Finally tipped over to the dark side – My new iPhone replaces the need for my LG Viewty and Nokia N810

February 3, 2009

I’ve been holding off on getting the iPhone since it was launched in Canada, since I didn’t want to be sucked into the exorbant data plans up here, and have been boycotting Rogers like alot of other Canadians when they announced their price points for the iPhone data plans…But I’ve seen how big the iPhone app store has become with 3rd party developers building so many free, fun, and useful applications.  So I finally caved in and picked up a 16Gig white model w. the Rogers minimum 1Gig data and voice plan for $60/month last New Years Eve when a 3rd party vendor was giving away $80 rebates for the iphone.

Some of the useful free apps I’ve been using are The Weather Channel that provides hourly weather forecasts and extreme weather alerts in your city; MultiConvert that converts almost anything you can think of; iTV for your local TV guide; OneTap Movies that shows movies playing at every theatre near you, along with the movie ratings/reviews and trailers to view; Yelp to find nearby Starbucks, banks, restaurants and other stuff near you, and also addictive games like Wurdle for Boggle fans.  

I find that I have a need for all the useful apps on the iPhone more than the advantage of the 5MP camera that my old LG viewty phone provides, and over the past year I found that I haven’t been using my N810 outside the home too much, especially since it’s so hard to find free wifi hotspots here in Toronto, and didn’t feel like carrying another device in addition to my phone, especially since I do alot of travelling and wanted to minimize on the road.  It’s also nice to have an all-in one phone, ipod player, and camera device with me now when I go out for a long run.  So it came in handy when I was able to listen to my iPod and take pics along the way while running the Disney Marathon last month.  Now if only Nike can update their Nike Plus Sport Kit so it’s compatible with the iPhone…until they do this, I’ll be keeping my Nano.  

But am looking to sell both my LG Viewty and my Nokia N810 now, and plan to post them on eBay or Craigslist soon, so if anyone is interested, feel free to contact me.  They’re both in minty condition.


LG Viewty KU990 – My Touchscreen Camera YouTube Phone

January 16, 2008

After researching numerous blogs and reviews to decide on which new mobile to buy for a while now, I finally chose the LG Viewty KU990. The name “Viewty” links to it’s tagline on the product packaging: “View the Next Technology”. First, this is not the mobile for everyone though, and others could debate that there are others in the market that are better, so it depends on what features you’re looking for – I was looking for more of a fun “camera phone”, which could take photos comparable to a standalone camera, so I wouldn’t have to carry a camera around as well for taking that spontaneous photo. The video feature and the ability to upload videos directly to Internet, was also an added bonus, so this was the phone for me.

My key deciding factors for choosing the LG Viewty:

1. It’s sleek (14.8mm thick, so not too bulky for all the features it has) and unique (not officially available in Canada)
2. It’s touchscreen (which is the new trend of mobiles and is so much easier to use) with cool haptic vibration feedback when you touch the screen options, which the iPhone doesn’t have.
3. Advanced Multimedia Features – It has a 5 MP Camera, and a high speed 120 fps video recorder, with image stabilization, DivX player, and a Schneider-Kreuznach lens. I can write on the photos or videos with the stylus and it will appear on playback; it has various advanced photo/video editing options that are not even found on stand-alone cameras, such as adding sepia or b&w colour portions or entire photo, as well as mosaic blur, softening, morphing, blurbs, built-in icons and adding picture frames, and much more! Muvee Studio feature also allows you to create an image slide show combined with music, as it also comes with the standard MP3 player feature. (The iphone only has a 2MP camera)
3. Internet Features – Browser with bookmark creation, landscape and portrait view, and ability to scroll with finger, like the iphone. (However, the iPhone wins in this area though as their browser seems alot more fun to use with its interactive user interface features, but the LG Viewty does the job for surfing)
4. Convenient pre-loaded features allowing you to connect directly to them with a click of their icon:
– YouTube – There’s also an option to upload my videos created on the phone directly to YouTube
– Google – Search, Mail, Maps
– Blogger: Create your Blog feature

lg-homescreen.jpg google.jpglg-facebook.jpg

Features I wish the LG Viewty had:

