP_20141101_008 WP_20141102_001 WP_20141102_002 wp1 (3) WP_20141101_004

  1. Software

os1

Alpha Luxe is packed with 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (MSM8212) processor and Adreno 302 GPU and 1GB Ram. It has 8GB Internal Storage expandable up to 32GB. For the Operating System, it runs Windows 8.1 OS. This is probably the biggest factor to consider when buying the Luxe. I will make a more detailed review for the OS, but for now here are my thoughts of the OS on Luxe.

This is my first Windows phone and I can say I am very impressed with its responsiveness and simplicity. It has a no-gimmick, no shit approach. After unlocking the screen you get your Tile Screen which is customizable to your heart’s content. You can remove, add, replace, and resize tiles however you please. Swiping down from the top gets you to the notification and quick settings. Holding back gives you recent app list. And swiping to the right from the home screen takes you to an alphabetical list of all your apps. It’s very simple and easy to use.

cortana

One of the best features of Windows Phone is Cortana. Cortana is an assistant which you can use offline swatting Siri and Google Now out of the competition. Cortana may not be as extensive as Siri but at least it’s far better than Google Now offline or online. The only advantage Google Now has would be the hot word detection. Voice assistants are horrendous for Filipino-accented people like me but Cortana does way better than Google Now does.

os2

One of worst things about Windows Phone would probably be the Store. With the problems I had earlier, I thought hey, this will be solved easily by third party apps, let me go to the Store. To my surprise, it terribly lags behind Android and iOS and its search function is beyond crap. I searched for YouTube and there were a lot of apps which are questionable. I searched the net for reliable audio players and video players but all of them COSTS MONEY. Contradictory to what Alpha Luxe, hopefully, aims to do. Provide quality Windows experience on a budget.

os3

Using it as a phone is fine as call quality is ok both as a receiver and transmitter, though as a receiver, I did notice that when the one on the other line is speaking louder, there are some noticeable buzzes. Not much of a big deal, it’s just something I noticed (Maybe caused by the other phone). The keyboard is ok as it learns your words provided you register it 1 by 1. I would also like to point out that Microsoft 8.1 has easier integration to Microsoft Office like Lync and Outlook.

As far as actual performance go, despite carrying a relatively old hardware, Alpha Luxe is buttery smooth, seamless, responsive and fluid.

 

  1. Battery

 battery

Android and Cherry is probably the worst possible combination for battery life. Period. As for Windows, Alpha Luxe sports a 2000mah battery and it can pretty much last you through the day. As for me, it was able to last me one and a half day before reaching 10%. This may be due to my relatively low usage. Quite, good honestly.

 

Executive Summary

scores

CONS:

  • Bad build Quality, looks cheap
  • Bad Audio and Video Codec
  • Limited Apps (OS Problem)
  • Good Apps costs MONEY $$$
  • No Free Solution to codec problems
  • Distortions at Max Volume
  • Lags and stutter on HD Games and Videos

PROS:

  • Great for those who want to check out Windows Phone
  • CORTANA IS LOVE
  • Simplistic and Minimalistic UI
  • Extremely Loud
  • Expandable Storage
  • Good Camera
  • Good Viewing Angles
  • 720p HD Display
  • Windows is Fast and Responsive
  • Dragontrail Glass
  • Good Battery Life
  • CHEAP

At an SRP of almost P5, 000. Alpha Luxe kinds of feel like a mixed bag. On one hand, this is probably the best Windows Phone out there in the market at this price, on the other, there may be better options for you out there. For those who have been with the same OS for too long, a leap into Windows Phone maybe one of the most frustrating thing to do, especially if what you do on the other OS on a daily basis is missing in the phone. In contrast, it breathes a new life and opens your door to a new ecosystem with tons of other choices.

When is Alpha Luxe a good choice? Hmmm. I would say Alpha Luxe is a good buy for those who:

  • Want to try Windows Phone at a cheap price
  • Wants fast no-gimmick approach OS at a cheap price
  • Deafeningly loud music
  • Is ok with getting the basics done without much else.
  • Need Microsoft Office Integration (Outlook, Lync)

When is it a bad choice? For those who:

  • Needs various FREE third-party apps to get shit done
  • Are Heavy iOS/Android users (As the change maybe drastic)
  • Are YouTube streamers
  • Web Browsers
  • Heavy Gamers

Straight up, Alpha Luxe is not something to buy impulsively unless you have tons of cash to spend. I actually did not enjoy it on my first two days but I began to do some reading and found out that I may not be one of those who Microsoft targets as their audience. Cherry Mobile has done a great job in leaping into the Windows Market, I’m not sure if this is the first rebranded one but it is the only one I know. Alpha Luxe breathes a new leash of life to Cherry as continuous release of android smartphone indubitably saturates the market. It may also nab Cherry the Innovators of the year award in the first ever Norman3000 2014 Awards.

If you are looking for a good start for Windows Phone, be sure to check out Luxe’s faults before jumping the wagon, if the bad passes, it is one of the fastest, loudest phone out there!

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[1] http://www.androidauthority.com/whats-happening-samsung-545108/

Xiaomi Redmi – Are you Ready for Redmi?

Xiaomi Redmi – Are you Ready for Redmi?

 Xiaomi has been making a big name for itself during the past months. After the flash sale of Mi 3, which was a huge success, they released power banks which were said to sell out in seconds. Now, they gander at the cheaper market and released, what is looking out to be another star for budget consumers, Xiaomi Redmi.

Going under the wing of its older, very successful brother Mi3, does Xiaomi Redmi have enough to make it on its own, or will it forever be seen as a failed Xiaomi attempt on more budget-strict consumers? Read on and Find out!

