Hitam, Besar, Dan Disukai Oleh Agnes Monica – Sebuah Perspektif Akan Vivo V7+

Mari kita bicara mengenai stereotipe. Sebagai manusia, sangat susah bagi kita untuk menghindari penggunaan stereotipe dalam keseharian. Misalnya, ada stereotipe bahwa anggota DPR itu semuanya adalah koruptor, semua pengemudi Avanza tidak ada yang mengerti aturan lalu lintas, atau stereotipe semua orang yang bekerja di creative agency akan susah jodoh. Ada yang benar, tapi bila dilihat secara objektif, kebanyakan tidak.

Dalam dunia pergadgetan, ada stereotipe bahwa produk – produk yang dikeluarkan oleh merek seperti Vivo dan Oppo adalah produk untuk orang yang tidak tahu lebih baik. Orang – orang yang preferensi terhadap pilihan smartphone nya ditentukan oleh rekomendasi sales person di toko Hengky Cellular di ITC terdekat, atau karena smartphone itu digunakan oleh seleb terkenal seperti Afgan atau Raisa. Smartphone untuk orang-orang yang tidak mengerti rasio spesifikasi & harga barang, yang penting mereknya familiar buat mereka, dan terlihat ada di mana-mana. Stereotipe bahwa smartphone ini adalah produk dengan spesifikasi ala kadarnya yang tidak akan memberikan pengalaman memuaskan, dan label harga yang lebih mahal dari semestinya.

Pertanyaannya, apakah itu benar?

Saya beruntung bahwa saya berkesempatan untuk membuktikan stereotipe tersebut karena sejak beberapa minggu lalu, saya menggunakan produk terbaru dari Vivo, V7+ (yang sepertinya digemari oleh Agnes Monica dan peluncurannya disiarkan langsung oleh sembilan TV Swasta nasional), sebagai smartphone harian saya, yang biasanya adalah sebuah iPhone 6s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vivo V7+ yang sedang hitz saat ini

Saya bisa katakan bahwa stereotipe tersebut tidaklah benar, dan smartphone ini adalah produk yang bagus, yang sejauh ini sangat memuaskan untuk digunakan. Alasannya akan saya bagi dalam tiga kategori: Mantap (segala yang sangat saya sukai dari smartphone ini), Ya Udah Lah (biasa saja) , dan Aduh (membuat saya menggaruk kepala dengan stress). Untuk yang ingin tahu spesifikasi lengkap dari smartphone ini, bisa lihat di sini.

Mari kita mulai dengan yang Mantap:

  1. Desain.
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Tampilan hitam legam nan sederhana
    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Unibody alumunium dengan garis antenna yang menarik

    Dengan ukuran sasis yang sama dengan smartphone 5.5 inch lainnya, Vivo V7+ ini dapat memuat layar full view 6 inch, dengan desain yang tipis, ergonomis, enak digenggam, dan memiliki penempatan tombol dan fingerprint sensor yang pas. Murah bukanlah kesan yang saya dapatkan ketika saya merasakan smartphone ini. Materi cukup baik dengan metal unibody dan Gorilla Glass 4.

    Ketahanannya juga cukup oke. Saya memutuskan untuk menggunakan smartphone ini tanpa pelindung layar maupun jelly case yang disertakan dalam dusnya. Sekali waktu saya menjatuhkan benda ini (tidak sengaja, sumpah!) dari ketinggian sekitar 50cm ke lantai marmer, dan tidak menemukan penyok maupun lecet di body, atau keretakan di layar. (Harap dicatatat bahwa efek gravitasi terhadap gadget Anda itu bervariasi, tergantung posisi jatuh, tingginya tingkat hoki dan karma di kehidupan sebelumnya)

  2. Layar full view nya.
    Vivo V7+ Screen
    Layar “Fullview” 18:9 dengan bezel minim yang sangat masa kini
    Vivo V7+
    Sangat cocok digunakan untuk memutar video
    Dual screen Vivo v7+ plus
    Fungsi dual screen yang otomatis aktif ketika sedang di aplikasi YouTube

    Layar yang berukuran 6″ dengan rasio 18:9 dan resolusi 720X1440. Tidak terhindarkan bahwa akan ada sebagian orang dengan pengetahuan teknis yang baik, yang akan mencibir apabila melihat resolusi dari layarnya bila dibandingkan dengan produk lain di kelasnya. Namun lain halnya dengan pengalaman menggunakannya. Layar ini besar, terang dan gampang terlihat ketika berada di luar ruangan, dan yang terpenting buat saya, kalibrasi warna yang akurat. Sampai saat ini saya menghindari layar dengan saturasi warna yang terlalu kuat, seperti yang digunakan oleh Samsung, karena memberikan warna yang tidak akurat saat mengedit foto. Layar iPhone adalah alat andalan saya ketika harus berurusan dengan pengeditan foto, apalagi penyetelan warna. Nah, layar Vivo V7+ ini menggunakan kalibrasi warna yang natural, vibrant (walau sedikit kebiruan bila dibandingkan iPhone, tapi tidak mengganggu), dan menggunakan ambient light sensor yang akurat membaca situasi pencahayaan lingkungan sekitar, tidak seperti beberapa smartphone yang pernah saya miliki (uhukLGuhuk). Tidak pernah sekalipun saya merasa bahwa layar ini kurang tajam, kurang terang atau kurang berwarna berwarna. Layar ini juga berkontribusi terhadap performa batere yang mumpuni, seperti di poin berikut.

  3. Kinerja prosesor dan performa batere .
    Vivo V7+ gaming
    Performa tidak mengecewakan saat digunakan untuk permainan 3D dengan animasi yang berat.

    Skeptis adalah perasaan yang muncul ketika mengetahui bahwa smartphone ini menggunakan prosesor Snapdragon 450. Biasanya, smartphone dalam kisaran midrange ini selalu menggunakan prosesor jenis Snapdragon 6 series, yang performanya lebih mumpuni dari 4 series. Setelah menggali lebih dalam, ternyata saya menemukan bahwa seri 450 ini adalah keluaran terbaru dari Qualcomm yang memiliki performa melebih seri 430, memiliki arsitektur yang sama dengan seri 625, dan mempunyai kelebihan di umur batere yang lebih panjang. Setelah beberapa minggu menggunakannya, saya sekarang mengerti bahwa spesifikasi itu tidak selalu dapat diterjemahkan secara harafiah ke dalam user-experience. Saya tidak pernah menemukan skenario di mana saya membutuhkan daya lebih, meskipun ketika membuka aplikasi permainan 3D yang membutuhkan daya intensif seperti Asphalt 8 atau True Skate (yang notabene adalah simulasi Skateboarding terbaik yang pernah saya temukan). Umur batere nya pun sangat bagus. Saya selalu mengakhiri hari dengan sekitar 40% – 30% daya di smartphone tersebut, meskipun menggunakannya untuk push-email, memutar video sekitar 30 menit – 1 jam, permainan, penggunaan kamera & Instagram Moments yang cukup banyak, maupun internet tethering ketika harus memperbaharui sistem operasi iPhone saya (2GB tethering Telkomsel!). Secara keseluruhan, kinerja smartphone ini memuaskan. Kita lihat performanya setelah penggunaan yang lebih lama.

