Sun’s Anti-Bill Shock Add On 199

Just a few weeks ago, Sun Cellular has launched another innovation in the Philippine telecommunication market by

Sun's Anti-Bill Shock from Sun Broadband. Photo from Yugatech

introducing the Sun Broadband Plan 350 with Anti-Bill Shock. Now, they extended the same feature on their mobile phone

services, specifically the text to other network.

Anti-Bill Shock (ABS)

Add-On 199 allows Sun Postpaid subscribers to send up to 1,000 text messages to other networks at a fixed rate of P199 a month (on top of the monthly Regular Sun postpaid subscription). The next 300 texts will be charged P1 per text.

But here’s the best part: when the subscriber reaches 1301st message sent or more, subscribers need not to worry because the text to other network starting at this threshold will be unlimited!  Thus, in essence, aside from the unlimited Sun-Sun Call & Text, Sun subscribers can also grab unlimited text to ALL network at only P499. The Add-on service basically gives you flexibility and freedom for a certain amount.

In short, if you text 1,000 or less to other networks, you only pay Php199 with this Add On. If you text 1,301 or more, pay a fixed amount of Php 499. It’s a pretty good deal if you’re really a heavy texter especially to Globe and Smart users.

To activate the service, you can either visit The Sun Shop outlet or call 395-8222 or 1822from your Sun phone. I believe this is a dedicated hotline for this.

Follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suncellularph or Tweet them @suncelltweets.

In Review: Huawei U8500

First Impressions
For the past years, the local phone market has been penetrated by semi-generic and dual-SIM phones produced by the Chinese. This has captured the support of the masses, as they are relatively inexpensive and are being sold everywhere.
Huawei U8500, contrary to its predecessors in the local market, was built with a vision to compete with the major brands. As it houses an Android operating system, I was curious to see how it fares with its well-known counterparts.

Appearance and Interface
This phone earns an edge at being sleek and compact, in black and white. The design can compete with its It helps that it operates on a touchscreen interface, as it affords to be minimalist on its option buttons. At 115 grams, it isn’t a drag to carry around. As far as the externals are concerned, I have no complaints.

Although, I would say Huawei falls short when it comes to its graphics, user interface and capacitive touchscreen. Pictures and icons are not as crisp and clear as those in the other Android phones. More often than not, its screen entails multiple taps in order to respond. Plus, it doesn’t offer the auto-rotate function, which usually helps in widening the buttons. I had a hard time typing and composing messages using the onscreen QWERTY keyboard. If this is your first time to use a touchscreen phone, you might want to keep an open mind as this just doesn’t give you the best experience of the technology.

Then again, the touchpad button might win you back. Just make sure you don’t overlook it.

Camera
At 3.15 megapixels, there is not much to rave about. Pictures and videos are almost of the same quality as those taken using a 2-megapixel camera phone. Unlike most phones though, it does not have a camera button on the side. This leaves you with just the main button and the camera button on the screen, which may not entirely be a bad thing as the main button gives you more stability in taking pictures.

Simple as it may seem, this phone still gives you the chance to play around shots – white balance, color effects, picture size and picture quality. Just a couple of turn offs – zooming tends to lag and there is no flash function.

Multimedia
Music and video playback would fare on the average. Sound quality may be further enhanced with a wider speaker. And again, the absence of the auto-rotate function may limit the viewing experience of the user. Meanwhile, the interface on the music gallery plays safe with plain graphics. I would say this is a good thing as it doesn’t confuse the user with flashy display and buttons.

And with all its capacity for multimedia, Huawei U8500 has a storage feature that is comparable to its counterparts. As for its battery life, I found it a bit poorer than the average. If you’re into playing music and taking pictures all day, this might just be the show stopper.

Connectivity and Social Networking
I see a lot of promise on this phone when it comes to sending emails. When I got it, it was already preloaded with its default email feature, Gmail and Google Talk. For its Facebook application, there is nothing new to talk about. Just again, the resolution of the graphics is not as clear as in other Android phones. And what’s good about Android is that these can be upgraded and enhanced, every now and then.

If you’re transferring contents to your PC, this phone might give you a hard time. Unlike other phones that function seamlessly as hard drives, this phone does not do a good job in plug and play. Huawei needs to work on that further.

Best Feature & Recommendation
Because it operates on the Android system, it covers practically everything that the average user might need. It has Documents To Go, Notepad and an efficient email system for organization and business use. It also has the ample features for multimedia capture and playback. This phone is good when you’re not expecting too much. And you know you can never go wrong with Android.

