Moto G4 Plus – Initial Impressions.

After the sad demise of my Moto G2, and inability of my BlackBerry Q5 to keep up to my smartphone needs, I recently upgraded to the new Motorola Moto G Plus (4th Gen)

There are a handful of versions of this particular phone:
1. Moto G (4th Gen) – unavailable at the moment, check the specifications here.

2. Moto G Plus(4th Gen) – available in 2 makes:
16GB ROM + 2GB RAM selling for Rs. 13499/-
32GB ROM + 3GB RAM selling for Rs. 14999/- (The one I have)
the specifications can be checked, here.

I got my device with the worst delivery option.

Similar to its ancestors there is not much to the unboxing experience, There is just the earphones (crappy ones), Turbo Charger and the phone itself.

Having this phone quite a while here are some of the things I (dis)like:

The Pros

1. The Fingerprint sensor
One can store upto 5 fingerprints. The detection is dead accurate, the process is a little bit extensive in nature, since it takes around 8-10 prints of one finger. But it is worth the time and effort.

2. The 1080p display
It’s bright, it’s huge. Though i don’t fancy the size, it’s something one can get used to. I feel that the colours are a bit fake. But then it is an AMOLED display.

3. Camera
The camera on the plus versions get a bump to 16 MP. Now, i’m not a camera guy but i can tell you that the photos do come EXCELLENT.
The Front camera is also quite decent for its range.

4. Battery and TurboCharger
3000 mah may sound too much, but it just takes about an hour to an hour and a half to charge up to 100%. The claims of 6 hours of battery life with 15 minutes of charge is very close to the reality. Motorola does a good job with it’s charger, you can actually tell which side’s up that ends up in the phone.

5. Software and Gestures
Comes with the stock version of the Android 6.0.1 with useful moto tricks. Double-karate chop to torch light, double corkscrew to start camera from which you can also go to the front camera if you do it two more times.
Another thing i’ve noticed is that, you can summon the notification bar and the Back-home-multitask buttons in a full screen applications by using the fingerprint sensor. I find it somewhat useful.

The Cons

Not many, but then there are some.

1. Turbo charging heats the phone up. I’ve experienced it multiple times, there is no going back on this one.

2. With 3000 mah battery you do think that you might suck through the battery for a day or day and a half. You’d be wrong, The phone struggle to make it through the day.

3. The turbocharger again, is a boon, but then, Your powerbanks/car-chargers/datacables/etc need to be upgraded to the TurboCharger compatible accessories.

4. The size, It may be a personal thing, but i’m not really comfortable carrying this 5.5″ monster in my pocket. I’m getting used to the footprint, but carrying around is a bit tricky.

Pro tip: When you boot this device for the first time. DON’T INSERT THE SIM CARD. Because, by default the phone uses the 4G network (not even 3G) to initialise the network. Me being a poor prepaid user, was surprised my 3-digit balance depleted to 0.01.

Please feel free to comment your thoughts questions in the comment section below.

Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Advertisements

After Sales Services, The Bad Half, and the Bitter half

How often has it happened that your most recently bought appliance not older than 5 months just stopped showing any signs of life? Chances are that, it has happened at least to 50% of your appliances that you bought it in the past decade. Ever wondered why is that so? Read along as you might come to know some of the dark secrets of the manufacturers who are in this sector


The Bad Half : The Manufacturer themselves

Shocked aren’t you? You shouldn’t be, because they want you to buy their products and they want you to buy them more frequently than you want to. Sales is a big portion of these money-minded manufacturers as it contributes to a huge chunk of profit (Unless you are Volkswagen Group selling Bugatti).

So Sahil, why is that a bad thing? Aren’t they in the business to make profit?”, Making profit it not a bad thing, unless there is a catch. Manufacturers design products that lasts only for a limited time. It’s around 10-12 years for appliances and less than 5 years (according to my personal opinion). Also this tenure is not “functional with no added costs”. It’s the tenure with you having to call the folks from the XYZ’s support desk, Which is the bitter half.

It’s also evident from the warranty period, is just too short for appliances that cost $1000 and above. Aren’t such products specially home appliances and laptops supposed to work a lot longer than that? Shouldn’t the warranty period be a reflection of how long the manufacturers want the product to exist in the market no matter how many updated models that they release during that warranty period. The manufacturers assume that the end of the warranty period is when the customer starts searching for an upgrade, and release products accordingly.

The Bitter Half : Warranty claims and Service Centers woes

Here is where things become annoyingly difficult.