  4. Kualitas audio.
    Vivo V7+ audio
    Mode HiFi otomatis menyala ketika menggunakan aplikasi yang didukung.

    Ketika berbicara mengenai topik ini, saya ingin menggaris bawahi bahwa yang saya maksud adalah kualitas audio ketika dihubungkan dengan headphone. Speaker bawaan Vivo V7+ ini sebenarnya cukup baik. Suara cukup jernih dan keras walau belum stereo. Namun, ketika menggunakan headphones berkabel untuk mendengarkan musik, disinilah terlihat kelebihan dari smartphone ini, yang ternyata telah menggunakan Bulit-In DAC (Digital Audio Converter – untuk lebih jelas mengetahui apa mahluk ini, klik di sini).

    Kualitas musik yang dikeluarkan lebih berkualitas apabila dibandingkan dengan kualitas musik dari iPhone maupun MacBook yang biasa saya gunakan. Sayangnya, DAC tersebut saat ini hanya bekerja untuk beberapa aplikasi, seperti Spotify, Play Music, YouTube, dan aplikasi pemutar musik bawaannya. Moga-moga kedepannya akan diperbaharui agar bisa bekerja untuk Apple Music juga.

  5. Kamera depan.
    Kamera depan Vivo V7+ Intan Wibisono
    Idola para selfie mania.

    Vivo V7+ ini memiliki kamera depan dengan resolusi 24 megapixel. Memang itu adalah angka yang tinggi dan terlihat seperti kamera yang akan membuahkan hasil yang baik, namun sebenarnya ukuran resolusi tidaklah menentukan kualitas foto yang dihasilkan, hanya ukuran foto saja. Yang lebih menentukan adalah ukuran sensor kamera tersebut, di mana semakin besar ukurannya, semakin banyak cahaya yang diserap dan membuat hasil fotonya semakin jelas. Untungnya, ternyata hasil foto yang dihasilkan oleh kamera ini jauh dari kata jelek. Hasil foto tajam, warna yang ditangkap cerah, yang memungkinkan untuk menghasilkan foto-foto selfie yang memuaskan hasilnya. Aplikasi kameranya juga cukup baik. Memang desainnya terlihat kurang orisinal, (sangat terinspirasi oleh desain antarmuka iPhone) namun hal ini membuat penggunaannya lebih mudah, karena lebih familiar. Ada beberapa efek yang diberikan di aplikasi kamera nya. Tentunya, fungsi Face-Beautifying hadir di sini.

    Ini namanya Intan Wibisono
    Dengan menggunakan “bokeh” mode
    Intan sebenarnya cakep, tergantung jam dan hari apa.
    Hasil kamera depan di kondisi dalam ruangan yang terang
    saya
    Lagi, hasil menggunakan “bokeh” mode.
    Ramen Sanpachi
    Hasil kamera depan di dalam kondisi remang-remang restoran Jepang di bilangan Blok M

    Namun sebagai orang yang tahu diri untuk tidak banyak mengunggah muka saya yang non-fotogenik, saya lebih menyukai fungsi pengeditan foto yang sudah dilengkapi dengan beberapa efek warna yang menurut saya cukup lengkap agar terlihat seperti foto-foto di akun selebgram terkenal.

  6. Kelengkapan.
    Vivo V7+
    Anti gores? Ngapain?

    Smartphone ini dilengkapi dengan pelindung layar & casing dalam kemasan aslinya. Memudahkan bagi pembelinya sehingga tidak usah membeli asesoris lagi. Saya secara pribadi tidak pernah menyukai smartphone dengan tambahan anti gores, jadi saya tidak menggunakannya (ya, saya suka hidup berbahaya dan penuh tantangan).

  7. After sales service dan garansi yang tersedia di mana-mana dan gampang ditemukan.

    Saya baru mengetahui bahwa service center Vivo memiliki kebijakan untuk mengganti sebuah handset yang mengalami kerusakan, apabila spare parts nya tidak tersedia dalam waktu 24 jam. Sangat berbeda dengan pengalaman saya dengan smartphone merek lain yang mengalami kerusakan LCD, dan harus menunggu seminggu sampai barangnya tersedia. Garansi, hotline service center dan panduan sudah tersedia secara elektronik di dalam menu Settings smartphone ini. Sungguh praktis!

 

Faktor Ya Udah Lah:

  1. Funtouch OS.

    Sebagai seseorang yang lebih menyukai tampilan & fungsi Android murni, tampilan Funtouch OS ini terlalu “iPhone” buat saya. Cara berinteraksi dengan settings, tampilan, maupun ketiadaan App Drawer, membuat smartphone ini terasa seperti versi Androidnya iOS. Untungnya dengan Android, selalu ada Launcher yang menyediakan alternatif untuk saya yang menyukai tampilan Android murni. Setelah mencoba beberapa Launcher, saya akhirnya menggunakan Nova Launcher, karena tampilan Android O nya, dan adanya fungsi App Shortcut ketika menekan aplikasi selama satu detik.

    Screenshot_20170926_220758
    Nova Launcher, kau adalah penyelamatku!

    Paling tidak, OS Funtouch ini memberikan pengalaman penggunaan yang fluid, tanpa jeda, memiliki system pengaturan memori yang baik, dan terasa ringan.

  2. Kamera belakang.
    Vivo V7+ Camera
    Kamera belakangnya ya… Biasa aja.

    Kamera belakang dari Vivo V7+ ini rasanya agak campur sari performa nya. Di kala kondisi cahaya terang, kamera ini membuahkan hasil gambar dengan detail yang baik, tajam, dan Dynamic Range yang bagus.

    Namun, ketika berada di dalam ruangan, apalagi dengan pencahayaan yang kurang terang, kualitas foto menurun dengan drastis. Detail foto hilang karena kamera nya mencoba menyamarkan kekurangannya dengan menghilangkan noise, tapi hasilnya adalah detail yang terlihat seperti polesan. Walau begitu, kecepatan kamera untuk fokus tetap bagus meskipun pencahayaan kurang baik.

    Saran saya, jangan ragu untuk menggunakan kamera smartphone ini ketika pencahayaan bagus. Ketika sedang gelap, gunakan flash sebisa mungkin, atau berteman dengan orang-orang yang membawa senter LED dengan kekuatan 10,000 lumen.

Faktor Aduh:

  1. Kualitas audio ketika dihubungkan dengan headphone Bluetooth. b5878b7be13943509a21fa3688125e6736ab5c67bf7149164474d24b8a40fc65 Saya teringat kepada Tuhan ketika mendengar kualitas suara smartphone ini ketika dihubungkan dengan Bluetooth headphone, dan bukan karena kualitas yang baik. Suaranya kecil, detail tidak terdengar dengan jelas, sehingga membuat saya lebih banyak menggunakan headphone berkabel untuk mendengarkan musik di smartphone ini, yang tidak sepraktis Bluetooth. Hal ini merusak pengalaman ketika membawa smartphone ini sebagai pemutar musik dikala berolahraga, karena kabel yang berlarian kemana-mana. Seharusnya hal ini tidak terjadi, karena pengalaman saya selama ini menggunakan smartphone dengan headphone Bluetooth maupun berkabel, semuanya memberikan pengalaman yang konsisten.
  2. Micro USB.
    Vivo V7+
    Micro USB di tahun 2017…

    Konektor micro USB di tahun 2017. Serius nih? Saya pernah menggunakan Asus Zenfone 3 keluaran tahun lalu, yang sudah menggunakan USB C. Memang tidak fatal karena saya selalu memiliki berbagai macam konektor tergelatak di rumah atau kantor, tapi sebagai seseorang yang menilai sebuah smartphone dari pengalaman menggunakan, meraba-raba konektor ketika gelap untuk menentukan sisi mana dia harus menghadap ketika harus mengisi daya bukanlah pengalaman yang positif.

