I love when a new shiny device arrives in the mail. For some reason an Aston Martin DB9 doesn’t fit in the mail box, so a new phone will just have to do. This time it was the LG Optimus G, which is the “street name”, whereas LG E975 is the device name.
A beautiful 4.7” 1280×768-pixel resolution (WXGA) screen meets you as open the box. Not quite as black as the Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1, still it draws you in, wanting to lift the device and see what secrets it holds inside.
Being the owner of Samsung Galaxy SII, I did the simple thing Android owners do. I plugged it to charge. No worries about new custom power adaptors, just use my existing Micro USB chargers and I am away.
Of course switching from one Android phone to another shouldn’t be that much of a problem, should it. Punch in my Google username and horribly long WIFI key and I am away. At this point I would just back up a whole bunch of my apps to the phones micro SD card, swap the card to the new phone and I am back getting three stars on Angry Birds before you know it. But I can’t. Taking a leaf out of Apples book the back of the phone is bolted down so that user can’t access the battery or add storage. Further from Apples book is the “redesigned” paperclip for accessing the sim card on the side. My #headdesk moments have started and the phone hasn’t really been on for more than a minute.
So off to my computer I go, expecting the phone to have its own software for connecting, isn’t that new, but Android should just drop back to MTP so I can drag and drop from my Win7 machine. But no, the phone taking a leaf out of my old HTC Desire’s connection settings has 4 settings when you plug in USB. Why, for the love of all that is good, why. So I install the drivers as the phone thinks it is a CD drive, once again #headdesk. Now this isn’t that much of a problem at home, because once the drivers are installed the phone works just fine via MTP. But in a corporate environment Win7 locked down with no option to install drivers this becomes a problem. I’ve yet to get my work computer to see this phone via MTP ( works fine via PTP ( Camera Mode ). The corporate environment sees the phone as a portable drive wanting to install the software. This may well prove to be a major issue for a number of people, it is for me.
Now, this isn’t just an LG issue, but a number of Android phones do it, and it is a little thing that just makes me want to cry. Why is the back button swapped with the home button, compared to my SII. Two years of using a phone means muscle memory. This is just plain silly, frustrating and well to put it bluntly, not something Apple would do. Why is scrolling images in the camera different as well. Sure these are little things, but lots of little irksome things start to add up quickly.
The power of the 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor is something that is simply stunning. Seamlessly shuffling a 2gb bluray rip I made on the 1280×768 screen is amazing. Then adding LG’s zoom mode to this video as it is playing is a show off trick to amaze most people. Zooming in to and shuffling a video file that is 2gb in size on a device that fits in one hand is still in this day amazing.
The camera is very good for a mobile phone sensor. I carry a DSLR with me at all times, and the phone is just a backup. In going for the more megapixels are better theory, a 13megapixel shooter is onboard. Interesting to note however was that on first use the camera is only in 8megapixel mode. Outdoor shots are sharp, crisp and with a good richness of colour. Indoor shots get very noisy very quickly. Once again, megapixels don’t make up for sensor size. Leaving the camera on 8megapixel mode also seems to make autofocus faster. I found trying to get shots of children on playground equipment ( daylight and shade ) a bit hit and miss at times, with more blurry than sharp shots. The ability to grab still shots whilst taking HD Video is very nice, and is a feature I do use myself a lot, especially with my children.
I have found the battery life very good, especially when you take into account the power of the device. My old SII battery was dying and in need of replacing, something you can’t do with this device though. However, if you were to buy this phone, you would be replacing it within a year anyway.
If this phone was released in Australia at the same time it hit Korea ( August 2012 ), not April 2013, it would be easy to say, despite its faults, buy it. However it is no longer August 2012, with the HTC One X, Sony Xperia Z and of course the Samsung Galaxy S4, this phone isn’t the breakthrough device it once was. LG have shown they can make good hardware, their software needs a lot more TLC. The next iteration of this device I will at least give more than a passing look at.
I’m not the buy a phone and use it as is kind of audience. I am looking forward to stripping LG out of the phone, putting on a custom launcher at least, if not rooting it and going native Android, just to fix some of the issues I have. It is a stunning phone and for those on a budget looking for a 4G phone put it in your look at list, but check the price of the competition, you might regret not spending that little bit more.
