Kobo Clara 2E: An Eco-friendly eBook Reader

After using an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for a good number of years, I finally caved in and bought a Kobo Clara 2E instead. Apart from missing out on the eBooks that I had in the Amazon ecosystem, it wasn’t much of an issue as most of my collections are pretty scattered – a mixture from Google Books, Kobo, Humble Bundle sales and others. It could be an issue for those who are heavily vested into Kindle eBooks. What piqued my curiosity was the Pocket and Overdrive functionalities in Kobo readers, not to mention, it is the first eco-friendly reader built from recycled plastics.

Why not buy an Android tablet or an iPad? Or even use my smartphone? To be honest, I did contemplate on those options and it will certainly reduce the number of electronic devices I owned. The fact that the reading experience is far nicer than on a smartphone/tablet screen as well as E-ink is a good approximation of paper, being far easier on the eyes, contributed to the decision. There are also no distractions like Tiktok, Youtube and advertisements that degrades your reading experience.

Why not the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Gen. 5)? Sure, it has a bigger screen and the hardware specifications are in everyway comparable. In some cases, it might even be cheaper than the Clara 2E. But I do not want to be restricted to Amazon ecosystem and live with the limited supported file formats. I want to have the option to borrow eBooks from the library (NLB) and better warranty support. To my knowledge, warranty for Kindle does not apply to Singapore, hence you will need to send back to the states, that is if you buy from Amazon. For some other sellers, they might just offer you a seller 7 day warranty or at best a 3 month warranty. Kobo offers a 1 year local warranty.

The Kobo Clara 2E

The Kobo Clara 2E is a 6 inch eBook reader with support for a wide range of formats – with the exception of AZW/AZW3 for Kindles. It supports EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBILE, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBR, JPEG, TIFF, just to name a few. It provides IPX8 waterproof protection for those who like to read in the bath or by the pool. There is also the Comfort Light Pro feature that lets you adjust the brightness and temperature of the screen for the transition from night time reading to bed.

Besides eBooks, it supports audiobooks as well, but those are limited to purchases via Kobo’s own store. As such, the reader comes with 16GB storage to store all those data. Although I have not tried audiobooks yet, it is a nice to have feature for the future. There is no headphone jack, I supposed in part due the waterproofing of the reader, your option for listening to audiobooks would be via Bluetooth audio devices (headset, earphones, speakers).

It sports a 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, Wi-Fi, Blutetooth, 6″ E-ink display and weighs about 171g. The hardware is not top of the line but it is good enough. Text and images appear at a crisp, readable 300ppi on the latest E Ink Carta 1200 and most importantly, unlike its Kindle competitor, you don’t have to pay extra to remove lock-screen ads!

Kobo Clara HD vs Kobo Clara 2E

Though I do not have a Kobo Clara HD, based on specifications, Clara 2E seems to be a minor upgrade for folks who have no need for waterproofing and audiobooks capabilities. Clara 2E seems to be slightly smaller in physical size too. That being said, if you have to own the latest and be on the leading edge of technology, the price difference is about $20-30 SGD. But I would think that if you have a Clara HD, it should suffice for now.

First Impression

What is inside the box? It comes with a small quick guide, the reader itself and an USB C cable. Covers are sold separately and not included.

The first thing I noticed during the unboxing was how light it is. Though eBook readers are supposed to be lighter than tablets and most smartphones, I was caught off-guard by it. It feels kind of “hollow”? Perhaps, I’m guessing, it could be the recycled plastic they used and the design in which they minimize the amount of plastic to build this device. It has a textured back for a better grip and comfortably hold and read with one hand. Nice.

I do like the placement of the power button. For most devices, they can be found at the sides, Kobo Clara 2E has it as a big, friendly, round button at the top right corner on the back. It feels more natural and avoids accidental triggers. Another thing I like is that USB-C port. It should be a standard for all modern device and Kobo didn’t disappoint in this area.

