Review: Philips Hue Light System

Smart lightning is the essential part of smart home concept. You should be able to control your home lights wherever you are, either in-house or traveling.

Philips Hue is well-known personal wireless lighting system. It allows you to control your lights wherever you are using your phone. The light support 16 million colours.

Disclosure: I have been given Philips Hue Lighting Kit as part of a product review. All thoughts and opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Unbox Philips Hue Lighting Kit

The Philips Hue lighting kit set I received includes:

  • 2x Philips Hue Bulb
  • 1x Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus
  • 1x Philips Hue Bridge

The Philips Hue bulb looks and feels like a normal LED bulb but heavier.

The Philips Hue Lightstrip includes the flexible lightstrip, a power cable with connector, a universal power adapter. You can see the LED lights through the transparency plastic strip

The Philips Bridge is how the lights become “smart”. It is the center of your Hue system and it supports up to 50 Hue lights.

The size is similar to an Apple TV box. It is white colour box with rounded corner, a big button and three LED lights for status on the top. The power port and LAN port are at the back.

Installation Setup

Hue Bulb

Hue bulb is the easiest to install. It is a standard E27 light bulb. Simply screw it into your home existing light bulb base. Done! The default light colour “warm white” with yellowish (though the specs writes “white”)

Hue Strip

philips hue strips

Hue Strip has 3 components, the lightstrip, power cable, power adapter. Simply connect them together and you are good.

Feel free to bend it whatever shape you like. You can also cut it if too long or extend it to cover larger space (extenable up to 10m).

Hue Bridge

In order to connect to the Hue lights and make them “smart”, you need a Hue Bridge. Connect it to your home/office router LAN port using the included LAN cable, plug in power and done.

Hue Bridge requires a wired connection to your wireless router, whether it has internet connection or not, to connect with your phone in the same network.

Philips Hue app

After all Hue lights and Hue Bridge are installed and turned on, the next step is install Philips Hue app (available for iOS/Android) on your phone.

The app setup process is as easy as installing the Hue lights. It auto scan for your Hue Bridge and press the big button (push-link) on Hue Bridge, now your phone is connected to the Hue lighting system.

Next is adding your Hue lights via the app. Again, all Hue lights will be automatically detected. You also assign a room (living room, bed room, kitchen, toilet, etc) for each light.

  • One Home can have multiple Rooms.
  • One Room can has multiple Hue Lights.
  • Each Hue Light can assigned to only one room.
  • A Room setting allows you to control all Hue Lights in the space(Room) at once.
  • Home setting will apply to all Lights in the house.

Now you can control the lights via your phone. Magic!

How does Philips Hue light system works?

Philips Hue system is connected using a wireless mesh network named Zigbee:

Zigbee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh network standard targeted at battery-powered devices in wireless control and monitoring applications.

Zigbee wireless signal does not interference with your WiFi signal. No worry if you stay in busy WiFi network neighborhood.

Here is basically how the Hue light system works:

  1. The Hue lights connects to Hue Bridge via Zigbee.
  2. Hue Bridge connects to your wireless router via wired connection (LAN cable) to connect to the same network as your phone.
  3. Your phone send Hue commands to Hue Bridge
  4. Hue Bridge broadcast Hue commands to Hue lights
  5. Hue light responds to the command (on/off, colour)

Note: Just like your phone, the Hue lighting system also receives system updates. It takes up to 1 hour (Zigbee is a slow wireless network) to install update and lights may briefly turn off while updating.

Control your Hue lights, anytime anywhere

Besides remotely control the Hue lights, you can also schedule the lights, set a timer, and routine — even when you are away from home.

The Hue app comes with 11 default scenes to quickly change your lights:

  • Savanna sunset
  • Tropical twilight
  • Arctiv aurora
  • Spring blossom
  • Relax
  • Read
  • Concentrate
  • Energize
  • Bright
  • Dimmed
  • Nightlight

Plus, you can set color for each individual light, using the default recipe or manually set a different color.

Sync Hue lights with music and movies

Though Philips stated on the Hue light box that it “sync lights with music and movies” but the official app does not have the feature.

So, how do you sync Hue lights with your music and movies?

Turns out you need to install 3rd party apps for Philips Hue. In the Hue app, you will find the “Apps we like” menu with list of apps that works with Philips Hue. Or, you can also search in iOS app store or Google Play Store for Hue apps. Most of them are free (with in-app purchase), others are premium (buy to install).

