My Dream Phone (kinda): from Android to Blackberry

Yes, I finally gave in. After trying a LOT of older Android phones with hardware keyboards I finally bit the bullet and bought a Blackberry; the Q10 to be precise.

The Hardware
The moment I unpacked it and took it into my hand I immediately felt why Blackberry was (and today is through lack of competition) the BEST company when it came to smartphone keyboards. I always thought that the HTC ChaCha has one of the best keyboards. I could write whole passages of texts without mistyping or my thumbs starting to hurt. But this is another whole new level. Not only does it look and feel much more qualitative, it’s also way easier to press the keys and slide your thumbs between them. The rest of the hardware (screen, camera, processor etc) is up to par with your usual smartphone nowadays (well maybe a little behind when looking at those octa core phones).

The OS
The only smartphone OS I’ve used so far was Android. I’ve seen people use IOS and saw that it was pretty nifty, but I always liked the ability to customize pretty much everything (little tip: Lightning Launcher is an amazing launcher to do that) instead of having all the comfortable features out of the box… And I can’t say the price tag didn’t put me off.
Blackberry OS has been overhauled since version 10 and it looks fantastic! Everything is very fluent and smooth. Instead of your usual menu, back and home buttons you use swiping gestures that I quickly grew accustomed to (I often find myself frantically swiping on android phones now).
You don’t really have a home screen, instead it lists all your running apps. A swipe to the right brings you to your app list, a swipe from up to down brings you to quick settings just like in android, and a swipe from down to up is pretty much your home button (it shows your running apps).
Now when you swipe to the left from your “home” screen you get to the blackberry hub. This is pretty much an extended notification bar; it combines email, notifications, (blackberry native) chats and more. I really like how this works.

The Downsides
While the OS feels very nice to use, as a former Android user I am missing a lot of options. In the app drawer for example, the only things you can do is rearrange the apps and make folders. I usually had several panels with different app collections right on my home screen, along with widgets. Which brings me to the next point: I didn’t find any quick way to, say, look up the weather other than to keep the weather app running and opening it. I really wish I could put the current temperature on my homescreen or in my status bar.
The next thing is app availability: While Blackberry did a good job making Android apps compatible and easy to install, not all of them work. I cannot for example use my banking app or, far more important to me, Google play services. Google maps works just fine, but I cannot login and access my saved locations.
What also bugs me is that the android Audible app often stutters when playing an audiobook, not to mention it frequently logs me out (which is even more annoying since I upgraded all my passwords and am now using the Blackberry password manager). Luckily I’ve found an easy way to convert my Audiobooks to mp3, so that problem is already sorted out.
The last downside I can think of is a bug in the current OS revision which often does not play your sound notifications of android apps but vibrates instead. Nothing lethal and likely to be fixed though.

So yeah, this phone is a big step closer to my dream phone. For that I guess I would need android after all.
sorry for the lack of pictures this time, I wrote most of this on my blackberry :p

four iron men

Bootleg Marvel LEGO Iron Men

Heyo guys!
I know it’s not friday anymore… sorry for that >___<

A while ago I showed you guys a cool bootleg Lego Grievous, remember? While I’d love to show you the rest of that figure set, it still hasn’t arrived yet (and probably never will).

So instead I will show you another cool set by XSZ, the company which also made the Lego Grievous: A set of four Iron Man figures!

four iron men

As you can probably see they are actually all the same, only differing in colour. The overall build quality is pretty good, with hardly any parts coming off easily (only the shoulder and chest armour sometimes) and no loose joints!

redfront bluefront silverfrontblackfront

None of the figures seem to be exact copys of any armour models, but rather inspired by them.
The red figure is obviously based on the classic red and gold themed armour, like for example Mark IV:

click the image to see the source site

sadly though the mask is not golden but silver… I contacted the seller (sorry I don’t remember if this was the actual original seller, but anyways you can buy it there if you want) but all I got was a refund (about a quarter of the total price).

click the image to see the source site

The blue figure is probably based on the Iron Patriot.
I think they did a good job designing it, but they could have used more red parts.

The silver one is probably based on Mark II, although the original armour has no decals whatsoever:

click the image to see the source site

My personal favourite, the black one, seems to be based on either the liquid or the modular armour, both of which did only appear in the comics:

The liquid armour. Click the image to see the source site.

