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If you’re a Samsung mobile device user and haven’t heard about GALAXY Life App, this is definitely a post you’d want to pay attention to.

Undoubtedly many of you has already heard about the different hardware and software features the latest Samsung gadgets carry (such as the thumbprint scanner & heartbeat sensor on Galaxy S5 that I’m using since late last year), but did you know that there’s a host of other privileges that comes with owning a Samsung device?

Enter the GALAXY Life App.

The video above showcase a snippet of what the users of GALAXY Life App got to enjoy throughout the year of 2014, check it out.

First launched on the 28th Feb, 2014, the application has amassed over 2.1 million GALAXY members in Malaysia thus far. I am happy to be one of them, though I only started last December.

This application basically bring you different rewards, privileges, deals, freebies, and promotions every week/months based on where you are. For example, if you’re at KL and there’s a Baskin Robbins promotion going on, it’ll show you how far you are currently from one of the outlets. Get there, flash the app to the staff, and got yourself a free scoop of ice cream (I did several weeks ago, happy).

Here are some of the highlights from events happened in 2014, brought to you by Samsung Malaysia Electronics

Starlight Cinema:

  • Date : 13 to 21 June 2014
  • Venue : Bukit Kiara Equestrian Park

GALAXY members were treated to some of the biggest hollywood blockbusters over the period of one week in June, there were Man of Steel, Pacific Rim (I hope there’s a sequel), Fast and Furious 6, and even classics such as Sound of Music.

It had the ambiance of being in a summer fair, and complete with foods from 7-Eleven, Burger Bakar Kaw Kaw, Coffea Coffee, Crazy Potato, Gong Cha, Pizza Hut and SUB18 Gelato as well.

Lake Garden festivals

Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens Festival:

  • Date : 15 to 17 August 2014
  • Venue : Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens

I’m pretty bummed I never got to this event, but it sure looked like one of the most awesome festivals that’s packed with fun. I mean, there were free hot air balloon ride, flying fox, and low rope! Those are my kind of thrills, now where do I get a hot air balloon ride in Malaysia?

Other than the activities, there were also concerts by Richard Clayderman & Sheila Majid.

The event was actually a prelude to the 57th Merdeka and jointly presented by Universal Music Malaysia, Samsung GALAXY Life and Mojo Live in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Arts.

Hunger Games

Movie screenings & other deals:

One of the movie screenings I went to last year curtesy of being a GALAXY member was Hunger Games: The Mocking Jay. I thought the first part of the 3rd movie in the trilogy left something to be looking forward to, and hopefully Samsung is going to treat us again for another screening to complete the Hunger Games saga later this year.

Starbucks

Another deal that had overwhelming response amongst GALAXY members was FREE one grande Christmas Beverage on 18 Dec from 7pm to 9pm at Starbucks. It was only 2 hours but you can imagine the number of drinks that went through the various Starbucks counters that evening.

Well, don’t miss out, head to Google Play Store to download the application for free. Find out more at www.samsung.com/my/galaxylife.

By the way, Easy Taxi is teaming up with Samsung GALAXY Life and they’re giving out 3 free taxi rides worth up to RM 20 per ride, valid until 31st January 2015.

For more information about Samsung GALAXY Life, please visit http://www.samsung.com/my/galaxylife, Samsung Mobile Malaysia Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/samsungmobilemalaysia or follow hashtag, #mygalaxylife.

*Brought to you by Samsung Malaysia Electronics.

Like many people, I had my hands on the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 during the Malaysian launch at the end of April, 2013. The arguably the most sophisticated Android phone to date looked sleek and felt responsive the few minutes I got to play with it, but you can’t really do a phone review without living with it for a while.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - Life Companion
Samsung Galaxy S4 – Life Companion

Couple weeks ago, I had the chance to take home a Galaxy S4 for a week long review, and this is what I think about the gadget.

First, the few highlighted hardware specifications:

  • 5″ Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080)
  • 1.6 Ghz Octo-core
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 13 MP rear and 2 MP front cameras
  • 2600 mAh battery
  • infrared transmitter

In terms of look, the S4 doesn’t stray far from its predecessor. The dimensions of S4 are almost identical (with S4 being slightly thinner), and with the bigger 5″ screen compared to S3’s 4.8″, the bezel of S4 is much thinner. It is an evolution for the better in terms of look and feel.

Story Album, Walking Mate, Samsung Hub
Story Album, Walking Mate, Samsung Hub

There are several in-house applications and features that are bundled with Samsung Android devices, most of which aren’t available on other phones. I want to talk about a few of them here.

