All posts by umar

Review – Samsung Gear S Smartwatch

A latest trend in tech these days is smartwatches. Most of us wear a wristwatch anyway. So if the wristwatch you wear gave you more information than only current time and date, it would only mean more productivity and less dependency on your smartphone for every little thing. At least that’s the concept behind it and it seems to be working well with consumers as these smartwatches are selling like hot cakes and more and more vendors are entering this space.

So today I am going to review for you the latest smartwatch by Samsung, the Gear S.

Watch the video below for a quick overview of the features.

So, the Samsung smartwatch can be configured to forward any notifications you receive on your smartphone to the smartwatch. That way you will not have to reach for your phone to check messages etc. Of course you to have prioritize which notifications you want to receive on the smartwatch. I have 200+ apps on my smartphone, and if all of the notifications show up on my smartwatch then it’s counter productive. So I can configure only the most essential notifications to be forwarded to the watch.

The smartwatch can also act as fully functional phone, to make and receive phone calls.

You can use it to watch videos and pictures, though I am not sure how good the experience would be considering the limitation of screen size of the smartwatch, and the increasing screen size of the smartphones. I would probably stick to my smartphone for videos and pictures.

And lastly, there are tons of apps developed for smartwatches such as GPS navigation apps and fitness tracking apps, which takes the hassle of always looking at the smartphone screen away from the user, and takes advantage of the smartwatch always on your wrist.

So the question is, do you really need a smartwatch right now?

Well, in my opinion, smartwatch technology is still in its infancy. It’s going through rapid evolution and new features are coming with every iteration. So unless you like to try out new things, it’s better to wait until a more mature and polished product is released. Although the current features are useful, they are not something you cannot live without. And it will not significantly improve your life. They are more like added conveniences. So again, it’s worth waiting for 3rd or 4th generation smartwatch by Samsung or any other manufacturer. Rather than buying something right now and watching it getting obsolete within an year.

Your thoughts are most welcome in the comments section.

Review – Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Galaxy Note 4 is the latest generation of Samsung’s smart phone with a huge screen, a crossover between a smartphone and tablet, also known as phablet.

General Overview and Comments

The Note 4 has a screen size of whopping 5.7 inches. This huge screen size on a smartphone adds a lot of value when doing every day tasks, at the same time enhancing the experience of browsing the web, or watching videos. I used the device for a month and it was a pleasure to use it every day. You can’t deny the advantages of a big screen with a high resolution. The screen real estate is always a good thing.

On the flip side, handling such a big phone can be challenging to some. I keep my phone in my pocket, so I realized that while the phone fits in most side and back pockets, I couldn’t ignore the extra bulk in my clothes resulted due to the size of the device. I hardly got used to it after one month of using it. And if I am walking with the phone in my hand, it is very easy to drop it accidentally if my hand touches my body or something else. A carrying case is a must for this phone to avoid damages due to drops and bumps.

Taking Notes with S-Pen

The phone comes with a stylus called as S-Pen. This gives additional power to the user to use the phone as a note taking device. You can use the S-Pen as a traditional writing instrument, such as a fountain pen, pencil, ball point pen, or a calligraphy pen. You can completely configure how you want the S-Pen to behave while taking handwritten notes. This is great for people who like to write with hand instead of typing on a keyboard. For me it felt a bit unusual to write on glass, but I guess frequent use would make that feeling go away.

You can also use the S-Pen to draw sketches, or create other forms of artwork. My wife loved it as she is into arts and was impressed by the capabilities of the phone to just take out the S-Pen and compose something while on the move. No need to look for paper.

Capture Information using S-Pen

Another great feature of S-Pen is that you can use it to clip any piece of information from any app, and then convert it to different formats for further processing. Please watch the above video for this feature in action. This can come in really handy when you want to bring different pieces of data from different sources together at one place. Or you can annotate any screen and share with someone for further action.

Final Thoughts

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an awesome device. It gives you a lot of power to do things efficiently. Not only in terms of screen size, but also due to the additional features offered by the S-Pen. Currently no other devices offers the same features as Galaxy Note 4 by Samsung.

