Nexus 6P

by Yash 0 Comments

Nexus6p

It’s time for a new phone and it is Nexus 6P. After Nexus S and Nexus 5 this is my third Nexus. It’s bigger and better. Got a 32 GB version in silver. I really wanted to get the gold one but it was disappearing from everywhere (today it is back in stock on Flipkart) and at 40K it was more than I was willing to pay.

Specs are stellar, phone is gorgeous, the fingerprint sensor is blazing fast, camera seems to be fine, screen is super sharp owing to the Quad HD display. Got it for Rs. 33,480 after 7% discount from ebay. Not a bad deal I reckon.

Nexus all the way.

New laptop Lenovo Y510P

by Yash 4 Comments

My old Dell finally gave up a couple of weeks back. I used it for almost 4 years. Pretty good considering that my previous Compaqs barely lasted two. So I needed a new laptop. Unlike a mobile or tablet there’s not much variety in laptops. The new one was going to be pretty much the same as my last one. However I had only one thing on my wishlist for the new laptop – full HD (1920 x 1080p) display. It’s amazing that my phone which has a 5 inch screen has a full HD display, while laptops with 15.6” screen were mostly limited to 1366 x 768. So I thought maybe I can get a laptop with a better resolution this time.

My Dell experience had been good but I wanted to try out another brand this time. HP was strictly out of question due to the bad memories of Compaq. Lenovo and Asus were consistently rated as sturdy laptops online and I had heard some good things about Lenovo too. My wife had a Lenovo in her old job and that looked like a solid machine.

Z510Searching online I came across Lenovo Z series laptops. Z510 looked like a stellar machine with i7, 8GB RAM, 2GB graphics and full HD display. It was for around 60K (INR) and I got a 3000 off coupon from ebay so I purchased it, and my transaction failed! For the first time in my 50+ transactions on ebay a transaction failed. Money was debited from my card but ebay did not receive it because of a technical fault at the gateway level. After a few phone calls and emails to both ebay and my bank I was able to get my money back, but that meant I now had to place a new order.

Now since I had time on my hands I decided to check out the model personally at a store. A few reviews on FlipKart had mentioned that Z510 did not have a full HD display after all, so I went to a store and checked the machine and yes it was not full HD! That was an i5 model. I called up an authorised Lenovo shop and asked them if i7 model of Z510 had full HD and they confirmed to me that Z series did not have full HD, but Y series had. So even though it says so on Lenovo India’s website as you can see on the screenshot Z510 actually does not have full HD resolution.
So I looked at Y510P. The i7 model was very expensive at 84K+. I did not want to spend more than 60K on the laptop, next best was the i5 model, and searching online I found a great deal on FlipKart for 59,750. So I bought that one.

Important specs –

Lenovo Ideapad Y510p (59-389687)
Intel I5-4200M
15.6 FHD LED GLARE
8G RAM
1TB 5400 RPM HDD
N14P-GT1 Graphics with 2G RAM
2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0
Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit LAN, WiFi, DVD writer – standard stuff
JBL speakers

Looks
The laptop looks damn sexy with the red backlit keyboard and trendy looking speakers. I haven’t put speakers to much use yet, but they are way better than my Dell. USB 3.0 is really fast. I can tell the difference when I copy files over on to my WD backup drive.

Y510P
With the new laptop comes the usual pain of installing all your software and setting up things as they were on your old laptop. But this time I have decided to install the software only as and when I require them. After 4 years of use my last laptop had so much of stuff just lying around…. It’s good to start from scratch.

Now this laptop has some kick ass graphics power with 2GB dedicated graphics RAM. I haven’t played games on my computer in a long time. Actually I have never been a big gamer. The only genre of computer games I ever enjoyed playing was RTS games and Age of Empires series of games and its offshoots is all I have played. Now I am looking for some games to play on this new laptop though.

