TechTalk: JBL Under Armour Bluetooth Wireless Earphones

MEDIA INVITE

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the TechTalk, the newly added section on this blog for the technology geeks where you will find honest reviews on the latest gadgets and accessories in the market. Most of these posts will be contributed by my boyfriend, Alphonsus Neo, who is an absolute technology enthusiast. With years of experience in the telecommunication industry, he lives and breathes technology and definitely knows his stuff. so Enjoy!

An invitation was extended to me by JBL a while back as a contributor of this blog to test out their latest offering – the Under Armour Bluetooth wireless earphones. For the uninitiated, Under Armour is an American sports clothing and accessories company that is very popular among athletes for its high quality shirts that helps to keep them cool and dry even after an intense work out.

JBL x Under Armour Headphones Wireless

JBL x Under Armour Headphones Wireless

Fitness buffs definitely should rejoice because Under Armour has joined hands with JBL to create the perfect pair of Bluetooth earphones that is compatible for both iOS and Android users hoping to listen to some music while they exercise. Perfect may seem a strong word to use but trust me, despite some of my gripes that I will share along the way, this product is definitely a beauty and a keeper!

Just look at the packaging, the bright red screams to you as you walk pass it along the aisle.

Pick me! You know you want to!

Pick me! You know you want to!

If the packaging can be an indication of how well made a product is, then the Under Armour Wireless definitely does not disappoint. It reminded me of the packaging of a MacBook Pro, which is not an easy feat by far.

So the packaging looks great, so what? Let’s get into the nitty gritty details that all of you out there are looking for.

For starters, it is extremely light weight which is great because the last thing you need while exercising is a pair of earphones tugging on your ears. The Under Amour Wireless comes with TwistLockTM Technology that helps to keep the earphones snugged tightly into your ears while you run on a treadmill or climbing a mountain. Unlike conventional earphones which you directly insert into your ears, the Under Amour Wireless is placed at a slightly 45 degrees angle at the entrance of your ear before turning it in a clockwise direction to ‘lock’ the earphones securely in. It did feel slightly uncomfortable initially because admittedly, it takes some practice to get the technique right. But once you have mastered it, it stays in your ear! I tried to shake and tilt my head vigorously left and right but it still wouldn’t budge, if I tried to shake my head any harder I am sure I would have to wear a neck brace for a couple of weeks.

The Under Armour Wireless’ cord between the earbuds measures just slightly over 30 cm which might not sound incredibly long, but it gets the job done as it doesn’t impede head movement at all. After all, this is a sports earphones which means that long dangling wires are a big no-no. Does anyone know the feeling when earphone wires starts to get slimy and the condition of the wires deteriorate because of the sweat? Well, the Under Amour Wireless so far hasn’t presented this problem during the weeks of testing because of its IPX5 sweat proof feature. Of course, you still have to be conscientious and do your part in ensuring you wipe off the sweat after each exercise session. Don’t be too overly worried that tugging constantly at the wires as you clean may cause it to become dislodged as during the product briefing, it was shared that the Under Amour Wireless was made to be as rugged as possible which meant all the connections were reinforced to prevent that from happening.

Earphones

Earphones

But the real test for any pair of earphones is not how well it can withstand wear and tear, but its sound quality. And boy does it deliver, JBL has graciously included a solid pair of 5.88 mm dynamic drivers into the Under Armour Wireless. It definitely will not disappoint those who are looking for a pair of earphones with enough bass to help them power through a 10 km run that’s for sure. However, for those who are looking for noise cancellation features, move along because these earphones are not meant for you because the good folks at Under Armour and JBL have the common sense not to include this feature in a pair of sports earphones. Now, the last thing you would want is a pair of sports earphones that cancels out all ambience noise such as the horn of a car that is about to hit you because you were not paying attention while you were running.

3-button mic

3-button mic

The Under Amour Wireless also comes with a pretty standard 3-button mic which allows you to control tracks, volume and calls easily without the need for you to whip out your phone. If you decide that the Under Armour Wireless is your cup of tea, this will set you back $289. This might seem like a hefty amount but if you do your homework, you will also realise that similar earphones by other reputable brands costing around the same price range. However the key difference is the brands behind the product. With Under Armour’s unique experience in understanding the needs of athletes as well as JBL’s brand name for delivering quality speakers, you will be hard-pressed to find another brand in the market that can fully understand the needs of athletes. If it is any comfort, the Under Armour Wireless Bluetooth earphones also come with a 12 month premium membership for MapMyFitness that is available on both iOS and Android app stores.

Core features

Core features

Thanks for reading!

Indulge in the Sounds of Luxury with Harman Kardon, AKG & JBL

MEDIA INVITE

Listen up, audiophiles!

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CD galore!

If you’ve been to places like the Yankee Stadium and the iconic Beijing National Stadium for concerts, chances are you would have been awed by the incredibly high-quality sound system. But unknown to many, such superior sound quality can also be heard in enclosed places like in cars especially if you’re riding in an Audi, a BMW, Subaru, Hyundai or Chrysler, just to name a few. They may sound slightly different from one another due to the disparity in location size but ultimately they still sound insanely good to the ears.

That’s because all these venues and automobile manufacturers use HARMAN, the mastermind behind leading audio brands including JBL, AKG and Harman Kardon which are also used by international artistes like Kanye West, Maroon 5, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park (MY LUV!) and Kelly Clarkson in the studio and on stage.

