Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Huawei P9 Dual Camera Review

When I received the Huawei P9, the first two texts that I sent to my contact were:  
  • I got the phone

  • Can I keep it?
Of course the second one was a joke, though I didn't mind if my contact would let me keep the phone...

You see, I was greatly impressed by the quality of the phone. The build quality is very nice and the phone generally felt nice in the hand. And there were a couple of nice surprises inside the box: inside the box was a transparent case and a screen protector. It is so nice of Huawei to include these things.

The feel of the phone is nice in the hands, though, with dry hands, it can prove to be quite slippery. That's why I was happy that the case was included. The case is transparent, so, even with it on, the beauty of the phone can be seen through the case.

Now, being an iOS user, this is, admittedly, the first Android phone that I have tried. At first, I got greatly confused by how the whole thing works; I couldn't even tell how to put the phone in silent and I had to ask my Facebook friends for help! But once I got the hang of it, Android turned out to be a really fun OS to use also.

Well, it didn't hurt to use a premium phone for my first dive into Android...

After the initial set up, I downloaded the apps that I frequently use, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I tried to mimic the apps that I have on my iPhone on the P9 as much as possible; the thing that I missed the most though is Tweetbot as they only make apps for iOS and the Mac...

[Note: when you are reviewing a smartphone, do not, as in DO NOT, install Facebook Messenger on it for you cannot log out off the app on that device! I don't know what is the motivation of Facebook in not allowing this...]

However, just like on iOS, Huawei included apps that they own, like their own calendar, their own contacts, etc. Since I am a Google/GMail user anyway, I just stuck to the apps owned by Google. I really find it inconvenient to have two of the same things... And since this phone is just a loaner anyway, I decided not to use the ones provided by Huawei.

User experience is very nice on the phone. By using this phone, it proves, without a doubt, that there really is no better OS anymore. iOS isn't better than Android; Android isn't better than iOS. Really, it is now just a matter of preference... And well, how the Android OS is implemented by the device makers...

And the Android ecosystem is implemented well in the P9.

Now, since I am primarily a photographer, I am gonna review this device as a photographer...

And speaking of photography, this smartphone has a dual camera system. But no, the way the camera is implemented by Huawei is different from the camera implementation in the iPhone 7+. You see, in the iPhone 7+, the second camera is a zoom lens, which means if you invoke it, you get a photo that is closer (or zoomed in) as compared to the one taken by the main lens.

For the Huawei P9, the second camera is not a zoom lens. It takes a black-and-white photo of the same scene! Now, why is there a need to take a B&W photo of the same scene? You see, a B&W sensor can take more details out of a scenery than an RGB (red, green, blue) sensor. This is because the B&W sensor does not care about the colors in the scene, thus, it can take in more details out of a scenery. RGB sensors have to filter out the light to figure out where a particular color, say red, should go where. In doing so, image sharpness is sacrificed.

The P9 then combines the two photos into one color photo that's supposed to have more details and should be generally sharper. In my testing, the photos produced by the P9 is generally punchier than the ones produced by the iPhone 6s+. I like it. The photos have better saturation especially for photos taken in brightly-lit sceneries. However, when it comes to low-light photography, I feel the iPhone 6s+ still fared better.

So, no. The Huawei P9 did indeed use a dual camera system before the iPhone 7+, but you should not mistake the purpose of the second camera for each individual phone. They function differently.

And let's not forget the "Leica" brand that's prominently displayed beside the dual lens system at the back. No, that is not a Leica-made lens. It simply means that the lens used by the P9 is "Leica Certified".

There is no image stabilization and the f/2.2 aperture means photos taken at low-light situations can be a hit-or-miss affair. Focusing is snappy at brightly-lit conditions but it is a tad slower when the amount of ambient light goes down compared to the iPhone 6s+. However, the camera of the P9 shines when it comes to scenes that have a high dynamic range (bright sky, shadowed foreground). This is where the B&W sensor shines: you can see more details in the sky and in the shadows.