1. WiFi (just so i can surf freely at home, since it’s unlikely that I can find a free WiFi hotspot living in Toronto)
2. Windows Mobile 6 (So I can use it for work too and won’t need to carry around my Moto Q9h to retrieve my Outlook emails (although for a PDA, the Moto Q9h is quite nice looking)
3. Built-in GPS – At a usable speed and without extra carrier fees.
4. A lens cover for the 5MP Camera

Other Contenders:

iPhone               HTC Touch                LG KS20             Nokia N95

iPhone          HTC Touch (White)   LG KS20 “Dominator” Nokia N95 (Black)

Before I decided on the LG Viewty, I was also considering these other contenders in the market, but didn’t end up choosing them for the following reasons:

1. iPhone – Since I’m in Canada, where it’s not officially available yet, I didn’t want to deal with paying the fees to unlock the US Cingular version, and not be able to update the phone with the Apple patches to add new features and fix bugs without turning the phone into a brick..Yes, hackers will be able to crack the code again to unbrick the phone, but didn’t want to deal with the headache for searching for the crack and go through the never-ending cycle with the next Apple patch. The camera is still an average 2MP found on every phone these days, and cannot take videos, while I was looking for more advanced camera/video features, so I can upload videos of Buddy to his YouTube Channel (BuddytheSamoyed).

2. HTC Touch – The black and grey models soon became available through the Canadian mobile carriers at cheap prices with contract, so it would soon become another ubiquitous phone, and it was borderline sleek looking, resembling too much like a business PDA, and not enough of the “fun-factor” that I was looking for in the $300+ price tag that I would be paying for in an unlocked version (as I didn’t want to get the contract). So I was then considering the white model sold in Asia, and the HTC Dual which was also announced with enhanced TouchFLo Navigation, but the LG Viewty just looked better with cooler features.

3. LG KS20 “Dominator” – This is the new version of the LG Viewty that was announced last September, and not launched yet. So I would still have to wait a while before I could buy an unlocked version anywhere online. This model follows the similar design concept as the LG Viewty, and answers my “Wish” feature for Windows Mobile 6, yet only has a 2MP camera and does not come with the same advanced camera features as the Viewty. So this is the “business version” of the LG Viewty, but I still prefer a physical keyboard for business use, for texting lengthy emails, and I already had my business PDA.

4. Nokia N95 – Every phone that I have bought up until now has been Nokia, as I’m a Nokia brand advocate, and have always thought the ‘N95’ was the “king of all mobiles”, but ever since trying out touchscreen mobiles and how much easier and fun it is to navigate with, I couldn’t go back to this boring traditional keypad/button navigation type (for “personal” and not “business” use). The newer black version has a bigger screen and 8GB internal memory over the original silver version. Both models also have built-in GPS, but I thought it was really slow when testing it out on the silver version and find that I would hardly use it at that speed, and I find the size too bulky (21mm vs vs. 14.8mm thick for LG Viewty). Plus, the hefty price of approx. US$700 would be more than what I would pay for a phone, knowing that I would soon want to buy the next sleek phone out on the market with newer tech features…So I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next Nokia touchscreen mobile, as the touchscreen trend continues to rise.

The latest Nokia N95 replaces my long obsession over the Nokia N80

February 13, 2007

The Nokia N80 released early last year was one of the first phones I ever saw with Wifi, and it also had a 3 MP camera! With all its powerful features, it was still relatively compact in size (about the size of a credit card) and it had a slider form factor, which I preferred over the clam shells. This was the only phone last year that I was really interested in buying (after my brief infatuation with the LG Chocolate which quickly subsided when it launched here in Canada and became so mainstream), but the price was just too much (close to US$800 at launch and now down to around $CDN600 for a parallel import version here in Toronto), knowing that a better model would be released shortly…and soon enough Nokia has done that with the new N95. “It’s what computers have become”, is the slogan that Nokia uses for this model and it looks to be a higher-end version of the N80. It’s slated to be released mid-March 2007 in the UK with a $US700 price tag. No gadget this sleek will ever be officially released here in Canada, but I’ll be looking out for the parallel import version that should come out soon in the Asian stores.

