Is the Nexus 6P the perfect Android phone?

, posted: 17-Jan-2016 13:18

Continuing on in my Huawei fanboyism (last blog post was about the Huawei G8), I couldn’t help but also review the Nexus 6P, which seems to have been crowned the best Android phone on the market right now.  Much to my surprise, all the online reviews I read raved about this phone, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

huawei-nexus-6p-screenshot

First thing you notice about this phone: it’s big.  At 5.7” it’s definitely a phablet, and a smidgen bigger than the iPhone 6s Plus (5.5”). Screen is AMOLED, protected by Gorilla Glass 4, with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 (518 ppi).  Unlike Huawei’s other phones, this one runs pure Android (Marshmellow).  Processor is a quad-core 1.55 Ghz Cortex-A53 with 3GB RAM.  Camera is 12.3MP, and powering the show is a massive 3,450mAh battery.

Boring specs out of the way, what’s the good stuff this phone has to offer?

Speed. Coming from Samsung’s TouchWiz and Huawei’s Emotion UI, the pure Android experience is dreamy.  Camera opens quickly, swapping between apps is quick, and turning WiFI, mobile data and any of the other features on and off is quick.  If you switch developer options on, you can make the animations even shorter.

Camera. Best camera I’ve ever used, especially in low light. This photo I took at New Years, and even after I’d had a beer or six, it’s pretty clear.

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One annoying feature of the camera is if you swipe right to turn on the camera, after you finish recording a video, the phone takes you back to photo mode. 

Finger print reader. This is located on the back centre just under the camera.  It’s pretty quick to respond, and its much better than typing in a pin or swiping a pattern to unlock your phone.  You can also setup smart unlock, which means the phone won’t require a finger print if you’re at the office or at home.

Power. This phone doesn’t have your stock standard micro USB, but has an USB Type-C connector.  At the moment, this is a double edged sword: on one hand, you can get up to seven hours of use after 10 minutes of charge (haven’t test this yet, though it’s all over their marketing collateral).  The downside is because it’s not so common, if you forget your charger, you’re not going to be able to find someone who has a spare.

Capture

There must be some bad stuff: You can’t remove the battery, and you can’t add a memory card to get more storage.  Some reviews have talked about not liking the protruding camera on the back (I don’t think it’s much of an issue) and the fact it doesn’t support wireless charging.

All in all, I think this is the perfect Android phone.  The formula that’s been a success if a good form factor, speedy hardware with a big battery, paired with pure, no frills Android.

I liked it so much that I bought my own 64GB version the day I returned the review unit back to Huawei.

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No more phone reviews after this I promise.



Review: Huawei G8

, posted: 27-Dec-2015 17:01

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that dropping and thereby smashing your smartphone screen is not a smart move; this, however, is what I did with my Huawei P8 that I received at the Singapore launch back in June this year.  The Huawei free screen repair really saved my bacon, and after sweet talking their PR department, I was able to try a new G8 while my phone was in the shop.

IMG_20151227_161739

When pictured next to my P8 (left), the G8 doesn’t seem much bigger, but it definitely is.  Sporting a 5.5 inch full HD screen, pixel density of 401ppi, it’s a crisp, clear screen.  The screen sort of curves up from the chassis of the phone, which I don’t personally like; I prefer the much more flush design of the P8.

It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop which Huawei’s Emotion UI sitting on top.  Reading a few of the other online reviews, I can see a lot of angst against this, however, I’m very comfortable with this, though it took a lot of getting used to having been in TouchWiz (Samsung) for so long.

On the back is a fingerprint reader, which at first glance seems to be a silly place to put (Nexus 5 users would obviously disagree), however it’s naturally where your index finger goes when picking up the phone.  The reader is super quick, and super accurate – trying it on a few friends, their were no false positive reads.

IMG_20151227_161810

Great battery life (3000mAh) and the power saving functions of Emotion UI means I was easily able to get a full day’s use.  I did find that the phone would slow down when lots of apps were in use, however it’s unfair to expect the G8 to perform similarily to the top end phones.

Price point is fantastic.  At $575 from Noel Leeming, it’s only a little smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, but nearly half the price. 

For the average Android user, this is the perfect first foray into a phablet.  Not sure if I’ll be happy going back to my smaller P8.



Review: Huawei watch

, posted: 23-Dec-2015 16:13

For the last two weeks I’ve been using the Huawei watch, my first foray into the smartwatch arena (I don’t even wear a watch normally).  For my first experience with a smartwatch, I’ve been pretty impressed and would happily return to wearing a watch every day.

Huawei Consumer Business Group Watch

The watch definitely is on the larger size, featuring a 3.6mm AMOLED display.  With a stainless steel body and a sapphire crystal watch face, I’m confident it could put up with the wear and tear of every day use.  Definitely not a ladies watch, it didn’t look oversized on my wrist, however I’m a big guy.

