[USER EXPERIENCE] One of my biggest gripe with Singtel Fibre Broadband is its default router. It is not as bad as some of the opinions I heard, yet its average Wifi coverage, lack of features such as guest network and dull look gives it an unfavourable impression.

My current one is "Singtel WiFi Gigabit Router AC1900" which is quite new as my previous one, Aztech FG7003GRV(AC) broke after nearly 2 years of service. The fact that it's a new model and still doesn't impress means it is time for a new powerhouse.

Enter ASUS RT-AC88U. Let's leave the review of the router to the next post and focus on the steps required to replace any Singtel router with this beast.

Before you begin, note that these steps works for;

  1. ASUS RTAC88U purchased in Singapore as the routers are pre-configured with Singtel profile. In any cases, if you get to step 6 and cannot find "Singtel-MIO" profile, look for "Singtel-Others". If you cannot find either and you bought the set locally, contact ASUS Singapore.
  2. MIO Voice is not setup on router. (Actually it may just work if you follow the guide but I don't have MIO Voice to confirm.)
Disclaimer: I am of course not liable for any problems with the router should you follow the guide. :)

Step 1: Unplug and power down
Before unplugging, take a picture of the existing setup so if you need to revert to this setup you can reference to the picture. As well take a note of which is the WAN cable running from your ONT (Optical Network Terminal), the only other device that's not a router. and also note the MIO TV cable running from the MIO TV Box. Then power down both the MIO TV box, Singtel router and ONT in that order.

Step 3: Power up and connect
Power up, ONT then ASUS router. Go have a glass of water and give them 2 minutes to have everything running. You know when more than one LED blinks. Now, take any device that can connect to the ASUS router, it could be iPhone, Android phone/tablet or computer desktop/laptop with Wifi capability. Search for new network and connect to either "ASUS" or "ASUS_5G". It wouldn't require any password at this point.

You can also connect your computer via a LAN cable to the router, which will save you most of the work in step number 4.

Step 4: Setup router
Upon successful connection, a login page will load automatically. Follow the instructions to create router account. Next the router asked if would setup the Wifi password for the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network. You can choose to setup now or later.

Reconnect to the Wifi network as you have applied the passwords. If you haven't, then you will be greeted with some more setup pages, just click through them and always select "Automatic IP" and "No ISP Username and password" when prompted. Your objective is to reach the page that looks like the following.

ASUS router setup page
Step 5: Getting to the setup page (if you didn't get it in step 4)
If you have chosen to setup with Wifi password, after reconnection, you may be brought back to ASUS login page, you will see the setup (see above) after login. If you are not automatically brought back to the login page, you can try this url in web browser: http://router.asus.com/Main_Login.asp.

If it still doesn't work, then you it is time to deploy ASUS Discovery app. For computers with CD-ROM, you can pop in the CD that comes with the router and look for "Discovery.exe". For any other devices, you may look for "ASUS Discovery" in app store or ASUS website for your device. Whichever devices you use, the app will guide you to the router setup page.

Step 6: THE step
Here is the most important step. Once you are in the setup page, look for "LAN" under "Advance Settings" in the second half of the page, move into this menu and look for "IPTV". Select "Singtel-MIO" and click "Apply". See screenshot below. If you cannot find the profile, contact ASUS Singapore.

The exact configuration for Singtel Fibre and MIO users.
Step 7: Plug into ASUS router
Plug WAN cable running from ONT to the WAN port on the ASUS router, it is the only blue port on the back of the ASUS router. Then plug in the MIO TV box cable to port number 4 of the ASUS router, note that only port number 4 will work with MIO TV box.

Go back to the home page of the router and you will see "Internet Status" = "Connected". Viola!
Entrance to the Xbox One Showcase on 2 September 2016
 [EVENT] Gaming! Long time no see! I was extremely excited and privileged to be at Xbox Showcase 2016 a week ago after a long prolong absence from console gaming after my Playstation 3 broke. And boy, I indeed have lots to report!
First custom-designed Xbox One S bundle ever: Gears of War 4 Limited Edition 2TB Bundle
First off, an original white Xbox One S was placed right in the middle of the Microsoft Auditorium. I saw images of it online sometime back but seeing it in person stirs the gaming soul in me. Moments later at the event, the first custom-designed Xbox One S bundle ever: Gears of War 4 Limited Edition 2TB Bundle made it's appearance!

