The Windows Phone Experience

I have been a Windows Mobile user since Windows Mobile 2003. The O2 XDA II was the device that provided me with my first taste of smartphones. I remember being amazed whenever I use the stylus to write some of my assignment on it’s built in word processor. I have tried mastering the graffiti ala Palm style as I write flawlessly in my device. I felt so cool using that phone when calling and texting as well. Fast forward to 2014, the glory days of Windows Mobile, known today as Windows Phone, is at its lowest. Interest on the smartphone is so low that software developers rarely release a Windows Phone version of their app.

The classic O2 XDA II. Photo from GSMArena.com

The classic O2 XDA II. Photo from GSMArena.com

I am an Android user and occasionally an iPhone user. I have an iPhone 4s but I hardly use it. My two default phones, the ones I use on a daily basis, are a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7in) and the Blackberry 9900. I have been using the Galaxy Tab for browsing the web and the Blackberry because of it’s software stability. Just recently I had a problem with my Blackberry. Whenever I get and make calls, I could not hear anything. Even the person on the other line could not hear me. In my head “I guess this is the best time for me to replace my phone.”

My old reliable Blackberry 9900.

My old reliable Blackberry 9900.

My first taste of Lumia

I had a Nokia Lumia 520 for a while. I have no complaints when I was using it. I found it stable. But I didn’t like the screen size. It was too small for my taste so I gave it to my sister and moved on. Since I was on a hunt for a phone, the Windows Phone was one of my choices because of the stability I had with the Lumia 520. My first choice was the Nokia Lumia 1520 because of the pureview camera and the screen size, but I do not want to shell out Php 33,000 for a phone. My second choice, the Lumia 1020, also came at a hefty price at Php 33,500.

This was the phone I almost fell in love with. The Nokia Lumia 520.

This was the phone I almost fell in love with. The Nokia Lumia 520.

I was at Lucky Chinatown, in Binondo, Manila, when I came across the Nokia Lumia 1320 at Electroworld. The discount they were giving was mouthwatering at Php 9000 so I bit the bullet. My expectation with a dual core, 6 inch, 5 mp camera smartphone was just low. But for the price i have no complaints.

The phone that might make me a loyal Nokia fan. The Nokia Lumia 1320.

The phone that might make me a loyal Nokia fan. The Nokia Lumia 1320.

Honeymoon Stage Review

I am currently in a honeymoon stage with Nokia Lumia 1320 which is why I can not say anything bad about it. Despite it having a 5 megapixel camera, I found it just enough for photos being shared online. With Nokia Camera’s manual mode, where I can adjust the ISO, shutter speed, focus and white balance to my desire, I was completely sold. The screen was also good even under the sunlight. I found myself browsing on websites more on this device than on my Galaxy Tab. Not that it’s better, It’s just that the reading mode on the Internet Explorer make it easier for me to read news articles. Despite just having a 1.7ghz Dual-Core Snapdragon S4 processor, it never felt sluggish. The lack of good apps did not even bother me since I have an Nvidia Shield to play Android games with. Finally, The battery gave me enough juice to last for almost two days with normal usage.

The Nokia Camera App that lets you use your camera in a somewhat Manual mode.

The Nokia Camera App that lets you use your camera in a somewhat Manual mode.

Cool Again

The Nokia 1320 made me feel like using a Windows Phone was cool again. With it’s stable OS and amazing camera feature, I could finally bring out this phone in public and feel good about myself. I could finally shoot photos with the same precision as my DSLR (somewhat). I am now waiting for an update of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and Nokia Lumia 1520. It would surely be better than what I have now which is why I am saving a few bucks for it. =)

Use it with you Android or iPhone

I believe that there will never be an all-in-one device which can topple any smartphone in the market. Each device has its own best feature which the user should utilize to his advantage. Most of us carry two phones at the same time. I recommend that you should buy this phone along side your Android and iOS device. This device falls short of app support but provides you with an excellent camera experience and a very stable OS. I am not talking about the Nokia Lumia 1320 alone, but the whole range of Lumia phones. Bottom line, take advantage of the camera and stability on your Lumia and enjoy the apps provided by your other device.

Iverson is coming to Manila!

Yes, you heard that right! The Answer, Allen Iverson, is coming here.

Allen Iverson to Manila Poster.

Allen Iverson to Manila Poster.

I have always been a fan of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. During their three peat run, I will never forget the series where they met with the Answer. He murdered the Lakers in Game 1, but, gladly, he never got the title (Gladly, Have I not told I am a Laker Fan).

His ability to score in a one on one match is unparalleled. Kobe, Lebron and Durant is not even close. Who would not remember that crossover he did to the greatest, Michael Jordan. He tried to cross him twice. But the second one bit him bad. The crowd went wild as the ball went in.

He will be coming to Manila with a group of serious streetballers from US. They are not just any streetballers, these guys are legit. The UAAP-NCAA All-Stars are no match for these guys. But what the hell, I will be watching this to see some serious crossovers and crazy dunks. I, for one, will be queuing once the tickets start selling.

A battle of Stock Earphones

A lot of people, including myself, consider the stock earphones that came with their smart phone as mediocre, if not average. Whenever, I buy new stuff, I have never bothered to test their stock earphones since I have around 20 different pairs in my collection. With the exception of Apple Earpod, almost any stock earphones ended up alone in the box it came with.

Enter Oppo N1.

The Oppo N1. Photo Credit - GSMArena.com

The Oppo N1. Photo Credit – GSMArena.com

My fiancĂ© recently bought a smart phone called the Oppo N1. If you guys are not familiar with the brand Oppo, it is a chinese brand that started making a name for itself in the audiophile community by making great sounding Blu-ray players. Just recently, they released a premium headphone, Oppo PM1, that has been getting great reviews. With that in mind, I asked if she could give me the bundled in-ear. To which she gladly replied, “Yes.”

