Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Should you buy a Royal Enfield Bike?

9:47:00 PM
You are riding a Royal Enfield on a winding highway, on a cloudy morning with greenery on both sides. The cool wind blows through your hair with a slight pertinent drizzle that is not enough to
make you wet, yet enough to tickle you and the sweet thump-thumping of your bike, which begs for more throttle

This is for all the Royal Enfield fans who are wondering whether you should buy an Enfield over another bike; be it a Thunderbird or a Classic 350 or Classic 500 or a Bullet. I have attempted to give you an unbiased opinion after clocking around 18000 kms...

I had stopped riding a two wheeler a few years back and when a friend spoke about his RE, I started ogling at the bike. Jubilant at having enticed me and not to miss an opportunity to make my purse 'that much lighter', he said

"Arae yaar, just pay Rs. 5000/- and book, if you change your mind, bail out; anyways you'll have 3 months waiting time to decide"

No prizes for guessing, I got sold by the idea

I researched and stumbled upon the almost fanatic following for Enfield bikes, where even poor quality issues were justified

"That's Enfield, you need to be a 'Man' to handle the machine"

So if you are sitting on the fence... err I mean, whether to buy or not, here are a few points that may help you decide

The Pro's
1. The Bike feels solid on the ground. Drive an Enfield for 15 Days and switch to any other bike; you'll feel you're riding a toy

2. The Torque is exhilarating. You never run out of Power; With the 500cc Engine, you are always ahead of others

3. Because it is heavy (200 kg), you are rooted to the ground and since the weight is balanced very well, you have excellent control over the Bike

4. The sweet spot is 80 to 100 kms/hr on a 500cc and you can feel, you still have ample power to accelerate to overtake that gnawing motorist. You don't find a bulletier going rash because bulletier's are mature and they enjoy the road responsibly

The Con's
1. The very day of the delivery, I could hear a rattling sound from my fuel tank. The Service Center guy said it was normal however later they acknowledged the defect and replaced the fuel tank

2. The Speedometer button had issues, after repeated complaints they replaced the speedometer

3. Thunderbird 500 has disc brakes on the back wheel as well; When you have a flat, fix the flat without removing the tyre. Apparently the back wheel disc brake assembly is only for specially trained hands. If fitted improperly, it gets locked after you ride a few kilometres. When I confronted the mechanics, they proudly claimed, only they can do it the right way - So much for maintainability!

4. The Customer Service is pathetic; you wonder if you're doing a service to them by buying from them; however the number of Service Centers are increasing, so hopefully competition should address this issue

So should you go for a Royal Enfield?

Its a personal choice. For the engine that you get at this price point, there is no other manufacturer who can give you the sheer experience of the ride as much as Enfield

Would you face issues? 99% you will, however after the initial phase, things become better

What if you borrow a friend's bike for a month and decide? Please do refer such awesome friends to me! If you do try, I can guarantee, you would end up buying an Enfield

So to sum up, if you've read this far, it means you are eager and can handle the initial rough patches!

Still undecided on whether you can handle the issues? 

"That's Enfield, you need to be a 'Man' to handle the machine" - sometimes that assertion makes your decision easier

Happy Riding...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Apple could lose its earliest iPhone loyalists

12:36:00 AM

Few years back when I bought my iPhone 4, I loved it for its ease of use, intuitive gestures and loads of Apps. It almost replaced my need to log-on to a computer. You could e-mail, send attachment, tweet, Facebook, all this with a very touch responsive screen

Earlier to this, I was using an HTC Windows 6.0 mobile OS. The difference between Windows & iOS was phenomenal. No other manufacturer or OS came close to the experience iPhone gave its users. I loved the experience so much that I couldn't imagine using any other 'clunky' phone. The attention to detail and the thoughtfulness embedded into iOS was awesome. I became an evangelist for Apple. I explained what people missed and some followed suite in buying an iPhone

With time, Google's focus on mobile increased; more and more of Google Apps were developed. It dawned on me that while I loved my iPhone, I strangely wasn't using any of Apple's Apps! My frequently used apps were Facebook, Twitter, Smartrun, Google, Google Plus, Google Maps (Extensively), Google Drive, Google Docs, Blogger!

As a user I was happy since iPhone & iOS integration was great and Google was filling my needs. I was a happy man

In the latter half of 2011, Apple launched iPhone 4S. They had improved the processor and added Siri. I was happy, I wasn't losing anything much - Nothing to motivate me to upgrade

In the latter half of 2012, Apple launched iPhone 5, well yes, a slightly longer display (one more row addition, huh!) & a better processor but my phone too was running the exact same software (iOS 6). I get almost everything what an iPhone 5 user was getting. Am I crazy to spend half a lakh on a new iPhone - Duh... NO, especially since we do not have contracts, unlike the US

Then came iOS 7, the much awaited new look, along with iPhone 5S. Should the upgrade be done now? I didn't think so, coz I still get to download iOS 7 and the cost is now three forth of a lakh! So I update to iOS 7, happy to see the new features, not so happy with the new look, but still satisfied because hey its an iPhone!

