My Samsung Omnia 2 8 October, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Consumer Electronics, Dear1.
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Wow. Samsung-Panasonic-Sony Ericsson-Samsung-Nokia-HTC-… and now I’m back with Samsung again. I suppose Samsung really does hit the sweet spot for me for their phones.
Remembering my lousy luck with handphones, you would have known that my latest HTC smartphone went dead some time ago. Since then, I’ve been using the relatively no-frills Nokia until recently. It has been one year since our switch from M1 to Singtel and my consolidation of all our telecommunication services under Mio Home. Part of the benefit was that the main line holder gets to upgrade his/her phone after just 12 months instead of the usual 18/21 months. I decided to take advantage of this and get myself a new phone that will hopefully last me a longer time.
As my last phone was on the ageing Windows Mobile platform, I wanted to try out some of the newer smartphone OS (operating system). There’re quite a few choices but iPhone and Android stands out among the crowd (i.e. WM7, Symbian, Blackberry, Bada, etc). Well, the title already tells you that I picked the Samsung Omnia 2 which runs the Windows Mobile 6.5. Here’s the sad and short story of why this is so.
iPhone was over budget for me, period.
Well, that left Android and there were plenty of budget Android phones around. My very first choice was the Samsung Galaxy Spica (yes, Samsung again) @ $88. Very nice hardware, very nice price point which I think I can still exploit to make it cheaper, very good modding support from the community, but sadly out of stock. I monitored the situation for several weeks and no new stock appeared so this one was out of the question.
Next candidate was the Motorola DEXT. I can’t remember the price for this one but it was within budget. However, the hardware was lousy, the software seemed laggy, I’ve never used a Motorola phone before (which can both a pro and con), and Dear2 disliked the design. So this one was out too.
Finally, the Samsung Omnia 2 caught my eye. It had pretty good hardware, great support from the community, and it’s 3.7″ AMOLED screen is no joke, not to mention a fairly decent price of $138. Dear2 very much preferred this phone’s design. I preferred this design too, simple yet elegant.
But this was Windows Mobile. Am I really going into Windows Mobile yet again? I really wanted to try out Android and its App Store. But then, an App is just another program that you install on your smartphone but with a much more streamlined installation process. The Omnia 2 is also just slightly over my intended budget. But then, I’m familiar with Windows Mobile, so I can quickly get back to doing all those things that I used to do on my HTC such as tracking my expenses. What should I do? What should I do?
Well, as they say, the rest is history.
Now, what do I think of the Omnia 2?
For one thing, the AMOLED is truly worth it. The blacks are really deep and dark and all the colours are vibrant. I had the chance to compare it side by side with a colleague’s iPhone 3GS and I can say that AMOLED screen wins hands down and blindfolded!
Everything else is decent and up to standard. My big surprise came from the the calling and voice quality. The reception and voice is top notched. In fact, Omnia 2 has the best calling and voice quality from all the phones I had used so far. Put it another way, Omnia 2 performs its primary function as a phone far better than any phone I had ever used.
Samsung customer service is also good. I upgraded my firmware at the Samsung customer service centre at Jurong Point and everything was done within 90 minutes.
Now comes the not so good parts. Hardware didn’t turn out as good as expected. Omnia 2 was marketed as 256mb RAM but only about 140mb is available to the user, the rest is reserved for other hardware uses. Seriously lor, I see this as deliberate misinformation. My impression of Samsung just went steeply downhill.
Same issue with the ROM, marketed as 512mb ROM but only around 60-70mb is available to the user. *%#&%@*^@!
Software is also laggy. Can’t they do it more like the iPhone? Draw the screen transitions to make it *feel* like the OS is very fast but in fact isn’t. The transitions basically distracts the user just enough to make him oblivious to the background loading times. Of course, some of these issues can be addressed by seeking out the many custom ROMs made by the modding community supporting Omnia 2.
In the end, I would say that the Omnia 2 is a decent phone at a relatively affordable price for the savvy user who will strip away everything Samsung in software and just run the basic WM6.5 OS with a custom installation of applications. And the AMOLED screen is great.
I really hope this phone will last me at least 18 months.
Baby bowl and LEGO 4 October, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear1, Leisure & Games.
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A few weeks back, Dear1, Dear2 and Baby1 went to Sengkang to run some errands and ended up shopping at Metro because there’s 20% discount storewide.