For warranty claims: The service center, of course scrutinize your appliance/gadget (Fact: Any replacement that they have to make in this process is a loss). One of the most ridiculous of the reasons why service centre’s reject warranty claims is by saying “It was not meant to be used like that”. So according to them we are supposed to use in a “Normal” way which is decided by the service center folks and nowhere mentioned in the documentation that comes with the appliance/gadget.

Even if you agree to pay for the repairs, the repair centers kind of force you to pay for replacement parts(as I mentioned earlier, they cannot repair, it’s too advanced tech for them), which sometimes are so expensive, that an upgrade is lot better than that not so important replacement.

(Fact: Got a waterproof gadget? Liquid damage, including water damage, still voids warranty)

This is more of an Indian phenomenon where the Manufacturing giants give away their responsibilities to other dealers and the dealers do a sh*t job of doing them in the worst means possible (Redington India Pvt. Ltd., Maple).

These service centers are understaffed. The employed staff are basically carpenters who know what part goes where, hence all they do is replace, in case of Out-of-warranty products (not to mention inefficiently). For in-warranty appliances/gadgets hammer the product and pray that the product works.


If you are from a different part of the world this is what an average service center call looks like. This is what service you get for a phone which was under warranty, One of my friend had a tough time dealing with his laptop which you can read over here.

So what can you do about it as of now?

  • If you have an extended warranty/Insurance as an option, for appliances/gadgets worth ₹ 30,000 and above, Go for it.
  • If you have an Out of warranty appliance/gadget avoid the official services, instead try for a trusted local engineer instead.

I guess that’s enough of rant’s for today?

Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

P.S.: Audio solutions coming soon(next)

3 reasons to (un)switch to (or away from) a Blackberry

Recently I “Made the switch to BlackBerry 10” with the old but still the bold, Blackberry Q5. I don’t think a review or hands on is quite necessary but, I could definitely write something on its good and bad bits.

1. Keyboard

02-blackberry-q5-150513Be it the physical or on-screen, Blackberry has nailed the keyboard, And you guys know it better how important keyboard is to me. The BlackBerry Q5 has a physical keyboard, which is on par with the top spec Q10 and the crazy Porsche P’9983. On the on-screen side however, I only have the hands on experience and 99.99% of the reviews are positive. When you have the best keyboard, ofcourse you will see a fair amount of increase in productivity.

2. Email

Blackberry is the pro option when it comes to email. There is a reason why corporate employees are hooked with Blackberry (at least in the past decade). The native mail client, which can manage multiple accounts, is faster than the Android counterparts. It is like using the web client itself. There is always a 30 seconds or more delay for a new email to pop up, in the Android clients.

3. True productivity

BlackBerry 10 OS has the best pre-installed Office suite that can easily handle all your documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You cannot create new presentations but you can edit existing ones. The document editor and the spreadsheet editor are the best on a handheld device. It easily beats the Microsoft Suite by Microsoft for Android and QuickOffice by Google for Android. Apart from the Office Suite there are true productivity applications like Evernote.


Apart from the good bits there are some major reasons why you should stay miles away from BlackBerry! And here are the top 3 reasons to hate BlackBerry:

1. Battery Life

BlackBerry have a tiny battery span of around 6 hours moderate to heavy usage, before you need to start pour juice into the sealed battery. Apart from which, most of the BlackBerry models now have a sealed battery with no option to swap them. So either get ready to carry your charger everywhere or invest on a decent power bank.

2. Applications

I know that most of the reviews will conclude that, “Hey BlackBerry has the best of three different ecosystems”. But the truth is, it’s just BlackBerry and Android apk(s). BlackBerry OS 10 can handle its own “made-for-Blackberry” applications flawlessly, but the APKs don’t share the same story. It’s like running an application on a Virtual Machine on the desktops. But the issue is Android sends something called as “notifications” to the User Interface, that doesn’t quite fit in the Blackberry Hub.

3. Camera

With camera I mean the choice of camera optics is quite poor, The camera software is excellent, But optics are poor. It takes decent shots but excellent ones.

If you can get away with the cons, if you are okay with the battery life, APKs, Camera. And if your prime objective of using a phone has to do with Emails, Keyboards and Extreme productivity Blackberry is your way to go.


Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

P.S.: Audio solutions coming next.

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)

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.

WhatsApp Web – Initial Impressions

Few days back (January 21st, 2015) and I did start using the web version of WhatsApp (I’m sure most of you did.) Honestly it’s too early to evaluate WhatsApp Web. So I would like to share my initial impressions on WhatsApp Web.