  3. Kontrol musik ketika layar terkunci.
    Vivo V7+ interface
    Ini tampilan ketika sedang memainkan musik (Spotify) dari layar utama. Harus unlock dulu untuk bisa skip musik. Sungguh praktis.

    Ini agak fatal menurut saya. Ketika saya menggunakan Apple Music atau Spotify dan ingin masuk ke fungsi kontrol music (stop, play, next/back), saya tidak bisa mendapatkannya dari posisi layar terkunci. Saya harus buka dengan sidik jari atau kode pin, swipe layar paling atas untuk mendapatkan fungsi kontrol, atau membuka aplikasi musik tersebut. Sangat tidak praktis. Seharusnya ini sesuatu yang dapat diobat dengan OS update, tapi saya bingung aja kenapa hal seperti ini terlewati, padahal seharusnya kekuatan Vivo adalah Kamera dan Audio nya.

Kesimpulan:

Tidak ada gadget yang sempurna. (Kesempurnaan itu hanya milik Tuhan dan Emma Stone) Tapi, segala faktor Mantap di atas tadi cukup untuk membuat saya bisa menerima segala kekurangan smartphone Vivo V7+ ini sebagai gadget yang akan saya pakai secara harian. Desain yang enak digunakan dan digenggam, layar yang bagus, performa yang bebas drama dan umur batere yang panjang sangat memenuhi kebutuhan saya, terlebih untuk urusan menonton video di jalan dan penggunaan normal sehari-hari (rentetan e-mail dengan kuantitas besar, berbagai grup WhatsApp & tentunya penggunaan berbagai aplikasi social media).

Jadi, apakah Vivo V7+ ini layak dibeli? Berikut adalah bagan sederhana untuk menentukan apakah Anda harus mempertimbangkan smartphone ini atau tidak:

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 17.10.04

 

 

The Oppo F1s Raisa Edition Is Here, And It’s More Than What It Seems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

In some ways, being a gadget reviewer is not a hard job. We review gadgets objectively, based on the features, specification and performance. If the device performs well according to its spec and price, it earns our praise and recommendations, and when a device under-deliver what it promises to be, we feel the need to lift our forks and casts the first stones.

That’s why when Oppo launched their F1s Raisa Black (or was it Black Raisa?) Edition, I cringed. Not only was it basically a pitch-black version of their popular F1s, which let’s face it, doesn’t have that salivate-inducing sexy spec nor brand for us enthusiasts, it also bears the signature of a newcomer artist who in my not-so-humble opinion, haven’t really deserve to have her signature etched in limited edition gadgets. It’s too easy to scoff at this venture.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
From Raisa With Love
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Inside, it’s the familiar F1s with Oppo’s custom operating system which surprisingly is very user friendly.

But then I heard the presentation from the lovely Miss Alinna Wenxin and also see Raisa’s live performance, which made me realized three surprising (at least for me) insights:

  1. The Oppo F1s is proven to be a great mid-range device. Couple of points that supports that statement: First, it has a satisfaction rate of 98.7% – according to SWA Magazine – and second, Oppo is the second highest selling manufacturer in Indonesia, right below Samsung. This is not an easy feat, knowing the number of smartphone players available in Indonesia. Great hardware holds no guarantee. Just ask OnePlus.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    98.7% satisfaction rate. I’m pessimistic anyone will receive this excellent rate even from their spouses.
  2. Oppo knows their stuff. By positioning the F1s as the ‘Ultimate Selfie Expert’, it has successfully position itself as the king of selfie phones. Again, as a gadget enthusiast who subjectively prefer to shoot anything other than my unphotogenic face, this is something to belittle about. However, as it turns out, i’m a minority. More and more people adopts the habit of taking selfies, and realize just how Oppo can improve their lives by providing a great 16 megapixel front camera with great beautification enhancements software. Oppo sees that and strike a home run with the F1s. Its market share is a concrete evidence of their successful creation.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
    If one has a penchant for selfies, can he/she be called as a selfiesh person?
  3. Raisa & Oppo is a great match, since they’re both a very hard-working brand. Having heard Raisa singing, I knew that she’s talented. But as I see her performing in front of me, and taking her precious time to engage with her loyal fans, it came to my realization that polishing those talent and convert it to stardom requires an undeniable hard effort, which most people (including me) tend to overlook. Talent or inherent trait will get you noticed, but dedication and hard work will get you places and sustain you there. Raisa shares the same story with Oppo. They’re a newcomer in a heavily saturated market who’s able to fight their way to the top, using hard work and dedication.

    Processed with VSCO with 7 preset
    Raisa’s squad of loyal fanbase.

It’s very easy to judge a product or anyone based on the surface, but take some time to understand them and read between the lines. You’ll find a deeper lesson that goes beyond spec sheets or album covers. Congrats for the launch, Oppo & Raisa. Stay exemplary!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Thank you Oppo for inviting me, and providing me an awesome tumbler which I’m currently having my coffee with.

The OnePlus X is finally here! – First Impression

Among the sea of Android handset manufacturers, for me personally, there are 3 manufacturers that stand out most at the moment:

