Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Targa Taccar GT-R Tuned R33

Another cast that I bought along with the Aoshima Option Vertex Lang S15 Silvia in Thailand. I present you the Targa TACCAR GT-R Tuned R33

Note the price is exactly the same as the Aoshima Option Vertex Lang S15 Silvia, which is just 169 baht after a 15% discount. Roughly the price of a Hot Wheels Speed Machine, but I doubt the build quality would be the same.

Here are some of the other cars available in the series. I would love to have the black R34, unfortunately they're sold out.

Again, the contents of the box was supposed to be random. But this one got a mark besides the picture of the blue R33.

And here's the car inside! A Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33). I suspect this would be the LM Limited version, since the colour of the paint looks like Competition Blue.

Hood can be opened to reveal the engine bay, which looks quite messy to me. Some chrome bits would be nice in here.

The details on the rims are quite nice too. They're based on the Work Emotion XC8 rims.

I'm not sure whether the taillights are separate plastic pieces or painted on the cast. It looks more like the former though.

Nice details on the underbody as well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Aoshima Option Vertex Lang S15 Silvia

I bet you guys are getting bored with Hot Wheels and Tomicas... So today I present you, the Aoshima Option Vertex Lang S15 Silvia!

Yup, you read it right. 199, but not in US dollars of course. It's in Thai baht. And there was a sale, so after a 15% discount, it's just 169 baht. I'd say it's a steal at that price.

The contents inside the box was supposed to be random. But I guess the store management got tired of irresponsible customers who tear open the boxes just to find out what's inside without buying it. So they decided to let you know what car is inside by putting a mark besides the picture of the car. At least that's what I think. Anyway, as soon as I saw the mark besides the Metallic Blue Vertex Lang S15 Silvia, I immediately grabbed the box without thinking twice.

This card is included in the box as well. Extras are nice, but I can't seem to find a use for this one.

Aaaaannd... there she is!! The car is beautiful, the metallic blue paint is beautiful, the dragon tampo is beautiful, this is just perfect! It even comes with sunstrips! Oh, and there's a display base as well, though it would be even better if they included some sort of cover with the base to protect the car from dusts. Note that headlights are made of plastic.

Just look at the tampos! They're absolutely stunning! And not even one of them is smudged.

The beautiful rims are properly wrapped by rubbers.

Plastic taillights are nicely detailed. Overall, this is an excellent cast which is properly priced. Extremely happy with my purchase. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: Samsung S5560 Marvel (Sample Shots, Conclusion)

Continued from Review: Samsung S5560 Marvel (Interface)
We have already taken a look at the Samsung S5560 Marvel in terms of its physical built, the user interface, ease of use, and its various applications. Now let's see what the 5.0 megapixel camera is capable of. Here are some sample shots taken with the S5560's camera, with default settings. Note that the picture has been resized for faster uploads and downloads. I'm not a professional photographer, hence the lack of expertise to describe the quality of the pictures in detail. Therefore I would leave it to you guys to comment on the picture quality of the S5560. :)

The shops around my neighbourhood. Business is booming ever since they built a Tesco nearby.

My small lawn and porch in panoramic mode.

My mom bought me some mooncakes from this shop a few days ago. Quite expensive at RM8 per piece.

There's a 'Text' mode, which emphasizes sharpness and contrast when you're taking pictures of texts and documents. Useful in written exams.

Dried crabs are a popular snack in Thailand. Despite the unappetizing look, they're actually quite tasty. But it doesn't taste like chicken.

I collect die-casts, my mom collects plants. I'm not sure whose collection is bigger though.

Oranges appear orange. Therefore no complaints regarding colour reproduction. Please do not take my words seriously.

A shot of Asuka Langley in Macro mode. She is soooooooo cute in that outfit!!

With the flash on. Colours and details are enhanced, at the expense of prominent shadows and dark corners of the background.

One of the many effects available. Black and white.

Sepia effect.

Emboss effect.

Outline effect.

Negative effect.

Special XXX effect. This is not true.

