Long have I been a devout advocate of all that is not Apple, when the smartphone revolution began with Steve Jobs announcing the first iPhone, I already had my sights set on the -now a mere memory- Imate Jamin, I thought it looked cool with its matte black finish and big resistive touch panel with a whopping 240×320 resolution, also the promise of a Windows OS was very appealing.

I went from that to a Samsung F480 that my sister had bought me for my birthday, then to my first flavor of Android with the Samsung Galaxy S2, which I had fitted with a nice amount of custom roms/bios and have some articles on this blog for how to unbrick. It was a nice phone, I absolutely hated Samsung’s TouchWiz and swore not to get another Samsung until they got their shit together. My very next phone was a switch back to Windows Phone with the Lumia 920, which I wholeheartedly loved, but was ultimately let down by the lack of apps, I was not patient enough to stick through with Microsoft, not that that would have done me any good anyway. I stayed with mostly vanilla android devices afterwards, jumping from the Nexus 5 to the Nexus 6, to a OnePlus One, then a OnePlus Two, which were all very pleasant devices to work with, albeit having one common problem though, and it’s not the phones’ problems, and definitely not an Android problem, but it was a personal problem, I had gotten bored of how Android looks and works. I knew it inside out and yearned for a new challenge. I knew what I was thinking but did not want to admit it to myself, or to anyone.

So I set these taboo thoughts aside and stayed the course with my Android love, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, it was praised everywhere as the flagship phone to get with its curved edges and its sexy sleek design. TouchWiz had definitely improved over those 5 iterations, it became snappier, less filled with Samsung bloatware (AT&T made sure to counter that though), and mostly just nicer to look at.

But it was still there… That urge… That need to try something new, Android was becoming stale and there was a new announcement happening in the weeks to follow. One at Cupertino… So I went for it. I bought an iPhone 7 Plus.

Let me give a little more backstory, the only Apple devices I had ever owned were a circa 2009 Macbook Pro, which was fine, but compared to how customizable regular PCs are, it just fell flat on its face, specifically because I do love upgrading and customizing my computers. And a last gen iPod classic, the 160GB one, which still works, and that I still love and consider the best mp3 player to have ever existed. It was fast, it had my entire music library on there, and there was never a place I went to without it in my pocket.

Other than these two devices, I was an Apple hater, challenging the logic of every person buying an Apple device and just wondering why would they ever settle for less? Why wouldn’t they just buy an Android device with the same iPhone coming in year in and year out, with only mild surface changes? It’s like buying Call Of Duty on a yearly basis. What’s the point? It’s the same game.

Make no mistake though, I still feel the same way, the difference between the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7 is laughable to say the least, it’s an incremental upgrade through and through, and the only noteworthy changes are the missing headphone jack, because that’s what courage is all about, and the new home button.

With that said, let me get back to my experience with an iOS device. Once I got the phone, before I opened it up, I started Googling how I can transfer my texts over from my SGS7 to my new shiny Apple device, this was always a pain for me, I love keeping my texts, I have texts from way back when I had my SGS2 four years ago. All I was able to find was a few dedicated apps that required you to connect to a PC. So I proceeded to unbox my phone first and thought I would get to the text transferring later, to my surprise, Apple already took care of that issue with their “move to iOS” app, installed on my SGS7 and transferred every last thing from that phone to my new one over the course of a couple of hours.

I then spent the next few days with my new phone, I was mesmerized, I wasn’t able to put it down, it was everything I wanted in a new phone, it was sleek, it was intuitive, and most importantly, a complete mystery to me. I had never used or owned an iPhone before, so for me, this was no incremental upgrade, it was a complete overhaul.

I started downloading apps upon apps, and discovering everything my new iPhone has to offer, the camera is stunning, the screen is absolutely fantastic, the force touch feature is something I never knew I’d be enjoying so much, the fingerprint sensor is SO much faster than my SGS7’s was, and man, are those speakers loud!

I will admit to missing a couple of things from my Android days though. I do miss the headphone jack, I don’t use wired headphones on my phones at all, I only use Bluetooth ones for when I go on a run and leave my audiophile music needs to my PC and my work laptop, however my car’s bluetooth is finicky at times, so now the option of connecting a 3.5mm jack into my phone is but a dream, also the ease of syncing an Android watch with an Android device is SO much easier than doing so with an iOS device. Or so my Moto360 would have me believe anyway.

I also miss the myriad of folder explorers on the Android store, there might be an Apple equivalent that I haven’t found but for now, I don’t have one.

And the last thing I miss about Android is that toast notifications aren’t persistent and can be dismissed by a swipe on either side. Apple, take note, don’t give me notifications that block the top part of the screen and that last for minutes on end unless I actively open and then close the notification.