52839918
Xiaomi – for producing great phones with exemplary build quality at an incredible pace that has one of the best android skin out there and great price.
54680551
Samsung – for knowing that their past plasticky designs are crap and having the balls to really turn things around with their Galaxy A & S series, which makes them truly going toe-to-toe with Apple (finally!), and then there’s the OnePlus.
0Oneplus-logo
I won’t fault you if you haven’t heard about this peculiar Chinese brand, it’s because of 1) they’re new, and 2) they are not available broadly due to the unique way they market & distribute the product (read: ridiculous).
download
But they have created devices that has flagship specifications with half the price of a Galaxy S6, which gained them great reputation from their users and blows the online reviews out of the water.
It suits their motto – Never settle – where it supposedly reflects their desire to always push the boundaries of what a flagship phone should be. (it’s a great motto, but you might not want to implement it to your love life)
black-red_NS
Now, they’re officially entering the market through official sales channel locally with OnePlus X, their lower range device compared to their flagship, the OnePlus 2 . It has the older Snapdragon 801 processor (which is definitely no slouch), 3 gigs of RAM, and 16 gigs of internal memory with expendable storage capability.
1495368577617966660
photo courtesy of Gizmodo
What’s so special about this device? Well, for starters, it uses glass & metal constructions – the premium materials that most flagship phones uses – but here’s where it truly shines: the price. It costs US$250, or around 2,8 – 3,3 million, depends on where you’re getting them.
Right now it’s sold through BliBli, but you can always find some agan-agan reseller in KasKus peddling them as well. For the price, it’s hard to find other phones that can compete with the specifications while wrapped in such exceptional choice of material.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
That clean & solid packaging that looks like Apple’s.
Let’s start with the packaging. In short, it’s Apple-esque in terms of the material & craftsmanship that they used. Thick & smooth carton laminated in doff finishing, that gives you that slow drop when you’re opening the device.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
It opens with that slow-drop dramatic that most people are familiar with Apple packaging.
Opening it, you’re presented with the device neatly on top of the first box layer. Lift it out, and you’ll see the cool tangle-free OnePlus USB cable that makes other USB cables look thoughtless in comparison.
Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Providing unique cables compared to the other manufacturers. Showing that you sweat about the small stuff.
Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The charger is fast charging one with thick plastic. Nice.
There’s also your regular stuff, SIM tool (that you can replace with paperclip), papers & warranty, but no headphones included. This is basically to reduce the cost, and since i already have several headphones, i won’t be losing sleep over this.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
What’s in the box
What surprises me are the inclusion of screen protector (installed) and a silicon case. Something that no other brand haven’t done before. I guess the reason why they do this is because of the phone’s design itself. Just look at it.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Black silky slab of glass & metal
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The rear side is also glass.
Silky smooth black glass sandwich the solid metal frame, with ridged texture on the sides and button. It’s truly a beauty to behold. Some people are comparing this with the iPhone 4 which in my opinion, remains Apple’s phone with the best choice of material by far. The cold & silky feeling and the heft does a good job of assuring you that this is a premium device. A jewel perhaps.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The detailed ridges texture of the frame with the metal textured buttons. Class.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Memory card & Nano SIM card slot.
The size (5 inch) also makes it the perfect size for me. Some people take comfort in smaller screens or bigger ones, but my sweet spot is 4.7-5.1 inch, and this phone suits it nicely. This phone supports either dual SIM card (for that other person you want to hush about? – hey, I won’t judge) or Micro SD card on its tray. I do prefer separate slots, but this will do just fine since I only use one phone number.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with c2 preset
Can’t wait to put this device to its pace.
I’ll be using this phone as my main device for the upcoming days, to see where it performs in processor performance, battery life, camera, sound quality, and overall durability – since my phones are usually drenched in sweat whenever I took them for running, and just the overall day-to-day perks of using them.
Feel free to shoot any questions and i’ll try my best to answer them. Cheers!

The Redmi 2 Prime is here!

There’s something joyful about having your online shopping merchandise delivered and opening them. Especially when it’s the latest gadget that you can’t wait to play around with. In my case, it happens to be the Xiaomi Redmi Prime 2 that will have a flash sale exclusive in Lazada, this Monday. I’m lucky enough to have the device before being sold tomorrow, and this is a quick unboxing of it.

The usual recycled paper box of Xiaomi phones.
The usual recycled paper box of Xiaomi phones.
I think this box is better than the Mi4i’s, since it’s smaller and has no excess space.
IMG_0117
The usual papers, which i don’t think anyone will read.
IMG_0116
What’s in the box: Phone, battery, charger & USB cable. No earphones included.
IMG_0113
It looks just like the Redmi 2 Nothing’s change, but it’s the internal that matters. 2GB of RAM & 16 gigs of internal storage.
IMG_0114
I love this dark grey case. Better than your usual Xiaomi white, although the texture feels a bit slippery.
IMG_0118
2,200 mAh battery. Nothing’s change from the previous model.
Red
That’s it! Will be using this as my daily driver and see how it goes.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review

IMG_0092

AADX, atau Ada Apa Dengan Xiaomi? Itu yang gue pikirkan setelah melihat beberapa teman penyuka gadget yang tidak berhenti membicarakan mengenai brand tersebut. Komunitas yang menjadi advokat brand tersebut juga kuat, dan sangat aktif sekali, apalagi setelah produknya yang bernama Mi4i diluncurkan di Jakarta. Produk dengan premis “Affordable Flagship”, yang menurut gue secara pesimis, ngga akan ada bedanya dengan handset Android lainnya.

Gue beberapa kali menggunakan handset Android, dan ujung-ujungnya selalu kembali ke iPhone karena satu hal, konsistensi performa. Pakai Nexus 4 dan 5, yang notabene selalu memberikan konsistensi paling baik dari sisi software, tapi mengecewakan dalam battery life dan kualitas kamera. Pakai LG G3 yang camera nya sangat bagus untuk ukuran handphone, tapi kecewa dengan konsistensi performa nya karena seringkali melambat, memanas, dan ujung-ujungnya baterai lumayan boros.

Iklan Samsung
Dengan memakai Samsung, kamu akan bahagia karena berlari-lari di taman dan memiliki hidup yang berwarna-warni cerah.

Samsung… Gimana ya? Menurut gue pembeli Samsung itu secara spesifik berasal dari kalangan ‘orang yang masih percaya iklan’. I’m not saying that it’s bad, but you can definitely get better stuff if you only ask your techy friends instead of believing in social media buzzers who seem to glorify them (twice each year during the Galaxy S & Note series periodic launch). Yah, pernah pakai Galaxy S3 dan A5 punya kantor. S3 belum dipakai setahun dan performa nya melambat walau sudah factory reset, dan A5 sebenarnya cukup oke sih, tapi terlalu mahal untuk spesifikasi mid-range nya. So, ya begitu. Gue belum pernah menemukan handset Android yang memuaskan, yang bisa membuat gue bisa meninggalkan iPhone di rumah, dan sehari-hari memakai handset itu aja.

Tertarik dengan omongan teman-teman bahwa Xiaomi Mi4i ini memuaskan, gue bertanya-tanya, dan setelah satu dan lain hal, akhirnya menggunakan handset tersebut selama beberapa minggu ini. Secara singkat, gue sekarang tahu kenapa teman-teman gue merekomendasikan handset ini, dan brand nya memiliki komunitas yang sangat kuat juga. Handset ini simply memuaskan. Ini alasannya:

Screenshot_2015-09-20-22-35-53
Boleh lah ini battery life nya.

1. Battery kuat
Dan ada alasannya kenapa begitu. Satu, secara spesifikasi, ukurannya besar. Lebih dari 3,000 mAH, tapi lucunya, LG G3 yang dulu gue pakai juga memiliki baterai dengan ukuran sekitar itu, dan jarang sekali menembus 12 jam standby dengan penggunaan sedang (Waze sekitar 30 – 40 menit, sekitar 100an push email, chat, social media, browsing, puzzle games, dan sekitar 2.5-3.5 jam layar aktif). Perbedaannya terletak di prioritas designer handphone nya. Xiaomi itu mendahulukan user experience dibandingkan spesifikasi, terlihat dari Layar LG G3 yang 5.5 inch Quad HD, atau sekitar 538 ppi (pixel per inch) sedangkan Mi4i “cuma” Full HD, dengan 441 ppi. Apakah terlihat bedanya? Ngga. Tapi memang spesifikasi LG lebih sexy buat dipampangkan di brosur, walau efeknya lebih memberatkan prosesor dan membuat baterai boros.

