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+.

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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.

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.

TVS-E Gold Bharat Mechanical Keyboard (PS/2) – First Impressions

If you were to search for the cheapest mechanical keyboard in India, and if you take the hat that says “Don’t buy India-based manufacturer’s peripherals” and look at it with fresh eyes then it may so happen that you’ll end up having a glance at this awesome piece of hardware in the Indian market. Let’s jump into my first impressions on the same.

The part that I’ve skipped here is unboxing. It’s not the most pleasant experience. The only things you’d receive will be:

Not so awesome of a box. The keyboard itself and a warranty card.

Build Quality:

One of the reasons I guess TVS didn’t invest much on packing, could be the quality, boy this thing is built like a tank. The keyboard bears the responsibility to keep the box safe from all the damages that may occur during transit. It’s sturdy, heavier and bigger than mostly all membrane and chiclet style keyboards. So don’t expect it to fit in a small desk or don’t expect it to be portable. There is a bit of flex to it, but come on given the portability and size I’m sure no one is going to use it as a tarpaulin. It’s something that’s going to sit aside and work for years to come(hopefully).

Availability:

It’s available online and offline. It’s available in full size black colour 104 standard key layout format only. The port options you get is either PS/2 or USB (I choose PS/2). Also you have a version of the same that comes with support of multiple Indian languages(not really interested, so I didn’t even look at it). For some reason this keyboard it’s not advertised at all. You should be able to get this keyboard, with in the range of ₹1600-₹2000 depending on your location.

First impressions:

Honestly I was very exited about this keyboard(I would like to use and review even more, feel free to gift me some). I have used many membrane keyboards and this is my first experience of owning a mechanical keyboard. My dad has been using a similar older model for about 10 years now(and he’s really good with it).

Straight of this is not for people who are into ninja style stealth silent mode of typing. So if you in an office/library sort of environment, with many people around, you’re probably going to disturb them with these switches. If you have tested and tried membrane/chiclet keyboards and if you want to significantly improve your typing. Then your first approach to affordable and good mechanical keyboard could be this TVS keyboard.

Switches:

The TVS-e Gold Bharat(PS/2 or USB) keyboard features Cherry MX Blue switches. It’s not mentioned anywhere in the box, or the official product page. I did see a listing online that mentioned these keyboards feature brown switches. But that’s not true.

And how do I know that?

1. Out of cherry MX Black, Blue, Green, Red, Brown switches. Only the blue switches have a distinct(and disturbing for some) click-clack sound as demonstrated below.

2. Photographic evidence:

DSC04281

As the name suggests the Cherry MX Blue switches are literally blue in colour.

According to the literature the Cherry MX blue switches have two distinct points of activations:

BlueClicks: need 45 grams of force. This is about 2mm from the resting position of the key, which is about half way through the base of the keyboard.

Clacks: needs 50 grams of force. This peak force, forces the switch to go all the way down of the keystroke. This one is about 4mm from the resting position of the key. Normally this is the way we “hit” keys like enter, shift and space keys.

So what this mean to you the users? It may require some more force to type. The tactile feedback is really sweet. It gives a pleasant and fatigue free typing for long duration. Not really good for gamers since the key remains activated from half way through to the base. To reset the switch you literally have to get the key back to its resting position, Cherry MX Red switches could be a better option. But you can try this keyboard if you prefer the tactile Cherry MX blue switches.

For a rough comparison between the audio feedback of the chiclet, membrane and the mechanical keyboard you can have a look at this small demonstration:

Compare this keyboard with one of the available options The Steelseries 6Gv2 Gaming keyboard the keys/ key formats is nearly the same, except for n-key rollover and better anti-ghosting. But that keyboard costs triple the cost of this TVS keyboard.

And you won’t be needing n key roll-over unless you type with your hands and heads.

Trade off’s:

1. It’s not silent, can be a bit noisy in office like environments.

2. The backspace key is actually the size of the normal alphabet keys, and may take some time to use to.

3. The Rupee symbol is a part of their proprietary font, it’s not universal.(Kind of obvious)

My recommendation for TVS to improve their mechanical keyboard segment:

1. Better packaging and unboxing experience. I know the keyboards are strong enough, but seriously a better box would help a lot. Also including some accessories like PS/2 to USB adapter and a keycap removal tool would be just too cool. Obviously keeping the price below ₹2500.