So, there you have it, I love my iPhone, I think it’s a wonderfully built device that’s fantastic for newcomers to the Apple ecosystem, but extremely redundant if you have an iPhone 6 or 6S.


Trustious (Social Network) Review

Trustious is a social network start up made by my colleagues at the German University in Cairo that was founded in early 2012. It is currently in the alpha phase with registrations open exclusively for GUC students, since I’m one of the aforementioned students, I shall review this nice start up here.

Now let me start off by saying this, when I say social network, I don’t mean Facebook-esque network, or even Twitter, my first impression of it was actually that it is more of a Twitter/Foursquare hybrid (Fourwitter? Twitsquare?), but the more I used it after registering the more wrong I found out I was. In a nutshell, Trustious is web site which helps you decide where the best burger place in town is, or what people say of a certain novel, it’s more like the equivalent of ratings on Amazon products, but with places and pretty much everything! Pretty innovative since we need something like that in Egypt.

Interface wise, the website is VERY welcoming and clean, although a little sluggish, but that is understandable since it’s not even open for public yet. You are greeted with cards of different things on the website, as in the image below, and you get to read the opinions left by other members and can vote them up if they were helpful.

You can then browse for specific items when you click the categories icon up top, and you can tell that this website won’t stop at just being for restaurants! There are lots of categories to cater for every need.

To the top right of the page you have three buttons, the home button, a stream button, and the profile button, we already covered what the home looked like, and we’ll move on to the stream. It’s basically your list of trusted people’s activities on the website, be it new entries or opinions. I’ll get to “trusted people” in a minute.

Alternative for Facebook’s “friends” or Twitters “Followers” is Trustious’ list of trusted people, and while it is a nice concept, I think the way they tackled it wasn’t very nice, you can view the entire (yes, the entire) list of people registered on the website by clicking your profile and clicking on connect, now this doesn’t seem very nice, to me at least, is because, well, you have a list of everyone on the website! It somehow feels wrong. You can always search for a single person using the search bar.

You can edit your profile to show an avatar and a description of yourself, though for some reason my avatar wouldn’t be uploaded, but this is basically what your profile looks like.

And this is what another person’s profile looks like.

When someone thinks you gave a helpful opinion, you get a notification that tells you so, you can control what notifications you get in the settings screen.

Now that we’ve covered how the website looks like and what your profile does, let’s go into what this website is about. The website uses data added by the user to populate its database, I started out and there was already tons of entries, however I wanted to find out how to add stuff anyway, and that’s when my first issue came to light. There is no clear “add item” anywhere in the website, so I did a simple search of the item, it wasn’t there, but a nice little notification told me that I can add the item if it’s not there, much like how adding a place in Foursquare works.

Adding a new item is as easy as it gets, you’re only required to fill in a few fields and you’re good to go, unless you want to fill in more fields. I couldn’t however find an area to upload a picture of that new item.

Now where the website really shines is in its restaurants sections, why you ask? Because it’s the most active so far, restaurant profiles have restaurant menus in them, which is a really nice touch, and lots of opinions about the restaurant!

Lastly, adding an opinion is also very easy, you just go to the restaurant or item you want to add your opinion on and click on “express”, you’re then greeted with a nice simple box in which you write your opinion and give it a rating out of 100%.

All in all, I think this is a really promising start up, and the minor bugs that are present will surely go away by the time for public release.

Samsung Galaxy SII Custom Roms Overview

/* DISCLAIMER: DO NOT FLASH I9100 BUILDS ON I9100G OR ANY OTHER VARIANTS. Also, rooting voids your warranty, flashing custom roms kills bunnies, and overclocking can set the world to an early end. You have been warned. */

Hello, folks!

This here will be a general overview of all the I9100 roms I’ve tried since rooting. I’ll try not to be lazy and add screenshots for the newer ones including battery performance, quadrant, and vellamo scores.

GB based roms:

MIUI: The Gingerbread rom was my first custom rom, and stepping away from Touchwiz to MIUI was nothing short of marvellous to be honest, it was full of eye candy, although it wasn’t that much faster, it was a lot nicer. MIUI is basically a very heavily skinned Android rom, if all you want is having something eye appealing, the GB MIUI for all you GB users is definitely the way to go! It also had a lot more settings in the notifications area, and for you Arabic users, it has Arabic support as well! It also has a neat feature where you can make your own theme! Get it through here.

CM7: I didn’t use this rom a lot, since I didn’t like the stock look of Android’s Gingerbread, but I think CM7 was flashed with Siyah at the time, or another overclocking helping kernel because I could overclock from the settings menu with no external apps! Or maybe CM7 just supported OCing, who knows! You can’t go wrong with Cyanogenmod anyway, this is where you can get the latest stable build of CM7.

