Articles by Mitchell Oke

Kogan Agora Android Smartphone Review – Dual SIM, Great Specs, & Low Price

Bargain basement Android smartphones have been around for years now, but the Kogan Agora Smartphone looks to change the landscape. Many cheap models are available for under $200, but  they all eschew large screens and fast processors to keep their prices down. The Kogan Agora Smartphone is just AU$149, unlocked and free of contracts. That’s a good price on its own, but the spec sheet could easily be mistaken for phones costing over $100 more. Starting with the display, a 5.0” IPS panel, by far the largest in this price bracket. The 800 x 480 resolution doesn’t get close to the…


Huawei Ascend Mate Australian Launch Review

Huawei is making a splash in Australia with the launch of the new Huawei Ascend Mate, a 6.1-inch “phablet” to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note II. At the launch today in Sydney Australia, Gear Diary was able to spend some one-on-one time with the phone that Huawei describes as “Designed for a multimedia experience”. There is no question the Ascend Mate is a large phone, with a 6.1” IPS+ display dwarfing even its obvious rival, the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Just as surprising is the price, AU$429 when it launches on April 20, 2013. To put that in perspective,…


Bento 4 for iPad iOS Review

As someone who is self-employed, I have a lot of things in my business life that I need to keep track of, and a database app like Bento 4 can help keep me sane. Is it something that could help you? Read on to decide. Bento 4 is effectively a database application for the everyman, and several on the Gear Diary team have also found it useful. Whether it’s keeping track of your DVD collection, exercise regime, or members of your kid’s baseball team, Bento will provide. When you first start the Bento 4 app, you’ll be offered a selection…


Nillkin Hard Case for Google Nexus 4 Review

Bulky cases on already large phones is a problem for me, and the Nillkin Hard Case line looks to be a good option. Having recently switched from my iPhone 5 to a Nexus 4, the main thing I have been getting used to is the extra size. Having 4.7 inches of screen to play with for browsing and videos is wonderful, but less so when attempting to type one-handed. It’s relatively easy with a naked Nexus 4, but when out working I always want that bit of extra protection. The Nillkin Hard Case is very no frills, and arrived in…


Kogan Agora Mini 8 Android Tablet Review

With compact tablets like the Asus Nexus 7 and the iPad mini rapidly gaining popularity over larger 10″ models, Kogan has updated their range of slates with a new Agora Mini 8″ model. Kogan’s big claim to fame (as often is the case with Kogan products) is first and foremost its low price: AU$119 for the 8GB model, and AU$129 for the 16GB model. This significantly undercuts the 16GB iPad mini’s AU$369 starting price, as well as being almost half the cost of an Asus Nexus 7 (16GB, AU$249). Previous tablet entries have proven the adage “you get what you…


Kogan Agora Smart TV HDMI Dongle Review

The Smart TV age is among us, and while many new TVs are being equipped with “smart” features, it doesn’t help you if you already have an excellent HDTV in your living room. This is where devices like the Kogan Agora Smart TV Dongle step in. Featuring an HDMI connector on one end, a USB on the other, microSD and USB port on the side, the dongle is meant to bring your TV up to speed with streaming media and web surfing on the big screen. Included in the box is the Smart TV dongle, a short HDMI extension, IR…


Say NO to Vertical Videos

As someone who spends his life shooting video, it always pains me to have a family member show me a video they’ve shot on their phone in portrait. They simply don’t understand, and their excuse is always that “I always hold my phone like that!”. You’re holding it wrong. Thankfully we now have this excellent instructional video on why Vertical Video Syndrome needs to be cured. [via ZAGG]


The Motorola Droid RAZR Android Phone Review

The battle for “World’s Thinnest” presses on with the release of Motorola’s latest flagship. Resurrecting the name of a phone that became an icon, the RAZR is back, but aside from the name, it bears little resemblance to the phone-in-skinny-jeans of 2004. The new RAZR, or the XT910 as Motorola define it, is an Android slate measuring a trim 7.1mm at its thinnest point, handily eclipsing the Galaxy S II’s now portly 8.49mm figure. Make no mistake; this is a seriously thin phone. But like a Lamborghini, it may hug the ground when laid flat, but it’s seriously wide. At…


WiFi Sync your iPhone and iPad using Personal Hotspot

One of the coolest features in iOS 5 WiFi syncing, which I now use far more often than USB syncing. Being able to hit “Sync” on my MacBook for my iPad while it’s still in my bag (it only needs charging every few days) makes me giggle every time I do it. It’s just so simple, and works so effectively every time. With it, new music, an updated playlist, and a few new apps are just a click away. Obviously this functionality is normally used over a WiFi connection at home or the office, but it turns out you can…


iOS 5.0.1 Over-the-Air – How’d You Fare?

