Tag Archives: Battery

Teen dream machine

THE SAMSUNG CORBY: For nimble-fingered tech savvies

Samsung CorbyTHE iPhone has certainly set the standard for new cellular descendants with newer mobile releases favoring the larger, full-touch screen. There is also a major focus on making cellphones exclusive social networking devices.

Samsung has followed suite with the release of a few touch-friendly iPhone clones – one of which is called the Samsung Corby. The device is specifically aimed at the youth market and it’s easy to see why; it takes a tech-savvy youth to get to grips with it. However, touch technology is amazingly intuitive and it shouldn’t take long for anyone to learn to use a Corby – provided you have thin and nimble fingers and thumbs.

Social features
On the plus side the Corby is certainly a very social phone. It is fully Facebook, Twitter and MySpace compatible and can be used to upload content to a variety of sites, such as YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and Photobucket. One is also able to receive updates and live feeds via Facebook, MySpace and Twitter through a simple pop-up SNS (Social Networking Service) notification feature.

With a Corby, users can upload photos and videos and view such content on these sites through a feature called Communities. However, community access is only granted after an extensive disclaimer is displayed, which includes the clause that any content uploaded may be accessed and used by third parties. Be warned that there is a risk of being spammed with adverts once your personal details are divulged.

The screen
The 2.8-inch QVGA screen is large and crystal clear – something that Samsung certainly gets right. I thought the screen would get smudgy after a few hours of fingering and was surprised to find that it didn’t leave a single fingerprint behind. Apart from three buttons found on the front, the phone is entirely operated with the screen using one’s fingers and thumbs.

This may pose a problem for some as the Corby does not favour users with fat fingers. You have to use your thumb to type / touch anything comfortably and I’m sure that the average thumb is not as small as most of the keys on the touch-screen. A better option is to use a stylus (a phone-poking pen with a thin, touchy tip). Yet the Corby comes with none.

What’s on the menu
The Corby has an elaborate menu – two and a half screens worth. These all have a function and purpose but Samsung could have easily gone for a minimalistic approach by combining some of these. For example, there are separate synonymous icons for “Google” and “Internet” as well as separate “stopwatch” and “timer” functions. I guarantee that consumers would agree that less is more and imagine that a lot of the Corby’s multiple functions would go unused.

Apart from the 27 pre-installed widgets an additional 75 are available for download from Samsung’s online Widgets Store (not unlike the iPhone App Store). The Corby makes use of quad band connectivity to download content and browse the web, which is no 3G experience but is still sufficiently fast.

Nonetheless the Corby is easy enough to navigate and it doesn’t take long for all the mysterious symbols to start making sense. There does, however, seem to be a slight misunderstanding between the scroll and the zoom functions – often confusing themselves with each other. What also lacks is an on-screen QWERTY keyboard – making message-making rather difficult.

Other features
The Corby has an impressive memory and can support up to 8GB of external storage. Battery life is said to be 9 hours of talk time and an incredible 730 hours of standby time. It has a camera yet this is a mere 2 megapixels and has no autofocus or flash. It does have a “smile shot” function which is becoming all the rage – i.e. the phone will only take a photo of a person when he/she is smiling.

There are two unique features belonging to the Corby, namely “one finger zoom” and “smart unlock.” As the name suggests, one finger zoom enables consumers to zoom in and out with one finger, while smart unlock is a feature which enables users to unlock the phone by drawing a letter on the screen. One can choose from 9 letters with which to secure their phone from teenaged trespassers.

The verdict
The S3650 Corby would definitely appeal to youngsters that are keen on technology and consider themselves as active social networkers. It is also a phone for those who like to personalise and customise and comes with extra covers slanged “fashion jackets”. The relatively low price of R1500 implies no fancy stuff, but the wide range of features and downloadable content is certainly relevant to the target audience. Tech-savvy and mobile-intuitive traits required.

Related Reviews:
Samsung S3500: Budget Bundle
Jet-setting with the Samsung Jet

Samsung R610 notebook review

REVIEW: Samsung R610 – a new noteworthy notebook

LAPTOPS may have been all the rage in 2008, but now attention has shifted to focus on their slimmer counterparts, namely notebooks and netbooks. It seems that slimness and light-weight mobile devices will always win favour over heftier ones, and none is lighter than the Samsung R610.

Weighing in at around 2.7kgs, the Samsung R610 is part of the latest generation of notebook PCs. It may be the lightest notebook currently available, yet it does have a hefty price-tag (close to R10 000). However, after playing with one for a week I’m confident that you get what you pay for. Let’s take a closer look.