The initial font size is rather small when I load my first eBook but that is easily solved by tapping the top of the screen and then the ‘Aa’ icon. There will be a couple of sliders for font size, line spacing, margins and others. As compared to my experience with Kindle, Kobo Clara 2E offers more customization options.


While not a functional feature, it might appeal to some who are concerned about climate change and wanting to do their part. Kobo says the reader is built with 85% recycled plastic, which includes 10% ocean-bound plastic. The company states its goal in making this move is to divert over 200,000 plastic bottles from the oceans and to keep more than one million CDs and DVDs out of landfill sites over the next year. Their SleepCovers will also be made from recycled materials.

In my humble opinion, arresting climate change should not be just limited to recycling. It should also involve extending the life span of devices via reduce and re-use. From what I understand, Kobo do provide software updates to most of their legacy products, keeping them usable. We should give them credit for that too.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, the Kobo Clara 2E is an excellent device with a highly attractive value proposition. No compromises had been made in quality to achieve that. At S$219 (retail), the Kobo Clara 2E is competitively priced and a solid alternative to Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Together with Pocket and OverDrive support to get free books from library, the Clara 2E would be a better deal if you are not too deep in Amazon ecosystem.

The Kobo Clara 2E is only available in one colour: black on front, with the back in ocean blue. Kobo has released two types of SleepCovers for it, which are made using recycled materials. The basic version act as a basic flip cover at (S$29+) while the other can act as a flip cover and a stand at (S$49+).

Get it from official stores via Shopee, Lazada, or Amazon.

PS I bought mine from GeekBite via Shopee. They offered a better price during the 11.11 sale and bundled in their eBook reader pouch, screen protector (it states for Clara HD though).

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

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.


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.

Hugo – 6 Months later

It has been roughly 6 months, almost half a year since I signed up for my Hugo account, got my Hugo card and wrote an article about it here. I will be sharing some of my thoughts and use cases today so that you can gain some insights or benefit from it.

But first, let us get some things sorted out before we continue. This article, including the previous one, are not meant to be financial advice. The purpose of these articles are to share my thoughts and experience so that you, as a reader, can use them as a reference. What you do after that is based on your own choice and responsibility. With that out of the way, let us continue.

An Overview

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

A lot of things has happened for the past 6 months, and my peers would agree with me that this year, 2021, seems to be worse than 2020 when COVID-19 struck.

  • Delta variant in Singapore around the 2H of the year
  • China regulatory crackdowns and Evergrande issue
  • Inflationary risk
  • Rise of cryptocurrency trading and NFTs
  • Huge uncertainties in the market
  • Omicron variant getting ominous

So what do I think of Hugo and where it stands amidst all these noise and chaos? Here are some quotes from the article “Making the Singaporean Case for Gold” by David Fergusson, CEO and co-founder of Hugo.

… the gold market is still one of the most liquid markets in the world, with roughly US$200bn traded on recognised exchanges, making it the 3rd largest financial market.

Making the Singaporean Case for Gold, David Fergusson (2021, para. 10)
Retrieved from https://hugosave.blog/singaporeans-buy-gold/

Thus, having gold in their portfolios can serve to dampen out the volatility. Not only is it liquid, but Gold is also one of the rare asset classes that are non-correlated. This means that you can put it in your portfolio as insurance, and you can be comfortable that if the world around you blows up (or when your Bitcoin value goes in the opposite direction as the moon), your Gold will provide you safe-haven performance and lower the turbulence somewhat.

Making the Singaporean Case for Gold, David Fergusson (2021, para. 13)
Retrieved from https://hugosave.blog/singaporeans-buy-gold/

Given the current amount of uncertainties in the economy and markets, and with an increasingly bleak outlook for 2022, it would be prudent to plan for the worse. In this regard, I do think that Hugo is one of the options to consider as a safety net or hedge against rough times. Even our government has increased gold reserves by 20% lately.

