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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bose SoundLink Color Review


Don’t look now, but I bought another bluetooth speaker. Fresh from my review of the Divoom Onbeat 500 I still can’t believe it but I ended up buying another bluetooth speaker. This time I ended up getting newly-released Bose SoundLink Color. This is my fourth bluetooth speaker to date. But after hearing the sound from the Color I just had to get it. Let’s see if, in this case, four’s a charm.

Specs:

  • -          Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • -          Voice prompts for pairing
  • -          8 hrs battery life
  • -          USB charging
  • -          5 colors
  • -          1.25 lbs
  • -          US$129.95


Design:

At first glance the SoundLink color does not look like your typical Bose-designed product. First of all, it’s made of plastic and comes in 5 different colors. Don’t worry though because the plastic material does not feel cheap and as a result it’s even lighter than the SoundLink Mini. If you’re looking for portability then I would choose this over the Mini. Also having a choice of colors is nice. Personally, I like the black and red one.





SoundLink Color vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Features and Sound Quality:

One of my biggest gripes and the reason I never bought the SoundLink Mini was because of the proprietary charger that you had to use. If you’re using it for travel the last thing you want is an extra bulky charger. It seems Bose listened to its customers and they finally included a standard USB to Micro USB charger which means I can use the same charger as my phone or tablet.  They also increased the battery life to 8hours (Mini has only 6 hours). Other interesting new features are the voice prompts and the ability to remember the last 8 devices. This is quite useful when sharing the speakers with friends.

All of these new features are great but in the end it’s really all about sound quality and I must say that it is very good considering its size and reasonable price (well I say reasonable compared to other Bose products). Comparing it to my Divoom Onbeat 500 at low volume it’s hard to notice much difference but as you increase the volume you will clearly hear the SoundLink Color start to pull away. It definitely has a richer base, the mids and highs are more defined and vocals are a lot clearer. To be fair, the cost of the Divoom is half the price so it’s still a good buy considering. Now compared to the SoundLink Mini it’s very hard to notice much difference but the Mini does have slightly punchier base but that doesn’t mean the Color feels lacking. It still has that Bose signature base punch. Vocals on the Color at least to my ears seems clearer compared on the Mini.

Verdict:

If you are looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker at the US$100-150 range then this should be on the top of your list. Bose really did a great job in bringing its signature quality sound down to this price level. The Mini still sounds slightly better but it is also 35% more expensive. If you factor in the better battery life and the USB charging I would still choose the Color over the Mini.

The Good:

  • -          Signature Bose sound quality
  • -          USB charging
  • -          Price


The Bad:

  • -          8 hrs battery life is good but competitors are already at 10-15 hrs
  • -          No case included
  • -          No NFC
  • -          No speaker phone function

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Asus MeMo Pad 8 Review (ME-181C)


Asus had been on a new product streak lately with their ZenFone and MeMo Pad series. Locally, they announced the MeMo Pad 7 but have not announced the MeMo Pad 8. But I was able to get the 8 from Amazon, so again let’s list down and specs and see if I liked it.

Specs:

·         AndroidTM 4.4
·          8" LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) Screen
  IPS Panel with 10 finger multi-touch support
·          Intel® Atom™ Z3745 Quad-Core, 1.33 GHz
·         1GB RAM
·         16GB eMMC
5GB Life Time ASUS Webstorage Space
  with an additional 11GB for the first year
·         WLAN802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth V4.0
·          2 MP Front Camera ( 720p Video Recording )
5 MP Rear Camera with Auto focus( 1080p Video Recording )
·          Stereo Speakers with SonicMaster technology
·          1x Micro USB
 1 × 2-in-1 Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in) 
       1 × Micro SD Card Reader,up to 64GB
·           G-Sensor
·           9 hours; 15.2Wh Li-polymer Battery *3
 GPS & GLONASS

Design and Performance:

I think Asus has really done an amazing  job in terms of design for the new MeMo Pad line. Just to make sure there's no confusion, the models I’m referring here are the newer ones based on the Intel Atom processor. The older models are based on a different processor. I really like the slim design of this tablet. It’s light and can easily be held in one hand. The back is made of a textured plastic material which feels grippy and also less prone to fingerprints. Asus actually also makes a 7-inch model with very similar design and specs and with only minor differences like cameras, etc.

MeMo Pad 8 vs Note 3



This time Asus decied to go with am Intel Atom processor instead of the usual Mediatek or Qualcom. I think Intel has been very aggressive in their pricing as even Acer, Lenovo and Dell have decided to use Intel. Perfromance is actually very good. The benchmarks alone will blow you away. Though all they really do is give a picture of how it compares to other devices. I had no problems using my usual apps and games as most of them ran rather fast. When I say most of them, I mean about 95% of the apps I used worked well. There are still a few apps and games that would either hang or would not load at all. An example is the game, Edge of Tomorrow. I’m guessing it has something to do with the Intel chipset. However, to be fair I received about 3 system updates since I got this tablet so I’m hoping Asus will fix the bugs soon. The screen is 1280x800 IPS which is vivid and bright and with very good viewing angles. Do I wish it had a full HD screen, yes of course, but you have to realize that Asus had to cut some corners to make its price point. On the upside, it probabaly performs better as the processor does not have to work so hard. Battery life is also great. Asus claims 9 hours and so far, I’m getting pretty close to that number.









Verdict:

There are many choices when it comes to Android tablets and more and more manufacturers seem to be using Intel as their choice of processor.  In the end, it all comes down to price versus performance. For the price, it’s really hard to beat the Memo Pad series. In fact, the best bang for your buck is the MeMo Pad 7 which sells on Amazon for just US$125 and that’s the 16GB. For some strange  reason Asus Philippines only sells the MeMo Pad 7 locally  for Php 6,995 but it has only 8GB of memory. For US$150 it’s still hard to beat the Asus MeMo Pad 8.

The Good:

-         Price and Performance
-         Slim and light
-         Battery life
-         Nice IPS screen
-         Loud speakers

The Bad:

-         Some app compatibility issues
-         Screen is not full HD

-         New model coming soon