My Brando MP4 Watch: It plays videos, photos, music and records audio…and I keep forgetting it also tells the time

January 16, 2007

The Brando MP4 Watch – This is one of my first Christmas holiday gadget purchases…I love the fun and funky orange colour and the portability of this all-in-one media player. I don’t need to carry my ipod with me everywhere I go now to listen to music or watch some video clips on the go…it can also act as a spy device because I can record conversations without anyone knowing 😀

And don’t be swayed by any negative comments you may find on the Net with converting your MP4 files to NXV format or jpeg files to RAW format in order to play your video clips and photos. The conversion software it comes with makes it easy to convert your photo, music, and video files in order to play them on this watch…I didn’t have any problems with the conversion.

The watch comes in either 1 or 2 GB versions, and in black or orange colours. I bought the funky orange 1GB model for just US$100, which is quite cheap for a watch considering it can do so much more than just tell the time. The 2GB version costs US$140, but I thought the 1 GB was good enough for me, as I’ve loaded a couple of videos and photos on the watch so far and still have plenty of space left for loading more media.

The screen size is too small to watch full movies on, so I don’t know why some people have been complaining that the NXV conversion inflates the file size too much to load a movie. It’s not meant for watching movies, but just for sharing some video clips taken with your digital camera. Get a real PMP for watching movies like an Archos media player (I got the 1st generation model, but just use it as an extra hard drive now), or get the iPhone that just came out, or even wait for the rumored full-screen iPod Video to come out soon.



Gone camera happy with my new WiFied Nikon Coolpix S7c!

December 2, 2006

I came back from a US Thanksgiving shopping marathon last weekend with a new Nikon Coolpix S7c WiFi camera, and it was definitely my best deal of the trip! I’ve been on and off about getting a new camera ever since I came back from my hiatus across Europe last summer because I couldn’t find one that really hit me with both features and sleek appeal…until I discovered the Nikon Coolpix S7c – the latest one in the stylish “S” range of Nikon Coolpix cameras.

At first I thought the Nikon S7C was just the same Nikon S6 WiFi model released last Spring, yet with an update to 7.1MP. And although I was intrigued with the handy WiFi feature of the S6, so I wouldn’t have to pull out the SD card reader every time to transfer pics to my laptop, I thought this feature alone wasn’t enough to make me buy this model. The WiFi feature was limited when it first came out because it only saved me from having to pull out my camera docking cradle or card reader for uploading pics. Yes, it was a convenient feature to have, but “ho hum” if that was all that the WiFi in the S6 allowed you to do. Then they came out with the S7C that had extra WiFi capabilities with its Coolpix Connect feature, where I could email my pictures in-camera, and also post them directly to my blog. A cool feature to have next time you’re on vacation so you can make your friends jealous by sending them pics in real-time of yourself sipping a pina colada by the spa resort 🙂

It also came with some great practical functions like:

1) Optical image stabilization with its electronic Vibration Reduction technology so my grandmother can also help take some shots.
2) ISO 1600 capability – to capture better looking pics with greater exposure in low light and clearer pics of fast-moving objects.
3) Playback of your photos and movies synched with your selected music and animated photo transitions with its Pictmotion. Plus, having a nice big 3″ LCD makes watching your customized audiovisual show really sweet!

And of course it also had to look sleek to make me buy this, and luckily the Coolpix S7C doesn’t disappoint on this front with a slim black body and curved-surface design:

Sony Mylo: My life online…but only when there’s wifi.

November 20, 2006

Move over T-Mobile Sidekick 3…here comes the Sony Mylo, which looks like a sleeker version of the Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable). The Mylo aka “My life online”, released last September, is geared towards the youth market, and competes with T-Mobile’s “Hiptop” or “Sidekick”, and Nokia’s 770. The Mylo allows you to get connected online with friends by using the pre-loaded Instant Messaging and VoIP services: Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and Skype. You can surf the Net with the Opera Browser via its built in Wifi, and also play your music and videos with its MP3 and MP4 Video features with almost 1 gig of storage space. But it lacks the 1.3 MP camera that the latest Sidekick 3 has, and doesn’t operate with a cell phone plan. So the only way you can make calls is through VoIP using the pre-loaded Skype…yet, that’s only when you can find a wifi hotspot. Well, at least the calls will be free! But then will all this be worth its hefty US$350 price tag? Ahh, if only I lived in Frederickton, New Brunswick with free city-wide wifi!

Still, I think the Mylo is one of the coolest looking devices that I’ve seen from Sony in a while, and hoping that its price will drop soon, because unless you’re living in a predominantly wified city, it will just end up being an overpriced MP3/Video player since you won’t be able to use its main communication features wherever you go.

Sony Mylo-Palm-sized

Sony Mylo White

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!


iPod nano 2nd generation and (Product) Red

November 7, 2006

This is my latest iPod purchase, as I finally outran my iPod shuffle during my longer half marathon runs and I wanted the option of the menu and more space to hold my podcasts and pics that the nano would offer, and my iPod video was definitely not made for running. So that was my justification for cashing out on another iPod…which I need to keep telling myself :O

I was hoping they would have included “red” in the mix of coloured nanos in the 2nd generation launch, since I wasn’t too interested in those candy colours available. So happy to see that Bono teamed up with Apple again for another red-influenced
product, since red is my favorite colour, and of course it also helps
out a good cause – AIDS.

2g_nanos.jpgI didn’t like the colours available that came out with the 2nd generation iPod nano launch this year. The neon green, aqua blue and the fuschia pink wasn’t to my taste, and the silver looked kinda cheap with this sheenier aluminum anodized finish. The only one that looked sleek was the matte black, but it was only offered in the higher capacity 8GB version, which I didn’t care to shell out the extra cash for…so was waiting for another colour or another model to launch which I knew I wouldn’t have to wait too long, knowing Apple..and thanks to Bono!

For some spec geeks out there, here’s a list of some improvements made to the 2nd generation iPod nano over the 1st generation:

  • Screen is brighter
  • Body is slimmer and made of anodized aluminum casing, but I think the casing of the 1st gen line still looks sleeker and more expensive, yet it was alot more prone to scratches!
  • Candy type colours are also offered (making it look like a crossover with the discontinued iPod mini line) in addition to silver and black, whereas the 1st generation only offered white and
    black colours. However, the 2GB version is only available in silver, 4GB in the candy colours and silver, and 8GB is only available in black.
  • It also comes with some software
    updates, and new earbuds that have a smoother round shape connecting to rubber liners attached to the wires to help keep them in your ears…but any type of earbuds never stay in mine anyways, so I always use the wrap around Altec Lansing ones for running. I also heard that Apple worked for 18 months to revamp the earbud so there’s supposed to be some sound improvements too, but I couldn’t tell..
  • iPod nano (Product) Red is only available in 4GB and 8GB models, and
    the rest of the specs are the same.

HP R927: A camera that makes you look slimmer!

November 3, 2006

This is one of the coolest features I’ve seen in a digital camera – the HP Photosmart R927 has a “slimming mode” where you can adjust your pictures in-camera to make the person in the shot look slimmer! The person would need to be positioned around the centre of the shot for it to work though, since it widens the perimeter, while slimming the centre of the shot to create that skinny effect. Other features include a sleek metal body, 8.2 MP, 3x optical zoom, 8x digital zoom, and a nice big 3″ LCD!

But best feature of all is that you can keep on eating all the cookies and chocolate you want, and look like you just lost some weight with the slimming effect…it’s a Carbo Addict’s dream come true! But warning, this is not for the camera pros out there…it is an HP afterall, and not a Canon, but good enough for me…I think this may be my next purchase!