Our loot from Metro – Munchkin suction bowls, Pigeon baby wipes, and LEGO (choking hazard, ages 5 & up).
We immediate hit the baby section to see what baby equipment we can pick up at a discount. We finally decided to buy a set of Munchkin bowls that featured a suction cup on the bottom side. The purpose was to firmly stick the bowl on the table so that Baby1 can practise self feeding without toppling the bowl over. We got it at about $16 after discount, what a great buy!
Next, we came across the Pigeon baby wipes. We were running out of baby wipes so it was a good time to buy some. The problem was, these wet wipes are almost never on discount. We remember seeing only once that they were selling at $9 per pack of 3 (U.P. $10.50) at Baby Kingdom. So anyway, the pack of 6 sells for $19.50 (it is the usual price) at Metro, storewide discount not applicable.
Hmm… Let’s put on our thinking caps and try to solve this problem.
There is in fact a way to buy the pack of wet wipes at a cheaper price. That is, purchase Metro vouchers at the customer office counter to earn Linkpoints, and pay using Manhattan card. You see, that’s 6% rebate worth of Linkpoints and a minimum of 0.5% cashback (we usually fall into tier 2 which is 1%) from Manhattan card. It’s not a lot but every little bit counts.
Oh, here comes the main story.
We were walking around and Dear1 decided to check out the toys section. LEGO are eligible for 20% off, yeah! But most of them are quite expensive (Dear1′s subjective opinion) even after the discount. As Dear1 was browsing through the mountains of LEGO on display, a good deal was spotted!
It’s a blue tag so it is eligible for 20% off storewide.
This fireman car is selling for $7.50 before discount. After 20% off, 6% rebate, and 1% cashback, it’s only $5.58. Not bad, considering that we get 1 LEGO fireman armed with an axe and fire extinguisher, and a fireman car with 4 large wheels to ensure smooth driving, and easily 20~30 pieces to assemble. And the fireman goes well alongside our LEGO policeman on the shelf becos they’re all from the public service. Ok, let’s buy it! :D
See, so many pieces for just $5.58!
The finished product. Tada.
And so, as Dear2 put it, that’s how a shopping trip for Baby1 turned into a shopping trip for Dear1. Gee…
Thank you Dear2 for letting me buy a little LEGO toy, I promise I’ll share it with Baby1 when she turns 5. :D
Re: Giant (IMM) 16% Discount 1 October, 2010Posted by dear1dear2 in Dear1, Dollars & Cents, Shop till you drop.
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We just went to Giant @ IMM to spend one of our $8 voucher yesterday. We’ve confirmed with the staff that only one $8 voucher can be used for every $50 purchase.
Let’s see how this affects things.
First off, this is a reponse to Dear2′s earlier post. Strictly speaking, the $8 voucher is more of a rebate than a discount. A discount is something that you receive upfront before paying. A rebate is something that you receive (and can be used for a later purchase) after paying the original amount.
So, strictly speaking again, the percentage savings should be calculated as , although not as high as 16% mentioned earlier, it is still a very significant amount!
Of course, we can take a look at the more general case to see how much savings can we actually achieve if we keep returning to Giant @ IMM to spend $58 each time to continually accumulate $8 vouchers.
Let be the number of times we visit Giant @ IMM. For the special case , we make no savings at all, so we shall ignore it.
We know that we should spend $50 on the first visit to earn the first voucher. On subsequent visits, we should spend $58 so that we can use the first voucher and then continue to earn one more voucher. We should repeat this until the last visit where we should only spend $50 simply to use our last voucher.
Hence, we can define the percentage of savings as
Simplifying, we get
In the limit that we visit Giant @ IMM a large enough number of times
In order to better visualize this relationship, we plot the graph of the amount of savings against the number of visits from 0 to 100 visits in Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Graph of Savings against Number of visits
We can observe that the amount of savings rises rapidly during the first few visits before again rapidly tapering off towards the horizontal asymptotic value of 0.1379.
Of course, we’re not going to visit Giant @ IMM that many times since the promotion is going to end in 30 more days (i.e. 31 Oct 2010). Practically, visiting 13 times (including first and last) is enough to put the savings at 13%, which isn’t too bad at all.
Take note that this is only the theoretical limit. Practically, it isn’t quite possible to purchase *exactly* $50 or $58 every single time. So, the practical savings is likely smaller than 13%.
p.s. This post is just poking fun at how much an engineer Dear1 is! I don’t usually do such things when we go shopping. :P