Okay Full HD resolution. This one does have full HD, AND now I know why laptops mostly don’t have higher resolution – the 15 inches screen is just too small for full HD. Things are super tiny, I set the display to 125% and that makes fonts blurry (Mac like) in many applications and images in browsers look funny. Only if I am watching a 1080p movie will the resolution be of any use, but I’d rather watch that movie on my TV rather than laptop! So full HD on laptop is not really worth it.

The only problem that I have faced with this laptop is that on the touchpad instead of having buttons for left and right mouse click, it has clickable surface. And it is hard. You have to press is hard as opposed to a gentle press on the buttons of Dell. I mostly use a mouse so it doesn’t affect much but without mouse things get a bit difficult. The touch pad also has gestures and other such gimmickry which I did not find very useful. Come Lenovo on it’s not a Macbook.

Macbook, did I consider Macbook? I did. Macbook Air. But then most of my productive money making work happens on Windows. For a couple of weeks when I did not have my laptop I was using the Mac mini, I liked a few things and I did not like some other things. But my productivity took a real hit. I am so used to Windows and there are software on Windows which I have customised according to my needs, I have even created a bunch of apps that help me manage my business. I felt handicapped without them. Now I can make a dual boot system on Mac but then why should I pay the exorbitant price of a Mac if I am going to install Windows on it! So no Mac.

I am hoping this one lasts for another 4-5 years.

Samsung NX30 – camera of the future?

by Yash 0 Comments

Samsung NX30 is some camera! The hardware is definitely stellar but the software with touchscreen and WiFi and NFC and what not is equally 2014! Is Samsung trying to repeat its success in the mobile market with the cameras? Then it is a step in the right direction.

Compact point and shoot cameras are dying because of the smart phones and the category will be wiped out soon. Camera manufacturers were hoping that DSLRs GrowTaller4Idiots will save them but now even they have started declining. There’s a prediction that other than Canon, Nikon and Sony all other camera manufacturers will disappear and there’s a reason why. Cameras on the phones are good enough to take photos of your party or a display in a mall and post it on Instagram or Facebook. But when it comes to taking real photos – photos that you will preserve and will look at when you are old – you still need a proper camera to do that. Things like low light performance, optical image stabilization, optical zoom, larger better quality sensors, fast shooting mode and some amount of control over how the shot will be taken are important features.

The problem is that the camera manufacturers so far have only concentrated on the camera hardware. More megapixels, more optical zoom, better lens and have completely neglected the software part which is becoming more and more important. Look at any top of the line camera today and the UI is still stuck in 1990s. Hardware is important but so is Software and it seems Samsung is the only manufacturer who is realizing it, may be because of their success in the mobile market – great hardware combined with great software makes a killer product. Apple knew it long back, Samsung understood it in time and now may be they are trying to bring it to the camera world. Other than the NX30 Samsung is coming up with Galaxy Camera 2 – the Android based camera, which means the Galaxy Camera 1 was a success. Interesting days are ahead in the camera world.

Nexus 5 price comparison in India

by Yash 0 Comments

I am mulling getting a new phone and Nexus 5 is at the top of my list. I was just comparing the prices on various price comparison sites and it turns out none of them are perfect. Here’s the price of Nexus 5 16 GB version as per different comparison sites –

Junglee 27928
MySmartPrice 28999
PriceCheckIndia 29007
MobileCost.in 29900
PriceBaba 29990
FindYogi 29999

Officially Google is selling the phone for 28,999 from the Play Store and MySmartPrice is the only site that includes them on the list. May be others are only including the sites they have affiliated it and so they aren’t including Google but then it defeats the whole purpose of a price comparison engine for a customer.

Junglee even though comes as cheapest where they show the price from iBhejo, they actually list the phone at the price iBhejo has listed that is 30,890 and list the discount separately so you have to do the math yourself.

However when I go to iBhejo I can see that they have a Christmas deal going on where you can get flat 10% off so you can get the phone for 27,801, even lower than what Junglee has listed. So obviously there’s a huge scope of improvement.