The camera can also take time-lapse videos, aside from regular 1080p Full-HD video capture. The videos produced are of decent quality, but since there is no optical image stabilization, you are better off putting the P9 on a tripod to prevent wobbly shots.

All-in-all, the Huawei P9 gave me a good introduction to the Android ecosystem. And the P9 is actually a really, really good smartphone! Too bad I had to return it...

The Huawei P9 is Highly Recommended!

Keep the conversation going! Contact me on my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

Photos of the Huawei phone shot with an iPhone 6+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Apple's Own Fragmentation...

Dear Apple.

You used to make fun of Android for its fragmentation... Now, I think you have lost the moral high ground on the topic... It would have been an easier transition if you included an adapter inside the box of the new MacBook Pros like what you did with the iPhone 7/7+.

From Gizmodo...

"It’s not easy to figure out exactly what cord you need, (either). There’s a lot of vague technobabble around most cords: male to female, micro vs mini. It can get confusing! That’s is why this guide to the dongles you’ll need to prepare for the mono-port future."

The fact that a guide is needed speaks volume...

Keep the conversation going! Contact me on my Twitter or Facebook account. You may also email me here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Apple Watch Buyers... Take Note...

So, I went to some Apple Authorized Resellers and Apple Premium Resellers in my neck of the woods looking for an Apple Watch Series 2.

Long story short, some sellers don’t know the difference between the Series 1 Apple Watches to the original Apple Watch.

The conversation goes like this:
  • Me: Do you have an Apple Watch Series 2? 
  • Seller: We only have the Series 1.
  • Me (looking at the box): This is the original Apple Watch.
  • Seller: Yes, that is the Series 1.
  • Me: No, the Series 1 is the original Apple Watch but has the newer processor.
  • Seller: No, the one with the newer processor is the Series 2.
  • Me (seeing the futility…): Ah… Do you have the Stainless Steel Series 2?
  • Seller: Yes. (Went to the back to get the box…) It only comes with the red sport band.
  • Me (confused): I didn’t know Apple offers this in the new Series 2 watches…
  • Seller: That’s the Series 1 Stainless Steel.
  • Me (again, seeing the futility…): Ah, I see. Do you have Nike+ Apple Watches?
  • Seller: Right now, we don’t have Series 2, we only have Series 1.
  • Me (out of my wits…): Ah, ok, I’ll wait for the Series 2…

And I don’t think this is exclusive to the Philippines…

My sister-in-law who lives and works in a different country asked about the stainless steel Apple Watch. She was shown the aluminum watch. The sis-in-law insisted that they are not the same, as is obvious in the photos. The seller said photos can be altered!!! What?!?

So, if you are gonna buy, first, only buy from authorized Apple re-sellers! Then, even if you do buy from an authorized re-seller, make sure you read the label on the box!!! Or else you might get something that you didn’t want to in the first place…

(Screen grab from 9to5mac.com)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Regarding the iPhone 7+ Portrait Mode

So, a friend and I were having dinner and she said she would have gotten an iPhone 7+. However, when she tried to sample the “Portrait Mode” of the iPhone 7+ inside a store, she was greatly disappointed that there really isn’t much “effect”. So, she ended up buying a mirrorless camera instead…

Which, I believe, is still the best way to get those creamy bokeh…

But, I told her that the iPhone 7+ in the store might have an older OS version… If the phone came directly from the factory, then, I guessed, that phone might only have iOS 10 installed in it. If you want the bokeh effect on the iPhone 7+, the iOS version must be 10.1.

So, after knowing this, I asked the friend is she will still consider getting the iPhone 7+. And she said yes. Since she’s up for contract renewal anyway, then the phone will be free.

So, happy to help a friend. :)

I don’t have an iPhone 7+. But if you want to see how the portrait mode works, check out the video made by Macworld here:

The Gear4 Bank iPhone 7 Case

So you just got your iPhone 7. The next thing you should do is get a case.

Yeah, I know, sad…

I would have wanted to use a case-less iPhone but the damn thing is so slippery on its own, so, as most of the iPhones I’ve owned this will also be in a case.