3rd party app installation is easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Install the app
  2. Launch the app and follow simple instruction (press the button on Hue Bridge)
  3. Done!

Here are some Hue 3rd party apps I tried:

Hue Matcher

Hue Matcher syncs Hue lights with your video/movie. Hue light change according to the movie scene. Basically, it is a camera that detect scene colour and change Hue light colours accordingly.

I used a tripod to place my phone in front of my TV to sync with Hue Strips. The setup looks stupid but it works, only slightly lag in colour changing.

A post shared by LiewCF Tech Blog (@liewcf) on

hueManic

hueManic uses your phone’s microphone to detect the surrounding music (sound) and change Hue light colours.

Hue for Kids

For parents with young kids, Hue for Kids is fun to play with Hue light colours. My kids enjoy it very much (a bit too much).

Friends of Hue

You can also connect your Philips Hue system with other Smart Home Devices like Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and many others of “Friends of Hue”.

Developers who are interested to develop for Philips Hue can refer to Hue Developer Program.

Thoughts

Philips Hue lightning system is surprisingly easy to install by yourselves. No screw. No tool needed. No complicated network setup.

We have a good habit to turn off lights whenever we leave a room. For Philips Hue, the light switch has to be turned on all the time. You probably need some time to get used to drawing out phone every time for switching on/off lights.

The power of Philips Hue lightning system is its integration with other Smart Home Devices and 3rd party apps. With the supports, you could control Philips Hue with voice commands, sync Hue lights with your movies and music, and other possibilities made available by Philips Hue Developer Program.

OPPO F5 Full-screen Smartphone with A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology

OPPO F5

OPPO F5

OPPO F5 was officially launched in Malaysia on 2 November 2017.

It comes with full screen display (18:9 aspect ratio) and A.I. beauty recognition technology to personalizing beautification on your selfie image.

20MP front camera with A.I.

OPPO F5

 

OPPO F5 equipped with 20MP front camera with F2.0 aperture and 16MP rear camera with F1.8 aperture.

The front camera uses the A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology to capture a better selfies of you.

The A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology learned facial features of different people from a global image database of human faces.

With over 200 facial feature spots are scanned, it is able to recognize your skin’s tone, gender, and age then make personalized beautification enhancements.

“…this technology can give you the most appropriate beautification enhancement,” said Product Manager of OPPO Malaysia, Ken NG.

The F5 front camera supports portrait mode with bokeh effect and front HDR mode.

For security, OPPO F5 now supports Facial Unlock without a touch. Fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back.

6-inch Full-screen Display

OPPO F5 is the company’s first 6.0-inch full-screen FHD+ display smartphone. The screen resolution is 2160×1080 pixels with 18:9 aspect ratio.

OPPO F5 x Arena of Valor

OPPO F5 x Garena AOV

OPPO also announced partnership with GARENA, the developer of Arena of Valor (AOV; Chinese:王者荣耀), the most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) mobile game.

GARENA praises OPPO F5’s 4G RAM and 6″ FHD+ display allows players to enjoy better AOV gaming experience and outstanding graphic.

Every OPPO F5 owner will receive a free Joker hero character in AOV.

OPPO F5 specs

OPPO F5

Here is the OPPO F5 specs in Malaysia:

  • Processor: Mediatek MT6763T, Otcta-Core (2.5GHz)
  • GPU: ARM Mali G71 MP2 800MHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB (expandable to 256GB)
  • Cameras: (Rear)16MP F/1.8, (front) 20MP F/2.0
  • Display: 6.0 inch FHD+ (2160×1080)
  • Operating System: ColorOS 3.2, based on Android 7.1 (Nougat)
  • Battery: 3200mAh
  • SIM slot: Dual Nano SIM cards and MicroSD card (total 3 slots)
  • Colours: Black and Gold

OPPO F5 6GB edition with 64GB storage will also available in China Red colour. OPPO F5 Youth edition will be announced later.

OPPO F5 price and availability

OPPO F5 price

OPPO F5 price in Malaysia is RM1298. Pre-order starts from 2nd November till 10th November 2017.

It is available offline at OPPO Concept Store and 888 authorised OPPO sales points across Malaysia, as well as available online at OPPO Official website and e-commerce partners (Lazada, 11street, Shopee, and others). Celcom and SenHeng too bring OPPO F5 to customers.

