Back in April I picked up the Oppo Find 5. A solidly built 5-inch Android phone with a 13 megapixel camera, large battery capacity, and high resolution screen. At first glance, it looks something like a model out of the Sony Xperia line with its clean, sleek look with bold lines and all glass face plate. This substantially large phone is out to impress with a big risk in carrying an unknown brand.
For a new player to launch this kind of offensive on the crowded smartphone market is more than brave, perhaps even foolish, but the Find 5 doesn’t seem to break a sweat on the challenge.
Comparing Oppo Find 5 with Samsung Galaxy S4. Thickness and weight seem pretty identical, so are the camera and screen quality. The Find 5 has a thicker chin though, so it’s taller and its lens’ depth of field is narrower but the S4 produces much sharper and more vivid photos.
So here are the six Oppo Find 5 photos that didn’t get uploaded yesterday. There’s a bunch of annoyances on the software side which takes points off from an otherwise great device.
Oh, and the camera isn’t impressive. Red tint galore when in relatively low light and the sensor produces photos inferior to the Galaxy SIII, which makes it even far more inferior than the Lumia 920. Although I think the SIII may have had a camera software upgrade over the past year. Photos from the SIII never looked so sharp before. Btw those photos of the Find 5 were taken using iPad mini.
Unboxing Oddo… I mean Oppo Find 5
I haven’t seen a packaging this well done and this stylish in a long time. Oppo might be considered a rookie in this space but the company certainly knows how to make a first impression. Haven’t played with the phone much but it does feel pretty decent to hold. Still, I can’t get over the fact that it’s just big. I mean it is a 5” phone. Huge. Taller but thinner and feels lighter than my Lumia 920. Good placement of the power and volume buttons. Not keen on the custom icons and theme though.
Will write a review in the next several days.[update] I have no idea why the other six photos failed to upload.
I’ve ditched the iPhone and picked up a bright Ferrari red Lumia 920. I’ve had three iPhones since 2008 and 2013 may well be the first in which I may not own one, at least not a working one. I’ve been using the original iPhone for three years until I left it in a cab early last year, which led me to get myself a used 3GS and later an iPhone 4. The latter of which I promptly left, also in a cab in August of that year, just three months after I bought it, so back to the 3GS I went before it kicked the bucket a few months ago.
The new search on Path 2.9 is an acceptable feature in lieu of actual periodical query, which may yet still be added. For people who treat Path as a personal blog, being able to search posts by month would be priceless.
If it had tags to categorize them, it’d be even better. And then we’d have Path as the ultimate mobile blog network, going head to head with Blogger and WordPress but for private audience. It might supplant Facebook for this purpose because I don’t think people use Facebook in this way even though its clearly capable of doing that.
I think my mind just exploded with ideas. – Read on Path.
Of all the phones that I’ve ever had to use, I’ve never had one anywhere near as large as the Samsung Galaxy S III. At 4.8 inches, the S III is the largest phone I’ve ever held in my hand, but it’s also the thinnest. The screen is simply enormous and it is quite a sight to behold. It is also very clear and very sharp. This new flagship phone from Samsung runs Google’s latest version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich, and comes in two colors which it calls Marble White and Pebble Blue. It officially retails for Rp 6,999,000 (USD 740).
I hardly ever use the telephone function on these so-called smartphones. As far as I’m concerned, these are data pads, mobile devices that take advantage of the high speed cellular connections for various Internet-reliant apps and services, and for this purpose, the S III simply screams. It’s clearly up there among the best, if not the best Android phone I’ve ever used.
The S III comes with several Samsung-exclusive apps and features including the S Beam, S Memo, S Planner, S Voice, Smart Stay, Direct Call, and an early beta version of Flipboard through the Samsung Store. Owners of the S III are entitled to receive 50GB of Dropbox storage for two years, which is double that of the offering from HTC.
The S Beam allows you to exchange files with other Samsung phones that carry this app by only bumping the phones together over a special wireless network that needs to be activated from the phone. Unfortunately at this moment this means the feature works only among S III phones.
The S Voice is Samsung’s answer to Siri. Voice recognition on this device is pretty decent but you’ll probably still find it faster to just type things out because it would sometimes dictate the words wrong, even if you don’t have a thick accent.
While S Planner and S Memo sound pretty explanatory, Smart Stay is one feature that Samsung seems to be very proud of. It lets the screen to remain bright and active by tracking your eyes through the camera. Unfortunately even though it does have a disclaimer that it needs a bright environment to perform properly, this is one feature that rarely works and therefore falls under the category of plain old gimmick.
Flipboard is an app that has become crucial to my daily routine. If older people are attached to their newspapers, Flipboard is what I read every morning and whenever there’s a free time and to have the app available from the Samsung Store is almost a godsend. To get Flipboard from the Samsung Store you’ll have to sign up for a Samsung account, but it seems that the exclusive period has ended and you can get the app by signing up for a beta program directly through Flipboard’s website.
