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.

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.

4 Reasons Why Webe Broadband Is Disappointing

Why webe broadband is disappointing

Webe broadband quietly launched few days before Christmas 2016. It was the unexpected but welcomed announcement.

Since the launch of Webe Mobile plan on 30 September 2016, the major complaint about the unlimited data postpaid plan is that you have to pay to share (tethering) your line with other devices (RM6 for 2 hours).

It is a deal breaker but a fair business decision, in my opinion.

webe broadband features

“Our new broadband plan differs from our mobile service plan because it is designed for multi-device usage such as through fixed wireless terminal, portable WiFi and tablets”, explained Lau Shu Wei, Chief Marketing Official, webe.

Unlike webe mobile, webe broadband is designed to allow you sharing the broadband service with family and friends (up to 10 devices).

Sounds good, right? Read on to understand the webe broadband plan and why you will disappointing.

Why webe broadband is disappointing

1. Low Data Quota

Webe broadband plan is contract-free. The price is RM59 per month for 10GB data quota. No, that’s not a typo.

You only get 10GB data quota per month, which is 9,999,989GB less than webe mobile postpaid plan (RM79)!

Disappointing? Wait, webe broadband gives additional 20GB free data quota. But, it is only valid until February 2017.

2. Cannot top-up quota

Once you used up the quota, your internet speed will be throttled at 128kbps. No option to buy more quota even if you are willing to pay.

This is scary if you used up quota while you are doing some serious online work. (No, 128kbps is not a workable connection speed.)

3. Limited Webe Broadband Coverage Area

webe broadband coverage area
webe broadband coverage area

Unlike webe mobile with Celcom as its backup network when you are out of webe network coverage area, webe broadband is limited to their own 4G LTE network, which still has limited coverage area.

According to my webe experience in Kluang, Johor, webe 4G LTE network speed test is up to 20Mbps download speed.

4. Worst wireless broadband plan?

Let’s compare similar wireless broadband plans from other Malaysia telcos.

Each telco has different offers at different prices. I pick the plans with a similar price range and quota offer.

Malaysia wireless broadband plans compared
Malaysia wireless broadband plans compared

All wireless broadband plans offer some goodies as long as you stay as a subscriber, except webe broadband. Most of them offer additional data quota for video/music streaming.

At RM60 per month, Yes Broadband 68 offer 16GB internet quota and free on-net calls & SMS.

Digi Broadband 60 (RM60/mth) is the most generous wireless broadband that offers a total of 20GB data plus free streaming for 19 online channels.

READ ALSO:  Webe 4G+ Network with 300Mbps Download Speed

Conclusion

Webe Broadband only offer 10GB data quota per month and only usable in the limited coverage area. Thus, I do not recommend webe broadband.

If only webe broadband keeps the current promotion (total 30GB internet quota per month) after February, then it is worth to consider – provided you live in webe LTE coverage area.

Share your webe experience in the comment below.

Disclosure: I received free Webe mobile subscription for a couple months.

*This is NOT a sponsored post.

Compare: Samsung Galaxy J1, J5, J7 (2016) with Free 30GB Yes 4G SIM Card

Samsung Galaxy J series with Free Yes 4G SIM card
Samsung Galaxy J series with Free Yes 4G SIM card
Samsung Galaxy J series with Free Yes 4G SIM card

Samsung Galaxy J series (2016) with data saving feature and better specs than last year has been launched in Malaysia on 15th June 2016. The promotional bundle package with Yes 4G gives 30GB free mobile data in Malaysia.

In this article, I will compare the Samsung Galaxy J1 vs J5 vs J7 and compare Galaxy J series of 2016 vs. 2015.

Samsung Malaysia Electronics and YTL Communications management presenting the new Samsung Galaxy J Series (2016) bundled with a free Yes 4G LTE mobile data plan
Samsung Malaysia Electronics and YTL Communications management presenting the new Samsung Galaxy J Series (2016) bundled with a free Yes 4G LTE mobile data plan

Compare Samsung Galaxy J1 vs J5 vs J7 (2016)

Compare Samsung Galaxy J1 vs J5 vs J7 (2016)
Compare Samsung Galaxy J1 vs J5 vs J7 (2016)

Firstly, let’s talk about the common features of new J1, J5, and J7.

  1. All three Android smartphones support Dual-SIM cards.
  2. Their display panel is Super AMOLED.
  3. Support MicroSD external memory up to 128GB
  4. They are 4G smartphone supports TDD/FDD LTE (meaning, it will work with your 4G LTE networks)

Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016) white
Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016) white

Samsung Galaxy J1 is the most affordable J series smartphone at only RM 449. Its display is only 4.5-inch 480×800 pixels (WVGA), as well as smaller storage (8GB) and less RAM (1GB).