ICS based roms:

MIUI: When I updated to the ICS MIUI I was extremely disappointed to seeing some touchwiz lingering here and there, the dialer was Touchwiz’s, so is the notification area, which ultimately defeated the purpose of never using Touchwiz again, so I deleted it, that was the first ICS MIUI rom. However I recently ran the newest ICS MIUI and it was nice, laggy, but nice, no more Touchwiz lingering anywhere, the only complaint I had was that it looked the same as the GB MIUI with the exception of the settings menu, oh, and I think I forgot to mention that MIUI has no appdrawer, it’s iOS-ish in look really.

CM9: I spent a considerably long amount of time with CM9 ever since it released with the nightlies, following the RC builds, but I never got to getting the stable build since it was released after the Jellybean experimental releases were out, anyway, I wrote an extensive review of the rom over here where I cover the nightlies I’ve flashed on my phone and the first RC build. Stable build was released and you can find it here.

JB based roms:

Let me first start off by saying that Jellybean isn’t yet fully supported on i9100 devices since the mighty generous Samsung gods haven’t bestowed upon us, mortals, a JB rom yet. Until then, settling for AOSP roms ported from other devices is the best bet, although things aren’t buttery smooth yet, they are definitely faster than your fastest ICS or GB rom.

CM10: Again, extensive review of CM10 over here, I stopped using CM10 since the last few builds were crashing SO much it was downright irritating. Nightlies are over here.

Slim bean AOSP: Don’t expect a link here, I can’t remember the link for the version I used. Anyhow, it was a weird rom to say the least, it was, phablet like, everything was bigger, it wasn’t all bad though, it looked nice if you’re looking to see what your i9100 would look like stretched out.

SuperNexus build2: This is my current daily driver, it is VERY stable and smoother than CM10, I didn’t use it with its stock kernel, I have Siyah 4.1.1 flashed, and understandably it does make every thing smoother anyway and allows over clocking.

Battery as shown below lasts nicely, it should be known though that I underclock my phone to run at 900MHz, although the impact on performance is very negligible.

Quadrant scores are nice, maxing at 3640 when overclocked to 1.5GHz, OCing to 1.6 crashes Quadrant.

You can get it through here.

Resurrection Remix: I’ve heard a lot about this rom, and the way it was hyped up, though I have to say I was underwhelmed after a few days, the rom itself is big, huge, even, compared to other custom roms, it’s a 420 MBs rom, but it has its own custom installer (Aroma), with a lot of choices for modems, you can install either the CM10 kernel, or Siyah, you can choose to add multiple applications to your phone, including file explorers, music players, and launchers, though after that, it’s all downhill, the rom, crashes, a lot, even with the latest 3.8 update, I find the keyboard struggling to keep up with my typing, be it in Twitter or in the browser, this was also present in the previous version, and sometimes the phone itself gets extremely slow to the point of almost freezing, but not actually being frozen. Battery wise, it stacks up with most custom roms, 25~30 hours with average usage. I didn’t bother checking for Quadrant and Vellamo scores in fear that it might freeze again. This should not be a daily driver.

Siyah Kernel (tiny) review (v4.1Beta4)

I have seen the word “Siyah” thrown around a bit on the XDA forums, never really knowing what that was, and me being a bit lazy, I didn’t research it, until a friend of mine brought it up, and said he wanted to flash it but didn’t know how, so I decided to flash it myself and tell him (and all you good folks) the results!

Flashing the Siyah Kernel itself could not possibly be any easier, you just download the latest kernel from here (Make sure it’s the S2’s and not the S3’s), reboot into recovery, and flash it as you would a normal rom! I usually wipe both cache, and Dalvik cache, not sure if it’s necessary though.

After flashing you will notice how smoothly every thing is going, yes, even smoother than the stock CM kernel, a LOT smoother even! It has the potential to make the battery last even longer than your most battery saving settings since Siyah makes underclocking (and overclocking) a breeze! You have clock frequencies ranging from 100MHz to 1600MHz, and if you download ExTweaks as well, you can modify the voltages of, well, pretty much anything in your phone!

The latest Siyah also flashes CWM based touch recovery for you! So if you’ve been intending on switching to the touch recovery, this will do it for you! (It’s a lot prettier, if you’re wondering). The one thing that drains the battery, is the screen, which pretty much makes more sense than seeing “Android OS” on top of your battery drainage list, I still managed to have it last an entire day and 4 hours at 200MHz – 1200MHz which is the normal.

