Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lazada Product Review: XY-01 Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Smart EarPhone (Yellow/Black)

In a previous entry, I wrote about hankering for a Bluetooth Bone-Conducting Zungle Sunglasses-headset. And while I'm perfectly content on waiting for that particular brand to become available and affordable for my bone-conduction-bluetooth-spectacle-headset needs, I really need a bluetooth headset ASAP to take the place of a pair that I purchased late last year that I inadvertently destroyed (it got stuck in the space beside a desk and a wall and I yanked when I should've moved the damned table).

So I went ahead and purchased this cheap ass very reasonably priced pair from Lazada, available at Php 366.

 XY-01 on Lazada
XY-01 Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Smart EarPhone (Yellow/Black)
Photo from Lazada. Item linked.

It comes in several color variants (all black, white/red, white/green) and is undrbanded, though the packaging says it's made by "BestGot". According to the package, it's capable of 5h talk time, with an effective 10m range, and bluetooth 4.1 support.

It was scheduled to arrive by August 22, and arrived this morning. Despite being slightly late, I don't mind as I had requested delivery to the office, and the hours don't lend itself to weekend delivery.

Visual Impact
Here are some photos of what the package looked like and what came in the box.

Bubble Wrapped

Yet-unopened. Looks nice. Better than what they used on the site.

They provided 2 identical manuals. For no apparent reason.

Package inclusions

The package came with 2 sets of identical manuals, a short usb cable for charging, 2 extra earbuds, the clip and 2, um, whatever you call those claw-like things that help it stay on your ear when you're active. However since it's really meant to sit deeply into your ear anyway, it feels like those were just a nice bonus.

The build is a bit plasticky, slightly less impressive than my previous one (which was all white). The volume up button seems sit a little deeper than the volume down. Doesn't change the functionality any though.

The clip doesn't have any rotating pieces so it's slightly less comfortable than what I previously had but I think it just needs getting used to.

I tried using them straight out of the box but there wasn't any charge to speak of so I charged them for 30 minutes before giving it another go.

Audio Quality
Listened to a bit of music on it and tried using it to record audio on the sound recorder. The gave good results for the former, and pretty lousy results for the latter. I tried calling myself to test it on a call, but not hearing myself talking to myself on the other phone kinda defeats the purpose. I did have to make an actual call later in the day after a full charge and letting it stand by for a bit as well. There was a lot of static but the other party could hear me OK.

Aside from the static on the call, and the slightly questionable build quality, there's only one minor gripe I have about the bluetooth headset. And it's this:

On the phone, when you pair, it doesn't appear as a standard bluetooth headset. It appears as an "input device" ~ as a keyboard, which it is most definitely not. The only other instance I've seen that happen was with a bluetooth camera trigger I purchased a year or two ago and that was most likely also made in China.

To use it like a usual headset, and to be able to use the phone's onscreen keyboard, I just unticked the "input device" option.

For Php 366 (roughly 8.14 USD), you really shouldn't expect much. But honestly, it's a bargain. Audio for music's pretty good, despite the static on the call. The color combination's pretty nice. Won't really know how long this will last so will keep my finger's crossed.

Bottom line, pretty good bargain. If you need a bluetooth headset and don't have a big budget and are willing to put up with a bit of static, go for it!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hankering for a Bluetooth Headset: Zungle Panther, Bone-Conducting Audio Shades

In my life as an auditory media consumer, be it music, radio, or podcasts, I have found that the use of cabled headsets problematic. You get a free headset with your phone, or can easily buy a better one to replace that for cheap, but the cables always get in the way and sometimes break easily and often.

As you can imagine, I've found the answer in bluetooth headsets. I've owned and gone through at least 4 myself, and while these were mostly wire and tangle free, and often had additional controls on the headsets themselves, I've yet to find one that gives me the freedom to use them in almost any setting, be it at the gym, riding a motorcycle, or just doing my regular thing. 

Behold the Zungle Panther: the world's first bone-conducting audio shades. 

These specs carry bone conduction technology, which transfers the audio signal received via bluetooth through your skull, leaving your ears free to receive environmental sounds. With the built-in mic and once paired with your phone, you'll be able to answer calls easily. 

The built in battery, chargeable via hidden usb port, gives up to 4 hours of listening time on 1 hour charge, while the innovative jog-dial gives you immediate intuitive control.