Photo by Alizee Marchand on Pexels.com

There is an idiom, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. That is why I am using Hugo as one of the tools I have to dampen volatility when the going gets rough. I do applaud their Wealthcare® buddy concept which encourages people to spend smarter, save for their goals and grown their wealth. These are good financial habits to cultivate for everyone. However for this article, I will cover my use case(s) for the following:

  • Roundups
  • Money Pots


I would use my Hugo Visa Debit card on small purchases such as public transport, grocery shopping, and day-to-day small expenses. Do not underestimate all these small expenditures, with Roundups, they amount to quite a bit of cash. If you have lots of small transactions daily, you can probably just rely on Roundups for gold purchases instead of manually doing dollar cost averaging (DCA). Having said that, I still do buy gold from time to time during the occasional dips in prices. For bigger purchases, I would delegate these to my credit cards that offer better rewards and/or cash backs.

One of the initial hurdles I had when making use of Roundups was changing my habits. I was used to using one credit card for all my purchases, hence there was a need for conscious effort to adjust my usage to maximize the benefits accordingly. I have an odd habit though. Instead of automating bank transfers to my Hugo account, I would do it manually. It serves as a reminder for me to be aware of my expenses and where my money is going. Sometimes by doing too much automation, one might take for granted certain details in life and when there is a problem, it might be too late.

Money Pots

To be honest, I’m not using Money Pots at the moment as I do not have a use case for it – yet. To some it might be helpful, such as enforcing a saving habit to park a dollar each day to buy a toy or gadget for their birthday. It would be nice if there is a way to earn interest or reward points by fulfilling goal targets under certain conditions. Or perhaps, gamifying it could encourage its usage or provide more incentives to achieve their goals. Just my 2 cents.

My Thoughts

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Gold provides a practical option to diversify your portfolio and dampen volatility. With Hugo, it is more accessible and easier now. However, it has no lack of competitors vying for attention and a share of investment money. The latest entrant are digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They are changing the status quo as we speak.

For instance, we now have a wide variety of gold-backed cryptocurrencies available on the market. Some examples are Tether Gold (XAUT), DigixGlobal (DGX), PAX Gold (PAXG), Perth Mint Gold Token (PMGT), and Gold Coin (GLC). All these digital tokens are backed by physical gold and they allow fractional purchase, which means one token is worth X gram of gold.

MAS frowns on cryptocurrencies or tokens as an investment asset for retail investors. The prices of crypto tokens are not anchored on any economic fundamentals and are subject to sharp speculative swings. Investors in these tokens are at risk of suffering significant losses.

“The Future of Money, Finance and the Internet” – Speech by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at Singapore FinTech Festival on 9 November 2021
Retrieved from https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/speeches/2021/the-future-of-money-finance-and-the-internet

In terms of safety, under Hugo General Terms, Section 7.6 (e), it is stated that – “Your funds are protected to the extent the safeguarding bank, DBS, is a Deposit Insurance (DI) Scheme member bank under the Deposit Insurance Scheme of the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation Limited, SDIC.”. Hence your money in Hugo is covered under SDIC similar to a bank.

And under the Hugo Gold Metal Agreement, under Terms of Custody – “Hugo shall store for the Customer precious metal sold by Hugo to the Customer or deposited by the Customer at the designated Storage Facility, subject to the terms of this Agreement. All metal held in storage shall remain the property of Customer at all times.”. I also like that in their agreement, you are able to transfer your gold assets under certain circumstances.

When examining the terms of one of the major cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore – monies in fiat wallet are not covered under SDIC. Crypto assets in the exchange might be insured but only under certain circumstances.

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

In my humble opinion, buying gold through Hugo is much more easier and safer as compared to gold-backed cryptocurrencies now. Although it is not as sexy nor exciting compared to other investment products out in the market now, i.e. (Roboadvisors, ETFs, ESG funds, digital assets), gold has been around way longer and it will continue to be relevant in the future.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against crypto assets, in fact I have invested into them. The general consensus is typically allocating about 5%-10% of your portfolio in crypto assets. Moving forward, it is inevitable that digital assets/cryptocurrencies will work together with existing financial instruments to create new products and opportunities which will be very different from now.

