Tech News and Reviews


[Review] Auckland Airport's Emperor Lounge

, posted: 4-Dec-2014 14:02

On the 28th of November I left Auckland for Guangzhou, China for a much-deserved (well I think at least) month-long holiday! I was flying China Southern Airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the seats looked pretty "dull" in colour and also had old in-flight entertainment screens. Therefore it was refreshing to have been given a complimentary pass to Auckland Airport's Emperor Lounge before I flew out of New Zealand.

I thought I had left plenty of time beforehand to leave home and head for the airport in our shared shuttle service, but somehow my mind must have been completely blank when I booked the shuttle service for 6:30AM as we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half! I then had to rush through check-in and security, and when I finally arrived at the entrance of the Emperor Lounge, there was only 30 minutes left before boarding, and that was leaving it to the last minute!



Upon entering the lounge there was no one at reception, but somewhere, someone must have been watching because a lady suddenly came rushing out of what must have been the kitchen, to come and ask for our booking and to greet us in. She took me around the place showing me where things were. She also kindly reminded me that I needed to be at the boarding gate in 30 minutes. 

Since I only now had 25 minutes left, I went round and took a couple of pictures for this review first, then settled on a couple of breakfast muffin sandwiches, some scrambled egg which tasted a bit cold and a bit like century egg, and some nice pancakes! I only found out afterwards that there were made-to-order paninis!



There was some bottled soya milk, and some cold muffins in the chilled section as well.

Snacks/nibbles, croissants, cereals, toast and toaster were also on the same table.



On a separate bar table, which was almost half as long as the food table consisted of cold drinks and wine. And of course, a coffee machine was provided!



Food aside, the lounge itself has a lot of seating. This includes a separate open section beside the food table that had proper tables and chairs to sit on, and the rest were comfy lounge chairs and sofas. On the other side was mainly chairs and another coffee machine and bar fridge for drinks was also there.





A TV screen in the lounge also mirrored the departure information.

Unfortunately, by this time, time was almost up and it was time to board my flight. A quick trip to the toilet and shower facilities and they looked pretty decent for a lounge! It was clean and if you wanted a "shower pack" you had to go to reception to get one.



Complimentary Wi-Fi was also provided.

Al in all, it was my first lounge experience ever and I must say, I'm not sure if I can go on a long-distance flight without going to a lounge to relax in and wind down for the flight again! It was a pleasant experience, and if there was one thing that I think the lounge should improve on is for a slightly more variety of hot food (even though it was a breakfast service most likely). 

For more information on the Emperor Lounge, please visit: http://www.aucklandairport.co.nz/AirportInformation/International-terminal/Emperor-Lounge.aspx



Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk

, posted: 19-Nov-2014 17:11

After weeks and weeks of searching for this much-hyped liquid, also called Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk, I finally managed to get some sent to me, to be precise: 2 bottles! I was really excited to be able to finally lay my tongue on this stuff! So, you ask, what is so good about this "Fresh Chocolate Milk"? Before we continue, let me take another sip of this dark liquid innocent.



Lewis Road Creamery's Chocolate Milk is made between a combination of Lewis Road Creamery's own Pure Whole Milk + Whittaker's 5 Roll Refined Creamy Milk Chocolate. Upon drinking this product, it really does feel like you're in heaven! It does not taste like Milo; It does not taste like Cadbury's Hot (cold) chocolate! When you drink this product, you feel as if this is the real chocolate milk!

This chocolate milk is very rich and creamy, and will leave your mouth longing for water once you've drunk 3/4 of a bottle already. However, it is not rich to the point like coffee. That, gives "rich" a completely new meaning.

These Chocolate Milk bottles come in 300mL and 750mL and the bottles look pretty nice too!



Anyway, you may be one of the lucky ones to get your hands on one of these liquids, or you may not have been so lucky yet. All I can tell you is to keep persisting to try and get your hands on some! You won't believe how good it tastes until you try some!

You can also try making your own by combining the two products together: Lewis Road Creamery Pure Whole Milk + Whittaker's Creamy Milk Chocolate = Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk!

cool

Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk - Setting Standards for Chocolate Milk since 2014!



Norton 360 Multi-Device Giveaway!

, posted: 5-Nov-2013 22:15

Here is another giveaway that we are doing that may interest you. We are doing a giveaway of the Norton 360 Multi-Device software for a 1-year subscription for up to 5 devices which include the PC, Mac, iOS and Android! But unfortunately doesn't support Windows Phone and the rest.. :-(



But if you are interested you can win by clicking here!



Beats Pill Wireless Speaker Giveaway

, posted: 2-Sep-2013 21:25

Just thought I would let all you Geekzoners know that I/We (NZ TechBlog) am doing a giveaway on the Beats Pill Wireless Speaker! To enter and qualify, please head over to: http://nztech.co/beatspillgiveawaynz. Winner will, of course, be selected RANDOMLY.

Good luck! 

Disclosure: Beats by Dre sponsored this giveaway, but in no means was the review biased. The opinions were still 100% mine!



Official Retirement day for Windows Live Messenger!

