Chromebook Review: Months later

SAM_6421“Uh, so it is a chromebook huh?”SAM_6418

         Its been years since Google introduced the Chromebook, a new breed of computer, unlike anything we have seen before except the chrome browser. A few months ago, I got my hands on the HP Chromebook 11, a 11.6 inch laptop. Just like any other Chromebook in the market, it doesn’t have the most powerful processor or the best screen but it has the best price for a daily computer.

For those tech geeks out there, the HP Chromebook 11 specification includes a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual core processor running at 1.2 Ghz, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, WiFi plus Bluetooth connection  and a terrible 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 HD LCD.

 

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Of course the specification is not the top tier in its category, even my Xperia Z2 smartphone is faster and more powerful than it. But that’s what a Chromebook should be, low processing power, an affordable price, fluent experience, long battery life and a lightweight body. Google knows that the Chromebook is meant for those who don’t use Photoshop, Matlab, UBS in their daily life, but using it only for web surfing, writing their office documents. In 2015, this works perfectly well .

First of all, the Samsung Exynos Dual core chip handles everything well, starting the Chromebook is fast, so fast that it makes a Windows PC performs like a 5 years old computer. Thanks to Google, eliminating some of the software procedures in ChromeOS that slows starting time. Browsing the web is a seamless experience, web page loads as fast as your internet speed can reached, well at least in Malaysia.

I had cleaned many times before, now, it’s getting harder and harder to wipe the dirt

 

The keyboard has enough feedback for fast typing, but I found it easy to get dirty from time to time. On the other hand, the trackpad is very responsive with an experience similar to the Macbook Air, where the best clicky part is at the bottom side. 

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Do I mention that the HP chromebook11 can be charged using a powerbank?

        The HP chromebook 11 has a battery life of around 6 hours, long enough for most users. While the display is terrible, I manage to design a website using only my Chromebook but then I realized the colours were all off the palette. Light yellowish looks white, skyblue is not vivid, Green feels cold, basically it means that the screen looks flat all the way. Unfortunately, most of the chromebook in the market have the similar problems, just slightly better or worst between different brand.

            Last but not least, the HP Chromebook is fanless, similar to the Apple new Macbook. This means it is cool enough to sit on your lap, which I think a ‘lap-top’ should be place on. I can use the Chromebook on my lap for hours before the battery starts to scream for help. But it do get hot when I pushed it to the limit, running about ten webpage in ChromeOS and Ubuntu in a virtual environment in the same time (I will talk more about it in my next post). For normal users, you won’t get into such a mess because will be prompt with a phrase”don’t panic, just close this tab and carry on”.

Overall, the Chromebook is suitable for elementary and high school students as well as users who don’t care about gaming, photoshop, hard core programming or showing your wealth around. The Chromebook, will surely satisfy all your needs within a limited price range of around 1200 ringgits. The experience is great enough to make you feel that you are in the 2015, where laptops are thin, light weight and fast to handle daily task.

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And don’t buy the Samsung Chromebook, it’s slow

For those parents out there, the Chromebook is a good computer for you kids because they can use it for doing their average homework using google doc, keep them connected with friends, but lack the ability to install any addicting games  which I mean none of them can be install in Chromebook. Any web based games also run badly on a Chromebook, thanks to its terrible GPU. So if your children is not above 17 years old, you should really consider buying them a Chromebook to avoid computer addiction without looking like a caveman in front of their friends.

 

 

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Review: Mi band, Xiaomi first fitness smartband

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The box contains the mi band ‘pill’, the black strap, short charging cable and document which you probably won’t be reading it

 

Introduction:

First of all, the Mi band is affordable, very light weight, flexible and quite easy to forget its existence which is important as a great wearable device. Sometimes I did not realize I wore it during my sleep. The step and sleep tracking is accurate but not on the precise level like any other fitness band in the market. The battery life is probably Xiaomi’s overkill feature, it has more than 30 days of battery life, more than most fitness band in the high end market. When the time I decided to charge it after using a month and 5 days, the battery has still 34 percent of power to spend.

The silicon band replacement though is quite limited in Malaysia. The preconfigured version comes with a black silicon band, which suits me quite well. Other colors such as blue and yellow cost about 16 ringgits about a third of the band price. In my opinion, it is certainly a must for long term mi band users because my band has started to show some scratches and wearout signs. But at a 16 ringgits price tag, all the flaws are forgiven.

 

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fits nicely around my small wrist

 

The Experience:

It has been two months since I started using the Mi band fitness smartband, sincerely speaking, it is awkward. Maybe it’s because our nation culture is not ready to accept that.

