Category Archives: Technology

Remembering Almost Human

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It was really a sad, sad day for sci-fi fans around the world…okok, for me, at least..:-P, when FOX decided to pull the plug off sci-fi TV series Almost Human after its first season. Premiering in late November 2013, Almost Human ran its course till around march this year.

Briefly, it was a buddy-cop series set in 2048, where advanced crime has resulted in every human cop pairing up with an android cop. In Almost Human, Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban) was paired up with an older DRN android model named Dorian (Michael Ealy). Personally, I felt the show was very refreshing and owed a lot to the infectious chemistry of the bromance, or ‘ro-bromance’, rather, of the two leads. Week in, week out the show delivered well-scripted procedural shows. Unfortunately, I suppose other factors also crept in which eventually got the show cancelled.

Anyway, I thought one good way of remembering Almost Human was to recall some of the more memorable technology gadgets shown during the series’ run. What’s cooler is that since the show was set in 2048, which isn’t too far off, MOST of these gadgets can easily be a reality in the not too distant future!

Here’s my pick of 15 of ’em:

1. Virtual Post-Its: Forget those yellow pieces of paper cluttering your office cubicle. Get the idea typed out and simply ‘fling’ it as a virtual post-it on your own house wall! Cool, eh?

2. Sphere Bomb Containment Unit: This round little gadget creates a ball of sphere around the bomb threat so that the explosion is contained within the sphere and saves more lives to those outside the sphere.

3. DNA Bomb: Committed В a crime with evidences, DNA, etc. littered all over the crime scene? Set off one of these gizmos and it will ‘purify’ the crime scene of any DNA.

4. Flash Spray Mask: Spraying this substance on your face will make your face unrecognizable by video cameras.

5. Holographic Face Mask: Gone are the rubber or latex face masks. These holographic face masks can even mask your voices!

6. Hologram Usage: Need a quick medical advice? Make a holographic house call! How do we get a trial witness under protective custody to come to court? Beam the hologram into court!

7. Personalised Ads: Imagine billboards scanning the viewer and automatically displays personalised ads just for you!

8. Meal Dispenser Machines: Vending machines that dispenses meals and food tablets after personalisation

9. Animatric Toys: Being a kid would be great! You’d have toys that could animate themselves with a touch of the finger!

10. Electronic Paper: Reports, presentations, documents, etc…all packaged in a handy e-paper tablet like thingy.

11. Virtual Golf: Transform your home into the ultimate golfing gaming course with a virtual and immersive interface

12. Efficient Cremation: Machines will be built where it can process the entire cremation of a body within seconds!

13. Palm Phone: Virtualization of your mobile phone on the palm of your hands

14. Smarthome Security System: Voice activated, artificial intelligent home security system

15. Robotic Cockroaches: Surveillance Robotic bugs with chips and cameras used in police operations


Did you have personal favourite tech on Almost Human? :-)

My First Tablet…


….is actually for my KIDS. Seriously. 😀

With the huge onslaught of tablets in recent times, I’m proud to say that I have been (so far) successful in fending off the lure of such tablets. Of course, the tablet with my dream specs (eg. 7-8 incher, 3G SIM slot, 2160p HDMI, latest Android OS, min Dual Core, dual camera rear 5MP/front 2MP, min 1GB RAM, quality display – min 1280X800, memory expansion slot, good battery ard 6,000 mAh, slim <10mm, etc.) has not been released yet. Heh. There are several that have come close…but not there yet. So I shall wait on…hehe. 😀

Anyway, the pic above is the 7 inch Creative ZiioВ ShenbiВ that comes pre-installed with the Play Chinese software. With the tagline “Don’t Learn Chinese, Play It!“, it is exactly what it is – an educational tool for children to master the Chinese language by simply ‘playing’ on the tablet.