Here are just a few specs to impress:

-5 MP Camera with Carl Zeiss optics
-WiFi, Bluetooth
-GPS Mapping
-DVD quality video playback in the 2.6″ screen
-MP3 player, and FM Radio tuner

Images and videos can also be viewed in landscape mode with the playback buttons revealed at the opposite end of the keypad upon sliding the phone. But with all these features, it may turn out to be a big battery hog that will require recharging quite frequently, similar to the N80. Still, I can’t wait to see it soon in the window displays of the Asian stores with all the other imported sleek gadgets that will never be officially released here.



Dark, White, Pink, Silver, or Gold: Which type of LG Chocolate do you prefer?

November 14, 2006

When I first saw the LG KG800 Chocolate cell phone that launched in Korea in November 2005, I thought it was so sleek that it almost made me switch from being a long time loyal Nokia devotee and it first caught my attention, not only because I love chocolate (it’s called chocolate because the version in Korea also had a chocolate scent! Yum!), but also because it’s the first time that a phone had a heat sensitive touchpad that glowed red only at the touch of your finger. Since it has touchpad navigation, you won’t feel any of the buttons that are beneath the shiny and smooth surface, and the screen also looks camouflaged behind the surface (in the black model) when not in use. The only thing really visible on the face was a small silver rectangle surrounding a central OK button. In addition to the OK button were 8 navigation buttons outside of the rectangle, and all of these touchpad buttons were hidden behind the shiny glossy surface and were only revealed with a red glow when touched. The silver rectangle aids your thumb in opening this slider phone to reveal a unique checkerboard-like keypad underneath. With all of these sleek design features, the LG Chocolate won the 2006 IF Design Award in Germany for its innovative design.

LG KG800 Chocolate

Ok, enough about the design…what about the other tech features? Well, it’s nothing spectacular to boast about because it only has the standard specs that’s common in most phones these days, such as:
• 1.3MP camera with LED flash
• 128MB internal memory
• MP3 Player

The Chocolate falls under LG’s line of fashion phones, so it’s not expected to stand out in functionality, but only in its sleek design. Yet, was it worth the hefty $500 price tag when it arrived here in Toronto during the Summer 2006 as a parallel import through unofficial distributors at the Asian stores? I didn’t think so, and stuck by my Nokia.

When a model becomes very popular, we usually see other colours and variations of that model released shortly after. The LG Chocolate was no exception (over 300,000 units were sold within the first 3 months after launch in Korea), and so the White and Pink Chocolate versions geared towards the gadget girls were soon released. LG also followed with an upgraded Chocolate that was thinner and more feature-rich with its Gold and Silver KE800 Platinum models that boasts: 256 MB internal memory, plus SD slot for external memory expansion; 2MP camera with auto-focus and FM radio, Bluetooth and all other features of the original, yet only 9.9mm thick (35% thinner than the15mm thick original)

LG White and Pink ChocolateLG Platinum SilverLG Platinum Gold

The original LG Chocolate and all of the subsequent variations described above are unfortunately only sold here in Toronto as expensive parallel imports, except for the Platinum line, which hasn’t arrived here yet. But LG recently came out with a modified version of the original Chocolate that is officially sold in US through Verizon as LG VX8500, and now in Canada through Telus as LG8500, which is shown everywhere in flyers and commercials now, yet with a redesigned front face that loses much of the sleek and minimalist look found in the original version. Instead of a small silver rectangle, the North American version has a large silver circle, which surrounds 5 buttons, in addition to 4 buttons outside the ring. Although the North American version has the same number of buttons as the original KG800, the ones inside the circle are clearly visible, making it look less sleek and more cluttered. It also doesn’t appear to have the unique checkboard-style keypad. However, it’s definitely a lot more affordable at $130 (when you commit to a 3 year Telus plan in Toronto) or $330 without a plan compared to the KG800 that’s still only available as a parallel import for around $400-$430 now at the unofficial” LG distributors in the Toronto Asian stores here. The North American version only comes in the dark chocolate colour for now, but maybe LG will soon launch the other colours if North Americans end up gobbling up the ‘Chocolate’ like they do with the edible one!

