Monday, March 9, 2009

Samsung NV15 digital camera

A review from a complete beginner.

Last time I bought a camera, it was 2004 and it was an Olympus 2mp C series something. I wasn't very impressed with it and it ate batteries so I sold it. I didn't have to wait long as the of cameras on mobile phones where getting better and faster (While the phone is already powered up). I loved the Sony Ericsson K750i and the K800i but then I switched to Nokia. Nokia N95 I found had the best mobile phone camera with the Carl Zeis lens.

I now own a Samsung Omnia which has plenty of modes but I struggle to get a half decent image so I found it was time to get a new camera. As it is nice to have a real camera for that special photo or even just to get in a little closer and catch more detail. My father being a professional photographer suggested the Samsung NV15 as it would be within budget, comes in PINK and will do what it says on the tin.

Well, it arrived on the 4th (a few days ago). I had never been so excited about getting a camera before, I guess it was time for the progression. Unpacking it, I found the camera, a USB lead, a plug (that fits onto the lead), battery and a (I am guessing) TV out cable. Oh there is also a hand strap too. Obviously with a intro pack containing a software cd, manual, quick guide etc...

At first glance I thought the camera was much smaller than expected. On the website it did look like it was going to be quite cumbersome, but in fact it is pretty slinky. It feels solid, full metal body and even the buttons have a solid feel to them, not squeaky or clunky at all. After adding the hand stap, inserting the battery and a memory card, I decided to try it out.

The top is where it all begins, there is a dial for mode selection, a power button and shutter button plus the flash. On powering up, I was greeted by a language and Date/time screen. After stroking the buttons on the right hand side, I found they highlighted areas, when I wanted to select an option, the buttons are clickable. I have seen this menu structure before on other user deviced. My DVD recorder has a similar menu too. With owning a Samsung HDTV, a Samsung Omnia mobile phone and a Samsung laptop, they also have some similar settings.

After only a couple of mins, I was taking my first pictures. Obviously on Auto but still, for a snapper and not a pro photographer, the camera is as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. I love the "Smart touch" and when I look at all the other digital cameras that all look the same on the outside and the menu system is all pretty uniform, I just feel this is so right.

I have had my camera now for 5 days and in that time I have gone through lots of emotions. Excited when it arrived, pleased when I walked past a fun fair that is on for the next couple of weeks. I love the fair and wanted to take some night time shots. Angry when I got to the fair at night and auto let me down. Nervous about playing with settings to get shots of lights at night (got up at 5am to photogragh the gas ring) so I can revisit the fair. Happy when I set up the Christmas tree lights in our bedroom just so I could practice.

I am now on a mission to learn about getting the right photo. I know it isn't about what everyone else thinks, it is if I like it that counts. It would be stupid if we all liked the same stuff, Flickr would be full of pictures of flowers and cars... Oh it is lol.

I have uploaded some of my new images along with some taken with camera phones. Check the link below and follow my progress (or not) and please feel free to give feedback. I am learning so the best way to stop doing thing wrong is to be told how to do it right!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Samsung i900 Omnia

I have had my Omnia now for nearly 6 months and we have had some good times and some bad times but I still love it. I likee the widgets, themes with various colours and the wallpapers (crop to 400 x 374) are amazing when rotated. I want to discuss gps, settings that are applied and forget themselves, lovely space for music and movies (oh and how the phone lies as it doesnt play DivX right from the box) and the "LIVE" softkey that I managed to get rid of without a naughty flash in site. (I got mine on contract with Vodafone). Here is my homescreen, if its allowed, show me yours?

Info: I posted previously to a forum using old firmware and have since upgraded so some bugs have been sorted.

Widgets - Moved me

Brilliant idea, Samsung would have the best today screen function if the "Widgets" could be added or if you could edit them. I love the Vista Widgets from the Side bar and choosing your own makes it more personal.

