YugaTech

YugaTech


Should I stay with iOS or shift to Android?

Posted: 02 Aug 2012 07:38 PM PDT

Let me start this article by giving you a brief background on how I started shifting from one mobile ecosystem to another. Like most people, my first love was with Nokia and its Symbian OS. Not because it is a revolutionary OS but primarily because I don't really have any choice.

On the positive side you get to choose from a wide variety of cellphone models since Nokia led the mobile hardware race back then.

I've had four Nokia phones before with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic as the last one. It was also the device that introduced me to flashing custom ROMs, it was exciting. However, that excitement ran out when I had my first encounter with an Android phone. My then girlfriend (who's now my wife) bought a Samsung Galaxy Spica running Android 2.1 Eclair.

I instantly fell in love with it but not because of the phone's design or the widgets or the fluid interface. I fell in love with Android because of its threaded SMS system. If you're an experienced Nokia user coming from the likes of 3210 then you'll understand how wonderful threaded SMS is.

I immediately sold my 2 year old Nokia 5800 and planned to buy a Spica myself but for some reason I skimped and decided to wait for a better Android phone. I then had my sights on the HTC Hero until a friend came along with his iPod Touch 3rd Gen. I've seen the iPod Touch before and considered it as a great device. But I needed a phone, the iPod Touch is not a phone. And the iPhone 3G is too damn expensive at that time. I played with the iPod Touch and I fell in love again. This time because of the apps and the really neat UI. To cut things short, I went for the iPod Touch 3rd Gen and just used a really cheap "that-you-can-toss-it-around" Samsung phone that came as a freebie when my mom bought a refrigerator.

I was really satisfied with the iPod Touch and even went for the 4th Gen. If I have the resources I'd immediately buy the iPhone 4. All the while I kept in touch with Android with my wife's Spica. I loved the idea on how you can customize Android in different levels – something that iOS cannot achieve even with a jailbreak. Like what I told a friend – "If you want elegant simplicity, go for iOS. But if you want complex badassery, go for Android." I was lucky enough to play both worlds, until I bricked the Spica. Maybe I'm not badass enough.

And so I stuck with iOS and kept on tinkering with the jailbroken iPod Touch 4th Gen. Currently I have the iPhone 4S and things are great so far. I've jailbroken it and customized it to a point that it's lagging and crashing. I was forced to restore it to its "pristine" state but decided not to completely go back. I want something better. I ended up updating from iOS 5.1.1 to iOS 6 beta 3. It's neat, it has new features but I wasn't completely satisfied. The geek inside me is screaming for something more difficult to tinker on. I flashed my wife's Kindle Fire with a custom Android Jellybean and the voice subsided. What the fuck was that?? Is Android becoming the right kind of dealer for my needs?

I started comparing the philosophies behind iOS and Android. iOS is going for something that really works seamlessly but somewhat capped. Android, however, is accepted to be far from perfect but it is constantly evolving. A smartphone, in my opinion, is more than just a gadget. It's an extension of who you are and its identity is how you want your life to work. As I remember holding the HTC One X on one hand and the Samsung Galaxy S3 on the other with my iPhone 4S in the middle, I just can't reject the fact that I needed change. The question now is, it Google's Android or Apple's iOS that's going to give me the satisfaction of change? Should I stay with iOS or shift to Android? To our dear readers, help me weigh in the options. Convince me, entice me, coax me. iOS or Android? Share your thoughts below.

Editor’s Note: At one time or another, we can all relate to this transition and have faced the same dillema. – Yuga


Sony Xperia Go Review

Posted: 02 Aug 2012 06:56 PM PDT

One of the latest additions to the NXT lineup, the Sony Xperia Go is set to succeed the rugged Xperia Active which was released last year. Will this phone live up to the standards that it's older brother has set? Check it out on our full review after the break.

Design and Construction

The Xperia Go is basically what you'll get if you sandwiched the Xperia Active and Sola. It has the tough exterior of the Active and minimalist design of Sola. The 3.5" screen sits in between of the Active's 3.0" and Sola's 3.7" display.

Despite its seemingly fragile appearance, the Xperia Go should be able to withstand some of natural elements. Just like the Xperia Active, this phone is IP67 certified meaning it's dust and waterproof for up to a meter for 30mins. We submerged the device underwater numerous times and we were pretty pleased that it still functions as normal after being dunked in the pool.

Display & Multimedia

As mentioned above, there's a half an inch revamp on this smartphone's display as compared to Active but the screen resolution remained the same at 480×320, thus equating to a less dense display. But given the display's poor resolution, it still provides a pretty decent viewing experience indoors. Outdoor legibility is also not so bad but not the best we've seen on a smartphone.

Speaking of display, the screen is actual pretty responsive even the user's hands is moist or even damp. This is a definite plus for us, especially me because I have sweaty palms. As its older brother, the Xperia Go also boasts a scratch-resistant glass. But just like its bulkier counterpart, the display ceases to register touches when the phone is totally submerged.

We planned to do some crazy things with Xperia Go but we we're a little bit squeamish to do it. Luckily some German bloggers have already done it for us. Here's their video demo of how tough the Xperia Go is.

Not so surprisingly, the multimedia experience we had with the Xperia Go is pretty identical with the other Xperia smartphones that we've reviewed thanks to its Mobile Bravia Engine and xLOUD Sound Technology. You can read through our Xperia Sola review for a better idea about Sony's proprietary audio and visual technology.

Unfortunately this smartphone inherits its predecessor's audio issues. The sound coming out of the loudspeaker is too soft, so we suggest keeping an earphone handy for better multimedia experience.