Samsung R610 notebook

Operating system
The Samsung R610 should come equipped with either Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows 7 Ultimate – the latter being the latest operating system to date. If you are currently a Vista user, Windows 7 should be a warm welcome. It is the most user-friendly operating system I have ever experienced and by far the most visually-appealing.

If you shave off what Windows 7 Ultimate would have cost if purchased separately (roughly R2000), the cost of the notebook in question may seem less frightening.

CyberLink DVD Suite
Unlike netbooks (which are specifically designed and optimised for web-browsing and related activity), the Samsung R610 notebook encourages users to engage in multimedia production. It offers a software package called CyberLink DVD Suite, which has great programs such as PowerProducer and PowerDirector, which are all you need for managing data, photos, music, movies, creating DVDs and backing up your content.

What’s the difference between notebooks, netbooks and laptops?

  • LAPTOPS are mobile computers with full-sized keyboards, flip up monitors and space for built in optical or floppy disk storage drives. They are not usually as powerful as desktop PCs.
  • NOTEBOOKS are often referred to as portable “desktop replacement” PCs, which can do as any normal computer can. The latest models have full-sized keyboards as well as relatively large storage drives. In other words, a notebook is a more potent laptop.
  • NETBOOKS are ultra-mobile computers with keyboards smaller than full size and therefore a lot smaller than laptops and notebooks. They are designed and optimised for Internet use and can handle small programs such as MP3 players.

Touchpad
I have never quite managed to get used to using the touchpads on laptops as appose to a standard mouse. I’d rather plug in a mouse even if it’s a miniature one. Unfortunately the touchy bit on the Samsung R610 is smaller than usual and a bit of a nightmare to use. To make matters worse it has a scroll function on the same pad which changes the function of the mouse pointer into a scroller. This is really annoying if you fingertip ventures too far to the right, which will happen unless you’re a veteran laptop user.

I don’t understand why they don’t make the touchpad bigger, or at least separate the scroll function by placing it further away. There seems to be a lot of wasted space alongside the touchpad, which I would call a design flaw.

Keyboard
What often puts a lot of people off ever buying a laptop is the idea that the keyboard is a lot smaller than that of a desktop PC. It’s hard enough trying to operate a cellphone with small keys if you don’t have the slim and nimble fingers of a 13-year-old. However, this is not the case with most notebooks – the keys are simply more compact and just as easy to use as any standard keyboard.

Samsung R610 notebookLaptop keyboards have also taken things a step further by introducing function keys. When pressed, these give certain keys on the keyboard additional functions, such as checking battery life, adjusting monitor settings and managing volume control.

Battery
Battery life may be a second major concern for those considering buying a laptop. While some standard laptops can’t get more than two hours work done before going to bed, the Samsung R610’s battery can last for over three hours.

However, it’s important to note that battery life is relative to what you use your device for. There is a useful function key that makes it easy to monitor how much battery life you have left and I’m confident that it’s reliable enough to keep you entertained on a long trip.

Screen
The Samsung R610 has a sixteen inch HD gloss screen. I treated myself with a huge HD Samsung screen over Christmas last year and have never looked back. The picture quality of Samsung screens is really something to be admired, especially when viewing something recorded in HD. However, even watching low-quality videos on a smaller notebook screen will still look better than expected.

Other features
To be honest I can’t actually think of anything that the Samsung R610 doesn’t have. Apart from the above, it has 4 USB ports (for inserting flash-drives, cameras, external hard-drives or a good old-fashioned mouse), a 3-in-1 SD card slot (for quickly uploading photos), a slot for attaching a camcorder, a DVD drive, micro-phone and headphone holes and an internal 1.3 mega-pixel webcam (great for Skype).

It really has everything you could want in a well-designed notebook that will certainly make a statement. If you’re prepared to spend ten grand I would certainly recommend the Samsung R610. Christmas is right around the corner and prices might even drop during the festive season. It would make a great end of the year treat. Feel free to email me for my address details 🙂

Samsung R610 notebook specs

• Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows 7 Ultimate.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T6400 (2.00GHz, 800MHz, 2MB).
System Memory: 3GB (DDR2 / 1GB x 1 + 2GB x 1 ).
LCD: 16” HD (1366 x 768) 16:9 Gloss.
Graphic Processor: nVIDIA GeForce Go 9200M GS; HDMI ouput.
Sound: HD (High Definition) Audio; 4W Stereo Speaker (2W x 2).
Multimedia Player: Play AVStation.
Camera: 1.3MP Web Camera.
Storage: HDD: 250GB (5,400rpm S-ATA).
ODD: Super Multi Dual Layer (S-ATA).
• Connectivity: Wired Ethernet LAN: Gigabit LAN.
Wireless LAN: Intel 802.11a/b/g/n 1 x 2 (MIMO).
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR; 4 x USB 2.0
• Multi Card Slot: 3-in-1 (SD, SDHC, MMC).
Keyboard: 100 Key (Silver Nano Anti-Bacteria Keyboard).
Battery: standard 6-cell, (up to 3 hours battery-life).
AC Adapter: 90W.
Dimensions: 379.2 x 265.2 x 31.8 — 38.45mm.
Weight: 2.75kg

Related Review: The Samsung NC10 netbook

Let’s do the Twisp!