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  1. Design and Build

 build

Xiaomi Redmi is probably one of the biggest 4.7 Inch phone out there as it is as big as a Nexus 5. Compact is not a word to be associated with it. The front is protected by Dragontrail Glass. It houses the legacy Menu-Home-Back capacitive touch layout, the front camera and the 4.7 Inch screen that has noticeably large bezels. One side both has the power button and volume rocker. The back has plastic matte cover and it houses the 8MP Camera and flash.

Overall, the device does not look expensive and fancy, but within its price range, Redmi, in terms of looks, has done a nice job. It is simple but solidly built and maybe the icing on the cake here is even though it is not a head turner, this is definitely not a cheap- generic looking phone.

 

  1. Display

disp

HD Displays have somewhat become a standard. As it has been going cheaper and cheaper as displays go further and further. Redmi has a 4.7 Inch HD 1280x720p display a plus one for this feat. Images, texts, icons, notifications look great as the smaller 4.7 screen helps to make it better. One thing I did notice is it fits more into the screen than other phones. As with its Mi 3 sibling, Redmi also has a highly reflective screen, it can also be used as a faux mirror, which translates into bad viewing angles and sunlight contrast. Its brightness is also an issue as it is on the low side. I always have it at maximum brightness to ensure I can see just fine.  I want to straighten it out that the Display is NOT BAD, I just think it could have been a bit better.

 

  1. Entertainment

multi

Functioning as a multimedia driver, Redmi is the one to beat. Loudspeaker maybe a bit weak considering the single line speaker at the back. Headphones attached, Redmi performs very well, clean audio output, good loudness and no noticeable distortion even at maximum volume.

For video playback, Redmi is an amazing performer. The highest I tested was a 2.5GB 1080p file and it played fine, though you will notice some stuttering. Stick to smaller 720p videos and you will be fine. Immediately install a 3rd party video player to remove any doubts of Redmi’s power. (MX Player)

For Gaming, what you pay is what you get, non-HD games play fine and smoothly, but push the hardware to further, and noticeable stutter, long loading times and lags are noticeable. Dead Trigger plays fine but go a little further, like NBA 2k14 and above, the aforementioned becomes more and more apparent.

Fortunately, Web Browsing and Streaming is an ok experience the Redmi

  1. Camera

 camera

Being a smartphone Camera enthusiast, I am a bit sceptical of the Redmi. The camera has basic features like panorama and filters, the interface kind of feels laggy as moving the camera shows noticeable lags and delay. Focusing also takes time. As for the quality, Surprise surprise! Redmi is an amazing performer! Colours are a bit truer unlike other phones which tend to saturate. Normal lighting conditions are great. And the front cam is quite respectable, I say a bit better than Mi 3. As with any other smartphone in the market, do not expect anything from low-light to no-light. Flash photography is fine on some situation, but for low to no light, picture quality is average at best.

IMG_20141026_063955 IMG_20141026_064033 IMG_20141026_064110 IMG_20141026_064205

  1. Software

software

Redmi is powered by a Quad-Core 1.6 GHz Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon Processor, an Adreno 305 GPU with 1GB Ram. It also comes with 8GB Internal Memory with 5GB useable and a memory card slot for expansion. For the price range, this is one hell of a deal. And with MIUI as its skin, you can be sure that it is very responsive. For those wondering what is MIUI, it is kind of a mock of Apple’s iOS. Personally, I’m not a fan of either but at least it’s not as laggy as former iterations of TouchWiz. The 1GB Ram is enough but if you are a heavy multi-tasker, this can fill up instantly, then you will notice some slowdowns.

Newcomers for MIUI will take about a minute or two to figure out what’s what. On startup, I did like that Redmi offers Swiftkey out of the box. Call quality is fine. Contacts and Stock SMS is also from Xiaomi so it maybe personal preference if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Data connection is good connecting up to H+, albeit this is location dependent.

software2

Redmi runs 4.3 Jellybean, no idea if it will receive KitKat but for those who like to tinker, Redmi has a page on xda forums which gives life to Redmi for the foreseeable future. Beat that Cherry and/or MyPhone!

 

  1. Battery

 batt

Battery life is a big deal breaker for anyone. Fortunately, Redmi delivers good to great battery life. With 2000mah Battery Life, Standby time is amazing and screen on-time will probably net you 2.5 Hours to 3 Hours. That is actually great considering its display and its price point Kudos to Xiaomi for going 2 for 2 with respect to battery life.

 

Executive Summary

scorsese

CONS:

  • Big Phone for a 4.7Inch Display
  • Big Bezels
  • No LTE Connectivity
  • Soft Loudspeakers
  • Bad Sunlight Contrast and viewing Angles
  • 1080p video playback stutter
  • HD Game stutter
  • Limited availability
  • 1GB Ram does not feel enough

PROS:

  • Good Build
  • Expandable Storage
  • Great Audio Headset Output
  • Good Camera
  • HD 720p Display
  • MIUI Feels fast
  • Web Browsing and YouTube Streaming is Good
  • Dragontrail Glass
  • Good Battery Life
  • CHEAP

conc

At an SRP of P5, 599. Xiaomi is poised to take home another chunk of Glory and take a good kick out of Philippine Rebranders. Functioning as a great daily driver with good battery life overrides looks and bezels every day of the week. The cons of unattractiveness may also be a pro due to this snatcher infested country.

Redmi, like its brother Mi 3, offers great performance especially looking at the price point. As budget-minded consumers look for the better value, Redmi is one to give it to them. There is only one other phone I can think of which can be compared to Xiaomi Redmi and it is none other than the Zenfone 5. A breakdown review is in the works so stay tuned for more!

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