In fact, if you have never heard of HARMAN (and the 7 highly-acclaimed audio brands under its belt), then you have not heard everything, literally. Apart from the voice of the artiste playing in your ears, the song lyrics and the main instrumental melody in the background, can you hear each and every bass and rhythmic note with your current headphones? Does it give you crisp and natural-sounding music that makes you feel like you’re at a live performance? And does it produce acoustic music that sounds so soulful and surreal, it serenades your soul and sends chills down your spine? If none of the above resonates with you, boy are you losing out a lot!

(Sadly, I was subconsciously describing what my earpiece can’t do too, boohoo)

With Harman Kardon, AKG and JBL, you get only the best sounds, so good that even Mozart would be proud.

harman-Mozart

Of course, I wouldn’t dare say that every product under Harman Kardon, AKG and JBL is rave-worthy (don’t want to risk getting slaughtered by you tech-geeks). But have you seen their latest range of portable speakers? I had the heaven-sent opportunity (since I’ve been on a lookout for better speakers as my current ones are spoiling and very unfortunately I fall into the stereotype of females who are completely clueless about technology) to experience them for myself at the recent HARMAN media event by IMS Marketing and wow, I was totally blown away by the loud-crystal clear sound projected by these small, innocuous-looking things that left my jaw hanging throughout the demo!

Here’s what I saw:

JBL (Smart Series III)

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Charge it, flip it, clip it. Fuel your passion for music!

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JBL Clip Plus (RRP S$99)

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Small but powerful – these disc-like speakers can project sounds SO loud, it puts my home speakers to shame. It’s meant to be “clipped” onto your bicycle so that you cyclists can enjoy good music on the move for up to 5 hours!

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JBL FLIP 3 (RRP S$179) – full-featured splashproof portable speaker with powerful sound in a compact form. It fits perfectly into the bottle cage attached to your bicycle! 🙂

Captain-Jack-Sparrow

It actually means this…

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HELLLLLL NOOO how cool is this?! (featuring JBL Xtreme, S$439)

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JBL Charge 2+ (RRP S$279) – another splashproof portable speaker but with 6000mAH rechargeable battery!

My Dad was gifted a JBL Charge 2+ recently and judging from his incessant music playbacks (kinda irritated by his poor choice of music but aiya, what to do?), I can vouch how long-lasting the battery life is! And the sound is just flawless.

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JBL Pulse II (RRP S$329) – 10-hour battery with custom LED light show that acts like a visualiser and changes according to the music tempo

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So preeetzz! I think ABBA’s Dancing Queen was playing 😀

All the products above come with Social Mode which you can use to connect up to 3 music sources so that everyone in your clique gets a chance to play their favourite tunes. All JBL portable speakers can also be wirelessly connected via Bluetooth to one another so as to amplify the volume of the music played.

Harman Kardon

While it’s quite obvious that JBL exudes energetic and youthful vibes, Harman Kardon takes on a different personality and goes for the elegant and sophisticated feel.

harman-kardon-esquire-mini

Esquire Mini (RRP S$269) – an sleek and chic speaker that doubles as a conference phone system with dual-microphone and built-in echo and noise cancellation technology for superb sound and USB access to recharge your favourite devices. This all-in-one (speaker/phone system/microphone/portable charger) speaker has battery that can last for up to 8 hours

This product wasn’t showcased at the event so I didn’t get to see or test it out myself. But people who are well-versed in the audiomotive market should know that Harman Kardon (and other brands of HARMAN as a matter of fact) would never compromise on quality. After all, Harman Kardon had bagged quite a number of awards, including some iF Design Awards for its Esquire Mini 🙂

AKG

I’d think that AKG is a hybrid of JBL and Harman Kardon because some of the products under its line can be both stylish and sporty at the same time, like this stunner:

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AKG N90Q (RRP S$2199, yup it’s 贵的咯) – gold headphones that listen to your ears. It has sound so realistic, the only barrier is the headphone itself

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Inspired by the Grammy Award winning producer Quincy Jones, this state-of-the-art, flagship level headphone represents the pinnacle in acoustic performance and audio customisation. It features TruNote technology, Tone Control (full control of adjustment sound signature). Stage Control (three spatial listening modes), Patented ergonomic design, USB and HD audio and a built-in DAC.

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Enjoying 5 seconds of premium sound with dual foam cushions and ear cup mounted controls (I swear my ears felt so comfortable) as well as active noise cancelling technologies. Love it so much leh. Why is it so goddamn expensive? 😦

And also not forgetting the hand-selected audio gift set I received from the event organisers:

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AKG Y23 ear headphone and Y40 mini headset

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Thank you so much, IMS Marketing! Boyfriend has been eyeing on the headset ever since. -_-

And that’s about it from HARMAN! 🙂 Did anything catch your eye? I’ll most probably be getting one of those JBL speakers to replace my current ones. Which one would you recommend? Leave me a comment below!

Thanks for reading! ❤

JBL | Harman Kardon | AKG

P/S: If you haven’t realised, this post is so full of puns, I love it.

Nara Thai @ ION Orchard + The Entertainer App

MEDIA INVITE

Hello guys!

