Top 5 Tech Gifts Under ₹5,000 (2014)

‘Tis the season as Google tells us through its doodles and I would like to help you guys make last-minute gift purchases for that geeky friend/ relative, this festive season.

This is a list of tech gifts that I’m sure that geeky friend of yours would like while you are on a budget of ₹5,000 only.

5. A 1TB External Hard Disk

Anyone who owns a computer with an SSD will have at most a 256GB internal storage. These people will appreciate an external storage solution. These days you can pick up a 1 TB external hard disk from any online portal for under ₹5000. Two of the top contenders are Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim 1 TB hard disk and competitor Western Digital’s My Passport Ultra 1TB hard disk. I have seen and used products by both of these firms and can say that their products are worth the money. You can grab both of these products from Amazon at a great discounted prices — the Backup Plus can be had for ₹4247 while the My Passport  Ultra is available for ₹4271. Since, the price difference is barely a hundred bucks I say go for the thinner and more portable Seagate Backup Plus Slim.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.23.30 pm           Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.23.41 pm

 

4. ASUS Zenfone 4 A400CXG

ASUS Zenfone 4 is a great smartphone and is currently available for just ₹ 5000. The phone runs on Android 4.3 (upgradeable to 4.4), is powered by a dual core 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 processor. It also features a 5MP rear camera, a 0.3MP secondary camera in the front, 1GB of RAM and a 1600 mAh battery. The phone also sports a 4-inch WVGA display with a decent display resolution of 233 pixels per inch. It has 8GB of inbuilt storage which can be expanded via microSd card. You can gift this smartphone to your mom or dad or pretty much anyone you know who is looking to move up from a feature phone to a smartphone. It is perfect for someone who is looking for a cheap Dual SIM smartphone! It can be grabbed from Flipkart for just under ₹5000 though I would recommend paying another hundred bucks and getting your loved ones the Gorilla Glass version.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.02.56 pm          Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.03.57 pm

 

 

3. Over-the-head Audio Technica Headphones

For just under ₹5000 you can get a nice set of headphones from Audio Technica, JBL and a host of other audio giants, this festive season. Among these all of these brands, I’d recommend getting the Audio Technica  ATH PRO5MK2CM and the ATH-AD500X. While both of these headphones cost above ₹5000, you can grab both of them for just aback under at Flipkart.com. They are both very comfortable and provide a little bit of too much bass but that can be forgotten given the price at which you are getting these awesome pair of headphones. All-in-all your music-loving friends/relatives won’t hate you for getting them anyone of these sets.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.15.13 pm          Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.14.57 pm

 

2. A fitness band

For just ₹3500, you can get a lesser version of the Misfit Shine, called the Misfit Flash and Sleep monitor fitness band. This band features a plain dial with red dot LEDs at the edge of the face. It can help your fitness freak of a friend to get up and follow his daily step goal to fitness and also help him/her monitor their sleep. Check it out at Flipkart.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.20.01 pm

 

1. Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast is a USB device which connects directly into your ordinary TV and allows it to connect with all of your WiFi-enabled devices as well as the internet. You can use any Android 4.3+ phone, iOS device, Mac or Windows computer to control your television and even mirror your device’s display onto the TV. You can also use it as a photo frame  when not using it view other media. At just a buck under ₹3000, the Chromecast is a great gift for your loved ones! Since, it is officially only available at Snapdeal.com, I recommend you get it from there as there are other offers also applicable on it. You get 20GB of extra data every month from Airtel every month for 3 months and 2 months of free usage of EROS Now Premium to stream movies and audio produced under the production label.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 10.22.11 pm

 

That’s it for the Under ₹5000 list of tech gifts. I will be posting other lists for under ₹1000, ₹10000, ₹25000 and ₹50000 soon. Till then, Happy Holidays people!

Flipkart raises another $700 mn, applies to go public in Singapore

Flipkart has raised another $700 million (Rs 4,300 crore), less than six months after the country’s largest e-tailer surprised everyone with the largest fund-raising by an Indian online retailer so far, $1 billion, reflecting the investor confidence in the fiercely competitive e-commerce space. Significantly, this latest round of rasing funds — which the company closed on Saturday and saw participation from five new global investors — also underlines e-commerce companies’ desire to seek funds to keep up with their discount-led pricing model.