Although the mask is silber instead of golden again, it doesn’t bother me as much since it’s also missing a lot of golden parts.

Now as you may have noticed when clicking the link to the seller site, the figures actually have (all the same) weaponry: An arm gun and a shoulder gun.

But in my opinion it’s A) quite boring if all of them have the same weaponry and B) looks better without any weapons, so I was happy to find out that the parts of the shoulder gun could be used to build the right arm identical to the left one!
Now the backside looks a little empty, but I don’t really mind as the usually sit on my shelf.
backside

Now there’s still something I wanna show you about the head pieces:
headredheadblueheadsilverheadblack
First of all, yes. They are all silver. Pity. Also the blue and silver one’s paintjobs aren’t very good. While it doesn’t show that much on the silver head (silver on silver duh), there’s some eye colour on the mask and on its forehead the paint is a little chipped off.
But wait… what’s the colour underneath?

underredunderblueundersilver   underblack

Yep, apart from the red one, all of them are actually beige. Also, the ball joint part in the head is screwed in! Why would you do that?

Then of course there’s the manual, nicely printed for each figure (I only took pictures of the red one, because, you know. all the same.)
manualcover manualinside manualparts

All in all, if you can forgive the optical flaws, they are a very nice set to play with or put them in your shelf!

Thanks for being with me and sorry again for the late post. Have a good day!

NES Bluetooth Controllers 1: The Plan

Lately I’ve been showing a friend of mine great retro games which he never played or even heard of (he started gaming at a later point in time).

Currently we are playing the Gameboy Colour Zelda games, which are some of my most beloved games of all time!

Now here’s the thing: My friend has a very cool gaming setup: His Huge Flat TV is in his living room, with his computer hooked up to it via HDMI in the other room (the cable is VERY long and even goes through the wall). Also he’s got himself 4 ps3 controllers and a nice sofa. perfect setup, right? Well not for 8 bit games. What I’m still missing is better fitting controllers. Don’t get me wrong, the PS3 controllers are great, but for retro games they aren’t perfect. Playing with the analog stick feels weird to me, and playing with the Dpad hurts my thumb after a while. So what do we do?

Let’s get some good old NES controllers!

Originally I wanted to get cheap NES USB controllers from aliexpress, like these:

nes usb controller
click the picture to get to a shop on aliexpress

But then I thought… Look at those buttons. This is never going to be as good as an original controller, so what’s the point in getting them? Could as well use the PS3 controllers then.

So what I’ll do is get two original NES controllers, gut them and put inside bluetooth controllers.

So which bluetooth controllers will I use? Original PS3 controllers are too expensive to be gutted (I’m too cheap to do that) and also they have way more buttons than necessary.
Since a while those small keychain bluetooth controllers are being sold everywhere (online at least, do I look like I go outside?):


They are sold in china and in german online stores for under $5 and have enough buttons for old games. NICE!

So what I’ll do is order two of these, get two used NES controllers and fuse them together. Maybe I will add shoulder buttons for GBA games (the bluetooth gamepad should have enough buttons for that).

My Dream Phone… only not

I love hardware keyboards. Period. I have switched to pure touch smartphones simply because there is no good alternative running android and still rocking a hardware keyboard and decent specs.

Today on aliexpress I saw the phone of my dreams:

IMG_0632

A small Android phone, running recent enough android, with a keyboard!
The downside: It’s barely got any RAM, ROM, a weak processor and a camera not worth mentioning. GOD DARN CHINA MAKE ONE OF THESE BUT IN GOOD!
Actually it seems to have the same hardware specs as a Chinaphone I recently got (which I will review in the future)… But for mine I paid about $25 while this one costs a whopping $85! For that price you could really expect some better specs.

Though I must admit that if I had that money I’d probably buy it just out of curiosity xD

Here’s the link to the phone:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Unlocked-capacitive-Touch-Screen-Dual-sim-MTK6572-android-4-2-2-QWERTY-Keyboard-2G-Horizontal/32387114023.html?spm=2114.01020208.3.2.yion7L&ws_ab_test=201407_4,201444_6,201409_3

PS: Yes, I know there’s a few Blackberry phones with good specs. Those are my last straws since I really prefer android (and by that I mean native android, not art which lets you run a lot of android apps on Blackberry OS)

PPS: If you ever see such a phone with nice specs, be sure to let me know!