In my opinion though, the real power of this device is the S-Pen. There are several phablets in the market but none of them come with a stylus. So if you are thinking about purchasing Note 4 then you should really try to incorporate the S-Pen in your daily usage and get the most out of it. Only then you will be using the phone to its true potential. Without the S-Pen this is just another big screen phone. So if you don’t care about the stylus then you are better off getting another phablet that doesn’t cost as much.

First Looks – Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

I was invited by Samsung to take first look at their newly launched Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. You can watch the video of S6 Edge above. I have covered the Edge screen feature of the phone. The curved screen on both sides is stunningly beautiful and the full metal body is winner.

My only disappointment is that the edge screen features can only be viewed on one side of the screen. It would have been cooler if both edges could be configured with different types of notifications. But that’s just me.

Enjoy the video and hopefully I will do a detailed review of the phone soon.

6 Online Tools To Simplify Your Life (Outside Work)

In the old days, a simple mantra of “phone-keys-wallet” would be enough to ensure that you weren’t forgetting anything essential as you left the house for the day.

Today, our smartphones are capable of making life so much simpler on the go. There is an app for everything.  Helpling, the first global online platform for cleaning services, understands the need to simplify. We have researched some of the most useful online tools that you must have to make your life easier, organised and more manageable.

1. Nike+ Training Club - start on the road to fitness without ever having to enter a gym. This app has a countless number of exercises that you can tailor to your own fitness goals. Watch the inspirational ladies on the screen do it first, then just follow their lead! No equipment required, completely flexible timings, and best of all, it’s free!

2. PicLab- how many times can you reuse the same Instagram filters before just losing the inspiration for photography? PicLab allows you to add beautiful typography, apply stunning filters and photo effects. People will soon be asking you for your secret behind such aesthetically pleasing pictures!

3. LinkedIn Pulse – stay up to date with your industry’s latest news with LinkedIn’s new side app, Pulse. It shows you all the articles from your feed in a clean, non-distracting way. Remain on top of all the professional scoop with a coffee in one hand and your phone in the other.

4. Namshi – when are you expected to find the time to go shopping between meetings, deadlines and friends who want to have brunch? But clothes do wear out, making Namshi such an important app. Search for exactly what you want, send in your order, and have it delivered to your doorstep, ready to wear at the next dinner party.

5. Day One – this journaling app allows you to record life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments. Day One’s elegant interface makes journaling a simple pleasure.

6. 30/30 – A simple task manager that allows you to divide your day into tasks allocating time to complete each task. You can track your progress and use your time efficiently.

These online tools cover everything from planning your training sessions to organizing your day. But if you are looking to create more time to yourself, why not head to www.helpling.ae to book your home cleaning service. Helpling’s mission is to give people more free time so they get to enjoy the other things in life.

Seven years in Dubai

This January marks my seven years of living in Dubai.

It might not be a long time for some, but for me it’s a big deal. I have never lived that long at one place. Because my father was in Air Force, we moved to a new place every couple of years when I was a child. When he retired we settled in Karachi where I lived for 4 years until I moved to US for higher education. During my 4 years in US, I lived in Buffalo, New York and Dallas, Texas so it was not 4 years at the same place. Then I moved back to Karachi and lived there for three years until I moved to Dubai. So there you go, a recap of last 15 years of my life. Four countries and four cities.

It’s also an import period of my life as I was newly married when I moved here and now I am a proud father of a 6-year old daughter and a 3-year old son.

It’s also a time when I grew from someone who had nothing to someone who owns a house in Dubai.

Dubai is where I transitioned from twenty-something to thirty-something.

Dubai is from where I traveled to Holland, Germany, Jordan, France, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and rest of the Middle East.

I don’t know how much longer I will in Dubai, but I know that where ever I live, Dubai will always be in my heart. It might not be the best place in the world, but it has treated me well, and for that I will always keep Dubai dear to me.