Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note II - The Ultimate Smartphone - A Quick Hand-On Review.

Performance has a new name and it's Note II. The Samsung Galaxy Note II is not an ordinary smartphone, it's a beast.

My brother was looking for a new phone and we were in market once again to get a decent mobile phone. Budget was around 25-35K and we considered HTC One S, HTC One X, Sony Xperia S, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy Note II.

After considering +ves and -ves of all phones on the basis of price, specs, brand, size etc we shortlisted Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC One S. Now we almost made our mind for HTC One S as the specs + price makes it real value for money but things turned favorable for Note II. We dropped in to a nearby Samsung showroom and checked out the trial models on display there and we were simply amazed by the performance of Note II. Navigation was ultra smooth and quick and it was flying from one screen to another.  

We quickly made our mind for  a titanium grey Note II and sealed the deal.

(Click any picture to open a high resolution version)

                                  
        Manufacturers making phones big but their boxes & SIM card smaller 


                                

The Flip Cover

Initially you will find this phone huge + a little difficult to handle but things gets simpler after using it for couple of hours. It can be easily operated with one hand but it is advisable to use it with both hands. The body is stylish metallic grey which is very premium to touch and feel. The screen is gigantic 5.5" which is a pleasure while watching HD movies/videos, viewing pictures, reading ebooks and doing other multiple stuff. Screen is super AMOLED with good coloring, saturation, contrast and brightness. 

   

Screen is bright and easy on eyes

Words are not enough for describing the performance of this phone, one has to actually experience it. I am finding my One V severely under powered after using this phone for 4-5 hours and i am grabbing Note II  again and again to experience the lightning fast performance and quench the performance thirst. It is one Heck of a phone :) Note II comes with quad core Cortex 1.6 GhZ CPU with Mali-400 MP GPU making a fantastic combination. Games, apps, videos work superfine on this phone. What further adds to the performance is the 2GB RAM which makes enough room for apps/games to run efficiently.

                             

You get upto 7 home screen combinations on Note II

Note II comes preloaded with basic apps, Samsung's proprietary apps like chat on etc. Android 4.1.1 Jelly bean works perfectly on this device. This phone comes with 16GB internal storage + expandable SD card slot upto 64GB so space is not a problem on Note II. Device works on Micro-Sim only meaning you have to cut your exisitng sim card with a cutter (the showroom guy will do it for you) or you can ask a new microsim from your service provider. Internet browsing is super smooth and all websites loads in no time. 'Lag' word is not in the dictionary of Note II. S-pen is included with Note II and offers features like air view and handwriting to text conversion etc. A very convenient inclusion I must say.

                                  

Notice the size difference between Note II and One V.

Rear camera is 8MP with LED flash which can record full HD videos and front camera is 1.9 MP which can record HD videos. Image quality is good and camera offers all necessary options like burst mode, image scene etc. Speakerphone quality is good and volume is loud enough. My only grouse from this phone is the sound quality of headphones. Though they are push in type but still they don't even match with One V's standard headphones. It's not that they are bad but still I expected little more from the headphones. Here I must appreciate HTC, beats audio is just not a gimmick, it offers super sound quality. Samsung should have provided better headphones and included audio enhancing feature like beats audio. 

Now coming to some screenshots of the phone running Android 4.1.1 JellyBean operating system. 











To Sum it up Samsung Galaxy Note II is an ultimate smartphone with endless possibilities. I am yet to explore all features of the phone and this was only a hand on review of the device. I will add necessary information if required later.

Thanks guys for reading and I wish all readers a very happy and prosperous Diwali festival 2012.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Software(Operating system) Comparison between Smartphone, iPhone & Tablets.




