Friday, December 12, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 6 - My Final Week

Times flies when you enjoying. This is pretty true with my time and Samsung Curved TV. It has been 6 weeks since the beauty came into my life and living room.

I have to say my impression of the Curved TV did changed for the better. I used to think that Curved TV is just a gimmick to make a TV set more attractive. However, other than the appearance, it does overall enhance the TV viewing experience.

Firstly, the TV was designed to be visually appealing with a “3D” effect to “pop up” out of the living room. The Curved TV was designed to follow the natural curvature of a human eye which is able to lead to less fatigue of the eyes, at the same time to reduce light reflection and interference.

Secondly, it is able to provide a 3D impact without the use of 3D glasses, enhancing the viewing experience. Samsung uses Auto Depth Enhancer technology to provide life-like, multi-dimensional images. It is able to apply different levels of contrast enhancement on different content areas, hence giving a greater feeling of depth.

Thirdly, The TV is SMART. With a wide array of content (applications), it is able to work like a smartphone with applications. Using a SAMSUNG mobile phone, you are able to do screen mirroring and at the same time control the TV as a remote control. There is a multi-link screen where you are able to multi task surfing the internet while watching TV programs. There is even a soccer mode to enhance watching a soccer match, bringing you to stadium-like feel!

For the past 6 weeks, our family and friends had enjoyed the TV. One of my neighbor went to buy a Samsung Curved TV last week after testing the TV. I think for my next TV purchase, I will definitely look at a Curved TV instead of a normal flat screen TV!

Thank you Samsung for providing this TV viewing changing experience!

A "Going to miss the TV" Polarbear

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 5

This is my 5th week with the Samsung Curved TV! So after using the TV for 5 weeks, did it change the way how I used to view a TV? Yes it did! The Curved TV set does not only act as a normal TV but it does much more than that only.

With the Curved TV, when I have a group of friends coming over for a visit, now all can be seated around the TV, and still be able to watch the TV program clearly, as compared to a normal flat TV. This is good when doing a private movie screening or a karaoke session with friends. We used to share our holiday photos using a laptop or a phone, however with the TV, we can link it with our phone and display the photos on the TV screen for everyone to see.

My wife and I used to watch our online shows using tablet or phone. Now with SMART TV, we make use of the Internet feature, we would watch online show on the big screen together. This would enable us to spend some together time in front of the TV.

With the SMART remote control, controlling the TV is simple. My 7 year old nephew is able to turn on the TV and move around the different features of the TV after I showed him how to do it once. Just point, wave and click! It is that easy!

I have to say, I will sorely miss the TV when I have to return it. I will miss the big curved screen sitting on top of my TV console being the center of attention in my living room. Till now, everyone will first see the TV when they step into my living room. I will miss how the TV is able to connect all other devices together and able to control using the same SMART remote control. I will miss how I am able to have a clear view of the TV wherever I sit on my sofa.

Guess that now my wife is convinced that my living room is able to hold a 65” Curved TV but then my next step is I have to win this TV. May luck be on my side. Hee….

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 4 - 3D Feature

This is my 4th week with Samsung curved TV and so far loving every single moment of it. Ever heard of seeing a 3D impact without the use of 3D glasses? Seems like the curved TV is able to so.

The curved screen is able to provide a panoramic view that wraps around the viewer and draws the viewer into the picture. Samsung uses an Auto Depth Enhancer technology that brings the image alive! It gives a greater feeling of depth by applying different levels of contrast enhancement on different content areas.

How does the Auto Depth Enhancer technology works? It splits each frame into multiple areas by analyzing the similarity of brightness and color histogram, and automatically optimizes and contrasts to add greater depth to the images.

There are also 3D function, with the use of 3D glasses and this is best experienced via Blu-ray DVD film and HD film. Personally, I enjoyed the 3D effect on animation movies. It literally made the characters to pop out of the screen!

Samsung Stylish 3D Glasses

However, 1 thing I find it disappointing is the 3D glasses are not passive, hence they need to be powered by batteries and there is a switch to connect the glasses with the TV before use. Hence I still preferred those cinema 3D glasses which is just wear and use.

Come to think of it, I do not use 3D glasses at home as I do not watch programs in 3D. How many of you do you actually uses the 3D function at home?

A "Thinking of ways to use the 3D glasses" Polarbear

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 3 - SMART TV Features

Samsung Curved TV is not only a TV but a SMART TV.  In my third week, I decided to explore what else the TV can do other than showing TV programs.

Using the SMART Control (The unique egg shaped remote control), I easily navigate through contents and features, using the motion recognition technology and enhanced sensitivity on the touchpad.  After browsing through, I must say I am really impressed with the SMART features!

