I’ve been using my Nokia N95 for about 1.5 years now, and while there is much that I like about it, the camera is just not quite up to snuff. The camera is one of the features I use most in a mobile phone and so I’d decided that now my contract is up, I’d go far a serious camera phone at the cost of perhaps losing some of the smartphone features I’ve come to know and love.

The Sony Ericsson C905 fits the bill. With a brilliant Cybershot 8.1MP camera, it is almost as good quality as the ultracompact Cybershot that I own. The camera is good in low light but does have a propensity for red eye, I’ve found.

As for the rest of the phone, it’s been a bit of a let down. It’s not really a smartphone but more of a feature phone, and it shows. The screen is not huge and the RSS feeds I’ve set up on it take a huge amount of screen real estate. Furthermore, the processing power of the device is not great. J2ME apps take significantly longer to install and load on this device than my old N95. The menuing system is slightly convoluted, moreso than Symbian, with some features being nested deep within a huge number of clicks. And the phone book lookup and predictive text is not nearly as clever as Symbian’s implementation.

In light of all this I’m slightly regretting having picked up this phone, but every time I need to use the camera (i.e. often) it feels somewhat redeemed.

Written on December 2nd, 2008 , Gadgets, Mobile


I can’t express enough how underwhelmed I am by the recent announcement of the iPhone 3G. I honestly thought the second generation iPhone might be appealing enough for me to make it my regular phone, but with such glaring feature omissions I will be saving it for times of desperation.

For me what really kills it are the following:

  • Poor camera and no video. 2 megapixels just doesn’t cut it. With 8MP camera phones that are video-capable launching in Europe this summer it’s hard not to fault this.
  • Lack of Bluetooth support. Yes, the iPhone 3G supports Bluetooth, but only for certain devices and it lacks stereo Bluetooth and support for many hands-free in-car systems. Not to mention that the device doesn’t support Bluetooth file transfers. Ouch.
  • Still no support for multitasking. Argh.. Jobs claims this is to preserve battery life, but what a frustration. I often have many apps open at a time on my Nokia devices and find it hard to imagine that I could function otherwise.
  • Hopefully the next iPhone will hold more promise. Power smartphone users demand better than this.

    Written on May 7th, 2008 , Gadgets, Mobile

Yesterday a Philips Living Colors that I’d purchased on Amazon.co.uk arrived. This is one cool lighting device! It is an LED lamp that is capable of displaying up to 16 million different colours at different brightnesses and contrasts. It comes with a remote control that allows you to set the colour, brightness, etc to suit any mood.

It’s got a great party trick, too– rotating through it’s full spectrum of colours. How to put it into this mode was not easy to learn as it was hidden away in the manual, but it’s pretty fantastic. I can’t wait to use it at my birthday party next month.

Written on January 14th, 2008 , Gadgets, Tech

I’ve now perfected my streaming audio solution, which works great for parties. It consists of three components:

  1. Apple Airport Express: my stereo is plugged into this and my laptop streams music wirelessly from across the living room to the device.
  2. Laptop: Out-of-the-box the airport express only works with iTunes, but I prefer to use WinAmp for some purposes. I use the WinAmp Remote Speakers Plugin to allow this.
  3. Nokia N95: I use this as my remote control for WinAmp. I’ve installed Bemused on my N95 and my laptop, which allows me to remote control WinAmp over Bluetooth. Super handy.
  4. This appears to be working well, though Bemused does occassionally fall over. It’s all worth it for when your party guests realise you’re controlling the tunes from your mobile phone, though. :-)

    Written on June 28th, 2007 , Gadgets, Tech

Last week I purchased a Genus Type-R DAB radio.

It’s one of these post-modern, mock-vintage devices that matches the aesthetics of a bygone era with the technology of modern times. I’ve been waiting since last summer for this thing, when I first spied it on engadget.com. The original release date was October 2006 but it’s only just now become available!

The design is pretty fantastic (walnut side panels, polished aluminum, leather backing) but the device is not without its flaws. First off, when put on it’s side, resting on the handle bar so that the instrument panel is legible, the speaker faces the ground. If you desire the speaker to face up, then the instrument panel is upside down. What the heck is going on? I could hardly believe that such an obvious flaw could endure in the final product, so I did some research online. Nearly all radios of this style from their native period are designed the same way. Am I totally missing something here?

Anyhow, the proximity sense and touch controls are pretty cool, though they do require a firmer touch than you might imagine.

The order backlog is substantial and there is currently a 30 day wait on the website. It’s not yet out in the shops but should later be available from Dixons et al. You can get one here now.

Written on March 13th, 2007 , All, Gadgets, Tech

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