A Week With The Lumia 920

It’s been a week since I had my Yellow Nokia Lumia 920. I already bought the unit since the second week of January but I was only able to get it last 2 February 2013. I didn’t source my phone here in the Philippines but from Singapore from which an ex-colleague referred me to a reputable gadget store that provides online payment for their products. Quite reasonable I may say and was lucky enough to get the last unopened yellow unit which I think is the “flagship” color (I might be wrong) for the flagship Windows Phone 8 Lumia.

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The quest to secure a unit started last year when Microsoft and Nokia announced Windows Phone 8. I would admit, at first I have been awed with the simplicity of the design of the OS and how it is different from the rest of row of icons implementation of other mobile OS’s. WP8 is indeed a welcome update from the previous versions as it is more functional and would give users of other platforms to easily adopt to this OS. I have been using several platforms prior to this – Android (Nexus One, Galaxy Note), a Blackberry (9780), and iOS  (iPad 2 and iPod Touch 5th Gen). While it is obvious that what’s missing is the Windows Phone Series device in my collection but the previous iteration of Windows Phone could be something to be liked but not really worthy owning yet. From the demo models available in stores and some owned by friends, the phone isn’t ripe yet for my own personal consumption. I actually like the form factor of the Lumia 900 – something closer to the large screens of the Androids but the screen resolution is too limiting for me.

There was a huge silence on the part of Nokia Philippines (based on their FB page) with regards to the availability of the Windows Phone 8 units not until in a forum that they’ve said that the new Lumias would come out by January 2013 (I can’t find the screenshot but they mentioned that January 2013 is the target release date). I was in a way a bit surprised in a bad way because the holidays is where people tend to spend more money and they are releasing a phone after people have spent their extra cash for gadgets. I just let it go since it would give me more time to research about the device.

The Tweet Reply of @NokiaPilipinas
The Tweet Reply

Till now, Lumia 920 is still elusive in the official channels of Nokia. Some are sourcing theirs in grey market online stores (e.g. Kimstore) or importing them from other countries.

Upon claiming my device, I went to Globe to convert my almost 13 year old simcard to a nano sim and bought a converter after. Reason for this is I want to test how this device would fare on LTE connection. Officemates are generous enough to lend me at least for 10 minutes to test their iPhone 5 postpaid subscriptions equipped with LTE. Prior testing, I ensured that they get LTE connection so that it would be a good basis to say that LTE exists in our area.

With the numerous reviews of Lumia 920, I won’t be doing any review on the phone features but rather chronicle how is it for someone a heavy Android user move to a relatively young platform such as Windows Phone 8. Did I miss something or would I turn back to Android? Let’s see. =)

Out of the Box

photo

The phone is charged around 40% when I turned it on. I am not sure when the device was released from the factory but it’s more than enough to juice to configure the device granted you have wifi or data plan with it.

Aside from the device itself (listed as a Singapore variant), the package comes with earphones with the same color as the phone, USB cable and the plug where the USB can be connected.

The good thing that even I have a Singapore-based plug, I can plug in any of my OEM chargers on the phone as it uses the standard microusb connection. I can easily switch chargers of my Android or Blackberry with this.

Contrary to iOS device packaging, there’s a lot of stuff with the box. Some stickers of barcode which I don’t really care about, LTE connection notice (saying it might not work on some carriers) and a thick booklet which is not necessarily a phone guide per se but a Windows Phone guide in general.

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Configuration

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Setting up the phone is quite easy. No need for rocket science to get things started. If Android requires a Google Account, here, its obviously you need a Microsoft account (aka Hotmail, Windows Live ID or Outlook.com ID). Accounts in different social networks can be set up (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) in the accounts. Without these, you cannot share items or the option to these networks in the context menus won’t appear. I noticed as well that the Facebook for Windows Phone is not made by Facebook but by Microsoft. A handful of Nokia apps are also in the phone but these need to be downloaded or updated. I remember setting up City Lens where I had to download something as well as Nokia Maps.

Transferring Contacts

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The phone came with an application called “Transfer My Data”. I think this is a Nokia exclusive application (or should I say an app made by Nokia) and it transfers contacts from a previous phone through bluetooth to your Windows Phone. After copying, one would be able to combine contacts from other services (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc).