The frames come in different colors, while the lenses are easily replaceable and compatible with Oakley Frogskin lenses, giving the user endless options to express their style. Personally, I'd love to use them as my everyday specs. 

This revolutionary bit of audio-optical kit isn't yet out on the market. The company is still running a Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign to fund their efforts. 

Definitely tech worth hankering for. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hankered, Purchased and Experienced. Now a Review: Cherry Mobile Flare

Greetings to all my readers and Flarenatics. If you're reading this you're either a new Flare owner verifying your personal experiences with the units and rationalizing your purchase, or you're one of those who wasn't able to make it to the Flare Day earlier this month and you're waiting for the next batch, perhaps reading up on user reviews to help you decide if you will actually go for the Flare.

For new readers who happen to be here, here are the CM Flare's specs at a glance:
1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon S4 processor
4.0" WVGA (800x480) IPS capacitive display
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Adreno 203 GPU 512MB of RAM
4GB of internal storage (with roughly 3GB user usable: 2.57GB as Internal Storage and and 581MB System Space)
microSD up to 32GB
5MP autofocus camera with LED flash
VGA front-facing camera
Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby
GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900MHz WCDMA 900/2100Mhz
HSPA+ 21Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
GPS with aGPS support
Bluetooth 2.1
microUSB 2.0
Li-lon 1500 mAh battery
131×68.2×11.3mm (dimensions)
152g (weight)

I was one of those fortunate enough to be able to purchase a unit, the second to the last one in fact, last November 17 at SM North Annex. When I got to the store, they had officially sold out all of their supplied units (all 1000 of them) but just as I was about to leave, the lady at the counter who was in line for a Flare announced that she was actually buying something else. Lucky me! But enough about me, on to the "review"!

Some Basics

After having been able to experience the Flare for the past 9 days, I can tell you that it's quite a solid piece of hardware. It doesn't feel plasticky at all, like the W100 did. The display is crisp and bright and the 4.0 inch size is just right (and I'm a big guy). The response time is stellar (having come from a Samsung Galaxy 5 with Android 2.1, I probably would've been wowed with less) and the stock Android 4.0 ICS interface was great. However I've installed GO Launcher Ex There are some Cherry added apps in there, classified as bloatware by some, but size-wise they're negligible.

Appearance-wise, the Flare is basically a black touch-screen phone. Not special by any means. Cherry Mobile is selling colored back covers however, for Php 290 a pop. I do not feel the need to buy one at the moment as my back cover is still ok.

The charger works well and there are no touch screen bugs when charging with the provided charger. However if you use something with a higher power output, you encounter a glitch with the touch screen.

Speaking of the touch screen, it's sensitive and works well. It only has 2 points of touch contact, which may prevent you from using some HD games and multi-touch apps that you may want to download.

The 1500 mAh batt is does pretty well when using just 1 sim in the phone, with wifi access and some music. On a single charge, I was able to get the phone to last more than 24 hours. Using two sims, specially ones that may need to hunt for signal more often than not, drains the battery significantly. However if you bring a charger to work, or have a charger in your car, this isn't much of an issue. I haven't gotten to the point where the phone itself tells me that it needs to charge however. I'm just charging / erring on the side of safety.

The provided headset does what it should do, but it isn't the most comfortable thing to wear, specially while jogging. The phone, however, won't work with my third party headset, an Urban Ears Tanto, that I used with my previous phones without issues. My Bluetooth headset works well enough with the Flare, though the Mic seems to be getting dodgy.


The onboard messaging app allows you to choose between sims when sending messages, however its current version doesn't let you rotate the phone and type with the landscape keyboard. To remedy this, I installed GO SMS Pro, the messaging app I'd previously used on my older phone. However, GO SMS Pro doesn't let you pick which sim to send with. Even if you receive the message in Sim2, it will automatically use Sim1 to send out your reply. This will be a bit confusing for your recipients if they don't know both your numbers.

     This one pet peeve is going to be addressed in a software update that Cherry Mobile will be releasing for the Flare soon. I'd love to be able to use an FM radio on this. No date on that though.