, posted: 9-Jan-2013 19:05

I just got word (from an email) that Windows Live Messenger is officially about to retire in two months time! 
In an email from the Messenger team, they say that they will be retiring the existing Messenger service globally on the 15th March 2013, except for mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available (Don't ask why because I don't know either..), and they will be combining all the features of Messenger into Skype! So after the 15th March switch over to Skype and continue chatting to your friends and family! And best of all you can use your Microsoft Account (which is the same as your Messenger ID) to sign in to Skype! All your contacts will be merged in with your Skype contacts so none of your companions will be lost!

You'll still be able to instant message and video chat with them just like before, and also discover new ways of staying in touch with Skype on your mobile and/or tablet.

Here are just a few of the great features that you can use with Skype:

  • Instant message, video call and call phones from your PC, Mac, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android mobile, Kindle Fire and other supported devices
  • Sharing your screen with friends and family
  • Video call and instant message with your Facebook friends
  • Group video call with up to ten friends at once (But you will need a Skype Premium subscription) ("Aww Man!")
  • And that's just the start - there's so much more to explore on Skype

What's happening between now and 15th March?

Messenger will continue to work as you know it today. If you are signed in with Messenger on your desktop (for newer versions of Messenger only) you will see a banner notification to upgrade. When you click on the banner, an installer window will open with the request to upgrade. This will take you through their installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger at the same time.

What's happening after 15th March?

Messenger users on desktops (for newer versions of Messenger only) will not be able to sign in and will only be able to upgrade to Skype. If you attempt to sign in, a notification will appear, and if you continue, you will be taken through their installer flow to install Skype and automatically uninstall Messenger at the same time.

Can I update to Skype on my mobile?

Yes! Skype is available on iPhone, Android and soon on Windows Phone 8. We encourage you to download the latest Skype app on your mobile and then uninstall Messenger. You will be able to sign in to Skype on your iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 8 mobile apps with your Microsoft Account over the next few weeks. If you use another phone with Messenger on it, it will continue to work for a while.
 
To upgrade your desktop version now click the following link: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/windows-live-messenger/
 
Click on each one to install on your respective mobile operating system: AndroidiOScoming soon to Windows Phone 8.

Read more at: NZ TechBlog
Follow me on Twitter: @matthewc1465
 
What are your opinions of switching to Skype from Windows Live Messenger? What platform do you like better? Sound off in the comments!



Google Play Gift Cards set for August 26

, posted: 20-Aug-2012 21:57

Google Play gift cards are confirmed to be coming for the Google Play store. Wanting to buy a present for  that Android lover? Well now you can thanks to Google Play gift cards! Last week a Google Play store update was released and the guys over at Android Police went to investigate and found out that the updated Google Play store was "ready for redeeming gift-cards." 

Yes, Google is kinda "late" into the gift card scene as Apple introduced their system back in 2010, allowing users to buy apps for their friends as presents, and RIM provided Blackberry users with the option to purchase apps for friends as gifts, and send them over its Blackberry Messenger service.

These Google Play gift cards look to be released on August 26 (But we still don't know about if it will launch with New Zealand on its list or will it come at a later date for us Kiwis) from a memo acquired by Android Police at a Target store (These stores are US based and are like The Warehouse here in NZ).

If you've always been wanting to buy gift cards to purchase your favorite apps in Google Play, or that you've been waiting for these to easily allow you to buy apps for your friends, you only have about one week or more to wait! (Assuming that the cards will also be released on the day after!)



Review: Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000)

, posted: 11-Aug-2012 23:09

Hello everyone, today I have the white Samsung Galaxy Note to review. I have been using this device for about a month now, and from the start it has not felt like a very large phone/tablet (phablet) to me, although I have dropped it twice on hard concrete -Ouch! (It has a small dent in the bezel) because of the device falling out of my track-pants pockets. Hehe. But the phone does fit into my pocket without any issues from sitting down etc. The white headphones that were included was a very good set. I really enjoyed them as they had a silicon-feature that acts as 'noise-cancelling' headphones. Guess what happened to them? I broke them while trying to sit down on the bus! As most of you would say, that is very clumsy!

We will start off by looking at the specs of this bad-boy!

  Specifications:


  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • Dimensions: 146.9 x 83 . 9.7 mm
  • Weight: 178 g
  • Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
  • 800 x 1280 pixels, 5.3 inches (~285 ppi pixel density)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • TouchWiz UI v4.0
  • MicroSD Card slot, up to 32GB, 2GB included
  • Internal Storage: 16/32GB
  • 1GB RAM
  • Data: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA (3G)
  • Connectivity: WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP - EDR
  • Camera (Primary): 8MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash ; Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
  • Video: 1080p@24~30fps
  • Camera (Secondary): 2MP
  • Processor: 1.4GHz dual-coreARM Cortex-A9
  • GPU: Mali-400MP
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
  • Adobe Flash 10.1, HTML5
  • Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS: A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • S-Pen: S-Memo, S-Calender, S-Choice
  • Standard battery: Li-Ion 2500mAh
  • Comes with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
The specs look promising for this device... Let us take a look at the main functions of this 'phablet'.
 