2. Even more options! More colours? A 10-key-less model? More options with the switches, at least the Cherry MX red? More colour options for keycaps? USB and Audio pass through ports? Monochrome Backlit keys? N-key roll-over?

3. The flaps that give inclination to the keyboard should have rubber tips.

4. Availability from your own website for the keyboard and the extra accessories that I mentioned above.

I’m going to use this keyboard for 3 months and then post my full review on the quality, performance, typing experience and tell you guys if it really improves the typing experience.

Let me know in the comments section below if you want my version of explanation of the switches or something regarding the keyboard that needs to be covered. There is a Linustechtips’s Techquickie on different types of switches, if you are interested to watch it click here.

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Motorola Moto G(2ND Generation) – Initial Impressions.

DSC04104

 

Motorola’s presence in India was withdrawn in 2012, after is was merged with Google, With Motorola Razr being the last smartphone. To the Tech-World’s shock, Motorola re-entered the abandoned Indian market with 3 phones Moto X, Moto G, and finally Moto E.

The second generation of Moto G was announced in the first week of September, and I find myself lucky enough to experience one for about 12 hours.

DISCLAIMER : I have personally used this device for 12 hours(6 hours on-screen) before post.

The Purchase

Normally a topic never covered. Motorola plans to sell Moto phones(all three of them) in partnership with flipkart. Not the best strategy to sell mid-range and low-range phone online, where the market is skeptical about online shopping. Motorola could have at least made these phones available offline through some other giants (like Croma or Reliance Digital). However if you plan to get one through flipkart, ‘fear not for thy shall’ inform you, there is a 30 day replacement warranty if you find a defective product. Moto G is available in White or Black, with options to change the back cover.

Unboxing

The box itself is not a huge package, traditional Motorola packaging. Informative, at the same time ‘minimalistic’. Warning for first time users, since the device casing is not sturdy. The device directly pops out of the box the second you open the lid. So if you are of the type who likes to live off the edge, somewhere on top of Mt.Everest, carelessness will probably end up with the world record for the world’s most rigorous drop-test.

Other than the device itself you get a charger, earphones(they look cheap, check these) and some literature which Indians don’t read. To cut the cost down, they didn’t keep that data-cable(micro-USB to USB).

Aesthetics

The look and feel of the Moto G remains nearly same. The buttons, back cover, camera placement, the much-loved Motorola dimple below the camera, etc stays. The enhancements being the footprint, speaker placement, and other sensors. The device fits perfect in the hand or pocket. It’s not portable like the previous version. The speakers receive a reallocation, that makes device look symmetric. I personally encountered many instances where I was unable to figure out which was the correct way up(I think the white version is more friendly), The dimple on the back solves that confusion.

Hardware

Under the hood moto G(2nd Gen.) hasn’t received a spec-bump if you compare it with its predecessor, the CPU/GPU remains the same. The display gets a 0.5 inch expansion to 5 inch display. Sadly at the same resolution (720p) the ppi comes down to 294. The camera department gets an upgrade to much respected 8MP which results to some decent shots (Some shots will be posted below). The ports 3.5 mm jack is on top (to which the earphones supplied with it aren’t angled) and the charging/sync port at the bottom.

Taking off the back cover reveals 2 micro sim slots and a memory card slot(which was absent in the previous version). The battery stays with the same rating and non-removable. Leaving the cards hot-swappable.

Software

Motorola does a great job is delivering a smart phone in the year 2014, with an operating system which was launched in 2014. They don’t fail with this device too, as it comes pre-installed with Android 4.4.4 (Hopefully will get an upgrade to Android L). It’s a vanilla Android experience with (some useful) bloatwares from Motorola. For it being new and shiny I cannot conclude how will it be in the long run. It was snappy with all regular app-launch, multitasking and gaming operations, thanks to the Snapdragon 400 chipset and Adreno 305 GPU.

Who should buy this phone?

Obviously if you are on a budget on 13-15k (INR) probably the best mid range device you could buy now.

Or if you are some one who wants a Vanilla android experience, and doesn’t care about the specifications under the hood.

May be if you have a high-end smartphone from some other platform and you don’t want to miss the latest and greatest of android.

Who shouldn’t buy this phone?

If you have moto G (1st generation) this device isn’t a complete upgrade. If the processor was upgraded to a future proof 64-bit powerhouse, the story would have been different.

Secondly those who hate low screen resolution. The display may look splashed if it were to be compared with a 1080p display.

