Tuesday, October 31, 2017

iPhone 8 Plus Unboxing and Speed Tests versus iPhone 6S Plus

Well, after using the iPhone 6S Plus for two years (which incidentally is a very good phone), I decided to get an upgrade.  At first, I was keen to buy the iPhone X, but it seems to be out of stock, and so I looked more closely at the iPhone 8 Plus.  I soon realised that the 8 Plus came with the same A11 chip, as well as the same rear facing twin 12MP camera.  Of course, the iPhone X would have all the new fanciful features, especially the front array of sensors, but I think given that this is the first iteration, I will probably wait out.

So I got the iPhone 8 Plus instead.  Here is my unboxing.  At 202g, it feels a little heavier than my existing iPhone 6S Plus (172g).  Size-wise, the two phones are almost identical, though the iPhone 8 Plus twin rear cameras protrude a bit.  Other than that, I can't tell any difference.

Installing my new phone from iTunes was very easy, so I had no downtime at all. Since I had both iPhone 6S Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus side by side, I decided to run a few benchmark tests, to satisfy myself that the 8 Plus was indeed more powerful.  After all, one was using the A9 chip, and the other the brand new A11 chip!   Here is the video.  Indeed, the 8 Plus did very well with all these benchmark tests, relative to the 6S Plus.

Thanks for watching!!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Singapore Changi Airport Lounge Compilation

Here is a compilation of all the videos I have made during my visits to various Airline Lounges in Singapore Changi Airport. I have put this in one blog page for easy reference.  Take note the year I visited these lounges, since things may have changed since.

First, the SilverKris Lounge in Singapore Changi Airport - the lounge at Terminal 3 is the flagship lounge of SIA.  Take note that this is NOT a Star Alliance Gold lounge. I have used this lounge a few times (flying SQ Business Class).

SilverKris Lounge - October 2013

SilverKris Lounge - November 2015.  On this visit, I had Fish Congee for supper.

SilverKris - November 2016 - on this visit, there was some Teochew Cuisine. 

Krisflyer Gold Lounge - March 2017
This is the lounge for Star Alliance Gold members. In this instance, I had Krisflyer Gold status, and hence could use this lounge, even though I was flying in Economy class.

SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 1 (June 2016).
This was also a Priority Pass lounge.  They had their Signature Laksa, which was cool.

SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 3 (Dec 2016)
Care for some Mee Siam before your flight?

Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for updates!

MSC Preziosa Yacht Club 7 Gorgeous Dinners! 2015

We sailed on the MSC Preziosa in 2015, out of Genoa.  In this blog post, I put the movie links to the 7 gorgeous dinners we had in the Suite restaurant, dedicated to Yacht Club guests.  It was a most awesome experience!

Day 1 - The theme was Mediterranean Flavours & Savours.  This was the first of seven dinners and it was awesome!  Notice that the drinks list changed every day too.  Awesome!

Day 2 - This was a Tex Mex dinner. I had prawn cocktail to start.  There was seafood pasta.  I had the Tex Mex meat dish for the main.  Enjoyed both white and red wines, and plenty of desserts too!

Day 3 - Gala dinner, which came with a gold coloured menu.  The white wine was the Grillo 2012, which was super easy to drink!  I had the escargot, family member had the scallop. Rock lobster bisque was very good too.  My main was the beef fillet, and it went superbly with the red wine!  Desserts were very good as usual.  So much good food.  Thank God for the feasts!

Day 4 - Tonight was Italian Flavours.   The main course had beef too!  Overall, the cooking was good.

Day 5 - Dinner, while ship was in Malta.  They had some Dim Sum starter, which was, well... at least they tried.  Again, a very good dinner.  Care for some duck?

Day 6 - Our second gala dinner.  This time, we got some lobster!  Delicious!  Gala dinner again, with a beautiful gold menu.  Grilled oysters to start, cannelloni, Terrine of duck foie gras, and lobster tail! And plenty of beautiful desserts (as usual).  MMmmmmm!!