IMG_20151217_115358

The watch I received had the stock standard leather watch, and if I was buying this for myself, I’d definitely go for a metal band (personal preference).  It does have stock standard watch pins, so you could add your own favourite, non-Huawei supplied band.

It comes with 40 different watch faces, which when paired with Android wear on your smartphone, you can quickly and easily change.

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The alerts are a nice touch, especially when in a meeting or driving; a quick glance at your wrist and you can see an email or text message.  You can also reply from the watch by tapping on the face, and using Google Now, your speech is transcribed and sent as a reply.

One of the big features is the power saving mode.  Even with the watch in it’s lower power mode, I can still see the time, which is, surprisingly, a big feature for a watch.

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There’s no product that’s perfect so I did have a few gripes with the watch.  Firstly, I could really only get two days of use out of it (although fellow blogger Bill Bennett could get three days).  Secondly, even with it’s magneting charging base, I could still put the watch on wrong and it wouldn’t charge.  Having a standard micro-USB port on the watch would mean you could charge it when away from home.

I was a little anxious wearing this watch at the movies (nothing more annoying than a smartphone glow from other patrons), but it does have a theatre mode which switches the screen off completely; a quick tap on the crown turns the screen back on.

To finish up, the feature I like the most about this smart watch is it looks just like a regular watch.  While I was wearing it in meetings and at a few bars, no-one noticed it until an alert would popup on the screen.  I think the key to mainstream adoption of this technology is hiding all the complexity behind a simple watch face.

My thanks to Huawei NZ for providing this unit for review.



What does your vehicle cost to run?

, posted: 10-Nov-2015 14:25

Through one of our subsidiaries, BestCar, we’ve just help launch a total cost of ownership tool on the new EECA business website.  It allows you make decisions on what car to purchase not solely based on the purchase price, but on what the vehicle will cost to run over the term (years) and distance (KMs) you’ll be keeping it for.

You can filter by the fuel type, purchase price, size of car, brand, drive and transmission.  With over 600 brand new cars in the database, nearly every brand new car on the market in NZ is covered.

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For each comparison, an electric vehicle or hybrid is also selected, so you can see that in some instances, an EV makes for a compelling case.

Once the calculations are done, the comparison is shown on screen and can be downloaded as a PDF

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There are approximately 60 different pieces of data that go into the calculations, to give the complete total cost of ownership.  There’s a fair amount of computing power that goes into generating the calculations, and we’re very proud of what our dev team (and our partners Optifleet) have been able to accomplish.

I encourage you to try the tool out.



LG’s 4K Ultra HD OLED TV

, posted: 23-Oct-2015 11:55

Yesterday morning I attended LG’s demo and announcement of their new HD OLED TV (with Ultra 4K HD). We were given a demonstration of the top 65” model (65EG960T) and the smaller 55” model (55EG960T).

TL;DR: the panel is outstanding.

initial-tv-shot

The TV has a slight curve in it, which I didn’t like initially. On a closer inspection, it’s not as ridiculously curved as the Samsung TVs and actually looks good. My one concern would be if it looks silly mounted to the wall. I think it’s best suited to sitting on top of a cabinet.

There is some pretty impressive technology behind the scenes, some of which is powered by the OLED patents LG bought from Kodak back in 2009. The TV has the ability to turn each individual pixel on and off creating a true perfect black, and an “infinite” contract ratio. Add to this each sub-pixel is self-lighting, and a response time of 0.002ms means fast, action scenes come through clear and with minimal blur.

One of the big features for me is the TVs operating system: webOS 2.0. The remote has a pointer that works similar to the old school Wii remote. A quick shake of the remote wakes it up, and you can easily point and click to what you want the TV to do (change inputs, play Netflix, use the browser etc). The fact you can mix and match inputs (which you can label and change icons for), and other TV functions all together in the initial menu that appears makes this a very attractive TV for the less technologically advanced user.

webos

Some may say the lack of easily available 4K content makes this TV probably overkill, which I agree with. We were shown three movie trailers of varying things, and all looks clear, crisp and brilliant: everything you want when spending a fair chunk of change on a new panel.

The biggest kudos for this TV was in my discussions to a few of the technical guys from Park Road Post (Peter Jackson’s movie post production facility) where the event was held. These experts live and breathe HD. When asked whether they’d purchase one of these TVs for home, they would. If it suits someone so high up in the industry, you can be guaranteed that us mere muggles will find it more than satisfactory.

The TV is available for purchase through a few select retailers from today: the 65” RRP is $11,999 and the 55” is $7,999. Time to buy that lotto ticket.



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I'm Nate Dunn, and I work for 3Bit, own Tuihana Cafe, and am a moderator here at Geekzone.

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The views and opinions represented on this blog are personal and belong solely to the blogger and do not represent in anyway those of 3Bit Solutions Limited or any other company.


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