If you already have a Dropbox account, you won’t need to sign up for a new one as the Dropbox entitlement will simply be added to your account. While the promo says 50GB, it’s actually 48GB on top of the standard free 2GB, so if you sign in to Dropbox from the S III with your existing account, you will have 48GB added to your account. In other words, if you already scored 16GB from the referral scheme, you will now have 64GB of Dropbox storage. Just remember that the extra 48GB will expire after two years.
On the hardware side, the rear camera captures videos at 1080p high definition and photos at eight megapixels, while the front camera produces two megapixel shots and VGA recording. Both cameras take really good photos, especially the rear camera which takes amazingly sharp and detailed photos. Due to the position of the front-facing camera, which is a little bit off center, video calls can look a little bit off in terms of angle. Facial recognition isn’t much to talk about, probably best ignored because it would fail half the time.
The battery on the S III is pretty decent. From a full charge, the phone would last for 10-12 hours with significant Internet use thanks to the 2100mAh battery capacity. If you rely more on WiFi, it would easily last longer. Given the capacity of the phone, I expected more out of it but since the screen is quite large, getting up to 12 hours with my regular usage pattern is perhaps reasonable.
The phone is very thin, quite light, and easy to carry although it feels plasticky and hollow. Somehow this seems to be a trademark of Samsung’s as the Galaxy S, the Galaxy Y, and even the Tab, all have that same feel.
In short, the Galaxy S III is clearly a phone that’s ahead of the pack. A lot of the Samsung-exclusive apps may be not much more than gimmicks but the device itself does the job very well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this phone on top of the Android line up, even ahead of the benchmark Galaxy Nexus.
On a personal level, this phone is a bit difficult to use due to its size. Having used to the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen and the N9’s 3.9-inch screen, going beyond 4 inches posed a lot of typing and usability issues. If you’re the kind of person who would use such a device with two hands, it might not be a problem but for those who are used to using smartphones one handed, anything beyond a 4-inch screen would require some palm acrobatics, or resort to using two hands.
Oh one last thing, the Motion feature set is certainly one that is worth checking out and what is probably my favorite Motion feature of the phone is the screenshot action. On other Samsung phones you press a combination of physical buttons to take a screenshot, but on the S III, you can swipe the side of your palm across the entire screen from one side to the other and it will capture it for you. It can be hit and miss from time to time due to your hand pressing too hard on the screen, but it’s certainly pretty cool.
Today Tumblr rolled out a completely rewritten iPhone app. Gone is the two panel interface replaced by a tabbed interface that’s becoming more and more common on recent iOS apps and at a glance would remind you of Instagram. The center tab is the primary activity tab for posting content with options to choose which Tumblr account to post it from.
The new app introduces post settings on the composition screen, accessible by swiping the screen to the right. While on the post settings page, swiping to the left takes you back to the composition page.
Due to the way iOS apps are traditionally designed, it’s very tempting to tap on the top left button on the screen where the back/return button is usually located, to go back to composing a post. You don’t want to do this as that position is used by a cancel button that thankfully prompts you with an option to save or clear the post instead of abandoning it outright.
On the settings page, Tumblr finally adds a custom tweet option so now tweets don’t need to come out looking like a mess.
Now that there’s a tab for Likes, you can look at all the posts that you’ve marked on Tumblr directly in the app without having to go to the website on a desktop, notebook, or tablet computer.
Tumblr now allows account creation right on the app as well as reading and replying to messages, recognizing the fact that having to go to the website to do all this is becoming tedious and that for a lot of people, the mobile device is the primary interface to the Internet.
Overall, the app is now much more comprehensive, more usable, and more practical with an interface that makes it easier for you to post more frequently to all the multiple Tumblr blogs that you may have.
Just about everybody’s linked to this epic review of Color on the US App Store by someone who goes by the name Ghostmoth and you’re more likely to have read it since it went up a few days ago.
What’s the fuss? The fact that the team behind Color got $41 million in seed funding from a number of investors while the app so far has caused nothing but confusion among its users. TechCrunch is clearly obsessed by the startup, they’ve devoted a week’s worth of coverage to it.
Here’s the link to Mike Cohen’s original post on his discovery of the review but if you’d rather read it in its full glory, here’s a screenshot of the entire description from the App Store on iTunes on my Flickr account.
Creative writing has reached another high this past weekend.
Being a web oriented writer, I don’t have too much to ask from a text app, just one that has a built in word and character counts and a simple interface. I don’t find the need for text formatting or all the other fancy stuff that many word processing apps offer. Most of the stuff I do don’t even warrant text formatting although there’s that thing with embedding links in text.
Apple’s Notes in iOS is as simple as it gets but it requires me to copy out the text and put it into Pastebot because it doesn’t have word count, which is important in what I do. Notes also uses Marker Felt which tries to look friendly but reminds me of Comic Sans too much.