Story Album:

This application is pretty smart. After you capture pictures from certain place/time, the phone will automatically prompt for a creation of a story album. It’s a little bit like auto generated slideshow for your photos where you can add text descriptions and such, all done in minimal time. Pretty nifty.

from a motorcycle shop - back lit
from a motorcycle shop – back lit

S Health:

This is an application that tracks your calorie intake and output via Walking Mate, Exercise Mate, and Food Tracker. The program utilizes the phone’s G sensor as a pedometer, and will also differentiate steps you take going upstairs from those on flat surface. It’s pretty neat and a helpful for those who want to stay active. An armband is useful with this.

Essentially, S Health is a little bit like a cross between Endomondo and Jawbone Up.

Camera on the Galaxy S4 - colors & smoke
Camera on the Galaxy S4 – colors & smoke

S Translator:

The built in translation service on S4 knows 9 different languages so far – Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and English. The speech-to-text-translate-text-to-speech cycle worked better than I anticipated, I believe you can really use this service as a simple translation tool while travelling, but don’t expect to have a philosophical discussion with your Korean friend in Spanish just yet.

typical 1 Malaysia breakfast with toast, half boiled eggs, coffee - food shot
typical 1 Malaysia breakfast with toast, half boiled eggs, coffee – food shot

WatchOn:

Noticed that infrared transmitter in the specification sheet? Instead of having just a basic remote control function for your living room entertainment systems and TVs, WatchOn is a full fledge application that’s designed to work with your Astro satellite or fiber TV service.

The app synchronizes with Astro’s program list and allow for notifications and remote control of your TV, Astro receiver/PVR, and even audio system all at the same time. You can also customize and show only the classification of TV programmes you’re interested in, such as Sports or Movies.

It is really very, very neat.

Galaxy S4's airview function is pretty neat
Galaxy S4’s Air View function is pretty neat

Air View and Air Gesture:

Air View and Air Gesture are functions on the phone that allows you certain controls by merely getting close to the phone and without really touching it. For example, hover your finger over the photo album will magnify the picture directly beneath, and doing the same on messages or emails will pop up a summary.

I find that the air view works great on email/messaging & contact list very well, but the feature isn’t taken advantage by every application yet, it should get better as more programs take advantage of this.

both camera at the same time
both camera at the same time – dual shot

Camera:

For me personally, camera is perhaps the most important feature on a mobile phone. I use it extensively for snapping photos (mostly food, obviously) and upload them to my instagram, facebook, and this blog.

The camera on Samsung Galaxy S4 did not disappoint. I usually leave it on full auto mode and let the software do the rest. Every photo except those that shows the S4 and screenshots are taken with the phone and I’m rather happy with the results, color reproduction is especially awesome.

The photos aren’t edited or altered in any way except for resizing. Operation is fast, and picture quality is better than compact cameras I’ve owned.

panoramic shots made easy
panoramic shots made easy

The panoramic shooting, burst mode, face detection, anti-shake, best photo, best face, and dual shot are among the extra features that comes with the camera application. There’s also an image editing program that’s shipped with the Galaxy S4 for quick in-phone editing as well.

Over the week long testing period, I came to really liking the Galaxy S4. Props to Samsung for always pushing the envelop and came up with this brilliant gadget. Now why didn’t I get to keep it?

Like many Malaysians, traveling is one of my hobbies. I spent some time in the States, and so far have also traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia.

eating balut and other foods in Manila
with Dr. Foo & Dr. Melissa at Manila for Operation Smile

When traveling, I particularly love to explore local foods catered to the locals. This usually means stalls by the side of the road or restaurants that doesn’t have an English language menu.

Thus over the years, I’ve mastered some sort of hand signals that usually involves pointing to some type of ingredients or dishes that other clients are eating, follow by the signaling #1, and then point at myself. While this usually works quite well, I’m  unable to customize the dish or ask any further questions, not to mention not knowing how much the meal will cost me.

Samsung Galaxy S4 S Translator

Enter S Translator that comes with the new Samsung Galaxy S4. The device translates up to 8 languages WITHOUT requiring an internet connection, and it can do it by voice too!

This is like babel fish in your pocket (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy anyone?) and will certainly be the most useful feature ever when I travel. Stuff of science fictions, available now!

This is my transportation of choice lately, the Aprilia Shiver 750 middle weight naked bike that I procured not very long ago. I’ve been riding it to work most of the days and even took it up for a trip to Penang for “Cheng Beng”.

Aprilia Shiver with tail bag

Riding certainly carries a higher risk, and thus I make it a point to wear proper protection gears at all time. A mesh jacket with armor  proper fitting full-face helmet, riding boots, and of course, a pair of gloves.

And my friend, I can’t tell you how often I wish that my phone’s touch screen can work while I have my gloves on.

Well, the new Samsung Galaxy S4 can, and that brings us to today’s topic – the little things in life that can be solved by the new Galaxy S4.

