By jhawk on Dec 27, 2006
I did some shopping while I was in Singapore. The famious Sim Lim Shopping Center is heaven for any Techie. Imagine a giant mall of just computer and technology stores. They have nearly anything you need related to technology.
Last time I was visiting there, the major toy was memory-based techologies such as MP3 players and MPEG Digital camcorders. This time it seemed that Apple iPod won the MP3 war in Asia. No small task given the premium pricing which Apple holds over many less expensive brands. Maybe at a lesser extent also added to the confusion over the future of Microsoft support for MP3 also caused buyers to walk away. Microsoft is shifting away from using its Media Player (included with Microsoft Windows) towards its own Zune. BTW.. I didn't see a single Zune at Sim Lim! Oh yeah.. Apple won the MP3 player market big time!
I did make at least one major purchase. I bought myself a new phone. The Motorola SLVR L7. These days while I'm traveling, it is best to carry two phones with me. One is the phone my USA phone carrier gives you when you sign up with their calling plan. The other one is the one I buy for myself to put a local SIM card into for my local phone calls. The L7 seems to really rock. At a $137 price tag, I didn't mind picking up one to play around and to see what it can offer me. The Quad-Band GSM phone will provide me service in nearly any country (except Japan.. and maybe Korea). The phone came alive when I added my SingTel SIM card which I easily purchased at a nearby 7-11 store. The camera gave really nice
The phone camera gave good images for both during daylight and night. I found that I need to plan ahead when I take a picture. If I want to use the phone as a digital camera, I will set the image to High resolution (640x480). If I wanted to send the photo as an MMS, I would need to set the phone to MMS resolution (160x120). In addition to taking pictures, you can record video. This was fairly effective as long as you don't move the phone around. An anti-shake feature would be a good add on.
The phone comes with an expandable memory bay. The Micro SD card is really impressively small. You need an SD memory card adaptor to use with most computer card readers. The memory card I bought with the phone was 1 GB card which I spent about $45. This would allow me to load about 2 hours of MP3 music. The headphones which is included with the phone are a stereo pair. This will be great when I'm walking and listening to music and then accepting a call.
The real pain is the Motorola Phone Tools Software. First of all, they don't support Mac. Secondly, when I got home to install it on my PC. I never quite got everything installed. It really isn't worth using these tools. I didn't bother to use the provided software while I was traveling.
I was happy to find that the BlueTooth support on the L7 worked really well with my Mac. iSync was quite happy with the phone. It even had a picture of the phone when I pressed the sync icon. My contacts and date books where synced without a single problem. Also, I found it really easy to send pictures from the phone to my Mac laptop using the BlueTooth file transfer. I'm going to try printing a picture using my HP PhotoSmart 6180 printer which has BlueTooth support. Overall, I'd say the phone is a nice device. PC users might find it a hassle to use it, but Mac users will be very comfortable with its interop capabilities.