The only downside of buying from iBhejo is that the phone will be imported from the US so it will come with a US type charger – not a big deal but the warranty will be of US. If there’s a manufacturing defect within 3 months iBhejo will replace the phone, but if it needs repairs then it will be sent to the US by them and they will get it repaired there. So that is one thing that you have to be mindful of if you decide to save Rs. 1,198 and not buying from Google directly.

I would personally rather buy it from Google and get proper India warranty instead of saving 1200 odd Rupees. Yes unless I was saving a substantial amount say 5000 then may be I would consider taking the risk on warranty. The phone is available for $349 in US (about Rs. 21,650). If I use some hacks to buy Nexus 5 from US Play Store and get it shipped to India it will probably cost me about 26,000 with shipping and custom duties and all, but then again I have to forget about the warranty completely.

Diwali 2013 Gadgets

by Yash 0 Comments

Got some new gadgets this Diwali – a Panasonic TV, Google Chromecast and a stationary exercise bike.

Panasonic TH-L39B6D

It’s a 39 inch flat panel LED that we got for the living room. After watching demo of 3D TVs and being impressed with 3D content I considered getting a 3D TV but the 3D looked good only with 3D content and the 2D to 3D conversion wasn’t that impressive. Also I found 42″ to be insufficient for 3D content, so dropped the 3D idea and went with a good old TV. Connecting TV to the Internet was a requirement so also considered some smart TV models, but then decided to give Chromecast a try to see if that worked. I got the TV from Vijay Sales for 35K (INR) after exchanging my old 21″ CTV.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast is a tiny little HDMI dongle that can connect your TV to Internet over Wifi and you can stream content to your TV from your Android or iOS device. Officially Chromecast is not available in India yet but it can be purchased from ebay and other sites. I got it from ebay for 3500 and the initial experience was bad. The first piece I received didn’t work, I was worried my money would go waste but luckily the seller replaced it and the new one worked. Although Google says setting it up is snap, it wasn’t so in my case. I had to change the HDMI port, had to reset Chromecast a few times and somehow managed to set it up. Even after it was set up the performance was erratic. On the very first attempt to play a video it hung!

Finally it started working perfectly and I was able to stream videos from YouTube from my mobile and iPad. And now I must say I am happy with the way it has been working so far. There are not many apps that can stream to Chromecast but I am sure, more apps will add Chromecast support in near future. I haven’t yet tried streaming a tab from Chrome desktop to TV yet. Should try it today. However the most important content that one wants to see on TV is videos and movies. YouTube is where the videos are and that works really fine. I stream cartoons and jingles and rhymes for Yaashi and that helps us feed her without much effort :) Now I am waiting for some video player app to add cast support so videos on the device can be streamed to the TV. Google Play movies can only play movies downloaded (purchased) from Play store.

Fuel Upright 3.0 bike

So I and my wife decided to start working out to lose some extra kilos. I had tried running some time back, but I am not much of an outdoor person. Treadmill would take too much of space in the living room, so decided to get an exercise bike. Good to burn calories, helps with cardio and weight loss. It’s been 3 days since we got it and have started with using it twice a day with 15 minutes each. A 15 minute session burns 100 calories. Goal is to increase the time gradually so we build stamina and burn more calories. This is the first time in life that I have started to exercise. It’s a good start, will write after 3 months how it went.

New camera – Panasonic Lumix FZ200

by Yash 0 Comments

A couple of months back I got a new camera – Panasonic Lumix FZ200. Advanced point and shoot camera with 12 MP sensor, 24x optical zoom, full HD (1080p) video recording and much more. The most important feature however is a constant aperture of f2.8 throughout the zoom range. I’ll come to that later.

pana-fz200I got it for 28K. At that price I could have easily got an entry level DSLR but I chose to go with this.