“As with previous funds raised, these funds will be used towards long-term strategic investments in India and to build a world-class technology company, delivering superior customer experiences,” the firm said in a statement.

In this latest round of investment, the company saw participation from new investors, including Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital and Qatar Investment Authority, along with existing investors such as DST Global, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global, bringing the total number of investors above 50. This year, Flipkart has raised a total of $1.9 billion and close to $2.7 billion since it was founded by  Sachin Bansal and  Binny Bansal in 2007.

“Flipkart Limited (incorporated at Singapore) has filed with ACRA Singapore for conversion to a Public Company. This is a mandatory procedure for all companies where the number of shareholders exceeds 50,” Flipkart said in a statement.

The company also stated that the filing is “in no way indicative of any upcoming IPO or of any corporate activity that the company is engaged in either in Singapore or any other part of the world.”

Flipkart is now valued at about $11 billion (Rs 69,000 crore), more than some of the country’s largest consumer companies. Flipkart is now worth nearly half of India’s fourth-largest IT firm Wipro, which has a market capitalisation of Rs 1.34 lakh crore, and nearly seven times the mid-sized IT services firm Mind-Tree that is valued at around Rs 10,000 crores.

Google to shut down its Google News service in Spain

Google is set to shut down its Google News service in Spain on 16th December.

The move comes as a response to a new intellectual property law set to be introduced in the country. According to the law, Google News and other news aggregating services will have to pay the Spanish publishers for showing their content or part(s) thereof.

The head of Google News, Richard Gingras, explained the decision in a blog post earlier today, which reads in part:

Sadly, as a result of a new Spanish law, we’ll shortly have to close Google News in Spain. Let me explain why. This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.

The Spanish law, nicknamed the “Google Tax”, did not specify how much the tech giant would have to pay publisher but it did allow for a hefty fine of more than $750,000 if found violated.

These Spanish “Google Tax” efforts come shortly after the proceedings in Germany, in 2013. Germany passed legislation last year that allows publishers to charge search engines and aggregators for using any content beyond headlines, but Google asked publishers to opt-in without requiring the fee, which some did. After a two-week experiment, German news giant Axel Springer dismissed a plan last month to restrict Google access to some of its content when its sites’ traffic decreased considerably, according to Reuters.

Amazon releases its Chromecast rival, Fire Stick for $39

Following the debacle of its Fire phone, Amazon continues releasing products under the Fire brand of consumer electronics. The latest addition, Fire Stick, is a competitor for famous Google Chromecast at just $4 more.

The Fire Stick performs most of the tasks performed by the Fire TV media streaming box released earlier this year by Amazon.com. It comes with a remote control (without the Fire TV’s voice controls) and access to Amazon’s Prime Video, along with the standard lineup of services like Netflix, Hulu and WatchESPN. The Fire Stick also resembles Google’s  Chromecast, which went on sale last summer.

 

The Fire Stick costs $39, slightly more than the $35 Google version. For the next two days, Prime members can buy it for $19. Continue reading Amazon releases its Chromecast rival, Fire Stick for $39

How to watch Apple’s iPad and Mac Event on Mac and Windows

Just under a month after it’s last event, Apple is here with yet another event which is set to reveal updates to the iPad and Mac product lines.

Mac

The live stream will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Mac and iOS users can stream the event through Apple’s website here when it kicks off at 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow.

Apple TV

Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.

Windows

Like the iPhone 6/ Apple Watch event, Apple’s iPad/Mac Oct. 16 press event won’t be streaming on Windows and will requires Safari on a Mac, iOS device or an Apple TV. That means that Windows users will have to figure how to get the stream going using the workaround (via 9to5Mac).

You’ll need to download VLC player and check back here tomorrow for the final streaming link to complete the instructions:

  1. Download VLC Player from here: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html
  2. Install it.
  3. Open VLC. Click Media (top left) > Open Network Stream.
  4. You will see this screen:
    ss+(2014-09-08+at+06.53.18)
  5. Paste this link into that field: http://p.events-delivery.apple.com.edgesuite.net/14pounqefvoiubefvpiub10/m3u8/atv_mvp.m3u8
  6. An “Unable to open the MRU file …”  will appear until the stream has started.

