I wrote a number of travelogues in recent past but when my good friend Abdul Wadood Khan told me that he is planning a trip to Jaipur then the same reminded me of the fact that despite of being my first ever highway drive, I never really wrote about my trip to Jaipur. May be the reason that it was just one day experiment kind of affair and didn’t had ended perfectly sort of.. but still being the first drive, it deserved a write-up and here I am….
Its been roughly nine months since I bought the car or could say started driving the car. Only those who remember that how they learned the driving could understand that how that process feels. Mine? I kind of documented that in a way that I can keep in memory…
Anyway… that was just to give the idea that despite of city driving for almost nine months, I wasn’t feeling quite a pro till the moment, I hit a full length highway and for that I had to wait for my newborn kiddo (August 31, 2012) to get back from his mother’s place. But that wasn’t only variable to be considered for the first highway drive of mine, I had to choose a destination with good roads from Delhi and also moderate traffic. You know, I wasn’t very confident about the messy traffucked drives.
Trust me, it still wasn’t a planned trip otherwise there were so many things which I might have planned or checked for, like I did in Manali trip later on, but things happen in the way they are bound to happen and suddenly one late night, I decided that we would be driving to Jaipur tomorrow. Little to plan for, little to pack for .. even the kiddo was on milk only so not much on that account either. Leave other things, I didn’t even slept whole night as the plan was to leave home early, only to know at the end that how foolish that was.
The year 2014 been a very eventful year for me on more than one notes, be it personal or professional or anything else. Apart from other things, this was the year when I started loving Hill drives from being hesitant about them till now. It was just January 25, 2014 when I drove on hills for the first time ever and after back to back drives to Manali and Nainital, I decided to end the year with an almost unplanned but longest trip to Mussoorie itself.
The clock had completed full circle considering the fact that I had visited Mussoorie already and yet was choosing the same destination before even one year. Last time, I almost missed snow as snowfall happened 3 days before I reached there and then I had no guts to drive toward Dhanaulti and even this time, first snowfall of season had happened on December 15, 2014 and there were very little signs of next snowfall even during last week of year. There wasn’t much incentive for travelling back to same destination once visited apart from the fact that it was low rush period and also in last trip, I hardly seen anything else apart from Kempty falls and Robber’s cave.
Nokia Lumia 730, Lumia 830 Pureview and Flagship Lumia 930 Pureview Launched to enlighten your Diwali
October 1, 2014, Nokia India launched three new Lumia’s to Indian market which would be available for purchase post October 15, 2014. Nokia Lumia 730 for affordable smartphone category at a price point of 15,299/-, Nokia Lumia 830 with a Carl Zeiss Pureview camera at a price point of 28, 000/- around and flagship Nokia Lumia 930 Pureview with metallic bezel at price point of 38,000/- around which would be available later.
With flood of phones in the market on almost weekly basis, it’s getting hard to differentiate for a brand. Brands have to re-think each time that which features they need to highlight for selling the new range of phones. This time, Nokia has branded their affordable Nokia Lumia 730 as Selfie phone.
Photography has came a long way ahead since the time when Nokia introduced the first camera phone to the world. The kind of challenges and requirements with camera phones kept on changing over time and so were the phone.
First it was about having easy access to a camera which is always with you to take a snap than dedicated camera, then the challenge moved ahead to compete with digital cameras and focus moved to quality of pictures along with the ease of use, then we moved ahead to cope with DSLR Cameras along with ease of use. At many occasions, people find that its good to use a smartphone to take pictures than a dedicated camera or DSLR considering the ease of use, easy to snap, easy to edit on the go and easy to share with the dedicated connectivity. What else one would be need from a photography solution?
But soon the next generations found the answer for “what else?” and the answer was “Selfie”. This always been a common complaint of many who love taking snaps that at the end of day, they find that though they might have taken thousands of snaps in a day, there are a few pictures in those including themselves as it’s not that convenient to give your phone to others and asking them to take the perfect pictures like you or of your choice. So answer was, why not take pictures of self? The use case became mainstream with usable resolution front cameras which started coming with new age smartphones as timer option was just not cutting it and taking a snap via back camera by guess work wasn’t giving perfect results every time.
Capable wide angle camera means one can take snaps of self and even of a big group including himself in it.
Nokia Lumia 730 : Polycarbonate Unibody build carries the legacy
Its hard to keep a differentiator about your phones when it comes to build due to rush of similar looking phones in the market and one should give full credit to Lumia series that they kept their designs unique through entire range. Not only design but material and durability also to go along.