This morning the world was greeted with iOS 5.01, a rather minor update designed to address the less-than-stellar battery life that people are reporting. Personally my iPhone 4S has been pretty good on the juice, but both my dad and sister have had major problems with their phones dropping 20% in as little as an hour. In addition to fixes to improve battery life, iOS 5.0.1 adds additional multitouch gestures to the original iPad (I want these on my iPhone…) and resolves iCloud issues. Us Aussie’s get a special mention, with improvements to Siri to better understand our “foreign” accent. I’ve…


Ask Siri anything…as long as you’re in the US

Having trekked down to the Apple Store this morning, I had no trouble picking up my brand new white 64GB 4S. The feature I was most interested in trying was Siri, the “Personal Assistant” included with every new 4S, but unfortunately between the US and the rest of the world, everything is not equal. Asking Siri to find the closest petrol station greeted me with this unexpected rebuff: Having had a look through the Apple Australia website and rewatched the Siri section of the keynote (link), I can’t find anywhere that it says that business listings are not available outside…


Kogan Launches 8″ and 10″ Android Tablets

As Michael pointed out this week, pricing of some upcoming tablets has shown that the manufacturers haven’t been listening. Some people want tablets, but most want iPads, and to get the average consumer interested, the price needs to be low enough to make it an impulse buy. Kogan’s new Android tablets look to fit the bill. Available in 8″ 800×600 (SVGA) and 10″ 1024×768 (XGA) models, the tablets come with Gingerbread 2.3 (no Honeycomb here, folks), a single core 1GHz Cortex A8 processor with 512MB RAM, 4GB built-in storage, microSD slot (up to 32GB can be added) HDMI output and…


Satellite Navigation GPS Review: Navigon 40 Plus

The increasing reach of smartphones has called into question the usefulness of many dedicated devices, from music and video players, to compact cameras, and of course the ever-useful GPS. With GPS and turn-by-turn navigation almost standard equipment on Android devices, and the prevalence of iPhones, one could be forgiven for retiring their trusty nav and leaving their destination in the care of their phone. Realising this, several of the top navigation device companies have put their eggs in several baskets, with versions of their software and maps available for smartphones across the globe. A personal favourite of mine is Navigon’s…


Review: HTC Desire HD / AT&T Inspire 4G

Mitchell Back in early 2010 I reviewed the HTC Desire, and I liked it a lot. I liked it so much that I actually bought one the day that it was launched here (which lined up well with the day the review unit went back). Unfortunately the love affair ended about 2 months later, and I returned to my iPhone. Why? Apps. Not just the selection of apps, but the polish that so many iOS apps display that other platforms didn’t at the time. My iPhone also had the major advantage of being jailbroken so it was even better. As…


HTC Android Devices Screenshotting Your Browsing?

Tonight I was reading an interesting article on The Boy Genius Report about a curious quirk with the HTC Sense UI on the DROID Incredible. As it turns out, to display those neat previews of websites in the UI the browser is taking screenshots of the site. Doesn’t sound so unsurprising does it? What is odd is the way that the phone is storing those screenshots for future reference. According to BGR, these screenshots are stored on the phone’s internal storage drive where they are easily viewed in any picture viewing application. What’s worse is they are NOT deleted if…


Navigon 6300 Sat Nav Review

Navigon’s latest entry into the increasingly crowded sat-nav market looks to be a cracker with a 4.3” display, Bluetooth hands-free phone and a sleek design that makes it easy to hide away when not in use. In my two week test of the Navigon 6300, it really impressed! Out of the box you get everything you need to get up and running in the car. A very secure windshield mount is fully adjustable to achieve the best viewing angle, no matter what car you are mounting it in, and the power adaptor has a sufficiently long cord should your lighter…


Uniden Wireless Power Charging System Review

Though I’ve never had the opportunity to use a Palm Pre, one thing I know I would like from it is the optional Touchstone charger. The ability to just put down the phone and have it start charging, then pick it up when a you want to use it without having to disconnect cables is a great idea. When I was offered to try Uniden’s new wireless charging system I was looking forward to seeing how handy it really is. The Uniden Wireless Power kit consists of two components: the wireless base, and the adaptors that link the base to…


HTC Desire with HTC Sense and Android 2.1 Review

While the Google Nexus One has been on the market for a few months now, its HTC-branded brother has only just started to make it out. I’ve been using the HTC Desire for the last week or so, and it has surprised me just how good it really is. HTC have been a bit presumptuous from the get-go, calling the phone the Desire. While it looks quite different from it’s Google branded sibling, the two phones are very similar underneath. Both share the same 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, 3.7” 800×480 AMOLED capacitive display, and run Android 2.1. There are a few…


Review: Dell Vostro 3700 with Core i5

With the plethora of netbooks on the market today sporting 9, 10 and 11” screens, is easy to forget notebooks weren’t always so small. Meet the Dell Vostro 3700, a huge 17.3” desktop replacement powered by Intel’s new Core i3, i5 and i7 range of processors. The 3700 is part of Dell’s Vostro refresh which includes the 3300 (13”), 3400 (14”) and the 3500 (15”). Out of the box there is no getting around the fact this is a very large laptop. While it is not overly thick, it makes its presence known with that big screen. It feels heavier…


Windows Phone 7 Coming to the HTC HD2, From Russia with Love

As Judie, Clinton and I put the finishing touches on a three-way review of the most impressive Windows Mobile 6.5 device today, the Russians have been busy trying to give us what Microsoft won’t: Windows Phone 7. Due to its button design falling outside the requirements of Windows Phone 7, the HD2 was destined to live out its life in the increasingly dull world of Windows Mobile. Things may be about to change with photos and videos demoing a version of Windows Phone 7 running on an HTC HD2, in almost all it’s glory. At this point it’s a tad…


AblePlanet True Fidelity with Linx Audio Review

Having done some traveling during December, you start to get used to the accompanying rumble associated with it, be it from passengers waiting for a plane or the sound of an engine a few feet from your ear.  The best way to completely drown the world out is with a decent pair of headphones, and if you couple those with noise canceling you are onto a winner. While noise-canceling headphones have typically been a pricey proposition, these new ‘phones from AblePlanet come in at just $129.99, and seem to be pretty good value.