The iPhone 7 isn’t any different. I wanted to use it without a case, but, yeah, I don’t want my phone to suddenly slip from my hand and straight to the welcoming arms of the ground. I want something that should increase the grip-ability of my iPhone. And yes, having drop protection also wouldn’t be so bad.

So this time, I got a Gear4 Bank case. It’s nice-looking and has a 9-feet drop protection. The back is slippery, yes, but the bumper around the sides is grippy. :) The lightning port opening is wide enough even for third-party cables. The silence rocker is easily accessed also and the buttons are responsive even under the bumper.

The back is translucent and you can actually see the Apple logo at the back though you really have to squint real hard to see it.

The Gear4 is a nice case that is capable of protecting your phone.

Highly Recommended.

Photos shot with an iPhone 6+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Thoughts on the New iPhone 7

This is my first review as the AppleLogist!!!!!!!! And I am so happy that it is about the iPhone! Very excited! :)


This isn't a review of the iPhone 7. Well, not exactly... The thing with living in the Philippines is, we rarely get products on their release dates. As in the case of Apple products, we are part of the third wave of the release cycle. So, there are already a lot of reviews out there.

So, my review will just be one of many and people might not be interested in another one, especially from an individual blogger.

Anyway, this post will contain my thoughts on Apple's new, smaller phone.

I originally didn't plan on buying an iPhone this year. However, my iPhone 5s, the last phone I bought from an actual Apple Store, the one in Michigan Avenue in Chicago, recently died. Well, its battery did. About a year or so ago, I noticed that its battery was already waning. So, I bought a third party battery case for it. I loved the iPhone 5s and it's actually my most favorite iPhone phone factor, so I thought that I would be able to extend its life span with the use of the battery case. However, now, even the battery case is dying. The phone battery goes from 70% to nothing in a matter of seconds and the battery case cannot hold a charge anymore. So I thought it's about time I retire the phone and make it an heirloom of my house...

Oh, I should also mention that the iPhone 5s is my secondary phone. My primary phone is the iPhone 6s+.

So, it was decision time... What should I get to replace my favorite iPhone 5s?

There were a lot of things to consider...

There was the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7+, the previous Apple flagships, the 6s and the 6s+, and the iPhone SE, which is exactly the same as the iPhone 5s externally. And, at the time, I was also reviewing a couple of Android phones and, I will be honest, I even considered them.

So why did I end up with the iPhone 7?

Let's look at the reasons...

The iPhone 7 is now water resistant. No, you cannot take it swimming (though there are people on the interwebs that actually took the new iPhones swimming...) but the phone will survive being dunked in a meter of water for thirty minutes. I've actually been caught in a moderate rain shower with my iPhone 6s+ and it actually survived the ordeal. With the iPhone 7, I will be more confident and I won't have to worry about being caught in really strong rain, something that we here in the Philippines experience from August to November (our typhoon season). And yes, even if I dropped my phone in the toilet (god-forbid) or in the sink, I am fairly confident that the phone will survive the dunking.

Another reason is the color. I absolutely love the matte black color! Yes, I didn't get the jet black because I am an absolutely O.C. person and I cannot stand scratches! But, I am not O.C. enough that I can use my iPhones without a case. I am fine with things getting worn over time (and I actually adhere to the philosophy called wabisabi) but I am not fine with things getting scratched without me actually doing anything to merit such scratching (if that makes sense). Like, I don't like the fact that the jet black can be scratched by your shirt when you want to wipe your fingerprints on the surface. And yes, the jet black color is a fingerprint magnet and the act of wiping said fingerprints can scratch the surface. Apple said that if you don't want scratches, then you should use a case. But what's the point then of getting the jet black color if you are gonna hide it anyway?!? So, I got the matte black and, so far, I have not used a case on it. However, I do plan to get a screen protector for it...

The camera is another reason why I got the iPhone 7. So, you may ask, why not the 7+ with its dual camera? Well... I don't like getting the first gen of anything and iPhone 7+ is the first gen which has a dual camera...