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NEW AGE SMOKING: Kick the habit with an electronic cigarette

The newest 'desgins' of the Twisp electronic cigarette

The newest 'desgins' of the Twisp electronic cigarette

AS someone who smoked cigarettes for a few years (and still experiences moments of weakness, especially when alcohol comes into the mix), some might find it strange that I am a complete advocate for anti-smoking laws. In fact, I look forward to the day when smoking in public is banned entirely and punishable by law, at least for my future children’s sake.

And it seems that it won’t be long before this happens. Some new laws under the Tobacco Act were signed recently which make smoking illegal in “any partially enclosed” public place (areas like covered patios, verandas, balconies in apartment buildings, covered walkways and parking lots). Also in the pipeline is making smoking illegal in sports stadia, on railway platforms, at bus stops, in fully outdoor areas where food is served, and outside the entrances to buildings.

This may be a little extreme, but I fully agree with banning smoking in partially enclosed areas. I used to sneak outside whenever the craving set in so as not to bother anyone. In my estimation, lighting up in a small enclosed room is worse than breaking wind deliberately. At least the latter doesn’t linger as long.

Some scary facts & figures
Now there is a reason to be more considerate, as any breach of the above anti-smoking laws carries a maximum fine of R50 000 payable by the pub, bar, workplace or restaurant owner and R500 payable by the individual smoker.

This may be enough to discourage non-smokers from carelessly taking up the habit, but the real goal is to get the 22% of adult South Africans who continue to smoke to quit. I know from experience that this is no easy task. I’ve witnessed people try several different methods to help them quit, ranging from the “scientifically guaranteed” to the most bizarre self-remedies.

anti-smoking lawsThe strangest case was that of my grandfather. He basically went cold turkey but still carried cigarettes with him. He would simply pretend to smoke without actually lighting his cigarette, replacing it with a new one whenever it got a little soggy. It was really strange to watch.

But now there is now finally an alternative that the tobacco companies can be really afraid of — the electronic cigarette, or more specifically, the Twisp. Here’s a description from the Twisp Electronic Cigarette website:

“Twisp is not a real cigarette, but a personal and portable vapouriser, that uses micro-electronics and a lithium polymer cell to evaporate nicotine in ‘smoke’ from a replaceable cartridge. The vapour does not smell nor does it contain tar, carcinogens or smoke particulate found in first and second- hand cigarette smoke, but it feels, tastes and looks just like the real thing. Best of all you can ‘smoke’ your nicotine machine virtually ANYWHERE!”

Being able to ‘smoke’ one of these devices ANYWHERE may be questionable, but if the law had to fine someone for smoking a Twisp they may as well fine anyone who burns incense or wears pungent perfume.

The smell and taste of a Twisp has been described as similar to a hookah pipe. Like hookah tobaccos, Twisp cartridges are available in a variety of flavours and strengths, including tobacco, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, cherry, strawberry and mint — all in high, medium, low and zero nicotine concentrations.

Similar to a cellphone, Twisp batteries require a deep cycle charge before first use for eight hours or overnight. After which one to three hours will completely charge the battery (depending on the model).

Similar to a cellphone, Twisp batteries require a deep cycle charge before first use for eight hours or overnight. After which one to three hours will completely charge the battery (depending on the model).

The device consists of a battery (white part), an atomiser (silver part) and a cartridge (yellow/orange part), and comes with five replacable cartridges. An optional purchase is a small jar of liquid, which contains propylene glycol, water, flavour and nicotine. This can be used to refill the cartridges or dripped directly onto the atomiser to create a superior amount of flavour and vapour.

In essence, a Twisp is a miniature atomiser which heats the ingredients to the point of vapourisation. When someone puffs the Twisp, a flow sensor activates the rechargeable lithium polymer battery, which starts the process of atomising, heating and evaporation, creating a thick vapour that looks like smoke.

What is in it?