OPPO

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7577) Gaming Laptop in Malaysia

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7577) gaming laptop is the company’s latest model in Inspiron 7000 gaming series.

Dell Gaming series

Dell Gaming computers are engineered with your gaming needs in mind. They have fast processors and powerful graphics cards for better gaming experience. For serious gamers, Alienware (subsidiary of Dell) offers high-performance professional gaming computers.

Dell Gaming series fills the gap in between Dell computer for home users and Alienware for gamers by offering affordable gaming computers.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop launch event
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop launch event

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop is powered by Intel 7th Gen quad-core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics and NVIDIA Max Q Design Technology.

The display is 15.6-inch anti-glare IPS wide viewing angle Full HD display. Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) display is also available.

The audio output is enhanced by Waves MaxxAudio Pro software. It has 2×2 WiFi antenna design for better wireless connection performance. The SmartByte software automatically prioritises gaming and video content to keep games and videos smooth.

It has a huge cooling vents and dual fans to keep the laptop cool and quiet while under high gaming load. The mono-hinge design positions the display away from exhaust airflow.

The laptop uses magnesium alloy for better rigidity. Its keyboard has 1.4mm keystroke travel.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop - RED
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop – RED

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop has a SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Type-C port that supports DisplayPort, Power Delivery, and Thunderbolt 3 with transfer speed up to 40Gbps. It allows you to connect multiple devices using a single port (with device support) and supports video output up to two 4K displays (or single 5K display).

Other connectivity includes 3x USB 3.1 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, media card reader, and headphones jack.

The laptop’s weight is 2.65KG (2.85KG for UHD model) with integrated 56 Whr, 4-cell battery with quick-charge ability. An hour of charging time can get up to 80% battery capacity.

Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop is user DIY upgrade friendly. All you need to open the base cover is unscrew single screw. Almost every component is serviceable as documented in the service manual

Price in Malaysia

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop price in Malaysia starts from RM3,899 (Intel Core i5). Available in Matte Black and China Red.

Current Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop configurations and prices:

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptops

Dell Malaysia

Xiaomi Mi A1 (Android One) Smartphone in Malaysia

Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone
Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone
Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone

Mi A1, the Xiaomi’s first Android One smartphone to be available in Malaysia for RM1,099. Two colours are available: Black and Gold.

What is Android One?

Android One is a hardware and software standard created by Google for Android devices. Android One smartphone runs Pure Android with no bloatware.

The security and system updates are handled by Google, ensuring your phone receives the latest security updates.

Mi A1 comes with Android 7.1.2 Nougat and upgradeable to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of 2017. It will receive a minimum of two years of OS upgrades.

Xiaomi Mi A1 specs

Mi A1 has the same hardware as Xiaomi Mi 5X.

The rear dual camera are 2x 12MP sensors with wide-angle and telephoto lenses. It has 5.5-inch FullHD display and a full-metal body. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, supports up to 128GB microSD memory card. Built-in non-removable 3080mAh battery.

Where to buy Mi A1?

Online pre-orders for Mi A1 has started at Xiaomi official store @ Lazada. The first sale date is 21st September 2017. You can also buy Mi A1 offline from Mi Premium Reseller (Queensbay Mall), Mobile To Go (SS2 PJ) and Direct D outlets on the same day.

Thought

The first thing I like about Mi A1 is that it runs pure Android. Most (if not all) pre-installed apps by phone manufacturers are useless and waste of storage space. I also like its full-metal body. Glass back phone not only a smudge magnet but also slippery, higher chance to break.

Currently, I am using Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which recently upgraded to Android 7 Nougat. For me, Mi A1 (5X) and Redmi Note 4 have similar hardware specs.

They are both powered by same processor, RAM, storage space and screen size. The main difference is one (Mi A1) with dual camera, and the other (Redmi Note 4) has larger battery.

Mi A1 is only RM150 more than Redmi Note 4 (RM949). If I would buy a new phone now, it will be the Mi A1.

(I simply could not afford a laptop-price phone)

Wiko Harry, the Value-for-Money 4G Smartphone with Android Nougat

Wiko Harry




Wiko Harry

Wiko Harry, part of the French brand’s Y-Range series, is a value-for-money 4G phone with 5-inch HD IPS display, 13MP rear camera, and 3GB RAM.