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LTE

I did mention earlier that I am using a nano sim in my phone with microsim adapter. I asked my colleagues using LTE-enabled iPhone 5 postpaid plans to borrow their sim card and check if LTE works. Note that both sim cards tested from different networks receive LTE in our office area hence, it should work as well with my phone. As per checking in this list, Globe is using band 3 (1800Mhz) and Smart is using bands 5,3, and 1 (850/1800/2100 Mhz).

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From the picture above, it shows that all LTE frequencies in the Philippines is supported by the phone. In theory, it should work right? There’s no scientific process for the test that I did. I just used the simcard the way an ordinary user would use a smartphone.

With SMART, the network where I wish to sign-up for a postpaid line, it didn’t work. I only got Edge at most and the speeds are terribly low. I did ask them through twitter and their reply was this. Take note that their reply was based on service availability on the dates indicated:

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With Globe, I think it works. Here’s what I’ve got.

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I did ask in Philmug if 4G is LTE, no one answered. Lolz! But I suspect it is LTE since it can be used interchangeably with 4G (correct me if I’m wrong if ever). Some forums in other country say that to use LTE, one must set the highest connection speed to 4G to enable LTE.

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I also asked the @talk2Globe twitter account regarding their LTE service and I think I have enough proof that Globe’s LTE is not device dependent.

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Further research led me that indeed, Smart’s LTE offering for iPhone 5 is different from other devices.

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Possibly, that means that you need to have an add-on to your existing postpaid plan to enable LTE while it is available outright for iPhone 5 devices. Quite discriminatory to make it easily available for inferior phones while too restrictive for value smartphones. He he he!

Bundled Software

There’s a bunch of Nokia bundled software. Nice to have for me. 🙂

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Battery Life

I removed the charger one time around 5am. With normal usage of calls, text, WIFI, music, < 2 hours data connection, one whole charge lasted me 34 hours and 35 minutes (phone “died” at battery level 3% at 3:35pm the next day). I have data on my phone but I don’t really do an always on connection so this might be different for users on an always on setting. A friend of mine said that he got 12 hours on an always on Lumia 800. I took it with a grain of salt. 😛

As recommended by raypin, a PhilMugger, using the dark theme than the light theme makes a difference on the battery life. I did search on this over the internet and indeed, it’s one of the recommendation.

USB Storage

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It works! Just plug in your microusb cable to your machine and to the phone and voila (tested in Windows 7 and 8 machines)! If you want to use custom ringtones in your device, place your MP3 files it in the “Ringtones” folder and you can use them as your custom tones. Note that I am not sure what file extensions it support but MP3 is working for me. For some of the items, while you can transfer them to the device, there’s no assurance that they will be seen by the device (e.g. a video placed directly through explorer to the “Videos” folder will not necessarily mean it would be visible in the apps).

Camera

PureView camera rocks! It really do wonders in low light photography!

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Quirks/Wishlist

Of course, no mobile phone OS is perfect. Here’s some of my observations:

  • No notification center? Yes, live tiles give information but I hope there’s something like the one in BB10 where I don’t have to necessarily give up what I am currently doing or looking to just to check for new updates. Hardware wise, a notification light is a welcome idea.
  • Had to install the application “Connectivity Shortcuts” to enable shortcuts to radio signals (WIFI, Bluetooth, Data, and Airplane Mode). These are just shortcuts and they don’t toggle on/off right away. Hopefully, there’s a native live tile that will trigger those radios on or off. 
  • Bundled software Angry Birds Roost is a blah. Enough said.
  • Games are not in the application menu. One has to go to “Games” and select the game that you have just installed/purchased.
  • Album art of music is awfully designed. They could have integrated the style of the Zune desktop for displaying album arts. Nokia Music won’t display album art either. Likewise, for various artists collection, the album art for the whole album is that for the first song only. The rest of the songs even if they have their own album art, will display the first song’s cover (unlike in iPod)
  • No native battery meter. Yes, it is in the settings but it’s too tedious to check on it.
  • NFC transfer doesn’t work on Androids.
  • Select text position is not in place!IMG_0604

Conclusion

While there are still some social apps that I miss in Android, I guess this phone would be more than enough to perform your day to day functions. I am not sure how this would benefit those who use their smartphones for work (those connected to the office domain) but I think the tight integration of the Microsoft ecosystem would be a very good fit. For now, I still have all my 4 devices with me. Of them all, the Android seem to be going away from me. Seems like my setup would be in the near future is a BB, iOS (iPod Touch) and this WP8. I am not saying Android is bad, it’s just that WP8 is growing better on me. 🙂

Use Your Globe Tattoo with Sun (or other providers)

Edit: I DON’T UNLOCK MODEMS. PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST

Pagbabago: HINDI AKO NAG-UUNLOCK NG MODEM. PAKIBASA BAGO MAG-COMMENT.