One thing to note though, after you flash a new rom, (in my case it was a new CM10 rom) make sure you re-flash Siyah as CM’s kernel replaces it.

Now the most epic feature of Siyah is its support for dual booting! This will pretty much allow you to install two custom roms (let’s say ICS and JB) and switch between them whenever you wish to! You can install a battery saving ICS one and the latest JB for example, or you can do like me, and dual boot MIUI v4 and CM10!

The process of dual booting itself is really easy, all it requires is patience, and a fully charged battery. All you need to do is basically make sure you have at least 2.5GBs free on your internal SD card.

1. You then have to download the other rom you want to flash (pretty obvious) and save it on either your internal or external SD card, won’t matter.

2. Reboot into recovery and go to Dual Boot Options.

3. Select Wipe 2nd ROM data/cache, this will take the longest, probably 7~10 minutes, so don’t freak out.

4. Go back outside, go to advanced, and select Wipe Dalvik Cache.

5. Now after you’ve done all that, select from Dual Boot Options “Install 2nd ROM from Internal SD card” if you’ve saved the other rom on your internal SD, or “Install 2nd ROM from External SD card” if you’ve saved it to your external SD.

6. Navigate to the secondary rom, flash it, reboot.

7. press the volume down or home key for secondary rom boot, don’t press anything for primary rom boot. TA DA!

Personally I didn’t really dual boot for anything other than geeking out, if you’ll do it for the same reason, you have my respect, if not, well, you still have my respect nevertheless.

Let me know what you folks think of Siyah, or of any other kernels out there, I’d love to try out some of your favorites and review them here! Have a good day, folks!

UPDATE: Overclocked the phone today to 1600MHz and the minimum to 1500MHz through ExTweaks, kept crashing, A LOT! Though when I lowered the maximum to 1500MHz and the minimum to 1000MHz it didn’t crash, though the battery was draining in front of my eyes, which was admittedly, a bit surreal. Anyway, Benchmarks time!

Quadrant read a nice back to pace 3065, which was very nice to see, after all the 2xxx’s I’ve had over the past few CM9/10 roms with their stock kernels.

Vellamo, however, read a 19xx score! Which is almost an all time high for my humble Galaxy SII! Psyched? Indeed I am, good folks! Flash away, now!

Cyanogenmod 10 Review (Updated to build 20120815)

Jellybean! Google’s latest sugar coated Android offering! And it has already been ported to other Android devices! My galaxy SII being one of them, thanks to the great Codeworkx and team Hacksung! This sugar coated flavour comes to us GSII users in the guise of Cyanogenmod 10! Now most of my readers will know how much I love CM over other custom roms out there, like MIUI for instance, it’s simply for how much CM sticks to the stock Android look, and seeing as I, along with many others, I’m sure, have suffered so much at the hands of Touchwiz, and don’t really want an iOS-ish look, Cyanogenmod saved the day!

Onto the good stuff. You can download the build I’m currently using on my phone here and of course the Google Apps over here. To start this off, I’m not responsible for any damage/bricking that may occur to your phone, though it’s a very VERY low possibility that it almost never happens unless your battery dies out midway through flashing a rom or something, it’s still a possibility! I also read on the original post by Codeworkx on XDA that you should have ICS bootloaders before flashing CM10, basically, have CM9 first, do a full wipe, all cache wipe, and flash this bad boy.

And now, the review (Yay!).

Let me first and foremost remind you all that this is an experimental build, not even a nightly build, so it is basically allowed to have bugs, though I am yet to find any, which is incredible for an experimental! This rom here is as stable as CM9’s RC2, if not better (It actually IS better). The OS feels smooth all over, thanks to Google’s Project Butter which completely eliminates the Android lag we have all grown accustomed to, this basically means that the one thing iOS users have been bragging about, is no longer a brag point. Scrolling through the screens and the apps is a joy, I honestly just open the phone to scroll through it meaninglessly just to enjoy how smooth it is! The notification bar has a new look now as well, also when you drag it down, it dims the background, like a curtain, and brightens while pulling back up. Speaking of the notification bar, we have expanded notifications now! Yay!

Also when you set app defaults, like for viewing pictures, or whether you want the phone or skype to make the phone calls, this stuff, well, they changed that a bit.

It’s not that big of a change, but it’s nicer that way in my opinion.

Google’s voice search! Oh how I love it! Let me ease your minds first, it is lightyears ahead of Samsung’s S Voice, so, no, you didn’t miss out by passing on the SIII, it’s almost as accurate as Siri, but it doesn’t launch apps yet, and you can’t tweet/update your Facebook status from it, not yet at least. But you can make calls and send messages from it. It also has a nice feature called “Cards”, it’s basically, well, cards.

