Coby Kyros MID1060 hands-on review

Since the new Coby Kyros MID1060 was just announced at CES 2013 less than a month ago and it does not seemed to be available for purchase yet, I was more than a little surprised on Monday, when I picked up the Spar store flyer from my mailbox. There it was – the Coby Kyros MID1060-8 (8GB version) – available for purchase from Wednesday Feb 6 2013 at Spar stores in Slovenia for EUR 169 ($228), with an included 8GB microSD SDHC card, for a total of 16GB storage. The 169 EUR includes VAT tax at 20%, so an equivalent US price (without sales tax) would be around $199.

I was checking the web on Tuesday, but found almost no info about 1060 – only the FCC documentation and an article mentioning it was just announced at CES. I checked the specs mentioned in the flyer and comparing them to similar devices on, the price seemed more than OK. I decided to buy one.

I got to my local Spar in Ljubljana at 11 am and they still had enough of them…

First impression
The unit is sturdy, quite good looking and quality built. About 10 mm (0.4 in) thick, relatively heavy. Screen is bright and crisp, stereo sound from dual speakers is quite loud. Compared to MID1060, the MID7022 I bought last year is a piece of plastic crap… 1060 really does look and feel like a $400+ device.  Image of the box taken with MID1060 2 MP main camera:

Powering up
Turning the MID1060-8 on revealed the fact about zero Google apps installed (no surprise, a standard for Coby) – Clockwork is installed though, hint, hint ;-). You get into recovery mode by holding “-” volume button while powering device on. WLAN works OK, Bluetooth was able to pair with my phone and laptop, HDMI output works great in 1080p (50 Hz) mode with my Panasonic plasma, both cameras work OK (main camera is 2 MP fixed focus only, no LED…), Skype video works, FullHD movie playback over HDMI works…

I installed GT Racer HD app, but it says not compatible with device – lack of acceleration sensor I guess? Angry Birds Star Wars works great though… UPDATE: MID1060 does have an acceleration sensor!

Device charges through micro USB, which was a surprise (MID7022 only charges through power jack), but the charging through main power connector is faster – about 25 % per hour for a total charge time of 4-5 h. Battery life seems quite good. 75 minutes of video, browsing, photos, video Skype, etc. drained the battery to 80%. 5-6 h battery life could be expected (with low screen brightness), which is quite OK. BTW: mine was set to Polish language out of the box…

MID1060-8 specs and features
10.1″ 1280 x 800 multi touch capacitive touchscreen
Dual core A9 CPU, 1200 MHz
8 GB Flash (2 GB for Apps)
VGA front camera – works OK
2 MP fixed focus main camera – works, but no surprises about quality…
Mic and Stereo speakers, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Micro USB – also charges device (main power jack is separate)
MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB)
Mini HDMI (up to 1080p)
Volume and reset buttons
Android 4.0.4

– metal housing, sturdy, no gaps, heavy, good looking
– USB charging + “standard” Coby round plug
– Bluetooth
– 2 cameras
– microSD expansion slot
– quite fast at 1.2 GHz, dual core (AnTuTu benchmark: 8000)
– recovery mode built in (sort of; no backup/restore though)
has accelerometer (test it with Fire truck driver from GetJar)
good battery life – around 6 hrs of use (browsing, some gaming, video playback)

no accelerometer (most probably), only screen tilt sensor
– no GPS
– no compass
– no Google apps (can be solved)
– could not transfer files through Bluetooth – don’t know if file transfer is even supported?
– only 4.0.4 Android – will be upgraded I guess as older Coby tablets were

A nice device, much better than MID7022 (and not that much more expensive), sturdy, quality built with right feature set. At this price, it is a bargain 🙂

2 Images taken with MID1060 2 MP camera:



Some more images of coby Kyros MID1060-8


Bluehost Review – Fall Promotional Sale – Cheap Web Hosting, Cheap Renewal

Bluehost Review – Fall Promotional Sale – Cheap Web Hosting, Cheap Renewal

I have been a (happy) Bluehost customer for almost a year now – until renewal time that is. A week or so ago I got an email from Bluehost billing department claiming my hosting account could not be auto-renewed due to a valid credit card information missing. Well, Duh? Of course valid credit card information is missing! I never provided Bluehost my credit card information in the first place; I paid via PayPal!
And as it turns out, me not providing them my credit card information was a good thing…

OK I said; I will renew my account manually, no big deal. But I was quite annoyed when I found out that renewal pricing is much higher than Bluehost sign-up pricing – currently (October 2011) $3.95 per month (Fall Promotion Sale, for 24 or 36 months hosting). The normal renewal pricing is $8.95 for 12 months, $7.95 for 24 months or $6.95 for 36 months. This, of course, is part of their business strategy – in the fiercely competitive market of low cost shared hosting providers they want to sign as many new customers as possible by offering a low initial monthly price and then charging a premium price for the renewal. Not only they charge a high renewal price. By default, they do it automatically by charging your credit card about 14 days before your account expires without informing you first.