Once again, please be reminded that these are my own opinions and are not financial advice. I am not a qualified licensed financial advisor. And I will not be liable for any damage or losses arising from usage of these information. Please do your own research. If you are interested in signing up for a Hugo account, you can use my referral link here.


Is Gold a Bad Investment? My current views and thoughts.

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.

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!


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


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.

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
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!

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill

I bought the eBook version from Google Books last year and finally finished it this year. Compared to his previous works, I really like this novel. It has a refreshing sense and it resembles the storytelling style of his father, Stephen King. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and I probably would start to be a fan of Joe Hill too at this rate. It also reminded me of my first Stephen King book, “Four Past Midnight”.

Book Details

TitleStrange Weather
AuthorJoe Hill
GenreHorror, Speculative Fiction
PublisherWilliam Morrow
Publication DateOctober 2017

The book starts off with its first story, “Snapshot”. It’s a disturbing story of a adolescent who finds himself threatened by a mysterious man called “The Phoenician” who possess a Polaroid Instant Camera that can erase memories, one picture at a time. It’s this first story that got me hooked all the way to the last and it is both chilling and touching at the same time.

In “Loaded” , a mall security guard courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero. Or is there more to the story? As his story begins to unravel under the glare of the spotlights, will the truth be out and does it take his sanity with it too?

“Aloft” starts off with a young man taking his first parachute jump and winds up getting stuck on an impossibly solid cloud with things that animate to life by thoughts of his own. Will he manage to free himself from this cloud “prison” or will he be stuck forever? What will he or has he discovered there? That is for you to find out.

“Rain”, an apocalyptic chapter which is really about Strange Weather, a downpour of deadly silver and gold pieces that destroys and shreds everything in its path, causing global chaos. It’s a nice story with a sad ending.

If you are looking for a book to read to pass time or if you like Stephen King’s book, I would highly recommend this to you. This is not a normal novel of short stories, and each of these stories have their own unique twist.

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

Hugo – First Impression

My brother introduced to me this Wealthcare® service by Hugo that was just launched recently in Singapore. He mentioned that if one is risk adverse to cryptocurrencies, especially due to the recent crash, buying gold can be an alternative as it is seen to be more stable and not as volatile. I guess he was recommending this service as I seemed not so enthusiastic in cryptocurrencies anymore. That is not case for I have been real busy at work and you do need to invest quite a fair amount of time to keep up with the news and all. Nevertheless, I decided to give Hugo a try, out of curiosity and also for “diversifying” my “investments” and “supporting” my brother.

So What Is Hugo?

Meet Hugo !

Hugo, a cute red little robot, is your Wealthcare® buddy who takes care of your financial wellbeing via your digital account that helps you spend, save and invest starting with gold. So how does it do that? According to their website, they provide you with insights so you can spend smarter and also provide tracking tools so you can plan accordingly to save up for your goals. Lastly, they help you to grow your wealth through one off or scheduled deposits into their wealth products (gold investment).

Hugo Save – Singapore’s first Wealthcare® app

They are also advertising their services as “Accounts Without Compromise”. The money in your account is safeguarded within DBS Bank and your gold is insured and securely stored in LBMA-accredited Vaults. Hugo uses ID theft technology, 2FA and Biometric authentication. They are among the first to offer “numberless” Visa Debit Card, issued by a Fintech in Singapore. According to them, they have 24/7 fraud monitoring and real-time alerts for all your transactions and are covered by Visa’s Zero Liability policy in case of any unauthorized transactions on your Hugo card.

Hmm … That Sounds Interesting …

Now that got me interested. An easy way to buy/trade/invest in gold? I don’t think I have seen any services like that before in Singapore. This is new compared to Robo-investors and cryptocurrencies, and besides, who do not love gold, especially physical gold.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But let’s be clear about this, the gold that you have bought through Hugo are not stored in your possession and they have made it clear in their FAQs that while they allow you to buy and sell gold via their platform, you will not be able to take them out physically. I mean, it is a fair and valid point. You can’t exactly take 10 gram of gold out of a 1 kilogram slab of gold, just like that.