Now that we’re done with the UI stuff, let’s delve a little under the hood. As I mentioned before, the OS feels A LOT smoother than ICS, though Quadrant and Vellamo don’t seem to think so, but hey, if it’s making the experience more pleasurable, who am I to judge by the numbers?

The numbers though ARE higher than CM9’s RC1 though a lot lower than the first few CM9 nightlies I’ve flashed. I should mention that I’m keeping the processor at stock speeds, I didn’t overclock the phone yet, I was keeping it running at 1200MHz throughout the benchmarking for optimum results.

The battery life was tested with heavy usage in mind, and some mild usage in between, and it lasted a nice day and a few hours! Wifi was on most of the time with screen brightness set to max since I was outside most of the day, and the benchmarks were done in that battery cycle as well, while showing some of my friends CM10, so they toyed around with it testing and stuff, hindering the battery cycle even more, for it to last a day with that much usage was really nice! I think with mild to almost no usage, it would last around 2 or even 3 days!

One single disadvantage I encountered was that the connection drops frequently, a simple reboot though fixes it.

And that’s it for my CM10 review, I think it’s outstanding, very fitting for day to day use albeit being in experimental status, I won’t be flashing back to ICS at all, and again, much thanks to Codeworkx for bringing this to life as soon as he did!

Let me know what you folks think of the rom if you flashed it, if you have any questions feel free to leave them down there and I will do my best to answer you all! Have a nice one, folks!

UPDATE: This build is, hands down, the smoothest version of Android I have personally ever used, it is amazingly responsive, and I haven’t yet encountered any experience hindering bugs, the build brings back Trebuchet as the launcher though, so you WILL see your desktops reset, but then again, Trebuchet is a really nice launcher, so, win-win. Quadrant shows a score of 2175, Vellamo a score of 1257. A new system settings menu has been added, “Hardware options” which allows you to enable custom actions on your button presses. I’ll update this post again if I encounter any bugs, for now though, this really is the nicest JB build out there! After a day of usage, I can also say that the battery life is a lot better than the older build!

UPDATE: Latest experimental build, now I did not test this build thoroughly, though basic stuff works fine, that includes -but not limited to- phone, messaging (I think), camera, video camera, data, wifi, and all buttery goodness! Also, I know you like numbers, and I like this build’s numbers so much I let out a loud “HOLY CRAP” at the beach, and when my friends asked what I was surprised at, I told them, and, well, suffice to say, I was labelled the trips ultimate dork/geek. But I care not for the earthly amusements of theirs! It is numbers we seek, and it is numbers we shall get!

Quadrant gave an absolute all time high. (I should mention that I’m also running Siyah Kernel, and this was made while having the phone overclocked to a max of 1.5GHz and min of 1.0GHz)

Vellamo as well gave an all time high. Same overclocking.

The 20120815 build, while good as benchmarks, does have frequent crashes, annoyingly frequent that is. Another weird thing that has happened as well, both Apollo and Gallery have switched to showing the media stored in the external SD card, not the main memory, and I can’t find a way to switch it back.  I would advise NOT flashing this build mainly due to the frequent crashes, unless you want to show off the benchmark numbers that is.

Cyanogenmod 9 Review (Updated with CM9.0.0 RC1)

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, the whole “custom roms” thing, since I finally got the guts and rooted my Galaxy SII. And ever since then I tried exactly two custom roms, MIUI and Cyanogenmod, now the reason I’m reviewing CM and not MIUI is very simple, I was lazy. Anyway, onto the review!

I initially made the switch from MIUI since their ICS version wasn’t all that stable, nor was it really usable on a day to day basis, the lockscreen wouldn’t function correctly, the device was overall slower than the Gingerbread version, and it all just didn’t feel nice. So based on a couple of recommendations from a few friends, I decided to give Cyanogenmod a go, and let me tell you this, I was scared shitless of bricking my phone with all the custom rom installations, but after I got the hang of it, I was switching out roms like there’s no tomorrow! I also tried the Gingerbread CM7 but I didn’t like it all that much, the ICS flavor was a lot nicer.

The thing about Cyanogenmod is that it looks almost exactly the same as the stock Android, so if you want that stock Android experience, especially that the stock ICS is VERY sexy and hot, then I strongly suggest going with the nightly build I’m reviewing right now (which is CM9 Nightly build 20120322, since it’s stable enough for day to day use). Now this has all the ICS goodies Google were so kind to bestow upon us, including Face unlock, the new task manager, and the very nice browser wheel thingy! Oh, and it supports Arabic! Finally! MIUI didn’t, my stock Touchwiz android didn’t, but now I can finally read Arabic tweets!