Needless to say I was annoyed by all this. I would have to pay the high renewal price (no coupons available for this one) or close my account and move the domains. I did a quick research for other hosting providers, but none of the reputable ones seemed to offer a competitive price and none could matched their Fall Promotion Sale price of $3.95.

At that point I started seriously thinking about creating a new Bluehost hosting account and moving my domains from the existing account. Yes, It would be annoying and a bit of work, but I’m a man of principles (and I was about to save 50% or $96 for a 24 month hosting). I already searched the web to see how hard & cumbersome this will be. I found that moving the domains to new hosting account (I do not use Bluehost as registrar) should be fairly easy, since there was no DNS change involved. Some work would be involved though (backing up WordPress databases, downloading all files via FTP, uploading the files to new account, setting-up & restoring MySQL databases for WordPress, etc.) Only thing I was concerned about was possible down time and moving the email accounts (data would probably be lost since I only use Bluehost web mail for those) – I assume I’d have to forward the important messages to some other account and then forward them back to the newly created old accounts.

Then, on Oct 24 2011 I checked and saw the footer text I missed before (or wasn’t there before – not sure):

Bluehost 2011 - Fall promotional sale

Bluehost 2011 - Fall promotional sale

It reads:
“*Fall Promotion Sale Official Policy: Customers who have purchased a hosting account within the last 30 days may contact our billing department to price match current sale pricing. For accounts older than 30 days, customers may purchase extended time for their hosting account at the sale rate ($4.95/mo to extend the account for a year, $3.95/mo for 2 and 3 years).”

And so I did. I called the Bluehost Billing department, renewals division and they enabled an option in my cPanel for 24 or 36 month hosting account renewal for $3.95. I renewed my account for 3 years for $142.20 instead of the ‘normal’ renewal price of $250.20. I saved a cool $108 without having to go through time consuming and risky creation of a new account and moving of data 😉

The whole renewal procedure was not without glitches, but most were on my side. I must say that all Bluehost support persons were very friendly, helpful and professional. I know this sounds like paid advertising, but it is not. I am in no way affiliated with Bluehost, except being their (paying) hosting customer.

I used Skype to call support. I didn’t wait for the recorded voice to finish and pressed ‘1’ to reach Sales (not billing). I didn’t have the correct credentials ready (last 4 digits of account password). I Rang back, this time trying to reach billing and was on hold for about 10 minutes (luckily $0.02 per minute from EU to USA is really cheap), but when the person on the other end picked up, they did not hear me (network issues on my end). I rang back sales and they tried to convince me this promotion is for new customers only. I asked them to read the footer on their homepage. I waited a couple of minutes for the support person to consult his manager. He got back to me and transferred me to billing, who transferred me to renewals and 30 seconds later I had the $3.95 renewal option in my cPanel. 🙂

I was finished in 20 minutes. Were it not for me not having my password ready or my network issues, I’d be finished in

Update Oct 26 2011:
Looks like Bluehost removed their Fall Promotion Sale offer around noon today. The footer text is no longer there and normal pricing for new accounts is now $5.95…

Mobile Internet in Croatia Part Two

I have been using the free Vipnet Mobile Broadband SIM in my phone for 10 days now and it’s been great! In all the years I have been going to Croatian seaside, I was newer able to use internet, so this is a nice change.
There was just one tiny problem before I was able to use my new mobile broadband: internet settings. As you might know, in order to use data transfer on your mobile, you need to set three things:

– APN (access point name)
– user name
– password

If you phone is supplied by your mobile provider, those settings might already be set, otherwise you need to obtain them and set manually. The call to VIP support cost me EUR 3 – due to roaming charges; the number is free for VIP users, but my SIM is data only, no voice 🙂

I soon received an SMS with following settings:
– APN:
– user name: 38591
– password: 38591

Palm Treo 680 worked with those settings. In order to use a PC, you need to configure your phone as a modem over serial Bluetooth link. You then initiate DUN (dial up networking) from your PC. Username and password are the same as above, dial up number is standard GPRS dial-up:

*99#    or    *99***1#

The 1 stands for first network settings configured in your phone (you might need different number here).
While Treo 680 worked OK, my UMTS phone Samsung SGH-Z400 needed an additional setting: in Windows modem setup, under Modem Initialization following AT command string needs to be entered:

The last item is APN and is dependent on your mobile network provider.
Looks like Nokia and some other phones also need this setting. Unlike Palm Treo 680, those phones seem to use the internet settings we entered in the phone for browsing only and ignore them completely when using Dial Up Networking – they obviously use username and password provided in Windows DUN dialog, where APN is not provided (and hence needs to be entered as modem initialization string).