At home, I had a very minimal expectation to this in-ear since it was just a stock earphones. I plugged them to my iPod and boy did they prove me wrong. The sound coming from these little creatures are more than amazing. Out of the box, it felt like the bass needed a little more thump so I left it playing in my iPod for a day.

I have trouble sleeping last night, so it was the perfect time to pit this stock in-ears to another great stock earphones, the Apple Earpods. The source I will be using in this comparison will be my Apple iPod Classic 6th Generation, Fiio L11 Line-out dock, Kimber silver cable and Fiio e07k. The songs I will be playing are all in AIFF, lossless format. Please take note that these are my impressions, and it may vary from my ear to another. I am not an audiophile, just an average joe who happens to own a collection of earphones and headphones.

SAM_1779

The equipment I will be using in this comparison.

Comfort and Isolation

The Apple Earpods are quite an amazing earphones. They are comfortable to wear but sometimes, I do feel like anytime they may fall out of my ears. From time to time, I had to check if they are still on my ears. The Isolation on this unit is poor. Since I am currently in the province, I could literally hear the toads croaking outside the window with these on (without any music playing). However, the noise will be lessened once you start playing some tunes.

SAM_1780

The Apple Earpods

The Oppo is a nicely built in-ears with an aluminum and plastic finish. They are very comfortable to wear and unlike the Apple Earpods, they stick quite nicely to my ear (thanks to those silicon tips). The isolation on this unit is quite good but not amazing. The croaks of the frogs outside my window were less audible with no music playing in the background. But once the music starts to kick in, the noise outside will be less noticeable.

Oppo N1's in-ear

Oppo N1’s bundled in-ear.

Sound

The Apple Earpods are great sounding earphones for a stock. Listening to some of the tracks in my iPod ranging from rock to jazz to classical, I found that this earphone sounded very upfront. The sound stage is narrow. Bass presence is there but not overpowering. You could still here the thump of the kick as well as the pluck of each note from the bass player. Mids are good as well. And the highs are a little above average. Not too crystal or sparkly for my taste. Overall, I found them above average for a stock earphones. I can’t write more than that since my jaws are still down the floor after listening to the next contender. If you want to read more about Apple’s earpod, you can head to headfi.org since they have a lot of review and impressions there.

Here comes my impression for the Oppo N1’s stock in-ear. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, my jaws are still on the floor. These are amazing stock in-ears. It does not even compare to some of the in-ears sold in the market. Not even the Audio Technica CKM500 will match this. I have yet to own a quad Balanced Armature in-ear, but from what I remember when I auditioned one in a store (Sony XBA-40), they are right around that quality. Compared to any of the in-ears I have owned, the Oppo felt very flat sounding. The sound presentation is amazing. The sound stage is moderately wide, but not airy, for an in-ear. The separation of sound is excellent as well. You will hear each sound as they were recorded. It felt like wearing 3d glasses in your ears. Cymbals were crashing on the top left of your head as the guitar serenades you near your right, and the voice of the artist right in front of you. The bass is there, accurate and fast. These are not for bass heads. These are for critical listeners who wants to get an accurate picture of the recording. The mids are nice and full. You could hear each and every detail from an artist’s voice. Each breath and crack from the voice is very audible. The highs are crisp and accurate. Not sharp nor was it piercing. I am all out of words for it. I hope every other earphone and headphone enthusiasts who read this blog post would consider trying out the Oppo N1’s in-ear and confirm my impressions.

You can easily own an Apple Earpods since they sell them at an affordable price (Php 1800). You don’t need to buy an iPhone or an iPod touch just to own one. Oppo N1’s in-ear, however, is a little hard to own. You really need to buy the phone just to own this. The question is, will you shell out Php 22,990 to get a phone and a good pair of headset? I say yes. The Oppo N1 is not a bad phone. In fact, it is a great phone if you love selfies, since you may be able to get a good portrait of your face with that rotating camera. But if you want to own a better phone with a great in-ear, you can go grab the Oppo Find 7a for Php 22,990. Yes, the Oppo Find 7a comes with the same in-ear as the Oppo N1. It has specs that could rival any smart phone above that price point. I also need to note that Oppo’s Color OS is very stable compared to any Android port OS coming from China. That includes Starmobile, Xiaomi, MyPhone and Cherry Mobile’s OS. MiUI is great, but I have been getting feedbacks from friends that they have a few glitches that needs to be polished.

The Oppo Find 7a. Photo Credit - GSMArena.com

The Oppo Find 7a. Photo Credit – GSMArena.com

As conclusion, I say, buy the phone for the great in-ear it comes with. You get a good performing phone and you also get an earphone that is performing way better than most in-ears (in the price range of Php 0 to Php 5000) in the market. The Apple’s Earpod are no match for Oppo N1’s in-ear.

A start of a new Adventure

I have never been a writer nor have I liked writing. When I was a kid, my teacher has always scolded me for not writing anything on my notebook. When I was about to graduate in grade school, I literally had to copy all the notes of a classmate just for me to graduate. I never liked the experience. Gladly, I have friends who helped me copy the notebooks word per word.

It never ended when I entered high school and college. I would only write the things that I would like to remember. Those that struck me the most. I hate writing notes just for the sake of having something to read during exam week. I was able to survive college with photocopies of notebooks from friends. And by listening to friends who are reviewing in groups, constantly asking endless questions to one another like “Who was… What is… How did… Explain to me…”

This blog will suffer the same fate as my notebooks through out my school life. I will only write the things that struck me the most. The things that I have learned in life. My stuff that needs to be reviewed. I hope you will enjoy reading my notes as I have enjoyed writing them. =)