Onto the battery life! And I can say with absolute certainty that it. is. fucking ridiculous! seriously! compared to what I used to get before rooting, 3 days and some hours is insane! This was an average to low usage, with me overworking the processor at times, and doing the occasional benchmark, because, you know, you only get the idea to do these things when you’re leaving the phone on the side… Scumbag brain…


Speaking of benchmarks, here you will see two benchmarks, first is Quadrant, now what I did here, is set the processor to work on full load (Yeah, you can actually do that in CM9! But you can’t overclock without extra tools, unlike CM7) and just blasted away the benchmark, and this is what I got! before CM9, or actually, before rooting entirely, I got a 3200 score, now I know a 297 jump isn’t exactly THAT huge a jump, but it’s still a difference, and it proves that TouchWiz was somewhat hogging my phone’s potential.


The other benchmark here is Vellamo, a mobile web benchmark that evaluates browser performance and other stuff, and as you can see here, my dual core GSII beat the quad core Asus Transformer Prime, albeit by a very small margin, but a win is a win! Which further proves the advantage in performance I gained from Cyanogenmod.


The only issue I have with this version of CM is that the video camera doesn’t work, at all, when you start recording, it crashes, but everything else works just fine.

This whole rooting, custom roms thing is very new to me, since the GSII is my first Android phone, and again, I was scared shitless when I was doing this stuff the first time, especially since I had a couple of issues rooting the phone at first. Let me know what you folks think of Cyanogenmod and MIUI, and if you have suggestions for other custom roms, let me know!

UPDATE: Flashed a newer Nightly (20120402), fixed the video cam issue, records normally in fullHD now, scored 3555 on Quadrant, and scored 1569 on Vellamo, I don’t exactly remember how much the older rom scored, but I know it was closer to 1400.

UPDATE: Flashed the newest Nightly (20120625), AVOID THIS NIGHTLY! Highly unstable, lots of issues with the dialer, the “1” key hangs as if pressed and any other press is considered a multitouch press and swipes the dialer away, along with frequent network connection losses, all the other stuff seems to be working fine though. Mainly all of the Nightlies prior to (20120402) have lower Quadrant and Vellamo scores, significantly lower, Quadrant doesn’t pass the 2900 mark, and Vellamo at best reads 1100.

UPDATE: RC IS RELEASED! Yay! Get it through here. So far, the dialing lag is there, also the notification bar doesn’t show notifications, the rest though isn’t there, very stable, everything I’ve tested seems to be working fine, although Quadrant reads a disappointing 2371 and Vellamo reads 1100. It’s still completely bad ass though, very smooth and stable, highly recommended!

PlayStation Vita review

So I went to GameStop last week and got myself a little treat, actually, it was a treat with a marvelous 5 inch OLED screen, and I can’t stress that enough, but I’ll keep rambling about it some more in the review here, I got myself a PSVita!


First off, I bought the Wifi only version, though let me assure you, by the time I’m writing this article, the launch edition is still available for sale, or at least the box was still up for preview in all GameStops I went to, for those of you that don’t know what the launch bundle is, it’s basically a 3G/Wifi vita + an 8GB memory card + a month of free 3G from AT&T I think, and a free PSN game, though a little research will show you that the free 3G month is only redeemable after you pay for your first 3G month, and the PSN game is redeemable after a month of activating the card, all of that was for $300, which is the price of the 3G/Wifi alone, now I don’t know what possessed me and kept me from buying that one, but I just didn’t, the Wifi only version costs $250, though how can it be Sony’s without some hidden charges here and there! Well, my dear readers, those charges are well present, you NEED to buy a memory card since apparently Sony cheaped out and didn’t implement a small amount of memory on the device for game saves, which is very stupid in my book, but anyway, I bought the 4GB card for $26 I think, a starter kit, which comes with a carrying pouch for your vita, a case for your games which can carry up to 32 game cartridges, a screen protector, and a tissue to wipe the screen with, I also bought the Mad Catz Armor Shell, which is really nice, albeit being a bit of a snug fit, as well as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Rayman Origins.