Space - Infinity & Beyond

Again 8 or 16gb pre-loaded and a memory card slot for Transflash/Micro SD makes it now more of a entertainment centre than a mobile phone. No more running out of space for that new album and having to decide which has to go or have main storage for movies and micro sd for music.

DivX - Right out of the Box (Not)

I dont know why it is promoted as a DivX player as I loaded my favourite DivX movies onto my Omnia and the phone did not recognise the format. I still needed to install the DivX player from but all is well with my lovely large screen and it sounds great too.

A "LIVE" and kicking

Ok, not had a Vodafone handset for a few years and wondered what "LIVE" was doing on my right softkey as a function. It is a full function handset with endless possibilities so why would Vodafone assume the need to go to Voda homepage? Some icon on widget would have been enough but you at Vodafone had to stick it on my softkey. No harm done though as a nifty little application that can be found by searching "edit softkey application ppc" in Google will sort you out. As you can see from my pic, now I have something else on my right softkey.

Contacts - See more?

I have read on a few forums about people that are new to Windows Mobile complaining about how to swap contacts in their phone. Well they pretty much complain about the whole phone instead of realising they are not suited with the operating system or the platform. Anyway, many people have their phones sync to Outlook/Hotmail and get contacts but end up with about 50 email addresses for people you cant remember you even chatted to plus dated info for everyone else. I dont know if this will help you but I am an ex user of the Nokia N95 and after saving the contacts to memory card and backing them up on pc, I copied them to my Omnia and clicked on them. It stores them 1 by 1, not just the number but all details like email and web address for each person. It even kept the picture ID too. It is vCard format if that helps at all.

Forget me not

Since getting this phone I have noticed some niggles but I believe them to be firmware problems which will be sorted. (Oh Vodafone, how about us being able to update our own handsets? I have been updating my N95 without sending to a service centre and sim free Omnia can be updated personally) Ok, some of the settings on my handset are unchangeable. Meaning if I select to untick "Cleartype" and ok it, when I go to that setting again it is still ticked. Kind of annoying when you want to change it for personal preference. Not very important though.


Are you new to Windows Mobile and wonder why you have 8gb plus but even when installing programs onto Storage card, your main memory runs low? When you select to have an mp3 as a ringtone, it duplicates it onto the device into "My Ringtones" so you lose space. If you want to select mp3 as ringtones but take up less space on your device, go into My Storage/Storage Card and make a folder called My Ringtones and stick a few of your favourite tones/tracks into it and then go to Start/settings/sounds/notification and drop down ringtone box and you should see all your favourite tunes. All from Storage card!

Where am I?

Mmm exactly, hunt out the only GPS program on the Omnia. Yes it does have 1 but it is hidden, why I wonder and who hid it? Samsung or Vodafone? Ok, you have a file explorer - Open it and select "Show hidden files" and it will now show as ticked. Now browse Device/Windows (wait a while as it takes a bit to read all the files) scroll down to google maps icon 1.16M, hold (press stylus on icon for a long press) till drop box pops up, select copy. Staying in Windows folder, scroll back up to "Start Menu" folder. Click to open and same with "Programs" then select "menu" on softkey. Paste shortcut. Then do a quick reset (little hole on the top by power button, by gently tap the hole with stylus and it should power down and start up again) and now you should have Google Maps in your programs.

Here have my card!

1 groovy little program I found in Tools is the 'Smart Reader' I did ignore it for a few days thinking it was some alternative to Adobe. It is a mini ocr scanner - It can read text from a picture. I tried a back cover of an album and a tin of beans. N95 had the barcode scanner and this has the business card reader. More functions than you can shake a stick at.

Click - Camera - Action

Im not all that impressed but for a wm device a 5mp camera is amazing. Im more into the features. Without activating it right now, you can swap colours to make the grass red but everything else that has no red in looks normal, you can scan documents for text (full version to "Smart Reader") and all kinds of effects. Dont forget to give the lens a wipe before using as it gets manky quick and spoils them photographs to make them foggy.