Ibaratnya kalau mobil, LG membuat mesin 6 silinder yang lebih besar, tapi menghasilkan akselerasi yang sama dengan mesin Xiaomi yang cuma 4 silinder. It’s pointless. Dengan si Mi4i, Sehari-hari, paling jelek itu gue mendapatkan sekitar 12 jam. Rata-rata sekitar 15 jam, seringkali lebih. Copot charger jam 5.30 pagi, dan baru masuk charger lagi sekitar jam 11 malam. Sangat cukup buat gue.

2. Performa
Performanya konsisten. Masalah gue dengan LG G3 dulu adalah ketidak konsistenan performa. Kadang mulus, tapi seringkali mendadak melambat, bahkan disaat gue cuma ingin scrolling Home screen atau buka app. Mungkin cuma sekitar 0,5-1 detik sih lag nya, tapi dikali beberapa puluh kali melakukannya setiap hari, berasa lah. OS nya Mi4i yang bernama MiUI ini secara mengejutkannya cukup responsif dan konsisten. Tidak seperti kebanyakan Android dengan skin ala produsen lain yang biasanya memberatkan kinerja, OS ini dirasa sangat optimal buat handphone ini. Bukan cuma asal membedakan tampilan dan fitur, tapi memang dirancang untuk melengkapi hardware yang mid-range. Emang sih, RAM yang ukurannya 2GB itu kadang berasa ngga cukup, karena biasanya cuma tersisa sekitar 800-400MB untuk user (sisanya dimakan oleh OS tersebut). Lalu, namanya juga Android ya, masih perlu di reboot paling tidak seminggu sekali untuk mempertahankan mulusnya performa. Dimaklumi lah ini.

 IMG_0093

3. Camera
Memang camera handset ini ngga bisa dibandingkan dengan iPhone 5S atau LG G3 yang pernah gue pakai. Noise nya cukup banyak dalam kondisi remang-remang, lalu tidak menangkap detail sebaik handset2 tersebut. Tapi begitu ingat bahwa handset ini harganya 2,8 juta Rupiah, kekurangan itu sangat dimaafkan. Bahkan, agak sulit mencari camera handphone sebaik ini dalam rentan harga tersebut. Camera nya responsive, cukup cepat dinyalakan dari standby sampai mengambil gambar, sangat mudah digunakan & memiliki fitur-fitur unik, misalnya cara menyetel exposure value yang intuitif seperti ini.
Screenshot_2015-09-26-16-19-25
Beberapa fungsi dasar camera Mi4i
Screenshot_2015-09-26-16-19-10
Beragam mode foto Mi4i
Screenshot_2015-09-24-12-21-51
Mode selfie dengan sensor umur built-in. Dengan kacamata, gue dibaca sebagai 50 tahun, tanpa kacamata, lebih muda 20 tahun.

Camera itu sangat penting buat gue, dan menjadi salah satu alasan kenapa gue urung menggunakan Nexus. Camera dengan kualitas gambar konsisten itu alasan gue kenapa sejauh ini selalu memilih menggunakan iPhone untuk mengambil gambar, dan tidak memakai handset Android lainnya. Dengan si Mi4i ini, gue semakin sering menggunakannya untuk mengambil gambar, terlebih karena kamera 13 Megapixel nya ini lebih cropping friendly dibandingkan 8 Megapixel nya iPhone 5S gue. Untuk sample foto Mi4i, silahkan scroll ke paling bawah.

Sharp & vibrant. Something that you don’t see in a phone at this price range.
4. Layar dan desain
Menurut gue, 4.7-5 inch adalah ukuran layar terbaik, dimana real-estate visual cukup, tapi tidak mengorbankan handling jika menggunakan satu tangan. It’s the sweet spot. Layar 5 inch nya Mi4i yang digabung dengan body yang tipis membuatnya gampang digunakan, bahkan dengan satu tangan. Selain itu, layarnya tajam dan warnanya sangat bagus.
Apabila Samsung memiliki hobi yang aneh untuk membuat saturasi warna terlalu kuat, Xiaomi ini lebih condong ke Apple untuk racikan warna layar. Netral, visual angle nya luas dan menggunakan teknologi IPS dibandingkan LED. Foto dan gambar terlihat natural dan ekstra tajam. Memang kekurangannya adalah ketika di tempat gelap, there’s only so much brightness you can decrease. Kalah dibandingkan layar AMOLED nya Samsung yang bisa extra redup dan tidak menyilaukan. If you’re a fan of reading in the dark before going to bed (or you’re Batman), you might be losing sleep because of this.
Tampilan dasar home screen MiUI. Tidak punya app drawer seperti Android pada umumnya. I like this better. Who access their app drawer anyway?
Walau tampilannya iOS banget, tapi widgets bisa dong. Best of both world.
Screenshot_2015-09-24-12-24-19
Multi tasking screen nya kelihatan familiar ya…
5. Detail OS
Walau terlihat Xiaomi ini ‘terinspirasi’ sekali dari Apple, banyak sentuhan-sentuhan kecil yang dilakukan Xiaomi yang membuatnya berasa lebih intuitif atau menyenangkan dibandingkan versi Android lainnya. Contoh paling kecil, aksi swiping untuk melihat notifikasi tidak usah dilakukan pada layar bagian paling atas, tapi bisa dari mana saja.
Lalu, mode satu tangan yang sangat intuitif dan gampang dilakukan, bahkan sampai cara switching dari camera belakang ke depan (tinggal swipe atas/bawah saat camera menyala) atau posisi angka timer di selfie-mode camera yang posisinya dekat dengan lensa, agar mata lebih fokus melihat kearah lensa tersebut. Banyak sekali detail-detail kecil yang membuat OS ini unik, intuitif dan menyenangkan digunakan, baik itu animasi nya, maupun designnya. Untuk segala fitur MiUI, dapat dilihat disini.
Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
I don’t mind using this as my daily driver. In fact, i want it to be.
Kesimpulannya, gue jatuh hati dengan handset ini. Memang ini masih terlalu cepat untuk mengatakan apakah Mi4i ini akan bertahan lama atau memberikan performa yang konsisten dengan berjalannya waktu, but, i’m more than willing to find out. Handset ini menyenangkan untuk digunakan. Ia membuat gue nyaman untuk memindahkan nomor utama ke sini, dan (kadang) meninggalkan iPhone di rumah. Handset ini actually ngga membuat gue was-was dengan performa baterai nya, atau memberikan gambar yang lumayan bagus dengan cepat tiap kali gue nyalakan kameranya. In fact, this is what i’m looking for in a handset. Perasaan tenang bahwa handset ini akan bekerja tanpa drama. It just works.
IMG_0094
Those faux chrome & plasticky buttons
Tapi, seperti ungkapan ‘tiada gading yang tak retak’ (atau kalau disesuaikan dengan era masa kini, ‘tiada Kelapa Gading yang tak banjir’) kekurangan itu pasti ada. Pertama, ukuran memory internal yang cuma 16 GB. Emang sih ini bisa disiasati dengan selalu selektif memilih file apa yang akan kita simpan, but i’m echoing realistic women here that size, in fact, does matter. Kedua, feel dari power & volume button. As you can tell as how i’m nitpicking here, sebenarnya ini bukan sesuatu yang penting, tapi akan lebih baik apabila rasanya lebih ‘click’ dan less plasticky. Apalagi ya? Mungkin tekstur body nya. Memang dia menggunakan coating yang membuatnya anti kotor. Segala noda gampang sekali dihapus, tapi kadang membuatnya berasa licin. Oke, gue mulai kehabisan materi untuk dikomplain. Selain itu pun, segala keluhan diatas lagi-lagi dimaafkan mengingat harganya yang dibawah 3 juta.
Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
It’s hard to find a better phone all around at 2.5-3 million price point. I highly recommend this phone for that kind of budget.
Ada masanya harga dibawah 3 juta itu merupakan pertanda sial bahwa handset yang bisa dibawa pulang adalah merek ngga jelas, atau Samsung low-end dengan spesifikasi yang hanya terdengar wow ketika band bernama Base Jam masih terkenal. Dengan senangnya gue memberi tahu bahwa masa-masa gelap itu telah berlalu (begitu pula dengan Base Jam). Budget terbatas sekarang bisa mendapatkan handset dengan kualitas sebaik Mi4i ini.
P.S: If your budget is lower than that, and i mean below 2 million Rupiah, you shouldn’t worry as well. Xiaomi baru aja meluncurkan Redmi 2 Prime yang harganya sekitar 1,8 jutaan, dan apabila optimalisasi OS dan hardware nya sebagus si Mi4i ini, harusnya performa nya akan sangat memuaskan untuk harganya. I will be reviewing it once i got my hands on it and spend a good time with it. (Big love to the guys at Xiaomi for allowing me to do some reviews on their gadgets)
Beberapa sample foto yang diambil dengan Mi4i:
Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Pagi hari cerah, indoor, sudah dibumbui dengan preset VSCOCAM.
IMG_20150925_175946
Maghrib, outdoor, sekitar jam setengah 7 malam.
IMG_20150912_190204
Indoor, malam, dengan cahaya lampu neon.
IMG_20150925_204051
Malam, indoor dan remang-remang ala bar.
IMG_20150912_185504
Kondisi malam. Mengkompensasi noise dengan kontras cahaya yang tinggi.
IMG_20150924_123613
Indoor, kondisi terang sekitar jam makan siang.

