Year in Review – 2011

Another year almost zoomed right past us already! Time for my annual reflection on what went well and what didn’t. Starting off with the toys first then the others:

Olympus E-PL2 (Win): This was a relatively minor upgrade from the old E-PL1 with gains largely in autofocusing speed for me. Still, I thought it was as a good time as any to trade-up before the resale price of the E-PL1 dropped any further. Olympus has released a whole range of new models in both the E-PL and PEN series that offers a bunch of new nifty features, including even faster AF and touch-screen focusing (tried it out on a small group friend’s unit and loved it!). Then again, there’s also the just released Sony NEX-7 which is really tempting. Should I jump ship?!

Dpreview remarks: “…the NEX-7 offers the finest still image quality of any APS-C camera, bar none.” Dreadfully expensive though with limited range of lenses.

Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 (Win): The new E-PL2 got quickly married to what many regarded as one of the best lenses around for the micro four-thirds standard – the Lumix 20mm f1.7. I paid a small sum of money for it, but since its purchase in July this year, I’ve rarely touched the E-PL2 kit lens again. I’ll say 99.5% of all my pictures taken since July on the E-PL2 was using this 20mm. It’s really that good.

Motorola Atrix 4G (Win): This was my zero-dollar upgrade for 2011, and by virtue of that fact, surely a ‘win’ decision in itself already.=) The phone uses a mammoth battery, and I can get through a day at work with semi-heavy activity easily without recharging. Amazing performance for an Android smartphone. Unfortunately though, I just discovered that the phone might not be receiving an upgrade to Android 4.0 – a major bummer. When my mobile plan contract expires next April, I’m going to look around for the next zero dollar upgrade and see what’s available.

Apple iPad 2 (Win): A reluctant ‘win’, and only because of my dislike for the fruit company. Drab-looking UI and zero customization short of jailbreaking the thing. But I got to hand it to the App Store. There’s really a lot of apps, and when you’ve got the AppZapp app loaded onto it, you get a lot of normally paid-software free too. Still, if iOS does not get a major facelift with the impending iPad 3 or iPhone 5, I’ll be dumping the iPad the minute an Android 3G quadcore tablet loaded with 4.0 becomes available. Ling though did get me an Asus Transformer EEE pad for my 40th birthday earlier in the month, but it wasn’t the 3G model – which pretty much crippled the device out of our door for me. I ended up selling the EEE pad away to fund Ling’s Xperia LOL.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V (Win): Ling looks like she loves the phone. Just got to make sure she charges it every night!

Staycation @ Capella Sentosa (Win): Simply put, the most luxurious property we’ve yet stayed. Amazing room, view and hospitality – to the point that we were contended to just stay in the hotel room and not venture out during our three day staycation.

Capella staycation: Hannah approves!

Staycation @ Naumi Hotel (Mixed): This was a somewhat disappointing stay. We paid nearly as much as our stay at Capella (the Sentosa hotel rates were supposed to be higher even) so was expecting quite a bit. What we got was great hospitality, a very comfortable bed, huge room, and lovely buffet breakfast – but also what we thought was a colorless room, non-existent view, noisy surroundings, and spotty housekeeping. So, unlike the Sentosa staycation, the room wasn’t nearly as interesting. We ended up spending most of our time out of it.

The Minton (Mixed): This was our Purchase of the Year, and pretty expensive when it’s more than SGD1.3 million. We were at a cousin’s housewarming event on Christmas Eve. Their new place was a 28th floor unit at Clover by the Park. It was a larger unit than ours (with three balconies!), amazing view that we could even see The Flyer and Marina Bay Sands, and they paid less than we did. Sigh. Whether the decision was the best one we could make is still too early to call i.e. in the worst case scenario, Hannah fails to get into the very school we bought this apartment for.

Next year, 2012 – and we expect Hannah to start getting real assertive! =(

5 Comments to Year in Review – 2011

  1. Matt says:

    It sounds like a good year to me! (I’m impressed with your Staycations, too.)

    For myself, 2011 has been pretty lackluster. I barely left my house other than for work. Though I did manage to take my dad out to an NBA game, which was fun if terribly expensive.

    Here’s hoping for an eventful 2012!

  2. CY says:

    Bud; my wishlist for 2012 would be:

    – a full-frame Nikon DSLR
    – the Galaxy Note or Samsung Google Nexus
    – the ASUS Transformer Prime 3G (no such model exist tho !@#!$!@)

    All a pipedream though since I’ve got to be financially prudent these few years.=(

  3. Ling says:

    Hi Matt,

    What about the cruise you mentioned? Sounded like great fun to me :D

  4. Matt says:

    If Nikon delivers the much rumored D800 full-frame DSLR, I’ll pre-order and sell whatever bodily organs I can to pay for it and some replacement lenses. That being said, lugging around a huge DSLR and 4 or 5 lenses is a pain I’m becoming less apt to tolerate the older I get. I admit that the new generation of mirrorless cameras are indeed tempting, if not for their improved performance then for their size.

    Ling, I would love to take a cruise, but the family apparently isn’t as enamored with the prospect. I’ll never say never as far as these things go, but chances are the only trip by sea I’ll be taking anytime soon is a potential Southeast Asian relaxation cruise.

    As far as bold predictions go:

    2012: The year I set foot on Sentosa. Like, for realz.

  5. Ling says:

    Alright, Matt! Never say never! :P