First, the iPhone 7 camera is better than the one in the iPhone 6s+. Yes, the 6s+! Why am I comparing the two? Well, it's simply because the iPhone 7 camera now has a better sensor *and* optical image stabilization. Before, image stabilization in the lens only existed for the "+" version iPhones. So, that means even with the 7, you will be able to get better low-light photos. The new "7"s also have a wider maximum aperture, so you really will be able to get better photos with them. So, all-in-all, I got the 7 versus the older phones because the camera in the 7 has better sensor, image stabilization and bigger maximum aperture.

So why not the 7+ with the 2x zoom? Well, the zoom lens is a welcome addition but it turns out the iPhone will not let you use it all the time, especially in low-light situations... For example, if you are in a dimly-lit room, instead of the phone letting you use the 2x zoom, the phone will force you, without you knowing it, to use the wide angle lens at 2x *digital zoom*! You may ask why you are being forced to use the wide zoom and this is my theory about it: the 2x zoom lens *does not* have image stabilization. So, at low light situations, this lens will produce blurry photos! (This is because the camera should open longer to get more light into the sensor...) With the image-stabilized lens, you will get less “shake” on your photos.

If you are using an actual camera and if it doesn't have image stabilization, your best bet is to use a tripod. However, the iPhone 7+ will not give you an option to force it to use the 2x lens even if you want to, so even if you put your iPhone on a tripod, the phone will still use the wide-angle lens at 2x digital zoom.

Another thing, the wide-angle lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 while that of the 2x zoom-lens is f/2.8. (If you are not familiar, the smaller number is better at low-light situations.) So this means you get more light when you use the wide-angle lens than when you use the 2x zoom lens. So, I think, this is the reason why the iPhone 7+ forces you to use the wide-angel lens in dimly-lit situations.

And for me, the advantage presented by the second lens in the 7+ is not enough for me to justify getting it.

And finally, the size... No, I love the bigger size of the iPhone 6s+. But, I want to differentiate between the two phones that I am using without actually looking at them. Say, both phones are in my bag, I want to be able to tell right away that I am getting the right phone! (If you wanna know why I have two phones, you can just ask me on twitter or FB.)

Speaking of size, I actually missed being able to use a phone one-handed… For me, the best size for one-handed operations is the size of the iPhone 5s/SE. But using the iPhone 7 is much better than the iPhone 7+ - with that phone, two-handed operations are almost always a must…

Speaking of the display - well, all I can say is it's nice. Much better than the 6s. Actually, the “wider color gamut” is very nice, nicer than the one on the 6s, but it still pales in comparison to some high end Android phones…

But I was wondering, how come the new iPhone 7/7+ doesn't have the True Tone display that is now only present in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro?

Oh, and there is the controversial topic that is the headphone jack... Or the lack thereof... Well, I cannot say that I am not disappointed by the removal of the headphone jack, but I didn't exactly shed a tear when Apple announced it. You see, I have been using Bluetooth headphones for some time now and it wasn't much of a migration for me. Also, for those times when I need to charge the phone, I just don't use the phone at all for my music...

I am happy either way; headphone jack or no headphone jack.

The introduction of the iPhone 7/7+ also meant the introduction of the new home button. Well, it is not actually a button anymore… If you have used a retina MacBook Pro, then you would know what it feels like to use the new button: it is now an electronic one and it can now sense different levels of pressure. So, this means that if the phone is turned off, you really will not feel any movement of the “button”. Instead, when the phone is switched on, what you will feel is what Apple calls a Taptic Engine - it is a mechanism inside the phone that vibrates every time you “press” the home… circle… It is fooling your hand, and your brain, into thinking that the “button” moves. This non-moving, non-button is actually a good thing for it is one less thing you would have to worry about. Since it is not moving anymore, then there is, theoretically, no wear-and-tear there anymore. Well, theoretically… Time will tell. Oh, and this also improves the water proofing of the phone.