Unexpected Gadget: The Xiaomi Mi4i

So, last Wednesday I was curious & asked around about the Xiaomi Mi4i’s performance, which turns out was rolling into an unexpected direction. Long story short, the guys from Xiaomi contacted me and they are giving me a brand new Mi4i to test! And here it is on its first unboxing attempt, which reveals a very spartan packaging, but a very clean-designed one nonetheless.

The guys from Xiaomi Indonesia
Me & the good guys from Xiaomi Indonesia, meeting up at Filosofi Kopi, Blok M.
First time opening the Xiaomi Mi4i
It’s brown, recycled, and… that’s it.

In the next couple of days/weeks/months I will be reviewing this mid-range device on its consistency of performance. Out of the box, it performs brilliantly. But as my previous experience with Android devices, it’s the long term performance that most of the time suffers. Experienced it on a Galaxy S3, HTC One V and LG G3. (surprisingly I didn’t encounter it on the Nexus 4 & 5, but the battery life was horrifying)

I’ll be updating on the day-to-day performance for the camera, speed, memory management, battery life, and in general just how does it feel to live with the device. I’m not a benchmark geek (or in some cultures, Jemaah Antutudiyah), so what matters is the overall consistency for my day to day. I usually use it mostly for emails – 80 to 120 emails per day, chat, camera, social media, music, YouTube video playing & keeping up with my daily newsfeed. In the mean time, do shoot the comments if you have anything to ask about this device.

Xiaomi Mi4i
The Mi4i is a great 5 inch phone. It’s very comfortable and has a great handling for a big screen.
xiaomi mi4i backside
The polycarbonate backside feels like the old HTC One X. It’s solid and doesn’t feel cheap despite its 2,8 million rupiah price tag.
The unboxing of the Mi4i
Aaand that’s it. Phone, USB charger & cable and more recycled cardboard.

Lumix GF6 – A brief thought about Panasonic’s latest camera

Let me start this review by asking this question: With the progressing quality of cellphone cameras, is it still important to own a digital camera, especially when you’re not a photographer? Well, for me, that depends on several factor. First, there’s the camera. Does it deliver quality photos that separates it from top-end cellphone cameras like the iPhone 5S, Lumia 1020 or the HTC One? Is there any extra function that truly benefits the user? Is it small enough to be carry daily? And the most important thing: Why should I carry this when I got my phone with me all the time? (This is not a technical review for a Lumix GF6. You might want to look here for any detailed reviews regarding any technical info & comparison with competitors. This is how I feel about the Lumix GF6)

The new Panasonic Lumix GF6
The new Panasonic Lumix GF6

Enter the Lumix GF6, Panasonic’s latest entry to the mainstream consumer market. It’s a micro four third camera system (click here to know what it means) which means it has interchangeable lenses in a compact body. I won’t discuss each feature it has or how does it compare to its predecessor, the Lumix GF5, or my previous Lumix, the GX1 which came from the prosumer line. But I do want to highlight features that matters to me: The awesome touch screen, WiFi connectivity, and a new processor that leaves me with a positive experience in using it.

One of the best touch screen i've found on a camera
One of the best touch screen i’ve found on a camera
The tilting screen lets me do a selfie that actually has worthy resolution.
The tilting screen lets me do a selfie that actually has worthy resolution.
That awesome tilting screen.
That awesome tilting screen.

The touch screen: Have you ever tried one of those camera touch screens that has the response speed of Indonesian state worker (clue: it’s not fast. Not. Fast. At. All) and has jaggy low resolution? I’m glad to tell you that this isn’t one of them. The response is fast & fluid just like on a modern day smartphone. The screen’s resolution & brightness is also a beauty. I wish it was bigger, but the fact that you can tweak it for low angle shot & selfies makes it forgivable. The UI is also good & informative. I wouldn’t say that it’s the most intuitive UI in the world, but compared to my old GX1 is like comparing Windows 95 to Vista. It’s not a MacOS yet, but it’s better.

Directly copying the image to my phone.
Directly copying the image to my phone.
I can directly see my camera's photo library from my Nexus phone.
I can directly see my camera’s photo library from my Nexus phone.
The interface of the remote function. Plenty of settings access.
The interface of the remote function. Plenty of settings access.

The WiFi connectivity: This camera has the ability to upload the photos directly to the cloud using WiFi connection, but who wants to do that? Especially with the user interface that isn’t exactly made for picture management, one isn’t to blame when he thinks that this WiFi is as gimmicky as NFC on smartphones, something that is only made for bragging among friends during parties or events. But boy was I wrong to think that. Turns out there’s a Panasonic Image App that can connect smartphones (iOS & Android only. If you’re on Windows Phone, you’re out of luck. If you’re on BlackBerry, you’re probably already used to being left out like this) using the WiFi connectivity. Once you pair it using a password (or NFC on equipped smartphones), you can use it as a remote control to take family photos, or more awesome selfies! It also lets you transfer images to your phone. (Why the hell would you want to transfer photos to your phone? I’m going to write that for my next post about the GF6. But first things first) Overall, for me it adds tremendous value in using the camera. It also is a better party piece to impress people!

