Samsung Chromebook Hands-On!

Google is known for venturing into any and every tech related field they can, from the web to mobile to even food somehow. A couple of years back, they decided to one up they’re chrome browser and create Chrome OS, an operating system that was basically the browser. Fast forward some time, chrome os has become much more advanced than before all while sticking to it’s clear reasoning, to be a web based operating system, with everything moving to “the cloud,” why have a heavy, expensive Windows or Mac operating system acting as a middleman? Why not just have the browser be the OS? At it’s inception chrome wasn’t really much, it was missing quite a bit of it’s features and basically wasn’t that appealing. Now though, with the second generation of Chromebook laptops in our hands, there might just be a place in all our hearts for the Chrome OS.

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The first Samsung Chromebook that came out was more of a test, they wanted to see if there was a market for it and if they got any feedback. Sure enough, they got feedback. People spoke about how it was a good idea but it was too expensive for something that does so little, it was too clunky, battery life was poor, etc, So samsung took all those comments and made the Macbook Air  Samsung Chromebook 2.0. The new device featured a slim and trimmed down body, a much better display and keyboard, an ARM processor as opposed to an x86chip, which almost tripled the battery life, threw in 100GB of free Google Drive storage for a year and best of all? Priced it at $249. Ever since I heard that I’ve been dying to get my hands on the chromebook and finally, I did so here are my thoughts and opinions. This is not a full review as I did not spend enough time with it to review it in depth.

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As soon as I switched on the device I was impressed. I just had to sign into my google account and everything was there already, all my extensions and plugins and everything i needed. It was fast and smooth and had no issues opening up any webpages I threw at it, even the graphically intensive ones. I could even log into my plex web console and stream all my tv shows and movies from my PC, and that’s where the twist comes in.Although the chromebook is a great device. It’s most certainly not a desktop replacement. I could see myself giving up my tablet for this any day of the week. The addition of the keyboard plus the full interface desktop browser makes this device makes this more capable for productivity and other tasks as compared to a casual toy, which is how I look at tablets, well larger tablets. I have other opinions on tablets like the nexus 7 but I’ll save them for a later post.

So who do I think this is targeted at? The masses. Say you want to have a powerful desktop PC for all your gaming/editing needs but still need something to be able to take notes in class or in a meeting, that’s where the chromebook comes in. It is to the world what netbooks never where and in my opinion what the tablets tried to be, a robin to your batman. And with that I end this relatively short post, but feel free to bask in the beauty of the chromebook with the images below.

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The Galaxy Nexus Experience, 8 Months Later

Samsung and Google’s second child in the mobile department, the Galaxy Nexus has been around for almost two years now and although the Nexus 4 improves on many of the gripes I have with the Galaxy Nexus, I never made the switch. That’s partly due to the fact that I picked up the Galaxy Nexus a week before they announced the Nexus 4. Even though the GNex has been around for quite a while we can’t necessarily call it “old-gen”. With a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 720p display, the GNex is probably the best mid range android handset around today. Having said that there definitely were a few instances where I’ve wanted to bang my phone against the wall.

Let’s start with software. The biggest advantage to buying a nexus device is that you get the assurance that your software is probably going to work better on your phone as compared to anything else you might pick up as it is maintained by google itself. It runs the latest version of android (4.2.2) and its smooth, most of the time. My biggest problem with the phone is probably the battery. Not the battery life (which is abysmal) but the battery itself. My battery is constantly at 38 degrees but more that often above 47. That not only makes the phone really hot but also causes an immense performance drop. Swiping through home screens takes long and it takes the phone about 3 seconds to register touches. Apps like the gallery and browser are unusable and often force close. Apps that are more power hungry refuse to even open and often cause the phone to just crash.

The thing I love the most about my phone is how customisable it is. Rooting and tinkering with a nexus device is a breeze, especially with Wugs toolkit. There’s nothing about the phone you can’t change. When I got the phone I went crazy with all the things you could customise. I was running CM10.1 with Franco’s Kernel, used ROM toolbox pro to root and configure the little things, changed my font, my boot animation, my softkeys and made many other customisations. This however brings me to my next point.