  • Propylene Glycol is a common food grade additive, generally regarded as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and used to suspend flavour and create the simulated smoke. It is also found in toothpaste, mouthwash and as a humectant in tobacco products (keeps tobacco moist).
  • Nicotine is an alkaloid found in certain plants, predominantly tobacco, and in much lower quantities in tomatoes, potatoes, bringles (eggplants) and green peppers. Nicotine itself isn’t carcinogenic (a cancer causing agent) nor does not have any mutagenic properties.

Because a Twisp doesn’t burn tobacco, the vapour you are inhaling is free of hazardous smoke particulates, tar and carcinogenic compounds produced when tobacco and additives are burned. There is no smokey smell nor does the vapour stain teeth or fabric.

To be extra safe a Twisp has a built-in safety mechanism to prevent the user inhaling more than 15 times in a minute. If the device feels that it is being dragged too hard for too long it shuts down and LED flashes for a short period of time.

How long does it last?
Electronic cigarette smokers are no longer compelled to smoke the entire cigarette, so about 10 puffs is the average use. The “mini” cartridges last between 10 to 15 cigarettes, the classic carts between 30 to 40 cigarettes. Liquids last about 300 to 400 cigarettes per 10 ml and the cigars between 1 800 to 2 000 puffs or 200 cigarettes.

  • The Twisp mini is available for around R800 and comes with five refillable cartridges and a three- month warranty. If you are the average 20 a day smoker and use a Twisp as an alternative to smoking, it should pay for itself in fewer than six weeks.

Twisp is only intended for smokers with a pre-existing nicotine addiction. It is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, or those sensitive to nicotine or propylene glycol. It is not for sale to children under the age of 18.

Jet-setting with the Samsung Jet

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SAMSUNG JET’S innovative smartphone-like features take handsets to the realms of being ‘smarter than a smartphone’

THE Samsung Jet has opened up a whole new world of mobile web browsing with its high performance Dolfin web browser and revolutionary 3D cubic interface, allowing super-fast surfing. The device also supports the option of multi-window browsing – allowing one to surf up to five pages simultaneously.

Samsung JetThe 3.1″ Samsung WVGA AMOLED display is four times sharper than a WQVGA screen, has a fast touch response, and is also very efficient in its power consumption – consuming 40% less energy than a mobile phone equipped with TFT-LCD display.

When it comes to music, Samsung Jet’s unique features give users the option to operate simultaneous playback audio and scroll through the phone’s music library.

For video, the DVD-like video playback recording (with D1 Video Playback and D1 30fps Video Recording) enables seamless playback without residuals and the ability to instantly download and play DivX and Xvid formats without converting and resizing- all in HD-like quality.

This full-touch mobile phone boasts revolutionary speed thanks to its 800MHz Accelerated Application Processor. This sophisticated high-performance processor is the Samsung Jet’s secret to speed and versatility, integrating multiple applications and functions, such as navigation and viewing.

Samsung Jet also has an A-GPS application, to provide navigation services in life-like 3D, to convey real places, information and directions in real-time. This incorporates 3D Map Navigation, GPS on Google maps and location-based services. And if all that isn’t enough, it also includes a Geotagging feature.

SAMSUNG JET SPECS:

  • HSDPA 3.6Mbps (900, 2100 MHz)
  • Revolutionary 3D Cubic Interface
  • Display: 3.1″ 16M WVGA AMOLED
  • Camera: 5.0 Megapixel AF camera+ Dual Power LED
  • Face Detection, Smile Shot, Panorama Shot, Blink Detection, Geo-tagging, Photo Editor
  • Video: D1 Video Playback/D1 30fps Video Recording, Video Editor
  • Supports: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX, XviD
  • Audio: Music Player with DNSe & SRS WOW Sound Effect
  • Find Music, 3.5 Ear Jack, FM Radio/Recording
  • Supports: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, AMR, MIDI, SP-MIDI, i-melody, WAV, MMF, XMF, OMA DRM v2.1, WMDRM,
  • DivX VOD & Wi-Fi
  • Active Sync for Push Mail

Value Added:

  • In-house developed Dolfin Browser, WAP 2.0, One finger Zoom
  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Share Pix & Mobile Widget
  • A-GPS, On Board Navigation(3D Map), TouchWiz 2.0
  • Motion UI, Media Gate 3D, Multi-tasking Manager
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v2.1, microUSB (USB v2.0 Hi-Speed), Wi-Fi
  • Memory: 2GB onboard memory & 8GB microSD card (included)
  • Battery: 1,100 mAh – Talk time : 2G/492 minutes, 3G/300 minutes
  • Standby: 2G/422 hours, 3G/406 hours
  • Size: 108.8 x 53.5 x 11.9 mm

Related Reviews:
Samsung S3500: Budget Bundle
Samsung Corby: Teen dream machine

– issued on belhaf of Samsung Mobile Phones
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