BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) vs. Motorola Droid 2 camera

December 2, 2010

Torch sample pictures (slide show):

Droid 2 sample pictures (slide show):

Two QWERTY sliders hard at work – one portrait with a small 3.2″ screen running BlackBerry 6, one landscape with a large 3.7″ screen running Android 2.2 – and both quite multimedia savvy.

Two 5 MP autofocus cameras ready to play – one with a single LED flash and VGA video recording, one with a dual LED flash and 480p video recording – and both with a two-stage shutter button.

Can the BlackBerry 9800 (Torch) and Motorola Droid 2 mix business with pleasure? Find out after the break…

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Palm Pixi Plus camera

March 22, 2010

Short version. The Palm Pixi Plus camera is crap!

Long version. The Pixi Plus offers significant value with significant compromise. While the software is elegant and intuitive, the hardware is cheap and slow. Ditto the camera…

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Life with the Nokia E72

February 21, 2010

I’ve been using the Nokia E72 as my primary business phone for about a month now, and of course it’s been a huge improvement over my standard-issue BlackBerry :)

While the E72 build quality is very good, it’s not as solid as the other Eseries devices I’ve played with. The battery door feels somewhat loose, and it’s easy to push the release button by accident. There’s also some light leaking from the edges of the keys surrounding the D-pad. Still, the materials used (such as stainless steel) are really nice…

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Unboxing the BlackBerry 9630 (Tour)

November 7, 2009

With all the brouhaha caused by the Motorola Droid, I’ve been neglecting some of the other recent arrivals. Last week at the Sprint Open Developer Conference, in addition to getting a free HTC Hero, I also scored a free BlackBerry 9630 (Tour)!

In the past, I’ve enjoyed the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve) and, although the BlackBerry 9530 (Storm) was a total disaster, I was impressed with its CDMA+GSM radio and its excellent camera. The Tour is the best of both worlds – a traditional BlackBerry like the Curve with the same trick radio and camera as the Storm…

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Pictures taken with the Nokia 6790

August 28, 2009

On paper, the Nokia 6790 (Surge) camera looks like a whole lot of “meh“! With only 2 megapixels, no auto-focus, and no flash, it’s nothing to write home about… Or is it?

The lens and sensor are relatively decent, color balance and exposure are generally good. Other than the lack of macro, the resulting pictures are pretty nice for this class of device.

Just like the iPhone/iPhone 3G and the Blackberry 8320 (Curve) cameras, the 6790 camera surpassed my expectations, and that’s something to write home about :)


Samsung Instinct s30 hands-on

July 30, 2009

The story reads something like this. Once upon a time, I contacted the friendly people at Sprint and asked for a Palm Pre review unit in time for launch day…

Unfortunately, they were unable to accommodate my request due to lack of devices, so instead, I just picked up a Palm Pre on launch day and returned it within 30 days. As a consolation prize, they were kind enough to provide me with a Samsung Instinct s30!

But wait, the Samsung Instinct s30 is a CDMA touchscreen feature phone with a basic camera. I only review smartphones, or phones with cameras that, at a minimum, feature auto-focus with macro. I only deal with GSM devices, and rarely cover CDMA phones. Oh noes :)

Well, I did the graceful thing – instead of a full review, I did a hands-on, all the while keeping an open mind and adjusting my expectations.

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Life with the BlackBerry Storm

February 22, 2009

I only have 2 words to describe my 3 weeks with the BlackBerry 9530 (Storm): epic fail! From the day the Storm was announced it was clear to me that some nasty weather was heading this way from Canada. Hold this thought as a segue for moment.

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Etymotic Research hf2 review

May 2, 2008

I’ve already mentioned Etymotic Research, purveyors of fine canal earphones such as the wireless ety8, and the professional-grade ER.4 – one of my reference listening devices.

The hf2 are wired canal earphones similar to the ER.4, but designed primarily for use with the Apple iPhone. As such, they also function as a headset and feature a connector specially designed to fit the iPhone (reduced diameter body and 4-prong 3.5 mm jack).

While the ety8 are also designed for use with the iPhone, they don’t function as a headset like the hf2. Furthermore, both the ER.4 and the ety8 are more expensive than the hf2.

The hf2 are molded from a pleasant (both to the eyes and to the touch) soft black material. However, the headset, which is located on the right cord, detracts from the overall design by being rather bulky (see pictures).

I tried the hf2 with other devices and the earphones worked properly, but the headset only worked with the iPhone, and should work with some Blackberry devices (like the Curve). As for Nokia N-series devices (like the N95, N81 and N810), the hf2 can be used via the remote control (it should not be connected directly).

When used properly, the hf2 sound absolutely fantastic and attenuate outside noise extremely well. In addition, they operate exactly like the earphones/headset supplied with the iPhone.

I noticed an extremely mild difference in sound quality between the newer hf2 and my older (both design and age) ER.4. I prefer the high-end on the hf2, but I prefer the low-end on my ER.4. In fact, the transducers in the hf2 appear to have a similar frequency response the ones in the ety8.

The verdict? Great performance and great value – thumbs up for the hf2.


Pictures taken with the Nokia N81 8GB

April 29, 2008

I’ve already covered the pros and cons of the Nokia N81 8GB as a music phone. But what about its camera?

Like the other 2 megapixel N-series devices I’ve tested, the camera in the N81 8 GB features an LED flash, but no auto-focus or macro.

It takes similar pictures to the Nokia N75, but suffers somewhat from the green tint problem I experienced with the Nokia N76.

Compare the picture above with this one which I snapped at the same time with my Nokia N95-3 – note the difference in color balance…

In the world of 2 megapixel cameras without auto-focus or macro, the Blackberry Curve (and to some extent the iPhone, despite lacking an LED flash) takes better pictures than the N81 8GB.

Hopefully, Nokia can address this with future firmware!


Pictures taken with the Nokia N76

February 9, 2008

The camera in the Nokia N76 is similar in performance to other current 2 megapixel devices, like the Nokia N75, the Apple iPhone, and the BlackBerry 8320 (Curve).

But as I mentioned before, there appears to be a green tint problem with the camera. Perhaps it’s a firmware problem? The (CMOS) sensor is noisy in low light, but this is somewhat alleviated by the LED flash.

Ultimately, the N76 takes adequate pictures for a device without auto-focus or macro.


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