Even though it might be at a lower price point with similar kind of base specs as Moto G next gen might have but the dual SIM offering of Nokia at affordable smartphone segment doesn’t looses its punch with 720p 4.7” CBD display along with ultrathin Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The camera might be of 6.7MP, but it Carl Zeiss optics which been known for being kind of best out there. While front and back both cameras can record at 1080p resolution, the battery at 2200mAh promises 22h of talktime and 600h of standby time.
Sure enough punches for the price point for the users which are not dedicatedly Android.
Nokia Lumia 830 : The first Pureview Phone without the camera bump
Even though the original Pureview definition of having a Super pixel created by heavy resolution camera compressed to few has changed over time, Pureview still stands for Carl Zeiss and quality pictures with it even though it wasn’t able to make phones very slimmer. Not any more.
Nokia Lumia 830 is just 8.5mm thick phone with 5” 720p IPS LCD screen weighing just 150g.. apparently the thinnest and lightest Lumia till date. A polycarbonate back along with metallic bezel for a phone which not only takes great night, low light pictures but also takes great wide angle selfies with 28mm front camera of 5MP capability.
The other differentiator with the phone was “Live Images”, which is a term for Nokia’s answer to HTC’s “zoe”. A photo which keeps moments in it like videos. I don’t really know how the describe it other way around.
If something was awkward with the phone then it would be the back cover which facilitates Wireless charging and all while made of polycarbonate material, it remains a pain in ass in case one needs to remove it for accessing battery/ storage / SIM etc.
The speaker continues to remain on the backside and single.
The no-bump Pureview camera on the back. The new about the camera is introduction of 3-Microphone system which claims to record true 5.1 Surround sound.
When it comes to Lumia series then apart from Windows Phone OS, the other differentiators are services, which Microsoft trying to push towards the end of spectrum till the lowest price points and the big step towards that this time is introductory offer of 1Tb Cloud Storage for six months and then on a cost of Rs150/- per month later on. The same cloud storage supposed to be available with any the new phones from now on.
This is definitely a Lumia which I would like to talk about more when it pays me a longer visit.
Nokia Lumia 930 : The flagship Pureview smartphone of Nokia talking metal
This was a surprise launch which wasn’t given hint about before the launch. The highest priced phone of the spectrum comes with the topmost of specs in entire range along with metallic build quality (reminding of iPhone 4S like bezel).
The specs include:
- Quad-core 2.2 GHz Krait 400, Qualcomm MSM8974 Snapdragon 800, Adreno 330, LTE CAT4 Support
- 137 x 71 x 9.8 mm, 167g
- A 1080p 5” display competing the best of displays in the market with ~441 ppi pixel density, which is CBD AMOLED along with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
- Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound
- 20 MP Carl Zeiss Optics with Dual LED Pureview Camera with Optical Image Stabilization. 1.2 MP front camera @720p though.
- Wireless Charging Plate DT-900 included in retail package
I didn’t had much hands on over the phone, so can’t say more..
Issue with travel bug & middle class is, its not easy to balance the expenses that easily to manage multiple journeys at short durations but this time I was to make an exception. Its not been long to the journey to Manali and I was already itching to another journey to hills.
Month of August since last many years been unique to set continuous holidays for professionals and usually the time when its hard to avoid the temptation to go out. I guess half of Delhi goes empty from professional considering the number of options around Delhi to go out. This years these been four days means it was hard to sit back home.
Before buying car in 2012, my first long car journey to any tourist destination was Nainital only with Sister-In-Law & her husband & daughter. That was the first time when I experienced the fun of travelling long distances in car & being on your own to decide the schedule than being dependent on Trains etc. In that impromptu journey, we didn’t even had hotels booked in advance despite of being aware of unprecedented rush. Those rains many waterfall at every 10km distance in hills, thrill of greenery all around & top of that I wasn’t on driving seat either .
That time, Pankaj (Sister-In-Law’s Husband, couldn’t find English word for the relation yet) was superman driving through those twists & turns and Hyundai i10 best suitable car to our need for such tours as I was coming from driving bike for last full decade. During the majority of journey, I kept on thinking that when would I be able to drive in hills this way confidently.
Later on, after buying own car, I gradually raised the bar by first to Jaipur from Faridabad, then Mussorie from Faridabad and last Manali from Delhi but those imprints of driving in Nainital Hills during Monsoon refused to die down. It was the time to take the challenge heads on, by choosing exactly the same time, same season, to drive to Nainital from the same place, only missing variable was absence of partners in crime and we had to go for the journey alone means me, wife and kiddo. Same time it was customary to write about the experiences of the last journey before overwriting them in coming weeks, so I finished the post about Nainital journey 2011 based on photos and memories available of that time in my mind.