Huawei needs to establish its edge over other Android phones. It needs to brush up on its usability and interface. And for now, I can describe this phone in three words – simple, average and work-in-progress.

Globe Pricing Glitch: BBMAX599 vs. SuperSurf 999

Globe BBMAX 599… with Mobile Internet?!? Wait , what?!

Have you guys noticed how BlackBerry Plans have been dropping in price lately? I remember a time when the BlackBerry service went for around 1,200 a month, now it’s as low as 599 from Globe. But here’s the other thing that makes 599 better though a bit strange… it also has UNLIMITED Mobile Internet!

http://surf.globe.com.ph/plan/blackberry-max

http://surf.globe.com.ph/plan/supersurf

Price comparison with Globe BB MAX 599 vs SUPERSURF 999

 

 

You can get BBMAX599 from Globe and use it on ANY PHONE! You won’t be able to use the BlackBerry service but you can use the unlimited data at almost half the price of Globe’s unlimited data plan 999! Imagine spending just 599 a month to power up your iphone! You can even do it on prepaid!

GLOBE BBMAX on Prepaid as well!

 

Globe probably bundled in Mobile Internet for two reasons, 1. SUN did it first with their BB add-on 649 and 2. Some BB apps automatically (and notoriously) connect to the mobile Internet without asking you, therefore costing you money. The unlimited data was supposed to be a safety net of sorts. But didn’t Globe realize that even data hungry androids and iphones could connect using BB MAX? Its available on prepaid, so they have no way of knowing what phone you have.

Have you noticed this way before I did? Have you tried BB Max on a non BB phone? How was it? Let us know in the comments below.

In Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo

First Impressions

While a lot have been excited for the coming of the Arc, Neo has been on its quieter attempt to win the interest of Sony Ericsson and Android fans. As a midrange smartphone that comes from a rather reputable product line-up, I thought I should give it a try.

Besides, I was curious with the promise of its name – new experience. What new thing could I expect from Xperia this time? Let’s see if it delivers.

Sony Xperia Neo compared to my mid-sized hand

Look and Feel

At 126 grams, Neo is easy to use and carry around with just one hand.  Running on Sony Mobile Bravia Engine, I wouldn’t question the beauty of its interface and design. Icons are nicely arranged on top of a translucent base, leaving the user several options for a customized arrangement. Plus, with a scratch-proof screen, there is no use for a protective cover mask. Forget about the accessories, even in its barest form, this phone is already good to go.

 

Camera

The Neo's camera at the back is capable of HD recording

With 8 megapixels, pictures are clear and crisp especially when there is good lighting. Though at times, as in most Sony Ericsson phones, the flash has the tendency of making the pictures look a bit more yellow. As for its resolution, users may switch from 8 to 6 to 2 megapixels. Needless to say, it’s still best to use the maximum to optimize the shots. Neo also has a secondary camera but picture quality is poor and grainy. If you are after a self-portrait, I’d suggest you use a mirror and the self-timer instead.

Sample shot using Sony Xperia NEO camera - automatic settings

Its video capturing feature provides the option of switching from different video sizes, from HD to VGA variety. One major issue is that none of these options would allow for zooming. Even with photos, only the 2MP 16:9 will allow for zooming. Sony Ericsson should work on this further

 

 

 

Multimedia

The best part about the multimedia feature of this phone is its playful and user-friendly interface. From its camera interface, one can easily shift with direct links for photo and video playback. Though, for later viewing, you might also be pleased with the edgy interface of the gallery.

As for the music playing, sound quality is at best when the phone is turned upside down. I also like the attempt to be fancy with the animation at the menu slider. I just wish Sony developed more options for full screen viewing, as it did with the PSP.

Meanwhile, the worst part about this phone’s multimedia is its rather poor battery life. If you are going to be avid at playing music and making calls at the same time, you might need to charge every now and then, at multiple times of the day. Even comparing it to its other smartphone counterparts, I would say its capacity is only next to that of Samsung and even Nokia.

 

Internet & Social Networking

Facebook UI of Sony Xperia Neo - just like other Android phones

With a fast and stable connection, browsing is seamless. Its Google search at the slider menu reminded me of its Android counterparts for the other brands. As for its Facebook and Twitter client, I am pretty content. File sharing did not give me much problem.

I also like how its internet-based applications are closely integrated with its browser. Say, when searching for items via Google with YouTube links, you will be automatically given the option to open it using the browser or the YouTube application. Also, I would give a plus to the option to switch between windows. I like the fact that I can open multiple pages and be able to breezily navigate through them.