I felt the need for a new camera because my old Nikon L1 was getting really old. It is working absolutely fine taking good pics but it is not that great to capture photos in low light and being almost 7 years old it lacks image stabilisation and many more features that are now common in even al-cheapo cameras. Once I started taking photos of my daughter, the camera’s woes became apparent. I needed a camera that can 1) Take sharp photos in low light and indoor, 2) Capture photos of stuff in motion like my one and half year old who is never steady even for a second 3) Can record full HD movies.

So primarily I wanted a camera that would help me capture memories of my daughter’s growing up years in both photo and video format. With this need in mind I started hunting for a camera. Having an insane zoom or large MP value wasn’t really on my radar. I looked at FlipKart and other camera selling sites but got really confused. Then I found the awesome Camera finder at DPReview. It lets you search for a camera by filtering various features. The list of features was mind boggling, and I did not understand many of them, so I started reading more about those features and the more I read, more I understood what exactly I needed. I quickly short listed  Image stabilization, articulated LCD, Aperture range, shutter speed, manual controls, ability to shoot in RAW, manual focus, in camera HDR. After a lot of research and filtering I was down to 4 cameras – Panasonic FZ200, Nikon P520, Canon SX50, Sony HX200V. Nikon was the cheapest of the lot, Canon had the best zoom of 50x, Sony had some great features too. After comparing them a lot on SnapSort, reading reviews about them and watching videos I finalized the Panasonic for it’s constant f2.8 aperture.

Anybody who had a little knowledge about photography praised the constant aperture on entire zoom range as a great breakthrough on part of Panasonic. Aperture is the opening in the shutter that lets the light in on the sensor. Smaller the number, larger the opening and hence more light comes in. Result = better photos in low light. With all the mega zoom cameras the aperture goes on decreasing at the telephoto end of the lens. Panasonic was the first one to bring that to a point and shot camera. Even professional photographers preferred to keep the LZ200 along with their DSLRs for a quick shot because of this feature.

With its ability to shoot in RAW, full manual controls, 12 photos per second in burst mode and amazing aperture – Panasonic FZ200 was as close to a DSLR as a point and shoot can get. The only thing it lacks is ability to change the lens and that’s exactly what I wanted. I did not want a DSLR because I did not want all the hassles of changing a lens and keeping different lenses around for different situations. I am never going to shoot wildlife or super close ups of insects. I wanted one camera that will work for most of the situations and I got all that in Panasonic FZ200.

Here’s the unboxing video of the camera

I also got a high speed class 10, 16 GB SD card, a Lowepro camera bag and have just ordered a Vanguard tripod last night. I have taken some good photos with the camera. I try to take at least one photo a day. I take photos and then process them in FastStone Viewer. I will be posting photos on my Flickr account from time to time.

 

TataSky+ HD DTH

by Yash 2 Comments

Choosing a DTH provider in India is tougher than choosing a spouse. I have had a Full HD 32″ LCD TV for a year but I was still running on the old cable connection. Finally I thought it’s time to move on. Main lure was the presence of HD channels. Lots of channels are now available in High Definition and I also wanted a DVR to be able to record shows and pause live TV. So I began hunting for a DTH service.

I had following options to choose from

TataSky
Dish TV
Airtel Digital TV
Reliance Big TV
Videocon D2H
Sun Direct DTH

First I asked my cable guy if they have a Set top box. They do have but it’s not HD and no DVR so it was out of contention. Hathway Cable has started HD services but they are not available in my locality. (Cable guys have divided areas amongst themselves to avoid competition)

Dish and TataSky are oldest in India. Airtel, Reliance, Videocon and Sun are new and boast of MPEG-4 compression which seemingly has better quality over MPEG-2 of the older players. So At first I decided to only look at the four new players.

Sun is strong in south but their HD offerings were least exciting. Their web site is also enough to put someone off instantly. So that was out immediately.

Reliance is boasting of providing 250 HD channels but all of them are upscaled. The real HD channels are only 6 whereas Airtel and Videocon have 10 and 11 respectively. So the choice was quickly narrowed down to Airtel and Videocon.

