HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!!!!
Thank you, each and every one of you, for being loyal supporters of my blog here. Reading the posts, commenting, liking it on social media, and even sharing this with all your friends. Extra special thank you to those who subscribe to the blog, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, circle me on Google+, follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and wherever else you managed to stalk me down.
I was thinking about writing a Happy New Year blogpost, but figured it’ll likely be something you guys wouldn’t even click to read on. So, I’m gonna do what I traditionally do in past year, do a roundup / conclusion post. Here it is, my roundup of my Top favourite gadgets I have reviewed in the last 12 months.
You’d probably know by now how much I love the HTC One. The 2013 flagship device is named the Best Smartphone this year in multiple awards and is also the primary smartphone I use daily. Almost every smartphone I review will unofficially be compared to this gorgeous all metal unibody HTC One. Undoubtedly, this takes the top spot as my favourite gadget reviewed this year.
It’s been a month since I have been using the HTC One as my primary smartphone. From emails to reading the news to taking pictures with the Ultrapixel camera to testing Maxis’ 4G/LTE connections, I got to try everything this Android flagship smartphone from HTC has to offer.
In case you don’t follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or read my previous posts, then you’d likely miss how I was gushing about how much I love the HTC One. The all metal unibody design, improved HTC Sense 5 and powerful 4G / LTE capability of this Android superphone – checks all the right boxes in my book on why I love HTC phones so much.
So, here’s a quick user review of the HTC One for those of you still uncertain.
My second favourite smartphone of the year goes to the Sony Xperia Z. Waterproof. Dustproof. Gorgeous build quality and design. This is one device that is tough to find flaws in. Th software interface is also lovely and fluid. One device that I felt heavy hearted to return. If it wasn’t for the HTC One, this would certainly be the device I would be using today. Of course, upgraded to the latest Sony Xperia Z1 version, of course.
I know I’m not exactly the first to review the Sony Xperia Z in the country. But I recently just got in touch with the folks of Sony Mobile (*waves*) and they were nice enough to loan me a review unit of their current flagship Sony Xperia Z smartphone.
In case you didn’t know, Sony has recently split from the Sony Ericsson joint branding for the mobile phones. Sony has now taken full ownership, branding, designing and manufacturing of their smartphones. The Xperia series smartphone maintains, but it’s no longer Sony Ericsson Xperia phones, it’s just Sony Xperia phones now.
With the new and full ownership of the smartphone brand, they released their new Sony Xperia Z – the first phone designed and manufactured under the Sony brand name, once again.
Everyone said 2013 is the year of wearable tech, starting with the emergence of smartwatches from every manufacturer in the market. Far from it, really. But 2013 did bring us the much talked about Samsung’s entry into the space with their consumer grade Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Galaxy Gear was launched in conjunction with the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and still had minimal device pairing support today. But boy, was I happy to step into the future with a gadget that allows me to talk to my watch!
Also, I find it hard to recommend to an average consumer why they would need a smartwatch at this point. Unless you’re an early adopter like myself, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is really more gimmicky than useful at this moment. Still, the future is here… just a bit more tweaks to go.
Few days back, I just posted my full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the latest phablet in Samsung’s highly popular (it sold over 10 million units in 2 months) S Pen stylus based large screen smartphone. With the launch of this new Note 3, Samsung also announced a companion device, their first attempt at a smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear.
The Galaxy Gear is actually build and designed for use with the Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, which was launched together. In the last couple of months, Samsung slowly started adding compatibility with more Samsung devices namely Samsung Galaxy S4 (as mentioned in their FAQ here) for now. They’ll be adding support for more Samsung devices soon and (hopefully) other Android devices too.
Thanks to Samsung Malaysia, they arranged for me to review both the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear together. So I was happy to get the full experience of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch for my review.
Although I did review the more powerful 41 megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020 (with Camera Grip), I have a fonder memory of the Lumia 925 instead. This Windows Phone was, in my opinion, a better build quality with aluminium frame and feels more premium like a flagship device. Image quality is always outstanding with Nokia’s Carl Zeiss lenses and camera technology, especially the jaw-dropping quality sans flash in low light conditions.
After my last review of the Nokia Lumia 920, I was more comfortable with using a Windows Phone 8 smartphone. I like the WP8 OS and think it has a lot of potential, but far from being a strong competition to the iOS and Android OS right now. The interface is intuitive and the notifications are less in your face.
As a hardware, Nokia phones continue to impress me. Nokia continued to build great phones. Yes – the material is still polycarbonate, same as the Samsung and other mid range phones in the market. Somehow, Nokia managed to make it more solid than the plasticky feel of a Samsung, for example.
Then, the PR folks of Nokia Malaysia contacted me to ask if I’m interested to review the new Nokia Lumia 925.
In case you missed it, I blogged about the Lumia 925 going on sale in Malaysia earlier this month. Now, holding the Lumia 925 in my hands, I’m excited. The phone has a much better build quality. Yes, colour me more impressed. The camera tech that impressed me in the Lumia 920 is improved even more.
So, I used the Nokia Lumia 925 for a couple of weeks to give you my full user review.
Closing off the year with the only desktop device on the list – the Microsoft Surface Pro. To be honest, I really liked the Surface Pro, but in reality, I couldn’t bring myself to recommend this tablet / laptop hybrid to my friends when they ask if they should buy it as their primary workhorse. I would own it myself (this was a loan review unit) but just couldn’t justify the hefty price tag for this device.
No doubt, it’s a great design concept, just a little bit more thinking to go to perfect this hybrid device.
There are some minor flaws and shortcomings for this first gen device, of course, even if it’s the Pro version that runs full Windows 8 OS with installable apps/softwares. But it’s all reportedly fixed with the updated 2nd gen Surface Pro 2. Which of course, I’m dying to get my hands on soon.
In June 2012, Microsoft unveiled a new line of laptop and tablet hybrid devices running on their latest Windows 8 OS which is optimised for touchscreen use with various swipes and gesture controls. The devices – Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface Pro.
The Surface RT is essentially a tablet. Built to run on Windows RT, it supports tile based Windows 8 apps for touchscreen controls and navigation. The Surface Pro on the other hand, runs on full Windows 8 Operating System that not only has the touch friendly, tiled based Windows 8 apps, it also has Desktop mode to support traditional desktop softwares that you’d normally download for a desktop PC.
A month back, the great PR folks of Microsoft Malaysia loaned me a review unit of the Surface Pro for a couple of weeks use. Although it’s been over a year since the global announcement, the Surface Pro didn’t hit the Malaysian market until June 2013.
… And that’s it. The Top 5 gadgets I enjoyed reviewing for the year of 2013. It was indeed a year full of amazing gadgets from flagship smartphones to smartwatches to hybrid desktop devices.
I’m sure the new year of 2014 will be bringing me loads of greater devices to come. That’s the beauty of tech toys – every year technology grows at an astounding rate, and every device manufacturer comes out with more jaw dropping ideas to wow the consumers and beat their competition. This 2014 will sure be an awesome year for more tech toys. My prediction? More wearable tech (smartwatches, Google Glass), better smartphones with greater specs and designs, portable speakers and headphones, laptops and more…
Tell me – what are your favourite reviews from WinnieKepala.com in 2013?
What gadgets would you like to see me review more in future?
Once again – Happy New Year 2014 everyone!!! Have a blast of a celebration now!