The first thing you notice when taking out the Vita from its box is how big it is, but it’s not inconveniently big, just big enough to have you notice it, the screen responds very well, the new operating system is really nice and intuitive, Sony decided to take a step back from the PSP’s and the PS3’s XMB and go with a bubble based OS (not literally, I just can’t think of a better description off the top of my head), but it suits the whole “Touch screen” theme so well, oh, and you can only use the front touch pannel while navigating through the menu, it’s annoying, but you get used to it. Another interesting thing that Sony did was making a few applications for normal PSN functions, like for example, to view your friends list, you have to launch the friends app, to send a message, the messaging app, to see your trophies, you have to go jump through three hoops of spike and fire whilst singing killing me softly well, you get where this is going. You can’t be playing a game, pause it, and open your browser, it won’t work, the multitasking works mainly with group chatting and gaming, not all games though, if I understand this well enough, Uncharted won’t allow it, since Uncharted is one of the few Vita games (not that there’s many right now anyway) that closes all network connections while being played, saves more resources for the game, but I’m not complaining, the game looks phenomenal on the 5 inch screen.

More into tech specs now, we’ve covered the 5 inch OLED, though not HD, but rather qHD, same as the iPhone’s resolution (960×544), an ARM Cortex A9 4 core processor, a SGX543MP4+ GPU which is roughly 4 times as powerful as the iPad 2’s SGX535 (I think, just taking a swing here, correct me if I’m wrong), 512 MBs of RAM with 128MB of VRAM which makes it handle the whole “multitasking” nicely, and of course either Wifi or 3G and Wifi capabilities.

Now as far as how the handling of the handheld goes, the rear touch pad gets in the way, a lot, but I personally haven’t had any issues except for some mild discomforts while zooming in/out in Uncharted, but the place where you’re supposed to keep your hand doesn’t really help, I found my hand slipping to cover up the entire back of the vita as I was playing, thankfully, Uncharted offers traditional controls alongside touch ones, since I’m not the biggest fan of touch screens (or 3D for that matter, way too much of a gimmick in my opinion).

To all of you who have already bought a Vita, what do you guys think of it? do you think it’s worth the current price tag? and for all of you wanting to buy a Vita, I (personal opinion here, not trolling) would suggest you guys wait a bit for a price drop, or if a new vita comes out with onboard memory, though this won’t be happening anytime soon, since Sony usually gets out the “Slim” version of their consoles in like 4-6 years. If you can’t wait to play the new Uncharted, it IS a console seller, that you can be sure of, also Rayman is epic.

Apple’s iPhone 4S vs. Samsung’s Galaxy SII

I’ll be posting a video review this time around as I think it’ll be better at conveying what I’m trying to say, more visual aids = better reviews! (I guess)

Anyway, a couple of things I forgot to mention in the review (seeing how nervous I was, getting better though!)

iPhone’s new notification center is a straight rip off from Android, that’s as clear as day light, so there’s no arguments there, also Siri, as nice as it was, wasn’t actually as responsive as one had hoped, you actually have to give her a few tries before Siri actually understands what it is you want. After digging a little through my GSII I stumbled upon a similar, yet very under developed feature called Voice Talk, with “Galaxy” having also a female voice, and talking to you like Siri, Siri is a bit funnier though, to be honest.

Both phones have front facing cameras, iPhone’s a VGA one, while the GSII has a 2MP camera.

Something was a bit weird on the browser front though, in the video, Engadget loaded faster on the 4S, while when I tried it the first time, I tried loading GSMArena on both phones at the same time, the GSII loaded the page significantly faster, also, YouTube is MUCH faster on the GSII than it is on the 4S.

The UI lag on the GSII, while unnoticeable, will definitely be gone by Ice Cream Sandwich’s release. (it’s like comparing a game running at 30 FPS to one running at 60 FPS, GSII being the 30).


Shopping for a new smartphone?

Well, I can for damn sure tell you one thing, it won’t be the Nokia N9, no matter how shiny or nice it looks

Cool story, bro.


The reason why I started with this, is simple, my sister’s been having some sort of Nokia N9 fever for quiet a while now and has been asking about it, A LOT! Now as to why NOT the N9 is fairly simple, MeeGo OS, I personally have never tried this OS before, but I have tried my trust worthy ‘Droid, and some friends’ iOS devices, and a Blackberry at one point or another, and the risk when buying a smartphone with an obscure OS, as such, is that you won’t be able to find a lot of applications to fill that bad boy up! Spec wise, the Nokia N9 is impressive (for a Nokia), a 1 GHz Cortex A8 chipset with a PowerVR GPU, that’s not a combination to be messed with! But the one drawback here is the OS, I won’t be saying how the OS in not stable, or not efficiently implemented that it slows the phone to the speed of a lazy snail on a Sunday afternoon distracted by a bee flying around in circles, but I will say that it will not be a wise purchase, unless all your hopes and dreams end at playing “Angry Birds Magic” (in which case… I have bad news for you…), but for those, like me, who have a soft spot for Nokia handsets (remember the 3650?)  you can all wait a little longer and start getting your hands on the newer Windows Phone 7 based Nokias that will launch pretty soon.