The 7 inch Creative tablet itself is nothing much to shout about. Actually with basic specs like Android 2.2 Froyo, Rear camera 0.3MP, Screen res 480 X 800, a hefty 400g, 512GB RAM, Resistive screen, etc., it’s even quiteВ embarrassingВ to be speaking about it. :-p Of course, I reckon theses specs would have sounded considerably more palatable when it was first released in 2010. 😀

In fact, the tablet only pique my interest after my sister blogged about it a couple of months back, and her initial reviews about it some weeks later. I was stillВ skeptical about it until I experienced it first hand when I visited my sister not too long ago.В Seeing her kids having fun with it to the point where it seemed like they were addicted to it swayed my interest to seriously consider buying it for my kids too.

Immediately, I started my research to find out more about this Shenbi software, what it can do, did it work like an app that I could install on any tablet, etc. Well, if it could, my next step would have been to scout for a high end tablet where I could simply install this app and serve both the needs of my kids and mine. ;-D

Unfortunately, I found out that the Shenbi software is somewhatВ propriety connected with Creative, so it won’t be found on Google Play nor can it be sideloaded as an app. For the next few days, I was casually searching for this item online and I was rather fortunate to find one on sale (and CHEAP too!) on eBay Singapore. Although the package didn’t come with the hardcopy books (which my sister said were not so critical to have) nor the Zii Book account, the seller offered to throw in an original HansVision Express Chinese DVD instead. This DVD is usually given out with the PlayChinese Express pack (their most expensive pack). Since the discount I was getting was around 60% off the RRP Basic pack price, I made the deal happen, with the help of some friends staying in Singapore, of course. :-)

After the exciting ‘unboxing’ of the tablet, my kids, especially Collin has been playing with it for some time. I too have been tinkering about with the tablet as well, so that I can produce a comprehensive review of both the Creative tablet itself and also the PlayChinese software.

Stay tuned for my reviews in the next couple of weeks! 😀

My 50th Foursquare Badge

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On 11 Jan 2011, I started a journey on this location-based app called Foursquare. I have to admit it was really addictive back then as seen in one of my earlier blogs then. I would crazily check in virtually anywhere that could be checked in, including multiple playgrounds, parks, toilets, parking lots, highways, traffic lights, etc. just so to collect virtual badges and brag about numerous mayorships all over.

Sadly, as the months flew by, my addiction to checking in started to wane more and more too. I would only check into places of specific interest or to mark some important milestone, or perhaps to collect some badge which I still don’t have.

So, it was rather В a surprise that on 16 April 2012 (affectionately called Foursquare Day), I actually managed to collect my 50th Foursquare badge, by virtue of just checking in somewhere, anywhere on that day itself! :-)

Where do I foursquare from here? How can Foursquare entice me to become addicted once more? Hmmmm.. I’m thinking how about…

– having more local partner shops to offer discounts upon checkin?

– special incentives for mayors?

– actual badges/T-shirts for certain locations?

Creative Counter

Since it is quite common to see innovation and re-inventions in the areas of Information Technology, gadgets, toys, etc., I must admit I was rather surprised to see one notable and creative innovation in the healthcare industry, specifically in the gas chamber equipment. This is the gadget used to pump in gasous medications like Salamol, Ventamol, Seretide, etc.

The latest canister of Seritide comes with a manual dosage counter!


Cool, huh?

Now we’d be able to keep track of how many puffs are left in the canister….instead of puffing empty air into our kids! 😛

U Good?

After months of contemplation, I finally decided to ditch Maxis broadband and give U Mobile a try instead. After my nightmare with Celcom a couple of years ago, I signed up for the cheapest Maxis broadband plan available then, mainly because it had a stronger signal connection and it served my sole purpose of blogging and uploading photos at home.

However, the main reason why I terminated my Maxis plan is because of its inconsistency of connection speeds. See the three images below, tested within 30 mins of each other!

Crazy, right?

So, the other day, I decided to stop by the friendly neighbourhood U Mobile shop in a mall I was strolling in and enquired about their service and coverage.

Me: Can you check if U Broadband has coverage in my housing area?

U Girl: (after a few clicks) Yes, we have relatively good coverage there.

Me: What’s the speed of U broadband like?

U Girl: Up to 7.2 Mbps download..

Me: Can I check the download speed from the PC terminal you are using now?

U Girl: Oh, sorry….we are using TM line here…

Me: (Gasp!)

