Day to Day, Reviews

Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite

Pebble was the last smartwatch that I had owned few years back. I liked it for its simple design, and the features that one cannot find in a traditional smartwatch, such as counting the steps you have taken, changing of watch face, amongst others. After the company ceased operations and the watch broken, I went back to using my Seiko 5 Automatic watch (Yeoman’s Watch Review has a post on it here). Until now.

Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite

Introducing the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite.

Why the return to a smartwatch? I still like my automatic watches but with the COVID-19 situation brewing and concerns about my current health status, I got curious and decided to get an affordable one. So far, I am quite pleased with it, in terms of pricing, features and reliability when compared to my prior experiences with smartwatches.

I used to own a few Pebble watches before they ceased operations. Back then, smartwatches aren’t popular and as feature packed as current day products. A classic Pebble watch will set you back by about SGD$100 in those days if I remembered correctly. I got my Mi watch for less than that now. Those classic Pebble watches are like the current Mi watch I have now, simple and easy to use, but the similarities stops there. The Mi watch offers more functionalities and features, such as touch screen, heart beat sensors, GPS, and more!

I still miss the classic simple clean design of the original Pebble watch. What I don’t miss is their reliability. They don’t last very long and they tend to fail a few months just shy of the end of warranty period (I guess it is a good thing for consumers?). I had 3 replacements for it, with the last one upgraded to a newer model for free. That too, failed within 6 months. Pebble customer support was good though – they offered 1-to-1 exchanges, no questions asked.

Pebble Classic Watch

What’s in the box?

The box as it is
And there is the watch sitting there
That’s what is inside the box

This is pretty much what is inside the box. Lite. You get the watch (with strap), a user manual and a charger. Actually I think they can even go further by switching the user manual to a card with an URL to the manual online. I mean you are using a smartwatch, you definitely have internet connection and a browser somewhere, no? If they could get the watch to power by using a microUSB or USB C connector, that would even be great. Less material use, less cost and hopefully cheaper pricing for consumers.

Specifications in Brief

  • 1.4″ LCD TFT display at 320×320 resolution
  • Weight at 35g with strap
  • Dimensions at 41mmx35mmx10.9mm
  • Water resistance to 5ATM
  • Battery at 230 mAH
  • Strap material TPU
  • Heart rate-sensor, Compass, 6-axis sensor, L-sensor, Barometer
  • GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS

Experience and Usage

You can use the watch straight out of the box without pairing/syncing but I don’t recommend that. If that is your use case, you should be buying a conventional watch instead. Download the Xiaomi Wear app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store to pair with your watch. It will open up more options for you to play with.

I have been using it for a few months now and am quite pleased with it. The display is crisp and clear and even after wearing the watch for the whole day, it is still comfortable. Battery life typically lasted me for the whole week with room to spare. I like the build quality too and for that price, it is value for money. The best part is it has all the basic features that a smartwatch should have with extras like GPS and heart beat monitoring feature at that price range. It is currently my daily driver.

Conclusion

There are many types of smartwatches out there and they all vary at different price range. It is really hard to say which are the best for you as it depends on your use case and budget. Having said that, when shopping for a smartwatch, you should not focus only on the watch aspect, but also on the mobile app support in terms of ease of use, functionalities, pairing and so on.

I would recommend the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite for a first timer or if you would like something easy and simple to use. It has all the basic smartwatch features, with GPS and heart rate monitoring. It is extremely attractive for those who might not have a big budget but want to try out a smartwatch for themselves. It is affordable and at that price range, it doesn’t compromise on build quality.

Catch it during a sales if there isn’t an urgent need to get one or wait for the next version to be available in your country.

Day to Day, Reviews

New Monitor Unboxing – Acer K234Y

If you had read my last post, my Dell monitor of 6 years has been laid to rest and I got a replacement for it, a necessity considering the current WFH (Work from Home) arrangement. I ended up choosing the Acer K234Y instead of its Dell competitor based on price, delivery speed and from past purchase experience.

Acer K234Y as shown from Acer Singapore website

This is the second Acer monitor I had bought from Shopee for the past 2 years. I was initially tempted to get another Dell as a replacement due to its dual HDMI port feature, but given the limited real estate of my table, it is doubtful that it will be put to good use. Without the dual HDMI port, and all factors compared, I think I rather spend $60 less instead (i am a cheap *******). I also like the how the monitor stand provides more space to place the little items I have as compared to the traditional round/rectangle base. But this is just my personal preference.

