Must have Mobile Accessories

Though most of today’s mobile phones are powerhouses that allow one to carry one’s work and entertainment along they always fall short in realizing the full potential of the device. The mobile phone accessory industry has grown up to solve this “last mile” performance problem. As most the modern day phones as smart devices, meaning they offer much in the way of connectivity and processing power they can always be improved upon using accessories to get better performance out of them. Here are my favorite cell phone accessories that have allowed me to realize the complete potential of my Smartphone.

Extended Battery:

The increase in processing power and the transition of phones into complete portable entertainment and connectivity devices has brought about a need for extended battery lives. Though mobile phone manufacturers are making constant improvements in increasing battery capacity they almost always seem to fall short of consumer expectations. Third party power packs or additional batteries with extended power capacities are way to go for increasing the working time of mobile phones and other mobile devices.

I use the Just Mobile Pro Portable Battery pack which gets the job done for my iPod, Smartphone and portable router!

Ergonomics and comfort:

Most of the modern day mobile devices always to seem to fall short on the ergonomics front which seems to be the last priority for manufacturers. A modern day Smartphone is capable of delivering a full length TV program or movie for that matter and still does not come with a setup that would allow the device to lay on a tabletop for comfortable viewing. There are some manufacturers like Archos which seem to provide built-in stands for the purpose but most others don’t bother. The availability of compact stands and mounts has however solved this issue at a very nominal price. A dock or a stand is available for almost every Smartphone that allows the user better comfort and flexibility in enjoying a portable device. Also docks that combine a music player, clock serve as a wonderful music system, but you can always go for the classical small dock that just lets you stick the phone in and get charged and synced with your computer.

I use a iHome iP9, which is one of my favorite gadgets for music, alarm clock and charging my iPod. A Walimex iPhone/iPod Touch stand lets me watch my favorite videos and podcasts when on the go.

Speakers/headphones & Keyboards:

Just about every Smartphone or internet tablet today comes with a standard pair of headphones. The problem is that these add-ons are usually not best at what they do. The iPhone, iPod, iPad or for that matter most media consumption devices provide better quality audio which can never be completely appreciated with the bundled headphone/mic combination. One does not have to be an audiophile to notice the difference that a good third party headphone can bring to a Smartphone or tablet. Some recent Smartphones and tablets now offer the capability of using external wireless keyboards that provide a better interface for type input. If you are a writer or do serious word processing, trust me, a physical keyboard always beats the onscreen one easily! There is something about touching physical keys and the ergonomic comfort that it offers which so far haven’t been matched by virtual keyboards (and probably will never be). Lastly if you’re the outdoor type of person, pick up one of the portable speakers available and enjoy music through the speakers meant for music rather than the puny ones on your device. Portable speaker technology has seen great improvements and there are wonderful portable wireless speakers available that are just fabulous for use at a picnic, barbecue and at any other outdoor activity.

I use, a Logitech Mini Boombox as a portable speaker (over Bluetooth) and Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 vi for the headphone/mic solution.

This post was sponsored by OLX.

Samsung U900 Soul Review

I wouldn’t call it serendipity, but i haven’t found an equivalent for the experience i am going through. Its that time of the year, to look for new phones. My contract with O2 will be ending in a month or two and should be looking for greener pastures. And ofcourse the new iphone is out! 😉

I still made up ma mind as to whether it would be a worthwhile investment, first things first – the job of a phone its to serve its user to communicate in the most efficient and cheap manner as possible. Well that isn’t going to be possible with the T-Mobile phone i’ll put the iphone on hold for a while now.

My choice with the 02 phones weren’t anything exciting. The Nokia N82 looks promising but I’m still recovering from my 2 years with the N73 symbian OS which was life in slow motion and infrequent freeze ups! so this time my choices were for non symbian handsets. The samsung soul U900 was an attractive handset that caught my attention immediately. Fifteen minutes later i was busy charging and getting to know the “soul”.

U900 soul is a slick slider phone with all the standard features and more;

* 5 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, face-detection autofocus, image stabiliser and Power LED flash
* Video camera (MPEG4 / 3GPP) / 3G video calling
* Display: TFT, 16 million colours, 320 x 240 pixels
* Music player (MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+ formats, OMA, WM digital rights management)
* FM radio
* Bang & Olufsen power amp
* Ringtones: MP3 ringtones / 72-voice polyphonic tones
* Messaging: SMS, MMS, email
* Voice memo & voice mail
* Speakerphone
* Java games
* Document viewer
* Offline mode
* WAP 2.0, GPRS, EDGE, 3.5G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbps), web browser
* Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB 2.0
* Memory: 100 Mbytes plus MicroSD memory card slot
* Personal organiser functions
* Triband GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) plus 3G
* Size: 106 x 50 x 12.9 mm
* Weight: 112g

U900 soul appears to have a full metal chassis, which doesn’t make it a light weight phone for its looks — sure feels sturdy and solid when you hold it. It’s definitely slim and attractive. The slider mechanism is pretty well made and doesn’t feel cheap. The body with a lush metallic finish attracts a lot of fingerprints (get a invisible shield to cover it). The package includes standard charger, stereo headphones and the battery. The phone is pretty fast for surfing, when you manage use the really pathetic browser that’s bundled in. Its a pain to navigate with the bundled in browser, I tried opera mini which worked effortlessly.

The 5mp camera is a treat, picture quality is better than my older nokia N73. Advanced features such exposure, white balance, autofocus, face detection are also thrown in. I have no complaints regarding the camera. The mp3 playback is also good though lacks playlist organization and file browser could have been better, but then the samsung interfaces were never great in the first place. The audio is supposed to have powered by Bang & Olufsen power amplifier but i haven’t noticed anything special. I must also say a word about the battery life, eventhough there are mixed views regarding the battery life, mine has been running great – infact its so good that i can afford to leave the bluetooth feature on for the whole day with no noticeable effect on the phone’s standby time!

The other attractive/most talked about feature of the phone is the “Magic touch interface”. The navigation key or the rocker is replaced by a touch sensitive pad which changes contextually and is a breeze to use. Of course you’ve to get used to the interface first, at least i did not have much trouble with it. The only difficulty i faced is the quick switching between the touch and the normal button interface. Sometime i forget where to do what and keep touching the buttons and pressing the touch pad! may be that’s just me but i would have preferred all the buttons on the touch pad 😉 (what a geek!) The volume levels aren’t very comfortable to hear, its a little on the low side even when the volume levels are cracked up to the maximum. This problem is for the incoming all alerts, the audio and call clarity are just right and i couldn’t notice a difference between my N73 and the samsung. I am not sure of the inbuilt memory but if i m right its about 100Mb ( which is generous), anyway my o2 handset came with a 2gb sd card (mini) which is more comfortable. Yes the memory tops of at 2gb! there’s no way to add more 😦

All in all the u900 soul is good balance of features and looks and is sure to get everybody’s attention when you flip it out!