Okayyyy….braving myself to dismiss their usage of TM as a blip, I checked out their promotional packages, which was really attractive:

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On paper, it’s definitely CHEAPER than the Maxis plan I was paying. In addition, they had a current promo that says if I take the RM68/month plan with 5GB quota, I will be given a rebate of RM20 for the first five months. There was also the 7-day risk-free guarantee in case I didn’t like the connection speed or service. Problem was I had to make a trip to its main service centre in Berjaya Times Square to get my money back.

Anyway, I wasn’t too worried about that. I В was more intrigued if U Mobile broadband was any FASTER?

Upon sign up, I had to wait for more than 24 hours before my line was officially registered. In my heart, I could only think of the one-day loss in my 7-day risk free guarantee clause. Sigh.

When I logged on, I immediately performed a series of speed tests over the next couple of days, and these were my surprising results:

I must say I was thoroughly impressed with the connection speeds U Mobile gave me. I think I shall definitely stick with this new service provider for some time.

U nak?

Exposed! The Nikon Coolpix P500 Review

In a lingo that most people can understand, the Nikon P500 is like a rebellious teenager- having broken free from the controlled and caged world of toddler-hood. it is now filled with many wild and fun characteristics, able to think rationally sometimes, but most of all, a deep desire to grow up into adulthood. However, it falls just short of that. Fortunately, it seems content with the phase of life it is in. 😀

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Having played with Point & Shoot (P&S) compacts for most of my life, handling this semi-pro gadget was certainly a whole new experience for me. In addition, the brand was also something new to me, with my fingers having pressed the buttons of an Olympus, Canon, Kodak and a Pentax before. I have heard much about Nikon’s DSLR lenses before so my expectations were quite high in that area.

For a RRP price tag of about RM 1,400, the P500 sure packs in quite a lot of goodies from the specifications point of view. A comprehensive summary of what’s under its hood can be found HERE.


Physically, the P500 is a true beauty indeed. It is not as heavy or large as professional DSLRs, yet its appearance commands a second look, especially for the all-black version. (It also comes in red/black colour). I especially liked the diamond cut rubber-like material on the camera grip. It ensures a confident grip and handling of the camera. Another feature that is instantly head-turning is the gorgeous 921K LCD viewscreen that can be folded and tilted to allow better shots from a wide variety of angles. Although it also comes with an Electronic Viewfinder, the image quality in the EVF just cannot compare or comes close to the beautiful LCD screen.

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That aside, the P500 also comes with an innovative zoom button on its side barrel, which can be quite useful when video-zooming (less noise compared to normal zoom trigger). Another usefulness of it is that it can also be assigned as a manual-zoom for greater control when you use the manual focus mode.


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But of course, the single feature that has gotten most people salivating over the P500 has got to be its insane 36X optical zoom, which starts out wide at 22.5mm and extends to 810mm. Though it may not be the longest zoom in its class, this telephoto-like ability will ensure hours of fun. Seriously. I read somewhere that a typical DLSR would need to be affixed with 3 or 4 lenses to achieve the sort of focal range offered in the P500. And since it is all packed within its compact shell, this zooming feature is most certainly a plus point whenever the need arises to zoom in to capture those details from a distance.

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Unfortunately, the law of photography states that ‘with great zooming, comes great distortions’. Heh. So, although the P500 tries to packed in various features like 5-way Vibration Reduction, Hybrid VR, etc. I still found it quite a challenge to get a focus lock with the camera on full telephoto zoom, especially for moving subjects. There are some reviews that have slammed the P500 for the image quality in its max zoom, but I think through practice and patience, the image produced can be pretty darn good. And for all photographers, there is always that incredible sense of achievement when the desired shot is taken. Of course, there is always the tripod to lend a helping leg too. 😛

I also noticed there can be quite a bit of noise when the camera machinery launches its long zoom barrel, and the whirring sound is very apparent during the focusing period when it tries hard to fix a lock on the subject. Apparently, the noise has already been much reduced from its previous P100 model, so I guess it is something Nikon may want to work on in future models. :-)

