Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

Galaxy Nexus video performance tests – does it play 1080p?

23/04/2012


If you are a long-time reader you might remember the Samsung Galaxy S / Vibrant Video Performance Tests from a couple of years ago.

Now it’s time for a new phone, and new tests! The Samsung Galaxy Nexus sports a gorgeous 4.65 inch AMOLED with 1280x720p resolution. The Galaxy S had amazing playback capabilities for its time, will the Nexus top it?

Stock player woes

The stock player on the Nexus is very poor, much worse than the one on the Galaxy S. It does show promise by playing h.264 in both 720p and 1080p in MKV container (albeit without sound) but there is no support at all for SD content (divx/xvid).

Video below:

Without sound, there’s not much functionality here, let’smove on!


MX Player to the rescue!

MX Player is a free (ad-supported) video player available on the Android market. It allows you to harness the power of the included hardware decoder and use the CPU (a.k.a “software”) decoding for codecs that are not available natively.

Check the video below for playback tests:

Using this player, almost all formats that are available today can be played back – even 1080p content works great, as long as it doesn’t have a DTS audio track. I could never make DTS work properly, not even in 720p mode. If anyone has gotten this kind of container configuration running, let me know in the comments!

The showdown in table form (MX Player):

Video Container Audio Resolution Result
xvid avi mp3 SD OK
xvid avi ac3 SD OK
h264 mp4 AAC 720p OK
h264 mkv AC3 720p OK
h264 mkv DTS 720p Only plays in S/W
h264 mkv AC3 1080p OK
h264 mkv DTS 1080p Crashes
H264 (High bitrate) mkv AC3 1080p Crashes

Conclusion

While the stock player is a step down from the Galaxy S, the playback capabilities with third party software, especially the ability to play back 1080p h.264 files is a step up from the last generation. HD content simply looks great on the Nexus!

Further reading

If you speak Swedish you are in for a real treat – Swedroid has an amazing in-depth review of the Nexus. Highly recommended reading!

Samsung Galaxy S / Vibrant Video Performance Tests

16/11/2010

Hello, dear readers!

I recently acquired a new cell phone – the Samsung Galaxy S (aka the Vibrant in America) and as with all new toys I love to push their limits! Today we are going to take a look at the video playback capabilities of the Galaxy using the stock video player that comes with the phone. Let’s begin!

SD Playback (Divx/xvid)
The Galaxy easily chews through any standard definition videos you throw at it. In certain videos microstutter can be noticed, which is most likely related to a lower fps. 25fps and 30fps videos seem to play very fluently. A video example below!

Performance: Perfect!

HD Playback 720p (MKV/h264)
I really didn’t expect much going into this test, but believe it or not, the first video I threw at the Galaxy played brilliantly!

However, I noticed that videos with DTS audio would not play back any sound.

I also noticed that some videos (mainly trailers) would not play back at all for some reason.

Conclusion: Most videos should work, but not DTS audio/wonky container configurations.

Performance: Works

HD Playback 1080p (MKV/h264)
Unfortunately I never got this to work, as illustrated by my feeble attempts below:

However, don’t let this be a deterrent, because even distincting SD from HD material is pretty hard! 1080p would add nothing to the WVGA resolution of the Galaxy.

Performance: Does not work

Conclusion
I was pleasantly surprised at the possibility for HD video playback on the Galaxy. This means less time converting videos to weird formats and more time viewing them. Cheers!

Rammstein Live at Globen, Stockholm (February 20th, 2010) – Image gallery and HD videos!

27/02/2010


What can you really say about Rammstein? I remember seeing them back in 2004 and being completely blown away by the show, the fireworks, pyrotechnics and just their presence. Almost six years has passed since then, and even though I’m a little older and (hopefully) a little smarter today I still can’t help but to be excited and boyish for everything Rammstein is and does live just when I was six years ago. Just great!

