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It's official.

I, Flapper Choo, have begun on a new journey - The Xperia Journey.  It's quite unbelievable, really. Me? Flapper Choo? The old blonde man of dog's world with distinguished white face that reflects sunlight?

I am only turning 11 years young this September, my friends. I give thanks to God for everyday that I am healthy and mobile (no pun intended), and still able to live this extraordinary life in my very ordinary world.



I first met the lovely Miss J (not the same Miss J from America's Next Top Model) of Sony Mobile Singapore at the Sony media party in March. As some of you might already know, I have been collaborating with Sony Action Cam for the past two years and truth be told, I was not expecting any further collaborations with Sony. So on that fateful evening, Miss J spoke to mummy and expressed interest in collaborating with me, good 'ol Flapper Choo, for their new Xperia XZs phone.

Mummy looked at her and sniggered, "You sure you want Flapper to run for Xperia? You know I am a die-hard iPhone user? So unless the Xperia can outdo the iPhone [in its camera function]... you will either get raving reviews or really bad review .... right?"

But Miss J was confident of the Xperia XZs capability and started showing mummy mages taken with the phone. At that point, mummy has never even considered the Xperia phone so like as if she knew anything about that phone and she would not even pretend like she knew anything about Android phones and goes without saying, she knew NOTHING about Sony Xperia phones.

Madam Die-Hard-iPhone-User said, "I am an Android idiot."

Then Miss J said those magical words which ignited mummy's interest in Xperia....



"The Xperia XZs has the Super Slow-Mo Function...."
by Flapper Mummy

Everything else said beyond those words flew past me, Flapper's mummy.  Super Slow-Mo? Like the RX-technology?

Miss J: "Yes. Like the RX camera except...."

And she continued to explain the slight differences which, honestly, I was barely digesting. In that romantically-lit condition while trying out those beers from Alchemist Beer Lab, I got as far as Super Slow-Mo. I was sold. I mean like seriously, incorporating the RX technology into a mobile phone! How smart is that?

Okay Miss J.
You got my attention now.

Bring on the Xperia, I think... with much trepidation.

The one and only time I moved away from an iPhone only lasted three before my husband got sick and tired of my constant laments about how much I hated that Android-Phone-That-Shalt-Not-Be-Named. It was not a Sony. I swore never ever again another Android.

But of course, as per God's usual immaculate sense of humour, never ever will some how become ever always.

So once again, I've got to stuff my chubby face with those words "never ever. Android."

Super Slow-Mo was way too enticing for me to reject even though I had my skeptical reservations about the camera's capability. After all, the many brief encounters I had with different Android cameras (thanks to many who wanted to take photos with Flapper) and I would always boldly declare that iPhone's camera is superior when it comes to taking photos of animals.

I've had my fair share of debates about Android versus iPhone with friends. Believe it or not, it was not till my short stint with that awful Android phone that made me realise what are the core purposes of my smartphone:

  • PHOTOS, photos and more photos of the dogs. And cats. So the #1 thing I look for in my smartphone? A good camera.
  • Messaging - OK... I abhor messaging but in this modern day of living, I am succumbed to being a slave to messaging, otherwise known as Whatsapp. And because I hate messaging on a phone, I WANT a responsive keyboard that does not result me spending more time hitting the delete key than actually typing a message. And for those who knows me well enough, I do send garbled messages and unapologetically tell them, "I know you can understand."
With my growing, failing old woman's eyesight, playing games, watching videos, reading and all other etc are indulged in this bigger screen device called the iPad.



In The Name Of Super Slow-Mo, I Sold Out.

In case you are wondering why I, the crazy mother of Flapper, am so enthralled by the Super Slow-Mo function.... call it "bad influence" from the boys' favourite Uncle Nic. He first introduced to me the RX100M4 and its awesome super slow-mo capability last year (2016). I must confess that at the start, I did not understand what the heck he was mumbling to me about this awesome super slow-mo. Sorry Uncle Nic. I am a visual person. I am audio-half-impaired (joke).

So as usual, it was a case of "whatever, I'll find out what he was mumbling about later".




That was the first test we did the with the boys using the RX100.  At first glance, my immediate bimbo response was, "Wah! Old man really very slow!"

It felt like eternity before Flapper emerged into the frame.

Then Uncle Nic most gently reminded me, "This is 2 seconds into 24 seconds slow-mo..."

So mathematically speaking, Frodo cleared the frame at the 5 seconds mark, Flapper entered the frame at 14 seconds. That makes it 9 seconds difference in RX time = 0.75 seconds in real time = Flapper was under a second behind Frodo.

That was the epiphany moment when I finally understood what Uncle Nic was trying to tell me and I was amazed (and amused) by this, what I-term-as, 'RX-technology'. Going through more of the RX-footages made me realise how many details we miss in that split second and what can really happen in two seconds of a dog's life.

The super slow-mo also allows me to study things like the difference in Flapper and Frodo's reaction, their footworks, Frodo's rippling muscles. This latest video using the RX100M5 is perhaps one of my favourite super slow-mo that really displayed the contrast between both dogs.