INTRODUCTION

The Smartness & Intelligence of Smartphones/Tablets comes from the operating system they run. The world of smartphones, iPhones & tablets is full of choices – be it the price, features, hardware or the Operating System of the devices. Buying a smartphone can be very tricky sometimes because unlike our personal computers we cannot upgrade the hardware or change the operating system just like we do in our PCs. So we must be very sure about our requirements from a smartphone. In this article we are going to focus on top available OS in the market which comes with smartphones, iPhones and Tablets, compare their feature and list basic pros/cons.

Apple iOS

iOS is developed by Apple, specifically for their iPhone and iPad series. It’s having lots of functionalities and they are organized in very user-friendly manner. Most of the configurations are pre-installed and users can start using the device without worrying about technical details. iOS supports the largest number of applications in the earth. You can find millions of applications in Apples App store. The environment in iOS is well controlled and restricted. Therefore it’s less vulnerable for crashes. This would be a great OS for most of the non-techy people who hate to struggle with technical issues. Apple’s unparalleled ease of use, unique integration of hardware and software and vast number of apps and accessories make this platform tough to beat.

Pros: Easy-to-use interface, Support for highest-quality apps and iTunes makes it easy to buy apps, movies, music, books and more under one umbrella.
Cons: Social networking services not as tightly integrated as on Android, Windows Phone and Limited multitasking ability

Android

Android is World’s most popular and fastest growing mobile operating system developed by Google. It’s a free, open source operating software which offers maximum user customization unlike any other OS. A good thing about Android is that it works well on all kind of devices ranging from entry level smartphones to high end smartphones. Techie people love this OS as they can do any type of software tweaking and create apps and more. Google Play is integrated with Android and offers ‘N’ number of free & paid applications to its users. In coming times it will be almost impossible to beat Android for the features/ease of use/customizability it offers than any other OS available till date.

Pros: First to support features like 4G, HD screens, Customizable home screens, cool widgets which Integrates with social networks easily, True and easy multitasking and supports maximum number of apps via Google play store.
Cons: Android most vulnerable to malware, Occasional crashes or slowness on some phones, Google Play store not as robust as iTunes for buying media, eats up battery very quickly and OS updates aren’t timely or guaranteed.

BlackBerry OS

It is one of the most successful smartphones in the enterprise space as it offers highly secure push mail and messenger services, which even government’s security agencies, are unable to intercept. BlackBerry messenger service (BBM) and Push mail service is very popular and has attracted enterprise customers. BlackBerry OS works well with low end configurations and offers best battery life as compared to other operating systems. BlackBerry OS enjoys exclusivity as it is available with BlackBerry smartphones and tablets only just like Apple iOS.

Pros: Great security management, best messaging/email service and Long battery life.
Cons: All Internet service and email goes through RIM’s servers, which have experienced major outages in the recent past. If they go down, you go down, also the service is little expensive..


Windows OS.

It is the newest entry in the smartphone world. It is completely new and fresh OS which is quite modern than other competitors. When it comes to application support it’s still way behind than iOS or Android. There are very lesser applications available, but most of the important ones for personal and business usage are there. User interface is excellent but app supportability till date is poor. Also this OS requires heavy system requirements which are always not feasible on an entry level or mid-range device. It will take lot of time before Windows can enjoy the same popularity as it does in PC section.

Pros: Live Tiles on the home screen let you access info fast, Can pin almost anything to Start screen, Groups feature saves time and supports MS applications like Office suite.
Cons: Limited app selection, Phones way behind in the specs race, OS not optimized for landscape mode and can’t use your phone as a hotspot

Other Operating Systems

Symbian

Symbian was Nokia’s proprietary operating system until the phone giant decided to open-source it. It’s now maintained and developed by an independent organization called Symbian Foundation. Symbian is mostly found on Sony Ericsson and Nokia devices. It’s strongly focused on the phone functionality – like quick dialing, voice control, texting, taking pictures, sharing items over Bluetooth, etc. – but also has some PDA features and thousands of third-party apps. This OS is scheduled for discontinuation by the company very soon so it’s not a good idea to buy a phone with Symbian OS.