Overall, I personally think the S5560 should be able to meet the average consumer's demand for a decent camera in a phone. There are various settings, shooting modes and scene modes to choose from, and the list is quite extensive. Therefore I won't take a sample picture for every mode, but I'll just list the modes and settings available here:

Shooting mode:
  • Single
  • Smile shot
  • Continuous (Up to 9 continuous shots)
  • Panorama (Combine up to 6 shots, horizontally and vertically)
  • Mosaic (18 different patterns to choose from)
  • Frame (20 different frames to choose from)
Scene mode (Description for each mode is taken from the phone):
  • Portrait: Takes picture of person.
  • Landscape: Distant scenery. Infinite focusing.
  • Night: Beautiful night scenery. Keep camera still.
  • Sports: Fast moving objects such as sport scenes.
  • Party / Indoor: Indoor scenes.
  • Beach / Snow: Bright scenery like beach or snowscape.
  • Sunset: Beautiful sunset scenery.
  • Dawn: Daybreak scenes. Slow shutter.
  • Fall color: Trees and autumn leaves. Emphasizes red and green.
  • Firework: Catches flame. Slow shutter speed. Keep camera still.
  • Text: Text or document. Emphasizes sharpness and contrast.
  • Candlelight: Scenes under candlelight.
  • Against light: Against light.
Other settings:
  • Timer (Off, 2, 5, 10 seconds)
  • Resolution (5M, 3.2M, 2M, 0.1M, W4M, W2.4M, W1.5M, W0.1M)
  • White balance (Auto, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy)
  • Effects (None, Black and white, Sepia, Negative Emboss, Outline)
  • ISO (Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800)
  • Exposure meter (Matrix, Center-weighted, Spot)
  • Anti-Shake (On, Off)
  • Auto contrast (On, Off)
  • Blink detection (On, Off)
  • Image quality (Superfine, Fine, Normal)
  • Adjust (Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness)
With that, I believe we could finally come to a conclusion on the Samsung S5560.

  • Reasonably priced. For approximately RM600, this would be one of the best touchscreen phones you can buy.
  • Resistive touchscreen makes typing messages a lot easier. But this eventually comes down to personal preference.
  • Elegant and user-friendly design. Buttons are easily within reach, and the phone feels nice to hold.
  • 3.5mm jack provides decent sound quality, compatible with normal headphones.
  • Memory card (MicroSD) is hot-swappable.
  • Wi-Fi capability, with an easy to use internet browser.
  • Camera provides decent picture quality.
  • Good battery life. Not properly tested, but I only have to charge my phone once every 3-4 days, even with frequent use, heavy internet browsing and lots of picture taking.
  • Friendly user interface. You don't have to be a total geek to figure out the functions available on this phone.
  • Lack of 3G connectivity.
  • QWERTY keypad is small. Spelling mistakes are becoming much more common.
  • You still need to remove the back cover even though the memory card is hot-swappable.
  • Loudspeaker isn't that loud.
  • Doesn't come with a Leah Dizon wallpaper. (I personally believe that this is a must for every phone, laptops, computers, etc)
My rating:
Kudos to Samsung!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Review: Samsung S5560 Marvel (Interface)

Continued from Samsung S5660 Marvel review (General overview)
In the previous post, we took a brief look at the Samsung S5560's design and overall features. Now we're going to see what else does it have to offer in terms of the menu, applications, interface, and those sort of stuff. I can't figure out how to take proper screenshots of the Samsung S5560 since most screenshot softwares could only operate on Symbian or Windows Mobile platform, and this particular phone is using Samsung's own TouchWiz User Interface. So please bear with the screenshots taken with my cheap digital camera. Do note that the actual pictures on the screen of the phone look much better (colours are more vibrant, and actual pixels are smaller, resulting in smoother pictures)

Upon unlocking the phone (unlocking as in pressing the unlock keys, not hacking the phone or anything like that), you will be greeted with the home screen which is simple, clutter-free, and pleasant to look at (unless you have decided to put hundreds of widgets on the home screen).