And well, Frodo being Frodo, he made me laugh hard while I admired Flapper's immense focus on the ball and that surprise glimpse of the insect being caught on camera.



Of course, it is not all serious of studying the boys' body language and getting useful glimpses into their sight and mind but it is also the perfect techology for capturing Frodo Choo's - the labrador who cannot catch - super derp moments in exaggerated fashion.





While mucking around with this super slow-mo technology as well, it made me realise how often we take one to two seconds for granted. It's amazing to watch what actually goes on in one, two or three seconds that more often than not, our eyes are not quick enough to process it.

How often do we complain how quickly time passes by? How often we find reasons for missing those pivotal moments in our lives because of how modern living has dictated we should be that busy or we make ourselves that busy.

With this RX-technology, it does force one to slow down (literally) just to spend those additional seconds appreciating the beauty of one/two/three seconds in super slow-motion - I call it 'living the Sloth moment'. Or in the name of fun and laughter, you can create your own 'Matrix' moment videos

And when that O.M.G. moment hits, congratulations. If you are anything like 'Uncle Nic' or myself, you will be thinking up of silly things to self-entertain.

When it comes to super slow motion, it is a balance of NEED and WANT. For me, it is that insatiable need and want of being able to study the boys' movements, the need and want of conducting a contrast study between them and yes, that want of just having frivilous fun with super slow motion.

And how much more awesome it get to have this 'all-in-one' mobile phone called the Xperia XZs. For any mother, father or pawrent(s), will know exactly what I mean by "WE NEED MOBILITY AND CONVENIENCE". So I've snooped that the Xperia Premium is making its launch in Singapore in June but okay, I will live with the XZs.... first. *hint hint Sony Singapore*

So yes, for that super slow-mo function in the XZs, I sold out.

Goodbye iPhone.
Hello Xperia.



Our first quick test of the Super Slow Motion function and getting familiar with it otherwise known as WHEN to hit the red button. And for any tech geeks around, I am not going into all that fps talk. Why can't reviewers just talk in human language? Simi FPS? I know it means frames per seconds but gimme real time versus super slow-mo time please. My processor cannot visualise FPS. Now you know why I rarely comprehend what Uncle Nic tries to tell me. All I hear is blah-blah-blah FPS.

SO! IN MY HUMAN LANGUAGE....

Unlike the RX, the Xperia XZs only extends 0.18 seconds (real time) of a footage to 6 seconds from the point of capture.

And here's the fun part.

Even though it does not take the duration of the RX but it CAN do multiple super slow-motion in one recording. And this was our first test doing multiple super slow-mo in one recording... except that what you have a dog like 'Hazar-DOH!' he defines occupational hazard. Watch the video and you'll understand why.


And that's my brief, but not-so-brief introduction to the awesome Super Slow Motion function of the Sony Xperia XZs. I will explain/write more about it.... soon with some fun 'How-To' videos so watch this space!


Predictive-What?
by Flapper Choo

The Motion Eye™ camera features ground-breaking technology: Predictive Capture. It senses movement in front of you and starts to buffer images while you’re preparing to shoot. So if you clicked too late, just go back in time and choose from up to four photos taken before you pressed the camera button.
(extracted from Sony Mobile Singapore)

This new Xperia XZs also boasts of this snazzy new feature called 'Predictive Capture'. What it does is... at the point of capture, the phone is supposed to be so smart that it is able to select up to four shots taken a second before the shutter release is clicked.

And best part, you are able to select to keep a particular image or all of the images.

A screenshot of our Predictive-Capture test so as you can see, the 'Shutter Image' is the actual moment the user takes the photo and the camera predicts one second before that. This is one of the more successful attempt where it actually managed to predict two shots.
I voted 'Predicted 2' as my favourite moment capture... just because it looked like Uncle Nic had popped his boobs out.

Predictive-Capture, conceptually, seemed very impressive. Goes without saying, it made mummy and I very excited to try the phone out - not just the super slow-motion function - but for this predictive capture function. Imagine the camera being to able to predictive-capture Frodo or myself jumping... or even better still, both! Imagine the camera being able to predictive-capture Frodo's derp misses couple with his legendary expressions.

The image played up better in my mind than what the actual predictive-capture is able to do - reliably. As of now, we are still unconvinced that the predictive-capture is unable to capture dogs-in-action. We are having more successful in capturing humans than dogs (as illustrated above) but that does not mean the shots with humans get predicted every single time either.

With that said, predictive capture is available only in Auto camera mode - you can choose to on or off 'Auto Predictive Capture' mode. It does not work in Manual camera mode. So apart from 'user's skill' and learning how and when predictive might work, a part of it also depends on whether the phone camera is able to 'auto predict' the movements.

To be perfectly honest, I think the predictive capture is more 'fun' than it is useful.  As of now, speculatively-speaking, the algorithm for Motion Eye™is still unable to track dogs. I cannot say animals because it has only been tested on Frodo and myself. In addition, it does take a bit of effort to attempt successful predictive capture i.e. figuring out where to focus,  what this Motion Eye™tracks, if there's a speed limitation to tracking etc etc.

Here's the other thing, with the incredible Exmor RS™ image sensor (which *gasp* I am actually familiar with thanks to my Action Cam), quick capture function and a blah of other features, the camera IS powerful and I will boldly say that one could get very good action shots just by manual quick-fire rather than attempting to get predictive capture to work.

A random test shot of me in action... the camera failed to predict but this solo shot proved that the camera, in its own rights, is powerful and quick enough to capture sharp image of a dog in action. This left me to wonder if predictive capture is really necessary.

But of course, the predictive capture - if or when it works - does make life a little easy. One shot produces up to four photos and one can review to select the desire image(s) to save rather than overcrowding the album.

This is what I call the 'LIKE-REAL The Predictive Capture Worked'. I will discuss more about predictive capture soon.... but in the meantime, more testing to see if I can re-title it to read "FOR-REAL The Predictive Capture Works". 


Hello Xperia, Goodbye iPhone!

28th April 2017
1600 hours

After much wait and anticipation, that was my Sony Xperia inauguration day.  I was excited to receive my new phone but at the same time, a wave of sentimentality, nostalgia and uncertainty loomed over me. I have been using an iPhone for some 8-9 years and it was difficult to imagine life without it.

But I fondly remember His wise words, "You need to let go of the old to allow new things to happen".

I decided it was time to let go and embark on this new life journey with the Sony Xperia phone. Some may wonder why would using a new phone be dramatically termed as a 'new journey' and the reason is simple. Really.

A mobile phone has become a quintessential tool towards capture life moments - be it for humans or pets. Gone were the days of leaving the home with different gadgets. Mobile phones, otherwise known as smartphones, have become the one-for-all gadget. Despite all the fierce competition that iPhone faced with Android phones constantly improving its features especially the camera functions, I have never batted my blonde eyelashes to ogle at any other phones.

iPhone was my IT phone.

For many years, my life moments were captured with the iPhone then along came Sony Action Cam... and now, Sony Xperia. *guffaw*

Most significantly, whenever I start a new collaboration, it comes from a place of creation - creating different new life moments in this otherwise very mundane country. And I, Flapper Choo, am very blessed to have these opportunities to create many life moments and have these wonderful tools to create adventures and capturing the moments.

Despite my apprehension about moving away from the iPhone, I was excited about the new Sony Xperia XZs phone as well.

And on that fateful Friday of receiving my new warm silver phone, I was blessed with picturesque beauty of nature - sunset - as I tested the phone with the lovely Miss J and Miss A.

Welcoming sunset.
Giving a huge smile for the camera as I mark this new Xperia journey with the picturesque backlight of symbolic sunset.

Back home, it was time to bid adieu to my iPhone.



It's been a week since I embarked on my Sony Xperia journey and I have been busy testing out the phone's camera and video functions. I have to confess that Mr iPhone me LOVES my new phone.  I was surprised by the ease of transition.

I anticipated SOMEONE *cough mummy* smashing my phone and screaming, "I hate Android".

But she has been shamelessly hogging my phone and sheepishly admitting to everyone, "I actually love this Sony Xperia phone. The camera is really awesome. BUT..."


Too Hot To Handle

Yes.

There's always a BUT and this BUT I must say - the phone has an overheating issue. This phone is so smart, it will issue a warning when the phone starts to overheat and will shut down the app. So on one fine very very hot (we are in Singapore... everyday is HOT) afternoon, I went outdoors to test the phone. Five minutes into using the camera app, I was given a warning that the phone is overheating and was going to shut down the app if I continue to use it.

Phone camera test abbreviated.
Playtime continued.

I have not tested the phone on prolonged usage of other apps outdoors and how quickly it heats up. Uncle Nic's theory is such that because it is a water-resistant phone (which I have yet to test too!), the sealant could be preventing the phone from releasing heat. Plausible. Another theory is that the engineers are too conservative in setting the heat-limit. Plausible too.

Whatever the reason is, I do have to let you know that overheating is a known Sony phone issue and it does affect a user's experience. So far, I have only experienced it once but I was caught aback by the short duration of usage (5 minutes) which left me wondering if this phone is suitable for tropical weather.

Tropical weather could be too hot for the phone to handle.





So yes, my Sony Xperia journey has begun with much gusto. I will be following up with another post to explore more in-depth into the camera and video functions and hopefully I can attach some 'How-To' videos as well! But I have a sneaky feeling that before I can finish my next article on the phone, the Xperia Premium will be launched (June 2016).

In the meantime, if you are a tech-geek like Uncle Nic, you can visit Sony Mobile Singapore's website to find out more about this fabulous phone's specifications. Those technical jargons you would probably understand way better than me.

I am, after all, this blonde old man who still loves playing and testing new products.

So Sony Xperia?
BRING IT ON!

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