Video Quality

Moving on, there is another feature sets the p500 apart from its other competitors of the same class – its impressive video capabilities. The P500 is capable of shooting full HD movies in 1080p – the best quality available to-date. Too bad, the maximum duration for a full HD movie is capped at 30 mins, regardless of the size of the storage card. The video mode also has a dedicated button on the back panel, which skips the unnecessary steps of going into the mode settings. Apart from HD, the P500 can also shoot videos in HS (High Speed) mode. This allows more creativity as videos can be shot in slo-mo or hi-speed. Haha. :-p

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Image Quality & Handling

So, since it is a camera (in essence!), does the P500 deliver on image quality and focus handling? The P500 offers a max res of 12MP for its images which are stored in JPG format. For the more experienced photographers who prefer the raw format for better editing and control, this must really be a setback. Nevertheless, for a basic user like myself, JPG format is good enough already.

Based on my couple of weeks playing with it, I can say that the P500 is quite a speedy fella, with the full boot-up to focus taking below 2 secs. Sadly, it is not able to detect if the lens cover is on or not, so you’d just need to make sure you take off the cover before powering up – to avoid all sorts of unwanted whirring noises and warning messages. :-p In bright conditions, the P500 was able to focus and capture pretty good images. It also comes the standard P, S, A, M modes, as well as a U mode for the user to save settings used frequently. It is unfortunate that it doesn’t have brighter lens with its apertures starting at f/3.4 at wide-angle and f/5.6 for telephoto. The aperture setting can be changed to В f/8. Heck, my mobile phone even gives me a f2.8! Anyway, whilst this does not help in producing those sharp images with blurred backgrounds that is so popular, I know that through proper manual focusing and shutter speeds, those kind of images can be produced at apertures above f/5 too!

The other grouse is the ISO value offered by the P500. It starts at an ‘absurd’ 160 and can be changed to 3200. I would have expected a sub-100 rating, at least. But surprisingly, most shots I have taken seems pretty OK with the ISO set from 160-200 range. The shutter speed goes up to 1/1500, which is pretty decent already. It also helps that the P500 came with a command dial on the right side, which allows quick changes to the settings as required – just like all DLSRs. 😀 Although, some reviews made a big deal out of P500 leaving out the shortcut to change ISO or White Balance, it didn’t bother me much as the settings I found myself changing most were the aperture, shutter speed and manual focus.

In short, image stabilisation can be quite an issue with the P500. But through practice and knowledge of how best to keep images locked in focus, pretty good images can be captured.

Fun Stuff

Apart from that, the P500 also offers fun (but necessary) features of burst modes, with capabilities to shoot five full 12MP res shots at 8fps. At lower res, you can even shoot some 100+ photos in burst mode! There’s also a nifty BSS (Best Shot Selector) that will intelligently take 10 shots and choose the sharpest image to be saved. In backlighting mode, there is another fun feature called the High Dynamic Range (HDR) which will shoot three shots simultaneously and then combine them all to produce the better looking shot. Cool. В Panoramic freaks would like the feature offered by the P500. Its Panaroma Assist enables the user to manually pan across the shooting area, like a video recording, before automatically stitching it together to get the full picture. Really fun and easy. There’s also the inclusion of popular image filters like fisheye and miniature effects.

Check out this video of swimming ducks shot at 120 fps….pretty fun eh?


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Shooting in Low Light

The P500 runs into a little trouble in low light conditions and the built in flash doesn’t seem to be as powerful as desired at times. Too bad there isn’t an option to add on external flash on the P500. But generally, the Night Modes were able to deliver somewhat satisfactory shots. The image-combining thingy does help too. :-)

Manual Focus

I especially liked the little bits of DSLR features thrown in like the full manual exposure controls and also the ability to perform manual focusing. This worked remarkably well in macro shots, where the lens was able to focus as close as 4mm from the subject, and also some of those telephoto shots where the subject becomes just too difficult for the autofocus to function!. Of course, this requires a lot a lot of patience and practice though.