My unlocked Globe Tattoo USB Modem with the SIM Cards that I am using for wireless connectivity in order of preference. It’s Sun Wireless Broadband in Metro Manila, Smart for other places. If all else fails, Globe MIGHT work, but not guaranteed.

I am tired of Globe Tattoo. I am, and I have given up. I was initially happy having an own prepaid wireless connection saving me from the waiting for the internet connection in the house that I won’t be able to use. Unfortunately, that excitement easily went away when Globe is only reporting to me with GPRS connection and I can only browse sites at speeds slower than dial-up speeds.

A friend of mine has been recommending Sun Broadband then but I am a bit skeptical with Sun knowing he has worked there (am I right? He he he) so it might be another marketing ploy that I get easily fooled with. On the verge of selling my Globe Broadband Tattoo kit at a cheaper (lugi) price, I researched if it’s possible to unlock my Globe Tattoo modem and use another provider with it. There were some blog sites but they are full of motherhood statements saying it is possible but didn’t say how. After going through links and pages, I finally found the page that allowed me to use my Globe Tattoo device with another provider. Here are the steps (based from the Globe Tattoo software):

1) Know your device make and IMEI. The device information is found at the back of the modem or in your software, go to Tools->Diagnostics. You will see the device IMEI there.

2) Go to this site. Provide your IMEI and Huawei device model. If your device is not Huawei, stop here and browse the forums or somewhere else that can unlock your modem. Wait for minutes, hours (at most) for a reply for the unlock code for your device. People there are generous so just be patient.

3) This could be step 0 but I’ll place it here. Go to a Sun Shop, buy a Sun Wireless Broadband SIM card for only 50 pesos. This is pre-loaded with 5 hours internet. Since it would be bitin, buy also a 100 Wireless Broadband Prepaid card. Specify that you’re looking for the Wireless Broadband Prepaid card.

4) Insert the Sun sim card (or Smart) in the device. The device will prompt you for an unlock code. Provide the code in #2. You have 10 tries before busting the device. Luckily, I got mine at the first try.

5) Once unlocked, it is unlocked! You can now use any wireless provider aside from the despicable Globe Tattoo connection.

Of course, the signal is there but you need the settings right?

 

Sun Wireless Broadband

APN: minternet

Dial Number *99#

Smart Buddy

APN: internet

Dial Number *99#

With this information, I am taking the risk that many people would follow this route and at the same time flood the network of Sun. Who cares, I am happy with the service and I guess others should experience the same too. When I was in CDO, Globe is slower than Smart. Sad, I was only able to buy a Smart SIM card on my last day in CDO. I spent Php180 on Globe for a connection that hangs and I am automatically charged 5 pesos for that.

Goodbye Globe, Hello Sun and Smart!

Western Digital COMDDAP 2008 Sale

COMDDAP is the annual premiere IT show here in the Philippines. Western Digital has a booth and they have better deals for the hard drives which will end tomorrow, 7 December 2008.

The following are the prices, exclusive of the 10% discount for both cash and straight card purchases. Prices have 5% discount on 6 months deferred payment basis and no discount on 12 months basis. Also, hard drives carry 3 years warranty – 1 year from Villman and 2 years from the distributor OTHERWISE stated.

My Passport Essential

160GB – 3695
250GB – 4395
320GB – 5695
400GB – 6950
500GB – 8795

My Passport Elite (USB, Remote Access, 5 years warranty)
250GB – 5550
500GB – 6395

My Passport Studio (USB, Firewire 400, 5 years warranty)

250GB – 6150
500GB – 7150

My Book Essential

640GB – 5645
1TB – 7545

My Book Home

640GB – 6895
1TB – 8895

My Book Mirror Edition

1TB – 10750
2TB – 44250

WD ShareSpace

2TB – 26700
4TB – 44250

Kudos Canon Philippines!