( This post originally appeared on Neerav’s Blog )
Every now and then, we all need to stop, take a breath, and realise what an amazing time we live in. Sure all those reading this blog have their fair share of #firstworldproblems but how often do we stop and realise just how cool things are.
Yesterday was one of those days for me. Heading home from work I saw a tweet from a friend saying that it was t-5min to the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch of this rocket is 100 kinds of transformational in itself, with NASA handing over supply missions to the ISS to the private sector. But unlike even a few years ago I didn’t miss it.
Waiting for the bus, where I saw the tweet, I clicked on the link to the NASA site, fired up my browser and hit play. As the bus pulled in, I paid for my ticket with an electronic pass and watched the count down in 720HD video. As the bus moved slowly into the traffic, Falcon 9 took off. So there I was watching HD video of a space launch whilst on a moving vehicle.
The launch itself had multiple camera angles in real time HD showing me all the stage separations as well. Once the launch was complete I could then share in real-time with my friends and followers on Twitter my excitement about the event I had just watched. Had I been at home, I would have the video on one monitor and Twitter on the second monitor.
Now, I can write a blog post and share it to the world, including a copy of the video.
I remember the first Shuttle launch, where I watched a rare live cross on TV. After the event I looked forward to catching up with a friend an hour later to discuss it. Then we waited 10 hours before the evening news to watch the footage again. We didn’t even have a VCR in our house in those days so I couldn’t even tape it.
So stop and smell the tech roses, the world is an amazing place.
I have lots of friends, yes shock I know, who are either scientists or “that way” inclined.
Most of which would agree with the quote “You can have your opinions but not your own facts” ( those that don’t agree, we will have to renegotiate the friendship agreement ).
But it turns out, not if you’re an Apple iPhone user, facts are actually not facts.
Via Fairfax: “Apple has leapt to repair an embarrassing bug that last week caused the personal assistant app Siri to declare that the Nokia Lumia 900 was the best smartphone ever.
The article says that Siri pulls “Facts” from Wolfram|Alpha ( The article actually states WolphramAlpha, but we know that Fairfax outsourced sub-editing anyway ).
However if you were to ask Siri what is the best phone is, fact is not something that would be returned. What is returned is opinion.
Are Fact verse Opinion clearly delineated when you get a result? Of course they aren’t.
Most people would think this is a small issue. What does it matter that that Apple would “fix” their software to support themselves.
Shades of the future via the Simpsons comes to mind
“Troy: Now turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you? You,the redhead in the Chicago school system?
Troy: partial credit!”
We let companies get away with this, after all facts are such trivial things.
My question immediately is what other facts simply became collateral damage.
Where does the line get drawn. Perhaps we are already so far passed it, there is no turning back.
Now, I know I am not an ad executive type. My clothes aren’t classy enough, and I don’t drive a Porsche. Yet as a member of the great unwashed I still have a few ideas about how an ad should work.
Why yes, I’d love an ice-cream. And what I can use EFTPOS for it. Why all of a sudden EFTPOS felt the need for expensive TV ads and this huge placement in Flinders St Station I will never know. Perhaps NFC is coming soon, who knows, but I digress from my need for an ice-cream.
Low and behold, just below that giant ice-cream, the one that I can purchase on EFTPOS is an ice-cream shop.
Perfect….. well it would be….
See that little yellow sign. Small problem with that sign… yes, they don’t have EFTPOS.
Seriously who placed those ads in that location. Why didn’t they either A: not put the ice-cream banner next to the ice-cream shop, or B: give the shop EFTPOS for the duration of the campaign.
Even better, they could have let two other shops, the two out of five there that actually have EFTPOS have a limit below $5 per transaction. Why, because then I could have brought the cup of coffee that is in one of the other banners that is less than $5. The one the ad says I can buy on EFTPOS, the one I can’t.
But then, what do I know.
P.S Dear staff at Flinders St Station, why do you get so upset with people taking photos all the time.
We all know that a huge percentage of photos are right time right place. For me this was even more so yesterday heading home from work.
Those that know me know I carry my DSLR camera with me nearly everywhere. Yesterday proves why. The best photo is always the one you get with the camera you have. To that end it is preferable that you have a better camera. So walking through town on my way home mother nature kindly put on a very nice rainbow. ( This shot for example is from my phone)
I had no more than 10min to spend getting shots by which time the rainbow had gone.