Priced at S$699, the Xbox One S Gears of War 4 Limited Edition 2TB Bundle includes a battle-weathered custom Xbox One S console with a 2TB hard drive, an all-new Gears of War 4 Crimson Omen Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller, full game download of Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition for both Xbox One and Windows 10, a Gears of War 4 Season Pass and eight additional Gear Packs.

In between the showcase of the newly unveiled consoles was 2 hours of hell fun gaming that reminded me just how much I missed gaming. Microsoft put some of their best and most popular games up for the participants. For our fun, there are Dead Rising 4, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, NBA2k17... Damn, I am so going to get a gaming console this year... or not, popular Xbox games are also available on Windows 10!

At the event, Microsoft also revealed details of the grand prize – an unforgettable trip of a lifetime to Sydney, Australia to participate in an epic week of Xbox activities! 

The week includes the adrenalin-pumping Forza Horizon 3 launch event, a Gears of War experience at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, first-to-play games with developers from Playground Games, The Coalition and more, as well as opportunities to take in the amazing sights and sounds of Sydney, Australia. 

Fans and gamers simply have to watch and take note of the contest question posed during the live stream at the event on 2 September and submit their response via the Xbox Singapore Facebook page by 12 September, in order to stand a chance to win the grand prize.

Orico H7013 Series: China set.
[REVIEW] "I need 7 USB ports!" This is the requirement from my demanding friend whom asked me for advice for a quality 7 port USB hub. As much as I doubt the need for a 7 port USB hub, it is a my duty to help out a friend in need especially when it comes to purchasing computer accessories!

There aren't really much 7 port USB hub in market perhaps because in today tech world, average consumers would be fine with at most a keyboard, mouse and hard disk. In the end, it has to be in the Nubox Raffles outlet that I found my inspiration.

Introducing Orico H7013. And here are 3 thoughts on the excellent S$27.90 device I bought on Qoo10, a China export set.

Package content: Including a 2-pin charger.
Orico H7013 in action

Orico H7013 comes with a USB cable and power adaptor which provides adequate power supply, for 7 USB devices to work stably, especially the large capacity hard disks.

Orico says the 7 USB 3.0 ports offers transfer speed is up to 5 Gbps. My test on the transfer speed is limited to USB 2.0 because that's all my 5 year old MacBook Pro and Western Digital WD2500ML can do.

With the variables above, I get a consistent 30 MB per second read speed and 26 MB per second write speed with Orico H7013 between the computer and hard disk. When the hard disk is directly plugged in the computer I get a slight drop of 2 MB per second.

No additional driver installation is required for Orico H7013 to work. H7013 is also compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android 4.2 and other major systems, plug and play.

USB In-port to connect to the computer.

Plastic matte finish may not be as classy as metallic finish but it's still looking very handsome. With the classic black, that's the formula for a timeless design and low profile at the same time.

There is a blue LED which lights when the hub is in used. Everything is looking rather well build for a USB hub.

And lastly, have a look at the image below, you would see that having the usb ports lined up in a straight line is a very bright concept because even the very wide USB sticks will fit!

The situation when all 7 ports are plugged in.
Some noteworthy stuff

My Western Digital WD2500ML, a several years old external hard disk, did not work with Orico H7013 with the power adaptor plugged in. Rest of the less power hungry devices worked, such as thumbdrives and my fitness tracking watch (charging) even when all 7 ports are in action.

Of course, with a 7 ports USB the power adaptor is essentially part of the device so this is just FYI information.

Another note is Orico H7013 does not charge the likes of tablets despite the power adaptor.

OCBC Marketing Mailer: 0% Interest for 12 months with Apple proudcts
[PROMOTION] 2016 till date has brought in a fantastic haul of smartphones driven by an almost perfect SoC (System on Chip) in Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 as well a maturity of hardware and Android.  