The new processor: I’m not gonna get geeky and discuss processor specs here, but I will highlight one major point that differentiate this camera from my GX1 – the speed & low light processing. Now, I have no complaint about the speed on my GX1. I think it shoots quite fast in any circumstances, but then I tried on the GF6. Even though the GF6 is not a pro camera like the GX series (should be comparing the GX1 with the GX7), it shoots faster and much more stable compared to the GX1, especially when it comes to low light performance. The actual photo result itself isn’t different as they both share the same image sensor, but the experience is just more pleasant on the GF6.

So, getting back to the argument whether it’s still necessary to have a separate digital cameras for mere consumers like us. Does the GF6 produce great photos? In short, yes. Although it also depends on the type of lens you’re using. It ships with a 14-42mm F3.5 lens, which in my opinion is nothing special, even though with the GF6’s retail price around US$500, I can’t exactly complain. I do recommend on pairing it (at least) with Panasonic’s fixed 28mm F2.5 lens or better yet, this 25mm F1.4 Leica. Here’s a couple shots below to see the result.

Low light photo in black & white.
Low light photo in black & white taken using the F2.5 28mm.
My wife, multitasking like women in general.
My wife, multitasking like women in general.
The street in front of my house at night time.
The street in front of my house at night time.
Tested using the F2.5 28mm lens.
Tested using the F2.5 28mm lens.
Long exposure shot in Lippo Mall, Kemang.
Long exposure shot in Lippo Mall, Kemang.
My cat, taken with the 14-42mm lens.
My cat, taken with the 14-42mm lens.
Low light indoor photo during an event.
Low light indoor photo during an event.
Low light photo using the F2.5 28mm.
Low light photo using the F2.5 28mm.

About the feature, does it offer something new? Not really, but for me, the WiFi connectivity with the smartphone app nails it. Not only it adds more function that work seamlessly with my existing smartphone, but it’s also a feature that I would actually use in real life.

And last but not least, why would I have the extra weight of carrying this camera inside my bag? Well, for me, there are moments that could only be capture using the light-speed action of your mobile phone, but there are also moments that’s only worthwhile taken with something much more better, like the face of your loved ones, or that unforgettable travel destination you only visited once in your life. And believe me, this camera captures them perfectly.

It’s Worth It

It's Worth It.

Throughout life, I’ve stumbled upon stuffs which it’s quality mirror their price tag. For instance, iPhone, MacBook Air or any other Apple products. The quality of the product is the same as the price you pay. It has great built, works flawlessly, long lasting and a joyful experience to have. You get exactly what you paid for.

In other times, there are objects that deemed to be overpriced when compared to the quality or experience that you get. For instance: Coffee Rub burgers, Toyota Fortuner and Indonesian tax.

This post is a share of objects (well, more like stuffs or gadgets) that surprises me with their quality beyond the price that I paid.

Starting from the number one: Klipsch S4 in-ear headphones.
I paid around Rp 900K for this piece, which seems to be a lot of money for what looks like an in-ear headphones with a nice metal case. But as it turns out, the sound quality it churns is amazing! The bass lines are there without overpowering as Beats’s and also produces nice mid & high range frequency.

Number two – Jawbone’s Jambox.
This 2 million Rupiah Bluetooth portable speaker is one of my arsenal to bring during presentations. Simply paired it with my MacBook and I have my presentation video sounding like what they meant to be. The sound quality is decent for its size, and the bass! Oh the bass… Also, the battery life is simply stellar. My minor complaint is regarding the Bluetooth connectivity with Macs. It frequently fails and made me turn off my Mac’s Bluetooth switch to get it connected again. I suspect the culprit is the Mac OS, since it work flawlessly with my Nexus 4 & iPhone/iPad.

Number 3 – Philips Aquatouch ATH-750 electric shaver.
I got this product for 500K, and it has been in my possession for around 2 years. It offers practical shaving for dry & wet condition flawlessly. The razor is great & shaves faster then any regular shaver, and to my surprise, it shaves off quite clean (well, for an electric shaver type. Don’t compared it to traditional razor blade for precision). The battery life is also excellent. The first months i was only getting a week out of it, but over time, i manage to squeeze around 2-3 weeks between charges.

Number 4 – LG Nexus 4 smartphone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. it has its faults. The camera is quite rubbish, especially on low lights, and the glass material they use for the back part is unlaminated, therefore scratches easily and some say it’s quite brittle (luckily i haven’t broke mine after many drops without any case). But for 4 million Rupiah, this thing offers an Android experience that works flawlessly, unlike the much-pricier Samsung Galaxy S3 that I’ve used. It just works. And trust me, coming from a dude who likes iOS products, it’s a high praise.

Number 5 – Seiko SKX007 mechanical diver watch.
I’ve always been a fan of mechanical diver watches. The combination of complex mechanical underneath that robust construction truly fascinates me. While my grail watches are Swiss made and costs car-like, this watch isn’t. I bought this watch a couple of years ago for around 2 million Rupiah, and if you know your watches, Its Swiss-made counterparts are at least priced twice that amount. It’s not a perfect thing though. The glass isn’t made from the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and the standard bracelet that comes with it is quiet flimsy. But for a mechanical watch that’s ISO certified for 200 meters diving with reputation coming from a Vietnam war era heritage, that’s a real bargain.

So yeah, those are the stuffs that I (so far) found to be worthy in comparison for their price and quality. Hit the comments to share yours!

The real android experience: The original is always the best

20130511-120908.jpg
So, I’ve been lucky enough to play with Google’s official handset, the Nexus 4 for these couple of days. This is a short opinion on what I think about the peculiar handset.

For starter, the Nexus 4 is a real Google Android handset. It means that the operating system is officially made by Google, not customized by Samsung (like the ones in Galaxy) or any other handset manufacturer. The result is actually quite contrast. This handset’s fluidity is on equal term with my iPhone 4S, even starting and switching apps faster than it. And believe me, that’s the highest compliment I can give for an Android phone. I’ve used Samsung’s so called flagship, the Galaxy S3, and I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. The operating system is heavy, bloated, and it looks like it was designed by an 8 year old using Microsoft Paint. A stark contrast compared to the untouched one in the Nexus 4 with its Holo theme, a design theme where it looks like it was taken from Tron, but simplified so a mere human like me could easily understand.

20130511-121430.jpg
The hardware is also very different. While the Samsung believe in plastic (like most Korean boy/girl band), the Nexus uses soft touch plastic sandwiched with Gorilla Glass on the front and the back, giving it that “expensive” feel, even though it costs less than the Samsung. (I think around 5 million for a brand new one).

20130511-121824.jpg

20130511-121911.jpg
Comparing it with the iOS on the app side, the Android still lacks that cohesive feel iOS has. Each app isn’t designed uniformly up to Google’s standard. Some app perform fabulously, like the LinkedIn apps that has more fluidity and sleekness compared to its iOS counterpart, but most of the apps are still better on the iOS version. Some example is the Nike+ app that can be connected with Path seamlessly on my iPhone. The Android app still doesn’t have this feature. It does offer sharing function to Facebook or Twitter, but no Path integration.

