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Monday, July 18, 2016

MAZDA : Mazda 3 AXELA 2017 Facelift

Mazda 3 
2017 Facelift 
Since 2014, Mazda 3 aka "Axela" in Japan, had seen a major facelift with the adoption of the "Spirit of KODO ~ Soul of Motion" design cues and the dawn of "SkyActiv Technology". The facelift saw significant changes to the body form, with the cabin pushed back towards the rear, while extending the hood length, resulting in a silhouette resembling a running cheetah. The front sports a V-shaped ventilation grille flanked by sleek chrome lines, which seemingly allow the 3 to swallow in more air in this natually-aspirated ride. The headlight configuration comes with ocular "eyeballs" with a frowning upper "eyelids" which makes up the DRL. (This DRL design was adopted in other Mazda models, but lately dropped and replaced by a ring around the "eyeball" which is quite a disappointment and outright copy of the Bimmer's "angel eyes".) The cabin also see significant upgrades in terms design, with the utilization of soft touch materials, faux carbon panels and piano-black trims. However, aesthetics were not the highlight of the facelift. The 3 came with a commander-style control unit which works seamlessly with a dash-mounted touchscreen powered by a proprietary Mazda application. The complete package is termed "MZDConnect". If you have tried many stock infotainment systems from other makes, you will find the MZDConnect is closest to Bimmer's, and Mercs' does not even come close. Another significant upgrade is the Heads-Up Display (HUD) which are also typically seen in Bimmers. The HUD projects vital information such as speed and navigation directions on a flip-up panel, in the line of view of the driver.
So what is in the new 2017 facelift?

The front grille has been slightly re-shaped to be wider and more "U" rather than "V". Thicker chrome trims flanking the grille also abruptly stop short before the headlights. The new design is adopted from the Mazda 2 (aka "Demio"). The bumper sports a redesigned fog lamp and indicator lights that are likely powered by LED. 




The rear sees slight touch-up with the addition of a spoiler lip for the sedan.

A V-shaped brake light at the base of the rear bumper is a nice addition to give the 3 a more sporty appearance.

The interior sees minor upgrade with changes to the centre console, which resembles that in Mazda 6 (aka "Atenza"). The cup holders have been upgraded with a retractable cover, flanked by leather sides. The conventional handbrake lever has been dropped and replaced with electronic parking brake. The 3 steering wheel also borrowed some design cues from that of the MX-5 (aka "Miata").

The rest of the dash hasn't really changed much aesthetically. However, with the facelift model, Mazda has implemented the new G-Vectoring Control (GVC) which forms up the SkyActiv Technology. Essentially, the clever engineers behind Mazda had tweaked the handling to reduce the internal inertia, and hence lesser of being thrown side to side within the cabin. This enhances the already engaging "Jinba Ittai" experience, where the vehicle becomes extensions of the driver's body. It is like piloting a Gundam mecha, if you happen to be a fan of the Japanese anime.

The HUD also welcome more graphics and colors, bringing it closer to the Bimmer's offering.


With the 2017 facelift of the Mazda 3, there are subtle aesthetic changes both outside and inside. However, the implementation of G-Vectoring Control is a significant upgrade for the new version.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the 2014 pre-facelift and 2017 facelift of the 3.

My thoughts
The pre-facelift look is sharper and more mean looking, like a fearsome cougar. I prefer the slanted curve above the indicator lights of the pre-facelift rather than a horizontal flat line. Fog lights ought to be huge and bright, hence the former suits my taste. The facelift gives an overall more refined appearance suited for the executive, something like the Mazda 6. I prefer more bad boy look. But the GVC and internal upgrades are welcoming, but will that enhance the Jinbai-Ittai or kill it? I loved the 3 because of its perky and spirited ride, always ready to sprint, throwing me (and the passengers) when cornering with speed and making sharp movements. That puts the "omph" into the driving experience. I am not too certain if the GVC will take that fun away, despite its benefits for a family car. Nevertheless, trusting the Mazda engineers can't be wrong. If you are still concerned about fuel-consumption of a Mazda, you are so out-dated. Mazda SkyActiv Technology has already significantly improved the fuel-consumption to one of the best, in terms of fuel economy. 

What should you buy?
If you are still comparing this to an Altis, you are comparing a Thai-made (for Singapore market) to that rolling out of the fine craftsmanship of the Japanese. Furthermore, Toyota has signed a pact with Mazda in 2015, where Mazda will supply SkyActiv engines to Toyota. That should debunk myths of fuel-consumption woes. However, Honda's Civic facelift may be a game changer.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Hasbro Star Wars The Force Awakens Elite Speeder

Star Wars
The Force Awakens
Hasbro

A preview into the upcoming Star Wars movie. The Elite Speeder Trooper is one cool piece worthy for the keep.

Friday, April 03, 2015

2015 Mazda 6 Facelift Singapore

Mazda 6
2015 Facelift
ATENZA

Mazda 6 was the first among Mazda line-up to get the new Kodo ~ Soul of Motion appearance. Then came Mazda 3 which follow suit with the similar look and came with the latest instrument cluster such as the Mazda Connect and HUD. Today, the Mazda 6 has gained a slight facelift with some new touch up to the exterior as well as the interior to keep up with the Mazda 3 and 2.