  Display
 
When I first turned on the Galaxy Note, I was greeted with an excellent vibrant, crisp and quality display. It jumped right at me, though I did feel a bit dizzy, (maybe that was because I was viewing the device in a moving car..) The 5.3 inch display may be a bit big for some people, but it was the right size for me! When I went back to my old 2.8" phone I was like, "Holy Sh**, this is small!". Compare this with the iPhone, you can fit the whole iPhone onto the screen of the Note. That amazing! Well, no. The amazing thing about this screen is that Samsung had managed to make the bezels very thin so the screen would take up most of the space. In fact it is one of the most thinnest bezels currently in the market. The Super AMOLED display also takes part in the amazing quality of the screen. Also, you can still see the screen when you are outside, which is a plus, as I am always outside taking photos and it is actually nice that you can see what you are taking!

  Performance


This bad-boy is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor.  Swiping around screens are very zippy, although I have to say sometimes it does make the occasional 'lag'. Zooming in web pages are also very fast and zippy. It has 1GB of RAM so you can do more tasks on it simultaneously.
The Mali-400MP is used on the Note to power it's graphics processor. Playing intensive games (eg: Modern Combat 3, Asphalt 4 etc) on the Note gives a very pleasing feeling. The quality of the display is very clear and very crisp. Although when I was playing Modern Combat 3, level 5 lags till it stops moving and I have to restart the whole device. I have seen a lot of the other players have also commented that they have had this issue as well and it seems like it is a 'software' issue.


  Camera


The Note is equipped with a 8 megapixel camera with flash and includes all the basic functions like auto-focus and image stabilization. The Note is also capable of taking panorama photos with ease. You would not say that this phablet has 'zero shutter lag', but the picture quality was a bit better compared with the Galaxy S3 that does have 'zero shutter lag.' It may take a second but the Note photos were just a titsy-bitsy crisper than the S3. The Note has 8 Shooting modes: Single shot, Smile shot, Beauty shot, Panorama, Share shot, Action shot and Cartoon shot. You are also able to adjust the settings manually like the ISO or Metering settings. You have the options of: Outdoor visibility, Anti-Shake (Although I don't see why anyone would not want this), Auto contrast and Blink detection. You can set the 'phablet' to have 'GPS tag' on, so it records the location information when you take a photo.
It also has a 2 megapixel secondary front-facing camera. The quality on this is a big laggy compared to the S3, but it still does the job well. It is not 1080p nor is it 720p.

  Video Camera


The Note is capable of shooting videos in 1080p high-definition resolution. Please also not that it does not allow you to use the zoom-in feature when shooting in Full-HD. But, the videos I have taken are very crisp and 'high-definition' as you would expect from it. You can view my 1080P recording sample on my Youtube page (Link will be up soon). The colours are all deep and rich! An excellent smartphone for shooting Full HD videos with the 5.3in screen! Plus did I mention it is very portable? (Some of you may argue about this!!)


  Software


The device currently ships with 2.3.6 Gingerbread Android OS and TouchWiz 4.0. Although I would've expected Ice Cream Sandwich to come out by now in New Zealand, it still hasn't! I am getting a bit frustrated (and I know most of you are also...) that Android 4.0 has not been released in NZ yet! Grrrrrr!! Samsung!!

  S-Pen


Most people buy this phone because of its size... AND because of its digitized S-Pen. And I have to say,  lovers shall love! [haters shall hate]! The first thing I did on my Note was to take out the S-Pen and open S-Memo and write on it. The S-Pen has a small button on it to 'capture' images off the screen. It takes a 'photo' of the screen you are on and will let you annotate it in S-Memo. I do have to say that the pen does lag behind you while trying to write. It is not that noticeable, but if you are extremely fussy about detail, then it may get annoying. People have said that this should be less noticeable in the Ice Cream Sandwich update. This pen is made by Wacom, and is a specially digitized pen designed especially for the Galaxy Note. So this means that it will not work on any other devices including capacitive devices like the Galaxy S3. (There is a special C-Pen made by Samsung to work on the S3)

  Battery Life


I have to say the battery life for this bad-boy is okay. With 2500mAh of battery, it should last you about a full day with normal usage. I have maxed my Note out and it runs out of battery before getting home sometimes. I have 3G on for the whole day, background applications running, music playing during trips etc.
Otherwise, you should be able to use your Note for the duration of the day for average users. The battery mAh may be big, but remember the screen size will contribute to the running out of battery life.

  Summary


To conclude this review the Galaxy Note is a great device for multimedia users and business users (As it has a big screen for business use and a S-Pen). The screen size is huge, but may just fit your pocket and/or your hand. The dual-core processor is fast and zippy, but there is always room for improvement. The S-Pen is a great addition to the Note as you can use it to note-take or is great for photographers as you can annotate images on-the-spot. Camera has great quality but there is the occasional lag and video camera has exceptional quality. With 1080P recording, you could record a 'movie' on here! (not).

I would recommend the Galaxy Note... but the Galaxy Note 2 may be announced at the end of this month!
UPDATE: Ice Cream Sandwich has been released for Vodafone's Galaxy Note. The firmware version is: N7000XXLRI



sonyxperiageek's profile

Matthew Chan
New Zealand


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