As for Combichrist? I don’t really know… I managed to catch the last song, which was just a cascade of curse words. Meh.

Videos
At first I cut together the best footage (i.e. the ones with least amount of shaking) which landed at a nice ten minutes. Then I thought, hey – not everyone likes Rammstein, but everyone likes some nice pyrotechnics, right? So I cut together a five minute or so “Pyromania edition” which contains all of the pyrotechnic clips from the concert.

Note: Please do excuse the audio. I know it is very bad, and I did what I could with the source material. I really need a better setup than the built-in camera microphone. 😦
Another note, YouTube video compression really took a toll on the videos. If you can, watch in 720p HD!

Regular edition:

Pyromania edition – now with 100% more fire!:

Download
T0 make benefit of high-resolution footage without watermarks, click here to download. To get all of the images in lower web resolution (with watermarks) click here.

Gallery

In other news…
Yes, I know “Globen” is actually “Ericsson Globe” by now, but I’m not calling it that until they force me!

Mini computer parts review (Including Radeon HD5770!)

20/01/2010

I bought a new computer a few months ago (part list here) and thought that I would express my opinion about most of the individual parts in a small compiled blog post. If you came from Google or another search engine, just scroll down to the part you’re interested in for its own mini review.

The parts are assigned in three categories. Happy reading!

The good

image

Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W
I’ve had absolutely zero issues with this power supply. It runs virtually fanless on low loads, and seems to do a great job under stress too. It even managed to power 2xHD5770 without issues.

image

Corsair Hydro Series H50
I was a bit hesitant about this closed-loop water cooling system due to its steep price tag, but in the end it proved to be a great investment. I’m running my Intel i5 comfortably at 3.7GHz (Remember, the stock speed is 2.66GHz!) at about 50-55C or so at full load. Virtually 4 extra GHz for about a hundred dollars is not a bad bargain!

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Fractal Design Define R2
Quite frankly one of the best cases I’ve seen. Tons of HD slots, sleek design and very thick metal makes this a great investment both now and in the future.

image 

Intel Core i5 750 2,66GHz Socket 1156
It’s fast, it runs very cool with the Hydro H50 (Although I’ve heard the stock cooler is supposedly pretty bad.) and it gives mad overclocking abilities.

The bad

image
Asus P7P55D
Aside from the horribly ugly crapware that Asus sends with this motherboard, it’s actually pretty decent. The only reason it’s in the “bad” category is that this motherboard does not support CrossfireX like stated. Since the second PCI-E port is of 4x (speed) you can not have a multi-GPU configuration with this board. Having bought two HD5770 cards and finding worse performance using Crossfire than without (15fps with Crossfire vs 60+fps without in Serious Sam HD) was an unpleasant surprise. Of course I only have myself to blame for being uninformed, but you’d think that having Crossfire stamped in big on the box seemed like a good indication of its support, but alas. So what kind of Crossfire does it support then? Apparently, multi-gpu on a single-card one. Thanks, Asus… Not.

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Corsair Dominator DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9
They work just fine, but start to crash at >=1650MHz for me. Not much left to the imagination.

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Sapphire Radeon HD5770 Lite HDMI DisplayPort Dual-DVI 1GB
I really wish I could put this in the “good” pile, but unfortunately, not all is well. The card itself has exceptional performance for its price. A sub-200USD card that runs Crysis at very acceptable framerate is quite a feat. Unfortunately, the drivers are horrible. Remember that I wrote about my DXVA problems that solved themselves a few weeks ago? Well, they didn’t, as I’m having the same issues again in the 9.12 hotfix. Not only that, but who could forget the Saboteur fiasco? There’s also my recent Voddler issues and fullscreen video crashes. ATI do seem keen to fix their issues and they constantly release updated drivers, but they’re not anywhere near done yet, nor will they be in the foreseeable future.

Oh wait, I also forgot this ATI Overdrive bug. Now I don’t feel so guilty for putting this in the “bad” pile anymore.