Bada


Bada is an open source operating system created by Samsung Corporation. Samsung Bada has failed to taste the success in smartphone space unlike its other counterparts. Both Nokia and Samsung have officially announced discontinuation of Bada OS from this year, so it has no future and there will be no point in buying a phone with this OS.

CONCLUSION

After considering so many operating systems I have concluded that there is simply no match for Android OS. Apple iOS is equally good but it’s comes with only high end apple smartphones/tablets which may be out of reach for many. For iPhone/iPad you have no other choice except iOS, Android is the best bet now days for all types of smartphones & tablets in all segments. In a nutshell we can say that Android is the future.

                                   



Prepared Under guidance of

Mrs. Deepti Sharma
Asst. Professor. (IT Department), JIMS

 By – Anmol Sharma
MCA, JIMS


Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: HTC One V – The Essential Smartphone!


HTC One V – The Essential Smartphone!

For the last one month I was busy reading/watching reviews of almost every android smartphone available in 20K category. There are many phones in this segment ranging from Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Samsung S Advance, ‘N’ number of Sony Xperia models like GO, P, U, Sola etc and the HTC One V. I did not considered Nokia/Motorola phones for the reason everyone must be aware of.

I shortlisted Sony Xperia Sola, Xperia U, Samsung Galaxy S Advance and the HTC One V. Xperia U was ruled out as soon as I got to know that it doesn’t have expandable memory slot. Galaxy S Advance too was out of my list as it is not getting ICS and subsequent updates for unknown reasons, don’t know why Samsung is ruining such a good phone. I hardly can see any craze for this phone at XDA forums too. How I wish Samsung provided ICS with this device, Sigh!

Now I was left only with two possible choices – Sony Xperia Sola and HTC One V. Buying a phone in 20K category is very complicated task. Plonking 20,000 Rupees on a mobile is not easy.
No phone in 20K category is perfect – all manufacturers deliberately left out one or other features to create confusion in customer’s mind. Consider Sony here, there are ‘N’ number of Xperia models, no one can remember complete Xperia lineup at one time. In Xperia U they have deliberately removed expandable storage facility and added front camera & removable battery, In Xperia Sola, Sony has added expandable storage facility but removed front camera and removable battery option + Sola is around 3-4K dearer than Xperia U. Why just they can’t make a XPERIA ‘Complete’? 

These days companies have promised themselves that they will not sell a complete package to customers, they just want to puzzle them and rob them of their hard earned money. In such conditions customers have no choice but to fall prey to companies.  However they can get the one they want by clearly writing their requirements like I did in this case. Just take a pen/paper, write all your requirements and then select a device, tick all requirements fulfilled by it, repeat this process with other devices as well and see which device fulfills maximum user requirements.

In my case I neither could increase my budget and grab the biggies like S III, Iphone4s or One X nor decrease it.  So it has to be between Xperia Sola and HTC One V.

 My usage includes –
 -> Basic phone usage i.e. incoming/outgoing calls and SMSes.
->Photography
-> Internet browsing/Email
-> Music listening
-> Watching movies/YouTube videos
-> Good screen/looks

I wanted the new phone to have excellent battery life/reliability/snob value.

 Sony Xperia Sola vs. HTC One V

Pros of Sony Xperia Sola
è Dual core processor
è More internal memory
è NFC enabled
è Good camera

Cons of Sony Xperia Sola

è Ships with Android 2.3
è Poor battery life

Pros of HTC One V

è Looks
è SLCD2 Screen
è Best in class camera
è Ships with latest android + HTC UI.
è Snob Value
è Beats audio

Cons of HTC One V

è Single core processor
è Low internal memory for user data.