The 6 comes with a reworked dash.
Rear air conditioning are always welcomed.
The instrument cluster and remote control steering wheel did not change much from the former.
The new centre console gets major revamp with Sports mode switch, Mazda Commander console and electronic handbrake.
The roller blinds reveal 2 concealed cupholders.
A closer look.
Standard dual zone air conditioning control, same as the 3. Directly under the air conditioning control is a more sleek looking DVD player.
The former 6 has a small touchscreen panel built into the centre console. The new 6 has a whole new touchscreen pop out atop the dash. The new touchscreen is now equipped with the already standard Mazda Connect infotainment system. Push Start-Stop button is shifted to the top of the dash beside the screen.
The 6 also gained the Head-Up Display which made first appearance on the 3.
Mazda 6 gets memory seats.
The front grille has been reworked to give a more classy touch.
The 2015 Mazda 6 facelift still preserves much of the former look. However, it somehow has a less mean look but a much more executive look befit its status.

Are you ready for the facelifted 2015 Mazda 6 ATENZA? 
Visit Mazda showrooms today.

#TransEurokars #MazdaSingapore #Mazda6 #ATENZA #SoulofMotion

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Xiaomi Redmi Note (小米●红米NOTE)

Xiaomi Redmi Note

(小米●红米NOTE)

S$199

Redmi Note is the next Redmi to hit Singapore, along with the revised Snapdragon Redmi 1S. As the name suggests, the Redmi Note is built based on the success of popular phablet Galaxy Note series, except without the styles. Once again, Xiaomi has made the Redmi Note the bang for the buck. At retail S$199, there is really no phone that beat that price. When I say no phone, I meant no other phones in the same category and specifications. Why so? The specifications tell it all.

  • 1.7 GHz MT6592 Octa-Core (8) Processor 
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM 
  • 8GB Memory
  • Up to 32GB expandable microSD
  • 5.5 Inch HD IPS Touchscreen Display
  • Dual SIM
  • 13 MP BSI CMOS Rear Camera With LED Flash 
  • 5MP BSI CMOS Front Camera
  • 3G
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • FM Radio
  • 3100 MAh Battery
At such specifications, it is even better than the Samsung Galaxy Note II and sets itself up against the likes of the Note 3.
As with Redmi, Danny joins us for the review once again.

Unpacking the Redmi Note
Included in the box is a user guide, battery and micro-USB cable.
The Redmi Note looks exactly like the Redmi , except in a larger 5.5-inch display and form.
However, the touch buttons at the bottom row lights up unlike the Redmi.
As with all Redmi devices, support of dual-SIM is a standard.
Note that the SIM are standard SIM size. If you are switching from micro-SIM, Xiaomi provides 2 free adaptors.

In the hands
Here is how the Xiaomi phablet looks in the hands.

Size Comparison
Here is how the Redmi Note matches up in size to the Galaxy Note 3.
Not much difference between the 5.5 and 5.7-incher.

Pimp my Redmi Note
The first thing to do is to pimp the Redmi Note with a snazzy tempered explosion-proof glass screen protector and a jelly case.
This cheap case comes with built-in port dust covers.
Fitted with the explosion-proof screen protector glass. Like the name of that, though i doubt in anyway the device will blow up.

Size Comparison
Here is the Redmi Note with the Xiaomi 10800mAh Powerbank.
Do it with the Danboards and friends.

Camera Performance
Here are some indoor and outdoor sample photos from the Redmi Note 13MP BSI CMOS rear camera.
It will be interesting to see how how the Redmi Note 13MP camera matches up to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 13MP camera.
Here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 version:
Here is the Redmi Note version:
Here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 version:
It is apparant that the Redmi Note lens is slightly wider at 28mm, compared to that of Note 3 (31mm).
In terms of IQ, sharing on social media and printing on small prints, there is hardly much difference. However, in terms of burst performance, the Note 3 camera does perform faster.

Redmi Note comes with a nifty 5MP BSI CMOS front camera, but does it really makes it a better selfie phone? No selfies here, but a comparison against the 2MP front camera on the Note 3.
Here is the Redmi Note version:
Here is the Samsung Galaxy 3 version:
Interestingly, the Redmi Note image is mirror image. Nevertheless, in terms of IQ, 5MP does not necessary give a much better photo compared to the 2MP on the Note 3. However, having more resolution does give you some room to crop and resize to get better sharpness. Then again, who edits selfies to such extent?

Verdict
In conclusion, Redmi Note is an extremely good phone at the price tag of S$199. Clearly, nothing can beat that. I strongly recommend the Redmi Note for those who do not want to recontract their contracts and need a steady smartphone to take you through your day to day use and some serious gaming as well.
Nevertheless, the Redmi Note is only a 3G phone, which means that you may have to live with slower internet speed, especially we are already pampered by the speed of 4G/LTE. This may not be good for those who do not require heavy downloading, updating or HD streaming, but good enough to load email attachments, check social media updates, app chats and maybe internet radio. 
If you can wait, you may consider waiting for the 4G variant of Redmi Note, which was announced a few days ago. The 4G variant is a Snapdragon quad-core processor and micro-SDXC (64GB) support. Going by the trending of Redmi prices in Singapore, there is possibility that Redmi Note 4G variant will be at S$199 as well! However, Xiaomi might set a slightly higher price benchmark for 4G devices while keeping its 3G variants. Then again, with Telcos starting to charge 4G as a VAS, not everyone might be too keen to keep the 4G. 
If you are keen to get yourself a Redmi Note, grab it via official Xiaomi Singapore website during their flash sales.

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