What comes to your mind when you think of Bangkok? Being a shopping haven for both locals and foreigners, it’s inevitable to think about all the trendy apparels and accessories you can get at a bargain price at the Land of Smiles. For me, I get reminded of the food carts that line the streets of Bangkok and I still miss them fondly even though I haven’t set foot in that city for almost 5 years (due to my preference to travel to somewhere different and further for my annual trip). However, these foods are somehow not really common in Singapore (not sophisticated and restaurant-quality enough?). Hence, whenever my craving for Thai food kicks in, I’d usually settle for safer choices like Green Curry (kaeng khiao wan), Tom Yam, Phad Thai or Pineapple Fried Rice and (the obligatory) Mango Sticky Rice for dessert which often are signature dishes and will never go wrong at local Thai restaurants.

But even the nicest food gets bland after awhile. And surely there is more to Thai food than these few mainstream dishes as evident from what I saw at Bangkok. If so, where can I find them in Singapore?

As if to answer my thoughts, Nara Thai introduced a new and refreshed menu inspired by Bangkok’s famed grilled street food! Thai food lovers like myself are in for a treat with 15 new dishes ranging from $7.90 for the Ma Muang Khara Mel (Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce) to S$88.90 for the Ruam Mit Talay Yang (Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter).

我像不像泰国妹?

Nara Thai Cuisine Singapore | 我像不像泰国妹? 😀

First opened at ION Orchard in September 2013, Nara Thai is a restaurant where anybody with a passion for good food can enjoy authentic Thai Cuisine in a relaxed ambience with good service. Named one of Singapore Tatler’s best restaurants from 2007 to 2014, it is known for its Kuay Tiew Rua (Boat Noodles) and Phunim Phad Pong Karee (Stir-fried Softshell Crab with Yellow Curry) while serving a la carte dishes that are derived from authentic recipes which have been adapted into a modern context.

Diners can expect the following dishes from their refreshed menu:

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice (S$2)

My low-carb diet took a backseat that evening because I was so intrigued by the rice colour. But to be honest, this blue rice tasted just like any basic white rice – plain but fragrant and fluffy. However, what makes it so unique (apart from the colour) is its health benefits. Steamed with dried an chan (Thai for Butterfly Pea Flower, from which the rice inherits the blue colour), it is laden with powerful antioxidants and is also said to treat depression, soothe the heart-mind, relieve stomach and menstrual cramps and known to be beneficial for healthy hair growth (source). So ladies, go easy on your diet and enjoy your plate of Blue Jasmine Rice with the rest of your dishes! 🙂

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Gai Tord Gra Tiem | Crispy Fried Chicken with Garlic (S$10.90)

Not really the highlight of the dinner but the chicken was entirely boneless (awesome!) and really tender. Plus, it was cut in nice proportions thus making sharing very easy at my table for four. The fried garlic (although I don’t fancy fried garlic at all) gave the chicken, which skin was already very crispy, an extra crunch.

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Moo Yang Jim Jaew | Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip (S$13.90)

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

I don’t know why Singaporean Chinese love anything pork – pork leg, pork belly, pork tenderloin but never (or seldom) pork neck! Pork neck is actually very popular in Thailand and a lot less fatty as compared to pork belly. It has the perfect balance of fat, muscle and tender flesh. It actually tasted very delicious and soft with the right amount of saltiness and went especially well with the Tamarind dip which was sweet and refreshing to the palate! One of the top favourites among the bloggers present that evening, it was also the first to empty on the table.

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Kai Jiew Cha Om | Cha Om Omelette (S$12.90)

Cha Om is the feathery shoots of a shrub called Acacia penneta and it emits a revolting smell in its raw form (like stink beans/臭豆 argh) but miraculously disappears when it’s cooked. Apparently, it’s very common for Cha Om to be fried with beaten eggs in Thailand and Myanmar, giving you the above Cha Om Omelette! I call it the Thai version of our Fuyong omelette. It’s a very homely dish widely prepared in Thailand and definitely very tasty 🙂 Best eaten with the chilli sauce served with it!

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Ruam Mit Talay Yang | Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter (S$88.90)

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Grilled whole squid

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Mussels

The platter, good for two to three (but in my case it was for four, so the actual one should be of relatively smaller portion), was a combination of 5 different seafood that are also sold a la carte – Pla Kra Pong Yang (Street-style Grilled Whole Sea Bass), Kung Yang (Black Pepper Tiger Prawns), grilled whole squid, skewered scallops and mussels with chili lime marinate. Squid was a little too dry for my liking but I really enjoyed the succulent scallops and fleshy butterflied Tiger Prawns which were coated with a generous layer of crushed black peppercorns and minced garlic! Shiok. Mussels were great and tangy too!

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Pla Kra Pong Yang | Street-Style Grilled Whole Sea bass with Thai Herbs (S$32.90)

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Lemongrass removed from the Sea bass

The street-style grilled Sea bass is stuffed with lemongrass (as can be seen from the picture above), kaffir lime and galangar and subsequently slow-cooked on the grill. Every fish served at Nara Thai, including this Sea bass, is handpicked by the chef personally at Jurong Fishery Port during wee hours of the morning everyday to ensure optimal freshness. Indeed, the Sea bass (which also happens to be my favourite type of fish, whoopie!) I had was really tender and aromatic. To my bewilderment, the crispy skin isn’t meant to be eaten at all so it was a little stiff and hard to tear (still safe to eat nonetheless if you get fragments of it on the flesh).