The monitor was promptly delivered by a Ninja (Ninja Van) within 2 working days. As shown below, the box is in pretty good condition when I received it, thought it looks a tad puny. It doesn’t feel like a 24″. I guess looks can be deceiving.

Delivered product via reliable Ninja

Immediately after unboxing, I am treated to a full display of all available items, less the display. These are nicely packed in the box. You can see that there is no power adapter as it is inbuilt into the monitor. This allows for a cleaner look and feel and better cable management.

What you first see after unboxing

What you have in the box are the following:

  • 23.8″ IPS LED display
  • 3 pin power cord
  • HDMI cable
  • Monitor stand (x2 parts)
  • Instruction and warranty manual
What’s in the box

There is one thing I wanted to point out. Kudos to Acer for taking care of even the finest detail. I liked the way they provided this tool-less option for assembling the monitor stand. This really ease installation and there wasn’t a need to find a screw driver. You just have to flip the metal piece (as shown below) and hand screw the monitor stand assembly. Very nice. I don’t see this in the monitors I had assembled so far. Am totally and pleasantly surprised.

Good design from Acer, taking care of even the smallest detail

The back of the monitor provide the option of a VGA port, a HDMI port and the power cord connector. I wonder if anyone still uses VGA these days. Does this mean that DVI ports are gone for good?

Available ports at the back of the monitor

Finally, here’s the finished result. Apologies for the blurred picture as my hands went jelly with anticipation of using it. It has a matt finish so I can no longer see my own reflection as compared to the previous one but that doesn’t matter. Sometimes I spook myself when I see my own reflection in the dark.

Ta-da !

With a screen size of 23.8″ and estimated price slightly under $200, I thought this is a decent buy for WFH usage. It has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 (Full HD) @ 75Hz, not the usual 60Hz. Typical aspect ratio of 16:0 and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. It has a response time of 1ms VRB and did I mention it has an IPS LED display? For more technical specifications, you can read it up via Acer product page here.

I had been using it for about a week and I am quite happy with it. If you are interested in getting one for yourself, you can check out the product from Acer official store in Shopee. IMHO, it is a good buy if you are not looking for anything fanciful. You can also check out their other monitor series to find one that suits your needs. If you do not have a Shopee account yet, sign up now and use my referral code PLAIN252 to get S$10.00 off your first purchase!

On a side note here, if you are looking to use your monitor for both a desktop computer and a laptop or a laptop and a gaming console, you can consider the Dell S2421HN 23.8″ IPS LED monitor. It has a dual HDMI port that allows you to switch between devices. This was one of the feature that caught my eye in my replacement monitor search.

Day to Day

Goodbye My Trusty Dell Monitor, 2015-2021

My trusty Dell computer monitor of about 6 years finally failed me. It happened out of the blue one fine Saturday morning when it started to have weird horizontal lines appearing with a bold purple line across. At first, I thought it was some temporary software malfunction which a simple reboot would settle it. After a few restarts and finally testing it on a different laptop, it was enough proof that it has reached its end of life and for an eternal rest.

What are those weird lines !?

It seems like yesterday when I bought it from Best Denki at City Square Mall at a discount to replace my aging Philips 19″ LCD monitor. It’s the first widescreen LED IPS I got. Back then, an IPS LED display is the go to choice and this model is unique in that it has a glossy screen instead of the usual matt found in other brands. And in those days, Dell has the reputation for having the best display in the market. I also like the sleek modern borderless design of the display and its inbuilt speaker (though it is a bit weak). The functionality and looks were so good that a friend of mine got the same model for himself a year later.

Dell S2316H 23″ IPS LED Monitor

If you are interested in knowing the specifications for this monitor, you can check it out from Display Specifications website here. It has moved with me from my old to current residence and accompanied me thru all those nights of internet surfing, gaming and movies. I guess the recent years of WFH (Working from Home) due to the Covid-19 situation has hastened its demise. It is really hard to function efficiently without an external monitor now. I’m currently using the 13″ laptop screen and it caused quite a bit of stress on my eyes and back after prolonged usage at work.

I have shortlisted two replacement options – Dell S2421HN vs Acer K234Y. Both are 23.8″ IPS LED monitors with some slight difference in performance and port options. The price difference between them is about SGD$60 and I have greater faith in Acer being able to deliver earlier. Both are decent monitors and it looks like a close fight after factoring all the pros and cons. Nevertheless, with great sadness, I have to bid the old Dell monitor goodbye. It was one of the best display I had owned and used so far.

Dear Dell monitor, thank you for your services all these years.


Need a new monitor or other gadgets? 11.11 is just round the corner. Use my referral code PLAIN252 to get S$10.00 off your first purchase! Download Shopee now and enjoy hot deals at the best prices!