I used a Nikon D7000 with the kit 18-105mm lens. When I could see where the rainbow was facing, I quickly walked up to Fed Square so I had the foreground element I was after. Rainbows are all very nice, but framing a foreground adds an extra dimension to the shot. I didn’t have my 11-16mm Tokina on me, so decided to go for the stitch later panorama series of photos.
When shooting panoramas it really helps to move the camera off Auto Mode as well. This way your shot has even lighting across the whole image. If you shoot them in auto, you will end with dark and light banding as each shot has a different exposure. You can if you have time shoot in manual to pull up the dark parts of the shot if you want, but I was racing the setting sun with this one.
This shot had a bit of post processing as well. Given I was racing time to get all the frames for the panorama as well. In Lightroom all that I did was just apply the lens correction to all of the shots. This takes out the barrel distortion and vignetting as well making stitching much easier. Then I exported all the full size images as JPG’s to Microsoft ICE. I did try Photoshop, but ICE did a much better job of stitching.
Then came the fun part. Images never look the same on a monitor as they do on the back of the camera. In this case all of the Fed Square was to dark. The sky was balanced how I wanted it, but not the people.
In Photoshop I created a Curves adjustment layer, then created a mask for the bottom half of the image. Then I adjusted the curves to help pull out the rich golden tones that I hadn’t pulled up in the raw shots.
All up, about 30 min of processing work for this shot…
I’m a really pleased with the final image and hope you are as well….
(P.S Now you can buy it as a large photographic print as well as in a mounted print…. )
Yes Fairfax I am looking squarely at you.
And also media commentators and IT journo’s I’m looking at you as well. Today saw Fairfax launch a new Ipad App. Now I must say firstly I haven’t seen the App.. Why because I don’t have an ipad nor an iphone nor any Apple computer. I am a very happy Win7 and Android user.
So, of course I can’t comment on the actual app, but I’m not going to. Sure, they say an Android version is coming, but if the ABC pull their finger out and finally get a decent Android app, I will most probably end up just using that.
Why, because I care about content, not if something has nice page transitions or ads that are not that obtrusive when you scroll between stories.
Sure, I expect that Fairfax will write many stories about how apps are the future and their app is the best. However, and this is the big point that people haven’t commented on, what about the content.
With lots of criticism about Fairfax, and even as I have also blogged about News ltd about the lack of quality journalism, nay even churnalism what is in it for the reader. Look at the front page of The Age or SMH on any given day and tell me that is quality journalism.
This is the fail for me. Sure it is shiny, sure it uses the shiny platform, but what changed. The content is sourced from what is a company, like the old man in Holy Grail saying ” But I’m not dead yet”.
And all this before the mysterious “freemium” model comes into play. Without new engaging content, pulling a website that sources much of its content wire services where is the content.
When I see people fawning over the new App, saying “wow, it has really nice video over the paper”, well of course it does. But when that video is for example just content from the ABC’s Four Corners why do I care about Fairfax.
Sorry, but whilst shiny maybe important to some, I prefer my content to have a touch of substance.
( due to my blog being nuked when my host went down… click here for my ASUS EEPC Slate Review )
One thing comparing the Incredible S to the Desire that has been dramatically improved is the camera. Not just the bump from 5 to 8megapixels, but the processing software seems to have been given some real attention. The Desire’s camera was “flat” in the shots it took and for me wasn’t worth using.
The Incredible S however is a very rich, vibrant. It isn’t a DSLR ( which I carry with me nearly everywhere), but it is a great point and shoot camera for a wide variety of shooting environments.
The camera does low light very well, and limits ISO Noise very very well. One issue with lowlight though is that it pushes more red into images than is necessary. Whilst the lighting at the nightclub where I took the photos of the Cat Empire, was heavily skewed red, this red dominance also came out in the sunset shot that I took at the river, there at least I had the Nikon D7K to get a much more realistic colour balance out of the shot. Which also is a case of apples and oranges, one is phone, one is prosumer DSLR
The flash on the camera is up to the task, but you will notice that the band shots don’t have the flash on, because I wanted photos of the band, not the back of people’s heads. You might want to remember that next time you’re at a concert. The great thing is that the Incredible also remembers the last state the flash was on as well, even when you exit the app. A nice touch, that means you can take photos quickly without having to reset the camera every time.