Finally, a signature Thai dessert to end a splendid meal.

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Ma Muang Khara Mel | Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce (S$7.90)

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Coconut ice cream topped with basil sauce

The coconut ice cream tasted exactly the same as the one found along the streets of Bangkok but with a subtle dash of basil sauce to give it some zest that wasn’t too overpowering. The mango was absolutely fresh and sweet too! I just wish that we were served individual portions of this awesome dessert instead of having to share haha 😛

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With my +1 for the event!

Thanks Nara Thai and Originally Us for having me at the food tasting session 🙂

And that’s all for my review!

But hold on, if you’re planning to try out the food I’ve featured, do read on because I have another awesome recommendation for you guys!

theentertainerlogo

Do you fancy some 1-for-1 food offers? If you do, you have to check out The Entertainer! Some of you might have already heard of The Entertainer book which contains a truckload of 1-for-1 vouchers at the hottest restaurants, spas, leisure (yes, overseas hotels included!), beauty, fitness centres and international renowned hotels (and when I mean the hottest, I mean well-known ones like Spruce, Yoshinoya, Marble Slab and many more!), available for sale at selected bookstores. If you’re more of a techie than a bibliophile, you will be pleased to know that The Entertainer is now available as an app!

theentertainer2

Like the book, the app has over 1000 one-for-one deals but with new offers added through the year. You can expect savings totaling over S$89,000 from the app and what’s more, it’s completely free for 14 days! Of course, if you’d like to know more irresistible 1-for-1 deals within the trial period, you can make an in-app purchase of just S$60 (discount code below) to unlock them all 1000+ of them at once! 🙂 Do the math and realise how much you will save with the upgrade! Trial ended? No worries, you can still do so after the 14 days.

theentertainer3

Full users (those who paid S$60) get to enjoy 1-for-1 main course deals* at Nara Thai, one of the participating merchants. Every merchant comes with 3 buy-one-get-one-free coupons (mostly for main course for food deals) and the most amazing thing is that they are not restricted to one per product purchase! In fact, you can even combine ALL 3 in one transaction for a party of 6 (omg why wasn’t I introduced to this app earlier when I was having my internship?!). Once you have used up all 3, you can actually get more by trading coupons with your friends! All coupons are valid for the entire year excluding eves of and public holidays (weekends OK!). It’s fuss-free and really easy to use 🙂

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*1-for-1 Main Menu Item at Nara Thai. This includes appetizers, drinks and desserts. Do take note if you’re planning to use this offer for your main course (i.e. don’t order anything else)!

The app is available for download at theentertainerme.com or via your appstore (Android/iTunes) while the book retails at S$75 at selected bookstores. If you’re getting the full version on your phone, do quote “2015ALVIN” upon purchase to enjoy a 10% discount!

Have fun and thanks for reading! 🙂

Nara Thai Cuisine (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-21
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6634 5787
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

Nara Thai Cuisine (Westgate)
3 Gateway Drive
#03-07
Singapore 608532
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

E-mail | Website | Facebook

3 Ways to Earn Money Online

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my new blog layout! I figured the previous one was a little too pink and juvenile so I decided to change to a neater and more neutral-themed one. I absolutely love how my pictures appear larger in my posts and how the font is more readable now. I know my header (copied from my previous layout) now screams for a lot of attention *embarrassed* so I’m gonna change it soon. Just bear with me in the meantime and scroll down immediately to my first post once you’re on the page next time haha. Oh and you’re not required to click “Continue reading” to view the whole post already. Yay or nay? :\

The purpose of this entry is to share with you guys a few ways to earn some quick bucks on the net or on the go. You can read this entry wholly with confidence because this is NOT an advertorial thus everything here is completely objective. I have personally visited these sites and downloaded these Apps and most of them did pay me some cash hehe. Being the generous person I am, I want to share the good stuff with everyone! However you need to possess these qualities for the plan to work: contentment, perseverance and a whole lot of patience. You’ll understand why as you read.

No, you don’t have to be popular to make money if getting endorsements is what you’re thinking about. These platforms are accessible by anyone of all ages (preferably at least 13 years old) and are totally free. In other words, you don’t have to fork out a single cent for registration or anything at all. Instead, they pay you for your work. How awesome is that? Of course, the process can be a little tedious but rather than spending time on Facebook and whatnot, why not use the time to do something more productive that could possibly get you some side cash, right?  🙂

Most payments are made through Paypal online by the way, so do ensure that you have a Paypal account before you claim your money.

1. Take online surveys

I know, I know. Singaporeans shun pollsters on the streets so why would anyone do surveys online? Simple, you get to earn points for every survey you complete and these points accumulate to get you the cash. There are plenty of Singapore-based survey sites and my advice is to register for as many of them as possible (first evaluate whether they are legit). This is because you may not qualify demographically for certain surveys you are invited to participate in. Registering for more sites widens your chances of getting more surveys. The more you do, the more points you earn and the faster you can cash out your money. Other than taking surveys, some of such sites may also give you points (and it’s usually a lot) when you invite friends to join the portal. They will be given a unique URL linked to your account and the points are immediately credited to you upon their registration. But please, seek consent from your friends before doing so. Don’t be a spammer.