A little mouse with clogs on

Well more of a touch pad and cursor but you knew what I meant. I dont like it as I find it annoying so I hide it but if you like a cursor rather than touching the screen then this will suit you. You can set it as fast or as slow as you need it and it extremely accurate, more than hit and miss of the stylus which when holding at an angle can be frustrating.

Eyeliner for moi?

Nope but it looks like 1 or a surgical intrument which could inject a little botox (I tried injecting my hubby but he still frowns lol) - I am referring to the stylus. Its a love or hate thing. When I 1st saw the stylus I thought I would absolutely hate it but now I love it. It feels right, like holding your best Parker pen. Nice touch as it isnt some super skinny thing you lose down the side of the chair.

If I can help 1 person either keep an Omnia even with its bugs or choose to buy 1 then Im happy. Alot of the problems are not with the phone but are with the os so if you have never owned a Windows Mobile before, its going to be alot different. First its a pocket pc and second it is a phone.

Can you hear me now?

If you feel you cant hear you phone when its ringing or you need some extra oomph wearing you headphones, there is an engineer code. ENTER AT OWN RISK as if you set too high you could damage your handset or your ear drums. The code is *#0002*28346# and I wouldn't set it any higher than 0.

Tubes are round

No around here they are not, they are nowhere to be seen. The HTC Touch Diamond comes with a Youtube application, where is 1 for the Omnia? I know, lets blame Voda lol. Ok, its probably not Vodafone's fault but they could try to source 1 so their customers rack up a nice big hefty bill by downloading 80's hits all day.

Standby your man

Sorry, I couldn't resist lol. The battery I have found lasts much longer than my Nokia N95 did. I only turn connections on when required and "Beam" is off always. Backlight is set to auto but battery saving mode is off and for the wifi. I havent worked out exactly how long I get but it doesnt die on me like my N95 did many of times before the end of the evening. I still charge daily but I am a heavy user. When Im not talking, Im texting, browsing, installing, watching a movie or listening to music. It outlasts the N95 and that will do for me.

Chatter box

Ok, Im getting a little excited now. I have just been browsing the Windows directory and found a coloured box icon and its called SilverInbox. Anyway, I clicked it and my phone began to speak to me lol. No really it showed me my Inbox but in the Touch Play interface. Very nice and none of that - he said me said stuff.

Picture this

Ok, I want to see everyones homescreen now. I have found a great FREE little application called "Capsure" download here and get your background wallpapers off with your choice of today screen. My dad is a photographer so I am able to get unique pics but with your 5mp camera, no stopping you snapping the world as you see it!

Oh, I am always trying to find some new function or secret tip when I get a new phone. Last night I found some star hash code - This 1 had to be dialed like a phone number (Different from above mentioned volume code) and it formatted "My Storage" and I was gutted. Was up till 4am putting all my programs and movies back on. I have done the volume thing and anything mentioned above, unless stated but you have to be responsible for your own actions, things might not work for everyone as some people may have different firmware versions or different region settings etc...

The manual says to press the end call button and hold it to lock the screen. When I do that it just flashes at me in a 'you aren't locking me buddy' kinda way - START/SETTINGS/BUTTONS/ENDKEY - LOCK DEVICEThen a long hold on end button and phone should lock, make sure all applications are stopped in TASK MANAGER before locking as your battery can still run down with keys locked.

Sat Nav stuff

(Orig posted by me sept 24th) We have lift off, today my phone must have feelings as I rang o2 today discussing options of my upgrade (which I decided to go to Voda before due) and they said they are not stocking the Omnia as they have the Iphone and have no dates for the Xperia or the Touch Pro. So I said I was giving them a chance to tempt me with a brilliant offer so I might take my Omnia back to Voda and stay with o2, no chance! Looks like Voda are stuck with me for the next 18 months anyway. Just after that we (Jay - the hubby and I) went into the front garden and compared settings. We set our phones both (he has the ignito) on port 4, turned off gprs connection (using a free app, will mention it later) and I turned off the extended GPS so I had no connection other than searching for a satelite fix. Using Garmin and IT WORKED! Within seconds it was telling me where to go. Brilliant so I am not just happy but delieriously extatic with my Omnia. Oh, I put wifi on after it already got a fix to download traffic data.