One of the things that confuses me with the unit is that it has two sets of internal memory. The "System Memory" is comprised of 581MB of space, with perhaps half of that as user-usable. Then there's also an "Internal Storage" space with 2.5GB user usable space. I personally wonder if its at all possible to just merge the two into one.
     When you insert a microSD card in the slot, the phone selects it as your default storage and deactivates the "Internal Storage" space.
     One thing I've observed regarding the external storage microSD card, the Flare that I'm currently using sometimes spontaneously removes said microSD card when I'm accessing Apps or Music that are currently installed there. Rebooting the unit fixes the issue, however it's kind of annoying. This may be a card related issue however, so please wait for an update or ask other users if they're experiencing the same issues. For my part, I've recently purchased a new 16GB microSD (though the phone can support 32GB which there doesn't seem to be stock of in any CDR King branch anywhere) and we'll see if this affects performance positively.

The Verdict

All of that being said, I would still like to reiterate that I'm glad I bought my new phone. It's not 100% perfect, but then what phone is? Specially considering the Php 3,999 price tag. It's value for your money, that much is undeniable. Would I recommend this to anyone? Yes. Would I buy it for anyone as a gift, heck yeah.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hankering for a Phone: Cherry Mobile Flare FlareDay

For those, like me, who've been to every other Cherry Mobile Kiosk in town since the beginning of this week, it looks like we're going to have to wait just a bit longer to get our hands on the Android 4 ICS toting, 3G and front camera-having, 4.0 inch IPS WVGA screened handset.

Cherry Mobile's facebook fan page caused quite a stir yesterday with their announcement that there was going to be an announcement today. Well, you have said official announcement above. Folks who want to be first in line will really have to be first in line on Saturday, November 17, 2012, at either the SM City North EdSA annex store or the outlet in Robinsons Place Manila. While selling starts at 1:00PM, I think the Flare has generated enough buzz and created enough of a following for people to begin lining up when the mall opens. If only I could do the same.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hankering for a Phone: Cherry Mobile Flare ROOTED

I was debating with myself if I should create another post for this or if I should just append the first post, but I think this is significant enough to warrant a post of it's own.

Everyone's been looking forward to the Cherry Mobile Flare since it was announced. I've been to several kiosks / stores myself asking for scheduled date of availability. They all say the same thing: it will be available by the 2nd week / mid month of November. That's only 12 days away so all we have to do is wait.

But one does not have to do this waiting passively. I, for one, want to be ready for when the Flare comes home with me so I've been reading up on it (or rather the A9+) and I've found instructions on how to root the 4" Android 4.0 ICS phone. :)

These steps will, most likely, work on the Flare IF it truly is the rebranded Karbonn A9+.

Disclaimer: Attempting to root your device will void your warranty. Any damage to your device that occurs because of rooting will be all on you. 

According the Gaurav Gahlyan of Droidiser, you'll be needing two programs to root your Flare / A9+. Download UnlockRoot and PdaNetA350 first.

Then follow the steps (as outlined by Gaurav here): link updated 11.20.12

  1. Enable USB debugging on your device by going to Settings > Development > USB Debugging. 
  2. Install Pdanet
  3. During its installation, it will ask for your device's manufacturer. Select "Others" and confirm the driver installation when a few pop-ups appear regarding whether you trust the application. 
  4. Connect your device to the PC using USB cable. Don't turn on either USB tethering or USB Storage. Just connect it as is. 
  5. Open UnlockRoot downloader you downloaded above, it will download about 10 MB of data. UnlockRoot will be installed once the download finishes. 
  6. Start UnlockRoot and click the big green ROOT button.
  7. Let the process complete, make sure no power interruption occurs during this process. 
  8. Once the process completes, your device will reboot.
  9. Congratulations! You've rooted your phone!

To whomever attempts to do this, please let me know how your attempt goes. :)

UPDATE: I got myself a Flare (One of the last people to be able to buy at the FlareDay event at SM North Annex. :)) I thought I could hold out on rooting it for a week, but decided to try it out. :) ROOT SUCCESSFUL. 11.19.12

Hankering for a Phone: MyPhone A848i

One of the phones that have been generating a lot of buzz as of late is the Cherry Mobile Flare, a 4.0 inch, dual core, Android 4.0 ICS phone that's going to be selling for 3,999 and will be available by mid November. Not to be outdone, MyPhone is set to release a 4.0 inch with nearly identical specs in the form of the MyPhone A848i.

photo credit to Harold Dela Fuente

Like the CM Flare, the MyPhone A848i Duo is going to run on a 1Ghz Dual core processor, with 512 MB RAM, 4GB Rom, and will have a 4.0 inch IPS-WVGA display. It will also have 3G connectivity and a VGA front cam. Unlike the CM Flare, the battery rating for this phone is a little bit bigger, but only by an additional 100 mAh at 1600 mAh (but this is still to be confirmed). This unit also seems to be a rebrand of the i-mobile i-style Q3 coming out of Thailand (I think. I can't be sure. The pages are all in Thai).