Here are some survey sites I highly recommend:
(some are linked to my referral URL if you’re interested to participate)

i. iPanelOnline

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What I like about this site is that its full surveys are usually tagged with a lot of points ranging from 100 to as high as 900 depending on the their length. However those with incredibly high points hit their quotas very quickly and are usually meant for working professionals (you can work your way around that *wink*) so I hardly ever get to take them. There are also quick surveys available for you to earn some points (5 points each) when no full ones are available.

 

My current points

My earnings

The minimum amount of points to cash out is 500 for S$5 (click here for prize redemption list) and trust me, it’s achievable though it’d take you at least a month. So far I have already earned S$20 from iPanel (excluding the S$9 in my account currently) and I offset one of my online shopping bills with it  😀  You would receive at least an invitation each day but you gotta be fast before the slots are snagged up. I don’t advise clicking on the survey link in the email because every time I do, the points don’t get credited to me so perhaps going directly to the portal is a better and safer way. However, as suggested earlier, most companies look for a specific demographics in their surveys thus if you do not fit into their parameters, you will be kicked out midway through the survey (usually during the screening stage).  iPanelonline would still reward you some points (1~5) for your effort.

ii. Ann and Kate

ann-kate-logoLike iPanel, Ann and Kate has many surveys for you to take each day albeit tagged with lower points at 5 on average (small-scale surveys). The ones with higher points (>100 points) are usually experiential surveys which require you to post pictures or give detailed responses about your day-to-day activities but that don’t come very often. Besides, with just 5 points tagged to most surveys, it takes a relatively longer time to be able to cash out your points because the minimum amount you must have to do so is 500 for S$5 (click here for prize redemption list). I was pretty active there for about 2 months and I only managed to earn 197 points. Then, I kinda gave up HAHA. So unless you have a lot of extra time to spare, I suggest to devote more time to iPanelonline instead.

iii. MySurvey

MysurveyI earned my points from MySurvey through referrals (shamelessly invited my boyfriend and mother – that’s how I got my first S$10) because firstly, they don’t have much surveys to begin with (or they probably do, just that I’m not informed through email  -_- ) and secondly, they actually reward more through their referral programme. On top of that, if you’re really desperate for money you can suggest a mini poll question. If your suggestion is selected, you get 250 points! But that depends on your luck.

mysurvey-main

 

iv. Toluna

tolunaI like Toluna’s interface – it’s neat and user-friendly! Most importantly, it rewards newly-registered users 500 points immediately. You will also be prompted to take 5 surveys about yourself and very easily, an additional 255 points is yours! Have more time to spare? Take profile surveys and earn 100 points for every one you complete! There are A LOT of them so hitting 2000 points on your first day of registration is possible 🙂 However to cash out the minimum sum of S$10, you need at least 20000 points. No points will be given if you refer a friend so I guess points are purely earned through surveys.

I’m still pretty new to this site so I’m not sure about the frequency of the surveys but I haven’t gotten any invitations so far since my registration 3 days ago. That could also be due to my incomplete profile which possibly failed to warrant me any survey.

v. AIP

aip-logoThis is another site which I was recently introduced to and I’ve already received quite a number of invites! Unfortunately I’ve been really busy lately to do a lot so I’m still stuck with 2 “EPoints” earned from completing my first 2 surveys. As far as I know, AIP rewards only ONE point for each survey and you can only redeem these points for vouchers (NTUC and more – great for housewives). Yes, it’s really meagre, but you only need 150 points to redeem. That’s 150 surveys; it’s not that difficult to achieve as compared to some sites mentioned above if you ask me!

In general, you’d need to spend a much longer time on surveys before you could see cash in your bank. BUT if you’re determined enough, it WILL happen! So don’t give up, yeah?


2. Participate in consumer research

This includes “tryvertisements” and focus groups and these platforms are, no doubt, a faster way to earn quick cash. Incentives range from cash ($80 and above) to vouchers but such opportunities don’t come by often. You have to wait ’til you are chosen by the research company and this usually takes weeks. Meanwhile, why not occupy yourselves with some surveys from sites mentioned above? 😛

I’m sure many people would associate “tryvertising” platforms with samplestore.com but I personally don’t like it because it’s not entirely free. I have an account with SampleStore but I haven’t really utilised it so far because meh, you still have to pay a handling charge (unless it’s sponsored). Like surveys, I strongly believe that one shouldn’t be paying to voice her opinion (and indirectly promoting the brand on her blog) so if I have to pay for something that is supposedly free, I’m out!

But I have better platforms for you girls and guys alike if you love trying new products!

i. SYRES Singapore

logo_syresSYRES is a French research company founded in 1995 that carries out consumer tests on behalf of leading skincare and cosmetic corporations across the globe. They had conducted several beauty tests for products such as mascara, loose powder, eyeliner and lip gloss. To join, you’d need to fill out an enrolment form that asks about your skin type so you can trust that the products given to you are suitable for your skin. My skin is rather sensitive but so far, no breakouts at all.

I can be considered one of the lucky few to have been selected thrice for mascara and a lip product altogether since my enrolment in February and honestly, these samples (full-sized by the way) are REALLY GOOD. Even after the test had concluded, I still continued using the mascara because it has such thin wand for precise application and it really volumises my lashes. Even though the brands are not known to you, you can be sure that they’re from reputable brands. If you really like the product, you can ask for the brand name a few months after the test.