OS and Performance

Just like the majority of its NXT siblings, the Xperia Go comes with Gingerbread out of the box with a heavily customized Timescape UI. If you want to know more about TimeScape UI, you can revisit our Sony Xperia S review here.

This smartphone is powered by a dual-core NovaThor U8500 1GHz processor backed by Mali 400 GPU and 512MB of RAM. This is the same configuration found on Xperia Sola.

The results of the Xperia Go and Sola on our usual synthetic performance benchmarks are almost identical to each other; to the surprise of no one since both has the same SOC on board. But for some weird and unexplained reason, we had a different experience in terms of performance.

The disparity in performance isn't noticeable on typical apps and tasks. It starts to manifest once you open resource-heavy apps like games. The lag isn't that terrible to the point that it freeze but it's constant, even when there are no apps running on the background. We're not certain if this is an isolated case, but having the same configuration as the Xperia Sola we're inclined to believe that it is.

Camera

For better or worse, the camera features of the Xperia Go bares deep resemblance to that of the Xperia Sola's. Unfortunately, the issue with the lack of secondary camera as well as the poor focusing that we've experience with the Sola is also present in the Xperia Go. We strongly suggest reading through the camera section of our review of the Xperia Sola for this.

As for the video clips, besides the ability to record underwater the 720p quality is pretty much the same as with the Xperia Sola.

Here's a sample of that.

Battery

Albeit the 105mAh bump on the battery capacity from Xperia Active's 1200mAh battery, the Xperia Go's 1305mAh juice is far from satisfactory. On light to moderate usage, we were only able to squeeze in 11 hours of juice out of it.

Conclusion

If anything, the added resistance to the natural elements and from occasional bumps and scratches is the Sony Xperia Go's greatest selling point. This should appeal to people who are looking for a smartphone that they can take wherever they are regardless of the weather. Considering that Sony is aiming at the said market, the phone's below average battery capacity coupled with its lackluster screen resolution can be a huge roadblock for prospective buyers.

Well as you might have noticed, the Sony Xperia Go is basically just a rugged version of Xperia Sola with a slightly smaller screen and no NFC. In terms of pricing, there's also not much of a difference between the two. Therefore if you can live with a slightly smaller and less dense screen in exchange for scratch-resistant display and rugged features, we definitely suggest getting this instead of Xperia Sola.

The Sony Xperia Go can be had for Php12,750 at Widget City (see listing here) and is also set to be officially launched this month by Sony with a price tag of Php14,900.

Sony Xperia Go ST27i Specs:
3.5" display @ 320×480 pixels, 165ppi
NovaThor U8500 1.0GHz dual-core
512MB RAM
4GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD card
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, WiFi hotspot
Bluetooth 2.1 w/ EDR
5MP rear autofocus camera with LED flash
720p video recording
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
111 x 60.3 x 9.8 mm
110g

What we liked about the Xperia Go:
● Solid and tough body
● Simple and nice design
● Certainly an all-weather, all-terrain handset

What we did not like about it:
● Sound quality is lacking
● So so battery life


Soundfreaq SoundKick Review

Posted: 02 Aug 2012 05:49 AM PDT

SoundKick SFQ-04 is the latest portable speaker from the fairly new audio equipment manufacturer SoundFreaq. Let's see what it's all about on our full review.

Some of the key design feature of this speaker is its stylish black etched stripe body, capacitive buttons (excluding the power button) which are found at the top of the speaker and its collapsible extension chamber at the back which doubles as a kickstand.

Another notable feature of the SoundKick is that it also doubles as a portable charger. It has the ability to charge your mobile device via the USB port at the back.

The SoundKick delivers a full and balanced sound output thanks to its two 2.3" drivers and Soundfreaq's proprietary UQ3 technology which can be switched on and off. We've listened to our tracks with the UQ3 turned on and off and one can already tell the difference. We don't really suggest turning the UQ3 off as the sound gets horribly distorted.

We've tested 3 devices with the SoundKick to simulate real-world scenario for different devices we usually plug to a speaker. We've listened to it both plugged and wirelessly with our HP Pavilion dv6t-6000 w/ Beats Audio, iPod Touch and Nexus S.

The speaker was able to produce pleasing audio output on all these devices with only a very slight and bearable distortion when paired with the iPod and laptop and the volume cranked to its max. The sound was a bit soft when we paired it with the Nexus S even when both the device's and speaker's is at its peak, but then again my Nexus S isn't that loud to begin with.

Soundfreaq promises 6-7 hours of continuous play back. We were a bit hesitant at first about it but the Soundkick delivered to that promise thanks to its 2200mAh battery. We averaged about 6 hours on wired playback and roughly the same time on wireless.

One thing we noticed during our time with the SoundKick is that the sound is louder when it's plugged to a power source than when it's running on battery. This additional loudness comes at the cost of sound quality. The sound starts to get distorted when the speaker is plugged in to power outlet (70% volume mark when attached to the PC and 90% on iPod).

The lack of remote control is compensated by an optional Soundfreaq remote control/music player app available for both iOS and Android that you can download for free.

We think that Soundfreaq did a really good job with the SoundKick. Its sleek design paired with pretty decent sound output and long battery life is definitely a winning combination. Not to mention that you can also play songs wirelessly via Bluetooth and charge your phone via USB. With a price tag of Php4,950, the SoundKick is something to consider when you're looking for a portable speaker. It’s available in stores like Digital Hub, Digital Walker or Beyond the Box.

What we liked about it:
• Sturdy and lightweight construction
• Great sound quality for the most part
• Long battery life
• Affordable

What we did not like:
• Sound quality gets distorted when plugged in
• Outdated Bluetooth support (only supports up to Bluetooth 2.1)