 I finally zeroed in for HTC One V for its best in class camera which comes with dedicated image chip which provides features like burst mode etc, great screen and good audio quality. It has authentic camera & amazing sound. It lacks the horsepower of Xperia Sola but it will not bother me as I hardly play any games on mobile phones. For serious gamers Xperia Sola will be the right smartphone. And don’t take me wrong – One V does not lag/hangs while playing games/browsing internet and various other activities. So don’t worry it’s just the right mid-range smartphone for you. The interface is super smooth, switching between applications is responsive and easy. Camera is just excellent for my photography needs.

 One V comes with poor internal memory so you need the 8GBcard that comes free with it immediately to store your music/photos collection & other documents. However it still comes with 4GB internal memory(user available is very less) and 25 GB dropbox storage free for two years. 

I got this device for 18.5K from DASS STUDIOS, Connaught place. I know price is higher than what I could have got through online stores but I am not open to online purchases when it comes to electronic items- the courier guys handles the device very badly(past experiences). With this an 8GB Card, Philips Bluetooth Headset and Airtel internet pack comes as freebies.

At the end of the day I am very happy with the purchase I have made -> do what your heart calls for!

So I got my essential smartphone – Got the One ‘V’ I’ve been waiting for J

PS – The views/opinions in this review are my own based on personal experience in the purchase process and this may vary from person to person.

Thanks for reading folks. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Happens When Petrol Price Rises!

First Reaction - Mind block -> Rush to nearest petrol pump -> Wasting petrol while waiting at the pump queue -> Curse Government -> Opposition do rallies etc -> Mindless facebook status updates and hate messages for Government.

Second Reaction - Jaw Drop -> Monthly fuel bills making a hole in owner's heart -> Decides to use public transport/Metro and save money -> Give suggestions to friends/family to use public transport -> Receive  suggestions from them to get the car CNGfied.

Third Reaction - Full Shock -> While using the public transport or the lack of it -> Man thinks he will get killed while traveling in crazy Delhi metro/ public transport.

Fourth Reaction - Eye Pop -> Re works the budget and starts driving the car as usual -> petrol starts looking affordable again. Some get the car CNGfied.

Fifth Reaction - Tick Tock, time goes by, Prices are again increased and same reaction cycle starts.

______________________________

We can hardly do anything about this price hike except for pressing the correct button on the voting machine (if there is any) in 2014 & subsequent common elections.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Double Killer - A Reliable Duplicate File Removing Software.

There was a time when a tiny 1.44MB floppy disk was a big thing for us. I still remember those school days when I used to carry my floppy disk to computer lab to load DOS games. Times changed and slowly MBs turned into GBs and GBs into TBs. The size of hard disk has increased just like the price of real estate. My first computer in 2001 had only 2 GB HDD and my current computer has 2 TB HDD which still looks small. There are so many files, games, movies and data that we store on our computers and slowly it starts running out of space.

Some data is important while some data is just useless and unnecessarily cluttering the hard disk. I am talking of duplicate files. I am sure that every PC has tons of unnecessary duplicate files. I was running out of HDD space like anything and even a 2TB was falling short. Later I realized that there is huge amount of duplicate files ranging from games, songs, pictures and other miscellaneous stuff.

I started looking for free 'duplicate file remover' software on Google and there were ‘N’ number of options. I downloaded few software but was not satisfied by the end results. There were a few glitches in most of the freewares. I wanted a reliable software which is safe to use as it will work on my important data. Running a unreliable software might crash your system.

On further searching I came across a tiny program called ‘Double Killer’ which is a freeware and mere 400 KBs in size. I was extremely happy and satisfied with its performance and capabilities. It did removed duplicate files and I was able to recover several GBs of space. This has fairly easy to use interface and all options are easily understandable. It finds duplicate files on the basis of name, size, and creation/modify date.

First I did a test run over a deliberately created folder containing duplicate files of all types including photos, music, videos and miscellaneous documents. After trusting the success of test run I included one folder per scan and one by one scanned all folders and deleted duplicate files. If your data is large than it may take some time to scan, so some patience is definitely required. This software can be downloaded from http://www.bigbangenterprises.de/en/doublekiller/download.htm.