Apple is expected to unveil a new iPad Air, iPad mini, and Retina iMac alongside a possible Retina MacBook Air and a release date for OS X Yosemite. 

Flipkart taunting Amazon chief on India visit with “Welcome” ads today

The e-commerce war is playing out hot and heavy between Amazon and Flipkart ahead of the famed US e-tailer’s founder Jeff Bezos’ visit to Bangalore today.

artImg198x166_15200

Times of India reports that Flipkart is executing what it has termed as the ‘Welcome Mr. Bezos‘ campaign. The company has put up huge billboards at the airport, highways and close to Amazon’s headquarters – places where these posters are sure to hit Bezos’ eyes – for its festive season sale campaign called ‘Big Billion Day.’ The same will also follow Bezos to Delhi where he is scheduled to go next, according to sources.

It seems like Flipkart wants to send message to it arch-rival telling them who’s at the top. TOI has also reported that Flipkart is running a ‘Project Victory’ campaign within the organization, a celebration of what it calls a win in the first round of war with Amazon.

Continue reading Flipkart taunting Amazon chief on India visit with “Welcome” ads today

Three weeks in, Here’s our Review of the Digiflip Pro XT712, Flipkart’s own Android tablet

Flipkart had recently released its first tablet device, the Digiflip Pro XT 712, offering lots and lots of offers on Launch Day. Given the tablet’s hardware specs and its price, as compared to other companies’ tablets, we pounced on it on Launch Day itself. Check out the Unboxing video below:

Excited, I used the tablet as my sole internet consumption device as well as voice-calling device for the past three weeks. The tablet performed almost up to but not beyond my expectations.

Design

The tablet has a nice design enough design. The back has a matt finish with a Digiflip brand logo in the middle. Also on the back are the 5MP primary camera in the top left accompanied by a single LED flash and a the speaker grille at bottom-middle. The company has also marked certain ports and buttons on the actual cover rather than the buttons themselves like the audio jack, mic, volume rockers, etc..

digiflip-pro-xt-712-400x400-imadxegqazap7ykv

A nice touch is the already installed screen protector which protects the glossy display of the Pro XT712 from scratches. The front of the tablet is dominated by the 7-inch display of the tablet. It is accompanied by the 2MP secondary camera, light and proximity sensors.

After a while of using the tablet solely, I didn’t quite feel the weight of the tablet as overwhelming as I felt it the first time. Though the display measures in at 7 inches diagonally, the whole tablet actually comes off to around 8 inches. The tablet can be held single-handedly, though not for anything other than unlocking and/or scrolling through text. For everything else, you have to use it with two hands.

Another drawback of the tablet is its back panel/cover for fitting in a Micro SD card or SIM, which is very fragile and flimsy. Also, the lock button is on the left which might upset right-handed people. Another source of frustration might be the boot up splash video which keeps on running, on loop, until the tablet is ready for use

Performance

The tablet performed good enough for its price. At ₹9999, you get a 7-inch tablet with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, accompanied by the Mali-400MP2 GPU clocked at 500MHz. The company does not disclose that the processor used is manufactured by MediaTek.

Screenshot_2014-07-21-09-30-33

 

Screenshot_2014-07-21-09-29-41

Benchmarks-wise, it got a score of 15535 on AnTuTu Benchmark. Though, the score did fall by about a hundred when apps were added to it.

It comes pre-loaded with five apps: Flipkart, Flipkart eBooks, Adobe Flash, MX Player and Facebook.

The tablet gets unbearably hot after just half an hour of playing a graphics-intensive game. While you’re playing a casual game, the tablet will still become hot but only after about an hour or so, and you know you should not be playing that long.

The tablet lasts about 7-8 hours on a full charge idly. While watching a HD movie, the playback was smooth but the battery percentage dropped from a full 100% to 86% in just an hour! Also, the sound quality of the tablet while listening to music very sub-par.

Another drawback which I came across was a lag in starting up. While its was fine for the first week, the next week when I started putting all kinds of apps on it, the tab started to lag, for a good 3-4 seconds, while the display was switched on from sleep.

