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TORQUE TQ800 Trinity: Triple SIM, WiFi, Mobile TV (below PHP 8,000.00)

PRICE UPDATE: Below PHP 8,000.00

This landed on my desk tonight. It is called the TORQUE TQ800 Trinity. Say bye bye to dual SIM: this one has slots for three SIM cards. They call it “triple SIM, triple standby” which simply means that while one of the SIM cards is in use, the other two lines remain active. Essentially, you can have up to six numbers on this phone as it also supports GSM-based “wireless landline” numbers.

That’s not all. It also sports WiFi and mobile TV. Although a lot can be improved with the browser, it does access Facebook, Twitter, GMail and the rest of your daily social networking staples. I’m honestly impressed. TORQUE has always been pure comedy when coming up with a real estate design and this time around they’re copying a BlackBerry with a Pearl trackball as the center navigation instead of a joystick. Although response time lags a bit, the phone is still functional. In fact, they’ve even copied a bit of the BlackBerry UI.

Here are the specs:

Triple SIM, Triple Standby
QWERTY Keyboard
Free-To-Air Mobile TV
Quadband GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
2.4 inch QVGA LCD screen (320 x 240)
Dual Cameras: 2MP compatible camera with video
BLuetooth 2.0 with A2DP (you can listen to audio wirelessly using a headset)
FM Radio
MicroSD expansion up to 8GB
Motion sensor

I’ll have a more comprehensive hands on as I get to play with this little thing. It doesn’t feel like an AAA grade phone, but the feature set is impressive. It works fine. No pricing yet. I’ll update you guys.

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Do you still want to know what I think of Apple’s iPad?

Imagine if the iPad made its debut right after the MacBook Air. Imagine if Steve Jobs unveiled the next generation iPads to be the smaller and more handy iPod touch and iPhones respectively. That would have made bigger news.

Net of it all, it’s a great device to have around the house for surfing, reading comics and viewing photos and movies. You can’t take it apart, but that’s OK. It heats up real quick though, and that sucks. But, yes, Virginia, summing it all up, I like it. I guess, in a way it is like what the Apple TV did to multimedia. It kinda pushed reading and viewing stuff on a tablet to become more elegant and less geeky. That’s what Apple really does to the industry.

On the device is UNO Magazine.

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The New Rig: JVC Picsio FM1 + Ikelite Underwater Housing, V8 LED Lights

During its heyday the Flip was the only compact video recorder that delivered good results. In the same way that we use “Kodak” or “Xerox” as verbs, most people refer to compact video recorders as Flip recorders. Enter the 5th generation iPod nano, and the Sony Bloggie: affordable compact video cameras for posting on YouTube and Facebook are the new in thing.

JVC’s Picsio is an underdog in local marketing. Have you even seen one on the shelves? At best, you’re going to get an hour or an hour and a half worth of recording and photos on a full charge. The FM1 accepts SD and SDHC cards, with almost negligible internal memory. It has very simple controls, allowing you to switch from 1080p HD video recording to 8MP stills (not so good autofocus for photos). On a 4GB card, you will get 800+ photos, but more importantly, 41 minutes of video. Since the controls are dumbed down, you can’t change the recording quality to 720p or to anything lower. You will have to do this on your computer. The FM1 comes with a landscape and macro auto focus switch on the side which you can transition between even while recording. This gives you Jason Magbanua-ish effects for depth of field blur when focusing on close subjects. Charging is via standard miniUSB direct to your computer. The formats supported are .MOV and JPEG.

But OK folks, this isn’t why I bought the Picsio. In truth, the compact recorder is only 1/3 of the package. It came with this:

The complete set consists of the FM1 compact video recorder bundled with an Ikelite underwater housing with a red filter attachment. I went the extra mile with this thing and upgraded the unit with an Ikelite V8 LED light and arm. Here is a video sample I took while snorkeling (haven’t had a chance to dive yet). Pardon the Cloverfield moments as I was being swept by the waves. You’ll notice that the LED light brings the flora to life, removing the blues which most underwater videos have. If you want to see something more professional, check this footage from the Cayman Islands shoot.

This is by far the most affordable underwater video recording bundle I’ve seen and no other brand carries this promo. Ikelite also makes casings for the Flip camera but it is not on sale. It appears that the Picsio FM1 is a new product from the latter part of 2009 and the bundle is really a way to promote the set and sale of JVC recorders. It’s perfect. 1080p resolution is seamless and the controls are easy to use especially with the casing. When buying this, make sure you have after sales adjust the casing’s knobs so that they make direct contact with the buttons.

Underwater, Ikelite bundle works like a charm. Perhaps the only complaint I have is that the screen is small, which is a standard configuration for these types of recorders, so I can’t really complain.

Price breakdown:

JVC FM1 with Ikelite Housing: PHP 24,000
Ikelite V8 LED Video Light: PHP 12,000
Video Arm / Brace: PHP 4,500

There is only ONE PLACE in Manila where you can buy this, apart from ordering online: Splash Underwater Imaging which is across Krispy Kreme / McDonald’s in Greenhills. Go up the stairs to the second floor and hang a left. You’ll see Splash towards the end of the corridor with apparel for water sports and underwater cameras. If you’re looking for the widest solution of underwater imaging devices, Jovic Santos will have them. Look for him there. I’ve provided contact details below:

Splash Underwater Imaging is OPEN @ Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003. Call us at +632 7249803 or +639175259639, email to [email protected] or [email protected]

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Panasonic GF1 Owners: Now you can bring your four thirds underwater

Jovic Santos from Splash Photography is selling casings for GF1’s that need to get wet! 10Bar seems to be the only “serious” case manufacturer for Panasonic as the Japanese brand doesn’t seem to carry stock housings for their cameras. It is a bit pricey (almost the cost of a regular housing for a DSLR) but if you really want to take great shots with a Leica lens underwater, this is how you’re going to get it done!

A sturdy aluminum housing for the Popular Micro Four Thirds camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. A camera system that allows interchange of lenses with a DSLR image quality, Focusing speed and DSLR performance in a very compact design. Kindly see link for camera information:

10Bar housing allows the use of the popular lenses from Lumix such as 20mm, 45mm Macro, 14-45mm zoom and 7-14mm Wide zoom lenses.

Introductory price of Php 55,000 for orders placed on or before March 31, 2010. Normal price is Php 65,000.00

Splash Underwater Imaging is OPEN @ Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003. Call us at +632 7249803 or +639175259639, email to [email protected] or [email protected]

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Dual SIM TORQUE F1 Metal at PHP 3,999.00

I’m intrigued with TORQUE’s latest flagship phone for a couple of reasons. In terms of its positioning, it’s supposed to be the classiest of the el cheapo dual SIM phones (LOL!). The mobile’s real estate is covered in metal with the familiar red and black F1 Ferrari colors in leather on the upper back of the device. So while Apple is enjoying its aluminum Macs and HTC is going the teflon route, TORQUE loves the cold embrace of metal. Curious too that this isn’t an official F1 release, but just like a lot of phones from China, this one mimics it quite well.

Read on for my first impressions and more photos.