A con about using the new button? If you wear gloves, then it’s a no-go… The new home button requires skin contact for you to activate it. So, if you are wearing gloves, then the home button won’t activate… Too bad for those people who are already experiencing cold weather…

But what I miss the most about the "+" version of the phones is the battery... When I use the iPhone regularly (if I am using solely it and I am not deferring to my iPad, say, for reading tweets, facebook, and surfing), by noon time, the phone's battery is already at 60% or so. So, if I want the phone to last me whole day, I would have to top off the battery in the middle of the day. With the 6s+, by 8pm at night, I still am at 10% or so...

Speaking of battery.... The iPhone 7 gets really warm when it charges. And with recent events, I get a little nervous when the new phone gets warm. Well, I get a lot nervous… So, when I hear people deriding the iPhone 7 for not having quick charging, the first thought that comes to my mind is: are you guys insane!?! And I am happy to note (pun not intended) that, so far, my iPhone 7 still has not, ahem, burned up…

Fingers crossed…

Ok, if the iPhone 5s is my most favorite form factor, why didn't I get the iPhone SE? Well... Not all relationships last and the only one that I want to last a lifetime is the one I have with the wife. With technology, it is easier for me to move on. And I actually love the 6/6+/6s/6s+/7/7+ form factors, though they are not my favorite. I actually don't want to put my 6s+ nor my 7 in a case if only they weren't so slippery... But that is for another story...

But all-in-all, you really cannot go with the iPhone 7/7+. It really is up to you on what you want to get, the small(ish) one or the big one. The iPhone 7+ camera, despite the things that I wrote above, is, for now, one of the best camera on any camera phone. The phones are faster, water resistant, and will make you change your philosophy in life (ok, make you adapt to wireless headphones). If you are coming from an iPhone 6s/6s+, it is not a really compelling reason to upgrade. But if you are coming from an older phone, like 6/6+ or older, then, yes, get the iPhone 7/7+. If you are coming from an Android ecosystem and you want to check out the other side, then the iPhone 7/7+ is a great entry point.

Highly Recommended!

Oh, I got the new iPhone 7 way before the official Philippine release date from ShopLite.com. Check it out if you wanna get an unlocked iPhone or other gadgets that strike your fancy!

The video was made with the Canon G7x Mark II. You can find my review of that camera here!

Most photos shot with an iPhone 6+ using the iOS app Hipstamatic. Other photos came straight out of the camera with no processing done whatsoever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Day I Got Obsessed by a Song Used in an Apple Commercial…

… was the day I spent racking my brain searching for, first, what was the commercial about. Then, when that didn’t work, I tried to think about the year. I knew I heard it when the wife and I still lived in the US so the range was from late 2006 to the start of 2014. But it is not about the iPhone so that eliminated some of the ads. Then, I am sure it is not about iPads also so that narrowed my search some more. So, I now have several choices: iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, and iPods (yes, those still exist).

So, I spent several hours looking at youtube videos and it was a nice trip down memory lane also… I get to enjoy most of the “Hello, I’m A Mac” commercials again. And I still get a kick watching the iPod silhouette commercials.

When it comes to ads, really, Apple makes some of the finest.

So, after some four hours, almost bloodshot eyes, and about 50% of my iPad’s battery, I have found it:

And yes, it is already in my iTunes collection already but looking at several dozens of commercials is easier than going through several gigabytes of songs…

God! Now I can sleep… (it's past 2AM when I wrote this...)

Oh, if you wanna buy that song from iTunes...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hello, World! from the AppleLogist!

An Apple Fan's Take on the World!

Hi and welcome to my blog. A couple of close friends advised that it is about time I separate my gadget review posts from my photography posts... And so, here we are... 

Here is where I will discuss all things Apple. But, this is also where I will publish my thoughts on other gadgets from the perspective of an Apple user. I do hope you enjoy your stay. :)

NB: Still figuring out how to connect this blogger to my new domain name: www.AppleLogist.com... I have forgotten how I set it up before... But I'll keep you guys posted!