Camera performance is another one of its downsides, with a lot of noise. By comparison, a Samsung with 3.2 MP primary camera performs better. Its no the number of pixels but the quality of camera sensor which is more important.

Software

The tablet runs on stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which is two generations older than 4.4 KitKat. There’s a slight UI change due to which when you pull the notification bar down from the left, it shows all your notifications and when you do it from the right, it shows all your toggles. It also lacks a built-in Battery Saver Mode toggle, found in many other of its contemporaries.

In-the-box Accessories

Along with the tablet, you are provided with a nice charger with a very sturdy and thick USB cable, a pair of sub-par cheap earphones, a USB On-the-go cable and a very small auxiliary cable. While the headphones worked fine for calling, they performed decently for listening to music, though only on the tablet. The headphones don’t work with other devices like iPods.

Also, the applied screen protector had lots of bubbles under it and was scratched but that might just be for the piece delivered to us. The touch did get a little messy after about a couple of weeks’ use due to it though.

[You can check out all the accessories in the unboxing video above as well. Do subscribe to us on YouTube as well. Thanks!!]

Round Up

Pros

  • Nice Build Quality
  • A Quad-core processor
  • Sturdy Charger with thick USB cable
  • Feels light enough to hold in one hand
  • Good enough display

Cons

  • Older version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2.2)
  • Sub-par bundled headphones
  • Short USB Cable
  • Poorly applied screen protector
  • Large Bezels
  • Difficult to use single handedly
  • Lags after weeks of daily use, tends to get slow
  • Poor Sound Quality

Overall, the tablet is a nice one for ₹ 10k and performs according to its price. As can be seen, the cons outweigh the pros significantly.

Thus, we would advice you to

Buy It if you have a budget of ₹ 10,000 and want a starter, not very powerful Android tablet.

Leave It If you are looking for a powerful budget tablet device. Power does not come cheap. Save some more money and buy a better tablet.


NOTE: We got the tablet on “Try and Buy,” the offer is no longer available. We also got a Plantronics ML2 headset free with it. That Offer is also no longer available.


 

Flipkart introduces the ‘Flipkart Students Club’ with “Exclusive Benefits”

Flipkart has launched a new “Flipkart Students” program under which any college student can enrol for free.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.43.59 PM

The membership will provide college students with additional benefits at the e-retail giant’s site from time to time.

“Students as a category are the most online savvy. (They) represent a growing segment of existing and potential customers. And through this programme we want to connect with them, give them special offers to products and features that will appeal to them, and showcase Flipkart as the go-to destination for all their needs. The campaign will use on-ground and digital platforms to reach out to students,” Vora said.

As a sign-up offer, the company is offering a Rs. 150 discount on purchases above Rs. 750, and a 50% discount to the Flipkart First annual subscription service. Numerous other offers have been detailed, with different validities, and users will be able to access them if they login with the email ID registered with the Flipkart Student scheme.

The Flipkart First is service much similar to the Amazon Prime service offered by Amazon in the West.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 7.10.00 PM

The registration process is easy, though time-consuming as each and every ID has to be manually checked and confirmed by Flipkart’s moderators. To register, students will have to send either a picture or scan of their college ID along with a few details such as Phone number, year of graduation, age, etc. via email to Flipkart at students@flipkart.com. Users will receive an email confirming verification along with their offer activation details, then an SMS confirming activation if a phone number has been provided. In the event of rejection, users will be informed via email.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 7.11.49 PM

According to analysts, “Until now, students as a customer category haven’t been tapped in a planned way and potentially offer longer patronage than other shoppers.”

E-commerce firms such as Flipkart and rivals Amazon India and Snapdeal.com are battling with each other to lure new customers and deliver products faster than the other, as these companies try to maintain their flying sales growth. Apart from getting existing customers to spend more, increasing the number of users is essential for these firms to boost market share, especially as some analysts have forecast that new user growth may slow over the next two-three years.

So, if you’re a college-goer and want discounts on online shopping, its free to enrol in this amazing program by Flipkart!  So do it now!