PS. People in the ATI support forum are really unhelpful. Doesn’t work? Buy more hardware! DS.

The ugly
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Kingston SSDNow V Series 64GB
This disk has some serious stutter issues. Simultaneous read/writes go very slow, and the cache does a poor job of keeping up. It –is- faster than a regular hard-drive if you’re running games, but if you’re updating Windows, downloading a couple of files and browsing the web all at once, expect up to 5-10 seconds of freezing, and expect it often.

It also doesn’t support the TRIM command. (You want that, or else your speeds will diminish with time.) And no, not even the 40GB model that has a compatible Intel chipset and simply needs a firmware update. Well done, Kingston.

Next time…
I’ll definitely look more into multi-GPU configurations. If you’re looking to buy a computer, read reviews and performance tests carefully before building! Very few motherboards today support true 16x/16x Crossfire support.

In other news…
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I’m going to become a Samba God – watch me shake!

Windows Live Writer

16/12/2009

wlw

Currently writing this blog post using a new tool I found called Windows Live Writer. It’s a program that combines the same WYSIWYG-type editing you’d find online, with all the benefits of a local program (Like pasting pictures and screenshots). I was a bit hesitant regarding their blog integration but the setup went smoothly, I just entered my account credentials and Writer took care of the rest.  – very neat. Unless I find some obvious flaw later on this will definitely be my new editor. The one WordPress uses is very good, but it’s heavy and tends to get slow when editing. (Adding pictures isn’t much fun.) I’ll leave you with a picture of the software and some cool shadow effects added on by Writer! 🙂

image

In other news…
Check this out if you’ve ever wondered about apostrophe rules. Helped me a lot! Dont use the’m incorrectly!

Isis and Dälek Live at Hornstull Strand, Stockholm (November 4th, 2009) – Photos and review

05/11/2009

isisdalek_combo

Remember in my last post, when I said it’s been a long since I went to a concert? It was time to change that! Seeing Isis and Dälek (Pronounced die-a-lect) really felt a world apart from Massive Attack. At Massive, we were standing ten rows back or so, but here, we were practically two feet away from the performers. Hooray for lesser known bands and up-close and personal concerts. I was initially surprised to see Dälek in the lineup, because they are a hip-hop band, but like someone pointed up, what Isis does for metal and sludge, Dälek does for hip-hop. They were great live, and reminded me somewhat of Coaxial, two thumbs up.

The club was a perfect venue for the concert, my only complaint being the horrible mixing of the microphone audio. Any singing by both Dälek and Isis was practically inaudible. Such a shame.

Highlights

isis_dalek_sthlm_09_013The most bored sound check guy in existence

isis_dalek_sthlm_09_015Steffi shows some love for MC Dälek!

isis_dalek_sthlm_09_017Yours truly!

Download
High-resolution photographs available here, lower-resolution (same size as gallery) archive available here. Also, big thans to Steffi, who took some of these pictures!

Also…
…apparently Mamiffer played just before Dälek, but we missed them. A shame, after coming home and hearing them, it would have been fun to see them live.

Gallery

Why won’t OS X leave my thumb drive alone?

10/05/2009

hermesThe result after copying a few files from a Mac onto my thumb drive.
I’m just waiting for the day when OS X comes with a “Don’t spam my drive
with an extravagant number of unnecessary files” checkbox.

If anyone else is interested in what these “._” files actually are and why you don’t need them you’ll find explanations here and here. In short they’re “fork files” that contain certain (unnecessary) settings and are a remainder from older days.

In other news…

61PKqcstHXL._SS500_Feer the deer.

If you’re in the market for some amazing stoner rock you can’t go wrong with Dozers album “Through the Eyes of Heathens”. I found this little diamond a little while ago and it’s been played a lot these past couple of week. It’s great for programming, inducuing a state of melacholia where the only thing that matters is you and your code.