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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the 9th and 10th of September I’ll be in Queenstown then Invercargill, giving a presentation on business, software and hospitality. It’ll be some of my thoughts and ideas on how to make life easier as a business owner.
Also joining me will be Christian Newman from Xero, talking about what’s new and improved in Xero. Finally, Jamie Cross from Rightway talking about accounting and business.
Will be an action packed presentation, and I promise you’ll learn something. Hope you can make it out.
Thanks to our sponsors ASB for putting this on.
A week ago today, I was up in Singapore for the South Pacific region launch of Huawei’s new flagship smartphone, the Huawei P8. There were 15 of us in total in the media group, with a mix of journalists from the main outlets and a few well known identities from NZ’s Twitter tech space.
Huawei aren’t known for their top of the line smartphones, and this phone was designed to change all that. I’ve been using the P8 for a week now, and I’m a fan.
It is a beautiful phone. Manufactured from one piece of aluminium, it has a 5.2” screen (supposedly the biggest screen-to-body ratio in its class at 71.4%), running 1080x1920. It supports two SIM cards, with the second SIM port doubling as the microSD port. On-board storage is 16GB, with 3GB of RAM. Battery is good size at 2680 mAh. The packaging is amazing and is well engineered with the phone placed on its side rather than on its back.
It runs Android Lollipop, with Huawei making modifications to the interface. After being with a Samsung phone for so long, I don’t mind the changes. One big feature is the power consumption warnings which tell you when an app(s) is using too much power, and I’m finding the battery life is incredible because of this. I do miss having the hardware button in the bottom centre, but you can customise the software buttons and their ordering, exactly to your preferences.
The camera is flush with the back of the phone (it makes a big difference) and is a respectable 13MP, with the front facing one being 5MP. The image stabilisation works very well, and it takes great low light photos if you have a steady hand or a tripod at the ready. Director mode allows you to record video from the phone as well as up to three other P8 phones or other Android devices using WiFi direct. It also has a variety of long exposure features which make are a little gimmicky but would be load of fun with the kids.
That’s all the good stuff, but what are the negatives? I find the aluminium slippery to hold and probably need a case to prevent an accidental drop. The second SIM is a nice feature, but with only 16GB on board, I’m using it for my SD card, meaning I can’t use it for overseas for a local SIM. Some will find the lower res screen and lack of 4K support deal breakers, but the resolution of the phone is more than sufficient for me.
At the event, Huawei announced 160 collection points across the six countries in the South Pacific (free pickup/delivery to them) as well as two free protective screen replacements within the first 12 months should you require them. That should keep the social media sphere happy.
Huawei are investing a lot in this region. Their marketing spend in 2015 will be 67% higher than the previous year (aiming for 113% in 2019) – this was shown with their big presences at the major airports, retail and sponsorship of some well-known sports teams, mainly in Australia. To keep up, their workforce is exploding to a massive 1,417 people this year, compared with 155 in just 2013.
Launching here in NZ in July, it’ll be available through Spark, 2Degrees and other various outlets. NZ pricing wasn’t announced, however in Singapore it launched at $699, a steal when compared to the existing incumbents.
On a side note, I also had a chance to get my hands on the new Huawei watch and sports band, which should give the Moto 360 and the LG Watch R some good competition.
3 News presenter Emma Brannam was also on the trip with us, her report is available here.
My thanks to Huawei for their hospitality and inviting me on this trip.
Disclaimer: My flights, accommodation and other travel expenses were all covered by Huawei, as well as I received a Huawei P8 to keep.