For reasons that are not knee bone is connected to the leg bone type of logic, if you are using the phone is being used as a WIFI hot spot ( which is great if you don’t have the USB cable with you, or you wish to share it with a few friends ), you can’t use the flash. I’m sure there is a good technical reason for this, but I can’t think what it was.
I’d much rather that the effects vs the settings could have been switched. Then I am a lot more of purist when it comes to photography anyway. The face detection works really well, even if the subject is in the background of the image, and the cameras inherent depth of field gets everything in focus. White Balance etc all seem to work just fine but nested as they are, tweaking one item, such as white balance, involved more clicks as sub items take over the menu structure.
The geotagging feature is great to leave on, but is one that I would have given higher priority to in the menus. I would love to be able to one click turn it off and on for photos as I went. Photos from home for example would not be tagged or from a friends place, but out in public tag away is the way I like to shoot. The GPS seems to get a fix very quickly, often one or two shots in a new location and they are tagged. A cursory look at images I have uploaded to flickr shows the location very accurately as well.
Sure, the camera has nice little effects, to be honest the only one I would consider using is the depth of field filter. Even then unless it was something I couldn’t get a feel for a particular shot that I was after. As a rule, and this applies to all photos that you take with your phone etc, don’t and I mean DON’T apply camera filters. Why, because in 12 months time, or even the day after you won’t have the unedited version. The photos off the Incredible should print really well, and unless you have the “clean” version you are going to regret not having it sooner rather than later.
But, words are words, images are images… I let them do the talking… ( ok, with just a touch of voice over…. )
(All images link to full size flickr version )
Dull Sunset Comparison
(Plus the Nikon D7000 that took the shot)
HTC Incredible S
JVC GC – FM1
|Xres||Yres||ISO||Exposure||Focal Length||Aperture||Width||Height||JPG Size||Altitude||Lat||Long|
|Model – NIKON D7000||300||300||280||1/125s||18.00 mm||F 5.60||4855||3216||6.4MB||NO GPS|
|Model – N8-00||300||300||105||1/191.4s||5.90 mm||F 2.80||4000||3000||1.4MB||NO FIX|
|Model – HTC Incredible S||72||72||100||No Data||4.57 mm||No Data||3184||1904||1MB||0 m||S 37 53 35.05||E 144 59 17.76|
|Model – N95 8GB||300||300||100||1/500s||5.60 mm||F 2.80||2592||1944||.77mb||NO FIX|
|Model – X6-00||300||300||100||1/250s||5.20 mm||F 2.80||2592||1944||.68mb||30.50 m||S37 53 56.12||E144 59 5.34|
|Model – HTC Desire||72||72||55||No Data||4.31 mm||No Data||2592||1552||.59mb||NO FIX|
|Model – GC-FM1||72||72||100||1/109.9s||3.91 mm||F 2.82||3264||2448||2.1mb||NO GPS|
The order is how I judge the devices.
Unsurprisingly the DSLR wins , Next is the amazing Nokia N8, which is simply amazing as a camera on a phone. But given the hardware the Incredible S was against, it did do very well.
DPI, the higher the number the better the print. 72DPI is great for onscreen, 300DPI is better for printing, this is reflected broadly in filesize.
The D7000 shot was taken in RAW and exported via Lightroom 3. I do have the Solmeta GPS for the D7000, but it wasn’t plugged in J, the other phones that didn’t get a GPS fix had not been used in sometime and were not already on, when I did the test.
Both the Desire and the Incredible S are lacking much in the way of EXIF data, so a full comparison of EXIF Data is not possible. Either this is an ongoing firmware issue, or shows the limitations of the HTC Camera System.
Final point, remember that the Nokia N95-8gb is from 2007, so it is the oldest of all off the above devices by a number of years. Still the camera in that phone still stands up.
And here are some more shots from the Incredible S
Very dark room
The Macro as I said is fantastic. Add the touch the screen to move the focus point and you can get some great close up photos. The text in these images is nice and crisp.
This is a pretty sunset….
HTC Incredible Sunset
Nikon D7000 Sunset
As you can see from above, the HTC made the sky a lot pinker than it was. Whilst most people wouldn’t care.. I do.