I was more interested in English movies and infotainment channels like Discovery and Nat Geo. Videocon had more HD channels that mattered to me. Airtel didn’t have ESPN, Star Cricket and Travel XP in HD instead they had UTV stars and History TV. Videocon didn’t have History TV in HD but had the other three. The main lure was Travel XP, because I had seen that one at a hotel and instantly liked it. Only Videocon and Dish TV carry Travel XP at the moment. Videocon had the best price. Their highest package (Platinum+HD) included all their channels and HD for Rs. 441 per month and even less if I prepaid for entire year. The same thing was costing Rs.486 at Airtel where HD had to be bought separately and all HD channels were not part of that bouquet. Videocon only had a 160 GB hard disk in the DVR against 320 GB of Airtel but I thought I could live with that.

Meanwhile I also checked out TataSky and Dish TV. Dish didn’t really have too much to offer in HD department and they didn’t have a HD DVR either (at least I couldn’t find one on their site) besides Dish’s highest plan was at 550 something so I put a cross mark against it. Then I looked at TataSky. They had 8 HD channels. The 3 missing ones were Colors, Movies Now and Travel XP. Missing Movies Now HD was a huge minus for me. TataSky was the first to introduce DVR in India and they have the largest capacity disk on DVR – 500 GB which can record 700 hours of SD programming. That was huge and they had a super annual package that included all of the channels including HD for one year and a fixed price for the entire year. Any new channels added in the next year will be part of this package as well. That was a huge advantage, but videocon was still cheaper and had two HD channels that I cared about – MoviesNow and TravelXP.

So I decided to go with Videocon. I went online to purchase and boom! The HD DVR was no longer available! I called the customer support to enquire for the same, the guy put me hold for 10 minutes and the call dropped. That kind of put me off. Next day I got a call from them and I was told the HD DVR is now available only in Mumbai so they have taken it off website and are selling it only in cash. I didn’t like it. I weighed different options again and once again came to the conclusion that Videocon was best. So I was ready to buy it. Then I decided to check out their Facebook account. And over there I read a comment from someone about History TV not being available! I knew History was not available in HD but not at all?? What the hell!!

History channel was recently relaunched and rebranded as History TV 18 and had some kick ass shows like Ice Road Truckers and was an absolute must! Even my cable guy provided it! Now this was too much. Videocon didn’t have a great website, DVR was not available online, customer support didn’t really look that good and the DVR had only 160 GB storage. Videocon was cancelled and I went back to drawing board. Now the choice was between Airtel and TataSky. I had called TataSky and confirmed, they too had switched to MPEG-4. Airtel had better HD package but was expensive, TataSky had a larger capacity disk and on the online forums I read they had been adding new HD channels regularly over last couple of months. Two months back they didn’t even have these many HD channels. They are slow in adding channels but they do add. And with the Mega Lite pack that I was considering I would get them all at no extra cost. TataSky also has a service called Video On Demand where I can connect the box to Internet and I can download videos, even movies and shows from the past 5 days and I would have ample space to store all the content. At this point I think its a unique feature provided only by TataSky.

So TataSky it was. TataSky+ HD to be specific. I paid Rs. 10,200 for which I got HD DVR with 500 GB hard disk, full year subscription for the Mega Lite pack which included all channels carried by TataSky including HD, 12 showcase movies and 1 year subscription to BusinessWorld magazine. And under a special offer I got 500 Rs. credit in my account. Paid it yesterday, and it was installed at my home today morning.

And I am loving it already! The HD clarity is awesome! Finally my HD TV is doing what it was supposed to do! The DVR is perfect, I have already set it up to record a couple of movies that will be telecast today. They have an app for Android phones where by I can give instructions to record any program from anywhere. In fact I set up one of the movies to be recorded from my mobile. Videocon and Airtel have such programs too but TataSky’s app is most polished and slick amongst all.