So far no release date has been announced and the price that's been floating around has only been hearsay and rumor, but if it's true, the A848i can be yours for Php 6,999 (as much as an A878).

Now, seeing as this unit has nearly identical specs to the CM flare, but is more expensive by Php 3,000, would you buy it? Knowing that there's a 4.3 inch 3G toting, front facing VGA camera having A898 out there for just 500 pesos more, would you buy it?

Personally, if I had to choose between a rebrand carried by MyPhone and a rebrand carried by CherryMobile, it will more than likely come down to price.

Rumored Specs of the A848i Duo
• Dual Sim / Dual Standby
• 4" IPS-WVGA Capacitive Touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels)
• Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
• 512MB RAM / 1GHz Dual Core Processor
• 4GB internal memory, 2.56GB usable, expandable to 32GB via microSD
• 1600mAh Lypolymer Battery
• Motion Sensor / Proximity Sensor
• Triband GSM
• 3G / WiFi Hotspot / GPS
• HSDPA 7.2Mbps / TV-Out
• Dual Camera: 5MP Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash (Main) / VGA Camera (Front)
• 720p HD Video Recording
• Bluetooth
• MP3 / Multimedia Player / FM Radio
• Pinoy Phone Apps.
• 3.5mm Headset Jack / 2.0 Micro USB
• Rumored SRP: Php 6,999

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hankering for a Phablet: MyPhone A919

I've been visiting the MyPhone kiosk often lately because I've been interested in getting the A878. I recently learned that they'll be releasing the A898 soon for 500 pesos more than its 3G-less counterpart so I decided to hold back on buying one. However, my curiosity was piqued by a flyer for this promo which states that people who purchase several phone models have a chance of winning an A919, a model they didn't even have specs for, at least at the time.

I spotted this on PINOY Phones on facebook and thought I'd share it.

Now, where this photo was taken, I can't be sure, but if this is to be believed, it would seem that the A919 is MyPhone's weapon of choice to attract the 5.0 inch market.

According to the specs, the A919, like its two 4.3 inch brothers, will be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will probably have roughly the same amount of storage space (4GB, with around 2.56GB user usable) and Ram (512 MB) and run on 1GHZ Dual Core Processor. Like the A898, it will have 3G and a front cam, but instead of a 5MP main camera, the A919 will be sporting a 8MP auto focus cam with LED flash. The slightly larger 5.0 inch IPS-WVGA Capacitive touch screen will eat up more juice, and to compensate, the A919 will be packing a 2000mAh Lypolymer battery. It will reportedly be available for  Php 7,999.

Like the Cherry Mobile W500 Titan I wrote about in a previous post, the A919 is more of a phablet than just a phone. However, aside from the price, what the Titan has going for itself is a higher batt capacity rating, with 2350mAh, 350mAh more than the A919. The A919 will have an a higher MP count for the rear camera though, so if that is what matters to you, you might still opt for it over the Titan.

If anyone's been able to hold either, or both, please let me know about comparative build quality.

When this will be officially released is anyone's guess. As it is, the A898 has yet to make it to any MyPhone store. But if this doesn't get released soon, MyPhone's going to have a lot of ground to cover specially since the W500 Titan is already available for sale in selected Cherry Mobile stores.

A919 Duo specs at a glance:
• Dual Sim / Dual Standby
• 5" IPS-WVGA Capacitive Touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels)
• 5-Point Multi-Touchscreen
• Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
• 4GB ROM / 512MB RAM / 1GHz Dual Core Processor
• 2000mAh Lypolymer Battery
• G-Sensor / Proximity Sensor / Accelerometer
• Triband GSM
• 3G / WiFi Hotspot / GPS
• HSDPA 7.2Mbps / TV-Out
• Dual Camera: 8MP Auto Focus Camera with Dual LED Flash (Main) / VGA Camera (Front)
• 720p HD Video Recording
• Bluetooth 3.0
• MP3 / Multimedia Player / FM Radio
• Pinoy Phone Apps.
• 3.5mm Headset Jack / 2.0 Micro USB
• Micro SD up to 32GB / 2.56GB Internal Memory
• SRP Php 7,999