From my current favourite flagship Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to very affordable One Plus 3 to my current daily driver, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and as well a host of China manufacturers have produced some of the most impressive smartphones with amazing prices. 

The most glaring omission from the two paragraphs is of course, the iPhone. That's because Apple will probably be releasing their 2016 flagship, the iPhone 7, in September as you may already know. Meanwhile if the prototype iPhone 7 making its rounds on YouTube is anything to go by, iPhone 7 is probably unlikely to dethrone Samsung Note 7 as my favourite phone of 2016.   

My opinion of course isn't commonly shared by everyone, as iPhone 7 will sell well regardless. 

Hence perhaps in anticipation for iPhone 7, OCBC dropped in a mailer yesterday to remind me that I could get a interest free 12 months instalment plan for Apple product purchases over S$500 with OCBC Credit Card.

The instalment plan is only available by calling Apple at 1800 692 7753 to place your order. It is not available via any other retail channels including the Apple Online Store.

Good to know especially if you are a OCBC Credit Card customer and eagerly awaiting the new iPhone 7!

Link - OCBC 0% Interest Instalment Plan
Silver Samsung Galaxy Note 7: SingTel shop demo set
[NEW GADGET] On first look, I think it's more beautiful than its cousin, S7 Edge. Certainly not much bigger, in fact it has a slimmer outlook to it. In short, it is easy to say if the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has everything a S7 Edge can do and more, then essentially we are looking at the Android Smartphone of 2016.

September 2016 will belong to iPhone 7 but August 2016 will be Note 7's.

Glorious 5.7" OLED always-on display.
Note 7 features a 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 resolution - 518 ppi) curved-edge OLED always-on display, probably the best screen in the market at the moment. Inside Note 7 are Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (or in Singapore likely to be Exynos equivalent similar to S7 Edge), 4GB ram and 64GB storage expandable via microSD slot. 

Despite skipping number 6 in the series, Note 7 continues to be a phablet so S-Pen is its most prominent feature especially given the lack of smartphones with stylus in the market. Note 7's S-Pen is, on paper, twice as sensitive of Note 5's. And the demo set certainly prove so. Note 7 is also IP68 rated and amazingly S-Pen will work underwater!  

Note 7 is 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.99mm big and 169g  heavy with a 3500 mAh battery, 100 mAh smaller than S7 Edge. 

Back of Note 7 is obviously a fingerprint magnet. 
Besides hardware improvement, Note 7 also comes with some new innovations.

Note7 is apparently one of the first smartphones armed with a mobile High Dynamic Range video streaming-ready display, which, when paired with HDR content, would provide a more cinema-like experience with brighter colors and deeper blacks. 

Then there is the highly advertised Iris scanner supporting unlocking of the phone with your eyes. Only gripe is that bespectacled users has to remove their glasses for the scanner to work well. 

Note 7 is also launched with a pair of lens kit, which isn't available on demo, certainly curious to see how the lens kit in reality.

Side view of a Black Onyx Note 7.
Note7 is available in Black Onyx (my favourite), Blue Coal (available at a later date), Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium for a recommended retail price of S$1,168 and depending on where you get it, a complimentary lens kit as well.   

And while the world celebrates another fantastic Samsung device, Samsung hints a ‘monster’ version of the phablet that sports 6GB of memory and a hefty 128 GB of internal storage would be available exclusively in China... 

Would you prefer that over the Singapore set? 

Regards, tsgts

Link - Samsung Singapore Galaxy Note 7
Logitech M280 on my desk
[USER EXPERIENCE] Simplicity as its best. Probably best describe my conclusion for Logitech M280, available everywhere in Singapore. It's a computer mouse and it does what I think a computer mouse quite competently. Essentially, ergonomic grip, quick, silent scroll and clicky buttons.

I like the Logitech font.
Decent build quality. Feels great in hand. The dot in the picture above lights up when the mouse is powered on. Afterwards it doesn't light at all. A fun thought, if it lights up for a while after a fixed interval of inactivity, might be quite cool.