On paper, J1’s 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor is faster than Galaxy J5’s 1.2GHz Quad-Core processor.

Galaxy J1 cameras are F/2.2 aperture 5MP main camera and 2MP front camera. Can record HD video (1280×720) at 30 frame-per-second.

The dimension measures 132.6 x 69.3 x 8.9 mm, weight is 131 gram. With the smaller body, J1 also has a smaller battery capacity (2050mAh).

Samsung Galaxy J5 vs J7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy J7 (Gold)
Samsung Galaxy J7 (Gold)

Samsung Galaxy J5 and J7 are close siblings with similar design and specs.

Both of them have same HD resolution display, 16GB storage, and 2GB RAM. Their cameras are same 13MP main camera and 5MP front camera with flash. Main and front cameras are F/1.9 big aperture for brighter photos.

Samsung Galaxy J5 (black)
Samsung Galaxy J5 (black)

The small differences found display size, processor, battery capacity:

  • Display size: Galaxy J7 display is 5.5-inch, slightly bigger than Galaxy J5’s 5.2-inch display.
  • Processor: Galaxy J7 processor is 1.6 GHz Octa-Core, faster and more processor cores than 1.2GHz Quad-core processor in Galaxy J5.
  • Battery capacity: Galaxy J7 has 3,300 mAh battery while Galaxy J5 battery is 3,100 mAh.

Also, Galaxy J7 is RM200 more expensive (RM 1049 vs RM 849).

I would recommend Galaxy J5 over Galaxy J7. The 0.3-inch display size and processor speed different are not significant.

Photo gallery: Samsung Galaxy J series (2016)

Data saving powered by Opera Max

Benefits of Ultra Data Saving mode
Benefits of Ultra Data Saving mode

The Samsung Galaxy J5 and J7 come with Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode. Samsung claims that UDS allow you to save up to 50% mobile data and increase battery standby time by 2x. UDS is not found on Samsung Galaxy J1.

Ultra Saving Mode enabled on Samsung Galaxy J series
Ultra Saving Mode enabled on Samsung Galaxy J series

As far as I know, UDS is merely the repackage of Opera Max — a free app that compresses data and restricts background apps to save data. Turning on UDS mode will launch the pre-installed Opera Max app to compress mobile data.

Opera Max is a highly rated app. It has been downloaded over 10 million times and received high 4.3 out of 5.0 rating from 196,913 total reviews.

Feel free to install the app and start saving data usage, even you are not using Samsung Galaxy J series.

Free Yes 4G LTE Prepaid SIM card

Free Yes 4G LTE SIM for every Galaxy J series
Free Yes 4G LTE SIM for every Galaxy J series

Every Samsung Galaxy J series (2016) sold in Malaysia is bundled with a FREE Yes 4G LTE prepaid SIM card. You may activate free 30GB data on http://activate.yes.my

After activation, you can enjoy free 2 months access. You get the following goodies each month:

  • 15GB free data
  • 100 minutes off-net voice call
  • 100 off-net SMS
  • Unlimited on-net calls and SMS

“As Malaysia’s 4G champion, we have updated our entire network with the most advanced LTE service complete with VoLTE (Voice-Over-LTE) — another Malaysia’s first…”, said Mr. Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications.

Video call using Yes 4G VoLTE technology with Mr. Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications
Video call using Yes 4G VoLTE technology with Mr. Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications

The High-Definition Voice service using VoLTE technology is built by Samsung for Yes 4G network.

The Yes 4G LTE plans and prices to be launched on 30th June 2016.

Compare Galaxy J series: 2016 vs. 2015

The Samsung Galaxy J series (2016) is an update to last year’s Galaxy J series. Every phone model in the series receives some spec upgrades. Here are the brief specs comparisons.

Galaxy J1: 2016 vs 2015

Samsung Galaxy J1: 2016 vs 2015
Samsung Galaxy J1: 2016 vs 2015

Compare to last year Galaxy J1 (2015), the new Galaxy J1 (2016) has better and bigger display, faster quad-core processor, double RAM and double storage space.

The most significant upgrade is Galaxy J1 (2016) now supports 4G LTE networks.

Galaxy J5: 2016 vs 2015

Samsung Galaxy J5: 2016 vs 2015
Samsung Galaxy J5: 2016 vs 2015

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) only receives small upgrades after a year. The new J5 is 512MB more RAM but same 16GB storage and Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. The 5MP front camera is now f/1.9 aperture to capture more light.