Everything else

It’s nice to have front facing speakers but they give the whole phone the creaky feeling of it falling apart. With this i mean placement of speakers should not have any impact on other components. With that being said the speakers are loud(but not HTC M8 quality).

The only bits is dislike is the display resolution and availability of the product in the Indian market.

[Update(21st September, 2014): The volume buttons on the Moto G aren’t the best. Technically, most of the units I’ve noticed has a z-axis play, which makes it feel as if its gonna break]

I’ll surely keep in touch with this smartphone, and if possible will post a review too.

 

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Would like to know your opinion on the strategy what Motorola has adopted to sell these devices in the comment section below.

Time Travel with Nexus 7, 2012

 

(Sahil Satishkumar, @SahRckr)

 

Nexus 7, codenamed grouper, was the first device to feature the Android 4.1 JellyBean OS. Being blessed with Project butter this 7″ Android tablet was the best under 200 USD tablet available in the market. This Nexus tablet was bought during the late Nov 2013. I traded my HTC One S C2 for Nexus 7. This may sound bit crazy, also consider it fits my usage. I use it as my primary device. I spend most of the time with my tab than my other slower option Lenovo A516. That was how Nexus 7 entered in my arsenal. So after 6 months of usage and 2 years from launch how does the device excel.

 

Hardware:

Nexus 7 came with a Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.3 GHz and a gig of RAM. My usage I would say is higher than average. I conquer the web, Social Networking, lots of messaging, downloads, media consumption, and what not!? Battery life is quite okay on the device and I use the age old, Developer abandoned Juice Defender to extend my battery life to approximately 16 hrs a day. Wish there was at least a 3 MP camera on the rear of the device, but still its acceptable to date. Imagine a guy taking photographs on a 7” device , W.E.I.R.D. ! As of the display its a 7” , 1280×800 px decent IPS display which has Gorilla Glass 2. I will conclude that the display is Scratch-Resistant and not scratch proof as the company claims. You’re better off with a scratch guard in exchange of some juice. My device has minute scratches. The buttons and the side details are fine to this date. Also the dimpled back design of my tab was protected by an Amzer Pouch.

 

[DISCLAIMER: The review device – Nexus 7, 2012 was used for more than 3 months for this post. ]

Software:

 This the part where the device excels , the device has received all major android version upgrades from Android 4.1->Android 4.2.2->Android 4.3->Android 4.4(KitKat). The device currently boasts Android 4.4.2 which is the latest Android version available, even after 2 years from launch. More over the hardware in the device allows us to mostly every application in the play store. Including graphic intense games. There are no compatibility issues because of the hardware. There is a bit of Android lag on the device after using it for a long time, which can be seized by few restarts after few days or so. I always found the Font boring, so i’ve installed Ubuntu Font on my device( with root permission you can use iFont for non-Samsung devices )

And everything else:

The unnecessary Google applications which cannot be used because of country issues (Google Earth, Google Wallet which don’t work in India) cannot be uninstalled. It’s just that allowing some stupid applications that don’t do anything for me cannot take space from my device. Limited storage always is a negative point. I also have root access. Hence trying out new applications is a breeze. There is crazy issue I face sometimes, The device gets too heated up when kept inside my backpack at times. Which becomes bothering, But then it chills off when kept outside.

Conclusion:

With time devices do age well, but Google along with Asus has proved that a device need not be 500 USD for the specifications to be high end without missing out features. Devices don’t need that extra metal wrapping around them to live around consumers for a long time. Nexus 7 is a No Nonsense device that does what it’s meant to even after a time hop of 2 years. Every part of this device is worth the 200 USD tag.

The new iteration of the Nexus ditches the Tegra for Snapdragon, more RAM, Display Resolution, a back camera. But the price difference between the two devices is ~168 USD (in the Indian Market), But the later version has the longer Google supported services!

 

Review score:9.2/10

So tell us what do you feel about the first Nexus Tab. Also let me know the common problems faced by the Nexus 7, or the newer version.

Sahil Satishkumar for SahRckrTech Weekly

Check out the same uploads on SahRckrTech.Blogspot.in

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Personal Recommendation:

Bluetooth Keyboard that comforts your typing style- Increases productivity of your tablet ( evolves to semi PC )

Nexus 7/Nexus 7(2013)

 

Update (5th June, 2014) : Guide to upgrade nexus 7(or any other nexus device) to Android 4.4.3 using Linux can be found here.