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Finally, the P500 is powered by a Li-On battery pack which upon full charge, can shoot about 220 shots. I felt this was a weak point because most battery packs can easily shoot 300+ shots on a single charge. In addition, another boo-boo by Nikon was not providing the external battery charger. I had to charge the battery directly into my camera! Certainly a shocking a revelation but the good side on the charging is the availability of USB charging, so I could charge the camera + battery directly from my laptop. Problem is, how many people would actually do that in reality? Hah! :-p

In a nutshell…

The Good

Compact; Value for money; Insane superzoom; HD 1080p video; Manual focus; Manual exposure controls; CMOS sensor; 5 shot drive mode at 12MP high-res; Speedy boot-up and shooting; Can charge from PC; Cool Panorama assist; Tilting screen; Nice 921K 3.0″ viewscreen; Excellent macro capabilities; BSS; HDR; Extreme wide angle at 22.5mm; Good set of night scene modes; Fun features;Supports iFrame format;

The Bad

No external charger; Cannot detect lens cover; Max aperture at f/3.4; Min ISO of 160; Noisy whirring of focusing in action; Low number of shots of battery; No RAW format; No shortcut to ISO or White Balance; Image stabilisation issue; No support for external flash; Capped HD video length; No remote control; Poor EVF


A near-superb offering by Nikon into the superzoom compact pie. Although hampered by some obviousВ stabilizationВ issues during telephoto length focusing which could take some time, practice and patience to get used to, the P500 is guaranteed to provide loads and loads of fun thanks to its various fun features, semi-pro settings and the incredible zoom, of course. Definitely a value-for-money gadget for those who want a fun camera but not that ready to dive into the DSLR world.

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Do check out my upcoming blogs for sample images

Huff and Puff: WinMo’s Angry Birds

Undoubtedly, one of the more popular touch screen games to hit the world was Angry Birds. Everyone that owned an iPhone simply had to download this game. Eventually, Android users could also immerse themselves in this addictive game where the user guides kamikaze-like birds via a slingshot to destroy pigs. With the revelation of the iPad, the game has grown so much more popular because the screen size certainly helps in creating more intensity and better view of destruction. Ha.

Poor Windows Mobile users (like mua) had to watch with envy as there was no news that the game would be re-developed to cater to WinMo users. Sigh.

Well, fret no more. A similar game was recently released by Touch Dimensions called Huff and Puff. Here’s the much touted video demo of the game which you should be view before I proceed with my review.

In brief, it has relatively simple gameplay where the objective is for the user to play as the wolf to destroy the pigs (poor animals) using his arsenal of breath. Yeah, seriously. There are apparently over 40 levels of challenges to master, and I believe there is longevity in this in the sense that most users would want to replay every level to score the total destruction in one attempt thingy.

In terms of display, I think the developers have done good in making the characters large enough to be seen and ‘felt’. In Angry Birds, all the characters really look so tiny that it seemed that it was actually built for the iPad. For difficulty, I believe the game has enough challenging puzzles to last you for a while. Like I mentioned, even though you could sometimes get through the level with 3 breaths, you’d want to REPLAY the level to try to pass it on ONE try. Trust me. 😀

The developers have also managed to add in some spice to the Wolf’s weaponry with an assortment of stuff like eating chillies would enable the wolf to burn straw and wood objects, eating garlic would give the wolf powers of bad breath that could suffocate and kill the pigs oh most gruesomely, and I have not even seen what ice-cream can do yet!

But perhaps one of the more innovative moves of Huff and Puff is the dual mode of gameplay. You could use the basic tapping on your touchscreen to aim and blow your big bad breath, OR you might want to LITERALLY blow your own breath into the phone mic. It works as well too!

So, whilst WinMo7 users may finally get their Angry Birds, if the rumors are true, I personally think Huff and Puff is one WinMo game that closely rivals it in terms of playability and addictiveness. Highly recommended. Get it today from Windows Marketplace!