The notable upgrade is battery capacity, which upgraded to 3100mAh from 2600 mAh.

Galaxy J7: 2016 vs 2015

Samsung Galaxy J7: 2016 vs 2015
Samsung Galaxy J7: 2016 vs 2015

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) powered by a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor and receives 512MB more RAM upgrade. Like J5, J7 does not get storage upgrade and 5MP front camera is F/1.9 big aperture. Battery capacity has been upgraded to 3300 mAh from 3000 mAh.

Where to buy Samsung Galaxy J series (2016)

Samsung Galaxy J1, J5, J7 (2016) is available beginning 16 June 2016 at all Samsung Experience Stores and authorised dealerships. The recommended retail price (inclusive 6% GST) is RM 449, RM 849, and RM 1049) respectively. Available in 3 colour options — Black, White, and Gold.

For more product information, please visit http://www.samsung.com/my

Review: Moto Hint – Smart Wireless Bluetooth Earbud

Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud
Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud
Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud

Are you still using a Bluetooth headset that struck out from your ear? Bluetooth headset that only answer/reject call is outdated.

Moto Hint is smart wireless Bluetooth earbud that fits in your ear and response to your voice commands. Check out my review below.

Award Winning Design

Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud
Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud

Moto Hint design has won iF Design Award 2015. The earbud is as small and lightweight as a candy.

It has a touch area for answer/ignore call and start voice commands. The tiny earbud has front and back microphones.

What you get in the package is the Moto Hint wireless Bluetooth earbuds, wireless charging case, a micro-USB charging cable, and 4 different sizes ear gels.

Moto Hint wireless charging case
Moto Hint wireless charging case

The wireless charging case is about the size of two packs of chewing gum. The fabric-like case has good grip in hand and doesn’t leave fingerprint smudges.

It can be your keychain with the strap holder with light indicator at the top. The micro USB charging port is at the bottom. Push the bottom to extend the case and reveal the Moto Hint housing with 5 metal pins.

You need to charge Moto Hint before you use it. For wireless charging, you insert the earbud into wireless charging case then close the case to begin charging. You can also charge the earbud while charging the wireless charging case via micro USB cable.

Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud
Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud

A fully charged Moto Hint can last for over 3 hours phone calls and a fully charged case can recharge the earbud up to 4 times.

What can Moto Hint do?

Moto Hint is comfortable to fit in your ear. You can try a different ear gel size to match with your ear. It does not drop easily.

Moto Hint has ear detect to automatically turns “on” when it is fit in your ear. Simply follows the voice guide for first time pairing.

Once paired, the voice guide will tell you how many hours of battery life left. It will prompt you when battery is low, too.

Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud
Moto Hint wireless bluetooth earbud

Moto Hint allows you to answer a call with a touch or say “answer”. To reject a call, simply say “ignore”. It is also compatible with tablet, and computer with Bluetooth connection.

You do not have to wear Moto Hint all the time for incoming calls. Thanks to the ear sensor, you can simply put the earbud in your ear to answer a call.

If you are in the middle of a call, put Moto Hint in ear will immediately transfer the call from phone to earbud. Taking out the earbud will transfer call back to your phone or pause music.

To launch a voice command, you touch the earbud and say a command. Moto Hint will launch Google Voice (Android) or Siri (iOS) to take your voice commands.

Moto Hint works with Moto Voice for “always on” feature and more advance voice commands. Moto Voice feature is available on Moto X (2nd gen), Droid Turbo, and Moto Maxx phones.

Here are some examples that you can do with Moto Hint:

  • Voice dial a contact
  • Answer/ignore an incoming call with voice command
  • Send and SMS or WhatsApp message
  • Update Facebook status
  • Translate a word or phrase into another language
  • Get turn-by-turn navigation directions
  • Play a song
  • Check your next appointments
  • Set a reminder
  • Set an alarm
  • Any a random question

Who is it for?

Moto Hint Bluetooth earbud is for you, who is looking for a stylish hand-free Bluetooth headset that does not awkwardly hang outside your ear. It is your personal assistant without having to draw out your smartphone from pocket. You don’t even need to put it in ear all the time. Thanks to the smart ear sensor, you only wear it when you need.

Where to buy Moto Hint?

Moto Hint’s recommended retail price is RM 688 including GST. You can buy it online stores, such as YHS Online Stores, Lazada, Superbuy.

It is also available at IT stores like IT Hyperstore, Flash Gadget, Smartworld (Emart Pudu), and Uni One Tech.

Product Gallery

[box type=”info”]Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post”.[/box]