Day to Day, Reviews

GP Recyko+ U211 USB Battery Charger

GP Recyko USB Battery Charger

I got a new battery charger to replace the aging Eneloop, which had been with me for almost a decade – I reckoned. The old one was still working fine, it was just that I got curious on how a USB battery charger would perform. At a low price of under $10 from Lazada, why not give it a try? It even comes with 2 free AAA batteries!

Features

This charger provides a portable and light weight charging solution for AA and AAA NiMH batteries. Typically it takes about 8 hours to fully charge 2 AA/AAA batteries and it has an auto power cut off safety feature to prevent overcharging.

  • USB compatible
  • Charge 2 AA or AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • Auto power cut off
  • LED indicator (Flashing Green when Charging, Green when Completed)
  • Uses Micro USB plug

Specifications

Input Rating: DC 5.0V/1.0A
Output Rating: Per channel charging:
+ 2xAA – DC2.8V 300mA average
+ 2xAAA – DC2.8V 120mA average

What’s in the Box

  • 1x USB Charger
  • 1x USB Cable (USB to microUSB)
  • 2x AAA 800mAh GP NiMH rechargeable batteries

Official specifications from GP Batteries International

Experience So Far …

It has a smaller footprint than my old Eneloop and is much lighter too. I like it that it is USB compatible so I can have the option to either charge it via the wall outlet with an USB power adaptor (not included), or via a power bank or via a computer. Charging time of 8 hours is similar to my old charger, which I am fine with it. The newer model of the GP USB Battery Charger boost of a faster charging time so take note of that. In comparison with the old Eneloop, the charger does not feel warm to touch after 8 hours, a pleasant surprise.

Similar model of my aging Eneloop charger as a reference

Looks like I will be replacing my Eneloop with this moving forward. In the meantime, I have ordered another 2 AAA batteries from GP. I would still prefer Eneloop if they have affordable USB battery charger models, but at this point in time, looks like GP is the winner.

Day to Day, Reviews

Tecware Q5 Headset – First Impression

Few days back, my headset mic as well as my laptop mic went on a vacation to lala land. They just could not capture my voice clearly enough without interference and that is really a handicap at work. Apparently, one of my friends is having similar problems and we decided to go online shopping for a new mic, especially we need to go on Microsoft Teams meeting these days.

We had a few options, ranging from Razer USB headsets to Condenser Mics. Eventually, we settled for Tecware Q5 USB Headset. One main reason being it is affordable and fulfills the core requirements. There isn’t a need for fanciful RGB lighting and/or controls. The braided wires are plus though for clumsy paws and the online discount certainly helps here. With that, we placed our order to Dynacore Technologies via Shopee.

The headset was delivered in about 2 days via Ninjavan and the unboxed result is as shown below.

The Headset
Specifications
What’s in the box

The audio quality ain’t too bad and the best of it is that the mic is working for me! The detachable mic is a nice feature though it can get easily be unplugged from time to time. Hence you might want to check if the mic is plugged in properly during troubleshooting. It is not the lightest headset but it is comfortable enough. The RGB feature on this headset are the glowing logos at each side of the earpiece. For any additional features or configuration, you will have to download the software via the link provided below.

Since it is using USB instead of analog audio/mic jacks, I supposed it uses drivers and audio hardware that is independent from my laptop. As a result, the mic worked wonderfully even though the ones inbuilt on the laptop and external mic via the analog audio/mic port are wonky. I’m pleased with this purchase and glad that it was the right choice.

For more details on the headset, visit https://www.tecware.co/q5


Shopping for a headset for work and/or games? Use my referral code PLAIN252 to get S$10.00 off your first purchase! Download Shopee now and enjoy hot deals at the best prices!

Day to Day, Reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 AMD

ThinkPad X13 AMD Box

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 AMD is a compact, lightweight and powerful laptop using AMD’s Ryzen Pro CPU and i bought it early this year to replace my 3 year old refurbished Asus ZenBook UX331 series. That old laptop is started to give me BSOD randomly and it is quite annoying at a time when WFH (Working From Home) is the norm.

The ThinkPad series is Lenovo’s business laptop family and you can’t missed it with its signature professional looking magnesium-aluminum chassis and black finish. It follows the tradition of being ultra durable and yet light weight enough for a life of travel.

