Category Archives: HARDWARE



Yup, boys and girls, that’s yours truly wearing a prototype VR headset experiencing a VR demo somewhere in VALVE HQ. Suffice to say that it was a life-changing experience! After all, as scifi buffs will tell you, ‘virtual reality’ has always been the stuff of science fiction – well, now it is FACT. I was privileged enough to experience quite a few scenarios based on VALVE’s award-winning games and others put together purely to demonstrate the potential of this new cutting edge technology.


Initially, I was placed into a Portal scenario which seemed sedate enough but then suddenly I was in a room filled with characters from Left 4 Dead and my heart almost jumped out of my chest! Life-sized zombies hovered around me and even though I knew none of them were real (heh!), I could not help but freeze in my tracks! It was like living within a game – literally. Mind you, these environments were in very early stages of development but the detail was amazing.

As I left VALVE HQ, I could not help but ponder over the limitless possibilities of VR – a whole new world has literally opened up. Personally, I can’t wait…

A humongous thank you to my good friend Chris Chin & VALVE for making this article possible.



Took me a long time to write this short review. To be honest, I had some technical issues with the Bluetooth connectivity – which is the main selling point – of the Razer Adaro Wireless headphones. But till now, I am not quite sure whether the problem is with the phones or my Macbook as there was no issue when connecting with my iPhone 5s. But seriously, the difficulties were not major at all so let’s leave it at that.

Sound-wise, I have no complaints as music and video sound playback are rather enveloping with the nuances of the latter captured quite well. The phones themselves fit snugly enough that I often forget I even have them on! The phones need to be re-charged every now and then (what the hell doesn’t?!?) but once that is sorted out and the Bluetooth connection is established, its pretty much a satisfying listening experience that I would recommend.

More info here.


What Does Music Sound Like To You?

Most music is now listened to via electronic devices and by necessity on headphones. Thus your choice of headphones will certainly  be a critical factor in maximizing your aural pleasures. Which is the cue for the official product description of the new SONY XBA line of headphones –

Everyone has different taste when it comes to music enjoyment, and Sony has created a line of headphones that not only cater to your preference, but are designed to suit your character as well. For those who hate any interruption, we created headphones that reduces outside noise for high-intensity listening. If you’re into funky styles, we also have uniquely designed headphones that will turn heads when you put them on. Regardless of appearance, our headphones deliver high quality sounds.



Melissa with the SONY Tablet

SONY rolled out the full slate of its communications and entertainment devices with a stress on “connectivity” at a media event this morning held at Sentosa Cove. Melissa and I listened to presentations regarding the ability of the various SONY devices (viz. Xperia smartphones, BRAVIA televisions, Tablets and VAIO notebooks) to share content amongst themselves via DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). This integration would allow a consumer to, for instance, flash photos or video contained on a smartphone on a television screen by wireless network, play music files (residing on a Tablet or notebook) on Network Speakers.

There was also much capital made of SONY’s new BRAVIA TV which boasted of the most vivid HDTV pictures (including 3D) ever. I must say that the X-Reality PRO Engine was the most impressive with its picture quality and contrast. There was also a demonstration of HDTV 3D required fairly comfortable 3D glasses although the value of watching 3D TV I must confess still eludes me.

In addition, SONY launched its latest Xperia smartphones which certainly look sleek but user-friendliness still remains an issue. And for those who thrive on listening to music and watching videos on their phones would be dismayed the information that only 4GB is available for your media content on these phones. There is some way to go before SONY’s Xperia catch up with the standard  bearers for the mobile phone market.

One product that mystified us somewhat was the SONY Tablet P (above). It’s two screens split in half contained in a device that folds in on itself like a spectacle box! One cannot imagine the practicality of the design or how it would translate into user-friendliness but it’s definitely a curious looking Tablet.

Without prolonged use of the new devices, it’s difficult to give a proper assessment but suffice to say, that I was most impressed with the new BRAVIA TVs, especially the X-Reality PRO engines which certainly brings the term “picture quality” to totally new level.



Alright I admit it – I am a little shallow when it comes to digital cameras. So, the T110 (above) with its really slick design, bright colors and touch screen (with cool sound effects) totally does it for me. It does not have a zoom function but it’s so user-friendly and takes such sharp pix without too much fuss that it’s pretty much irresistible. I used the T110 at the latest Noise-Timbre Singer-Songwriter Programme and I believe that the pictures turned out rather nicely. Retails for about S$369.

More information here.


Now, this baby looks more the part if you need to be a tad more professional in the picture taking department. Not as sexy as the T series it must be noted but maybe a little more serious. So no touch screen but this sucker manages a competent zoom function which came in handy for the 2nd day of Music Matters 2011. I could easily remain seated in the 10th row and comfortably snap good pix on the stage. Although, it must be said that at times, there was a smidgeon too much yellow in some of the shots but overall, H55 gets the job down, even if you are an amateur photog like me. Retails for around S$499.

More information here.

PoPWare is a brand new feature where we review the latest hardware which makes your enjoyment of pop culture that much more pleasurable! If you’re interested in getting a review, get in touch at info (at) powerofpop (dot) com.


Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray player

My basic impression of Blu-ray players was that you could only play Blu-ray discs (and ordinary DVDs) in them. Meaning that if you didn’t fancy purchasing Blu-ray discs, it was pretty much pointless to get the Blu-ray player.


Fact of the matter is that there are two other features that make the Blu-ray player a worthwhile acquisition. One, you can easily play video files with minimal loss of quality. Yes, avi, mkv, mov and so on. Quite a impressive feature. Two, you can easily stream online videos as well via the Blu-ray player onto your TV screen! Connect the Blu-ray player to your router/modem and you can get onto Youtube and the like to stream the countless number of online videos. Amazing access to video content either way!

Oh and of course, watching Blu-ray discs is whole other ball game. I watched Karate Kid and 2012 and believe me, the hi-def certainly enhanced the viewing experience – imagine if I actually liked those movies! Not only that but ordinary DVDs also look much more defined on the Blu-ray player which is a definite bonus.

So, yep, I guess you could say the Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray player is hardware Power of Pop would heartily recommend.

PoPWare is a brand new feature where we review the latest hardware which makes your enjoyment of pop culture that much more pleasurable! If you’re interested in getting a review, get in touch at info (at) powerofpop (dot) com.