Still I like it for the fact that you can buy fractional amount of gold as compared to buying them in certain “denominations”. There are no recurring charges for the service to store the gold, which by itself is attractive enough. Currently there are no transaction fees for gold trading for the first 6 months from launch, but that might change after that. It also provides a more accessible option for small timers like me to buy gold. Of course, these are all my opinions and my perspective, you might see it differently based on your background and environment. And to me, this is more of an instrument for wealth preservation than investment. Note: Not financial advice, these are just my opinions.

Let’s Sign Up!

The signing up process is relatively straightforward. You can click on my referral link here and be directed to a sign up page.

  1. Enter your particulars at the referral sign up page
  2. Download the Hugo Save App from Google Play Store or from Apple App Store
  3. In the app itself, create your new Hugo account and enter your particulars
  4. Follow the instructions and you are done!

It is quite a hassle free process and the KYC is straightforward, you just have to take a photo of your identify card (front and back) and a selfie. There are no option to register with Singpass though, but that is fine. KYC verification took less than an hour for me and I sent a request for my Hugo card. I’m still waiting for it after a week.

What Do I Think About Hugo?

Note: Not financial advice, these are just my opinions.

This service might not be for everyone so it is important to figure out what do you want in the first place. Are you looking to preserve wealth, or to get huge returns or to go into gold trading? These are some of the questions to ask yourself first. They are also new in the market and this is something not seen before (at least to me) so it is still pretty hard to gauge if it will take off. So please do your homework, due diligence, research, whatever before making the decision. And with any investments/financial services, there is always a risk that you might lose your money.

I’m also wondering if there are provisions or any information if it is possible to transfer ownership of your account to your descendants. That would be interesting. Not a lot of robo investor service have that information out there. It’s a bit of a gray area. I might do another update a few months later once I received my Hugo card.

Please use my referral link if you are interested! You get $20 Goldback® referral signup bonus with a spending of at least $100 on your Hugo card within 45 days of signing up while I earn $10 Goldback®. Terms and conditions apply. Meanwhile, stay safe everyone!


You can check out my follow up post hereHugo – 6 Months Later as well as my current views on gold as an investment.

Warship Legend: Idle RPG

Warship Legend is a mobile game that as the title suggests, revolves around warships. You collect and command a small fleet of warships, six of them, ranging from submarines to aircraft carriers. You will be engaged in some story mode, battle with random people and AIs, with some events to clear from time to time.

The visual aspect of the game is nice, the rendering of the warships are quite accurate to the real world counterparts. It has an intuitive layout and interface, and together with visual effects, gives it an excellent visual experience. I have started on this game about a year ago and i would say even though there were some bad detours, the developers have been consistent in improving the visual aspect.

On gameplay, it is more of a tactical “chess” genre instead of the typical action type frequently found in App/Play Store. Your choice and placement of ship in your formation matters and different variations will yield different effects depending on the opponent setup. That’s pretty much about it as the battles are automatic.

As an idle game, we have the standard feature whereby you amass resources while not actively playing and that is pretty much about it. To progress in the game, you do have to participate and complete events and missions. As you stay in the game longer, it becomes a bit of a grind unless you fork out money (cold hard cash) to accelerate your progress. The developers have made improvements in the game play aspect over time but you can’t deny the “Pay to Win” aspect of it.

I’m still playing the game from time to time and in my opinion, it scores high on the visuals but in terms of gameplay and the grind, i would say there’s still room for improvement. It also depends on whether if you like this kind of naval tactic game as it might not be for everyone. My advice – if you really like the game and are not willing to fork out real money on it, is not to be competitive and play casually. If you really have to pay, i would think reaching VIP level 4 or 5 is good enough.

Warship Legend Splash Screen Capture

Check it out at Google Play