Top 5: Android communication applications

SMTP and XMPP clients are perhaps the most important applications that the digital communication world has to offer. Be it connecting with your friends instantly or consultation from the tech support team (this can become tedious some times, most of the times). Being able to do it on-the-go is essential and here are some of the best one’s debriefed.


Email:

One of the most default modes of online communications, there are some good options android operating system has to offer.

  1. Yandex Mail: Probably the best email client I have ever used, you will need a yandex mail account which is totally worth it. The application is mostly clean. Yandex Mail client is compatible with most of the existing mail services. Added to which you get 20 GB of online storage (Yandex Disk) and other services. If you are searching for an alternative to the Google environment Yandex should be able to handle it for you.
  2. Gmail for Android: If you have factory version of the firmware in your android device, Chances are you are already using this application in your phone. After the Android Lollipop announcement this application has seen many enhancements like Material Design and support for non google mail services.
  3. AOSP Email for Android: Another application from Google that has nearly the same functionality as of the Gmail application.
  4. Inbox for Android: Google has not paid for this post, but Inbox by Google is a special email client specially designed for people who have organised inbox (into categories and labels). However it’s limited to google mail service only, and pointless for people who have inbox that look like trash.
  5. CloudMagic: Another application that has a colourful, material design inspired theme. Supports up to 5 different mail accounts in the free version. It syncs flawlessly if you login from multiple devices.

Wildcard Entry: mail.ru has quite a nice offering, a mail.ru account is required to get started (You can also get inbox.ru) it supports other mail services and you must give it a try.


Instant Messengers:

  1. WhatsApp Messenger: The most “Over-hyped” messenger, Most of you are already using, or using it because all your friends are on WhatsApp messenger. It provides end-to-end encryption, group messaging, WhatsApp Web, and other common messenger goodness. However, this messenger depends on phone numbers, which I personally, don’t find it intriguing.
  2. Telegram Messenger: From the most Over-hyped to the most underrated multi-platform messenger. The refreshed user interface (Material theme inspired design) and the ability to upload files of any format and size limit of up to 1GB. The best feature above all is “MULTI LOGIN”. Seriously Messenger-developers, At least a desktop clients like telegram ?
  3. Messenger by Google: One line review? Best SMS replacement application. (Wish Google could use something like iMessage protocol in messenger making it more unique and exclusive for Android)
  4. BBM: Blackberry Messenger is the best cross-platform Messenger available. With very cleverly placed advertisements and in-app purchases, this is the best group messaging application. The always on notification may be a bit annoying, But surely something that you can get used to.
  5. Hike Messenger: This application gets an Indian reservation. Partly because it has some common Indian phrases captured as stickers. And of course why everyone ends up using it. FREE SMSes across India. The limits have dropped but still is quite a useful features.(Note that messages cannot be sent to Indian numbers on DND.

Other messengers namely Hangouts for Google accounts, Messenger by Facebook, are not really, must-have but are the most reliable. Voxox, however can be used for some evil purposes that cannot be demonstrated (It’s forbidden nin-jutsu).

For all things IRC, Scrollback is my destination. It’s simple, and best of all its FOSS!


You can find me at Facebook, Google+, Twitter or mail me at me@sahilsatishkumar.com

This is Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

P.S.: Will hopefully be back by July after The Finals.

Most of the applications mentioned work flawlessly on mid-range devices (like my Moto G2)
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TVS-E Gold Bharat Mechanical Keyboard : Review

Rare, writing instrument support
Rare, writing instrument support

Long back in December, 2014 my only desktop keyboard, refused to way it works and I was forced to go out and hunt for new and nice keyboards in the market.

I ended up buying a membrane keyboard (again) from Genius and after using it for 2-3 hours it so happened that I actually didn’t enjoy typing. After few hours of research I finally got a recommendation from my dad to try this particular keyboard from TVS which he was using for more than a decade now.

A lot has changed in the 3 months actually, Me being a desktop guy has changed to me being a Desktop and MacBook Air guy. And also this review has taken it’s own time to worthy enough to come up on the table.