Read on for my review of Wiko Harry with Android 7.0 Nougat (Yup, the same latest Android version you found in premium flagship phones).

Wiko Harry Design

Wiko Harry package box

You can not missed the signature square design Wiko phone package with a big W. My review unit is Anthracite colour, the Gold colour is also available in Malaysia.

Unboxing Wiko Harry

Inside the box, you get a pair of in-ear headphones, a 2-pin USB power adapter, a micro-USB cable.

Taking out the black case, you get a pack of SIM card adapters, user guide, warranty card.

Protective case and screen protector are also included to give Harry a 360° protection.

Phone design

Wiko Harry phone design

Harry has a brushed metal design for the back cover and smooth rounded edges. The 13MP rear camera, LED flash, Wiko logo, and speaker grills are all center aligned.

Underneath the back cover is the removable battery, two SIM slots and micro-SD memory card slot.

3 same size buttons for volume and power are at the right hand side. The engraved power button is easily identified without looking at the phone.

Interestingly, the micro-USB 2.0 port is at the top center with 3.5mm stereo audio jack beside it. With the design, all wires will be aligned at the top. Less wire mess, maybe?

Wiko Harry microUSB port and 3.5mm stereo audio jack

Unlike other phones, Wiko Harry does not indicate the Recent and Back keys for the screen keys – they are only two dots.

The reason behind this is that you can switch the layout that suit your habit in the phone settings – Layout One (Back, Home, Recents) or Layout Two (Recents, Home, Back). The universal dot keys design works for either layout without confusing you. Personally, I prefer Recents, Home, Back.

Performance

Wiko Harry has bright 5-inch HD IPS display. It is powered by Quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage and running the new Android 7.0 (Nougat) operating system. The phone supports Dual SIM and micro-SD memory card up to 128GB.

The DuraSpeed setting will boost foreground app performance by restricting the background apps. The strong hardware and software of Harry assures all your apps run smoothly.

Benchmark test results

Wiko Harry benchmark test results
Wiko Harry benchmark test results

Here are the benchmark results:

  • Antutu 6.2.7: 27808
  • Geekbench 4: 514 (single core), 1368 (multi-core), 880 (compute)
  • PC Mark 2.0: 2621

Battery life

Thanks to Android 7.0 Nougat Doze 2.0 feature, the 2,500 mAh battery could last 5 hours in PCMark battery test before enter Eco. power mode, which will last even more hours.

Android 7.0 Nougat

Wiko Harry runs Android 7.0 Nougat
Wiko Harry runs Android 7.0 Nougat

New Android version is normally only found in expensive flahship smartphones. I am impressed that a mid-range phone is running Nougat.

Wiko Harry with Android 7.0 Nougat has some useful features, such as:

  • Double tap Recent key to quickly switch to the last app
  • Better notification area with bundled notifications, quick reply, and quick settings right in the notification area
  • Navigating around Settings is now easier with “Burger” menu to call out left sidebar menu.
  • Data Saver will reduce your Internet data usage
  • New emoji!
  • Now you can cancel app downloads

You can visit Android website for more Nougat features.

Camera

Wiko Harry has a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. The camera app is easy to use:

  • swipe to right for camera settings
  • swipe to left for camera modes
  • swipe up/down to switch between rear and front camera

The camera app also support multiple shooting modes, such as FaceBeauty, Panorama, HDR, Night, Professional, and more, to take the best pictures.

Sample photos

Here are some photos taken with Wiko Harry camera. (Click for full-size original images)

Wiko Harry Specs

  • Operating system: Android 7.0 (Nougat) with Wiko UI
  • Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz
  • Network: 4G LTE (Category 4)
  • Weight: 160g
  • Display: 5-inch HD
  • Main Camera: 13MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Storage: 16GB
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Expandable memory: micro SD up to 128GB
  • Battery: 2500 mAh Li-Po
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm stereo audio jack

Wiko Harry retail price in Malaysia is RM 599, available in Anthracite & Gold. For more information, please visit http://en.wikomobile.com/ or Wiko Malaysia facebook page

Photo gallery

Conclusion

For below RM600, you get a 4G phone with 5-inch large display, latest Android Nougat, 13MP main camera, 3GB RAM… I would recommend Wiko Harry as a value-for-money 4G smartphone with decent performance.