These are my personal TOP 5 SMART features:

1. Multi-Link Screen

Did it ever happen to you that you are watching TV and surfing on your iPad watching You Tube at the same time or someone wanted to watch another program at the same time? Samsung now got the perfect solution to this! Multi-Link Screen. Now I can watch my program and google something that I have just watched or watch a trailer on You Tube. You can also show 2 programs at the same time and use Bluetooth headset to listen to your own program.

2. Universal Remote Set Up

How many remote controls do you have lying around the TV now? I have at least three remote controls, one for TV, one for Set Up Box and one for Sound Bar. It tends to get very troublesome when I need to reach each of the control for specific action. With Samsung Universal Remote Set Up, you can link all the remote control into the Samsung SMART remote control. Just like Lord of The Rings, 1 remote control to rule them all! I loved this! Not the mention that the set-up is automated!

3. Wide Array Of Content

Before this trial, I am using another brand of TV and I am disappointed with the SMART content they are providing. Not with Samsung, they have a wide range of both popular applications (eg You Tube) and local content applications (eg Toggle, 4D, TOTO). The Samsung TV can be also connected via VPN to watch overseas streaming shows (eg NetFlix).

4. Screen Mirroring

If you are using Samsung Galaxy phone, you can connect the phone with the TV via Screen Mirroring. This allows you to show whatever you are showing on your phone. This is useful when you are sharing your travel photos with your friends in a gathering!

5. Remote Management

This is the first time I heard of using remote management for troubleshooting of TV and I hope I do not need to use this! Touch wood! From my understanding, Samsung Customer Support is able to remotely access the TV to check on the issues if required, provided the TV is also connected to internet. How cool is that?

So which is the SMART feature that impressed you the most?

A "Too many SMART Features to use" Polarbear

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 2 - Why Curved is Better?

I used to think that a flat screen TV and a curved screen TV would make no difference in a small living room. After all, the only place I know to have curved screens are cinema screens.

Samsung curved screen actually follows natural curvature with the eyes, hence the TV will have the same viewing angle throughout the whole screen and thus bringing less fatigue to the eyes.

The special figure calculated for the TV screen optimal curvature is 4200R (radius). Why 4200R? This was calculated based on a distance of 3 to 4m watching distance, 4200 radius can deliver the best immersion to the viewer. So is this true? My sofa is 3m away from the TV and I do not find the screen or the picture too overwhelming to watch. Even my wife does agree with me on this!

However after using the Samsung Curved TV for a week, I have to say that the curved screen had elevated my viewing experience to another new level. It drew me into the program that I was watching because it provided a panoramic view which wrapped me in. The curvature actually minimizes the distortion that occurs from the difference of the viewing angle between the viewer’s eyes and the flat screen TV.

Top to Bottom: Left view, Centre View, Right View
See any difference?

So now I am one more step closer to getting my wife to agree why 65” Samsung Curved TV is the right TV for our living room! Another 4 more weeks to fully convince her!

A "Curved is Better" Polarbear

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Samsung Curved TV (65H8000) Review - Week 1

I was excited when I found out that I was selected for the Samsung Curved TV Leader Facebook Contest. It is not any normal TV but Samsung Curved TV (UA65H8000AK). My main aim is to convince my wife that we can fit a 65” TV comfortably in our living room, at the same time, enhance our viewing pleasure.

The excitement starts when the TV was delivered! Look what difference does it made to my living room once installed! My 55” TV instantly turns into a miniature TV with the 65” TV placed in front. It is really love at first sight! Even my wife admitted that 65” TV sits nicely on our TV console. In short, she agrees that the 65” TV fits in the living room!

Look! Even the TV is asking if I am ready!

The installation of the TV, by the delivery guys, is simple. The TV was removed from the box, screwed the Aero stand to the bottom of TV, hook the TV up to the set-up box, power on the TV and BOOM! The set-up is done.

So what is so special about the Aero stand? It is a strategic T-shaped stand attached to the back panel of the TV which helps to maintain the simple form of the TV and provided a lightweight feel.

My first impression of the Samsung curved TV is WOW! The Aero Curved design of the TV is simply visually stunning. It gives a three dimensional effect (due to the curve) that is aesthetically beautiful at any angle. When not in use, the TV is like a stylish art piece in my living room. I can just look at it all day long! Even the remote control is designed in a form of a curved ward, different from those normal long remote control.

After using the TV for the past few days, I am getting used to the new TV, with all the new functions to explore. My family members and neighbours are all impressed with the Samsung 65” as well! Looking forward to spending more time with the new TV in the coming weeks!

This post is made as part of the Samsung Curved TV Opinion Leader Facebook Contest. Please note that all opinions expressed here are of the writer's and do not represent Samsung.

A "New Curved TV to watch" Polarbear

Monday, November 03, 2014

Should I upgrade from Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to Note 4?

I have been using Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for the past year and I am very happy with the phone. Hence when Samsung Galaxy Note 4 came out, I asked myself: “Should I upgrade from Note 3 to Note 4?”. Hmm….