20130511-120616.jpg

20130511-120734.jpg
Some comparison on the Nike+ app

How does it feel to live with it? Well, on the battery life side, it’s on par with the 4S. On days where I don’t use it much, it’s quite frugal. Passing by the 12 hours mark with ease. On active days with push mails, snapping cameras frequently and plenty of Internet browsing, it gave up on the 10th hour. The camera on the Nexus 4 is just okay. It’s not horrible as BlackBerry’s, but not as good as iPhone’s or Galaxy S3’s, especially in low light condition. Surprisingly, the audio quality on this device is excellent. Using a Klipsch S4 earphone and the iPhone 4S as the benchmark, I could safely say that the clarity is on equal term, although it still haven’t been able to match the iPhone’s volume level.

Would I use this device as my daily driver? Hell yeah. But would I exchange my iPhone for it? Well, if I was comparing it with a Samsung Galaxy, then the answer is no, in a heartbeat. But since the Nexus 4 is that good (on equal terms with iPhone’s quality. Finally!), I would probably ask whether I could just use both of them as my daily driver, since deciding between the both of them is harder than deciding between coffee or tea on a relaxing afternoon, and I think I will just do that.

Nokia N9’s review part 2: Reality test

20111121-233823.jpg
I know it has been more than 2 weeks after my first impression of the N9, but I believe that using the device for a week doesn’t simply do justice to give you the actual impression of living with the device. So after a couple of weeks fiddling (and casually dropping) it, this is my actual report of the device. Note: I usually use my device for messaging, twitter, camera, maps and document viewing. So this review will have a normal smartphone consumer point of view instead of a geek.

The OS
A phone’s OS really determine how do you interact with a device. I’ve been using early Androids (1.5 on a HTC Hero), iPhones, Symbian based Nokias and BlackBerry, and each of them has their own strength. On BlackBerry, I love the messaging feature. Despite not fully supporting HTML emails, it’s simply the most reliable messaging-centric phone I’ve ever used. iPhone, well, it’s an iPhone. Simple, smooth, tons of apps, fun, and it just works. Android was never my cup of tea. It’s smart, but presented me with too much options that I don’t really need. I was also never the tinkering type that custom their androids with multiple ROMs. So, how’s the N9 stands along?

20111121-234039.jpg

20111121-234134.jpg

20111121-234230.jpg
The overall experience using the N9 is closer to the iPhone. It’s simple, beautiful, well thought of, even though it has no home buttons (I actually hate the iPhone’s home button that will get mechanically tired over time). You’re presented with 3 main screens. Your apps, the feed, and the running apps. To unlock the phone you simply have to double-tap the screen & slide from the edge of the phone’s screen. That’s also how exit a running app. Slide from the side of the screen to exit while leaving it running in the background, or slide it from the top side (logo/earpiece side) to exit it completely. You can also tap & hold on the running app and there will be an option to kill it one by one or all of them. Personally, I find N9’s take on this is very elegant. It takes some time to get used to, but I guarantee it won’t be more than 15 minutes, even if you’re as intellectually challenged as any DPR member.

There’s also a built in social media plug in, so you could almost share anything through Facebook & Twitter. I find the Facebook app to be quite good, but the twitter app could use some bug fix. There’s no way to adjust the refresh interval on the app, so if you let it run on the background, it will sip your battery in no time. It also could use more options such as multiple account support, tweet quoting and copy/paste functions.

Speaking of the copy/paste function, I like to claim it as brilliantly executed, but it’s not. You could execute it flawlessly during message composing. All you have to do is swipe the words and adjust the pointer. But I can’t seem to think why it doesn’t work on web pages or apps such as Facebook or twitter. Perhaps Nokia could call this as a feature to “be original” instead of admitting To forget that there are actual people copying something from web pages for quoting purposes. On the plus side, it provides me with ample of choices of fonts and styling for italic or bold type. Something that the iOS releases on their 5th edition.

20111121-233502.jpg

20111121-233638.jpg
The virtual keyboard itself is brilliant. The precision & the tactile buzzing feedback will leave you with a nice typing sensation. The touch sensitivity & the smoothness is… How do I say this, iPhone like, and that’s the best praise for a touch screen phone I could ever give. The OS’s stability is great especially knowing that this is only 1.2 version. Really puts any android devices to shame. The other little things that makes me praise this phone is its UI design. It’s purely Scandinavian design. Clean, great typeface and intuitive. Oh, and the alarm clock even comes on when I powered the device off. Something I didn’t get in the iPhone.

Apps
I won’t bore you with the selection of apps available for the N9. It’s not as complete as iOS or Android, but I easily find what I needed. It also came with apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Nokia maps, Drive (Nokia maps optimized for driving), Documents for reading Office stuff, wifi hotspot, Skype, Gtalk, 3D games like Need for Speed or Real Golf, RSS feed, Ovi music and music & video player. Again, I have to praise the beautiful look on the music & video player. The layout is clean and the sound quality is iPod like, tested using a quality headphone. Overall, the apps that came within leaves me satisfied.

20111121-234639.jpg

20111121-234731.jpg
I also find some apps that I usually used on the other platform, such as Foursquare, File Manager, screen capturer, world clock, translator and some music apps like piano & drums. But wait, where’s the Yahoo messenger? Where’s Whatsapp? I couldn’t found them, even among the vast selection of apps within the Ovi store. I hope there will be a whatsapp for the N9, cause its one of the main chat apps I’m using frequently.

Camera
The camera on the N9 is a bit of a mixed bag. The lens is actually brilliant. It’s a f2.2 Carl Zeiss lens but unfortunately it doesn’t ship with the brightest image processing unit. Noises could be found during low light shots and the focus time could be a bit faster, but overall it provides a great detail and neutral colors, unlike some camera that puts the contrast level to be unnatural. The video also HD capable, providing a 16:9 resolution that captures movement in good frame rate, but sometimes you could see it struggling with panning mode. Might be happening due to the constant auto focusing. All in all, it’s a more than adequate camera for a phone. Here’s the pictures taken with the N9 below.

20111121-235023.jpg

20111121-235115.jpg

20111121-235204.jpg

Battery Life
Now this is where I think the N9 shines. The battery life for me is great, considering I always put it on 3.5G mode and it’s equipped with a 1ghz processor & 1ghz of RAM. My usage is including my morning reading session through the RSS feed, playing with the camera, tweeting, browsing and more RSS reading. It provides me with around 10 hours of battery life, which is mo than what I got with my iPhone 3GS on 3G mode, even more than my current Bold 9790 that has lower RAM number. But usage time will be varied according on how you use it. If you spend your time playing the 3D games or Maps, the N9 could be as consumptive as a rich man’s mistress. I also found a power saving mode that deactivate the background connection activity, only activating when you’re needing them or opening some apps.

20111121-234914.jpg

Conclusion
Despite all of its shortcomings, I really love the N9. This phone is nothing like other phones available. It’s beautifully crafted, great UI design, good keyboard, the curved glass is wonderful and making me feel downgraded using devices with “just another flat glassed gadget” and provides me with what I needed. It’s Nokia’s statement of what they can do among other phone manufacturers that seems to be drowning them, and it’s a great statement. Sure the apps selection is not as varied as Android or iPhone, but I’m sure in time there will be more apps to come.
Will I buy it with my own money? Well, let’s just say that when you’re in love, you’ll do things beyond logic, and I’m definitely in love with this one.

20111121-235311.jpg