Best Feature & Recommendation

After going through its features, I would say there is nothing new to look forward to with this phone. Nevertheless, while there is generally nothing to rave about, there is also a little or nothing to complain about.

What won me over is the seamless functioning of its user interface. Not most people may be pleased with its design and graphics but its navigation experience is its forte. No lags and no bugs, it’s easy to shift and move from one window and one function to the next. I would say, it is designed well to give users a good experience of Android OS.

And so, overall, with a seamless interface, user-friendly navigation and a flexible Android OS, one wouldn’t find it hard to be content with this phone.

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In Review: It’s Play Time with Playbook!

First Impressions

After the successful penetration of Kindle to the market of readers-on-the-go and Apple on that of the application-savvy users, here comes RIM to further serve its corporate patrons with the introduction of this tablet.

But judging from its name – Blackberry Playbook – is RIM finally ready to loosen up and play along in the growing market of personal tablets?

Look and Feel

The BlackBerry Playbook (Back Panel) made from rubberized casing

The Playbook has a clear, crisp and vivid screen

If you are looking for a tablet that is light and portable then Playbook is for you. At 194 x 130 x 10 mm and 425 grams, the Playbook is smaller and lighter than the iPad and Galaxy Tab. However, if you are after the experience of having a wide screen, then you might have to reconsider.

For its interface, think Blackberry Torch. Only, Playbook would give you a better typing experience with its expanded buttons and more responsive touch screen capacity. I can type fast and even carelessly without worrying much about my finger’s precision.

THe UI of the Playbook is similar to the Torch with capacitative touch screen. But the best part is its 3d like maneuvering of opening and closing windows.

The Playbook screen is also quite an innovation, as it is totally button-free. Navigation is purely dependent on the directional movement of your finger – slide it up close windows, slide down for options. Most people find it difficult to use at first but I say, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

Camera

Playbook gave me my best experience, so far, of Blackberry’s camera. At 5 megapixels, I was content with the quality of indoor and outdoor shots. The secondary, front camera is also satisfactory at 3 megapixels. I found it convenient to shift to it once-in-while for self-portraits.

Image in low light

  • The camera of the Playbook responds well for both low light and daylight images.

A few downsides, however – first there is no button link from the camera pane to the photo gallery. Every time I try to review my shots, I would still need to minimize the camera window to open the gallery. Then second, the lack of shooting and editing features makes taking pictures quite boring. Unlike in other tablets, Playbook by default, does not allow you to take artistic and create fancy photo edits. There may be a perfect Instagram-like application for this but I have yet to find it out.

Social Networking

I am using Facebook for Blackberry Playbook and so far, I like how it’s designed to be more flexible than its version for the handhelds. This social networking app can be used either through data plan when synced with the Blackberry Bridge or via WIFI.

Although, like RIM’s official Twitter client, Facebook for Blackberry Playbook still has many glitches. Errors would pop-out once-in-a-while whenever I try to view comments. Viewing is still limited to the most basic windows. Orientation is also limited to landscape. RIM could still work on fixing these.

Meanwhile, as I am pleased with the chat interface of Facebook for Blackberry Playbook, I am also satisfied with the enhanced functioning of the Blackberry Messenger. Given the wider screen and the changeable orientation, it is definitely more exciting to chat using the Playbook than through my good old Bold.

Best Feature

Without a doubt, the Blackberry Bridge experience is the best thing about the Playbook. As a Blackberry handheld user, the idea of syncing my phone directly to my tablet without the use of a computer has won me over.

BlackBerry Bridge can sync your pertinent information. Image courtesy of Gadgetell.com

Easy and convenient to use, Bridge offers the enhanced the experience of my Blackberry’s standard features. I think it was named Playbook not because of the recreational idea of playing. It is geared more towards allowing you to “play” and better view your Blackberry functions given its powerful form.

It’s Time to Play with Blackberry Playbook

While it took years for Blackberry phones to be released in the Philippine market, I am glad that only took a short time for the Blackberry Playbook to be available here from the time of its initial US release.

Thanks to our homegrown network providers, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular, I wouldn’t have to wait for a relative’s homecoming to get hold of one.

Now, the only thing left to do is to choose which postpaid plan bundles would suit you best – in terms of the service inclusions and of course, the price.

Globe's BlackBerry Playbook offer

Hereunder are tables comparing the Blackberry Playbook Plans of Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular.