My wearing experience is very fun because people sometimes mistaken my Mi band as a watch. Some even ask why do I wear something like that or why do I need to wear that thing. Take note, most of them use ‘thing’ instead of ‘band’. In the modern Asian culture, wearable device is still a piece of strange technology despite some of them have been wearing a watch for a long time.

There are also people who ask me what is the current time, after seeing me wearing a black band. In this case, I turned the aluminium side to them, showing them this is not a time telling device. Some simply reply with an awkward face and walk away, others who has some free time, may start asking lots of questions about the mi band.

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It can detect whether you are wearing it during night time. However, the deep and light sleep tracking may not be very consistent.


The App:  

Mi Fit app is used to store and show all my fitness data inside my smartphone. These data cannot be exported, however, there are some exploit guide on the internet to export the data. As a regular user, I think it is enough for glancing through my walking steps and sleep cycle. These data can only be use for an reference because similar movement can also triggers the mi band algorithm. For example, flicking the mi band will trigger the step count while placing the mi band facing upwards will sometimes trigger the sleep recording.

There are currently two types of modified Mi Fit app, which are the notify and the official Android & iOS version .

The official version is literally just the play store or app store version. Xiaomi provide weekly updates to the mi band with better integration of social features. The official Mi fit app can automatically link the data to Weibo app ( a Chinese popular social network). The recording algorithm is also supposed to be improved than the notify version because the latest notify version is always older than the latest official ones.

On the other hand, the notify version can allow users to send different light colors and different vibration modes to inform your notification. This function is still very rough and unpolished consider it is a not official supported. Sometimes, there will be missed notification while the lights and vibration requires some time to remember which types of light color and vibration means. For sure, it is only an additional features for mi band users.

running
The picture shown in the right, the step counting can be very detail but the number is only for reference as miss counting happens occasionally.


Conclusion:

If you want to try out the latest wearable technology with budget a few times fold than the Mi band price tag, this is certainly a bad choice. Mi band lacks a proper display screen, heart rate monitor and an app for data export. In the long term, it would only be a old toy sitting on your bottle or inside your drawer. However, for a person who wants to get a roughly idea about what kind of lifestyle, this is certainly a great device. The data is enough to show you the time of exercise, the calories burned and your sleep cycle.

现今市场上什么手机可以买?

image source -  theverge this is my next
image source – theverge this is my next

               1个月前,我还在苦恼着究竟要买什么手机,才能带来最好的手机体验。

        近年来的手机行业激烈的竞争使到手机配置已经达到现今用户的需求点,几乎能无接缝的完成掌上任务。对于普通消费者而言,这些不过是照相、游戏、短讯、浏览社交媒体。 与三年前换手机的目的比较,现在不过是为了是获得最新的功能如指纹识别而更换。这些功能对于我们生活所带来的冲击,已经相对的小很多了。自2013年各大手机的旗舰机以后,处理器的运算功能基本已经领先了作业系统的需要。苹果每年推出自家设计的处理器与优化的系统,已经给使用者带来很流畅的体验。安卓手机主要厂商也靠着的纳米级处理器、极大内存,改善了以往人们对安卓手机卡顿的刻板印象。

     所以来到我们的主题:现今的手机市场究竟还能买什么手机能买?其实除了近两年的旗舰手机(即当时手机厂商推出最顶级的手机)以外,其他中、低价位的手机都不适合购买。主要原因在于,一部手机能使用多久,在于三点。

一,旗舰手机的售后服务一定会胜于其他同厂家生产的手机,特别是软件提升方面,一定会先注重在旗舰手机让后选择性的提升一部分中端手机。

二,一部手机的价值会在发布新的继承款式后有系统的贬值,与其购买最新款中端手机,购买上一代的旗舰机是更好的性能与价格的选择。

三,旗舰手机的修理与配件也相较其他型号的手机完善。各种手机壳、保护膜与手机零件绝对比冷门的中低端手机来的多样化。尤其手机过了保修期以后,手机还能不能维修很多时候就靠手机的普遍度决定,手机的款式若越普遍,那款零件也会相较比较容易找得到。

        如今手机各厂商为了维持自己的盈利,刺激消费者更换手机,于是不断推出属于个年龄层符合各种不同需求的手机。不过追根究底,如果我们不需要在手机里运行详细的影像识别算法或者《钢铁人》里的人造智慧程式,作为普通消费者,追求的也不过是流畅的体验与手机各个方面的支援,手机还有需要做的那么强大吗?