At the beginning when I had the phone it was flawless. No lag, never force closed, no issues. However, after a while, one by one issues started to arise. It got so bad that I had to do a complete wipe of the phone and go fully back to stock. I’m now on the stock ROM with the stock kernel and action launcher + flatro icons on the front end. Things were never the same however. It could be due to the battery over heating or maybe some other issues. I tried loading Paranoid Android over the weekend to try out the ‘HALO’ feature, much to my dismay my phone was beyond unusable. I went through all the checkpoints (wipe system, cache, dalvik, etc.) but nothing worked. The phone booted up fine but navigating through the home screens and menus were a nightmare. Everything lagged like it never lagged before. I couldn’t open any apps and when some would open I wouldn’t be able to use them (like the settings app).  So alas, I restored my nandroid backup and even though its running well now on stock android, I steel feel like I’m a burger without fries or like SpongeBob without Patrick, I feel like I’m missing a part of me.

Windows Phone 8: View from the eyes of an Android Freak (Day 1)

The battle for the “Best Mobile OS” has been going on for quite a while now, with iOS and Android hogging the lead and leaving the others so far behind that they cant even begin to see the dust yet. There are many who have tried to challenge they’re dominance, others who are content with staying behind. One company that’s been battling endlessly with Apple and Google is Microsoft. Apple and Google started entering the smartphone market around the 2007-2008 time period and by 2009 they had revamped the entire concept of smartphones and touch screens. Microsoft on the other hand was still lacking in the mobile department, they were probably too preoccupied with the “Vista” problem. Microsoft’s mobile OS was  basically a smaller version of windows xp. It was hard to use, you couldn’t really figure out how to work it that well even if you were a huge geek and the worst thing was the resisitive touch screen, that was just terrible. Fast forward to October 2010, Microsoft announced a completely revamped ‘Windows Phone OS’ with a completely revamped “metro” interface and it was beautiful. I was lovestruck. Sadly though as with all new software, it had it’s issues. Jump forward to 2013. Microsoft’s been in the market for 3 years and they’ve had time to fix their issues. So is Windows Phone 8 a worthy competitor for the No. 1 spot?

 

My first day with windows phone 8 has been a blast. As with every new phone, I spent endless hours downloading new apps, customizing it (as much as windows phone would allow me to) and tinkering with it in every which way. I picked up the Lumia 520, which is the lowest end and ‘cheapest’ Windows Phone device in the market so obviously my expectations were low, surprisingly it blew me away. From the minute I turned it on the phone was fast, fluid and mellifluous. I really was not expecting such performance from such a low end device. Multitasking and opening apps were smooth, there was no input lag whatsoever.

The biggest Complaint people have about windows phone now days is that it’s app collection is terrible. On the contrary, I was able to find a replacement for my 5 most used apps quite quickly. Keep in mind I don’t use as many apps as I used to since I’ve been really tied down at work. My most used apps on my nexus are Falcon Pro, Instagram, Feedly, PocketCasts and Whatsapp. What I use on windows phone; Twitter, Instance (not that great but instagram should be coming soon), Nextgen reader, Podcast and Whatsapp. See, no trouble. One thing however is that some alternatives for free android apps were paid on windows phone. Just a small annoyance. My favourite thing about windows phone is the brilliant sync integration. I literally just had to sign in to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and immediately it started populating my entire device with my data. The photos app had my facebook photo’s, the people tile was an integrated feed of my facebook, twitter and linkedIn and the me tile had all my information already. Other than that you can even use facebook chat through the default messaging app, that’s brilliant!

One of the biggest gripes I’ve had however is that there’s no unified notification center, so I tend to miss a lot of notifications and only become aware of them when I scroll through and see the tile. That and the fact there are no quick toggles for settings like WiFi and bluetooth, altough I’m certain you can pin those settings to your start screen, you still have to open the app and switch the toggle.

Apart from that, I’m quite astonished. I’ve never been this satisfied with a phone of this pricepoint before. Devices at this price point have always irked me more than they have impressed me. Keep in mind I haven’t even had the phone for a full 24 hours yet and I plan on using the phone for at least two weeks or more before I give you my full and final opinion, which will most probably be in the form of a YouTube review so stay tuned folks and make sure to subscribe or keep coming back so that you don’t miss anything.

Thanks for reading!

 

Awesomely Awesome Geek Stuff!