Day 7 - Final dinner before disembarkation.  Sob sob.  Excellent service from our waiter over the past 7 evenings.  Rack of lamb!  The last night, so I got drunk on the white wine (Chardonnay).  It was very addictive.  But if you are going to get drunk, remember, don't drive.  Sail instead!

Wonderful food on a wonderful cruise!
Till we cruise again.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Guangzhou China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel, Executive Room and Executive Lounge Experience

We stayed for 3 night at the China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel, in Guangzhou, China.  We stayed in an Executive Room (17F), which is the same floor as the Executive Lounge.  This stay was for a short holiday getaway.  We flew to Guangzhou on Singapore Airlines.

[Edit - as at June 2019, I couldn't find this hotel on the Marriott Bonvoy app.  The hotel has its own website now - https://chinahotelgz.com/en/; I suspect the hotel has been sold.]

We chanced upon the hotel after looking through various options.   The reviews said that while the hotel was on the older side, everything else was fine and location was good (right next to Yue Xiu Garden Metro station). Hence, we booked it since the rates were very competitive. We paid around $210 SGD (including taxes) per night for our Executive Room.

This hotel was built in 1984, and reportedly the first 5-star Hotel in Guangzhou. I'm not sure when Marriott took over this hotel (could be from Day 1).  As a result, the design makes it look a bit cramped, and the ceilings are definitely low.  Check out this fun video I made of my head almost hitting the ceiling when I jump.

Executive Room
Now, back to more serious stuff.  We had a standard Executive room, non-smoking, King-Sized bed.  It was a very comfortable room, not the biggest standard room you'd find, but that was because this hotel was built back in 1984, and probably the standard wasn't to built too large a room then.  Here is the video.

Executive Club Lounge Evening Appetizers & Cocktails
The Club Lounge served appetizers from 1730hrs to 1930hrs.  We ended up taking our dinner there every evening, after we had gone out for the day.  Though it got a bit crowded at time, we could always find a seat.  The food spread was decent, bearing in mind that they did not promise to serve dinner, but we always found enough to eat.  Here is a video compilation of the 3 dinners we had in the Executive Lounge.  There was always one manned station.  The fresh fish soup was excellent.

Executive Club Lounge Morning Breakfast
While the food spread at the Cafe Veranda downstairs was better, we always had our breakfast at the Executive Lounge.  We preferred the peace and quiet, and there was more than enough to eat anyway.  So here is a video compilation of our breakfast.

Mooncakes and afternoon tea
This video compilation shows you the afternoon tea (which was just a sandwich and mooncakes), plus a brief glimpse of the gym, and also the swimming pool.  No time for swimming for us, but the pool looked long enough to do decent laps.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Singapore Airlines Singapore to Guangzhou Economy Class Experience Airbus A330

We fly Singapore Airlines!  This time from Singapore to Guangzhou, in Economy.  We take a short holiday to Guangzhou.  On schedule, the flight by Singapore Airlines is 4 hours. SQ flies twice a day to Guangzhou, from Singapore Changi.

The flight we took was SQ850.  See below for a dummy booking.  The price we paid was much lower than $882.50 return (we paid around $350/pax).   If you book early enough, you should be able to get reasonable fares.  The timing of the flight was pretty good too, departing Singapore at 0820 and arriving in Guangzhou at 1220hrs. No time difference between SIN and CAN.

Flight - Singapore to Guangzhou
The flight to Guangzhou was smooth and enjoyable.  The actual flight time was 3hr 40min. It was a morning flight, so breakfast was served.  As usual, I chose the Asian option.  I managed to watch one movie on the flight up - Wonder Woman.  Check out the video below.  There was no crew change in Guangzhou. This meant that the same crew that flew us to Guangzhou, would fly back from Guangzhou to Singapore. 

Flight - Guangzhou to Singapore
Our return flight was equally good.  This time, it was an early afternoon flight.  Again, I chose the Asian food option, which was very nice.  I also had the Singapore sling, and some wine.  I watched one movie on this flight too - Great Wall (Director Zhang Yimou)

Two very good flights on Singapore Airlines. Thanks for watching!