Side view of M280.
It's marketing material say "10-meter reliable wireless range", good to know but I don't sit 10 meters away from my screen. Also says "Advanced optical tracking" and "18-month battery life", yeah its 1000 DPI, decent but the fastest mouse I have used. Not sure about the battery life though, its 2016, how bad can it be. A free battery (AA) is included in the package.

The part that I don't see often.
I am not a gamer nor a millionaire, so as much as I wanted Logitech MX Master, I settled for its distant cousin, M280. I hope 'M' here stands for the word "Master". ha. Till next time, bye.

Nice light. Too bad it doesn't light more often.
Photo from Press Release: Sennheiser store at Marina Square

[NEW STUFF] Sennheiser Asia announces the opening of their first fully-owned brand store in Singapore on the same day.

I am a little surprise as Sennheiser is one of the first names a Singaporean can think of when it comes to earphones. I mean Sennheiser has been around for the longest time even before the flood of Audio brands in the last couple of years.

Besides a broad portfolio of headphone models, the retail space at Marina Square will offer a selection of microphones for musicians and video journalists, as well as BYOD audio
conferencing solutions.

Sennheiser also debuted their first-of-its-kind service, Headphone for Hire programme. Consumers can pay a security deposit and take a Sennheiser headphone on trial for a week. Surely a comprehensive trial programme anyone would enjoy when considering a new headphone!

Also as part of the launch, the brand introduces their exclusive partnership with local artistes 53A and Jack & Rai, good stuff!

As well good stuff; check out the store for launch promotions until... 9th August 2016!

Source: Press Release from SG Story
Samsung Galaxy C5: In Shanghai store

[TECH IN CHINA] Shanghai always serve me interesting gadgets, this post is about Samsung Galaxy C5 and C7, China (soon India) only smartphones. Here are 3 things about these latest Samsung devices which I lay my hands on in Shanghai.

Samsung in China
China is of course probably the biggest consumer market that any manufacturer worth their salt cannot ignore. Samsung in particular is concerned that they have fallen out of the top 5 smartphone makers in market share for Q2 2016.

This is peculiar given Samsung is the current leader in global market share and its overwhelming success of Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in 2016. Clearly, the Chinese has very different priorities and preferences for smartphones.

Which must have been a big question mark in Samsung's Chinese division. What exactly will sell in China if the Galaxy S7 doesn't? I think they created Samsung Galaxy C5 and C7 to answer their own question.

Not S7 but Mid-range smartphone
While C5 is not flagship class phones, they are still very good in their own rights.  Super AMOLED 5.2" 1080p display with 424ppi gives a competent display, nothing fancy but great nevertheless. Samsung C7 are very similar in specifications with the notable difference being the 5.7" screen.

Snapdragon 617 confirms it's non-flagship status. Android 6.0.1, microSD expansion slot, 32/64GB storage as well 4 GB ram ensures its relevance in the mid-range category. Rounding up the specifications are 16MP, f1.9 rear and 8 MP,f1.9 front shooter, home button with fingerprint sensor and a non-removable 2600mAh battery,

At RMB 2,199 for 32GB version. Samsung C5 represents the best the most value for money smartphones in Samsung's line-up today, along side the A series.

Galaxy C also has very similar market segment as Galaxy A series. Both metallic and both one step lower than the Flagship S series. One key differentiator is the compatibility of Samsung Pay in Galaxy C series though only NFC payments only.

iPhone look alike?
Really, the 2.5D glass and metallic unibody creates a solid and good-feel in hand. What's not so steady is the outlook of the phone that looks like a certain iPhone! A situation not limited to Samsung in mainland China where nearly every phone manufacturer you can think of are adopting very similar full metallic backs.

Samsung is probably adopting the if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them mentality with Galaxy C yet it is difficult to see how it would impact their market share in China. Even if Samsung have included their own iterations of localised apps such as WeChat Hongbao function as well as S-Helper for daily shopping and errands in the very well digitalise China.

Local manufacturers such as OPPO or Vivo just boast way higher specifications, features and even higher compatibility with Chinese apps at similar price points.

Link - Samsung C5 Specifications
Link - Samsung drops from list of top 5 smartphone-makers in China
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