After iOS7, I start feeling the pinch, my iPhone has become less responsive & slow. Most of the recommended tweaks on the internet would make my "Smartphone" into a "Dumbphone"!

Now I start thinking, should I upgrade? Is there anything to motivate me to do so... buying a 5s is going to make me feel the same as my iPhone 4 - I've known the OS in & out - there is no newness or refreshing factor, the only difference that I would feel would be in my pocket

So I started looking around and stumbled on Nexus 5. The reason iPhone is great is due to the hardware and software integration and here was a phone from Google, made solely for Google Android by LG. No thick layers of customization from Samsung or HTC or LG, further my predominant usage is Google Apps suite and to top it the price is one-third of iPhone 5S!

I am not the only one switching from iOS to Android, many others are too. If Apple needs to keep their existing "older Customers", they would need to innovate rather than just do spec upgrades or lower their prices. The decision to move out of the ecosystem is easier now because unlike a few years back, there are other players who are equally good, if not better than Apple

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review of Kindle Touch Leather Lighted Cover

11:34:00 PM
I recently bought a Kindle Touch Lighted Cover for my Kindle Touch 3G. It can be directly bought from Amazon. This cover is ONLY for Kindle Touch and cannot be used for the older generation Kindles

Compared to the other covers, this cover is expensive, however since it is tailor made for Kindle Touch, the Kindle fits in snugly inside the cover. Apart from this, the cover has an inbuilt light that uses your kindles battery to power it
At the back of the kindle (bottom - see left fig) there are two battery contact points, these contact points connect with the back of the cover and powers the light. The light has been ingeniously built-in in the cover unlike the earlier clumsy covers for the previous generation Kindles

The leather is beautiful and overall it is a great improvement in terms of feel & look compared to the earlier generations


I would personally prefer using the Kindle without the cover. The cover adds in a few ounces of weight, which could feel heavier when you read for long hours. Although the form factor is good, I feel more comfortable holding the Kindle without the cover

Pros:
1. Has built in light which powers from Kindle's own battery. The light has also been ingeniously placed
2. Looks beautiful and can protect your Kindle
3. One can hold it similar to an actual book with two hands (or fold the cover back) and read
4. The best cover that is available at present

Cons:
1. Adds in additional weight and it is not as comfortable while reading, as without it
2. Removing the Kindle from the cover is not easy. Therefore once you place it in the cover, leave it there
3. The light although is placed ingeniously, feels a little flimsy. A sudden snap can break it
4. The front cover doesn't lock to its position (A magnet could have helped)
5. Expensive

Should you get it?
If you travel a lot or read in low light conditions, then go for it. If you read, just at home or office, I would suggest going for a sleeve, where you can store it in the sleeve and read after removing from the sleeve

Hope this helps

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review of Kindle Touch 3G - Usage in India

12:43:00 AM
Being the lazy me, I was looking for some kind of a device which I can use to read books comfortably... I wanted a device which is not big nor heavy and which I can lie down and still easily hold

iPad 2 was on my cards but I felt it would be heavier if I was to hold it for a long period. I decided to wait it out till iPad 3, hoping it would be lighter, that was when I stumbled upon Amazon's Kindle

What attracted me to Kindle was its light weight, easy to carry and especially the e-Ink display. When one is in a profession like mine, where one is always staring at a monitor either at office or at home, you would want to avoid excessively straining your eyes

The reviews of the e-Ink display enamored me, especially since Kindle does not have a backlight, it is easy on the eyes and it gives the same feeling as reading a newspaper. I must admit, the free 3G was another feature that attracted me. So after research I decided to go for Kindle Touch 3G with Special Offers

The Basic Kindle version starts at $109. All the Kindle's version has inbuilt Wi-Fi capability. Amazon offers kindle with "With Special Offers" and "Without Special Offers". "With Special Offers" implies there would be an advertisement at the bottom of the home screen and also when the screen saver is on. However, not to worry, the adverts will not display when you are reading a book. The Kindle's with the special offers (advertisement) comes to you cheaper than the one without (Duh... pretty obvious!!!)

After research I decided to buy Kindle Touch 3G. As I was about to check-out in Amazon, I got an error message mentioning this version of Kindle cannot be shipped to India... what a bummer... I contacted their Customer Service through email, chat, etc but no one could help me. Amazon could only ship me the older generation of Kindle!