LG Chocolate Telus

No, it’s not a lipstick…it’s my Nokia 7280!

November 10, 2006

What’s that? Is that your lipstick…your MP3 player? -Is what I often get asked when using my Nokia 7280 phone…one look at it and yeah, you’ll probably say it’s not the most practical phone, but it’s definitely sleek! It’s not made for everyone, and definitely not for texters or mucho macho guys, but I like the art deco retro design using the black-white-red colour scheme, the mirror face, and the sliding action revealing the hidden red part and camera underneath. It’s also fun sliding it up to talk, (although you don’t need to, but it’s more comfortable to hold when the phone lengthens) and then snapping it back when you’re finished. It’s alot more unique and fun than the standard sliders and clam shell phones out there.

Since the Nokia 7280 operates with a discreet keyless entry via a scroll wheel like the iPod instead of the traditional keypad, it’s not made for texters, but it’s pretty easy to operate since it has name recognition for quick dialling, and voice dialling as well. Since I mostly call only the numbers saved on my phone anyways it’s pretty speedy using the quick access button on the front to list dialled numbers. I only wished it had enhanced voice recognition software that would support voice-to-digit-or name-dialling, so I won’t have to record all the names in my Contact List first and could also just voice dial any new numbers. The 7280 was Nokia’s 1st real attempt to step outside the box and create a fashion phone that was not made for the mainstream market. So 1st trials don’t come without it’s bugs, and this phone is certainly no exception. It has been written up in the mobile discussion forums with firmware problems, such as freezing, and shut downs with the original release. But after the firmware is upgraded by Nokia, the problems would be fixed. I still took my chances and bought this phone off ebay since I really liked it’s sleek gadget design, and the only other places that I could get it (the Asian stores with these parallel imports) were selling it for double the price at the time: $500-600 and Holt Renfrew at $700…who would ever buy a phone there?! Well, I ran into the firmware issue myself and after sending it back to Nokia to replace the firmware, I’m happy to say that it’s working fine again.

dscn0211_1.JPG dscn0216.JPGit also shows up well in the dark with nick bright screen and colour coded buttons

Nokia 7380: An update to the Nokia 7280

Although most people in Toronto haven’t seen the Nokia 7280 before, since the only official retailer here is Holt Renfrew, the 7280 is relatively old. It launched in Q1 2005 and the 2nd version, the Nokia 7380, was already released in Q1 2006 and is part of the Nokia L’Amour Collection of fashion phones that has a flower-like drawing throughout the collection. I was also considering the 7380 before buying the 7280, but it would have costed me $200 more for the 7380 and I didn’t think that the extra features of the enhanced voice recognition, 2MP camera, and MP3 player was worth it. Based on the size of this phone, I didn’t care for a higher MP camera since the screen was so small, and I carry my iPod everywhere I go anyways, so didn’t need the MP3 feature. So the only really beneficial feature for me would be the enhance voice recognition software, but it wasn’t worth the extra $200. The 7280 is also more fun to use because of the sliding action, whereas the 7380 has no movable part, and despite its cool full mirror face, it unfortunately has a fake leather back and an ugly orange and peuce colour, or what I would describe as “poo”. What was Nokia thinking with this new colour scheme? If only Nokia stuck with the same colour scheme as the 7280, I believe more gadget girls would buy it. So, although the Nokia 7380 has improved functionality, it hasn’t been as popular as the 7280, which shows that more people do value form over function!