Also I am pretty happy again with my Omnia. Do any of you visit the Modaco forum? There are some clever people about, and 1 of them has made an app to solve the keyboard keep resetting. Marvolous, its called MoDaCo.OmniaSIP so a little tweak to iron out an issue. Plus on there I found we have other goodies hidden away like Google Maps and Silver Inbox. We also have a Calculator called Power Calc and a little photo sharing app called Shozu. Same way to produce shortcut as you did with Google Maps. Yay MODACO! If you are not a member, I suggest you go and become 1 as I wont come here forever to tell you my finds, I get bored and find someone else to bug lol.

Since having a Nokia N95 I have always used Smartmovie to convert avi for mobiles and a neat program called DVD Fab for converting DVD to AVI. I use Coreplayer to play as it uses the full screen but you can use DivX player download direct from the DivX website for free.

The headphones I love but I am gutted as where the side socket is makes it impossible for me to listen to my music while Im out and about as my Omnia wont fit in its pretty pink Golla pouch with my headphones attached. So I have ordered a pair of Sony Ericsson (made for all brands) bluetooth stereo headphones which Im kind of looking forward to. If your interested they sell them at Vodafone but I never paid £70.00 as I am a bargain hunter lol.

Ok, it does charge via USB but not fully. I think it only trickle charges which insures while connected it wont drain your battery but isnt meant to fully charge it. I know some people use laptops/pcs to charge handsets while in the office or where ever to make battery last longer to travel home with but you have to admit a 1400 battery is not too shabby compared to the Touch Diamond's 900 so you should get more out of it before you get home. I am only guessing as to me its more practical, not all handsets or mp3 players charge via USB and even though its a WM device and most do, its also a multi media centre made by Samsung. They might change that with next firmware update but seeing as some who have already updated (by installing another rom which VOIDS warranty) are complaining of battery not lasting as long so it could be worse.

I havent had problems with storage since allocating everything to save in the right place. Camera photos set to huge storage, made a duplicate My Ringtones folder to take up the slack for mp3 tones so no clogging up there. You could install a program to clean various unwanted files away, like a Windows computer, temp files, cache etc all take up space. I think 1 is called Mem Maid but Im not sure.

We have another hidden function called Task Switcher. I tried in Resco explorer to do the copy and paste shortcut and it didnt work but somehow it works in the standard File explorer. I have Task Switcher now set to come on a long press of Main Menu button.

Oh, there is a Google Launcher too that is shown above on review link. Looks nice and link to Google Mail and Maps in it. I think these hidden files would have been perfect as widgets, Google, Silver Inbox, Task Switcher, Shozu and Im begining to lose track now lol.

Touch Player is Samsung's media player. Slow and alot of media isnt supported but future updates might sort it.
Windows media player comes on all windows mobile devices, pretty basic media player but isnt as draggy when selecting media.
DivX player is a dedicated video player, if it is a DivX, it will be supported. Doesnt play anything else but DivX but it is FREE and supports more than Touch Player for movies.
CorePLAYER isnt FREE but has benefits of being an all in 1 package. Supports generally anything chucked at it, music or video. Can even use it to view Youtube vids.
The whole reason most people pick a windows mobile device is because they have grown tired of having no choice. Many handsets have 1 media player and no option of trying other applications. Windows mobile has millions of apps to try, covering pretty much everything, from basic organiser programs up to anything you could ever want to do on a desktop computer.

New firmware installed

Checked at the begining of February 09 on my laptop with Vista and I had a shock. New update available and installed. Some bugs sorted and a couple of new ones found like when using Core Player. Used to put music on, lock keys and turn off display to save battery. Now it wont play music while screen is off but the Touch Player will and has been improved. More finger friendly with less drag.