If you’re chosen for the test, they’d give you a call. Collection of product is done at SYRES’ Ngee Ann City office, usually either on Monday or Tuesday between 12pm to 8pm. The test usually lasts for a month (I was given a one-week test period for my liquid lipstick though) and you have to complete at least 1 set of questionnaire during use.

The best part? You get paid for your participation. Not in cash, but with two $10 Takashimaya vouchers, also from their office about 1-2 weeks after the test. I have already received 6 pieces so far! I’m sure you can buy something with $60 from Takashimaya. Otherwise, you can always sell them away since Takashimaya vouchers never expire.

And nope, this isn’t just for the ladies. GUYS, especially the metrosexuals, who are interested to try beauty products (for men of course) can also enroll here. For more information, you can visit SYRES’ Facebook page 🙂

ii. InFocus Group

infocus-logoInFocus pays respondents to share their opinions and thoughts about products, services and a wide coverage of topics through focus groups and they usually work with market research firms.

I haven’t personally worked with InFocus because their session timings always clash with my schedule and most of the time I don’t fit their criteria (as their projects are usually for older people) so I am not entirely sure how trustworthy they are. They release new projects once every few months and they seem legit though. I guess as long as you don’t have to pay a single cent, you should be fine. Their Facebook page has over 1800 likes to date.

In case you’re not familiar with the term “focus group”, here’s a definition from Google:

focus group
noun

a group of people assembled to participate in a discussion about a product before it is launched, or to provide feedback on a political campaign, television series, etc.

Incentives for participation are a lot higher than taking surveys. You can get paid between S$40 to S$100 per hour just by sharing your opinion! Boyfriend joined a focus group once for KFC (not through InFocus though) and all he needed to do was to eat 3 pieces of fried chicken, and then share his feedback. For that, he was paid S$80! How cool is that?!


3. Download Apps that pay

Apps that pay you for using them aren’t new in the market. The first paid App I know is probably PhewTick, one that lets users earn money by scanning generated QR codes, but it has closed in 2013 along with the points I earned -_- Ever since then, this tactic has become pretty common nowadays, especially in the U.S., to entice people to join them. Some Apps got their money from advertisers while others are probably funded through investments. Regardless of the source, I think it’s a brilliant way to keep the App going and encourage users to actively contribute to it.

There are quite a number of sites that provide a list of Apps that pay users, but most of them are usually catered to Canadian or American users. So here is my very own (short) list 🙂

i. Flitto

Download: [iOS] [Android]

flitto-logoFlitto is a Korean startup that uses crowdsourcing to get fast and accurate translation in 17 different languages. For every correct translation you make, you earn a certain number of points. Once you have accumulated at least 50,000P/points, you can cash out US$25 via Paypal. Of course, unless you’re extremely multilingual, you gotta wait a long time before you can even see three zeros LOL. There’s a report on an Indonesian girl who earned US$300 a month just by translating from Bahasa Indonesia to English and vice versa. I’m like her, only fluent in English and Mandarin (traditional and simplified) but I get requests like, once in a blue moon 😦 Perhaps because most Chinese are fluent in English as well. I currently have 370P in my account since my join date on 23 July 2014.

Also, you have to be VERY quick in your translation because once the best gets pick, no more translation will be submitted to the system. The points (usually 50P) will be awarded to the one who did the chosen translation. If no translation is picked, I think some points will still be awarded to you within 48 hours (I’m not entirely sure about that).

You can also use your points to request for a translation. This can be done by typing, recording an audio or snapping a picture (of a sign in a foreign country, for example). A very helpful tool if you’re travelling to a foreign land and you don’t understand their language. Google Translate isn’t as accurate as human-generated translations too.

ii. Sqkii

Download: [Closed Beta] not launched yet

sqkii-logoFounded by an NTU Business student, it is an App that rewards mobile users cold hard cash for looking at sales promotional advertisements (a.k.a. squibs) that they find useful. Users are awarded random amount ranging from $0.0001 to $10 worth of credit points each time they look at a squib for 10 seconds or more. These credit points can be cashed out via Paypal once a user accumulates $10 worth of points. [Yahoo]

The App is not launched yet but I had an early access to their closed beta test. It’s pretty simple – all you need to do is to swipe through pages of ads and you’re automatically rewarded points. You can do it when you’re on the train or bus.. or even when you’re answering nature’s call. Hehe. I stopped using it after awhile though since it’s only a beta version, but I definitely see myself using it more often once it’s launched! Meanwhile, you may like their Facebook page for more updates 🙂

iii. Carousell

Download: [iOS] [Android]

carousell-logoAs an active user and reviewer of Carousell, I believe this feature comes as no surprise to many of you. Nevertheless, it deserves a spot in this post because you can still technically earn money by selling your unwanted stuff (which may be gifted to you thus you make no loss in the end). It eases the inconvenience of having to set up a booth at a flea to sell your items but of course, transactions are closed slower when not dealt face-to-face. With just a push of a button, and perhaps a short description and a filter for your picture, your item is put up on sale. For a more detailed review of Carousell, do check out my post here.