I am happy with my decision. Having a couple more HD channels would have been great but I am sure they will be added soon.

Isko laga dala to life jhingalala!

My past phones and why I bought them

by Yash 0 Comments

I was just analyzing my mobile phones over the years and the reasons I bought them.

My first mobile phone was Nokia 3530. I had no idea about mobile phones then. It was sometimes in the first half of 2004. I chose a Nokia phone because that was the only solid brand then I guess. And I wanted a phone with colour display! Yes those are the days when phones with black and white display were main stream. So I went with probably the cheapest Nokia phone with colour display. It had no data cable, no USB, bluetooth kind of stuff. But it had GPRS. I came to know of it while reading the manual. I subscribed to Orange’s GPRS plans for 100 Rupees a month. Not many people even knew they could access Internet on their mobile back in 2004. I got it it for 6500 I guess. I had to buy the hands free earphones separately.

Brand and price were the primary decision making factors in choosing my first mobile.

After using the Nokia for about a couple of years I upgraded to Sony Ericsson K750i. It was an impulse purchase. My friend got that phone, showed it to me. I immediately fell in love with the phone’s bright display, speed, themes, 2 MP camera and amazing sound! I said I want one too. So I bought one. I believe it was for around 16000. It was the same phone as Sony Ericsson W800 which was a big launch in those days. W800 had more storage and later version of ROM because it was a walkman series phone.

Features of the phone was the primary reason why I got the Sony Ericsson K750i.

The phone turned out to be quite sturdy as well. Till last month my wife was using that phone. It has gone through a lot including spending half an hour socked in the water in the pocket of my jeans which required replacing the display which had to be changed once more since then.

iMate JAMin

I wanted a Windows Mobile, a touch screen and WiFi. I had been developing programs for Windows Mobile and I had a Toshiba Pocket PC E400. The E400 is a superb device and I wished it also had a phone and WiFi capabilities. iMate, O2 and Dopod were the only brands selling Windows mobile phones in India back in 2007 which were actually rebranded HTC devices and quite expensive. HTC had not started selling phones directly yet. I shelled out about 26000 for the iMate JAMin. When I look back it looks horrible! But my wedding day was near and I convinced myself to treat it as a wedding gift to myself!

Operating system was the deciding factor in me choosing the JAMin. The OS was ok but the hardware was horrible.

Nokia E72

After spending a couple of years with the JAMin, I wanted a business phone. One where I can check emails. I had horrible experience with HTC hardware and my love for Windows was gone too. Touchscreen too wasn’t a priority (that was a mistake). I thought I needed a BlackBerry type phone. QWERTY keypad sure was a necessity because typing things on the onscreen keyboard was terrible, especially with a stylus. I also passed Android which was in the market for about a year. That was another mistake I think. After a lot of research and deliberation I chose Nokia E72. The initial experience was bad. My cousin who had bought it on my recommendation got tired of it in a couple of weeks and wanted to sell it. I should have gone for BlackBerry I think. Getting a small screen was a mistake. A ROM upgrade sorted out many issues but I was never 100% satisfied with the phone.

Usability, hardware and brand were crucial for going back to Nokia. Nokia had a reputation for making solid phones and I was tired of the clunky HTC/iMate.

Samsung Google Nexus S

I was craving for Android! It was becoming big and I regretted not getting an Android during my last upgrade. I wasn’t particularly looking for a new phone but I decided to develop something for Android and thought of getting an Android phone for testing. Then while checking out the features, one thing led to the next and I ended up buying the Nexus S. I have written in detail about my reasons for choosing Nexus S. So far I am liking a phone despite a few shortcomings. Here’s a review.

Once again the OS and the hardware were the deciding factors.

Why no iPhone?