After writing about my recent 600+ kms self drive trip to Manali and the first hill drive of mine, I felt it would be gross injustice if don’t write down my experiences from the most beautiful journey of mine on hills even though I wasn’t on the driving seat back then. Today I feel I should have written about my Nainital visit, which left a spark in me to come back to hills by self vehicle again and again. But its never late to correct the mistakes. This article would try to revisit those memories and beautiful weather of that time…
Its often been said that “The plans for best journeys often happen to be impromptu than being long on preparation side”. Something like the same was the case with the Nainital visit. Before that particular journey, only public transport been the enabler for us for journey as bike was never suitable for longer distances considering law & order situations in India. But this time, as sister-in-law had a car and was living in Gurgaon (40kms away), a plan for a short trip on biggest holiday for professional class (mid of august when one festival gets clubbed with weekend & Independence day) in recent years was hatched between two sisters. Despite of plans, it kept on being flip-flopped till last day and when we left from Faridabad that particular day, then we didn’t even had bookings of any hotel in Nainital or around.
Nowadays, when I start for a long journey, then I make a point of leaving the house as early morning as possible, but as I said, that particular journey was against any rulebook. Sister-In-law arrived at our place by some 0730 hrs and despite of all efforts, we were on course of journey (after getting tank & tires filled) by 0845 hrs only, completely unaware of what awaits ahead on roads….
As I didn’t knew driving then, so the burden was all over poor Pankaj and it would have taken a lot of toll to just come out of city on a day when almost entire city was looking like going for the route on vacation. We took the first break at an unknown place to wash our faces etc by 1045 hrs and covering even first 100kms had taken more than 4 hrs and a gigantic jam greeted us over Garmukteshwar due to narrow bridge which was catering both side traffic coming towards it from 4 lanes highway.
Last travelogue of mine was about the longest trip of mine in which I referred about the first hill drive of mine which was Dehradun-Mussorie from Faridabad, I guess I should detail that trip as well for Readers.
Till that time, I haven’t had any experience of hill driving even when I wanted to, having my first long car journey memories from Nainital 2011 with sister-in-law family. I had to choose that which place would be safer to drive on hills and would be within roughly 300 km radius from Delhi/ NCR. I zeroed in for Dehradun – Mussorie, not because of any blogs or recommendations but only because of the fact that I had an office branch in Dehradun. The initial plan was to drive up to Dehradun, till where it was supposed to be driving in plains and then to decide from there for Mussorie, if was doable.
But all of that was a plan, what if I face any trouble en-route? I got that covered with two of the friends who got along with me (though none of them knew how to drive but even then its better to have helping hands in case you need one). The date chosen was around our wedding anniversary which was January 26 and the period when we travelled was January 25-27, 2014.
When you make a plan for any trip, especially when its first of its kind then its hard to wait for the moment and same was for me. After counting of days, finally the day had come and learned from earlier mistakes, this time, I took a fine sleep before rising up early. I along with wife and kiddo, who was just one and half years old left the house in Faridabad by 0430 hrs though waiting for other two participants made us a little back on the schedule but I guess we were ready to move out of Delhi by some 0530 hrs or so.
Early morning helps you to cut through from the city traffic but looks like it wasn’t enough with that particular route with so many trucks in the way, but still we managed to reach till Muffarnagar by 0745 hrs and first stop was Vaishali Vaishno Punjabi Dhaba. That would be a distance of some 130 kms in roughly 2 hrs & 15 mins, which must be called an achievement considering the kind of foggy weather, I was to face in the way. We must have spent roughly 15-20 mins there for tea etc and then drove ahead.
When you are reviewing an entirely new product about which you never knew anything before, nor you would have reviewed any sister product of it to understand part of things, then it becomes absolute necessary to give it undivided attention and comparatively longer period of use to understand the bottlenecks & possible issues that may start nagging over time. Because such issues can never been checked during two three weeks period as product remains comparatively new.
I should thank Gionee on this part that they allowed me to retain the unit for a longer while to understand it and to put it in real world use (I kind of forgotten that it’s a review unit and sure gonna miss it hard as it became part of life).
I remember the time when I was to review a keypad phone while my own phones been all touch phones. During entire period of review, I restricted myself to use the touch phone to feel the essence of living with that particular keypad phone. Same was the right thing to do when it was about an entirely new brand.
So how did Gionee Elife S5.5, which is sure a marvel on hardware front and head turner wherever I go, fared on software front? Did it performed at par with iPhone 5S or Nexus 4 which I had? Does it produce images worthy of 13MP camera? Does the battery sails through day? Does the glassy build survives in long run?
A number of questions which I intend to answer in the rest part of blog….