Carousell is where you can see many budding entrepreneurs. Many people actually ship over products not found in Singapore and sell them at a price higher than what they originally paid. Children as young as 12 years old are also using the platform to sell trendy stuff and earn a side income.

iv. FreeMyApps

Download: [iOS] [Android]

392705_209164442494452_1159549504_nFreeMyApps is a platform for you to earn gift cards effortlessly. All you need to do is download the Apps (most of them are games) recommended on FreeMyApps, open them and keep them running for 30 seconds. Even if the App requires your registration, just leave it. You really don’t have to do anything else to earn the credits. Once you’re done with the App, you can just uninstall it and install the next (if you’ve space constraints). You only need to accumulate at least 3000 points (not difficult at all as each App typically carries over 100 points, some with 350 points or more) to redeem a $10 iTunes or Google Play gift card. Of course, there are more rewards than just a $10 gift card. Check out their website for more information.

By the way, some of the surveys I mentioned above also have their own Apps! 🙂


And that’s all I have for this section! I feel that it’s due to the small market here that we don’t have as many Apps like that as compared to the U.S. They even have Apps like Gigwalk that pays for completing specific tasks (like walking into a store and recording down something), AppTrailers which rewards for watching movie previews of Apps and GymPact which pays users for working out (but penalises every time you miss a session)! OMG, not fair! Why don’t we have such stuff here?!

Singapore App developers, why you no create Apps that pay users to run and eat healthy!? I swear I will be fit and slim in no time as I will run diligently every single day, rain or shine. So will many people in this country. Haha. Maybe can get HPB to endorse/sponsor also hor. Not a bad idea right?

If you know of any sites or Apps that offer money, please feel free to share them with me (askme@fionaseah.com) or leave your comments below! Nobody will say “no” to more money-making opportunities, right? 😀

Thanks for reading anyway, and talk to you guys next time! ❤

Review on Carousell

This is NOT a sponsored post.

HEY FELLOW SHOPAHOLICS! I’m sorry if this took ages to be up (if anyone is even waiting for it) because it’s a hassle to take screen shots on my slow phone!

As promised many posts ago (actually not really since I didn’t really update very often), this is my review on my favourite shopping app as of now, Carousell! I exceeded the data usage bundle in my plan during the first few months of using Carousell because you really don’t want to miss any great deals (you have no idea how fast a great deal can be snapped up).

Let me start with a brief introduction of Carousell. As many of you would have known from my first Carousell blog post, it’s a mobile app for shopping available on Android and iOS. Sadly, it’s only applicable in Singapore and Malaysia since most of the sellers there reside in these 2 countries. However some (a minority though) do provide international shipping so, rejoice! If you’re lucky enough to encounter buyers who practise international shipping, you can pay through Paypal. I do have to warn you, though, that we’re very wary of buyers from countries further than Malaysia because of possible frauds. One blacklisted country would be Nigeria because, you know, the only word you’d associate Nigeria with is “scam”. True enough, quite a number of Carousell users were swindled out of expensive branded goods that were worth hundreds of dollars and duped by fake Paypal payment confirmation emails (what’s new?).

On Carousell, you can be a buyer, seller or both. I started out as more of a seller but I gradually got too lazy to measure my apparels so now I buy more instead. There is a camera function on Carousell where you can just snap pictures (4 maximum), add a short description and post! There are many lurkers on the app so don’t be surprised to receive offers at ungodly hours like 5am.

Adding on to the roles on Carousell are traders. Traders, as the name suggests, simply trade their items for other items listed by other users. They hardly purchase because they are self-proclaimed “poor”. I am perfectly alright with trading but sometimes you just gotta admit that it can get really annoying to keep getting trade requests especially when you have already stated “NO TRADES” on your listings. On top of that, their items are not very appealing either -_- No offence traders but, please learn to read okay before you get on my nerves. *shakes fists*

What are “trades“?

This is one of the most common questions asked by people who are new to this whole online shopping world. Basically, to trade means to swap, and in this case, you swap items with the other party. The one who initiates the trade would express interest in one (or more) of your items, either by commenting on your listing or (most annoyingly) offer you $0 to start a private conversation with you, though you don’t really need to offer anything to send a private message now. You start by looking through the initiator’s listings, and see if anything catches your attention. Typically, you’d want to pick the item which value (i.e. selling price) matches that of yours. Otherwise, the one who is receiving the item of a higher value would have to top up the balance in cash, or offer another item that is around the same price.

For example, if Carouseller expresses interest to trade in your $10 item, you look for something that costs around $10 in her listing. If you like something that costs, say, $15, you may negotiate with the other party and see if she is able to compromise the difference of $5. Otherwise, you’d have to offer $5 in cash or another item that’s valued at $5 on top of the original $10 item that sparked the discussion.

Some sellers tend set difference pricing for purchases and trades. For example, the listing may show $10 but somewhere on her profile or item description, you notice something like: “trades+5” or “U+I+”. For the former, the value that’s indicated beside the “+” is how much you have to factor in on top of the listing price if you’re planning to trade. So for example, if the item is selling for $10, and seller specifies “trades+5”, she reserves the rights to pick something that is worth $15 on your listing for trades without having to top up any difference. Or, if you offer something that is less than $15, she can request for a top up of the difference in value even though both items may cost the same.

Why is there such a practice, you may ask? Well, apart from greed, some sellers see trades as making a loss because she may be trading something of superb quality with a rag (yes, dishonest sellers everywhere!). Hence, this serves as a cushion to minimise the impact of feeling cheated. Some sellers just dislike trades, but they don’t want to be too inflexible and miss out on great deals. Others are just trying to deter fickle people from approaching them for trades.