And now some night shots..
First from the HTC Desire
Now two from the Incredible S ( at both ends of the zoom).
And thanks for getting to the end of this rather long post…. The camera as I said is a great point and shoot, and is a good phone camera.
(another cross post from the HTC Diaries )
Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you.
No, not the Crowded House song, but a few apps for your HTC Incredible Sin Australia. Whilst, you can just use the weather widget clock, which is handy if you work in a dark basement to tell if it is cloudy or even day or night time, a few more details can come in handy.
I use a combination of two dedicated apps.
Firstly is the very good ( adware supported ) app from Weatherzone. This app, will not only give you a number of widgets that you can add to one of your 6 home screens, it will on opening give you a lot more information than just the temp.
With detailed weather warnings, the current temp, feels like temp, chance of rain on a given day it will really help to ensure you don’t get caught out. On the details section you’ll also see the rainfall for the day, current humidity etc. As this app can pull your location, either via mobile tower or GPS, you’ll get the current weather for your location, or you can just fix the location if you want.
Whilst the Weatherzone app does have a radar viewer, I find the dedicated app Aussie Weather Radar is much cleaner and more detailed. Not only, will it give you all the zoom levels for the radar for your current location, you can zoom out to state level or see the radar traces for all of the BOM’s radars around Australia.
Once you get used to using the radar app, you can time when to leave work, or to pick up the kids from the park with an incoming storm for example.
Now, if only there was a remember my umbrella app, I’d be home and dry.
(P.S, if I am missing a must have weather app for Australia, please let me know )
So you are out for an evening walk, watching the sunset and you think, wow that is pretty, I’ll get a photo.
This is the Nokia N8 camera shoot out for that situation. ( Please note, it wasn’t a spectacular sunset the evening I got the shots… )
First is shooting directly into the sun. This is one of those men from the boys tests.
|Shooting into the Sun – Nokia N95-8gb
|Shooting into the Sun – Nikon D90
|Shooting into the Sun – JVC GC-FM1
|Shooting into the Sun – HTC Desire
|Shooting into the Sun – Nokia X6
|Shooting into the Sun – Nokia N8
Looking towards Melbourne CBD from Brighton.
|Skyline – Nokia95-8gb
|Skyline – Nikon D90
|Skyline – JVC GC-FM1
|Skyline – HTC Desire
|Skyline – Nokia X6
|Skyline – Nokia N8
Headline numbers on the Cameras are.
Nokia X6- 5megapixel
Nokia N95-8gb- 5megapixel
HTC Desire – 5megapixel
JVC FM1 – 8megapixel
Nikon D90 – 12megapixel
Nokia N8 – 12megapixel
Whilst I know that sensor size, aperture, glass etc are what makes a great camera, megapixels is what Joe Public know when they are after a camera.
One of the more interesting things that came out of the second test, was that 3 of the cameras that had GPS built into them had time to get a GPS fix. Compare the locations.
|Camera||Nokia X6-00||Nokia N8-00||HTC Desire|
|GPS Latitude||37° 53′ 51.83″ S||37° 53′ 51.03″ S||37° 53′ 51.37″ S|
|GPS Longitude||144° 59′ 7.72″ E||144° 59′ 7.94″ E||144° 59′ 8.08″ E|
|GPSAltitude Ref||Below Sea Level||Above Sea Level||Above Sea Level|
|GPSAltitude||7 m||19.5 m||9 m|
|GPSDate Time||2010:10:24 19:25:39Z|
KML Google Map Showing, location of the Above Cameras. The HTC was the closest.
View Larger Map
All the EXIF data, is pulled from Flickr’s view EXIF info mode, more data would be available through other tools.
Once again, the Nokia N8 wins in the above tests. ( Well apart from the D90 ). I kept the D90 in the tests for showing what a DSLR can shoot compared to a mobile phone when on auto mode.
I can not believe just how bad the camera on the HTC Desire is, it fails on every comparison test I do. And fails by a long way.
To be fair to my Nikon D90…. this is what you can get, with a DSLR, Manual Mode and a 70-300mm Lens. This is the cheap old 70-300mm lens which costs less cost less than $200AUD.
( This shot is also available for purchase on Redbubble )