The service works extra ordinarily well if you understand it well. Because this is a Web App it will work on all systems (hopefully) if you have Google Chrome for your Operating System. I’ve tried it on Ubuntu 14.10 and Mac OS X 10.10.1! Works fine with both of them.

[Personal Note: Probably the first post where I wanted to post screen shots but I couldn’t! For obvious reasons.]

For you to use WhatsApp Web you should be running on the latest version of the WhatsApp Messenger. Your phone should be connected to the Wi-Fi for a strong connection (During the construction of this post).

The steps for connection are interestingly simple. I personally recommend users to use WhatsApp Web on Chrome only if you yourself are logged in or in incognito mode, Specially if your personal computer is used by others.

– Just head on to http://web.whatsapp.com

– Scan the QR code from the WhatsApp Messenger. (Menu>WhatsApp Web)

– Depending on how fast your internet connection is, you’ll be logged in to your WhatsApp Account.

Straight away the design is pure representation of what Material design should be on Web Apps and Websites. The left narrow pane is the conversation list. Where as the right broad pane is the conversation list. From the Web App itself the status and the profile picture of the user and other users are visible.

Out of the box, the implementation is superb. This is somewhat heading in the right direction. The material design is responsive as always. The notification arrives quite quickly. There is option to mute notifications permanently or for a time period.

Few things I personally hate about WhatsApp Web and should or could be taken care of immediately will be as follows:

  • WhatsApp Web still doesn’t solve the “Multi-login” option that I want. Even if the WhatsApp Messenger device is switched off WhatsApp Web should be usable! (But it implements Multi-login in some way)

  • The phone has to be connected to the Wi-Fi network ,3G network doesn’t count in a strong connection.

  • You cannot edit WhatsApp Messenger’s setting like the notification sounds or changing profile pictures or status’s even though the software works in full sync with the WhatsApp Messenger.

  • You don’t have the option to archive messages or you don’t have the option to or an extra list of the archived conversations. (I personally have a large sect of people/Groups for whom I’m like “I don’t have time for this S#it”. *Conversation Archived.*)

  • You don’t have the option to download profile pictures (it matters a lot to some people)

Will surely keep you guys posted on WhatApp web for future updates.

Connect with me on:

G+:                            +sahilsatishkumar

Twitter:                   @sahrckr

Facebook:              Personal profile, Blog Page[!!NEW!!]

This is Sahil Satishkumar logging out.

How to upgrade your Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen) to Android Lollipop 5.0.2

The International version of the Motorola Moto G2 received the Android Lollipop on November 12, 2014 (before any Nexus/GPe device). Note though the update was only for the single sim variant which isn’t sold in most of the developing markets like India, Brazil etc.

Motorola India was conducting soak test for the Motorola Moto G2 (Indian variant, XT1068) and one of the Indian xda developer’s has uploaded the soak test upgrade to the public. So if you are impatient like me and don’t want to wait for the official release then continue reading.

The actual xda-developers post can be found over here.

In the xda developer page, has a FAQ which I think you should read through before upgrading or doing anything to the device. Your device should have a locked bootloader and should not be rooted. If you have “21.11.23.titan_retaildsds.retaildsdsall.en.03” as your System version with build number as “KXB21.85-23” you can proceed to download the update.

If your “About phone” looks similar then you can proceed to upgrade.

You can download the update (~377 MB) from the given links, Mega1, Mega2, Google Drive or Dev-Host. Download any one link that works for you. The update(.zip file) has to be moved to the phone’s storage (internal or external, I personally moved it to the internal and the external storage both).

After the file transfer go to your phone’s, Settings > About Phone > Software Updates.

And if you have moved it correctly you should get something like the screenshot shared below.

The System Software update pop up.

After selecting “Yes, I’m in.” the update will be moved. And you’ll be asked if you want to install the update. The phone will reboot and install the software update. After which all your apps will be optimized to the new operating system. The process will take around 20 minutes, depending upon the number of apps you have installed on your phone.

Post upgrade “About phone”

DISCLAIMER: This isn’t an official upgrade from Motorola. Theoretically this should not harm your device, but I cannot take any responsibility for any damage/harm/data-loss that happens to your device.

Ironically, if you get though this properly you’ll not lose any apps or app data or any media stored in your internal memory or memory card. You’ll continue to get updates sent from Motorola and your warranty will remain intact

Special thanks to the people who made the lollipop OTA available to every one:

Rajesh Kumar            https://plus.google.com/100861612655091584827/posts
Avinash Ravi              https://plus.google.com/+AvinashRavi/posts.

Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen review, coming soon.

This is Sahil Satishkumar logging out.