After testing the phone for a week, below are my five reasons why I should upgrade to Note 4.
1. The Display ScreenBoth uses Super AMOLED touchscreen (16M colors). However Note 4 has approximate 515 ppi pixel density which is higher than Note 3 approximate 386 ppi pixel density. When both are placed side by side, to me, Note 4 does display the small details better compared to Note 3. I am always a fan of the Super AMOLED touchscreen. It just makes the picture comes alive and looks as if it is popping out of the phone!
Note 4’s screen has a curved glass designed as compared to Note 3’s flat screen design. With the curved glass display, it does elevate its appearance overall and makes it looks classier as well. The minor issue here is there is a small gap around the edge of the display and dirt might get trapped there easily.
2. The CameraNote 4’s camera comes with an upgrade from 13MP to 16MP and it comes with optical image stabilisation so say bye bye to blur pictures.
The front camera also was upgraded from 2MP to 3.7MP. For selfie lovers, it allows you to take up to a 120 degree selfie photo! This is fantastic for a group photo at arm length, if you do not have a selfie stick at hand. There is a new way to take a selfie as well! Remember how difficult it would be to try to reach for the capture button while doing a selfie. Now you can just place your finger over the heart monitor, below the main camera, and release it when you are ready for the selfie! Wala, your selfie will be automatically taken once your finger is off the heart rate monitor.
3. Larger Battery, Longer Battery LifeIn Note 4, the battery is upgraded to from 3200mAh to 3220mAh. The initial thought is how the new battery going to sustain with the upgraded new display screen. I was surprised that the phone still managed to last at least for 2 days for normal usage. Seems like the new battery is powerful enough to power the new chipset and the new display screen.
4. The Fingerprint SensorThis is a new feature added in, maybe to match with Apple Touch ID. There are 4 features that the fingerprint can be used: Fingerprint lock, Web sign-in, Verify Samsung Account and Pay with Paypal. I tried using the Fingerprint lock. During registration  it would require 10 scan of fingerprint of different area of the finger as well. Hence it makes the fingerprint to be recognised easier when different areas of the finger is used for scanning.
5. The Redesigned S PenFor Note 3, I tried to use the S Pen to take notes on the phone, but the smooth surface and slim body prevented me to have a good grip of the pen. Samsung have redesigned the S Pen for Note 4. They added ridges on the body of the pen and this makes the pen easier to grip for writing and other task.
Of course, there are other new additional functions and enhancement like heart rate monitor (below the main camera), new notification appearance (easier to navigate) etc.
No phone is prefect though. For me, Note 4 does have 2 points to improve on.
1. Use of micro USB 2.0 instead of micro USB 3.0 used in Note 3 – Why? I also do not understand the change, after all micro USB 3.0 does have a faster transfer speed right?
2. Lack of IP67 certified (dust and water resistant) – If this is included, this phone would be prefect. Maybe this is will be included in Note 5 instead.
After all this, I have decided to still go ahead and make the upgrade from Note 3 to Note 4. I have made a reservation on Note 4 already. So would you have made the change from Note 3 to note 4?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Experience with Windows Phone (Nokia Lumia 930) and Tablet (Lenovo ThinkPad 8)

Recently I have my first experience with Windows phone and tablet. All along, I have been a user of iOS and Android phones. So I think to myself, how difficult was it to use a Windows phone or tablet?

Nokia Lumia 930

I started with Nokia Lumia 930. The first impression of the phone is it looks bulky. A quick check on the weight of the phone it is in fact 1 gram lighter than the Samsung Note 3 that I am currently using. However, the Nokia phone does feel heavier. A quick comparison on the specifications, it is slightly lower the other popular phones out in the market. For the detailed specifications of the phone, you can click here.

After using the phone for 1 week, the 3 things that I like about the phone is

1. 20 MP camera with dual LED flash – The top photo taken with Nokia Lumia 930 and bottom photo was taken with Samsung Note 3 under the same lighting conditions. I do find the photo taken with the Nokia Lumia phone turns out with brighter color and the small details are captured clearer as compared to the other picture. With such a powerful back camera, how come the secondary (Front) camera is only equipped with a 1.2 MP camera?

2. The 5” display – It is not too big (as compared to 5.5”) but not too small (as compared to 4.7”). To me, a 5” display is just right.

3. Wireless Charging – Even though, I did not manage to test this out (the test set did not come with the charge plate), but I find that able to charge without using USB cables is a must.

However, the phone did not really match up with the current smartphones in the market as compared to the battery life , processor and not to mention the 1.2 MP front camera. Personally, I think Nokia still have a lot of catch up to do in the smartphone department.

      Lenovo ThinkPad 8

I also tested Lenovo ThinkPad 8 during the same week. For tablet, I am currently using is an iPad and I am happy with one with no intention to replace it anytime.

