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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Mozilla reportedly developing its own Google Chromecast competitor, probably called the “NetCast”

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser and the upcoming Firefox OS, is working on a media-streaming stick set to directly compete with the Google Chromecast and other similar products, according to GigaOm. The device, as expected, runs on Mozilla’s own Firefox OS, originally designed for smartphones, and is apparently referred to as “Netcast” within the Firefox browser. While the device doesn’t yet have a name or release date, it’s said that it will be more open to developers looking to hack its capabilities.

The new streaming device has allegedly been in development for some time, and changes are still being made. The focus here, however, is on openness; GigaOm reports that developers will eventually be able to code apps for multiple platforms, including Windows Phone and Amazon’s Fire phone. However, it’s unclear how involved Mozilla is in the hardware’s development. In an official statement, a spokesperson wrote:

“Firefox OS is an open platform freely available for any company to build on top of without restriction. This means companies can experiment with different form factors that run Firefox OS.”

The statement may seem like a thin denial aimed at possibly instilling the idea that a third-party could be behind this project, and it’s certainly possible that some other company is responsible for the hardware side of things, but the software is certainly coming from inside the company, as indicated by the references in the browser. Check out a video of the device in action, after the break:

Continue reading Mozilla reportedly developing its own Google Chromecast competitor, probably called the “NetCast”

Set-Top Box Showdown – Amazon’s FireTV vs. Apple TV and Others

Earlier this week, Amazon launched its Set Top Box-cum-Media Player — the FireTV. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up against its pre-existing competition.

Here’s the breakdown.

Design

amazon-fire-tv-dimensions

All these players are  relatively small in size and exhibit colors that blend in with black televisions, with the exception of the purple Roku Streaming Stick.

Amazon Fire TV sits with a low-profile of .07 in and takes on a square shape of 4.5 in x 4.5 in. Roku 3 requires a little more headroom at 1 inch even, but takes up less space at 3.5 in x 3.5 in at its length and width.

Apple fits in between the two at .91 in high and 3.9 in x 3.9 in. At these sizes, it’s not hard to fit them in a media cabinet, or even stack them on top of a cable box.

Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick dongles are much smaller – almost the same as an oversized USB pen drive – and conveniently plug into HDMI ports. They’re also very simple to install.

The two downsides to this design are that they still require a power cable to function and there’s no Ethernet port. When it comes to streaming video, that can be a problem for a lot of households.

Remotes

remotes
Remotes

Amazon Fire TV introduces an innovative remote with a built-in microphone for voice search. On the Amazon Fire TV, finding a movie or show title, an actor you like or a genre you want to explore can all be done by talking to your remote control. Another gaming controller is also available, to purchase separately, which allows the users to play Android games, some of which are exclusive, on their TV set.

Roku has a similar 5-button directional pad, without the fancy voice search capabilities. On the plus side, the Roku 3 model’s remote does feature a headphone jack for personal listening.

Apple TV’s click-wheel remote is small and easy to lose. That would be a problem, except the iOS controller app is the iOS way to navigate, so it doesn’t matter.

Chromecast actually requires a smartphone or tablet to control. This means owning an Android or iOS device is a requirement to use the tiny streaming stick. It’s also not as out-of-the-box friendly in this way, especially if you’re a Windows Phone user, but it does mean a QWERTY keyboard is always at hand.

 

The Rest of It

So, here’s the rest of the comparison in a Tabular form so that you can easily decide which one is the best for you. As for us, we decided that the FireTV beats the rest of the lot hands down as it features everything the others do and more!

Parameters

OR

Features

Amazon Fire
Amazon Fire TV

Roku 3
Roku 3

Apple TV
Apple TV

Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast

Pricing

$99

$99

$99

$35

Form Factor

Box

Box

Box

HDMI DOngle

HDMI Compatibility

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

No

No

No

Processor

Quad-core

Dual-core

Single-core

Single-core

Memory

2 GB

512 MB

512 MB

512 MB

Video Apps

Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Bloomberg TV, Vimeo

HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Vimeo

iTunes, Disney Anywhere, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube, Bloomberg TV, WatchABC

Google Play, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube

Music Apps

Vevo, Pandora

Vevo, Pandora, Spotify

Vevo, Vimeo, iTunes

Google Play, Vevo, Pandora, Rdio, Songza

Sports Apps

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter, Major League Soccer

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter

None

Number of Games

100+; “thousands” more coming

Less than 100

Games via AirPlay

None

Remote

Voice search, physical remote (no line of sight needed)

Physical remote, iOS controller app available

Physical remote, iOS/Android controller app available (no line of sight needed)

App controlled

Gaming Controller

Yes; $39.99 (sold separately)

No

No

No