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Posted on 6 December 2008 @ 3:01 am GMT+8

I’ve been wanting to get a Xbox360 set for sometime now. I’m not a hardcore gamer, but my 50″ HDTV isn’t getting much HD signals lately. After playing BluRay movies continuously for weeks during my last days of my previous workplace, I don’t have much HD media left. I want to rent Blu movies, but it just isn’t mainstream yet.

To top this all, I’m beginning to loose interest in PC gaming, mainly because of the demanding hardware it requires. I’m very particular about the frames-per-second and anti-aliasing. There are only a few games which I’ll play on my PC each year, and by the time I touch on my 3rd game, my graphics card isn’t fast enough. Each gfx card upgrade costs me enough to get 2-3 consoles!

Finally, I decided to hoot the Xbox360. I managed to get a used set from a friendly dude at 300 bucks. It’s a classic bundle set with 2 wireless controllers, 20GB HDD and 2 games (PGR3 and N3). Seldom used and in pristine condition. The seller threw in Fifa07 game too:

xbox360_avatar_box
Since it is an old set, it’s prone to the RROD failure. Manufactured in Dec ‘06, I still got 1 year till the warranty for this failure runs out.
I logged on to my free 1 month LIVE gold subscription. It was totally awesome. The connections was fuss free. You have the ability to talk to people you’re playing the game with, search and view each others profile on screen, chat with them (text/voice/video), download games and more. You basically have a belonging in a virtual world and have your own avatars (mine shown above).

Ok ok.. I’m a newbie at this now. I feel like a little high-tech kid again. 8) I instantly bought MS points online and puchased Super Street Fighter II HD Turbo. When such classic memories are concerned, there’s no thinking twice! This game is completely redrawn to suit today’s HD standards:

xbox360_screen
I also competed online in PGR3 (Project Gotham Racing 3), and my wife had a fun time with the arcade classic HeXic. I might consider signing up for a year’s subscription, depending on the time I have with this. I just awe at what Microsoft has done with this almost-perfect one-stop seamless entertainment :D



Posted on 4 December 2008 @ 3:00 am GMT+8

It’s yet another season whereby HTC releases another revolutionary product (it’s like every 6mths or so!) I’ve been known to change phone every 6mths, and here’s my view on whether I will stick to my current Touch Diamond or dump it for the new Touch HD:

touch_hd
I shall run through the major specs and do comparison with the Touch Diamond to gauge how good it’ll be:
Qualcomm 7201A processor @ 528MHz
Same as the Diamond. It’s not a CPU with exceptional speed. In fact, I find the Marvell (ex-Intel) chips faster at the same clock speeds. A speed boost compared to the Diamond isn’t expected here :unsure:

480 x 800 WVGA resolution
Widescreen is awesome, but HTC didn’t do a fantastic job on the Diamond on the graphics part. It’s better than the HTC Cruise of course, but it’s not like you have a dedicated graphics chip. So with the HD with more pixels to process, I doubt it’s gonna be any faster than the Diamond. The term ‘HD’ seems to be misleading. A Marvell 624Mhz processor with a ATI graphics chip would do nicely though.

ROM: 512 MB, RAM: 288 MB
More RAM the merrier. This would be a plus point. But frankly, the Diamond at 192MB RAM is sustainable pretty well, unless you run lots of programs simultaneously. More memory also allows programmers to create more memory hogging software :s

115 mm x 62.8 mm x 12 mm
OK, the Diamond is way smaller, but I would compare this size to the iPhone (115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3). It’s practically the same! You can clearly see that HTC took a few rounds to be close to being head on with the iPhone. I would love it if the Diamond’s screen is stretched to wide screen. Having an ultra large 3.8″ screen on the HD also means that the dot pitch is larger, thus not as crisp as the Diamond.

3.5mm audio jack
HTC actually went away from their proprietary ext-USB connector and used the more common 3.5mm instead. Now thats how close they are to iPhone. For me who already have earphone adapters based on the ext-USB, I don’t welcome this that much. Now I gotta hunt for an adapter/mic combo based on the 3.5mm if I were to get the HD (the 2.5mm is much more common as other PDA phones are using it)

5 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Come on.. when was the last time we had a PDA phone which takes respectable images? I remember the older PDA phones I had with 1.2MP, 2MP and now 3MP produce similar results. Higher resolution means it can capture bigger pictures, but the speed of taking pictures and the refresh rate on screen has always been terrible. Imagine 5MP…

1350 mAh
Erm, the Diamond with a 2.8″ screen lasts a day on 900mAh. You think the HD with a 3.8″ screen will last at least 2 days? I think it’ll struggle. There are many other devices in the market with at 1500mAh and smaller screens. The HD should have had at least that size.

Besides all these features, there is microSD card which provides expandability. For users running QVGA devices, it might be ok to upgrade. If you’re already on VGA, I suggest stick to it and wait for better stuffs from HTC (won’t be long, trust me). For users who have not used Windows mobile, I suggest to stay away from this device :P

Those on a budget, It would be wise to get the Diamond instead. It costs less than half the price of the HD! I decided to stay on with my Diamond untill HTC releases a WM7 product.
Here are some links on this device:
Official HTC page
PPCSG-> I’ve got my Touch HD
HTC Touch HD and HTC Touch 3G Preview
PDADB detailed spec
CnetAsia review



Posted on 30 November 2008 @ 2:58 am GMT+8

I visited Sitex2008 yesterday, not to buy anything in particular, but to check new tech stuffs going around in SG. The only thing I found interesting was Starhub’s new service, “Home Zone”. It’s a 3G femtocell service at home that allows you to use your 3G phone at home, while making use of your home broadband. Check out the illustration I got below:

femtocell_network
Starhub is offering this service for $15 (without GST) till 31st Dec, after which it will be $30. You can hook up 4 starhub 3G mobile users to the network, and they all can call out for free. This includes video calls and SMSes. It’s total freedom at home. The catch is of course, you’ll need to be on Starhub for mobile and broadband services. A device similar to the one below will be loaned for free too:

femtocell_access_point_1
Personally, as a business point of view, I really like the fact that Starhub is making full use of their strength : the cable network. They’re also monopolizing the market very well, as they get customers signed up under them for all their services. As a customer, I feel that this could be useful if 4 family members can be hooked up to this home network and also make use of video calls frequently. A land line is no longer necessary. This service was launched 3 days ago during Sitex. More info on this here.



Posted on 13 November 2008 @ 2:41 am GMT+8

Based on the previous 8800 Arte, this device uses new exotic materials like carbon fiber, polished glass, titanium and stainless steel. There’s also a 4GB built-in flash memory inside.

nokia_arte
Oh wait, it costs S$2088. For PDA-phone geeks like me, a price tag like that on a phone like that just doesn’t make sense. I can buy 3 HTC Diamonds with that or 2 Touch Pros, and those will satisfy my thirst. Anyways, for a first take and more pictures, check out CnetAsia.



Posted on 11 November 2008 @ 1:23 am GMT+8

Calling all car lovers. Here’s a latest writeup on the Audi TTS Roadster 2.0 Quattro by Car Reviews. Coincidentally, I happened to see baby being compared side by side with a BMW Z4 earlier on Discovery Turbo, so it’s pretty fresh in my head.

“Everything about the car feels just right, from its turn in response to its steering weighting. Its brakes are truly powerful and confidence inspiring, yet friendly to use at low speeds.

Its automatic roof is one touch affair and goes up and down in 12 seconds flat. More impressively, it operates smoothly and noiselessly.”

Check out this mini-review here.





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