Now if you look closely, you'll notice that just above the Phonebook menu, there are 3 small boxes, with one of them being white in colour, and the remaining 2 being grey. The 3 boxes represent the 3 home screens, with the white one indicating which one is active. In other words, your home screen is actually composed of 3 parts, and you can choose your active home screen among the 3 by dragging the home screen to the left or right. Bear in mind that each widget is attached to the home screen where you had put it earlier. So if the Clock widget is on home screen 1, and you decided to change to home screen 2, the Clock widget will remain in home screen 1, and will be hidden upon changing to home screen 2. But of course you can drag the widgets around, and put them wherever you like in any of the home screens. In the examples shown above, I've chosen an image file composed of 3 different backgrounds as the wallpaper. Even though there are 3 different backgrounds, the actual file is only a single image file. Therefore, even though the resolution of the screen is only 240x400, the resolution of the wallpaper would be 720x400 (240x3=720). Here's another example of the home screen with a different wallpaper.

(Special thanks to my girlfriend for allowing me to use her picture as the background example here.)
Setting an image as the wallpaper is quite simple. You don't have to crop the pictures with your computer to match the resolution of the phone, as there is already an option to crop the images in the phone upon selecting an image as a wallpaper, so that it will fit perfectly on the screen. The cropped image will be saved as a new file, while the original image file remains intact.

You could tap on the home screen to bring out the widget sidebar, and tap on the home screen again to hide it. From the widget sidebar, you could choose which widget you would like to have on your home screen, and which widget you would like to hide in the sidebar. Please note, however, that the 3 main menus at the bottom of the home screen (Keypad, Phonebook, Menu) could not be changed. Tapping on the Menu button would bring up this menu screen:

Oh, wait, that's the wrong menu.

I meant this one:
Background of the menu screen can be changed, much like the background of the home screen. Oh, by the way, the fonts for the phone can be changed as well. You can choose from 3 types of fonts in the Settings menu. I forgot to take pictures for each of the fonts though. Sorry about that. Now let's take a look at some of the features and applications available in the Samsung S5560's menu.

This is the keypad when you're writing a message. The keys are pretty huge, so it's quite easy to use. But the bad thing about being a touchscreen is that you can't type a message without looking at the phone itself (in case you're driving, in a meeting, etc). By the way, as I've mentioned before, you'll need to press the keys with firm pressure because it's a resistive touchscreen, so if you're having problems typing with the touchscreen because you're not sure how much pressure you need to apply in order to register the keys you pressed, then you could enable the vibration feedback or the keypad tone, so that the phone will vibrate or make a sound whenever you touch the screen with enough pressure.

And if you tilt the phone to the left, the keypad will automatically change to a full QWERTY keypad, which might take some time to get used to, because of the small keys. Or maybe it's because my thumbs are pretty big. But I still prefer the full QWERTY keypad over the standard 9-keys keypad, because it's slightly faster for me to type a message on the QWERTY keypad, and it looks pretty cool too.

This is the menu for Photo Contacts. Looks pretty cool, but I prefer the standard phonebook menu. Notice that all of my friends do not have a face.

And this is the Wi-Fi menu. Connecting to a wireless network is easy. Just tap the huge round "Wi-Fi" button in the center to switch on/off the Wi-Fi. Search for a wireless network, connect, and you're ready to surf the internet. Please note, however, that this phone doesn't have 3G.

This is the screen for the media player. It looks simple, and pretty cool especially if the MP3 tracks have the album covers embedded in the files, which will show up on the media player like this particular one I've shown.

This is the browser screen. You can browse the internet in portrait or landscape mode just by tilting the phone. The address bar also functions as a Google search bar, so you don't have to go to Google's homepage whenever you would like to search for something. A thumbs up for that.

You can browse in full screen as well. Though it's not really full screen, since the top of the screen is still occupied with the phone's status and stuff.

Zooming in and out is relatively easy. Just touch the screen for about 2 seconds, and move your finger upwards to zoom in, or downwards to zoom out. Or you could just tap the screen twice, and it will zoom in at a set value, or zoom out to show the whole page on the screen.

Before I forgot, I would like to mention something regarding the phone's image browser. The cool thing about the image browser is that you could browse through photos in the phone just by slightly tilting the phone to the left or to the right. The speed of the photos sliding past your screen depends on the angle of the tilt. This cool feature is only available if you're viewing your photos in landscape though.

Coming up next, the final part of the review: Sample shots and conclusion for the Samsung S5560 review