The best way to buy Kindle, is of course directly from US if someone can hand it over in person, else one has to pay heavy import duty if they are shipping to India. I Googled and came across many websites which promised delivery to India including e-bay, however I found only Grabmore to have priced it competitively and it was Cash On Delivery, so I decided to settle with Grabmore and I ordered for one (I'm satisfied with  Grabmore's service & updates on the shipment)

Overall I am happy with my purchase. The e-Ink display is beautiful and easy on the eyes. The device is not heavy and you can put in a lot of reading hours with it, without fatigue

Kindle Touch 3G Pro's
 + Easy on the eyes coz of e-Ink Display
 + Not too big nor too small. Just right and comfortable
 + You get discounts for kindle version books on Amazon, compared to paper backs. Sometimes as much as 60%. There are also lot of free kindle version books for download
 + Free 3G to browse Amazon website (if you opt for the 3G version - yes it works in India too)
 + The Touch interface makes navigation easier compared to the earlier Kindle versions
 + All the books that you buy are digitally stored in the cloud across all your devices and automatically synced to where you last left it off (the books also doesn't get old :P)
 + Good battery life (as there is no backlight)
 + One can highlight sentences, use the integrated dictionary, add note, view other's highlighted sentences and share passages to Twitter and Facebook
 + You have "Text to Speech" feature if the e-book supports it
 + You can transfer books from your computer to Kindle through a cable and also freely convert other formats to kindle format through Amazon

Kindle Touch 3G Con's
 - PDFs are not very well supported. However you can mail the PDF to "yourusername"@free.kindle.com and Amazon will freely convert PDF to the Kindle's native format. It does a decent job for most PDFs but some can be a disaster
 - For Indian Customers, the Excise duty of Indian Government is as high as around $15~$25, if you are shipping it to India
 - For some books it maybe wiser to buy cheaper Indian editions rather than online (unless you want to save trees)
 - Free 3G is only for browsing Amazon website (obviously!)
 - The GUI is very basic, nothing fancy. This is only an e-reader, don't expect it to be like iPad or any other tablets... its purely for reading purpose (though Amazon has given some experimental features such as music player, browser, etc but they are all basic)

Who should buy Kindle... Go ahead & buy, if  any of the below criteria matches
 + If you are an avid reader & need to get the latest books (and possible a huge load of free books)
 + You are a traveler who also love reading & want to travel light
 + If you want to save trees
 + You love technology & want to see how it feels to read in a e-reader with no LCD backlight
 + You have lots of money and feel like splurging

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Apple iPhone Review

11:09:00 PM

I have been using an iPhone 4 since a year and I am completely satisfied with it. I have the following points for all the iPhone buyer’s 4 or 4s (or 5 when it is released) 


1. If you are new to Apple products, you would realize that there is a huge cost difference between Apple and other similar products. The usual reason from an Apple buff would be that, that’s the cost you pay for Quality. It is possibly also to make it a premium product. If you ask me, if its worth the money. Once you start using an Apple product, its very hard to move away to another product 


2. In India, Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, etc provides "locked" iPhone with specific rentals. I would advice y ou NOT to go for these. With the locked phone, you will be stuck up with the operator throughout the lifetime of the product. Even if you travel abroad, you will not be able to use a different SIM. It is wiser, if you buy the iPhone which is "Factory Unlocked", meaning you can use any SIM, anywhere. There is not much of a price difference between the locked and unlocked (Its a diff case in US, where the locked one is very cheap and you are tied to the operator for only 2 years). If you have contacts, try to get iPhone from HK, Canada or UK, where you would find considerable price difference with INR 


3. In case you are buying from the grey market, ensure that the iPhone is genuine. Before the transaction, make the dealer connect the iPhone to iTunes (iTunes is a free download to connect iPhone to your computer). If iTunes recognizes your iPhone, it should be original, for additional check, you can click on the "Update Software", which will contact Apple Server and authenticate the genuineness of the iPhone 


4. Once you get familiar with the device, you will find several shortcuts and it will be second nature to you. Some of the glitches that you may face using iPhone are 

A) Bluetooth compatibility - iPhone will only connect through bluetooth to other Apple devices. You cannot connect or transfer files through bluetooth to Windows or Android devices 

B) Transferring files between computer and your phone is not as simple as other phones. You have to use iTunes or apps such as Dropbox 

C) Flash files will not play - however now Adobe has abandoned Flash for mobile devices, so even other phones will not have this capability in future 

D) Battery power would last for 1 to 1.5 days with decent usage of voice and data - that is anyways for most other smartphones too 

E) You cannot get delivery report for text messages 

F) You need a Micro SIM for iPhone 4 onwards - This is a smaller size SIM than the regular ones we have. There are SIM cutters available in the market, which can cut your existing SIM (remove the unwanted plastic) to a micro SIM or just exchange it with your operator 


5. On the whole, there are various ways to workaround on the above glitches and once you get a hang of it, you will be fine. The benefits far outweighs the cons 


6. Some of the key features for Apple are 

A) Software (iOS) update - Unlike Android where the releases has to be customized by your handset maker (eg. Samsung), Apple provides very regular s/w updates which you can directly download and install 

B) iMessage - This is a cool service through which you can chat to any other Apple user across the globe through text, without being charged for SMS 

C) FaceTime - This is a feature through which you can make a WiFi video call to any Apple user across the globe, free of cost (only internet charges for WiFi). It is neatly integrated in the phone 

D) Apps - One gets loads and loads of Applications, one can download for free as well as for a price and one gets regular updates 

E) Apart from hardware enhancement, iPhone 4s comes with ’SIRI’, which is a voice activated command system, which probably will be the future for mobile - human interaction
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