Side by side comparison of Globe’s and Sun’s Playbook offer

Globe has a wider range of Blackberry handsets to choose from. Aside from the Blackberry Curve 8520, it also offers the Curve 9300 3G and Torch 9800. Visit globe.com.ph for the complete list of handhelds in this Plan.

If you avail of the Globe My Super Plan 2499 with no add-ons and freebies, only the regular rates for call, text, mobile internet and Blackberry Service will apply and even on top of the P2499 monthly service fee. Meanwhile, for the Sun Cellular plan, already included in the P999 plan are the Call and Text Unlimited service, unlimited Blackberry Service and unlimited mobile internet.

For this, of course, the better choice is Sun Cellular. Given the bridge functioning of the Playbook, if your handset is already activated with BIS and unlimited mobile internet, then you are already good to go. Globe’s package will still require you to make additional subscriptions in order to maximize the use of these gadgets.

Initial Cash Out

In terms of initial cash out, Globe stands as the more economical choice. Basing it from its lowest plan offerings, My Super Plan 2499 or the My Super Surf Plan 2499, you will only have to pay a total of P7999, compared to that of Sun Cellular – a whooping P22,999. TechPinas has priced the 16GB for P23990. Hence, it’s almost the same as purchasing the Playbook from an authorized retailer outlet and paying in full.

Monthly Service Fee

Globe may have the lower cash out but it can be quite heavy to pay P2499 monthly for 24 months. As for Sun Cellular, even if the initial shell out is high, at least the succeeding months of subscription wouldn’t be as heavy on the pocket. Plus, if you get the total of everything for the lowest plan rates, it’s P67,975 for Globe and P52,969 for Sun Cellular! That means, if you get the latter deal, you’ll be able to save at least P15,000!

The Verdict

Given the aforementioned points of comparison, this is almost a no-brainer. Sun Cellular has won my vote on this. I like that the plan already includes the services I would need to maximize the use of my Playbook – no more frills on additional subscriptions for data services and not so heavy monthly service fees. It’s a best-value offer that is hard to resist.

In Review: Torch 9800 vs 9810 with OS 7

So we’ve heard around the vines that Research In Motion (RIM) the creators of BlackBerry will release a new line of handhelds powered by mysterious BlackBerry OS 7 including the latest BlackBerry Torch 9810. In the North America area, #TeamBlackBerry members have already been raving about how nice this evolved BlackBerry Torch seems to function.

So as not to be too far behind, I’ve round-up all information on these two babies (9800 vs 9810) to give you an idea what improvements were made and how well does the OS 7 really fair vs OS 6.

DISPLAY

9810 – High Resolution with 640×480 display

9800 – High Resolution with 480×360 display

MEMORY

9810 – 8GB internal memory (onboard) with 768MB RAM

9800 – 4GB eMMC and box usually comes with 4GB microSD card with 512MB RAM’

CAMERA

9810 – 5MP with HD Video recording, 4x Zoom, Zero shutter lag, Geo-tagging, continuous auto focus

9800 – 5MP with Video Recording, 2x Zoom

BATTERY

9810 – 1270mAh good for 6.5 hours of calls and texts or 5.9 hours for 3G use.

9800 – 1270mAhR good for 5. hours for calls and text or 5.0 hours for 3G use.

OS

9810 – BlackBerry OS 7  (with new and improved browser, latest JAVA engine, effective support for Flash, faster HTML rendering and speedier loading)

9800 – BlackBerry OS 6 (not too far off but browsing is just much better in OS 7)

Look and feel

Both look highly professional since that is the master plan of RIM. But in terms of the phone’s UI, OS 6 is too professional that in its goals to make everything organized, it’s too rigid. THe OS 7 on the other hand boasts of the new Liquified Graphics interface which according to RIM promises to be visually catchy and more customizable compared to OS 6. We don’t really know how true this is and how it will actualize in the phones but if RIM intends to really set the bar high, then this must be one thing they cannot let up on.

New Function

BlackBerry OS 7 also comes with the BlackBerry Balance. As it is aptly named, this function allows users to create, precisely, a work – life balance. We are told that this function will enable users to organize apps and functions into work and another organization for your social life. This is a nice touch similar to the Nokia phones (like E73) and Windows phones in the market.

With the information rounded up, we believe that OS 7 in the new BlackBerry Torch 9810 will really be a superb phone. Whether or not these will translate well into the actual unit is for us to see until we get our hands on a new BlackBerry Torch 9810 with OS 7.

That’s all for now.