Disclaimer – Please note that this is end user review based on my experience, I do recommend the freeware but please don’t bash me if anything goes wrong. Perform a test and then use it.

Here are some screen shots









Saturday, February 11, 2012

Memoirs of Maa Vaishno Devi Trip

Our life’s four main objectives are—Dharm (righteousness), Kaam (Pleasure), Moksh (Knowledge) and Arth (Wealth). All four blessings are conferred on us when we do the right karma and visit Maa Vaishno Devi shrine. No one goes empty handed from the great pilgrimage of Maa Vaishno Devi .This place is quest and expression of one’s faith. There is an invisible force which compels so many people year after year.

Maa Vaishno Devi shrine is a must see place before one die! For a Mata ka bhagat this place is where the deity truly stays. Worshipping VAISHNO DEVI shrine means offering Puja to tri Maha shakti (Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati) at a time. Every one of us is aware of this holy place; many of us have earlier visited and many will visit it for the first time in future. I visited the shrine for the second time; I was 6 month old when I visited there with my parent for first time. Before I get into the travelogue I will shortly describe about Maa Vaishno Devi legend and the Shrine.

As the legend goes, more than 700 years ago, Vaishno Devi, a devotes of Lord Vishnu used to pray to Lord Ram had taken vow of celibacy.BhaironNath , a tantrick (demon-God) tried to behold her and gave a chase. The Goddess felt thirsty at Banganga and shot an arrow into the earth from where water gushed out. The Goddess then meditated in the cave at Adhkawari. It took Bairon Nath nine month to locate her, the reason why the cave is known as 'Garbh Joon' Mata Vaishno Devi blasted an opening at the other end of the cave with Her Trident when the demon -God located her. On arriving at the holy cave at Darbar, she assumed the form of Maha Kali and cut of Bhairon Nath's head which was flung up the mountain by the force of blow and fell at the place where the Bhairon Temple is now located . The boulder at the mouth of the holy cave according to the legend is petrified torso of Bhairon nath who was granted divine forgiveness by the benevolent Mata in his dying moments.

The Shrine is located in udhampur district in the northern most state of india, Jammu and Kashmir. Mata Vaishno devi ji resides in a holy cave located in the mountain called trikoot or trikuta. The holy cave is situated at an altitude of 5200 ft. One has to undertake a trek of around 12 KM from the base camp at katara. A visit to the temple of Bhairon baba (additional 2KM trek) is an obligatory part of the pilgrimage.

From past one year I was planning this trip. But as they say you can reach Darbar only when Maa wishes and I personally experienced this (more on that later). I was keen to visit Maa vaisno devi in Chaitra Navratras (April) but things turned out unfavorable for the trip. Then I planned for the same in July but again I could not make the trip plan successful.Finally after long wait the plan materialised in October.  Someone has rightly said that unless her bulawa comes, a visit there is virtually impossible.

After reaching Jammu we picked up an auto for Jammu bus depot for 100 rupees. The auto rickshaw charges are very high. 100 rupees for a 5 KM journey was pinch on pocket. After reaching the Jammu bus stand we took the so called ‘Delux’ bus for Katara. The charges are anywhere around 35-40 rupees depending upon individual bus operator. Don’t get fooled by the ‘ABS’, ‘Air suspension’, ’DVD’ and ‘Volvo’ stickers on these buses. These are just normal buses. One thing which I should write about Jammu is that it is very polluted city. The prime reason for this is that all buses run on diesel unlike in Delhi/NCR where we have CNG. Same goes for the autos; they run on petrol and not on CNG. On the route to Katara we faced a massive traffic jam for around 2 hour. The reason for the jam was because of the repair work going near one of the two tunnels en route to katara and only one tunnel was operational. It took 4.5 hours for us to reach katara. Just before reaching katara all buses were  stopped near a police check post and every passenger has to get the security checked.I don’t know what is the need of this formality as there was no x-ray machines/metal detectors.

