Adira's wedding

It's finally time for my youngest sister in law to get hitched this month. I for once is relieved to know that this will be the last wedding in my immediate family that I had to attend. That is until the rest of my adolescent cousins started to get married. At least I don't have to worry about that for a while.

Anyway, the lucky man of her choice was a lad from Taiping, Perak and they met at the National Service camp that they both attended a while ago. From going steady to getting engaged and now married, they've been through a lot in all those years. When many others break up and found other love, this one survived the test of time. For the bride's wedding and reception ceremony, they rented a hall next to a restaurant called Selera Tepi Sungai not far from her home. The food and the hall was okay although many would agree that the emcee should have done better than to misspell the bride and her mother's name a few times.

For the groom's side, we had to travel all the way to Taiping. I don't believe I have ever been to that town before. Taiping is an idyllic town on the northern part of Perak, famous with its lake gardens, Maxwell hill and Taiping Zoo and Night Safari. The groom graciously rented a homestay for all of us to stay at although there's not enough room for everybody so my family and I had to sleep in the living room. At least it was air-conditioned. The wedding took place at the Taiping prison rest house which you guessed it, next to the Taiping prison. Apparently it is a popular place for a wedding do in the area.

Everything goes well that hot Saturday afternoon. We had our wedding lunch, hung around for a while and then left to visit the Perak Museum. The museum - first of it kind in Malaysia or so they say offers a pretty modest exhibit. About 1/5th of those in the National Museum. We get to see a seasonal bee exhibit, stuffed animals and the usual cultural artefacts. For 2 ringgit entry fee, I can't really complain much.

The next day we didn't miss the chance to visit the popular Taiping Zoo. I always insisted that we visit during the day because there's nothing much to see and snap at the night safari. We got a discounted locals ticket thanks to our new brother in law. Now Taiping Zoo is a proper zoo and place of interest. There's a lot of live animals to see from all parts of the globe - tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and zebras just to name a few. We really got our money's worth at the Taiping Zoo. Had time permitted, we would have hiked up Maxwell hill (Bukit Larut) next door. But it's a 6 hours return trip and we had to choose between that and the zoo. In the end the zoo wins because kids.

To my beloved sister in law Adira, congrats on your wedding. Syakir looks like a really nice guy. Polite and hardworking. I'm sure you'll have many happy and blessed years together.

iPhone 8 Plus review

The iPhone 7 is one of the best smartphone that I have ever used. It comes in the matte black color that I like, it is water-resistant and it is an upgrade from my previous iPhone 6S. And then the new iPhone 8 and X comes out. I jokingly tweet - can’t wait for the iPhone 11 to come out so I can afford the iPhone 8. Which is not far from the truth. New iPhones are always more expensive and way out of my budget that the only time I can afford them is when a new model comes out a year later and the existing model’s price comes down.

That said, the iPhone 8 and X has a new really compelling feature that I love - wireless charging. Coming from the Samsung Note 7, wireless charging is the best thing since sliced bread. I mean you can simply place it on the charging pad and forget about it until it’s full. Gone are the days when you actually have to pick up the charging cable and plug it carefully into the charging port. I know right, such a chore. I wonder how you guys do it day in and day out before the advent of wireless charging. Sure there’s tonnes of wireless charging capable Android phones before and Apple is pretty late to the party here but who would actually want to use an Android phone when you’ve got an iPhone?

Fast forward a few months later when I have saved enough cash and sold off my trusty iPhone 7. It is inevitable though that I will get my hands on the new iPhone, it’s only a matter of time. The only question is - is it going to be an iPhone 8 Plus or an iPhone X. The regular iPhone 8 is not much of an upgrade I thought since it’s basically a newer iPhone 7 with wireless charging added. Same screen size too, just upgraded internals only. The iPhone X however is really tempting but the 4,000 ringgit plus price tag was a real put off. So that leaves me with the iPhone 8 Plus. Bigger form factor and screen, wireless charging and yet much more cheaper than the iPhone X.

My first impression - the glass back looks quite fragile I should think. I don’t think it will survive a drop test without any casings on (obviously). But the glass back is a necessity for wireless charging and it still looks beautiful and classy. I appreciate the bigger screen real estate although the iPhone X actually has a slightly larger screen size - 5.8” compared to 5.5” on the 8 Plus. They look smaller just because the X has a lot smaller bezel and 80.93% screen to body ratio.

Performance-wise, it feels much faster than the iPhone 7, naturally. I always expect new iPhones to operate smoothly without any lags or god forbid, crashes which I occasionally experience on my previous Android phones. The screen and colors are still beautiful despite the fact that it’s still IPS LCD display and not OLED. This is my first dual-camera smartphone and while the portrait mode doesn’t really compare to a professional DSLR, they’re getting there. For a trained eye, you can surely see the artificial background blurring and software created depth of field effect. But they’re nice nevertheless. Up there along the Pixel and flagship Samsungs in the market. Other than that, the bigger battery last a bit longer and charging time slightly longer too.

I don’t have much complain about the iPhone 8 Plus apart from the fact that it is a tiny bit heavier than the iPhone 8 or X and it still retains the old form factor compared to the notched iPhone X. That is the trade off I got with the price point I guess. Put on a genuine Apple-made leather casing and it looks really nice in your hands and your eyes. I don’t really miss Face ID that much because I can imagine it can be quite a hassle to always look squarely at the phone whenever I want to unlock it. Touch ID is fine by me for now. Bigger size and weight however means that I’m not comfortable bringing it along with me on my jogs and runs anymore. Unless I’m putting it in a fanny pack, it will only bounce around a lot in my pocket and I’m mortally afraid should it suddenly bounce out onto the ground/road. I had to buy another smaller size Android phone just for the purpose.

Would I recommend this phone though? Bear in mind by the time I finish writing this, the new iPhone 11 or whatever they’re gonna call it has probably come out so the price of the older iPhone X will definitely come down, significantly if it’s a second hand unit. If you don’t mind the notch (which basically every flagship phone nowadays appear to have one) than the iPhone X is a much better choice. Also the 8 Plus’ slightly heavier weight must be considered when making the choice. If you don’t care about the old form factor or the weight though, then the iPhone 8 Plus might be a good choice for you especially since it’s still going to be slightly cheaper than the X. All in all, one year later I’m still holding on happily (grudgingly?) to my iPhone 8 Plus. As much as I’d love to upgrade to the X, I have other more important priorities to spend my money on (we’re moving into a new home soon) than upgrade my current iPhone.

And that’s my long-winded, very personal review of the iPhone 8 Plus.