Well I was browsing the interwebs today looking to see what kind of geeky stuff was sold on there. Not to my dismay, I found some awesomely wacky and useful stuff. Here’s a few of my favorite ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the majorly expensive. For prices and where to buy it, click on the name of the product and it will take you to the site!

Utility 6 – in – 1 tool

maybe this isn’t really that interesting, but it did catch my eye. Why you ask? well because exams are ending and I’m going to be focusing on my youtube videos which means, I need an unboxing knife! Also this has a bottle opener, which means I’ll never have to try (and fail at) opening a beer bottle on the table!

Polluted Toxic Waste Glasses

Doesn’t this look beastly? Imagine drinking absinthe in that! okay maybe not absinthe, but anything is bound to look cool in that, plus it’ll suit the theme awesomely when you watch Breaking Bad

DrinkLip Portable cupholder

I can’t stress how badly I need one of these, they would be so awesome! However they would make my coaster collection irrelevant.. (It’s coming out quite well actually, thanks for asking!)

Plug Hub

yet another something that I really need, all my cables are in a mess! I could probably do with 5 of these, yes parents that’s a hint.

Blade Runner Style LED Umbrella 

Okay this may not be that useful, but it’s darn cool! Actually come to think of it it’s rainy season in Jakarta, so it is quite useful after all!

Luminglass

My favourite out of all the items on this list, doesn’t it look beastly??? And it moves around in sync with any music you’re playing and with your voice!

Batman Money Clip

this just looks gorgeous does it not? does it not? yes it does!

Star Wars Lightsaber Desk Lamp

I first saw this on iJustine’s instagram and must admit it caught my eye, it brings quite an orgasmic ambiance to the table *ba dum tiss*

USB Super 16 Port Hub

Is there anything more to say besides yes? okay, yes yes yes yes yes yes  yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. That’s 16 yes’s, one for each port. If only it looked sexier, matte black anyone?

Game of Thrones LIFESIZED Throne

Is your mouth still open? jaw still dropped? yeah, don’t plan on trying to pick it up anytime soon. What you see is true, and no today is not the 1st of april, this is it. yeah, I know right? wow.

Tech Round Up

hey there,

firstly, I would like to sincerely apologize for not posting in a long, long time. I know it’s no excuse, but I’ve been so tied down with school lately and a lot has been going on, I haven’t even watched any of this years tv episodes! (yes I know Nisha Bhojwani is going to be furious at me for that) l

Now on to the tech, where to start??? So much has hapenned! A slew of phones and tablets being released over CES and MWC! We have quad core phones with the HTC One X, phones that replace everything else, yes I’m referring to the Asus Padfone, a part phone, part tab and part laptop. That’s right. Also, the invasion of the netbook is upon us, in a frantic battle to push the post pc era as far back as possible, Intel launched a slew of Ultrabooks (Super slim and portable yet amazingly powerful laptops) at CES2012, all set to battle the beautiful and elegant Macbook Air. Also, as a preparation for the post pc era, Intel launched ARM based Medfeild processors for phones and tablets, they’re pretty brilliant in my honest opinion.

Also, If you haven’t noticed already, the rage comics revolution is really taking the society by a storm. Try finding someone, in my school at least, who won’t laugh to b**** please, or doesn’t know what me gusta is. It’s crazy, but I too am one of the loyal followers, although my weapon of choice is iFunny.

In the windows world, if you read my windows 8 dev preview review and wanted to get your hands on a more stable version, have no fear, the final version is close, so close I can almost taste it… But for those impatient bum’s such as myself, the consumer preview is available for download right now, and it’s impressive. I’ve been running it as my primary OS for the past few days and its gorgeous! A review of that will be up as soon as possible.

And last but not least, the new iPad is being launched today! Big whoop! Sorry,that was mean, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. Mainly because the iPad 2 is still quite awesome. Anyway, I’ll be up watching the event and if you want to stay updated you can follow me on twitter (@SnazzyHam). The iPad is rumored to have an HD retina display, 4G LTE(America Only), A better camera and a quad core processor, although lately there have been rumors of Apple planning to stick with dual core, rendering this as the iPad HD and not the iPad 3.

Well folks, I guess that will be all, Take care and have a supercalifragilisticespialidocsious day.

Snazzy Out.