Which brings me onto my next point, Windows Phone 7, I’ve had an Imate Jammin once, with Windows Mobile 5, loved the phone, hated the OS, seriously, it was slow, clunky, lagged beyond reason, and was all in all horrible, and I didn’t exactly hear poems about Windows Mobile 6 or 6.5 either, but as far as Windows Phone 7 is concerned, it’s a pretty solid OS, and currently taking the market by a storm (for more WP7 love, check the links after the article), still of course lagging behind Apple’s iOS, but that’s only because Apple made a contract with the devil long ago

That is one bad-ass devil!

If you’re not, however shopping for a Nokia, then I would most definitely recommend the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy S, or Samsung Galaxy R, now I know that the Samsung Galaxy Note is just around the corner, but it’s not very practical, unless you have Chewbacca’s pants, but since the pants are a relic that shall forever be lost, I say it should be a bit smaller to not mess with Tablet territory, the Galaxy S II is big enough, but I do admire the amazing screen resolution of the Super Amoled HD (1280×800? Yes please!), and since they all, save for the Galaxy S, sport Android’s Gingerbread, you’ll be really having a beast of a smartphone (for more Android love, check the links after the article)!

Android/Linux appreciation

Microsoft appreciation

Geekery, Programming, and whatnot

Shopping for some new headphones? A Sennheiser HD380 PRO review

Well! Look no further, ladies and gentlemen!

This baby runs for $12,900 ONLY!

Nah, I kid! Though Sennheisers are known in the industry for being the “audiophile” favorite headphones! Which brings me on to my review!

When I was very recently in good ol’ London, shopping my ass off for some electronics, I ran by, what I can honestly call, audiophile heaven! A store that mainly sells HD headphones, mics, amplifiers, what have you! Anything audio related, you’ll find in there, and I went in looking for a specific set of headphones that I had researched earlier, the Sennheiser HD555, running on for $97, and based on my research, and the reviews I read, this baby was a definite purchase! Sadly though, the retailer doesn’t ship to Egypt directly, and I had to deal with courier companies and whatnot, so I just waited till I got to London in hopes that I could find it, when I got into that store (It’s in Denmark Street, right by the Tottenham Court Road station, the store is one of the very last ones in the street, if you can see the Soho book store nearby, you’re on the other side), I asked for what my ears craved, and I was disappointed to not find it there, but they had a preview set of headphones, I tried a couple ones out, and was absolutely blown away by the Sennheiser HD280 PRO, that I just said, screw the other set, I’m taking these bad boys home! I asked the guy, and again, to my bitter disappointment, not in stock! But, he told me the HD380 PROs were in, and it’s exactly the same price, same specs, same everything, the only difference is that the HD380 PRO is collapsible, how much did it cost? Well, this piece of ear orgasmatrons


will set you back 90 Pounds (that’s around $146), but believe you me, for that price, you’re getting the top of the line in monitoring headphones! Excellent for studio use, and very comfortable to wear (even for you guys who, like me, wear glasses, it’s really comfortable!) for day to day use.

My first serious listen with the new headphones were on Opeth’s new album “Heritage” which will be reviewed later, and I have to say, the sound this baby emits, is like it’s straight out of heaven! The bass is EXTREMELY clear, nothing’s “jittery”, when you listen to good quality music on those headphones, you know you got your money’s worth!

I did try a several of the Beats by Dr.Dre line, didn’t really compare to the HD380 PRO in terms of music clarity, and not to mention, the Beats is MILES away from the Sennheiser in terms of price range! But I guess that’s price for the “cool factor” it offers, and I’m not exaggerating here but both the Beats Studio, and the Beats Pro, did not come close to the HD380 PRO’s sound, both running for (respectively) $349.95 and $449.95, you can tell how big that is of a difference from the HD380 PRO.

Oh, one more thing, I read that the parts of the HD380 PRO, are replaceable, so you won’t need to get in rage mode when the cable breaks.

And last, but definitely not least (personal favorite part, actually), for what all you geeks are craving, the tech specs (YAY!): (Copied from HERE)

Transducer principle (Headphones) Closed, dynamic
Ear coupling Circum-aural
Frequency response (headphones) 8 – 27,000 Hz
Impedance 54 Ω
Attenuation (passive) up to 32 dB
THD, total harmonic distortion < 0.1% (1kHz, 100dB SPL)
Sound pressure level (SPL) 110dB (1 kHz, 1 Vrms)
Load rating 500 mW
Contact pressure 6N approx.
Weight w/o cable 220 g
Cable length 1m coiled, extendable up to 3m
Connector Headphones 3.5 mm straight (separate ¼” jack adapter included)