In 10 days I used about 170MB and still had 30MB left when I also bought the USB stick for $26 – with HRK 20 included + free 200MB data option. The stick is a bit more convenient, since you yust plug it in & connect, whereas with the phone, BT must be on on at both ends, DUN settings correct and still we have to take care that the phone battery does not run flat.

***: I was only able to write this post to position marked with ***. Looks like my Tre0 680 only support text entry box with 2000 characters…

Mobile Internet in Croatia

I will start with mobile internet in Croatia. I am writing this post on the beach in Punat, island Krk, on my Palm Treo 680, using Vipnet prepaid data only SIM card. I am staying here for 14 days plus I will return to Croatian coast for a couple of weekends or several days in September.

Before going here, I did some research on the web (as I always do before any endeavor). I was looking for a solution that cowers two months and includes several hundred MB of data transfer. Since I am not financially free or affluent yet, I was looking for cheapest option :).

Since Croatia is not in EU (yet), GPRS roaming here is even more expensive: EUR 0.75-0.95 per 100kB, or $10,000 to $13,300 per GB! Unbelievable! This is robbery at broad daylight! My provider does have a deal with Croatian T-Mobile and the 60% off tariff is only $4,800 per GB! Needless to say roaming was out of the question.

There are three cellular network providers in Croatia: T-Mobile, VIP (Vodafone) and Tele 2. All of them offer prepaid solutions for internet access. I eliminated Tele 2 first since their only option is HSDPA/UMTS/GPRS USB stick that costs 395 HRK ($79). You get HRK 394 on your account, but over a period of 6 months and upfront cost was too much plus I was concerned about their coverage on the Croatian Islands. The other two had similar offers – HRK 200 ($40) for USB stick, 1 HRK ($0.20) per MB of data, which comes to $200 per GB.

T-Mobile offers two options:

SIM card only for HRK 100 ($20) with 100MB included or

USB GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA modem for HRK 198 ($40) with 100MB included

Data costs HRK 1 per MB – $200 per GB. You can activate a daily option for HRK 20 and you get 100MB of data, but must spend it in 24h.

Vipnet (Vodafone) also offers two options:

SIM card only for HRK 20 ($4) with 20MB included or

USB GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA modem for HRK 179 ($36) with 20MB included + another 80MB if you charge your account for at least HRK 35 ($7). Plus you get additional free 200MB of data for activating an account before Aug 31 2009.

They also have options, but they last 30 days: 75MB for HRK 50, 200MB for HRK 100 ($100 per GB), 500MB for HRK 200 ($80 per GB).

The USB modem can be bought in the web shop for HRK 151 ($30), but you can only register with Croatian address, so this option was out

I decided to go with Vipnet. Then I found a Croatian computer magazine Bug mentioned on a forum. Their 200th issue (Yul-Aug 2009) offers coupons for Vipnet:

– free data SIM (preloaded with HRK 20) with 3x200MB free data over three months

– HRK 50 off the price for USB modem

I bought the only copy of the magazine they had for EUR 5 in a magazine stand close to my office. When I got to Croatia, I obtained the free SIM first. Spent about 150MB in 10 days using my phone (Palm Treo 680) & laptop with Bluetooth dial-up. Then I got the USB stick too for $26. It works great, but speed of course depends on location and network load (Its the height of the season, so lots of tourists are overloading the network).

I did not really need the USB stick, but it is more convenient then BT dial-up. It is of course locked to Vipnet SIMs, but unlocking codes can be found on eBay. Perhaps my next project

I was easily able to unlock the USB stick using the DC-Unlocker software found on their site…

Mobile Internet

Mobile Internet

The Mobile Internet series of blogs is intended as comparison and advice about mobile internet access options and prices (using cellular networks) in Europe. Maintaining an Internet business implies having internet access wherever you are :). That’s easy at home or office, but if you are traveling and not staying at a hotel or other place with internet access and are not keen on going around coffee shops with a laptop trying to find an open WI-FI, mobile internet is in my opinion your best option.

My cellular plan (in Slovenia) includes 1GB of data per month. Data only plans with one or 2 year contract cost about EUR 10-20 per GB which is quite reasonable. But when going abroad, the problem with mobile internet are exorbitant charges for GPRS roaming. In EU, the voice call roaming charges were regulated recently and are quite reasonable, but the data transfer charges are extremely overpriced: EUR 2 per MB or EUR 2,000 ($2,800) per GB of data! This means data roaming costs 100 to 200 (!) times more (or in percent: ten thousand to twenty thousand percent more) than at home! And that’s after regulation; previously prices were even higher! Hello EU regulators, anybody there?

So, data roaming being out of question, the only option is getting a local provider’s prepaid SIM with data or data only SIM. This is what I plan to do in Croatia soon…