The bus dropped us at ‘Asia Chowk’ and we found a decent hotel – “Hotel Basera”. We checked in for 1500 INR per night (A/C room though the weather was quite cold). The room was OK considering the budget. The good thing for the hotel is that the hotel car dropped us to Banganga next morning and then back to Katara bus stand the other day for free. The bad thing is that the room service is poor. The guys took more than 1.5 hours to bring us the food we ordered.

Most hotels (including ours) provide Yatra parchi for free. So there is no need to get the parchi from the airport and waste 100 rupees. We planned to start our trek early morning around 4-5 AM and we were successful in doing that. The Hotel car (read Maruti Omni) dropped us near banganga at 4.30 AM and we were set to go. We started our trek around 4.45 AM after security check and Parchi registration.

There are large numbers of food joints along the track till ardhkuwari, but not after that. Washrooms are also in plenty numbers en route. The trek is difficult for sure. The ascent and descent are sometimes painful. We were in no hurry and walked casually in relaxed manner. It took us complete six hours to complete the trek and do the darshan. The rush was very less and it hardly took us 15 minutes to bow our heads in front of Maa. After this we had some lunch from the food court near the shrine and started our trek to Bhairo baba. The route to bhaironath is even more difficult. The bhaironath temple is very small with less security. After Bhaironath visit we started return journey. While returning we preferred stairs as it saves lot of time. In about three hours we reached our hotel. The trip was memorable and full of adventures.

We returned back to Delhi with the promise to come again soon.

Some Stats -

Now let the pictures do the talking!

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window.





















Tuesday, January 10, 2012

11th Auto Expo, 2012 (5th - 11th January, 2012).

 I attended the 11th Auto Expo organized by the SIAM & ACMA at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from 5th January to 11th January 2012. The first two days are exclusively reserved for media and special invitees and I was lucky to get special invitation passes from Yamaha India to visit the show on 6th January. Visited this Automotive Maha Kumbh on 6th January with my brother. Had a nice experience and enjoyed a lot. The weather was quite chilly and overcast which added to the fun factor. Even on business day there was huge crowd and BMW, Mercedes halls were jam packed with hardly any space for anyone to be comfortable. I didn't dare to visit Mercedes and Ferrari halls because of the massive crowd. I wonder from where so many people were able to enter the show on a business day. So many fake passes were distributed and there was utter chaos at Pragati Maidan & Metro station.

Anyhow, let's talk about the show - I was hoping that Honda would introduce it's much awaited 1.6 diesel motor for City/Jazz and Civic but all expectations in vain. To be honest Honda's hall was the most boring with all old models on display except the Honda City with sunroof. There was no new Civic and CR-V as well. I have lots of expectation from Honda and I wish they bring the 1.4/1.6 diesel mill for its all range of cars. Nothing is happening good for Honda - first the petrol prices then the japan earthquake and then the Thailand floods. And to top it - Honda has no diesel engine in their line up. In the current scenario no manufacturer can survive without a diesel mill but still Honda is able to give tough time to it's competitors which offers both petrol and diesel variants. Just take the case of Honda City - Even after so many new launches (Vento, Verna, Fiesta), no other car has able to grab the best C segment petrol sedan crown yet. It just need a diesel heart to set the sales chart on fire. As a diehard Honda fan I wish them all the very best in future.

There are reports in media that the next Auto Expo (2014) will be held at some other venue than pragati maidan or even outside Delhi. Well, if this happens then it will be very shameful for Delhi-ites as organizers are not able to manage the crowd at pragati maidan and they are not keen to organize such mass event at central location of Delhi.

So guys this is time to wind up and thanks for reading this post. Please checkout the photos at my Facebook page.















For more photos please checkout my facebook page Auto Expo Album