I have never owned an iPhone yet. I don’t really like to spend money just for the sake of the brand. When you compare an Apple product feature to feature with other similar phones the price difference is glaring. Sure the money is for the Apple experience and not the hardware. But I will pass it for now. To a certain extent I am also pissed off at Apple because they treat India as a dumping ground and their products are officially released here only after the world has its fill. Its like they are throwing away their leftovers to us Indians after a lavish party! If they snub my country, I snub them!

Review of Samsung Google Nexus S

by Yash 1 Comment

I have been using Samsung Google Nexus S for a couple of weeks now and here’s my review of the phone. This is also a review of Android because this is my first Android phone. After comparing various phones I finally chose Nexus S mainly for its 16GB in built storage, screen size and price.


The Good

Phone is awesome!
The display, the touch, the responsiveness – everything is superlative! Display is bright and does not strain the eyes even after prolonged use. The screen is feather touch. Although it takes a while to get used to! In the beginning you end up doing random stuff because you touch some or the other part of the screen. The phone doesn’t look too big even though it has a 4″ display. The size is perfect for web browsing and playing games.

Android Market
I spent first couple of days browsing and installing tons of apps on my phone. Since this is a developer phone it doesn’t come with many pre-installed apps. Only the default Google apps. I took some advice from my friends already using Android and downloaded many apps and games. Finding apps on Android Market and installing them is a snap. The first app I downloaded was Talking Tom. Finding and installing new software for phone had never been so easy on my Windows Mobile or Symbian phones.

Android
As soon as I connected my phone to the Internet I got notification about Android 2.3.4 upgrade being available and I upgraded without a hitch. It was as smooth as installing any other software. I guess that’s one benefit of having a developer phone. You get the first shot at OS upgrades. Android is amazing. It is fast, responsive and lightweight. The thing I liked the most is that I can replace virtually every bit of phone’s software if I wish. I tried my hand at a bit of Android development as well and I was up and running with my first Hello World app in no time. It wasn’t long before I started playing with notifications and vibrations. If something has given me goose bumps at 3 in the night in a long time then it’s Android!

Web browsing
Nexus S has become my preferred device for casual browsing. I no longer trouble my laptop to check emails, read blogs, check Facebook and Twitter. I used to do many of these things on my E72 as well but thanks to Nexus S’ 4 inch screen the experience is as good as that on desktop. The stock Android browser is really good although I quickly installed Firefox and Opera Mobile too. I didn’t like Firefox much but Opera mobile is a gem. It’s better in many ways than the default browser. Although default browser is better at displaying Google’s own sites. I use them both. The best part I like about browsing is that when the pages load I get to see the preview of the whole page and then I can simply double tap on the part of the web page I wish to read and the browser will zoom at that location. The experience is unparalleled.

I was thinking of getting a tablet on my birthday for a better browsing experience but maybe I won’t need one now me thinks.

It’s fast
The phone scored an impressive 1392 on Quadrant benchmark test. The first test I ran showed more than 1400 but that was before I had installed tons of apps. This shows that the 1GHz processor has some meat and is capable of doing some heavy duty stuff. Neocore score of 55 however was not that good.

Camera
Camera is ok. I have seen better and worse cameras on phones. The 5 MegaPixel one on Nexus S is better than the one on E72 I think but still not as good as the one found on Nokia N series or Sony Ericsson phones. The box shot on top is taken with the phone’s cam. Click on the photo to view the original full sized photo. 720p video recording is cool.

The Bad

Poor connectivity
Wi-Fi is not that good, phone keeps dropping signal at my home. My Nokia E72 was better than this one. Also 3G speeds and phone signal reception is not up to the mark. My phone is virtually useless for talking in my office where signals are very weak. Not being able to use a phone for making calls is terrible. I don’t know when Wi-Fi on mobile devices will become as good as on laptops.

Too much integration with Google
Google forces you to associate the phone with a Google account. Unless you do that you won’t be able to add contacts to your phone! That sucks! You cannot add contacts directly to the phone. You have to select an account for that! That’s bad!! I like the good old way of adding contacts just to phone. And then it syncs with your Google Contacts. That means every single person whom you had ever sent an email from your GMail will show up on the phone! WTF! Yes I can hide the contacts and show only those with phone numbers but still…. it’s junk data on phone and I don’t like it.