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During my previous trip to Hong Kong, my lens malfunctioned and the camera displays an Error 99. According to various sources in the internet, an Error 99 is a generic error displayed when the real problem isn’t identified by the body. Furthermore, local photography forums tell that Error 99 could be an error between the contacts of the lens and of the body.

Prior my trip, I had 2 of my lenses and my 400D cleaned by Canon since I want to take advantage of the free cleaning while my lenses are still under warranty. I was able to get my items in less than 2 weeks thinking the things would be good to go. However, things didn’t go well as expected as when I was in Ocean Park, I continuously get this frikkin Error 99 and I thought that this is just a battery problem. Upon reaching back in the Philippines, I opened an extra original Canon battery for my 400D to test if the problem would go away but to my dismay, it persisted.

I had my unit returned to the service center where I have it cleaned and reported back the error that it gives me. I explained to them the problem that I am experiencing and I asked them for an explanation for the status indicated in the report that they have given me (for the 2 lenses) but their explanation isn’t acceptable. While they accepted my unit again for check-up, I followed-up my unit days after, and the status of my lens was they are still waiting for the delivery of the part needed to be replaced.

Continue reading “Kudos Canon Philippines!”

Official Canon 5D Mark II and 50D Philippine Prices

Tonight would be Canon Philippines’ Canon Photographers night. Cameras that will be introduced are the following and their corresponding Canon Marketing Philippines (CMPI) prices. More often than not, prices at Hidalgo would be lower. Prices indicated here are collated from various Philippine photography forums and should there be changes, I will be updating it after the event later.

canon1000d

EOS 1000D Kit w 18-55mm IS     – P32,995.00

Item is available in DZone stores

canon50d

EOS 50D    Body Only               – P64,950.00
EOS 50D Kit w 18-55mm IS        – P72,950.00
EOS 50D Kit w 18-200mm IS      – P94,950.00

Availability would be on first week of October

5dmk2

EOS 5DMarkII Body Only           – P128,000.00
EOS 5DMarkII Kit w 24-105mm IS – 182,550.00

Availability would be on November/December timeframe

Powershot SX1 IS                     – TBA
Powershot G10                         – TBA

Special offer for those buying the cameras (or perhaps pre-order) would be a 2 year extended warranty. Isn’t it a great deal?

Good times for Canon users ahead! Personally, I am eyeing the 50d but the price of 5D Mark II is cheap for a full-frame camera.

Canon EOS Photographer’s Night

Great news for Canon EOS shooters in the Philippines. Canon Philippines is hosting a Photographer’s Night on 25 September 2008 with a teaser of unveiling of three magnificent and spectacular cameras – safe to assume (with emphasis that is assume) that this could be the Philippine launch of Canon EOS 50D, 1000D, and perhaps the most anticipated new full-frame body of Canon (5D Mark II, 7D, 3D, or whatever).

You can click on the image to view the full-size of the ad. I know this is marketing and perhaps one of the reasons to love Canon more. 🙂

Canon 50D ‘Specifications’

I am quite interested with Canon’s next offerings for the bodies as I think that they have been trumped by Nikon’s new body releases (and of course their full frame line-up). Not that I am upgrading in the near future but I am curious with the so-called Canon 50D specifications, part of the Canon’s XX-family lineup. Rumors have been circulating until a post from Canon China has surfaced.

Official Website Link

Translated Link (for those who don’t understand Chinese like me. Thanks to Google!)

Specifications mentioned are:

1.6x crop
15.1MP
Digic 4
Dust Reduction
Auto Brightness Processing
95% viewfinder .97 magnification
9 point af (All Cross Type)
AF Fine Tuning
Face Recognition AF
ISO 100-3200 (Expansion to 6400, 12800)
14-bit image processing
Auto CA correction
In-Camera Anti-Shake
6.3 fps (high speed) 3fps (low speed)
Buffer: 16 RAW – 60 JPG – 10 RAW+JPG
100,000 shutter life
HDMI Output
VGA LCD (920,000 pixel)

Hmmm.. promising. 🙂