When we talk about ThinkPad, we have to mention their keyboards. I am totally in love with their keyboards. They are renowned for the quality of their keyboards and they never disappoint. It is comfortable, accurate and you can type on it all day and not get tired of it. From my first laptop, which is an IBM ThinkPad R40 and later on a Lenovo ThinkPad X61, it still feels excellent to type on and that iconic TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard is a joy to use. Love that little red nub but the original in the R40 was still the best. One thing to note though is that they reverse the position of its Fn and Ctrl keys, but you can fixed it by visiting the BIOS, or get used to it.

The bezel is still a tad thick as compared to modern design but that is fine with me. The top fits a webcam (720p) with a ThinkShutter privacy guard. I like having a manual privacy shutter on the laptop and that scores a point from me.

They have a good port selection though it is missing a Thunderbolt 3 connector. If you need one of those, you will have to get the Intel version. I don’t need a Thunderbolt connection and i really want to try an AMD powered laptop hence i chose this version. Another plus point is that when other manufacturers pump in more crapware into their laptops, even for their premium lineups, ThinkPad has none of those. That is something i believe everyone loves and should be a standard.

I have tried many laptops in my lifetime and the ThinkPad series still have a place in my heart. That is why i decided to go back to it. You just can’t go wrong with it. In case you are wondering why did i choose other brands before this laptop, that was because i was at a transition stage from using a PC to a laptop and yet wanted some gaming capabilities. Although the ThinkPad is powerful, it still does not have enough GPU power to win discrete graphics. However, with new CPU designs coming up, that might change.

ThinkPad X13 AMD Outboxed
Day to Day, Reviews

Razer Mouse and Sandisk External SSD

Razer Mouse and Sandisk SSD Hoots

This post is overdue considering that i got the above a few months back to replace a dead mouse and a misbehaving external storage device. Thought that i should do a quick review on these purchases – Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless Ergonomic Gaming Mouse and SanDisk SSD E60 Extreme Portable SSD – for folks who might be planning on buying these products.

Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

I have always preferred gaming mice with the exception of Logitech MX Master series. So even when i am not much of a PC gamer these days, i would still look for a wireless gaming mouse for day to day usage. The size and weight of this mouse is just right for me but that is just my personal preference.

The Razer Basilisk X has dual mode wireless – Bluetooth vs Razer HyperSpeed Wireless connection – which can be easily toggled at the bottom of the mouse. It comes with a USB dongle that is stored in a compartment within the mouse itself and its a feature i liked so that you will not lose them easily. Razer claims that it can last up to 450 hours in Bluetooth mode and up to 285 hours using the USB dongle on a single AA battery. So far i haven’t need to change my battery yet and i am using it on Bluetooth mode. The performance is good and i have not felt any lag as compared to some other Bluetooth mice.

The mouse buttons are using its own mechanical switches with a lifecycle of 50 million clicks. Not sure if the Razer DeathAdder is using the same switches but i hope they are better. I had to retire my old DeathAdder (it was quite a long time ago) because the mouse clicks are getting too mushy and inaccurate. I like the feeling of the mouse clicks for this one too, they feel comfortable and responsive. There are 6 programmable buttons too, not just for gaming – they help with office productivity too.

One thing to note though is that there is no RGB lighting for this mouse. Considering the trend these days – “RGB everything” – it might be a deal breaker for some. I’m not a fan of RGB and would say it is something that is good to have but not a must. Got those mouse via Qoo10 for around SGD55 with coupons and I am happy with it so far.

SanDisk SSD E60 Extreme Portable SSD 1TB

It’s my first time using an external SSD and i must say i’m impressed with the speed and form factor (coming from someone who mainly uses external HDDs). It’s pocket size and light weight so you can carry it with you anywhere with ease.

It has a IP55 rating for water and dust resistance, though the sole USB C port is not covered. The drive is fairly shock resistant with its rubberized exterior and should withstand a drop of 2m on a concrete floor without major damage.

The sole connector, as mentioned, is a USB 3.1 port and the SSD comes bundled with a short USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a Type-A to Type-C USB adapter. According to the manufacturer, it should hit up to 550MBps on the Type-C to Type-C connection, a fraction higher compared to using it with the Type-A adapter.

The SSD comes pre-formatted as an exFAT storage device which means you can use it on a Windows or Mac system out of the box. Some articles do mentioned that you can reformat it to NTFS if you are using it on a Windows device only and that will enable TRIM, which will improve the lifespan of the drive. I am currently leave it as exFAT for use on my Windows device though. I tried connecting it directly to my mobile phone to use as an external storage but it prompted me for a reformat, so i stopped at that.

I bought it for around SGD135, excluding shipping charges via Qoo10. These days i seen it going for SGD129 without shipping charges from time to time. It’s hands-down the best value for money portable SSD i have seen so far.