Lack of dedicated hardware buttons
There should have been a dedicated camera key and dedicated keys for accepting and rejecting a call. Dragging a green ball across the screen to receive a call is not the optimal way on a large screen phone especially with one hand. The feel of hard keys to make and disconnect calls cannot be matched by soft ones. May be I will get used to it as the time goes.

Speaker sound is very low.
Ah boy! Nothing can match Sony Ericsson phones in terms of sound quality. Both the near ear speaker and the loud speaker. The alarm sound is not enough to wake you up in the morning.

No easy way of synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook
This was shocking! I was not able to sync my Outlook contacts with the phone for nearly a day! I liked it with my Nokia E72, iMate JAMin and SE K750i, whenever I would connect my phone to comp through USB it would sync my Outlook contacts, calendar and tasks and also update phone date time. Samsung did not provide any software or drivers for connecting the phone to computer. I tried Samsung Kies but it didn’t work. Tried some other lousy ways like exporting all contacts as vCards and importing them in phone it didn’t work either. I never had so much trouble in past when I changed phones. Eventually I had to sync my contacts with my Google account using Go Outlook Sync Mod and then I was able to get them on my phone.

There are some paid products for synchronizing Outlook with Android over USB but they are outrageously priced at $35 and above. This gave me an idea for a product for Android. Outlook sync for Android. There are millions of Outlook users who must be having similar problems. May be I can build a product for them and price it reasonably say somewhere around $5.

Overall I am quite impressed and satisfied with the Samsung Google Nexus S despite some of the drawbacks. I mainly use it for browsing and the device does a phenomenal job there. Talking Tom and Angry Birds are a bonus! :)

New laptop and moving pain

by Yash 1 Comment

I got a new laptop – a Dell Inspiron 15R

Quick Specs
Intel Core i3 Processor 2.13Ghz
4 GB RAM
320 GB Hard disk
15.6″ Display
Dedicated 512 MB ATI graphics card
Built in WiFi and Bluetooth – standard stuff
Dual Layer DVD Writer
1.3 MP Web cam
Card reader, 4 USB ports, 1 HDMI port and Ethernet port


The laptop looks sexy with the metal finish grey black color and has really cool looking white LEDs
The keyboard has a numeric keypad as well although it does not have the right click key which I am sorely going to miss
The best part is the face recognition software that logs me in by scaning my face with the web cam. Its learning very fast and as soon as it recognises my face it logs me in. :)

However, the most painful aspect of having a new computer is moving all your software and data!

Moving to a new computer is like moving to a new home! At least for a power user like me.

Just the list of software to install it overwhelming –

Browsers
FireFox
FireFox plugins – Google toolbar, IEView, TabMixPlus, Developer toolbar, FlagFox, Locationbar, Menu editor
Chrome
Opera
Safari

Office 2007 and SP1 and setting up mails in Outlook

Kaspersky Anti Virus

Developer tools
Visual Studio 2008
Visual Studio 2008 SP1
Visual Studio 2010
RAD Controls for ASP.Net Ajax
Microsoft SQL Server Express and SQL Client tools
Ankh SVN
Tortoise SVN
Visio

Tools and Utilities
Edit Plus 3
IrfanView and its plgins
IZArc
FeedReader
BullZip PDF creator
Baraha
ColorPic
Fastone Capture
Qlock
SPB Wallet
Nokia PC Suit
uTorrent
WordWeb Pro
FileZilla

Media Players
QuickTime
Real Player
VLC Media Player

Comunication
Yahoo Messenger
Google Talk
Skype

Graphics
IcoFX
Photoshop

And then moving settings of various programs from my existing comp to this one! It will take me a week to make this machine usable.