Mobile Requirements: Touch Screen WVGA Phone, supports Windows Mobile 6.1, 6.5

Huff and Puff
Graphics & Sound
Simple 2D animations with catchy sounds!
Innovative use of mic to literally BLOW your own breath. Seriously addictive and engaging too!
Plenty of chances for replay due to human nature of wanting to hit the highest scores with ONE try!
Nice progression of difficulty levels with plenty of spices thrown in like chilli, garlic and wind movement!
Lite version available for FREE on Windows Marketplace
Addictive and appealing game that is comparatively as good, if not better than Angry Birds


Droplets 2.0

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I must admit I am very sceptical when some free stuff comes along – especially mobile games. Usually, the gameplay would be extremely lame and boring, or some cheap low grade animations and they flash some ad at you every five minutes or so.

So when I came across this mobile game called Droplets 2.0 by Ximad, that was being offered FREE on Windows Marketplace, I gave it a try without much expectations. Ihave to say this game totally blew me away…

First of all, it must have been specially designed for WVGA screens because it simply looked gorgeous on my Omnia 2. Throw in some soothing rainforest sounds, excellent graphics of the dew droplets and smooth user interface sliding of droplets, I have to admit this could be arguably one of the best games ever designed for touch screen mobile phones.

Now the overall objective of Droplets is to ‘fling’ the droplets on the screen on one another, eliminating one after another, until in the end ONE droplet is left. Sounds easy? Think again. It can become quite challenging in the more advanced stages where more and more droplets come your way. To make it more challenging, version 2.0 comes with two additional features – an ‘Eight-ball’ droplet, where it has to be the last droplet remaining, and ‘Ladybugs’, which could be placed anywhere on the screen where it blocks the path of any droplet.

In essence, Droplets 2.0 is a strategic thinking game that challenges you to work your brains out to think several steps ahead to solve the problem. It is certainly addictive and with more than 300 levels thrown in, it will be some time before you ‘d want to change this game.

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Mobile Requirements: Touch Screen WVGA Phone, supports Android and Windows Mobile 6.5 and above

Droplets 2.0
Graphics & Sound
Beautiful graphics and suitable rainforest sounds!
Excellent strategic thinking levels to work out your brain cells!
More than 300 challenging levels provided. May bore some people who get stuck but definitely replayable for weeks, maybe months!
Every level presents a new challenge and with introduction of the 8-ball and ladybug, things just got tougher..
Free download on Windows Marketplace!
Addictive, challenging strategic game that looks incredibly gorgeous on WVGA screens

Dingling Professional Hair Clipper (RF-609)


If you have kids who are just terrified of barbers (like mine!), then this may be just the tool for you!

After checking out some of the models Philips has to offer, we decided to check out other models, preferably one that is wireless for ease of use. My wife spotted this hair care shop called Image Hair Care in Jusco Cheras Selatan and was pleasantly surprised to see that it sells a wide variety of professional hair care stuff! It is located on on the First Floor (Lot no. F29).

The storekeeper recommended this hair clipping wonder by the brand of Dingling. The quirky name aside, the gadget is apparently made in Japan (although the names sounds like it’s made in China) and used by pros! It is fairly light weight and not too complicated to use. Best of all, it is a wireless gadget – just what we were looking for!

Inside the box, we found the main hair clipping tool, it’s charging station, small bottle of oil (forВ maintenance), and about 8 units of plastic combs of various lengths that can be easily detached and attached onto the clipper head, and the manual, of course.

After the first charge, we tried it out on our son and was glad to see that the gadget works really well. The detachable combs ensures the hair is cut systematically (but I guess this requires some practice too), and the main clipper head is all metal coated so it is EXTREMELY safe. For example, you could run it against your skin without fear of injury as the clippers are well concealed within the head.

zoom in view of the hair clipper head with a detachable comb

The clipper also comes with customisable speeds of the blade for those who want shorter or longer cuts. Again, I must stress these features are good but need some regular practice before one can perform it properly. Nevertheless, as a basic snipping tool to trim off the hair, it works just fine!

customisable speeds makes for more fun!

Price? The price tag shows RM239, but you should be able to easily bargain it down below RM 200. May be a little on the expensive side, but considering the hours of fun you can have at home with it, it’s sure a good buy in my books!


Pros Cons
Wireless, quick charging, very safe, haircuts at home has never been so fun! Pricey compared to cheaper wired models

Overall Rating: