TechnoStorm: Jing Garcia answers your tech questions

Jing Garcia answers your questions on cameras, smartphones, and changing IP addresses.


Amadeo Balanquit Jr. asks: Hi. I'm planning on buying an underwater shock proof camera. I've been reading reviews and specs. My question is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 the best for a budget of around 12k? I'm open to suggestions, although I have read maybe promos and reviews put in by companies to promote their camera.

Consideration I put on choosing is, if it’s safe to take even in water environments, from dust, etc. Durable unit, can take good images even in night/low light situation, can take up to 300 shots-battery life, not too expensive. I just felt like in a recent trip to a waterfall, we really wish our cameras were water proof.

JING: Hi Amadeo. I personally think that for P12,000, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 is a good buy for the price and features. As a digital camera brand, Panasonic seems to be underrated compared to more familiar names like Nikon, Canon, or even Sony. I do like the Lumix brand especially when Leica was their lens. However, I do find Panasonic digicams a bit slow, unlike a Canon or a Sony. Nonetheless, you still get great picture quality. But another digital camera brand that I like, which also has the durability you’re looking for is Olympus. Why don’t you compare the two brands first then pick what is right for the specs and budget you’re looking for.

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Baldwin asks: Good day, sir. I’m planning to give myself a new smartphone this coming Christmas. But I’m torn between several smartphones coming out this past few days, definitely I can’t afford to buy the iphone5 due to its expensive price. I'm down to HTC, NOKIA, MOTOROLA and SAMSUNG. But still having second thought if I want a bigger screen because I think it’s not that comfortable to bring in everyday routine. I used to have iPhone 4s before but it got stolen so I’m planning to have a new one this December. What can you suggest in terms of style, accessibility and comfort?

JING: Hi Baldwin. First, sorry to hear what happened to your iPhone 4S. We just need to be careful next time since these devices don’t come cheap. Anyway, there are a lot of things going on in the mobile phone space, and choosing which brand -- or which particular model for that matter -- is the best buy for you or any other consumer is really hard. Yet, let me ask this question first: have you paid for your iPhone 4S fully before it got lost? (Installment, credit card, service provider contract, 5-6?) If not, then I think you have to settle that first before getting into another round of debt for another expensive smartphone.

If the answer is yes, then it’s going to be a Merry Christmas for you! The only problem now is which one? Decisions, decisions.

When I choose a gadget – here, it’s a mobile phone, an expensive smartphone at that – budget comes first. Unless money doesn’t really matter, then there’s no point even asking which one – you just buy them all.

So, let’s assume you’re on a budget like most of us. How much money would you throw away on a smartphone? P15,000? P25,000? P35,000? Now, before even buying a smartphone outright, check out the current promos from Smart, Globe and Sun. I’m sure they have monthly plans for all the brands you mentioned. Some of the latest models – smartphones with quad-core processor and 5-inch screen are being offered “free” for less than P2,000 on a two-year contract.

Another consideration is the learning curve. If you’re already comfortable with iOS, why even go Android, Windows Phone? Or vice versa? Nothing wrong with trying out other phone OS, but do you still
have time to learn how the phone works?

The brands you mentioned currently have some of the best models out in the market today. Just stick to your budget and the one you’re comfortable with, and it is already safe to say you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Helmu asks: Can I change my IP address here in the Philippines to my Hong Kong's IP? I don't use my IP here in the Philippines because too many web sites are blocked and as a German it is for me very irritating. Where is my personal freedom?

JING: Hi Helmu. Technically you can’t since IP is usually provided by the Internet provider in your specific country. Also, IP addresses are allocated per country. However, the working term here is “technically”, since you can practically do anything within the digital realm. If you are tech-savvy enough, you can use “free public proxy” where there is a way to protect or mask your identity and even bypass surfing restrictions in your area. And on that note, I will leave you with that clue. Hope this helps.

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Lemuel  asks: Comparing the iPhone 5 and Samsung s3, which phone is more advantageous in terms of applications and features?

JING: If you will believe the ad of Apple, then the iPhone 5 is better than the Samsung Galaxy S3. But then again, Samsung countered that particular ad stating that the S3 has far more features than the iPhone 5, so the S3 is better. Confusing huh? The problem here is, many consumers fall for such tactics. Remember, it’s all about marketing.

The best way to see which device is better for you is to check if you have use for all those bells and whistles manufacturers put in their mobile devices. And will they work?

I often see special features on mobile phone that nobody even uses. Some of them don’t even work locally. Sure it’s fun that you can do a lot of things on your mobile phone, but do you actually use them everyday?  But you already paid for it, right? 'Coz it came with the price.

Still, your question is, which is better: iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3. I really have no answer for that, lest I want to be accused of being biased. Both are great mobile phones. But on a personal note: if I’m going choose one, I’d go for the iPhone 5 since I’m already comfortable with iOS and Apple’s seamless ecosystem. In the end, it’s
what you need and not what you want.

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Mark asks:  What is better camera Sony a57 or Nikon D5100 (just like DSLT or DSLR) considering the price and performance.

JING: Hi Mark. To tell you the truth, I have not encountered the Sony DSLT A57 yet. So right now I can’t really compare the two models you mentioned. But I heard a lot of good news about DSLT technology and it seems very promising. However, If you’re following digital camera technology for the past couple of years, it seems that DSLR is slowly on its way out as a preferred technology for photography (mainly from consumers; professionals might stick with it more).

If you noticed, the mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) is already gaining ground, particularly those models using the micro-fourthirds (MFT) standard. Not sure though if DSLT will become another industry standard similar to MILC, which is already eating up the DSLR market. Although Nikon has always been a market leader when it comes to DSLRs, why don’t check out MILC? Sony in particular has great camera units under the NEX models, while the Nikon has N1.

Jing Garcia, a veteran tech journalist, is currently the news and content  editor for Infotech and motoring sections at  InterAksyon.com - the online news portal of News5. Prior to that, he was tech editor of Tech Times, the infotech section of the The Manila Times and online IT news websites Techbytes.ph. He is also a sound artist and a multi-award winning recording producer.  

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