      Upon holding the tablet in my hand, I am surprised to see how I can hold the tablet comfortably using on hand. Once powered on, the set up was pretty much like the Nokia phone since it is Windows based. How good the tablet is pretty much depends on Windows 8.1 which I will touch on it later. 

      For full specifications of the tablet, please click here
      To me, the tablet is not a laptop replacement but it is good enough for someone who likes to use a tablet to watch shows and clear emails.  I will stick to my iPad for the moment,

      Windows 8 Experience

      I upgraded to Windows 8 from Window XP and I was in for a shock! Microsoft have changed almost everything. I felt like a fish out of water when I first used Windows 8 software. 
      Like iOS or Android, I would need to create a Microsoft account and this will sync with all Windows devices that I am using. Then I started exploring around and it does bring me back to the time that I first used a Windows computer. Where is the Start button for a start? How do I go to the Desktop? So many questions to be answered. However, it is like cycling, even you just got on a bicycle after a very long break, you will get to cycle like how you used to in no time.

      The Windows App store is still as not as popular as iTunes or Play Store but I am able to find all the common and more popular apps in the Windows App Store so not much of an issue for me.
      In short, I do not like the direction that Windows 8 is going and hope that the next upgrade or "Window 9" (Rumour that they are bringing back the Start Button).

      So what is your take on Windows based devices and software? 

      For me, I will still be sticking to what I am using now and using Windows 8 for my laptop.

      A "Confused by Windows" Polarbear

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Testing Sony Xperia Z2 in water!

I brought Sony Xperia Z2 for a swim today since it is supposed to be waterproof and able to be submerged in water up to 1.5m deep.

This is my first time using a Sony phone and I am surprised that it is quite a good phone with a lot features much better than other phones in the market now.

To test if the phone can withstand water, I decided to test it in 2 different scenarios.

Warning: Before the phone is ready to have any contact with water, you have to ensure that all slots are covered up, as stated in the manual.

First Scenario: Running tap test.

When the water is splashing on the screen, I find myself unable to unlock the screen. It seems like the phone is also able to defect the running water as "touch". After removing it from the running water, wipe it dry, the phone is as good as new. So the phone is confirmed waterproof! Hee...

Second Scenario: Swimming pool test

Below is a video that I took while I was in testing the phone in the pool.

I have to say I am really impressed by it. The video taken was very clear, taken with 4K mode.

The only thing I found irritating was I was unable to unlock the phone and select camera or video mode when the phone was in the water. I need to surface and select the camera / video mode before I dive in again. Even then, it seems that the touchscreen is able to sense the water and lock the phone up. The phone has to enter the water very smoothly (slowly) and use the camera button to take pictures or video.

I did not have the time to bring this phone to the beach and try if the phone is able to withstand salt water.

Overall, I am impressed with this phone, especially the waterproof feature,I think it will be of great help to those careless people who accidentally like dropped their phone into water. Hee....

Thanks to Starhub Community for the loan phone set.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SmartSupport - StarHub's Latest Value-Added Service

StarHub recently launched their latest value-added service called Smart Support.

So what is SmartSupport all about?

SmartSupport provides the following:

1. Technical Support
2. Data Protection
3. Device Replacement

You can read more information from this link.

After using the service for a month, so what I love about it?

1. Easy to use - No set up is required. Just need to download the Smart Support App, available from both Apple App Store or Android Play Store. Start the app, set up an account and the app will start the rest on its own.

2. The Auto Back-Up Function of the phone's contacts, photos and videos. The back-up is saved in a secure cloud which can be easily retrieved from the Smart Support Website. Who still sync and does back up of their phone to their PC in these days? Please note that only the phone's information is back up, not those information saved in the SD card.

3. There is a Locate function, for this who always misplaces their phone. Once logged into the Smart Support, you can see the last location of the phone, or you can activate an alarm from the phone. The alarm can be sound even the phone is set on silent mode. If there is not access to internet, you can call the Technical Support hot-line to activate the alarm.

4. Device replacement for lost phone within a certain time frame. This is good for those who always seems to lose their phone. The service allows up to 2 phone replacement in a year. However there is a fee for the phone replacement.

So what do I find this service not attractive?

1. The monthly subscription can be confusing. There is SmartSupport Plus and SmartSupport Basic and it is price differently depending on the phone model. You can only subscribe to this service at the point of purchase. Once you walk out of the shop with the new phone, you will not be allowed to subscribe to this service.

2. With free apps providing anti-virus protection and back up services, this might not appeal to experienced users, especially those who do not lose their phones.

I think SmartSupport value-added service can be offered as a trial or time-limited free service to new subscribers and those who reconstruct their phone lines. So they can try the value-added service on their own, and determine if they like to continue to use the service.

So are you using the StarHub's SmartSupport service now? What are your thoughts on it?