Review

Honestly, This is my 1st mechanical keyboard ever. The review may not be upto the mark of reviewers who are used to different kinds of manufacturers and different kinds of switches.

The TVS keyboard here sports a full 104 key layout. The backspace key is of the size of the regular character key which may take some time to get used to. There are no media control keys what so ever. The build quality is quite extreme. If you try you can actually injure someone quite seriously*. Basically its huge and it’s built like a tank. It comes with a very nice, thick, and durable cable connector which is not braided. The connector options are USB or traditional PS/2. I bought the PS/2 connector for my desktop, but i ended up buying a PS/2 to USB adapter to use it with my MacBook. I recommend you to buy USB one, since this keyboard doesn’t support n-key rollover. It works with Windows, Linux and Mac flawlessly.

The Rupee ₹ input actually doesn’t work with all the fonts, you’ll have to download the font from here and then use the shortcut Shift+4 to use that sign (Basically it’s useless).

Overall typing is a very nice experience with this keyboard, provided cherry MX blue keyboard is meant for you. Cherry MX Blue switches are quite different from the other switches which I’ve already discussed in the previous post over here. Because this is a Cherry MX blue switch keyboard it gets a bit noisy in silent environment like café’s. I remember I was in a particular cafe typing my project report, the power went off, the AC’s were all off and all everybody could hear was “click clack click clack” noise of this keyboard.

If you are ok with the switch’s sound ( As I would like to say), and if you are into too much of typing activities like, blogging, coding, typing ridiculously long emails, added to which you don’t want to spend a lot on the keyboard. This is the keyboard for you. If you transition from a membrane keyboard to this particular mechanical keyboard it will substantially increase your typing speed and will make typing a more enjoyable experience. The keyboard actually interferes with the human body ergonomics, so stay away from this keyboard if your usage of the computer has Mouse + Keyboard actions and not only, Keyboard actions (Not ideal for gamers).


Top 5 facts about this keyboard

1. Sports Cherry MX Blue switches, fairly decent for long hours of typing.

2. I’m not a 100% sure about it, but I guess it’s the cheapest mechanical keyboard in the world.

3. The connector cable is upbraided but it’s vey durable.

4. PS/2 connector option is appreciated specially if you’re like me and have shortage of USB ports in your desktop

5. It has a pen/writing instrument support above the function keys.

Short comings of TVS Gold Keyboard

1. It comes only with the Cherry MX Blue switches and skips all other switches (Green, Red, Brown, Black, Clear).

2. It’s not portable at all, this keyboard is meant to be married to your desktop setup.

3. It’s not particularly good for gaming and other causal usage where usage of mouse is more, the travel to access mouse is extended because of the number pad.

4. The placement of the connector cable isn’t ideal.

5. The ₹ key is not universal to all the fonts.


TVS is not interested, to explore the remaining market
TVS is not interested, to explore the remaining market

As you might have already observed the shortcomings are only because TVS’s intended market is the accounting and business sector and not the personal sector. They don’t intend to sell this to the average Joe (or Sharmaji).

TVS doesn’t even does any form of marketing for this product (though, it doesn’t need any).

I personally think TVS can boost their sales by simple steps:

1. Sell it from their own website!

2. Provide more option with the switches

3. Perhaps another 10-keyless model that will make this keyboard more ideal for every one. (And make this keyboard PORTABLE, a valid accessory for Laptops)

4. Include accessories like a PS/2 to USB or USB to PS/2 (must) and a keycap removal tool?

5. All the things mentioned above at an affordable price of ₹2500 ($40).

I think i’ve covered most of the aspects of this keyboard. Comment down and share your opinion, and tell me more about what you feel about keyboards.

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You can find me at Facebook, Google+, Twitter or mail me at me@sahilsatishkumar.com

This is Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

P.S.:

I have a very busy Engineering semester in progress.

I’ve kinda experimented with my post formats.

I’ve used the TVS keyboard to type this review.

*Sahil Satishkumar or this page doesn’t encourage violence or portray any action of rage, the mentioned phrase was to lighten the post.