Samsung Galaxy S4 air view

The Air View and Air Gesture functions will be one that’s very neat! Motioning the device to accept calls while the phone is mounted on my bike’s handle bar (with bluetooth headset) without having to remove my gloves will be a godsend. Hovering over emails to get a preview of the content will be way cool as well.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Smart Pause

Watching cooking video while cooking is finally practical with with the Smart Pause feature. How many times do you wish you can pause the video while chopping/stirring at the kitchen without touching the screen? When you look away, the video stops, this is a function I can certainly appreciate.

S Voice Drive is supposed to be a way for you to be able to make calls, find directions and such while driving by interacting with the phone via voice. While this certainly works when you’re driving (and keep both hands on steering wheel), I think motorcyclists can certainly benefits from this especially as a navigation device. Can’t wait to test this out myself.

For the lazy (or the really sleepy), Smart Scroll lets you scroll by just tilting the screen from side to side. This could be a neat little feature that I’ll just have to try to see how useful it is.

S4 is coming soon, I need to get my hands on one and see how well these features work. Can’t wait.

Over the years, I must have had more than a dozen different cameras in my life. Most are digital, a couple of them aren’t. There were point and shoots, SLRs, prosumer models, mirror-less cameras, GoPros, camera phones, you name it.

None of them had the same response as when I showed off the Samsung GALAXY Camera – “Is that the Samsung GALAXY Camera? Can I see it?”

Samsung Galaxy Camera

And sometimes when I hand it over, I don’t see it again for a very long time.

It’s not difficult to understand why. This is the first truly connected camera from Samsung that runs on the Android Jelly Bean Operating System and comes with 3G data and WiFi capability.

Already packed with loads of features, you are able to further enhanced it by installing various preferred applications. This is really a camera that is virtually limitless.

This is My Moment

With the instant sharing capability of the Samsung GALAXY Camera comes This is My Moment, Live. A photo-sharing social website created for those who love taking photos.

The site features four bloggers, with yours truly among one of them that participates in contributing to the many photography themes being showcased on the site. There’s a different theme every day for 28 days. Check out the site at thisismymoment.com.my

Anyway, lets talk about the camera, I want to highlight some of the features that I really liked about it

Panorama shooting mode:

The panorama features is perhaps the most fun to use, and one that is super easy too. Switch to panning mode on the on-screen dial and then just start clicking and snapping. I liked the fact that you can pan all ways, and in both portrait and landscape modes.

panorama at Batu Caves
Batu Caves photography trip, Dec 2012

Arthur's Place at Anilao, the Philippines
Arthur’s Place at Anilao, the Philippines

Sunset shooting mode:

One of the tricky things about getting a good shot of sunset is the short amount of time you have to get everything right. With the sunset shooting mode, the camera set the proper exposure and color balance to get a perfect shot every time. Brilliant.

Sunset at Anilao
sunset at Anilao, the Philippines

21x zoom:

The other very handy feature of the camera is the 21 x optical zoom. Compare the photo below to the one above. One was captured at 23 mm equivalent, and the other at 172 mm (at 7.5 x zoom). This example showcases how flexible you can be when it comes to composition.

Galaxy Camera 21x zoom
taken at around 7.5x zoom

Samsung Galaxy Camera at 21x zoom
this taken while seated in the cafeteria upstairs, full 21 x zoom (483 mm equivalent)

Closed up shots:

While not 100% macro by any means, the GALAXY Camera does a good job in taking close up shots. Details and color reproductions are impressive, as with its resolutions. Look at the bottom photos of the coffee, and try to spot the tiny reflections on each individual bubbles.

pebble beach at Anilao
beach made of corals & pebbles, Anilao, the Philippines

closed up shot of a cup of coffee
breakfast coffee, Meal Station

Full Manual Control:

Other than the various automated modes, the Samsung GALAXY Camera also comes with the three most crucial modes in any camera – Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, and Full Manual modes. With these, you can be as creative as you want in the control of the camera.

The panning shot of the Porsche Cayenne below is an example of what the Shutter Priority mode can achieve.

panning shot of a car

Smart Modes:

To make shooting simpler, there are a total of 15 smart modes in the camera (a few of which described above). They are – Beauty face, Best photo, Continuous shot, Best face, Landscape, Macro, Action freeze, Rich tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light trace.

This makes getting the right setting for the right photo capture easy and fast. I’ll let you find out what exactly is the “Best Face” mode, it’s one of the biggest innovation to me.

Galaxy Camera Smart Mode

Instagram on Camera!

Of course, one of the most important features of the Samsung GALAXY Camera is that it runs Android Operating System, which also means Instagram anywhere and everywhere with the WiFI & 3G connectivity.

KY instagram screenshot

If you have an account, follow me at @kyspeaks

Click on Samsung GALAXY Camera to check out the various other features and full specifications.