“U+I+” simply means “You add, I add”. This is usually to combat sellers who charge unreasonable trade premiums. Thus, if you have this as one of your terms and conditions, you can say that your item is now $15 instead of $10 now because the other party started it first.

Carousell interface

Carousell interface on iOS.

Beauty Products section

Beauty Products section

There are many different categories catered to different types of shoppers. “For Her” are mainly listings of female apparels, shoes, accessories and anything girls use in general while “Beauty Products” are cosmetics and stuff you apply on your body, just to name a few. For me, I frequent “Beauty Products” so much that I rarely shop at Sephora now because you can get brand new items there at a fraction of their retail prices. You can find brands ranging from Urban Decay, Benefit, MAC, 3CE, Anna Sui and even Dior there. I’m an addict and you’ll be astounded to see the results on my next post HAHA.

Carousell feedback

Feedback left by my sellers and buyers on my profile which I obviously blurred so that no one can stalk me.

One tip for new Carousell users to avoid getting scammed or stood up is to read sellers or buyers’ reviews left by other users whom they have transacted with. This review function was recently added and it really helps in deciding if you should go ahead with the transaction. There are 3 kinds of feedback: Positive (+) / Neutral / Negative (-). I personally take positive reviews which are too vague (e.g. “friendly buyer”, “item received”) with a pinch of salt because they look really forced and patronising, like they were pestered by the seller/buyer to write them a good review to add to their positive feedback count. Receiving positive feedback can stroke your ego so I guess that’s why.

Feedback cannot be deleted but it can be amended by the giver. For example, if you find that you have received an unsatisfactory product after giving the feedback, you can change your review from “Positive” to “Negative” and even amend the explanation.

Feedback page

You can easily add a feedback by going to the user’s profile. I have only added feedback to those who are worthy of it and if I’m kind enough (I usually am), I’ll reciprocate reviews left on my profile. 😛

However as you know, it can be a hassle to keep visiting profiles to spy on others’ reviews so another way to know who the problematic users are is by looking up the keywords “blacklisted”, “scammer”, “beware” or anything similar on the search engine. It will pick up listings which contain the keyword in their description. I used to search for “blacklisted” users but recently there have been an increase in users warning buyers of being blacklisted should they back out on the deal on their listings. Now you’ll need to get past tens of listing to finally get to the first actual blacklist notice. To save time, I only search for the other 2 keywords now.

How a typical blacklist notice looks like.

How a typical blacklist notice looks like: a screen shot of the blacklistee’s profile as the cover photo and screen shots of their SMS conversation coupled with written account when you click on them.

It can be really fun to read blacklist accounts but after awhile you’ll realise that it’s always the same ol’ story – buyer delays in payment and never does, buyer doesn’t turn up for meet-ups, seller receives money but never sends out item as promised, etc. Unrepentant blacklistees appear on so many blacklist notices that their usernames are naturally etched onto your memory.

So far I haven’t blacklisted anybody because I’ve only encountered buyers who back out on deals which is fine with me. I understand the consequences of impulse buys (lol) so I do not insist that they have to buy even after confirming the purchase. They can change their minds for all I care (unless I have travelled all the way to their convenience to meet them – that is just downright irresponsible). This pretty much makes me a very bad salesperson LOL.

You can also use the search function to look for things (duh) because sometimes the seller may have accidentally selected the wrong category for the item so you don’t see it in the correct “department”. For example, a lipstick listed under “For Her” (technically it’s not wrong la). The administrator of Carousell would reclassify it but he would miss at times.

Searched for Urban Decay

“Urban Decay”

Searched for Benefit

“Benefit” – for the unaware, BNIB means BRAND NEW IN BAG (and BNIP means BRAND NEW IN PACKAGING)

I hope the listed sellers don’t mind that I am indirectly promoting their items here. And I have to reiterate this: EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN BUYING COSMETICS. Don’t end up buying counterfeits please. It’s so-not-worth-it.

In my opinion, what sets Carousell apart from other online marketplaces is the convenience in negotiating prices. Being a true blue Singaporean, I really enjoy bargaining even though some prices are already a lot lower than retail. It’s terrible I know, but most of the time I’m just trying my luck. If it succeeds, great! Otherwise I am always understanding enough to adjust my prices closer to what the buyer/seller wants. Some people dislike bargaining as much as trading though. I respect that but I usually stay away from such inflexible sellers (unless the item is already ridiculously cheap). I mean, it’s an online marketplace for a reason right? Pfft.

Hone your negotiating skills on Carousell!

Hone your negotiating skills on Carousell! I usually go 2-5 bucks (the acceptable range) lower than the stated price unless it’s below $10, which I’ll probably only take 1-2 bucks off. But on really crazy days I’d go down by half. But that’s a very rare occurrence so please don’t judge me 😦

I have pretty much mentioned the unique features of Carousell.

I will get my haul post up soon (link here). Meanwhile download the app on Google Play or AppStore and shop away!

NOTE: Since publicising this post in 2013, the app has undergone massive makeovers. While this post remains relevant today, I still urge everyone to download the app and experiment with the newer features not mentioned here. I will do an updated review if time permits.