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 7.21.36 PM

If you’re a school-goer or a fresher who hasn’t yet received his/her ID, there isn’t much that you can do other than wait till you reach college. We have reached Flipkart for a comment on the same and are still awaiting their response. We’ll update with new information as soon as we get some.

Oculus to debut Oculus Connect Developer Conference in September and more

Oculus made a couple of announcements recently on its blog, including the acquisition of middleware game-network technology provider RakNet, which powers cross-platform voice chat, SQL logging, secure connectivity and more for a number of indie companies and bigger devs, including Mojang and Sony Online Entertainment. Oculus also announced its first developer conference, the Oculus Connect event, which is supposed to take place on September 19 and 20 in Hollywood, Calif.

raknet_logo

Oculus’ acquisition of RakNet comes after the company has used the latter’s tech for its own projects for years. Acquiring and open-sourcing RakNet’s tech means that Oculus can provide both itself and its key development partners with more tools to build software for their upcoming VR platform. RakNet offers a C++ class library that had previously been available to games with under $100,000 gross revenue for free, until now as its made freely available to all under a modified BSD license (the same license Facebook uses for its open source projects) from the Oculus GitHub repo:https://github.com/OculusVR/RakNet.

palmer_gdc_2013_small

Oculus Connect will give developers access to sessions with in-house Oculus engineers and other VR industry pioneers, including labs where they can get direct feedback and hands-on time with their software and Oculus employers. The conference will begin accepting applications from prospective attendees on July 10 and will send confirmations to those accepted, the following week. Oculus also promises latest news from its development section, letting people know about “upcoming Oculus technology,” (new Rift prototype?) without specifying what exactly that might mean. Keynotes from Brendan Iribe (CEO), Palmer Luckey (Founder), John Carmack (CTO) and Michael Abrash (Chief Scientist) on Oculus, virtual reality, and the future of the medium, will all be a part of the show.

Exact details of the show will be announced later.

Flipkart launches its own quad-core voice-calling 7-inch tablet under the Digiflip brand

As if there weren’t enough budget tablets to choose from, the people at Flipkart have now released their own tablet under their own brand of Digiflip.

Christened the Digiflip Pro XT 712, the tablet offers a lot of what its other bigwig competitors like HP, Lenovo and Samsung offer at a higher price. The tablet comes with a 1.3GHz Cortex A7 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, a Mali400 MP2 GPU clocked in at 500MHz and a 3000 mAh battery under the hood.

Flipkart Digiflip Pro comparison
A quick comparison with similarly specced tablets from bigger brands with the Digiflip Pro, put up by Flipkart themselves.

 

It also sports a 7-inch HD IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 216 PPI which is good enough for the price. The tablet also features a 5 MP primary camera with an LED Flash as well as a 2MP secondary camera for video chatting and the selfie sessions and also comes loaded with an accelerometer, a light sensor and a proximity sensor.

The tablet features various connectivity features like Dual SIM, 2G, 3G, WiFi and also touts Voice Calling as one of its main features with a promise of up to 8 hours of talk time and a week of standby time, the reality of which will be tested in the coming week as we get our test unit.

The tablet has 16GB of internal storage, of which approximately 13GB is user-accessible. It also comes pre-installed with the Flipkart eBooks app as well as the Flipkart app for shopping from the e-retailer.

One downside of the tablet is that it runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which was released over an year ago! There is no information regarding whether the device is upgradeable to the current version 4.0 KitKat or the upcoming version 5.0, called ‘L.’

Flipkart seems to be pushing its new tablet with the help of launch time offers and other lucrative deals including free eBooks worth Rs 2000 and shopping benefits worth Rs 5,000 along with purchase of the tablet.Also, the company is offering a 50 per cent discount on its cover that comes separately for Rs 799 and a bluetooth headset worth ₹1199 for free.

While the deals may tempt you, but a buying decision should not be taken at the cost of your primary product itself. For which the company is also offering a “Try-and-Buy” deal according to which you can try the tablet and return it within 30 days if you are not comfortable using it and get a refund. This offer is for limited period only, so we recommend if you want to try this product, you should go for it right now! The White version has already sold out but is still open for booking and will be back in stock in about 10 to 20 days!

We will post a more detailed review of this device once we get our hands on one!